tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN June 16, 2017 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT
"state of the union." my guests will be bernie sanders as well as marco rubio starting at 9:00 a.m. eastern as well as 12:00 noon. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper wishing you a god and haney weekend. i turn you over now to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now. breaking news. under the bus. in a bizarre tweet president trump says he's being investigated for firing the fbi director by the man he says told him to fire the fbi director. that would be the deputy attorney general rob rosenstein. is the president throwing him under the bus? stepping aside. the justice department says rosenstein is prepared to step aside from the russia investigation, if necessary, since he also hired special counsel robert mueller. could that clear the way for the president to get rid of both men? substantial damage. doctors are encouraged that had congressman steve scalise has improved. they say his risk of death has
been greatly reduced, but he remains in critical condition with substantial damage from a gunshot wound. what lies ahead. and north korean brutality. u.s. officials are trying to learn just what happened to american student otto warmbier who was returned home in an unresponsive state after nearly a year and a half in north korean detention. what horrors did he suffer? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> breaking news. two years to the day after he entered the presidential race, donald trump drops another bombshell that may turn out to mark a milestone in his presidency. the president tweeted today, and i'm quoting. i am being investigated for firing the fbi director by the man who told me to fire the fbi director. a white house source says the president was referring to
deputy attorney general rod rosenstein who also hired special counsel robert mueller. the justice department confirms that rosenstein is prepared to recuse himself, if necessary, given his role in the firing of the fbi director james comey. that could open the way to a reoperationment seen as staunchly loyal to president trump. meanwhile, that special counsel mueller beefs up his team of investigators, democratic senator dianne feinstein fears that the president will try to fire both mueller and rosenstein and like colleagues on both sides of the aisle she warns that would be a critical mistake. but a white house official says the president is now taking matters into his own hands saying this is a political fight and the president plans to fight it. the white house, meanwhile, is digging in. vice president pence has now hired an outside lawyer though he calls that, quote, very view teen. the president's personal lawyer also has hired a lawyer of his own and members of the trump transition team have been
ordered to save records related to russia and to several former campaign aides. i'll talk to democratic congressman hakeem jeffries of the judiciary committee, and our correspondents, specialists and guests are also standing by with full coverage of the day's top stories. president trump threw everybody for a loop today with a stunning tweet on the russia investigation and then he got away from it all, at least for a while, with a hardline speech on cuba. let's begin with our cnn white house correspondent jim acosta. is the president spoiling for a fight over the investigation? >> reporter: he certainly is, wolf. president trump came to miami to bring back the cold war it seems between the u.s. and cuba and while white house officials were desperately trying to stay on message today, the president could not revist commenting on the investigation that's put a serious chill into his administration, the russia probe. >>ment, are you under investigate by the fbi.
>> reporter: ignore questions president trump lashed out on twitter tweeting i'm being investigated ford firing the fbi director by the man who told me to fire the fbi critical of com. president trump praised him last month. >> he's highly respected, very smart guy. the democrats like him, the republicans like him. he made a recommendation, but regardless of recommendation i was going to fire comby. >> pressure is mounting on the president and his team as more of his associates are ensnared in the investigation. the trump transition team sent this letter calling for the preservation of any russia-related documents to former staffers and volunteers writing you have a duty to preserve any physical and electronic records that may be related in any way to the subject matter of the pending investigations. the man who chaired the transition, vice president mike pence, now has his own outside counsel, and the president is
still hearing from key supporters who is urging him to fire special prosecutor robert mueller. adviser roger stone said i'd follow rosenstein and mueller for wasting the tactpayer money and newt gingrich accused mueller's team of being out to get the president. >> that's why i'm very worried about mueller, not that he's a bad person but he's surrounding himself with a collective group of people who are going to engage in a witch e white house, this the no like new york real estate law. this is criminal law. these people are coming after you to put you in prison. >> i am cancelling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with cuba. >> reporter: the probe's twists and turn overshadow the president's new policy towards cuba unveiled in miami where mr. trump hammered the castro government in haverna. >> we will not lift sanctions on
