tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN February 16, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
generally you can't file a lawsuit because someone failed to do their job. but if there's a protocol in place and someone with the fbi did not follow that protocol they may individually be liable for what happened. i agree it's premature to call for the director's resignation at this point. i understand the governor is having to deal with a lot of pain but also political fallout perhaps for his support or opposition to gun control issues and he's trying to point the finger at someone else. i do applaud the fbi for coming out with this, as early as they did, and try iing to investigat it. but if somebody screwed up, they need to find that person. they need to address that individual. and they need to fix the problem. >> okay. page and josh, thank you so much. again i'm brooke baldwin here in parkland, florida. we'll continue our special coverage both, of course, of this story here in florida and breaking news out of washington. and i'm pamela brown in washington. the other bombshell involves
russian meddling in u.s. elections. indictments of 13 russians, unprecedented indictments give us the greatest understanding yet of russia's role in the 2016 election and even before. and it reveals the expansive operation to sow division among voters and even how some trump campaign aides were unwittingly, unknowingly involved. deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. >> russians also recruited and paid real americans to engage in political activities to hold political campaigns and hold rallies. they pretended to be grassroots activists. according to the indictment americans did not know they were communicating with russians. now there is no allegation in this indictment that any american was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. there is no allegation in the
indictment that the charge conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election. >> let's get more on this from our panel. we'll start with cnn crime and justice reporter shimon prokupecz. we've been covering this story for the better part of the year, shim n. so much is laid out in these documents. >> this is a stunning piece of information. we have 37 pages, really detail so much about what the fbi, what law enforcement, what our intelligence partners have been doing, really, since they learned of this operation. and, really, there's a lot here that stands out. the level of detail, the way they were able -- the fbi was able to penetrate this operation really shows you some of their work and some of the techniques that they have learned and are now capable of doing. one -- couple of things here, i will say, in terms of how two people who were associated -- two russians associated with this operation were able to travel to the united states,
help organize rallies, communicate with people in the -- that were part of the trump campaign. >> they got the visas with the fbi knowing, look, they're coming here for this purpose so they can track them? >> great point. sometimes we have covered stories where the fbi is aware of this and they have allowed the people -- that could be perhaps. fbi was able to track movement, communication, infiltrated databases, e-mails. that's really kind of what stands out to me. and the sophistication of this operation. the amount of money they had, over a million dollars a month or so they were able to spend on facebook ads, twitter. effectiveness and the research they did. they knew which areas to target, which communities to target to really try to interfere and try to influence the election. >> and what stuck out to me is how detailed some of the areas were in terms of the communications among the russians, for example, when september of 2017 when it was clear social media companies
caught on to their activity. normally law enforcement will leave out some details. but it's laid out all in here. >> that's right. we've covered other cases like this. you don't get this kind of detail because you worry by revealing all this information, you basically are burning your sources. you burn your methods. it's clear the fbi was no longer concerned about that, that the intelligence they had been gathering from this operation was probably come to an end. they probably felt they did not need anymore. that's why they went ahead and put all this information in the indictment. it shows you also that up through september of 2017, perhaps even up until yesterday or whenever the indictments were filed, that the fbi was able to still watch them, still keep an eye on them, still monitor their activity. >> from a political standpoint, i know something that the white house has really latched on to, sarah, is the fact that the
