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Seven U.S. Sailors Missing after Destroyer Collision off Japan; Scalise Remains in Critical Condition at D.C. Hospital; Congressional Leaders Calls for a Change in Tone; Interview with Rep. Francine Rooney; Judge Declares Mistrial In Bill Cosby's Criminal Case; Trump Hires Additional Outside Attorney; Trump Tweets Take Aim At Russia Investigation. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired June 17, 2017 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome back. This is the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thanks so much for watching.
We're following breaking news on Bill Cosby. A little more than an hour ago a judge declared a mistrial in Cosby's criminal case. It happened when the jury came to the judge after just one hour of deliberations this morning telling the judge they were hopelessly deadlocked and unable to agree on a unanimous verdict.
You're seeing pictures of Bill Cosby earlier today. The comedian had been charged with three counts of aggravate the indecent assault and despite the outcome the prosecution now vowing to retry the case.
CNN's Brynn Gingras is following the story for us right now. We heard from the District Attorney Kevin Steele who said while they're going to reassess, he's also vowing that they will retry this case.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. He had a lot of comments saying this is an important case and that's why it does need to be retried. You know, it speaks for a lot of the cases out there, a lot of victims out there.
And he said while he was disappointed, of course, with the verdict, he was grateful for how much effort, how much consideration jurors put in. Remember, they came back an hour after they started deliberating today, but this is now for those jurors it was six days or almost six days of deliberations, 53 hours.
That's a lot longer than they sat through for the entire trial, Fredricka. But as you already told your viewers what happened today, I want to give you a timeline. Everyone was called back into the courtroom around 10:00s this morning.
The judge was handed a note from jurors and it said that, quote, "We, the jury, are deadlocked on all accounts." Everyone inside the courtroom was told that the jurors were deadlocked and then jurors were brought in.
And the judge went through each of them, polled each of them, and said, asked are you -- you know, is this your decision and they all were in agreement on all counts of this aggravated indecent assault, three counts against Bill Cosby.
It's important to note the judge rather had some words also for the jury thanking them. He said probably one of the more courageous acts, the selfless acts that I've ever seen in the justice system. I feel bad for you all.
Also mentioning do not feel like you've let the justice system down. So certainly they had a lot of consideration here, but it sounds like this isn't over, certainly from the DA's perspective, they will retry this case.
WHITFIELD: All right, Brynn Gingras, thank you so much. In the courtroom in Norristown, Pennsylvania, when each of those jurors was polled Jean Casarez had her firsthand account. She's there outside the courtroom.
We heard the pledge coming from the district attorney saying he will move forward. Is there going to be an opportunity to hear from any of these jurors as to their decision, how they came to the conclusion?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the judge said that they could speak to this press, but they could not discuss the deliberations he told them. What the vote count was, what their arguments were, what was said within that group of 12 because those are secret proceedings and you cannot discuss it.
You know what Brynn just told you that's exactly what I witnessed firsthand in that courtroom. I watched the jurors come in. We had already been told that there was a deadlock and that there would be a declaration of a mistrial.
As I watched them come in, I didn't see any emotion on their face. They were are sort of stoic, maybe on the sad side, but stoic. But I saw a male juror, young male juror, as he walked in look straight at Andrea Constand, and it was a very strong look.
One of kindness, and then he sat and then once they were all seated I saw a female juror on the end who was one of the closest ones to Andrea sitting in the prosecution's side she just looked straight at her.
So this was a jury that I think had emotions, they have to have emotions after 52 hours of deliberation, but they also held them inside and the judge made them stand up one by one, he asked them a very simple question, he said I just want a yes or a no.
Were you hopelessly deadlocked in this jury? And each one said yes. Yes, your honor. Yes. They were quiet. Not bold and strong. Quiet and subdued, but they all said yes.
[12:05:11]And the judge said that he had profound gratitude for them. I mean, I think the most emotional person in that courtroom was really the judge. The passion that he had for the jury that they kept going and kept trying and he said that's justice.
What you did in that deliberation room for all those hours, that's justice. And he said he will never ever forget them and with that they stood up and they were dismissed.
