Return to Transcripts main page
At This Hour
Biden to Lay Wreath at Yad Vashem; Fed Weighs Another Rate Hike; Trump Planned January 6 March. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired July 13, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Holocaust Memorial Museum or when he comes to Israel and goes to Yad Vashem. It's not the first time he has been to the Yad Vashem Israeli Holocaust Memorial Museum.
This is a such a special, revered place here in Israel. It commemorates and remembers the 6 million Jews and the millions of others who were murdered by the Nazis during World War II.
And it's a special place, especially at a time right now.
Kaitlan, I'm sure you will agree, when there has been a rise in anti- Semitism in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. And I don't know if the president will speak about that but I know he's very sensitive to it because I've spoken to several of the senior officials who have briefed us on what this visit means for him personally. It's very significant.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You mentioned that not long after arriving here, touching down. And you see the president there, standing along the wall. This is a wreath laying ceremony. He will also be meeting with survivors of the Holocaust.
But he did mention the rise of anti-Semitism and doing everything to combat that. And saying the phrase "never again," truly does mean never again. So this is part of the really symbolic aspect of the president's visit here.
It's one of the first stops he is making since arriving. This is his 10th visit to Israel in total but his first as President Biden. So it is certainly significant that he is here at Yad Vashem, visiting there and laying this wreath just in his first few hours here on the ground.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I think you make an excellent point, Kaitlan. It's important that -- and symbolic that this is really one of his first stops. If you have not been Yad Vashem -- Wolf, you can speak to this as well -- the weight of the tragedy and horror of the Holocaust truly sets upon you when you walk through.
It is designed and built -- so as you walk through the Holocaust museum memorial, you feel it narrowing in on you. It is -- it is -- it is -- the weight of it sets in on you when you visit Yad Vashem. BLITZER: Kate, as you know, for me, it is very, very personal. I
visited Yad Vashem and I have been there many times. But a few years ago, I was doing a piece for CNN about my family history and my family heritage. And I was at Yad Vashem doing the research.
They have an excellent research department, a historic department, documentation of Holocaust victims and Holocaust survivors. It was there when I was visiting that I first learned that my paternal grandparents, my dad's parents, my grandparents, were murdered at Auschwitz.
I knew they had been killed during the Holocaust. I didn't know where or the details. When I was there, one of the researchers, historians, showed me a file with my father's family.
And it did show that my grandparents on my dad's side were killed at Auschwitz. That's where I learned about it. So Yad Vashem for me, is very, very personal.
BOLDUAN: Kaitlan, talk us through as we are watching these moments together. Talk us through he's relighting, rekindling the eternal flame. Then he's going to be laying a wreath, not just laying a wreath but laying it on a slab under which ashes of Holocaust victims are buried. Talk me through this.
COLLINS: Yes, in the White House, when you talk to Israeli and White House officials before this visit of how they structured this, it was intentional of putting this on day one, one of the first things he was going to do.
He arrived at the airport; they had this big ceremony. You saw where he spoke and talked about this. Then got this briefing on the Iron Dome systems and the new laser system as well.
But then this was the next one on the agenda for them. They really wanted to highlight the importance of this and make this such a key stop for them.
It's also a big change from what you saw when he was vice president because President Obama was criticized by several for not making a stop to Israel on his first stop to the Middle East.
President Biden here making his first stop to the Middle East as president, obviously going to Saudi Arabia in the coming days to discuss very practical matters but also making sure to come to Israel first.
They have a lot to discuss when it comes to Iran, the war in Ukraine but also just the president wanted to focus on deepening the relationship. And I think that's why you are seeing such an emphasis on this ceremony happening right away.
BOLDUAN: Let's take a moment. We may not be hearing anything. But let's take a moment.
(OFF MIKE COMMENTS) [11:05:00]
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) --
BOLDUAN: -- implications of the broad impact of this four-day trip from Israel, with a big focus on Iran and countering Iran's influence. Also in doing so, a recognition that, at the moment, there's little hope of igniting the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
COLLINS: Yes, and president Biden himself acknowledged that when he got on the ground here. He talked about the two state solution, saying that's what's important to them. But he said he realized that's something not going to happen in the near or immediate future.
