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Trump's War On Intelligence; Group's Chilling Ad Shows "New Normal" Of School Shootings; Sandy Hook Parents Release Haunting PSA; 2020 Dems Get Passionate On Gun Control; Canada's Prime Minister On Apology Tour After Blackface Scandal; Crying For Attention On The Campaign Trail. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 22, 2019 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:44]

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm Alex Marquart in for Ana Cabrera. Thank you so much for joining me.

President Trump right now is on board Air Force One heading to New York for the U.N. General Assembly. It follows a day that included him acknowledging that he did discuss his political rival Joe Biden in a phone call with a foreign power, which is now at the center of a whistleblower complaint. But as far as the president is concerned everything about that call was just perfect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You'll be OK with the Ukrainian government releasing their version of the transcript?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think their version would be the same as our version. It would be identical. But they did, they put out a major statement last nights and in the statement they said it was a very, very fine conversation and there was no pressure, no nothing. There was no pressure. That was not pressure. I know when I give pressure. And that was not pressure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: Democrats are now demanding to see a transcript of that call as calls for impeachment heat up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): If in particular after having sought foreign assistance and welcomed foreign assistance in the last presidential campaign as a candidate, he is now doing the same thing again but now using the power of the presidency, then he may force us to go down this road. I have spoken with a number of my colleagues over the last week, and this seemed different in kind. And we may very well have crossed the Rubicon here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: And it's not just Democrats who are sounding the alarm. There is this tweet from Utah Republican, Senator Mitt Romney. He's saying, "If the president asked or pressured Ukraine's president to investigation his political rival either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling in the extreme. Critical for the facts to come out."

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is in Ohio where the president was earlier today.

Jeremy, to be clear, as we've been saying, there is no evidence of any wrongdoing on either Biden's part, but the president is not backing down in his accusations against them or his defense that he did nothing wrong.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. And it is remarkable, Alex, when you think about the fact that the president is the one currently facing this whistleblower complaint alleging among other things that he pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate one of his political rivals, the former vice president Joe Biden. And all of that happening of course as the president was also withholding military aid to Ukraine.

But none of that has stopped the president from continuing to talk about this story, really pumping up these unverified allegations about the former vice president. Listen to the president earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: What you have to do is look at the corruption on the Democrat side. Take a look at how the whole witch hunt started. Now they want to try and start another witch hunt but unfortunately this one is reverting now to Joe Biden because he's done some very bad thing. And I'm not even looking to hurt him, to be honest, he needs all the help he can get. I'm not looking to hurt him. I'm not looking to hurt his family. But the corruption and what he said is a terrible thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAMOND: Now as you hear there, Alex, the president muddying the political waters, but he's also using that term, witch hunt, which of course he used ceaselessly to refer to the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation at the time. Now he's using that term to refer to this whistleblower complaints. And all of this happening as the president and his administration still refusing to provide details of that whistleblower complaint to Congress despite the president opening the door this morning to possibly releasing a transcript of that call. He hasn't done it yet. And it is his White House, his Department of Justice, that have been instructed the director of National Intelligence not to share that complaint with Congress.

But the president is sure to keep this story in the spotlight for days to come. Not only as you see Democrats on Capitol Hill ramping up talk of impeachment and investigating this complaint but the president will also be sitting down on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly with the president of Ukraine -- Alex.

MARQUARDT: That's right, Jeremy. The calls for this transcript will only grow as the week starts tomorrow. Jeremy Diamond in Ohio, thanks very much.

Now just as a refresher, let's look at a timeline of how this all played out. Now the president says that he discussed Joe Biden with the Ukrainian president during a routine phone call, if you will, in July 25th. Then two and a half weeks later on August 12th an intelligence official filed a formal whistleblower complaint that we're told was in part about that call with the Ukrainian president.

[20:05:04]

In the complaint the whistleblower reportedly mentions an alarming promise that the president made to a foreign leader. At the end of August, President Trump moved to block $250 million in military aid to Ukraine that the country uses to protect itself from its enemy to the east Russia. Then earlier this month the hold on that Ukrainian aid was lifted just days after Congress was notified of the whistleblower complaint.

