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Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
Early Thursday morning, President Donald Trump fired off a tweet attempting to delegitimize a Wednesday Washington Post report that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether the President tried to obstruct justice.
They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice
The Washington Post reported Wednesday evening that the probe began shortly after the President fired James Comey as the FBI director and that Mueller took up the obstruction of justice probe later. Mueller has scheduled interviews with top intelligence officials as part of the probe, per the Washington Post.
The revelation that Mueller is investigating whether Trump tried to obstruct justice follows Comey’s blockbuster testimony last week. The former FBI director testified that he believes Trump fired him because of the Russia probe and that the President pressured him to drop an investigation into Michael Flynn, the ousted national security adviser.
Trump has repeatedly dismissed the investigation into whether his campaign staffers colluded with Russian operatives to influence the 2016 election. He also claimed that he was vindicated after Comey confirmed that he told Trump he personally was not under investigation while Comey was still at the FBI. However, Comey otherwise painted Trump as a liar and charged that the Trump administration tried to defame him.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday night visited Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), who is being treated in a Washington, D.C. hospital for injuries sustained when he was shot in the hip at a GOP congressional baseball practice earlier in the day.
Melania Trump accompanied the President to the visit at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center, according to a White House pool report. They also visited Capitol Police Officer Crystal Griner, who was injured in the shooting, and brought bouquets of white flowers for both victims, per the pool report.
White House Press Secretary told the pool reporter that Trump sat at Scalise’s bedside and also spoke with the congressman’s wife and doctors.
Just left hospital. Rep. Steve Scalise, one of the truly great people, is in very tough shape – but he is a real fighter. Pray for Steve!
Scalise was in critical condition as of Wednesday night. He had surgery earlier in the day, as well as blood transfusions, and he will require additional operations, according to an update from the hospital. He was one of at least five people hospitalized after the shooting.
Matt Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods, is in critical condition after he was shot in the chest on Wednesday morning at a congressional baseball practice in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.
Mika was shot multiple times in the chest and is being treated at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. As of Wednesday evening, Mika had undergone surgery and was in the ICU in critical condition, according to a statement from his family.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) remains in critical condition after he was shot in the hip on Wednesday morning at a GOP congressional baseball practice in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., according to an update from the hospital treating the House GOP whip.
MedStar Washington Hospital Center said that Scalise was shot once in the hip and that the bullet fractured bones, injured internal organs and led to blood loss. He had surgery on Wednesday and blood transfusions, and will require additional surgeries, the hospital said.
“Congressman Steve Scalise sustained a single rifle shot to the left hip. The bullet travelled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and causing severe bleeding,” MedStar Washington Hospital Center said in a statement. “He was transported in shock to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a Level I Trauma Center. He underwent immediate surgery, and an additional procedure to stop bleeding. He has received multiple units of blood transfusion. His condition is critical, and he will require additional operations. We will provide periodic updates.”
Scalise was one of at least five people hospitalized after a gunman opened fire on a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, where Republican members of Congress were practicing for an annual charity baseball game scheduled for Thursday night.
The shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, died on Wednesday from injuries sustained while exchanging gunfire with law enforcement officers.
The MedStar Washington Hospital Center on Wednesday afternoon offered an update on Rep. Steve Scalise’s (R-LA) injuries after he was shot at practice for a congressional baseball game earlier in the morning, describing him as in “critical condition.”
Rep. Scalise was critically injured and remains in critical condition. The other patient is in good condition.
Six people, including the House majority whip, were injured after a gunman opened fire at congressional Republicans’ baseball practice in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. on Wednesday morning, bringing a somber mood to Capitol Hill.
Since news of the shooting first broke shortly before 8 a.m. E.T., the congressmen who were present have slowly filled in the harrowing details of the shooting in TV interviews while the House cancelled most events for the day. President Donald Trump himself solemnly addressed the shooting in a televised statement, where he announced that the suspected gunman had died of his injuries.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) texted reporters and called into CNN to share his account and confirm that Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), a member of GOP leadership, had been shot in the hip. Brooks’ account kicked off a chaotic few hours of members of Congress sharing the details they recalled from the baseball field and speculating about a motive. Rep. Rob DeSantis (R-FL) told MSNBC that a man came up to him in a parking lot near the baseball field and asked whether it was a practice for Republicans or Democrats prior to the shooting. Later in the morning, after seeing photos of the reported suspect, DeSantis said he believes the man he spoke with indeed was the gunman.
Law enforcement initially held off on discussing the status of the gunman with the media, with Trump breaking the news shortly after 11:30 a.m. in his statement that the suspect had died. The FBI later confirmed news reports that law enforcement officials had identified the suspect as James T. Hodgkinson.
Republican members of Congress and their staffers had been practicing for an annual charity baseball game at the field in Alexandria, Virginia at the time of the shooting. The FBI special agent in charge of the investigation into the shooting, Tim Slater, said in a Wednesday morning press conference that it was too early to tell whether the members were targeted.
Capitol Police officers who were present engaged in gunfire with the suspect, and Alexandria police quickly responded to the scene, Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa told reporters.
Five people were transported from the scene with gunshot wounds, including a congressman, a Capitol Police officer, a congressional staffer, a lobbyist and the suspected gunman, who died at the hospital, according to a statement from the FBI. Another congressman and Capitol Police officer also were transported for minor injuries, according to the statement.
Scalise’s office, the House majority whip, confirmed that he was shot in the hip and was in stable condition. Rep. Roger Williams’ (R-TX) office confirmed a staffer to that congressman, Zack Barth, also was injured in the shooting.
