tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN March 25, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
they team up with coaches with cancer. krystal and others surviving and thriving through others with cancer remind us of that in a way many others never could. >> the journey not always the destination. coy wire, thank you so much for that report. we have so much more ahead in the newsroom and it all starts right now. hello again, everyone. thanks so much for being with me this sunday. i'm fredricka whitfield. at this hour the president is taking off on air force i without first lady melania. trump is set to touch down in washington just minutes before cnn's anderson cooper's interview with stormy daniels airs on "60 minutes." the adult film star accuses the president of an affair and paying for her silence ahead of the 2016 election. meanwhile melania trump will be spending the week in mar-a-lago with their son baron. and more turmoil for trump's
legal team. the announcement today that joseph digenova will not join the husband's team for the russia investigation. the president telling cnn that there are conflicts with joseph digenova and his wife victoria toens i toensing after being interviewed last week. boris, you first. the president lashing out at that russian investigation and money for his border wall in a series of tweets this morning, but no mention of the upcoming stormy daniels interview to air tonight. so what is the president's frame of mind? >> reporter: hey there, fred. yeah, no signal from president trump how he feels about this stormy daniels saga. cnn had previously reported that he had been talking to close friends and advisers asking them for counsel on how he should
respond to allegations he had an affair with the adult film actress and further that he allegedly paid her, through his attorney michael cohen, $130,000 to keep quiet in 2016 just weeks before the presidential election. the president clearly opting to stay silent. he has faced a number of questions from reporters not only about stormy daniels but also about karen mcdougal, the former playboy playmate that anderson interviewed earlier this week who also alleges she had an affair with president trump. we asked a number of times before departing this weekend to mar-a-lago about these allegations from both of these women. no response, totally ignored, uncharacteristic by president trump to, in the face of attacks and questions about his credibility, to not answer them. we should note that stormy daniels' attorney michael amanoti sort of announced on twitter today that all the
allegations she has about president trump would not be in this interview, sort of setting the stage and making us wonder what exactly stormy daniels will say tonight and further speculation on how the president may respond, fred. and attorney joseph digenova will not be on the president's legal team fighting the russian probe. is this about conflicts, politics or both? >> the president's legal team was aware of the conflicts certainly going into this, certainly going into the idea that he may join the legal team. they had announced he would join. but then something happened on thursday night. we're told there was a meeting. the president met with digenova and his wife, and there was some talk of them joining the legal team. and then something happened, and suddenly we were told, at least on friday, that he was no longer, or at least the president was considering perhaps not hiring him, something had happened.
whether it was a chemistry issue or whether some of the aides to the president and some of the attorneys on the team got to the president and said, listen, this is just not a good idea. we know that john dowd, who was the president's personal attorney, was dealing with bob mueller and that team in a lot of the negotiations for the sit-down that could potentially happen between investigators and the president. he was not happy that the president was bringing in digenova. so it could be that some folks got to the president and he finally realized that this may not be a good idea. but something did happen thursday. you know, we were told also that the president thought it may just not be a good fit, and that's perhaps what made him announce his decision today. >> interesting. all right, boris, shimon, thank you both. appreciate it. joining us now, cnn political commentator and former chief of staff nancy pelosi,
adeem nelshomi and former campaigner for ted cruz, thank you both. >> hi, fred. >> does this suggest a bigger strategy change for the president? how do you see it? >> the way i see it is any excuse will do not to serve on his legal team. i think the president is having problems finding a lawyer he likes. what we're witnessing the past few days is his inability to be under control. if you're going to be a lawyer for the president of the united states facing some big legal questions and big legal issues, you want to be able to go in there and have an honest conversation with your client. apparently the president doesn't like to hear the truth and doesn't like to have honest conversation. >> alice, this has been an incredible week and who knows what's coming around the corner. quite a few changes for the white house, and i just want to tick through a few of them. monday, joseph digenova was
announced as joining the president's personal legal team. then tuesday, the fallout from trump's congratulations to putin for winning the election, and at the same time there was also the stormy daniels polygraph report that was released. then on wednesday, trump reportedly was furious over the leak that he was warned by his own white house team not to congratulate putin in the call. then trump's top lawyer, john dowd's, resignation comes. then the national security adviser, h.r. mcmaster was also out, replaced by john bolton. attorneys joseph digenova and his wife victoria toens ii nrk with the president the same day that karen mcdougal alleges that
