Return to Transcripts main page


CNN: Tensions Rising at Justice Department Over Russia Probe; Thousands Protests Philando Castile Verdict; U.S. Navy: 7 Sailors Missing After Destroyer Collision Off Japan; Baltimore Pleads for Help from Trump Administration; Cosby Jury Resumes Today, No Verdict After 5 Days. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired June 17, 2017 - 07:00   ET


ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: -- racing at about 6 miles per hour.

[07:00:02] This is interesting. I wanted to see this happen.

RENE MARSH, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Who do you have the money on?

SCHOLES: I go with the shark every time.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, go with the shark.


BLACKWELL: All right. Thank you, Andy.

MARSH: Thank you, Andy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump saying publicly for the first time that he is under investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's an example of the president taking no responsibility for anything he does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president is adding more firepower unto his legal team.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump has hired another high profile lawyer to defend him in the Russian investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is very, very serious. An obstruction of justice charge is very serious. An obstruction of justice charge is very serious. He just can't contain himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States cannot obstruct justice. If he wants to fire the FBI director, all he has to do is fire him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got to the point where the president's own lawyer has to hire a lawyer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody has unimpeachable credentials.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a president who engaged in questionable behavior over the last several months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he's really not guilty, then he will be happy to be exonerated by somebody who is out to find the truth.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

MARSH: Well, good morning, everyone. I'm Rene Marsh, in for Christi Paul. Thanks for joining us.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Happy Saturday to you.

MARSH: Well, the search for seven missing sailors continues off the coast of Japan, where a U.S. navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship in the early morning hours. Now, divers are set to inspect the USS Fitzgerald, which is now back at port in Yokosuka, Japan. The ship took on water after sustaining damage both above and below the waterline on its starboard side.

Now, the warship's captain, along with two other U.S. servicemen, are listed in stable condition after being medevaced to a naval hospital.

BLACKWELL: The names of the missing are being withheld until families can be notified.

MARSH: Well, President Trump is adding a high profile Washington lawyer to his defense team, amid the expanding Russia investigation. Now on board is Attorney John Dowd, who once led the investigation into the Pete Rose betting scandal for Major League Baseball.

BLACKWELL: Also, CNN learning that tensions are rising at the Justice Department over this Russia probe. The man who named the special counsel to run the investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself now may be forced to do the same.

MARSH: Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein's role is under new scrutiny as it appears the special counsel's probe could broaden to include the president's firing of FBI Director James Comey and whether that was an obstruction of justice.

Well, CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live at the White House.

Jeremy, what are you learning about what's going on at the Justice Department and is the White House reacting at all about this news?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Rene, tensions are building inside the Justice Department as the special investigation lead by special counsel Robert Mueller is widening and beginning to look at whether or not the president may interfered into that investigation into Russian meddling into the 2016 campaign, as you guys know, of course. That investigation looking into whether there were ties between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials.

All of this widening probe has led to questions about whether the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, may need to recuse himself from this matter. As you know, of course, Rosenstein recommended that the president fire FBI Director James Comey in a memo, and Comey later was, of course, fired.

Now, Comey's firing or rather Trump's firing of Comey may now be part of that investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. But, of course, many of these tensions happening at the Justice Department have a root right here at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And that's because, of course, the president has been enraged in recent weeks over sessions' recusal, which Rosenstein recommended with regard to this probe. And following that recusal, Rosenstein, of course, was the one to appoint Robert Mueller to the special counsel position.

And that, of course, sent the president off yesterday. We know, of course, that the president was going off on Twitter and accusing now -- appearing to accuse at least Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of being part of this witch hunt.

MARSH: Right. So, now, you have the president seemingly upset at the two top people at his Justice Department.

Jeremy Diamond live at the White House -- thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk. We've got CNN politics reporter Eugene Scott, deputy editor at "The Weekly Standard", Kelly Jane Torrance, and CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos with us.

Good morning to all of you.


BLACKWELL: Danny, let me start with you. If a recusal is to avoid not just actual impropriety and actual conflict of interest but the appearance of those two, then why hasn't Rod Rosenstein recused himself yet?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, that's a good question in that it certainly is DOJ policy, and you almost repeated it verbatim, Victor. It is either actual impropriety or the appearance of a conflict or the lost of that impartiality is another factor in both the code of federal regulations and the U.S. attorney's manual.

