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Man Shoots Himself in Front of White House; Relentless Chaos Grips White House; Mueller Investigates Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump Business Deals; Ad May Have Sparked Trump's Sudden Decision on Steel, Aluminum Tariffs; Amid Calls for a Ban, a Look at the Power of an AR- 15; Seductress Bragging of Russian Oligarch Connections Says She Can Provide Links Between Russia & Trump. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 3, 2018 - 15:00   ET



[15:00:12] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. So glad you are with us.

And we have breaking news to get to first. Gun fire at the White House. This happened today, multiple shots just outside of the north fence line. It triggered a lockdown outside of the compound. And Secret Service agents responded and found a man who apparently shot himself.

CNN's Ryan Nobles is at the scene.

Ryan, any details of who this man is, and his condition and the intention?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana. We are learning quite a bit of new information here about this incident that took place right here on the White House complex. This is what the scene looks like right now. We know that the incident happened just before noon, at 11:46 eastern time. You can see that the White House complex is shut down. And this section of 17th Street is cut off to traffic, and they are not allowing anyone to come in or out of the White House complex as they continue the investigation.

But what we are learning is that a single male fired off multiple rounds, and ultimately, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. So it is a suicide that took place right in front of the White House on the north lawn of the White House. Now, there is obviously a large gate that stands between pedestrians near the White House, so at no point was anybody inside of the White House in danger.

But, Ana, let me paint a picture for you of what this area is like on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Because normally, this area behind me on Pennsylvania Avenue is filled with hundreds of tourists, because they go up and down this thoroughfare on a regular basis. And on a day like today, this was a very busy area of Washington, D.C. So imagine being here to see the White House and have someone run up in front of the White House and fire off a couple of gunshots and end up dead. That was the scene for many people here this afternoon. And now this individual has yet been identified by the Secret Service.

They do know who he is, but they are not releasing that identify until they can notify the next of kin.

And we want to point out, on the other side of where we are now, on 15th Street, across the other side of the White House complex, law enforcement officials are taking a look at the vehicle. They had a bomb squad that cleared the vehicle and pulled the contents out of it, investigating the vehicle. The law enforcement on the scene said they believe that the vehicle is connected to the incident. So we don't know exactly what the details are right now. We want to point out, Ana, that at no point was anyone connected to the White House was in danger. The only victim was the person who committed suicide. No law enforcement fired any guns at any time. The investigation continues though, and this part of the White House remains a lockdown -- Ana?

CABRERA: Scary situation. And again, the president was not there, and the vice president was not there either. But Ryan Nobles, I can imagine that people were shook up.

Thank you very much.

Today's shooting outside the White House caps off a chaotic week in Washington. Let me remind you what has happened in the last five days. Jared Kushner's security clearance has been downgraded, which means the calligrapher now has more access to classified information than he does. President Trump attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions again. And Sessions pushed back. We have learned that national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, may leave the White House by the end of the month. White House communications director, Hope Hicks, has testified sometimes tells white lies to the president. And she announced she is resigning the next one day, but her resignation was not connected to her testimony at all. And we also found out that FBI counterintelligence officials are investigating one of Ivanka Trump's business deals. And her husband's business ties could make him more vulnerable. "The Washington Post" says officials from at least four countries discussed ways to exploit Jared Kushner. HUD Secretary Ben Carson had to apologize after buying a $31,000 dining room table with taxpayer money. And finally, President Trump made off-the-cuff remarks that rattled his own party and even members of his own administration. First, he officials should take people's guns and ignore due process or get to that later. And then he said announced tariffs on steel and aluminum, sending the stock market into shock. This upset his chief economic advisor, Gary Cohen, so much, his threatened to resign.

So even by Trump White House standards, this a lot. Those close to the president tells CNN this week feels different than the rest. And they're worried their friend could be unraveling. One source is saying that, quote, "something is very wrong."

And here to discuss is CNN political analyst, Ryan Lizza, and CNN political analyst and "New York Times" editor, Patrick Healy.

So, Ryan, to you first.

Does this chaos feel any different than the rest to you?

