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Conflicting Messages; Healthcare Blockade; Trump Attorney: President is not under Investigation; Rubio: Trump Firing Mueller "Not Going to Happen"; Bodies of Seven Missing Sailors Recovered; Investigations Ordered Into Destroyer Accident; Aired 2-3p ET
Aired June 18, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY SEKULOW, CHIEF COUNSEL, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW & JUSTICE: The president is not under investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS SANCHEZ CNN HOST: Donald Trump's attorney is contradicting the president's own statements, and multiple media reports about whether the special counsel is investigating the president for obstruction of justice. Today, the president says this is all a distraction from his agenda. And after vowing unity and cooperation following a shooting that rocked Capitol Hill, senate democrats plan to bring operations to a standstill this week in an effort to derail the republican's health care bill.
Plus, a search for missing sailors ends in tragedy, their bodies discovered in flooded compartments of the "USS Fitzgerald" after it collided with a containership. We'll discuss the investigations that lie ahead.
Hey there. Thanks for joining us on this Father's Day. I'm Boris Sanchez. Fredricka Whitfield is off. We thank you so much for watching.
And we begin this hour with what else? News about Donald Trump, and the fact that he's not under investigation for obstruction of justice. At least according to his attorney. That statement flies in the face of the president's own tweets which reads, "I am being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director. Witch hunt." So, which is it?
Let's go to CNN White House correspondent Athena jones. Athena, Donald Trump's attorney says that this is all in a response to reporting that's out there in the media. Help us understand.
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Boris. This is complicated. Look, "The Washington Post" reported on Wednesday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the president for possible obstruction of justice.
On Thursday, the president took to Twitter to blast this idea. This new focus on obstruction of justice as phony, that is one of the words that he's used to describe the Russia investigation. Then a day later on Friday, the president took to Twitter again to announce his 32 million plus followers that shows that he is being investigated.
But a source familiar with the president's thinking said that he was only talking about these news reports. He wasn't saying that he had personally been informed that he was under investigation. Listen to how Jay Sekulow, who is one of the attorneys on the president's legal team explained this on "State of the Union."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Should we take that tweet from the president as confirmation that the president is under investigation?
SEKULOW: Let me be clear. The president is not under investigation as James Comey said in his testimony that the president was not the target of an investigation on three different occasions. The president is not a subject or target of an investigation. That tweet was in response to a "Washington Post" story that ran with five unnamed sources without identifying the agencies they represented saying that the special counsel had broadened out his investigation to include the president.
We've had no indication of that. The president was responding to that particular statement from "The Washington Post" again with five anonymous sources and again, without any identifying agency. No, the president is not under investigation and has not been.
TAPPER: So the president said, "I am under investigation" even though he isn't under investigation?
SEKULOW: That response on social media was in response to "The Washington Post" piece. It's that simple. The president is not under investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: But, Boris, of course it isn't that simple. For one thing after months of having White House officials telling us that we should take the president's tweets seriously, one of his lawyers is now saying the opposite and they are using outdated information to insist that the president is not under investigation.
They are repeatedly referring to now former FBI Director James Comey's telling the president on three separate occasions that he was not personally being investigated. Had that held true while Comey was still running the FBI, which he hasn't been doing since the beginning of May, so it's not at all clear that that information is still up to date.
I should mention that CNN has not confirmed "The Washington Post" reporting that the president is under investigation for possible obstruction of justice. But law enforcement sources have told CNN that Bob Mueller, the Special counsel, is gathering information and looking in to whether to open a full obstruction of justice investigation. So bottom line here is the president's own tweets, own words have complicated the situation and are raising a whole bunch of questions and of course, his 32 million Twitter followers might not get this latest response from his lawyer backtracking on what he said. So it's a complicated situation. Boris?
SANCHEZ: Yes, a lot of mixed messaging. Athena Jones, thank you so much.
