Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Coalition: U.S. Military Shoots Down Syrian Warplane; Trump Attorney: "The President is Not Under Investigation"; Mali: "Terrorists" Storm Hotel Popular with Westerners; U.S. Sailors Found Dead in Damaged Destroyer; Comedian Seth Meyers Talks Serious Politics; Democrats Try to Flip the Sixth in Georgia; Wall Street Keeping Close Eye on Brexit Talks. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired June 18, 2017 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Thanks for being with me on this Father's Day. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York and topping the hour with breaking news.

The United States military has shot down a warplane in Syria. It's the first time this has happened since the U.S. took an active role in the Syrian conflict. The plane shot down was a Syrian regime bomber that is said to have attacked coalition-supported fighters on the ground. And here's where it happened, near the city of Raqqah, the ISIS stronghold in northern Syria.

[18:00:03] Our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott is joining us now.

Elise, again, this is a first in the war on ISIS, a Syrian plane shot down by U.S. forces. What do we know about what happened?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. Well, of course, this comes as the U.S.-backed and coalition-backed Syrian democratic forces are going against Raqqah, that ISIS stronghold. What happened was at about 4:30 p.m. local time, the Syrian regime forces were attacking those U.S.-backed Syrian democratic forces. The U.S. offered this kind of show of force, flying low to the ground at a slow speed to, in essence, scare them off, and it did.

In the meantime, the U.S. called the Russians using their deconfliction channel. Of course, the Russians are backing those Syrian regime forces. And they backed up for about two hours, but then those Syrian forces, those pro-regime forces, came back, started bombing the U.S.-backed forces again, and essentially, the U.S. shot down the plane.

A statement from the coalition said the U.S. and the coalition are not looking to get into an escalation with the Syrian regime, but they have pledged to collective self-defense, and that's defending and protecting those Syrian-backed forces as they go against ISIS.

CABRERA: So, their statement says they're not looking to create an escalation of events, but should this be regarded as an escalation in military action?

LABOTT: Well, I don't -- certainly don't think the U.S. is regarding it as an escalation. We haven't seen anything since then. We have to wait and see what this Syrian regime will do. We have to wait and see what the Russians will do, whether this will lead to an escalation. I certainly don't think the U.S. is looking to escalate.

But I think it also raises the question. The U.S. did call the Russians, who are backing those Syrian forces. There's always been a question as to what kind of influence the Russians really have over this Syrian regime. And the fact that the Syrian forces came back might indicate that they don't have all that much influence.

So, we'll have to wait and see over the next 24 hours. These Syrian forces, those pro-regime forces stretched very thin, so you would think they wouldn't want to escalate and risk getting shot down by the U.S. again, but we'll have to see.

CABRERA: All right. Elise Labott reporting -- thanks for staying on top of it for us.

Turning now to politics and the question about whether President Trump himself is under investigation. He tweeted Friday that he is, but just 48 hours later, his lawyer says, uh-uh, no, the president's not being investigated, period.

Confused? A bit perplexed?

Here's what we know: last week, the "Washington Post" reported that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating President Trump for possible obstruction of justice and that Mueller's interviewing at least three senior intelligence officials as part of this expanding probe. "The Post" report was the most significant suggestion yet that Mueller's investigation is growing beyond questions of Russia interference in the 2016 election.

President Trump called the report phony, but then Friday, he tweeted this, and I quote, I am being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director. Witch hunt.

Let's bring in White House correspondent Athena Jones.

Athena, the president's lawyer was asked about that tweet. Do we have clarity now?

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not entirely, Ana. These are the sorts of mixed messages that have come to define this White House. This is just the latest example of someone who's working for President Trump who isn't exactly on the same page as the president, and it doesn't help that the president is constantly contradicting not just his aides, but himself. You mentioned the report on Wednesday in the "Washington Post" that he was under investigation. He called that report a phony on Thursday. Then on Friday, tweeted what suggests to be a confirmation that he is indeed under investigation. One of his lawyers, Jay Sekulow, speaking on "STATE OF THE UNION,"

said that the president was referring to "The Washington Post" report. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": Should we take that tweet from the president as confirmation that the president is under investigation?

JAY SEKULOW, MEMBER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LEGAL TEAM: Let me be clear: the president is not under investigation. As James Comey said in his testimony, that the president was not the target of an investigation on three different occasions, the president is not the subject or target of an investigation.

TAPPER: The president said, I am under investigation, even though he isn't under investigation?

SEKULOW: That response on social media was in response to "The Washington Post" piece. It's that simple. The president is not under investigation.

