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The Students Of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action; President Trump Turns Down Invitation To Town Hall, Holds White House Listening Sessions; President Trump Suggest Arming Teachers As A Solution To Increase School Safety; White House Says Russia Warned Not To Interfere In 2018 Elections; Trump Calls Out Sessions Presses Him TO Investigate Dems; Trump's Chief Of Staff And Son In Law Battling Over Security Clearance. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired February 21, 2018 - 23:00   ET




[23:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You may have brought the dark but together we will shine the light and we will be something special oh, we will shine.



DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: What an incredibly powerful night. This this is a conversation that could actually change things in this country and we're going to continue it right now right here on CNN tonight. Welcome to CNN tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining us. You heard the students of Stoneman Douglas high school right there. Teenagers fearlessly speaking out just one week after the deadly rampage in their school. Politician from both sides of the aisle coming face to face with those students and hearing their demands for action and listening to those kids. It feels like maybe finally something will be done this time. Because those students and the parents of those who died told us all of us tonight, loud and clear, that they won't be ignored. They won't let us forget the classmates, teachers and won't let us get away with playing politics and doing nothing to stop the next deadly rampage. Let's get back to the arena. Katie Hartung outside the Town Hall for us, Katie good evening to you Kaylee Hartung, tell me what's happening. What did you witness there tonight?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, I don't think anybody doubted that this would be an emotional evening. And you felt that in the arena, whether it was the sadness and grief those mourning were feeling, or the zeal and passion as we've heard from the students and survivors of Stoneman Douglas all week long. There too was anger and outrage. You felt the emotions by way of the standing ovations and applause at times or maybe the tears and the boo's. On a night when the President nor the Florida Republican governor would come to answer the questions of this community, a Republican Senator Marco Rubio did. And he absorbed a lot of the anger from this crowd early in the evening. Fred Guttenberg, a man whose daughter Jamie was killed one week ago, he zeroed in on Rubio's opposition to the assault weapons ban.


MARCO RUBIO, SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: I think what you are asking about is the assault weapons ban.


RUBIO: So let me be honest with you about that one. If you believed that that law would have prevented this from happening. I would support it. But I want to explain to you why it would not.

GUTTENBERG: Senator Rubio, my daughter running down the hallway at Marjory Stoneman Douglas was shot in the back.

RUBIO: Yes, sir.

GUTTENBERG: With an assault weapon, the weapon of choice.

RUBIO: Yes, sir.

GUTTENBERG: It is too easy to get. It's a weapon of war. The fact that you can't stand with everybody in this building and say that, I'm sorry.


LEMON: After that exchange, Fred Guttenberg walked down the aisle. He received hugs and handshakes from anyone who could get near him, Don. I should also mention in the exchange Marco Rubio said he would support legislation that would ban the sale of rifles to 18-year-olds. There was also applause for Rubio when he said this can't end here. If what we've seen from the students of Stoneman Douglas is any indication, this conversation, this demand for change will continue.

LEMON: Kayleigh Hartung, thank you very much I appreciate it. I want you to listen to this, very powerful moment from our Town Hall. Ryan student from Stoneman Douglas who I spoke with last night, he had some pointed questions for the Senator Marco Rubio.


ROBERT DEITZ, SENIOR COUNSEL AT THE DIRECTOR OF THE CIA: Now, I'd like to say, Senator, these drills, code reds, active shooters, they have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was in fifth grade I had to hide in a bathroom for three hours and just waiting with my teacher. And nearly 20 other kids to see that -- just because the shooter has come to our town, not even in the school itself. Now 7 years later I'm in a closet with 19 other kids, waiting, fearing for my own life. I'd like to ask you that after me, and several others have been going out of their way going to the state capitol, speaking out, we'd like to know, why do we have to be the ones to do this? Why do we have to speak out to the capitol? Why do we have to March on Washington just to save innocent lives?



[23:05:00] RUBIO: I agree. You're right. You're absolutely right.


LEMON: I want to bring in now another student at Stoneman Douglas. Alfonso Calderon, Alfonso thank you so much for joining us. Listen you were there on the stage tonight. Emotions run high, you heard from Senators on both sides of the aisle. But I do have to say as I watched this a lot of people didn't agree with what -- much of what Marco Rubio was saying. But at least he had the courage to show up and do his job and answer questions from his constituents.

