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U.K. Blames Russia for Poisoning; President Trump Backing Off Raising Age Limit on Guns?; White House Press Briefing. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired March 12, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now, no motive has been given for this, but they believe those two are connected.
A third one, it's still unclear, Brooke, so far if it's directly related. But it's certainly eerie, when you consider, just an hour or so after the press conference of the public safety alert to the residents of Austin, that a third blast happened.
We understand those two victims were elderly. We're working on getting more information on that. But I mentioned, getting back to motive, police say that they're not ruling out anything, even the possibility of it being a hate crime. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN MANLEY, AUSTIN, TEXAS, POLICE CHIEF: We do know that both of the homes that were the recipients of these packages belonged to African-Americans, so we cannot rule out that hate crime is at the core of this.
But we're not saying that that's the cause as well. We're just acknowledging and we're looking at any possible motivations that would link these two cases together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: Our CNN Atlanta bureau did check into the demographics of these neighborhoods where the explosions happened. They are predominantly minority communities, but the first being a little bit more -- sorry -- the second site being a little bit more mixed than the first site.
But they are all very, very close in proximity. The March 2 blast, about 11 miles away from the blast that happened this morning, and then the third one that just happened, about five miles away from the second. Very eerie stuff happening, especially with the South by Southwest, that festival, also happening right now -- Brooke.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Sure.
Let me read a tweet, Nick, just for people watching. The Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, saying this. "Three reported explosions in the Austin area. I want to urge all Texans to report any suspicious or unexpected packages arriving by mail to local law enforcement authorities. Call 911 immediately if you receive something suspicious."
Bottom line, Nick, from law enforcement and the A.G., just in this moment, be so, so careful with any kind of package you receive.
VALENCIA: Especially if you see it on your front steps. They believe these packages were delivered at night.
Individuals go out in the morning. This one happened -- the latest this morning, I should say, happened about 6:44. We're still trying to get details on this third explosion. Police hopefully will give us an update in that press conference I mentioned that's expected to happen soon -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: OK. We will listen in. Nick, thank you very much.
VALENCIA: You bet.
BALDWIN: Now to another piece of breaking news this afternoon from the British prime minister, Theresa May pointing the finger at Russia after a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned last week in the U.K. with some sort of nerve agent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Mr. Speaker, this attempted murder using a weapons-grade nerve agent in a British town was not just a crime against the Skripals. It was an indiscriminate and reckless act against the United Kingdom, putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk.
And we will not tolerate such a brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's go straight to our CNN senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen, there live in Moscow.
That's significant coming from the British prime minister herself connecting this to Russia. How is the Kremlin responding to that?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Yes, Brooke, it is some really serious stuff. It was interesting to hear Theresa May, the British prime minister, making that connection to Russia, because she says this specific nerve agent was only manufactured in Russia, so, therefore, she says there are only two conclusions. Either the Russians did it or they lost control of their stockpile and then somebody used it.
So the Brits definitely want some clarification on that and they have used some pretty threatening language. The Russians, in their response, the very early response we got from the Russians, but they're doing what we have seen in past cases them do as well. They're basically trying to brush this off and trying to make it look like what they call, Brooke, anti-Russian propaganda.
This is -- I'm reading you a statement from the spokeswoman from Russia's Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova. She says -- quote -- "This is a circus show in the British Parliament." She said, "The conclusion is obvious. This is another information and political campaign based on provocation."
Obviously, she's trying to say there the Brits in some way, shape or form are trying to provoke bad relations with Russia. It was interesting, because the Russian Embassy in the U.K. had earlier said they were concerned the way the U.K. was handling this.
But really this does notch things up a great deal if in fact the Brits have come to the conclusion and have evidence that this was some sort of weapons-grade chemical that was used. Certainly there are some Brits who are already saying they could consider this something like an act of war even, Brooke.
BALDWIN: A circus show, so says Russia. Fred, thank you in Moscow.
Meantime, here at home, she is now one of the most famous porn stars on Earth and Stormy Daniels is hoping to be able to speak up about her alleged affair with the president of the United States.
As we wait for that White House press briefing to begin, CNN now can confirm that Daniels offering to return her hush money, the $130,000 that she got from President Trump's lawyer to keep quiet.
