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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Four Broward Sheriff Deputies Waited Outside School; Florida Governor Says He Wants To Raise Age To Buy Rifles; Trump Suggests Arming Teachers To Increase School Safety; Ex-Trump Aide Pleads Guilty, Will Cooperate With Mueller; No Decision On Kushner's Clearance Despite Deadline. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired February 24, 2018 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:00:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- who appears to know Cruz well tells the FBI tip line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To realize that more could have been done, that potentially lives could have been saved, this is just outrageous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now Coral Springs police sources tell CNN that three other Broward County Sheriff's deputies also remained outside, pistols drawn, but hiding behind their vehicles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a police officer, you've made a vow. You've made an oath to protect the people that you are policing, and they didn't do that for us.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I don't want a person that's never handled a gun that wouldn't know what it looks like to be armed. Out of your teaching population, you have 10 percent, 20 percent, a very gun-adept people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former Trump campaign adviser, Rick Gates, pleading guilty today to two criminal charges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does Paul Manafort have something he can offer Bob Mueller that will allow him to not spend rest of his days behind bars?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Three Trump campaign officials have now flipped in the Russia probe, the latest is Rick Gates, the deputy chairman of the Trump campaign.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Gates took a plea deal yesterday in exchange for testifying against Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, of course, and this is happening as the special counsel indicts Manafort on more charges.

BLACKWELL: Of course, we'll talk about that. Also, why does Jared Kushner still have his security clearance or at least an interim one? Chief of Staff John Kelly was supposed to decide if Kushner was to keep his temporary clearance by yesterday.

PAUL: And a lot of outrage after CNN learned a total of four Broward County Sheriff's deputies now waited outside a Florida high school as students inside were being shot. Law enforcement facing tough questions this morning about what more could have been done to stop that massacre.

BLACKWELL: Joining us now, CNN correspondent, Kaylee Hartung live in Parkland, Florida. What's the response been there from what we're learning?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, disappointment. Students and teachers feel like they were failed by several men who had sworn an oath to protect them. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel says he was sick to his stomach when he first saw surveillance video that showed one of his deputies, a man assigned for 30 years on the force, to be the resource officer to protect students on that campus.

The sheriff watched video that showed that man stand outside the 1200 building of Stoneman Douglas for upwards of 4 minutes while students and teachers were attacked by gunfire outside.

But in addition to that, we're learning from sources close to the Coral Springs Police Department that they were surprised when they arrived on the scene to find three other Broward County deputies behind their patrol cars with their weapons drawn.

That means four men with the opportunity to go in that building failed to do so, they failed the students and teachers inside that school. This information and the emotions that students and teachers are feeling as a result of it compounded by the fact that we are learning more about the killer.

We've heard students and neighbors of his tell stories of his emotional outburst. Well, now we're hearing about his mental state from him for the very first time. Let me take you back to November. His mother had just died. He moved in with some family friends.

There was an altercation between the killer and the son of this family he was living with, the mother of that family called 911 as did the killer moments later. Listen to both of those calls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DISPATCHER: 911, how can I help you?

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Yes. There was a fight in my house with a kid and my son.

DISPATCHER: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Punching him and that's when he left the house. But I need somebody here because I'm afraid he comes back, and he has a lot of weapons.

DISPATCHER: What kind of weapons ma'am? UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Let me ask my son. What kind of weapons did he get? That he's going to get?

UNIDENTIFIED SON: A Remington.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: A Remington.

DISPATCHER: OK, and who did this?

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Nikolas Cruz. It's not the first time he's pointed a gun at somebody's head.

DISPATCHER: 911 Emergency.

NIKOLAS CRUZ: I was just assaulted. Someone tried to attack me. I don't know where I am. I'm new in the area. The thing is, I lost my mother a couple weeks ago. So, I'm dealing with a bunch of things right now and then a kid threw me on the ground and kicked me out of house.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARTUNG: There you have the killer describing his emotional state after having one of those outbursts we've learned he was prone to have. And Victor, Christi, I should mention the surveillance tapes from last Wednesday are currently being reviewed and sources tell us to expect a report likely next week.

