tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN January 31, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PST
the garbage in the back of truck was separated. the garbage bin is separated from the truck trailer, which is right near the crossing location. there appear to be two severely injured victims, one that appeared to be stabilized and was able to be picked up by helicopter, and one i don't know the status of. >> okay. congressman french hill, if you could stay on the line, i am right now going to hand over cnn's coverage of this crash of a train carrying republican members of congress, it crashed into this garbage truck. at this point in time, it seems like serious injuries at least for the two people. it appears two people who were in that garbage truck, and according to the congressman, thrown from that truck. we have a lot more. "inside politics" with dana bash picks up now.
we're beginning with breaking news. a train carrying lawmakers to a republican retreat in west virginia has collided with a truck. a source tells cnn there are injuries and that members, quote, hit the deck. it's unclear how many lawmakers were on board, but house speaker paul ryan was, but a source tells me that he and other members who are with him are okay. let's get straight to cnn's jeremy dimon. what are you hearing? >> hey, dana. sorry, we're just dealing with this breaking news here. as far as we know so far, there have been some injuries on this train, but from what we've heard from the members who were on the train, the injuries there appear to be minor. the question is how serious the injury was to in particular this driver of this truck that apparently collided with this train. the train was carrying -- we're not clear how many members
exactly, but i'm being told right now it was the official mode of transportation for republican members of congress to get to this republican retreat in west virginia. so they left union station in washington, d.c., this morning, and on the way there, it appears this is where this apparent collision happened. we're seeing some of the pictures coming in from some members of congress on the train. you can see there it appears it collided with some kind of tractor trailer truck potentially carrying garbage. at least that's what it looks like, where it's strewn on the ground there alongside the tracks. as of now, we're unclear exactly how many members of congress. that is the information that we're looking to learn. keep in mind, not just members of congress, but some of their aides on the train as well, perhaps even some family members as well. we hear that house speaker paul ryan was on the train. he is doing okay, according to republican aides. we're still waiting to get some more details specifically on what happened, what caused this crash and exactly what the
extent of these injuries are. as i said, so far all indications are there were no serious injuries on the train itself. a big question mark, however, about the status of the driver of this tractor trailer truck. >> yes, absolutely. jeremy, thank you for that. i want to get straight to the scene now. congressman lee zeldin, republican of new york, is on the train and was at the time of collision. he joins me by phone now. congressman, thank you so much for calling. i want to say that as soon as we heard about this, you and i were texting. you told me kind of a little bit about the scene. set the scene for us of what exactly happened at the point of collision. >> well, it certainly shocked everybody on the train. it was a pretty hard collision. really thankful that the train was able to stay on the tracks, came to a halt within, it looks like, maybe about a quarter mile
or so. the train is stopped here next to the truck. we're on our way to the gop retreat, so you will have almost all of the house and senate republicans on the train. not everyone, but close to it. we are hearing of injuries on the train. i don't want to share any bad information, but i'm hearing there are some injuries on the train. first thing we were hearing is -- fortunately amongst the delegation you have a lot of doctors. so there was a call out for doctors, highest priority right outside of the train. some people might have been standing at the time of the collision. but the biggest thing was the train being able to stay on the tracks. everybody here is praying for the person they're rendering first aid to right next to the train. whatever other injuries there might be on the train are relatively minor when compared
to the scene right now next to it. >> obviously it sounds like you are okay, thank god. the people around you, have you witnessed anybody who has had an injury at all? >> yeah, i would say that -- first off, i'm happy that i don't have whiplash. once the adrenaline goes down, there might be some people who are feeling an ache or a pain they didn't feel as soon as the accident happened. for everyone watching right now, a lot of people have experienced that. adrenaline might be a little higher. there was someone a few rows behind me, i can't say who it was, who they were rendering some first aid to afterwards. we were one train in front of the cafe car where you might have many people standing up. there are some kids on the train. fortunately for everyone,
whether you're an older member here or just a child, you know, we haven't gotten the full report of how everyone's doing, but i'm sure there are injuries on the train as well. >> congressman, you say kids on the train. are you talking about children of the members and senators? >> yes. when we do these -- so each year the republicans in congress and the democrats in congress will do a retreat. so this week will be the gop retreat, house and senate. i believe next week is the democratic retreat. it's something that takes place every year. it's an opportunity for us -- here over the course of the next few days, we're scheduled to meet with the president, with the vice president, with different cabinet members. the purpose of the retreat, we'll talk policy, but they also use the opportunity for -- you know, members might bring their spouse, bring their kids. there will be a spouse program and a children's program, which
is important for family members to, you know, be able to have that kind of support system with each other because we spend a lot of time in washington. >> absolutely. well, congressman, hopefully all of those children, especially, are okay. i also want to say thank you for calling in. thank you for sending some of the photos we're sharing with our viewers right now. i appreciate it. maybe we'll get back to you later in the hour. want to bring in one of congressman zeldin's colleagues, tom cole, who is also still on the train that collided with the truck in the last hour or so. congressman cole, thank you so much for calling in. describe the scene as you see it. >> i'm sitting right looking at the truck now. it's horrific. it's a large truck/trailer combination. the trailer has been knocked off the truck. the truck is smashed up but sort of semi-upright. the trailer is pretty close to demolished. you have trash everywhere.
