'This Week' Transcript 2-11-18: Parkland, Florida Deadly School Rampage

This is a rush transcript for "This Week" on February 18, 2018.

ByABC News
February 18, 2018, 9:00 AM


ANNOUNCER: This Week with George Stephanopoulos starts right now.

MARTHA RADDATZ, HOST: Tragedy in Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was in the classroom and all I hear was shots. And I was just like oh, my gosh. What's happening?

RADDTAZ: And now the FBI admitting to a major mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We truly regret any additional pain that this has caused.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They failed our school, and they failed our country.

RADDATZ: How did officials miss the warning signs? And will the grassroots response borne from the tragedy make meaningful progress on gun control reform? We talked to grieving families...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Life is really short, I discovered in the past couple of days.

RADDATZ: And the survivors now moved to action.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This will not be forgotten. We will not be silent. We are going to make a change.

RADDATZ: This morning, Parkland students banding together announcing a march on Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; At this point, you're either with us or against us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They used stolen or fictitious American identities, fraudulent bank accounts and false identification documents.

RADDATZ: 13 Russians indicted in the special counsel's investigation, accused of meddling in the 2016 election. President Trump saying this doesn't change the election results.

Tough questions ahead for Trump ally Chris Christie, and former homeland security Jeh Johnson.

From the White House to your house, the facts that matter this week.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's a special edition of This Week. Reporting from Parkland, Florida co-anchor Martha Raddatz.


RADDATZ: Good morning from Parkland, Florida. The latest American community shaken by a mass shooting. We're here because as one student said this week, this is something we can't let keep happening, because if we do and we get used to it, it's going to happen again.

And this morning, students here are taking action, announcing a March on Washington and events across the country to demand lawmakers act on gun control. We'll talk to some of those students in a moment. We'll also get the very latest into the investigation, how so many warning signs were missed by the FBI and local officials that might have prevented this tragedy in the first place.

President Trump weighing in on that last night managing to blame the Russia investigation, tweeting "very sad that the FBI missed all the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. There no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud."

But while there were clearly missed signs and no matter how easy it might be to try to pack this away, as one more tragic mass shooting, we can't normalize it and we can't move on without looking hard at what happened. Why it happened. What we are doing wrong and most of all what do we do now.


DELANEY TARR, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: Because of the systematic failure our government on every level people are dying every day.

RADDATZ: Three days after tragedy struck this community, a rallying cry for action.

EMMA GONZALEZ, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you.

RADDATZ: Anguish turned to activism, a grass roots movement led by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, where 17 were killed Wednesday in a shooting rampage. A former student, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, arrested and charged. Adding to the outrage, the FBI with that stunning admission Friday that they failed to act on a tip on the alleged shooter just six weeks ago.

ROBERT LASKY, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: The FBI has determined that protocol was not followed.

RADDATZ: A caller with information about the suspect's gun ownership, desire to kill, erratic behavior, disturbing social media posts and the potential to carry out a school shooting.


RADDATZ: And a new report from the Sun Sentinel confirmed by ABC News, details how local and state officials, the school district, and mental health authorities, all had Cruz on their radar as early as 2016, but failed to act.

HOWARD FINKELSTEIN, BROWARD COUNTY: This kid, in his own way, was screaming out in every way that the mind knows how to scream out. He did everything, including saying I want to go and shoot people in school.

RADDATZ: Now with a flawed system exposed, and a community's growing outcry, will Washington take any action. Sources tell ABC News that President Trump said privately this week we have to do something.

But this president, who was endorsed by the NRA, a group that spent $30 million backing his campaign, failed to mentioned guns in his address to the nation Thursday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you do something about guns?

RADDATZ: Or in his visit to the hospital here Friday night where he met with victims and first responders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do our gun laws need to be changed, Mr. President?

RADDATZ: Instead, the White House has pointed to mental health.

RAJ SHAH, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's a whole host of issues surrounding this matter from mental health to school safety and a range of other things that we're going to be looking at

RADDATZ: But Democrats pushing for stronger gun control laws say that misses the point.

REP. CHRIS MURPHY, (D) CONNECTICUT: Every other country that has the same rate of mental illness as the United States, has a much lower rate of gun crime. We should fix our mental health system, but we shouldn't let the gun lobby get away with suggesting that that's the problem in the United States.