[15:05:02] RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it feels like the second major cycle of the White House upheaval. There are is always a low-level upheaval in the White House, but this is feeling like last July when Anthony Scaramucci famously self-destructed, which led to Reince Priebus leaving and Steve Bannon leaving, and the top echelon of the White House was rejigger and lot of the early wars were sort of settled down a little bit with the new chief of staff. This, ever since the drama with Rob Porter, and the domestic abuse allegation, this White House had a staff level, seems to be similarly ruptured and add on top of that, the conflict of interest issues dogging both Trump and his daughter and son-in-law, and the continuing fallout from the Russia investigation, you know, all of that seems to be that those three things seem to be the big theme in those, most of the ten stories that you are listed with the one other thing which is the ideological conflict of the White House still with Gary Cohen who is a traditional conservative on the economic issues and a few people like Peter Navarro, who is an economic adviser who is more nationalist, which is continuing to roiling things, so you have a cross current making things interesting in the White House.

CABRERA: Interesting is a good word for it.

I wonder how much the president's demeanor has to do with the resignation of Hope Hicks. Some say that she was his emotional support, and one said that I cannot overstate how important hope is to keep this thing together, and she really one of the only people who has the president's trust and respect.

Patrick, you have interviewed Hope Hicks a time or two, and especially as you were covering the campaigns, and what is your take on this?

PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, the chaos is normal. Right in this White House. We have gotten in a way used to it over the last 13 months. We have seen big resignations before, and Steve Bannon the biggest, because he was so much of a kind of the political mind meld with President Trump, and people wondered what would happen afterward, and what is different now and so important now is that you have people who President Trump relies on the most for his own sense of self-confidence and the exalted sense of a great transformational figure and hi historical figure, and Hope Hicks, and Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump who have frankly fed it throughout the campaign and centering for him, but especially Hope Hicks. I remember talking to her throughout the campaign, but maybe it was spin, but certainly in the room with President Trump, she paid him so much respect and she reinforced his instincts and talked about how smart and on point he was. And for a lot of politicians, they are used to this from the aides or the sort of the people who are yes-men or yes- women, but with President Trump, he really needed it. He needed the people in charge of the care and the feeding of his ego and temperament and Jared Kushner who was also close to Rupert Murdoch and his daughter, Ivanka, were central to that. So while we are used to the chaos, and what we have not seen is what happens to President Trump's, again, sort of the temperament, and the ego, and even just, his really outlook on the governing when he loses people like that.

CABRERA: And when he does not have that affirmation is what I am hearing you say.

But, Ryan, do you feel, because others have called Hope Hicks a sort of the surrogate daughter, and at the same time somebody that the president who he really respected her advice and opinion that she, at times, would push back without trying to cage him in from being himself. Was she a stabilizing figure do you think?

LIZZA: Yes, all of the reporting suggests that, and for those of us who deal with the White House reporters, and she is considered, and Patrick will agree, a reasonable person. And if you had a story and you went to her, and she would work with you on it. And that is not always the case with other people who do press with the White House. So she had goodwill stored up among the media in Washington and New York. Look, the story for every senior adviser who works with Trump is working to contain his worst impulses. And reading some of the comments that Reince Priebus has read since he left the White House, he has made it very clear, and looking at the comments, that the previous senior advisers have made, that is sort of the job. And she seems to have done it better with a different touch and different set of tools than some of the senior White House people.


[15:10:10] CABRERA: Sorry, I didn't mean to step on you.

But thinking of where this is going, we have Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, and their future is questioned, whether they should actually be there. And we know that Jared Kushner and Ivanka, according to "The New York Times," may be on the ropes, even with the president himself that he is apparently privately asking the Chief of Staff John Kelly to push them out.

Patrick, is that the sign that he is going to run a more traditional West Wing now?

HEALY: No, he is looking at options. He does not like the tradition, and he feels that tradition is essentially like the George Bush and the Jeb Bush model of boring politics that does not get, and that is not unpredictable like he is with the sort of the trade war rhetoric, which he thinks is very effective. And tradition is not where he wants to go. And tradition was Reince Priebus, and Sean Spicer and establishment figures. With Ivanka and Jared, there is a side of the President Trump that can be ruthless where he sees people as essentially doing him more harm than good, either distracting him in the media or, you know, he creates so many distractions for himself, but he does not like other figures overshadowing him, and so President Trump talked about Jared Kushner as the emissary to solve the Middle East peace and have both the foreign affairs and the domestic affairs portfolios wand the security clearance downgraded. And John Kelly saying to President Trump here, what can we and not do with Jared and Ivanka, and they are trying to figure it out. But I would not say it is a sign of them going to the more full staff White House. What it is, is essentially dealing with the family dynamic that was always tricky.

