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'This Week' Transcript 3-25-18: Mark Kelly, Adm. Mike Mullen and Stephen Hadley

This is a transcript for "This Week" on Sunday, March 25, 2018.

ByABC News
March 25, 2018, 9:20 AM


MARTHA RADDATZ, HOST: Trump unchecked and off-script.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will never sign another bill like this again.


RADDATZ: The president lashing out after a chaotic week, battles over the budget, his cabinet and the military, and looming in the background...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal lying about the affairs?

RADDATZ: Are trump's alleged affairs a threat to his presidency? And will those claims distract from his agenda?

Plus, another White House shake-up.


JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER-DESIGNATE: I didn't really expect an announcement this afternoon.


RADDATZ: Is the president eliminating dissent on foreign policy? And how will John Bolton impact talks with North Korea and relations with Russia? Former Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen and Bush National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley are here live.

Plus, marching for change.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've learned to duck from bullets before I learned how to read.


RADDATZ: Young people take to the streets across the country, demanding action on guns. A movement is launched, but can they keep up the momentum and change the political map in 2018? We'll ask gun reform advocate Mark Kelly. And we travel west to talk to Americans whose gun ownership is a way of life.

From the White House to your house, the facts that matter THIS WEEK.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's THIS WEEK. Here now , co-anchor Martha Raddatz.

RADDATZ: Good morning. If ever there was a weekend where the disconnect between the chaos and in-fighting in Washington and the urgency of real problems in the real America collided, this was that weekend. The political press consumed by President Trump's dramatic staff shake-ups, his market rattling trade threats, and, yes, all those questions about allegations he had affairs with a porn star and a Playboy model, and what he might have done to try to cover them up. That last story is sure to dominate the headlines this week, especially with adult film actress Stormy Daniels's much-hyped interview tonight.

But for hundreds of thousands of young American, none of that mattered this weekend. What mattered most was the murder of 17 people in Parkland, Florida, last month, and the thousands more killed by gun violence every year, and their demand that the government take action to stop the carnage that has defined their generation.

They marched in hundreds of cities and towns across the country. In New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and, of course, Parkland, Florida. But the heart of the protest was right here in Washington where up to half a million people came from all over the country filling Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the Capitol.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to the revolution.

RADDATZ (voice-over): Calls to action.

RYAN DEITSCH, STUDENT, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: We're done hiding. We're done being afraid. It is time to fight for our lives.

RADDATZ: Punctuated by powerful moments.

EMMA GONZALEZ, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Since the time that I came out here, it has been six minutes and 20 seconds. The shooter had ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle. Fight for your lives before it's someone else's job.

RADDATZ: Moments of silence and song, with a chorus of outrage.

(on camera): We are the Newseum, the Capitol is just behind me. This crowd is loud and passionate, and Pennsylvania Avenue is packed.

(voice-over): Families, generations brought together by that horrific school shooting.


RADDATZ:: But the goals here are now much broader.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every day I worry about my 4-year-old going to school because of there being a potential incident at her school with a gun. Last week she had to do a lockdown drill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a gun owner myself. I probably own a dozen guns. I do not think you need assault -- citizens do not need an assault rifle.

RADDATZ (on camera): How old?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was only 13. He was my only brother.

RADDATZ (voice-over): Christine Grasso (ph) is marching for her brother, pictured on her T-shirt, who was a victim of gun violence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My family is marching in Tennessee and Massachusetts and Wisconsin and New York and Miami. So we're all walking together even though we're not together here.

RADDATZ: This was personal and this was political.

AALAYAH EASTMOND, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: 15 years ago I lost my Uncle Patrick to gun violence in Brooklyn, New York. My mother almost lost her daughter to the same gun violence in Parkland, Florida. We've been fighting for this way too long and nothing has changed, and we need change now.

DAVID HOGG, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: Inaction is no longer safe. And to that we say no more.

RADDATZ: Stoneman Douglas senior David Hogg is one of a group of leaders who in just 37 days transformed his school from an object of pity into a symbol of passionate activism. We talked to David and his family days after the shooting. It was the first time his sister, 14-year-old Lauren, who lost four of her best friends, had spoken about it.

LAUREN HOGG, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I saw my friends' faces on the news and I saw their names being called out and I just -- I collapsed. I couldn't handle it.

RADDATZ: The entire family showed up for this weekend's march.

When you looked out there today, what did you think?

LAUREN HOGG: It was just profoundly moving. And with all my friends that passed that day, I saw them in every single person that was here today. Just their joy, their happiness, their willingness to get stuff done, I always knew my friends were going to change this world, but it's just unfortunate that it was in this way.

RADDATZ: For you, Rebecca, what do you say to people who say, look, you know, in a month we'll all forget it.

REBECCA BOLDRICK, MOTHER OF DAVID AND LAUREN HOGG: I say do you want it to be your child? And not just these children of privilege, but think about the children in the inner cities, in Chicago, in New York and Los Angeles, think about those children, you know. They're dealing with this every single day.