indictment says no one wittingly worked with the russians, that there was some unwitting participation on behalf of trump campaign associates and aides but no one wittingly. so you can imagine that the white house would want to come out and say, look, doesn't this show there's no collusion? but can they come out and say that? >> i don't think we can take that there's no collusion in what mueller was looking at. he said these people were not aware they were helping russian officials. that does not mean that there's no part of mueller's investigation that has not found some kind of collusion. we don't have the full sense of what he was looking at. in addition to pointing that out, i would be surprised, shocked if the white house did not note rod rosenstein saying this did not affect the outcome of the election. unclear to me how he feels like he can draw that conclusion based on this kind of interference. but that is certainly something that will resonate with the president. he has viewed these russian
investigations aa way to undermine his victory from day one. >> for context here, when the president was initially briefed by the intelligence leaders, when he first became president, he was very concerned about the meddling assessment, we're told, by james clapper and he brought up does this impact the legitimacy? does this impact the outcome of the election? that appears to be top of mind and it's curious that rod rosenstein made a point of saying that today and, as sara pointed out, how the heck can he -- how can you point to that and say that social media post did not affect your vote? >> we have this piece of it. lots of new detail but don't have the full scope. it's unclear how rosenstein can can say that. what is clear, donald trump, to sara's point and what you're saying about the briefing, what he asked clapper, has been completely, apparently to all of us, incapable of separating out russian meddling with the
delegitimization of his election. he sees it as one in the same. which is why he has, time and time again, talked about the whole russia thing as just a democratic effort for an election that they lost. it's sore losers. the whole russia thing is just fake news, he called it once. i think today is so significant because you have rod rosenstein, of his own justice department, come out and just put that to bed, that there is no doubt in their mind -- they had enough evidence to bring these indictments, that there was russian meddling in this election. the white house will say, come on. the president said it was russia in january before he was president, went to that press conference in november and tried to make clear he believed in the intelligence agency. >> but he also said he believed putin. >> look at the totality of his remarks. there's a couple of begrudgingly admitted it could be russia and he also said it could be a
400-pound guy in a bed in new jersey. >> right. >> he calls into question whether or not the whole russian thing is a lie. i think today there's a big piece of evidence from his own justice department put forward that it is not. >> i brought this up to the white house official today. they said whenever he said russia thing was a hoax he was speaking specifically about collusion and not meddling. i said it would be good if he could clarify that. >> the russia hopes continues. now ads on facebook. what about the totally bias and media b. a s in favor of crooked hillary? it didn't say anything about coll collusion here. >> the president could go out there and say forcefully and publicly that a foreign government meddled in our election, tried to influence our election. that is not acceptable. here are the steps that we are taking to ensure that this is never happening again, to ensure that we can protect our election integrity.
i hope this will also put to bed any sore feelings, any questions about whether i won this election on my own. go ahead. brag about your election win, no one saw it coming. take your moment. but you have to say both things and the president has not said the first part of that equation, that russia meddled. and we need to stop it. >> he has begrudgingly admitted it as of late but not gone farther to step it, russia sanctions, what's going to happen there. carrie cordero, i want to bring you in for your legal analysis here. talking to shimon about how detailed these indictments r s . a lot of information in here, a lot that i'm surprised by, that they were listening in to communications or being able to tap into their e-mails and so forth. >> it is a complex investigation. it would have started as a counterintelligence investigation. but then obviously it shifted into a major criminal investigation as well. so, a variety of
investigati investigation. it ds not start with the special counsel in june or just because jim comey got fired. this investigation started, at least, back in 2014, according to the indictment. so, this was an investigation that was looking at russian government sponsored activities. it was a conspiracy. if there's any word we take away, it's that it was a conspiracy, individuals who were involved in an organization with fund-raising, with money involved, with budgets, with organization, with translator divisions. it had an organizational
structure to it. it was not ad hoc. it was not small. it was large in scale. it was coordinated. it was organizationsed and it was deliberate. >> after this break, we're going to talk about what this means, indicting 13 russians. what's going to happen next? we'll be back right after this break. stay with us. it's time for the 'ultimate sleep number event'
