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Democratic Memo Counters GOP Claims to Spying Abuse; Seoul: North Korea Delegation Says It's Willing to Talk to U.S.; Mexican President Cancels Trip After Tense Call with Trump; Trump Suggests Raising Age to Purchase a Gun; Trump Launches Another Attack on "Fake News" Media. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 25, 2018 - 07:00   ET




[07:00:56] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The latest chapter in memo wars.

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

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: 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.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you call it the Republican memo or the Nunes memo, but that was nothing but confirmation.

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

TRUMP: I say it all the time. Anybody that asks. There's no collusion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Devastated. Sick to my stomach.

TRUMP: You see what happened with the police officers that didn't have the guts to go. That coach who so brave that ran into gunfire to protect the kids, if he had his gun, he'd be alive today.

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


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

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. The Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo is now out and it pushes back on the Republican claims of FBI surveillance abuses. CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: The message from the White House seems to

be there is nothing to see here. President Trump calls the memo a nothing and says its writer Congressman Adam Schiff is, quote, a bad guy. The president called into Fox News after this memo was released. Listen to this.


TRUMP: 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 member and he'll leak all sorts of information. You know, he's a bad guy. But it's certainly the memo was a nothing. It confirmed basically, if you look at it, it confirmed -- I watched Ms. Hurd (ph), she was fantastic on our 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: Now, the Republican memo accused the FBI of political bias in the Russia investigation. The Democratic memo takes on that claim and several others 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 warrant used on former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: 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 surveillance of Carter Page was warranted because of the voluminous amount of information that was out there that was concerning about his contact with the Russians.

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

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Carter Page, I don't know of anyone who takes him seriously as a Russian agent, including the Russians or the FBI. He 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.

NUNES: We wanted 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 associates by September of 2016.


[07:05:08] BLACKWELL: All right. So, what have we learned?

We've got with us now, CNN legal analyst Page Pate, CNN reporter, Kara Scannell, and CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd.

Good morning to everyone.


BLACKWELL: Kara, I want to start with you. And first, explore one of the major contentions here. This is from the GOP memo. Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele's efforts.

Now, according to the Democrats' rebuttal, this verbatim phrase was in the application. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit candidate 1's campaign.

The significance of the difference here, Kara, to you.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, so that Republicans are saying it should have been explicit and known that this was coming from the Democrats, but it's not -- the normal practice in these sorts of situations is not to, quote, unmask who the source is. So by revealing the potential bias, the FBI's theory is that it will cure and as long as the judge knows that someone is motivated because at the time that Christopher Steele was hired, he was also initially hired by a GOP rival to President Trump. Now, at the time that he eventually went to the FBI, he was hired by the Democrats and the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign, but the normal course for these sort of applications is to make the bias known without revealing the individual source.

BLACKWELL: And let's also put that into the context of year of outrage from many Republicans on Capitol Hill about unmasking and now, we hear from many of those Republicans and the president that they are disappointed or angry that Hillary Clinton specifically or the DNC specifically were not named here.

Page, to you. Another passage here. According to the Democrat's rebuttal, the initial warrant application and subsequent renewals received independent scrutiny and approval by four different federal judges, two of whom were appointed by President George W. Bush, one by George H.W. Bush and one by President Ronald Reagan. Republican presidents here, and in that role in the casting of this by Republicans that this was a partisan effort on behalf of President Obama.

PATE: Right. I guess the argument now is those judges were somehow parted this grand conspiracy to start this FISA application and approve this warrant for political purposes. And, obviously, that is not true. What we know now is that when Director Wray -- the FBI director appointed by President Trump said the first Nunes memo was inaccurate, misleading, did not contain all the information, we know that to be true.

So, it strikes me as very odd that Representative Nunes is saying that there is some sort of collusion among part of the government to have furthered this FISA application when the FBI director who was appointed by this president said, no, your memo was misleading and we know more about the process and I think in this case, the process worked exactly as it was supposed to.

