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The Lead with Jake Tapper
January 6 Committee Gives Evidence Of Trump's Pressure On Pence TO Overturn Election; Two U.S. Military Veterans Volunteering In Ukraine Reported Missing; European Leaders Back Ukraine's Bid To Apply For E.U. membership; Jan. 6 Committee Focuses On Trump's Pressure On Pence To Overturn Election. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 16, 2022 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: In addition, a highly respected conservative and retired federal judge J. Michael Luttig told the committee today that he believes that if Pence had obeyed Trump's orders and declared Trump to be the next president, that that would have plunged the United States of America into what he called a situation, quote, "tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis." Thankfully, Pence did not. And Pence told the president the morning of January 6 that he would not in a phone call that was described as heated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you hear any part of the phone call even if just this -- the end that the president was speaking from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. And what do you hear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So as I was dropping off the note, my memory, I remember hearing the word wimp, either he called him a wimp. I don't remember if he said you are a wimp. You'll be a wimp. Wimp is the word I remember, something to the effect.
This is -- the word is wrong. I made the wrong decision four or five years ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the word that she relayed to you that the president called the vice president, apologize for being impolite, but do you remember what she said her father called him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A P word.
REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Our investigation found that early drafts of the January 6 ellipse speech prepared for the president included no mention of the vice president. But the president revised it to include criticism of the vice president and then further ad-libbed.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Then President Trump did not stop there. The committee revealing today that President Trump sent a tweet attacking his vice president after aides had told the president that there was violence at the capitol where Mike Pence was. The tweet, quote, "poured gasoline on the fire," according to one Trump White House aide.
According to the committee, the mob surged in the minutes after that tweet and was able to overwhelm the police. Two minutes after that tweet, Pence was evacuated from his place in the capitol to a secure location underneath the Capitol wall. He came in contact or came close to contact within 20 feet -- 40 feet rather of the rioters.
The committee today released these never before seen photos of the vice president and his family hiding underground from the mob. And there he is, you see him tending to the business of government as well.
CNN's Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill with the big takeaways from the hearing in the new details we are learning about the conversations between then President Trump and then Vice President Mike Pence in the days before the insurrection
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm telling you, if Pence came, we're going to drag motherfuckers through the streets.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Then President Donald Trump riling up his supporters on January 6, 2021.
TRUMP SUPPORTERS (chanting): Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence.
RAJU (voice-over): And directing their anger towards Vice President Mike Pence.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us. And if he doesn't, that will be a sad day for our country.
RAJU (voice-over): Trump personally putting the pressure on Pence in a tense phone call that morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He called him a wimp.
IVANKA TRUMP, FORMER ADVISOR TO DONALD TRUMP: It was a different tone that I'd heard him take with the vice president before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you remember what she said her father called him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The P word.
RAJU (voice-over): Later tweeting an attack on Pence after rioters have breached the Capitol. All as Trump had been told repeatedly that Pence had no authority to simply reject state's Electoral College votes as he presided over the congressional certification of the 2020 election.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it your impression that the Vice President had directly conveyed his position on these issues to the president, not just to the world through a dear colleague letter but directly to President Trump?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many times.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And had been consistent in conveying his position to the president?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very consistent.
RAJU (voice-over): The committee focusing today on the role of Trump Attorney John Eastman who pushed the theory that the vice president could overturn Joe Biden's victory.
JOHN EASTMAN, DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: All we are demanding of Vice President Pence is this afternoon at 1:00 he let the legislators of the state look into this so we get to the bottom of it.
RAJU (voice-over): Privately, White House officials were alarmed and push back on Eastman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they thought he was crazy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said, are you out of your effing mind?
RAJU (voice-over): Even Fox News personalities Sean Hannity sending these text messages to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, saying on January 5, I'm very worried about the next 48 hours. But as he was peddling the theory, Eastman knew it was bogus writing in October 2020 that nowhere does it suggest that the president of the Senate gets to make the determination on his own terms.