ALFONSO CALDERON, FLORIDA SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I want to say two things about Marco Rubio tonight. One I'm thankful honestly that he dared to show up. I was at the capitol earlier today and a lot of representatives from his Party did not give me the time of day. Second of all, I am actually very excited about what is to come. Because Marco Rubio talked about change. It is the first time I personally have ever heard him talk about changing the age from 18 to 21, from, you know, even talking about the assault weapons ban. That is fantastic. People need to remember that this is going to happen in small steps if it is going to happen at all. And if we want the momentum to keep going we need to keep going with the small steps. I am again very thankful for Marco Rubio and hopefully will be able to talk to him again soon.

LEMON: What do you say Alfonso to -- I was watching Marco Rubio is getting beat up but he showed up. This happens when lawmakers go back to their hometowns and many times we don't see the Town Halls or q and a's. We did during the Obamacare debate. But what do you say to lawmakers who didn't show up? Are they afraid to answer questions about the stance on guns and the NRA on how we fix this?

CALDERON: I don't think they're afraid. I think they're not prepared. I don't think they'll ever be prepared for something as strong as me and my colleagues, friends, families in this community. They aren't prepared for what's coming. They can hide as long as they want. But they have to understand that the public has had enough. The kids have had enough. The teachers, the families, everybody, even Marco Rubio is talking about change. And although they aren't prepared right now they better get prepared because change is coming.

LEMON: OK. The NRA was at the Town Hall tonight. How do you feel about Dana Loesch what she had to say? How she responded. At least she showed up.

CALDERON: Sincerely, I feel like she is -- she isn't living in reality. How dare her. The mother the Scott Biegel, one of my teachers at the school was talking about when the amendment was ratified. And she went off on a tangent about how there were more than musket at the time. That is so irrelevant. We don't care about that at all. What we care about is seeing change and seeing it now. And I know that is what Scott's Biegel's mother wants to see as well. She again tiptoed around questions and dodged the yes and nos. That is indicative to me as to what I think the NRA is going to do for this movement and for the people of Parkland who honestly I think are fed up.

LEMON: So, let's talk a little bit more about the NRA, because there was a question asked to Marco Rubio. Someone asked directly will you say that you are not going to take money from the NRA? He would not make that promise or that pledge. Do you think the NRA is prepared -- apparently you don't think Dana Loesch was if she is not living in reality -- are they prepared to go up against you or answer questions as you said the lawmakers who at any time show up were prepared.

CALDERON: I think that they are prepared and probably going to put up a good fight. But they need to understand, the NRA can only do so much. We are the people of America. We the people are the ones who change this country. We the people are the ones this country is made for and run for. We the people elect who they pay to stay in office. They need to remember that. Because they can fight now. They'll fight for years. But change will come.

LEMON: Were you able to listen to the listening session at the White House today Alfonso?

CALDERON: No I haven't been able to.

LEMON: You haven't able to.

CALDERON: I've been busy in the capitol and coming here.

LEMON: I won't ask you question about because you didn't see it so it's irrelevant. You went to Tallahassee, the lobby for changes talk about where you are now and what you are doing. The Florida state house voted down a motion to consider ban on assault rifles. With that experience and what you heard tonight, do you think the students of Stoneman Douglas are being taken seriously by policy makers?

[23:10:00] CALDERON: Honestly, no. Because when I went there today, all they wanted to do was start a conversation. I wanted to speak to every single representative that was a Democrat or Republican or even had any power what so far on gun laws in this state. And for two hours the group of students that I had was thrown around the capitol building without speaking to a single representative. We were put off several times. And the one time I had a chance to speak to the senate leader, I asked them one straightforward question. I said you keep talking about looking into policy changes. But will you actually act on anything? Yes or no? Sadly, he did not respond to the question. And again, tiptoed. Which is just what I expected.

