The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 6/14/17 Congressman Scalise Shooting
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: June 14, 2017
Guest: Adam Entous, Amber Phillips, Bill Euille, Dan Kildee
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
We are continuing our coverage this hour of what Chris was just talking
about there. This news out of Alexandria, Virginia, where a senior member
of the Republican leadership team in Congress, Congressman Steve Scalise of
Louisiana, has been shot and wounded today by a gunman who fired dozens of
rounds into a baseball diamond where Republican members of Congress and
their staffers and some former staffers were all holding an early morning
practice in advance of tomorrow`s annual charity benefit congressional
Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana was shot and wounded. He was
reportedly shot in the hip. Luckily, one of the other Republican members
on site at the time is a doctor.
Congressman Brad Wenstrup of Ohio was playing with Republicans on their
congressional baseball. He was at the practice. He is an army surgeon who
served in Iraq. And he was one of the members of Congress who was able to
personally able to render immediate first-aid to Congressman Scalise at
least as soon as the gunman was down, as soon as the gunman was reportedly
shot by police, and it was therefore safe for these other members of
Congress to get to Congressman Scalise as he lay grievously wounded in the
infield of that baseball diamond.
Congressman Scalise has had surgery today after his gunshot wound. He
remains in critical condition tonight. A former congressional staffer, a
man named Matt Mika was also apparently playing with the Republicans on
their congressional baseball team. He was also very seriously hurt today.
According to Mr. Mika`s family, they say that he suffered multiple gunshot
wounds in today`s attack. Mr. Mika has undergone surgery. He is also
listed in critical condition this evening. So, those are – those are very
serious wounds and very serious injuries.
In addition to those two very seriously injured men, there was also a young
staffer for Republican Congressman Roger Williams who was shot in the leg
today. And then there are the law enforcement injuries.
As a senior member of the House leadership, Congressman Scalise had
apparently a three-member protective detail from the U.S. Capitol Police, a
detail with him 24/7. Two of the three special agents on his protective
detail today, two of the three people who are there with him at the
baseball practice today, two of those officers were hurt as they confronted
the gunman, shot at him and tried to stop this attack in processes.
Special agent Crystal Griner was reportedly shot in the ankle. She was
then reportedly airlifted to a nearby hospital for treatment. Another
special agent who was on Scalise`s protective detail, David Bailey, he was
also injured. Initial report suggests he may have been hit with shrapnel
while pursuing and engaging in this gun fight with the suspect.
The third special agent in that detail has also been named, special agent
Henry Cabrera, but thankfully we can report he was not injured, even though
two of the other three members of that team were.
Another Republican congressman whose staffer was shot in the leg,
Congressman Roger Williams, he was also hurt in this incident today. He
was taken away on a stretcher at one point. I should tell you that
Congressman Williams was not shot. His injury was that he either
apparently either broke his ankle or badly sprained his ankle somehow in
the melee that erupted once the shooting started.
So, this all happened just after 7:00 a.m. local time this morning. This
is a remarkable and terrible event, especially given the continuing
uncertainty tonight over the fate of the two people including the senior
congressmen who were shot and wounded quite seriously in this attack.
Given the number of shots fired, given the number of people injured,
honestly, it feels like a miracle that nobody other than the shooter
himself was killed in this incident.
We are a country that has a huge amount of gun violence, an internationally
unparalleled amount of gun violence and internationally unparalleled
frequency of multiple victim mass shooting events.
But even with that peculiar and bloody American history, even frankly with
another mass shooting happening within hours of this one, today in
California a gunman at a UPS facility in San Francisco shot and wounded two
people and shot and killed three other people and shot and killed himself
in front of police officers. Even with that competing horde just today,
even with a mind-numbing frequency of gun violence in our question and our
inability to muster any instructive policy solutions to try to stop it, a
mass shooting specifically targeting elected officials, targeting and
hitting members of congress? That is a form of American violence that is a
different kind of shock to us as a country.
So, we are continuing to cover that story tonight as it continues to
develop and particularly we`ve got eyes on local law enforcement as well as
the FBI. The FBI is the agency that has taken the lead on the
investigation into this shooting. We`ve got eyes on them in terms of any
further statements that they`re going to make tonight, any further
announcements about the investigation or indeed interestingly any questions
or requests they may make of the public.
The FBI has already issued this formal request for information about the
shooter in this attack. This is not a wanted poster because he`s already
dead. He was apparently shot by police officers on the scene. He later
died in the hospital.
But the FBI has issued this request for information, asking the public if
anybody knows anything about him, asking the public for any information no
matter how minor, no matter how small. Anybody who may have encountered
him, anybody who may know him, they want to know about the shooter. They
have identified him as James T. Hodgkinson, age 66, resident of Illinois.
