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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Thousands Taking To The Streets Today Across The United States And Around The World; White House Chaos: Staffers Brace For Another Possible Shakeup; NYT: Trump Told Bolton He Wants To Cut Down White House Leaks; Trump Silent On Stormy Daniels Claims Despite Coming Interview. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 24, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:14] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, thousands taking to the streets today across the United States and around the world. Is America going to tackle one most divisive issue of our time, gun violence?
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. Welcome to special edition of OUTFRONT on this Saturday. On this day of mass protest, hundreds of thousands of people marching in city after city after city today, in all 50 states of this country, and around the world. It was an unprecedented moment, the work of high school students taking action. It began with the survivors of the Parkland, Florida shooting that killed 17 people last month.
They spoke out. Moved millions. And they have inspired other young people across the United States. And those people turned out. More than 800 marches today, according to organizers, a new generation of student activists marching to the rallying cry of "never again." Student survivors, many of them from Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school gathered for the march in the nation's capital. And their eloquent testimony stirred the crowd.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAMERON KASKY, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS SURVIVOR: We hereby promise to fix the broken system we have been forced into and create a better world for the generations to come. Don't worry, we have got this.
NAOMI WADLER, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS SURVIVOR: My friends and I might still be 11. And we might still be in elementary school. But we know, we know life is not equal for everyone, and we know what is right and wrong.
AALAIYAH EASTMOND, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS SURVIVOR: This needs to change. We have been fighting for this way too long and nothing has changed. And we need change now.
DELANEY TARR, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGHSCHOOL: I'm here on this stage today and I'm here working every day for my 17 fellow eagles pronounced dead because of gunfire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That last speaker Delaney Tarr is Parkland shooting survivor. Delaney and two of her fellow students are going to be joining us in just a moment.
This was the scene though today repeated across the United States. Students insisting that this time is different. Threatening to hold lawmakers accountable at the ballot box. And meanwhile, President Trump spent part of his day at his Florida golf club near Mar-a-Lago about 40 miles north of the Parkland shooting location. The President himself today was silent about today's mass outpouring. He did not tweet about it.
The White House though did issue a statement writing in part quote "we applaud the many courageous Americans exercising their first amendment rights today keeping our children safe is a top priority (of the President)."
There have been 17 shootings in American schools already this year. That averages more than one a week. The question now is whether today's massive protests are simply of the movement, or is this a real movement?
And we are covering this unprecedented story from every angle. We begin though with Jason Carroll here in New York beside of one of the biggest marches today.
Jason, you know, I was there for part of it. It felt bigger than anything I have ever seen here, frankly.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it really was. You know, we heard from so many different types of people today. We heard from survivors, from families, from young people, from old people, all with one message. And that message being that gun laws have to change.
CARROLL (voice-over): They gathered by the hundreds of thousands, armed by their motivation against gun violence. They filled streets and cities across America to take part in the march for our lives. They marched in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and New York. One of the largest crowds convened on the nation's capital.
ALEX WIND, PARKLAND STUDENT SURVIVOR: To those people that tell us that teenagers can't do anything, I say that we were the only people that could have made this movement possible.
CARROLL: Some of the most powerful moments came from survivors of last month's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school.
DAVID HOGG, PARKLAND SHOOTING SURVIVOR: When people try to suppress their vote and they stand against you because you are too I don't think, we say -- no more! CARROLL: Another pontiant (ph) moment keep from Parkland survivor
Emma Gonzalez, who stood for more than six minutes and said nothing at all.
EMMA GONZALEZ, PARKLAND STUDENT SURVIVOR: Since the time I came out here, it has been six minutes, 20 seconds. The shooter had ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape and walk free for an hour before arrest. Fight for your lives before its someone else's job.
CARROLL: They manage for a political or personal reasons or both. In New York City, just as thousands gathered near Central Park, Paul McCartney reflected on what the march meant to him.
PAUL MCCARTNEY, SINGER/ACTIVIST: One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here. So it's important to me.
[20:05:04] CARROLL: Our interviewed conducted on central park west, blocks away from where John Lennon was gunned down in 1980.
The marchers have their voices heard today. The real question is, what happens next? Will there their passion, their movement lead to federal gun legislation?
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: What we have to say is you have to stay with it. One day is not enough.
[20:00:00] Some came to remember Stoneman Douglas, other Sandy Hook elementary, or perhaps it was the shooting in Las Vegas, or the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
One thing is clear. These marchers believe the time for change is now.