TAPPER: You're saying that the president when he said that was not accurate.

SEKULOW: No, the president wasn't -- it was 141 characters. There's a limitation on Twitter, as we all know, and the president has a very effective utilization of social media. So, here's what you have, the president issued that tweet, that social media statement, based on a fake report, a report with no documented sources from the "Washington Post".

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: So, a couple of points to make there about that interview.

[18:05:04] First of all, you had months of White House officials telling us that we should take the president's tweets at face value, they are presidential statements. Now, you have the president's lawyer arguing differently, suggesting that the character limit is why he didn't get his full message across.

And then we also have the president's allies constantly arguing that he is not under investigation because former FBI Director James Comey testified that he told the president three separate times that he was not under investigation. But we all have to remember, Ana, that Comey has not been in charge of the FBI since the beginning of May, so that information is out of date.

And it's also important to note here that Jay Sekulow, the president's legal team wouldn't necessarily know whether he's under investigation or not because the FBI and the special counsel wouldn't necessarily notify his legal team. So, this is just more mixed messages -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right. And, Athena, it is the same lawyer who just last weekend said President Trump was going to address whether there are any tapes. Still no answer.

JONES: Exactly, still no answer. And Sekulow was asked about that today, and he said, well, there was a lot going on last week, the president had that major address on Cuba, announcing a change in Cuba policy. There was also the shooting at the Republican members of Congress baseball practice. He talked about the assassination attempt of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who is still in the hospital. And so, Sekulow said that the issue of the tapes was not the priority number one last week. He expects that could be addressed this week.

But the bottom line is this is just one more example of deadlines that shift. We really don't know when we're going to get a clear answer on whether or not there are tapes or sort of recording -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Athena Jones at the White House, thank you.

Let's try to clear up some of the confusion. Joining me, CNN political analyst and columnist for "The Washington Post," Josh Rogin, CNN legal analyst and a former federal prosecutor who has worked closely with the special counsel, Robert Mueller, Michael Zeldin, and an attorney who helped prosecute Watergate, Philip Allen Lacovara.

All right. Michael Zeldin, I'll start with you. Is there any way to definitively know whether the president is being investigated?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No. In a word, no.

The work of the special counsel should be done privately and confidentially, and that the leaks are leaks and that we can see where they go. But we don't know now that the president is under investigation for obstruction of justice because Mueller hasn't said it. And until Mueller says it, we don't know it.

CABRERA: And as Athena pointed out, Jay Sekulow, the president's lawyer, may not know it, either.

But, Josh, the president made a point to mention so many times that he wasn't under investigation. He even mentions it in Comey's firing letter. And after trying so hard to prove that he wasn't the focus of an investigation, why tweet now that he is?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it seems that the president of the United States places a lot more faith in "The Washington Post's" reporting than his aides do and than some of our guests do and than his lawyers do. I mean, the bottom line is he can't have it both ways. Either they're fake news reports or he really takes them at face value and he's really complaining about the substance of them, right?

So, if we read the tweets what they are, which are the president's contemporaneous thoughts, what he actually believes and feels in his heart of hearts, he thinks he's under investigation. Now, it's true that we don't know. It's not true that he doesn't know.

It's not true, as Jay Sekulow said on several morning shows today, that we could be sure that he's not under investigation. He doesn't know, the president doesn't know. You know, I tend to trust the "Washington Post" reporting, they've got some great reporters over there, they usually do a great job. And it seems the president is inclined to as well, if we're to read his tweets literally.

CABRERA: Well --

(CROSSTALK)

ZELDIN: May I add one thing?

CABRERA: Go ahead, Michael.

ZELDIN: Which is, to call somebody under investigation, meaning that they are a target or a subject of the inquiry, is a very specific legal term. To say that there is an inquiry going on by Robert Mueller, where he's taking witness testimony and then determining where those witnesses take him is quite another thing.

So, I think that to say that someone is under investigation may be a misstatement of what it is. I think there's an ongoing investigation and that's quite different.

ROGIN: Or it could be a perfectly accurate statement of what's going on, because you don't know if he's under investigation or if there's an inquiry to determine whether he's under investigation either, so --

ZELDIN: Well, except --

ROGIN: You can't call it a misstatement because you don't know what the ground truth is.

CABRERA: Let's let Philip give his take on this. What do you think, Philip?