cuba until all political prisoners are existed. >> the government says they don't exist. >> give me a list right now of political prisoners so can i release them. >> reporter: contrast the president's tough rhetoric on castro with his comments on russian president vladimir putin, somebody mr. trump rarely criticizes. >> putin's a killer. >> a lot of killers. we've got a lot of killers. >> reporter: one week ago the president told reporters he'd disclose whether he has recordings of his conversations at the white house in the near future. that has not happened all week long and today the office of the president's outside council tells cnn there's no update to the question where are the tapes? >> not surprised. could deputy attorney general rob roendsine step aside from the russia probe and could that clear the way for the president to make a move against special counsel robert muler? >> well, wolf, rod rosenstein sunday pressure from all side as
the special counsel weighs to look into the obstruction of justice. questions are being raised about whether the deputy attorney general should recuse himself from the investigation and renewing concerns that trump might get rid of rosenstein, the only man who can currently get rid of mueller. the deputy attorney general could be the next department of justice official to recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel's russia investigation which rod rosenstein himself set in motion by hiring robert mueller to lead the probe. >> director muleler have a full degree of independence that he needs to condition duct that investigation appropriate lip. >> reporter: rosenstein's role is under scrutiny now that it appears mueller's probe may have broadened to investigate obstruction of justice which could include the president's firing of fbi director james comey. rosenstein played a role in that decision. his memo is critical of comey was initially used by the white
house to justify the term days. >> president trump made the right decision at the right time, and to -- to accept the recommendation of the deputy attorney general and the attorney general. >> reporter: the president later admitted he was going to fire him anyway. >> i was going to fire regardless of recommendation. >> reporter: today a justice department spokesman told cnn this is about rosenstein's future. quote, if there comes a point where he needs to recuse, he will. however, nothing has changed. questions about his recusal come after this strange statement late thursday in which rosenstein himself referred to recent media reports about whether trump was being investigated saying, quote, americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. that drew concern from democrats like dianne feinstein who sits on the senate intelligence committee that trump was not only considering firing mueller but rosenstein as well. in a statement calling such a move a blatant violation of the
president's oath of office, fintsine warned, quote, if the president thinks he can fire deputy attorney general rosenstein and replace him with someone who will shut down the investigation he's in for a rude awakening. if trump does fire rosenstein or he recuses himself, this investigation would be overseen by associate attorney general rachel brand who the senate confirmed in may to be the third highest ranking official at the justice department. brand previouslier is. at doj under president george bush. >> if confirm, i will strive to undertake my role with integrity, independence and fidelity to constitution a.m. principles and the rule of law. >> reporter: as the investigation moves forward, mueller is now looking at jared kushner's meetings, specifically whether he was acting as a member of the trump campaign in transition or as a real estate businessman when he met with the head of a russian bank. and other members of the trump transition are being directed to preserve records pertinent to the russia probe, including
foreign travel and records related to former trump campaign associates, specifically former national security adviser michael flynn, former foreign policy adviser carter patriot missile, former campaign change paul manafort and his deputy rick gates and longtime trump advisers roger stone. and now a slew of trump associates, including his personal lawyer michael cohen, are lawyering up. vice president mike pence hired a personal attorney although he downplayed the significance today calling it routine and former trump campaign aid michael caputo has also hired a personal attorney. sources tell cnn, wolf, that caputo has been contacted by the fbi. >> all right. elise, thanks very much. joining us now democratic congressman hakeem jeff rivers new york, a member of the house judiciary committee. congressman, thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me, wolf. >> you know the president tweeted this today. i'll put this up on the screen. i am being investigated for
firlgt fbi director by the man who told me to fire fbi director. witch-hunt had. i want you to react to being that tweet. was it appropriate? >> well, twang appropriate. this is a president who has engaged in questionable behavior over the last several months particularly as it relates to the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and russian spies as well as the possibility there may have been an effort to cover it it up, obstruction of justice and abuse of power. this is the man who fired the acting attorney general sally yates after she shared her concerns with the white house that is michael flynn could and third u.s. attorney general preet bear are a and he also fired fbi director james comey
