Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Breaks From NRA On Gun-Buying Age For Assault Rifles; NRA Slams "Cowardice" Of Companies Cutting Ties; West Virginia Teachers And Staff Walk Out Over Pay; North Korea Willing To Talk To U.S. South Korea Says; Trump Announces New North Korea Sanctions. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired February 25, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD. CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in New York today.
It's been nearly two weeks since the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida and since more questions than answers as pressure mounts on Washington to do something to prevent another tragedy like this from happening. Congress will get back to work tomorrow on Capitol Hill. And students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school also set to return this week as classes resume on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a brand-new CNN poll showing President Trump's approval rating matching the lowest level of his presidency. The same poll also reveals a dramatic rise in support for tighter gun laws following the Parkland, Florida massacre. And support for stricter gun laws now stands at 70 percent. That is the highest level in 25 years. Next hour Stoneman Douglas high school hosts an open house for students and parents.
Also, new questions surfacing over the multiple red flags missed along with the immediate response in Florida. Coral Springs sources say that when their city's police officers arrived, they found not just the school resource officer but three other Broward county sheriff's deputies who had not yet entered the school. Broward County sheriff Scott Israel denied those reports today on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, STATE OF THE UNION: I'm also told by sources in Coral Springs that Coral Springs police who arrived at the scene saw that three other Broward deputies were standing behind cars, not having gone into the building. What can you tell me about that?
SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: Well, let me be perfectly clear. Our investigation to this point shows that during this horrific attack while this killer was inside the school, there was only one law enforcement person, period. And that was our former deputy Scott Peterson. Coral Springs arrived, a group of Coral Springs officers went in within I think about four minutes, we are projecting, after the killer left the campus. I understand that they are going to give statements to us regarding the other three, four, five deputies. At this point we have no reason to believe that anyone acted incorrectly or correctly. That's what an investigation is. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but nobody is entitled to
their own set of facts. We do know, Jake, that deputy Peterson at the time uttered -- he disseminated information over the police radio. We don't know why those -- what those deputies heard. Perhaps they did something by what they heard from Peterson, and that will be, you know, outlined in interviews. We'll get to the truth. But at this point one deputy was remiss, dereliction of duty, and he's now no longer with this agency.
TAPPER: You are saying that because during the time that this shooter was in the school, you say Peterson was the only one there. But that's not - that wasn't known at the time. You know that now because of security cameras. You saw when he left the school. This is after the fact. But when did your deputies, not Peterson but the others, when did they arrive on the scene? Because Coral Springs sources say when Coral Springs police arrived, there were Broward deputies there in addition to Peterson.
ISRAEL: And I don't dispute that, but that is an active investigation. We have not taken statements yet from the Coral Springs officers. We found out, I believe, five or six days ago from their police chief that he told one of our colonels about the information. We are going to be taking statements from those Coral Springs police officers. We then are going to be speaking with our deputies if any deputies are alleged to have dereliction of duty, we will look into that.
We don't know what deputies heard on the radio. Coral Springs and the Broward sheriff's office, we have different radio systems. So we don't know what one was hearing vis-a-vis what the other was hearing. All I could tell you is we will investigate every action of our deputies, of their supervisors, and if they did things right, we'll move forward. And if they did things wrong, I will take care of business in a disciplinary manner like I did with Peterson.
TAPPER: Just so people watching at home understand, even after the shooter left the school, there was a period of time where nobody was going into the school, no law enforcement officers, people were bleeding out. Nobody knew that the shooter had left the school, so officers need to go in. One of the things that we have heard, and I don't know if this is true or not, I can hope you can shed some light on it, is that there might have been a stand-down order. Somebody on the radio telling Broward deputies not to enter the school until a SWAT team arrived. What can you tell us about that?
[14:05:13] ISRAEL: I can't tell you anything about that. I haven't heard that. As I said, we feverishly are dissecting. It's a voluminous investigation. We are taking hundreds and hundreds of statements. And right now, Jake, the focus of this agency is on the successful prosecution of the killer. So, we are doing that. Our detectives have worked tirelessly. We will investigate all aspects of this case. We will look at all the actions or inactions of every single deputy and leader on our agency. Sergeants, lieutenants, captains and we will make some decisions.
