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President Donald Trump had nearly 90-minute speech out on a rally to support Rick Saccone; South Korea announced that President Trump will be meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un; President Trump is facing so many pressing national security concerns; White House unveiled the President's latest proposals on gun and school safety; Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 11, 2018 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting from Washington. It is one powerful night coming up here on CNN. I didn't want to miss it. Van Jones will speak with Oprah Winfrey followed by the premier of American dynasty's the Kennedys. Then the premier of Pope, the most powerful man in history. I'll be with you for the next hour until owl all this gets under way at 8:00 p.m. eastern.

And his just coming up, later this hour as well. The White House will unveil some of its new proposals on gun and school safety. It is happening just under one month since the mass killing of 17 people at the Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida. We are going to bring you details from the White House as soon as they are officially released. Stand by for that.

In the meantime, the President is once again misinforming the American people about the current state of the Russia probe despite five guilty pleas more than a dozen indictments including against Russians. Today President Trump tweeted that his lawyers quote "have shown conclusively that there was no collusion with Russia."

It is the latest inaccuracy he is hurling after his nearly 90-minute speech out on the stump last night. He not only cited some fake facts but he delivered some real insight on to what his 2018 midterm campaign trail will look like as Republicans faced these midterm elections. The President unleashing some improvising more than an hour of praise about his tax cuts. His looks, his 2020 campaign and a whole lot more.

He only spent a few minutes though on the Republican candidate. He was supposed to be promoting. He also slammed multiple Democrats. He slammed the news media. Past Presidents. But take note of the soft touch he took when it came to the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, expecting to meet with President Trump by May, within the next two months in a historic diplomatic first.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: South Korea came to my office after having gone to North Korea and seeing Kim Jong-un and -- no, it's very positive. No. After the meeting you may do that. But now we have to be very nice because --let's see what happens. Let's see what happens.


BLITZER: Let's discuss all this and more with our panel. Chris Cillizza is here, CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large, CNN political analyst Molly Ball, national political correspondent for "Time" and A.B. Stoddard, associate editor and columnist for Real Clear Politics and host, No Labels Radio on Sirius XM.

Chris, no teleprompter really last night. He was off the cuff. He was speaking for more than 70 minutes going after all sorts of folks. He barely mentioned though, Rick Saccone, the Republican candidate. He was out of western Pennsylvania to promote in this special election Tuesday against the Democrat Conor Lamb.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER/EDITOR-AT-LARGE: That's right. It was about 95 percent Donald Trump on Donald Trump, five percent Donald Trump on -- well, three percent Donald Trump on Rick Saccone, two percent attacking Conor Lamb, the Democrat. Well, that's about how it broke down.

What's best thing, if you read the speech, Wolf, is you can see where he has lines prepared. I mean, he has a speech that is written. He just doesn't deliver it. He gives a paragraph where he is just reading it. More standard issue political rhetoric. And then spends 20 minutes talking about the Celebrity Apprentice, talking about his looks, talking about where he went to business school, talking about anything under the sun other than this race.

And then he weirdly veers back toward it. I can't imagine being the teleprompter operator for Donald Trump. Did you never - he kind come and then he comes back and he is on it for a couple lines, and then he is off it again.

I mean, I think this is what Donald Trump in his mind's eye, envisions how he wants his presidency to be which is free-wheeling unencumbered by the advice of people he believes never thought he would win in the first place and about him. I don't know if it would work. I'm skeptical that Donald Trump is going to save Rich Saccone who I think is likely to lose, in part because of Donald Trump and in part because he can't raise any money and in part because he is not a terribly good candidate.

BLITZER: If you are thinking, A.B., watching that speech last night and you are thinking about your own midterm elections coming up, what's your conclusion?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR/COLUMNIST, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: That you do not want him coming to your district. If you are a safe Republican where that kind of Trump rally is going no light a fire with your constituents you don't need any help in this election.

The seats that are going to defend the Republican majority are in swing districts. Many of which Hillary Clinton won. And in those districts where you need the Republican base to turn out, you can't turn off independence who are trending sharply to the Democrats right now. And you can't have Donald Trump come to your district and do that kind of a rally.

MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Wolf, but I think that you know, this is a district that ought to be one of those safe district and that why it is ringing so many alarm bells for Republicans, the seats that Donald Trump won by 20 points is not one of those swing districts you are talking about. The demographics of this seat are not in the demographics that are trending toward Democrats nationally and general. And so this is a big flashing red light for Republicans that this seed is in play.

