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Trump Campaign Aide Flips Will Cooperate With Mueller; Shooter Describes Emotion Struggle In 911 Call; Trump Proposes Bonuses For Teachers Who Get Gun Training. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 24, 2018 - 07:00   ET



[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know he's -- he's going to explode, the caller who appears to know Cruz well, tells the FBI tip line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To realize that more could have been done, that potentially lives could have been saved, this is just outrageous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a police officer, you've made a vow. You've made an oath to protect the people that you are policing, and they didn't do that for us.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want a person that's never handled a gun, that wouldn't know what a gun looks like, to be armed. But out of your teaching population, you have 10 percent, 20 percent, a very gun-adept people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former Trump Campaign Adviser, Rick Gates, pleading guilty today to two criminal charges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does Paul Manafort have something he can offer Bob Mueller that will allow him to not spend the rest of his days behind bars?


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND, with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. Always appreciate spending our Saturday morning with you. So, we want to tell you about another senior Trump campaign official flipping in the Russia investigation which makes him the third known Trump associate to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Rick Gates, we're talking about, took a plea deal yesterday in exchange for testifying against Trump's Former Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And what were they waiting for? CNN learns that a total of four Broward County sheriff's deputies waited outside the Florida high school as the students inside were being shot at, some of them killed. Law enforcement is facing some tough questions this morning about what more could have been done to stop the massacre. And again, we have not heard from those deputies. We'd like to hear from them, as well.

PAUL: We're going to be covering that all morning, of course. We want to start, though, with the developments in the Russia investigation. CNN's Abby Phillip is at the White House for us.

BLACKWELL: The spotlight is on the Trump campaign this morning. How are White House officials and lawmakers responding?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor. Yet another Trump campaign associate charged and pleading guilty to charges of lying to the FBI in relation to the special counsel investigator. This investigation continues to march on, putting pressure on both the White House and also, more importantly for this particular instance, on Paul Manafort, the Former Chairman of the Trump Campaign who also faces charges and is being progressively squeezed by the Mueller investigation as more and more of his associates are charged and wrapped up in this investigation.

Rick Gates, a longtime business associate of Manafort's, his right- hand man during the campaign, has decided that this investigation is simply too much for him. He's pled guilty and is likely to be working with Mueller in an effort to continue to push forward on this investigation. What Gates can likely provide for Mueller are documents relevant to the investigation, but also potential testimony against his former business associate. Paul Manafort maintains his innocence in all this and remains ready to fight these charges against -- that Mueller has brought against him. But at the same time, the pressure is clearly building.

Rick Gates is one of three Trump associates who have been charged and had pled guilty in this case. And one of the things that all three of these men have in common is that they all have been charged with lying to the FBI -- Michael Flynn, Trump's Former National Security Adviser; George Papadopoulos, a Campaign Adviser, and now Rick Gates. The White House is saying, of course, that all of these guilty pleas and indictments don't have anything to do with the president specifically because they deal with business dealings and perhaps alleged money laundering that went on before the campaign even began. However, lawmakers see this as more evidence that the Mueller probe is really closing in on a key person, Paul Manafort, who knows a lot about the Trump campaign and can help them advance their case on the underlying issue here which is Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Victor and Christ.

BLACKWELL: All right. Abby Phillip for us at the White House, thank you.

PAUL: So, I want to give a quick reminder here, the importance of Rick Gates and how we got here. He was a key member in the Trump campaign serving as the right-hand man to Paul Manafort. Even before the campaign, we should point out, he worked with Manafort for at least a decade working as a business associate, focusing on projects in Eastern Europe. Gates was brought in to the Trump circle as deputy campaign chair and he was there to assist with delegate counting. He was privy to most if not all of Manafort's activities during the campaign, even stayed with the campaign team in a limited capacity after Manafort himself left in August of 2016. Remember yesterday, he pled guilty as we were saying, to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and making false statements. The charges unrelated to his time on the campaign team, although Mueller could add additional charges certainly, Victor.

