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Trump 100 Percent Willing to Testify on Comey Meetings; Ex Republican Congressman Calls Out GOP for Defending Trump; Russia Key to America's Political Chaos; 2 U.S. Servicemembers Killed, 1 Wounded in Afghanistan; Bill Maher Apologizes for Racial Slur, Gets Lesson from Ice Cube; Trump Makes George Congressional Seat Race Most Expensive in History; Original Batman Actor Adam West Dies at 88. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired June 10, 2017 - 15:00   ET



[15:00:13] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Dave Briggs, in New York.

For President Trump, the countdown is on. House investigators giving him two weeks to hand over any memos or audio recordings of his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey. The president says he's willing to testify under oath.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So he says those things under oath. Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of --



BRIGGS: Shocking day. The next few days may be absolutely pivotal. The Senate Judiciary Committee could receive copies of Comey's memos as early as Monday. On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will likely face tough questions about his role in the Comey firing when he testifies before a Senate panel.

Let's bring in our White House's correspondent, Athena Jones, in Branchburg, New Jersey, not far from where the president is spending the weekend; along with CNN justice reporter, Laura Jarrett; and CNN crime and justice producer, Shimon Prokupecz.

It is good to see you all.

Athena, we'll start with you.

The president says he's 100 percent willing to testify. How likely is that to happen?

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dave, that is one of the big questions. It is, of course, highly unusual to see a sitting president offering to testify under oath. He says he's going to sit down with special counsel, Bob Mueller, and say all the things he said to reporters in the Rose Garden yesterday, denying many of the detail that the former FBI director spelled out in his testimony. For instance, the idea that the president asked Comey to pledge loyalty and that he asked Comey to let this investigation into his former national security advisor go. But it is not clear whether the president consulted with his lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, before making a promise.

Another big question is whether there are, in fact, any tapes or other kinds of recording of the president's conversations with then-FBI Director Comey as the president hinted.

Take a look to how he responded question about that yesterday.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do tapes exist of your conversations with him?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I'll tell you about that sometime maybe in the very near future.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You seem to be hinting that there are recordings of those conversations.

TRUMP: I'm not hinting about anything. I'll tell you about it in a very short period of time, OK?

Do you have a question here?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When will you tell us about --

TRUMP: Over a fairly short period of time.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are there tapes, sir?

TRUMP: Oh, you're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer. Don't worry.


JONES: There you saw still no answer nearly a month after that suggestive tweet on May 12. We don't know what he means by, "You will be disappointed." Does he mean there are tapes that will prove him right or does he mean there are not tapes. We'll have to wait to find out -- Dave?

BRIGGS: That was one of the more mysterious things said yesterday.

But, Athena, how are Democrats on Capitol Hill responding to this week's stunning developments?

JONES: One of the most interesting of news that we have, apart from the House Intelligence Committee now asking for memos and any tapes, is Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has written a letter to that the chairman of that committee, Chuck Grassley, calling on the committee to investigate all issues relating to obstruction of justice in the events leading up to Comey's firing and dealing with the Russia investigation. And here is part of the letter. She says, "It is my strong recommendation that the Judiciary Committee investigate all issues that raise a question of obstruction of justice. These issues should be developed by our legal staffs, presented to us, and subject to a full committee hearings."

So that's a key development. One more thing that Senator Feinstein says in that letter is she's supportive of issuing subpoenas in those cases where the committee does not get cooperation. This is one more major development in this story.

BRIGGS: Athena, thanks.

Shimon, to you now.

What's next in this Russia probe? At what point does Russian interference in the 2016 election get back into center stage here?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE PRODUCER: Well, I think it is still obviously part of the investigation, but that's the big question now, when the staffs become the focus of this investigation. It has been going on for a year now. We have been talking about it for quite some time. The FBI has been looking at it since July of last year, on the Trump side, on the campaign, and whether or not there is collusion. That's now, as you know, all in the hands of the special counsel, Bob Mueller. Now, there is a whole new avenue perhaps to pursue, and that is potential obstruction from the White House and the conversations that the president had with Comey. That whole avenue and the whole new direction of the investigation is still to be determined. We have not been given any indication that Bob Mueller has started looking at that. The big question will be whether FBI agents are now also -- who have been looking at Russia meddling and other aspects of people associated with Trump, are also going to be tasked with looking at obstruction and whether anything sort of untoward was going on in the White House and communications and other improper contact between the White House and the FBI. It is a widespread investigation.