Let's bring in the panel to discuss. CNN legal analyst and Bob Mueller's former special assistant at the DOJ, Michael Zeldin. CNN presidential historian, Timothy Naftali. And CNN legal analyst and constitutional, Attorney Page Pate. All join us. Gentlemen, thank you so much for spending your Sunday with us.
Michael, let's start with you. For several days now, we've been asking the president and his press corps if he is under investigation. We got no direct response until that tweet came out. But now it seems like there's a contradiction here, what do you make of all of this?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So it's not clear what to make of all this. It seems that the president's tweet is in response to the "Post" story that Mueller is interviewing people with respect to obstruction. So I think it's a visceral response we're getting from the president.
The lawyer Sekulow seems to be saying in legal terms we have not been informed by the special counsel's office through a letter which is the required form that we are a target of the investigation, so there's no legal designation by the special counsel that the president is a target. So you've that sort of nuanced difference between the president saying I'm the subject of a witch hunt broadly speaking his lawyer saying in narrow terms, but we've never received specific notification that we're a target or a subject of an investigation.
So these things are not necessarily in conflict but they don't answer the question of whether or not Mueller who's under the original mandate to look at obstruction is beginning to look at obstruction. And the indicators that might reflect that he is looking at it is, one, he's got Comey's testimony and Comey's memos, we know that. Two, we know that the people from the intelligence community who may have relevant information about the obstruction of justice, that is that they were told to intervene in the investigation are coming in for interviews. So those may reflect Mueller's process of beginning to determine whether or not there is an obstruction of justice inquiries worth pursuing.
SANCHEZ: Timothy, do you -- this is yet another instance of someone speaking for the president and saying don't listen to what he actually said. This is what he said. It seems like we're spending a lot of time interpreting for the president. Does he have a problem with communicating directly and sticking by what he says?
TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I remember hearing not too long ago that he was going to set up a war room to deal with the investigation. And it looks like there is no central communication strategy at the White House. It's interesting that the lawyer took the time to make the statement. Since the president has already established as far as the American people were concerned that he's under investigation.
By the way, it surprised me that he would be formally under investigation anyway at this point, because Mueller's team isn't ready. I mean, he just assembled them. It would be -- it stands for reason. It's going to take some time for the -- for those letters to go out.
The president jumping the gun is an indication that he anticipates being formally investigated. I think that's what I learned from it.
SANCHEZ: Sure. I want you gentleman to pause for a second and listen to Congressman Adam Schiff. He's ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He was on ABC News this morning. Listen to this.
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ADAM SCHIFF, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: If he should conclude that Rod Rosenstein's conduct may be culpable in some way, then I think he can't report to Rod Rosenstein and, yes, Rod Rosenstein would need to recuse himself but there's no way for us to know that at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Page, to you, if the president is under investigation for obstruction of justice, isn't it feasible that Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general recuse himself since it was his letter that the president continues to cite and saying that it was a factor in him firing James Comey?
PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST AND CONSTITUTIONAL: Boris, I don't think that's necessarily a requirement here. I mean, at best, Rosenstein would be a witness as to what the president may have told him, the memorandum he prepared and sent to Attorney General Sessions that was eventually forwarded to the president. But I don't think that necessarily presents a conflict.
Remember, Rosenstein is not the prosecutor here. Bob Mueller is the prosecutor. Mueller will prepare a report based on all of his findings, his complete investigation and basically turn it over to the deputy attorney general and the rest of the country. So ultimately, I don't think Rosenstein is going to be in a position to say yes or no about prosecution, and I don't think his involvement maybe as a fact witness will present such a conflict he has to recuse himself.
SANCHEZ: I want to you listen to this sound from Marco Rubio. He was on "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper this morning. He's talking about the investigation. Listen.
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TAPPER: Some of your senate colleagues as you know are concerned that President Trump is preparing to fire Mueller or Mueller and Rosenstein. How would you react if he did?
MARCO RUBIO, U.S. SENATOR: Well, first of all, that's not going to happen. I don't believe it's going to happen. And here's what I would say. The best thing that could happen for the president and the country is a full and credible investigation. I really truly believe that. If we want to put all this behind us, let's find out what happened, let's put it out there and let's not undermine the credibility of the investigation.
