Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Unleashed As He Campaigns For GOP; President Relives 2016 Election 1.5 Years Later; Porn Star Sues Trump For Right To Talk About Alleged Affair; Victims Of Veterans Home Shooting Lived To Serve Others; Exclusive; Stormy Daniels Talks To CNN's Nick Valencia; Mattis: North Korea Meeting At Delicate Stage; Night From Hell For Doctors In Syria's East Ghouta; CNN Investigation: The More Opioids Doctors Prescribe, The More Money They Make; American Dynasties: The Kennedys Tonight 9PM. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired March 11, 2018 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
[17:00:00] LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECH CORRESPONDENT: ... for a baby camera that would be able to detect postpartum depression in moms by looking at movements. So, you know, there's really some interesting innovation here.
But it is a time we have to step back and really ask about the power, about the peril, what we can do and how we can hold our tech -- our tech companies accountable at this very sensitive moment, Pamela.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Laurie Siegel, thank you so much. It is 5:00 Eastern. You are live in the CNN Newsroom. And I'm Pamela Brown in Washington, in tonight for Ana Cabrera.
Well, President Trump, today unloading on Twitter. An air field blast of tweets on through Russia investigation, the president tweeting that his lawyers, quote, have shown conclusively that there was no collusion with Russia, end quote.
What about those five guilty pleas and more than a dozen indictments? Apparently, President Trump is ignoring those pesky facts and the fact that there has been no conclusion to the Mueller investigation.
Well, this comes after his big return last night to classic Trump -- vintage Trump. In an epic speech, Trump, targeted members of the press, Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Martha Stewart, some Democrats, some Republicans, and after one hour of talking about himself, Trump, finally mentioned the name of the GOP candidate that he's stumping for in the crucial Pennsylvania race, Rick Saccone. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And Conor Lamb -- Lamb the sham, right? Lamb the sham. He's trying to act like a Republican so he gets -- he won't give me one vote. Look, I don't know him. Looks like a nice guy.
I hear he's nice looking. I think I'm better looking than him. I do. I do. I do! And he's slightly younger than me. Slightly. No, I heard that and then I saw -- he's OK. He's all right. Personally, I like Rick Saccone. I think he's handsome.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Our reporters are on the ground, Boris Sanchez, outside of the White House there and Jason Carroll, talking to Pennsylvania voters in the final hours of an incredibly tight race to replace a GOP Congressman, Tim Murphy, who resigned in a scandal last fall.
Boris, first to you. The president talked a lot. He also went off- script a lot. Tell us more and how this really wasn't what his aides were expecting.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Pam. I spoke to one White House official yesterday, familiar with the remarks that were prepared for President Trump to deliver Saturday night in Pennsylvania.
They told me that he did about five sentences of what was in the script and then he just went off. Not only with what you saw there, that he improvised about Rick Saccone, ultimately asking Saccone to take the microphone, and calling him handsome, saying that he could potentially vote for a lot of the things on the president's agenda, but also on other issues.
At one point, he started talking about giving drug dealers the death penalty that -- that might help solve America's issue with drugs. The president also surprised a lot of people, announcing his 2020 campaign slogan. That's something I'm told was also unexpected. Keep America great will be the slogan for 2020.
Also on the note of 2020, the president went after one potential rumored opponent in Oprah Winfrey, saying that he knows her weakness, before then pivoting and going after some familiar targets, including the media, Bernie Sanders, and other Democrats, including Representative Maxine Waters. I have a clip for you here about what he said about Oprah, and then what he said about, Waters. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would love Oprah to run. I would love to beat Oprah. I know her weakness. No, no, I know her weakness. I know her weakness. Wouldn't we love to run against Oprah? I would love it. I would love it. That would be a painful experience for her.
Maxine Waters, a very low I.Q. individual. Do you ever see her? You haven't seen her? Have you seen it? We will impeach him! We will impeach the president! But he hasn't done anything wrong. It doesn't matter! We will impeach him! She's a low I.Q. individual. You can't help it. She really is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: The president weaved his way through these numerous attacks. At one point, he actually talked about critics and pundits that label him as someone who may not be friendly to female voters.
