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At This Hour
Harrowing New Video of Insurrection as GOP Tries to Rewrite History; McConnell Vows to Block Manchin's Voting Rights Compromise. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired June 18, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
Here we are watching AT THIS HOUR:
Horrifying video. New bodycam footage capturing police desperately trying to defend the U.S. Capitol from insurrectionists, and a retired police officer among those insurrectionists, as Republicans go to new lengths to re-write the history of that day.
New moves, no deal. Manchin offers a compromise on voting rights. McConnell immediately shuts it down. So now what?
And book your flights. American travelers could soon be welcome back in Europe and you won't need proof of a vaccine.
Hello, everybody. Thank you so much for being here.
We're going to begin the hour with that new video of the insurrection. More evidence of a pro-Trump mob attacking police officers defending the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.
A warning, this video, as the others are, but this one especially, is disturbing and has quite graphic language. The Justice Department is making this new video public in the case against a former marine and retired NYPD officer seen in -- you'll see it in parts, in a red jacket, striking an officer with a flagpole and hand-to-hand combat ensues at the seat of America's democracy. A brutal reminder of just how terrifying that day really was, despite what some Republicans are trying to get you to believe.
The efforts by some of those Republicans to whitewash and literally re-write the history of Donald Trump's complicity in the deadly siege is reaching new levels.
CNN's Jessica Schneider is joining me live in Washington with the very latest on this.
Jessica, will you walk us through this new video just released?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I will. To note, first off, CNN and other outlets, they've been fighting to get this footage, as well as other videos, released. These videos have been shown in court by prosecutors and now the public is getting this glimpse of what officers faced battling back the mob, trying to get into the Capitol.
This particular video is from an officer's body camera. A warning, there are profanities and a lot of graphic video here.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
SCHNEIDER: Really what's most disturbing about this particular video is it's one of the few firsthand accounts we've seen of how these officers were trying to defend the Capitol and they had to engage in this hand-to-hand combat with the rioters. Now, prosecutors have shown several videos from police body cameras in court, but media outlets like CNN and others have been fighting to get more of this video, we're still waiting to actually get many more of these videos out to the public that will show some of this police perspective. We're expecting that in the coming days and weeks.
Now, when it comes to this former marine in the video wearing the red jacket, Thomas Webster, prosecutors, in addition to this video, they've also released photos in the charging documents. They show Webster grabbing at the officer, who was wearing this body camera, and then also photos showing Webster throwing the officer to the ground.
So, at this point, Webster is charged with seven federal crimes that include assaulting police, unlawfully entering the Capitol grounds with a dangerous weapon, Also civil disorder. But at this point, Kate, he's pleaded not guilty to all the charges, but the video, seeing what these officers went through, it really does put a whole new dimension on the stories, perspectives, of what these officers did and the defendants now facing charges -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Yeah, Jessica, thank you very much for that.
Joining me for more is CNN White House correspondent John Harwood and CNN legal and national security analyst, Asha Rangappa, a former FBI special agent.
Asha, your reaction to this new video?
ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Kate, it's another reminder that this was a domestic terrorist attack at our capitol and we need to continue to be reminded of that.
Now, one thing, Kate, these videos are kind of coming out sporadically and it's likely because judges are considering these on a case-by-case basis.
These people are charged. They likely are considering whether releasing these might prejudice these defendants if they end up going to trial, for example. So, there's some irony here that the rule of law is protecting these defendants and even though they were trying to overthrow it. But this is -- we're going to see more of this and it's really
important to continue to play these and to make them visible, even if they're disturbing, because it's the only way to continue to counter the false narratives that are coming out, trying to portray this as something that was peaceful or, you know, righteous or not something that needs to be -- where the people need to be held accountable.
BOLDUAN: Yeah. I mean, exactly to that joint, John, this video, one thing it does is shakes you back to reality of how terrifying and horrific that day really was, but this also flies in the face of what some Republicans are pushing and many more are allowing right now, which is a whitewash of this history, and most specifically a whitewash of the history of Trump's presidency.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, what is remarkable to me as someone who has covered politics over a span that began with Ronald Reagan, who defined his approach to international relations by standing up to what he called the evil empire out of Moscow, is that we've gotten to the point where a Republican Party, which was dominant nationally in Reagan's day, which has been fading, losing strength since, is now in a position where its propaganda stream has, in effect, merged with the Kremlin propaganda stream.
So you saw at the summit when Vladimir Putin was challenged on his record of human rights and his poisoning of Alexey Navalny and suppression of dissent with United States -- within Russia, he said, well look at the United States, you had protesters at the Capitol and one of them was shot and killed. That echoes what you're hearing from some elements of the Republican Party that Ashli Babbitt, the police were lying in wait for her and shot her, as opposed to police defending the Capitol against this violent assault.
The same is true on issues of Ukraine and other elements of Republican messaging that sought to absolve, Donald Trump, who, of course, was assisted by Russia in both of his campaigns. Russia interfered in both of his campaigns to try to boost Donald Trump and then Donald Trump as president took a series of actions rhetorically, mainly, to advance the strategic objectives of Russia and Vladimir Putin, weakening NATO, dividing the United States, his own defense secretary, Jim Mattis, he's the first president in our lifetime who did not try to unify the American people, he tried to divide us.
