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At This Hour

January 6 Investigation; Investigating Trump; DOJ Review of Uvalde Shooting Response; Interview with Rep. Robin Kelly of Illinois on Gun Safety Plan; White House COVID-19 Plan for Young Children. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired June 09, 2022 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, I'm Kate Bolduan.

The January 6th hearings head to prime time, with Washington bracing for impact. The key Democrat at the center of gun safety talks say he is confident that Republican support will be there.

And the White House rollout plan for finally vaccinating the country's youngest children against COVID-19, we have details. That's what we're watching at this hour.


BOLDUAN: Thanks for being here, everyone. We're hours away from the first public hearings tonight, from the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol insurrection. It's the first window into the months long investigation, of what led up that day.

It makes the case that former president Trump was at the center of a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election and stop transfer of power to Joe Biden. The January 6 committee says it will connect the dots between Trump's lies and the deadly violence at the Capitol.

Aides have amassed a mountain of new information. Lauren Fox is live on Capitol Hill for us.

What are you expecting?

How are things going to be playing out?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, this is all going to kick off with opening statements from Bennie Thompson, the committee chairman, and the top Republican on the committee, Liz Cheney.

We're told from aides they are going to run this hearing. They will do most of the talking. There's three areas that they are going to explore tonight, some of which is unseen to the public previously. One of the areas, they are going to play some video from the private

and closed-door depositions and interviews they did with Trump family members and campaign officials, White House aides. We expect that is going to make an impact here.

We know there's going to be previous unseen footage, reminding viewers back home of the violence at the Capitol. Some of the images are going to be led with two live witnesses.

Caroline Edwards, a U.S. Capitol Police officer, one of the first officers injured on January 6th, she is going to be describing her experience.

Also, Nick Quested, a documentary filmmaker, will be talking about his experiences and his access to some of the extremists outside of the Capitol that day. So a lot of new images and sounds and testimony we expect in the primetime hearing.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very much.

Joining me now is Manu Raju and Jennifer Rodgers.

The committee say they amassed a mountain of information, as they describe it, not all of which, they think will be addressed in the first of the hearings.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The committee has a high bar here. They have been promising a lot. They have been investigating this for months. They have thousands of pages of documents. They have promised a vast majority of information about January 6th we haven't seen before.

They are facing the challenge of the fact that the American public is pretty divided relatively evenly about January 6th in terms of culpability and in terms of what they want to focus on.

One of the challenges they have going forward is convincing the public they are learning something new, changing the viewpoints on exactly what happened here.

You can recall some high-profile hearings in the past that kind of floundered, whether it's Robert Mueller going before the House Judiciary Committee in 2019, when the Democrats were interviewing him in relation to Donald Trump's efforts to obstruct the Russia investigation.

Or the Republicans in the Benghazi investigation, going after Hillary Clinton, that was a high profile hearing that didn't amount to much.

Can they clear that high bar?

Will they present the new information that will change how people perceive what happened, as the American public is divided over the topic?

This isn't just the first hearing. They will be laying out a preview of what the series of hearings is going to present. A lot to be laid out in the first hearing.


BOLDUAN: After tonight, what do you expect to have a better understanding of?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: They need to give us new information and tell us what's coming down the road. They want people to stay tuned in. They need to tease it so people can see the information that's coming.

And secondly, they really need to give us a clear version of what happened here, the entire conspiracy.


BOLDUAN: A summary.

RODGERS: But short so people will remember it.

And call it the Trump coup. It goes to frivolous lawsuits. And then they talk about the pressure on the state election officials, the fake slates of electors submitted. Then move to the attempts to decertify on January 6, the planning and financing of the rally, the pressure on Mike Pence, the involvement of Republican legislators, rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.

BOLDUAN: Over and over again.

Manu, there's brand new audio obtained for a book that gets at all of this. Kevin McCarthy, less than a week after the insurrection, saying this. Listen.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER: When they started breaking into my office, myself (sic) and the staff got removed from the office. In doing so, I made a phone call to the president, telling him what was going on, asking him to tell these people to stop, to make a video and go out. And I was very intense and very loud about it.


BOLDUAN: This places McCarthy at the center of this, talking to Trump on the day, he says. But he's also one of the members who has been refusing to cooperate with the committee in their efforts.

Do you think additional audio or anything that the committee puts out is going to change that?

