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Steve Scalise's Condition Upgraded From Critical to Serious; Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein Considering Recusing Himself; American Military Members Still Missing After Bizarre Incident at Sea; An Insider Attack in Camp Shaheen in Northern Afghanistan; American Student Jailed in North Korea Now Back in the U.S.; Criminal Trial of Bill Cosby Dismissed. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired June 17, 2017 - 19:00   ET



[19:00:24] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera. Great to have you with me.

We began with an update now on House majority whip Steve Scalise's condition. Just in the last hour, we learned he had another surgery today. And his condition has been upgraded from critical to serious. Scalise was shot on the hip on Wednesday at a practice for the Republican congressional baseball team. The bullet damaged his internal organs. He lost a lot of blood which sent him into shock. That doctors at MedStar Washington hospital center says Scalise is now showing signs of improvement after his latest surgery.

Ryan Nobles is joining us from Washington.

Ryan, what more are doctors saying?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, I have to tell you, this is a very important development in the case regarding congressman Steve Scalise because on Friday, when we were briefed by doctors, they told us not to expect any updates. That they were going to remain quiet. So the fat that they took the time they took the time to reach out to the media today shows just you how much improvement the congressman has made.

And let me read you this statement from the MedStar Washington hospital center where they outline exactly this latest update.

The congressman Steve Scalise is in serious condition now. Remember, he was in critical condition before. He underwent another surgery today but continues to show signs of improvement. He is more responsive and is speaking with his loved ones. Scalise family greatly appreciation the outpouring of thoughts and prayers said the statement. And the hospital said that it would be the final update throughout the weekend.

Ana, I also want to point out another important development in that note and that is that he has been able to have conversations with his family. That was something we specifically asked about in the press conference on Friday. And they described the congressman as being in a constant state of sedation since he was brought to the hospital. And that there were periods of times when they were able to reduce that sedation so that he could talk briefly with his family. But we didn't get the sense that they were in-depth conversations by any stretch. The fact that they are describing this is an opportunity for him to have a conversation with his family shows just how much progress he is being made.

And Ana, I have to imagine of making things much easier on his family - for his family who have been at his bedside just shortly after that shooting on Wednesday.

CABRERA: That sounds like such great news.

Ryan Nobles, thank you for that update.

President Trump is spending father's day week and not far from the White House. The First family is at Camp David. The retreat just with the Washington. But Russia cloud continues to loom and it is expanding.

Just yesterday, President Trump told the world he is being investigated for firing former FBI director James Comey. First and close to the President says his statement was based on news reports but he hasn't been formally notified that he is actually under investigation. But the President is still lawyering up. He just hired a second high profile attorney to represent him.

And he is not the only one. Take a look. All of these people tied to the Trump campaign now have attorneys. They include vice President Mike Pence, who hired a criminal defense lawyer on Friday, campaign's communication advisor Michael Caputo, and even the President's long- time personal attorney Michael Cohen, all have someone representing them now.

As more people posted of President lawyered up, one big question has come up and that is will the President move to fire special counsel Robert Mueller or deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. Former campaign advisor Roger Stone who is on the list of people who have lawyered up and claims to still talk to the President says this. I fired Mueller and Rosenstein for washing and wasting the taxpayers' money. This is a witch hunt.

Our White House correspondent Athena Jones is live at the White House now with more.

Athena, the President has just hired the second attorney. Do we know if he is meeting with his counsel this weekend or if he is even considering Roger Stone's advice?


Well, on the matter of Roger Stone's advice, it is interesting to hear him used the word witch hunt. He is echoing the President. I spoke with the senior administration official here who says what they have been saying all week has not change which is that there are no plans. The President does not have any plans to fire the deputy attorney general or a special counsel. Of course, that could change. This is the kind of question we ask on a regular basis. And when it comes to whether or not the President is going to be meeting with any part of his legal team during this weekend at Camp David, that is another question that the White House isn't really answering.

I should tell you that a spokesman for the President's legal team would not comment on the President's schedule at Camp David this weekend. And a senior administration official I spoke with said that they were not aware of any plans for the president to meet with lawyers. But that, of course, leaves the door wide open to him possibly doing so.