One thing I think Trump maybe doing by not talking a whole lot about Rick Saccone, is potentially insulating himself with blame. If Republicans do lose, he can say be I never liked that guy anyway. I always thought he was a weak candidate. Is that plausible? No. He is there. He is campaigning for him. He is obviously endorsed him and put his weight behind him. But we saw this after the Alabama race. Trump turned around and said, yes, I know I campaigned for Roy Moore. I endorsed Roy Moore. But I never thought the guy could win and it is not my fault, you know, this has nothing to do with me.

[19:05:35] CILLIZZA: He will do that, by the way. Molly is a hundred percent right. I mean, you are already seeing reports come out that basically say Donald Trump doesn't think that Rick Saccone is a good candidate no matter what he says.

But if you think about it, Molly mentioned Alabama in southwestern Pennsylvania district that Donald Trump owned by 22 points. Now Alabama obviously Roy Moore extenuating circumstances (ph) in Pennsylvania. And the reason it is a special election is because Congressman Tim Murphy had a sex scandal.

So yes, they are extenuating circumstances. But you aren't talking about areas that are even marginal. I mean, Alabama is one of the five most conservative states in the country. And this area that Tim Murphy unopposed in 2014 by Democrat, unopposed in 2016 by a Democrat. There is a reason for that. There's just not that many Democrats in that area any more.

So the fact that Saccone is in trouble, Donald Trump no matter what he says about Rick Saccone, he will probably say bad candidate. I did what I could. He went from way down to almost winning. This is still -- I don't know if it is primarily, but he is absolutely, Donald Trump is a factor in this race that it is even close.

BALL: Well, and I think the really alarming prospect for Republicans is what A.B. raised which is that not only does Trump not lift your candidate even with the base, he invigorates the other side. And I think we really saw that in Alabama where not only did Trump not succeed in getting the Republican base out to vote for Roy Moore, but he energized a lot of Democrats to, they accept their Democrats in Alabama. They really turned out. And it was part of it was because they saw how much Trump wanted this candidate to win and they wanted to send the opposite message.

BLITZER: He did have a line in his speech - let's now play the clip about the first lady. Listen to this, A.B. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Take Melania. Great, great first lady. She is great. She is great. She is great. You think her life is so easy, folks? Not so easy.


BLITZER: That was intriguing. But what do you think he is referring to?

STODDARD: Just a staffer's nightmare that there are these prepared remarks and then he goes into a stream of consciousness about his wife who is obviously having a horrid time with the Stormy Daniels story just dominated the news cycle. And he just - I mean, it just - it just absolutely the last thing he should do to her, he should say, it is just what happens at a Trump rally.

And it is another reason, you know, that we are talking about it if you are a vulnerable member in a very competitive seat. You just cannot have this come in. And Rick Saccone is desperate. He is being outspent 500 percent. He is a potted plant at this rally and he is really a loser in this race.

I actually think, interestingly enough, I'm going to go against the sort of prevailing wisdom here on the races momentum. Donald Trump made it clear. He was like don't embarrass me. This is an embarrassment if Rick Saccone loses. He told his most faithful at this rally, you have got to get out and vote. You got to do this. He said the world is watching. And I think he will actually turn out some votes. For people who love Trump and don't even know who Rick Saccone is, and they are worried that he might be embarrassed by a big loss in Pennsylvania AG (ph).

CILLIZZA: I will say thought that he used similar rhetoric around Roy Moore which in the Alabama race -- don't let this happen. But even at the end of that speech, very brief time when he talked about Rick Saccone, he says something like, why is this race even close? I won here by 20.

I mean, again, to Molly's point, he is clearly laying the ground work. We know that Donald Trump likes to blame people not named Donald Trump for everything. He is clearly laying ground work to do so because I think someone is whispering in his ear and said, it doesn't look great barring a last-minute change here.

BLITZER: Much of a problem, Molly, is the Stormy controversy hovering over the White House right now.