[15:05:33] BRIGGS: It's a very widespread investigation, Laura. Special counsel, Robert Mueller, beefing up his team for the Russia probe. Tell me what you are learning about new additions and what it means for where we head next.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Dave. Mueller has now added five new members, and maybe more down the line, but at least five new members who have experience prosecuting cases. Some are current prosecutors within the Justice Department and some were there in the past, but they have experience, significant experience on everything from Watergate to Enron. This is a formidable group. And perhaps the most significant recruit that we are learning of, first reported by the "National Law Journal," is Michael Dreeben, a lawyer within the solicitor general's office, who's a prolific Supreme Court advocate, argued over 100 cases before the Supreme Court, known as a renowned expert in criminal law. That's a new addition of the team, along are with the others, like Andrew Weissman, who runs the criminal fraud section within the Justice Department.

But we also learned an interesting tidbit, Dave, about Mueller's dress code in the situation, and how he is taking it so seriously that he has no reverted back to his old wardrobe from the days when he was in the FBI, the DOJ, wearing crisp white shirts and dark suits and a tie. So he's really bringing his A-game to this -- Dave?

BRIGGS: Can we change up the tie? Pink, purple or yellow, or is it strictly a black or blue?

JARRETT: I don't know if we know about the color.


JARRETT: But we know he's taking it seriously. Even old FBI agents were whisked away if they did not show up to the job looking exactly right, so he's taking it seriously.

BRIGGS: Shimon, you are out, no tie.

Athena, Laura, Shimon, thank you all.

One Republican chiding members of his own party for defending the president's decision to fire Comey. Former South Carolina Congressman Bob Inglis says, if Trump were a Democrat, the GOP would be outraged and would be calling for impeachment. Watch.


BOB INGLIS, (R), FOMER SOUTH CAROLINA CONGRESSMAN: I think the reality is any president should know that you don't try to lean on the top law enforcement officer of the United States. And when he does not give you what you want, you don't fire him. I mean that's -- just imagine if the shoe were on the other foot. If Hillary Clinton had won, Comey reopens the investigation of her e-mail server, and then she did not like the way Comey was doing so she fired him. I am certain at that point my party would rightly be howling. We would be saying we've got to get to the bottom of this.


BRIGGS: Inglis voted to impeach President Clinton back in the '90s when he served on the House Judiciary Committee.

I want to talk about this with our panel, CNN's law enforcement analyst, James Gagliano, retired FBI supervisory special agent; and CNN's presidential historian, Timothy Naftali, former director of the Nixon Presidential Library; and CNN political analyst, Ron Brownstein, senior editor of "The Atlantic."

Ron, let's start with you as to what Inglis said and Republican's continued support of President Trump. How strong is Trump's GOP shield, if you will? RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: First, I think what he said is

right. In the scenario he lays out, it is hard to imagine that a Republican Congress would not be at least beginning an impeachment inquiry on the facts already before them. It is unlikely that any of that is going to happen any time soon. In fact, I think what you have among congressional Republicans is kind of a locked-arm argument that this is now in the hands of the special counsel and their belief is he will ultimately decide whether or not they were criminal act undertaken by others around the president or the president himself in the case of obstruction of justice. I think that confidence is a little misplaced. If you look at the precedence here, the 1973 and 2000 memos from the Office of Legal Counsel, which do not have the force of law but are legal -- have not been adjudicated, but are memos of the Justice Department saying the president cannot be indicted, I think the odds are better than not, in the end, that the special counsel will return this issue to Congress, whatever he learns, and ask them to decide what should happen. For now, I think that there is no prospect of Republicans in Congress moving against him and they'll use the special counsel as a shield for the argument, at least in the indefinite future.

