tv MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi MSNBC June 15, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
>> thank you. as katy said, lots to get to on this thursday evening. we're about to get an update on the condition of otto warmbier. he was the student released by north korea after a year in prison. this is the live look at cincinnati where the 22-year-old arrived in a coma yesterday. his parents say he has a severe neurological injury. they spoke yesterday, and it was emotional. >> we're thrilled our son is on american soil. we're at the school that he thrived in, and i'm able to talk to you on otto's behalf and i'm able to wear the jacket that he wore when he gave his confession. i'm not confessing. i'm speaking, but otto, i love you, and i'm so crazy about you, and i'm so glad you are home. you are such a great guy.
>> his father, fred, is referring to the coat that warmbier wore during his trial in north korea where he was convicted of trying to steal a propaganda poster, and he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. we are getting the people walking to the podium now. let's listen in. >> to provide an update on otto's medical condition and the care he is currently receiving at uc health's university of cincinnati medical center. today, you will hear from the following physicians. dr. daniel canter. director of the neuro program, and uc professor of neurology and medicine. dr. jordan geronimo. he is with the institute. he is a associate professor and
director of the uc department of the emergency medicines division of critical care. and dr. brandon foreman. neurointensive care specialist with the neuroscience institute, and uc professor of neurology and rehabilitation medicine. before we begin, we want to make clear that our physicians' comments will focus on what we know today regarding otto's medical condition. we will begin with dr. canter who will provide a summary. we will then accept questions regarding fact -- we will then accept questions and will conclude this gathering in approximately 20 minutes. at that time, we will then accept questions regarding fact-checking and you can talk with kelly martin, who is down in front here.
regarding any facts or information condititained in th press materials you have received. please note our physicians will not be granting individual interviews and a copy of dr. canter's remarks will be provided to you as you exit today. dr. canter? >> good afternoon. our purpose today is to describe the medical and neurological condition of mr. otto warmbier, who arrived at our medical center approximately 40 hours ago. the warmbier family has given us permission and has asked us to disclose his current medical condition. mr. warmbier arrived in cincinnati at approximately 10:00 p.m. on june 13th. dr. jordan and the transport team met the aircraft and assumed care of the patient at
the airport. he was transported to the neuroscience intensive care unit at the university of cincinnati medical center where dr. brandon foreman and his team were waiting. an extensive series of imaging and diagnostic tests began immediately upon his arrival at our hospital. throughout this process, the warmbier family has been at their son's bedside and information has been continuously shared with them. his vital signs were stable upon arrival, and have remained so. he requires no supplemental oxygen or respiratory assistance. he has no signs of infection or dysfunction of the major non-neurological organs. his neurological condition can be best described as a state of unresponsive wake fufuwakefulne. he has spontaneous eye-opening
and blinking, however, he shows no signs of understanding language. responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surroundings. he has not spoken. he has not engaged in any purposeful movements or behaviors. his exam shows a spastic quad ra par sis. which means he has profound weakness and contraction in the muscles of his arms and legs. the most important diagnostic test thus far was an imaging scan of the brain. this study showed extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain. we have no certain or verifiable knowledge of the cause or circumstances of his neurological injury.
this pattern of brain injury, however, is usually seen as a result of cardiopulmonary arrest where the blood supply to the brain is inedadequate for a perd of time resulting in the death of brain tissue. we received copies of brain mri images from north korea. the earliest images are dated april, 2016. based upon our analysis of those images, the rain. injury likely occurred in the preceding weeks. at the request of the family, information regarding his prognosis, prospects for improvement and future care and treatment will remain confidential. throughout this ordeal, the warmbier family has shown
remarkable courage, strength and compassion. on behalf of the medical staff, nurses and associates of the university of cincinnati medical center, i can say that it is our privilege to care for their son and brother. thank you. >> at this time, we will accept questions. please raise your hand, and kelly martin to my left, your right, will acknowledge you and bring a microphone to you so that everyone may hear your question. >> hi there. josh clancy from "the sunday times" of london. you spoke about cardiopulmonary arrest.