YOLANDA RENEE KING, GRANDDAUGHTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: My grandfather had a dream that his four little children would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream that enough is enough. And that this should be a gun-free world. Period.
CARROLL: So we saw that in the case of Florida, they were able to pass gun legislation after what happened there. The same thing in New York following Sandy Hook, many of the marchers that we spoke to, Erin, are hoping that another tragedy doesn't have to happen before they see some sort of tougher federal gun regulations on the books -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jason, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, three students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland. Delaney Tarr, you saw her. She spoke at the march today. During the shooting, she hid with a teacher and 18 other students and a darkened classroom closet doing everything they were told to do and all the drills they had gone through. Alfonso Calderon heard the gunshots, was locked in a closet for four hours in the school, and Aly Sheehy hid in the school auditorium while the gunman was on campus.
Thank you all for being with me tonight. I know it's a difficult day emotionally, but what an incredible day, in part because of your efforts and your passion.
Delaney, we just heard a bit of what you had to say in Washington today. What do you want people to take away from today, this unprecedented moment that you have caused?
TARR: I mean, I'm glad that everything is treating today like the amazing day that it was, but it's a lot more than that. And I want people to realize that. That we have a lot of power, power that was just demonstrated today by the hundreds of thousands of people that came. And people all across the country. We have power, we just need to use it. We need to take action and we need to continue taking action because this is just the beginning. This is not just today. This is a lot more.
BURNETT: And I know that that's the hard part.
I mean, Allie, there were hundreds of rally across the country. And you brought to this passion. You brought it people. You have gotten attention for this like nothing else has despite shooting after shooting after shooting. What happens now? What makes you confident that this does now lead to real change in this country?
ALY SHEEHY, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS SURVIVOR: I think that today was kind of just a perfect visual representation of the amount of people in our country that want to see this change. And I can guarantee you this was just our start and we are going to keep on pushing. And the amount of people that showed up today should be enough to show people that there's so many people behind us. There is so many people that support this. And there is so many people that are going to keep on fighting.
BURNETT: Well, we have certainly never seen anything like this before.
Alfonso, the President of course, you know, has come out and said he supports a ban on bump stocks and other things. Today though he did not tweet. He did not personally comment about the marches from Mar- a-Lago. Are you disappointed? What's your reaction to him today?
ALFONSO CALDERON, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS SURVIVOR: I'm thankful that he didn't ridicule us for standing up for our lives. I know the President has usually had a history with making fun of people and being a jerk. But to be frank, this is exactly what we need. I'm glad the President is in Florida, figuring out his priorities playing golf, but we are not here to play anymore. This wasn't the climax of what the Parkland students and the rest of the world can do. This is only the beginning. And I'm sure he is fully aware. That's why he didn't tweet. He isn't scared. He just isn't ready for what's coming.
BURNETT: Delaney, what do you think?
TARR: I mean, I said it in my speech and I will say it again. He is giving us (INAUDIBLE) this bump stock ban, just tiny little bread crumbs, but obviously we are going to take a lot more than that. We are not going to fight the bump stocks in because that is a step. It is a very small step, but it is still a step. We are so much going to keep fighting. We are not just taking. We have so much more that we need, and that's what we are going to keep doing. That's why he wasn't here today. As Alfonso said, he is afraid of having to face the fact that a bump stock ban is not going to fix everything. There is a lot more legislative stuff that needs to be taken.
BURNETT: And Aly, you know, since the shooting at Parkland, you have successfully fought for legislation, all three of you had. You went to the Florida legislature. You got new gun control laws passed there. The governor signed it. You have already made big change, including raising the minimum age to purchase the firearm from 18 to 21. That was a bog change. It is opposed. The President says politically on a national level that doesn't have all the political support. You got it down in Florida. The Florida law allows some teachers to be armed. How do you feel about that, Aly?
[20:10:21] SHEEHY: No, arming teachers part I find absolutely ridiculous. If you are an adult, and you are saying this to children, you obviously haven't been in a classroom setting in a while. I have had teachers that don't know how to turn on computers. I have had teachers that don't know how to work a projector, let alone now they are supposed to carry a firearm?
I don't understand. There's so many things that can go wrong. There is so many what-ifs. And there is just so many more lives that can be lost for unnecessary reasons if that happens.
BURNETT: Alfonso, you were nodding there as Aly was saying she didn't think it made sense.
CALDERON: I mean, I said it before and I will say it again. It's a terrible idea. At our school, one of the teachers who passed away at the shooting, his name is Scott Beigel. He was shot holding the door open for students. He was shot before he could have ever hypothetically reached a gun to defend himself and the other kids.
