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White House Asking Every Agency for Money to Build Wall; School Safety Commission Presents Recommendations to the White House; Actress, Director Penny Marshall Dies at 75. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired December 18, 2018 - 14:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

We just saw White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders brief the White House press corps. A couple of questions came up with regard to this potential government shutdown.

Congress has four days. And so as it pertains to the border wall, you know, President Trump is asking for $5 billion. Democrats were essentially saying not so fast.

And so as we just learned from Sarah Sanders, apparently, the President has been making phone calls and asking every single agency to see if they have money that could be used to fund his border wall.

So let's go straight to our Senior Congressional Correspondent, Manu Raju. He's up on Capitol Hill. Manu, what do you know about this?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what the White House came to Congress with, earlier today, was a proposal to approve $1.6 billion in funding for border security that had already been agreed to by Republicans and Democrats on the Senate side and an additional $1 billion of what is being described as unspent money.

And that would -- that appears to come from various accounts from various agencies, and perhaps that's what the White House is also referring to, is where the President himself could find money through his agency heads.

The problem is that Democrats say that is just not going to fly. Already, Democrats pushing back. Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, calling it a slush fund, saying they would not agree to going anything beyond that.

[14:34:59] Now, Brooke, I just talked to a number of Republican and Democratic senators who attended separate party lunches just now. And it's pretty clear that there is actually no clear path at the moment to avoid a shutdown on any sort of deal to give the President what he wants on his border wall money.

But the one thing that I'm hearing from members on both sides is perhaps the only way to avoid a shutdown is a short-term deal to keep the government afloat until probably January or so, mid-January perhaps. A date is still being negotiated.

And that is one way to avoid a shutdown so Congress can end its session before Christmas and then punt this fight into the new Congress when Democrats will regain control of the House. The Republicans will still have the Senate, and they'll have to get a deal then, so that is not decided ultimately.

It's still not certain if the President himself would sign such a short-term deal. But at the moment, unclear how they get out of this shutdown fight. But it appears on both sides, they believe the only way do that is a short-term deal. That is, if the President gives his blessing, Brooke.

BALDWIN: That's the if, so far. Manu, thank you, on Capitol Hill.

Coming up next, the President is also stepping back from one of his other favorite ideas, arming teachers. What we're learning about his school safety plan, next.


[14:40:38] BALDWIN: President Trump's post-Parkland panel on school safety is about to present its recommendations to the President there at the White House. We're waiting to get tape of the event but just a couple of items jump out thus far.

The panel did not recommend arming teachers but wants to make sure highly trained personnel have access to guns. And they are rolling back yet another Obama-era policy, one that was put in place to ensure minority students are not being unfairly disciplined.

This panel, this commission, was convened by the White House right after the February school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left 17 dead. The panel's directive is, evaluate and provide recommendations about how to keep students safe in school.

And many had anticipated this panel would focus, really, on guns since it was created right after the Parkland shootings, but the panel's report looked at several policies from mental health issues to the impact of violent entertainment on children's development.

So let's first go to Rene Marsh, our CNN government regulation correspondent. Rene, tell me more about the panel's recommendations.

RENE MARSH, CNN GOVERNMENT REGULATION AND TRANSPORTATION CORRESPONDENT: Right. So, Brooke, the Department of Education, as you said, today, they revealed these recommendations from the President's School Safety Commission.

It is a very lengthy report but one of the first moves that the commission is recommending is rescinding that Obama-era policy that essentially ensures that minority students were not unfairly punished.

The policies gave schools specific guidance on how do you deal with disciplining students in a nondiscriminatory manner and were implemented after there was the strong evidence that showed that minority students were being punished more frequently and in harsher ways than their White counterparts.

But the main focus of this report is not on the access to firearms. That, of course, was the main issue that we saw many of the students who survived Parkland -- that Parkland massacre, they had been calling for.

But the report, instead, says that the core problem is firearms in the hands of people who are a danger to themselves and others. But again, the focus, not on access or gun control at all.

As you mentioned, Brooke, the report also recommends arming school personnel that can range from anyone from extracurricular mentors, custodial staff, administrators, and in some cases, teachers. So that is certainly one of the recommendations in this report, as well as pushing for improving mental health treatment for students, Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right, Rene, thank you for the substance of this.

