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New Policy Bans Most Transgender People From Military; Trump Signs Spending Bill Despite Veto Threat; Students Survivors Head To Washington To Fight Gun Violence; School Resource Officer's Quick Action Stopped MD Shooter; Porn Star's Lawyer Tweets "Warning Shot" To President; Curbing Sugar Cravings. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 24, 2018 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:00:54] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. We're so grateful to have you here with us on a Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good Saturday to you. We are live in Washington where it has been a week of turmoil, chaos, and controversy, and it is a very early Saturday morning. There's time left.

Last night, late last night, in fact, the White House announced a policy banning most transgender people from serving in the military. This is a move that is already drawing criticism from Democrats and others and promises from advocate groups to fight the ban in court.

PAUL: And hours from now, the White House and Congress facing a different type of criticism. Students from Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida lead the nation and really the world in a series of rallies calling for stricter gun control after 17 people were killed at their school last month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to make a statement that teenagers can change the world, and that these things really can't happen without somebody doing something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not going to be able to ignore us because we're at your doorstep now. So we're going to stay here and we're going to fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Washington's ready for us, and I think we're ready to give them hell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: We will have team coverage on the March For Our Lives rally all day here on CNN. But we're going to start now with CNN's Abby Phillip and the late-night ban on transgendered troops. Abby, Good morning.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Yes. President Trump making that decision very late last night, announcing at the very hours before a deadline that most transgender troops would no longer be able to serve in the military. Now, this final decision comes months after the president himself announced this change on quitter but caught his own defense department by surprise. He then gave the defense secretary, James Mattis, some months to come up with a policy around this decision. And this is one that is likely to draw some serious legal challenges in the months to come. Here's what the White House said the policy will do in a statement last night. "Transgender persons with a history of diagnosis of gender dysphoria, individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment including medications and surgery are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."

Now, there's some other details about this that are notable. This policy rescinds the Obama-era rule change that allowed transgender service members to serve. But it also allows people who are currently active in the military, most of them, to continue serving. But it prohibits transgender individuals from enlisting into the military, and those who are currently serving may be required to serve according to their gender at birth. Now, James Mattis defended this decision in a statement announcing the policy saying that there were some concerns about the effect of transgender troops serving in the military on military readiness as well as costs. And he also noted that it would require waiving some requirements that are already in place for those who are serving.

But those statements contradict a 2016 study on the impact of transgender service members, on the military, that was done by the RAND Corporation that found that some of those effects are minimal, if not negligible. But in the courts, this is going to be fought out pretty aggressively over the next couple of months. The California attorney general has already announced that they plan to challenge the court decision going forward. Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Abby. Thank you so much.

PAUL: Thank you, Abby. We appreciate it.

We want to go to CNN military analyst, Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona with us now. So, colonel, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it. You just heard her there talk about the impetus with this coming from James Mattis is that it is a question of their readiness, of the cost that it would entail. You have a storied career obviously in the military. Have you ever found that someone who is a transgender has been a detriment to military service?

RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: You know, that's an interesting question because when I was on active duty, transgenders were not permitted to serve. So I may have served with a transgender and not known it. It even goes further than the don't ask, don't tell. Many years ago, you couldn't be openly homosexual. So, I honestly don't know if I served with anyone. So obviously there would have been no impact on cohesion.

[07:05:07] I read through the entire statement, the entire report that the Pentagon provided to the president. And it's 44 pages long. I think the key point in there is the impact on unit cohesion and unit readiness. That seemed to be the core theories there. But it does protect those serving.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about an element that one of the critics who was on the show last hour raised that, what will be the response from those who support this policy when it's compared to those in the military who are dealing with hypertension or diabetes or take anti- depressants and the relative cost of other medical concerns? An important distinction from your perspective?

FRANCONA: They addressed that specifically in the report using hypertension as the comparison. It is like apples and oranges because hypertension can be treated with medication that's not -- that's readily available, easily deployable. They're talking about different kind of, you know, cross sex, hormones, and very expensive treatments. I don't care -- the cost really isn't the issue here. It's the impact on deployability. So you can deploy with hypertension, but you cannot deploy with some of the effects of gender dysphoria.