And so my view on it is, that's the best thing that could happen for the president and for the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Well, how sure is Marco Rubio considering -- Michael, do you considering that nobody expected Jim Comey to get fired.
ZELDIN: Well, so it was too bad for the president that Marco Rubio is not his lawyer, because that's very good legal advice.
The second point is, I don't think that the president has the legal authority to fire Mueller. Under the statute that governs their behavior, only the attorney general, in this case, Rosenstein, deputy attorney general because the AG is recused, can personally fire Mueller. So I think you have a process where the president is unhappy. He calls Rosenstein and says "Fire him." Rosenstein says the statute doesn't let me fire him unless there's cause and there's no cause. He says I'm ordering to you fire him anyway. Rosenstein says, "I can't do it. There's no legal basis for me to do it. I order to you do it. "I quit." Then it just goes down the succession line, then we go to the associate attorney general, have to have the same calculus to -- are they going to fire him on Trumped up reasons or are they going to let him stay his course? I just don't see that playing out well for the president under any circumstance so I can't see it happening.
SANCHEZ: Tim, to you. From historical perspective, what does it tell you that we're this far into the Trump administration and the majority of the conversation has to do with whether or not he's going to fire the people investigating him?
NAFTALI: Well, it says a lot about the Trump administration, because the president has shown himself already more than prepared to say "you're fired" to people around him that he's not happy with, and don't forget, this started with the acting attorney general, Sally Yates, and then we had Jim Comey. And then it was natural to assume that perhaps he would do the same thing to another person whose activities were hurting him politically.
Everybody who is speaking on record, publicly, who's close to him, is saying don't do this, don't fire Mueller. I believe these are ways of sending signals to him because I suspect, pure speculation, that he would very much like to get rid of Robert Mueller.
SANCHEZ: Important to point out. When I said the majority of the conversation is geared that way, it's by the president's design. He's the one that continues tweeting about the Russia investigation that we've heard from several aides and several sources that they've tried to get him to avoid doing that.
NAFTALI: It would be a disaster. It would be an absolute disaster if he attempted indirectly to force Mueller out. It took Richard Nixon a much longer time to force out the special prosecutor in 1973. This entire story is on caffeine. It's going much faster -- it may not have the same result and it may not have the same basis. But in many ways, this is a speeded up version of a political scandal we visited and experienced a long time ago.
SANCHEZ: All right. Tim, Page and Michael, we thank you again for joining us this Sunday. Have a happy Father's Day. We may see some of you again later on tonight. Thank you.
ZELDIN: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Still ahead, sounding the alarm. Democratic and republican governors warning the senate over its health care bill. Senator Bernie sanders weighs in.
Plus seven sailors killed. Now, questions are swirling around what happened moments before a navy destroyer collided with a Japanese merchant ship. That and more ahead.
SANCHEZ: The U.S. navy says it's recovered the bodies of seven sailors missing since an American destroyer and a merchant ship collided off the coast of Japan. Their bodies were found in flooded sleeping compartments of the USS Fitzgerald.
The commander of the navy 7th Fleet as the ship suffered significant damage but that the "Heroic efforts of the crew prevented the destroyer from sinking." CNN's Alexandra Field is in Yokosuka, Japan which serves as the home base of the "Fitzgerald." Alex.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The "USS Fitzgerald" is back in port a day after colliding with a containership, some three times its size. The damage described is severe, the worst of it can't be seen above the water line. The compartments below the ship found flooded. Investigations have been ordered into what went wrong and now the bodies of the missing servicemen who were aboard that U.S. destroyer have been found.
