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Trumps Adds High-Profile Lawyer As Russia Probe Heats Up; Tensions Mounting At Justice Department Over Russia Probe. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired June 16, 2017 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking News, President Trump lawyering up, adding another high profile attorney to defend him in the Russia probe, he's not feeling the heat. Plus, could Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein be called as a witness in the Russia investigation, and would he recuse himself, details breaking at this our. And this news just breaking, the gunman who attacked Republicans at baseball was found the list of other GOP congressman, were they targets? Let's go "Out Front."

Good evening. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett. "Out Front" tonight, breaking news, CNN is learning that President Trump has hired another high profile lawyer to defend him in the Russia investigation that has embroiled his White House.

On board tonight, Attorney John Dowd who once led the investigation into the Pete Rose betting scandal for Major League Baseball. This as Trump need a stunning admission today, to acknowledge in an angry tweet that he is personally now under investigation in the special counsel Russia probe Here's the tweet.

"I am being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director. Witch hunt."

Trump referring there to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in that tweet. CNN is also learning that there's tension at the highest levels of the Justice Department tonight, this is Rosenstein contemplates whether he will become a witness because in the Russia investigation because of his role in James Comey's firing.

Will Rosenstein be the second top official at the Justice Department to recuse himself in the Russia investigation? Our Evan Perez has more on ha story ahead. But first, let's begin with Jeff Zeleny who is out front at the White House. Jeff, what can you tell us about this new attorney that the president just hired?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Kate. We are learning that the president is adding more firepower under his legal team. You mentioned John Dowd who led the Major League Baseball investigation in the Pete Rose but he also defended Senator John McCain back so many years ago in the Keating Five scandal.

Now, all of this is coming as the Russia investigation is widening, and the president said today he believes he's a target.


ZELENY (voice-over): President Trump saying publically for the first time today that he is under investigation as the probe of Russia's influence in the 2016 election expands. He also assailed the integrity of the Justice Department official overseeing the investigation.

"I am being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director", the president said, "Witch hunt". That man is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein a veteran of the Justice Department received the president's praise.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's highly respected, very good guy, very smart guy, and the Democrats like him, the Republicans like him. He made a recommendation. But regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey.

ZELENY: But it's the firing of FBI Director James Comey that investigators are now exploring, to determine whether the president was trying to obstruct justice. In the Oval Office today, the president huddling with his aides before traveling to Miami to announce new restrictions on travel and business with Cuba.

TRUMP: We will enforce the embargo.

ZELENY: But the president's agenda overshadowed by the Russian investigation as he's lashing out on Twitter. "After several months of investigation and committee hearings about my collusion with the Russians, nobody has been able to show any proof. Sad!" A White House official told CNN the tweets were less spontaneous than a strategy by the president of taking matters into his own hands.

"This is a political fight and he's going to fight it", the officials said. But the Russia cloud threatening to engulf the president is far more than political. CNN has learned members of the Trump transition team received the memo, urging all volunteers and aides to preserve any records relating to Russia, Ukraine and investigation in the top Trump campaign officials in the inquiry. All of this comes two years to the day after Mr. Trump jump into the Republican primary.

As he return to the White House tonight, now six months into his term, questions not even imagined back then weigh on his presidency.


ZELENY: And one of those questions tonight, is why is he continuing to weigh in so much on social media and other places. Kate, the answer to that, according to one person close to him that I talked to today, he's simply trying to discredit this investigation as that goes forward. We'll see if he's tweeting this weekend as he makes his first visit to Camp David.

BOLDUAN: Very big question there, we shall see what happens at about 6:00 tomorrow morning. Also breaking -- thanks so much, Jeff. Also breaking tonight, the Russia probe causing new tension among top officials at the Justice Department. Evan Perez broke the story just moments ago. He's is "Out Front" in Washington right now.

So, Evan, we know that the president is -- has been at least stewing, if not angry at Rosenstein, what's happening inside the Justice Department?

[19:05:03] EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I got to tell you, Rod Rosenstein is also getting some of the same pressures inside the Justice Department. Look, one of the issues here, Kate, is that there's a lot of displeasure by people surrounding the Attorney General Jeff Sessions of the fact that Rod Rosenstein is the one who brought in Robert Mueller, the special counsel.

Lot of people didn't feel like that was necessary, at least not yet, and a lot of people, especially at the White House and on the fifth floor where the attorney general sits believe that that -- the Mueller has actually made a lot of things a lot worse for everybody.