BALL: Well, and that is why as they view and saying you don't put this in your remarks. You don't bring it up. Because that is essentially what he does by mentioning Melania is remind everyone of his scandal involving a porn star. There is no reason to put that into the heads of people who support you and who otherwise probably have put it out of their mind. You don't remind people that is a thing and that that is a story that continues to percolate. And so, he insists on doing this. I remember during the campaign,

whenever there was a negative story about him, he would bring it up so that he could talk about it. And sure, he is telling people his side of it. But in general in politics you don't want do that because you want people to not think about the bad things about your candidate.

[19:10:15] BLITZER: All right. Guys, we have to leave it on that note.

Molly, Chris and A.B., thanks very, very much.

There is more news we are following.

Coming up, the President addresses plans for truly historic and unprecedented meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.


TRUMP: Hey, who knows? If it happens, if it doesn't happen, I may leave fast or we may sit down and make the greatest deal for the world and for all of these countries.


BLITZER: Again, reaction from Republican senator James Risch who sits above the intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees. There you see him. He is standing by live. We will discuss that when we come back.


[19:14:56] BLITZER: This week South Korea announced that President Trump will be meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Officials say this us historic and high stakes meeting would likely happen over the next two months by May. But last night at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, President Trump seemed less certain about a specific date. Even open to canceling the meeting all together if things don't work out soon. Listen to this.


[19:15:22] TRUMP: Hey, who knows? If it happens, if it doesn't happen. I may leave fast or we may sit down and make the greatest deal for the world and for all of these countries including frankly, North Korea.


BLITZER: Let's talk about what the President said, where we are heading.

Republican senator James Risch of Idaho is joining us. He serves on the Foreign Relations Committee as well as the intelligence committee.

Senator, thanks so much for joining us.

SEN. JAMES RISCH (R), IDAHO: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

BLITZER: Sir, as it stand now, what do you think? Will there be this actual meeting, the historic meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un over the next two months?

RISCH: Well, I guess I come from -- at this probably from a different point than a lot of your guest do. I really hope so. I know there's a lot of negativity we have heard about people saying this could go wrong or that could go wrong. And of course, there is a lot of vitriol out there against President Trump. And I think that is probably where that comes from.

But look. Presidents have tried for seven decades to bring this country to heal. It's gotten worse and worse. I have said in recent years over and over again some President's going to have to deal with this. The time is here and something has going to have to be done. There is no question about it. I hope indeed that this meeting does take place.

BLITZER: Yes. Are you at all concern though, senator, that maybe the next two months, eight weeks, there is not enough time to really prepare for such a historic moment?

RISCH: You know, I know that if you talk to any of the diplomats and the people who deal with this would say, look, this isn't the way things are ordinarily done. That's absolutely true. This is not the way things are ordinarily done. But the way things are ordinarily done have not worked over and over and over again. So it is time to try something else.

Now, I'm not really worried about that. Look, you are going to have on one side of the table arguably the most powerful person in the world. On the other side of the table, not arguably the most powerful person in North Korea who can make anything happen in North Korea. There is a possibility that they can reach a deal.

The thing that -- the thing that has really stunned us all is the fact that this wasn't solicited. This wasn't offer ford Kim Jong-un. And for him to put out statement and it came originally through the South Koreans. But you remember on Thursday night late it came from the North Korean ambassador to United Nations and said that Kim Jong-un is interested in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. All of a sudden we have the same objectives. If we have the same objectives you no longer have an argument about the objective is, it is how to get there. And I'm hoping they can do that.

BLITZER: What they have agreed to, at least so far, to set the stage for this meeting is to suspend nuclear testing, suspend their intercontinental ballistic missile testing. Not oppose the scheduled U.S. South Korean military exercises next month. But do you really believe, senator, when all is said and done, Kim Jong-un is going to give up his nuclear weapons?

RISCH: I don't know. What I do know is that he said he is interested in doing that, seeing peace on the Korean peninsula, which, of course, is subjective. But denuclearization is not subjective, it is objective. And if there's an agreement in that regard, look, we know how to do this. This isn't the 1990s. We have method and sources from ways and means of checking these things. We do this all the time in dealing with other countries. So he knows that if he sits down and he makes a deal that it is not going to be a deal where you just shake hand and everybody walks way. It is going to be a deal that has to be verified. He knows that.

And this all came as an offer from him. To be honest with you, for those of us that work with this all time, this whole thing is stunning. It really is. That he would make the offers that he has. And the most important thing is we gave up absolutely nothing in order to get to where we are with this.