It's unrealistic, it is immature, and frankly it's a ploy. It is a ploy by the NRA to get more guns everywhere, not only in schools, but in no-gun zones, you know. They said it would be 20 percent of schools. I believe that's around 700,000 new guns into America, and that's exactly what we don't want.
BURNETT: Delaney, the healing process, you know, it is impossible to put words around it. It is going to be so individual and such a long road for so many of you. You know, this past week, obviously, on Wednesday, you know, we all saw 20 percent of students at your high school were absent. I know that there's still fear. How much fear is there, from your classmates and concern for their safety in just going to school now? TARR: I mean, there's fear everywhere, not even just in school. Even
though it's amplified in an environment like that. But I think we knew that was going to happen. A lot of us had felt fear before this. It's just so much more realized now because we had to go through an experienced like this. I know personally that I have a hard time going places now without even thinking about the fact that I may be shot. That's something that I had to take into consideration when I was giving my speech today. That there's a possibility despite all the security that I could be shot. And it's heartbreaking to have to think about that, but that's the reality that we live in. And the best thing that I have been able to do - that everyone has been able to do is to take our fear and turn it into action and turn it into power.
BURNETT: Well, you have certainly done that, there is no question about it.
Delaney, Aly, Alfonso, thank you all so very much. And thank you for all of the passion that you brought to today.
CALDERON: Thank you.
SHEEHY: Thank you.
TARR: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, the hundreds of thousands marching today, shouting "never again." So what really happens legislatively? Does something change?
Plus a Republican congressman, a veteran and card-carrying member of the NRA. He also supports an assaults weapons ban. Florida congressman Brian Mast will be my guest OUTFRONT tonight.
And the President nearly a thousand miles away from Washington tonight, he left behind a White House, though, reeling. The developments on the Trump team shake-up, and of course Stormy.
[20:16:53] BURNETT: Welcome back to special edition of OUTFRONT.
Tonight, silence from President Trump, the man who never holds back on his twitter account has not used it to say a single word today as massive crowds, hundreds of thousands of people rallied across the nation. Four gun reform after the Parkland school shooting. The largest rally took place in Washington D.C. Trump was not there, as it happened. He is actually in Florida at Mar-a-Lago. And he didn't tweet or speak.
We did get a brief statement from a deputy press secretary though from the White House who said in part quote "we applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their first amendment rights today. Keeping our children safe is a top priority of the President.
OUTFRONT now, editor-in-chief of "the Daily Beast" John Avlon, White House correspondent from American Urban Radio Network's April Ryan, Mark Preston, our senior political analyst, co-founder and co-chair of Women for Trump Amy Kremer, former Clinton White House aide Keith Boykin, and former special assistant to President George W. Bush Scott Jennings.
Thanks to all. So much to talk about tonight.
Since you are next to me, I will start with you, mark. The President - that White House put out a statement, OK? But the reality of it is that's not the way this President operates. When he has something to say, he says it himself. He chose not to. A missed opportunity?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: A huge missed opportunity. In fact, he only tweeted once today and that was to express his condolences for the folks over in France who died in a terrorist attack. So clearly, you know, he was near his phone today. He could have done it.
I think for his part, though, in some ways it would probably smart that he didn't do it because once he does do it, that just means that he is going to be boxing himself again into a corner and making promises that he cannot deliver on. And that is what we have seen in the past few weeks.
BURNETT: Right. Which, of course, he did, John, right? He said he is going to raise the age. He supported raising the age and that obviously didn't happen. So when he says things and he doesn't get them done, he looks bad.
JOHN AVLON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: That would generally be true. And this is an opportunity for presidential leadership. And I think one of the tragedies is the President's instincts on guns are not actually where the position is being forced into because the influence in the NRA and his base.
I mean, not even talking about the fact that in 2000, he was in favor of the assault ban which he was. But you see in those open, you know, meetings he had, he actually was willing to go much further. And that just freaks out the other Republicans in the room and then he gets boxed back. And along as the NRA is the last people to speak to him, they feel they will be fine.
BURNETT: All right. So let's go through what he has done and hasn't done since Parkland, April. He said he is going to ban bump stocks. Justice department says they are moving towards that. One can argue over what he want to do at legislatively or be a ban, but that is happening.
School safety commission established. Congress yesterday in that spending bill. They kind of, you know, horseshoe in there, some improvement on background checks and more security in schools.
