Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Trump At Hospital Where Wounded Rep. Is Being Treated; Washington Post: Special Counsel Investigating Trump For Possible Obstruction of Justice; GOP Lawmakers And Staff Attacked On Baseball Field. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 14, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:03] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It was a congressional baseball team practice for a charity game. That abruptly turned into a morning of terror.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Walking around the baseball field, I saw a man with a very large gun.
REP. CHUCK FLEISCHMANN, (R) TENNESSEE: Within a few seconds, all of a sudden there were multiple gunshots being fired.
COOPER: (voice-over): The gunman firing bullets on a quiet suburban baseball field in the community of Del Ray located in Alexandria, Virginia just 7 miles from the capital. Four people were struck, among them, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, the number three Republican in the House of Representatives.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE, (R) ARIZONA: Congressman Scalise was playing second base and fielding some, you know, some of the batting practice there. He just batted a few guise before. And he, you know, dragged himself off of the infield into the outfield about 10 or 15 yards.
COOPER (voice-over): Representative Scalise hit in the hip and crawled his way out of the line of fire. But it was multiple acts of courage, colleagues helping colleagues that helped save the day. Representative Brad Wenstrup who served as a combat surgeon in Iraq attended to Scalise.
REP. BRAD WENSTRUP, (R) OHIO (via telephone): I felt like I was back in Iraq as a surgeon. And Steve was conscious and OK.
COOPER (voice-over): Representative Mo Brooks provided a tourniquet for a colleague bleeding badly.
REP. MO BROOKS, (R) ALABAMA: You can see the bullet hole in his (inaudible) and you know it's not OK. And I took off my belt and myself and another congressman, I don't remember who, applied a tourniquet to try to slow down the bleeding.
COOPER (voice-over): The heroes of the day, two capitol police officers who were there already on protective duty for Representative Scalise. They immediately returned fire. Alexandria police arrive minutes later and also exchanged bullets with the gunman.
FLEISCHMANN: Thank god from the capitol police who were there guarding our Majority Whip, because we were sitting ducks in that dugout. When I got in the dugout I realized there was blood all over the place. It was not a good place to be.
COOPER (voice-over): Along with Scalise, three others were shot and injured, Capitol Police Officer Crystal Griner, also Matt Mika, a Tyson Foods lobbyist and former congressional staffer, and Zachary Barth, a staff member for Representative Roger Williams. The president today calling for unity.
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation's capital is here because above all they love our country.
COOPER: We want to focus as we always do on the condition of the wounded, the president now at the hospital where Steve Scalise underwent surgery earlier today.
CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us as well. How much do we know about Congressman Scalise's condition?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're just hearing from the hospital after he came out of surgery, which was sort of mid-afternoon around 2:30, 3:00 that he was in critical condition. You know, that's obviously concerning. We know -- we saw images of him.
You may remember, Anderson, at the scene we hear that that time at the scene, he was stable. He was actually able to speak to his wife on the phone. He was transported by helicopter to the hospital, five to 10 minutes transfer. By the time he arrived at the hospital he was in critical condition. So, obviously, he seems to have some deterioration during that time.
He was in surgery for several hours. He's still in critical condition. So, this is obviously the job of the nurses and the doctors to try and care for him and stabilize him, which is I'm sure what they are trying to do as thing stand right now. There was a gunshot wound to the hip, Anderson, as you know. No vital organs in that area, but there can still be significant bleeding, though.
COOPER: Matt Mika, a lobbyist who is also practicing with the team, I understand he is in critical condition after being shot in the chest. What can you say about that?
GUPTA: It sounds like this is the most serious. Obviously, you know, you're talking about a rifle, a fast very high velocity bullet to the chest. He may have been multiple shots to the chest, also had surgery. You know, he's also in critical condition. All we're hearing is not surprising. We expected to be in the intensive care unit for several days.
Unlike with congressman's injury to the hip, a gun shot wound to the chest obviously because of the concerns of bleeding in and around the lungs, that's going to be something that they're going to have to be very carefully observing over the next several days. That -- it sounds like the most concerning sort of victim of all of this.
COOPER: And the officers -- I mean, the heroic officers from the Capitol Police Department, what's the latest on their condition?
GUPTA: Well, two officers. It sounds like one, David Bailey has been treated and released. He was not shot. Another, Crystal Griner, sounds like she had a gunshot wound to the ankle, to the foot area, is in good condition. We're hearing he's still in the hospital, probably likely to be released over the next day or so.
COOPER: Yeah. Well, we wish them all a speedy recovery. Sanjay, thanks very much.
With me now is Congressman Barry Loudermilk and Jack Bergman who were there this morning. Appreciate both of you spending time with us.