Because his target was the Republican congressional baseball practice, and
because Hodgkinson had outspoken political views, there`s speculation and
concern that his political views may have been the motive for his attack.
His social media presence indicates he was very critical of President
Trump. He had very critical of Republicans generally even before President
Trump. He was an angry critic in particular of the issue of income
In electoral politics, he was apparently a fan and supporter of Vermont
Senator Sanders. There are reports that he may have been a volunteer for
the Sanders campaign last year, although the Sanders campaign said today
they have no record of him.
His local paper in Illinois frankly says he once submitted a letter to the
editor that cited statistics about political donations that he says he
heard on this TV show, because he says he watched this TV show. I should
tell you that we went through our correspondence today, as soon as we got
his name, as soon as we got that detail about him, we didn`t find any
evidence that he ever sent anything to this show or tried to contact us at
But, obviously, the combination of the target of his attack, these
Republican members of Congress and the online evidence of his political
views, that has driven speculation, driven concern about whether this was a
politically motivated shooting today. And although we have had a lot of
shootings in this country, there have not been a lot of politically
motivated shootings over the history of this republic.
We will wait to see where the evidence leads. The FBI said explicitly
today, and without any caveat today the motive for this shooting is one of
the things they hope to figure out through their investigation. That
investigation obviously is just getting under way, part of the reason
they`re seeking from the public any information anybody has about the
Now, I should tell you tonight we may actually have some interesting
information to add as to what is known about the shooter`s very recent
life. One of the big questions about the shooter is what he was doing in
Virginia. As I mentioned, he is a resident of Illinois, a resident of
Belleville, Illinois. But his neighbors in Belleville told reporters they
haven`t seen him a couple of months.
Now, the timeline here is pretty specific. Local police in Illinois say
they responded to reports of gunfire from the shooter`s home in Illinois in
late March this year. They said they responded to those reports, they
determined when the police turned up at his house that the owner of the
house, the man who committed today`s shootings, was in fact shooting a
rifle outdoors near his home. They say they cautioned him that day he was
too near other houses and too near other people to be shooting right there.
But they apparently didn`t treat it as more serious than that. They say he
had a state firearms ID. He was licensed to have the gun he was shooting.
They just told him he shouldn`t be shooting it there. That police response
was March 24th of this year.
But if we put together that police report with what local authorities from
the FBI said today, it may be the case that the shooter in today`s incident
left home in Illinois and came to Virginia very shortly after the police
came to his house on March 24th. The FBI announced today in Virginia that
the shooter is believed to have been not in Illinois but in and around
Alexandria, Virginia, the site of today`s shootings, they said, since
Well, we know from that local police report that on March 24th, he was
still in Illinois. So, it would appear that it was sometime after that
that he came to Virginia. Now, nobody quite knows why he came to Virginia
at that time. What his intentions were, nobody knows all that much about
what he has been doing in Virginia since then and how that may contribute
to our understanding of what happened in this attack and, of course, any
But tonight on this show this hour, we`re going to be speaking with a
former local official from Alexandria, Virginia. The reason we booked him
tonight is because he says he had repeated contact with the shooter in
Alexandria in the past few weeks leading up to today`s shooting. He spoke
with him numerous times.
So, that former local official from Alexandria, Virginia, is going to talk
us to about what he saw, what this man said to him and what he knows about
what this guy was doing in Alexandria, Virginia before this terrible
shooting early this morning. That is coming up live this hour.
We`re also going to be talking live with a really good reporter who has
been live on the scene of the shooting most of the day today. And, of
course, if there is new news this hour about the investigation or about the
victims, we will bring that to you as it happened. In particular, I have
to tell you, we have eyes this hour on the medical facility where
Congressman Scalise and this former congressional staffer, Matt Mika, are
being treated after they both had surgery today. We`re going to be looking
for any updates on their condition tonight.
As I mentioned just a few minutes ago, we`re told both of them have been
through surgery and both successfully made it through surgery today and
both are tonight considered to be in critical condition. Congressman
Scalise shot at least once, we`re told in the hip. Matt Mika, we`re told,
shot multiple times.
So, that`s all ahead. That`s what we`re going to be watching for.
As we await further information on that tonight, though, as we continue to
cover this remarkable and tragic developing story, we`ve also tonight got
standing by live one of the lead “Washington Post” reporters on a very big
breaking news story that “The Washington Post” has just put on its website
tonight that concerns the White House.
This is the story. This is the headline. Adam Entous is standing by to
talk to us about this. He`s one of the bylined reporters on this story,
along with national security reporters and justice reporters, Devlin
Barrett, Ellen Nakashima, and Sari Horowitz.