what kind of things might cause that? i mean, cause it sounds to me like, you know, physical abuse might be something that could bring that on. could you talk a little more about that? >> we have no certain or verifiable information about what happened to otto prior to his departure from north korea, but one of the more likely causes in a young person would have been a respiratory arrest. >> hi. miguel marquez from cnn. on your mri scans that you did of mr. warmbier, was there any indication of a trauma to any part -- were there any fractures, anything in the head or other parts of the body? and would you know if he were in a coma for quite some time if he had suffered a heart attack or
something that would cut off blood supplies to the brain? would you be able to tell at this point that he suffered botulism, took a sleeping pill, had some other allergic reaction or some sort of reaction to something he took there? >> well, there are several questions put together there. dr. foreman will address the botulism question. let me address the question of injuries. among the battery of tests we performed, we examined the long bones of the body, and looked at the boney structures of the ribs, the pelvis, the skull, and he has had ct scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis. in those scans, we see no evidence of an acute or healing fracture, including the skull. the botulism question -- >> as it relates to botulism.
it's a toxin that causes nerve injury, and as part of his evaluation with us, we performed nerve conduction studies. those tests did not provide any dener denerveation or botulism at this time. it tends not to, and so the chronic dener vags was what we were looking for and we didn't find evidence of that. >> sheryl stollberg of "the new york times." can you talk about how long a patient in this kind of condition might be expected to go on? >> at the request of the family, issues regarding his future, his prognosis, are subject to ongoing discussion. they wish us to keep those
discussions private and confidential, so we will refrain from speculating about what might happen in the future to him. >> it would overlap with our private discussions with the family too much. >> ron motte from nbc news. you spoke about botulism. what's the likelihood of the story put forward by the north koreans that botulism plus a sleeping pill led to this result? have there been cases similar to this where that combination, it seems very rare and random? i just wanted to get your professional opinion about the plausibility of that explanation from the north koreans. >> it would be really hard to speculate on anything prior to his departure from north korea. we have limited information about that time period. >> christina corbin, fox news.
i wanted to clarify, dr. forman. you say you didn't find any evidence of botulism at all? >> that's correct. yes. >> okay. >> linzie janis, abc news. you said something about -- about a respiratory arrest. what would trigger that? >> there are many causes of respiratory arrest. they can extend from intoxication to trauma. there can be other causes in a young person, but in general, respiratory assist in young, otherwise healthy people, it's a rare event generally caused by something caused by intoxication or traumatic injury. >> for any three of you, what otto as suffered, is this reversible damage? can he recover from there?
wh what is his brain going through long-term? >> there is severe injury to all regions of the brain, but because of the family's sentivi sensitivi sensitivity, we're going to refrain from discussing what the future holds for him. >> i'm from "the cincinnati inquirer." given his condition, can you tell if he has been given good care for the last year plus since he has been in this condition? >> we still of course, don't know for sure what transpired before he arrived. we can describe his condition upon arrival. his skin was in good condition. and he was well nourished when he arrived at our facility. >> amanda kelly at wlwt. i was wondering how difficult it is for all of you to treat a patient that has such a gap in his medical history. i know that's very important
when anyone goes to the doctor's. it has it been like for you? >> that has been -- certainly, that has been a challenge. i think one of the things that we did well as part of his care team was we really performed a comprehensive evaluation of diagnosti diagnostics. we made a lot of inferences about his condition, and so by working with such a great team, i think we had a lot of great information we weren't able to get with the missing records and information you pointed out. [ inaudible ] >> we have no ongoing relationship.
these scans were present on a disk. just the material, and they came with them, with the air transport service. there are two scans on the disk. they are dated april and july, 2016. that's the notation. of course, we can't verify that. his current scan is consistent with evolution of changes that were visible on those scans. the word extensive in his case refers to severe loss of tissue. [ inaudible question ] >> sure. so -- so the final common pathway is the lack of blood flow to the brain for long enough to destroy brain cells. this can occur from a cardiac arrest alone, where the heart stops pumping blood or from a respiratory arrest where there is inadequate oxygen supplied to
the body, which then will shut down the body. it's hard to figure out what happened. >> how does it work? so if one suffers that sort of event, the blood stops flowing to the brain, is the damage done all at once or what was that evolution of change that you saw from march -- i'm sorry. march to july, and then presently, what we have. did it get progressively worse, or was all the damage done in one go? >> the evolving changes on the mri are consistent with tissue -- tissue evolution. not new damage. so as the tissue is initially damaged, the body tries to remove the damaged tissue. those are the kinds of changes we're seeing is the remove of the -- removal of the damaged tissue by the bodies.
