tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN June 14, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
brutal and deliberate republican members of congress targeted by a gunman with a partisan grudge turning a baseball practice into full-fledged attack. republican leader is in critical condition. others are hospitalized and the nation's capitol is in shock. frustrated and furious. we are learning more tonight about the shooter, his arrest record and rants against president trump and republicans. this hour, i'll talk to man who's been in regular contact with the gunman in recent weeks. securing congress. this shooting is raising urgent new questions about the safety of america's elected officials. should they have more protection during these divisive and dangerous times? and play ball. the annual congressional baseball game will go on as planned as members of both parties come together in a moment of sorrow and rare unity. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around
the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you've in "the situation room." >> this is cnn breaking news. >> we are following breaking news on what appears to be a deliberate and politically motivated shooting attack on members of congress. heavily armed gunman opening fire this morning on a republican lawmakers and staffers as they practice for a charity baseball game in a quiet neighborhood just outside washington, d.c. the barrage of gunfire, captured on video. [ gunshot ] [ gunshot ] tonight, the house majority whip, steve scalise, the fbi clarifying a short while ago that three other people were shot, two others suffered secondary injuries.
witnesses describe a very aoughtic scene with people jumping into dugouts and over fences to dodge bullets. the gunman later caught by police and died. he is security was with ask lees and without them, people say, it would have been massacre. james hodgkinson came to virginia from illinois in march. his social media postings are filled with anti-trump and anti-republican rants. one lawmaker says hodgkinson approached him just before the shooting and asked if republicans or democrats were on the ball field. tonight, president trump is urging unity of prayers for shooting victims, congressional leaders of both parties are echoing, setting aside. paul ryan saying an take on one member of congress is an attack on all members of congress. this hour, i'll talk with con
gre congressman who was at the ball field this morning and escaped gunfire. our specialists are also standing by. first, to our senior national correspondent. alex were we're learning new details about the shooting from police tonight. update update our viewers. >> we are, wolf. this is an active crime scene. what you see is a mix of federal and local law enforcement officers. that baseball diamond about wtw blocks away. this is a federal investigation led by bi. special age ent named tim slate moments ago updated. the attacker is named as james hodgkinson. flyers are handed out asking the public for help, specifically in figuring out motives, acquaintances and previous whereabouts. they have also revised the number of people shot down to
four including the taker who was shot and killed. otherwise congressman scalise, matt mika, and police officer crystal greiner. i should also mention that local police chief said when his officers arrived here they walked into what they called a combat situation. this is how that unfolded. >> gunshots heard on this eyewitness video rang out from behind the third base dugout. shaky cell phone video capturing the moment that witnesses say the shooter, 66-year-old james hodgkinson, opened fire shortly after 7:00 a.m. as the republican congressional baseball team, including 22 members of congress, was holding a practice. >> and i hear the big blam, i thought it was a car back firing at first. until i see the rifle barrel. and a white male taking careful aim at congressmen, staffers, whoever he could get a hold of.
>> steve scalise was near second base. one of the first struck in the hip. >> there was gunfire all around. some investigated some 50-something shots. i think that's an understatement. it seemed to be a lot more than that. but for ten minutes or so, we were trying to decide whether we would leave or take the injured. >> at 7:09, first 911 call came in to alexandria police. >> shots being fired. >> units arrived on the scene within just three minutes. joining the fire fight already under way between hooj kinson and tleet capitol police officers assigned to protect scalise. >> making it to the dugout, taking off my belt because one of our staffers was wounded. he was bleeding from his calf. i take off the belt, myself and another person put the belt an tu tourniquet on his leg. >> the gun fight raged. >> i got up and ran and dove into the dugout on the first
base side where there were several people in there. >> a pile of you, basically, right? >> absolutely. all trying to get to cover. >> police officers firing pistols managed to take down hodgkinson who was armed with a long rifle. >> the shooter was never on the field and never got on the field. he stayed behind the third base dugout and came around behind home plate. got behind the utility shed and then darted out in front of the utility shed and that's when he got shot. >> first responders quickly arriving on the scene where the players had been tending to the wounded, including scalise, who had crawled into the outfield. >> i could see steve scalise out into the field. he dragged himself, after he was shot from near second base, about 10 or 15 yards into the fields, just to be further away from the gunman. he was laying motionless out there. so i wanted to get to him. but there were still shots going overhead from both sides. and so finally when we heard the
shooter was down, i just ran low out to steve and started putting pressure on the wound. >> total of four victims shot. congressman scalise, matt mika, zach barth and capitol police officer crystal grinor. remaining members of congress huddled nearby. police say the gunman is dead as members come to grips with what they witnessed. >> we've got to end this. we've got to stop it. i watched my friend and fellow member, steve scalise, laying motionless on the field. wondering if he was going to be okay. that is a picture i will never forget. >> this could have been a lot worse. senator rand paul from kentucky taking batting practice at the time called in a killing field. but because those three officers were there and were able to return fire, they were able to take out hodgkinson and prevent what rand called massacre.