In the past the North Koreans ask for food, for money, for fuel, to ease sanctions. We always gave it to them. We sat down and talked. And then the thing didn't work. They just worked us and that was the end of it. Different deal this time. They are getting nothing.

BLITZER: Well, they are getting something, senator. They are getting a very prestigious face-to-face meeting between the North Korean leader and the President of the United States. So that is seen as something that the North Korean leader, this Kim Jong-un, his father Kim Jong-il, they wanted for a long time this kind of U.S. leader meaning North Korean leader for a long time, so they are getting that.

[19:20:10] RISCH: Well, that isn't much. Look. If you want to meet President Trump, you can stand in a rope line, if you want to. That, I have heard people say that. That this is a wonderful thing.

This - you are talking about nuclear weapons here. Meeting somebody and shaking hands with them, isn't on the same plain as far as giving and taking to get to the point we want to get to. I applaud President Trump for taking this meeting, for agreeing to meet with him and trying to make something happen when nobody has been able to make something happen in the past.

BLITZER: Well, they do have according to U.S. intelligence maybe 20 or 60 nuclear bombs already, the intercontinental ballistic missiles. So there is enormous at stake right now. Let's see how this unfolds over the next two months.

Senator Risch, as usual, thanks so much for joining us.

RISCH: Thank you.

BLITZER: Coming up, Stormy Daniels, who is the porn star at the center after legal battle right now with the President and his personal attorney? A closer look at her background and why she says negative attention is something she thrives on.


[19:25:45] BLITZER: More developments and now in the stories surrounding the porn star and the President. The White House is dodging and questioning on whether President Trump authorized $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence on an alleged affair she says they had many years ago.

Daniels is capitalizing on her new fame, meanwhile, performing at a strip club in Pompano Beach Florida this weekend.

CNN's Nick Valencia spoke with her about the headlines she says she is more in demand now than ever.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 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 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 terms were already set before this stuff happened. And I have 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 pour lay 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'm 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 have 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 is most of it rolls off my shoulder because it is an opinion, like oh, you think I'm a whore or you think I'm ugly or I'm old or I'm fat or my boobs are too big or too small, whatever. I have heard, there is nothing along those lines that someone can say to me that I haven't heard. And so, when somebody says, hey, you are a whore, I'm like, that's successful whore to you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you have a relationship with the woman named stormy Daniels?

VALENCIA: Sources tells 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 have addressed this extensively. I don't have anything else to add.

VALENCIA: As the humiliating headlines were out (ph), Daniels has accused the President's personal attorney Michael Cohen of bullying her into silence but she is proven she can't be controlled.

When you look back at this stage of your life, this period of your life, what do you think about? I mean, what you are going think about what you are going through right now?

DANIELS: Holy (bleep). I mean, is there really anything else to say?

VALENCIA: Nick Valencia, CNN, Pompano Beach, Florida.


BLITZER: All right. Nick, thank you very much for that report.

Coming up, President for life. China scraps term limits for its leader, putting Xi Jinping in power indefinitely. So what does it mean for the U.S. relationship with China? We will update you on that and more right after this.


[19:33:13] BLITZER: From Russian meddling to an operative beat with North Korean dictator, President Trump is facing so many pressing national security concerns right now. And tonight, we would like to bring you something special. You have heard by now that President gets a lot of his information from cable news out. That his twitter feed contains more reference to news networks than to his own national security council staff.

And you may have even heard reports, he rarely if ever reads his daily intelligence briefings, opting instead for oral briefing presentations every few days by his national security team, including his CIA director and director of national intelligence.

So with all that in mind, we want to share some key national security analysis and Mr. President, we don't know if you are watching us right now, hope you are, if you are, this will be very interesting. Here is your weekend Presidential briefing.

Our CNN national security analyst former national former security adviser Sam Vinograd is joining us. She spent two years helping prepare for the President's daily brief during the Obama administration.

All right, Sam, thanks so much for doing this. Kick us off.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Sure. We are going to discuss three topics tonight. Russia and North Korea and China.

Out first article is Russian threat matrix. This week, we saw Russia's attacks against U.S. interests escalate. Vladimir Putin personally participated in an information work attack against the United States via his interview with Megyn Kelly. He spread disinformation and misinformation. And he actively attacked the credibility of the U.S. intelligence community, knowing that President Trump probably wasn't going to push back. We are also tracking the attempted targeted assassination of a former

Russian double agent and his daughter in the U.K. Now British authorities have not said directly that Russia was responsible but the attack is very similar to an attack against a former Russian spy that U.K. said Vladimir Putin probably directed. And Wolf, Vladimir Putin is going to win his reelection next weekend which probably means that the attacks are going to escalate.

