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At This Hour

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Says, GOP Antics will Not Get in Way of Insurrection Probe; Trump Says, Insurrection Crowd was Loving in New Audio; U.S. to Sanction Cuban Officials after Protests Crackdown. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 22, 2021 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN AT THIS HOUR: On Capitol Hill, an attempt at a bipartisan investigation into the January 6th insurrection has devolved into a political mess this morning. Kevin McCarthy pulled all of his picks from the select committee that was set up to investigate the Capitol riots after Nancy Pelosi rejected two of his Republican choices.


But Pelosi vowed this morning that the investigation will continue.

CNN's Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill with more. Manu, what is the speaker going to do now?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSOINAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she's still moving ahead. She does have eight members of the committee including one Republican. She says she has a bipartisan quorum, that one Republican being Liz Cheney.

The question now is whether she will add an additional Republican, someone who could potentially give more bipartisan credence to this select committee. And there is talk about her potentially naming Adam Kinzinger, who is one of two Republicans to vote to create this select committee.

Kinzinger refused to comment to me earlier about whether he would accept an appointment or whether he had any conversations about this. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the committee, told me that Kinzinger has been discussed with the speaker and would be a welcome addition if he were to be named.

And our colleague, Melanie Zanona, is hearing from sources that the speaker is, in fact, considering naming him. She said, we will see, when she was asked about this earlier at the press conference.

Now, at the same time there are some questions about other Republicans, including people who voted to impeach Donald Trump, about whether they might get the selection. But one Republican who voted impeach Donald Trump, Jaime Herrera Beutler, told me earlier that she is not willing to serve and she also criticized this committee.


REP. JAIME HERRERA BEUTLER (R-WA): Unless this is made up of people who are not members of Congress, the American people cannot trust the results because, endemically, everybody has got a dog in the fight, whether it is who is going to be in charge of the -- of the Congress or who is going to win reelection.


RAJU: So now, next is the hearing next week, there is some discussion about exactly how that will take place. Police officers who defended this Capitol will be testifying and the committee members who are part of the committee are meeting with Nancy Pelosi in her office later today. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Jaime Herrera Beutler is not wrong in what she is saying about the need for a truly independent commission. It is good to see you, Manu. Thank you.

Coming up, as Congress stalls on getting to the bottom of the insurrection, there is new audio of Donald Trump denying reality and lashing out at his former V.P. We're going to play it for you next.



BOLDUAN: Breaking overnight, audio tapes released of Donald Trump speaking with Washington Post reporters for their new book, audio tapes that shocked the senses and honestly show the former president is even less tethered to reality today than when he was in office, delusional characterizations about the insurrection, the election that he lost and his relationship with former Vice President Mike Pence.

The recording is from an on-the-record interviews with Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker conducted with Trump for their new book, I Alone Can Fix It, Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year. I want to play for you how Trump still describes the riots by his supporters on January 6th.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT (voice over): It was a lot of love. I've heard that from everybody. Many, many people told me, that was a loving crowd. And, you know, it was -- it was too bad. It was too bad that got -- you know, that they did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were just some --

TRUMP: But my statement -- my statement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But, Mr. President, I apologize, what we're trying to understand is not blame, not castigate.

TRUMP: No, I understand that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to understand what did you want when you said, go up there? What would you have dreamed for them to do?

TRUMP: I would have said to them that you will show -- not to go in. Although, they were ushered in by the police. I mean, in all fairness, the Capitol Police were ushering people in. The Capitol Police were very friendly. They were hugging and kissing. You don't see that. But there is plenty of tape on that too, you know, because the Capitol Police were -- that is the way it is.

But I wanted -- I mean, personally, what I wanted is what they wanted. They showed up just to show support because I happen to believe the election was rigged at a level like nothing has ever been rigged before.


BOLDUAN: Some facts now. The election was not rigged. You know that and we know. Everyone knows that and, well, should know that. And January 6 was not a love fest. Police officers were attacked and brutally beating. We've heard their firsthand accounts. We've seen the video with our eyes. One officer suffered a heart attack while trying to fight for his life. Five people are dead in connection to January 6th sparked by Donald Trump's election lie.

Joining us right now is CNN Political Analyst Toluse Olorunnipa. He's a National Politics Reporter with the Washington Post, and CNN's Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter.

Brian, I can't decide what is more startling, the fact that Trump is still starting to not convince people to not believe their eyes about the 6th or the fact that he thinks that he may succeed in doing so beyond his QAnon supporters who already don't live in reality. Your thoughts?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right. By talking to these authors, by giving these interviews, he's trying to convince others, he's trying to make his delusional ideas more mainstream and more accepted. And that is really what I worry about, Kate. We know what the former president is, we know the deal with him at this point. The downstream effects are what are concerning.

