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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Momentum Building For Reform Of Gun Laws; NRA CEO Blasts Democrats Demanding Gun Control; Father Blasts Rubio's Comments As "Pathetically Weak"; Students And Families Demand Change In Gun Laws; Student Asks Rubio If He'll Stop Accepting NRA Donations; U.N. Mulls 30-Day Ceasefire For Eastern Ghouta; May Under Pressure To Outline U.K.'s Position. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired February 22, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani.
Tonight, Donald Trump lays out his vision to prevent gun violence including arming some teachers with guns and giving them bonuses for it.
Also, ahead, the U.N. says the situation in Eastern Ghouta is hell on earth, but will it do anything about the carnage this time?
Plus, we will be looking at France's Emmanuel Macron. He's risking his liberal image with a new tough law on immigration.
We begin with an extraordinary conversation taking place across America today. There's a real sense that momentum is building that maybe, just
maybe, politicians might actually do something this time to tighten gun laws after the latest school massacre in Florida.
President Donald Trump met with state and local officials at the White House to discuss school safety. He pledged to push for stronger background
checks and supported raising the legal age to buy firearms in America from 18 to 21. But Mr. Trump also suggested that more guns are needed to keep
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have to harden our schools, not soften them up. A gun-free zone to a killer, that's like
going in for the ice cream. That's like here I am take me. We have to get smart on gun free zones.
When they see this is a gun free zone, that means that nobody has a gun except them. I think a concealed permit for having teachers and letting
people know that there are people in the building with gun. You will not have these shootings because these people are cowards.
They are not going to walk into a school if 20 percent of the teachers have guns. The people that do carry, we give them a bonus. Frankly, they'd
feel more comfortable having the gun anyway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: That was President Trump saying some teachers who are armed could be given bonuses, salary bonuses to compensate them for carrying weapons.
Mr. Trump, by the way, all sides blowing praise today for America's most powerful gun lobby, the NRA calling its leaders great American patriots.
Well, if we needed a reminder of the NRA's fierce resistance to almost any overhaul of gun laws, we got it today. The CEO spoke to a conservative
forum insisting that a bad guy with a gun must be stopped with a good guy with a gun.
Wayne LaPierre also blasted Democrats calling for more gun control after the Florida shooting, accusing them of trying to exploit tragedy for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CEO, NRA: If these so-called (inaudible) European socialists take over the House and the Senate and God
forbid, they get the White House again, our American freedoms could be lost, and our country will be changed forever, and the first to go will be
the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
History proves it. Every time in every nation in which this political disease rises to power, its citizens are repressed, their freedoms are
destroyed, and their firearms are banned and confiscated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Also addressing that conservative forum, CPAC, an NRA spokeswoman who attended a CNN town hall last night, Dana Loesch, said many in the
media love mass shootings, she said. (Inaudible), we don't love mass shootings, but she says it's because, quote, "crying white mothers are
CNN's Rebecca Berg is live at that Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.
[15:05:00] And also, Wayne LaPierre, who is complaining that the mainstream media -- many of the same attack points as Donald Trump during the campaign
and since he's been office that the mainstream media is attacking the NRA, victimizing the NRA and distorting its message -- Rebecca.
REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely, Hala. Wayne LaPierre not backing down from the NRA's long-held position that gun laws in this
country are strict enough and that if anything, there should armed guards or teachers at schools to protect children, blaming Democrats, blaming the
media for wanting to turn this into a political discussion and potentially change the gun laws in this country.
But a stark contrast between what LaPierre was saying here today and this discussion going on outside of this ballroom among Republicans and
Democrats in the country. We've heard notably over the past few days, a number of Republican lawmakers softening their long-held stances on gun
control in this country.
And President Trump today tweeting his support, as you noted, for stronger background checks in this country, raising the minimum age to purchase a
firearm and banning bump stocks so, a market evolution from the president.
The NRA sending the message today that they will keep the political pressure on Republicans. The question now is going to be, will the
president and Republicans or at least some Republican lawmakers decide they want to standup to the NRA on this.
GORANI: And I do wonder, that is the question, right? Because some analysts are saying, look, maybe politicians are kind of reading the mood
of the country. They're seeing these teens get a lot of airtime.
Perhaps it's good politically for them to say they are listening, but fundamentally going up against the NRA and the U.S. political system that
relies so much on campaign contributions that they will really do that is naive.