The president said that he has no issue with female voters, that they came out in droves for him during the last election. I did want to also note that the entire speech wasn't totally free wheeling.
I'm told that the president spoke with some aides and advisers to fine tune his messaging on North Korea before taking the stage. It appears the president really wanted to get the message right, knowing that Kim Jong-un was potentially watching yesterday, Pamela.
BROWN: All right. Thanks so much, Boris Sanchez. I want to turn now to Jason Carroll in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. So what are voters there on the ground, Jason, saying in the final hours of this crucial race?
[17:05:00] JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, just first let me just set the lay of the land of where we are. We're here in Greene County, Pamela. It's one of the more rural parts of the county, very conservative here, it's a coal mining country.
Here's the kind of place where you're going to find a lot of Trump Democrats. And we spoke to some of them about the special election, obviously, and about Trump's speech.
You know, clearly, he gave that speech last night to give a boost to the Republican Rick Saccone. Donald Trump won this district by some 20 points. So the thought is bring in the president, help boost Saccone. So did it work? Well, not for the Trump Democrats we spoke to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2016, I voted for President Trump.
CARROLL: And did you hear his speech last night?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard bits and pieces on T.V., like most of the people did.
CARROLL: And did it affect -- but I see you're wearing a Conor Lamb.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
CARROLL: So you voted for President Trump, but you're not going to vote for Rick Saccone? Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm not, because he's not the right man for the job. Conor Lamb is the guy that I want to do the things that I believe in. He's honest, he's a veteran, he's for unions, he's for education, and his opponent isn't for any of those things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Pamela, this 18th district special election very much a referendum on the president. You know that, Rick Saccone, ran on a platform of being more Trump than Trump. That's why the GOP is so very concerned about the outcome of this
particular race. What it ultimately is going to come down to is, who is more fired up, the Republicans or the Democrats? Pamela.
BROWN: We'll have to wait and see. Jason Carroll, thank you so much. Let's get straight to our panel now. With me, CNN legal analyst, Carrie Cordero, CNN senior political correspondent -- sorry, senior political correspondent for the Washington Examiner, David Drucker, and staff writer for The Atlantic, Elaina Plott.
Elena, first to you. I mean, just watching him at that rally in Pennsylvania, it is vintage Trump. It is though he's on the campaign trail himself. In fact, he barely talked about the candidate that he was supposed to be stumping for. What do you make of that?
ELAINA PLOTT, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: So I talked to a few top Hill aides before I got here on the Republican side. And they said, I'm sorry, why are we talking about Martha Stewart, the night before a bellwether election for midterms coming up in November?
And I think another thing the Republicans are frustrated with is that Trump had an amazing opportunity to give an incisive boost of support for these tariffs that we saw unveiled last week.
This is a swamp of voters that if anyone in this country would be behind Trump in this controversial tariffs push, it would be this group but we didn't see any of that.
And beyond that, he could have said, this is something that Rick Saccone supports, and also tax cuts. Those were few of the things that were not mentioned at all. And I think it's not necessarily the message you want Republicans hearing, going into such a crucial election.
BROWN: Yes, David, it makes you wonder Republicans who are watching that, whether they want, you know, Trump to come and campaign for them.
It also makes you wonder, you know, the strategy was for Trump to go there and give a boost to Rick Saccone. But how much is the fact that Rick Saccone isn't doing well a result of Trump? It makes you wonder.
DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Rick Saccone has problems of his own. I mean, he cannot raise any money. He has not been a good campaigner. He has not been very active -- at least, that's the perception.
And Conor Lamb has been able to display a lot more charisma. And it's a -- but by the same token, it's a 20-point Trump district. So this is a district that Republicans should win on the natural.
And I think that's why, for Republicans, they were glad to see the president travel there to stump for Saccone, because he could actually help him.
They probably weren't all that happy with the speech that the president delivered. And this is always the risk. The president has the ability to really motivate his base and a lot of the Republican base, at least for himself, and possibly for others.
Where it gets into trouble for Republicans is when the president focuses too much on him with these winding stem winders, and not enough on turnout and the candidate that he's stumping for.
And we saw this in Alabama. We saw the president rally for Luther Strange in a primary. And Luther Strange lost to Roy Moore. We saw the president travel to just...
