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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Ex-Doorman Free From Contract Preventing Him To Speak About Trump's Alleged Affair With Housekeeper; Longtime Trump Money Chief Granted Immunity To Testify; Trump Blames Mollie Tibbetts' Death On Immigration Laws; Massive Floods Unleashed On Hawaii By Tropical Storm; John McCain To Discontinue Treatment For Brain Cancer. Soon, Pope Addresses Crowd At Dublin Castle; Texas School Fights Against Gun Violence. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired August 25, 2018 - 07:00   ET

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


[07:00:00] ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Why would you ever do something like this?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: So, you can't wear a cat suit, but you can wear a three-inch skirt, right? OK.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And with that, Andy Scholes.

SCHOLES: Thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: Have a good day.

PAUL: Thank you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: He knows everything about Donald, in terms of the money trail by Allen Weisselberg.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He knows every single financial transaction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald trusted him. He was almost a family member.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You can say something bad about Donald Trump and you'll go down to two years or three years. It's called flipping, and it almost ought to be illegal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a safe, a safe with secrets about the now president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a case where they paid a doorman at the Trump organization to silence a story that he wanted to tell about an alleged affair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of interesting information on a lot of important people.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I want to turn to Senator John McCain and his decision to end his cancer treatment. DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He is a fighter. He doesn't

stop moving. He's like a shark. He can't stop moving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At some point, you say, look, the treatment's not working or the risk and toll that these treatments are taking on my body are greater than the benefits.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: Good Saturday morning to you. Another harsh headline for the White House this morning. A former Trump world tower doorman sharing details about a contract in which he was part of to keep him from talking about an alleged affair with a housekeeper.

PAUL: This latest comes at the end of what's really been a turbulent week for the president. One of his most trusted advisers, the chief financial officer of the Trump organization, and David Pecker, a longtime friend and publisher of The National Enquirer, cutting deals with prosecutors, granted immunity to cooperate in the Cohen investigation.

Now, overnight, we learned that Pecker's company, American Media, Inc., paid that former doorman $30,000 to keep his mouth shut, essentially. Ryan Nobles with us now from the White House. What are you learning about this so-called catch-and-kill contract, Ryan?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi and Victor, this is an indication of just how the president conducted business before he became a politician and through the campaign, up until getting here to the White House. It was essentially he had a deal with AMI and David Pecker, who was the person who ran that company, where they would routinely grab stories like this that could be potentially damaging to Donald Trump or the Donald Trump organization, and pay off the sources in order to keep them quiet and also associate with that agreement a stiff penalty if someone were to speak out.

Now, in this particular case, the doorman, a man by the name of Dino Sajudin, went into this agreement back in 2015. He has a salacious story that he claims the president was involved in an extramarital affair that led to the birth of a child. He was paid $30,000 to keep quiet. Now, other news organizations have investigated this story and have not found it credible, but the big takeaway here is, is that now Sajudin says that he's been released from this contract, that AMI has told him that he no longer has to keep quiet and that's why he's coming forward with the story. What we don't know is the reason behind why AMI made this decision, and could it mean there are other stories like this that they have squashed on behalf of Donald Trump that could now come to light?

It's an indication now of a pattern of people who've been close to the president of the United States, who have been loyal to him, that are now flipping, to a certain extent. Among them, David Pecker, who we mentioned, the head of AMI, Michael Cohen, his former fixer and personal lawyer, and of course, Allen Weisselberg, who's the chief financial officer. So, it's a trend that's not going to make life easy for President Trump as he continues to battle all of these controversies surrounding his presidency. Christi and Victor?

BLACKWELL: Ryan, any response from the White House about the immunity deals reached by Weisselberg and Pecker?

NOBLES: No, they're not talking about it specifically, Victor, but you can tell that the president is sending a message to some of these folks, you know. In this interview that he gave with "Fox & Friends," where he specifically said that he doesn't like people who flip, that he apprises loyalty and he actually believes that flipping should almost be illegal is how he described it. This is not something that the president is very fond of at all, but we should also keep in mind that we don't know the extent of their cooperation with federal investigators.

