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Soon: Trump Talks School Safety with State & Local Officials; FBI: Call Center Didn't Follow Protocol on Shooter Tip; School Security Camera Misled Cops Tracking Shooter; McMaster Could Leave White House Over Tension with Trump. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired February 22, 2018 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] MARGARET TALEV, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: -- a desire to show the families, the victims, that they don't want to politicize this issue. It may get politicized later, seems like it always does. In the initial days, the very powerful visuals and remarks from these children and their parents has caused many Democrats to say we want to work with the president, not against him, and has caused the White House and some Republicans like Rubio to say, what can we do, basically, how do we keep the base and appeal to these people as well.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Phil, Senator Rubio made big predictions last night. I'm curious what you think about these. This is about action that can be taken almost immediately beginning on Monday. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R), FLORIDA: On Monday, when we return to Washington, D.C., we're going to try to do this thing called unanimous consent where you don't have a vote, it is just unless any Senator objects, it passes the law to fix the background check. I believe there are 60 votes to ban bump stocks. I believe we could potentially have 60 votes at the federal level to change the age from 18 to 21 on the purchase of any rifles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: I'm struggling to see unanimous consent where everyone agrees on that first thing Rubio is talking about. I wonder what you think about his assessment.
KEILAR: But everyone agrees --
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The reason why the bill that Senator Rubio is talking about, it is not an expansion to the background check system, it is an incentive for people to better comply with the existing law right now. The reason why it hasn't moved anywhere in the Senate up to this point is because there are Senators that object to it. It strikes me as a little bit unlikely. I think the most interesting thing, Senator Rubio, a key point I don't
think he intended to, the reason we're trying to predict and see where everybody is going to go on this is because Congress is out of town. This can go away very quickly when lawmakers get back and you start talking. The Republicans traditionally, in situations like this, are very quiet, waiting --
KEILAR: They're waiting for the window that Margaret is talking about, right now there is a window. In a way they're waiting, it seems, for where public opinion settles, right? When that window closes, right?
MATTINGLY: I think also -- this is in dealing with the Republican comments about the House and the Senate every single day. Understand this isn't necessarily one -- they understand the political moment, right now. They're not -- also, this isn't something where I think the -- the misconception important when trying to understand where Republicans are on this, is the NRA is telling them how to vote, when to vote, where to vote. The NRA is people power. The NRA is their constituents. And also, I think it is important to note these are beliefs. These are things they're doing because they're getting campaign check for the most part. These are things they firmly either grew up or became political with the idea that Second Amendment rights and the importance of those things, the idea they're going to back off where they are, because of what has happened, the last 20 years has shown that's not actually the case. Which makes major systemic changes in a Republican-led Congress and Republican-led White House somewhat unlikely.
The wild card here -- that's why your point on Congressman Jim Himes is so important -- the president is the wild card. The president had the support of the NRA, made clear throughout the campaign, I covered and all of us covered about guns, very clear on his position on that. He potentially opens doors. Not to major changes, but to doing something. The question becomes, will the Republican conferences follow him if he goes down that pathway, or does what up to this point has been an ambiguous endorsement of various ideas that maybe substantive or may not be at all start to fade away as this moment passes.
KEILAR: It is important to note the Democrats are not blameless in this inaction. This was an issue that Jake Tapper brought up last night. Le let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Rubio, can you tell me right now you will in the accept a single donation from the NRA?
RUBIO: No, the answer to the question is that people buy into my agenda. And I do support the Second Amendment and also support the right of you and everyone here to be able to go to school and be safe. I will do what I think is right and if people want to support my
agenda, they're welcome to do so, but they buy into my idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Let's listen. This is what Take tapper asked Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, THE LEAD: Senator Nelson, was that a mistake by your party?
SEN. BILL NELSON, (D), FLORIDA: Yes. When the Senate had 60 votes, as we did, until Ted Kennedy died, that's how we got the Affordable Care Act passed. And, yes, gun legislation under those circumstances should have been considered because there had been a lot of massacres up to that point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: That was the question -- the question was about, hey, you know, Democrats were in charge of the White House in both chambers with a filibuster proof majority and didn't get this done.
MATTINGLY: What's interesting is they didn't -- while they had 60 Democrats in the Senate, they didn't have 60 Democrats to vote for some of these issues.
KEILAR: That's a very good point.
