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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Rep. Scalise Remains In Critical Condition, But Improving; WAPO: Mueller Probing Jared Kushner's Business Dealings; V.P. Pence Hires Outside Counsel For Russia Probe; Trump Lashes Out On Russia Probe, Hillary Clinton In New Tweets; Congressional Baseball Game Ends: Dems Win 11-2. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 15, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:04] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We are at the nationals park in Washington where Democrats and Republicans are slugging it out on the baseball diamond in the name of greater unity in this town and around the country. The game comes in the wake of yesterday's shooting apparently politically motivated targeting Republican lawmakers practicing for tonight.
Congressman Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip, recovering from a very serious gun shot wound. We're going to have the late update on his condition as well as several pieces of breaking news in the Russia investigation.
But, first, the game -- CNN's Phil Mattingly who is the -- at the centerfield stands. Talk a little bit about what the mood is there right now that stands among people that you're talking to.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a baseball game. And while that might seem simplistic or obvious, that actually means a lot, Anderson. I have one congressman who is sitting in the stands text me earlier, "I can't tell you how nice it is just to be able to have a beer and watch a game after what's transpired over the last 36 hours."
It's actually meaningful and it seems like there's a small issue, a small kind of event given what we've seen over the last 36 hours, but it matters and it matters a lot. They had taken out to the ball game. We've had a couple of plays at the plate, a couple hit by pitches. And if you're in Washington, Anderson, you know this is important.
Teddy won the president's mascot race that almost never happen. So that's a big event here. There's a sense of normalcy here and I think that matters a lot to these members, to the staffers who've been so shaken about what they've seen over the course of the last couple of days.
COOPER: I've been getting texts from some others. There's Teddy, by the way, running. I've been getting some texts about the line at shake shack from some folks. I understand you'd checked in with the two freshman congressmen sitting together tonight. MATTINGLY: Yeah, that's right. Actually, one of them, the Democrats right (ph) happen just sitting on the Republican side. How this game actually works, Democrats sit on one side. Tonight, they're on the third base side. Republicans sit on the other side, first base side, kind of in that token of appreciation for what they're doing.
Dwight Evans, the congressman from Pennsylvania who is sitting with Brian Fitzpatrick, his Republican colleague, is sitting in the Republican side. I'm told that Congressman Fitzpatrick is hoping for a big comeback. Right now, Republicans trailing by quite a bit, but I think the overall point here is that while this is largely symbolic.
I think there's a recognition that this is a small step at best about what needs to happen over weeks, months, and perhaps years to come. Both congressmen told me that they feel like they're learning a lot about each other. And in a time when particularly in the House of Representatives the relationships that used to exist, that used to really define the institution have largely crumbled totally been fractured by the fundraising, always being in cycle going home every weekend.
Events like this where you can sit with a colleague actually learn something about them, share a beer, have a good time, they're meaningful. They matter and I think both these members hope that perhaps this is a sign of things to come. We'll obviously have to see about that. But based on everything we've seen over the course of this day, certainly a lot of enthusiasm to try and stick to something like that in the days ahead, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Phil Mattingly, thanks very much.
Congressman Scalise in the meantime continues to be in a very difficult medical shape. He under went another surgery late this afternoon. Our Brian Todd has an update for us from the MedStar Washington Hospital Center where there looks to be a little bit of positive news. What's the latest, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is positive news, Anderson. We have a late update from the hospital center just a short time ago. Officials here telling us that the congressman's condition has improved in the last 24 hours. He does remain in critical condition tonight, but they say he has made an improvement over the past 24 hours.
They say that today, earlier today, he under went a second surgery to address some internal injuries and to address a broken bone in his leg. He does remain in critical condition, but he has improved over the past 24 hours. So a second surgery today to address internal injuries and a broken bone in his leg.
There was some back and forth as to whether he has had two or three surgeries. What we understand tonight is we can say there are two official surgeries and there was a third procedure to address some bleeding. So, good news for the congressman tonight.
You know, we did go over the nature of his wound. He had the gunshot wound to the left hip. The bullet crossed his pelvis. It fractured some bones, caused some pretty serious internal injuries and a lot of bleeding. He required several units of blood transfusion over the past 24 hours, actually past 36 hours, really.
But -- and, you know, President Trump came here last night and said today that he's in some trouble. Vice President Pence said that he has suffered a serious wound. So, you know, we weren't quite sure what to make of those comments. We understood that maybe he was in some bad shape over the past 24 hours.
But just in recent -- some moments, Anderson, the hospital telling us he has improved over the past 24 hours. What they do say is that he's going to require more operations and that he will be in the hospital for some time. So he's not out of the woods yet. He does have a road ahead of him, Anderson, but good news tonight for the congressman. He has improved over the past 24 hours.
COOPER: Yeah. Well, that is certainly some good news. Brian Todd, thanks very much for that. We are obviously monitoring his condition.
[21:05:05] Also, Brian, let me ask you about Matt Mika. He's the lobbyist who was shot in the chest. How is he doing?
TODD: Excuse me. Anderson, we're told that Matt Mika is doing pretty well. He's been upgraded from critical to serious condition and he is alert. He does require help breathing, but he is -- and he does require additional surgeries, but he is alert and he has been upgraded from critical to serious condition tonight, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, some good news there, as well. Brian, thanks very much.