“The Washington Post” is first to report tonight with this story, they`re
first to report what a lot of news outlets have been trying to nail down
over the past couple of weeks. They are first to report tonight that
special counsel, Robert Mueller, is not just looking narrowly at the
question of whether the Trump campaign was involved on the Russian attack
in the presidential election last year, Robert Mueller, according to “The
Post”, is also now investigating as a related matter whether the president
himself has been involved in an effort to obstruct justice in the
investigation into that matter.
So, here`s “The Washington Post” lead tonight, quote: The special counsel
overseeing the investigation into Russia`s role in the 2016 election is now
interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that
now includes an examination of whether the president attempted to obstruct
justice. According to this new report from “The Post”, quote: The nearly
year old FBI investigation, until recently focused on Russian meddling
during the presidential campaign, on whether there was any coordination
between the Trump campaign and Kremlin in that meddling. “The Post”
reports that also the FBI investigation had been focusing on whether there
was any evidence of financial crimes among Trump associates.
But now, in addition to all that, what “The Post” describes as a major
turning point in the investigation, apparently for the first time, this FBI
investigation now includes the president`s own conduct. It`s true that
fired FBI Director James Comey just testified under oath that he told
President Trump that President Trump was not personally a target of the
FBI`s investigation, at least while James Comey was still in his job, still
running the FBI.
According to “The Post” tonight, quote, Officials say that changed shortly
after Comey was fired. And now, “The Washington Post” reports the
remarkable news that the president of the United States is the subject of a
criminal investigation by the FBI into potential obstruction of justice.
Joining us now is Adam Entous. He`s the national security, foreign policy
and intelligence reporter at “The Washington Post.”
Mr. Entous, thanks for your time tonight. Really appreciate it.
ADAM ENTOUS, THE WASHINGTON POST: Glad to be here. Thank you.
MADDOW: So, this is a big story you guys have broken tonight, but
obviously, it`s breaking alongside a lot of other big important news. So,
for people who haven`t had a chance to digest what you guys have just
reported, I want to go through a couple of really basic questions about it
if you don`t mind.
MADDOW: With what you are describing, with what you are reporting tonight,
would it be accurate to say this means the FBI has an active open criminal
investigation into the president personally, that he`s the subject of an
FBI criminal investigation?
ENTOUS: He`s – you know, he`s the subject – the way it was described to
us, is a file that`s been opened on the president for the first time that
is looking at him for obstruction, potentially for obstruction of justice.
Now, that doesn`t mean that`s where Mueller will end up after he does these
He could decide after talking to Comey, after reviewing the evidence and
interviewing others that what they tell him does not back up bringing any
charges or trying to bring any charges for attempted obstruction. This is
just he is beginning these interviews, that`s what we have learned.
MADDOW: When you say a file has been opened, I know that`s a term of art
when it comes to the FBI. What exactly does that mean?
ENTOUS: It means they`re investigating whether or not he attempted to
obstruct the investigation.
ENTOUS: It`s as simple as that.
MADDOW: Opening a file just that`s FBI speak for we are now looking into
ENTOUS: Well, that would be my speak, some of the sources use that
ENTOUS: I mean, I think the simplest way to look at it is, they have been
looking into Russian meddling. They have been looking into whether or not
there was any coordination between the campaign and the Russians, which
Trump denies and they`ve been looking into potential financial crimes and
what we`ve learned now is that they are looking at potentially obstruction,
which they are investigating the possibility that Trump was intending to
obstruct the investigation and as part of that investigation, we`re seeing
the first tangible steps that the special counsel is progressing along that
investigation by interviewing top officials.
MADDOW: Now, let me ask you a little bit about that timeline there.
You`re reporting that the FBI started this investigation of the president
for possible obstruction of justice within days of Comey being fired.
MADDOW: If that`s true, that would mean that when Robert Mueller came on
as special counsel, which was eight days after Comey was fired, more than a
week after Comey was fired on May 17th is when he was named, that would
mean that Mueller would have taken over that investigation into the
president`s actions, once it had already been started by the FBI the week
before. That would mean it wasn`t Robert Mueller`s decision personally to
launch this investigation into the president, it would have been started
before him, is that right?
ENTOUS: Yes, that`s what we were told by our sources, that basically
Mueller, when he came in, basically absorbed a lot of investigations that
were out there, that had been started looking at different aspects of the
case. And so, all of these are brought together under the special counsel,
and so, that way he can decide how to deconflict, you know, and – you
know, between the different aspects of the investigations that are under
way and basically decide how to deploy his resources.
