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Rep. Scalise in Critical Condition After Gun Attack; Mueller to Meet with Top Intel Officials; Cosby Trial Jury Deliberations. Aired 4-4:30a ET
Aired June 15, 2017 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[04:00:14] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we know where he's at? Do we know where he's at?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's behind home plate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you call 911?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I assume people have been calling 911 already.
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CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A politically motivated shooting leaves a top Republican in critical condition, but members of Congress are striking this morning a unified tone. Will the incident cool the heated political rhetoric?
DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And President Trump facing a widening probe in the Russia investigation. Reports this morning say the special counsel looking into whether obstruction of justice was committed.
Good morning, everyone, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.
ROMANS: Nice to see you all this morning. I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday, June 14th. It is 4:00 a.m. exactly in the East.
Members of Congress will take the field tonight as planned for the annual congressional baseball game, just a day after the Republican team was the target of a shooting rampage. Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, he remains this morning in critical condition. Doctors say a single rifle shot tore across Scalise's hip and pelvis. They say Scalise suffered internal injuries, injuries to internal organs. He will require more surgery.
BRIGGS: President Trump visited the hospital last night, accompanied on the surprise visit by First Lady Melania Trump. The White House says the president sat at Scalise's bedside and spoke with his family.
Hours earlier, the president faced the first major test of his ability to reassure a shaken public, striking a unifying tone. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation's capitol is here because, above all, they love our country. We are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.
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ROMANS: Now, there had been talk of the president attending the game, but we learned late in the day that will not happen, the White House citing security concerns. Representative Scalise is an avid baseball fan. He has played on the congressional ball team since coming to the Hill in 2008.
BRIGGS: He was not the only person injured in the shooting attack. Lobbyist Matt Mika is in critical condition and expected to be hospitalized for at least several days. Zach Barth, a staffer for Texas Congressman Roger Williams is expected to make a full recovery. Two Capitol Police Officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey are being treated at a hospital for nonlife-threatening injuries and police say a second unnamed congressman suffered minor injuries.
ROMANS: We have new information this morning about the gunman, James Hodgkinson, who died in the shoot-out with police. We are learning that he was a fervent supporter of Bernie Sanders. He volunteered for Sanders' presidential campaign, though he had no formal role. He was one of the thousands of volunteers for the Sanders campaign.
Sanders condemning the attack from the Senate floor, said he was sickened by the shooter's despicable act.
BRIGGS: The gunman also proclaimed his politics on social media in several anti-Republican Facebook groups. He called president Trump a, quote, traitor, and Republicans the Taliban of the USA.
For more, we turn to senior national correspondent Alex Marquardt reporting from Alexandria, Virginia.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave.
The authorities have officially named the attacker. He is James Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old from Belleville, Illinois. Around 7:00 in the Wednesday morning, he opened fire on that ball field full of members of Congress. The first call to the Alexandria police came at 7:09, and just three minutes later, local police officers responded to what the local police chief later called a combat situation.
FBI special agent Tim Slater saying that Hodgkinson had been living here in Alexandria in his van since March. He also called on members of the public -- in fact, they published a flyer asking anyone to come forward with any sort of information specifically on possible motives, on possible acquaintances and previous whereabouts.
Now, this could have been far worse, had those capitol police officers not been there. The only reason there were three police officers on the scene was because of Representative Scalise. He is part of the GOP leadership, and only the leadership has personal security. None of the other 21 members on that field had any sort of protection, meaning that it could have resulted in what many people are calling a potential massacre -- Christine, Dave.
ROMANS: All right, thank you for that.
A lot of raw, unfiltered emotion on Capitol Hill in the hours following the shooting rampage.
[04:05:03] Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle visibly shaken.
Listen to this impassioned plea from Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis, still bloodied after helping victims at the scene.
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REP. RODNEY DAVIS (R), ILLINOIS: There's such a hatefulness in what we see in American politics and policy discussions right now. This has got to stop. We can disagree on how to govern. That's what makes our country great, but I'm here because we're all Americans.
And I think Republicans and Democrats need to use this day today to stand together and say, stop, let's work together, let's get things done. We can have our differences, but let's not let it lead to such hate.
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ROMANS: Here's CNN's Phil Mattingly with more on the reaction from Capitol Hill.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, stunned is really probably the only way you could describe lawmakers throughout the course of the day in the wake of this shooting. Numb, some of them would also say. They were so shocked, so taken aback by what had actually occurred, what had happened to one of their colleagues.
One of the interesting elements, though, is watching the parties actually come together in the wake of this. The speaker of the house, Paul Ryan, and the minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, both taking to the floor as all of their colleagues sat around, even on a day when the House wasn't voting at all, to makes remarks and to call for unity.
Take a listen to what Speaker Ryan had to say.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: There is one image in particular that this House should keep, and that is a photo I saw this morning of our Democratic colleagues gathered in prayer this morning after hearing the news. At times, our emotions can clearly get the best of us.