WHITFIELD: And we just heard from the DA that it would be that judge, Judge O'Neill, who would once again proceed over the next trial if, indeed, the prosecution does move forward. Jean Casarez, thank you so much outside the courthouse there in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
We're also covering reaction from all sides to the stunning news of this mistrial in the Bill Cosby criminal trial. In the last hour I spoke with Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents several women who have also accused Bill Cosby of aggravated indecent assault and here is some of her response to today's mistrial.
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY, REPRESENTS SEVERAL COSBY ACCUSERS: I think one big problem in the current trial that just ended was that the prosecution wanted to call what we call 13 prior bad act witnesses, in other words other accusers, and the court only allowed him to call one, that's my client, Kelly Johnson, who was very brave in testifying.
Now that there's going to be a new trial, I'm hoping that the court will allow more prior bad act witnesses, more accusers, to be able to testify so that the jury can take into consideration what their allegations are as well.
And I say to Mr. Cosby, it's way too early to celebrate, Mr. Cosby because round two is coming and justice may be just around the corner.
WHITFIELD: So you feel fairly confident if there is, indeed, another trial that it will be the discretion of the next judge to potentially allow 13 witnesses that, you know, 12 of which that this judge did not allow and that might apply for a different footing of the case moving forward?
ALLRED: I think it will change the case if the court, whomever the trial judge is, does allow more accusers to testify, because it could tend to prove, and this is what the prosecution argued when it asked to be allowed to put on 13 witnesses, it could tend to prove what we call absence of mistake.
In other words, that Mr. Cosby, if the jury believes he did drug women and then sexually attack them when they were incapacitated, that he knew that they would not be able to consent if they were incapacitated as a result of drugs.
And that he had a common scheme and plan in doing so, and that is really important. Under Pennsylvania laws the court could have allowed more accusers to testify, but declined to do so. Did not state why not. He did not state why only one would be permitted. WHITFIELD: Is it your feeling that your client, Kelly Johnson, or perhaps even Andrea Constand who helped bring this case, will want to go through this again in another trial?
ALLRED: I haven't had an opportunity to speak to Kelly yet, but she's a very courageous young woman and so was her mother who testified and I know that Andrea is also a very courageous woman. So my expectation is that they are subpoenaed, that they will testify.
But I'll let Andrea speak for herself and I'll confirm that with Kelly but I'm sure she will always cooperate with law enforcement. That's who she is. Everybody should do so.
I want to say to any other sexual assault accuser out there, whether they're accusing Mr. Cosby or anybody else, never give in, never give up, report to law enforcement, get yourself a private attorney to advise you, and remember, there can be justice in this type of case.
WHITFIELD: Well, is it your view that the outcome of this case, whether is a retrial or not, might impact other cases, including that of the libel case against Bill Cosby involving actress, Janice Dickerson, and the case you're representing, do you see that this hung jury sends a signal or potentially impacts those other pending cases, civil or otherwise?
ALLRED: It does not. I believe it does not. Because in other words, the lack of a verdict either acquittal or conviction, does not give us the answer to what would happen in the second criminal trial.
[12:10:08]I will say this, there is a lower burden of proof in a civil lawsuit. In other words, we don't have to prove as much in a civil lawsuit, we don't prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, as is the burden of the prosecutor.
We need only prove our case by a lower standard, that's by a preponderance of the evidence or by clear and convincing evidence, if we're seeking punitive damages and those are lower burdens of proof, not beyond the reasonable doubt which is up here for a burden, much lower.
So it's always possible, for example, in the case against Mr. O.J. Simpson where there was an acquittal in that criminal trial, but there was a finding of liability.
In other words the civil plaintiffs against him, the estate of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, were able to prevail in the civil case even though there was an acquittal in the criminal case?
WHITFIELD: All right, Gloria Allred, Linda Kirkpatrick, thanks to both of you, Ladies. Appreciate it.
WHITFIELD: All right, straight ahead, the president of the United States and first lady are making their very first visit to Camp David today, but the investigation into possible obstruction of justice is deepening in Washington and now the president is lawyering up. We'll discuss his strategy next.
WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. President Trump is adding a high-profile Washington lawyer to his defense team amid the expanding Russia investigation. Attorney John Dowd once led the investigation into the Pete Rose gambling scandal for Major League Baseball.
This as the tension between the Justice Department and the president are at an all-time high. The president tweeting, quote, "I am being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director. Witch hunt."
