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President Trump Renews Call For Stricter Background Checks; North Korea's Delegation Willing To Talk To U.S.; Olympic Competition Wraps Up; Second Gold Medal For Olympic Athletes of Russia; Father And Daughter Battle Anorexia Aired 6-7a ET

Aired February 25, 2018 - 06:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The latest chapter in memo wars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do you believe which memo are you on the side of it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democrats are not only trying to cover this up, but they are also colluding with part of the government to help cover this up.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (via telephone): If you call it the Republican memo or the Nunes memo, it's nothing but a confirmation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so full of misinformation and doesn't mention Russia.

PRESIDENT TRUMP (via telephone): I say it all the time. Anybody who asks, there is no collusion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Devastated. Sick to my stomach.

PRESIDENT TRUMP (via telephone): You see what happened with the police officers that didn't have the guts to go and that coach who so brave that ran into gunfire to protect the kids, if he had his gun, he would be live today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no reason to give me a bonus for giving me a gun. Put that money in teacher's paychecks and in our pockets.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Sunday morning to you. President Trump calls the Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo a nothing and he says it's right and Congressman Adam Schiff is a, quote, "bad guy."

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And it's now the Democrats turn to respond to GOP claims of a bias Russian investigation. They say the president is already trying to deflect attention from that and he called into Fox News after that memo was released. Take a listen.


PRESIDENT TRUMP (via telephone): 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 -- he'll leak all sorts of information. You know? He is a bad guy.

But it -- certainly is the memo was a nothing. It confirmed basically, if you look at it, it confirmed -- I watched Miss Herge who is fantastic on your show just before, and I will tell you, that was really just a confirmation of, if you call it the Republican memo or the Nunes memo, it's referred to as a lot of things, but that was nothing --


PAUL: The Republican memo accused the FBI of surveillance abuses and political bias in the Russia investigation. The Democratic memo takes on those claims in attempts to knock them down point by point.


PAUL (voice-over): The ten-page memo disputes a central claim from Republicans that the controversial dossier written by ex-British intelligence agent, Christopher Steele, was at the heart of the surveillance warranty used on former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, Carter Page.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This investigation did not start because of the Steele dossier. It started because of George Papadopoulos. It started much earlier than any surveillance on Carter Page and that the surveillance of Carter Page was warranted because of the voluminous amount of information that was out there that was concerning about this contract with the Russians.

PAUL: The memo written by Representative Adam Schiff argues the dossier played a narrow role and the DOJ provided the court with information from multiple sources about Page's activities with Russians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carter Page, I don't know of anyone who takes him seriously as a Russian agent including the Russians or the FBI is he had worked with the FBI against the Russians back in 2013 and he never played a real role in the Trump campaign.

PAUL: Democrats also pushed back against charges that the FBI misled the court about Steele's motivations and financial backing from the DNC writing that the court was informed the dossier's funders were politically motivated and wanted to discredit Trump's campaign.

REPRESENTATIVE DEVIN NUNES (R-CA), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We wanted it out. We wanted out because we think it is clear evidence that the Democrats are not only trying to cover this up, but they are also colluding with parts of the government to help cover this up. But what you're not going to see is anything that actually rejects what was in our memo.

PAUL: The Schiff memo also suggests that in addition to the investigation into Carter Page, the FBI opened several sub inquiries into multiple Trump campaign associates by September of 2016.


BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about what we have discovered in this Democratic rebuttal. Joining us now is CNN reporter, Kara Scannell, national security attorney, Mark Zaid, and CNN political analyst, Julian Zelizer. Good morning to everyone.

Kara, let me start with you. The president says it's a confirmation of the Republican memo. You heard there from Chairman Nunes no actual rejections of his memo. Is he right?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, I think that -- you know, depending on which side you want to believe, you can read it either way, but the Democratic memo does knock down some of the notions that the Republican memo put forward which, you know, you just had you heard Christi report, the notion that it was politically motivated and that wasn't disclosed.

It was disclosed in the application to the court, according to the Democrats, that this was intent -- the source of this information was looking to discredit the Trump campaign.