[07:05:41] BLACKWELL: Joining me, Amie Parnes, CNN Political Analyst and Senior Political Correspondent for The Hill; Samantha Vinograd, CNN National Security Analyst and Former Senior Adviser to Obama's National Security Council; and Jack Kingston, CNN Political Commentator and Former Senior Adviser to the Trump campaign. Good morning, everybody.



BLACKWELL: So, Amie, let me start with you. Just put this into the context of the larger investigation. What do the charges that we saw for Manafort and the guilty plea from Rick Gates mean in this larger investigation?

AMIE PARNES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST AND SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT FOR THE HILL: Well, I think it means that Bob Mueller is kind of zeroing in on some big things. And he thinks that Gates can provide him with these details going forwards. What remains unclear is if he has -- he can clearly provide information on Manafort, on Paul Manafort. But, I think because he has had these close ties to the Trump campaign even after 2016, he was in on this key meeting, he knows a lot of the Trump associates very well, and was even on the campaign plane for quite some time in 2016. So, I think he can really kind of connect the dots for the Trump -- for Mueller and kind of see -- paint a bigger picture. I think it's -- you know, while the White House is saying, oh, this isn't a big deal, I think it's actually a pretty big deal because he has these close ties to a lot of these Trump associates.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Let's go to Jack now, is there a big deal? I want to put up the three faces again -- George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates. The campaign, the White House tried to dismiss Papadopoulos as a coffee boy -- put that aside, you can answer that question for yourself at home. But Flynn and Gates certainly were not. Are you concerned, Jack?

KINGSTON: I'm not concerned. I think that after all this time, that if there was collusion, certainly Bob Mueller would have put his finger on it. I mean, when you think about the progressive group think of the left that has always been saying, oh, collusion, collusion, collusion. If that was the case, certainly, Bob Mueller would be covered up with it by now. And I'll tell you something --

BLACKWELL: Because the investigation isn't over. KINGSTON: It's not over, but this was 2006. This was decades' old

stuff. Not all of it going that far, but this had nothing to do with the Trump campaign. But I'll tell you something that we all as Americans should be a little bit sad and worried about it. Here's a man with four kids who in October pled not guilty. But realizing the financial burden, he had no choice but to change to say, OK, I'm guilty. Now, that's pragmatic, but it also shows he doesn't have the pocketbook too compete. And I think we as Americans who like justice under the law to be thinking about, you know, what does it mean if a federal prosecutor with an unlimited checkbook goes after you, the facts didn't change. But he went from a non-guilty plea a couple of months ago to now saying guilty. So --

BLACKWELL: What you're suggesting -- what you're suggesting is one possibility. The other possibility is that he's actually guilty, and pleaded guilty. Samantha, let me come to you. What we've learned from these new charges against Paul Manafort is at least he's accused of paying off a former European chancellor to advocate on behalf of Ukraine. I mean -- and this goes back years.

VINOGRAD: Indeed. And Jack, I'm sorry, I have to say this, but I just like to ask a question. If going into 2020, if the Democratic campaign hired a former lobbyist for China, what would you be saying right now? Would you be saying that that was an appropriate person to be running a campaign?

KINGSTON: Well, it would all depend on if you knew it or not. I mean, no one knew anything about Paul Manafort. As you know, somebody who follows politics, he's been in Washington, D.C., for 30 years, and actually had a pretty good reputation. I'm appalled to see what he did --

VINOGRAD: I do think it was open source information that he did lobby for the Ukrainians, though, right?

KINGSTON: It was. But as you know, so did Tony Podesta have foreign ties. I mean, that's not unusual at all. James Carvelle, for example, has run campaigns in other countries. These Washington wheeler dealers do that type thing. What's appalling to me is that there was so much money -- I don't know why they just didn't do it legally. If they -- you know, from what I understand, it was really --

VINOGRAD: Right, right.