the president paid her for their affair. on friday, trump threatens to veit t veto the omnibus spending bill over daca and the border wall. so is this the president trying to stay on message, the challenge that it can be on message, that things are in disarray? how dua asseo you assess all of? >> it is a challenge to stay on point and the president tweeting about things that are on message. ideally this week the president would have rolled up his sleeves and gotten involved in the spending package and embraced what congress had passed. unfortunately, that didn't happen. my thought moving forward with regard to the attorneys coming on board and not coming on board, a lot of that has to do with people with experience and legal professionals understand if they're signing on with the trump team, they don't necessarily have a whole lot of
say in that and they don't want to take on a client that's going to overrule them at every pass. that's why there is the difficulty in getting his legal team passed. with regard to the stormy daniels and the playboy playmate and the porn star, look, a lot of the base republicans that reported to donald trump heard all this, they listened to all of this, but all they really absorbed is the president denying this. they see that their pocketbook is doing better because of the tax cuts, and they feel like a lot of this is a distraction. what i'm hearing from the base, i go around speaking to gop groups, they're looking at a lot of this as a side show distraction, and they're more focused on how the economy is doing and they're still supportive of the president. >> these are your assessments. this is what a friend of the president had to say this morning. >> the president told me he's perplexed by all of these reports there's chaos at the white house or mass staff changes. he told me that he thinks the white house is operating like a smooth machine, his words.
he did say that he's expecting to make one or two major changes to his government very soon, and that's going to be it. >> all right. nadeam, was that a warning shot? what could those changes be? is this something about the chief of staff, potentially, john kelly or something else? a secretary? >> it doesn't really matter who the chief of staff is. it doesn't really matter who the communications director is. it doesn't really matter who the va secretary is. >> why do you say that? >> i think there is only one person in charge and this is how he views everything. everybody works for him, not for the country, and he is in charge. he's going to make all the decisions. if he doesn't like what the va secretary is doing, if he doesn't like what the communications director is doing, then they're out. in terms of what's happening with stormy daniels and others as well, if i were republicans in congress today, coming from a district that was won by hillary
clinton, i would be very worried. we have seen one day after the president was inaugerated the women's march. we have seen energized, activated and focused women voters and candidates. we have seen it in virginia and we've seen it in pennsylvania. there is something brewing here, and i think the republicans should watch out. >> so, alice, is this the president going in alone by potentially picking people where there is a uniformity of thought? as opposed to, once upon a time the president said having diversity of opinions is beneficial, but surrounding himself potentially, you know, by people who think like him on all issues doesn't say diversity. >> well, fred, every campaign i've been on or administration i've been in, the person at the top can and should and always has surrounded themselves and built the senior staff on people that share their world view and share their policies and will be loyal and devoted to them. that's exactly how they should build up their cabinet.
and i think the president is right. he wants to have people that will support him and be loyal but hear different views. we're hearing that he doesn't like to hear opposing views, but it's good to get like-minded people of the same policies, but if someone disagrees with you, let him speak up. while it's taken more than a year to do this, he should be doing this, find people who are loyal. one quote from john bolton that i think is important when he was first announced, he used a comment from the secretary of state for truman. as outspoken as he was, both he and truman knew at the end of the day however many differences they had, there was only one president at the time and the president's view in his position was the top priority. that's what all these people that the president is bringing on, they're going to share that same view. >> nadeam, we're only a few hours away from this "60 minutes" interview with stormy daniels, the president leaving florida, the first lady staying
in florida for the week. don't you expect the president will be watching it, and can he, you know, resist tweeting about it, commenting about it? >> i'm pretty certain that he would be watching it, but i'm not sure he's going to be tweeting about it. he's been very silent. and his silence on this issue has been deafening. the president has commented on everything that he wants to. 6:00 a.m. in the morning, 11:00 at night and who knows what else? >> he says this one makes him nervous. >> yeah, i would think so, i would certainly think so. the denial -- non-denials and the actions by his former lawyer, current lawyer, what they did and what he didn't do is very confusing. and what's happening now and how it's playing out in the media has taken up so much time, and this is something the president has so far ignored, which is very, very surprising. >> alice, quickly, why is he so quiet on this one?
