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Florida Shooting Drive Students for Gun Reform Laws; Netanyahu's Former Right-hand Now a State Witness; Eastern Ghouta a Hell on Earth. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired February 22, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: The demand for gun reform. Families and friends of the Florida shooting victims confront and question their lawmakers.
The head of the United Nations says eastern Ghouta is hell on earth. Ramped-up bombardments killing hundreds and those who survive are living in terror.
And a new voice in the corruption case against Benjamin Netanyahu. A second close confidant has agreed to testify.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.
It has been one week since the shooting massacre at a Florida high school, and students, parents, and teachers are demanding action. Their anger and frustration were on full display at a CNN town hall on guns in America.
In cities through the U.S. students walked out of their classrooms. In Florida alone, some walked more than 16 kilometers to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as a show of sport for students there. And in the Florida state capitol building student activists met with their elected representatives. Others outside chanted vote them out at lawmakers who fail to act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH CHADWICK, FLORIDA SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Never again should a child be afraid to go to school. Never again should students have to protest for their lives. Never again should an innocent life be taken while trying to gain an education. And never again should I feel guilty to alive because Peter, Carmen, Scott, Feis, Hixon, Meadow, Jaime, Alyssa, Joaquin, Helena, Nick, Alaina, Cara, Martin, Luke, Gina, and Alex are not. That is why we've organized this revolution - for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: At the CNN town hall in Florida students and parents confronted their congressmen and senators. Many asked why lawmakers he not taken any action to ban military-style assault weapons like the one used in last week's shooting.
Fred Guttenberg's daughter, Jaime was among the 17 people killed in that massacre. He pressed republican Senator Marco Rubio to admit guns are at the root of the problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED GUTTENBERG, JAMIE GUTTENBERG'S FATHER: Your comments this week and those of our president have been pathetically weak.
So, you and I are now eye to eye. Because I want to like you. Look at me and tell me guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids in the school this week. And look at me and tell me you accept it and you will work with us to do something about guns.
MARCO RUBIO, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: I'm saying the problems that we're facing here today cannot be solved by gun laws alone. And I'm going to tell you what we've done already and what I hope we'll do moving forward.
GUTTENBERG: Were guns the factor...
RUBIO: Absolutely. Of course they were.
GUTTENBERG: Is the weapon of choice? Can you say that?
RUBIO: Number one, Fred, I absolutely believe that in this country if you are 18 years of age you should not be able to buy a rifle and I will support a law that takes that right away.
RUBIO: Now, I think what you're asking about is the assault weapons ban.
GUTTENBERG: Yes, sir.
RUBIO: So let me be honest with you about that one, if I believed that that law would have prevented this from happening, I would support it. But I want to explain to you why it would not.
GUTTENBERG: Senor Rubio, my daughter, running down the hallway at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, was shot in the back.
RUBIO: Yes, sir.
GUTTENBERG: With an assault weapon. The weapon of choice, OK?
RUBIO: Yes, sir.
GUTTENBERG: It is too easy to get. It is a weapon of war. The fact that you can't stand with everybody in this building and say that, I'm sorry.
RUBIO: Sir, I do believe what you're saying is true.
I do believe what you're saying is true. I believe that someone like this individual and anyone like him shouldn't have any gun. Not this gun. Any gun. But I want to explain to you for a moment the problem with the law that they call the assault weapons ban.
And if you'll give me -- and indulge me for a minute to explain to you the problem. First you have to define what it is. If you look at the law and its definition, it basically bans 200 models of gun -- about 220 specific models of gun.
[03:05:02] GUTTENBERG: Good. Good.
RUBIO: OK? But it makes -- but it allows legal 2,000 other types of gun that are identical, identical. In the way that they function and how fast they fire, in the type of caliber that they fire, in the way they perform they are indistinguishable from the ones that become illegal.
And the only thing that separates the two types, the only thing that separates the two types is that you put a plastic handle grip on one it become banned, if it doesn't have a plastic handle grip it does not become banned. So let me explain if I may just for a moment more.
GUTTENBERG: Are you saying...
RUBIO: The problem (Inaudible)
GUTTENBERG: Are you saying you will start with the 200 and work your way up?
RUBIO: I would say -- I would explain to you what has happened.
GUTTENBERG: It's a place to start. We can do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And Senator Rubio was also on the defensive when a student who survived the shooting asked him to refuse contributions from the National Rifle Association.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Rubio, it's hard to look at you and not look down the barrel of an AR-15 and not look at Nikolas Cruz. But the point is you're here and there are some people who are not.