a pulmonary arrest happens within minutes of the bodty. [ inaudible question ] >> we do see respiratory arrest from overdose, medication overdose, intentional and otherwise. it would be inappropriate for me to speculate about the intent or whether this was a misadministration of medication. we have very little information about otto prior to his departure from north korea. >> mr. warmbier in his press conference criticized the north korean regime about withholding topnotch medical care from his son. i wanted to get your opinions
about whether in this ordeal, you think he has had access to topnotch medical care, and the second question, the term you mentioned unresponsive wakefulness, and that he does have some eye movement from time to time, can you tell if there is any recognition on his part about his surroundings? >> so in terms of his medical care and north korea, we have absolutely no information about the care that he received there. there's no way i can speculate on his care there. what i can tell you is here we have really taken a lot of effort to make sure we have addressed any problems that he may be having including his comfort and symptoms related to the extensiveness of his brain injury. with regard to the state of unresponsive wakefulness that he is currently in, the way we evaluate him to be able to determine that is based on a
lack of consistent and persistent interaction with his environment. he has no consistent responses. in our evaluation based on standard recovery skills or those things in addition to our imaging and diagnostics, we don't feel he has conscious awareness in this unresponsive wakefulness state. sorry. i wanted to follow up. were the scans that you got from the north koreans the entirety of everything you got from them? were there any other files? and are there any other signs of choking or drowning or anything else to the soft tissue you might be able to tell from the scans you have done? >> i can take this. so there was a ct scan of the soft tissues of the neck as part of our test. at the present time, the study looks normal.
we received a few pages of laboratory value reports from north korea, which are numerical values of blood tests with dates. they did not, however, shed light on the circumstances of his injury or the exact cause. >> so of course, the speculation was that he was badly beaten, so what, if any, evidence did you see on the mri of any injuries or trauma like that? >> the mri, as i said previously -- >> we have been listening to doctors from the university of cincinnati health center who have been evaluating otto warmbier, the young man who was returned after being held in north korea for over a year. they are discussing that he has -- he is in a state of unresponsive wakefulness as they describe it. there do not seem to be a lot of things wrong with him that are not related to his brain.
they said he had a pattern of brain injury that is usually seen as cardiopulmonary arrest where the blood to the brain stops, and causes loss of brain tissue. the doctors said in agreement with the family, they are not going to be discussing his treatment or his prognosis, so questions about that didn't get answered. but they say that he did not appear to have evidence of broken bones, and that the information they got from the north koreans, there was some medical information that came along. reported to be scans and blood tests, and they said that there is nothing there that gave them information into whether, you know, how otto warmbier came about this injury that resulted in his being in a coma. this is still a mystery. they were not able to shed a lot of light because they said he is not responsive, and they don't have information about how he got into the state that he is in, but that he is in a state of unresponsive wakefulness.