[21:05:06] Congressman Bergman, I talked to a number of people who were there. The first shot people didn't know what exactly what it was. They thought a car backfiring, a firework. When did you realize what was happening?
REP. JACK BERGMAN, (R) MICHIGAN: As soon as the second shot happened because it was within a second or two later. That second report was the same as the first and you know the sound of a weapon when you hear it.
COOPER: You have military experience.
BERGMAN: That's right. So right then it was real.
COOPER: And where were you, because I understand the shooter was near third base.
BERGMAN: He was behind -- thankfully, he was on the outside of the chain-link fence.
COOPER: Which was locked, apparently.
BERGMAN: Behind the third base dugout. I was standing next to the batting cage. We couldn't see him. And after that second shot, several of us standing there began to make a beeline in a low crawl towards behind the dugout on the first base side to stay out of the line of fire.
COOPER: And Congressman Loudermilk, when did you -- where were you when the shot --
REP. BARRY LOUDERMILK, (R) GEORGIA: I was standing close to home plate. I was -- I had just come in from the batting cages to take some live pitching. And I was just putting on a batting helmet when I heard the first shot. I recognized that as a gunshot, but you're still in that situation. You're not sure.
I instinctively turned and looked to my right where Scalise's security details were in the SUV part by the dugout. They always park there so they have a clear view of the field. I saw them exiting the vehicle. They had concerned looks on their face. Heard the second shot.
COOPER: So it was that quick that they --
LOUDERMILK: Yeah. As soon -- they came out. There was a long pause after the first shot. From what I hear is he was -- took the first shot he was standing away from the fence and then moved up.
When the second shot, as the general said, came you knew it was going down at that point. One of the members, I think Trent Kelly from Mississippi yelled, "He has a gun," and that's when we all started running.
I ran outside -- I went outside the fence. I didn't want to get trapped in the dugout. There was a lot of people in there. As I was going out the fence, shots hit to my left and hit the fences I was going through.
COOPER: You could actually, like see shots?
LOUDERMILK: The ground was, you know, you could see the dust flying up off the ground where the bullets would hit. And I went around a -- luckily, a utility shed, a wooden structure, to put it between me and the shooter.
I was about 20 feet from the security detail's SUV. They had repositioned the SUV. That's when I saw Matt Mika. He was laying on the ground. He was severely wounded, shot in the chest. Myself and one other individual tried to get to him, but the shooter had moved in position and had us in a line of fire. And every time we tried to go out there, he would take shots.
COOPER: No kidding? Wow. And how long about -- you know, often hard to tell in a situation like this. I've heard -- I mean, that video runs for about 5:00, 5:30. How long do you think this all went on for?
BERGMAN: I would estimate average six minutes plus or minus. But that's -- that video -- we first saw it this afternoon and it captures a lot.
COOPER: So, were you able at any point to see the gunman?
BERGMAN: The only time I saw him was after he was secured by the capitol police, because after it was over, I walked around and checked the wounded and checked to see where he was.
COOPER: Right. You went over to Representative Scalise, is that right?
BERGMAN: I did.
COOPER: How was he? What can you say about him?
BERGMAN: Well, he was as you would expect in shock. Dr. Wenstrup, Congressman Wenstrup, the medical doctor was in charge. He was applying the -- if you will, the compression to the entrance wound. We were getting Scalise's belt out of his pants in case we need to use a tourniquet. Senator Jeff Flak was there as well helping. And then that was under control and people just kept moving around attending to the wounded.
COOPER: Wow. And did you -- you knew -- did you see the shooter while --
LOUDERMILK: I did. I saw him reposition a couple of times and then I lost track of him. But the gentleman that was with me was tracking him. I was talking to Matt Mika, who is trying to get -- just talk to him because we couldn't get to him.
COOPER: So you were like yelling like out to him.
LOUDERMILK: Oh, he was 10 feet in front of me. The capitol police were -- he was laying right next to their vehicle, but they couldn't do anything because they were engaged in the fire fight. They were heroes.
The -- I saw the first officer get shot in the ankle. She went down. She was out of the fire fight. That's when the other officer actually ran into the parking lot to draw fire away from us.
COOPER: Is that right?
LOUDERMILK: And a very heroic action. Then I saw him take -- I thought he got shot in the leg. It sounds like he just got some shrapnel in leg, but he was rounded. That's when I really got concerned because if he went down, there was nothing else to do. We were already trying to figure out, can we go and get her weapon.
But as I repositioned myself at that point behind a tree where I could get a better vantage point, that's when I saw the shooter come from around the other side of a concrete building. He was getting covered by, and he was brandishing a handgun at that point.
COOPER: And did you see him calm?