We know that Michael Cohen specifically implicated the president in a crime while he was in court, but we don't know how much Allen Weisselberg has told authorities. The initial reporting is that the immunity agreement just involved the investigation into Michael Cohen. And we also don't know exactly the extent of cooperation that David Pecker has with federal investigators. This is really the front end of this problem for President Trump, and the question now is how far will it extend into this investigation, and will Robert Mueller be someone who talks to these individuals? That is perhaps the biggest worry for this White House.

[07:05:07] BLACKWELL: Saturday morning, 7:00 a.m. Eastern. This is that sweet time, that hour where the president typically responds to the challenges of the week on Twitter. We will stand by to see if he has one. Ryan Nobles for us at the White House. Thanks so much.

NOBLES: Thank you, Victor.

PAUL: Let's talk to Toluse Olorunnipa, White House Reporter for Bloomberg News; and Michael Moore, former U.S. Attorney for Middle Georgia. Thank you both for being here, we appreciate it. Toulouse, I want to start with you. And I want to get to just really quickly this new information this morning about this contract. At the end of the day, how significant are these catch-and-kill allegations? And what do you make of the timing of it?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Yes, the timing is incredibly significant because it comes amidst President Trump's, basically, his worst week in office so far, if you look at what's happened with some of this is closest advisers: Michael Cohen pleading guilty, a couple of his very close, loyal business associates deciding to get immunity deals and potentially provide information that could be damaging to President Trump. The fact that David Pecker now has an immunity deal and shortly thereafter we see this story that was potentially going to be a catch-and-kill story for AMI, now released into the public and President Trump's former doorman has the opportunity to tell his story about what he believes happened between President Trump and a former housekeeper and an illegitimate child. I think it's just adding to a torrent of negative news and negative

stories, and it provides information that this was a pattern and practice that President Trump and his associates were involved in basically keeping a lot of these negative stories out of the news through these hush money-type payments, and it shows that this pattern existed long before President Trump took office, and it's going to continue to sort of bedevil him as he tries to, you know, remain president and stay above the fray. He's going to have to deal with all of these negative stories that are going to continue to come out.

PAUL: Yes, Michael, you know, we know that the president values loyalty very much. And to have David Pecker, Allen Weisselberg taking the immunity, and Cohen under oath, of course, in the prehearing. This is a betrayal, no doubt about it, on a personal and professional level you would think. Of these men, who do you think based on what we know, has the most damaging effect for President Trump?

MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR MIDDLE GEORGIA: You know, I've been saying that this is going to, at the end of the day, become a money case and it's about following the money. So, my belief is that we're probably talking about Weisselberg has the most information that could ultimately be harmful to Trump. He knows where all the bones are buried. He knows what's in the tax returns.

And remember that Trump could have shortened this investigation by about a year and a half if he had just given over his tax returns. And so, now, we've got the guy who helped prepare those tax returns who's cooperating with the government, and that's going to be interesting. My guess is that somewhere in the cooperation agreement or in the immunity agreement, it says he'll give truthful information to government authorities, and the question is will that extend over to Bob Mueller's investigation?

I mean, but remember, the president, he's used to paying for loyalty. You mentioned he likes loyalty. He pays for it, apparently, in all these agreements and confidentiality agreements. And what he has not quite figured out is that America is not his company, and he's not the CEO. And these people are not -- they're not his soldiers out doing his bidding and tasks. And so, he faces some jeopardy simply because, I think ultimately, these agreements, we're going to find more stories about things that have happened during the administration and his business activities before he was president.