Since then, since Mueller was hired, you've seen a lot more people have to hire lawyers, and they feel that this is added some of the headlines and a lot of more pressures that are hearing that they hearing from the president. The president is obviously extremely angry and he's telling the attorney general and the attorney general in turn is letting that flow down to Rod Rosenstein.

BOLDUAN: At this point, Evan, what is the likelihood that Rosenstein recuses himself?

PEREZ: Look, he knows that once he becomes a witness, that question is going to be in front of him. He has not yet consulted the Ethics officials at the Justice Department to determine whether or not he needs to but that time is coming, Kate.

I think we know that Robert Mueller is looking at this question of whether or not the president interfered with this investigation. And when we get to that place, Mueller will have to tell Rod Rosenstein whether he's going to be a witness or not and then, he will he facing that decision. We'll see whether that comes next week or in the next couple of weeks.

BOLDUAN: Willingly or unwillingly, Rosenstein has got in the spotlight on this Russia investigation right now.

PEREZ: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Evan, thanks.

PEREZ: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: "Out Front" tonight, Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, she sits on the House Judiciary Committee. Congresswoman, thanks so much for coming in.

I want to get your reaction to the president bringing on first on this new, another high profile attorney to defend him in the face of the Russia probe. What's your take?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, I think it's either the counsel of the White House staff or there are two sides to Mr. Trump. He realizes being --- having been in business, that this is very, very serious. An obstruction of justice charge is very serious, and then on the other side he just can't contain himself.

But, Kate, let me just briefly say to you, an obstruction of justice charge can simply be the impeding of a justice action that is that is ongoing by communication, by letter, when you know that it's ongoing and you attempt to obstruct the administration of justice. It is clear with Director Comey's testimony that the president engaged in that action. If as Mr. Comey said, under oath, that he in a meeting of which he and the president were alone, he asked them to layoff, corroborated by testimony by the Attorney General Sessions under oath as well.

BOLDUAN: If it is clear there was obstruction, it's something that's obviously under investigation. The president says absolutely not. Others say it's not even possible. I want to get to that in one second.

I want to get your take, though, on Evan Perez's reporting right then about growing tension in the Justice Department right now over whether Rod Rosenstein should be recusing himself from any part in this investigation. Do you think he should?

JACKSON LEE: Well, first of all, Rod Rosenstein is a professional and one of the reasons that he yielded to and thought it was appropriate to hire a special counsel, because he did submit a memo. That allegedly Mr. Trump read but then, of course, went on national television and said it was about the Russian thing.

I think what is important is Rod Rosenstein as a professional, assess where he might be in this proceeding. I believe the Special Counsel Mueller, as he proceeds, will make it very clear whether it's appropriate that Rob Rosenstein recuse himself. And if he feels it's appropriate under the law, the Department of Justice is a very particular agency. It deals with laws by statute and it adheres to two documents, the statutory documents and the constitution.

BOLDUAN: And your committee on oversight of course over the Justice Department.

JACKSON LEE: absolutely.

BOLDUAN: Do you think it's inevitable that he's going to have to recuse?

JACKSON LEE: Well, I think that as the proceeding proceeds he will determine that, but I think he might just have to recuse it, because he's right in the middle of it. He appointed a special counsel. He wrote a memo. He's been engaged in discussions. He's been the point person allegedly] since Sessions recused himself. He has been the point person that may put him in the midst of the storm. I think frankly he might just do that.

BOLDUAN: The other part of the president's tweet, his statement on with Twitter is, he's gearing a call out and basically attacked Rosenstei. When he said, when he wrote that, do you -- you read the tweet. Do you take that as a threat to Rosenstein?

JACKSON LEE: Well, I take it as being very ugly. And, Kate, might I just pause and wish those who were wounded this past week, my colleagues and staff and others, a speedy recovery and thank you to the Capitol Hill police. I don't want sure, certainly want Steve Scalise to have a speedy recovery.

[19:10:02] I think, let me tell you two points. I think Speaker Ryan has a role in this, and that is there had been complete deadening silence and an avocation of House Judiciary Committee responsibility, beginning investigation.

Yes, I do think that when you mentioned with Trump and the very person who told me to fire, you're pointing to someone in particular. That person was doing their job either by way of responding to the president's request or the attorney general's request, make an assessment of a particular employee, because Director Comey was an employee of the Department of Justice.


JACKSON LEE: All of that can be answered by a Judiciary Committee opening up an investigation and Speaker Ryan should allow the air to be cleared by the only committee that would have any responsibility in addressing the president's actions.

BOLDUAN: Well, it's Speaker Ryan or the chairman of the committee.