they did say that they will not be conducting interviews and they will not be giving information about otto warmbier's prognosis or his treatment going forward. so not as much information as people would have liked out of that, but it does seem that how otto warmbier got into a coma remains a bit of a mystery. we'll continue to follow that story, and if we get updates on it, we'll share them with you. the one other piece of information i want to bring you is the doctors say they seem to think that the brain injury they suffered may be more than a year old which is an important piece of information. he may have been in this coma state for more than a year. all right. in just about four hours from now, democrats and republicans will take the field at nationals park in washington, d.c. for their annual charity baseball game. this of course, after a gunman opened fire on republican team members during their practice on wednesday morning, yesterday. democrats, republicans and
president trump all today calling for bipartisan unity after the shooting. authorities are still at the crime scene today. they are scouring the area for evidence. the investigation into the suspect, 66-year-old james hodgkinson continues. four people, including house majority whip, steve scalise, were shot and wounded by gunfire during the shootout. a source familiar with the situation tells nbc news in a congressman scalise is unt undergoing a third surgery today. he remains in critical condition after he was shot in his left hip. president trump visited congressman scalise late in the hospital last night. he spoke about that visit today. >> it has been much more difficult than people even thought at the time. it has been -- he is in some trouble, but he is a great fighter and he is going to be okay, we hope. i visited steve and his family at the hospital last night. and i reassured them that the
entire country is pulling for them, praying for them, and that we are here for them every single step of the way. >> all right. for more, i want to bring in garrett haake who is at the scene of yesterday's shooting in alexandria, virginia. nbc's kelly o'donnell is following this from the hospital, and nbc's hans nichols is at the white house. let me start with youe, garrett. there was police activity, and they are scouring the area. any sense of what they are looking for? the alleged gunman has been killed. what are they trying to figure out? >> reporter: well, the fbi evidence response teams have been very active here throughout the afternoon working through the field here behind me. behind the baseball field, and particular ply focused on this area over my shoulder along the third baseline where a lot of the shooting has taken place. looking for any evidence they can find including shell cases. the fbi announced this afternoon
they have recovered the two weapons used. a .9-millimeter hand can you gun, and a 7.62 rifle. that could be a variety of guns. i'm not a firearms expert, but they have recovered those two weapons, and more importantly, perhaps, they have finished processing the suspects a car, and in it, they have found a cell phone, laptop, computer and a camera. questions about motive, and now they will be able to look at not just his public social media profiles, but his private correspondence. things like e-mails, text messages and phone calls who find out who he was talking to and what he was saying in the days and weeks leading up to the shooting. >> kelly, there was so much positive conversation about steve scalise, and what a great guy he was and what a fighter he is, and how he was conscious when he went to the hospital. somewhere lost in there seemed to be the seriousness of his injuries, which sort of became clearer to people last night.
when a statement came out to say he is in critical condition. he already had two surgeries and there were probably many more, and this bullet entered his body, and you heard the president talking about the fact he is in rougher shape than a lot of people thought. >> reporter: i think the initial reports and the fact he was conscious and talking was so encouraging that people didn't realize the depth of the seriousness of what steve scalise is going through. we have not had any new, official statements from the hospital today. but the report they put auout lt night was very encompassing and it was dealing with the fact that the one gunshot wound entered through the left side, and it caused blood cause, breaking bones and required a series of procedures. two were completed yesterday. we were told a third expected today, and that we may get some additional update later on, but
obviously, with balancing the concerns of privacy, the family needing to get information first there. consent to provide additional information. we don't know more, but we know in is a sense of an every-man way that the president describes he is in tough shape. i can tell you a number of lawmakers were able to come visit early in the day. so was the vice president and mrs. pence, but again, given critical condition, and there were limitations on how many interaction he can have as he is recovering. also true of another patient who is not as well known publicly. not an office holder. former hill staffer, matt mika, who is at a different hospital. several gunshot wounds to the dh chest. his family releasing a statement saying, he will need a number of surgeries. he w he is unable to breathe without assistance right now, and
painting an upsetting picture. the damage done from this gunshot, and for mike, it was multiple gunshots. >> we want to keep track of that. garrett, what have you got? dw. >> reporter: we just heard from a neighbor that some of the congressional staffers have come back to pick up the congressman's baseball gear that was left here as everyone scattered yesterday during the shooting. we're going to go around the corner and see if we can check that out. >> we'll follow along with you as you do that. we'll keep track of where you are and come back to you if you have got something. hans, interestingly enough, the president commented on this in the course of assigning that he was scheduled to do yesterday adds part of a job promotion week. the sounds of bipartisanship have been coming from both sides of capitol hill in the last 24 hours. it has been interesting to hear
a remarkable shift in tone there. >> reporter: and from the president himself, really taking this opportunity trying to unify the country. you want to sense for how much donald trump wanted to turn the page. he ended those remarks, at least the preface talking about how much he expected the appreciated the press. that's not something we have heard from this president too often and in the recent future. perhaps the tragedy that befell steve scalise and the others could help the country move past a partisan and divisive time. >> steve in his own way, may have brought some unity to our long-divided country. we have had a very, very divided country for many years. and i have a feeling that steve has made a great sacrifice, but there could be some unity being brought to our country. let's hope so. >> reporter: even at the end of that impromptu remarks there, reporters shouting questions at
president trump, wanting to know whether or not he is aware of any sort of contacts between robert mueller and his staff. whether or not he thinks he is under investigation or he is still cleared. so the president trying to move past things. trying to unify the country, but still a very complicated time, and a lot of unanswered questions about what's happening with robert mueller. what's happening with the investigation and what the president may or may not have done in terms of contacting folks in the intelligence community to potentially as nbc has confirmed and "the washington post" reported, potentially obstructing justice. >> that news broke yesterday evening and as a result, a lot of people focused on the shooting and rightfully so. we do not have an official response from the president, and i know reporters are trying to get a response from him today. he did not. he ignored any reference. hans, thank you very much. we'll stay close to you and kelly and garrett on these developments. we have got other news. the jury in bill cosby's sexual
assault trial is deadlocked. the judge told them to try again which is a sign of hope for cosby's defense team. >> these jurors, they have been very judicious. they have really taken their time to redo and retry the case in that deliberation room, and this shows the not guilty that cosby has been saying the entire time. tech: when you schedule with safelite autoglass, you get time for more life. this family wanted to keep the game going. son: hey mom, one more game? tech: with safelite, you get a text when we're on our way. you can see exactly when we'll arrive. mom: sure. bring it!