But right now, all I can tell you is, during the killing, there was -- while the killer was on campus with this horrific killing, there was one deputy, one armed person within the proximity of that school, and that was Peterson.
TAPPER: Eighteen calls were made to the Broward county sheriff's office related to the shooter prior to the shooting. Let's talk about them.
In February 2016, your office received a call that the shooter made a threat on Instagram to shoot up a school. One of your deputies responded, and according to your records released, the information was forwarded to deputy Peterson at the school. What, if anything, was done with that information?
ISRAEL: I'm not sure if anything was done with that information. I do know as far as notifying the person or notifying either Palm Beach sheriff's office or one of the local jurisdictions, depending on where the killer was living at the time. But Peterson did, I think, report Cruz to DCF, if I'm not mistaken. He did receive medicine. He did get medical treatment. And as I said, of those 18 calls, two of those calls are being -- 16 of them, we believe, were handled exactly the way they should. Two of them we are not sure if our deputies did everything they could have or should have. That's not to say they didn't, that's not to say they did.
TAPPER: Are you really not taking any responsibility for the multiple red flags that were brought to the attention of the Broward sheriff's office about this shooter before the incident, whether it was people near him, close to him, calling the police on him --
ISRAEL: Jake, I can only take responsibility for what I knew about. I exercised my due diligence, I've given amazing leadership to this agency --
TAPPER: Amazing leadership?
ISRAEL: Yes, Jake. There is a lot of things we have done throughout. You don't measure a person's leadership by a deputy not going into -- these deputies received the training they needed --
TAPPER: Maybe you measure somebody's leadership by whether or not they protect the community. In this case you have listed 23 incidents before the shooting involving the shooter and still nothing was done to keep guns out of his hands, to make sure that the school was protected to make sure you were keeping an eye on him. Your deputy at the school failed. I don't understand how you can sit there and claim amazing leadership.
ISRAEL: Jake, on 16 of those cases, our deputies did everything right. Our deputies have done amazing things. We have taken this -- five years I have been sheriff, we have taken the Broward sheriff's office to a new level. I work with some of the bravest people I have ever met. One person -- at this point one person didn't do what he should have done. It's horrific. The victims here, the families, I pray for them every night. It makes me sick to my stomach that we had a deputy that didn't go in. Because I know if I was there, if I was on that wall, I would have been the first in, along with so many of the other people.
TAPPER: We have Florida state representative Bill Hager from Boca sent a letter to the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, yesterday asking them to remove you for negligence of duty and incompetence.
Here is what he wrote. Quote "an investigation by sheriff Israel into the unfathomable inaction of these deputies will do nothing to bring back the 17 victims. The sheriff was fully aware of the threat this individual presented to his community and chose to ignore it?"
What's your response? And will you resign?
ISRAEL: It was a shame - of course, I will not resign. It was a shameful letter. It was politically motivated. I never met that man. He doesn't know anything about me. And the letter was full of misinformation.
I wrote a letter back to the governor. I talked about all the mistakes that Hager made in his letter. It was a shamefully, politically motivated letter that had no facts. And, of course, I won't resign.
TAPPER: The last question, sir. Do you think that if the Broward sheriff's office had done things differently, this shooting might not have happened?
ISRAEL: Listen, if ifs and butts were candy and nuts, you know, O.J. Simpson would still be in the record books.
[14:10:04] TAPPER: I don't know what that means. There's 17 dead people and a whole long list of things your department could have done differently.
ISRAEL: Listen. That's what after action reports. That's what lessons learned reports are for. I have entered into a conversation with Chuck Wechsler of the police executive research forum. They will be coming to town to do an independent after-action lessons-learned report. We understand everything wasn't done perfectly. And if it happened in Los Angeles or Chicago or any of the city, every person wouldn't have performed perfectly. That's not what happens.
Yes, if Scott Peterson went into - do I believe that Scott Peterson went into that building, there was a chance he could have neutralized the killer and saved lives? Yes, I believe that. But as far as anything else done at this point, I can't say that.
WHITFIELD: All right, that interview of Scott Israel, the sheriff of Broward county this morning with Jake Tapper. Lots to talk about here.
CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano is with me now.
So James, let's talk about the police response to this shooting. Israel says as far as he knew, there was one officer there. But unclear why he even said in his interview with Jake that he didn't never learn why that officer didn't go in. What strikes you with this interview?
JAMED GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: First of all, Fred, kudos to Jake Tapper. I watched that full interview this morning and Jake tested power.
I understand the sheriff is in the tough position. I understand he runs a large department. And to say well, the activity or the inaction of one person -- it goes back to the culture, the leadership culture. And I'm sorry, the book of Proverbs, pride goat (ph) before the fall. I listened to the sheriff deflect all those questions and not take responsibility for this. It was one deputy there that did not enter and go to the sound of the guns. And Fred, what we have learned post-Columbine, April of 1999, in the tactile resolution business of which I was a member for 25 years, you go to the sound of the guns. You don't wait any longer for a homogeneous group of folks to get there. You put together whoever you have and you go and try to interdict the killing. That didn't happen here.
WHITFIELD: He says as far as he knows, there was not a stand-down type of order that might have come. If there were a stand-down order and that would explain why officers didn't go in, who would that come from?
GAGLIANO: Well, it depends. It could come from -- at that level -- again, the sheriff is elected, OK. So, it's one of the few law enforcement positions where you are actually elected. You are not appointed. In this instance, it could have been a sergeant or lieutenant. They are going to get to the bottom of that. And I think that's a distraction because that school resource officer - now listen, school resource officers, I'm certainly not going to malign all of them. Generally speaking, those aren't your most aggressive -- those aren't folks out there making arrests on the street. Those are folks who are generally speaking, generally speaking, toward the end of their career close to retirement or want a job that's 8:00 to 3:00 where there's not a lot of action.
I don't know this school resource officer. The fact he had a bullet- proof vest on and, the fact that he was loaded with a sidearm, and I don't care if that didn't equate to an AR-15. He should have gone in there when he heard the first shots and confronted that's gunman, he didn't. That's dereliction of duty.
WHITFIELD: And that's exactly what the sheriff is saying. He said dereliction of duty. That's why he is not here. But there are a lot of gaps in the sequence of events based on the explanation that we heard from the sheriff.
What's missing or what is peculiar about the sequence that he unraveled there that strikes you as, you know, troubling about the events of response to what was happening there?
GAGLIANO: Everyone is entitled to due process. In our system of justice, this deputy is entitled to due process. The sheriff has already come out on record, though, and said this individual did not do what he was supposed to do. The sheriff appeared last week at a CNN town hall which was widely watched. All of us watched it. And the pious sanctimony there when he had to know. When Jake pressed him on this on the "STATE OF THE UNION," he had to know that one of his deputies and maybe others failed to do their duty.
WHITFIELD: He said he new a little bit but he didn't know the full picture and that is why it would following the town hall that he would make that public. You don't buy that?
GAGLIANO: Fred, the channel might own inner Emma Gonzalez --.
WHITFIELD: But that would that have been the forum in which to reveal that, though?
GAGLIANO: His argument was he didn't get a chance to reach out to all the family members. Then you don't take the pious sanctimonious position that he did. And Emma Gonzalez, one of the brave students who - I was on location down in Parkland, Florida with during the aftermath of this, said we B.S. As a formal law enforcement professional, I call B.S. on that. That's a point where you step back and you don't stick your neck out in a pious, sanctimonious way.
If you think we suspect that there might have been failings inside your own institution. And listen, we are not without deal, the FBI made some clear mistakes in this. Director Wray has come out already and said we made some mistakes and we need to get to the bottom of this. But call it what it is, sheriff. Don't get out there be pious sanctimonious when you know that your department didn't act the way they were supposed to do.
[14:15:19] WHITFIELD: So, should Israel be removed for negligence of duty?
GAGLIANO: We live in a country where the people elect their elected official. The sheriff is an elected person. If I was him, I would resign tomorrow. First thing in the morning.
However, the people will speak. And if they want to keep him in office and he elects not to resign, hopefully the next legislation cycle, he gets removed.
WHITFIELD: That was the language in the letter that was sent to the governor, negligence, you know, of duty and incompetence.
