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Sources: Pres. Trump Appears to be Backing Away from 21 Year Age Limit for Assault Weapon Purchases; Hope Hicks Expected Before House Intel Committee Tomorrow; Ivanka Trump's South Korea Trip Upset Some West Wing Officials; John Kelly Privately Irked by Ivanka Trump's Trip to the Olympics. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 26, 2018 - 21:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Well, topping this hour, breaking news on a proposal in the wake of the Parkland tragedy that the President himself called a great thing and common sense, raising the purchasing age for a rifle from 18 to 21. He said the National Rifle Association would go along with it and said he'd take them on if they didn't.

Then late last week, he stopped talking about it, and tonight sources close to discussions between the White House and Capitol Hill on gun control say it appears the President is backing away from that idea. Talking to governors at the White House today, he did not mention it. However, he did draw fire from Washington's Democratic governor about a proposal he is not backing away from, which is arming teachers. Listen.


GOV. JAY INSLEE, (D) WASHINGTON: I just think this is a circumstance where we need to listen, that educators should educate, and they should not be foisted upon this responsibility of packing heat in first grade classes. Now, I understand you have suggested this, and we suggest things and sometimes then we listen to people about it. Maybe they don't look so good a little later. So I just suggest we need a little less tweeting here, and a little more listening, and let's just take that off the table and move forward.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All right. Thank you very much. You know, we have a number of states right now that do that, and I think with that in mind, I'll call on Greg Abbott, the great governor of Texas. Greg?


COOPER: So that's on the table in this hour. Less tweeting, more listening. Governor Inslee joins us momentarily.

Also the breaking news, ahead this hour that after some delays, President Trump's communications director and long-time confidant Hope Hicks is heading to the Hill tomorrow, talking to the House Intelligence Committee. Also first daughter Ivanka Trump and what she's saying about the allegations from so many women against her dad. We begin with the breaking news on guns and the reaction to it. Joining us for that, Washington Governor Jay Inslee who confronted the President today.

Thanks very much for being with us. First of all, I'd like to get your thoughts on this idea that the President seems to be moving away from something he seemed to be embracing last Wednesday and Thursday, which is raising the age to buy an AR-15 style weapon or a long rifle to 21.

INSLEE: Well, this is a pattern. This is a pattern of sort of saying things and then backing away from them and then going the opposite direction. It's the art of the con and we've seen it many times from this president. It's most unfortunate.

The proposal to raise to 21 is just common sense. Look, to say that you can go buy on your 18th birthday, blow out the candles and then get a semi-automatic weapon and then put a bump stock on it and be fully automatic is just nuts.

COOPER: It's interesting because when the President was talking about this last Wednesday and Thursday, he was saying he was sure the NRA would get behind it. The NRA had already put out a statement saying categorically this is not something that they would ever be backing.

INSLEE: Well, I heard that he said this on a tweet, which is the way the President make policy. Then he goes to lunch with the NRA and, boom, he's back in the NRA camp. And I just think this is a movie we have seen before with his approach that unfortunately is much more impulsive. It is much more just sort of a spasmodic reaction on tweet than actually making policy because when you go out and listen on this issue, which I've seen today, when you listen to teachers they tell you categorically, about 5 million teachers in the organizations have spoken on this subject. They don't want to be -- have first grade teachers having to pack guns in the classroom.

COOPER: That does seem to be an issue that the President has now seems to be supporting, perhaps not coincidentally, it's also one that the NRA is supporting as well. I mean what is -- to those who say, well, look, if, you know, the answer to a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun, if there are -- you know, if it's a gun-free zone and nobody in the school has guns and, you know, the school police officer is outside or unwilling to come in, what's wrong with a teacher who is trained, a gym teacher who is trained having a weapon?

INSLEE: Several things. Number one, it's just the NRA line. This is the way they've stymied every common sense gun legislation so far and they've tied up Congress. It's a wholly owned subsidiary of the NRA right now. And their answer has always been to every problem, more guns, just more guns. And you just can't solve this problem everywhere, every time with more guns, number one.

Number two, this is where I think we need to listen to the people who are affected by this. And the people affected by this are guys like my dad, who was a biology teacher who was a good biology teacher, who had a 30 odd six, but he would tell you it would be ludicrous to carry around guns in Self High School or Garfield High School. And my brother-in-law, who is a retired teacher at Eastmont High School in Wenatchee, rural area, lots of hunters, but those folks do not want their first grade teachers carrying a glock on their hip because their job is to educate.

Look, they need more pencils, less pistols in the classroom and we've got that challenge. Now, I heard the President say we'll just train these people up. Look, the law enforcement community is opposed to this as well because the law enforcement community knows weapons do have risks, and you'd have to train people for six months as a fully official, you know, police officer to really get adequate training. We need them in the classroom.

So this is one of these ideas that turned out to be a really, really poor idea, and I hope the President would listen and really back down on this.

COOPER: I mean certainly we saw his response, which his arms were crossed. He didn't seem all that pleased and then quickly moved on to the governor of Texas.

