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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Mulvaney: "Things Could Get Very Dark" For Trump After Last Hearing; Ex-W.H. Aide Testifies Trump Threw Lunch At Wall After Atty. General Announced There Was No Widespread Election Fraud; Rep. Pramila Jayapal, (D-WA), Is Interviewed About Abortion; Family: Captive American Allowed To Speak With Mom In Scripted Call; Republican Sen. Ron Johnson Faces Tough Re-election Bid; "It's Stunning": Trump Aides Left Speechless By Hutchinson Testimony; Hershel "Woody" Williams, Last WWII Medal Of Honor Recipient, Dies. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 29, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Tell us what they're telling you privately.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, that is exactly right. Publicly, most Republicans are trying to downplay yesterday's testimony or change the subject. But privately it is a much different story. The GOP is really starting to recognize how serious this is for Donald Trump and its allies. And they were particularly alarmed by the fact that Trump knew the mob was armed and dangerous, and he sent them to the Capitol anyway. In fact, he tried to join them, he wanted to join them.

One senior House Republican who did not support impeachment told me that they thought there would be indictments after yesterday's testimony. Another GOP lawmaker said after watching the hearing, they wanted to throw their lunch against the wall, a reference to the fact that Trump apparently threw his lunch against the wall when he was angry. And another House Republican told me that they said yesterday's hearing really proved that Trump was hell bent on trying to be at the Capitol and was personally involved in trying to overturn the 2020 election.

Now, the fact that they were only saying this on background and anonymously, I think is also really telling, Jake, because it shows that Trump is still in command of this party. Republicans were afraid to speak up against him. And meanwhile, GOP leaders have been absolutely silenced, even though they had quite a lot to say in the immediate aftermath of January 6, and that includes Kevin McCarthy, the House GOP leader who was cited yesterday in the testimony as being one of the people who was deeply concerned by the idea of Trump coming to the Capitol on January 6.

TAPPER: Yes. And it's interesting because Donald Trump's really been taking it on the chin from conservative media after yesterday's hearing. I'm not talking about the dead enders on that other channel, but people in conservative editorial boards and such. Tell us more about that. ZANONA: Yes, some really tough headlines for Trump. I want to tick through a few of them from these conservative outlets. The Wall Street Journal editorial board said Republicans should not look away from the compelling evidence. The conservative Washington Examiner called Trump unfit to be anywhere near power ever again. And the New York Post had a headline declaring Trump as a tyrant. So, you know, clearly some tiny cracks starting to emerge in the areas where Trump has enjoyed traditional support. But the MAGA base, still standing by Trump as of right now, Jake.

TAPPER: Yes. Melanie Zanona, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Aides to former President Trump tells CNN that they were left speechless by Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony. Some former members of the Trump administration are weighing in publicly including former acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who writes in an op- ed for USA Today, quote, "after some of the bombshells that got dropped in that hearing, my guess is that things could get very dark for the former president," unquote.

And Mick Mulvaney joins us now. We should note he later served as Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, but he resigned from his post in the wake of the Capitol attack.

Mick, first of all, when you say things could get very dark for Donald Trump, what do you mean?

MICK MULVANEY, FORMER ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF, TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: Well, Jake, this really interesting revelations, again, if you take what Cassidy Hutchinson said at face value that Donald Trump knew that the protesters had weapons and encouraged them to go to the Capitol anyway, that was stunning to me. I've been defending the president over the course of the last year even though I quit my job over the way he conducted himself during the ride, I never really thought until yesterday that he was even capable of inciting the riot.

But if he knew those weapons were there and said, they're not here for me, let's go down to the Capitol, that is problematic for the president. If there's a direct line from the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, right wing extremist groups into the White House, that's a problem for the president. And Cassidy Hutchinson mentioned yesterday for the first time that Mark Meadows was in communication with those folks.

And finally, if there was really witness tampering, which is I don't think something that's not getting nearly as much attention, it came very late in the hearing yesterday, but if there's really witness tampering by Trump or by someone in his inner circle, that's a serious problem. So, again, it was the first time we've heard a lot of this yesterday, we're starting to get some pushback, for example, from the Secret Service that maybe not all of the testimony is accurate. But if you take it at face value, yes, things could get really bad for Trump and his team very quickly.