LEMON: Alfonso I just want to ask you so I talked about the listening session. Since you didn't -- you weren't able to listen to it, because you were busy there -- and I understand -- let me just tell you something that the President said. He talked about the possibility of arming some teachers. I'm sure you heard about that at the Town Hall. Do you feel that idea would that make you feel safer? CALDERON: That is a terrible idea. I don't know if Donald Trump has

ever been to a public high school. But as far as I'm aware, teachers are meant to be educators. They are meant to teach young minds how to work in the real world. They are not meant to know how to carry ar- 15s. Not meant to know how to put on Kevlar for the students or for themselves. This is not what we stand for. We stand for small policy changes, and maybe possibly big ones in the future. Because right now I'm pretty sick of having to talk with teachers being armed. Because that is not even a possibility in my mind. I would never want to see my teachers have to do that and neither do they want to do that.

LEMON: You have spoken so poignantly. You get politics. You get money is involved. You get you must hold feet to the fire. What is next for this movement, Alfonso?

CALDERON: Not only on March 24th will I personally with my colleagues who you saw on stage today March down to Washington and demand and plead and ask for change, but I think pretty soon maybe possibly next week we'll be at Washington as well with representative Deitsch because change needs to happen as soon as possible. Thank you.

LEMON: Alfonso Calderon, thank you so much. I appreciate your time.

President Trump turn around down an invitation to be part of the CNN Town Hall and held a listening session at the White House today with students and parents who faced the horror of school shootings since Stoneman Douglas from Sandy Hook to Columbine. Joining me now is my colleague our Senior White House correspondent Pamela Brown. Pamela, good evening to you. That Town Hall was so powerful tonight.


LEMON: And I hope so many people got a chance to watch this and witness those students. It was great to see them speaking, you know, with their lawmakers and holding a conversation, holding feet to the fire. But I want to talk to me about the emotional and honest listening session held at the White House earlier today. The President was face-to-face with the survivors and the families from Stoneman Douglas and other mass shootings.

BROWN: That is right, Don. In fact a lot of the emotion that you saw there at the Town Hall you saw also today in the White House during the listening session when the President was face-to-face with some of the survivors of past school shootings, and parents of survivors. And there really was a lot of emotion. And during this, Don, a photographer snapped a picture of a note card that the President was holding with visible points, including prompts such as what would you most want me to know about your experience? What can we do to help you feel safe? And I hear you. We should note the President was briefed before the listening session but he did not have a teleprompter there. And he did go off script from what was written there on that White House post card that we can see. Telling the people in that room that he stands with them, he is going to fight with them, and that he is grieving with them. But it was the parent of a student who was killed recently in Parkland, Florida, Andy Pollack -- his daughter was killed -- is that struck a chord with the President and others in the room. Here is what he had to say.


ANDY POLLACK, DAUGHTER KILLED IN STONEMAN DOUGLAS SHOOTING: I'm very angry that this happened because it keeps happening. 9/11 happened once and they fixed everything. How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here with this administration and me. I'm not going -- I'm not going to sleep until it's fixed. And, Mr. President, we're going to fix it. All this school shootings. It doesn't make sense. Fix it. It should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it. And I'm pissed, because my daughter I'm not going to see again. She is not here. She is not here.


[23:15:13] BROWN: So as you can see understandably that father -- he was trying to speak directly to the President calling for action. The President seemed open to the ideas in that room as he was there with the education secretary, as well as the Vice President I should say. But one idea he seemed particularly open to was arming teachers and other adults working at schools with concealed carry weapons. That could be a controversial response to the school shooting. You heard a student on your air there at the Town Hall, also outspoken about it not in favor of it. A lot of mixed reaction to that idea.

LEMON: This student just said it was a terrible idea. Marco Rubio by the way, saying he was against that idea as well. Pamela, thank you so much. I appreciate it. I want to bring in Darryl Scott. His daughter Rachel was killed in Columbine and he spoke to the President at the listening session today. Thank you for joining us this evening on CNN. I know it's been a long day for you.


LEMON: It was so emotional today. I mean for a lot of it for the listening session, for the Town Hall, you started this very painful journey back in 1999 when your daughter was killed at Columbine. Do you think today could be a turning point? Are you optimistic there will be some change? ?

