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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Sources: Three Other Broward County Deputies Did Not Enter School; Tipster Warned FBI School Shooter Was "Going to Explode"; Ex- Trump Aide Pleads Guilty, Is Cooperating With Mueller; Washington Post: Rosenstein Alerted White House 2 Weeks Ago To Issues That Would Further Delay Kushner's Security Clearance; GOP Florida Congressman Supports Assault Weapons Ban. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired February 23, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:14] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Not one, not two or three, but four armed professional law enforcement officers standing outside Stoneman Douglas High School in the moments after the massacre.
John Berman here in for Anderson.
By now, Scot Peterson, the Broward County deputy who was serving as a school resource officer, he's a household name, he stood by, did not go into the school and lost his job for it. Rightly or wrongly, the president of the United States has called him a coward.
Now the breaking news, he allegedly had company outside the school, where a gunman took 17 lives. The very latest now from our Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While the gunman was inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killing people at random, a trained Broward County sheriff's deputy did nothing.
SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: Devastated. Sick to my stomach. There are no words.
KAYE: The Broward County sheriff revealing the stunning news that one deputy, Scot Peterson, who was armed and in uniform, clearly knew there was an active shooter, but stayed in his position outside Building 12. The sheriff says video shows the deputy doing nothing for more than four minutes while the bullets flew inside. The shooting lasted about six minutes.
Deputy Peterson has since resigned.
When reporters asked what he should have done --
ISRAEL: Went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.
KAYE: And new information tonight that Peterson wasn't the only sheriff's deputy who failed to act. Now, Coral Springs police sources tell CNN that three other Broward County sheriff's deputies also remained outside. Pistols drawn, but hiding behind their vehicles. It's unclear if the shooter was still there when they arrived, but not
one of them had gone into the school. It was the Coral Springs officers who were the first to go in.
Meanwhile, during the shooting, another key misstep. Turns out the surveillance video security teams were watching in hopes of locating the 19-year-old gunman in the school had been rewound.
The 20-minute video delay led authorities to believe the gunman was still in the building, when in reality, he was long gone.
CHIEF TONY PUSTIZZI, CORAL SPRINGS, FLORIDA POLICE: The delay never put us in a situation where any kids' lives were in danger.
KAYE: Long before the shooting, there were warning signs that went nowhere. Even the FBI missed a major red flag.
CNN has reviewed a transcript from a January 5th call this year, a tipster close to the Parkland shooter warning the FBI that the teen was, quote, going to explode. The female tipster spoke of his social media posts about guns and his violence in school, saying she feared him getting into a school and just shooting the place up.
The FBI has admitted that proper protocols weren't followed on a key tip about the suspect just weeks before the attack.
DAVID BOWDICH, FBI ACTING DEPUTY DIRECTOR: There was a mistake made. We know that. But it is our job to make sure that we do everything in our power to ensure that does not happen again.
KAYE: Also, the Broward County sheriff now revealing their office had received 18 calls related to the suspect over the past decade. In a 2016 call, officers got a tip that he planned to shoot up an unknown school. Police records show the responding deputy passed the information on to a school resource officer.
In another call last November, police records show a caller warned the teen was collecting guns, suggesting he could be a school shooter in the making. Officers simply referred it to the Palm Beach Sheriff's Department for review.
Also last year, a family in Palm Beach County alerted police that the suspect had put a gun up to someone's head. The suspect himself called 911 about the incident.
NIKOLAS CRUZ, SUSPECT: I kind of got mad and I started punching walls and stuff, then a kid (AUDIO DELETED) at me and threw me on the ground.
KAYE: Police responded and were told at the scene it had all been worked out.
BERMAN: Randi Kaye joins me now from Parkland, Florida. Randi, these details -- these new details are so disturbing, and it's
not the end of it. What have you learned about social services looking into this suspect years ago?
KAYE: John, we have learned the Department of Children and Families here in Florida took a closer look at the suspect back in 2016. It was right after he and his girlfriend had broken up. What they found was he was cutting his arms by himself, he was putting Nazi symbols on his backpack and had plans to purchase a gun.
Yet despite all of this, they considered that he was a very low risk, despite all of those findings. That was because he was living with his mother, he was going to school, he was getting treatment for his mental health issues, apparently, so they considered him a very low risk.