CABRERA: Always complicated when it's family involved. Both Ryan Lizza and Patrick Healy, good to see you guys. Thank you

for joining us.

HEALY: Thanks, Ana.

LIZZA: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: And also, there are some ethics questions involving the president's family, and scrutiny over Ivanka Trump's and Jared Kushner's finances. And NBC is reporting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is looking into whether or not any of Kushner's former ties may have influenced White House policy. And this is as "The New York Times" reporting Kushner's family business received more than half a billion dollars in loans from two companies after meetings at the White House.

Joining us to talk more about this Democrat Congressman Steve Cohen, from Tennessee.

And, Congressman, thank you for spending part of the weekend with us.

We have a lot the talk about. First, are there blurred lines right now


CABRERA: -- between the family business deals and the White House?

COHEN: I think that there are no lines, and not blurred lines. It is a family business of the Trumps, and the family business of the Kushner's, and they always violate traditional conflict of interests. They don't think anything about thoughts like see czar's wife should be beyond reproach and it is for the best of people who want to say anything that is ethical for the American people.

CABRERA: And so this week, we have learned new nuggets about the potential conflicts of interest, like you are saying. And when talking about the Kushner businesses and the timing of the deals and the loans given after meetings that Kushner had with leaders of the companies, and we have heard the reporting on potential vulnerabilities that he has when it comes to foreign allies and adversaries for that matter trying to influence him and seeing him as vulnerable to their ways, because of in part of his family business ties, and you are on the House Ethics Committee, and how should all of this be handled?

COHEN: Well, the House Ethics Committee deals with House members, but we know what the proper distance is between the members and private groups and opportunities to benefit from your job. They are the same in almost any industry, and particularly in government. And the president has set a terrible precedent by maintaining interest in Trump properties. We know that he talks to Donald Jr. And when Donald Jr and Eric try to go out the India and try to do Trump deals, the countries and the businesses know it is Donald Trump, and he will benefit from it. And so does Jared Kushner and the Kushner properties. They have dealt with the Qatari government and make a loan, and right thereafter, there was an embargo of Qatar. Qatar is one of the most long-time allies in the region. We have military bases there important for us in the Middle East. Our American interests should come first, and always come first. And by having problems with Qatar, we endanger the American military. And possibly that came because of the rejection of a loan to Kushner on the business deal of paying the biggest price I think ever for a piece of real estate in Manhattan for 666 Fifth Avenue. And he ruined the "Observer" newspaper, which had a good reputation and took that real estate property that he ran into ground. And he has a $200 billion note coming up next year. And they will scramble to do whatever they can to refinance it, and the United States is secondary to the Kushner family.

[15:15:47] CABRERA: Kushner's lawyers deny that he has had any involvement in the family business since the administration. Have you seen any proof that these business deals have a direct connection to Jared Kushner and the White House policy has been impacted because of the Kushner business dealings?

COHEN: Well, where there is smoke there is fire. And when you look at the loans he has gotten with the business and he have the same business interests with the Kushner properties as he did before he went into the White House. And it is not a coincidence that he talked to these people, and they got the major loans and not that far after. It is -- it is easy to see the dots, and you know, connecting them to say that proof beyond a reasonable doubt is something else. I am sure that Bob Mueller is going to be looking at it. And you don't want Bob Mueller looking at it, but I am sure that he will, because where there is smoke there is fire. And the Trumps and the Kushners have been fast and loose with the real estate practices in New York, and certainly, fast and loose with the laws in Washington, D.C., as well.

CABRERA: Real quick, before I let you go, the announcement of the president's tariff on steel and aluminum, and Electrolux reportedly delaying investment in a factory in your home state of Tennessee as a result of the proposed Trump tariff. Your reaction to this?