>> this one is much different because we're hearing more details. i think the problem is here we have a man, the president of the united states, who cheated on his third wife and playboy playmate mistress with a porn star, and the lengths he went to to cover it up in the media. that's what's going to frustrate people. people knew he was a player when they voted for him. they knew a lot of this was out there. but now we're knowing it close to the election what he and his attorney did to cover this up and silence these women. that's what's going to cause them problems moving forward. >> the cover-up is worse than the crime. >> nadeam neljami and alice stewart, stick around. we have so much on the plate. coming up, massive crowds took to the streets to demand gun law changes. will congress react or did it fall on deaf ears?
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welcome back from coast to coast. we felt the power of america's youth, the younger generation stepping into the spotlight and demanding action on gun violence. nadeam eljami and alice stewart are back with me to discuss the action of this movement. first let's hear this message from student adviser david herg. >> students show up for half the elections. not anymore. to allow the continued slaughter of children in our future, i say get your resumes ready. >> alice, should politicians be
nervous? >> i think those kids were amazing. i was out there amongst them and they clearly have a lot of enthusiasm behind what they're saying. and to answer your question, they should be concerned at what they're going to do moving forward. as i walked around the crowd yesterday, there were a lot of signs against the nra. this is not a moment, this is a movement. but most importantly, what i saw were signs for voter registration. now, if they're able to take all this energy and the enthusiasm out there on the streets and turn that into votes come midterm elections and certainly in 2020, then there is a real concern, because certainly those people were not out there cheering what the gop has done in light of parkland. so it's something to keep an eye on. i think we need to continue to engage these students. they do have a message. but it's most important that we understand that school violence is not just about looking at guns, it's all factors related to that, and that's part of a large discussion that i think has only just begun and
certainly needs to continue. >> and one of the signs i saw while out there yesterday with one young person holding it said, you know, high schoolers are not afraid of the nra. congress, why are you? so nadeam, you know, big picture. among the 20 young people who spoke yesterday on that stage in the nation's capitol were under the age of 18. there was a nine-year-old, an 11-year-old. these young voices are driving this gun reform movement. you know, what does this mean for the future of politics in this country in your view? starting with midterm elections that these young people are able to help push and influence the vote? >> i think what the young voters showed yesterday is that they are going to show up in november. i really believe that. their passion, their compassion and their language yesterday was stunning to me. and what i think they could
build on over the next few months is they've got to go and is talk to these members of congress in their districts. they've got to go out and register voters. look, if you're 15 -- >> apparently many are already committed to doing that. i talked to a lot of young people there in d.c. who were part of voter registration drives right now. >> absolutely. let me send this one message to them. it's very important. don't ever lose hope. what you did yesterday and what you organized yesterday, that's not just in washington, d.c., but across the country and across the world, was amazing. what other movement -- because i've done that, and when young people put their minds to it, you better be ready because they're going to be making some major, major changes. >> i wonder if some, however, might lose hope when they listen to, you know, some of the words that were uttered today by a former republican senator, former republican presidential candidate rick santorum who said this morning, this should be the kids' focus. listen. >> how about kids instead of
looking to someone else to solve their problem do something about maybe taking cpr classes or try to deal with situations that you can actually respond to that. >> they took action. >> yeah, they took action to ask someone to pass a law. they didn't take action to say how do i, as an individual, deal with this problem? how am i going to do something to stop bullying in my own community? what am i going to do to respond to this? those are the kinds of things where you can take it internally and say, here's how i'm going to deal with this, here's how i'm going to handle the situation instead of going and protesting to say someone else needs to pass a law to protect me. >> some of the people were there with their jaws on the floor on that one. alice, what do you say? >> i think it's easy to look at this horrible problem of school violence and gun violence as a whole and skwjust look at the g, but it's much, much more than
that. there are many factors. it's the background checks, it's many things. >> i think he was saying to these kids, you need to take it upon yourselves to save your fellow student with cpr after gun violence. >> it's important to look at the full context of all that he was trying to say. he was clearly trying to make the point that while these kids are pointing the finger at washington and members of congress and senators to change gun laws, there are a lot of things that can also be done on the local level, and i think it's really important that we do that. i commend the kids for speaking out and letting their voice be heard, but it's not just about the nra, it's not just about the guns, it's about many other factors. if we're talking about the issue of keeping our school safe, there are many factors that go into that, and it's not just about banning guns. >> nadeam, what was your interpretation? >> i was dumbfounded, to be honest with you.
