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Stoneman Douglas High Hosts Open House For Survivors; 74 Republicans Ask Florida Governor To Suspend Broward County Sheriff; Mexican President Cancels Trump Meeting Over Border Wall; Democratic Memo Counters GOP Claims of Spying Abuse; Trump Breaks From NRA On Gun-Buying Age For Assault Rifles; The Radical Story of Patty Hearst .Aired 3-4pm ET

Aired February 25, 2018 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Hello, again, everyone, and thanks so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in New York today.

Happening right now, doors are open today for teachers, students and parents at Stoneman Douglas High School because just ahead of school resuming this week following that deadly shooting nearly two weeks ago claiming 17 lives. A special open house under way as the school prepares for classes on Wednesday.

Calls for action echoing across the country for Congress to do something when it goes back to work tomorrow.

All of this as a brand new CNN poll reveals a dramatic rise and support for tighter gun laws. 70 percent now say they back stricter gun legislation, the highest level in the last 25 years. That's a big jump from a poll in October shortly after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, killing 58 people when 52 percent supported tighter gun laws.

Meanwhile, there are new questions surfacing over the multiple red flags missed about the shooter along with the immediate response. Coral Springs sources say that when their city's police officers arrived, they found not just the school resource officer but three other Broward county sheriff's deputies who had not yet entered the school. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel denied those reports today on CNN's "State of the Union," but pressure is mounting on the Florida governor to take action.

In just the last hour, CNN has learned that 74 out of Republican members of the Florida House have asked Governor Rick Scott to suspend Sheriff Israel. Israel is fighting back, defending his leadership and the department.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You've listed 23 incidents before the shooting involving the shooter and still nothing was done to keep guns out of his hands, to make sure the school was protected, to make sure you were keeping an eye on him. You're deputy at the school failed. I don't understand how you can sit there and claim amazing leadership.

SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY: Jake, on 16 of those cases, our deputies did everything right. Our deputies have done amazing things. We have taken this -- in the five years, I have been sheriff, we have taken the Broward Sheriff's Office to a new level. I have worked with some of the bravest people I have ever met.

One person, at this point, one person didn't do what he should have done. It's horrific. The victims here, the families, I pray for them every night, it makes me sick to my stomach that we had a deputy that didn't go in, because I know, if I was there, if I was on the wall, I would have been the first in, along with so many of the other people.

TAPPER: I think there are a lot of people, sir, who think that there are a lot of mistakes, other than that one deputy. But let me ask you something else.

A lot of people in the community have noted that the Broward County School Board entered into an agreement when you were sheriff in 2013 to pursue the "least punitive means of discipline" against students. This new policy encouraged warnings, consultations with parents and programs on conflict resolution, instead of arresting students for crimes.

Were there not incidents committed by the shooter as a student had this new policy not been in place that otherwise he would have been arrested for and not able to legally buy a gun?

ISRAEL: What you're referring to is the PROMISE Program. And it's giving the school -- the school has the ability what -- under certain circumstances not to call the police, not to get the police involved on misdemeanor offenses and take care of it within the school. It's an excellent program. It's helping many, many people.

What this program does is not put a person at 14, 15, 16 years old into the criminal justice system.

TAPPER: What if he should be in the criminal justice system? What if he does something violent to a student? What if he takes bullets to school? What if he takes knives to schools? What if he threatens the lives of fellow students?

ISRAEL: Then he goes to jail.

TAAPER: That's not what happened.

ISRAEL: That's not applicable in the PROMISE Program.

TAPPER: But that's not what happened with the shooter.

ISRAEL: If -- Jake, you're telling me that the shooter took knives to school--

TAPPER: Yes.

ISRAEL: -- or bullets to school -- TAPPER: Yes.

ISRAEL: -- and police knew about it?

TAPPER: I don't know if police knew about it. I know --

ISRAEL: No. Well, police --

TAPPER: I know that the agreement that you entered into with the school allowed the school to give this kid excuse after excuse after excuse, while, obviously --

ISRAEL: Not for bullets, not for bullets, not for guns, not for knives, not for felonies, not for anything like that. These are infractions within the school, small amounts of marijuana, some misdemeanors.

