tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN June 16, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
cnn.com/champions for change. please watch our cnn special, champions for change hosted by dr. sanjay gupta. it airs tomorrow night at 9:00 eastern here on cnn. we continue on with hour two on this friday afternoon. i'm brooke baldwin. i want to let you know that we are waiting for this news conference to happen at any moment in washington, d.c., as we hear from the lead surgeon who has been treating republican congressman steve scalise. you know the story from this week. he was shot in his hip during the baseball practice on wednesday morning ahead of the big congressional baseball game. up to this point, all we've heard is that he is showing some improvement but he remains in critical condition at medstar washington hospital with several surgeries behind him and apparently several more to go. as soon as we see those doctors
step behind the podium, we get more on his condition. >> it has been, moving on, though, that it's been two years since donald trump descended down that escalator in trump tower to the guilded lobby and announced that he was running for president and now here we are fewer than 150 days into his presidency and he is taking to twitter once again to respond to news reports that he's under investigation while at the same time cryptically attacking rod rosenstein. he tweeted, "i am being investigated for firing the fbi director by the man who told me to fire the fbi director. witch hunt." and the attorney general, jeff sessions, recused himself from the russia probe. president trump was referencing news reports that he's under
investigation and not actually confirming that he himself was told that this investigation exists. so let's begin the hour with jeff zeleny, our senior white 3 house correspondent. are we getting any clarification from the white house this morning? >> reporter: we are not. and they are not going to comment on anything regarding the russia investigation, referring all questions to the president's lawyer. he as well is not commenting on anything that the president has said through a statement on social media. so we're left with the president's own words here. so until he says something else and he certainly may, he's been sending out a storm of messages here and he's on his way back now to washington from miami. look, the reality is that whether the president is under investigation at the moment or whether that's something that will ultimately happen as this investigation widens, the white house is not making much of a distinction between that.
i'm told that he will be a subject of investigation of obstruction of justice. they say that this simply is a witch hunt but i'm told that these are not a simultaneous thoughts of what is going on but more the strategy of the politics of it. i'm told that he's taking the matters in his own hands and he's leading the political fight on this. yes, the legal fight is separate to come but the president is trying to delegitimatize and essentially discredit this investigation before it gets going here. that's why he's sending out talking points on social media, on twitter. >> uh-huh. jeff zeleny, thank you. let's delve deeper into what you just laid out for us. a asha, a dean at a law school is
here and gloria borger, chief political analyst. thank you for being with me. gloria, let me begin with you. to jeff's point, from what we're hearing from the white house, this is the president wanting to drive this, deal with the legal later. but we're not lawyers to interpret what this means as we take the fight so publicly. >> well, this is donald trump. he has always called himself the spokesperson as the name of -- he's his own spokesperson and the best one and that's why he tweets on his own behalf. he's also quite impulsive about it and i think if there's anything that any lawyer
anywhere will always agree on, it's that your client ought to keep his mouth shut. and that is not what is occurring here and we know that it's been a real problem for donald trump, including the travel ban, because lawyers in arguing about the travel ban used his own words against him and that can, of course, happen over and over again and i think it's going to be a real problem for his legal team. >> asha, you have your legal cap on, miss yale law school grad. a white house source says this is trump taking matters into his own hands. he's been advised of the legal ramifications from making these tweets but he and at least a few of his advisers have come to believe that the political fight is more urgent and that the legal one will come later. you're a lawyer. smart strategy? >> this is not a smart strategy.
at this point, the political and legal strategies are pretty much mutually exclusive and i think the travel ban example is a great one. what appeals to your base, in that case, calling it a muslim ban, is not going to appeal to judges and this is a criminal case so the stakes are much higher and everything he says can be used against him. and i'll add here that it's also going to go to his credibility because the things that he is tweeting are often complete opposite statements to what he has said before. so if his credibility becomes an issue, these will be used against him. if he then -- today's tweet about rosenstein, if he decides to fire rosenstein, he's now basically put out there that he's doing it because of the russia investigation which could potentially open him up to yet another line of inquiry in an obstruction of justice. >> or if there has to be recusal. let me jump in on that.
