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Seven USS Fitzgerald Sailors Found Dead In Compartments; Cosby's Mistrial; White House Crisis; Health Care Debate; Congressman Scalise's Condition Upgraded To Serious; Justin Thomas Makes History At The U.S. Open; Celtics Trade No. 1 Overall Pick To 76ers; Tim Tebow Loses Grip On Bat; Reds Honor Pete Rose With Statue. Aired 6-7a

Aired June 18, 2017 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A U.S. warship collided with a container ship when that crash happened. The ship took on water. It was damaged both above and below the water line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't tell you how proud I am of the crew for what they did to save the ship. Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of those ship mates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are looking now at whether there is an object instruction of justice charge, chargeable against the president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will the president move to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rosenstein is a key witness in the case and you can't be supervising an investigation where you are a key witness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump, by statute, can't fire Mueller.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His tweets on this matter have been unending and unceasing. I don't think most people are taking it very seriously.


RENE MARSH, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Rene Marsh in for Christi Paul. Thanks for joining us.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. Happy father's day to all the dads out there.

MARSH: Well, we begin with a tragic discovery in the search for those missing sailors who were aboard a U.S. Navy warship involved in a collision off the coast of Japan. All seven sailors have been found dead in flooded birthing compartments of the "USS Fitzgerald." A Navy official says that the captain of the damaged destroyer is, quote, "lucky to be alive." BLACKWELL: For more let's bring in CNN's Alexandra Field. She is in Yokosuka, Japan, which is the base for the "USS Fitzgerald." Alexandra, what have you learned?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a heartbreaking loss that the U.S. Navy (inaudible) based in Yokosuka is coming to grips with. They have held on to hope for more than a day following this inexplicable crash between this U.S. warship and a container ship some three times its size.

Seven service members had been reported missing. There were searches in the water and by air and then there was the suspicion that some of the sailors could, in fact, be trapped in one of the compartments inside the ship, itself.

The ship was brought back here to its port. That's when divers were able to go in. They found the extent of the damage to the "USS Fitzgerald." They also found the bodies of seven sailors.

We were able to speak earlier today to the commander of the Seventh Fleet here in Japan. He talked about the condition that those sailors and their shipmates were facing when the crash happened in the middle of the night.


FIELD: Is there anything you can share about these circumstances that those sailors were facing in those moments down in those birthing areas? Do we know if these sailors were awake at the time of the collision, if they were awake afterward and if they tried to escape?

Also if you could just very briefly give us the mechanics of this crash. Are we talking about a T-bone, a sideswiping? Were there any call for help in advance or any efforts to maneuver to avoid a collision from either vehicle?

VICE ADMIRAL JOSEPH AUCOIN, COMMANDER, SEVENTH FLEET, U.S. NAVY: Thanks for your comments there. So it was at 2:20 in the morning. We do have watch teams that are awake throughout the night, but a significant part of the crew was sleeping. As I said before, two compartments that house 116 of the crew are in those compartments.

And it was a significant impact to the side of the ship and you can't see most of the damage. The damage is mostly underneath the water line and it's a large gash and near the key of the ship. The water flow was tremendous.

And so there wasn't a lot of time in those spaces that were open to the sea. And as you can see now, the ship is still listing and so they had to fight the ship to keep it above the surface so it was traumatic.

As to how much warning they had? I don't know. That will be found out during the investigation, but it was a significant impact that the crew had to fight very hard to keep the ship afloat.


FIELD: And the commander did go on to, again, commend the crew that was on board that ship, crediting them with stopping the ship from sinking and getting that ship back to port. The Navy has ordered an investigation into what went wrong, how a ship of this size could have collided with a container ship of that size.

No injuries for anyone on the board the container shape. Three other people on board the "USS Fitzgerald" had to be air-lifted from the crash site and taken to hospitals here in Japan. One of them was the ship's commander.

[06:05:01]The Seventh Fleet commander now says that his quarters were so badly damaged on board that ship that the commander of the ship, himself, is lucky to be alive.

