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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Armed Deputy "Never Went In" To Stop Florida Shooting; Trump Doubles Down On Arming Teachers, Rejects Shooter Drills; NRA Chief Attacks Democrats, Gun Control Supporters In Wake Of Florida School Massacre; NRA Chief "Socialists" Behind Gun Control Push After Florida Shooting; Mueller Brings New Charges Against Manafort And Gates. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired February 22, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If she meets that Kim Jong-chul, that intelligence official, that will be very, very interesting. He's a notorious figure.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We'll see what happens. Brian thanks very much. That's it for me. "Erin Burnett OutFront" right now.
JIM SCIUTTO: "OutFront" next breaking news, is the President calls for more guns in schools? Police say that an armed guard outside of Stoneman Douglas High stood by and did nothing.
Plus more breaking news tonight, new charges against Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, what does it tell us about where Mueller is going next? And the father who stood up to Marco Rubio, he's my guest tonight. Let's go "OutFront."
Good evening, I'm Jim Sciutto in for Erin Burnett. "OutFront" tonight breaking news, he never went in. A Florida sheriff's deputy, the only armed guard on campus during the deadly shooting at a Florida high school "never went in" to the building when the shooting was taking place. That is according to Sheriff Israel of Broward County who described how he felt as he watched the video of the deputy doing absolutely nothing as the gunman killed 17 people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: Devastated, sick to my stomach. There are no words. I mean, these families lost their children. We lost coaches. I've been to the funerals. I've been to the homes where they sit and shiver. I've been to the vigils. It's just there are no words.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Well, that Deputy Scot Peterson, he resigned today. The irony, this news coming on the very same day that President Trump doubled down on his call to arm the nation's teachers as a way to combat mass shootings in schools. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think a concealed permit for having teachers and letting people know there are people in the building with gun, you won't have, in my opinion, you won't have these shootings because these people are cowards. They're not going to walk into a school if 20percent of the teachers have guns. It may be 10 percent or may be 40 percent. And what I'd recommend doing is the people that do carry, we give them a bonus. We give them a little bit of a bonus. So practically for free you have now made the school into a hardened target.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Well, let's think about that for a minute. There are roughly 3.5 million teachers in the United States today, that according to the Department of Education. 40 percent would mean 1.4 million teachers in this country would be armed under the President's plan. The idea sparked outrage immediately from Stoneman Douglas High School students to even Republican senators.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMUEL ZEIF, STONEMAN DOUGLAS SHOOTING SURVIVOR: To arm every -- like to arm any teacher? They're there to teach.
ROBERT RUNCIE, SUPERINTENDENT, BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS: We don't need to put guns in the hands of teachers.
ISRAEL: I don't believe teachers should be armed. I believe teachers should teach.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: The notion my kids are going to school with teachers that are armed with a weapon is not something that quite frankly I'm comfortable with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: I might say the same as a dad as well. Well, even as Trump proposes that teachers carry weapons in the classroom, the President says that he has opposed to preparing teachers and students with active shooter drills.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Active shooter drills is a very negative thing, I'll be honest with you. I mean, if I'm a child and I'm 10 years old and they say we're going to have an active shooter drill, I say, "What's that?" Well, people may come in and shoot you. I think that's a very negative thing to be talking about, to be honest with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Let's go to Martin Savidge. He is in Parkland, Florida with the breaking news on that sheriff's deputy. Really, Martin, the only armed officer on campus, never went into the building where the shooting was taking place. What are you learning tonight about what happened?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is an additional horrific turn in the narrative, Jim. And, remember, it is just a couple of days ago that these families who lost their children were told by the FBI that they had received a tip that they had failed to act on.
Now on top of that, they're being told there was an armed officer, the school resource officer, a trained veteran sheriff's deputy in uniform with aside arm standing outside the very building where the shootings are taking place, and that officer, Scot Peterson, did not do anything according to Scott Israel, who is a Broward County sheriff here.
He said that they were launching an investigation. They asked for his resignation. He said instead of that he is resigning and he is going into retirement. But it is just a horrible turn of events. Questions have been raised about Scot Peterson ever since the shooting on campus, especially from the families who had lost children. And now it appears the time that he was waiting outside, the only one there who is able to respond and disrupt, he did not. And as you know, Jim, after Columbine, that has always been the mantra for law enforcement, get in, do something.
[19:05:00] Meanwhile, we've also learned two other sheriffs deputies have been put on restrictive duty, this because of previous interaction they had with Nikolas Cruz or his family and other times years before where he had threatened with weapons or had insinuated possibly that he was going to attack this school. The sheriff felt those deputies should have done more to intervene, they did not. But this news of the resource officer is just devastating to families and this community, Jim.
