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U.S. Navy Says It Has Recovered Bodies Of Seven Sailors Missing Since Ship Collision Off Coast Of Japan; Bill Cosby's Attorney Says He Is Worried For His Client's Health; An Escalation In America's Involvement In Syria's Civil War; Congressman Steve Scalise Continues To Improve; President And His Team Sending Mixed Messages; Democrats Considering Dramatic Shutdown To Pressure Republicans To Open Up The Process Surrounding The Health Care Bill; Congressman Al Green Called For The President To Be Impeached. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired June 18, 2017 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:06] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Hey there. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Fredricka Whitfield. Thank you so much for joining us on this Sunday afternoon.
Forty-Eight hours after the President himself said that he is being investigated for obstruction of justice, his legal team is saying, not so much. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President is not under investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Despite that, Friday President Trump tweeted out quote "I am being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director. Witch hunt."
So which is it? Let's go to CNN White House correspondent Athena Jones.
Athena, this is all in response to several media reports, some from CNN, some from "the Washington Post," but it doesn't exactly make a whole lot of sense.
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, Boris, it doesn't. And you know, mixed messages has seems to be one of the themes, one of the themes to describe the way this White House operates.
"The Washington Post" reported on Wednesday that special counsel, Robert Mueller, is investigating the President for possible obstruction of justice. On Thursday, the President took to twitter some blast this idea that he is under investigation. He called the new focus on obstruction of justice phony, which is the same word he has used to describe the Russia investigation for months now. Then a day later on Friday, Friday morning, the President took to twitter to tell husband millions of followers that he is under investigation.
Now sources close to the President told CNN he wasn't saying that he had been personally informed officially that he's under investigation. He was talking about media reports. Take a listen to what one of his lawyers, how he explained all this on "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY SUKULOW, MEMBER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LEGAL TEAM: The President is not a subject or target of an investigation. That tweet was in response to a "Washington Post" story that ran with five unnamed sources, without identifying the agencies they represented, saying that the special counsel had broadened out his investigation to include the President. We have had no indication of that. The President was responding to that particular statement from the "Washington Post" with, again, five anonymous sources, and again, without identifying the agency. So no, the President is not under investigation. Has not been.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: So the President said, I am under investigation, even though he isn't under investigation?
SUKULOW: That response on social media was in response to "the Washington Post" piece. It's that simple. The President is not under investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Of course, Boris, it is not that simple. These are the mixed messages we are talking about. For one thing, for months, White House officials have been saying that we need to take the President's tweets, you know, at face value, calling them Presidential statements. We should take them seriously. Now his lawyer is arguing the opposite.
The President's legal team and other supporters of the President, for instance, at the Republican National Committee, have repeatedly pointed to these statements from the FBI director, the former FBI director, James Comey, who did tell the President on three separate occasions that he was not under investigation. The problem here, Boris, is that this is potentially outdated information. Comey has not been in-charge of the FBI since the beginning of May. So it is not entirely clear whether those statements still hold true.
I should mention though that CNN has not confirmed "the Washington Post's" reporting that the President is under investigation for obstruction of justice. But law enforcement officials have told CNN that Mueller is gathering evidence to determine whether to open a full obstruction of justice investigation.
So the President and his team are sending mixed messages here. But the bottom line is it is hard to imagine that the President's millions of twitter followers are staying up to speed on his lawyers' attempt now to walk back what he said - Boris.
SANCHEZ: That's right. Athena Jones reporting from the White House. Thank you, Athena. Let's talk about the Russia investigation and much more with our
panel. Political analyst Ellis Henican, Republican strategist Brian Morgenstern, and CNN law enforcement contributor Steve Moore.
Steve, let's start with you. We have been asking the President and his press corps for several days about whether or not he is under investigation. We got no answer until we saw that tweet. Now we hear this seeming reversal. Is there a grey area here though where it is possible that the President's tweet and what his lawyer is saying could both be true?
STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: Anything could be true, lately.
Let me tell you how this works. What you have here is an investigation that we all know is under way about Russian involvement in the U.S. elections. So if you have an allegation during that investigation of obstruction of that investigation that is initially handled under the primary investigation. So you can say, well, I'm not under investigation for that. Yes, but that doesn't mean it is not going to be looked at.