because let me read the tweet for people who haven't seen it. this is another part of the tweet storm. i'm being fired for firing the fbi director by the man who told me to fire the fbi director. witch hunt." presumably, he's talking about rod rosenstein. and apparently rosenstein is saying, no, no, no in terms of recusal. but how would he not if he's now a piece of this? >> this tweet is really important and strange because he seems to be going after rosenstein who, of course, appointed mueller and, remember, this all starts because of the firing of james comey. >> yes. >> and we talked to republicans on the hill who are in charge of these investigations into the russian meddling investigation and part of that is, of course, allegations or talk of collusion. they get increasingly frustrated because the president continues to dig himself deeper and deeper and mueller's investigation includes not only interactions
on the campaign but everything up to this point and everything as far as the investigation goes. so a lot of this is of the president's own making and these tweets coming out, this continued response kind of digs himself in further and further. >> what about the statement from rosenstein that came out on thursday evening. >> yeah. >> that he is the guy who felt initially that he was thrown under the bus over the comey firing but then he's been this loyal trump soldier ever since and then this statement, let me read it for everyone, it says this. "americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any story from anonymous officials particularly when they don't identify the country or branch of government with which they are affiliated." this is kind of out of the blue. we don't know exactly what the context of this is. when you saw it, what were you thinking? >> i was thinking that there's a lot of stories about the ongoing
investigation, whether it be the special counsel or investigations going on elsewhere that have not been pleasing to anybody in the administration or to the special counsel's office or to mueller or to the attorney general's office. and i think what they're trying to do is kind of tamp down on all of this because they think it's destructive of the process and perhaps some of the stories, reading between the lines, what he's saying is be skeptical of the stories. >> yes. >> now, did the president tell him to do that? i kind of doubt it. i don't know. i don't know at all. but it was a very strange thing and i think they all kind of feel under assault because lots of these stories are coming out as an investigation is ongoing. >> and they are hiring lawyers.
a source with knowledge says trump associate and attorney michael cohen has hired a lawyer and we know, asha, last question, we know that the vice president has hired a private attorney which he says is routine. maybe it's smart. i don't know if vice president hiring an attorney is actually routine. but what does that signal to you, asha? >> i think it signals that they are being very smart. we have entered the hot phase of this and people need their own lawyers. lawyers get a bad wrap but you need one sometimes and this is one of them to advise you in your best interests. so for each of them, how to answer a question if the fbi comes, what to answer, when not to answer it and because their interests might be adversarial to each other, which means that they might not all be aligned, they need their own representation. >> asha, gloria and caitlyn,
thank you, ladies. >> sure. any moment now, we'll get an update on congressman steve scalise. we'll see his lead surgeon there who has been working on him after he's undergone three surgeries now since he was hit in the hip during baseball practice. we'll take you there as soon as it begins. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪since i came to know you baibe ♪i've been telling you how sweet you're.♪ ♪i've been telling you how good you're.♪ ♪please tell me how i look. ♪you look so good, fantastic man.♪
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expect. chuck schumer wants to shed a light on this and in this letter senator schumer says, now more than ever, republicans and democrats need to come together to find solutions to america's challenges. our health care system affects every single american and one-sixth of our economy. we believe we all owe it to our constituents for the legislation that will profoundly affect mill so many american lives." phil mattingly is all over this. there are ten legislative days to go before the big july 4th recess. tick, tick, tick. >> reporter: that's right. ideally, they would vote on this before the fourth of july. they want to move on this and move quickly. but they are running out of time and the reality is this, this is a remarkably different process in the house where everything