He is in stable condition along with the others, but not yet able to talk to investigators at this point to start to help to answer so many of the questions that this community is left this this evening -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Understood. Alexandra Field for us there in Yokosuka, Japan. Thank you so much.

MARSH: All right, and joining us now to discuss even more on this is CNN military analyst, Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, the former commanding general for the U.S. Army Europe and the Seventh Army. Thank you so much for joining us, Mark.

You know, officials say that the "USS Fitzgerald" was actually in danger of sinking all due to the damage that it sustained. Those seven sailors they were found in that flooded-out birthing compartment of the ship.

I want you, if you can, to kind of walk our viewers through the layout of those sort of ships, what would they have been doing in that area at the time of the collision when they got trapped?

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: They were birthing areas, Rene. I've been on these kind of ships before and also have watched sailors train in basic training to do exactly the kind of thing that great lengths that they have to do on ships at sea. It's very dangerous.

But this is a birthing area and this is where they sleep. They are very crowded compartments on a destroyer like this. The Fitz is a big ship and has a large crew. So the individuals that are in those birthing compartments are very crowded in their beds. There is not a lot of space, first of all.

So when you had that container ship with the bulbous nose is underwater hit the side of the ship, it likely created a very large hole with not water rushing in, but as soon as the water rushes in they have to contain not only the water but the fires and the sparks that will come from this.

So what you're seeing here and this will all come out in the investigation. The Navy, just like the other military services, they take a great deal of pride in ensuring they find out exactly what happened, why it happened, and how they can prevent something like this from happening again.

So that is what you're seeing, but thoughts and prayers go out to those seven sailors who were trapped inside. There is a lot, unfortunately, a lot of family members today getting notification that their loved ones had perished in this accident.

MARSH: Right. You mentioned getting to the bottom of what caused all of this. I mean, the Navy and the Coast Guard are going to be investigating. What court of things will they be looking for as far as what went wrong in this investigation?

HERTLING: Yes. The radio signals, they will have recordings of those. They will have tracking devices, both from the kinds of thing that track ship at sea and GPS from both the destroyer as well the shipping container and what other ships were in the area.

What did the officer on deck, the one in charge of the ship while the captain was sleeping, what happened to him? What was the conversation like? It's a lot like an aircraft investigation. The most recent one of these kinds of accidents happened in 2013 in the Persian Gulf with the "USS Porter."

The same kind of ship, actually, and when the entire documentation was laid out and you saw the confusion in the area with the number of ships, ships passing and this lane in Japan where this accident occurred was a very busy one, you start to see how confusing it can be and how dangerous it is for Navy ships all over the world.

MARSH: Right. And now, quickly, I want to turn to Afghanistan. As you know, seven U.S. soldiers, they were wounded during an insider attack there in Northern Afghanistan. This is the second such attack in just a week. We have seen a rise in these sort of green on blue attacks. Why is this happening?

HERTLING: Well, it's happened for a long time truthfully in Afghanistan, Rene. There were three fatalities just a little over a week ago and it was in an area special operators were dealing with one another, Afghan and U.S. special operators.

This one that occurred on the 17th had to do with trainers, also with special operators and commandos in a northern part of the country and different area that was allegedly a little more secure and perhaps the Afghan forces were a little bit lax in terms of their recruiting effort.

We don't know. There will also be an investigation into this. But this is ten U.S. soldiers having been shot in the last week. At the same time, Secretary Mattis is petitioning for 3,000 or 4,000 more troops to go to Afghanistan to assist in the efforts there.

MARSH: Right. And you have to wonder will this sort of incident change his decision making process at all. Lt. General --

HERTLING: I don't believe it will. I don't think we will see that. General Nicholson on the scene has requested these soldiers for additional training and I think he will get what he wants.

[06:00:05]But it's unfortunate that Secretary Mattis is facing that decision right now during this time when these shootings have taken place.

MARSH: All right, well, thank you, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, for joining us.

HERTLING: It was a pleasure. Thank you, Rene.

