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Deputy A.G. Warns Be "Skeptical" of Anonymous Sources; Russia Claims ISIS Leader Killed in Airstrike; Jury Deliberations Continue in Bill Cosby Case; Nonprofit Girls on the Run Helps Inspire girls to Reach Their Potential. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired June 16, 2017 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] ABBY PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: So the president is kind of doing his own thing in the interest of being in control of the situation but actually it is spinning things well out of control of his lawyers and his White House.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, RELIABLE SOURCES: There may be a method, though, behind this. He may be laying the ground work for the firing of Mueller or Rosenstein or someone else by sowing these kinds of seeds, by calling it a witch hunt over and over again. In his own mind, he may be preparing for that --


BALDWIN: But what's Rod Rosenstein trying to get at here? He was the guy who originally felt like he was thrown under the bus by having the president blame him for the reason of the firing of Comey. And then seems like he's been this loyal soldier, Chris Cillizza.


BALDWIN: And then he issues this bizarro statement. Let me read it for you. It says, "Americans should exercise caution before accepting true any stories attributed to anonymous officials, particularly when they don't identify the country, let alone the branch or agency of government with which the alleged sources are supposedly affiliated."

This is what Abby was alluding to. But what is that about?

CILLIZZA: What's odd about it, it's odd in a vacuum. It's even more odd in context because it's not clear what he was responding to. We know that, thanks to CNN's Evan Perez, the Justice Department said he was not asked by the White House to send that out, but to send it out on a Thursday night, sort of randomly, is odd in and of itself. But the contents even stranger.

Look, Rod Rosenstein is in a position like I think a lot of folks in the Trump administration. They are trying to -- they get caught in the twix in between with Donald Trump. One moment, you're his favorite. The next minute, you are not. He is a fickle, mercurial guy who changes on a dime, with the exception of his family, his family and a handful of loyalists around that family. There really isn't anyone who is on solid ground with him for more than a few weeks.

I go back and think about this presidency. First, it was it's basically president Steve Bannon and then Steve Bannon is going to get fired. And then Jared Kushner has all of the power. No Jared Kushner is on the outs. He does this on purpose. I think there's a method here and a strategy.

STELTER: All those people are still there.

CILLIZZA: All of the people are still there. I think it's to keep people on their toes but it produces things like this statement from Rod Rosenstein where you just kind of wonder what the point was.

BALDWIN: OK. The twix in between. Can you do that next break that into your next headline, Chris Cillizza.

Absolutely, I can.


BALDWIN: Chris Cillizza, Abby Phillips, Brian Stelter, thank you all so much.


BALDWIN: Coming up next, a major development in the fight against terror. Russia says it may have killed the leader of ISIS in an airstrike, but Russia and the details coming out, is this even a credible claim? What the U.S. will do to verify this, and what will it mean for the terror group going forward if, in fact, it's true.

And we're waiting for the verdict still in the Bill Cosby trial. The jury asking a couple more questions today. Will there be a verdict? We'll bring it to you live if and when it happens.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.


[14:37:31] BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN.

We're waiting on confirmation on what could be a massive development in the war against ISIS, if it's true. Russia says a recent airstrike by its military in Syria may have killed the terror group's founder, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. The White House says President Trump is aware of this report, and officials suggest the administration is skeptical that it is, in fact, true.

Let's bring in a man who is an expert on ISIS. Graham Wood is a national correspondent for "The Atlantic" and has written a book called "The Ways of the Strangers, Encounters with the Islamic State."

Graham Wood, thank you so much for coming on.

First, when you hear these reports, does this pass the smell test for you?

GRAHAM WOOD, NATIONAL CORRESPODNENT, THE ATLANTIC & AUTHOR: It could. We don't know very much about what is going on inside ISIS territory. We know that there are airstrikes, the killed some people, and that could include Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. But we've heard this before. And we see no confirmation, least of all from ISIS, and usually they would tell us if they had a major figure die, because they like to have an obituary, memorialize the people. We haven't seen that yet.

BALDWIN: In terms of looking at the details of the strike, that there were some 300 members of ISIS, and Paul Cruickshank was saying, wouldn't we have heard about this, the fact that all 300 would be together, and there's been reporting the leadership of ISIS has left Raqqa?

WOOD: That's right. 300 is a lot. That would be an immense number of people to be obliterated without anyone really noticing. Raqqa was a long time the capitol of ISIS and, but everybody who is anyone, has been moving out of there. It would be shocking if someone as important as Abu Bakr Baghdadi hadn't found shelter someone else.