KINGSTON: I don't know why $75 million went through overseas accounts, why couldn't you just pay the right people and make sure your books were clean?

[07:10:04] VINOGRAD: Right. And Victor, to your point, I think that Gates could be a Pandora's box for foreign relations, and not in a good way. We know that Gates had two very intimate, long-term relationships. One is with Russia, via Ukraine; and the other one is with Paul Manafort. And based upon that, I think there are a lot of open questions for me just from a national security perspective about whether Russia was invited on to the campaign. Did Gates and Manafort's, again, long-term relationships with Russia in some way influence the way that they ran the campaign, the way that policy was done, meetings that were scheduled, and financial transactions.

BLACKWELL: And of course, there are still the questions about the softening of the approach to Russia and the Republican Party platform. Amie, let me come back to you. Part of the, I guess, expectation from prosecutors is that Rick Gates now cooperating with the investigation will help in some way to flip Paul Manafort who could offer some information about the campaign or the president. Do you expect that despite the statement of denial from Paul Manafort that he will flip? Any indication that this is just a front for something that's to come down the road?

PARNES: I don't know. It seems like he's holding firm, Victor, from everything I've heard from sources. I don't think he feels the need to plead guilty. And so, I think, you know, that could be one of the reasons why Bob Mueller kind of -- you know, why we saw things happen so quickly with Gates, that he's trying to get him to do that. And if anyone can, I think Rick Gates can, because he knows he's been his long-term business partner. I think he can -- he knows enough to kind of bring him over. So, there's something going on behind the scenes, something is brewing, and it remains a mystery. But I think it's pretty clear that if there's one person who can flip him, it's Rick Gates.

BLACKWELL: Samantha, the charges that were handed down against Paul Manafort back in October essentially were -- I believe it was October -- were enough to guarantee if he was convicted, that Paul Manafort would spend the rest of his life in prison if he was convicted on those charges. What then is the value, what are we learning about why these additional charges are coming? If he didn't, you know, flip or cooperate then, would these be enough?

VINOGRAD: I don't think we know. I think that Manafort has maintained his innocence for a long time, and he is innocent until proven guilty. But what we do know from what Gates pled to is that Manafort and Gates have path logically swindled the U.S. government for at least nine years. And we don't know exactly when their contacts with Ukraine stopped, whether those were ongoing during the campaign. But I think that what we're all taking away from this week of indictments and charges is that Bob Mueller's just getting started. And with each person that pleads, there's more information that's coming, there's more details that are coming out publicly. And I think it will likely lead to more charges going forward.

BLACKWELL: Samantha Vinograd, Jack Kingston, Amie Parnes, thank you all.


VINOGRAD: Thank you.

PAUL: Well, a missed tip line warning a month before the shooting. Deputies who stayed outside on the day of the Parkland shooting; look, students returning to school Wednesday where the massacre occurred, and some asking if they're going to be any safer when they do so. BLACKWELL: Plus, a disturbing post on a former NFL player's Instagram

account prompts a California school to close.

[07:13:33] PAUL: And after this, taking to Twitter to take on the nation's most powerful gun lobby. They're calling on big-name corporations to end ties with the NRA.


BLACKWELL: 17 minutes after the hour now. We are learning more about the missed opportunities and breakdowns in the response to the shooting in Parkland, Florida. A woman called the FBI last month to warn them about the shooter, but the case was closed within an hour with no follow through. Then, on the day of the shooting, four armed sheriff's deputies stayed outside the school instead of moving in.