Joining me now, Joseph Borelli, a New York City councilman and Trump supporter, Maria Cardona, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, CNN political commentator, David Swerdlick, also the assistant editor of "The Washington Post" and in Los Angeles, Steve Hall, CNN national security analyst and retired CIA chief of Russia operations. Good to see all of you.
All right, so David, let me begin with you. The president, you know, has added another outside and prominent Attorney John Dowd to his team to deal with this investigation. What does this say to you?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What it says is that -- and both sides have added legal heavy hitters to their team. I mean, by sides, I mean both the White House and the special prosecutor's team have really top lawyers on both sides suggesting that we may be getting closer to an obstruction of justice charge. We don't know that yet, but that is one of the indications.
And that both sides are taking his very seriously. But if you look at that tweet that you put up a second ago, Fred, I think it just shows the position that all of the folks are in, particularly right now, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he comes out with this memo on May 9th, setting out the case that Director Comey was bad for leadership and morale at the FBI.
That he didn't say fire him but was used as a pretext by the White House for firing him, then a day later, President Trump goes out and tells Lester Holt no, this was his decision, he was thinking about the Russia probe, now with that tweet, the president is saying, actually no, this guy presumably referring to Rosenstein, told me to fire Comey and now he's overseeing an investigation. It's really getting to be a very convoluted messy situation.
WHITFIELD: So it's kind of a game of tennis, you know, with this chronology of what was the inspiration behind what, who is to blame, et cetera. The president's frustration with the Russia investigation is showing, and he's showing it by way of these tweets.
And this tweet on Friday saying, "After seven months of investigations and committee hearings about my collusion with the Russians, nobody has been able to show any proof. Sad."
So Joseph, you know, why do you believe the president wants to show his frustration publicly by way of tweets? It does seem like this would be advantageous for him, particularly legally as he's now lawyering up.
JOSEPH BORELLI, REPUBLICAN COMMENTATOR: Well, I disagree. I think Twitter more than any rally or consultant or surrogate or anything he had during the campaign it was Twitter that actually engaged him with the most voters who ultimately voted for him to become the president. But I think the president's right to be frustrated.
WHITFIELD: But isn't it also by way of tweeting which is kind of getting him in trouble, meaning now he's got this, you know, constant track record, his words, and it is assisting in the view of obstruction of justice and whether, indeed, you know, he should -- whether the investigation should, indeed, intensify?
BORELLI: Well, no. I don't think he should go into hiding because I think for the most part he's right about this being a witch hunt. As I was saying we've had six or seven months of this talk about Russian collusion and to date no evidence has been produced. This has been investigated by Houses of Congress. This has been investigated by every journalist right outside the newsroom.
WHITFIELD: The investigations are not over. That's the point. The investigations are ongoing, right, and investigation to lead to see if indeed there is obstruction of justice or collusion or anything else?
BORELLI: The investigation isn't over but the narrative has been shattered with the testimony of James Comey. I mean, that's -- that was clear from the moment he testified.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: How is that been shattered on the contrary? Everything that Donald Trump has done has been to the downfall of his own arguments. Look, I think one of the hardest jobs in probably the world today is to be a lawyer for Donald Trump.
So I commend these folks who are joining his team, but unless they have the power to bind his little finger so he doesn't tweet anymore it's going to be a more challenging job moving forward.
[12:20:01]And Donald Trump is his own worst enemy when it comes to things like this because he says one thing one day, perhaps to a reporter, and then on Twitter he just completely, you know, declares that moot because he says another thing.
And it is -- you know, he tweets by the seat of his pants whatever he's feeling at that moment, and, you know, I'm sorry, Joseph, but you might say that his supporters actually like his tweeting.
But we have seen poll after poll that even his supporters would hope that he stops tweeting and actually focuses on what he promised to do for them when he was elected by frankly less than a majority of the country.
So there is frustration all around by the majority of the American people who do not support Donald Trump and do not believe that he should be tweeting and even by his own supporters who are waiting for him to get something done, and he's obstructing his own agenda.
WHITFIELD: So Steve, you know, you've heard all kinds of, you know, language about if self-inflicted wounds with the president and that, perhaps, even his tweeting about James Comey is now at the level some legal minds say at the level of harassing a potential chief witness.
Is he doing the same with Rod Rosenstein, by in one respect praising his recommendation and now using Rod Rosenstein as the potential fall guy and, you know, pointing fingers that he potentially is to blame?