RADDATZ: Since the 2012 killing of 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary, more than 400 people have been shot in over 200 shootings at elementary and highschools and on college campuses.

Senator Chris Murphy represents the families who lived through the Sandy Hook tragedy.

RADDATZ: So, when you were watching that, when you watching those reports a knowing about Sandy Hook, and knowing nothing has changed, just tell me what you were thinking in your gut?

MURPHY: I mean, I've got kids. And it just scares me to death that my colleagues aren't serious about protecting my kids. It will be you some day.


RADDATZ: Indeed, as victims of this violence often say we never thought it could happen here. More and more we know it could happen anywhere, anytime.

For more on the very latest in this ongoing investigation, I want to bring in ABC News chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas, and ABC News contributor and former FBI agent Brad Garrett. Good morning, gentlemen.

I thank you for coming down here. And I want to start with you, Pierre, about that stunning admission from the FBI on Friday well over a month ago, January 15, a person close to Nikolas Cruz called the FBI's tip line and reported these concerns -- Cruz's gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, disturbing social media posts as well a the potential of him conducting a school shooting.

A stunning mistake.

PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS: ...a mistake. To put it simply, they blew it. I spoke with a source last night. They're crestfallen within the FBI. Their job is to stand in the gap. And here's a case where someone called in with all the kind of information taht you want to have to prevent something like this -- the young man is disturbed, talked about killing people. It's the kind of tip that you must follow up on and they did not.

RADDATZ: And is this just someone answering the phone? It's an FBI employee, obviously, and they just didn't pass it on?

THOMAS: That's what's being investigated. My understanding is that the call came in to a clearing house where they get thousands of tips. They have to make assessments on which ones to follow up on, but my source said make no mistake, this is a tip we should have followed up on.

RADDATZ: And, Brad, this should have been assessed as a potential threat to life. What do you think is happening here? Are there too many tips? Is there a man power shortage?

BRAD GARRETT, FORMER FBI AGENT: There are too many tips. But the reality is, the FBI dropped the ball. The local authorities dropped the ball based on information they had about this potential shooter.

And so it goes down to this, Martha, is that the problem is that when people say things awful, I want to shoot up a school, but they don't mention any school specifically, it's not against the law. And so what happens is law enforcement -- there's a gray area you have to fill in if you are in law enforcement of go in and and knocking on the door and saying son, come out here, let me talk to you for a second. Assess him. Maybe take a mental health expert with you. That's the part of this that we miss in these cases. And it's -- as long as we stay in this area, it's very, very difficult for law enforcement, most law enforcement, to move on because they can't arrest you.

RADDATZ: President Trump, of course, had this tweet last night. He seems to think he has figured it out: "very sad that the FBI missed all the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. Not acceptable. They're spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign."

What's your reaction to that, Pierre?

THOMAS: Within the FBI, there are a lot of people who are concerned about the president trying to influence them I've not had a chance to talk to anyone about that tweet yet, but I would think that it would be in that same category.

RADDATZ: Brad, the same people are answering the tip line and doing regular investigations really wouldn't have anything to do with Russia.

GARRETT: Of course not. And you have to understand that as political chatter goes on and we change FBI directors or not, the people running on the ground are going to keep running on the ground. The people that are doing the Russian stuff are doing the Russian stuff. The people out in these field offices are getting assignments like check on this kid, do whatever it might be, work a bank robbery. Their life goes on.

So the idea that, you know, this got mixed up because of the Russian investigation is just silly.

RADDATZ: Let’s talk about what happened here. We had a 19 year old with an automatic -- semi-automatic weapon, was able to buy it legally, had mental health disturbances, had all kinds of red flags. People were calling the school, people were calling the police. What should have happened? What could have happened if all the protocols were followed? If none of the red flags were missed, could this have been stopped?

THOMAS: Look, I don’t want to beat up on the FBI too much here because they are already crestfallen, as I said, about this situation. But the whole idea of see something say something is to create a situation where they can go knock on that door. And if you go and knock on that door after getting that information, you’re going to find out a couple things.

You’re going to find out that this young man has been receiving counseling, you’re going to find out that he -- neighbors are concerned about him and then you’re going to find out he’s got an AR-15.

RADDATZ: But then what can you do about that, Brad Garrett?