[06:05:14] The other notion that the memo was -- that the FISA warrant was based entirely on the dossier was also knocked down because we know the FBI interviewed carter page in March of 2016. That is several months before they sought this application in October of 2016 and it was the same month that Carter Page joined the Trump campaign.

BLACKWELL: Mark, let's go through that point specifically of disclosure of political elements here. The GOP memo claimed, let's put it up on the screen, that that neither the initial application in October of 2016 nor any of the renewals disclosed or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign or any party campaign in funding Steele's efforts, this from the Democratic rebuttal.

The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1's campaign." Actually, they say that was actually in the application for the warrant. This goes to the central narrative of what the Republicans claimed.

MARK ZAID, NATIONAL SECURITY ATTORNEY: Absolutely. And, in fact, the one thing that is so new in this memo is that we have language from the FISA application actually quoted because quite frankly, there is not much in this 10-page document that is new between leaks and legitimate appearances by House members of the House Select Committee on Intelligence after the Nunes memo came out. All of this really had been said and we have been talking about it for almost the last month, but that point was really important. OK. It doesn't say DNC, OK? It doesn't say that Clinton campaign.

But it says that this memo had some motivations to discredit the Trump campaign and doesn't make any difference from a bias standpoint whether that was GOP objections to the Trump campaign of which there was numerous.

And you know, let's not forget, the original folks that were hiring Steele to do his work and the organization that hired him were actually from anti-Trump GOP members.

BLACKWELL: Julian, let's also put this into the context the president tweeted out last night that the memo shows that there was no -- let's put this up. The memo did not name Hillary Clinton, the memo did not name the DNC, but this comes after a year of Republicans outrage about unmasking in this process.

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. So, there is a hypocritical claim by the Republicans about why the specific names weren't mentioned, but it's pretty clear from the language that the fact that this came from a political operation was -- it was stated. And it didn't matter because there was so much other evidence that the courts and the investigators were looking at.

This was one piece of the puzzle. So, if you look at this memo and you agree with the memo, it means that the Republicans on this committee skewed the information and misled the public and their memo, they were really trying to slant all of the evidence to make a case that would discredit this.

BLACKWELL: Kara, the House Intelligence Committee is still investigating Russia and potential involvement in -- with the Trump campaign, meddling in the election. What does this process now that it's evolved into these dueling memos and rebuttals, what does it mean for the confidence in that -- can they even reach a consensus?

SCANNELL: Both parties in this committee have been really disjoined for much of this investigation, so you've got the Democrats wanting to pursue various threads, including seeking financial records and going down into the weeds on that. The Republicans will not grant them subpoena power to do that.

So, they are a fractured group. I think as it continues it's not going to get any better. We are going to still see both sides try to move forward with their investigation. The Republicans are in control. So, they will determine what interviews go forward in the future.

But I do think we are going to see two different reports at the end of the day. One from the majority and one from the minority.

BLACKWELL: Julian, the president said that the Nunes memo vindicated him as it relates to Bob Mueller's Russia investigation, the special counsel. Several congressional Republicans came out and said this has nothing to do with that. The Nunes memo really has nothing to do with that. Does this rebuttal have any impact or any connection at all to that either?

ZELIZER: I don't think it will, only in that we now live in two worlds and two parties are seeing the same investigation through a very different lens. It is important and relevant that the Democratic memo shows that the reasons for the investigation were legitimate. They were not political.

[06:10:10] That said, it doesn't really matter, given how partisan this has become. I think in the end the president could have tweeted that tweet before he saw the memo and many of his supporters would believe it and that is a problem for a real investigation to happen.

BLACKWELL: Mark, give us the big picture here. The precedent, we are now reading portions of warrant application through the FISA court. We now have this precedent of the Republicans will release their partisan view of something and the Democrats will release their view. What does this mean for the future of this process?

ZAID: You know that's a great question. You know, I love reading information about the FISA court. This is a secretive court that we don't get to see. And every time one of these memos comes out and information gets declassified, we use it in numerous lawsuits, particularly under the Freedom of Information Act, to try and get access to greater information.

That said, this process has destroyed what was usually a bipartisan effort by the House Select Committee on oversight of intelligence to look into executive branch issues for the last 40 years. It has destroyed what was this past use.