Meanwhile, John, just months after that DCF report was closed is when this suspect went out and bought this AR-15 style rifle that police say he used in this school massacre.
[20:05:09] So, clearly, John, he was not a very low risk.
BERMAN: Randi Kaye in Parkland, Florida -- Randi, thanks so much.
Joining us now, CNN law enforcement analyst, former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
Chief, thanks so much for being with us. This new information that these Broward County sheriffs, three in addition to the school resource officer, were outside the school, hadn't gone in, does it make any sense to you?
CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: Nope. It makes no sense at all. I mean, you can't just wait outside. We learned that lesson after Columbine.
Now, the first officer on the scene, the school resource officer, he definitely should have gone in. There's no excuse for him not having gone in. If what is being said is true about the other three, there's no way they shouldn't have gone in.
You have to go in and neutralize the threat as soon as possible and even if you don't hear shots, you still don't know if the person is still in there. You have to clear the building. So, you have to go in. There's just no other way to do it.
BERMAN: That's the key point there. We don't know for sure whether these three arrived before or after the shooter had left. But even so, to still be outside when there could be wounded people who need treating, or the building does need to be cleared, it's still a problem, correct?
RAMSEY: Yes, it is. Plus, you don't know if he's left the scene. We know now because we have a lot more information but at the time, you don't know that. You have to clear the building, period.
You have to tend to the wounded. You have to do all these things. You can't do it hiding behind your car.
BERMAN: And you brought up one of the key issues here, which is the protocol. After Columbine, the protocol changed. Before that, it was secure the perimeter and wait. But now, police are trained differently. Explain.
RAMSEY: Well, they are trained differently because we learned that while we're waiting for SWAT and God bless SWAT, they are very good at what they do, but it takes time for them to get there. In the meantime, these things are over fairly quickly.
So, we have to train our officers and many departments have, I believe most departments have, active shooter training where they are trained how to go in and be able to clear the building, neutralize the threat, save as many people as you possibly can. I know the departments I have worked in, that's ongoing training on a regular basis that takes place.
BERMAN: Every department we have talked to says this is now the protocol. The training, the protocol now is to go in. That is what you are trained to do. That's why it's so troubling that it didn't appear to happen here.
BERMAN: Now, whether on the local level or the federal level, so many mistakes here. You look at this, it seemed everyone was saying this guy could turn out to be a school shooter. The guy who everyone warned was going to be a school shooter ended up shooting up a school.
RAMSEY: Yes. Well, you know, clearly the FBI dropped the ball with the tip line and the information that they received. There's absolutely no reason why that information was not sent out to the field office for follow-up. The local authorities weren't noted. Something should have been done. That has to be explored to find out exactly what happened, why it happened and make sure it never happened again.
I mean, there should be supervisory oversight to make sure the tips are being handled properly. That didn't happen. Clearly, there's other people that again, the warning signs were there and they just failed to act. It's a tragedy all the way around.
BERMAN: Commissioner Ramsey, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.
RAMSEY: That's OK.
BERMAN: All right. Let's get another take on what could have been done better from someone who saw it from perspective no one should have ever been in. Teacher Diane Wolk-Rogers was there today for the first time since 14 students and three colleagues were murdered. She and her fellow teachers returned to Stoneman Douglas.
Wednesday night, you remember, she confronted the RNA spokeswoman Dana Loesch at CNN's town hall. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE WOLK-ROGERS, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER: I'm a history teacher. I ask my students to define terms for me. So I would like you to define something for me because I have wondered about it and I want to know, what is your definition of a well- regulated militia as stated in the Second Amendment, and using supporting detail, explain to me how -- let me finish -- let me finish -- and using supporting detail, explain to me how an 18-year-old with a military rifle is well-regulated and the world, our country, our nation is going to grade your answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Ms. Rogers joins us now from Parkland, Florida. Thanks for being with us and continuing this discussion.
One part of the discussion is certainly about guns. You were having that Wednesday night. The other part of the discussion is about the law enforcement response here and when you hear about these officers that stayed outside, did not enter the school, what goes through your mind?
[20:10:01] WOLK-ROGERS: Well, I tell you, John, you know, I tell my students whenever they write an essay and they have a point of view to make sure they have done all the research before they put it out there. So I have been at work all day trying to get the class ready for our kids so you know, what I really want to address is I want to address Mr. Trump and his solution to that.
