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Russia Investigation; Russian Troll Farms; Florida Students Turn to Activism in Wake of Shooting; Donald Trump, Jr. in India This Week; North Korea Looking to Cash in on Charm; U.S.-South Korea to Resume Drills after Winter Olympics; Florida School Shooting; Trump versus Oprah. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired February 20, 2018 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:10] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

Ahead this hour --

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Another progress in the Russia investigation. Jared Kushner's finances are raising serious questions about Trump family conflicts of interest.

VAUSE: Plus disturbing new details of the Florida shooters arsenal and more warning signs that may have been missed as students caught up in the shooting take the lead in the demanding new gun laws.

SESAY: And cashing in on improved relations, the possible profit motive behind North Korea's charm offensive.

VAUSE: Hello everybody. Great to have you with us to all our viewers all around the world.

I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay.

NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

VAUSE: Well, Donald Trump is laser focused on Russia but not in a way you expect from a U.S. president. He's not focusing on Moscow meddling in the last presidential election nor the potential for interference in the coming midterms in November.

Instead his blaming everyone else like the Democrats, the FBI, even his predecessor Barack Obama.

SESAY: He tweeted nearly two dozen times at the weekend, even attacking Oprah Winfrey. Of the school shooting in Florida, no mention of the students and teachers laid to rest. Instead he made this about him and how the FBI is so busy trying to prove collusion they missed warning signs about the gunman.

His latest tweet on all of this, "Obama was president up to and beyond the 2016 election so why didn't he do something about Russian meddling?"

VAUSE: It was quite the weekend.

Joining us now for more Democratic strategist Caroline Heldman and Republican strategist Charles Moran.

Ok. So to that question that the President posed there on Twitter, the "Washington Post" reported last year that President Obama was briefed in August of 2016 but there were limitations to what the administration could do.

Here's the report. "It took time for other parts of the intelligence community to endorse the CIA's view. Only in the administration's final weeks in office did it tell the public in a declassified report what officials had learned from CIA Director John Brennan in August -- that Putin was working to elect Trump."

But the Post also has quote from a senior -- former senior Obama official. "It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend. I feel like we sort of choked."

So Caroline -- a lot of Democrats are asking the same question. But there was this theory out there that Hillary Clinton was in almost certainty to win this election and Obama didn't want to politicize it, did not want to create trouble for Hillary Clinton.

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: There were absolutely those political pressures. With that said, it is very clear that Barack Obama did not do what he needed to do in terms of Russian meddling. This is not news.

What is -- what is ironic about this is that Donald Trump is criticizing Barack Obama but he has failed to implement the sanctions on Russia as a result to punish them for meddling in the election that the vast majority of Congress approved.

And so he's (INAUDIBLE) them into a bit of a constitutional crisis, he's criticizing the last president for something he himself is now not doing.

VAUSE: And Charles -- to that point, yes there are question about what the Obama administration did or did not do but Donald Trump is the President now. And the question has to be asked, what is he doing?

CHARLES MORAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, this is one of several instances where we have a mismatch between what one agency in the government is doing versus another. President Obama is absolutely right to feel some sort of remorse, same thing with John Brennan that there, you know, there may have been something that could have been done.

This should be moved to the top of the priority list. These intelligence bottlenecks should not be happening where one agency is resulting -- is producing information and reports that another agency needs to see and for us to come up with a comprehensive plan. So President Trump needs to move this to the top of his agenda.

VAUSE: But he's not.

MORAN: Well, this is one of multiple things that are coming out. He's dealing with -- we're also dealing with the problem of again governmental agencies not communicating with one another -- in Florida with what happened with the tragedy last week.

So the governmental bureaucracy is something that Donald Trump has consistently struggled with and struggles with to this day.

It's not going to be as easy as just the shooting out an executive order or going on Twitter or taking to the soap box. We're talking about structural change within the bureaucracy and that's one of the hardest things for any president to deal with.

HELDMAN: Well, for starters for him to actually pass the sanctions on Russia that Congress approved.

MORAN: The Congress -- the sanctions on Russia aren't going to change the bottleneck with the FBI, the CIA --

HELDMAN: No, but that will be a really good start for him putting this on the top of the list and using his power that he can actually ink immediately and do that.