And, right now, what Julian was saying, the partisanship is at such a high level, the politicization of intelligence is so rampant that I have a great fear for the institutional aspects of this system that is being destroyed, the very fabric being destroyed as we see both sides duel with national security information that frankly we are never supposed to see.

BLACKWELL: Chairman Nunes was on stage at the time when this was released yesterday, and he said that Democrats were trying to cover this up. There was collusion in trying to prevent certain things from being released. Is there any clarity in what he was talking about specifically? And can you speak to what he also claimed was the intentional two-week delay on the part of Democrats on releasing the redacted version?

SCANNELL: Well, there was no -- I have a hard time understanding what he means by obstruction. The process here was that the White House was given the Democratic memo as it was given the Republican memo. The White House sent it back saying there were concerns about not releasing it.

Of course, they did not have those concerns on the Republican memo. So, over the past two weeks, they have been dealing with the FBI, which has opposed the release of either memo with working to redact certain portions of this Schiff memo in order to not reveal too many details about sources and methods.

So, that is really why there was this delay and it was the White House that -- then went back to the White House and the White House that said now it was ready and fine to be released and they released it on a Saturday.

BLACKWELL: All right. Kara Scannell, Mark Zaid, Julian Zelizer, thank you all.

PAUL: Don't miss today's "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper. He will have Representative Adam Schiff with him to discuss the memo at 9:00 a.m. Eastern this morning on CNN.

Ahead, the wall between them, the Mexican president will not be heading to Washington after a confrontational phone call with President Trump and it all stemmed from who is going to pay for that border wall.

BLACKWELL: And the National Rifle Association says its members are being punished as more companies cut ties after the high school massacre in Florida and the NRA's response.




PRESIDENT TRUMP (via telephone): We get these people and then you'll have like the incident we had on the Westside Highway -- where there is this guy who comes in through chain migration and visa lottery runs over and kills eight people and he came in through the system. Well, I don't want that. I want people to come in ultimately. We want people to come in through merit.


BLACKWELL: That was President Trump on Fox News last night talking about the way forward on immigration and his plans for a border wall, which he still says Mexico will pay for. But according to Mexico's president, they are not budging on this.

PAUL: Yes. In fact, Mexico's president, Enrique Pena Nieto just called off an official trip to Washington to meet with President Trump after another tense phone call last week over that wall.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN congressional reporter, Lauren Fox. So, what happened on this phone call, Lauren, that changed the plan for the president?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, it was another war of words between President Donald Trump and Mexico's president, Enrique Pena Nieto. Now, Pena Nieto was scheduled to visit Washington tentatively at the beginning of march, but that trip will no longer continue, in part, because of that tense phone call on Tuesday. Now the president, according to a White House official, continued to push for Mexico to finance that border wall. That is something that he has been doing since the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign and something that Pena Nieto has been consistently saying Mexico will not pay for.

Now, a White House official said that this phone call was less tense than one in January 2017 where Pena Nieto cancelled another trip to Washington, but the phone call led to no resolution about the funding of that wall.

We should know that President Trump is trying to get money for the wall any way he can. He's also pushed Congress to fund his wall and while a bipartisan group of lawmakers presented him with a plan that would give him $25 billion in border security in exchange for citizenship for 1.2 million DREAMers, the president rejected that plan saying he wanted more changes to the legal immigration system.

So, clearly the president wants this border wall, but doesn't know how to get it and Pena Nieto is up for re-election in July of 2018, he can't be seen as giving any concessions to the White House.

[06:20:09] BLACKWELL: All right. Lauren Fox in Washington for us. Lauren, thank you so much.

FOX: Thank you.

PAUL: All right. Commentary writer and editor for the "Washington Examiner," Siraj Hashmi with us now. This is not the first time this has happened, Siraj. January of last year, the Mexican president called off a planned trip to meet with the president over a similar scuttle. If the president cannot convince Mexico to build this wall, is there a political ramification for him?

SIRAJ HASHMI, COMMENTARY WRITER AND EDITOR, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": For President Trump right now the main ramification is if he allows amnesty for the estimated 1.2 undocumented immigrants. That would be the huge concession that really hurts within his base. Building the border wall has become sort of a nonfactor and this game of chicken between Pena Nieto and Trump, for a lot of people, is not that big of a deal.