You're absolutely exacerbating it. That's not --

TAPPER: There are teachers at that school -- there are teachers at the school had been told, "If you see Cruz come on campus with a backpack, let me know." Does that not indicate that there is something seriously awry with the PROMISE Program if these teachers are being told, watch out for this kid, and you don't know about it?

[15:05:06] ISRAEL: We don't know that that has anything to do with the PROMISE Program. I didn't hear about this until after the fact. I have heard about this information about a week ago. I do know about it. I don't know who the teacher was. It has not been corroborated but that has nothing to do with the PROMISE Program.

I can't, nor can any Broward sheriff's deputy, handle anything or act upon something you don't know about it. There's no malfeasance or misfeasance if you don't know about something.

TAPPER: He asked a question at the town hall of you. So, you can find him if you want. I have one last question for you, sir. Florida State Representative

Bill Hager from Boca sent a letter to the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, yesterday asking him to remove you for negligence of duty and incompetence.

Here's what he wrote, "An investigation by Sheriff Israel into the unfathomable inaction of these deputies will do nothing to bring back the 17 victims. The sheriff was fully aware of the threat this individual presented to its community and chose to ignore it." What is your response? And will you resign?

ISRAEL: It was a shameful -- of course, I won't resign. It was a shameful letter. It was politically motivated. I never met that man. He doesn't know anything about me. And the letter was full of misinformation. I wrote a letter back to the governor. I talked about all the mistakes that Hager made in his letter. It was a shameful, politically motivated letter that had no facts. And of course I won't resign.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

WHITFIELD: All right. Let me bring in Republican Florida State Representative Bill Hager, who authored the letter that the sheriff was making reference to, and in the letter you were calling for the governor to remove the Broward County sheriff Steve Israel. Good to see you.

So make your case on why the governor should be exercising, in your letter you say the constitutional right to remove him because of, I'm quoting down, "neglect of duty and incompetence."

BILL HAGER (R), FLORIDA STATE HOUSE: Fred, first of all, good afternoon and good to be with you.

In my letter to the governor and mean my release, I cite three foundations, three grounding for my proposal that the governor remove the sheriff. Those are as follows, number one, the deputy embedded within the school at the time of the shooting, instead of confronting the killer, instead of carrying out his obligations and responsibilities in the most pivotal of times, apparently coward and didn't act, confront the killer.

Number two, the reports come CNN and by the Coral Springs Police Department that three deputies at that time of the killings or shortly after the killing were physically present in front of the school and were behind their vehicles with pistols drawn instead of moving immediately into the school.

Third, the third foundation, and again, all of this is in the release and grounded in the release, grounded in reports, is the 23 calls that have come into the sheriff's office, most disturbingly, including one late last year of November, the 2017, with the sheriff's office itself, summarize roughly as follows, a caller, making a call of concern about queries, about selection of weapons and that he was a potential school shooter.

In the aggregates, in my judgment, that is grounds for the governor to consider removal.

WHITFIELD: And in the interview that Jake Tapper did with Sheriff Israel, there was response the two out of those three, there he said, he is disputing that there were three other Broward County sheriffs there. To his knowledge there was one. And he also disputes that the majority of the calls made about the shooter, the suspect, that his officers carried that out in an amazing, he used the word "amazing", way.

So, have you heard from the governor responding to your letter requesting the removal of Israel?

HAGER: I guess, no, I only authored the letter within the last 24 hours. I would not expect to hear back for --

WHITFIELD: OK. And let me also ask, you know that your 74 of your colleagues of, you know, Florida House Republicans have also authored a letter and send it to the governor and their asking for the suspension of the sheriff. I'm just going to read a portion of that, the top of their letter saying, "The Florida constitution gives you, the governor, the power to suspend a sheriff for malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty or incompetence," and the request is being made that the governor immediately exercise this power and suspend this sheriff.

[15:10:00] Would that be enough for you if he's not removed, suspension instead?

