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Airline: 66 People Presumed Dead After Crash in Iran; Trump Implies FBI Mishandled Tip on Florida Shooter Because It's "Spending Too Much Time" on Russia Probe; Trump Undercuts McMaster's Claims on Russian Meddling; Students to Lawmakers: Shame On You For Taking NRA Money; Two Funerals Planned for Student, Teacher; Midway Through the Winter Olympics. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 18, 2018 - 07:00   ET




[07:00:26] UNIDENTIFED MALE: The evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in a public domain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Russian operating out of this St. Petersburg troll farm launched a misinformation campaign to wreak havoc on America's political system.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How many times do I have to answer this question? Russia is a ruse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are two groups that have created chaos more than Russians and that's the Democrats and the mainstream media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did the Russians go to this trouble to help his campaign?

CROWD: Cut it out! Cut it out!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What they are saying is enough is enough. These are coming from young people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I promise you, I will hug each and every one of you as many times as you need and we will get through this together.


RENE MARSH, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Rene Marsh, in for Christi Paul.

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

All right. An update on the breaking news out of Iran. An Iran-based airline says all 66 passengers and crews are presumed dead after one of its planes crashed in the mountains south of Tehran. At least 20 rescue teams reported that were sent to the crash site.

Now, an airline official says the plane disappeared from radar almost an hour after takeoff from Tehran. The plane was a twin engine turboprop like this one made by the French company ATR. And right now, the cause of the crash is not known. Although we understand there was bad weather in the area. Iran supreme leader has expressed his condolences and ordered officials to spare no effort with the recovery and investigation.

When we get more, we will bring that to you.

MARSH: Well, this morning, President Trump is attacking his own FBI once again, implying agents mishandled a tip about the Florida school shooter because the agency is too focused on the Russia investigation.

The allegations are striking. But the timing is also key.

BLACKWELL: Just three days after that shooting at their school, survivors and parents rallied last night to demand did you ever gun laws and criticize the president and other lawmakers for what they call inaction.

But the president shifted blame to the FBI, saying, as Rene just mentioned, spending too much time investigating his presidential campaign and potential collusion with Russia.

MARSH: Well, CNN's Dan Merica joins us live from Florida, near the president's resort where the Trumps are spending the long weekend.

And, Dan, the president is already getting criticism for those tweets overnight.

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning, Rene. That's exactly -- that's absolutely right. The president spent last night, he actually attended a fund-raiser at his Mar-a-Lago club and then apparently went back to his estate, his room, and tweeted. He tweeted multiple tweets last night that have raised a lot of concerns in Washington, D.C.

He really seized on the mistakes, the admitted mistakes that the FBI made during this -- the investigation of this school shooting, so undercut the investigation, Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian collusion. President Trump came down to Florida on Friday. He didn't visit the school but he visited a nearby hospital and a sheriff's department to thank first responders, those impacted by the shooting.

But this tweet really undercut a lot of those efforts because it is using the shooting to undercut the investigation into the collusion of the 2016 election.

Let me read to you what he said. He tweeted: very sad, the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. There is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud. At the same time, President Trump is also slamming his own national security adviser who attended a conference in Munich, Germany, a security conference, and said that the indictment that Robert Mueller released on Friday that really laid out extensively and in great detail, a misinformation campaign led by Russian individuals and hundreds of people in Russia. He said that it is incontrovertible proof that the 2016 campaign was impacted by the Russia operation and that they meddled in that election.

Let me read to you what he said criticizing H.R. McMaster for not really taking the same tactic he has when it comes to the Russia investigation. Here is what he said: General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 elections were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that only collusion was between Russian and crooked H., the DNC and the Dems.

[07:05:03] Now, of course, there are some factual inaccuracies in those tweets. The FBI agents tasked with investigating the Parkland shooting and following up on those tips are from the Miami office. They're not the same FBI agents that are investigating the Russian collusion and H.R. McMaster said that there was no -- kind of is making the same comments that Mueller made in that indictment that there really was nothing -- no determination on collusion in the -- in the indictment.

President Trump will meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan this afternoon at Mar-a-Lago. We'll see what comes out of that meeting, Rene.