BLACKWELL: Samantha, the president talked about this last night on his interview with Fox News, and he called Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on House Intelligence a bad guy, and also referred to Democrats as the other side here.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. I listened to that interview, Victor. And for a second, I thought maybe, finally, President Trump was talking about Russia when I hear the phrase the other side or a bad guy, Vladimir Putin and the Russians are what comes to my mind as national security analyst and particularly after this memo came out, we learned, again, that Russia was trying to infiltrate the Trump campaign.

That should make every American angry and worried, particularly the U.S. president and would have been a prime opportunity for President Trump and the White House in their statement to say, OK, enough is enough, you tried to infiltrate the campaign. We know that's an old Russian spy trick, but we're not going to put up with it. Yet again, President Trump went and made negative comments about Democrats and Schiff which frankly, Victor, I think is part of a White House crisis communications plan to distract and deflect attention.

BLACKWELL: Kara, back to you. The Nunes memo, one of the element I want to here while we have time, the Nunes memo referenced the Yahoo News story by Michael Isikoff and said it was cited to corroborate the Steele dossier when it should not have been because Steele was Isikoff's source. I mean, we all know that now. But according to the Dems' rebuttal, in fact, DOJ referenced Isikoff's article to inform the court of Page's public denial of his suspected meetings in Moscow.

Important distinction?

SCANNELL: Yes. I think so. I mean, the dossier was a small part of the memo according to the Democrats, which also lays out a lot of other detail about how Carter Page was on the FBI's radar. They had, in fact, interviewed Carter Page in March of 2016, several months before they made this application in October of 2016. [07:10:03] So, the notion that this article was another key piece of

intelligence that the court was relying on doesn't stand up.

BLACKWELL: Page, do you believe that -- I mean, the Dems memo, the rebuttal says that the dossier was employed with narrow use here. Do you believe that this warrant would have been approved without the dossier, based on what we know?

PAGE: Honestly, Victor, there's no way to answer that question and that's why I think a little bit of this argument between these memos, the back and forth, how important was it, you know, would they have gotten the warrant without putting in the Steele information -- we don't know. I mean, the judges look at the totality of the evidence put before them and make a determination. Is there probable cause here to support the issue to this warrant?

So, at the end of the day, we know some of that information was provided. We know the bias of Mr. Steele was before the judges. They were aware of the credibility issues and they made a determination based on all of that evidence not just to issue the first warrant but to then continue the surveillance based on incoming information. So, what part it played ultimately only the judges know that.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Samantha, quickly to you and you just touched on it just a bit at the end of your last answer. The timing here for the White House.

VINOGRAD: Feels like a coincidence. The White House is under significant pressure about real national security questions like clearance of Jared Kushner's access to the presidential daily briefing and what we're actually doing to keep our country safe from Russia's attack. And out of nowhere, this memo gets released at exactly that moment, which I think is part of a strategy to distract and deflect from questions that the White House just doesn't want to answer.

BLACKWELL: All right. Samantha Vinograd, Kara Scannell, Page Pate, thank you all.

PAGE: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And be sure not to miss today's "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper. He will have Representative Adam Schiff with him to discuss the memo. That's at 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

PAUL: So, as the Olympics in South Korea are coming to a close, there is a possible diplomatic opening. And North Korea delegation led by a controversial general says, guess what, they are willing to talk to the U.S. We are live in Pyeongchang.

BLACKWELL: Also, Mexico's president cancels his trip to Washington over a contentious phone call with President Trump. What was said that caused him to pull out and what does this mean potentially for the border wall?

PAUL: Also, the National Rifle Association says its members are being pushed as more companies cut ties following the high school massacre in Florida.


[07:16:29] PAUL: Breaking news out of South Korea. The North Korean delegation at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics Games say that they are willing to talk to the U.S.

BLACKWELL: All right. Joining us now is CNN military and diplomatic analyst, Rear Admiral John Kirby, and from Pyeongchang, South Korea, CNN correspondent Will Ripley.

Will, first to you, give us the news.


Well, I'm learning more about this meeting that happened about four hours ago here in Pyeongchang at an undisclosed location. The North Korean delegation telling their South Korean counterparts that they are willing to engage in talks with the United States and South Korea's president Moon Jae-in saying that those talks to need to happen as soon as possible.