seemed to be public and seemed to leak out. first and foremost, the leadership wants to give their members space to actually work out their disagreements and they are real, whether it's the medicaid piece or abortion or the structure of the tax credit or whether it's how far to cut back the regulations imposed by the affordable care act. those issues are extraordinarily complex. they want to shield their members, give them an opportunity to try and figure things out, work things out. but because of that, there's no bill text, no hearings, no real public discussion about it and it's not just frustrating to democrats opposed to this bill, like chuck schumer. it's been frustrating to the senators as well. i've had them tell me they don't know what is in a prospective bill and even they are frustrated with the process. so while there's a very real
reason that they've decided to go this route, they are frustrating their own members and feeling a lot of blow back. one-sixth of the economy, that's what this will cover. the big question now is, will they actually reach agreements on these key issues standing out there and, perhaps more importantly, when they actually reach those agreements, how much time will people get to digest this extraordinarily proposal as it currently stands? we don't have questions to those answers, brooke. >> phil mattingly, thank you so much on capitol hill. we have these pictures . as we wait for the lead surgeon to talk about how steve scalise is doing in the wake of that terrifying shooting in alexandria this week at the baseball practice for the republicans ahead of the big congre congressional game. we heard from president trump today talking about rolling back
cuban policies. before he went into that, he referenced the congressman. take a listen. >> my dear friend, steve scalise, took a bullet for all of us. and because of him and because of the tremendous pain and suffering he's now enduring -- and he's having a hard time, far worse than anybody thought -- our country will perhaps become closer, more unified. so important. so we all oh steve a big, big thank you. >> let's go to washington and listen in. >> we have two speakers this afternoon for you. dr. jack sava, director of trauma. we'll be sharing with you a little update on the condition of the two patients who were brought to us from the tragic shooting in virginia earlier this week. he will take questions after this, a few questions.
two things, in some cases he won't be able to answer all of the questions to try to protect our patient's privacy as much as possible but we're going to share additional information with you. he also has another meeting to go to right after this so our residents are graduating this evening so he's heading to that. so we are trying to keep this somewhat tight. we do have a printed copy after this briefing is over, a printed copy of his remarks so you'll have that for your records. before dr. sava joins us, though, i'd like to introduce brett horton who is chief of staff for congressman steve scalise and he has something he'd like to read on behalf of the family. thank you. >> good afternoon. my name is brett horton and i'm the chief of staff. i have a brief statement from jennifer scalise regarding wednesday's attack. on behalf of steve and our children, i want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for the incredible amount
of prayers and warm wishes we've received since wednesday's events. we are especially appreciative of the strong outpouring of love and support from our neighbors, friends, from across louisiana and across the country. as well as president trump, vice president pence and all of steve's colleagues who have reached out during this challenging time. most importantly, we are forever grateful for the heroism of crystal griner and david bailey who saved everyone's lives at the baseball field that morning, including steve's. crystal and david have been family to us for years. i'd like to personally thank all of the first responders who bravely assisted at the scene as well as the entire staff of medstar washington hospital center for their continued excellent care. our family asks that you continue to pray for steve and for all of those hurt in this attack and keep them in your thoughts and prayers during their recovery.
