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Russia Warned Not to Interfere; McMaster Could Leave White House; Gun Control Debate; Surveillance Cameras at School Shooting; Father of Teen Confronts Rubio; Shooting Survivors Meet with Trump. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired February 22, 2018 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:30:00] REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Toward Russia. And I see it. And I hope the president continues.
I was never of the belief that we could work with Putin and I was extremely critical of Barack Obama when he told Medvedev that, you know, Putin would get a better deal on him after the election, when Hillary gave the reset button.
I think one of the worst foreign policy mistakes in decades is when President Obama basically invited the Russians into Syria back in 2013. So there's a lot of blame, you know, to go around. And I think President Trump was wrong during the campaign. I think he was well- intentioned but misguided to think that somehow we could deal with Putin. He is KGB. You -- will always be KGB.
But I can tell you, from talking to people in the intelligence community, in the military community, there's no doubt in my mind that we have a much tougher attitude toward Russia. I'm going to try to compare it with Obama. We can go back and forth who's to blame and who did more. But I believe right now that there have been wake-up calls to the administration that Putin is not the changed person they thought he was. That he is what he was. And we're seeing it in Syria where they're using these Russian irregular troops fighting and they attacked a military unit knowing Americans were there. I'm glad the Americans went back and killed hundreds of them.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So just one more beat on this. You say you do know the word has been passed on. What happened? Who told Russia or Vladimir Putin not to mess in the election?
KING: Oh, I'm not going to get into who's behind it. All I know is that there's no -- I believe strongly and I think you will see how it plays out that the --
CUOMO: It just helps the credibility of the -- just to help the credibility. That's why I'm asking.
KING: I can tell you people I've spoken to, high ranking in the intelligence community, who are extremely -- who realize it's important to be strong against Russia. I'll just leave it at that. People who are very high up realize that we have to take strong action, defensive and also do, you know, whatever else we have to do.
CUOMO: No, I hear you. I'm not questioning the intelligence community.
KING: Well, I'm not suggesting (INAUDIBLE) -- I'm not getting into that. I'm just saying --
CUOMO: I'm not -- I'm not even --
KING: What's what now?
CUOMO: I'm not suggesting that the intelligence community doesn't think that. I'm suggesting that the White House has been saying the exact opposite, right? We have a president who keeps calling interference a hoax.
KING: No, I'm saying these are people -- right.
CUOMO: So I'm saying, I'm surprised to hear that the White House --
CUOMO: Or the president delivered this message. I'm not saying that the intelligence community wouldn't. They have a different agenda.
KING: Well, I'm just saying, these are -- these are people -- these are people who deal directly with the president.
H.R. McMaster. The --
KING: Yes, I can't go any further than that, Chris, understand -- listen, I --
CUOMO: I hear you.
KING: Again, I've been critical of the president and his policies toward Russia. So I'm not trying to defend that. I think there's been a change of thinking and I'm reasonably confidence now that it's going to be followed through on.
CUOMO: Peter King, you've always been a straight shooter with me. If that's what you say, I'm taking you at your word. The audience can judge it.
H.R. McMaster, there's a rumor that he's going to be moved out. Have you heard anything about that?
KING: I've just heard the rumors. I have great regard for General McMaster. I think he's a tough-minded guy. I know I read his book on Vietnam. He's a person who I think can really cut through a lot of B.S. I like General McMaster. What happens where he goes? I've heard the same rumors you've heard, but I've heard them for the last six months. There's always rumors coming out. So I would hope he stays where he is.
CUOMO: So you think it would be a mistake to move him?
KING: Well, I'm not the president, but I'm just saying I -- you know, from my vantage point, I think he's doing a very good job.
CUOMO: All right, now let's go to the instant matter at hand. Do you think there's a chance that anything will be done to help stop these school shootings?