Some perspective now from our Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta who joins us now as well. So, the news that congressman is improving, obviously good. But from a doctor's perspective, what stands out to you?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, when they say he's improving, still in critical condition, maybe requiring less medications to sort of maintain his blood pressure. Bleeding is probably diminished and that's obviously all good news.
And, you know, as you and I had been talking about before, you know that he has had two operations. He's had another procedure done. That's not unexpected. That is typically how these things go in part because the doctors will stage the procedures, meaning, they'll operate for a period of time and say, "Well, that's enough now. We want to let the patient rest. We want to let the patient be able to recover. We want to be able to give the patient some blood and some factors that help clot the blood." So that's all sort of expected.
The perspective is that there has been improvement on the 24 hours certainly seems to be heading in the right direction. And that's probably the most critical sort of data point at this point.
COOPER: And the area around the hip where the congressman was shot, what are some the difficulties that surgeons face operating that?
GUPTA: Well, no -- some of the biggest ones are there a series of blood vessels in that area. There are big blood vessels. There are big arteries and big veins. They are sort of buried within the pelvis and between muscle and bone. And so if they start to bleed, it can be very difficult to sort of stop and address that bleeding.
There's also -- depending in how the bullet travels and sort of the wave of injury around that bullet. You can affect the intestines as well, and then maybe something that need to be addressed at a later point. But obviously, you know, all the bones, the top of the leg, the hip bones, all of that, my guess -- I don't know this for sure, is that those types of operations will be done at a later point.
Right now, it's absolutely the bleeding and that needs to be fixed. And then at some point later on, usually in the next few days, they'll start to focus on, on these other areas. But, it's going to be a long road. People think a gun shot wound to the hip no big deal. There's a lot of anatomy in that area that can be injured and it needs to be operated on.
COOPER: And, Sanjay, one of the things you said earlier today really struck me that you said it's not just the areas that the bullet passes through or the bullet actually hits.
COOPER: That bullet sends out -- essentially shack waves and that can cause severe damage.
GUPTA: Yeah, there's no question. And this is a really important point with the rifles in particular because the bullet is traveling at such a fast speed, such a high velocity. Even before the bullet hits the skin, even before there's actual physical contact, you can already start to have injury and that's from that blast wave or what we call cavitation.
As the bullet is passing through the skin and through the body, you do get a sort of call the blast wave around and it can really spread quite a distance, a few inches even away from where the bullet's trajectory is. And think about that, from a surgeon's perspective, you're following the bullet's trajectory. You're looking to see what's been injured and trying to address those things. You've got to look all around.
It can be a little bit unpredictable in terms of the damage that has occurred. So, you leave no stone unturned. You look for bleeding in every corner. You make sure that's all stop before you, you know, say that the operation is being completed.
COOPER: Wow. Sanjay, just incredible. Thank you so much. Appreciate the reporting tonight.
We got a lot more tonight. A quick -- I want to return to the theme of the evening detoxifying the political climate these days. To that end, the Senate's Majority and Minority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer, joined me in the last hour. It's their first joint interview since leading their parties in the Senate. Here is a portion of our conversation.
COOPER: Majority Leader McConnell, when you first heard about this, what went through your mind?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY: Well, shocked like everybody else that anybody would come in and start shooting at our members. It was something I don't think anybody contemplated that a pretty active group of opponents in the country, but this is the first time anybody (inaudible).
COOPER: Minority Leader Schumer, do you link this to, you know, the level of rhetoric that we've been hearing?
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) MINORITY LEADER: No. There's a lot of hidden rhetoric from all different directions. It doesn't excuse this. It doesn't condone it, but it's a good reminder that maybe we can bring the temperature down across the country in the Congress and everywhere else.
[21:10:15] COOPER: What is it say about this moment the fact that -- I mean, you two are doing this interview together. I don't know the last time you have done an interview together. What does it say about this moment?
MCCONNELL: Well, we want everybody to know that we always had a robust discussion of the issues in this country throughout our history. But, we don't just like each other. We work together all the time.
Senator Schumer and I do on a daily basis. We have our political arguments, but at the end of the day, we're all Americans. And I think everybody needs to remember that because we're all in this thing together.
COOPER: Should it takes --
SCHUMER: (Inaudible) pass the bill a pretty contentious Iran sanctions, Russia sanctions. Mitch and I worked together on it along with committee members from both sides and it passed 98-2.
Somehow when it's contentious, it gets more attention than when we are working together. We passed an appropriation and budget process, the whole federal government with a great deal of cooperation that made everybody pretty happy.
COOPER: Should it take a tragedy like this, though, to -- I mean, to bring you two together to do an interview?
SCHUMER: Well, we work together pretty closely before this tragedy. But if it can help bring things closer together and help us all work closer together, it's a horrible way to do it and we all pray for Mr. Scalise's and all the other people's speedy recovery. But, let's hope we can get some good out of this tragedy.
COOPER: Do you think this really will bring about some sort of lowering of the temperature? I mean, already today we had one congressman pointing the finger at President Obama for this. You had Nancy Pelosi talking about Republicans in a very unflattering way.