Pence's former counsel recalling tense deliberations in the White House, including this demand from Eastman on January 5th.
GREG JACOB, FORMER COUNSEL TO VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: What most surprised me about that meeting was that when Mr. Eastman came in, he said, I'm here to request that you reject the electors. He came in and expressly requested that.
RAJU (voice-over): And as Trump and Pence were privately sparring about the vice president's rule, Trump issued a statement saying he and the vice president were in total agreement that Pence had the power to act.
JACOB: We are shocked and disappointed, because whoever had written and put that statement out, it was categorically untrue.
RAJU (voice-over): The message came from Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He dictated most of it. RAJU (voice-over): And Trump succeeded, former Judge Michael Luttig offering this stark warning.
MICHAEL LUTTIG, RETIRED JUDGE FOR THE U.S. COURT OF APPEALS: Would have plunged America into what I believe would have been tantamount to a revolution. The first constitutional crisis since the founding of the Republic.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
RAJU: Now we're also learning that John Eastman asked to be included in a potential list of pardons in the aftermath of January 6. Now, he didn't cooperate with the committee, in fact, when he was brought before them, he actually pleaded the fifth many times when ask a number of questions.
And we're also, Jake, learning about some of the next steps that committee wants to take. One of which is to actually interview the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's wife, Ginni Thomas, who's a conservative activist. She had e-mailed Eastman and also pushed to overturn the electoral results. Thompson telling us earlier, the chairman of the committee, Bennie Thompson, telling us that they have sent a letter to Thomas asking for her to come in and answer their questions.
TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju on the Hill for us, thanks so much.
With me in studio to discuss, former Congressman Denver Riggleman. He's a former senior technical adviser to the January 6 committee and a former Republican Congressman. Also with us, Carrie Cordero. She's a CNN legal analyst and a former counsel to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General.
Carrie, let me just start with you. The testimony from Ivanka Trump, former White House attorney Eric Hershmann and other aides about Trump's phone call with Mike Pence the morning of January 6, which was described by as heated in which Trump apparently called Pence a wimp and a pussy, the president -- one of the testifiers, one of the witnesses said the president took on a different tone with the vice president than he'd ever heard before. I think Ivanka said that. What was your reaction to that?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think what the committee did a very effective job with testimony and deposition video from people who were in the White House who were advising the resident himself was that they showed the intense pressure that he was placing on the vice president. We all saw the public pressure that was taking place. I mean, he stood out in front of the Capitol building and pressured the vice president. But now we know that there also was his call where he was intensely pressuring him.
And then what I think that committee did effectively, is they drew that line from that pressure to the threat of violence that the vice president was under. And I think making that connection is a little bit something new. I think they move the needle forward today by drawing that line more carefully. TAPPER: And Congressman, for the first time, the committee showed just how close and actual feet Pence and his family, we should note, because his family was with him too --
DENVER RIGGLEMAN, FORMER SENIOR TECHNICAL ADVISER TO JAN. 6 COMMITTEE: Yes.
TAPPER: -- came to this rabid mob. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vice President Pence and his team ultimately were led to a secure location where they stayed for the next four and a half hours, barely missing rioters a few feet away.
AGUILAR: Proximately 40 feet, that's all there was, 40 feet between the vice president and the mob.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And we've heard testimony from members of the mob or at least an informant that was embedded with the Proud Boys of some sort saying that there was a desire, at least spoken, to kill Pence or Pelosi specifically. What was your reaction when you heard that 40 feet?
RIGGLEMAN: You know, my whole life has been in counterterrorism. And so, when I look at this and what the committee is doing, we are actually looking at a terrorism investigation and you had a mob that close to the vice president at that time. And I think that's the thing that struck me from the beginning when you look at all the interviews or look at the data that we've compiled is that how close the mob was and the fact that how they were radicalized. And I think that's what scared me today. You know, when you're looking or you're listening to this type of advice you know that the president was getting from people like Eastman.