MORAN: He can't do -- President Trump, and this is quite you know, going on to the start of this question is, you know, Russia is not the first thing that Donald Trump is criticizing. Well, the fact of the matter is he can't do anything about Russia. He's President of the United States --

VAUSE: Enforce the sanctions.

MORAN: -- our systems failed.

VAUSE: Right.

MORAN: America's systems failed. That is something he can address and he needs to.


[00:04:59] You mentioned the shooting. It was a wild Twitter storm over the weekend from the President and this is the tweet which stands out.

"Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. There is no collusion."

Just two days earlier though, the President made this promise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To every parent, teacher and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you whatever you need, whatever we can do to ease your pain.


VAUSE: So Caroline -- how does it ease the pain when the President uses the deaths of children in a way to try and undermine the Russia investigation while the funerals of the shooting victims were still underway?

HELDMAN: It's gross and it's tragic. He really is exploiting this great tragedy. And there are some very basic things he could do.

He could back a provision to have background checks for mental health issues which 94 percent of Americans support. He should put in common sense gun control by having a national registration and making sure that all 50 states keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.

He had actually rolled back provisions that put more guns in the hands of folks who have emotional and mental health issues last year. He approved that.

So he is not only politicizing this, he's not going to take action. The NRA is a major contributor to his campaign and many members of Congress and they're essentially bought and sold on this issue which is a shame because a majority of Americans support common sense gun control.

VAUSE: The tweets (ph), Charles also fundamentally you know, doesn't basically explain all of it. It shows he doesn't understand how the FBI works. I mean just because something happened from the Miami office doesn't mean that they can't work on the Mueller investigation.

MORAN: Well, it's -- I think it's a continuation and I think that's where most Americans see. The FBI has been one of the lead news stories for the last month and continues to be. I think President Trump is bringing up what a majority of Americans see is that again, beyond the FBI we have an inconsistency here with agencies communicating and speaking to one another.

There were so many opportunities that this individual Nikolas Cruz could have been -- have been stopped where somebody could have stepped in. But because of lack of communication, because of a lack of that will to be able to do something about this, it prompts a much larger question beyond gun control.

And gun control is one conversation that we have to have. And while I'm not a spokesman for the NRA, the NRA does endorse common sense gun control under certain limitations. But again, we have a massive problem here where so many clues, so many pieces of evidence were dropped one after another after another over a period of time that nobody stepped in to actually do something.

VAUSE: Ok. We need to be on this -- we have exclusive reporting from CNN because there could be some more problems on the way for the administration with regards to the Mueller probe, the ever-expanding investigation apparently is expanding yet again.

Shimon Prokupecz has details.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: CNN has learned that special counsel Robert Mueller is now asking question about Jared Kushner's personal business dealings during the president transition. We're told by people who are familiar with the investigation that Mueller's lawyers are asking about discussions Kushner had with potential Chinese and Qatari investors.

This is the first indication that Mueller wants to know about contacts the President's son-in-law had with foreigners outside of Russia. The discussions revolved around this building in Manhattan at 666 Fifth Avenue which Kushner's company owns. The financing on the building is in debt by over a billion dollars.

Now, it's not clear what is behind Mueller's specific interest in the financing. We're told the special counsel hasn't asked the Kushner companies for information. He also has not asked for interviews with other executives from the Kushner companies.

A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment but in a statement to CNN, Jared Kushner's attorney Abbe Lowell responding to our story said quote, "Another anonymous source with questionable motives now contradicts the facts in all of Mr. Kushner's extensive cooperation with all inquiries, there has not been a single question asked nor documents sought on the 666 building or Kushner deals. Nor would there be any reason to question these regular business transactions."

That's Abbe Lowell, Kushner's attorney. And though while he says that the story is based on one source, we can tell you that we relied on many sources for this story, all who have been familiar with some of the special counsel investigation.

Shimon Prokupecz, CNN -- Washington.


VAUSE: And Caroline -- just because Kushner isn't being asked directly about his business dealing, it doesn't mean that Mueller isn't asking other people about it. Quite often the person at the center of the investigation is the last to know.