PAUL: Well, the president last night was speaking, and I want to get your take on this, Toluse, but let's listen to the president talk about Mollie Tibbetts last night in Ohio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: When they found out that it was this horrible, illegal immigrant that viciously killed her, all of a sudden, that story went down. They didn't want to cover it the way it should have been covered. But what happened to Mollie was a disgrace.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: Now, we want to point out that there are family members of

Mollie's who have come out and said we don't want to politicize this. Is it smart for the president or for Republicans to run with Mollie Tibbetts as the story when it comes to illegal immigration, Toluse?

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, you can expect the president and his allies to seize upon this story, despite the protests of the family to not politicize this. This became political almost immediately after the news came out that there was an illegal immigrant who was the suspect, and there was no sort of wait and see, thoughts and prayers. It was an immediate rush to politicizing this issue and talking about the issue of illegal immigration. President Trump has said he believes immigration is going to be the issue that's going to determine the November elections, not the tax cuts, not really the economy.

He thinks that what animates his base is this immigration issue, and he wants to use any example he can of crimes committed by immigrants to rile up his base and to push for his border wall and to push for his broader immigration agenda. So, you can expect the president and his allies to continue to push this specific story because it fits the narrative that he wants to push that he started from the first day of his presidential campaign when he said Mexicans were coming into the country and being murderers and rapists.

[07:10:32] PAUL: Michael, really quickly, I do want to get to Manafort, because we have heard from Paula Duncan, one of the Manafort jurors. She said they did a lot of due diligence, they talked -- and she talked about one holdout specifically who just could not get past reasonable doubt. Let's listen to her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAULA DUNCAN, JUROR ON PAUL MANAFORT TRIAL: We're both Trump supporters, and we feel that President Trump deserves a chance to try to do the job without all of the other stuff going on around him, unless, of course, it's illegal. The law is the law, and my job as a juror and the rest of my fellow jurors was to make sure that the law was upheld, and I feel we did. I wish we could have convicted him on all 18 counts. I feel there was enough information to do that, and that's -- I thought America need to know it was 11-1.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: So, this is a Trump supporter. What is the significance, Michael, of the conviction for President Trump specifically?

MOORE: You know, there was plenty of evidence to convict Manafort on all the charges that were brought, and there's nothing particularly unusual about a juror having a holdout or trouble with the idea, definition of reasonable doubt. They have to balance what they learn on television and Hollywood versus what the law is as given to them by the judge. So, I don't know if there's a lot of significance in the particular holdout.

I will say this. I mean, I think the significance for Trump is that we're starting to hear the beginning of the story about the people he associated with, how the money begins to come in, Russian contacts that were there, and we're starting to really poke holes in the arguments he's made about, well, Manafort was just a guy on the outside, he was only with me a short time. I think now Bob Mueller has laid the groundwork, and he's given us sort of the first chapter in the book, and he's going to tell the rest of the story and we're going to see that maybe in the second trial.

We're going to see it in upcoming trials. And I assure you that Bob Mueller is methodical enough that he's already written the rest of the book. We're just learning this as members of the public as it becomes available. So, bad, bad day for the president any time we're talking about, you know, Pecker and porn stars and pardons, as opposed to things that go on, you know, that matter to the American people. It's a bad day for the president, especially the closer we get to the midterms.

PAUL: Pecker, porn stars, and pardons.

MOORE: Pardons. The three Ps.

PAUL: He is one for literation, you're good with that.

MOORE: He gives us a lot to talk about and certainly it's the three "P" weekend.

PAUL: OK. We'll take that. Toluse Olorunnipa and Michael Moore, always appreciate both of you. Thank you.

MOORE: Glad to be with you.

PAUL: Sure.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about this storm that's over Hawaii. It has weakened, but there is still significant danger for the people there. We'll take you live to Honolulu for the latest on the threat and the torrents of water coming down and surrounding the people from tropical storm Lane.