Let's get some analysis now from Van Jones. Van Jones was a special adviser to President Obama, and he's now the host of "THE VAN JONES SHOW" here on CNN.

And so good to see you, my friend.


BALDWIN: I just wanted to ask you about this -- the fact that this is yet another Obama-era policy that this White House is rolling back.

JONES: Right.

BALDWIN: This is directly impacting minority students. How do you feel about it?

JONES: It's kind of a -- it's a non sequitur. We've had these mass shootings at these schools. None of those shootings were done by minority students at all. They -- unfortunately, these things happen, but this is not a problem about minority students not being disciplined enough and then killing people.

This was an Obama-era policy to prevent what was called the prison -- the school to prison pipeline, where, literally, kids show up at school -- if a White kid throws an eraser, they're being precocious; if a Black kid throws an eraser, they are being violent. And that difference begins to create a completely different life outcome.

What's so ironic is that the Trump administration, on the back end, is, you know, about to pass criminal justice reform, et cetera. But on the front end, it's going to make it more likely for kids who go to school to wind up in prison because these disciplinary policies that Obama put in place are trying to keep kids from getting hurt, pushed out, and become a danger to themselves and others.

In other words, they're going to be creating what they say they're trying to stop, and it doesn't make any sense.

BALDWIN: So I'm listening to you. On the other hand, you have these school administrators, you know, in Parkland, Florida who say they couldn't arrest the shooter because of this Obama policy. And, you know, if you're a parent who survived this -- you know, of a child who survived this shooting, can you understand their support of this?

JONES: Well, I can understand it if you take a very, very narrow view. The problem that you have is that you got -- you're dealing with two different issues, and you're kind of blurring them together.

[14:45:04] They're blaming the Obama-era policies which are trying to protect kids of color from being on mistreated for something that somebody did who was not a kid of color. So you start thinking to yourself, you know, maybe you can tweak the policy, maybe you can do something better without stripping away the protections for a real problem.

Nobody's making this up. When you look at the data, it's overwhelming how much more harshly kids of color are disciplined. You've got to have some sensitivity to that.

If you want to tweak the policy, that's one thing. But to completely change it the way they're doing, what you're going to be doing is you're going to be exposing more and more young people of color to possible excessive punishment.

That actually pushes kids out of the system, into the prison system, and makes our communities less safe. So in the name of safety, you're making kids less safe and the communities less safe.

BALDWIN: What about in the name of safety, you address this issue of guns? I mean, that was a huge thing that --

JONES: Oh, I think that --

BALDWIN: -- Rene just brought up, that they just aren't -- that's not the focus of this.

JONES: You know, if -- I mean, you mentioned, what did the people from Parkland want? I think what they really want is, you know, some kind of gun safety -- gun control as the liberals call it -- some discussion about that. But that, apparently, is off the table. It's very interesting.

You can you see a lot about an administration, what's on the table and what's off the table. Off the table is anything about guns, on the table are policies that could actually help kids of color be appropriately disciplined.

We're not saying don't discipline kids. We're saying don't discipline them out of proportion to every other kid just because they're kids of color. So you can muck your way around with that, don't care. Throw it out, you know, hit delete, we don't mind.

But when it comes to any discussion about guns, the only answer is more guns. Give the janitors guns. I don't know that I want -- I mean, I remember my janitor. I don't want my janitor at school with no gun at all.



JONES: So I don't think that, at the end of the day, the opportunity that we had to really get closer to safety -- I think the opportunity was possibly squandered.

BALDWIN: Separate from this story, though, as we do talk guns, it is important to point out that this White House, as of today, is banning bump stocks.

JONES: Which is good.

BALDWIN: Bump stock is what that deranged individual used in Las Vegas. Happening on the same day that he is, you know, pulling back this Obama-era policy. I'm presuming that, you know, folks would be talking about -- not talk about guns.


BALDWIN: What do you think of that timing?

JONES: Well, I mean, you know, they're good at that kind of timing. But listen, I -- nobody's tougher on Trump when he's wrong than I am, but nobody's -- you know, praises him more when he's right. On this one, you've got to give him some kudos.