MADDOW: And, Adam, if this was started before Mueller got there, can we
conclude from that this was an investigation, again, of the president of
the United States, which was a remarkable thing, that it was started either
at the direction of or at least with the OK from the deputy director,
acting director, Andrew McCabe, and potentially his supervisor on these
matters before Mueller got there, form the deputy A.G., Rod Rosenstein.
ENTOUS: Yes. I`m not sure exactly the order with which this was approved,
you know? So, I would hate to make an error by ascribing to it a
particular official in terms of what`s required.
You know, obviously, what occurred here was, you know, that you had the
firing of Comey and you had Comey producing memos to document what
occurred. And those, along with other officials – other information which
has come forward, there`s a memo produced at the National Security Agency
documenting a phone call that was made also in March that was basically
between Trump and the head of the NSA.
In that call, according to officials and what`s documented in this memo,
Trump basically asks Rogers to publicly go out there and basically push
back on the notion that there is any evidence of collusion or any evidence
of coordination. That is the sort of information that the special counsel
right now is trying to review, do these interviews and they have to decide
– he has to decide, how does he want to proceed on this.
MADDOW: Adam Entous, one of “The Washington Post” reporters who broke this
remarkable story tonight that the special counsel is investigating the
president himself for potential criminal obstruction of justice – Adam,
thank you for your time tonight. Congratulations on this scoop.
ENTOUS: A pleasure.
MADDOW: All right. Again, this is one of two obviously big stories that
are happening in the country right now. I will just note that there is the
possibility that the president is learning this news tonight from the
“Washington Post.” We know that at least as late as April, Director Comey
told the president that he was not personally the subject of an FBI
investigation. According to “The Washington Post” reporting, that changed
and the president became the subject of an FBI criminal investigation right
after he fired James Comey.
We don`t know yet and “The Washington Post” isn`t able to report whether or
not anybody went to President Trump any time since then and told him, yes,
I`ve got to correct what Comey told you. Since he told you you were in the
clear, actually no, you are the subject of an investigation. We don`t know
if he was ever informed of that or if he`s just reading these headlines and
learning it tonight, too.
More ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, it has been a remarkable day in the news. We`re following two
major stories. One is a big update on the ongoing Washington presidential
scandal that we have been covering for weeks now. “The Washington Post”
reporting tonight that the president is the subject of an FBI criminal
investigation into potential obstruction of justice. “Washington Post”
first to report that tonight. That`s happening on one track.
On a second track, we have got this ongoing story, this ongoing reporting
about this remarkable attack on congressional Republicans this morning in
Alexandria, Virginia, as the Republican side of the congressional baseball
team was holding its practice in Alexandria, Virginia, and they were
ambushed by a shooter who fired dozens of rounds.
Now, we`re going to have a couple of interviews about this tonight,
including from a reporter who was there live at the scene all day today.
But I want to tell you that we have just received just in the last couple
of minutes, received a detailed update from MedStar Washington Hospital,
which is the hospital where that former congressional staffer who was shot
multiple times, Matt Mika, it`s where he`s being treated. This is also
where Congressman Steve Scalise is being treated, the detailed report, the
update that we just got is about Congressman Scalise.
He has – he was shot, we knew that today, he was shot in the hip. He has
survived, been through surgery. We knew that ahead of this broadcast
But now, we have considerable more detail from the hospital. It`s not
great news. I`m gong to read you exactly what the hospital has just
released. Quote: Congressman Steve Scalise sustained a single rifle shot
to the left hip. The bullet traveled across his pelvis fracturing bones,
injuring internal organs and causing severe bleeding. He was transported
in shock to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, which is a level one trauma
center. He underwent immediate surgery and an additional procedure to stop
He has received multiple units of blood transfusion. His condition is
critical and he will require additional operations. MedStar Washington
Hospital Center says, we will provide periodic updates.
Again, that`s the update from MedStar Washington Hospital Center, this
trauma center, about their treatment of Congressman Steve Scalise. A very
Joining us now is Amber Phillips. She`s a reporter of “The Washington
Post” who`s been at the scene of today`s shooting all day today.
Ms. Phillips, thank you for being with us tonight. I know it`s been a
very, very long day.
AMBER PHILLIPS, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, a very long day. But I`ll tell
you, Rachel, I got here this morning surely after the shooting to find a
community on an otherwise normal Wednesday absolutely shaking with the
terror that is really consistent with that report of how Congressman
Scalise is doing. That includes the lawmakers – I saw them as they came
off this field and they described to me, you know, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,
and everyone running for cover in an open field. The only thing they could
find was the dugout.
