Return to Transcripts main page
Don Lemon Tonight
January 6th Committee Wants To Speak With Sean Hannity; Chairman Thompson Wants To Hear From Former V.P.'s Side; Sean Hannity Maintains His Loyalty To Donald Trump; Rep. Jaime Raskin (D-MD) Was Interviewed About His Son's Death And The Insurrection. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired January 04, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOK WATTS, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, METROHEALTH: So, in the ICU admission the vast predominant up to 90 percent of the patients are unvaccinated patients.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Did you know that in addition to the nurses and the doctors that you have people from the National Guard and military helping you out?
LOIS MURRAY, COVID PATIENT: Yes. They're so good. They are wonderful.
TUCHMAN: How does it make you feel that they are taking care of you?
MURRAY: Very safe.
TUCHMAN: And among these people who have been so very sick, a feeling of American patriotism.
UNKNOWN: The best country in the world.
TUCHMAN: The National Guard members are scheduled to be at this hospital for two weeks. But, if need be, it can be extended and it's likely there will be a need to extend it. I also want to mention to you, Anderson, spending the overnight hours here and watching these hospital workers and the National Guard members work together was inspiring. Their team work is amazing. Anderson?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes. Gary, I appreciate it. Thanks. I appreciate what they are doing. The news continues, I want to turn it over to Don, and DON LEMON TONIGHT.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST (on camera): Those are the real heroes, Anderson.
LEMON: The people who are on the front lines out there. Thank you, sir. I'll see you tomorrow. Have a good evening.
This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.
Here's our breaking news. The January 6th committee wants to talk to Sean Hannity. And they are releasing more of his texts, that's right. His texts with Mark Meadows and others in the days before during and after the attack at the United States Capitol by those blood thirsty Trump supporters.
Sources telling CNN the committee wants the former president's number one TV adviser to voluntarily answer questions about his communications with the then president, the White House and his legal team.
And what the committee already has is stunning. We're going to tell you about a text that they say indicated that Hannity had advance knowledge of the then president and his legal team's planning for January 6th.
On December 31st Hannity text Mark Meadows, quote, we're quoting here and look on your screen and follow along.
"We can't lose the entire White House, W.H. he says, White House counsel office. I do not see January 6th happening the way he's being told after the 6th. He should announce we'll lead, meaning he will lead, I would imagine, the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity go to Florida and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engaged. When he speaks, people will listen."
Now the committee goes on to say in his letter to Hannity on January 5th the night before the violent riot, you sent and received a stream of texts. And you wrote, and I quote here, "I'm very worried about the next 48 hours."
That's what he was saying in private. He's certainly was not reporting on that on the quote, "Fox News network that the White House and the president was plotting this." Instead on TV with Ted Cruz, by the way, he is promoting a big exciting day. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
A big day tomorrow. Big crowds apparently showed up to the point where the West Wing could hear the music and the chanting of the people that were there already, and this all kicks off in the morning tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): And then there is the night of January 6th while they were still cleaning up the destruction at the capitol. Sean Hannity call for the perpetrators to be arrested and prosecuted but he also doubles down on the big lie on the very night that exploded into violence at the seat of our democracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Our election, frankly, was a train wreck. Eighty percent -- 83 percent according to Gallup that Republicans and millions of others do not have faith in these election results. You can't just snap your fingers and hope that goes away.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON (on camera): And why didn't have faith in the election results? Because the then president and his accolades like Sean Hannity told him not to. The committee also has a text from Hannity to Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan on January 10th which apparently came after a discussion between Hannity and the then president.
And I quote again, "guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in nine days. He can't mention the election again ever. I did not have a good call with him today and worse, I'm not sure what is left to do or say and I don't like not knowing if it's truly understood. Ideas?"
Hannity's attorney, Jay Sekulow, telling CNN tonight we are reviewing the committee's letter and will respond as appropriate.
Now let's remember here how some leading Republicans reacted in the days after January 6th. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), U.S. HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the event of the day.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): All I can say is count me out, enough is enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Well, there you go. Where are they now?
Meanwhile, Congressman Bennie Thompson, chairman of the committee wants to speak directly with former Vice President Mike Pence. He tells CNN this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS), CHAIR, JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE: The vice president could not lead the Capitol of the United States because of the riot. He was sequestered in an area in the capitol. So, his life was in danger. I would hope that he would do the right thing and come forward and voluntarily talk to the committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): But Thompson says that the committee hasn't officially asked the former vice president to speak with them. But he says everything is under consideration.