This Wednesday students are scheduled to return to Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, but some say they will not feel any safer. Joining us now, CNN Correspondent Kaylee Hartung live in Parkland, Florida. And I've heard from of the students who say that they're just not ready to go back.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's true, Victor. I've heard the same sentiment. What we're learning today, a different type of sentiment coming from those kids and many of their teachers who were on campus that day. As the Broward County sheriff described it, he was sick to his stomach when he first saw surveillance video that showed one of his deputies, the man tasked with protecting the people on Stoneman Douglas' campus. When he saw video of that man take position outside that 1200 building last Wednesday, take up a defensive position, wait for upwards of four minutes before going into the building. And he wasn't the only one who failed to do his job that day, Victor. Now, we're learning of three other Broward County deputies who didn't take the opportunity to go into that building when they knew there was a shooter inside.

According to sources with the Coral Springs Police Department, when they arrived on the scene, they were surprised to find four of these Broward deputies outside. Coral Springs police officers then entered the building at the direction of Broward County, and their surprise continued when those deputies didn't appear to follow them in that moment. Now, tapes are being reviewed, and our source cautions to wait for a report that will reveal what's shown on those tapes later in the week. Victor, this news also coming as we're gaining more insight into the life of the killer. Let me take you back to November of this past year. The killer's mother had just died. He'd moved in with some family friends. There was an altercation between the killer and the son of this family. He left the house. Two 911 calls were made. One by the mother in this home from the family who'd voluntarily taken him in, and another call from the killer. Listen to them both.


[07:20:19] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911 emergency, how can I help you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, there was a fight in my house with a kid and my son.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Punching him and that's when he left the house, but -- I need somebody here because I'm afraid he comes back and he has a lot of weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of weapons, ma'am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me ask my son. What kind of weapons did he get? That he's going to get?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, and who did this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nikolas Cruz. It's not the first time he's pointed a gun at somebody's head.


NIKOLAS CRUZ, SCHOOL SHOOTER: Hi. I was just assaulted now. Someone tried -- someone attacked me. I don't know where I am. I'm new at the area --


CRUZ: He said he was going to gut me if I came back. The thing is, I lost my mother a couple of days ago. So -- I'm dealing with a bunch of things right now. A kid (BLEEP) at me. I threw him on the ground. And he started attacking me and he kicked me out of the house.


HARTUNG: We heard of the emotional outburst that the killer experienced through his fellow classmates and neighbors. But Victor, that there, that call, the first time we're hearing his mental state described by him.

BLACKWELL: All right, Kaylee, in Parkland, thank you very much.

PAUL: CNN's new law enforcement is Tom Fuentes with us now, he's also former FBI Assistant Director. Tom, I want to be, you know, really clear here that we have not heard from any of these officers, particularly the latest that we're hearing, these three officers that had their guns drawn but were behind their cars, and they didn't enter the building. So, I want to ask you, is there any instance in which not going into that school would have been protocol?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST AND FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, Christi, ever since Columbine, every police department that I'm aware of is now taught to not wait until he has a lot of back up or wait for a SWAT team to come and get dressed and equipped but to go right in -- especially while the shots are still being fired. Immediately go in and try to identify where that person is and neutralize them one way or another. Stop the bullets from, you know, being shot. And in this case you have now possibly up to four deputies that did not go in while the shooting was occurring. And then, that comes to light because the neighboring police department responding goes right in.

And they're shocked to discover that the Broward County deputies didn't go in with them or behind them. I think that now would have to be examined. It's not just why those deputies did or didn't do what they did, but what kind of training are they given, what is the protocol for that department? You know, because if you have one officer that maybe didn't go in like the school officer that didn't go in and was taking up a defensive position. But when you have four officers from the same department act in unison to not go into the building and then you have a neighboring department actually go in, it does raise the question of what were they taught, what is their protocol, what drills have they had, you know, to try to find out why they didn't go in.

PAUL: So, let's listen together here to President Trump yesterday speaking at CPAC. And he had this to say about it --


TRUMP: Why do we protect our airports and our banks, and other buildings, but not our schools?


TRUMP: We design to make our schools a much harder target for attackers.