GARRETT: Zero, actually. Because --

THOMAS: But in terms of getting counseling and perhaps having a conversation --

RADDATZ: And -- and he had counseling. So that’s the point. What, in the end, even if all the protocols are followed, even if you knock on that door, could you do stop it?

GARRETT: Maybe nothing. And here’s the reason why, is that school shooters or mass shooters in general think about this for weeks, months, years. And they’ll just wait. You know, and they -- some of them know they can step to a line and if they step over it, the police could come after them if not. So he said inappropriate things, he had a weapon legally. So what are you going to do?

Now, there -- in some jurisdictions, there’s a things called, you know, emergency violence protection orders.

THOMAS: Right.

GARRETT: You can get one of those -- I don’t know if Florida has them -- where you can go and temporarily seize someone’s guns. A lot of states don’t like them because they think of the second amendment stuff. But we have to think more in an informal (ph) setting. We can’t think about we’re going to arrest somebody. We have to think about what can we do with them, what settings can we put them in to help them.

THOMAS: And Martha, to be clear, I’m not necessarily saying he should have been arrested in that moment. But what these law enforcement people tell me is that if you can get people to the appropriate psychiatric medical help, then you perhaps can mitigate whatever’s going on with them.

RADDATZ: OK. Thanks to both of you. Pierre, (ph) you’re going to be joining us later. Thanks, Brad.

It didn’t take long after the attack on Stoneman Douglas High School to see people mobilize, refusing to accept that mass shootings are part of the new normal in this country. Gun reform groups calling emergency meetings, walk-outs and sit-ins planned for next month. And this morning, a new announcement. What organizers are calling a march for our lives to turn the tragedy here into an opportunity for change.

Five of those student organizers, all survivors from the shooting, join us from here in Parkland this morning. And we’ll say good morning Cameron Kasky, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Alex Wind and Jaclyn Corin. Thanks for joining us. And Cameron, I -- I want to start with you. Tell us why you’re doing this, what you expect to happen.

CAMERON KASKY, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: People keep asking us what about the Stoneman Douglas shooting is going to be different. Because this has happened before and change hasn’t come. This is it. People are saying that it’s not time to talk about gun control. And we can respect that. Here’s a time. March 24th in every single city. We are going to be marching together as students begging for our lives.

This isn’t about the GOP, this isn’t about the Democrats, this is about the adults. We feel neglected and at this point, you’re either with us or against us.

RADDATZ: Cameron, you had some very harsh words this week for Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Rick Scott here in Florida. You said they have blood on their hands.

KASKY: At this point, any politician on either side who is taking money from the NRA is responsible for events like this. And one of the things we’re trying to do here is give everybody a clean slate and create a new normal where there’s a badge of shame on any politician who’s -- who’s accepting money from the NRA no matter where they are. Because at the end of the -- at the end of the day, the NRA is fostering and promoting this gun culture in which people like Nicolas Cruz can gun down 17 innocent lives in our school.

RADDATZ: And Emma, you -- you have seen what has happened in past shootings. Basically, nothing has happened, even after Sandy Hook. What would you say to those who you want to join you in this march for your lives in Washington to convince them that something really will change, that there will be no more mass shootings?

EMMA GONZALEZ, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: The people who are out there, the kids who need to take part in this are kids -- everyday kids just like us. They are students who need to understand that this can very quickly happen to them. And we’re doing everything within our power to prevent it from happening to them, but they need to join us and they need to help us get our message across.

They need to join us in the march on Washington. They need to find out website, they need to come out against those people who are being supported by the NRA on both sides. We want to have conversation with President Donald Trump, Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Rick Scott about the fact that they are being supported by the NRA. And we want to give them the opportunity to be on the right side of this.

RADDATZ: And I want to thank you all. And David Hogg, I know we will be speaking later in the -- in the broadcast to all of your family. Thanks so much for joining us this morning and good luck to you all.


RADDATZ: -- students say they’ll march on Washington, so let’s turn now to two members of Congress, Democrat Congressman Ted Deutch who represents this Florida district and Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo of South Florida. Good morning gentlemen and I'm going to start with you, Congressman Deutch, such a tragic, tragic week for your district. You just heard the passion from those kids, a march for their lives on Washington, will it do any good?

REP. TED DEUTCH (D), FLORIDA: Yes. Yes it will. Martha, the difference this time, is that these kids -- you've spoken to them, the world has heard them, they're just not going to sit back after what they experienced, after what they saw, the worst things imaginable, they're not going to just sit back and take it.