Joining me now to dive into all of this is CNN political analyst David Gergen who served as an advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. Also with me is Bill Kristol, the director of Defending Democracy.

Now, David, first to you. The president seems to have shifted his argument from everything was appropriate in this call with President Zelensky on this heavily populated call, as he put it, to then talking about Biden when in that call with Biden he was saying that the whistleblower was spying on this call. So that changed there, David. Is that a tacit admission that something was untoward on that call?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think it was a tacit admission. I do think it was good that the president has finally acknowledged that he did have this conversation or conversations with the new president of Ukraine. What we know -- there's a lot of things we don't know for sure but we have some very good reporting from credible sources that fill in a picture which I think is tougher on the president than even your summary.

You know, to think that after spending two years trying to convince the public that he was not working with the Russians, his team wasn't working with the Russians, wasn't working with any foreign power in getting him elected, and then the day after Mueller testifies, according to "The Washington Post," he then placed the first call to the president of Ukraine feeling as though -- feeling like as "The Post" said he was invincible.

And according to the reporting, in that conversation -- that first conversation on eight different occasions, he lobbied the president of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden. Eight different times.

MARQUARDT: Yes, and in fact the Intelligence chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, he's saying that it's really easy to clear all of this up. Here he is earlier today on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHIFF: Why doesn't the president simply release the transcript of that call? And I don't know whether the whistleblower complaint is on this allegation but if it is and even if it isn't, why doesn't the president just say release the whistleblower complaint? Clearly he's afraid for the public to see either one of those things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: Both of you gentleman have worked in White Houses.

Bill, is it really that easy to release a transcript? If we see a transcript, we would know whether or not the president had said this eight times or once or -- how would the White House go about releasing this transcript?

BILL KRISTOL, DIRECTOR, DEFENDING DEMOCRACY TOGETHER: It's very easy to. You take out -- redact that really sensitive stuff that's in there and then you release it, or maybe you only release President Trump's side of it. You don't even release the foreign leader's words on the theory that you shouldn't be releasing what a foreign leader says to a U.S. president. They can release Donald Trump's words. And if they take out one or two things that are classified or secrets, some numbers, or some, you know, names of people, I suppose, or other people, that would be fine.

So, they can release it. There is a transcript, it appears. There probably is also a memorandum of the conversations. Others would have read it. So this is find-outable fact, and I think it's a big mistake to get lost in the weeds of the whistleblower or Hunter Biden did this or that. The president had this conversation. What did he say? Congress has an absolute obligation to discover that in my view.

But one interesting thing I think is, there's no more Mueller investigation. Congress can't say anymore, well, Bob Mueller will find this out, he'll take -- he'll do our work for us. The ball is squarely in Congress' lap. I think they need to either authorize one of their sitting committees or maybe Speaker Pelosi sets up a select committee to really discover what's happened and if the Trump administration stonewalls, I personally regard that at least maybe likely as an impeachable offense itself.

I mean, this is something important for Congress to know. And the president, I don't see on what grounds he can take -- what ground he can stand by saying Congress has no right to know this.

MARQUARDT: Bill, just I want to follow up on that because of something that David touched on. Do you think if we saw this transcript that it would show explicit quid pro quo that military aid was held up unless the Ukrainians investigated Biden?

KRISTOL: Yes. I don't know. It would be like any other investigation. You then also try to find out what Rudy Giuliani said, what other subordinates said, and you could ask other people at the U.S. embassy in Kiev and elsewhere what was going on. But I -- the transcript would be a beginning, right? If it clears the president, I kind of think we'd be seeing very quickly. And therefore the fact that we're not seeing it makes one wonder what it is. But it really is important to find out what was -- what happened. Because as David said if this happened as it's been reported, it is really extraordinary and shocking.

MARQUARDT: And one of the ways that we could actually find out what happened is if we get a little bit more transparency into this whistleblower complaint.

[20:10:07]

The White House blocked the acting director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, from releasing that transcript to Congress even though he is required by law to turn it over to the oversight committees. Now Maguire is going to be up on the Hill this week, testifying to both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

David, there are a lot of people who want to learn a lot. What would you be asking if you were among those committee members?