BERG: Right. It's a powerful lobby here in America. They not only have a lot of money, but a lot of influence that they have entrenched overtime
especially among Republicans.
But it is notable the shift that we have heard among some Republican lawmakers who you would not expect to change their gun control stances
including Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican.
Obviously, this shooting was on his home turf in Florida, but he's a very cautious lawmaker, someone who doesn't often go out on a limb. So, the
fact that he is suggesting now raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm is highly significant and of course, the president, no voice is
louder than his in American politics.
GORANI: All right. Thanks very much. Rebecca Berg there at the CPAC Conference.
In the last few days, no voices have been more powerful on this issue than the families who have lost sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, and
the survivors of the school massacre themselves.
The last 24 hours have been filled with emotional speeches and tense exchanges as well, culminating at CNN's own town hall. Florida Senator
Marco Rubio, Rebecca, was discussing that he shifted some of his stances on certain aspects of gun legislation, was the lone Republican lawmaker there,
and he faced a heartbroken father who is furious over the loss of daughter in the shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED GUTTENBERG, DAUGHTER KILLED IN SCHOOL MASSACRE: Your comments this is week and those of our president have been pathetically weak. So, you and I
are now eye to eye. I want to like you. Look at me and tell me guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids in this school this week and look at
me and tell me you accept it and you will work with us to do something about guns.
SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: 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: Senator Rubio, my daughter running down the hallway at Marjory Stoneman Douglas was shot in the back with an assault weapon, the weapon of
RUBIO: Yes, sir.
GUTTENBERG: OK? 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
RUBIO: Sir, I do believe what you're saying is true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: It's just unbelievable listening to that father -- a little more than a week ago he still had his daughter with him. She's dead now because
a madman shot her in the back as she was trying to run away in her high school.
Imagine what he's going through and he's confronting the senator from Florida, one of the two senators from Florida, saying tell me it's guns,
[15:10:10] A mother who lost her 14-year-old daughter in the massacre also spoke. Her voice cracking with anguish and frustration as she addressed
the NRA spokeswoman this time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORI ALHADIFF, DAUGHTER KILLED IN SCHOOL MASSACRE: How do the NRA and lawmakers work together? Who is going to pay for this? What is the plan
to put things into action? These are my questions and we all want clear answer. Enough talk. What is your action?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Many people want to know that answer. What will it take to bring about change? Because something is wrong in a country where mass shootings
happen so frequently, right? I think everybody agrees that they happen more frequently in America than in any other country by a factor of several
hundred. There's a reason for it. How do you fix the problem and is the political move changing?
Lynn Sweet is the Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun Times" and she joins me now live. Lynn, first of all, thanks for being with us. It
really feels like this is a defining moment in America. Do you agree?
LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN TIMES": Yes. Here's what is different, and I've covered these mass shootings for more than a
decade starting in the late '90s with the shooting in Columbine, Colorado. What is different now is that the students are articulating what the issue
is in a very credible way.
What's different now is that in this era of social media they could organize and get their word out and act on an equal platform in some way.
So, the difference here is, is that the students, they don't have voting records, they haven't donated to candidates. They're credible.
You know, usually when the parents of victims have spoken out, they've been able to be discredited one way or the other. They're different. One of
the reasons I think that the NRA chief, Wayne LaPierre, today in Washington was so strong in denouncing the what he called they and them.
He didn't name who it was. It was just a way to divide people and say basically that they're going to speak out louder and stronger. I think he
recognized that this is what's new.
Congress and the White House, whether Democratic and Republican, whether it's Obama or Trump, even before that didn't do anything, couldn't do
anything because of the fear of a lot of lawmakers of backlash from the NRA.
GORANI: But that won't change. The system won't change as a result of a few days of outrage. As much attention, as much support as these kids who
have been really very well spoken and organized in the aftermath of this shooting are getting, still you have a system in America where, you know,
it's campaign donations that make the political world go around.
But here is what is different this time and I've been on countless shows like this after these horrible, heartbreaking massacres, and I say, I'm
sorry, nothing is going to change. What is different right now, we've just seen that President Trump is open to raising the age to 21 and ending the
bump stock, that is a different position.
It just put daylight between himself and the NRA. That is a bedrock of President Trump's support. Now the difference is it's only 3:00 something
Thursday in Washington and in the next half hour, Trump could change his mind and do some, you know, pyrites (ph) here and there.