No gun control measures though. Gun show loophole opens assault weapons ban, not even on the table. Is this all we are going to get? APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORK:
Well, yes. You know, one thing that we are hearing that everyone pretty much agrees on is background checks. And when you go beyond that, that's when the water is murky. But there is something else that omnibus bill that people are not talking about, the fact that the CDC has the ability to go and to look at gun violence, the effects of gun violence, that there's no funding for it. No funding because of a previous law that doesn't allow for it.
But on a Presidential level, this President said at the time when he met with congressional leaders, hey, look, this is something I can do. I'm going to do bump stocks. Why is it still taking so long? He said he could it himself and he has not done it. So I'm wondering if that's something strategic for the moment today that they talked about the bump stock issue.
But also and I want to go back to something that you talked with Mark about, the issue of the President tweeting. We still have a few more hours before executive time tomorrow morning. So we have a few more hours.
And not only that. I mean, seriously, that crowd in Washington, I was there. It was more than his inauguration numbers there, and then you look at Atlanta, then you look at New York, then you look at all the other places.
[20:20:52] BURNETT: Well, certainly it's a feel, you know, it field but it felt like more than the women's marches. I mean, this - New York is certainly felt bigger than anything I see.
RYAN: He is watching the news and depending upon what he said on FOX tomorrow morning, it will determine how he feels or tweets about the march.
BURNETT: Amy, what explains, you know, bump stocks? So he says he wants to get rid them. They are moving forward on that, right. But he could have just done it by executive order. He didn't -- is he dragging his feet even on that?
AMY KREMER, CO-FOUNDER/CHAIRMAN, WOMEN FOR TRUMP: I don't think he is. I mean, it was right after Las Vegas happened that they started talking about that. And I believe -- and somebody here may correct me if I'm wrong, there has to be a six-month period for people to weigh in on the DOJ's Web site, I believe. And then they will put it into effect, I believe. But they are moving forward on it. Even the NRA has said they have no problem with it.
I think the President, going back to what Mark said, I you know, don't think that no matter what he said today would have been the right thing. Somebody would have been upset with him. He has this (INAUDIBLE). He is, I mean, spent a lot of time with victims, not just at Parkland, but other victims. He has been out there. He is listening, the conversations are going on. And I think he is doing what he should be doing.
But whatever is done, I personally -- and I said it with Barack Obama and I will say it with this President, I don't think it should be done through executive action. I think it's Congress' job to lead and to get it done legislatively. That is --.
BURNETT: Well, everyone can agree on that. But I mean, unfortunately, they fail every single time they were given a chance. I mean, let's just be honest. Whatever your party is, they failed.
AVLON: Yes. The promise is after Sandy Hook, we saw inaction with over 90 percent support, because Republicans and the NRA didn't back it at a crucial time and some red-state Democrats, and now you got 97 percent say of Americans say they support universal background checks. Are we really going to let three percent of the American - of Americans block 97 percent? What happened to representative democracy them? Because that's an inversion of the way things are supposed to work.
RYAN: But this President also had an opportunity right after Vegas. He said he wanted to start the dialogue? What happened? People were waiting. People have been waiting since. I mean, I have been at the White House since Columbine for over 20 years. And the gun show loophole was a big issue with Bill Clinton back them. The issues still continues. And when will someone say when is it enough is enough? It's one thing to have your guns, but it's also another thing to protect people.
BURNETT: Keith, I want to ask you. You know, obviously there was a school shooting in Maryland this week. And that was -- appears to have been a personal thing between this boy and this girl, 16 years old Jalen Wiley was taken off life support. She died. She was killed.
Now this was a gun. It was not an AR-15 style weapon, it was a gun but within a minute of the starting, the school resource officer (INAUDIBLE) confronted the gunman and shot him somehow. We don't know he was killed. Whether he shot himself or what, but in that confrontation, he was killed. That could have preventive more deaths. And that is what some people are saying, is the argument for more security, more arming in schools? Do you buy that argument at all?
KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Remember there was a school resource officer in Parkland, Florida too. And that school resource officer either didn't do his job or failed to stop the gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school.
We have seen many incidents in the past where there have been armed people who have not been able to stopped gunmen. And we have seen incidents where there couldn't possibly be an armed person who could stop someone. Take for example, Las Vegas. What was somebody going to do in Las Vegas to stop someone who is shooting from hundreds of feet about the ground?
BURNETT: Yes. That would be all about allowing that kind of weapon to be there to begin with or the bump stock.
BOYKIN: Or the pulse nightclub. There was a pulse nightclub shooting where they had an armed security guard who engaged the gunman and still failed to stop him.
