Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Democrat Presidential Candidates Call for Gun Debate after Illinois Mass Shooting; Democratic Presidential Candidates Stump as Race Heats Up; Gunman in Illinois Shooting Killed Victims after Being Fired; Trump on His National Emergency: "I Didn't Need to Do This"; Pence Compares Trump's Leadership to McCain; Ocasio-Cortez Will Likely Cheer Amazon Withdrawal from N.Y. During "Inaugural Address"; Payless ShoeSource is Closing All of Its 2100 Stores; U.S. Aid Lands on Venezuela Border; Prosecutors Say They Have Evidence of Roger Stone Communicating Directly with WikiLeaks; White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Interviewed by Special Counsel; Colorado Running Who Survived Mountain Lion Attack Talks About Near-Death Experience. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired February 16, 2019 - 13:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[13:00:00] DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Then in June of last, allegations that McCarrick had abused a minor were found credible by an internal church investigation in New York. Although McCarrick maintains his innocence, he resigned as cardinal. Something that's rarely happened in the history of the Catholic Church. Finally, he was brought to trial at the Vatican. By now, 88 years old and infirm, he did not attend in person.

Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: We've got more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, and it starts right now.

Hello, again, everyone. Thank you so much for being with me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

The mass shooting in Aurora, Illinois, that claimed five lives is drawing strong reaction from several presidential candidates. Senator Cory Booker tweeting, "My heart is with the loved ones of the victims of the horrific shooting in Aurora, Illinois, that has left five people dead and more injured but we know our thoughts and prayers are not enough, Congress must take action to prevent gun violence."

Other candidates also calling for the gun control debate to be front and center.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, (D), CALIFORNIA: We know that America has been offered a false choice on gun safety laws. The false choice suggesting you're either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone's guns away. That's a false choice. It's not true. That's not what has to happen.

(APPLAUSE)

BETO O'ROURKE, FORMER TEXAS SENATOR CANDIDATE: The reason that this country is talking about gun violence and stands a chance to do something about it is not because of people like me already in positions of power, not members of Congress, not the president. It's young people who have forced the conversation in marching for all our lives or holding people like me accountable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Right now, several Democratic presidential candidates are on the campaign trail as the 2020 race for the Democratic nomination heats up.

We've got a team covering the candidates covering the candidates as they stump in states with early primaries and caucuses. Here they are.

Let's go to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where Suzanne Malveaux is covering Senator Amy Klobuchar as she campaigns in the Midwest.

Suzanne, what does Klobuchar have planned today?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is one of those stops, a very critical stop for her because this is, back in 2016, where Trump won by 1 percent the state of Wisconsin. This is where Hillary Clinton did not campaign, so it's largely seen as a place that was neglected, that really needs some work ahead. Amy Klobuchar excited about being here earlier today at this coffee and bike shop.

She did, Fred, weigh in about gun control, comprehensive, a need for gun control. She told us this meeting she had, and you might recall this was in front of the cameras with the president and a bipartisan group of lawmakers pushing for a bill on domestic abuse, to really focus on that. She said she actually told the president what needed to be done.

Here's how he responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D), MINNESOTA: It is time to do something about, by the way, after the tragedy what we saw happen in Aurora, Illinois, yesterday, it is time to put sensible gun legislation in place.

(CHEERING)

KLOBUCHAR: I actually sat across from the president at that meeting, right, because I had a bill, a bipartisan bill, involving domestic violence. I at across from him and I counted nine times he said he was for universal background checks.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: Ultimately, what he ended up doing was approving for some limited background check enforcement as well as Safe Schools. But not really what she was hoping for and not what a lot of people in Congress and a lot of people across the country are hoping for. She's insistent she'll be pushing for that if, in fact, she gets that role as president.

