Return to Transcripts main page

At This Hour

Disturbing Body Cam Video Shows Rioters Attacking Officer on January 6; Death Toll Climbs as Violence Escalates Between Israel and Hamas; 100-Plus High-Profile Republicans Seek Reform, Threaten New Party. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired May 13, 2021 - 11:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN AT THIS HOUR: That video is deeply disturbing, just as so many videos are from that day. Yet just yesterday, another display of willful blindness on the part of House Republicans, continuing to try and rewrite and whitewash the reality of January 6th that played out during this show yesterday, a House hearing ostensibly focused on investigating the security collapse of the insurrection.

But Republican after Republican denied the rioters were actually violent, denied they were supporters of Donald Trump despite the hats and them even telling reporters they were there because of him.

Joining me right now is Democratic Congressman from Ohio Tim Ryan. He leads a key subcommittee investigating January 6th.

Congressman, what did you think when you see this new video, what happened to Officer Fanone on that day?

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Yes, it makes you sick to your stomach to see police officers treated this way who are trying to help, protect not just other people but the institution of the democracy, the peaceful transition of power, these rituals that we hold so sacred. They were under attack. And the only thing between that mob and trying to destroy our democracy were the Capitol Police, and that's how they were treated.

I may say, coming on the heels of a campaign where a lot of people were saying it was the Democrats who were anti-police and somehow didn't care about the police and the reality of it is our Republican friends are looking the other way here. They want to sweep this thing under the rug. Again, they don't want anybody to be held responsible for this. And I think it's a shame. But we got a lot more work to do.

BOLDUAN: Well -- and it is a tragic split screen, if you will. You have got this video. And then what we heard from Republicans yesterday during what could have been a really important, helpful hearing to get some answers into the security collapse from January 6th. Instead, let me play for you what we heard from Republicans.


REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): There was no insurrection and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a boldface lie.

You know, if you didn't know the T.V. footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.

REP. JODY HICE (R-GA): Why don't you talk about how the president used those words to peacefully and patriotically instead of cherry picking words you want to use to portray an image of something that did not happen?


BOLDUAN: And that is a lie. That is wrong. And I'll say, I watched that whole hearing, Democrats also -- they did try to land some lame political points, but nothing like what you just heard over and over again. How do you move forward if the other side continues like this?

RYAN: I tell you, it's so lame. They're in La-La Land and disconnected from reality. And I'll just say that it is so far beneath the office of being a United States representative elected by 700,000 people in communities all across the United States to really uphold democracy, to help bring compromise, to solve big problems. And they're in the gutter, defending the indefensible.

And I think the American people need to speak up. Republicans need to speak up. Independents need to speak up and just say, look, this is completely unacceptable. I mean, you see what they did --

BOLDUAN: But isn't that part of the problem, Congressman? Isn't that part of the problem?

RYAN: I'm sorry?

BOLDUAN: Isn't that part of the problem, which is they're hearing this because they -- their voters and districts have been fed these lies. They're hearing it and it's now become this echo chamber.

RYAN: Well, I agree with that to some extent. But I still think the vast majority of Americans understand what happened, understand why it happened. And those people need to speak up and just say, look, what the Republicans are doing here is unacceptable. Yes, maybe that plays in a Republican primary. It may be we're going to have to talk about this and this will be kind of the backdrop to the elections in 2022. And the American people will speak out one way or the other.

But I just think the vast majority of Americans recognize what happened.


They want people to be prosecuted, people to be held responsible and then for the Republican Party to come back into reality so we can solve these huge problems. I mean, the economic struggles that we have are still getting out of the pandemic, our competition with foreign countries and China, we need to rebuild our infrastructure. And these guys aren't living in reality.

And how do you compete as a country if one of the major political parties in the country is living in La-La Land?

BOLDUAN: So, related to this, I have to say, is The Washington Post reporters witnessed a confrontation yesterday on the Hill that I want to ask you about. Marjorie Taylor Greene stalking Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez off of the floor, and The Washington Post reporter saw her confronting AOC and shouting at her multiple times, shouting, like you don't care about the American people and shouting a bunch of other stuff.

