Return to Transcripts main page


Rep. Mo Brooks Back On New Day After Ambush; Judge Orders Cosby Jury To Continue Deliberations; Beyond The Call Of Duty; Russia Claims To Have Killed ISIS Leader Al-Baghdadi. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired June 16, 2017 - 07:30   ET


[07:32:05] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MO BROOKS, (R) ALABAMA, AT BASEBALL FIELD DURING SHOOTING: Forgive my voice cracking a little bit, but the adrenaline and emotion is still high. I mean, there were a number of congressmen and congressional staffers who helped us lying on the ground, one of them that was wounded in the leg. I took off my belt and myself and another congressman, I don't remember who, applied a tourniquet to try to slow down the bleeding.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: That was a man who needs no forgiveness, Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks. He was talking to us live just moments after the worst day of his life, a day in which he showed what we would all hope we would do at our best in a moment of crisis. He was on that field, part of the GOP baseball team practicing, when that madman came and tried to gun them down.

The game went on. It was played last night. Republicans and Democrats united on bended knee praying for House GOP Whip Steve Scalise. He remains in the hospital -- in critical condition at a Washington hospital. His doctors do say he made some improvement after the second round of surgeries.

Congressman Mo Brooks played in that game and joins us now. Congressman, as we've said to you before, we want to thank you not just for helping us understand those first moments, but for doing what you did for your fellow man on that field. How are you doing this morning?

BROOKS: I'm better. I got a good night's sleep last. Did not do so well the previous evening. And I'd be remiss if I didn't thank you, Chris, and you, Alisyn. You all didn't have to do this but after the events of Wednesday you got in touch with me, either by a text or telephone call, and I want you to know that those off-air communications and expressions of sympathy were very much appreciated.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Well, Congressman, I can't tell you how many people around the country have come up to us both and tell us -- to tell us how gripped they were by your vivid and clearheaded recall of the moments of that ambush and the attack. So, what have these next 48 hours been like for you? BROOKS: Well, we tried to play a baseball game last night. A lot of bipartisanship before the game. We went from the first base to the third base position, Republican, Democrat, Republican, Democrat, to try to communicate to the American people that while we fight vigorously in the House floor and the Senate floor, we're friends outside of that political arena.

I will add that as I was standing there on the -- in the group from first to third base I saw David Bailey -- he's the Capitol Police officer -- on crutches near the first -- third base dugout and something compelled me to go over there and I asked him if I could hug him and he said yes. And I'll always remember him and the sacrifice -- the courage that he showed on behalf of the members of the United States Congress and our staffs and the other people who were there.

[07:35:23] The bipartisanship before the game was wonderful. I'll tell you that once that first pitch was thrown the bipartisanship ended. The Democrats just abused us. Cedric Richmond, he had his curveball and it was on. They were hitting ropes off of our pitchers. Our fielding was not as good as it should have been and hence, it was an 11-2 beating. I asked before the game if the Democrats would be a little bit easy on us and they assured us that they would be but, by golly, once that first pitch was thrown that bipartisanship was gone.

CUOMO: Well, there should be an investigation into whether or not he was scuffing the ball. Everybody thinks the curve was breaking a little bit too much last night.

BROOKS: Oh, it was a heck of a pitch.

CUOMO: But the trophy didn't go to the Democrats. Where did it go?

BROOKS: Well, now this is a two-edged sword. The Democrats were kind enough to return -- normally, the winning team keeps the trophy for a year and it's the manager who has it in his office. And the Democrats decided to give the -- this year's trophy to the Republicans and Steve Scalise, and that's a very kind thought, on the one hand. But on the other hand, we now have in our offices a year-long reminder of the thrashing last night from the Democrats so I'm glad it's not in my office. I wouldn't want to be looking at it and thinking an 11-2 beating for a whole year.

CAMEROTA: Very clever of the Democrats to keep that lorded over you. But, Congressman, everyone wants to turn the page --


CAMEROTA: -- on the toxic environment in Capitol Hill and beyond and across the country and, obviously, to somehow sustain this spirit of love and kindness. What is the answer to doing that?

BROOKS: Well, we've got to communicate better to the American people to help them understand that in a republic, vigorous debate is a part of the process. That does not mean that you physically hate the other person even though you're at odds on a particular issue. There are plenty of issues where we agree and by way of example, over the last session of Congress we passed over 500 bills through the House of Representatives, the majority of which was bipartisan. Now, of course, that doesn't get the kind of media coverage because the clash creates more interest than does the agreement.

