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Florida School Shootings; Stoneman Douglas High School; Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel asked to resign; Controversy; Donald Trump Gun Control; Accidents; Deaths; Murders; Gun Control Issues; Winter Olympics; North Korea Sanctions. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired February 25, 2018 - 16:00   ET


[16:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD. CNN HOST: 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.

Meanwhile, a brand-new CNN poll reveals a dramatic rise in support for tighter gun laws following this massacre. Support for stricter gun laws now stands at 70 percent. That is the highest level in 25 years.

Also, new questions surfacing over the multiple red flags missed along with the immediate response to that shooting. Broward County sheriff, Scott Israel, is denying reports that when Coral Springs 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.

Seventy-four Republican members of the Florida House have asked governor Rick Scott to suspend the sheriff. Meanwhile, Republican Florida representative, Bill Hagar, is also taking it one step further, calling on the governor to actually fire the sheriff. The state representative made this case to me last hour.


STATE REP. BILL HAGER (R), FLORIDA: There was clearly a series of failures at multiple levels. I have identified the sheriff's office, probably the most grievous of fault, at least based on the reported facts as we can understand them so far.


WHITFIELD: Sheriff Israel is fighting back, defending his leadership and department.

Listen to this exchange this morning with Jake Tapper.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I'm also told by sources in Coral Springs that Coral Springs police who arrived at the scene saw that three other Broward deputies were standing behind cars, not having gone into the building. What can you tell me about that?

SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: Well, let me be perfectly clear. Our investigation to this point shows that during this horrific attack while this killer was inside the school, there was only one law enforcement person, period. And that was our former deputy Scott Peterson. Coral Springs arrived, a group of Coral Springs officers went in within I think about four minutes, we are projecting, after the killer left the campus. I understand that they are going to give statements to us regarding the other three, four, five deputies. At this point we have no reason to believe that anyone acted incorrectly or correctly. That's what an investigation is.

Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but nobody is entitled to their own set of facts. We do know, Jake, that deputy Peterson at the time uttered -- he disseminated information over the police radio. We don't know why those -- what those deputies heard. Perhaps they did something by what they heard from Peterson, and that will be, you know, outlined in interviews. We'll get to the truth. But at this point one deputy was remiss, dereliction of duty, and he's now no longer with this agency.

TAPPER: You are saying that because during the time that this shooter was in the school, you say Peterson was the only one there. But that's not - that wasn't known at the time. You know that now because of security cameras. You saw when he left the school. This is after the fact. But when did your deputies, not Peterson but the others, when did they arrive on the scene? Because Coral Springs sources say when Coral Springs police arrived, there were Broward deputies there in addition to Peterson.

ISRAEL: And I don't dispute that, but that is an active investigation. We have not taken statements yet from the Coral Springs officers. We found out, I believe, five or six days ago from their police chief that he told one of our colonels about the information. We are going to be taking statements from those Coral Springs police officers. We then are going to be speaking with our deputies if any deputies are alleged to have dereliction of duty, we will look into that.

We don't know what deputies heard on the radio. Coral Springs and the Broward sheriff's office, we have different radio systems. So we don't know what one was hearing vis-a-vis what the other was hearing. All I could tell you is we will investigate every action of our deputies, of their supervisors, and if they did things right, we'll move forward. And if they did things wrong, I will take care of business in a disciplinary manner like I did with Peterson.

TAPPER: Just so people watching at home understand, even after the shooter left the school, there was a period of time where nobody was going into the school, no law enforcement officers, people were bleeding out. Nobody knew that the shooter had left the school, so officers need to go in. One of the things that we have heard, and I don't know if this is true or not, I can hope you can shed some light on it, is that there might have been a stand-down order. Somebody on the radio telling Broward deputies not to enter the school until a SWAT team arrived. What can you tell us about that? [16:05:13] ISRAEL: I can't tell you anything about that. I haven't

heard that. As I said, we feverishly are dissecting. It's a voluminous investigation. We are taking hundreds and hundreds of statements. And right now, Jake, the focus of this agency is on the successful prosecution of the killer. So, we are doing that. Our detectives have worked tirelessly. We will investigate all aspects of this case. We will look at all the actions or inactions of every single deputy and leader on our agency. Sergeants, lieutenants, captains and we will make some decisions.