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Fred, I'm not a legal guy. I'm a former intel guy, but I do have to weigh in on this whole issue of there's been seven months and we have yet to have any, you know, evidence whatsoever.
I mean, this is much more than a legal issue. This is much more than just, you know, who the president is saying, you know, this -- he's in charge of the witch hunt or he's involved somehow in an untoward fashion.
This is a counterintelligence investigation that could lead to much more serious legal crimes and legal issues and the problem with a counterintelligence investigation is that it takes so much longer, so much more complicated than just really any other legal thing.
So people who are saying, the evidence we've been doing this so long where is the evidence, they're just going to have to be patient. This is a complicated thing that involves much more than a bank robbery. It's intelligence. It's classified information. It's really hard to get to the bottom of it. It takes time.
WHITFIELD: So Steve, what is this potentially doing to the relationship between the president, counterintelligence, Department of Justice, I mean, all these branches of government and very important divisions, and is it further straining relations in Washington between these entities?
HALL: Well, the folks who do counterintelligence work both at FBI, CIA and other locations as well, they're professionals who have been around for a long time and, you know, they're -- obviously there's politics involved in a lot of this.
But these guys have been doing this work for quite a while and it doesn't help, of course, that the Trump administration came in with a lot of disparaging remarks about the intelligence community and those people who are taking a look at the counterintelligence side of this.
These folks have served under both administrations and professionals and they will do their jobs and at the end of the day we will get to the bottom of this. It's going to take a lot of time. WHITFIELD: So David, is this potentially the consequence of the president on the campaign trail and then, you know, the president after inauguration, saying some very disparaging things about the intelligence community?
SWERDLICK: Well, there is tension as Steve pointed out, I think is a partial outgrow of that. Look, there's -- excuse me, Joseph is right that no evidence has been produced thus far, that there's been any collusion --
CARDONA: That we know of.
SWERDLICK: Publicly, thank you. That there's been collusion or obstruction of justice, but the investigations are ongoing. On the other hand, there's no evidence or no suggestion that the intelligence community or the investigators are doing anything other than doing their job according to their oath of office which is to the Constitution not the president.
The idea that things this is a witch hunt by the president is sort of an out there allegation. This has to play out as Steve said, it could take months. It could take years because we simply don't know all the facts.
WHITFIELD: So Joseph, has does the president at this juncture get ahead of what has now appeared to be some real damage credibility? He has really damage political currency?
BORELLI: Well, I think he should resume and reassume a posture of offensiveness. I think this has gone on long enough where the Trump administration has allowed essentially this narrative of both collusion and obstruction of justice to take hold of nearly everything they have tried to do.
WHITFIELD: Do you mean more of the same? He should do more of the same?
BORELLI: No. I think he should be on the offense like we see him hiring a very, you know, competent and well-staffed legal team for his defense. We see those attorneys going out there and challenging what the investigators are potentially leaking. I mean to rich's point the thing that special investigators seem to be doing right now is leaking facts and tidbits of information about the case which are damaging to the president. That in itself is not right.
[12:25:09]CARDONA: He should actually pretend that none of this is going on and say, you look into everything. I am an open book. I have nothing to hide and if he does that, and then flips to trying to do to get something done for the American people, I think a lot of people would see -- would be like, look, he has nothing to hide.
Let's move forward and cooperate. What he's doing is he's acting exactly the opposite. Like he has everything to hide and not only that, but acting like he is a dictator that he is above the law, attacking the special counsel, attacking now the deputy attorney general, attacking even Jeff Sessions that we know he's frustrated with because he recused himself.
He doesn't believe that our system of justice exists for him as well and that's why you have Democrats and Republicans that are very concerned about this stance that he's taking pretending that none of this applies to him when, in fact, nobody is above the law and wait that he is acting, is actually one thing that's very concerning to a lot of people even his own supporters.
WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it right there. Maria Cardona, Joseph Borelli, David Swerdlick, Steve Hall, thanks to all of you. Appreciate it. See you again soon.
CARDONA: Thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: All right, also still ahead, the search now for survivors after a U.S. Navy ship collides with a merchant ship. The latest on the badly damaged destroyer and seven sailors still missing.