BROWN: Roy Moore lost.
DRUCKER: And Luther Strange lost...
BROWN: Oh, that's right. Yes, that's right.
DRUCKER: Right? And then we saw the president travel just to the edge of Alabama in the panhandle of Florida, in a sense, which was a rally for Roy Moore, even though it wasn't exactly. And Roy Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones.
BROWN: Yes, that's it.
DRUCKER: And so there are -- and look, we saw this with Barack Obama. There are limitations to what presidents can do for themselves versus other people in their party.
But it does not help Republicans in races like these when the president cannot stay on a more traditional message, even though the crowd loved it, even though his voters loved it.
BROWN: In that district, he did very well, and that was the kind of candidate he was. I mean, that's who he was on the trail before he became president. But you're right.
[17:10:00] Perhaps it doesn't spread to those that the Republicans are hoping to be elected.
DRUCKER: And that's why in the most vulnerable Republican districts this fall, you will not see the president show his face. He'll raise money, he'll tweet, but he won't show up because they don't want him to show up, because he won't be helpful. You'll see Mike Pence, but you won't see President Trump.
BROWN: One thing that was interesting and stuck out to me, Carrie, was he touched on a lot of thing. I mean, Martha Stewart, as you pointed out, among other random topics.
But he didn't call the Mueller investigation a witch -- a witch hunt. He didn't call out the FBI, he didn't insist there was no collusion, although he did, of course, on Twitter today.
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right.
BROWN: But what do you make of that? Do you think that perhaps he's taking it more seriously? Sam Nunberg, the former aide to the campaign, told ABC News that Russia is not a witch hunt. This was after six hours in front of the grand jury.
CORDERO: Right. So I don't think there's any indication and I think the president's tweets today probably reveal this, that he's changed his view or at least what he purports publicly.
And sort of the messaging that he does publicly, which is that he tells the public he thinks it's a witch hunt, that there's no collusion. I think today he was tweeting, there's no collusion.
BROWN: And inclusively -- that his lawyers have conclusively showed that, which is not true.
CORDERO: And part of his -- I think he was reacting today in part to a New York Times article, which suggested that perhaps he's shaking up his legal team in the White House to deal with potential long-term consequences of the Mueller, Special Counsel's investigation.
This investigation is not going away. I think at this point, the president knows that. He's tried to do many things over the course of the last year to derail the investigation, to slow it down, to shut it down, at this point, he has to know that it's here to stay.
Maybe he'll change his legal team a little bit to try to get people who have been through the experience of advising presidents, facing potential impeachment inquiries.
But there's no question that there's more to come in this investigation, for example, one of the things we haven't seen yet is an indictment related specifically to the hacking.
BROWN: To the DNC.
CORDERO: The DNC hack that took place. And I expect that that probably is one more piece that we still need to see revealed from the investigation.
BROWN: And it makes you wonder, Elaina, as this continues to go on and on. And as, Carrie, pointed out, we still haven't seen charges in the DNC hack. Sam Nunberg just went in front of the grand jury just on Friday for six hours. How long can this sort of witch hunt argument hold?
PLOTT: You know, I think, as reporters, especially on the Hill, we like to look at two different things. One, legally, what can actually happen here? And two, how do voters actually respond to what's happening?
And I think with the Mueller investigation, along with, Stormy Daniels, you know, this controversy that is brewing a lot longer than I'm sure the president would want. These are two things where if you look at Trump's base, they're not actually caring that much.
When I talk to voters on the ground, I never hear these issues brought up. So I think it's one thing that -- you know, a witch hunt, yes, that narrative will hold up until November, I think, for Trump's base core of supporters.
However, what you're seeing with Conor Lamb is that there are a lot of -- there are a lot of Republicans who may have voted for Trump in November who are sort of saying, I actually don't know if this is the message I want for the new swath of Republicans, Democrats coming in.
BROWN: Something else, and I guess, David, it's no surprise, he didn't bring up Stormy Daniels, which has been top of the news, particularly recently, as more and more comes out about Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, paying her out of his home equity, and so forth.
It seems to me that there is concern in the White House and people -- around people with the president that this is a scandal that's not going away. That perhaps they thought it would go away, but it's not. How problematic is that?