You mentioned him also hiring on yet another high-powered attorney. We are talking about John Dowd, a D.C.-based lawyer. He led the investigation for major league baseball into gambling charges against Cincinnati red player Pete Rose who was also a manager. He also represented Senator John McCain back in 1990 during the heating five corruption scandal. Senator McCain were cleared of any wrongdoing in that case. So another big name adding to his team which shows you how seriously this is. And you saw that list of other folks associated with the President who are lawyering up as well. It shows that this is a matter being taken very, very seriously -Ana.

[19:05:33] CABRERA: All right. Athena Jones at the White House for us, thank you.

Meantime, sources say deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein is considering recusing himself from the Russia investigation to become a witness instead, he said. You will remember Rosenstein wrote that memo the White House originally claimed led to James Comey's firing. Then President Trump seemed to reference this on Friday when he tweeted this:

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

Joining me to talk all of this over, CNN legal analyst and former prosecutor Paul Callan and CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor who has worked closely with Robert Mueller Michael Zeldin. Both of you have brand-new CNN opinion pieces online right now.

Paul, I will starts with yours. You say Rosenstein must recuse himself. Why do you believe this? And do you think the President was trying to do with that tweet we just read?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Let me just lay the situation now. People are looking now at whether there is an obstruction of justice charge chargeable against the President of the United States. That will be based on the following: claim at least, that FBI director Comey was fired as part of a cover up, all right. And the key witness in that case will be, guess who, Rosenstein. Because Rosenstein, remember, did a memo to the President outlining all the reasons why he thought the FBI director was deficient. And the President at first said that was the reason he fired him. In other words, Rosenstein's memos is in fact what the President's defense will be in an obstruction case. So how can Rosenstein be the guy in-charge of the investigation when he may be the most important witness in the investigation?

CABRERA: But does it matter that the President later pinned out and says it didn't matter what Rosenstein written in the memo. He was going to fire the President anyway.

CALLAN: I don't think it matters because what matters only is this. That Rosenstein is a key witness in the case. And you cannot be supervising an investigation where you are a key witness one way or the other. I mean, maybe he is going to help the President or maybe he is going to hurt the President. But you can be sure of one thing, he is going to be called as a key witness. And when that happens you have to recuse yourself. And then next in the chain of demand will have to take over supervision of the Mueller investigation.

CABRERA: (INAUDIBLE) firing FBI director James Comey, the former FBI director.

Michael, in your latest piece, you say obstruction of justice may not be the most important consideration for Mueller. Instead, it may be abuse of power. Explain why and what the distinction is between those two?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right. So obstruction of justice is a statutory crime in the United States code and it requires specific intent to interfere with the administration of justice. There is a legal debate about whether or not the President acting within his constitutional authority, firing somebody has the authority to do can legally be charged with obstruction of justice. There is pro and on each sides. Some say if he acts with bad intent, rough mode, he can be charged with obstruction. Others say even if he doesn't, he can't.

What I say is that is a nice academic argument and discussion and we will see how it plays out among the scholars. But the truth of the matter is that it's not so clear that the President can even be indicted as a sitting President. So, of course, of conduct that Bob Mueller may choose to follow is if he believes the President tried to interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation that he might refer his evidence in a package that would otherwise be an indictment or there are grand jury sitting against the President to Congress to consider as an abuse of discretion, abuse of office charge. And that they would then have to decide whether to file articles of impeachment as they did in Clinton and Nixon. Both were charged with abuse of office.

CABRERA: So you say that impeachment really is the direction that we would most likely see some kind of action taken against the President, should it come to that, should there would be the evidence that lead to a reason for impeachment.

But Paul, remember, this investigation was all about the collusion. And at least in part when it was looking into the Russia and meddling in the 2016 election. We have heard the President now referring to this investigation as a witch hunt and essentially saying, you know, there has been no proof that there was collusion at this point. Would you have expected that we have some kind of conclusion by now or not? CALLAN: I wouldn't necessarily expect conclusion, but I would expect

that some evidence would have been overturned and revealed indicating collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians and I haven't seen it yet. So the President may very, very well have a point.

