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Winter Olympics Update; Kremlin Denies Meddling; Survivors Demand Tougher Gun Laws; Trump Tweet Angers Survivors; March for Gun Control. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired February 19, 2018 - 06:30   ET

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


[06:32:15] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. women's hockey team is back in the gold medal game for the third straight Winter Olympics.

Coy Wire has highlights from South Korea.

Exciting, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning to you, Alisyn, or good night here from Pyeongchang.

The thing that jumped out to me in this dominate 5-0 victory for Team USA over Finland, four out of the five goals scored by former University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Gophers gone wild. Gigi Marvin scored first early on, then Jocelyne Lamoureaux-Davidson added another. And Dani Cameranesi put two scores on the board for the U.S. Hillary Knight was the only non-former Gopher goal for the Americans. Team USA will face the winner of Canada verses the Olympic athletes from Russia semi-final, which gets underway very soon. The U.S. looking to capture their first gold since 1998.

Listen to this story. Thirteen days after an emergency appendectomy, American bobsledder Justin Olsen did the unimaginable, he pushed and piloted an 800 some pound bobsled down the track with teammate Evan Weinstock. Justin, he buckled to the ground in South Korea here just three days after arriving. He had surgery. He thought that maybe he wouldn't even be able to compete in these games. Olsen is tough. He is back. And he's inspiring his teammates here in Pyeongchang.

It's time for your medal count this new day. Norway leading the way with 26. Germany in second with 18. Canada, 16. And the USA, Dave, still outside the top five with 10 medals overall despite having a record number of winter Olympians here in South Korea.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Going to need a late push there in Pyeongchang. Coy Wire live for us. Thank you, my friend. Appreciate it.

All right, coming up, President Trump lashing out at pretty much everyone over Russian election meddling, everyone, that is, except Russia. Is the president doing enough to prevent another attack? A former U.S. ambassador to Russia joining us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [06:38:29] BRIGGS: 6:38 Eastern Time.

The Kremlin says there is no substantial evidence Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election in reaction to indictments against 13 Russian nationals and three companies by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

In his own response, President Trump tweeted, quote, if it was the goal of Russia to create discord, disruption, and chaos within the U.S., then with all the committee hearings, investigations and party hatred, they have succeed beyond their wildest dreams. They are, quote, laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America.

Joining me now is former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Thomas Pickering.

Good morning to you, sir.

Are they laughing their asses off in Russia and, if so, what are they laughing at?

AMB. THOMAS PICKERING, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Well, good morning, Dave.

I hate to -- there is some possibility that they are in a sense that we now see the unforeseen consequences, if we can put it this way, of a Russian campaign, quite obviously, designed clearly to interfere in some way with the U.S. election processes. Some say this was really a kind of prophylactic campaign against a Hillary victory and seeing whether, in fact, they could find ways to undermine her and her relationship. Others say this may be well evidence of the fact that there is some kind of Russian hold on President Trump. Certainly the Shakespeare line, me thinks thou protests too much, is probably quite relevant here, otherwise why is the guy so worried and why do we have 20 tweets over a weekend in a mercurial state of really unrelated but kind of vitriolic complaints. And so all of that is going on. And that's, I think, kind of real.

[06:40:05] Those who have looked at the indictment, other things, say, well, there isn't a direct connection with the Russian government, but that's both hard to assume that things go on of this nature in Russia where the Russian government is not involved. And I think it's quite clear, the old saying, the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence in this particular issue. There is something clearly, I think, there in that regard.

And so as we look at this, and I think there's an old formula that should apply here. I think that those who say keep, your friends close but keep your enemies closer might have some relevance here because the relationship with Russia has really gone to the bottom. That relationship is difficult and trying.

The polarization of the U.S. feeling on that relationship is real. And I think it is in reaction to the situation. If that's what the Russians intended, they've got it now in spades. But I don't think it's good for world security and I don't think it's good necessarily for the future of U.S./Russia relationships. And we ought to think very carefully about that. And, unfortunately, we have a president who doesn't seem to be able to do anything about it.

BRIGGS: Well, that relationship, the latest characterization of it was poor, according to Rex Tillerson. Certainly not going to improve because of this.

But here's what the president's only national security adviser said about this 36-page indictment over the weekend. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: As you can see with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain. Now that this is in the -- in the -- in the arena of a -- of a law enforcement investigation, it's going to be very apparent to everyone. But the second reason where I think Russia may reevaluate what it's been doing is because it's just not working.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: All right, we'll discuss the not working part in a moment. But he said it's irrefutable to everyone. Maybe not the president, because the president then tweeted about that. General McMaster forgot to say that the results on the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that only collusion was between Russia and crooked H. He goes on and on.