Also, the North Koreans saying that they do acknowledge that in order for the relationship with South Korea to improve, they also need to improve their relationship with the United States. This is a dramatic shift in tone from the North Koreans who just today put out a state media article threatening the U.S. over this latest round of sanctions, the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on North Korea targeting their shipping industry, the illicit sea to sea transfers of raw materials that bring in money for their nuclear program. The North Koreans calling those sanctions tantamount to an act of war in their state media, but the delegation on the ground here clearly came with a message and the message perhaps the time is now or at least soon for talks with the United States before this situation escalates even further.

But a word of caution here, there is still major issues that divide the U.S. and South Korea and North Korea. The biggest of which: North Korea's nuclear program. The United States insists on total denuclearization and North Korea has stated repeatedly and consistently to me and Kim Jong-un in his public speeches, various government officials, various state media articles, they say they're absolutely not willing to give up their nuclear weapons. And so, that big issue still divides all of the key stakeholders here, but at least for the time being, the North Koreans are saying that they are willing to talk with the U.S.

PAUL: All right. Hey, Rear Admiral John Kirby is with us, too.

And so, John, how likely hearing all of that, how likely is it some conversations or dialogue would start between the U.S. and North Korea? And what would talks look like?

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Well, I hope it's very likely. I hope the Trump administration takes advantage of this opportunity. I think we all need to keep our expectations in check, though. I suspect that if there is any discussion, it will be -- it will be very basic and elemental in its form. It probably will be talks about future talks and that kind of thing. Maybe talking about a framework for discussions or sort of helping build an agenda for talks going forward.

I doubt, very seriously, that any first meeting between the two sides will result in any major breakthroughs or negotiations. It's not the way this kind of thing works. I think they'll be looking for opportunities to build confidence building measure, put in place things that we can do to try to move the track going forward.

PAUL: All righty. Will Ripley and John Kirby, we appreciate both of you so much. Thank you.

KIRBY: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Still to come, the Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto will not be coming to Washington next month. This is after a confrontational phone call with President Trump over who is going to pay for his border wall.

PAUL: And the president is suggesting making a change to the age that you can legally purchase a gun. Why his comments to Fox News a break with the nation's top gun rights group.



[07:24:00] TRUMP: We get these people and then you'll have like the incident we had on the West Side Highway.


TRUMP: Where this guy who comes in through chain migration and visa lottery runs over and kills eight people and he came through the system. Well, I don't want that. I want people to come in -- ultimately, we want people to come in through merit.


PAUL: President Trump on Fox News last night, talking about the way forward on immigration and its plans for a border wall which he still says Mexico is going pay for.

BLACKWELL: But Mexico's president, Enrique Pena Nieto, is upset and called off an official trip to Washington to meet with President Trump. This was after another tense phone call over that wall.

PAUL: So, CNN congressional reporter Lauren Fox is with us now.

Lauren, what do we know what happened on this phone call?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, we know it was another war of words between President Donald Trump and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto. We know that Pena Nieto will not be visiting the United States for a

previously scheduled March trip.

[07:25:02] That's because President Trump on that phone call continued to insist that Mexico pay for his border wall. Now, as we know, this is something that President Donald Trump has been talking about since his days on the campaign trail.

And Mexico has been very consistent. They won't be writing a check for that campaign wall. Now, President Donald Trump -- excuse me border wall.

President Donald Trump has been looking for money for that wall in a number of places, including Capitol Hill. And a bipartisan group of senators presented him with a plan that would have provided $25 billion in border security in exchange for 1.2 million Dreamers to have citizenship. But President Trump rejected that deal. He obviously still believes that Mexico will pay for that wall.

Pena Nieto is up for reelection in July of this year. He can't be seen as compromising at all on this issue. He doesn't want to look weak against President Donald Trump and therefore just won't be visiting the United States.

PAUL: All righty. Lauren Fox, thank you.

BLACKWELL: I think Lauren just put her finger on. Let's talk about it now with Washington bureau chief for "The Chicago Sun-Times", Lynn Sweet.

Lynn, good morning to you.


PAUL: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: How much -- listen, there are members of the president's own party who will admit that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall and they have been coming out over the last year or so. How much of this is really about the president of Mexico saying that I'm not coming if you won't publicly admit it, but how much is it about domestic Mexican politics?