JACKSON LEE: Well, let me just say this. The speaker controls the House and an engagement with the chair of the committee that we need to proceed as Chairman Grassley independently proceeded in the Senate. He is going to do an obstruction of justice --

BOLDUAN: Do you think he's blocking the committee from investigating?

JACKSON LEE: Well, I would ask the question, can we go forward if he is not, then the chairman should go forward to look at these elements. We now have a new tweet that says it's a witch hunt from the very person who told me to fire him.

BOLDUAN: Let me --

JACKSON LEE: There are too many entangled elements that there should not an investigation.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you about this, what prompted this statement. You've brought up obstruction of justice. The president, the statement from the president was that, these reports that he's under investigation for obstruction of justice.

Here's what former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had to say about the idea. Listen to this.


NEWT GINGRICH, (R) FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Technically, president of the United States cannot obstruct justice. The president of the United States is the chief executive officer of the United States. If he wants to fire the FBI Director, all he has to do is fire him.


BOLDUAN: You might not like it, but does Newt have a point?

JACKSON LEE: First of all, let me be clear, investigations determine whether there has been an obstruction of justice. I gave the definition of it and it can be quite simple. I disagree with the speaker. I served when Speaker Gingrich was in, and he can express his views. But the issue as it was in the Nixon Watergate proceedings was not the break in. it was the coverup.

It is not the question of whether the president can or did fire one of his employees. It is the engagement to stop an investigation or to impede it and that is asking Director Comey as he's evidenced by under oath which of course further investigation will be illuminate to, can you layoff this individual, can you layoff this investigation? That's impeding an ongoing investigation and that's impeding the Administration of Justice.

So Mr. Gingrich is incorrect in his analysis because he's looking at the wrong incident. We're looking at the incident where Director Comey was directed to stop, to layoff. That meets the standard of an Administration of Justice involvement or violation, and it warrants investigation.

Now, let me be clear what the special counsel does is different from what a committee would do.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Also worth pointing out that Newt Gingrich did vote in '98 for impeachment of Bill Clinton for one of the charges being obstruction of justice. Great to see, thank you so much for coming in., Congresswoman, I appreciate it.

JACKSON LEE: Thank you for having me.

BOLDUAN: Of course. "Out Front" next, breaking news, more Trump associates luring up toning and the Russia investigation heats up. Plus, the close friend of Rod Rosenstein is out front with us. Will the man he's known for 15 years step down from this investigation? His take. And breaking news, a chilling new development, a list was found on the man who shot Congressman Steve Scalise, was it a hit list?


[19:17:42] BOLDUAN: Breaking news, at least two more prominent associates of President Trump are hiring outside counsel for the Russia investigations. They are Michael Cohen, Trump's long time personal attorney and advisor, and former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo. CNN is also learning House investigators are planning to meet with the digital director of the Trump campaign. Jessica Schneider is "Out Front" with much more on this.

So, Jessica, are these clear signs that the investigation is focussing more and more on Trump's inner circle?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It seemed that way, Kate. And really, we've gotten to the point where even the president's own lawyer has to hire a lawyer.

Michael Cohen is President Trump's long-time personal attorney. He's now hired Attorney Steven Ryan. He will help deal with investigative requests and that's because was subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee two weeks ago.

Cohen does tell CNN that he has committed to cooperating and has agreed to testify on September 5th. Then, there's former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo. He's hired a Dennis Vacco, a former New York attorney general and former U.S. attorney. A source does tell the FBI has contacted Caputo in connection to the Russia investigation.

And then finally, there's Brad Parscale. He is the Trump campaign's digital director and we know from source that House Intelligence Investigators, they are planning to call Parscale as a witness as that probe on the House side digs into any possible links between the Trump digital operation during the campaign and Russian operatives.

So like you said, Kate, really digging into the president's inner circle, even the president's own attorney now lawyering up, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Lot of moving parts even on this Friday, thank you so much, Jessica, I really appreciate it.

"Out Front", with me now, Norman Eisen, he is a former ambassador, of course, and also White House Ethics Czar under President Obama and Robert Bonsib, a former federal prosecutor who has known Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for some 15 years. Gentlemen, thank you so much for coming in. I appreciate it.

Ambassador, your take on this news, more people in Trump's inner circle getting lawyers, even one of Trump's lawyers is, wow, getting a lawyer. What do you make of this?

NORMAN EISEN, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE CZECH REPUBLIC, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Kate, thanks for having me. And we've seen this movie before. This is the scandal cycle that periodically seizes Washington. And number one, it is going to be a tremendous distraction for the White House and for Congress as they try to do their other business.

