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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Congressional Baseball Game Underway After Shooting; Rep. Scalise Undergoes 3rd Surgery, In Critical Condition; Senate Leaders Speak of Unity; WaPo: Mueller Probing Jared Kushner's Business Dealings; VP Pence Hires Outside Counsel for Russia Probe. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 15, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks so much.
Good evening, everyone, from Nationals Park in Washington, where Democratic and Republican lawmakers are squaring off on the baseball diamond tonight, while trying to project unity to the country.
[20:00:06] Just about a mile north here is the Capitol, which yesterday was united in shock as well as horror. Alexandria, Virginia, where yesterday's ball field shooting was just about 15- minute drive away in good traffic and also not far from the hospital where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise underwent a third operation today. We're going to have an update on his condition shortly, as well as a conversation with the majority and minority leaders of the Senate.
In addition tonight, there is new breaking news in the Russia investigation. The vice president is taking on outside legal advice. And as Erin mentioned, "The Washington Post" reporting tonight that special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation now including Jared Kushner's finances and business dealings.
We begin, though, with some of the sights and sounds from the ballpark tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank members of Congress, their staffs and baseball fans across the country for supporting tonight's congressional baseball game.
TRUMP: In Washington, we have our disagreements. But we all agree that we are here to serve this nation we love. And the people who call it home. That's the source of unity. And more than ever, we must embrace it, so that on this special night, I leave you with three great American words that for generations have torn down barriers, built bridges of unity and defied those who have sought to pull us apart.
Ladies and gentlemen, let's play ball.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Some especially moving moments so far tonight.
CNN's Phil Mattingly has been out and about here at the ballpark, joins us now from the centerfield stands.
What's the mood there in the stands tonight, Phil, where you are?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, hopeful and possibly event buoyant. Look, it's tough to overstate how rattled Capitol Hill was yesterday. Lawmakers, staff, everybody, it was kind of a worst nightmare kind of moment.
And tonight is really an opportunity not only to unify but really try and get past that. If you think about what the lawmakers and the staff are going through, everybody here really kind of in full force, more than 20,000 tickets were sold. They've raised more than a million dollars for the charities.
You also have Steve Scalise's office. They met in the Capitol before. They came out here en masse. Everybody wearing team Scalise shirts. The entire Michigan delegation wearing these white ribbons in honor of Matt Mika and other individuals who are wounded. He was the lobbyist who was wounded yesterday, was just upgraded to serious condition from critical. So, good news there.
Look, there's a lot of people who are trying to figure out how to kind of reconcile what happened yesterday and at least for a brief moment, this kind of giving them the opportunity to at least hope, or at least get away from what happened yesterday, if only for a couple of hours.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, you've been talking to people on the Hill since yesterday morning. They've been talking about wanting a change, more, sort of ratcheting down the rhetoric. Are you seeing some of that tonight?
MATTINGLY: Yes, no question at all. Look, Republicans and Democrats met at second base before the game, joined in prayer when the lineups were announced. They were all standing next to one another.
Nancy Pelosi talking to Republicans, Ivanka Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan in the Democrat's dugout. Chuck Schumer speaking to Ivanka Trump's children.
I think, look, there's a recognition that things are not in a good place right now, and some hope -- while nobody thinks that this is going to change everything, but some hope that perhaps this could be a first step in trying to maybe pull people back together after what's been a divisive, certainly campaign season, first six months of the new administration, but really, we're going on years right now.
So, I think that's what people are kind of clinging to right now. We'll see how much longer it can actually last. But at least for the moment, certainly signs that that's actually happening, Anderson. COOPER: I know you talked to two freshmen congressmen today, from
opposite sides of the aisle.
[20:05:01] They're planning to sit together at the game tonight.
MATTINGLY: Yes, sitting next to one another, one of their staffs sitting next to one another. There's -- again, I want to go back to -- there's a recognition right now that things are in a bad place. They are trying just on the smallest of ways to bring things together. These are two freshman lawmakers, Dwight Evans, Brian Fitzpatrick, both from Pennsylvania, neighboring districts.
And I think, I wanted to kind of press them, how does this actually change anything, sitting next to one another at a game, trying to show bipartisanship? This was their response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BRIAN FITZPATRICK (R), PENNSYLVANIA: We're dealing with a deeply entrenched, deeply engrained system that's been perpetuated for a long time. So, is it easy to change? No. But can we? Of course, we can. We just have to have the will to do it. We need enough good people on both sides to get it down.
REP. DWIGHT EVANS (D), PENNSYLVANIA: And I think also, the external event also showed something that normally you wouldn't have seen. Unfortunately, the shooting and the violence occurred. I think made us, was on the floor, was at the briefing, (INAUDIBLE) Democrats and Republicans, and we recognize, looking at ourselves, we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and recognize that if we are to send a tone to our constituents, it's how we conduct ourselves. If we want change, we have to start with ourselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Look, and I think that's kind of what I heard from lawmakers throughout the day today, Anderson. There's a recognition that if things are going to change, it's going to have to start in the Capitol building. Again, they hope this is one small step for that. We'll see how long it lasts.
We've had a lot of events like this in the past where it hasn't been sustainable. But at least for one night, it appears everybody willing to come together here at the ballpark.
COOPER: Yes, Phil Mattingly -- Phil, thanks.
Congressman Scalise meantime is recovering tonight from a third round of surgery. It now seems clear that he was more badly wounded than first believed.
Brian Todd is at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center and joins us now with the very latest.