RADDATZ: Their battle plan, register, vote, break the power of the NRA starting with the 2018 midterm elections.

How many times have you been asked, but change didn't happen after other shootings?

DAVID HOGG: Too many, because change didn't really happen after those shootings but I don't like to say that because it's coming, it's still coming, and it will come.

But not if people don't get out and vote. That's what we're really trying to push here. This is just the beginning.


RADDATZ: Those marches captivated the nation yesterday and we'll take a deeper look at guns across America later in the program.

But we turn now to that political storm consuming the White House. President Trump is increasingly acting on his own leaving his staff in the dark about his next move. Case in point, his Friday morning tweet threatening to veto the budget deal his team vowed he'd sign. At midday, the president called a last-minute news conference, which staff called a bill signing, which ended up being neither.

Earlier in the week the president slapped $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, potentially edging the U.S. closer to a trade war. And on Thursday, yet another surprise, a tweet announcing national security adviser H.R. McMaster was out and former UN Ambassador John Bolton would replace him. The announcement came as a shock even to Bolton who said he was caught off guard during a live interview.

The staff shake-up also came just before a prime time interview with Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, who says she had an affair with the president years ago.

And tonight, another potentially explosive interview is set to air, this one with adult film actressStormy Daniels, who says she too had an affair with Trump and was paid to keep quiet about it.

So, what's at stake for the president? Let's bring in ABC News chief legal analyst Dan Abrams and Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax media and a personal confidant of the president's who is also an ABC News contributor.

And Chris, I want to start with you. You are a friend of the president. I know you spoke to him yesterday. We’ve seen so many sudden moves from the president this week with his staff -- McMaster out, Bolton in. Should we expect more of this?

CHRIS RUDDY, CEO, NEWSMAX MEDIA: 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, in his words.

He did say that he’s expecting to make one or two major changes to his -- to his government very soon, and that’s going to be it.

Now, other White House sources, not the president, tell me that Veteran’s Affairs Secretary David Sulkin is likely to depart the cabinet very soon. But other reports, people like Ben Carson, I’m told that the president is happy with the job he’s doing. He will be staying. Chief of Staff Kelly, the president is happy with the job he is doing. He will be staying. So all of these fake news reports saying there’s turmoil and chaos, I think the president’s made incredible choices with Larry Kudlow, John Bolton, I know he was very ecstatic. Very experienced guys in their areas of governance, they’re going to do a tremendous job for the president and the country.

RADDATZ: Well Chris, there’s certainly been a lot of turnover, if you don’t want to call it chaos, you don’t have to. But let me go back to John Kelly, what do these changes mean for John Kelly if he stays?

RUDDY: Well, I believe he will be staying, but I think the -- the president was never in politics before, remember, he was a business guy, he was an entertainer, he came into this job, he didn’t know anyone in politics, and he’s brought in a team that’s been very good in many areas, General Mattis for instance, Mike Pompeo.

You know, there’s certain people that just didn’t work. Rex Tillerson didn’t click with the president. He didn’t have the political smarts of -- for someone to run the State Department, never engaged with his own staff at the State Department.

So I think the president’s making like he’s trying to improve the type of people he’s bringing in, Kudlow and Bolton, you might disagree with some of their views, they’re much stronger personalities as they’re coming into the White House and I think they’re going to give a level of stability and I think they’re going to be a great help to General Kelly.

RADDATZ: OK, Chris. I want to turn to the president’s mindset about this interview with Stormy Daniels, the interview with Karen McDougal. Did he watch those interviews? And tell us what he’s thinking.

RUDDY: Well, you know, I can’t tell you everything he’s thinking, I can only tell you what he told me. He said he thought that -- that much of the Stormy Daniels stuff was a political hoax. Again, those were his words. You know, you -- Martha, I think you’re a very (ph) --

RADDATZ: So he thinks they’re lying. Even though Stormy Daniels got $130,000.

RUDDY: I -- I’ll let him characterize. You know, you have to look at this case. You’re a straightforward journalist. I really think you’re fair-minded. When you watch this -- this interview on CBS, 60 Minutes, you’re going to be looking for the same question I’m looking for. Are they going to ask her Stormy, why did you hit -- hire a political hit Democratic attorney, Michael Avenatti, who’s worked for 150 Democratic political campaigns, Joe Biden’s campaign, worked for Rahm Emanuel.

Who’s operating on funding her tremendous public relations effort? And you know, at the bottom line, there’s just never been a claim of -- of -- of harassment. So the president looks at this and I think he’s looking at it like I’m looking at it. This is politically motivated to hurt and embarrass him in some way. And you know what, the end of the day, the poll numbers for the president are up. Gallop has him at a record 40 percent, the Rasmussen at 48 percent approval.

So I think the American people are really dismissing this as political -- political witch hunts.

RADDATZ: OK, Chris. Thanks for that. And I want to turn to Dan Abrams now. Stormy Daniels is set to tell her story tonight. Are there legal implications for her and for the president?

