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Bannon Eyes Takeover of GOP After Candidate Win in Alabama; Representative Steve Scalise Returns to Capitol Hill After Shooting; Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired September 28, 2017 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: At that congressional baseball practice three months ago. A pretty extraordinary day for him and the country. You'll hear from him live in just a moment.
HARLOW: A pretty great morning in Washington, D.C., as you see members of Congress and the public waiting for Steve Scalise, one of their own, to come back to the House floor for the first time in three months. Of course in mid-June he was shot and severely wounded during the middle of his congressional baseball practice. He went under numerous surgeries and really intense recovery after that, but he tweeted this morning, I think we might have it, a picture of him looking out from the Capitol, "I'm back." So we will bring you his remarks live from the floor as soon as they begin.
[10:35:07] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: In the meantime, more politics. When he was elbowed out of the White House a little more than a month ago Steve Bannon put the world on notice, he said I've got my hands back on my weapons. He made clear he was going to use them against the establishment and this week he helped Roy Moore win in Alabama over an incumbent supported not just by the Republican establishment but also by the president himself.
Joining us now "Bloomberg Businessweek" reporter, CNN political analyst Joshua Green, the man who wrote the book on Steve Bannon. He's got a cover story out on him tomorrow.
Josh, thanks so much for being with us. Look, you know, Dana Bash reports that Steve Bannon is looking for retribution against Republican campaign operatives who -- you know, who worked in the Republican primary in Alabama. What's going to happen going toward?
JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, basically Bannon told me for this piece, he said my focus now after Moore's blowout win is on recruiting candidates to take over the Republican Party. So yesterday the morning after Moore's win, Bannon flew from Alabama to Colorado and essentially started interviewing insurgent candidates for future Republican primaries in places like Nevada, Arizona, Mississippi, Tennessee, to try and run the same play that he just ran in Alabama with Roy Moore.
HARLOW: You know, you wonder, though, if this is going to make the president side with Steve Bannon a lot more and not listen to his own advisers in the White House, that remain in the White House, even though Bannon is out, because they're the ones, Josh, who told him go with Luther Strange, go with Luther Strange. He did. Strange lost. Moore won in Alabama. And he went to bed that night, quote, "embarrassed and pissed" according to an official close to the president.
So does this mean that he trusts Bannon more on the outside than people on the inside of the White House in terms of who to back?
GREEN: Well, I think -- I think what he learned from the Alabama race was that he -- whoever advised him to endorse Luther Strange, whether it was Jared Kushner or whether it was Mitch McConnell or other folks in the White House, that was very bad advice and had the effect of humiliating Trump. Because not only did the candidate that he flew down to Alabama to hold an event for and endorse lose, he was really blown out and blown out by a candidate backed by Breitbart and the populist wing of the party which I think is really where Trump's heart lies, but now that Bannon is out of the White House and some of his allies were pushed out, too, I don't think they have quite the same access to advise Trump on politics that they did.
And we can see the results in this Alabama race. So I think one of the interesting questions going forward is, you know, if Bannon is able to recruit candidates to run against Republican incumbents, which I think he will be, does Trump weigh into these races and if he does, does he go with the Bannon candidate or does he go with the McConnell candidate?
BERMAN: What's the answer to that question, Josh? I mean, what is the president's current relationship with Steve Bannon?
GREEN: Well, I know they still talk from time to time. That's been reported in a number of places, I think. I don't know -- I don't know how close they are. Bannon still says -- he told me, you know, he's going to war for Trump, not against him, but if you look at what he did in Alabama, he certainly went to war against Trump's chosen candidate and beat him.
So I'm not exactly clear what their relationship is, but I do know that Trump is very unhappy about the way things went down in Alabama and I would imagine would be less inclined to go out and put his neck on the line to support a candidate who might lose in a Republican primary.
GREEN: The problem, though, for Trump and the White House is that it would be unheard of for a sitting Republican president to endorse someone other than the Republican incumbent in a race if, in fact, he weighs in with an endorsement. So Trump has smashed through a lot of political norms, but one that he hasn't yet is endorsing an insurgent candidate who's running against an incumbent Republican which would be I think very upsetting to Mitch McConnell in the congressional Republican caucus.