They're going to stand up for their lives, that's what this is about.

RADDATZ: Congressman Curbelo, they said they are going to take on the NRA, they had some very harsh words for Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Rick Scott. They said they have blood on their hands. What's your reaction to that?

REP. CARLOS CURBELO (R), FLORIDA: Well, number one, I commend them for their activism. I mean, these young people, our entire community is in mourning, and I think our entire community, and I speak for I think (ph) people in Miami paid (ph), Monroe County were in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Broward, represented by Congressman Deutch and people want action.

And we've kind of inherited this world of binary choices where we either have to repeal the second amendment or have no gun safety regulations whatsoever, and younger generations of Americans don't see the world that way.

And I want to represent those people and I want to get something done.

RADDATZ: And Congressman Deutch, I know you have a reaction to that.

DEUTCH: I -- I do, I do. And -- and Carlos and I have worked well together, but the -- the -- I -- I have to represent my constituents who want Carlos and -- and others in the House and Senate to -- to just be clear about this.

Do you support universal background checks, yes or no? Do you support the terror watch list bill that says if you're too dangerous to fly, you shouldn't be able to buy a gun? And do you support what had been the law until 2004 which was a ban on assault rifles that are made for no purpose other than maximum killing.

It's not my -- all I've heard all week is how frustrated people are with rhetoric, they want action that -- there are bills that we can pass tomorrow, but the things we need to do are the ones I just outlined. And I -- and -- and --

RADDATZ: And Congressman -- Congressman Curbelo, will you do those things?

CURBELO: Well, I've already -- I've already co-sponsored the Thompson-King legislation, which expands background checks and also expands rights, by the way, for those who are law-abiding citizens and responsible gun owners. After the Pulse night club shooting, I introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent those on the no fly no buy list from having instant access to dangerous weapons.

After the Las Vegas shooting, I filed bipartisan legislation to ban bump stocks. What we need is congressional leaders, specifically in my party, to allow some of these bills to come to the floor for debate. There are a lot of Republicans who are prepared to support reasonable, common-sense gun safety laws, new laws, stronger laws that protect rights for responsible citizens, people who are responsible gun owners, but will prevent those who want to do harm to innocent people from obtaining these weapons.

And Martha, it's very important to point out this is not the only part of the puzzle. We do have to do better on gun safety legislation. We also have to do mental health. Ted has a bill on school security. And we also have to find out what happened at the FBI. Because it's obvious that there were many signs that there was something wrong with this young man and that he was about to do something terrible and no one paid any attention to that.

RADDATZ: I want to go back to the NRA and what I asked you about Marco Rubio and those kids saying he had blood on his hands. Does he take some blame here?

CURBELO: Look, obviously these are young people who are very frustrated and obviously in deep pain because of what happened. There's one person who has blood on their hands and it's the perpetrator of this crime. Now, in terms of the inaction on gun safety legislation, I -- I do share that frustration. I thought after the Las Vegas shooting, when almost every member of Congress who was asked said yes, these bump stocks should be banned, nothing happened --

RADDATZ: But nothing happened, so why -- so why is this different?

CURBELO: So -- so -- so I share that frustration.

RADDATZ: I want to ask you both quickly. (ph) So -- so how do you change it?

CURBELO: Well, what members of Congress --

RADDATZ: And (ph) you two are arguing.

CURBELO: What members of Congress have to do is what I did on Friday, which is to co-sponsor legislation -- co-sponsorships is the most important currency --

RADDATZ: Go ahead.

DEUTCH: This is --

RADDATZ: Congressman.

DEUTCH: This -- this is -- I can tell you what these kids have told me. They don’t want to hear about co-sponsoring. They want action. Carlos is a friend. Carlos also voted for Paul Ryan for speaker. It's not members of Congress, it's the Speaker of the House who refuses to bring these bills up. And the few times when we have a chance to actually introduce amendments to try to bring them to the floor, Carlos has voted against those. We need the opportunity to vote. We should -- he should talk to the speaker.

He should come to the speaker with those kids and he should encourage Marco Rubio to come to Parkland and face these kids directly and he should encourage the president to come to Parkland. Stop using this for politics and come to Parkland and talk to these kids and their families and everyone who has suffered. That's what should happen. That's how change will come.