The congressman, we understand, underwent a third operation. What do we know about his condition? BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a source with knowledge of
the situation now tells us that Congressman Scalise is now out of that third surgery. It was unclear the duration of that surgery today, but he is now out of that surgery. It is complete for the day.
This source that we spoke to cautions that this is what they did expect to do yesterday. This was not as if they had to rush him into surgery on an emergency basis today. They did expect to require additional surgeries and they did have a third surgery today.
Hospital officials telling us he is still listed in critical condition tonight here at Washington Hospital Center. And when you look at the nature of his wound, Anderson, you can certainly understand why they did require additional surgeries. From hospital officials, they say he did suffer that single gunshot wound to the left hip. But the bullet went across his pelvis, that it fractured some bones, it injured some internal organs. It caused severe bleeding.
He was transferred here in shock yesterday. He had one initial surgery, then additional procedures to stop the bleeding. He's received multiple units of blood transfusions.
So, they did expect him to require additional surgeries. And when you are in critical condition, it does mean you could be unconscious and there are issues with bleeding. So, this surgery today, we don't know the exact nature of it, Anderson, it likely had to do with some bleeding issues.
COOPER: What's the update on Matt Mika, who is a lobbyist, who was practicing with the team yesterday and I believe was shot in the chest.
TODD: Good news on Matt Mika, Anderson. Tonight, we're told, he is now listed in serious condition. He was listed in critical condition. Critical, of course, is the most severe condition. So, he was upgraded to serious. That's good news.
As you mentioned, he was shot multiple times in the chest and the arms. He is now set to be alert, but he does require help breathing and he will need some additional surgeries, but good news on him. He is now listed in serious condition, shot multiple times.
We also have an update on Zach Barth, that other Capitol Hill staffer who was shot. He's been released and he was back at work today, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. In fact, Zach's at the game tonight, we'll talk to him a little bit later on.
More now on the congressman's condition from a surgeon's point of view. CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, joins us now.
So, when -- let's talk about Steve Scalise. What are some of the challenges when operating on a wound around the hip? And there's certainly a lot of organs around there. DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And this
trajectory of this bullet, you know, sort of went through the pelvis, the abdomen, there's -- obviously concerns there, but the biggest concern, I think as Brian was referring to is the bleeding, the blood vessels.
And when you talk about a rifle injury, it's not even necessarily that the bullet actually strikes the blood vessels, it just creates such a wave, they call it cavitation, that it can shear blood vessels that are some distance away. That's one of the challenges. You kind of know where the injury is going to be, but you have to look in other places to see the sources of bleeding.
Also, Anderson, a lot of times, they have so sort of stage a procedure. And that means at some point, even though you're not having completed what you need to compete, you have to stop.
[20:10:03] And the reason being, you have to be able to let the patient recover from this part of the operation, give them some blood products back, make sure their blood is still clotting, and that's a cycle that may continue for the next few days for him.
COOPER: And he's still in critical condition, after this third surgery. What does that tell you? Because there's critical, sometimes people described as critical but stable. But they're just saying critical.
GUPTA: Yes. Just critical and that means that his blood pressure, his vital signs, his heart rate are still fluctuating. That means he's probably still having some degree of bleeding. He's still requiring blood to be replaced. And one thing, you know, when you bleed, you obviously, you lose red blood cells, but you are also losing the little ingredients within blood that allow you to clot your blood.
So, it becomes a bit of a cycle. You lose blood, but you also can't clot, that just makes the bleeding even worse. And that goes back to that notion of catching up. Slowing down, stopping an operation, replacing some of those clotting factors.
But, you know, they're keeping him very close to the operating room. They may need to go back to the operating room at any given time to try and stop that bleeding if it continues to get worse.
COOPER: Well, we certainly wish him and Matt and all the others the best.
Sanjay, thanks very much.
Ordinarily, we don't spend a lot of time on lawmakers as anything except an embodiment of the policies and legislation they support. We don't much focus in other words on their humanity, what they share as colleagues and residents of what is really a small community.
At the same time, it's more than a little sad we are celebrating the sudden recognition that politicians are people, united in their humanity as if it shouldn't be all the case all the time. With that in mind, I spoke this evening with Senators Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer, the majority and minority leaders.
COOPER: Majority Leader McConnell, when you first heard about this, what went through your mind?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: Well, we were shocked like everybody else, that anybody would come in and start shooting at our members. That's something I don't think anybody contemplated.
We had a pretty active group of opponents in the country, but this is the first time anybody, as far as I know, has taken up arms.
COOPER: Minority Leader Schumer, do you link this to, you know, the level of rhetoric that's -- that we've been hearing?
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: There's a lot of heated rhetoric from all different directions. It doesn't excuse this. It doesn't condone it, but it's a good reminder that maybe we can bring the temperature down across the country and the Congress and everywhere else.
COOPER: What does it say this moment, about the fact that you two are doing this interview together? I don't know the last time you have done an interview together. What does it say about this moment?
MCCONNELL: Well, we want everybody to know that we've always had a robust discussion of the issues in this country throughout our history. But we don't dislike each other. We work together all the time. Senator Schumer and I do on a daily basis.
We have our political arguments but at the end of the day, we are all Americans. And I think everybody needs to remember that because we're all in this thing together.
COOPER: Should they take though --
SCHUMER: We passed a bill, pretty contentious, Iran sanctions, Russia sanctions. Mitch and I worked together on it, along with committee members from both sides and it passed 98-2. Somehow when it's contentious, it gets more attention than when we're working together. We passed an appropriations and budget process, the whole federal government, with a great deal of cooperation. That made everybody pretty happy.