[19:20:06] Number two, Donald Trump is in genuine legal jeopardy here. Don't believe what Speaker Gingrich or my old Criminal Law Professor Alan Dershowitz or anyone else says, Donald Trump has -- there are indications as an initial case that he's committed an obstruction of justice. So there's genuine jeopardy. Third and finally, the people around Donald Trump are being drawn in. So fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride ahead.

BOLDUAN: It already has been. And there are genuinely a variety of opinions of the obstructions of justice charge as we see every night.

Robert, if I can turn with you to the other breaking news story tonight, the tension building in the Justice Department over whether Rod Rosenstein will recuse himself from the investigation. You go back with him. Do you think he needs to take himself out of this investigation sooner rather than later? What's your take?

ROBERT BONSIB, HAS KNOWN DEPUTY AG ROSENSTEIN FOR 15 YEARS: Well, I was a professional colleague of his for some period of time, and he has got a very good sense of ethical antenna, if you will. And the decision is to whether -- but he's also not afraid to be in the mix of things.

So he's in a position where I think he probably realizes it's important for having a person in that position who has strong integrity, has a strong backbone but also knows when the circumstances, if they change, and put -- would put him in a compromising position, then he'll know that's the time to walk out the door.

BOLDUAN: Ambassador, where do you land on this? Do you think he needs to recuse himself now? Do you think it's inevitable or not?

EISEN: I agree with the deputy attorney general in his judgment that he expressed this afternoon that he does not need to recuse himself at this time. We'll see how the case develops but at this point, it's just too early for him to have to step aside from the investigation. So as a matter of ethics, of legal precedence, I think he's made the right decision and we'll just see how things developed but no recusal at this time.

BOLDUAN: Robert, can I also ask you another kind of development with Rosenstein Overnight. There's a statement that he put out in attacking anonymous sources. And jut -- I'll read you just one part of it, we put it out there. It says Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous officials. People saw that statement as really quite strange that he put it out. Why did he do it, do you think?

BONSIB: Well, it is unusual for Department of Justice officials to comment in any way on ongoing investigations. And I guess anybody's guess is as good as anybody else's, but in reading it, it sounds like it's an efforts to say let's take the step back. Let's let the professionals do their jobs. Don't rush to conclusions. Don't rely on this social media, anonymous sources, fake news, whatever you want to call them, all these information circling around out there with nobody having an idea of what the basis is, what the reliable is or what the agendas are. So it may have been an effort simply to say let us do our job, don't pay attention to the noise.

BOLDUAN: But, Ambassador, as Robert points out, it gets to an investigation that is under way. I'll advise to me, have you seen anything like this before?

EISEN: Well, Rod Rosenstein has the worst boss in the world ultimately in Donald Trump. And I --

BOLDUAN: As an ethics judgments?

EISEN: I have not -- it's a human judgment. I have no doubt. I had difficult clients over the years and, you know, I have no doubt that there was some expression from the White House whether probably came through Don McGahn, the White House Counsel, maybe through the Chief of Staff over there, Reince Priebus. Can you say something about these leaks? And so, the deputy attorney general did the best he could to please those difficult bosses while not unduly compromising.

The weirdest thing about it, Kate, was the suggestion that some of the officials may not even be American officials, the hint that it was coming from a foreign sources, that was odd. So I think that I would not have advised the deputy attorney general to do. If he's going to do something, do something much more vanilla. But, you know, someday we'll find out how that sausage was made. It was not a very tasty one.

BOLDUAN: I don't even know what to think up from that one, Norm. I will say coming from our reporting, from White House officials, it just went out ironically, anonymously source White House officials who would not be named.

[19:25:10] They do say that that statement was not coming from the White House and that he did not receive pressure from the white house to put that statement out. I will leave you with that tonight. Thank you so much, gentlemen, I really appreciate it.

"Out Front" next, President Trump won't stop tweeting about Russia, but is President Trump, his own best messenger or his own worst enemy at this point? And breaking news, the man who shot Congressman Steve Scalise and others was found with a list of names on him, who is on that list? What does it mean?


BOLDUAN: breaking news, President Trump beefing up his legal team tonight adding high profile lawyer John Dowd who led the investigation into the Pete Rose betting Scandal for Major League Baseball. And despite the president's powerful legal team and their concerns about the president's tweeting habits, the president again today took matters into his own hands. Athena Jones is "Out Front."


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump speaking with NBC just days after firing FIB Director James Comey.


