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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  February 22, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PST

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and twitter. we'll go over to wolf early today. he's next door in "the situation room". we'll see you tomorrow. happening now, breaking news, more mueller charges. the special counsel drops a new bomb shell with more charges against president trump's former campaign chairman and a close aide. call to arms. the president pledges to take action on gun violence offering a flurry of ideas like raising the purchase age of extended background checks, the nra dismisses the president's claim it could soon accept some gun reforms and goes on the attack, smearing democrats as socialists out to take away weapons from gun owners. ivanka's olympic mission after north korea's dictator sends his
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sister to the olympics where she was publicly ignored, president trump sends his daughter to the closing ceremonies. can ivanka trump smooth out any new tensions? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. breaking news, special counsel robert mueller brings more charges against former campaign manager paul manafort and rick gates. 32 count indictment including bank fraud and tax charges related to their lobbying business. also breaking, president trump is vowing to do something about gun violence, floating suggestions from boosting background checks to raising the purchase age for rifles, but he's also focusing in on the idea of paying teachers extra security weapons. the president suggests the national rifle association will go along with some gun law reforms, but the nra says its
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position has not changed, launching a new attack on democrats, calling those democrats socialists. i'll speak with ellis, singled out by the nra, and our correspondents and specialists are standing by with full coverage, but, first, we begin with the new indictment against president trump's former campaign chairman, paul manafort, and his top aide, rickgates. our justice correspondent perez has been going over the new 32-count indictment. update the viewers. what are the charges? >> reporter: wolf, charges are adding pressure to manafort and gates in a possible trail later this year. the charges unseal today in alexandria, virginia today reveal 16 counts of false income tax returns, seven counts failing to declare foreign bank accounts, five counts of bank fraud conspiracy, and four counts of bank fraud. now, what this means, wolf, is
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that these talks have been going on in the last couple weeks between rick gates, in particular, attorneys for rick gates in particular, and special counsel have clearly now fallen apart. this means there's no deal, and the special counsel has now gone ahead and brought 32 charges against paul manafort and rick gates. we expected the charges would be coming against paul in particular, but what we didn't know is whether or not rick gates would be included in the charges, wolf, because we knew there were talks going on between rick gates and attorneys representing him, and the special counsel where a possible plea agreement in the wait in here. what this indicates is there's no deal, and these two men are now preparing to go to trial, perhaps, later this year. these charges have to do mostly with fraudulent loans according to the special counsel, taken after 2015 and up through this year, which allegedly, according to the special counsel, used to
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cover for home renovations and other things that were not to be paid for by these loans. >> 32 koicounts is a lot. >> it is a lot. paul manafort is 72 years old. based on this case, if convic d edded ed, he's dying in prison. that's the stakes for paul now. and rick gates, who is younger, is looking not at years in prison, but decades in prison if he does not plead guilty, so this is an enormous step up in terms of the pressure on both of them to plead guilty and cooperate. stakes could not be higher. >> we reported there were serious talks involving gates and his new set of attorneys to work out some sort of plea deal that would avoid anything along these lines. that's clearly collapsed. >> yeah, well, it appeared to have collapsed. we've seen strange behavior from rick gates the past few days,
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showing up in court on his own without his attorney, with filings, and we all have been wondering, what's going on. the filings are sealed. we don't know what he's been doing there, and, certainly, this indictment as said, seems to indicate that the plea deals, any sort of cooperation deal that may have been in play is now dead. >> and what's interesting, wolf, is that the decision the special coup to go to another court to file these charges. keep in mind, paul manafort filed taxes in virginia, in florida, and new york, not in the district of columbia where he was previously indicted on 12 counts, so the question has been, you know, how could they possibly add additional charges, add more pressure, according to the special counsel's office, machine they refused to allow charges to be dropped here, and in d.c., this is why the special counsel decided to go to alexandria to bring the charges. >> another significant aspect of the fact that these charges were filed in alexandria, not in washington where the other case is, is that it extends the
