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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Polls Close in Georgia Special Election: First Results Coming In; Unanswered Questions at the White House; Interview with Senator Angus King of Maine; Trump: Warmbier's Death "A Total Disgrace;" Senate GOP Plans Health Care Vote For Next Thursday; New Dashcam Video of Philando Castile Shooting. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 20, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:10] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. Thanks for joining us.
A lot happening tonight, not the least of which is happening as we speak. They are counting the votes in the special congressional election in the Atlanta area, Georgia, and it's safe to say Georgia is on a lot of people's minds tonight, in both parties.
Georgia's sixth congressional district was held by Tom Price, who left to join the Trump administration. It's been held by Republicans, including Newt Gingrich, since 1979. Georgia, as you know, is a red state.
The race between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff could not have been closer going in, and has turned into the most expensive House race anywhere ever. Right now, Karen Handel is leading by 2 1/2 points.
Joining us with more and why this matters, chief national correspondent John King.
So, polls closed just at 7:00 p.m., John. What's the latest on this race?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The latest, Anderson, is let me first tell you to expect a long night. Now, I just pull out to just Fulton County. We have some early votes from Fulton County, about 72,000 votes so far.
This map you're looking at the moment is a bit misleading. I just want to draw a line for you. This is the sixth congressional district. Has a piece of Cobb County, has the piece of DeKalb County, has a big piece of northern Fulton County. There's nobody in this district down here, but the votes are being reported by Fulton County. So, they come in on the map as in Fulton County.
These are the votes up here. This is the numbers so far -- 51 percent for the Republican, Karen Handel, 49 percent for the Democrat, Jon Ossoff. If it stays like that, what does that tell you? It tells you we have a close race. If Fulton County stays like that, this is about 72,000 early votes.
This is a Republican area of the district. But Jon Ossoff did quite well here in the April runoff election. Our projections tell us that this is about what he has to do to stay competitive in the district. He can lose Fulton County, that part of the district, but he can only lose it by a couple of points. If it stays 51-49, then we see what happens in Cobb County, in DeKalb County. We're expecting early votes from those counties in the next half hour or so, and then we go on from there.
So, the very early results in a very competitive race tell us we have a very competitive race in what has become, Anderson, as you know, ground zero in American politics. Democrats think if Jon Ossoff can win this race, it sends not only a message here in a congressional district Republicans have held since the Jimmy Carter administration, but they also believe it sends a big national message.
Republicans, they think Democrats would overstate the national impact, but trust me, they have put so much resources from the national party, from interested groups like the Chamber of Commerce, like other super PACs, helped in to turn out votes in the final days. This is become a hugely competitive race. More than $50 million.
And when we have the results late tonight and the reaction tomorrow morning, it will reset the national political debate. Just at the moment, can't tell you how.
COOPER: Yes. Let's just that, you know, mention that figure again, $50 million. We're talking about one congressional seat.
KING: We're talking about one congressional seat, Anderson, but I want to go through one of the reasons we're talking about this congressional seat. Number one, let me turn this off so I can pop this out for you and get you take a look at this.
Number, we've seen this before. Democrats desperately want to win, number one. If they lose this race, the morale crisis in the Democrat Party will be big, because they lost Montana. They lost Kansas. Now, these are very Republican seats.
What's the difference in this district in Georgia? Look at the difference in the education levels. Democrats struggled. Democrats tend to do well with highly educated suburban voters.
This is one of the top ten congressional districts in the country where the percentage of people who have bachelor degrees or higher. So, this is an area Democrats think they can do well, here. We mentioned how much in recent days the president has been involved. This is a tough district for the president.
Look at this. The Republican congressional candidate who held this seat, Tom Price, now the health secretary, he won re-election with 60 percent of the vote. The president in a presidential year was only getting 48.3 percent. Mitt Romney so much higher. John McCain higher. So, if Donald Trump struggles with the kind of Republican voters that
live in this red Republican district. So, what Democrats are saying is if we can win here, well, there are 25, maybe 30, maybe 35 other districts across the country in 2018 that are red today, Republican districts today, that look close to this.
So, if the Democrats can win here, they think it really positions them, it will help with candidate recruitment. It will help with fund raising heading into 2018.
COOPER: Yes. All right. A lot to watch for. We'll be watching all of that throughout the night. John King, thanks.
We're going to be following this throughout the broadcast obviously over the next two hours and certainly well into the night, as John pointed out, as long as it takes for that. Though it is nothing compared to how long we've all been waiting for some other important answers, including one dating back to the last big election night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Does President Trump believe that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 elections?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think I've not sat down and talked to him about that specific thing. Obviously, we've been dealing with a lot of other issues today. I'd be glad to touch base.
REPORTER: Generally speaking, I mean, this conversation about Russian interference in our elections, there's 16 intelligence agencies that say that they did. The former FBI director said that without a doubt, the Russians --
SPICER: I understand. I've seen the reports.
REPORTER: Does the president share those views?
SPICER: I have not sat down and asked him about specific reaction to them. So, I would be glad to touch base and get back to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, that was White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer today, his first time back in a podium in a while.
[20:05:01] Not his first time uttering those words. And keeping them honest, this isn't even a tough one. Each and every agency, you heard in this country's intelligence community has already weighed in on this. Each and every one of them agrees; it happened.
Sixteen agencies, employing tens of thousands of professionals, spending tens of billions of dollars have reached a conclusion, and the president is chief executive and commander-in-chief of them all. In some ways, the whole exercise of even asking Sean Spicer about this is sort of absurd. The president has all but spelled out his contempt for the notion that
Russia meddled in the election. And he's even belittled the intelligence community for saying so. His statements and tweets suggest he thinks the answer is no.