[15:10:01] BRIGGS: There is no hint of any Republicans breaking ranks, especially after John McCain looked like he punted to that.

Let's get to the notion of these tapes now and bring in our guest in New York.

James, let's talk to you of the notion of these tape. If they do exist, does the president have any right to refuse turning them over?

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Dave, I am sure there is some provision within executive privilege that the president could claim. He will lose that battle on the public opinion front. As a guy who wears the dark suits and the red tie and crisp white shirts --

BRIGGS: You're qualified.

GAGLIANO: -- that the FBI really likes to wear, I can say watching the testimony, I was conflicted emotionally. I was so proud of the former director standing up the institution of the FBI and for himself, and I was disheartened by the way I thought his admittance to the leak diminished him and his position. He basically ceded the narrative back to the White House and we're all left with no collusion, no obstruction, he's a leaker. That became the headline instead of the seven-page fairly report showing the inappropriate conduct of our president.

BRIGGS: Do you share that same sentiment?

TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENITAL HISTORIAN: I want to remind Jim and everybody of U.S. v. Nixon, where executive privilege was actually limited. Mr. Trump would lose if he prevented the tapes from being provided because in U.S. v. Nixon, the Supreme Court unanimously, including Nixon appointees, said that where there are criminal issues involved, the president cannot successfully invoke executive privilege. And that was over the Nixon tapes. And the same would be true of the Trump tapes.

BRIGGS: How does this compare to Nixon, to Watergate times?


BRIGGS: And Comey -- you are not going to go there.

NAFTALI: You know what the comparison is? The comparison is the following. The issue of obstruction of justice.

BRIGGS: Not the FBI Director --


NAFTALI: Well, Richard Nixon -- when Richard Nixon tried in an indirect way to obstruct justice -- he wouldn't go directly and he didn't go directly. In fact, he created a false document, a false piece of evidence to make it look like he was actually forcing the director to do his job. Nixon and Trump would have taken, if Trump is, indeed, guilty of obstruction of justice, would take different approaches to this.

As regards the Comey testimony, he's given an argument to the president and the White House. But you can't get away from the facts of the document and the fact that every single Republican Senator showed him respect. They may have disagreed with him, there was some partisan moments, but they all showed him great respect as a public servant.

GAGLIANO: I can't disagree. But Dave and Tim, I have to say this, a number of current FBI agents and a large number of retired FBI agents have come down hard on this director for this fact, there were nine, quote, unquote, "inappropriate meetings" or inappropriate overtures made by the president, phone calls and meetings with the FBI director. The first time it happens, you gave the director the benefit of the doubt and say he was struck mute in the situation and just say, I'm so shocked. The second time, OK. The third? The seventh? The eighth? The ninth? I'm sorry. If some small-time mayor, when I was an FBI chief up in New York, did that to me, Dave, I would have said, sir, that is wholly inappropriate, I am going to go on the record on this. And then I would have gone to my boss.

BRIGGS: It was surprising that did not happen.

I want to bring in Ron real quickly.

If there are no tapes, Ron, if ultimately this comes down to "he said/he said," who are the American people more likely to believe? And ultimately, is that what is most consequential or the legality of what was done?

BROWNSTEIN: I think both are consequential. Look, I think James Comey will have a lot of credibility because not only did he testify to this under oath but he memorialized it in his contemporaneous memos. You have to believe he immediately left the White House and falsified at that point a version of the conversation. Plus, he shared it with associates at the FBI. The question is whether the president ultimately does testify under oath. Bill Clinton testified under oath in the Ken Star investigation. Initially, the White House resisted, but eventually they agreed to do so. The question of whether a counsel can compel the president to testify under oath, I do not believe that has been adjudicated. And the law would be different to begin with because we don't have the independent counsel law any more. So I think that's the critical question, will the president say under oath the things he said in the Rose Garden yesterday. And if so, will the special counsel conclude that that could be the basis for a charge of perjury, whether in a criminal version or more likely something that he refers to Congress.

[15:14:59] BRIGGS: Yes. Whether or not the president testifies under oath is everything as we move forward.