PAUL: I know it sounded a little muffled there, but he said: why do we protect our airports and our banks, our government buildings, but not our schools? Do you think, Tom, that schools get overlooked somehow?

FUENTES: No, I don't. I think it's definitely almost impossible to completely harden a school. If you have a large high school that has multiple buildings, each building has multiple entrances, and you're talking about a small army to even protect one campus like that, and that's a big problem. You can control and funnel all the people going into an airport from gate area to the boarding areas -- from the ticket counters to the boarding areas, that's easier done. Banks can control, have very limited front door access into a bank facility. When you're talking to schools, just go to a school.

I would just tell, president, go to a school and visit and see which doors you'll leave closed all day long or a movie theater -- movie theaters have the panic doors in case of fire. So, every -- these multiplexes with ten theaters inside, that means at least 20 doors that will exit directly to the outside. So, you can try to lock them, and they'll stay locked while a movie is playing, let's say. But if somebody decides to go out one of those doors and press the (INAUDIBLE) right out the door. So, the idea of hardening these targets is very, very problematic.

PAUL: All right. Tom Fuentes, always appreciate your perspective, sir. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: A number of big-name corporations have cut ties with the nation's largest gun lobby. This comes as the #BoycottNRA is gaining traction on Twitter. The First National Bank of Omaha said Thursday, it will stop issuing an NRA-branded visa cards having customer feedback. Six rental car companies including Enterprise and Alamo, they're also ending their discount deals for NRA members.

PAUL: New this morning, former Miami Dolphins Player, Jonathan Martin, who accused several ex-teammates of bullying is being questioned by police. This is in connection with the disturbing social media post. Two law enforcement sources tell CNN, Martin was detained over a picture on his Instagram account which showed a rifle and a message that said, "bullying victims had only two choices -- suicide or revenge." It also named Harvard Westlake, the private high school that he attended in Los Angeles, now officials closed that school yesterday. They now say there is no imminent threat.

BLACKWELL: So, the question that the people have been asking since the shooting in Parkland -- how do we end mass school shootings? The president says, give teachers training and guns. And while that answer has drawn some criticism, one school in Texas feels it's working for them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel protected. I don't feel like they're going to threaten me in any way. I feel like if someone came in that I know that they're going to handle it.


[07:26:51] PAUL: Also, Ivanka Trump is in South Korea. This is for the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics as her father, the president, of course, is imposing the strongest sanctions to date on North Korea. We have reaction live for you from South Korea. Stay close.


[07:31:21] PAUL: We are always so glad to have your company. Welcome back, I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell, good morning to you. President Trump has suggested that arming a depth and highly trained teachers with guns would prevent future school massacres. And as incentive, he proposed giving out bonuses to teachers who undergo the gun training.

PAUL: But the idea, as you know, has been met with both criticism and praise. There's a school in Texas, though, who's already putting the president's proposal into action. Here's CNN's Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the stark message that greets you when you walk into one of the two school buildings in Callisburg, Texas. Superintendent Steve Clugston oversees what the school district calls the guardian program. It's a small force of volunteer school staff allowed to carry a concealed firearm, and Clugston says they're equipped to confront an active shooter.

CLUGSTON: We don't want to be at the mercy of -- you know, somebody that's intent on doing harm. We refuse to be -- to be that person.

LAVANDERA: In the wake of the storm in Douglas High School shooting, the idea of arming teachers has sparked outrage.

ASHLEY KURTH, TEACHER, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Am I supposed to have a Kevlar vest? Am I supposed to strap it to my leg or put it in my desk?

SCOTT ISRAEL, SHERIFF, BROWARD COUNTY, PARKLAND, FLORIDA: I don't believe teachers should be armed. I believe teachers should teach.

LAVANDERA: But in some, mostly rural communities across the country, the idea of arming teachers is welcomed even by some students like this freshman and junior at Callisburg High School, who asked that we not identify them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel protected, I don't feel like they're going to threaten me in any way. I feel like, if someone came in that I know that they're going to handle it. So, I feel very protected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel really safe knowing that I can like come to school and if there's like an incident that does happen, that they'll be able to like protect us.

