tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC February 23, 2018 6:00am-7:00am PST
a tragic thing that happened to them but they have the potential to make real change. >> and then the next day they were talking to republican leaders who understood they couldn't close their doors to them. every time they are attacked, and i saw some attacks this morning from gun supporters, all they do is make those young americans stronger. and help their cause. well, that does it for us this morning. >> what a week. >> thank you so much for being with us this week. please keep the people of parkland and especially the parents who lost their loved ones, their children in your prayers. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. >> thanks so much, mika. thank you, joe. good morning, everyone. i'm stephanie with a lot to cover this morning, starting with a failure to act. as shots rang out, an armed resource officer, well, he stayed outside, rather than engaging the shooter. >> devastated. sick to my stomach.
there are no words. we go in and address the target. and that's what should have been done. >> this, as the president and the nra proposed arming teachers, teachers across the country are fighting back. this is a ridiculous nothing, many are saying, saying they would rather be armed with books, school supplies, pencil sharpeners. >> i'm not going to be -- face the question do i shoot a student or not. >> and opening the floodgates. special counsel bob mueller files new charges against former trump aides rick gates and paul manafort. >> eventually, one of them or both of them is going to break and cooperate or, as i said, die in federal prison. >> we begin today with the awful and heartbreaking revelations that the park land massacre might have been stopped, if the man hired for exactly this type of situation had actually done his job. we've heard it over and over from the nra, to stop a bad guy
with a gun, take the guy good with the gun. what if the good guy with the gun doesn't do anything? first, can you imagine being a parent of one of these kids at stoneman douglas high school and hearing this, broward county sheriff's deputy scott peterson was armed and on site as a school resource officer at stoneman douglas when the shooting began. he stood outside shielding himself from danger while the students he was supposed to protect were brutally murdered inside, gunned down. >> what i saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of building 12 and he never went in. >> he's an absolute coward. and i think not only should he be in jail for what he did, he should have to sit down and talk to every one of the victim's families and explain what his reasoning was for not going in.
>> very disappointed. potentially this could have been stopped and some of these people would be alive now. >> the strength of these teenagers amazes me more every day. nbc's kerry sanders is in parkland. kerry, you spoke to these students and teachers about what happened. what more do we know about scott peterson? is there any argument to be made that protocol is he should stay outside because it seems unfathomable. these are kids. he saw them every single day. >> no protocol at all. deputy in a dynamic situation has to make a certain call but clearly the sheriff here, scott israel, believes, because he reviewed the security videotape, that that deputy took a position, a defensive position, behind a wall for four minutes during the six minutes of the shooting and it was -- the sheriff who here says the deputy did not do what he is trained to
do. clearly the reaction from the teachers and the students backs that up in terms of their sense of what they would have anticipated him to do. scott peterson's been unavailable for comment. he was given the option to retire and that's what he chose to do. he's been on the force here for 30, almost 33 years. he's a veteran. he's 54 years old. just a general sense here that nothing that they expected him to do -- one of the teachers said they had known deputy scott peterson for quite some time on the campus and just never thought that he would react the way he did. meantime, in tallahassee today, the governor here in florida, rick scott, is going to announce a program and we believe that program is going to be an expansion of a small program that's currently in place in some counties. it's called the sen tt tenle
program. qualified teachers are carrying firearms in the event they need to take them out to protect students from a school shooting. currently, that program operates in polk county and some other counties and we expect there will be an expansion of that. however, here in parkland, marjory stoneman douglas high school, there's a general sense among teachers that arming the teachers will not work. in fact, they believe that by the evidence of the way deputy scott peterson did not get into the school, did not enter the building, did not take offensive action, that a trained deputy who didn't do that suggests that somebody who may have some skills in handling a firearm, but not as a law enforcement officer in a classroom would even be less likely to be able to handle somebody coming on the campus with a gun. this is what one teacher who i spoke to this morning, alliicea