DAN ABRAMS, CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: Yes, so I think from a legal perspective, she’s at more risk than the president. She’s the one who effectively agreed to this $130,000 deal and as part of that, agreed that if she speaks out about this, there will be damages. Now, she’s got arguments as to why that shouldn’t apply. She said that President Trump didn’t sign the contract, not a particularly strong argument there.

Strongest argument they’ve got is that Michael Cohen disclosed that there was this $130,000 payment and that effectively voids the contract. Again, another argument, but she’s the one who could be facing legal jeopardy down the road. For him, the question is political, which is what’s the fallout from what she says, is she credible in terms of what she says, is there more evidence out there that could further embarrass the president.

But from the legal perspective, I think she’s really the one who has to be more concerned than him.

RADDATZ: And -- and we saw Karen McDougal interviewed this week, a very powerful interview. She said she had an affair with the president for nearly a year, a very different legal case there with her.

ABRAMS: Well, that’s right. And probably even a weaker legal case. Look, I think she was suing to make sure she could do this interview. It seems AMI, the company that she signed the deal with for her life story, is not going to sue her over her interview with Anderson Cooper. The question becomes who owns her life story. And right now, AMI would say we do. We paid $150,000 for it.

She’s saying, I didn’t understand the contract, my lawyer was in cahoots, effectively, with the other side. That’s not a particularly strong legal argument that she has, but I think the most important issue for her is that she’s not going to be sued for speaking out about what she says is her affair with the president.

RADDATZ: And -- and -- and Dan, in the midst of these two stories, there was a third lawsuit involving Trump this week. A judge ruled that former Apprentice star, Summer Zervos law suit, claiming that Trump defamed her by calling her a liar after she accused him of sexual misconduct should be allowed to move forward. Is this a dangerous lawsuit for President Trump?

ABRAMS: This is the one you should be worried about. The other two, from a legal perspective, I don’t think are particularly significant. Why is this one so important? By the courts saying this case can now move forward, you’re opening up the door to discovery, meaning there are a whole lot of other issues that can now potentially come in.

There are even (ph) -- everything from possible tax returns to (ph) other women. Remember, she basically says that he kissed her and groped her, but that’s not what the case is about.

It’s about defamation, it’s about him saying it’s not true. When he was making those comments he was talking about a bunch of other women as well, and so those other women could become relevant in the context of this case and that’s why for him, I think this case becomes much more perilous than anything else we’re talking about.

RADDATZ: OK, thanks very much to you Dan Abrams and Chris Ruddy.

And let’s bring this now to our powerhouse roundtable. ABC NEWS Political Analyst Matthew Dowd, Christian Broadcasting Network Chief Political Correspondent David Brody, author of the new book, The Faith of Donald Trump, FiveThirtyEight Senior Political Writer Perry Bacon Jr. and Bloomberg News White House Correspondent, Shannon Pettypiece.

Welcome to all of you. Matt Dowd, I want to start with you. What do you think these appearances by McDougal and -- and Daniels do to Trump? Any other president, you would think, would be destroyed by this.

MATTHEW DOWD, POLITICAL ANALYST, ABC NEWS: Yes, that’s what I think (ph) the most disturbing part of this is, that all of these revelations have come out over the course of the last few months, as they came out during the campaign -- different revelations came out. And it’s had no political impact on his base in this. And I think that’s quite disturbing in this (ph).

This is a president -- in the facts that we know of -- he cheated on his first wife with his second wife, he cheated on his second wife with his third wife and he cheated on his third wife with a porn star and a Playboy model. And it doesn’t seem to have any impact in this. I don’t know if there’s legal jeopardy. Lawyers will have to answer that. I think politically, it’s just another sign it’s an incredibly great motivation, I think, for women in the country and men, who basically do not like the way this president has treated women.

RADDATZ: But you haven’t really seen much of that from his supporters.

DOWD: No, and you haven’t seen it. And I think that’s what’s really disturbing, is it doesn’t seem to matter.

RADDATZ: And -- and -- and David, Christian Broadcasting, you cover the evangelical community. Does it matter to your viewers? To people you cover?

DAVID BRODY, CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST, CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK: No. At this point, it is stuff that has been in the past. And that’s the way they see it. And I know that might be hard for people to -- to swallow, but the truth of the matter is we’re talking 2006, 2007. He doesn’t have a Monica Lewinsky situation right now -- at least as far as we know -- he doesn’t have any sort of situation now.

So therefore, evangelicals believe in the grace principle, that (ph) they’re willing to allow him grace. Look, they were --

RADDATZ: So do they --

BRODY: I know where you’re -- I know where you’re going. (Inaudible).

RADDATZ: Yes. No, no, no, I’m not going.


RADDATZ: So do they think he did it but they just don’t care? Or do they think the women are lying?

