Return to Transcripts main page
Update on Scalise's Condition; Medical View of Scalise's Injury; Senate Intel Wont' Probe for Obstruction; Mueller Investigating Trump; Cosby Jury Deadlocked; Davis Family's Story of Shooting. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired June 15, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Live from Capitol Hill starts right now.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, here we go. Top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin, live for our nation's capital for CNN's special coverage of several major stories unfolding right now.
First up, the president of the United States lashing out against a report saying that he is being investigated for obstruction of justice involving the firing of FBI Director James Comey. We have much more on that in just a moment here.
But first, to the story that is still really reverberating here on Capitol Hill. The number three, House Republican Steve Scalise, is in surgery again. His third time on the operating table since being shot during that ambush at a Republican baseball team practice yesterday morning. We know that President Trump and the first lady visited the hospital late last night. Vice President Mike Pence went over there this morning. The president calling for unity in Washington and giving an update on the congressman's condition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'd like to take a moment to again send our thoughts and prayers to my friend and the friend of most of us in this room, Steve Scalise, and his great family, as he continues his very brave fight. It's been much more difficult than people even thought at the time. It's been - he's in some trouble. But he's a great fighter and he's going to be OK, we hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: As for the gunman, he is dead. He was killed at the unusually quite northern Virginia ballpark, just a couple miles from us here in the district, over in Alexandria, Virginia. We are getting a glimpse into the depraved mind of this individual. Sixty-six years of age. He was apparently expressing his anger at President Trump and Republicans, including a FaceBook post critical of Congressman Steve Scalise in particular. Along with Scalise, Crystal Griner, one of the two Capitol Hill Police officers, heroes, credited with preventing a massacre, remains hospitalized today. The other Capitol Police officer, David Bailey, was treated for a minor injury. Matt Mika, a former Hill staffer, remains in critical condition this afternoon, while the congressional aide, Zack Barth, who was shot in his leg, he is out, he is talking about what happened when he heard those gunshots.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZACK BARTH, CONGRESSIONAL AIDE WOUNDED IN BALLPARK SHOOTING: You know, there was nowhere for me to go. There was no gate. Nothing like that. So I made myself the smallest target possible, laid on the ground. And then I saw him turn his gun towards me. He started firing. Everything around me started to pop. I felt a sharp, burning pain in my leg. I looked down. I had been hit. And at that point, adrenaline was pumping through me and my fight or flight reflexes took over and I decided, if I wanted to live, I needed to get better cover. So I sprinted down - I literally ran for my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's go to Brian Todd. He's outside the Washington hospital where Congressman Scalise is being treated.
We know, Brian, that doctors are dealing with internal injuries apparently as well. How are these surgeries going? How is he doing today?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, what we can tell you at this hour is that hospital officials telling us that Congressman Scalise did have an additional surgery. A source with knowledge of the situation says this was a third surgery. It is unclear at this hour whether the congressman is still undergoing surgery or whether he has emerged from that additional surgery.
The source who CNN spoke to earlier cautioned that this is what the doctors expected yesterday and it was not as if he was rushed into surgery today. We were told yesterday that we should expect additional surgeries for the congressman to address things like bleeding and other things. So this does not come as a complete surprise.
It was interesting earlier, though, I mean some of the most revealing remarks we've heard about the congressman's condition have come from President Trump, who said he's in some trouble, and Vice President Mike Pence, who said earlier today that he was, quote, "seriously wounded."
With the information that we do have from the hospital as to the nature of that wound, you can certainly understand why. Hospital officials telling us that he sustained a single rifle shot to the left hip, that the bullet traveled across his pelvis fracturing some bones, injuring some internal organs and causing severe bleeding. He was transferred in shock to this facility when he was air lifted out. He had one initial surgery yesterday and an additional procedure to stop bleeding. He has received multiple units of blood transfusion. And as we said, we did expect him to have additional surgeries. So he is at least undergoing at least one of those as we know today, Brooke. We're going to try to get an update from the hospital very shortly on
the congressman's condition. But it is fairly serious at this moment.