But there is also a process under DOJ procedure whereby you report your perceived conflict of interest and your higher ups decide -- your section chief as it is, decides whether or not there is a conflict of interest or the appearance requiring the recusal. The strange thing here is that we are at the apex. There aren't a lot of section chiefs above Rosenstein in the chain of command to report to and to give him the final word.

But it is a deliberative process. It isn't done overnight. BLACKWELL: All right. So, Eugene, to you. If Rosenstein -- and we

had another legal analyst, Joey Jackson on who said it is not a matter of if, but when Rosenstein recuses himself, he would then report to whom? Rachel Brand, what do we know about him?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, what we know is that she is someone who was a Trump appointee that the president brought into his administration because of the advice of people on his team who thought that she was someone who could benefit his agenda and bring it forward. I think the questions that many people would most be interested in is what role would she have and continuing the investigation. And if she is someone that the American people would be able to trust to get to the bottom of all these questions that people on both sides of the aisle have about Russia's involvement in the 2016 election.

BLACKWELL: Kelly Jane Torrance, to you, the parallel question and conversation, not just the recusal possibly for Rosenstein but being fired by the president, even the special counsel, Bob Mueller, being fired, how real is that possibility?

TORRANCE: Yes, and let's keep in mind that just a week or so ago, we were talking about whether Trump might fire Jeff sessions. This is a president who makes his opinions of his employees known and not just to them, but to the public through Twitter. It's quite incredible.

And we heard just this week he was thinking of firing Mueller. His aides apparently talked him down from that. He's upset with Rosenstein, not only because Rosenstein was one of the people who recommended, as you mentioned, that Jeff Sessions recuse himself, which Trump was very unhappy about, but he is the guy who appointed Robert Mueller. Of course, Trump thinks that Robert Mueller is behind all of his problems now.

And I think it's pretty obvious that Donald Trump himself who is behind all these problems now. If he had not fired Comey when he did and in the way he did and with what he said about it afterwards, he would not be facing right now possible obstruction of justice charges and an investigation.

BLACKWELL: Danny, our Evan Perez is reporting tensions now within the Department of Justice and, you know, we've outlined the players here. I wonder one specific instance, one event is being pointed to as one of the routes here, that when the attorney general learned of the appointment of Bob Mueller, Sessions was at the White House, and he learned about it when everyone else did. Is that protocol even considering the recusal from the attorney general?

CEVALLOS: I think we're well beyond normal protocol. In fact, when you look again at the U.S. attorney's manual, the Code of Federal Regulations, even these treatises did not anticipate this kind of procedure. So, in some ways, we're in new ground. But in other ways, the issues of recusal are very much covered. Issues of making public statements are covered under the regulations.

I do think that's unusual for there not to be knowledge within the Department of Justice. But as we said many times, we're in new ground right here.

BLACKWELL: Eugene, I wanted to come to you first for the political consequence, then back to Danny for the legal consequence. If the president was to take the advice of his friend and adviser, Roger Stone and to fire both Mueller and Rosenstein, first politically, what would be the consequences for the president?

SCOTT: Well, the consequences for people who already aren't on the Trump train would be that it looks like he's trying to cover something. If he really is as innocent as he professes that he is, an investigation should reveal that and would actually put all of this to rest, which is what the president actually seems to say that he wants to happen.

[07:10:03] If that's not what an investigation reveals, it would obviously be problematic. But letting one actually happen is the only way to get to the bottom of this.

BLACKWELL: Legal consequences, Danny?

CEVALLOS: There are exactly two ways to look at this. One is that the president as chief executive has the power, the legal authority to fire anybody in the Justice Department that he wants with impunity.

But the other way to look at it is this -- there are many times that even a legal action can become an illegal action. It could become obstruction of justice, if it is done with corrupt intent, if it's done for an improper purpose. And there are many examples of this in federal criminal law, which is incredibly expansive. And the obstruction of justice laws stand as a shining example of the expansiveness of federal law.

So, even a lawful act can become an unlawful act if done corruptly.

BLACKWELL: All right. And, Kelly, finally to you, the president expanding his legal team, adding John Dowd. The significance of his addition?

TORRANCE: Yes, you know, it's interesting because people are talking about also Vice President Mike Pence added a lawyer this week in the probe. Now, it's totally normal when any investigation like this is going on to lawyer up, as they say.

But the question is, why is Trump and others hiring so many? And it seems to me the same question could be asked about, why Trump keeps tweeting about this and is upset about this? If nothing happened, if he did not do anything wrong, then why hasn't he let an investigation go ahead?