And I need to ask two things of you. Number one, Chris Grady, can you stand up? This is my friend who's going into the military. I need you to tell him that he's going to live to make it to serve our country.
And then we'll get to the other one.
RUBIO: Not only are you're going to live to serve our country, you and you and all of you have a change to change our country, change not just our laws but the way we talk about our laws. So, absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Rubio, can you call me right now what you will not accept a single donation from the NRA in the future?
RUBIO: The positions I hold on these issues of the second amendment I've held since the day I entered office in the city of West Miami as an elected official. Number two, no -- the answer to the question is that people buy into my agenda. And I do support the second amendment. And I also support the right of you and everyone here to be able to go to school and be safe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the name of 17 people you cannot ask the NRA to keep their money out of your campaign?
RUBIO: I think in the name of 17 people I can pledge to you that I will support any law that will prevent a killer like this...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, but I'm talking about NRA money.
RUBIO: No. Because...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a matter of fact, I bet we can get people in here to give you exactly as much money as the NRA would have.
RUBIO: I understand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you stand up if you'll write your name to that real quick? OK, not a lot but we'll do it.
(CROSSTALK) RUNIO: You're right about that. There's money on both sides of every issue in America. And where that leaves us in policy making is to look at the issues and make a decision based on what we think is right.
But ultimately, look, the first amendment is as important as the second. And therefore, you have every right to ask that question of me, and I'm here to tell you that I will...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to be accepting money from the NRA in the future?
RUBIO: I've always supported -- I will always accept the help of anybody who agrees with my agenda. But my agenda is -- I'll give you perfect example.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your agenda is protecting us, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association also got a frosty reception. Dana Loesch said a broken background check system allowed the shooter to buy his gun. Some in the crowd shouted "you're a murderer."
Michael Genovese joins me now. Thank you so much for being part of this conversation. Now, when you watch these young people from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, do you think they will achieve what no one else has in this country so far? Some level of gun reform in America.
MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: First, what a great public service CNN has done to air this. And who else but CNN could bring this together?
And it highlighted both the pain of these students but also the incredible determination and the polish and poise of these young -- they're kids. And they've been through utter horror and yet they've come out the other end determined, clear-minded.
They have an agenda. They're act -- acting in a very responsible way. Having said that, if past is prelude, very little will happen. Most likely the low-hanging fruit could be picked off. But in terms of fundamental major change, that's very, very difficult.
CHURCH: That is very disillusioning. Certainly for most of us watching this debate and for these you people who've put so much blood and tears into this whole debate. And most people feeling that the country is at some sort of turning point. But you don't think very much will come of this.
GENOVESE: Well, I think something will come of it. I think the agenda has shifted. The kind of political possibilities have opened up. But you have to remember that the forces against change are very powerful in the United States and they are very well organized in the form of the National Rifle Association, very well funded.
[03:10:02] And the Republican Party -- and I don't mean to be overly partisan, but they are almost a wholly owned subsidiary of the NRA.
They have to break that bond if we're going to make some changes. Since they control the House and the Senate, and the White House. President Trump may want to push for some reforms. They're going to get pushback from the House and the Senate. And so I am cautiously optimistic but not very optimistic about getting fundamental change here.
CHURCH: I do want you to just listen for a moment to an exchange from the CNN town hall between Congressman Ted Deutch and Senator Marco Rubio about an assault weapon ban. Let's just listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED DEUTCH, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: If there is a problem with the assault weapons ban, which by the way when it expired, let's be clear, mass shootings went up 200 percent in the decade after the assault weapons ban expired.
But if there is a problem with the way that was written, if there were too many loopholes for people trying to get around it to utilize, then let's bring up the assault weapons ban and close all those loopholes so that we have a bill that keeps people safe.
RUBIO: It's not the loopholes. It's the problem that once you start looking at how easy it is to get around it you would literally have to ban every semi-automatic rifle that's sold in America.
But my colleagues do not support banning every semi-automatic rifle sold in America.
DEUTCH: I believe -- I believe that the idea that a gunman like this could march down the halls of Stoneman Douglas High School and fire off 150 rounds in six or seven minutes, that gun should be banned. There is no reason anybody should own one of those.
RUBIO: And that is a very valid point. But my point is that under the law that you support there would still be 2,000 guns that were legal that could do the exact same thing.
DEUTCH: Well, then let's sit down and figure out what they are so we can ensure...