blunt, had to say. >> no matter how much you train a civilian to do something like that, in a moment of crisis, self-preservation might take over. and some of us will put ourselves in the line of fire and some of us might not. that's why arming teachers is not a solution to this crisis. the solution is taking these kinds of weapons off the street. >> of course stephanie the real question here is whether there is the political will to restrict certain gun sales in the state of florida and of course really across the country. at this point, at least in the florida legislature, with about eight days left in the legislative session, it does not appear that a bill is going to emerge that can be voted on that would restrict any gun sales at all, stephanie. >> thanks, kerry. allowing teachers who are skilled to carry guns. let's remember, in 1981, president ronald reagan was surrounded by probably some of best marksman alive, extraordinary secret service detail, and he, in fact, was
shot. now let's go to washington where the president has spent days looking at school safety and gun control. here's a question. is he willing to oppose the nra to get something done? we could hear more when he speaks at cpac in about an hour. i want to go to nbc's kristen welker. two days ago, i saw the note card. the families were at the white house and the president said i hear you. when we hear what he's actually looking to do, sounds like he's looking to do what the nra wants. >> on the one hand, he is, stef. you're absolutely right. one of the big proposals that the president put forth yesterday and doubled down on it, he talked about it on the campaign trail, is exactly what you and kerry were just talking about this idea of arming some students. incredibly controversial. the president even going so far though yesterday, stef, as to say that those teachers should be given bonuses who are armed and trained. he made it very clear he wasn't talking about all teachers but,
again, some trained teachers to actually carry concealed weapons. that is a point on which he agrees with the nra. now, he also is breaking with the nra it appears on certain points as well. one of those points would be increasing the age limit for those allowed to carry ar-15 weapons. that's the type of weapon that was used in the shooting and other massacres. strengthening back ground checks. again, raising the age to buy guns. banning bump stocks. he said he was going to put new regulations on bump stocks. that could get challenged in the courts though. reopening. getting more federal funding to mental health institutions as well as violence ratings for movie and video games and then again that last one arming some teachers. incredibly controversial. now, president trump was pressed yesterday, stef, when he was meeting with state and local law enforcement officials about this idea of breaking with the nra. take a listen to what he had to
say. >> they want to do things. you know, they're good people. they're patriots. they love this country but the nra is ready to do things. >> so we'll have to see if the president actually is on the same page with the nra. they've been pretty clear they oppose increasing the age to purchase ar-15 weapons. now, president trump is going to speak a little bit later on this morning at cpac. that conservative conference that's in maryland. i am told he's going to talk about guns. so i anticipate we're going to hear more about his proposal to arm certain teachers. we're also, i am told, going to hear about north korea. mr. trump expected to make an announcement about that critical foreign policy crisis as well. >> clearly he's got a lot on his plate. for anyone hoping that this president is going to break with the nra, i want you to listen to some of what we heard yesterday from donald trump and from the
nra's wayne la pierre jr. >> we must immediately harden our schools. >> we have to harden our schools. >> so-called gun-free zones that are wide open targets. >> it is such a target for the killer. they look for gun free zones. >> it should not be easier for a mad man to shoot up a school than a bank. >> i want my schools protected just like my banks are protected, just like everything else. >> the national rifle association originated the national instant check system. >> they actually came up with certain of the rules and regulations that we have now. >> they came up with the rules and regulations. that seems odd, doesn't it? i want to bring in my panel, tim o'brien, bloomberg view. jennifer palmmary, white house communications director under obama. and brett stevens, op-ed columnist for "the new york times." what do you make of what you heard? >> it's clear the president's being programmed on this
particular topic by the nra because i don't think he had a mind of his own on it. he's never been a student of policy. it's i think the -- >> he understands money though and if teachers are armed in schools that would sell a whole lot of guns. >> right, give them a bonus, they'll carry a gun. i think this is one of those examples where the sort of tragic comic path the president follow, the policy positions, have dangerous implications. he hasn't been a student of the gun issue other than to play to his base or play to the nra. there's good politics for him involved in that decision in terms of getting re-elected, in terms of supporting his core base. as a matter of public policy, he's ignorant. and the problem here is that he's almost advocating position, about things that he sees in films or on tv. the idea of turning teachers into little rambos who can then protect the students should a shooter appear on a school campus is ridiculous. let's remember ft. hoort. hood, was a shooting in ft. hood.