LOUDERMILK: He was calm, collected. He just walked out there with the gun hand. He pointed it at the police officers. He took a shot. The capitol police officer told him to drop the weapon, drop the weapon.
[21:10:02] The Alexander police officers were there at that point. We're also telling -- he had taken a couple of shots at them with a rifle. Fortunately, he missed. He shot a couple more times at the capitol police officer and then that's when the police officers took him down. I saw him go down at that point. COOPER: Wow. And he was then taken to the hospital. That's -- we understand that's where he expired. What -- and what did you do after he was down?
LOUNDERMILK: Well, as soon as he was out, we weren't sure if there was another shooter or not. But, I ran up to where the capitol police officer that was shot and Matt were laying. I checked on Matt. He was in really bad condition. He had bled a lot. I could see the chest wound. I looked at her. I could tell -- you could see her ankle was shot pretty bad, but she wasn't critical.
I asked if they had a medical kit and she said they had one in the back. So I got the medical kit. I was looking for something, clot stopper or something for Matt. By the time I got over there, EMTs who had been -- I mean, they were up on the street and unable to get down there. They were there for Matt so I let them take over.
I didn't know Scalise had been hit until somebody told me that Steve was on the field hit. I saw Brad Wenstrup out there. And so I ran the medical kit out to Brad and gave it to him. Then when I turned, the security -- the detail -- security detail for Scalise who shot the perpetrator was out there with Scalise limping. And so -- I mean, these guys are true hero.
COOPER: Just incredible. Does -- I mean does something need to change? I mean, what do you moving for? I mean, you know, it's -- to me, I just --
BERGMAN: Did something need to change?
BERGMAN: There's a lot that needs to change. But for example, the idea of civility at all levels of discourse needs to be brought to the forefront. Were you aware that the freshman class, both Democrats and Republicans three weeks after being sworn in that we signed a commitment to civility that never saw the light of day in the news because it wasn't a big enough story?
So, there's a lot of people who want change, but we need some top cover from a lot of folks to get the examples of how it can be done out there because we have to move forward as a nation together.
COOPER: It does seem like you talk to people who served, you know, 20, 30 years ago on Capitol Hill and that there was not just the media but everywhere, you know, people could have -- good people could have difference of opinions and battle hard, you know, in terms of --
BERGMAN: That's a good thing, because you get a better result when you come at it from different angles.
COOPER: Yeah. How important is it that the ball game goes on tomorrow? And how important is that a lot of people come out? I mean --
LOUDERMILK: I think it's extremely important. If this was just a recreational game between us I would say we need to step down. This is for children. This is a charity game for children.
You know, everybody is going to survive, even Matt Mika from what I hear. I got a call a little while ago that said he is going to be doing all right. Everybody is going to recover. It's going to take a while for some.
But I think we need to go out there. I think we need to play hard. We always play respectfully. Something about sports brings us together. We set our differences aside. And we just need to raise some money for the kids and show our support for one another as Americans.
COOPER: Well, how great would it be to have that stadium filled and, you know, a lot of --
BERGMAN: It's a strong statement across the country if we can do, so everybody come on out tomorrow.
COOPER: Yeah. We'll be there. Thank you very much.
LOUDERMILK: Thanks, Anderson. Nice to meet you.
COOPER: I'm so sorry it's under these circumstances.
BERGMAN: Thank you.
COOPER: More ahead on what happened this morning, an extremely difficult day. We'll be right back.
[21:17:05] COOPER: We are continuing to follow the shooting aftermath and have new details in the investigation put forward. We're going to bring that to you shortly.
First though, more breaking news and it does touch the president. "The Washington Post" reporting tonight that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation now includes the president. Specifically, it's looking to whether he obstructed justice.
As early as this week, according to the "Post," Mueller is interviewing three top intelligence officials. The three cited by the "Post" are Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, and Richard Ledgett, the recently retired Deputy NSA Director.
The "Post" is basing its reporting on quote that they say there are five people briefed on the requests. It is the most significant sign that Robert Mueller's investigation is extending beyond questions of Russian interference in 2016 election, a possible collusion. The news came the week as presidential friend, Chris Ruddy, floated the possibility that the president was considering firing Robert Mueller.
More now from the White House and CNN Jim Acosta who joins us. Jim, have we gotten any response on this from the White House tonight? JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE CORRESPONDENT: No, Anderson. Well, the White House is referring us to the president's outside counsel, Marc Kasowitz. Now, a spokesman for Marc Kasowitz, Mark Corallo, did put out a statement. I believe we have it. If we have it, we can put it on the screen. I can read to you. It says, "The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexecutable and illegal."