BALDWIN: Thinking of his family, thinking just about the phone call his wife would have received yesterday morning.
[14:05:02] Brian Todd, thank you. Please keep us posted on his condition there at Medstar.
For more on Congressman Scalise's condition, let me bring in Doctor Devi Nampiaparampil, associate professor at NYU School of Medicine.
So, Dr. Debbie, you heard Brian lay it out, the congressman has had a couple of surgeries. When we're talking about a hip wound, what does that involve for these doctors and nurses?
DR. DEVI NAMPIAPARAMPIL, ASST. PROFESSOR, NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, the first priority would be to control bleeding. So when the heart pumps blood, it pumps it through this vessel called the aorta. Then the aorta branches in the pelvis. There are a couple of different branches. But if one of those vessels was hit, the congressman could potentially lose all of the blood in his body within a matter of minutes. So I think initially their first goal would have been to stabilize that, try to control the bleeding. And then afterwards, they're probably going to take another look to see if that was effectively done and what other structures could have been damaged.
So in the pelvis you've got the bones of the pelvis and the hip. You've also got other things. Remember, you've got your gastrointestinal system, so are the intestines OK? And then you've got the general (ph) urinary systems. So we're talking about the branches off the kidneys that go to the bladder and the prostate, are all those internal organs all right? So that's the primary issue from the bullet wound itself and sort of its ripple effects.
But then the secondary issue is, if the congressman lost too much blood for the heart to adequately pump that blood to his brain and to his other organs, then you can see other types of organ damage from that low blood pressure during that time.
BALDWIN: We are keeping tabs on his condition and that of several other survivors in area hospitals. Dr. Devi, thank you so much for that.
I do want to move along to another developing story here in Washington, D.C. The president of the United States is under investigation for possible obstruction of justice. That is according to a stunning new reporting here from "The Washington Post." The paper cites unnamed officials who say Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating President Trump after he's fired the former FBI Director James Comey.
President Trump is denying any wrongdoing in connection with this Russia probe. In fact, he has tweeted about it. let me read this for you. Tweeting, "they made up a phony collusion with the Russian story. Found zero proof. So now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice."
CNN cannot independently confirm this reporting. We'll talk to the reporter who broke this in just a moment. Adam Entous is sitting with me from "The Washington Post."
But first, let's go to our CNN senior congressional reporter, Manu Raju.
Because, Manu, you have new reporting about one of the other committees conducting an investigation. What are you hearing?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yes, that's right, Brooke. The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting an investigating into Russia meddling and any campaign ties with Trump associates last year, the leaders of those committees are now telling me, Brooke, that they are actually not going to investigate the issue of obstruction of justice. This after their meeting with the special counsel, Bob Mueller, yesterday. They believe that the probe at the Senate Intelligence Committee is conducting should focus mostly on whether any collusion actually happened, what actually happened in the campaign and then the actual criminal aspect of it should actually be left to Robert Mueller, to his own investigation.
Now, Brooke, this comes as the committee is still investigating - interviewing a number of key intelligence officials, including some who did not answer their questions about whether the president improperly interfered with these investigations. Behind closed doors right now, Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence, is getting interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee after he refused to answer questions in a testimony last week in a public session about President Trump. The question is, does he reveal any more information behind closed doors. But, Brooke, Richard Burr, the chairman of the committee, telling me earlier today he's not looking at the issue of obstruction from Coats, he just wants to know if Coats has any information that could help their investigation into collusion, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Manu, thank you.
Let's broaden out the conversation, as I mentioned, and bring in the reporter who's broken the story here in Washington. He' is Adam Entous. Also with me, Seth Berenzweig, who is a business and government compliance attorney.
So, gentlemen, good to see both of you.