PHILIP ALLEN LACOVARA, COUNSEL TO WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTORS: Yes, I think it's extremely likely that there is an inquiry that probably is already ripening into an investigation. That is many people, including me, have said that Jim Comey's testimony established the basic grounds for an obstruction of justice charge, and there's other corroborating evidence to that effect.

[18:10:02] I think it would be remarkable if Bob Mueller and his team were not looking into this, but as others have said, it's unlikely that he would confirm that the president isn't under investigation, because Jim Comey got himself in trouble by telling President Trump a couple of months ago that he wasn't under investigation at the time. So, I think it's much more likely that there is, in fact, an effort to see what other evidence exists that may bear on the president's own culpability.

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: Everybody wants to get in. We'll go to Josh first, then Michael. Then we'll come back to Philip.

ROGIN: We didn't even talk about the second part of Trump's tweet, which is also wrong. He says, by the guy who told me to fire Comey, when the president has also already admitted that he decided to fire Comey well before anyone wrote any letters or he asked for any justification to support the decision he already made.

So, there's a lot going in that tweet that's misleading, right? We can go over and over whether it's an investigation or inquiry, but the bottom line is what the president has said and done and tweeted has made it worse for himself, has encouraged Robert Mueller to expand his investigation, putting him, his aides and his lawyers in a much worse position. That's the news here. That's what's important.

CABRERA: Michael?

ZELDIN: That's where we disagree. I think that there is a preliminary inquiry going on, as Phil said. It may lead to an investigation where somebody is named a subject or a target. Obstruction was always part of Mueller's mandate.

I'm not defending the president by any means. I have no, you know, political dog in the fight. All I'm saying is, we're in a preliminary stage and we need to be careful about calling people targets and subjects of an obstruction --

ROGIN: How do you know we're in the preliminary stage? Do you have inside information from Bob Mueller's team that supports that assertion or are you just saying that?

ZELDIN: Well, we have no knowledge that subpoenas --

ROGIN: Oh, you don't know.

ZELDIN: You're making me argue with you, which I'm not trying to do. All I'm saying is --

ROGIN: No, I'm just questioning on what basis you claim we have an inquiry that's in a preliminary stage that's not an actual investigation --

CABRERA: Let Michael finish his thought.

ROGIN: OK.

ZELDIN: Because witnesses haven't been called, because grand juries haven't been convened, because subpoenas haven't been issued. I think when those things happen, we will know that they happen. I am confident that --

(CROSSTALK)

ROGIN: Witnesses haven't called? That's wrong, witnesses haven't been called?

CABRERA: Let me just expand the conversation for a minute.

ROGIN: Just wrong. CABRERA: Ask you this question, Philip, given, again, you have had

some experience with presidents in trouble with Watergate, obviously. You helped prosecute Watergate.

I've heard from a lot of legal minds saying the president cannot obstruct justice. He could fire whoever he wants to fire because he is the executive of the executive branch. So, what do you make of that? I mean, this idea of the investigation expanding into obstruction of justice, why would it go there if obstruction of justice really can't be found for the president?

LACOVARA: Yes, I think that's part of one of the lines of defense that the president's boosters are trying to put out there in the press. I think it's simply unfounded. The fact that the president has the power under his constitutional authority to fire an executive branch official doesn't mean that he could fire the official without regard to the other requirements of law, including criminal law.

The most obvious example would be if the president had been bribed to fire the FBI director. There's really no doubt that he would be subject to criminal prosecution, in my view, for being corrupted to use his power, just the way anybody else who has governmental power is responsible for corruption in the exercise of that power.

So, I think this is a monstrously large red herring. If the president has violated the terms of the obstruction of justice criminal statute, the fact that he's the president, in my view, doesn't excuse him from the normal requirements of criminal law that apply to everyone else in the exercise of power.

CABRERA: Can we do a quick flashback here? President Trump, he's called this investigation a witch hunt so many times, but take a look at this old newspaper clipping. This is from 1973 during Watergate. Nixon called it the exact same thing, this investigation into his business, a witch hunt.

So, Phil, was that Nixon's strategy? Was that counter to his legal team and what they were trying to do at the time?

LACOVARA: That was part of the Nixon strategy, to try to martial political support for his position to undermine the course of the Watergate special prosecutor's investigation. And that's why I've said on a couple of occasions recently, I get this feeling that I've seen this movie before, and much of what has been going on over the last several months parallels with almost eerie precision a number of the things that unfolded in Watergate.

[18:15:13] Now, I -- that's not to say that the outcome will be the same as it was in Watergate, as others have said on this panel. We're still at a relatively early stage, regardless of what label we attach to the inquiry, but some of the steps that have been taken by the president and the president's men do resemble some of the things that did unfold in Watergate.