COHEN: The plant opened up in Memphis and gave a lot of people jobs. We are appreciative of that. And they canceled an opening of another plant in Springfield where it was not financially feasible. This talk is going to hurt the American consumer and American business and he says that trade wars are easy to win, and they are not. He is supposed to be a great negotiator, and negotiate the trade deals and don't jump into the wars on the front end and negotiate. He is not a good negotiator and we don't need Europe to retaliate with ha Harley- Davidson and, of course, it is up in Mitch McConnell's district and not John Yarmouth. It's because of Mitch McConnell and not John Yarmouth. And we want to see Electrolux continue with the plant. And this is a half-cocked idea. He could have -- Carl Icahn sold a lot of stocks and made money the week before, and he could have taken care of Icahn, which he likes to do, and change his mind on the deal. And meanwhile, all he would have done is to give to Icahn and some other people the inside information, which they may or may not have had, just like Martha Stewart may or may not until they proved it, make money and then not do anything, and the pals are the richer. So he will have won and been able to have his McDonald's and peace and know that he took care of the pals.

CABRERA: Well, you have no evidence that is what is going on.

COHEN: Well, there is no evidence, but suspicion. And it is not a coincidence. It is not just luck. People don't have that kind of luck are. Winning the lottery is luck. But selling the stocks a week before your pal takes care of you to cause an action and panic the stock market and in particular to steel-related stocks is not luck.

CABRERA: The shares were down 20 percent in February though for that company. And we also know that this is a promise that the president has been talking about since the campaign trail. So you are connecting some dots that we don't have evidence that are connected.

Congressman Steve Cohen, I really do appreciate your time today and your thought. Thank you very much.

COHEN: You're very welcome, Ana. You have more faith in him than anybody else does.

[15:19:31] CABRERA: I follow the facts. If you have facts that happened, bring them to me.

Trade wars, as mentioned, is this where it is headed. The president says trade wars are good, easy to win. But his decision this week to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum drawing sharp criticism from some of America's strongest allies, even members of his own party. We will explore the possible impact, next.


CABRERA: President Trump's sudden decision on tariffs were perhaps influenced by a recent ad that aired on cable news networks this week. Watch.



American steel.

ANNOUNCER: We heard the promises.

TRUMP: Wait until you see what I am going to do for steel.

ANNOUNCER: Now it is time for action.

TRUMP: I am not going to let America and its great companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer.

ANNOUNCER: President Trump, America's workers are counting on you to protect our jobs and defend our national security. It is time to keep the promise and protect American steel.


CABRERA: A trade group called the Alliance for American Manufacturing paid for the ad.

Here's the possible impact of this proposed steel and aluminum tariff plan. The U.S. imports about one-third of the raw steel it uses and more than 90 percent of aluminum. Trump's tariffs would increase the aluminum cost by 25 percent and 10 percent respectively. And that money would be paid by U.S. companies importing the materials. That could help U.S. producers of steel and aluminum by making them more competitive, especially since they have complained for years of unfair practices overseas. But it could also make the products that you buy that are made with or packaged with steel or aluminum more expensive, a can of beer or soda or a soup, for example.

So to talk more about this. Joining us now, Ravin Gandhi, CEO. He says his company has been impacted by these tariffs. As well as CNN economic analyst, Stephen Moore, who advised President Trump on economic policy during the campaign.

Gentlemen, good to have both of you with us.

I know that neither of you agree with this move that the president has announced.

Stephen, he has suggested that this is supposed to level the playing field with counties like China, but as an economist, you disagree. Why won't it work?

[15:25:57] STEPHEN MOORE, CNN ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, it's interesting that the ad, Ana, that you ran was run by this alliance for manufactures. I don't know who they are, but most of the manufacturers are against this, because those companies that make the cars and trucks and vans, and even caterpillar, they use steel, right? So it is going to be actually going to make their products more expensive. I believe, in the end, it is not going be saving manufacturing jobs, but it could end up costing manufacturing jobs. Now, look, I think that Donald Trump truly cares about the workers in Michigan and Ohio and Kentucky, and where the steel and aluminum jobs are in danger, but it is the wrong way to go about it. In the past, we have had various tariffs and protectionist policies on the steel production, and it has never worked to bring back the industry, but the industry is doing as well now as it has ever done.

CABRERA: That is interesting.

Ravin, what do you see --


MOORE: We have created 250,000 manufacturing jobs in the last year. Some of them in the steel industry.