So, you don't really know until somebody commits to a vote on this. That is what is different because these children can speak for themselves.
They're just at the right age where they could do that. They have the ability to be their own spokesmen. They don't need their parents and --
GORANI: And they have social media which they use masterfully, by the way, at that age. By the way, one of these teens asked Senator Marco Rubio of
Florida if he would be willing to stop accepting money from the NRA at our town hall yesterday. This is how he answered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Rubio, can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA?
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 that question is that people buy into my agenda and I do support the Second Amendment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: OK, so really kind of not directly answering the question, but that's at the heart of the matter, though, isn't it, Lynn?
SWEET: Yes. When it comes to the NRA, yes, they do have the ability to not only make direct donations to the campaigns of people who support their
agenda, but they also could help others raise money.
They also have a powerful voting block that could punish people especially in a Republican primary who don't vote with them.
[15:15:02] And the only difference now is you have a president who I would think the NRA considers wobbly because he's not marching with them in
lockstep as he had done up until a week ago.
What I'm waiting to see, though, is if the Republican leaders of Congress will do something even -- what you have to do to see if there's going to be
progress. We can measure this and it's not in campaign donations.
It's whether or not you could take even one discrete issue and get a vote on it where it can change something. The NRA today made it very clear that
if you touch one thing in their agenda, it could cascade into an erosion of all your rights, your freedoms, your medical record would be open, and this
would be the way to leading us to be European socialists --
GORANI: Wayne LaPierre line that just went so overboard and some of the points that he was making that if you ban anything related to guns, then
all of a sudden the government is taking over your life and you become a socialist European country, really taking it to extremes.
SWEET: Right. I know we're in international channel, in this context, he did not mean that as a compliment.
GORANI: Believe me, I think everyone abroad understood because we aired it on CNN International right after he said that mainstream media doesn't air
his views as he was on CNN live (inaudible). Absolutely. We will be hopefully speaking again in the coming days and weeks.
GORANI: We continue to observe what these teens, this movement will produce, if any change will come of it. Lynn Sweet, thanks so much. We're
really glad to have you on.
Now to Syria, a 30-day cease fire for Syria's Eastern Ghouta, that's what the U.N. Security Council is discussing today. They could vote on that
soon. Russia says it could consider a draft U.N. resolution on a halt to the fighting but that would need some changes.
This comes as the relentless airstrikes pounded the rebel enclave for a fifth straight day. Observers are saying the death toll has now jumped to
335 people killed since Sunday.
Let's go to Ben Wedeman live in Beirut for the very latest. I imagine there's not much hope attached to any U.N. resolution. In the past, it's
never really change much on the ground has it?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, Hala. Because the Russians before this even began said that one of their conditions is
that this proposed 30-day humanitarian ceasefire not include any factions such as ISIS or any al Qaeda related groups in Ghouta.
Which basically means that they would continue their operations because both the Russians and the Syrians don't really differentiate between the
various different rebel factions that do operate within Eastern Ghouta.
Now the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Ja'afari, did say that the capital of Damascus with a population of 8 million people has come
under bombardment regularly from the Eastern Ghouta, which is true.
But it's certainly the bombardment on Damascus doesn't really compare in terms of intensity and destruction as what's going in the other direction.
But if there's no ceasefire across the board, then you can forget about a ceasefire altogether.
Now, we've been in touch with people inside Eastern Ghouta who say just as the Security Council meeting began, there was a barrage of as many as 80
rockets fired into the besieged suburb of Damascus.
We've also seen that the Syrian military, their helicopters have dropped leaflets into the Eastern Ghouta calling upon people to stay away from any
members of armed groups in the area and leaflets also include maps on safe routes out of there.
So, what we are seeing and certainly since yesterday are indications that the Syrian government aided by the Russians is preparing for some sort of
final offensive to retake this strategic suburb of Damascus once and for all.
The chances of any sort of Security Council vote in favor of this 30-day humanitarian ceasefire are pretty slim at this point. Th chances of a
further blood bath in Eastern Ghouta, however, are high.
GORANI: Sadly. Thanks very much, Ben Wedeman live in Beirut.
Still to come, British Prime Minister Theresa May calls a crunch cabinet summit as her leadership is once again called into question. They're all
discussing Brexit so what's the plan. We'll look at that.
GORANI: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing firm in the face of five corruption investigations swirling around him. On Facebook, he
promised to continue to lead the country with, quote, "responsibility, judiciousness and dedication."