A couple of things to point out about this statement, Anderson, one is it talks about an FBI leak of information. Well, we don't know for a fact that it was the FBI that is leaking this information. And also, Anderson, what I think is interesting about this statement is that it doesn't deny that the president is now under investigation by the special counsel, Bob Mueller, for obstruction of justice. So, it is a statement that is curious as it is brief.
But, it is obviously something that the press is going to be asking White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer about this tomorrow, if in fact the White House holds a briefing. At this point, we don't have a schedule for what's going to happen tomorrow. But that's essentially all they are saying tonight, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Jim Acosta. Jim, I appreciate that update.
Joining us now, Gloria Borger, Jeffrey Toobin, and Matthew Whitaker.
Jeff Toobin, we should point out just because there is an investigation by Robert Mueller on the possibility of obstruction of justice doesn't mean the president did try to obstruct justice. That's up to Mueller to discover in the course of the investigation. But given the fact that there is now investigation of the president, how big a deal is it?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's a huge deal. The President of the United States is under criminal investigation by a special prosecutor who has hired the best lawyers in the country, is working with the unlimited resources of the FBI. It's a nightmare. It's a nightmare for anyone to be investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department. And it's particularly a nightmare for the President of the United States. It doesn't mean that the president committed a crime. It doesn't mean that the president will be charged with a crime.
[21:20:02] But, as we saw during Comey's testimony last week, there is certainly at least a plausible case, a basis for investigation, that Trump made overturns to Comey to crush an investigation of his friend, General Flynn, and then when Comey didn't do that, he fired Comey.
That is a plausible case for obstruction of justice and there are surrounding circumstances, including Admiral Rogers's possibility and Director of National Intelligence Coats who were also approached by the president. They need to provide evidence as well. This is all now going to happen.
COOPER: And, Matt, the president -- even if the president attempts to cite executive privilege to get them not to talk to Mueller, Mueller can counteract that, can't he?
MATTHEW WHITAKER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: He can. He has broad discretion in all the powers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice. But also remember one thing is that, you know, obstruction of justice is a specific intent crime.
And so you can't just -- Jim Comey who actually is now a witness to this didn't believe that from February until he was fired that the president had obstructed justice interaction with him because he could have opened his own file, and so it seems a little curious to me that this investigation is now been leaked.
And the other thing I might point out is, you know, the White House, all they have to do is call up Director Mueller or acting attorney general for this specific investigation, Rod Rosenstein, and ask is the president a target or subject of an investigation. And they have to answer that question.
TOOBIN: Why would they want to know that? Why would they -- I mean --
WHITAKER: Well, I think at this point in time, the FBI or Director Mueller need to confirm or deny this. This is -- this innuendo of an investigation of a sitting president that no one can seem to confirm I think is very dangerous for our republic. And we need to know whether there is actually an investigation or not. I think the American people would like to know that.
TOOBIN: I don't think Mueller will say a word. I mean, you know, lots of people know --
COOPER: He doesn't have to tell the White House.
TOOBIN: No, by no means.
COOPER: Gloria, I mean, the -- I mean, there's so many aspects to this. But, you know, the irony, of course, that there may be no collusion. There may be no there, there on the whole Russia story and yet, now this special counsel investigation is going in another direction.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And largely it's because the president's own self-sabotage, because if he hadn't fired Comey, all the other dominos might not have fallen. But on this question of obstruction, we're talking here about the legal case. But there is now going to be a political argument about obstruction that will get stronger and stronger.
COOPER: In fact, that's probably more important than the legal case --
COOPER: -- because there's not going to be a legal case.
BORGER: Well, it's hard to prove. For example, as we were just talking about before and I think that we know that the Senate Intelligence Committee has been interested, the Democrats in particular, have been interested in the issue of obstruction. And I guarantee you now they're going to be making the case that they need to hear more about it.
And if it needs to be in closed session, they spent a couple hours with Admiral Rogers. Senator Burr said the other day they're going to want to talk to Dan Coats. They're going to want to get to the bottom of these themselves because they believe they owe it to the American people.
COOPER: The other thing Gloria is, you know, we talked to Paul Begala about this, who obviously worked in a Clinton White House that was under investigation. And he -- Paul talked about how President Clinton had the ability to kind of compartmentalize things.
COOPER: And continue trying to do legislative stuff with these investigations. The question is what impact is this going to have on the White House of Donald Trump, which is, you know, I'm not sure it's at the point where it's at compartmentalized.
BORGER: Well, it isn't because the president himself isn't. I mean, the president is thinking about this constantly as we know, pondering whether he should fire the special counsel, Mueller.
COOPER: Talking to a lot of people.
BORGER: Talking to a lot of people about it, talking to his friends about it. And it's very hard for a White House to be compartmentalized and say, OK, you have the war room over there, which is what the Clinton White House did, and the rest of us are going to focus on legislation when the president himself is not doing that and he gets up in the morning and he is tweeting about leaks or he is tweeting about Comey and it's very, very difficult.