Well, that is the Kremlin's objective and the Republican Party has stood with him throughout.
BOLDUAN: And, Asha, to take it a step further, the fact there's a push of a new conspiracy theory that right wing is pushing that the FBI was behind the insurrection. We talked about this yesterday on the show, a wild conspiracy theory that they would prefer to believe that the government is somehow behind this, instead of what it was. As we see in the video, a retired NYPD cop, a Trump supporter, attacking the Capitol.
This is also not so different, sadly, than 9/11 truther conspiracies.
RANGAPPA: Yes, these events often will spawn conspiracy theories, but as John just pointed out, what's different is that they are being promulgated by elected officials, and also that they tend to mirror some of the goals of our hostile adversaries.
And what I would say I think there are some Republicans who have figured out that active measures, you know, creating chaos, dividing the population, fostering mistrust in our institutions, in election outcomes, in law enforcement, is actually advantageous. And this is kind of a spiral, Kate, because obviously as they do this, the base that is really going to get on board with this, there are going to be people that are like I don't know that I can get on board, and then that justifies further engaging in, you know, all of these election shenanigans to try to rig the rules in order to continue to still be able to win elections.
I mean, it's really all connected together in terms of fostering ultimately a theory of the big lie that's used to justify, you know, taking measures, voter suppression and then also encouraging their base to even potentially do similar actions like this again.
BOLDUAN: A spiral is a good way to describe it. The thing that is not known is what can stop the spiral, because it does not -- no matter what you see with your eyes and hear with your ears with these videos.
It does not seem to be slowing, stopping, changing the views of these conspiracy theorists for people who are victims to believing this event, which is a terrifying part.
Both, thank you. John and Asha, thank you so much.
Which leads to an important programming note for all of you. We have a CNN special you will want to see. Drew Griffin speaks with those who were there on January 6th. This is a perspective you will not want to miss.
CNN special report, "Assault on Democracy", airs this Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Here's a preview for you.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: The election is rigged.
CROWD: Stop the steal, stop the steal!
TRUMP: Fight like hell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a law enforcement operation. This was a military defense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're coming for you, Nancy!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once they started banging on the door, that's all I heard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overran the capitol. ANNOUNCER: Now new details from those who were there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump said come to D.C., it's going to be wild. And I knew it was going to be history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This might sound extremely strange to a lot of your viewers, but I feel like he was anointed by God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We peacefully protested.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You call January 6th a peaceful protest?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God, what is happening? I was scared. Absolutely scared.
ANNOUNCER: CNN special report, "Assault on Democracy: The Roots of Trump's Insurrection", Sunday at 9:00.
BOLDUAN: Developing AT THIS HOUR: Moves on Capitol Hill over voting rights legislation, yet as soon as those moves are made, they slam up against the logjam that just is ever present once again.
The latest example, Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, is now vowing to reject a proposal just released by moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin on voting rights, a proposal Manchin billed as a compromise.
Still, the Senate's Democratic leader is promising to push for votes next week on the main voting rights bill that passed the House. That's clearly going to hit a wall of opposition as well.
I lay all of that out to bring in Lauren Fox from Capitol Hill because it's a real question of where things head now. But, Lauren, what is the actual deal with Manchin's compromise? Who is he trying to negotiate with and what does happen now?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, this has been a bill that has been circulating for more than a year now and essentially what it does is it is a massive expansion of voting rights and it also deals with finance reforms. Manchin was the lone Democratic holdout on that bill. So he's been working with several other members, including Senator Tim Kaine, as well as his own leadership, trying to figure out if there was a compromise that he could work out with leadership to ensure that he would support a vote, a procedural vote next week.
Of course, Schumer, the majority leader, has been pledging that this legislation is crucial and therefore, he needed to put it on the floor by the end of this work period.
However, just because Manchin supports a proposal does not mean you're going to get the ten Republican votes that you needed in order to make it a law. This really is about Democrats trying to get unified, making sure that they have a stated position so that when they're out on the campaign trail, they can argue that Republicans are the ones standing in the way of voting rights legislation.
Now, McConnell has made it very clear, he is not for this proposal, nor is he for any compromise that Manchin is developing. And we should note that this conversation is still ongoing. There isn't final legislation at this point.
But we do know that on Tuesday there will be a procedural vote and, given what McConnell has said, we do not expect Republicans, or at least ten Republicans, to vote for it -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Yeah, no chance. Lauren, great to see you. Thank you so much for laying it out. Appreciate it.
Joining me now, our CNN political analyst April Ryan. She's Washington bureau chief for "TheGrio".
And Toluse Olorunnipa, national political reporter with "The Washington Post."
Guys, can I get a gut check from both of you. Lauren is great reporting on the Hill and she lays it out really well. But at this point, are Democrats and Republicans just going through the motions here on voting rights reforms, April?
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think they're going through motions, to be honest. You have a lot of people, not just civil rights leaders, not just Democrats on the Hill, but Democrats who were high-ranking officials in former administrations, who are reaching out and reaching in, talking with Joe Manchin, trying to get him on the same page because this is very serious.