AOC's office is raising security concerns with leadership over this. And I see this and I'm wondering, one, what you think of that, and is this a complete collapse of anything that resembles workplace decorum? Is this how the House operates now? And is Marjorie Taylor Greene just desperate for attention?

RYAN: You know, I -- the lack of basic civility, you know, looks like is continuing to erode here. I've got a lot of Republican friends I disagree with. I disagree with what they did to Liz Cheney. I disagree how they're looking the other way on January 6th. But every American needs to ask themselves do you want to work in a workplace where you're getting literally screamed at by someone you may have a disagreement with on an issue at your own office or your own workplace?

This is not how we conduct ourselves. This is not a good example for our children. I mean, my wife is a first grade school teacher and her students behave better than some of these members of Congress. And I just think we've got to get back to some level of civility. We've got to start with what is the truth as the facts tell us and how can we work through it to build our country back up.

We've got huge issues that we're not dealing with now because we got this garbage, you know, facing us that we've got to fix and move on. But, you know, how are we going to rebuild the middle class? How are we going to compete against China? How are we going to bring back manufacturing? These are key issues, I think, for the vast majority of Americans, and they want politicians to act like adults and civil but solve the big problems.

And we've got to get the Republican Party back. I think the country is stronger if we've got two competent parties, political parties that are producing and generating ideas to solve the big problems in the country, not, you know, one party who is trying to do it and another party who is screaming and yelling and denying the basic truths that the American people have seen and understand.

BOLDUAN: Yes. The path out of this though, I'll say, is no more clear for me at this moment. Thank you for coming on, Congressman. I appreciate it.

RYAN: Always good to be with you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up, sirens warning of incoming rockets in Israel, widespread destruction in Gaza and warning that Israelis and Palestinians are on the verge of a, quote, full-scale war. We're live on the ground, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BOLDUAN: Approaching full-scale war, that is the warning from a U.N. official about the deadly conflict between Israeli armed forces and Hamas militants right now.

That was the scene this morning in Gaza City, smoke rising while in Israel, sirens warning of more rocket fire coming from Gaza. You're looking here, we're going to show you at a residential building, it was hit in one of the rocket attacks.

The death toll is rising on both sides now. And also happening now, mob violence between Jewish and Arab citizens is breaking out in several Israeli cities.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is in the Israeli city of Lod and he's joining me now. Ben, what's the very latest that you're seeing?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're seeing is a very tense town of Lod, or Lydd in Arabic, where for the last two nights, there have been communal clashes between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of this state of Israel.

Now just to give you an idea of what is going on behind me, this is the home of a Palestinian-Israeli family that is being searched by the Israeli police. We don't have any idea of what they're looking for or what the cause of this search is. But as a result, many of the young men in the neighborhood have come out.

And there are -- there's a synagogue just up the street where there are many Jewish-Israelis therefore sort of the atmosphere is one of real tension at the moment.

And what we've seen over the last few nights is these communal clashes where individuals not involved with the police or anything are attacking one another on the basis of their ethnic background.


This is something the likes of which have not been seen here for decades.

As far as the military situation concern, Kate, it's increasingly looking like indeed a full-scale war may be coming. A spokesman for the Israeli military told Israeli Channel 12 just a little while ago that infantry and armor are being massed in the area around Gaza for an imminent ground invasion.

And that, of course, is going to be a whole another dimension to this situation when Israeli troops actually go into the crowded Gaza strip where we could see even more bloodshed. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Wow. Ben, thank you very much for that update. We're going to continue to bring you those updates throughout the day. Coming up for us still this hour, a threat to break up the Republican Party. More than 100 high-profile Republicans are so fed up with the party that they are threatening to leave. What they're planning, that's next.



BOLDUAN: More than 100 prominent Republicans are threatening to break from their party and also threatening to create a new party if the GOP doesn't change course and break from Donald Trump. Liz Cheney being pushed out of her leadership post may have been the last straw.