PAUL: The ACLU came out with the statement and said what the White House has released tonight is transphobia masquerading as policy. Do you see any tinge of that?

FRANCONA: Yes. You know, I have to tell you in all honesty, in my own personal opinion, is that anyone who wants to serve their country should be able to do so. I just think all of the gender assignment/reassignment should all be completed before accession to the military. You show up whatever gender you prefer to be, and that's what you're allowed to serve as. This looks like 44 pages of justifying a policy that was already decided. So I think rather than doing a study and come out with a policy, I think we came up with a policy and now came up with the report that justifies it.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The chronology supports that framing from you.

FRANCONA: I think you're right, Victor. Yes.

BLACKWELL: All right. Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

PAUL: Thank you, sir.

BLACKWELL: All right. Survivors of mass shootings are going to be heard around the world today. City after city, nation after nation, preparing to hold anti-gun violence rallies. This is, of course, in the wake of the school shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida.

PAUL: And in just a few hours from now, thousands of people are going to be in March For Our Lives right here in Washington. Many right there in front of the White House.

Some students and parents, in fact, are on a bus headed to D.C. for the protest.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Polo Sandoval is traveling with them.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, Victor, this morning those marchers are certainly on the move here. We're aboard one of four buses that are headed to the nation's capital. These are young men and women, as well as community leaders from the city of Pittsburgh that are headed to Washington, D.C. to join marchers there in the nation's capital here to have their message heard. These are individuals who feel very passionate about preventing gun violence. And some including Christian Carter have been directly affected by it.

Christian, just share with me a little bit of your story about how you've been directly affected by it.

CHRISTIAN CARTER, YOUTH ORGANIZER TO TRIP TO WASHINGTON: When I was in second grade, I was walking to school. My brother and I watched a guy get shot right in front of us, so like collapsed right to the ground. And like right after that, I couldn't listen to like loud sounds, and like fireworks were like really triggering for me. So this does hit home. I watched many moms like bury their children. And I grew up in a neighborhood where it was like a headline every single week where I saw someone from my community dying.

SANDOVAL: So then, how does that translate now to the message that you hope to take to Washington today?

CARTER: I'm taking the message of watching all those moms who buried their children. It's not just protect our schools but protect our neighborhoods, because this doesn't just affect people at school. It's affecting all of us at our homes. So it's important to me to get that message out there and be heard.

SANDOVAL: Thank you so much, Christian, thanks for your time.

CARTER: Of course.

SANDOVAL: Good luck today.

CARTER: Thank you.

SANDOVAL: Again, it really just one of 250 voices that will be added to that chorus today on that National Mall. These are folks that are taking not only a message with them, Christi and Victor, but a story, as well.

PAUL: All right. Polo, thank you so much.

So President Trump signed the spending bill despite threatening to veto it. And he says he is very unhappy about it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:10:37] PAUL: President Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill. We're going to talk about that in a moment, as you look there at live picture in Washington. They are getting ready, people already out there, 7:00. Let's see -- four hours before this even starts.

BLACKWELL: Yes, this actually starts at noon here in Washington. There are more than 800 sister marches, not just across the country, but around the world. Hundreds of thousands of students and their family members and supporters expected to here in Washington, D.C., to call for action to stop gun violence. We will be live all day covering the March For Our Lives here in Washington and around the world.

PAUL: But also talking about this trillion-dollar spending bill, as well, because the president had threatened to veto it. Then he decided to sign it. And it does mean that it's going to keep the government open. The government blasted Congress, though, saying he's unhappy with this. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are a lot of things that I'm unhappy about in this bill. But we were in a sense forced if we want to build our military, we were forced to have. There are some things that we should have in the bill. But I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again. I'm not going to do it again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: All right. Joining us now, Juana Summers, senior writer for CNN Politics, Michael Zeldin, CNN legal analyst, and Robert Mueller's former assistant of the DOJ. Jack Kingston, CNN political commentator and former senior adviser to the Trump campaign. And Democratic Congressman and nominee for the 2020 nomination for the Democrats for president, John Delaney from Maryland. Good morning to everybody.

