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The White House Unveils School Safety Proposals; Deadly NYC Chopper Crash; CIA Director: Trump Will Be Tough On Pyongyang; British Prime Minister Convenes Meeting On Apparent Poisoning. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired March 12, 2018 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:53] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The White House laying out proposals for reducing gun violence in schools. They include arming teachers. It will leave out two big commitments from the president.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Tragedy in New York City. Five people are dead after their chopper plunges into the East River. The pilot did survive.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Some disturbing video there.

Good morning, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs. I hope you had a great weekend. It is 5:31 eastern time.

We start with this gun proposal from the White House overnight. Last night, the Trump administration put forward its proposal to give some school personnel what it calls rigorous firearms training. Now that's the centerpiece of a plan to combat gun violence in and out of schools, the plan President Trump promised after the Parkland shooting.

The proposal has other elements but not among them are two things the president said last month he would prioritize.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In addition to everything else -- in addition to what we're going to do about background checks, we're going to go very strong into age -- that's age of purchase.


ROMANS: The White House's plan does not expand background checks, does not raise the minimum age of purchase. The plan does call for a new commission just a day after the president said all commissions do is talk.

For more let's turn to CNN's Boris Sanchez at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, it is a multi-pronged effort that the White House is including in their proposal to try to stop school shootings in light of the shooting at 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 Sec. 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 incentive 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: All right, Boris Sanchez there.

No reaction from the NRA yet. Presumably, more guns in the system would please them.

But one Republican congressman tells CNN the proposal is a quote "missed opportunity." That congressman has a top NRA rating but, of course, did not want to go public so --

ROMANS: Which shows you the --

BRIGGS: -- not all of that's courageous.

ROMANS: Which shows you the power of the NRA, right?


ROMANS: All right. Joining us this morning is CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer, historian and professor at Princeton University and author of the new book "The Presidency of Barack Obama: A First Historical Assessment."

Good morning. How are you?


ROMANS: So what happened to that president who thought it just seemed rational to raise the age to 21 for an AR-15-type weapon and who had all of these common-sense sort of easy anti-NRA kind of positions to take?

ZELIZER: Yes, I'm not sure he was over there. I think some of that was a performance in the wake of the horror of the shootings and he understood there was political pressure. But when he got down to business he has changed dramatically and we are now talking about arming teachers, not about gun control, and that says it all.

BRIGGS: Yes. He called out Pat Toomey to his face --


BRIGGS: -- in that public meeting saying "you are afraid of the NRA."

Also on Saturday night, the president talked about studies -- blue- ribbon commissions, something this very gun proposal does.

Here's what the president said at this Pennsylvania rally, calling them a joke.

[05:35:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We fill up these councils. They all want to be on councils. They call them blue-ribbon councils.

We can't just keep setting up blue-ribbon committees with your wife, and your wife, and your husband. And they meet and they have a meal and they talk -- talk, talk talk. Two hours later then they write a report.

Look, that's what I've got in Washington. I've got all these blue- ribbon committees.


BRIGGS: Maybe some truth to that but how do you square that with the fact that he has a study -- a blue-ribbon commission if you will -- as part of this gun proposal?

ZELIZER: Well, why these matters -- these matter to bring some expertise to an issue. But in the end, he's right. It's up to the president and Congress to do something with whatever they recommend.

And I think what we've seen already on gun control is he's not going very far on this issue so I assume he'll be right in his prediction about what he just set up.

ROMANS: That event on Saturday night was pretty -- was pretty remarkable. And I think that, you know --

BRIGGS: It took you back to the campaign.

ROMANS: It was Pennsylvania '18 but this was one candidate and one candidate only.

BRIGGS: His name is not Rick Saccone.

ROMANS: His name is Donald Trump.


ROMANS: Listen --


TRUMP: I know her weakness. Wouldn't we love to run against Oprah? I would love it, I would love it. That would be a painful experience for her.

The only way to solve the drug problem is through toughness with the death penalty. I think it's a discussion we have to start thinking about, don't you? I don't know if we're 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!"


ROMANS: That performance had a former Clinton adviser, Philippe Reines, say this.


PHILIPPE REINES, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO HILLARY CLINTON: Boy, does Donald Trump know how to keep an audience in the palm of his hands. It actually is remarkable to watch.