He told a business conference that he would be back next year. So, there is no sign Mr. Netanyahu is backing down even after one of his closest
associates turned state witness and could therefore testify against him.
Tonight, in a remote corner of the English countryside, Theresa May, is hunkered down with her cabinet in what's being described as an away day
from hell. Senior ministers have gathered at the prime minister's country home to thrash out an agreement on Brexit. The British government has
repeatedly failed to come up with a unified position on leaving the E.U.
Bianca Nobilo joins me now with the latest. The meeting is ongoing, so they've been at it for eight-plus hours.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN LONDON: Yes. (Inaudible) around midday then they have a scheduled dinner and drinks, but the talks continue. We are expecting
things to wrap up in about 10 p.m. local time. So, it's really been a marathon day of meetings and they have a lot to talk about because as you
said, they've had several days attempts of crunch talks over the last month, but they've failed to reach a compromise and time is really running
out. They are getting so close to the (inaudible).
GORANI: So, what's the objective here? At the end of this, do we then have some sort of document that tell us here's the Brexit the U.K. wants?
NOBILO: That's what we're all hoping for. These two weeks apart of the prime minister's so-called road to Brexit, so she's had the stars of her
cabinet giving speeches supposed to outline and clarify Britain's position on Brexit.
So far, we haven't had much meat on the bone. Next week, we're expecting this big speech by the prime minister. So, after today we might get a
little statement, but it's likely to be fleshed out next week. So, we're hoping to reach a compromise between --
GORANI: But whatever she says the E.U. will still have to sign onto that because the E.U. has not because when, for instance, Prime Minister May
said something about a transition period that doesn't satisfy the E.U. She will come out and say, no, we don't think that's a good idea. Whatever is
decided today, even if it's a unified position, that's not the end of the road.
NOBILO: Precisely. It's a negotiation on many fronts. It's not just the U.K. negotiating with the European Commission and the E.U. It's first of
all the prime minister negotiating with her own cabinet and she's got these people that want to have a very close relationship with the European Union.
And you have those who think Britain must diverge in order to capitalize on the global trade opportunities and then once they've got a compromise, she
has to present it to parliament because parliament now in the U.K. have to approve the Brexit deal before it even goes to the E.U.
GORANI: And then there are these backbenchers from her own party who have their own list of demands who might want a harder Brexit. If they rebel,
if they don't support their prime minister, they could force a vote of no confidence. We can have another election.
[15:20:11] NOBILO: I mean, this is why it's just so precarious and why it's really nail-biting event today in this picturesque (inaudible) country
house they've all been hunkered down and incredibly significant. Whatever happens over the next few weeks is really going to set the course for the
rest of the negotiations.
And bear in mind, that as much as they used up the patience of the E.U., they are going to be sapping the goodwill of these negotiations because the
commission have kept saying, we need clarity from Britain in order to proceed. The clock is ticking. Time is running out.
GORANI: But give me an example, one thing, for instance, that we might get out of this, I don't know, the rights of E.U. citizens for instance.
That's one of the sticking points because the U.K. says there will be a transition period and E.U. citizen's rights will not be the same as those
who entered the U.K. before March of 2019.
The E.U. says no, if you want a transition period, nothing changes. Then you're a member of the E.U. in the way you were before. Will we have
clarity on that because it's frustrating for everyone to wait and have no answers.
NOBILO: It is frustrating. I mean, one of the key issues there is that whether or not those E.U. citizens who arrive in the U.K. during
transition, will they still have the same settlement rights as those who have arrived before --
There's something which the majority of the cabinet thinks acceptable, but then the hard Brexiteers won't accept that. They think freedom of movement
should stop when Brexit happens on the 29th of March 2019.
The other thing they'll be talking about is whether or not any form of Customs Union, something which was ruled out by the prime minister, but has
(inaudible) head again, because there are bills going through parliament, which might force the prime minister back into accepting a customs union
with the E.U. So, that's another big sticking point.
GORANI: Well, basically, the short answer is we have no idea (inaudible). What we do know is that net migration to the U.K. from the E.U., is at a
ten-year low. Certainly, the number of E.U. migrants coming into this country after Brexit has decreased.
NOBILO: It had decreased in the number of migrants coming from other places in the world hasn't had a big uptick.