BRODY: Well, you say they. So, you know, it’s such a large swath of -- of evangelicals around the country. Maybe some do, maybe some don’t. I don’t know the breakdown on that. I can just tell you this, that they believe he’s fighting for Judeo-Christian principles in this country, traditional Judeo-Christian principles. And Matt, you know, I would say this. That back in the 2000’s, George W. Bush, they feel -- the evangelicals felt they were a bit played.

The liked George W. Bush, they voted for him in record numbers at the time. The problem, though, was that the federal marriage amendment came up, for example. And evangelicals went to the polls and then that was pretty much dropped like a hot potato at the time. The point is is that here comes Donald Trump, bold and all of that. And all of a sudden, they say you know what, he’s fighting for -- they like the fighter aspect of Trump.

DOWD: OK, so this is where my -- I -- I think there’s -- the moral compass of many in the evangelical community (ph), for some reason goes into this magnetic field of Donald Trump and loses their way. This is a group of people that claim to speak for family values, that claim to say character matters, that claim to say that we need a moral compass in the country and then they have a president of the United States who is completely antithetical to every one of those.

And I understand the culture war part of this, which is what they want. But in the end, in my faith, which I’m a Christian, is that we’re judged individually. And this is a leader who every aspect of his personal life is -- is against that.

BRODY: But they believe on all of that in the macro and that’s why they voted for a candidate that represents those values. They also understand that a man --

DOWD: They’re willing to (ph) sacrifice those values in order to get culture back (ph).


RADDATZ: I want to bring in -- I want to bring in Shannon --

BRODY: -- point, though.

RADDATZ: -- and Perry in -- in this conversation. You’re welcome to jump in on that.


RADDATZ: But -- but -- but President Trump himself, Shannon, is -- is staying pretty quiet on this. Is that a wise move?

SHANNON PETTYPIECE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Well, part of it could be because of these NDAs he signed. But within the White House, yes, there hasn’t really been much concern about this. I mean, there’s so much drama du jour (ph) and chaos or whatever you want to call it -- staff turnover as Chris Ruddy might refer to it as -- that this is just background noise, this is like a rounding era in controversies.

But, of course, I do think it changes a little bit, having these women out there in person having (inaudible) --


RADDATZ: A lot of people are going to be watching that interview tonight, more than have any watched before, and you’ve got the (inaudible) -- this DVD that they say they have evidence on it.

PETTYPIECE: Right, and they do not seem to be going away, they do not have much to lose at this point, and when you can look someone in the eye through a T.V. wherein (ph) Kelly McDougal coming off genuine and getting her story out there.

Stormy Daniels will obviously be a big deal (ph). That changes the dynamics of that some, I think.

RADDATZ: And -- and do you think any of the announcements late in the week, H.R. McMaster, John Bolton, the timing of that was right before the Kelly McDougal.

BACON: I don’t believe in the Trump is misdirecting, that kind of thing. I did think the staff thing (ph) doesn’t really matter. I think that Trump had a -- staff around him who are telling him, one of them called him a moron, they didn’t think much of Trump and they were trying to sort of overrule him.

And the president was elected and I think he’s now bringing people around him who will like support his views, ailment (ph) his views and not try to block him as much. I mean, we have a branch of government to block the president, is not the cabinet.

I think now he’s bringing the cabinet and then (ph) say who will agree with him, and I think that makes a lot of sense.

RADDATZ: You know, does he -- did --

BRODY: No, what I was going to say, listen, to me this is a regression to the norm, right. This is Donald -- this is how Donald Trump managed the Trump organization, this is the way hit (ph).

It was imminently predictable, even Jeb Bush, who I wouldn’t call a futurist, basically said he’s a chaos candidate. He’s going to be a chaos president in this. Donald Trump is running the White House like Jurassic Park, and people that think you can pen in tyrannosaurus rex and it not ultimately do damage to a lot of things, are fooling themselves.

RADDATZ: And -- and does -- we just heard Chris Ruddy say, and I don’t know did David Shulkin the V.A. Secretary just get the word that he’s -- he’s definitely on his list (ph) --


BACON: (Inaudible) check Twitter.

RADDATZ: -- on his way out? Right.

PETTYPIECE: I mean I hesitate, at this point now, anybody who thinks they know what this president is going to do is lying to you, because we have heard over and over again, oh no, yes they’re looking for a job in the Pentagon for H.R.

He’s -- it’s going to be months down the road, don’t worry. And then everyone is completely surprised (inaudible).

DOWD: (Inaudible) he loves it, he loves it that way, he loves it -- people will say it’s out of control chaos, he’ll call it maybe controlled, he won’t use the word chaos, but it’s controlled and he’s doing it for a reason and I think people underestimate that (ph).

RADDATZ: And Chris Ruddy says no chaos.


DOWD: And he may love it, but the country doesn’t.

RADDATZ: And in this staff, this country is (inaudible) times (ph) as well. OK, more round table still to come, but up next we’ll talk of former joint chiefs chairman, Admiral Mike Mullen, and Bush National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley about what the hocks in Trump’s new foreign policy can (ph) mean for U.S. national security.



JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: I think the only diplomatic option left is to end the regime in North Korea by effectively having the south take it over. I think you've got to argue to China?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not really diplomatic.

BOLTON: Yes, it...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As far as they're concerned.

BOLTON: Well, that's their problem, not ours.


RADDATZ: Tough talk from former UN Ambassador John Bolton on Fox News where he's been a commentator for more than a decade. Now he'll serve as President Trump's third national security adviser following the forced resignation of Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster.

Joining me now to talk about the implications of all this are Admiral Mike Mullen, who served as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff under Presidents Bush and Obama, and Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser to President George W. Bush.

Good morning, gentlemen. Thanks for joining.

And I want to start with you, Mr. Hadley. You were national security adviser when John Bolton was UN ambassador. What was it like working with him.

STEPHEN HADLEY, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, John is a very smart, very experienced, very tough guy. He has strong views. But he was, I think on balance, an asset for the president and executed the guidance he got forthe president. But he is a very capable fellow.

RADDATZ: What do you think he will be like with President Trump?

HADLEY: Well, one of the good things is that the president knows him, seems to be comfortable with him and I think feels that John is more in line with the president's views and the president is the person elected by the American people to set foreign policy. He deserves people around him who think the same way.

I think the issue is going to be as national security adviser you have to have a good relationship with the president, but you also have to have a good relationship with the other NSC principals -- secretary of state, secretary of defense. In order to do that, you need to run a transparent, inclusive, open process.

RADDATZ: And last year you reportedly warned against Bolton serving as deputy secretary of state. Is that true, first of all? And do you have concerns?

HADLEY: I don't have real concerns. I think, you know, there is an issue in any situation whether a person is the right person for the right job. I think in the national security adviser is someone who is close to the president, needs to have the confidence of the president And John clearly has that.

RADDATZ: And Admiral Mullen, do you have concerns? You heard, for example, what he just said on Fox News in that short clip. Do you think this will change our foreign policy?

MIKE MULLEN, FORMER CHAIRMAN JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I actually don't know how it can. I am concerned if I believe Mr. Bolton's rhetoric where he's talked about preemptive strike or even preemptive war in North Korea. He's obviously very strongly opposed to the nuclear deal in Iran. In a way, you know, seeing him and I think -- I think partially to Steve's point, he also needs to get in there, give him a chance to perform in this job, and his knitting together of the team is going to be very important as well. Although certainly reports talk about that being a very difficult challenge for him, as well.

And so I wonder, you know, are we going backwards in terms of those countries we focused on in the past and the “Axis of Evil,” you know, the ones that still present huge challenges for us, and that Mr. Bolton will sort of lead change, a much more militaristic change towards those companies.

RADDATZ: The New York Times wrote an editorial Friday titled, “Yes, John Bolton really is that dangerous.” They wrote: “There are few people more likely than Mr. Bolton is to lead the country into war. His selection is a decision that is as alarming as any Mr. Trump has made so far, coupled with his nomination of the hard-line CIA director, Mike Pompeo, as secretary of state, Mr. Trump is indulging his worst nationalistic instincts. Mr. Bolton, in particular, believes the United States can do what it wants without regard to international law, treaties, or the political commitments of previous administrations.”

Is that fair criticism?

MULLEN: Well, I'm not sure. Again, he's going to be the national security adviser and I certainly hope he can adapt. He's working for the president, Nobody -- the president is clearly not going to be working for him. So it's going to be the president's views that I think Mr. Bolton will actually in the end execute. It'll be the team that he brings together.

I think Secretary Jim Mattis will have a lot to say here in terms of outcomes with respect to the future use of the military. And I'm hopeful that Mattis...

RADDATZ: And I want to check on Mattis. Do you think in a sense this diminishes him? Tillerson is gone.

MULLEN: No, I think it actually makes his job tougher. I mean, he clearly had a good relationship with Secretary Tillerson. I hope he can establish that same with John Bolton -- the same relationship with John Bolton. And I know he has a good relationship with actually Mike Pompeo. So I'm hopeful that Mattis can continue to influence to a point where we lead with diplomacy and not with the military.

RADDATZ: And, Mr. Hadley, to that point, again, the North Korean meetings are supposedly -- setting up these North Korean meetings with President Trump, and North Korea's president, do you see this changing this? He's now surrounded by hard-liners who aren't really talking about diplomacy. So, what should happen at these meetings?

HADLEY: Well, first, on the issue of a lot of concern about whether Bolton will take the country to war, as Mike said, it is the president that makes those decisions. I think the rhetoric out of John Bolton has been a little bit extreme for my taste, but we have to make this point, give this to the administration that while they were criticized for too much rattling of the sword with respect to North Korea, it did get China's attention, it did convince China that the status quo was not sustainable.