First, what I want to say is, going around calling people who are mentally ill in our communities psychos and lunatics, that's not going to solve the problem. That actually creates barriers so people that we want to seek that help aren't going to. For doing that, I wanted to give Mr. Trump and Dana, I want to give them a detention. And normally, that's name calling and I give my students one week detention for name-calling, but because 25 percent of the Americans at some time are going to have mental health issues, I'm going to make it two weeks and I want them to come after school and write letters of apologies to the people in America.
BERMAN: So, Ms. Rogers, as you say, the gun discussion, very much part of this right now. You brought up how the president's addressing mental health. We'll focus on one other thing he's addressing first and I do want to come back to the law enforcement response.
BERMAN: The president suggesting arming teachers. Giving maybe 20 percent of gun-adept teachers guns. Do you think that is a good idea?
WOLK-ROGERS: I'll tell you, it horrifies me. If what you're telling me is that we have trained professionals who weren't able to follow protocol, then I can't imagine my teachers, overworked, underpaid, exhausted, carrying a sidearm, then being able to perform that protocol. And I also, I want to talk about the white elephant in the room
because what we know is that students of color get suspended and get expelled at a higher rate than white kids. So, now, what are we going to say, Mr. Trump? We're going to say that now students of color are going to be shot at by teachers at a higher rate? It's absolutely ludicrous.
BERMAN: Governor Rick Scott of Florida -- again, that's one of the president's proposals, Governor Rick Scott of Florida put forward some different proposals today, including raising the minimum age you can buy a firearm to 21, banning bump stocks, $450 million for student safety.
Is this a good start from your governor?
WOLK-ROGERS: Yes. Yes, it is. I want my students who are working so hard to never again to really provide real solutions to this problem. I want my students to know this is a start. Yes. Governor Scott, it's a start. But it's only a start.
This is a revolution. My students are generals and they are going to carry this through. It's a start, yes, it is.
BERMAN: Just to circle back to the law enforcement response, and the number of missed signals there were in the way for years about this killer, right up until the end, when I know you may not have heard about the reporting in the Broward County deputies, three new ones were waiting outside, but the school resource officer who did not go in, do you feel like the system has served you well in this case?
WOLK-ROGERS: I think that the system, there's a lot of ways that we need to improve it and we need to work together. We need to come together. We don't need to be finger-pointing.
We need to take our money, we need to take our resources and we just need to come to a solution. It really begins beginning with putting that money and resources into mental health.
BERMAN: You went back inside the school.
WOLK-ROGERS: And wrapping those kids.
BERMAN: You went back inside the school for the first time, today.
BERMAN: What was that like? I can't imagine what that was like. Tell me about it.
WOLK-ROGERS: You know, I was really afraid, I told my students, I blasted out an e-mail I was really afraid I wasn't going to be ready for it, but the county, the school board, they provided so many resources for us that I really felt like I was wrapped in a blanket of comfort, and I want my students to come back and I want to share that with them, because we are going to move forward and we're going to heal together. That's how I feel. BERMAN: I understand you actually say this is one of the last times
you will speak to the media because you want to put 100 percent of your focus going forward on your students.
BERMAN: There's a voluntary orientation for them and their parents on Sunday. What's your plan going forward?
WOLK-ROGERS: Oh, absolutely, I'm going to be there. I sent out an e- mail to all my kids and said please come by, you know. I need to see all of you, you need to see me. Our hearts are broken but we are going to move forward.
You know, Stoneman Douglas is strong. I hope you see that and you know we are going to get through this together. We are reclaiming our school.
BERMAN: Diane Wolk-Rogers, we do appreciate you speaking to us over the last nine days up until tonight. We wish you the best of luck going forward. The students, too.
WOLK-ROGERS: Thank you, John. Thank you, John.
Ahead, a conversation with a Republican congressman from Florida who was severely wounded in combat now supports a ban on assault weapons.
But up next, breaking news in the Russia investigation. Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, deputy campaign chair, pleads guilty and new charges filed against Paul Manafort, the former campaign chair himself.
Stay with us.
[20:18:42] BERMAN: More breaking news tonight. Special counsel Robert Mueller has filed another series of criminal charges against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. Today's indictment accuses Manafort of paying former European politicians to speak favorably on behalf of the Ukrainian government. Those politicians, the indictment alleges, posed as independent voices but in reality, were not.