SWEET: Well, it's domestic politics on both sides and it has exacerbated because of Trump's tweets, the latest dealing with MS-13 gang and saying that Mexico is weak on immigration and enforcement on its end of the border so people coming in from El Salvador. It's a mess because the -- when you have international policy dictated by domestic politics, you get the impasse that we are in now.

PAUL: So, here is the thing. This call happened Tuesday, February 20th. And there are reports that Jared Kushner, the president's son- in-law, he is in charge of, of course, of managing relations between Mexico and the U.S. that he actually made a phone call after this phone call between the two presidents. Didn't, obviously, make much headway on that, if Mexico's president is still cancelled the trip.

What does that tell you about Jared Kushner's ability to effectively do his job, especially when we are talking about security clearances?

SWEET: Well, in the context of his security clearance and his effectiveness reports that Kushner met with a lower level delegation, you know, before the call took place in terms of just bilaterally relations. I think what it shows is the limit of power that a staffer, even a son-in-law staffer has in terms of creating an environment where something could happen. But I think the issue here really isn't the security clearance of Kushner.

The issue is, let's get to this very basic thing. Mexico never said it was going to pay for a wall. It's not hard to see how it's insulting to Mexico, no matter who the president is of that nation.

BLACKWELL: Does the president, President Pena Nieto's refusal to pay for the wall, the president's refusal to acknowledge that publicly, and this whole scuffle, have any impact on the conversation that is happening in Washington or will start again when they get back on wall funding, DACA, family reunification, the diversity visa lottery, that entire equation?

SWEET: As Lauren just mentioned, I think the issue, if you want to get a border wall funding, you have plans on -- you have proposals on the table that becomes are willing to pay for, even if they don't necessarily agree with the wall, if that is the -- if that is the price to pay for tougher security, Democrats on record as wanting tougher security measures. So, that seems to me the operative way of getting the wall discussion going and it is using the DACA recipients as bargaining chips which is something that is very, very controversial within Congress and within the outside of the nation's capital where the real people are being used as pawns in this and conflating the two issues because the Dreamers, let's all remember, are people who came here involuntarily and that is why they are here illegally.

So, the issue with the Mexico president not coming here doesn't seem to me as important as the more pressing issue of finding some solution for the DACA people who are here already.

PAUL: So, Lynn, real quickly, if this wall is not built by Mexico dollars, whatever you want to say obviously, if they do not finance this wall, is there a political consequence for this president who will not back off of they're going to pay for this wall?

[07:30:13] SWEET: Well, actually, it jeopardizes two promises that President Trump made. He also promised to renegotiate NAFTA. Well, there is another round of negotiations that were supposed to start with Mexico very soon and now those talks are in jeopardy.

So, just think, border wall, significant promise of President Trump, border wall with Mexico paying for it and renegotiate the trade deal NAFTA which includes Mexico and Canada. So this lack of a bilateral relationship with Mexico that is productive could have a big impact on NAFTA, too. BLACKWELL: Especially if NAFTA, as the president says, if they can't

renegotiate it and they cancel it, that will have a huge impact on a significant part of the president's base. Lynn Sweet, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thank you.

SWEET: Thank you.

PAUL: So, students are preparing to return to high school in Parkland, Florida, this week, three days from now. The president offers what he believes will be a bipartisan solution to gun reform but does his plan clash with the NRA?


[07:35:36] BLACKWELL: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will reopen to students on Wednesday two weeks after a gunman killed 17 people.

PAUL: Yes, ahead of their return there, they get a lot of report from their community. People rallied and they walked together. You see here, this was yesterday afternoon. They were supporting the school. They were supporting the mission from some of these students to push for stricter gun laws in the state.

BLACKWELL: Well, the AR-15 style gun used in the Parkland shooting was purchased legally by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. That's something the president is now indicating he wants to stop to prevent.

PAUL: So, let's listen to what the president told Fox News regarding raising the age to purchase a gun.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Perhaps we will 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.