Steve Scalise got shot in the hip as they confirmed they saw that happen,
and he was on the ground bloodied, tried to lay flat but also dragged
himself from the infield to the outfield to get away from the shooter and
Senator Jeff Flake who I talked to, said he was in the dugout wanting to
help his friend but couldn`t do anything. I mean, just seeing a trail of
blood in his wake, it was really a horrific situation. And the lawmakers
were just completely shaken up.
MADDOW: Amber, let me ask you, given this report that we just had from the
hospital where Congressman Scalise has been treated, they`re obviously
describing very serious injuries. It was a single rifle shot. A single
shot from a rifle can do incredible damage even if it doesn`t kill you.
They`re saying that bullet entered his hip, it traveled across his pelvis,
injured multiple internal organs. He underwent severe bleeding. He had to
have additional surgery immediately, and additional procedure to stop
bleeding. He`s going to require additional operations.
I mean, it`s a very serious condition that they are describing for the
congressman still in critical condition.
Was it clear to the other members of Congress, with the other people who
saw what happened, just how serious Congressman Scalise`s injuries were?
PHILLIPS: I think not this serious. They left no indication – gave no
indication to me that he had lost so much blood, it caused multiple blood
But they did know he was very seriously wounded. You know, the lawmakers
said they ran up – one of them is a doctor from Ohio. They ran up to
Scalise after the gunman was knocked down. And they started trying to
cutaway his uniform.
And just – Senator Jeff Flake was using his hands to staunch the bleeding.
Someone brought over gauze. And they said that they found the bullet hole
going in the hip but couldn`t find the bullet, the exit side of the other
He was conscious. He was asking for water. He was clearly in a lot of
pain is what the lawmakers told me. But I don`t think they realize it was
this serious that more than 12, 13 hours later, he would still be in the
hospital gravely wounded with a lot of procedures and a lot of recovery
left to go.
MADDOW: Yes. And still in critical condition. Just a remarkable tragic
Amber Phillips is covering it all day today with “The Washington Post.”
Amber, thank you. Again, I know it`s been a very, very long day. Thanks
for being with us tonight.
Coming up next here, we`re going to be talking with somebody who is a very
– an interesting witness given that the FBI has now put out a request to
the public in general for information for anybody who knows anything about
the shooter in this case.
The shooter has been identified by the FBI. He is deceased, appears to
have been shot by police at the scene of this attack and he died today in
hospital. But the witness who we`re going to talk next is actually the
former mayor of Alexandria, Virginia. And he says in the weeks leading up
to today`s shooting, he had multiple and extensive contacts with the man
who appears who have carried out this attack. That former mayor joins us
MADDOW: The FBI earlier today made the decision to make a general request
to the public for information about the shooter into today`s attack on
congressional Republicans at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia. The
shooter, as you saw there on the poster, the shooter is deceased. He`s
been identified by the FBI as James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old Illinois
Investigators are asking the public for information about him, from anybody
who might have known him or talked to him in recent weeks and months. They
say that could include people from a wide swath of the country because the
shooting happened in Alexandria, Virginia, but he is not from anywhere near
there. He`s from Belleville, Illinois, which is more than 800 highway
miles to the West. Bellville is an outlying suburb of St. Louis.
Investigators said today that he is believed to have been in Virginia, in
the Alexandria area since sometime in March, possibly living out of a cargo
van on a local Alexandria street nearby the baseball field where the
shooting happened today. That field, I should also tell you, is right next
to the local Y, local YMCA. The Alexandria YMCA is so close to the ball
field that a bullet from today`s attack landed in the gym`s swimming pool.
You can see the bullet hole in one of the gym`s windows there.
It was at that YMCA that our next guest remembers seeing the suspect and
talking to him frequently, several days in a row, just about every morning
in the recent weeks.
Joining us is Bill Euille. He`s a former mayor of Alexandria, Virginia.
He works out at the Alexandria Y. He says he`s conversations with that
suspect in recent weeks.
Mr. Mayor, I really appreciate you joining us tonight. Thank you for being
BIILL EUILLE, FORMER MAYOR OF ALEXANDRIA, VA: Glad to be with you.
MADDOW: How did you realize today that this man who you`ve been speaking
with, who you encountered at the local Y might have been the shooter in
EUILLE: Well, I was on my way to the Y this morning to do my daily, weekly
workout from Monday through Friday. And prior to leaving home just five
minutes before I started getting text messages from folks saying, hey, are
you all right? I said, why? What`s wrong? They said, well, there`s a
shooting incident near the area of the Y.
So, I got in my car, called the Y and make sure things were OK, and they
said, no, we`re on lockdown. And then, I arrived here on the scene and
stayed there for a couple hours, and then a couple of hours later, I get a
text message from one of the staff members informing me that – he said,
you and I know the killer. And I said – I was shocked so I called them.