a deeply and heavily armed institution. it was not a guns free zone. and a shooting still happened there. the state of israel is surrounded by hostile forces and they ban the sale of guns in the state of israel. it's a conservative government there. they've done it to great effect. this idea that the problem isn't the proliferation of guns but the ability of people to defend themselves i think is a straw horse. >> all right, brett. >> i would disagree with one thing. i lived in israel for a number of things. many people are -- almost everyone serves in the army, they know how to use weapons. people do carry -- do carry guns and they have stopped violence. it's not wrong to say that if we'd had a noncroowardly deputyt the school, a police officer, i'm not talking about teachers, perhaps lives could have been saved, so i don't think it's wise to blanketly dismiss it. the political cowardice by the president on display in the
video you just showed i think really matches that of the cowardice of the deputy who failed to take action. because the promise of the trump presidency is here was a guy who didn't care. help w he was willing to blow up one conservative orthodoxy after another. on many of these i disagreed. i was horrified. but his strength was his -- the ability to just kind of break through that nonsense. and simply say hey, i don't care if the nra seems to have a grip on the gop. we're going to go for a kind of all of the above solution. we're going to have incredibly intrusive background checks. we're going to make it a lot harder to get a gun than it is to drive a car for, you know, just to take one example, you're going to need owneress gun insurance. >> did you think this was pipe dream friday? >> there is a political moment right now. i think what has come out of
parkland, and i was skeptical a couple of days ago. what has come out of parkland is this potentially potent as what happened in october with the me too movement. there's a sense that -- of a galvanized country in part because these students and their parents have been so magnificent and so outspoken. it's different in that sense -- >> absolutely, it is a moment where if the president did something on gun control, even people who detest him would have to say thank you, thank you for doing something. but when it comes down to this idea -- the president's idea, let's arm teachers, chuck todd threw out a number of questions last night that i thought who's going to answer these, who's going to train them. where do they get the ammo from. what kind of ammo. are they going to get paid more money? where does this money come from? the state of oklahoma or in counties in oklahoma, they not only have a four day a week school week because they can't afford to keep lights on who in god's name is going to pay for this. >> i think this sis a moment.
outside of passing affordable health care act, any change in this country has come from outside congress. that body is dysfunctional. doesn't work. it doesn't react to the needs of the people. it reacts to republican donors. that's why they're not going to do anything serious on guns. the me too movement is real change. it's women across the country standing up to say this isn't right. now you have students standing up to say we're not going to accept this. i lived through new town with president obama. i thought that's what we need, we need the horror of understanding it could even happen to first graders. it could even happen there. that's what's going to make congress act. that wasn't enough. and i think it took parkland saying it's not just -- can happen here, it is going to happen everywhere. i think students and parents have realized this is -- it feels inevitable that it's going to happen in their school and
that is when you have the dam breaks in the country and people rise up to say it's not enough. i still don't think congress is going to act. tim o'brien knows president trump very well. covered him for a very long time. he's actually not the deal maker so much as a fighter. he may want this fight. ultimately real change is going to come because there is an -- on our side, on left, guns have never been a voting issue and it's a voting issue on the right. so republican politicians are very indebted to the nra because of that. because they know their voters really care about that issue. and now you have passion, real passion, on the side of reform. so ultimately maybe it's in 2019 we'll get there. but right now we have a congress that does not react to the concerns of the public. >> president trump, who does like to play to his base on this issue, isn't his base even smaller? i've seen conservative pundits
