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Store to Stop Selling Assault-Style Rifles; Student Won't Return to School; Countries Discussed Manipulating Kushner. Aired 8:30-9:00a ET

Aired February 28, 2018 - 08:30   ET



[08:32:16] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so the question has been as fundamental as it has been ignored. What can we do to stop the shootings? There was an intense focus on government early on. Maybe that was misplaced because we've seen more and stronger action from the private sector than we have from government. The latest is a big headline.

Dick's Sporting Goods making a big announcement this morning in the wake of the Florida high school massacre. The retailer will stop selling assault-style rifles and will no longer sell high capacity magazines. The company also says it will not sell any gun to anyone under the age of 21 regardless of what the local law is.

Joining us now is the chairman and CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods, Ed Stack.

Sir, good to have you here.


CUOMO: Now, I am aware of this corporate policy from what we saw after Sandy Hook. But take us through why you believe this is the right thing to do.

STACK: Well, we think it's the right thing to do. We -- you know, after Parkland, we were -- we were so disturbed and saddened by what happened in Parkland that we said, we need to do something. And we talked about what we needed to do. And we felt that we needed to make a statement that we will no longer sell assault-type rifles, high capacity magazines and a few other things.

And what the -- our hearts went out to those kids and to their parents. And, you know, everybody talks about thoughts and prayers going out to them. And that's -- that's great. But that doesn't really do anything. And we felt that we needed to take a stand and do this.

CUOMO: Great messenger -- message if it were Senator Stack or Governor Stack, but you are responsible to shareholders Stack.

STACK: Right. CUOMO: And, how do you do this and not take a hit financially? What percentage of your sales are these weapons?

STACK: Well, the hunt business is an important part of our business, no doubt about it, and we know there's going to be some backlash. But as we sat and talked about it with our management team and we started talking about this with our management team, it was to a person that this is what we need to do. We need to take a stand on this.

And those kids talk about enough is enough. And we had meaningful conversations about this with our team. And we concluded that, if these kids are brave enough to organize and do what they're doing, then we should be brave enough to take this stand. And that's what we've done.

CUOMO: So what did you see after Sandy Hook in terms of effect on bottom line? What are you expecting to see as an effect on bottom line here?

STACK: Well, there was some -- there was backlash after Sandy Hook. We expected there's going to be backlash here. But when you look at those kids and their parents and the grief that everyone's going through, and we don't want to be a part of this story any longer.

We actually sold the shooter a shotgun in November of last year. And when we looked at that and found out that we did this, we had a pit in our stomach and said, we need to not -- we don't want to be a part of this story and we need a responsibility to these kids. And we decided we are not going to sell these any longer.

[08:35:12] CUOMO: So it's -- I -- so it's true, the Parkland murderer bought a weapon at Dick's, not one of the ones that was used in this shooting.

STACK: Right.

CUOMO: But did that matter to you when you found that out?

STACK: It did. And it -- it wasn't the gun that he used and it wasn't the type of gun that he used. But what that said to us is, we looked at this and we went back and we -- we did everything by the book that we were supposed to do from a legal standpoint. We followed everything we were supposed to do, and how we still -- this kid was still able to buy a gun from us. And we said we just -- we don't want to be a part of this story any longer.

CUOMO: A buddy of mine contacted me when this story came out. He lost his mother to cancer. And he said, I remember when CVS volunteered to stop selling cigarettes. It cost them billions of dollars. But he remembers that. And he says I'll always, you know, CVS now is an important brand for him.

How do you balance your corporate responsibility as a citizen versus your corporate responsible to your shareholders? At what price does this become the wrong move? STACK: Well, we think it's the right move. And whatever happens, we

think this is the right move. It's the right thing to do for these kids. It's the right thing to do for what's going on. And we hope that it spurs a conversation and brings people along to have a serious conversation about what's happening in our schools with gun violence and put a stop to it.

I'm a gun owner myself. You know, I'm a -- I'm a supporter of the Second Amendment. I'm a gun owner myself. We have to do something about this. This is tragic what's going on and we're taking a stand.

