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Broward County Sheriff Grilled Over Florida Shooting; Businesses Boycott the NRA; Santorum: Family Should Be Focus to Curb Violence. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired February 26, 2018 - 07:00   ET


HAYDEN: -- Mexico for the better part of the last three years with this "I'm going to build a wall and they're going to pay for it." I mean, that has effect on the Mexican body politic. And now it has made it harder for us to get to a good place with the current Mexican government.

[07:00:17] CAMEROTA: OK. General Michael Hayden, great to talk to you. Thanks so much.

HAYDEN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you CNN talk is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.


DANA LOESCH, NRA SPOKESPERSON: That firearm did not walk itself into the school. An individual who was allowed to go unchecked by the Broward County Sheriff's Office allowed the firearm to go in the school.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The school resource officer was behind a stairwell wall just standing there. And he never did anything for four minutes.

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: Having a teacher who is armed is not a bad idea, but it's an idea that needs to be discussed.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of bad things in that document. That's a very bad document for their side.

The author of the dossier didn't come to the FBI's attention until well after the FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The author of the dossier didn't come to the FBI's attention until well after the FBI had opened its counterintelligence investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We sought to correct the record. Enough information is out there now that the public sees that the Republicans have put out a phony memo.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Here's what's happening right now.

Stoneman Douglas High School students are getting set to go back to school this Wednesday while lawmakers are back in session in Washington today for the first time with this major question hanging over Capitol Hill. And that is will Congress do anything to attempt to stop mass shootings?

Now, in Florida, Governor Rick Scott is ordering an investigation into the police response to the shooting. Dozens of state lawmakers there are calling for the immediate suspension of the Broward County sheriff, Scott Israel, for, quote, "incompetence and dereliction of duty."

CUOMO: So they didn't want to do anything about the fact that this man had access to weapons in the first place. But the sheriff they want to go after.

Now, the sheriff isn't helping himself. Grilled in a CNN interview about the red flags missed on the shooter, he defended his odds, citing his amazing leadership, insisting he's not going to resign.

Meantime, a new CNN poll suggests the Parkland massacre has changed Americans' views on guns in a way that we haven't seen in other shootings recently. Seventy percent. Look at the numbers on the screen. We haven't seen them this size in a long time.

People favoring tighter gun laws 70 percent. It was 52 percent after Vegas. If you remember how resonant that was with all that death.

We have it all covered. Let's start with CNN's Kaylee Hartung, live in Parkland, Florida -- Kaylee.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, the staff of Stoneman Douglas back on campus today sorting out class schedules, among other administrative tasks as they prepare for students to resume classes on Wednesday.

But school officials and teachers tell me it will be a while before the focus is on academics.


GOV RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: We have to do a thorough investigation, and whoever didn't do their job has to be held accountable.

HARTUNG (voice-over): Florida's governor ordering an investigation into law enforcement's response to last week's deadly school shooting and the criticism that Broward County sheriff's deputies waited too long to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as the killer opened fire inside.

Sheriff Scott Israel coming under scrutiny as he welcomes the investigation into his department.

SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA, SHERIFF: I've given amazing leadership to this agency.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Amazing leadership?

ISRAEL: I've worked -- yes, Jake. You don't measure a person's leadership by a deputy not going into a -- these deputies received the training they needed.

TAPPER: Maybe you measure somebody's leadership by whether or not they protect the community.

HARTUNG: Florida Republican, lawmaker Richard Corcoran and 73 others sending a letter to the governor Sunday, demanding Sheriff Israel be suspended for incompetence and dereliction of duty. This after Florida State Representative Bill Hager wrote a similar letter to Governor Scott just a day before.

ISRAEL: Of course I won't resign. It was a shameful letter. It was politically motivated. I never met that man. He doesn't know anything about me, and the letter was full of misinformation.

HARTUNG: Sources telling CNN that when Coral Springs police officers arrived on the scene they were shocked to find three other Broward County sheriff's deputies who had not yet entered the building.