I honestly believe, I'm glad there's a lawyer here today about what I'm about to say, but I think they could have got better legal advice from LegalZoom. And it's pretty amazing to me, too, that when you talk about what happened, it seemed like Trump and his advisers were copy pasting sort of conspiracy addled internet trolls and that using that to shape their legal arguments. And I think that's what strikes me when I watch what happened today, the case that they're laying out which was very -- actually was just very thorough.
And listening to that and just looking at how close those individuals came to Vice President Pence, who I know and have talked to, and his wife, right, we know them, we talked to them. My wife and I, you know, when you see this, and when you watch something like this, it really hits home, how ridiculous this was. What the type of arguments that -- was being presented to the -president, but this is a terrorism investigation.
TAPPER: No different than if it were ISIS terrorists or Al-Qaeda terrorists storming the Capitol housing a threat.
RIGGLEMAN: Man, I don't know if, you know, getting technical on this. But when you look at how, you know, the coordination happened, when you look at the other groups that are involved, you know, the committee hasn't gotten to the rally planners yet. The committee hasn't gotten to the people on the ground yet, you know, the day of -- the committee hasn't talked about the state legislators yet a lot, right?
They mentioned the alternate electors. There's still multiple groups, that committee has just touched the surface in these first three hearings. I think the next three hearings is going to build on this.
And this is a terrorism problem. It's a coordination problem. But it's also us looking at what we call the techniques, tactics and procedures or the TTPs of these groups, and actually digging in into how they were able to do this.
TAPPER: And Barbara Comstock, a former Republican congresswoman from Virginia, former colleague --
TAPPER: -- of yours.
RIGGLEMAN: I know Barbara well.
TAPPER: Just retweeted -- so this is not her, but her -- she's -- her responses exactly, somebody writing, John Eastman getting indicted but not Trump would be like Tom Hagen going to jail while Michael Corleone keeps opening casinos, that's obviously a godfather reference. So I apologize for people who are not well versed. But the idea is that this is -- this would be like a lower-level person as opposed to who's the person who's actually in charge. Do you agree with that basic idea?
CORDERO: Well, I think they're getting closer, though. I really do. And I'm not one of the observers who has thought that we necessarily were going to get to a place where we would see the former president prosecuted.
But with the information that has now come out with respect to his lawyer, John Eastman, we have clear evidence now that John Eastman was told and that the president was likely told that what was -- the plot that they were engaging in was illegal. So, there's the testimony of Mr. Hershmann, who was a White House Counsel, who told John Eastman you better get a lawyer. Greg Jacobs was incredibly, I think, compelling in terms of the arguments that he had in the back and forth that he had with Mr. Eastman, that their plan was completely illegal and just a complete abomination of an interpretation of law.
And so, I think the next piece then is, was Eastman then advising the president, the former president, all of this? And then does the Justice Department -- is the Justice Department willing to go forward with a theory that conspiracy to defraud the United States is what this whole activity was? TAPPER: Or --
CORDERO: That's the question.
TAPPER: Yes. Or is there a separate status, a separate tear of law for presidents they get to do things with the rest of us wouldn't get away with. I think that's another question.
Thanks to both you for being here, former Congressman Denver Riggleman and Carrie Cordero.
He died after being brutally beaten by insurrectionist for trying to defend the Capitol. The longtime partner of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick will join us next after sitting in today's hearing.
Then two American Veterans voluntarily fighting alongside Ukrainian soldiers go missing. The growing fear that they've been captured by the Russian military. As the U.S. State Department says a third American is now reportedly missing in Ukraine. We're going to talk to the mom of one of the missing. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Video of rioters chanting hang Mike Pence played during today's January 6 House Select Committee hearing, the vice chair, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, said Trump was aware of these chants when he said, quote, "maybe our supporters have the right idea." Let's talk about all of it with the former partner of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick Sandra Garza.
Brian, obviously, as we all remember, suffered two strokes and died the day after he confronted rioters on January 6 and was so brutally and violently attacked.