[21:05:01] I'm wondering what you've heard from other governors or folks you talked to, Republicans and Democrats, about the arming of teachers. Is that a discussion you had with other governors today?

INSLEE: Yes. There's some division. We heard some other voices in the room. But I would suggest that the politicians are not the experts on this. The experts are the people that we expect to train -- to teach our kids.

COOPER: Should it be left up to states?

INSLEE: I think that it should be left up to teachers by and large because they're the ones that are going to be in this situation. We call on them to have a close working relationship with people. We call on them to focus on studies rather than their firearms. We call on them on focusing on training to teach, not training to be, you know, a pistol-packing first grade teacher. And they're telling us this is just a nonsensical idea.

And when we ask so much from teachers -- and I guess, you know, I come from a family of teachers, so I have vast respect for them. Those are the voices we ought to be listening. This was kind of an ideological response, and it's consistent with the President's statement that, you know, he would be the hero. He said he would have rushed in to solve this problem had he been there, had he not even had a weapon, sort of this Rambo president. That's not a way. We've got to have thoughtful responses to this that will unify people, and you can't implement a policy like this if five million teachers are telling you it's a really bad idea.

COOPER: One of the other things we've heard from a lot of Republican politicians early on was about mental health and, you know, more abilities for families to do something to prevent people who may have mental health issues. Is that valid? INSLEE: Yes. In fact that was my first comment to the President today. I told him he ought to take a look at what Washington is doing. We have an extreme risk protection order system where family members who have a person who is a threat to themselves or others can petition to the court to have the law enforcement take the fire out of the home -- firearm out of the home. This has been very, very successful. It's a common sense measure. Of course the NRA opposed it, and we had to pass it by an initiative, and the people voted for it like 68% in almost every county, urban, rural, red and blue because it made sense.

By the way, this is a suicide issue too. Eighty percent of gun deaths are due to suicide, and this gives families, if you've got a depressed uncle, to get in there and remove that firearms to save their live. So I commended this to him. I hope that they will think about this. But, again, since the NRA is opposed to this, you probably should not have a lot of optimism that President Trump will be a hero on this and we'd like him to be, he hasn't been today.

COOPER: Governor Inslee, I appreciate your time.

INSLEE: Thank you.

COOPER: Thank you very much.

Stephen Moore is joining us as well.

Stephen, does it undermine the President's credibility that -- I mean if he reverses his position after finding himself at odds with the NRA on this issue of raising, you know, the age to 21, which is something he did embrace just last week?

STEPHEN MOORE, FORMER SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, I'm not in favor of raising the age to 21. And by the way, I'm kind of reasonable moderate when it comes to the gun issue, Anderson. I do think we should get creative and thinking about real solutions to this.

But, you know, one of the things I'd ask, you know, you and others on this panel, I would have asked the Governor is, look, if we allow people in this country to vote at the age of 18, 19, and 20, why shouldn't they be able to own a gun? And if the answer is because they're not responsible to own a gun, then you can make the case they're not responsible to vote. So that's the same thing with, you know, being in the military and so on.

I mean I think if we're going to treat 18-year-olds as adults in this country, then I don't think we should take the right of gun ownership away.

And on this issue that you're talking about, about arming teachers, I mean I'm not enthusiastic about that idea, but I do think we need to have more security obviously at the doors of the schools, and they need to be armed. I mean this idea that schools should be gun-free areas just isn't working. I mean it's making the kids sitting ducks. And one other thing, why don't we try, you know, putting -- you know, like when you go on a plane, they have sheriffs that are often there that you don't know who they are, why not at least allow some teachers, Anderson, who can responsibly use a gun, have a gun in case there is another situation like what we saw in Florida last week?

COOPER: Robby, I mean it was clear last week, either the NRA would have to blink on this raising the age or the President would have to blink. And it seems like if it still holds true that the President is going to blink.

ROBERT MOOK, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Oh, of course. And this was classic Donald Trump where he goes out and says one thing to try to, you know, appease maybe more moderate voters, seem like he's being thoughtful, and then he gets in a room with one of -- either one of his right -- you know, ultra right wing advisers or with the NRA, and, boom, he completely flipped his point of view.

And in fact, I think this teacher -- this whole idea of arming teachers, which is patently absurd, it's going to go nowhere. I feel sorry for the teachers because we're totally wasting their time on this.

MOORE: Even teachers that would -- might want this?

MOOK: It's -- it is a waste of time to even discuss this situation. It's never going to happen. You are never going to arm every teacher in America.

[21:10:00] MOORE: No. Not every teacher. I'm just saying some teachers.

MOOK: OK. So some kids are safe and others are less safe. It's absurd.



STODDARD: -- young people in our school system.

MOOK: But here's why we're doing -- here's why they're doing it. They want us to discuss arming teachers, which is absurd, so we don't talk about real things that we need to do, like banning some of these assault-style weapons, banning the bump stocks. That's what we should be talking about, but Donald Trump's got us over talking about an absurd idea that will never happen.