GERGEN: I'd want to know who blocked him from sending this report already. Let me just say, I agree with everything Bill Kristol, and he said it extremely well as he always does, but I want to go back to this point. The president said there was no pressure. When the president of the United States calls you and says eight different times that this is something he wants done, you don't have to talk about a quid pro quo.

The president of Ukraine knows that the money is being held up. He knows he needs to get along well with President Trump in order to have a working relationship and getting that money for weapons. So it's pretty vital for him to, under the circumstances, of course it's a quid pro quo. It does not have to be stated. And I do think that we need to see the language of the conversation. And if it's innocent, fine, let's move on and move on quickly. If it's not, then you can determine where you go from there.

I do think that the longer they stall and hold on at the White House and not release it, the more the pressure's going to grow not just among Democrats in Congress but in the country at large to go to impeachment inquiries because at that level, at that stage many lawyers think that the president's claim to executive privilege would be a lot weaker in that context.

MARQUARDT: There is something that the White House and Republicans could seize on, and that's a discrepancy in the story between Joe and Hunter Biden regarding Ukraine. Listen to what former vice president Joe Biden said yesterday when defending himself and his son. He was in Iowa, he was being asked whether or not he ever discussed his son's work in Ukraine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Vice President, how many times have you ever spoken to your son about his overseas business dealings?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And so how do you know --

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Let's talk about -- here's what I know. I know Trump deserves to be investigated. He is violating every basic norm of a president. You should be asking him the question, why's he on the phone with a foreign leader trying to intimidate a foreign leader?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: Now as it turns out Hunter Biden was also asked the same question by "The New Yorker." He was quoted by them. As Hunter recalled he discussed Burisma, that was the name of the company that he was on the board of, with him just once. "Dad said, I hope you know what you're doing, and I said I do."

Bill, CNN has investigated. Others have investigated. There's no evidence of any wrongdoing by either Biden. Do you think Joe Biden should be worried that this could be used against him? Does it even matter?

KRISTOL: No, I mean, that's not a real discussion, and even if it were, it doesn't matter. Joe Biden is not president of the United States. Whatever Joe Biden and Hunter Biden did could be investigated I suppose. It has been investigated as you said by various authorities including the Ukrainian government and by the media. The Trump administration controls the Justice Department. I suppose they could investigate it, too.

It doesn't matter. What Trump did is wrong. It doesn't matter what Joe Biden -- whether Joe Biden and Hunter Biden had one conversation or zero or five conversations.

MARQUARDT: All right, David Gergen, you're sticking around. Bill Kristol, thank you so much for joining me tonight.

All right, well, coming up, intense heat waves, devastating storms and melting ice. A sobering assessment of the climate crisis as scientists warn that the next decade will be defining.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:17:33]

MARQUARDT: Kings, presidents and prime ministers, more than 90 world leaders are descending on New York this week for the weeklong United Nations General Assembly. And the focus of this year's gathering is the world's climate emergency.

The United Nations has arranged a Special Climate Action Summit, and that's tomorrow where climate activist Greta Thunberg will be speaking. Millions of protesters have joined her in demanding more action on the climate crisis. And she told my colleague Bill Weir that she got her inspiration from the school walkouts here in the United States after the Parkland shooting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRETA THUNBERG, CLIMATE ACTIVIST: One of the ideas was that we could do some kind of school strike inspired by the Parkland students. And I plan was a strike until this next election and then I and other school striking children thought that why should we stop now when we are making our voices heard and when we are actually sort of changing the debate about this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: But there will be a very noticeable absence at the climate summit tomorrow. That's the United States. President Trump is expected to skip it, the second climate meeting that the president has skipped in two months. And all of this comes as we get a preview of a dire new scientific report about the state of the environment.

To get out into all of this, David Gergen is back with me. Also joining us is CNN senior United Nations correspondent, Richard Roth.

Gentlemen, thank you so much for being back with me.

Richard, I do want to start with you. We often hear about new dire climate reports that come out. What is significant about this one?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Well, this one says there may be no going back. It talks about the hottest five years in the world have just taken place. And it talks about the state of land, the state of the oceans and how food security, migration, all other issues economically affected by climate change, and even if you don't think you're touched by it now, you will be.