PAUL: And education officials are desperately trying to agree, of course, on the best way to protect against school shootings. Well, there's a district in Texas that is not waiting for a decision. Leaders there are taking the lives of their students into their own hands.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:17:48] BLACKWELL: Hurricane Lane is now a tropical storm. The winds are lower, but this is the biggest weather event to have hit Hawaii in decades, and still, it poses a major threat to the island. It's because of the rain. Remember that the tropical storm category of a hurricane is only determined by the winds. The water here is the challenge, and the storm's slow-moving pace, just sticking over these islands, continuing to pour. Several islands are already swamped. Look at this. More than 40 inches of rain has fallen in some areas. CNN's Nick Watt is on the ground there in Honolulu. Nick, tell us what you're seeing and how this rain is impacting the people there. NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, here in Honolulu, as the mayor

said, we dodged a bullet. We've been tracking this storm heading northwards, making a beeline for this place where nearly a million people live and there's a bunch of tourists as well. It has now moved off to the west, so Honolulu dodged a bullet. But down on the big island, also checking the latest rainfall totals, four weather stations down there are reporting more than 40 inches of rain, the highest at 44.8. This is the sixth wettest storm ever to hit the United States, and there is more rain forecast for the big island today.

And you know, that ground is just saturated. So, rain that falls, just that's an immediate flash flood. There's also still a flash flood warning further north on Maui, where we've also seen three brush fires. Obviously not started by this. We don't know what those fires were started by, but we know for sure that the winds kicked up by this hurricane have just fanned those flames, one of them jumping a highway. Seven homes destroyed or damaged. But up here in Honolulu, as the mayor has said, dodged a bullet.

He was saying, listen, if we even got half the rainfall here that they got on the big island, it would cause major, major problems. As you said, it's the water that this storm is -- that's the problem, it's the water. It's not the wind. And it's because it has been so slow moving, it's lingered over places, it's dumped so much rain, but it's also been the blessing because it's lost some power, it's slowed down, and that has enabled the trade winds to push it out into the Pacific. Guys, back to you.

PAUL: Very good point. Nick Watt, we appreciate it. Thank you. CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is looking at this as well. So, as he talks about how detrimental the rain is, how slow moving it is, how slow is it moving?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, from a tropical system perspective, this is very slow, and that's a bad thing. The slower these systems move, the more time they have to dump that tremendous amount of rain. So, yes, while so far, the big island has had the most rain, you're now starting to see more of that rain impact the other islands, Maui, Oahu, Kauai. So, you're going to see their numbers begin to tick up as well. Forward speed only three miles an hour. This is incredibly slow for tropical systems, but it's the rain that has been the big story.

Again, tropical storm Lane now the sixth wettest tropical system in history. Keep in mind the number one was Harvey, which oddly enough, actually made landfall in Texas one year ago today. It is not likely we will get to that number, but with all of the additional rain expected, it is very likely we will crack the top five. Again, numerous sites on the big island reporting over 40 inches, but even Maui now starting to see their numbers tick up. Multiple sites reporting, say, around a foot of rain already.

Now, you have to factor in how much additional rain is going to come in. Look at the big island and even Maui. An additional six to 10 inches of rain is expected on top of what they've already had. And even some of the other islands, another two to four inches. So again, Victor, Christi, the thing going forward is going to be this system as a whole is weakening, but at this point, we actually want it to pick up speed and move away from the islands. The faster it can do that, the less rain it can drop. The unfortunate part is that just doesn't look like what it's going to be doing in the next 24 hours.

PAUL: All righty. Allison Chinchar, appreciate it. Thank you.

[07:21:53] So, Friday night high school football game ended in gunfire in Jacksonville, Florida. Police say one person was killed, two were injured in this shooting, just 15 minutes after the game had had ended. Initial reports from a city councilman suggest the gunfire was exchanged between a former student at Raines High School and two other students from the rival Lee High School. Police say the shooting happened outside the area where heavy security, of course, was present.

BLACKWELL: Well, he is an icon of the Senate. John McCain made a difficult decision to discontinue medical treatment for brain cancer, a year after his diagnosis. More on his condition and reaction from lawmakers and friends and family, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:27:17] PAUL: So glad to have you with us. 27 minutes past the hour right now. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good Saturday to you.