Divers went down there finding the bodies of those sailors inside two different sleeping compartments. We're told now that the sleeping compartments can hold about 116 crew members. The entire ship holds more than 300 crew members. The collision happened in the early morning hours on Saturday at the time when most of the crew were told would have been asleep. The impact is being described as a severe blow to the side of the ship, water pouring in at a very fast rate, according to authorities here representing the 7th fleet. They say it isn't clear how much warning the crew would have had, how much time they would have had to get out. We're also learning more about the survivors of this collision. We know that three people on board were medevac'd to hospitals. They were taken off the boat after that collision. One of them, the ship's commander. We're now told that his cabin was destroyed during the collision.
The commander of the 7th Fleet saying that the commander of that ship is lucky to be alive. He has not yet been able to speak to investigators about what went wrong on board. Alexandra Field Yokosuka.
SANCHEZ: Alex, thank you. I want to bring in retired Rear Admiral John Kirby. He's a CNN military and diplomatic analyst. And he's a former spokesman for the state department and the Pentagon. He joins me now from Washington. Sir, thank you so much for spending your time with us.
Let's start with the investigation. What exactly is happening right now, and how closely are they looking at the ship's commander?
JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: So what will happen now is the 7th Fleet commander will order what we call a jag manual investigation, a fact-finding investigation, who most likely put another admiral in charge of that because of the severity of the incident.
And then that team of investigators will comb through every bit of evidence. They will talk to every relevant witness. They will look every bit of recorded data and they will certainly look at all the operation of all the equipment, including the radar system during this and try to find out exactly what happened. They will probably create a timeline minute by minute in a 15, 20, 30 minutes or so whatever it was from the time those first two ships sort of saw each other out there to the moment they collided with the attempt to try to figure out exactly what happened and what decisions were made or not made that led to this horrible tragedy.
SANCHEZ: As you heard Alexandra Field say the bodies of the sailors were found in flooded compartments below the water level where the majority of the damage is. What does that tell you about the amount of warning time they got that there was a collision that was impending?
KIRBY: Well, I don't know. I think that's a great question that the investigators are going to try to uncover. I'm in no position to know that. It wouldn't surprise me though. It shouldn't surprise anybody that time of night where you're going to have watch standards who are operating the ship and driving it, but most of the crew, you could expect would be asleep at that time of day. How much time they had really is going to depend on whether that, how much time they knew right before the collision and could sound the alarm and then also how significant the blow was to the side of the ship.
Now, again, this containership was very large. It looked to me like from the images that it was heavily laden, which meant it had a lot of momentum, a lot of gross tonnage, so even at a slow speed, you could expect that it would do quite a bit of damage. It does look like there was quite a bit of flooding below the water line, and those spaces. They could flood pretty quickly because they're open sort of berthing compartments, berthing bays with lots of bunk beds in them. You can imagine it probably could have flooded very, very quickly.
SANCHEZ: We heard that there were heroic efforts made to keep the ship from sinking. How did it not sink?
KIRBY: The crew, in a word, the crew. I think when all is said and done, and the investigation is over, and all the stories can be told, I think you are going to hear dozens of stories of sailors, individually and as teams, working incredibly bravely and with unbelievable skill to save that ship. Damage control, fighting floods at sea is one of the things that every sailor learns from almost the day you join the navy. I certainly went through that kind of training and you go through a time and time again because it's so serious and every sailor aboard every warship is a fireman and every sailor aboard every warship is also trained to fight floods and I think in a word, honestly it's the crew that saved that ship.
And I also think it's important to point out our Japanese allies and partners who also were on the scene very, very quickly, Japanese coast guard who no doubt also helped save "Fitzgerald."
SANCHEZ: Heroic efforts, commendable efforts as well as we wish the best for those families that are mourning their losses.
KIRBY: That's right. And I think it's really important today. We need to remember that those families, there are some families and some unbelievable unspeakable grief right now and our thoughts and prayers need to be with them as well as quite frankly the rest of the crew and the rest of the families of "Fitzgerald" because those who perished, they were also friends of so many of their shipmates. In a navy crew is very much like a family and I can guarantee you they are all suffering today.
SANCHEZ: And we're profoundly grateful for their service. Admiral John Kirby, thank you so much.