[08:05:06] BLACKWELL: All right. Kaylee Hartung for us there in Parkland. Kaylee, thank you.

PAUL: And Florida Governor Rick Scott says that he wants to raise the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18 years old to 21. That is a stance that the NRA does not support. Here is how one student survivor reacted to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMMA GONZALEZ, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: I do think that they are good first steps. They are very strong first steps actually. And a lot of us in this community are happy to hear that this is starting to move in a good direction. But it's not enough. As of yet, it is not enough. There need to be more regulations on the semi-automatic weapons themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: All right. Joining us now, CNN counterterrorism analyst, Phil Mudd, a former CIA counterterrorism official.

PAUL: And also, Don Shomette, a school violence and safety expert. We appreciate you both being here, Gentlemen. Thank you. Phil, I want to get to you because we need to get to this news that there were four deputies outside the school who did not go into it as the shooting happened. Is there anything that you know of instance where that would have been protocol? PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: When you look at a variety of things we've seen here, both the FBI tape that you are aware of, the call into the FBI call center in West Virginia and the reaction of the deputies, there is one question that anybody who searched in the national security our local security position has to deal with and that is, is there policy, protocol and training to deal with these situations.

I've got to believe in both of those, both the FBI calls and the deputies response to the school, that there is specific training and protocol to deal with these and that that protocol was violated in both circumstances.

So, you go back and say let me be blunt, if I were in the same circumstance, am I sure that I would have the courage to go in that school. I think that is the judgment we'll see in the coming days, not whether they had a policy or protocol that directed them to go into the school once they knew there was an active shooter. I suspect that that is what their policy said they should have breached the school walls.

BLACKWELL: Don, what is your assessment of the president's proposal to arm teachers, not the security guards as he calls them because they don't know the students he says, they don't love the students he says, but to arm teachers, 10 to 20 percent and train them properly?

DON SHOMETTE, SCHOOL VIOLENCE AND SAFETY EXPERT: Well, I think when it comes to arming the teachers, I don't think it will be a 10 percent or 20 percent. I think we proudly find looking inside the schools, it will probably be a far fewer number than that that would actually like to do it.

I think if you were to arm the teachers, it would end up something we call adding additional safety filters and layers. So, there may be some positive benefits to it. But I think the hurdles to actually make it happen and this is what superintendents come to me all the time about.

They come to me and they say I hear what the proposal is, what you're doing, what you are recommending, but how do I implement this. I think trying to implement this inside the school would be incredibly difficult and hurdles would be just huge.

PAUL: Don, I wanted to ask you too about resource officers. This was a very large school. Do you ever give guidance to schools about how many resource officers they should have per the number of students they have in the school?

SHOMETTE: Well, typically what it is, is that we always try to get as many school resource officers as we possible can. If you are looking at a school with something like 3,000, I would say probably the national average would be anywhere between at least one to probably two if it is a high school.

Now, the problem with a lot of it is the budget, funding and actually getting people in there. So, what you will have in a district, you may have one officer in a high school, one in a middle school and then one who cover covers six, seven elementary schools.

So ideally if we have a school this big, you would want to have possibly two. Budget restraints typically on average I'd say it's really one and all the rest of the schools end up having a coverage of one officer covering many.

BLACKWELL: Phil, in recent years we've had -- the public has had to learn these new terms, soft target versus hard target. And the president is now calling for the hardening of schools, the NRA calling for the hardening of schools using the same terminology. Can schools be fortified?

MUDD: I don't think they can. Look, you're not talking about schools. You are talking about federal buildings, airports, train stations. We're talking about schools now. When you think about hardening facilities, and you look at the post-9/11 environment, you start to have to multiply those facilities by the thousands.

You are not just talking about security officers in those facilities, you are talking about things like metal detectors. For a high school, I live a couple blocks away from a middle school, you are talking about securing the perimeter, that's acres and acres of land to ensure that students can only go through one entry point.

You know the kind of costs and resources you've got to do to do that. Before we talk about schools, we better ensure that we are also talking about bus stations, train stations, again federal facilities.