Manafort, the indictment says, used offshore accounts to pay the former politicians about two million euros and this as major news, Manafort's associate, former Trump campaign aide, deputy campaign chair Rick Gates, entered guilty pleas for conspiracy to defraud the United States and making false statements.
I'm joined now by John Dean, Gloria Borger, Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeff, let's start with this Gates plea deal. You know, Gates, a big fish here, the deputy campaign chair. A major player in the campaign, pleading to things that didn't relate directly to the campaign but again, this has got to be a bad night for Paul Manafort.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: In fact, Manafort did something unintentionally very revealing, when he issued a statement he said, I continue to maintain our innocence. That shows how linked he is with Rick Gates, that he still speaks of them as a team. His problem is that Gates has now admitted that he was engaged in many interlocking conspiracies with Manafort -- tax fraud, campaign finance laws, you know, foreign reporting laws.
[20:20:12] All of those heavily documented, are now admitted crimes on the part of Rick Gates, and it really makes Manafort's situation pretty desperate.
BERMAN: Right. You have the deputy chair flipping, what could it mean for the chair.
And, Gloria, Paul Manafort seems like he's fighting.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, his lawyer indicates that he is. Maybe he's fighting until he's not fighting anymore. You know they have a suit that they filed in federal court against the special counsel, saying that in investigating all of his finances that predate the campaign that the special counsel is going beyond his jurisdiction. So they may be banking on that and hoping that the whole thing gets thrown out.
But I agree with Jeffrey. I mean, I think the tax case is pretty black and white here and I don't know where they go next other than to Donald Trump.
BERMAN: We'll talk about that in a second right here. Because I think that's an interesting possibility.
You know, John Dean, before we get there, look, Paul Manafort should be worried about Rick Gates. Should President Trump be worried about Paul Manafort?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, that's hard to know. He was certainly there at a key time in the ending days of the campaign. He worked for free, which is kind of interesting.
And he also, as the indictment shows, once he joined the campaign started earning a lot more money or gathering a lot more money. So, that suggests that there might be something going on below the surface that we don't know that he's well aware of.
We also know that certainly the special prosecutor wants him very badly. They are leaning on him with the full power of that office.
BERMAN: You know, Jeffrey, Gloria brought up this issue of the pardon, right? I mean, Paul Manafort legally seems to be in deep, deep trouble, as you say. These charges are very hard to mount a defense against. And now, Rick Gates, you have testifying against you, presumably.
Should Manafort just throw all his chips on Donald Trump, the president maybe giving him a pardon?
TOOBIN: Well, I mean, he can hope for a pardon. I think at this point, you know, it would be so politically incendiary, it looks so much like Trump was doing it to protect himself, not to protect Paul Manafort, that I think even Donald Trump, who doesn't fear the consequences of a lot of what he does, wouldn't take the risk of the backlash that he would get if he pardoned Paul Manafort at this point, and his White House has said all along pardons are not under consideration.
BERMAN: I listen to you a lot on TV. You think it's inevitable at this point, practically, that Paul Manafort will cop a plea deal?
BORGER: I do, too.
TOOBIN: I don't see any way he can make this case go to trial -- he can take this case to trial. I think the enormous expense involved and the stakes for him is that if he's convicted after trial and if he testifies and lies to the judge and is convicted, he could be spending the rest of his life in prison. If he pleads guilty, he won't spend the rest of his life in prison.
BERMAN: I watch you on TV, too, Gloria. You just said I do, too. One of the things John dean said, these crimes we are talking about began well before the campaign although the scheming and money laundering and other things that were going on here and the evasion were happening during the campaign.
And, of course, Paul Manafort, though, was a central figure in the campaign. He was at the Trump Tower meeting.
BERMAN: Where Donald Trump Jr. was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russians.
BORGER: Look, there is something that the special counsel wants from Paul Manafort. We may not know what it is, but he is squeezing him probably for a good reason. I mean, we know that he's interested in the Trump Tower meeting but we also know that Paul Manafort has relationship with the pro-Putin Ukrainian president that goes back quite some time and earned him an awful lot of money.
He may be interested in that. He may be interested in the platform at the Republican convention dealing with Ukraine. We really don't know now, but if you look at people in this campaign who were openly involved with Russia, before they came into the campaign, I think you would have to point to Paul Manafort.
