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Failures, Missed Signals and Politics in the Florida School Shooting; Ex-Trump Campaign Aide Pleads Guilty; Kelly to Decide on Kushner Security Clearance; Thousands of Civilians Trapped in Eastern Ghouta; Second Russian Athlete Found Guilty of Doping; Panther Power: Film Speaks to Young Viewers. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired February 24, 2018 - 03:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): "He's going to explode."

That warning came one month before Florida's mass school shooting. It was yet another warning missed.

The Russia investigation evolves. New charges now against one former campaign staffer for Donald Trump and a plea deal from another.

Also, "Black Panther's" defining moment in cinema goes worldwide. We go to the sold out theaters of Kenya here on CNN NEWSROOM.

All of these stories are ahead here. Thank you for joining us. We're live in Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.


ALLEN: More missed signals are coming to light following the massacre at a Florida high school. One person going as far to warn the shooter was going to explode. That's a quote.

Randi Kaye reports from Parkland, Florida.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're learning more details about the shooting here in Parkland, Florida. We've learned that at least one Broward County sheriff's deputy remained outside, an armed Broward County sheriff's deputy remained outside even though he knew there was an active shooter inside this school.

That sheriff's deputy, Scot Peterson, has since resigned. The sheriff says Peterson stood outside for more than four minutes while the shooting was underway. The whole shooting massacre lasted about six minutes.

We're also learning that three other Broward County sheriff's deputies were also outside, armed with their handguns drawn, hiding behind their cars. It's unclear if the shooter at the time was still is in the school but those three deputies also never entered the high school. That information coming to us from Coral Springs Police Department. Those Coral Springs deputies were the first ones to enter the school.

Also another tip, a major red flag for the FBI that was ignored. This tip came in January 5th, weeks before the shooting. CNN has reviewed a transcript from this tip call.

The tipster was apparently close to the Parkland shooter, warning the FBI that this teen was, quote, "going to explode." The female tipster spoke of his social media posts about guns and violence, saying she feared him getting into a school and "shooting the place up." That's an exact quote.

As you know, the FBI has admitted that proper protocols were not followed. They're investigating why that tip about this suspect was dropped so close to the attack.

And finally the security cameras. That was an issue as well. When police arrived and they did get inside, they were reviewing the surveillance cameras just trying to find out where this suspect was in the school.

We've now learned that those cameras were on a delay. They had been rewound, so what the police were watching was actually 20 minutes behind. So when they thought he was on the second floor and trying to locate him, then they'd go to the second floor and he was no longer on the second floor.

They were way behind. He was already long gone from the school building at that time when they were reviewing the surveillance tapes -- Randi Kaye, CNN, Parkland, Florida.


ALLEN: The news about an armed resource officer not going into the building comes as an emotional punch in the gut to a grief-stricken community. No one really knows how it would have changed the outcome of the massacre but the question lingers: what if?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just even worsens the pain and grief that this entire community's going through, to realize that more could have been done, that potentially lives could have been saved. This is just outrageous and, you know, I just -- I just can't even find the words to describe the disappointment.


ALLEN: Of course President Trump has been speaking out about the shooting and meeting with students himself and parents. After first ignoring the role of guns, not even mentioning the word, he has now put forward number of ideas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We want to be very powerful, very strong on background checks and especially as it pertains to the mentally ill. We're going to get rid of the bump stocks and we're going to do certain other things.


ALLEN: Among those other things, something that has a resounding thumbs down from most teachers around the country: giving them guns.

TRUMP: Schools have to have some form of protection. They can't just be open ended gun free. If there are guns inside held by the right people, by highly trained professionals, you're going to see this end.


ALLEN: We turn now to the Russia investigation ongoing in Washington, criminal charges stacking up now against the president's former campaign manager. On Friday, prosecutors filed a new indictment against Paul Manafort, accusing him of secretly paying former European politicians to lobby in the U.S. on behalf of Ukraine.


ALLEN: The new charges came hours after Manafort's former long-time aide seen here, Rick Gates, entered a guilty plea to two charges. He's now collaborating with Robert Mueller's Russia probe. CNN's Evan Perez has more from Washington.


EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Former Trump campaign official Rick Gates is now a very important cooperating witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. And that's a big deal to Paul Manafort, Gates' business partner, and potentially for others in the Trump campaign who are still under investigation.

After all, Manafort was the former campaign chairman. In court, prosecutors described the scheme in which the two long-time business partners allegedly laundered $30 million and failed to pay taxes for almost 10 years and used real estate that they owned to fraudulently secure more than $20 million in loans.