[07:15:18] Let's start with what is happening today and what brought us to Washington, this March For Our Lives. Juana, first to you. Hundreds of thousands of people here, and the possibility that members of Congress could see that passion in Washington, around the world and still do.

JUANA SUMMERS, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER: Well, first of all, I think that passion is hard to miss. I mean, seeing these young people, many of them in their teens, not old enough to vote, take them to the streets, speaking out interviews passionately calling for specific legislative reforms is incredibly moving and really quite visceral.

That said, the state of play on Capitol Hill surrounding the issue of the guns is largely the same as it has been for years and years. This debate that we've kind of been having since the young children that were killed at Sandy Hook. There's not a lot -- there are still people who are unwilling to come to the table. There's a lot of back and forth over getting serious.

One thing that I'm looking at though is education secretary, Betsy DeVos was tapped frequently to lead the school safety commission. She'll lead it with wider cabinet members to have them talk about this issue and what can we done. I'm looking to see what can that commission actually do, will there be substantive legislative reforms? Who will they be speaking to? Will they speak to students? And can anything come out of that that will stop these tragic killings that are happening in our schools that are very alarming at an all-too- frequent pace.

PAUL: Congressman Delaney, we had a senior in high school on last hour. And she said if they're not going to listen to our voice, they're going to listen to our vote. These are kids who are rallying to register to vote, to get their friends to register to vote. Do marches like this make a difference to you and your fellow Congressmen? Do they matter? Do they drive any sort of vote or decision?

REP. JOHN DELANEY (D), MARYLAND: Yes, they clearly do. If you look at the turnout in some of these recent special elections, you can see that there's a lot of energy. And I think the thing about kind of younger voters or even many of these kids are high school kids, and they're not eligible to vote yet or ready to vote yet. The thing about these people is they're issue and caused focused. They don't think of it through a traditional lens of politics. They don't identify quite as much with the political parties. They identify with issues and causes. So as these people age into the voting kind of base, if you will, they're going to be very focused on the issues that they care about, and they're going to vote on those issues. And I think it's going to make a huge difference.

BLACKWELL: Jack, do you expect that something will be done -- we are, what, seven months out from the midterm here. Major legislation that time maybe is passed as members of Congress try to campaign to keep their jobs. Do you expect anything will be done on gun control?

JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, just yesterday, the appropriations bill had $2.3 billion for teacher training and school campus safety. And I think working with Secretary DeVos they'll find out how do you best utilize the $2.3 billion to make sure that it actually is effective?

The other thing is a lot of the gun laws and certainly school safety laws and schools in general are a state domain, so you're going to see state governments, as we've seen in Florida, take an active role.

PAUL: All right. Michael, when we talk about these kind of events that we're going to see today and -- let's be clear, it's not just here, it's worldwide, not all of those are voters, not all of those people worldwide obviously are voters here in our country. But do you get the sense that a movement this huge, this massive, can really drive Congress to do something?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it reminds me of my youth in the antiwar days. And the trajectory of the antiwar movement, the Vietnam War movement has very many parallels, I think, to what we're seeing here. This is a spontaneous uprising of kids who are affected personally by gun violence and are taking to the streets, if you will, to say enough is enough. We had the same thing. I was draft age, ours was a draft-driven antiwar effort. We took to the streets to say enough is enough, we don't want to be drafted. We don't want to go there. We don't have a dog in that fight, and we saw what happened. And so I think we're in a similar, you know, sort of pivot point around these issues. BLACKWELL: Yes. This week, there was a school shooting in Maryland, at Great Mills. And when we heard from the vice chair of the NRA several years ago, and he's reiterated several times since then, speaking of Wayne LaPierre, that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, and many of the critics of the NRA just excoriated him for that perspective.

Well, the person who ended the shooting in Maryland was a school resource officer. What do you make of that as -- and this is his picture. We want to put his face on television so people know who saves lives at that school. What do you make of that? I mean, that seems to contradict many of the -- I guess perspective of some who say, we don't need additional guns in school. This man with a gun stopped -- potentially saved lives and stopped that shooting. Congressman.