And I said to him, I said, what do you mean? He said, he`s the guy that`s
been here every morning on his laptop.
And so, more than a month and half ago, I encountered him as a new member
of the Y. And as I finished my routine workout and having coffee,
citizens, residents walked by and they said, hey, Mr. Mayor, how you`re
doing, we miss you. And others would say, hey, can I talk to you about a
problem I have?
So, they sit on the converse. And the next day, he approached and said,
hey, are you really the mayor? I said, yes. So, we got to know each other
from that point.
And it was, where are good places to dine and eat in Alexandria for lunch
or breakfast? And then, it was like, hey, I`m looking for a job, can you
help me find a job? And I referred him to the city`s website for a job
vacancy listing and then I e-mailed him a job announcement for a safey
inspector. He said he was a home inspector.
And so, everyday routinely as I go into the Y, I would encounter him either
having his coffee on the laptop, sit at the table next to him and I`d be
doing my thing on my iPhone and coffee, and occasionally encountered him
coming out of the sauna but never really witnessed him physically
exercising or working out.
Then I concluded recently that this is odd that this gentleman is here
everyday. He seems like a loner and in the locker room last week, I
noticed when his gym bag was wide open while he was in the shower area, it
looked like all of his personal belongings, it`s clothes and books and
everything were in his gym bag, which is unusual. So, in my own mind I
concluded, maybe he is someone that`s homeless.
I never approached him to talk about it. But, you know, we never got into
heated political conversations other than the fact there`s a TV when you
walk in the main entrance of the Y. Other folks including myself, we would
be having conversations about whether the president was – whatever he was
doing or whatever they were saying about him tweeting, that was the right
thing to be doing, and/or others would comment about Congress needs to get
their act together and let`s just start working on behalf of the citizens.
But he never chimed in pro or con other than to just simply say, I agree.
I`ve been telling folks all day, he seemed calm. He seemed very, you know,
well-organized. He spoke very well. He was very respectable. He even a
couple weeks ago started bringing donuts and cookies into the Y for others
to share, while, you know, as they were walking by.
So, I – my conclusion was that this was someone that was troubled.
Something was certainly burning and blowing on the inside of him. And upon
arriving on the scene this morning, my conclusion not knowing it was him,
that this apparently was a targeted event simply because the baseball –
the congressional team has played on this field probably several times a
month for the last four or five years, and never encountered any problems
Then I learned that he was in the Y this morning briefly, and as he –
after he left, within a couple minutes, that`s when everyone started
MADDOW: Mr. Mayor, when you say that the team has used that field
frequently, was it known specifically that that was where the Republicans
practiced? There`s – I mean, obviously, we`re looking into motive here
whatever the attack was driven by, people were talking about his political
views, his political expressions to try too figure out if this was a
politically motivated attack against Republicans specifically.
Was that – was that widely known or ever discussed?
EUILLE: Not with me. I don`t think he ever had that conversation with me
because he knew I`m not only the former mayor, but, you know, very – well
placed in the community. Probably didn`t want to have that conversation
But he did have it with, I understand some other staff folks at the Y. He
inquired about who this team was and then he said, are they Democrats or
Republicans? They said, well, they`re Republicans. And so, again,
whatever his anger and frustration was, he strategized today was the
opportune time to do what he needed to do.
MADDOW: Mr. Mayor, just one last question for you. Obviously, the FBI has
put out this statement to the public appealing for people who might have
information about him. I assume that you expect you will be speaking with
either local law enforcement or the FBI about your encounters with him?
EUILLE: I do expect that. Not today, I`ve been doing interviews since
maybe 11:00 a.m., but I would expect them to be making contact with me
tomorrow. I know they were talking with YMCA staff today as well.
MADDOW: Bill Euille, the former mayor of Alexandria, Virginia, who was
ended up being coincidentally, a remarkable witness to this man before he
carried out these attacks today over the last few weeks. Appreciate
hearing about it from you tonight, sir. Thank you very much.
EUILLE: You`re welcome.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more to come tonight after what has
been an unbelievable news day. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, I want to bring into our coverage now a congressman, who we
actually contacted today, expecting to talk about a totally different story
involving his district. Today, you might have seen the headlines the
attorney general of the state of Michigan announced serious criminal
charges in the Flint water crisis. Involuntary manslaughter charges filed
against a number of high ranking state officials, including the chief of
the state health department, and the state appointed emergency manager, who
was running Flint at the time the water change was made.
I should tell you, the state`s chief medical officer was also criminally
charged today with obstructing justice, all related to the Flint water
crisis. Dan Kildee is the congressman who represents Flint. We planned to
talk with him about that story out of Flint, Michigan tonight.