BLACKWELL: Democrats threatening potentially to shut down the Senate in protest of the GOP's health care plan. This is happening as Republicans are quietly working out the details of replacing Obamacare.

MARSH: Plus the Cosby mistrial, the fallen star is a free man now, but there are new concerns about his health. What will Bill Cosby's attorney, what is he telling CNN exclusively? We have all of that coming up after the break.


MARSH: Well, it's business as usual in the Senate. It could come to a screeching halt this week in protest to the Republican health care plan.

[06:15:01]BLACKWELL: The Democrats are mulling over a strategy that could prevent anything from getting done. This comes after Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a letter requesting a meeting of all senators this week.

The Democrats could also demand an open process to consider health care when the Senate reconvenes tomorrow and making it harder for Republicans to schedule votes, to move their agenda ahead and confirm essentially any nominees.

MARSH: Well, the hardball tactic is in response to the GOP's closed door process in replacing Obamacare, something they are trying to get done by the end of the month. CNN congressional correspondent, Phil Mattingly has more on a partisan divide plaguing health care.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Rene, here is what we know about the Senate Republican health care negotiations. They are happening and that is about it at least at this point. This is all been behind the scenes. There has been no hearings and no public negotiations at all and that is by design.

When you talk to senators who are familiar with this process, they make clear that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to do this behind closed doors. He wanted to give his members the opportunity, the space to try and negotiate on some very decisive issues whether it's the expansion of Medicaid or the cutting back of Obamacare regulations or even the tax credit structure of that.

All of these are issues that within the Republican Party within their own conference there are major, major problems. But the result of that is nobody has any idea, at least outside the room, of what is going on. Frankly, some members inside do not. Take a listen to what Senator Lisa Murkowski said on Alaska Public Radio.


SENATOR LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: Yes, I got a problem with it. If I'm not see a bill before we have a vote on it, that's just not a good way to handle something that is as significant as -- and important as health care.


MATTINGLY: The issue here is those Senate Republicans, including Lisa Murkowski and several that have voiced these concerns are eventually going to have to not just digest this proposal but decide how to vote on this.

Republicans can only lose two of the 52 senators in their conference and still have an opportunity to pass it and the reality is this, they haven't solved these big problems that they still have on these crucial issues and time is running out.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made clear to his conference he wants to try to vote before lawmakers leave for the July Fourth recess. That gives them ten legislative working days left to actually get something done.

Now the big question is with all of this being done behind the scenes where are Democrats right now? Well, they are very upset, very upset. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sending a letter to Mitch McConnell inviting Mitch McConnell, all Republicans, and all Democrats to an all senators meeting inside the old Senate chamber to have a lengthy discussion, negotiations, debate about health care.

Mitch McConnell's team firing back saying if you want to sit down with us, you're essentially taking off this notion that you won't negotiate so long as repeal is on the table. That wasn't what Democrats were actually saying. So now we are in a little political back and forth a lot of posturing here.

The reality is Democrats are not involved in this process. They won't be involve in this process and frustrating to many of them. The bigger question now is the frustrations we are hearing from Republican senators, will that set this process back?

Will they ever actually come to a conclusion on their own internal debates? That is what we should find out over the course of the next couple of days -- Victor, Rene.

BLACKWELL: All right, Phil, thanks so much. Joining us now is Sarah Westwood, White House correspondent with "The Washington Examiner," and Julian Zelizer, CNN political analyst, historian, and a professor at Princeton University. Good morning to both of you.

So Sarah, let me start with you. To what degree does the process here and we heard from Senator Murkowski there, does the process not the content of this legislation jeopardize some of the maybe more moderate Republican senators from being on board with this?

SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Obviously some of the moderate senators are susceptible to pressure from the public, their constituents over the process and it undermines the Republican's argument that what they are doing is better than the Democrats when they are making a lot of the same missteps that Democrat made when they passed Obamacare in the first place.

They were attacked constantly on the secrecy of how Obamacare was put together. Nancy Pelosi's potentially era defining line when said we have to pass the bill to see what is in it was a line that Republicans ran on for years. Now they are repeating some of those same mistakes.