MARSH: All right. Dan Merica, reporting live for us there in West Palm, Beach -- thanks, Dan.

BLACKWELL: All right. Joining us now is CNN senior law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes and deputy managing editor at "The Weekly Standard", Kelly Jane Torrance.

Tom, welcome back. Kelly, good morning to you.

And, first, before we get to the president's tweets overnight and on Saturday afternoon and evening, there's a new tweet came within the last four minutes here and this is what the president tweets.

Never gotten over the fact that Obama was able to send $1.7 billion in cash to Iran and nobody in Congress, the FBI or justice called for an investigation.

Now, I don't know if the president knows this, but we just started the show with the breaking news out of Iran that 66 people are presumed dead from a plane crash and the president's timing now to bring up a cache going back to Iran and this criticism of the decision is part of the Iran nuclear deal, the timing seems concerning at least? How do we put this the president tweeting this?

KELLY JANE TORRANCE, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Victor, I could see if it he was going to relate that issue to what happened, which is a horrible tragedy. I mean, you got 66 people at least dead. If he pointed out perhaps that -- the Iranian regime got that money and instead of using to it help the people or perhaps refreshing some of its airplanes. This plane was 20 years old. The average American plane is 14 years old. I'm not sure if that might have an effect on the crash.

But if he related it to how the Iran people, right now, are living, which is why we are seeing these protests because the money did not make it to the Iranian people and went to Hezbollah and went to Syria, it went it to IRGC. He's not making that connection. The only thing he can think of is, hey, a plane crashed in Iran and 66 people died, I'm going to use that as a way to attack my predecessor, Barack Obama.

BLACKWELL: Yes, just seems like an interesting timing to bring that up.

MARSH: You know, we're talking about that tweet this morning. But then, of course, there's a tweet from last night that he is getting a lot of criticism for. I know you used to work for the FBI. What was your initial reaction when you saw the president making the connection between what happened in Florida and the loss of those 17 lives and the Russia investigation?

TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You know, Rene, there have been so many comments about what occurred in Florida. The horrible tragedy, the mistakes that were made by the FBI and not taking the call in West Virginia and forwarding that information to the Miami office, but to say that the reason that that may have happened is because the FBI or the people that took that call are preoccupied with the Russian collusion case is actually a phenomenal display of ignorance about what is going on in the FBI, what is going on with the Mueller investigation, in terms of even the assignment of resources.

So, it may come as a surprise to the president, but 35,000 FBI employees are not engaged in the Russian collusion case. That is not why this tragedy occurred and the catastrophic error by the FBI which admittedly has occurred, that's not why it occurred.

So, the FBI personnel in West Virginia weren't distracted by the collusion case. The FBI agents in Mississippi that went to the original complainant with the YouTube video weren't distracted by the collusion case. And certainly the Miami division of the FBI was not distracted because they didn't even know about that call being received in West Virginia.

And if they're distracted, what about all of the other people? Was the school distracted that didn't report anything about the issues with that kid when he was a kid at their school, Cruz, and they expelled him for violence and erratic behavior? Were the Broward County sheriff's deputies distracted by the Trump investigation because they went to that home of Cruz 39 times and that never became relevant or any of that information was passed to themselves to continue an observation of Cruz and his mental condition and whether he owned weapons and was dangerous?

So, there are a lot of failures in this case. And as I said, including admittedly the catastrophic failure in the FBI, but none of the people that apparently have failed in this were part of the collusion investigation.

MARSH: And to your point, I mean, the missed tip with the FBI means it was missed. They did not get to an investigator.

FUENTES: Correct.

MARSH: So it kind of disrupts his point.

[07:10:02] BLACKWELL: Yes. We have been making the point this morning the agents who are working on the collusion or the potential collusion investigation are not getting up from their jobs at the tip line to go and then investigate this. And when the, Kelly Jane, the FBI Director Chris Wray was on Capitol Hill this peek this is what he said. It seems like an preemptive response to what the president tweeted out last night. Watch this.


CHRIS WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: There are 37,000 people in the FBI who do unbelievable things all around the world and although you would never know it from watching the news, we actually have more than two investigations. And most of them do a lot to keep Americans safe.


BLACKWELL: Now, what position does this put, the president's tweet, what position does this put all of his allies and supporters who will be on the Sunday show morning? Will they have to defend that?