So, there's got to be something there and I'm on with two attorneys here who can tell us this, that there has got to be something there that Mueller is looking for that he believes he needs to get from Manafort and maybe that's a question of intent. You know, I don't know the answer.
BERMAN: Gates seemed to have been there every step of the way. Not just before, but during as well. Maybe he knows. Maybe he knows and that's what the special counsel is offered.
John Dean, in Watergate, every player had his breaking point. You did, President Nixon did. Do you believe Manafort will have a breaking point here?
[20:25:01] Is it inevitable?
DEAN: I agree with Jeffrey. I think he will at some point. He's risking the rest of his life in prison and he's not that young a man. So, I think at some point he's got to.
I don't think the pardon is a solution, because there are state offenses here as well, and he could well be charged by Virginia and New York for tax violations that will not solve his problems. So, there's no quick answer.
BERMAN: I will note that Robert Mueller has done something nearly every day in the last week and a half so one can only imagine what happens next week here.
You know, John Dean, thank you. Gloria, Jeff, stick around. I appreciate it.
Coming up, more breaking news. New reporting tonight that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave the White House a heads up two weeks ago that Jared Kushner's security clearance would be further delayed by what "The Washington Post" calls significant information requiring additional investigation. We'll hear from the reporter who broke this story about what that means, next.
BERMAN: Yet more breaking news this Friday night. New reporting that the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein telephoned the White House about two weeks ago to say there was significant information that needed more investigating that could further delay the security clearance for President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.
Joining me is Josh Dawsey, part of the team who broke this story for "The Washington Post."
So, Josh, what can you tell us about this phone call between the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Don McGahn?
JOSH DAWSEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Sure. The call happened on February 9th, approximately two weeks ago. In the call, deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein alerted Don McGahn, chief White House lawyer, that there were ongoing issues with Jared Kushner's security clearance and that it would take some time to continue investigating the issues and resolve the matters, basically. But a decision will not become any time soon as your viewers probably know, Rod Rosenstein is the Deputy Attorney General who oversees the Mueller probe, it is number two at the Justice Department and tends to only corresponds the White House on pretty serious issues. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, did the Deputy Attorney General -- did Rod Rosenstein say exactly what was being investigated relating Kushner and did he make clear that it was somehow connected to the Mueller investigation?
DAWSEY: That's in dispute. Department of Justice officials are saying to us pretty explicitly that he did not delineate the concerns exactly what they were in this call. And only gave a kind of top level view that there were problems that still needed, you know, to be investigated.
They don't say problems. They just say issues, things that come together in the normal process of a security clearance. The point though, John, is that 13 months into the administration Mr. Kushner, who was the President -- one the top foreign policy advisors, one of the most senior people in the White House continues to not have a permanent security clearance. Continued -- Sorry, continues to be under investigation.
And because of that, it is really perplexing to watch the folks in the law enforcement community and the Mueller probe of why, why 13 months in that Jared Kushner have clearance.
BERMAN: And just in terms of the timing, Josh, it was after this phone call between Rod Rosenstein and the White House. But the Chief of Staff, John Kelly, he made the announcement about staffers whose clearances haven't yet been finalized. Correct?
DAWSEY: Right. One week after this phone call, John Kelly, finalize a five-page memo, pretty lengthy and detailed memo, explaining that folks who still do not have a permanent security clearance at this point who were still operating without one would no longer, you know, be able to keep their interim security clearance.
And that policy is supposed to go into effect today. The White House is mum on whether Jared Kushner has any special, you know, to create grenade, what's going on. All the President said today at this press conference as you saw was, that decision is up to John Kelly. And John Kelly would be works right for America. But John Kelly is also the person who authored the memo about security clearance is that, you know, in the words of all senior White House officials we spoke to last week put a Bullseye on Jared Kushner.
BERMAN: So, Josh, any comments from the White House or I suppose from Jared Kushner's attorney at law about this news story, the Rod Rosenstein conversation?
DAWSEY: Abbe is declining to comment. The White House is declining to comment. Some of our reporting indicates that Kelly in recent weeks has expressed to folks that he would be happy if Jared Kushner departed the White House or maybe not happy but he would be contempt that it cause a lot of problems, that he has this interesting dual role of family member and staffer and that's problematic.
