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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Soon: Students March Against Gun Violence In D.C. Around The World; School Massacre Survivors To Lead March For Gun Control; Crowds Gather for March Against Gun Violence in Washington, D.C.; Andrew McCabe Defends Himself Against Firing in Op-ed; Outrage Grows After Police Release Video of Stephon Clark's Shooting. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired March 24, 2018 - 08:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:00:32]

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Saturday morning to you. I'm Victor Blackwell.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christi Paul. So glad to have you with us as we watch this massive movement happening around the world today. In a matter of hours, it will reach the steps of the White House. You see there on those red markers everywhere people will be marching today.

BLACKWELL: So, starting here at noon, thousands, hundreds of thousands, will be in Washington to protest against gun violence. This is the "March for Our Lives" rally. It is all happening just weeks after that deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida and now survivors are leading the call for stricter gun control. Their concerns now echoed around the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Adults are always telling us to use common sense when driving, with alcohol and drugs, and I really do not see the common sense in gun laws.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gun violence is something that impacts our lives and that we're no longer going to wait for adults to take action on it. Some of us can't vote yet, but we'll still hold our officials accountable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're fighting for our lives as much as anyone else. There has to be something done about this. Every day I get up and I go to school wondering if I'm going to have a school shooting at my school any day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: We have a team of correspondents with students as they prepare to rally against gun violence. We'll start with Polo Sandoval, he is traveling with students and parents from Pittsburgh to Washington. Polo, they have been -- they started I guess at 3:00 a.m. this morning getting closer to the capital now.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, bright and early too, Victor. They have been on the road for the last several hours. They are D.C.- bound right now aboard one of four buses that left Pittsburgh early this morning headed to Washington, D.C.

These are 250 young men and women and adult leaders of the community who not only are passionate about the issue of prevent gun violence, but have also experienced it firsthand including Glenn Grayson Jr., who I'm joined by. Gun violence has hit close to home for you with the loss of your brother. Tell me about that.

GLENN GRAYSON JR., ADULT CHAPERONE OF STUDENT TRIP TO WASHINGTON: Yes, my brother was a freshman at Hampton University. He came home for the first time like most students do, you know, do their laundry, say hello to their parents. He went to a party at Cal U University during their homecoming time and a guy shot through the party, he killed my brother. He didn't know him, never met him. But he's not here today so I'm here as a lead organizer and his brother to make sure his memory is not in vain.

SANDOVAL: Clearly, you feel more needs to be done. Do you think we're seeing some progress particularly after Parkland in the last few months?

GRAYSON: Yes, I mean the other day somebody asked is this the actual change. And I said that, you know, Rosa Parks wasn't the only person to sit down when she took a stand, it was people like on this bus.

So, there are people before us and after us, but I think we're at a movement where people are tired and enough is enough and we have to make that change and I'm brought to stand with youth and with people around the United States. You have to change some of the laws and really have some comprehensive gun reform.

SANDOVAL: Glenn, thank you so much. And sorry to hear about your brother and certainly hope for the best.

GRAYSON: Thank you very much.

SANDOVAL: Thank you so much. Again, Victor, Christi, you just heard from one of about 250 voices that are D.C.-bound. They are passionate, anxious, and ready to join in the chorus of voices that we expect at the National Mall today.

PAUL: All righty. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much. Safe travels to all of you there as you make your way here where CNN's Dianne Gallagher is with Parkland students as they start to trickle into the rally here in D.C. Dianne, good to see you. What are the conversations that they are having this morning?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, right now a lot of them still again not on much sleep, Christi. They had a concert last night, there was a vigil last night at the National Cathedral. This here is a breakfast that the alumni from Marjory Stoneman Douglas came here. They put this on so the students, parents, teachers, those from the Parkland community cannot have to worry about those things before this march. You can kind of see we've been talking to people throughout the time here.