TAPPER: Yes, I mean, just as on the Secret Service thing, the question is -- she just testified what she heard from Ornato, not whether or not she saw it, she never said she saw it, but that isn't, you know, I take your point on that. What do you make of Donald Trump's complain? He's out there saying his side of the story isn't being told in these hearings.

MULVANEY: Yes, and it's not and that's -- at one level, that's fair. But at the other level, you got to sort of look at him and say, OK, that's fine, send in the people who could tell your side of the story. Let Mark Meadows testify or ask him to -- I mean, Trump asked him to testify. What about Peter Navarro? What about Steve Bannon?

At some point, I think the committee is going to ask for Pat Cipollone's testimony. Will those folks defend the president or will they corroborate what Cassidy said yesterday? My guess is, many of them probably take the fifth. But the opportunities there -- look, it's not a fair hearing, it's a political hearing, I get that, but it's hard to say that your side is not getting out there, your arguments not getting out there when your people won't go and talk.


TAPPER: Cassidy Hutchinson gave some remarkable testimony about Chief of Staff Mark Meadows seemingly unwilling to engage. What did you make of her recollection that, you know, she or Tony Ornato or Pat Cipollone, people were trying to tell him things and he was sitting on a sofa scrolling on his phone, unresponsive, especially, you know, when the Secret Service and she were trying to tell Meadows about the threat of violence.

MULVANEY: That's -- I mean, that struck me personally. That's my sofa, I've used that sofa, that was my office, it was my fireplace he was sitting by, right? I understand exactly what the dynamics are there and the visual image of Cassidy coming to the door, maybe with Pat there, Pat there in a little bit afterwards and trying to talk to Mark and Mark not even looking up according to Cassidy, just staring at his phone, and then they have to sort of interrupt him to make sure he's paying attention. Since a very disturbing image of what the West Wing was like.

I was actually texting with a colleague of mine who was in the West Wing at the time and I said, look, was Mark just completely incompetent or was he having a nervous breakdown? And the response was that it was a little bit of both. The West Wing was clearly broken, clearly broken.

And the testimony yesterday actually made me feel bad for some of the good people who were still there to have to work in that environment with a chief of staff who was so obviously disengaged, again, according to what Cassidy said yesterday. Very, very disturbing for me to hear that as a former chief of staff.

TAPPER: What did you make of the descriptions we heard about Trump's volatile temper. Here's an example from when Attorney General Bill Barr said in an interview that -- this is after Barr testified to -- told the A.P. that he found no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and here's Cassidy's recollection of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO W.H. CHIEF OF STAFF MARK MEADOWS: There was ketchup dripping down the wall and there's a shattered porcelain plate on the floor. The valet had articulated that the president was extremely angry at the Attorney General's A.P. interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall.


TAPPER: Were you surprised by that?

MULVANEY: A little bit. I've been around Donald Trump a good bit. I've seen a little bit of his temper. I've seen him scream. I've seen him pound on the table. I've seen 100 people do that.

So, I never saw him throw a plate. I never saw him -- I think later she testified that he pulled the tablecloth out knocked everything off the table, never saw that. If that's true, again, I think it bears noting here that some of what she testified there to in that clip was something she saw, she saw the stuff on the wall and the broken plate, but she heard about the other stuff --

TAPPER: Right.

MULVANEY: -- so you have to sort of take that with a small grain of salt. But if that is really what it was like in the West Wing, if that's what Donald Trump was like and things had changed dramatically since I had left in March to have a chief of staff who was disengaged, have a president throwing plates, that place was clearly very different. And you got a dramatically different result, I think, on January 6 that any of us really expected.

TAPPER: All right, Mick Mulvaney, thanks so much. Appreciate your time.

MULVANEY: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Have Democrats lost voters by not protecting abortion rights at the federal level? They have had 50 years to do so. We're going to talk to a Democratic congresswoman who has publicly shared her story about getting an abortion.

Then, he's spread Trump election lies and now he may be the most vulnerable Republican senator come November. CNN is going to pay a visit to Senator Ron Johnson's home state. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our health lead, before Roe v Wade was overturned, a pregnant woman in Nebraska who found out her fetus had severe abnormalities and that was putting her own life at risk, that woman could not find anywhere in her state to terminate the pregnancy. She and her husband had to travel to Colorado to get that procedure. But now that Roe is gone, the option to travel out of state could become more difficult for women and girls. As CNN's Lucy Kafanov reports, the number of doctors performing abortions becomes more limited even where abortion is legal.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Stephanie Dworak and her husband Dave (ph) always wanted a big family, a sibling for their daughter Harper (ph). So when they found out Stephanie was pregnant with a boy last summer they were overjoyed.