[07:20:19] DELANEY: He's a hero. I mean, let's face it. I mean, this situation in Maryland, my home state, could have been so much worse. We did lose one person which is a tragedy, Miss Willey. But the fact that we didn't have more losses is because of this gentleman. But there's a difference between arming teachers and having armed security officers. In this case, this gentleman was a police officer in a school.

I'm very supportive of having armed security officers, armed police officers protecting our school. That seems to me to be a very smart way to potentially harden our schools, but this notion of arming all these teachers, I think is a very, very different consideration. So we want to talk about having more security in our schools, I think the way to do it is to have more gentleman like this person who's a trained police officer in this school responding to the violence as opposed to arming our teachers. Those are very, very different things.

KINGSTON: And there again, it's going to be state discretion. Georgia since 2014 has allowed teachers to be armed. It's not implemented. Now, Texas has been the law since 2007. And 172 school districts actually do allow some teachers to be armed. I think it depends on the ability of the teacher, the comfort level of the teacher, the comfort level of the school supervisors and people in that community. But John is right. If you do have arms in there, you can stop this violence. It can help stop the violence.

DELANEY: Right. We have to be very careful about getting arms in schools, obviously. I mean, most teachers, not to disagree with Jack, but most teachers have come out against this proposal to arm them. I think I'll be down at the march today. I think there's going to be a last of teachers marching. I mean, that's what's so amazing about this movement and these young people coming forward to me talking about the Vietnam War, what happened in the Vietnam War was people basically stepped forward and said the institutions in our society are failing us. Right? And we want to make our voice heard.

KINGSTON: Well, in fact --

DELANEY: That's really what's happening today. They're saying, you know, you haven't done anything, your generation hasn't done anything about this. And that's what they're demanding. And I think most of these people who are marching today do not want teachers armed. I think if you were to ask them do you want armed security officers, armed police officers in each school, I think that would -- the response to that would be very different.

ZELDIN: And in addition to not having teachers in favor of this, most first responders are against this because when you come on as a law enforcement person, as you come on to a live shooting scene in a school, and you don't know who the shooter is and you see an adult with a gun, your inclination is to assume that person to be the problem. And the risk of additional injury because of that is something what the first responder say, we just don't want.

KINGSTON: But remember, the first responders failed in Florida. Four officers who were armed stood outside of the building and had a teacher who had the ability been armed and was inside, it could have been a different outcome.

ZELDIN: Way too speculative.

DELANEY: Yes. We see in Maryland how it worked. It's not always going to work perfectly, obviously, nothing does. But I think the issue with not having armed police officers in schools is a money issue, right? So, I think we've got to take a step back. If we actually want to have security in our schools, we may have to spend a little more money. But I think if you were to poll the American people, I think they would overwhelmingly support that. To your point, you want trained police officers to the extent you want anyone in schools.

PAUL: Juana, is there a way to reconcile all of this in terms of -- I think you're right, there aren't a lot people coming out saying we need the teachers armed. But we need the funding to get more of these security officers in schools. Is there a way politically to reconcile those two?

SUMMERS: I think what we're trying to figure out now, Secretary DeVos was on Capitol Hill this week testifying about her department's budget. And she was actually asked about these proposals, whether or not she supported arming more teachers. She said to Jack Kingston's point, this is an issue that's left up to the states. Many states are already taking a look at that. But that this is part of like a wide menu of things that the president has proposed and hoped to address this. Whether or not there's a political middle ground here on the role of guns, and so whether it's with school resource officers, what steps should be taken. I think it's unclear, so far, what's going to be the thing that people agreed on.

BLACKWELL: The students have had success on the state level. We saw that with the bill that Governor Scott signed a couple of weeks ago. We'll see how much success they have as they continue to push federal legislators.

ZELDIN: The one thing I would add is that if you ask most teachers, looking at West Virginia, they'll say we want a pay raise before we want a gun.

PAUL: Guns. Yes. They absolutely -- and that's all across the board at this point.

BLACKWELL: Across the country.

PAUL: In terms of pay raises across the country.

KINGSTON: If you ask the parents, they want school safety. And that's what I think --

PAUL: And students want school safety too.