I mean, if he had not fired Comey, we would not be talking about this, that investigation would have taken place more quickly. So, it does raise questions about why does he feel the need to be so defensive?

BLACKWELL: Yes, we heard at the top of the show that even now the president's lawyer has a lawyer.

TORRANCE: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: All right. Kelly Jane Torrance, Eugene Scott, Danny Cevallos, thank you all.

TORRANCE: Thank you.

MARSH: Well, this morning, Congressman Steve Scalise is still in critical condition after this week's shooting ambush in Virginia. But doctors say they are encouraged by the progress the majority whip made since the attack. They said the congressman was in, quote, imminent risk of death when he arrived at the hospital on Wednesday, but now he's stabilized.

Meantime, new details on the state of mind of the shooter, James Hodgkinson. That's the man you're looking at there. Law enforcement sources confirm to CNN that a list of names including some Republican members of Congress was found on the shooter. Now, none of the victims in the attack were on that list, and a source says that it's not clear at this point if it was an assassination list.

BLACKWELL: We've been following this story overnight. This U.S. warship is back at port after suffering significant damage off the coast of Japan. We've got the latest on the continuing search for those missing and the injuries. This is live from Tokyo.

MARSH: And thousands march in the streets after an officer is acquitted in the shooting death of Philando Castile, a man seen bloodied and dying as her girlfriend broadcasted the ordeal live on Facebook.


PROTESTERS: No justice, no peace.



[07:17:26]MARSH: The Japanese Coast Guard is joining with the US air and surface vessels as the search goes on for seven missing U.S. sailors following a collision involving a U.S. destroyer and a merchant ship. That destroyer, USS Fitzgerald, is now back at port where divers are set to inspect the damage.

Kaori Enoji joins now from Tokyo with more -- Kaori.

KAORI ENOJI, JOURNALIST: It's been nearly 18 hours since this collision occurred. But still there are many unanswered questions including the fate of the seven missing seamen who were on board the USS Fitzgerald when this collision occurred. We also don't know how and why this collision occurred in the first place.

The USS Fitzgerald is one of the most advanced technologically in the U.S. fleet and it collide with a container vessel in the middle of the night. We do know, however, that three of the injured including the commander were airlifted out and they're in stable condition. We also do know that the USS Fitzgerald has returned to its home port where it began the trip on Friday.

But night has fallen here in Japan. It's very dark outside already. The divers will be trying to get in under the waterline to see where and how the damage occurred, because we only see pictures of the damage to the right-hand side above the waterline. But the serious damage is likely to be below the surface. We're talking about areas like the machine room, the radio room, and the U.S. Navy said they don't know yet when and how they can get into that area.

But divers will be trying to gain access to that area to have more detail into how this accident occurred. So, 18 hours in, we still have many unanswered questions as to how this collision could have occurred to begin with.

MARSH: And let me ask you this quickly. I know you said night is falling right now. Do you get any sense as to whether that will impact the search operation? Will they pause for the night and resume at sunup or will they do this around-the-clock?

ENOJI: There's been no update from the U.S. navy or the Japanese coast guard as to whether or not they will terminate the search and rescue operation. My understanding is that it's an ongoing effort both by helicopters and vessels in the area, which has been already going on throughout the day.

This is a highly trafficked area. So, my best guess would be that since there are some other vessels in the area, some 400, 500 ships are traveling around the area, that the search will continue.

[07:20:04] But as of this moment we have no update as to when or whether or not they plan to continue this rescue operation into the night.

MARSH: All right. Of course, finding those missing sailors is truly the priority here. Thank you so much Kaori Enoji. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Also new this morning, let's take to you to Minnesota where state police have arrested 18 people protesting the acquittal of a St. Paul police officer in the death of this man, the shooting death of Philando Castile.


PROTESTERS: No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace!


BLACKWELL: Roughly 2,000 demonstrators that were marching peacefully through the city. They chanted, as you heard. There were hymns, and they denounced what they call police terror. Others filled in a memorial with flowers and handwritten signs. The protests went into the night, about 500 people, you see them here, they marched on to the interstate shutting down traffic in both directions.

Authorities say they arrested 18 people for failing to comply with officers orders to disperse. Now, Officer Jeronimo Yanez fatally shot Castile during a traffic stop

in July. The incident drew national attention when Castile's girlfriend started live streaming in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. This was in Facebook, and Yanez was acquitted of second degree manslaughter, as well as other charges.