STEPHANIE DWORAK, FORCED TO SEEK ABORTION OUT OF STATE: This is a very wanted child. We planned for this baby.

KAFANOV (voice-over): But 12 weeks into the pregnancy, an ultrasound revealed an omphalocele, a birth defect where the fetus' internal organs were developing outside the body. This photo shows a defeated Stephanie the day she received the tragic news.

(on camera): What would that have meant for quality of life for this baby?

DWORAK: There would have been none. He would not have been able to survive or come home.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Stephanie was also told her own life could be in jeopardy. At 19 weeks, she and her husband made the painful choice to terminate the pregnancy.

DWORAK: An abortion was what I needed to save my life and give my son the dignity that he deserved. I couldn't carry this baby to term and have my husband have to bury both of us. It just wasn't an option. Abortion was.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Their home state of Nebraska allowed abortions up to 22 weeks, but they couldn't find a clinic that could schedule the procedure in time. After a desperate search across nearby states, the family settled on the boulder abortion clinic in Colorado.


KAFANOV (voice-over): Dr. Warren Hern has been providing abortions for nearly half a century. He's 84 years old and remembers the days before Roe vs. Wade.

HERN: Thousands of women died every year from unsafe illegal abortions. I think one of the consequences of this decision is that women will die as they did before Roe versus Wade.

KAFANOV (voice-over): In Colorado, abortion is legal at all stages of pregnancy. Even before the Supreme Court's ruling last week, Colorado's family planning clinics were struggling.

HERN: This is sort of an abortion intensive care unit. We get patients from all over the country who can't be seen in other clinics.

KAFANOV (on camera): How do you see that impacting the surge of patients coming to Colorado?


HERN: (INAUDIBLE). And so, it takes a long time to expand the service. You have to find the people who will do this and risked their lives to do it.

KAFANOV (voice-over): As one of the few people in the country who performs legal abortions later in pregnancy, Dr. Hern says he's seen his patient load increased 50 percent from a year ago.

HERN: One of the things is just critical to understand, is it safe abortion is an essential component of women's healthcare in the 21st century. And that's the way it should be. And no woman's life and health should be at the mercy of the next election or zip code.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Harper still asks about Oliver James (ph), the name the Dworaks picked out for her would be brother.

DWORAK: I had to tell her that baby was too sick. And that baby wasn't going to come home with us. And that she wasn't going to get to meet her little brother.

KAFANOV (voice-over): His ashes hand and footprints enshrined on the living room shelf.

DWORAK: We very much want another child. But what if this happens again? What if I have another high risk pregnancy that puts my own life at risk?

I do want another baby. And now I'm scared to. I was so excited at the idea of a positive pregnancy test and now it scares me. It scares me because I might not be able to get an abortion this time.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Boulder, Colorado.


TAPPER: And our thanks to Lucy Kafanov for that reporting.

Let's bring in Washington Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.

Congresswoman, you shared a very personal story in "The New York Times" op-ed of the experience of your abortion, which you say you got because you were afraid of medical complications for yourself and for the baby. You wrote, quote, "It was excruciating. I wanted children but I wasn't ready nor was I fully recovered. It had to be my choice, because in the end, I would be the one to carry the fetus in my body, I would be the one to potentially face another emergency cesarean section and I would be the one whose baby could suffer the serious, sometimes fatal consequences of extreme prematurity. I could not simply hope for the best, I had to make a decision based on the tremendous risks that had been clearly laid out for me," unquote.

What was it like sharing the story? And what was the reaction that you got? REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): It was kind of terrifying to think about sharing it. I had not shared it with anyone, including my mother, for the 15 years after I'd had the abortion, and it was still very real to me just the trauma of my first child's birth and everything I went through. But I felt, Jake, that it was so important because the nuances of these stories and just listening to the one that you just told -- that was just told on air, they are so complex. And there is no way that a blanket abortion ban in forced pregnancy can work, it just can't work. Because when we are told that our life is at risk or our baby's life is at risk or the fetus is not going to be able to be carried to term, there are so many issues there, and those are just in situations that are that are extremely difficult medically.