CABRERA: There are more manufacturing jobs than used to be jobs for making steel itself.

MOORE: That's for sure.

(CROSSTALK) CABRERA: And let me the turn to you, because, as the CEO and the business owner, what are you seeing as the impact to your business?

RAVIN GANDHI, CEO & FOUNDER, GMM NONSTICK COATINGS: We are one of the world's largest companies who apply coatings to cookware, a $29 billion industry. What is it made of? Steel and aluminum. And I started my company from scratch 10 years ago. And we are looking at tens of billions of sales in jeopardy if it escalates from the tariff to the trade war. So I am nervous. I agree with everything that Stephen Moore just said. I am flummoxed, because I am for the steel workers, and all of us are. And my facts are that there are 140,000 people who work in the steel industry in America. That's great. But I also understand that there are six million Americans who work in industries that produce things with steel as a component. So I am just amazed that the president would just put this price increase on the six million Americans. So I am very confused. I don't want to get hysterical here. I saw Secretary Ross yesterday saying that it is not a big impact and it is not going be a big impact, but this morning, the president woke up and tweeted at the entire E.U. and threatening to put a tariff on European cars like BMWs and V.W.s. That is insane. That is completely insane. This is the kind of thing that all of us are nervous about, because this guy thinks that he can get a little bit unhinged. It reminded me of when he was campaigning and had the Muslim ban and ban one billion Muslims and then the world went crazy, and he backed it up and then backed off and that riled up the base. Maybe that's what he's trying to do.


GANDHI: But it's crazy. It is a crazy tactic.

CABRERA: Do you believe that this is a political ploy, Steve, and yet, it won't actually happen?

MOORE: Possibly. Look, let me just defend Donald Trump for one minute. I have obviously --


GANDHI: Good luck.

MOORE: -- disagree with the policy. I was going to make the point, I traveled with Donald Trump to Pennsylvania and Ohio and West Virginia and many of the state, and the truth is that a lot of the voters there supported this policy, and now, you and I believe in free trade and we are on the right side of the issue, but it is quite possible that if Donald Trump had run the conventional free-trade guy, he might not have won those blue states, like Ohio and Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and then Hillary Clinton would have been president. So Trump is delivering on a promise here.


CABRERA: And why is he not listening to you? Why isn't he listening to you when you were an economic adviser of his?

MOORE: Well, you know


MOORE: -- when I started to work with him -- and I will tell you the story.

[15:30:03] When I started to work with him, I told him, I said, Donald, I don't agree with you on trade. And he said, that we can agree to disagree on that. I mostly worked on the tax bill. And by the way, the tax bill is such a huge success with so many new jobs being created, we had a record low number of people applying for unemployment, a 50-year low. We don't need this policy right now. The economy is doing fine without it.



CABRERA: Go ahead, Ravin, and then I have to go.

GANDHI: And so, I feel like that I am fully with the steel workers. And I love the fact that Stephen's story of being out there in steel country and watching how Mr. Trump resonated with them. But what worries me so much is that Mr. Trump is so good at creating a bad guy, and saying, hey, all of you disaffected people, here is who is to blame. And if history has taught us anything, this type of demagoguery is so dangerous, because the irony is that these people, these people who get so riled up and angry, and you know, become so xenophobic and point the fingers, they want to blame and lash out. And the irony is those are the people who end up hurt the most. And whether it is on health care or, in this case, on the price increase, it is like the trojan horse with the steel thing, I think Mr. Trump, you know, the emperor has no clothe. I hope people like Mr. Moore, who are well intentioned, that advised him, I hope they joining the camp saying, Donald, you are a little unhinged here.

CABRERA: Well, wait a minute.


CABRERA: A lot of people can support the idea of buy American and made in America. Do you think that could that have been what the president was trying to accomplish here, Ravin?

GANDHI: Well, if that is what he is trying to accomplish why would he do something that benefits 140,000 people, when we know, by math, it is going to the hurt over six million people. And why is that ad that you played, it seems like a little bit of the causation thing. And like I said, I am all for the steel workers. I would love every industry in America could magically be prosperous. But I believe in one thing above almost everything in democracy and that is capitalism. Capitalism means that the market sets the price.