KIRBY: My pleasure, thank you.
SANCHEZ: Next, it will not be business as usual on Capitol Hill this week if senate democrats have anything to say about it. Their plan to bring the GOP's efforts to a halt all in the name of health care.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE SANDERS, U.S. SENATOR: I am in favor of the American people, and members of congress doing everything that we can to defeat that horrific piece of legislation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: A bit of good news now. Congressman Steve Scalise is continuing to improve days after being shot at baseball practice. MedStar Washington Hospital upgraded the house majority whip's condition from critical to serious after he had another surgery yesterday. And last night a tweet came from Scalise's account "Steve is watching LSU baseball, rooting hard for a big Tigers win tonight and LSU came through winning that game beating Florida State 5-4.
Staying in congress, business in the senate could come to a screeching halt this week. Democrats are considering a dramatic shutdown to pressure republicans to open up the process surrounding the health care bill. They're upset the GOP is crafting the bill behind closed doors and shrouded in secrecy. Senator Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling for an all senators meeting this week.
CNN's Ryan Noble joins us now from Washington. Ryan, first off, how would the democrats even go about shutting down the senate?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Boris. It wouldn't be a complete shutdown but it's essentially they're threatening to use one of the few weapons left in their arsenal, employing parliamentary maneuvers to grind senate business to a halt unless they get, what they view is a fair and open vetting f this new version of the health care reform bill. Now, among the techniques they may employ, preventing committees from conducting routine business, even stopping committees from meeting for extended hearings when the senate is in session and this could make it very hard for republicans to schedule votes on bills that are even considered non-controversial, and it could keep nominees from the Trump administration from getting confirmed. That would create a glacial pace of work in the senate in a body that is actually already pretty slow.
Now, the goal would be to force republicans to open the debate on the health care bill which at this point has been done behind closed doors. All democrats, even some republicans have yet to see what is in this new bill, despite the fact that republican leadership is promised to vote before the July 4th holiday.
Now, this morning on "State of the Union" Senator Bernie Sanders, who is an independent but caucuses with the democrats has endorsed this move. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: We have an insane process. Insane. Here you have legislation which deals with one-sixth of the American economy, that's the health care situation, and there are Republicans who haven't even seen this legislation, and certainly no member in the Democratic caucus has.
What kind of process is it that when you deal with an issue that impacts tens of millions of people in this country, Republicans don't even have the guts to allow it to go to a committee, where we can have an open hearing, where questions could be asked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: This is by no means a done deal though. Democrats would prefer not to have to go this route, especially in the wake of unity displayed at the congressional baseball game after that shooting at a Republican baseball practice. As you mentioned, Boris, Chuck Schumer calling for an all senators meeting, but at the end of the day, Republicans have the votes. This is really a public relations battle, and Republicans are facing some pressure not just from their Democratic colleagues, but a group of seven governors, three of them Republicans, have sent a letter to Senate Republicans asking them to open up the process and make it a bipartisan one.
Their fear is that if this bill gets rammed through without any Democratic support, it will essentially just become another political football, and we'll be right back where we are if we get to a point where Democrats get in office.
So Boris, this debate has been under the radar over the past few weeks with everything happening with Russia and then in the wake of the shooting last week. It's going to be front and center, starting on Monday for sure -- Boris.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Quite a bit flying under the radar with everything that's going on. Ryan Nobles, thank you so much.
Let's bring back the panel to discuss, Tim Naftali, a CNN presidential historian and former director of the Nixon presidential library, thanks for sticking with us. Also with me is Zachary Wolfe, the managing editor of cnnpolitics.com.
Tim, let's start with you. The Democrats weighing the possibility of slowing down Senate business. Isn't that a bit of a dramatic move?
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I think part of this is signaling. As yet, I haven't heard that the Republicans have reached consensus on what this bill will look like. Part of the reason I suspect, again speculating here, that we haven't seen a bill that the Republicans themselves haven't decided what kind of bill they want.