BALDWIN: Graham, what is the U.S. doing? What proof or how would they find evidence to determine if this is true?

WOOD: We don't have many eyes on the ground right now. The evidence may come in the form of a notice from ISIS. Like I say, ISIS likes to --


BALDWIN: A notice from ISIS?

WOOD: Yeah. They have in the past. They have said, rather promptly, when they have leadership killed. If that happened, they would name another caliphate. They have people in the wings waiting for that. And we would more likely hear it through ISIS than we are through some kind of DNA that's scrapped up off the ground by America forces.

[14:40:01] BALDWIN: If it's true -- we talk about Al Baghdadi is the head of the snake, and the snake being ISIS, but how much of a leader is he versus a figurehead? Would this be symbolic, but they have many other leaders to fill the vacuum of leadership? How big of a deal would it really be?

WOOD: They've got a bench that they can work from. If Baghdadi is gone, they'll fill the operational role with someone else. But ISIS has been losing territory, and more and more, it's becoming less a territorial state than almost a state of mind. I think what's important is the symbolic factor. People have been going to ISIS territory from all over the world with the belief that they are going to join the first real caliphate in hundreds of years. The symbolic value of getting rid of that first caliphate is pretty high and may or may not be accompanied by operational value, getting rid of the person who is making executive decisions.

BALDWIN: Graham Wood, thank you so much. WOOD: Thanks.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, the jury in the Bill Cosby trial is still deliberating after telling the judge that they were deadlocked yesterday. Got a couple more questions today. Might there be a verdict?

Also ahead, after an emotional outpouring at the congressional baseball game last night, Congressman Steve Scalise is still in the hospital. There's going to be a live press conference from the doctors, updating his condition. He's gone through several surgeries now. He's the number-three Republican on the House side. We'll get an update on him from Washington, coming up.


[14:44:55] BALDWIN: A couple more questions asked today on this day five now of the Bill Cosby trial of deliberations. After telling the judge yesterday that the jurors were deadlocked, the jury is back at it today following orders from this judge to keep going. Bill Cosby's team has filed yet another motion for a mistrial. The jury has been deliberating now for more than 40 hours. That's longer than the Michael Jackson, Martha Stewart and O.J. Simpson trial.

Let's start there. I have CNN legal analysts, Areva Martin and Paul Callan.

Areva, ladies first.

There are questions from the jurors regarding the deposition testimony and phone records. What is this a sign to you of?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's a sign that the jurors are taking their responsibility very seriously and they are working very, very hard. Just think since yesterday, since then, they have been working. They have been asking for additional evidence to be read back and obviously going back into the deliberation room, grappling with this very difficult case, comes down to credibility I think at this point. Who do you believe? When they asked to hear back the testimony from Cosby and Constand, they are trying to figure out which of the witnesses are more credible about what happened that night.

BALDWIN: Paul, same question to you. You made a point, the trial lasted five days. They have now been deliberating as long as the trial lasted.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANLAYST: Yes, they have. They have. So Areva is right. This is a very hard-working jury.


BALDWIN: They're sequestered.


BALDWIN: Just remind everyone, they are not home. CALLAN: No. They are not home. They are bussed in from their home

county, which is in the Pittsburgh area.


CALLAN: Because they felt a fair jury may not be found in Montgomery County where the case is being tried. They are under enormous stress. They're working very hard. A lot of juries would have thrown in the towel and said to the judge, we're deadlocked and can't take it any further. They have continued to work very, very hard.

BALDWIN: You're convinced that there will be either a verdict or a mistrial before the weekend.



CALLAN: Having tried a lot of cases, it's the Friday rule. When jurors are up against another weekend, and this jury will probably be confined for the weekend, they are a sequestered jury, there's a lot of pressure to end it. It's not like they haven't deliberated for a long time. They've discussed every angle in this case. I would be surprised if they don't reach some conclusion by day's end or the conclusion that they are hung and can't reach a verdict, that some people think he's guilty and some think he's innocent.

BALDWIN: If it, Areva, is a hung jury and a mistrial is declared, what then?

MARTIN: Well, the prosecution will have to go back to the drawing board and make the decision about whether they want to retry this case. It took about 18 months to get this case to trial, so the question is, do you go another 12 to 18 months? And this case will be close to 15 years old. I think the prosecutors will have to make that determination once they know how many people were holding out for guilty versus not guilty. Often in high-profile cases, once the jurors come out, they're asked lots of questions by everyone, including the legal teams. So they are going to want to know, was this a 1-11 case or a 6-8 case -- my math is wrong -- 6-6 case. How many people were holding out. That will help them make the determination about whether they reinvest the resources to retry this case.