it's a pretty stunning scene. obviously it looks like we have a fatality, one of the drivers on the truck or one of the operators. another serious injury that left. it's a pretty stunning scene. totally unexpected. >> i just want to go back to what you said. you said that there is a clear fatality. can you when more -- >> yeah, i think so. somebody was taken off the site with a tarp over them. our assumption is there was a fatality, to be clear. but it was pretty amazing. the first responders were really the member doctors who were demanding to get off the train. security was concerned because it looked like there might be gas leakage. they were concerned there could be an explosion. there wasn't, as it turned out. but fortunately a lot of doctors that are members in both chambers.
michael burgess from texas, roger marshall from kansas, senator bill cassidy from louisiana. >> and they're all running out to try to help. >> oh, yeah. they actually were the first people on the scene as far as i could tell. i'm literally in the last car. we're just stopped immediately opposite where the accident is. yeah, they were busy trying to get out. they managed to get out on their own. they were the first ones rendering assistance. then you pretty quickly had emergency first responders, paramedics, a lot of fire vehicles and balances here now. but yeah, they were administering cpr to the folks that had been hurt in the crash. >> i want to bring in one of your former house colleagues, now-senator jeff flake. if you don't mind, congressman cole, stay with us while i bring in your colleague. senator flake, first of all, thank you so much for calling in. i was just with you last night in the rotunda. obviously such a different
scene. all i thought of when i heard you were on the phone is that obviously a very difficult kier of tragedy but the same kind of scene you're witnessing now with your doctors, who acolleagues, doctors, racing to help injured people. same kind of scene we saw when you were on the baseball field. >> yeah, well, with brad, we've been through this before. cutting away a coat, trying to keep a man alive. it was all too similar. >> can you just be more specific in what you just described, what happened. you said you were carrying somebody away. >> well, i was on the train near the front.
obviously we heard the impact. it was loud and harsh. threw everybody kind of up in their seats. we knew we'd hit something. i was near the window. i looked out and saw the truck, and it had just been smashed. the garbage truck -- the back portion had been separated from the cab. i worked my way back so i was parallel to the accident. they needed people to carry people to ambulances. i got over there, and senator cassidy was already there. brad was already there working on him with a few paramedics. we were just happy to secure him on the stretcher and cut away some of the clothing while they
worked on him. he was pretty bad off. i hope he survives. there was another just a few feet away who was deceased. they worked on him for quite a while but couldn't revive him. another person -- >> i'm sorry. if i may, senator -- >> on the back of the garbage truck, we just don't know. one person wasn't as seriously injured. i believe they were able to walk to the ambulance. but the other two were very badly hurt and one deceased. >> senator, i just want to make clear the person who you're saying was killed, you believe, was on the truck, not the train. >> i'm not sure if the person was in the cab. usually you have a couple people working the back of the garbage truck. they weren't in the cab. they were either ejected from the cab or ejected from the back
of the truck. i would assume, but i don't know, that they were on the back of the truck. >> i see. and tell me, senator, about -- first of all, it sounds like, thank god, you are okay. tell me about the people who were around you at the point of impact and how they're doing physically. >> yeah, i'm not sure if anybody is seriously hurt on the train. i doubt anybody is seriously hurt, but certainly some bumped heads and bruises. my wife was sitting next to me. she was thrown pretty hard against the seat, but she's okay. so i don't know, though. i've been off the train most of the time. >> okay. senator, stand by. i want to read to you and to our viewers what we're hearing. this is according to our renee marsh, getting a statement from
the amtrak spokesperson, beth toll, who says the following. an amtrak train came into contact with a vehicle that was on the tracks at 11:20 a.m. eastern in -- i don't know if i'm going to pronounce this right -- crozet, virginia. there are no reported injuries to passengers or crew members. local law enforcement is investigating the incident, and crews are inspecting equipment for damage. the train originated in washington, d.c. updates will be provided as new information becomes available. so here you see with regard to the train, no reported injuries to passengers or crew members. certainly sounds -- congressman cole, i'll go back to you -- that what you were describing and what senator flake is describing as an apparent fatality in addition to severe injuries that you are witnessing and that the doctors who are members of congress are tending
to came from the people in the truck. >> that's correct. i mean, the people that were injured are now gone, as is the fatality. so you've got people around, inspecting things, and i suppose making decisions. but yeah, it was just as jeff described it. it was quite a jolt. again, you might have some knocked heads. there were a couple people knocked down that happened to be in the aisle, but nobody seriously hurt on the train. the injuries and fatalities are all associated with the garbage vehicle. >> just so you know, our viewers are looking at live video but also to the left, that's still photo a congressman tweeted, the front of the amtrak train. if we can put that back up. oh, now we have the live pictures of where you're