KING: Chris, if you had asked me a week ago, I would have said no. And just so you know, make it clear, I favor ban on assault weapons. I believe in background checks. I've sponsored the bill to say if you're on the terrorist watch list, you should be allowed to buy a gun. So I'm on that side.
Merely having been through so many of these from Sandy Hook and Aurora and we can go -- God, there's so many of them, and there's never been any action. So I -- what I've seen in the last week, I think there is a real chance that something can be done. Whether it will be enough or not, I don't know. But if we can at least, as a -- watching the town hall meeting last night -- we can start moving this dialogue and get going and people not be locked into their positions. I don't expect everything that I support to be enacted. I would like it to be.
Listen, Chris, you know, you and I grew up in New York. The only people I knew who had guns were cops and bad guys. So we come from a different culture. You talk to people from out west, the smaller states, they have more of an affinity towards guns. But they have to realize that those guns can come into New York and New Jersey and kill people as well. And, to me, there's no reason why people should have assaulted weapons. I don't believe that there should be any objection to having background checks for gun shows. I don't believe -- think there should be an objection over say if you're on a terrorist watch list, you shouldn't be able to buy a gun. Those, to me, are common sense.
Now, if there's modifications within there, then, fine, let's get that debate going. Let's realize that something has to be done and not just happy talk.
CUOMO: Haven't heard anything from Ryan or McConnell. Your party's in control. If it's going to happen in Congress, they have to motivate it.
[08:35:00] KING: Yes, listen, I've been an outlier in my party on this for a number of years. So -- but I would hope that, again, the speaker and the majority leader would realize that we can't just operate within our own echo chambers. And there are reasonable people, not just people who are anti-gun, not just people who, you know, want everyone to have AR-15s, but there's a reasonable middle of people who say, yes, people who are entitled to have their weapons under the Second Amendment, but there can be reasonable restrictions on them, that we don't want people with criminal backgrounds or mental illness to have guns. We don't believe that there's right now a reason for people to have AR-15s. I mean this is -- to me you can have almost unlimited guns, you can have access to guns, you can be able to use them, so long as it's done by people who don't -- are not criminals, people who don't have mental illness, and there's no need for the high-powered weapons. And, again, what's good in North Dakota is not good in New York and
vice versa. I realize that. (INAUDIBLE) Washington you realize there's different gun cultures. Not like you and I grew up in, Chris.
KING: The fact is that they have to realize -- a concealed carry. Just because a person can get a permit in another state, which is a rural (INAUDIBLE) type state, doesn't mean they should be able to bring that gun into New York City.
CUOMO: Well, that's what your party's pushing right now with the reciprocity rule for concealed carry. Let's see what happens.
Congressman Peter King --
KING: And I voted against that.
CUOMO: Understood. Republican from New York. Appreciate the candor. Appreciate your appearance on NEW DAY as always, sir.
KING: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: All right, Alisyn, you know, left, right and reasonable used to be a joke. But now it's our reality.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, absolutely. Truer words never spoken.
But, listen, Chris, right now we're getting some new information about what actually went on inside the school when first responders got there, and it complicated their work to saving people. So we're going to have a report on what went wrong with the video surveillance system. That's next.
[08:40:27] CAMEROTA: I'm here outside of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. And this morning we're getting new information about what went on inside that school when first responders arrived.
We have some new information, a new report that finds that police were thrown off actually by the security camera feeds at the school.
CNN's Rosa Flores joins me now with more information.
What have you learned, Rosa?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is reporting from Florida's "Sun Sentinel." And what they're saying is that there's a 20-minute delay in the information because of the video that was being monitored. So, in essence, imagine police officers monitoring video and then relaying that information to the officers who were already on scene here on campus.
And so let's listen to some of that conversation and then I'll give you the context afterwards. Let's take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a guy here outside the building where -- that can get the cameras. We're going to go inside and go get to the cameras.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are monitoring the subject right now. He went from the third floor to the second floor. Third to the second floor.