unprecedented indictments give us the greatest understanding yet of russia role in the 2016 election. former nixon white house counsel john dean. your reaction to the news today? >> it certainly will be very difficult for the trump white house to call this a witch hunt and a hoax. this kind of puts an end to that. pamela, one of the things i found most interesting are the charging statutes they relied on. the core of the indictment
relates to 18 usc-371, which is the general conspiracy to defraud the government. that's a statute that, while there are unwitting aides that are mentioned here, that could also easily include witting aides knowingly joining a conspiracy. the other thing that was interesting in the statute, they cite -- but i couldn't find in my fast read of it -- aiding and abetting statute. i didn't see any aiders or abetters in here. obviously at one point they were contemplating them. and that's, again, where you could find, as sarah mentioned earlier the people who were unwitting might have also included people who were very knowingly engaging in this conspiracy. those are my key reactions. it's going to be difficult and possible to deny. and this is something that the special counsel can build on. >> so, if i hear you correctly,
you're saying basically that this still leaves the door open to possible collusion? i've spoken to white house officials who say, look, these indictments say that no one from the trump campaign wittingly worked with any of these russians, rod rosenstein came out today. doesn't this show that there was no collusion? it sounds like you have a different take. >> i have a very different take and i'm sure that the white house counsel and the special counsel, ty cobb, are looking at this statute and saying, who else might this reach? while they'll obviously take the position that nobody wittingly was involved, there's some witnesses with people like michael flynn and george papadopoulos who might be able to finger people. we don't know who all they might have looked at, at this point. this is definitely an indictment to build on. >> you're right. we don't know what we don't
know. robert mueller's team has been operating sort of in the silo, sort of in a black hole. what does this signal to you in terms of where this investigation is heading, how much longer it's going to take. we know that the president has been very clear and his lawyers have been clear, they want this to wrap up soon. is this a signal we still have a long way to go, in your view? >> to me it's a middle ground, that they're well into the investigation, but there's a lot more that can be swept into this. we've got to remember, this is also a counterintelligence investigation and those are notoriously slow and protracted. watergate, by comparison, ran 928 days of pure scandal. there were precursors and aftershocks, but that was the core of the period. so by that standard, we're pretty early. these things take time to
investigate. they take time for the public to absorb and i'm sure part of the thinking of the investigation counsel was to help educate the american people about what he's doing. and this is the kind of document that certainly is going to do that. >> let me ask you quickly as we wrap up, what was your reaction to rod rosenstein, deputy attorney general, going out there by himself to talk about this and make the announcement? >> well, it's interesting they made the announcement through the justice department. the special counsel in the past, say archibald cox and leon jaworski during watergate, who were parallel, special counsel appointed by the department of justice, they had their own press aides and made their own announcements. there is a press aide at the mueller's office. but they decided to pass this to the deputy attorney swren, who is the overseer of the investigation and have him at
least make this initial announcement. that might have been to avoid questions. it might have been that they want to show that they have respect for the persons in charge of the investigation and bolster his strength, vis-a-vis the president in all this rumbling of removing him. >> we were talking to the panel, does this mean we may never hear from mueller? we'll have to wait and see. john dean, thank you so much for coming on, offering your perspective and analysis. >> be sure to stand by, everyone. the president leaving for florida. you see marine right now. melania trump is not traveling with him. i want to go to white house reporter kate bennett with more on that. why is she not going with him, kate sh. >> she is going with him to florida. she did not opt to ride on marine one with the president from the white house to andrews air force base. she decided to motorcade separately from the white house, riding via vehicle prior to the