SCIUTTO: I mean, as if they could stand anymore heart break or frustration. Martin Savidge there for us in Parkland. This news, of course, coming the very same day that the President focused his proposal to arm teachers.
Jeff Zeleny is "OutFront" at the White House. Jeff, the President voice a number of idea today on Twitter and it is public comments that he believes will make schools safer. We also heard him say that he wants to get rid of though at the same time active shooter drills. How serious is he about that step?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, there was certainly one string of consistent thought in the President's view on what should be done here. First, he voiced a lot of concern and ideas on social media then, again, during a listening session with state and local officials. And one theme was to have more guns in schools. He said gun free zones in school that sign outside school that say gun free zone. He said there is a welcome mat, if you will, for shooters.
So he said that school officials, you know, coaches or teachers should be armed if they are prepared for that. He said not all of them, of course, will want to do it. But he talked again and again about school teachers being armed. And he said it would be a deterrent. But, Jim, we've all heard suicide by cop. That is what a lot of shooters do. So this -- if it played out, it would be suicide by history teacher perhaps. It does not make a lot of sense to many Republicans in this town, Democrats in this town who want to do something about this.
But the President also, you know, was outlining a variety of different things. The thing to keep an eye on, he said that the age limit to buy these weapons he believes should go from 18 to 21. That is at odds with the NRA. So that is one place where if he would, you know, potentially confront the NRA or challenge them, it would be on that. But, Jim, it was that teacher proposal today that President talked about again and again. It certainly raised eyebrows here at the White House.
SCIUTTO: No question. Jeff Zeleny there at the White House.
"OutFront" tonight, let's ask the teachers. Sarah Lerner, she is a teacher at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland where those 17 students and faculty were killed. And Richard Jones, he's the sheriff of Butler County, Ohio. He is offering free concealed carry training now to local teachers around the country.
Sarah, if I could begin with you. You were in your classroom with students when this shooting started at Stoneman Douglas just eight days ago. You lost two students, two friends. You heard the President today. He, in effect, wants people like you to be on the frontlines, to be armed if you have the aptitude for it, aptitude as he described it. Is that a good idea?
SARAH LERNER, STONEMAN DOUGLAS TEACHER: No. I have no desire to own a gun, carry a gun, shoot a gun, touch a gun. I don't think that my coming to school with a gun would have changed anything. I wasn't in the building. I'm in building six, not building 12. So if I would have been on campus with a gun, there would have literally been nothing for me to do.
SCIUTTO: Now, I know you initially, as I understand it, you started leaving the building where you were, which as you said was a separate building.
SCIUTTO: When the gunman pulled the fire alarm, once you heard the shooting ran back into your class room hold up there for I understand for more than two hours along with several of your students until SWAT arrived.
SCIUTTO: I mean, was there ever a moment in that when had you had a gun you might have felt safer?
LERNER: No. No, because I don't need to have a gun to keep me safe. I knew that the SWAT team, the FBI, Broward sheriff's office, local police offices were here securing the campus and keeping us safe, that made me feel safe. If I had had a gun in my classroom with 15 students, I wouldn't have used it. I didn't see the shooter. I heard the shots when I went outside, but having a gun would do me no good. If anything -- if I had a gun on campus, it would have been locked in my closet. And if somebody had come in the room, in the time it would take me to get my keys and open my closet, I'd be dead.
SCIUTTO: Yes. Sheriff, I know that you're no stranger to this kind of violence. You had experience with the school shooting. I believe a 15-year-old wounded four other students opening fire in cafeteria in one of your schools just last year. But I understand you agree with the President?
[19:10:00] SHERIFF RICHARD JONES, BUTLER COUNTY, OHIO: I agree with the President or let's say the President agrees with me. We had a school shooting. I have talked to teachers in the school where we had the school shooting. They would have liked to had a gun. We're not talking about everybody having a weapon. The teacher you have on now, I could understand. And if you're not comfortable with a weapon and you're not trained in it, I agree with her on that end.
But, still, you've got to have -- the teachers are being shot. The kids are being shot. Within five minutes the shooting is over. Eight minutes the police are there. The only things you can do is hide and wait. We've got a train -- teachers should be trained at least to see a gun, know what it looks like, what it sounds like, what to do. They should be trained in first aid.
We arrested two just yesterday, one that said they were going to beat the 17 number. One that said they were going to do shooting. The day after the shooting, we arrested five just in our local area. And that's just here not the whole United States.
SCIUTTO: But let me ask you this, we had a test case of this, did we not at Parkland, because there was an armed school research, resource officer, SORs as we know, a trained uniformed guard who didn't do anything. And listen, I don't want to attack this one person too much. I spoke to a U.S. -- a retired U.S. general tonight that commanded troops in Iraq and said that that reaction to violence is not uncommon. I mean, if the armed trained uniformed security guard at Parkland didn't do it, why would we expect teachers like Sarah or others to be that frontline responder?