This is Bailey, I'll steal a seat here for a second. Bailey, if you don't mind, talk to me about this. We met you on the bus to Tallahassee when you guys went to create some change there. You did that. Do you think that you will get a similar result from marching in Washington?

BAILEY FEUERMAN, SURVIVED PARKLAND SCHOOL SHOOTING: Definitely. I mean, our voices are being heard all over the world. And they will be heard here which is where we need it the most so that there is significant change in our country. Because people who go to school so should not have to lose their lives, we should not have to be scared to go to school every day and fear for our lives.

GALLAGHER: Are you surprised by the entire country kind of coming together with you guys?

FEUERMAN: Yes, I think that the outcome was very unexpected. We didn't expect this many people to be supporting us and our cause. But, you know, there is going to be millions of people all over the world marching for us and supporting this cause.

GALLAGHER: Real quick, you have a son and daughter at the school (inaudible).

STEPHEN FEUERMAN, FATHER OF PARKLAND SCHOOL STUDENTS: A lot of friends. I lost someone I consider their friends who were my friends and it has just been a whirlwind for six weeks. And we're excited to be here and make noise. We met a lot of people around the city yesterday that are just invigorated, and I think the whole country is just excited about the future.

GALLAGHER: Thank you so much. And again, we'll be with these kids throughout the day marching with them from this breakfast down to their area where they will show their own force and be with, you know, potentially hundreds, thousands of other kids and their parents and their families -- Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right. Dianne Gallagher there in Washington, thank you so much. Let's now go to Parkland, Florida where CNN's Kaylee Hartung is. And the park there where the "March For Our Lives" will begin in just a couple of hours, what are you expecting, what are you told is going to happen there?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, Christi, as one volunteer who traveled here from Kansas City told me, this is the heartbeat of the movement that we're seeing sweep the country today and that is why before the sun came up I was meeting volunteers who came here from across the country who were having marches this their own cities, but as they told me wanted to be here at the epicenter of this movement. And you can see behind me the scope of what is being planned here, the logistics for the student organized event are impressive already before this park is filled and they do anticipate this park to be filled.

This is once the site of the memorial to the 17 victims and it is now the start and end point for this march that will visit Stoneman Douglas High School in its two-mile course. This program expected to start around 10:00 a.m. with a host of speakers.

Of course, we will hear from Stoneman Douglas students like Adam Buchwald who is asking parents to sign a contract that they will not support any pro-gun politicians. Starry Coffman (ph), another student who is in charge of the voter registration drive not just for Stoneman Douglas students who will come of age by midterm elections, but for any member of the community who is not yet registered to vote.

We'll also hear from Sam Mayer. He was injured on February 14th, but he lives to tell his story. And we'll also hear from two parents, the parents of Gina Montalto and Alex Schachter, who victims who lost their lives on February 14th.

And we expect this program to conclude in a particularly powerful moment, though, Victor and Christi, when we're told 17 Stoneman Douglas students will take the stage here, each of them will step forward, say the name of a friend, a person who lost their lives that day and say that is why they march today.

PAUL: That is going to be a profound moment. Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much. Has to be really moving for all the people in Parkland there as they march there and obviously cheering on the people from Parkland who have come here to Washington, D.C. where Rene Marsh is. She is live from where that march will begin soon. Rene, what are you seeing this morning and good morning to you?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. I can tell you that we're seeing a pretty heavy police presence here and we still have another four hours to go before it gets under way. And you can see that the signs and the protesters are already starting to get in place here.

I can tell you that Washington, D.C. police, they say that they are preparing for some 500,000 people. Again, the march starts in about another four hours from now. We're expecting speakers to take to that stage.

And we're also expecting celebrity performances, Common, Audra Dey, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, all of them will be taking the stage with the same message which is that they are pushing for the stricter gun laws.

Organizers are very clear to say that the march that is happening here today is only the beginning. This is not by any means the punctuation at the end of the sentence. This is just the beginning of their movement. [08:10:06] You remember yesterday the Trump administration announced that they were proposing a rule to ban bump stocks which is essentially that gun accessory that allows for an individual to use a gun in an automatic manner.