offer apparently comey refused to slow down and/or terminate the ongoing criminal investigation into michael flynn which trump appears to have asked in his conversations with james comey, and so it wouldn't shock me that there could can be further irresponsible behavior from a president who thinks that this is a witch-hunt, but that would be a dramatic turn of events, and i think it would only lead to a further escalation of concern ailing mongts members of congress and the american people as to the behavior of of this president. >> democratic senator dianne feinstein, the ranking member on the judiciary committee and the senate said she's concerned that the president will attempt to fire mueller, the special counsel and the deputy attorney general rosenstein. after this tweet do you actually believe that could happen? >> i think it's a possibility based on the history that i just laid out, but it's going to be important for members of the house and the senate, democrats and republicans, people on the left and the right, to make it clear that no person in this
country is above the rule of law, even the president of the united states of america. there are certain norms that must be followed in terms of allowed this independent special prosecutor tore proceed. bob mueller is incredibly well-respected on both sides of the aisle as a law enforcement professional. i suspect he'll follow the facts wherever they lead. if donald trump should be exonerated, i'm sure that's something that bob mueller would be willing to do as well. >> do you believe, you're a lawyer, should the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein recuse himself from overseeing special counsel mueller's investigation? >> not necessarily at this point, but i do think it's important for rod rosenstein to keep the doors open, and if in
fact there interest questions as to whether donald trump obstructed justice by terminating the fbi director in order to try to thwart or halt the investigation into his campaign's possible collusion with russian spies and rod rosenstein was used to provide a pretextural argument to justify that termination, then it may become at a important point for him to recuse imheavily. that could unleash a series of troubling consequences including who will be left in charge at the department of justice. >> as you know, senator dianne feinstein also said this in a statement. it's becoming clear to me that the president has embarked on an effort to undermine anyone with the ability to bring any misdeeds to light, be it congress, the media or the justice department. the senate should not let that happen. we're a nation of laws that apply equally to everyone, a
lesson the president would be wise to learn. here's the question for you. she's on the senate jkt. do you think your house community members is doing enough to hold. president accountable. >> to the natalie though the chairman is a good man. bob goodlatte, the house judiciary committee has been missing in action as far as our responsibilities in terms of article i, independent and co-equal branch of government in the house of representatives, there are two sides to the united states congress, and we in the house should do our job in overseeing the department of justice and the things that had happening as it relates to the investigation to ensure its independence, to make sure that the president understands that both democrats and republicans stand united in wanting the american people to get the facts without interference from 1600
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committee. congressman, the fbi now has formally denied cnn's freedom of information act request for the former fbi director james comey's memos about his conversations with the president citing a law enforcement exception. those memos -- he said he testified were unclassified, and the explanation the fbi gave us is this. there is a pending or perspective law enforcement proceeding relevant to these responsive records and release of the information in these responsive records could reasonably be expected to interfere in a current proceeding. how do you read that statement? you're an attorney.
>> it seems to me that that's probably the case. you have the underlying criminal investigation that relates to the possibility of collusion between members of the trump campaign, high-level individuals like paul manafort and michael flynn, possibly jeff sessions, michael cohen, his personal attorney, carter page, his foreign policy adviser, other individuals such as jared kushner, and the question as to whether they were engaged in conduct that was criminal collusion with russian spies, that's the ongoing investigation that mueller is undertaking right now, but then, of course, there's the secondary element as to whether there's a possible cover-up and attempt by the president or others at his direction to squelch that investigation because of his view that this was somehow a witch-hunt. that equally would be problematic criminally, and the refusal of the fbi at this point to comply with the freedom of
information suggests the very real possibility that the fbi and a special prosecutor's office are looking hard at the possibility of abuse of power and obstruction of justice and whether there was an attempt to cover up the underlying allegations of criminal conduct. >> yeah. i should point out that cnn, like other news organizations, are suing the fbi in federal court to being a ses to these unclassified memorandum, and as you know one of them was actually handed over to a columbia university professor by connelly and then some of the substance of that made available to the "new york times." we'll stay on top of this part of the story. congressman, thanks for joining us. >> thanks for joining us. >> thanks, wolf and have a great father's day weekend. >> thanks. >> why a u.s. student ended up in a coma after being held in north korea and the doctor of steve scalise saying by the time