There was something that was said today that I immediately thought of Brian and you, which was a conversation that Trump White House attorney Eric Hershmann had with John Eastman who was pushing this insane theory that helped incite and inspire the crowd that day. Let's play that clip of Hershmann describing his conversation with John Eastman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HERSHMANN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE ATTORNEY: I said, you're going to turn around until 78 plus million people in this country that your theory is this how you're going to invalidate their votes because you think election was stolen? And I said, they're not going to tolerate that. So you're going to cause riots in the streets. And he said, words to the effect of -- there has been violence in the history of our country, Eric, to protect the democracy or protect the Republic.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: What's your response when you hear about that attorney, according to this account, so blindly dismissing the riots in the street that actually happened, except they happen on the Capitol?
SANDRA GARZA, PARTNER OF FALLEN CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK: It's reprehensible. You know, he knew that that was going to cause an uproar and he didn't care. He didn't care how much bloodshed was going to spill or happen that day and said, screw it, I'm going to do it anyways. A lot of people knew.
I was actually more moves on the first hearing with a lot of the testimony that I heard. I mean, even today as well, but because there was so many people that could have intervened, and said, you know what, I'm going to go to the media, I'm going to go to the press, I'm going to scream from the rooftops and try and stop this. They knew Trump intimately. They knew how dangerous he was, and nobody did anything to stop him.
TAPPER: That's interesting. So, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but when you see Ivanka Trump --
TAPPER: -- or Jared Kushner --
TAPPER: -- or people like that, people who could have had a press conference and a million cameras would have come immediately --
TAPPER: -- and said, and if she had said something like, please don't listen to what my dad saying, blah-blah-blah.
TAPPER: Is that who you're thinking of? And is that what you're thinking of?
GARZA: Absolutely, yes, Ivanka, in particular. I mean, families were decimated because of what happened on the sixth. People died because of what happened on the sixth.
I mean, you know, there was children that turned in their parents. There was one young lady who was kicked out of her house and on the street because she turned in her, I think it was her mother, for participating in the insurrection. You know, Jared Kushner said on the video during his testimony that, well, I just took up, you know, the people, the attorneys who were saying they were going to turn in their resignation because of -- they didn't, you know, they basically had a conscience, I just took that up to whining.
TAPPER: Yes, he said it was whining. GARZA: Yes. Not a big deal. Yes, yes. You know, just absolutely despicable.
TAPPER: You know, where's your camera? You could talk to your camera. Tell Jared Kushner what you think.
GARZA: Yes. Jared, Ivanka, I mean, you know, yes, it's hard to stand up to a family member, a father, father in law, but you could have done something. You could have avoided the bloodshed that took place, including the suicides that took place after. People died, people are still hurting, you heard Caroline Edwards' testimony, she's still impacted today. And many other officers are still hurting physically and emotionally from what happened on the sixth.
TAPPER: And I know Brian was Republican and I think had voted for Trump.
TAPPER: And you have a number of House Republicans who are still belittling what happened, saying these hearings are political in nature, et cetera, et cetera.
TAPPER: What do you think of that when you hear that?
GARZA: I'm disgusted. And I also am, you know, I have to say very unhappy and disappointed with the Capitol Police leadership. I want to know why we're just now a year and a half into this seeing some of this surveillance footage of Representative Loudermilk giving tours to 15 people, not one or two people, 15 people --
GARZA: -- and they're taking pictures of stairwells in the Capitol. This is post 9/11. I realize Chief Manger was not there at the time, but this is post 9/11 and Chief Pittman didn't think that was suspicious after the sixth. And then we have the insurrection when Manger did come in --
GARZA: -- and he didn't think, wow, you know, after the insurrection this is important. I think I should probably do something about this.
He's a law enforcement officer first. If he wants to play politics, then he needs to run for office. He's a law enforcement officer first.
TAPPER: OK. There's one nice thing that -- I'm sorry, I got you all fired up or it doesn't take much actually, you're fired up already. You wanted to tell me and you wanted to tell people about the letter you got from Prince William?