And I think Michael's point that, you know, people are talking about well, obstruction of justice might be the impeachment charge that's brought against the President. Because remember, the President can't be charged with a crime when he is in office. He is immune. So if there is criminal conduct, it only gets charged as an impeachable offense. He can be charged that moved from office.

So Michael, I very much agree with Michael's point that abuse of aggressive power might be a more powerful point to be develop later on as opposed to this obstruction charge. Because I don't see this obstruction charge going any place at this point in time. And the collusion with the Russians doesn't seem to be as materialize as well. So Michael is I think correct that if there's going to be progress in this area or it probably would be in the area of claim of abuse of power.

[19:10:55] CABRERA: So Michael, this was probe again was supposed to look at the possible collusion. Is it Mueller's face to widen the scope of this and look for obstruction of justice or other high crimes?

ZELDIN: Well, it's part of his mandate. The Rosenstein mandate said look at the counterintelligence stuff, look at the collusion stuff, look at whether or not there has been any efforts to obstruct justice. It's right in the order that refers to the CFR that covers Mueller's behavior. So it is not that he has expanded his investigation. This was always part of this investigation. It's been reported as an expansion, an expansion if you will. It become viable if you will because of the actions of the President when if he had just sat still and let the collusion counterintelligence investigation run its course there probably wouldn't be this collateral obstruction of justice element to it. So in some sense, he has himself to blame for what he is calling a witch hunt.

CABRERA: He's his own worst enemy.

CALLAN: Well, you know. And what I wanted to add also was if he decides ultimately -- and I see him going in this direction, that he is going to fire Mueller and try stop the investigation.

CABRERA: You think he will?

CALLAN: I absolutely think he will. Because I think in the end he is looking at this saying they are making this up. There is no collusion. There is no evidence of collusion. Why are we having this unnecessary investigation? But if he goes down that road, it will be very similar to the Saturday night massacre that happened in the Nixon administration. And of course, the strongest count that was brought against Nixon was the abuse of power count in the articles of impeachment. He ultimately resigned. So I think the President would be wise if they thinks there's no merit

to any of this is to just let the investigation run its course. There will be no evidence found in criminality and he can go on with his presidency. But if he starts get trying to use the powers of the office to crush this investigation, that's when the President's going to finds himself in reeling danger, I think.

CABRERA: All right, Paul Callan, Michael Zeldin -- sorry. We got to leave it there, Michael. But we -- you are coming back to join us on another segment. So we will get more of your take on all this. Thanks you.

ZELDIN: Remind me what I was going to say.

CABRERA: OK. We will try to remind you where we left off.

Again, thanks, gentleman.

Some breaking news we need to bring to everybody overseas now. American military members are missing after a bizarre and still mysterious incident at sea. This is the USS Fitzgerald, heavily damaged, her hull ripped open and flooded inside. Japan-based destroyer somehow collided with a massive cargo ship in waters off the coast to Japan. The ship captain and several other sailors were hurt. But here is the real emergency. Seven crew members of this crew are still unaccounted for as rescue crews are desperately searching right now.

CNN international correspondent Alexandra Field is at the Navy seventh Fleet headquarters in Japan and he is joining.

Alexandra, what are you hearing from navy officials there about any progress they may have made in this effect to find these seven American sailors?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ana, it just can't hit any closer to home for them because they are out there right now searching for their own, those seven missing sailors.

The lap of becoming was in just about the last hour with the seven fleet saying that yes, they are still searching. They have daylight on their side. Now, they were searching through the night. And they have two areas to search. One, of course, would be the spot where the collision happened between these hulking large boat, one that destroyer, the other the containership.

You had U.S. military vessels as well as aircraft and also Japanese coast guard and defense vessels and aircraft out there in the search area where the collision happened, looking for those seven missing sailors. But the ship itself, the destroyer that was so heavily damaged in that collision has made it back here to its base. And we understand that divers have, in fact, reached the destroyer. They are beginning their search and that is operating under the possibility, Ana, that some of those seven sailors could actually be trapped inside the vessel, inside one of its compartments. We know this is a ship that took on a lot of water. The crew had to

work furiously to pump that water out to stabilize the ship and to get it safely back here. This morning, though, they are still looking for all seven of the missing sailors, Ana.