Sara Azari, criminal defense attorney, is with me now.
SARA AZARI, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Good to see you.
BALDWIN: Good to see you. Next chapter in this whole thing.
So, before we even get to why the president or why Michael Cohen would even for a second consider this, I want you to go through what they're essentially offering. If she can give her money back, she wants to be able to what?
AZARI: Well, she wants to be able to talk about this affair and talk about the details and tell the truth.
It seems to be really important to her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who is advocating for her, that she tell the American people the truth of what happened, because the White House and Michael Cohen are denying the affair.
They're denying the affair. They're denying that David Dennison was Donald Trump. They're saying that he was no part of this agreement, there was no affair, and that the money, the hush money that was paid to her was something that Michael Cohen did out of his home equity line of credit, which is just incredibly incredulous.
And so it's -- they're never going to accept this offer. BALDWIN: They're never going to accept this.
AZARI: Because this is completely against everything that they have been saying about their position.
BALDWIN: What do you make of the strategy for this attorney, Mr. Avenatti, to then -- the whole thing, he's trying it through the court of public opinion very aggressively.
AZARI: Right. Right.
BALDWIN: What do you think of that strategy?
AZARI: I then of the agree with much of his strategy going on.
The more he's bringing this up, even if this contract doesn't hold up, he is basically exposing this issue. So I think people are starting to believe there is an affair, even without any proof of that. It turns on the enforceability of this contract.
BALDWIN: Hold on a second, Sara.
I think we have -- do we have the other Sarah walking behind the podium?
Here she is, Sarah Sanders.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: ... should be able to feel safe and secure at their school. And no parent should have to worry whether their child will come home at the end of the day.
With that in mind, the president's plan focuses on the following areas, first, hardening our schools. We will ensure our schools are safe and secure, just like our airports, stadiums and government buildings, with better training and preparedness.
Second, strengthening background checks and prevention. President Trump is supporting legislation and reforms to strengthen the background check system and law enforcement operations.
Third, reforming mental health programs. The president is proposing an expansion and reform of mental health programs, including those that help identify and treat individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others.
And, finally, continuing this important conversation, in addition to these immediate actions, the president is reviewing additional policy and funding proposals for school violence prevention. These focus areas were identified after numerous meetings students, teachers, lawmakers and local officials.
And the president will continue to lead the way on keeping our children safe. Looking ahead to next week, President Trump will welcome Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia to the White House on March 20. The president looks forward to discussing ways to strengthen ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia and to advance our common security and economic priorities.
I would also like to announce that the president will travel to Peru and Colombia next month. This will mark the president's first trip to Latin America. He will attend the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, and will participate in a series of bilateral, multilateral and cultural engagements.
This travel highlights the president's resolve to deepen our historical ties with our partners in the region and our joint commitment to improve security and prosperity for the people of the Americas.
The president is looking forward to meeting with parents and allies who share our values and believe, as we do, that promise of a safe and prosperous future rests in strong democracies, fair and reciprocal trade and secure borders.
And with that, I will take your questions.
QUESTION: The president said Saturday night -- he was talking about North Korea -- he said if the meeting with Kim takes place.
Is there a chance that this meeting won't take place?
SANDERS: Look, the we fully expect that it will.
The offer was made, and we have accepted. North Korea made several promises, and we hope that they would stick to those promise. And if so, the meeting will go on as planned.
QUESTION: What preparations are being made so far toward this meeting?
SANDERS: We're continuing to prepare on a number of levels.
Most of that is an inter-administration, interagency process. And I'm not going to get ahead of any of the details of the where, the when or any of that here today.
QUESTION: Sarah, a couple weeks ago, the president said that he wanted to raise the age on purchasing assault weapons. He talked about supporting universal background checks, about taking guns away from those identified as a threat even without due process.
What happened to all those proposals?
SANDERS: Look, a lot of those things are still outlined in the proposal that you will -- if you don't have yet, you should receive here in the next few minutes in your inboxes. But, look, right now, the president's primary focus is on pushing
through things that we know have broad bipartisan support or things that we can do from an administrative perspective that we can do immediately.
But we haven't let go of some of the other things that we're going to continue review and look at, as I mentioned in the opening part of my first comments.