Prosecutors piled on new charges against Manafort on Friday, alleging an illegal campaign to use former European politicians as lobbyists for Ukraine in the United States.

Gates pleaded guilty to two criminal charges, conspiracy to defraud the United States and making a false statement.

Manafort issued a statement insisting that he is innocent, saying, quote, "I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue to battle to prove our innocence. For reasons yet to surface, he's chosen to do otherwise."

Gates could face between 4.5 years and just under six years in prison. That's a big break from possibly decades if he had been found guilty on the charges he was facing -- Evan Perez, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: Another Trump aide, his adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is having security clearance problems as far as working in the White House.

The White House was alerted two weeks ago that significant information requiring more investigation would delay his security clearance process even further. That according to "The Washington Post."

President Trump says the decision on whether Kushner keeps his temporary clearance will be made by chief of staff John Kelly. Questions have been raised about Kushner having access to classified materials with only a temporary clearance. He has not been granted a permanent clearance because of questions about the background check.


There's a lot to talk about. Let's turn to political analyst Michael Genovese, president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University and author of "How Trump Governs."

Michael, thank you for joining us.


ALLEN: What does it say, first of all, let's start with the president's son-in-law, that Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, cannot get a permanent security clearance to work in the White House?

GENOVESE: Well, he shouldn't be there in the first place. He has a job description that far exceeds his experience and his talents. And the fact that he cannot get a clearance speaks volumes to the entire absurdity of him being this close to power.

The president clearly trusts him; loyalty is big to the president. But you also have to have talent. You also have to have experience. You also have to have some people in place, in important positions, who know how to --


GENOVESE: -- do the job. And so over a year and no security clearance, maybe you ought to cut bait.

ALLEN: We'll wait and see because this very serious issue also pits the embattled White House chief of staff, General Kelly, against Kushner. And Kelly apparently, according to reports, not a huge fan of both the president's daughter and son-in-law having such access to the West Wing.

Do you expect the president will sit on the sidelines and let this play out? GENOVESE: Well, I think he'd prefer doing that. I think he wants to make General Kelly the heavy. The president doesn't want to do anything to harm in any way his relationship to his family. He really does take great pride in his family and brings them close. They've been advisers for a long time.

But this is not a case where you want his family to advise, you want experts to advise. So I think in one sense, General Kelly is being asked to nudge Kushner away. And in another sense, the president still wants to keep him close to the vest.

ALLEN: We'll wait and see how that plays out.

This week, the special counsel on Russia, Mr. Mueller, seemed to tighten the screws as far as the investigation, filing new charges against former Trump campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.

Mueller certainly seems interested in the activities of Manafort.

But the question is, does it lead back to the president's campaign?

Should the White House be worried?

GENOVESE: Well, let's start with what happened today when Gates basically said he's going to cooperate. Gates was an ultimate insider in the campaign and in the transition. And so he's someone who knows a lot about what went on and a lot about where the bodies are buried.

He also works so closely with Paul Manafort. He's basically caved in, because I think the Mueller team said, look, you can either go through this process and spend maybe years and millions of dollars and end up in prison anyway or you can cop a deal --


GENOVESE: -- with us and turn over some information that we need.

And so the question then becomes, does Manafort follow?


ALLEN: Michael Genovese talking with me there earlier.

The U.S. has imposed more sanctions on North Korea. This time it has targeted dozens of companies and vessels it believes are helping North Korea evade trade restrictions. U.S. and South Korean officials say the new measures are part of a campaign of maximum pressure on North Korea to give up nuclear weapons.

Keeping the pressure on the North is part of why President Trump's daughter, Ivanka, is at the Winter Olympics. We'll have more about her mission and a live report. We'll take you to PyeongChang in just a moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "We wish, we wish for aid, for help here in Ghouta. We're hungry. Let them understand this."

ALLEN: Also ahead, Syrians plead for help in Eastern Ghouta as a ceasefire vote stalls at the U.N.




ALLEN: The United Nations may vote Saturday on a 30-day cease-fire for Syria. The Security Council was supposed to vote Friday. Now it hopes to decide on the plan Saturday. CNN's Richard Roth reports on what's blocking it at the United Nations.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Backers of the U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a 30-day truce in fighting inside Syria remain hopeful a vote will take place sometime Saturday in New York.

However, there are still differences after two days of closed-door arguments. Russia believes the resolution is biased. Moscow remains a staunch advocate for the Assad regime.

The United States, U.K. and France say it's outrageous that the Council can't pass a resolution, as hundreds continue to die in Eastern Ghouta, the suburb of Damascus.