sitting, congressman cole. we see the outside of the train, and boy, does that look like -- it looks like a nightmare, an absolute nightmare. i don't know if you've heard this. while we're talking, i got a text from an aide, a house gop aide, who's on the train who said buses are coming to pick you all up. >> i assumed that's what they'd have to do. i don't know how you would move this vehicle from an accident site like this. i'm sure there's an investigation. you couldn't move the crew. so we all suspected we would be here for some time, but obviously we're safe. we're fortunate. it's just a real tragedy for them and their families. >> absolutely. as we're starting to get a live picture -- well, a nice man is blocking what i was going to show you, but if and when he moves, you'll see there's a little bit of a white "x" which
looks like a train crossing, which anybody who has been in their car and comes up to train tracks knows what that means. that means a train is coming. so the obvious question that everybody is going to be asking, and i know our team here, renee marsh, is looking into whether or not there was something that didn't work, some malfunction with what is supposed to happen when a car or a truck or a garbage truck comes up to a track and a train is coming. >> yeah, and again, i can't speak to that. i can literally see the cross. i'm in the last car. i can just look out the window and see it immediately to my left. clearly, obviously, there's somebody that didn't follow protocol or you had a vehicle that had stalled out that was on the track. you just don't know at this point. just, wow, what a tragedy. >> it sure is. and can you just describe the
scene now? i mean, as i mentioned, it sounds like buses are coming to pick you up. you're sitting on the train. i would imagine you've got your colleagues around, your colleagues' families around, your aides around. what's the feeling on that train right now? >> people are obviously a little shook up by it. we're happy that people are safe here and people are checking up and down, making sure really over and over that everybody is okay. you know, it's just carnage in front of us in terms of the degree of destruction to the truck and the trailer and trash scattered every place. again, the people that were injured and killed have been removed. there's quite a number of now firefighters and first responders here on ground. but it's going to take a while just to clean up the mess, quite frankly, let alone piece
together exactly what happened. >> congressman, just one other question. and maybe it's too soon to know the answer to this, but is it your understanding that when the buses come, they'll take you back to washington, that this retreat will be canceled? >> i don't know. i have not been informed either way about that. as a matter of fact, i assumed buses were on the way but didn't know until you told me that. i don't know whether the decision was made to continue an event that was planned. obviously this casts quite a pall over everything. we did have the president coming tomorrow. i think the vice president tonight. quite a few cabinet members. one of your earlier people, i think congressman zeldin, mentioned it's a normal function, very important kickoff for the legislative year for us. but this is certainly something that nobody has ever dealt with that i'm aware of on one of these retreats, certainly not in my time in congress. what decision will be made about going forward, i just don't
know. >> yeah, i would imagine that this is certainly a unique and tragic event that you are all experiencing together. the house speaker is on the train. i know you said you're in the back in the last car. i was told by an aide that he's okay. have you seen him? is he kind of going around? >> i saw him earlier today, but i've not seen him since the accident. but i don't think anybody on the train is in any serious jeopardy. might have bumped a knee. i happened to be standing next to rules committee chairman pete sessions and was chatting with him. so i was hanging on the overhead bins that are for luggage and things like that, otherwise i would have lost my feet. i'm sure that happened up and down the train.
but again, there's no reports of any serious injuries on the train. the tragedy is all on the ground and all with the drivers and operators of the trash vehicle. it just breaks your heart. just normal people out working hard, doing a tough job, and i'm sure this is the last thing they ever thought would happen to them as well. >> absolutely. no question about it. congressman, while you wait for your buses, if you can indulge us and stay on the line, i would appreciate it. i just want to go over to our congressional correspondent sunlen serfaty who has a statement from the capitol police. >> that's right. the capitol police say they are indeed on the scene. typically when you have members of congress and the leadership, they have some sort of detail with them from capitol police. no surprise that they were on the scene, likely that they were on the train themselves, but they do say in a statement provided to cnn that congressional officials, including the united states capitol police, are on the scene
and are working closely with partner law enforcement agencies in response to the incident. we are, of course, as you've been noting, hearing stories and seeing those pictures tweeted out by members and of course right now you see the live picture of the scene of just how devastating that was. it certainly should be noted that this is an annual retreat that members of congress go to. many cases, they bring their spouses, they bring their children. so certainly this amtrak train that was chartered to go from washington, d.c., this morning over to sulfur springs, west virginia, was carrying many members' families on there as well. one republican aide really confirming what we've been reporting for a while, that there were minor injuries and bruises among those people on the train but not serious injuries. of course, a lot of focus being on the status of those two people in that garbage truck that hit that train. >> sunlen, thank you so much for that reporting. appreciate it. congressman cole, i'm going to bring you back in.