DRUCKER: Well, look, I actually -- I don't think the voters are going to be too concerned, one way or the other, about Stormy Daniels, simply because President Trump is known to have had a particular history with women on his way in and he won anyway.
And so this is not a revelation that is going to be a chink in an armor that existed around him. You know, if you're going to sort of knock down Trump a peg, I think that you're going to have to get at his authenticity or you're going to have to get at him, meaning not keeping his campaign promises.
When you're talking about a history of having extra marital affairs, when you're talking about a history of worse as it relates to women, this is something that everybody already knows. And it's something that Republican voters have kind of made their peace with.
Now, not all Republican voters, this could be particularly problematic with female voters in vulnerable house districts and some competitive Senate seats.
If trump has one vulnerability, it is with female voters and speeches like we saw last night, and the sort of air of scandal are one of the things that could push female voters inclined to vote Republican to either sit on their hands or possibly vote for Democrats. So it's problematic in that way. But for the president's overall image, it's never going to get any better than it is.
[17:15:02] But this isn't going to make it any worse, because it's nothing new that people didn't already know about him and sort of make their bones with.
Whether or not, if they didn't like him, they still don't like him. And if they like him, they like him knowing a bunch of other things about him that they have decided is OK.
BROWN: Right. But it does make you wonder -- I was talking to Norm Eisen about this. You know, he brought up the possibility that this could be a violation of federal ethics law, if he didn't disclose it, could be a campaign finance law violation. How much of a realistic possibility is that, Elaina?
PLOTT: I think it's an incredibly realistic possibility. But like I said earlier, as reporters, you have to look at these two different strains. I think, David, is absolutely right that, you know, Trump supporters, they knew this about him going into it.
I'm not sure anyone was caught off guard, that Trump had an affair with a porn star. I mean, it was one of those things we scrolled through in our Twitter feed and maybe blinked at. But, legally, yes, I think there's some merit to this. I think everything Norm Eisen said to you had a lot of legs to it.
BROWN: And just really quickly, Carrie, not to dive into this anymore, but just when you look at Robert Mueller and the possibility for blackmail in this situation, will that be something that he would be looking at in part of the Russia probe?
CORDERO: I don't think it necessarily connects to the Russia probe. Here is -- here is how I look at it. The legal issues are fairly discreet. Was the contract -- was the agreement between the parties valid?
And part of that just pertains to whether or not Michael Cohen was -- had the legal authority to do this agreement with her. From my perspective, I look at this from the perspective with someone who worked in government for administrations of both parties.
And I look at this issue and look at the fact that the president goes to his private properties and markets his private properties every third day on average. I look at the casualness with which he agreed to a meeting with Kim Jong-un, and all it sort of degrades the presidency.
And so from the perspective of someone who worked for administrations of both parties, whether you disagree or agree with their political positions on certain issues, it's the degrading of the office of the presidency that I think is -- is notable, when it comes to whether or not the president authorized somebody to pay off a pair or more, a few days before the election, so that it wouldn't affect...
BROWN: Just the fact that we're talking about it and we're talking about this as it pertains to the president is pretty extraordinary. All right, Carrie, David, and Elaina, thank you all very much, we appreciate it.
CORDERO: Thank you.
DRUCKER: Thank you.
BROWN: And just ahead this hour, as law enforcement piece together what led to that fatal shooting at a veterans' home in California, we're also learning more about the three women who lost their lives on the job.
Plus, her story taking Washington by storm, but how did Stephanie Clifford, a.k.a. Stormy Daniels, become the most-talked about woman in America? We're going to discuss more on that coming up.
But then later, a CNN investigation, why an opioid-addicted mother was so fearful her addiction would kill her and she made arrangements for her children if she died. Can you imagine that? You are live in the CNN Newsroom. We'll be back.
[17:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BROWN: Well, flags at California's capital are at half-staff after an army veteran shot and killed three workers at a V.A. treatment facility in Napa Valley.
Well, the victims are being remembered as brave, accomplished professionals who lived to serve others. They helped veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder after deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One of the victims, Jennifer Gonzalez, was pregnant. We were also learning more about the gunman who had been treated at that facility for PTSD. I want to bring in, CNN law enforcement analyst Josh Campbell, for more on this investigation. So, Josh, what more do we know about the attacker?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Hi, Pamela. Still so many questions remain following Friday's hostage situation-turned deadly shooting here in California. And while there is so much we don't know, we can be certain this will be a lengthy investigation.