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador, tweeted on Friday, "Unbelievable that Russia is stalling a vote on a cease-fire allowing humanitarian access in Syria. How many more people will die before the Security Council agrees to take up this vote? Let's do this tonight. The Syrian people can't wait."

However, the Council could not do it Friday night and the Swedish ambassador, one of the sponsors of this resolution, was asked about the U.S. and Russian differences.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get questions about the Russian or the American position, I suggest you ask them. I'm trying to facilitate a meaningful outcome of this Security Council. So I can only protect what we're trying to do and that is to have a resolution adopted yesterday.

Now we have not achieved that. I find that extremely frustrating, given what we are faced with on the ground. And I'm just saying that we're working on it and we're not giving up and I hope that we will adopt something forceful, meaningful, impactful tomorrow.

ROTH (voice-over): The other cosponsor of the resolution, Kuwait, said the Counsel was close but -- [03:15:00]

ROTH (voice-over): -- could not find agreement on a resolution. There have been 94 meetings on Syria at the Security Council. It's not clear what Moscow will do on Saturday -- Richard Roth, CNN, the United Nations.


ALLEN: And we will certainly let you know.

Without a ceasefire, there is no way to get critical medical supplies into Eastern Ghouta. Close to 400,000 people are trapped there in deteriorating conditions, with shells and bombs dropping on them nonstop. CNN's Arwa Damon now has a story that illustrates what families are going through and, we warn you, some viewers may find the images disturbing.


DAMON (voice-over): It's known as the double tap, a deliberate, heartless exercise. The dust from the first bomb had barely settled before the second one landed.

Children panicked, cry out for their father. But there's no time to wait, no time to look, only time to run and try and stay alive. With the intensity of the recent bombing, most spend their time underground in makeshift shelters.

It's disgusting, suffocating. Children get sick but the hospitals are all getting bombed. Childhood is not even a reflection of what it should be and yet these kids' giggles reverberate almost surreally through tunnels carved out in the ground, play games familiar to most of us under circumstances we cannot even pretend to imagine.

"We wish, we wish for aid, for help here in Ghouta. We're hungry. Let them understand this," this little girl pleads.

In another reality, in what may as well be a world away, it's not that no one heard her cry or any of the others, it's that, once again, the powers that control Syria's fate betrayed it.

This is Syria's story, one that is on a grisly repeat. A mother bids her son goodbye. She's already been through this.

"Say hi to your brother, Talal," she tells his bloody corpse. "Tell him you died the same way he did."

The civil defense team posted this video to Twitter, begging people to try to put themselves in the shoes of the father whose son they are looking for. You hear sort of an anguished, low cry and the question, is he alive?

Miraculously, the child is. There are no words for this or perhaps new ones will need to be created that can describe the magnitude of the death, despair and heartbreak and how we utterly failed Syria -- Arwa Damon, CNN, Istanbul.


ALLEN: War is one of the ills of the world. So is modern-day slavery. And CNN continues to partner with young people around the world for a student-led day of action against slavery. The second annual My Freedom Day will take place March 14th.

We've been asking people what freedom means to them. Here are the thoughts from some Olympic stars.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom means a lot. I think everyone should have this freedom to do what motivate them and to do what you like and that's the most important thing in my life.

I like to follow my dreams and do my things. And yes, to just try to do things I like and I think that's the most important thing in life. And follow your dreams and don't look back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom means being able to be who you are, whenever, wherever, say whatever you would like and just truly be yourself.


ALLEN: What does freedom mean to you?

Post a photo or video to social media using the hashtag #MyFreedomDay. And, remember, it officially occurs March 14th.

Another Russian athlete has been found guilty of doping at the 2018 Winter Games. The Court of Arbitration for Sport says a female bobsledder has tested positive and admitted to the antidoping violation. She is now the second Russian to test positive at the games.

Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, is mixing diplomacy and sport at the Olympics. She's in PyeongChang, South Korea, ahead of the closing ceremonies on Sunday. On Saturday, she toured the U.S. Olympic team's house before cheering on Team USA in the men's curling final against Sweden.

Paula Hancocks is live for us in PyeongChang.

And certainly not just being the chief cheerleader for the United States for Ms. Trump, she's also there on a diplomatic mission.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Natalie. As you say, she's been at events today. Luckily the afternoon event was inside. As you can see, there is a massive fog that just ascended on the slopes behind me here in PyeongChang.

But she is here with a very serious message. She had a banquet dinner with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea on Friday night. And at that meeting, she gave the details of the sanctions that the United States --


HANCOCKS: -- Treasury Department has put into play, described by the U.S. president as the strongest sanctions ever.