When you are told not to believe your eyes and ears and if you go along with it, and tens of millions of people have gone along with it, then you've entered into this alternative universe and you've had to convince yourself you're not lying and he is telling the truth.


And that could have a real warping effect on your life, to be quite honest.

I think the concern at this point has to be the millions of people who are saying they believe him and how is it possible to bring them back and show them the video clips and show them reality, or when he says they were ushered in by the police, are those lies just accepted for the rest of our political life?

BOLDUAN: And, Toluse, let me play something else from Leonnig and Rucker's interview with him. They asked him about Mike Pence and what he actually wanted Mike Pence to do on January 6th.


TRUMP: I always liked Mike. I was very disappointed, and so were a lot of Republicans, very disappointed, because had he sent them back, had he been Thomas Jefferson, had he sent them back, which took courage, but not a lot of courage, what courage would have been is to do what Thomas Jefferson does -- did, we're taking the votes. He could h have done that too. But that would have been politically unacceptable.

But sending it back to these legislatures, who now know that bad things happened, would have been very accepted. And I think, I could show letters from legislatures, big scale letters from different states, the states we're talking about, had he done that, I think it would have been -- I think it would have been a great thing for our country. I think it would have been a great thing for our country.

And so it is --


BOLDUAN: I mean, Toluse, he actually expected this?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It seems so. And we talk about the alternate reality that he lives in. It seems like since leaving the White House and going down to Mar-a-Lago, going to his private clubs, he has cocooned himself in even more a bizarre sense of alternate reality away from some of the career officials, some of the people who may have been able to brief him, as my colleagues wrote in their books, some of the people who were trying to steer him away from sort of the land of crazy that he was sort of trying to live in, this idea that he won the election and that all of the people who stormed the Capitol were just hugging and kissing police officers and not actually beating them up and trying to rush them.

It is pretty clear that he is living in this alternate reality in which Mike Pence could have, with a stroke of a pen, or with a bang of a gavel, changed the results of an election which he lost by millions of votes and a pretty substantial margin in the Electoral College. The fact that he believes that, the fact that he continues to hold this garage against his own vice president shows how far detached he has become from reality and how willing he is to basically encompass himself with people who believe some of the things or willing to tell him these things even though they are so far what actually happened on January 6th and in November of last year.

BOLDUAN: And, Brian, I mean, these audio tapes and this book raise, again, a question that a lot of people ask, which is why does Trump keep speaking to us? Like why do these interviews, when he never comes out looking good? Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker are fantastic journalist and they were on with Anderson last night. And Carol basically said that Trump told them, and the way she said it in this quote, it is a sickness that Trump is telling them this, that it is a sickness but I really enjoyed it, which -- I don't know.


BOLDUAN: I don't know if that is like a strange moment of self- awareness for him but --

STELTER: It was a very self-aware moment. It's also how the book ends. And this isn't the last book. Trump has given interviews for more than a dozen other books because he believes he can convince these authors to go a little easier, to be able to be nicer to him, that is another delusion, I think.

One word that we didn't use enough in the last four years, Kate, was the word narcissism. This is about narcissism at the end of the day. That this is a mental disorder and we're living with the consequences every day.

BOLDUAN: Brian, Toluse, thank you.

Coming for us, we have breaking news out of Cuba. We want to bring it to you. CNN has just learned that the Biden administration is preparing sanctions against the Cuban regime for cracking down on anti-government protests. The breaking news and live report from Havana, next.



BOLDUAN: We have breaking news. CNN has just learned the Biden administration is expected to take action against Cuban officials as the regime is cracking down on the biggest anti-government protest in decades there.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann is live for us in Havana. Patrick what will this mean?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: well, probably it's tough to say. Of course, the Trump administration sanctioned so many Cuban officials and entities. Of course, the Biden administration must be having a tough time finding new people to sanction.

One of the groups that my colleague, Kulie Atwood, has learned will be sanctioned is a group called Buenos Negros (ph). These are special forces, troops that I saw just yesterday. There was a protest that was supposed to happen in Havana, of course, when troops like this show up, not surprisingly, protests don't happen. It's a little bit like sending the SEALs or the Delta Force to break up a riot or a protest. These are really the most elite Cuban soldiers there are. We've been seeing them almost on a daily basis in the streets in Havana.


Of course, the Cuban government saying that some of these protests did turn violent, and that's why they need soldiers who are as highly trained and as deadly as these guys are. But, of course, the protests that I saw were mostly peaceful, people just calling for liberty, for the ability to choose their own government, for human rights. So, certainly, sending these troops out into the street in Cuba, as we have been seeing, has a chilling effect on protests.

BOLDUAN: Yes, much more to learn about this, for sure. Patrick, thank you very much for bringing us those breaking details.

And thank you so much for being here with us today. I'm Kate Bolduan. Inside Politics with John King picks up after a quick break.