CABRERA: Gentlemen, I've been enlightened. Thank you all for joining us. ROGIN: Thank you.

CABRERA: And happy Father's Day to the dads.

LACOVARA: Thank you.

ZELDIN: Thank you.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CABRERA: Let's turn to more breaking news this hour, this from the West African nation of Mali. At least two people have been killed, 30 rescued from a hotel that's popular with Westerners. It was attacked by gunmen today. And Mali security ministry is telling us that anti- terror forces are still trying to secure the scene.

It comes less than ten days after the U.S. embassy in Mali's capital city warned Americans traveling there about an increased security threat to Westerners. We'll stay on top of that story and bring you new developments as we get them.

American lives lost at sea after a U.S. Navy ship collided with a cargo ship off Japan. And now, questions asked about who's to blame for this tragedy and what could have been done to prevent it.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:20:35] CABRERA: New information now about the massive London fire that killed at least 58 people. We are learning about potential problems in the 24-story tower that burned, as police released new video of the charred damage left behind. Huge flames tore through this residential tower early Wednesday.

A senior U.K. government official now says he believes the cladding apparently used in a recent upgrade to the tower is banned in Britain for buildings above a certain height. The government is promising a full public inquiry. Angry residents, many who lost everything they owned in the fire, voice fears of a cover-up. London police have opened a criminal investigation.

More breaking news on CNN now. The tragic accident this weekend in the Pacific in which seven American sailors lost their lives. U.S. Navy rescue divers have managed to recover the bodies of these sailors in the flooded part of the Japan-based destroyer USS Fitzgerald. The ship was very badly damaged when it crashed into a massive container ship three times her size. Officers now say only the skill of the crew kept Fitzgerald from sinking.

I want to get retired U.S. navy commander and senior naval analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, Chris Harmer, in here with us. Commander, you have seen pictures of the damage to both the ships. It happened in the wee hours of the morning when the two collided. What do you think may have happened? CMDR. CHRISTOPHER HARMER (RET.), INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR:

Well, first off, our thoughts and prayers, condolences go to the victims and their families. And second, a shout out to the professionalism of this crew for saving a ship that very easily could have sunk. Warships of 50 years ago were built with much heavier armor plate than they are today. Today, most U.S. Navy warships have very thin hulls. They are susceptible to heavy structural damage like this. And the fact that the ship made it back into port without sinking really is a testament to the professionalism and bravery of the crew.

In terms of what happened, it's pretty obvious that the commercial container vessel t-boned, rammed the U.S. Navy destroyer sideways or from a perpendicular perspective, put a big hole into the side of that ship.

As to why that happened? Really at this point, all we can do is speculate. There are a number of factors that might go into that. But until the multiple investigations that are going on now are concluded, all we know is that the crew is able to save the ship and all of the mishap factors will be revealed later by the Navy.

CABRERA: Now, those two ships hit each other in the dead of night. It was a busy shipping zone, we know. How will investigators go about finding out whose fault it was? You say the pictures are telling, but what will they do in terms of the investigation and how that will proceed?

HARMER: Well, from the commercial side, there is something called the automatic identification system. Every commercial ship at sea that is licensed, registered, insured, et cetera, every legitimate ship at sea in any case, has an AIS system, which is essentially a transponder. It broadcasts out information saying, this is who I am, this is my name, this is my position, this is my heading, this is my speed.

So, all the ships in that area can see that if they have access to the AIS feed. Now, that is recorded, so we know that this ship, the motor vessel Crystal has a very specific track and we've got a location on that. And it looks to me like something was wrong with that ship prior to the collision. Certainly, either the autopilot on the ship was malfunctioning, or possibly the bridge was not manned or possibly there was a type of navigational error, because the ship in the 60 minutes preceding the impact with U.S. Navy destroyer made significant course changes that would not be consistent with a ship that was going into Tokyo Bay.

CABRERA: Now, if there was error on behalf of the navy's ship, if someone is to be found responsible, what would happen?

HARMER: Well, that will be a result of -- there are multiple investigations under way right now from the navy. First, there is a safety investigation to figure out what happened. That's what we call non-attributable, meaning anybody can say anything, they can tell the truth, there's no damage or repercussion to career or anything like that. In terms of the legal investigation, because there was a loss of life,

because there was significant damage, because this ship is not available to do its mission, there will also be a simultaneous judge advocate general investigation. That will allocate responsibility- blame, make recommendations for punishment. But until those are complete, we just won't know what the outcome of that is.