Up next, the murder rate in some inner cities, it's really skyrocketing. Record levels in some cities. Now, many in those communities are looking to President Trump for help and asking, is the president keeping his promise to restore law and order?


[07:25:53] BLACKWELL: President Trump on the defense, beefing up his legal team with a high profile lawyer to take on the expanding Russia investigation.

MARSH: And this after the president openly acknowledged on Twitter he's being investigated for firing FBI Director James Comey and placing the blame squarely on his deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein.

The statement is now putting new scrutiny on Rosenstein and creating friction within the Justice Department. Lawmakers are questioning whether Rosenstein will be forced to recuse himself over his role in Comey's firing.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. Fifty-eight percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?


BLACKWELL: Well, then candidate Donald Trump offered that stunning pitch to black voters across the country and went on to promise that only he could bring back job, only he could restore law and order in America's inner cities.

Well, fast forward to today and many communities are not seeing the change that President Trump promised, particularly, let me take to you my hometown of Baltimore, where homicides this year are increasing to record levels. A lot of people there tell me that they're frightened over the spike in crime and they're waiting for the Trump administration to deliver on this promise to, as the president said, straighten it out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you're in this neighborhood, you're guaranteed to hear at least one shot.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): This time, the shot was just a few doors away. Thirty-seven-year-old Charmaine Wilson (ph) was killed this week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gunned her down right in front of her children.

BLACKWELL: One of six people shot to death over a matter of hours Monday night into Tuesday in Baltimore. These two are so afraid of retaliation they won't show their face.

According to "The Baltimore Sun", there have been more than 150 homicides in Baltimore so far this year. It's the highest rate in its history.

These communities and the local leaders they elected are desperate for solutions. And President Donald Trump says he has it.

TRUMP: I will restore law and order to our country.

BLACKWELL: As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to make inner cities safer, highlighting Baltimore often.

TRUMP: There's killings on an hourly basis virtually in places like Baltimore.


Young Americans in Baltimore.

We'll get rid of the crime. You'll be able to walk down the street without getting shot. We'll straighten it out.

BLACKWELL: That promise to straighten it out and make our communities safe again was at the center of Trump's proposed new deal for black America, calling safety a civil right, and crime reduction a necessity.

Kimberly Lagree is a minister and community activist in Baltimore. And she agrees with the president's goals, but as the body count grows in her community, Lagree wonders what he will do to achieve it and when.

REV. KIMBERLY LAGREE, BALTIMORE COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: I think it sounds great on paper. But when and how will we really receive the benefits from some of these things?

BLACKWELL: One approach that Lagree says benefits Baltimore now, community collaboration.

LAGREE: About 50 plus officers that are specifically designated to be in the community. They don't, you know, answer crime calls or things like that. They build relationships, right here. They build relationships.

BLACKWELL: Those relationships are often crucial in resolving disputes before they turn violent. And Lagree fears they're in jeopardy, because despite President Trump's proposal to invest more in law enforcement overall, the Justice Department's 2018 budget request slashes its community oriented police and workforce by around 45 percent. And a Baltimore city official tells CNN the federal grant that city relied upon to fund its community policing squad have ended.

LAGREE: That 50-plus platoon of officers that are dedicated to community is cut down to nine. So, what was supposed to happen with safer communities, I'm not sure. But community policing is something that our urban communities need, especially considering some of the things that's happened with the police relations post-Freddy Gray here in Baltimore, something like that was essential.

[07:30:09] BLACKWELL (voice-over): Guns are not only dangers on these streets. The heroin epidemic ruined lives and blighted neighborhoods here.

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We know that drugs and crime go hand in hand. They just do. The facts prove that's so.

BLACKWELL: And Attorney General Jeff Sessions believes that going after the drug dealers will reduce shooting deaths.

SESSIONS: Going forward, I have empowered our prosecutors to charge and pursue the most serious offense as I believe the law requires, most serious readily provable offense.

BLACKWELL: Now, the Trump administration has overturned Obama-era policies that reserved its most severe drug sentences for high level and violent traffickers.

JAKE OLIVER, BALTIMORE AFRO-AMERICAN NEWSPAPER CEO: You can't address crime by locking all people up.

BLACKWELL: Jake Oliver is CEO of the African-American Newspaper, published in Baltimore for 125 years.