HAGER: Fred, I'm actually a signatory to that letter as well, and one of those 74 signatories, and pleased to be -- when I say pleased to be, I mean given the horrific set of circumstances. I would be supportive of the sheriff stepping aside so we can get an objective analysis of all the facts.

I think it's important to point out, Fred, that right now the key operative facts are a 100 percent in the hands, in control of the sheriff. I'm talking about live video, I'm talking about live audio, electronic tracking, the time frames, radio transmissions, the directions given from the sheriff to his deputies.

And it's critical that get aired, get public and let's find out what the facts are. I'm happy to help the facts unfold as they do, and I'm happy for the state of Florida to take that action that's driven by the facts.

WHITFIELD: And I think that there are calamity of errors based on all the reporting prior to this shooting, as it pertains to many complaints coming from fellow students, parents, teachers about this individual. What most troubles you about the sequence of events that either went unnoticed or dismissed or just simply not addressed?

HAGER: It is clearly of series of failures at multiple levels. I've identified the sheriff's office probably the most grievous of fault, at least based on the reported facts as we can understand so far lies there. Seems to me on a goes forward basis, one of the things we is we had a series of data-based silos and that is DCF, school board had a database, sheriff office had the database, FBI had a database. None of these databases were integrated from best I can tell, and go forward basis.

We need to fix the lack of communication and the silo, the absence of communication between the silos. We need to identify high risks immediately, quickly as it surface, as they arrive. And we need to have action plans for dangerous individuals who walk among us.

WHITFIELD: Florida State Representative Bill Hager, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.

All right. Right now students, teachers, and parents are facing an impossible task. They're returning to Stoneman Douglas High School for a voluntary orientation today. CNN's Kalee Hartung is live in Parkland where the open House is under way, this ahead of classes resuming later on in the week. What are you sensing from people there? KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, for nearly an hour now people have been streaming back into Stoneman Douglas. For students, this is the first time they've been allowed back on campus since February 14th. Many of them needing reclaim personal items like backpack and cellphones that they left in that moment of fear.

But as the Superintendent Robert Runcie told us, today is about addressing these families concerns, what they are going to do to improve to carry on campus, how there will be enhance law enforcement present as well. But this is in just about security. For these students, this sounds so about the emotional healing for them. And superintendent stressed that they want to be as flexible and accommodating to each individual's need. Now that may mean for students and teachers having councilors inside their classroom, maybe service dogs. There could even be opportunities for stress reduction exercises like yoga.

The conversation of how to move forward for this community is ongoing. I spoke with one teacher and one student who shared their perspective with me at that time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREG PITTMAN, TEACHER, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: We're going to be meeting Monday and Tuesday to try to plan how we're going to handle, what we're going to do with our classes. We were -- at this point, academics are probably not to be something would be touching on. Next week is just trying to get everybody back in and make sure everybody is OK.

DEMITRI HOTH, STUDENT, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Emotional wise, kind of nervous and anxious, because, you know, I had friends that were in my class that unfortunately passed away. So it's going to be very sad to go back to class and see the empty desks, you know, that were once filled with like, you know, wonderful intelligent people. And overall, I think that we just want security, more security on campus to make us feel reassured and safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARTUNG: Today, students are also going to be given new schedules because they will not be able to enter, use that 1200 building that the gunman attacked. Administrators have had to get creative about how to organize their classes within the space that they have right. Yet another adjustment that these students will have to make as they head back to class on Wednesday.

WHITFIELD: And then, Kaylee, Sheriff Israel from Broward county has apparently just issued a statement on this investigation, what do you have?

[15:15:00] HARTUNG: He has. You know, Governor Rick Scott called for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Israel handling of the matter on February 14th. And the sheriff has now respondent saying, "BSO will fully cooperate with STLE as we believe in full transparency and accountability, this independent outside review will ensure public confidence in the findings."

An interesting statement to give in light of what we heard from the sheriff this morning with Jake on "STATE OF THE UNION" and as frustration here mounts for the way his department handles the event of last Wednesday.

WHITFIELD: All right. Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much in Parkland there as parents and teachers make their way into that school ahead of classes resuming, just giving them some time and space to get re- acclimated after such tragedy nearly two weeks ago now.