So there is definitely some tensions there between Jared Kushner and John Kelly. I've been pretty documented at this point. The White House is saying they never speak about security clearances. But I will make clear that in the course of our reporting no one at DOJ or at the White House disputed that this call happened. And that Jared Kushner's clearance came up on this call.
BERMAN: Josh Dawsey, thanks for your reporting. Thanks for your time.
Just ahead we will have more on this security clearance controversy with our panel. Also coming up, in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting, a Republican congressman from Florida, an army that loss both legs in combat says, he supports a ban on assault weapons. I will talk to him about that, next.
[20:37:42] BERMAN: All right, we're talking about new reporting by the "Washington Post." Also CCN on the warning the White House got just weeks ago about ongoing issues to do with of Jared Kushner security clearance.
Joining us CNN Legal Analyst, Carrie Cordero and back with us is Gloria Borger and Jeffrey Toobin.
You know, Jeffrey Toobin, Rod Rosenstein now is a key player in many dramas surrounding this White House. Of course, you oversee the Mueller investigation. And now this phone call for the Deputy Attorney General call the White House and say hey, we got a problem, it's not going away with the President's son-in-law is no small thing.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It's not small thing, but it all comes under the ambit of why nepotism is a bad idea. Why is he still working in the White House? Why does he work there in the first place, because if he were a normal employee, he would be out on this behind a long time ago? I mean, you have 13 months to get a security clearance is too long. That's now hoe the system is supposed to work. But you can't fire the President's son-in-law, because the President doesn't want to get rid of him.
So you have this ridiculous situation of the President's son-in-law, supposedly leading our negotiations in the Middle East, which is nothing but classified information with the CIA and now the security agency and he doesn't have a security clearance because they don't trust him. It's just an absurd situation.
BERMAN: He reads the daily brief almost every day.
BERMAN: Were told, he has requested more classified information and background information than nearly anyone in the White House.
Gloria, you know, and then he is in the midst of this sort of Shakespearean drama with John Kelly, what are the things done there?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they're not close, I would have to say. John Kelly is somebody that Jared and Ivanka wanted to get the position of chief of staff. But in my reporting, it seems to me that they have become more and more distant. They wouldn't be sad to see him go. He wouldn't be sad to see them go. And the President has dumped this entire thing in Kelly's lap, giving him kind of a hint today.
Well, I'm sure John Kelly will do the right thing. Jared is so valuable. Well, what that does mean? It means that the President precisely because of Jeffrey's reason, the guy is married to his daughter --
BORGER: -- doesn't want to sort of publicly flog the guy, so he is putting him in Kelly's lap. And of course, the President in the end, it's his decision. And if the President says, in the end, I want him to have this kind of clearance, Kelly will have to salute.
[20:40:13] BERMAN: And I'm sure he will do the right thing. It sounds like Tom Hagen going to (INAUDIBLE). I mean, and godfather saying, I'm sure you'll do the right thing.
Carrie, just to be crystal clear, 13 months for a security clearance is not normal? They can take a while, they don't take this long. And when they do take this long, if they do, it tells you something.
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's a long time. Thirteen months is a long time particularly for somebody who is in such a senior position, for White House officials, or for senior officials in the other parts of the executive branch. Normally by now, the full level clearance would come through and you wouldn't be dealing with this issue.
The phone call from Rod Rosenstein to the White House Counsel, though -- I'll point out one good thing about it. It actually shows that there is a proper channel of communication taking place between the Justice Department and the White House, which was something that we were not seeing early in the administration. But there's one -- I'll give you at least two reasons why his clearance could still be hung up at this point. One reason could be that the ongoing investigation is somehow is related to the broader Russia investigation being conducted by the Special Counsel's office. Or there are other issues unrelated to the Special Counsel's investigation. Probably which relate to Mr. Kushner's extensive financial entanglement that involved foreign lenders or other financial debt related issues, financial issues and debt being a major issue in security clearance adjudication.
So there could be a couple different explanations for why his clearance is taking so long. But at this point, it seems unlikely that it actually will come through --
CORDERO: -- in a way that a normal clearance would. And so then that raises the question which is, is there any other senior official in the executive branch or in the White House whose clearance has not come through at this time who has the same level of access to highly classified information as Jared Kushner. And if the answer to that is no, then the only reason that he continues to have this access is because of his relationship with the President and as a member of the family and that's not the way that the American government is supposed to work.