But even in terms of my ability to work, my ability to determine my career's trajectory, my ability to be, you know, of equal status to men, all of that is at risk with these abortion bans. So when I told my mother, she was shocked, you know, and she felt terrible that she wasn't here and that I felt the shame that I felt about my decision. But that's why it's also important for us to tell these stories because one in four women across America has had an abortion, 60 percent of pregnant people who have abortions are already mothers. And so, it is it is real, is not going to stop, Jake. Abortions are not going to stop.

What is going to happen is they're going to become illegal, they're going to become unsafe, and people will die. Young girls will die, mothers will die, women, pregnant people will die and it is -- but it's not going to stop because this is the way our reproductive systems work. And we also have roles beyond just being reproducers.


JAYAPAL: We have roles in the account.

TAPPER: So, I want to ask you a question because there's something I've been hearing a lot about since that draft decision leaked to Politico in April, one that turned out to be almost entirely accurate. And it has to do with -- I hear from young women who are coming to recent Democrats using the issue of abortion rights and preserving abortion rights to get them to the polls because they say Democrats always do this and then once they're in office, they don't do enough to codify Roe versus Wade or whatever. This is just anecdotally what I hear from Democratic women.


Obama for example, Senator Obama in 2007, he told Planned Parenthood that he would -- the law called the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have codified Roe v. Wade would be one of the first things he would do, that was 2007. Then in 2009, he was asked about it and he said it wasn't his highest legislative priority. Take a listen.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First thing I do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. The Freedom of Choice Act is not my highest legislative priority.


TAPPER: Do you hear from Democratic women who are sick of Democrats using this as a reason to get them to the polls and then ultimately don't codify Roe v. Wade?

JAYAPAL: Yes, I do. And I felt it myself for a long time as an activist before and even as a member of Congress. But here's the thing, I think there was a complacency around Roe v. Wade, this was settled precedent. Even though we knew that Republicans were planning this for 30 years and yet we treated it as if it was settled and it couldn't happen, that it couldn't be overturned. And I think that that has been part of the problem.

But I will say that what I also say to people, young people across this country, young women across this country who are frustrated by the lack of action, is that we have to acknowledge, and I never tell people not to be frustrated, I'm frustrated, too, we have to acknowledge that the system is broken. We have a filibuster in the Senate that requires a 60 vote majority to pass anything. And in the vacuum of the Senate acting, what is happening is this radical extremist Supreme Court is given latitude to act on a whole host of issues that otherwise would be codified by Congress.

And so, in order to change that, we cannot give up and we do have to get a real prochoice majority in the Senate that will overturn the filibuster. It eradicated in my view, but at a minimum, eliminate, you know, carve out an exception for these critical rights like Roe v Wade, like -- or like codifying ROE or voting rights or some of these other critical fundamental rights that are at stake. And if we give up, we know what the radical extremists' Republican playbook is, not to mention stealing our democracy overturning elections, but also taking away these fundamental precedents and rights that have been settled for so long.

TAPPER: Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington State, thanks so much for your time. Good to see you.

Coming up, she just talked to her son for the first time since he was captured by Russian backed separatists in Ukraine. Alex Drueke's mother joins us live, next.



TAPPER: In our world lead, at least 18 people are dead and more than 50 remain hospitalized after a Russian airstrike on a shopping mall in central Ukraine according to officials. In Mykolaiv, the death toll at an apartment block has now written to -- risen to five after eight Russian missiles struck that complex earlier today.

And today the United Nations published an alarming new report about the toll that Russia's invasion has taken on civilians in Ukraine in the last four months. CNN's Phil Black is live for us in Kramatorsk, Ukraine.

And Phil, we're getting new video of the moment of the strike.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, video released by the Ukrainian government geo located by CNN which shows a Russian cruise missile slamming into that shopping center in Kremenchuk. In slow motion, you can see the missile clearly at any speed. You can see much of the shopping malls simply being blown apart.

It goes some way to explaining why the Ukrainian officials there are saying that they need a few more days to go through the debris to clear it to ensure they have recovered all possible victims. They said today they haven't even yet reached the point, the actual impact point where the missile detonated.