Do you think he should step down? Was he negligent? Was he incompetent?
GAGLIANO: I believe the sheriff and the sheriff says that if I had been there on seen, I would have elected to go in. I'm not questioning his courage. I'm not questioning his bravery. And as he said, the vast majority folks in the Broward County sheriff's department are brave folks. The men and women at the department. What that one deputy did was unconscionable. And unfortunately, when you are the face, when you are the culture, he established a culture in that organization, and one of your deputies did not do anything to interdict 17 lost souls, young children. I'm sorry, the buck stops here, Harry Truman.
WHITFIELD: All right. James Gagliano, we will leave it right here. Thanks so much.
All right. Still ahead, accountability in Parkland. Sheriff Israel says he is not stepping down. This after a Florida representative is calling on his governor to remove the Broward county sheriff. I will speak with that state representative next hour.
[14:20:52] WHITFIELD: After weeks of back and forth, the House intelligence committee finally releases a memo refuting claims of the FBI overreaching. The newly redacted memo was penned by the committee's top Democrat, Adam Schiff. It disputes claims by the committee's chairman Republican Devin Nunes. Specifically, it lays out how the FBI did not hide known political ties to the infamous Steele dossier of then-candidate Donald Trump and Russia. The Nunes memo sought to undermine the legitimacy of a FISA warrant that the FBI obtained to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and claimed political bias by the FBI. That was in the Nunes memo. This morning congressman Adam Schiff denied that assertion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: The information that was used in part in the FISA application came from a trusted source, Christopher Steele, someone who is a respected member of British intelligence, and it was part of a full package that was presented to the FISA court and it would have been negligent, frankly, given what the FBI knew about Carter Page, the history that he had, the fact he had been a target of Russian recruitment even prior to this, the fact they went out and interviewed him in March, even before Christopher Steele produced any part of the so-called dossier that they were acting in good faith and disclosed to the FISA court that those who were funding Christopher Steele's work likely had a political motivation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, speaking in an interview last night, President Trump seemed to downplay this new Democratic response and then took aim at its author.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, all you do is you see this Adam Schiff. He has a meeting and he leaves the meeting and he calls up reporters, and then all of a sudden they have news and you're not supposed to do that. It's probably illegal to do it. You know, he will have a committee meeting and he will leak all sorts of information. You know, he is a bad guy. But it is certainly the memo was a nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Joining me now to unravel all of this, if possible, CNN political analyst Amie Parnes and CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz.
All right. Shimon, you first. The President right there calling the memo nothing. Is it nothing?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: No. I mean, it is actually a pretty big deal. Certainly, when you have any time, you have this kind of information made public, it is a big deal. Look, the Republican memo was a big deal. This is a big deal, too.
With this memo, we get a fuller picture. We get a better look inside the process by which the FBI under went to get this FISA. It's extremely secretive. And so it is understandable that the FBI would have been opposed to any of this coming out. But with the democratic memo what we learned is that there was a lot of other information beside the dossier that the FBI had when they went to the FISA court. You know, this was a FISA that was approved by four judges. The FBI had independent information outside the dossier that they supplied to the court.
And also, what we learned and I thought that this was a pretty big deal, that the FBI opened sub-inquiries into a number of Trump campaign associates. So while all this was going on, the FBI was also looking at other Trump associates in this collusion investigation.
WHITFIELD: And after the memo was released, President Trump, you know, lashed out on twitter, calling the Democrats' memo a quote "total political and legal bust" and saying it's, quote "so illegal." So Shimon, is this an issue of legality?
PROKUPECZ: No. If you talk to anyone at the FBI who has been looking at this, has been dealing with this. They will tell you this is all about politics. It's why the Republican memo was put out there. Certainly, people there at the FBI, investigators, people in the intelligence community felt it was out there to discredit some of the work that the FBI was doing on the Russia investigation, and now which is now in the hands of Bob Mueller and his team and the FBI agents that are working there. So whether, it's a legality issue or not, everyone sees this for what it is, and it's all political.