TRUMP: When I decided to just to do it, I said to myself. I said, you know, this rusher thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story.


JONES: Acknowledging the investigation into the possible collusion between his campaign was on his mind when he gave Comey the boots. Trump's own words creating political and potentially legal problems for a president already feeling under siege, obsessed with what he views as the media and his critics' obsession with the Russia investigation.

Three days after letting Comey go, Trump tweeted what sounded like a threat. James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.

Another problematic statement that raised questions still unanswered about whether the president has recordings of his Oval Office conversations.

Comey says that Trump's tweet prompted him to ask a friend to share with a reporter the former FBI director's notes about a private conversation he had with the president February 14 about national foreign ministers advisor Michael Flynn. That Comey stating the president told him he hoped he could end the investigation into Flynn.

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel, so I asked a close friend of mine to do it.

JONES: And it worked. Robert Mueller was named special counsel a week later. Mueller is now reportedly investigating the president himself for obstruction of justice, a move that has further infuriated Trump, prompting a Twitter tirade today: I am being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director. Witch hunt.

His ire aimed at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who appointed Mueller. A White House official said the Twitter rant was a sign the president was, quote, taking matters into his own hands. But while the president has embraced social media as a tool for going around the news media, his own supporters in Congress have cautioned him about his Twitter habit and his running commentary on the Russia investigation, arguing that he is his own worst enemy.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You may be the first president in history to go down because you can't stop inappropriately talking about an investigation that if you just were quiet would clear you.

JONES (on camera): And the president has a long history of making controversial and unsubstantiated claims on Twitter and off. You'll remember in March, he accused President Obama of having his, quote, wires tapped in Trump Tower, a claim the former president and intelligence and law enforcement officials strenuously denied.


BOLDUAN: Athena, thanks so much.

OUTFRONT with me now, former Republican senator and former presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, and Jennifer Granholm, the former governor Michigan.

Great too see you, guys. Thanks for coming in.


BOLDUAN: Senator, let me ask you this first. The president has made it very clear that he believes right now this is more of a political fight than it is a legal one. Is he right?

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Well, it's both. It certainly a political fight and has been a political fight. And certainly, the folks up in Congress as well as here in the media are having a field day. That's going to have a big political impact.

But it does have legal ramifications also and that's the real cautionary tale for the president and what a lot of Republicans are reminding him that it's not just like it was during the campaign where Twitter was very effective in throwing off your opponent. You're now dealing with some serious people who are out to get you.

One of the reasons I was very much against this special prosecutor. The special prosecutor, particularly this one, who has a career of being an FBI get your man, I mean, we got to get the man, now he's assigned to get the man. And whether that's President Trump or somebody else, he comes with an agenda. And it's not -- I don't think it's an unbiased one. I think it's one that he's going to find something. That's a real problem in my mind and I think it's one that I think the president is underestimated as he continues to tweet.

BOLDUAN: But, Senator, everybody says he had unimpeachable credentials. Do you think he's biased?

SANTORUM: Nobody has unimpeachable credentials. You all -- you come with baggage. He's baggage, and I'm not saying it's positive or negative baggage, he's an FBI guy. His job is to go out and find the bad guys and dig and dig and dig until you can -- and go after them. If Bob Mueller was a famous defense lawyer, I'd feel very differently about this investigation, because then you have the idea of -- well, you know, we're going to find out and have a little bit more of a balancing.

I think Mueller is like every other FBI director, is to find something wrong, whether big or small, his job is to find something wrong.

BOLDUAN: Governor, in the end, though, legal versus political, this could very well come down to a political decision, members of Congress deciding whether or not to try and impeach him.

[19:35:04] With that in mind, if you're looking at it from the White House, from the president's case, why not fight it out? Why not take to Twitter? And why not think this is a total political fight like he's treating it?

GRANHOLM: I mean, it is a political fight but his political strategy, Kate, has not been working for him. I happen to have today -- I don't know if you can see this. I'm trying to make sure you can.

BOLDUAN: Not even close.

GRANHOLM: Today's Real Clear Politics graph of his approval and disapproval numbers. Oh, boy, they start off really great on January 20th. But his disapproval numbers continue to go up and his approval numbers continue to go down.

If tweeting was a good strategy, you would think that would not good the trajectory of that chart.

Let me just say, Rick, I like many others are seeing you guys do this, discrediting of a man who has given his life in law enforcement to finding the truth. If he is as unimpeachable as many Republicans say, then he will exonerate the president, if he can't find anything. But this notion of going after him personally, going after Rosenstein, now, what are you going to do? Is he going to fire Mueller, fire Rosenstein and just continue to go down the list of people in the Department of Justice?