SCOTT: I told my wife several days ago before this meeting that I -- it just feels like something is different about this school shooting than any of the others. And I am optimistic there will be some changes. A lot of focus is on the gun control issue. Our focus over the last 19 years has been on the climate and culture of the school and we have a program called Rachel's challenge that has reached over 28 million students and teachers in schools in the last 19 years. We have a team of 50 presenters and trainers that go into schools. We have seen 7 school shootings prevented within we see an average about 3 suicides prevented every single week. So we do know that there is a multitude of answer that is need to be looked at, not just one.

And our focus has been more on culture and climate changes. And we have seen a lot of progress with that. As far as we know there hasn't been a school shooting in any of the 20,000 schools that we have been a part of. And we hope there never will be. And we want to get the message out more and more that if we can learn to connect with one another, and we create -- we create service clubs in the school that reach out to the kids that are loners, kids that are potentially the ones that could be a school shooter. We have seen seven of those young people turn in guns and prevent the school shooting from happening.

LEMON: If there was one criticism that I heard that we have been hearing a lot of about the listening session at the White House today is that there wasn't much talk about the actual mechanism used in this shootings and that is the gun. There was one young man who said I can't believe that I can go out and buy a military style -- a military grade weapon. There wasn't much talk about this at the White House today. Why is that?

SCOTT: Well, I thought there was a number of people who talked about the weapons and the guns. So I don't know -- I don't know how to respond to that. I know that it at Columbine, the weapon of choice was not guns. Eric and Dylan chose propane tanks.

LEMON: Back packs.

SCOTT: If those propane tanks has exploded as they intended to there would have been over 500 students killed. So I -- I am for anything that is going to prevent violence. So our focus is simply on a different part of that. And that is the mental health issues. Students that are isolated. We talk a lot about mental health issues. But I really believe beneath that is the isolation solution. Because there is a lot of mentally ill people who are not prone to violence.

LEMON: Yes, most mentally people are not prone to violence. Violence is usually cast upon them. People are violent towards them, yeah.

SCOTT: Correct.

LEMON: Go on.

SCOTT: So our whole focus has been -- and it's just one part of the answer. It's not the whole answer -- is to connect students with -- with themselves with each other, with their -- with their parents and with their teachers. And so we have a series of program that is actually does that. It's not just a matter of teaching them. But we do a lot of exercises in which students eye to eye, knee to knee, hand to hand in small groups discuss who they are with other students and open up to each other. And we see a lot of amazing things happen because of that.

[23:20:10] LEMON: Darryl Scott we thank you for efforts. We appreciate you coming on CNN. Thank you so much.

SCOTT: Thank you.

LEMON: When we come back, the President who last year promised the NRA will never let you down get behind significant changes to gun laws?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: So we're back and we heard lots of conversations and

confrontation and at our Town Hall, a powerful Town Hall. Students face-to-face with politicians, demanding action to stop the next mass shooting. Does President Trump have a unique opportunity to actually do something in the wake of Stoneman Douglas? Let's discuss with CNN Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley and CNN political analyst Ryan Lizza. Ryan, interesting moments that came out this Town Hall. Senator Marco Rubio took some very tough questions, including Stoneman Douglas student Cameron Kasky. Watch this.


CAMERON KASKY, JUNIOR WHO SURVIVE SCHOOL SHOOTING: We can't boo people because they are Democrats and boo people because they are Republicans. Anyone who is willing to show change no matter where they are from. Anybody starting to make a difference is somebody we he need on our side here. This is about people who are for making a difference to save us and people who are against it and prefer money. Senator Rubio, can you tell me right now that will you not accept a single donation from the NRA in the future?



[23:25:00] RUBIO: The positions I hold on these issues on the second amendment I've held since the day I entered office in the City of West Miami as an elected official. Number two, the answer to the question is that people buy into my agenda.


LEMON: What with do you make of the moment, Ryan?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First of all, these kid are amazing, to have the poise and the courage and to be as articulate and well spoken, to stand up there and face the United States Senator in the wake of being involved with the tragedy that they were involved, my breath was taken away in that moment, whether you agree with them on policy or not. I don't know about you, Don, but certainly it wasn't like that when I was in high school and couldn't have pulled that off. And, you know, it's also a reminder to all of us covering politics that asking basic questions of politicians is incredibly important.