RADDATZ: Congressman Curbelo, I'm going to give you the last word on this.

CURBELO: Martha, I agree with Ted that something has to happen. I'm one of those members of Congress who is trying to get us closer to that point where we can have bipartisan legislation that will help mitigate or prevent some of these types of situations in the future.

RADDATZ: I thank both of you for joining us this morning, it's (ph) still a long way apart. Up next, we'll look closely at those sweeping indictments of Russian nationals accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and later my conversation with two siblings who survived Wednesday's shooting but lost many friends in the attack.

Their incredible story and plans to take action coming up, we'll be right back.



ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, UNITED STATES: Indictment charges 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for committing federal crimes while seeking to interfere in the United States political system.

There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.


RADDATZ: That was Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announcing those indictments Friday, the latest action brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, charges Russian nationals with supporting the presidential campaign of then candidate Donald Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton.

President Trump is claiming the indictment proves no collusion between his campaign and the Russian government. Let’s take this back to ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas, and joining us from New York is ABC News Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams.

Good morning to you both I’m going to start again with you Pierre. How significant is this indictment? What do you see from -- 50 (ph) -- 13 nationals?

PIERRE THOMAS, SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, ABC: Well it shows the breath of the Russian operation targeting the U.S. election. What Mueller was trying to do here is only one component of his investigation, he was trying to show how the Russians engaged in a social media campaign against the United States, and it’s stunning.

Hundreds of employees conducting operations targeting the U.S., they actually sent people to the United States, it cost millions of dollars to do.

RADDATZ: Millions of dollars, and ads on Facebook and Twitter and everywhere else they could possible do this. Dan, President Trump tweeted after the indictment came out, quote, the results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong. No collusion.

He says this proves in this indictment no collusion. Do you see it that way?

DAN ABRAMS, CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS ANCHOR, ABC: No, there -- there’s nothing in this indictment to prove that there was no collusion or that it didn’t have an impact.

The purpose of this indictment would not be to assess the impact on the U.S. election. The purpose of this indictment would be to assess the intent, the efforts made, et cetera. And that it does in great and very specific detail.

The question of collusion is an open one. Why? Because as Pierre points out, this investigation is being done in sections, in pieces, the piece that relates to possible collusion relates to hacking.

We don’t know what the result of that investigation is. What we do know is that Robert Mueller has felt that people like George Papadopoulos, that people like Michael Flynn had valuable enough information that he cut deals with them, meaning they were facing much more serious time and Mueller decided, you know what, what they have is important enough to me in the context of this investigation that I'm going to give them deals in exchange for that information. We don know what that's going to lead to yet. So to claim that this somehow conclusively demonstrates anything about what didn't happen, just isn't true.

RADDATZ: OK. But the deputy attorney general Rod Rosentein, you heard, also made point of saying there is no allegation in this indication that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. Did he say this indictment to sort of give that message out there that there's more coming?

ABRAMS: Yes. I mean, look, everything that the deputy attorney general said is accurate. Every specific comment he made about the indictment is true. But that doesn't mean that it won't happen in the future. It doesn't mean that anything has conclusively demonstrated. All it shows is that in this specific indictment there isn't an allegation of an American wittingly collaborating with Russia. There isn't anything in this indictment about the impact on the United States election.

I don't think we're ever going to know exactly what impact this did or didn't have. But what's clear from the indictment is that these 13 Russians succeeded in what they were doing, succeeded meaning change the outcome of the election? We don't know. But succeeded in terms of what they set out to do and how they did it. I don't think there's any question that you read this indictment and say it worked.

RADDATZ: And Pierre, just quickly if you can, what does this indictment tell you about the rest of the investigation?

THOMAS: Well, it tells you that Mr. Mueller is very dogged. And I'm being told that he is going to try to find out every aspect of what the Russians did.

And one point I would make just to show you've how this is sectioned off, the hacking of the DNC and the hacking of John Podesto's e-mail that's a whole different area. And he's going to find out which Russians were involved in that, he says. So, we're going to find out who was involved in that. And as Dan pointed out, this notion of what Wichael Flynn, the former national security adviser, what is he telling Bob Mueller, day after day the man is being interviewed day after day to get information. He's cooperating. The same with George Papadopoulos.

RADDATZ: OK. Thanks to you, Pierre, and thank you, Dan.