COOPER: Should it take a tragedy like this, though, to -- I mean, to bring you two together, to do an interview?
SCHUMER: Well, we work together pretty closely before this tragedy. But if it can help bring things closer together and help us all work closer together, it's a horrible way to do it. We all pray for Mr. Scalise and all the other people's speedy recovery, but let's hope we can get some good at this tragedy. COOPER: Do you think this really will bring about some sort of
lowering of the temperature? I mean, already today, you had one congressman pointed a finger at President Obama for this. You had Nancy Pelosi talking about Republicans in a very unflattering way.
MCCONNELL: Look, we ought to be able to have big robust debates in the country without having this level of animosity that a lot of people feel. I think most Americans have not read a lot of history. We've had a lot of very contentious periods throughout our 230-year history.
COOPER: There's been fights in the floors of Congress --
MCCONNELL: Yes. I mean, we have had a single incident where a congressman from South Carolina came over and tried to beat up a senator from Massachusetts on the floor of the Senate. That actually happened.
COOPER: It happened a long time ago.
MCCONNELL: In the 1850s, yes.
SCHUMER: When we heard about this, many of us we were in the gym. I go to the gym every morning. I learned when I started going to the Senate gym, Democrats exercise late in the day. Republicans are early in the morning. So except for Mitch, the whole leadership team on the Republican side is there and, you know, we were just all united in our shock and our hope that there would be fewer injuries. It was a moment.
And we do this all the time where we're talking with each other and working with each other. There's a lot of contention.
[20:15:01] Obviously, the politics has become polarized, but it doesn't have to stand in the way of personal relationships or working together and we try to do that.
COOPER: So, how does it change? Because I mean, again, there's already rhetoric flying on both sides.
SCHUMER: There's always going to be rhetoric, Anderson, but -- that you can't stop. That's been the history of the country, as Mitch pointed out, even canes on the Senate floor.
But if we can still, despite the rhetoric, work together in areas where we can work together and the Senate as the cooling saucer help and bring people together a little bit, that's a very good thing and I know Mitch does because we've talked about it, and I do-- we aim to do it.
MCCONNELL: Yes. And a lot of that is going on all the time. Unfortunately, it doesn't make news. Our arguments tend to make the news and our cooperation doesn't. But there's a lot of cooperation on a lot of things all the time.
COOPER: President Trump made a statement last night with Congressman Scalise. It was getting bipartisan praise for his tone. Today tweeting about -- calling this a witch hunt against him, just talking about the people leading it being disturbed, I think was his term, or conflicted.
Is that appropriate?
MCCONNELL: I typically don't comment on the president's tweeting habits.
COOPER: Do you think it is a witch hunt?
MCCONNELL: I don't have any observations about that. We had here an example of a horrendous event that we all condemn, and we're here together tonight to make the point to the American people that there's a whole lot of cooperation in the Congress, even though it may not be covered, on a daily basis.
SCHUMER: Not to say we can't make it better and we're going to try.
COOPER: Does some of that start at the top?
SCHUMER: Well, it starts everywhere. But today is not a day to point fingers or criticize. Today is a day to come together.
COOPER: Are you going to watch the game? Are you here --
SCHUMER: I love baseball.
MCCONNELL: I'm here for the Republicans, by the way.
COOPER: You're still rooting for the Republicans?
SCHUMER: Well, you see there, he can root for the Republicans. I can root for the Democrats, but we can still be friends. That's a model.
Baseball is a good -- some of my best friends hate the Yankees. I love them.
COOPER: I mean, you both have been here. You know Washington. You know, you talk to folks who served in past decades said, you know, it used to be people go out to dinner together, there would be tough debates but there was more kind of mixing.
Do you hope it comes back -- gets back to that?
MCCONNELL: I don't think the absence of that is a problem. I mean, there's plenty of interaction across the aisle. As Chuck just mentioned, the bill we passed this week was a very important piece of legislation, a good classic example of bipartisan cooperation. I really just don't think it's a problem.
COOPER: Majority Leader and Minority Leader, thank you very much.
SCHUMER: Thanks for having us.
MCCONNELL: Thank you. SCHUMER: Go Democrats.
SCHUMER: And that was done in a bipartisan way.
COOPER: And we're joined now by CNN's Mark Preston and CNN's Gloria Borger.
Will anything actually change? I mean, we've heard for the last two days, talk about lowering of the temperature, but we've heard this a lot of times in the past.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, unfortunately, we've been through events like this, you know, after 9/11, Gabby Giffords' shooting, Newtown, and I think that they change for a while, and then, unfortunately, they change back. I think, however, we've been through it enough that perhaps people will realize that they're not going to get anything done unless it does change. And it starts from the top.
If President Trump sometimes uses words and language that are disruptive to the Democrats and are -- and I think that if everybody would kind of tone it down a little bit, things might get done. I mean, Congress has, what, a 10 percent approval rating? It's not as if they shouldn't see that there are things that nay need to do better.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, let me say this. I do think the toning down of the rhetoric is extremely important. The idea, though, that people are on different sides of issues, I think is healthy for us, right? And I think we all can agree that, you know, diversity here in the United States, whether that's ethic diversity, religious diversity or diversity of opinion is really what makes us unique, than any other country.