Now I'll go to Kyung Lah, who is in South Carolina with Kamala Harris.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, here in west Columbia, South Carolina, the doors are about 30 minutes away from opening for the Senator's town hall. Senator Harris had -- you can see the line. This is one part of it. Stretches all the way through. We can't show you the length of it. It's weaving through this parking lot here at this church. She had a tremendous crowd as well at her event last night in Charleston, South Carolina, where she talked about gun violence. The issue of gun violence, especially potent in Charleston, because of what happened at the Emmanuel AME Church where nine people were killed during that Bible study by a gunman. She talked about how personal it was. And she paused to speak with reporters about why she stopped at the church, to lay flowers. She wanted it to be a private event because what happened at that church that it was striking the heart of the black community. She had those powerful comments as well during the town hall saying that you can be pro-Second Amendment as well as for universal background checks.

Now to continue the talk about what the candidates are saying, to my colleague, Leyla Santiago, who is with Beto O'Rourke in Chicago -- Leyla?

[13:05:06] LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, I'm seeing lines here behind me. These folks are waiting to get in at a luncheon at the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Conference here in Chicago where former Congressman Beto O'Rourke is scheduled to speak. He's not said whether or not he will make a run officially for the White House. He says he is still thinking about that. He just said that last night when he was asked. But where we are right now is sort of key in the talk of gun control right now, given that we are in Chicago. Aurora is about an hour west of where we are. Whether or not O'Rourke will address gun control, we still don't know. But he has said in the past he's not here to take away guns from everyone but he certainly brags about his "F" rating with the NRA - Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Leyla Santiago, Kyung Lah, Suzanne Malveaux, thanks to all of you. Appreciate that.

We're getting new details on that deadly workplace shooting in Aurora, Illinois. Police say the gunman opened fire after being terminated from his job at the Henry Pratt Manufacturing Plant killing five people. Among the victims, a student intern. At least six officers were injured. The gunman, 45-year-old Gary Martin, was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police.

CNN's Scott McLean joins us from Aurora.

Scott, you were at that new conference. Are we getting a clear picture of the sequence of events?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We got a lot of new information in this press conference, Fredricka. We've learned those officers who were shot after initially responding, they are between the ages of 24 and 53. They had between four and 30 years of experience each. At least two are still in the hospital.

We also learned more about the victims would were shot. Two of them worked in H.R., one an intern, one the H.R. manager.

Gary Martin, the 45-year-old suspect in this case, we know he was fired that day. He was called into a meeting. Immediately after he learned the news, according to police, he started opening fire. The chief said that it's possible the suspect knew he was going to get fired. It's not clear whether this was his normal work day or whether he was called in especially. But she said that because he had several rounds of magazines or several magazines worth of ammunition with him.

There were three other people who were also shot, Fredricka. It's no clear where. We know they're a mold operator, a forklift operator and the plant manager. Again, not clear if they were targeted or whether these were just random shootings.

It was one hour and 35 minutes from the first shots being fired to when Gary Martin was finally taken down by police in a back machine room where police said he was hiding and essentially waiting for them to arrive.

Here's more from the police chief.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRISTEN ZIMAN, CHIEF, AURORA POLICE DEPARTMENT: The only thing I know is he was called in. Once again, with can surmise that he was speculative about what was going to happen, as evidenced by himself arming himself with a firearm. That's again, we're speculating there. So I don't know exactly what was communicated to him. He did report for a meeting.

(CROSSTALK)

ZIMAN: Several were shot in the room with him and there was another on a different level.

Just the fact remains that some disgruntled person walked in and had access to a firearm that he shouldn't have had access to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLEAN: That gun, a Smith & Wesson handgun, was purchased legally in 2014 after Gary Martin passed a background check despite having a criminal past. It was when he went to apply for a concealed carry permit, that's when he had to give his fingerprints. They were run through a federal database and that's when a felony conviction from the 1990s in Mississippi came up and his right to own a gun was revoked. There should have been a letter sent to him asking him to voluntarily turn in his firearm. The problem is no level of law enforcement, it appears, actually followed up on that. So between the local Aurora police or the Illinois State Police, somebody should have gone to get that gun but nobody did. So the police chief today said they are looking into -- law enforcement is looking into what exactly went wrong.