thank you. good afternoon. i'm dr. jack sava, the director of trauma at medstar washington hospital center. i'm here to give you an update on the two patients that we cared for after the shooting in alexandria, virginia, on june 14th. special agent crystal griner of the united states capitol police sustained an ankle gunshot wound. she remains in the hospital. she's in good condition and she's in good spirits. congressman scalise sustained a single rifle wound that entered in the area of the left hip. it traveled directly across towards the other hip in what we call a trans pelvic gunshot wound. the round fragmented and did substantial damage to bones, internal organs and blood vessels. i understand he was awake on
scene but by the time he was transported by helicopter to the medstar trauma center, he was in shock. my partners saw him in the trauma center with the other doctors and nurses there. they treated him there and quickly brought him to the operating room where we operatin critical condition and received many units of transfused blood for ongoing hemorrhage from multiple locations. he received truly amazingrom dr skullnic and dr. scott frank. due to their great work, we were able to get him through that procedure and we then took him to the radiology suite where he underwent an additional procedure to further control bleeding. from there, we went to the intensive care unit where he got additional care under the
direction of another doctor and he remains in the icu today. yesterday, we did an additional operation and dr. robert golden of orthopedic trauma did an operation to repair a broken bone in his leg. the congressman's status remains critical. we are encouraged in the improvement in his condition in the last 36 hours. we have controlled his internal bleeding and his vital signs have stabilized. he will require additional surgeries to manage abdominal injuries and bone injuries. predicting the length of his hospital stay difficult today. presumably it will be easier in some days when more time has passed. he will require a period of healing after he leaves the hospital and rehabilitation. on behalf of the medstar trauma team, i want to thank the special agents on the scene as well as the first responders for
everything that they did for those shooting victims. we are all well aware here at the medstar washington hospital center of all that those folks did to save these people. we here salute their commitment, their dedication and their skill. i can answer a few questions. but as donna said, it's possible that we will not be able to answer all of the questions due to privacy concerns. >> dr. sava, just a question here, you described multiple procedures and there was some confusion -- many of us are not medical professionals. what is the fair assessment of how many surgeries he will have to have? what's the best way to characterize these procedures? >> well, there's actually a bit of semantic confusion there and i leave it to you how to characterize. i think the reason for the semantic confusion is he went from an operation to a procedure that i mentioned in interventional radiology. typically, we don't call that an operation or a surgery. although, really, it has many
similarities. there's anesthesia and in many ways it resembles an operation. >> did he come back up from anesthesia between the two? >> no. the second possible confusion is that yesterday he underwent an operation that involved two separate surgical teams. it was in the same room in one continuous sitting with one set of anesthesia but at first it was my team doing abdominal surgery and then dr. golden doing orthopedic surgery. >> as a medical professional, a number of you would say what would be the most accurate? >> two. >> thank you. >> what are your major concerns going forward at this point in terms of his recovery and do you expect mr. scalise to live in most respects a normal life or what are the limitations that you see, based on your experience? >> well, i don't want to get out
too far ahead of myself. we are very reluctant in the first few days to start predicting which way things can go with all of the branches in the road that are to come. usually the initial period is about hemorrhage control. and i feel like we've made a lot of progress about that and hopefully that is not going to be our biggest enemy any longer. other things to worry about include infections and other complications that come about from intensive care. >> and in terms of rehabilitation? >> well, hopefully you'll have an opportunity to at some point talk to dr. golden about the orthopedic aspects. i think that we fully expect him to be able to walk, to be able to do -- again, i don't want to speak to dr. golden but my understanding is that he'll be able to walk and hopefully run as far as the degree of athletic limitation, i think i will kick all of that to dr. golden to answer. >> you addressed this a little
bit already but a lot of people heard shot in the hip and then were surprised to hear that he was in critical condition. can you describe what made these injuries so difficult and severe to treat? >> well, i have thought about that because i was surprised by some of the reports, also. i would encourage you to talk to your military medical colleagues about what it means to be shot with a high-velocity rifle in the hip region, because most of us would not even think to consider that a benign wound. as i said, in his case, the major initial risk to life is because of the hemorrhage that results when that bullet travels through blood vessels. >> so it's a bleeding thing? >> it's a bleeding thing. >> has he been conscious at all during this time in the hospital? has he been able to talk to his family or friends or take visitors? >> he's been sedated but we've been able to turn down that sedation enough for him to respond to his family members and he clearly knows that they are there and appreciates their presence. >> does he understand what he's going through at this point?