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right now, we could be in the final moments of the bill cosby sexual assault trial after more than 30 hours of deliberations. earlier today, the jury came before the judge to say, they were deadlocked. the judge's answer to that, go back and try again. this is video from earlier today. you can see bill cosby there. joining me from the norristown, pennsylvania courthouse is ron allen. also our legal analyst, katie fang and ted williams. i'll start with you, ron. tell us about the reaction to what happened earlier today. >> reporter: well, as you know, this case is about andrea constand's accusations against bill cosby, but there have been
dozens of other women who have come forward in recent years with similar allegations and accusations. those cases are not part of it except that many of those women are here. they have been sitting through this every day. their cases have passed the statute of limitations, but they have invested their hopes in andrea constand and they have formed a sisterhood. one of them is lily bernard who claims in the '90s while she was preparing for an appearance on "the cosby show," cosby assaulted her. she was saying the accusers should have come forward much sooner. here's what happened. >> martin luther king jr. said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. martin luther king also said -- >> this is justice?
this is justice? >> he also said -- martin luther king jr. also said that if you can not lie, then run. if you can not run, then walk. if you cannot walk, then crawl. but whatever you do -- yes, i did. i ran away from pit. >> you just carve a tunnel through the dark mountain of this. >> a lot of emotion inside and outside the courthouse because this is the last case -- this is the only case that cosby can be criminally prosecuted for. the others' statute of limit takes has expired and a lot of people are hoping he is found guilty, and when the jury was deadlocked, it was devastating for them, to put it mildly. they have been back in the deliberation room for several house, and it's unclear to them how much longer they want to deliberate before telling the judge they are either deadlocked or may have reached a decision
on one of the three counts. there are three decisions they have to make. at this point, they said they were deadlocked on all three, and the cosby team as you heard is determined to end this. they asked for a mistrial. the judge didn't grant it. we wait. we'll see. unclear. once the jury comes out and says where they are, if they are still deadlocked, it's up to the judge to determine whether to send them back or declare a mistrial and the charges get dropped against bill cosby. the speculation is that because they have been deliberating so long now for more than 30 hours, which is long for a trial just over a week, we should have a verdict. a finality to all of this, very soon. >> reporter: they have been at it about 33 hours now. just after 30 hours when they were deadlocked and went in. this is a long, hard-working jury. they have been at it and it's thursday afternoon and they are closing in on 33 or 34 hours. they have been working hard at this. katie, what's wrong here for the
prosecution? we saw them asking for readbacks and transcripts of andrea constand's testimony. there is clearly somebody or more than one person on the jury who is unconvinced. >> reporter: the jury is 12 people. 7 men and 5 people. it hasn't just been the victim's readback, but they have asked the court to read back cosby's deposition testimony and statements made to law enforcement. i want to make something clear. if he as in cosby, gets a mistrial as a result of a deadlock, it does not mean that the prosecution will drop the charges. the prosecution can always retry bill cosby, but in the court of public opinion, let's be honest. this guy is never going to recover. he is 79, 80 years old, so he doesn't spend the next ten years in prison, but he'll never recover from this, and it will
be unfortunate if they can't come to a decision because both sides want a decision today. >> in the court of public opinion, many people are probably puzzled as to what this jury is struggling with, but, in fact, in the specifics of this case, this case we know that there are dozens of women who made accusations against bill cosby, and this revolves around two women in particular, and for whatever reason, the prosecution hasn't been able to -- these jurors are being sequestered, that this is the slam-dunk that many people have seen it to be outside of the courtroom. >> reporter: this case boils down to veracity and credibility. and who you want to believe. now what the prosecution did because there is no physical evidence, they brought in and what they want to try to bring in, are the 60 women. the inference. they want the jury to say, hey.