And if they find -- there's a thing in the FBI called a preliminary inquiry. And it's about a 30-day period where, if you have an allegation or you see smoke on the horizon for a certain crime, you have 30 days to determine whether you want to open it as a separate criminal investigation. So I would say that there is 30 days of investigation here under a preliminary inquiry, or pi, before the FBI decides whether it wants to split it off as a separate investigation.
[16:05:38] SANCHEZ: Ellis, to you. If the President's attorney is right and he is not under investigation, shouldn't there be someone taking the phone away from the President or at least telling him, like why are you saying this.
ELLIS HENICAN, POLITICAL COLUMNIST: Good luck, Boris! Yes. The answer is yes. And the second answer is, it isn't going to happen! For two years now people have been trying to yank the phone out of Donald Trump's fingers and nobody has succeed at that. I have no faith that anyone on this legal team, whatever their talents might be, would be able to achieve that.
SANCHEZ: Brian, what do you think? Who has to step up and say maybe you shouldn't -- you keep shooting yourself in the foot, maybe you shouldn't do that.
BRIAN MORGENSTERN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Plenty of people have done that, and many of the President's supporters have said that. You know, it's hard to argue with the results though. I mean, he has got tens of millions of followers. His tweets are part of what carried him to the presidency of the United States. So it is hard to argue that it backfires that much.
I think this is just a case of two things are true. One, he read this very frustrating article about five people anonymously leaking information which we know has been a thorn in the side of the administration. So he was frustrated. He reacted with a tweet. You know, the other thing that's true as we haven't seen any evidence of any collusion with the Russians or of any obstruction. So, you know, to answer your original question to Steve, it seems like those two things can be true.
Steve, back to you. I want to play some sound for you from Senator Marco Rubio on "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning talking to Jake Tapper reacting to the President's accusations that this is a witch hunt. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: It is not a witch hunt. You believe in the integrity of the investigation.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I do. Because I believe in Bob Mueller's record of serving our country. If there was ever any evidence to the contrary, then obviously that may change. But I don't anticipate that being the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Steve, from your perspective, I mean, what do you make of so many people now changing their opinion of Robert Mueller? Some folks are saying that he is the tip of the deep state spear that is trying to unseat is the President. Is that the case in your estimation?
MOORE: Well, I think -- no, I don't think that's the case. You know, Robert Mueller was the director while I was an agent. And while he may not be everybody's favorite party guest, he is absolutely full of integrity. He is completely almost ruthless in the way he does investigations. And I think he is incorruptible.
So the problem here is that some people -- if he hires people who they don't really appreciate, they all of a sudden start to fear him. And I think that's -- I think that's going down the wrong road here because, frankly - you have got to realize that if you put a Trump guy in there to do this investigation, nobody is going to have confidence in the results if Trump is cleared.
Trump's best -- if he is truly innocent of anything, of all things in this case, and he believes that, he should applaud Robert Mueller's choice or decisions because he will clear him and both sides will believe it.
SANCHEZ: Now Steve, that tweet that the President sent out about, you know, I'm being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director, was seen as critical of deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. Should he recuse himself from this investigation, in part because he wrote that letter to the President saying that he should fire James Comey?
MOORE: I think the problem for Rosenstein right now is that he didn't write that letter just unprovoked. Donald Trump is not going to fire the FBI director just because a deputy attorney general writes him a memo. Trump told him to write that memo, in my best professional opinion, and it was given back to Donald Trump as a justification for firing. So in that situation I think that Rosenstein -- I think he has a problem. And yes, I think he should recuse himself, not because I necessarily think he is corrupt and won't take this to the logical end. But because it becomes a distraction. And I think Mueller should be untouched. And frankly, if the President does anything to remove Mueller, it's -- everything's coming off the tracks.
[16:10:00] SANCHEZ: Brian, Ellis, we are switching gears here. We are low on time but I have to ask you about this. The vacancies in this administration. At this point President Obama had about 150 top appointments in his presidency. George W. Bush, without a majority in the Senate had 130. Right now President Trump has 43 appointments so far. Is the swamp just so drained that there's not enough people to hire? Are they having problems with candidates or --
HENICAN: Well, the alligators are nipping at the heels of those who are there. So, yes! It's got a whole lot harder to find good people. There are good people who still want to serve. But it is getting a whole lot harder to figure out what to do with them to make sure that they can get the approvals in the Senate that they need. And it is just going really slowly and it hurts us.
SANCHEZ: The President says it is Democrats being obstructionist. Do you agree, Brian?
