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20 Years after Massacre, Columbine & Parkland Survivors Meet; Trump, the Armchair, Expert-on-Everything President; Trump Considers Hiring FOX's Monica Crowley for Treasury Spokesperson; Ex-Trump Official: Lesson of Mueller Report is "Don't Cooperate". Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired April 17, 2019 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was mad at myself like, why, after all these years, am I struggling.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even right now, listening to them, they've been through this 20 years, and it just terrifies me to see that, in 20 years, I will still be going through the same feelings.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Were you all aware of what happened in Littleton, Colorado, on April 20, 1999?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was something we heard about, Columbine High School, but it is not something we thought would happen to us at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.
BALDWIN: How many people have gotten professional help?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think there needs to be a clarification between mental health and mental illness. That goes through a trauma does not make you mentally ill, it makes you mentally injured.
BALDWIN: Is it the kind of thing at Douglas because of what happened at your school that you can talk about it out loud?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you are having a breakdown or you feel like you have some anxiety, you physically have to raise your hand and say, can I go to the center. It is a confidence thing or to say I'm going to let my whole class know and my teacher know that I need to go down there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At school, we have vision tests and why don't we have a mental health test and it is hard for us to come to someone to say we need help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know about you guys, but part of the -- there's stigma about getting help and also the stigma of what we went through. We've all grieved in a fish bowl. Where everyone has been able to look in at us and why even emphasize that more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN (voice-over): I have just gotten a horrific piece of news in my year. We're going to take a hard turn and go straight to Parkland, Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all thought it was a fire drill because we had one previously today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They exited the building like it was a normal fire drill until they began to hear and realize that something was not normal about this drill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have a triage set up and multiple injuries here. This is a horrible sight for these poor kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it happened, obviously, a lot of us were in the public eye doing interviews or getting our pictures taken or having our social media looked at. Let's say when we're with our friends and we have the moment of happiness within all of that craziness, we could get called out for it. They are not grieving because they are laughing or smiling, but people forget that grieving isn't just about being depressed and sad all day, it is a process where you have lows and you have highs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is one of the issues at Douglas, because there's a stigma of, oh, well you weren't in the building --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- a stigma.
BALDWIN: Are you serious?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wasn't in the building so sometimes I'll feel uncomfortable speaking about it because it is like, well, since I wasn't in there and those kids had to go through much, much worse and we have to recognize that whoever was on campus that day, no matter where you were, if -- it might not have been as other people but it is a still hard thing.
BALDWIN: So it is this unofficial hierarchy at Douglas of who is allowed to grieve more.
BALDWIN: The trauma Olympics?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is at Columbine as well.
BALDWIN: And that's at Columbine?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I think it is self-imposed, too, because --
BALDWIN: By yourselves?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By ourselves. Like, who am I to complain when Connie lost her dad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BALDWIN: It is so hard to -- it is tough to talk about. But we have to because of the reason of suicides.
And I want to ask, whoever is comfortable, how many of you have contemplated harming yourself, or worse?
You're really open about it. Can you tell me what was going on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My relationship ended and we were helping to raise three children together and the kids went with their grandmother out of state and we lost them and realized there wasn't a relationship there anymore. And I spiraled. I spiraled completely out of control with substance abuse and alcohol. And I woke up in jail. Because I was on mental health drugs. They had to sequester me and for 72 hours in jail I was let out of my cell for an hour at a time which just compounded everything. Massive claustrophobia for three days on top of just wondering what the hell happened to my life and I'm educated and I have a good job, how did I end up here, how did it spiral this far. And the only conclusion I could come to was that I couldn't live my life anymore and it is time to end it. So I went home and I got my dog and I was going take him to a shelter and then -- the Denver shelter -- and then I was going drive into the mountains and asphyxiate myself. And my mother caught me on the way out the door. She literally got me on the way out of the door and found me.
BALDWIN: Jeremy Richmond, father of Avril, little first-grader killed at Sandy Hook. He started this foundation to honor his little daughter, focusing on violence prevention, and he took his own life. And I read that you said that he is one of the strongest people you knew.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we met Jeremy -- our organization helped do the early funding for the Avril Foundation and we put on a 5-K fundraiser for them. And Jeremy came out and he was -- he was -- you could see he was in shock. And he just kept saying, this is for Avi. This is for Avi. And he would text us all around April, we would text him around November, he texted us around March. I was waiting for his text. I'm terrified right now because if someone who has that strength can lose his battle, what hope do I have? And I know that is a hopeless thing to say and that is not where I'm living but definitely a thought in my head.