I can't speculate as to what was happening on that civilian ship. I can say that its course prior to impact was highly irregular. And I dealt with a number of ships. I used to be stationed in Japan as a helicopter pilot for the Navy. Unfortunately, there are a lot of commercial ships that just push on autopilot and then they leave the bridge unmanned.

[18:25:06] I'm not saying that's what happened in this case, but it's very possible that that happened, based on the track that this commercial ship took prior to the impact.

CABRERA: Paint a picture, if you will, of what was happening inside the navy vessel when that collision happened and these officers had to scramble to try to fix this huge gap in the ship to try to prevent it from sinking.

HARMER: Yes, it's a horrible scenario. We train to it all the time, but there's really nothing that can prepare you for the sheer shock and terror of icy sea water pouring in through your hull. That's all that protects you from the -- and the ship from sinking, so you've got to take immediate action to rescue the ship. You have to isolate water-tight compartments, got to close water-tight doors.

The ship has three electrical generators. I understand two of them were knocked down, so one generator is operating the sea pumps to pump the water out of those spaces to keep the ship in positive buoyancy and keep it afloat. It's like anything you can prepare for it all you want, you can train for it all you want, but until you're thrown into that situation, there's just no way to describe the sheer terror.

Now, as an aviator, I've had close mishaps myself. Every pilot who's flown long enough in the military knows what it's like to face death and really there's nothing can prepare you for it and you can just hope your training comes through at that time. In this case, clearly, the crew of this ship was well-trained and performed admirably in response to this mishap.

CABRERA: All right. Commander Chris Harmer, thank you so much for joining us. Happy Father's Day.

HARMER: Thank you.

CABRERA: A tragic shooting turns into a rare moment of unity on Capitol Hill, but will that translate into cooperation for Congress? We'll speak with Congressman Brad Wenstrup live next. He witnessed the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise and he is an Iraq war veteran who said he felt like he was back in a combat zone. Find out how he's doing live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:31:04] CABRERA: Congressman Steve Scalise is now in serious condition after last week's horrific baseball field shooting in Virginia.

This weekend, his condition was upgraded from critical after he underwent several surgeries. We'd been able to talk with his family. We learned he was even watching baseball last night.

Now, after the gunshots rang out Wednesday, Ohio Congressman Brad Wenstrup rushed across that baseball field to give first aid to Scalise, who was bleeding badly as he lay motionless near second base. And Congressman Brad Wenstrup is with us now.

Thanks so much for being with us, Congressman. How are you doing?

REP. BRAD WENSTRUP (R), OHIO: Sure. I'm doing fine. I've termed it as my head is fine, my heart is heavy.

CABRERA: Now, have you been able to reach out to Scalise and find out more about his condition?

WENSTRUP: I've been kept apprised of his condition. But I have advised members and the public in general, that pray for Steve, but it's not really wise to try and go visit him and things like that at this time. What he needs more than anything is to be with his family, have the opportunity to rest, and undergo the treatments that he has to undergo.

I knew when it happened at the time, especially when I didn't find an exit wound, that he was badly injured. These types of things require multiple surgeries. It's usually not just one thing that you fix.

And so, they've been going through the stages. I think they're doing it by the book, and we're seeing him getting better.

CABRERA: So sorry for what you all went through. I want to read from your cnn.com opinion piece. And I quote, "I've never expected a baseball field in America to feel like being back in a combat zone, but Wednesday morning, it did."

WENSTRUP: Yes.

CABRERA: You would know, of course, because you're an Iraq war veteran. So, for you, it felt like a combat situation?

WENSTRUP: It really did, except I didn't have armor or a weapon myself, and I didn't have the infantry with me. But we did have the Capitol Police, who did an outstanding job, tremendous bravery.

This man was calculated. He knew what he wanted to do. He knew how to pin us down.

I believe he had been there before. We've heard he had been in the area for a couple of months, and so, he knew where the only exit to the ball field was. And it seemed like he had a mission to carry out. And fortunately, for all of us, we are fortunate that he did not

succeed to the level that he might have been able to if the Capitol Police were not there.

CABRERA: Right, and they were there because Scalise, of course, is a member of the leadership team in the House.

WENSTRUP: Right.

CABRERA: But the rest of you don't have a security detail. Do you think that policy should change?

WENSTRUP: I think everyone's going to be thinking about that, especially when it's pretty well known what you're going to be doing and how many members are going to be together.