This is -- if he's really not guilty, then he will be happy to be exonerated by somebody who was out to find the truth.

SANTORUM: Look. I think Rosenstein did a great disservice to the president by doing the special counsel. I think he should -- look, you get appointed the number two person at Justice, you take the heat.

BOLDUAN: Who is -- his service is, too -- to the American people.

GRANHOLM: That's right true.

SANTORUM: That's true. Service to the American people, do your job, don't throw it to someone else as a, quote, special prosecutor. Do your job and handle the investigation properly under your jurisdiction and not somebody else.

GRANHOLM: So, Senator, the White House and the president have said over and over many a time that he is his own best messenger. Here's a little taste. Listen.


TRUMP: I'm a good messenger, you have to say, right? I've been good.


But it is you. Greatest I've seen.

I'm a messenger. I'm a messenger.

I'm your messenger. Just a messenger. Doing a good job. I'm a messenger. I'm only a messenger, remember. I'm only a

messenger. But you have to say I'm doing a pretty good job as a messenger.


BOLDUAN: The approach got him to the White House, no question. Senator, do you think he's still his own best messenger?

SANTORUM: What was the message? This message wasn't, you know, doing battle with all the Washington insiders as much as it was delivering a message about what he's going to do for the American workers, what he's going to do on trade and immigration. And, you know, he had a great event in Florida. It was after moving event, a terrific event, but nobody's taking about it because he's tweeting about something that's about the people that he says he was messaging for.

Mr. President, you talked about --

GRANHOLM: OK. Exactly right.

SANTORUM: You talked about be their messenger, be their messenger and stop getting waylaid on all this personal stuff that you're not moving the ball forward for the American people.

BOLDUAN: I'm uncomfortable. Both agreeing -- this is making me feel uncomfortable. Go ahead, Governor.

GRANHOLM: I know. It's a rare occasion that we agree on that, that he needs to be a messenger about what he allegedly was out there fighting for. But what he's fighting for now is not for the people. He is fighting for his own skin and he's fighting against this investigation. He has spent more tweets tweeting about this investigation by far than tweeting about fighting for jobs.

BOLDUAN: Well --

GRANHOLM: So, Rick, if your opinion is for him to put down the Twitter and start fighting for real people, I think we actually are on the same page.

BOLDUAN: In the senator's defense -- and he doesn't need me to defend him, he has often said that, to put down the Twitter, from a long time ago.

GRANHOLM: I've heard it.

BOLDUAN: But, Governor, in the defense of the president, when you're backed in the corner and you're a fighter, what do you do? You fall back to what has worked.

GRANHOLM: Except for if he puts himself in legal jeopardy and certainly in jeopardy in the court of public opinion, this is not a good strategy. Allow the investigation to go forward if you are really unafraid of finding -- of them finding that you colluded with Russia. What I think happened this morning, Kate, is that he saw last night the stories about follow the money and that really caused him to melt down, and that's when he started lashing out because that potentially is of much -- of very serious consequences.

And you'll see, you know, he released the public statement ability his finances today but I think you're going to see tax returns pretty soon.

BOLDUAN: Yes, that would be -- we all will be in rolling coverage and breaking news on that. I'm going line by line on that one.

GRANHOLM: Not voluntarily.

BOLDUAN: Yes, exactly. Not voluntary.

Great to see you both of you and it's good to know that the governor's iPad is now the new white board.

Senator, it's up to you to bring a prop next time. I appreciate it.

OUTFRONT next, we're following breaking news. The gunman who attacked Republicans at a baseball practice, he was found with a list.

[19:40:01] Yes, a list of other members of Congress, Republican members of Congress.

We're going to speak to one representative reportedly on that list.

And what Erin Burnett wants you to know about a life-changing service for those who need care and people who provide it.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: How much has its changed your life?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I guess completely, because I can't cook.



BURNETT: Breaking news: a list of names including Republicans in Congress found on the man who opened fire at a congressional baseball team practice.

Ryan Nobles is OUTFRONT with me right now on this breaking news.

Ryan, what is this? Was this a hit list?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, I think that's what investigators are trying to find out at this point. They're stopping short of calling it an assassination list but what we know is that they did find a list of names on the shooter, James Hodgkinson, after the shooting took place during their investigation. Among those names were members of Congress that were at this baseball practice.

We know one name for sure, Congressman Mo Brooks, who has confirmed that he was on that list, along with his office phone number. As a result, Congressman Brooks is telling his staff and associates that are around him to take extra precautions just in case this means something more.