But I have to tell you that Congressman Kildee is also coming to us tonight
straight from a unity dinner that was held in Washington tonight in the
wake of today`s shooting. Congressional Republicans targeted in an
ambushed shooting today at their baseball team practice in Alexandria,
Congressman Kildee plays for the Democrats congressional baseball team.
He`ll be playing in tomorrow`s game, which despite today`s shooting, that
game has not been cancelled.
Congressman Kildee of Michigan joins us now from Washington, D.C.
Sir, thanks for being with us tonight. I know it`s been a very difficult
REP. DAN KILDEE (D), MICHIGAN: Thank you, Rachel. It has been a really
MADDOW: Let me just first get your reaction overall to the shooting today.
Obviously, we just got this serious news from the MedStar Washington
Hospital Center about Congressman Scalise`s condition, which remains
critical. It sounds like he was very seriously hurt today when he was shot
in the hip in this attack.
Let me just get your overall response.
KILDEE: Well, we`re just stunned and obviously our hearts go out to Steve
and the other victims and their families. We`re really pulling for them
You know, we have a lot of difference here in Congress. We fight about the
issues but, you know, we`re people that work together, you know? I see
Steve everyday. The Republican members who are at that practice, many of
them are really good friends of mine.
So, all the partisanship, all differences is completely meaningless in a
moment like this. We are just really pulling for our friends and we hope
they`re going to be OK.
MADDOW: This decision was made, this symbolic and kind of inspiring
decision that the game should go on, that an attack like this shouldn`t
stop what is after all a good fair play exercise in partisanship that is
the congressional baseball game, a charity event. You play for the
How do you feel about the fact that the game is going to go ahead tomorrow?
It seems like it`s sort of a nice thing but also it`s going to be
KILDEE: It will be hard but I think it`s hard for a good reason. We have
to show everybody that we can come together, that we can still pull
together and do this event to raise money for charity. And, you know, this
game means more than just a single game. Throughout the whole year, it`s
one of those things that allows us to talk to one another about something
other than our differences. We kind of tease one another about the game.
So, I think it`s really important that we demonstrate to the country and
really to the rest of the world that we`re not going to let something like
this come between us and one another, to sort of come between us and doing
some good in a way that`s unifying. I think in some ways, this year`s game
is more important than any other game we ever played.
MADDOW: Congressman Kildee, you are not just any member of Congress when
it comes to important stuff in the American news. Your district, Flint,
Michigan has been going through this incredible, ongoing now, years-long
crisis. The shooting today happens on the day that we`ve got this other
huge news of the president being the subject of an FBI criminal
investigation and the “Washington Post” reporting tonight.
It also comes on the same day that you and your constituents getting the
news that there are going to be serious criminal state charges brought
against a number of high ranking officials because of the Flint water
crisis, because of the decision that was made that ultimately ended up
I got to ask you your reaction to those criminal charges being filed today?
KILDEE: Well, it is a measure of justice. Justice comes in lots of
different forms for the people of Flint. One of the ways that we see
justice is when people who did this to Flint are held responsible for what
they did, but it doesn`t make things better for the people. So, obviously,
we want to see this. I will not prejudge the results of these charges.
But it`s somewhat comforting to know that the system works. That when you
see a state government do something as bad as they did to the city of
Flint, that individuals will be held accountable for it. But we need more.
We need other forms of justice. Well need people to make it right. We
need the state government to step up and make it right.
I`ve got to say, Rachel, the people of Flint owe you a great debt of
gratitude. You were one of the very first people to bring attention to
this. And without national attention, I`m not sure that this day ever
would have come or any of the other help that we`ve been able to get. So,
for that, I`m personally very grateful to you.
MADDOW: Oh, that`s nice to you to say. I didn`t – the only reason I was
able to cover it was because of the activism by people in your district and
the way that people were able to be so articulate and scream so loud about
what was happening so that we couldn`t help but notice.
Congressman Dan Kildee, you`ve been through a lot. Thanks for your time
KILDEE: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. A huge news day. I`m going bring into our
conversation next an expert to talk about this big breaking news at the
federal level today. The special counsel is according to “The Washington
Post,” they have opened a criminal investigation into the president of the
United States. President Trump now personally being investigated for
possible criminal obstruction of justice. This is almost unprecedented in
Expert opinion on what that means exactly next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: In addition to the shooting today in Alexandria, Virginia,
apparently targeting Republican members of Congress while they were at
their congressional baseball practice at a public park. We are still
absorbing this additional remarkable news story tonight from “The
Washington Post.” the report that special counsel Robert Mueller is now
investigating the president himself for possible obstruction of justice.