Focusing on shipping companies, trading companies, vessels. There are 27 entities, 28 vessels that have been sanctioned by the United States. So really bringing the message that they are going to continue to be tough on North Korea and to make sure that the sanctions and pressure is at its utmost.

President Moon saying that it was very important for the inter-Korean relations, North-South Korean talks to be in conjunction with discussions on denuclearization -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Now Paula, it's odd and almost surreal, isn't it, how the two countries have come together for the Olympic spirit but at the same time nuclear weapons hangs over South Korea and certainly a lot of pain.

And you have a story that illustrates that pain that many people experienced, these countries being not united.

HANCOCKS: Well, that's right. You talk about the joint North-South Korean team but, of course, there are families who have been devastated since the Korean War in the 1950s. They've been separated since the 1950s. And not all of them appreciate what North Korea is doing at this point.


HANCOCKS (voice-over): Kwon Moon-kook, who was just 19 when the Korean War broke out in 1950, he deserted the North Korean military, hating the ideology and walked 14 days to get home, hiding in his mother's attic.

He then joined the U.N. forces led by the United States.

"I thought it would be a matter of days," he said, "for our forces to take over the North. I told my parents I'd be back in a week and ran away in the middle of the night."

Kwon said he wouldn't have left if he had known he would never see his parents or two brothers again. He's heard nothing in almost 70 years. He doesn't know if any of them are still alive.

One of millions of families destroyed by the Korean War, one of thousands of North Koreans that settled here in Abai (ph) village on the east coast near the DMZ so they could move back home easily when the time came. But it never did.

Kwon married in South Korea and has four children and nine grandchildren but still misses his North Korean family every day. He checks Google Earth once a week to see satellite images of his hometown near Wonsan in the north, the closest he can get to seeing it again.

HANCOCKS: Ah, so there. That's where you used to --


"No, this is my school," he says. "My mother and father live there."

Some see the Olympic sporting diplomacy between North and South Korea as a positive development. But Kwon says he's not happy to see a joint Korean team. He says they're wearing masks and he doesn't think it will change his situation.

He has not applied to be part of official family reunions between North and South, fearing any family still alive would be punished for his military desertion a lifetime ago.

"I was almost 20 when I left home," he says. "I'm now almost 90. There's no joy of life for me. I'm waiting to die.

"I don't know why," he says. "The older I become, the more I miss my brothers."


HANCOCKS: Just one of the many North Koreans who are not happy with this North Korean engagement in the Olympic Games -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Quite a poignant story. Paula Hancocks for us, thank you so much for bringing us that. Certainly illustrates the complexities.



ALLEN: Well, the new "Black Panther" film has been shattering box office records. In Nairobi, Kenya, theaters have had to make room for additional screenings to accommodate the demand. Our Farai Sevenzo shows us why this film is so popular.


FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Take a Hollywood superhero movie, set it in an imaginary African nation and fill it with some of the best black talent. And an instant fan base is formed.

The movie, "Black Panther," is being embraced by audiences here in Nairobi like no other movie before it. It's an amalgamation of imaginations, inspired by cultures across the continent, putting into sharp focus an umbilical cord which ties black folk to the African continent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We definitely completely underestimated how big of a deal this movie would be. It reached a point where we have to cancel a lot of other movies and other screenings just to make more room for "Black Panther" because the demand is nearly through the roof.

SEVENZO (voice-over): And making room for even the smallest fans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is their first experience in a cinema. So it was very important for me for them to see "Black Panther," that I felt was being celebrated all over the world by black folk.

SEVENZO (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) started a crowdfunding campaign to get this group of 200 teenagers to see the film in 3-D at this Nairobi movie house. She raised $2,000 in just 24 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted them to feel, to celebrate, to have, to be part of the party, to be part of the pride of "Black Panther" and Africa (INAUDIBLE).

SEVENZO (voice-over): And when it's all over, these first-time moviegoers give their verdict.

SEVENZO: Did you like the movie?


SEVENZO: The only part I heard you cheering was when Lupita was kissing T'Challa.



SEVENZO: And so when people are crowdsourcing for funds to let these kids like this watch cinema for the first time and to make sure that their first cinematic experience is the "Black Panther," there's something in that. And that something is very, very simple.

It's about identity. It's about who they are. It's about why they are so proud to see other black people on the screen -- Farai Sevenzo, CNN, Nairobi.


ALLEN: What a great first experience at the movies. That is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. Stay with us for "CNN TALK."