>> i don't want to get into the details of what i think he's going through. i think that we're happy to see that he can respond to us and to the family. >> doctor, with the broken leg as a result of the bullet splintering, did that happen after he fell when he was shot? >> that was as a result of the bullet. >> is the bullet out? >> typically, that's the first question that gunshot victims ask, is when are you taking the bullet out. it's quite common we don't remove bullets and fragments and that's the case here as well. i have not counted, but i would guess that there are hundreds of fragments and usually there's more risk involved in trying to find and remove those fragments than benefit. so we have no intention to try to remove all bullet fragments at this point. >> and the internal organs that you were concerned about? >> i think -- we decided we're not going to get into too much
detail about specific internal injuries at this time. yes, sir? >> agent griner, when might she be released? >> i don't have information on that. dr. golden has operated on her and i don't know the answer to that. >> only one surgery for her? >> she has had one operation at this point. dr. golden could answer as to whether additional work will be needed. >> bottom line right now, you sound optimistic about the congressman? >> it's my job to be pessimistic. so if you accuse me of being optimistic, i feel bad about that. i feel a lot more confident and a lot more optimistic than i did two, three days ago. >> how serious of a situation -- how would you describe the seriousness of it when he was first here and the risk that he could possibly die? >> i would say that when he arrived, he was in critical condition with an imminent risk of death. >> how long will he be in the hospital, do you think? >> again, it's too hard to say
at this point. once we get through a few more days, we might be able to prognosticate better but right now there are too many forks in the road and to say when the final day is. he will certainly be in the hospital for a considerable period of time. presumably weeks. >> i was surprised to hear you say that you expect him to walk again and even perhaps run again, given the fact that his hip was shattered. correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't that the main structure of the erect body and what kind of repair work is done to see that he can run again? >> well, you're correct. it's a critical piece of support for standing and walking and, again, dr. golden would be a better person to answer that question. but our orthopedic stratrauma sessions are very good and they can work miracles. >> there's no nerve damage or anything like that to repair -- >> i think also i will sort of stop at the really detailed
assessment of each individual injury. we sort of decided we weren't going to go there today. >> i know you can't say for sure, but is there any thought to downgrading his condition? >> i have not given much thought to word choice yet. we've been awfully busy. i have to admit, i find that challenging because there's not really strict definitions. your idea of critical and my idea of critical and donna's idea of critical are probably all radically different. i think it's a misperception that those terms are well defined so i usually steer away from him. >> you say he was in critical when he came in and while he's still in critical, is imminent risk of death been lifted? >> i think that's -- his risk of death right now is substantially lower than when he came in. and certainly whatever you think of the word critical, he was as
critical as he could be when he came in. >> any more questions? >> does the risk of infection increase with each surgery? >> no, i wouldn't say that. increases over a period of time. usually infections typically don't happen in the first couple of days but then you enter a time period wherein fe infectioe more common. >> what do you think the next step will be in his treatment? additional operation? where are we going from here? >> yes. he has additional operations that he will need before leaving the hospital. >> is there a recuperation period between now and whenever the next operation would be? i guess i don't know how aggressive you are in that timetable. >> yeah. i think the next operation would likely take place within 48 hours, but it's a pretty dynamic decision-making process. what typically takes place when
patients are severely injured like this is called damage control surgery. and what that means, is that rather than trying to do everything in one operation on day one, we generally stage the operations, the first operations dedicated usually mainly to bleeding control and the other types of work you have to do are staged for later operations. >> you said infection was the greatest risk right now? >> infection is a significant risk. >> doctor, do you see congressman scalise returning to work in the future? >> i think so. that's a good possibility. >> in a year, six months? >> hard to say. >> thank you all very much. >> do you think he'll make a full recovery? is he expected to make a full recovery? >> i think that an excellent recovery is a good possibility.