CUOMO: So, you know what you're going to hear from other people who are gun advocates. They're going to say, no, you're doing something. You're making it worse. You're stopping my ability to get the weapon that I need, that I have the right to have. So it's my decision, not yours. And I can't defend myself against these bad guys. And you're limiting the bullets so they all have these high capacity weapons and I won't. You're hurting me, you're not helping me.

STACK: Well, you're going to hear that from some people. We've had such -- we've had so many gun owners also say, you know what, this is the right thing to do. You know, we don't feel that we really need to have these types of guns on the market. We don't feel that these high capacity magazines should be on the market. We actually think that when this happens and there's a shooting like this, it actually hurts what's going on with responsible gun owners who are using them for target practice, shooting, you know, sporting clays and hunting. So we've had a lot of people who are in that camp who have said, we're good with what you're doing.

CUOMO: What did legal tell you about your ability to not sell to anyone under 21 even if local law says 18?

STACK: They said we've got the right to do this. And it's -- it's a bit confusing -- or not consistent, I should say, because an 18-year- old can buy some guns. They have to be 21 to buy other guns. And we think that's an inconsistency that should change. And we're making it you're 21 to buy a gun at Dick's Sporting Goods.

CUOMO: What do you say to the other big stores out there that sell sporting goods? Do you believe they should follow suit with Dick's?

STACK: I think they should do whatever they think is right. They should follow their conscience and whatever they think that they should do, their management team, their board, that's what they should do. We're not trying to impart our decision on anyone else. But this feels really good for us and we're comfortable with our decision.

CUOMO: Ed Stack, thank you very much. Appreciate you coming on to talk about this. This is an important conversation.

STACK: Chris, thank you very much for having us.

CUOMO: Absolutely.

All right, let's get back to Alisyn in Parkland, Florida, because, look, the kids are saying do something, do something. They're looking at government. But you've got to look at business also. In recent years, as you've often pointed out, Alisyn, we see corporate citizens step up. They make a stand also. These are the people selling the weapons. What they decide to sell and to whom matters.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And, you know, we should just let everybody know, one dad who we just spoke to is so proud of Dick's. He is so happy that they're doing that. That felt like a real victory here to him today.

So what will be -- the person you'll be meeting in a moment is one Stoneman Douglas shooting survivor who says she will not actually return to school today. Samantha Fuentes is going to join us to explain her plan and why she's decided not to come back here. That's next.


[08:42:28] CAMEROTA: As Stoneman Douglas students return to school today, my next guest, who was injured in the shooting, has decided she will not be returning to school here.

Samantha Fuentes joins us now.

Sam, thanks so much for being here. It's impossible not to see your injuries. I mean you still are living them. And they're just everywhere. Can you just walk us through what we're seeing on your face and your body?

SAMANTHA FUENTES, SCHOOL MASSACRE SURVIVOR: Sure. The indentation in my forehead is from falling and diving to the floor. And the bruising around my eye is also from falling onto the floor. But this right here and then the marks right above my eye is actually from shrapnel. So I have shrapnel lodged in my face, in my cheek and behind my eyeball.

CAMEROTA: So shrapnel, pieces of shrapnel, came through your face and are still in your head behind your eye right now. Can -- will those ever leave?

FUENTES: No. They don't actually like call it -- like they don't really cause any harm to me. So to remove them would be more invasive than to leave them.

CAMEROTA: But you will carry the evidence of this massacre with you --


CAMEROTA: In your body for the rest of your life.

FUENTES: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: And here on your legs, we can see you're walking with a cane.


CAMEROTA: And what happened here?

FUENTES: So I was shot directly above the knee here and then here, here, here, here and then on the side of my legs is where I got lodged with shrapnel.

CAMEROTA: And these were pieces of shrapnel that came off of fellow students after they were hit with bullets?


CAMEROTA: So, Sam, nobody could ever question why you don't want to go back in this school. I mean you're just sort of living proof of all of the trauma that everybody endured. How are you feeling today as you watch your classmates go back in there?