And, you know, I give Rubio a lot of credit for coming to this event, because he probably knew what it was going to be like. And he knew this energy and passion around this issue and most of the people there were not going to agree with him. But I have to take exception to his argument that the money follows the politician. My experience in covering politics is that is just not true, that politicians bend towards these massive donations, not the other way around.

And I understand what he was trying to argue, that the NRA fund his campaigns, because he happens to agree with them on all the issues. But let's be honest, Don, that is not the way it works. These guys bend to the NRA and other interest groups, because they are spending millions of dollars on their campaigns.

LEMON: Especially he was in a tough position, as we put up, the NRA spent $3.28 million to support Rubio in the last three years. Douglas Brinkley I want to bring you in. Because Senator Marco Rubio said he will change raising the age at which can you buy a rifle. He is open to banning bump stocks and changed his position on a couple of -- it appears, a couple of gun issues. It wasn't an easy conversation. Let's play a little bit of another one. And then we'll discuss.


DANA LOESCH, THE BLAZE ON TV AND AUTHOR OF "HANDS OFF MY GUN: He was able to pass a background check because we have a system that is flawed. The Sutherland Springs murderer was able to pass the background check, because the air force did not report that record.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to remind that you the question is actually do you believe it should be harder to obtain these semiautomatic weapons and modifications to make it completely automatic such as bump stocks.

LOESCH: I think the ITF is deciding about bump stocks right now. The President ordered the Department of Justice to look into it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm asking your opinion as a representative of the NRA.

LOESCH: That is what the NRA position has been.


LOESCH: I'm talking for them these are the 5 million members that I'm here representing.


LEMON: What did you can make of the extraordinary moments standing up to Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch of the NRA?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Unbelievable courage from the students and parents. Speaking truth to power. It was heart rendering to think what the parents have had to go through and now taking this lead. I can't believe Governor Rick Scott was a no-show. The governor of Florida turning his back on a state at a time like this, afraid of his own constituents. You have to go to the Town Hall and take the heat like Marco Rubio did. But I do think the good news of the night was Rubio and Nelson talking about changing the law from 18 to 21 and the bump stocks. But that is incremental.

LEMON: That is -- let's go there. Here is the criticism. That is Marco Rubio as job to listen to, those are his constituents. That is his job. He should show up. The governor should have showed pup did -- shown up for this and any representative regardless of the side of the aisle should have showed up for this, right. So he said he is going to change -- at least three -- about the age at which we can buy rifles or guns, teachers should not be armed. He went against the President. He says I don't agree with that. And also the size and capacity of magazines or clips for -- in some cases.

BRIGGS: You know Rubio sometimes is with people like Corker and Flake. He is not the main GOP power structure. The looser tonight was the NRA. You had a mourning community booing and hissing the National Rifle Association. Also Senator Nelson pointing out that these weapons of mass destruction are built now in Florida. The students did an amazing job and the politicians showing up should be thanked for being there.

LEMON: Ryan, the President expressed interest in concealed carry for teachers. Take a look.


TRUMP: If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy -- that coach was very brave. Saved a lot of lives, I suspect. But if he had a firearm he wouldn't have had to run he would have shot that would have been the end of it. This would be only obviously for people adept at handling a gun. And it would be -- it's called concealed carry, where a teacher has a concealed gun on them. They'd go for special training. And they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone.


LEMON: Not a lot of support at the Town Hall for that, Ryan. I want to look this tweet from candidate Trump back in 2016, crooked Hillary said I want guns brought into the school classroom. Wrong. That tweeting was false at the time. He talked about eliminating gun-free zones at schools and the day after that tweet he told Fox News that trained teachers should be able to carry guns. What do you think about what we are hearing here? What is the disconnect?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well he is -- President Trump is inconsistent on most issues. And you go back through the record on almost any issue.

LEMON: He even supported the assault weapons ban at one point and new telling the NRA he won't let them down.