Eighteen people confirmed dead so far, a number of body parts, 11 parts have been found. They don't know yet, they can't know yet how many bodies those parts belong to and still a list of missing people around 20 people or so.

Just a short time ago Russian media reported that Vladimir Putin for the first time commented on this specific attack, saying there is no way that Russia could have been responsible for killing people in that mall because Russia, he says, does not target civilian objects as he describes them. He has said that before, but we know through this war there has -- there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Russian munitions hit civilian targets with some regularity.

Again, just today in Mykolaiv, as you say, in the south there eight missiles hit that city. Take a look at this video, one of them hit a five storey apartment building, blasting away the top two floors of that building. Rescue workers had to use large cranes with cages attached to get up to the now exposed interior of that building to help the injured, the trapped escaped.

We are told by the U.K.'s Defense Intelligence in their most recent assessment that we should expect more strikes like this resulting in civilian casualties like this. Because Russia is short on modern precision weapons, its target planners aren't very good at their job. And it says Russia is prepared to accept a very high number of civilian casualties when pursuing military goals. Generally it says Russia's behavior is more likely to result in civilian deaths, and it is not likely to change that behavior, Jake.

TAPPER: Phil Black in Kramatorsk. Ukraine, thank you so much.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, two volunteer American fighters remain captives of Russian backed separatists. The family of one of the Americans says U.S. State Department has informed them that the captors are now willing to negotiate for their release.


Joining us now is Bunny Drueke, the mother of Alex Drueke, one of the two Americans being held captive. Bunny, thanks so much for joining us. Good to see you again. I understand you were able to speak with Alex on the phone yesterday. Tell us about it.

BUNNY DRUEKE, MOTHER OF ALEXANDER JOHN-ROBERT DRUEKE: Yes, Jake, I was. He -- the connection was very poor, but I could hear him. I know it was him. It was wonderful.

TAPPER: And we should point out Alex was apparently reading from a script during your conversation. The State Department is characterizing the conversation with him as being under duress, he was under duress. With that said, what was he able to tell you about how he's being treated? How he's doing?

DRUEKE: Well, I can tell when he was having to say something that they were telling him to say, which was that he's being held by the Donetsk People's Republic, and that they are wanting to negotiate. He also said that they appeared to not understand how governments work so slowly. And so they were really pressing him to press me to try to get this word out. He also said that he is -- he has food and water, he has a place to sleep. He's in solitary confinement.

And then his voice changed a little and he was able to ask how his dog was doing, did I get his truck repaired? So you're -- I can tell a difference when he sounded relaxed, when he sounded like he was going by the script.

TAPPER: And I know you're trying to get the International Committee of the Red Cross to go to where he is for independent wellness check-up. What are you hearing about that?

DRUEKE: They are doing their best to get there, we especially wanted to check on Andy, because Andy has not been able to call his fiancee Joy. And so we just want to -- and Alex can't see him because they're being held in solitary confinement.

TAPPER: So as you noted, Alex is being held by forces from the Donetsk People's Republic, that's a Russian-backed separatist group in Ukraine. You said the State Department told you that his captors are willing to negotiate for his release. What do you know about the potential of any deal or what they might want in exchange?

DRUEKE: They didn't say, they just are wanting to negotiate. And they seem to want it very badly. So it's a delicate position that all of these countries are in. And I understand that. And I want to thank President Zelenskyy for what he said about the boys being heroes, and that he was going to do whatever it took to get them freed and back home. And I just want to thank him again and again, because he has a lot on his plate. And it just means a lot to me that he's taking a personal interest in this.

TAPPER: Bunny Drueke, it's good to see you. It's good to talk to you. I'm so glad you got to talk to Alex. And as I have promised to you every time, we're going to keep covering the story. So I'll talk to you soon.

DRUEKE: Thank you, Jake. Thank you.

TAPPER: Could Trump's election lies cost Republican Senator Ron Johnson's Senate seat in November? Why he may be the most vulnerable Republican incumbent right now? Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is considered to be one of the most vulnerable incumbents facing re-election this year. The Republican lawmaker has struggled to keep his story straight about why his chief of staff reached out to then-Vice President Pence's office to deliver to them the names of a slate of fraudulent electors from Wisconsin and Michigan. CNN's Manu Raju takes a closer look now at what Johnson is up against in his fight to stay in the Senate.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ron Johnson has been on the ropes before. Twice Democrats thought he'd lose the Wisconsin Senate race, twice he pulled it off, yet no dulled by a series of controversies including over January 6th. Johnson's slumping popularity has made him the most endangered GOP senator up this November.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Aren't you just tired of all the anger and vision? God, I am.