But Mr. Spicer won't answer the question. Not one or any of these. Are there tapes of the president's conversations with James Comey? Do people contribute to global warming? Did President Obama wiretap President-elect Trump? Did voter fraud give Hillary Clinton the popular vote victory?
Pretty simple questions, all of them a simple yes or no answer, but we're not getting that. And in fact, in many cases, Mr. Spicer says he hasn't even asked the president about it. At this point, we're asking him as much of a test of the administration's transparency as anything else. Though things like one sitting president wiretapping the incoming one would be kind of a big deal, kind of.
So, we keep on asking week after week, month after month and Sean Spicer keeps on saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SPICER: I have not asked the president since the last time we spoke about this.
And I haven't spoken to him about the reason. I don't know. I honestly haven't asked him that specific question.
I said I have not had a discussion with him on the question. I haven't talked to the president specifically about this.
Yes, I have not had an opportunity to have that discussion.
I don't -- I have not asked him.
I have not asked the president.
I haven't asked him.
SPICER: I get back to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, the answers say nothing. They also kind of speak volumes.
Jeff Zeleny is at the White House for us tonight.
Is there a logical reason, Jeff, why Sean Spicer doesn't have an answer to these questions?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, I think logical but also legal, Anderson. I mean, that's what the realm that we are in right now. Sean Spicer clearly does not want to contradict anything the president has said here.
But, look, this is the third administration I have covered -- the Bush administration, the Obama administration and the Trump administration. Never have we seen a press secretary who responds like this. But it is because of the principal, because of the president, because he is, as we know, is quite flexible and fluid on his views. So, the White House press secretary and others speaking for him have intentionally taken the line of, I've not asked him about that, because they know he's changed his view.
But on the issue of Russian interference in the election, this happened seven months ago, Election Day was. Everyone in this town has stipulated to it, Republicans, Democrats, every member of every intelligence community, including people here at the White House.
But Sean Spicer still did not feel confident enough to say the president believes that, because he's one of the few people left in this town who simply will not say that. But logical, I'm not sure. Legal, perhaps that's the reason he didn't say that today, Anderson.
COOPER: What did Sean Spicer have to say when he was asked about what the president thinks of the health care bill?
ZELENY: Well, he said that the president is in favor of some type of health care reform. He wants the Senate to keep working on this, but he also -- Sean Spicer did not deny that the president was critical of the House health care bill. Now, you'll remember, that's the one that he was hailing and praising in the Rose Garden just a month and a half or so ago.
But today, he said the president wants a bill that has heart. He wants the Senate bill to be more generous. Well, that is a little bit of a problem here, because the Senate is trying to work this out. But it's clear the president and the White House are not steeped in the details here, and Sean Spicer said the president has not seen the bill or he does not believe the president has seen the bill.
That's not surprising, because a lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill haven't either.
COOPER: And in terms of Sean Spicer's future at the White House, did Spicer clarify that at all today?
ZELENY: Sort of. I mean, he said that, look, he's helping find a new communications director, someone to lead the strategy of the communication strategy here. And we do know about a month or so ago that communications director left. So, there is an open vacancy there.
But the reality here is, whoever becomes the next press secretary, and there will be another press secretary at some point at some time, that is not the main challenge for this White House. It is the message. It is what they are talking about.
No matter who is answering questions about the Russia investigation, they're going to have the same challenges, if you will here. But Sean Spicer essentially said he's going to stay on. He refused the idea that he's going to be pushed out. Several administration officials here say that he will be elevated actually to a more behind the scenes role. We'll see what happens, Anderson, but I don't think any of this is imminent.
For one, a lot of people do not want this job. For two, it is a very complicated job, because again, the answers are complicated. The substance of this is all complicated.
This is not a communications problem. This is a substance and issue problem with this investigation.
COOPER: Yes. Jeff Zeleny -- Jeff, thanks very much.
Coming next to CNN's Manu Raju at the Capitol where Russia special counsel Mueller appears to be trying to get on the same page with all the relevant investigative committees.
[20:10:03] So, Manu, do we know what Robert Mueller was hoping to accomplish on the Hill tonight, which is where he was?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yes, he met with the House Intelligence Committee leaders as part of his own probe into Russian meddling, and as well as these questions about obstruction of justice. The idea was to make sure that Mr. Mueller's investigation does not in any way conflict with what the House intelligence committee is trying to do, make sure that they're not overlapping in scheduling witnesses, and they're able to move forward in essentially separate paths.
Now, this comes as Mueller has been making the rounds on Capitol Hill, did meet with the Senate intelligence committee last week, the leaders there, and also the Senate judiciary committee, leaders tomorrow. And interestingly enough, Anderson, that committee is interested in probing the notion that there could have been some interference at the FBI, possibly even looking into obstruction of justice, since that is what Mr. Mueller is investigating, could be questions about what witnesses could come before the Senate Judiciary Committee and which ones that Mueller wants to interview himself, Anderson.
COOPER: Right. Mueller also meet with the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, do we know where their investigation stands?
RAJU: Well, right now, they're in the process of scheduling some key witnesses. Trump associates, people who may have had contacts with Russian officials during the campaign season. Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the committee, told me earlier today that he does not expect any of those big witnesses to actually come before the committee before the July Fourth recess. That includes Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law.