LAVANDERA: Out of the roughly 1,000 school districts across the State of Texas, there are about 170 that have a policy of allowing teachers or administrators to carry a firearm on campus. Here in the small town of Callisburg, their guardian program was implemented about four years ago in large part because the city doesn't have a local police department. They rely on county sheriffs. And in a county this large, it can take many minutes for those deputies to respond to something like a shooting scene inside a school.

Clugston, says the school's guardian force undergoes active shooter scenario training once a year and routine target practice at gun ranges. But critics say that isn't enough, the school officer at Stoneman Douglas who was trained far more extensively waited outside the building as the gunman unleashed a deadly massacre. Steve Clugston is convinced that if his guardians face the same ordeal, they won't flinch.

CLUGSTON: We were trying to put our teachers in a position to be better equipped to protect their kids. And I have -- I have complete faith in our team that they're willing to stand up and protect our people.

LAVANDERA: The armed teachers here haven't faced the worst case scenario, so the question remains, how will they react if they're forced to face a killer? Ed Lavandera, CNN, Callisburg, Texas.


BLACKWELL: All right, joining me now is Dr. Marqueta Sands Hall, she is the executive director of Safety and Security at Atlanta public schools. Doc, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So, let's start here where Ed, left off. Will armed teachers, that's the proposal from the president, do you believe they will make schools safer?

HALL: I think, the conversation around arming teachers is a much deeper conversation than just a yes or no.


[07:35:01] HALL: I would hope that we would want to arm our teachers with the tools that they need to become -- to become the experts that they need to be on the subject matter areas of teaching and learning.


HALL: And not making them public safety officers. We need to leave that whole public safety response to law enforcement personnel who are trained to deal with emergencies.

BLACKWELL: And some teachers say they have enough to do already in addition to now the president and many who agree with him want to make them, as you said, be the public safety officers, as well. I want you to listen to Brandon Huff, he is a senior at Stoneman Douglas High School. He survived the shooting that happened on Wednesday. Here's what he said.


BRANDON HUFF, SENIOR STUDENT, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: -- despicable, yes, you didn't do your job. You were trained for this, you were armed, you were had a bulletproof vest. You were protected more than anybody else who died, who lost their lives. And you did nothing, you froze, you got scared. You know you did nothing at all when you could have saved a lot of lives.


BLACKWELL: That's his message to the Broward County sheriff's deputies who reportedly waited outside as the shooting was happening. Then, we have not heard from them, yet. But, what's your response to what you heard there from Brandon? HALL: So, very unfortunate. Law enforcement officers are trained to go directly to the threat and to address the threat. While I can't speak to what happened on that day, what I can say is that when you have a well-trained unit, law enforcement officers, then you have -- they are prepared to go and address that threat. And it's all really comes down to training.

BLACKWELL: To training.

HALL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: So, speaking of training, the president yesterday at the White House suggested that the reason you should arm the teachers and not potentially invest more in school resource officers -- and you were a school resource officer, is that the teachers love their students. Here's what the president said.


TRUMP: A security guard doesn't know the children, doesn't love the children. This man standing outside of the school the other day doesn't love the children, probably doesn't know the children. The teachers love their children, they love their pupils. They love their students.


BLACKWELL: Again, you were an SRO, did you know the children? Did you love the children?

HALL: Of course, SRO's know their children. Part of their job is to build relationships working with students and staff. They know their children, they know that environment, and they do love the children. You have to love the job in order to be a school resource officer. Very hard work, it takes dedication and commitment to public service in order to do the job.

BLACKWELL: So, what are some of the solutions? I'm not asking you to solve the entire problem of mass shootings. But are there some incremental changes that can make schools safer?