BERMAN: And the White House will plan to not tell us who else does or do not have clearance, they say they won't discuss that issue.
BERMAN: You know, Jeffrey, Carrie brought up sort of this the big issue here, which is, is Mueller -- is the Mueller investigation connected to this. Josh Dawsey, I talked just a moments ago, he said they can't really tell, they're not exactly sure, that wasn't clear yet from their reporting. But that would be a big deal.
TOOBIN: Of course it would be a big deal. But, you know, security clearances are an on off switch. You either have one or you don't. And, you know, it is worth also remembering that on a day when the President was speaking at CPAC, and for all time sake, the crowd was chanting, lock her up about Hillary Clinton. The whole accusation of Hillary Clinton was that she was not treating classified information appropriately. What about this? Here we have someone with access to the most classified seriously important classified information. He doesn't have a security clearance. How about that for inappropriate treatment of classified information?
BORGER: Well, and Jeffrey, if you had to amend your form, I mean, I remember doing like the first story on this last April I believe on Jared Kushner's FS-86 form which he initially filed, they said it was purely a mistake without any disclosure of foreign meetings on it. And then you had to amend it multiple times.
And then you are now part of the Mueller investigation. We know that Jared Kushner had to testify on Michael Flynn for example and CNN has reported this week that part of the, you know, part of the problem that he has got is the Mueller investigation. Not all of the problem, but you know, why would he get clearance. And if he can't get clearance, then can he do his job?
BERMAN: We will have to keep asking the White House that question.
TOOBIN: Good question.
BERMAN: We will keep asking the White House that question. Whether or not we're going to get straight answer is a different story. All right, thanks everyone. Busy night, it's not over yet.
[20:44:34] Next, he said he would take action to stop the next school shooting and promise to win over the National Rifle Association. But now that the NRA is opposing a part of his plan, the President is no longer talking about it. We're keeping him honest in what seems to be, a tale of two Trumps.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BERMAN: Anderson asked the question last night in the wake of the Parkland tragedy, would President Trump be able to do with some of the suggested that only he could? Could he craft a set of reforms that might prevent another Parkland and either persuade the National Rifle Association to get on board or push to pass legislation in spite of the NRA or would he instead bend to the gun lobby that spend $31 million to help put him in office?
At Wednesday's listening session of the White House surrounded by these families of Parkland, and other mass killings, the President suggested that he alone could fix it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Unlike for many years where people sitting in my position did not take action, they didn't take proper action. They took no action at all. We're going to take action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Action including raising the minimum age for rifle sales which is not insignificant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: But in addition to everything else, in addition to what we are going to do about background checks, we are going to go very strong into age, that's age of purchase.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:50:01] BERMAN: A day later, yesterday, raising the minimum age was still part of the President's plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I mean we're talking about rules and regulations for purchasing, talking changing an age from 18 to 21. We're talking about common sense and it's a great thing. And the NRA will back it. I really feel very confident the NRA will back it and so will Congress and so will the Senate.
BERMAN: Now keeping them honest by the time he said that, the NRA had already come out against it, issuing a statement the night before, they are against raising the age.
Now maybe this tells us that at that time at least the President was willing to fight the NRA on this specific point. Maybe he would say on this point we disagree. Maybe.
Another possibility maybe he just didn't know where the NRA stood when he said those things. Either way yesterday was the last time he mentioned raising the age. Instead speaking today at the conservative political action conference he was all about hardening schools, mental health, and this.
TRUMP: Well-trained, gun-adept teachers and coaches and people that work in those buildings, people that were in the Marines for 20 years and retired, people in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Coast Guard, people that are adept with weaponry and with guns -- they teach. I mean, I don't want to have 100 guards standing with rifles all over the school. You do a concealed carry permit.
BERMAN: He said much the same this afternoon standing next to Australia's Prime Minister. Nothing about age restrictions, nothing on Twitter either. The question is, and in fairness is could be too soon to tell, did he just forget? Did he leave it out by accident or is he now bending to the NRA or maybe he's just bending to reality, that lawmakers many but not all of them Republicans are already taking the same position as the NRA.
Late today, John Cornyn, the Senate second ranking Republican signaled his opposition to raising the age to 21, focus on other things, he says.