And I also had a chance to talk to Richard Burr, the chairman of the committee, about the scores of records that Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor, has provided the Senate Intelligence Committee. I asked him if it was responsive to the committee's request. This is what he said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Are you satisfied with the documents you've received from Michael Flynn? Has he been responsive to the committee's request?
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We continue to work through documents that are supplied to us. And we're making a lot of progress.
RAJU: Are you expecting to issue any more subpoenas either to him or I mean, other people at this point?
BURR: We don't talk about issuing subpoenas. That's the House side that publicly puts those out. But we continue to invite people to come in. And we're ahead of what we had targeted for interviews.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So, Burr saying that he believes his efforts are moving ahead of his own internal schedule, but he would actually not rule out that this investigation, Anderson, is stretching into 2018, into the midterm election season. So, it really just goes to show you that the investigators on Capitol Hill are really just starting to really dig into the data and still don't know if they need more information from Michael Flynn, and others in order to answer a lot of the questions that they have, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Manu Raju, appreciate the update.
Earlier tonight, I spoke to Maine's Angus King. He's an independent member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
COOPER: Senator King, Special counsel Bob Mueller was on the Hill meeting with leaders from the House Intelligence Committee. I understand he's going to meet with leaders of the Senate Judiciary tomorrow, reportedly met with leaders in your committee last week.
Can you say the purpose of those meetings? I mean, is it to figure out what the boundaries are between his investigation and your investigations?
SEN. ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: Yes, that's exactly what it is. The term I used is deconfliction. It's to be sure that we don't step on each other's investigations.
They're really different roles. Our committee's investigation is about the facts, what do the Russians do, how do they do it, how do we prevent it from happening again? And also, the question of whether there were contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians leading up to the election.
His examination is more in the nature of were there laws broken? And so, he's going to be looking in different areas than we are. But we want to be talking and communicating again. So, for example, we don't want to give immunity to somebody who would then be lost as a potential witness in his investigation. So, we do have to keep communicating. And that's why you're seeing these meetings going on.
COOPER: And the House Intelligence Committee, they set Friday as a deadline for the Trump administration to turn over any tapes if they exist. I mean, at this point, do you believe tapes exist? And if they do, is your committee also going to demand to hear them?
KING: Well, of course, if they do, the answer is certainly yes. But frankly, at this point, I doubt it. There's been all this talk about it. And the president keeps sort of dropping hints and saying, well, you'll find out later. And you'll learn something.
But I'd be surprised if there were. Also, I think we have to top using the word tapes and talk about recordings. I don't want anybody, you know, sliding by this issue by saying, well, there are no tapes, but there are digital recordings.
So, if there is anything like that, in the possession of the White House or the president, it should be immediately made available to Congress.
COOPER: And yesterday, your fellow Judiciary Committee member, Senator Whitehouse, told CNN he believes Michael Flynn is already cooperating with the FBI's investigation. Do you have any information about that, or do you have any sense about that?
KING: I don't have any sense about it.
[20:15:01] He has volunteered to talk on the condition, at least several weeks ago, he was looking for immunity.
KING: Whether that's still the case, I don't know. I think he's a very important person to talk to on a whole lot of levels. And eventually, I'm sure he will appear before the committee one way or another.
COOPER: When Sean Spicer says that he hasn't talked to the president about whether or not the president believes Russia tried to interfere in the election, do you buy that? I mean, isn't that precisely what his job is to know, or at least find out what the president thinks?
KING: Well, it surprises me for sure and it fits in with Jeff Sessions last week saying all he knew about it is what he read in the paper and Jim Comey saying that in nine interactions with the president, he never really asked what did they do, how did they do it, how do you know?
This is pretty disturbing. It's very disturbing because this was a serious attack on our democracy, and at the top of the United States government, there ought to be a level of concern.
COOPER: Yes. And I think if memory serves me, Sessions testified under oath last week that he had never -- that the president had never had a conversation with him about it or asked about it.
KING: Well, and, you know, I understand the administration's sensitivity, if you will, on this subject because of all the questions swirling around about the campaign and whether there were contacts with the Russians. But put that aside, there is no doubt that the Russians did this and that they're going to do it again. I mean, this is a serious danger to our country. And we need some leadership throughout the federal government, not just from Congress, but from the administration to figure out what they did, how they did it, and mostly how we can prevent them from doing it again.
COOPER: Yes. You know, today, members of your committee told CNN that they will be getting access to documents from the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Unit as part of your Russian investigation.
Can you say what exactly you're looking for?
KING: Well, I can't, Anderson. I'm not going to talk about the specifics. But this is a request we made some time ago.
And apparently, the Treasury has now indicated that we're going to get those documents. I don't want to leave you, Anderson, though, without talking about what we're going to be discussing in our hearing tomorrow, which is Russian attempts to get into state election systems.
And this is an important part of the story, and it isn't, you know, getting all that much attention because of all the drama around Trump and Comey and those kinds of things. But this is one of the things worries me the most. They tried to get into state election systems and they're going to try it again. They weren't doing it for fun.
All the intelligence is, they didn't change any votes. They didn't shift any votes. But as I say, they were practicing. And I'm very worried about 2018 and 2020. And that's what we're going to be talking about tomorrow with both with U.S. intelligence officials, but also with state election officials. This is a big deal.
COOPER: Senator King, appreciate your time. Thank you.
KING: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, just ahead, we are just getting new results coming in from tonight's House race in Georgia. Democrat Jon Ossoff now pulling ahead. Is there an upset in the making? Details on that next.