In a letter, the group wrote this, in part, when in our democratic republic forces of conspiracy, division and despotism arise, it is the patriotic duty of citizens to act. We, therefore, declare our intent to catalyze an American renewal and to either re-imagine a party dedicated to our founding ideals or else hasten the creation of such an alternative.

Joining me right now is Mary Peters, former Secretary of Transportation under George W. Bush, one of the Republicans who signed onto this effort. Thank you for coming in. I appreciate your time.

One of the leaders on the effort, Miles Taylor, he put it this way. He said, it's time for a resistance of the rationals against the radicals. What does that look like right now?

MARY PETERS, REPUBLICAN THREATENING TO LEAVE GOP OVER TRUMP: It looks like those of us, Kate, who believe that the Republican Party is headed in a dangerous direction and trying to reach out to those likeminded individuals who want to join us and return to rationality, return to the founding principles that the Republican Party was founded upon, return to people like Ronald Reagan, John McCain, even here in Arizona, Barry Goldwater. Those are the people who stood for the principles that we as Republicans stood for.

BOLDUAN: I'm wondering how serious you are about creating and joining a third party, because Liz Cheney just made clear in her NBC interview that she will never leave the Republican Party. If you don't have someone like Liz joining you on this, how far can you get?

PETERS: Well, I think our hope is, Kate, that we won't leave the Republican Party, that likeminded individuals will join with us and help change the direction of the Republican Party. I don't want a third party either. I think that we can turn this around.

I think that we're better than this. We're better than this as individuals, as a party, and as a country.

BOLDUAN: Liz Cheney also, in her interview, said she's going to do everything that she has to, everything in her power to make sure that Donald Trump does not ever sit in the Oval Office again. And would you support Liz Cheney running for president? PETERS: Oh, I certainly would. I absolutely would. Because I think she stands for what is right and appropriate and is not unwilling to speak up.

BOLDUAN: Let me read to you what Peter Wehner, who also served in the George W. Bush administration, wrote in a new opinion piece that it was -- it's a really interesting -- it's a pretty candid take on kind of the state of things.

He wrote this, Liz Cheney understands that only a decisive break with Mr. Trump will stop the continuing moral ruination of the Republican Party but her break with the former president, while courageous, came too late to change anything. She is trying to rally an army that doesn't exist.

I'm curious if you think -- if you agree with Peter. Because how long do you give the Republican Party to tack back before you do something drastic?

PETERS: Well, I think we certainly need to lead up to the midterm elections and see some constructive changes during that time. And, Kate, about 60 percent of Americans right now say they're disaffected, they're not being represented by the political parties. And over half of the individuals are now registered as independents. So that is the group that we want to tap into. And, again, those Republicans who are likeminded with us and feel like we can -- we can and we must be better than this.

You know, Kate --

BOLDUAN: Oh, go ahead.

PETERS: This really appeals to me, is I'm now raising four little girls at my age, and I have to look at their future, and what's going to happen to them in the future, and leave a country for them that we can be proud of.

BOLDUAN: Well, being one of four girls myself, I just fell in love with you all over again.

You said that you're hopeful, you are hopeful that the -- you don't have to leave the Republican Party. But when you see the stories that we're reporting on all the time, what we've heard about Republicans continuing to lie about the Capitol insurrection, trying to say that it wasn't violent and it wasn't even Trump supporters, are you optimistic, really, in your gut, that the Republican Party is going to change course?

PETERS: I hope so. And I also am very, very affected by the fact that they're lying.


President Biden won the election. We have to speak to the truth and we have to go forward with the truth. And for those who deny the insurrection at the Capitol, deny that Biden won the election, is just wrong.

BOLDUAN: Mary Peters, thank you for coming on.

PETERS: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: I appreciate it.

Any moment now, we are expecting to hear from President Biden. He's expected to address the gas shortages impacting millions of Americans after that pipeline cyber attack. We're going to bring it to you live as soon as he begins. Please stay with us.