And joining me now is Jeh Johnson. He serve as President Obama's secretary of homeland security for the final three years of his administration, and Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey and an ABC News contributor.

Good morning, gentlemen. I want to start with you, Governor Christie, and talk to you about this Russia investigation.

President Trump repeatedly called the Russia investigation a witch hunt over the last few years. I want to read you the tweet that he had this morning. "If it was the goal of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S., then with all the committee hearings, investigations, and party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America. "

Can he really keep calling this an excuse by the Democrats to justify losing the election? Can he -- he’s not confronting Russia on this. What’s your reaction to those tweets Governor Christie?

FMR. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), N.J.: Well listen, what I’d say to you first Martha is that the indictment that Director Mueller laid out yesterday was incredibly detailed and gave the American people for the first time, a real picture into the scope of at least part of the operation that was obviously meant to disparage and damage Hillary Clinton.

And I think, you know, what we read in the indictment yesterday is very, very clear on that point and I think everyone’s going to have to come around to the idea that that’s at least part of what the Russians were attempting to do in the election.

But I’d caution everybody to not believe that this is yet over because there’s lots of other places where Director Mueller to look regarding potential Russian involvement in all this. And I think he’s going after this in a very measured, direct way. And I think we’ve unfortunately got more -- more to learn and more to come in the -- in the days and weeks ahead.

RADDATZ: Do you believe as President Trump said, that it proves there is no collusion?

CHRISTIE: Well, it proves there’s no collusion to this point, there’s no collusion in terms of the Facebook ads, the other social media activity. You know, Director Mueller made it very clear in the indictment that any participation by any body, whether it was in the Trump campaign, or the Sanders campaign which they said was also being assisted by this effort by Russia, that all that was done unwittingly, that no one participated in a knowing fashion.

Now we have to see where he goes next, but certainly at this point, there is no allegation by Director Mueller and his team of collusion.

RADDATZ: Do you believe -- just going back to that first point, does the president need to directly address the Russians? Does he need to mobilize the government to be effective?

They’re going to do it again in 2018, according to intelligence officials. They’re going to do it again in 2020. What should the president be doing and saying?

CHRISTIE: The president should be staying out of law enforcement business. You know, I listened to the testimony of Director Wray, who is an outstanding FBI Director in my view, giving testimony on Capital Hill that they are very aware of what’s going on and if they’re going to bring the resources that are necessary to try to protect our electoral process in 2018.

And I’ve always thought that the best thing -- as governor I felt this way, and I think the same rules apply to presidents -- they should stay out of law enforcement activity, and I think that’s what the president will do, and I think he’ll leave it to Director Wray, the other folks at the Justice Department and out intelligence community to do what needs to be done to protect our electoral process.

We’re certainly on notice now, Martha. We’re on notice that the Russians want to do this, and have the capability to do it. I don’t know to what effect they really had in 2016, but we don’t want to leave this to chance, and I don’t think Director Wray or the other people in the intelligence community will do that.

These are really good professionals who will do their job in the right way.

RADDATZ: And Secretary Johnson, a major part of the Russian influence operation involves Facebook, Instagram, Twitter accounts. Is it time to take a harder look at that and regulate that more?

JEH JOHNSON, FORMER SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY, UNITED STATES: Well, first Martha, thanks for having me on. I have to say, looking at the images of -- of Parkland, Florida, as a father and an American, they are truly painful and there are no words to adequately express our condolences, and I’m sure my friend Chris Christie agrees with that.

With regard to Russia, you are correct that it’s time for action. Chris is correct that it’s time for action. President Trump’s own intelligence chiefs have pointed out that we’re in the midst now, in connection with the 2018 in another campaign to try to influence our democracy.

When it comes to Facebook and social media and speech that appears on social media, I think that the security agencies of our government need to be very careful in trying to delve into this whole topic. I think that the answer has to be that those that provide access on the internet do more to self-regulate, to do more to make attribution to those who gain access to the information marketplace, because we are a society of free speech, and we need to be careful not to get security agencies of our government involved in regulating free speech.

RADDATZ: And Secretary Johnson, I do want to turn back to these terrible, tragic shootings. And I want to ask you about the FBI’s failure to follow up on the tip about Nicolas Cruz. It’s happened before where there have been tips and -- and here in Florida. Does the FBI have the manpower? Do we have the manpower to follow these tips?

