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United Files Dogs to Japan by Mistake; Northeast Locked in Winter's Grip; Students Demand Action on Gun Violence; March Madness First Four; Trump's Firing List. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 15, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ear infection made the 16- hour flight with no food or water. He was examined in Japan and is flying back to Kansas with an escort.

KARA SWINDLE, DOG MISTAKENLY FLOWN TO JAPAN ON UNITED: He was probably so scared and freaked out and probably hurting too because he doesn't have his medicine. I'm hoping and praying that he will still be alive.

JONES: United apologizing in a statement saying that an error occurred during connections in Denver for two pets sent to the wrong destinations. The mix-up coming one day after this French bulldog died on board a different United flight after flying more than three hours from Houston to New York in an overhead bin.

SOPHIA CEBALLOS, DOG DIED ON UNITED FLIGHT: And the flight attends came. She said put -- you have to put him up there because it's going to block the path. And we're like, it's a dog, it's a dog. And she's like, it doesn't matter, you still have to put it up there. She took him out and opened the thing and then she got the dog and he was dead.

JONES: United taking full responsibility. acknowledging that the passenger did tell the flight attendant that the dog was in the carrier. but explaining that the attendant did not hear or understand her and did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin.

CEBALLOS: He was a really special dog. And it's just sad how -- the way he has to just leave.

JONES: Lawmakers are demanding answers.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: What happened to this pet was disgraceful. And I can't imagine how the pet's owner feels. But we need to get to the bottom of it.

JONES: Republican Senator John Kennedy introducing legislation today to ban animals from being put in overhead bins. The Department of Transportation says 18 animals died on board United Airlines flights last year, more than any other airlines. These latest incidents coming nearly one year after United Airlines faced intense backlash after this video surfaced of a passenger being dragged off a flight for refusing to get off the plane due to overbooking.

(END VIDEOTAPE) JONES: And who can forget that story? Now, United has announced that start in April it will issue brightly colored tags to passengers traveling with pets to put on their pet's carriers so they can be easily identified by the crew.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, that sounds like a start. That maybe a -- that might work.

JONES: They also listen to the passengers who are telling them the dog's in the carrier. And the dog that's barking.

CAMEROTA: Exactly.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: She did not knowingly put the dog -- that's just legal language to cover themselves for what is sure to be a lawsuit.

But also interesting aspect to this. John Kennedy, we have him on the show there, Republican senator out of Louisiana, Congress is moving on this right away. What happened with this dog? We've got to figure it out. Bills are being introduced. School shootings, not so much. But this dog and why? Because they believe that you act out of consequence, not conscious, and they know voters will reward and punish if they don't on this. They don't feel the same way about the other issue. There it is in action.

CAMEROTA: Enough said.

CUOMO: Thank you.

The nor'easter, the U.S. is locked in winter's grip with spring now just five days away. Fake spring.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers joins us with more.

Fake spring, Chad. Fake spring.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That is a new hashtag. I will probably use that today.

It's spring in St. Louis where it's 49, but not in Jacksonville right now where it's 32, 17 degrees colder.

This weather is brought to you by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, packed with goodness.

Is spring on the way? No, not yet. Not for the northeast. Not for Atlanta. Temperatures will be in the 70s the next couple of days. So, yes, down here.

But the spring weather could also bring some severe weather with it too. That would be on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

I know you've heard about this nor'easter that could potentially hit the northeast on Tuesday. Well, the American model says, not so fast, it's a rainstorm. But the European model says, yes, sirree (ph) there's going to be snow. We will see the battle between the models in the next couple of days, who believes what. Temperatures are still going to be cool in the northeast and nice and mild in the south.


CAMEROTA: OK, Chad, thank you very much.

So thousands of students walked out of school across the country to fight gun violence. Two students who participated tell us what they accomplished, next.


[06:38:21] CAMEROTA: Nearly a million students walked out of their classrooms Wednesday in a nationwide protest demanding action to stop gun violence. The show of student solidarity coming one month after the Florida school massacre and in response to a lack of action by Congress.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give us concrete solutions and for once value our lives over your bank accounts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will accept nothing less than comprehensive gun control. And if it's what it takes, we will shame our national policymakers into protecting us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What Parkland showed us is that this could happen in any one of our schools. And we, as students, can't take this anymore.