What does make us unique to any other country is the anger and the vitriol and the ability given by the First Amendment for people to actually express themselves. The unfortunate part of that, though, is that it's not morally right. It's very disrespectful. Not only what we see in congress, but quite frankly what we see in our neighborhoods and on our streets.
And politics has really risen to a level right now where I do think people need to jack it back just a little bit. You can stand strong in your views. We heard Paul Ryan say it, you know, last hour, we heard Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer say it this hour.
The bottom line is: we're going to be divided when it comes to how we get to the end point. But everybody wants to get to the end point.
BORGER: Well, everybody wants to get something done. They want to get different things done. But that doesn't mean you troll each other. PRESTON: Right.
BORGER: And I think that's a problem here.
[20:20:00] I mean, members of Congress used to come here and get to know each other and now they're too busy. And they don't make -- they go home every weekend, it's demanded of them to do town halls and to be --
COOPER: You think that's part of the issue.
BORGER: I think it's part of it.
COOPER: That they're not really here.
BORGER: They're not here. And, you know, there were also members of Congress, and you can have an argument about career politicians, and whether that was good or whether that was bad, but there are members of Congress who cared about the institution a lot and were here for a decade or more and got to know people.
Now, you know, in and out, term limits, or they limit themselves and they go home every weekend. Even if your -- Republicans don't know Republicans. Much less Democrats.
COOPER: That's one of the things that people were saying about playing this game is, you actually meet people in your own party who you wouldn't otherwise meet.
PRESTON: Or from the other party. What strikes me is people get angry when their members of Congress aren't home all the time. Well, they are getting hired to look out for their interests in Washington. They can't always be home.
COOPER: Yes. We're going to continue the conversation. We're going to continue to follow developments here, of course. A lot happening here at the ballpark and, of course, with congressman Scalise.
We also have breaking news in the Russia probe, involving the vice president of the United States and Jared Kushner, as well. Late developments on that.
And more on the president's tweet storm that raged for actually most of the day today.
[20:25:06] COOPER: Hey, welcome back here to Nationals Park.
It is 3-2, Democrats, right now in the bottom of the third inning.
As the story here unfolds, news has been breaking in the Russia investigation, and all day, the president has been tweeting angrily about it. He started around 7:00 a.m., picked it up again late this afternoon, reacting to that report in "The Washington Post" that the special counsel is now investigating him for possible obstruction of justice.
Then, this evening, word came that Vice President Pence has retained outside counsel. The country's top two executives have lawyered up.
Now, "The Washington Post" is reporting that Jared Kushner's finances and business dealings are a focus of special counsel Robert Mueller. "The Post", which is citing officials familiar with the matter. Kushner, as you know, met with a Russian banker back in December.
The White House has said it was diplomatic, not business-related. The banker says it was. At the time, Kushner's family was seeking financing for their flagship building on New York's Fifth Avenue.
We've just gotten this statement from Kushner's lawyer, quote: We do not know what this report refers to. It would be standard practice for the special counsel to examine financial records to look for anything related to Russia.
It goes on: Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about Russia-related matters. He will do the same if he is contacted in connected with any other inquiry.
Our Jeff Zeleny is at the White House for us tonight. He joins us now.
So, the president very active on Twitter today, talk about what he had to say.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, he had nothing to say when we asked the question directly of him, if he believes he's under investigation. He was asked that question after a signing an executive order earlier today.
But, Anderson, you are right, he was venting throughout the day on social media, as he likes to do. The White House won't answer questions about the Russia investigation, referring all of them to his lawyer.
But this is a sampling of what the president said today. This afternoon, he was focused on Hillary Clinton. We are 219 days since the election.
This is what he said about Hillary Clinton this afternoon. He said this: So, why is it that the Hillary Clinton's family and Democrats dealings with Russia are not looked at, but my non-dealings are?
He went on to say this about the investigation, he said: You are witnessing the single greatest witch hunt in American political history, led by some very bad and conflicted people.
Presumably talking about Bob Mueller there who's leading the special counsel.
He also said this: They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story. Found zero proof, so, now, they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice. So, Anderson, that's a sample of what the president was thinking and
venting this afternoon. But this is one of the issues here. The White House was hoping to wall off all of these questions about the Russia investigation, refer everything to their lawyer. That becomes much more difficult when the president is out there tweeting, venting, saying things in real time, things that his White House advisers say they cannot say or explain.
COOPER: Yes, and certainly every attorney we have spoken to said that the president's attorney must have suggested he not tweet, that any attorney would suggest their client not be making statements about an ongoing investigation.
The vice president retaining a lawyer today. What do we know about that?
ZELENY: The vice president did retain a lawyer. They announced this late this evening. The -- this is someone who is going to lead the vice president, sort of separately, throughout this special counsel investigation, as well as the White House and Senate committees, as well.
His name is Richard Cullen. He's a former Virginia attorney general. A former U.S. attorney for the state of Virginia, back from the George H.W. Bush administration.
But, Anderson, this is a sign that the president and the vice president are linked on many things. They are not necessarily linked on this and will have their own representation here. Now, of course, the vice president is central to all of this, particularly the Michael Flynn investigation, because it was the vice president who Mr. Flynn misled about his dealings in his meetings with the Russian ambassador.
So, this is a sign, I'm told, by advisers to the vice president, has been in the works for a month or so. It was just announced this afternoon, this evening, and is not going to be a paid for through taxpayer funds, through non-taxpayer funds. We're not exactly sure if that means his political action committee or some other form here.
But one adviser to the vice president said, he certainly has a smaller net worth than the president, by several, several zeros, Anderson. But now, he has his own lawyer.