RAJU (voice-over): And with abortion is now banned in Wisconsin, Democrats hope their voters take their fury to the polls, but they first have to work out a family feud.

ALEX LASRY (D-WISCONSIN SENATE CANDIDATE: We got to beat Ron Johnson in the fall and I'm the only candidate that can do that.

MANDELA BARNES (D), WISCONSIN SENATE CANDIDATE: My campaign is the only campaign in the Democratic primary that's beating Ron Johnson with independent voters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am a 72 county candidate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our campaign is the real Wisconsin campaign.

RAJU (voice-over): More than a third of Democratic voters undecided ahead of the August 9th primary. WhatsApp ended the race, the Supreme Court reverting Wisconsin back to an 1849 law that bans abortions.


RAJU (voice-over): Sarah Godlewski, Wisconsin State Treasurer folds her party for not codifying Roe.

GODLEWSKI: I have been frustrated that my own party has not prioritize this and trying to get this done and we've had 50 years

RAJU (voice-over): Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes revealing his mother needed an abortion before he was born. BARNES: If she was forced to carry to term, that would have created all sorts of additional mental and physical health issues for her. I wouldn't be here today.

RAJU (voice-over): While Democratic Governor Tony Evers has promised clemency for abortion providers, doctors fear that they could still be at risk of being prosecuted in the future.


RAJU (voice-over): None of the leading Democrats back restrictions on abortions.

(on-camera): Should there be any restrictions at all, including laid in a pregnancy?

LASRY: So I think that women should have the right to make their own healthcare decisions.

RAJU (voice-over): Johnson has said little about how the law will impact his state, but said of the Supreme Court --

JOHNSON: It was the appropriate decision.


RAJU (voice-over): Instead campaigning on inflation while attacking President Biden's policies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the burden of Joe Biden's inflation tax on Wisconsin families.

RAJU (voice-over): Some Democrats aren't even saying if the unpopular Biden should run again.

(on-camera): Do they should run for a second term?

GODLEWSKI: The President needs to do what's best for him.

RAJU (on-camera): Do you think that Joe Biden should run for president again?

BARNES: Well, I'm focused on this race right now. We still got to get past November 2022.

RAJU (voice-over): The rhetoric sharp after the January 6th committee revealing an effort by Johnson to pass on fake electors to Vice President Mike Pence.

LASRY: That is treacherous and seditious.

BARNES: I call for Ron Johnson to resign.

RAJU (voice-over): While Johnson downplayed the controversy last week.

JOHNSON: This is a complete non-story, guys. RAJU (voice-over): This week in Milwaukee refusing to answer CNN's questions.

(on-camera): Quick second.


RAJU: Now despite Ron Johnson's problems, a recent poll from Marquette University showed this to be a neck and neck race for whoever he faces among the four leading Democratic candidates come November and already tens of millions of dollars have been spent on the airwaves and also what could be a close race the race for Wisconsin's Governor Tony Evers facing re-election there, Jake, and the outcome of that could be determinative and how the state moves forward with that new abortion law. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Republicans should not look away. That's the message from one conservative outlets editorial board, but is it enough to change any minds of Trump's many millions of supporters? Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we're back with our politics lead, the January 6th House Select Committee sixth public hearing left former Trump aides speechless. CNN's Gabby Orr and Pamela Brown report one Trump adviser said, quote, for the first time since the hearing started, no one is dismissing this.

Let's discuss. So Abby Phillip, just to get you up to speed. Earlier in the show, I interviewed Trump's former acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and I asked him about the description we heard from Cassidy Hutchinson about Mulvaney kind of like disengaged. They were trying to tell him stuff, trying to tell him about threats that were coming, et cetera. And he was just sitting on the couch scrolling. Here's part of what Mulvaney said in response.


MICK MULVANEY, FORMER TRUMP ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: I was actually texting with a colleague of mine who was in the West Wing at the time, and I said, look, was Mark just completely incompetent or was he having a nervous breakdown? And the response was that it was a little bit of both. The West Wing was clearly broken, clearly broken.

