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Collins Will Carry after Attack; Unifying after Attack; Gupta's Champions for Change Story; Staffer Shot Speaks About Attack. Aired 8:30-9:00a ET
Aired June 15, 2017 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:30:00] REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), ENERGY & COMMERCE COMMITTEE: And so certainly in the short term I'm going to go a step beyond just having it in the glove box in my car and I will be carrying. And it's - that's - I don't want to blow that out of any kind of proportion because that's not what it's intended for, but -
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: No, I hear you, but there is an interesting legal question, just as a friend of yours who wants to see you be OK, you can't walk into the place where you work with that gun on you because of the federal law against carrying into space. Do you think it's something that needs to be brought up as legislation? Do you think this event means that much to you that it was something you might introduce?
COLLINS: Well, you know, some of us have talked about that here in D.C. We're certainly safe when we're within the Capitol compound, if you want to call it that. But we also are out and about and we don't have any protection. I would always say that a law-abiding citizen trained with the use of a firearm that's carrying will keep himself and others around him safe.
There is - we don't necessarily need legislation. There could be an instance where we could be sworn in as peace officers, which would allow us to carry, especially if we have a carry permit at home, but even possibly without that. So there is - there is a method by which that could be allowed. Some of us are talking about it. I would think it is appropriate if somebody wanted to do that. But that's really a discussion, you know, as we move forward.
CUOMO: Well -
COLLINS: But it is - it is something we're talking about.
CUOMO: Well, let us know.
COLLINS: We'll do.
CUOMO: Let us know where that goes and I hope you felt safe enough on the show this morning to not be carrying a firearm with you.
COLLINS: I am not carrying in D.C.
CUOMO: All right. That's right. That's another municipality you have to be careful about.
Congressman, thank you. You're always welcome on this show to talk about what matters.
COLLINS: All right. Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: Be well. God bless.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Chris.
So lawmakers are coming together after the ambush in Virginia. A Democrat embracing his Republican colleague, nearly moving both of them to tears. So we speak with both of them next.
CAMEROTA: After the ball field attack, Republicans and Democrats in Congress vowing to come together. Two men showing the rest of us how it's done are our next two guests. Congressman Patrick Meehan is a pitcher on the Republican team, but he was not there during the ambush. Still, he was very rattled and he was comforted by a hug from Congressman Tim Ryan, a Democrat. And both congressmen join us now.
[08:35:18] Gentlemen, thanks so much for being here.
REP. PATRICK MEEHAN (R), PENNSYLVANIA: It's great to be with you.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Meehan, how are you feeling now 24 hours later?
MEEHAN: I think all of my colleagues, we met yesterday as a team about 5:00. First time it was just the players and it was a - it was a little bit more heavy than I thought it would be. I think it's starting - the adrenaline is wearing off and a lot of people are now dealing with the individual realities of their experience as many who are asking themselves, you know, hey, why am I the guy today that's walking around?
CAMEROTA: Yes, that's a completely natural feeling, that, you know, so-called survivor's guilt where you do a lot of soul searching, you know, about that.
Congressman Ryan, what was it like for you to see your colleagues, and in particular Congressman Meehan, so upset yesterday?
REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: Well, you know, it kind of cut through all the nonsense we talk about every day and the rhetoric we deal with every single day and it became very, very human. I mean we were at our practice and, you know, when the Capitol Police said, come on, let's shelter in the dugout, you look around and you think, what the heck happened over at the Republican practice? There's nobody here. Like, if someone walked - it's literally a field, a baseball field. And so if somebody walked here shooting a gun right now, what - what in God's name would we do? And it just immediately made us realize what our colleagues had gone through. And then not seeing them and then seeing them later in a suit and tie on the House floor, you just - there was nothing left to do but - but give them a hug, because there was nothing you could really say that would - would be - adequately deal with the situation.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Meehan, you, as we said, are normally the pitcher for your team and I know that you have strong feelings about this team and about the games and what they've meant to you. Can you share those?
MEEHAN: Well, first off, it's an opportunity for us to do something different from what we do in our normal routine, the pressures of the job. You get to know your own members better, people that you may not serve in the same committee, and then you get to know your colleagues from the other side of the aisle. Tim and I have a long-standing joke going on about a curve ball I got him on one time. But this has been six years now and he's still living with this. So I, you know, this is the problem, but it's the kind of thing that gives us something in common.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Ryan, can you ever let that go?