[11:35:00] MATTINGLY: This also is a key point at this moment now of why a lot of Democrats I've talked to on the campaign side are saying, we need to be careful about how we approach this, particularly if it has no future in the House. We're just going to get a long Senate debate, taking a bunch of difficult votes. There are 10 Democrats up for re-election in 2018 that come from states that President Trump won. A lot of them voted for the background check bill in 2018. I think the Democratic Party moved in the direction on gun restrictions that perhaps they weren't in past years. Democrats aren't all unified on this issue. Democrats come from states that have different constituencies. They're not all the same. They're not all New York or Washington or California. And I think that's important to note, just because you have 60 votes on something, doesn't mean your caucus is going to be unified.
KEILAR: Such an important point that you --
TALEV: -- he gives cover to.
KEILAR: Such an important point in all of this debate that is not just on party lines. Thank you so much, Nia, Phil and Margaret. Really appreciate it.
We have breaking news here in the CNN. The FBI deputy director now admitting that processes for tips for -- for tips to the FBI were not followed in the case of the Florida school shooter.
Laura Jarrett is at the Justice Department with more on this.
Laura, what happened?
LAURA JARRETT, CNN REPORTER: Well, hey there, Brianna. The FBI's new deputy director, David Bowdich, told reporters at a press conference just a short time ago that mistakes were made, and that the processes were simply not followed on that missed tip in early January on the Parkland shooter. He went on to explain he actually visited the call center in western Virginia himself, he thought everything looked professional there. But he acknowledged that a mistake was made. He said we know that. He went on to say he's not making excuses, and that this is obviously a terrible tragedy, he acknowledged that. And that he's also in the process of getting briefed. He will learn more about what happened here in the coming days and weeks.
He was also asked about the NRA's attacks on the FBI just this morning. And he sort of batted those away and said the bureau is doing everything it can to regain the trust of the American people, but acknowledged that there is an issue here and that those -- some of those have lost confidence -- Brianna?
KEILAR: So, Laura, we don't know what the mistake was made, but it stands to reason that you had folks who called the FBI tip line, information should have been passed on, and clearly information was either not passed on, which is what it sounds like here, and ultimately was not acted on.
JARRETT: Exactly. And he wouldn't go into the exact details of where the breakdown was, citing this ongoing review. But certainly acknowledged that the processes weren't followed and this was a miss -- Brianna?
KEILAR: It was a miss.
Laura Jarrett, at the Justice Department, thank you.
Coming up, the security camera problem that reportedly misled police as they responded to the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School. We'll have details on that ahead.
[11:42:08] KEILAR: We're learning some more details about the police response to the Florida school shooting. According to reports, the school security camera may have initially misled officers.
CNN's Kaylee Hartung joining me with this.
Kaylee, what have you learned? KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, we're learning of serious
confusion experienced by law enforcement and first responders here last Wednesday. The Coral Springs police chief telling the "Orlando Sun Sentinel" that the Broward County school surveillance cameras were on a 20-minute delay. That means in the pursuit of the suspect, while they thought they were looking at real-time video of where they could find him, they weren't. Those images were 20 minutes old.
I want to play a clip of the radio traffic that afternoon. Let's time stamp it 2:54. Listen to what you hear and I'll put it into context.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER (voice-over): They're monitoring the subject right now. He went from the third floor to the second floor.
Third to the second floor. He may have a gas mask on now. Stand by for further. They're monitoring him on camera.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARTUNG: You hear that, police believing they are seeing real-time images of the shooter, going from the third floor to the second floor. And that was at 2:54. When you look back at the log that investigators gave us very early, after the event, it was at 2:21 the suspect began shooting, and 2:28 that the suspect exited the building.
So in that moment, Brianna, that we just played for you, police thinking they could be getting ready for a confrontation with the shooter. Psychologically preparing themselves for a gunfight, when in fact at that time the shooter, again, according to this initial timeline we were given, was at the Walmart, purchasing a drink from subway.
KEILAR: Oh, my goodness.
All right, Kaylee Hartung in Parkland, Florida, thank you so much.
The tension between the president -- and this is another story we're covering today -- and his national security adviser may have finally come to a head. Why H.R. McMaster could be leaving the White House and who may throw him a lifeline.
[11:48:36] KEILAR: National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster might exit the White House after months of tension with the president, several sources are telling CNN. They added that the Pentagon is quietly looking for a four-star military job that he may be eased into, quietly, perhaps, not quietly enough.
Let me bring in Barbara Starr to tell us about this.
What is going on, Barbara. BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brianna. Well, it
would, in fact, be a promotion at the White House, McMaster is a three-star Army general. If they can find a fourth star job for him, he would likely be moved possibly this summer, several officials are telling CNN. Many officials are emphasizing that there are tensions between the president and McMaster, the briefing styles that McMaster has don't really resonate with the president. But other people, White House officials, who strongly defend McMaster and say the president is not firing him, that this, in fact, would be a promotion.