Whether the border wall gets built or not is something that -- you know, for Trump supporters that might be a big thing, but amnesty is a whole lot bigger and completely different issue that I think would hurt the immigration stance of President Trump.

PAUL: Sure. So, Jared Kushner, we understand, the president's son- in-law, is in charge of managing the U.S./Mexico relationship among other things. Official say a few hours after both the presidents spoke on Tuesday, Kushner actually called Pena Nieto and tried to help smooth things over.

He still cancelled the trip. What does that tell you about -- we have been talking a lot about this with the security clearances -- about Kushner's ability to effectively do his job? HASHMI: Well, Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law, as well as Ivanka Trump have taken a lot of criticism for handling specific sensitive White House issues. The fact that they don't have false security clearances are certainly concerning with respect to the U.S./Mexico relationship.

Now there are certain -- there are definitely some Mexican officials who would say that the relationship between the Trump administration and the Pena Nieto administrations are closer than they were in previous administrations.

However, what we are seeing from reports is that, you know, even though the top two leaders are not agreeing on anything, maybe that actual relationship between the administrations are formidably stronger.

But, again, that only really matters when you get results and, right now, both sides are at a political stalemate and they are not going to get anything done, at least until Pena Nieto is re-elected or a change in leadership.

PAUL: Officials say they may try to meet again in Washington or at the Summit of the Americas in Pero that's happening in April. What is the expectation there?

HASHMI: The expectation is probably more of the same. You'll have a chest thumping whoever can back down first is really going to be the winner in all of this because, you know, with President Trump's border wall, that is, you know, anywhere from $12 billion to $15 billion by conservative estimates all the way up from $67 billion by Democratic estimates.

You know, the American taxpayers will be paying for all of that and getting whatever money from Mexico is that going back to the American taxpayers? We are not so sure right now and President Trump needs to make a convincing argument, at least up to the midterm elections that this is still a good idea.

PAUL: Right. Siraj Hashmi, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

HASHMI: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Students in Parkland are preparing to head back to school this week, as the president offers what he believes would be a bipartisan solution to gun reform, but will the NRA support it?

PAUL: Also, the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympic games under way right now, and South Koreans are protesting the controversial officials leading the North Korean delegation. Why? We'll have a live report for you from PyeongChang next.



PAUL: It's 28 minutes past the hour. So glad to have you with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning.

PAUL: Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are going back to class in three days. The first day on campus is Wednesday and that's two weeks after a gunman killed 14 students and three staff members.

BLACKWELL: Now before they go back to class, a group of students including some victims in that attack marched in Parkland, Florida. Showing support for both the school and their fight for stricter gun laws in the state.

PAUL: After that shooting, the president had signaled he is open to a discussion of stricter background checks for gun purchases.

BLACKWELL: Last night on Fox News, the president renewed his push for stricter background checks that would include some kind of screening for mental illness.


PRESIDENT TRUMP (via telephone): We would have a section on a very powerful section on mental illness and somebody who is mentally ill, should not have a weapon, should not have a gun, and that would be covered in the background checks. And I think the NRA is going to be for it. I think that a lot of people -- I mean, this certainly should be bipartisan.


BLACKWELL: Let's talk about it now with CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, Maria Cardova, and former senior adviser to the Trump campaign and former representative from Georgia, Jack Kingston. Good morning to both of you.

Maria, I want to start with you. The potential for this being bipartisan, can Democrats work with the president on this element, background checks involving mental illness or is it too little and to midterm year in the season just makes this unrealistic?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. I'm sure that Democrats would be absolutely open to making some real changes in gun safety measures. That would make a real impact. The problem is that we can't really believe anything that comes out of this president's mouth.

Both because it can change at any moment, it can change two seconds from now after he tweet something different, and also because it's completely hypocritical. Victor, this president says that he wants strong measures against the mentally ill being able to get firearms. But in February of last year, he actually blocked a regulation that would keep severely mentally ill patients from obtaining firearms. So he has got to be able to put his money where his mouth is if he can prove that what he is saying is actually true, that he is not going to buckle under the oncoming pressure and what we know is going to be a huge push, both behind closed doors and then publicly, if needed, by the NRA and the NRA against any of this, then we will see.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk -- let's talk about that pressure from the NRA.