Certainly, when we do travel in large numbers, we do have security with us. But for this, it's early morning, baseball practice. I don't think it was considered, but I think it will be in the future.

CABRERA: Now, you also wrote in this op-ed, "As we passionately debate policy and argue our ideas, we need to hold on to our humanity. We need to rediscover the lost art of civil disagreement, the ability to hold opposing viewpoints without resorting to hate."

WENSTRUP: Right.

CABRERA: So how do we do that? How do we, as a society, mend the bitter divide, the hostile political discourse in this country?

WENSTRUP: Well, I think it's going to have to start with each and every one of us, because I think, today, that the problem exists with certainly politicians themselves, with the news media, with the social media, and with individuals and groups. I'm afraid that too much of this type of behavior has become a new normal, and that is not good for us.

I also wrote another piece, ironically, about two weeks ago, called "United We Stand, Divided We Fall." And I think that as an American nation, we've lost so much of our sense of community.

We have more in common than we have apart. We're supposed to debate policy. Let's do that, but we don't have to do it with all the hate.

[18:35:00] I can only begin to tell you a little bit about the threats that members of Congress are getting today that are just appalling. And it's really a shame that people that decide to serve their country have to go through that.

CABRERA: Are you getting threats yourself?

WENSTRUP: We have gotten threats. People put them out on Facebook. And some are followed up, some are not.

When we were in session the other day, it was a topic of conversation within our conference. And some people revealed the threats that they have received. And so, when we get them, we usually report them to the sergeant of arms, and there may be investigations that follow.

But I think that's probably happening on both sides of the aisle. But, certainly, I can promise you, it's happening on our side of the aisle today.

CABRERA: What are you going to commit to, right now, to starting the trend towards being more bipartisan and trying to heal the divide that is there and that exists?

WENSTRUP: Well, I think I'll keep doing what I have been doing, you know? I came to Washington to be a statesman. I never intended to be in politics, if you will. I'm a doctor and I'm a soldier. And this came along just because I felt I may have something to offer with the experiences that I've had in life.

I have great relationships with people on both sides of the aisle. We don't always agree, but that doesn't mean that we dislike each other and go after each other with extreme rhetoric. And so I'm going to continue to do the things I do.

We'll point out policy differences. I may be even more careful about that as I go forward. But I think it's important that we debate policy, but there's no reason for us to be going after each other.

And at this point, I would suggest that we don't point blame. I heard one leader say, well, this all started when Republicans tried to impeach Bill Clinton. That does not help us at this time. We have got to each look within ourselves and decide, are we doing what's best for the country?

CABRERA: And some of your Republican colleagues have also pointed fingers at Democrats as well.

WENSTRUP: Sure. No, I'm not saying they haven't, and so don't take it as that. But I'm just saying, that does not help.

CABRERA: Yes.

WENSTRUP: And I think that we need to look at how we're going to move forward and forget all that stuff that happened in the past and really take a good, close look.

You know, Pope John Paul II spoke about the freedom we enjoy in America, and it's in that piece, too, what he had to say to Americans about the freedoms. And he said, freedom consists not in doing what you will but having the right to do what you ought. And I think we all need to take a step back and start thinking about that a little bit more often.

CABRERA: That's a nice place to end. Congressman Brad Wenstrup, thank you so much for your time. Happy Father's Day. Grateful that you are serving our country today.

WENSTRUP: Thank you. You, too. Thanks.

CABRERA: This Tuesday, it's a peach state showdown. A critical seat in Congress is up for grabs in Georgia in the most expensive House race in history. We will preview this race and discuss the Trump factor, next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:41:58] CABRERA: Well, as we all know, today is for all the dads out there. Guess who just went from dad of one to dad of three? Jay- Z!

The rapper and his superstar wife, Beyonce, just welcomed the newest members of their family. Twins, we've learned.

No word yet on whether they are twin boys, girls, or maybe one of each, but Beyonce's dad confirmed the news on Twitter earlier today, saying, "They're here! Happy birthday to the twins. Love, Granddad."

So congrats to mom, dad, and big sister, Blue Ivy.

Now, staying with the theme of celebrities, it's comedian Seth Meyers. And is he responsible for Trump's presidential run? CNN MONEY Media Reporter Frank Pallotta sat down with the late-night host and asked him just that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK PALLOTTA, CNN MONEY MEDIA REPORTER: When you hosted the White House Correspondents' Dinner back in 2011, you made a joke that, some would say, spurred on Donald Trump to run for president.

SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN: Donald Trump has been saying that he will run for President as a Republican, which is surprising since I just assumed he was running as a joke.