One question law enforcement officers are currently working to answer is, what was the motive? What made this decorated army veteran engage in such deadly action and take three innocent lives?
Now, CNN has learned that some time before the shooting, the gunman made some type of threat against one of the victims. The details of that threat remain unclear, but it does at least help answer the question whether the shooter possibly knew any of his victims.
Authorities will also be looking into the role of any mental health issues may have played, especially stemming from possible posttraumatic stress.
Now, when we have issues of mental health involved, there will always be a question regarding whether the gunman should have had access to firearms in the first place.
CNN has learned from police officials that the suspect had at least seven firearms registered in his name, which when coupled with the possible of mental health complications is extremely concerning.
Now there is so much we don't know this afternoon, but today, grieving family members and friends of the victims are no doubt wondering whether there is yet again an instance where there were possible warning signs that were missed. Pamela.
BROWN: And it really raises the question, Josh, what happens when a person leaves one of these PTSD treatment facilities? Are there checkups, monitoring? How are they allowed to own weapons despite a documented mental condition?
CAMPBELL: Well, we would hope there would be follow up, but sadly in this case, we don't yet know the full circumstances surrounding the reason why the gunman was discharged from the facility in the first place.
If he was forced out for making threats, I think it would be difficult for them to require him to accept follow-up visits, absent some kind of court order.
I think what it shows is that we have to find a way to fuse together disparate pieces of information for the law enforcement and mental health facilities in order to identify potential threats, for their own safety, and for the safety of the public.
BROWN: And you look at recent incidents, Josh, like what happened in Parkland, Florida, now this shooting in California. Is there more that law enforcement could be doing proactively in your view?
CAMPBELL: That's a great question. And, Pamela, you know from your years of covering law enforcement that the men and women of the ATF are among the very best when it comes to investigations and tactics.
[17:25:06] But our lawmakers have put ATF in an impossible situation. Look at the recent incidents of deadly gun violence in the United States. Look at the rate of gun manufacturing in the United States.
It has tripled since 2004, from roughly 3 million to over 9 million weapons per year. Yet the number of special agents at ATF and the ATF budget had remained stagnant.
I think it's a travesty that our lawmakers would ask them to do so much and then fail to support them when it counts. If we want to stop gun violence, we need to start by fully equipping those who are responsible for regulating these weapons.
BROWN: But then more in what you say, Josh, for those who would come and say, look in the Parkland case, there were miss signed by law enforcement. Couldn't they be doing more to make sure these things don't happen?
CAMPBELL: It's a very good question. I think when you look at these incidents, you always do that after-action to try and determine, was there more there?
I think we're still in that phase with the investigation here in Yountville, California, looking back to determine, was this someone who was known to law enforcement, was he simply known to the mental health facility?
I think we need to look at -- as I have said, look those instances and try to determine, is there more that law enforcement could have done to fuse together with mental health providers and vice versa.
BROWN: All right, Josh Campbell, thank you so much.
CAMPBELL: Thanks, Pamela.
BROWN: Well, again, the victims were three very accomplished women who devoted their lives to helping traumatized veterans. One of them is a psychologist. Jen Gonzales had been married for only a year and was pregnant with their first child. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help her family.
Well, it is a controversy that seems to not go away. Just ahead, hear from the porn star who has just filed a lawsuit against President Trump. A CNN exclusive, up next.
[17:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BROWN: Well, President Trump dropped the names of a lot of well-known entertainers last night at his campaign rally -- seemingly campaign rally in Pennsylvania. He mentioned Oprah Winfrey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Martha Stewart.
But one showbiz figure he did not mention was Stormy Daniels. She is the porn star who is suing the president, so that she could legally talk about the affair she allegedly had with Trump several years ago.
Nick Valencia is in Pompano Beach, Florida, and that's where Stormy Daniels had a weekend dancing gig. You actually spoke to Stormy Daniels, Nick. How is she handling all of this attention?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it seems like she's in really good spirits, Pamela. She is incredibly charming, very witty, very smart, and I think all of that comes across in the interview.