Ahead, President Trump is in the middle of two high profile feud. He's taking on the Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Russia investigation, calling him a total phony. Why the President is accusing Adam Schiff of doing something, I'm quoting him now, "Probably illegal" plus a testy phone call between Trump and Mexico's president over of which country will pay for that border wall. Well, apparently that call in an impact. And Mexico's president now calling off a visit to the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:20:33] Tensions are rising once again between the presidents of Mexico and the United States. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is calling off a meeting at the White House with President Trump after a tense 50-minute phone call. The main point of contention? Trump wanting Mexico to publicly state it would pay for the wall.

CNN's Global Affairs Correspondent, Elise Labott joining me now. So, put us in the room of that phone call.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIR CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, this was about kind of cementing the visit for the Mexican president. The foreign minister was here a couple weeks ago meeting with Jared Kushner who is in charge of managing the relationship between U.S. and Mexico, and they kind of laid out the possible agenda for the president to visit as early as next week. And this call was about two leaders trying to set the agenda and agree to everything for this visit.

And this point of contention, President Pena Nieto's desire for President Trump to state that Mexico will not pay for the wall, and President Trump's reluctant to do so and to insist that Mexico pay for this border wall has really been stymying the relationship for sometime, Fred, and it continues to be the point of contention.

The U.S. and Mexico are about to finish very -- start a very important round of talks on the NAFTA agreement. They have a lot of other agreements that the two leaders were supposed to be inking if the president came. And so this is really the issue that is causing a lot of tension between these two leaders.

WHITFIELD: Oh, boy. To be a fly on the wall during that phone conversation or at least to see the transcript. Would we ever see the transcript of that conversation, Elise?

LABOTT: I mean, if it leaks out, it's possible that it was. You remember a transcript that leaked out between --

WHITFIELD: The Australia.

LABOTT: -- the two leaders earlier when President Pena Nieto was supposed to come right when President Trump visit -- took office. And so, that caused the president of Mexico to scrap his visit that time.

I mean, and you remember when President Trump went there as a candidate in Mexico, that border wall still a very, you know, real important issue. And so this is the thing that's really causing the tension between these two men, President Trump insisting Mexican pay for the wall and the Mexicans saying, we're not paying.

WHITFIELD: And many of us remember seeing quotes from the fiery conversation between --

LABOTT: That's right.

WHITFIELD: -- President Trump and the Australian prime minister. There was a lot of color there, too. All right, Elise Labott, thank you so much.

All right. A total phony, I'm quoting now, President Trump escalates his attacks on a Democratic congressman at the center of the Russia investigation, even accusing him of acting illegally. Details straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:27:56] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Fredericka Whitfield in New York.

President Trump firing back a Democrat after the release of a new House Intelligence Committee memo over the Russia investigation. It refutes claims by the Republican Committee Chairman, Devin Nunes, in his controversial memo released earlier in the month. The committee's ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff fought for weeks for his memo to be released. And now that it is out, President Trump not holding back about its contents or the author.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Well, all you do is you see this Adam Schiff, he has a meeting, and he leaves the meeting, and he calls up reporters and then all of a sudden they have news, and you're not supposed to do that. It's probably illegal to do it. You know, he'll have a committee meeting and he'll leak all sorts of information. You know, he's a bad guy. But certainly the memo was nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Here with me now, CNN White House correspondent, Boris Sanchez. So Boris, what exactly is in Adam Schiff's memo? What is detailed there?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred.

Yes, the Schiff memo in some parts directly contradicts its Republican counterpart, the Nunes memo. For one, it states that that siliceous Steele dossier was not the sole basis for the surveillance of Carter Page, that there was a lot more broad information that ultimately led to the full-blown Russia investigation. It also states that when the Steele dossier was mentioned in the application for a FISA warrant that the judge was made aware of its political nature, that it was opposition research gathered during the 2016 campaign.

Now, the Republicans have argued that the judge wasn't aware that Hillary Clinton and Democrats funded that dossier, the collection of the information within that dossier, something that the President seized upon yesterday, not only on Fox News but also on Twitter. The President attacking Adam Schiff, at one point misquoting Fox News, before then saying that some of the actions taken by the intelligence community are illegal, and then attacking Former President Barack Obama allegedly for not doing anything on Russia.

