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The White House Gun Plan; Deadly NYC Chopper Crash; O.J.'s Hypothetical Confession; Trumps Holds Rally In Pennsylvania; North Korea Summit Security Preps Begin; Military Personnel Dispatched To Salisbury. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired March 12, 2018 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:13] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: White House lays out proposals to reducing gun violence in schools. They include arming teachers but leave out two big prior commitments from the President.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And tragedy in New York City as five people are dead after their chopper plunges in to the freezing East River.


O.J. SIMPSON, FORMER FOOTBALL PLAYER: It almost like you were, Ron and Nicole, were physically dead and it is almost like they killed me, who I was attacked and murdered.


ROMANS: After 12 years under wrap, the jaw-dropping interview from O.J. Simpson. Does his hypothetical story count as a confession? Good morning, welcome to Early Start everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: (Inaudible), I'm Dave Briggs. It is Monday, March 12. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East. The U.S. is arming teachers at the center if the White House proposal.

Last night, the Trump administration put forward its proposal to give some school personnel what it calls, rigorous firearms training. That is the center piece of a plan to combat gun violence in and out of schools. The plan President Trump promise after the Parkland shooting, the proposal has other elements, but not among them are two things the president touted in a meeting with lawmakers last month.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In addition to the -- we are what we are going to with background checks, we are going to go very strong into age of purchase.


ROMANS: The White House's new plan does not expand background checks and does not raise the minimum age of purchase. The plan does call for a new commission, just a day after the President says all the commissions do is talk. For more, let's turn to CNN's Boris Sanchez at the White House.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Dave and Christine, it is a multipronged effort that the White House is including in the proposal to try to stop school shootings in light of the shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School last month.

First, the White House is pushing for the creation of a new task force headed by education secretary, Betsy DeVos, that would examine the problem of school violence and then recommend possible policy solutions and funding solutions that would limit school violence.

Secondly, the White House is going to push congress to pass two bills; first, the Fix NICS bill that would incentivize local municipalities to report information to the national background check system; and then secondly, the Stop School Violence Act, which provides funding for schools to try to beef up their defenses essentially.

Beyond that, the most controversial part of this is what the White House is advocating that states should put into effect. First, one policy that would require states to train personnel within schools to be armed, that is the hardening of schools, something that President Trump has pushed for, for a very long time dating back to the 2016 campaign.

Also very controversial, the idea of risk protection orders, something that the White House is advocating that states should do is allowing law enforcement to temporarily take firearms away from individuals that have been deemed at risk and prevent them from buying more weapons for a certain amount of time, Dave and Christine.


BRIGGS: Boris Sanchez there at the White House, thank you. No reaction yet from the NRA. One Republican Congressman with a top NRA rating though tell CNN the White House proposal is a missed opportunity and fails to honor the victims and survivors of the Parkland shooting. That lawmaker favors raising the minimum age to buy assault style weapons. The lawmaker believes President Trump has quote, "abandon his instincts on the issue of gun safety."

ROMANS: New York City's East River caught on video last night. Oh, my goodness. All five passengers on board were killed. The pilot was the only survivor. Here is his may-day call.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lima Hotel, mayday, mayday, mayday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is everybody ok?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: East River, engine failure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am sorry again?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: East River, engine failure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a little broken up say one more time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had an engine failure over the East River, Lima Hotel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Requiring assistance?

It was a mayday call. LaGuardia.


BRIGGS: Lima Hotel, code for liberty helicopters which operated the flight. The pilot was able to free himself from the wreckage and was rescued.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the most difficult parts of the operation we were told is the five people besides the pilot were all tightly harnessed. So this harness had to be cut and removed in order to get these folks off of this helicopter which was upside down at the time and completely submerged.


BRIGGS: That water below 40 degrees. The chopper was in the air for a private photo shoot.

[04:05:00] The National Transportation Safety Board will arrive this morning to investigate.

ROMANS: A pivotal special election in Pennsylvania tomorrow, poll is showing a tight race between Democrat, Conor Lamb, and Republican, Rick Saccone, in the state's reliably Republican 18th congressional district.

President Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 20 points in the 18th, which covers some of Petersburg suburbs. The President campaigning in the district for Saccone over the weekend is a rambling freewheeling speech was more about his favorite candidate, Donald Trump.


TRUMP: I know our 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.

The only way to solve the drug problem is through toughness, the death penalty. I think it is a discussion we have to start thinking about. Don't you? I don't know if you are ready. Can you imagine covering Bernie or Pocahontas? Pocahontas. How about that? Maxine Waters, a very low I.Q. individual. But our new slogan, keep America great, exclamation point. Keep America great.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: You got that exclamation point. The President also tweeted

on Sunday Republicans are 5-0 in recent congressional races, bragging he backed and campaigned for each of the winners. He failed to mention the Senate race, of course, in Alabama where he back two losing candidates. Donald Trump Jr. will be in Pennsylvania today to campaign for Saccone.

ROMANS: President Trump refuting a New York Times report that says he is considering a White House role for a lawyer who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment process. According to the report, the President has already met with Attorney Emmet T. Flood in the Oval Office to discuss joining the team. Flood would not replace White House lawyer, Ty Cobb, although Cobb has reportedly told friends, he does not expect to remain in the job much longer.