over the last few days and it breaks my heart going after these teenagers. these absurd conspiracy theories. or saying things like what do you think of disrespectful teenagers going after marco rubio. what i don't understand about that, doesn't president trump call him little marco, lying ted, crooked hillary? didn't he say that mitt romney got on his knees and begged and choked like a dog? how can they possibly make these arguments? so what base is president trump playing to? >> well, i think he's -- >> because white suburban voters who voted for him, they're not okay with this. >> let's extract even the notion of a base from this. you can't underestimate the force the nra has in these debates. they can influence legislation at the state level. they influence legislation at the federal level. he's clearly getting his talking points from them. i think -- i think most of what you've seen with this idea that the students are actors or are
sort of paid proponents for the left is in keeping with the arguments that have come out around the russia investigation or fake news. it's playing into this idea that you should doubt what you see. because what you see isn't believable. it's about the most stark example of something in front of people's eyes that demands a public policy solution that people are trying to avoid. >> the nra is i think a weaker organization than people realize. the most obvious way of explaining that. let's say trump abandons them. where are they going to go? where does the nra go politically? you just heard -- >> -- you think marco rubio's going to aband done ton the nra? >> no, but the nra has to lasso itself to the republican party because you've seen the most partisan nra in history in la pierre's speech. some plutonic idea of a trump
administration. i know we're talking in fantasy. some kind of running room. >> to abandon the nra? >> most normal americans understand they want some kind of common sense on guns. there is a political opportunity there that simply isn't being exploited. >> but the nra spent $12 million to help mitt romney. they spent $30 million to help donald trump. the fbi is investigating russian money going into the nra in the 2016 campaign for helping donald trump. and then august of 2016, they started running ads, anti-hillary ads, the nra, not about guns but about benghazi. what you describe the arguments, that's the arguments the kremlin uses to sow dissension in the united states. >> anyone who says these teenagers are actors, they don't know what they talk about. they know a lot about ar-15s because one was firing at them a week ago. even if they aren't enough to vote yet, they will be old
enough in two or three years and decades and decades after that. good luck. any minute now, president trump will leave the white house to give a speech at a conservative conference one day after the nra spoke strongly about the current gun debate. what sort of tone is the president going to take? but first, the president has suggested that teachers be armed. up next, i'm going to be speaking with a teacher and former marine. he's going to explain why she says it is not the solution. no, please, please, oh! ♪ (shrieks in terror) (heavy breathing and snorting) no, no. the running of the bulldogs? surprising. what's not surprising? how much money aleia saved by switching to geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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welcome back. i want to get back to the idea of arming teachers which the president says would deter gunman and help keep kids safe. he suggested allowing 20% of the faculty to have guns. here's the thing. if 20% of public school teachers were armed, that would work out to more than 600,000 nationwide. that would be more than the total number of active duty soldiers currently serving in the u.s. army. i'm joined now by alexis underwood, a seventh grade english teacher and former marine. i know you've been grading papers in the last few minutes. i've got a sixth grader at home who grading papers is something he has nightmares about. walk us through. you are exactly the type of person the president says should be armed to protect our kids. you're a former marine. you're a teacher. you understand both. what do you think of his idea? >> i think it's a horrible idea.