The idea that -- the only thing we need to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, is a nice talking point for the NRA, but it's not true. It is part of this fantasy that John Wayne mythology that Donald Trump believes in. That is not the reality the way America works.
And you have a lot of people walking around with guns. And those (INAUDIBLE), I don't know if I supposed to say this, he owns a weapon or something like that, but the reality is we are leading ourselves, deluding ourselves into how safe we are by having these weapons. Because most often those weapons, they end up being used against us.
[20:25:09] BURNETT: So Scott?
BOYKIN: I'm sorry if I blew your cover there.
SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: No, I don't mind. I down guns. I'm a gun-owning American. I believe in the second amendment. I don't believe we got to ban guns. I don't believe we got to confiscate weapons. I think there are a number of common-sense measures we got to engage in to keep people that we don't want to have guns from having them.
It already started. Donald Trump signed into law and this omnibus bill I think we are pooh-poohing important things to fix Nicks bill (ph), to stop school violence. This happened relatively quickly I think in large part because of the activism by the Parkland kids. So they are already getting some things done, both in Florida and at the national level.
There are other things. I think common sense, let's raise the age to 21. That makes sense to a lot of conservatives and a lot of liberal, too. I think we ought to give more physicians latitude on who in the mental health system should go on the no-buy registry. This kid that shot up the Parkland school, he should have on the buy registry. He had been in and out of the mental health system. That is a common- sense thing that we need to put in the hands of local people who are engaging these people that have mental issues. They are going to know whether they are a danger to their community.
I also think gun violence restraining orders is something I'm hearing a lot of people in the conservative circles talk about, that makes a lot of sense.
So I think you can start to fix this problem, you can do it in a way that finds common ground, but you can also do it in a way that doesn't confiscate property or trample on people's rights. I think it is possible. And when we say that it's not possible, I think we are sort of grinding this debate to a halt.
BURNETT: But look, I mean, you know, some may say you are not going far enough. Others may say you make sense. I will tell you one group of people who won't agree with a lot of what you said is the NRA which comes the bigger part. But they don't agree with you on raising the age, right. Because they say if you take one little shot of light, you are going to be throwing open the door and all the horse are going to run out. And that is (INAUDIBLE).
JENNINGS: As the President's favorite song says, you can't always get what you want. And so, I think we are going to find common ground on this and not everybody is going well (ph).
BURNETT: All right. All of you staying with me here for the hour.
And next, a Republican congressman Florida, a veteran, and NRA member, why has he had a changes of heart on gun control.
And President Trump laying low of Mar-a-Lago while in Washington, his staff is in chaos tonight. Is John Bolton planning his own major purge in the White House?
[20:30:55] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to a special edition of OUTFRONT.
Hundreds of thousands taking to the streets and rallies across the nation today and in cities around the world. Actress Jennifer Hudson among those there. She lost her mother, brother and nephew to gun violence. Hudson spoke to our Van Jones tonight in his special town hall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER HUDSON, AMERICAN SINGER AND ACTRESS: There was a mom on television. She was just screaming out.
LORI ALHADEFF, MOTHER OF STONEMAN DOUGLAS SHOOTING VICTIM: I just spent the last two hours putting the burial arrangements for my daughter's funeral, who is 14 do something. Action, we need it now. These kids need safety now.
HUDSON: I understood every inch of her frustration. Because no one -- I knew I'm like, she's angry, one, because it's like, this is nonsense. Then two, no one understands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Van joins me now. Van, a powerful moment, and obviously Jenifer Hudson an incredibly personal, painful day for her to relive what happened. And there are too many stories like hers, as you are exploring, in this country.
VAN JONES, CNN HOST AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Well, first of all, such a beautiful human being, on one day her mother, her nephew and her brother were all killed. And so most people can't come back from that. She's come back from that so beautifully. So when she walked out on the stage and she started singing about change, people who knew her story, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. And her story is a story that is unfortunately all too common. I'm so proud of the young people who put this march together, because they include the school shootings, but they include so many more victims of gun violence, including street-level violence, Chicago and other places, and so when you have a movement that starts off with a small number of young people in one place and then grows morally and practically to encompass the whole world and so much pain.
There's power in that movement. There are people who feel that they have a place in the movement these young people have created. Whether you agree with them or not on policy, you have to agree with their approach of trying to include as many people as possible. They did a beautiful job of that, and Jennifer Hudson just topped it off.
BURNETT: Yes. I think our panel, as we were talking about even during commercial. No matter what their political point of view, you have to applaud the passion and the belief in themselves that we saw in these young students. The White House did put out a statement, Van, from a deputy press secretary. The president, obviously, himself chose not to comment today. What do you make of that?