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the man who told me to fire the fbi director. witch-hunt. you've written a new article about president trump's relationship with rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general. what's your analysis? >> i mean, he -- it looked like rosenstein feels perhaps that he made a mistake and that he was caught up in a sort of plot to get rosenstein to sign off on trump firing comey when rosenstein didn't actually know all of the facts about comey and trump's relationship, right, and part of this i think is comey's fault f.comb he gone to rosenstein and hadn't kept his -- what he thought was the troubling parts part of his relationship to trump himself, maybe roents inwould not have written that famous memo that trump used to cite when he fired comey. what looks to me from the outside is that rosenstein after comey was fired and after he learned the facts of how trump
told him to back off the flynn investigation and pledge loyalty and all the rest rosenstein appointed the special counsel and went to congress and said even if the president says i should fire the special counsel i won't do it and that sequencech events i think has enraged trump where you get this tweet. he's basically saying i thought this guy was on my side in getting rid of comey and now i'm realizing he's not as pliable as i hoped he would be. >> the whole issue of loyalty is very, very powerful. jamie dimon, as you remember the president's initial explanation for firing comey was the rod rosenstein, among other things, that memoranda or the paper that he submitted and that excuse quickly fell apart during the course of the president's interview with lester holt. >> monday you met with the deputy attorney general rolled rosenstein. >> right. >> did you ask for a recommendation? >> what i did is i was going to
fire comey, my decision. >> had you made the decision before they came in the year? >> i was going to fire comey. he made a recommendation. he's highly respected, very good guy, very smart guy. the democrats like him. the republicans like him. he made a recommendcation but regardless of recommendation i was going to fire comby. >> so why is the president now backtracking on this? >> well, one of the things that we know about the president, what's politically expedient is what's best for him, and we know this is a president, looking back on two years of -- since trump's campaign announce president and throughout the campaign we've seen a president with regard for the facts and the truth and he uses what is most politically expedient at the time and the president was saying this is clearly because of the russia thing. i didn't do it because of the rosenstein memo and now that he feels betrayed as you were talking about, you know, he's now going to use this and go forward and say, you know, we're
going to instead castigate rosenstein, and the question is what does this mean for what comes next? you know, is he going to fire rosenstein in order to fine the special counsel? what comes next is the big question that remains here. >> dianne feinstein certainly has that ominous fear in her mind. rebecca berg, she issued a very strong statement. let me read a couple of lines from it. i'm growing increasingly concerned that the president will attempt to fire not only robert mueller, the special counsel investigating possible obstruction of justice, but also deputy attorney general rosenstein who appointed mueller. the message the president is sending through his tweets is that he believes the rule of law doesn't apply to him and that anyone who thinks otherwise will be fired. that's undemocrat dick on its face and a play than the violation of the president's oath of office. those are very, very strong words from her. >> right, especially when you consider that dianne feinstein is really not at partisan bomb thrower. she chooses her words very carefully. as the ranking member on the
judiciary committee and a member of the intelligence committee that is investigating this matter concerning trump and his campaign and potential russia collusion, she really does take her work on those two committees very seriously. not one to just throw something like this out there unless she really means it, and i think in this case she does want to lay down a marker and lay down a warning to the president of what have would happen if he took those steps. clearly not wanting to take the risk that he would do what he did to james comey. >> danny, you're our legal analyst. what would it take for the deputy attorney general to recuse himself? >> the department of justice has policies on this issue, both in the code of federal regulations, and you can also look to the u.s. attorney's manual as well, but generally speaking, an actual conflict is not required. just the appearance of a conflict or the appearance of the loss of imparitiality, at least under the u.s. attorney's manual is enough for a recusal,
and typically just to give you an idea, wolf, this is the kind of thing that gets report up to your section chief if you're a u.s. attorney. when you're at this high on the apex of the pyramid there, aren't a lot of section chiefs to report up to, but the appearance of a conflict of interest may be enough and should be enough under the regulations. >> yeah, rosenstein himself said he would recuse himself, if necessary. let's take a quick break. we'll resume all of our breaking news coverage right after this. think again. this is the new new york. we are building new airports all across the state. new roads and bridges. new mass transit. new business friendly environment. new lower taxes. and new university partnerships to grow the businesses of tomorrow today. learn more at esd.ny.gov