while sunlen was just giving that report, i was obviously listening to her but texting with some other sources who are on the train who was saying that the county sheriffs are on the train check to make sure folks are okay. just a reminder to me that a lot of members' children are on this train. it's something that congressman zeldin told us at the top of the hour. but, you know, congressman cole, again, this is typically annually one of those events where everybody goes, they bring their families, their spouses, many of whom almost never come to washington. you know, they take their suits off, they wear their sweaters and jeans. so that's the atmosphere in which this tragedy happened. >> that's correct. and at least as far as i could tell, there was no sudden hitting of the brakes or
anything. it was just a jolt. you didn't have any anticipation that this was getting ready to happen. although, they clearly got it stopped pretty fast. again, i don't have a good sense of how fast we were going, but i don't think it was all that -- i mean, if i were guessing, it would be like 30, 40 miles an hour. of course, you're going through a community. it wasn't racing along. yeah, it was quite unexpected and jarring. people were calm and immediately looking out for people around them. we had security on the train. they were immediately helpful. we had doctors on the train who immediately got off to render assistance to people that, you know, were in peril on the ground. very proud of those members who did that. again, the local authorities got here right away.
and they have indeed, you know, gone through the train themselves on top of our own security and just members checking on their families and their fellows and made sure everything was okay. so the response have been very, very good, both by the capitol police, as always, and by the members here that are physicians and want to help people in this situation. it's just an awful tragedy to have happened. it does rattle people. fortunately, i don't have children or my spouse with me, but that's not what you'd like to have them experience or see. i suppose there might be some emotional, you know, trauma for some of them. so that's pretty tough on those folks. >> congressman, i'm going to ask you to stand by one more time. our viewers are looking at the front of the train, video of the front of the train. we have an affiliate, wvir,
who's on the scene. let's just dip into their coverage for a moment. >> what happened here? >> that's right, matt. so right now a nurse on scene has told me that there's been at least one fatality and one critical injury. she believes that both of these two people were on the trash truck itself. i do not know about any injuries on the train so far at this point. i'll continue to ask those questions. police have been very, very tough. they've not been wanting to talk about anything right now. so they just keep kind of pushing us back. they're going to come eventually, hopefully, and talk to us and give us a full rundown of what's going on. >> of course, one of the big things with this investigation is it does now involve a lot of different authorities. local authorities, a spokesperson is on the way to the scene. we expect from the county police. we're also seeing a lot of federal authorities out here because, as we said, this is members of congress. we believe capitol police are out here too. >> that's right. i believe i've seen a number of members of capitol police out
here, heavily armed with their vests on and their long guns. they've been walking up and down the train, i guess, protecting and making sure no one who isn't supposed to be on that train is getting on there. nlt a >> and we did see a few minutes ago pegasus, that's uva's helicopter. we're hearing reports from a nurse on the scene originally saying one person died in this. we did see this other person air lifted, we assume, to uva. what else have you seen out here? you did get here very soon after this accident happened. >> yeah, i got here before even a number of the first responders that are all the way down the street, down there. i have just seen tons and tons of people running up to this scene, trying to help in any way that they can. police, medical personnel, firefighters. everyone is out here kind of working together, doing whatever they can to help anyone who is injured and suffering. >> of course, one of the big things that we've seen in this
accident here is that because there were so many members of congress and their staff on board this train, they started tweeting right away about the accident as soon as it happened. we have heard that our local congressman from the sixth district representing the shenandoah valley, he was not on the train. the congressman tweeted he wishes everyone prayers for anyone on board the train, any of his colleagues, as well as in that trash truck who may have been injured or killed in this. we also know that fifth district congressman republican tom garrett was not on this train either. he just tweeted a few moments ago that he will be heading down to the green briar but was not on board the train. once again, our photographer, lee, if we could just zoom into the scene here so you can see that trash truck right on this crossing. you can see the railroad crossing sign, that white "x" up there. that's where lane town road and i believe merry mart farm,
that's where they cross these tracks here. i don't believe it's a signalized intersection there. just the flashing lights and the warning of a crossing that's coming up. you can see that trash truck was knocked completely off into the dirt here. all the trash strewn about here. authorities again continue to go through -- lee, if we could pan to the left, you can see those are county police that are up on the rail yard here. they're walking through. we've seen police and crews going through this train, making sure no one else is on board still while they make sure everyone gets out. there are a lot of ambulances. as we were coming in here, maybe ten minutes ago or so, we saw even more ambulances rushing to the scene here to make sure that everyone who does need medical treatment is taken care of. once again, we are here at lane town road, just west of crozet. lee, if we can pan up here to the helicopter that's circling