CAMEROTA: One student who took part in the national walkout, Drew Myers, joins us now.

Drew, thanks so much for being here.


CAMEROTA: What was yesterday like?

MYERS: Yesterday was pretty incredible. We had as many as 1,000 students show up to our walkout.

CAMEROTA: In Brooklyn.

MYERS: In Brooklyn, yes, in Brooklyn Heights, in front of Borough (ph) Hall.

What it showed was that students really care about the issue and that this is part of a national movement that we're out here on the front lines asking for politicians to listen to us because clearly, as you see by the laws that they've been trying to enact, they haven't been meeting our demands and it's honestly quite shameful.

CAMEROTA: It wasn't great weather yesterday. It was cold. There were flurries. There were, at times, really gusty winds. And so how do you describe the kind of motivation that the kids around you have?

MYERS: It shows, especially for the kids that aren't 18 and can't vote, protesting is a way that they get their voice out. So it just shows to, you know, everyone all around the world, in America, that students are willing to bear the cold to go out and protest one month after the shooting so we can see some change, you know, really happen.

[06:40:12] CAMEROTA: Obviously there have been other school shootings. Tragic they happen a lot here. So why -- what was it about Parkland? Why did that grip your school and the nation like this?

MYERS: Parkland felt different because the students were so inspiring. That's really what happened. The students there were incredibly inspiring. But they did, when they took their issues to Florida legislators, when they went to the White House, when they were speaking to legislators and then you think, wow, if they can, you know, talk one-on-one with politicians, the people who are making the key votes on this legislation, hey, maybe something new can happen this time that hasn't happened in the past.

CAMEROTA: So what was your message with the walkout yesterday? What did you want lawmakers to hear?

MYERS: We want lawmakers, at least in terms of demands, to ban assault weapons, repeal the Dickey Amendment so the CDC can research gun violence. We want it to increase background checks. Because we truly think that a lot of the laws that are on the books right now are absurd.

And what we're asking for isn't a lot. It's common sense at this point. And we know that. And why don't our politicians know that?

And the other point of the message was, you know, to get people out to vote. Protesting is awesome and it's really great that so many students can come out, but you can't really effect change in the way that you want to unless you go to the ballot box in November, this midterm election. And we also wanted to highlight, you know, gun violence in general and how it affects minorities more so than it does other people.

You know, if I don't personally have been affected by gun violence myself, but other people have been, and I wanted to speak up for them and all the people. And I do go to a school, and all my students do and, you know, who's to say that that couldn't have been our school as well.

CAMEROTA: Here's what the NRA tweeted yesterday on the day of the walkout. It's a picture of an AR-15. And it says, I'll control my own guns, thank you.

So what does that message tell you? MYERS: So when a lot of us students talk about we want increased

background checks and we bring out all these demands, it makes it sound like we want to take away all the guns. And the -- a lot of the NRA members, they're concerned about that.

Want we want, it's just regulation. I want a gun to be regulated like a car is regulated. You know, that's really what this is about. And the AR-15, it's -- it's a gun that's used for war. And so we don't want that out on the streets.

But, you know, I'm -- I'm not -- I'm a student. I'm not naive. I've seen these other events. It's unrealistic to expect that all guns will be banned. But the message that the NRA is putting out is just for their people. What we need is that the youth to be energized, just like those members are in the NRA. That's how they get a lot of their powers, the mobilization of their members. So if the youth can get behind this moment, this, you know, special moment in history, maybe we can really get some change through.

CAMEROTA: We'll see what happens on March 24th as well with the protests.

Thank you very much, Drew Myers, for being here with us on this day.

MYERS: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you.


CUOMO: March Madness kicks into high gear today. Now, even though he's no longer in office, Barack Obama was always big with the bracket. Now, President Trump said he likes to fill out a bracket too, but after the first couple of rounds. No, I'm kidding. So, who does Obama say goes all the way? And before you follow his lead, is he a good picker? The "Bleacher Report," next.


[06:47:26] CAMEROTA: Today kicks off two of the best days in sports, I'm told, the NCAA tournament's first round. But before today's 16 games get underway, there was some action last night.

And Coy Wire has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Coy, tell me everything I need to know.