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mueller investigation. the first trial of the scheduled for may of this year. obviously, this new case can't go forward while that one is going forward. this is looking like an investigation that will go into 2019 that means it goes until 2019, and that's certainly a burden to the president. >> if you go through the lengthy charging document and try to get through it, there's so much incredible detail here on research they've done, the reporting they've done on all these financial transactions is enormous. >> after the indictment from last week of what we saw with the fbi, that's capable of doing with the russians, can you just imagine what they are capable of doing here? it's clear they are all over rick gates and paul manafort and have been from the financial
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records to other information. i think in the end, most people are asking what's it have to do with russia? we can get into that, but it's clear they spent an enormous amount of time building the case. it is complicated. it is tangled. you can't really understand what's going on, but you're talking about money that's been put in offshore accounts, millions of dollars, they were then using the money to live lavish lifestyles, not paying taxes on the money, and also goes on to say some of this money was made when they were working as political consultants for the former ukrainian leader. maybe that's how it ties into the russian meddling. >> shows that robert mueller, the special counsel, he took very serious that recommendation. you can go after russia collusion. you can go after connections between the trump campaign and russia, but if other developments emerge, you can go after that as well. >> and it's also true that
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manafort was under investigation before mueller was even appointed. that was in part why he was forced to step down as campaign chairman because thanks to the reporting of evan and others, it became known he was under criminal investigation, but, you know, it is obviously clear that the plea talks with rick gates have fallen through for the time being being, but given the magnitude of the charges, i think it's not at all clear these cases will -- >> just rick gates or paul manafort as well? at some point, they can say, you know what, cop a plea, plead guilty, reduce the sentence, and fully cooperate. >> correct. both of those -- >> i think as pointed out, i think that's -- i think that's part of the goal here. this -- the counsel said, look, we're not going away. you know, we don't think that the trial's going to happen in may. perhaps later this year, wolf, and now they basically just doubled down, doubled the number of targets here with this new
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indictment, and what it shows is that not only are we looking at this russia investigation overhanging the administration into 2019, but it shows that there's pressure on the men to provide information. if they are not going to provide information, they are going to go on trial, and rick gates is not as old as manafort, he's got young children, keeps saying that that's the reason why he has to go to the baseball games and so on, so the pressure is, indeed, very heavy. >> and the idea that this is unrelated to russia, i think, is false. remember, the ukrainian leader who was closely in line to v putin. that's who manafort worked for, deeply financially and morally connected with a putin ally, so the fact he was involved in, according to the indictment, a
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corrupt relationship does relate to the broader investigation of the trump campaign being aligned -- >> good point. it's also clear and based on reporting that we've done that manafort may have a lot of information that the special counsel wants. if you keep looking at these indictments, they keep mounting pressure, as we've been seeing, and it appears that -- they must want something from paul manafort. >> squeezing him because they think he has something that could help the broader investigation. for example, why? >> we don't know. >> we reported previously that the u.s. intelligence was able to get interception. russians talking about conversations they said they had with manafort, and, you know, they were looking, again, the russians were talking to each otherment weapon don't know whether or not that's accurate, and i think that's the kind of thing they want to hear from paul manafort. they have not been able to talk to him, obviously, remitted by attorney, and until they are able to bereave him, they don't know exactly what occurred in
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the conversations, if they did occur, and accordi inin ining t information we've talked to sources about, some of the conversations have to do with the information that russians possess that could help the trump campaign. >> ties back to the russian campaign. manafort was the campaign chairman. >> the campaign manager and chairman. >> chairman, right. >> reporting directly to the ten camp. >> correct. if there was collusion with the russian government, he would know about it. that's why he's such an important witness. >> keep in mind that gates, even after manafort is chairman, rick gates stays on with the trump campaign and is part of the inauguration effort, part of the transition, later in the transition, so he had information extendsing beyond the campaign, working with the inauguration that, you know, financing issues they had as well. >> this case is continuing, and special counsel, by no means,