JONES: I wouldn't expect Sarah to be a frontline responder. I would expect, when you have people like the officer there, why -- just imagine if we've had some teachers in the school that were certified and trained, we'd at least have somebody in that school with a weapon make no mistake about it.
SCIUTTO: But you did. There was someone in the school with weapon -- .
SCIUTTO: -- but he didn't go in. JONES: We had an officer in our school with a weapon also. It is in the cafeteria. And when the -- he waited for him and the principal to leave the cafeteria, then the kid jumped up and shot four people, emptied his weapon out. He was 15 years old. You need backup. You need people in the schools. Officers aren't always the answer. You need somebody without a weapon that can keep their weapon secured, trained.
SCIUTTO: Sarah --
LERNER: Jim, can I jump in?
JONES: When people say --
SCIUTTO: For sure.
JONES: Go ahead.
SCIUTTO: Let me --
SCIUTTO: Let's give Sarah a chance because, of course, she's in the classroom. Sarah, what do you think?
LERNER: OK. So just for argument sake, Sheriff, if I were to have a gun and carry it at school --
LERNER: -- and this happened in the cafeteria where I am not, how am I helping? If someone comes into my classroom and I'm on the other side of my room, not near my gun, how is the gun going to help keep me safe? He will shoot me before I can access my gun.
SCIUTTO: Sheriff, how do you answer that?
JONES: You're going to be shot, probably, anyway. You're --
SCIUTTO: Go ahead.
JONES: You're probably going to be shot anyway. The students are going to be shot. The only thing you can do is beg for your life or wait for the police to get there. You have people that are trained. You've got to be prepared.
LERNER: So if I'm going to be shot --
JONES: Go ahead.
LERNER: If I'm going to be shot anyway, then why do I need to carry a gun?
JONES: Because you're going to save the lives of other students. LERNER: That just doesn't make sense to me.
JONES: If you had the gun you wouldn't be shot. But you and I agree to disagree.
LERNER: That's not necessarily true, Sir.
JONES: And I talked to --
LERNER: We do agree to disagree.
JONES: Well, it is. I talked -- I had talked to a teacher in Florida today --
LERNER: Because I don't think that arming teachers --
SCIUTTO: One at a time. One at a time. One at a time, again, just so the audience can follow.
SCIUTTO: Sheriff, go ahead, and then Sarah.
SCIUTTO: Trust me, I want to give me your due. But sheriff, if you can complete your thought.
JONES: Sure. I talked to a teacher in Florida today who said she's OK with weapons in school. She personally doesn't want a weapon. We have people that are trained with weapons before they become teachers and the school boards have to approve the weapons in the school.
And here in Ohio, I had 300 teachers sign up in less than eight hours that want to be trained in firearms and want to have guns. That -- so when people say that they don't want guns, that teachers don't want to be armed, sure there are those. But there is just as many that wanted to be harmed and should be.
SCIUTTO: Well, let's give Sarah a chance to respond.
JONES: Yes, sir.
LERNER: I believe the overwhelming majority of teachers do not want to be armed. And the President said that those of us who would be willing to be armed would get some kind of a bonus. I'm not even given adequate money to buy supplies for my classroom. But now if I choose to carry a gun, a gun will be provided for me and I will be given a bonus? I would rather see all of that money go to having more security personnel on my campus, giving me more money in my paycheck. I don't need a gun. Give me the money, instead. SCIUTTO: Sarah and Sheriff, we're going to have to leave it there, but thank you. It's a difficult issue. You disagree on it, but you gave each other time to make your points and I know --
[19:15:02] JONES: Sure.
SCIUTTO: -- on a topic like this that's tough, so thanks to both of you for that.
JONES: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: OK, let's keep up the conversation.
LERNER: Thank you.
JONES: Thank you, guys. I appreciate it. Thank you.
SCIUTTO: Coming up next, the NRA out to blame everything for the shooting but guns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA LOESCH, NRA SPOKESWOMAN: Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you and many in the legacy media.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Plus breaking news in the Russian investigation, new charges against Manafort and Gates. Isn't Mueller putting the squeeze on them to make a deal? And the father of a teenager killed just a week ago calls out Senator Marco Rubio to his face. That father is my guest.