But right now, all I can tell you is, during the killing, there was -- while the killer was on campus with this horrific killing, there was one deputy, one armed person within the proximity of that school, and that was Peterson.

TAPPER: Eighteen calls were made to the Broward county sheriff's office related to the shooter prior to the shooting. Let's talk about them.

In February 2016, your office received a call that the shooter made a threat on Instagram to shoot up a school. One of your deputies responded, and according to your records released, the information was forwarded to deputy Peterson at the school. What, if anything, was done with that information?

ISRAEL: I'm not sure if anything was done with that information. I do know as far as notifying the person or notifying either Palm Beach sheriff's office or one of the local jurisdictions, depending on where the killer was living at the time. But Peterson did, I think, report Cruz to DCF, if I'm not mistaken. He did receive medicine. He did get medical treatment. And as I said, of those 18 calls, two of those calls are being -- 16 of them, we believe, were handled exactly the way they should. Two of them we are not sure if our deputies did everything they could have or should have. That's not to say they didn't, that's not to say they did.

TAPPER: Are you really not taking any responsibility for the multiple red flags that were brought to the attention of the Broward sheriff's office about this shooter before the incident, whether it was people near him, close to him, calling the police on him --

ISRAEL: Jake, I can only take responsibility for what I knew about. I exercised my due diligence, I've given amazing leadership to this agency --

TAPPER: Amazing leadership?

ISRAEL: Yes, Jake. There is a lot of things we have done throughout. You don't measure a person's leadership by a deputy not going into -- these deputies received the training they needed --

TAPPER: Maybe you measure somebody's leadership by whether or not they protect the community. In this case you have listed 23 incidents before the shooting involving the shooter and still nothing was done to keep guns out of his hands, to make sure that the school was protected to make sure you were keeping an eye on him. Your deputy at the school failed. I don't understand how you can sit there and claim amazing leadership.

ISRAEL: Jake, on 16 of those cases, our deputies did everything right. Our deputies have done amazing things. We have taken this -- five years I have been sheriff, we have taken the Broward sheriff's office to a new level. I work 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 that wall, I would have been the first in, along with so many of the other people.

TAPPER: We have Florida state representative Bill Hager from Boca sent a letter to the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, yesterday asking them to remove you for negligence of duty and incompetence.

Here is what he wrote. Quote "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 his community and chose to ignore it?"

What's your response? And will you resign?

ISRAEL: It was a shame - of course, I will not 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 shamefully, politically motivated letter that had no facts. And, of course, I won't resign.

TAPPER: The last question, sir. Do you think that if the Broward sheriff's office had done things differently, this shooting might not have happened?

ISRAEL: Listen, if ifs and butts were candy and nuts, you know, O.J. Simpson would still be in the record books.

[16:10:04] TAPPER: I don't know what that means. There's 17 dead people and a whole long list of things your department could have done differently.

ISRAEL: Listen. That's what after action reports. That's what lessons learned reports are for. I have entered into a conversation with Chuck Wechsler of the police executive research forum. They will be coming to town to do an independent after-action lessons-learned report. We understand everything wasn't done perfectly. And if it happened in Los Angeles or Chicago or any of the city, every person wouldn't have performed perfectly. That's not what happens.

Yes, if Scott Peterson went into - do I believe that Scott Peterson went into that building, there was a chance he could have neutralized the killer and saved lives? Yes, I believe that. But as far as anything else done at this point, I can't say that. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: All right. Joining me right now to talk about that we just heard, Steve Moore, a law enforcement analyst and a retired supervisory FBI special agent.

Good to sea ye you, Steve. So what is your reaction when you say, one resource officer was there, but still unclear whether there were three other deputies there? Shouldn't that surveillance tape have been able to answer that or clear it up by now?

STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's probably answered. He's just waiting until he is forced to come out with all the facts on this. We have already heard from several officers from the police department that there were other Broward county sheriff's deputies there. So I believe that information is in hand and they are holding it kind of close right at this moment.