GORANI: Right. Bianca Nobilo, thanks very much for that. We'll keep our eye on that. Just a few more hours before hopefully we'll get some sort of
Now we stay in the U.K., a package containing a substance sent to St. James's Palace is being treated as a racist hate crime according to
London's MET Police. Now media in this country are reporting that the package was addressed to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Police have not
confirmed that, though. Officers tested the substance and said it was white powder that was not harmful and there have been no arrests so far.
Still to come, he was lauded for his openness when he was elected, but Emmanuel Macron is now getting tough on immigration and his critics don't
Plus, will arming teachers stop school shootings? President Trump says that it can. We'll talk to the head of one of America's largest teacher's
unions. We'll be right back.
[15:30:32] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ACNHOR: Well, cast your mind back to May last year. Emmanuel Macron took on Marine La Pen in the French
presidential election. One of the candidates ran on a tough immigration platform, and it wasn't Mr. Macron. But fast forward nine months and he's
being criticized over plans for tougher immigration rules which have seen protests and will test his own party's majority. The government says the
proposals are firm and fair. Here's what they include. So they include doubling to 90 days the time in which illegal migrants can be detained.
That used to be just 45 days. Also, the deadlines to apply for asylum will be shortened. And making the illegal crossing of borders an offense
punishable by one year in jail and fines. It's all really about discouraging migrants from coming to France. Many migrants, by the way,
have attempted to do just that, cross the border often in very dangerous conditions. Take a look how CNN covers that issue in the Alps just a month
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: It's been the longest of treks. With a determined step, these 16 and 17-year-old boys have already crossed
from West Africa to Northern Italy in search of a better life. Ahead of them now, the French border and a perilous nearly two kilometer high
mountain pass. But this is not the first obstacle they've faced on their journey and they say they're ready for anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FRENCH)
BELL: Simon, a local mountain rescuer, tries to convince them not to go. But the boys head up nonetheless. So, too, does Simon. He doesn't find
the group but later learns that they had to turn around near the top.
This winter, for the first time, he says, he spent more time rescuing migrants than skiers.
SIMON BOBBIO, ALPINE RESCUE VOLUNTEER: Because they don't have the experience, you know. They don't know much about snow.
BELL: But the rescuers don't always find the migrants. Often, all they can do is follow their tracks until they get too dangerously high and night
GORANI: So, is this move hypocritical for a president who ran very much on the idea of tolerance and openness?
Let's bring in, he's a French immigration expert and a historian. A visiting professor at the Yale University's School of Law. M He joins me
from New York.
So, what is Macron doing here, politically speaking?
PATRICK WEIL, FRENCH IMMIGRATION EXPERT AND A HISTORIAN: So, Macron talks the talk of love to refugee, admiration to Angela Merkel during the
campaign. And as soon as he was elected, he didn't walk the walk. He did exactly the opposite. He took the opposite path, starting for example
things that has never happened in the France in the Second World War. For example, the police would go after migrants were in the Calais Region
trying to go to the U.K. with tear gas on their food, on their water, on their shelter, on their sleeping bags to the point that our supreme court
condemned the government for breaking respect of human rights and respect of human dignity and forced the government to reestablish at least the
Most recently -- most recently, they have decided we have a rule in France that a child is not asked for an ID when he go to school. A sick person is
not asked for an ID when you go to the hospital. And the homeless in the winter like you've seen in the Alps is not asked for an ID when he wants a
shelter for the night. And for the first time since Second World War, pardon were given to the police going into the shelters and ask for IDs.
And the court just say, that's illegal.
GORANI: So, are you saying that -- can I just ask you? Are you saying that during the campaign and when he was making lofty promises and big
speeches that he was lying, that he had a different plans all along? Is that what you're saying?
WEIL: It is not only what I say. It is what even some of his backers wrote recently in op-ed and it is what the court decided that it was even
breaking not only with his campaign promises, but with the French constitution and the French law.
GORANI: Why is he doing it?
[15:35:05] WEIL: I think, they say they want to follow the public opinion. I think he wanted to perhaps destroy not only the national front but the
rightwing party, but he's not succeeding doing that. And to the contrary, he is offering them a legitimacy to their discourses. And it's why you
have now some reaction within the own party of Mr. Macron.
GORANI: But it is with popular opinion, a majority of French people support these measures.