Now let's remember, Mike Pence had to run for his life on January 6th along with his family after rioters put up a gallows outside the capitol and chanted hang Mike Pence. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Tourists? Patriots? All that because he refused to do the bidding of his boss and overturn our free and fair election. A spokesperson for Pence declined to comment tonight. But we have a lot to discuss.
I want to bring in now CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash, CNN's special correspondent Jamie Gangel, and CNN chief media correspondents Brian Stelter.
Boy, do we have a lot to talk about tonight with all of you and your expertise is needed this evening. Good evening.
Jamie, you first. The committee releasing these texts in their requests for Hannity's cooperation including texts from January 5th where he seems to be alarmed by what's happening behind the scenes at the White House. What more are we learning tonight?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Don, I just want to say, whether or not Sean Hannity with cooperates with the committee. And I would argue that he is not going to want to. This is very bad news for Donald Trump. When he looks at these texts from his friends Sean Hannity to his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan is, there is a text chain in one of them. This is betrayal.
These are the people around him talking about him behind his back and talking about that they're worried about his state of mind and what's happening. That you know Sean Hannity is afraid that the White House counsel is going to just walk away and quit.
So, I think that you really have to think about why Donald Trump cancelled his press conference for Thursday. It seems to come right after this news came out.
LEMON: Not to mention the sheer hypocrisy of it all with the, no, nothing is happening here.
LEMON: Nothing is happening here on television and then behind the scenes. What the hell is happening? Right?
LEMON: It seems to be the tone here. In one text, Jamie, from December 31st, Hannity says he doesn't think January 6th is going to happen the way Trump is being told. Hannity appears to know about conversations Trump is having with advisers about the certification of the election. How significant could that be to the committee?
GANGEL: So, I think that all of this is significant and we should also mention they just released a few texts. I am told that there are dozens of texts and there are exchanges that go back and forth. So I think the strategy for the committee is look, they want to see whether Sean Hannity will cooperate but they also want people to understand that the people closest to Donald Trump were worried about what was going to happen. Didn't think it was going well.
And that other texts you read they wanted him to stop talking when it was over but they couldn't convince him to do it. They knew it was wrong.
LEMON: Dana Bash, January 6th committee chairman Bennie Thompson saying tonight that they want to speak directly to the former vice president, Mike Pence. I mean, that would be incredible. Can you imagine the fallout there?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, it's hard to imagine that the former vice president would actually go and speak to the committee members. This is, it was very clear from Bennie Thompson, the chairman's interview with our own Ryan Nobles that this is something that they would like.
They're not talking about specifically subpoenaing him or they haven't even put it in a formal request yet. My impression in talking to people around the former vice president is that that would be pretty unlikely for him to do that.
But remember, Marc Short, the former vice president's chief of staff has agreed to talk to the committee. He was there with Mike Pence at the capitol that day, also the general counsel, the chief counsel is also going to speak.
So, there is going to be movement in Pence world and you know, that's likely to happen either this month or early next month and the question is going to be how does that go before or if ever the former vice president that speaks to them.
I mean, for lots of reasons. Number one, precedent and number two, maybe this should be in reverse order, Don. Politics, he's already in deep, deep trouble with the Trump base because he deigns to uphold his constitutional oath and that would just make it a whole lot worse.
LEMON: Yes. He's been backtracking and so as Mark Meadows and Mark Meadows going down to Mar-a-Lago kissing the ring. So, yes, so both of them.
Brian, let's talk about Sean Hannity, right, these text messages. On January 10th Hannity sent this text message to Mark Meadows and Congressman Jim Jordan. OK, so -- excuse me, not Mark Meadows. I meant the Senate minority leader. Sorry. That was my bad.
But this is, for this one, this is about Mark Meadows. I was referring to Dana when I was -- when I mentioned Mark Meadows. I wasn't talking about Mark Meadows, Dana. Pardon me for that.
So, Congressman Jim Jordan, he says --
BASH: It's OK.
LEMON: -- guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in nine days. He can't mention the election again ever. I did not have a good call with him today and worse, I'm not sure what is left to do or say and I don't like not knowing if it's truly understood. Ideas?