wolf? >> alexander marquardt on the scene for us tonight. tonight, police digging into the gunman's personal history. working to find the motive and what others might have known about the attack. jessica schneider is with us right now. jessica, what are you learning? >> fbi said the gunman has been in alexandria since march living out of his car. several people tell us he has been staking out the shooting for weeks. the shooter was seen using his laptop in the lobby of a nearby ywca and frequented a nearby bar at least a half dozen times. he stood out for his gruff demeanor and unfriendly attitude. investigators are piecing together a profile of 66-year-old james hodgkinson and returning to his social media pages and criminal record. hodgkinson used his facebook page as platform to voice hate for conservatives and the
president. calling republicans stupid. wrote that party hated americans and is full of smoke and mirrors. in march he linked to a change.org petition with trum post trump is a traitor. time to destroy trump and company. on facebook in 2015 hodgkinson posted a cartoon about congressman steve scalise, commenting here is a republican that should lose his job but they gave him a raise. hodgkinson primarily using facebook to talk about his sharp disdane for hillary clinton. his profile showing bernie sander sanders. there are no campaign records of his involvement, though, according to sanders' staff. >> i am sickened by this despicable act and let me be as clear as i can be, violence of any kind is unacceptable in our
society. >> but hodgkinson seemed to shift support to jill stein in september. his hatred for hillary clinton intensifying. hodgkinson sharing anti-clinton stories from the russian state media outlet, rt. he also belonged to anti-republican groups including one called terminate the republican party. the bellville news democrat. hodgkinson repeatedly wrote letters to the editor from 2010 to 2012, expressing concern about the unemployment rate and taxes. hodgkinson was arrested for battery in april 2006 for allegedly attacking his girlfriend. he also had other minor run-ins with the law dating back to 1992 when he was arrested for drunk driving. he was fired for his job as independent contractor in 2003 for quote unacceptable behavior. [ gunshot ] investigators found a vehicle on-scene they believe belonged to hodgkinson and used that to
confirm his identity. atf is tracking two weapons, a rifle and handgun. congressman ron desantis said the gunman approached the car he left practice in with representative duncan. desantis said the laman he late recognized as hodgkinson, asked if those on the field were republican or democratic. >> i kind of thought to myself, that's strange but strange move that as soon as the news hit, jeff and i both had the same thought. >> we learned the gunman called and emailed his republican congressman ten times since last june. congressman tells cnn there were no red flags and the shooter sounded like others who called to complain. but hodgkinson did write to the
congressman saying, quote, if you vote this way, we will remember. >> president trump spoke out about the shooting not long after it happened. calling for prayers and unity. jim, any more reaction from the white house? >> it's been a very quiet day here at the white house wolf. with the exemption exception of those comments from president trump. he has been checking in on congressman scalise's condition throughout the day. the president did not engage in any kind of divisive rhetoric after the shooting. he sounded a unifying theme instead, reminding americans that people serving the nation here in washington are doing so because they love their country. here's more of what he had to say. >> congressman scalise is a friend. and a very good friend. he's a patriot. and he's a fighter.
he will recover from this assault and, steve, i want you to know, that you have the prayers be not only of the entire city behind you, but of an entire nation and frankly, the entire world. america is praying for you and all of the victims of this entire shooting. we may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation's capitol is here because above all, they love our country. we can all agree that we are blessed to be americans. that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace. and that we are strongest when we are unified. and when we work together for the common good.