president's arrival at andrews. they will fly to florida together. however, that traditional walk on the south lawn that we've seen so many times as they leave for florida did not happen today. her communications director tells me it was a scheduling issue. it was just easier for mrs. trump to meet the president today at andrews rather than fly there on helicopter and avoid the traffic. so, you know, all of this is coming in the wake of an alleged affair story that broke in "the new yorker" involving the president several years ago. speculation is rife. all eyes are on the first couple. however, melania trump is anticipated to spend the weekend at mar-a-lago. >> how unusual is it, just in context, to spend the weekend at mar-a-lago but not be traveling together there? >> this is a first lady who is expressing her independence. we saw a similar move state of
the union evening when she took a separate motorcade from the white house to the capitol building, separate from the president. that's not something we see often. she also traveled with him last week to cincinnati, ohio. however, she didn't go to attend his speech. she went to attend an event of her own at cincinnati children's hospital. she's just displaying a sense of independence and doing things differently, if you will. she remains pretty quiet about all these headlines. we haven't actually heard from her on the topic. however, you know, she remains private and somewhat mysterious, to be honest with you. and this is unusual that the two are not traveling together in marine one. however, we should see them together in florida when the president visits the victims of the high school shooting. >> kate bennett, thank you so much. >> moments ago, the president tweeted on the indictments against the 13 russians, let's take a look here what that says. i'm just trying to find it here. he says russia start ed their
anti-u.s. campaign in 2014, long before i announced that i would run for president. the results of the election were not impacted. the trump campaign did nothing wrong. no collusion. david chalian, no surprise, i guess, with that response. >> certainly no surprise. this panel predicted almost each sentence in that tweet. to the point about this -- the indictment going back to 2014, the president should make that a point. i think it underline s sara's point that she's been making earlier, it's been such for quite some period of time that it would be good to hear from the president about everything he's doing to prevent that from ever happening again and to take that so seriously. you see why we don't get that in the second half of the tweet. he wants to make sure it's not clouded with him doing anything wrong, or his campaign. i would say while rod rosenstein
may have said today that the outcome wasn't impacted -- again we don't know how he can come to that conclusion -- what he cannot say is that the trump campaign or anyone affiliated with it did not do anything wrong. i did not hear him say that. we know from who mueller has been talking to, let's use the trump tower meeting with don junior as the first example from last june, there are direct involvement of trump campaign officials or associates and their interactions with russians that are -- have been subject of these interviews. to suggest that somehow today's indictments makes it so that the campaign did nothing wrong, i just don't think we know that. >> you heard john dean cast doubt on that theory. >> i michael flynn cooperating with bob mueller, george papadopoulos cooperating with bob mueller. >> and poised to cooperate. >> think about those two, george
papad papadopoulos met with a russian professor seeking dirt on hillary clinton or offer ing dirt on hillary clinton. what does that have to do with any of this indictment? doesn't seem like it would have anything to do with this indictment. we don't know where that's heading. there are so many unanswered questions still in this investigation. we could potentially, maybe next week or so, whenever, have three cooperators that were close to the president, working on the campaign that have to deal with russia communications, russian interactions. we don't know that. this says that this indictment has nothing to do with any americans. so what else is bob mueller working on that we don't know about? >> this tweet goes to show that he was concerned, as he read this, how does this impact me and the outcome of the election? clearly, it states that in mid 2016 the russians had gone from just wanting to focus on sowing distrust to focus on supporting
president trump and disparaging hillary clinton. it makes you wonder, carrie, why the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, made a point to say there are no allegations in this indictment that impacted the outcome of the election. he didn't have to say that. it makes you wonder if he was speaking to the president directly. >> he didn't have to do it. he did it specifically. we have to assume it was intentional. he brought out this indictment. and what he did is said, look, in the four corners of this document, there is not anything that affects americans or their culpability. what you can deduce from that, not anyone in the trump campaign. i think he did that because he was providing political cover for this investigation to continue. and i think rod rosenstein gets a bit of credit -- >> he's under fire as well. >> he gets some credit for what he did. he went out and really, he is the attorney general for purposes of this investigation and he was really the attorney general today. he stood there and he put this investigation on his shoulders.