OK. So, listen, you know Hannity had an open line to Trump. But it's still kind of shocking to hear this from Fox -- a Fox News host, and of course both Trump and Hannity have pedaled the big lie ever since.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: And on January 10th and on the 11th and the 12th, what did Hannity tell his viewers? Did he inform his viewers about the president's mental health, about his state of mind? No, Hannity didn't do that. He lied and stays to the cover.
That is why this is so damaging for Hannity and his friends at Fox. Hannity is not commenting on this. He is not saying a word about this. He is pretending it doesn't exist. But his messages do exist.
And they're not just the days before the riot. They're also about the days after the riot. I've always wondered how was Trump mussel in the days after the riot? What is it that the Congress did not remove him from office after he incited a riot? What happened on those pivotal days?
Well, here is Hannity on January 10th saying I had a pretty bad call with him. Why didn't you tell your viewers about that call? Why didn't you call the Fox newsroom and say we've got an emergency on our hands? These men, and they were mostly men, who aided and abetted the former president. They are -- they're like actors, Don.
I had a former Fox News that said to me tonight after in these texts. They're all actors, you know? They go on the air and they pretend to be slavishly loyal, they pretend to support Trump but they knew what was going on. They -- and you have Hannity in his own words saying it, we need to land the plane. We can land the plane. We need to make sure he doesn't talk about the election ever again.
And by the way, Don, how pathetic does this make Hannity look given that Trump has spent the last year lying about the election?
STELTER: So, Hannity thinks he has power and it turns out he had no power at all.
LEMON: But here is the thing, this isn't a hearsay. This isn't someone saying that Hannity texted them. This is the committee has proof.
LEMON: They got the evidence. STELTER: Yes.
LEMON: Hannity is not responding. He's not saying anything on his show tonight?
STELTER: Not on his show, nor his Fox News commenting. We know there are other texts from other Fox News personality as well. So, you know, this does speak to the role of the pro-Trump media in providing cover, providing air support, literal air support to Trump in those pivotal days and I think you just got to wonder, what more do those folks at Fox News know that they haven't shared?
LEMON: Well, it's -- well, it is believable. Dana, President Trump is responding tonight to these texts saying that he disagrees with Hannity. So then, again, more proofs that these texts are actually real. That he disagrees with Hannity, that he needed to stop talking about the election. Falsely claiming that the facts are proving him right. Do you think that Trump is worried about how all this makes him look especially to his base? probably not.
BASH: I think that ship sailed a long time ago. I really do. I think that he believes that he can convince his base to believe anything that he wants. And all we need --
LEMON: And Dana, he's probably right.
BASH: -- is look at what happened.
LEMON: If you -- if you see watch (Inaudible) reporting.
BASH: Yes, he is. He is, but --
LEMON: You see people saying it's made-up.
LEMON: Attackers as Democrats. Go on. Sorry.
BASH: Yes. Yes, exactly. But I mean, to the point that Brian was just making, he's helped in that regard by the people who are -- who have the biggest megaphones on conservative media like Sean Hannity saying things that amplify the lie even though he knows and full well, and now we have his text messages to the White House chief of staff then about the president to prove it and that was what he was doing was wrong.
It also just -- I just want to say that these are a few brush strokes in the larger painting that we know it was there in and around the president in these faithful critical days. And that is almost to a person if you take Rudy Giuliani and the two or three other people of his ilk out of it.
People were calling him and begging him cut it out. This is not good and never mind for the country but they were trying to appeal to him this isn't good for you, this is not good for your legacy. And that was the tone and tenor of the Hannity text. And that was happening real-time even before January 6th, but especially --
LEMON: But they won't say it publicly.
BASH: -- on that day.
LEMON: They won't say it publicly because they are afraid.
BASH: They won't say it publicly.
BASH: Which is so --
LEMON: And they didn't end up -- I was thinking Kevin McCarthy --
BASH: -- afraid of.
LEMON: -- and I said Mark Meadows.
LEMON: I was thinking of Kevin McCarthy. Kevin McCarthy went down and kiss the ring and has spent this entire year trying to make it up to Donald Trump and his supporters. So, if they actually tell the truth, they get in trouble, Dana.
BASH: Yes. Yes, they do.
BASH: They do. And they've stopped doing that or they've just tried to ignore it. But it has been interesting to see a few Senate Republicans who have been asked in the hallways and elsewhere about the fact that Donald Trump was supposed to have a press conference on January 6th, begging, pleading through the media please do not do that. People who still just try to ignore questions about Trump chose to answer and say stay away, don't do this, Mr. President, Mr. Former President.