We're all imperfect, but we do not shed our humanity when we enter this chamber. For all the noise and all the fury, we are one family. We are united in our shock. We are united in our anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.
MATTINGLY: Now, guys, there's no question, there's an increased security posture on Capitol Hill. A lot of lawmakers concerned, particularly as they look forward towards recesses, when there are town halls, trying to figure out exactly what they need to be doing.
I'm told behind closed doors at a briefing, that was one of the primary issues, how to keep an eye on everything that's around you, your surroundings, make sure you are cognizant of anything that could be happening. But the reality is, they're lawmakers. They deal with these issues every single day. One of the biggest takeaways at this point, particularly leading up to the congressional baseball tonight, they want to try and unify, do something to get past what has been such visceral rhetoric over the course of the last months, perhaps years. We'll see if they can actually get there -- Dave and Christine.
BRIGGS: All right. Phil Mattingly there, thank you very much, Phil.
Let's bring in now, CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano. He's a retired supervisory special agent.
Good morning to you, sir.
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Good morning.
BRIGGS: Let's talk about this investigation. Obviously, social media at the heart of it. What is the goal right now? Where does the investigation turn?
GAGLIANO: Well, obviously, with the shooter being dead, it's impossible to conduct an interview.
GAGLIANO: That's where you're going to get most of your information, if a subject decides to cooperate. They are using the FBI's Evidence Response Teams, ERT, and they are combing the house, the grounds around the area. They're interviewing neighbors, interviewing associates, known associates of this gentleman.
And a big part of the forensic harvesting is going to be social media, Dave, as you referenced. He posted some pretty damning things.
ROMANS: Also, he wrote an awful lot of letters to the editor of his newspapers, local newspapers, so sort of new media and old media, you know? There's a long track record for what his personal beliefs were and how fired up he was about the political process.
At what point, though, is this not political motivation and it's an unhinged person who's glomming on to political -- you know, how do we make that determination about the motive?
GAGLIANO: Christine, I think most people that would murder someone you could probably put in the category that you did.
ROMANS: Unhinged, right.
GAGLIANO: The FBI investigates these from three different angles. The first is terrorism. We always have to assume terrorism until proven otherwise. Terrorism by definition is violence or intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. This would fit that characterization.
Second piece is the political assassination piece, and he wrote some pretty damning things, but again, I assume that the Secret Service were aware of that. You know, those type of things generally result in a visit.
But because we live in America and we can't arrest people for thought, it makes it a really difficult situation.
ROMANS: He wasn't on the Secret Service radar, and --
BRIGGS: Well, in this environment, social media posts like that are incredibly common, unfortunately.
ROMANS: Oh, my gosh, they absolutely are. We see this stuff all day long on social media threads.
The interesting thing about the social media aspect of it is, you know, a generation ago, you didn't have that. You had letters to the editor, maybe people didn't have an echo chamber that they could be in, right? They could fuel their insanity in some cases. I mean, how -- the social media angle is key to you.
GAGLIANO: Absolutely is. And look, for the Secret Service, they get thousands of these type of unhinged kind of -- you've got to be able to sort through the noise and somebody venting or somebody liking a political cartoon and be able to determine, is there an overt threat there?
[04:10:07] Is there an implied threat? And go back to the FBI's investigation of Omar Mateen in Orlando. The FBI interviewed him twice, talked to him. He had posted some very pro-ISIS things.
But you can't arrest somebody unless they make an overt threat, and that's the difficult part. With our limited resources, it's very, very difficult to keep these people under surveillance.
BRIGGS: Policing social media almost impossible. So, let's turn to what Rand Paul said, and I think a key point. He
said, look, if Steve Scalise was not there, this could have been a massacre because Steve Scalise has extra security.
BRIGGS: Only leadership in Congress has that extra security. Is that something that perhaps needs to be looked at as widening to protect our members of Congress?
GAGLIANO: First of all, as I heard a number of congressman that were out there actually say, the assailant had a long weapon, an SKS rifle. The round goes 2,800 feet per second. It cuts through bullet-proof vests. And the two brave responding Capitol Police officers were armed with pistols. The fact that we don't have any deaths yet on the good guy side is --
BRIGGS: It's remarkable.
But to your point, I worked dignitary protection details for attorney generals and FBI directors. There is a thought -- there is a feeling in dignitary protection, if somebody is willing to die in the process, there is no man or woman that you can guarantee is going to be safe completely, unless you want to turn the United States into a police state, which we're not going to do.
Dignitary protection's very difficult. You've got to anticipate. You've got to stay one step ahead of somebody who always has the element of surprise on you.
ROMANS: This was, I guess, you know -- we can talk about motive, we don't know yet, you can talk about terrorism. But this is an attack against democracy. It really is, when you're going after people who are the elected officials of the United States.