OLIVER: I think they're taking a sledgehammer to a problem that needs to be more sensitive in it being addressed. You just can't eliminate something by stomping it out. The program that his attorney general has produced is an insult.

BLACKWELL: Catherine Pugh is Baltimore's mayor.

MAYOR CATHERINE PUGH, BALTIMORE, MD: The focus by the Justice Department on reducing crime is a major one for all cities across this nation that are experiencing spikes in crime as we are.

BLACKWELL: She's balancing the demands of the crisis with the restraints of the budget, and appreciates any investment.

PUGH: So to the extent that we're looking at investing in police departments by providing them with the technology and so forth that they need to help us continue to deal with this particular problem, it's major for most urban cities.

BLACKWELL: But Mayor Pugh says an investment in law enforcement alone will not make Baltimore safer.

PUGH: We hope the administration understands is that if we're going to improve crime in neighborhoods and communities, that means investment in neighborhoods and communities. That means fixing neighborhoods that have been broken. That means creating jobs so that we can reduce unemployment.

BLACKWELL: Back on Gertrude Street, neighbors are comforting Charmaine's eight children and recounting the story of one of Baltimore's latest shooting victims. At least until the next shots are fired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every night. This is an ongoing thing. It never ceases.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just over this whole city.


BLACKWELL: All right. Joining me now to discuss, Paris Dennard, CNN political commentator, Republican consultant and former George W. Bush White House staffer, and Symone Sanders, CNN political commentator and former national press secretary for Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign.

Good morning to both of you.


BLACKWELL: Paris, let me start with the question of the role of the federal executive in dealing with the crimes in U.S. cities. President Trump excoriated President Obama over crime in Chicago and Baltimore and St. Louis and other cities. Should President Trump be held culpable now for the record numbers we're seeing in the city of Baltimore in crime and other major cities?

PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Victor, I think what you're seeing is -- first, let me just stop and point out, this is such an important piece that you did on your hometown of Baltimore. I think the more attention we put on it from people like yourself and the president, I think we can collaboratively come together to try to find solutions.

But to your point about the role of the federal government, I think what you see now is President Trump is realizing that there is -- there are limitations to what you can do in the role as president of the United States. When you are CEO of your own company, there are a lot more leeway that you have and more things you can do with the stroke of a pen or with the sound of your voice. But as president, there's limitations.

And so, you are seeing a lot of executive orders coming out specifically talk about crime and justice, things of that nature. But it is difficult to do this work. But when you look at the fact that over eight years, the crime rate that affected Chicago and places like Baltimore were sky high over the Obama administration, that's over eight years.

I think the president has to take some responsibilities as president of the United States, and that comes with the good and the bad. And what we're seeing in the spikes in Baltimore are the bad. But I think we should give him a little bit of time to let these things come together with respect to the executive orders, and the commissions, and the study groups he tried to put together so he they can try to make a difference with the president and the mayor in Baltimore.


SANDERS: You know, the president talks about a new deal for black communities. But Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark, New Jersey, talks about an urban revitalization plan, an urban Marshall Plan, which is an urban revitalization plan and business strategy for cities not just like Newark, but cities like New York, like Baltimore, like Detroit, like Minneapolis, like Chicago. And I think that is what President Trump and the administration needs to look at.

Look, we know law and order does not work.

[07:35:02] Restarting the war on drugs in that piece you played from Attorney General Sessions, that's what this is. And if we really wanted to reduce crime in communities, and revitalize our communities, we need work force investment programs, we need commitment from companies to relocate, and participate in jobs programs. We need education.

We need all these other things. We need community policing. We need to rethink what it means to be safe in communities.

And if you only attack the issues through we need more police on the street, that does not -- that does not accomplish the totality of what needs to be done.

BLACKWELL: Paris, let me get to one element that Symone just mentioned and we heard from, Kimberly Lagree there, about the COPS program, a 45 percent cut in workforce there in the 2018 budget proposal. If the municipalities and this isn't just Baltimore, you can go to states across the country. I just read a piece this morning from a police chief in South Carolina who says this works, why cut it?

DENNARD: Look, this is -- this is a tough time. Tough decisions have to be made. And we know across the board, there have been cuts that have been in the president's proposed budget to Congress. What we do know, that is going to go to the Congress, and the Congress is the ones who control the purse strings. And so, I'm sure members of Congress will do the right thing --

BLACKWELL: But the president's budget sets his priorities. I mean, we know that the Congress --

DENNARD: That's true.