if all of these 60 women say this happened, well, it must have happened. you must find him guilty. they put one woman on the stand. the judge allowed her to testify. the jury -- if they believed that william henry cosby jr. was guilty, they could have found that on day one when they took a vote. so they are deadlocked. they are looking at the testimony now of andrea constand, and that testimony doesn't bode well, unfortunately, i think. and it gives reasonable doubt. you wait one year to come forward. you didn't get paid. and after you get paid, then you still have some kind of a relationship with cosby. those are what the -- i think the jury is fighting about, and it's either one or more of the
jurors that are fighting this. >> we'll continue to cover this. thanks for your help and making sense of it to all three of you. back to the other big story we're following. all eyes on nationals park in washington, d.c. 7:00 p.m. eastern tonight. democrats and republicans are going to play their annual charity baseball game that of course, comes after a gunman opened fire on republicans yesterday during a practice at a different location. four people were shot and wounded including house majority whip, steve scalise of louisiana who remains in critical condition. for more, i want to bring in republican congressman, darren yoeder. he is playing in tonight's baseball game. congressman, it's, you know, steve scalise has been a friend of this channel. he has been on our shows. he has always engaged in dialogue, but the president said something interesting today in that this horror for steve scalise and the others who were injured may have moved us forward on something that is a big struggle on capitol hill.
and that is the civility that you have been trying to work toward. >> that's right. it has been a somber mood here in the last 24 hours or so. members are still coming to grips with what happened. people are sort of shocked that this could happen at a baseball park. and i think they are also taking stock and a look into democrats that we have big fights on the house floor, and we are all the same family. an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. this is a heartbreaking tragedy that all of us with processing across the country, but it's also an opportunity. it's a tragedy for us to come together. yesterday and today, they were some of the most unifying moments we have seen. republicans and democrats in tears, hugging each other. reaching out to each other. really re-enforcing some of the better strengths of the community of washington and bringing us together.
i went with a democratic colleague to dessert where we worked on communication and understanding each other's ideas. that's what produces better legislation for the american people, and this is the right thing to do. we need more civility towards each other, and we need to have a better tone here in washington, d.c. >> so congressman in the old days, it was normal to have civility across party lines. it was normal for a republican to sometimes vote for a democratic bill or a democrat to vote for a bill sponsored by a republican. you and your colleagues 20 years ago would have shared a conversation and would have been playing swash after work, having dinner together. what in your opinion got us to where we are today where everybody is at everybody's throats and nobody thinks twice about things other than their party? >> i think it's a combination of factors. the last line i could possibly
get on is spending time in my district. the constituents, and i'm on the first flight out, and that's how most of congress are. the kids go the school together and have barbecue in the backyard on the weekends. we know each other as individuals and friends a opposed to someone they don't know across the aisle. once you know them as a person, then you know, okay -- they have a legitimate argument. >> sorry, congressman. we have an audio problem. it's on our side. we seem to have a problem. i have lost your audio at this point. we got your message and we appreciate what you are trying to do. kevin yoder of kansas. next, bombshells. special counsel robert mueller investigating president trump for possible obstruction of justice. actions taken during the
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a game-changing new chapter in the russia investigation this afternoon. nbc news has confirmed that president trump is now under federal investigation, and at the center of that, a huge question. did he attempt to about instruct justice? a former senior intelligence official with knowledge of the discussions confirms to nbc
news, special counsel robert mueller has requested interviews with dan coats, the man on the left of your screen and national security agency chief admiral, mike rogers on the right of your screen the right of your screen about their conversations with the president. trump responded on twitt eter earlier today, he said "they made up a phony collusion with the russian story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on phony story. nice." then he tweeted "you're witnessing the single greatest witch hunt in american political history led by very bad and conflicted people." senator marco rubio has since come out to tell our kasie hunt he does not feel this is a witch hunt. here to talk with us about this this afternoon, nick ackerman, with the watergate special prosecution force. nick, thanks for being with us. >> thank you for having any. >> there are a lot of people who think all of this is much adieu about nothing.