RUBIO: I know, but look, this is an important discussion because now you're seeing what the debate is about the assault weapons ban.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Michael Genovese, your reaction to that exchange.
GENOVESE: They put Senator Rubio in a very difficult position. He takes a lot of money from the National Rifle Association. He opposes a number of the reforms that might make a big difference. But now the pressure is on him. It's his home state. People are not going to accept politics as usual.
The problem is politics as usual in Washington means that money often talks. And as long as the National Rifle Association, as well organized as they are, well funded as they are, and willing to pick and choose the people they give money to be in a position to block legislation, they're going to have a tremendous amount of power.
And Senator Rubio is going to have to make a decision, is he going to take that leap against the NRA, which would be politically difficult to do, or is he going to stay under their control and maybe suffer some significant political blowback in his own home state?
CHURCH: Yes, it's going to be a tough cause ahead for sure. There seems to be some sort of agreement at least on tougher background checks but on any ban on these semi-automatic or automatic weapons, they are a long way away and very far apart, aren't they?
Michael Genovese, thank you so much for joining us and talking about this issue.
GENOVESE: Thank you.
CHURCH: Well, President Trump declined CNN's invitation to attend that town hall. Instead, he held a listening session at the White House with students and parents affected by school shootings.
Survivors from last week's massacre in Florida were there along with families who lost children in Columbine and Sandy Hook. A photographer captured a close-up of a note card in the president's hand with what appeared to be scripted talking points among them, I hear you. Mr. Trump didn't appear to use the prompts, but he did say arming teachers would help stop school shootings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This would only be obviously for people that are very adept at handling a gun. And it would be -- it's called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them.
They'd go for special training. And they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone. Gun-free zone to a maniac, because they're all cowards, a gun-free zone is let's go in and let's attack because bullets aren't coming back at us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Now, some of those at the White House expressed support for the president's plan, but for many it was a chance to remember their loved ones and have their voices heard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm only 15 years old, I'm a sophomore. Nineteen years ago the first school shooting, Columbine, at Columbine High School happened.
[03:15:04] And I was born into a world where I never got to experience safety and peace. There needs to be significant change in this country because this has to never happen again.
ANDREW POLLACK, MEADOW POLLACK'S FATHER: We're here because my daughter has no voice. She was murdered last week and she was taken from us. Shot nine times on the third floor. We, as a country failed our children this shouldn't happen.
How many schools, how many children have to get shot it stopped here with this administration and me? I'm not going to -- I'm not going to sleep until it's fixed. And Mr. President, we're going to fix it because I'm going to -- I'm going to fix it. I'm not going to rest.
And look, my boys need to live with this. I want to see everyone -- you guys look at this. Me, I'm a man. But to see your children go through this bury their sister. So we -- that's why I keep saying, this because I want it to sink in. Not forget about this. We can't forget about it.
These -- all the school shootings. It doesn't make sense. Fix it. There should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it! And I'm pissed! Because my daughter I'm not going to see again. She's not here. She's not here. She's not here. She's at -- in North Lauderdale at whatever it is. King David Cemetery. That's where I go to see my kid now.
SAMUEL ZEIF, FLORIDA SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I turned 18 the day after. Woke up to the news that my best friend was gone. And I don't understand why I could still go in a store and buy a weapon of war, an AR.
I was reading today that a person 20 years old walked into a store and bought an AR-15 in five minutes with an expired I.D. How is it that easy to buy this type of weapon? How did we not stop this after Columbine, after Sandy Hook? I'm sitting with a mother that lost her son. It's still happening.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My story is far too well known. I had two sons who were at Sandy Hook school. My eldest, who was 8 at the time, survived, and my 6-year-old son Dylan did not. And I have been working tirelessly on this issue for over five years now.
The organization that I help lead, Sandy Hook promise, is very focused on keeping kids safe at school because no parent should go through this. Every parent who sends their kid to school should know without any question in their mind that they're going to be coming home that day.
And I implore you, consider your own children. You don't want to be me. No parent does. And you have the ability to make a difference and save lives today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Some heart-wrenching stories there. And still ahead this hour we will hear from a Florida school shooting survivor who was on stage at the CNN town hall. What she says will make her feel safe enough to back to school.
And we'll take a short break. And then desperate people are trapped in what the U.N. is calling a monstrous campaign of annihilation in Syria.