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that indicates he's done, that there's clearly a lot more going on, and we probably only now a tiny bit. stand by. more on this breaking news coming up, but i quickly want to get to the white house right now in another major story that's breaking right now. president trump moved by the latest mass shooting vowing to do something about gun violence here in the united states. let's go live to the senior white house correspondent, pamela brown. pamela, what's the latest? >> reporter: wolf, the president delivered tough talk on school shootings there in the listening session, reiterating putting guns in schools by arming, quote, highly adept teachers, suggesting the idea of giving teachers bonuses if they went to firearm training, but, today, the white house would not offer specifics on how this might work and where the money to pay for that would come from. >> there's a tremendous feeling that we want to get something done, and we're leading that feeling, i hope, but there's a great feeling, including at the
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nra. >> reporter: president trump is pledging action on gun violence in the wake of the shooting at a florida high school last week that left 17 dead. >> for many years, where people sitting in my position did not take action, they didn't take proper action, they took no action at all, we're going to take action. >> reporter: but what that action will be is still unclear. trump unleashed a series of tweets on guns this morning saying, i will be strongly pushing comprehensive background checks with an emphasis on mental health, raise age to 21, and end sale of bump stocks. congress is in a mood to timely do something on this issue, i hope. the president says he's working the phones to rally support for his ideas. >> i called many senators last night, many congressmen, and jeff and pam and everybody in this room, i can tell you, curtis, they are into doing background checks or they wouldn't be thinking about maybe two weeks ago. >> just stop a bad guy with a
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gun, it takes a good guy with a gun. >> reporter: even as wayne lapierre, head of the national rifle association blamed democrats and the media for turning a tragedy into a moment for political gain. >> elites don't care, not one wick about america's school system and school children. if they truly cared, what they would do is they would protect them. their goal is to eliminate the second amendment. our firearms freedoms. >> reporter: despite objections, the president says he believes the nra will join him in reforming the country's gun laws. >> i won't be going up against them. i think the nra wants to do what's right. they are close to me. i'm close to them. they are very, very great people. they love this country. they are patriots. the nraments to do the right thing. >> reporter: at the same time, the president is doubling down on his position that some
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teachers should have guns in schools, an idea raised in the listening session with parkland students and parents at the white house wednesday. >> if you had a teacher adept in firearms, it could enthe attack quickly. >> reporter: today, trump ins t insisting attacks would end if teachers were armed, they would need regular training, and would be paid bonuses. >> these people are cowards. they are not walking into a school if 20% of the teachers have guns, maybe 10%, maybe 40%. what i recommend doing is the people that do carry, we give them a bonus. >> reporter: the president saying schools that remain gun-free zones are open targets. >> i think we need harden sites. we need to let people know, you come into our schools, you are going to be dead. it's going to be fast. unless you do that, you're always going to have this problem. >> reporter: that idea echoed by the nra today. >> it should not be easier for a madman to shoot up a school than
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a bank or a jewelry store or some hollywood gala. schools must be the most hardened targets in this country. >> reporter: but the white house says it doesn't expect to agree with the nra on every issue. >> willing to go against the nra ultimately because the nra stands firm and does not support age limits for semiautomatic rifles. is the president willing to stick with his -- >> he's willing to do what's right to ensure safe schools. >> reporter: and, today, the nra continues to rally rejecting the idea of raising the age limit for those buying semiautomatic rifles, despite the president supporting it, and, today, wolf, the president said he doesn't like the idea of active shooter drills. when we asked the white house about that, the press secretary said that he is more concerned about the branding of it, not the actual drills, saying he prefers the name "safety
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drills," wolf? >> thank you very much, pamela brown, over at the white house, the national rifle association stayed quite for a week after the florida school massacre, but now lashing out against any mood to reform gun laws here in the united states. the group says ceo wayne lapierre addressed the conservative gathering outside washington. our political reporter is on scene. rebecca, doesn't sound like the nra is open to compromise. >> reporter: not at all, wolf. quite a contrast in what we heard today from wayne on this stage behind me at cpac, and the president's suggestion he would be open to changing some of the nation's gun laws. lapierre was hard in the stance, saying, not only did the nation's gun laws not need to be reviewed, but, also, that democrats and the media were the ones pushing for changes as part the agenda to eventually eliminate the second amendment. let's take a listen to some of what he had to say today.