this isn't whether the trump campaign colluded with russia, this is now about whether the president tried to stop an investigation. >> correct, but they're both related. this is a separate investigation into him obstructing the fbi investigation, but look, who brought this on? it was the president who brought it on, himself. who was it that told james comey to stop the investigation after he cleared the oval office of all of his officials? it was the president. it was the president that admitted that, in fact, he actually asked comey, you know, he got rid of comey because of the russian investigation. >> right. >> he told the russian ambassador that comey was a nutcase. now that he got rid of him, he got rid of the investigation. >> very bad to be the president's private lawyer because -- >> terrible. >> you're right, we wouldn't have known these things largely if not for the president. >> look, when i was prosecutor, i never had a defendant who just admitted to basically the key element on obstruction of justice, which is the corrupt intent. the intent to stop the
investigation. >> right. >> now, you can't divorce this from this whole russian collusion, because even though motive is not a critical element to prove obstruction of justice, it is a critical piece of explaining why would donald trump go out of his way to help this guy, mike flynn, who is obviously not a longtime friend. >> right. >> a best -- >> very short-term friend, actually. >> exactly. >> let me ask you this, as people -- i'm sure somebody is tweeting right now to say what's the crime and what could you charge him with, anyway. >> charge who? >> the president. >> obstruction of justice. >> is he not able to not be charged as a sitting president or is that just history that the justice department doesn't typically do that? >> well, i don't think constitutionally it makes sense because you have to have a president be involved in running the government as opposed to spending all of his time defending himself in a criminal trial. that's what you want to avoid. which is why i think the proper procedure is to first put together the evidence. it they turn out in this
obstruction case that there are other people that could be charged. >> right. >> for example, jared kushner was involved in the decision to fire comey. it appears there may have been other people involved in making up this pretextual reason as to why comey was fired. >> again, we would only know that there were different reasons largely because we've heard them from the president. >> well, that helps. >> had a conversation with lester holt about it. this isn't -- we're not having to work hard to glean this information. >> no. this is amazing. i mean, as a former prosecutor, you just never get this kind of evidence. >> right. >> it's truly, truly amazing but it's not to say that there aren't a number of different avenues for investigations. what were the facts and circumstances surrounding the comey firing? who else was involved? whose idea was it to first come up with this pretextural reason that the rosenstein memo was the but for cause? what it is that flynn was doing with the russian ambassador that makes trump so nervous about wanting to stop this investigation? >> nick, you can't make this
stuff up. >> impossible. >> yeah. good to see you. special watergate prosecutor. a live look inside nationals park in our nation's capital. the park opens in 90 minutes from now for the annual congressional charity baseball game. it is, of course, going to have a very different feel this year after yesterday's attack on the gop team as the team was practicing in alexandria, virginia. some wondered if the game would go on. lawmakers including those shot at said there was no question in their mind that the game would be played. >> some people thought maybe we should not play it. speaker ryan and all, joe barton, talked about we need to play this game, it's baseball, it's america. when america gets punched, america punches back. we'll do that tonight. >> congressman williams sprained his ankle during the shooting. his staffer, zach barr, was shot in the leg. he was one of four people hit by gunfire. security will, of course, be on everyone's minds tonight for the game. nbc's katie beck is at the park for us right now. katie, what's the situation? it's still early but it's
opening up i guess an hour and a half from now. >> reporter: yes. the first pitch is supposed to be thrown out at 7:05 tonight. we are told ticket sales have been record today. obviously that security threat while it is in the front of people's mind is not stopping them from coming out tonight and showing their support. now this event has a long mi history, long bipartisan history going back 100 years in washington. this event tonight will stand out from all the rest in the wake of yesterday's horrible tragedy. i think the message lawmakers are trying to send by continuing forward with this event is that they want to see solidarity on that field. they want to put that partisan rhetoric aside and try and bridge a divide tonight that people can see. when their chips are down, this is when you need to be unified and i think that's the message that tair they're trying to sen. this is also a charitable event. they gathered more than $600,000 in donations that they give to children's organizations. that was also an important factor in continuing forward with this event. they want nthat money to go to the recipients that need it the