I think the whole bump stock thing was something a lot of people, frankly, never heard of. Somebody like myself who doesn't know anything about guns, I was like, you mean, you can just buy a doohickey and put it on a whatsit and kill a bunch of people?


JONES: That seems bad.

BALDWIN: Yes. They can.

JONES: And it turns out the Department of Justice agrees that it's bad. So there's some progress there.

Look, I just wish that the Trump administration would just be consistent with itself. It wants to and is doing a good job now leading on prison reform, criminal justice reform.

The school to prison pipeline is a part of that process. And so there seems to be some -- you know, they're missing some key analysis here. We don't want our kids, kids of color, to go to school and be treated better than anybody else but not worse than anybody else. And that's all Obama was trying to accomplish.

BALDWIN: Van Jones, thank you very much. JONES: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Good to see you.

Breaking news here, President Trump agrees to shut down his charity. Does that mean all the questions about the Trump Foundation just go away? We'll take a closer look at that.

Also ahead, beloved actress and director Penny Marshall has died. We will look back at the life of the "Laverne & Shirley" star, coming up.


BALDWIN: Breaking news out of Hollywood. Legendary actress and director Penny Marshall has died.

Marshall began her star-studded turn as Laverne on the long-running '70s sitcom, "Laverne & Shirley." She would, of course, go on to break industry barriers as a powerhouse director behind blockbuster movies like "Big" and "A League of Their Own."

CNN's Stephanie Elam has a look back at Penny Marshall's groundbreaking career.


PENNY MARSHALL, ACTRESS: That's right. Tomorrow, Laverne DeFazio starts living.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As an actress, Penny Marshall was one-half of funny girl duo, Laverne and Shirley.

MARSHALL: Once in our lives, we should've rodeo-do-doed.


CINDY WILLIAMS, ACTRESS: You mean, done the deed?


MARSHALL: If we die now, we saved it for nothing.


ELAM (voice-over): The "Happy Days" spin-off became a hit of its own in the late '70s. Marshall garnered three Golden Globe nominations for her role as tough-talking tomboy Laverne.

MARSHALL: She would not put up with crap. She'd hit you. And she was a realist.

ELAM (voice-over): That spirit proved more useful behind the cameras as Marshall went on to direct her own T.V. episodes and features films.

(MUSIC BACKGROUND PLAYING) ELAM (voice-over): Marshall's 1988 comedy "Big," starring Tom Hanks,

became the first female-directed film to gross more than $100 million at the U.S. box office.

ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR: Please look at yourself.

ROBERT DE NIRO, ACTOR: No, look at yourself.

ELAM (voice-over): Two years later, she directed the drama "Awakenings" about a group of catatonic patients. It received three Oscar nods, including Best Film.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's the hit.

ELAM (voice-over): Her next project, "A League of Their Own," was a box office home run.

MARSHALL: The "League," you know, no girl wanted to write it. They don't like baseball!

ELAM (voice-over): Marshall's depiction of an all-female baseball league during World War II was listed on the National Film Registry in 2012.

Through the years, Marshall credited her success to her brother, legendary director/producer Garry Marshall.

MARSHALL: I wouldn't have a career if it wasn't for my brother, let's be honest. He is the one who pointed me in this direction. He got me parts.

ELAM (voice-over): Their playful relationship on display during a cameo for the 1993 Halloween fantasy, "Hocus Pocus."


MARSHALL: Wait until you see what I'm going to call you.

[14:54:59] ELAM (voice-over): In her 2012 memoir, "My Mother Was Nuts," Marshall recounted her upbringing in The Bronx. She recalled two failed marriages, motherhood at 19, and a bout with lung cancer. Challenges she overcame with an unassuming sense of humor.

MARSHALL: I tried to make people laugh. And I moved them in some places. My legacy is I hope you gave you some enjoyment.


BALDWIN: Coming up next, back to our breaking news on a dramatic court appearance today for Michael Flynn with the judge blasting the three-star general's patriotism. Well, we'll take you there.

And the White House is saying there are concerns, yes, that Flynn lied, but they're going to let the courts deal with that. Sarah Sanders had a lot to answer to today. We'll break down some of her answers coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)