BLACKWELL: And they carry the burden of the purse strings. But the president sets his priorities. And this from at least the 2018 Justice Department request says that this is not one.

DENNARD: Well, what -- as I understand it, and the president's budget did not call for the elimination of it, but called for the reduction of it. You saw reductions across the board when it came to prioritizing and how to get $56 billion into the Department of Defense.

But I will just go back to one quick thing --

BLACKWELL: I've just got a minute left. But very quickly. I give ten seconds for this.

DENNARD: Yes, Symone made a good point. It is a comprehensive strategy. That's why the president's plan talked about education. It talked about crime but also talks about jobs. You can't just focus on one. You have to focus on all three.

BLACKWELL: And the question is, when will the president deliver? He's only a few months in. And that's the question from --

SANDERS: We got to keep waiting apparently, Victor. We got to wait.

BLACKWELL: Symone, let me come to you. The civil rights commission is now launching this two-year investigation into the Trump administration on the rollback of civil rights offices. Here is a part of the statement, strongly worded from the office. They write, These proposed cuts would result in a dangerous reduction of civil rights enforcement across the country leaving communities of color, LGBT people, older people, people with disabilities and other marginalized groups exposed to greater risk of discrimination.

Your thoughts on this investigation from the Civil Rights Commission?

SANDERS: I mean, I think it's needed. I'm glad someone is being vigilant. Look, our civil rights are under attack under this administration, not because I believe the Trump administration is targeting the civil rights and civil liberties of marginalized people in America, but we are casualties -- proverbial casualties of war.

So, it is absolutely important that we stay vigilant. We have seen reductions from the administration --


SANDERS: -- in their civil rights division and that directly correlates to the quality of life for people in places across America.

BLACKWELL: Paris, quickly, why are these cutbacks -- in the statement they announced rollbacks in the civil rights divisions of Department of Justice, Department of Education, Department of Labor, Housing and Urban Development? Why these cuts? You say these are tough times, but civil rights?

DENNARD: When you look at the issue of civil rights cuts at education specifically, you know, the secretary of education said she was going to look at these and make sure that they are being applied appropriately. But she -- I think when you look at the independent commission of civil rights made up of a lot of President Obama appointees, they are looking at it in a different way than they are the conservatives or the Republicans on the commission, and the interpretation of how these things should be regulated, it's a difference of opinion on how we interpret it.

But make no question about it, this president and this Department of Justice is committed to civil rights. But it's how you interpret it and how you go about doing it. And so, that is what we're going to figure out the best way. And there's -- people at the White House are working hard on this, like Geron Smith, the head of domestic policy for urban revitalization in this country. And so, we just need to give them time and give them the understanding that they're going to get something done.

SANDERS: I don't think there's real room on civil rights or civil liberties for the American people. But that's just me.

BLACKWELL: All right. Symone Sanders, Paris Dennard, thank you both. I wanted to take just this moment to correct one thing I said in that story. I said African-American newspaper, of course, it is the "Afro- American Newspaper", 125 years there in Baltimore and Washington, still being published today.

MARSH: All right. Victor, thank you.

And five days of testimony and jurors are still deciding the fate of comedian Bill Cosby. The latest questions the jury wants answered before a possible verdict. That's coming up.


[07:44:18] MARSH: Well, 52 hours and counting. After five days, jurors in the Bill Cosby trial still have not reached a verdict. They'll resume deliberations in a little over an hour from now. And so far, they've asked 12 questions about the case.

I want to bring in Danny Cevallos, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney.

Good morning. Thanks for joining us, Danny.

So this has been going on 50-plus hours. They've come back to the judge asking multiple questions, about 12 questions. What if anything as far as a conclusion can we draw from the fact that they keep going back to the judge with questions and items that they need to be clarified?

[07:45:01] DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This is definitely a thoughtful jury. This is a jury that wants to look at the evidence. But there is also a view that's very possible. You may have at this point, one, two, maybe three hold-outs, a minority of jurors.

And the majority of jurors are just by a war of attrition reading and re-reading testimony to those jurors who may be sitting in a corner with their arms folded, refusing to listen. So, that is a possibility. But again, any sort of jury conjecture is astrology. It's completely imagining what's going on. We may find if we ever speak to those jurors after the case, that we were way off in our assessment. But the judge has to be very mindful at this point that he does not

coerce a verdict or the verdict is not the product of the juror's fatigue, because if it will, an appeals court may overturn that verdict, where a judge pushes those jurors just too hard.