But I hope the American people will please, please understand that while we have these vigorous debates and while strong words are often used to express the positions that we hold, after we have been in that arena we can go out and have lunch together. Our spouses and the congressmen can go on trips together and we can have a really good time. So, you've two different personalities and -- overall, though, the relationship between the Republicans and the Democrats is quite, quite good on a social level and on a personal level.

Now, granted, we have disagreements on the policy issues and we've got -- we've just got to get the American people to understand that this vigorous discourse is a part of having a republic and it's preserved us well and done us well as a country now for over 230 years.

CUOMO: Well, they only know what you show, you know, and when you have either the ugly tweets from the president or the hostility exchange between parties that's what they wind up taking away. So, the more they see the comedy that you're speaking to, the better their perception will be. But the reason that we're reaching out to you, Congressman, is because yes, it would be nice to see something come out of politics.

But what happened on that field went way beyond politics and for you to live through something like that and to do what you did on that field, and a lot of the men out there did -- when I learned from Williams yesterday and the kid Mika, who got -- Zach Mika (sic) who got hit in the --


BROOKS: Zach Barth --

CUOMO: Zach Barth, thank you.

BROOKS: -- and Matt Mika.

CUOMO: And, Matt Mika -- thank you very much. So, when I heard from Zach and Williams that that's the guy you put the tourniquet on and that Barton's son was in there, who's just a kid, and that you were keeping him calm and you guys were helping to keep him safe in a moment like that, that goes way beyond any kind of political implications. How you doing with what you lived through on that field?

BROOKS: Well, when I think about it, I thank God for all the things that transpired that prevented me from being another victim -- from being able to speak with you this morning. And I'm sure a lot of other congressmen are thinking the same thing -- a lot of other staffers. Trent Kelly who was at third base -- how in the world the shooter missed him from 10 or 15 feet away with a rifle, I don't know. Gary Palmer from the state of Alabama, Trent Kelly being from Mississippi -- Gary Palmer was at shortstop. [07:40:00] And a lot of what I'm doing right now is communicating

with other members and staffers to try to reconstruct where everybody was and have a better -- a complete understanding of what transpired. By way of example, I didn't remember initially who it was that helped me with Zach Barth, or the person who was next to me was Sen. Jeff Flake and for the life of me, I could not remember who that person was. So you're intensely focused on some things, but other things you're just totally oblivious to.

And Jeff Flake, he did a great job during this five to 10 minutes of terror. Brad Wenstrup from Cincinnati, Ohio, an M.D. Once things calmed down he immediately rendered the kind of aid that was necessary and may have helped save the life of Steve Scalise during those critical moments and helping to stem to blood loss.

And the humanity there was something that I hope that the American people will carry with them as they try to understand this distinction between when we're in that political arena and we're trying to communicate about a public policy idea and the rest of us -- the rest of our time, the rest of our lives and how we interact with each other on a friendly basis outside of that political discourse.

CAMEROTA: Well, Congressman, I want you to know that we hear you about the media also being able to do better. Chris and I have been talking about this and you have inspired me to do some soul-searching in terms of how we can deliver things in perhaps a sometimes less snarky way. You have inspired lots of people to sort of reach down and find their humanity today, so thank you.

BROOKS: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you for being with us and, obviously, we are watching very closely if this a moment -- a pivotal turning point.

CUOMO: And you've given me a bunch of people to point to for those who want to attack public servants and say if you want to know what those men and women are made of, look at what those guys did on that field. Look what they made it through. Look how many were back in suit and tie that day and the next day, going back to work for their constituents. You're good -- you were good men on that field and you did the right thing, and you have our respect and we hope that you are well, Congressman.

BROOKS: Thank you, you're very kind.

CAMEROTA: We'll talk again soon. Take care of yourself.

CUOMO: And we will get after it, don't kid yourselves.

CAMEROTA: (Laughing) Seriously, you can get after it and I mean, obviously --


CAMEROTA: -- and do reporting with somehow a more open heart.

CUOMO: You can test without making your opponent detestable.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Meanwhile, jurors in the Cosby trial are heading into day five of deliberations after telling the judge that they were deadlocked, so can there be a verdict? We have a live report, next.