He's now back down on the second floor. He was on the third, back on the second floor now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that from recording? Is that video (INAUDIBLE)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. They're following him. It's about a 20- minute delay. They're following him on video, on the camera. They had him exiting the building, running south.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES: Now, Alisyn, I talked to a Coral Springs captain that was there on scene. He said that he was on the west side of the building by that door. So when he said that they were hearing this information, he had 20 to 25 police officers, both on the first, second and third floor, they had cleared the building already. So he said that the impact was psychological for them because they thought, we're going to have to confront the suspect. This is going to turn into a gun battle is what they were thinking as that information was being relayed.
CAMEROTA: So, in other words, they thought it was live. They thought that when they were hearing that he was on the second floor or the third floor, that they were getting real-time information. But, in fact, it was a 20-minute tape delay.
FLORES: That's absolutely right. And so, for them, they were ready to act. They were ready to do what they needed to do to make sure that the suspect was no longer a threat to those students. But they had already, you know -- they had seen the carnage, unfortunately. They knew that he had been there. But then, of course, in that video, based on the timeline they received from the sheriff's office, if it's a 20- minute delay, the suspect is already out. He was probably headed towards the McDonald's or at the McDonald's. And we know now that another police officer was able to apprehend him later.
CAMEROTA: Right. So (INAUDIBLE). I mean obviously that is a tragic flaw. And it is helpful for schools around the country to make sure that that's not their situation with whatever video surveillance they have.
CAMEROTA: Rosa, thank you very much for all of that reporting.
OK, so if you watched yesterday, TV, there were so many powerful moments. There was a father's very emotional exchange with Senator Marco Rubio at CNN's town hall last night. This is what started the town hall and it just got it off to this very intense feeling for the next two hours. So we have that dad and why he walked away from the senator's answer to his question.
[08:47:17] CAMEROTA: A grieving father talking about the pain and loss of his daughter, Jaime's death. Fred Guttenberg came face-to-face last night with Senator Marco Rubio in this heated exchange at CNN's town hall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I think what you're asking about is the assault weapons ban.
FRED GUTTENBERG, LOST DAUGHTER IN SCHOOL SHOOTING: Yes, sir.
RUBIO: So let me be honest with you about that one. If I 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 --
RUBIO: Yes, sir.
GUTTENBERG: Was shot in the back --
RUBIO: Yes, sir.
GUTTENBERG: With an assault weapon, the weapon of choice.
RUBIO: Yes, sir.
GUTTENBERG: OK. It is too easy to get. It is a weapon of war. The fact that you can't stand with everybody in this building and say that, I'm sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Fred Guttenberg joins us now.
Fred, thank you very much.
FRED GUTTENBERG, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: Good morning.
CAMEROTA: I know it's been a long night. I know it's been a long week.
Everyone was riveted. Everyone was captured by what you were saying to Marco Rubio last night because you just embody the anger and the intensity that everybody in this community is feeling. What did you want Marco Rubio to say to you?
GUTTENBERG: The truth. And that he understood. This, behind us, is where my children went to school. My daughter won't be anymore. My son, I'm supposed to send back here next week.
This school was a hunting ground. And I wanted him to say the truth. I wanted him to be honest about this weapon of choice because these cars going by us, you can't drive a car through a school as a weapon. You can't use a knife. You might cause some injuries, you won't have the level of destruction. Handguns won't cause this level of destruction. I wanted him to say the truth.
CAMEROTA: And what did you think of his response to you?
GUTTENBERG: I want to wrap my arms around Marco and tell him I love him. And I want to tell him, thank you for helping us with this. Last night I thought his response was as weak, as I said his comments over the past week have been.
I want Marco to join with these kids. These kids have been fierce and unafraid. And Marco, last night, and I'm sorry, Senator Rubio last night continued a pattern that is not deserving of anyone's support. I want him to join us. I want to wrap my arms around him. But last night was weak.