But the people coming out here today say that by no means is enough. They want to see the purchasing age raised. They also want to see a ban on assault type weapons. So, Christi, we do know that lawmakers, some will be here, many have left for the Easter holiday, but that will not discourage the young people who are out here today. Back to you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Rene Marsh there in Washington, Rene, thank you so much. We had a student rallier on earlier who said that every generation has an event that changes life as they know it. Vietnam, September 11th, and she said for these students, it is the state of school shootings including of course the one in Parkland, Florida. Our interview with another student organizer is coming up.

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[08:15:23]

PAUL: There is a live shot there in Washington of some of the people, just some of them, who are already gathering three and a half almost four hours early for the march here in Washington, D.C. This March for our Lives.

We had one of the gals on earlier, a senior in high school who will be marching today, and she said if they are not going to listen to our voice, they will listen to our vote. And at the end of the day, she said it matters to them so much because they watched in horror on February 14th what happened in Parkland.

And as they felt for those students, they could not help internalize that that they could be them as well. So that is part of what is prompting so many people to come out. They don't want to see Parkland anywhere else. They want to support all the Parkland students who have traveled from Florida to be here in D.C.

BLACKWELL: Of course, we're talking about what is happening here in D.C. This is expected to be the largest of these rallies, but there are hundreds of them, more than 800 planned around the world today. Here is the global map. All under the banner of March For Our Lives.

Of course, this is a movement that started after the shooting, as Christi mentioned, on the 14th of February at Parkland high school. Global support this morning you're seeing dozens of people joined one of the Florida shooting survivors for a demonstration as well. Here is video of that.

PAUL: Also want to show you what was going on in Australia. Teenagers holding signs of support for their American counterparts there. Other rallies are planned in Canada, South America, across Europe even in China this morning. And just a bit ago, we spoke to that student organizer about how she plans to keep this momentum going.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY FALK, TEEN ORGANIZER OF MARCH FOR OUR LIVES: It's for high school students specifically, it's terrifying. It hits incredibly close to home because we see these students in Florida and see our classmates, we see our friends, we see ourselves, and it -- we are acutely terrified and so we have to stand up.

BLACKWELL: So, I understand that you wanted to start the DMV chapter of students demand action. You started with just a few classmates, a few students, and then what happened?

FALK: We had ten people in my living room. A week later we had 30 and couldn't fit in my living room. A week later we had 150 and did conference calls because we wouldn't meet in person. It blew up incredibly quickly.

PAUL: So, what kind of conversations do you have when you get together?

FALK: I mean, it's plenty because it varies from what are you doing, what have you organized, what is our next initiative to how are we going to get our classmates registered to vote, to what are we doing for prom? We are just kids. We are kids in schools and making new friends through our activism, and we've decided to organize around this issue.

BLACKWELL: So, you've talked about voter registration as one of the important elements of this movement. Every cycle people ask when are young people going to move the needle for a candidate, for an election? And every cycle -- this is a midterm, so less than expected for a presidential election. Why will this be different?

FALK: Well, look, young people are 30 percent of the American electorate. We're only getting bigger. We're now the biggest voting generation block that's alive today. So, we have the power to change electoral outcomes.

The question is whether or not we are going to turn out. From what I've seen, this is the turning point for young people's turnout. Every generation needs a reason to show up at the polls. For our generation, we're called the mass shooting generation. Parkland is going to be that reason.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: And again, a live picture here of the folks that are gathering in Washington. Many of them are from Parkland and their Parkland counterparts are also gathering. We'll take you to Parkland, Florida, talk to someone who is there, and still trying to reconcile what happened. And what they are doing today specifically to make sure it didn't happen again. Stay close.