[19:15:07] CABRERA: Everyone is holding out. Hope for a miracle.

Now, this is area where these two ships collided known to be a busy shipping zone. But what are you hearing about how it might have happened? I mean, all major ships, military and civilian, they have equipment onboard that lets them see everything around them for miles. So any idea how they collided?

FIELD: Yes. This is incredibly difficult to fab in how does a 10,000 ton ship collide with a 30,000 ton ship, one is some 500-feet long and other some 700 -feet long. Again, as you point out, this is a heavily traffic area. It is just southwest of Yokosuka where we are. We understand some 400 or 500 ships pass through there every day. So this is also highly regulated, heavily regulated water that is reverse by international ships carrying out international routes.

That said, we have had some analysts proffer that because this is an area that is so heavily traffic area, but if you are in on a collision (ph) course, it could be difficult to maneuver out of that. But simply it is too early, too soon to try and understand what could have cause this collision. That will be the work of the Japanese coast guard. They are in-charge of this investigation. But all resources for now are really being most heavily deployed in terms of the search for these missing sailors, Ana.

CABRERA: Alexandra Field, thank you.

Seven U.S. service members were wounded today. The result of an insider attack in Camp Shaheen in northern Afghanistan. An Afghan military spokesperson tells CNN an Afghan soldier opened fire on foreign troops. The wounded troops were then evacuated for treatment. And currently there are about 8400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. And the administration is right now weighing sending thousands more.

Coming up, the mystery surrounding what happened to American student Otto Warmbier while he was jailed in North Korea now back in the U.S. in a coma.

Stay with us. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:20:58] CABRERA: NBA hall of famer Dennis Rodman arrived in Beijing today after a five-day visit to North Korea. He declined to answer any questions about what he did while in Pyongyang. North Korean officials tell CNN Rodman did not meet with the country's supreme leader Kim Jong-un.

Meanwhile, doctors here in Ohio are trying to solve the mystery of what happened to Otto Warmbier, the American returned home this week after being detained in North Korea early last year. The 22-year-old had a serious brain injury is in a state doctors are calling quote "unresponsive wakefulness."

Our Brian Todd has more.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The mystery surrounding what happened to American student Otto Warmbier in North Korea, seeing here playing in the snow with children in Pyongyang, is deepening.

American officials say they are no closer to knowing what led the 22- year-old who was arrested and held by the brutal regime of Kim Jong-un for stealing a sign in a hotel to suffer brain damage.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What has happened to him is a terrible thing, but at least the ones who love him so much can now take care of him and be with him.

TODD: Warmbier's doctor said they found no evidence to support North Korea's he contracted botulism in captivity before being returned to the U.S. doctors on Tuesday. His doctor say he is unresponsive that he has lost much of his brain tissue due to cardio-homonymy (ph) arrest and that two brain scans sent by Pyongyang suggests he has been for this vegetative state for at least 14 months.

DR. DANIEL KANTER, UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI HEALTH: The earliest images are dated April of 2016. Based upon our analysis of those images, the brain injury likely occurred in the preceding weeks.

TODD: Expert say while they are surprised North Korea would allow an American being held two weeks such critical condition, they say mistreatment in North Korean jail is not uncommon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know that they apply very brutal treatment, torture, beating, rape, to their own people and also to foreigners who are held in custody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden, he was thrown into this hell hole. So anything is possible. He could have suffered shock when he was sentenced to hard labor. He could have been beaten. He could have -- tried to take his own life. Whatever the circumstances, it is likely the result of the fact that the North Koreans put him in that situation.

TODD: Another key question, why did Kim's regime keep Warmbier's condition a secret for so long?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perhaps they were waiting for him to come out of the coma, he didn't. Eventually they panicked.

TODD: Trust by CNN, U.S. officials are not commenting on how they might retaliate for the return of a 22-year-old American in this condition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this will put pressure on the administration to be more supportive of tougher human rights sanctions and to not wait so long for the Chinese. I think this puts the monkey back on the backs of the administration.