BLACKWELL: Well, they all want school safety. The question is the best way to be fit.

(CROSSTALK)

[07:25:58] DELANEY: The students are going to make the difference. I mean, look what happened this week, I mean we did have some positive developments this week. The spending bill had some gun safety measures in it. The president announced he's banning bump stocks. I don't think these things would have happened if we weren't having these marches all around this country.

PAUL: And this conversation is all right. Juana, Michael, Jack, John. Everybody, stay with us. We're going to talk to you in just a couple of minutes about some other news that has been -- you've all seen it. Last-minute budget deal, new national security adviser, that's coming up.

Two women allegedly with affairs with the president. It's been quite a week, and we still have an awful lot to discuss.

BLACKWELL: Little busy this week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:30:25] BLACKWELL: Live pictures here from Parkland, Florida, at the site of one of the many rallies today. The March For Our Lives, and of course, where about five weeks ago, 17 people were killed when a gunman went into that school and started shooting in the middle of the school day, that was February 14th. After what happened here, the students, the survivors there began this effort to change gun laws across this country and end gun violence at schools. What's happening in Washington will be one of more than 800 sister rallies around the world. CNN will be live all day covering this March For Our Lives.

PAUL: We're so glad to have you, 7:30 is the time. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell, good to have you. Stormy Daniels' lawyer tweets of quotes, "warning shot" to President Trump. Taking headlines ahead of his client's "60 Minutes" interview, that's tomorrow night. Is he beating the president at his own game? Let's bring in our panel, Juana Summers, Michael Zeldin, Jack Kingston, and John Delaney. Wanda, I'm going to start with you. It appears that Michael Avenatti and Stormy Daniels, every couple of days they just let out a little bit -- a little bit more -- a little bit more just to keep people interested.

SUMMERS: This is really a great P.R. strategy, maybe we should hire this guy. They seem to know how to keep the story in the spotlight ahead of this hotly anticipated interview that Anderson Cooper did to Stormy Daniels that's going to be airing tomorrow.

I think, what this does is we haven't -- this is something that obviously through aides the president has denied it happened. I'm not sure we're seeing kind of illegal challenge playing out. But I think, this is forcing us as reporters to keep asking questions of this White House about would do this happen? Did the president indeed have an affair and have a sexual relationship with this woman? Why aren't we hearing more from them?

And so, I think, what they're doing is keeping this kind of front and center. I think this -- when we see this woman come out in these interviews, I think what it does is, is it -- it's visceral. After seeing the Karen McDougal's interview and kind of watching people internalize that it puts not just a name but a face and voice and details to what Stormy Daniels' alleges happened. And I think that, that will make it a little bit more difficult for the White House to kind of him said, you to do this. Nothing to see here the president himself ignoring questions about alleged affairs as recently as this week.

PAUL: Yes, it's interesting because some people really care about the integrity of the president. Others people, not so much, it just depends on what they do while they there in terms of policy. When you look at this three -- this three people. You know, we've got Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, Summer Zervos, I wanted to ask you Michael, which of their cases do you think is most dangerous to the president? Because at the end of the day this isn't about affairs, this is about alleged intimidation or possible campaign violations.

ZELDIN: Right, so there are a couple of things with respect to Stormy Daniels and perhaps, Karen McDougal, it -- from a legal standpoint is an election law issue. But they had a consensual sexual relationship is a moral issue. Whether the money was paid in violation of federal election laws is the legal issue. But for the president individually, I think that the Summer Zervos case is the most problematic because that joins the question of is it true that you had unwanted -- because the other two are consensual -- unwanted sexual touching in a predatory way with this person? And did you lie and defame her when you said it didn't happen?

That's much more problematic because the issue in a defamation suit is the truth of the matter. And so, if it's proven true that he did grope this woman and then, defamed her, that's Paula Jones, that's what led to the demise of the Clinton presidency in large measure, and the impeachment trial.

BLACKWELL: You know, I remember -- let me get to Jack here. Because I remember campaign Jack Kingston when infidelity was something that was important to you when you were talking about the Clintons. And we've had this conversation kind of going over and beyond the infidelity and the moral question as Michael framed it. And now, that doesn't matter as much?