PAUL: So, Senator John McCain, he's a man known for his just untiring service and his sacrifice for his country. He's been called maverick, patriot, American hero. And news that he's discontinuing cancer treatment has been met with just such sadness from lawmakers in Washington, from so many people.

BLACKWELL: The 81-year-old senator has been battling brain cancer for more than a year. CNN's Dana Bash has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: John McCain's trademark is relentlessly fighting, not giving up or giving in to any adversary. More than that, it's his essence, it's his core. So, the fact that his family says he's decided to stop treatment against his current adversary, brain cancer, is actually a bit shocking to friends and family I've spoken to, despite the fact that everyone knows and knew for a long time in their heart that this day would come. Now, McCain has always been really prolific in writing and speaking about how his family's long history in the military made him respect and even revere America's institutions and how he spent his whole adult life trying to do his part in service. Take a listen.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It's not been perfect service, to be sure, and there were probably times when the country might have benefited a little less of my help, but I've tried to deserve the privilege as best I can, and I've been repaid 1,000 times over with adventures, with good company, with the satisfaction of serving something more important than myself, of being a bit player in the extraordinary story of America, and I am so grateful.

BASH: Now, the senator has been at his home in Arizona all year long, weighing in on the turbulent events from afar, instead of the way he normally would, jumping in on the front lines, being front and center in the most important and biggest issues of his time. But he's finally had to face his own mortality. And McCain quoted in his last book, "The Restless wave," one of his many larger-than-life heroes, the fictious Robert Jordan from Ernest Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls." He said, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for, and I hate very much to leave it." But then McCain said, "I don't have a complaint, not one. It's been quite a ride." Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: Joining me now, Republican Congressman Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania. Congressman, good morning to you. And we want to talk about, of course, some of the pressing issues of the day, but I want to also start with Senator McCain and his assessment it's been quite a ride. Your thoughts your colleague there in Congress.

[07:30:08] REP. RYAN COSTELLO (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Sure. Certainly, we can reflect upon the news with some sadness. But I think we can reflect upon the news with some sadness. But I think we can reflect upon Senator McCain's public service and be proud as Americans that we have a leader like Senator McCain who allowed his conscience to be his voice, who spoke truth to power, who oftentimes told his Republican supporters things that they didn't want to hear. And that who also had the humility as an elected official to say that he didn't always get it right.

I think in this country, we are looking for leaders to have that courage and that humility. And today can be a day where we can all be one unified in expressing our thanks as we reflect on the service of John McCain.

BLACKWELL: Well, since the news broke about his decision to discontinue treatment for brain cancer, the President of the United States says -- has tweeted warm regards and respect to Kim Jong-un of North Korea, has wished to a wrestling promoter a happy birthday but he, the vice president the White House haven't said anything about John McCain and his decision.

My question really isn't should he, but does it matter considering their history what we know that -- you know, he prefers people who weren't captured. Does it matter that the president United States has not reacted to this news?

COSTELLO: I don't think it does matter. I think it -- I think the past treatment of Senator McCain by the president reflects poorly upon the president, but it in no way diminishes in any respect the life and service of Senator McCain.

And I think that we are all best when we look at Senator McCain's words to do the speaking for what he's contributed to this country.

BLACKWELL: So, this week has been let's call it rough for the president with the Cohen cases, the Manafort case, the immunity now for Pecker and for Weisselberg, who works for the president. Pecker of AMI, the American Media Incorporation -- incorporated rather.

What does this mean for Republicans looking toward November? We're at about 74-73 days until the midterm elections. Will this matter do you believe to the GOP trying to hold onto the House?

COSTELLO: I don't know that it will, in the following respect. Most Republicans, I believe are going to continue to say that the Mueller investigation should be protected. And that as the Cohen indictment unfolds or the plea agreement I should say.