for two basic reasons. competency and trust. when i was a marine, i trained 52 weeks a year to be combat ready. teachers don't have that luxury. i simply cannot train enough and teach full time to be combat ready. and the second one is trust. as a marine, i had complete trust in my chain of command. to have my back. no matter what happened in the line of duty. i don't trust the florida legislature or the florida governor to have my back in a crisis. >> do you think your fellow school teachers, if they were trained, it would help the school? would it keep the students safer? >> no, i don't believe it would. now, of course there may always be that one off situation where an armed individual can save a life, but for the majority of us, for the most, the majority, the large parts of students, i don't believe that arming teachers will make them significantly safer. if president trump wants to really help, if governor scott wants to help, give my school
district the money to put an armed professional law enforcement officer on every campus from pre-k to adult education. that would help. >> do you think there needs to be metal detectors when kids walk into school? >> actually, every single kid in my class has said they would feel more comfortable if we had metal detectors and they would go through voluntarily. i was surprised by their answer. >> when you think about school budgets and what you're faced with and the limitations, whether it's school supplies after school activities, specials, how strapped are schools? because while safety is paramount, it's a massive undertaking to spend the billions of dollars it would cost to arm teachers. >> that is a major concern for me. as a union leader, i am intimately familiar with the budget that my school board has to work with. and we simply don't have that money floating around. we would have to take it from a program that services our
students. i understand that we all want our students to be safe. we want our students to be successful. but we can't rob peter to pay paul and take away an educational program that helps children learn and be better prepared for the future in the hope of making them more safe. >> then given what the gun laws are today, do you feel safe in the classroom? >> it's a difficult question. i feel as safe as any teacher in bay county. i wish i felt safer. i am prepared. but i don't feel safe. >> what do you mean when you say you're prepared? do you do drills with them? the president said he doesn't like drills. >> what we don't practice, we will not execute in a tile me o crisis. my school has armed shooter drills. i personally attempt to drill every month in the room at least once a month on an unannounced basis to the kids. what i do not practice, i will not execute well. >> let me tell you, alexis, if i was in your class, i would feel
safe with you in the front of the room. >> oh, that makes me feel good. >> i also have a feeling you're probably a pretty tough teacher. i'm guessing those papers you just graded, you probably had that red pen out a lot. >> i don't use red pen, it's very traumatizing. i grade in purple. >> i agree with that, i hate red pen. thank you for joining us. up next, new charges filed against paul manafort and rick gates. we'll explain what they are and why they destroy the time line the white house has tried to lay out.
welcome back. i'm stephanie ruhle with breaking news. president trump on the lawn of the white house just moments ago speaking to reporters ahead of his trip, his speech over at cpac. let's go to kristen welker live at the white house. what did you learn? >> president trump asked of course again about what steps he plans to take to make schools safer. he talked about the need to strengthen background checks. he also talked about the need to impose some new measured regulations. he was asked about that sheriff's deputy who didn't go in that we have of course spent so much time talking about this morning. he said he didn't do a very good
job so some condemnation there. president trump, again, speaking just moments ago before speaking to cpac. >> mr. president, what do you say to teachers and students who say they do not want to see guns in american schools? >> it's a very big subject. it's a subject that everybody's talking about obviously. we're going to do something about it. we're going to make changes. i see congress wanting to act now for the first time. so we certainly have to strengthen background checks. everybody agrees with that. and we're going to make background checks very, very strong. i'll be speaking about that at cpac very, very important is to do that and also the mentally ill, people that are mentally -- they have mental problems, we cannot allow them to have guns. so we're going to be very strong on that. that's going to go a long way. i also believe that schools have to have some form of protection. they can't just be open-ended,
gun free is an invitation for these crazy people to just come in and shoot. if they're not gun free, if there are guns inside held by the right people, by highly trained professionals, you're going to see this end. it won't be happening anymore. our schools are essentially gun free zones. and that makes them very dangerous places. >> the parkland sheriff was armed and he didn't go in. does that give you any pause -- >> say it, what? >> the parkland sheriff was armed and he didn't go in, does that give you any pause? >> deputy sheriff peterson i guess his name is, i mean, they brought it out, i was surprised, but it deserves to be brought out, what he did, he's trained his whole life. there's an example. but when it came time to get in there and do something, he didn't have the courage or something happened. but he certainly did a poor job. there's no question about that. he was there for five minutes,
for five minutes. that was during the entire shooting. he heard it right at the beginning. so he certainly did a poor job. but that's the case where somebody was outside, they're trained, they didn't react properly under pressure or they were a coward. it was a real shot to the police department. >> -- be any different? would an armed teacher -- >> well, i think we really have a group of people that want to do the right thing. the nra is composed of people that i know very well. these are good people. in many cases, great people. they're patriots. they love our country. the nra wants to do the right thing. i've been speaking to them. they do want to do the right thing. look, i haven't been here that long. this has been going on for a long time. many years, decades. and we're going to get it fixed.