above. from the ground, i can't tell what kind of helicopter. it looks to be a virginia state police or maybe a federal authorities helicopter. it is not an air lift. >> okay. you've been listening to our local affiliate there, wvir. for anybody who's just tuning in, what you're looking at is a live picture of a train that was chartered by house and senate republicans to take them from washington, d.c., union station, to west virginia for their annual republican retreat. the train crashed into what appears to be a dump truck, a garbage truck in crozet, virginia, which is just west of charlottesville, virginia. we want to go now to the white house to cnn's jeff zeleny, who has an update on what the president is told, how he's involved in, this and also what his plans might be and whether they're going to change since he was supposed to attend this retreated. >> that's right, dana. president trump was scheduled to
visit the retreat tomorrow. told that is still the schedule now, but of course they're awaiting to see if the retreat goes on, if the house and senate members will be there tomorrow. but we do have a new statement from white house press secretary sara sanders, who i just spoke to moments ago about this. i'll just read it to you. she said, the president has been fully briefed on the situation in virginia and is receiving regular updates. she says, there's one confirmed fatality and one serious injury. there are no serious injuries, again, repeating, there are no serious injuries among members of congress or their staff. senior administration officials are in regular contact with amtrak and state and local authorities. our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected by this incident. again, that is a statement from white house press secretary sara sanders, who is making the point that yes, there is a fatality, but the white house is saying that it is not a member of congress or any of their family members. dana, as you well know, it's very common for members of congress, their spouses, and even their families in some
cases to go to this resort-like weekend, this retreat weekend. it is one of the few bonding experiences, if you will, for these members of congress to get together. so that is one of the dynamics here. and we're also looking on social media for messages. i just saw one from congressman jeff fortenberry, republican from nebraska. he points out the house chaplain is on the scene as well. he was traveling with these members. he is helping the injured there. so just some more detail coming out from members of congress on the scene. we can see this tweet here from jeff fortenberry. he says, my family and i are on the train to a retreat, hit a truck, jarring but everyone okay on the train. severe injury in truck. maybe a death. father conroy there with injured. a number of members of congress who are doctors tried to help. so updates happening in realtime. the white house is keeping an eye on this. the president has been briefed
on this several times. it's still to be determined if he will travel there tomorrow. dana? >> jeff, thank you so much. while you were talking, i got a text from a lawmaker who is on the train saying that they just made an announcement that the train is leaving in ten minutes. the person who has been giving us a play by play and really critical information, tom cole, i believe is still on the phone. congressman cole, did you hear that announcement? >> i did not. i'm in the last car, so maybe they're going car by car. i have not heard that yet. >> okay. another aide who was also texting me from the train, probably a different car, said that he had heard, not by announcement, but from others that the plan was for the train to be taken to charlottesville, which is not far from where this crash was in crozet, virginia, and that the buses would come and pick you all up. again, unclear where the buses will be taking you, whether to
washington or to the retreat, which of course was your destination. any update as to how things are going to go down? have they told you yet? >> no, i have not heard that. again, we're right by the accident. we tend to be the last to hear anything as it works its way down the train. haven't heard anything. again, i'd be supportive of whatever decision they made. obviously we don't have serious injuries or problems here, so you could go ahead, but if the decision was made to not do that, i'd be supportive of that as well. it's just such a sad situation. you just always go back to, you know, we were fortunate obviously, but people on that truck certainly weren't. they were just -- you know, that's a tough job to do anyway. they were out working hard, trying to support their families. then this happens to them. it's a life-altering event when
you've got a fatality and serious injury. >> absolutely. you were talking earlier about the fact that you had to grab on at the point of impact to make sure you didn't fall. other people are posting, and i'm getting texts from others who are on the train that they saw people thrown from their seats. also, in addition to your colleagues, the members who are also medical doctors, the house doctor is on the train and also sprung into action. i'm guessing you witnessed some of that as well. >> i did, saw all of that. you couldn't be prouder of all of them that immediately went out of there and tried to render assistance. they were saying we needed to stay where we were at. those doctors weren't going to stay where they were at. they were absolutely determined to get out there. they could see the people injured lying on the ground.