Now Democrats are also risking a lot by blockading the Senate over this. I mean, in the minds of a lot of voters, obstructing business in the Senate might not be better than deliberating health care policy behind the closed doors so there is a risk to each of how they go about the process of fighting health care or getting it through.

BLACKWELL: Julian, that's a good point. I mean, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's office declined to comment on this. There's at least one Democratic source who told our Manu Raju that the caucus may not go that far. How realistic do you believe this plan that they are mulling over to prevent any committee from meeting for longer than two hours will come to fruition?

[06:20:00]JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I suspect the Democrats won't do that in the end because the one thing they don't want to do is distract the tension away from the way Senator McConnell is handling this process, which is not popular with many senators or members of the House.

They don't want to distract people from the substance of the bill, which at least the House version was incredibly unpopular, remain so. And the Senate bill might cause more problems for the Republicans than it solves once it actually comes out. So I think a lot of Democrat are reluctant right now to go too far with this because the worst enemy of the Republicans might be the Republicans.

BLACKWELL: You know, Sarah, it's important to look just a year ago this week, actually, that it was the House Democrats who staged that sit-in on efficiently over getting a vote for some gun control legislation. The chant was no bill, no break. That lasted one day. It's not as if these things go on and on and on. From your perspective, what is the appetite for a sustained fight in this fashion?

WESTWOOD: On the Republican side, I think they want to wash their hands at the health care legislation as quickly as possible of the majority leader has said that they want to get the bill through before the July Fourth recess.

You saw on the House side that they used the impending deadline of upcoming recesses to try to push the bill through and try to put pressure on members to vote before they went back to their districts and I think the same kind of strategy that Republicans are pursuing in the Senate.

For Democrats, it's in their best interest to drag this out as long as possible so they have time to build their case against specific provisions in the health care bill. So that's part of the reason why I think you see Democrats toying with the idea of gumming up the gears in the Senate.

They want to make this fight last a long time so that they can continue to beat the drums of how unpopular and potentially damaging the legislation would be and so you'll see those two sides kind of come together and confront each other the next two weeks.

BLACKWELL: All right, Julian, let's take a turn here to the big vote on Tuesday in Georgia, the sixth congressional district between the Democrat Jon Ossoff and the Republican Karen Handel.

These post-inauguration special elections have been framed in the national context. Is this a referendum on Donald Trump and his presidency? The Republican candidates in those races have won each time. This one is close. I wonder how important from your perspective is Tuesday's result?

ZELIZER: Look. Historically the special elections don't usually tell us much about where the midterms will go. There is a lot of attention, a lot of hype, a lot of interest in the outcome, but historically, they are not great predictors. I think we have to remember that.

This is slightly different in that the investment by the national parties and the attention nationally that has been given to this race is so extensive. It makes it a little bit more of a test of where the parties are in the era of Trump.

How vulnerable Republicans are in suburban areas where Trump didn't have a very strong victory come the midterm. So my answer is it's relevant and give a bit of a signal, but we have to be caution because often these don't give us the path that is going to take place in a couple of years.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Julian mentioned there, Sarah, that this is -- so much money coming in from outside. The most expensive House race in history, $50 million plus here. I mean, from your perspective, is this, I mean, if a Democrat wins, if Jon Ossoff wins, could this be the harbinger of a wave here or is it just a single race that is an outlier?

WESTWOOD: Well, Democratic candidates that want to run in districts that are held by Republicans but that President Trump won by a thin margin or lost could take some lessons from Jon Ossoff's victory if he does win. They could see what tactics worked for him in these suburban enclaves that are traditionally Republican, but where President Trump had never gained a lot of traction.

It's not necessarily a sign that Republicans are in deep trouble for 2018. Obviously that the political lifetime away so we have no idea what the landscape is going to look like by then so Julian is right on, I don't know that you can use this, read the tea leaves and predict what is going to happen.

But certainly Democrats around the country who wants to challenge Republican incumbents can be taking notes to see what worked and maybe replicate his victory around the country.