The play in games wrapped up last night, Syracuse taking on Arizona State. And, Alisyn, Syracuse's 77-year-old coach Jim Boeheim has been coaching Syracuse since your co-anchor Chris was just six years old.

This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by the new 2018 Ford F-150.

Last night marked the first time Boeheim ever coached the orange as an 11th seed. Late in the second half, Syracuse guard Tyus Battle would knock own a huge three to give some momentum, put the Q's up 55-52. Back and forth the teams went. With seconds remaining, ASU down by two and Shannon Evans with a shot to claim glory. No. The Sun Devils can't heat it up. They -- now Syracuse advances to play TCU on Friday.

Have you picked your March Madness brackets yet? Former President Obama released his picks on Twitter saying, just because I have more time to watch games doesn't mean my picks will be better. He thinks the three seed is going to win it all on the men's side with the Michigan State Spartans and he has undefeated UCONN winning on the women's side.

Remember to pick your bracket and see if you can take down Ms. Alisyn or Cuomo. You can go to and you can go toe to toe with us. We hope we have a shot.

CUOMO: Are you any good?

WIRE: Absolutely not. Come on, man. The only thing -- basketball about me is this big bald head.

CUOMO: I think I see it. It says Spalding on the top of it.

It's good to see you, brother.

All right, several members of the president's cabinet have been coming under fire. So, who is most likely to go?

Mark Preston, aka the vault, joins us with his choices, next. But he will betray nothing now. Nothing? Not a tip? Wow. You're going to have to come back.


[06:53:27] CUOMO: All right, they were supposed to be the best cabinet ever assembled, and they're not. And that's in the estimate of President Trump himself, who is now eyeing a purge of his embattled cabinet. One official telling CNN, the president wants to get rid of the, quote, deadweight. All right, so let's take a look at some of what could be called the deadweight.

CNN's senior political analyst Mark Preston joins us.

You know, it's NCAA season here, bracketology (ph). Let's have our own little bracketology.

Now, the people we have here are the cabinet secretaries who have been under fire recently. We do not have the security guys. We don't have Kelly.


CUOMO: We don't have McMaster here. Obviously Mattis hasn't been discussed. They are important people. A different part of the analysis.

PRESTON: Absolutely.

CUOMO: Let's stick with these guys.

Let's start with the least likely to go in your estimation. Of these people, who is least likely?

PRESTON: Well, certainly, at this time right now, and anything we say could change in a matter of seconds if President Trump is watching and decides to tweet out that he's since fired somebody. But I think you've got to look at --

CUOMO: Betsy DeVos.

PRESTON: Yes, the education secretary.

CUOMO: All right.

PRESTON: Of course, ran into a lot of trouble this past week. Didn't quite understand, Chris, that she needed to go out and look at low performing schools to understand how our education system works. We haven't seen a whole lot of her publically and this is the reason why, she's not good with the media.

CUOMO: All right, so she was shaky on the way in.


CUOMO: It was seen as almost a paid pedigree that she had. Shaky in terms of her chops.


CUOMO: And the bad interview.

PRESTON: Correct.

CUOMO: But there's some other people on here who have a different problem in terms of breach of the public trust. And also DeVos has problems in terms of what she wants to do with the jewel of American society, public education.

[06:55:03] So now that we get into the guys who have money problems.


CUOMO: Who is the least likely to go out of the remaining four?

PRESTON: You know, a very good question. I think at this point you look at someone like Pruitt, who really seems to have --

CUOMO: Let's tee him up.

PRESTON: Yes, tee him up. Send him over.

CUOMO: Pruitt is the head of the EPA. PRESTON: Has gotten into a lot of trouble, as you can see from his

spending habits certainly around his office, but still is very much a Trump guy. Trump relied on him to roll back all the EPA regulations. In some ways you could look at Pruitt as one of the reasons why Trump as successful, at least in his mind, in his first year, because he was able to use the executive order and the guidance and advice by Pruitt to roll back regulations.

CUOMO: Now, again, another guy who had policy problems also. Forget about the fact that the whole environmental community feels like he's rolling back clean air and water rights that were there, but he was also someone who was seen to be on the wrong side of global warming. He wanted to have a big debate about whether there is global warming, that supposedly John Kelly, the general, shut down because it was such bad optics. And he's got that paranoia vibe, spending a lot of money on making sure people aren't spying on him. Maybe he's been listening to the president and all his concerns about the FISA court.