COOPER: Jeff, how much of the president's own words in interviews he has given, in tweets, will be part of this investigation?
TOOBIN: It will be the heart of it. And in fact, you know, remember, it was his interview with Lester Holt that basically sabotaged the entire White House explanation for why James Comey was fired.
I mean, the night he was fired, eventually, people like Kellyanne Conway came out and said, "Oh, the real reason he was fired is because he did such a bad thing to Hillary Clinton eight months ago." It was very implausible. It was not really believable, but that was the explanation.
[21:25:04] But then the president gave an interview to Lester Holt and said, "Well, the real reason I fired him is because of the Russia investigation." Again, that came from his own mouth.
The problem there is he can't very well deny he said it and he can't deny his tweets and he can't deny what he said to the Russian ambassador, which apparently was recorded somewhere where he said, you know, Comey was a nut job and I had to get rid of him. I mean, all of that -- you know, that is admissible evidence in an investigation. And if some day somewhere there's a trial, it's admissible there, too.
COOPER: So, Matt, now if "The Washington Post" is correct based on their five -- where they say their five sources and the president is under this investigation, would -- I assume his outside counsel will be pushing him not to continue to tweet about it or talk about it or give interviews about that.
WHITAKER: Yeah. That is rule number one. If you're going to tell your story, you're only going to tell it once and that is to a jury. But let's -- you know, in this case, you know, this president I think needs to listen to his key advisers, to people he trust because, you know, as Jeff points out, this is a very serious situation. And, you know, Bob Mueller is a professional.
But let's remember the other thing that's going on here. As Bob Mueller does his investigation, he is going to be talking to witnesses. And his investigators are going to be talking to witnesses. And this seems to be the first round of reveals of at least three people that are going to be interviewed.
So we should expect similar stories to this as we proceed through the months of this investigation. And it doesn't necessarily mean that they're just talking about obstruction of justice. They certainly are going to be talking about the Russian collusion and Russian interference in the American election.
TOOBIN: It also doesn't mean that the FBI is leaking. I mean, when investigators start interviewing people, a lot of people know about it, the witnesses, their lawyers. I mean -- and that's often where the information comes from, not necessarily from the FBI.
COOPER: Yeah, which is what the White House was slamming the FBI for allegedly leaking this in that. "The Washington Post," (inaudible) there's no evidence their sources are the FBI. Jeff Toobin, Matthew Whitaker, Gloria Borger, thanks so much.
Coming up next, the latest on the shooting investigation. What investigators are finding out about the now dead gunman? Plus, reaction from the White House, the president's remarks garnering bipartisan praise tonight.
[21:31:17] COOPER: Well, the man who tried to commit mass murder is dead tonight. Two of his (inaudible) victims are badly wounded. MedStar Washington Hospital Center released a new statement on Congressman Scalise.
It reads "Congressman Steve Scalise sustained a single rifle shot to the left hip. The bullet traveled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and causing severe bleeding. He was transported in shock to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a Level I Trauma Center. He underwent immediate surgery, and an additional procedure to stop bleeding." The statement concludes, "He has received multiple units of blood transfusion. His condition is critical, and he will require additional operations. We will provide periodic updates."
In addition to that, we're learning more about who the gunman was, his recent movements and more, which underscore, we're minimizing the use of his picture and his name. With that in mind, CNN's Phil Mattingly joins us with the very latest. What are investigators finding?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One of the key elements right now is social media. They are coming through his posts of which there are numerous and really kind of sorts of paint a picture who this individual actually was.
COOPER: Mostly political base.
MATTINGLY: Mostly political base, mostly progressive causes, but very anti-Republican. Very anti-President Trump saying at one point, "Trump has destroyed our democracy, now we must destroyed Trump and company." That's a direct quote from one of the postings. Also very anti-Hillary Clinton, it's worth noting.
But I think one of the interesting elements that investigators are trying to kind of get through right now is what actually got him to this point. Social media posts, obviously there are lots of them. Secret Services cognizant of lots of them, but its worth noting, this race no red flags to the Secret Service. They did not know this was coming.
So the key question now is at what point did he go from somebody who was posting to somebody who is willing to do something like this? And so far, they don't have that answer.
COOPER: Right. He was a supporter of Senator Sanders. Senator Sanders had put out statement saying this is, you know, abhorrent.
MATTINGLY: Actually took to the Senate floor to make clear. He -- Senator Sanders had learned that he believed this individual, the shooter had at one point volunteered for his campaign.