JONES: Well, listen, I think it's OK, because if he had commented, and he commented negatively, it wouldn't have been perceived well. If he commented positively, some people would have maybe second-guess that. So I think it's OK that he let the young people have their moment. And that's fine.
Also, let's not forget, he did do something about bump stocks and that kind of thing. So there is some positive that's happening even in places that we don't expect, because these young people are so compelling. The bump stocks has more to do with the Las Vegas massacre. No policy came out of that, but the young people are so compelling that some of the unfinished business of other tragedies is now being taken up. So I think today is a day to celebrate what these young people have accomplished. I have not seen high school students do anything like this in my lifetime. You got to go back to 1963 to find something like this, '61.
BURNETT: Certainly here in New York, not felt the crowd, the intensity and the passion that I ever can remember like we did today. Thank you so much, Van. And thank you for that town hall.
JONES: Thank for you including me.
BURNETT: An amazing town hall.
And I want to go now to the republican congressman from Florida, Brian Mast, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan. He said he was sitting with his family, his kids were playing in a pool when he decided to call for on assault weapons, writing in an op-ed in part, "I cannot support the primary weapon I used to defend our people being used to kill children I swore to defend."
[20:35:58] Congressman Mast, thank you so much for your time tonight. I appreciate you joining us on this important day. Hundreds of thousands of people protesting in the nation's capital, and of course in hundreds of other cities. Do you think Congressman Mast, this time is different, that there will be change?
REP. BRIAN MAST (R), FLORIDA: I think it is different. I think just in the state of Florida, we've seen change already happened very rapidly. You look at what the governor signed in the law that the state legislature put in to action with the background checks, with a wait period, with an age limit. These are things that happened very rapidly in the state and I was a part of activism. I was out at one of those marches today. The kids did an amazing job. They were disciplined, they were articulate, they were compassionate. They knew what they wanted to talk about on the issues and they looked at more than one side of the issue. And I really applauded them in their work.
BURNETT: Congressman, your background and your resume, I think is very powerful. In an issue that has become so polarized, where it's either you're for the second amendment or you want it repealed, unfortunately that's where a lot of this debate goes, but it's not where most people are and it isn't an either or. You're a member of the NRA, yet you support in assault weapons ban, among other things. Can you explain how there is a middle ground here that you can support gun rights, you can believe in the second amendment and you can also say we have a big problem and we need major changes in gun laws.
MAST: It's one of the toughest places to look at. And I think the president has actually done a good job. I've heard different people talk about this in showing that there is room. Unfortunately, we go to our different corners where you say, OK, if you say anything about what goes on with the possession of a firearm, you're absolutely against the second amendment. And that's not true. We've been on a line since the days of Al Capone where the national firearms Act has gone out there and regulated. You can't purchase off the shelf a fully automatic firearm, you can't buy a sawed-off shotgun. You can't buy a rifle under 26 inches or a silencer suppressor, whenever somebody wants some. That's been regulated for a long time and then you see the governor of Florida saying, hey, we're going to change the age. You see different people debating what's the age you should purchase a pistol at or a rifle at.
Most people acknowledge that there is a line somewhere and that's where we have to debate, is where does that line belong? What should you be able to purchase off the rack? What should you not be able to purchase off the rack. And having that debate doesn't mean that you're against the second amendment. I'm a strong conceal carry person. The president is supportive of the second amendment, but he wants to talk about where should this line be and that's a fair debate. And our founders would want us to have that debate.
BURNETT: So let me ask you about just one issue, specifically, and you raised it here. The issue of age, right? It's one of many, but I want to talk about it for an important reason. One, the NRA doesn't want to change it. He want to keep at 18 for assault style weapons, even though it's 21 for handguns. Obviously in Florida, you all just moved to raise it to 21. But the NRA doesn't want to do it, nationally. The president had come out very specifically, and said he was for moving it to 21. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to work on getting the age up to 21 instead of 18. You can't buy a handgun at 18, 19 or 20, you have to wait until you're 21, but you can buy the gun, the weapon used in this horrible shooting at 18. It doesn't make sense that I have to wait until I'm 21 to get a handgun, but I can get this weapon at 18.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. It doesn't make sense to a lot of people, congressman, including you, but the president now says there's not enough political support in Washington to change that and the NRA is opposed to it. How can that be?