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>> evil walks among us, and god help us if we don't harden our schools and protect our kids. obama promised a fundamental transformation of our country, and you know what? it began with his own national party. a party that is now infested with saboteurs, even the fbi is not free of its own corruption and own unethical agents. what if all your medical records, perhaps your conversations with your doctor, your prescription information, do we really want all that on a government list? this growing socialist state dreams of manipulating school children to squeeze and squeeze information about their parents. they'll be asking your kids if mommy and daddy spanked them and all that private information will be entered into that ultimate list that cloud of data
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storage, and then it's just a short hop to the systematic destruction of our most basic freedoms in this country. i even heard a television pundit recently suggesting that people seeking to buy a firearm should be interviewed first. i mean, interviewed first? who is going to conduct that interview? you should be anxious. you should be frightened. it's all backed in this country by the social engineering and the billions of people like george soros, michael bloomberg, tom styre, and more. on college campuses, the communist manifesto is one of the most frequented assigned texts. to stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun. thank you very much. >> reporter: a lot to unpack
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there, obviously, but one thing not mentioned today was the president's suggestion that the laws in the country should be reviewed, could be strengthened as regard guns in this country, and it sets up potentially, wolf, a major political clash between the national rifle association and the president and even republican lawmakers on capitol hill, many of whom received donations from the powerful gun lobby. trump will be speaking here tomorrow. we will hear from him directly in front of this very pro-gun, prosecond amendment crowd and listening to his message he's bringing to cpac, see if he mentions the policy changes he tweeted about today, but, clearly, the president recognizes political peril here and the needle to thread. in addition to his changes he tweeted about today, he also tweeted his praise for lapierre saying he was a great american patriot and wants the best for the country. we'll stand by, wolf, tomorrow, for more here. >> we'll hear what the president
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has to say. rebec rebecca, thank you, rebecca berg, at the conference there. now, deputy chairman of the national democratic committee joining us, one of the number of lawmakers accused by the nra chief of pushing, a, quote, socialist agenda. congressman, thank you so much for joining us. >> you bet, thank you, wolf, for being here. >> beginning with your response to what the nra chief had to say, among others, singled you out by name. listen to this. >> but how about harris, elizabeth warren, deblasio, cuomo, booker, murphy, and ellison? they are not democrats in the mold of john f. kennedy or tip o'neil. they hide behind labels like democrat, left wing, and
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progressive. to make their socialist agenda more palette able, and that is terrifying. >> also saying your party, the democratic party, congressman, is infested with saboteurs. what's your reaction? >> well, he's trying to use fear to manipulate people, but, look, you know, the last thing he wants to talk about is the 17 dead students in parkland, 20 dead children and seven more dead teachers at sandy hook. he doesn't want to talk about the fact that since the assault weapon ban in 2004, there's been an increase in gun-remlated deaths. he doesn't want to talk about blood spilled all over his hands because of the left policies he's pushing. he wants to make people afraid, and he wants to tell people lies and distortions rather than deal
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with the fact that he is entrapped in fear in order to line the pockets of his clients and gun manufacturing industry. it's really horrendous, and yet, you know, we've got to challenge him. we got to confront him, but keep the focus on the families wolf. he calls me a name, i call him a name, no, it's about the families, and that's where we keep our focus. >> talk about the substance. as you know, president trump is considering several measures he thinks potentially could curb gun violence in the united states as well as arming teachers, also proposing better security in schools, raising the minimum age to buy certain weapons, banning what are called bump stocks that could take a rifle and make it almost like a machine gun. did anything the president propose today sound reasonable to you? >> well, of course, it did, but, you know, this is not the first time the president said something that was reasonable and did the very opposite. he said he would protect social
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security. he's not. he said tax cuts were for the middle class. they are for the rich. he's always saying stuff. if the president wants to get a little more credible, he needs to get behind these policies like lowering the -- like raising the age for having an assault weapon, having background checks. if he puts his shoulder behind these things, he'll find people supporting him in congress. the fact is, though, he's got to make what he has to say a reality, and not just sort of messaging on tweets. i mean, he said on the whole daca fight he would sign anything that they put in front of him, and then the meetings over, and then use that as a narrowly prescribed things that are unreasonable. the president says a lot of stuff. it's time for him to make his words and his deeds match together, and if he does that on the gun issue to save lives, he'll find me somebody voting in favor of the sensible policies.
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>> as you know, the national rifle association, very powerful lobby here in washington, almost certainly going to have a say in any gun control legislation that passes a republican controlled house, republican controlled senate. do you believe, congressman, you and other democrats can work with the nra? >> well, you know, who knows, but i'll tell you who i can work with. i can work with the march for our lives, a group of high school students who said enough is enough, and they are coming to washington, d.c. on march 24th. i know i can work with them. these are the young people who suffered the tragedy directly. they are leading the way. they are leading every town. they are leading moms demand action. they are leading people all over the country who are sick and tired of the daily almost daily reports of mass shootings. you know, i think, wolf, it is not an exaggeration to say a mass shooting happens every three, four days in america. people are tired of it.