Broward County sheriff disputes this, saying it was only the school resource officer, and he has resigned.

Meanwhile, lawmakers returning to work this morning under national pressure to act on gun reform, as a new CNN poll shows 70 percent of people say they favor stricter gun laws.

With Congress already looking at a list of options on the table, including banning bump stocks, improving the federal background check system, changing the legal age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21, restricting the size of gun magazines, or an all-out ban on the purchase of AR-15 style weapons.

Ivanka Trump weighing in on a father's proposal to arm teachers.

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: I think that having a teacher who is armed, who cares deeply about her students or his students and who is capable and qualified to bear arms is not a bad idea, but it's an idea that needs to be discussed.

[07:05:17] HARTUNG: Amid all the political fall-out, a somber first day back on campus. As students returned for orientation Sunday, their first time on school grounds since surviving the massacre.

TANZIL PHILIP, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: It was really scary. I didn't know how I was going to feel when I went in and I saw the fence around the freshman building and I just -- and all the windows were covered. I was just like -- I just can't believe something like this happened. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HARTUNG: President Trump will meet with many of the nation's governors this morning at the White House. He says Parkland will be first on their list to discuss.

And after a difficult few weeks at the White House, a new CNN poll puts the president's approval rating at 35 percent. That's down 5 percent over the past month. Chris, Alisyn, that matches his lowest rating in this poll since he took office.

CUOMO: All right, Kaylee, thank you very much.

Let's bring in CNN politics analyst David Gregory and CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Good to have you both.

David, what is your take on the state of play here? The focus was supposed to be on how did this person get a weapon and enable himself to do all of this killing?

Now there's a lot of attention on the investigation, what was known about him. What was and was not done. The sheriffs who went to the scene after the shooting had started. What's your take on the politics on the moment?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's appropriate. I think we can ask all of these questions. I think we can have attention on the accessibility of guns. How someone in this circumstance got his hands on a weapon legally when he couldn't, you know, go buy a beer. That's an appropriate debate, and that debate's going to go on for a while.

But I also think there should be a lot of attention paid on how law enforcement, when they get information about someone, how they pass this information along, how they share it among law enforcement agencies, how they share it with the school, how they share it with the federal government. We have to get our hands around this.

It's too easy to list all the missed signals and say, "Aha, you see? We could have stopped it" when there's individual steps that are very difficult to take. He couldn't have been incarcerated after one of these incidents or committed to a mental institution. We have to be honest about that and figure out how information sharing leads to a kind of red flag that law enforcement can actually act on.

But I think widening the spoke, we can do all these things at once. You can focus gun control measures and also focus on the investigation.

CAMEROTA: So Jeffrey, today Congress is back in Washington, and Washington has a weird way of warping the mind. But before they returned, there were all sorts of suggestions that there would be bipartisan action. There were Republicans -- I could just list them -- saying Pat Robertson and Jeff Flake talking about raising the age for purchasing a rifle from 18 to 21. John Cornyn is part of a bipartisan approach with Chris Murphy from Connecticut to strengthen background checks.

So there was a lot of talk that Republicans would get on board, and something will change this time.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, perhaps. Count we as very skeptical. The NRA is still opposed to raising the age from 18 to 21. The NRA has enormous sway over the Republican Party today.

CAMEROTA: But as you know, they are severing some ties with the NRA. Some things are changing like we haven't seen before.

TOOBIN: Some things are changing. But, you know, let's see whether anything comes up for a vote. And -- or even comes up for a committee hearing.

CAMEROTA: You think the impediment is Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

TOOBIN: I don't -- and I don't -- they are reflecting a larger truth, which is that the NRA has an enormous hold over the Republican Party. Not so much because of campaign contributions. But because their rating, you know, who gets an "A," who gets a "B," who gets a "C," moves votes, especially in Republican primaries. And Republicans do not want to offend the NRA. And as long as that is the fundamental truth of politics now, I think you are not going to see any changes.