MARQUARDT: David, when you look at the U.S. not participating, I mean the United States was such a leader when it came to getting the Paris Peace Accord up and running, and now we've pulled out of it, and then the U.S. isn't even paying lip service to climate change efforts. We're not even going to these meetings. So when the world leaders get together around these issues, do you think that they are shaking their heads in anger or just simply shaking their heads because they have gotten used to how this administration acts?

GERGEN: Well, I think to be fair to the president you've got a number of countries now that are dragging their feet.

[20:20:06]

China and India should be doing far more than they're doing. Brazil is -- you know, trying to turn its rainforests into development. So there are other countries. But the absence of leadership from the United States, the withdrawal of the United States from the conversations and the Paris Accords has meant that there's no international leadership as there should be.

Time is running out. The people who seem to understand this best are the young. This 16-year-old Greta Thunberg is a sensation because she started out every Friday by herself, standing in front of her parliamentary building in Stockholm, and gradually other people started copying her. And this weekend we have -- over the last couple of days we had four million people around the globe who were in the streets, many of them younger because it's their generation that's going to suffer.

And they speak with a moral clarity, frankly, that adults starting in the White House are not expressing today on this very, very existential issue.

MARQUARDT: David, you actually did -- you wrote a column about Greta Thunberg. She is an extraordinary young woman.

GERGEN: Yes.

MARQUARDT: She's just 16 years old. What really stands out to you?

GERGEN: Well, I think that she's a very straight forward young lady. She speaks her mind. And she's much more compelling than you would ever think a 16-year-old could be, but that was just like the model she built it around. The Parkland students, you know, are extremely compelling in way they talk to us and say simple things that are very, very meaningful. And I think Greta Thunberg has -- one of the things she's done is she's -- there's very little hypocrisy about her.

She thinks it would have been hypocritical to fly an airplane, a commercial aircraft to New York for the very important gatherings at the U.N. Instead she came on a sailboat, two weeks on rough seas to get there, and I'm told she's heading down to Chile. Can you imagine how it's going to be -- how hard it's going to be to get to Chile without a plane? But it speaks to how serious she is.

MARQUARDT: Yes. Extraordinarily so. And she just -- again, she's just remarkable and so well-spoken and has really just galvanized young people all around the world in a remarkable way.

Richard, when you look at the way that the world comes together and acts, can they get a lot done even though the United States isn't participating?

ROTH: Well, the U.N. takes time. They don't have a global climate army. The secretary-general is doing all he can. It may be the only issue he can get a lot of countries together on, even though, as David points out, a lot of big carbon emitters are stepping aside or not paying attention or leaving the vacuum. It may be the young but Greta Thunberg is expected to talk inside the U.N. forum on Monday and you need a celebrity.

I mean, despite the issue affecting billions of people on the planet perhaps she can be the one, but you've got corporations that want to do something, and yet the Republican Party and the Trump leadership, they ignore the concerns. There are corporations attending this meeting, it isn't just countries and boring diplomats.

MARQUARDT: Right. GERGEN: And mayors, too. Mayors and governors in this country are

standing up. Look at the fight California is in over emissions and rolling back the carbon requirements with regard to new cars. You know, and good for California to take some leadership.

MARQUARDT: This is a big week. And I want to ask both of you quickly what you will be looking out for. It's more than just the climate. There are lots of dynamics at play.

Richard, you've been covering the United Nations and UNGA for so long. What's at the top of your list?

ROTH: Well, I know climate really is number one, but you can't avoid that diplomatic sexiness, if I may use that weird phrase, with Iranian President Rouhani meet in passing President Trump over the next few days. I think all eyes will still be on that.

MARQUARDT: Yes. That's very -- that is a huge question.

David, same question to you. What are you going to be looking out for the next few days here in New York?

GERGEN: I think -- I think Richard is right to point to the Middle East. The bigger question is Middle East, whether it's Iran or what the Saudis are going to do. How we're going to get -- how is everybody going to get through this? Where do we stand with the Palestinians and the Israelis putting together a new government? There are big questions on the table. But come back to it, climate is the number one issue facing all these countries.

MARQUARDT: All right, Richard Roth and David Gergen, thank you so much for your time.