And, my goodness, picking up my "Washington Post" - I mean it would have been massively above the fold obviously had it not been for what happened here yesterday morning. But the headline, this is a big deal. How did you arrive at that?
ADAM ENTOUS, CO-WROTE WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE THAT MUELLER IS INVESTIGATING TRUMP: Well, I mean, it's a story that we have been working on for about three weeks at the paper when we first had the information that a file, effectively a case had been opened on obstruction. This follows Comey being fired. But obviously when he testified and he laid out his memos in person and we heard him describe, as he saw it, the direction he received from the president, of course the president disputes this, that he was asked to drop - pull back from the investigation of his first national security adviser Michael Flynn.
[14:10:03] BALDWIN: Uh-huh.
ENTOUS: So, you know, what we've been told is that is at the center of what they're investigated now. The testimony that - the interviews, I should say, that are going to be held this week with other intelligence officials are about sort of rounding that out, trying to find out from them what else the president spoke to them about when it comes to the investigation.
BALDWIN: Coats, Roger, we'll get to that in a second.
BALDWIN: But, Seth, let me just - over to you. In terms of - you know, the irony, first of all, in that, you know, from testimony that the president was talking to Comey and others on wanting to get it out there publicly that he himself was not being investigated, which he wasn't -
SETH BERENZWEIG, BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT COMPLIANCE ATTORNEY: Right.
BALDWIN: And now he is, you were saying to me earlier, obstruction of justice, relatively low lying fruit. What do you mean?
BERENZWEIG: Well, in my view, I think that the obstruction of justice issue is really kind of the low - the low hanging fruit of the investigation. All of these things are now coming into place. These are pieces that fall into the right picture. So, in other words, that word that the Senate Intelligence Committee is not going to be looking at that highlights in this community that the criminal federal investigators are teeing that up. And specifically they're going to be getting this information in a backdrop where the standard for obstruction of justice is not very broad. It's a very specific path. There doesn't need to be collusion. There doesn't need to be any Russian involvement. As long as there's some kind of a pathway where the president corruptly tried to impede or interrupt an investigation, that tees up the felony and really the turning point happened, among other things, with the infamous dinner that led to the termination of Mr. Comey and then the discussion within a day or so after that to the Russians where the president really kind of reflected his mind in saying this cloud is now off. So I think that the table is set and the evidence is really leading in a clear path.
BALDWIN: So you have the director of national intelligence, Mr. Coats, you have Admiral McCabe. And so they will be speaking with Bob Mueller, the special counsel. Remind our viewers what roles they play in this.
ENTOUS: I think you meant Admiral Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency.
BALDWIN: Admiral Rogers, forgive me. Yes, Admiral Rogers.
ENTOUS: So they also interacted with the president and they received phone calls in particular where they were asked to basically publicly say what Comey wouldn't. Comey, you know, the president's frustrated. He wanted Comey to publically say what he was privately telling him -
ENTOUS: That he was not the focus - a focus of this investigation. So the president reaches out to Rogers, he reaches out to Coats, the director of National Intelligence. He asks them, you know, can you go out there publicly and say that there is no evidence of coordination that took place. And they both refused to do this. And a memo was written at the NSA by Rogers' deputy, and that's one of the things that obviously the special counsel is going to be looking at.
And so - but I do think it's important to keep in mind here, he's doing interviews. He's collecting documents. This does not mean that he's actually going to do this, that he's even going to pursue it. He may open a case, meet with these people, particularly with Comey -
BALDWIN: He being Mueller?
ENTOUS: Yes. This - I think it's very quick to jump from opening an investigation to -
BALDWIN: To reaching a conclusion.
ENTOUS: To reaching a conclusion. He may -
BALDWIN: Which, by the way, will take months and months, correct?
ENTOUS: If not years. And, frankly, he may do these interviews and decide that he doesn't have a case here. In fact, he may be front- loading these interviews and deconflicting, if you will, with the Senate committees and the House committees. And then - so he can do the interviews and decide, you know, there isn't anything here and go back to what you - you know, what was initially the focus of this investigation, which was, was there coordination, what did the Russians do, were there any financial crimes that they dig up along the way as part of their investigation.