One other thing to mention, quickly, Fredricka, that the company here, Henry Pratt company, they'll hold a press conference just a couple of hours from now.

WHITFIELD: All right, keep us posted.

Scott McLean, thank you so much.

Still ahead --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn't need to do this. But I'd rather do it much faster.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[13:09:41] WHITFIELD: So if President Trump didn't need to declare a national emergency for his border wall, why did he? We'll talk about that, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: President Trump had barely finished declaring a national emergency along the southern border before he was being sued over the plan. And his own words could actually come back to haunt him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Everything else, we have so much. As I said, I don't know what to do with it, we have so much money. But on the wall, they skimped. So I did -- I was successful in that sense. But I want to do it faster. I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn't need to do this. But I'd rather do it much faster.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right, faster, is that the justification for a national emergency? We may soon find out. So far, at least three lawsuits have been filed, including one by El Paso County, Texas, and two others by government watchdog groups. The ACLU says it intends to sue as well.

Joining me to talk about the legal ramifications and everything we witness yesterday and what happens next, Reuters White House correspondent, Jeff Mason. Princeton University historian and professor, Julian Zelizer. And CNN's chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter.

Good to see all of you. (CROSSTALK)

[13:15:07] Jeff, you've experienced a few Rose Garden announcements before. This is in the unusual category. You talk about the president who makes it announcement, but then he also upstages everything by saying he's going around Congress.

JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: It was a rambling announcement as well for something that was such a critical thing for him. We've known for many weeks this was something the president was considering. We went through that five-week government shutdown and then he came out and it was just kind of a little bit here, a little bit there. He got his point across. It absolutely has created some waves both in the Republican Party and, of course, in the Democratic Party.

To your initial question of what happens next, I think we'll continue to see more lawsuits. One of the bigger political questions is, how do the Republicans, particularly in Congress, navigate this now considering it sets a precedent for potential future Democratic administrations.

WHITFIELD: Brian, the president set the stage over so many fights that Jeff Underscores. But then he also gets into a fight over facts, you know, with the reporters and essentially undermining his own administration. Let's not forget this moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I get my numbers from a lot of sources, like Homeland Security, primarily. The numbers that I have from Homeland Security are a disaster. And you know what else is a disaster? The numbers that come out of Homeland Security, Kirstjen, for the cost that we spend and the money that we lose because of illegal immigration. Billions and dollars a month. Billions and billions of dollars. And it's unnecessary.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So your own government stats are wrong, are you saying?

TRUMP: No, no. I use many stats.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Could you share those with us?

TRUMP: Let me tell you, you have stats that are far worse than the ones that I use. But I use many stats. But I also use Homeland Security.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have you --

TRUMP: All right, next question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Brian, the president further established he's kind of getting on this lonely island of alternative facts.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE RESOURCES": I like the way you put that. It is a lonely island because he's at odds with his own administration on some of these data points about immigration, about protection on the southern border and about drug prevention in the United States. Look, I feel sorry, I feel bad for the workers, federal workers who work really hard to get this information and then they hear their boss dismiss it and say the information is wrong. It's a shame to see that, but it has been a theme of the last two years. It is a continuation of Trump's pattern.

And I think what we see in the polling is most Americans don't believe the government. They do believe the facts we present here on CNN and elsewhere. They don't believe the president's version of what's going on. It's really only his loyal supporters that believe his really scary depiction of what happens at the border.