GERGEN: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: Coming up, how will the saga over a whistleblower, how it's part of a larger story about the president and the intelligence community. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:28:30]

MARQUARDT: The saga this week over the silencing of a whistleblower complaint against the president is really just the latest chapter in what has been a very contentious relationship between the president of the United States and his intelligence community.

CNN's John Avlon has your "Reality Check."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Welcome to the latest episode of Trump's war on intelligence. A whistleblower being silenced by the administration over serious allegations that the president is saying things he really shouldn't to foreign leaders. The president's defense, quote, "Is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader?"

Yes, Mr. President, unfortunately the answer is yes. And here's why. You've got a record of dissing and dismissing and compromising our intelligence community. The trouble began the day after Trump's inauguration when he stood in front of the CIA's Wall of Heroes and talked about himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Trust me, I'm like a smart person. God looked down and he said we're not going to let it rain on your speech. And I have been on their cover like 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of "TIME" magazine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AVLON: Yes, so that speech was supposed to smooth over candidate Trump's, comparing the intelligence community to Nazis and accusing them of leaking information. Of course the major sticking point between Trump and the IC has always been Russia's attack on our election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He just said it's not Russia. I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AVLON: And imagine why they would be. Anyway, since then there have been more than a half-dozen meetings with Putin that we know of. Now one Trump reportedly confiscated his interpreter's notes to keep info about the meeting secret and suggesting during another meeting that Putin come to America. Now watch former director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, learn about that one in real time.

DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Say that again?

AVLON: What about Trump's suggestion that even now he would accept foreign dirt on his opponents, something the FBI director says needs to be reported to law enforcement.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The FBI director is wrong.

AVLON: OK. How about this, the president welcoming Russian ambassador and foreign minister into the Oval Office where he reportedly spilled intelligence about ISIS so sensitive that most of our allies aren't even allowed to know about it. This also played a role in the extraction of an extremely high value intelligence asset from Russia, for that person's own safety.

But wait, there's more, Trump told Filipino strong man, Duterte, that there were two nuclear missile subs parked off the coast of North Korea. That's information usually the silent. He taunted Iran about the recent failed missile launch, possibly revealing what kind of spy satellite technology we have and how we use it, or how about putting effectively apologized to North Korea's Kim Jong-un after reports that we used his half-brother to spy on him.

And who could forget our intelligence chiefs standing before Congress, contradicting Trump about Iran, North Korea and ISIS. Trump scolded them as naive and told them that "go back to school." Look, our system depends on a president who trusts our intelligence community over our adversaries, but instead, seems like our intelligence community may not trust our president.

So, Mr. President, it's not that we're too dumb to believe you said something inappropriate to a foreign leader, it's that we're too smart to forget that you've done it before. And that's your "REALITY CHECK."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: Our thanks to John Avlon for that. Coming up, the chilling back to school PSA that sparked a nationwide debate this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These new sneakers are just what I needed for the New Year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This jacket is a real must-have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My parents got me the skateboard I wanted. It's pretty cool.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: This is just in to CNN, police in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, say they've thwarted a school shooting and bombing attack that was being planned. They arrested 28-year-old Christian Diehl on Saturday night, after the city's mayor received a tip from a concerned citizen.

According to the police, they obtained an intercepted message, threatening a mass shooting and pipe bombings against two separate campuses. Police used electronic surveillance to find the suspect and arrested him just hours after receiving that tip. He faces a third degree felony charge of threatening to use weapons of mass destruction.

Backpacks, binders and a new pair of shoes, those items might sound like back to school essentials. Now, instead, they are serving a darker alternative purpose, self-defense against an active shooter. This is the reality that kids are up against these days and one that is being portrayed in a new public service announcement. We should warn you that what you're about to watch is chilling.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This year, my mom got me the perfect bag for back to school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These colorful binders help me stay organized.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These headphones are just what I need for studying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These new sneakers are just what I needed for the New Year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This jacket is a real must-have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My parents got me the skateboard I wanted. It's pretty cool.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These scissors really come in handy in our class.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These colored pencils, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These new socks, they can be a real lifesaver.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I finally have my own phone to stay in touch with my mom.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUARDT: Joining me now is Tony Montalto. He lost his 14-year-old daughter, Gina, in the Parkland School shooting. He is also the president of Stand with Parkland, a group of parents and spouses of the victims. Tony, thank you so much for joining us tonight.