COOPER: Scott, is it an absurd idea?

SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes. I'm not for banning or confiscating any weapons. I'm also not for this arming of teachers. I've thought about it a lot. I have a son in school and three more coming along. And the prospect of putting ordinary average citizens who are not trained military or law enforcement, people in a gun battle in a hallway full of kids strikes me as not realistic.

They did studies on the NYPD. One year in close range gun battles, the NYPD highly trained officers only hit 17% of their shots --

COOPER: Right.

JENNINGS: -- and they're highly trained. And so expecting an average person to get into a gun battle I just don't think is -- we shouldn't put them in that position. Also I think we're answering the wrong question, do we want to win gun battles or do we want to prevent gun battles from happening, which is why I think the Republicans ought to get around some things here that wouldn't, in any way, erode the Second Amendment but would help move this debate along.

Bump Stocks are a no-brainer. John Cornyn's strengthening of the NICS background check system, no-brainer. Getting on top of the mental health issue apparently the shooter in Florida had had mental health issues but he didn't hit the no buy system because it wasn't involuntary. That could be strengthened. And then getting those things right there I think would move this debate forward and show our nation's children, adults can be trusted with their safety.

COOPER: Symone?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, look Anderson, I agree with Scott to a certain extent. I think there are bipartisan things like background checks. You know, there's the Thompson King bill that is on the table in Congress, in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Republicans are refusing to bring forward when over 97% of folks, including folks that are member of the NRA who are gun owners, believe in strengthening background checks and closing the guns loophole.

I am vehemently against arming teachers for a number of reasons. But post-Columbine, 10 over 10,000 law enforcement officials were injected in schools to "prevent" what happened and what we saw in Columbine. And what we saw with the criminalization of young people in our schools in the criminal justice system, to school (INAUDIBLE), which overwhelmingly and unfortunately affected black and brown kids in the system.

I am especially concerned about a teacher who can conceal and carry in a classroom that said they felt threatened by a young person of color, a young man of color in the classroom and then shoots a young person of color. And this is not something that is an anomaly. This is something we have seen. I'm also --

COOPER: Well, we've also seen studies where African-American kids are either expelled or suspended at higher rates than white counterpart.

SANDERS: Then white counterparts. But post-Columbine, what we've seen where students were previously maybe put into detention or other means they have now been arrested. And so these are young kids with records. I'm also concerned about folks such as Philando Castile.

Philando Castile was an employee of the Minneapolis of the school system in the state of Minnesota, who had a conceal and carry, who was a licensed gun owner, who was pulled over by a police officer who he happened to be African-American, and when he noticed that police officer that he was concealing and carrying, that he was license gun owner he was shot.

And so what about the teachers of color who are carrying, who are pulled over by police? I mean this is a real thing. Philando Castile was shot. The NRA didn't come out for him. So when people say that the NRA is here to protect gun owners, to support and advance the Second Amendment, what about Philando Castile?

COOPER: A.B., I mean there's a lot of people have hopes that there's some sort of groundswell of support you hear from these kids. But in truth, I mean on Capitol Hill, is there really some sort of groundswell?


STODDARD: No. As you've heard from Scott, who's a Republican, Robby is right. This idea of arming teachers is going nowhere. There's no appetite among Republicans for arming teachers, so we can move on to another topic. It would be somewhere in a really strong background check and President Trump keeps talking about comprehensive background checks, capital C, capital B, capital C and the Republicans on Capitol Hill have no idea what he's talking about.

COOPER: Well, he also talks about comprehensive immigration reform, which is a term that --


COOPER: -- a lot of Republicans --


COOPER: -- which he wouldn't use because he doesn't initially mean it in the way that is commonly used.

STODDAR: He has not spelled out for them what that means. They will not get out on a political limb in primary season for this president who doesn't stay on positions very long. They're not going to get behind reopening and funding mental institutions. They're not going to get behind arming teachers. It would be -- you can do fix NICS, which is the first step. The Democrats say is not enough.

It would be something like the Governor was talking about where you lose your right to have a firearm and it has taken out of your house if you're a danger to yourself or others. That's probably something the NRA is going to oppose. And so the Republicans will look at polling I think months from now, in early summer, once they're out of most of their primaries and are beyond the threat from the right and their party and they'll say, are enough new voters registering? Do these kids move and galvanize enough for the country that they had winds were already facing in the C election are just too much combined --


[21:15:02] STODDARD: -- and then they'll move.

COOPER: We got to take a quick break. We've got more on this next, including the President's claim that he would have rush the school, and without a weapon of his own, confronted the Parkland shooter.

Also more breaking news, we will preview Hope Hicks's expected appearance tomorrow before the House Intelligence Committee where person who has worked up close with President Trump, candidate Trump and citizen Trump might have to say ahead on "360".


COOPER: Well, he's obviously moving back from that. That's what a key Republican congressional source says the President is doing about his own proposal to raise the age for buying rifles to 21. He said he was for it last week, said the NRA would back it. Well, it doesn't. And now it appears that the President isn't.