Because, Jack, that was one of the elements the president talked about bipartisanship but also the NRA. And we are hearing at least an inconsistent, if not conflicting message from the NRA about mental health.

I first want you to listen to -- this is Dana Loesch at the CNN town hall talking about mental illness and people not being able to get a gun and then the executive vice president of the NRA Wayne LaPierre. Watch.


DANA LOESCH, SPOKESWOMAN, NRA: None of us support people who are crazy, who are a danger to themselves, who are a danger to others getting their hands on a firearm.

WAYNE LAPIERRE, CEO, NRA: We all have to be careful that this doesn't become a run-away train. What if all of your medical records, perhaps your conversations with your doctor, your prescription information, do we really want all of that on a government list and in the government database?


BLACKWELL: So he is saying that access to medical records is a slippery slope but Dana Loesch is saying you don't want to keep -- you want to keep people with mental illness from getting a weapon.

How do you know that people have a mental illness without accessing their medical records, Jack?

JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, Victor, that is why this hasn't been done successfully before. It is very difficult in terms of privacy.

Maria mentioned the Social Security check. By the way that was opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union they were on the same page as President Trump because of the question about due process. So I do think that you want to make sure that anybody gets due process because that is what we do in America, we don't falsely accuse somebody of something --

BLACKWELL: So is the president wrong here? Is the president just assuming that he can bring his party along on mental health checks?

KINGSTON: You know what I think would be really great is if we could hear from party leaders on both sides of the aisle right now and say, you know what? This is substantive. Let's get to work on it.

Congressman Tim Murphy who is no longer in the House, actually initiated this about three years ago and I want to say this. The other thing is the legislation has already passed the House that would be the vehicle for this. It was passed in December by the Republican Congress and I don't know -- I think Democrats were on board, so it has been bipartisan and what it outlines is review everything about bump stocks, well, the president is going to accelerate that probably without legislation but it also had in there the background check.

How do you improve background checks? So the vehicle is already right now pending (ph) in front of the U.S. Senate and the idea of getting both parties on board it's there.

BLACKWELL: All right.

KINGSTON: We can make that happen.

CARDONA: So one question to Jack is, will the president buckle when the NRA exerts overwhelming pressure on him because they gave him $30 million during his presidential campaign?

KINGSTON: Well, why are we going to swing it at the NRA, let's remember, it's about the second amendment, it's not about a political group.

But I would also put in there --

CARDONA: It's absolutely about a political group.

KINGSTON: OK. Maria --

BLACKWELL: Let him answer. Let him answer.

KINGSTON: Let me just say this. I would put in there what is the effect of violence on video games, violence in Hollywood? And this is not the --


BLACKWELL: Jack, that wasn't the question. The question is --

KINGSTON: No, no --

BLACKWELL: Jack, let me --


CARDONA: See what I mean?

BLACKWELL: Jack, the president said in the health care conversation that I will take the heat. Whatever this group puts together, I will take the heat on that. When the heat came --

CARDONA: Yes. Exactly.

BLACKWELL: -- a day or two later he was backing out and doing exactly what he said he wouldn't do by asking --


KINGSTON: That's what I'm saying. That's what -- BLACKWELL: Right now the president says the NRA is for it and the NRA has said that they are not for it --


BLACKWELL: -- long before he even started his campaign. What is the evidence he'll take the heat now?

KINGSTON: But, Victor -- but if now about -- I know the NRA is hated by the left. But this is not --

BLACKWELL: It has nothing to do with the left or the right. It has to do with the president's commitment to what he says he wants to do --

CARDONA: That's right.

BLACKWELL: -- and the NRA's insistence that it will not happen.

KINGSTON: And this is about leadership, the party leaders right now should grab this just as he said, I want to give amnesty for 1.4 million DACA recipients --

BLACKWELL: Who is the Republican Party leader? If you're saying the party leader should grab it isn't that the president?

KINGSTON: No. I'm talking about in the legislative branch.


KINGSTON: He is the executive branch. He has already made his position.