By doing what the Democrats are doing right now, they're signaling to the GOP we are going to make it hard for you. We're going to make you own this piece of legislation. Be sure you want to do that. So the Democrats haven't done anything except signal. It's the GOP we should be watching because we have to see whether they have a consensus yet on the new bill.
SANCHEZ: Yes. And we've heard that Mitch McConnell has told the president that we'll have a vote by July 4th. It would be interesting to see if that actually happens. Zach, to you now, as Ryan correctly pointed out it's not just Democrats criticizing the GOP for holding these talks behind closed doors. Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski actually spoke up about this. Listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: Yes, I got a problem with it. If I'm not see a bill before we have a vote on it, that's just not a good way to handle something that is as significant as and important as health care. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: So if Republican senators are complaining about how closed this process has been, Zach, what is the likelihood that we see a more open discussion?
ZACHARY WOLF, CNN POLITICS DIGITAL: Probably not very. The reason I think Republicans are doing this so quietly is that they're trying to all get on the same page without a lot of you know, outside people complaining about this part or that part or making this part a nonstarter or that one.
So there is some sense I think if you want the Republicans to come up with a plan that they can all rally around for doing it quietly. The problem is that's not the way it's supposed to work.
And then if you think about the Obamacare -- the health law to begin with, it was Republicans back when they passed it who were complaining that Democrats were doing it very quietly. So if this feels a little bit familiar, there's a good reason for that. I just don't see the dynamic changing any time soon.
The clock is certainly ticking, if they are going to have any kind of vote before July 4th, you would think that we would have seen some kind of legislative text at this point but we haven't.
SANCHEZ: Yes, Zach is absolutely right, this is kind of like deja vu. Tim, now it's the Democrats that are acting almost as obstructionists.
NAFTALI: Well, the big question I think is why the rush? Why does this have to be done before the July 4th break?
SANCHEZ: Well, the president did say that on day one he was going to repeal and replace Obamacare.
NAFTALI: But it hasn't happened day one and didn't happen by the 100th day and the 144th day. This is the interesting question. Why do it this way? Because it's clear that the CBO number, that's the Congressional Budget Office number, may not be ready in time for this vote. There are all kinds of things that will make it harder for the Republicans to sell this bill this summer. Why the haste? I still don't understand.
[14:35:07]SANCHEZ: Yes, and Zach, Republicans aren't exactly getting a ton of help from the president in forming and going through this bill, especially when it comes to public support, right? There's a report out there he told them to make it less mean than the House version or rather the House version of a repeal and replacement of Obamacare was mean. How does he help this process instead of hurting it?
WOLF: Well, I mean, you know, that's an excellent question. I'm not sure how he can help this process. He never really had a fully formed health care plan, so it's not like he had a bunch of proposals, or requirements to go up there. That bill that he says is mean by the way, there was a huge fan fair when they finally were able to pass it on their second try.
I think he really just wants a win and that's perhaps part of the problem. He's not really concerned with the details. He has no investment in what exactly this bill does. He just wants it to happen, which is probably not how good policy is going to get made at the end of the day.
So I'm not sure he's going to help them. He could try to sell it, but his, you know, his approval rating is not such that I'm sure it would do much help if he went on a barnstorming tour around the country to sell a bill, but we haven't seen the bill yet so we're not sure what he would sell.
SANCHEZ: Tim, does he help the process more by staying out of the way?
NAFTALI: You mean does he help the process by not tweeting? That may be the answer for a lot of issues facing the president. At this point, good policy is tough to do. It's sausage making. Haste is a bad thing, and the president should let the process work naturally. So he shouldn't push it.
SANCHEZ: All right, Tim Naftali, thank you again. Zachary Wolf as well, we appreciate your time on this Sunday. Don't forget to check out cnn.com/politics for the latest on all of this and more.