MORGENSTERN: Well, the climate in Washington is one of just, you know, I mean, the #resistance, and just people digging in their heels at every turn.
Another element of this is that it was such a contentious campaign and such a deep primary field of candidates and everything. You know, the administration sort of vetting people and making sure that people are willing to go along with the administration's agenda and be loyal to the President and everything. You know, it is something that is more necessary perhaps in this administration than in past ones because of just the contentious election process that they went through.
SANCHEZ: Sure. Important to point out, the administration does say that they are vetting about 200 people right now for those positions. So hopefully they do get filled soon.
Ellis, Brian and Steve, we thank you so much for the time.
MORGENSTERN: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Business in the Senate could come to a screeching halt this week. Democrats are considering a dramatic shutdown to pressure Republicans to open up the process surrounding the health care bill. They are upset that the GOP is working behind closed doors to craft this thing shrouded in secrecy. Senator Chuck Schumer sent a letter to majority leader Mitch McConnell calling for an all senators meeting this week. Democrats and independents in the Senate are threatening to do whatever it takes to make these health care talks open.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: We have an insane process. Insane! Here you have legislation which deals with one-sixth of the American economy. That's the health care situation. And there are Republicans who haven't even seen this legislation and certainly no member in the democratic caucus has. What kind of process is it that when you deal with the issue that impacts tens of millions of people in this country, Republicans don't even have the guts to allow it to go to a committee where we can have an open hearing, where questions could be asked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: CNN's Ryan Nobles joins us now from Washington.
Ryan, how much of this is purely symbolic and how much of this could actually prevent the Republicans from keeping this thing behind closed doors?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And Boris, to your point, this would be a pretty dramatic move but it is one that Democrats feel may be their only hope if they want to have any say in the crafting of this new health care bill.
Essentially, this is what they are planning. They want to make it hard for Republicans to schedule votes on even bills that are considered noncontroversial and keep nominees from the Trump administration from getting confirmed.
Now among the techniques they may employ, preventing committees from conducting routine business, even stopping committees from extending hearings when the Senate is in session. The goal here would be to force Republicans to open the debate on the health care bill which at this point has really been done behind closed doors. All the Democrats, and even most Republicans, have yet to see what is in this new bill despite the fact that Republican leadership has promised a vote before the July 4th holiday.
Now this plan is by no means a done deal. Democrats would actually prefer not to go down this road, especially in the wake of the unity displayed at the congressional baseball game after the shooting last week. But make no mistake, Republicans have enough votes. If they do, this is really just a symbolic move by Democrats. They don't need Democratic for pass the bill.
But to your point, Boris, there is a public relations game being played here. There are a number of Republicans have already been squeamish about the current state of this bill. Even the President himself in a closed door meeting with senators at the White House said -- described the house passed bill as being mean. This was a bill, of course, that he heralded at one time.
So this whole thing could be designed to get some of them to pull back their support. Republicans also getting pressure from Republican governors in some states who have joined up with democratic governors calling for a bipartisan solution to the health care bill. You know, Boris, this debate has large by been behind the scenes,
everything taking a back seat to Russia and of course the shooting. Republicans are now going to have to be accountable starting on Monday and Democrats are attempting to put some pressure on them in a big way.
SANCHEZ: Yes. Ryan, one of many major stories that are going under the radar because of this whole Russia probe.
Ryan Nobles reporting from Washington, thank you.
NOBLES: Thank you, Boris.
SANCHEZ: Besides health care, Congress has a lot on its plate that it needs to come together on. But can lawmakers wade through the rhetoric to find common ground?
Plus, accusations that the President obstructed justice. But without a smoking gun, is that creating a bigger divide? Why one congressman says President Trump should still be impeached.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[16:15:09] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not do this for political purposes, Mr. Speaker. I do this because I believe in the great ideals that this country stands for. Liberty and justice for all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[16:19:27] SANCHEZ: Congressman Steve Scalise continues to improve days after being shot at a Republican baseball practice. The House majority whip's condition has been upgraded from critical to serious after undergoing another surgery yesterday. The Louisiana congressman was wounded in a shooting Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia. The tragedy brought out a sense of unity at that congressional charity baseball game that followed. And it sparked some in Congress to say that a change in tone is overdue on Capitol Hill.
I want to bring in Congressman Al Green. He is a Democrat from Texas.
And Congressman, you echoed those sentiments earlier this week when you said that an attack on one of us is an attack on us all. So from your perspective, how do you mend the partisan divide in this country when even this shooting has been politicized?