Here is one of the political wrinkles inside the Pentagon about if you move McMaster back into a full time military job. He's been essentially working as a political person in the White House. He, you know, would probably tell you, he tries to stay out of politics, but let's face it, NSC, national security adviser, is a political national security adviser job to the president. So if he comes back to the Pentagon, can he really function as a full-time general, offering his best military advice or would he potentially be seen inside the ranks as a political operative? It's a delicate but important point, because this coming year will be very important. President Trump may face making decisions about everything from North Korea to Iran, so having people around him that he wants is going to be important. Who replaces McMaster is something that nobody is even speculating on at this point -- Brianna?
[11:50:34] KEILAR: Wow.
Barbara Starr, at the Pentagon, thank you so much for that report.
Let's talk about it with Nia-Malika Henderson and Margaret Talev, back with us.
Margaret, is this what you're hearing? Is this the expectation, that -- I just think of all the times we've heard that President Trump isn't happy with H.R. McMaster, but it seems perhaps this is different.
TALEV: From the minute H.R. McMaster got there, one of the sub-story lines that's been consistent all the way through is he wants his fourth star, this could be the path to his fourth star, this could delay the fourth star, is it going to make it easier to get the fourth star, will he go to Korea to get the fourth star, will he go to Afghanistan to get the fourth star? President Trump loves him. But the bottom line, when you look back at the incredible 13 months that have passed since the start of this administration is that H.R. McMaster came in and saved the national security council and President Trump's ability to chase disaster. He's not universally liked. There's tensions with the State Department, tensions with the Pentagon, tensions with the president himself. A competent staff has worked with the president in a political sense. Some say he's supportive of President Trump, given President Trump encouragement in some areas, like rhetoric on North Korea, but it's also fostered the way to do his job is the president wants a plan for something to come up with that plan. Is McMaster going to leave? Maybe. I think so. Is he trying to leave right now? I don't think so.
KEILAR: Is he trying to leave right now. This sounds more like, here you go, sir.
TALEV: And when he does eventually depart, because national security advisors do eventually depart, it's a very stressful job, he has two options, one, to go back to the military and complete that fourth star, and the other is to go into the private sector. I don't think we have a clear timetable for any of this, but it is clear there are certainly nods for McMaster both outside the administration and inside the administration.
KEILAR: If he leaves soon, Nia, that is a lot of people leaving in a short amount of time.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: The question, I think, for McMaster is, is he just the latest person on this list that has included Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions, and from time to time, John Kelly, people that the president falls in and out of love with. And there's also speculation among the chattering classes and folks who dover this on whether or not they'll say how long their tenure will be. So is this different from that? What Margaret is telling us is McMaster himself might be wanting to leave and get a fourth star at some point, but I think this overarching point of it would be a difficult move, it would be -- impinge the consistency of foreign policy, and then the question of who replaces him.
TALEV: That may be the most important question.
HENDERSON: That's been a question of all of these positions. Who wants to join the Trump administration which at times has been buffeted by lots of controversy? Can they find someone who would want to step in?
KEILAR: Barbara makes the point that -- he has been a political operator in some very key ways. I think of how he defended President Trump when the president disclosed classified information to the Russians in the Oval Office. That was something that McMaster came out in very political language to give him some cover on it. How does he go back to an allegedly apolitical position?
HENDERSON: Right, we remember that. He came in front of the cameras right outside the Oval Office and said, this is OK. This is what the president can do. The president can reveal what he wants to reveal whenever he wants to reveal it. That's the question. You probably have more reporting on that in terms of what it would mean for him to go back into the military after --
KEILAR: I want to ask you, who --
KEILAR: -- who would it be, then, Margaret?
TALEV: I don't know.
TALEV: I think when we start hearing the consistent leaking and floating on that, we'll know this is real. I don't think we know enough right now to say. You know, every time John Bolton has a meeting with the president, there is a flurry of speculation, oh, is John Bolton the next national security adviser? That hasn't panned out so far. What does the president want in a national security adviser? Does he want him to pull him into conflict, keep him out of conflict, take a neutral position, be a facilitator, be more political? Until the president knows and articulates what he wants, I don't think we can know the answer to that question.
[11:55:22] KEILAR: Margaret Talev, Nia-Malika Henderson, thank you so much to both of you. Really appreciate it.
Any minute now, President Trump will be speaking to state and local officials at the White House about school safety and how to protect America's schools. Stay with us for that.
[12:00:08] DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Dana Bash, in for John King.
President Trump meets today with Florida officials --