(LAUGHTER)

PALLOTTA: How do you feel about that joke now?

MEYERS: I want to make it very clear, I still very much enjoyed that evening. It's weird that people have made that case, that that is what spurred him to run. But I've always made it clear that I would have been more angry had I said less.

PALLOTTA: You famously "banned," quote, I say banned, Trump from the show.

MEYERS: Yes. Yes. As long as "The Washington Post" is banned from Trump rallies, he is banned from appearing on our show, a show, which I should add, he has never expressed any interest in appearing on.

(LAUGHTER)

PALLOTTA: Let's say one day, Trump just feels like coming on "Late Night with Seth Meyers."

MEYERS: Right.

PALLOTTA: What is the first question out of your mouth?

MEYERS: Why did you think this job would be easy? Because that is striking to me, because no one who ever did it said it was easy.

PALLOTTA: Trust in media's kind of at an all-time low.

MEYERS: Yes.

PALLOTTA: A lot of people don't trust the media.

MEYERS: No, they really don't.

PALLOTTA: Is there a place for comedians and late-night hosts, like yourself, to fill that void?

MEYERS: Well, I still think I would trust a journalist over a comedian. With that said, you know, I think comedians are very well equipped to deal with the Trump administration because they've sort of eroded all of the sort of values of communication that we were used to for presidents.

And so, journalists are sort of at a loss, I feel like, sometimes to call it what it is, whereas comedians are in a much better place to do that. We can call a lie a lie a lot faster than journalists do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Frank Pallotta is with us now. Great interview, by the way.

PALLOTTA: Thank you.

CABRERA: Do you think that Meyers feels a little bit more responsible than he is letting on?

PALLOTTA: No, I actually don't. I was really surprised about how much -- like there's no regret there. I'm not saying he needs to have regret, but he said that he would have been more regretful if he didn't say the things he wanted to say.

What was more interesting, however, is that I asked him, do you miss your old life before Trump? And here says Trump's always been kind of a looming cloud, to paraphrase James Comey, I think, a little bit is what Meyers was doing. So he's always been kind of a part of his life.

CABRERA: So he's been thinking about him.

PALLOTTA: Yes. And he's been asked about him constantly since that night, so I don't think there's any sort of hesitation, looking back. But I think he's happy that he did what he did.

[18:45:04] CABRERA: Now, you talked about the ban of President Trump.

PALLOTTA: The band, quote/unquote, yes.

CABRERA: The ban of Trump but that was when he was a candidate. Do you think he would have him on now?

PALLOTTA: I think 100 percent. I mean, Seth is very good at talking to power. He's one of the best in late night. Him and Colbert, I would say, are the best, not just comedians at late nights, but political satirists on late night television. I think, 100 percent, he would have him on, probably devote the whole show to him.

CABRERA: So he has this "Closer Look" segment that became a staple of his show. Does he feel like comedians have a responsibility to hold people in Washington accountable?

PALLOTTA: I think what he said was best, that they can call a lie a lie much faster than, say, journalist people because we have to kind of be a little bit more objective than a comedian has to.

So I think that there is more responsibility but, ultimately, his first and foremost thing to do in late night is to be funny and to bring in a big audience with laughter.

CABRERA: You also asked him who his political dream guest would be.

PALLOTTA: Right. And he said, surprising to me, it's not Donald trump. It's actually Sean Spicer.

CABRERA: Sean Spicer!

PALLOTTA: He is fascinated by Sean Spicer today. I mean, who isn't? He said the thing that's most fascinating to him is those 15 minutes right before he goes out to the podium where he's just white-knuckling --

(LAUGHTER)

CABRERA: You wonder what's going through his mind.

PALLOTTA: -- that's what Seth says -- because he doesn't know that the story could have changed. And Seth has been one of these people, like the rest of late night, that has breaking news happen right at the last second. Sean Spicer does that for a living, so that's why Seth is incredibly fascinated by him.

CABRERA: Well, maybe Sean Spicer's watching and he'll go on the show.

PALLOTTA: Go on the show, Sean.

CABRERA: Exactly. He'll link up.

PALLOTTA: Go see Seth.

CABRERA: Frank Pallotta, thank you.

PALLOTTA: Thank you.

CABRERA: Well, can Democrat Jon Ossoff flip the Sixth on Tuesday or will Karen Handel keep the seat in Republican hands? We'll look at the polls and discuss why a state seat is in jeopardy for the GOP. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAREN HANDEL, REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE FOR GEORGIA: I am so honored and humbled to have you here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:51:00] CABRERA: With more than $50 million spent between the candidates, their parties, and super PACS, Tuesday's special election in Georgia is now the most expensive congressional race in U.S. history.