Still ahead, 12 jurors, 52 hours of deliberations, and no decision. So what's next for Bill Cosby and the cases against him? His lawyer sits down with CNN for an exclusive interview you will not want to miss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe, though, that Bill Cosby drugged and assaulted women for decades?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Bill Cosby's attorney says he is worried for his client's health as they deal with the aftermath of a mistrial and possible retrial in his sexual offense case.
In an exclusive interview with CNN, Attorney Brian McMonagle called the trial unfair because the accusations were years old and he says that his client once known as America's dad still swears he is innocent. CNN correspondent, Jean Casarez, has a one-on-one interview.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The judges declared a mistrial. Is that a win for you? Is that a loss for you? BRIAN MCMONAGLE, BILL COSBY'S ATTORNEY: Any time you start a trial and end a trial with your client being presumed innocent it can't be a loss. Having said that, there are no winners here. We tried a case for a week. The jury deliberated for 50-some hours without a verdict, but as I've said many times before, as long as you can leave that courtroom with your client presumed innocent then I'm satisfied.
CASAREZ: This was a drug-facilitated sexual assault case. Did you pause at all?
MCMONAGLE: I never pause when I have the opportunity to defend someone like him, who maintains his innocence who from the beginning has assured me that I'll be able to represent him and do so with dignity, and I'm a trial lawyer.
My job is to go in and defend people who are accused of a crime and require that the prosecution be put to the test. No matter what's written, no matter is what is said outside of a courtroom I require people who are going to make accusations to be put to the test and I welcome that opportunity here.
I will say to you, though, that I was always a big Bill Cosby fan. I'm from Philadelphia. I was born there and Bill Cosby means a lot to a lot of us in that area so when I got that call, I said yes.
CASAREZ: Had you ever met him before?
MCMONAGLE: Never. Never met him, never seen him before, but I probably watched him on TV more than I care to admit. I go back to "I spy" so I go way back but I've been a fan of Mr. Cosby's forever and now I get the opportunity to call him my client and my friend.
CASAREZ: Do you believe, though, that Bill Cosby drugged and assaulted women for decades?
MCMONAGLE: I don't, because he swears to me he didn't.
SANCHEZ: That was Jean Casarez with an exclusive interview. The prosecution has vowed to retry Bill Cosby within the next few months.
A school teacher, a farmer, and a math whiz all running for office in France. Could the new party led by French President Emmanuel Macron be starting a revolution? We'll discuss.
SANCHEZ: We're getting a stunning look at what Portuguese officials are calling the greatest wildfire tragedy of recent years. Take a look.
(VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: At least 61 people were killed as this massive fire raced through Central Portugal. It spread so quickly that some victims were burned to death in their cars as they tried to get away. The area's mayor says that many villages were completely surrounded by the fire and there were simply not enough firefighters to fight these flames.
It is Election Day again in France, and President Emmanuel Macron is hoping a big win will give him what he needs to push his agenda forward. Turnout was lower than expected as French voters cast ballots in the second round of parliamentary elections. Still Macron's centrist party is expected to take a majority in the lower house, clearing the way for Mr. Macron to push his political revolution ahead.
Senior international correspondent, Jim Bittermann, joins us now from Paris to discuss. Jim, nearly half of Macron's party has never been involved in politics before, similar to some would say the Trump administration. What would a big win here mean for France?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's going to be a real renewal politically. A lot of these people were new faces, like you say, half have never held political office before. Macron himself never had run for election before running for president.
And there's a lot of new faces in the national assembly, if it goes the way we think it's going and estimations out now, he's going to have a very clear majority, as much as 64 percent of the assembly will be people of his camp. There's two parties involved there.
[14:50:00]But they will be people who will vote along for his programs and the kind of reforms he's talking about. So it's going to be a landslide. He'll be able to govern quite easily as far as getting bills through the parliament.
The question is, how much pushback from the streets because already some of the left wing parties here are opposing the kind of economic reforms that he's talking about -- Boris.
SANCHEZ: Jim, in the past few years here in the U.S., divisions in Congress partisanship has made it extremely difficult to get things done. Do you think France might be on track for the same kind of gridlock?