[14:35:35] BALDWIN: Do you have any questions that you would want to ask the guys behind you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have those moments of something that triggers us or reminds us of back of that day. So how would you -- how do you deal when that happens to you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like when that happens, you have to be selfish. You know what I mean? It took me a long time to be selfish with my recovery. Take a deep breath and whatever it is, I don't know if it is the -- the car backfiring or fireworks or something or remove yourself from the situation. I think you're safe to do that. As long's don't go down that rabbit hole of removing yourself from everyone situation and then not being able to live your life. But you have to be selfish, man.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I started kickboxing and -- because my anger was so bad that I had to get an outlet to my anger so I started fighting in a ring.
BALDWIN: No kidding. And that helped you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that helped me so much.
BALDWIN: What is the biggest change you think in the last 20 years that this loneliest club has seen?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The saddest one is the growth in membership.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. We're no longer a club. This is a movement.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Change is incremental and that is hard to see and you are pushing a platform and it is awesome and I'm proud of you for doing that but it is incremental and know it has gotten better.
BALDWIN: My sincerest thanks to all of them for sitting down with me and sharing stories. Please go to CNN.com for more on the survivors and their stories.
And I want to end with this. If you are struggling or you know someone who is, here is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number: 1-800-273-TALK, 1-800-273-8255.
[14:41:31] BALDWIN: This week the president has once again shown that he sees himself as an expert on nearly everything, the self- admiration that he's touted long before he took office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody knows more about campaign finance than I do.
Nobody knows more about trade than me.
Nobody knows more about construction that I do.
I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me. Nobody knows more about environmental impact statements than me.
There's nobody that understands the horror of nuclear better than me.
Nobody knows the politicians better than I do. Believe me.
Nobody builds walls better than me. Believe me.
I understand the tax laws better than almost anyone.
Having the drone fly overhead. And I think nobody knows much more about technology, this type of technology certainly, than I do.
Nobody knows the system better than I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Well now the president is pushing his know-how in the most nonpolitical places, the fire that ravaged the cathedral in Paris. And not the only topic he's giving unsolicited advice on in the last couple of days.
CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza, is here to explain.
So before he chimed in on the Notre Dame fire, he was giving Boeing some tips.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: There's so much here. First of all, amazing clip there. That was -- I truly incredible. I had forgotten some of those. Before he talked about the Notre Dame fire and how he would put it out, he had this to offer up. This is April 15th works days ago. What do I know about branding, maybe nothing. But I did become president. He's saying that to Boeing, he would fix the Boeing max, change the name of it and rebrand the plane in order to make it a viable company. I'm sure Boeing will take that under consideration. OK.
Now let's go to the Notre Dame tweet here. OK. So horrible, this is while it was happening. He was on a plane: "So horrible to watch a massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly." The French Civil Security Service tweeted out that they thought about doing that, but they were worried that dumping water on top of that kind of conflagration could cause the entire thing to collapse.
CILLIZZA: Now Donald Trump has done this before. Let's go to the last of the tweets as you played, he's done it a lot of times. This is during the forest fires in northern California: "Forest management is so poor that billions of dollars are given each year because of gross mismanagement of the forest." And he also recommended that they rake the underbrush like they did in Finland. They asked the Finnish prime minister if they talked about that and he had to recollection of that. So none of this is new. Donald Trump believes not only that you are entitled to his opinion on
anything, but that his opinion on anything is an expert opinion -- Brooke?
BALDWIN: My takeaway from the clip is no one knows more than me on -- fill in the blank.
CILLIZZA: Fill in the blank. Literally anything.
BALDWIN: And we're also hearing about, Chris, another FOX News personality up for a job in the Trump administration. Who?
CILLIZZA: So this is Monica Crowley. There she is. Now you'll remember the name or you should. Number one, she's a FOX employee personality. We'll get to that in a minute.
But the other issue is to remember is Donald Trump tried to put her on the National Security Council, thought about doing so early in the administration. CNN reported that she had plagiarized parts of a 2012 book she had written and that was scrapped so she's coming back around. You should not be surprised by this because this is -- Monica Crowley is not on here, but she could be, former FOX personality. FOX News, we know, this is Donald Trump's network. He watched it religiously, and of late have been critical of it. All of these people were, at one time or another, FOX personalities, including a lot of people now working -- Monica Crowley potentially being nominated or we think to be the press person -- the lead press person at Treasury. So she would handle the fight back and forth related to Donald Trump's tax returns.