[08:10:12] I don't think Americans recognize when they talk about hardening facilities what they are asking for. I'm not sure it is doable.

WHITFIELD: Phil, real quickly, I wanted to ask you about the sound that we just heard there on the 911 call. When you have a woman warning the FBI that somebody will explode, that they will shoot up a school, how is it that something like that gets closed within an hour?

MUDD: I can't answer that question. Nobody I've spoken with since the days that has come out can answer that question. You have specificity, you have someone who is credible. I think what we'll find is that the FBI had a protocol for dealing with this and that protocol was violated in this circumstance. There is not an explanation for this one.

BLACKWELL: Don, in the conversation of --

SHOMETTE: Can I add something?

PAUL: Don, go ahead.

SHOMETTE: I'd like to add something on it. Every school attacker has a commonalty whether they are in America or any other country. Every school attacker travel down what is called the path of violence. It is a very four distinct stages.

It starts with idea, plan, prepare and then act. Typically, a school attacker I've found none that have done this path of violence less than three months. Meaning they have spent three months planning, preparing. Most are seven or eight. Columbine is approximately nine months.

When I think about what happened with the FBI, a model comes to my mind and the phrase is that they only have to get it right one time. We have to get it right every time. And when I think about that phone call and the information coming in, I wondered if those folks who received it understood that every school attacker travels down the path of violence.

Path of violence is different than random violence, two people get in a fight, damage can be done. But the folks who are attacking us, they are picking a school, a person, a group and attacking our building.

If you don't know the right questions to ask, if you look at this and you say, well, there was a fight at home, now, at home Nikolas Cruz used violence to get what he wants. That makes him a threat. The only question is what risk level.

If you are trained in the path of violence and you know what to look for because all these people moved down the path of violence, they all give off the same common full behaviors. If we can train our folks to look at that and see it, I think they will realize this is not just random violence.

That this could literally be someone on the path of violence and I wonder -- I don't know, but I wonder if the folks who are getting these tips and information that they understand that they are dealing with targeted violence instead of random violence.

BLACKWELL: Hopefully, we're having those conversations now after the revelation of all these red flags and missed opportunities. Don Shomette, Phil Mudd, thank you both.

PAUL: Thank you, Gentlemen.

So even NRA has supported making a change to laws regarding bump stocks specifically the device that allowed the Las Vegas shooter, for instance, to turn rifles into machine guns.

Coming up, the Georgia Republican candidate for governor who wants to give them away. Has he changed his mind now?

BLACKWELL: Plus, former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, facing new pressure from his former deputy. How Rick Gates' plea deal is putting some pressure on Manafort?

PAUL: And Ivanka Trump is in South Korea for the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, of course, as her father, the president, is imposing the strongest sanctions to date on North Korea. We'll go live to South Korea in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:17:35] BLACKWELL: Another former Trump campaign aide has flipped in the Russia investigation.

PAUL: Rick Gates is cooperating in Robert Mueller's wide-ranging investigation into election meddling and that is putting hints of what is to come on Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort. Gates revealed in a letter to family and friends, he had a, quote, "change of heart" and wouldn't be fighting the charges against him. He may testify against Manafort as well.

CNN's Abby Phillip at the White House. Spotlight obviously firmly on the Trump campaign this morning. What are you learning, Abby?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christi. Yet another Trump associate pleading guilty to charges in the special counsel investigation. It really tightens the circle around Paul Manafort, the chairman -- former chairman of the Trump campaign, who was a long-time business associate of Rick Gates.

And now that Gates is cooperating with Mueller, he is likely to provide documentation and perhaps testimony that could help them perhaps get the cooperation of Manafort in a critical piece of this investigation, which is what exactly happened during the campaign as it relates to the Russia investigation.

Now Gates' guilty plea makes him the third Trump campaign associate to plead guilty and all three of them have pled to particular type of charge which is lying to the FBI, Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos, a former adviser on national security to the Trump campaign, now Rick Gates.