SCIUTTO: New tonight, the head of the NRA comes out swinging after days of silence following the Florida school shooting massacre. Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the nation's biggest gun lobby, the NRA, using his speech to attack the media and Democrats calling for new gun control measures and portraying his group as a victim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAYNE LAPIERRE, CEO, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: As usual, the opportunists wasted not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain. Chris Murphy, Nancy Pelosi, and more, cheered on by the national media, eager to blame the NRA and call for even more government control. They hate the NRA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: "OutFront" now is former adviser to the Trump campaign, Steve Cortes and former Clinton White House Aide, Keith Boykin
[19:20:06] Steve, if I can begin there with the Wayne LaPierre argument in effect that Democrats folks supporting gun control, of course, he, you know, brings in the media as well are somehow, you know, just pursuing anti-NRA agenda. Do you think that's a fair argument with any discussion of gun control after a shooting like this?
STEVE CORTES, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: No, I think it's part of it because I think it's very telling how quickly people immediately, and particularly people in politics and media, how quickly they try to blame the NRA for this tragedy. And in fact, the NRA has been diligently working to try to prevent these kinds of tragedies through things like arming our schools properly.
I believe and the NRA believes that it's outrageous in America that our priorities are so misplaced that we guard our money and our jewels and our office buildings with armed security, but not our precious children and that has to change.
SCIUTTO: Keith, that was a comparison the President made today about banks and others. And he even talked about gun free campuses being something like ice cream, you know, compared the students to ice cream. Do you think the NRA is doing, as Steve says, it's best to protect American students?
KEITH BOYKIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think the NRA is doing its best to protect the NRA, to protect gun owners who want to continue to own guns and stockpile weapons. I don't think they are trying to protect students. I don't think that they're trying -- against protecting students, but that's not their priority. Their priority is to protect the interest of millions of members.
The reality is that President Trump received $31 million from the NRA. Marco Rubio received $3.3 million from NRA. There are lot of members of Congress, majority Republicans, who received an overwhelming money from the NRA and the NRA is using their influence to present those ideas to them and block any kind of legislation that would prove common sense gun reform that most Americans support.
Most Americans support universal background checks. They support banning bump stocks. They support things like raising the age for owning these such deadly weapons. But the NRA won't allow even the members of Congress who are on their side to do anything about it.
SCIUTTO: Steve, that's an issue where the President and the NRA that there is daylight between --
SCIUTTO: -- on the age 18 and 21 the President said he might support that also on a bump stock ban.
SCIUTTO: Can you see the President following through on something like that even in defiance of a powerful lobbying group like the NRA?
CORTES: Yes. Look, and the NRA hasn't said definitively what they believe about the age definition, either. But, yes, I believe the President is willing to go up against the NRA in that case. But I think also when we talk about the NRA sometimes, I think some of the critics of the NRA want to give almost this mythical status, right, and talk about how powerful and how money it gives.
SCIUTTO: It is pretty darn powerful, Steve, let's be frank.
CORTES: Well, listen, OK, it is powerful but (INAUDIBLE) money.
SCIUTTO: Right. I mean, Democrats and Republicans will run from a negative rating from the NRA.
CORTES: OK. But this is an important point. What it spends on political races is a pittance compared to what is spend by unions, by George Soros, by the Koch brothers. They're not even in that league the NRA. What they do have, these millions of members who are incredibly dedicated to their gun rights and to the organization and they have tens of millions of people who agree with them. The vast majority of the American people believe that guns are fundamental. They are fundamental right that the Second Amendment is real and that it's an individual right. And almost all of them by the way own guns responsibly.
Now, can we find better ways to keep guns out of people's hands who shouldn't have them who are mentally unwell, of course. The NRA is for that. Trump is for that. I'm for that. In the meantime, though, what makes sense is guard our children. Why do we allow them to be sitting ducks when we know that sick and deranged people are purposely targeting them?
SCIUTTO: Keith, your response.
BOYKIN: The best way to protect our children is not to have armed guards in the schools. I mean, for God's sake, there is an armed security resource officer at the school in Parkland, Florida. He did nothing.
BOYKIN: You know, this whole line --
CORTES: That doesn't negate the argument for having them.
BOYKIN: But this whole line that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun this good guy gun is baloney. We saw that in Las Vegas. What was a good guy with a gun going to do to stop shooting of 600 people in the middle of a concert when the guy was up in hotel room hundreds of feet away? What was going to happen in Fort Hood?
CORTES: That's a totally separate issue. I'm talking about school shooting.
BOYKIN: What was going to happen in Fort Hood when you had --
CORTES: I'm glad you mentioned Fort Hood.
(CROSSTALK) BOYKIN: Let me just -- let me finish. This Fort Hood, the navy -- the U.S. Navy facility in Washington D.C., the Navy Yard, there's been plenty of examples. Yes, I know they don't have weapons. Everybody has weapons on those facilities. That's what you're going to say.
CORTES: No, they don't have weapons.