And as you now have a cooperating witness who has been granted immunity within the Trump Organization that those facts are going to have to continue to evolve. We have three weeks in September. I don't believe we're going to have any hearings on anything related to Michael Cohen in that short period of time.

But furthermore, just as Republicans are going to say, "We should continue with the investigation." Democrats are either going to say, "We need to impeach." Which I think would be very premature, we don't have enough facts out there, and their base is not going to be very happy about that.

So, you're going to have Democratic candidates having to walk this fine line between saying we agree with Republicans that the investigation should continue or adapting an impeachment posture which many Americans even some Democrats certainly almost all Republicans and independents for as much as they may take issue with what President Trump says and does.

And we feel that the investigation is legitimate, many aren't ready to jump into the pool of impeachment chatter. And that's where Democrats I think are headed given the fact that they've enjoyed the fruits of the resistance and the energy of anti-Trumpism on the left.

BLACKWELL: You say that this -- the case is Manafort, Cohen and all that we're seeing in the last several days will not matter in November. But let me share with you one thing that, at least, one former House Speaker says will matter.

Mollie Tibbetts, the president at this GOP dinner in Ohio spoke about Mollie Tibbetts. Let's play that I think we have it. She's the woman in Iowa who was killed a few weeks ago.

COSTELLO: Right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When they found out that it was this horrible illegal immigrant that viciously killed her, all of a sudden that story went down. They didn't want to cover it the way it should have been covered. But what happened to Mollie was a disgrace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, told Axios, this, "If Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble." He has the party using her death as political propaganda and is this an effective strategy?

[07:34:53] COSTELLO: First, I don't think we should take the death of that young woman and use it for political purposes. I would take issue with what speaker Gingrich said there. That should be removed from the political consideration.

I also think as Republicans, particularly, in competitive districts, using immigration as a wedge issue that day has come and gone. We need DACA reform. We have to reform our visa program. We do need more border security.

But the American people will not be well served if this is just an election about immigration divisions versus impeachment. We really need to be focused on the issues that matter. And I just want to amend something I said.

Well, I don't think that the investigations here or the Michael Cohen plea is going to -- it's going to impact Republicans in November. That's not to say it's not a serious issue. It's just that I think that Republicans are going to be able to do much more in the way of investigations because those investigations and those prosecutions are already ongoing.

We would be better talking about the economy, consumer confidence, some of the regulatory reform measures we've taken combating the opiate epidemic, veterans issues that we've been very good on, rather than trying to divide the country over immigration.

BLACKWELL: Well, there's a significant number of people who are hoping for more oversight to challenge the administration on some of the decisions that have been made in the president since he being named as unindicted co-conspirator, and what will Congress do with that if Republicans are not going to do something about it, will that be a matter that the voters will take up and hope the Democrats will?

Got to go congressman, but I thank you very much for being with us this morning.

COSTELLO: Thank you very much.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Pope Francis is speaking to a crowd in Dublin, Ireland this morning. This is the first papal visit there in nearly 40 years. How he plans to address the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Mortgage rate, pretty steady this week. Here's your look.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:41:27] PAUL: Well, in just a couple of moments, Pope Francis is going to speak at Dublin's Castle in Ireland. And he's expected to address the latest Catholic sexual abuse allegations. Moments ago, he did meet with authorities, with diplomats, and the prime minister of Ireland.

BLACKWELL: This is the first papal visit to Ireland in almost four decades. Now, his visit comes, as you know as clerical sexual abuse survivors across the world are looking for answers. And more than answers, action from the Catholic Church.

Joining us now from Dublin is CNN correspondent Phil Black. What has the Pope said so far today at anything specifically about this sex abuse scandal?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Victor, Christi, good morning. As we speak, the Pope Francis is here at Dublin Castle. And any moment now, he is about to speak and make his first public statements of this two-day visit.