He's backing away. We're told he didn't mention the age restriction at all today with the nation's governors. He did claim that unlike Broward County deputies he would have rushed in to Stoneman Douglas or said anybody -- nobody knows how they'd be tested but he thought he would rush in unarmed to confront the killer.


TRUMP: You know, I really believe, you don't know until you're tested but I think I really believe I'd run in there even if I didn't have a weapon. And I think most of the people in this room would have done that too because I know most of you. But the way they performed was really a disgrace.


COOPER: A.B., I saw you shaking your head.

STODDARD: I can't even go there. I mean none of us know --

COOPER: Right.

STODDARD: -- what it would be like in that situation. He has very strong consternation for this person who failed in his role as an SRO and didn't come into the building. There are other --


STODDARD: Yes. No, no, no. There are other -- there were systemic failures at the local, state, and federal level, and that is a completely separate issue from the fact that there's a real fervor for some kind of new gun controls that has to be dealt with.

[21:20:12] It can't be -- it is not the solution to prevent someone who doesn't have something in their background, who didn't have 39 calls to the local sheriff's department and didn't display all the signs of being disturbed.

Obviously, you know, it's -- we need to look at both the system that failed here as well as what could prevent things like someone raining fire down at a concert.

MOORE: -- under a little bit of assault.

STODDARD: Really, who?

MOORE: On this issue about gun, you know, gun-free school zones. And, you know, I've heard this on other networks that, you know, CNN is not a gun-free zone. There's security to get in this building. There's security to get in, you know, most office buildings in New York. Why shouldn't there be much stricter security with people with guns?

SANDERS: Because these are our kids.

MOORE: I know, but that's especially --

SANDERS: These are our kids, and so what I'm saying is --

MOORE: -- that's especially why we need --

SANDERS: Look, I think this is a bunch of B.S. that a good guy with a gun is the only thing that can stop a bad guy with the gun. The fact that matter is first the --


SANDERS: -- wasn't running in nowhere to stop anything --


MOORE: How do you stop a bad guy with a gun then?


SANDERS: But first of all, I think this was a -- we have to talk about banning, in my opinion, weapons of war in our everyday regular lives. Again, I'm from Nebraska.


SANDERS: I hunt turkeys, OK? Every turkey hunting season, I am out there that I can be.

MOORE: Right.

SANDERS: But I do not need a semi-automatic --

MOORE: I agree with you.


MOORE: I would be very open-minded to that. SANDERS: OK.


MOORE: So if we don't have, you know, the assault weapons, he's going to have a handgun.


MOORE: And who is going to stop him --

SANDERS: I'd like to make it just a little bit harder for people to commit mass shootings. So I do the argument -- I do hear the argument from you that --

COOPER: Robby?


MOORE: No security and no guns at schools, so it's making --

SANDERS: You know what, again, I am very concerned about the kids of color. But you just said that you'd be here for maybe banning semi- automatic --


COOPER: Robby, do you give the President any credit for saying sometimes you have to take on the NRA to the governors today?

MOOK: Here's the problem. I don't believe him. I mean, we just talked about this. All of his comments are so fleeting. So he'll say one thing one day and one thing the next.

You know, if I were a governor there today, I think what I would have said to the President is, we seem to have common ground on mental health. Why don't we pass a brand-new mental health bill for this country? Push the Republican Party to actually vote for comprehensive mental health care in this country. That is one thing that I think has been absolutely --

COOPER: Not just mental health as it relates to guns, you're saying?

MOOK: Yes, I don't think they're serious. I hate to say that, but I would certainly, if were in that room, I'd say, hey, we all seem to be talking about mental health all of a sudden. Why don't we fund that? You know, Rick Scott, when we're talking about Florida, he should be held accountable for the mental health system there that dropped this kid.

I mean, this kid was moving around the foster care system. It's a tragedy what happened to him. This is why I don't think the Republicans are serious. If they were, we would have a foster care and mental health bill ready to go and we don't. And I don't think we ever will because it cost money. MOORE: Oh, you're talking about giving the government a lot more money and the government completely screwed up in this instance. A lot of people are saying, wait a minute, we're going to continue to empower our government which failed at the FBI level at the --


MOORE: -- at the local level and now we respect --

COOPER: So, you're saying they shouldn't be moving on mental health?

MOORE: Look, we spend tens of billions of dollars on mental health. I'm not an expert on mental health --

COOPER: Right.

MOORE: -- so I can't really discuss that. Maybe we do need to spend money.

MOOK: So why do we need to --

MOORE: We spend a lot of money in.

MOOK: It's like we need to improve our mental health system. Our -- government doesn't work. Government can't do the mental health. What are you saying? We need to have private charities --

MOORE: I'm saying that's it's the idea that --

MOOK: I mean, that's an answer?

MOORE: -- all we have to do is spend more money and somehow it's going to make this problem go away. I think a lot of people --

MOOK: So what would your change to the mental health system be?

MOORE: Find better ways of -- look, we knew this person was mentally ill, right? We knew he was mentally ill.