China did back strong sanctions of North Korea. And it got the attention of the North Korean leadership, who now says they're willing to talk to President Trump. They're willing to talk about denuclearization. They didn't object to the military exercises we're doing in South Korea. They've got a suspension of any further ballistic missile test, nuclear tests. They've set the table pretty well for these conversations. And that's going to be a real opportunity for the president and for John Bolton.

RADDATZ: And, Admiral Mullen, do you think North Korea would really denuclearize?

MULLEN: It's hard for me to think they will. That said, I think the talks which are scheduled are really important, orchestrating those, structuring those for a denuclearization outcome is really critical. And I think that's going to probably be John Bolton's biggest challenge initially as he takes this job.

RADDATZ: And if they rip up the Iran deal?

HADLEY: The thing they need to think about is this, there's a lot not to like about the Iran deal but that's not the question. The question is, is it in the American interest to rip up the Iran deal? And what will be the consequence? And one of the consequences may be both a resumption by Iran of their enrichment program, and it would be alienating our friends and allies.

So the hope that the administration has had that our allies will pressure Iran to do something about its ballistic missile program, about its activities in the neighborhood, maybe extend the term of the agreement, that gets harder if they rip up the deal.

RADDATZ: Thanks to both of you, always a pleasure to talk to you.

Coming up, we travel out West to understand the gun debate through the eyes of young Americans who are proud supporters of the Second Amendment.

We'll be right back.


RADDATZ: Well, this weekend's marches showed unity around renewed calls for gun control. What about those communities where guns are more tightly woven into the fabric of everyday life? We were struck by a photo essay for The New Yorker this week by photographer Sharif Hamza who captured young Americans as hunters and target shooters in places where Hamza says that shooting is as common as skateboarding. The magazine notes some of the growing popularity is the result of gunadvocate groups investing heavily in youth recruitment and shooting sports.

So, this week as the marchers headed into Washington, we headed out west to Arizona for a gut check on guns.


RADDATZ: At a popular gun range in Tucson, a reminder that to many Americans, firearms are far more than weapons.

EMILY HAMPSON, COMPETITIVE TRAP SHOOTER: Whenever I was in eighth grade, my dad introduced me to shotgun shooting and I fell in love with it. From there it took off.

RADDATZ: 20-year-old Emily Hampson is an Olympic hopeful, and one of the best young shotgun trap shooters in the world. She's pro-gun, but after Parkland, welcomes the national debate.

HAMPSON: You know, I think that it's good that people are speaking about what they think. I think that it's important that we have conversation.

RADDATZ: But it's not an easy conversation to have, especially in the pressure cooker of high school.


RADDATZ: In Tucson, we met high school junior Giancarlo Rodriguez. During that March 14 school walkout protesting gun violence, he and a few friends staged a small counterprotest.

RODRIGUEZ: We weren't necessarily too accepted, I guess you could say. But we were just there to pray and state our views that people who kill people, not guns.

RADDATZ: And what were some of the kids saying to you.

RODRIGUEZ: We got attacked physically and verbally, and I was just kind of trying to blockit out, because I didn't want to stoop down to that level.

RADDATZ: Give me your single strongest reason why you think people should be able to keep, say, an AR15.

RODRIGUEZ: It's just simply the second amendment. That's our right and we're going to keep it.

RADDATZ: At a nearby park here in Tuscon, we sat down with high school junior Oscar Oroscoe. He was with Giancarlo in that counterprotest and students Hope Hinsey, Rebecca Sands, and Jamie Stone.

These young people know gun violence all too well, Rebecca and Jamie were in elementary school in 2011 when a gunman shot Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords at a political event.

The shooter turned the gun on the crowd, six people were killed, including their classmate nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green. At a memorial service one year later, Jamie (ph) stood before thousands to share her memories of her best friend.


JAMIE STONE: She made me a better person, she would want all of to follow our dreams and not be sad because she isn’t there.


RADDATZ: When you look at -- back at 10 year old Jamie and the effect it really did have on you, describe that.

STONE: Well I think -- well for me and my family, it made us realize that something like that can happen anywhere at any time, you can’t really prepare for it. So I just remember it really like changing my life for a while and then I -- it took me a while to have a sense of like security and safety.

RADDATZ: Tell me how you think you changed.

REBECCA SANDS: I knew immediately that we needed to do something to show Christina and her family that we cared.

RADDATZ: You have MSD Strong.


RADDATZ: That MSD strong means what to you?

HINSEY: It means to me that not only do I sympathize with them but I empathize with them because of what happened in our community and I know that -- the devastation that rocked their hallways and classrooms, it did the same thing in our community.

RADDATZ: Let me ask you what you want to see changed?

HINSEY: I’m not looking to, you know, repeal anyone’s rights. I just think that it’s a plethora of things from mental health to bullying to guns.

RADDATZ: Rebecca, what do you want to see changed?

SANDS: I think that the first steps that need to be taken is that the national incent criminal background checks system needs to be a digital database that states can access and states be required to report to the national database.