BITTERMANN: No, I don't think so. This majority that Emmanuel Macron has won tonight will easily allow him to pass the kind of reforms he's talking about. There will be no gridlock in the parliament.
What there will be however, that's always sort of the third or fourth force here in French politics is what happens out on the streets, kind of pushback one sees, strikes and demonstrations that are pretty common here, sometimes they have defeated in the past.
And in fact, the last three presidential administrations have been defeated in their attempts at reform by street demonstrations and strikes, which have represented opposing force. The parliament, however, is going to go along with Macron as far as we can tell, if he gets this, the kind of majority that people are talking about and estimating this evening. It will be a clear majority so he'll be able to pass whatever he wants to pass -- Boris.
SANCHEZ: All right, it's something we would keep an eye on. Jim Bittermann reporting for us live from Paris, thank you.
Still plenty to get to. We'll be right back. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
SANCHEZ: We're following breaking news right now. Shots have been fired at a resort popular with western tourists located in the capital of African country of Mali. CNN correspondent, Robyn Kriel, joins us now. Robyn, what do we know about this attack?
ROBYN KRIEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What I can tell you is that gunmen we understand have somehow laid siege to Le Compremond, which is an upscale, luxurious resort from what we can tell on its website, beautiful pools and mountainous area east of Bamako, the capital of Mali.
Now we know very little about what is happening at this resort. We can tell you that the United Nations has put out messages that there is this attack going on. The E.U. training mission has also put out information that this attack is going on.
We can also tell you, Boris, that the U.S. Embassy informed U.S. citizens of a possible increased threat of attacks a few weeks ago on June 9th, they said to avoid locations with poor security measures including hotels and restaurants.
SANCHEZ: Robyn, there have been attacks like this not far from this area in Mali before, one of them in 2015, right?
KRIEL: Yes, November 2015, 22 people including the attackers died in that attack and that was at the Radison Blue, a western as western as you can get as an American owned group in the capital Bamako, 22 people killed. Islamist militants stormed the hotel early in the morning when people were having breakfast, gunned down a number of people and keeping people hostage, the hostage situation was quite brutal. Number of people killed in that.
That was attributed to (inaudible), which is an offshoot of the al Qaeda and Islamic Maghreb Group. This stemmed from March in 2012 essentially Islamic rebels took advantage of a chaotic situation in the north of the country after a military coup.
They carved out a northern section of Mali and called it until their own and wasn't until France and eventually U.N. peacekeepers went into that part of the country and took control of it that they were able to establish what normalcy again. But you have seen a number of attacks like this mostly directed at foreigners, oftentimes directed specifically at French nationals.
SANCHEZ: And Robyn, do we have any indication that this offshoot of al Qaeda may have played a role in this attack?
KRIEL: Really no, not at this point. We have no idea what is happening on the inside of this resort. As far as we know gunshots rang out at the upscale resort to the east of Bamako, the capital of Mali, it's not the first time that this happened. There's also been a number of kidnappings, Boris, in this region.
There's also been other hotel and cafe attacks in the nearby countries (inaudible) that was also attributed to (inaudible). At this stage, though, we do not have any idea who is behind this attack, which group is behind this attack or if it is a group and not just a robbery gone who horribly wrong.
We are waiting. We do know that there are journalists outside the security cordon. They are saying that there is smoke coming from the venue.
SANCHEZ: We are going to keep an eye on this breaking news. Robyn Kriel, thank you so much for the expertise. We have much more ahead in the NEWSROOM and it all starts right now.
I'm Boris Sanchez. Fredricka Whitfield is off today. We thank you so much for joining us. It is confusing at best, a reversal from the president's legal team.
One of his attorneys saying Donald Trump is not under investigation for obstruction of justice though the president himself tweeted that he is under investigation.
Here is that Friday tweet, quote, "I am being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director. Witch hunt."
But today Jay Sekulow, a private attorney hired by the president disputed that statement. I want to show you part of his interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on "STATE OF THE UNION."