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the nra is behind the times. they are not in step with the american people. they have an extremist position, but he's the other irony. most members of the nra actually agree with the american. it's just the leadership of the nra and manufacturers they represent who will stop at nothing to sell more and more and more guns, which is why they want to arm teachers now, meaning more gun sales for them. that's behind that. i believe we can work with the young people and americans across the country. there's a movement here, wolf, and i believe that that movement is going to bring us the change we've been praying for for so long. >> congressman, as you know in recent days, you have been under new sharp criticism for context you had with louis on the leader of the nation of islam, frequently making antisemitic comments. you said back in 2016 that your relationship with him ended long ago, but you attended a dinner that's now been widely reported back in 2013 where he was
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president, and he, himself, claims you paid a visit to his hoe temperature room. what exactly is your relationship with him? >> no relationship. my political opponents keep pushing this out there in order to try to smear and distract from the key issues, but there's no relationship, watch. i mean, look, my -- i have a clear record. i have always fought for equal rights for all people. i will continue to do so. i've always denounced and been a fierce opponent of anti-semitism from whatever source. i'll continue to do so, but in this political environment, wolf, you can expect people to try to say anything they want to try to distract from the core issues. what are the core issues? the core issues are making our streets safe. the core issues are getting health care to americans. the core issue is raising pay of americans. the core issue is making college affordable. these are key issues, and there's folks who don't want to talk about those things, but anything to distract, and so, you know, i'm going to keep fighting the smears.
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i'll keep talking about the issues americans care about every day. >> congressman ellison, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. we'll cover multiple breaking stories now like dramatic new developments in the wake of the florida school massacre. we go to our correspondent outside the high school, the site of the attack. you have new information, what are you learning? >> reporter: wolf, this truly is a stunning development in the investigation. it's coming to us from the broward county sheriff, scott israel, and questions raised about scott peterson, the school resource officer, a deputy, who was in uniform who had a gun who was on campus assigned to this school. what was his role? what was he doing during all of that shooting? it's now been reviewed, and he has been suspended and gone into retirement. apparently, it's been learned
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despite the statement he gave, the officer did not go in to the building where the shooting was taking place. he engage the shooter. this is the sheriff talking about the stunning turn. >> we're not going to disclose the video at this time, and we may never disclose the video pending on the prosecution and the criminal case. what i saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of building 12 take up a position, and he never went in. >> the sheriff said looking at that made him sick to his stomach when asked, well, what should the officer have done? the direct quote was, went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer. now, behind the scenes, there have been reports that families
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of those young people who had been killed in the attack had become aware of scott peterson, and the fact that he had not gone in despite the fact he was outside the building, they were tremendously outraged. pressure's been building, and now we understand that the sheriff first said he was going to suspend peterson, and launch into an investigation. peterson, apparently, with seniority said, instead, he was resigning and going into retirement. two other officers now have also been put on a restricted or restrictive duty. these officers apparently had been involved in investigations with nikolas cruz, the shooter in this case, dating back some years. as we know, there were close to two dozen calls since 2008 that authorities have been going to nikolas cruz's home and felt in two instances there were two deputies the sheriff believes they could have or should have
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acted more strongly to intervene, and they have been put on restrictive duty while that is being investigated. so three officers now being disciplined. one of them have been fired as a result of inaction on that terrible day. wolf? >> yeah, very disturbing developments indeed, martin savage on scene for us in parkland, florida. thank you very much. as young mass shooting survivors push for reform, president trump is vowing to take action, but the national rifle association is gearing up for a huge fight. joining us now, the author and "new york times" columnist, thank you for coming in. >> thank you. >> you run a sharp, strong column in the "new york times" get out of facebook and into the nra's face. are young people needing this moment? >> well, the issue i was trying to raise, watolf, it's importan. what social networks are good at
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is galvanizing people. it creates foe activism. i tweeted about it. i blogged about it. what comes through the whole affair, nra's comments today, one thing to do today, vote. okay? vote. run for office. help someone run for office. help someone get to a voting station. recommendation steer someone to vote. the only way to change the gun laws is when a majority of americans or majority of representatives at the state and national levels change the laws. it's very clear that persuasion is not going to do it. repeated mass killings are not going to do it. there's only one thing to do, and that is vote. focus on taking power. that's what the nra wins, that's how they get positioning and its opponents have eto do the same thing, just better. >> these school shootings, is this time different? >> feels like it. i was speaking and actually met a young woman from a high
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school, and i think it is different. it is different, not only in the size of itself, but it's come out after just a series of these things, that people are just fed up. wolf, and to hear the head of the nra say this is about freedom, well, i don't have the freedom, wolf, to have an f-15 in my driveway and tell the neighbors i'm forgertilizing th backyard or have a tank in my garage. this is not about freedom, but balancing legitimate rights of americans who want their guns to hunt, to do marksmanship, or protect themselves and need to make sure the guns do not fall into the hands of people who would use them in these kinds of massacres. a story about japan, 2014, there were six gun deaths in japan. the country of 127 million people, in a year we had 33,599. the idea that gun laws don't matter is crazy. is japan not a free country? i don't think so. >> it is a free country.