QUESTION: Was there a single thing in this proposal from the president that is not supported by the NRA? Is there anything in here that the NRA opposes?
SANDERS: Look, the president still has in this plan the age limit increase. And that is part of one of the things that will be...
SANDERS: One of those things will be reviewed on what the best path forward is on that front, whether it can be done at a federal level or whether it needs to be done on a state-by-state basis.
But the president, as you know, doesn't have the ability to just create federal law. And he would need a number of other individuals to come together to help make that happen. So what he is pushing forward are things that can immediately be accomplished either through the administration or that have broad-based bipartisan support in Congress.
But that doesn't mean that he has wiped away some of those other things that we're still looking at how best we can move forward on.
QUESTION: And why did he name this DeVos administration less than 24 hours ridiculing the idea of blue-ribbon commissions? He said all he said they do is talk and talk and talk and, two hours later, they write a report. And there, on this issue, a commission is OK? Why?
SANDERS: Look, the president isn't just -- doesn't just have one piece of this plan. There are a number of things that he is pushing forward that are very tangible, both through support of specific pieces of legislation that we expect to move forward, as well as administrative action, like getting rid of the bump stocks that the president has been very vocal about and is going to continue to push for.
Sarah, picking up where JOHNSON: left off regarding the National Rifle Association, at that February 28 meeting with lawmakers, President Trump sort of made an example of Republican senators who were afraid of crossing the NRA.
And he said -- quote -- "Some of you are petrified of the NRA. You can't be petrified."
But based on the plan last night, it seems like President Trump was the one petrified of the NRA, because he backed away from some of the ideas that he had brought into the discussion. And I'm asking why he chickened out, why he didn't go forward with what he had proposed earlier?
SANDERS: Look, he hasn't backed away from these things at all.
As I just said, they are still outlined in the plan. But he can't make them happen with a broad stroke of the pen. You have to have some congressional component to do some of these things. And without that support, it is not as possible.
However, we are focused on things that we can do immediately. Let's not forget the Obama administration had the White House and all of Congress for two years and never did anything. This president is actually supporting specific pieces of legislation and still laying out other priorities that he would like to see, talked about and implemented whether we have to do that on a state level.
QUESTION: He could have put out a proposal for legislation. He could have advocated for universal background checks. He could have called for raising the ages in the states. Instead, he's tabled that .
SANDERS: He hasn't, actually. It is actually listed still in his policy proposal that you will see.
QUESTION: Federal policy? Let me clarify, for federal policy?
SANDERS: It is reviewing the best path forward for how to do that. So that door isn't closed on that front.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) comment on out news of Great Britain, Theresa May saying that the British government believes that Russia was behind the attempted murder-poisoning of a former Russian spy with a nerve agent that was of Russian manufacture.
Is that the assessment of the United States government, number one? Does the United States government plan on designating Russia as -- like it did in North Korea with earlier this year (OFF-MIKE) the murder of Kim Jong-un's half-brother, of Russia using chemical weapons? And, three, will there be any repercussions for Russia from the United States in coordination with its British allies?
SANDERS: Look, we have been monitoring the incident closely, take it very seriously.
The use of a highly lethal nerve agent against U.K. citizens on U.K. soil is an outrage. The attack was reckless, indiscriminate and irresponsible.
We offer the fullest condemnation and we extend our sympathy to the victims and their families and our support to the U.K. government. We stand by our closest ally in the special relationship that we have.
QUESTION: So you are not saying that Russia was behind (OFF-MIKE)
SANDERS: Right now, we are standing with our U.K. ally. I think they are still working through even some of the details of that. And we're going to continue to work with the U.K. and we certainly stand with them throughout this process.
QUESTION: Theresa May said it was either Russia using it themselves or that it had given its chemical weapons to a third party to murder a British citizen, the latter being highly unlikely, given the nature of this weapon.
SANDERS: Like I just said, we stand with our ally. And we certainly fully support them and are ready if we can be of any assistance to them.
QUESTION: What was the president's reaction yesterday to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos going on "60 Minutes," saying that she admitted she has not intentionally visited underperforming schools, then went on another network this morning and said that everything was on the table when it came to school safety, as well as guns?