CUOMO: They sure spend a lot of money for a group that's saying it's not a lobbying organization. You hear that latest line of B.S. coming out of this. Let me ask you something about the law here.


CUOMO: They could have stopped him. They could have arrested him. They could have taken his guns away. Law enforcement screwed up. The FBI screwed up. That's why this happened. Truth?

TOOBIN: You know, we can't know. We can't rewrite history. But just think about a larger truth of the criminal justice system. We have a hard time determining what took place in the past. Do you know how hard it is to predict what take place in the future? I mean, the idea that we can look at someone and decide whether they're going to be...

CUOMO: Putting his gun to people's heads? School wouldn't let him on campus.

TOOBIN: Something that moved me a lot was Dave Collins's book about Columbine. And there's a line in that book that I always think of, which is there is no profile. These serial killers differ from one another in fundamental ways that makes them very hard to identify.

Think about Muhammad and Malvo who up -- think about the Virginia Tech shooter. Think about Aurora, Colorado. These people are very different.

CAMEROTA: But they're all young men.

(CROSSTALK) GREGORY: Can I raise -- can I raise...?

CAMEROTA: They're all young men who have a history of sort of isolation and depression. I think that there are some commonalities.

TOOBIN: Young men with history of isolation and depression. That's millions of people.

GREGORY: Well, let me raise another point here that I think has to be a focus of debate.

The caretaker for this young man, who is concerned about his obsession with guns, the fact that he's unruly in the household, he's fighting with her son. If she says to law enforcement, "You know what? There's something wrong with this kid. His mother died and he's really out of control. And I don't think he should have his guns." Law enforcement can take that report. But until that's an adjudicated matter, a resolved matter legally, he cannot be flagged in the federal system.

Now, isn't that something that we ought to look at changing?

TOOBIN: But wait...

GREGORY: You say, "Oh, it's an abridgment of his individual rights." I mean, don't we do this kind of thing on no-fly lists, which are sometimes, you know, certainly fallible.

But to create a kind of a security matrix, to say there may be a reason, to your point, Alisyn, last week, for a gun seller to have something in front of them to say, "Why do you want this gun? Why do you want these seven guns?"

TOOBIN: We have said something. IN February of last year, President Trump signed a bill that made it easier, easier for people with mental health problems to get guns.

So -- so you know, let's not pretend history started in Parkland. History has been going on on this subject for a long time. And I think that rule from February of last year tells you a lot about where.

CAMEROTA: It does tell you a lot about where the president is, but it doesn't tell you a lot about where the public here is.

Here's the latest poll. So something has changed -- OK, David? -- just from the Las Vegas massacre. With that huge body count in October when this poll was taken after the Las Vegas massacre, 52 percent of Americans favored stricter gun laws. Today, Parkland shifted something. It's now at 70 percent.

And David, to your point, listen, we know that in Connecticut, those emergency risk orders of protection work. OK? So when somebody does call the deputy -- I mean, the sheriff or the police and says, "This person is a danger on themselves or others," they can take away their guns for a time, temporarily. OK? Not forever, but for the moment of crisis. Florida didn't have that. Maybe that's where we start.

You know, it just feels with 70 percent, as though they -- they will be able to make even some incremental changes in Florida and maybe nationally.

GREGORY: Well, I think that's perhaps right. But I go back to what Jeffrey said, which I think history has borne out, unfortunately. Which is we've seen after Newtown, you see majorities who support stricter gun, you know, restrictions. In quotes, I put that because, yes, generally speaking, that's the case.

But when it gets time for lawmakers to vote, you have -- the NRA is the kind of the tip of the spear here, which doesn't necessarily reflect all of its members who are more willing to support restrictions. What they argue is the tip of the sphere, no, this is tantamount to an assault on the Second Amendment and an assault on individual liberty. And because of this grading system, they can stop action in Congress that even their members might support.

That's a dynamic that's very difficult to change.