HELDMAN: Absolutely or they're the last to be asked, right, if you want to develop the evidence and then you go and ask and they contradict the evidence then, it indicates that they have something to hide.

[00:10:01] It is unclear how this ties in with the collusion investigation. It's unclear how it -- why Mueller is now going into finances but I think that this is a really troubling moment for the Trump White House. VAUSE: We're almost out of time. I want to get to you very quickly, Charles -- is Kushner carrying all that debt, is he a national security threat.

MORAN: I don't think he's a national security threat. They have that time particularly during the transition to be able to arrange things so that they would not be presented with a conflict of interest.

So again, we know very, very little about any of the details behind any of this. There have been dozens of senior White House officials who have also been interviewed by special counsels so --


MORAN: -- this could just be one more. And again, we saw the first of indictments had nothing to do with any of those people we've talked about who have been interviewed.

VAUSE: So far.

MORAN: Still too early to tell.

VAUSE: Ok. President's Day here on Monday. Donald Trump wished everyone a great a reflective day. Maybe he can reflect on this. A panel of 170 president experts had ranked Donald Trump the worst president in history which means James Buchanan, the guy who was president as the country careened into war, into civil war, no longer considered the worst. And just, we should note, at the same time President Obama has made an appearance in the top 10. He is now at number 8.

So James -- not a good President's Day for Donald Trump I'd say.

MORAN: You know, again he's barely a year in to the presidency. We've seen with so many presidents that it really not only take their full four to eight years but even some time afterwards to see what the after effects of their impact could be.

HELDMAN: It feels like a decade -- John.

MORAN: It's like it's going to be a really long next seven years for everyone.

VAUSE: So Caroline -- do you still --


VAUSE: -- do you still Trump moving at the ratings there from bottom to --

HELDMAN: You know I should -- in full disclosure I'm one of the political scientists who was asked to fill out that survey. And I did not rank him dead last. I still put Buchanan below him because I don't -- Trump hasn't done, he hasn't caused the big event yet.

He has done lots of small things and I think that, you know, hopefully he won't do that. But I think it's magical thinking to say that he's going to be here for eight years.

The blue wave in 2018 looks to be pretty sure in 2020, is a lost (ph) for him.

VAUSE: Ok. Well, we'll see. Thank you. Appreciate it.

SESAY: -- other thing on Russia now, a monitoring group warns that Russian-linked bots are exploiting the gun control debate on social media to sow discord in the U.S. Russian troll farms first came to prominence during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

CNN's Matthew Chance gives us a rare look inside.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All right. Well, this is the very secretive Internet research agency building on the outskirts of St. Petersburg. It's very difficult to get an idea of what exactly goes on in there.

But, you know, sometimes you can learn a lot about an organization from the rubbish it throws out. And we saw a few hours ago these bin bags being taken around about here to the bin. So we thought we'd come and take a look in it.

It looks like it's polystyrene wrappers for some sort of computer or electronic stuff that's been delivered there recently. In fact we saw them taking out the boxes from what looked like new computers that have been delivered there.

That's interesting because this place is said to have been closed down. There's a big sign on the front of the door that says the building is for rent. But there are still people coming and going all day and clearly it's still operating.

Now whether it's operating as a troll factory or not is unclear.

I started to speak to him in Russian a little bit. Do you work here.

He's saying it's something called Netsky News (ph) which is a news organization.

Are you an Internet troll? Are you a Russian Internet troll?


If you invite us in, we're happy to come in, right.

Ok. Let's go inside the Internet research agency.

Can we see Netsky --

All right. Ok. They're asking us to leave so we're going to have to leave the building. But again this is the place that according to the U.S. indictment was set up to sow discord in the U.S. political system. [00:14:58] And it's inside this building that it's believed that paid Internet trolls are posing as American citizens, that -- yes, we're going. We're going. Are posing as U.S. citizens organizing contentious -- let's go -- organizing contentious protests in the United States and really doing that work that has been so disruptive to the U.S. political system.

Matthew Chance, CNN -- at the building in St. Petersburg which has been dubbed the Russian troll factory.