“The New York Times” has now reported their own slightly different version
of this. “The New York Times” headline which is just posted is Mueller
seeks to talk to intelligence officials, hinting at inquiry of Trump. “The
Times” is fleshing out the fact that Mueller has requested interviews with
three high-ranking or former intelligence officials, people who were not
involved with the Trump campaign. “The Times” describing this as an
indication that he will investigate whether Trump obstructed justice.
“The Post” is reporting that he is investigating Trump for that. “The
Times” is reporting that it is indicated that he is likely doing that. So,
there is a slight shade in difference between the two papers.
“The Times”, though, also reports that the Mueller investigation has asked
the NSA for documents and notes related to the NSA`s interaction with the
White House as part of the Russia investigation.
Joining us for some perspective on this is MSNBC chief legal correspondent
Ari, thank you for this. I appreciate you being here.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure.
MADDOW: So, I should say first that the White House`s – the president`s
personal lawyer has put out a statement in response to “The Washington
Post” report saying that this is an outrageous, inexcusable and illegal FBI
leak of information. Is what “The Washington Post” reported necessarily an
FBI leak of information? Is that the only place this information could
have come from?
MELBER: Absolutely not. A lot of the material seems to suggest that
people who`ve been approached about the investigation may be leaking. And
that would be understandable if the intelligence agency`s leadership is
The headline here is stark. The president of the United States is under
criminal investigation for his conduct in office. There has been a lot of
reporting about what happened during the campaign. This touches that and
extends beyond it.
MADDOW: In terms of these intelligence officials who are being queried now
by the Mueller investigation. It`s the NSA director, Admiral Rogers, it`s
the recently departed deputy director of the NSA. Get back to him in a
second and it`s Dan Coats, who is the director of national intelligence.
The reason that that recently departed deputy director of the NSA is
apparently being investigated is reportedly he is the one who wrote up an
NSA memo describing the interactions that the NSA director had had with the
president about whether or not he should get involved in that FBI
Does that tell us that the Mueller investigation is basically trying to
corroborate whether the president used other officials to try to block that
MELBER: It certainly suggests that is of investigative interest, to use
the term of art. And it suggests that those individuals were potentially
memorializing things for some of the same potential reasons that Jim Comey
outlined under oath. They have lawyers. They have a general counsel in
every agency, and they have strict rules, particularly because the foreign
intelligence agencies know they`re not supposed to be involved on the home
front. All this discussion about surveillance and intercepted
communications, they try to stay out of Americans` rights and certainly the
MADDOW: OK. Ari, on a legal – as a legal matter, one of the things that
has been raised as we`ve seen congressional investigations unspool, and
different Trump administration officials get called to testify is there are
these questions as to whether or not the White House will try to stop those
officials from appearing, whether the White House will try to block those
officials from talking about specific things, communications with the
president in particular.
It`s a different standard when it comes to talking to investigators who are
looking into a potential criminal matter, right? You can`t assert
executive privilege to stop somebody from speaking to criminal
MELBER: The Supreme Court press on this is United States versus Nixon.
MELBER: It regards President Nixon`s assertion of what he called an
absolute executive privilege. And the Supreme Court rejected that and said
it is only qualified. And they said the area where it is the shortest, the
smallest, weakest if you will is in the area of a criminal inquiry because
then those normal interests that are broad and wide. No one doubts
national security secrecy is a presidential power. But it goes its ebb,
the court held, and this is the precedent when there are criminal or
confidential inquiries because those can trump even the president`s power
in that arena.
I would also note the other huge implication here is the deputy attorney
general overseeing this inquiry.
MADDOW: Rod Rosenstein.
MELBER: Rod Rosenstein – is according to the evidence we have very likely
a witness to what we can confirm tonight, what we`re being – seeing
reported tonight in the firing. He may have to recuse.
MADDOW: So if – I`m sorry to interrupt you there with my exclamation of
surprise. But you`re saying if Mueller`s investigating Trump for potential
obstruction of justice in his firing of Comey, if Rosenstein should
reasonably be expected to be called as a witness for that part of the
investigation, he can`t oversee the Mueller investigation at all. He would
have to recuse that would put Rachel Brand in charge of overseeing the
investigation? Number three person at DOJ?
MELBER: Exactly. And even according to the White House`s official story,
the main people involved in the story of James Comey are President Trump
and Rod Rosenstein.
MADDOW: MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber here on short notice
for breaking news. Thanks, Ari.
MELBER: Thank you, Rachel. Thank you.
MADDOW: Appreciate it, my friend.
All right. That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”
Good evening, Lawrence.
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