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we're getting breaking news about a very serious collision involving a u.s. navy destroyer. i want to quickly go to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. what are you hearing? >> reporter: this happened a few hours ago off the coast of japan where day loyalty is now breaking. a u.s. navy warship, the uss fitzgerald," we have some photographs under way, show it apparently colieded with a merchant ship off the coast of japan, according to the u.s. navy. here is what is so concerning at this hour. the u.s. navy confirming that the ship is now -- has now taken on some water. the ship is listing. the japanese coast guard is on scene rendering assistance. the u.s. navy says that there are some u.s. navy personnel who are injury. they are trying to determine that. we're getting some new pictures in, i believe, right now of what
is happening off the coast of japan, on japan's southeast coast, as the japanese coast guard say rival on scene at first light to assist this u.s. navy warship. you can see it listing there. there is a merchant ship it collided with. we don't know how that happened. we don't know the status of the merchant ship. the navy is seeking more details at this hour, and we are told this is now a major incident. the ship is not in danger of sinking, the navy emphasizes, but families are being notified, wolf, about this incident. >> not in danger of being -- of sinking at this point. i'm told -- i'm looking at the information we have on the "uss fitzgerald." is usually has a crew size of about 330 sailors. that's a lot of sailors and presumably some marines on board as well. >> reporter: this is a ship that is actually home ported in japan as part of the forward u.s.
naval presence actually to be a defensive presence against north korea. this is a ship that is a missile defense ship, the 330 crew like every u.s. navy warship practice for these kinds of emergencies, we're told, and the navy has real asked that they emphasize and see no danger at this point of of it sinking, but we have to say as we look at these pictures of the ship listing at this hour, it is not entirely clear what the situation actually s.thes is. these navy ships have a number of protective measures where they can shut off certain areas of the ship. if water comes in, if the hull is breached, which is how water comes in, they can shut off certain areas of the ship. crews practice rapidly moving to safer areas, but we don't know at this hour what exactly transpired, where the ship was
breached, how much water came in and how soon they could shut it o.the u.s. navy issuing a statement saying they are assessing the extend of injuries to u.s. naval personnel so all indications are there are some injured crew members. again, we don't know about the merchant ship that was involved in the collision. the japanese coast guard is a very capable maritime force. they are very experienced. the u.s. navy has excellent working relationships with the japanese forces. they are said now to be on scene rendering assistance, but you look at the picture, wolf, at minimum for the families who are watching who may have loved ones on board, this is a very worrisome situation. again, the navy emphasizing at this hour the ship will not sink. they say there are injuries on board, and we do not know the extent of them. wolf? >> according to the navy website that in february the "fitzgerald" received about $21 million in upgrades and repairs.
all right. barbara, i know you're working this story. you'll get us more information. we'll update our viewers as that comes in. barbara starr over at the pentagon. let's get back to our political and legal specialists as we're awaiting word on all of this. ryan lizza, let me quickly get your thoughts. the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, he put out what i would regard as a sort of bizarre statement. >> yeah. >> about the news media, and anonymous statements. let me read it to you. americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous officials, particularly when they do not identify the country let alone the branch or agency of government with which the allege sources are allegedly affiliated. americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. the department of justice has a long-standing policy to neither confirm or deny such allegations. it's a very strange statement. it sounds like something that the white house or the president may have told him, you know, go after these anonymous sources.
they deny that, by the way. >> a lot of people have speculated that. the justice department has said that that's not the case and now this statement came before two pretty big "washington post" stories, one saying that the president was being investigated for obstruction of justice and another saying that jared kushner, the president's top adviser and son-in-law was being investigated for his financial transactions potentially with russian entities, and, look, one thing, you know, rosenstein really does have a very good reputation as a by-the-book u.s. attorney. this is a guy who was a george w. bush u.s. attorney, that barack obama kept for his entire eight years. it's very rare, so when he came not justice department as deputy attorney general, he was the longest serving u.s. attorney because both republican and democratic presidents trusted him to stay on. he sort of stepped in it a little bit with his memo recommending the firing of comey, but i think that can be justified by the fact that he's a by-the-book guy and thought what comb dein the clinton case really wasn't the case.