We're now voting, again, without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, also you have states now with restrictive voting, and if there is a new federal law, any state that comes up with restrictive voting laws, the federal laws would not cover it.
So this moment is real. It's Joe Manchin and then Republicans. So this is an uphill battle, but we'll see where it lands.
BOLDUAN: I mean, Toluse, give me your gut check. I'm cynical. I know I am, from my time on the Hill and all the time after that.
But it's -- I just don't see this happening, not in this Congress.
TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, this is an uphill battle for Democrats. They need 60 votes, right now it seems like they have 50, if that.
But Joe Manchin being at the forefront of this bill is an important development. He is someone who has said he is not going to vote to get rid of the filibuster. If he sees Republicans deciding to block this and not even give him a hearing, he may have some sympathy for the other Democrats that want to get rid of the filibuster, because he is proposing something that he sees as middle of the road.
It includes things that Republicans like a nationwide voter ID standard.
OLORUNNIPA: If he can't even get a hearing from Mitch McConnell or an opening among his Republican colleagues, it may give him some sympathy for people on his side of the aisle who want to get rid of the filibuster. He's been strong saying he doesn't want to get rid of it, but this may change some of his calculus.
BOLDUAN: May, may, though I would not say to any Democrat who wants the filibuster changed to hold your breath. I know April would agree with my assessment on that.
Toluse, let me ask you this.
RYAN: May, yes.
BOLDUAN: May -- Stacey Abrams says she is open to Manchin's proposal, even the voter ID aspect of it. Let me play what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STACEY ABRAMS, FOUNDER AND CHAIRWOMAN, FAIR FIGHT ACTION: What Senator Manchin is putting forward are basic building blocks we need to ensure that democracy is accessible, no matter your geography. Our point is that the restrictions on the forms of ID should meet the needs of the people. And what he is proposing makes sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: How big of a deal is that, what Stacey Abrams is saying, Toluse?
OLORUNNIPA: It is a big deal to have someone who has been at the forefront of the voting rights battle on the same page with Joe Manchin, who just a couple of weeks ago came out against the Democrats lead voting rights bill, S-1. He's proposed something he sees as a compromise and the fact that he has a wide swath of Democrats on board makes it clear that the Democrats are united around expanding voting rights, pushing something to stop this onslaught of voting rights restrictions in the states.
But if they can't get Republicans on board, it's a nice thing to have Democratic unity, but you still need 60 votes and it's going to be hard to get beyond the 50. But just to get 50 votes on something as contentious as voting rights is a pretty major development, and to have Stacey Abrams on the same side as Joe Manchin is a point of unity for Democrats that they haven't always had on contentious issues like civil rights and like voting rights.
BOLDUAN: Like every other -- every other issue.
April, today is the first federal observance of Juneteenth. Biden signed the bill, making it a holiday yesterday. I want to play for you guys -- I hope you had a chance to see it, but for everyone, what 94- year-old Opal Lee said to CNN after all of this. She is a woman who has fought for decades to make this happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPAL LEE, JUNETEENTH ACTIVIST: I want them to know it's not a black thing, it's not a Texas thing. None of us are free until we're all free, and we're not free yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And we're not free yet, April.
She's saying, which I thought was so important to hear from her, as she's fought for this for so long, she is saying that this day is so important, obviously, but there's an element that she's not celebrating.
RYAN: She's right, and I talked to her yesterday at the White House after the event and I also talked to her earlier this week. When she says we're still not free yet, she's talking about issues of housing, issues of access to capital, so many of the negatives that the black community, the descendants of slaves are still dealing with in 2021 in this nation.
She's also saying, even though -- we talked -- she says even though we are not physically enslaved anymore, we're still enslaved because of the lack of freedoms with access to capital, education, et cetera, et cetera.
BOLDUAN: It was so important to hear from her. It really was.
April, thank you for being here. Toluse, thanks so much. It's good to see you both.
Coming up for us, Arizona is on edge. Police investigating a deadly shooting spree in the Phoenix suburb. The latest on the gun violence epidemic that continues to sweep across the country, that's next.
BOLDUAN: Arizona is on edge this morning. One person is dead and 12 others injured in a series of drive-by shootings in the span of about an hour in the Phoenix area. Police have a suspect in custody, but they still don't know exactly
CNN's Kyung Lah has the very latest from Scottsdale.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well, Kate, all of this took place in a 90-minute period. It was just before the lunch hour, so a lot of people were out and about in the northwest suburbs of Phoenix.
This is an area that's a bit of an outlying area from downtown Phoenix, and there are a lot of retirement communities in this particular area, where all of the shooting took place. There were a total of eight shooting scenes. It appears to be completely random. Police are describing them as drive-by style shootings.
Four people were shot, one killed, and the person who was killed, police say, appeared to have just been driving down the freeway, got shot, and then the car left the freeway, drove off the freeway, and somehow ended up in a concrete canal.
Because of how random all of this is, police describe this as frightening, but also just senseless.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POLICE OFFICER: We don't know the nexus. We don't know what the motive was. We don't have an idea of what this person.