HALL: I think so. I think it all begins with a conversation ensuring that school safety is at the top of the educational agenda, first of all. And then, secondly, making sure that all systems are working collaboratively together to support school safety. So, systems, plans, resources, protocols all working together across all of the support functions and business units to support schools is what builds a comprehensive strategy for school safety.

BLACKWELL: You absolutely need the resources, but a plan means nothing if people don't execute.

HALL: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: Dr. Marqueta Sands Hall, thanks so much for being with us.

HALL: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, Christi?

PAUL: Well, Ivanka Trump is in South Korea now to re-up U.S. pressure on the North to stop its nuclear weapons program. All of this, of course, ahead of the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games. More on that, stay close.


[07:43:30] PAUL: 43 minutes past the hour right now. A new sexual misconduct claims this morning, this time from the Red Cross. The International Committee at the Red Cross says 21 members of their staff have been dismissed or have resigned. The cases date back to 2015.

BLACKWELL: The Red Cross for that statement saying in part, "This behavior is a betrayal of the people and the communities we are there to serve. It is against human dignity, and we should have been more vigilant in preventing this. We are taking action to address this."

PAUL: Well, the president imposed the heaviest sanctions on North Korea today, which is all for the administration's maximum pressure campaign to have the country abandon their nuclear weapons program.

BLACKWELL: The CNN International Correspondent Will Ripley is in Pyeongchang, South Korea with some details for us this morning. Will?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Victor and Christi. Yes, these are the largest sanctions ever imposed on North Korea. Some 450 sanctions now imposed on that country, about half of those during the trump administration. This maximum pressure campaign that President Trump has talked about, trying to completely cut off North Korean regime economically to stop Kim Jong-un from developing nuclear weapons.

What they're basically doing now is targeting all of the North Korean ships that they believe are operating right now trying to stop this illicit transfers that are happening on the high seas. The ships go to places where they think no one's watching, and they transfer things like coal and other raw materials that they sell to other countries, believes to be China, Russia for example. And then, no ships from those country sell the raw materials and don't disclose that they're from North Korea.

Now, the treasury saying that all eyes will going to be on these ships and that any companies, no matter what country they're from, if they're caught doing business from North Korea, they will also be sanctioned. Their banks and financial institutions could also be sanctioned. That's essentially, in economic war that the United States is unleashing, all of its economic firepower trying to stop North Korea before they develop this first-strike nuclear capability. That some chilling words coming out from the President of the United States. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [07:45:27] TRUMP: If the sanctions don't work, we'll have to go phase two. In phase two, maybe a very rough thing. Maybe very, very unfortunate for the world. But hopefully, the sanctions will work, we have tremendous support all around the world for what we're doing. It really is a rogue nation, if we can make a deal, it will be a great thing. And if we can't, something will have to happen.


RIPLEY: President Trump, not specifying what phase two would be, but we heard perhaps a preview over the last week from Senator James Rich, the GOP Senator from Idaho, talking about this potential strike on North Korea. President Trump, willing to strike first before North Korea develops nuclear capabilities. Senator Rich, saying that if that would happen, it could trigger -- this are his words -- "One of the worst catastrophic events in the history civilization with mass casualties, the likes of which the planet has never seen. He put it in this way, he said, "possibly biblical proportions." So, clearly, a lot of concern here in Korean Peninsula about what could unfold if the United States decides that economic action, diplomatic action doesn't work and they decide to take military action against Kim Jong-un. Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Very well, thank you so much. Let's stay there in Pyeongchang. Ivanka Trump is also there ahead of the closing ceremonies for the Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

Paul: and CNN White House Reporter Kate Bennett is with us to talk about that. Because I think there are lot of questions specifically about what is the intention of this trip for Ivanka, Kate?

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, it seemed, before she left as though it was a -- she was touted by the White House as a winter sports enthusiast. And, yes, this is a strange world for Ivanka Trump, in many ways unprecedented that if -- to many people, she sort of has a celebrity factor, and branding factor, right? But in other ways, certainly, she's a senior adviser to the White House, to her father. She's acting as an emissary and a diplomat in the Korean Peninsula.