so if you -- if you assume that his his true character, perhaps the statement is him trying to navigate both the white house who wants to clamp down on leaks and -- and him just trying to tell justice department officials, hey, don't leak. it's not appropriate. but it sure was unusual. >> he had a sterling reputation when he was the u.s. attorney in baltimore. he was confirmed, what 94-6, something along those lines. jeremy, you cover the white house for us. it does sound like something at the white house initiated even though they deny that. >> it's interesting that a justice department department official told us evan perez was not the white house who ordered them to put out this statement but they did so on background declining to say it on the record right after the justice department's deputy attorney general slams the use of anonymous sources, so, you know, clearly what this is, you know, this always comes against the backdrop of rosenstein and how the.is feeling about him. we saw the tweets this morning suggesting that the deputy attorney general was part of
this witch-hunt that he has slammed for months now and perhaps there's a thought process going on in rosenstein's mind of maybe i need to do something to get a little bit of job security and certainly putting out this the statement might help allay some fears that the white house on the part of the president that rosenstein is a political figure championing this witch-hunt against him. >> very interesting. you know, rebecca, the former speaker of the house, newt gingrich, he's been outspoken in his defense of the president throughout all of this period. i want you to listen to what he said this morning. >> the president of the united states cannot obstruct justice. the.of the united states is the chief executive officer of the united states. if he wants to fire the nbc director, all he's got to do is spitfire him. >> he was the speaker of the house when bill clinton was president of the united states, and he was accused of obstructing justice, and he was eventually impeached by the house of representatives and the speaker of the house was newt gingrich. >> right. well, now the shoe is on the other foot, and newt has taken a different view of things.
i don't want to try to be a newt translator here. it might have been he was talking about criminal obstruction of justice versus impeachment which is a political process and it's very hard to charge the president with a crime. if muler were to find anything troubling about the president himself, it might be he takes that to the houpgs, to tse of representatives, to the senate, and do with this as you want. >> that's way too fair to newt. >> is newt gingrich right when he says the president of the united states cannot obstruct justice, that the president of the united states is the chief executive officer of the united states and if he wants to fire the fbi director all he's got to do is fire him. the latter part is absolutely true. he can fire the fbi director for no reason at all, but the part where he says the president cannot obstruct justice. is that true? >> that's incorrect, especially based on that logic. yes, it's lawful.
yes, the president can fire the fbi director. that's a lawful act, but there are plenty of federal laws that can be violated by lawful acts with an evil or corrupt intent. a simple example would be bribery. if you give an official a bag of cash and that official gives you a job, those two acts are by themselves lawful, but they are done corruptly, and with the corrupt intent that is the factor. that's the element that makes an otherwise lawful act unlawful under any of a jubilee of different federal criminal laws. there are variances of scope and definition and obstruction is certainly one of those laws. >> everybody stand by for a moment, because we're following multiple breaking news stories right now. the latest medical update on congressman steve scalise. just a little while ago one of his doctors revealed the congressman was in imminent risk of death by the time he arrived at that d.c. hospital after being shot wednesday morning.