CAMEROTA: But, hold on a second, because he did show up, right? So hat's off --
GUTTENBERG: I commend him. I do.
CAMEROTA: And so do we. Hat's off to him for showing up, because he took all --
[08:50:11] GUTTENBERG: It's a tough room and I give him credit.
CAMEROTA: Very tough room. I mean I would say he took the most intense questions and the most contentious questions. And it did sound like he was giving a little on his previous positions. Did you hear that when he talked about --
GUTTENBERG: I did.
CAMEROTA: That he was rethinking the high capacity magazine, that he was thinking about raising the age minimum, all those things, that it sounded like he had -- his position was changing.
GUTTENBERG: I did. And so -- and I'm thankful for it. And any place is a starting point. I'm willing to start and go from there.
But there's too much to do to get this right. So if he's willing to start and accept the fact that his position needs to shift -- and he said he's willing to change his mind. I'm willing to stand by his side and do it.
That started a little bit last night. And I commend him for being there because that was not an easy thing to do. And I -- look, I'm a father. All week long people have been telling me what to say, sending me things to say. And I don't want to hear any of it. To me, I just -- I'm focusing on -- it's just common sense. It shouldn't be easy. There need to be more security in terms of a border around these schools maybe.
GUTTENBERG: We need to get rid of these weapons.
CAMEROTA: Here's what Marco Rubio tweeted after the CNN town hall. He said -- Senator Rubio says banning all semi-automatic weapons may have been popular with the audience at CNN's town hall, but it is a position well outside of the mainstream. Your response?
GUTTENBERG: That's a lie. And I -- listen, I don't want to make people comfortable in this debate. I just don't. So I'm a brutally honest person. And that's a lie. The majority of people are standing with what's going on here in Parkland, and I can't be any simpler than that.
CAMEROTA: Yes, 67 percent in the latest Quinnipiac poll says that they actually would ban -- would support a ban on assault weapons. How did you have the composure to stand up there and just, as vociferously as ever, say all that to Senator Rubio last night?
GUTTENBERG: My 14-year-old daughter is dead because of a bullet to the back. She was the strongest person I knew. And she's standing on my shoulder and she's giving me strength. She's going to power me through. She always fought for the rights of others. She always took on other kids who bullied others. She was part of the Best Buddies Program. She would expect me to do this. And I'm doing it for her.
CAMEROTA: How are you going to send your son back into this school on Tuesday?
GUTTENBERG: I always tell my kids that we have to do what's right, and we can't be afraid. And what's right and not being afraid is walking through this gate on Tuesday and going back to school. I will worry. I always worry about my kids. But he has to go back to school. You can't live life afraid. You have to be able to go forward, and my job is to help him go there.
CAMEROTA: Tell us about what your son said on the night of the massacre when he got home.
GUTTENBERG: My kids were typical siblings. They loved each other. My son really took care of his sister. But they fought. They were typical siblings. He wasn't really showing a whole lot of emotion that night. I think he was in shock. But when he went to bed -- they had a nightly ritual. They fought over the bathroom. It doesn't matter that it was -- it happened every night. They just -- they did it. It couldn't stop. And that night he came down crying to us because Jaime didn't fight back. That was what triggered his emotion.
And then he talked about being an only brother. And he'll never be an uncle. And he's OK. His friends have been amazing. They have surrounded him with love. But he -- that was when it really triggered for him that we're -- our family's different now.
CAMEROTA: I just never had considered that, that he would never be an uncle. I mean all of these things, the ripple effect, the repercussions of those few minutes inside the school are so long lasting and powerful.
Well, Fred Guttenberg, we are following you. Thank you very much for being with us and for all of your strong words, and we're so sorry for your loss.
GUTTENBERG: Thank you so much. Have a good day.
CAMEROTA: You too.