MAST: Well, it's up to us to go out there and make that political support for it. Obviously, you saw it happen here in the state of Florida. But that point, I think the president's instinct of that initially was correct. I've made that point as a combat service members saying, I carry two firearms. I carried my rifle and I carried my pistol. My rifle was my primary weapon, because of its lethality, because of its effectiveness at close range and at longer ranges. Not my sidearm. My sidearm was my back up. It was secondary weapon.
It doesn't make sense that you should be purchasing one level of lethality at one age, but not a higher level of lethality at the others. That doesn't make sense. And you've brought up an important point that there are a lot of issues here, I don't even think that that's the biggest issue. I think the biggest issue that exists out there is the fact that we have national instant criminal background check, but we had nothing to go out there and address that there's no national instant mental background check.
We don't address the fact that people on drugs can go out there and purchase a firearm. There's no urine test for going out there and purchase a firearm, even though that's been in law since the Brady Bill. And beyond that, anybody that has a record as a juvenile, that's expunged as soon as they turn 18 years old. So if you stab somebody when you were 16, the day you turn 18, your record is wiped clean and you can go out there and purchase what you want at age 18. Those are some big places that we could come together easily.
BURNETT: Well, they're very big places. And as you have already said, you're calling for an assault weapons ban. You're doing a lot of things that are outside, let's call it the NRA mainstream.
My question to you, congressman, before we go is, did the president cave to the NRA? Even with that meeting, he talked about and called out republicans by name in the room, and said they were scared of the NRA, they were afraid to take the NRA on and this whole issue of age and now he's caved on that too. Did he cave to the NRA?
[20:40:18] MAST: I think time will tell. He said some things that he wanted to see out there. He wanted to see bump stocks gone. I think anybody that has the tactical sense realize that that's not necessarily the biggest issue out there. He said he wanted to see a bill from senators addressing age and addressing background checks on every sale of firearms. That's something that absolutely needs to happen. If he makes sure that that does happen, if he holds congress and the senate's feet to the fire, that I'd say, absolutely. He kept up his end of the deal and holding everybody's feet to the fire on that and I'll proud of that. If he doesn't, then I guess we can have that conversation on another day.
BURNETT: All right. Congressman Mast, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
MAST: You're absolutely welcome.
BURNETT: Next, after a week of stunning staff changes at the White House, could there be more in the offing? And Stormy Daniels, her bombshell television interview is less than 24 hours away. She's got a major front-page profile in a newspaper the president cares passionately about. Will President Trump break his silence on the Daniels story?
[20:45:53] BURNETT: Welcome back to a special edition of OUTFRONT. President Trump is in Mar-a-Lago tonight, nearly 1,000 miles from the unprecedented rally on gun violence in Washington, D.C. The president leaving the White House in chaos. His top lawyer in the Russia investigation quit, and he ousted his national security advisor, H.R. McMaster.
And everyone is back with me. So let's start down with you, John. The "New York Times" is reporting that the president told Bolton he wants to cut down on leaks. Now, I think most people would agree leaks are an issue, right now, because there are a lot of them, right? Congratulations and, you know, it goes on and on. But now there's speculation, does that mean Bolton is going to go in and just fire a lot of professionals on the National Security Council? What do you think?
JOHN AVLON, EDITOR IN CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes. That's the risk, right? Is that all of a sudden there's a loyalty litmus test that doesn't have to do with national security qualifications. It has to do with how much of a loyalist you're going to be. And if that's a litmus test, that's not good for national security. It's not good if the president's lead lawyer quits three quarters of a way through a major probe. This is a White House that's still is finding its form. It's chaotic, because tone comes from the top. And that means that there a lot of lost opportunities for the country. As we see this amazing turnout in this rally today and the president is M.I.A. and his own White House is in chaos.
BURNETT: And, of course, there's been reporting, Politico was saying that McMaster was supposed to be a part of a broader ousting, including the VA secretary Shulkin and HUD secretary, Carson, and then the Karen McDougal interview was going to air, other issues, the president didn't want attention drawn to, so he got rid of H.R. McMaster, but now you have question marks over others.
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, the question mark is going to linger until it happens, it's going to happen. This president has a pattern of this happening. But I'm going back to McMaster, because McMaster in his resignation letter to America, he said he was resigning and -- he was retiring actually. He said he was going to leave over the summer. But the question is, with all of this information about Bolton, I'm wondering if the president will cut his resignation shorter, because, you know, -- that's what this president does. Even Rex Tillerson, the former secretary of state said in his departing statement -- this is a mean-spirited town. He was basically indirectly or really directly pointing to the president. So the president is holding the cards, and we're going to see him push him away, a lot of the cards away. I believe there's going to be more firings. We have to also look and see the timeline of it McMaster versus Bolton. Will McMaster serve out the rest of his time even as we're possibly going into North Korea meetings within a few weeks?