congressman mass from florida, he highlighted as a republican some of the bipartisan proposals he would support and also some of the proposals that democrats should support. i encourage everyone to take a look at that. that is a way forward on these issues. and i think these kids -- you know, some of them are 12, 15, 18. they are taking action, and the action they're going to take, i truly believe, is going to be voting in november. >> nadeam elshami, alice stewart, thank you to both of you. >> thank you. still ahead, could president trump kick more russian diplomats out of the u.s.? why the case of the u.k. could have real impacts on russians living right here in the u.s., next. we took legendary...
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welcome back. live pictures of air force i there at west palm beach. the president about to return back to washington. first lady melania trump will be staying in mar-a-lago there for spring break. in the meantime president trump is considering expelling a group of russian diplomats from the u.s. over the poisoning of a russian double agent and his daughter in the u.k. earlier this month. multiple countries, including the u.s., have said they believe russia is likely behind the attacks. the u.k. has already ordered 23 russian diplomats out of the
country, and russia reacted by ordering expulsions of its own. cnn michelle kaczynski has been working this story, so michelle, why is the president ordering this move right now and why didn't he sooner? >> reporter: this actually is pretty soon since it happened. when you think about other european countries at the very same time are considering doing the same thing. what we expect to see tomorrow is an announcement of a decision coming from the white house, and we are hearing through a source familiar with these discussions that europeans have reason to be optimistic that the president will actually decide to do this, to expel a significant number of russian diplomats. and we could see up to 20 european countries tomorrow announce the same thing. so this would be this unified response to russia poisoning people again on foreign soil. but when you think about it, discussions have been going on
for a little while. so that's probably why this leaked out, because somebody wants to make sure that everybody knows that the president has been recommended to do this by his own national security team. so i think it would be even more significant now, knowing that this is out there and this is a possibility, if the president decides not to act in this way. of course, the huge question would be why. and it would just draw more questions, especially for members of congress on both sides of the aisle who have constantly urged this administration to do more to counter the things that russia does and to do it faster. >> and if a national security council recommendation done before or after national security adviser h.r. mcmaster's departure? >> it's hard to know the exact time. we know discussions were held at the white house with the president's national security
team while mcmaster was still there. we think the recommendation was made and sent to the president friday night after mcmaster was gone. so how that all worked out, the details are unclear. but we know that the president's own national security inner circle is telling him to do this. they said, you should expel russian diplomats. which, by the way, we would expect to be met with a similar russian response, another tit for tat expulsion of diplomats and a further degradation of relations between the two countries. but the world, a chunk of the world is now viewing this as significant enough. it's not just the u.s. considering doing this in conjunction with the u.k., it's all of these other european countries that might send this same message at the same time. so we'll see tomorrow if the timing is there and whether the u.s. decides to join in and actually take this action. >> all right.
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ready for any event wuality arod the world for an attack if necessary. >> reporter: if a nuclear-tipped missile is launched anywhere around the world, the u.s. military instantly responds. four-star general hiten is alerted as soon as any threat is detected. he heads out of his office to his bunker deep underground in omaha, nebraska. >> this is the battle deck at u.s. strategic command. >> his staff also watches in case they need to use their ballistic missiles. >> there are many alarms that go off. there's about ten different ways to let the commander know it's
time to move. >> reporter: ready to advise president trump on how to deter enemies, and, if needed, launch a u.s. attack. cnn was given exclusive access to the general. we were there when an actual missile alert sounded. >> i'm sorry, we have to ask you to leave for a moment. >> reporter: the opposis center just picked up signals of russian missiles in syria. every time the alarm sounds, a detailed report is sent directly to the commander. in this case it is not a threat to the u.s. >> everybody should know that they're ready this minute, under the ground, on the sea, in the air. >> reporter: hiten watches diplomatic action carefully but worries about missiles and bombs north korea's kim jong-un may have still hidden away.