And later, for the first time, police video of the moments leading up to the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile. A jury acquitted the officer involved. The question is, will the video make you question the verdict? You'll have a chance to decide for yourself.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:22:08] COOPER: New vote totals right now in Georgia sixth district. Remember, it has been read since the Carter administration. Right now, Democrat Jon Ossoff has pulled ahead of Karen Handel.
Back now with John King.
Where is the vote count at this point?
KING: Let's take a look, Anderson. It is blue at the moment. That will encourage Democrats, but this is early. This is Georgia's sixth congressional district, as you noted, red since the Carter administration, most recently won by Tom Price who is now the Trump administration health secretary. That's why we have the special election.
Jon Ossoff at the moment, the Democrat, up 51 percent to 49 percent. But let me switch the map here to show this district. Now, I'm going to pop it out just a little bit more. The district encompasses three counties in the Atlanta suburbs. I'm going to draw a line here and I'll tell you why in a second.
This is the district, north of the green line. Yes, you see votes coming in down here, out here and down here. These are the counties, DeKalb County, Fulton County, Cobb County. When the votes come in from the counties, they populate the entire county, but the district is up here in this northern part.
So, what do we see so far early on? Number one, DeKalb County is the most Democratic area in the district. Jon Ossoff has to run it up big here. He is at the moment, 60 to 40. Again, this is just early votes.
Over here in Cobb County, this is the most Republican area of the district. Karen Handel, the Republican, needs to run it up big in this part of the district. At the moment, early votes, 55-45, not as big as his lead in DeKalb, but a good healthy lead in the Republican district.
So, then Fulton County is the largest part of the district. The northern part right up here, Atlanta is in Fulton County, but it's not in the district. It's only up here in the suburbs, this part of the district. Right now, 51 for the Republicans, 49 for the Democrat.
That is where Jon Ossoff can end the night. This could be the one warning sign in the early results for Jon Ossoff, Anderson, in the sense that if he ends the night losing by a point or two in Fulton County, as long as he does what he has to do in DeKalb County, he can still win the seat.
To see this from the early voting, that might be a bit discouraging to the Democrats. In the very early voting, they had hoped to pull out of a bit of a lead up, expecting that as Republicans get the election day vote, Republicans in a Republican district, you can expect more Republicans will show up on election day.
So, if there's a warning sign in the early results, it would be that. But I also want to caution, this is about 114,000 votes. These are all early votes. We think there's another 30,000 or so early votes to be counted. Then you get into the Election Day voting, probably another 100,000, 120,000 voters voting today.
So, if you go back out to the full district and look at the early results, as I pull it out here, get rid of the green lines you're not distracted by it, this tells you early results, everyone expected a very close race. The early results tell us -- get the espresso machine going.
COOPER: All right. Long night ahead. John King, thanks. We'll continue checking with you.
I want to bring in the panel, David Chalian, Gloria Borger, Mark Preston, Dana Bash.
You know, David, as much as Sean Spicer was basically downplaying the importance of this, there's no doubt the White House is watching this closely.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Very closely. Just look at the president's Twitter feed over the last couple of days. He's clearly been focused on this race.
[20:25:00] If Karen Handel wins, I'm sure he's going to take some credit. He did some fund-raising for her early on in the race, out there on his Twitter machine supporting her.
And so, he'll certainly take some credit. But Sean Spicer may be trying to downplay, Anderson, but honestly, if the Republicans hold this district, I think it's a very big boost for not just the president, but for Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. This will calm the waters to push on with health care and tax reform, the president's agenda.
COOPER: And, Gloria, the flip side of that, of course, if the Democrat takes this, Jon Ossoff wins, it's a big boast for Democrats. Or at least they'll spin it as that.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, of course, and they should spin it as that, because this is a district that there shouldn't even be a race in, quite honestly, as John was pointing out, since the Carter years, it's been Republican. And the impact would be for Democrats that they would really be able to recruit candidates more easily, because nothing succeeds like success here. I think they could be even more strident on health care. Health care was a huge issue in this race, and Ossoff really very much talking about being against the president's plan on health care reform.
So, I think the Democrats would take this, and they would run with this right into 2018.
COOPER: Dana, I mean, the president himself has made a big deal of other special elections in the last couple of months, praising Republican wins. Hard not to imagine him taking a victory lap and, you know, arguably deserved. DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No question. If in
fact Karen Handel does pull it out, you bet he's going to take a victory lap. And, you know, deserved or not, Republicans will do it, just like Democrats would do the opposite if they won.
But I have to say, you know, we've been talking about since the Carter administration how this has been a Republican district. Forget that. It's been a Republican district in much more recent history. Tom Price, who gave up the seat to be the HHS secretary, just last year, last November, this past year, 23 percent, that's how much he won this district by. 2014, 32 percent. Two years before that, 29 percent.
This is not historically a swing district, at all. So yes, the district has changed, to be fair. And Tom Price was a known quantity and he didn't have a real opponent like the Democrats are running now. But it just kind of goes to show how the fact that this is kind of, from the Democrat's perspective, a tailor-made kind of district to take from Republicans in Trump years, meaning it's very wealthy, very high in terms of education, the kind of Republicans that they hope are turned off by a Trump presidency or a Trump Republican.
Having said that, if, in fact, the Republican does end up winning, to go back to your original question, the president has every right to crow about it.