WHITFIELD: Julian, if only we had the cutaways of members of the administration and the White House sitting in the front rows listening to him. Especially when he played out what he sees might happen on the road ahead in the courts, like this moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We will have a national emergency. We will then be sued. And they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit, even though it shouldn't be there. And we will possibly get a bad ruling. Then we'll get another bad ruling. Then we'll end up in the Supreme Court. And hopefully, we'll get a fair shake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Julian, it was remarkable because he essentially, you know, was upstaging, even the "Washington post" reporting today, in early 2018, he and White House lawyers were talking about the sequence of events, how you go around Congress in order to get this wall money.

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes, he's giving us a little sneak preview of what comes next. The consummate television performer. That said, I think we're focusing on the substance of what he said, which is shallow and thin. But what might protect him is that the courts are often hesitant to check the president when presidents invoke emergency power or national security claims to take bold action. He's also counting on the fact that, despite some Republicans complaining, other Republicans, like Senator McConnell, have done a total about-face and will defend him on this. So even with the weak substance, even with a manufactured crisis, I think others in the administration are hoping that's what allows this to move forward.

WHITFIELD: Jeff, it was just 2014 when Trump blasted Obama on social media for his executive orders on immigration. This is different because this is a declaring national emergency. But why does it seem as though the president is so removed from his criticisms, you know, of the previous administration, only to be doing and maybe even, in an exaggerated way, the same things? [13:20:07] MASON: Yes. There's a lot of hypocrisy in politics.

That's not a surprise. There's certainly a lot of hypocrisy there. I think the question is whether or not that's something that his base or the Republican supporters of his find objectionable. If they don't find it objectionable, they will change their feelings about it if a Democrat were to precede President Trump, be it in two years or six, and he or she does something similar on an issue that Democrats care about, gun control or climate change or any other host of issues.

WHITFIELD: Republicans are still largely quiet, even after yesterday's display. Julian, do you see that, you know, at least behind closed doors, there are rumblings of, what are we going to do with this if this carries on.

ZELIZER: There might be. That's the story of the Trump presidency, behind doors rumbling by Republicans, but then in public, on the floor of the House and Senate, absolutely no action. We see this again and again. There might be a few purple-state Senators who are willing to vote for a resolution against this use of emergency power. If I was betting, I would bet most Republicans are going to support this, they wouldn't support of a resolution. And partisanship --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Is it because it will take potentially years, you know, caught up in the court system?

ZELIZER: It is. And it's also the power of partisanship. They're focused on 2020. They don't want to undercut the president or the standing of the party. So a combination of those two things could lead to their silence. Even though they're clear on the risks of allowing a president to use this power in this way.

WHITFIELD: The president said, he admitted this was about 2020.

Before we go, Vice President Mike Pence overseas in Munich making some rather interesting comparisons or parallels to President Trump and the late John McCain, or at least the leadership of these two men. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think John McCain was a man who was strong willed and hard headed. Believed in freedom and believed fighting for it. He believed in speaking truth to friends and challenging friends, step up for our ideals. And I'm pleased to say that America has such leadership today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So, Jeff, the late John McCain usually headed the delegation to security event year to year. Others were making mention of the late Senator. But that particular moment of comparing the leadership of this administration to that of John McCain, how is that sitting? MASON: Well, I had the privilege of covering John McCain's campaign

against Barack Obama. I also was able to cover his recent memorial service. I can tell you pretty strongly I think he would object to that comparison. Certainly, he would no doubt appreciate the praise Vice President Pence showered on him about his own leadership role. But I think he would take issue, and I suspect some members of his family would take issue with the comparison between his style, his values, and the way he acted out on them and the way that President Trump has. That's not to say there aren't many people around the country who are 100 percent behind President Trump, both on this issue that he did yesterday with the executive order, but probably not the people who are McCain supporters as well.