BALDWIN: Don't go too far from your cameras. The news could drop at any moment here on this Friday afternoon.

Areva and Paul, thank you so much.

[14:49:00] Coming up next on CNN, President Trump moments ago saying Republican Congressman Steve Scalise, quote, "Took a bullet for all of us." Congressman Scalise has been in critical condition since he was shot in his hip during that baseball practice a couple of days ago. Minutes from now, we'll get an update on his condition from his hospital in Washington, D.C., and we'll take it live. Stay with me.


BALDWIN: This week here at CNN, we've been showing you pieces that are near and dear to our heart called "Champions for Change." It's a chance for us, anchors, here at CNN and HLN to highlight an organization or cause that mean a lot to us.

So today, CNN's Fredricka Whitfield introduces us to a national nonprofit called Girls on the Run. It's an organization that helps inspire girls to reach their athletic and personal potential.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): There's something about lacing up, gearing up, the start line. And how, for so many girls, sports launches dreams.

So it's thrilling to see these young ladies in Girls on the Run, D.C., get a head start.

WHITFIELD: How are you feeling?



WHITFIELD: How does that run make you feel?


WHITFIELD: Confident?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Yeah. And afterwards a little tired. But it makes me feel like I can do it.


And that's what I recall from my school days on the track and field, basketball and gymnastics teams.

I think I learned how to swim before I learned how to walk. We played tennis. We got lessons right away. We were running. We were walking. We were doing everything.

I think sports helped me with a sense of belonging, that I can fit in anywhere, anyplace.


[14:55:22] WHITFIELD: To this day, I compete in triathlons or play sports for the thrill of it. All of it a driving force.

Just ask graduates of my high school in Maryland.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sports allows you to have a dream for yourself and to be able to envision yourself obtaining it and then you know you can do anything. WHITFIELD: And now you're in dental school. Do you think that helped

with that aspiration?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You learn that there are no limits to all of the things that you can accomplish.

WHITFIELD: Athletics have made me a stronger girl and I didn't even know it.

I want all girls to feel this same way. I want all girls to feel that there's nothing that I can't do.

The Girls on the Run athletes show that with each step.

All right. Looking good.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Some people say that sports are only for boys but they are for girls, too.

WHITFIELD: Lucero, Tatiana, Nia, Andrea, ages 8 through 11, running it out and talking it through.

We talked a lot about how we think about ourselves. We're going to take a look at a couple pictures. Is this a healthy message for girls?


WHITFIELD: Does it make you feel good about yourself?


WHITFIELD: And has it also helped you look at yourself differently when you look in the mirror?


WHITFIELD: And what do you think, do you care for yourself more?


UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Even though you're not beautiful on the outside, you're beautiful on the inside.

WHITFIELD: And you're beautiful on the outside and inside.



For 10 weeks, on the way to their first 5K race, they run together and build friendships.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Girls on the Run D.C. is committed to serving any girl and all girls in all eight wards of Washington, D.C., so we're committed to providing the access and removing the barriers. They're gaining confidence and character that they're going to be able to take out into their life as they move on and these girls are the next generation of our future leaders.

WHITFIELD: Oh, hey, mom. She's doing great.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like it because it builds team work. They are encouraging one another. That's a good thing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love the kids. I just love coming and running with them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When they first start to run and it's really hard because they don't have the endurance at the beginning, sometimes you hold their hands and run with them. When they finish, they see that, oh, I really did that. I just did that.


WHITFIELD: Good job. Whoo! Awesome.


WHITFIELD: Yeah, baby.

After two and a half months training, running the 5K, you're in the nation's capitol. How are you feeling, strong?


WHITFIELD: Who runs the world?


WHITFIELD: All right. Let's go.

This is a really good pace. Arms up.


WHITFIELD: Do you have a favorite part of the race?




These young girls are now equipped with the power of saying yes to certain opportunities and no to certain obstacles. I am so impressed by these little girls to hear them pat each other on the back or just whisper some words while running by, "You can do it." It's so great. They inspired me, and I love that.


BALDWIN: Yes. Yes. I love that.

For more, go to Please watch our CNN special, "Champions for Change," hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It airs tomorrow night at 9:00 eastern here on CNN.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

[15:00:03] BALDWIN: All right, we continue on with hour two on this Friday afternoon. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.

I want to let you know we are waiting for this news conference to happen any moment now in Washington, D.C. We will be hearing from the --