COOPER: Yes. And this could be very expensive.
Yes. Jeff Zeleny -- Jeff, thanks very much.
I want to go now to CNN's Manu Raju on the presidential tweets and more.
So, Manu, these tweets -- what are Marco Rubio and others saying?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, a bit of pushing back, Anderson. Frankly, a lot of people are just uncomfortable with the way the president is going after special counsel Bob Mueller, someone who's gotten praise on both sides of the aisle, and a number of members who I spoke to today said, let investigation play out. They are telling the president, if he is truly innocent here, he can be exonerated if he just sits back and lets the investigation happen and cooperates.
Here's what they said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Do you think it's a witch hunt that Bob Mueller is launching right now?
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, I don't know that Bob Mueller would ever launch a witch hunt. He's a very fine man. I think it would be good for Donald Trump to watch his tweets a little more carefully.
RAJU: Do you think there are things that he should have done different to president?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I imagine that in hindsight if they had to do it over again they probably would have avoided the February 14th meeting in the Oval Office.
RAJU: What do you think of it when he calls Mueller's investigation witch hunt?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) CHAIRMAN, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: -- what he does, not what he says. I learned that a long time ago.
RAJU: And, Anderson, when Marco Rubio was referring to the February 14th meeting in the Oval Office, of course, that was reference to what James Comey (inaudible) Pres. Trump urged him to drop the Michael Flynn investigation and said I hope you -- I ask you to let this go, clearly that is one element here. Republicans say, look, if Pres. Trump is truly innocent here he can interview with the special counsel, interview and cooperate with committees on Capitol Hill and he'll be exonerated at the ends of the day but stay off social media.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Some of the president's most ardent supporters calling for special prosecutor Mueller's resignation. Has that come across at all within the GOP members you have spoken with?
RAJU: A lot of those members just do not want to hear any talk of dismissing Bob Mueller particularly as the talk about obstruction of justice, now comes front and center on this -- this special counsel's investigation.
And, Anderson, today the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee were showing some deference to the Bob Mueller investigation saying they actually are not going to look into the issue of obstruction of justice. They want Bob Mueller to do that. They'll cooperate with him in that investigation as they look into the separate issue of Russia meddling in any collusion that may have existed with Trump campaign associates. It just shows how much respect there is on Capitol Hill for Bob Mueller and his investigation. Any talk of dismissing him is not getting much support even among the president's own party, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Manu Raju. Manu, thanks.
The president is sounding off on Twitter over the Russia probe, as well as the vie president hiring outside counsel.
Lots to discuss with our legal panel. Joining us, CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin and Harvard Law School's Alan Dershowitz. Professor Dershowitz did mention in talking points on how to defend the president by Republicans.
Jeff Toobin, the fact that the Vice President Pence has retained an outside attorney to deal with the special counsel, not only his right to do so, I assume any lawyer with the result would recommend it and it, obviously, doesn't mean he did anything wrong?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LRGAL ANALYST: That's exactly right. I mean there have been many, many significant developments in this investigation recently. Mike Pence hiring a lawyer is not one of them. I mean he is, obviously, going to be interviewed at some point. There may be document requests. Hhe did the prudent thing in hiring a lawyer. But I don't think it suggest anything about any possible culpability on his part. It's a non-event.
COOPER: Professor Dershowitz, the "Washington Post" reports the special counsel is investigating the president looking at obstruction of justice even adamant the president did nothing criminal. Do you take issue with Robert Mueller investigating the possibility of obstruction?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: First of all, I want to comment on what you said about talking points. I don't provide talking point.
COOPER: No, no, no, you don't. You certainly don't. I think -- your name -- they have cited you as one of the experts who has talked about obstruction.
DERSHOWITZ: Well, they can do that. I'm a public figure. I talk about obstruction. Sometimes I say things that are positive to the president, sometimes negative. For example, I think the laws have to be changed. I don't think the president should have the power to fire this special prosecutor or FBI. I think Congress should be passing statutes restricting the president's power.
But in the absence of statutes there still cannot be obstruction of justice for engaging in purely lawful acts. I have no problem with Mueller conducting an investigation. He should be looking to see if there was any bribery, any attempt to intimidate witnesses, any lying to the FBI, any destruction of evidence, any of those would constitute obstruction of justice. But I maintain my position that simply exercising his constitutional right to fire the director of the FBI and exercising his constitutional right to tell the FBI to end a particular investigation, though it's bad policy and shouldn't be allowed under the law, today is allowed under the law. And you don't fill gaps in the law by ritual actively creating or stretching criminal statutes to cover if it founds out it wasn't criminal at the time it occurred.
TOOBIN: Well, Alan has been saying making that point for, you know, since this investigation began and it's no more true now than it was then. It can be obstruction of justice for the president to use the FBI for improper purposes and that evidence of that can include firing the head of the FBI. That is very much similar to what the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 voted to impeach Richard Nixon for, misuse of the FBI can be obstruction of justice. That's what happened in Watergate and that's what Robert Mueller very properly is investigating right now.
[20:35:14] DERSHOWITZ: No, I don't think that's right. I think - - what this is much closer to what happened when the first Pres. Bush granted a pardon to Casper Weinberger on the eve of his trial and the special prosecutor said the reason was essentially to prevent Casper Weinberger from pointing a finger at Pres. Bush and incriminating him. And nobody at that point suggested that you could, in any way, prosecute or impeach a president for exercising his constitutional authority to pardon. The same thing is true with the president's constitutional authority to fire the director of the FBI.