[19:35:23] BLITZER: Does this all play into the potential historic summit that could take place over the next two months between the President and North Korean leader?

VINOGRAD: I think that it does. I think it could mean that Vladimir Putin feels even more unhinged and that he wants to play a more visible role in negotiations like he does in Syria for example.

And Wolf, it is a good morning in Pyongyang. Kim Jong-un has succeed in doing something that no other North Korean leader has. He has got in a sitting U.S. President to agree to a meeting. Now the intelligence community is probably working overtime to determine whether this is real or a rouse. Is this just a PR gambit to get President Trump into a meeting? And that's where key patrons of North Korea like China and Russia come in. Their intelligence is so much better on North Korea. And we know for example that the South Koreans are meeting with President Xi in Beijing Monday morning to share information of what is going on.

BLITZER: And that will be significant depending on how that unfolds.

VINOGRAD: Indeed. And we know that President Xi now has a never ending lease on life. He has no more term limit. He has unlimited ability now to pursue a global agenda and he doesn't really have domestic constraint any more. So if he is leader for life, Kim Jong- un may view China as able to put more leverage on North Korea. And we could see President Xi apply more pressure and be very helpful in getting Kim to come to the negotiating table in good faith.

BLITZER: Sam Vinograd, good analysis. Thanks very much. We look forward to your presidential daily briefs or weekend briefs, I should say, down the road. Thanks very much.

VINOGRAD: Thank you.

BLITZER: There is breaking news coming into CNN right now. Helicopters down in the east river in New York City. A fire department spokesperson tells CNN that the call came in within the past half hour. Units are now responding to the east end avenue incident. New York police department spokesperson tells us that they have received a call from an eyewitness reporting that the helicopter went down in the east river. Police there are responding right now. We are going to continue to follow these late-breaking developments and bring you new developments as soon as we can.

We will take a quick break. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:42:01] BLITZER: Long before politics were a glim in the Trump family's eye, there was another family arguably this country's most famous family. Tonight, tune in for the first episode of the CNN original series, "American dynasties, the Kennedys."

Here is a review.


VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The Kennedys understand before any other American family, the role of glamour. And until now, glamour is something that is really the province of Hollywood. The Kennedys pull it over into the province of politics. Really for the first time in a modern way. And as a result, everybody is in love with this family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Kennedy family really represented America on the rise. An immigrant country where anybody could get ahead if they were smart enough, ambitious enough. People would look at the Kennedy and see the American dream.


BLITZER: Joining us now, the historian and author Sally Bedell Smith, one of her many bestselling biographies is "Grace and Power, the private world of the Kennedy White House."

Thanks so much, Sally, for coming in. What do you think about the Kennedys? They are so admired all these years later.

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, HISTORIAN/AUTHOR: It is really astonishing. They have spanned really the 19th through 21st centuries. You get that in the series. You see them as they start as poor immigrant from Ireland and Joe Kennedy, as a force of nature, makes a fortune, propels his golden trio forward. And Jack Kennedy begins -- becomes President and then -- but then it continues.

Teddy Kennedy obviously carries on the legacy as very powerful and influential senator. And then we have Caroline and Teddy being really decisive forces in helping to elect Barack Obama. And so it is an amazing sweep from the 19th through 21st centuries.

BLITZER: A lot of our viewers think they know a lot about the Kennedy family. But if they watch the original film that starts later tonight they will learn.

SMITH: They will learn a lot. Believe me, I immersed myself for four years in writing about the Kennedys and seeing a lot of footage and reading everything I could. And there is so much fresh footage in this series. And I mean, I'm thinking of one incredibly sort of amazing and poignant side of Joe Kennedy when he sort of, you know, arrives as kind of a full blown celebrity in London in 1938 when he was appointed ambassador to the court of St. James in Britain which for an Irish catholic was an amazing thing.

And there is little Bobby Kennedy. He couldn't have been more or four or five years old and he is being interviewed. But he already add stage presence. He already was a good performer. I mean, they were the most - they sort of hit, they sort of arrived on the scene full blown. This incredibly photogenic family with nine beautiful children and a really powerful man leading the charge.