Let's hear -- let's have Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell step forward and say, we're going to take it and run with it because the House has already done something.


BLACKWELL: All right.

KINGSTON: I think Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan can do it.

I don't know why it is such a hard concept here, guys. This is just --

BLACKWELL: Hold on, Jack. Listen to this. This is President Trump from two years ago.

CARDONA: Because the NRA won't let them. That's why.


BLACKWELL: This is President Trump from January to -- hold on -- hold on just a second.

KINGSTON: Right. You bristle when I brought (ph) up (ph) Hollywood just now --

BLACKWELL: Jack, Maria, hold on for a second.

I want to hear from the president. This is 2016. The beginning of the campaign.


TRUMP: I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools my first day it gets signed, OK? My first day. There is no more gun-free zone.


BLACKWELL: So agree with what the president wants to do or not, Jack, it's been more than 400 days since his first day and he hasn't done that.

KINGSTON: Well, I don't (ph) know --

BLACKWELL: Why should people believe that he is going to do now what he is saying he is going to do?

KINGSTON: Well, actually let's take a step back because there has been a lot of misinformation about guns on campuses, 172 districts -- school districts in Texas allow it now. The state of Georgia does. Nine states have concealed carry which allow guns on campus and nine other states say that you can have them in your car.

BLACKWELL: You're not answering my question. You're not even referring to the sound bite.

KINGSTON: The sound bite you said why hasn't he done it? What I'm saying a lot of that has been done already where it should be done on the state level. And we got to keep in mind that school boards make these laws, not the federal government.

CARDONA: Look --

BLACKWELL: All right.

CARDONA: Bottom line -- bottom line, Victor --

BLACKWELL: OK. Maria, quickly 15 seconds if you can.

CARDONA: Sure. While Jack twists and turns trying to figure out whether the --

KINGSTON: I'm not twisting and turning. That is ridiculous.

CARDONA: -- twisting and turning trying to figure out whether --


CARDONA: -- trying to figure out whether the president will be able to stand up to the NRA, we will see if that is the possibility --


CARDONA: Jack, I am talking.

BLACKWELL: Jack, please.

CARDONA: I am speaking.

BLACKWELL: Jack -- quickly, Maria if you can.

CARDONA: While he twists and turns to see whether the president will be able to stand up to the NRA, we know that he will not. He talks about leadership in the Congress.


CARDONA: The Republican leaders in the Congress are more bought by the NRA than anybody else in the world.

KINGSTON: Are you getting --


KINGSTON: I know you hate the NRA but it's not about the NRA.

BLACKWELL: All right.

CARDONA: So it is going to be whether there is real leadership --

BLACKWELL: We got to wrap it there.

CARDONA: -- on the Republican Party --

BLACKWELL: We got to wrap it here.

CARDONA: -- and so far they have proven there is absolutely not.



KINGSTON: -- great deal on DACA --

BLACKWELL: Maria, Jack, thank you both.

KINGSTON: -- on the table --


BLACKWELL: Of course, we can't complete --

CARDONA: All right. Jack, you know --



CARDONA: You know you're not -- you know you're losing when the only thing you can do is interrupt.

BLACKWELL: Jack, Maria I'm going to have to cut you off. Thank you both.

CARDONA: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right.

KINGSTON: Love you, Maria.


PAUL: Sometimes you just have to chuckle back for a minute --


BLACKWELL: Yes. Coming up on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel answers questions after police sources tell CNN four deputies did not go inside to face the shooter. That is at 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

PAUL: All right. And there's a protest this morning. A North Korean general accused of killing dozens of South Korean sailors is leading a delegation to the Winter Olympics' closing ceremonies.

We are live with you next in Pyeongchang.



PAUL: This just coming in to CNN. North Korea's delegation says apparently that it's willing take to you to the United States.

CNN international correspondent Will Ripley in Pyeongchang, South Korea for us right now. What are you hearing? This is a change.


Yes. We just received a statement minutes ago from the South Korean Blue House. They met just before the closing ceremonies taking place at the Olympic Stadium. Actually it seems like they just wrapped up 35,000 people there.

But the meetings that happened beforehand a potential significant development. The North Korean delegation expressing willingness for a dialogue with the United States and also acknowledging that in order for relations between South Korea and North Korea to improve that they also need to improve their relationship with the United States.