WHITFIELD: So what's most troubling to you about the consequence of events surrounding this shooting?

MOORE: Well, first of all, that the officers department go in. I mean, let's just put that out there. But the second thing that troubles me quite a bit is that the sheriff himself doesn't understand what he failed to do. And what he failed to do is set up discipline and expectations and training for these officers. I can remember after Columbine, I was on an FBI SWAT team. We trained for these kind of things. And I remember that our SWAT team leader saying, if any of you hear shots inside of a school and don't go in, I'll shoot you.

I mean, it was -- it was not a realistic threat, but we knew exactly what was going on. We knew exactly what was expected of us. And the fact that he could have a department where more than one officer didn't go in reflects not just on them, it reflects on their training and on the discipline and what they are expected to do. This is very troubling for me.

WHITFIELD: So you see this as a clear example of a failure of leadership.

MOORE: Of course. I mean --

WHITFIELD: And is it the instinct --

MOORE: How does he define leadership?

WHITFIELD: Right, OK, go ahead.

MOORE: How does he define leadership? That he met budgets? That he hired the right kind of people or whatever? Or does he define it by the fact that 17 people died? I would say 17 people dying under your watch because your poorly trained or undisciplined deputies didn't go in and do their job. That's a black mark that kind of outweighs a budget issue.

WHITFIELD: But aren't all of these officers or wouldn't all of these officers be sworn to protect and serve? Which also means, when there's danger, you go in. What kind of order would there be in place to allow any of these officers to hesitate about going in, knowing that there is an active shooter on the premises?

MOORE: There's no order that you should obey, to keep you out of that. Everybody is trained. Columbine was almost 20 years ago. We learned that for every minute you don't go in, somebody dies. This is orthodox. This is -- stop a policeman on the street and ask him, what do you do if you hear shots in a school and you're the only one there? You go in.

WHITFIELD: So then what explains that instinct, not being there, or not being acted upon?

MOORE: Listen, I don't know what to tell you. I was on SWAT for five years. I have been through doors that I was terrified to go through. But you go through them. I don't know if I want to blame this on one officer's cowardice, or whether the training wasn't there.

If somebody came on and said, don't enter the building until SWAT got there. Guess what, as a SWAT officer, I would have ignored that, because I would think that is ten minutes. That's ten bodies. No, you go in, I'm sorry.

WHITFIELD: So I'm wondering, does it concern you that once all the facts are, you know, revealed or the investigations are underway, is it your greatest worry that somewhere along the way there may have been an order that no one can go in until SWAT shows up or dot, dot, dot? I mean, is that a possibility?

[16:15:00] MOORE: If that is what happened, that is one of the most inexplicable things I have heard. Every -- my brother-in-law's a police officer. My cousin's a cop. You ask them, what do you do in these shootings? You go in. What if somebody told me not to go in? Then they don't know what they are talking about. People are dying. I would be astounded, depressed, and angry if that order was issued.

WHITFIELD: All right. Investigations underway. We heard it from the Broward county sheriff. We heard it from FDLE as well as the governor has also asked for investigations underway.

Steve Moore, thank you so much.

MOORE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Now we are talking about name calling and dueling memos. The Democrats have finally released their response to Republican claims of FBI overreach. The President calling the author of the Democrats' memo, I'm quoting now, "a total phony."

Details, next.


[16:20:03] WHITFIELD: After weeks of waiting, Democrats are allowed to release their response to a controversial GOP memo on FBI surveillance relating to the Russia investigation. The response, written by the House intelligence committee's ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, countering claims made by committee chairman, Republican committee chairman, Devin Nunes.

Among Nunes' claims that the FBI showed bias against the Trump administration by omitting key facts to the FISA court, something congressman Schiff has repeatedly denied.

Joining me right now, CNN crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz.

So Shimon, what are some of the key differences between these memos?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: That's right, Fred. Now we know the FBI was sort of up in arms over this Schiff memo, the Republican memo, in that it only painted a slice, kind of only gave us a one-sided picture of what he FBI was dealing with. And with this Dem memo, it really sought to answer some of these questions about whether the FBI abused its power to obtain these secret court-approved wiretaps, and whether as the Republicans were saying whether it was politically motivated.