At one point on his Facebook page, he had a picture of Uncle Sam with Senator Sanders face transpose on top of it, clearly a fan of Senator Sanders and his message. Senator Sanders taking to the Senate floor condemning the actions saying obviously he did not support this in any way, shape, or form.
COOEPR: Is it known at this point how long this person was in the area? I have seen accounts he was seen at the YMCA for quite a while.
MATTINGLY: Yes. This is really interesting, Anderson. He's actually been here since March, according to the FBI. He was living out of his van. I was actually on the scene earlier today. You could see the van, a white van, Illinois license plates where he is from, parked in the parking lot of the YMCA.
He became a member of the YMCA in April. He was there this morning as well. I think one of the kinds of jarring moments of all of this is Republican lawmakers this morning, the individuals where there actually saw him. He asked two lawmakers, "What party is this? Is this the Republicans or Democrats?" If you talk to witnesses, which I spoke to several, they saw him around. They recognized him. He was around.
But, again, the big question is, why was he there? Why did he come to town? It didn't appear that he had any job, any employment. People are trying to figure out a lot of things right now, a lot of unanswered questions and clearly a very, very tragic moment.
COOPER: It was very well-known that that park was used by Congress people to practice. So had he asked around, he could have been able to find out that information?
MATTINGLY: It wasn't a secret. They practice there every morning. They often wear their uniforms, which have Republican written on the shirts. And I think that was when you talk to witnesses, when you talk to people who lived around the area, they made very clear, "Look, we knew they were there."
Nobody thought it was a very big deal. Everybody in the community were very happy to see them. They kind of got a kick out of it, but nobody paid much attention to it. Nobody attended the practices. They just walked by them with their dogs.
So this was in the morning. All these practices occurred around 6:00 a.m. or 7:00 a.m. in the morning. So, no, it wasn't difficult to find where these practices were. And I think most in the community just kind of figured as part of their every day life.
COOPER: Shocking. Phil Mattingly, thank you very much.
Let's get the latest now on the White House response. Back with us now is Jim Acosta. Jim, what was the president's reaction to todays shooting?
[21:35:02] ACOSTA: Well, Anderson, the first thing we should point out is that President Trump, he has been checking on Congressman Scalise's condition throughout the day. And earlier this evening, actually within the last hour, the president and first lady visited the hospital where Scalise is recovering from his injuries.
We can tell you that aides brought in bouquets of flowers where Scalise is recovering and also where the capitol police officers are also apparently recovering as well. The president and vice-president -- it's been a quiet day here at the White House, Anderson. They canceled their scheduled events for the day.
But, getting to the president's message in your question, we did hear from a very different President Trump today. We've seen with other incidences like this around the world. The president sometimes will engage in rhetoric that is questionable or controversial. He did not engage in any kind of divisive rhetoric today after this shooting.
He sounded a very unifying theme, reminding Americans that people serving the nation here in Washington are doing so because of their love of country. It was really a very different President Trump that we heard from. Here's a bit of what he had to say earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Congressman Scalise is a friend and a very good friend. He's a patriot and he's a fighter. He will recover from this assault. And, Steve, I want you to know that you have the prayers, not only of the entire city behind you, but of an entire nation and frankly the entire world. America is praying for you and America is praying for all of the victims of this terrible shooting.
We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation's capital is here because, above, all they love our country. We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace and that we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Pretty remarkable to hear that from the president, because when you listened some of president's surrogates like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich earlier today, he was blaming hostile rhetoric from the left for today's shooting. And he was not alone. There were other surrogates for the president saying this sort of thing, but the president was not listening to those voices, Anderson. He did the no echo those remarks.
And we should point out just -- from a logistical standpoint, there was some talk earlier today that the president might even go to this congressional baseball game tomorrow night, which also would have been a pretty remarkable image, a pretty remarkable gesture. But the White House is not telling us that's not going to happen because of security concerns, Anderson.
I've been to that congressional baseball game before. That would have been a tall order for the Secret Service in light of what happened earlier today to try to secure that entire baseball park for something like that, Anderson.
COOPER: Yeah. Jim Acosta, thank you very much. Appreciate that.
As you can imagine, lawmakers have been shaken up today. Democrats, Republicans, some on the baseball team, some not, whether they were eyewitnesses or heard about the shooting later, this isn't a day any of them will soon forget.
CNN's Brianna Keilar joins us now with reaction from capitol. You know, you were on Capitol Hill right afterward when people were coming back directly from the ball field.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It was very quiet and then all of a sudden, activity picked up and you started to have Republican members from the team who came into Statuary Hall, which was stunning, because you're used to seeing them attired in their suits and a number of them actually came straight to talk to the media, still in what they had been wearing to practice. Their ball caps, raglan tees, that kind of thing.
