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Putin Touts New "Invincible" Nuclear Missile; Walmart Raises Minimum Age For Gun Buyers To 21; Trump Bucks His Own Party On Gun Control. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 1, 2018 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: This guy's working for the government, he's installed in the White House, and he's taken a meeting like this.

If John Kelly allows that to survive --

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Right.

CUOMO: -- that is a corrosive dynamic for someone like Kelly who is all about the order of the system.

HABERMAN: I think that's right and I think that Kelly has already had to make a ton of concessions, to your point, on sort of comparing the Don, Jr. meeting to the Jared Kushner issue.

It is correct that Don, Jr. had never done this before. Did not, sort of, know I think what the rules were.

Kushner has had the ethics rules --

CUOMO: Yes.

HABERMAN: -- gone over with him repeatedly now. He has been there for 13 months. He's been there a long as his father-in-law has been there. You do need to be careful in terms of what Kelly is willing to tolerate.

When Kelly took that job -- remember, he said he would only do it if he had complete control of the staff, and that included Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. President Trump assured him that he did but, as know, President Trump does not like giving anyone that much control.

And so, the question I think is not just whether John Kelly can endure it, but what the president is going to try to force on him. And, does Kelly decide -- Kelly, clearly, believes that he needs to be there for the sake of protecting the constitution. He has said that to people. Does he decide that is worth the trade-off?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Maggie Haberman, thank you very much.

All right. So, we are following some breaking news for you right now because Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has developed and tested a new invincible missile. Are U.S. defenses prepared for this? Congressman Adam Kinzinger is going to join us live for this breaking news, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:35:17] CAMEROTA: We are following some breaking news for you right now.

Russian President Vladimir Putin claims that Russia has developed and tested a new quote "invincible nuclear missile capable of reaching anywhere in the world."

Joining us now is Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois to talk about this and so much more. Congressman, great to have you.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL), MEMBER, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Yes, thanks.

CAMEROTA: And so, here -- let me put up for everybody what -- this is what President Putin just announced in his annual speech to lawmakers. It's basically their sort of State of the Union.

So, he says they have developed this new ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile). The new warhead cannot be intercepted by anti- missile systems. The new missile can reach anywhere -- almost any point in the entire world.

Russia tested this new nuclear-powered missile at the end of 2017. It's testing new underwater drones which can also carry nuclear warheads.

Did the U.S. know about this?

KINZINGER: I don't know. I don't know the answer to that. We're pretty good at what we do in terms of understanding and knowing what the Russians are up to.

In terms of is it invincible, it's hard to tell because first off, a lot of intercontinental ballistic missiles -- this idea people think that we can -- because they've seen it in movies -- launch F-16s and shoot down ICBMs. These things are shot 6,000 miles into the sky. They go into space and they come down, and there's all kinds of technology once they reenter.

So, maybe invincible, maybe not. We don't know that answer.

But look, here's the bottom line. The Russians are a gas tank in Europe. John McCain called them that once and I thought that was a pretty apropos issue.

They have a declining economy, a declining population, and they are desperate right now for any kind of attention. And also, Vladimir Putin is trying to rally his base in order to make sure he wins reelection.

So, that's why they're doing things like messing with our democracy, in terms of getting involved on Facebook and the Internet, and that's why we need to push back in the same way.

CAMEROTA: But -- so, is this just bluster?

KINZINGER: It's hard to tell. I mean, he says he has it. I'm sure our intelligence knows if he does or doesn't, if it is or isn't invincible.

But I think the big thing to realize -- people think that we have this ability to defend against ICBMs. We're testing it. We have the ability, maybe, to intercept something like a rogue North Korean missile but there's no way if the Russians launch all their missiles at us that we'd be able to defend ourselves, and vice versa.

CAMEROTA: So, I mean, you're on the Foreign Affairs Committee. How worrisome is this to you today?

KINZINGER: Well, it's always been worrisome when you think about the issue of nuclear weapons because both sides can destroy each other. It's mutual shared destruction and we know that. But this is why we have to continue to invest in things like missile defense. Why we need to ensure that North Korea doesn't get nuclear weapons, in order to prevent a nuclear exchange from happening.

The good thing about Vladimir Putin -- I don't like the guy at all but he's not suicidal so he's not going to try to destroy the United States, and this is why we have to keep our nuclear systems up as well.

CAMEROTA: Is this something that the Intel Community will confirm to your committee at some point today? Is this a --

KINZINGER: I don't know. I don't know.

CAMEROTA: Let's move on to something at home.

KINZINGER: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Gun policy.