MCCONNELL: Look, we ought to be able to have big robust debates in this country without having this level of animosity that a lot of people feel. I think most Americans have not read a lot of history. We've had a lot of very contentious periods throughout our 230 year history.
COOPER: There have been fights in the --
MCCONNELL: Yeah. I mean, we have had a single instance where a congressman from South Carolina came over and tried to beat up a senator from Massachusetts or the Senate. That actually --
COOPER: That happened long time ago.
COOPER: We, of course, going to continue to follow the game. The score right now in the fifth inning is 11 to 2, Democrats in the lead. Also -- I'm going to talk about the game's larger mission as we go along tonight.
Coming up next though, days were the breaking news in the Russia investigation, including a new report from "The Washington Post" that Jared Kushner's finances are now a focus of the special counsel.
[21:16:33] COOPER: Two breaking items in the Russia investigation. Vice President Pence has retained outside counsel. And late reporting tonight in "The Washington Post" that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has made Jared Kushner's finances and business dealings a part of his conversation.
In a moment, of the "Post" reporters who got that scope, but first our Jeff Zeleny joins us now from the White. I understand there are some new reporting, Jeff, from our team there about what was going on behind the scenes regarding Vice President Pence's hiring of outside counsel.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, there is indeed. I mean, this has been about a month or so in the works I'm told the vice president trying to hire a lawyer here. He interviewed several lawyers. He's following the lead of the president, of course, knowing that he needs outside counsel.
But there is some hand wringing and, you know, some worry quite frankly in the office of vice president and his associates. And this is why, Anderson, because he and his team worked along side the Trump transition project in Trump Tower back after the election in November, in December, in January.
And we have spoken to a few officials who work for the vice president and in that orbit who did at the time and they say, 'Look, we're worried now that we could be sort of drawn into this." There may have been some type of innocuous meeting or something at the time, but now it's all about this Russia investigation. So there are certainly is worry among the vice president's orbit and small circle here.
And he is hiring this lawyer, but he is doing it through a non- taxpayer fund, I'm told. We don't know exactly what that means, but he certainly does not have the money to pay for this himself. So there will likely be some type of a political fund set up for him.
But, Anderson, what it says to me is that the president and the vice president have been pretty much aligned on everything. When it comes to an issue like this, an investigation, this is where they could sort of part ways because the investigation is separate. And many employees, many officials of the vice president's side of this White House are now worried that they will have to get lawyers for themselves, as well, Anderson.
COOPER: We've played a little bit of President Trump's message before the game that played here in the stadium. It was about unity, togetherness. That's on the one hand. On the other hand, he has been very active on Twitter today really attacking the Russia investigation and talking about Hillary Clinton. What does that say about where he is at?
ZELENY: Anderson, I think it says something that we've seen about Donald Trump all along. He needs and relishes and wants an opponent. He thinks that he can make himself stronger by having an opponent.
He's talking about Hillary Clinton this afternoon in those tweets. We're 219 days since Election Day. She, of course, has nothing to do with this at this point. But the idea that this could be, you know, a moment of unity, you know, is certainly a hopeful one across Washington certainly where you are.
But here at the White House when you look at the language from the president himself, when you look at the fundraiser that he sent out earlier, I think the reality here is that things will get back to how they have been and particularly on the Russia investigation. The president is still using exact same language he was in the first place. He needs an opponent here on this.
Some Republicans in town were wondering if he would sort of give a bigger speech or give, you know, kind of use this as a moment to lift himself up, as well. So far, he has not. And I was talking to an administration official earlier if anything has plan for him to sort of seize on this and they said the way for him to bring people together is to pass his agenda. And, of course, that is divisive at least among some people, Anderson.
COOPER: Jeff Zeleny, Jeff, thanks very much.
Joining us now is "The Washington Post's" Sari Horwitz.
[21:20:05] Explain the significance of the story that you were part of tonight about the special counsel and Jared Kushner.
SARI HORWITZ, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, Anderson, we have reported before that investigators are looking at Jared Kushner because of meetings he had with the Russian ambassador and the head of a Russian bank in December. And we reported on how they were looking at other Trump association -- associates for their financial dealings.
What we found out now is that they are also looking at Jared Kushner's finances and business dealings with regards to this investigation about whether there was any collusion, any coordination between Trump associates and Russian officials in the 2016.
COOPER: And when you talk about Kushner's business, I mean, there's the building on 666 Fifth Avenue. I think it is that's really one of the prime and they've been looking to raise money and that he had meetings with the Chinese company. There was a close to a deal on that. So do we know if that part of this?
HORWITZ: We don't know exactly what they're looking at. We've just been told they're at. They now are looking at his finances and his business dealings. And so that's -- you know, yesterday we reported that they're looking at obstruction with President Trump. And so you can see that Mueller is really expanding this investigation.
COOPER: And he has hired attorneys -- Robert Mueller has hired attorneys at least one who specializes in financial issue.
HORWITZ: Exactly, Michael Dreeben. Well, he has a big team now of people. And, of course, the FBI investigators who (inaudible) already that he has a special -- someone who specializes in criminal law, Michael Dreeben, from the Department of Justice who is supposed to be just a fantastic lawyer.