they literally got there first. you got to be proud of them. they put other people ahead of themselves. some of them were here with their families and racing away to try and help the people injured in the vehicle. so it is like the ballpark in the sense that they all did the right thing under very difficult circumstances, but fortunately, again, none of them, none of the members, none of their families, none of their staff have been hurt, but boy, the people on the ground really have been. >> and just to be clear, you said that the members who are physicians, you know, tried to get out immediately to help those who were injured, and just for securities reasons, the capitol police tried to stop them. >> yeah, they were afraid there would be gas leakage. not other members, actually. security police said we want you to stay in the vehicle. they just weren't going to do that. and they came running down the
halls, or douwn the aisles, asking people please step back, please step back, so they could get there right away. a group of four or five of them literally were in this last car and they got the door open and out they went. they weren't going to have any of not going and rendering assistance right away or waiting for first responders to get here. although, i must say, the first responders did get here very rapidly. so the local response was good. but the response from the physicians on the train and other people who just went out to help, you wanted to be careful there wasn't too big a crowd. but the ones that could render assistance were pretty insistent on being allowed to do so. very proud of them. >> well, on that note, congressman, stand by. i want to read a tweet from senator bill cassidy, who is a physician, one of those you were talking about who sprung into action. here's what he said. there were three people in the truck that was straddling the
track and which the train hit. one is dead, one i am told is being transported but has minor injuries, one has serious injuries. please pray. laura and i and multiple other physicians tended to the patients until emts showed up. >> yeah, it was -- >> laura is his way. >> -- pretty amazing to watch. you think of all members are alike, but a lot come here with different or unique backgrounds. obviously in this case, those with the medical training -- and brad wenstrup is a combat doctor. all of these people have handled emergency situations. their training and their basic humanity just takes over. we were lucky to have them. >> and on that note, congressman, i want to give you and our viewers a little bit more information about how these members who are doctors helped as quickly and as well as they
could. congressman roger marshall's office says the congressman is helping individuals who need medical attention, including performing cpr on a train worker that his office understands was a train conductor. marshall is a physician, he's a doctor. i can also say that amtrak has said there were no reported injuries to anyone on the train, including the crew. so we're trying to clarify who exactly he is saying and his office said he is helping. but again, just another example. you mentioned senator cassidy. we talked about him. now your colleague in the house, congressman marshall. >> yeah, no, they all were -- you don't want to stand in the way of a doctor in an emergency. they were all very insistent. mike burgess, brad wenstrup, senator cassidy. they were all just racing to try and get there as quickly as they could. and there were others as well.
anybody that had formal training was trying to get out to get to these people that were on the ground. we literally -- you could see them, and you could see how severe some of the injuries were. again, very fortunate you have people like that in a situation like this and that they respond that way. it reflects well on them and reflects well on the institution. >> no question. congressman, stand by. we have another one of your colleagues, congressman lee zeldin. we talked to you at the top of the hour. you gave us a firsthand account of what happened there. now that we are almost an hour into the aftermath, what are you hearing about the scene and what are you hearing about the plans for dealing with all of you, house and senate republicans, your aides, your family who are
all currently still sitting on this train? >> i'm hearing that the train may be moved at some point over the course of the next few minutes. i don't know if the plan is to bring us to a local train station to get on a bus. as i mentioned when we spoke earlier, fortunately the train was able to stay on the tracks, which was the biggest thing to mitigate the impacts for those who were on it. but that's what we're hearing as far as movement, that the train may be moving here at some point over the next few minutes. >> and congressman, do you have any sense of where you're going to go? are you going to come back to washington? will the retreat be canceled? or will you board buses and continue on to your destination in west virginia? >> i would imagine that we would be continuing to west virginia. i haven't heard any confirmation that we were heading back to washington, d.c.
i don't know exactly what the condition of this train is or if they would move us to another train or if we would be moved over to buses. i'm speculating when i tell you that i would imagine we would be moving forward to west virginia, but i can't say that for sure. >> what do you think should happen? forgive me for putting you on the spot when you're definitely dealing with a traumatic event, but are you in the camp that the show must go on, you should continue, especially given the fact that at least on the train among members it doesn't sound like there were serious injuries? or do you think it's best to go back home? >> you know, it's interesting you ask because it really hasn't been a question, a topic we've spoken with each other yet. so i don't know what the other members' opinions would be of that. i would say that, you know, i still haven't heard of any serious injuries amongst the
delegation. when we hit the truck, clearly there was a massive problem. we hit something we weren't supposed to. fortunately, we stayed on the track. we were able to come to a stop. but being that i'm not aware of any serious injuries amongst the delegation, there may be a plan to continue forward. i guess we'll find out. again, i haven't had any conversations with any of my colleagues on that topic. all the conversations have been, you know, specifically with regards to helping those who have been hurt, making sure that the children who are on board are in good spirits, and it's also been amazing watching how the first responders reacted to it, whether it's the capitol police, the amtrak personnel, the local firefighters, the local police officers. the main concern would be to render first aid to make sure that anyone who's in need of a
doctor or other help can get it. also, there's an important process to make sure that this was a random accident. when you first hit a truck, you see the capitol police officers and others secure the train. i haven't heard, you know, of anyone after the first few minutes expressing that concern, but seeing how quickly they reacted was impressive. there was immediately a helicopter above within about, gosh, it might have been 20 seconds and there was a helicopter above our train. >> was that an initial thought, in the moments after the crash, after the impact, did that go through your mind that maybe this isn't an accident? >> well, it actually went through my mind quickly because it was expressed very quickly on our car. you know, we have -- right now i'm looking out the window. we have a local police officer
with an m-4 just patrolling right outside because we're right next to a residential area. you do have almost every republican member of the house and the senate. but the concern that you might have over the first minute or two in the capitol police going into what they've been trained to do, to make sure there was nothing more to it, i would say it didn't seem to be as much of a concern once they got in place and a few minutes went by. >> and it doesn't seem to be a concern at this point. meaning that -- >> no -- >> this was an actual accident. >> absolutely. from everything i can tell, if i had to put a guess on it, i would say 100%. >> okay. congressman, if you don't mind, you could you just stand by. we're going to go over to the white house. our senior white house
correspondent jeff zeleny is there with some new reporting on the president and what he's hearing about what's going on in rural virginia. >> indeed, dana. we're told that the president was in the oval office when this happened, when he learned about this and was briefed by the white house chief of staff, john kelly. we're learning this through a tweet from the social media adviser to the president. he manages his social media account. let's take a look at that, if we have it. he says this. on behalf of everyone at the white house, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved today's virginia train accident. president trump has been briefed on the situation by chief of staff general kelly in the oval. so again, just putting the president in a time and place here when he was briefed on this. again, the president, dana, as you know, is scheduled to travel tomorrow to visit the house and senate members at that green briar resort. he was scheduled to amplify his message from the state of the union address.