You mentioned the 20 tweets over the weekend. Twelve were about Russia since the indictment came down. What was missing in those 12 tweets?

PICKERING: Well, I think what was missing, obviously, was a recognition of the fact that Russia was deeply involved, although he's begun to shift his line on that. And that, in fact, we have perhaps much more attention paid to his views that there was no collusion than any normal person I think would take on at this particular time.

And the final point is that Secretary Tillerson was right, that Russian realizes aren't good. In fact, I think they're worse today. And I'm sure that's an unintended consequence. In the end, neither country profits from having a relation of tension, confrontation, an indeed accident prone relationship which could lead to serious problems, and we need to be aware of that.

BRIGGS: These 36, 37 pages are not about collusion, they're not about the president, they're not about the DNC hack or any of that subject matter, but is there anything that you've seen that would suggest Russia will stop doing this? Is there anything that would prevent them from coming back in 2018 in the midterms?

PICKERING: No, Russia's not going to be assailed by feelings of moral responsibility by any means. Intelligence agencies are designed to try to exploit these kinds of weaknesses. And they do it all the time. And we need to tighten up our capacity to protect our activities, whether they become public later or not. Imitations of Hillary Clinton during the election campaign, attacks to divide American groups, one from another, are serious and they're very important. And we seem to be falling into a trap here a little bit of our own

making with these divisions that exist in the United States and the inability of our own people to find a way to reach across the political divides. That seems to be almost a no-no in Washington. And, to me, that's very, very serious.

A friend and I did a piece for "The New York Times" over the weekend, on George Washington's birthday, pointing out how George Washington quite aptly and quite clearly pointed out this danger to our country 240 years ago. And we still, now, are living with that and we seem to be paying no attention either from the deep past or the current president on this particular issue.

BRIGGS: No sense it will stop any time soon.

Former Ambassador to Russia Thomas Pickering, appreciate you being here. Thank you, sir.

PICKERING: Thank you, Dave.

[06:44:44] CAMEROTA: OK, now for a little entertainment. Box Office superhero "Black Panther" roaring into theaters, shattering records. What's so great about this movie? Details, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAMEROTA: OK, now to some headlines for you.

The ex-wives of disgraced White House aide Rob Porter getting an apology from his former boss, Senator Orrin Hatch. The senator initially defended Porter, but Porter's second wife, Jennie Willoughby told CNN that Hatch's letter was, quote, a sincere apology for pain that he may have caused us. Porter's first wife, Colbie Holderness, also confirms to CNN that she received a letter saying that she appreciates Hatch's apology.

BRIGGS: Atlanta police are searching for an Uber Eats driver on the run after allegedly shooting and killing a customer on Saturday night. Police say the driver shot the 30-year-old man at his Buckhead condo complex as he walked away after receiving his food order. Police say it appears words were exchanged between the two. They have yet to identify the driver, but say the suspect fled in a white Volkswagen.

CAMEROTA: OK. It's a record-breaking debut for "Black Panther." The Disney Marvel movie raked in $192 million. That is the biggest ever opening for a February film. It is the fifth best opening of all time. This is a Ryan Coogler film. It's the largest opening for an African- American director ever. Disney estimates "Black Panther" will total $218 million in the U.S. over the four-day President's weekend. Wowza.

[06:50:23] So, have you seen this?

BRIGGS: I have not. I don't get to see movies because of the kids. But Ryan Coogler, 31 years old.

Have you seen it? CAMEROTA: No, I've not seen it, but my son and husband did go to it.

Enjoyed it.

BRIGGS: Thumbs up?

CAMEROTA: But -- but, yes. But 31 years old?

BRIGGS: Thirty-one.

CAMEROTA: OK, that's an over achiever.

BRIGGS: A heck of a future ahead for him.

All right, enough is enough. Survivors of the Florida high school massacre taking on the president and Congress, demanding action on gun control. We'll talk with two students leading the charge, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call B.S.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Survivors in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre are mobilizing with a message for their elected officials, enough is enough. The students there are demanding that lawmakers take action on gun control so students can be safe at school.

Two of those students who you will recognize join us now. We have Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg.

Guys, it is so great to have you both back on the show.

Emma, that clip that we just played, that has been viewed, as of this morning, about 20 million times. CNN posted it on our FaceBook page. Twenty million times around the world people have clicked on that because they were so interested in what you had to say.

So -- so to the politicians that you were talking about, to Senator Marco Rubio, who said after this shooting, you know, you can pass the law, but you're still going to have these horrible attacks, what do you say to him?