COOPER: You also talk about a meeting -- new information about a meeting that Director Comey had. When was this and what's the significance?
HORWITZ: This is really interesting. Before Director Comey met with President Trump for the first time in January, he was wondering if he should tell him whether he was -- that he was not under investigation. And he met with his top leadership and said, "You know, do you think I should just tell him?"
And everyone agreed that he should, except for one person, and we report this today, the general counsel of the FBI Jim Baker said, "I don't think you should tell him that because it could change. We don't know where this is going and it could possibly change and this is a slippery slope." The FBI director decided to go ahead and tell the president. And, of course, we know he told him three times that he was not under investigation.
COOPER: What have Jared Kushner's representative said about your reporting?
HORWITZ: Well, his lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said this is standard operating. You know, that is very standard in this kind of thing to -- for the special counsel to look at the finances of someone that they, you know, Jared Kushner, someone that they were looking at it already to look at the finances. And so this is standard and she's also unsure what exactly they're looking at.
COOPER: I want to read the full statement saying, "We do not know what this report refers to. It would be standard practice for the special counsel to examine financial records to look for anything related to Russia. Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about Russia-related matters. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry."
I mean, that is one of the big questions that remain out there, is why did Jared Kushner meet with this Russian banker? And there were -- have been conflicting explanations as -- I assume it was "The Washington Post" report, I know "The New York Times" reported, at conflicting explanations about why it was, but it's still not clear why.
HORWITZ: It's not clear. It's not clear and, you know, that is hopefully something that will come out in the end in this report. Now, of course, special counsel is not under obligation to share that report publicly in the end. He has to give it to the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. We don't know if we'll ever see it publicly. I think a lot of people would like to.
COOPER: I want to bring in the panel, Matthew Rosenberg from "The New York Times," Carl Bernstein, he is by remote (ph), Maria Katharine Ham, and Kirsten Powers.
Matt, what do you make of this reporting and also just all that involves?
MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I mean, look at the special investigation that is underway and you see this is going to be a broad. Investigators must take a long time.
COOPER: This is not going to go away anytime soon.
ROSENBERG: This is not going to go away anytime soon. And Kushner had a lot of business dealings that remain huge questions about in 666 Fifth Avenue. His meeting with Gorkov, the Russian banker, you know. You still have yet to happen in (inaudible).
You know, this is a Russian banker who is deeply connected to the Kremlin. He went to the Russian intelligence training academy. He has a background there. And so why was Jared meeting with him? The most we've heard so far is that he did it by the request of the Russian ambassador. These are not satisfactory answers.
COOPER: (Inaudible) conflicting explanations from the White House early on. ROSENBERG: Well, there were and from the bank itself. Early on in March when this first emerged, you know, the White House says, "Oh, it's a courtesy call on behalf of Russian ambassador. He has going to do it." But then (inaudible) and it said, "Oh, no, the banker was in the U.S. on a drumming up business on a kind of road show." And those are pretty different responses. And I think to this say we still don't have real answers from that.
COOPER: Maria Katharine, what do you make of the special counsel's interest in Jared Kushner?
MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, a lot of the things we've learned today that Jared Kushner's information the idea that -- or this week, the idea that they're actually are doing the obstruction of justice part of this and it has getting lawyers. It seemed like a matter of course in an investigation. Comey, of course, hinted that they were moving in that direction. Pence certainly need to learn (ph).
[21:25:03] It will be interesting to see how he reacts differently than Trump, because the worry that they are feeling is healthy and it is something that a more conventional actor in politics would be worried about, because the thing that I think has change for team Trump is that I'm open to the idea that you could get to the end of the Russia investigation and find that these allegations of collusion are not real and there's not much there, there.
But, if you are having these legally portentous discussions while this investigation is going on and you are not a consistent person with the facts and with your answers, then you start tripping yourself up.
COOPER: And, Kirsten, to have him beat -- the president continued to be so public about it, not only in the interviews, but just in tweets as well even today, you know, maligning the people running the investigation.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, which -- I mean, he's doing -- has been doing all along. I think that Jared Kushner thing does -- I mean, does not surprising to me. Of course, they would be doing this. They would be looking into all the people in the campaign, but he is, of course, family, right?
So he's so close to Donald Trump and anything that he did we would assume Donald Trump probably would know about whereas Paul Manafort, maybe Paul Manafort was off freelancing or something. But, you know, I think when you start looking at Jared it's in a way of sort of looking at Trump and it's somebody who is still close to him. So I think it's meaningful in that way.
I think -- I mean, one of the most interesting things in that article was what you brought up about how -- the discussion about whether or not they should tell Trump that he was under investigation. And you think about if that conversation had gone differently, maybe have differently everything else would have happened, because if Trump had never been told he -- that he wasn't under investigation, then all this pressuring to get people to say he wasn't under investigation wouldn't have probably happened. It just started this kind of domino effect that ultimately led to Comey's firing, which led to obstruction of justice.
COOPER: Carl, from your experience and how a special counsel deals -- the White House deal with each other. We're still a long way from the Trump administration being obligated to cooperate, right, because I mean, that gets very complicated depends on the individual.
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they can make some claims of executive privilege, but they're going to have to cooperate with the special prosecutor's investigation.