All three of them pleading guilty to avoid potential jail times as a result of their statements to the FBI and other charges that would have been brought against them. The White House is saying on all of this that most -- all of these charges have nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign.

Specifically, in the sense that they relate to the business dealings that they were engaged in before the campaign even began. But clearly here, the Mueller investigation is moving toward a target which is the people who would know the most about the inner workings of the Trump campaign.

BLACKWELL: So, Abby, what if anything is the White House saying about the status of Jared Kushner's security clearance? Friday was an important day.

PHILLIP: That's right. The White House is really not saying anything at all. Friday was the day that these new rules put in place by John Kelly to restrict the access of classified information to people like Kushner who have interim security clearances. Those rules went into place yesterday, but the White House won't say who they will affect.

[08:20:05] Now Kushner is having a lot of trouble getting his security clearance. CNN has reported that this ongoing Mueller investigation is making it more difficult for the FBI to clear the issues that they have had with his background check and as a result, he is not expected to get his clearance anytime soon.

And in the meantime, he has a portfolio of issues under his belt that include Middle East peace, but also regularly viewing the presidential daily briefing which is a significantly classified document that the president of the United States gets about active intelligence matters on a daily basis.

So, the issue here is what will John Kelly decide. President Trump was asked about this in a press conference yesterday and he said Jared Kushner is a good man, he has done great work for me, but I'm going to let John Kelly decide what happens to him.

We are waiting to find out what that decision is and what kind of accommodation they can make that could potentially allow Kushner to continue with his job, but fall under the umbrella of rules that Kelly is trying to put in place to avoid another situation in which you have dozens of White House staffers working on these sensitive matters without the appropriate clearances.

BLACKWELL: All right. That is a small space to create for Jared Kushner and the others who are working in the White House with that interim clearance. Abby Phillip, thank you.

PAUL: Sarah Westwood, White House correspondent for "The Washington Examiner" with us now. Good morning to you, Sarah. I want to talk more about Rick Gates and Paul Manafort because we know that the prosecution outlined money laundering, failing to disclose banking information, foreign lobbying work that they did prior to 2015.

These are two people who have been together for a very long time and Gates continued his time with President Trump even after Paul Manafort left. So, is there is a sense that what Gates has to offer could really expand far beyond Manafort?

SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, we just don't know if there is anything that Gates can offer on the question of collusion which still hasn't been answered. There hasn't been any evidence really to suggest that took place.

But we know that this puts Manafort in a really difficult position because most of what is alleged that these two men did, they did in concert with each other. So, if one of them is admitting guilt in some or all of these charges, that really puts the other one in a difficult position to try to deny those allegations. So, for Manafort, I think this is kind of a worst-case scenario.

PAUL: And Manafort did release a statement saying that he continues to maintain his innocence. He said, "I'd hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence for reasons yet to surface, he chose to do otherwise." Does he know what those reasons yet to surface are or is he waiting to hear himself? What sense did you get from that language?

WESTWOOD: It is not clear -- to me that reads like the two haven't been in contact with each other throughout this journey. It is not surprising to learn that Gates didn't alert Manafort in advance that he was planning to in a sense betray his former business partner to try to save himself from what could be a very punishing sentence if he were convicted on a lot of these serious charges.

The fact that Mueller is pressing ahead with applying new layers of indictments against these two men suggest that he is turning up the pressure on the two, maybe he wants to learn something new from Manafort and Gates, maybe he wants to try to push them toward a plea deal to try to convict them on some of these charges.

We just don't know what Mueller's aim is because Mueller is so good at keeping his cards close to the vest.

PAUL: I want to talk about the security clearance, as Abby was talking about the importance of yesterday. Let's listen to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, what she said about Jared Kushner specifically.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I can tell you that Chief of Staff Kelly said last week Jared is an important and valued member of the administration, and the role that he plays both on overseeing the Israeli/Palestinian negotiations won't change as well as his role in negotiating and helping develop relationships with Mexico. Those are the two bigger things in his portfolio and those won't be impacted as the chief said last week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: So, if he has limited security clearance, how are those relationships she just spoke of and the tasks that he has on his plate, how are they not affected?