WHITFIELD: Jeff Mason, Julian Zelizer, Brian Stelter, we'll leave it there for now. Thank you so much, gentlemen.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar no stranger to sparring with the president of the United States. Now she's taking him on as the latest Democrat to enter the 2020 presidential race. Monday night, she joins New Hampshire voters to take their questions and discuss what's at stake for the country's future. Don Lemon moderates the CNN presidential town hall, Monday, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will likely be taking a victory lap today when she gives her inaugural address in New York in just a few minutes. This after retail giant Amazon announced it was abandoning its plan to build a second headquarters in New York City. Ocasio-Cortez was one of the most vocal opponents of the proposal, bucking support from both the New York governor and the New York City mayor.

CNN national correspondent, Jason Carroll, is in the Bronx.

Jason, on the heels of the Amazon pullout and the Green New Deal that's being announced, that AOC presented on Capitol Hill, she's riding a real wave.

[13:25:00] JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly not to her critics is she riding a wave, but there are a number of folks in this room we've been speaking to who feel she should be taking a victory lap. She'll be giving her speech very shortly. We talked to them and her people, chief of staff about what we're likely to hear when she takes the stage.

She will be talking about the Green New Deal. She's mentioning and talking about that. It's popular with a number of folks we talked to, Fredricka.

In terms of Amazon, she's likely to touch on that issue. She supported Amazon pulling out of the 14th district, her district here. Some folks here not particularly sure that was the right move. Many people in New York City supported Amazon coming to New York City. It's going to be interesting to see how she tackles that point of view. What she'll also be doing is tackling local issues. This is her

opportunity to really speak to people, speak to the people here about the issues that matter most to them. She will be talking about that. She'll be talking about opening up her district office here.

Something that sort of struck us, and that's what this is being called, the "inaugural speech." That's what her people are calling it. That's what she's calling it. That's usually a term reserved for presidents when they give their inaugural speech. Her chief of staff simply says they're calling it that because this is her first opportunity to speak to people here in this type of venue.

In terms of speaking to some of the folks here, some of the local issues that mean the most to them, we were speaking to some teenagers here and they say, you know, there are deserts here, food deserts here, in the Bronx, which they call the forgotten borough, unable to get fresh produce in parts of the city. They're hoping she addresses things like that, hopping she address local pollution problems.

A lot of things on the plate here as Ocasio-Cortez expected to take the stage in about 15 minutes or so.

WHITFIELD: Jason Carroll, in the Bronx, thank you so much.

And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:31:29] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: We have reaction to the big news this week that Amazon is dropping its plans to expand to New York City after the strong backlash to the incentives the city and state gave the company. This week, on "FAREED ZAKARIA, GPA," Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, weighs in on the controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA, GPS": Do you feel like we're in a new mood? Do you either worry or how do you feel when you see this kind of thing happening?

BILL GATES, FOUNDER, MICROSOFT: It's not the 1930s where the system has really failed to provide adequate services, and therefore, a lot of people are flirting with rather dramatic changes, what used to be called Socialism in the narrow sense. These are good debates. You know, should companies be able to compete states against each other to get these subsidies? I sort of think not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: You can see Fareed's full interview with Bill Gates tomorrow here on CNN at 10:00 a.m., and 1:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Another American retailer bites the dust. Payless, the discount shoe store, announced it is closing all of its 2100 stores and will stop selling online.

CNN's Alison Kosik looks at why Payless is calling it quits and how it's part of a growing problem facing American retail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. It's the end of an era. After more than 60 years of selling discount shoes, Payless ShoeSource is going out of business. The retailer, known for its buy-one, get-one-free sales, had a strong following but not enough to keep it afloat. It's closing all its stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, more than 2,000 of them. Payless is expected to file for bankruptcy later this month. This would be the second time in two years. After filing for bankruptcy in April of 2017, it operated under the control of its creditors and shed millions of dollars in debt. But it doesn't seem to have been enough to save the company. Stores will be liquidated tomorrow, on Sunday, with stores closing in March. The retailer is also shutting down its online business as well.