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>> exactly, yeah. >> i want you to company, you saw the town hall, incredible, very good. a spokeswoman for the nra was there last night, and she was apathetic, she spoke, good of her to come and show up, and it was clearly an unfriendly crowd as far as she was concerned, but looking at the different message she was sending today at cpac, the conservative political action conference outside of washington. >> many in legacy media love mass shootings. you guys love it. now, i'm not saying that you love the tragedy, but i am saying that you love the ratings. crying white mothers are ratings gold to you and many in the legacy media in the back. >> you know, it's shocking to
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hear that. what's your reaction? >> it's di gusting. >> just disgusting. hard to believe she can say something like that, whether you're on the left or the right, to say, to suggest that the legacy media loves mass shootings, crying white mothers, because of ratings. >> what a great -- >> sick when you see those shootings. >> what a courageous woman. why not say that last night when you faced -- hyperconservative convention and say that, wayne, what a tough guy, what a tough guy, to be able to give that message to super conservatives, not stare those parents in the face, what a -- it's just disgusting, wolf. >> it is. it's really amazing she can smear journalists like that because we're covering the story and think we welcome these --
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>> what it shows you, wolf, the they can do is deflect on the honest situation, which was the vast majority of americans do not want to eliminate the second amendment. they don't want to take away guns from people that want to hunt, use them for marksmanship, or protect themselves. they want to make sure that people who do that have -- are -- that is controlled in a way that people use them in these kinds of mass shootings or reduce the option for that, and as i said, countries that do that, the example of japan, have massive reduction in gun violence. >> influence in washington is enormous right now. did you see that changing? >> one party is completely sold their soul to them. that's what the republican party has done, and there's only one way to defeat them, and i go back to where i started. don't tweet about it. don't facebook post about it. register to vote. run for office. help someone run for official. funds for someone running for office. help someone get to the voting
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both. you got to take power. they have power. they are not winning in the chat rooms. they win in the cloak room, okay. they are not in facebook. they are in people's face. get out of facebook. get in their face. the only way that counts and that's by winning elections and electing people for gun laws. >> you think there's a serious chance the president of the united states leads on this and irritates the nra, but works to get some sort of new measures? place? >> well, that would be a total surprise to me, wolf, and if that happened, it would be the first time trump surprised me on the upside. >> you wrote a column earlier in the week on "new york times" digital, and it went viral, very powerful column, op-ed. here's a couple sentences from it. our democracy is in serious danger, you write, president trump is either totally compromised by the russians or is a towering flaw or both, but either way, showing himself unwilling or unable to defend america against a russian
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campaign to divide and undermine our democracy. tell us more of what you're thinking right now. >> well, last week you reported our three leading intelligence officers in the country, head of the cia, nsa, and fbi tell us that russia had been intervening in the elections since 2014, that they poisoned the politics and built the election to president trumpment they said they are continuing to do it, and they are planning to do that in the 2018 election. that's what they told us. robert mueller, special counsel, indicted 13 russians for doing that to several organizations. in the face of that, the president has done absolutely nothing, so what does this tell us? two things, watcolf, that are important. the tweeting, the constant lying, the attacks, personal attacks on his own cabinet secretaries, violating the norms, but when he doesn't lift
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a finger in response to his own intelligence views, telling us that a foreign country is trying to poison our politics and distort our elections, he's not violating the norms of the office, but violating his oath of office to defend and protect the constitution. that's outrageous. that's what i think has really -- george bush after 9/11, not entirely off, said after 9/11, you know, i think i'll go down to mar-a-largo for the weekend and not call together my national security adviser. or my national security adviser is in europe, i'll criticize his speech rather than get the country together. what would a real president do? what would a real president do, wolf? first of all, get all the stake holders together, okay -- first of all, give a speech to the country saying here's the challenge we face, create a public awareness, really educate the public, and then get the stakeholders together, get the social networks together, the
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political parties together, get state and local election officials together, national election officials together, and create a plan of defense so what our intelligence chiefs told him is happening won't happen, and then get the national security team together, and say, look, vladimir putin is using social networks in order to poison our politics and pervert our democracy by spreading lies. what we're going to do is spread the truth about putin and go on the offensive against him. we're going to throw a high fast ball right at his head. that, wolf, is what a real president would do, not a president who basically is returning the trump organization from the white house and moonlighting the president of the united states. >> the white house now says that he has been tough on the russians over the past 13 months, since taking office. the president actually said earlier in the week he was tougher on the russians than his predecessor, president obama. you buy any of that? >> that's nonsense. it's just complete -- obama, you
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know, threw out the russian diplomats, threw out the spy nests in the country, sanctioned them, and trump has done none of these things. >> why do you think -- >> because he just makes stuff up, okay? it's just simply making stuff up, and, unfortunately, enough people believe it. >> thank you for coming in. >> pleasure. up next, there's more breaking news, special counsel drops a new bomb shell with more charges against president trump's former campaign chairman, paul manafort, and his close associate, rick gates. the situation room with wolf blitzer brought to you by ibm. excuse me, are you aware of what's happening right now? we're facing 20 billion security events every day. ddos campaigns, ransomware, malware attacks... actually, we just handled all the priority threats. you did that? we did that. really. we analyzed millions of articles and reports. we can identify threats 50% faster.