[16:20:14] REP. AL GREEN (D), TEXAS: If I may, let me send my prayers and my best wishes to the majority leader and his family and also to those who are fathers and in distant places in the military. We appreciate them very much and want the very best for them.
Yes, I did indicate that the tone and tenor of the debates can be improved upon. But I don't want that to be confused with passion for principle. I think that we are still going to have our principles, our differences, and we are going to take these to the floor of the Congress. But my hope is that people who are paying attention won't take this out of context and conclude that dastardly deeds should be done because we have passion for causes. Causes deserve a certain amount of passion.
SANCHEZ: Now, sir, you grabbed headlines recently when you called for the President to be impeached. We have some of that sound. Let's listen to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREEN: I rise today, Mr. Speaker, to call for the impeachment of the President of the United States of America for obstruction of justice. I do not do this for political purposes, Mr. Speaker. I do this because I believe in the great ideals that this country stands for, liberty and justice for all. The notion that we should have government of the people, by the people, for the people. I do it because, Mr. Speaker, there is a belief in this country that no one is above the law, and that includes the President of the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Congressman, when you call for the President to be impeached for obstruction of justice before the special counsel's investigation is complete, is that only fueling the division that you're seeking to mend?
GREEN: Absolutely not. The constitution is the place where we can find the call for impeachment. The constitution under article two section four deals with impeachment. And it doesn't make an exception for difficult times. It doesn't make an exception for times when persons are having to deal with other issues that are of great importance.
I called for impeachment because of indisputable facts. It is indisputable that the President said that he fired the FBI director who was investigating his campaign as it relates to the Russian intrusion into our election, into our democratic process. And it is indisputable that he fired the FBI director who was investigating these actions.
These indisputable facts, coupled with the threat that was made, or at least the strong admonition by way of a tweet, are evidence of the President's impeachment. The President should be impeached. I still stand on it. And I assure you of this, my dear friends. At some point the President will have his calls brought before the bar of justice. The bar of justice for the President is the House of Representatives. The President will not be indicted and taken into a court of law. The President is not going before a grand jury. The President will have to come before the House of Representatives.
There will be constitutional scholars on both sides of this tissue. There were constitutional scholars on both sides of dread Scott. There were constitutional scholars on both sides of brown versus board of education. The question really is, are you going to be on the right side of politics or are you going to be on the right side of history? Are you going to take up a righteous cause and take it to a righteous place?
The President has committed an impeachable act. The facts are indisputable. There may be some other evidence to corroborate, but the President confessed on national television at prime time. For those who would make excuses for the President, I would say this. The President was smart enough to become President and he has to be smart enough to be President. We can't make excuses for the most powerful man in the world, the President of the United States of America. And he is not above the law.
SANCHEZ: Now, sir, you received death threats after you called for Trump's impeachment. When you saw the news about representative Scalise this week, how did you feel? I mean, it had to hit pretty close to home to you.
GREEN: Well, it did. And I'm very, very, very much concerned about him. And I'm also concerned about those other members of Congress who are on that list that was found. I want them to get the best protection that we have.
I want to make sure that their families are protected, their staffs have to be protected, and I think we are going to have to expand security to include our district offices. We've got to do more to make sure our staffs are protected, because they are static. Persons are aware of where they're located, and they can be easily found. And people come in to our offices more often than you might think and say very ugly things, and some of them will make threats. So we have got to protect our staffs.
But we also have to protect the people who are at events where Congress persons are in attendance. Unfortunately, we have seen what can happen when a Congress person was harmed earlier and other persons died. So we must protect the people around Congress people.
I regret that we have arrived at this point in our history. But the reality is we cannot allow ourselves to be intimidated and we have a duty to protect those who are standing with and around Congress persons.
[16:25:09] SANCHEZ: Now, sir, I do want to get your reaction to this. There was a noose that was found outside the national gallery of the arts in Washington, D.C. just this weekend. It is the third time the same symbol of racial violence has turned up in that area in three weeks. What's your reaction to seeing that kind of thing?
GREEN: I passed a resolution in Congress expressing my and the sense of Congress that we abhor nooses. We deplore nooses. They are terrible things to display, especially as this is being done. I think that we have to take seriously these indications of hate. And I think they should be properly investigated. And I think we have to stand up to hate. I don't think we can hide it.