TOOBIN: When you talk about the NRA and those poll numbers, which are significant, you have to think about preference intensity, too. The people who answer polls, sure, they think -- you know, they'll -- they support tougher gun laws. But it's not a voting issue for them. It's not an issue that they think about every day.

The people who care about guns care about it passionately and will vote against people who are not on board.

CAMEROTA: I understand. I just also think that the fact that all of these companies, these airlines and these rental car companies are, for the first time, trying to sever ties with the NRA, you know, money talks.

CUOMO: It mattered with LGBT. When we were dealing with them and the companies would stop using venues. It didn't seem that limited. They're targeting the NRA, not entire municipalities. If we were to see them stop doing business with Florida, let's say, but who knows?

GREGORY: But can I just say the other thing I think we need? I think a lot of the media debate here is also driven by extremes on both sides. We need to get back -- I mean, when is the last time we've had a really good debate -- I'm sure we're trying to do it on CNN -- between Wayne LaPierre and someone who's involved in -- involved in the assault weapons ban? Let's get to some real factual-based debates about what changes could make a difference.

CAMEROTA: Well, I think that was called the CNN town hall last week. I mean, there were people of all different constituencies on that stage talking to each other, you know?

GREGORY: Right. I wasn't impugning that at all. I mean, yes, of course that was important. I'm talking about having very specific issue debates about what things wake and what don't so you have a kind of more fulsome discussion about what these -- what these opportunities are.

CAMEROTA: I totally agree. Let's go with what works. You know, forget ideology. Let's just go with whatever works.

All right. Dave Gregory, Jeffrey Toobin, thanks.

[07:15:05] OK. Time for CNN Money now. Corporate America is entering the national gun debate, as we've been discussing. Some companies are cutting ties with the NRA. Chief business correspondent Christine Romans is at the magic wall to explain all of this to us.


Well, a growing number of companies are breaking up with the NRA because their customers are demanding it. They're using social media to express their outrage. Now they're not targeting weapons makers. They're targeting companies that offer discounts to NRA members.

And for some, the pressure is working. Symantec, MetLife, multiple car rental agencies all ending their relationship with the NRA. This one is one of the first tier. First National Bank of Omaha, it tweeted that customer feedback caused it to cancel an NRA credit card. No more will they offer that.

The latest also, Delta, United Airlines, both of them coming out and saying that they are ending their discounted flights for NRA members. And they asked the gun lobby to remove their information from its website.

The NRA calling this a shameful display of political and civic cowardice, adding that "These brands will be replaced by others who want customers that value constitutional freedoms."

So these companies are responding to their consumers, you guys. For years corporate America stayed away from, you know, political-charged issues like gun -- gun violence. But now companies are taking a stand on climate change, immigration, on gay rights. And that's actually good for business.

According to a recent poll, the most important thing to consumers is to buy from companies that do the right thing.

Although, Chris, there are others on social media now who have taken the opposite approach. They were saying, "Thank you for the list of companies that I am going to boycott, because they don't support my Second Amendment rights."

CUOMO: That's a fair point. We'll have to see how the momentum plays out here. The polls show one thing, but you know, there are people online saying that the NRA is going to have more members than ever. We'll know soon enough.

Christine, thank you very much.

A former senator suggesting absent fathers and broken homes, that's why we have a crisis of gun violence. Why he thinks more involved families is the key to stopping future tragedies. And the strong reaction his opinions are getting, next.


[07:21:21] CUOMO: All right. The people are making their preference known. Seventy percent of Americans in a new CNN poll support stricter gun laws. While the current debate on gun control is centered around issues like background checks, age limits, access to what kind of weapons, former GOP senator Rick Santorum wants to turn the focus of debate toward family.


RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: In my opinion, certainly gun control is a debate we need to have. But another debate we need to have is something that's also common in these shootings, the fact that these kids come from broken homes without dads. And that is not something we're talking about. And that is the commonality, and that is something -- you talked with Chris Murphy about this. We want to talk about things we can work together on, how about working together to try to see what we can do to get more dads involved in the lives of kids.