SESAY: Matthew Chance seeking for the truth.

Well, open a newspaper in India and you may see a large ad offering dinner with Donald Trump, Jr. if -- if you reserve a spot to buy an apartment in a Trump branded tower for $38,000. The U.S. president's son arrived in New Delhi Tuesday. His trip includes a speech at the business summit along with India's prime minister.

But the apartment ad have critics asking, is access to the U.S. first family and ultimately even the President is being put up for sale?

Well, John Defterios joins us now from Abu Dhabi with more on Donald Trump, Jr.'s trip. John -- good to see you.

I mean what's the view of the marketing ploy -- dinner with conversation all for the princely sum of $38,000 in a country with such economic and social inequity? What's the view there in India?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN MONEY: Well there's no doubt about the approach here -- Isha. This is a pitch or an approach to suggest if indeed you put your money on the line here with a down payment of $38,000 you can have access to the Trump family or the Trump Organization in not only one of the major cities, the capital where Donald Trump, Jr. is today. But he has projects and four major operations from north to south and stretching to the east of India.

In fact as we speak, Donald Trump, Jr. is meeting with his developers in a hotel in Delhi at the Oberoi Hotel. This is his first day on the ground so, of the five days that he plans to be in India he'll be visiting all four of the facilities under the Trump Organization.

It is my understanding and from discussions with the different developers that there is a Trump premium in the market. And in fact, we had a slow down in the last year because of the effort to root out black money out of the system by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

But the Trump Organization properties have continued to go up. We have video here of the one that's in Gurgaon which is about 30 kilometers outside the capital of Delhi.

So the first day on the ground he's meeting with the developers. This is going to be a much more open scene with international journalists involved. This was scaled down to include only local journalists that were handpicked to give access to Donald Trump, Jr. who flew in on the 757 which is known as Trump One.

So the crossover in terms of marketing is crystal clear here and this is a very large market for the Trump Organization having this on the ground for the last few years.

SESAY: Yes. And give us a little bit more perspective there on the value of Trump Corporation interests, if you will -- Trump Organization interests there in India because it's my understanding that India is actually their biggest international market.

DEFTERIOS: It is indeed their biggest international market. And Isha -- for one of the segments I produced, is called "One Square Meter". We were asked to go down just a few years ago when the first cornerstones were laid on that property so they have exposure in Gurgaon which is outside the capital of Delhi.

Donald Trump, Jr. will be going to Kolkata this evening. It's our understanding that he'll visit Mumbai as well, the financial capital in the south. And then they have another operation at (INAUDIBLE).

So we're looking at exposure of over a billion dollars of projects in India overall. So it is the largest market. This is a case where the Trump Organization makes a share on fees. If in fact the results are better than expected, they get a cut of the sales profits as well.

So make no doubt about it here, this is pretty high exposure for the Trump Organization. I should note here, this is going to back to 2016 voluntary ethics structure that the Trump Organization has set up. They cannot be pursuing additional or new projects around the world.

But they have been involved in India for a numbers of years and they don't see any crossover with Donald Trump, Jr. going in, putting ads in the regional papers and the national papers of India and suggesting if you put money on the line here, you gain access to the President's son.

And by the way, there's a special affinity between Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India and the President Donald Trump. They had a meeting back in June in Washington and they see eye to eye when it comes to business.

We don't know if it was the influence of the President's presence in India prior to that that influenced this relationship or not.

SESAY: Well, the Trump Organization may not see anything wrong with it but ethics watch dogs, a number of them here in the United States have great concerns and are raising eyebrows about conflict of interests and all sorts of things.

[00:20:07] John Defterios there in Abu Dhabi -- always appreciate it. Thank you.

DEFTERIOS: Thanks -- Isha.

VAUSE: Well the North Koreans have made headlines for their charm offensive at the Winter Olympics but when we come back, could Pyongyang be hoping for much more than just a diplomatic payoff?


SESAY: Well, North Korea's soft (ph) power is on full display at the Winter Olympics. Pyongyang sent its best athletes, a cheering squad and a performing arts troupe.