Plus growing legal worries for the Israeli prime minister, one of his closest former aides now telling police what he knows. We're back with that in just a moment.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Well, people who live in Syria's eastern Ghouta suburb say they are waiting for their turn to die. Activists say regime shelling and air strikes have killed more than 300 people in three days. The U.N. is calling for an immediate end to attacks on the rebel-held enclave.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS: I am deeply saddened by the terrible suffering of the civilian population in eastern Ghouta. Four hundred thousand people that live in hell, on earth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The bombardment has sent eastern Ghouta's people underground.
Sam Kiley reports on life for the enclave's children. And we must warn you, some of the images are disturbing.
SAM KILEY, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: These children have lost their relatives to war. They now live underground, singing to keep hope, any hope, alive.
Above her east Ghouta is being ground down, literally. A death toll of close to 100 a day. Carnage on the edge of Syria's capital unleashed by Syria's president. And as ever, many of his victims are Syria's children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Smiles have disappeared. But our duty as the future children's center is to visit orphanages during relatively safe times and help them forget what's happening, give them two hours of fun.
KILEY: A new bombardment by their government is driving Ghouta's citizens to live where only rats have flourished. Even the newly born are taken beneath the earth. Here rebel-held east Ghouta's only neonatal unit has been moved into a basement. It's an unforgiving kind of safety.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The cold is killing the children. They're barely surviving. We have only eight incubators and one intensive care room. Some we put the children on chairs.
KILEY: East Ghouta, a rebel stronghold on the edge of Syria's capital Damascus, has been besieged for nearly five years. Food is short. Medicinal supplies so rare the staff have resorted to recycling.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We have reached the point of not only using expired medicines but of also recycling medical supplies. Sometimes we reuse the syringes.
KILEY: Meanwhile, in its latest propaganda video, the Syrian government has pledged to destroy the rebels in their enclaves. The leader of the unit known as tiger force said, "I promise I will teach them a lesson in combat and in fire. You won't find a rescuer, and if you do you will be rescued with water like boiling oil. You'll be rescued with blood."
Sentiments that may haunt this child for the rest of his life.
Sam Kiley, CNN, Abu Dhabi.
CHURCH: Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his inner circle are now entangled in at least five criminal investigations. The prime minister dismisses them as a witch hunt.
But the man once considered his right-hand man, Shlomo Filber has now turned state's witness.
Our Oren Liebermann is following these developments for us from Jerusalem. He joins us now live. So what would Shlomo Filber reveal? What has he revealed so far about his time with the Israeli prime minister?
[03:25:05] OREN LIEBERMANN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, the details of what he's told the prosecutor's office in this agreement remains under a gag order at this point but it's the potential to implicate Netanyahu in what's known locally as case 4000 that makes this such a big deal, perhaps the biggest blow to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the beginning of these corruption investigations about a year and a half ago. Filber could play a key part in case 4000 because not only he was
Netanyahu's right-hand man but also in his position in this investigation which focuses on the relationship between the ministry of communications and Israeli telecom firm Bezek.
It was Filber that was the director general of the ministry of communications, giving him an intimate knowledge of the relationship between the ministry and Bezek as well as Netanyahu's role in that ministry when he was acting as the ministry of communications. That's why Filber turning state's witness is such a big deal here in a case in which Netanyahu has not been named a suspect at this point. It could be Filber's testimony that changes that.
Netanyahu per usual insists he did nothing wrong and says all of the actions of the ministry in regards to Bezek were professional and appropriate. Rosemary?
CHURCH: So Oren, how bad could this all prove to be in the end for Netanyahu with his ex-aide turning state's witness and five criminal investigations?
LIEBERMANN: In terms of worst-case scenario this could end up with an indictment against the prime minister and jail time. That's a long way away because we're waiting for the attorney general to make his decision on whether to indict. And that decision alone could take months.
There are certainly here talking about the beginning of the end of Netanyahu. Critically, he has coalition support at this point. His key partners have said they'll wait to see what the attorney general decides. But the language is shifting. More and more are coming out and saying if the attorney general decides to indict we'll withdraw our support for the prime minister.
That would topple Netanyahu's government, likely lead to elections, and we'll see where it goes from there. I don't want to talk too much about where this ends for Netanyahu because we're not there yet. Netanyahu still has the support of his coalition partners even as the investigations get closer and closer to the prime minister himself.
CHURCH: All right. We'll see what happens. We're following it closely. Oren Liebermann, many thanks to you. Joining us from Jerusalem, where it is nearly 10.30 in the morning.
We'll take a short break here. But still to come, students and parents demand action one week after the Florida school shooting. We will hear from one young woman who took part in CNN's town hall on guns in America. That's still to come. We'll hear what she has to say.