Now, the Dems' memo gives us a fuller picture of what the FBI and the department of justice told judges to obtain these warrants. They do say that there was a political aspect of the dossier and who was doing the work and why it was being done, was revealed. You know, they revealed this to the judges, according to the Dem memo.

Also this notion that parts of the dossier weren't corroborated. The FBI told the court they obtained information independently from sources, corroborating some of the dossier details. Another key point that's different in the two memos, Republicans say the dossier author, Christopher Steele, played a key role in the opening of the investigation while the Dems say Steele didn't start sharing information with the FBI until September of 2016, well after the July date in 2016 when the FBI opened its counter intelligence investigation into Trump campaign associates. And that's a key distinction in these two memos, as well.

WHITFIELD: And in all of this, of course, the big question is, how or would it impact the Mueller investigation?

PROKUPECZ: Well, we don't know how, exactly, it impacts the Mueller investigation. In terms of -- and let me just point this out, the Mueller investigators and the FBI agents and the prosecutors there read everything. They see everything. They read news accounts. They watch television reports. And sometimes investigators and prosecutors start investigations off of things they read in newspapers. So we don't know how all of this is playing out in terms of how they see it.

But this in no way affects what they're doing. They have had some issues, the FBI has had some issues with this memo, because they did see the Republican memo certainly as being politically motivated. Some were arguing that this was too discredit the Mueller work, the work that Mueller was doing and the FBI was doing in this investigation. But the overall impact should be zero. There should be no impact on what Mueller is doing. Politically, that's a whole other question, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Shimon Prokupecz, thank you so much.

All right. In the meantime, President Trump and Republican congressman Devin Nunes are attacking the memo's assertions and its author.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of bad things in that document. That document really verifies the Nunes memo. And it was -- that's why they didn't push hard to have it -- if you notice, they did not push it hard, because they understood this was going to happen. And just in looking around and seeing reports, a lot of people are saying that. That's a very bad document for their side.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: What you basically will read in the democratic memo is they are advocating that it's OK for the FBI and DOJ to use political dirt paid for by one campaign and use it against the other campaign.


WHITFIELD: All right. CNN White House correspondent, Boris Sanchez with me now.

So Boris, President Trump, congressman Nunes there, both having a lot to say about this new memo and what it establishes.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. Actually, despite what the President is saying about the Schiff memo verifying the Nunes memo, it doesn't. In many portions, it directly contradicts the arguments being made by the Republican chairman of the house intelligence committee. For one, it argues that the Steele dossier was not the sole basis for the surveillance of Trump aide, Carter Page. That there was a lot more broad information that ultimately led to the full-blown Russia investigation.

It also contradicts the notion that a judge wasn't aware of the political nature of the Steele dossier. That it was opposition research gathered during the 2016 campaign, something that the Schiff memo argues that a judge was made aware of. Beyond that, though, the President is not holding back. He's attacking Adam Schiff, calling him a bad guy and a leaker. Adam Schiff was on CNN this morning, joining Jake Tapper on "STATE OF THE UNION." Here's what he had to say back to the President.


[16:25:11] REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), RANKING MEMBER OF INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: So I'm not surprised that the President doesn't like it. I'm not surprised, frankly, that the White House tried to bury this memory 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 are not part of some deep state, as the President apparently would like the public to believe. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: And that idea, that notion is really what's implied in the Nunes memo. That there is some sort of deep state within the intelligence community that is out to get President Trump. And that's why several figures in the FBI allegedly acted inappropriately.

The President was on twitter yesterday suggesting that many actions taken by the intelligence community could have been illegal. He not only attacked Adam Schiff on twitter, he at one point misquoted FOX News, and then attacked President Obama, saying that Obama did nothing on Russia. Something that is clearly inaccurate.