She did speak to me again late last night, saying that she has more angles and she wants more of the truth to come out, but it seems as though right now she's legally hampered by it, but she is talking, especially about how this entire ordeal has affected her life.
VALENCIA: She is one of the most famous people in the world right now, for a very infamous reason. But who is stormy Daniels?
The 38-year-old has made her living in front of the camera, a porn actress with hundreds of x-rated scenes to her name, Daniels, born Stephanie Clifford, is also an established adult film director, a point she made clear in an exclusive audio interview this weekend with CNN.
STORMY DANIELS, PORN STAR: I'm actually one of the most successful adult movie directors in the business. I have a contract that's been in place for several years and I actually just renegotiated, and got a new contract that was already -- the terms were already set before this stuff happened. And I have a huge -- I got a raise. So I'm doing just fine. VALENCIA: Her popularity has taken her mainstream over the years,
playing herself in music videos and hit movies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Daniels tried to parlay her notoriety into a Senate seat. In 2010, she launched a bid against David Vitter, kicking things off with a listening tour.
DANIELS: I never take anything lightly, I work extremely hard. I am always up for a good fight.
VALENCIA: She dropped out of the race after not being taken seriously. But as she told us this weekend, negative attention is something she thrives on.
DANIELS: I've been in the adult business for 17 years, so to make it that long in that business, you have to have a really tough skin.
And so, it's -- most of it rolls off my shoulders, because it's an opinion, like, oh, you think I'm a whore or you think I'm ugly, or old, or I'm fat, or my boobs are too big, or too small, whatever.
I have heard there's nothing along those lines that someone can say to me that I haven't heard. And so when someone says, hey, you're a whore, I am like, that is successful whore to you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you have a relationship with a woman named Stormy Daniels?
VALENCIA: Sources tell CNN, her alleged affair with the president has caused anxiety in the White House, overshadowing the president's day- to-day work. The White House has repeatedly denied the allegations.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I've addressed this extensively and I don't have anything else to add.
VALENCIA: As the humiliating headlines draw out, Daniels has accused the president's attorney, Michael Cohen, of bullying her into silence. But she's proven that she can't be controlled.
When you look back at this stage of your life -- this period of your life, what do you think you're going to think about? I mean, what are you going to think about what you are through right now?
DANIELS: Holy (BLEEP). I mean, is there really anything else to say?
VALENCIA: We should mention that we got that interview on the condition that we not talk about the pending litigation. It was earlier this week that Stormy Daniels filed a lawsuit against President Trump in Los Angeles Superior Court over a nondisclosure agreement that has to do her alleged affair with the president back in 2006.
Look, Pamela, at the end of the day, she's a businesswoman and this has all been, as she says, very good for her business. Pamela.
BROWN: All right. Nick Valencia, thank you so much. And just ahead on this Sunday, the specifics of this high-stakes meeting, pretty thin. Even Trump's defense secretary in the lead up to a potential meeting with North Korea saying today, the potential for misunderstanding remains very high.
[17:35:02] Live to Seoul, up next.
BROWN: Lots of questions surrounding the highly anticipated meeting between the U.S. and North Korea. President Trump and Kim Jong-un are expected to meet by May.
No words yet on where or if there are conditions. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declined to discuss specifics in deciding that the meeting was, quote, a diplomatically led effort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:40:07] JIM MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I do not want to talk about Korea at all. I'll leave it to those who are leading the effort, the State Department and the NSS, for the president, because it's that delicate when you get into a position like this, the potential for misunderstanding remains very high or goes higher.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Paula Hancocks joins us from Seoul. So, Paula, what specifics do we know about this meeting at this point?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, very little. We are understanding from the Blue House here in Seoul that the U.S. President Donald Trump, said, yes, to the meeting very quickly.
Now, they say that he also said he wanted to do it as soon as possible, potentially even in April. And it took the national security advisers of South Korea and the United States to suggest to him that it should actually be after the North Korean-South Korean summit.
President Moon Jae-in of South Korea will be meeting with the North Korean leader in April and that's why the U.S. meeting was going to be pushed back to May.