WESTWOOD: It's difficult to see Kushner maintaining the broad portfolio that he has without a security clearance just because he is constantly dealing in matters of foreign policy that would presumably include some national security information that would be classified.

There are things in Kushner's portfolio that wouldn't lend itself to having to deal with classified information like head of the Office of American Innovation, which dealt with streamlining government that was one of his early tasks.

[08:25:04] So, what we may see if he does have his access to classified information suspended is a reduction in his portfolio, but we don't know what John Kelly is going to decide. President Trump said yesterday, he's going to leave it up to his chief of staff.

PAUL: And the question is, will President Trump personally intervene here in some way? How much concern is there for that?

WESTWOOD: Well, I think that Trump may certainly pressure Kelly into making a decision that preserve's Kushner's access to classified information, but it would be hard for Trump to say publicly that he is not going to intervene, to leave it to Kelly. And then if Kelly decides unfavorably to override his chief of staff, that would seem to be a contradiction from what he said in the press conference. So, that would put Trump in a bit of a difficult position.

PAUL: Is there any real sense in Washington, because Jared Kushner is far from the only person who has limited security clearance here, how effective these people can be at their jobs without all of that information?

WESTWOOD: I think Kushner is a special case because he is so close to the president personally. He is the son-in-law and President Trump has relied on Kushner since the early days of the campaign. So, he is not just someone who can be discarded just because he doesn't have access to classified information.

For other aides who don't have that personal relationship with President Trump, it would seem to make sense that maybe their jobs could be in jeopardy because you would want someone in those positions that can access classified information if that's a fundamental element of their duties.

PAUL: All righty. Sarah Westwood, always good to see you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: In the context of guns and gun safety and gun control, this is a moment in this country. We don't know if there will be any fruit from this moment, but there is a critical conversation happening right now. And as lawmakers head back to Capitol Hill this week, will they take action on gun laws and enact some of the things that students from Stoneman Douglas want?

PAUL: Also, a strong message coming from the White House after the president imposes the strongest sanctions yet on North Korea. The question is, will it force the country to abandon its weapons program?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:31:25] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to Saturday. 31 minutes past the hour. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. In just days classes resume at Stoneman Douglas High School and the students and teachers prepare to return. Lawmakers will head back to Capitol Hill to discuss guns in America. The question now, where will this conversation go?

PAUL: Yes. The president says the nation should keep assault rifles out of the hands of anyone under 21, so the question is, will lawmakers actually take that issue up?

Top Republican senator John Cornyn says that is not where their focus should be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), MAJORITY WHIP: I think what we ought to focus on is things that will actually save lives. That's why I think the focus should be on the fix NICS bill which is the only bipartisan piece of legislation that can be signed into law. There's a lot of other ideas out there that people are proposing. But I don't think will actually change any outcome. And so I prefer to focus on things that will actually save lives and will affect outcomes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Joining me now is Republican state senator for Georgia, Michael Williams, and Brent Budowsky, opinion columnist for "The Hill."

Gentlemen, welcome back to the show.

MICHAEL WILLIAMS (R), GEORGIA STATE SENATOR: It's good to be here. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, Michael, let me start with you. And I hope it is OK if I slipped and I called you, Michael. I'll try to remember to call you senator, but we -- yes, you've been here many times.

WILLIAMS: No worries.

BLACKWELL: So let's start first with the proposals from the president. First raising the minimum rifle purchase age to 21. What's your view on that?

WILLIAMS: Well, first of all, kind of like what we heard the gentleman say before, I think we need to focus on issues that are going to protect our children. I have a daughter that's in high school right now and a 7-month-old who's going to be in public schools for, what, 12 years after that. So we need to focus on real issues. That is why I went out there and proposed a plan that would actually protect their schools and the big part of that is giving our teachers the opportunity to protect themselves in the event of another tragedy like this happens so they can be armed.

BLACKWELL: We'll get to the plan in a moment, but first, just your answer on if you support the president's plan of raising the minimum rifle purchase age to 21.