And so, there is sort of this hybrid that's happening with her. And the White House said that she would obviously be had this dinner with President Moon, which she did have. It was -- they discuss the sanctions before the American public knew about the sanction against North Korea.

So, again, she's playing this role that is both sort of celebrity -- they call her just Ivanka, in the local press there, like, you know, Madonna, or Rihanna, or something about it. And at the same time, really handling as with a very sensitive time right now with the relationship between North and South Korea and the United States.

BLACKWELL: So, we know that she briefed the South Korean President Moon Jae-in about the new sanctions. Does she have in this conversation about the new security clearances and the protocol in the White House? Does she have the security clearance to do that? BENNETT: Well, according to the White House, yes. Certainly, under the new rules of security clearances, she's still awaiting her final clearance. But the White House and Secretary Mnuchin yesterday would actually said in the briefing room that Ivanka is prepped and she's ready, and she has the available security clearance to understand what's been going on and the read in on these issues. So, outwardly perhaps, not full clearance, but the White House has full confidence that she is -- you know, prepared to handle these sort of talks.

PAUL: So, Kate, North Korea announced their delegation officials that will be at the closing ceremony. We know initially, there were no official plans according to the White House that Ivanka would be meeting with any of them. But how do we know what the preparation is if she does happen to have some sort of informal interaction with somebody from North Korea?

BENNETT: Well, you know, that's a sort of a wait and see. The White House is saying that she likely will not have that interaction, that there won't be any chatting, or meeting, or physical space that Ivanka Trump will share with anyone from the North Korean delegation. As we know, it's a wait-and-see situation, I don't expect her with from what we're hearing to have any interaction there.

She's supposed to attend the closing ceremonies, I mean, I think we all remembers pictures of Vice President Mike Pence, sitting so close to the North Korean delegation during the opening ceremonies. I don't know whether that's an optic that the Olympics or the White House, or either of the countries really wanted continue for the closing ceremonies with Ivanka. So, I think it's going to be -- it will be stunning and likely a rare opportunity that the two countries will sort of combine at the closing ceremonies.

BLACKWELL: So, beyond the closing ceremonies, what else is on her schedule?

BENNETT: Well, she's at more games today. She was taking in snowboarding competition last night wearing a big -- a red jumpsuit, looking very dressed in very patriotic colors. She'll attend more games today, she's doing now as we speak. And she will be at the closing ceremonies and then head back to Washington on Monday. And -- you know, continue on her role and her portfolio which includes apparently everything from diplomacy to paid family leave. She has a broad swathe of influence over her father, and she continues in her role as senior adviser.

[07:50:234] PAUL: All right, Kate Bennett, always good to see you. Thank you.

BENNETT: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, the missed signals, we'll talk about those this morning in that awful high school shooting in Florida. A guilty plea and new charges in the Russia investigation, and new reporting that the White House knew. A couple of weeks ago that the president's son- in-law Jared Kushner was facing significant issues over getting a White House security clearance. That's all coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: A new episode of the CNN original series, "THE RADICAL STORY OF PATTY HEARST" premiers tomorrow. So, how does a rich young woman seemingly become part of a violent terrorist group? Here is a closer look at the series.


[07:55:10] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I must say, without equivocation, the worst case I have ever taken on in my life was the United States against Patty Hearst. She was more unpopular than the Boston Strangler.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the importance of the Hearst verdict was that people realized that money can't buy you out of going to jail.


BLACKWELL: The new episode airs tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. And for more information on the series, go to



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "I know he is -- he is going to explode," the caller who appears to know Cruz well, tells the FBI's tip line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To realize that more could have been done, that potentially lives could have saved. This is just outrageous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, Corral Springs police sources tell CNN that three --