Plus Donald Trump Jr. pushes back against critics over his business trip to India.
We're back in just a moment.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) [03:30:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you on the main stories we've been following this hour. The U.N. Secretary-general is calling for an immediate end to the attack on eastern Ghouta. The bombardment of the rebel held enclave near the Syrian capital has intensified recently. Activists say regime air strikes have killed 300 people in three days. Trapped residents are retreating to underground shelters. They have little food or water.
U.S. President Donald Trump says arming teachers would help stop school shootings. He held a listening session with students and parents affected by the massacres in Parkland, Florida and new town, Connecticut. Mr. Trump also called for more mental institutions and hospitals.
Survivors of the Florida school shooting are demanding action on military-style assault weapons. At a CNN town hall they also urged politicians to stop accepting campaign contributions from the powerful pro-gun lobby group the National Rifle Association.
I'm joined now by Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school student Carly Novell. She was at the CNN town hall in Sunrise, Florida on Wednesday night on the stage there Carly, good to talk with you again. Great to see you. What did you think of the town hall discussion? Did you feel some progress was made in finding some consensus on gun reform?
CARLY NOVELL, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Good to see you, Rosemary. I think that talking about it with lawmakers, especially Marco Rubio, who came here even though he doesn't necessarily share the same views as most of the people right now, I think it brought both parties together and showed that it wasn't just a Republican and Democrat issue, it was an issue for the entire population, no matter what Party and I think that itself is progress.
CHURCH: There did appear to be agreement on supporting broader background checks and listing the age of prospective semi-automatic gun buyers, changes that could happen within weeks according to Republican Senator Marco Rubio. If these gun reforms are made, would that be enough to make you feel safe going back to school?
NOVELL: I don't think that is enough. I think there's still a long way to go. But it's a good start. And if it happens in the next few weeks, that is amazing, because from seeing how slow the government moves after so many years it would be amazing to see progress in a legislative standpoint in the next few weeks, and I hope this happens.
CHURCH: Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, he went further suggesting a ban on all assault weapons. Is that what you would prefer to see?
NOVELL: Personally, I would like to see that. I don't think there's a need or assault weapons. I think they're made to kill people. And they aren't made to protect yourself. In the case of danger they're made to kill people, and that should only be used by military or law enforcement in the most extreme cases. CHURCH: And after talking with a group of grieving parents and
students from your school and from Sandy Hook elementary, President Donald Trump suggested teachers be armed. What's your reaction to that suggestion?
NOVELL: I don't think it makes sense for teachers to be armed. I think that would most likely cause more danger. If you want a teacher who is just there to teach their students to engage in a shootout if there's a case of a shooter, that is not what they're prepared for and even with training it just doesn't seem realistic. And we also don't have the funds for that.
CHURCH: And Mr. Trump also suggested banning bump stocks and doing tougher background checks. Does that make you feel confident that he might do something to improve gun controls, gun reform going forward?
NOVELL: It makes me optimistic. I don't know if he is doing that and saying that just for the people or if he is actually going to do something. But it does make me feel optimistic that something will change.
CHURCH: Carly Novell, thank you again for joining this conversation.
NOVELL: Thank you so much.
CHURCH: I think the whole of the United States and indeed the world is watching you, your other students, your fellow students, and you are an incredible bunch of young people. You are this country's future leaders. Thank you.
NOVELL: Thank you. Great to speak to you again.
[03:35:00] CHURCH: Incredible. And if you missed that town hall or if you'd like to see it again, we're airing it one more time. "Stand up, the students of Stoneman Douglas demand action" starts at the top of the hour.
Well, Donald Trump Jr. is in India right now, where he is dismissing accusations he is profiting from his father's presidency. The U.S. President's eldest son is touring real estate the Trump organization has an interest in. 'He is also having dinner with buyers of Trump- branded apartments. He and his brother took over day-to-day operations of the Trump organization when his father became President. Critics say his trip is raising ethical concerns. John Defterios is monitoring developments from Mumbai. He joins us now live. So John, President Trump pushing the brand in Mumbai. What sort of stir is this causing?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, certainly the son is pushing that brand, Rosemary, right in the middle of the financial district. And for a sense of location, you can see the high-rises behind me. These are luxury high-rises, by the way, with apartments going for better than a million dollars, and that is where Donald Trump Jr. was this morning. He held a small event with a very big developer called the LODA group. And this is an extremely large project, even by standards of the Trump organization. It's a tall tower that we have video of here with 400 units and the average price going for $1.25 million.