>> now we should point out that some of the president's top aides, like newt gingrich, is talking and the president did not echo the remarks earlier today. there was talk that president perhaps attending tomorrow night's congressional baseball game that is still on the schedule but the white house says that is not happening at this point because of security concerns. they just don't want it tato tay chances, wolf. >> that game scheduled at national park in washington. let's talk about the whorrifyin scene this morning. thanks so much for joining us. before i ask you any questions, i would like to you give a bett better sense of what those terrified lawmakers, including yourself, experienced as dwun shots rang out over and over and over again. our viewers are afrnxious to he
[ bleep ]. >> we know where he's at. we know where he's at? i assume people have been calling 911 already. >> just a portion of that video and that audio. we are here with republican congressman barry laudermilk. you were there at scene. first of all, congressman, how are you doing? >> you know, it is a surreal moment when you wake up in the morning to go to baseball practice and you end up shot at and targeted.
but we are doing well. this is when we count our blessings. pray for those that were injured and spend a little time with family. but i'm doing well. >> when you heard those gunshots again just now, what went through your mind? >> took me back to the moment. i was up at home plate about to bat when the first shots rang out. i knew it was a gunshot. i recognized the report. i turned to my right, the gunshot came from over the left side. i turned and looked at scalise's detail. that was going to tell me, what they were doing would tell me, is this just random incident and exiting the vehicle and at that point it ran out. one of our members hollered he has a gun. and that's when everyone exited the field. and hit the ground next to me and hit the fence as i was leaving
leaving. i went around the field and got behind a wooden building about ten feet from the capitol police officers and their vehicle, and that's when matt mika was shot in the chest, about ten feet from me. and we were -- i never could see the shooter but the individual that was there, we kept an eye on it and found out a little while ago that three of the shots actually hit within two feet of where we are. one just above my head. and into the side of the building. we were blessed that we were shot but it's, you know, a vulnerable feeling to be targeted. he was truly targeting us without any way of fighting back. i could tell you, if it wasn't for the two capitol police officers engaged in that fire fight, we would be talking about a lot of former members of congress today. >> yeah. when you speak about the detail, you mean the capitol hill police detail. number three leader in the house of representatives'. if they had not been there, what could you guys have done? >> if they were not there, i
believe that the shooter would have gone over to the first base side, that's the only entrance and exit to the field. he probably chose third base, the gate was locked, so he couldn't come on the field. but because that was a way from where the security detail was. if there was nobody to take him out, would he have had us in a cage and basically add frhad a fire. they showed exemplary courage. the first officer shot about ten feet from me, she went down. she was immobilized. every time myself and the other individual with me tried goat toef mato get over to matt to help him or help her, he would turn gunfire on us. the other officer realizing what was going on, he went through the parking lot and drew fire away from us and engaged the gunman with a rifle and his
handgun and to the point he was injured too, but he stayed in the fight. >> how did the police take down the shooter? >> apparently, wolf, he was still firing with his rifle when two alexandria police officers arrived. immediately he turned fire on them. missed them, hit a car over on the street. they called for backup. repositioned themselves. i believe he ran out of ammo for his rifle that point. i repositioned myself behind the tree where i could get a better vantage point to actually see where he was. i wanted to see where the shooter was to know where to position myself. i was trying to get up to help the officer, to help matt mika. when i moved behind this oak tree, i saw him walk around the other side of the concrete utility building he was using to shelter himself. at this point he was holding a handgun. he didn't have a rifle any more. he pointed the han gun at the officer. the officers told him to drop the weapon. he fired a couple of rounds. that's when the officer shot and
fired at him. that's when he dropped. we were able to help the victims and get to them. >> you say you were sheltering right near matt mika, former congressional staffer who loves baseball and loves going to these games. describe his condition. how did he seem to you? >> he was is very critical. i could see him, he had been shot. he was seriously bleeding. every time we tried to get over to help him, of course the police officers were engaged. he was probably about four feet from the suv that the detail was in but they could not render any aid because of the intensity of dw gunfire. myself and others tried to advance but we were in the line of fire and every time we came from behind the building we were exposed. so i knelt down and talked to him, just encouragement. hang in there, matt. the gunman, as i found out, took
a couple other shots that went under the suv and matt took a shot in the arm while laying there. if he had not got the shot in the arm that would have been directly come over to where we were. and as soon as i was able to get to matt, i could see he was seriously wounded. he lost a lot of blood. i knelt down, put my hand on his head and preyed for him. i got the medical kit out of the back of the suv, went around to the officer was laying there, she was shot in the ankle but i could tell she was not near as critical as matt. but by the time i got the medical kit and over to matt, emts were running up on the scene. i took the medical kit on the field to where scalise was and handed it to brad, member of congress, who is also a medical doctor. >> matt mika, we're told, he is still in critical condition at george washington university hospital. was he conscious when you daet with him?