But that gives you some insight into just how quick this decision came and the fact that the U.S. president really wanted to do this as quickly as possible. But the specifics, we don't know at this point. It's obviously a logistical nightmare.
The optics are very important as to where this summit is going to take place, whether it's Washington or Pyongyang. Most experts think that that's less likely.
Could it be the DMZ -- the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea? Potentially a third country -- a neutral country like Switzerland could be touted. But at this point, we really don't know any specifics. Pamela.
BROWN: And you pointed out that the president made this decision very quick to meet with Kim Jong-un. Was that surprising to officials there in South Korea?
HANCOCKS: I think so. I think the South Korean delegation was taken by surprise. Obviously, they went to Washington with this invitation from the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
I don't think anyone expected the U.S. president to give this snap decision and say, yes, very quickly. Now, those delegates are now on their way to China and Russia to explain what's happened.
Obviously, China and Russia will be delighted. They have consistently said that they want Washington and Pyongyang to sit down, and talk about denuclearization.
Also, the head of the NIS here in South Korea will be going to Japan, potentially a tougher sell. They have a more hard line policy against North Korea. But there are concerns from experts here that this has happened so quickly.
And does it legitimatize the North Korean leader? The fact that there haven't been any preconditions put on these -- on this meeting, this historic summit between the North Korean and the American leader, and there are concerns that it's been agreed to too quickly.
BROWN: And behind the scenes, can you give us a sense of what's going on to make this meeting happen?
HANCOCKS: Well, obviously, the most important thing, now, is to decide where exactly it should be. As I mentioned, the optics are going to be incredibly important for this meeting. It's unlikely, but, of course, we don't know for assure that either leader would want to go to the other one's country.
I mean, remember, just a few months ago, these are two leaders who were trading insults, who were comparing sizes of nuclear buttons, who were threatening to destroy the other one's country.
So it would appear that most experts believe it would be best to have it in a neutral setting, whether that is the DMZ, whether it is a third country, whether it's even China. We simply don't know at this point. Pamela.
BROWN: All right. Paula Hancocks, thanks so much for breaking it down for us. And this week marks the seventh year of Syria's civil war. Civilians are caught in the cross fire, medical supplies are scarce, and doctors are desperate to keep up.
We're about to take you inside a makeshift hospital in Syria where doctors are struggling to save lives. A warning, this report contains graphic video. CNN' Jomana Karadsheh takes an inside look at the crisis. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Neighborhoods pounded, munitions lighting up the sky. It was East Ghouta's 24 hours from hell. The few makeshift medical facilities left could barely deal with the casualties.
But the wounded kept on coming. For some, there were even no gurneys, but for most, no anesthesia to stop the pain. Calling this hospital would be a stretch, but this is all they've got. In the midst of the chaos, children lay alone.
No hand to hold, no one to comfort them. In another clinic, young and old struggled to breathe. Doctors say they were exposed to toxic chemicals.
DR. BASSAM BAKRI, DOCTOR IN SYRIA: You can smell the smell of chlorine gas, poison gas, no?
[17:45:03] DR. HAMZA HASSAN, DOCTOR IN SYRIA: Most of them...
KARADSHEH: On Thursday, exhausted doctors still appealing for help.
HASSAN: We're suffering from lack of everything. Enough blood, enough war.
KARADSHEH: With no aid and no end in sight, no one knows how many more nights from hell East Ghouta can endure. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Amman.
BROWN: Well, coming up, a heartbreaking reality of the opioid epidemic. Our Elizabeth Cohen talked to a mother so frightened by her addiction, she's made plans for her own children if she loses her life. A CNN investigation, up next. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.
[17:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BROWN: A somber moment in southern California as officers of the Pomona police department honor one of their own -- killed in a standoff that lasted more than 15 hours.
Thirty-year-old officer Gregory Casillas was fatally shot in an accident that started -- incident, rather, that started Friday night. A second officer was hospitalized in a serious condition, shot in the fact while he tries to rescue his colleague.
Casillas was a rookie still in field training after joining the department in 2014. He leaves behind a wife and two children. The suspect was finally taken into custody overnight and charged with murder.
So far this year, 17 law enforcement officers across the U.S. have died in shootings. And with the opioid epidemic claiming tens of thousands of American lives, CNN teamed up with Harvard researchers to investigate this crisis.