Donald Trump for years has been trying to keep us, meaning the American people, the press and now investigators from finding out about his financing, his financial positions, his loans, those of his family, his family businesses. And that is squarely where part of Mueller's investigation now is. And why is it there?
Because so much of Trump's business has to do with loans from Russians, ethno-Russians, oligarchs, and his own sons have talked about how much of their business comes from Russian money. And now the bottom line of a lot of this goes to what is it that the Russians might have wanted and it always comes back to sanctions.
It could well be that there is no there, there and that these two paths are not going to cross. It really is possible. And if that's the case, I could understand perhaps why Trump might be so angry about this, except he keeps refusing to open up and say to his people, "Let's give them everything. Let's show him there is nothing there."
He has been covering up, obstructing, not in the legal sense of obstruction of justice necessarily, demeaning, underlying every stage of this investigation by legitimate investigators for months now. So you have to ask what is this all about that he doesn't want us to see his finances, doesn't want us to know about his dealings with Russia, those of his family, those of his campaign. Why is there all of this smoke?
COOPER: Sari, you know, one of the things -- I mean, on Kirsten's point, just the human dimension of this. You know, the president -- one of his closest advisers who is also his son-in-law, theoretically there would not be able to talk to each other about this ongoing investigation. I mean, if they both have attorneys, if they are both being a focus of an investigation, I assume they are not going to be talking about it.
HORWITZ: Yeah. It's probably pretty awkward, I would imagine. You know, one other thing that hasn't been brought up is that part of the obstruction aspect of this case is the role of the president and Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein in the firing of Comey.
And if they are going to start to look into the role of Rod Rosenstein, that's sort of tricky because he is overseeing the special counsel. So the question is, will at some point will he have to recuse himself from the investigation? COOPER: And, Matt, just what this does to a White House. I mean, whether -- again, as Maria Katharine said, and it's an important point. There could be nothing there at the end of this. There could be no charges. There could be -- nothing that Congress does and yet it sucks up a lot of the oxygen and a lot of the attention for the White House.
ROSENBERG: It's a part of it. There's policy making that has to go on with Russia and a number of other areas. There are people there who now all have to lawyer up. You know, you can be a career person in that White House. You don't make a lot of money. You're facing enormous legal bills now.
[21:30:07] For so many, you may not and even supported and you're just suppose to be helping make policy, plus you know that there's a pretty good record of evidence that Trump probably is going to ignore your advice and he's going to diminish the Russian investigation. I mean, it's just creates a chaotic scene. And there is a (inaudible) about that.
COOPER: Yeah. And there's already a lot of chaos there.
BERNSTEIN: Can I add one thing about this obstruction?
COOPER: Yeah. Go ahead, Carl.
BERNSTEIN: And that is that we shouldn't be looking just at the question of Donald Trump firing Comey or he might fire Mueller, or whatever. There is the question of Donald Trump's discussions with Paul Manafort, with General Flynn, with members of the campaign, with Roger Stone.
All of these areas are potentially obstruction if indeed anything transpired in those discussions to keep officials from learning the truth. So we need to understand that this is a very big picture, a big landscape, much bigger than has been described so far in the stories.
COOPER: Yeah. Thank you, Carl. Everybody stick around. Sari Horwitz, thank you so much for your reporting. I appreciate it.
HORWITZ: Thank you.
COOPER: Tonight, we're going to have more on the president's tweets storm today and his claim that the Russia investigation is being lead by some very bad and conflicted people, in his words. That's feeling (ph) concern on the faith of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a friend of obviously fired FBI Director James Comey. I'll talk it over with the friend of FBI Director James Comey as well as the panel, next.
COOPER: In case you're wondering, it's 11 to 2, Democrats here, the end of the 6th inning. The stands are packed, which is an amazing thing to see. They have raised over a million dollars. Many of the developments in the Trump investigation, including the naming of Robert Mueller as special counsel might not have happened or might not have happen so soon, had the president not fired James Comey. Now shortly after he did, I spoke with his friend, Benjamin Wittes. Now with the president lashing out at Robert Mueller, we spoke again earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: "The Washington Post" reporting last night that Robert Mueller is looking into the possibility over allegations of obstruction of justice. How significant is that? How significant a turning point now?
BENJAMIN WITTES, FRIEND OF FIRED FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY: Yeah. So obviously I'm not privy to the details of what Director Mueller or -- Special Counsel Mueller, I'm not sure what just suppose to call him now, is looking at right now.
I think it's unsurprising that he is apparently looking at the obstruction question. I think it would be hard as a prosecutor to look at the pattern of activity that begins January 6th and ends -- I mean, it hasn't ended, but ends with the firing of Comey and the subsequent statements and not at least have the obstruction question.
[21:35:19] So, it doesn't surprise me at all that Bob Mueller wants to explore that question. I think it's, A, not surprising that Mueller would be trying to get some of that information. But, B, I wouldn't draw a lot of conclusions from the fact that he is, except one, which is, you know, if the president thought he was going to make this problem go away by getting rid of Jim Comey, he has been shown to be sorely mistaken. He has clearly made it worse for himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Back now with the panel. Kirsten, I mean, it's such a strange situation to have the president going on this tweet storm today, going after the people behind the investigation calling them bad, conflicted people. I mean, I don't if a strange --
POWERS: You mean, because of today --
COOPER: Well, I know.