It’s important that the gun shows and online sales require background checks, and I think that the minimum age to purchase a firearm needs to be raised to 21.

RADDATZ: Jamie, what do want us (ph) to change?

STONE: Well I, like Hope, don’t think that we need to take guns away. I grew up in a family where guns weren’t bad and I was comfortable around them, but I do think as Rebecca says, that it should be harder to get a gun.

RADDATZ: Oscar, you have a little different opinion here. You did -- you were involved in the counter protest.

OSCAR OROZCO: Yes, I -- we were -- I was involved with the counter protest, but we were still there to show our respects to the people that died in Florida.

RADDATZ: You don’t want any further restrictions?

OROZCO: There should be a further mental screening for -- to actually obtain a rifle.

RADDATZ: Where do you think we’ll be in five years, any sort of change?

HINSEY: I think that as this generation comes to voting age, we’ll be able to elect people that I -- I hope that will actually take action and that no one’s rights will be infringed, but we will feel safer at school.

SANDS: In five years, all of us will not only be old enough to vote, but also old enough to run for office, and so if we don’t see the change quick enough, we will step in and make the change.

STONE: Yes, I hope that our generation will have a positive impact on the future and can work together to make a better compromise.

RADDATZ: Would you be willing to compromise?

OROZCO: Yes, of course, if they can understand my opinion and my point of view, and I can understand their point of view, I can always come up with a compromise for them.


RADDATZ: And joining me now is Mark Kelly, husband of foreign Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who together funded a gun reform advocacy group that is working to put an end to America’s gun violence epidemic. Welcome Mark Kelly and -- and I know you were out on the streets yesterday here in Washington D.C., and I know you’ve been asked this over the years, but why is this different?

You’ve been so disappointed in the past after Newtown, why is it different?

MARK KELLY: Well, so first of all, we haven’t always been met with disappointment. As an organization, our organization now called Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, we’ve helped pass over 200 pieces of legislation in 45 different states.

So in the states, we have a lot of success, disappointment here in Washington D.C. time and time again, that’s -- that’s true. I think it’s different because we -- we’ve arisen, you know, this -- these young people, seem quite motivated and they realize that they have dealt a incredibly difficult set of circumstances, have been put in a horrible position, I mean to be in a -- be in a school and have somebody show and shoot at them, kill their friends and teachers, and they want -- they want to see change.

So that’s why I think this could be different.

RADDATZ: What -- what would you tell those students from your own lessons learned? Like whether they’re alienating people, what -- what can they do? I notice a lot of anti Trump signs out yesterday, for example, is -- is that the way to go?

KELLY: Well but what you may have also noticed is neither -- none of them on the stage said democrat or republican, I don’t think it was said once, right. They realized that this needs to be a bipartisan approach to change.

So they get that and they -- they -- they were pretty much on -- on message. They’re smart, they’re articulate. They also realize that they need to motivate their peers to show up and vote.

RADDATZ: Anything you would warn them about going forward?

KELLY: Well, I would warn them not to get discouraged. You know, this is often two steps forward and one step back. I -- I had the opportunity to talk to a few of them yesterday. And they have a plan. And this is -- this is not the last you’re going to see of these kids.

RADDATZ: Part of -- part of that plan and your plan is to register high schoolers for the 28 -- 2018 midterms. Do you think they could actually swing elections?

KELLY: Well, if they can get enough people registered to vote and then get them to show up to vote. You know, historically, young people, if you’re under the age of 30, you have a pretty low chance of voting in any election. I think if you’re around 20 years old, that’s one in five. If you can change that number to two out of five people, that would have a powerful impact.

RADDATZ: After Parkland, President Trump seemed open to some gun proposals and those went away. Your organization said just two weeks ago, we have two Donald Trumps, the one who publically embraced safer gun laws at the White House and then the one who distances himself from those statements through (ph) spokespeople after being scolded by the NRA. So how do you get the Donald Trump you want?

KELLY: Well, I think you got to be quick. I mean, you got to get the legislation passed fast. Because President Trump on a Tuesday was pretty good on this issue. He saw -- I think he saw the -- the National Rifle Association in the Oval Office on Wednesday. They made it clear that this was not acceptable to them. The next day, he -- he dialed it all back. So I’m hopeful that if we could get Congress, get the House and Senate to pass some sensible legislation, we get it to his desk, I think there’s a pretty good chance he -- he might sign it.

And if it’s not him, you know, we’ll -- we’ll work on whoever the next president is.

RADDATZ: You’re not giving up. Thanks for joining us.

KELLY: We don’t give up.

RADDATZ: Thanks very much for joining us. Mark Kelly. The roundtable returns when we come back in just a moment.


RADDATZ: And back now with the roundtable. And Perry, I want to ask you first. Just your reaction to that piece and -- and to the marches this week and do you think they can actually effect some change?