LIZZA: He did. Absolutely right and so where he is on any given day -- yesterday he put out essentially a press release supporting a ban on bump stocks and he talked about toughening background checks. Today he is sort of more parroting the more extreme gun rights position that everyone should be armed. And that would prevent the tragedies. And specifically teachers. So he is not very consistent on most issues. And he has been all over the place in the wake of this tragedy. And I don't think you can, you know, pick out a statement that he made and assume that that is where, you know, the direction that the issue is going.

What we have learned about Trump is that leadership in congress and where the sort of center of gravity is among Republicans on Capitol Hill that is where legislation tends to go. So frankly you can ignore a lot of what he says on a day to day basis about policy. Because at the end of the day he defers to Republicans in congress when it comes to major political issues. And I think that is what you need to watch. And it's why it was frankly someone interesting that Rubio expressed a little bit of flexibility on some of these issues, like magazine capacity, and the age that you should be required to have, to buy.

LEMON: A rifle. A gun or rifle, yes.

LIZZA: You know, because there is this strange disconnect in the law where a handguns are 21 years old but a lot of rifles are 18 because the argument is they're for hunting.

LEMON: I want -- I want to get -- I'll give you last word Douglas. What did you think of the listening session at the White House today?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I was impressed that President Trump held it. I thought some of the students and the parents did a remarkable job. I thought Donald Trump sounded like Archie Bunker. There used to be an episode when they were trying to stop high jacking. And bunker says let's handguns out to everybody that will stop the high jackers. He was trying to show empathy. It was written down on the note card to show empathy. But I don't think in the end the fact that he wasn't in Florida on Governor Rick Scott were there, that they were trying to get around this, letting the media cycle go past them. This is a movement. March 24th there is going to be a massive March on Washington.

LEMON: Thank you Douglas and Ryan. I appreciate the perspectives. When we come back the White House saying, they've taken direct action to prevent Russia from interfering in the coming midterm elections. That contradicts the word of four of President Trump intel chiefs who recently testified they have gotten no plans from him regarding Russia. Who is telling the truth?


[23:36:33] LEMON: We have breaking news tonight, the White House condemning Russia for its involvement in recent attacks by the Syrian regime on rebel held areas. Let's get more details now from CNN political correspondent Sara Murray. Sara, good evening to you. Tonight, the White House called out Russia in a statement condemning the recent attacks in Syria. What are they saying?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: We know this is an administration that sometimes is hesitant to criticize Russia over pretty much anything. But when it comes to this statement they were pretty forceful. They say Russia needs to live up to obligations when it comes to de-escalation zones and also that they need to stop taking part in any attacks, atrocities against the Syrian people. It's a tough rebuke of Russia's activities in Syria.

LEMON: So there is news tonight with the administration saying it warned the Russian ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. What more can you tell us?

MURRAY: That is right. So senior administration officials are trying to get in front of this narrative about how the administration is dealing with Russian meddling. They say they have taken direct action to try to thwart Russia's efforts. There have been warnings about this to senior Russian officials as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin. But it's not clear exactly what the direct actions are. We obviously know there have been no sanctions lobbied against Russia under this administration for their meddling in the 2016 election. And yet the administration seems to be trying to project in confidence that they are taking the steps necessary to protect the election in 2018.

LEMON: Yes. Sarah former campaign adviser Sam Nurnberg will be the interviewed by the special counsel tomorrow, remind us of the role number on his campaign.

MURRAY: It's easy to forget Don, because this is not a character who is on the scene recently. He was a very early campaign adviser. He was fired in August 2016. It's a little unclear what exactly Robert Mueller would want to talk to him about. Potentially some of the early stages of laying the ground work for the campaign. Potentially the comments from Sam Nurnberg, fire and fury that Michael Wolff book. We don't have a great sense of that right now, because certainly one of the earlier folks in Trump inner circle to be called in.

LEMON: Sarah Murray thank you very much. Appreciate that. When we come back President Trump attacking his own Attorney General again, and pressing him to investigate the Obama administration and Democrats. We're going to ask a Democratic member of the judiciary committee what he thinks about all this.


[23:42:44] LEMON: There is so much news happening tonight. I want to talk about with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrats who is a member of the judiciary committee. Congressman thank you for joining us. I want to play this sound this is from Senator Marco Rubio tonight at our Town Hall and get your reaction. Let's listen to this.