Former President Obama not only expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shut down Russian compounds within the United States as a result of Russian meddling, but he did something that President Trump has yet to do, which is to directly face to face confront Vladimir Putin. You'll recall that in 2017, President Trump at the time said that he believed Vladimir Putin when the Russian leader denied that Russia had meddled in the 2016 election. One final note, Fred, the President is set to host governors across the country at the White House tonight for the governor's ball. Our cameras will be allowed inside for a very brief moment. If the President makes any comment whatsoever on the Schiff memo, we'll make sure to bring it to you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Boris Sanchez, thank you so much.

All right. Right now, students and teachers are returning to Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. Officials are holding an open house before classes officially resume on Wednesday. So how will the debate over guns play out as Congress returns this week?



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN, HOST: All right, today, students, teachers and parents are facing a nearly impossible task, returning to Stoneman Douglas High School for a voluntary orientation. And Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel, has just released a statement, saying he will cooperate with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's investigation into the handling of the shooting.

Adding, "We believe in full transparency and accountability." And this week, Congress is back in Washington. The big question, will they act on gun control? Here to discuss, CNN Political Analyst, Julian Zelizer. All right, Julian, good to see you. Republican Senator Marco Rubio has said he's all for modified or improved background checks.

The President of the United States has said raise the age limit on certain weapons. Does this seem like this is setting the stage that Congress has to act? At least start considering something this week?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, with gun control, we should never say Congress has to act, because in the past, it often hasn't.

WHITFIELD: Does it feel more pressure that it needs to?

ZELIZER: It feels more pressure, and I think the biggest change is the students. The President has been waffling. He hasn't been very strong. The Republicans have been all over the place. But the students have been forceful. They've gained national attention for the issue, raising the temperature, asking lawmakers to do something. But we have to remember, behind the scenes of the NRA is there with a lot of clout. And they will be pushing back.

WHITFIELD: And it seems like the President is trying to satisfy a lot of audiences. He's still trying to satisfy the NRA, which supported him by the tune of $30 million. You know, during the campaign days. At the same time, he wants to be respectful and show that he has some compassion, right, for what just happened.

And then we have these new polling numbers that say, 70 percent of Americans favor stricter gun control laws. Trump last night reasserted his stance on raising the minimum wage to 21 to buy an assault weapon. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Perhaps we'll do something having -- you know, on age because it doesn't seem to make sense that you have to wait until you're 21 years old to get a pistol, but to get a gun like this maniac used in the school, you get that at 18. I mean, that doesn't make sense.


WHITFIELD: At the same time, you have some Republicans who are skeptical.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am very skeptical about that because the vast majority of 18, 19, 20, 21-year-olds are law-abiding citizens who aren't a threat to anyone. So I am skeptical about that. I am willing to hear the other side on this, but, I am skeptical.


WHITFIELD: Does this then lay the ground work that this is going to be a very difficult fight?

ZELIZER: Oh, it will be a difficult fight. And we've seen the NRA kill these kinds of proposals many times in the past. In the Senate, the bar is going to be 60 votes, because of a filibuster. And in those red districts, who are thinking about election time, the NRA will be there and there's a lot of support for gun rights and no restrictions.

So I think what the students and their allies have to do is change the political calculation. But, at most right now, we're talking about the smallest reforms. You know, let alone some kind of ban on assault weapons. That's off the table right now. And in some ways, that's the real issue.

[16:35:00] WHITFIELD: People who have complimented these young people out of this high school for their passion, their drive, their real leadership have also said to them that they're worried about a month from now, two months from now, whether this momentum will somehow dissipate. But these young people are saying, no, they are going to feel like they're going to be in the fight.

But isn't that the worry? Even on Capitol Hill? I mean, we saw what happened after Sandy Hook, that it seemed like a lot of that fire to get something done kind of dissipated.

ZELIZER: That's absolutely right. Columbine and all the horrific incidents we've seen, there's a lot of heat, there's a lot of passion. But opponents of gun restrictions play the long game. And they wait this out and they build their support. And I think advocates of gun control need to do the same. It's hard for students to do this on their own.

The news will change. They have their lives to live. So this will take other established organizations, religious organizations, civil rights organizations to join them, so that a year from now, the pressure is still building to get more legislation, if any, and to make sure that legislation that's put into place isn't overturned.