he gave it political cover so that the actual people, the special counsel's team conducting the investigation does not have to answer questions, is not viewed through the lens of the television by the president and his team. he gave political cover so that it can continue. that's what's important, he knows, for the integrity of the investigation, that it continues. >> do you think he also gave himself political cover, sara? >> i think he gave himself political cover. this is a president prone to lashing out. he has considered firing rod rosenstein, he has vented about firing rod rosenstein. there are times he has wanted to fire bob mueller and fire everyone around him at one time other or another. it buys them time. in the sense that you think rod rosenstein rose to this moment acting as the attorney general, i think a lot of people will look at the president's reaction with disappointment today and say this is still someone obsessed with his elect oral victory and how he got into the
oval office, not the weight of governing, not what this means about the vulnerabilities of americans' election system and the question of is russia an l ally, an adversary, something in between? and how do you deal with that relationship from what you know from intelligence and now from this report from robert mueller. >> they say that they've seen evidence that they are meddling in 2018. >> this is just one organization. there are probably other organizations. having covered these kinds of cases before, these national security division cases where we indict people from other countries or sometimes we call them nation state indictments, there's usually some form of punishment that comes from our government, from our white house. we've seen it -- sony hacking case, chinese cases. what does the white house do? usually in these types of cases, as you know, the white house state department works with the
department of justice in these announcements, preparing to -- because it also causes international risk. we still haven't heard from the white house. >> which raises the question, right. i asked the white house what does this mean for the sanctions that the white house chose not to impose. instead putting companies working with russia on notice. they say they'll get back to me with an answer. we'll wait to see if that happens. everyone, stand by. we have much more to discuss. there is another major story breaking right now in parkland, florida. that shooting massacre at the school. we're learning that the fbi failed to act on a recent tip that warned of the shooter's threats. we'll be back.
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welcome back. i'm pamela brown. we continue to cover the stunning developments in the russian investigation. robert mueller indicts 13 russians, rushl nationals and three russian entities are accused of violatiing laws and conspiracy that worked to help donald trump and disparage hillary clinton during the 2016 campaign. russian defendants allegedly posed as u.s. persons, created false u.s. personas and operated social media pages and groups designed to attract u.s. audiences and wage, quote, information warfare. joining me now to discuss this is cnn senior media politics reporter and cnn host brian
stelter. what do you make of this extensive indictment? >> it proves everything that we believed to be true, everything that the senate and house intelligence committees said was true, everything that the president of the united states denied and dismissed. all of our reporting has been born out. everything that facebook, google, twitter, have said about the involvement they said has been born out in this indictment. and now with rod rosenstein coming out, it's no longer something that the president can run away from. what he is doing is saying, look, there's no evidence of collusion. no one has proven collusion yet, anyway. the salient point is that foreign actors were able to use our social media networks, our digital platforms in order to meddle in our elections and, more than that, they can still do that and are still doing that. and that's a real threat for 2018, 2020 elections in the future. you ask, what do these social
media networks, what do facebook, google, twitter need to do? they need to figure out if they have the will and capability to address this in a serious way. >> just this week, intelligence officials are saying they have already seen this meddling for the 2018 mid terms. brian, not only does this completely blow up the president's, quote, hoax argument but the conservative media that echoes him. of course, the white house will say the president is talking about col willusion but that distinction has not been made. >> he's still not taking this all that seriously. this is the kind of attack from another country that merits a prime time address. that was true a year ago. it's still true today. this is the kind of behavior by russian propagandas that demand a forceful government response. we're not seeing it from the president. for months there's been a concerted effort to try to erode robert mueller's credibility, to
try to discredit his efforts to get to the bottom of this. today's indictments are a very strong case. it's going to make the attempts to take down mueller a lot more complicated. those conservative media arguments that are promoted by the president and his allies have been undermined today. for all of us as americans, anybody who has a phone, anybody who uses twitter and facebook, it's a moment for us to think about how these platforms are being manipulated and how it's still happening today. there's been a rise in russia-backed trolling in the wake of the parkland attack a couple of days ago. 10 gop was one of these far right-wing twitter accounts that promoted trump and made up a lot of lies. i remember before election day getting into arguments with this twitter troll, not knowing it was a russian twitter troll. i remember trying to debunk his lies. i guess it was a waste of time. the point is, all of us have to think about our use of these social platforms, whether we are even inadvertently falling for