[12:30:51] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. Seven U.S. sailors remain missing, and the commanding officer was injured on board, a U.S. destroyer that was hit. It collided with a merchant ship off of the Japan coast.
The damaged warship took on water, but was safely towed back to port where divers are getting ready to inspect the damage. The collision knocking out key communication systems aboard, the destroyer and this collision taking place in the middle of night there, about 2:00 a.m.
We are hearing from President Trump on this collision and investigation. Trump tweeting "Thoughts and prayers with the sailors of the USS Fitzgerald and their families. Thank you to our Japanese allies for their assistance."
Let me bring in CNN Military Analyst Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona. Again, we are still trying to await details on how this happened. It was in the darkness in the middle of the night, 2:00 a.m.
We understand, Rick, where this merchant and this destroyer collided. This destroyer was not part of a aircraft carrier, you know, group while at sea. But we do understand this area of the sea is very crowded. How do you suppose something like this could have happened when there are detection devices on board, these destroyers or any U.S. naval vessel?
RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes. This is very puzzling. I've gone over the tracks of the ships and looked at all the systems on the destroyer. They certainly should have known that something this large was in the vicinity.
If you look at the size of these vessels, Fred, this commercial containership is four times the size of this destroyer. This is like a freight train hitting a Volkswagen. It is just a kind of -- FREDRICKA: Yes. And they cannot like just stop while moving. I mean
they're moving at incredible velocity and speed. And usually, these types of ships, whether it would be, you know, a merchant ship or a naval ship, they're able to tell who is in their proximity giving them enough reaction time.
FRANCONA: Well, the officer of the deck on the destroyer would have had access to all of the commercial shipping data. All of the commercial ships are required to transbond and they send this signal, their location out about every two minutes, so they should have been aware of its presence there.
Now, the fact that it was close is not a problem because that's a very congested shipping lane. The destroyer was on its way back into its home porting at Yokosuka. So, it's not unusual that there would be other ships in the area. But for the ship to approach that close would mean that there's some error in navigation on one side or the other. We don't know what has happened yet, and we'll only know that after, you know, the investigation continues.
But, the key thing is, is the destroyer looked like it did what it was supposed to do. First of all, it determined -- get the safety of the ship, and then start looking for the seven missing. And that's the heartbreaking part of this is we've got seven missing U.S. sailors and we've got to find them.
WHITFIELD: And then, when we look at the images that we're looking at right now, there's the merchant ship, you see the damage kind of at the nose there. And then when you look at destroyer and see the damage, you know, right below that kind of control tower.
The concern is that there's also damage below the waterline, which is what those images that we're able to see cannot reveal. And is there any way that investigators or, you know, rescuers will know whether the seamen that are missing, you know, were they on deck likely or were they below in the ship, and so it's a matter of getting in the ship to find them?
FRANCONA: Could be either. If you were on deck and got hit this hard, you'd be overboard. But when -- if you look at the construction of these container ships, under the water, in the front of the bow is a bulbous hold that it's called, and that would easily punch a hole in the hull of the ship.
So, the seven missing could have been in those spaces and either pulled out or still stuck in there. There's still divers trying to get in to that empty compartment, so they can figures out if there's people trapped inside in air pockets, something like that.
[12:35:04] WHITFIELD: All right, frightening situation. Of course, our hearts and prayers going out to the recovery, the rescue of those seven sailors still missing there at the -- at that destroyer. Thanks so much Colonel Rick Francona. Appreciate it.
All right. Coming up, the latest on Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise as he recovers from what doctors initially called an "imminent risk of death". Plus, new details about the shooter who nearly took his life on a Virginia ball field, next.
WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. We have new developments in the shooting, Wednesday, in the congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Investigators found out a lift on the shooter with the names of several Republican members of Congress.
[12:40:03] Meanwhile, House Majority Rep. Steve Scalise remains in critical condition at a hospital in D.C. CNN Correspondent, Ryan Nobles, is outside the Medical Center. So Ryan, what's the latest on his condition?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Fred, we learned a lot about the condition that Congressman Steve Scalise is in after that shooting on Wednesday, and it was pretty clear after sitting through this press conference that the congressman is lucky to be alive.
NOBLES (voice-over): Make no mistake about it. Congressman Steve Scalise is lucky to be alive.