BRIGGS: The president denying the report in a tweet and slamming the New York Times story as quote, "purposely false." He is insisting he is happy with his lawyers, well as usual reminding everyone there was no collusion with Russia.

ROMANS: But a cringe worthy moment on national television for Betsy DeVos, the education secretary admitting on "60 minutes" she does not know how schools are performing in her home state of Michigan. DeVos is a longtime advocate of school choice using public money to offer parents alternatives to traditional public schools like charters and voucher programs.

BRIGGS: DeVos says alternatives drive public schools to perform better, but she had no answers when asked if school choice was successful in Michigan.


LESLEY STAHL, 60 MINUTES, CORRESPONDENT: Are the public schools in Michigan gotten better?

BETSY DEVOS, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: I don't know overall. I can't say overall that they have all gotten better.

STAHL: The whole state is not doing well.

DEVOS: Well there are certainly lots of packets where the students are doing well.

STAHL: Have you seen really the bad schools and maybe try to figure out what they're doing?

DEVOS: I have not -- I have not intentionally visited schools that are under performing.

STAHL: Maybe you should.

DEVOS: Maybe I should. Yes.


BRIGGS: DeVos did acknowledged public schools in Michigan need to do better.

ROMANS: Right, this work (ph) -- well, this week marks 10 years since the collapse of Bear Stearns, very beginning the banking crisis, but Senator Elizabeth Warren warns that a new banking bill increases the chance of another one.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D), MASSACHUSETTS: This puts us at greater risk that -- there will be another taxpayer bailout, that there will be another crash and another taxpayer bailout.


ROMANS: The Senate wraps up formal debate of the bill this week. Democrats are sharply divided, this bill rules back parts of Dodd- Frank, the law enacted after the financial crisis. The main progressives, like Warren, oppose easing regulations pointing to a Congressional Budget Office report has found (ph) the bill increases the likelihood of big financial institutions will fail.

But many moderate Democrats argue tough rules in Dodd-Frank hurt smaller banks in their states, particularly their ability to lend. This bill raises the threshold for federal oversight from $50 billion to $250 billion, shielding two dozen midsize banks. Warren also was asked if she is considering the 2020 presidential run. She told CNN she is not. Clearly though, you can see that the Democrats are divided about what to do about banking support.

BRIGGS: Actually surprising here.

ROMANS: And the timing of this is so interesting, exactly 10 years since Bear Stearns failed and we are talking about rolling back Dodd- Frank.

BRIGGS: This bill has no chance without Senate Democrats, so that really is how it advances. OK.

Ahead, O.J. Simpson in his own hypothetical words.


SIMPSON: We go over. Get into my car (ph) and go over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's just go back into the details. Where did you park?

O.J. SIMPSON: In the hypothetical, in the alley.


BRIGGS: The interview unearthed after 12 years. Does it sound like a confession? You decide next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [04:14:00] BRIGGS: A never before seen 2006 interview with O.J.

Simpson broadcast for the first time. The former football star spelling out how he would have killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994. Interviewed aired last night on Fox.

ROMANS: It was conducted publisher, Judith Regan, for the book Simpson wrote with her "If I did it" which was never released. Simpson offering what he claimed as a hypothetical explanation for the murders.



O.J. SIMPSON: No, a guy that I didn't recognize. I may have seen him around, but I really didn't recognize him. As things got heated, I remember Nicole fell and hurt herself. And this guy got into a karate thing. And I said, "Well, you think you can kick my ass," and I remember I grabbed a knife. I don't remember that portion taking the knife from Charlie. And to be honest, after that, I don't remember, except I was standing there and all kind of stuff around.

REGAN: What kind of stuff?

O.J. SIMPSON: Blood and stuff around.


ROMANS: Judith Regan will be on "New Day" to talk about the O.J. interview later this morning.

Heartbreak for hundreds of women hoping to have children one day, a well-known fertility clinic in San Francisco suffering a liquid nitrogen failure, the storage tank holding thousands of frozen eggs and embryos for future use, the March 4th incident at the Pacific fertility clinic could jeopardize the sustainability of the storage issue.

The clinic said the malfunctioning tank contains several thousand eggs and embryos. The breakdown followed a similar incident the same weekend in an unrelated clinic in Cleveland. Too little liquid nitrogen causes the temperature in the storage tanks derives, risking a damage to tissue. The cause of the failure is under investigation.

BRIGGS: And exclusive analysis conducted by CNN and Harvard research shows doctors making big money from opioid manufacturers. And the more opioid those physicians prescribe, the more money they make. In 2014 and 2015, pharmaceuticals firms that paid -- that make opioids paid hundreds of doctors across the country six-figure sums for speaking engagements, consulting and other services.

ROMANS: Public health experts not involved in our reporting saying this is the first time they have seen this kind of association. They say they are -- there is a real possibility paying doctors leads to inappropriate prescribing. Researchers say it is not clear whether the payments encourage doctors to over overprescribe or whether pharmaceutical companies seek out doctors who are already high prescribers.