what could be foreign propaganda. >> it's frightening -- go ahead. >> i would add very quickly to brian's point, which is a great one -- this could not come at a worst time for networks like facebook and google. the decline in trust in social media networks, the threat of federal regulation, there's sort of a perfect storm going on here in terms of finally for the first time since these companies were created over a decade ago, we're finally running into this sort of moment where we're losing our sense of romance with those networks. >> yeah. >> to be reminded now, to have it back in the headlines that these social networks played a key role in russia's ability to meddle in our elections, that's really bad for them. i do think they have to go back to the drawing board. efforts that they've made, how they've worked with special counsel, how they've worked with congress so far. it's not enough to prevent this from happening in 2018 or 2020. there needs to be serious thinking about what kind of responsibility they're going to take if they're serious about
stopping this from happening again. >> dylan, brian, thank you so much to both of you. i do appreciate it. we want to bring in senior cnn national correspondent frederik pleitgen. fred, russian officials have strongly denied ever meddling in the u.s. election. what is their reaction to these russian indictments? >> yeah. well, russian officials -- they came out very quickly, pamela, in the form of a spokesman for the foreign ministry, said that this new indictment was what she called absurd. the more important thing is that the most important man on that indictment, the man behind the internet research company, really someone who has a big business empire here. he came out very, very quickly with a statement of his own. i want to read you the gist of it. i think it's quite interesting. he said, quote, americans are very impressionable people. they see what they want to see. i have great respect for them. i'm not at all upset that i'm on
this list. if they want to see the devil, then let them see one. if this doesn't sound to you like someone who is particularly afraid he's in an indictment, that's certainly the swrist that we're getting here as well. for people like him, a new breed of oligarch. to them it's almost a badge of honor. one of the main things they want to prove is that they're useful and important to vladimir putin. an indictment like this is something that would certainly give him some credit with putin if some of this comes out. he is certainly someone also after this, who has benefited from his very close ties to the kremlin, who has become a lot more important also, in part, being linked to russian security companies that are even operating in syria. pamela? >> i want to say, the white house just released a statement moments ago reading, in part, it is more important now than ever to come together as americans. we cannot allow those speaking -- seeking to sow confusion, discord to be successful. it is time we stop the
outlandish partisan attacks, wild and false allegations and far-fetched theories that only serve to further the actions of bad actors like russia. your reaction to that, steve? >> you know, it's pretty amazing. it's difficult to tell whether that's coming from the white house or the kremlin. often times their talking points seem to be quite similar. this is the same white house that called all of this ridiculous, a hoax. and, of course, yes, now they're going to say we were just talking about the collusion part. that's clearly not the case. two things struck me about this. first of all, the fact that the russian intelligence services actually sent teams of russians to do research to figure out how to best meddle in the elections is really something. it's very, very aggressive. and i often wondered how a russian sitting in this troll factory knew that such and such was a purple state or it was not. now we know, they came here and
did their homework. another question i have about what that team was up to, there's talk in the indictment of how there were unwitting people that met with them. you know, that's what the indictment says. that does not rule out, of course, that there were people who were aware they were having cl clandestine or more discreet meetings. what set me back when i heard all of this, the system -- by that i mean the administration, the intelligence services, clearly the fbi shall -- knew all this information, has this this information for a significant amount of time. not too long ago you'll recall that the head of all three russian intelligence services were in this country, meeting, if i'm not mistaken, senior members of our intelligence services and other members of the government. that's flabbergasting to me. what you're telling vladimir putin is, walk all over us and guess what, we're going to invite your guys who actually authored this to washington to talk to them. they're going to say there's important counterterrorism
stuff. that's baldbalderdash. there's not been a counterterrorism thing that russia has been involved with that's worth that for some period of time. >> thank you, gentlemen. appreciate you coming on, offering your reporting and analysis. >> just ahead, our other breaking news story, the governor of florida calling on fbi director christopher wray to resign after news that the agency mishandled a tip about the parkland school gunman. that is next. this is cnn special news coverage.