This is a pretty dramatic shift for North Korea's tone even in their state media just within the past few hours. Today they put out an article threatening the United States with grave consequences over the new round of sanctions, the heaviest sanctions ever imposed by the Trump administration calling those sanctions tantamount to an act of war. But apparently the North Koreans who are on the ground here are now acknowledging that talks with the United States will be crucial if they are going to actually move forward with their goal of easing tensions on the Korean peninsula. And obviously there are a lot of major issues that divide the United States and South Korea, and North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-un, the biggest one of all North Korea's nuclear program.

North Korea has repeatedly and consistently said that they will not give up their nuclear weapons despite sanctions or diplomatic or even military pressure. However, they are at least saying for the time being now that they are willing to have discussions.

We also saw the first images coming out of the opening ceremonies. Ivanka Trump was in the VIP box as expected with the North Korean delegation led by North Korea's former spy master Kim Yong-chol. He was just one row and a few seats behind her to her left.

There was no visible interaction between the two. We don't know if there was any behind the scenes interaction between the U.S. delegation and the North Korean delegation although we do know that the North Koreans did send one official who is in charge of their department and north American affairs and indicating at least a willingness, if there was some sort of a meeting, that perhaps they could have a brief chat, see where things go from there.

So obviously, things can change very quickly, Christi, but that is the latest on the ground here in Pyeongchang as the Olympics are now officially over and the Paralympics set to kick off very soon.

PAUL: All right. Will Ripley, so glad you are there to walk us through it all. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Before we begin the Paralympics or they begin it, the final events of the Winter Olympics are wrapping up and the Olympic athletes of Russia got a lot of attention as they battled Germany in the gold medal match in ice hockey.

PAUL: Yes. Amanda Davies has more for us from South Korea. Good morning, Amanda.



Yes. The men's hockey final was always going to have to go to (INAUDIBLE) was (ph) to compete with that incredible victory of the USA's women but it was pretty good, even for a neutral. It was a really hard-fought win for the Olympic athletes of Russia against the competition surprise package, Germany.

After the OAR pulled level at 3-3, which is 56 seconds left on the clock, to overtime it went. Then it was 20-year-old Kirill Kaprizov who scored the sudden death winner to give the OAR their second gold of the games. I actually found myself watching and going through the emotions with the German presidents of the International Olympic Committee himself Thomas Bach just hours after he and his board took the decision not to lift Russia's ban for doping, which means that the team had marched at the closing ceremonies without their Russian flag once again.

Back admitted to me that after two failed drug tests within the team, it would have been impossible to allow it but he refused to admit the issue has taken away from the sport here at the games. You suspect there were far few people would beg to differ with that. Back to you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Amanda Davies, thanks so much.

PAUL: All right. You know John Kirby on our air? You know somebody that we go to to get really great perspective and information on many things, but he is really opening up next with us here with his daughter, sharing the story of survival of her anorexia. A pretty brave conversation coming up.

Stay close.



PAUL: I don't know if you're aware of this but did you know at least 30 million Americans will suffer some sort of eating disorder in their lifetime? This is according to the Eating Disorders Coalition. It's completely treatable but the harsh reality is only a third of people living with this disorder ever receive treatment.

We need to talk about this and this is a really personal story with retired Navy Admiral John Kirby. You know him he's (INAUDIBLE) quite often. And his daughter Meagan McDowell is joining us now.

Thank you both so much. Really means a lot to us to talk with you.

I have to start, Meagan, with this moment you said that sparked it all. And I want to read to you. This is from They have written a piece on this.

She wrote, I'll never forget the words that changed my life. The words that changed the perspective I had of myself. The words that led to a six-year struggle with anorexia and depression: a friend said to me, "I finally got the abs I've always wanted, and look at you with all that belly fat." How can one comment spark the spiraling of a healthy woman, you ask.

The first thing that stood out to me, Meagan, was how close was this friend? Because that does not sound like something a friend would say. Was she joking?

MEAGAN MCDOWELL, BATTLED ANOREXIA FOR SIX YEARS: She, unfortunately, was not joking. We were best friends at the time. Our relationship -- we started to grow apart even before that comment was made but, obviously, after she said those things, the friendship more or less ended.