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[08:24:10]

PAUL: It's 24 minutes past the hour. Want to give you a couple live pictures there out of Washington. The people that are gathering here for March For Our Lives making sure that even if Congress is not in session, even if the president is not in the White House, you cannot turn away from what is happening.

BLACKWELL: Hundreds of thousands of people expected here in Washington and hundreds of rallies around the world. Young speakers, the students will be leading this rally, this march, as they have led this movement in the five to six weeks since 17 people were killed at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. And this morning people already starting to gather. Organizers estimate up to a half million people, maybe more, will rally in Washington today.

PAUL: No doubt about it. CNN's Kaylee Hartung is joining us from Parkland, of course, where many people say this is what finally tipped them off, the killing of 17 people there on February 14. We can hear the music behind you, Kaylee. We know this event is scheduled to start in a few hours, but they are really putting an action behind their protest there in Parkland, don't they?

HARTUNG: They are, Christi, and people are continuing to flow in. The program set to start in about an hour and a half. But it is hard to take a few steps in pine trails park without seeing a sign like this one, ask me about voting. Six organizations on site today to help people here register to vote and (inaudible) spearheading the effort. What is the goal for you today when it comes to voter registration?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The goal is to get as many people registered or pre-registered to vote. We believe that these marches are great and it's awesome awareness, but we need action and we want change and the best way do this is to vote.

HARTUNG: Tell me about the conversations you're having with your classmates. You are 15. You can't vote tomorrow, but you can vote in 2020. What conversations are you having about the responsibility you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, the conversations we're having is we're so passionate about this and we never want this to happen again. So, what are the necessary steps we can do to not let this happen and a lot of people are coming up to me when see those signs and saying, like, where can I go, I don't want this to happen again. And I tell them.

HARTUNG: As soon as the midterms, what impact do you think first time voters like some of your peers can have on an election?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think a lot of times 18 to 25-year-olds don't vote and that's one of the biggest problems, but if we are able to change that and have the 18 to 25-year-olds vote, and they are so passionate. We can change elections by a huge number.

HARTUNG: You will be speaking on this stage in a little bit. What will your message be to the crowd here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My message will be to get 17 other people to vote. Vote for the people who can't and so we don't have to lose another 17 ever again.

HARTUNG: What do you think we can expect in terms of turnout here for this march that will visit your high school and return here to this park?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, I just spoke to someone and they said around 35,000 people that will march with us and should hear the rally. So, it's going to have a huge impact.

HARTUNG: You've been a part of organizing today. How does that make you feel when you recognize the possibility that that many people could turn out to support you, your school and this community?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm speechless. But we'll continue this movement and I think by voting and sending out reminders to vote after this march again, we'll be speechless at midterm elections again.

HARTUNG: Today is not the end, the beginning for you all. Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

HARTUNG: Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: One of the young people who will be speaking there in Parkland, Florida. Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much.

PAUL: So, let's talk to our panel, Samantha Vinograd with us, CNN national security analyst, Kelly Jane Torrance, deputy managing editor at the "Weekly Standard," Shermichael Singleton, CNN political commentator, and Gosh Fortella, national executive director of the College Republican National Committee. Thank you everybody for being here.

So, you can see there they are putting action behind this saying listen, right now you will hear our voice. Give us a little bit of time and you will hear our vote. Any indication, Shermichael, that Congress is actually listening and paying attention to what is coming down the pipeline here?

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think for Republicans we should be very concerned. I mean, when you think about the demographics that are impacted by this, that demographic doesn't typically vote for Republicans. And if there is a reason, if there is enough encouragement for them to mobilize and actualize their pain, their disappointment, their frustration, that is not a very good thing for Republicans at all. So, I think Republicans should take heed of their critiques and perhaps attempt to do something to move the needle forward on this.

BLACKWELL: You know, historically, Kelly Jane, gun rights advocates have been single issue voters. It is the gun control advocates who have not been single issue voters. And if this generation comes in and they are looking first at your position on background checks and minimums to purchase, that could certainly change a lot of these seats.