And the testimony yesterday, actually made me feel bad for some of the good people who were still there to have to work in that environment with a chief of staff who was so obviously disengaged.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: In case you are not sure which of the guys with the last names that start with M who used to be White House chief of staff, that's the one who had the job before --

TAPPER: Right.

PHILLIP: -- Mark Meadows.

TAPPER: So was Mark completely incompetent, or was having a nervous breakdown the responses a little bit above?

PHILLIP: They have some, you know, bad blood, you know, like many people who were in this sort of Doggy Dog world at the Trump White House. But that being said, I do think that it is interesting that Mulvaney thinks that this is significant. It kind of goes along with what we are hearing from a lot of people in Trump World on Capitol Hill, the sources who spoke to Pamela and to Gabby Orr, who are basically saying, this ain't nothing.


PHILLIP: And this is significant. And no, it's not just about the porcelain plates and the ketchup on --

TAPPER: No, that was (INAUDIBLE).

PHILLIP: -- wall of the White House residents. It's about the part of this that is Trump saying -- Trump being told multiple times that there were weapons in the crowd and not caring, it's about the part of this that is about Trump telling Mick Mulvaney go over to the Willard Hotel and talk to the guy.

TAPPER: Mark Meadows maybe.

PHILLIP: I'm sorry, Mark Meadows the other --


PHILLIP: -- guy. Mark Meadows go to the Willard and talk to the people who are basically organized things in January 6th --


PHILLIP: -- what became an insurrection. There were so many other details that are just too hard to dismiss. And even people Trump adjacent people aren't taking notice.

TAPPER: And Jonah, there's a blistering editorial in the Washington Examiner which is generally conservative and pro-Trump, I think it's fair to say. It breeds in part former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's Tuesday testimony ought to ring the death knell for former President Donald Trump's political career. Trump is unfit to be anywhere near power ever again.

Trump is a disgrace. Republicans have far better options to lead the party in 2024. No one should think otherwise, much less support him, ever again. Is that significant do you think that the Washington Examiner said that?

JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's a significant sign that nature is healing virus.


GOLDBERG: No. Look, I felt that way in 2015 and '16.


GOLDBERG: So -- but everyone in the pool as far as I'm concerned. I think it's significant. I think that, you know, people want to talk about criminal referrals and criminal prosecutions and all that, I think that there are so many thorny issues involved with that. The keeping sights on the fact that just making anathematized him as a political force in the Republican Party would be a monumental victory by my lights.

And I think the issue now is, you know, people are trying to -- they're attacking Cassidy Hutchinson. They're raising some perfectly legitimate questions about her testimony. But the key thing is, her testimony was under oath. And all of the people who are complaining starting with Donald Trump that the other side hasn't gotten a fair hearing. That's a fair criticism of the committee, although, it was Republicans who didn't want to have a real committee.

The people who could rebut with facts --


GOLDBERG: -- are the ones pleading the fifth and defying subpoenas.


GOLDBERG: And so the only way to act to engage this now is to get people under oath to say that's not true and I don't know where those people are.

PHILLIP: And by the way, also being paid by --


PHILLIP: -- the Trump world and people around Trump who are the subject of this committee. So I think that's an important part of it, too.


TAPPER: What was your reaction to the hearing?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, I just -- I guess my question is more to what you're just talking about with the Washington Examiner and all these people coming out and saying this about Donald Trump, because I think I have a little bit of your reaction, I was like, you're just now coming to this conclusion. It just seems strange that this one -- I mean, all the January 6th stuff happened on TV. So they were certainly clearly aware of this, they're aware of the fact that the President denied that the election was legitimate, that Joe Biden is present. All these things, it makes me wonder if they're doing this because they now think Donald Trump just can't win, right? So it's -- is this more about the fact that they just think this tarnishes him so much, that he needs to step aside for somebody else? Because I just don't understand how this would make it so much worse, because we already knew all of this. Basically, she just can't -- you know, she put flesh on the bones, right, and like gave us a lot of behind the scenes information.

But the high level information that there was an attack on the Capitol and that the President egged this attack on and that the President continues to this day. Ex-president claims that the election wasn't real, wasn't (INAUDIBLE).