but the only way you're going to get it fixed is you have to have a certain degree of offensive power within the school. it can't only be defense. you have to have protection within the schools. and we're going to work it out. but we are going to be very, very powerful, strong on background checks. especially having to do with people with mental problems. this person that did this horrible act, he was mentally deranged and everybody knew it. for a long period of time. i guess they had 38 red flags, 39 red flags. you can't do any better than that. unfortunately, they didn't catch it. they should have caught it. this could have been prevented. so the whole mental situation is very big. but background checks to me are very important. and we have to strengthen up our schools. i'm going over to c-pac hcpac. i'll be talking about it. thank you. >> stef, president trump
doubling and tripling down on his call to, as he says, strengthen schools, meaning that some teachers should be armed. defending that position. also being pressed about a potential rift with the nra. you heard him say they are good people. he thinks ultimately they're going to do the right thing. and also reiterating his call for strengthening background checks and mental health services. now, stef, he's going to cpac where he's also going to be talking about north korea. we are told. and announcing some new sanctions. we're told that will consist of sanctions against 15 vessels, shipping companies and trade businesses. that of course an attempt to turn up the heat on north korea to end its nuclear program. the timing's significant. it comes as the olympics are winding to a close and as his daughter ivanka trump, just landing in south korea for the closing ceremony, hoping to engage in a little diplomacy of her own while she's there. so a number of headlines as the
president is poised to speak at cpac just moments from now, stef. >> all right, kristen welker, thank you so much. president trump said he is regularly speaking to the nra and also regularly speaks to his lawyers. maybe about this. new indictments have been filed in special counsel robert mueller's investigation. nbc news has confirmed that former trump campaign manager paul manafort and trump's former campaign aide rick gates now face new tax and bank fraud charges. i want to bring in ken dilanian and former chief spokesman for the justice department matt miller. ken, i want to read part of the nbc report. manafort and gates are now both accused of tax evasion and not reporting money in foreign accounts and they are also accused of misleading banks on paperwork for millions in real estate loans obtained in 2016. now, some of the federal charges filed in this virginia court
mirror the charges in washington yesterday. so what's new here? because what stands out to me is this is bad stuff these guys did. yet if president trump didn't win, they probably would have gotten away with it. >> i think that's true, stephanie. what's new here is these new charges allege these guys were involved in a crime spree while running the trump campaign. the first indictment was really about the millions they were paid from this russianbacked ukrainian oligarch and how they allegedly laundered that money. and most of the conduct occurred before the presidential campaign. these new charges basically say -- basically speak to what happened after that cash spigot turned off. and they allege that paul manafort with the help of rick gates was essentially defrauding banks and committing tax evasion as a way of raising money to shore up his dwindling finances. so you have 16 new charges of tax evasion. tax evasion was not alleged in the first indictment. you have some bank fraud accounts. so this conduct extended well
throughout 2016 and into last year. allegedly. >> i want to talk about that time line. when you say the russian oligarch, which one was it? >> yanukovych. and so he was at one point the prime minister of ukraine. manafort and gates consulted for him for years and were paid a total of some $75 million by him and his party to consult and according to these charges to lobby american officials without properly registering. >> so he's not the russian oligarch that president trump sold that palm beach property to, the one he bought for $40 million and sold just a couple years later for $80 million. that is another thread we're going to continue to focus on. i want to talk about the time line of the charges again. on october 30th, 2017, president trump tweeted this. sorry, but this is years ago, before paul manafort was part of the trump campaign, but why aren't crooked hillary and the dems the focus. then sarah huckabee sanders heckcooed that point at the
october 30th white house briefing. i want you to listen. >> again there are no activities or official capacity in which the trump campaign was engaged in any of these activities. most of them took place well before the campaign ever even existed. >> okay. so october 30th is hell night, cabbage night, the day before halloween. it's not april fool's day. what could sanders been telling us there? because these new charges, they changed that time line. >> yes, it's always been an absurd contention from sarah huckabee sanders that, you know, these guys were crooked before we hired them. they weren't actually -- >> they cleaned up once they joined the campaign? >> yes, exactly right. it's obviously always been silly. now an incident they were likely conducting criminal activity while in trump's employ. for all the white house likes to claim that manafort's activities in ukraine were unconnected to the overall russia investigation, we don't yet know