>> yes. he was still conscious. he was fading quickly but was still conscious. he wasn't talking. he had a clear chest wound. i did not see the bullet wound in his arm. i found out about that later. but speaker ryan called me about an hour ago. i just want id to let yed to le that matt mika will be okay. the bullet missed his heart. just clipped a lung. it'll be a long recovery for him but he will survive. steve scalise, from what i'm hearing, he is still in critical condition, but i think everybody will be okay from this. >> when you ran out to steve scalise, what was he like? >> i didn't even know he had been hit because how we were pinned down by the gunfire. until it was over with. someone told me he was hit. he laid on the field during the entire encounter. probably the shooter thought he had killed scalise so he never took any more shots over that
way. he was going after us. after he shot into the field he repositioned himself over into the area to get a line of fire on where we were at. so we had left the field. when i got over to scalise, you could tell he was -- he had lost a lot of blood. but he had some good friends with him. brad windstrip did a terrific job putting pressure trying to stop the bleeding. all of them were evacuated out of there within a few minutes. >> could have been so much worse. congressman, i want you to stay with us. we have more on the breaking news. let's take a quick break. we'll be right back. ♪ there's nothing more important than your health. so if you're on medicare or will be soon, you may want more than parts a and b
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member of republican house leadership is in critical condition after a gunman opened fire on a baseball practice field just outside washington, d.c. three other people were also shot. the gunman was mortally wounded in a shotout with capitol hill police officers who were part of the congressman's security detail. within the past hour the fbi identified the attacker as 66-year-old james hodgkinson of bellville, illinois. he had been in the alexandria, virginia area since march. was living actually out of his car. right now we are joined by someone who spoke multiple times with the gunman. former mayor of alexandria where the shooting happened. mayor, thanks very much for joining us. as mentioned, you spoke with this shooter, hodgkinson, several times over the last month. describe those conversations. >> wolf, i'm a 20-year member of the local ymca. i live in a neighborhood and work out at the y monday through
fridays between 7:30 -- 7:15 to 7:30 i arrive and more than a month and a half ago i met him at the y. he normally when i arrive would be sitting at a table with his coffee and laptop. but after a couple of -- it wasn't until after a couple of days where members of the y saw me sitting relaxing after my workout and would say, hey, we love you, we miss you and so forth. and hey, i have a question, can you help me? a day after that then he said, are you really the mayor? i said, yes. we introduced ourselves from each other. from that day forward after i do my workout, finish my workout around 8 will:45 i go upstairs, get my coffee, sit down and he is usually at table next to me. always on his laptop. only converse with me if he add question. he wanted to know things like, hey, where are places in alexandria to have breakfast. where is a good place to have lunch.