KINGSTON: I think it definitely matters. I think it was something that was -- I don't want to say beat to death during the campaign, but there was a lot of a lively discussion about it as you know. I know in this case of Summer Zervos, she was a huge Trump fan. And then, during the campaign, he did not stop by her restaurant. And then, -- and by the way, she recruited her entire family to be a Trump -- to be Trump supporters, even to the extent that when she flipped, her cousin said, what the heck is she doing? She's mad because Donald Trump did not visit the restaurant.

I don't know the facts on that.as Michael knows, at the court will take a look at it. You know, here we have Karen McDougal, and she says "I'm a different person, I'm a wonderful person now," you know, I'm not being sarcastic here. But then, she looks back at her deal which was two years old and decides it wasn't enough money, and now, wants more money. You know, to me, it's very hard to say, what is this about if it's not about the money?

[07:35:23] ZELDIN: Two things are I think factually problematic for you, what you just said. First is, the assumption of the fact that Summer Zervos changed and, therefore, lied when she said that I would grope --

KINGSTON: I didn't say she lied, I'm just saying she flipped.

ZELDIN: Yes, the implication is from your statement that when he didn't visit her restaurant, she somehow created this story to get even with him, that's the story's implication.

KINGSTON: That was the pivot. That -- because Michael, I was there that was a pivot.

ZELDIN: But at the implication is -- no, I understand, but the implication is she's lying because he didn't visit the restaurant. That's why I say that the defamation actually which who test the truth of the proposition, hers versus his, is legally problematic for him. And I just don't see how you get there, Jack, without -- you know, sort of wishing it to be so without there being a factual predicate for it.

PAUL: You're shaking your head.

DELANEY: Before we get -- I mean, I just think that clearly having a moral compass is important to the presidency, right? And one of the reasons I fought the president wasn't fit to be the president because he lacked the moral compass. I think a lot of people are seeing that.

But what's really unfortunate is that we have to deal with this, right? Because we have so many other things to talk about. I mean, in about 60 days, we're going to negotiate with North Korea, right? This is a very consequential meeting, right? North Korea is a rogue nuclear state, they've threatened the United States with their intercontinental ballistic missiles. And where disproportionately talking about this stuff.

I mean, I just feel, it's a tragedy the American people that all these distractions are coming at us when we have so much more important stuff to deal with. I mean, the president is performing as advertised, right? I mean, a lot of us thought these concerns existed with respect to the president, and they're playing out. And I think the losers are the American people because not only do they have a president who doesn't have the kind of -- kind of character, I think they'd like in a leader. But they're now distracted with all the stuff' as we can't get down to the business of the people.

KINGSTON: But John -- but John, they have jobs, they're working.

DELANEY: Yes.

KINGSTON: And that's what they do like. The fact that ISIS is gone, the fact that consumer confidence is at almost an all-time high, that's what I think Americans right now are corresponding with. I think when they looked at the two presidential candidates -- we're getting back to your question, which is a very serious question. But I think, when they looked at they thought, you know, neither one of them have done everything the way I would have done it. But Donald Trump is more in line with what we need for the economy, what we need in terms of this restraint --

PAUL: But with this -- does the president have a responsibility at this point to come out and address it somehow? Because he of all the things he talks about and the things that we think he's going to react to, it's the opposite. He reacts to things we don't necessarily understand why he'd be talking about it, but this, in particular, he won't touch.

DELANY: He should comment on it, of course. I mean, look at it, it's -- I mean, how much of your time and the other cable outlets are being spent on this? I mean, at some point, he's the leader of the country. This is about him, he should have some comment on this. If for no other reason than to try to -- you know, get us to move on to folks on some of these issues. Because I agree with Jack.

I mean, the American people are excited on, happy that unemployment is at a record low. I mean, I think that's great. But we have a lot of other issues we need to deal with and have to try to figure out a way to have some closure on this stuff so that we can actually either go one direction or the other with respect to the president.

BLACKWELL: Do you know who else isn't commenting on it? Leaders on Capitol Hill. Mitch McConnell, I'm talking about it. Paul Ryan, I'm talking about at the other.