MARCO RUBIO, SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: I have told you I support lifting the age from 18 to 21 of buying a rifle. I understand before I walked out here is that that organization is not in favor of that, but I think it's the right thing to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Am I supposed to get extra training now to serve and protect on top of educate these children.

RUBIO: I don't support that. And I would admit to you right now I answer that as much as a father as I do as a Senator. And this is really about the safety of the teacher as much as anything else. Imagine in the middle of the crisis a SWAT Team comes in the building and there is an adult with a weapon in their hands. The SWAT Team doesn't know who is who and we have the additional tragedy that was unnecessary.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: So representative -- if Marco Rubio is changing his stance and

position on this do you think there is a possibility that others on the Republican side are changing theirs as well.

HAKEEM JEFFRIES, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well it remains to be seen. He should be credited with the fact that he showed up, unlike President Trump and Governor Scott. And went into the lion's den, answered questions and at least talked about some modest steps in the right direction.

LEMON: Ok, so the feedback on that is that the -- the pushback on that is that is his job. Absolutely it's his job. At the end of the day he needs to come back to Washington, work with Democrat next week and try to enact meaningful gun violence prevention measures. The American people broadly support reasonable things that can be done to keep them safe. Like comprehensive universal background checks. We have a gun show and internet loop hole that basically allows 40 percent of the guns in this country to be purchased without a background check being conducted. That is shameful. Over 90 percent of the American people say that should be changed. Why can't congress act to resolve that issue? And many others? The fact that you can have individuals who are on the no-fly list, because they are suspected terrorists, but nonetheless can walk into a gun store and in Florida and purchase a weapon of war and many other are the parts of the country is shameful. This are things and hopefully Marco Rubio and others will lead on when we get back to Washington.

[23:45:05] LEMON: Can you guys, back in the control, can you find the sound bite of the President today talking about the coach with the gun and about the gun free zones. I am wondering my last guest Douglas Brinkley said he thought it was sort of Archie Bunker at a moment. Let us listen, here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this

guy that coach was very brave. Saved a lot of lives I suspect. But if he had a firearm, he wouldn't had to run he would have shot and that would have been the end of it. And this would only be obviously for people that are very adept at handling a gun. And it would be -- it's called concealed carry where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They'd go for special training. And they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone.


LEMON: What do you think of that?

JEFFRIES: Well, Donald Trump is kind of like Archie Bunker without the charm. He is a simple man it's a simple solution that makes no sense. And what's frightening is he is the President of the United States of America. I believe in the Parkland school there was an armed law enforcement officer who was on the campus. But because of the nature of the dramatic school shootings, the fact that an AR-15 was used, the fact that multiple rounds were discharged in just a few minutes, gunning down I believe 17 people, 14 students, three teachers, it's shameful. What we need is really comprehensive measures that are put into place to prevent people who want to engage in this type of mass shooting from even being able to get this weapon of war in the first place.

LEMON: There are -- there are a number of things. I want to get to the Russia investigation. But I just want to -- everyone is asking, why is this different? I think this is different because number one it went on for so long. The kids were two hours not knowing if they would live or die in very close quarters, some on this closets, some on their classroom. They have a chance to talk about it, they've seen the #metoo movement and the black lives matter. As we said in the commercial break there is also this whole resistance energy that is going on. Is that what's different? Are they just fed up and saying no more.

JEFFRIES: Don, I think those are all important factors. I think these are young people who are teenagers unlike in the prior instance of the school shooting that took place in 2012 where they were elementary school students. These are people of age who are engage in civic activism. We also have seen the explosion of social media where young people can communicate to others and can mobilize without having to have substantial resources in order to energize people. And just the authenticity of the story, the passion, the powerfulness of their words, because of this very traumatic experience. It will hopefully translate into this time being different. As a member of congress I've been through mass shooting after mass shooting over the last three terms. And the time for thoughts and prayers and moments of silence on the floor of the House of Representatives without action should be over.

LEMON: Yes. Let's talk about the Russia investigation. The administration says that the U.S. has warned Russia not to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections. And has taken direct action. Are you aware of any warning?