POWERS: -- what's happening in the world. I think that that's true. I mean, I think the fact that you have members of Congress coming together and saying, we need to try to be more civil to each other.
COOPER: But it's also that private counsel who --
COOPER: -- must be saying to him, "Do not do that."
POWERS: Yeah, we'll see. And that I would say it would be strange if it wasn't Donald Trump. But it feels pretty consistent with who he is. I just -- like, this is what he does in the same way that I feel like it was very predictable from the beginning that he was going to probably obstruct justice in some way that once this started going down the road that he was going to not just sit back and let things happen and I have know that I would have predicted that he would fire Comey.
But, I would have predicted that he will do something and that's I think what I said early on that either that or he'll perjure himself or something like that, which is what always happens in this investigations. It's almost never ultimately about what it started as. And once they start, these are the things that start happening.
COOPER: It also -- he tweeted about that fact again today --
COOPER: -- saying, oh, you know, now they're going after obstruction on something that's phony to begin with, almost like it's the first time he's considered that.
COOPER: I mean, that's a -- if you look at history -- recent history, that's sort of obvious.
HAM: That's pretty much what happens.
COOPER: That's what happens.
HAM: Yeah. And I think the obstruction of justice stuff and him talking about, it is consistent with who Trump is. And the interesting thing about the Mueller question whether he might get rid of Mueller, one would think in another situation, you might say, "Look what happen when you got rid of Comey and it just made things worse." I'm not sure that you take that argument to Trump and it works. He is not that creature.
And the other part of this, too, I think there is a bit of this where Comey and Mueller are friends and Mueller has a good reputation, but that could be annoying to the president. I think that's actually fair for him to be annoyed by that. You just usually wouldn't hear about it publicly. But that's who he is.
COOPER: Do you think it's still possible and he's thinking about getting rid of Mueller?
POWERS: I'm sure he thinks about it every minute of every day. You know, whether he will actually go ahead and do it, you know, he seems to have been talked out of it by his staff. But -- well, here's interesting, he can't actually fire him. He has to get Rod Rosenstein to fire him. Rod Rosenstein said I won't fire him unless --
COOPER: There's good cause.
POWERS: There's statutory or regulatory cause or whatever.
COOPER: Good cause. That's a good point.
POWERS: Yeah, good cause. And so, you know, absent that. So, you know, the question is whether or not he tries to pressure him into doing it?
COOPER: There's so much -- I mean, you have done extraordinary reporting. There's still a lot we don't know about what's going on behind closed doors. I mean, there's a grand jury meeting?
ROSENBERG: Their grand jury is -- there's one in the eastern district of Virginia. We know it's looking into Flynn. There are cases against Manafort. And I think that's one of the things you have to understand about this investigation.
There are two parts, it's like criminal investigation. We know that some kind of Trump associates, former Trump associates are under that. And then there's this big kind of swirl of the counter intelligence investigation, which is where they're looking at Jared's finances, where they're looking at anybody connected to the president.
I think that goes back to the actual issue that they're looking at what Russia tried to do in the election. And the president can diminish this all that he wants. But, we have yet to find a serious national security official who agrees with him that Russia did try to interfere in the election. That's going to continue trying.
And it seems like as the commander-in-chief, as the president of the country, you would want to handle that. The Russia's goal is to sort of chaos, was a disruptor of democracy. I mean, look around. They seem to be doing a pretty good job with it.
COOPER: Carl, I mean, the president pledged on live television to testify under oath about what he said to James Comey. Legally, though, the stage -- I mean, he's under no obligation to cooperate with the special counsel, right?
BERNSTEIN: He's not. And who knows what he means. Is he going to testify open-ended? Is he going to give one sentence about what he thinks occurred? Does he have a snatch of the digital recording? And we ought to pay note that we're not talking about any tape recordings in this day and age.
If we're talking about recordings, we're talking about digital recording, which is a very different kettle of fish subject to different kinds of abilities to be manipulated, extracted, made to go away, all kinds of questions. But I'm not one who necessarily believes that these tweets are undermining Donald Trump to the extent that a lot of people think they are. He is appealing to his base and that base has not been leaving him.
[21:40:06] As long as that base is roused, angry, it keeps pressures on Republicans not to go after this case and go along with a thorough investigation. And so far, there has been some success at that for the first time with the firing of Comey and now the threat to fire Mueller. We are hearing from people like Paul Ryan, "Well, it would not be a good idea, Mr. President, to fire Mueller." But up until now, he has succeeded in keeping Republicans on the Hill from demanding real investigation. So I'm not so sure that it's been as counter productive as everybody thinks.
COOPER: Yeah, interesting. We should point out the game here just ended as we were speaking, the final score, Democrats 11, Republicans 2. I want to thank everybody on the panel.
Coming up, can the unity of a baseball game like tonight after the senseless shooting actually transfer the halls of Congress where lawmakers are supposed to work together? Why is that notion such a novel one (ph)? Our Jake Tapper talks about unity with the House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in their first joint interview. That's next.