CUOMO: Let's bring the man himself in here. CNN senior political commentator, Rick Santorum, an NRA member with a lifetime "A-plus" rating. Good to have you. Rick, thank you for being here. You say we've got to find things to work on together. Shouldn't the priority be working on who gets access to weapons and how? Don't you think that should be where our lawmakers start?

SANTORUM: No, I don't. I actually think that, you know, if you look at -- at the root cause of these problems, I think the root cause of these problems really end up to a lot of societal factors, if you have violence in video games, you have violence on television. You have -- you have all sorts of issues, you know, related to that kind of culture.

Secondly, you have issues in the home. I mean, I think it was 70 to 75 percent of, quote, "school shooters," all young males, did not have a father growing up in the home for a variety of different reasons. You know, so if you want to look at the commonalities and trends, you see fatherlessness at an epidemic of young men being raised without dads in the homes. And the consequence is not just in gun violence but a whole host of other maladies that we're facing as a society.

CUOMO: No question that you have culture issues at play in a lot of different facets of the behavior in our country.

But if you look at places around the globe, the only metric that distinguishes the United States is the ease of access to guns and the number of guns, whether it's mental health, whether it's the family unit, the nuclear unit. The only metric that matters are the guns and who gets them. How can that not be the priority?

SANTORUM: Look, first off, I've said already why I don't think that's the priority. Should there be a discussion, particularly about people who are, you know, mentally ill or have -- have a history of violence, having access to guns? Absolutely. I think everyone would agree to that. I don't think anybody wants to put guns in the hands of people who are not mentally stable to be able to use them...

CUOMO: Then why haven't the laws changed?

SANTORUM: The laws have changed. Are there more laws we can look at? Sure.

CUOMO: How? How have the laws changed? None of that stuff is captured. You have to be adjudicated mentally ill. You know all this stuff. There's a whole -- there's a whole universe of possibility of behavior that is not captured by the current system. You don't even have all sales.

SANTORUM: Alisyn just talked in the previous segment about what Connecticut can do, with...

CUOMO: That's state by state. I'm saying on the federal level.

SANTORUM: Again, but don't say that it's not happening. It's happening on a state-by-state level. Could it happen on a national level? Sure, it could happen on a national level. But again, if you look at the reality is that most of the people who were involved in these shootings, you know, obtained guns legally.

CUOMO: Right.

SANTORUM: And they obtain -- they obtained guns legally, you know. And you probably, given when they purchased the gun, probably wouldn't have -- have been pulled out by the system. In this case, he would have. But a lot of cases, they wouldn't have. So...

CUOMO: No, he wouldn't have been pulled out. He bought these guys legally, because rumors and anecdotes about you in Florida or on the national level don't have people take your guns and don't flag you from buying.

[07:25:04] SANTORUM: Yes. Well, again, I think that's something that is worth taking a look at.


SANTORUM: But I think the broader claims that are being made in this debate, as you know, you saw in the CNN town hall meeting, is a much broader assault on -- on the purchase and ownership of weapons. And I think that's something that -- that we have to be very, very careful of doing.

I mean, the reality is guns save a lot of lives in this country. And in fact, the debate is being had, is something we need to have. Whether we should have people in schools who are there to protect people. And more than just one -- maybe just one security agent. So that's another important debate. We have all sorts of protection for people in vulnerable situations.

And when you have, quote, "gun-free school zones," what you do is you send up a -- you know, an arrow, a neon arrow to -- to these places to killers who want to kill people and not just kill themselves.

CUOMO: Except school shootings -- except school shootings are a very small percentage of gun crime, and they're a very small percentage of mass shootings. So it's schools, true. Although they have a much lower incidence of violence and other common meeting places. Then what's next? Is it the movie theaters? Is it concerts? Is it stores?