TAPPER: So Molly, what Mulvaney said was that he's been basically defending Trump because he didn't think Trump could incite -- he could incite a violent insurrection? But that, hearing Cassidy Hutchinson say that she heard Donald Trump say, you know, I know these guys are armed, but they don't want to hurt me. I mean, let's bring them down to the Capitol that that was a lightbulb for him.

MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That was the breaking point. And so I do think that it's true that this was a breaking point for many people on the substance, even people who had stuck with Trump up to this point, because Trump not only knew that the election was stolen and everything else but knew that there was the potential for violence, and in fact, encouraged it in the moment.

But it also, I think, to Kirsten's point, it was -- it's a breaking point in the incentive structure, because you now have a lot of other Republican candidates who are hoping that they can be the nominee in '24. They are ready for Trump to be part of the past. You have a lot of Republican elected officials who've wanted to put Trump in the past for a long time, and are now seeing that they have an opportunity to do so.

And, you know, so much of this feels like the Access Hollywood tape, which I believe was 35 years ago when that happened, like in 2016. And we thought that was a breaking point. But the incentive structure in that case, was for the party to rally around Trump so they could win the election. The incentive structure for everyone not named Donald Trump right now is to run as far away from him as possible in the moment that he looks weak, and see if they can bury him once and for all.

Now, can they? I don't know. He's certainly come back plenty of times before.

TAPPER: One of the things that's interesting right now is on Twitter. Alyssa Farah Griffin, who's a commentator here and former White House Communications Director and Olivia Troy who worked for Pence. They're out there talking about all the times that Tony Ornato, who is the former White House -- Trump White House Deputy White House Chief of Staff, and also a Secret Service agent, who she says told her the story about the incident in the limo, they're talking about all the times that he lied in their view. So this is going to --it's not as though all the allegations, all the people trying to take her down, aren't necessarily don't have questions to be asked themselves.

POWERS: Yes, absolutely. I mean, and then also -- all she did was say that she heard that -- she didn't say she saw it.

TAPPER: Right.

POWERS: She said --

TAPPER: Someone told her the story.

POWERS: This is a conversation that she heard. And so, and the other thing is, it's not really central to whether or not Donald Trump has, you know, didn't incite this mob to attack the Capitol. So I think it's a story that's certainly interesting, but you could take that story out. And everything she said would still be powerful --


POWERS: -- and everything that we know would still be incredibly powerful.

GOLDBERG: I agree with that entirely. And in some ways, that's partly an argument for why the January 6th committee probably should have not gone down that path if they didn't have that part nailed down.

TAPPER: Unless they're trying to bait Tony Ornato to testify under oath.

GOLDBERG: That's right. I mean, there are all sorts of theories swirling around the minor.

TAPPER: That's mine.

GOLDBERG: Yes. And but it does go to a state of mind. And also, since everyone's talking about how this was only hearsay and all that, there are grades of hearsay and this was her testifying under oath, that this guy immediately after that event, said these things, which is different than saying --

PHILLIP: To her.

GOLDBERG: To her, directly to her.

TAPPER: In front of the guy that told him.

GOLDBERG: That's right. So let them come under oath --


GOLDBERG: -- and deny it, you know, but also because of this Trump's of water that the only way you're going to be able to rebut her in a meaningful way is actually get other people under oath.

TAPPER: And as we know, there's no penalty for lying to the public, right? Just under oath.


TAPPER: Thanks everyone for being here. Really appreciate it.

President Harry Truman awarded him the Medal of Honor for his bravery during World War II. Next, we're going to say goodbye to an American hero. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, the last World War II Medal of Honor recipient died today. Hershel Williams known as Woody was 98 years old. Woody Williams was a United States Marine. He fought heroically in the battle of Iwo Jima. He single-handedly killed 21 enemy soldiers in four hours, according to the World War II Museum.

On October 5th, 1945, President Harry Truman awarded him the highest military honor. Williams also has a U.S. Navy warship named after him. He's a member of the West Virginia Hall of Fame. He died in the VA hospital that bears his name. His legacy, his fierce dedication to Gold Star families lives on through the Woody Williams Foundation.

He leaves behind two daughters and joins his wife Ruby who died in 2007. May his memory be a blessing.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the TikTok at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. If you ever miss an episode of THE LEAD, you know what you can do? You can listen to THE LEAD wherever get your podcasts.

Scroll all two hours sitting right there. Our coverage now continues with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer, he's in a place I'd like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM". I will see you tomorrow.