According to the FBI statement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was tracing two weapons, a rifle and a handgun, in the wake of the shooting.
Several congressional GOPers were present at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, located near a YMCA in Alexandria, where they have held regular practices ahead of a charity baseball game scheduled for Thursday evening. The event, held annually at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., is a jovial, bipartisan event in which Democrats and Republicans compete to raise funds for several charities. Democrats were practicing elsewhere on Wednesday morning.
Shortly after the shooting, members who were present for the baseball practice began calling into news networks to describe what they saw. Brooks, the Alabama congressman, called into CNN from the scene and said that the gunman appeared to have a semiautomatic weapon. He said that members dropped to the ground when the gunman opened fire and several also ducked into the first base dugout. Brooks told CNN that one congressional staffer was wounded in the leg, and that he used his own belt to help make a tourniquet. Brooks estimated that about 50 shots were fired.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who was also at the practice, called into MSNBC and said that Capitol Police were at the practice because Scalise, a member of House leadership, was there. Paul said that “everybody probably would have died” had the Capitol Police not been there.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) described the scene to reporters on camera after the incident. He said that two Capitol Police officers fired back at the shooter. Flake said that there was a lot of yelling and that he was unsure whether the shooter said anything.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) described the shooting to MSNBC after he returned to Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning. He said that Scalise’s security detail fired back and shot the gunman, adding that they “saved a lot of lives.” He said that the shooting lasted 5-10 minutes.
Members on both sides of the aisle condemned the attack and expressed their sorrow that the shooting left Scalise, a staffer, and law enforcement officers injured.
“This morning, the U.S. Congress suffered a despicable and cowardly attack. My thoughts and prayers are with Whip Steve Scalise and the others wounded, Capitol Police and staff, and their families,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said in a statement.
As some members recounted the shooting to reporters on Capitol Hill, they were visibly emotional, sometimes tearing up as they discussed the bipartisan nature of the annual baseball game played by members of Congress.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday night said that President Donald Trump has “no intention” of firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of the Russia probe.
“While the president has the right to, he has no intention to do so,” Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One when asked if Trump was considering firing Mueller.
Sanders’ comment follows several days of speculation as to whether Trump was thinking about firing Mueller. Several conservative allies of Trump have criticized Mueller in recent days, and a friend of Trump, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, said on Monday evening that Trump was thinking about firing Mueller. The White House on Monday night said that Ruddy did not speak for Trump but did not deny that Trump was weighing whether to let Mueller go.
Ruddy also said Monday evening that Trump interviewed Mueller for the FBI director position the day before he was named as special counsel. Sanders confirmed to reporters Tuesday night that Trump did interview Mueller.
The New York Times reported late Tuesday that Trump did consider firing Mueller, but that his staff talked him out of it, citing people with knowledge of Trump’s interactions with staff. Trump discussed the implications of firing Mueller and told those around him that Mueller was part of a “witch hunt,” according to the New York Times.
Trump was also happy about speculation that he might fire Mueller, per the New York Times:
The president was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller, and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.
Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel are tied among registered voters with just a week to go before the runoff election to fill an open U.S. House seat in Georgia, according to a new poll released Tuesday from Atlanta TV station WXIA.
The candidates are tied at 47 percent support in the poll, which was conducted by SurveyUSA.
The survey marks a significant drop in support for Ossoff since SurveyUSA’s last poll for WXIA, which was released in late May and showed Ossoff with a seven-point lead over Handel.
SurveyUSA polled 700 registered voters from June 7-11 by phone with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
The runoff election to fill Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s former seat will take place June 20.
As part of a Tuesday-morning tweetstorm on the various issues bothering him at the moment, President Donald Trump accused former Attorney General Loretta Lynch of illegally trying to protect his erstwhile opponent Hillary Clinton from an investigation into her use of a private email server as secretary of state.
A.G. Lynch made law enforcement decisions for political purposes…gave Hillary Clinton a free pass and protection. Totally illegal!
During his testimony before the Senate last week, former FBI Director James Comey suggested he’d been concerned about the way Lynch handled the email server probe.
He said that Lynch’s tarmac meeting with former President Bill Clinton influenced his decision to speak publicly about his findings in the probe last summer. Comey also said that Lynch pushed him to call the investigation a “matter,” rather than an “investigation.”
“At one point, the attorney general had directed me not to call it an investigation but instead to call it a matter, which confused me and concerned me,” Comey said. “That was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude I have to step away from the department if we’re to close this case credibly.”
An unnamed person close to Lynch pushed back against Comey’s characterization of the former attorney general’s comments. This person told the New York Times that Comey sought out Lynch’s guidance on how to talk about the probe, and that Lynch encouraged him not to acknowledge an ongoing investigation.
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), a longtime Trump supporter, on Monday night criticized the special counsel’s Russia probe and questioned why the investigation is still underway now that former FBI Director James Comey has said that President Donald Trump himself was not under investigation while Comey was at the FBI.
During an appearance on Fox News, Duffy claimed that Comey and special counsel Robert Mueller are “best friends” and complained that Mueller has hired people to work on the investigation who have donated to Democrats.
“This seems more like an effort to prosecute Donald Trump than it is to investigate,” he said.
“What the hell are we investigating?” Duffy then asked. “Why are we going through with this charade?”
Duffy noted Comey’s testimony that he told Trump earlier this year that he was not under investigation at the time. He also claimed that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he had not seen evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, peddling a favorite conservative talking point. However, Clapper has made it clear that he is not privy to the FBI probe.
Duffy joined several other conservatives and Trump allies who have criticized Mueller in recent days and questioned his ability to conduct an independent probe.