PAUL: Last week at the conservative convention, CPAC, the head of the NRA restated its longstanding position that no changes should be made to age at which you can purchase a gun. Earlier this week as well the president floated this idea of giving a bonus to teachers who are armed.

Now, earlier this week as well, the president floated this idea of giving a bonus to teachers who are armed.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about this now. Let's bring Clare Schexnyder. She is a mother helping to organize school walkouts in protest of gun violence. And Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who supports the idea of arming some teachers.

Welcome to both of you.


BLACKWELL: So, first, let's hear the arguments on both sides of arming teachers.

Ken, let's start with you.

PAXTON: Well, look, you know, I would love it with gun regulations would work. The reality is somebody who is willing to kill people is not going to be the one that is going to follow a new gun regulation. Only law abiding citizens are going to do that.

So, what I want to do, I want to focus on something that's going to work and the only thing that's going to work is either having train professionals, law enforcement in schools, or if you don't have the resource for that, have people at the school, whether it's teachers or other who have been trained so that, one, it acts as a deterrent. Two, it can act more immediately by having people there when the shooter comes in and potentially stop it from happening or at least mitigate the damage.

BLACKWELL: All right. Clare?

CLARE SCHEXNYDER, FOUNDER, NATIONAL STOP SCHOOL SHOOTINGS NOW: I can't -- I can't fathom this is what we are talking about took today that we are talking about arming our teachers who are supposed to be teaching our kids, giving them guns. I mean, it just makes no sense whatsoever. What if they are, you know, shooting back and they shoot a child? Our teachers need to be able to teach in their schools and we need to get the guns out of the schools and that will protect our children and stop these crazed shootings from happening.

PAUL: Well, what do you say, Ken, to the argument that, you know, there are so many things that could go wrong. Even if you have -- even if you have a teacher who has been trained, the likelihood of them being accurate in their shooting in a stressful situation is very questionable.

PAXTON: Well, first of all, I think it's going to act as a deterrent. If a shooter is coming in there they don't know who is armed and who is not. It acts, first, as deterrent. But, look, first responders can't get there immediate so I would rather take the chance and have trained teachers or whoever, who have been trained with a firearm, have the opportunity to defend our children. Otherwise, within seconds, within minutes, we're going to lose children. We're going to see this happen over and over until we start protecting our children with people in the school who can do something about it.

BLACKWELL: Mr. Attorney General, let me ask you a question here. You said at the top of that answer that it would act as a deterrent because a shooter wouldn't know who is armed and who is not. Couldn't we switch out the word shooter here and say SWAT team member? If someone is coming in in the case of an emergency, in the case of an active shooter, that law enforcement then doesn't know who is armed and who is not and will be looking for a gun and you'll have a significant percentage of staff and teaching group there that has a weapon?

PAXTON: Yes, look, there's no perfect solution to this because when you've got people who are willing to kill, you've got to figure out the best solution. The fact that SWAT is going take a while to get there, that's my only concern. I wish we could have SWAT members there immediately but by the time they get there, obviously, a lot of damage can happen and we lose a lot of lives. So, all I'm trying to figure out what is the most effective way to prevent loss of life and loss of our children.

[07:40:04] PAUL: Isn't part of the way to prevent it, however, and, Clare, I want you to weigh in on this, it's not about guns. It's about mental health. It's about a school counselor being aware of and identifying a student who may be at risk? And, Clare, how do we do that? Because it clearly did not work in this situation. This was a kid that they knew had problems.

SCHEXNYDER: Absolutely. Our school counselors, everybody, parents, students, need to speak out about they have concerns about a student. But I just can't believe that we are talking about putting more guns in schools and that we can't talk about taking the gun out of the schools. That is what we need to do here. I've started a group that has thousands of members that is coordinating a walk-out on March 14th at 10:00 a.m.

And I want every American to walk out and stand for 17 minutes to honor those who have been killed in gun violence, and until we, as Americans, get out in the streets and actually tell our Congress people and our president what we want is no more guns and a lockdown to be put on that, we are not going to have a change. And I don't -- I am totally not behind arming our teachers. It's just not the answer. We need to make great change in pulling these guns off the streets.

PAUL: And, Attorney General --

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

PAUL: Isn't mental health part of that issue? It's not just about guns. It is going to be a collective remedy in some capacity and guns are just part of it.