[19:45:09] BLITZER: I think our viewers are going to be excited and very pleased when they see this film later tonight.

Thanks very much, Sally Bedell Smith for all your work and thanks for coming in.

SMITH: You are welcome.

BLITZER: Appreciate it very much.

"American dynasties, the Kennedys" airs later tonight at 9:00 eastern only here on CNN.

We will be right back.


[19:50:09] BLITZER: There is breaking news on the issue that stalled in Congress for years, but seem to have new momentum after last month's school massacre in Parkland, Florida, gun reform.

Moments ago, the White House unveiled the President's latest proposals on gun and school safety. These proposals, though, in these proposals, the President apparently falls short of formally recommending the age to buy certain firearms be raised from 18 to 21. His proposals come three and a half weeks after the nation's worst ever high school shooting, a gunman, only 19 years old, murdered 17 students and staff at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school.

The President earlier seemed to support raising the age to buy, for example, an AR-15 style rifle, the kind of weapon that was used. Listen.


TRUMP: It doesn't make sense that I have to wait until I'm 21 to get a handgun, but get this weapon at 18. I don't know.


BLITZER: All right. Let's go to our CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez.

Boris, I understand you have been briefed on this latest White House proposals. Update our viewers on the age issue and so many other issues that were discussed.


Yes, as you noted, raising the age, minimum age, to buy an assault- style weapon not included in this proposal. Several other things were. It's a multipronged effort by the White House. First, they are going to establish a new federal task force that is going to be headed by education secretary Betsy Devos that is going to studying school violation and recommend different policies and different strategies for funding that might try to prevent another shooting.

Secondly, they are going to push Congress to pass certain legislation, the fix nix bill on the stop school violence act. But the most important portion comes to policies that the White House is going to advocate for states to pass, specifically two portions. One, which indicates that states should train school personnel to be armed. That is the hardening of schools, something that President Trump pushed for for a very long time going back to the campaign.

The other controversial aspect to the policy at the White House is pushing are these extreme risk temporary orders that would essentially allow law enforcement to take weapons away from individuals that are deemed at-risk and not allow them to buy more weapons.

I asked one senior White House official if they believe the NRA may be opposed to these policies, specifically that potential temporary restraining order. I was told that the NRA would back this potential legislation moving forward.

Let's get to the things not in the proposals, Wolf. You mentioned raising the minimum age to buying an assault-style weapon. Beyond that, in the same meeting that the President had with legislators here at the White House just a few weeks ago, he seemed to back the idea of comprehensive universal background checks. That is not mentioned in these proposals at all, Wolf. It appears that the White House has taken a few steps back from where the President himself just a few days after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, he is going to be criticized by those who thought he was at least willing, for assault weapons, to have a minimum 21-year- old age limit, now he is backing away from that. And he is also backing away from the universal background checks, meaning that they would be expanded to include gun shows, internet purchases. He seems to backing away from that as well, is that right?

SANCHEZ: They are -- neither of those issues are included in this proposal, Wolf. We asked about that specific piece about raising the age limit on buying assault-style weapons, a CNN White House official told us that that would be something that would be addressed by this task force that Betsy Devos, the education secretary, is going to be heading.

We asked about when we might see a rollout of recommendations from that task force. They told us there was no timetable. There was no deadline. But that we would likely see some sort of recommendation within the next year.

BLITZER: Because as you know, whenever there is a controversial issue and a President of the United States, this President or other Presidents have wanted to not deal with it, they create a commission, a task force, whatever they want to call it, to study it for months and months down the road. There is going to be a lot of disappointment, at least among some I'm sure as the White House now appreciates that the President is punting in effect.

SANCHEZ: Well, that is right, Wolf.

It's interesting you say that because just last night in Pennsylvania, President Trump was talking about the opioid crisis and how the United States has to be more aggressive to trying to fight the nation's drug problem. And he said that the last thing that we need is another blue ribbon commission to try to deal with the opioid crisis. He called for capital punishment for drug dealers. But in this case, when it comes to school shootings, it seems that the White House is advocating for a task force to explore the issue and then later on take action down the road without a set deadline to present proposals.

[19:55:04] BLITZER: All right, Boris Sanchez reporting for us from the White House, the latest developments on the breaking news. Thanks very much.