WILLIAMS: I don't think that's going to save lives and we need to save lives right now.

BLACKWELL: OK. Brent?

BRENT BUDOWSKY, OPINION COLUMNIST, THE HILL: I think it will save lives and I support it like most Americans.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's go to the second one. Bump stocks. The president has urged or at least directed the attorney general to begin working on a plan to ban the sale of bump stocks. He referred to it as something that will turn a semiautomatic weapon into a machine gun. I want to show people what's on your Web site, Senator. You are

running for governor here in Georgia. And this is a giveaway you have.

WILLIAMS: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Enter to win a bump stock. And this started if I remember correctly after a bump stock was used in the shooting in Las Vegas that ended with the deaths of more than 50 people and injuries of more than 500. Is the president wrong to call for a ban of bump stocks here?

WILLIAMS: Again, like we talked about when we did the giveaway. The talking about banning bump stock is nothing more than a political game, a political ploy, because you can use a rubber band to do the exact same thing that a bump stock would do. So if you're going to ban bump stocks, we can go ahead and ban rubber bands as well. So I don't think again that banning bump stocks is going to be the issue here.

BLACKWELL: Brent, bump stock, rubber band, no difference there? Your thoughts.

BUDOWSKY: I think bump stocks will pass. I agree with most Americans.

Yes, Victor, real quick. You said something that was profound a few minutes ago that there is a new day that this is a great moment.

[08:35:02] I just want to say that the young people, the students in Florida and around the country who are backing them are changing America, changing the world, changing the politics. And I'm going to have a column in "The Hill" next week calling for those students and students around the world to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because they are teaching their elders a lesson about freedom and democracy, and right and wrong, and protecting Michael's young daughter and all the other young daughters and sons all over America.

These kids make America proud, they make America great. They are the future of America whether they're fighting for protecting their kids who are being murdered in schools here or for democracy in China and Russia. I hope that somebody out there will nominate them for the Nobel Peace Prize and if you do, let me know and I'll put you at the top of my column next week and make you a star.

BLACKWELL: But let me get your reaction to something we heard from Wayne LaPierre of the NRA. He said that the people who are politicians, specifically, some of them he called -- the ones who are calling for stricter gun controls and background checks, he said they, quote, "hate individual freedom."

BUDOWSKY: They embody the best of the individual freedom. He also said that they're socialists. And if you look at the companies one after another lining up to take a stand against the NRA's position, that's capitalism where I come from, not socialism and that's democracy. These students are changing the world by giving a model, and they are

the role model and the teachers to the grownups. And you know, Michael can advocate what he wants. His is the voice of the past. The students are the voice of the future and God bless them and it's an honor to be on CNN and write columns in "The Hill" newspaper backing them to the hilt.

BLACKWELL: Senator, let me ask you about those comments from Wayne LaPierre. Do you believe the people who are criticizing the NRA, who are calling for stronger gun controls and background checks, and to get stricter on guns hate individual freedom?

WILLIAMS: No, and first of all, if I can just make a comment about what Brent said whenever he is going to nominate some of these young high school students. I hope that he listens to all the students and not just those that back his views because I've also had many students out there that support our plan to train and to arm teachers so that they can be protected when they are in school.

And as far as LaPierre's comments, I believe that all Americans appreciate the Second Amendment and we need to do more to protect the Second Amendment, make sure that we can protect ourselves because again we saw in Florida where there were those that were supposed to protect us, the sheriff's deputies, they were hiding behind cars. We need to arm our teachers to make sure that they can protect themselves and the children when those they rely on are too scared, too.

BLACKWELL: So that -- I've read your plan, at least what you posted on your Facebook page to protect schools. It does not require teachers in these schools to carry weapons if they don't want to, right?

WILLIAMS: That's absolutely correct. It does not force any teacher to have a firearm. It only allows those who want to and it only goes a step further to make sure that they are properly trained. They have to go through same training --

BLACKWELL: OK.

WILLIAMS: -- that a law enforcement officer would go through.