Clearly, it is not. Everything is not on the table.
SANDERS: Well, the president's laid out what his positions are, both on the school safety front and what he thinks the best path forward specific to immediate actions that we can take and also things that need further review on determining the best path forward.
And that is the focus of the president, not one or two interviews, but on actual policy that can help protect the safety and security of schoolkids across this country.
QUESTION: Did he see the interview last night?
SANDERS: I'm not sure if he saw the whole thing or not.
QUESTION: Thank you, Sarah.
A question about Congress and possibly blocking or delaying tariff implementation. How concerned is the White House about that? And a follow-up on China, if I may.
Our position on this front hasn't changed. The president has been clear for quite some time what his position is and what his authority is under the 232 statute, and we're moving forward.
(CROSSTALK) QUESTION: If I might. I know the president sort of made a tongue- and-cheek comment about President Xi having the ability to rule for quite sometime, perhaps indefinitely.
Is there an administration position on something like that? Is that healthy for the relationship between our countries?
SANDERS: That would be a determination for China to make, not something for the United States to weigh in on.
QUESTION: But it is healthy from the administration's perspective in terms of our relationship bilaterally to have, say, a leader in a country that is going to be there potentially indefinitely?
SANDERS: I wouldn't weigh in specifically on that.
I can say that the president and the President Xi have a good relationship. And a lot of the willingness of China to step up and participate at a far higher level than they have in the past to put maximum pressure on North Korea has certainly been successful and has been in large part due to that relationship.
But as the president has also said, he wants to make sure that they don't take advantage of us when it comes to trade, and we're going to continue to push for what is best for America.
QUESTION: A couple on the guns issue.
The -- on the age restrictions, the president has said a couple of times he's criticized his predecessors, saying they haven't shown leadership on this issue. So, I wonder now how you can make the political expediency argument for his school safety policy, in that he's explicitly backing things only he thinks can pass and not things that may need some additional leadership?
SANDERS: That is actually not what I said.
We're specifically driving forward on some of those things that we know can immediately happen. And we're determining what the best path forward is on some of those other things that don't have that same broad base of support.
You can't just decide that you want laws to pass, and it happens. But you can look at the best process forward to actually implement that type of policy.
QUESTION: Certainly, the leader of the party, he's the president of the United States.
SANDERS: Which is why he's laid those things out in his proposal.
QUESTION: ... policy forward if he so chooses, if he chose to.
SANDERS: Which is why he laid that out in the policy that he's put forth, that he rolled out this morning.
QUESTION: On the commission, is Commissioner DeVos going to continue to be the face of the school safety policy and this commission after last night's interview?
SANDERS: Look, I think that the president is going to be the lead on school safety when it comes to this administration. He certainly has been since the process has begun and he's going to continue to lead on it as we move forward.
QUESTION: Thanks a lot, Sarah.
I have two questions, one on guns and the other on the president's trip to California tomorrow.
On guns, the president here in the White House met with six students from Parkland, Florida, and said specifically that he would go strong on the age limits. And this proposal doesn't have the president stepping forward and demanding action from Congress on those age limits.
Why is the president backing way from that to those six students that he would go strong on guns?
SANDERS: I guess I don't know how many times I can explain the same thing. The president still supports this.
That is why it is in his plan. And he is looking at and reviewing the best path forward to try to get it through. But at the same time...
SANDERS: ... he is making sure that the things that we can do right now, we're actually doing. Instead of holding everything back until we can get some of those other pieces done, we're pushing forward on the things that have support, that can be accomplished immediately.
And then we're working through the process to see what we can do to get the other things done. That actually seems smart. And it seems like bold leadership to me to push through on things that help protect kids, while not ignoring some other policies that the president supports, which we're doing.
QUESTION: Can you tell us some more about the president's trip to California tomorrow? Why is he going to the wall, to see the wall prototypes first? And, also, this is a state that did not vote for the president. Is the president going to make an opportunity to reach out to people who didn't vote for him by going to this state?
SANDERS: I think that this is an important thing that the president has talked about, the safety and security of the country, and strongly feels that the wall is a big part of that. And he's going to lock at those prototypes.