BALDWIN: In the meantime, you have the president of the United States tweeting about it this morning. I mean if you're advising him, and we know he's lawyered up outside of the White House, he can't not comment about it, it seems.
BERENZWEIG: Well, when you're handling federal criminal investigations, the general rule in this town is cooperate and moderate. You don't want to pick a fight with the federal prosecutor or the special counsel. It's very unusual. He really is the architect of his own destructive narrative. And as early as this morning, the president sent out a tweet really just calling out the leadership of the investigation.
One of the things that I think is also so rare in this instance is that, take a look at where we've been over the last few days. We've had folks right here on Capitol Hill that have come in to testify. And one of the things that's so shocking is that they didn't even know if executive privilege would apply. And I think the reason why that's important is because their - it shows a complete lack of coordination on something so critical. If you're going to be teeing up a defense to a criminal investigation, the least that you would believe that would happen is that you would speak with your - you would speak with your witnesses, you'd align the privilege, you'd have something organized. These folks have said, even as recently as Mr. Sessions, that they don't even know if executive privilege would be asserted aside from the fact that legally I think that it would be shocking that it even applies. But that just shows the hostility and the lack of cooperation that's coming out of the White House right now.
BALDWIN: We're going to leave it. Keep digging. Adam Entous with "The Washington Post," thank you. And, Seth, thank you, just as our legal voice in all of this. Thank you both so very much.
[14:15:08] News just into us here. The White House, moments ago, speaking of Russia but in a different sense here, saying the administration backs existing sanctions against Russia, but are still reviewing the Senate's move just a short time ago, passing a bill that would slap Russia with brand-new sanctions. But the key piece here is the bill would give Congress the power to review any White House attempts to roll those sanctions back. Keep that in mind.
One of the Republican who managed to escape the bloodshed, the shooting yesterday morning, describes the first phone call with his family after that attack. Congressman Rodney Davis and his wife spoke with me in his congressional office earlier this morning and the wife told me it was the worst phone call she has ever received in her life. So we'll have that for you.
Also ahead, more breaking news. The jury in the Bill Cosby criminal case still, day four, deadlocked, and the judge has ordered them to keep deliberating.
I'm Brooke Baldwin live here on Capitol Hill. You're watching CNN special live coverage.
BALDWIN: All right, so live pictures of Chief Justice John Roberts and the newest justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, standing on the front steps. A photo-op. The handshake. I can tell you from my vantage point here, I'm sitting, what do we estimate, 100 feet away, give or take, and so I can see a lot of people here in Washington, a lot of tourists gathering around, taking their photos here on the Capitol Hill grounds, just across the street from the Supreme Court. So, a kiss on the forehead for the wife and there you have it.
[14:20:06] Four days, 30 plus hours of deliberations and the jury deciding the fate of Bill Cosby is deadlocked. But the judge ordered them, go back in there and keep going. Just after 11:00 this morning they told the judge they can't agree on any of the charges against Bill Cosby. There are three of them, all four aggravated indecent assault. If convicted, Bill Cosby faces up to 30 years in prison. Keep in mind, he is 97 (ph) years of age. Take a look at the jury panel with me, seven men and five women, two of the jurors are African- American.
With me now, Faith Jenkins, criminal lawyer, former criminal prosecutor and host of "Judge Faith,"
So, Judge Faith, what could be the reason for this deadlock situation?
FAITH JENKINS, CRIMINAL LAWYER: Well, I think it's a tough case. And I think that anyone who's listened and followed the case is probably not surprised right now that this jury is coming back saying that their initial decision is that they are deadlocked. But the judge did the right thing in these circumstances. He gave the Allen (ph) Charge, which is telling the jurors, keep them motivated, go back and try. There's no indication that another group of people could come in and make a better decision than you. You're the people who sat in and listened to all the evidence going forward.