You should change the law. And the law was changed for a while, when we had special prosecutor laws but Congress has failed to re-pass those statutes. In the absence of a statute the president retains his full constitutional authority and that authority includes the right to fire the director of the FBI which is wrong but not criminal and the authority to tell the director of the FBI to end an investigation. I wish that were not the law. I wish we had different rules. But you can't fix up the law through criminal statutes filling the gap when the statutes are vague.
Now, Jeffrey, who is a terrific lawyer, talks about well, if the president has a corrupt intent. Do we really, really want the presidency to turn on some jury's definition of corrupt? You know, as I said over and over again, if this were Hillary Clinton who were in the crosshairs, if she had been elected president all the people who are now saying that we should expand obstruction of justice would be taking the other position. If the shoe were on the other foot, people would be taking the position. It's because it's an unpopular president. And what you can do to an unpopular president today you could have done to Hillary Clinton yesterday and you can do to somebody else tomorrow. That's why the danger is so great.
COOPER: Jeff, I want you to respond to that.
TOOBIN: Well, I mean Alan said a lot of things. I mean first of all, if Donald Trump wants to pardon somebody he can pardon somebody. But it is a very different thing to offer a public pardon than it is on February 14th, to send the vice president and the attorney general out of the room and then secretly and recognizing the impropriety of what he's doing, one might argue, telling the FBI director, I hope you don't investigate my friend and advisor, Mike Flynn. That could easily be interpreted as acting corruptly. The federal statutes are full of words like corruptly, wrongfully. And evaluations of every other citizen's conduct can be evaluated by those standards. They also should be able to evaluate the president's standard, the president's conduct. I don't know --
COOPER: But Jeff, let me --
TOOBIN: I don't know -- I don't -- I'm sorry, go ahead, yes.
COOPER: Jeff, let me just ask you about this "Washington Post" report about Mueller probing Jared Kushner's business dealings. How significant do you think that is?
TOOBIN: Well, it's potentially very significant but it's also entirely related to what Mueller is already investigating. You know, he is investigating improper activity potentially by the Trump campaign in connection with Russia during the 2016 election. At that time, in December, Jared Kushner is meeting with the head of a bank that has been sanctioned by the United States government while he is meeting with representatives of the Trump -- of the Russian government, the corrupt bank and the Russian government. Why? Why is he meeting with them? I don't know. Maybe there's an innocent explanation. But his business interests are highly relevant to those questions. Doesn't mean he did anything wrong --
COOPER: Professor --
TOOBIN: -- but it's perfectly appropriate for Mueller to investigate that.
COOPER: Professor Dershowitz, I have to ask you, do you think the president is being served by his outside counsel, Marc Kasowitz, and if asked, would you be interested in joining his legal team? I know you've been publicly suggesting he not tweet and clearly he's not following that advice yet, but how do you think he's being served? And would you be interested?
DERSHOWITZ: No, I have no interest in serving as the president's lawyer. I'm interested in serving as the lawyer for American Civil Liberties' interest. I want to be able to criticize the president what he deserves criticism as I did when, for example, he leaked information national security information to the Russians. You remember, Anderson, on your show, I said this was the worst thing a president had been accused of. Were his lawyer I couldn't say that. I don't want to be his lawyer. I want to stand up to civil liberties. I want to stand up to the rights of all Americans. I want to make sure that statutes are not expanded beyond reason and applied to people in a targeted way because they disagree with their politics.
[20:40:03] Look, I think the president has to put together a very effective legal team. It should include Mr. Kasowitz because he has the trust of the president, but he should also include experienced criminal lawyers, experienced constitutional lawyers. I do not want to be part of that team but I want to continue to defend civil liberties on television and in the media, in my writings. I'm writing a book about it in which I talk about how both Pres. Trump and those going after him are endangering our civil liberties. I want to maintain my independence, my position as an independent commentator as I have for the last 50 years of my career.
TOOBIN: I want to read that book and disagree with it just as much as I disagree with Alan on TV.
DERSHOWITZ: I think you --
TOOBIN: I'm sure I will agree with some of it.
COOPER: We want both of you to continue on this program as long as possible. So Jeffrey Toobin, thank you, Prof. Dershowitz, it's always.
Coming up, he was among those injured at the Republican baseball practice yesterday, congressional staffer Zach Barth, shot in the leg, now out of the hospital. He's at the game. He said after he was shot the adrenaline took over. He ran for his life. I'm going to speak with him and the congressman he works for, and also (inaudible) recover, next
COOPER: The annual congressional baseball game that's still going on behind me, Democrats up are now up 7-2. Safe to say this is the most attention the game has ever gotten. The game is for a good cause, attention, of course, for a tragic reason. The game got under way as planned the day after a shooting at the field where the Republican team was practicing just yesterday morning. Congressman Steve Scalise and four others were injured including Zach Barth, the congressional staff who was shot in the leg. We just gotten this update on the congressman from the hospital, it reads in part, he remains in critical condition but has improved in the last 24 hours. The congressman will require additional operations and in the hospital for some time.
Zach Barth works for one of the congressman's colleagues, Congressman Roger Williams. I spoke with both of them before the game today.
COOPER: Zach, when did you realize what was going on?
ZACH BARTH, STAFFER FOR REP. ROGER WILLIAMS: So I was out in center field, I was shagging fly balls and I heard a loud pop. And everything stopped and didn't know what it was and then I heard more pop.