KINZINGER: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Do you know where the president is today?

KINZINGER: You mean, like where he is on guns?

CAMEROTA: Yes.

KINZINGER: No, I don't know. At one point you hear him say he doesn't want to do anything, and then at another point he says he wants to do a lot.

Here's what I have said. There are some rational things that both sides can take care of.

Number one, I do think the purchase age of an A.R. should be 21 years old. You have to be 21 to -- CAMEROTA: Just an A.R. or all guns?

KINZINGER: You know, I don't know. Definitely, an A.R. The federal government has made it 21 to own a pistol.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

KINZINGER: I actually think it makes more sense if that would be 18 but I'm fine at keeping that at 21.

Now, the question is if a kid wants to go shoot a shotgun or he wants to shoot something else, should he have to be 21? That's debatable.

But I do think to buy an A.R., as a guy that carried basically an M4 version in Iraq -- I do think to carry an A.R. you should probably be 21. I think the vast majority of Americans agree with that.

Let's ban bump stocks. That one's easy. And then, if you fix the background check system, those three moves would have mitigated or prevented the last three mass shootings.

CAMEROTA: So you don't want to see an expanded background check that would at guns shows, person-to-person sales -- those things. You just want to see the "Fix NICS."

KINZINGER: I'm OK with expanded background checks. Now, the key is how do you make exceptions for if I'm going to buy my dad's gun, for instance?

CAMEROTA: Well --

KINZINGER: Do you need to go through the NICS system for that?

CAMEROTA: And, why not? Why is paperwork so onerous to everybody?

KINZINGER: No, I don't think it is. I don't think it is.

I think -- look, I think these are 80 percent issues but here's the -- here's the point. I say this my side, you can't say we can't do anything. And I say it to the other side -- to the left -- don't say we have to anything short of banning assault rifles. We're not going to do it.

There were 80 percent issues. Let's say 21, right? A huge number of school shootings happen with somebody who is either in the school currently or just out, so if you make it 21 you take that out of their hands.

Fix the background system, ban bump stocks. Bump stocks would have mitigated the massive amount of carnage in Las Vegas -- maybe not have prevented everything. Those are good moves we can all make.

CAMEROTA: Here's what the president has said -- some of the things that he has said, so let me just play those for you and our viewers.

[07:40:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to write the bump stock -- essentially, write it out. It doesn't make sense I have to wait until I'm 21 to get a handgun but I can get this weapon at 18. I don't know.

I like taking the guns early. Take the guns first, go through due process second.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Is it fair to say that if President Obama had said take the guns first, go through due process second, he would have gone nuts?

KINZINGER: I think that is basically fair to assume, yes.

CAMEROTA: I mean, so is it the -- is it the Republicans don't take -- aren't taking the president literally on this stuff?

KINZINGER: No, I think we take him literally. He's always -- we all have known that he's unique in how he says things and I don't think he's overly ideological. I think everybody around him says look, he's not somebody that was raised, basically, a far-right conservative. He's -- he believes in conservative principles but he's not --

CAMEROTA: So that's a negotiating tactic?

KINZINGER: I think -- I think there's -- he's saying, and I think rightfully, that there are some things that are on the table. I think when he says let's take the guns first, my guess is -- I didn't see the whole thing -- that he was referring to the issue of how do you keep somebody that has mental health issues that have been reported --

CAMEROTA: I think he was.

KINZINGER: How do you keep them from getting a gun?

CAMEROTA: Yes.

KINZINGER: And I think that makes total sense in terms of how do we write that. But it all -- it's not necessarily the most articulate way to say let's take the guns first and do due process second.

CAMEROTA: All right. Congressman Adam Kinzinger, thank you very much --

KINZINGER: Good time, you bet.

CAMEROTA: -- for being here with us -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right.

So, Walmart has new rules on buying guns. Who won't be able to get firearms, who won't be able to get ammo, and what type at their stores anymore.

CAMEROTA: OK, and then listen to this. Our panel of gun owners taking on some of the proposed policies to stop gun violence, including a ban on bump stocks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it's not an issue of the gun itself or the weapon itself.

CAMEROTA: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an issue of the individual behind it.

CAMEROTA: And which individual would want to use a bump stock?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A crazed individual, right --

CAMEROTA: Why not ban them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- who is going to a mass shooting.

CAMEROTA: Why not ban them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does that accomplish, though?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: All right. The answer, coming up in our next hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:46:07] CUOMO: It is time for "CNN Money Now."

Walmart joining Dick's Sporting Goods, taking action on guns and ammunition after the Florida massacre. What are they doing, what will it mean?