Payless isn't the only retailer plagued by disruption in the retail industry. Whether it's Sears or Toys "R" Us, brick-and-mortar retailers are facing heavy competition from other retailers who can keep up with consumers' changing tastes and trends. Consumers are also shopping differently, using their Smart phones to check prices and shopping more online instead of going to the mall.

Because of those pressures, the pace of store closings last year hit almost 4,000, everyone from Gap to Sam's Club. If retailers don't evolve fast enough, they could go out of business. If last year is any indication, we could be in for even more consolidation this year -- Fredricka?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[13:34:27] WHITFIELD: Alison Kosik, thank you.

Much more straight ahead after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: A major new development in the crisis in Venezuela. At least one U.S. military plane loaded with humanitarian aid has landed on Venezuela's border with Colombia. Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has been blocking foreign aid following weeks of violent protests around the country.

CNN correspondent, Nick Valencia, has been on board that U.S. flight that just touched down.

Nick joining us now.

How much aid are we talking about? How will it be distributed?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, we were on that C-17 as it made its way to Colombia, which sits on the border of Venezuela. This aid is expected to be prepositioned to help those fleeing the crisis, a crisis that led up to nearly four million Venezuelans since 2014 to flee that country. What's on the plane are basic goods, things not available or

assessible in Venezuela, things like nutritional biscuits, toothpaste, toothbrushes, basic commodities that aren't available to Venezuelans right now because of the regime that they're currently living under.

There's a lot of optimism now and a lot of enthusiasm. You hear that in the press conference going on behind me. This mission is led by the U.S. State Department, Department of Defense as well as USAID. They call this a crucial mission, one that comes at a very urgent time while children are starving, adults are unable to provide for their families. Streaming a crossing the border into Colombia to try to get some sort of refuge here.

[13:40:03] The big question, the greater overarching question is just how this aid will get into Venezuela. It's worth noting, Fredricka, that on February 8, that was the first time the U.S. sent, first time the stage of humanitarian supplies that came into Colombia to help those suffering through the crisis. That aid still has not made its way into Venezuela.

I was able to speak Lester Duleto (ph), who is part of Interim President Juan Guaido's government. He's in charge of humanitarian outreach and dealing with governments as the interim president appeals for more aid to be sent here by the international partners, international community. Lester Duleto (ph) reiterated his optimism, saying that on February 23, they plan on opening border to Venezuela from Colombia as well as other parts of Brazil. They say that will be the testing point. That will be when history is made. They're optimistic, once they open the border, the military will side with the interim president and allow this aid to get into Venezuela. Right now, it's an extremely desperate situation. That's why there's so many smiles here, Fredricka. They're celebrating the fact this aid has made its way into Colombia and hoping it gets to Venezuela.

WHITFIELD: All right, Nick Valencia, there in Colombia on the Venezuelan border, thank you so much.

Still ahead, prosecutors saying for the first time they have evidence of Roger Stone communicating with WikiLeaks. We'll talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:45:57] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Special counsel prosecutors now say for the first time they have evidence of Roger Stone communicating with WikiLeaks. A new court filing from the prosecutors says the evidence relates to the release of Democratic e-mails, hacked and released during the 2016 presidential campaign.

For more on this development, let's bring in Josh Campbell, who is a former FBI supervisory agent and a CNN law enforcement analyst.

Josh, good to see you.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Hey, Fred.

WHITFIELD: We've learned that the judge in Stone's case initiated a gag order. Can we expect Stone to adhere to that ruling?

CAMPBELL: It's yet to be seen. So far, he's adhered to that ruling. This had to come as a complete shock. You know, very depressing for Roger Stone because we know he's this very colorful figure. He likes to use the media. He has been kind of on this campaign to portray himself as a victim of some of these government abuses. These are the same parameters this judge instituted on Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. At the end of the day, it's meant to protect the integrity of the trial, not to necessarily hurt Roger Stone. But, again, to make sure the trial continues.