[15:30:04] Now, some Republicans, including Devin Nunes and Peter King, would argue that some of the actions taken by the intelligence community may have been inappropriate, potentially illegal. But to say that President Obama didn't act on Russian meddling is simply inaccurate. President Obama expelled some 35 Russian diplomats after it was announced that Russian meddled in the election close to Russian compounds, and he did something that President Trump has not done which is confront Vladimir Putin face to face to tell him to stop meddling in future American elections.

If you may recall, President Trump said that he believed Vladimir Putin, when the Russian leader denied Russia having anything to do with meddling when the two leaders met last year, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Boris Sanchez at the White House thank you so much.

Congressman Adam Schiff coming to his own defense this morning, speaking to CNN Jake Tapper on "STATE OF THE UNION."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, proud to be one of the bad hombres, I guess.

What the President is referring to, I think what really aggravated him, is when his son came to testify before our committee, I asked him about conversations he had with the president where the president was on that aircraft and they concocted this false statement about that meeting in Trump Tower with the Russians. And he refused to answer the questions, claiming attorney-client privilege, which clearly doesn't apply to a situation where neither he nor his father are attorney nor client.

Our position is, and the Republicans have adopted it as well, if witnesses refuse to answer questions and make bogus claims of privilege, as he did, as Steve Bannon did, we call them out on it. Well, the president doesn't like that. But that's not a leak. That's a fact. And it didn't disclose testimony he gave. It disclosed a privilege that he asserted that doesn't apply.

So, I'm not surprised the president doesn't like it. I'm not surprised, frankly, that the White House tried to bury this memo response as long as they could. But it's important for the public to see the facts that the FBI acted appropriately in seeking a warrant on Carter Page. They're not part of some deep state, as the president apparently would like the public to believe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Let's bring in our panel now.

Tara Setmayer is a CNN Political Commentator and Board of Director for Stand Up Republic. Steve Lonegan is currently running as a Republican for New Jersey's 5th Congressional District, and Shimone Prokupez is a CNN Crime and Justice Reporter. And it's good to see all of you.

All right. So, Tara, you first, you heard Adam Schiff there. This really tries to clear up any disputes about political motivation or bias, the democratic memo. Does it do that?

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think so. It was pretty clear given what the Democrats used to substantiate their claims, they actually quoted from parts of the FISA application. And the idea that that FISA court was misled in some way, which is what the Republican memo tried to assert that they were mislead --

WHIFIELD: That information was withheld from the judge?

SETMAYER: That information was withheld from the judge and that they were unaware of political motivations behind the dossier, the Steele dossier. That's just not true. It's pretty clear that they mentioned that the source, the dossier source, came from someone that was paid for possibly by a campaign that wanted to undercut the credibility of the Trump campaign.

I mean, anyone who worked there that reads these applications understands that they don't unmask people just to unmask them for no reason, you have to be under investigation. So, that's what they did here. They followed proper procedure, which is completely against what the Republican memo asserts here. So, it's absurd to say otherwise given they even cited what exactly in the FISA memo.

WHITFIELD: Steve.

STEVE LONEGAN (R), NEW JERSEY CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: They unmask people for political purposes and political purposes only. And there's no good drive -- motivation by that.

I can't believe he just called himself a bad hombre. I mean, who's he's kidding? He's not a bad hombre. That Democrat memo is a weak and pathetic effort to cover up for the failures of the Democrat Party to come out honestly on this.

That -- the Steele document was the driving force behind the FISA court awarding those warrants. And without that, without that, there wouldn't be any case or whatsoever.

SETMAYER: That's not what it said.

LONEGAN: That was -- there would be none. And they did not tell the judge it was funded by the clean administration. It was buried in the footnote, heat with in the back of the thing, it was hard to even understand.