the officials here say that they are waiting to hear from the house of representatives, officials, and the senators if this will continue. so as of now, it's still on the president's schedule to go tomorrow, if it happens. but they'll wait and see what develops this afternoon. i just talked to one other republican member of congress who i was texting with. he said he was driving separately as well, saying he was hearing reports it may be called off, but he said that is not a definitive yet. they're still all awaiting word. so you have a lot of members just kind of in limbo, awaiting to see, even those driving separately. but we are told a decision will be made shortly if this goes on or is called off. dana. >> jeff, thank you so much for that reporting. appreciate it. and i want to go now to mary schiavo, who was an inspector general at the department of transportation and has a lot of experience looking into crashes like this. obviously there's never been a crash much like this, as
congressman zeldin was telling us. almost every republican member of the house and senate were on and are on this train that was headed from washington, d.c., to a retreat in west virginia and apparently hit a truck in crozet, virginia, just outside of charlottesville. at first blush, knowing the facts that we know, which is not a lot right now, and hearing the firsthand accounts, what's your sense of this? >> well, other than the train was full of, you know, a large number of members of congress, this actually is a typical accident. the problem in the united states is our trains that intersect with service transportation, intersect with cars and trucks, and everyone wonders why we don't have a train system like japan. japan, for example, with the bullet train, with the shinkansen, there is no place on the shinkansen line where the train -- and they're high-speed trains -- meet surface traffic. so literally, every day in
america, there is somewhere where a car or a truck is on the train tracks and people forget that it takes a train a mile -- if a train is going 60 miles an hour and it's a typical train configuration, it takes a mile to stop. so when something is on the track and we don't have adequate barriers or people have ignored the barriers, which is a very common problem, or tried to beat the train, we have this sort of situation happening. so sadly, while the persons on the train, you know, the passengers are a little unusual, this type of an accident is not unusual. >> okay. mary schiavo, thank you so much for that. we're going to continue to monitor this, see what happens with this train and with all of those members who are now effectively stranded in rural virginia. while we do that, i want to go straight to some new reporting on fbi concerns about the nunes memo. >> yeah, that's right, dana. just in the last few minutes, the fbi releasing a statement.
we must keep in mind that it's rare for the fbi to comment on these kinds of issues, certainly a political issue. let me read to you what they said. this line here very important. as we expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy, they say. now, i've been talking to officials over at the fbi, certainly some people at the department of justice as well, and all have raised concerns over this memo in that it leaves out important facts, important details and would mislead people into leaving certain things about how intelligence was gathered, what was done at the fisa court, how the fbi and law enforcement went about gathering some of this material. it just does not paint a complete picture of what was going on at the time. and it's important.
i think the fbi -- having the fbi issue this statement tells you how important it is for them. we're also told that the department of justice was not in full agreement with the fbi about this statement. in fact, we're told by some that the department of justice, that some people at the department of justice did not want the fbi to release this statement. so certainly some infighting within the agency, within the fbi and the department of justice, but the fbi went ahead and did this today. now we're just all waiting to see when the memo will be released. >> thank you so much for that reporting. i want to go around the table to our panel here. i mean, look, when you first hear the fbi is saying, no, no, please don't release a memo that according to our sources very clearly makes the fbi look really bad and not very responsible with regard to one of their most important responsibilities, which is civil liberties of americans and
allowing a warrant to legally n infringe on those civil liberties. >> we've been hearing all morning about concerns about -- i think there's a perception the concern from the fbi is reputational, but there are other concerns broadly in the intelligence community about the risking of sources and methods that underlie the intelligence of this report. so those concerns are being brought to the white house this week, and now you're seeing the fbi coming forward and saying, we just don't think that this report is particularly accurate, and they're raising the alarm. now, a couple things are happening this morning. john kelly sat in a local television interview that he believes after the sort of almost pro-forma national security review is done, they'll hear it. so the question now is the report going to be released regardless of these concerns raised by the intelligence community, by the president's
own fbi and department of justice. >> and michael, do you think that if something like this happens at the fbi, raising grave concerns in the formal way that, the fbi director, christopher wray, had to sign off on that? >> i mean, you can't imagine there's any way in which a statement like this could be put out, especially in the context that we're talking about. this isn't just a procedural fight or low-level thing between agencies of the government. the president of the united states is on the precipice of releasing a memo. this is coming at a time when the white house literally just hours ago said they expect the chief of staff said he expects it to come out any moment. and the fbi still went ahead with, you know, a memo that essentially challenges the actions that they know the president is about to take. that's remarkable. it really heightens all of these tensions that we've all been covering this last year between this white house and the