JOHNSON: I think that it's for the FBI to tell us whether there are adequate resources. They are the premier federal law enforcement agency of our country. They’ve got a lot on their plate. There is also a role for the public to play. Even with all the resources of the FBI, we are not a police state. The police, federal law enforcement cannot be on every street corner, in every school, at every kitchen table.

So when we see someone turning to violence -- and this was apparently the case here -- people should be encouraged to say something when they see suspicious behavior. This is something I talked about repeatedly when I was Secretary of Homeland Security. And we need to continue to emphasize that message.

RADDATZ: OK. Thank you very much, Secretary Johnson and thank you, Governor Christie.

JOHNSON: Thanks, Martha.

RADDATZ: Up next, my conversation with students and families urging congress to act in the wake of this week’s terrible tragedy. We’ll be right back.


RADDATZ: We’ll be back with more from Parkland, Florida, and all week long you can get the latest on politics and the White House with breaking news alerts on the ABC News app. Download it during the break.


RADDATZ: In the face of tragedy here in Parkland, students and parents alike are rallying behind a call to action. I sat down with the Hogg family, mother Rebecca (ph), 14-year-old Lauren and her older brother David, who you saw earlier this morning.

Both children were in that school Wednesday when the shooting broke out, they’re now facing trauma and loss head on, focused on a new future.

LAUREN HOGG: I knew something was wrong when the fire alarm went off and people started heading back to class. I called my brother and he just told me we’re in, something’s going on, hide, hide, hide.

RADDATZ: What were you thinking then?

L. HOGG: All I could think of was my family. I thought of things I haven’t done, I’m 14, I haven’t even driven yet.

RADDATZ: You were looking at your phone, you were looking at texts that going on, where your friends were in the building where the shooting was.

L. HOGG: We got a text and it would be are you guys OK? Are those gun shots? Did somebody just hear gun shots? What’s happening? And then another person would text I hear somebody coming down the hall, there’s kids screaming, and another person would text there’s smoke in our, they’re shooting, and the next thing you know somebody would text my teacher is down, things are going bad, I love you guys.

RADDATZ: You didn’t really know where David was.

L. HOGG: I was so scared, I thought about the things we’ve done together throughout our life, I thought of all the trips we’ve gone on, I was just so scared. He was my best friend. I was just so scared of losing him. I didn’t know where he was.

RADDATZ: David, what was that like for you?

D. HOGG: It -- it was awful, because I -- I couldn’t get her texts in there during the time, because it was so frantic and everything was just chaos. If this was my last moment, I was going to die doing what I loved, and that’s telling people a story and stories that matter.

And this is the story that I thought mattered the most, because if we died, maybe -- if our -- even though our souls wouldn’t carry on, our voices would echo on.

RADDATZ: Rebecca.

REBECCA BOLDRICK: I was in the classroom.

RADDATZ: And you heard?

BOLDRICK: And I got a text from Lauren that said code red, active shooter, I love you mom.

RADDATZ: Then it’s -- you didn’t hear from her again?

BOLDRICK: No, because her phone died. You never think it will happen to you. You see it on the news, you think how sad, all those Sandy Hook parents, their babies are gone.

You never ever think it will be you.

RADDATZ: I was thinking the other day that we all say that, and now I think people do think it’ll happen to them.

BOLDRICK: We’ve taught David and Lauren whenever we’re anywhere, even at the mall, where are you going to run, where are you going to hide?

RADDATZ: What a way to grow up.

HOGG: It’s reality, and in the end, it’s what I think I believed why I’m here, because my parents have taught me my whole life, be aware of your surroundings, know what’s going on, be prepared, stay calm.

RADDATZ: Lauren, how did you and when did you find out that you’d lost friends?

L. HOGG: Well we were still hiding in the class, there were rumors getting texted around, and there’s texts going around that said I heard this person’s dead, I heard this person, I saw them shot on the floor, I’m so sorry, I can’t handle it, I lost four friends, yes.

RADDATZ: Four friends.

L. HOGG: Jaime Guttenburg, Alaina Petty, Alyssa Alhadeff, and Gina Montalto. We sat next to each other in class, we spent days on end just talking about what we want to do when we grow up, where we want to go to college, and now it’s just gone.