James, Tim, Ron, thank you all. Appreciate it. Good stuff.

Coming up, they say politics makes strange bedfellows. Case in point, former Vice President Joe Biden is telling Mitt Romney to run for Senate. Yes, Biden made the comment at a summit Romney held last night. And that's not the only headline from the meeting. Remember that dinner that Mitt Romney and President Trump had last year when Trump was trying to settle a secretary of state? Well, Romney said he talked to Hillary Clinton about that post and Clinton encouraged him to take it if it was offered, which we now know it was not offered.

As political chaos consumes Washington, is the Kremlin enjoining this turmoil? We are live in Moscow, next.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:19:50] BRIGGS: Russia's alleged meddling in last year's election, former White House officials and their ties to the Russians, the president himself and what he may have told top Russian official in the Oval Office, all of that and much more is the basis for all of this Trump/Comey conversation. And nearly every reason people in Washington are using the world "impeachment," goes back in some way to Russia's involvement with this White House.

Our former Moscow chief, now CNN contributor, Jill Dougherty, live in Moscow.

Jill, good to see you.

I want to know, how are the Russians viewing this chaos here in the United States?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN ANALYST: There are various levels stated. Number one, Russia and the government continued to deny that they were involved in any type of interference of the election. The latest that we had was from Dimitry Peskov, the spokesperson for the president. He said he listened to Comey and what Comey had to said and he said I look at it in disgust. That's an obvious thing that the government is saying and probably will continue to say. But when you get down to the other areas, it gets more complicated. I think you have an opinion, which is essentially all of this, everything Comey is saying, is really a kind of attack by President Trump's enemies who, as one commentator who happens to be a politician, said, they're bloodthirsty enemies of President Trump and they want to bring him down and it's like McCarthyism. Then there are other things you pick up, say, in the media, which is pretty much dismissing it, the hearing with Comey. There were several pundits that said basically a nothingburger or a big soap bubble was another way it was described. In other words, it really does not mean anything and, don't worry, the president probably is not going to be impeached because it is all a lie. So, that's the public part. There are other people who are more sober and more serious, and they are concerned about what President Trump is or is not doing about the relationship with Russia.

BRIGGS: Right, and sanctions ultimately.

So is Russia still sticking with President Trump? Putin calls him brilliant and talented. What does Moscow get out of keeping this relationship strong and friendly, at least the appearance of it.

DOUGHERTY: David, I think that's what's going through their minds right now. In the beginning, they expected they would get something out of it. One, may be getting rid of sanctions, economic sanctions, and another might be working on terrorism together.

So far, they have not gotten much of anything. You can see comments by people close to the government or in business journals who are saying, look, President Trump does not have staff in place, so there is growing concern, I think in the Kremlin and among people who really think about things and know what's going on, concern that the administration of President Trump is not functioning properly even enough to handle any type of productive relationship. That's worrisome because both countries have to work together on something. Right now, it is dead in the water.

BRIGGS: Down the road, the G-20 summit next month in Germany, just about 10 days. President Trump and Putin, they'll meet there. How huge of a moment is that expected to be? Will we even see it?

DOUGHERTY: Yeah, that's another good question, because, of course, we expect that they'll meet. We don't know. There are no details yet. Let's say that they do meet, the question will be, as you pointed out, will there be press or media coverage? Because that photograph -- remember the photograph of the Russian ambassador and the foreign minister in the Oval Office, which turned into a real problem? So a photograph with Putin would have to be very well choreographed, because if there is too much smiling, if there's too much black- slapping, which I doubt, but there could be, it could be bad, let's say, for President Trump because of the relations right now and the problems and hearings about Russia. And it may be difficult for Vladimir Putin, too. It would be very sensitive. I think that's something to watch.

[15:24:22] BRIGGS: Yeah, that image of Sergey Kislyak and Donald Trump shaking hands, smiling, burned into the minds of his critics, you would think they could keep Russian state media out of whatever meetings is going to happen.

Jill Dougherty, thank you for your perspective.