He is currently being welcomed by the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who as well as welcoming the Pope is describing in some detail a long history of suffering and cruelty that has been inflicted on the Irish people by church institutions and more specifically, priests who have sexually abused people, children, quite often in situations that have then been covered up by members of the church hierarchy.

Now, that's a dominant theme of the prime minister speech which is taking place right now. We will wait and listen to see what the Pope says on this point as well because that is the dominant defining issue of this visit. It was always going to be in Ireland.

But, of course, it's not just an Irish problem for the church, it's a global one as well that was shown recently by that report in Pennsylvania which found that more than a thousand children had been abused by some 300 priests over a prolonged period of time.

That report has certainly heightened the expectation that Pope must be seen to act on this decisively. And in recent days, we've been speaking to victims of clerical abuse here in this country, and their overwhelming belief is that the time for words has passed. The church has been dealing with this issue that decades very poorly.

And although the Pope recently wrote a very detailed fulsome apology to Catholics everywhere, they believe that simply not enough. Although, it's appreciated, what they wanted from the Pope now is some sort of comprehensive plan for protecting children for dealing with abusers, but also punishing those people further up the church hierarchy that were responsible for protecting those abusers through this long history of suffering.

This dark stain on the church that's what we'll be listening for over the coming days. Victor, Christi, back to you. PAUL: All righty, Phil black. Thank you so much, we appreciate it. And this morning, the Pope is going to be taking questions as well. We'll have more on that during the 10:00 a.m. hour.

BLACKWELL: Well, kids are headed back to class to tackle a new year. And for parents, the possibility of a school shooting should not be lingering in your mind but sadly that is a new reality. Next, what one Texas school district is doing to prevent gun violence and they're not alone.

PAUL: Also, a fiery freeway crash, it ended in the death of three people including a popular YouTube video gamer. And authorities say, he is exactly the one to blame here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:49:03] BLACKWELL: All right, 12 minutes before the top of the hour now. And schools are creating and implementing, actually, plans to stop shooters. It's more important now than really ever before. Especially, since the massacre in Parkland, Florida.

PAUL: Day one of the most recent yet. Education officials in Texas, specifically, have asked for clarification from the Department of Education regarding this idea of allowing school districts to use federal money to buy guns for teachers.

Now, local and state lawmakers say they're not holding their breath waiting for the government to take action. Here's Miya Shay with affiliate KTRK.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIYA SHAY, JOURNALIST, KTRK-TV CHANNEL 13: The signs are up now around the perimeter of every Huffman school campus. Someone inside is probably armed.

JAMES STILES, PARENT OF STUDENT IN HUFFMAN ISD: Anything we can do to protect our children, we need to take those steps because of the dangers today.

SHAY: With school starting, Monday, most parents we talked to were surprised but supportive.

GREGORY FLETCHER, GRANDPARENT OF STUDENT IN HUFFMAN ISD: I think it's great.

SHAY: Yes.

FLETCHER: Yes, ma'am.

[07:49:58] SHAY: Huffman ISD school board members first discussed to arming some staff during May meetings. Over the summer, the district decided to participate in the school martial program.

The school district would not talk on camera but did issue a statement saying in part, "Our school marshals have gone through an intense vetting process and a very rigorous training program. Training will be ongoing through the school year."

The goal of the program is to provide a stop gap until law enforcement arrives. Not everyone is thrilled.

ANGELA TAYLOR, RESIDENT, HUFFMAN, TEXAS: I kind of agree with protecting our students but I don't -- I don't think I would want to arm our teachers now. Maybe put the law in there, or just one cop or something, I don't know.

SHAY: The marshal program became state law after 2013. It's estimated more than 150 school districts around the state participate to some extent. And now, there's one more starting Monday.

STILES: I think it's a good deterrent. Let them know we're there to protect the kids.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

Miya Shay with affiliate KTRK, thank you very much there. Now, the superintendent of Huffman Independent School did release a statement about the program. Here's what he says, "We want to use different and effective proven measures and do everything that we can to create a safe environment for our children."