BOYKIN: But there's plenty of examples where people have armed -- who had armed weapons and they're still not able to stop a bad person with a gun.
CORTES: So how do you want to protect schools?
BOYKIN: The way to do it is to present -- the way other countries do it, the way they don't have mass shootings at schools, they don't actually have the access to guns that we do. They don't allow people who have mental issues to have access to guns.
CORTES: We don't here either.
BOYKIN: They don't allow young people to have access to guns. They have universal background checks. They make sure that we actually restrict certain guns so they're not in use. We don't need -- everyone doesn't need to have an assault weapon.
SCIUTTO: Steve, quick answer because I also want to get in the point that Dana Loesch made today, but please respond.
CORTES: Here's (INAUDIBLE), even if gun control were a good idea, which I don't think at all it is, but let's say for the sake of argument that it is.
[19:25:07] There are already 10 million AR-15s in this country. There 300 total million total guns. That toothpaste is not going back in the tube. We still have a problem with school shootings and we need to protect our school children even if I were to grant your gun control (INAUDIBLE).
BOYKIN: They did it in Australia.
CORTES: Do you believe that Americans are going to give up their fundamental rights?
BOYKIN: Well, they had a gun byback program. It was very successful and they've had no mass shootings.
SCIUTTO: I want to play, because this is a wider point that we heard the NRA spokesman, Dana Loesch made today at the CPAC conference in Washington. Have a listen to the point she was making.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOESCH: Many in legacy media love mass shootings. You guys love it. Now, I'm not saying that you love the tragedy, but I am saying that you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you and many in the legacy media in the back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: So Steve, you've got to admit, we often see after shootings like this the NRA and others find many culprits other than guns, right, for the trouble and, of course, the media is a favorite target. Is that a fair argument for her to make there?
CORTES: Well, by the way, you can't blame guns in and of it object --
SCIUTTO: She's saying, listen, I've covered shootings before. There is nothing enticing about, particularly covering a school shooting and I'm a dad.
CORTES: Sure, right.
SCIUTTO: Is that fair?
CORTES: Listen, I would grant (ph) you that. I think her words were far too harsh. I don't believe that even people who are critical, the NRA and the media, I don't believe they love mass shootings. I wouldn't characteristic it that way. I do think that she is on to an important point though, which is that -- I live in Chicago.
In Chicago, statistically, we have a Parkland body count, roughly every week in Chicago. It's mostly young black men. And because they're killed one and two at a time and not this kind of mass scene that we saw in Parkland, awful scene in Parkland, it doesn't get very much attention in the national media. And so I think that needs to -- so I think she's onto something there.
BOYKIN: I don't think that's the point she was making. And I think it is discontinues of you to suggest that. I mean, first of all, most of these conservatives didn't (ph) care about the black crime that is taking place in cities like Chicago and other places.
CORTES: Well, I sure do and I live there.
BOYKIN: And they actually listen to what black people were saying. The majority of black people, 74 percent of black people support the assault weapons ban, 86 percent of black people support a federal registry of gun purchases. If you want to listen to what black people and black parents are saying about weapons and about the gun crime in our communities, then listen to us. Don't just lecture us from that CPAC conference.
CORTES: I'm not lecturing anybody.
BOYKIN: And how dare she go to CPAC and say that when the night before she was on the town hall in CNN in Parkland and she refused to say any of that. What a cowardly thing to go to a CPAC conference in front of a conservative audience to make those comments. Just like Wayne LaPierre, why didn't Wayne LaPierre go to Parkland? Where is the courage in that? CORTES: By the way, when you talk about an assault weapon ban supposedly cutting down on crime, less that 3 percent of gun crimes are using rifles of any kind, not just assault weapons. So long guns are not the preferred choice of criminals.
SCIUTTO: Well, in mass shootings you've got to admit it is a different story. But we all are going to have to leave it there. Thanks to both of you. Difficult topic and I'm glad to have you both on.
"OutFront" next breaking news, new indictments from the special counsel in the Russia probe, is Mueller ramping up the pressure on Trump campaign aides? Plus --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED GUTTENBERG, FATHER OF A STUDENT KILLED IN THE MASSACRE AT FLORIDA HIGH SCHOOL: Your comments this week and those of our President have been pathetically weak.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: The father who lost a daughter and stood up to Senator Marco Rubio is my guest.
SCIUTTO: Breaking news tonight in the Russia investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller filing new charges just unsealed against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates, a sign that Mueller is applying new pressure on both of them possibly to have them reconsider working with the investigation. This new indictment includes 32 counts of tax and bank fraud, including a charge that the pair laundered more than $30 million in income.
Shimon Prokupecz is OUTFRONT.