KELLY JANE TORRANCE, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR, "WEEKLY STANDARD": You're right, Victor. And I think Republicans should already be nervous looking at all of t elections, special elections since Donald Trump became president. It hasn't been good for Republicans at all.

But, I mean, to me, there has been a lot of extremism on this issue and why can't people have some reasonable positions, right, more back ground checks, maybe not every single gun needs to be available to every single person.

But I do think that what people are worried about and the single-issue voters have been worried about, is in the first step to getting rid of guns entirely. And I think that some of them are a little bit of a conspiracy theorist, but it's a fair point.

I think a lot of gun control advocates, they do eventually want to get rid and make all guns illegal.

[08:30:00] And I think that's why so many of these voters are nervous about any laws. Even some that are very reasonable, they're worried is that's the first step to getting rid of guns and getting rid of the Second Amendment entirely.

BLACKWELL: A lot of people at the center of the conversation who are making decisions who say that they should get rid of all guns. I think a lot of people who -- and Gus, let me get you to weigh in on this, who are at least part of the conversation, influential members say that they respect the Second Amendment.

However, weapons of war as they characterize them should not be made available to people for protecting their family or protecting their home. From your perspective, do you -- what do you see?

GUS PORTELA, NATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COLLEGE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, sure, look, I think politicians should really, like Shermichael said, take heed of what's going on here. Let it serve as a cautionary tale if they have not learned from what happened in 2012 originally where the youth vote was effectively what decided the presidential election in many states and really what helped decide the presidential election in many states in 2016. And so look, I mean, if you're not looking at the bigger picture here and seeing that there needs to be some sort of reforms instituted, I know the House recently passed some bills.

I mean, there is action being taken. I mean, these politicians should truly be looking at this incoming youth vote, right? Young people that are signing up to vote especially in the midterms, and truly taking a step forward to making something happen. I mean, these students have been through a lot.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PORTELA: And it's important that we stop tragedies like these happening in the future.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump actually tweeted about bump stocks saying, "The Obama administration legalized bump stock. Bad idea. As I promised today the Department of Justice will issue the rule banning bump stocks with a mandated comment period. We will ban all devices that turn legal weapons into illegal machine guns."

It seems to be that these kids have mobilized enough, President Trump on some levels, he listened. He is paying attention.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: He is, but he is making this divisive again. And, you know, this isn't happening in a vacuum. Our enemies are benefiting from the fact that we know an average of 13,000 people are going to die this year from gun-related incidences. And we're willing to just accept that. We're so paralyzed and divided as a country that we're just willing to say, OK, 13,000 people are going to die.

Name any other strong country that's willing to just take on 13,000 of its people dying and that's exactly why the Russians, for example, are promoting these kind of divisive messages including from President Trump because it makes us look weak abroad.

BLACKWELL: Now one of the questions that I have after any of these large spectacles, and I don't use spectacles in a dismissive way, but just in the raw definition of display of passion, right?

PAUL: You can't miss it.

BLACKWELL: Right. You can't miss it and 800 cities around the world and half million people in Washington. What then will be the impetus to move this forward, right? Everyone has come to Washington. Members of Congress aren't here. The president is in Florida. But how will they continue to keep this on the front burner, Gus? How will they continue to get people to pay attention? Regardless of your view on what the legislative fix should be, clearly something has to change.

PORTELA: Sure. I completely agree with that. I mean, look, you've -- you just showed a young lady that was interested in registering students to vote. I think that is the first step to truly pressuring Congress into taking action not yesterday -- excuse me, not tomorrow, but yesterday. We need some sort of solution to this to prevent these tragedies from happening in the future. And Congress I think will listen.

When they are seeing voters that have been previously deciding presidential elections and in some instances in 2014 in some races deciding congressional elections, they will listen. They will take heed and obviously do something about it. But I think the first step is to register to vote and exercise your civic duty. And make sure that they are listening.