TODD: Now, even as America contemplates, what will do in the Warmbier case, a prominent American reality stars being wined and dined but the North Korean regime.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday. U.S. national security officials say the visit was not on behalf of the U.S. And Rodman says he was there to promote sports. The former star of President Trump's show "Celebrity Apprentice" --

TRUMP: Dennis, you are fired.

TODD: Presented North Korean officials with a copy of Trump's book, "the art of the deal."

Rodman has said he had nothing to do with Warmbier's return to America. That he is not in North Korean to help free three other Americans being help there. As for how America will respond,

analysts say U.S. officials have to be careful about any possible retaliation because of the possibly that Kim Jong-un's regime could then turn its guns on U.S. allies, South Korea or Japan or that it could do harm to any of the three Americans still being detained in North Korea. We are told U.S. officials are weighing the possibility of banning any American tourists from travelling to North Korea.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


[19:25:07] CABRERA: Coming live in the CNN NEWSROOM, after the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise, a surprising revelation, most congressmen don't have private computer details. Some say it needs to change next.


[19:29:34] CABRERA: We have new video of President Trump supporters trying to shut down a play showing the assassination of Julius Caesar who appears to look like President Trump. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Political violence against the right! This is unacceptable! You cannot --


CABRERA: Now, the "Washington Post" report one woman was arrested last night after Trump supporters rushed the stage. Security guard escorted the activist from the outdoor of (INAUDIBLE) theater in Central Park. It's not the first time a Julius Caesar production has referenced the sitting President. In 2012, another American production of Julius Caesar depicted the title character as President Barack Obama. This comes as CNN has learned Congressman Steve Scalise has been

upgraded from critical condition to serious condition. A gunman shot Scalise Wednesday on a baseball field where the Republican congressman was practicing with the team. That baseball field is now set to reopen tomorrow, perhaps a sign of moving forward after such tragedy.

To talk more about this more about this with former secret service agent Evy Poumpouras, a security and threat assessment expert.

The shooting, it could have been so much worse. We've heard that over and over again from people who are there at the scene with the congressman. If it weren't for these capital police officers, Crystal Griner and David Bailey, they were at the park because Scalise is, of course, a membership - is a member of the leadership team. But we also learned that other members in Congress don't have these capital police with him. Should they or should the policy change?

[19:30:59] EVY POUMPOURAS, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: You know, you can try to change the policies. The problem you have is there's so many people in Congress, so how do you protect each and every person? And is it going to be 24 hours protection? So lot of people don't realize there as a lot of manpower, a lot of resources, a lot of taxpayer money that is going to go into that.

I don't think you will see each individual getting protection. What you may see is an assessment of those who are perhaps getting threats as compared to other members, so seeing, you know, who is getting more threats, what type of information are we seeing, even digital information as we know the shooter very much expressed how he felt about Republicans.


POUMPOURAS: So maybe looking at, you know, what type of information, what type of threats are these members of Congress getting?

Also, I think what you will see very likely is when you have a large number of members of Congress or politicians like that in once that location, that was surprising, you know. Having all these members of Congress every morning at that baseball field at a set time on a scheduled, you know, set which allows someone to come in and do surveillance, to watch in some open area. That is where you will probably see a change, you know, at large venues or sites.

But for the individual, I think that is very, very hard to do. I mean, for the President of the United States and upper members, you know, of the cabinet, you do that and that already is very manpower intensive. And you know, at the end of the day, I hate to say it, it is also financial. Can you afford to do this?

CABRERA: It's all about resources, obviously. We heard from some of the Congress members, that you know, all we had were bats. They had a gun. I can't defend myself with a bat. And now there are some saying they would like to start carrying a gun around. Why are they talk about that? POUMPOURAS: You know, I mean, that is your second amendment right,

you now. And I - whether if they allow to do that and if they can get license to do that, then that's their own personal choice. There are a lot of people that do choose to do that. Even some celebrities or high profile people do decide, you know what, if I can't have my own personal security even I can't afford my own personal security then I'm going to protect myself. So that is up to them. Of course, it will probably be some type of maybe help for them to practice using those weapons. It's not just a physical thing.