MOORE: Yes --

(CROSSTALK) GANDHI: And what Mr. Trump is doing --


MOORE: Yes, that is true.

GANDHI: He is -- yes, he is putting his thumb on the scales. And I think that, yes, maybe, maybe he is trying to say buy American in some subtle kabuki theater manner, but why not just say it. Why come out with this policy, which is manifestly being condemned on the left and on the right and the center. And I mean, Larry Kudlow, who is as far right as it gets, lambasted him on CNBC. I think he's alone on this.

CABRERA: All right, Guys, got to go. Ravin Gandhi and Stephen Moore, thank you both.

GANDHI: Thanks, Ana. Thank you.

MOORE: Thanks. Have a good day.

And coming up, growing calls for a ban on the AR-15 rifle in the wake of the Parkland shooting. We will get a closer look at the destruction from a gun like that can cause from someone who has seen it firsthand on the battlefield.


LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I have seen soldiers who have been hit by this weapon and enemies who have been hit by this weapon where it will literally tear out the inside of the body.



[15:37:27] CABRERA: For weeks, there's been a national debate over AR-15-style weapons. Weapons originally designed for the battlefield but used to take the lives of 17 people in Parkland, Florida. And AR- 15 rifles were also used in mass shootings on the Vegas strip, at a church in Texas, at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and also at Sandy Hook Elementary School. According to the NRA, more than 15 million AR-15s are owned by Americans. Fans like them because they are lightweight and easy to handle. And they see them as a symbol of their Second Amendment rights. But opponents question whether these weapons so lethal should even be sold.

We sent Gary Tuchman to get a close up look at the power of the AR-15 and this is what he discovered.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what an AR-15 sounds like.

(GUNFIRE) TUCHMAN: General Mark Hertling served in the U.S. Army for 37 years, and he knows what the AR-15, which used to be a weapon of war, can do. And he has strong feelings about semiautomatic assault-style weapon, which is the precursor of a weapon currently used by the military, the M-4.

HERTLING: The truth of the matter is that they look almost exactly the same.

TUCHMAN (on camera): This is the M-4, military rifle?


TUCHMAN: And this is the AR-15.


And lot of people will buy this just because it is cool and want to appear like soldiers.

If you are a gun collector or a gun aficionado and you want the AR-15, you can certainly buy one, and you should be able to buy one. The problem is when it gets into the hands of the wrong people.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Originally built for the battlefield, a defining characteristic of the AR-15 is the speed and the power of the bullet.


HERTLING: Now, those are single shots. And if I wanted to fire this on full semi-automatic, I can keep firing. I won't probably hit the target when I do this, when we look at the target later on, but I will fire about five shots.

TUCHMAN (on camera): OK.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): It is a weapon designed to inflict maximum damage.

HERTLING: I have seen soldiers who have been hit by this weapon and enemies who have been hit by this weapon where it will literally tear out the inside of the body. I saw one soldier who was hit in a fratricide incident in his shoulder and the round came out of his ass.

TUCHMAN: The general shares the prevailing opinion of this camp and gun shop we're visiting, the Shooting Sports Firearms Range, that the Second Amendment is sacred. But there is also agreement this weapon is definitely not for every gun owner.

(GUNFIRE) [15:40:09] HERTLING: In my personal opinion, you have to receive a whole lot of training to use this weapon. And this weapon in the wrong hands can be more dangerous than other weapons because of the capability to do damage in a short period of time and be irreversible.


TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Tampa.



CABRERA: A powerful nor'easter pummeling the east coast. The impact next.


CABRERA: Right now, nearly one million people in the northeast are without power in the wake of a deadly storm. The ferocious nor'easter developed into a bomb cyclone killing at least five people. Winds along the Massachusetts coasts whipped up to 90-mile-an-hour. A lot of trees were knocked down, flooding happened. The hurricane-force gusts forced flights to be cancelled. You can see this plane attempting to land at Reagan National Airport and the pilot then aborting the landing. I was on a flight yesterday, and people aboard threw up when we were descending. So a rocky and rough ride, no doubt.