GARZA: Yes. Yes.
TAPPER: So, tell us about that.
GARZA: Yes. So, I was very honored and humbled and an awe that Prince William from England decided to take time out of his day, his busy schedule to write me a letter to honor Brian's memory and to acknowledge my pain. I couldn't get a letter from President Trump.
And if you recall, Brian's brothers were on CNN not that long ago because they attended the first hearing as well and also reiterated that same fact that former President Trump does not give two craps about law enforcement or Brian. And yet, Prince William took the time to reach out to me to honor Brian's memory. And I just think he is just a beautiful, wonderful person. And I'm saying this because his letter was dated November of last year --
TAPPER: And you just received it.
GARZA: -- and I just got several weeks ago. So, yes.
TAPPER: I'm sure he's OK with it.
TAPPER: But you know, we also here at CNN and at The Lead, we honor Brian Sicknick's memory.
GARZA: Thank you so much.
TAPPER: And we thank you and love to his family as well, everyone in this family.
GARZA: Thank you. Thank you so much.
TAPPER: The State Department now says a third American may be missing in Ukraine. And there are growing fears two U.S. veterans who disappeared while fighting alongside Ukrainian soldiers may be in the hands of the Russians. We're going to talk to the mother of one of the missing fighting Americans. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our world lead, U.S. diplomatic and military authorities are scrambling to gain information about two American volunteer fighters who are feared to have been held by Russian forces. Twenty- seven-year-old Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh and 30-year-old Alex Drueke are U.S. military veterans who traveled to Ukraine to combat Putin's forces. They've now been missing for just over a week.
CNN's Barbara Starr joins us now from the Pentagon.
Barbara, what are U.S. officials saying about the disappearance of these two veterans?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, in the last several minutes a photo has emerged and we want to show it to people. It appears to show both men in the back of a truck in this photo. I think you can see at the very bottom there are food cans with Russian labels. They are -- you see them there. They appear to have their hands behind their back.
Now, the State Department has informed, we're told the Drueke family, that this may be initial evidence that the men are being held by either Russian or Russian backed forces in eastern Ukraine. They have been there fighting alongside Ukraine forces for some time, is our understanding. They were last seen on June 9, during a very bitter battle, very heavy combat north of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, other people went to look for them, they found no remains, nobody.
So there is somewhat of an assumption that they may be being held now. And that is the challenge to find out exactly what has happened to these two men, find out where they may be, how to get them back to their families.
The State Department has we are told not yet been in direct contact with the Russians because they have no direct evidence yet that the Russians are holding them. The State Department in touch with the government of Ukraine and the International Committee of the Red Cross. We'll have to wait and see now what the how the next steps emerge.
TAPPER: Barbara, there are reports of a third American who traveled to Ukraine to fight against Russia who has gone missing in recent weeks. What more can you tell us about that?
STARR: Well, the State Department just now talking about that instance, also the same dilemma trying to find out what happened to this person. What we should say is the State Department, the Pentagon and the White House have continuously since the beginning publicly urged Americans not to go to Ukraine, not to go there to fight. It is exceptionally dangerous. It is a combat zone, urging Americans if they want to support the people of Ukraine to donate to charities to find another way to support them rather than going there, Jake.
TAPPER: But as we saw when I was in Ukraine, and others have reported on it, a lot of veterans want to take up the fight and help the Ukrainian people themselves. They feel called to go. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Thank you so much.
TAPPER: Joining us now to discuss Bunny Drueke. She's the mother of Alex Drueke, one of the Americans missing in Ukraine. Bunny, thanks so much for joining us. First of all, my deepest sympathies for you in this difficult time for you and your family. I understand you just got off the phone with the U.S. State Department. What did they have to say?
BUNNY DRUEKE, ALEX DRUEKE'S MOTHER: Well, they said that there is a photograph that is being circulated on the Russian media. And they're working hard to verify it. We're very hopeful. And that's about all that I know right now.