PAXTON: Absolutely. I totally agree with that. We need to focus on mental health. Obviously, this kid should have been identified and should have been identified by law enforcement.

SCHEXNYDER: He was identified. He was identified.

PAXTON: He should have been identified and then -- they should have dealt with him. So, yes, I think this is a multifaceted solution, but regulations are not the only solution. We have to look at a broader and more comprehensive approach if we really want to protect our children.

BLACKWELL: So, Clare, you said a few moments ago you want the guns out of the school, out of the building. Not for -- you don't want guns with the teachers or am I getting this right? You don't want more armed security guards? SROs? What about those?

SCHEXNYDER: Lots of schools have security resource officers who are on the grounds. I just think we are missing the big picture here, that guns and assault weapons are out of control in this country and there is far too easy access and to create change, we have got to start dealing with that problem and stop talking about -- this is all a diversionary tactic. We've got to stop assault weapons, the sale of assault weapons and we need to make a change and every American needs to stand up and say we are tired of this, it's got to change now.

BLACKWELL: So, what then is the alternative to what we are hearing from the attorney general and those who agree with him that there should be armed teachers, additional resource officers? What then is that first defense in the five to eight minutes it may take a law enforcement officer to get to a school, how should they protect themselves if there are no additional weapons, if there is no defense there?

SCHEXNYDER: I think better security, and letting -- you know, keeping these kids out of the school. Our kids are already doing lockdown drills. Any know what code red is. They have blackout curtains on the windows. We're already -- our kids are going to school and living every day in a militaristic society, basically. It's nuts!

And we are talking about adding more and more to it. We need to be talking about getting the guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them and that is a lot of raising the age and just making sure that that doesn't happen.

PAUL: We only have a couple of seconds left. Mr. Attorney General, I know in Texas there are some teachers that have guns in the school. Truly, how has that worked for you thus far? Aren't there parents that are nervous about that?

PAXTON: Well, sure. So far in Texas, I don't think we have had a shooting at a school where teachers are armed. If you look at other countries that have done this like Israeli, they have been very successful at preventing these types of shootings. So, I don't why we don't look at other countries and places have done this.

I love what Clare, I love her heart. I love that she cares about these children, is what I want to focus on how do we make this work and how do we prevent the death of our children? I don't want to spend a lot of time working on regulations that are not going to work when, in reality, if we continue to focus on that, we are going to lose more children.

[07:45:06] BLACKWELL: Let's also point out that some of these countries where you say there are weapons in schools or armed people, they have different gun laws for the entire population.


BLACKWELL: So we need to pair that as we put this conversation together.

Mr. Attorney General --

SCHEXNYDER: There is no discussion on regulation whatsoever really in our country. So, we need -- that is where we need to start. That conversation has to begin.

BLACKWELL: Clare Schexnyder, Mr. Attorney General Ken Paxton, thank you both.

PAUL: Thank you both.

PAXTON: Thank you.

PAUL: Coming up on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper today, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israeli is answering questions after police sources tell CNN, four deputies did not go inside that building to face the shooter as he was shooting. That is at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN.

BLACKWELL: President Trump launches another attack on the media. This is an attempt to divert potentially attention from the Democratic memo. Why he says they should endorse and cherish him if they want to stay in business.



[07:50:09] TRUMP: If they don't have me, their ratings are going to die and they're all going to get out of business, OK, you know? They get good ratings because of whatever's going on, I mean, because of me. And I think what happens is, I'm sure they'll endorse -- you know I'm being a little sarcastic when I say that, but I expect them all to endorse me and cherish me right up until that point and probably after I'll win, they'll go after me again.

But their ratings are good. I will say Fox ratings are phenomenon. CNN has not been doing well. MSNBC is now in second place over CNN. But Fox is beating everybody, and you people have been very fair, not good. You've been very fair to me, that's all I ask for, fairness. No, I call it fake news. There's so much fake news.



BLACKWELL: President Trump there, a little bit of sarcasm.

PAUL: Just a little.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Two things here CNN's doing pretty good. Doesn't he have other things to do than paying attention to cable news ratings?