MOOK: Yes.


MOORE: -- and the government did nothing about it.

JENNINGS: The issue is it wasn't involuntary. When you're involuntarily committed, federal law prohibits you from going on the no buy registry. This was all apparently voluntary mental health treatment which means he didn't go on the registry.

So what I would say is a quick solution here if you want to do something about mental health, the people like this shooter in Florida clearly had mental health issues even though it wasn't involuntary that guy ought to be on a registry. No question, I don't know if that takes money to do it, but it certainly seems like coming sense to me. MOOK: Yes But -- and, Scott, I completely agree with that. I guess, you know, what I'm taking issue with -- every time there's a school shooting, all of a sudden, we care about mental health.


SANDERS: But not Chicago be clear, Robby, because --


SANDERS: -- Chicago, no one is talking about the mental health state of the kids in Chicago.

MOOK: Right.

SANDERS: But they -- but Republican folks always want to bring up Chicago when we talk about gun violence. So if we're going to talk about mental health, you need to address it across the board.

MOOK: And think about the cost. Again, it's an absurd policy, arming teachers. Think of the cost of that.

[21:25:00] I mean, we're not being -- I guess what's so frustrating to me, we're not being serious. Let's put serious things on the table, let's debate them and let's have a vote. But it's like waiting for the NRA, waiting for a president who's never going to tell us what he really thinks. He's going to be all over the matters --


COOPER: Right. The very least training tens of thousands of teachers in active shooter scenarios, you know, beyond just in a shooting range, I mean you actually have to train them in a various, you know, vaguely realistic setting, that's just not going to happen.

SANDERS: It's not workable.


SANDERS: It's not workable, but also can we give the teachers school supplies? Can we provide them resources for that?

COOPER: We got to take a quick break. We continue a conversation among other things, about arming teachers. I'll speak with Ohio Governor John Kasich, a conservative Republican who of course ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, see how they do it in their state.


COOPER: Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich says the moment is right for at least some actions on gun control but whether Congress will actually act on anything meaningful, another question entirely. I spoke with the Governor earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Governor, you've been saying that when it comes to guns, the President needs to lead. Do you think his comments today about bump stocks and the NRA was a step in the right direction?

REP. JOHN KASICH, (R) OHIO: When -- there's no question. I mean, when he says that they're going to have to eliminate these bump stocks and for those that are watching, of course, that allows a semi to act like a fully automatic weapon -- that he'd write the order himself. If he follows through on that, it's fantastic.

And, you know, I mean, I think that's positive. As you know, Anderson, I'll come on sometimes and I'll criticize what he's doing. But in this case, he deserves credit for this and I hope he'll keep it up.

[21:29:58] COOPER: Let me ask you, in Ohio, you know, one of the things the President has talked about looking at is arming teachers, training them, allowing them to carry arms if they're trained. The law in Ohio, as I understand it, allows teachers to carry a firearm. And I believe you're an advocate for that.

I've talked to a number of teachers who -- a teacher from Columbine, a teacher from Parkland, a teacher from Sandy Hook as well, all of whom have said that they didn't think it should be a teacher's responsibility during a school shooting to both take care of students and also potentially go after a gunman, the potential for a student being caught in the crossfire. We even saw, you know, a police officer not going in in Florida, and that's a person who is well trained. So I'm wondering about your support for teachers being armed.

KASICH: Well, Anderson, what we have here is if the school board thinks that it can be done, which is the right way to do it, then the school board can give permission for a teacher to be trained. We had a terrible school shooting here in Ohio in Chardon and I was there when it happened. And I actually had the great privilege to address that class as they were graduating from high school.

And there were teachers there who literally threw themselves and chased the gunman out of the school or threw themselves in front of that gunman. This is not -- I mean, I don't want to have bonuses or anything like that, but there are teachers who are in a school who say, I want to do something. And it's not for everybody. But you got to make sure they're properly trained, that they know what they're doing. But it's not to just put all this responsibility on them. It's hardening the schools. It's having all the safety things we can do. I think we spend $30 million on hardening schools, doing the things that need to be done, training about what you do if an incident occurs.

So, it's -- and, of course, it's also about the issue of mental illness and being able to keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally ill. It's about giving people the ability to report somebody who they think is not stable so that action can be taken. It's all of those things. But, if there's somebody in a school that says, hey, I'd like to do this, I don't see any reason to not let them do it. COOPER: Would you favor a change in the availability on high capacity magazines or on --


COOPER: -- weapons like an AR-15?


COOPER: Would you support raising the age of somebody who could buy --

KASICH: Well, you know, oh, yeah, you got -- yes. See, we have a group in fact, I'm going to meet tomorrow. We'll see how far we can get. You know, these restraining orders, if you have somebody that you know of in your home or you can report to somebody about the fact that they're not stable and can harm somebody, should their guns be taken? I believe they should. High capacity magazines, you know, should you have more than 15 bullets in one of these long guns? Do you need a clip like that? I mean, do you need 30 or 50? No, I don't think so. I think it's reasonable to put significant limits on that.