>> thank you all very much. >> thank you. >> we have a printed statement available for you here. it will be on the table. >> okay. so let's talk about what we just heard with an orthopedic trauma surgeon from vanderbilt medical center. doctor, thank you so much for being with me. just listening to a couple of the details from the doctor, clearly this is -- it's an issue. i thought one of the questions was great about, you know, you hear about a hip injury or -- from a gunshot wound and realizing this is going to take multiple more surgeries to come. what was your assessment of what you heard just then? >> thank you for the opportunity to speak on this matter. i think the doctor gave a great description. as an orthopedic trauma surgeon, i was confused when i heard a hip injury.
i think where the key point was, a high-velocity rifle was used and what i envision, from what i heard from the press conference, the reports that i heard about the congressman' condition is that the bullet really injured -- and the doctor said, a lot of blood vessels and bones and possibly other internal organs such as bowel and bladder. >> that was the biggest risk, i think, the blood loss issue, right? the bullet came in one side of the hip, traveled through and hit all of the different blood vessels before landing on the other side of his body. that's the most concerning piece. >> that's right. it seems like, from what i was able to glean from the press conference, the initial surgery taken from the emergency department up to the operating room is the surgeons really focused on controlling whatever bleeding they could and typically that is arterial blood, so blood from your arteries. the second procedure that sounded like the congressman had immediatelily after the surgery
was an interventional radiology suite and that -- what they do there is they will take a patient and shoot dye to see where further bleeding is coming from. that's typically from vaeins an other structures and they will place a coil to stop the bleeding in veins in that scenario. i would expect or from what i would gather is both arterial and venous injury occurred to the congressman because of this bullet. >> it's incredible to me what you all can do. but the question, and you would know as an orthopedic trauma surgeon, the question about walking and standing and knowing where this -- on his body hit him, how and how long -- you haven't worked on him. you don't know all of the details but you hear about this kind of thing. how long will it take? >> sure.
so i think what's amazing in health care today, we have amazing technology both in implants and procedures. sure, i don't know anything about his exact injury. i would assume, if everything is able to be fixed in a manner we typically do -- it is possible that within three months or so he can begin weight bearing and it is really exciting to know that doing the work i do and hopefully for the congressman to get back to his life, it is possible and obviously there's a lot to this we don't know, whether there were nerves injured or other injuries. but it is possible for him to possibly be back on his feet in three months. >> thank you so much for the work you do, dr. jahangir there that van bettderbilt. i just point out we heard from the chief of staff from the congressman reading a letter from his wife jennifer and just to outline her huge heartfelt thanks to the heroes in the
whole scenario, the two capitol police officers, crystal griner who was shot in her ankle and she's undergone one surgery but it sounds like she's in good condition, thank goodness. again, just a note from them. crystal griner, david bailey, those two capitol police officers saved lives wednesday morning. coming up next here on cnn, president trump tweeting about media reports that he's under investigation. our own michael smerconish joins me to talk about perhaps what his defense could be against any of these obstruction of justice claims. also, the bill cosby trial. day five of deliberations and they are still trying to determine -- arrive at some sort of a conclusion on his fate. 11 questions have been asked thus far. what about reasonable doubt? what about that question? what could that mean for a verdict? we'll be right back. when you have something you love,
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when the president of the united states tweets, the world pays attention and this morning there was quite the tweet storm, including, quote, the president saying this. "i am being investigated for firing the fbi director by the man who told me to fire the fbi director. witch hunt." this follows yesterday's tweet where trump stated, "you are witnessing the single greatest witch hunt in american political history led by some very bad and conflicted people." so let's begin there with michael smerconish, the cnn political commentator and host of "smerconish." great to see you, sir. as a lawyer, if it comes down to it, you've been thinking about how the president could defend himself against possible obstruction of justice. what's your idea? >> so, on radio i've been