You don't have to just have physical training, you should also have the emotional and mental mind set to be prepared to respond in case you are in that situation and to be calm, you know. You can be attacked and have a weapon and, you know, if you get locked up or you miss, you shoot an innocent bystander, all those things are really, really important.

CABRERA: That God forbid you ever have to actually find yourself in this scenario but good to go through these what-ifs, I suppose.


CABRERA: Now, of course, sadly this isn't the first Congress member to be shot. We all remember Gabrielle Gifford back in 2011 being shot at an event in Arizona in her home district. Now that is so different than being in Washington, right.

Do you think we are at a point given the current heated political climate in America where some of these members will need protection when they go back home? We see some of these town halls getting really, you know, contentious?

POUMPOURAS: I think, again, you are going to have to assess the environment. And that's when the members of Congress are going to have to come up and say, you know what, in my area, there is -- the tone is a bit more volatile. I don't feel safe. I feel threatened. And doing an analysis of each individual and what their home town is and is there that type of threats there. You know, you can't just throw those assets there. So you have to make sure they are warranted.

CABRERA: You know, some people have even said say don't have town halls anymore. I mean, that would was sort of real barrier between constituents.

POUMPOURAS: No, I'm a little agree with that because then you are living in fear. And you know, their job is to be close to the public. And although you may want to bubble yourself and there were plenty of times where you want to take the President and just tell him to stay home, don't go out, their job is to be out there with the public.

What is interesting, you know, where Gifford was shot, even the baseball field, these are soft targets. You know, these are just, you know, random, every day places that people go to. That's interestingly sad. So how do you harden up, you know, these soft targets. It's not just

the town hall. And then, you know, one of the things that's being done and what researchers are trying to do is how do you identify these individuals, these lone shooters.

[19:35:14] CABRERA: Who could be a threat?

POUMPOURAS: It's very, very difficult. But we do see some of the things that we see there consistent. They tend to be male. They tend to have some type of history or contact with police.

CABRERA: And you mentioned his social media, too.


CABRERA: There are some -- there is a little bit of a trail there in terms of where he was going.

POUMPOURAS: Yes. You know, it is just so difficult with social media because now if you look at social media, the output is very negative. It's sometimes very harsh language. People use very violent vulgar language on social media. So you have to kind of try to how do you police this? Police, by themselves, can't do this. This is what's really important for communities and families to really police each other and watch each other so that the shooter, you know, there was a history of violence, abuse, there was a history -- I think one of his daughters said he was a drinker. There was alcohol. He had run-ins with the police, you know. He had police show up --

CABRERA: Who might have a few warning signs, we just never know. Better to say something.

POUMPOURAS: How do you find those warning signs and try to prevent these things from happening?

CABRERA: Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us. I really appreciate it.

POUMPOURAS: Thank you.

CABRERA: Nice to see you.

Coming up, a mistrial declared today in Bill Cosby's case. Jurors unable to come to a consensus. What prosecutors are say they plans to do next?

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:40:37] CABRERA: Breaking news now in the criminal trial of Bill Cosby charged with sexual offenses, there will be no verdict. The judge declared a mistrial after the jury reported it was hopelessly deadlocked. Prosecutors quickly promised to regroup, reevaluate and retry this case.

CNN's Brynn Gingras has details.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just one hour into their sixth day of deliberations jurors handed the judge a node which read we the jury are deadlocked on all counts. For 53 hours, jurors deliberated on the three counts of aggravated indecent assault against comedian Bill Cosby. And the judge declared a mistrial in the case telling the jurors quote "I feel bad for you all. Do not feel leak you have let the justice system down."

Cosby remains stoic in court while the judge address each juror. And the prosecutor said it will try the case again. Andrea Constand, the women who accused Cosby of the 2004 incident has vowed to testify in a second trial.

Now, Cosby did not speak to reporters after court was adjured. But one of his publicist read an emotionally charged letter written by Cosby's wife Camille who, a reminder, only appeared in court one time during the two week trial.