if that's true. when paul manafort -- what we do know is when paul manafort joined the campaign in early 2016, he was deeply in debt and now we find out from this indictment he was highly leveraged and, in fact, inflating his income to obtain new loans. deeply in debt. highly leveraged. in great financial straights. he sought out the trump campaign to work for free. now, why did he do that? maybe he just believed in donald trump and his message of making america great again. maybe it was that he was trying to reburnish his credentials so he could go and sell himself to other dictators and oligarchs overseas. it might be something completely darker. it might have been that, you know, in debt to a russian oligarch for millions of dollars, this was something he did in return. we don't know the answer to that yet. but that, i assume, is what bob mueller's investigating. every time the white house claims this is disconnected from the russia investigation, they don't know that's true and we don't either. >> we need to give a little more characterization there. paul manafort said in his letter
to the president that he will work for free, but he wanted to have i think it was a letter to the president, a significant role in the -- in the campaign. so if he had a significant role, he could tell those russian oligarchs or others, look at the influence i have over the next potential president. >> bingo. >> ken, quickly, what's been the response from manafort and gates? >> manafort issued a statement asserting his innocence and proclaiming he will be vindicated. gates has not commented but there are multiple reports he is on his way to cooperating. there was a little kerfuffle yesterday about whether he fired his lawyer. green has a history of cutting deals with the justice department. and it's really looking like gates is about to flip and begin cooperating. and that is bad news for manafort. >> all right, right there, ken dilanian said lawyerly and
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welcome back. my favorite part of the show, money, power, politics. today, we are talking about a powerful nra lobbyist from florida who is literally driving national gun policy. meet 78-year-old maryland hammer. she previously served as the first female president of the nra from 1995 to 1998. she's responsible for helping push through the nation's first stand your ground law. the new yorker describes hammer as having unprecedented power and influence and is, quote, at the center of nearly every piece of gun legislation in florida and often the country. joining me now, the author of this extraordinary piece, i highly recommend you read it, new yorker contributor mike spies. what a piece. i want to share something that stuck out to me where you write, the breath of hammer's power in florida can be seen in ways that state employees, legislators and
the governor defer to her. she gives orders and they follow them. why is this woman so powerful? rick scott calls up, thank you, sir, may i have another? >> it's a really good question. i think one of the things that we talk about in the article is that she's got this incredible army of people that ultimately are at her beck and call. so when she asks them to mobilize, they do it. i think the republican lobbyist who's mentioned in the story talks about, when she summons these people from the deep, that's what he says, they come, full force. and that's -- >> why? >> it's a hard question to answer. i'm not even sure there's a great reason for it except there's a larger identity politics that she plays which is extremely effective. there's roughly 300,000 nra members in florida which in and of itself represents a fairly sizable voting bloc. that's a part of the 1.8 million conceal carry permit holders that live in the state too. that's a huge amount of people that are already very interested
in the gun issue and are probably inclined to be sympathetic to her. >> so nothing she's doing is illegal. and in the thousands of e-mails and documents you received, it seems that this woman is intimately seems this wait a moment is involved in crafting lengthlation. so have she spoken to you, what is her reaction, because it's true when you look at this one one level you could say she's absolutely fantastic at what she does, the issue is why on earth is it legal if. >> that's a great question and no one has been able to answer that, un george. she essentially has the power of a lawmaker without any of the public accountability. in some cases, more power than lawmakers because she's able to dictate the process and they're deferring to her. she's got all the institution power. ultimately as someone points out, often acting as fig leaves. >> as puppets and she's the
brand puppeteer. student at stoneman douglas high school are demanding that their local elected officials do something opinion gun control. this is what amazes me, in your piece you state there's a state law that hamilton worked on that punish local officials who intent to establish gun makers. >> that's true. florida was the first state to do it in 2011. >> so, you try to override me and you're going down? >> you're going down. you're going to get fined personally $11,000. >> personally? >> and you can get removed from office by the government. and the governor is very close with her policies. chances are if you're going to go in that direction you're going to pay the price for it. the one thing we talked about is a lot of policies in florida get exported elsewhere across the country, that particular law has
been adopted by other states. >> marry hammer, what a fitting name. thank you so much. this is a great piece i highly recommend you read it. in a minute president trump is going to be taking the stage at cpac. as soon as he begins we'll bring it to you live. thank you so much. thank you! so we're a go? yes! we got a yes! what does that mean for purchasing? purchase. let's do this. got it. book the flights! hai! si! si! ya! ya! ya! what does that mean for us?