SETMAYER: I would assume that the FISA judge reads the footnotes. That's the point of the FISA application. I assume that the FISA --

LONEGAN: Well, like I say, I may not be a judge, but I read that memo five times, and try to understand what it says. It's nothing but a suspend document maybe cover up for the clean --

WHITFIELD: It's pretty clear what the document says.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: You mean that these memos, ultimately, really have no impact on the Mueller investigation. That it really could be just a side show about how Republicans want people to see or dispute the FBI or the findings or the purpose of the FISA warrant? How Democrats want to dispute any findings. What's the route here, Shimon?

[15:35:01] SHIMON PROKUPEZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, really, this has no impact on the Mueller investigation. I think what this does is it helps, perhaps, maybe the FBI. Because when you think about the first memo that went out, and this is what the FBI complained about, that it would omit key facts that do not give people a full picture.

Well, now with the Democratic memo, we have a full picture. We have a full picture knowing full well now that the FBI's investigation into Carter Page started well before Christopher Steele came to them.

Other issues concerning Carter Page started well before the dossier came to the FBI. And this was the complaint that the FBI had initially in the Republican memo that it would just not paint a full picture of their information and now what they were dealing with.

SETMAYER: It also mentions that there were other members of the Trump campaign affiliated link -- Trump-linked folks that were under investigation as well at the time, which I think is new information. That part the number was redacted but it says individuals.

So, I mean, it's disingenuous to say that this is some kind of hoax, someone made this up, this the deal we're trying to undermine the election results. That's not what's going on here.

(CROSSTALK)

SETMAYER: The Russians meddled in our election. There are separate investigations going on here. This is about Russian meddling.

WHITFIELD: It was already established already, Steve, that FBI had been looking at Carter Page for a very long time. And the dossier was just another layer that came much later.

So in terms of the sequence of events in which to present the case to the FISA court, it had to show the whole picture.

LOMEGAN: They looked at Carter Page and found what? Nothing. No evidence whatsoever of collusion with the Trump administration in any way shape or form.

WHITFIELD: That he had meetings with people that --

SETMAYER: Except, that wasn't the original reason why.

LONEGAN: They voted Hillary Clinton and so did Willy Bill Clinton go to Russia and make a speech in the wake of deal over uranium. I mean, come on. This is just -- the American people don't care about this anymore. They want to get past this nonsense because it's going no where and focus on jobs and the economy.

WHITFIELD: OK. Sorry.

Are you saying the memos you're saying are immaterial, but the overall investigation, because it is still ongoing --

LOMEGAN: Is going nowhere.

SETMAYER: So, you think that there is no reason for our intelligence committee to be investigating Carter Page, George Papadopoulos and others for their inappropriate interaction with the process.

LONEGAN: The reason is, the reason is that --

SETMAYER: I'm asking if that -- You think that that -- Go ahead.

LONEGAN: I'm going to answer you question. Look, under the Obama administration, both the FBI and the DOJ were weaponized against conservative groups like tea parties, why not weaponized them against the Trump administration? That's the driving force.

SETMAYER: So, you just didn't answer my question. So, you think there was no -- so, you think that there was absolute no faces --

LONEGAN: I think there is no collusion or whatsoever.

SETMAYER: That's not I asked you. I asked you, do you think the intelligence community had a basis to be concern about the fact that Carter Page was involved with Russian operatives who's trying to recruit as a foreign agent and George Papadapalous running around bragging about colluding with Russians to get information on Hillary Clinton. And Michael Flynn and his involvement with overseas folks and taking Russian money. And Manafort engaged all of that -- none of that or should have been something that --

LONEGAN: (Inaudible) leaked in this nonsense, the (inaudible) news eight weeks before election --

(CROSSTALK)

SETMAYER: -- that does not mean that the information was not credible.

LONEGAN: This is an effort prior to the election, to undermine election by Clinton people. Like I said, because that is what it was. It's just phony allegations about Russian collusion, which does not exist.

WHITFIELD: We don't know that yet, so we'll leave it there.

LONEGAN: Oh, I think we pretty much know it.

WHITFIELD: So, you don't think -- was that your -- your answer was you don't think those things were alarm bells. And so, they should not be investigated, Steve.