COOPER: As we just said before the break, the game here just ended. A victory for Democrats, 11 to 2, and it is hoped the victory for greater sense of unity and perhaps lower rhetorical temperature from here on out.
Earlier, "The Lead" Jake Tapper spoke with House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) MINORITY LEADER: Tonight we are all team Scalise.
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: What we're trying to do is tone down the rhetoric, lead by example and show people we can disagree with one another. We can have different ideas without being vitriolic, without going to such extremes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining me now is CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger and Senior White House Correspondent Brianna Keilar.
Gloria, I mean, the question of course is, does that last, that idea of toning down the rhetoric?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, we've tried this before and it's failed. So I think you'd have to say the odds are against it. But I think talking to members of Congress this week they were truly affected by this, because they had the sense that this could be any one of us.
And that if this is what we are inspiring and the American public in one way or another, we better get our act together. I mean, their popularity is in the lower double digits already. So they only have one way to go, but to improve. And I think that it comes from leadership. Not only leaders in Congress that we just saw, but also the White House. And that, there are even Republicans who say the president needs to work on that.
COOPER: I mean, during the campaign, how many times the president -- at that point, citizen Donald Trump, candidate Trump ask about tone. And he was talking about his tone would be different and, you know, he can have all different sorts of tone.
[21:45:11] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: And I think that was something that frustrated a lot of Republicans in Washington. And I've even heard that today and yesterday following the shooting. They want to see that from the president.
They believe that this is a bipartisan problem when you talk to Republicans. I think the fact that you had someone who was a Bernie Sanders supporter created some soul searching from people on the left. And I do think that there are Republicans and Democrats who have on their mind now, "We have to be careful."
We need to -- even though it is tempting to try to channel anger or exploit anger and that's something that can drive people to the pulse is really the responsible thing to do. And I do think that that is something that right now is more on the minds, certainly of these lawmakers. But it's important from leaders. It's important from the president.
COOPER: It was interesting to see in the crowd tonight to see -- I mean, I haven't been this game before, but I'm told, you know, there's usually a lot of harassing, a lot of booing of the other side. That there were some of that tonight --
BORGER: Yeah, there are.
COOPER: -- but much less than they are normally is.
BORGER: Much less of that, I think you'd have to say. And our crowd size is probably three times what it normally is at least, because people came here tonight --
COOPER: And make a statement.
BORGER: Yeah. Not so much to root for either side, although there was that, but they just wanted to show support for members of Congress and to say, "Look, you know, you're not going to stop us from playing this game."
COOPER: Yeah. I mean, I also think there was a sense of we are not afraid. We are going to come here to watch this game.
KEILAR: Exactly. This was about getting together with your friends, getting together and just showing support of a bipartisan event. I went down into the side for the Democrats. I mean, they were really cheering for their team. But there wasn't this -- there wasn't an edge to it for sure.
I think this was about what was a really rough day yesterday on Capitol Hill, especially for people who work for Scalise or are close to Scalise. I talked to some tonight. And they were just happy to be able to get together and have this moment, because anything like this reorganizes what is important in life and I think that's something that many people in a bipartisan way have felt on this.
BORGER: You know, and their constituents want them to fight for what they believe in. But they don't want them to fight with each other in a way that guarantees that nothing gets done at all. And that's what they have been doing.
COOPER: You see them coming out wearing the capitol police baseball hats and then one of capitol police officers throwing out the first pitch.
BORGER: How about Nancy Pelosi in the LSU t-shirt there?
COOPER: Gloria, Brianna, thank you so much.
Still to come, one of CNN's "Champions for Change," meet the doctors helping Haiti and proving that the island nation is not forgotten after crippling earthquakes. It's who Dr. Sanjay Gupta chose to profile for our series. That and all the day's developments, ahead.
[21:50:11] COOPER: This week on CNN, we've been bringing you our special series, "Champions for Change." An inspiring stories you see how one person or one group is making a difference.
Tonight, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the story of one doctor and he's not profit organization. He answered the call for help after Haiti's devastating earthquake in 2010. He's still there making enormous impact. Take a look.
GUPTA (voice-over): There is a saying, "Game on, game on (ph). Beyond mountains there are mountains." As soon as you overcome one obstacle, there is another and then another.
Haiti, our neighbor, is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. It was already one of the toughest places in the world to live. And then, January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hits, within an instant, hundreds of thousands dead. Hundreds of thousands more injured, sudden and utter human destruction, almost unimaginable. My chest still tightens just thinking about Haiti.
It was day five, Kimberly (ph), 12 years old, a piece of shrapnel in her brain. The U.S. Navy asked me to fly out to the USS Carl Vinson to operate. She recovered well, but she had still lost her family, lost her life as she knew it.
Even survival here seemed a living hell. I kept thinking, this is a place that will never recover, a place forgotten.
(on camera): Does it comes back to you how much we really care? DR. PAUL FARMER, CO-FOUNDER AND CHIEF STRATEGIST, PARTNERS IN HEALTH: It's a reflection -- the absence of money is a reflection of differential evaluation of human life.
GUPTA (voice-over): For seven years now the question I kept asking, can someone, anyone, really make a difference in a place like this? My bet is on this guy, "Champion for Change" Paul Farmer and the organization he founded, Partners in Health.