framing what is the colorable case for obstruction of justice and it's the chronology. you go through the one-on-one meeting on january 27 with the fbi director where he requests loyalty and then you go to valentine's day when he asks that pence and sessions leave the room in hopes that he can let go of the flynn probe and then it's the firing of jim comey. each of these seems very incriminating. the common threat of his defense, as evidenced by those tweets that you're pointing out, is for him to say i was not impeding an official investigation. i was seeking perhaps to quell noise, a distraction, something created out of whole cloth by the mainstream media to try and take me off my game which is to make america great again and to restore jobs to the american middle class. so it's the roy cone playbook of
always fighting back and never conceding and never giving an inch. brooke, as compelling as it might seem to some, it resonates with his base. there's no side that i can see that is a crack among the support of the 46%. >> it's great for his base but somebody made a point, think about the travel ban. that played well with his base. you see how these different courts have pushed back and pushed back and blocked it and ultimately this thing may land with the supreme court. if you're the president's lawyer, apparently he's saying he wants to drive this message, deal with the legal fight later and fight this political fight now out in the open. is that a smart move, though? >> well, it's the liberal ninth circuit would be his response. there's always an answer for each one of these instances where he gets to say they're the opponents. it's the deep state, the obama inbed and the federal bench that sits out in san francisco, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. and i'm surprised by the number
of callers that i received in my personal interactions by people who say he's right, it is noise. so there's such a division in the country on this. >> on cuba, i know you, sir, have been in cuba and you have dined with fidel castro. he's trying to roll back the obama policy with cuba but it's a bit of a roll back. it's not the full-throated roll back. still, you totally disagree with what he's doing? >> i totally do. he's throwing a bone to the base in miami that was supportive of him. the older cubans, because there's a divide on this issue, i find fidel castro's behavior abhorrent. how do you get rid of us a vestiges of communism and i think the way is to normalize relations and give them a taste
of capitalism. i was there last august. i took my entire family with me on this trip. this will sound odd but the word i came home thinking about was entrepreneurship. in my people-to-people contact with the travel guide who escorted us, we met all sorts of individuals who are just hungry to open private businesses. it's really an amazing transformation that's in place. i'm just afraid that president trump is going to stop it in its tracks. >> i still haven't been. on my list. michael smerconish, thank you. >> got to do it. >> i will. thank you. right here on cnn, thank you so much. in the meantime, we find out in four days whether a young democrat in georgia can pull off what might have been the impossible a year ago. political newcomer jon ossoff is trying to win ruby red territory but polls show the 30-year-old
has a great chance of beating karen handel. a loss can cause potential lash back. covering this story for the atlantic journal constitution, greg, thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> this will cost a pretty penny. it's the most expensive house race in history. i want to ask you about yesterday, suspicious packages containing white powder sent to karen handel. officials think this is nonhazardous, that this is benign. still, we're all thinking about what happened in washington this week and it's chilling. >> it is. a tense race got tenser yesterday. not only were those suspicious packages sent to karen handel's house and her neighbors', jon ossoff hired a security detail yesterday. there's been a lot of rhetoric
on both sides and it's ratcheted up incredibly over the last few >> wow. i know some insiders think an ossoff victory would be a total game-changer, one republican saying if ossoff wins you'll see the floodgates open with democrats referring and candidates from governor to county commission. how nervous, how shaken in their boots are these republicans? >> yeah. republicans are truly antsy. analysts from both sides say this could come down to almost a coin flip it's that close, and this is a district built for republicans to win. this was not supposed to be this competitive of a race. we were looking at maybe an even all republican runoff a couple months ago. john ossoff has transformed this race and so have donald trump's struggles in the district. if he does win, republicans will be able to point to the fact that he's spent -- this is the most expensive race in u.s. house contest race in the nation's history, and he's raised more than $23 million which is an unprecedented haul. that might not happen come
november 2018. you might not have those structural advantages that a democrat might have right now. >> you have, just again for people to know this. this is tom price's seat. he got a bigger job as health and human services secretary and this was newt gingrich's seat. both price and sonny purdue have been campaigning for karen handel. ? >> republicans have been tying him at every turn to nancy pelosi. he had a fund raise we are nancy ploegsy really early. her approval ratings here are dismal, even amongst some democrats. six in ten voters have a negative approval rating for her, give her a dim view, so he can't campaign with her. obama -- if obama were to come here it might be troublesome because this is a republican-leaning district so he has a two-track strategy. one, to reach out to democrats who support him already and