COOPER: A lot them had to leave their cars, their wallets, everything at the ball field.
KEILAR: That's right. And they had been cordoned off in a crime scene area while they were waiting to speak to police. They were bloodied. One of the Congress members that I talked to had a bloody elbow and a bloody hand from diving into the dugout.
And it was pretty interesting, Anderson, because almost immediately, even this was before knowing the motive of the shooter, they really seemed to feel so clearly that they had been targeted. So, we certainly heard that there was a lot of fear from these members of Congress, especially afraid for their security in the future. We heard that from Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLEISCHMANN: After today, I wonder whether or not I will ever feel safe going to a baseball field with practice like that, because literally if that horrific shooter had chosen, I was in his line of sight he could have shot me as easily as anybody else. I was just fortunate not to be shot.
REP. RODNEY DAVIS, (R) ILLINOIS: We can disagree on how to govern. That's what makes our country great. And I'm here because we're all Americans. And I think Republicans and Democrats need to use this day today to stand together and say, "Stop. Let's work together. Let's get things done. We can have our differences, but let's not let it leads to such hate."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: That was Congressman Rodney Davis and that was only about a couple hours after the shooting happened. He had been at bat when the shooting began.
[21:40:05] And I asked him, "How do you feel?" He said he felt very angry and he pointed to the ferocity of political rhetoric. Even at that point in time so early, he really felt that this was a moment for that to really cool down.
COOPER: Right. So, Brianna Keilar, thank you very much. Appreciate that.
Next, the man who was walking his dogs when the shooting began captured it all on video. We'll hear from him up next.
COOPER: We're just now getting video of the president and first lady leaving the Washington Hospital where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is being treated for severe gunshot wound. And as Jim Acosta mentioned, aides brought flowers. It's unclear whether they were actually able to see the congressman. They're back at the White House now. The president has just tweeted, "Just left hospital. Rep. Steve Scalise, one of the truly great people, is in very tough shape, but he is a real fighter. Pray for Steve."
As the day has gone on, we have been getting recordings of this morning's shooting revealing what happen in chilling (ph) detail. One of those recordings, the audio between officers on the scene and the dispatcher.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Units arriving (inaudible) Monroe. Receiving (inaudible)of shots being fired and there are people running, possibly victims involved.
[21:45:07] I've still got shots being fired.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need medics. We've got a suspect shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 225 give me your exact location.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) baseball field in front of the YMCA, there's also a victim down in the baseball field.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have another one down. I think a total of five down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Does anybody need a chopper?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. [Inaudible] we're going to need a medeva.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got witnesses that are trying to leave. I'm trying to keep them on the scene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Another record of what happened was captured by someone who just happened to be walking in the area. Noah Nathan recorded the scene on his phone. I spoke to him earlier.
COOPER: Noah, can you explain where you were when you heard the first shots?
NOAH NATHAN, WITNESS (via telephone): Yeah. I was walking in the dog park that I go to every morning. And it's right next to the baseball field. And I was just about to walk into the dog park when I heard the first shot. I thought it was fireworks. And I looked around and thought it was strange. And then when I heard the second one, I knew something wasn't right. And then I realized it was gunshot.
COOPER: How much space was there between the first shot and you thought it was firework and the other shot? NATHAN (via telephone): Maybe two or three seconds.
COOPER: Wow. So, when you realized what was happening, what did you do?
NATHAN (via telephone): I just dropped to the ground. And I thought it came from the outfield. And I couldn't tell where it came from. So I was just laying there and I was holding on to the dogs that wouldn't run off. I was hearing the shots. I guess there's a lot of shots. They were ricocheting off the gravel near me.
So I could -- maybe like 15 yards away I could feel like the powder smoke and I could hear them hitting (ph) the fence. And sort of catastrophic (ph), because it was a helpless feeling so I figured, let may do something. Let me try -- I can't move. Let me go and get my phone out and maybe I can record something of value.
COOPER: At any point, did you actually see the shooter?
NATHAN (via telephone): I did not. I did not see the shooter. I saw the police shooting back, but I couldn't tell where the shooter was.
COOPER: And did you know that there were police officers returning fire, capitol police officers returning fire? Did you know that somebody was returning fire?
NATHAN (via telephone): Yeah. I could see them and I could hear them because the gunman was shooting a rifle. And they were returning fire with a pistol, so you could hear the difference. And I knew they were always there just because there's usually like one or two SUVs with like a security personnel. So we knew they were there hopefully and thank god they were there. Otherwise, who knows what would have happened.
COOPER: Can you describe what happened once the shooting finally stopped?
NATHAN (via telephone): Yeah. Once it stopped, then you could tell -- as soon as everybody started running in to help the congressman that we felt safe (inaudible) to get up and --
COOPER: You were aware at that point that the shooter was down?