TORRANCE: Exactly. I mean, you know, Tom is right. You know, Florida FBI agents are not being seconded to D.C. to work on the Trump/Russia collusion case. And again, this is -- yes, there was a huge mistake by the FBI. Someone needs to investigate what happened.

You know, my experience in politics shows me there is always a lack of communication between different departments of any agency and between agencies because people kind of protect their own turf. That is a problem. But this is why, you know, this is why you sort of worry, again, about Trump undermining the nation's top law enforcement agency. You know?

There may be a couple of bad apples, or maybe incompetence somewhere but on the whole, you have thousands of people who are working very hard and doing a great job. I mean, the successes are things you don't hear about, the things that are foiled. Those things often don't make the news.

You have all of these great people doing great work and with President Trump focusing on one problem and thinking it's all about him, which, of course, everything seems to be as we just saw with the Iran tweet, it really does undermine, I think, how the Americans, if they trust the FBI or not. And we have seen in the last few years Americans trust of the FBI has gone down and I have to wonder if that is because every day, they are constantly seeing it attacked by the commander-in- chief. MARSH: We are hearing from lawmakers who are even just pointing the

finger at the president for not taking leadership on this issue of Russia and meddling in our elections. Chuck Grassley tweeted out to the president just last night the next time he talks to Putin, he would like him to tell him to butt out of our elections. There is the tweet there.

I guess, Tom, if the president isn't leading on this issue per se, how problematic is that?

FUENTES: Well, in a way, it's not that problematic because the agencies responsible for looking into this kind of activity will continue to do it. So that's not going to stop because the president thinks he is going to ignore it, but I would suggest --

MARSH: You need that leadership from the president at all?

FUENTES: Well, if they're not getting it, they will make up and do the work any way whether they get it or not. But I would recommend to the president, read the book "Masters of Deceit" by J. Edgar Hoover. And you will see in that book that this is standard, originally, Soviet Union playbook of how to create discord in Western democracies, especially ours. And then in this case, not followed by the Russian Federations since 1991, they do the same thing, not just in the United States but all of Western democracies.

And the main issue for Russia and for Putin is to say the American style democracy doesn't work. It's dysfunctional. And we go out of our way to prove him right when people watch the debates in Congress and some of the other issues that go on with our government, but that's what their goal is, create discord. That's why you hear in this indictment that following the Trump election, even they're paying both sides to protest just to create this unrest, division and amplify the distance between --

BLACKWELL: I just want to make sure we clear something up. When you said if they don't have it, they'll make it up, what you're talking about is the leadership, right, specifically the leadership on this issue?

FUENTES: The entire FBI, the entire intelligence community will continue to work very hard to establish the integrity of our systems, the protection of our systems, no matter what the president says or doesn't say, or anything. He doesn't have to lead the charge. The charge will occur without him.

BLACKWELL: Just want to put a fine point on what specifically we are talking about in that context.

Tom Fuentes, Kelly Jane Torrance, thank you both.

MARSH: When the president calls out his own national security advisor in a tweet, what message does that send to others working in the White House?

BLACKWELL: Plus, survivors of the Florida school shooting say this is enough and they send a strong message to politicians in this anti-gun rally.


BLACKWELL: Welcome back.

President Trump's own national security adviser says the proof of Russian meddling is in the Mueller indictments and anyone can take a look.


H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: As you can see with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain.


MARSH: But in response, President Trump tweeted: General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems.

Joining us now, Samantha Vinograd, CNN national security analyst, and Sarah Westwood, White House correspondent for "The Washington Examiner."

I'm going to you first, Samantha. You were saying these tweets and this division between -- it appears division between what the president is saying and his own national security adviser is saying, that's all a part of what the Russians want.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Indeed. We have publicly available intelligence starting in January from the DNI, which very clearly lays out the fact that Russia, directed by Vladimir Putin, is working through various Russian intel agencies to sow divisions, to undermine credibility of U.S. institutions and to create confusion and to demoralize the American public.

[07:20:15] Reading the president's tweets about General McMaster or his tweets from earlier this morning about the Parkland massacre, all that I can take away from that is that the president is doing Putin's job for him. The tweet undermines McMaster and says he forgot something.