[14:45:33] Why? Why so many FOX News people? Number one, Donald Trump's lens through which he sees the world is television and cable TV, and specifically FOX News. Number two, he views a lot of these jobs, particularly in communications, as performance-based jobs on television. So if do you a good job on TV, he thinks that is essentially the only qualification you need to be, say, the former Pentagon spokesperson or the director of White House communications.
And now many of the people have done plenty of other things. That is not my point. My point is the thing of most value to Donald Trump, when he is looking around to fill jobs is, are you good on television. He talks about it all of the time. Oh, I saw you on television the other night. You were good. That is the lens he sees the world through -- Brooke?
BALDWIN: It is the currency for him.
BALDWIN: Chris, thank you.
CILLIZZA: Thank you.
BALDWIN: We are just getting word on new reporting on the looming release of the Mueller report, including the nerves surrounding current and former White House aides. Stand by for that. And also, more on the manhunt involving a threat made against
Columbine High School. The woman at the center of it all has now been found dead.
[14:50:09] BALDWIN: We are less than 24 hours away from seeing the much-anticipated Mueller report. The Department of Justice has promised the redacted version will be released tomorrow morning to Congress and to you, the public. And as the president shows confidence the Mueller report will exonerate him, many in his inner circle are concerned the details in the 400-page report will embarrass him.
Straight to our chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.
Because, Jim, you have fresh reporting about how one former Trump administration official, in particular, who is having serious second thoughts about cooperating with the Mueller probe.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That is right. I've been talking to sources who are familiar with this probe and a couple of folks who have spoken with Mueller's team. And one individual said, listen, one of the takeaways from all of this is perhaps, in future probes, the lesson learned is not to cooperate with the special counsel investigation. This person told me today that there's some concern about being named in this report that comes out tomorrow, set to come out tomorrow, according to the attorney general's office. And one reason this person expressed this frustration, as we've seen over the last couple of days, there have been reports that the president may be mad at people for talking to the Mueller team. According to the source, this former Trump administration official, that is something that comes as a surprise to this person because it was expected over here at the White House that people would cooperate with this investigation. And as a matter of fact, you heard from Trump attorneys and so on saying that one of their missions throughout all of this was to cooperate with the special counsel investigation. And when I talk to this former Trump administration official, this person said, listen, they said he went in and talked to Mueller's team for some time and was basically thinking about all of the other cases in which Trump associates have been accused of lying to the special counsel's office. And so this official was saying, listen, I'm going to go in there and tell them everything that I know because of that.
And one reason why the person is frustrated with this is that it was expected over here at the White House that Trump associates would cooperate with Mueller's team. And they were even told and in some cases that their cooperation was expected. And going beyond that, according to the source I spoke with, there were email addresses turned over to the special counsel's office of individuals at the White House expected to talk to the Mueller team. And so there was a lot of pressure brought down on a lot of the individuals who may or may not be named in this Mueller report, this redacted Mueller report when it comes out tomorrow.
And according to this person I spoke to earlier today, this person didn't really know one way or the other whether or not he would find his name in the special counsel report. And so it just goes to the frustration and the anxiety in this town as we may or may not see a whole lot of the names tomorrow.
One other thing I should point out, Brooke --
ACOSTA: -- according to this person, had they not cooperated, it stands to reason that perhaps the person would have been brought in to the grand jury process. And one of the things that we've heard through all of this is that, in that Mueller report that will be redacted, some of those redactions may have to deal with grand jury proceedings. And so if you don't cooperate with the Mueller team, the thinking, according to this former administration official, is that you might have actually gotten protection by talking to the grand jury office because those proceedings now may end up having a lot of anonymity in terms of the redactions in the final report.
And so there's frustration and some concern and anxiety about what ultimately might be in this report. But according to this administration official, former administration official, it might have been better in the long run not to cooperate at all -- Brooke?
BALDWIN: Sure. We'll talk to you tomorrow about the revocation of all of the nerves and anxiety and everybody rattled ahead of this thing dropping tomorrow morning.
BALDWIN: Jim Acosta, thank you very much.
ACOSTA: That's right.
[14:55:07] BALDWIN: Investigators are now revealing a gap between the first fire alarm at the Notre Dame Cathedral and when the flames were actually discovered. We'll talk to the priest whose credited with saving artifacts in those dire moments.
Plus, why Lori Loughlin is frustrated by the criticism of her refusal to plead guilty. New insight as to why they are playing hard ball into that massive college cheating scandal.
BALDWIN: Quick programming note for all of you. W. Kamau Bell's season four of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" debuts this month. Kamau shines a light on the people creating change and fighting for justice and making a difference. It all starts on Sunday night, April 28th, at 10:00 Eastern and Pacific, only on CNN.