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following multiple breaking stories like special counsel mueller's decision to file a new indictment with new charges against president trump's former campaign chairman paul manafort and his deputy, rickgates. let's bring in the experts and analysts. looks like mueller is playing hardball right now. >> yeah, hards ball, this guy just threw a grenade in the room. look what happened here. we have what appeared to be conversations about a plea bargain with gates in the situation, and that appears from the outside to be falling apart. look at the detail, not only in these indictments, but incredible detail in the indictments of 13 russians, i guarantee you what's going on here. this is a game of chicken where they are walking in the room that is manafort and gates saying, let's see what you got. the former director of the fbi says, i got page after page after page of not general allegations, but incredible detail about your financial transactions. if you don't give me what i want, i'm not going to fold.
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i'm going to keep nailing you to the wall. i'm sure there are conversations that were moving forward, but today, the message from mueller is cooperate or you're done. >> if you read this lengthy 32 count new indictment, the old ada adage, follow the money. >> yes. >> there's a lot of money followed by this special counsel. >> $30 million, check the math, but i think that's right, $30 million in alleged illegal bank loans, basically hiding income over and over and over and over again. all urn the name of consulting fees. i'm with phil. this certainly seems as though it's a power move by mueller to say, oh, you want to call my bluff? here you go. because if convicted on this number of charges, you're going to be incarcerated.
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i mean, for an extenned period of time. my guess is we are seeing this, the indictment of the russians last week. we saw the lawyer earlier this week, now this. we're starting to see this thing pick momentum up. my guess is in the next couple days, we'll hear from gates, manafort, or both. the ball is in their court. >> the argument you hear from team trump is all of this happened before they worked on the campaign and more importantly, as far as we know, didn't have anything to do with donald trump, his orbit, or the campaign, which might be true as far as we know now, but it is -- just echo what we just heard, seems pretty clear that this is a push to get either one or both of them to plea to help with any informations they might have about the trump campaign. the only other thing i would just say is, yes, paul manafort did not work for donald trump
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for very long. that is true. it was after some of this started to come out in "the new york times" that he was fired. having said that, this is like a basic background check before he's hired by the trump organization, and by the trump campaign, i should say, i would say would have at least put flags out there. >> yeah. i mean, his judgment -- remember -- >> whose? >> donald trump's, we're going to hire the best people, believe me, paul manafort, yes, he was involved from the campaign from day one to the end, but the campaign chairman brought in specifically to bring order to the process that was run, and to win the delegate fight. this is someone who most basic google searching would have turned up, manafort had a lot of dealings in this country and the most basic opposition research, maybe not turning this up, but suggested, oh, this might not be the best people. >> what do you make of the new charges? >> well,
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make of these new charges? >> don't forget, paul manafort was brought in to run the campaign for free. he was largely pro bono, even though he was in debt to a lot of these russian oligarchs. you follow the money directly to cyprus, which is a favorite laundering sites for russian bankers and russian billionaires and oligarchs. you look at who manafort and gates had worked for, that was the former president of ukraine, viktor yanukovych. where is he now? he's in exile in russia. he was a pro-putin president in ukraine. you remember the ties that manafort had with various oligarchs, including another tide to the kremlin. and you look at gates' legal team seemingly crumbling. you saw three of his attorneys leaving. they appear to be some sort of deal that they were coming close to settling. that's blown up. so you see the wide scope of this investigation that mueller has taken. and anybody that thinks it's
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near the end is quite mistaken. >> clearly, phil, you used to work at the fbi, squeezing manafort, robert mueller big-time. manafort, jeffrey toobin pointed out, is 74 years old. if he's convicted on all of these charges, he could end up spending the rest of his life in jail. he wants manafort to cop a plea, to cooperate, because there are others he's going after as well. >> no, that's right. and i agree with the comments earlier. i don't think we're close to the end of the investigation. we may be months away from concluding the investigation itself, but the number of people who might be implicated over those months is pretty broad. i don't think this is just about manafort and gates. this is about following a money trail. if you look at both the russian indictment, but look at both the gates and manafort indictments that includes many millions of dollars. one more thing i would say about this, going back to the creation of the team that's around the special counsel, mueller, some of those folks are involved in very complicated previous