JACK SAVA, DOCTOR OF TRAUMA, MEDSTAR HOSPITAL CENTER: When he arrived, he was in critical condition with an imminent risk of death.
NOBLES: The third most powerful Republican in the House was shot in the hip while on field at practice for the Republican congressional baseball team on Wednesday.
On Friday, Dr. Jack Sava, the head of trauma at Washington MedStar Hospital Center gave reporters a detailed account of just how serious the situation is.
SAVA: Injury, again, with around fragmented and did substantial damage to bones, internal organs and blood vessels. I understand he was awake on scene, but by the time he was transported by helicopter to the MedStar Trauma Center, he was in shock.
NOBLES: The report on Scalise's health came on the same day that we learned more about the state of mind of the shooter, James Hodgkinson. A law enforcement source and Representative Mel Brooks confirmed to CNN that a list of names, including some Republican members of Congress, was found on the shooter.
While none of the victims in the attack were on that list, Congressman Brooks' name was, and he was on the field that morning.
Hodgkinson was out of work and was described as increasingly desperate with his obsession and hatred of Republicans seemingly at an all-time high. Still, as the victims recover, the focus seems to be shifting away from the shooter and back on the heroes that saved lives on that day. Among them, Special Agent Crystal Griner, who's recovering from a gunshot wound to the leg and is reportedly in good spirits.
Speaking on behalf of the Scalise family, the congressman's chief of staff expressed its gratitude.
BRETT HORTON, REPRESENTATIVE SCALISE'S CHIEF OF STAFF: I want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts, the incredible amount of prayers and warm wishes that we have received since Wednesday's events.
NOBLES: Scalise still has a long recovery ahead. And while setbacks are possible, his doctors remain hopeful.
SAVA: I think that an excellent recovery is a good possibility.
NOBLES (on camera): And we also received an update in just the last few minutes on Matt Mika. He is the lobbyist that was on the field that morning and was shot twice on Wednesday. His family reports that he's undergone another surgery and that his prognosis is good. He is improving. But he also remains in intensive care. He is at George Washington Hospital, a different hospital from where we are this morning.
But, Fred, everyone heading in the right direction after what happened on Wednesday, but there's no doubt that this shooting has rattled Washington, D.C. in a big way. Fred?
WHITFIELD: All right, Ryan Nobles, thank you so much in D.C. And we'll be right back.
[12:47:26] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is in critical condition at the hospital in D.C. He was shot, Wednesday, while practicing for the congressional baseball game in Virginia. And party leaders say he is improving, but slowly.
Strong sense of unity was felt at the charity baseball game following the shooting, and it was -- it rather has sparked some in Congress to say a change in tone is overdue on Capitol Hill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: Tonight, we're all team Scalise.
PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: What we're trying to do is tone down the rhetoric, lead by example, and show people we can disagree with one another. We can have different ideas without being vitriolic, without going to such extremes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Let's bring in Republican Congressman Francis Rooney of Florida. Congressman, good to see you. Is it your feeling that you and your colleagues feel like you can build on this sense of unity that came from such tragedy?
REP. FRANCIS ROONEY (R), FLORIDA: Well, I hope this is a watershed moment, this horrible tragedy that could have been so much worse in fact. And while we continue to pray for Steve and the other people who were affected by it, we have to hope that this will be a call to civility and a call to put the policy discussions into some kind of perspective.
You know, we got to remember that not everybody is in the same situation we are. There are people that are disadvantaged, there are people that are having a tough time, people that maybe are a little mentally unstable. And so, when they hear some of the vitriol and harsh language from Republicans and Democrats, it perhaps leads them to take things into their own hands.
WHITFIELD: And so, what assurances can you give, whether it'd be to constituents in your district or, you know, Americans overall who are seeing that there is, you know, a lot of polarization for a number of reasons. And they are seeing it on exhibit, you know, by way of, you know, partisan politics. What kind of assurances do you try to give, you know, the voting American public that U.S. elected officials will be able to come together on issues and items and agenda items that are really important to the American people in their day-to-day lives, perhaps, from this day forward or just period?
ROONEY: Well, what I try to do in district 19 is engage our entire community to have -- we've had several large town halls, no halls barred, no questions prescreened or any of that kind of stuff, and try to keep it on the issues.
And I'll talk to anybody any time of whether it's about ACHA versus Obamacare, or whether it's about the Trump business or anything.