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wrung man who has confessed to the killings. this is huge today. the fbi is admitting its tip line received a phone call with information close to the shooter on january 5th. that was six weeks before this mass shooting at douglas. the fbi understands the gravity of the oversight. let's just call it what it is, massive screw-up, with the director of the fbi, himself expressing regret. cnn's brian todd has the details. he is in this gunman's previous neighborhood here at parkland. also with us, cnn analyst charles ramsey, who used to lead the police forces both in philadelphia and in washington. brian, starting with you, this phone call, six weeks before this school shooting, what did this person who knew the shooter say? >> brooke, this is simply just a stunning and disturbing development coming less than 48 hours after the shooting took place, by the fbi. because of a detail of this tip.
it's really -- almost seems to predict what the shooter was going to do. this tip coming to the fbi on january 5th, just last month. here is some of the detail of the tip. this is from a person close to the shooter, according to the fbi. they talked about the shooter's gun ownership, his desire to kill people, his erratic behavior, disturbing social media posts as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting. the information should have been assessed as a potential threat to life, according to the fbi. that's the detail that they got in that tip 42 days before the shooting took place, from a person close to the shooter. here is -- i'll paraphrase to you a little bit of what christopher wray, the fbi director said a short time ago about this. we are still investigating the facts. i am committed to getting to the bottom of what happened in this particular matter and reviewing our processes. he also said that they have spoken with victims and families and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific
tragedy. brooke, this comes really as a dagger to the heart of these families who are grieving right now, searching for answers, that such a detailed tip to the fbi was received just last month on january 5th and what happened in the process was it was never passed along to the fbi's miami field office. it's a hassle right now especially for the families. >> reporter: chief, let me bring you in. you think, of course, my heart, i think of the mothers and the fathers. and this person did the right thing. they did the right thing and called this fbi tip line. how can this happen? >> well, it's inexcusable. obviously it can happen because it did happen but it shouldn't have. when that comes in, i've never served in the fbi. i don't know what the broke is but they would pass it on to the
field office. in this case, miami. it could go to the joint terrorism task force. they would do an initial screening. if that is coupled with the first one on youtube, there is a database. if i know eguardian where a name can be entered and they would match those two up and say yeah, we've got a problem here. locals are notified. they go out and interview the individual and all the steps start to fall in place. >> reporter: it just fees like the right things were done to a point. the fbi interviewed the person who posted the youtube video. the shooter had commented in his own name. and again, an example of someone calling up this 1-800 number doing right thing. and yet 17 lives were lost. >> that's the whole point of having a tip line to be able to get information and follow up on that information. granted, a lot of the tips turn
out to be nothing, but so what? we have to be equal to follow up all of them. the other part is that those people who feel like nothing needs to change no, laws need to be changed will be the first to say, law enforcement needs to do its job. everything is fine. they just dropped the ball. if they hadn't dropped the ball, this might not have happened. we all know it is deeper than that. there are step that's need to be taken and that's what you'll start to hear very shortly. >> reporter: 100% agree with you. charles ramsey, i appreciate your perspective. we're going to talk to students and get their perspective. a few moments ago aid special opportunity to talk to one of the very first responders who arrived at this mass shooting. he was the incident commander here at douglas. mike most er. he was stwang ray ronnie, the incident commander at the columbine high school in 1999. and here is what they said to
me. >> the 911 calls kept coming in. we were told there was an active shooter at the high school. when i arrived, even throw the radio traffic was really busy saying the same thing, there was an eerie quiet for about a minute. we were hoping wasn't real but it sure sounded like. it was after that minute was up and the calm quickly went away and patients begin to present themselves at the command post. when we're being told there are police officers that have wounded children with them but they're inside the complex. they're just outside the building in the school. we're not going to wait. we're going to go in there and we are, in our business we know that there is a lot of risk but we know if the benefit is very high, we're willing to take that high risk. and that's what happened. when we're being told there are injured children. >> how many years has it been? 19? >> 19 years since columbine.