[15:20:01] One of the other things that he will also be doing is speaking to members of the military. You will see all five branches of the military represented at the speech he gives.
While California may not have -- he may not have won that state, there is certainly a lot of support for this president, not just there, but across the country. And he looks forward to being there and presenting a lot of the specific policies.
QUESTION: The president -- there's a lot of Republican lawmakers in California that think that the wall will be too expensive and could be a waste of money.
Is the president concerned that he might be putting undue political pressure on Republican lawmakers by visiting the wall in California?
The president campaigned on this. He talked about it extensively. And he's the president. And this is something that he is not going to back away from and something that he's going to continue to push for.
QUESTION: Thanks a lot, Sarah.
Since Kim Jong-un's overture to meet with President Trump last Thursday, and his proposal to denuclearize, the North Korean media has mentioned nothing. They haven't referenced the overture. They haven't referenced this idea that North Korea would get rid of its nuclear weapons.
I heard what you said a little bit earlier about how you believe that a meeting will still take place. What makes you think that, based upon the fact that Kim Jong-un hasn't even mentioned this to his own people, that anything of substance will come out of such a meeting?
SANDERS: Well, look, we know that the maximum pressure campaign is working. We know that they have responded due to that. And they have pushed this message through the South Koreans to us.
We have accepted their invitation on the three promises that they made and we're going to move forward in this process.
QUESTION: Being nuclearized is a point of pride, we are told.
SANDERS: I'm sorry. I can't hear the first part of what you said.
QUESTION: Being a nuclear country is a point of pride, we are told, for North Koreans. To just simply get rid of their own nuclear weapons, it seems, would be something that should undercut what that -- what Kim Jong-un stands for. Again, why would...
SANDERS: I think that shows the effectiveness of the maximum pressure campaign. And that is one of the reasons that we're not letting up on the maximum pressure campaign and we're going to continue pushing forward on it.
QUESTION: Thank you, Sarah. Two questions.
First, following up on what John asked, we know that Kim Jong-un has been using a special envoy to Seoul to send messages. Has he spent -- sent any special messages to any special envoy to the president?
SANDERS: I'm not going to get ahead of or go beyond any of the things that we have already put out publicly.
QUESTION: The other thing is that regarding tomorrow's election in Pennsylvania's 18th District, the president's campaign visit notwithstanding, he's reported in several sources today to have referred to Republican Rick Saccone as -- quote -- "weak" -- unquote -- and said he's a poor campaign.
This seems a little unusual, in light of what he said Saturday, in light of Mr. Saccone's praise of him as a friend. Did he actually say that about Mr. Saccone?
SANDERS: Look, I can't weigh in on any specifics of an upcoming election, but I can refer you back to the president's public comments that he made on Saturday.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) down on your answer to Ryan's question. Is it the president's intent tomorrow to pick a winning design for the wall? Is that why he's going down there?
SANDERS: Look, he wants to look at the different prototypes. And beyond that, I'm not going to get ahead of the president's visit.
QUESTION: Quick question. There was a report this morning that the Saudi government inflicted physical abuse on the people who were held captive for the time that the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Is this something that the White House intends to bring up with the crown prince?
SANDERS: I'm not going to get ahead of the conversations that will take place on the 20th, but we will have a readout of that meeting.
QUESTION: Thank you, Sarah.
I have two questions, first on guns. The president during his campaign said, "Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it."
But it sounds like now you are saying that because certain things that he support does not have support in the Congress, that he's only going to push forward on the things that are already...
SANDERS: That is not actually what I said. But you guys continue to misunderstand and misrepresent the comments that I am making.
I'm saying that the president is pushing forward on things that we know have broad-based support and that we can immediately get done, while, at the same time, we're looking at the best way forward to push these other things through, whether it is on a state level, whether it's on a federal level.
We're looking at the best process forward because the president does have to work within the Constitution. We can't just write things down and make them law. We actually have to follow a process. And the president is going to go through that process and determine the best path forward on a number of issues that are outlined that he has supported.
QUESTION: Let me ask you about the Manchin-Toomey universal background check legislation, because it is not yet clear whether or not the president actually supports having universal background checks.
Obviously, in this proposal, he supports the Fix NICS bill. But can you tell us whether or not he does support the idea of background checks for online purchases and private sales?