Because mass shootings happen everywhere. It's an article of convenience to say, "You know, if you just give teachers guns, there goes your school shooting program. Let's move onto something else." It's disingenuous, and you know that, Rick. You know the numbers.

SANTORUM: It's not about our convenience. It's specifically targeting places -- shooters specifically target places that are soft targets.

And what you need to do is make sure that you don't have soft targets.

So in other words, when movie theaters say, well, you know, people with concealed carry can't take their guns into the movie theater. These are law-abiding people. They're not there -- they're not there to hurt anybody. And it would actually be good if there were people there who could actually respond to a shooter.

So the idea -- we have to think anew -- about, for example, the Sandy Hook shooter. I mean, the Sandy Hook shooter, according to all the evidence I've seen, actually drove past the high school to the elementary school, because the high school was known to have someone there who could actually fire back.

CUOMO: And that person had a parent, a mother and a father, who worked like crazy to try and keep him from his own darkness. And you can't parent somebody through being deranged or mental health. You know this, too, Rick. You know, you're a big family guy. You've studied this issue.

I'm not saying that you don't have family issues and cultural issues. But I'm saying to ignore the main idea of why these school shootings...

SANTORUM: Chris, I'm not sure anybody is ignoring it. I think that -- I think...

CUOMO: You say the main reason it happened is because we don't have dads in enough of these houses. You've got unchecked mental illness, and you have easy access to weapons.

SANTORUM: Excuse me, Chris. What I said on the show is that we should have a debate on guns, but we should also have a discussion of this. And we're not. No one is talking about it. And in fact, it's been completely ignored. And the reality is not every shooter came from a broken home. And some -- some are -- some parents do their best and fail. But the reality is that over 70 percent do.

And when you go into the incarceration rates of young men in prison and -- and you look at how many of them do not have fathers in the home, again, 75, 80 percent. This is a serious problem in America, and we continue to whistle through the graveyard and ignore it. And I think that's a mistake.

CUOMO: Look, I don't disagree with that at all. But I just think at best it's a both. And in terms of your priorities...

SANTORUM: I'm not disagreeing with that. I said we should have both. Not only one.

CUOMO: But the reason you're getting heat on this is it sounds like you're trying to distract from the gun debate. Just to be clear from that, you're not doing that.


CUOMO: If lawmakers take it up right now in D.C., you're good with that.

SANTORUM: We shouldn't do it at the expense of law-abiding people's access to guns.

CUOMO: How do they do that? That's something I've never understood, as a gun owner myself. If you don't have any of these kinds of red flags as they're being called now, right, because there are some state laws called red flag laws. If you don't have something like that, why would legal gun owners be worried about this?

My answer seems to be somebody is telling them that the next step is a gun ban. Somebody's telling them, "They're going to come and take your guns." As we both know, that's B.S. Right?

So if you're a legal gun owner, all of these changes to the background check systems, having all sales checked, having -- if somebody has these kinds of concerns, some ability through a mechanism of a doctor, or of a family or a guardian to raise something and create a temporary period of stability with that person, that doesn't affect me or you.

SANTORUM: Yes. Most of the problems that we have right now are -- is the current system not succeeding and not doing the job that it's designated to do. So I mean, you have failures in background checks. You have miscommunication.

CUOMO: You don't have all sales covered.

SANTORUM: No. Where you do have laws covered. And they simply haven't done a very good job at executing the law. So we have a problem with the execution of the current law before we actually look at, you know, how we're going to expand it.

But again, I'm open to that debate. You saw folks like John Cornyn, who's a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, coming forward with -- with a modification with Chris Murphy. I mean, those kinds of discussions I think are worth having.

CUOMO: Good. As long as it's coming through as a both, why not?

SANTORUM: Very clearly -- very clearly, I yesterday said it's not just both. There's a lot of reasons. I mean, again, the whole idea of the culture and the violent culture, I think, is -- is somewhat unique to America. And look, we can't compare America and the diversity we --