A simple math is this is about a half a billion-dollar project for the LODA group here. But Donald Trump Jr. created some controversy by acknowledging the separation of wealth and poverty here in India, suggesting that the poor smiling Indians are very humble, but at the same time it contrasts against his pitch to the wealthy, offering private dinners for better than 30,000 if you buy a property you get special access to him. But Donald Trump Jr. was pushing back a little bit, saying that he didn't think that the pitch was over the top and suggesting they could do a lot more if they had more freedoms under the ethics voluntary act that the President has signed on to. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP JR., OLDEST SON OF DONALD TRUMP: There is the opportunity to close deals that we're not able to do that don't get discussed. When people talk about it these days, it's profiteering from the presidency and all this nonsense. I say wait a minute, I can't do deals I've spent over a decade creating a relationship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: I cannot do deals and I spent over a decade creating relationships. In fact, on this transaction here they signed the agreement with the Trump administration and the LODA group going back to 2013. But you can hear, Rosemary, in his short cut there the frustration, because he would actually like to do more, not less in India, and they already have five major projects on the table.
CHURCH: Unbelievable. And after a big splash with full-page ads in newspapers is the Trump organization trying to downplay the trip at this stage?
DEFTERIOS: Well, I'm reading between the lines here, Rosemary, but I think you make a very fair point. In the interviews with local television stations, and I should act they're very select few, for example, allowed into the photo opportunity which lasted less than a minute with no questions allowed. He did speak directly to a local channel expressing his frustration. But at the same time after splashing out with big full-page ads they're completely limiting the access to even the arrivals to the building this morning under tight security.
And then the Indians themselves, they don't see the controversy here on the ground, to be candid with you. Ivanka Trump visited at the end of November 2017 on an official capacity for the White House at a global entrepreneur's summit. Then we have Donald Trump Jr. coming on a business capacity for the Trump organization. But if you ask the average Indian or the average businessman or woman here in the streets of Mumbai and they don't get it. And why they see there's a premium in the Trump brand with the President sitting in the White House and the son running the organization. It seems unusual for us, but in this fast-growing emerging market they accept it, it seems.
CHURCH: Yes. I'm sure they do. John Defterios bringing us up to date on the situation from Mumbai in India where it is nearly 2:10 in the afternoon. We thank you.
Well, the future of Germany's diesel vehicles is hazy. An upcoming court decision will take a look at that.
Plus evangelist Billy Graham dies at the age of 99. A look back at his remarkable life.
[03:41:40] CHURCH: In just a few hours a German court will rule on a lawsuit that could mean the end of diesel cars in Europe. The court will decide whether German cities can ban heavily polluting cars in City centers. An environmental group filed suit after Volkswagen admitted to cheating on diesel exhaust tests. Other major European cities are planning to ban diesel cars from city centers in the coming years. And our Atika Shubert is in Stuttgart and joins us with the details on this. Atika, if the court decides to ban diesel cars, what impact would that potentially have on the German auto industry?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well it would have a huge impact. I mean the Germany has really built a lot of its economy on the automobile industry. Stuttgart, where I'm at now, is the home of Daimler, which of course makes Mercedes-Benzes, but was really precipitated this problem was the fact that not only the automobile industry but the government also just bet big on diesel as the new clean alternative to fuel. We now know of course that is not quite the case. And we actually had a chance to speak with residents in Stuttgart who are fighting back the sort of addiction to diesel and cars. Take a look.
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SHUBERT: K.S. Lucas loves his bike. He averages 250 kilometers a week in his home Stuttgart. But there is a problem.
K.S. LUCAS, CAR ENGINEER: I could smell that it wasn't clean. It did hurt in my nose. It did hurt in the eyes.
SHUBERT: Lucas is worried about NO2, nitrogen dioxide from diesel exhaust. The E.U. says in 2014 an estimated 400,000 premature deaths were caused by NO2 and fine particulate pollution. Lucas points to two plastic vials he has installed on his route designed to trap and measure NO2. There are more than 500 of these throughout the country. But Lucas isn't just a concerned cyclist. He is also a car engineer. Germany's auto industry makes up nearly 15 percent of its GDP and employees more than 800,000.
LUCAS: We are very car-connected. I mean, every person here is somehow getting money from the company if not me then it's my family that earns money from the car industry. Everything's connected. And they are very proud of it. I'm very proud of the cars and the products we make. But the idea we have that cars have to be run by petrol and that everyone has to have their own car in a City that is growing and getting more and more compact, that setting has to change.