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans in the Money Center.

And we remember, Christine, after Sandy Hook, Dick's made a move. Walmart did not.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Yes. You know, what's really interesting here is you've got kids and companies making a move on this.

Walmart will no longer sell guns to anyone under 21. The nation's largest retailer said recent events inspired that change. But it will continue to serve sportsmen and hunters in a responsible way.

Walmart will also remove products, Chris, that look like assault rifles, like non-lethal airsoft guns and any toys that are meant to model after a modern sporting rifle.

Like you said, Walmart's announcement came just hours after Dick's raised its age of sale to 21. Dick's will also stop selling assault- style rifles in its stores that still do.

That was one of the guns used in the Parkland school shooting -- was an AR-15. It was not purchased at Dick's although the gunman had purchased weapons at Dick's.

Since then, students and consumers have pressured companies to cut ties with the gun industry forcing many brands to take a stand. More than a dozen businesses now have cut NRA ties and money managers are now reexamining their investments in gun makers.

But corporate activism can be good for business. The consumers sometimes like to buy from companies that tackle social issues, especially young consumers. In fact, even though the stock market closed down yesterday, Dick's finished higher, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Very interesting, Christine. I mean, very interesting to see what has happened in all these different arenas in just the past two weeks. Thank you very much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: So, a hopeful high school baseball player has been turned down by a Texas university because he comes from a state where recreational marijuana is legal.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report." Explain how this works, Andy.

(VIDEO DIFFICULTY)

CUOMO: Now, the truth is you don't have to hear him because his teeth and hair alone --

CAMEROTA: I know. He's really good --

CUOMO: -- are impressive.

CAMEROTA: -- but I find that reading lips is a little bit hard. He's -- that's -- we almost could do it but I think we need to hear what he has to say.

CUOMO: Oh, absolutely.

CAMEROTA: All right.

CUOMO: They're yelling at us.

CAMEROTA: All right.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

CAMEROTA: President Trump shocked members of his own party in a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers on gun control. What was it like inside that room? We ask one congressman who was there, next.

CUOMO: Who is not a mime.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:52:40] CUOMO: President Trump, once again, holding a bipartisan meeting on T.V. about a controversial issue and saying things that kind of pop eyes on both sides. This time, it was about gun control -- listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Some of you people are petrified of the NRA. You can't be petrified.

In your bill, what are you doing about the 18 to 21?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: We didn't --

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: No change to that.

TRUMP: OK. Are you going to leave that? Because you're afraid of the NRA, right?

Now, this is not a popular thing to say, in terms of the NRA but I'm saying it anyway. It doesn't make sense that I have to wait until I'm 21 to get a handgun but I can get this weapon at 18. I don't know.

I like taking the guns early. Take the guns first, go through due process second.

If you add conceal carry to this you'll never get it passed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right.

One person who attended that White House meeting is Florida Congressman Ted Deutch. His district includes Parkland, Florida, the site of the school massacre, and that's where he is this morning.

Congressman, thank you for joining us.

REP. TED DEUTCH (D), FLORIDA: Of course. Good morning, Chris.

CUOMO: How is the mood where you are this morning?

DEUTCH: Well, I just got back late last night. I'm going to head over to the school from here.

CUOMO: Yes.

DEUTCH: Yesterday was the first day back in school. It was really challenging for the kids going back to school and for the families, but I think it was also really helpful for everyone to be together again.

CUOMO: All right. So, where are you in terms of your feelings about what we witnessed yesterday with the president? Is this new ground? Is this him taking on previously hardened agendas or do you think it is an immigration televised meeting redux where we're going to hear one thing and then see nothing? DEUTCH: Well, Chris, I think that it's pretty clear now that the ground is really shifting on this issue. If you -- if you look at the poll numbers that show overwhelming support for universal background checks and the other things the president talked about, as well as ridding our communities of assault rifles.

But if you look at the polling -- if you look at the actions taken by major corporations in response to the pressure put on them, these student leaders are having an impact and that's what you saw from the president yesterday.

I think his focus on universal background checks, the way that every discussion shifted back to Manchin-Toomey and how do we get that, and how do we add the 18 to 21 on it -- we're going to ban bump stocks, the president said. We talked about school safety issues. We talked about mental health issues.

[07:55:14] And he wants -- the president said he wants something that has overwhelming support so universal background checks would be that bill. It would be an enormous step forward.

CUOMO: Universal background checks -- private sales, gun show sales. Do you think that that is likely?