[07:46:35] CAMEROTA: Jurors in the Bill Cosby case ordered to continue deliberating after telling the judge that they were deadlocked, so can they reach a verdict? CNN's Jean Casarez is live in Norristown, Pennsylvania. She's been there throughout the trial. What's the latest?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest is 40 hours. That is how long they have deliberated. They're going to be back here at 9:00 this morning. It was a quarter to nine last night. We all go into the courtroom because were summoned, and the jury comes in and they were really just -- I didn't see anything. They were just sort of like in a daze, I would say.

They came in and the judge said, "I am so proud of you. I want to tell you how proud I am of you." And then he said, "I have got to remind you that you cannot talk in small groups, you cannot talk at breakfast amongst each other. I want you to get a good night's sleep. I haven't heard from you since I gave you the charge to continue deliberating after you told us you were deadlocked, so I leave it in your hands. Come back tomorrow."

But, Chris, here was the amazing thing. Only the attorneys stand up when the jurors usually come in and last night at 9:00 at night for the first time, every person in the courtroom stood up in unison in that gallery, included when the jurors walked in. And I don't know if they saw it or noticed it but it was very different, Chris, and it was sort of like a moment in court.

CUOMO: And they've been through it. I mean, 40 hours is a long time. The judge giving them a night off to go back to their families, an obvious compromised position there from normal sequester. But look, no matter which way this verdict comes out, the reporting that you've been doing along the way, and you're going to have to continue to do, is going to be the analysis of how tricky this decision was on these three counts and why. Again, no matter how it comes out. Jean, thank you for the reporting -- very helpful.

All right. So, there was a moving moment on the mound at last night's Congressional baseball game. Do you know who that is throwing out the first pitch? That's David Bailey, the wounded Capitol Police officer. He came out and threw the first pitch. He was one of two officers shot by that gunman targeting Republican lawmakers. CNN's Alexander Marquardt has more on these heroes who truly went beyond the call of duty.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are officers in an arm of law enforcement that most Americans had probably never heard of until Wednesday. David Bailey and Crystal Griner, special agents with the U.S. Capitol Police are being hailed as national heroes for preventing a slaughter at the Republican Congressional baseball team practice.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two Capitol Police officers who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a very, very brutal assault.

MARQUARDT: According to the harrowing accounts of the members of Congress and staffers at the practice, when they realized they were being shot at they frantically ran for cover.

REP. BRAD WENSTRUP, (R) OHIO: Everyone was basically a sitting duck in many ways. There was only so many places you could go, especially when leaving the field.


MARQUARDT: That's when agents Bailey and Griner sprung to action, instead running toward the danger and returning fire.

BROOKS: They were taking on a guy with a rifle from 90 to 120 feet away. They had pistols, he had a rifle. That's not a fair fight. Both of them were wounded. The bravery that the showed is just incredible.

[07:50:08] REP. MIKE BISHOP, (R) MICHIGAN: These two -- these two Capitol Hill -- Capitol Police officers are warriors. I've never seen anything like it before. Both of them had wounds and they were still firing.

MARQUARDT: Bailey and Griner were only at the early morning practice because they are the security detailed assigned to Congressman Steve Scalise, the team's second baseman but, more importantly, the House Majority Whip, a leadership job that comes with 24/7 protection.

BISHOP: I can't underscore enough how important the Capitol Police were. They were there within seconds and had they not been there I would not be standing here today. I'm sure of that fact.

MARQUARDT: More than 50 shots were exchanged before the attack finally ended, but not before the shooter, James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, wounded four, including Scalise and special agent Griner. Had they not been there, it could have been what several players have called a massacre.

REP. ROGER WILLIAMS, (R) TEXAS: There could have easily been 25 deaths or more today, but Officers Griner and Bailey prevented that and my family and I will be forever grateful.

MARQUARDT: Alex Marquardt, CNN, Alexandria, Virginia.


CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh. Thank God for those heroes. So, another top story that we're following, Russia claims that they may have killed ISIS leader al-Baghdadi in an airstrike. Up next, we talk to former CIA director Michael Hayden about whether this report can be believed.


CAMEROTA: Russia is investigating whether one of its airstrikes killed the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Russian media says there was a strike late last month that targeted a group of more than 300 ISIS terrorists near Raqqa. So, joining us now to talk about this and much more is Gen. Michael Hayden, CNN national security analyst and the former director of the CIA and the NSA. General, great to have you here.


CAMEROTA: Are the Russians to be trusted when they put out information like this?