PAUL: And where did you go then after that comment? Help us understand how anorexia just took force of you.

MCDOWELL: It took complete control over my life. It consumed my thoughts. Everything I, you know, I once loved doing, didn't bring me joy any more.

And I began to restrict my diet and I lost a lot of weight and every day was a struggle.

PAUL: John, you wrote something here too that is very telling and I think parents, grandparents, anybody can relate to this. You said, "Let me tell you something. When you look into the eyes of the girl you helped raise, that same little girl you taught to catch and throw and ride a bike, the one you read to sleep and encouraged to take on the world and she can barely look you back, so ashamed is she of herself. Well, as a father you're going to start wondering what, if anything, you could have done to prevent this."

Help us understand as a father what this did to you.

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: It just tears you up, you know, because as I said in there this was my little girl, my little princess, my only daughter and I was very close to Meagan growing up. And then to see her sort of pull back and to do this to herself and know that there is very little that I understood about anorexia or what I thought I could do about it it was just -- it was killing me inside.

And then something else was happening, Christi, at the same time that I'm struggling with this and trying to figure out what I could do to help her, also recognize that her body was going through normal changes. She was heading into puberty and adolescence and that makes -- at least it made me as just a normal guy just made me uncomfortable and I didn't understand that at the time when she probably needed me most, I was also just naturally as a dad I was kind of pulling away.

PAUL: And I know that, Meagan, you did talk to your mom, you did get into some therapy. Did you realize at that point -- did the therapy help you realize this isn't just -- this isn't about food, necessarily? This really is about a struggle we all go through in terms of trying to figure out who we are.

MCDOWELL: Absolutely. You know, the teenage years are hard enough and then to add anorexia into the mix, it was a living nightmare, you know?

PAUL: How did your parents help you?

MCDOWELL: As soon as my parents figured out something was wrong, they immediately got me into treatment and they took me to all of my therapy appointments, nutritionists.

I saw social workers. I lost track how many people we saw over the years. And it wasn't until we finally met Helen La Rose that I got into the right treatment program and I was able to gain weight and get my life back.

PAUL: What was it in that therapy that helped you get to that point, Meagan?

MCDOWELL: Honestly, just eating again.


Being able to eat and I eventually was able to start functioning normally and it really changed my way of thinking about my relationship with food and about myself.

PAUL: And, John, what did you learn about yourself through this whole process and about your relationship with your daughter and your family?

KIRBY: I learned that fathers really do matter and I don't mean this to say that other family bonds don't matter too.

One of the things that Helen taught us was to really attack this problem as a family and we did that. But she also taught me that my relationship with Meagan was very special, father/daughter relationships typically are and that I needed to focus on the health of that relationship. Not just realize mistakes I made and she was very honest with some of the mistakes I've made.

I was a little too protective of Meagan as she was growing up but that I needed to find a new way of relating to Meagan as we went through these changes and as we try to get her healthy.

She also helped us -- Meagan talked about this but she also helped us get into a more intensive therapy that really involves the parents on an everyday basis for weeks, if not months, to help the individual start to gain weight and to put calories.

The food, even though it's not -- you're right, Christi, food isn't the issue, it is the medicine because --

PAUL: Right.

KIRBY: -- the lack of calories changes the brain chemistry and changed the way Meagan continued to think about herself. And so you have to get that food back in the system eventually to get the brain chemistry in the right area.

PAUL: We thank you so much for sharing. I know that this is -- it's a hard topic to talk about but your transparency it's just -- it's brave and it's going to help people no doubt about it because I know they want you to know that you're not alone. There is help out there. That dads matters, that words matter and so do culture.

John and Meagan, thank you so much.

KIRBY: Thank you.

MCDOWELL: Thank you. PAUL: Best of luck to you.

BLACKWELL: All right.

Next, the president on the defense as Democrats refute Republican claims of political bias and surveillance abuses in the Russian probe. And a testy phone call with the White House prompts the Mexican president to scrap his trip to Washington.

Can the U.S. and Mexico ever get on the same page on the border wall plan? That is coming up.