So when we talked to White House officials about their goals here because, when they came in the office, their focus foreign policy wise, the Biden administration, was not on the Middle East. They wanted to shift the focus to China.
That's what President Biden believed would be a big thing. Obviously now they are making sure that they're keeping a check on the inroads being made by China and Russia in the region.
When you look at the broader, 30,000-foot picture at President Biden's visit here, this is part of that aspect of it. Iran is obviously a concern as well. As the ceremony is going on, that's what top national security officials in the Biden administration will be focused on.
Especially after what you heard from Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor, who said that they believe Iran is preparing to send hundreds of drones to Russia to use in Ukraine. All of that will be on the table as they get into the business meetings tomorrow.
But today will be focused on, and this moment on the Holocaust, the remembrance of those victims and also those who fought to help save them.
BLITZER: We hear in the background, Kate, we are hearing a rabbi or cantor sing a prayer for the dead. This is a religious service is going on. That's why the president of the United States is wearing a yarmulke right now and honor of this Jewish tradition. They are remembering and praising the dead.
They are saying, "May their memories be a blessing."
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Wolf, thank you so much for that.
Kaitlan, thank you, as well.
We will continue to watch these moments with President Biden on the ground in Israel at the most somber and sacred of places in Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. We will bring you these moments. We are also turning to other big news on the U.S. economy. Prices
surging even further; gas, food, rent, all on the rise, still sending inflation to a new four-decade high in June. Consumer prices jumped by 9.1 percent from a year earlier, higher-than-expected. President Biden calls this, quote, "unacceptably high," says that the figure is "out of date" as gas prices are dropping. AAA looking at gas says a gallon of regular unleaded gas is a $1.5 higher than a year ago. CNN's Rahel Solomon joins me now.
Walk us through what you see in this report.
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Heading into this report, we were expecting an acceleration from last month. This number came in even hotter than that. It's hard to find any silver lining since the report prices increased 9.1 percent year-over-year, 1.3 percent over the last month.
When we think about the categories where we see the largest increases, it was broad-based. But some of the categories we talk about a lot, gasoline prices are higher by about 60 percent compared to a year ago; food prices, 10.4 percent; shelter, 5.6 percent.
I should say shelter prices really have had some economists sounding the alarm about a real affordability crisis in this country. So to see continued increases there is certainly not good news.
Even you look at core inflation, which picks up volatile categories, 5.9 percent over the last year. But I want to draw your attention to the monthly core number, a increase of 0.7 percent over the last month is really important because that is slightly higher than the last few months.
The Fed has said, Powell said this is the number he wants to see come down as a sign, as evidence that inflation is starting to come down. We are not seeing that. This is not good news and it's a problem for the Fed.
BOLDUAN: So the Fed is meeting later this month to consider next steps.
What could happen?
SOLOMON: The expectation already was 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent, we are already starting to see some banks say after this report, we could see 1 percent. So the Fed is raising rates as they try to cool demand, cool the economy. A report like this makes it more likely that the Fed will have to do more rather than less to tame inflation.
SOLOMON: And the impacts for the economy in terms of a recession become a lot more tricky.
BOLDUAN: Yes, ripple effects. Good to see you. I appreciate it.
Coming up, the January 6th committee laying out how Donald Trump was planning for days to call on people to march the Capitol ahead of January 6th. And how he wanted to make the march appear spontaneous.
Now the committee says that Trump is also trying to influence witnesses. The very latest on that next.
BOLDUAN: The congressional committee investigating the January 6th insurrection has reached out to the Justice Department with information that Donald Trump tried to contact one of the witnesses in their probe. That was one of the big new pieces of information that came out in yesterday's hearing.