Shimon, I know you've been reading through this indictment. A lot of counts there. What can you tell us?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, certainly very tangled facts in the indictment. The key here is that there are these new bank fraud charges the two now face. And the significant part is that this could land them in jail up to 30 years, which is significantly more time they faced in previous indictment.
Now, as you said this could put pressure on the two to cooperate. This indictment is similar to some of the charges we saw in the first indictment where the two based on money the two were making on lobbying work on behalf of pro-Russian leader of the Ukraine. And now, the two men according to the indictment allegedly took this money and engage in a scheme to hide it from U.S. authorities. They allegedly parked millions of dollars in unreported money in U.S. real estate, as well as offshore bank accounts.
And the indictment says they used new property as collateral to take out fraudulent bank loans. Now, these two charges add to the mounting pressure on the two former Trump campaign advisers, as you say, to perhaps cooperate. And CNN, as CNN has reported, Rick Gates was in talks to cooperate. And the question now is will he still cooperate despite these new charges. We are told they possibly could still strike a deal. But, you know, Jim, there is every indication these new charges really are an effort to get Manafort to flip as well.
SCIUTTO: Yes, 30 years in prison, that is a lot of pressure.
Shimon, thanks very much.
OUTFRONT now, we have former U.S. assistant attorney, Kim Wehle, and former Nixon counsel John Dean.
Kim, if I could start with you, Manafort 18 new charges, Gates 23 new charges, these are in Virginia, in addition to the charges they are already facing. Manafort 70 years old, 30 years in prison, I mean, you're talking about dying in prison. Gates is younger, but he's got kids. This is a significant amount of prosecutorial pressure, is it not?
KIM WEHLE, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT ATTORNEY: Oh, absolutely. This has got to make these two men and their families and lawyers quake in their boots. It's really serious, and the level of specificity in this indictment. I mean, as a law professor and a former associate independent counsel, it's actually in a way refreshing to see so much focus on the facts. I mean, we've got pages and pages of transactions, and corporations that money was hidden and all kinds of things that clearly demonstrate that this prosecutor is very serious about the kind of work that he's bringing to bear in this investigation.
SCIUTTO: John, does it give you clues as to where the investigation is heading, apply pressure on Gates and Mueller to get higher up, including the president? I mean, is that what you read into this?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I certainly do read that with the additional charges. But also in the indictment itself or actually in the status report, I found in the docket today, that the special counsel says the reason he filed this additional indictment, the superseding indictment in the eastern district is that one of the defendants refused to waive on the venue issue in the District of Columbia, meaning not only crimes occurred -- any of the crimes occurred in the District of Columbia, so they had a venue problem.
So they have actually right now two indictments against them. One in the eastern district, this new 32 count indictment, and one the 12 count indictment is still standing in the District of Columbia. So they created themself a really good nightmare.
Kim, CNN had reported Gates had been in negotiations with Mueller's office to strike a plea deal. You add these new charges, I imagine, to try to resurrect plea negotiations to get them to cooperate?
WEHLE: Ye. I mean, they could be ongoing and maybe they stalled in some regard. And I think the other thing interesting about this indictment that tells a story, it speaks of Gates as Manafort's, quote, right hand man. So, it really paints a picture where they were side by side, Manafort perhaps the boss. Gates the henchman that's doing the bidding for many, many, many years, many, many, alleged crimes.
So, it's -- there will be pressure I think on both of them. And certainly in Gates does flip, it makes Manafort in a particularly precarious position going forward.
[19:35:00] SCIUTTO: Now, John, the president has been asked about the possibility of pardons. Hasn't been particularly clear in his public comments. But here's what he has said in the past.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We'll see what happens. Let's see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: That regarding Michael Flynn, well see. He's leaving the door open there.
I mean, do the new charges impact what would happen if Trump decided to pardon either of them?
DEAN: Well, obviously, they are federal offenses, so he could pardon both Gates and Manafort. However, there are offenses that occurred really unrelated to his campaign or his presidency. So, these are -- this is bad behavior that predated that. They're obviously found them in the course of the investigation. It was within the jurisdiction of the special counsel. And special counsel is obviously using it to try to learn more about the campaign.
So, you know, it's an open playing field actually for the president what he wants to do. But I think heed have a lot of trouble justifying pardons for these offenses.
SCIUTTO: And the list -- well, quick thought, Kim, sorry.
WEHLE: Yes, if I could jump in on pardon. A couple of things as was mentioned, I mean, any state charges would not be pardoned.
But the second thing is that, you know, pardon power is not unlimited. I think that's a bit of a mistaken belief. The president cannot, in my view, as constitutional law professor, pardon people for the wrong reason. So you couldn't pardon someone to cover up for another crime, for example. And the other thing the pardon power is crime specific.