RAJU: Almost certainly not. He is dead set against this committee. He's having a press conference to rail against what he calls an illegitimate committee. He's been all over the map when it comes to January 6th and investigating what happened after January 6th. Afterwards, he was supportive of a deep dive investigation. He

criticized Donald Trump on the floor of the House. A couple weeks later, he made nice with the former president. But then after supporting an outside commission, he changed his tune.

As he deputized a senior member of his conference to cut a deal on an outside commission, he backtracked on Trump's opposition of that commission and helped rally the Republican opposition, to creating this outside commission, that would have been evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats to investigate this going forward.

Then, Nancy Pelosi went forward with her own choice, that she allowed McCarthy to name some picks. And Pelosi took an unprecedented step of vetoing two of McCarthy's picks, which forced him to pull his members away.

He is making it clear here that he is not going to participate at all. They're going to fight the subpoena.

What will the committee do in the face of the defiance of the subpoena from the several Republicans, who say they will not cooperate?

Will they hold a member of Congress in contempt?

Those are the big questions that the committee has yet to answer. We'll see if they have more details about that interaction tonight.

BOLDUAN: Manu and Jennifer, thanks as always.

A programming note, CNN's coverage of the January 6 committee first public hearing begins at 7:00 pm Eastern.

Beyond Washington, the legal troubles for Donald Trump are not over. The former president and his two eldest children have been ordered to testify next month in a New York City civil probe into the family's business practices.

It's a major legal setback for Donald Trump, whose attorneys have fought to prevent questioning like this. Kara Scannell joins us now.

What are you hearing?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So the Trump family, Donald Trump, his daughter and son, Donald Trump Jr., have agreed to sit for a deposition with the New York attorney general's office, beginning July 15th.

They'll have one week to complete all three of the depositions. That's unless New York's highest court intervenes. They reached this deal after two courtroom setbacks for the Trumps. They were challenging the subpoenas for their testimony.

The New York state judge said there's no reason why they couldn't provide the testimony, even though there's an ongoing criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney's office. That was the argument the Trumps made, saying they didn't want to sit

for this testimony. The judge disagreed with that. Then the Trumps wanted to go to New York's highest court.


SCANNELL: But there's no guarantee the court will take this up. So we're looking at the July 15th deadline for the Trumps to testify. We should note that Eric Trump had been deposed but he declined to answer questions 500 times. All this coming as the A.G.'s investigation is coming to a head. There could be an enforcement action soon.

BOLDUAN: Kara, thank you very much, appreciate it.

Coming up for us, Texas lawmakers are beginning their investigation into the elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Texas.

What is happening right now?

Details and a live report next.





BOLDUAN: At this hour, a key legislative committee in the Texas statehouse is beginning an investigation into the Uvalde, Texas, school massacre. The Texas Department of Public Safety is meeting with lawmakers today about the police response to the attack that killed 19 students and two teachers. CNN's Rosa Flores is tracking this for us.

What's happening so far?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What's happening right now is the committee and the individuals who are providing testimony are doing so behind closed doors in executive session.

This hearing did start in a public forum about 9:00 am and committee members were offering opening remarks, saying that the people of Uvalde deserve answers. They deserve to know the facts of what happened here and so does the state of Texas, making it clear that they are in a fact-finding mission.

Shortly thereafter, the hearing went into executive session. The list of witnesses was not issued. We know it's members of the Texas DPS, who will be testifying under oath. And the committee members will also be reviewing and examining evidence.

We did witness Texas DPS Colonel Steven McCraw entered the hearing room. And exhibits were brought into the room. Those exhibits can be anything related to the scene.

We also learned that some of the evidence that could be reviewed could include police reports, 9-1-1 reports, transcripts, things like that.

Meanwhile, in Uvalde, what is going on there is a press conference that wrapped up a little while ago. This was held by the superintendent there. The focus was the safety and security going forward. But a reporter asked the superintendent there about Pete Arredondo. He is the police chief of the school district there in Uvalde. Take a listen.


QUESTION: Can you confirm that Mr. Arredondo is still a district employee and, if so, have you communicated with him at all?

HAL HARRELL, SUPERINTENDENT, UVALDE CISD: That's a personnel question. I can't answer that in a public forum.


FLORES: Back here in Austin, the hearing is in executive session. We expect this to go on for several hours.

What is the outcome of this investigative committee?

They are planning to issue a report that will handed over to two separate committees, that will recommend legislation as to when this report could be issued. I'm hearing from a source close to this committee that a preliminary report could be issued by the end of the month.

BOLDUAN: Rosa, thank you. Appreciate it.