I worked for two national security advisers. You don't forget something when you give a speech in Munich. It denigrates the ongoing work that the National Security Council and the Department of Justice are doing and it sows divisions. It talks about Crooked H. It doesn't talk about the external enemy, which is Russia, and their ongoing attack on the United States.

BLACKWELL: And, Sarah, to you. Part of the reason -- I mean, we could set the word forgot aside, right, because as Samantha said, it's clear he didn't forget this. But it's just simply not true. What Rod Rosenstein said was, quote, there is no allegation in the indictment that the charge conducted altered the outcome of the 2016 election. What the intelligence community said is that there is no way to know

how it impact the outcome but they said that votes were not exchanged and the rest is just political.

SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Right, exactly. There will be no way to ever know how these sorts of influence efforts persuaded different people. You can't go door-to- door and ask people what the content what they were exposed to during the election influenced their votes.

I think what we have seen with the White House do on this indictment is seize on every part of the charges that is favorable to their narrative and then extrapolate it to the rest of the Russia probe when really we're talking about a very small set of circumstances. We're not talking about -- we have not even gotten to the hacking of the DNC, the hacking of John Podesta's inbox, the leaking of stolen emails, attempts to breach voters registrations in multiple states. These are arguably the more serious issues than the Facebook memes that Russia made and we're not even there yet. So, it's too early to project those findings onto the Russians.

BLACKWELL: So, Sarah, is this the new narrative from the president now that, yes, he now acknowledges that there was Russian interference and meddling, but look at the other elements there and had nothing to do with my campaign? I mean, that would be a change from pre- indictment to post-indictment.

WESTWOOD: And I think a lot of Republicans are wanting him to make that argument because it strengthens their denials of collusion if he can acknowledge the incontrovertible evidence that Russian meddling took place, we have known that almost a year now since the intelligence community's report came out right before Obama left office. And, yet, the White House has tried to deny all of it because President Trump see it as a threat to the legitimacy of his victory, if they had taken that position from the beginning, I think they probably would be in a stronger position politically right now.

MARSH: Samantha, to you. As you were saying, this is like spying 101, but it's just a little bit more hi-tech. But you read exactly how they went about this, one account in "The Washington Post" saying that these Russians paid particular attention to what issues would outrage Americans and make them more likely to go to the polls. I mean, they, essentially, analyzed American psyche and used that against them.

And I just wonder how easy is it to fight that sort of thing?

VINOGRAD: It's not easy for two reasons. One is the Russians are really good at spying. This is not new phenomenon. They have been really good at espionage for decades now. We dealt with it during the Cold War.

And this is a new phase. As you point out, Russia has identified a competitive advantage in the digital space. They know that they have a niche right now in ongoing what I call digital psychological operations or information warfare online. And the fact of the matter is, Rene, that as Americans, we broadcast

the issues that matter to us on social media that's both a benefit and it's also a downside risk when you have sophisticated intelligence services like Russia manipulating all of that and we have seen this just over the past couple of days, Russia has been retweeting, for example, pro-gun messages in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting and that's because they are identifying these issues that are so emotional for Americans, divisive, for example, gun control, and using those to accomplish their objective of sowing divisions and undermining the cohesion of the American democracy.

BLACKWELL: All right. Sarah, before we go, does this now acknowledgment by the president that there was, indeed, involvement hasten the implementation of sanctions, a reaction, a response, some consequence more than this indictment?

[07:25:02] WESTWOOD: I think this gives him cover to reproach the sanctions now that the official position of his administration seems to be acknowledging that Russian meddling took place. But we have seen him just sort of a remarkable reluctance for these sanctions that passed overwhelmingly through cost and we have seen a lot of compelling evidence of Russian meddling before and haven't seen reaction on the sanctions. So, it's hard to know.

MARSH: Yes, Mnuchin was on the Hill last week and he said they're coming soon, but no indication as far when those sanctions might be coming.

Well, Sarah Westwood, thank you so much. Samantha Vinograd, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

BLACKWELL: All right. Survivors of the Florida shooting called out politicians and demanded tougher gun laws at an emotional rally. We will take you there.