BLACKWELL: There is, of course, a lot of interest there, 140,000 votes cast in early voting compared to 57,000 early votes in the primary a few months ago. We'll of course cover here on CNN. Sarah Westwood, Julian Zelizer, thanks so much.

Be sure to stay with CNN this morning, Jake Tapper interviews Senators Bernie Sanders and Marco Rubio and a member of President Trump's legal team, Jay Sekulow on "STATE OF THE UNION" at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

[06:25:01]MARSH: Now the Bill Cosby case is over, questions are being raised about his health. CNN sat down for an exclusive interview with his attorney just hours after the judge declared a mistrial.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe, though, that Bill Cosby drugged and assaulted women for decades?



MARSH: Welcome back. I'm Rene Marsh in for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

MARSH: Taking a look at our top story this morning. The bodies of seven sailors who went missing after a U.S. Navy warship collided with a merchant vessel off of the coast of Japan have been found.


AUCOIN: We have found a number of -- the remains of a number of our missing shipmates and our deepest sympathies go out to the families of those shipmates. A lot of concern for the families and the notification process, I will decline to state how many we have found at this time. We owe it to the families and the notification process I will not decline -- I will decline to state how many we have found at this time. We owe it to the families and friends of these shipmates and hope you can respect this process.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A naval official says there was significant damage to the Fitzgerald, including a big gash under the water line. Both the coast guard and the Navy they're expected to launch investigations into this.

RENE MARSH, CNN ANCHOR: Well, strong reaction to Bill Cosby's mistrial is still pouring in on both sides. Online, many expressed their dismay with the outcome immediately after the court's decision Cosby's wife Camille released a scathing statement that slammed the D.A., the judge, and some members of the media. And in an exclusive one-on-one interview with CNN's Jean Casarez Cosby's attorney explains why he believes Cosby is innocent.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The judge has declared a mistrial. Is that a win for you? Is that a lost for you?

BRIAN MCMONAGLE, BILL COSBY'S ATTORNEY: Any time you start a trial and end a trial with your client being presumed innocent, it can't be a loss.

Having said that, there are no winners here. We tried the case for a week. The jury deliberated for 50 some hours without a verdict. But, you know, as I've said many times before, as long as you can leave that courtroom with your client presumed innocent as he began, then I'm satisfied.

CASAREZ: This was a drug facilitated sexual assault case. Did you pause at all?

MCMONAGLE: I never pause when I have the opportunity to defend someone like him who maintained his innocence, who from the beginning has assured me that I'll be able to represent him and do so with dignity and -- I'm a trial lawyer. My job is to go in and defend people who are accused of a crime and require that the prosecution be put to the test. No matter what's written, no matter what's said outside of a courtroom, I require people who are going to make accusations to be put to the test and I welcome that opportunity here.

I will say to you, though, that I was always a big Bill Cosby fan. I'm from Philadelphia. I was born there and Bill Cosby means a lot to a lot of us in this area. So when I got that call, I said yes.

CASAREZ: Had you ever met him before?

MCMONAGLE: Never. Never met him. I've never seen him before, but I probably watched him on TV more than I care to admit. I go back to "I Spy." So I go way back but I've been a fan of Mr. Cosby's forever and now I get the opportunity to call him my client and my friend.

CASAREZ: What was it like to meet him way back then?

MCMONAGLE: I met him in New York at his home there. And it was -- it was rather awesome. He is a very engaging fellow. He is remarkably funny and amazingly bright. I think that's the one thing that stunned me the most, not ever having met him before, was his ability to interact on any number of levels about any number of subjects. He is just a remarkably brilliant man and he put me at ease, which was much needed the first time I met him.

He was a lot taller, more gregarious than I would have expected, and we got along right from the start.

CASAREZ: Do you believe, though, that Bill Cosby drugged and assaulted women for decade?

MCMONAGLE: I don't, because he swears to me he didn't.


MARSH: Well, Cosby's attorney also said he is very worried about the fallen entertainer's health. Take a listen.