SHUBERT: Nearly half of new cars in the E.U. are diesel, but in 2015 Volkswagen was caught cheating emissions tests in California, spewing NO-2 up to 40 times the legal limit. Suzanne Yalo says she wasn't surprised by that. She shows us the layer of smog that hangs over the City. Stuttgart is one of 28 cities across Germany that regularly exceeds E.U. limits for NO2.
For years I sent my kids out and told them to play outside when the weather was nice, she says, but cold clear weather like we have now is not good. The issue is the air stagnates underneath. It's like a lid that sits on the smog and cannot get out, she says. That is when she check her particulate meter, a simple PVC pipe and circuit board device made for less than 40. One of hundreds across the country. A grassroots initiative to measure the cost of car pollution.
[03:45:18] In the last year or so things have changed, she says. People now realize all citizens are affected. Getting Germany to give up or at least put aside their beloved diesel cars may not work immediately. But citizens like Lucas and Yalo are hoping their persistence pays off.
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SHUBERT: Now, one of those initiatives is to prompt cities like Stuttgart to ban diesel cars, and that is what's being discussed in court today, but as you can hear from E.U.s and others it's going to have a huge knock-on effect on the industries here, on cities here. And the Stuttgart paper here says it' pretty evenly split for those for the ban on diesel cars, 43 percent, for those against also 43 percent. So it's going to have a tremendous impact, whatever the decision is at the court today, Rosemary.
CHURCH: It most certainly will. And Atika, there are 15 million diesel vehicles already on German roads. What's going to happen to those if the ban goes ahead?
SHUBERT: It's a good questioned because our own bureau had a diesel car. We had to trade that in a get it fixed as part of this Volkswagen recall. A number of cars are being taken off the road. What are see are diesel sales are plunging, people are buying petrol again, but what do you do with all of these stacked up cars that nobody wants anymore? This is a dilemma for Germany on not only how it's going to (inaudible) the industry, but what to do with all these cars now.
CHURCH: Yes. That is true. Many questions here. We'll keep an eye on e outcome. Atika Shubert joining us from Stuttgart in Germany where it is just after 9:45 in the morning. Many thanks.
Well, Billy Graham, one of the most renowned and admired Christian leaders of the 20th century, died Wednesday at the age of 99. Condolences have been pouring in from the many U.S. leaders he befriended. Former president Barack Obama tweeted this. "Billy Graham was a humble servant who prayed for so many and who with wisdom and grace gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans." Former President George H.W. Bush called Billy Graham America's pastor, saying, "his faith in Christ and his totally honest evangelical spirit inspired people across the country and around the world." and former President Jimmy Carter released a statement saying "this broad-minded, forgiving, and humble in his treatment of others exemplified the life of Jesus Christ by constantly reaching out for opportunities to serve." When invitation only funeral for Graham has been set for March 2nd. CNN Michael Holmes has more now on his exceptional life.
BILLY GRAHAM, AMERICA'S MOST FAMOUS EVANGELIC LEADERS: You come by faith in him.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: He was called America's pastor. A minister in the old-time tradition of southern U.S. Baptist who built a mass following worldwide, traveling the globe and taking to the airwaves as no religious leader had ever done before. He had to home Church, no regular congregation, no Church hierarchy except the one he himself created. But through radio, television, movies, publishing, and appearances in 185 countries to record-breaking crowds, Graham reached out to hundreds of millions of people, preaching the gospel to try to save the souls of each and every one.
GRAHAM: There is no other way. Man cannot be saved by bread alone.
HOLMES: Billy Graham was born in 1918 and raised on a dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina. A time and a place familiar with traveling preachers who would visit long enough to try to revive the community's faith in Christ. Graham attended a revival meeting when he was 16. He became a minister and launched his own revival.
GRAHAM: I do not believe that any man, that any man can solve the problems of life without Jesus Christ.
HOLMES: He called his revival campaigns crusades a made them bigger than any ever seen before. Night after night, for example, at New York's Madison Square Garden for 16 weeks. In 1950 Billy Graham made his first visit to the White House. He met and prayed there with Harry Truman and through the decade with nearly all of Truman's successors.
GRAHAM: I know that god has sent me out as a warrior on the five continents to preach the gospel, and I must continue until he give the signal that I'm to stop.
HOLMES: He prayed in Russia, China, and South Africa.
GRAHAM: Christ belongs to all people. He belongs to the whole world.