HAYDEN: Look, it appears that they're not even sure that they got Abu Bakr in this airstrike and one thing that makes me a bit skeptical is the background noise that they suggest that this was a meeting of 300 ISIS leaders, and that's really hard for me to understand given how much pounding we've given ISIS over the past two years. So I'm a bit skeptical, but we'll see.

But, Alisyn, let me tell you one thing I'm pretty sure of. That strike suggests that the Russians and their Syrian and Iranian allies are now moving east into a space that formerly was an almost exclusive American combat zone against ISIS. I think this is the forward edge of the land rush to occupy Syrian land after the fall of ISIS.

[07:55:29] CUOMO: What is that -- so, help us understand that a little bit better for people who are new to this conversation. If Russia is moving east they're spinning it as "see, we do want a fight against ISIS." And look, they would have their own self-serving reasons to do this beyond optics of what they're doing with Assad and the U.S. because in the Caucasus region there they have their own ISIS problem. But what does that movement mean to you in terms of American interests?

HAYDEN: Sure. So, obviously, this isn't a Russian interest but, Chris, to be candid, they haven't done much of this since they arrived in Syria a year and one-half ago. I think what we're seeing now is a fear on the part of the Russians, the Iranians, and the Syrians that the Americans and their friends will occupy the eastern Syrian desert and make it very difficult for the Iranians to resupply the Syrian regime and Hezbollah in Lebanon. So I do think that the core motivation here, particularly the Iranians, is to make sure the Americans or American friends don't occupy land that will make it difficult or impossible for the Iranians to do what it is they want to do, which is -- which is to shore up their friends in the region.

CAMEROTA: General, let's talk about the ongoing Russia investigation because President Trump has just tweeted about that in the last couple of minutes. He says, "After seven months of investigations and committee hearings about my 'collusion with the Russians' nobody has been able to show any proof. Sad!"

You, of course, know well these intel chiefs -- the heads of the intel agencies who are going to be speaking with Robert Mueller, but what about that? I mean, we heard that from beyond the president that the investigations in Congress, not Robert Mueller's, who's been doing this for less than a month -- but in Congress it's been going on quite some time and they haven't proven any collusion.

HAYDEN: Well, at least according to the public record we don't have anything that I would call evidence. But again, Bob Mueller's investigation is the one that'smore well-resourced. It's the one I think we're going to count on to get to the bottom of whether or not there was passive or active collusion or no collusion at all. And you mention now that these intelligence leaders are going to talk to Director Mueller's team. I don't know Sen. Coats very well but I know Mike Rogers and I really know Rick Ledgett, the former deputy director at NSA. These are all honorable and honest men, so they're going to answer these questions fully and truthfully and that could but only help the investigation get to the actual truth.

CUOMO: How damaging to the institution is this line of criticism by the president? He's not just saying I didn't do anything wrong, there's nothing there. He's attacking the process. He's attacking the special counsel. He's calling the people who were involved in this bad, and there's an irony with this latest one. You tell me if I'm wrong, General, but it seems like the only way we'd know right now if they proof of collusion is if it leaked --

HAYDEN: Right.

CUOMO: -- and I thought that the president didn't want any leaking. He seems to be encouraging it with this tweet. But is it damaging to the institution and to the process, and does that matter?

HAYDEN: It is damaging and there's been a tactic, and approach, and attitude coming out of the White House not to argue the data but to try to delegitimize the messengers perhaps on the other side. And, Chris, I've got to tell you it is damaging to the American intelligence institution that the leaders of American intelligence have to be in this kind of situation. Now, they're going to testify truthfully. They're all big kids. They'll handle this very well.

But you realize this is all triggered by the president's phone calls to these individuals and someone should have told the president that nothing good could come out of contacting these folks who really cannot satisfy what it appears that he was asking for and has now put them in this circumstance where they have to testify and distract them from their really important work.

CAMEROTA: General Hayden, always great to talk to you. Thanks so much for being on with us.

HAYDEN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We're following a lot of news this morning so let's get right to it. ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to your new day. It is Friday, June 16th, 8:00 in the East. And we do begin with breaking news at this hour because Russia claims it may have killed one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Russia's Defense Ministry says it is now investigating whether an airstrike took him out in Syria.

CUOMO: Now, there are a lot of reasons to be skeptical of this report, and even Russia is going slow on this. Now, there have been multiple reports of al-Baghdadi's death in the past that turned out to be not true.