PAUL: I don't know, but let's talk about it with senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", Brian Stelter.

That face says it all I think. What's your take away, here, Brian? BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's

interesting to me that he called in Judge Jeanine rather than going on camera. Remember this during the campaign, Donald Trump would call in to all the cable news channels for interviews and was actually pretty controversial back then. There were some critics who said, don't let him call in. He should have to go on camera like anybody else.

So, it is telling now that the president of the United States, he just shows up by phone for a TV interview and it makes it harder to hold someone accountable when they're just dialing in by phone. But, of course, in that case, Jeanine Pirro, she's not interested in holding the president accountable. They are friends. She talked to Trump about a job. She's interviewed him for her book. It was a very friendly conversation by phone last night.

PAUL: She said something that struck me and I don't know if you noticed this just in the read that his ratings are soaring.

STELTER: Yes, she talked about his approval rating soaring, there was a CPAC straw poll of the people who are actually at the conservative conference over the weekend giving him 97 percent approval. You know, that is a notable number. It means that the conservative base that goes to that conference is very much supportive of him, that Trump is the new leader of the conservative movement in America.

But to suggest that that's the same as the real approval ratings, that's bogus, of course. We're going to have a new CNN poll coming in 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. There's some new approval rating data in the CNN poll, but suffice to say Trump is not soaring. He remains at historically low levels when compared to past presidents at this time.

BLACKWELL: You know, Brian, it's interesting what we're hearing from the president about where he wants to move on gun policy and raising the age, it's not so much what we're hearing -- first of all, what we heard during the campaign but what we're seeing on Fox News which is, you know, his favorite network.

STELTER: Right. There's certainly a bold defense of the NRA and of gun rights that you're seeing on Fox's opinion shows. And whether it's talking about guns, whether it's talking about the Democratic memo, it's continuing to be remarkable how much President Trump watches cable news and reacts to it. Sometimes when the Fox segment is accurate, President Trump gets it wrong. When the Fox segment is right, Trump gets it wrong.

Let me show you what I mean from yesterday. These are a couple of Trump tweets that misquoted Fox News. This first one says, the Russians had no compromising info on Donald Trump. He appears to be quoting Fox News here. He has quote marks around it.

But nobody on Fox News ever said those words. In fact, what was said on Fox News was, there's nothing in this new determine memo that says that Russia has any compromising memo on Donald Trump. So, either he misinterpreted or misunderstood the segment or he just purposely misquoted it. Here's actually an even better example, I guess you would say even

worse example. This is about Adam Schiff who you all been talking about this morning. He talks about Adam Schiff saying, Congressman Schiff omitted and distorted key facts. It looks like he's quoting Fox News, right? Omitted and distorted key facts. Well, actually, that quote is from Congressman Schiff talking about the Republicans.

Let's put Schiff's tweet on screen. Here's what Adam Schiff had tweeted a few hours earlier. He said, some time ago, Republicans on our committee released a declassified memo that omitted and distorted key facts. So, you see what's happened here, an anchor on Fox read that tweet, President Trump heard and then turned it right around, did a 180, and claimed it was a quote about Representative Adam Schiff instead.

It's kind that old nursery rhyme, guys, I'm rubber your glue, anything you throw at me bounces off me and sticks to you. President Trump loves to turn the critiques from his rivals or from his enemies around and thrown them back at those people.

PAUL: All righty. Brian Stelter, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

[07:55:00] STELTER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: Be sure to catch Brian on RELIABLE SOURCES today at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: Don't miss an all new episode of the CNN original series "THE RADICAL STORY OF PATTY HEARST".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At some point I think in that year, Patty Hearst put on (INAUDIBLE) and liked it better than anything she had before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I truly believe that she was to some extent indoctrinated into those beliefs and now regrets it and denies it because once you take on those beliefs, those radical beliefs, you have to take a certain amount of responsibility for them.


BLACKWELL: All new episode of "THE RADICAL STORY OF PATTY HEARST", that's tonight at 9:00 Eastern, here on CNN.

PAUL: It's always good to start our morning with you. Thank you for being here. We hope you make good memories today.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after this break.