i would tell him. initially when i would describe places in old town, he said, no, i need something in walking distance. i concluded in my own mind he didn't have transportation. a few days later he would ask me about job opportunities. hey, i'm here briefly but looking for a job. you know anybody hiring. i said, what kind of work. he said construction. i said well, i do construction. what kind of work. he said i'm a housing inspector. and i said, oh, okay. let me go on the city's website, see what we may have and i will keep my eye answes and ears ope something. then, he said, what is going on in the city over the weekend. i said, look at city's website. i never noticed anything unique about him, other than he was a loner. i worry about someone that spends hours at ymca on their laptop not working. i would offer suggestions. i would say, i know someone is
hiring. i'll send you the e-mail link and you make contact with them. but more recently, you know, i noticed in the locker room, while he was in the shower area, and i'm getting dressed that his gym bag was wide open, one day last week. and i'm saying to myself, this seems like somebody that, an typical y person, come in with your gym bag and just have a change of cloenthes for that da. seemed like all his personal possessions. including books and so forth. i kept it to myself, never said anything about it. but he would -- every morning at the y, he would just, his routine was clockwork. like clockwork. you knew he would be sitting there. he would be in his -- >> excuse me for interrupting. did he ever discuss politics with you? >> strangely, oddly enough he never discussed politics with me. but you know, there was always a
lot of conversations going on because there are a couple of flat screens tvs when you walk into the main entrance of the y. i'm a politician, he knew that, of course. one of the staffers, two staff members there, we would always get and have conversation about the news of the day. and so forth. and he would just like sit there. only occasionally he would offer an opinion. but he would never expound on it p. he would just say, i agree or i disagree. that's it. personally for me, i never got to talk politics with him. then would he ask me about places to go for happy hour in the area. i would tell him go here, there, everywhere. but i concluded until i learned who he was today that this was a person that seemed very calm. very, you know, no mental health issues or anything like that. he was very respective and spoke very well. and just, you know, just a normal person. and as i've said to press all day, if i were to choose between
two people, which one of these two persons would have done what happened today? he would not have been on my radar at all. he did not demonstrate the ability to do what he did. >> you were clearly shocked when you discovered that this guy opened fire on all these republican members of congress? >> totally shocked. and you know, i learned later in the day that he had been inquiring about the team, who was this team playing ball in the wee hours of early morning at 6:00 a.m. of course, if he had asked me, i would have told him it was a congressional baseball team. they have practice and played here the past receiseveral year. i understand he inquired about, is this democrats or republicans. to me that wouldn't have mattered. it is just a baseball team. then he had a reason or rational for doing what he did. again, i would have nef suspected he would have done what he did.
simply because he didn't demonstrate any of the tendencies to go out and cause harm. i was actually on my way to the y this morning when i first got text messages at my normal time and folks were asking, inquiring about, am i okay? why are they worried if i'm okay. i immediately grab my iphone to see, check in on city meremerge e-mails, and learn there's an active shooting incident in the area of the y. i called the y and said, why are you there. they said you need to stay away, there is lock down. a shooting incident that happened outside. i worked my way, anyway, to the area of the y within a block. i state for two years observing with what was going down. it wasn't until about noon when i got a text message with the individual's picture from a staffer at the y, that this guy had daily routine conversations with in addition to myself. and said, you and i know the
shooter. rather than texting i called him. i said, hey, what are you talking about? he said, this is the guy that always sits here on his laptop. i said, oh, my god. really? i'm stunned. just as i said i'm stunned, i looked at the television and saw his picture flash. i said, that's the guy. but most sad. we should be about the business now of kindness and love and over hatred. and you know, most unfortunate myself as a politician that this happened and hopefully this will also get congress to be more seriously concerned about gun rights. or not so much gun rights but -- >> i'm sure there is a discussio discussion -- did he ever talk about president trump? >> if he did, not around me. always on television, there is more recently always something about the president this, the president that. then all of the senate hearings with comey and sessions and
yeah, so initial reaction from most of us is hey, you know, we've got to move on and be working to move, get -- do business with the country. the white house needs, the president needs to stop tweeting. he would just sit there or comment and say, i agree. he never stood up and said, you know, those damn republicans or this or that. least not in front of me. and i spend two hours everyday at the y. >> that is suspicious. the y is right next to the ball field. obviously they will try to investigate whether he was staking that out. that's where the republican members of congress would practice in the morning. we got to take another quick break. mayor euille, former mayor of alexandria, thanks for joining us. >> glad to be here. >> another wiquick break.