[14:25:02] WHITFIELD: So we have heard congressman Schiff defend the release of the memo. But the President in one tweet calling the congressman a quote "total phony" to which the congressman responded, wait a minute, Mr. President. Am I phony or sleazy, a monster or little? Surely you know the key to a good playground nickname is consistency. I thought you were supposed to be good at this.
So Amy, you know, this kind of fight via twitter it doesn't at all interrupt the Mueller probe, because really that's the big backdrop in all of this, isn't it?
AMIE PARNES, CNNN POLITIAL ANALYST: Right. It really is. I mean, what's interesting about this is people are kind of taking sides here, either you're on this side or that side. But the Mueller probe, that train is going and it's gone. And Mueller keeps chipping away, chip, chip, chip, at various elements. And you know, you have Rick Gates now coming out and how that will play out if he will actually help turn Paul Manafort. If he will lead to other officials. He was in touch with campaign officials all along the entire campaign. So what he knows is really valuable to the Mueller team. And clearly, something is brewing there. And I think we will find out pretty soon what it is.
WHITFIELD: And now not that you are a psychologist here, but when the President lashes out like this as a result to the release of the memo after all of this time in contrast to the immediate release of the Republican memo is an indicator, perhaps, that the President is a bit worried?
PARNES: I think so. I think, you know, the White House officially is saying, we are not worried. There is no collusion here. There's nothing to see here. But I think, you know, the fact that Mueller does, you know, keep, you know, finding these things and, you know, bringing Gates on board and doing every day, there is something else, there's another drop in the water. And so, I think that has to be worrisome to a lot of Trump campaign officials and White House officials right now, you know, as this kind of dark cloud looms over them and they are not able to push through it.
WHITFIELD: Amy Parnes, thanks so much. Shimon Prokupecz, appreciate it.
All right. Coming up, more than a dozen companies are cutting ties with the NRA in the wake of the Florida school shooting. So what effect will this have on the gun lobby? And lawmakers heading back to Congress this week.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome back. At the top of the hour now, now the doors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will now open to survivors and their parents. Classes officially resume on Wednesday. That deadly shooting is now forcing the gun control debate to take center stage and President Trump is breaking from the National Rifle Association on a key value.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (via telephone): Perhaps we'll do something, you know, on age, because it doesn't seem to make sense that you have to wait until you're 21 years old to get a pistol, but to get a gun like this maniac used in the school, you get that at 18. That doesn't make sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. So, raising the age limit. Now listen to NRA spokeswoman, Dana Loesch's response to those comments this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wants to raise that minimum age. Will the NRA back that?
DANA LOESCH, SPOKESWOMAN, NRA: The NRA has made their position incredibly clear, the 5 million members of the NRA have made their position incredibly clear and I do --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a no.
LOESCH: Well, I do want to caution because I know people are trying to find daylight between President Trump and 5 million law abiding gun-owners and law-abiding gun owners all cross the United States. These are just things that he's discussing right now. I think it's great as president he had all of these individuals, all of these constituents come into the White House.
He had this listening session. He's really looking for solutions. He wanted to hear what they had to say and that's what he's doing. So far nothing has been proposed yet, the NRA has made their position clear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's make it clear you do not want to raise the age?
LOESCH: That's what the NRA came out and said, that's correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And now the NRA is defending itself after intense pushback from corporate America. Many major companies are cutting ties with the organization after customers put on pressure. The NRA releasing a statement saying in part, "Some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice."
And the statement continues to say, "The loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the individual freedoms that have always made America the greatest nation in the world," end quote.
Joining me right now, business columnist for the "L.A. Times," Michael Hiltzik. So, Michael, good to see you. Will these companies withdrawing their partnership have any impact on the NRA?
MICHAEL HILTZIK, BUSINESS COLUMNIST, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, I think it certainly shows that there's a reputational problem for a lot of these companies to be associated with the NRA as the NRA said these are discounts that a lot of companies have given for NRA membership discounts on hotels, rental cars, co-branded credit cards, that sort of thing.
So, these are benefits for NRA membership that are not going to be available anymore. It's not going to affect the NRA's own finances because most of the corporate contributions the NRA gets are from gun manufacturers and they're not quite at the stage where they're baling out on this organization quite yet.