Some breaking news out of Afghanistan. Three U.S. servicemembers have been killed in what appears to have been an insider attack. More details after the break.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BRIGGS: Some breaking news out of Afghanistan. Three U.S. servicemembers are dead, a fourth wounded after a shooting reportedly carried out by a member of the Afghan military.

Joining us now from Kabul, Sune Engel Rasmussen, a reporter for "The Guardian."

Sune, thanks for being here.

Give us an update on what you have been hearing.

SUNE ENGEL RASMUSSEN, REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: We know that three American soldiers were killed around noontime in the eastern province of Nangarhar by what appears to be an Afghan soldier. Some locals say the soldier was a member of the Special Forces, which makes sense, because they are often -- those are the guys that Americans are embedding with as trainers and advisors in the Nangarhar region. This is the area some of your viewers might remember, was also where the U.S. military dropped the largest conventional weapons that was used in war, the Mother of All Bombs, two months ago on ISIS positions.

[15:30:12] Since then, they have been there fighting.

BRIGGS: Sune Engel Rasmussen, thanks. Keep us up to date with any developments there. We appreciate it.

Bill Maher apologizing for using a racial slur on his show and gets a lesson from Ice Cube. We'll discuss next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


BRIGGS: Comedian Bill Maher, has been on an apology tour ever since he used a racial slur on live television. Outrage broke out on social media with some calling for him to be fired after he used the "N" word on his HBO last Friday. Last night, he apologized on "Real Time with Bill Maher," saying, quote, "I did a bad thing." Maher's show appears on HBO, which is owned by Time-Warner, the parent company of CNN. Maher also invited his guest to weigh in on his use of his "N" word. Take a listen to Actor and Rapper Ice Cube's visceral response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [15:35:05] ICE CUBE, ACTOR & RAPPER: It is a word that's been used against us like a knife, man. You can use it as weapon or as a tool. It has been used as a weapon against us by white people and we are not going to let that happen again, by nobody. When I hear my homies say it, it don't feel like venom. When I hear a white person says it, it feels like a knife is stabbing me, even if they don't mean it. But I think this is a teachable moment not just to you but to the people that's watching right now.


ICE CUBE: You know what I am saying?



BILL MAHER, HOST, REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER: I think the people who are watching now are saying that point has been made.

ICE CUBE: Not by me.




BRIGGS: Joining me now, CNN political commentator, Professor Marc Lamont Hill; and CNN media analyst, Bill Carter.

Good to see you both.

Marc, let me start with you now.

Is this all good, h he just forgiven?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's not all good. I think there were a lot of people are will say this was a final straw for them. There are people who will have anxiety about Bill Maher because of his comments and his comments on immigration. And this is just another strike for him. For other people, this is just a whole entire different think and they'll never come back home to him again. But I think the bulk of people say this was teachable moment and an opportunity for him to do whatever he had to do, and he's moved forward. Whether or not the apology is sincere or not, I can't say. I'm not in his head. But I know for sure, he did something he rarely does, which is apologize and be humble as he listened to a group of analysts educate him with push back.

BRIGGS: It is hard to get past a man of his age that that word is anywhere near the outer edges of his vocabulary. But Bill, Maher changed up his show a bit last night. Instead of putting his guests in the hot seat, he invited sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson and questioned him about it. Dyson chose to read a text from his son.


MICAHEL ERIC DYSON, SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR: This is what he texted me. He said, "I know white boys like that who earn a pass from the work that they put in. But the coolest and most honorable white boys are the ones that choose not to act on that past because they understand the history, pain and insensitivity behind the use of the "N" word."

So do you truly understand the need to name and to challenge that unconscious white privilege that exist and how it hurts black people, even if unintentional?

MAHER: Yes, but, of course, I think I do. I mean, we are all evolving. We are all who we are.

DYSON: Right.

MAHER: By the way, this happened once. A guy said a weird thing, I made a bad joke. Yes, it was wrong and I owned up to that. But it's not like I made a career of this.


BRIGGS: May not have made a career out of this, but he certainly, Bill, a provocateur, to say the least. His previous show, "Politically Incorrect" was cancelled after he said something controversial. What do you make of how he handled this controversy?