>> reporter: your gut tells you he's still building. >> i think he didn't stop building when he stopped launching. i know how long the rockets take to build. >> reporter: he's also keeping a close eye on vladimir putin's claim of new high-speed intercontinental weapons. >> nothing he said surprised me. >> reporter: in a new world urgency, there is a world scramble. >> reporter: secretary of state? >> yes. secretary of defense? >> yes. >> there's nobody you can get -- >> pictures no, ma'am. >> it will tell me how fast it's going, where the point of impact is. all those things happen in a
matter of minutes. >> reporter: and if a missile is headed for the u.s., that's where this safe, that sits underneath a desk, gets opened. inside an exact copy of president trump's nuclear launch cze checklists. >> in this room there are only two people who have access to that safe. that's me and our adviser. one of us has access to that safe. >> he asked me very hard questions. he wants to know exactly how it would work. >> reporter: but for the general and his team, success is never taking the nuclear code out of the safe because that means deterrence has worked. >> they launch one, we launch another, they launch another, we launch two. you're on this escalation that goes nowhere. the key is to stop that behavior before it gets bad. >> barbara starr, thank you so much for that. still ahead, it was an
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you know, could never happen here. but those same people are the ones who saw all the signs and never said anything. being bullied. the obsession with guns. even posting on instagram about shooting up the school. i mean, no one said anything. i'm sure tomorrow somebody will wish they had said something. looking for a hotel that fits... somebody whoooo.sh ...your budget? tripadvisor now searches over... ...200 sites to find you the... ...hotel you want at the lowest price. grazi, gino! find a price that fits. tripadvisor.
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remaining behind there in mar-a-lago. leaving behind the first lady with son baron which they are saying is a pre-planned spring break vacation. a new episode of our six-part world series "american dynasties: the kennedys" looks at john f. kennedy's first year in the white house. here is a preview. >> let every man and nation know that we shall pay any price to ensure the survival and success of liberty. and so, my fellow americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. >> there was just a sense that we could see a different world.
the torch was passed to a new generation who was focused on what the future would bring. >> resonating words about the most beloved american president. joining me right now, cnn presidential historian tim natale. tim, good to see you. jfk's historic election was march 5, the sense of hope and optimism. actually, it turned out quite differently. what were some of the challenges? >> this particular episode tonight is the story of 1961 which begins with such promise and hope, and really is a time of pain and disappointment which leads to the death of the patriarch, robert f. kennedy. this episode brings the bay of pigs, the regime that ends in failure. 1961 brings the difficult
the president had used his brother, bobby, to send ideas to the soviet union. to give the soviets a sense of what kennedy might want to agree to or discuss at vienna and the soviets weren't interested. they weren't buying. they wanted to push kennedy. they wanted to see if he would break, because they wanted to change the nature of the relationship in west berlin. so when kennedy goes to khrushchev and meets with him, it's an ambush and turns out very difficult for the president and is somewhat politically humiliating. so 1961 is a tough year for john f. kennedy. >> how did he rise above it? this was very humiliating, but here, 60 years later, a continued adversary in russia with this united states government. >> well, that will be episode four. 1962 and '63 will be a moment when the president really learns the ropes and president kennedy shows the greatness that we remember him for. but '61 was a learning appeared for him. one of the things that's really interesting in studying presidents is that some of them learn on the job.