PAUL: All right. Everybody stay with us here. We're going to take a quick break, and we have an awful lot more to talk about and they're all going to weigh in as well as we keep our eye on these marches. They're getting underway nationwide. We will continue to do so but --

BLACKWELL: Yes. Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe is writing a scathing op-ed in the "Washington Post," calls the president's tweets about him unhinged and says accusations about his accused lack of candor are untrue.

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[08:38:59] PAUL: Well, former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe is responding now to his critics to his firing and those he says are attacking the FBI.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We're of course watching those rallies here in Washington around the world. But we also want to talk about this editorial in the "Washington Post." He talks about learning of his own firing through a friend who saw it on CNN, writing this, "Not in my worst nightmares did I ever dream my FBI career would end this way."

Let's bring on our panel back, Samantha Vinograd, Kelly Jane Torrance, Shermichael Singleton and Gus Portela.

And first, I mean, this is now -- McCabe is now added to a list, as we were talking about during the break, a list of DOJ, former DOJ employees, who are critics of this president and this was prettying scathing calling the president's tweets celebrating his firing unhinged.

VINOGRAD: Definitely. I think the problem right now is we have allegations from all sides that undermine the credibility of DOJ. We have the president who has been on a Twitter storm about the FBI, about DOJ and trying to politicize it.

[08:40:04] We then have a lot of dedicated public servants like McCabe, like Sally Yates and others, who are saying that there has been partisanship within DOJ. And so I just wondered, does all of this paint a narrative that the Department of Justice is in some way broken and does that help the Russians' mission of showing that our government institutions aren't working?

PAUL: In a sense, Gus, is there a sense that what Russia set out to do in terms of the chaos and the confusion, that it's working?

PORTELA: Well, look, I think it's -- it's troubling certainly what's happening here. But look, I think beyond -- looking beyond the Russian narrative here, you know, I think that we should truly look on to see what he is going to say in this op-ed as an --

(LAUGHTER)

PORTELA: Just as a matter of, you know, looking at what's going on here in general. Truly take heed as to what a former member of the FBI and obviously the surveillance community here in this country is saying, right? We need to institute some reforms especially, you know, coming down from the president on how this is done, right? BLACKWELL: The question also is how it was executed. His firing.

Which he said it was like disembodied, impersonal, some of the words he used in this.

PAUL: And coming after Tillerson.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Coming after Tillerson.

PAUL: Who he fired on Twitter.

BLACKWELL: Let's put up a portion of the op-ed that was published in the "Washington Post" last night. "I've been accused of lack of candor. That is not true. I did not knowingly mislead or lie to investigators."

Kelly Jane, an important point that the firing of course rested on these recommendations from the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of Professional Responsibility saying that that was the point. And he goes to -- he tries at least to explain how that just isn't holding water.

TORRANCE: Well, you have to say I'm a little skeptical. I mean, the Office of Inspector General, these are serious people who take their jobs very seriously. And honestly the fact that Donald Trump in a tweet has criticized the inspector general saying like, hey, we should have a separate investigation, why are you letting the inspector general -- this is office that's full of Obama people doing this.

Well, you know, that's why I think it is -- if they're saying that this Andrew McCabe lied and this happened, I think they did a very serious investigation. And, you know, he -- I'm sure he had his chance to explain to them what happened and they made the recommendation.

I will say, though, that President Trump as usual is his own worst enemy. If he had not tweeted so much about Andrew McCabe, we wouldn't be wondering, did this firing have anything to do with the fact the president didn't like him? If the president had just kept his counsel -- was quiet, let the process take its -- you know.

BLACKWELL: That's the problem is that because we haven't seen the inspector general's report, right? So we don't know what that is.

PAUL: Exactly. Yes.

BLACKWELL: But we have all seen the President Trump's tweets criticizing McCabe and calling for McCabe -- you know, that infamous now tweet of 90 days to go until he retires with those full benefits. You know, McCabe now as he wrote in his initial statement said that his family had been silent, no more. I mean, imagine -- I guess we can expect more of this from Andrew McCabe.