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: That's his brand is to be politically incorrect. It is interesting to hear him apologize and then say there are no excuses and then make a lot of excuses. Saying, well, he's a comedian and looking for the joke. And he grew up in New Jersey where there is no racism, which is really bizarre. I grew up in -- I knew that, from my mother, you don't say things like that.

You said something interesting, Dave, you said we all know, we're on the air, you don't' say certain things on the air. I would never say that word on the air or off the air or anywhere. So it is not a vocabulary to have it come out. But for him to dismiss it as a joke, that you just -- he could have said, for example, in the exact same line, I am a house slave. He could have tried the same lame joke without using the word. He used the word. That's very provocative. That's Bill trade, his stock and trade, to be provocative, as you point out.

I have to say, he thinks it is something to move on from. But remember, Michael Richards did not recover from an incident like this. It is a situation where I think, if you are going to be sincere about it, you don't make excuses from being a comedian.

LAMONT HILL: I will say, I think there's some differences between Bill Maher doing in and say Michael Richards. Michael Richards was being abusive tom someone in the audience. He was using that word as a weapon. Bill Maher, I don't think that was the intention. I think what Bill Maher was doing was exercising the profound arrogance of white privilege where he's like, this is a word that I am not allowed to use, but I am going to use it anyway. I'm going to be edgy. I'm going to do something that I've been told I cannot do. It was a bad choice. It speaks to a problem with Bill Maher, but I don't think he's doing what Michael Richards was doing. I do think, to your point, that he did spending much of the time saying, I apologize, I was wrong, but - I know I shouldn't have said it, but -- and trying to explain away through a subtext that it really wasn't that big of a deal. It's almost like he was going through the stations of a racial cross because he had to as opposed to because he was genuinely apologetic.

[15:40:01] BRIGGS: Sometimes apologies come with this, Marc. Was there anything healing about this? Was there a dialogue that begin now?

LAMONT HILL: I think, again, sometimes with TV, the goals is not to persuade the person you're debating immediately in front of you. It's to pursued the audience watching. We've got to get Michael Eric Dyson on TV, this brilliant scholar, to explain race to people watching. We've got to hear Ice Cube talk about the visceral reaction that black people have to this word. We have to have a nuanced, interesting conversation.


BRIGGS: -- knew that.


BRIGGS: He should have known that.

LAMONT HILL: He should have, but sometimes people don't. They fain ignorant or they generally don't know. Either way, we have an opportunity to have a conservation that we otherwise would not. Again, let the market decide, let the viewers decide. Free speech is free speech. Let him say what he wants. But we should decide what it means for us.

BRIGGS: Bill, we let the country decide when Kathy Griffin lost numerous jobs, including a co-host job on this network, for posing with that bloody head that looked like President Trump. Maher still has his job for now. How can you compare the reaction between the offensive word Maher used and what Griffin did?

CARTER: There is a degree. What Kathy did was extreme. Interestingly, Maher compared it and said she should send me flowers because I've taken her off the front page. But, you know, I think he made a big mistake. HBO has heard him make mistakes like this before. He seems to attack Muslims and things like that, and they shrug it off. I think his apology will work for them and he won't pay a higher price.

BRIGGS: It seems there is so much news going on in this country that he may have been helped just by the news cycle alone. Perhaps, that created by the president.

Marc Lamont Hill, Bill Carter, thank you both. Appreciate it.


BRIGGS: The prosecution has rested its case against Comedian Bill Cosby. 12 witnesses took the stand for the prosecution in the aggravated assault trial. The case weighed heavily on personal witness testimony but almost entirely absent of forensic evidence. No word if the 79-year-old comedian will take the witness stand next week. But his publicist says nothing is off the table. Tune in tonight at 9:00 eastern time for an in-depth look at "The Case Against Cosby." Don't miss this CNN special report.