BOLDUAN: The committee also showing how the president tried to make the march on the Capitol look spontaneous though he and his supporters had been planning for it for days. CNN Jessica Schneider has the highlights.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The January 6th House select committee revealing details about an unscheduled meeting in the Oval Office just weeks before the insurrection.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): What ensued was a heated and profane clash between this group and President Trump's White House advisers, who traded personal insults, accusations of disloyalty to the president and even challenges to physically fight.
SCHNEIDER: The meeting lasted well into the night and some of its attendees were repeating unproven election fraud claims and pitching then-President Donald Trump different ideas to overturn the election.
PAT CIPOLLONE, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I saw General Flynn, I saw Sidney Powell sitting there. I don't think any of these people were providing the president with good advice.
SIDNEY POWELL, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN LAWYER: Cipollone and Hershmann and whoever the other guy was, showed nothing but contempt and disdain of the president.
CIPOLLONE: We're asking one simple question as a general matter, where is the evidence?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What response did you get when you asked this panel, where is the evidence?
CIPOLLONE: A variety of responses, based on my current recollection, including, we can't believe you would say something -- things like this, like, what do you mean, where's the evidence?
You should know.
DEREK LYONS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE STAFF SECRETARY: And then there was a discussion, well, we don't have it now but we'll have it or whatever.
ERIC HERSHMANN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE ATTORNEY: Flynn kept screaming at me that I was a quitter and he kept on standing up and turning around and screaming at me. And then at a certain point, I had it with him.
HERSHMANN: So I yelled back, either come over or sit your f'ing ass back down.
SCHNEIDER: Days before the meeting, a draft executive order called for the secretary of defense to seize voting machines. It was never issued.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why was this on a broader scale, a bad idea for the country?
CIPOLLONE: To have the federal government seize voting machines, it's a terrible idea. That's not how we do things in the United States. There's no legal authority to do that.
SCHNEIDER: Trump said he wanted to appoint Sidney Powell special council and give her security clearance. It's a move that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said would be a grave mistake. He, along with other cabinet members, encouraged Trump to concede the election.
EUGENE SCALIA, FORMER TRUMP SECRETARY OF LABOR: I conveyed to him that I thought that it was time for him to acknowledge that President Biden had prevailed in the election.
CIPOLLONE: If your question is, did I believe he should concede the election, at that point in time, yes, I did.
SCHNEIDER: The following day, Trump sent out this tweet, calling for supporters to gather in Washington, saying, be there, will be wild, which set off an intense social media campaign to promote the January 6th rally. The committee presented evidence that Trump's call to march to the Capitol was planned in advance, presenting a draft tweet never sent that reads in part, massive crowds expected, march to the Capitol after. Instead, one rally organizer texted that POTUS is going to call for it unexpectedly.
Trump adlibbed parts of his Ellipse speech calling for rally-goers to march to the Capitol. This encouraged rioters, like Stephen Ayres, who has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for entering the Capitol illegally.
STEPHEN AYRES, CAPITOL RIOTER: Basically, the president got everybody riled up, told everybody to head on down. So we basically were just following what he said. REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): Did you think that the president would be marching with you?
AYRES: Yes, I think everybody thought he was going to be coming down. He said in his speech, kind of like he's going to be there with us. So I mean, I believed it.
SCHNEIDER: The call to Washington also attracted far-right groups, like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, both of which had strong connections to Trump allies Roger Stone and Michael Flynn. Former Oath Keeper Spokesman Jason Van Tatenhove testified before the committee the grave danger these groups pose to the country.
JASON VAN TATENHOVE, FORMER OATH KEEPERS SPOKESPERSON: I think we need to quit mincing words and just talk about truths and what it was going to be was an armed revolution.
This could have been the spark that started a new civil war and no one would have won there.
SCHNEIDER: The committee ultimately making its case Trump should be held accountable for the events of January 6th.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): President Trump is a 76-year-old man. He is not an impressionable child.
And Donald Trump cannot escape responsibility by being willfully blind.
BOLDUAN: Jessica, thank you for that.
Joining me now for more is CNN's Abby Phillip and CNN legal analyst Elie Honig.