[15:45:20] A small orange pen is going to carry a message on the red carpet of the Oscars tomorrow night advocating gun control. "People" magazine reports some A-listers are going to be wearing these orange American flag pins from the advocacy group Every Town for Gun Safety. This organization bills itself as a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities. This move comes two weeks after the shooting at a Marjory Douglas High School in Florida. George and Amal Clooney and Oprah Winfrey have collectively donated $1 million to a march against gun violence organized by the young shooting survivors.

We will be right back.


[15:50:35] CABRERA: A Russian woman, who describes herself as a seductress and has bragged about her connections with Russian oligarchs, is saying she can provide links between Russia and President Trump to anyone who can help her get out of prison in Thailand.

CNN's senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance, has more -- Matthew?


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIOANL CORRESPONDENT: She promotes herself endlessly on social media as Nastya Rybka, a kind of sex Russian sex guru who will supposedly teach you the art of seduction for a fee, of course.

NASTYA RYBKA, THAILAND PRISONER & ALLEGED SEX GURU (through translation): Even if we're interacting with men who are famous, actors, politicians, oligarchs, scientists, very few of these men interact with a woman to discuss high-brow topics with him. If you want to seduce a man like that, he needs to be hooked by his blatant sexual instinct.

CHANCE: Amid snaps and titillating videos of her frolicking on yachts and beaches, she brags of liaisons with billionaires, and one in particular. These are the images that have thrust Nastya Rybka into the kind of spotlight she didn't expect. It shows her relaxing on a boat with two men, one of them is Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia's richest men, the other, a senior Russian official, deputy prime minister, Sergei Prikhodko.


CHANCE: Russia's main opposition leader seized on the images as evidence of official corruption, also suggesting the two men can be heard discussing U.S./Russia relations may have served as a link between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.

Prikhodko has refused to comment on the allegation.

Deripaska has dismissed it as a story far from any truth. In a statement to CNN, his spokesperson said he's suing Rybka and her business partner because they, quote, "maliciously made his private photos and personal information public."

(on camera): It's Matthew Chance, from CNN.

(voice-over): It's not the first time the Russian oligarch known to be close to the Kremlin has fended off allegations of collusion. CNN confronted him last year after it was revealed Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who once worked for Deripaska, offered him private briefings. Deripaska told CNN he never received any communication about it.

(on camera): Did he owe you millions of dollars?


CHANCE (voice-over): But it was after the promise of more detail, more information from Nastya Rybka, who was holding one of her sex and seduction classes on this beach in Thailand, that this extraordinary story appears to have taken a spy novel turn.


CHANCE: She was arrested by Thai police for violating the terms of her tourist visa, managing to record this quick tantalizing message aimed at the American media as she was driven away. RYBKA (through translation): I'm ready to give you all the missing

pieces of the puzzle, support them with videos and audio regarding the connections of our respected lawmakers with Trump, Manafort, and the rest. I know a lot. I'm waiting for your offers in a Thai prison.

CHANCE: They're probably just the words of a desperate woman hoping to avoid deportation to Russia. But her promise, with no evidence so far, to unlock the mysteries of the Trump/Russia scandal has certainly got Nastya Rybka the attention she so often craved.


CABRERA: Matthew Chance, thank you for that.

And in just a couple of weeks, we're going to begin a new season of "CNN Heroes," everyday people changing the world. Where do we find these amazing individuals? With your help.

Today, we want you to meet a woman who successfully nominated her personal hero to be a "CNN Hero." And thanks to her, Sister Teresa Fitzgerald was honored for offering thousands of incarcerated women and their children a chance for a fresh start.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I met her at the correctional facility. It was through her love and her support that really helped me regain my life.


I'm happily a "CNN Hero" thanks to Juliana's brave recommendation of my credentials.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was like, oh, my goodness. For everything she's done for me, I did something for her that no one else did. You know? So it felt really good.


[15:55:10] CABRERA: No doubt.

If you know somebody who deserves to be a "CNN Hero," nominate them at

Coming up, chaos at the White House. Again, the president losing one of his closest confidantes, reportingly floating firing his children from the White House, and to top it all off, he's leaving members of his party reeling after his comments on guns. More on the wild week, next.


[15:59:57] CABRERA: Hello, on this Saturday. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Great to have you with us.

We have breaking news we're following right now. A terrifying few minutes at the White House. Gunfire erupting in a crowd of people right outside the fence surrounding the presidential mansion.