>> reporter: is this day gentleman voor for you? >> yes. we were talking about, so many of these incidents were exactly what happened. unfortunately they continued to happen 19 years later. >> reporter: i want to thank those two incident commanders for being with me and i want to bring this two remarkable students telling their stories, calling for action. both of these students were here at the school when the shooting happened. first, thank you for being with me. i cannot imagine two days later with the thoughts swirling in your heads. i want to start with this new piece of information that the fbi massively screwed up. did not relay the information to the proper place. there was a call in january that this guy wanted to kill. when you first heard about that? >> i kind of associated with it the fact when they found out that he had left a comment on
the youtube video. and i was like, i'm guessing they investigated that. if they didn't tell proper people in miami, i'm thinking, i don't know what goes on. and an fbi interviewer, an investigation, i don't know what goes on in that situation. i have no knowledge of something like that so i can only assume, i know that everybody in the positions are feeling awful about it. i can't state for the record that i hate the fbi or i -- >> reporter: no one is asking you for that. you guys run these drills. this is a great school. you run the drills. tornadoes, code yellow, code red, an active shooter. you do all the right things and the fbi does a lot of right things, too. but the fact they didn't relay this crucial information to the right people, and the fbi director is saying yes, he's
owning it. >> the fbi made a mistake and i think it is good for that, saying it is our fault. but they don't always make mistakes and the the last 35 days, those aren't mistakes. credit to the administration. they did everything perfectly. our assistant principal took charge of security a month or so ago. at the time we hated him because we had to go through drills is that it was so annoying. i know he might not be feeling it right now but he saved so many lives with what he's done. you can't change the tune of what's happened. it can't just be labeled as a mistake. an inquisition has to be done. >> reporter: we have those who staunchly believe in the second amendment and they will say it was the fbi's mess-up. you shouldn't change gun laws. everything is -- it is the fbi, law enforcement. do you think something needs to
change? >> i think something needs to change but i don't think the fbi is to blame. like i think they did mess up. that's true. the fact they're owning up to that is an incredible step in the right direction. no other politicians are owning up to the fact they made mistakes. they haven't put forward anti-gun lobbies or anything like that. and i don't really care what people defend the second amendment have to say. we were shot at. like i don't -- i really don't care. their arguments are invalid unless they've experienced this. since they don't know what it fees like, i don't feel like they have a right to get up in our faces and say stuff like that. >> and we live in an age of terrorism. if he doesn't have a gun, yes, he can sit in a car and wait for us and ram us down. yes, he can get a house and balled sgom leave it in a backpack in the middle of a courtyard. if i'm hit by a car, there's a
chance i walk away. if i'm shot in the chest, i'm done. >> reporter: president trump is coming down here today. he is coming to palm beach. he's talked about how he wants to come meet with heroes. is there anything you want him to say or do specifically? >> anything. do anything. >> reporter: anything. >> do anything. >> i think that, it's not, as powerful as the office of the president is, especially because we're are in government and we're learning about interest groups. the nra are the most powerful interest group in the united states and they're the ones that have to wake up and realize. until they have their kids he shot up in the school, and the way we're headed, if this keeps happening, eventually it will hit one of them. until that happens and hundreds and thousands and millions of people have lost their kids,
nothing will change. >> reporter: i'm listening to you so carefully. i got a piece of information in my ear that it has just been decided from the school board that they're going to tear down the wing of the school. >> the freshman building. >> that's completely understandable. we were literally just at a friend's house and their sister was in the building and the sister was like, i'm never going back to school. i want to be with the people who experienced this but i don't want to be in that building. and i completely understand that. i'm glad they're doing that. >> i think a lot of the things i read on social media, it has mostly been juniors and seniors. that's where they've been the last two and a half to three and a half years. it is where we've kind of grown up. for the freshmen and sophomores, they're a lot younger. as scarring as it might be, we are older and in a couple months, we're leaving to college and a year or so, the juniors leave. the sophomores and freshmen,
they'll have to keep walking through these halls. >> reporter: tear it down. you're 18. are you 18? >> i'm 17. >> reporter: will you be 18 by november? >> i will. >> reporter: guess what, you can vote. our coverage continues with jim sciutto and "the lead." thank you. you cannot the just call it a hoax anymore. "the lead" starts right now. special counsel indicts more than a dozen russians for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. as the d.o.j. lays out a blue print for how they wormed their way into social media feeds to help donald trump. a stunning development in the investigation of the florida high school massacre. the fbi now admitting it did not act on a tip about the accused shooter's desire to kill. florida's governor calling for the fbi director to resign. the preside