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, Victor, I think when you think about President Trump there is a heightened level of ineptitude as it relates to leadership and a I think lot of the dysfunction, a lot of the chaos that you're beginning to see spread out to the various agencies, departments, are because of the lack of leadership that comes from the president.

You cannot treat people in a disrespectful manner and expect them to be muted, to expect them to be silent and not say nothing at all. And the president has shown he has no regard for anyone but himself. When you create that type of environment, when you foster that type of environment, at some point when you back people into a corner enough, they're going to say enough is enough.

So I do expect that you will see more individuals continue to speak up and speak out against the president and that does not serve him well when you are trying to lead an entire country.

PAUL: And when we talk about -- when we branch it out to Russia and what's in the "Washington Post" about George Papadopoulos and that report saying that he pushed Trump -- the Trump operation to meet with Russian officials, that it was embraced by the campaign, I mean, what does George Papadopoulos at the end of the day -- he's already pled guilty to lying to the FBI. How dangerous is he to this president?

VINOGRAD: I think very dangerous. But we didn't need him to tell us that senior campaign officials and transition team officials sanctioned meetings with foreign governments, went around the sitting administration to do this.

Michael Flynn went and met with the Russian Ambassador Kislyak and we found out several months later that senior campaign and transition team officials knew about this meeting. They helped him coordinate his talking point, so we now have a pattern of amateur hour on the transition team. They had no counter intelligence training and they were unpatriotic.

They went around the sitting U.S. government, their own government, to go meet with foreign governments. What kind of message does that send?

[08:45:02] PAUL: All right. Samantha, Kelly Jane, Shermichael, Gus, we appreciate you being here. Thank you so very much.

We want to talk about the demonstrations -- the demonstrators that are marching for a second straight night in Sacramento as well. Take a look at what was happening there. They are protesting the shooting death of an unarmed black man by police.

We're speaking to the victim's brother. Stay close.

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PAUL: We want to show you just a part of what is happening in the world here. On the left hand side of your screen, those are many of the people, some of them there from Parkland, who are here in Washington, D.C. this hour for the March for Our Lives as they are protesting gun violence. They want to see new gun restrictions and legislation passed. On the right hand side of your screen, those are the people in Parkland where 17 people were shot. Students shot of course on February 14th. [20:50:10] You can imagine that the people on the right hand side of

the screen are cheering on those people on the left who have come to address the White House and Congress. Even though President Trump isn't here, even though Congress people are not here, they are off for spring break, but their voices are still very loud and they are not going to be able to get away from what is happening in D.C., in Parkland, and in over 800 other rallies that we know are going to be taking part today.

BLACKWELL: Our Dianne Gallagher is with some of the Parkland students who are in Washington at a breakfast being hosted by Parkland alumni.

Dianne, what are you seeing there?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Victor, yes, this is the Marjory Stoneman Douglas alumni breakfast with these students, teachers, parents before they go to the March for Their Lives, you can see they're making posters, they're getting in a good meal.

It is cold here in Washington, they're just staying a little bit warm in here. Before they go, they're going to march together to the March for Our Lives, the station there.

Kai, we met when you guys were on that bus to Tallahassee going to Florida to make change. You guys got something done in Florida. If this goes as well as you think it will, what does progress look like for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, obviously this all boils down to mental health. Right? So we want to see -- we want Washington D.C. to be the known as the birth place of societal reform. And we want to change the way schools deal with the mental health care of their students.

GALLAGHER: You guys are focusing on gun control, mental health and safer schools. Do you really feel like a march, even if you get half a million people here, do you feel like that's going to convince Congress?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. You know, obviously strength in numbers. And you know, half a million people, and there's going to be countless other people watching as well. So, you know, we're at the point where they can't ignore us anymore.

GALLAGHER: Thanks so much, Kai.