[03:50:00] HOLMES: He prayed in North Korea, Canada, and Hungary.
GRAHAM: In the name of the lord Jesus Christ.
HOLMES: And in 2005 he prayed at his last crusade, with 200,000 people in New York.
GRAHAM: We hope to come back again someday.
HOLMES: Billy Graham prayed all around the world in his seven decades as a media-savvy minister. A preacher who reached out to the planet.
CHURCH: Day 13 of the 2018 winter Olympic Games gave us a few firsts and a sudden death shootout. CNN's Amanda Davies joins us now from Pyeongchang with the very latest. So Amanda, a lot happening on day 13. Bring us up to date.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORTS: Yes, absolutely, Rosemary. It's been hard to keep on top of it. It's been a real old rush over the last few hours, because of schedule changes due to the weather there's actually ten golds being decided today. That is more than any other day at the games. And day 13 has definitely been unluckier for some than others. All the talk in the run-up to the women's alpine combined with about Lindsey Vonn's final Olympic race and the chance for her young U.S. teammate Mikaela Shiffrin to try to redeem herself after a disappointing performance in the slalom. But after a stunning downhill run Vonn just pushed too hard and missed a gate in her slalom seeing her leave empty-handed. Shiffrin put in a stunning second run, but only good enough for silver, and it was Switzerland's Michelle Gisin taking the gold four years after her sister took downhill silver in Sochi. And in what alpine great buddy miller described as one of the game's biggest upsets, Sweden's Andre Mira took the top slot in the men's slalom. We'd been building this one as a chance for Marcel Hirscher to take three golds in three events, but he crashed out of his first run. Henrik Christopherson was the man leading, but he made a pretty nervy start and got tangled in the gates in his second run. So 35-year-old Mira took full advantage, becoming the first Swedish winner of the event since 1980, and he adds the gold to his bronze from Vancouver in 2010.
It's the U.S. celebrating at last after a battle for the ages in the women's hockey final. Their gold medal clashes against Canada have become an Olympic staple in recent times, but it has very much been Canada with the upper hand. And today the maple leafs were looking for gold medal number 5. But the USA had other ideas. They had a serious score to settle and an epic encounter ended 2-2. It couldn't be split in overtime. So I went to the shootout. And it was the USA who finally emerged victorious. Their first Olympic gold in the event since 1998. It looked like 20 years of celebrations that came on the ice as well.
And away from the sporting action Russian curler Aleksandr Krushelnicksi has dropped his appeal against his failed drug test and handed back his mixed curling bronze medal. Having failed a test the 25-year-old issued a statement today saying, "I admit there has been a formal violation of the current anti-doping rules. The samples tested have been collected during the Olympic Games and I'm ready to face the verdict."
[03:55:14] The court of arbitration for sport have confirmed his expulsion from the games, but say proceedings continue with the world curling federation. We now wait on what impact it will have on the IOC's decision on whether or not to allow the Olympic athletes from Russia to march not under the neutral flag as they did at the opening ceremony, but as Russia, with their national flag and their own uniform at Sunday's closing ceremony.
Anyway, it's a situation that the chairwoman of the IOC athlete's commission addressed in a news conference earlier.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This has just been hard for everyone. And yes, we represent the rights of clean athletes. That include Russian clean athletes. And that is something a we put an increased emphasis on the pre-games testing where obviously Russian athletes were high-risk athletes given what we have seen, they had an incredibly high hurdle that we made sure, the athletes commission made sure, one, ensure that if they got past that hurdle that will they could compete.
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DAVIES: Well, the IOC will be make their decision this week. And Rosemary, obviously a very big one for them because of all the question marks that have been raised in recent times about how they have dealt with this Russian doping situation since those findings in the McLaren report that talked of the state-sponsored doping within Russian sport around the last winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. It's a very big call for the IOC President Tomas Bach, who has always said as a former athlete himself this is for him about pushing the interests of the athletes first.
But 2014 was his first Olympics in charge of the IOC, and so far all three of the games that he has been in charge of has been tainted with these stories of Russian doping and a real attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games. So this a very, very big call has a lot of implications not just for him, for the IOC and for the rest of sport.
CHURCH: All right. Amanda Davies bringing us up to date on all of this happening from Pyeongchang, it is coming up to 6:00 p.m. in the evening thanks so much. And thanks for your company this hour I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on twitter. Just ahead, the powerful CNN town hall featuring the students, parents, and others impacted by the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. That is coming up after a very short break. Do stay with us.