MARSH: So, from your background, you're an expert in this topic. When you see a jury that's deadlocked, that they're coming back to the judge multiple times to have things clarified, to ask multiple questions. Does history show that this is any indication that the jury can go one way versus the other?

CEVALLOS: A lot of this is mythology. When a jury is out -- I've been there -- I mean, attorneys, we look at each other, we're either telling each other what we want to hear or just guessing. I mean, it really is, you have no idea what's going on in there.

There is some conventional wisdom that says the longer the jury is out, the worse that may be for the defense. But I think even that is not a hard and fast rule.

One thing, though, I think that Cosby's attorneys are concerned about is exactly that, that this jury -- any jurors that are holding out for an acquittal may be getting beaten down at this point, which is why they keep going for a mistrial, not only to preserve the record in case of appeal, but because they genuinely believe based on their observations and getting to know these jurors through jury selection and trial, their sense, their instinct is that they are -- the ones holding out for an acquittal are at this point just getting hammered down by those who want to convict. Because, you know, after all, it's really just about being sure about one's doubt.

MARSH: Just really quick, we have to wrap. But at what point does the judge make the decision to call a mistrial? How long does this go on for?

CEVALLOS: Under Pennsylvania law, there is no hard and fast rule. There is no time limit on how long jurors can deliberate. The magic words are coercion and fatigue. There could be circumstances under which the jurors expressed an interest to keep working. If it's a complicated tax case, it could last for a couple of weeks in theory. However, the judge must be mindful that he's not pushing the jurors beyond their physical and emotional limit. That becomes an appealable issue.

MARSH: Danny Cevallos, thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: This morning, Congressman Steve Scalise is in critical condition still after this week's shooting ambush in Virginia.

Doctors say they are encouraged by the progress the majority whip has made since the attack. They said the congressman was in, this is a quote, imminent risk of death when he arrived at the hospital on Wednesday. He's now stable.

Meantime, we've got new details on the state of mind of the shooter, James Hodgkinson. A law enforcement source confirmed to CNN that a list of names, including some Republican members of Congress was found on the shooter. Now, none of the victims in the attack was on that list and the source says it is not clear if it was an assassination list.

Quick break. We'll be back.


[07:52:53] BLACKWELL: Fifty-two hours of deliberation, that's a long time. Jurors for the Cosby trial, they've got to pick it up again in just a few hours. We'll have a look at the trial and message Bill Cosby had for supporters, that's coming up at the top of the hour.

MARSH: And if you're a competitive runner, you know the routine: set goals, train hard, get injured. One group wants runners to enjoy the journey more by using their minds to go the distance.


MARTY KIBILOSKI, COACH, RUNNING WITH THE MIND: Mindfulness running is really just being present, being in the moment while you're running, paying close attention without judgment. People I think are drawn to running tend to be goal setters, they really focus on the result.

We can be really hard on ourselves, I must do this. I can't fail at that. It drains energy from your body. You won't do as well in the event you're trying to do, whether it is training or racing.

Typically, we focus on our breath because our breath is there, it's in the present moment. It keeps us in the present moment like an anchor. Sound of your feet hitting the ground, that could be your anchor to present moment.

You can also focus on body sensations, like the wind on your face or the wind across my arms. I can place my mind on my body as I'm running. I can notice my knee is a little sore. I can notice that my hamstring is bothering me today or my hips.

You can be mindful in that way as well to prevent injury. I found that yes, you can still try to achieve, but you can also really enjoy the journey along the way, and that's what I want to help people be better at.




[07:58:55] UNIDENTIFEID MALE: President Trump saying publicly for the first time that he is under investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's an example of the president taking no responsibility for anything he does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president is adding more firepower unto his legal team.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump has hired another high profile lawyer to defend him in the Russian investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is very, very serious. An obstruction of justice charge is very serious. An obstruction of justice charge is very serious. He just can't contain himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States cannot obstruct justice. If he wants to fire the FBI director, all he has to do is fire him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got to the point where the president's own lawyer has to hire a lawyer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody has unimpeachable credentials.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a president who engaged in questionable behavior over the last several months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he's really not guilty, then he will be happy to be exonerated by somebody who is out to find the truth.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

MARSH: Well, good morning, everyone. I am Rene Marsh, in for Christi Paul. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

BLACKWELL: Good to be with you. I'm Victor Blackwell.