With respect to the new information we learned, Friday, yesterday, was Mueller Friday. That's what we now call it. It appears to be the special counsel's favorite day of the week when he's releasing information. As you mentioned, we learned this -- from prosecutors that they have this evidence of Stone being in communication with WikiLeaks. They executed dozens of search warrants on various communications accounts and, in that, they gleaned this information.

As you mentioned, this all stemmed from 2016, the theft of Democratic National Committee's e-mails. We've reported that Roger Stone was in contact with Wikileaks, trying to figure out what did they have and how could the release potentially help Donald Trump. What this last filing doesn't say is that Roger Stone knew he was talking to Russians. That part is yet to be seen. Mueller has more work to do. We'll have to wait until his next filing.

WHITFIELD: Josh Campbell, thank you so much.

CAMPBELL: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: Let's bring in Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor, and Richard Herman, a criminal defense attorney.

Good to see you both.

AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Good to see you, Fredricka.

RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hey, Fred

WHITFIELD: Richard, you first, how potentially pivotal is this development?

HERMAN: It's the first time, Fred -- you know, the Mueller investigation does not have a press secretary and doesn't have -- like this White House leaks an old faucet, there are no leaks in the Mueller investigation.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: So when they file stuff, you learn?

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: The only time we learn is when they do court filings. This week, yesterday, for the first time, we learned there are allegations Stone had direct communications with WikiLeaks. He admitted previously to be in contact with Guccifer 2.0.

FRIEDMAN: That's right.

HERMAN: Now, you'll remember, last year, Mueller indicted 11 members working for Guccifer, which was a Russian intelligence agency. But now, for the first time, we have, from the fruits of the investigation and the search warrants obtained by Mueller, we see -- actually, he's probably got e-mails and text messages of direct communication by Stone to WikiLeaks in advance of e-mail dumps before the election in 2016.

FRIEDMAN: That's right.

HERMAN: That is what they were looking for. That's what is going to come here. I don't know if Stone, if he's a sly fox or if he's nuts. Look, he's got President Nixon's head on his back, so that could be Exhibit A, but --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Or potentially naive? Because --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Roger Stone had said, wait a minute, if I had anything, don't you think I would have destroyed any kind of evidence, but, you know, --

HERMAN: No.

WHITFIELD: -- that they raided his property.

HERMAN: No.

WHITFIELD: Is this one of the occasions in which, you know, they were able to seize information that helped substantiate these claims filed?

FRIEDMAN: That's why they raided, the way they raided him, Fredricka. What was so amazing about that -- and I know there's been talk, well, there was too much law enforcement, it was overkill. No, it wasn't. This is a very dirty guy. He's proud to be a dirty guy. He calls himself --

[13:50:03] WHITFIELD: He calls himself that.

FRIEDMAN: -- the dirty trickster.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

FRIEDMAN: He loves that. So you needed that force. They got his computers, they got his e-mails. That's where this connection is coming from. There's a direct correlation between what we saw at that raid and what we saw in the filing yesterday. And believe me, this dirty trickster is more than, you know, a guy that has Richard Nixon tattooed on his back. He wanted to be on the inside. He was trying to work with WikiLeaks. And he wanted to get that information to the Trump campaign. And that's where this thing is going. He's got big, big trouble.

WHITFIELD: OK.

And now, we've also learned that the president's press secretary, Sarah Sanders, was interviewed by the Mueller team last year. But along the way, she's also helped to maintain a narrative coming out of the White House.

How problematic, potentially, could that be, Richard?

HERMAN: Well, I think Mueller is looking at any patent lies that Trump is trying to have disseminated into the public to try to, again, build the case against him for conspiracy and obstruction. So if he was feeding her lies, to get up there and say, on a routine basis, I think that that is where they're trying to go with that. And 90 percent of what she says is not true anyway. So, you know, even if --

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: Well, no, you can't say that.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: But what really --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: I can say that. And I did say that.

FRIEDMAN: That's the kind of made-up stuff that we see from the administration, 90 percent.