most. so i think a lot of people will be coming out tonight to show american spirit, and see bipartisanship at its best here on the field. so i think that's what they're hoping to achieve tonight here at the field. >> katie, tell me, again, because a lot of people are asking -- have been asking, are there very visible, to you, that the security there is different than it would be on a normal night at nationals park? because these days baseball games are higher-security events generally than they used to be. >> reporter: yeah, i think everyone is certainly on high alert. we've been here since this morning and there were certainly people out sweeping and making sure security protocols were as they should be. as you know, there was a discussion of the president attending tonight, they ruled the possibility out for security reasons. it's simply too difficult to secure a ballpark within 24 hours with all these entrances and exits. so, yes, i think they are taking extra precautions. i think everyone's on high alert given what happened yesterday. >> all right, katie, thanks. i think this is a game that normally most americans don't
watch but tonight lots of people will be paying close attention to. katie beck for us. all right. tonight's congressional game is so important because it's always been a symbol of bipartisanship. it is one of the longest-running rivalries in both american sports and american politics. the game was organized by a professional baseball player turned congressman, john tenner, in 1909. now, this longstanding tradition is about charity above all else. the boys a s & girls club of grr washington. washington nationals dream foundation and washington literacy center have all benefited from the proceeds in the past as katie just said. the proceeds tonight are going to be big. people are selling out, buying their tickets and the thing is selling out very quickly. this year's game, by the way, is intended to honor the victims of the recent attacks in london and manchester, england. so it's kind of interesting that it, itself, the practice was a victim to an attack yesterday. but the republican team's final
practice yesterday ended up being the 154th mass shooting in the united states in 2017. when congressman steve scalise and three others were shot during the republicans' final practice session yesterday, it turned from a practice into a tragedy. scalise has participated in the event for nearly a decade now. ever since he was elected in 2008. we hope that he will continue to participate in the future. he won't be there today. members of both parties spoke out in favor of bipartisanship and the resilience of the american spirit. >> i always reference our founders because they were so -- god blessed us so with their leadership and they knew we would have our differences and disagreements. they certainly had their own. that we would debate with passion and intensity. they certainly did, but they knew at the end of the day, we had to stand not as democrats and republicans or as they were
then, federalists and democratic republicans, but as americans. >> when america gets punched, america punches back. we'll do that tonight. >> well, tonight's game will be the 80th time the democrats and republicans have come together on this field, well, it was a different field at the time, but on the field in the spirit of friendly competition. let's all give them our best wishes for tonight. and hope everybody fights to win. all right. that wraps up this hour for me. i'm going to see you right back here tomorrow 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. eastern. always find me on twitter, facebook and instagram. @alivelshi and snapchat @velshi. thank you for watching. "deadline white house with nicolle wallace" begins now. it's 4:00 p.m., do you know where your president is? on twitter. in a twist of fate that's worthy of the president's reality tv legacy, his use of the words "you're fired" when if came to his fbi director james comey may have been the turning point in the special counsel's
investigation into whether the president obstructed justice. the news was first reported by the "washington post" and has been confirmed by nbc news. we're going to start with the best reports on the beat. nbc's hans nichols at the white house. nbc news national security reporter ken dilanian. nbc chief legal correspondent, ari melber. ken, i want to start with you with, i know we overuse this word, but this did feel like a bombshell in a legal sense, this development that in the days after the firing of jim comey, even before bob mueller had been appointed, the president did, himself, potentially become someone that we'd want to learn more about in terms of obstruction of justice. can you explain to us how that happened? >> well, nicolle, if it wasn't the actual firing of comey by the president, you can bet the fbi investigators perked up when they heard donald trump two days later tell lester holt that he fired trump with -- sorry, he fired comey with russia on his mind. after an explanation had