COOPER: There was one and then it paused.
BARTH: There was one and then a slight pause. It seemed like an eternity, everything, you know, time come slows down. And then, I heard somebody yell, shooter, he's got a gun, run. And at that point, I ran, you know, I was in center field. He was shooting from the third baseline.
COOPER: Could you see him? BARTH: I could. Yeah. I could see him. He was outside the chain- link fence standing behind the dugout. I ran to the right field. There was no exit there, no (inaudible) to get through. So I did -- made myself the smallest target that I could. And just laid there and then I saw him --
COOPER: You were down on the ground?
BARTH: I was down on the ground. He turned his rifle towards me.
COOPER: You were watching him the whole time?
BARTH: Yes. He turned his rifle towards me and I started to hear and feel pops all around me. And then, he struck me in my leg.
COOPER: So you could tell he was shooting at you.
BARTH: Yes. Yes, absolutely.
COOPER: What goes through your mind?
BARTH: Well, at that point I was pumping through, you know, adrenaline was pumping through me and my fire flight reflexes took center stage, and I decided I couldn't just sit there and sitting duck and let this guy do target practice on me. So I made a run for it, run for my life down the first baseline into the dugout.
COOPER: When were you hit?
BARTH: So I was hit when I was laying down. When he was shooting at me I got struck in the leg. I felt the burning sensation. Looked down and saw blood and knew I've been hit. Knew he was getting close to hit me more. At that point I decided I couldn't just stay there.
COOPER: This is a dumb question, but did you realize you were hit just from the feel of it or when you actually saw blood that?
BARTH: You know, it was a burning sensation. I could tell I was hit. And the blood confirmed that, yeah.
COOPER: You just -- you ran?
BARTH: I ran. I don't know if I caught him reloading a magazine or what, but -- he might have been shooting at me, it all happened so fast, I don't know, but I just -- I dove into the dugout into the congressman's arms.
COOPER: Do you know how long it took you to run across?
BARTH: Probably the fastest I could have ever run with a bullet wound in my league, yeah.
COOPER: And congressman, where were you when the shots began?
REP. ROGER WILLIAMS, (R) TEXAS: Well, I was -- when they began I was hitting Steve Scalise ground balls by the batting cage. And I hit him a ball and all of the sudden we heard this pop and we thought it might be a car backfiring and then there was another pop, pop, pop. And everybody yelled, he's got a gun, get for shelter. So, I don't know how, why I decided to do it or whatever, but I went to the first base dugout, which is literally a dugout of six foot deep. And I dove in a headfirst like diving in a swimming pool with no water. And when I got there I was -- I found myself face-to-face with Congressman Brooks and Sen. Flake, we were right there together and out of nowhere come Zach from his sprint.
COOPER: Did you see him running?
WILLIAMS: No, I did not. All of a sudden there he was, he jumped in there and he said I'm hit. And it just so happened he jumped in my arms and I put my arms around him and he put his arms around me. And Mo Brooks took his belt off, gave to it Flake and Flake put a tourniquet on his leg to stop the bleeding. And then we all just stayed down. But, we had -- the thing about this, we had probably 15 of our colleagues in this dugout laying low, getting fired upon. And we had generation, we had guys older guys like me and then we had a 10-year-old.
COOPER: Mo Brooks is --
WILLIAMS: Joe Barton's son.
WILLIAMS: And there we were all sharing this unbelievable moment. And it just felt like it went on forever. And then, I was able, where I was, Zach was right there with me, I looked up, and I can't remember who it was, but I saw one of the police officers, the Capitol Police with nothing in front of him, firing a gun like this, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. The greatest man of bravery I've ever seen.
COOPER: I mean I hate to say this but, had they not been there --
COOPER: -- there were a lot of folks in that dugout sitting targets.
WILLIAMS: If they had not been there I would say he would have killed everybody. And he was trying to get into the ballpark but the fence was locked on the third base side. So he kept trying to work his way over. And if they hadn't been there, he come in to first base dugout, everybody was there, we literally had nothing but baseballs and bats.
COOPER: Zach, you talked about adrenaline. Does -- you know, Adrenaline can mask pain for quite a while. Did you -- I mean did you -- once you were in the dugout, did the adrenaline calm down and you start to feel your wounds?
BARTH: Well, the bullets were still flying. So the adrenaline probably didn't wear off until I was in the ambulance then I start to feel the pain. I'll tell you, it hurt but in the moment I was just thinking about staying alive. I wasn't thinking about the pain in my leg. I was just trying to keep my head down. Keep congressman's head down and everybody around me and just stay alive.
[20:50:18] COOPER: Why did you want to be here today?
WILLIAMS: Well, this is an important event, you know. This -- we are coming together for one thing and, you know, I kind of echoing Speaker Ryan's sentiment that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. You know, we are all Americans in this fight. We might disagree on some of the issues but at the end of the day we are all on the same team.
COOPER: You got to be proud of him.
WILLIAMS: I'm so proud of him. And he's a hero. And I'm just really -- I'm proud -- I'm proud to be in -- I'm proud to serve the people. We had a great real police. I saw a lot of brave people within our group the other day. Everybody did something to help the other one. It was a moment now that probably three or four generations will share together that won't go away. But I would just like to say this game needs to be played today. We didn't play this game. And we give in to people who don't want us to have the freedom of liberty we're used too. And this people (inaudible) baseball in America. And I hope today is that begins some healing. And we bow down to the verbiage a little bit in Congress and around the country. And, again, and get something done.