WEIL: You know, it's very complex issue. Here in France or in the U.S. or everywhere in Europe, people feel you arrest -- you control illegal
migration and you bring security. If these people cannot be sent back to their country, do you prefer a kid to be at school or to be in the street
when he's or she's 12 or 13 years old? Do you prefer for security reason to have a sick person treated by a doctor and you yourself escaping
(INAUDIBLE) or do you prefer this person refusing (INAUDIBLE) because you cannot send her back to her country? So often, respect of human rights
goes together with respect of our own security and safety. And it is sometimes what people don't understand.
GORANI: Sir, but what about his political -- I mean, his popularity was terrible last year. It seems like it's going up. Like the French people
consider Emmanuel -- yes, he was very low a few months after the election. Yes.
WEIL: Yes. He went up and now he's going back down. And I think what people discover is that, you know, he is saying things and does the
opposite. We had a very tough rightwing president, Mr. Sarkozy. Mr. Sarkozy was very violent verbally but pragmatic on the ground. Mr. Macron
is very silky verbally, but on the ground, is a dagger. And it is what people discover.
GORANI: Patrick Weil, thanks so much for your perspective. We'll appreciate you joining us this evening on this. And we'll continue to
follow that story.
Still to come tonight, President Trump says shooting up schools is like going in for ice cream for someone bent on killing. What he wants too
about it and we'll hear reaction from a teachers union as well.
Plus, shooting survivor or actor? Conspiracy theorists are coming out of the woodwork with some absolutely mindboggling theories after the Florida
tragedy. We'll be right back.
[15:40:59] GORANI: Following the school massacre in Florida last week, some people are working on social media to discredit gun control advocates.
One of the targets is David Hogg. You may recognize his face because we've seen him quite a bit in the last week. He's a survivor of the Florida
school shooting who has been speaking out in favor of tougher gun laws.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID HOGG, SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: My message to lawmakers in congress is please take action. Ideas are great, ideas are wonderful and they help
you get reelected and everything, but what's more important is actual action and pertinent action that results in saving thousands of children's
lives. Please take action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, here are some of the wild conspiracy theories. One blogger said that Hogg's father is a former FBI agent and suggested that Hogg was
running cover for an anti-gun FBI agenda. Meanwhile, a top trending YouTube video claimed Hogg is actually a paid actor. The high school
senior pushed back while he was talking to CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOGG: I'm not an actor in any sense, way, shape or form. I'm the son of a former FBI agent, and that is true. But as such, it is also true that I
went -- that I go to Stoneman Douglas High School. And I was a witness to this. I'm not a crisis actor. I'm somebody that had to witness this and
live through this and I continue to have to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Let's get more now on that and other conspiracy theories out there. CNN senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter is with us from New
York. It is kind of the world we live in now where you have all this fake news, conspiracy stuff. I think eight out of the top trending YouTube
videos when you searched for his name where actually some of those whacky conspiracy videos.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And now, YouTube says it's addressing the problem. It says that it'll try to do
better next time. We have seen this after every tragedy in the United States, after every big event in the U.S. and we see this all the time in
other countries as well. This proliferation of conspiracy theories, lies. You could probably bucket it all under the term misinformation or
disinformation. And the idea of fake news, stories that are made up to trick people, that's one element of this. But there are lots of other
elements as well. What we've seen in the wake of Parkland is a sick kind of combination of several of these different kinds of misinformation
campaigns. And like you said, a lot of it is intended to discredit and dismiss these student activists.
GORANI: And where are they coming from? I mean, who's putting these videos together and posting them? Because they do end up going viral.
STELTER: Yes, they end up reaching millions of people. And that's why it's news worthy. Anybody behind an anonymous computer screen can make up
a lie. The problem is it can spread so widely and reach millions of people because of these social media platforms. Look, people have had a --
there's lots of people throughout history who have had conspiratorial ideas. This is nothing new. What's new is that these ideas, these lies
can be super powered and super charged by social media. And right now, there's so much pressure on the technology giants to address this.
YouTube, Facebook, Twitter in particular.
GORANI: Well, YouTube ended up taking down one of the most widely distributed and clicked on videos featuring David Hogg. But by then, I
think it had already racked up several hundred thousand views. How do these tech companies -- how can they improve their algorithm or whatever
system they have in place to quickly identify fake news and misinformation and take it down? Because it seems like they're having a tough time with
STELTER: Partly, it's about having to admit to themselves that they do have to make editorial choices. That these companies, though they're
founded as technology companies, they do have editorial roles to play. All this misinformation, it is a form of pollution making societies sick.