RYAN: You know, I couldn't figure out how this guy with white hair threw a curveball and struck me out in front of 5,000 people. And that just - I still wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it. But we've got another game tonight, so I've got another chance.
CAMEROTA: That's got to hurt.
RYAN: Yes, it hurts.
CAMEROTA: That's got to hurt, you're right.
So, Congressman Ryan, I mean, what does it mean when you offering just a human hug to one of your colleagues after this horrible situation makes news?
RYAN: Well, I think it's a sign of the times for sure because, you know, I don't want to - you know, this isn't exactly breaking news or maybe it is that, you know, I like Congressman Meehan. I think he's a great guy. I enjoy being with him. There's a lot of other Republicans here who I like. I have Republican friends. We may disagree on issues, but that doesn't mean we can't play baseball together, go to church together, have a beer together. These things are all pretty normal.
And there's a lot of Republicans in the House of Representatives that I like. And I will - and we're both Irish, too, so I think we're OK having a little dust up over an issue and then, you know, figuring out how to resolve it and then, you know, go out and play some baseball together. I mean, to me, that's how I grew up with Republicans in my family, Republicans in my neighborhood, my friends, my colleagues, people I went to school with, my teachers. And I know Pat feels the same way that, you know, that's OK. And I
think that's what we've really got to get to in America. It's like it's OK for someone to have a different opinion than you and you can respect them for thinking differently than you and then come to this democracy, this Congress, the state legislature, the city council, the school board and figure out how to come to some kind of reconciliation on the issue. So when a hug makes news, it's more a sign of the times than anything.
CAMEROTA: So, Congressman Meehan, I know that you said yesterday we can't let the haters win. Amen to that. How do you stop the haters from winning?
MEEHAN: Well, I think Tim hit on it. We start by setting an example that we can compete. We can compete with our ideas. We can compete on a field. But apart from that, we can respect each other. While we joke around about this, some of the rhetoric that's taking place out there in the political environment is just too vitriolic and this is the kind of an example in which we sort of give everybody a chance to step back and say, wait a second, maybe there's a better way for us to do this.
CAMEROTA: Well, congressmen, thank you very much for all of those words. They're really heartening for people to hear. And I won't force you to do an awkward bro hug here on the air.
[08:40:00] CUOMO: I will. Hug it out, guys. Hug it out.
MEEHAN: Listen, he's got -- (INAUDIBLE) can watch him tonight. He'll feel -
CUOMO: Hug it out before the big game. There you go.
RYAN: I'm going to hug him now, but later - later I'm not hugging anybody once I step over that chalk line.
MEEHAN: Not that he's hanging on to anything.
CAMEROTA: Got it.
Gentlemen, we look very forward to watching the game tonight. Thanks so much for being here.
And we should let our viewers know, Congressman Ryan wrote a column on this very topic for cnn.com. You can read more there.
CUOMO: They should all be pro-hug all the time.
All right, other news for you this morning.
Haiti is still trying to recover after hundreds of thousands of lives were lost in a massive earthquake in 2010. Do you remember this? One man is going above and beyond to help. And he is Dr. Sanjay Gupta's "Champion for Change." A great story for you, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[08:45:06] CUOMO: So this week, CNN is running a special series, "Champions for Change." You got a dozen CNN and HLN anchoring sharing the causes that are closest to their hearts. Today, chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta is going to tell us a story where he introduces us to the founder of Partners in Health and the group's unrelenting dedication to help people in Haiti, a place you know well, especially in crisis.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And as soon as this sort of idea for the series came up, it was the first thing that came to my mind because I - I've always wonders, certainly after the earthquake, you know, how was this place going to recover? And, you know, so many people stepped up to try and do something about Haiti. Can individuals really make a difference here? So that's what I wanted to find out and specifically focus on this guy, Paul Farmer. You may have heard his name. He founded this organization, Partners in Health, and has just done some remarkable work down there.
CAMEROTA: Let's take a look.
GUPTA (voice-over): There is a saying, (INAUDIBLE), "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, 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.
GUPTA (on camera): Does it comes back to you how much we really care?
PAUL FARMER, 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.