Volunteers for Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff are pulling out all the stops this weekend to get out the vote in District Six. CNN's Kaylee Hartung has the latest on this hotly contested race.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JON OSSOFF, DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE FOR GEORGIA: In this election with the stakes so high, there's no excuse not to be out there and making our voices heard.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Locked in a dead heat, volunteers and staffers for 30-year-old political newcomer, Democrat Jon Ossoff, and former Georgia's Secretary of State, Republican Karen Handel, are making their final push to get votes in Georgia's sixth congressional district.

SHREYA SINGH, JON OSSOFF SUPPORTER: I live in D.C. now but I grew up in the district. And I took an 11-hour bus ride to make sure that I was back and canvassing.

HARTUNG (voice-over): It's being called the most expensive House race in U.S. history with more than $25 million spent.

HANDEL: I saw a stat the other day that something like three times the number of donors for Jon Ossoff came out of San Francisco. You know where most of my donors are from, y'all? You.

HARTUNG (voice-over): There's been no lack of drama as both camps have exchanged jabs in the final stretch. Anonymous threats of violence aimed at both candidates have added more stress to the campaigns.

AMANDA LEE, JON OSSOFF SUPPORTER: It is getting ugly. And we had a great event the other night. A lot of us were hanging out, just really kind of celebrating our time and representing Jon, and we walked through a very hostile crowd. And I had my three-year-old on my back and people were screaming at us, flipping us the bird.

HARTUNG (voice-over): The stakes are high for both Democrat and Republican parties. Tuesday's result could foreshadow the 2018 national midterms.

KEVIN ASSARI, KAREN HANDEL SUPPORTER: I think this is almost like a referendum for Trump. I think that, you know, her getting elected is going to validate the presidency even more and that this wasn't just something that was done on a whim. That there is actually a base that is remaining loyal to the GOP.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARTUNG: Politics are local but this race has national implications. The "Get out to vote" effort this weekend in high gear for both camps.

Here at Jon Ossoff's field office in the Sandy Springs suburb of Atlanta, they've launched three different groups of folks canvassing the area throughout the course of this day. Yesterday alone, Ossoff's supporters knocked on 80,000 doors.

Now Karen Handel's campaign, they are doing the same hard work. The spokesperson for the state GOP office says, by Tuesday, they will have knocked on 275,000 doors. Those are numbers only seen in Georgia in a statewide election, Ana.

And with early turnout numbers, more than double what they saw in the April race for this seat, both camps feel like the universe they're working in this weekend to get out to vote is smaller and more targeted.

CABRERA: It's one to watch, no doubt. Kaylee Hartung, thank you.

Coming up, we return to our breaking news. For the very first time, the U.S. military shot down a Syrian warplane. An update straight ahead.

But first, Wall Street looks overseas for some big news that could shake global markets. Christine Romans has more on that in this week's "Before the Bell." Christine?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. One major Wall Street event this week actually takes place overseas.

Brexit talks begin in the U.K. on Monday. The stock market held steady after this month's election wiped out Prime Minister Theresa May's chances of a parliamentary majority.

She's been pushing a hardline E.U. exit strategy, but now all of that is uncertain. So investors will be focused on those talks for any indication of what economic fallout might be, both in the European Union and around the world.

Also in the U.K., a decision is due on whether regulators will approve the 21st Century Fox's purchase of Sky News. Investigators will decide if the company is fit and proper to buy Sky amid allegations of sexual harassment at its Fox News arm here in New York. The deal was approved by E.U. regulators back in April.

Back here in the U.S., several tech leaders heading to the White House for a summit this week. Some big name CEOs are expected to attend including Apple's Tim Cook, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Microsoft's Satya Nadella, and Oracle's Safra Catz.

[18:55:07] Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt will also reportedly attend. You will not see the Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, there. He left the advisory councils after President Trump withdrew from the Paris climate accord -- Ana.

CABRERA: Christine Romans, thank you. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in in New York. Hello on this Sunday.

We began this hour following breaking news, and it's from the war against ISIS. The United States military leading the coalition in the skies over Syria has shot down a warplane there. This is a first.

American military fighter jets shooting down a Syrian bomber over Syrian territory. It happened here near the city of Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold in northern Syria. Our global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott is with us.

[19:00:04] Elise, tell us what happened and how significant this is in the war against ISIS.