And the investigation followed the money from opioid, manufacturers to the doctors who prescribe them and found a distinct and disturbing correlation. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen reports, the more prescriptions that physicians write for these addictive and deadly drugs, the more money they make.
ANGELA CANTONE, FORMER OPIOID ADDICT: You would take the cartridge and you would spray it under your tongue like this.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is SUBSYS, a prescription opioid, 50 times more powerful than heroin. For more than two years, Angela Cantone's doctor prescribed it to her to treat her pain from crohn's disease.
CANTONE: It completely destroyed my life. I was now be able to function for my family. It was a zombie-like state. I suffered for two -- over two years thinking I was dying. I made arrangements for my children if something would happen to me.
COHEN: When you told the doctor you didn't feel very well on this medication, what did he say?
CANTONE: The response that I got floored me. It was opioids or nothing.
COHEN: And in particular, this opioid SUBSYS?
COHEN: He didn't give you other alternatives?
COHEN: Cantone then learned that her doctor had received more than $200,000 from the company that make SUBSYS, for speaking and consulting of other services.
CANTONE: The medication that was being prescribed to me was for his benefit, not my own.
COHEN: As the nation's opioid epidemic rages, CNN and doctors Anupam Jena and Michael Barnett of Harvard University's School of Medicine and Public Health did a new analysis of government data. This is a pretty dramatic line.
DR. MICHEL BARNETT, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: I agree.
COHEN: What we found is stunning.
BARNETT: The big picture is that the more money a physician receives from an opioid manufacturer, the more likely they are to prescribe opioids. COHEN: As can you see here, the doctors who get paid the most money,
they prescribe the most opioids.
BARNETT: We don't know which way that relationship goes. Is it that the payments motivated the physician to prescribe more or did the prescriber attract the money.
DR. ANUPAM JENA, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: If there is the possibility that pain doctors leads to increases an inappropriate prescribing of the drugs, that's something that we have to take seriously.
COHEN: We showed the opioid researcher, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, our findings.
DR. ANDREW KOLODNY, OPIOID RESEARCHER: It shows that the drug companies are really getting what they pay for. In effect, they're almost bribing doctors to prescribe their drugs aggressively.
COHEN: But pain specialist Dr. Steven Stanos says pharmaceutical companies are paying doctors to educate other doctors.
DR. STEVEN STANOS, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PAIN MEDICINE: I would hope that they, you know, choose physicians that have an understanding of the drug are respected physicians and can speak objectively about that.
COHEN: The pharmaceutical industry told us it works to make sure patients' needs are met, were also preventing over prescribing. Cantone is suing Insys, the company makes SUBSYS and her doctor for fraud.
Both denied the allegations. In a court document, Insys said its product marketing conformed with industry standard and, Cantone's, doctor said the medical care he gave her was reasonable and appropriate, and in keeping with the standard of care. And, Cantone, says her doctor did over prescribe opioids for money.
CANTONE: I was used as a pawn in a chess game, which later ended up making him and the pharmaceutical company a ton of money.
COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Greenville, South Carolina.
BROWN: And that was Elizabeth Cohen reporting. I am Pamela Brown in Washington. Up next, my colleague, Wolf Blitzer, takes over for a big night here on CNN. Van Jones will speak with Oprah Winfrey and then later, the premier of Pope: The Most Powerful Man In History.
Also premiering tonight, a rare look and intimate look at one of America's most famous families -- American Dynasties: The Kennedys, premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m. And here's a sneak peek.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know their name. You don't know their whole story and ambition.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was the bear of Wall Street.
[17:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're never running against one Kennedy. It's a full family affair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wealth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Kennedys always find a way to make their dreams come true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Power.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This compound is the center of the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's only the beginning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let us not forget they were not angels.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've had more than their share of scandals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But then there are the moments of greatness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We choose to go to the moon and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A rare and intimate reveal of America's most famous family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people enjoy a life, that's normal and mediocre. Other people respond to challenges. That's who we are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: American Dynasties: The Kennedys, premieres tonight at 9:00 on CNN.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You're live here in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. It's one powerful night here on CNN. I didn't want to miss it.