BLACKWELL: So if these school -- if these teachers don't want the liability, they are afraid they're going to do the wrong thing, they don't want to carry a gun, what then? What for those schools where you won't find the 10 percent of teachers who want to carry a weapon? What's your plan to protect those students?

WILLIAMS: Well, again, when you go through the plan, that's just one part of it, protecting the inside. The other part is to have armed guards, plain clothed police officers at all the entrances where the doors are unlocked. So we need to protect the perimeter of the school, as well as the inside of the school.

BLACKWELL: How are you going to pay for that?

WILLIAMS: The state and again I can go on and on about our state budget. It's gone from $15 billion to $26 billion in just eight years.

BLACKWELL: Yes, $15 billion, it's $26 billion, and you want to find money to put plain clothed officer at every door, at every public school across the state?

WILLIAMS: The value of my child and every other child's life, we can't put a number on that. And we have to protect our schools and we --

BLACKWELL: But you're going to have to.

WILLIAMS: Excuse me?

BLACKWELL: You're going to have to put a number on it. These people need to be paid.

WILLIAMS: Yes. No. Exactly. And whatever that number is it's worth it to me to protect our children. I mean, again, we relied upon law officers that were trained to come in and to save these kids and they were hiding behind their cars. We have to make sure that our schools are protected from the inside.

BLACKWELL: All right. OK. Senator Michael Williams, Brent Budowsky, thank you both.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

PAUL: Well, the president is imposing the strongest sanctions yet on North Korea. And he is doing so simultaneously as his daughter Ivanka is in South Korea for the closing ceremonies at the Winter Olympics. We're going to take you to Pyeongchang next.

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[08:44:00] PAUL: Forty-three minutes past the hour right now. New sexual misconduct claims this morning. The International Committee of the Red Cross said 21 members of their staff have been dismissed or have resigned after they, quote, paid for sexual services. The cases apparently date back to 2015.

BLACKWELL: The Red Cross put out a statement. Here's part of it. "This behavior is a betrayal of the people in the communities. We are there to serve. It is against human dignity and we should have been more vigilant in preventing this. We are taking action to address this."

Now earlier this month the British aid agency Oxfam came under fire for a sex scandal involving its workers in Haiti.

PAUL: So let's talk about the president imposing the heaviest sanctions on North Korea to date which is all part of the administration's maximum pressure campaign to have the country abandon their nuclear weapons program.

BLACKWELL: Now we know that Ivanka Trump is in South Korea ahead of the closing ceremony for the Winter Olympic Games. CNN international correspondent Will Ripley is in Pyeongchang, South

Korea with more details.

Will, good morning.

[08:45:02] WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Victor and Christi. Yes, Ivanka Trump really has a two-phase mission here on the ground in Pyeongchang. One, we saw in the photos today, in the bright red ski suit cheering on U.S. athletes, smiling, taking photos, showing a friendly side of the Trump administration. She'll be attending the closing ceremonies tomorrow along with the high-ranking North Korea delegation who'll arrived here tomorrow local time.

But her other and perhaps more significant duty in the capacity as senior adviser to President Trump was to brief South Korean officials on the United States approach when it comes to North Korea. And she spoke with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in at the Blue House before the announcement of this new round of as you mentioned the heaviest sanctions ever against North Korea targeting some 56 shipping companies and entities that are believed to be involved in these illicit sea-to-sea transfers of raw materials as North Korea sells to make money for its nuclear program.

North Korea gets around sanctions and they have for years by flying their -- sailing their ships out to the high seas, places where they think that nobody is watching and then other ships from other countries, for example, China or Russia, will come. They'll transfer the materials ship-to-ship in the middle of the ocean and then those ships will then go and sell the materials and not disclose that they're from North Korea.

These sanctions now designed to basically say all eyes of the United States are on basically every North Korean ship that's operating right now that the United States knows of. And they're threatening any companies or entities that do business with North Korea that they will be sanctioned as well, potentially their banks and financial institutions will also be sanctioned.