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: Come on now.

HERMAN: It is what it is. It is the reality of it.

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: Yu know what is important in this, Fredricka, in this, is that they're going to match up what Sarah Sanders was told against evidence that would establish the opposite. She's not a suspect. She's not on the line. She's merely a witness. And that match up --

HERMAN: You don't know what she is. You don't know what she is.

FRIEDMAN: That matchup is what is going to be important right here. And that could very well make a difference.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there for now. Still all so mysterious.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: All right, Richard, Avery --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: Fred?

WHITFIELD: Yes.

HERMAN: Fred, did he really declare an emergency and then say, "I didn't have to do this."

FRIEDMAN: I wanted to talk about that.

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: It's incredible.

WHITFIELD: We all heard it.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: We all heard what we heard.

FRIEDMAN: Save it until next time.

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: OK. Thanks so much.

FRIEDMAN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Still ahead, it is starting to feel a lot like 2020. Democratic candidates on the trail right now making their cases to take on President Trump and gun violence. We're live, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:56:51] WHITFIELD: A Colorado runner who survived an attack by a mountain lion is talking about his near-death experience. He says the fight lasted about 10 minutes, but it felt like an eternity.

Here's CNN's Scott McLean.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRAVIS KAUFFMAN, COLORADO RUNNER WHO SURVIVED MOUNTAIN LION ATTACK: I ended up hearing some pine needles rustle, like a stick break, and I turned around, and just was pretty bummed out to see a mountain lion chasing after me.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Travis Kauffman never imagined his first time running this trial near Ft. Collins, Colorado, would lead to an intense fight for his life. With injuries still covering his face 10 days after the attack, the 31-year-old recounted his terrifying encounter. KAUFFMAN: I remember looking down and seeing the claws.

MCLEAN: Kauffman spotted a mountain lion, like this one, about 10 feet away. He tried to yell and wave his arms to scare it. That didn't work.

KAUFFMAN: It just kind of kept running and lunged at me. It was going toward my face. So I threw up my hands to kind of block my face. At which point, it grabbed on to my hand and wrist. That's when kind of my fear response turned into more of a fight response, because I realized how close he was getting to my eyes.

MCLEAN: Kauffman tried everything from sticks to a rock. Again, no success.

KAUFFMAN: At that point, more drastic measures were necessary.

MCLEAN: At 5'1,0" and about 150 pounds, Kauffman managed to pin down the five-month-old, nearly 40-pound animal.

KAUFFMAN: Was able to shift my weight and get a foot on its neck. And at that point, I stepped on it, on its neck, with my right foot. A couple of minutes later, it finally stopped moving and then the jaws opened. And I was able to kind of scramble back up the hill and get the heck out of dodge.

MCLEAN: Bloodied and injured, Kauffman ran three miles before finally finding Good Samaritans on the trail, who helped him to the hospital.

KAUFFMAN: Don't break an ankle, along with getting attacked by a mountain lion.

MCEAN: With wounds to his face and arms, and nearly 30 stitches later, Kauffman says he is lucky to be alive.

KAUFFMAN: There was a point where I was concerned that I wasn't going to make it out of it. Luckily, that wasn't the case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Wow, that was extraordinary.

That was Scott McLean reporting.

All right, chaos and panic in San Francisco as the audience fled a performance of the musical "Hamilton." Police say an audience member suffered a medical emergency during a scene of the show, which included gunfire. Audience members connected the two events and rushed the doors in fear of an actual shooting. Police say three people were injured. Officials say the show did not go on.

Hello, again. And thank you so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

The Iowa caucuses are still a year away, but if you didn't know, you might think the election was just right around the corner. Take a look at this map. Democrats hitting the campaign trail in force today. Seven candidates are holding campaign events and meeting with voters today as the 2020 race for the Democratic nomination heats up. Many of the Democratic hopefuls are not shying away from big issues.