MCMONAGLE: I have been greatly concerned for his health. I don't know -- I don't know that I'll ever see 79, but if I do, I don't know that I could survive what he survived this week.

I've been trying cases for 30 years. And it was difficult for me and I have no idea how he managed to sit in a room and endure while strangers were deciding his destiny and his fate. I think it did take a tremendous toll on him.


MARSH: Well, prosecutors say they will retry Cosby and the judge said that he would set a date within months.

I want to bring in CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson. Good morning, Joey. First question for you -- why were they not able to reach a verdict?


Listen. These are tough case and the reality is that that jury deserves our respect and our gratitude. You know, I've heard it said that the blinding power of celebrity is what did this. I say that that's nonsense. The fact is that that jury just didn't go back and say, it's Bill Cosby! Let's return not guilty!


That jury tried hard, Rene. They even came back after deliberating for 20 some odd hours and said, judge, we are hopelessly deadlocked. We don't know what to do. Go back in there and try and they did for three more days.

MARSH: Right. And I want to ask you about that, Joey. I mean, they essentially went back to the judge and pretty much asked to rehear the entire trial. I mean, what does that say about the prosecutors and the job that they did? Anything?

JACKSON: Well, you know what? They did the best they could with the facts that they had. But, remember, this is not a case where it's the DNA. There is a DNA sample and guess what. Aha he was there! This is a case from 2004. And as a result of that, you're relying upon memories. You're relying upon versions of events and what you saw with the read back is what did Andrea Constand say and what did she say it? What did she say to the Canadian police when she first reported it in 2005? What did she say? Can you repeat back what she said on the witness stand? What did Bill Cosby say in his deposition testimony when he gave it back in 2005? And what did he say to the police during that interview?

So they were weighing both sides, Rene, and ultimately when they asked for the question, you know, the law on reasonable doubt it told me they were really struggling between what she said and what...

MARSH: Right.

JACKSON: ... he said and they just couldn't reach a conclusion on that.

MARSH: Right. And I want to talk about just how fast the prosecution decided that they were going to retry this case. What does it tell you that they made that decision so quickly and how easy will it be for them to find an impartial jury?

JACKSON: You know, Rene, to your first part of the question, I am troubled by that. As a former prosecutor, I'm very troubled by the fact that they said, let's do it again. You know, not because they don't have a right to do it, not because the fact is that there is a hung jury, there's no conclusion and certainly you want finality in a situation. But you also want to perhaps speak to that jury.

What was the breakdown of the jury? Was it 11-1 to convict? Was it 11-1 to acquit? Was it 6-6? What was going in there? And so there should at least be some due diligence on the part of the prosecution to get...

MARSH: Right.

JACKSON: ... into the mindset of what occurred. That didn't happen. They just said we are retrying.

MARSH: Right.

JACKSON: So, is it politics or is it a really in essence doing justice in term of finding another jury that could be fair?

That is always the hope. You want people out there who can listen and not -- it's not that they haven't heard about the case, most people have. It's that you could check those views at the door and base a decision upon what you hear in that courtroom and if you can get a new jury that does that, you know what? That is the essence democracy.

MARSH: All right. Joey Jackson, thank you so much for that analysis.

JACKSON: Thank you, Rene.

BLACKWELL: All right. The president's legal team says that this week, finally, we will learn whether there are tapes of President Trump's conversations with James Comey. The first chance to get the truth 9:00 this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION." What is the strategy moving forward? We will talk about that in a moment.



MARSH: Well, President Trump is spending his father's day out at Camp David, while one of his lawyers will hit the Sunday shows later this morning. A topic of conversation whether there were White House tapes of the president's conversation with former FBI Director James Comey. Something the president hinted at just last month on Twitter. You see the tweet there.

BLACKWELL: And like many of the president's statements on Twitter tend to suck up much of the oxygen of the daily news cycle. But could they also play a part of a larger strategy?

Here to discuss CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" Brian Stelter.

Brian, good morning to you. And you know there's --


BLACKWELL: There is this huge disagreement on whether or not the president's tweets are part of a larger strategy or if they're just the impulsive rants of a frustrated chief executive. You spoke with someone who has a theory here.