JEFFRIES: Not aware of any warning, not aware of any direct action. And basically we have seen nothing from the administration over the last year plus. You know, the 20th century was about a massive struggle between capitalism and communism between the United States and the Soviet Union. Thankfully the United States won that epic struggle. The 21st century is about a struggle between democracy on the one hand and authoritarianism between the United States and Russia and Vladimir Putin. And unfortunately we have seen a President over the last year who seems to be siding with Vladimir Putin, with Russia, and his authoritarian tendencies coming out 1600 Pennsylvania.

LEMON: He said he refused to implement the sanctions approved by congress is a warning likely to be heeded by the Kremlin. I don't know if the Kremlin will heed the warning if he did impose which is kind of odd.

JEFFRIES: It's important for the President to finally decide to move forward and implement sanctions that were passed on a bipartisan basis. But perhaps the start is to criticize Vladimir Putin. He can criticize Britain and France, and Australia, Canada, Mexico and NATO, those are our allies. He can't say a negative word about Vladimir Putin. LEMON: He can also criticize the former administration saying he has

done more than the former administration which is a false statement. Thank you.

JEFFRIES: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: I appreciate it, when we come back some mystery surrounding a new criminal charge against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his onetime deputy Rick Gates. Our legal and security experts will weigh in on where Mueller's investigation is heading next.


[23:53:24] LEMON: New charges have been filed in the special counsel case against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates. Here to discuss it, CNN contributor John Dean, a former counsel for the Nixon White House. And CNN legal national security analyst Asha Rangappa a former FBI special agent. Good evening to both of you. John the case against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates had a new charge, or possibly multiple charges added to it today. The new charging document was sealed, so we don't know exactly what was added to the case, but what are some of the possibilities?

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, it could be anything from an information, where Gates has pleaded. It could be a superseding indictment where additional people are added. We have no idea at this point. I think it may be the Gates situation coming to a head.

LEMON: Also Rick Gates has been seen in the federal court house today and he is been reportedly negotiating a plea deal for over a month. What do you think is going on?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Don if he is negotiating a plea deal, then it comes back to Mueller having a key interest in Manafort, Rick Gates would presumably have a lot of information about Manafort and Paul Manafort, the idea night be to put more pressure on Manafort to finally give up information, but the big picture here Don is Mueller is not done. We can't take any of the charges that have been filed to date, the indictment last Friday as being the end of the story. He is continuing to dig and I think he will leave no stone unturned. And this will continue.

[23:55:03] LEMON: How do you think Mueller might try capitalize on anything he gets from Rick Gates, John?

DEAN: Well, I think he could use it as leverage on sealing up the case against Manafort. He knows he is up against a sore loser and he will spend a lot of time in jail. The outstanding indictment has like 70 years connected to it with the 12 counts. So here's a man in his 70s. If he wants to go to trial, he might go to trial. If he wants some time free he might want to talk.

LEMON: The showdown between the chief of staff John Kelly and Jared Kushner over security clearances has been heating up in recent days. How do you think this will play out? Can Kushner lose his portfolio or will Kelly be shown the door? What do you think, John first?

DEAN: Well, the chief of staff's power comes right from the President. On this issue particularly. He can only do what the President wants him to do and I don't think the President wants Jared to lose his security clearance, so I think that is how it will end up. How they do it publicly, I don't know. But privately, I think that Kelly certainly knows that is the case.

LEMON: Asha without a permit and security clearance, should Jared Kushner be looking at the type of documents or information that he is been privy to?

RANGAPPA: He really shouldn't, the two biggest reasons for security clearances being delayed are financial issues and foreign influence. Right now we know from the revisions that he and his wife have made to their sf-86, their security clearance forms involved increasing amounts of debt and increased numbers of contacts, foreign contacts that they hadn't disclosed. So he has no need to know based on his portfolio, to be looking at the full range of classified information that is in the President's daily briefing and other reports that the President receives.

LEMON: Asha, John thank you so much. I appreciate it. When we come back, students from Stoneman Douglas high school demanding change tonight at CNN's Town Hall. Senator Marco Rubio, breaking news on his stance on guns. We'll bring you the details, next.