SANDERS: The president supports fixing some of the problems within the background check system that we have outlined in some of the legislation that we already support. And we're considering other options beyond that.
I will take one last question.
QUESTION: Sarah, thank you.
The president tweeted. He said: "Not much political support, to put it mildly, for raising the age."
I mean, I have looked at every single poll, and the support for raising age is like 78 percent, 82 percent. Rasmussen was the lowest with 67 percent.
So what is he talking about?
SANDERS: He's talking about Congress, who actually has the ability to make law, not online polls.
QUESTION: So, he's determined that there is no support in Congress for this?
SANDERS: Not broad-based support that could push this legislation through at this time. That doesn't mean, once again, that we are ignoring the concept or not
looking at how we can build a coalition of support for it. But we're still determining what the best path forward is on how we could implement something like that, as well as a number of other issues on this.
Thank you so much, guys.
QUESTION: Does he remain committed to it, Sarah? Does he remain committed to it?
BALDWIN: All right, let's just dive right in.
Dana Bash, Gloria Borger both with me.
Let's go to a question where Sarah Sanders seemed a little frustrated, but clearly it wasn't entirely to some of the reporters, so they kept asking, the bit about guns, right, in the wake of Parkland.
Dana, to you first. In the wake of Parkland, we heard the president say, yes, change that age of purchasing a gun from 18 to 21. Now flash-forward to the current day and it sounds like the president isn't ready to go there.
And they're not quite -- I think the line was, we haven't let go of some of those other things," dot, dot, dot, like this perhaps, but that wasn't clear, Dana, to I think the White House press pool or to us whether the president was ever going to go there, which would be against the NRA.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right.
I think that we're at a point right now where we are reminded once again that what the president says is not necessarily and almost never is correlated to what he pushes directly on the policy.
BASH: Now, let's be clear. What he is saying that he wants to do here is for the most part a step, maybe baby step further than we have seen from other Republican presidents, but nowhere near where he said he wanted to go, as you heard from the slew of questions from the White House press corps, starting with the increase in the age limit for purchasing these kinds of weapons on a federal level to universal background checks.
It is not in there. And I thought Michael Bender with "The Wall Street Journal" kind of put it in the way that I was thinking as I was watching this, which is their approach on this is, we're going to take off, do sort of bite-size piece, we're going to push what we know we can get done.
That's not the way this president said he was going to lead. He said he was going to lead by leading.
BALDWIN: Especially as he criticized predecessors...
BASH: Exactly, criticized predecessors for not doing it and also sat in the White House and said to Democrats and Republicans, particularly Republicans, you can't be afraid of the NRA.
What that suggested was, I'm going to give you political cover, I'm going to push this, and because I'm going to push this and promise to vote for it, I'm going to allow you to vote in a way that the NRA isn't going to like.
BALDWIN: Go ahead, Gloria.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, he didn't give them political cover. He ran for political cover himself. I mean, you will recall, right after this occurred, very shortly after Parkland, he had a meeting with the top lobbyists and officials of the NRA.
There are lots of lobbyists in this city who would like to be able to get that kind of the meeting with the president, but since the NRA spent $30 million in its PAC to elect Donald Trump, they're kind of first in line always.
And while he seemed to be chastising Republicans, as Dana points out, for being afraid of the NRA, it's very clear to me from watching this that he had to walk this back because the NRA reminded him, I am sure, that they would primary any Republican who decided to go along with, say, extended background checks or raising the age limit.
And Trump doesn't want that because he wants to keep the Republican House and Senate. And so, you know, this is a president who likes to do huge things and big things, and I'm going to get done what nobody else could get done, and look at what happened to Barack Obama after Newtown. I'm going to do what he couldn't do.
But guess what? He's not. He's now saying, OK, we're going to leave it up to the states.
BALDWIN: And also this despite, as one of those reporters pointed out, what the president himself said to the shooting survivors who went to the White House in the wake of Douglas.
BALDWIN: Let me ask the two of you ladies to stand by.
A couple of other issues that came up, including the news that we have been reporting on, just talked to a correspondent out of Moscow about, how now you have the British prime minister, Theresa May, connecting that, you know, nerve agent that was used to poison this --