VAUSE: But behind all the positive PR there's another story. Kim Jong-un's regime maybe hoping to literally cash in on improving ties with the South.

CNN's Will Ripley has details.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A scene unimaginable just months ago -- North Koreans performing in South Korea at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.

Missile launches, nuclear tests and escalating tensions have largely defined the Kim Jong-un era. Now, the North Korean leader is launching what some call a charm offensive, sending his sister Kim Yo- jong to lay the groundwork for an inter-Korean summit sending his art troupe, athletes and cheer squads to show the softer side of what the U.S. calls a tyrannical regime.

South Korean journalist Kang Jin-gyu says North Korea is waging a PR war with a different weapons -- soft power.

KANG JIN-GYU, SOUTH KOREAN JOURNALIST: Beforehand, they see North Korea as a rogue state of trying to build up nuclear weapons in violation of the international agreements. But when they see the actual (INAUDIBLE) performing right in front of them, I think they start thinking, wow, they're just like us.

RIPLEY: South Korea based teacher Dave Beck skipped a hockey match to watch the North Koreans perform.

DAVE BECK, TEACHER: South Koreans and North Koreans seem to really kind of respect each other. It was kind of cool.

RIPLEY: The Korean people share centuries of heritage, the last seven decades of division a mere blip on the radar but since the Korean War the two cultures have only grown farther apart.

Some South Koreans already know what it's like to live and work alongside their neighbors from the North at the Kaesong Industrial Complex that closed about two years ago, as tensions escalated.

Kaesong was an economic and political experiment that fell apart, a case study in the difficulties of merging capitalism and socialism. I visited in 2015 and saw North and South Koreans working side by side producing some of the products now banned under crippling international sanctions.

Kim It-kyum (ph) used to work at the Kaesong Industrial Complex. He and hundreds of other South Koreans lost their jobs in early 2016.

[00:25:02] "The two-year period has been so long for the workers," he says. "There's been so much suffering. I hope they'll use this opportunity to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex soon."

Capitalizing on the Korean detente may not be the primary goal but if nuclear tensions ease, there is money to be made which may explain why cash-strapped North Korea is on a mission to win over South Korean audiences one performance at a time.

Will Ripley, CNN -- Gangneung, South Korea.


SESAY: Well, our own Paula Hancocks joins us now from Pyeongchang. Paula -- for all the talk of warming relations between North and South Korea, we're hearing that South Korea has taken the decision that may well anger Pyongyang.

Tell us about it.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right -- Isha. We know from the U.S. Forces-Korea that they have actually decided that these military drills will go ahead as expected. These are the U.S.- South Korean military drills that happen every year and always angered Pyongyang.

We also heard from the South Korean side that they have no issues with them going ahead. Remember they did delay them somewhat. They postponed them so that there wouldn't be any kind of tensions between North and South Korea during the Olympic themselves.

But the Paralympics on March 18, so any time after that, we could expect these drills to start. The U.S. forces saying at this point they don't have an exact date to give us but will tell us shortly.

We've already heard though from the U.S. President Donald Trump that he actually said he was going to be discreet when it comes to these military drills. So potentially we won't be seeing these massive shows of force that we have been seeing in recent years.

But North Korea as well is undecided as to how it's going to deal with it. KCNA -- the state-run media has already said the DPRK is fully ready for both dialogue and war slamming the United States when it comes to their approach to North Korea in recent months -- Isha.

SESAY: All right. Our Paula Hancocks with the very latest there from Pyeongchang. Paula -- always appreciate it. Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, still to come here on NEWSROOM L.A., there are new details on the Florida shooter' past -- the missed signals. We'll have more that in a moment.

SESAY: And teens who survived this massacre turning their grief into action on gun control. What they're doing to get lawmakers' attention. We'll tell you all about it. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay.

The headlines this hour.

[00:30:05] (HEADLINES)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: We know the drill by now. It started with Columbine almost 20 years ago, 12 students and a teacher shot dead. A month after that, a heated debate in Congress; Vice President Al Gore cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate for tougher background checks and safety locks for new guns.