BRIGGS: Let the madness begin. The field set for the 2018 NCAA college basketball tournament. The University of Virginia will play in the South region as the top overall seed. Tony Bennett's team won the ACC tournament. Other number one seeds gone over the east, Kansas in the Midwest and Xavier in the west. Since seeding began in 1979, 16 Teams since seventh (ph) or worst have reached the final four, eight pulling that off in the past seven years. Good luck with the brackets. Romans, we know you were filling them out.


BRIGGS: Here is yours to start proving it. You will probably beat myself because it is a wide open wild year. Good luck.

ROMANS: I don't know, every year. Warren Buffet offers a lot of money, if you get a perfect --


BRIGGS: Yes, I don't know if he is doing that.

ROMANS: Nobody ever gets it. All right. Ground work is being laid in Asia this morning ahead of the expected meeting between the President and Kim Jong-un. We are live in Beijing.



[04:21:54] 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 us see what happens. Let's see what happens.


BRIGGS: Crowd seems skeptical there. President Trump urging the supporters of a rally in Pennsylvania to give talks with North Korea a chance. Now the Director of the CIA says the President understands the risks of summit talks with Pyongyang.


MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: Make no mistake about it. While the negotiations are going on, there will be no concessions made. The activity of this administration to disrupt the North Korean economy, to put pressure on North Korea, to galvanize the world in a way that you have countries from Middle East to Europe and Asia, placing sanctions on the North Korea regime, those will continue. President Trump isn't doing this for theater. He is going to solve a problem.


BRIGGS: Today, key security meetings around the globe involving some of the top player who helped set up the president's expected sit down with the North Korean dictator. One of those high level meetings happening in Beijing, that's where we will find CNN Matt Rivers. Good morning to you, Matt. What is the Chinese perspective on all this?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Chinese perspective is that they are very happy that this meeting is taking place. It is their position that the only way to really solve this problem is to get North Korea and the United States in a room at the same time. And they're going to do what they can to make sure that goes forward.

That's what they're going to will tell the envoy from South Korea that -- meeting President Xi Jinping of China. You have another meeting going on in Japan, for example. Another South Korean envoy involved in the discussions with North Korea going there to brief Japan. You got the National Security Adviser of the U.S. H.R. McMaster, he is at the U.N. You also got the South Korean foreign minister going to meet with Rex Tillerson later on this week.

What all of this adds up to, what you are seeing, is the very beginning stages of laying the ground work for these potentially historic meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un if it actually goes forward because well it might just be the United States and North Korea and perhaps South Korea in that room, there are a lot of stake holders here.

Key allies from United States want to make sure that their message is being heard and that the U.S. is bringing their thoughts and concerns to the table. Here in China, that is exactly the same feeling. All of the different stake holders who want to see lasting peace on the Korean peninsula are doing what they can to get the message across to both North Korea and United States. This is what we want oy of this meetings. That is what you are seeing with the South Koreans here going to meet with all the different stake holders across the world.

BRIGGS: A Lasting peace but, Matt, do you now do they want a lasting U.S. presence on the peninsula?

RIVERS: Well, in terms of China, no, absolutely not. And there are a lot of people in South Korea who are fearful about the United States could potentially leave. And that is one of the questions that all of these allies have. What is the United States willing to give up in that meeting with North Korea? There are 30,000 plus U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula right now that guarantees security for South Korea.

[04:25:02] You got 70,000 plus troops in Japan. There's North Korea. When it says it wants to guarantee its own security in exchange for giving up its nuclear program, are they willing or are they going to push United States to withdraw those troops? That is the big question that is the kind of questions allies are asking the United States at this point.

BRIGGS: That presence will be central to these talks. Matt Rivers live for us in Beijing. Thanks, Matt.

ROMANS: British Prime Minister Theresa May is convening a meeting of her government's National Security Council today. They will discuss potential next steps following the apparent poisoning of the former Russian spy and his daughter. The incident led to the new public health concerns over the weekend. CNN's Erin McLaughlin, live for us in Salisbury with more. Good morning.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine. People here in Salisbury are extremely concerned after public health officials issued information over the weekend that they found trace elements of a rare and deadly nerve agent here at the Zizzi Pizza restaurant as well as a pub not far from here, asking anyone who is in, either the restaurant or the pub on March 4th after 1:30 p.m. to wash their clothes and other items.

And what this tells us about the investigation is that Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned prior to reaching that park benched, where they were found unconscious. And that potentially significant authorities now concerns about other potential areas of contamination.

We have seen the military move in from 180 personnel to help decontamination effort, removing things such as ambulances as well as other vehicles. This as over the weekend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond warning that if a state actor is found to have been involved in any way in this, the U.K. will respond appropriately. Christine.

BRIGGS: Raising the minimum age to buy a gun.


TRUMP: I am just curious as to what you did in your bill?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't address it, Mr. President.

TRUMP: You know what? Because you are afraid of the NRA.


BRIGGS: That was then. This is now. The White House gun proposals do nothing to address age requirements, but would allow teachers to have guns.