RADDATZ: So what will you do now? What will you do now as a family to heal from this?

L. HOGG: All I know is that we have to speak our voices. All these politicians are saying, oh no, here they’re not ready. We don’t need comfort, we need change. And that’s the only way I know I’m going to heal, if things change.

RADDATZ: You’ve heard -- I think Betsy DeVos said teachers should be armed as an option.


GOLDRICK: Right. I do not agree with that at all. I do not want to have a gun. I personally don’t like guns. I understand people’s rights to have a gun to protect themselves in their home. However, the more I think about it, not teachers but other people, maybe retired law enforcement could come and be on campus. Parents who are in law enforcement could come in. Different people could come in and be armed in case something does happen.

RADDATZ: Do you, David and Lauren, in terms of gun safety or gun legislation, do you think changes have to be made there?

D. HOGG: I don’t care if you’re a Democrat. I don’t care if you’re a Republican. If you have a good idea, let’s work together as Americans and come to a compromise. Because in politics, if -- no one side ever wins. It’s always through compromise that changes happen.

L. HOGG: Democrats and Republicans both have children. So they both should be able to understand what it would be like to lose their children. And they both should come to a compromise and have compassion for these people. They need to jump over whatever divide they have and work together.

D. HOGG: I don’t want anybody saying just “I’m so sorry”. I want you getting out there. I want people doing things about this. If you can’t do something about it, get out of office. Because this is our future.

L. HOGG: You never know when it could be the last time that you can hug your child, just make sure everybody around you, no matter how old or young you are, knows how much they love you and you love them. They just need to know because life -- life is really short. I discovered in the past couple of days.


RADDATZ: More of our coverage from Parkland Florida when we return in just one minute.


RADDATZ: The national spotlight is on this Florida community in the aftermath of this deadly shooting. But when the cameras go home and the news cycle moves on, the families of those victims will still be here, fighting their own private battles. Like so many touched by the Parkland shooting who have become the face of this tragedy, Christine Leinonen was the face of the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando back in June 2016.

Her public anguish hard to forget.


CHRISTINE LEINONEN, MOTHER OF PULSE NIGHT CLUB VICTIM: I haven’t heard anything. I’ve been here since 4:00 o’clock in the morning. I’ve been waiting. I -- waiting by the emergency room, see if anybody gets called in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your son’s full name?

LEINONEN: My son is Christopher Leinonen.


RADDATZ: A mother’s gut-wrenching plea to find her missing son hours after that devastating mass shooting that killed 49.

Do you remember talking and being so powerful in those moments when you didn’t know your son was alive or dead?

LEINONEN: That’s not my voice. That’s every mom who’s-- their three year old is missing from Target, you know, and they -- for that three seconds they can’t find them. That’s every mom looking for their child. That’s the desperation of a mom who wants to find their child.

They said there’s a lot of dead bodies at the club. And that’s a crime scene. They can’t identify anybody. So it could be hours and hours before we find out.

RADDATZ: Christine waited 33 hours before finding out that her only child did not make it. She understands all too well the terrible reality now facing those 17 Florida families.

LEINONEN: They are going to have one hell of a nightmare. Their life has now -- like I say with me, the person I was on June 11th 2016 is unrecognizable to me. I don’t even know who that person was. These parents, their life when they brought their happy children to school on Valentine’s Day, which is full of love, this is a Valentine’s Day massacre for them.

RADDATZ: What would you say to these parents.

LEINONEN: Well right now, they’re in shock. A lot of them are probably in some very strong denial and it’s a good thing to have denial, because it does get you through the reality that -- the reality is horrific. The reality of, you know, the kids that died at -- in Parkland are similar to the kids that at the night club. They’re in a war zone. They have now been put into a battlefield that they didn’t train for, they didn’t enlist for, they have no equipment for, but yet here they are in a battlefield.

RADDATZ: Those young students we spoke with here in Parkland are demanding action. And so are moms like Christine, pushing for political change, including new gun control measures, everyone hoping that this time might be the last time.

LEINONEN: If we could prevent this, why don’t we? We have the power to do this. This is our country, this is our culture. We have the power collectively to do this. And I think the country is ready for it now.


RADDATZ: Our thanks to Christine. And thank you for joining us this Sunday. And before we go, we wanted to take a moment to remember the 17 lives cut short in this week’s tragic high school shooting.