MARSH: Plus, the Parkland, Florida mayor spoke with the president just yesterday, all of that what was said, and what it means for the grieving community moving forward. She joins us live ahead.


[07:30:15] RENE MARSH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. I'm Rene Marsh, in for Christi Paul.

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

We just had a conversation a few moments ago about that the new revelations I should say, pardon me, from the indictment handed down by Robert Mueller. In this tweet, during that conversation, came from the president: Finally, little Adam Schiff, the leaking monster of no control, is now blaming the Obama administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He is finally right about something. Obama was president, he knew of the threat, and did nothing. Thank you, Adam.

Adam Schiff, Congressman Adam Schiff, will be on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper this morning. Make sure you tune in at 9:00 a.m. Eastern for "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper, right here on CNN.


EMMA GONZALEZ, SURVIVOR OF FLORIDA SCHOOL SHOOTING: If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should have never happened and maintain telling us nothing is going to be done about it, I'm going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association. To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you!


BLACKWELL: Very strong words there from a survivor of the Florida school shooting to the president and other lawmakers. Massive crowd turned up at the rally calling for laws to ban assault weapons.

MARSH: And this banner seen flying over Miami Beach read, shame on you, Marco Rubio, and NRA.

CNN's Rosa Flores is live from Parkland, Florida, this morning. Rosa, tell us a little bit more about that emotional rally.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, there is so much pain in this community, Rene, that these students are taking that energy and turning it into a call for action. They are asking lawmakers to ban the type and style of weapon that was used here to kill 17 of their classmates and their teachers. And so they are asking lawmakers to do some gun control in this country.

They are also directing their message to voters, asking them not to vote for politicians who oppose gun control. They are also asking for the ban of high capacity magazines which are used for maximum carnage. And so, their message is very much directed so that another community does not have to go through what they went through.

Now, here is senior Emma Gonzalez and her message for politicians.


GONZALEZ: Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call B.S.!


FLORES: And she also had this to say. She asked the question why should it be more difficult for us here in this school to plan for a weekend than it is for someone to purchase a high capacity magazine and an automatic weapon, or semiautomatic weapon, why should it be? Rene? Victor?

BLACKWELL: All right. There is also, Rosa, this really emotional message that the principal of Stoneman Douglas recorded for his students, for their parents, really for the entire community. Tell us about it. FLORES: You know, for principals, their students are usually like

their children. So, imagine for this principal, he lost 17 of them, 17 of the people that he worked with every single day. So, he took to YouTube to thank his staff for being there and to thank law enforcement for arriving in haste. And then he had this message for his students.


TY THOMPSON, PRINCIPAL, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Eagles, I promise you, I will hug each and every one of you as many times as you need and I will hold you, as long as you need me to, for all 3,300 of you and your families and we will get through this together. Our community is strong. Our students are strong. We will persevere in these trying times.


FLORES: And trying times, indeed. We've learned from the Broward county public school's Website that they are hoping to allow staff back into the school by the end of the week. But, Rene and Victor, imagine having to go back into the school? It's going to be very difficult for these teachers.

MARSH: Absolutely. Difficult for them and when the students return, difficult for them as well.

Rosa Flores, live for us this morning, thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Some good news this morning for the victims still in hospitals from Wednesday's shooting. The last patient in critical condition has improved to fair and only two others now are in hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Parkland community is preparing for the funeral of 14- year-old Jamie Guttenberg and 35-year-old Scott Beigel's funeral also today.

CNN correspondent Dianne Gallagher is in Deerfield Beach, Florida, with more.

Dianne, good morning.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor. Yes, that bit of good news is something that the Parkland community really does need, seeing that those injured patients improve in these hospitals and be discharged. So many since the beginning of the week here.

Scott Beigel's funeral, the 35-year-old teacher, who many of his students credit with saving their lives, saying he died a hero trying to lock the door of his classroom as the shooting happened will be laid to rest this afternoon at 2:00. At the same time, 14-year-old Jamie Guttenberg who is passionate speech at the vigil the first night resonated with so many parents will also be holding her funeral at that same time. Now, people trying to get over here to Parkland to go. The family

members organizations have stepped up. JetBlue airlines said that they will sort of waive the fee for family members trying to come in for those funerals. And once they get on the ground, Victor, Rene, they said that they will cover, if they need a lift to get to those funerals so they can make they are attended for all 17 victims who were killed on Valentine's Day.