So, even if he did pardon these two indictments at some point, it would not necessarily preclude Robert Mueller from bringing down additional charges assuming he had the evidence. So, the -- it's a bit of a cat and mouse chasing gain pardon power. I don't think that's part of this panacea that's going to protect the president from this investigation.
SCIUTTO: Kim, John, thanks very much.
WEHLE: Thank you.
DEAN: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT next, Jaime Guttenberg was killed in Florida last week. Tonight, her father speaks out about what the White House is and is not doing about school shootings.
And is Trump's national security adviser on his way out?
[19:41:12] SCIUTTO: New tonight the battle over an assault style weapons ban. Despite calls for a ban for many students and parents after last week's horrible mass school shooting, the White House today saying there is no plan to ban what it says is an entire class of firearms.
Senator Marco Rubio meanwhile on a tear today tweeting nearly a dozen times, including saying this: Banning all semi auto weapons may have been popular with the audience at CNN town hall, but it is a position well outside the mainstream.
Now, that rant comes after a heated conversation with CNN town hall with Fred Guttenberg. Fred, he lost his 14-year-old daughter Jaime in the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED GUTTENBERG, FATHER OF JAIME GUTTENBERG, STUDENT KILLED IN FLORIDA SCHOOL SHOOTING: The comments this week and those of your president are pathetically weak. Are guns a factor?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Of course they are.
GUTTENBERG: And they are a 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 are asking about is assault weapons ban.
GUTTENBERG: Yes, sir.
RUBIO: So let me be honest with you about that one. If I believe that that law would have prevented this from happening I would support it. But I want to explain to you why it would not. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT now is Fred Guttenberg. And, Fred, as father I've been thinking about talking to you all day, and my heart truly goes out to you.
You really put it on the line --
GUTTENBERG: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: -- last night going head to head with the United States senator there. And yet, today, we hear from Marco Rubio, Florida senator. And we hear from the White House, no plans, no real consideration for an assault style weapons ban. What's your reaction?
GUTTENBERG: Frustration. Just over a week ago today my daughter was hunted as school as were 16 other people.
GUTTENBERG: Not only do we hear no discussion on a ban, we hear no discussion on anything productive. The reality is we have -- we have a public safety issue but we certainly have a school safety issue, and everybody kind of runs to the bunker on positions. I don't have a position. I'd be real honest with you, I'm a dad. That's my position. And my position is, I want my kid to go to school be and to be safe.
I've been thinking about this now for a week. I've been thinking about it all day as I've been talking to people. And this is a complicated issue. You certainly have entrenched special interests, many of which have been kind of nasty, I can take it, but to the kids. And I think we need to deal with it.
I do think leadership, that would mean the president, that would mean the Senate, that would mean the Congress and the states, need to deal with this issue. And I think they have to -- maybe the mistake is everybody, runs to their bunkers rather than someplace there is a solution.
And the problem is you have incidents and you have casualties. We need to address all the factors that lead to the incidents. And honestly, everything I've heard, I'm in total agreement with.
There is human factors in terms of law enforcement. There are factors of law and what law enforcement can do. There is mental health factors. But then there is the issue of casualties and injuries. And that's the issue that has to do with guns.
And you can't eliminate any of those factors. They all need to be addressed.
SCIUTTO: Yes. We learned just a short time ago that the armed school resource officer, they are known as SRO, there was one on campus, he was suspended today because officials found he never entered the building during the shooting. What does that say to you about armed guards being part of the
GUTTENBERG: Well, you know what, and I'm glad you brought it up. That's the human factor. OK? And I think that gets to the incidents part but also limiting casualties.
I do think that maybe in the past we haven't put our best, when it comes to police, on school campuses, and maybe that's been a mistake. And we need to relook at that because I am all for enhancing security on school campuses. And maybe a campus of that size shouldn't just have one armed resource officer, not teachers, but security, who is a trained police officer, but should have more than one.
And it shouldn't be somebody who has already kind of gone through their best police years, but maybe it should be the bad ass police officers who are going to take action and run in and not worry about the consequences to their public safety to save lives. And I apologize for my language, I just can't help it.
SCIUTTO: Hey, listen, I'm not going to quell for you for that what you've been through.
The president today also brought up this issue that you often here after school shootings, active violence, that violence in video games is somehow partly responsible -- video games, movies, for shaping young people's thoughts. Do you think that that's -- in the scheme of causes, as you said earlier, multiple causes behind this kind of thing, do you think that's a significant one?
GUTTENBERG: I'm not sure. I would say I don't know. I doubt it. It kind of sounds silly on the surface to me. But that said, if there is it a component of that that is part of why we have all these incidents, then it should be looked at. On the surface, it kind of seems silly.