BERMAN: He's sort of did it in Arizona with Kelly Ward and Jeff Flake. But took a step back or two. We'll see.
All right. Josh Green, thanks very, very much. Appreciate it.
HARLOW: Majority whip Steve Scalise back on Capitol Hill today. His first time back since he was shot and severely injured at that congressional baseball game three months ago. He will speak soon on the House floor. You'll see it live right here. Stay with us.
[10:43:46] BERMAN: All right. Live pictures from Capitol Hill, great expectations for a great moment for the House majority whip Steve Scalise, returning to Capitol Hill this morning for the first time since he was shot in June. He is due to speak very shortly inside the House of Representatives and he could walk by this place you're looking at right now.
Let's go to Phil Mattingly who joins us live from Capitol Hill.
A very, very emotional moment, Phil.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, no question about it. If you think back three months ago particularly in the first couple of days in the wake of that shooting, during a practice for the congressional baseball game, things were very touch and go. Staff didn't know how Congressman Scalise was actually going to end up. There were a lot of concerns about the depth of his injuries, the damage that had been done. They noted internal organs were hurt.
You could just look in a snippet from a "60 Minutes" interview that will be running on Sunday, guys, Congressman Scalise said very frankly they needed to put me back together. That's how bad the damage was internally. There was no head's up that he was coming back to the Capitol today but I can tell you lawmakers have been waiting for this moment since the June shooting.
And guys, I think interestingly enough the fact that he's coming back at this time, a very key time in the House as they look forward on legislative opportunities, I'll tell you when lawmakers started to get the sense that he was on the upswing, that he was out of kind of a bad place, was when he started participating in conference calls.
[10:45:03] And as his role in the House, he is the one who basically gathers the votes for them to be able to move their agenda forward. And all of a sudden he started calling in to their weekly whip meetings and started asking where the votes were. What he needed to do. Could he make phone calls. That was kind of the trigger point for a lot of people as to when they knew Congressman Scalise was getting back into a better place.
But still, everybody knew and was fully aware it was going to be a very long process, the rehabilitation was going to be difficult, arduous and lengthy, and the fact that he is back today, as you noted, will be speaking on the House floor, should be walking through soon, if he -- if I dive out of the way it's for the best of possible reasons, because he's coming back in.
And guys, I'll note that it's not just Republican House members that are here, obviously the entire House will be in there. I've also seen multiple senators walk in as well to welcome him back. So yes, when it comes to Capitol Hill obviously there are plenty of days where everybody is mad at one another and maybe things aren't on the right track but this is a very good day. There's no other way to put it.
BERMAN: We saw the majority leader walk by the other camera, Kevin McCarthy going by, perhaps Steve Scalise going by very, very shortly, Phil. Any sense what he will say when given the chance, what subjects he wants to address?
MATTINGLY: Look, I've reached out to staff. They're saying, you know, pay attention to the floor, just let the words speak for themselves. If you look back to what happened three months ago, it's difficult to describe how shaken his colleagues were by that moment. How vulnerable they all felt. The reality of one of their own facing this. And I think also you think about the capitol police officers that were wounded as well, a staffer who was also shot, a lobbyist who was also shot in the chest, Matt Mika.
All of whom have recovered. The big question now is the unity that was called for at that time, very poignant speeches by Speaker Paul Ryan on the House floor, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on the House floor as well, really calling on the chamber to come together, to try and go away from the kind of politics that have been so almost poisonous over the last couple of weeks. I think you'll hear a lot about that. That is certainly going to be a focus going forward.
BERMAN: All right. Phil Mattingly for us on Capitol Hill. Stand by. We will come back to you very shortly.
Again waiting on Steve Scalise, his first trip back to the Capitol, a triumphant return after being shot in June. Stay with us.
[10:51:42] BERMAN: All right. Live pictures of the Capitol right now. We are waiting on the House majority whip Steve Scalise to return to the Capitol. He is there. He will speak on the House floor very, very shortly. This is his first trip back since he was shot in June.