GAGLIANO: Christine, in our country's 241-year history, we've lost four presidents, we've lost several cabinet members. We've only lost one congressman, Leo Ryan from California, who was killed in Guyana during the Jim Jones investigation.
ROMANS: That's right.
GAGLIANO: Gabby Giffords, there was an attempt on her life in 2011. But think about that, 241 years, and it only happened one time. Lucky.
All right. Thank you so much.
GAGLIANO: You're welcome.
ROMANS: We'll have you come become. A lot to talk about with this investigation. A new report in the Russia investigation. CNN has learned special
counsel Robert Mueller plans to meet with the Trump administration's top intelligence officials.
Meantime, "The Washington Post" reports Mueller is expanding his probe to include possible obstruction of justice by the president, by President Trump. Mueller's investigators have already asked for information from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and NSA Director Mike Rogers. Now, he plans to meet face-to-face with both men.
BRIGGS: CNN has been told by law enforcement sources that only that Mueller is considering whether there is evidence to launch a full- scale investigation of the president for obstruction. If Mueller does so, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would have to then recuse himself, since he could be a witness, given his role in the firing of James Comey.
At a hearing last week, both DNI Coats and Admiral Rogers denied they felt pressured by the president to impede the FBI's Russia probe.
ROMANS: Mueller's investigators are also seeking information from recently retired NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett. Now, according to a source, Ledgett wrote a memo documenting a conversation in which the president allegedly urged Rogers to help lift the cloud created by the FBI's investigation.
Mueller met yesterday with the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr and Mark Warner. The two sides had been discussing how the Senate investigation and the federal probe will share information and avoid interfering with each other.
All right, the FBI -- the Fed, rather, Freudian slip -- the Fed is raising interest rates. No surprise there. The big question marks, the future of this woman, Fed Chief Janet Yellen.
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JANET YELLEN, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIR: I fully intend to serve out my term as chair, which ends in early February.
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ROMANS: But will the Trump administration give her a second term? That's next.
[04:18:21] ROMANS: All right. They did it again. The Fed raising interest rates, a sign the central bank thinks the economy is on solid ground. Further proof, it plans to sell the $4 trillion in assets it bought during the financial crisis. Both moves will raise borrowing costs for you, on credit cards, auto loans and mortgages.
However, I want to be very clear here, at this very moment, mortgage rates are at historic lows, and I'm not expecting they're going to rise sharply and quickly. This is the fourth rate hike since 2015. The Fed kept rates near zero for a decade before that, and officials expect one more hike this year.
Now, some experts worry the economy's nine-year recovery can't handle much more. I spoke with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.
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ROBERT REICH, FORMER U.S. LABOR SECRETARY: When we look at, you know, retail sales or we look at what's happened to the median wage or you look at the number of people who are still out of the labor force, there are some clouds on the horizon. This is an old recovery. It's getting long in the tooth. I wouldn't take the chance. I think they've done enough for now.
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ROMANS: Enough for now, he says. Another question facing the Fed this year, the future of Fed Chair Janet Yellen.
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YELLEN: And I fully intend to serve out my term as chair, which ends in early February. I have not had conversations with the president about future plans.
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ROMANS: The president has both praised and criticized Yellen. It's unclear if he will nominate her next year. If he doesn't, Yellen will be the first Fed chair in 40 years to only serve a single term.
BRIGGS: If you're a gambling man, you don't gamble on this one. Tough to predict.
ROMANS: No. I try not to gamble or predict anything about the president and his administration.
[04:20:22] BRIGGS: I'm a gambling man, but this one, yes, wildly unpredictable.
OK. Several questions from the jury but still no verdict yet in the Bill Cosby trial. What jurors wanted to hear a second time, next.
BRIGGS: Developing this morning: we now know the name of the gunman who shot and killed three people at a UPS facility in San Francisco, then killed himself. Sources identify him as 38-year-old Jimmy Lam. A local station reporting police raided his home, leaving with multiple bags of evidence, including a desktop computer. Two others were shot, survived.
[04:25:01] No official motive yet, but a union rep for UPS workers says the gunman had recently filed excessive overtime grievances. ROMANS: Twenty-eight hours, over three days and still no verdict from
the jury in Bill Cosby's trial on aggravated indecent assault charges. Jurors returned for day four of deliberations in just a few hours. They've asked the judge six questions so far during their deliberations, including a request to rehear Cosby's statements to authorities and Andrea Constand's testimony about the alleged assault.
The 79-year-old comedian is accused of drugging and molesting Constand at his home in 2004. The defense says the encounter was consensual. If convicted on all counts, Cosby faces up to 30 years in prison.
BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, President Trump visiting a congressman now in critical condition after being shot during baseball practice. What's next for Steve Scalise's recovery, and will this incident tone down the rhetoric on Capitol Hill?