TONY MONTALTO, PRESIDENT, STAND WITH PARKLAND: Thanks for having me.

MARQUARDT: I've got to tell you, Tony, I've watched this a number of times and it -- and it smacks me every single type. It does not hold back. It's incredibly powerful. In the time since you've released it, have you seen an impact, and what impact do you think it can have?

MONTALTO: Well, I'll say for the families who lost somebody in the Parkland shooting, it was quite a shocking video. But we live through that every day. The fact that it shocks some other people in this nation is actually, I think, what it was designed to do. It's designed to get people's attention. And we need to focus our attention on school safety yet again.

MARQUARDT: And something else that your organization does is, you arm parents and students in schools essentially with a checklist, a list of questions that parents should be asking of their children's school.

For example, does the school have an active shooter policy? Does the school train all staff members for active shooter scenarios? And those are just a couple of those questions that really is horrifying that we have to ask them at all.

But if any of these schools answer, no, to any of these questions that you're suggesting, what should parents be doing?

MONTALTO: Well, this is not -- these questions are not the end of the conversation. They're really the beginning of the conversation. We know that it takes numerous avenues to help us solve this problem. Stand with Parkland believes in securing the campus, better mental health screening and support, and finally, for responsible firearms ownership. All of those things failed us that day.

[20:40:00] These questions are based on the hours of testimony that we have witnessed from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission here in Florida, from reading some of the federal report on school safety that came out. These are valuable resources to get parents involved.

We need involved parents to demand that our nation's school administrators and school boards, pay attention to the safety of our children. It's not just about education anymore. If our children and our spouses fail to come home from school, graduation rates don't matter, their reading level doesn't matter. We need to keep everyone safe, first.

MARQUARDT: Tony, gun reform is something that's been taken up not just on Capitol Hill, but also on the campaign trail. Lots of 2020 candidates talking about it, as they -- as they're on the stump. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: Tony, that -- Beto O'Rourke there, really well ahead of the pack, in terms of the Democratic field. And when you hear O'Rourke saying things like that, hell yes, we want to take away your AR-15s, do you think that that will change the conversation in any constructive way?

MONTALTO: Well, I think he garnered some publicity for himself, but quite frankly, we need to start bringing people together to solve this problem. Statements like that tend to divide people. They tend to get the pro-firearms folks running one way, and we get the anti- firearms folks running the other way.

And frankly, this is not a Republican problem, it's not a Democratic problem. This is an American problem. And we need to find a way to come together to solve it. It will take the best minds in this country and all of us, listening to one another, having a discussion, and then finding the consensus position that we can carry forward into policy changers or law changes, in order to keep all Americans safe, including our students and teachers at school. MARQUARDT: Yes, that's the argument that a lot of his Democratic opponents were also saying, that it plays into the hands of people who don't want to see gun reform. But we are seeing reform, Tony, in the private sector.

We now have stores like Wal-Mart, the biggest retailer in the country, Publix, Kroger, CVS, they're asking customers to no longer openly carry their guns in these states where -- in their stores, rather, in states where open carry is legal. Do you think that that's an effective change?

MONTALTO: Well, I think, again, it's going to take all of us to get involved. We're happy to see the private sector start to take some leadership role. We're hopeful that, quite frankly, the president will take more of a leadership role, get Congress -- tell Congress what he needs, and then Congress needs to provide the president bills to sign into law.

But we're very happy to see the private sector begin to get involved. Right after the Parkland shooting, we saw Dick's Sporting Goods make a change to their firearms policy, and we are greatly appreciated of all who want to provide positive change for this country.

MARQUARDT: All right. Tony Montalto, thanks so much for joining me.

All right, well, coming up, trouble for Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister's re-election campaign has been rocked by even more images of him wearing racist black face make-up. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:45:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: Right now, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is trying to steady his re-election bid after a third image surfaced of him this week, in black face, years ago. And as we've already seen, his strategy involves a lot of apologizing. CNN's Randi Kaye reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A young Justin Trudeau, the future Canadian prime minister, in new video obtained exclusively by Global News, it's from the early 1990s. And while unclear where it was shot, you can see Trudeau wearing blackface, laughing with his tongue out and his hands in the air.