EBONEE BENSON, CAMILLE COSBY'S PUBLICIST: How do I describe the district attorney? Heinously and exploitive ambitious. How do I describe the judge? Overtly arrogant and collaborating with the district attorney. How do I describe the counsels for the accusers? Totally unethical. How do I describe many if not all general media, blatant vicious entities that continually disseminated intentional omissions of truth for the primary purpose of literally selling sensationalism at the expense of a human life.


CABRERA: The Montgomery county district attorney expressed his gratitude for the jury's and said some good did come from this. He said Constand was able to face her accuser for number one. And he also noted that too often cases like this don't even get reported, never mind brought to trial. Dozens of women have accused Cosby of assault. This is the first criminal case to have gone to court.

Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.


CABRERA: Thanks, Brynn.

HLN (INAUDIBLE) has doing non-profit with one goal, keep kids relying on school lunches from going hungry. That story next here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:47:12] CABRERA: So far, President Trump has been pretty quiet on twitter today, but that was not the case yesterday morning when he once again took on the justice department. And I talked to CNN politics reporter and editor at-large Chris Cillizza about that. I asked him if there's a strategy behind the President's attack against deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.


CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Sometimes I wish I knew. I'm caught forever, Ana, between thinking Donald Trump is playing 3- Dimensional chess and thinking he is playing zero dimensional, right. Either it is grand strategy that I'm not smart enough to see or there is as much strategy as we tend to associate with it. I think he is very frustrated by the fact that there is a special counsel at all, period. He did not think that it warranted it. He was --

CABRERA: And Rosenstein, of course, appointed.

CILLIZZA: And Rosenstein was the first to appointed. Now, the reason that is the case is because Jeff Sessions, the attorney general who would normally do that recused himself because he had conversations he didn't disclose with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. So this fell to Rod Rosenstein. It's not as though he seized it. But Donald Trump tends to look for someone to blame who is not him or his meet immediate family when things start to go south. So that is sometimes is Steve Bannon, it is sometimes Reince Priebus, it can be any one of a number of people, Jim Comey.

But in this situation, it appears to be Rod Rosenstein who Donald Trump feels as though you told me to get rid of Comey. I get rid of Comey and now I have to deal with this investigation. The point is though, Rod Rosenstein is not leading this investigation. He is the boss of Bob Mueller who is the special counsel who he appointed but he is not leading it. Bob Mueller is leading it. Rosenstein is sort of not really involved in any way others than the fact the he is ultimately Bob Mueller's boss.

CABRERA: Now, Rosenstein put out an interesting statement as well. It had to do with anonymous sources saying don't believe me the stories that cite anonymous sources. We, of course, have heard the president say of something similar before. Was it surprising for you to hear this from Rosenstein? What do you think this is about?

CILLIZZA: Yes, in a word it is surprising. It also came out on a sort of an odd time, a Thursday night where it wasn't clear that Rosenstein was responding to any one thing. The "Washington Post" have reported a few things including that Donald Trump was under investigation for obstruction of justice. But that had been 30 hours beforehand.

What it is about, I believe, without knowing -- let me say this as afternoon educated guess -- is that Rod Rosenstein is in a very difficult position. He wants to keep his job as deputy attorney general. At the same time he knows that Trump is not happy with him for doing something I think Rosenstein felt was absolutely necessary in appointing the special counsel after Jim Comey's firing. So what does he do? He puts out a statement essentially saying what Donald Trump says which is anonymous sources, fake news, don't believe any of it. [19:50:10] CABRERA: That would obviously bring - ring the bell


CILLIZZA: I think you always have to remember what the administration officials whether it's Sean Spicer or whether it is Steve Bannon or whether in this case it is Rod Rosenstein. They basically have an audience of one, Ana. And that one is Donald Trump. So we can talk about how it was odd and strangely phrased, and why Rod Rosenstein did it. But if Donald Trump likes that Rod Rosenstein - see he is standing up against fake news, that's really Rod Rosenstein's goal has been met.


CALLAN: All this week CNN has been running a special series called champions for change. And about a dozen CNN/HLN anchors spent some time working alongside people whose causes are close to their heart. These are truly special individuals. We want you to meet them.