While Texas lawmakers are beginning their investigation, back in Washington, the House of Representatives is taking action, just passing a pretty sweeping gun safety bill that includes raising the age to 21 to buy certain rifles and other measures.

But it likely will go nowhere in the divided Senate. The House bill came hours after emotional testimony from Miah Cerrillo, who survived, and testimony from the parents of another 4th grader. Their daughter was killed in the attack. CNN's Melanie Zanona is live on Capitol Hill with more.

There's a lot of action talking happening.

What really is going on?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're right. The bill that was passed was sweeping and symbolic. That would raise the purchasing age from 18 to 21. It would ban high-capacity magazines.

But nearly every Republican voted against that bill. So it has zero shot of passing the Senate, despite the gut wrenching testimony we heard yesterday from family members and survivors.

So all eyes are turning to the Senate. That's where the bipartisan talks are happening. And they've narrowed in on a modest Senate proposal. They're looking at enacting red flag laws in states. They're looking at expanding mental health care access, enhancing background checks to potentially include juvenile records.

They're looking at shoring up school safety. But gun advocates are calling on President Biden to use executive action. He said he doesn't want to abuse the power of his pen. So the pressure is on Congress to act.


BOLDUAN: Melanie, thank you.

Joining me now is Robin Kelly, a member of the House Oversight Committee that held the hearing on gun violence.

Thank you for being here. The vote in the House allowed members to get on record with what they will and will not support.

With bipartisan talks happening, are you concerned that the effort in the House and the vote hurts the bipartisan negotiation?

REP. ROBIN KELLY (D-IL): I don't think it hurts it. We had Republican support in the House. So I don't think it hurts it. Some of the things are similar, not exactly the same but a similar goal.

BOLDUAN: I want to play what senator Chris Murphy, the Democrat leading the talks in the Senate, what he said about the state of negotiations this morning. It is interesting.


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT), MEMBER, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: I think that we can put together a package that will get more than 10 Republican votes. And, again, the reason for that is the demand from their constituents.

You have seen news reports in CNN about senators from very conservative states, who are considering voting for this, because they have been deluged by phone calls from parents, telling them that they need to step up and do something about this. I certainly think that we can get well above 10 Republican votes for this package.


BOLDUAN: Will you count that as a success, since it will be less than what you want and less than what was passed in the House?

KELLY: It will be less. But it will still make a difference. It will be a foundation that we can build on. I've been here 9.5 years. We were able to pass finally the background check and closing the Charleston loophole but nothing else.

It's still movement. And parents, if you remember when President Biden was in Texas, they were yelling, do something. We wanted to make a difference. And I think this will make a difference.

Who knows?

Maybe we can negotiate a little bit more.

BOLDUAN: Who knows is right.


BOLDUAN: And part of that is what happened yesterday. What was so tragically remarkable about yesterday's hearing was the testimony from little Miah Cerrillo. Her father testified afterwards from inside the hearing room. I want to remind them of some of what she said.


MIAH CERRILLO, ROBB ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: He shot my friend that was sitting next to me. And I thought he would come back to the room, so I grabbed a little blood and I put it all on me.


BOLDUAN: How did that impact you?

KELLY: I cried yesterday and I can cry right now. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. Her father was crying. He couldn't even look at her. It was heartbreaking, gut wrenching.

It also made me angry and frustrated that this little girl had to put blood on herself in the classroom, so that the gunman would think she was dead. What she saw will be with her for a lifetime.

BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, ,thank you for your time. We'll see what happens with the negotiations on the Hill. Thank you very much.

Coming up for us, the Biden administration just announced its plans for finally rolling out COVID vaccines for children under the age of 5, the news many parents and many pediatricians have been waiting for. Details, next.





BOLDUAN: Right now, the Biden administration is laying out its COVID vaccine rollout plan for children under 5. Doses will start shipping out as soon as the FDA authorizes the vaccines for this final group to have any shot available.

The first shots in arms for the youngest kids could happen by the end of this month. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen is here with more.

Is that too optimistic to say?

That date seemed to be expected earlier and pushed and pushed.

What is the White House saying now?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You probably should never hold on to any particular date. It's pretty fair to say this will happen quite soon. Parents have been waiting for a long time. Let's talk about the vaccine rollout and about the vaccine.

The rollout could start as soon as the week of June 20th; 10 million doses available for preorder, mostly distributed to pediatricians' offices and other doctors' offices and also at pharmacies, schools and libraries.

Let's look at the two vaccines. Pfizer is three doses, Moderna is two doses. Clinical trials show both of them are safe and effective.