COOPER: And, Mark, if the Republicans do hold this, then it sort of weakens the Democrat's argument that in 2018, there's a bunch of other districts with similar makeup of voters that they think they can turn blue.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, no doubt. And I think we have to look at this in the totality of what we've seen so far. Republicans have already picked up two special elections, one in Montana, one in Kansas. Democrats thought they had a shot in Kansas, and then in some late breaking news, we all remember the news where the Republican assaulted a reporter and they thought -- Democrats thought they could capitalize in that, but they didn't.
Tonight also, there's another race going on in South Carolina that is going to go Republican. So, let's look at it in totality at this point, is that if Republicans do win tonight in Georgia and in South Carolina, to David's point, you are going to see a calming of the waters.
Democrats, though, even if they win tonight, and it will be a big moral victory for them, and I think -- I mean, that is not to be understated or overstated by any stretch of the imagination, there will be internal fighting within the party about what messaging actually worked, because Ossoff hasn't necessarily run as this big liberal.
PRESTON: Right? I mean, he's really run as a centrist, kind of a quiet candidate, just being very careful what he says about. We already know there's a fight within the party between the more centrist Democrats, pragmatic establishment types and really the revolutionaries, the Bernie Sanders ones. So, the fight will go on no matter what happens in --
COOPER: It also, David, just incredible when you think about the money poured in. I mean, $50 million just for this one seat. And whoever wins tonight is going to have to run again for a full term just like every other member of the House is going to.
CHALIAN: Yes. I mean, we don't know how it will end up. I was doing a calculation before, thinking that maybe the winner of this race will end up having spent somewhere between $150 to $250 per vote. So, I mean, a ton of money has poured into this race. There's no doubt about it.
That will not be the same in every race going forward. That's one of the things that makes this a unique environment.
COOPER: All right. We're going to check in with all of you a little later on as more numbers come in, as we await for election results.
[20:30:00] We have more breaking news, up ahead, with h the family of Otto Warmbier is now saying about an autopsy, he's the American student held captive by North Korea, who was released in a coma.
The Trump administration is under pressure trying to take some form of action against North Korea, some way for this death. The question is, what exactly can they do? That's ahead.
COOPER: There's more breaking news tonight. Two U.S. Officials tell CNN that American spy satellites have detected new activity in North Korea's underground nuclear testing site, this comes with outrage growing over the death of American Otto Warmbier, who was held captive by North Korea, released just days ago in a coma.
President Trump facing pressure to take some sort of action against Pyongyang, we have more on that in a moment. But first, what President Trump today said about Otto Warmbier's death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a total disgrace what happened to Otto. That should never ever be allowed to happen. And frankly, if he were brought home sooner, I think the result would have been a lot different. He should have been brought home that same day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The Obama administration is responding to that. Plus Warmbier's parents have made a decision on his autopsy.
Miguel Marquez joins us with the late details. So, let's talk about Warmbier's family. They are electing not to have a full autopsy done, is that right? MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, they objected to the Hamilton County Coroner's office performing an autopsy in the Coroner's office seen to that request. It is not clear why they asked that an autopsy not being perform but the office, the Coroner's office did say that they were still performing -- they did an external examination. They are looking at medical records and they are doing extensive interviews. They have not, they said, issued a cause and manner of death yet. But they did seem to leave open the possibility that a cause and manner of death could be concluded from the medical tests that have been done, the MRI scans that have been done and the interviews that they are currently doing.
COOPER: The doctors -- I mean, who spoke did not seem to have a clear sense of what exactly led to the condition that he returned to the U.S. in, right?
MARQUEZ: Yeah. They know it wasn't -- look, he had -- it was in a comatic sort of state because there was option (ph) cut off to his brain. They know it wasn't because of some sort of traumatic physical event that happened that cut off blood to his brain. They did scans across all of his body. They looked at his soft tissue as well.
[20:35:13] There was no indication of choking or drowning or anything that might speak to torture of Otto Warmbier. There was also no indication of botulism, which the North Koreans claimed was the issue, that he suffered botulism, took a sleeping pill and then fell into this coma. So there is this broad mystery still out there.
COOPER: This has also obviously become politically charged, as well.
MARQUEZ: Enormously. You have two very powerful voices, two Republican senators in Washington, John McCain and Marco Rubio, calling this murder, straight out. The administration for all the tough talk, are saying that he was unjustly imprisoned, says the Secretary of State, the President saying that it was brutal treatment, but they are stopping far short of the term "murder."
Clearly there are three other Americans and a Canadian still in North Korea locked up by them that they would like to bring them home. They don't want to make that situation worse.
COOPER: Yeah, a lot to contend with. Miguel Marquez, thanks.
Now the question about how the U.S. should take action, if any, against North Korea for Warmbier's death, and the accusation that the Trump administration could have been -- or could have done more to help him.
Joining me now, our CNN Military and Diplomatic Analyst retired rear Admiral John Kirby. He's a former State Department Spokesperson and former Pentagon Press Secretary. He was in the Obama administration when Otto Warmbier was captured. Also with us, is CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen.
Admiral, the President lying at least implicit blame for Warmbier's death at President Obama's feet. You were part of the Obama administration. What do you say to that?
REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN MILITARY & DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Yeah. I take great issue with that. And that's kind of the way I read it as well when I heard them today. I mean, look, there was nothing more important to President Obama or frankly Secretary Kerry while I was at the State Department than the safety and security of Americans overseas. And though we weren't successful in getting Otto back, and I do believe the Trump administration should get credit for accomplishing that. It was not for a lack of trying. It was not for lack of effort.