DEUTCH: Well, I think that there is growing pressure to take meaningful action. That's what we've heard over and over from these student leaders. That's what we've heard around the country.

The polling in Florida speaks to that. The overwhelming majority of people want action and 97 percent of people think we should pass universal background checks.

So when the president looked at his -- at my colleagues from the House and Senate and told them essentially, don't be afraid of the NRA, he's right. This is an issue --

CUOMO: Really.

DEUTCH: -- at this moment about not just school safety, it's about public safety. It's about keeping our kids safe and I think -- I think that's the side of this issue people not only need to be on, it's the side of this issue I think they have to be on.

CUOMO: Well look, have to is a defined term, right, because a lot -- with all due respect, a lot in Washington doesn't get done out of conscience --

DEUTCH: No.

CUOMO: -- it gets done out of consequence. And you know that these single-issue voters --

DEUTCH: That's right.

CUOMO: -- on the gun rights side will come out and vote. And yes, the president said you guys are afraid of the NRA but he's the one who just met with them and came away from the meeting saying hey, they want to do something with us. The NRA wants to do something.

Since when does a lobbying group --

DEUTCH: Yes.

CUOMO: -- dictate the policy preference of a president? But that's his side.

Your side is will the Democrats do "Fix NICS" without universal checks? Will they do changes that don't include an assault weapons ban?

DEUTCH: Yes -- no. Chris, I think -- with all due respect, you're falling back into the usual discussion that we have after these things. People are talking about "Fix NICS" because it's a bill that even the NRA supports. That's why everyone looks at that.

The President of the United States, yesterday, talked about doing something comprehensive, something big. He talked about universal background checks. And he can provide cover to people who are uncomfortable doing it.

Even in that room yesterday, for all the people -- there were a few times where some of the senators joked oh, it's hard to get 60 votes.

The president is the person who can -- who can push. He can lead on this issue if he chooses to. I don't know that he's going to. I'm well aware of that.

CUOMO: And that's the big question. That's why I'm asking you. I get that things -- I get that things --

DEUTCH: Yes.

CUOMO: -- have changed in terms of public momentum.

DEUTCH: Yes.

CUOMO: I see the polls. I report on them every morning.

That doesn't mean that those same people would go out and reward and punish candidates on the basis of their position here. That is a political --

DEUTCH: Yes, well --

CUOMO: -- calculation. We don't know where that is yet.

DEUTCH: Well, I actually -- I appreciate you bringing that up. We always hear about single-issue voters on guns.

Well, I'm going to tell you something, Chris. There are more and more single-issue voters, Democrats and Republicans, for whom keeping kids safe is their priority. Making our communities safer so that people don't have to worry -- moms don't have to worry that when they send their kids off to school in the morning they might not come home.

That, for so many people now, is becoming the single issue. That's why this is such a growing and really potent political force. And that political force is what ultimately is going to cause people, hopefully with the president's support -- cause those Republicans in that room yesterday to go along with something significant that includes universal background checks.

CUOMO: Look, I hear you, Congressman, and everybody who respects the democracy should want it to be influenced by the people who come out to the polls and vote to get what they want out of their representatives. I'm just saying we've been here before. It is different -- it is different, but let's see what actions are taken and then it will be truly different.

Congressman, thank you for your perspective. You're always welcome on the show.

DEUTCH: Thanks, Chris. I appreciate it.

CUOMO: All right.

A lot of big news, some of it made right here on this show. So what do you say? It's Thursday -- let's get after it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president said he's going to go into a tailspin without her around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we've seen from the very beginning of this administration is nothing but chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think she was forced out. There's a shelf life working in the West Wing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're seeing Jared Kushner meeting with executives in the White House and then, the companies are giving very sizable mortgages to his company.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whose business is he doing when he's in the White House?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jared Kushner simply cannot continue in his present role.

TRUMP: Some of you people are petrified of the NRA. If you add conceal carry to this you'll never get it passed.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Mr. President, it's going to have to be you that brings the Republicans to the table on this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to act. (END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president said he's going to go into a tailspin without her around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we've seen from the very beginning of this administration is nothing but chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think she was forced out. There's a shelf life working in the West Wing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're seeing Jared Kushner meeting with executives in the White House and then, the companies are giving very sizable mortgages to his company.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whose business is he doing when he's in the White House?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jared Kushner simply cannot continue in his present role.

TRUMP: Some of you people are petrified of the NRA. If you add conceal carry to this you'll never get it passed.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Mr. President, it's going to have to be you that brings the Republicans to the table on this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to act.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your new day.