Now, but, think about it. In this case, there's not a lot of physical evidence, Brooke, so it's really coming down to an issue of credibility. Who do these jurors believe? Do they believe the victim in the case or do they believe Bill Cosby?
Now, he didn't take the witness stand and testify, but he did give testimony in a sense because the prosecutors introduce his prior statements in a deposition and also to police. The victim, the alleged victim in the case got on the witness stand and she did testify and she gave some very emotional testimony. So obviously there are jurors at this point that are entrenched in their positions because it was a relatively short trial, Brooke, but, think about it, they've been deliberating for over 30 hours, they are sequestered and they're over 300 miles away from home. At this point I wonder how difficult it will be for jurors to convince those in the minority to see it their way and come over to the other side.
BALDWIN: A lot of people watching this very closely, especially the dozen of women who have accused him of similar misconduct in years past. And also I should just quickly - I stand corrected. I think we all know Bill Cosby isn't 97 years of age. I blame the Washington heat, thank you very much. He is 79. Forgive me.
Faith Jenkins, thank you so much. We'll keep an eye on that. That could breaks during this show.
Coming up, my next guest was actually the one up to bat on that ball field when the first gunshots rang out. Congressman Rodney Davis and his wife Shannon both sat down with me this morning in an interview on Capitol Hill here to talk about the shooting, to talk about the emotional phone call the congressman had to make to his wife franticly saying there was a gunman at his practice but that he was OK, and talking about the political rhetoric in this country and protecting our members of Congress. Don't miss this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [14:27:36] BALDWIN: Welcome back. I'm Brooke Baldwin, live here on Capitol Hill for CNN's special live coverage of the attack against Republicans during baseball practice. As Congressman Steve Scalise is undergoing his third surgery, one of his fellow Republicans on the field and his wife sat down with me this morning just to talk about that phone call after this gunman just started firing.
Congressman Rodney Davis, a Republican from Illinois, was actually up to bat when those first shots rang out. He then saw his friend, Congressman Scalise, lying motionless at second base on the field. The congressman ran to a nearby home where someone took him in and he could actually finally get on the phone and call his family. So I talked to his wife who, by the way, is a former emergency room nurse who knows how to be cool under pressure, but she told me this morning, it is entirely different when it's one of your own.
BALDWIN: You're back home in Illinois yesterday morning.
SHANNON DAVIS, HUSBAND WAS ON FIELD DURING SHOOTING: Uh-huh.
BALDWIN: You knew he was playing baseball, playing - practice.
S. DAVIS: Yes.
BALDWIN: And when did you realize things were awry?
S. DAVIS: I was on my way to work and he called - actually, I was on my way to work and there was a number that popped up on my phone. It was Ohio. And I thought, ah, who's this calling me? It's like 6:10 in the morning. And I wasn't going to answer it and then something made me answer it and I answered it and it was Rodney. And he - you could hear the panic in his voice and I knew something was wrong. So he just -
BALDWIN: What did he say?
S. DAVIS: He's just like, Shannon, he goes, I need you to know I'm OK, he goes, but some person brought a gun to practice. And he goes, several shots have been fired. He goes, I'm OK. And he told me he loved me. And I just asked, are you sure you're OK? And then he - I asked about his friends, because I knew a lot of the people. And so I said, how's everybody around you? Are they OK? And he's like, I don't know. He goes, there were people that were down. I don't know how they are. And then he had to go. And so that was the worst phone call I've ever received.
BALDWIN: So this was the toughest phone call she's ever received. What was it like on your end?
[14:29:50] REP. RODNEY DAVIS (R), WAS AT BAT WHEN SHOOTING STARTED: Oh, it was the toughest phone call I've ever made. You know, this was after we - you know, hearing the first shot, not knowing what it is as I'm standing up to bat at the plate and then hearing the words, "run, he's got a gun," diving into the dugout.