Second, I understand why that man won in 2016 and I understand -- I'm not terrified but I understand why he may very well win again in 2020.


ROMANS: We also heard Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she's not going to -- she's not going to run. These are the people who are saying it's because this is a powerful candidate. Why do you want to run against Donald Trump and how popular he is?

ZELIZER: Look, it should be a warning sign to both parties.

It should be a warning sign to Republicans running for Congress that you might not really be helping him. He's running for 2020 and he's going to use this as a platform for that election. And it should be a warning to Democrats he's still pretty comfortable on the campaign trail.

All the problems in the Oval Office, all the turmoil doesn't necessarily translate to what he can do when he goes in front of loyal audiences. He was in his comfort zone that night.

BRIGGS: Yes, that's a WWE match.


BRIGGS: People come to hear their greatest hits and when they don't hear "Free Bird" they yell out. They don't want to hear him say we're going to sit down and talk with Kim Jong Un.

But let me ask you. Look, he didn't say much at all about Rick Saccone. He called him a good person, confident, and handsome. How did that help?

ZELIZER: Well, it only helps in that ultimately, this is an election about President Trump. It's a mandate on where you stand. So if he can create enthusiasm among Republicans about him it might actually help Saccone even without mentioning his name.

So there is a logic to what he's doing. I don't know if it will work but there is a logic there.

BRIGGS: You know, he mentioned his experience in South Korea but didn't mention he was a U.S. Air Force counterintelligence --


BRIGGS: -- officer, something that is very vital in the times in which we live. You would think he'd lead with that. That's on line one --


BRIGGS: -- of Saccone's bio. You don't have to dig deep for that one.

ROMANS: How important do you think this -- that particular race is more broadly?

ZELIZER: It's not important in the long run. The district might not even exist because of the --

ROMANS: Right.

ZELIZER: -- redistricting.

ROMANS: It's like a zombie district, right?


ZELIZER: But politics is also about perception and right now, Republicans are fretting that this might be a wave election for the Democrats. So if they lose in Trump territory or even if they narrowly win --

ROMANS: Sure. ZELIZER: -- I think everyone's going to be talking about the problems in 2018 and that could have an effect, so it is significant. It's our first measure of where the electorate is going into the midterm season.

ROMANS: He won that more than 20 points, right?


BRIGGS: Twenty-point win, yes.

ROMANS: All right.

All right, Julian Zelizer. Nice to see you this morning. Thank you.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

All right. 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, a longtime advocate of school choice, using public money to offer parents alternatives to traditional public schools, like charters and voucher programs. DeVos says alternatives drive public schools to perform better.

But she had no answers when asked if school choice is successful in Michigan.


LESLEY STAHL, CBS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CORRESPONDENT, CBS "60 MINUTES": Have 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 pockets where the students are doing well.

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

[05:40:04] DEVOS: I have not -- I have not -- I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.

STAHL: Maybe you should.

DEVOS: Maybe I should, yes.


ROMANS: DeVos eventually acknowledged public schools in Michigan need to do better. A deadly helicopter crash in New York City's East River caught on video last night. All five passengers on board were killed. The pilot was the only survivor.

Here's his Mayday call.


PILOT: Lima Hotel, Mayday, Mayday, Mayday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lima Hotel, are you OK?

PILOT: East River, engine failure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, say again.

PILOT: East River, engine failure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a little broken up. Say it one more time.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, are you requiring assistance?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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.


DANIEL NIGRO, COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT: One of the most difficult parts of the operation, we're told, is the five people, besides the pilot, were all tightly harnessed so these harnesses 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: And that water about 40 degrees, mind you.

The chopper was in the air for a private photo shoot.

The National Transportation Safety Board will arrive this morning to investigate. A tragic situation there.

O.J. Simpson in his own hypothetical words.


O.J. SIMPSON, ACQUITTED OF THE MURDER OF NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON AND RONALD GOLDMAN: It was almost like you were -- Ron and Nicole were physical dead. And it's almost like they killed me -- who I was, was attacked and murdered.


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


[05:45:58] BRIGGS: All right, 5:45 eastern time on a Monday.

A new nor'easter set to hit the northeast tonight, the third in just a few weeks.

Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera joins us live from the CNN Weather Center. Ivan, we asked the last time around but how is this one different from the prior two?