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you are watching mississipsnbc, keeping an eye known as cpac in maryland where the president is scheduled to speak in minutes. my panel is back with me. jennifer, what president trump will we be getting today? at this point he can't spout out insults and demands, he has to deliver because he's the guy in charge now? >> history of the trump administration doesn't deliver and i think he'll probably go there, he'll sound a lot like wayne did yesterday. we have a president and congress that doesn't react to public pressure. that's why you see young people and people across the country trying to rise up to figure out how we address these problems ourselves. it's a sad situation but i don't think you're going to see him offer any solution. >> we're going to get red meat trump. trump, if you know one thing about him requires the
anglelation of the crowd. >> this is his crowd. >> this is the most extreme version of his crowd. on the other hand, there's a real opportunity for everyone else. i really believe that the logo of any sensible trump opponents, whether they're middle of the road or west wing, is make america seiane again. >> he's opening up mental institutions. >> he belongs if one. what we have been witnessing in cpac in the trump campaign, the first 14 months of this presidency is a nonstop insanity. i think there's a desire to see sensible, middle of the road leadership. that's something that's been opened up by parkland silver lining. >> if red meet trump shows up and mitch mcconnell and paul ryan's watching what do they see? >> they're going to see a
performance audience. he love being in cpac center stage. cpac is the ultimate ek presentation of this base. i don't think we'll see meanwhile policies out of them. i think it's sad the president's first meeting education policy is with teachers. i think you're going to see more of pandering to the motion and not stays true to policy. >> they're terrified of trump's base. >> conservators have to figure out what it means to be a conservator. and trump is not helping. the gop is split there's not a clear statement of values and plans by conservators. and donald trump is not the vessel for clear sophisticated conservative thought. this is just a clown rodeo at cpac. >> then why do your classic republicans, why do they continue to be so afraid of president trump's narrow base?
when you talk and keep comparing him to ronald reagan, last i check, ronald reagan won the popular vote. donald trump didn't. >> you can think of more republicans more apart than reagan was from trump. and the party always claims to be the party of reagan is simply no longer that. republicans have time and again learned that they pay the huge price for are youing again trump and that isn't going to change unless ante-election deliver such sting l rebutte they begin to understand what a president is. >> i don't know. cowhering to a bully. >> you survivor. >> thank you all so much. what a great morning. i'm steph snee ruhle. coming up halle jackson. stephanie thank you so much. any minute we expect to see president trump speak at the
conservative process one day of the dnc. teachers at stoneman douglas high school return to their classes for the first time since last week's shooting. teachers like them should have guns in school. we're learning someone who did have a gun, a trained deputy sheriff that didn't do anything. he resigned shortly after being suspended. we have myra rodriguez down in florida. jeff bennet over at the white house. jeff, let's start with you. the president on his way to this conference. he took questions from you guys out on the white house lawn, specifically related to gun propose salls. >> reporter: yeah, as we know, halle the president doesn't