HARLOW: Meantime NFL player Michael Bennett challenging all Americans to treat people a lot better. He sent that message last night during a town hall with Anderson Cooper right here on CNN.
Andy Scholes has more on "Bleacher Report." Good morning, Andy.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. Good morning, Poppy. Today's "Bleacher Report" brought to you by the new 2018 Ford F-150. And as you said, Anderson Cooper moderating that town hall last night on "PATRIOTISM, PLAYERS, AND THE PRESIDENT," and Seahawks star Michael Bennett had a strong message for everyone in the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BENNETT, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS DEFENSIVE END: Well, I would like to challenge every American that's watching this show to treat people better. That's really what it's about. It's about treating people like human beings. That's the first step. The first step is to recognize and see somebody as an equal being when you recognize them. It's no way that a person, a woman should feel less human than a man. There's no way that a black person should feel less human than a white man. Everybody should be seen equal.
HINES WARD, CNN SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR: It starts with the parents. You know, my mom always taught me to treat people -- treat others like you want to be treated. You know. If you do that in life good things are going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: Well, after 16 seasons at Louisville Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino has been placed on indefinite unpaid administrative leave after his basketball program was targeted in a federal investigation into alleged fraud and corruption in college recruiting.
On Tuesday 10 men including a top Adidas executive and four college assistant coaches were charged with bribing young athletes to influence their choices in schools, shoe sponsorships and agents.
This is the third scandal Pitino has gone through at Louisville. Two years ago a woman alleged that an assistant hired her and other women to strip and have sex with Louisville recruits and players. Pitino's lawyers say he did nothing wrong, calling his apparent firing a, quote, "regrettable rush to judgment."
The Chicago Cubs heading back to the postseason to defend their World Series title. The Cubs beat the Cardinals last night to clinch the NL Central. It's the first time the team is going back to the postseason three years in a row since 1906 to 1908. Way back then. They won back-to-back titles.
The Twins also popping some champagne bottles last night as well as they clinch the second American League Wild Card spot. Minnesota the first team ever to lose 100 games and then make it to the postseason the following year.
Finally Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson found a very special way to spend his first NFL game check.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DESHAUN WATSON, HOUSTON TEXANS QUARTERBACK: I really appreciate you all. So I wanted to give my first game check to you all to help you all out. Some type of way. Here you guys go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much, Deshaun.
WATSON: No problem.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I give you a hug?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.
WATSON: No problem.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: That's Watson giving his $27,000 check to three Texans cafeteria workers who were affected by Hurricane Harvey.
And guys, Watson has always been all about giving back because just 10 years ago, former running back Warrick Dunn who played in the NFL for over a decade he actually built Deshaun Watson's family a house through Habitat for Humanity.
[10:55:01] BERMAN: I saw that picture of Warrick Dunn and Deshaun Watson, you know, pay it forward. An amazing, amazing story.
Andy, thanks so much.
SCHOLES: All right.
HARLOW: All right. A mountain of shipping containers, literally 9500 of them, filled with food, water, medicine, all of these vital supplies for the victims of Hurricane Maria, just sitting there in the port of San Juan. Not getting to the people that need them.
BERMAN: FEMA administrator Brock Long just spoke to CNN's Kate Bolduan. We'll play that interview in just moments.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: The chair wishes to mark the return to the chamber of our dear friend and colleague from Louisiana, Mr. Steve Scalise.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
RYAN: Our prayers have been answered. His bravery and his family's strength have been such an inspiration to this House and to the people it serves. America is grateful for this moment.
The chair now proudly asks for what purpose does the gentleman from Louisiana seek recognition?
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R), MAJORITY WHIP: To speak out of order, Mr. Speaker.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
SCALISE: What emotions.
(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)
RYAN: The gentleman is recognized for as much time as he may consume.
SCALISE: Wow. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You have no idea how great this feels to be back here at work in the people's House.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
SCALISE: As you can imagine these last three and a half months --