So let's turn to another powerful moment. This one was during President Trump's listening session with the survivors and family members of school shooting victims, including the survivors of, of course, this Parkland massacre. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM ZEIF, PARKLAND STUDENT: I turned 18 the day after. I woke up to the news that my best friend was gone. And I don't understand why I can still go in a store and buy a weapon of war, an AR.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[08:55:07] CAMEROTA: Joining us now is the young man who you just saw make that appeal to the president in the clip. That is Stoneman Douglas student Sam Zeif. We also have Nicole Hockley with us. She's the managing director of Sandy Hook Promise. Her son Dylan Hockley was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre.
Thank you both so much for being here. I know you've had a very intense week and a very intense past 24 hours.
So, Sam, let me just start with you. What did you think of that meeting with the president and his response to you?
SAM ZEIF, PARKLAND STUDENT: I mean after having everything that was said and at the end of the meeting, as soon as I started hearing the words "background check" and "mental health check," it just kind of stung. It felt like we weren't moving with him. But afterwards -- I didn't even know we were going to be filmed. I thought we would just be talking to him. But afterwards, seeing the impact that we made together, it was amazing but it's --
CAMEROTA: Nicole -- yes, I -- so when you say that just hearing background check, that you wanted it to go farther?
ZEIF: It's -- that should already be -- that's a given. It should be a given. It should already be that way. We shouldn't have to be worrying about those now.
CAMEROTA: I understand, I mean, that you think that that should be your starting point, not the end of the negotiation.
Nicole, just set the scene for us. What was it like in that room? Did you feel that the president was receptive? What did you think about all of the ideas being bandied about there?
NICOLE HOCKLEY, MOTHER OF DYLAN HOCKLEY: Well, I think it -- first, I was just very grateful that the White House had opened its doors and said come in and share with us your thoughts and your ideas for solutions, and to hear from different victims and survivors from different tragedies and different paths and different states of their journey. That was something new and unexpected.
I did feel that the administration was listening. I do very much think that we now need to hold them accountable to take action. And it's not just the small actions. Background checks, as Sam said, that's something that should have already -- should have already been in place years and years ago. And I know we fought hard for that in 2013 and it failed. And it -- that's not enough. A background check is not going to solve gun violence and keep schools safe. We have to really push hard now for a series of comprehensive actions in our communities and at a legislative level that are going to make a difference.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I think it's safe to say that there's no one thing that will solve this. But, obviously, people are talking about all of their ideas now and their solutions.
Sam, what did you think about the president's idea of arming teachers?
ZEIF: Madness. Just absolute madness. Teachers go through emotions every single day, just like students do, just like mentally ill people do, just like everyone. And teachers are faced with the responsibility every single day of molding young lives and mentoring them and being there for them. Why should they be faced with the responsibility of knowing whether or not they're going to have to kill them that day?
CAMEROTA: Nicole, what were your thoughts when you heard that that was one of the suggestions?
HOCKLEY: I don't think it's a reasonable suggestion at all. And I don't think it's something that the politicians should be talking about. I -- ask any teacher. Teachers have no desire to be armed. Their job is to teach. Their job is to inspire. Their job is to keep their kids safe. And being the front line of defense for that from a preventive perspective is one thing, but in terms of arming them and asking them to make that sort of decision in a crisis moment, that's -- that's completely unacceptable and not a solution that should be pursued in any way.
CAMEROTA: So, Sam, today, now that you've been there at the White House, now that we've had this conversation in such an intense way for this past week, what do you want to say to the president? Where do you want to start today?
ZEIF: Honestly, I hope we can do this. I said this today, I said this last night, I said it yesterday at the White House, he can make America great again. And this is how he does it. But if he doesn't want to cooperate, we're going to make America great again.
CAMEROTA: Well, there you go. Nicole Hockley, Sam Zeif, thank you very much for being with us. Thank
you for sharing your personal experience with us in trying to make schools safer and the whole country safer.
[09:00:00] That's going to do it for us from Parkland, Florida. As we part, we want to just show you again the faces of the 17 lives lost in the school behind me.