Secretary Kerry personally was involved in trying to seek Otto's release. I can't tell you the number of times that when he brought it up directly with his Chinese counterpart and with others in the international community. This was something he worked very, very hard. We're all sorry that didn't happen and certainly sorry to see the results. And there's great regret over that. But again, it wasn't for lack of earnest effort.
COOPER: David, multiple voices, particularly, Republicans calling this murder. What options does the Trump administration? Does the U.S. have as far as any further action goes?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think they can redouble their efforts to get the Chinese to toughen up, they got tougher sanctions. The South Korean -- new South Korean government has been notably conciliatory towards North Korea. We may need their help to really strengthen things. And I think -- but I also think, Anderson, we should be very, very cautious about overdoing it, about being overly aggressive in threatening war. It is a murder, and I think Republicans are right to be, you know, right in there, as many Democrats are outraged, of course as well.
But I cannot imagine that Otto himself would want to see this, as horrible as it is been, to be a cause for warfare.
COOPER: Admiral Kirby, I mean, the fact that there are still three Americans being detained by North Korea.
COOPER: You know, does that change the calculus here? It makes it assume more complex.
KIRBY: I think it does change the calculus. I think it should the calculus, Anderson. I mean, we do have these three Americans that we need to be mindful with. I agree with everything David said. And I agree with the Republicans who are calling this murder. This is a horrific act. But we need to be mindful as we move forward. Whatever actions they take, you don't make their situation, the situation of those three any worse than it already is.
COOPER: And David, I mean, from somebody who has worked dealt with, you know, North Korea from inside the White House, dealt with the issue during multiple administrations, what concerns you most about this situation? GERGEN: I share the concern of a great many people have in the foreign policy community. (Inaudible) relationship type for example that we could stumble. We've got a mad man, you know, in control in North Korea. He's very inexperienced. He's very defensive. He could easily, you know, if you corner him, he could snap back at us like a snake. And I think we have to be careful. The fear that so many have is that there could be miscalculations on both sides, that tempers could rise on both sides and we could suddenly find ourselves, you know, drifting, if not rushing toward some sort of military action.
And that could be catastrophic for the peninsula, you know, million people could lose their lives. Look, particularly in South Korea, which is right in the gun sights of the north.
[20:40:02] So the biggest concern is that we --by miscalculation is something can be worried about deep and back in the Cuban Missiles crisis. Miscalculation can get you into war very easily and a lot of people can die. And I think that we've got to be extremely careful now to not act emotionally but to be very steely about this and tough.
COOPER: Admiral Kirby, I mean, the difficulties of military action, obviously, you know, as David said, I mean, the potential loss of life in South Korea, in the region, is enormous. And even just the tactical difficulty, the terrain is extremely difficult between the two countries.
KIRBY: Yeah, it would be an enormous catastrophe if this broke into open conflict. And I don't think that's in anybody's interest. Certainly not in our interest either. I mean, obviously we have to be ready, and they are ready to fight tonight as they say. There is a strong military presence there, that's very, very capable. But I don't think it suits anybody to let it get to that point. And I do think there are other options here short of it. Look, if anything, Mr. Warmbier's death should underscore the brutality of this regime and it should even more clearly galvanize the international community to continue to try to put increase pressure on Pyongyang to do the right thing.
COOPER: Admiral Kirby, David Gergen, Thank you.
Up next, we'll going to check back in with John King for the latest vote numbers in the most expensive congressional race in history, $50 million, Georgia's special election.
Also, the latest on the GOP health care bill, they're planning on a vote next Thursday. So when will they actually reveal the bill to the American people?
COOPER: New returns coming in from the Georgia special election. Fewer than 900 votes now separating Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel.
John King is running the number. He's going to join us shortly.
No matter who wins in Georgia, the GOP wants to vote on its health care bill before lawmakers leave town for the July 4th recess.
Now, the current target date is next Thursday June 29th, but the question is, is there a real plan in place or it is just saber rattling?
For the latest, let's go to Phil Mattingly on Capital Hill. So what is the timeline for this bill?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Senate Republicans have moved into an all-out sprint, Anderson. There's no question about it after weeks of closed door meetings, very few details coming public or even really reaching the hands of the senators themselves.
Senate Majority Leaders Mitch McConnell announcing today that there will be a discussion draft available and released publicly on Thursday. Now, the big open question here, Anderson, is where they stand on the policy.
[20:45:05] When you talk to senators, and I've spoken to a number of them today, Republican senators, all of whom will be expected at least 50 seem to vote for this bill, if it's going to pass. They don't know where things stand, on things like the Medicaid expansion, and the Affordable Care Act, where the Obamacare regulation will end up. How many of them will be cut back, any infrastructure (ph), the tax credit. All still open questions.
Now, we should get and will likely get answers to those on Thursday. But, Anderson, until we get those answers, until the senators get those answers, it's tough to know whether this bill will pass at all. Even though as you know, Mitch McConnell has made very clear, he wants a vote next week and he expects a vote next week.
COOPER: I mean, the secrecy of this whole process, how is that playing on both sides of the aisle?
MATTINGLY: Democrats have made no secret of their problem with this. They've taking to the Senate floor to decry the process. They've try to tried to slow up the Senate procedurally today. We even had three senators -- democratic senators leave Capitol Hill trying to go to the Ford House Office Building where the CBO is located to get us a look at some of the various draft proposals. The Republicans were sent over. They failed. But one of the more interesting elements here is where Republicans are, Anderson. They have made very clear on the rank and file side of things that they are not happy with how this has all gone. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you seen -- what have you seen of the health care bill?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARMED SERVICE COMMITTEE: Haven't seen it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that a problem? MCCAIN: Oh, no, never a problem. No. Of course not. I always like to move forward with legislation that I haven't seen. That's one of the practices I've enjoyed around here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you get any more clarification today, sir?