I think when members are threaten, we have to come before the public and say it. And especially when we have a recording, because there are many people who don't believe and don't understand the extent to which this hate has permeated our society. We must not allow it to continue. We have to stand firm and we have to stand together.
And again, when you attack one of us, you attack all of us. And that's not just members of Congress, by the way. That's every American. When one American is assault by a dastardly deed or by some person that may be deranged and may have done it with design, every American is diminished to some extent.
We have to stand together against hate. Hate has no place in a democracy such as ours. Our country is big enough to embrace all, and big enough to allow all to be heard, and allow all to be heard without fear of being in some way harmed.
SANCHEZ: A message of unity that we certainly hope continues through political process as it moves forward as well.
Congressman Al Green, thank you so much for the time, sir.
GREEN: Thank you, Mr. Sanchez.
SANCHEZ: Some tragic news this weekend. Seven sailors killed. Now questions are swirling around what happened moments before a Navy destroyer collided with a Japanese merchant ship.
[16:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS SANCHEZ, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Just in to CNN, President Trump and his family have returned to the White House just a few moments ago. It was the president's first trip to Camp David. Melania Trump actually tweeted out how much her, the president and Barron were enjoying it.
He's getting ready for a long week ahead, including a speech in the Midwest this week and the president again returning to the White House from Camp David after his first trip there. On to some sad news from overseas. The U.S. Navy says it's recovered the bodies of be seven sailors missing since an American destroy merchant ship collided off the coast of Japan.
Their bodies were discovered in flooded sleeping compartments inside the USS Fitzgerald. Official said the cabin of the ship's commander completely destroyed in the accident and that he is lucky to be alive. Some forts of the ship were flooded but it stay to flow and was towed back to its homeport in Yokosuka Japan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Let's talk about this with Retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, a CNN in Military and Diplomatic Analyst, and a former spokesperson for the State Department, and the Pentagon, and also with us, CNN Transportation Analyst, Mary Schiavo, she's a former Inspector General of the Department of Transportation.
Mary, let's start with you. You've been looking at the courses that these two ships took. It is obviously too soon to come to any conclusion, but from what you've seen so far, what could have happened here?
MARY SCHIAVO, TRANSPORTATION ANALYST, CNN: Well, it is difficult to tell about the Fitzgerald because their course has not been released yet, their heading and their course of sail. But for the cargo ship, they did something very unusual, and something very dangerous to do in a shipping lane. They made a turn. They made a circle back or a u- turn in common parlance.
And ordinarily in a shipping lane, you cannot do that. You exit the shipping lane and then, if you are going to reenter their rules, it is called the International Law for Prevention of Collisions at Sea and that determines how you operate in a shipping lane. It appears it didn't follow those rules, but then we don't know. It also could have had a malfunction of its auto pilot. That could be possible as well.
SANCHEZ: Admiral Kirby, this kind of thing is extremely rare. What do you think is happening right now with the investigation and whether or not they would be looking at the ship's commander ultimately as an accountable person for this crash?
JOHN KIRBY, MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST, CNN: So what we know has happened now is the 7th fleet commander has appointed an official fact finding investigation. He has assigned that.
[16:35:00] Or will assign that very soon to another flag officer, another admiral to run, somebody junior to him. That admiral will put together a team and they will start to work, if they haven't already. And they will look at everything. They will look at every bit of recorded data from the Fitzgerald.
They will talk to every relevant witness. They will look at every possible relevant piece of equipment, such as the radar, such as the surface search radar system to make sure everything was operating properly. And they will build a forensic analysis of this on a very specific timeline.
They'll go almost minute to minute to determine what the Fitzgerald was doing and when. And what if any decisions were made or not made that could have lead to this disaster. It will be very thorough. It will be very definitive and it will lay it out clearly at least from the navy perspective what they think happened here.
SANCHEZ: Mary, we obviously want to be very sensitive to the families of those who lost loved ones. And obviously this is still very early on in the investigation, but this is a serious failure ultimately what could the consequences be for someone that's found accountable?
SCHIAVO: Well, I think there will be legal consequences. You know both on the international level, and of -- and in the U.S., if there is any culpability from the persons on the U.S. ship, there will be ramifications there. But there is an international body of admiralty law. Japan has jurisdiction. The U.S. has jurisdiction. It's right in the constitution. It's been such prominent law for so long.
And the constitution says, if the U.S. Federal courts would have primary jurisdiction. Japan recently passed some laws that would give them jurisdiction for any ship that returned from a collision at sea to its port.