BLACKWELL: So a Texas Police Departments attempt at a humorous Facebook post to discourage speeding is anything but funny for some of their followers. The post depicts three people being hanged and reads, "Now, come Monday morning, things will be getting a little more serious." So, instead of chanting it and getting a ticket or possibly hung, slow down."

Police Chief Whitney Whitworth, says he does not find the video offensive, and it was never intended to hurt anyone's feelings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WHITNEY WHITWORTH, CHIEF OF POLICE, THRALL, TEXAS: I think like many of my posts, they see the humor in it. They're laughing line, of course, you can't be hung for speeding. My point and my purpose was not to offend the soul but simply to draw attention to slow people down at my school zone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Well, the controversial image was taking on the set of the film, True Grit when it was filmed in Granger, Texas, and the chief was working security there.

California authorities say YouTube gamer star Trevor McSkillet Heitmann was killed in a fiery crash that he caused. The State Highway Patrol says the violent wreck happened Thursday when Heitmann was speeding the wrong way down an interstate near San Diego.

He smashed his McLaren 650S head-on into an SUV. And that set off a series of fiery collisions with several other cars. Now, a woman and a 12-year-old girl in that SUV were also killed. Authorities investigating why Heitmann was driving in the wrong direction. He's known for his YouTube videos on gambling web sites. He owned the popular Counter-Strike global Offensive trading site.

PAUL: Well, stay with us. Rebuilding trust, keeping hackers out. The times of the tech world are joining forces to stop online interference in America's Democratic process. Will it work?

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[07:57:13] ANNOUNCER: "STAYING WELL" is brought to you by non-drowsy, 24-hour Claritin. Live Claritin clear.

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JANE GOLDEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MURAL ARTS PHILADELPHIA: There are 4,000 works of public art in the city. We use art to transform individuals, to provide people with a moment of hope, to build resilience. Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation's largest community-based public art program.

Making art impact individuals in need because they are called on to be creative. They start to see themselves in terms of their potential and self-worth. The artists are leading the vision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then once you land on a design, and everyone is on board with it, it's just amazing to see it come to life.

DAVID ALLEN, VETERAN, UNITED STATES ARMY: I'm a former sergeant in the army. I have PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. When I got back, I didn't even realize I needed help. We work with elementary school children is one of the paint sessions with (INAUDIBLE) one of the coolest things I've ever done. It represents every better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We work with young people. We work with people behind the walls of prisons.

DAWAN WILLIAMS, COORDINATOR, MURAL ARTS PHILADELPHIA: Today was the airbrush workshop. And today, we showed the young brothers how you make $10 every five minutes. Opposed to standing on street corners.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It helps you better you as a person and to be independent when you in a real world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're turning me into an artist.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: Major tech companies have been criticized for the way they handled Russian hackers in the 2016 election. A CNN tech correspondent Samuel Burke shows us what they're doing ahead of the midterms.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, Christi, these companies are often fierce competitors. So, it takes something monumental like election manipulation for them to all come together in this fashion.

And it's hard to imagine a more opportune week for all these companies to meet. Just think about it, everything that happened in tech this week. Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft, all announced they had taken down misinformation campaigns on their platforms with links to Iran and Russia.

Plus, a new study revealed Russia's meddling online went well beyond the 2016 U.S. presidential election and into public health by stoking online debates for and against vaccinations. Trying to sow discord among Americans even linking vaccinations to racial and class issues.

Microsoft even said it took control of a website Russian military intelligence could have tried to use to hack American politicians. Just listen to how Microsoft's president rang the alarm bell talking to our own Paula Newton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRAD SMITH, PRESIDENT, MICROSOFT: I don't think anybody should sit back in 2018 and say, "Oh, this is just a continuation of the kinds of things that we've experienced in the past."

To the contrary, we are seeing new technology approaches, we are seeing new threats -- we're seeing innovation. We shouldn't wait for the next surprise to wake up later and say we didn't take this seriously enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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