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breaking news, a gunman opened fire on a republican congressional baseball practice today wounding the number three house republican congressman, steve scalise, along with the congressional staffer, lobbiest and capitol police officer. the gunman was fatally wounded by police. i want to show video captured
just as the shooting unfolded. watch this. [ gunshot ] . [ gunshot ] [ gunshot ] [ bleep ]. >> awful, indeed. let's bring in evan perez. give us the latest on what investigators are saying about this shooting. >> wolf, at this point, the fbi is circulating that seeking information poster that we saw earlier in the press conference. one of the things here they want
to do is try to put together a picture of this man, this shooter's last couple of months. obviously, according to the fbi, within the alexandria area now for a couple of months. since march. and apparently living out of his van and essentially using the ymca that is right next to this baseball field. we don't know whether he has been planning this for a while or whether this is something he figured out he wanted to do within the last couple of days. we know the fbi has been looking at his social media footprint, electronics, e-mail, anything to see whether or not he has been planning this for a while according to the facebook posts and social media it is clear he has had something against the republican party. as bernie sanders said, worked as volunteer in his campaign during the 2016 election and had a lot of very strong criticisms of president donald trump as
well as steve scalise, congressman injured there at second base today. all of that will be put together in a picture by the fbi to try to determine how long he's been thinking about this. clearly, there was some political motivation here for this shooting. >> he's been here in the d.c. area for a couple months since march. >> since march, correct. >> march 22, he posted this. trump is a traitor. trump destroyed our democracy. it's time to destroy trump and company. the use of the word "destroy", that can be seen as a direct threat against the president of the united states. >> over a period of months we are hearing from the congressman in southern illinois said that his office received ten different communications from him, calls, e-mails and so on. none of them reached to a level where they called authorities to report it. he was essentially disagreeing with the congressman's votes and positions on various issues,
including health care and so on. clearly, nothing he has done in the past few months, past year, any of these facebook posts, really rose to a level that would have drawn the attention of the capitol police as a threat. >> phil mudder, in addition to working for the cia, you also work for the fbi. what would you be doing if you were involved in this investigation? >> by the time we talked into fbi headquarters for the morning brief, there's a mountain of information. money, travel, communication, friends and family, associates, what i'm looking at on his laptop is not only who he emailed because they will seat visit tonight. i want a cell phone to know who he texted. i want a pattern of texting to see if it changed over time. i want to see what he gag elled to see if he googled that location. i want to know what he bought in ammo. if he bought that ammo last week that will give me an indication of mind-set. i want to know if his language was over time, the toxicology
test from the hospital to know his state of mind. when they walk in tomorrow more a 7:30 a.m. brief, roughly where they talk about this, that stuff will be flowing in. people who know him will be interviewed tonight, wolf. a mountain of information. >> chief ramsay, police commissionener philadelphia, tell us what you think they are doing right now to figure out what happened. learn from this horrific situation to make sure it doesn't happen again. >> well as far as the capitol police go, they will be looking at all their security protocols to see whether or not there is anything they need do to tighten those protocols. obviously, today's incident, they are very fortunate that n congressman scalise was there because of his position. that called for members of the dignitary protective detail to be there as well. had they not been there, there's no telling what we would be talking about here today. so whenever you have a gathering
of congressmen, staffers and so forth, the need to have some security, whether it is provided by the capitol police, local police, state police or what have you, they are certainly going tock loot at their protocols. >> already becoming a political football of sorts, let me play this clip, this is former house speaker, newt gingrich. >> you've had an increasing intensity of hostility on the left. look, i talk to college student regularly who say to me, if they openly are for trump, they get threatened. i've had college student say they were threatened with getting beaten up. some get death threats. the intensity on the left is very well. whether it is somebody holding up a so-called comedian holding up the president's head in blood or here in new york city a play where someone being assassinated or democratic leading national politicians who are so angry they have to use vulgarity.
>> his reaction clearly very different than the current speaker, paul ryan. >> very different. very different, wolf, a stark contrast to what i heard on capitol hill from all sort of republicans and democrats. really across the board. there was this echo of speaker ryan's call for unity. he said on the floor today that if you attack one of us, you attack all of us. that was consistent with what i heard across capitol hill today for purposes of my reporting i was primarily talking to republicans. and i didn't hear from any republican today who tried to score political point or divisions like newt gingrich did in that interview. what i heard from republicans today was just a broad concern for political rhetoric in our society right now. a concern for the erosion of civility. i spoke with plenty of members today who worry about going back to their town halls in their districts. where they get who because ther
much anger and actually congressman barton, the coach for the republican team said he felt like members were not treated like humans anymore. no, you did not see people trying to kor political points on capitol hill today. we don't know how long that will last. but for today there really was a show of unity. >> stand by. there's more information coming into "the situation room." i need to take a quick break. we'll be right back. fe driving bonus check every six months i'm accident free. because i don't use my cellphone when i'm driving. even though my family does, and leaves me all alone. here's something else... i don't share it with mom. i don't. right, mom? i have a brand new putter you don't even know about! it's awesome. safe driving bonus checks, only from allstate. sometimes i leave the seat up on purpose. switching to allstate is worth it.