LONEGAN: They were alarm bells manufacture to be a phony alarm bells by the Clinton's, is that what they were? False and phony alarm bells because some guy went to Russia and made a speech to some commitments of a school, big deal.

WHITFIELD: Right.

SETMAYER: OK.

LOMEGAN: Big deal.

SETMAYED: When you have people like this that are dismissing the importance of. Russian agents trying to recruit American that were involved with the Clinton or the Trump campaign --

LONEGAN: You know, you can say that all you want. History will look back on this as the biggest political scam in American history. And that's what you're witnessing right now.

SETMAYER: I would suggest history is going to judge this entire thing completely different.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITMAYER: We'll leave it right there. We will see. Investigations still on going, it's not over yet.

SETMAYER: All right.

WHITFIELD: Steve Lonegan, Shimon Prokupez, Tara Setmayer, thanks to all of you. Appreciate it.

SETMAYER: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [15:43:20] WHITFIELD: Florida's deadly shooting is forcing the gun control debate to center stage. President Trump is breaking from the national rifle association on one key component. He would be open to raising the gun-buying age for an assault rifle to 21. Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott agrees with raising the age.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I'm an interim member. The -- I believe second amendment, I believe in the first amendment, all the amendments. I think most members NRA agree with me, this is logical.

I'm sure there's going to be some that disagree, but I'm a dad. I'm a granddad and I'm a governor. I want my state to be safe. I want every child to be in a safe environment when they're trying to be educated.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

WHITFIELD: Joining me right now to discuss, former Democratic of Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, former presidential candidate. Good to see you, governor. So --

GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY D, MARYLAND: Good to be with you.

WHITFIELD: Thank you. So your state, Maryland, took big steps right after Sandy Hook and is a state that's now considered to have strict gun laws, and among those things, banning sales or transfer of assault weapons including AR-15, banning the manufacture of detachable magazines. Is it your feeling that it will be up to states to take the lead as it pertains to making changes with gun control.

O'MALLEY: I sure do. Look, there's -- in our own state we passed a gun safety measure. It went all the way to the Supreme Court and it was affirmed by the Supreme Court. And I think that's what you're going to see happening right now.

The young people that are organizing with the March for our Lives Movement is going to take this action front and center across the 50 states.

[15:45:07] Just as states led on marriage equality, just as states can lead on climate action, I think you're going to see states stepping up and leading when it comes to gun safety. In fact, our neighbor, the courageous governor of John Carney of Delaware just stepped up and said, Delaware was going to seek to ban the sale of combat assault weapons. And I think you're going to see more and more states doing it.

WHITFIELD: And the Florida Governor Rick Scott taking the lead by saying it is time to raise the age limit, even though the NRA --

O'MALLEY: Yes.

WHITFIELD: -- is not behind him on that. The president apparently is behind it as well. How influential do you see the NRA whether it be for Florida or other states when some of these restrictions are not something what they want to see?

O'MALLEY: Yes. How about that? Look, I think we should welcome movement wherever we see the movement. I recall very well Rick Scott once saying that he passed more pro-gun laws in one term than any other governor in Florida. Let's hope in the wake of this tragedy, he's changed his mind and is willing to accept some reasonable limitations.

So the NRA is a strong force, but it's not stronger than the vast majority of Americans who believe that we need to show that we love our kids more than our guns. They organized big time here in Maryland when I put in gun legislation. They filled the halls of the Annapolis. But we also filled the halls of Annapolis with people that wanted common sense, gun legislation, better protections, you know, school perimeter security, better and tighter sharing of information when it comes to mental health and prohibitions on people buying weapons, and also licensing for the purchase of all new weapons.

You know, this isn't about feeling, it's about fact. And the fact, Fredricka is that states that make it tougher to buy combat assault weapons have fewer gun deaths. And you're going to see this movement I think taking off across all the states in the months ahead.

WHITFIELD: In fact, the governors are meeting with President Trump tomorrow and Republicans on a federal level have even expressed an openness of to serious reform. So how hopeful are you about this meeting or about the governor's meeting -- governors meeting with the president?