TAPPER: Have you seen the photo yet? We're showing it on TV right now. But OK, you have.
DRUEKE: I have seen it.
TAPPER: OK. What is your reaction to seeing your photo? It seems he's -- he's likely if not in Russian custody in the custody of pro-Russian forces. How do you respond to that? How do you react?
DRUEKE: Well, Jake, I don't want to get my hopes up too high. Because I know that photoshopping is, you know, widespread now. But I'm hopeful that it's an actual photo of them that they are alive. Whoever is in the photo doesn't look particularly hurt. The one that's supposed to be my son looks rather angry. And that sounds like my son.
So, you know, I hope that it is Alex and Andy have had all the training that they need to withstand, I think anything that the Russians throw at them. And I've just, you know, they're both very brave and strong man.
TAPPER: So, did Alex go over to fight to take up arms because he was an experienced veteran, tell us more about why he went over?
DRUEKE: Alex put 12 years in the U.S. Army. He did two tours of duty in Iraq. And he felt that he was too old to fight. But he was excellent at training soldiers. He had done a lot of that, not only on the tours, but also later in the Army Reserve. And he said he thought about it for about a month or more. And he talked to me several times. And he said, Mom, I've got the skills to train these soldiers. Because the news reports were that the Ukrainians had, they were just getting anybody that was volunteering, and they did need training. And he says, and I also know how to operate the equipment that we're sending over there. And I can teach them how to do it. Because he knew that this was the Ukrainians fight. He just wanted to be there in a support role.
And so that's why he decided to go. He felt that if Putin wasn't stopped now, he would just become bolder with every success, and that eventually, he might end up on American shores and Alex and I love my country too much to let that happen. He may not have been in the military anymore but he took that oath to defend and protect our country for life.
TAPPER: Russia, as you, I'm sure know, has detained Americans for months, even years, including U.S. Marine Paul Whelan and WNBA player Brittney Griner. Another Marine Trevor Reed was recently released after being held for almost three years. We had the honor to interview him.
Are you worried about that? I understand right now you're feeling something of a sigh of relief that if that's a real photo, he's alive, which is I understand that.
TAPPER: But there also might be -- it might be a long time before you get to see him again.
DRUEKE: I understand that. I went through that when he had his tour of duty in Iraq. On a smaller scale, he was hiking the Appalachian Trail when COVID hit, and I knew that I wouldn't see him for at least five months, because it'd be off on the trail.
So, I'm used to him being away. If, you know, your children grow up and leave the nest, sometimes they move far away, you know.
TAPPER: Well, he'll be turning 40 next week. I understand, so --
DRUEKE: We will.
TAPPER: We'll keep him -- we'll keep covering the story. We'll keep talking to you, Bunny. Thank you so much for joining us today.
DRUEKE: Thank you. Thank you, Jake. I appreciate it.
TAPPER: CNN exclusive, a letter found on a dead Russian officer shows up Moscow planned to take Ukraine in a matter of days. Now months later, what Ukraine wants. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our world lead, the West is promising to help Ukraine. Today leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania visited the embattled country and told President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that they back a fast track for Ukraine's candidacy to join the European Union.
Although quick membership is something of a longshot Ukraine's bid is likely getting under Putin skin. CNN's Matthew Chance got an exclusive interview with the Ukrainian Minister of Defense who says Ukraine is set on taking back not only the land at his loss this year, but also ultimately Crimea.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the moment on the first day of this war. Russia's plan for a lightning strike on Ukraine started to unravel.
We witnessed these lightly armed Russian airborne troops fighting for their lives. Neither Ukrainian defense minister tells CNN written when military orders were recovered from the body of a Russian officer killed here, confirming his Russian commanders expected a quick (INAUDIBLE).
OLEKSIY REZNIKOV, UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: He had to be in government quarter after 12 hours from the invasion from the starting of invasion.
CHANCE (on camera): Center of Kyiv.