EMMA GONZALEZ, FLORIDA SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I say to that, that even though -- they say that criminals get guns no matter what laws you have to place. That might be true. But we don't have to encourage them to get those guns. We can make it harder, absolutely make it harder, and we can prevent some seriously nasty crimes and some seriously indescribable tragedies from occurring.

[06:55:21] And if somebody doesn't want to do that at this point, that's -- that's pathetic. CAMEROTA: David --

DAVID HOGG, FLORIDA SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Yes, I would --

CAMEROTA: Go ahead.

HOGG: I would say to Marco that you can't work through divisions. It's absolutely terrifying the fact that he immediately got up and started talking about how gun control is not the solution. Every answer is the solution at this point because we haven't tried any of them. And we need a multi-faceted approach to this extremely complex problem because if we don't have that, there -- this will never come to an end.

CAMEROTA: Yes, what did you both think about the president tweeting over the weekend, very sad that the FBI missed all of the signs -- signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They're spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. There is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud.

HOGG: I think it's disgusting, personally. My father's a retired FBI agent and the FBI are some of the hardest working individuals I have ever seen in my life. They work every day, 24/7, to insure the lives of every single American in this country. And it's wrong that the president is blaming them for this. After all, he is in charge of the FBI. He can't put that off on them. He is in charge of them.

And these people, what they love to do is push it -- this off on the bureaucracy and say it's not him. He is in charge of the FBI. That's one of the executive branches. The executive branch is supposed to enforce laws. And as such, President Trump is in charge of that and the FBI.

GONZALEZ: And I do want to reiterate, the FBI were some of the amazing first responders who were helping us get to safety. And the fact that he wants to discredit them in any way and that he's trying to shift our focus onto them is --

HOGG: Disgusting.

GONZALEZ: It's not -- is not acceptable.

CAMEROTA: I appreciate that reminder, that they are the first responders and that they go into these dangerous situations to try to save people.

So the president said that he's going to hold a listening session with students on Wednesday. Have either of you been invited?

GONZALEZ: I believe we've been invited but neither of us are going. We had a preset town hall meeting that we will be attending.

HOGG: It's on CNN with Jake Tapper. We will not be attending the listening session.

CAMEROTA: So you have to -- so you had -- you had a -- you've already committed to that. So you'll be doing that.

Tell --

HOGG: Oh, from the beginning, yes.

GONZALEZ: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Guys, tell me what's going to happen on March 24th with your plan for a big march on Washington. What's your vision?

GONZALEZ: My vision is (INAUDIBLE) from space. You know, like where -- this is going to be enormous. And I really hope that we can like -- I know that the word has spread wide and far, but I hope that we can even spread it even farther by that point, because I know that that's going to be indescribable but in such a positive way.

HOGG: And we have to. We just can't stop. Because these special interest groups are never going to. And if we don't stop and we make our voices heard as an American public together, if we make our voices heard as an American public together, we're going to have to do that if we ever want to overcome this terrible tragedy.

CAMEROTA: So what do you say to the NRA?

GONZALEZ: Disband, dismantle.

HOGG: And don't make another organization under a different name.

GONZALEZ: And, yes, don't make another organization under a different name. Don't you dare come back here. The fact that you were in power for so long and that you had so much influence for so long in America just goes to show how much time and effort we still need to spend on fixing our country.

HOGG: Absolutely.

GONZALEZ: And gun control is just the first thing right now. The first thing that we are mainly focusing on.

CAMEROTA: Look, I don't have to tell you guys, they -- that they give millions of dollars to politicians.

HOGG: We know.

CAMEROTA: They have a very powerful tool.

GONZALEZ: Yes.

CAMEROTA: So, I mean, how do you expect politicians, who need money to keep running for office to say no to the NRA?

GONZALEZ: Because we keep telling them that if they accept this blood money, they are against the children. They are against the people who are dying. And that is -- that -- there's no other way to put it at this point. You're either funding the killers or you're standing with the children. The children who have no money. We don't have jobs, so we can't pay for your campaign. We would hope that you have the decent morality to support us at this point.

HOGG: And not take money from people that want to keep lessening gun legislation and making it even easier for these horrifying people to get guns, because if you can't get elected without taking money from child murders, why are you run?

CAMEROTA: Hey, guys, are you going to be able to go back to school this week or next week? Are you going to go back into the building where this happened?

[06:59:57] GONZALEZ: Well, first of all, the freshman building is being torn down. But the rest of the school -- the rest of the school is staying up. And as soon as we can, we are going to go back into the school. As soon as they say school is on Monday, I'm going to be there.