WHITFIELD: And it's clear, the fire burning within these young people, people who are advocating right now, that's not going anywhere. But we're really talking about the fire, you know, of these legislators, whether it's on the state or the federal level, and all of this happening now while Trump has received new polling numbers.

You know, based on CNN's polling, saying his approval rating stands at 35 percent, down 5 points over just last month to now match his lowest level yet. His approval ratings went up, largely because of tax reform. Will this gun control issue, this discussion, will it in any way impact his approval rating?

ZELIZER: It could. I mean, it's possible to imagine him actually pushing for a breakthrough, trying to broker a compromise and seeing those ratings go up. But so far, that's not the way he's taken his presidency. When his ratings are low, he tends to dig in and play to his supporters, rather than to try to build that coalition.

I am not sure he's going to see things much differently. So far, again, all we've heard are band-aid reforms, which are important, but they're not the kind of more holistic gun control reforms that people are pushing for and think will be most effective.

WHITFIELD: All right. Julian Zelizer, good to see you. Thank you so much.

All right and former First Lady Michelle Obama's highly anticipated memoir will hit shelves in November. It's titled Becoming, and it will share moments that have shaped her life, from growing up on Chicago's south side, to her years in the White House. The book is released on November 13th. And congratulations to our own Julian Zelizer, too because he just handed me a new book, out that you edited. Congratulations on your book. I can't wait to dive in.

All right, South Korea says the U.S. and North Korea should hold talks soon. This as both the north and south signal their willingness to build a better relationship. What the Trump administration has to say about all of that, next.


[16:42:10] WHITFIELD: All right. North Korea is signaling it is willing to hold talks with the U.S. The announcement coming today from South Korea's President as the Winter Olympics comes to a close. The North Korean delegation was sitting a row behind President Trump's daughter, Ivanka, who was leading the U.S. delegation at the closing ceremony. She stood and clapped for the Korean teams, unlike Vice President, Mike Pence, at the opening ceremony.

But the two delegations did not appear to actually interact. The White House, a short time ago, issuing a statement saying, "We will see if Pyongyang's message today, that it is willing to hold talks, representing the first steps along the path to denuclearization. In the meantime, the United States and the world must continue to make clear that North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are a dead end."

CNN's Senior International Correspondent, Ivan Watson, joining us now from the North Korean capital of Seoul, So, Ivan, what can you tell us about this overture from the North Koreans?

IVAN WATSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This was relayed by the South Korean government. The South Korean President met with the North Korean delegation up there in the Olympic City, Pyeongchang, for an extended time. And then put out a statement, saying that the North Koreans are willing to engage in dialogue with the U.S. and that that should be done in conjunction with dialogue with South Korea.

And this coming, when you've had this remarkable scene of senior U.S. officials sharing the VIP box at opening and closing ceremonies at the Olympics, with senior North Korean officials twice in a matter of less than a month. That's pretty striking, even though it did not look like there was direct interaction between the North Korean and the U.S. delegations, pretty striking that they were in such close proximity. I guess an example of Olympic and sports diplomacy at work here, Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: And this comes as President Trump imposed, you know, the strongest sanctions yet on North Korea.

WATSON: That's right. I mean, that's how the Trump administration has billed it, basically dozens of ships and companies and one individual in Taiwan that had been hit with fresh U.S. Treasury sanctions. The goal, apparently, to try to stop allegations that North Koreans have engaged in trying to circumvent United Nations sanctions by doing ship-to-ship transfers of coal or oil at sea. [16:45:00] And they want to crack down on that. North Korea has

called these new sanctions, essentially, an act of war. So we have this interesting thing, where the Trump administration has said, on the one hand, it's willing to engage in talks with North Korea. And at the same time, trying to continue what it describes as its maximum pressure campaign against North Korea.

And in response, North Korea saying, well, it's willing to talk to the U.S., while also continuing to kind of issue threats and talk about the threat of U.S. imperialism here on the Korean Peninsula. So both sides are engaging in sort of saber rattling and also kind of indicating that they're willing to at least talk. So we'll just have to see where that goes from here.