MCCAIN: We had lots of conversations. Every lunch we have conservations. We have more and more conversations. It's wonderful, the conversations we have.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does this make you want to not put your support behind this? Since there's no time --
MCCAIN: I haven't seen. How can I put my support behind it or not support behind it if I haven't seen it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I -- I do want to ask --
MCCAIN: I now how frustrating that is to you, but I haven't seen it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
MCCAIN: So how can I come down and talk about I haven't seen.
SEN. MIKE, (R) UTAH: It's not being written by us, it's apparently being written by a small handful of staffers for members of the Republican leadership in the Senate. So if you're frustrated by the lack of transparency in this process, I share your frustration. I share it whole heartedly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: And Anderson, if you could quite pick that up, Senator McCain was being pretty sarcastic there.
But the interesting element here -- the interesting element though out of both of those kind of sound bites was Senator Mike Lee of Utah. He's inside the original working group. He's a key player on this. He's a conservative that Senate Majority Mitch McConnell disparately kind of needs to come along. His frustration with this process on kind of procedural ground combined with his very clear frustration on the policy side of things is certainly ominous right now.
But I think the big question is this, Republicans can say they're frustrated all they want. They could change this process if they wanted to. And it would only take three, Anderson, to say look, we have to have more time on this. And then they basically can't do anything but that. So far, we haven't seen that. That means everything is still on track. The question remains though, can they actually get 50 votes? And I'm told right now from senate aides, Anderson, they don't have it. But they will work to do it.
COOPER: All right, Phil Mattingly, I appreciate the update.
Now let's go back to John King for the latest results in Georgia's special election. How is it looking, John? JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, slow count so far. When you pull it out, you can see though, the district itself, still shaded blue. Again, this is a Republican congressional district since the Carter administration.
Jon Ossoff, the Democrat up at the moment. But up by a very small margin. We're in the ballpark of a thousand votes right now. I'm going to switch the map a little bit to show you. And I'm going to pop this back out to show you there are three counties in this district. This is the congressional district, north of this green line I've just drawn. Yes, when we get votes, they fill in to the other parts of the county. But the district is up here.
So what changed since the last time we had this conversation? We've gotten a bit more of the early vote over here in DeKalb County. It's blue. It's the most democratic area of the district. Jon Ossoff has to run it up here. At the moment, he's doing that, 60 to 40 percent. That's the same percentages before.
We have some more votes in from that area. Then you move over here. This is Cobb County and again, no new votes here from the last time we talk. This is the most Republican area of this district.
Karen Handel, the Republican candidate needs to have a healthy lead here. At the moment she has that. Fulton County is the most populous area of the district. And again, if you think Fulton County, you might be thinking about Atlanta. This is the district, up here, above the green line, out in the suburbs, out into the excerpts. This is the most Republican area of the district.
Last we spoke it was 51/49 percent. There have been a few hundred more early votes have coming in, in this area, a couple thousand more votes, early votes, and Karen Handel has stretched her lead a little bit. Don't draw any conclusion base on this but if you're trying to read the tea leaves, that's encouraging for the Republican candidate in the sense that remember, this has been a Republican district for a long time. Logic tells you, more Republicans like to vote on Election Day. Republicans should do well in the Election Day vote. Republicans working turnout in this district feel confident about the turnout today.
So if you're Jon Ossoff, you wanted to be ahead or at least to be more competitive in the early vote. We're not done with the early vote in Fulton County. Maybe that will change. But right now, as you look at it, Anderson shapes up as a very, very competitive race. If there's one warning sign at the Ossoff headquarters, it's that Karen Handel has that lead there.
[20:50:03] Jon Ossoff can end the night, 52/48 in Fulton County. If he does what he needs to do over here in the Cobb County, but the fact that he's not a little bit more space for him right now, it's a bit of a warning sign, but we've got a long way to go.
COOPER: Put this in context of the 2018 election. Because they're going to have to -- I mean, whoever wins is going to have to run again along with everybody else. KING: Right. Whoever wins this district has to run again next year. I don't think they'll spend $50 million in this district again next year, but you're right. That person would have to run. If the Democrat wins, they've be running in a year where most people think first midterm election of a President is usually bad for the President's party. So perhaps if the Democrat wins, you don't get wiped out in the next election. That happens sometimes when you win a district that's not to your party.
But let's take another way to look at this. If someone tries to pull out in that (inaudible) turn -- I want to pull this out for you. I want to pull out to the map and come back and go up to 2018 and see if I can find these districts for you here.
This, according to The Cook Political Report, and they're across the country, it's a little hard to look at a big national map like this, but this is 35, 36 of what are considered the most competitive congressional districts as you head into 2018. Now, 2018 is a long way so. But a lot of these districts are in states like up here, Hillary Clinton won. Up here, even Republican seats in places that Hillary Clinton won. Right?
For example, across the bridge here, Northern Virginia. Places Hillary Clinton won. The suburbs, just like this Atlanta district. So if the Democrat can win this suburban Atlanta district that has been red for so long, it's going to encourage Democrats in places like this. It will help the party with candidate recruitment, for example.
So as you look at 2018, people will look at the results in Atlanta, look, study that district and try to find places across the country with competitive races, as you get to those things.