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, this one is going to have a lot more snow for places like Boston. It's going to be that classic New England storm so into Connecticut, Rhode Island, and really up the entire -- across New England here.

Anywhere you see the pink you're in trouble because we're talking several inches of accumulation. Where you see the purple, this is not going to be a New York storm. It's not that it's not going to snow. I'm just thinking about two to four inches for New York City, but points to north and east boy, we're going to get clocked I think here by the time we get into Tuesday.

An area of low pressure -- this is the one that's going to become a coastal low. It's over Tennessee right now. Kentucky, overnight -- places like Lexington picked up more than half of what they usually get in the entire year of snowfall. It has been snowing bonkers here across Lexington.

This will continue into the morning hours and then we'll transition that low to the Atlantic and that's when things get juicy here. It's going to get going.

As far as the winds it's going to really whip up. It's going to turn into quite a storm so we're not just talking snow. It's going to snow with the wind.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the winter storm warnings get upgraded to blizzard warnings. That's how strong the winds are going to be. Perhaps 60, even 70 mile an hour winds not out of the question.

Look at these totals here. This is our preliminary forecast but it doesn't look good, right? Twelve to 18 inches of snowfall -- heavy, wet snow. It's going to be mess for New England in the next couple of days -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Indeed. Our kids are already out of now days out here in the northeast. Ivan, thank you, sir.

ROMANS: And out of --

CABRERA: And they need some more.

ROMANS: And out of patience. A lot of snow day patience.


ROMANS: 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.

The interview aired last night on Fox.


SIMPSON: And we realized it wasn't going to work but she told me she was pregnant.


BRIGGS: It was conducted by publisher Judith Regan for the book Simpson wrote with her, "If I Did It," which was never released.

Simpson offering what he claimed was a hypothetical explanation for the murders.



SIMPSON: Yes, a guy that I really didn't recognize. I may have seen him around but I really didn't recognize him.

As things got heated I just remember Nicole fell and hurt herself and this guy kind of got into a karate thing. And I said well, do you think you can kick my ass? And I remember I grabbed the knife -- I do remember that portion -- taking the knife from Charlie.

And to be honest, after that I don't remember except I'm standing there and there's all kind of stuff around and --

REGAN: What kind of stuff?

SIMPSON: Blood and stuff around.


ROMANS: So bizarre. It's bizarre.

BRIGGS: It is disturbing.

ROMANS: Judith Regan will be on the -- on "NEW DAY" to talk about the O.J. interview later this morning.

BRIGGS: Talking so nonchalantly about the whole thing.

ROMANS: I know. Is he trying to sell a book? I mean, they were -- they were working on a book --

BRIGGS: "If I Did It," yes.

ROMANS: -- proposal together at the time, a book that was not published.

BRIGGS: I know.

ROMANS: All right.

Toys "R" Us may shut all of its U.S. stores. It could happen as early as this week. A liquidation chatter is just everywhere. Details on "CNN Money," next.


[05:53:37] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: South Korea came to my office after having gone to North and seeing Kim Jong Un, and --


TRUMP: 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.


ROMANS: President Trump urging his supporters at 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, DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Make no mistake about it, while these 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 way that you have countries from the Middle East to Europe and Asia placing sanctions on the North Korean regime, those will continue.

President Trump isn't doing this for theater. He's going to solve a problem.


ROMANS: Today, key security meetings around the globe involving some of the top players who helped set up the president's expected sit-down with the North Korean dictator.

One of those high-level meetings happening in Beijing where we're joined by CNN's Matt Rivers.

And Matt, what is the -- what is the China angle there? They're happy that there's dialogue -- that there is diplomacy happening. How optimistic are people that this meeting is going to happen?

[05:55:00] MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think there's a lot of optimism here but there's a healthy of dose of realism in the sense that this is just the beginning stages of diplomacy and what the South Koreans are doing now is taking those very first steps. So, they're briefing the Chinese today, they're briefing the Japanese at the same time in the same way that those South Korean officials briefed President Trump just a few days ago.

We also know that the National Security adviser for the U.S., H.R. McMaster, is going to do the same thing over at the U.N. And later this week, the foreign minister of South Korea is going to be going to speak with Rex Tillerson.