So there are civil ramifications for the losses, the damage, the injuries, and of course, the financial ramifications. And there can also be consequences for any individual who was not at his or her watch, was not doing what they were supposed to do, et cetera.
SANCHEZ: Admiral, same question about accountability to you.
KIRBY: Yeah. I can't speak for the civil side. But certainly, in the navy there is a strong culture and tradition of holding leaders accountable and responsible for their actions at sea, particularly it the commanding officer, again we need to let the investigators do their job but it is not outside the realm of possibility that there will be specific individuals who we found to have been wanting in their performance.
Maybe even negligent and there is a very strong, strong strict code that the navy will use a military justice code to hold them accountable appropriately.
SANCHEZ: Mary Schiavo, Admiral John Kirby, we thank you both for your perspective. We appreciate it.
KIRBY: Thank you.
SCHIAVO: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Stay with us in the CNN Newsroom. We'll be right back.
[16:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SANCHEZ: Bill Cosby's attorney says he is worried for his client's health as they deal with the aftermath of a mistrial and a possible retrial in his sexual offense case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN MCMONAGLE, BILL COSBY'S ATTORNEY: I have been greatly concerned for his health. I know -- I don't know that I'll ever see seventy- nine, but if I do, I don't know that I could survive what he survived this week.
I've been trying cases for -- for thirty years and it was difficult for me. And I have no idea how he managed to sit there in a room and endure while strangers were deciding his destiny, and his fate. I think it did take a tremendous toll on him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: That is Cosby's attorney Brian McMonagle. He spoke exclusively with CNN's Jean Casarez. He called the trial unfair because the accusations were years old and he says his client, once known as America's dad, still swears that he is totally innocent.
CNN Legal Analyst and Criminal Defense Attorney Page Pate joins us now. Page, the D.A. says that they want to retry Cosby. How long could that take? How soon could we see some movement on this?
PAGE PATE, LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: Well, I think the judge has already announced he would like to see any retrial within a hundred and twenty days. That's not uncommon. Normally before you set up for a retrial, you want to check with both sides, you want to make sure the witnesses are going to be available. Case like this took about a week to try.
There were a number of witnesses. Primarily of course for the state, but there were also a witness or two for Mr. Cosby. You want to make sure those witnesses have the ability to come back to court.
But what I think is most important, and why I was surprised that the prosecutor made such a snap decision to retry the case is you usually want to take some time to review how the case went in to the jury, try to talk to some of the jurors if possible, find out, was it an even split were six for acquittal, six for guilty, or was it just one or two hold-outs, because that can make a major difference.
You really don't want to retry a case if there were eleven people for not guilty and only one for guilty. On the other side, you probably do want to try a case if it was eleven for guilty and only one holdout.
You also want to talk to the victim. Ms. Constand already went through many months of preparing for trial, going through the agony of actually testifying. I would think the prosecutor would want to have a long discussion with her to make sure she wants to go through it again.
SANCHEZ: That's absolutely true, Page. And correct me if I'm wrong, but in this case we only heard from two of his accusers. We heard a piece of a deposition that he gave that was sealed several years ago that was open specifically for this case. Is there a chance that moving forward in the retrial, we might hear from more of his accusers on the stand?
PATE: You know, that's a great question, Boris. The judge could revisit that ruling that kept out all of the other individuals who've made accusations against Mr. Cosby. I think that would be unusual here because there really hasn't been any change in the facts.
I mean, the judge looked at that issue before trial and said, I'm going to allow one other person to testify because what happened to her is allegedly very similar to what Ms. Constand is saying happened to her. But to bring in all of these other folks, the many dozen or so other folks who have made somewhat similar claims would just be too prejudicial.
[16:45:00] So while the judge has the authority to change his mind based on what he heard during the trial, I don't think he'll do that.
SANCHEZ: Important to point out this is a criminal case. But Cosby still is involved in several civil cases aside from this one. Page Pate, we're out of time but we thank you for sharing your time with us this Sunday. For more in this story, you can visit our CNN.com. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SANCHEZ: Breaking news just in to CNN. An escalation in America's involvement in Syria's civil war, I want to get straight to CNN Correspondent Barbara Starr. She's reporting from the Pentagon over the phone. Barbara, what can you tell us?
BARBARA STARR, JOURNALIST, CNN: Well, good day, Boris. The U.S.-led coalition has just announced that it has shot down a Syrian aircraft after a day of fighting on the ground in an area near Raqqa.