SUMMERS: No, I think they are exactly in Jack Kingston's camp. They want to talk about the economy, the wins that they're seeing legislatively on Capitol Hill. They're kind of having a go-it-alone strategy. Not a lot of strategy that the White House that they have notched a number of conservative legislative victories. I think we have to get them credit for this are things they said they wanted to do and they did. That's what I think two things can be true, we can have those victories, there can also be this an unanswered question on the other side. The president tweets about a litany of things that I'm frankly in shocked that we haven't heard from him.

BLACKWELL: Well, it is Saturday morning. So, everybody stay by your phone.

PAUL: Keep your boots on.

BLACKWELL: Very quickly.

ZELDIN: One last point, Jack hasn't answered the question of why he was morally outraged with Clinton and seems to give this president a pass. He wants to talk about the economy --

KINGSTON: One word -- one word which you would appreciate, perjury.

PAUL: Are you -- are you -- are you morally outraged?

KINGSTON: It was perjury.

ZELDIN: You were morally outraged way before the perjury.

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: You don't even know me ten years ago. I was with (INAUDIBLE), you were following --

ZELDIN: You were morally out -- you were morally outraged with Gennifer Flowers. You were morally -- you were morally outraged with all the --

PAUL: We're getting -- we're getting -- we're getting the big wrap. We're getting the big wrap guys. I apologize.

BLACKWELL: All right, Juana, Michael, Jack, and John, thank you all for being with us this morning. Of course, this conversation will continue backstage.

PAUL: Yes, it will.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: Listen, thousands of students and parents, and school shooting survivors right now are headed to the city where we are, Washington, D.C. Of course, to protest against gun violence today. Our Polo Sandoval is on the road with some of those students.

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[07:44:36] PAUL: Take a look at live picture there. That is from Parkland, Florida, right now where you can see some of the people gathering for their own march supporting their fellow students and possibly teachers and other folks from Parkland who have come to Washington, D.C. to protest the gun violence that is been seen, particularly, that has touched their community in the last couple of months. These students are the ones who have really rallied, they have gotten the support from a lot of adults, and this is a very big part of why we're having this conversation right now.

[07:45:09] BLACKWELL: Yes, CNN's Polo Sandoval is on a bus with some of the students who were traveling to Washington for the March For Our Lives. Polo, tell us what you're seeing there.

SANDOVAL: Yes. Victor, Christi, let's see if the signal holds up. We are, after all, on a moving bus on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. But here is what we've got here. About 250 young men and women and the civil community leaders from Pittsburgh, they are making that four- hour drive to the nation's capital to join those massive crowds that are expected on National Mall.

Some of the kiddos, obviously, me, and some of these young men and women, certainly, need a chaperone, as well, including Justin Cooper. You are from Pittsburgh, tell me about why, why you felt the need to get involved in today's event.

JUSTIN COOPER, PARTICIPANTS, MARCH FOR OUR LIVES: Well, I think probably the biggest problem is that -- you know, our youth are really being confronted with -- you know, of these shootings and all the violence. And I think they're looking at it and saying, well, most people support some kind of change -- you know, as far as our political system goes, and we need some kind of change to happen. And, you know, majority of people are up for that, yet our law is don't quite seem to be -- you know, working with the people.

So, I think the youth of this country said enough is enough. We need to do something, we need to work the changes. So, they're saying this is a Democracy, we are the people, so people are going to get together and -- you know, get our voices heard, and the kids are running all this, and sure, they're doing amazing job.

SANDOVAL: What is it that, for example, your perspective is quite unique here? You have grew up in a family punchers, as my understanding? Or at least, in a hunting region?

COOPER: Yes, I definitely grew up in a very -- you know, hunting region where guns are -- you know, people like to have a guns and enjoy hunting and sportsmanship. And yet, you know, most people still want some kind of -- you know, regulation and, you know, that they want something to be done to make it safer. But yet, you know, we don't want all the guns taken away but something has to change.

SANDOVAL: Justin Cooper, thank you very much for your time.

COOPER: OK. Thank you very much.

SANDOVAL: Thank you so much for your time. Victor and Christi, before we lose the signal, we'll send things back to you.