i want to go to the hospital right now. cnn's ryan nobles is on the scene for us. so how is congressman scalise, ryan, doing right now? snoop well, wolf, the short answer is that he's doing much better, especially much better than condition that he arrived in here at the washington medstar hospital center just a couple of days ago. we actually got a detailed report as to his condition when he arrived from the head of trauma here. listen to the doctor describe what the situation was like here just a couple of days ago. >> the congressman's statues remains critical. we're encouraged by improvement in his condition over the last 36 hours. we've controlled the bleeding, and his vital signs from stabilized. he will require additional operations to manage abdominal injuries and other bone injuries. the round fragmented and did substantial damage to bones, internal organs and blood vessels. i understand he was awake on
scene, but by the time he was transported by president to the medstar trauma center he was in shock. i would say that when he arrived he was in critical condition with an imminent risk of death. >> sitting in on that press conference today, wolf, there was no doubt that you got the impression there is a good chance he might make a full and complete recovery, even to the point where he might be able to run again. which is remarkable given everything he has been through. but the doctor cautioned us. there is still a very long road ahead. there could be more setbacks, more surgeries. no mat every what, he will be in the hospital for a long time, and require a great deal of recovery and rehabilitation going forward. >> we wish him only a speedy recovery, only the very best. thank you. also breaking right now, president trump calling what happened to u.s. in north korea
a terrible thing. what happened to this 2 22-year-old while held for about a year and a half in north korea in. >> u.s. officials searching for more information tonight as to what happened to him that caused him to lapse into a vegetative state. kim jong-un's regime is saying nothing about what happened. the mystery surrounding to what happened to this student in north korea, seen here playing in the snow with children in pyongyang, is deepening. american officials say they are no closer to knowing what led the 22-year-old to be arrested by the regime of kim jong-un for stealing a sign. >> what happened to him is a truly terrible thing but least the ones who love him so much
can now take care of him and be with him. >> his doctors say they found no evidence to support north korea's claim he contracted botch list them cab ticaptivity return together u.s. he is unresponsive, lost much of his brain issue, due to pulmonary arrest, and the information september by pyongyang suggests he has been in this state for for months. >> information dated april 2016, based on our analysis of those images, the brain injury likely occurred in the preceding weeks. >> experts say while they are surprised north korea would allow an american held to reach such critical condition, they say mistreatment in north korean jails is not uncommon. >> we know that they applied very brutal treatment, torture, beating, rape, to their own people. and also to foreigners who are held in custody. >> all of a sudden he was thrown into this hell hole.
so anything is possible. he could have suffered shock when he was sentenced to hard labor. he could have been beaten. he could have tried to take his own life. whatever the circumstances, it is likely the result of the fact that the north koreans put him in this situation. >> another key question, why did kim's regime keep the condition a secret for so long. >> perhaps they waited, hoping he would come out of the coma. he didn't. eventually they panicked. >> pressed by cnn, u.s. officials are not commenting tonight on how they might retaliate for the return of a 22-year-old american in this condition. >> i think this will put pressure on the administration to be more supportive of tougher human rights sanctions and to not wait so long for the chinese. i think this puts the monkey back on the back of the administration. >> tonight, even as america contemplates what it will do in
the case, a prominent reality star is wined and dined by north korean regime. dennis rodman arrived in pyongyang on tuesday. u.s. national security officials say the visit is not on behalf of the u.s. and rodman says he is there to promote sports. the former star of trump's show, celebrity apprentice presented north korean officials with trump's book "the art of the deal." rodman said he is not in north korea to help free three other americans held there. as for how america is going to respond to the situation, analyst say u.s. officials have to be careful about any possible retaliation because of the possibility that kim jong-un's regime could turn its guns on u.s. allies, south korea or japan or do harm to any of the three americans still detained in north korea. we're told u.s. officials are weighing the pollity ssibility banning all-american tourists
from traveling to north korea. wolf? >> you know, the student's father turned his anger toward the tour company. >> he has. the tour company claims this is the safest tour ever, no americans are detained. that tour company called young pioneer tours denied all of that saying they never make those claims and they have very strict warnings for tourist of what to do and not to do. >> brian todd reporting for us. thank you, coming up, breaking news. president trump says he is being investigated for firing the fbi director by the man who he says told him to fire the fbi director. could rod rosenstein be forced to step aside? lease the 2017 es 350 for $329 a month for 36 months. experience amazing at your lexus dealer.
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the president goes after his dwep uty attorney general suggesting he's to blame for a witch hunt. leaving mr. trump personally under investigation. tonight a new warning that the president may be getting ready to fire rod rosenstein or special counsel he appointed. >> terrorists killed. russia claims he may have scored a critical hit with one the air strikes in syria killing the illusive leader of isis. but tonight the u.s. military is not convinced. the president goes to miami to unveil new restrictions on u.s. dealings with cuba and to slam his predecessor again. did he oversell his