GUPTA (on camera): How is Haiti doing? How is this area doing seven years later?
FARMER: It has been patchy improvement. Some places, rubble is all cleared. Some houses are rebuilt. Buildings going up. There have been all of these other problems since then, food insecurity, more floods, Hurricane Matthew. So it's a mixed bag.
GUPTA: 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.
GUPTA (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. It's 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.
GUPTA (on camera): Did you ever imagine that a place like this could exist?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
GUPTA (voice-over): Marc Julmisse is chief nursing officer here at the hospital.
GUPTA (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?
MARC JULMISSE, CHIEF NURSING OFFICER, UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: I think it's equivalent to what I've seen.
GUPTA: That's kind of an amazing statement.
GUPTA: 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: So you go from ridiculous to radical to real.
[08:50:02] JULMISSE: To real. Yes, absolutely, to real.
GUPTA: Just to gives 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.
GUPTA (voice-over): Before this hospital was built, Alexander Sylvestry (ph) would have surely died out here in the Hattian countryside. Sixty-three is the average life expectancy here. He's 61. Instead, today, I'm getting ready to operate on him.
GUPTA (on camera): This is the midline here.
GUPTA (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 this person's going to make it, and they do. You know, that's something good that came out of something bad.
GUPTA: It's the house that Paul Farmer helped build. At one time even his supporters 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: 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: 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: I think you've done enough good in your life to -
FARMER: Well, we'll keep trying.
CUOMO: How do you assess need in a place like that? I remember I was on the ground when you guys were, you and Anderson, in the immediate aftermath. But that's the moment in crisis.
CUOMO: There was need before.
CUOMO: And then there is new need after.
GUPTA: Yes. No question. This is a country that even before the earthquake only 50 percent had access to cleaner water. Infrastructure was crumbling. Even preventable diseases, basic ones, could not be prevented. And then the long-term after, you know, it's building up that infrastructure is still challenging.
At the time, you know, what's so interesting I think for all of us as journalists is that we're often the first people on the ground. I didn't really realize how quickly until I became a journalist myself, you think medical teams, military, whoever. Journalists are often the first. And you go into there and, you know, hundreds of thousands of people either injured or have died. And obviously for the injured, you know, I think it's a - to me it's a pretty easy choice. There's obvious need and we're there. And regardless of whether you're a doctor or not, anybody can help in those situations. So I think that the - the - it becomes very obvious in terms of filling the need.
CAMEROTA: Sanjay, what a story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.
CAMEROTA: So, CNN and HLN anchors will be bringing you their causes all week. For more info, you can go to cnn.com/championsforchange.
CUOMO: All right, Congressman Steve Scalise, the House GOP whip, is in critical condition this morning. He is still in a fight after a gunman ambushed him and other Republicans practicing for a charity baseball game. That game is tonight and it is still going on.
Now, one of those who was shot there in addition to Scalise is congressional staffer Zach Barth. He works for Congressman Roger Williams. We're happy to tell you he has been released from the hospital and there he is next to the man that he serves in service to their constituents.
Zach and Congressman Williams joining us now.
Gentlemen, how are we doing this morning?
REP. ROGER WILLIAMS, (R), TEXAS: Well, I think we're doing good. I'm so glad Zach is with me. We went through quite a day yesterday and we're praying for Congressman Scalise and all the others, but it's a good morning, much better than it was yesterday's morning.
CUOMO: A big difference that 24 hours can make. Thank God you both made it through.
Zach, tell us about the wound and how you got out so fast, how you're doing now.
ZACH BARTH, CONGRESSIONAL STAFFER SHOT IN AMBUSH: Sure. You know, I'm doing fine now.
So what happened was, I was in center field shagging fly balls. Heard a loud crack and everybody stopped. Time stood still. And then I heard more cracks, saw the shooter with a long gun at the third baseline. Somebody yelled "run."
So that's what I did. I ran as far - you know, put as much distance between me and him as I could. Sprinted to right field. 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.
[08:55:06] I felt a sharp burning pain in my leg. Looked down. I had been hit. And at that point, adrenaline was pumping through me and my fight or flight reflections 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 and jumped into the dugout, into Congressman Williams' arms. And, you know, from there, you know, I was injured, but the more important thing was staying alive, keeping my head down, keeping everybody else's head down and, you know, thank - thank the Lord for, you know, Officers Bailey and Griner. Without them, I might not be talking to y'all.