FUENTES: I mean I feel mixed opinions or mixed emotions. I mean I want to be a part of Stoneman Douglas and I want to, you know, live out the rest of my high school career normally. But there's no such thing as normal anymore. So instead of just sitting around and not really doing anything in school because curriculum is never going to resume as normal for the rest of the year --

CAMEROTA: You don't think classes are ever going to be able to go back where teachers are just standing in front of a class and teaching and kids are doing their homework. You think that's over for this year?

FUENTES: Just -- just for the rest of this year. I think this time everyone's going to take the time to regroup and console one another and just appreciate each other's existence because, you know, we lost such precious lives. It's kind of hard to want to return to normalcy. So I would rather take this time, instead of sitting around and moping, I'd like to actually make a difference and advocate for my cause.

[08:45:02] CAMEROTA: So what are you going to do? Since you're not -- you've decided you're not going to go back to school, what is your plan?

FUENTES: Well, I'm withdrawing from school so that I can finish it online because, as a senior, I only have two classes to finish. And then, as I'm recovering and taking my online courses, that's when I'd like to take the chance to travel and, you know, speak to large audiences, you know, spread my message, speak to lawmakers, attend rallies, be everywhere I need to be so that people can hear me clearly.

CAMEROTA: This event has given you a mission and has given you a message. What is that message that you want to bring to the country?

FUENTES: That these mass shootings and these shooting in general are completely avoidable instances and that we need to do everything in our power to keep it so that we don't ever have to worry about a mass shootings in school or anywhere many America.

CAMEROTA: What are you calling for? What do you want to see changed? FUENTES: A few things. In regards to schools, I want the

infrastructure and security to be improved. Just using simple mechanisms we've had for ages, like bulletproof windows and metal detectors and live footage security cameras to BSO. Just simple things that we can easily do.

On top of that, more of a security presence in schools, whether that be like more security like officers, as well as, I would like the age limit on buying weapons to be raised to 21.


FUENTES: I'd like gun control to be tightened up in the sense that we re-enforce the background check more effectively and make sure that protocol is actually being sought out and --

CAMEROTA: And followed.

FUENTES: And followed, absolutely.


And you want an assault weapons ban?

FUENTES: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: And so what is -- after you go on this speaking tour and you march, what is next for you? Are you going to go to college?

FUENTES: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: Do you know where you're going to go to college?

FUENTES: Not yet.

CAMEROTA: Are you waiting for acceptance or did you always plan to have a gap year?

FUENTES: No, I -- I think I -- like I think I know -- because I've been accepted to colleges, it's just a matter of picking which one I want to go to.

CAMEROTA: And -- OK. And so you have -- I mean are you looking forward to that next chapter?

FUENTES: Absolutely. I mean college has always been in the picture. I've always wanted to go to college.

CAMEROTA: Do you feel like you'll have to explain to your colleges why you're not going back to high school or do you think that this has --

FUENTES: I think -- I think --

CAMEROTA: You think they're aware of everything --

FUENTES: I think they're aware. CAMEROTA: That's happened to you?

Well, Sam, listen, from your lips to God's ears, we will be following you and watching you. An d we pray that all of your physical injuries resolve soon and that you can turn everything that's happened emotionally into action as you want to.

Thank you so much for being here with us and explaining what this day is like for you.

FUENTES: Thank you. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK, so, Chris, that's it from Parkland here. Obviously most of the kids are back in school now. We'll be checking back in with them when they come out at their half day, at about 11:40, to see what did happen inside today and how they're feeling, and if they all do think they can cope through the rest of the week and beyond.

Back to you.

CUOMO: It's tough emotionally, but it matters because that won't be the last shooting. We know that there was a near miss out west, where Alisyn lives, in Connecticut. They had a very near miss at a local high school where a student was alert enough to call authorities and they wound up stopping a kid who had plans to shoot a teacher. This is going to happen again if things aren't changed. So, Alisyn, thank you very much for being there. And an important day for those students and families.