BLACKWELL: All right. Dianne Gallagher for us there in Deerfield Beach, outside of the hospital, thank you so much.

In next hour, we will talk with -- actually, this hour we will talk with the parkland mayor in a few minutes.

And join us for a special CNN town hall for students and parents and those impacted by the Florida school shooting. "Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action." That airs live on Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

MARSH: And still to come, President Trump spoke with the mayor of Parkland to express his support for the student and families following Wednesday's shooting. But what else was said on that call? The Parkland's mayor joins us live and that's coming up next.


[07:41:28] BLACKWELL: Well, the Parkland community is preparing for the funeral this morning, as we said, of 14-year-old Jamie Guttenberg and this comes after the president called Parkland's mayor to express his condolences and offer support to students and families.

MARSH: Well, joining us now is Parkland's mayor.

Good morning, Mayor.

Mayor, did anything on this call make you more confident that the administration is going to be taking steps to this? And, also, more importantly, what was discussed on that call?

MAYOR CHRISTINE HUNSCHOFSKY, PARKLAND, FLORIDA: The conversation was mainly about giving condolences and generally offering support. Our community, right now, is in a grieving process and everybody grieves here differently and on a different pace. And our focus now here is to make sure that there is tolerance and that people reserve judgment about themselves and their grieving process and the grieving process of others.

BLACKWELL: Mayor Hunschofsky, I want you to listen to a couple of the students I spoke with when I was in Parkland just on Friday. This is sound bite number four for the control room. And this is what they wanted from the president during his visit.



BLACKWELL: What do you have to say to the president?

SOFIE WHITNEY, STONEMAN DOUGLAS SENIOR: I want us to be able to have a voice and actually hear what he has to say, and I want us to be able to have an influence, at least for a second, on plans that he has for the future.

ALEX WIND, STONEMAN DOUGLAS JUNIOR: If he is going to come here and speak and not listen to us, he shouldn't come here at all.



BLACKWELL: Has the president listened to the students, the people of Parkland? If he has, how? If he hasn't, should he engage those students?

HUNSCHOFSKY: I know the president mentioned to me how affected he was by his visit at the hospital with a student who is still injured and recovering. The students you have spoken to and that we are seeing on the cameras are absolutely amazing. They are our future and they are the ones that are going to make a difference. And they it's wise for everyone to be listening to their message right now.

BLACKWELL: Yes. They were remarkable to have that presence so soon after the tragedy and that poise, especially at that age after what we are seeing there.

One more thing, Madam Mayor. The president tweeted last night, connecting the missed tip by the FBI to the Russia investigation. What's your reaction to that? Your response? We talked this hour yesterday about your feelings about the missed tip by the FBI about this shooter. Your thoughts on now how the president is framing this.

HUNSCHOFSKY: I hope that everyone involved will remember that there are people who are suffering here, that this is about this community and by "this community," I mean this community at large and the people affected here. I want to make sure that everybody's eyes stay focused on what really what happened here, what the long-term effects are going to be, and to keep that in mind when they are discussing this or looking for solutions.

BLACKWELL: All right. Mayor Christine Hunschofsky, thanks so much for being with us this morning. Of course, our thoughts are with you there in Parkland. Thank you.


BLACKWELL: All right. Another tweet just coming in from the president.

[07:45:02] Actually, two tweets there. But the president just a few moments ago, it seems like we are going back and forth here when I talked about Russia investigation.

He said: I never said Russia did not meddle in the election. I said it may be Russia or China or another country or group or it maybe a 400-pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer. The Russian hoax was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, it never did.

First, in that tweet, the president expresses what many in the intelligence community has said is the problem, is that there is no full-throated endorsement of the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community that it was Russia, not a 400-pound genius sitting on his bed, not China, it was Russia.

And in saying that he never said it was not Russia, Russia did not meddled, October of 2016 in "TIME" magazine. The president, quote, said --

MARSH: No, November.

BLACKWELL: Yes, November?

MARSH: Yes, 2016. He essentially said he didn't believe that they interfered.