They have been in Haiti for 30 years now, and they were there January 2010. The images of Port-au-Prince's Tent Cities have given way to the park we are sitting in today.
(on camera): How is Haiti doing? How is this area doing seven years later?
FARMER: It has been patchy improvement. Some places, rubbles all cleared. Some houses are rebuilt, buildings going up. There have been all of these other problems since that food and security, more floods, Hurricane Matthew. So it's a mixed bag.
GUPTA (on camera): When you were pretty young, you decided to come here and to do work. What was motivating you at that time to come here?
FARMER: You know, motivations are difficult to decipher. But I think it was the desire to help people, and especially people living in poverty.
GUPTA (voice-over): And with that I realize, Paul Farmer, an infectious disease doctor from Harvard, makes the case that one man, one organization, can make a difference, even in a place like this.
(on camera): When we were here in 2010 and former President Clinton came down at that time and we were traveling around. But one of the things I remember of him saying to me was, you know, sometimes something good can come from something bad. Is it true?
FARMER: The University Hospital came out of something bad. It came out of the earthquake. Its 300 beds. It's the largest solar powered hospital in the developing world. It has six operating rooms. It has 2,000 patients a day.
GUPTA (voice-over): In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a bird continually reborn from its ashes, just like this, University Hospital in Mirebalais, the crown jewel in Partner's Haiti portfolio, a world class hospital effectively in the middle of nowhere.
(on camera): Did you ever imagine that a place like this could exist?
MARC JULMISSE, CHIEF NURSING OFFICER, UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: No.
GUPTA (voice-over): Marc Julmisse is chief nursing officer here at the hospital.
(on camera): You lived in New York. You lived in Michigan. You lived in Florida. How does this hospital stack up to what you've seen over there?
JULMISSE: I think its equivalent to what I see.
GUPTA (on camera): That's kind of an amazing statement.
GUPTA (on camera): There's a lot of people who say that that just shouldn't have ever been possible.
JULMISSE: I love it. I love when people say that because it's -- there's one thing I would tell my staff is there's a radical and there's a ridiculous. When we proposed it, a lot of people call it ridiculous. But when it happens, it's radical.
GUPTA (on camera): So you go from ridiculous to radical to real.
JULMISSE: To real, yeah. Absolutely, to real.
GUPTA (on camera): Just to give you an idea of how busy things can get here in the middle of Haiti, a three-year-old boy over here who was in a motorcycle accident, he has a fracture in his skull. That's going to need surgery. And also over here, a 61-year-old man who has a large hemorrhage in his brain. He's also going to need surgery. And both those operations need to happen within the next hour or so.
(voice-over): Before this hospital was built, Alexander Silvestri (ph) would have surely died out here in the Haitian countryside. 63 is the average life expectancy here. He's 61. Instead, today, I'm getting ready to operate on him.
[21:55:04] GUPTA (on camera): This is the midline here.
(voice-over): Brain surgery, in the poorest area of the poorest country in this hemisphere of the world.
FARMER: And I've seen patients come in there that I thought, no way that this person's going to make it, and they do, you know. That's something good that came out of something bad.
GUPTA (voice-over): It's the house that Paul Farmer helped build. At one time, even his supporter thought what you are witnessing simply wasn't possible, asking, how can this possibly be done?
FARMER: Can, that's a philosophical question, right? You know, I didn't spend a lot of time on it because I knew that the answer was, of course. The real question to ask is, how do we do it?
You know, if they've been saying, can we do this, you know, at NASA, there would have never been someone on the moon. So I think the more we ask "how" and the less we ask, "can we do it," the safer we are as a species, right?
GUPTA (voice-over): And the more likely we are to travel mountains beyond mountains. The title of the book, "Profiling Dr. Paul Farmer and His Quest to Cure the World." FARMER: And as proof that it was the right thing to do, please observe a rainbow just appeared over your left shoulder, clearly a sign from God.
GUPTA (on camera): Somebody is listening.
FARMER: Somebody is listening.
GUPTA (on camera): I've always said that to you, from Harvard to Haiti to Heaven.
FARMER: Believe me. I'm probably not headed to the third destination.
GUPTA (on camera): I think you've done enough good in your life.
FARMER: Well, I'll keep trying.
COOPER: He is a remarkable man. Don't miss the next "Champions for Change" report on CNN tonight at the 11:00 p.m. hour. You can also find out more on the Special Series at cnn.com/championsforchange and be sure to join Dr. Sanjay Gupta for an hour special on this champion, this Saturday 9:00 p.m. Eastern featuring highlights from the whole week. That's it for us. We'll be right back.
COOPER: And that's it for us. Thanks for watching. Time to hand things over to Don Lemon. "CNN Tonight" starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, thank you very much. Standby though, it was quite a night in Washington. This is "CNN Tonight". I'm Don Lemon.
[22:00:00] We're going to continue our coverage now. But, Anderson, I want to keep you around for a while because you have been watching at the ballpark and I've been watching you. Great job, by the way. What's stood out to you tonight?
COOPER: You know, I think just -- to see the huge turnout, first of all. I mean, this is a game that I'm totally usually attracts, you know, maybe 10,000 people.