PERRY: They already have. So I mean you’ve had (ph) Florida, the (ph) Republican-controlled state pass gun control, you’ve had -- there’s parts of the omnibus bill that (ph) Trump signed on Friday that have gun control small ideas in there. He signed something on Friday calling for the regulation of bump stocks. So you’re already seeing movement. You saw a lot of blue states passing new control. So I think there’s already something happening --

RADDATZ: The (ph) next step.

PERRY: Next step is going to be harder, but I think we’re already in a different place than we were (ph) before. The next step, ultimately, is we have one party’s for gun control and one party’s against gun control. So the key thing is if the midterms change the House, that’ll make a difference as well. But ultimately, Democrats got to have control more for more gun control to be passed (ph).

RADDATZ: And -- and Shannon, when you look at this and you -- and President Trump, does he just hope this issue goes away, pat the kids on the head and good job, see you later?

PETTYPIECE: Well, I mean ultimately it goes to Congress. And despite all this, I still don’t see any shift that Ryan or McConnell are going to put any gun legislation on the floor. There is still that concern that if they actually bring up any gun legislation, even something that Republicans and Democrats can agree to, it opens up Pandora’s box to amendments, to certain members being put at risk in their district.

So, I mean, President Trump might want to push on this issue, but he’s got to get Congress’s cooperation. And -- and this is still really the third rail of -- of -- of American politics for a lot of members.

RADDATZ: And part of that reason it is a third rail, too, is the NRA. Do you think -- they’re such a powerful lobbying group. And -- and I have to say, some of the kids I interviewed sounded like they’d just read that literature. Do you think this has hurt them at all? Do you think they're at all worried about this?

DOWD: Well, it has hurt them if you look at the public opinion polls. Their favorability rating over the course of the last six months has dropped, so it has hurt them.

I think also people are realizing the NRA has been successful by forcing this into a complete mythic binary choice. And the binary choice they forced this into is you're either for the Second Amendment or you're for taking away everybody's guns. And I'm a gun owner. I own five guns. I go hunting. I do all of that. I'm in a community that -- Wimberly (ph), Texas, that is very much a believer in that.

But they also believe in the idea that you can have certain gun reforms that preserve the rights in the Second Amendment and pass. And I think these -- the rally that was held yesterday and the rallies that were in Washington around the country, is a step in the process.

Keep in mind, the Montgomery bus boycotts were in the mid-50s. Rosa Parks was in the mid-50s. It was 10 years before civil rights legislation passed.

The Vietnam War protests started in the early 60s, and it was 10 years before we actually withdrew from the war.

And so I think if we can just all come together and pick the low hanging fruit as those young -- many of those young members said -- integrated databases, universal background checks, age limits on purchases, which 80 percent of the country supports, then I think we'll be successful.

But the NRA will continue to push this as binary choice, a false one.

RADDATZ: And David, I just want to quickly end here. We have just a couple of minutes. About another look at the White House. How do you think President Trump has changed in the last couple of months?

BRODY: Well, in the last few months, I don't know how much he's really changed at all. He's been who he's been since he came down that escalator in 2015.

RADDATZ: Does he seem to have more confidence about being president? I'm in charge. I -- it doesn't seem like he has any hesitation at all.

BRODY: I think the key with President Trump is that he's learning the ways of Washington more. He's not becoming a creature of Washington, but he's getting the right folks around him from a chemistry standpoint. With him it's always been about chemistry. And if he can get the right people around him -- look -- look what he does with the Apprentice, when he's on that game -- or the game show. I call it a game show.

RADDATZ: Reality...

BRODY: Reality show. What did he always do? He was always pitting everybody against each other. He would say, hey, he said that about you. You said that about him. This is how he operates, and I don't think that's going to change.

RADDATZ: Shannon.

PETTYPIECE: I think a year into the job, his allies would say he's getting comfortable with it. He feels like he's got his feet underneath him and he feels like he knows who he can trust and who he can't. That's what his allies and defenders would say. And that's what we're seeing reflected in all these staffing...

RADDATZ: Do you think things will settle down?

BACON: No. I don't think he's changing, I think the Republicans in congress are changing and are less pushing back on him. He's gotten more support. The whole -- the biggest news of this week was Mueller, the discussion about him being fired, the congress did nothing about it, and they don't want to move a bill.

And remember in September, Lindsey Graham wrote a bill, Tom Tillis wrote a bill, to protect Mueller. The Republicans on the Hill are more behind Trump since the tax cut. And that's a big change, which has emboldened him to be even more of what he wants to be.

RADDATZ: You literally have 10 seconds, Matt Dowd.

DOWD: I don't think he's changed, I think he's become only more of himself, and I think that's problematic, because one of every four of the people that voted for Donald Trump wanted him to change and become more presidential. He hasn't.

COSTA: But his faithful like it.

RADDATZ: One more?

COSTA: His base will like?

RADDATZ: That's exactly right.

DOWD: Which is 25 percent of the country.

RADDATZ: Thanks to everybody. And that's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Have a great day.