STELTER: Yes. I asked Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, if she's concerned that all of the tweets, all the news coverage of the tweets actually distracts from what's going on in the Senate as the GOP members of the Senate try to craft a revised health care bill and then try to get it through Congress and get it to the president's desk.

Here is what she told me about those concerns from the left.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: You know, I think that is going to be up to the media and actually up to some of us that work in government.

Our job is to make sure that our citizens know that something really big is happening. So I will tell you right now, something really big could happen if the Republicans choose to draft the bill behind closed doors with no input from not just Democrat, but a lot of Republicans like Susan Collins who have publicly said that this hearing -- there should be hearings and things shouldn't be done behind closed doors.

We had over a hundred hearings for the Affordable Care Act. We had countless amendments, including Republican amendments that were accepted as part of the bill. And now we need to fix that bill. We need to make changes to the exchanges. We need to bring down the pharmaceutical prices. My point is there is some very important things we have to do but not behind closed doors without any input from the public.

The president, as direct (ph) as (ph) he (ph) is (ph), when he said behind closed doors that the House bill was mean and that got out, I thought that was pretty interesting. He didn't need a focus group. He didn't need a poll. But he came up with a word that probably best described it. Mean. And what we don't want to have in the Senate is (INAUDIBLE) or (INAUDIBLE) without any input from those of us in the United States Senate that would like to make some changes that would be good for the American people.

STELTER: I rarely hear a Democrat saying President Trump was right about something.

KLOBUCHAR: There you go! I thought he picked a very apt word and he does have a way with word as we know. And this point, he got it right.


STELTER: So there you go. One area of agreement with the president. We'll have more of the interview with the senator on "RELIABLE SOURCES" later this morning. But I was struck by her comments about this so-called secret health care bill, Victor. Democrats saying it's being crafted in secret. There is a self-imposed July fourth deadline the Republican senators have trying move this bill forward.


Some Democrats are considering trying to slow down the parliamentary procedures in the Senate this coming week trying to slow down the process and force the bill into the open. We will see what happens before the end of the month.

BLACKWELL: Some Republicans are questioning whether they can meet that self-imposed July fourth, the deadline. But as we speak about Twitter the president is awake, flexing thumbs. We've got a tweet.

STELTER: A tweet?

BLACKWELL: (INAUDIBLE). "The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt" -- which he now capitalizes. "Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm" -- and there's an ellipses there so I guess we'll get more from the president.

But the president again calling this investigation a witch hunt.

STELTER: He has honed in on those two words as the primary message he has about the Russian investigations and about Mueller. And in the past few days that has been his new term of art. I think it's notable -- maybe the breaking news about this tweet, Victor, is that the president is trying to be on message. He's trying to promote a positive message about his administration. Oftentimes what gets him off the rails are tweets about Russia about the investigation, et cetera. In this case he is trying to emphasize the good news. And the challenge he has of course when talks about new jobs be created he set a high bar for himself. About 200,000 new jobs per month, that was his promise when he said 25 million jobs in the next 10 years. So far the U.S. economy is not hitting that high bar that the president set but he has only had a few months in office so far.

BLACKWELL: All right. We'll continue to watch the president's statements through Twitter. And one other element a Happy Father's Day to you, sir.

STELTER: Thank you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: We've got a photo here of your daughter.

STELTER: Twenty-eight days old. That is Sunny.

BLACKWELL: All right. Is she sleeping through the night yet? I know that's a bit much to ask for 28 days.

STELTER: No. Not quite. She's already awake this morning but it's been amazing. It's like my heart has tripled in size the past month.


BLACKWELL: All right. Well, Happy Father's Day to you, Brian.

STELTER: Thank you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Be sure everyone to watch Brian later this morning on "RELIABLE SOURCES" 11:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

MARSH: And still to come, less than a week after the ballpark shooting in Alexandria, the field is set to reopen tomorrow. Plus an update on Congressman Scalise's condition is all coming up next.