[19:45:08] Now, we do know that none of the victims, none of those who were actually hit by gunshot at the baseball field on Wednesday morning, none of their names were on this list, but regardless, Kate, this is a chilling development in this story and it's something that investigators are taking a very close look at to determine as you mentioned whether or not this was an assassination list -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Really terrifying development.

Ryan, thank you so much for bringing that. I really appreciate it.

OUTFRONT now, Republican congressman from Arizona, Trent Franks.

Congressman, thank you so much for jumping on the line. I really appreciate it.

REP. TRENT FRANKS (R-AZ), REPORTEDLY ON CONGRESSIONAL BASEBALL SHOOTER'S LIST (via telephone): Well, I'm glad that you allowed us to come on. Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, Congressman.

There are multiple reports, sir, that your name was on that list. What can you tell us from that?

FRANKS: Well, Kate, because it's an ongoing investigation, I'm really not going to be able to speak to anything related to any list or even confirm the one that -- confirm if one exists or not, but I do think that there are a number of different indications now that this was a premeditated situation. I mean, we certainly had that in mind for some time already.

But just the fact that it's clear that it was premeditated is such an important consideration for I think all Americans. It's a very important that we ask ourselves how we got to this point and I think somehow, we have to remind ourselves, you know, that we're the ones that believe that we're all created equal and that each -- that means each American is a child of God, and if we could stop trying to figure out who was right and start trying to focus on what is right and using principle persuasion to convince each other and to reason these things out, I think it would reduce the invective and also, obviously, sometimes it's only a short distance between invective and violence.

I just think it's very, very important that we do that. It doesn't mean we have to hide from the big issues. To the contrary, it means that the great and noble issues are sometimes the most controversial issues. We have to say we're not going to decide this by bullets. It's going to be decided by ballots, and we're going to reason and we're going to talk to each other and we're going to invite truth to the debate.

BOLDUAN: More folks speaking like that on Capitol Hill and beyond would be very welcomed at this point.

But on this news, it's really troubling news, Congressman. Congressman Mo Brooks tells CNN tonight that he was contacted by Capitol Police and he was told that his name and office number were on that list. Were you contacted by Capitol Police about this?

FRANKS: We were, Kate, yes. I'm not going to say anything beyond that, no.

BOLDUAN: Just your simple reaction to becoming contacted? I understand that you don't want to go too far because this is obviously an ongoing investigation. But what's your reaction and I -- if there is a list and if your name would be on it, sir?

FRANK: Well, I mean, obviously -- see, I think there's two things to point out here. Naturally, I don't want to do anything that makes the Capitol Police's job anymore difficult because they are -- of all people in this entire incident, they are the most heroic of all, because they were the ones that stopped the bad guy.

And it's a great irony and yet a great poignancy that Steve was out there, Steve Scalise was out there with his kind of rank and file members, even though he's the whip of the House, you know, he's the third in leadership here. And he was out there playing baseball with everybody and being the humble, Christian, decent soul that he is. And because of that, his team was there and he was shot.

It was something that was -- it was something that cost him a lot to be there and yet probably, very likely, he saved the lives of a number of his colleagues and to take one for the team like that, as it were, is, I think noble beyond words. And I just join with everyone, as I know you do, and just praying that this man gets back on his feet and continues to do the great things he was before this happened.

BOLDUAN: Now, Congressman, the lead surgeon for Congressman Scalise, he spoke out today about his injuries. Listen to what he said.


DR. JACK SAVA, SCALISE'S LEAD SURGEON: Congressman Scalise sustained a single rifle wound that entered in the area of the left hip. It traveled directly across towards the other hip in what we call a trans-pelvic gunshot wound. The round fragment and did substantial damage to bones, internal organs and blood vessels.


BOLDUAN: The doctor also said that they're encouraged by his progress, but there's still a very long road ahead. I think he said he could be in the hospital for weeks.

If the congressman and his family are watching tonight, what do you want him to know?

FRANKS: I just want them to know that they personify everything that is good about America. [19:50:04] This man came to Congress and to the Capitol to make a

difference for his children and their contemporaries and the future generations of this country, and he has shown us what nobleness looks like, and I pray again, Godspeed, and his entire family.

And I will also tell you that he's not only a good and kind and decent man, but he's not going to let this stop him. You're going to see Steve Scalise go and do some great things for this country again, and he's going to transcend this evil that was perpetuated on him and like the book said, he's going to overcome evil with good.

BOLDUAN: Our thoughts are with him and his family, of course, tonight.