But all of that then stalled in the House. Nothing happened. The Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, Congress passed a bill to strengthen the system for national background checks but legal experts say the law was narrowly focused and did little to improve background checks at a state level.

Five years on, 20 children and seven adults shot dead at Sandy Hook Elementary, a massacre so horrific it left a nation in shock and the U.S. president in tears.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every time I think about those kids it gets me mad.


VAUSE: Even then not one new federal gun law was passed. Instead, the National Rifle Association argued the best solution to gun violence is more guns.


WAYNE LA PIERRE, EVP AND CEO, NRA: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.


VAUSE: This is not every school shooting in the U.S. over the past two decades. And despite all the pleadings and protests and overwhelming support for gun reform, there has been one depressing constant: inaction by Congress.

But this time there is a glimmer of hope, that in the wake of last week's shooting at Stoneman Douglas High in Florida. Maybe something will change.

The flight bearers for the push for gun reform are the students themselves, the ones whose friends and teachers were shot dead, the ones who hid in the closets as the gunshots rang out, the ones who texted their parents, saying, I love you, because they thought they were going to die.

On Saturday at a rally, they called out the inaction of lawmakers; by Sunday, they were on all the political talk shows, criticizing the president and other politicians for accepting money from the NRA.

Later that day they announced plans for a rally next month. And by Monday a small victory with word from the White House: President Trump is supportive of improving the current system for background checks.

Alex Wind is one of three students who started this movement it's called Never Again MSD . He's with us now.

Alex, this has been remarkable on so many different aspects; it's not just how organized you are, how quickly it's come together but you're doing this after everything that you've been through.

So how are you doing?

How are your friends doing?

ALEX WIND, STONEMAN DOUGLAS STUDENT: You know, I'm using my voice and I'm using my voice and everyone else is using their voice as a platform. This is how we're grieving. This is how we are coping. We're upset, we're angry but we're not going to stop until there's change.

VAUSE: And when you talk about change, we're not talking just about better safety measures at schools, like metal detectors or security guards. What you are talking about here is meaningful gun reform that would essentially, in many ways, either make a background check harder or make it simply harder a 19-year old to get a military style weapon.

WIND: Exactly, you said it yourself, a 19-year old got a military style weapon. A 19-year old who cannot legally purchase an alcoholic beverage.

So how is it possible that he can purchase a military weapon?

That sounds absolutely absurd and that is one of the first things that needs to change.

Another thing that needs to change is background checks. It was clear that the kid had autism, ADHD and other mental disabilities.

So how is it possible that he was able to purchase the weapon?

We know that he cut himself. He was he was a racist. He was anti- Semitic.

How is it shown that he was not a harm to others or to himself?

VAUSE: After previous school shootings, others have tried to do what you're doing right -- [00:35:00]

VAUSE: -- now. They've tried to bring about some kind of meaningful change, tighten the gun laws.

Despite their best intentions, the spotlight fades; everyone moves on. And everything in terms of gun laws, it all stays the same.

So tell me, how will it be different this time?

WIND: We already know we're different. President Trump said that he's open to looking into stricter background checks. That's a start. However, there needs to be action.

March 24th, action: we will be marching on Washington, D.C., and we will demand change from our Congress, from our representatives and from the president himself.

VAUSE: Why, why do you think other groups haven't been able get this far when it comes to changing the law on guns?

Despite the outrage and the pain and suffering, it seems to be the same after every one of these school shootings.

WIND: You were saying earlier, Columbine was really the first of its kind. Everyone said nothing like this was ever going to happen again but it did in Newtown and Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The kids were too young to speak. They were too traumatized. Their parents had to speak for them. Other people had to speak for them.

However, now we're the students. We experiences and we're speaking for ourselves. Children are dying. Things need to change in this country or else more children will die. And the future, it's going to be nothing.

VAUSE: You, other students, you are planning to stay away from school until there's significant changes to the law and the pessimist in me tends to think that that could be a very long time.

WIND: You're right. And you know, eventually, we are going to have to go to school, whether we like it or not and whether change happens or not. And I know myself, I'm going to be terrified that of that day because I don't know.

What is going to stop this from happening again?

Nothing has changed.