others to try tom reach out to independent and moderates who might be opposed to trump or karen handel. >> well, we know democrats so far 0 for 2 in races in the last couple of months. we'll see what happens on tuesday. greg bluestein, we'll talk again, i'm sure. thanks so much. an update from moments ago on the condition of republican congressman steve scalise shot at that congressional baseball practice. doctors say he remains in critical condition but the word they use is encouraged. they are encouraged by his progress. more on the two capitol police officers credited with saving his and the other lives next. before that lets take a moment to honor this week's cnn hero, former teacher jennifer cox saw firsthand the struggles homeless students face when she started teaching near baltimore. across the country more than 100,000 children live in shelters and cox is doing her part to help. >> kids are never going to learn
in school, never going to be successful if they don't feel good about who they are. i think that's a great answer. children don't have a lot of space in shelter life to truly be kids. they are experiencing very 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. >> please take a look at jennifer's full story and go to our heros home page cnn.com/hero and nominate someone you think should be a cnn hero. ♪ hey, bud. you need some help? no, i'm good. come on, moe. i have to go. (vo) we always trusted our subaru impreza would be there for him someday. ok. that's it. (vo) we just didn't think someday would come so fast.
just a couple minutes ago the lead trauma surgeon updated the condition of republican congressman steve scalise in washington, d.c. saying an excellent recovery is a good possibility. thereto was a moving moment last night at the congressional baseball game as one of the officers who helped save scalise's life actually tossed the first pitch. cnn's alex marquardt has more on officer bailey and his colleague who went beyond the call of duty. >> reporter: they are officers in an arm of law enforcement that most americans had probably never heard of until wednesday. david bailey and crystal griner, special agents with the u.s. capitol police, are being hailed as national heros for preventing
a slaughter at the republican congressional baseball team practice. >> many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two capitol police officers who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a very, very brutal assault. >> reporter: according to the harrowing accounts of the members of congress and staffers at the practice, when they realized they were being shot at, they frantically ran for cover. >> everyone was basically a sitting duck in many ways. there were only so many places you could go, especially when leaving the field. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: that's when agents bailey and griner sprung to action, instead running towards the danger and returning fire. they were taking on a guy with a rifle from 990 to 120 feet away. they had pistols. he had a rifle. that's not a fair fight. both of them were wounded. the bravery that they showed is just incredible.
>> these two -- these two capitol police officers are warriors. i've never seen anything look it before. both of them had wounds, and they were still firing. >> reporter: bailey and griner were only at the early morning practice because they are the security detail assigned to congressman steve scalise, the team's second baseman, but more importantly the house majority whip, a leadership job that comes with 24/7 protection. >> i can't underscore enough how important the capitol police were. they were there within seconds and had they not been there, i would not be standing here today, i'm sure of that fact. >> reporter: more than 50 shots were exchanged before the attack finally ended, but not before the shooter, james hodgkinson of bellville, illinois, wounded four including scalise and special agent griner. had they not been there, it could have been what several players have called a massacre. >> there could have easily been 25 deaths or more today, but officers griner and bailey prevented that it, and my family
and i will be forever grateful. >> reporter: alex marquardt, cnn, alexandria, virginia. >> thank god they were there. their heroic story, thanks so much. thanks for being with me. have wonderful weekends. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. thanks, brooke. jeff bezos spent $14 billion at whole foods, and he left with four stalks of organic asparagus and some hummus. "the lead" starts right now. episode 148 in which the president becomes his own leaker. president trump now tweeting that he's under investigation for potential obstruction of justice as even his lawyer looks for a lawyer. you might have a better chance of finding out the truth of area 51 than getting a look at the republican senate health care plan. why so many secrets about a bill that couple pact every one of us? plus, a follow-up in our earth matters series. an american island in danger of being swallowed by the sea. after