BURNETT: And Bolton, of course, replacing him. You have question from Mattis about how well they can even work together. Bolton's history has been strike first, negotiate later. You know, when it comes to North Korea or Iran, right? He's been very direct on that. Ed Markey is a Democrat on the foreign relations committee. He says Trump is building a war cabinet. Too strong or fair?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I would say it's too strong only because you could argue that he built the war cabinet when he first was elected. He talked about his generals. He had General Kelly, McMaster and John Kelly right now. He only has two generals left right now, Kelly and General Mattis on. I think the six of us here or seven of us here could all argue that John Kelly is not in it for the long term. So the bottom line is I think it's an overstatement, but I do think that President Trump is certainly looking towards people that are more volatile than we've seen in previous administrations.
BURNETT: All right. We'll hit pause. We back in just one moment, because on the heels of the tell-all interview by the former Playboy model about her alleged affair with Donald Trump, that's Karen McDougal, the White House is now bracing for a potentially explosive interview from Stormy Daniels tomorrow. Will the president fire back?
[20:50:27] BURNETT: New tonight, the president mostly silent today except for a tweet on the terror attack in France expressing condolences to the victims. He has also been silent about allegations he had affairs with former Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels. The Stormy Daniels interview is on "60 MINUTES" and it will be airing tomorrow night. She's also the subject of a major profile story that will be on the front page of "The New York Times" tomorrow morning. On paper, it is fair to say the president cares deeply about.
Everyone is back with me. Let me start with you, Amy. He does -- he may say he hates it, but he craves it, and he will care about that profile and he will care about this interview. So what happens then? Does he remain silent?
AMY KREMER, CHAIRMAN AND CO-FOUNDER, WOMEN FOR TRUMP: Well, I think he is already the lawsuit that's been filed, he's not silent because of the lawsuit. That's number one. But I don't think he'll acknowledge it through a tweet and certainly not for a statement or anything. And honestly, I don't think no matter what's said, I don't think it's going to -- I know the left wants us to pull him down and destroy his presidency. It's not going to.
KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I don't know if this will destroy his presidency, but it certainly destroys the credibility of the right wing evangelical Christian based republican party that spent decades talking about family values and how moral they were and how holier-than-thou they are, and then they support Donald Trump after all the porn stars and the playmates and the reality TV stars, the hypocrisy is stunning. And it's a shame that these are the same people who condemned Barack Obama who had a perfectly happy family life, but they apologize for the Donald Trump. It's inexcusable and indefensible.
BURNETT: Does it hurt him -- this is the question, Scott. Does it hurt him with those voters? Because they need him -- I mean, he needs them. I'm sorry. Will he hurt them?
SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: It's not hurting him with any voters. If you look at his job approval today --
BOYKIN: I'm a voter and it hurts with me.
JENNINGS: Were you ever in the approval camp? No.
BOYKIN: Well, I'm just saying, it hurts. It's hypocrisy.
JENNINGS: In the December polling, he was down in the high 30s. Today, he's sitting around 42. The generic congressional ballot has shrunk. There's no evidence right now that it's hurting him. What I think the most likely hurtful outcome would be is just continuously reminding women who may not be the likely as midterm voters, why they don't like him and spurring them to possibly turn out the way we've seen him do in some of the off year races. That's probably the most likely political impact. But right now, his job approval is not suffering.
AVLON: But this is why people hate politicians and pundits. The situation on the left takes the problem. If y'all on the conservative side of the aisle who were morally outraged about Bill Clinton, then you should feel the exact same way about Donald Trump. And if you don't, it's because it's just about playing politics. But it actually is (INAUDIBLE) perspective is because their faith is supposed to be informing their politics, not the other way around. And this is not -- so let's take a stand and be consistent about it.
[20:55:20] KREMER: People did not elect him because he is a preacher or because for a husband. They elected him to be president of the United States, and he's doing what he promised to do.
RYAN: Even Bill Clinton was considered a moral leader. He is considered the moral authority when you reach that highest office in the land.
KREMER: They didn't elect him to be their pastor or a preacher or a husband. They elected him to do a job. That's what they elected him for.
BURNETT: You're right. But it is a huge double standard. Can I leave that? OK.
And much more ahead in the special two-hour edition of OUTFRONT. I'm going to speak with the father of a Parkland student who was killed in the massacre who made national headlines after he stood up to Senator Marco Rubio on live television. Stay with us.