MARSH: That was -- that was the "TIME" magazine article in November of 2016.

BLACKWELL: All right. Thanks for being with us.

Tonight, CNN is airing new episodes of the original series "THE RADICAL STORY OF PATTY HEARST." The series looks at a transformation from a rich young woman to a bank robbing member of a terrorist group. Listen as a member of that group that kidnapped her back in 1974 gives his take on how well she fit in as a bank robber.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) after freak. People freeze in certain situations. Patricia Hearst is not the kind of person that freezes ever. I think she was spectacular and I think it was obvious. It was obvious for her to freeze.

Everybody had a sidearm and her performing admirably in a bank robbery gives her the gun, which was originally the side-arm of the security guard of Hibernia Bank, now she has a sidearm as well. Patricia was 100 percent equal member in this cell. She had the same responsibilities we did. We weren't making her do anything against her will. At that point, it was against her will to go home.


MARSH: Well, new episodes of the CNN original series "THE RADICAL STORY OF PATTY HEARST" airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.



[07:51:59] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vision boarding is the process of taking your visions for your life or your relationships and putting it on a board in the form of pictures, in the form of words. When you focus your attention on certain things, you will take action toward those things. Pictures are more powerful than just putting a to-do list on the wall. Whenever we work with a couple, we do a love vision board. It gets the couple on the same page.

CHRISTIAN HOLMAN, COMMUNITY RELATIONS DIRECTOR: We're engaged to be married later this year. I thought it was only engagement for my vision. We first talked about our goals. They made us plan. They made us talk about things that made me uncomfortable. In our vision board, we have to buy a new home.

MARK STRINGFELLOW, ENTREPRENEUR: We have like the 30k goal for savings. We have a big sign that says vegan.

HOLMAN: So, try new green every week. My son Brian, he has a fear of riding bikes. So, we have a huge bike on our board.

STRINGFELLOW: We look to our board on a daily message honestly to draw an inspiration. It makes them more tangible and real.

HOLMAN: We're well on our way to pass our savings goal for the year and we are set to close on that home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fact that you envision what you want to see in your life, you draw that into your life.


MARSH: So, we are midway through the Winter Olympics.

"WORLD SPORTS'" Amanda Davis joins us this morning from Pyeongchang.

BLACKWELL: Now, Amanda, it was not the best day for the American athletes.

AMANDA DAVIS, CNN WORLD SPORT: No, I'm afraid not. That is certainly fair to say. You may remember it was four years ago in Sochi that it was the men's ski slope style that saw a clean sweep on the podium but no such success today. There was a silver for Nick Goepper. He dug deep in his third and final run. He said he pictured himself landing on the last jump with his arms open screaming, that is what happened as he took the USA's 10th medal of the game.

Disappointment, though, for the 2014 silver medalist Gus Kenworthy. He woke up to a tweet from Britney Spears sending him good luck but sadly it did not do the trick. He finished well out to the medals in 12.

Ted Ligety has been on social media as well, brushing aside his poor run in the giant slalom, posting this picture with his son afterwards saying, he is the bright spot on the day. He said his son Jax couldn't care less that he had a bad day at work. But as you can say, he used more colorful language. Super Ted certainly struggled to live up to his name, maybe -- just maybe time and injury catching up with him. He finished 15th in the event he won four years ago.

Instead, it was Austria's Marcel Hirscher who took gold, his second gold in two races, strengthening his argument as the best skier in the world at the moment.

They do say you learn a lot about someone from how they respond to defeat, don't they, and former gold medalist Lindsey Vonn hasn't just had to deal with finishing sixth in the women super-g, but also a barrage of abuse on social media.

[07:55:06] You may remember that Vonn told CNN in an interview at the end of last year, she wouldn't accept an invitation to the White House from President Trump if she was to receive one and it seems his supporters have not the forgotten it. The 33-year-old tweeted about her frustration at her performance and then received a host of replies celebrating her defeat. She's responded by saying she's been hurt by the anti-American accusations and will be hoping to let her skiing do the talking when she goes for gold in the downhill next week.

Back to you.

MARSH: Amanda, thank you. Thanks for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS", Nia-Malika Henderson is in the chair. It's coming up after a quick break.