REZNIKOV: Center of Kyiv, he had to control government building, office of president, parliament and 72 hours after they was sure that, for example, President will be evacuated.
CHANCE: In retrospect that looks astonishingly naive, doesn't it?
REZNIKOV: And frankly speaking, our partners in the different capitals of the world also was naive. They also told us that invasions are imminent, and you will fall. You have only 72 hours.
CHANCE (voice-over): But for nearly four months now, Ukraine has been holding act, even defeating Russian forces near the capital with the help of armor piercing weapons from the U.S. and others.
The Biden administration has already committed $40 billion to this fight. Another billion in aid was announced just this week. The Ukrainian defense minister insists that Washington and its allies have assured him that support will continue.
REZNIKOV: Our partners will never stop. I was told that. I spoke with my friend Austin, Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense of the United States, Secretary of Defense of UK, Ben Wallace and our other colleagues, they told me, Oleksiy, don't worry, we will not stop.
CHANCE (on camera): Do you really believe that that is a genuine commitment by the United States to continue to militarily back Ukraine into the future, no matter what?
REZNIKOV: I heard yesterday, and I felt that it's absolutely honestly.
CHANCE (voice-over): And the Ukrainians are honest too about what their new weapons will be for, weapons like the state-of-the-art M777 artillery guns from the U.S. that we were shown in southern Ukraine earlier this month, or the multiple launch rocket launches that will soon be in service here. The defense minister says they will help Ukraine take back occupied land.
REZNIKOV: We are going to liberate all our territories, all of it, all of it.
CHANCE (on camera): What about Crimea?
REZNIKOV: Crimea is a Ukrainian land. For me, it's absolutely understandable.
CHANCE: So you're saying that Crimea is a military objective of the Ukrainian Armed Forces with this way?
REZNIKOV: I should that Crimea is a strategic objection for Ukraine because it's Ukrainian territory, but we will move step by step. I mean, the first stage stabilization, but I will finish mine. The second stage, it's to kick them out till the 24 February border situation. And third stage, we will discuss it with our partners how we will liberate our territories includes Crimea also. CHANCE (voice-over): None of that will go down well in Moscow, and even with advanced Western weapons to replace these old Soviet weapons, Ukraine look set for a long fight.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
CHANCE: Well, that fight, that fight Jake continues to be costly in terms of human lives. The defense minister saying tens of thousands of Ukrainians have already been killed but refusing to be drawn on the exact number of military deaths. Back to you.
TAPPER: Matthew Chance in Brussels. Thank you so much. Appreciate it. A member of the January 6 Select Committee will join us next. We'll have a look at what the public can expect in the next hearing. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): He resisted the pressure. He knew it was illegal. He knew it was wrong. We are fortunate for Mr. Pence's courage on January 6, democracy came dangerously close to catastrophe.
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TAPPER: The January 6 Select Committee wrapping its third hearing just a short while ago, the committee laying out evidence that President Trump had been told several times that his scheme to push Pence to decertify the election by sending electoral votes back to the States was not constitutional. Nor was it legal yet fronted it anyway.
For more on today's hearing, I want to bring in California Congressman Adam Schiff, a Democrat, he's a member of the January 6 committee, as well as chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence.
So Congressman Schiff, we've now heard from several people who were close to Vice President Pence. Why hasn't the committee actually brought Mike Pence in to testify either live or in a recorded testimony wouldn't hearing from him directly proved the committee's case so much more vividly than hearing from his aides?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We're not excluding the possibility of bringing him in. But at this point in the investigation, in our hearings, we brought in the witnesses that we did, and I think they were quite compelling.
The videotape testimony of his chief of staff and the live testimony of his attorney, you can often get, you know, every bit as good information from some of the non-principals in the room, from them from the principal, but again, not ruling out that possibility. And we'll just have to take it as it goes.