And Anderson, one more before I flip it back to you. I want to show you this. This is may be the only time I get to do this. There's also a special election in South Carolina tonight. In Atlanta, it's Tom Price, the Health and Human Services Secretary. Here in South Carolina, Mick Mulvaney.
Now, the Budget Director for the Trump administration, his district is on the ballot tonight. At this moment, the Democrat is leading. If we end the night like this, I'll buy you whatever you want. That would be a shock if the Democrat holds on to that race in South Carolina. But early vote, a little bit of a lead there, two races to watch, South Carolina, Georgia. We're going to up awhile.
COOPER: All right. John King. John, thanks very much. We're going to check back in with John throughout the night.
Up next, the recent acquittal of the Minnesota police officer in the shooting of Philando Castile provoked outrage among some, but only those involved in the case had actually seen the dashcam video of the shooting.
It is now being released and we'll see what it revealed, ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: There was public outcry after a jury found a Minnesota police officer innocent in the killing of Philando Castile, not guilty. Many had seen the video live streamed on Facebook, that Castile's girlfriend had took on her phone. Today, his dashcam video was made public for the first time. Ryan Young has the latest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILANDO CASTILE: Sir, I have to tell you I do have a firearm on me.
JERONIMO YANEZ, ST. ANTHONY POLICE OFFICER: OK.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Newly released dash cam video showing the crucial moment that led up to this deadly encounter last July.
DIAMOND REYNOLDS, PHILANDO CASTILE'S GIRLFRIEND: You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.
YOUNG (voice-over): The shooting of this man, 32-year-old Philando Castile, by St. Anthony police officer, Jeronimo Yanez ignited nationwide protests over the use of force by police after Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds broadcast the shooting terrific aftermath on Facebook last July.
[20:55:08] REYNOLDS: Oh, my God. Please don't tell he's dead.
YOUNG (voice-over): Just after 9:00 p.m. on July 6th in Falcon Heights, a small predominantly white neighborhood outside of St. Paul Minnesota Officer Yanez stops Castile, believing he resembled a suspect in a robbery and had a broken taillight. Diamond Reynolds is seated in the front passenger seat. Her 4-year-old daughter in the backseat.
YANEZ: Uh reason I pulled you over do you, your break sight are out. You have you license and insurance?
YOUNG (voice-over): Castile can be seen handing Yanez with prosecutor in the officer trial say, where his insurance card and telling the officer he also has a gun. The situation turning deadly in just seconds.
CASTILE: Sir, I have to tell you I do have a --
CASTILE: -- firearm on me.
CASTILE: I (inaudible).
YANEZ: Don't reach for it then.
CASTILE: I'm, I, I was reaching for -- YANEZ: Don't pull it out.
CASTILE: I'm not pulling it out.
REYNOLDS: He's not.
YANEZ: Don't pull it out!
REYNOLDS: He wasn't!
YOUNG (voice-over): Yanez fires seven shots, five of them hit Castile, two in the heart.
YANEZ: Don't move!
REYNOLDS: Oh, man, I can't --
YANEZ: Don't move!
REYNOLDS: Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!
YANEZ: Don't move!
REYNOLDS: Don't move, baby!
YANEZ: Code three! Get the baby girl out of here!
YOUNG (voice-over): Yanez lets out a tirade of profanity as Reynolds begins her Facebook broadcast narrating a vidoe that will go on to be seen by millions.
YANEZ: I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hands up!
REYNOLDS: You told him to get his I.D., sir, his driver's license. Oh, my God.
YOUNG (voice-over): also seen for the first time, Yanez's backup, Officer Joseph Kauser, positioned on the passenger's side of Castile's car. His casual demeanor up to the moments of the shooting prosecutor say demonstrates he did not feel threatened during the traffic stop.
YANEZ: Don't pull it out!
YOUNG (voice-over): Kauser told a Minnesota jury early this month he was unaware there was a firearm in the car and was surprised when he heard shots ring out, because he didn't know Yanez had pulled his weapon, saying he did not hear the majority of Yanez's interaction with Castile and maintained he never saw a gun in the car. Also caught on camera moments after the shooting, statements Yanez made to fellow officers.
YANEZ: He had his hand on it!
YOUNG (voice-over): And minutes later, this exchange between Yanez and a supervising female officer.
YANEZ: I told him to take his ands off of it. And he had his grip a lot wider than a wallet. And I don't know where the gun was. He wouldn't tell me where the (bleep) gun was.
YOUNG (voice-over): Prosecutors say it was roughly 15 minutes after the shooting that Castile's gun was discovered in his right front pocket by an officer assisting with chest compressions on Castile.
Yanez was found out guilty of second-degree manslaughter Friday and on two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm for endangering Reynolds and her daughter. Yanez testified last week he feared for his life because Castile put his hand on his firearm, not his wallet or identification, telling the jury, I didn't want to shoot Mr. Castile. That wasn't my intention. I thought I was going to die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And Ryan joins us. Now, do we know if Castile ever put his hand in his pocket?
YOUNG (on camera): That is the big question. We may never know the answer to that, Anderson, because the officer wasn't wearing a body camera, so you can't see from his perspective. All you know as he said he felt like he was in danger. Then the video picks up of course on the inside, millions of people had seen Reynold's Facebook live. And she says, of course, when she talked to investigators, on three different occasions, that two times he said he was reaching for his wallet. The third time, she said she believed he was reaching for his seat belt and defense attorneys seized on that. And that something that made it very difficult during cross-examination where shoe on is on stand. Anderson?
COOPER: Ryan Young, I appreciate the update. Thank you very much.
Up next, the latest vote numbers from Georgia.