O'MALLEY: look, I'm hopeful because I see that young people are having an effect on older Americans who are, you know, sometimes accept that we just can't make progress on the gun issue. The truth is we actually can. We don't need to accept the NRA stranglehold on our Congress or our state legislators of this as if it's some inevitable, immovable force.

The truth is that I think you're going to see a lot of governors moving, I think you're going to see a lot of state legislators moving. And this year across America, there are 36 governors' races up, there are 36 state legislators that state legislators that are going to the voters, and I think you're going to see people demanding action. I think moms demanding actions, students demanding action, dads demanding action, that's what it's going to take.

And I'm hopeful that we are going to see some greater action now in the wake of these tragedies. You know, we account for 91 percent of all of the children and the developed nations of this world that are struck by gunfire are struck here in the United States. It's outrageous and we shouldn't accept it. There are things that can be done.

WHITFIED: Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley thanks so much for your time. And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [15:53:12] WHITFIELD: All right. CNN is bringing you the final episode of the "Radical Story of Patty Hearst", a story that has gripped the nation. The young heiress who went from being a kidnap victim to a terrorist more than 40 years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some point, I think, in that year, if not sooner, Patty Hearst, put on Tanya and liked it better than anything she'd had before.

JANJA LALICH, PH.D, PROFESSOR EMERITA OF SOCIOLOGY: I truly believe that she was, to some extent, indoctrinated into those beliefs and now regrets it, denies it by saying she was truly a victim the whole time. Because once you take on those beliefs, those radical beliefs, you have to take a certain amount of responsibility for them.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

WHITFIELD: Journalist Carol Pogash joins me right now. She was a reporter for the San Francisco examiner when the publisher's daughter, Patty Hearst, was kidnapped. So Carol, you were assigned to this story. Take us back to, you know, Patty's arrest, after 19 months on the run.

CAROL POGASH, JOURNALIST: It was pretty remarkable. I mean, with the whole country, the whole world saw, you know, that she was in handcuffs, but she raised her fists up and had a big smile, you know. The FBI captured her, but they didn't get Patty Hearst back. What they got, initially, was Tanya, which was the name that she had the given herself when she joined the SLA. It was a very dramatic moment. Not quite the end of the story, though, as you see in the series, because then there was the trial and everything else that transpired.

WHITFIELD: Wow. And so, what was it like, this experience of, you know, being a journalist, you're covering it, but the same time, you're also experiencing the reaction from the public, the confusion from everyone, you know, from, is she a victim or was she complicit or what? I mean that must have been a very difficult thing to balance in your reporting.

[15:55:13] POGASH: It wasn't so much difficult -- it wasn't difficult because we were just reporting what was going on. And what was difficult was in our heads and in the heads of the public, people trying to figure out what was actually going on. And over time, I think of her now as, she was a survivor.

And she adapted. And she started out in a closet and was told, you know, her family had abandoned her and the FBI was against her. And she came to believe what the SLA believed and their idealism and unfortunately, also, in their terrorism. But then she converted. So it was an incredible saga for all of us, both those writing as well as those who were reading our stories.

WHITFIELD: And as a journalist, we always have lots of curiosity. So what's a curiosity that you still have about her? POGASH: You know, there's still so many unanswered questions. You -- it's a fascinating series, I have to say. As a reporter who covered it, I lender a lot.

But I still don't completely understand how she went through this transformation and I'm pretty sure that what happened in the end is she became the person that she was going to become, before all of this happened. So there's still a lot of mystery there. Even though there are a lot of questions there answered.

WHITFIELD: Wow. All right. Well, Carol Pogash, what a pleasure to talk to you and thanks for sharing your memories of what it was to be a journalist at that time.

POGASH: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: An all-new episode of "The Radical Story of Patty Hearst" airing tonight at 9:00 eastern right here on CNN. More "CNN NEWSROOM" right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Hello, everyone. Welcome this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield here in New York. It's been nearly two weeks since the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, and still more questions than answers as pressure mounts on Washington to do something to prevent another tragedy from happening.

Congress will get back to work tomorrow on Capitol Hill. Meantime, students of Stoneman Douglas High School also set to return, as classes resume on Wednesday. Right now the school is hosting an open house.