So how do we know that someone can't walk in there with another AR-15 and shoot up the school again?

We don't know that. Things need to change. Children are dying.

VAUSE: Will you be attending this listening session that the president Trump is talking about, that he wants to hold with students? WIND: I have not been invited to attend this listening nor, if I am invited, I will not be in attendance. Instead, I will be speaking at the town hall at 9:00 pm this Wednesday with Senator Rubio, Congressman Deutsch and Senator Bill Nelson.

VAUSE: Why would you not visit the White House if you were invited to go?

WIND: Because he was invited to come to the town hall and he denied the invitation. We will not come to him. He has to come to us.

VAUSE: OK, well, Alex we wish you -- I wish you well but I wish that you that you can do what so many others have failed to do and bring about some real change. Thank you.

WIND: Thank you.

VAUSE: Alex mentioned the town hall. Please join CNN for that. Students, parents, everyone else impacted by the school shooting will speak out. "Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action."

It will air live on Thursday, 10:00 am Hong Kong; 2:00 am in London and 9:00 pm on Wednesday in New York.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: I so want to believe that they can do what others have failed at.

VAUSE: Until the kids doing the line outside of the White House in Washington (INAUDIBLE) D.C. area schools they're taking charge. Let's see how long it lasts.


SESAY: Well, the tables have turned for Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey. She says she's not running for president.

So why can't the commander in chief call a Twitter cease-fire? More on that next on NEWSROOM L.A.





SESAY: U.S. President Donald Trump used to call Oprah Winfrey "brilliant," "terrific" and "a wonderful woman." He even said she would make a great vice president.

VAUSE: She was saying nice things about him, though. I'm curious. I don't think -- he was on her show a lot. She (INAUDIBLE).

Anyway. But Donald Trump doesn't say nice things about (INAUDIBLE) especially because, you know, people started talking about Oprah running for president, even though she says that's she not running for president --


SESAY: -- not happy.

VAUSE: He's not happy. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Remember when they were just two friendly mega celebrities...

OPRAH WINFREY, ACTOR: What would you do differently, Donald?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Forget about it, Oprah. Just forget about it.

MOOS (voice-over): -- calling each other by their first names?

Well, now, President Trump is tweeting about "very insecure Oprah Winfrey" "biased and slanted;" "Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all the others."

This after the president watched her...

WINFREY: Come on --

MOOS (voice-over): -- moderating pro- and anti-Trump voters on "60 Minutes."

It was the insecure jab that had Oprah supporters citing the pot calling the kettle black.

"Insecure? Are you for real?"

There was a GIF caption, live footage of Oprah caring about what you tweet.

Perez Hilton put words in Oprah's mouth, "Don't make me come over there."

Tweeted a comedian, "Donald Trump calling Oprah Winfrey insecure is like 'Batman v Superman' calling 'Black Panther' a flop."

MOOS: Insecure wasn't always the word Donald Trump used to describe Oprah.

TRUMP: She is popular, she's brilliant. She's a wonderful woman.

MOOS: The kind of woman you might choose for your vice president?

TRUMP: I love Oprah. Oprah would always be my first choice.

I threw out the name of a friend of mine, who I think the world of. She's great.

Oprah. If she'd do it, she'd be fantastic.

MOOS (voice-over): But "I adore" has been replaced by "insecure."

As for President Oprah, despite the buzz...

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: I, for one, would love to hear that the State of the Union is "Strong."

MOOS (voice-over): -- despite comments, "Great. That's what we need in 2020, a third president who hasn't ran anything but her mouth," Oprah's actual mouth says she's not running.

WINFREY: It's just not in my spirit, it's not my DNA.

MOOS (voice-over): Still, President Trump is thumbing his nose at Oprah and their chummy past.

WINFREY: There's a vibe, there is an -- there's an indescribable "it factor."

TRUMP: I am sitting next to "it." There is nobody ever.

MOOS (voice-over): Now "it" has turned to "ick" -- Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


SESAY: How things change, yes?

VAUSE: Aww. I think it's a little game for these people often. Yes. Anyway.

SESAY: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Stay tuned for "WORLD SPORT," live from PyeongChang. You're watching CNN.