This is basically a full-on economic assault using the economic firepower of the United States to try to stop Kim Jong-un from developing nuclear weapons. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders spoke on the ground here in Pyeongchang about this maximum pressure campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president's been very clear, he's not going to broadcast exactly what his plans are. We're going to continue a campaign of maximum pressure. The latest sanctions are the strongest that we have had on North Korea. We're going to continue in that form. And hopefully we'll see a change on behalf of the North Koreans to start to denuclearize the peninsula. That's what our focus is.

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RIPLEY: Speaking in Washington, President Trump said if North Korea does not change their activities, if they continue to move closer to developing this first strike nuclear capability, then the president said the U.S. may be forced to move to phase two, saying that would not be good for the world. Phase two many believe would be the possibility of a military option, something that GOP Senator James (INAUDIBLE) was speaking at the Munich Security Conference last week said it would be an event of really catastrophic proportions in terms of the number of lives lost, biblical proportions is the way he put it.

So clearly, the United States, whether this is bluster or whether this is a serious threat, they're saying they're going to turn up the maximum pressure economically and diplomatically for now, but still very much not ruling out that military option if Kim Jong-un keeps developing nuclear weapons.

By the way, Victor and Christi, North Korea and state media just yesterday put out an article saying they absolutely will never give up their nukes despite sanctions or a military option. So clearly they are digging in their heels and we just have to wait and see what happens after the Olympics wrap up.

PAUL: Yes. No doubt about it. Will Ripley, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Misery in the Midwest. You've got severe flooding shutting down schools, the highways. I mean, look at these. And there is more rain on the way.

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[08:50:30] PAUL: So in today's "Heartbeat," Elizabeth Cohen lists the top foods to limit cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

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ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Avoid eating in the processed food aisle if you want a healthy heart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Consider starting in the produce section where you will find plenty of fruits and vegetables.

COHEN: Dark leafy greens, beets, broccoli, blueberries and unsalted seeds like pistachios are full of minerals that reduce blood pressure. Eggplant, okra, pears, apple and citrus fruits are high in soluble fiber which can lower cholesterol. So are beans and lentils, and of course oatmeal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Make sure to choose low-fat dairy products to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet.

COHEN: Add oily fish such as salmon, trout, albacore tuna and mackerel to your diet twice a week.

MEGAN MCCARTHY, CHEF: So we need to get fatty fish into our everyday eating lifestyle. Salmon is not only delicious, but it's full of Omega 3 which is really good for a healthy heart.

COHEN: And of course limit your salt intake.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Consider using some herbs and spices as well as fresh lemon and vinegar to add some flavor to your meals.

COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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PAUL: All right. Our friends from Texas to Ohio, my goodness, the severe weather, the tornadoes, the hail possible. It's crazy.

BLACKWELL: Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is in the CNN Weather Center and we just really feel bad for those folks.

PAUL: We really do.

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PAUL: All right. Allison Chinchar, hey, thank you so much and listen to this next story because I think you'll be interested in it.

[08:55:04] Talking about this woman, she's just relaxing in a recliner. And she says she was attacked and boy, did she fight back.

BLACKWELL: So this was an elderly woman in Oregon. She claims her male roommate tried to kill her because he didn't want to pay half of the electric bill.

PAUL: She is 74 years old and she said he tried to suffocate her with a plastic bag, started punching her and that's when she went for the -- the prize.

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CHARLOTTE SIMON, ACCUSED ROOMMATE OF ATTACK: That's when I reached for his gonads, and I just squeezed them as hard as I could. If I had a -- if I had a pair of cutter, he wouldn't be wearing them today, he'd have been at the hospital.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: See? The power of women. Girl power. And --

BLACKWELL: Wait a minute.

PAUL: We just keep getting more feisty as we get older.

BLACKWELL: Wait a minute. I just like the feminist as everybody but this is the girl power story?

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKWELL: This is the one?

PAUL: She is 74 years old and by the way, he is in custody. She used her life alert to contact police.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: Just saying. All right.

BLACKWELL: We'll be back at 10:00 for an hour of NEWSROOM. Join us then.

PAUL: Don't go anywhere. "SMERCONISH" will be starting with you after a short break.

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