In terms of the AR-15, it was far as I'm concerned, I don't care if it never was invented. I voted for an assault weapons ban, but it didn't have the impact. So the question is, if you're going to do something like that, what is the best way to impact it so you're not taking somebody's, you know, deer hunting rifle. And going from 18 to 21, absolutely, comprehensive background checks including casual sales, you just got to go and check who you're selling a gun to.

I mean these are things that are just -- they're not depriving anybody of their Second Amendment. It's not designed to have a slippery slope to go and grab somebody's, you know, something that is their constitutional right. It's about reasonable limits which the public is saying they favor and which the kids -- I don't want to call them kids. These young students -- these young heroes are demanding. And I think it's very responsible.

COOPER: I've read some of your critics who have said you used to have a pro-Second Amendment section on your website that over the weekend that was taken down and replaced by a segment called "Common Sense on the Second Amendment." In your time as governor, you have signed as I understand more than a dozen bills loosening restrictions on guns.

Is that fair to say? And to those critics who says that maybe this is a shift of political opportunism, what do you say?

KASICH: Well, I voted for the assault weapon weapons ban in 1994 and when I ran for governor, I was opposed by the, you know, the gun people. They worked very, very hard to defeat me all over the state. I have signed some gun bills because I favor the Second Amendment. But I'm not signing anything that I think puts a risk on the public. And I made it clear to them here that on a bill that they were trying to pass or thinking about passing on changing stand your ground, I said don't send it to me. I'll veto it.

COOPER: Governor, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

KASICH: Anderson, thank you.

COOPER: Well, up next, tonight breaking news on Ivanka Trump's visit to South Korea. New reporting about who in the West Wing is saying the trip was a bad idea and what it might mean about the power struggle within the White House.


[21:38:30] COPPER: There's more breaking news from the White House. Turns out Ivanka Trump's visit to South Korea for the Olympics is not sitting well with some in the inner circle.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins us now with reporting on this. So what have you learned about this?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we do know that of course Ivanka Trump returned to Washington today from the visit to South Korea where she was leading the U.S. delegation for the Olympic closing ceremony, as well as having some very key meetings with South Korean leaders at the Blue House, their version of the White House.

We are reporting, talking to a variety of officials here, who say initially there were tensions about the idea of Ivanka Trump, who of course juggles two hats. She's a senior adviser to the President as well as the President's daughter. There were, you know, some consternation internally among some West Wing officials that she was going to go over to represent the U.S. here, particularly because of the, you know, hot atmosphere on the Korean Peninsula about the nuclear threat of North Korea.

But she went along on the trip. She briefed the South Korean president last Friday on those new sanctions. And it is raising some new questions about this relationship, the dual relationship here between, you know, senior adviser and the daughter to the president.

There was some concern from the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, we're told, at the time, you know, wondering if this was a good idea. But the White House tonight, Sarah Sanders is part of explaining all of it like this. She was along on the visit here. And she says that, you know, there is nothing to see here. The officials are not, you know, some people might be jealous of Ivanka Trump, but she put out this statement just a short time ago, Anderson. Let's take a look at it.

[21:40:03] She said, "General Kelly and General McMaster were supportive of the trip since the planning process began. We all thought it was a great success. Ivanka was a great representative for the administration." So pushing back on the idea that there is consternation inside here again between Jared Kushner, his security clearance, and Ivanka Trump, her role here. But the trip seems to have gone smoothly despite some concern from John Kelly and others. Anderson.

COOPER: This isn't the only thing that has frustrated Chief of Staff John Kelly about Ivanka Trump, correct?

ZELENY: Exactly. Over the last several months or so there has been some tension between the chief of staff office as well as, you know, the senior advisers, particularly the President's son-in-law and daughter. It is all over the control and the discipline in the West Wing. So John Kelly has talked privately about this to others in the West Wing.

He has sometimes not been thrilled with the son and daughter and vice- versa here. But it does seem like things to have come to more of a resolution here after the Rob Porter situation a couple weeks ago, that staff secretary resigning. They seem to have come to more of a working agreement here, and John Kelly's job seems safe at this point. But it certainly has underscored that there are tensions in the West Wing, and a lot of them seem to revolve around Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

COOPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.

Back now with the panel. A.B., I mean should Ivanka Trump be representing the U.S. something like this in South Korea?

STODDARD: Well, I have news for all the people that gossip behind her back in the West Wing. Her father thinks she is more than qualified, and that's all that matters. She and her husband run the show. This might even be these reports about McMaster and Kelly, particularly Kelly, might be some for 4D chess where they're trying to make it seem like he's upset when he's not even upset. There is such a power struggle going on right now. We've heard these reports about McMaster and Kelly potentially both leaving, Kelly particularly, because he doesn't want to grant a full security clearance for Jared Kushner, who is ineligible.