Congressman, thank you so much for coming on, especially in light of this breaking news of this list and reports that your name was on it. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

FRANKS: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

OUTFRONT for us next: change makers, Erin Burnett's looks at the charity that's changing American lives.


BURNETT: All week, CNN's been running a special series called "Champions for Change", featuring people who are working to make a real difference in the world.

[19:55:05] For Erin, those people are the staff and volunteers at Meals on Wheels. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, how are you? I'm fine, thank you.

BURNETT (voice-over): A midday food delivery to a small apartment in New York City, a place Connie Pierce (ph) has called home for more than 40 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today is pork, rice.

BURNETT: Connie Pierce is 94 years old and fiercely independent. She's also a World War II Navy vet who has now outlived her 11 brothers and sisters.

(on camera): What did you do? Bunk beds?

CONNIE PIERCE: We slept three a bed. I remember, I said, when I grow up, I'm going to get a job and get my own little bed.

BURNETT (voice-over): Connie's first job in a cigar factory paid $13 a week, and she got her own little bed joining the Navy during the war, and then moving to New York to live with one of her sisters. (on camera): A lot of people when you were born, didn't get to go have jobs, they would get married, have children and stay home.


BURNETT: But you knew you never wanted that to be you. Did you always know you wanted to be different?

PIERCE: Yes, I did. I wanted to be adventurous.

BURNETT (voice-over): Connie is widowed now and her two stepsons live abroad. Her crippling arthritis is forcing her to make changes. She can't shop anymore. She can't cook for herself and she rarely leaves home.

(on camera): What now are your biggest frustrations?

PIERCE: I used to do my own shopping, I used to do my own things, but now I can't.

BURNETT (voice-over): Forty-six million Americans are 65 or older, one in six of them struggle with hunger.

That's where city Meals on Wheels comes in. I learned about Meals on Wheels when I got a flyer in the mail. I saw that even the smallest donation can enable someone who lives completely alone to have a special holiday meal. And the reality is, this is about much more than providing hot food.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If there's no one at home, do not leave the meal. You're not just delivering a meal today, you're checking in on our seniors.

BURNETT: Beth Shapiro is the executive director of New York Citymeals on Wheels.

(on camera): People are so afraid. We're all so afraid of losing what we hold near and dear. And yet, you see that every day.

BETH SHAPIRO, CITYMEALS ON WHEELS: I see it every day and to me, it's beautiful, to leek at someone who has the wrinkles of a life well lived is something to celebrate.

BURNETT (voice-over): In New York City alone, the program serves more than 18,000 people, 2/3 of them are women. Nationwide, more than 5,000 local Meals on Wheels programs help 2.5 million seniors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we go to deliver today, our seniors can be very chatty, OK? Please talk to them, have a conversation. You're the only person they're going to see today, OK?

BURNETT (on camera): What gives you the most joy now?

PIERCE: I guess I have to just say be grateful that you're fairly well, learning to accept what is. That's what -- I'm at that point.

BURNETT: On average, Citymeals on Wheels, costs $7 a meal in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you today?

PIERCE: Oh, very well.

BURNETT: Mai has been delivering Meals on Wheels to Connie for almost two years.

(on camera): How has it changed your life?

PIERCE: Well, I guess completely because I can't cook.

BURNETT (voice-over): Connie is able to live at home, thanks to Meals on Wheels, and Meals on Wheels exist, thanks to individual donations.

SHAPIRO: Ten percent of Citymeals funding comes from the government. We privately raised the remaining 90 percent.

BURNETT: Every dollar donated goes to meals, not overhead and the financial need is growing quickly.

SHAPIRO: The senior population is the fastest growing population in this country. It will be doubled across the country, by the year 2050. The program needs to grow.


BURNETT: There was outrage after the Trump administration announced it may make cuts to programs like Meals on Wheels.

MULVANEY: We can't spend money on programs just because they sound good. And Meals on Wheels sounds great. If we're going to spend money, we're going to spend a lot of money, but we're not going to spend it on programs that cannot show that they actually deliver the promises that we made to people.

BURNETT: It's unclear if the program ultimately will face any cuts. But Shapiro says meals can't afford even the smallest cut back.

SHAPIRO: It will have a devastating effect on the lifeline in infrastructure that Meals on Wheels programs provide across the country.

BURNETT: When the politicians make the final budget decisions, it's worth remembering they're talking about people, people like Connie Pierce.


BOLDUAN: And you can meet all of the change makers tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern.

Thanks for joining us. "AC360" with John Berman starts right now.