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investigations like the enron investigation. anybody who's facing that team ought to know, when they walk in that room, those lawyers at the other side of the table know how to find a dollar and they will not stop. >> chris, let's switch gears for a moment. what did you make of the speeches that were delivered today at the cpac conference outside of washington by the nra's wayne lapierre and dana loesch? >> i mean, i've seen wayne's speech -- it doesn't change that much, candidly, basically, every year at cpac. this was a very similar speech to the ones he's given before, which is essentially, they, the elites, which by i think he means democrats and the media, are trying to take away your law-abiding citizen right to bear arms. we can't let them. we're in danger like never before. i mean, there's a lot of similarities in the speech he gives. i think what you see between that, between what dana loesch said to jake last night and then today at cpac, and between the nra taking the position that
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they oppose the proposal donald trump has at least floated. he supports raising the age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21, the nra is sort of hunkering down. the nra is not going to just let this go. i mean, they are going to fight -- >> let me get -- >> that's going to make it very difficult for republicans. >> bianna, go ahead, what did you think? >> it was just heartless for dana to say that we in the media look forward to mothers crying over these mass shootings. compare that to what she said last night to mothers and friends and loved ones of those who were killed. it was just cold, it was heartless. and by the way, it wasn't true. we would much rather be covering other stories than mass shootings. you don't have to be a parent in this country or a gun owner or not to say that these are horrific stories and i, for one, along with many others, put my journalism hat aside, would rather not send my kid to a fortress. you know, you have plenty of concerns about teachers who are
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und understaffed, underfunded, can't provide the adequate school supplies as needed, and yet now they're going to require training to carry guns? where are these guns going to go? are they going to be holding them the entire day at school? there are so many questions that these ideas just a being thrown out, without any concrete details. and i just imagine what the rest of the world is thinking, looking at us, dealing with this crisis that continues to happen on a daily basis and it's a uniquely american crisis. >> very quickly, anything going to emerge from this? >> unclear, i just do think what was different about wayne lapierre's speech today, i don't think he ever imagined that it was going to be clearly directed at president trump, who his organization spent $30 million plus to help elect. >> that is true. >> yep. because clearly, a difference between wayne lapierre and the president seems to be developing right now. we'll see if that lasts. there's more breaking news we're following. the special counsel drops a new bombshell with more charges
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against president trump's former campaign chairman and a close aide. and vowing action on gun violence, president trump suggests arming teachers. >> i think we need hardened sites. we need to let people know, you come into our schools, you're going to be dead. and it's going to be fast. liberty mutual saved us almost $800 when we switched our auto and home insurance. liberty did what? yeah, they saved us a ton, which gave us a little wiggle room in our budget. i wish our insurance did that. then we could get a real babysitter instead of your brother. hey, welcome back. this guy, right? (laughs) yes. ellen. that's my robe. you could save $782 when liberty stands with you. liberty mutual insurance.
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happening now, breaking news. new indictment.
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stunning charges just reveal ed against former trump campaign manager, paul manafort, and rig gates. the special counsel playing hardball with two figures in the investigation. arming teachers. president trump is arguing that attacks on schools would have educators carry concealed weapons. tonight, he's all over the map, tossing around proposals to address gun violence. are his ideas practical or potentially dangerous? spoiling for a fight. nra leaders are sounding defiant despite mr. trump's call to action. the gun lobby throwing new red meat to its members with over-the-top attacks on democrats and the news media. and ivanka's agenda. the president's daughter is heading to the winter olympic games for the closing ceremony. is she on a mission to send a message to north korea after the vice president famously gave kim jong-un's sister the cold shoulder? we want to welcome our viewer


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