TAPPER: We learned today that Justice Department officials have been asking the committee and in fact, at least began doing so in April, to turn over about 1,000 witness transcripts. But the committee, your committee has so far refused. The Justice Department says they need this information as soon as possible for their prosecutions and investigations. Why has the committee not cooperated with the Justice Department?
SCHIFF: We've been in dialogue with the Justice Department. You know, Jake, I've been involved in several high-profile investigations. I've never seen the Justice Department say give us all your files. And we're working with them to make sure they get what they need, consistent with our own investigative needs
But we want them to be successful. We want them to bring to justice anyone who broke the law, and we're confident we will be able to help them pursue any of the law breakers involved. But again, I think the challenge is the breadth of their request. But we're going to work through it and make sure they get what they need.
TAPPER: Well, they've prosecuted more than 800 people who actually stormed the capitol that day in terms of law breakers, are you looking at individuals above them, individuals who organized people to come to Washington DC? Are you looking at John Eastman, possibly as having committed criminal offense? We learned today that Eastman emailed Giuliani about getting a presidential pardon after the events of January 6.
SCHIFF: Well, that's right. And, of course, Judge Carter out in California, in his opinion, now, I think multiple times expressed the view based on the evidence that he has seen that both Eastman and Donald Trump violated two or three federal laws.
So, you know, that's certainly my view that those issues need to be investigated by the Justice Department. Our job is not a criminal responsibility. Our job is to find the facts, expose them to the public light and develop remedies to protect our democracy going forward, but I certainly believe as Judge Carter articulated, that there's already evidence sufficient to warrant the justice department doing its own investigation.
TAPPER: I want to play this moment where a former White House attorney for Trump, Eric Hershman described the phone call he had with Rudy Giuliani.
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ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE ATTORNEY: Morning of January 6, I think he called me out of the blue. Right. And I was like getting dressed. And we had an intellectual discussion about Eastman's, I don't know if Eastman's theory, per se, but the VP's role. And he was asking me my view and analysis and other practical implications of it. And when we finished, he said, I believe that, you know, you're probably right.
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TAPPER: You're probably right. First of all, it must be weird for you to have Eric Herschmann man saying so many things that you agree with, given how you guys went after each other no, and squared off in the first impeachment of Donald Trump.
But talk about that, if you would for a second about Rudy Giuliani telling Eric Herschmann you're probably right, and then going out publicly and saying the opposite. We see a lot of this going on in this hearing.
SCHIFF: No, you're absolutely right. And you're right, first of all about Mr. Herschmann people that don't remember his role in the first impeachment or may not remember, he was among the most bombastic of the Trump lawyers. And you know, it showed, you know, like so many of the other people working around the President defending him that they got to a point where they could defend his conduct, his misconduct no more.
Some got there sooner than others was very late for Mr. Herschmann. But nonetheless, we see this consistent theme of Giuliani acknowledging to Herschmann that yes, this is probably a bogus legal theory. Eastman acknowledging to Greg Jacob. Yes, this probably we'd lose nine to zero in the Supreme Court. But we're doing it anyway.
You know, they understood exactly what they're doing. But nothing mattered to them so much as keeping Trump in power, not our democracy, not anything else, not if it provoked violence. They're only object apparently, like Donald Trump's was staying in office and defying a tradition as old as our country of a peaceful transfer of power.
TAPPER: Just if defend Eric Herschmann for one second in the first impeachment trial, he was an attorney doing his job and this he's a witness. So there is a little bit of a difference, as I know you understand fully, fully well.
SCHIFF: But Jake, you know, Mr. Herschmann was also working with Donald Trump all the time. He didn't start working as a defense lawyer for him. Bit, you know, again, it is a pattern the same with Bill Barr.
SCHIFF: Bill Barr, you know, intervened in the sentencing of Roger Stone, intervened to make cases go away against Michael Flynn. But he got to the point where he couldn't do what Donald Trump wanted him to do anymore. And, you know, thank goodness he got to that point eventually.
TAPPER: Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you so much. That's it for The Lead. The Situation Room is right after this quick break.