And the President obviously believes that he, as president, has the right to declassify anything anytime he wants in front of his daughter and son-in-law. And the rules are not going to change. They're Trump's rules. And so, it might be that Kelly is safe, but I think this is more of an indication, more of this leaking and this drama is an indication that it's on tender foots again.

MOORE: Well, you know, I worked alongside with Ivanka on the campaign, and I got to tell you, I mean, she's extremely influential with her father. I'd say she's probably one of the two or three people she listens to the most and values her advice.

Now, what the proper -- her proper role is in the White House, I mean in terms of these issues of security clearance, I'm not qualified to say, but she is trusted, I think, almost every decision that Donald Trump makes. He consults with Jared and Ivanka, no question about it. The question is whether she should be representing the United States, I don't have a problem. I think she's incredibly competent and --

COOPER: I mean, I like to always play the reverse on these things. I mean, if Hillary Clinton had been elected and Chelsea Clinton was -- had this amorphous role in the White House and was representing the country overseas, wouldn't Republicans be saying, what is going on? I mean what is this Kazakhstan? I mean, this is not like some oligarch who has these family members doing things.


SANDERS: No, but if Chelsea Clinton was in fact representing the United States abroad, in meetings, sitting in on meetings, briefing other heads of states, would you have --

COOPER: Without a security clearance?

SANDERS: Without a security clearance.

MOORE: Well, that's a good question. And I, you know --

STODDARD: Particularly her husband.

MOORE: -- probably not.

MOOK: My bigger issue here -- so it's not just that there's nepotism and it's totally inappropriate as far as I'm concerned, but it's the business ties. I mean there are -- not even allegations. I think there's a lot of evidence that Jared has been using his position in the White House to raise funds, to help get his company out of debt.

COOPER: Certainly during the transition that -- I mean there's a lot of reporting --

MOOK: Which is an official capacity. We know Ivanka has kept up her business dealings. The President's son, Don Junior, was overseas, had a very, you know, he claimed it wasn't official but it certainly felt like an official visit with the meeting with the Prime Minister and so on. That's what really bothers me. It's not just that he's giving away a role to the family. You know families use their children for different roles, symbolically. They are actually getting richer off their father being president, and that's what's inappropriate. That's what not OK.

COOPER: Scott?

JENNINGS: OK. I think that we're trying to communicate to an ally, South Korea, that we take our relationship with you seriously in the face of a threat from North Korea, and what better way to do that to send the President's top adviser and daughter, somebody as Stephen saying, he listens to. I'll tell you something else, people don't talk about a lot. Ivanka Trump is highly respected by the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill. She goes to meetings up there. She talks on bad issues. They think she's smart. They know that she has the ear of the President. There's a lot of connectivity there so I'm sure they weren't -- they'd all --

[21:45:05] COOPER: Does it bother you that she doesn't have a security clearance or be really inexperience in any of these matters?

JENNINGS: As A.B. said, you know what, qualifies you to do these jobs. Do you have the confidence of the President? That makes you qualified. She has the ear of the President and the confidence of the President, everybody agrees at this table, I think, she's a smart person. She's as qualified as anybody to go represent our country until the President loses that confidence, which is true for any adviser.

SANDERS: Anderson, I disagree. I think the fact that the President has confidence in her make her -- gives her the access. That does not in fact give her qualifications. She has access. She has a level of access to be able to access information, to be able to talk to the President, to go out there on the President's behalf but that does that make her qualified? Absolutely not. I don't doubt that Ivanka Trump is a very knowledgeable person and is extremely smart but she is not qualified. She has no foreign policy experience. She has no political experience. She runs a fashion company, OK?

JENNINGS: What could qualify someone to go the Olympics?

SANDERS: Some experience. Not just some -- it's not just her going to Olympics. Ivanka Trump was having the time of her life. OK. These photos, Ivanka Trump was having a ball. I want to be Ivanka Trump girl on this trip. But when it comes to briefing the President or the Prime Minister, whoever she briefed in South Korea, you need some foreign policy experience.

I think the fact that we're conflating the fact of being smart with foreign policy chops to be able to do the job. And in this day and age, I'd like to remind folks that this is not normal. Your qualifications are not simply that you have access. Her qualifications, if you will, are her proximity to the President because the President is her daddy. That we need to continue to talk about.

COOPER: We've got to take a short break. When we continue, our other breaking news, chief White House aide Hope Hicks expected on Capitol Hill tomorrow. The question is will she actually answer questions in the Russia probe?


[21:50:54] COOPER: Long time aide to Donald Trump Hope Hicks is scheduled to testify tomorrow before the House Intelligence Committee. She is now White House communications director and has been one of the President's closest assistants since he began his ran for the presidency and before. To whether or not she'll actually answer questions tomorrow is not a sure thing.

Back now with the panel. I mean, we have seen so many kind of interesting approaches from Trump confidants in terms of refusing to answer questions. Some have just said, well, they're going to invoke executive privilege even if the White House hasn't necessarily done it or just say, well, I just don't feel like I should have to answer that question like Jeff Sessions.