Let's go now to some of the voices, many credit for reviving the entire debate over gun reform in this country. There are students who survived the mass shooting at the Parkland Stoneman Douglas high school down in Florida.

David Hogg is joining us. Jaclyn Corin is joining us right now.

Let me get your reaction. And first, let me start with you, David, what do you think of this latest proposal from the White House to create this blue ribbon commission run by the education secretary to study all these sensitive matters including raising the age limit down the road?

DAVID HOGG, SURVIVED MASS SHOOTING AT MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: I think it's a good step to make sure that we are taking action. I'm glad to see that. But I think it is important to realize that Betsy Devos basically paid for her position. She doesn't really have any experience in this area. She doesn't support public schools. She paid over $200 million just to get this title. And I think that she is not the right person for this.

I think if we went to the DOJ and had a special commission that way, perhaps, it would be a better process to investigate these incidents and investigate them like almost an airplane crash, where we spend months on end researching how this stuff happens.

And another thing is we can't do that because the CDC isn't allowing to do research into these areas because of the (INAUDIBLE) amendments and because of lobbying of the NRA on Trump.

I'm glad to see that he did take action and he seemed to take a lot of steps in the right direction. But then once he met with the NRA, he showed that he is no better than all the other politicians because he is owned by them too. And it just showed the inaction because of those lobbyist organization that has continued to terrorize our children and hurt our future.

BLITZER: Well, listen to this, Jacqueline. This is the President earlier before the White House came out with these latest proposals. Listen to this.


TRUMP: I think it's time, it's time that a President stepped up. And we have not have, I'm talking Democrat and Republican presidents. They have not stepped up.


BLITZER: All right. So what is your reaction to this late breaking developments, Jaclyn?

JACLYN CORIN, SURVIVED MASS SHOOTING AT MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Well, regarding to school safety, Trump is really pushing that. And is a step in the right direction, like you said. Making sure that schools are safe is a definite aspect of what we are pushing. But it's mental health and school safety is two-thirds of what we are pushing.

Gun control is really what we need to focus on, especially universal background checks because we need to push digitalization of background checks specifically because the system right now, you have to go through manufacturers, you have to go through wholesalers, you have to go through dealers. It's such a long process. And that could be easily taken away through the digitalization of background checks. And that's what people are against, and specifically Trump. And that's what we really need to push at this point.

BLITZER: Much of the administration's focus is going to be establishing this new federal commission on school safety, David, to be chaired, as I said, by the education secretary, Betsy Devos. The -- it seems, though, that this is going to go on for months and months and months and the President had made very strong statements over these past few weeks. But now with -- I assume in the face of a lot of criticism from the National Rifle Association on raising the age limit, for example, on universal background checks, he is backing away.

HOGG: Yes. And it shows how he is no better than the other politicians. I was respecting Trump for really showing that he is not like the other politicians. He is not owned by the NRA because he wanted to take steps in the right direction and show you shouldn't be able to get an assault rifle or any weapon if you are below the age of 21. But now that he -- after he met with the NRA the other day, he has shown that he is no better than the rest of them and he is just as afraid.

To President Trump, I say this. Show us that you are better than the other politicians. Show us that you want to take action and save our future because God knows we need it.

BLITZER: Jaclyn, I was going to say - Jaclyn, in contrast, your governor down in Florida, Rick Scott, he did sign into law legislation passed in Tallahassee that does raise the age of purchasing a weapon in Florida from 18 to 21. What's your reaction to that? CORIN: I'm really thankful because, honestly, that law could have

prevented our tragedy because our shooter was 19 years old. And I'm just glad that he is defying the lobby group that he has long been supported by because he is taking the step in the right direction, valuing lives over dollars, for once.

HOGG: And I think one of the important thing to realize here is a lot of these people are taking steps in the right direction. But people like Marco Rubio, people like President Trump and people like Rick Scott are still supported by the NRA. They have not renounced their allegiance to them because of their lobbying dollars. And that's something that we have to remember.

BLITZER: All right. David Hogg, Jaclyn Corin, thanks very much for joining us.

I will point out the NRA is suing the state of Florida. They don't like the legislation that he signed into law the other day. Thanks, once again, for joining us.

That does it for me. I'm Wolf Blitzer here in Washington.

Up next, Van Jones sits down with the one an own Oprah of a brand new episode of the "VAN JONES SHOW."