NATHAN (via telephone): Yeah.
COOPER: Well, Noah, I'm so glad you're OK. And I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.
NATHAN (via telephone): My pleasure. And again, thanks again for the first responders.
COOPER: Yeah, incredible. They made all the difference. Noah Nathan, thank you.
COOPER: Yeah, truly heroic response by the first responders.
One final note about the president and first lady's hospital visit, Jim Acosta just reported that they were not able to see Congressman Scalise nor enter the room where he is being treated.
Coming up, we'll speak with Congressman Pitcher on the Republican team who wasn't at practice today. He was clearly very affected by what happened. We will talk to him ahead.
[21:52:16] COOPER: In every shooting, in every tragedy, there are stories of people who just happened to be there and those who would have been, but for some twist of fate the shooting is no different.
Congressman Patrick Meehan is one of the stories. He's a pitcher on the Republican team, but he was not at practice this morning. Congressman Meehan joins us now. Thank you for being with us. I'm sorry it's under these circumstances.
When you heard what had happened -- I mean obviously no one wants to be there, but then to not be there and knowing all your teammates are.
REP. PATRICK MEEHAN, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: I had friend that said it was like a plane you didn't get on that crashed in the desert and because we pitched yesterday, there was no need for us to throw today before the game. So instead, I scheduled a breakfast.
I'm sitting in the club with Trey Gowdy when he looks and says, "Look at the T.V. sets. Scalise has been shot." So you're shocked and then you think about the circumstance. But it was only later that you intimately know every foot of that field. You can feel the presence of it just by the reporting and I think that's when it really hit.
COOPER: The extraordinary thing, too, I mean is, had it not been for the presence of Steve Scalise and his security detail. I mean it could have been truly a massacre. I mean, there were unarmed people, a shooter, people in the dugout. He could have gun to the dugout. I mean, it was -- it's terrifying.
MEEHAN: We, as the pitchers were talking, had it been yesterday. There's four of us inside of a cage which was the point from which he began the assault. And you think about it, you would have been in there with nowhere to go and he at point blank range and the others, particularly Trent who was in the line of fire.
I mean, my colleagues tell me that they watched and turned and they shot right at him and he missed. And then Trent run, this guys got a gun. Steve was the next guy who got hit, but he was the next person over because the other two, the shortstop and the third basemen had just left.
COOPER: You've been on this team for seven years?
MEEHAN: Yeah. COOPER: What's the idea behind it? I mean, obviously this is for
charity. But, there's going to be a camaraderie that you can achieve on the ball field that you can't achieve in the halls of Congress.
COOPER: Yeah. It's a legacy that goes, you know, its both ways. Its meeting members even from your own conference that you really don't quite know so well and then you go out on that field for the six weeks that we have in practice and you get to know them in a completely different way.
Then it's your colleagues from the other side of the aisle. Like I said, Joe Crowley just called me up and we're talking about this incident. There's a Democrat from New York. Why would we be pulled together but for something like this? And it just -- it gives us a little different dimension to see each other in a different light.
COOPER: And an incident like this, I mean do you hope that something comes out of it in terms of a shift of tone in so many aspects of political life or --
[21:55:03] MEEHAN: Yeah. Well, I think that -- I'm so concerned about the hateful rhetoric that seems to be expanding, which is a lot of vitriolic language. Even for us when we come in, it's no longer discussions at a town hall. It's that, you know, they -- people scream at you and I just think that this is --
COOPER: People aren't listening, they're just --
MEEHAN: Yeah, and their expressing. I get frustration, even anger, but it's not testing (ph) assault in such a way where it's not a discussion, it's -- yeah, it's a beat down. And I think that you -- does it lead to this guy today? I don't know what motivated this guy. But the discourse is getting far too vitriolic and I think that's a problem.
And I think a game like this can symbolize the fact that, you know, we all disagree on a lot of things, but we can work together, we spend time together, we like each other and there's ways that we can work at solutions. We don't have to be tearing each other apart.
COOPER: How great of a sign would it be if you had a full House tomorrow night at the ball game?
MEEHAN: Yeah. I just think, you know, I just imagine the people who are going to be there, are going to have a completely different sense of emotion than we've ever had before. And I'm kind of think what is going be like and I think it's going to be special.
COOPER: We'll be there. Congressman, thank you very much.
MEEHAN: Thank you, Anderson. Thanks for having me.
COOPER: We'll be right back.
COOPER: Well, that's it for us. Thanks for watching. Don Lemon picks up our coverage with "CNN Tonight."
[22:00:08] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: A stunning day in Washington. A gun man opens fire on members of Congress.