However, if that is part of the mental health discussion, then I want to have that conversation. I would love to see the people in this country, and I would love to be part of that, let the president call it, let him pull it together, let him do a real public safety session, where we bring all the professionals together to identify what are the real factors that lead to the incidents, and what are the steps we need to take to cut down the casualties and injuries when the incidents happen.
You know, Fred, after last night's comments in the town hall, your comments that interaction made headlines not just in the U.S. but around the world. You could see them on the screen here. Eight days ago as you were sending your daughter to school, I'm sure you never dreamed or had nightmares of being in a position like this. Every desired to be in a position like this.
GUTTENBERG: You know, I spent my entire life with my children and my wife with a basic philosophy. And I always say to them in talking about what stress and hard times are, saying, when we wake up in the morning and those we love and care about are safe and healthy, it's the start of a good day. When we go to sleep at night, and those we love and care about are still safe and healthy, we have just finished a good day. Everything else in between is just stuff we need to deal with.
In my wildest imagination -- no, I never imagined that my daughter was going to be hunted at school. I never imagined that I would spend the rest of my life starting my day at a cemetery for my child who at the age of 14 truly had her life figured out. You know, this was not your typical kid. And now we talk about rights in relation to this discussion. All of my daughter's rights have been terminated. It's -- no, it's not something I ever imagined.
Off in the distance, and you can't see it, but I have my son waiting for me, my 17-year-old son. I always thought I could protect my kids, and now I can't make him that promise. And now I have send him back to school on Tuesday. And I'm going to send it back, because my family, we're strong. And I insist that you face it.
[19:50:02] But I'm scared to death.
Listen, I'm heartbroken for you. And I know I'm not alone. Folks here with me at CNN, but a lot of folks watching tonight are thinking of you and let me just share, let me just share those thoughts with you tonight. And I really do wish you the best. Hug your son tonight. I'm sure you will.
GUTTENBERG: Thank you. I really appreciate your time.
SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT next, is the White House trying to find a new job for the national security adviser?
SCIUTTO: New tonight, tension between President Trump and his national security adviser. Sources tell CNN's Barbara Starr, the Pentagon is looking for a four-star position that would allow H.R. McMaster to quietly leave the White House and return to the military. That means that Trump could be looking for his third national security adviser in just over a year.
CNN politics editor at large Chris Cillizza is OUTFRONT tonight.
So, Chris, the reports, Trump and McMaster, they haven't got along for months. We've heard those stories. What do you think is the behind- the-scenes story here?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR AT LARGE: Well, first of all, Donald Trump is hard on the furniture, to put it one way, which is just to say, he is very tough on staff.
[19:55:07] Look at who he has run through in his year and a little bit in the White House, Jim. And then we got a signal in regards to the Russia investigation on
Saturday, General McMaster was in Germany, and basically said, it's hard to deny at this point that Russia was behind this interference effort. Well, Trump then took to Twitter to say, what Mr. McMaster forgot to say was this and this and this and this.
So, Donald Trump doesn't really like anyone who doesn't defend him, what he believes to be wholeheartedly. McMaster got sideways on that. The one thing I would say, that works for General McMaster, is he's a general. We know Donald Trump refers to him as my generals, we know whether it's John Kelly, Jim Mattis, H.R. McMaster, Donald Trump moves towards and likes and values the counsel of military men.
SCIUTTO: Right. Well, we know that McMaster is not the only White House official currently on thin ice. He's recently had issues with non-generals. His attorney general, Jeff Session, chief of staff, John Kelly, secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, and now, of course, McMaster. This seems to be par for the course.
CILLIZZA: Yes, I mean, it is like an episode of "The Apprentice," right? He brings all these people in. He swerves and you think he's going to fire this guy, but he fires this guy over here.
I mean, this is Donald Trump's M.O. I always tell people, if you want some sense of how Donald Trump views management and leadership, watch "The Apprentice" and the "Celebrity Apprentice" for which he was, along with Mark Barnett, a co-creator and producer of.
He views playing one against the other, warring with people, surprises, cliff-hangers. This is who he is. He believes pitting people against each other, publicly calling people out is what gets them to give their best effort. I would suggest the past year would dispute that contention, but he clearly believes it.
SCIUTTO: And he's even dismissed a former "Apprentice" contestant, right, from his White House?
CILLIZZA: Fired three times and they just fired her a fourth, in the words of Raj Shah.
SCIUTTO: Chris Cillizza, thanks very much.
CILLIZZA: Thank you, sir.
SCIUTTO: And we'll be right back.
SCIUTTO: Thanks so much for joining us tonight. I'm Jim Sciutto.
"AC360" with Anderson Cooper starts right now.