[16:50:00] Pro-Syrian regime forces had attacked U.S.-backed fighters and had driven them from a key town, so there had been -- pardon me, a lot of fighting on the ground between these pro-regime forces and the U.S.-backed forces. The U.S. have came in, conducted a show of force with fighter jets, basically, trying to scare off the pro-regime advance. They did that.
They pushed them out of that area by pretty much scaring them off. But a short time later, a Syrian Su-22, a super fighter, came back in and dropped bombs near the U.S.-backed fighters and a U.S. F-18 came in, and shot down that Syrian jet as part of a defense mission to protect the U.S. fighters, the U.S.-backed fighters on the ground.
All of this in a critical location as the advance is beginning on Raqqa. This is that area that is essentially ISIS' last land. The Syrian regime came out with a very strong statement against the U.S. It said it was fighting -- you know, if it continues to claim it's fighting against ISIS, but it was in fact fighting against U.S.-backed forces.
An official -- U.S. Coalition official is telling me this is the first time the U.S. has shot down the Syrian regime aircraft. And while there was no direct threat to any U.S.-military in the area at the time, it escapes no one's attention that U.S. Special Forces are in that area acting as advisors to the very forces, the U.S. tried to defend today by shooting down that Syrian aircraft. Boris?
SANCHEZ: And Barbara, when it comes to rules of engagement, what do we know about whether or not to this played within the rules of engagement in that area?
STARR: Well, from the U.S. standard in fact, it is, because the U.S. is sworn, essentially, as part of its mission to defend the fighters it backs on the ground. Otherwise, you know, these fighters are not going to try -- not going to fight against isis, push them out of Raqqa, push them out of the areas that they hold.
So this is really quite essential to keeping the loyalty and the fighting going against ISIS to defend these people on the ground who are doing the fighting when they are threatened, and whoever they're threatened by.
I think the curious question that we don't have an answer to is why would the Syrians who have really not very many aircraft left in their air force at this point, why would they risk one of their own fighter jets to move in to this area knowing full well that the U.S. would spot them and would likely shoot them down.
Why did the Syrians decide to take this risk? And there was conversation between the U.S. and the Russians during the day to try and get the Syrians to back off. Why did they not is listen to the Russians? Boris?
SANCHEZ: And Barbara if you could hold on for just a moment, I want to bring in Rear Admiral John Kirby now. Admiral John Kirby, we thank you for sticking with us throughout the day. For how much of an escalation is this? We've seen similar incidents like this before, but this is one of the first of its kind, right?
KIRBY: Yeah, it is. It is the first time we've shot down a Syrian regime aircraft. That's -- so this is new. I'd be careful right now to talk about, you know, how significant an escalation it is. Clearly it is a very kinetic, very active act here by the coalition, but it was, as Barbara reported, done in self-defense.
And I think it is important to remind everybody that the coalition and the United States in particular has long said that once we started supporting Syria and Democratic forces on the ground in Syria, that we had an obligation that we would honor, to protect them, particularly in the air if they came under attack.
So we've been noting but transparent about this. I suspect that the other goal here not only in protecting the forces on the ground that we were -- that we're charged to do so but also to maybe act as a deterrent effect for the regime going forward so that they don't try this again. And this is a very serious signal here that we just sent to them.
I also think a very interesting thing to look for here in the next hour or so is the reaction from the Russians and how there were -- how they will respond to this. I mean rhetorically. I don't particularly think there will be any response from them in a military way but certainly rhetorically be interested to see what they have to say about it.
SANCHEZ: All right, Barbara Starr and Admiral John Kirby, we thank you both for the time. Thank you so much.
KIRBY: You bet.
SANCHEZ: We appreciate you watching us tonight. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Fredricka Whitfield. CNN Newsroom continues with Ana Cabrera after a quick break. We hope you have a happy father's day holiday together. But first, a look at this week CNN hero, she is a teacher in Baltimore helping a homeless teens arrive. Meet Jennifer Cox.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[16:55:00] JENNIFER COX, TEACHER, BALTIMORE: Kids are never going to learn in school. They're never going to be successful if they don't feel good about who they are. I don't think of the ingredients are. Children don't have a lot of space in shelter life to truly be kids. They're experiencing their stressful turbulent situations. What we
are going to learn here today. The best way to better the situation is to offer them opportunities to feel empowered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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