And the race to fill a U.S. congressional seat in Georgia, now the most expensive race in history. We'll explain why Republicans are now feeling the heat with Trump in the White House.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:46:52] BRIGGS: The most expensive House race in history is underway right now in Georgia. I am talking about the battle pitting Democrat John Ossoff against Republican Karen Handel in Georgia's historically red sixth district. They are vying for the seat vacated by President Trump's Health secretary, Tom Price. Today, a powerful Democrat House minority whip, Steny Hoyer, traveling to Georgia to campaign with Ossoff. On the Republican side, the president, the Trump factor, looming in the mind of voters.

CNN's Nick Valencia reports.



NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They say politics and religion don't mix, and usually they don't.


VALENCIA: But today, at Saint James United Methodist Church in Atlanta, there is no dancing around it.

MARILYN HUMPHREY, GEORGIA VOTER: It is a huge concern. And it's turned me in this election into a Democrat.

VALENCIA (on camera): You're the piano player.

HUMPHREY: I am the piano player.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Marilyn Humphrey has lived in the sixth congressional district for 37 years. Thanks to voters like her, it's been a Republican stronghold since the 1970s. A lot has changed since then.

HUMPHREY: I voted for Tom Price when he was a representative. I am sorry to see this change.

VALENCIA (on camera): You are changing your vote from a Republican vote to --

HUMPHREY: I definitely am.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Humphrey says under President Trump she hates what her party has become. So come June 20, her vote in the congressional runoff will be for Democrat John Ossoff.

HUMPHREY: The Republicans are a mess, and doing this and this, and off they go. It is time to change. And it has to change with young people who are committed to a broader view.

VALENCIA: Her church peers say they are upset at President Trump and what he's turned Washington into.

ERIC EBBO (ph), GEORGIA VOTER: Anything in Washington is a circus.

VALENCIA: Eric Ebbo (ph) is a lifetime Republican.

EBBO (ph): I would be surprised if somebody showing up with a big red nose and starting squirting water. It is such a joke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, nice to meet you.

VALENCIA: But for Ebbo (ph), he's most bothered by what he said Ossoff and Democrats are up to in district six.

EBBO (ph): Do they have to bring in people to support this kid from out of our district? Aren't there enough people that are homegrown and really want him?

VALENCIA (on camera): This out of state bothers you?

EBBO (ph): It does.

VALENCIA (voice-over): It also bothers Doug Scales. He won't say which party he's from, but it does not take long to find out how he feels about the 30-year-old Democrat and his Republican opponent, Karen Handel.

DOUG SCALES, GEORGIA VOTER: He will be regulated to a pay boy, which means

VALENCIA (on camera): You're talking about --


SCALES: Right. Here is how you vote. He will not have any power to help you and I.

HUMPHREYS: And you think Handel will?

SCALES: No, no. Nobody will.

VALENCIA (voice-over): It is that political fatigue among local Georgia voters that's making the sixth congressional race so interesting and competitive? Beyond Saint James, we wanted to see how Washington was affecting

voter sentiment in other parts of district sixth.

(on camera): You like Donald Trump, and you him liking Handel, makes you like her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't help it. It's going to be more of Democrats showing our support to ourselves and redeeming myself by voting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am planning to vote for John Ossoff.

VALENCIA: Is that a vote for Ossoff or a vote against Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a vote against Trump.


VALENCIA (voice-over): Back at Saint James, there is plenty of Trump talk, too. But ultimately, on June 20th, he should not be the person deciding the election.

EBBO (ph): You are looking at it as a referendum on Trump.

VALENCIA (on camera): Should it be?

[15:50:04] EBBO (ph): Well, no, not really. It's really just a congressional race.

VALENCIA: It I may just be a congressional race for some, but for others, this has national implications. And if there's any indication it does, Vice President Mike Pence was in Atlanta this week to stump for Republican Karen Handel. The latest poll by a local newspaper here, "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," Democrat John Ossoff leads Handel by seven points with just two weeks to go.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.


BRIGGS: All right, Nick, thank you.

This week's "CNN Hero" sold everything he owns, his house, his car to start a boxing gym so kids from Detroit's toughest neighborhoods could have a safe place to go and grow. Having personally experienced many of the hardships these children face very day, he knows what it takes to show them the way to a brighter future. Meet Coach Khaled.


UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: I've been shot at multiple times. He shot 26 rounds at the car. It was a reason he didn't hit me. I need to be for these kids.

I've been there, so when they hear it from me they're like, OK, he's not sugar coating it. No mentors, no positive role models. You put them in a position to be ready for prison or the country morgue. I don't see bad kids, I see a kid who haven't been heard yet.


BRIGGS: Good stuff. To see how Coach Khaled is changing the lives of children in Detroit, go to And while you're there, nominate someone you think should be a 2017 "CNN Hero."


[15:55:56] BRIGGS: A true icon of early American television has died.


ADAM WEST, ACTOR: It was noble of that animal to hurl himself in the path of that final torpedo. He gave his life.


BRIGGS: Adam West, who brought Batman from the comic books to the TV screen in 1966, saving the world from the Joker and Riddler and Penguin over and over again, and always just in the nick of time. Adam West died last night in his Los Angeles home. He had leukemia and was 88 years old. Adam West played Batman for just three seasons on TV. Then 50 years later, he had a big comeback in an animated show.

CNN's Paul Vercammen looks back at his career.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Adam West was -


VERCAMMEN: "Batman" reruns turbo boosted global hero long after his three original "Batman" seasons ended in 1968.



VERCAMMEN: 40 years later, the self-deprecating Woody West got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

WEST: I think I have the record as the actor who has waited the longest --


-- to get his star on the sidewalk.


(APPLAUSE) VERCAMMEN: Adam West was born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington. Young Adam West possessed brawn and brains, and a degree in literature and psychology from Whitman College. West developed that trademarked voice as a disc jockey, and his Batman spoke with an elevated vocabulary.

WEST: Catwoman, I find you to be odious, abhorrent and insegrievious.

VERCAMMEN: Sure, the show was campy but Batman's alter ego, Bruce Wayne, offered even more substance.

WEST: All music is important. It's the universal language.

He has to be mature enough to have a ward. He's a mentor or he is adopted, a son, so to speak.

WEST: Precisely, Robin.

VERCAMMEN: But Batman's cape seemed to permanently hang around West's neck.

WEST: I tried to make an international call and the operator knows my voice immediately, as does everyone else.

VERCAMMEN: West got typecast.

WEST: When you wear a mask and funny tights, it gets a little frustrating from time to time. And I was. I was turned down for a number of parts over the years, I feel, because of that.

VERCAMMEN: The other acting parts West did get seemed to vanish in the TV haze.

CARTOON CHARACTER: Hey kids, Batman.

VERCAMMEN: But cartoons remind him.

WEST: Of course, I'm Batman.

VERCAMMEN: Adam West played Adam West on "The Simpsons."


VERCAMMEN: Then the eccentric mayor, Adam West, on "Family Guy."

WEST: I stand behind my decision. This press conference is over. I can't see you now. I can't hear you now. You're not here now. La, la, la, la, la.

SETH MACFARLAND, CREATER OF FAMILY GUY: We get asked all the time at "Family Guy," do we have a lot of drugs lying around the office.


No, we have Adam West.


VERCAMMEN: A wacky intellectual, family man, you'd think West might dodge typecasting, but the image of him as Batman obliterated all others. And West wasn't bitter about being so linked to a man in tights.

WEST: Wherever I go in the world, there's such a wonderful rapport with our Batman, that it's neat. People come up playing scenes for me unsolicited. I've got to laugh. How lucky can a person get to have been part of something that's a classic?


BRIGGS: Welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Dave Briggs, in New York.

Who is lying, James Comey or President Trump? We could find out within the next two weeks. That's how long House investigators have given the White House to turn over tapes of President Trump's conversations with the fired FBI director, that is, if they exist. The president, who first threatened that, and may still exist, won't actually say.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do tapes exist of your conversations with him?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I'll tell you about that sometime maybe in the very near future.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You seem to be hinting that there are recordings of those conversations.

TRUMP: I'm not hinting about anything. I'll tell you about it in a very short period of time, OK?