Elie, you watched this all throughout. You say that the key to this hearing is establishing connections.
BOLDUAN: Where do you think they established strong or important connections?
And where do you think they fell short?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it was a partial success. They showed us, importantly, what the chain of communications would have been, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, QAnon connected to Michael Flynn and Roger Stone.
Roger Stone connected to Mark Meadows, Mark Meadows potentially connected to Donald Trump. However, we have no idea what any of those conversations were. That is a gap, an important gap.
Remember Bennie Thompson said that they had evidence of conversations between extremist groups and people in Trump's orbit. They did not establish that. The best they established is that Donald Trump knows how to speak to these people indirectly through his language, through his tweets.
And that I think was quite potent. But we do not have a direct link.
BOLDUAN: Abby, also the hearing highlighted how many people knew about the real possibility that violence could happen and how law enforcement were not warned and better prepared.
Sergeant Gunnell (ph) wrote in his op-ed, even before the hearing, about this: instead of being notified about the danger, my colleagues and I were kept in the dark and thus walked into an ambush unprepared.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is incredibly striking. You have to think back to the Cassidy Hutchinson testimony, that hearing, in which they established that there were people within the Secret Service and the White House who were warning the chief of staff, Mark Meadows, warning Trump and others, that there were people in that crowd who were armed.
They had very specific information about what they were armed with. And there are some real questions now about why that information did not get to the appropriate people, to give them what they needed to protect themselves.
You know, there are a lot of critiques of the January 6th committee that are based in partisanship. But this is one where I think, this objective, which is to prevent something like this from really happening again, prevent this country from collectively downplaying the threat of these domestic violence extremist groups -- it's not really on the January 6th agenda.
They are very much focused on establishing ties between the violence on the Capitol and president Trump. But the violence at the Capitol in and of itself, I think, is deserving of more attention. And it is just not clear to me and I don't think we will really get it from this committee.
BOLDUAN: You could do both of those things at the same time. There could be a hearing that is specifically tailored to exactly what you are talking about. So far, we do not see.
Elie, yesterday also highlighted that so many people not only knew about the violence, was a real possibility but also just knew that something was wrong. They spoke up privately in meetings, saying, you know, the people around you are giving you horrendous advice and illegal advice.
But also, even after the worst-case scenario, which is the insurrection on January 6, they did not speak up publicly. Michael Fanone, he spoke to that directly in responding to what he heard in the hearing yesterday. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL FANONE, FORMER D.C. METRO POLICE OFFICER: My biggest take away is how many cowards there were in the Trump organization.
It is 18 months later and we are finally hearing from these people?
Like where was your courage to just say, "This is crazy, I'm out of here" and, what, you're going to lose a job?
Well, I lost my job. I suffered some pretty significant injuries on January 6th. And I was willing to come forward and talk about my experience immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: What do you think about that?
HONIG: It's a great point that he makes. It's a good thing that certain people were in place at the time who drew lines and said we will cross that -- Pat Cipollone, even Bill Barr, Jeffrey Rosen and others.
However we do not need to deify these people. They are not heroes because, as Officer Fanone said, they came forward way too late. Look at Pat Cipollone. Yes, he played an important role in tamping down some of the worst abuses in the White House.
He did not come forward until last week, after he was subpoenaed. He waited a 1.5 years. Even then, he took executive privilege. He would not testify in public. So I think that's exactly right by Officer Fanone.
BOLDUAN: It's good to see you both. Thank you, I really appreciate it.
Coming up, surveillance video of the horrific tragedy at Robb Elementary School captures the failures by law enforcement during those critical moments. But the families of those killed are upset by how this video came out. The reporter with the paper that released the video joins us next.
BOLDUAN: For the first time in nearly two months since the horrific school massacre in Uvalde, the public is seeing what happened inside Robb Elementary where the gunman killed 19 children and two teachers.
The "Austin American-Statesman" newspaper published surveillance video which so far law enforcement had refused to release. The 77-minute video shows just how long law enforcement waited to confront the killer. CNN's Rosa Flores has more.