. more on the shooting coverage coming up in a few moments. but there's other ush gent breaking news we're following right now. the washington post is now reporting that the special counsel rocket musceller is investigating president trump for possible obstruction of justice, a major story in the washington post. evan perez, you're still with us, washington post saying the special counsel investigation interviewing as early as this week, three top intelligence officials as part of this investigation. what are you hearing? >> the irony that he fired james comey's fbi director that he wouldn't go out and say he was under investigation. in so doing he has essentially made bob mueller, the new
special counsel investigate the president for obstruction of justice. according to the post story, all the signs have been there, the signs from rotds rosenstein and others testifying the last few days saying that the fbi and special counsel would be looking at the issue. we heard from james comey that he essentially wanted the special counsel to investigate the president because he believed now that why he was fired was because of the russia investigation. the president himself has now said that publicly. bob mueller, the special counsel is going to interview rick lidge it, mike rogers, the top officials at the national security agency as well as dan coats, the director of national intelligence. according to the washington post those people are going to be providing voluntary interviews about their own interactions with the president. that's going to dove tail with what we heard from james comey in his own testimony about efforts to try to impede or
change the investigation of mike flynn, the fired national security advisor. >> phil mudd you know robert mueller. this is the most significant sign yet that the allegation of obstruction of justice is being seriously examined and they source five people briefed on these latest requests. what's your reaction? >> you had to do this. no choice. if you think it's appropriate, as i do, that the fbi should open an investigation because they have facts, not supposition but facts that suggest that there is engagement with the russians, we don't need to look at. facts that show enghamt the russians. you have to say if someone tried to prevent you from conducting a legitimate federal investigation, you have to look at them, too. tomorrow there's going to be saying this is white water. this is an expansion of director mueller's mandate.
i served with him four and a half years. he has to investigate whether someone tried to prevent the russian case from proceeding. it's like mom and apple pie. there's no choice. >> mark corralo the spokesman for marc kasowitz, the outside attorney retained by the president, statesing to cnn, the fbi leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable, and illegal. that statement coming in from the attorney representing the president. what's going to be the reaction up on capitol hill to this -- this is a bombshell. >> well, at bombshell but that being said, i don't think there's going to be a ton of surprise on capitol hill for the reasons that evan said. it was all but obvious this would be the next step in this investigation. comey already testified that he turned over his memos to mueller and certainly democrats, when they were questioning jeff session most of their questions
was geared to objection of justice. >> remember james comey said on three occasions he confirmed the president he was not under investigation but now according to this report in the washington post, the president is under investigation, not for collusion but for obstruction of justice. >> one thing, i know mark corrala very well. i don't think he knows exactly where this story came from so his acquisition that it came from the fbi as an fbi leak, i think, is going above and beyond what he actually knows. you're right about that, wolf, this is something that obviously the president was trying to get comey to say, i'm not under investigation. but now by his own actions he's essentially forced bob mueller to have to investigate the president. that is no longer true. the president is under their investigation. i think the signs are already there. rod rosenstein yesterday said one reason he couldn't answer
some of the questions becausewas because he thought robert mueller. >> investigating president trump for possible obstruction of justice. more on that coming up. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." our breaking news coverage begins right now with "out front" with erin burnett. >> "out front" next. breaking news. new details on the gunman who opened fire with a semi automatic. what we're learning about him tonight. more breaking news at this hour. the washington post with a stunning report. saying president trump is now under investigation, why special counsel robert mueller for possible obstruction of justice. this is a major turning point in the russia investigation. we have all those breaking headlines. let's go "out front." good evening, i'm erin burnett.