Our "Champions of Change" learn about the challenges they face every day and see firsthand the real difference they're making in the lives of others. Robin Meade has a story of the nonprofit blessings in a backpack, a charity with one goal. Keep kids who rely on school meals from going hungry over the weekend.


ROBIN MEADE, CNN ANCHOR: I think it's important to realize that not everybody who is hungry is necessarily homeless. Sometimes families just really need help to get by.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It happened when Anthony was real little. My husband and I were having a hard time. He didn't have a job. We couldn't even afford to buy meal for Anthony. Those were really hard times for us.

MEADE: So what is everybody thinking, oh, my God, when I'm bigger I want to be -- I heard you were going to be a reporter or actress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I like movies and I like being on TV. They live in big houses. It looks so amazing. Like wearing the latest clothes when I can't wear the latest clothes.

MEADE: How about you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still don't know what I want to be.

MEADE: Yes. Well, that's OK. How about you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be a manager of building homes and make them perfect.

MEADE: Oh, that's beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So people can live.

MEADE: Why that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So they won't have to struggle and live in a little, tiny apartment.

MEADE: So haven't you always wondered what might become of a person's life if only they had a little bit of help? What might they become? As a young person here, if only they are not distracted by hunger, for example? And Blessings in a Backpack I think could be that if only.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At 40. We must have one extra.

MEADE: How did it first get started?

BETH BUSH, BLESSINGS IN A BACKPACK: The first person was a school teacher. She was really concerned. She could not believe children were coming back to school this tired, this hungry. And she realized that the last meal they were having was Friday at lunch until they came back to school on Monday for breakfast. The $100 feeds a child for the entire school year. That's 38 weekends. It really just get the kids through the weekend and get them back to school Monday ready to learn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): To some people, it might not be that much, but for people that have needs, for me, it's a lot because with that I can make the biggest special meal for the kids. And the kids are very happy.

MEADE: This cause meant a lot to me because I know that my dad grew up in dire poverty. The 14th kid of 14 in the hills of eastern Kentucky. Now he says because we farmed they always had food to eat. When he talks about how he would pack lunch for school, it was this. He would take stale corn bread, put it in a mason jar, put it in milk, tie a rope around, put it in a stream and that's how he kept it cold.

So knowing what my dad went through even though he said he always had something to eat, it makes me feel empathy for what these kids may have been going through and how Blessings in a Backpack could help them.

I visited Esther Jackson elementary school in Ross Well, Georgia. Despite a brand new school building and a suburb most people will consider relatively affluent, 73 percent of the kids here qualify for free or reduced school meals.

JULIE PAZ, ESTHER JACKSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: What we noticed they weren't performing in class. They were falling asleep. Their attendance was poor. So that was the main red flag. Since we started the program with most of the kids, their attendance improved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did all my math by hand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kids are focused. They looked forward to, you know, getting in the classrooms and working hard. They feel that this could happen to any of us and that there's nothing to be ashamed of.

[19:55:03] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we get together every Wednesday and we pack all the bags and I take them onto the schools.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The hardest part is knowing that there are other children in the school and we don't have the funding to include them.

MEADE: I think it's just absurd that in the United States of America people are experiencing poverty to the level that a child will look forward to going to school because that's where they are going to get something to eat.

Is there a misconception about who is hungry?

STACEY DOROTHY, VOLUNTEER: I think so. I was surprised that it was so close to home. You know, I didn't think it was in kind of the suburbs. I thought it was somewhere else, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I just want to thank the families because they are a big help. There are times when parents are left without a job. That's when they help us so our kids won't be left without food.

MEADE: Can she make that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What a wonderful son you have. You must be proud.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mom is a hero because she supports me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing that my dad always taught me is to never give up.

MEADE: It's amazing to think that just a little bit of food can fuel such a bright future.


CABRERA: Got to love it. Robin Meade, thanks for sharing us that story.

We are bringing you the causes closest to our heart all week. For more, go to And don't forget to check out our special tonight "Champions for change" hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It airs tonight at 9:00 right here on CNN.