STODDARD: I cannot imagine after the Steve Bannon performance at the House Intelligence Committee that she's going to say anything differently. If they asked him to invoke some sort of fake executive privilege, I think they'll do the same with her. Her problem is Bob Mueller. She has been around that President more than his -- more than Ivanka and Jared. She's physically close to him at meetings, at decision making, on that air force one --


STODDARD: -- when they reportedly concocted a false statement about Don Junior's meeting in Trump Tower. She knows everything, and she cannot lie to Bob Mueller. I don't know what she'll do with the intelligence committee, but her big day is her -- is what he tells or what does not tell Bob Mueller.

MOOK: Well, in the Don Jr. statement is the perfect example where the question was, did that ever get to Donald Trump. Was that conversation, you know. And she is the person who can provide that evidence.

And I completely agree with that. You know, at some point this is going to close in on Trump. There's a lot of associates who either were engaged in illegal finance practices or were communicating directly about the Russians. About, you know, in the case of Carter Page it sounds like a quid pro quo. I'm not a lawyer, but they were talking about lifting sanctions and at the same time giving compromising information about Hillary Clinton.

And the question is, at what point is that gets to the President. And I agree. I think she'll go in there. She'll do the same thing, they'll pay no price. It will be story for a day. But in the long- term --

COOPER: Also, you know, it's still unknown. I mean, Donald Trump Jr. says he never told his father about the meeting in Trump Tower with the Russians allegedly, you know, who were offering -- said they were offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. But there's -- Hope Hicks would know for sure whether or not that conversation actually did occur.

STODDARD: But she was also there on the plane ride when they were discussing what they would say to describe it. And other people like Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer were not there for the drafting of the statement. She was there for the entire conversation which I believe included Jared and Ivanka.

The point is, she is around when they draft all kinds of statements. She's at all kind of meetings. She's been in his side all the time. She knows more, I believe, even than his kids.

JENNINGS: Yes. And as an assistant to the President, there very -- in a sitting, White House official, there will be legitimate claims of executive privilege. Now, begin to see of the White House, I mean, it's really is interesting the White House is sending a sitting assistant up there at all. Because there's a lot of president in other administrations who are not sending people at that level to testify before Congress. So, I'm curious to see if they assert. And if they do it'll be legitimate because of her current job and the title that she hold.

MOORE: so you believe she will be able to exert executive privilege?

JENNINGS: Absolutely. There has to be separation --

MOORE: So, why wouldn't she.

JENNINGS: I mean -- I agree with that. I mean --

SANDERS: I mean, she probably will. I mean, I don't think anyone doubted --


JENNINGS: But that wouldn't necessarily cover campaign activities. But in terms of White House activities there's absolutely claims.

MOORE: But she couldn't, then the President, I mean, the President isn't going to be able to have confidential conversations --

COOPER: But also the question which Steve Bannon testimony raises is does it cover the transition when, you know, he's not the president so therefore --

JENNINGS: Yes. I'm not sure the privilege, based on my understanding, would necessarily cover transition. My point is this, when she comes out tomorrow, if they claims on executive privilege, Democrats are going to go nuts. But this is legitimate claims, every president has legitimate claims of executive privilege. This presidency won't be any different.

MOOK: You know, the other thing, there's been tension to the fact that the Republicans won't look into Trump's finances, which I think --

COOPER: Right. Six Republican leaders on key committees have told CNN that that's not part of their purpose.

MOOK: Exactly.

MOORE: You mean his finances with his business? That should be completely out of bounds. Then why should they be bringing --

[21:55:02] MOOK: Because guess who was his financial ties to, Russia. And she will know about that stuff as well. And she'll have to answer those questions.

MOORE: That's the problem I have with all these investigations. It just never ends.

MOOK: Why won't he release his taxes?


MOORE: That was an issue in the campaign.


MOORE: The left keeps obsessing about it. If the American people cared about it they would have voted for Hillary.

COOPER: If he is in someway beholden through loans or debt or anything to some Russians, doesn't that have a bearing on him as president?

MOORE: Well, what worries me is this is a man who has done thousands of financial transactions over 30 years and if you allow the prosecutors to start looking in this financial transactions, I mean, it's just an endless thing.


STODDARD: If you committed financial crimes and you are compromised by oligarch money that you laundered when your --

MOORE: But those are just allegations.

STODDARD: No, no, no. If Mueller finds that how are you going to feel about? He was out of you fair view?

MOORE: So you have to prove yourself. I mean, you will know if that's true.

STODDARD: No, no. I Mueller finds that he's compromised by the Russians because he laundered money or Jared did, is that going to be out of Mueller's purview in your view?

MOORE: I think Mueller has to wrap up this investigation, show us what --


STODDARD: But that doesn't mean it compromised.

COOPER: All right. We got to take a break on that.

MOORE: I don't think it should involve his financial transactions. No.

COOPER: All right. We'll be right back. More news ahead.


[22:00:05 COOPER: Hey. That's it for us. Thanks for watching "360". Time to hand it over to Don Lemon. "CNN TONIGHT" starts right now. See you tomorrow.