WHITFIELD: All right. So, often money the bottom line makes an impact. But as you said, members would not be able to benefit from a discount from any number of those companies by virtue of being an NRA member. So, how do you see these corporations making an impact then?
[14:35:03] HILTZIK: Well, I think in the past a lot of these corporations have made the calculation that it's worth having access to NRA members in the same way that some hotels would give discounts for being auto club members or being members of AARP.
They get a relationship with these members. It doesn't cost them much. It's usually a minor discount. But I think now a lot of companies are seeing that maybe it's more socially unacceptable to be associated with the National Rifle Association than it used to be.
And it's just not worth the trouble to have that association, so they're withdrawing these discounts. They're asking that their names be removed from the NRA membership, come-ons from the NRA website and they're going their own way. I think that really indicates that the NRA's standing among the public seems to be declining.
WHITFIELD: But the NRA says they'll just replace it with companies that are willing to associate themselves with the NRA. How easy will that be?
HILTZIK: Well, it's hard to say. I think we're seeing a lot of pushback on social media against companies that have these relationships or that are keeping these relationships while their competitors are removing them.
We see a lot of comments on Twitter and other social media. Federal Express, for example, is getting a lot of criticism for not ending its relationship with the NRA, while UPS and other mail companies are pulling away.
So, I think every one of these companies is going to look at this and say, is it really worth the candle to maintain this relationship with this organization that's coming under fire, so to speak, from the public?
WHITFIELD: All right. Michael Hiltzik, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.
All right. Coming up, South Korea says the U.S. and North Korea should hold talks soon. This is both a North and South signal, their willingness to build a better relationship. What the Trump administration has to say about all of that, next.
WHITFIELD: Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in New York. Welcome this Sunday. Public schools across West Virginia are expected to be closed again tomorrow with teachers and other school employees on picket lines instead of in the classrooms.
(VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: They are chanting "55 united" at the state capitol building in Charleston, a reference to the state's 55 counties taking part in the strike.
CNN's Polo Sandoval joining us now from Charleston, West Virginia. So, Polo, this is a massive statewide strike. Bring us up to speed on it.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, this has been mounting pressure that teachers have been trying to put on state legislators and Governor Jim Justice as well. So far, the main argument here is that the state's teachers want better pay, they want better benefits, and also they've been protesting against what they believe is harmful legislation here.
So far, the governor has responded, recognizing in a statement that, yes, teachers are underpaid, particularly here in West Virginia that ranks 48 out of 50 when it comes to the salary of teachers. And so far, his response has been a pay increase that he signed last Wednesday, which was about 4 percent over the next three years.
But you hear from the teachers in their united call, and they say that is simply just not enough. Some teachers we've heard from have had to take up a second job just to try to make ends meet here. That is simply a concern here.
They've been out of class already for the last two school days and they're already planning, as you said, to be out of the classroom yet again tomorrow instead of planning to come here to the steps of the capitol in Charleston or perhaps protest in their communities.
So, what does this mean for the state's roughly 277,000 students? Well, they get to stay home so far. Yes, there have been preparations here, the unions have spoken out saying they even sent some of the kids home with food to be able to last out -- to be able to actually endure this protest that's picketing.
For the most part we have seen some support from parents for these teachers. This is simply an issue that both sides can agree on, that yes, it is a problem. The concern here or at least debate is about the solution, right?
Teachers want to see that increase in salary that has not happened since 2014, and they say unless they see that increase in their salary, then they just may not go back to class, at least not anytime soon.
Last bit of information, Fred, the last time this happened was back in 1990. This picketing lasted close to two weeks. The school board planned to take this up tomorrow and we could find out, will the teachers go back to class, or could they even face any legal action? Tomorrow we expect at least some answers.
WHITFIELD: All right. That's a lot. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much in Charleston. All right. Still, so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM. First, on eating your way to a healthy heart. In today's edition of "Heartbeat," CNN's Elizabeth Cohen lists the top foods to limit cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Avoid eating in the processed food aisle if you want a healthy heart.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Consider starting in the produce section where you'll find plenty of fruits and vegetables.
COHEN: Dark, leafy greens, beets, broccoli, blueberries and unsalted seeds like pistachios are full of minerals that help reduce blood pressure. Eggplant, okra, pears, apples 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.