BLACKWELL: All right, thank you so much, Polo. We'll check back in a bit. PAUL: And we will. So, I want to talk to Lucia McBath, right now. She's national spokeswoman for Everytown for Gun Safety. She's also running for Georgia's sixth congressional districts, and her son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed at a gas station in Florida by a man objecting to the loud music, Jordan and his friends were playing in their car.

BLACKWELL: All right, Lucy, thanks so much for being with us this morning. Your t-shirt reads "we can end gun violence". The question, of course, is how? Hundreds of thousands of people will be in Washington today. How do you take that energy, that pressure, and force members of Congress to do something? Because up until this point, nothing, nothing, not the death of your son, not the death of children in a new town all of the other school shootings have accomplished it.

LUCIA MCBATH, NATIONAL SPOKESWOMAN, EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY: I think the students are the tipping point. I think they're pushing us past that point of inertia. This is a whole new demographic of voters. They are beginning to build their Get Out the Vote campaign.

When I was working as one of the mothers in the movement and we're traveling around the country, talking to millennials, trying to get them to understand how important their voice is, and vote is. Time and time again, we heard, my voice doesn't matter. You know, the adults are running the country. You know, we'll worry about those things later. But I think this is different now. They are fighting for their lives, they recognize and understand that they can really have a great impact on their own futures.

And that this is their time to stand up. These are going to be the new demographic of voters that we've needed to begin to really push this issue -- you know, towards safer gun laws.

PAUL: You're also wearing a pin with Jordan?

MCBATH: Yes.

PAUL: Of course. What do you think he would say to you? Seeing everything that you have done in the last couple of years and now?

MCBATH: I think he would be very proud of me. But there again, what I am doing is what I was trying to teach Jordan to do and be. To step outside of the box and be about making sure that people's welfare and is -- you know, and their lives and Democracy is preserved. And so, I think I'm just really doing what I was teaching him to do and be. And I think, he'd be proud.

PAUL: Do you think he would -- he would be here with you? Then you believe, if he were here, he would be standing by your side?

MCBATH: Absolutely, absolutely, Jordan was a person that really wanted to make sure that everybody had a piece of the pie, you know. He was a leader with his friends, but very much a social activist himself. So, I know that he would love to be here, and he is with me. He really is with me. So I -- PAUL: We're so sorry for your loss.

MCBATH: Thank you.

PAUL: But thank you so much for being here.

MCBATH: Thank you.

PAUL: And talking to us about it. We appreciate it, we appreciate you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

PAUL: Thanks, Lucy. (INAUDIBLE).

[07:49:59] BLACKWELL: See those live pictures of a Parkland, again. Of course, it was back on February 14th where a gunman killed 17 people. And the survivors now are leading this march, leading this movement to change gun laws in this country. And to end gun violence. They're rallies around the world, more than 800 sister rallies. And CNN is covering this from beginning to end. A quick break, we'll be right back.

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PAUL: So, if you indulged over the winter, lot of us might what it time marks sweet too being hunt for a spring break.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and today's food is fuel, we take a look at how to curb those sugar cravings.

[07:55:01] LISA DRAYER, CNN HEALTH CONTRIBUTOR: With a doctor's approval, a sugar detox can help you drop unwanted pounds and feel better in just a few weeks. Here is one plan you might want to try. For the first three days, cut out all sugar. That means no fruits, starchy vegetables, dairy, grains, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners. For the first week after that, you can add one apple and one unsweetened (INAUDIBLE) dairy fruit for day. Along with some higher sugar vegetables and high fiber crackers.

Up to three glasses of red wine per week are allowed. On week two, you can add berries, another serving of dairy and starchy vegetables. Grains are permitted in week three. Along with more fruit, dark chocolate, and another glass of red wine.

Week four is the home stretch. You can drink up to five glasses of wine each week now and have two daily servings of starches. After that, an occasional indulgence is allowed. And for more details on this detox, check out CNN.COM/HEALTH.

BLACKWELL: All right, the stage is set, the ralliers are on their way and soon the March For Our Lives gets underway there in Parkland, here in D.C. and at locations around the world.

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