Now, back here, we've had a stunning development. President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, big developments with him within the White House. "The Washington Post" reporting that at least four countries discussed how to manipulate him. We're going to speak with one of the reporters who broke that story, next.

Stay with CNN.


[08:52:48] CUOMO: Time now for the "Five Things To Know for Your New Day."

Sources tell CNN, Special Counsel Bob Mueller's investigators are looking into President Trump's business activities with Russia before the 2016 campaign.

The president's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner stripped of his top security, secret security clearance. Kushner will now be denied access to the nation's biggest secrets.

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are back in class today. Obviously the first time since that massacre that killed 17 people two weeks ago.

The FBI investigating a suspicious substance sent in a letter to the Fort Myer military base in Virginia. Officials say 11 people felt sick, three of them needed treatment for non-life-threatening conditions. They still don't know what it was.

Striking West Virginia teachers expected back in class tomorrow after successfully fighting for a raise. The governor credited a sixth grader with changing his mind. He says insurance issues will be dealt with later.

For more on the "Five Things to Know," you can go to and you will get the latest.

So, big story this morning from "The Washington Post" reporting that officials in at least four countries discussed how to influence and manipulate President Trump's son-in-law an senior adviser Jared Kushner.

Let's talk with CNN political analyst and "Washington Post" White House reporter, one of the men who broke the story, Josh Dawsey.

Good to have you.

JOSH DAWSEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": Thanks for having me, Chris. I appreciate it.

CUOMO: What do you know? How do you know it?

DAWSEY: So what we reported this morning is that officials in four different countries were intercepted talking about how to manipulate Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, one of his top advisers, and why they were interested are his, you know, deep financial ties, his need for money for his real estate companies in New York. And what they saw was his naivete on foreign policy experience. To these countries, he struck them as a prime target of someone that they wanted to manipulate, someone who they wanted to deal with.

In our reporting, we indicated, Chris, that he was having conversations with some of these foreign countries without telling H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, and others and not going through the proper channels, which raised a lot of red flags in the White House.

[08:55:05] CUOMO: Now, when you say that four different countries were picked up from surveillance monitoring the conversation, they weren't talking to each other, obviously. These are four separate instances --

DAWSEY: Right.

CUOMO: That created four different points of concern, right?

DAWSEY: Right. Yes. Correct. Four different countries, China, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Mexico. And, obviously, Jared Kushner has been intricately involved with two of those countries, Mexico and Israel. One of his missions in the White House has been to try to solve Middle East peace.

CUOMO: Right.

DAWSEY: And he's also been the key liaison between President Trump and the Mexican government.

CUOMO: And the report it -- the report -- the reporting suggests that a big part of the concern was that the company that his family is connected to needs money. And, yes, there were concerns about, well, he's inexperienced, we'll be able to get over him. But it's really about the money and the financial ties that seem to create opportunities, true?

DAWSEY: Well, you remember during the transition, Chris, Jared Kushner was privately meeting with Chinese -- top Chinese officials, Chinese investors, looking for money for Kushner companies while also running the transition. He has a building in New York, 666, that has been -- right in the middle of Manhattan -- that's been financially beleaguered for some time and his company has been, you know, looking to capitalize and looking to make that, you know, building, make it work financially.

What has become problematic and what Special Counsel Mueller has been asking about, what has troubled folks in the White House is the intersection between, you know, business conversations, what he's doing with foreign officials through a government lens and also, you know, were there any conversations about private business investments or private business ties with these countries who he was interacting with as part of his official capacity, you know, as a senior adviser to the president of the United States.

CUOMO: All good questions. Another one that we may never know the answer to is, if Kushner stays in his role, will the president allow him to see classified information anyway, which he could, and he wouldn't have to disclose. So it will take reporting from people like you.

Josh Dawsey, thank you very much.

DAWSEY: Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: CNN "NEWSROOM" with John Berman picks up right after this break. Please stay with CNN.