WHITFIELD: All right. Ivan Watson, thank you so much.

Up next, going beyond the call of duty, hear from the officers who were first to enter Stoneman Douglas High School after the deadly shooting, their chilling memories, next.


[16:50:00] WHITFIELD: We're hearing chilling memories from first responders. They were the first to enter the Florida school after the gunman opened fire. CNN's Rosa Flores spoke with them, all of those when went beyond the call of duty.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're anticipating you're going to take gunfire. Like, you're looking for it.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These first responders were among the first to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, after a gunman fired indiscriminately at students and teachers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First thing we saw, there was a victim right outside the west doors. We checked on that victim. That victim was deceased.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At that moment, I actually felt sick, but I knew I had a job to do.

FLORES: The building, they say, riddled with bullet holes, inside, a chilling silence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You would think there should be smoke alarms and screaming. It was eerily silent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very poor visibility, just from the amount of gunfire that had taken place. Spent shell casings all over the ground. You could see multiple victims in the hallway immediately that were beyond assistance.

FLORES: Inside classrooms, students and teachers taking cover and calling this 911 Center. Dispatchers say victims were afraid to speak, so they listened for breathing as a sign of life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you just have to be quiet, that's OK. As long as I can hear you breathe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White male, burgundy shirt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are monitoring the subject right now.

FLORES: Sergeant Mazzei was on the second floor when this came over the road.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He went from the third floor to the second floor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were very prepared for it. We anticipated engaging him.

FLORES: Turns out the video was not live. It was on a delay, so they advanced to the third floor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I looked down. I am standing on top of the rifle. His rifle is there, his vest is there.

FLORES: And then a faint call for help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I opened up the door again -- I am sorry.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the kid deserves a lot of credit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had a firefighter texting me the whole time. I am looking for my friend's daughter that's on the third floor. I don't know.

FLORES: As for these heroes who respond to the unthinkable, they felt blessed to hug their own children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And here goes, daddy, I love you. And that was tough for me.

FLORES: And even though they hope it never happens again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But if it does, I want to make sure that, you know, I am there.

FLORES: Rosa Flores, CNN, Parkland, Florida.


WHITFIELD: Amazing heroes. Well, tonight, don't miss an all-new episode of the CNN original series, The Radical Story of Patty Hearst. The finale episode chronicles the incredible turn of events that led to her capture. Here's a sneak peek.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no question that the bombings were a direct response to the shoot-out in L.A. That's why LAPD officers were targeted. The by-product of those bombs is that other people were going to be killed, too, completely innocent people. What really separates the SLA from these other groups is violence against people. Whether underground, they also did bombings, but they were aimed at property, not at people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This group was not done. They had further intent to kill individuals and just create havoc.


WHITFIELD: The Radical Story of Patty Hearst airing tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. Thanks so much for being with me today this Sunday from New York. I am Fredricka Whitfield. The next hour of the CNN Newsroom with Ryan Nobel starts right after this.



RYAN NOBLES, CNN, HOST: You are live in the CNN Newsroom. I am Ryan Nobles in for Ana Cabrera in New York. A south Florida Sheriff says he's not quitting, not resigning, even though a long list of state lawmakers say he's got to go. I am talking about Sheriff Scott Israel from Broward County, Florida. That's the county where 17 high school students and teachers were shot dead on Valentine's Day.

State officials want the Governor of Florida to remove the Sheriff, saying his department knew the 19-year-old gunman was a danger to the community, knew the gunman had weapons, knew he was planning to shoot up the school, and on the day of the massacre, Broward County Sheriff's deputies waited outside the school while those kids and teachers died inside.

Sheriff Israel was on CNN earlier today and he told Jake Tapper that none of that is his fault.


SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY SHERIFF: You don't measure a person's leadership by a deputy not going into a -- these deputies received the training they need. 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 that Hager made in his letter. It was a shameful, politically motivated letter that had no facts, and of course, I won't resign.


NOBLES: Well, this is the letter that the Sheriff is talking about.