All right, so now we're going into the more venerable three.


CUOMO: Of these three, which one do you think survives?

PRESTON: Well, so I would say it's a jump ball right now between Ben Carson --

CUOMO: All right, so let's start with him.

PRESTON: The HUD secretary.

CUOMO: He was a huge pick. Controversial for the president. But gave him a lot of credibility in different ways. What's his problem?

PRESTON: Well, Chris, his problem is the fact that him and his wife decided to go in and spend an exorbitant amount of money to redecorate their office. Now specifically we've talked a lot about this $31,000 for a dining room set. Let's just put this in perspective for everybody out there to understand how egregious this is. You could buy a $150,000 home right now in the United States with 20 percent down right now. Twenty percent down is $30,000. That's a lot of money. So even though here in Washington or over in New York here, but when I'm in Washington, people don't seem to have an idea or a willingness to try to rein in spending. This is an example.

CUOMO: And, look, it was also about lying, right?

PRESTON: Correct. Correct.

CUOMO: Because supposedly the Carsons didn't know about this.


CUOMO: What do we know now about what they knew and didn't know?

PRESTON: Well, there was e-mails that went back and forth and attacked -- within the e-mails from one of their assistants said that there was actually pictures that was presented to them. So they knew what they were getting into.

CUOMO: And there's also a little sotto voce here. You know what they, you know, the under voice. This bullet point about looking to strip anti-discrimination language from the HUD mission statement, that's more important than you may think. This goes back to this idea that the reason there was a housing scandal was because there was too much preference of people of -- who were getting homes.


CUOMO: And they were given loans they shouldn't have gotten. You take anti-discrimination out of the HUD mission and people who don't get housing because of LGBTQ issues or race issues have almost no protection. Something to remember. It's not something that Carson wants to jump on.

All right, so now we've got the weakest of the weak.

PRESTON: So the -- so let's just go, who's the winner of who's going to get knocked out?


PRESTON: I -- you know, you and I were talking about this. It's got to be the VA secretary.

CUOMO: All right, now, first, let's remind them who Zinke is. OK, Ryan Zinke served the country very honorably in the military. But he's had problems. He was attached to what happened in Puerto Rico. Remember that little nowhere company that got the rebuild the wire, power lines --


CUOMO: That came from his home state. He may have -- may not have had a connection to them.

And then we got into the money issues also. How so?

PRESTON: Well, again, I mean, talk about coming here to drain the swamp of Washington. And let's note, Ryan Zinke also served in the House of Representatives. So he understands the legislative side of things.

$140,000 for office doors? I just said that you could put 20 percent down on a $150,000 house. You could buy a house for $140,000 or a condo. So, again, egregious spending right now.

But to your point, and we've talked about this earlier in the show, is that Trump supporters, Chris, they don't seem to care. They don't seem to care. So it hurts with the rest of the country. It's very embarrassing. But the Trump supporters aren't necessarily wavering.

CUOMO: Now you get to ironically the cabinet secretary that may have the best reputation within his own agency, which is Secretary Shulkin at the VA. But there are two things that this guy has going for him right now that could make him the easiest to get rid of for the president, and those are?

PRESTON: Well, I mean, look right here. I mean the fact of the matter is, he's supposed to be taking care of our veterans. And to your point, he was well liked by veterans. But how do you explain this? How do you explain taxpayers are paying for his wife to go over -- for them to go to Wimbledon. He's the VA secretary. Last I knew, he was not in charge of the State Department or in charge of diplomacy.

Now, having said this, I do know that when he was under consideration for this job, Trump didn't necessarily take a jumping to him, a liking to him right away. And he had to be convinced by those within the military circles to keep him on. But as you and I spoke beforehand too, he's also an Obama guy.

CUOMO: He is an Obama era holdover. And that gives the president great political cover. And the two-fer (ph) of saying, because our veterans deserve the best. So if someone's going to go, he's in bad shape. The irony again is that people in his agency like him and think he does a good job.

[07:00:05] Mark Preston -- and so do you. Thank you, brother. Appreciate it.

PRESTON: Thanks. Congratulations, by the way, pal.

CUOMO: Thank you very much. I'll be seeing you soon.

All right, thanks to our international viewers as well. For you, CNN "TALK" is next.