It appears his arms and legs are covered in blackface as well. Trudeau apologized for it all at a press conference late today.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: It was blackface and that is just not right.

KAYE: That was Trudeau's second apology in less than 24 hours. Now, having to answer for not one, but three instances of wearing blackface, dating back decades. The first was reported by TIME magazine Wednesday evening.

The picture shows Trudeau at a party at a private school, where he worked as a teacher. The theme of the party was Arabian Nights. In this photo from the school's 2000-2001 yearbook, Trudeau is covered in blackface. His neck and hands are also darkened. Trudeau issued an apology late Wednesday.

TRUDEAU: It was a dumb thing to do. I'm disappointed with myself. I'm pissed of myself for having done it.

KAYE: Trudeau who was nearly 30, when the photo was taken, was asked if he thought it was racist.

TRUDEAU: Yes, it was -- I didn't consider it a racist action at the time, but now we know better.

KAYE: Along with that apology, Trudeau mentioned another photo, one in which he admitted he wore blackface in a high school talent show. At the time, the photo had not been showed publicly. But within hours, CTV posted it. The network's reporter tweeted the exclusive.

Sources have confirmed this is the picture of Justin Trudeau in blackface from high school that he referenced in his press conference. He's singing, Day-O, apparently. In the photo, it's clear Trudeau is wearing blackface and an Afro wig.

TRUDEAU: What I did hurt them, hurt people who shouldn't have to face intolerance and discrimination because of their identity. This is something that I deeply, deeply regret.

[02:50:01]

KAYE: All of this happening just days after Justin Trudeau announced his re-election campaign. Meanwhile, the apology tour continues.

TRUDEAU: I've had to reflect on the fact that wanting to do good and wanting to do better simply isn't good enough. This was a terrible mistake.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

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MARQUARDT: Our thanks to Randi Kaye. All right, coming up, oh baby, when kids and campaigns collide.

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BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: OK. If we could keep that down a little bit? OK. Thanks.

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MARQUARDT: And from swingers to gangs, Lisa Ling returns for another provocative season of "THIS IS LIFE." That's next Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: Finally tonight, a cry for attention on the campaign trail. Here's Jeanne Moos.

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JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When candidates interact with babies, it usually makes you say, oh. But sometimes, instead of inspiring awe, they inspire irritation.

SANDERS: OK. If we could keep that down a little bit? OK. Thanks.

MOOS: But babies don't take orders even from potential presidents. This one kept fussing. Babies are born with immunity to dirty looks. One day Bernie Sanders is kid-friendly.

[20:55:05]

The next day, he's literally waving them off. Trevor Noah once tried to imagine Bernie a a baby.

TREVOR NOAH, HOST, THE DAILY SHOW: I wonder, has Bernie just looked like this his entire life? Yes, I bet when he was born, the doctor was like congratulations, Mr. Sanders. It's a beautiful healthy old man. Well done.

MOOS: Bernie evidently doesn't believe in babying crybabies.

SANDERS: If we could keep that down a little bit?

MOOS: But he was almost nurturing compared to a certain someone.

TRUMP: You can get the baby out of here.

MOOS: Actually, the baby's mom was already headed out since then- candidate Trump had called attention to the crying a minute or two earlier.

TRUMP: Don't worry about that baby. I love babies. So I love babies.

MOOS: Trump has gone so far as to sign a baby.

TRUMP: Look at that baby. So cute. Oh, give me that.

MOOS: Sometimes a crying baby can be a political asset back in 2012.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't blame that baby for crying. She just realized what it means if Romney gets elected.

MOOS: Now in 2019, Joe Biden still zeroes in on a well-placed baby.

BIDEN: Pregnancy is no longer a pre-existing condition. MOOS: Dad hooked up for a selfie. Even when they grow up, this kid

desperately wanted to hug the president. He flexed his hugging muscles, went in for the kill, but pulled back and fame nonchalance until finally, the politicians are hoping some of that cuteness rubs off on them. Jeanne Moos, CNN --

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, he's just charming me.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: -- New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUARDT: And that'll do it for me. I'm Alex Marquardt. Have a good night.

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