Now Florida's Governor Rick Scott appears to be going in the opposite direction. He now says he wants the minimum age raised the sign perhaps of changing times. And here's another a Florida Republican congressman and army combat veteran now says he supports the ban of future purchases of AR-15 style weapons -- assault weapons.
His powerful piece for the New York Times opinion pages headline, I'm Republican, I appreciate assault weapons, and I support a ban. Congressman Brian Mast joins us now. Congressman, thank you so much for being with us. It's an interesting discussion, why this change of heart. Why now?
REP. BRIAN MAST (R), FLORIDA: Look, when I was on the battlefield and I saw an opportunity to save a life, I didn't have a conversation about it. I acted. That's the way we do it on the battlefield. That's would make sense, it's common sense, and that's what needs to happen here.
BERMAN: So you're saying that banning AR-15 weapons is a chance to save a life?
MAST: I believe that. That's why I came out and said this. You know, I looked at the platform I carried, an M-4 car been very similar to an AR-15. I was carrying that weapon on the battlefield in the most dangerous country on earth for one reason because of its lethality. It was the best weapon that the army could give me to go out there and make sure that I could eliminate our enemies. I can honestly say that my community and my kids and our schools I don't think that they're made safer by the general population of civilians having untethered access to the best weapon the army could put in my hand to go out there and kill our enemies. BERMAN: Your colleagues asked the question, though, why take this out of responsible gun owner's hands? Way take this from the well-trained adept gun users who obey the law and want to use an Ar-15 style weapon for target practice?
MAST: I love the well-trained gun owner, the responsible gun owner, I am one. I'm a rabid conceal carry guy. I usually carry a nine millimeter. And I think that's one of the most important points about this. I carry a nine millimeter because I don't want to die because of a lack of shooting back one day. That's why I carry one.
But I can go out there and look at this honestly as a person that's gun threat assessment. And say, you know what or somebody's coming after me with an AR-15 maximum effective range of easily 300 meters certainly a great range of 50 to 150 meter. My max range with my nine millimeter maybe 20, 25 meters, you know, maybe -- probably not 30 meters on a good day, I'm not going to have the opportunity to defend myself. And, you know, so it's just in that that I think it's a common sense approach because we're not concealing and carrying AR-15.
BERMAN: As you know the Supreme Court has said that, yes, you know, Americans have the right to bear arms but not the right to bear any and all arms. What do you mean?
[20:55:00] MAST: And, you know, I think that's an important point. We don't have unlimited access to the automatic weapons that I carried on the battlefield. I can't go out there and get a saw automatic weapon, I can't go out and get hand grenades or an AT4 rocket launcher or a law rocket. These are the things that I can't get. We don't -- We respect that the Second Amendment is a God given right. That right to defend ourselves, its unimpeachable, but it doesn't mean every single arm.
BERMAN: Let me ask you very quickly on Florida Governor Rick Scott and also this debate of the national level about raising the minimum age you can purchase really all firearms to 21. Do you support that?
MAST: I will absolutely support raising that age. I mean, I think there's a lot of things that we can do, whether it's looking at add- ons then go into weapons they try to circumvent the law for things that, you know, we're not suppose to have automatic weapons that's being a ban. Whether we're looking at all the things related to mental illness.
And, you know, here in Florida we have the Baker Act, where you can get Baker Act for, you know, saying that you want to -- voices are telling you to kill people. And then right after you get out of your 72-hour confinement they're going to hand you your weapons back. That's a very serious issue.
We've got to look at all the failures that existed with the FBI and all of the things that the local level. you have to look at school security and making sure you know in my schools here in Martin County, Florida where I'm sitting right now, they know that I'm Congressman Brian Mast, but when I walk up to their window, in their office they still make me show a piece of identification before they let me in the door. We can't -- do letting people just walked in.
And, you know, there's a lot of things beyond that that we can do, but I'm going to be supporting. You know, these measures if that means that we can save a life. I'm never going to regret saving a life.
BERMAN: Congressman Mast, thank you for joining us tonight. Thank you for your service. Appreciate it.
MAST: Thank you.
BERMAN: Up Next, new charges filed late today against former Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort in a guilty plea from former campaign aide the Deputy Chair, Rick Gates, the latest on what we're learning and what Gates might be saying to prosecutors when "360" continues.