BLACKWELL: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise's condition has been upgrade to do serious after undergoing another surgery yesterday. But doctors say that the Majority Whip continues to show signs of improvement. In fact his family tweeted that the LSU alum was able to watch an LSU baseball game -- that was last night. And he was more responsive.

MARSH: And doctors did mention, however, that he would still be in the hospital for some time, that he would also need a period of rehabilitation even after he is released. This as areas surrounding that ballpark in Alexandria have reopened. The baseball field will officially reopen tomorrow.

BLACKWELL: CNN correspondent Ryan Nobles is following the congressman's developments.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Very encouraging news for Congressman Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip, the third most powerful Republican in Congress and his family as the MedStar Washington Hospital Center where he is being treated has announced that his condition has been upgraded from critical to serious.

They released this statement -- quote -- "Congressman Steve Scalise is in serious condition. He underwent another surgery today, but continues to show signs of improvement. He is more responsive, and is speaking with his loved ones. The Scalise family greatly appreciates the outpouring of thoughts and prayers."

The hospital said it would be the final update for the weekend. But this is an important update for a number of reason. Obviously the first being the upgrade in his condition, but another point that should be raised is the fact that he's been able to have conversations with his family.

Doctors described on Friday that the congressman was in a constant state of sedation. They've been able to reduce the sedation a bit for him to have some interaction with his family but not much. The fact that he's been able to have a conversation should be making this process just a little bit easier for his family.

Of course the congressman shot on Wednesday at that congressional baseball practice. The man who was the shooter James Hodgkinson found with a list of names after the shooting. He was of course killed in the response. This is an important development for the congressman as he continues his long and lengthy road to recovery.

Ryan Nobles, CNN, Washington.

MARSH: Thank you, Ryan, for that report.

And still to come, a military official confirms that the bodies of seven missing sailors have been found following a U.S. Navy destroyer collision in Japan. And now the Navy will launch an investigation to find out exactly what happened.



MARSH: Well, some big names might be missing from the U.S. Open. But one golfer still making history.

BLACKWELL: Andy Scholes has this morning's bleacher report. A record here, huh?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Absolutely, guys. Good morning. Justin Thomas only 24 years old but that did not stop him from setting the best round ever in the 117 year history of the U.S. Open. And you know what? Maybe it was the pants. Check them out. Thomas rocking the fluorescent pink pants in round three yesterday. Look at the putt on five. Just incredible. Thomas shot a nine under par 63 which was the U.S. Open record. The record setting round though wasn't quite good enough to get him into the lead.

Thomas in a three-way tie for second place right now. One stroke behind Brian Harman entering the final round. Unless something wild happens today we are going to see a first time major winner for the seventh straight time. Now if there is a tie at the end of today's round and they don't play a sudden death hole they're going to play a whole another 18 holes tomorrow.

The NBA draft coming up on Thursday. Most experts thought Washington guard Markelle Fultz he's going to be heading to Boston with the number one overall pick. Well, that changed yesterday after the Celtics and 76ers agreed on a blockbuster trade.

According to multiple reports they are going to swap number one and number three. The Celtics also are going to receive a future first round pick in the deal. Now Sixers star Joel Embiid posting a picture with Fultz and teammates Ben Simmons and Robert Covington in Instagram after a workout yesterday saying, "This should be legendary if it happens."

All right. Turning number one on this morning. Tim Tebow had an embarrassing moment during last night's game. The former Heisman Trophy winner throw his bat way up into the stands. Look how far the bat went before it finally landed. Now, luckily, no one was hurt. Tebow did end up striking out in that at-bat.

All right. Finally Pete Rose still banned from baseball but that's not stopping his old team from honoring him the all time hit leader. He helped Cincinnati Reds unveil his statue at Great American Ball Park with Major League baseball's permission, of course. The larger than life bronze sculpture captures Rose's famous headfirst slide and there was another awesome moment from this getting a three generation in the first pitch as his son Pete Rose Jr., the (ph) catcher, grandson Pete Rose III on the mound and his son Tyler Rose was playing umpire there, guys.