john f. kennedy was very, very good at learning on the job. >> doesn't every president have to do that? it's a first time for most. >> yes, it's really a requirement -- >> until a second term. >> but fred, day don't all do it as well. >> yeah. all right, tim nifali, fascinating. as are your words. be sure to tune into a new episode of "american dynasties: the kennedys" tonight at 9:00 p.m. now to the powerful messages we heard this weekend as parkland, florida, shooting survivors pushed for stricterer gun control laws, but they were not alone. stepping up to support those young voices were the survivors of other mass shootings. here's cnn correspondent, ed lavendera. >> reporter: moment s known by single headline brought them together. aurora, tucson, orlando, las vegas, clackamas, virginia tech. >> we're not going to cry no
more. >> reporter: this group of about 15 people marched in washington, survivors and victims' relatives of the most horrific mass shootings in u.s. history. they came to embrace the students of parkland. >> i hope that the signs that we're carrying, saying we support them, that we're survivors, that they know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. >> reporter: pat may survived the shooting the that almost killed congressman gabby giffords seven years ago. six died that day, 13 wounded. may wrestled away a magazine of bullets as the gunman tried to reload. the moment inspired her to become a gun control advocate, as she listens to the parkland students on stage -- >> and i will fight for all of us! >> reporter: -- she's emboldened to pass the torch to the next generation. >> the kids have done more than we have in years and years, so let's let them take the lead. let's stand back and catch them when they fall, ask them what they need and give them what they need. >> reporter: each year, this
group grows. the tragedies haven't stopped. >> i wanted to be with you guys. >> reporter: heather guez is new. she survived the las vegas ambush. here she's in a crowd bonded by tragedy. >> it's kind of sad, because you don't even introduce yourself by name. you say, you're columbine, i'm vegas. oh, you're orlando? you're sandy hook? it's nice to meet you. like -- nobody understands what we understand. >> i wish i had never met any of these people. now i'm so glad that they're a part of my lives and a part of my family. >> reporter: jeremy smith and sam fellberg are the current body president and vice president at virginia tech. they noticed this group and met uma nathan. her father was an engineering professor killed in the virginia tech massacre. they had no idea this moment would touch their lives so closely. >> did you guys expect to meet someone like her today?
>> since our shooting, it's been 11 years now. and we walk by the memorial on our way to class every day of 32 oakies that died. and it's just insane that nothing's been done. >> reporter: tragedy turned this group into activists. they couldn't sit at home. they mourn by pushing for gun control legislation. but they've experienced disappointment after disappointment. >> when i got the call from my sister, and we had to tell their son, you can't not do anything. >> reporter: paul kemp's brother-in-law was killed in the clackamas mall shooting, just days before sandy hook. he's a gun owner who advocates for responsible state gun laws. he spent years lobbying lawmakers and he's inspired by the parkland students who haven't shied away from the public stage. >> they have the benefit of youth and being invincible and not listening to people that tell them that you can't do that. and they've been doing it. and i love it. >> reporter: it's the children, they say, who are supposed to learn and find inspiration from their elders.
>> the students have gotten the world to kind of stand up and take notice. >> reporter: but here, it's the wise and the experienced, leaning on the young. >> when is this going to stop? this, i'm hoping, is the beginning. this is going to be the beginning of the end. >> reporter: ed lavendera, cnn, washington. >> thanks so much, ed. we have so much more straight ahead in the newsroom right after this. , you made moonshine in a backwoods still. smuggled booze and dodged the law. even when they brought you in, they could never hold you down. when i built my family tree and found you, i found my sense of adventure. i set off on a new life, a million miles away. i'm heidi choiniere, and this is my ancestry story. now with over 10 billion historical records, discover your story. get started for free at ancestry.com discover your story. whoamike and jen doyle?than i thought. yeah. time for medicare, huh. i have no idea how we're going to get through this. follow me.
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another setback for trump's legal team. joe digenova is not joining the legal team days after they said he would. con flisflicts were cited as re. meanwhile, live pictures right now of air force one. the president rerturning to the white house after leaving florida there. first lady melania trump will stay at mar-a-lago ahead of an interview with the president's alleged former mistress, stormy daniels tonight. fight for your lives before it's someone else's job. >> and amid passionate pleas for change, the president is staying silent on the gun control debate and the march that took place yesterday and the powerful messages the from tens of thousands of young people marching across the country, including in the nation's capital. we have team coverage of all of this, with cnn crime and justice reporter,