GORANI: Right. And so once they do make editorial decisions, they're not strictly speaking tech companies anymore. They're content companies.
STELTER: And that's the complication here. These companies are so resistant to making editorial choices, they're being content companies.
They're resistant to the rules and regulations that come along with that. So we're seeing the Facebooks, the Googles of the world very reluctantly
start to admit that they have more of a role to play here. The reality is algorithms are not enough. Human editors, go to human beings are much
better able and equipped to detect lies and hoaxes and misinformation. And the reality is, it's only going to get worse. People are able to
manipulate audio and video new ways now as well. So it's kind of like a game of whack a mole that we're seeing. You might stamped out one kind of
misinformation, but then a whole another kind starts to form. This is going to be a constant challenge for these companies and also, Hala, a
challenge for all business members of the public to get better at detecting this stuff. Sniffing it out.
GORANI: One idea I think could work, and we have, by the way, a guest from the teacher's union to talk about the Donald Trump comments in just a
moment. But it's kids in school, they can get history lessons, geography lessons, math lessons, but also get lessons in how to consume news, detect
fake news, design. Absolutely. I mean, that has become absolutely essential.
[15:45:04] STELTER: News literacy or technology literacy, it is a need for both of those to understand how information is created, how it's
manipulated and how all the constant alerts on our cell phones affect our perception of the world around us. The technology is evolving very quickly
and our minds, our brains, our education needs to catch up.
GORANI: Brian Stelter, as always, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.
STELTER: Thank you.
GORAIN: Now to those brand new comments from President Trump about how to stop school shootings like the one in Parkland. He said not only should
about 20 percent of teachers be armed but he said the ones who do carry weapons should get bonuses with them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have teachers that are marines for 20 years and they retire and become a teacher. And they're
army, navy, air force, they're coast guard. They're people that have won shooting contests. They were whatever. This is what they do. They know
guns, they understand guns. One of the fake news networks, CNN, last night was saying I want teachers to have guns. I don't want teachers to have
guns. I want certain highly adept people, people that understand weaponry guns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: President Trump also said he opposes active shooter drills in schools saying they're bad for kids. The White House later clarified, it's
just the name that he opposes, not the idea of holding drills.
Let's get reaction though this from Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teacher's union in the United States. Thanks so
much for being with us.
So first of all, do you think it's a good idea to arm some teachers in schools?
RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: No. Look, a colonel, a former marine colonel last night who has all that expertise said
to Time Magazine that the idea is lunacy. And anyone who knows schools knows that. Now, does that mean that we shouldn't have more resource
officers in schools? And does that mean that if a community wants to arm those resource officers, who would be well trained shouldn't happened?
That should happen if a community wants that. But think about this. A kindergarten teacher, where would she lock the gun? Where would she have
the gun? How does -- what happens initially? Do you ensure that your kids are safe? Or do you find the gun? How do you make sure that people who
are not trained as sniper, as people who can hit snipers or have that kind of training, how are they any match for somebody who has an AR-15? And
what we're really concerned about is that this is a false solution, that someway that the NRA and the gun manufactures love this solution because
they think they're going to sell a lot more guns.
GORANI: And again, Donald Trump is saying it's not all the teachers, it's the ones who maybe have some experience shooting firearms, maybe at gun
WEINGARTEN: What happens in an elementary school when you don't have any of those people in that elementary school? So that elementary school is
going to be -- is not going to have any protection? And a high school, maybe you have someone who's in the shop class, but it's a huge high school
and there's four other buildings? We actually need protections that get guns out of schools. And that's why if you look at Australia, if you look
at Canada, if you look at Great Britain, they have figured out sensible gun laws as well as safety precautions so that you don't have this kind of mass
So my question is, why are we not going in that direction? Why would we go in a direction to actually have more guns rather than less guns when it is
actually antithetical to who teachers are? Schools need to be safe learning experiences. Kids don't need to see teachers packed with arms.
GORANI: The other idea that he floated, today he was holding another session in the aftermath of this tragedy, was some of these teachers could
get bonuses, 20, 30, 40 percent perhaps, those who decide that they're willing to carry firearms. What's your reaction to that?