And again, we've been following these students, Victor, Christi, since the start of this. And just to see them all here together, they're excited. But I'll tell you what, they're very nervous, too, today.

PAUL: All right. Dianne Gallagher, we appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. And a Sacramento community is outraged after the death of Stephon Clark, 22-year-old unarmed black man who was shot and killed by police in his grandmother's backyard last weekend. Hundreds swarmed downtown Sacramento yesterday in protest. PAUL: And this is some of the video from that protest. Police did

release video of the incident that happened this week. And I just want to give you a heads up, the video is disturbing. According to officials, the two officers involved, and here it is as they were going to that backyard, they fired 20 rounds at Clark. They believed he was pointing a gun. The only thing that they recovered however at the scene was a cell phone. And the incident is we know under investigation.

BLACKWELL: Joining us now is Stevante Clark, Stephon Clark's brother.

Thank you for speaking with us, and of course our condolences to you and your family.

Stevante, when you first saw this video, what went through your mind, what did you feel and think?

STEVANTE CLARK, STEPHON CLARK'S BROTHER: I felt like -- when I seen the video?

PAUL: Yes. Yes.

CLARK: Is that what you said?

PAUL: Yes, we ==

BLACKWELL: Yes. The body cam video.

CLARK: I never watched the video. I've never seen the video. I never watched it on the news. I've never turned it on. Whenever I see it, people put in their songs and in their clips and they share it, I never watch the video. I don't want to see that video. Never ever. Ever.

PAUL: Tell me about your brother, Stevante.

CLARK: He was hilarious. You know, he was (INAUDIBLE), he had to go get it by any means necessary. You know what I mean? He loved his children. He loved his children. He was a great father. That's why I got this go-fund me down there for his children. He loved his mother. He loved them babies. He loved his grandmother. You know, he was just -- he was great, you know. And he just loved. He loved, loved, loved. And people are trying to just destroy and discredit him for the father that he was, he was just a great, perfect being. He was a perfect father. The kids loved him. They loved him.

BLACKWELL: So there --

CLARK: People loved him.

BLACKWELL: There have been rallies and protests since your brother was killed. One last night.

CLARK: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

BLACKWELL: What are you calling for? What do you want to change? CLARK: I'm calling for my city to come up and show out. I'm so proud

of Sacramento. I'm so proud -- I've never been so proud of y'all. I've never been so proud of my city. I've never been so proud, you know. They probably did a little couple of things at the same time they've been together out there.

[08:55:02] They have been together. Strong. And they are doing it all for my brother. To see that all for my brother, shut down freeways, shut down basketball arenas, Kings owners having to address the situation.

This is deeper than that. Ain't nobody ever loved us but our city. Ain't nobody ever loved our city. Nobody reached out but people from our city. No Obamas, no Trumps. You know, nobody reached out to us. But everybody from our city. All we got is us. They're my city. They looked out for us. I'm so proud of my city. I'm so proud of y'all. Thank you. Thank you. I'm so proud of them. I'm so proud.

PAUL: Stevante, we are so sorry for the loss of your brother and for the road that you now have to walk.

CLARK: No, you -- I don't -- I don't need you to be sorry because I can't do nothing with I'm sorry, OK?

PAUL: OK.

CLARK: I need to you pray for me because we got this. We tired of the sorries and trying to exploit our pain and all. OK. We're trying to move forward, we're trying to bring peace and justice. We want community centers.

BLACKWELL: All right.

CLARK: Research centers, libraries, our own security teams. We're trying to get a result for Stephon Clark.

BLACKWELL: All right.

CLARK: We're trying to bring us together. Us.

BLACKWELL: Stevante Clark, thank you so much for spending some time for us and of course again our condolences to you.

CLARK: All right. For Stephon, I love you. Stephon, I love you. Stephon, I love you.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much.

PAUL: Thank you and best of luck with everything.

BLACKWELL: All right. Thanks for being with us. "SMERCONISH" is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)