Basically, everyone wants to get on the same page before these high- level negotiations happen if they do, in fact, happen at all. And what all of these countries that the South Korean officials are going to -- what all of these countries are expressing to the South Koreans is they want a stake at the table when these negotiations begin.

ROMANS: All right, Matt Rivers in Beijing. Thank you.


Elsewhere, British Prime Minister Theresa May convening a meeting of her government's national Security Council today. They'll discuss potential next steps following the apparent poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter. The incident led to new public health concerns over the weekend.

CNN's Erin McLaughlin covering this for us live from Salisbury, England. Good morning, Erin.


And people here are really worried about those public health concerns after officials announced they found trace elements of a rare and deadly nerve agent here at Zizzi's pizza restaurant as well as a pub just around the corner. They are advising anyone who was in either location in the afternoon of March fourth to wash their belongings, their clothes, as well as other items.

And what this tells us about the investigation is how Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned prior to reaching that park bench where they were later found unconscious. It also raises new concerns about the possibility of contamination and now there are parts of the city the military has moved into to help with those decontamination efforts. This as we heard from the chief of the Foreign Affairs Committee for Parliament this morning saying it is looking increasingly likely that this is a case of state-sponsored attempted murder. Russia has denied any involvement in this incident, Dave.

BRIGGS: Another chapter in this ongoing spy novel. Erin, thanks.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on "CNN Money" this Monday morning.

Global stocks higher today after that Friday jobs report that was just right for Wall Street. Strong job growth with accelerating wages. That was good news for the major stock averages and the Nasdaq hit a record high close.

The U.S. added 313,000 jobs in February, meaning 2.5 million new jobs have been created since President Trump took office.

Wages grew only 2.6 percent, slower than the 2.9 percent rise in January. Remember, that January number prompted fears about inflation and sparked a sell-off. Investors worry inflation could spur faster interest rate hikes.

This week, Wall Street will get more inflation data. Reports on consumer prices and producer prices are both due. You can imagine there will be a lot of scrutiny on those numbers.

Are you underpaid? For the first time ever, workers at big companies are going to find out. This year, more than 50 major companies will reveal how worker pay compares with their CEO. The disclosure is a requirement of Dodd-Frank, those banking regulations after the financial crisis.

Advocates say it's about time. Slow wage growth is one weak spot in an otherwise strong labor market.

So how do companies stack up? Well, for Humana, the CEO makes 344 times a median worker; Whirlpool, 356 times as much; Kellogg, 183 times.

Toys "R" Us may shut all of its U.S. stores and it could happen as early as this week. The toy store declined to comment on liquidation chatter but time is running out. It declared bankruptcy last September. Sources say it could not balance its huge debt load while paying to upgrade its stores and digital offerings.

It's terrible news for the toy companies. Toys "R" Us is the last megastore dedicated to toys. Shares of Hasbro fell two percent Friday. Mattel plunged seven percent.

And you just think what iconic -- you know, I can still sing the jingle from when I was a kid. I was a Toys "R" Us kid --

BRIGGS: A Toys "R" Us kid?

ROMANS: -- you know? BRIGGS: But it's also about kids not buying toys at all, it's not just the Amazonifcation. Kids play with their iPads and on their iPhones.

ROMANS: That's true, and all of that.

BRIGGS: Hasbro and Mattel are struggling no matter what.

ROMANS: All right, that's it for us this Monday morning. Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.


TRUMP: We're going to go very strong into age -- age of purchase.

BRIGGS: President Trump backtracking on his support for raising the minimum age to buy some firearms.

DEVOS: I have asked to head up a task force. There is a sense of urgency.

SIMPSON: And I grabbed the knife and after that I don't remember except there was all kind of blood and stuff around.

ROMANS: O.J. Simpson giving a quote "hypothetical" confession in an explosive interview.

CHRISTOPHER DARDEN, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, O.J. SIMPSON TRIAL: He may try and describe it as a hypothetical but, of course, it becomes "I."

PILOT: Mayday, Mayday, Mayday.

BRIGGS: Five passengers killed in a tragic helicopter crash in New York City.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just coming straight down like he was coming in for a landing but it was just really fast.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, March 12th, 6:00 here in New York.

Here's our "Starting Line."

The White House releasing their plan for school safety that does include President Trump's repeated calls to raise the minimum age to buy certain guns.