national security establishment, especially the fbi. it's just incredible. >> i think it's entirely possible that both of these ideas are true, that this could be the fbi trying to save face or avoid something that's embarrassing to the bureau. >> and it publicly puts the fbi at odds with the white house. >> that's right. but at the same time, it could also very well be true, and this is what you're hearing from democrats on this committee, that by releasing this, this does reveal methods and sources, and this is something the intelligence community more broadly and specifically in this case the fbi's always very, very concerned about. the other element of all this is that it's not just the fbi. again, with the director who most likely signed off, a director appointed by president trump, but it's also the department of justice, which is on this matter being run by a deputy a.g. appointed by the president himself, who voiced their concerns about the release of this memo. >> let's take a step back for a second. it's one thing for the head of the justice department, the head
of the fbi to go and express concerns in private to the white house. it's another thing to say this publicly. this lays down the gauntlet in a whole different way. >> and it's been building because after the president went after the fbi on twitter, there was kind of an outcry saying, okay, well, is christopher wray going to defend this bureau that has been consistently maligned without any kind of response by the president of the united states. i mean, that in and of itself -- so the fact, to your point, that they decided to release this, it is a published pushback and perhaps a way for christopher wray signaling that, you know, i'm not going to take this lying down anymore. mgts a >> and what you said about the justice department. either the justice department is in line with the fbi, which is really remarkable given the justice department is run by, you know, the president's own appointee, or the justice department didn't want the fbi to do this, but they failed to stop them, which is a really
remarkable moment too since the fbi is part of the justice department. so it's really remarkable that, either way, there's some real tension there. >> and dana, we should keep in mind that the process here -- president trump can say definitively, yes, i want this released, but he can also do nothing, which will also allow the report to be released. he needs to -- if this is theno going to be released, he would have to say, no, for national security reasons, we're going to hold this back. so there are a number of choices in front of him here. now i think this really ups the pressure for the president with his own intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies saying there are real problems, there are real security threats here to block it, not just to do nothing. >> as you were talking, i was just looking down to see if there's anything that sticks out specifically about the fbi's statement. let's actually read it once again for you all and for our viewers. here's what it says. with regard to the house intelligence committee's memorandum, the fbi was provided
a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it. as expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy. translation, the republicans cherry picked here, guys. and what you're going to release is not the real story of all that happened. >> but this is the conundrum they find themselves in, which is that they clearly view that releasing the whole story might damage, again, these methods and sources that the fbi wants to protect in order to do the work that they do. so i think that they're sort of running up against a problem here. it very well may be true, and i think it is true that devin nunes cherry picked information here. but they're kind of at a loss unless they want to, i think, reveal more than they're willing to. >> yeah, and listen, not to sound like a polyanna, but this
is the very reason these committees are traditionally bipartisan, that you don't have this breakdown that we have right now where according to a member i talked to, who has read both memos, both the republican one that the fbi doesn't want released and the new democratic one, that they actually remarkably talk directly past each other. they don't directly address the same issues. they talk past each other, which is not the job of congress with regard to oversight. it's to do it in a way that is actually impactful, not political. >> again, it points to the fact that the mueller probe is -- you could say this memo seeks to undermine. it's really the only serious investigation in town anymore because congress has become unable to get out of their partisan -- >> and despite what speaker paul ryan says, which is this memo talking about big mistakes at
the genesis of the russia investigation, is very different from the mueller investigation, which he sees as credible. if this is released, is that really the way it's going to be seen? >> and overlaying all of this is a president who seems very much inclined to release the memo, having not even read it or seen it. it really suggests that the president is very deeply interested in the objective of this memo, which is to undermine the russia probe. >> undermine the russia probe and perhaps some personnel he's not so thrilled with in the fbi and in the justice department because my understanding is it names names, this memo. >> and look, part of what he has said when he put christopher wray in there to head the fbi was that he was going to take himself, meaning the president, out of it and let chris wray deal with those personnel issues. but clearly he's not doing that because we've seen him on twitter and everything else. >> all right. everybody, thank you so much for that abbreviated political segment. we're still monitoring what happened to house and senate
republicans and the train on the way to west virginia. thank you for joining us on "inside politics." jim sciutto is in for wolf blitzer, and he's picking up our coverage right now. hello. i'm jim sciutto in again for wolf blitzer. the fbi sounding the alarm over a secret republican memo accusing the fbi of abusing its surveillance powers. the fbi issuing a defiant statement just now, saying, quote, the fbi was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it. as expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy. fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy. our crime and justice reporter joins us now with the latest