[12:50:05] Its important that everyone have the right to speak. What I want to say in these town halls is the first amendment was a great gift to the American people. It gives us the right to speak, but also the obligation to respect others' speech.
WHITFIELD: The president has a big ticket items that he wants to push forward. You know, repealing of Obamacare and replacing it with something else, you know, is another. But all of these taking place while the cloud over the White House continues to grow, perhaps, even darken.
In your view, is that standing in the way of any real progress on some of these big ticket items?
ROONEY: No. I'm encouraged by the fact that the Senate is talking about taking up the AHCA or their suggestions as to how to modify it. And so, we'll get to the finish line on health care hopefully pretty soon.
I was encouraged last week and I got the opportunity to attend the infrastructure permitting session of the Department of Transportation. And if anybody looks at that map, of all the little boxes that it takes to get a permit to build a road or bridge, you'll see that we've got some serious work to do in this country to carve out regulations and create jobs. WHITFIELD: You've got some lawmakers who wrote a letter, you know, to Mitch McConnell and, you know, Chuck Schumer who actually said, you know, they're tearing up this -- you k now, this GOP plan. If they don't believe in it, they don't believe that it will be beneficial for the American people, and they believe that lawmakers need to start at the drawing board. What's your reaction to that?
ROONEY: Well, I'd like to hear what they have to say because the AHCA has spun into a dismal failure. It's in a tail spin. The exchanges don't have any competitors in them. The deductibles on the policies that are issued are too high. The American people expect us to provide a solution, which is competitive and reasonably priced and gives them insurance that they can afford.
WHITFIELD: Now, as it pertains to the investigations, you've got the lawyering up, you see the president now has another prominent attorney being added to the list, John Dowd. The White House Counsel, Michael Cohen, is also lawyering up. The Vice President, Mike Pence, is also.
What is this doing to the White House, its agenda, its momentum in trying to work with members of congress? And is it also causing some concern of those on Capitol Hill who are now trying to distance themselves from the White House agenda as a result of the growing investigations?
ROONEY: Well, it would be a real shame to have this investigation become a source of distraction from the pursuit of the agenda of getting America back to work, getting the economy growing, and securing our borders and all that kind of thing. And so, there are all kinds of voices being raised right now on all sides, both Democrat and Republican.
And I'm just trying to keep my eye on the ball of the policy decisions that we need to act on, to get the country growing again.
WHITFIELD: All right, Republican Congressman, Francis Rooney, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.
ROONEY: Thanks for having me on, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Thank you. All right, tomorrow, on "State of the Union", Jake Tapper will talk about all of this with Senators Bernie Sanders and Marco Rubio. Be sure to watch that. That airs Sunday morning, 9:00 a.m. eastern right here on CNN.
But first, CNN has a new tech website. Here's a look at the reporting you can find there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Robocop is no longer just a character in a movie. This robot just joined the Dubai police force.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope you don't mind.
KHALID AL RAZOOQ, DIRECTORY GENERAL OF SMART SERVICES, DUBAI POLIC FORCE: It has a specific intelligence system. It can interact with the people. Most of the countries, people be afraid dealing with these officers. But as you know, these kinds of tools can promote all kind of walls between the human beings and the police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The robot won't carry a gun and can't make arrests, but people can use its touch screen to pay tickets and report crimes.
And there are plans for the next generation of Robocop to identify wanted people as well. But security is a concern, especially when it comes to the collection of personal information.
MOHAMMAD AMIN HASBINI, SENIOR CYBER SECURITY EXPERT, KASPERSKY LAB: We would love to believe that governments and big organizations are protecting our personal data. Even though, we've seen biometric solutions being bypassed with a picture, that's definitely something to worry about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Despite those worries, the Dubai police force is moving ahead with plans to put more Robocops alongside human officers.
ROOQ: We want to be the smartest police force in the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Its goal is reach 25 percent of its officers to be robots by 2030.
WHITFIELD: All right, for more on this and other tech news, visit cnn.com/tech.
[12:59:17] WHITFIELD: Hello again everyone and thank you so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
Hopelessly deadlocked after six days of jury deliberations, a judge declares a mistrial in a criminal case against Bill Cosby. The prosecution vows to retry the case. We'll take you live outside that Pennsylvania courtroom.
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