CUOMO: Thank the Lord, indeed. Those - having those two there, Bailey got hit as well, continued to pursue the shooter. Who knows what would have happened if you didn't have them there to defend. But, like you say, thank God they were and that contributed to everybody making it out of there.
Now, when you got to the dugout, you ran, even though you had a bullet in your calf. That's impressive. And you got there and I think that's where Congressman Brooks was, right, Congressman Williams? And didn't he help you guys with a belt and a tourniquet, right? Do you remember that?
WILLIAMS: Yes, well what happened was, I was hitting ground balls to Scalise. And I hit a ground ball. And as soon as I hit it, we heard the first pop and then the pop, pop, pop. And I immediately - my instincts said, I got to get to the dugout. And the dugout literally is a real dugout, about six feet in the ground, and I dove head first into the concrete to get out of the way and I got there with congressman - or Senator Flake and Congressman Brooks and we were all there together. And then, out of nowhere came Zach. He jumped right into the dugout.
He said, I'm hit. He happened to jump into my arms. We held each other. Mo Brooks took his belt off, gave it to Senator Flake and I help - to help Zach put a - stop the bleeding on his leg and we just all stayed there, laid down as low as we could, prayed and were so thankful again for the Capitol Police. They literally saved everyone's life. If they were not there, it would have been, as you've heard, it would have been a massacre. And so we have everything to thank for them.
But also in that dugout, I must tell you, there were generations in that dugout. There were the older guys like me. We had ten-year-old Jack Barton, Congressman Barton's son, in that dugout. We had Zach. We all were there in together. We were all bonding, protecting each other. And it was - it was quite a thing to be involved in. But we're so glad that everybody has come out safe and we're praying for Congressman Scalise.
CUOMO: Boy, I'll tell you, it gives you chills still now hearing what you guys made it through. I had no idea that there was a ten-year-old in there as well. And you're right to speak about it in terms of generations.
What were you saying to each other in there? I know it had to seem like an eternity and prayer always helps, but what were you telling each other, congressman, Zach?
WILLIAMS: Well, we were telling - we were telling everybody to keep your head down. And one concern we had is, in our mind, we didn't hear any of the Capitol Police firing back at the beginning. All we heard was the shooter. Sixty rounds, I'm told. And all of a sudden I - where I was in the dugout, I could look outside and I saw the Capitol Police standing outside the dugout, totally open, firing back at this guy. And so - that made me feel a little better. But, you know, he had a - he had a - he had a rifle. Our guys had pistols. We had baseball bats and balls and so forth. So mainly, yes, praying, but also telling everybody stay down, stay down.
CUOMO: Zach, I know a lot of people are talking to you about the different levels of recovery. You know, you're young, you're strong, you're able to run after taking a hit in the leg. That's obvious proof of your physical strength. But this has got to be a hard thing to deal with and how are you doing in terms of your head and your heart and processing what you made it through?
BARTH: Yes, absolutely. You know, it is - it is a tough thing. It was a scary situation. Probably scariest thing I've lived through. But, you know, thank the Lord for all the prayers and thoughts that I've received from, you know, not just my community back home in Houston, Texas, but the Capitol Hill community. We know, we bond together. You know, it doesn't matter if we're Republicans or Democrats. You know, we're all Americans. We're in this thing together and we might not always agree, but, you know, when something like this happens, you know, I kind of echo the sentiments of Speaker Ryan, you know, an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. So, you know, to have them lifting me up is such a blessing. CUOMO: And I'll tell you, we heard about those Democrats on their
field praying when they heard what happened to you guys. And we've heard the words and the unity that, you know, is just music to Americans' ears right now. It's horrible that this moment had to give birth to it, but sometimes, you know, you make of a moment what you can. And, congressman, what do you think this moment means? What do you want it to mean?
[08:59:50] WILLIAMS: Well, I want it to heal America. The rhetoric up here is too divisive. There's no question about it. But I will tell you this. You know, Speaker Ryan called myself and Congressman Barton and Congressman Dole and said, do you want to play the baseball game? We said, yes, we have to play this game. And we have to play this game because if we don't then we let the - we let those that want to harm our way of life in this country, they win. So we've got to play this game.