WEINGARTEN: Look, this is from the guy who cut $9 billion out of schools last year. This is from him, the guy and his secretary of education who
two days before Parkland cut school security and cut mental health services. So, we do need a lot more money in schools for the kind of wrap-
around services for a guy like Mr. Cruz who was very troubled. How do you not have some mental health services following that kid? How do you let
that kid buy 10 rifles? So this is what I'm concerned about here is that, you know, will there be some teachers who say I'm really scared. I want to
have a gun. There will be because the government has not done what Australia or Great Britain or Canada has done to reduce it.
[15:50:25] GORANI: Randi, here's one of the -- I live in the U.K.t., I've lived abroad really most of my life. And those who think what Australia
did was great, what the U.K. did after was great. Well, you can't really do that in America. The culture is entirely different. There are already
300 million weapons in circulation. At most, if you're lucky, you could get bump stocks banned and maybe assault rifles also limited somehow.
WEINGARTEN: Why is it in New York City we've been able to reduce the incidents of gun violence? Why is it in Connecticut after that where there
were some gun laws that were passed, sensible gun laws -- look, we've had owners, we have gun owners in our union. We had a meeting yesterday with a
telethon hall with about 60,000 people on it and even gun owners were saying, oh, please, no guns in schools. So, what are we going to do?
We're going to make the situation worse, not make the situation better? You can't tell me that if you had extreme vetting, background checks,
registries, some research on gun -- like the Dickey Amendment that was passed ban all research. You can't tell me like when we banned assault
weaponry from individual civilians, that that didn't help reduce the level of gun violence in the United States.
GORANI: Randi Weingarten, thanks so much. The American Federation of Teachers. We really appreciate your time. Thanks for joining us.
WEINGARTEN: Thank you.
GORANI: Check us out on Facebook. Facebook.com/halagoranicnn. We will be right back.
GORANI: In the past week, we've seen young people speak out with a voice and a fervor that has not been seen in a long time in the United States or
in other countries, as to be said. But it isn't just in the political spectrum. CNN is telling the stories of young scientists, entrepreneurs an
inventors in a new special series called Tomorrow's Heroes. Here's one story.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: More than seven out of 10 people with pancreatic cancer die within one year of their diagnosis.
Many scientists agree earlier detection is the key to saving more lives. Before he even turned 16, Jack Andraka came up with an invention that could
become a vital component in the fight against this deadly cancer. It's why he is a tomorrow's hero.
JACK ANDRAKA, INVENTOR AND RESEARCHER: Pancreatic cancer detection is really difficult. All the methods that we're currently using can only
detect the cancer when it's in the latest stages, when you have less than a two percent chance of survival.
[15:55:53] My name is Jack Andraka. I'm 21. I'm a global health researcher at Stanford University in California. And at age 15, I create a
new way to detect pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer that three cents and takes five minutes to run.
A close family friend who was like an uncle to me passed away from the disease. It was a really devastating tragedy and it really inspired me to
try and find new ways of detecting pancreatic cancer. My break through moment really came in my eighth grade biology class. I was reading this
article on all of these really impressive properties of these nanomaterials and at the same time we're learning about these certain classes of
biological molecules. And all of a sudden, I was just like what if I combine these two ideas? I contacted 200 different professors. I got 199
rejections. It was about like eighth months since my lab work. Nothing had been working. But then I did my 10th test of like this test strip and
finally when I was plotting the results it worked out into this beautiful curve. It was just one of the happiest moments of my life.
It's based off these amazing properties of nanoparticles that only react to one specific molecule, in this case a protein that circulates in your blood
when you have these cancers. So what you do when you combine them, you end up with a carbon substance that only reacts to that one protein that
indicates that you have a cancer. It could also detect pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer all simultaneously. Also simply switch out one
component of it, it could detect an entire different disease, Alzheimer's, other different kinds of cancer, even HIV/AIDS and heart disease.
So, so far we've run a couple preliminary experiments with this test strip and has over 90 percent accuracy in the sample size. Things change in
clinical trials, but it's going to be a lot more accurate that our existing test which has around a 60 percent to 70 percent accuracy rate.
It's really been a life changing experience. Age 15 one typically doesn't get to skip school to go to the White House.
BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Jack, stand up. That's pretty spectacular stuff.
ANDRAKA: It's been a really amazing experience. It's really changed how I live my life. I didn't even know what pancreas was when I started this.
So if I could create a new way to detect pancreatic cancer at 13, just imagine what you can do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, in the medical community, there's still some skepticism around Jack's work. It is undergoing further testing. So we'll keep our
eye on it.
Thanks for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. Stay with CNN. "Quest Means Business" is next.