[14:45:04] COHEN: Add oily fish such as salmon, trout, albacore tuna and mackerel to your diet twice a week.
MEGAN MCCARTHY, CHEF, HEALTHY EATING 101: So, we need to get fatty fish into our everyday eating lifestyle. Salmon is not only delicious, but it's full of omega-3's which is really good for a healthy heart.
COHEN: And of course, limit your salt intake.
MCCARTHY: 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 VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: North Korea signaling it is willing to hold talks with the U.S. The announcement coming today from South Korea's president as the Winter Olympic games come to a close. The North Korean delegation was sitting a row behind President Trump's daughter, Ivanka, who was leading the U.N. delegation at the closing ceremony.
She stood and clapped for the Korean teams, both North and South Korea, unlike Vice President Mike Pence at the opening ceremony, but the two delegations did not appear to interact.
The White House a short time ago issuing a statement saying, quote, "We will see if Pyongyang's message today that it is willing to hold talks represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization. In the meantime, the United States and the world must continue to make clear that North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are a dead end." CNN senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, joining us now from the South Korean capital of Seoul. So, Ivan, what can you tell us about this overture from the North Koreans?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're hearing about it, Fredricka, from the South Korean government, because South Korean president who is, of course, hosting the Olympics and hosting this North Korean delegation, they met in the Olympic city or town, village, rather, of PyeongChang hours before the closing ceremony.
It's such a small town, you have to wonder where you could have had a South Korean president and a North Korean official delegation holding these quite serious talks. The North Korean leader is a man named Kim Yong-Chol who has the position of being the vice chairman of the Party Central Committee.
Previously, he was essentially North Korea's spy chief accused of being involved in deadly attacks against South Korea. They had this meeting, and the South Korean government then put out a statement saying the North Koreans would be willing to pursue better engagement with South Korea and possibly develop some kind of engagement with the rest as well.
So, we're hearing this from the South Koreans, and we do know that at the beginning of the winter games when the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was leading the U.S. delegation, he had indicated that the U.S. was essentially open for some kind of meeting, and the North Koreans called it off at the last minute because they didn't like Pence's criticism of North Korea's human rights record.
So, we don't know yet, is it possible that the U.S. and North Korean delegations could have, in fact, met already or may be meeting in the hours ahead here alongside this closing ceremony -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And then, Ivan, this happening just as the president imposed the strongest sanctions yet on North Korea. Is there a direct correlation there?
WATSON: Not clear. Again, there seems to have been a missed opportunity just a few weeks ago at the beginning of the Olympic games. But yes, we've now since heard that the Trump administration has described this as the largest sanctions package ever against North Korea.
What it's really done is singled out dozens of companies and ships, one individual based in Taiwan, and there seems to be an effort on cracking down on ship-to-ship transfers of, in particular, coal or oil energy supplies, and it was also published images of what were allegedly ship-to-ship transfers.
So, what the U.S. government is alleging is that North Korea has been trying to circumvent United Nations sanction by transferring things a sea, and it published images of this, and it is trying to crack down further on that. What hasn't been made clear is whether or not military assets could be used to try to, for instance, stop some of these ships in the act, board some of these ships checked raise real issues if they happen to be Russian vessels or Chinese vessels or vessels from any other flag country.
That's something that the U.S. trade secretary doesn't seem to be clear on yet, whether military assets could be used on a crackdown of possible further sanction in sanctioning -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Ivan Watson, thank you so much. We'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: Tonight, don't miss an all-new episode of the CNN original series "The Radical Story Of Patty Hearst." Here's a sneak peek.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no doubt that that's where they were targeting. The by-product of those bombs were other people would be killed, too. Completely innocent people. But what separated them from other groups is the violence against people. They also did bombings, but they were aimed at property, not people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This group was not done. They had further intent to kill individuals and just create havoc.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: An all-new episode of "The Radical Story Of Patty Hearst" airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. right here on CNN.
Still much more straight ahead in the next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM and it all starts right now.
Hello, everyone. And thanks so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in New York today. Happening right now, doors are open today for teachers, students and parents at Stoneman Douglas High School --