COOPER: You'll test. That's a lasting change from this that people can disagree but maybe think about atoning.
WILLIAMS: We can agree to disagree. That's what debate is about. But we need to turn the tone down a little bit. At least start right here and maybe this is the day that gets it going.
COOPER: Congressman, it's an honor.
WILLIAMS: Thank you Anderson.
COOPER: I hope you recover quickly.
COOPER: In the after math of the shooting the president called for unity. That was yesterday. Today team Trump sent out an e-mail asking supporters to sign a petition. Here's how it begins, "Democrats have absolutely nothing to offer our country after their billion dollar election loss, all Democrats have done is obstruct President Trump and maniacally scream the word Russia until they're blue in the face and sparked protests in the street, refused to approve White House nominee, destroyed their health care system and use the media to spew vicious rhetoric against the president." It goes on from there.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the shooting, Republican Representative Mark Sanford says the president is at least partly to blame for the vicious rhetoric. I'm going to speak with him in just a moment. First here is what he said earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARK SANFORD, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I would argue that the president at least is partly, again, not in the (inaudible) totally, but partly to blame for demons that have been unleashed whether what I saw at a senior center back home and people saying fu, and fu, and fu to each other, and the senior say, a retirement center? See each other playing (inaudible) in the next day. Or with what happened, again, not with what happened yesterday but the fact, you know, you've got the top guy saying, well, I wish I could hit you in the face, if not why don't you and I will pay the legal fees. That's bizarre. We ought to call it as such.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Congressman Mark Sanford joins us now. Thanks so much for being with us. It's got to make you feel good to see so many people in the stands here tonight.
SANFORD: It gives you goose bumps. I've been to this game many years. I've seen it as filled as it is tonight.
COOPER: When you said that about Mr. President is partly to blame for the demons that have sort of then unleashed.
SANFORD: And I want to be clear. I didn't blame him for the shooting that took place yesterday.
COOPER: Of course.
SANFORD: What I said was, we have gotten to a point in terms of break down the civility in our country that it is a problem and that everybody is to blame and the blame can go on Republican side, go on Democratic side. But when the president says to somebody in the audience, I wish I could hit you in the face if not why don't you do it and I'll pay your legal fees, we ought to call it for what it is, that's a problem.
And we ought to call of -- I guess each other whether it's in church, whether it's at business, whether it's in specifically, we ought to call each other on, are we being human to each other in the way that we relate? Because they have an open and civil society you got have a civil debate.
COOPER: And you saw that at a senior center people using expletives against each other. And that's a new development.
SANFORD: Again, I've been around politics for 20 years. I've never seen this kind of energy before. It's a very negative energy. And these are people who been playing croquet with each the next day. It's not like they know each other. They know each other and yet they were using certain expletives that just don't fit. And I called somebody on it. And that's when they said to me, wait a minute, if the guy at the top could say anything to anybody at any time why can't I say what I want? I said because that's not the way we relate to each other. COOPER: How do you things has change? I mean how does it change? Because even today, I mean even with among the all these calls for toning down the rhetoric you had, you know, one congressman pointing finger on Pres. Obama for the shooting, yet, Nancy Pelosi talking, you know, making very tough comments about Republicans today.
SANFORD: I think we do it one person to one person. I hope that tonight's game serves as an inflection point. The fact that the crowd has come out as they have, would they go for Republican or Democratic staffs saying wait a minute, let's support these players and what they stands for. Not only in help a number of charities. Not only in standing for Steve Scalise is now the hospital, I know they're all (inaudible) hospital, but in this larger theme -- we got to dial this thing back.
[20:55:13] And so, I think it begins literally at the neighborhood level. Everybody has their own spirit of, you know, interest way. But they got -- you have influence in here and I think with those that we can influence whether it's a family or friends, those we work with, that's the place to start.
COOPER: If it doesn't -- if there is not real change, if it doesn't -- do you worry about this is escalating?
SANFORD: I do. I do because, again, to have an open and free society there has to be a degree of civility in the way that we relate to one another to have real debates. Because if we're simply impugning the motives to others or impugning the other human being you can't really get to the debate on the ideas themselves.
COOPER: I talked to Gen. Hayden a couple of weeks ago and he talked about the thin veneer (ph) civilization which he feels is being stripped away. And that's real danger. We all like to think that it's so entrenched that it can never happen. But, whether you have gone overseas (inaudible) during the war, you saw what happened there that that veneer is there and it is important, in your words, for individuals. It's not just respecting institutions it's respecting each other.
SANFORD: Yeah. So, yeah, history is filled with all kinds of examples that remind us of how thin that line is between complete unrest and break down of civil society and that which it stands for and institutions that are strong. And so, you know, it's incumbent upon every one of us in the body of politics to do our part. It is incumbent upon you in the world of media to do your part. But most of all, we like to relay blame to media or to folks in politics. You know, there are hundreds of millions of people in this country. And the way we relate to one another as I saw there in that senior center in a way that I've never before, it's important that we look at how we are relating to folks in our own backyard or how we are using social media.
COOPER: Congressman Sanford. Good to see you.
SANFORD: It's my pleasure.
COOPER: Appreciate you being with us Congressman Mark Sanford.
Coming up, we're going to get an update on the condition of Congressman Steve Scalise who remains hospitalized after yesterday's shooting. He's had his third surgery.
Tonight the baseball game he was practicing for has gone on as planned. Here a huge turnout raising a lot of money. We'll have more from that after a quick break.