LEMON: Let's talk about that and more. I want you guys to stay with us. I'm enjoying this conversation. I'm going to hold you over to the other side of the break. So how is the former president going to feel about his top TV adviser texting about him behind his back. We'll talk about that and more. That's next. [22:20:00]
LEMON (on camera): Back with me now Dana Bash, Jamie Gangel, Brian Stelter on our breaking news.
The January 6th committee wants to talk to Sean Hannity.
So, Jamie, I want to start this one with you. The committee is also saying that on January 6th Hannity texted Mark Meadows, press coverage about the potential effort to remove Trump via the 25th amendment.
Secretaries Chao and Betsy DeVos resigned the next day. They want to know if there was any effort behind the scenes to remove Trump. That -- that could be explosive, right?
GANGEL: So, let me just start by saying there is nothing that is put in this letter by accident. And that was mentioned very far down. There was not a text associated with it but the words 25th amendment were repeated.
And my understanding is that there is, we don't know, they didn't reveal texts there but it appears the committee has information about conversations that were going on at the highest level about the 25th amendment.
And just to remind our audience this was about, there were discussions going on we heard reporting that may be some people in the cabinet thought Trump should be removed from office. The fact that the committee may have information about will also speak to Trump's state of mind.
And I just want to point out one other thing at the beginning of the letter, it's very well-written and that it puts Hannity on the spot. It says you had advance knowledge regarding President Trump's and his legal team for January 6th.
It appears you are expressing concern and providing advice. You also had, quote, "relevant communications while the riot was underway --
GANGEL -- and in the days therefore." That makes you, quote, "a fact witness." Again, we don't know whether Sean Hannity is going to cooperate. I tend to doubt it. But they really are putting it on the line with him.
LEMON: I mean, that is -- Dana, I'm going to go to you. I see you shaking your head, and then to Brian. I see you shaking your head. That's pretty -- that's pretty direct.
BASH: It's very direct. Because as Jamie said they're clear in this letter, by they, I mean, the chair and vice chair of the January 6th committee. That they're not asking him in the context of his job as a journalist or a broadcaster. In fact, just the opposite. They're saying we respect the first amendment and that is why we are
very specific in saying, as Jamie said, you are a fact witness because he wasn't acting as a journalist. He was acting as an adviser as he has had for years. Years and years through the whole Trump presidency.
And we know that. It was an open secret that that's what Sean Hannity did. The fact that they had it in writing because Mark Meadows hand it over voluntarily his texts is the reason why they feel like they are on terra firma, so to speak, even though he is somebody who works for a, so-called, news organization.
LEMON: Well, Brian, listen, there's always, you know, the pearl- clutching that goes over at Fox News at Fox news about anything other then what happens on -- in conservative media is just -- I mean it's astonishing because these are receipts. They have the receipts from Sean Hannity.
Whatever alarm that Sean Hannity felt behind the scenes, he has remained loyal to Trump on the air in the lead up and the aftermath of this insurrection. So, you know, talk to me about their relationship and, you know, can they keep this sort of, you know, pearl-clutching about, my gosh, the liberal media when they are as you say whoever said that to you, they are exposed as complete actors.
STELTER: As actors. Yes. It reminds me of what I heard several times reporting my book hoax about Hannity. Which was, he knows, what sources would say is, Hannity thinks Trump is crazy. He thinks Trump is crazy.
I remember a very vivid comment about someone saying what, Sean, why are you vaping so much? Why are you smoking so much? Well, if you are hearing what I was hearing from Trump, you'd be vaping too. Like that was the kind of conversation you'd hear from Hannity comforts on during the Trump presidency.
That Sean was in on it. That he knew the truth about Trump but he couldn't or wouldn't or didn't ever say it. And these text messages bring that into such sharp relief.
But, Don, I think Trump and Hannity needed each other. This is a mutually beneficial relationship. And that relationship has not ended. Trump needs the right-wing TV trifecta of Fox, OAN, Newsmax.
LEMON: Trump and Fox need each other.
STELTER: They do.
STELTER: They do. That's why the idea of a Fox News presidency was such a cancer. You know, you should not and no matter what you think about Democrats and Republicans, you shouldn't have television host spending all their free time advising the president.
It's not the way the world is supposed to work. Everybody knew it. And they even knew it during the Fox presidency. And it's created such a -- think about the long-term damage that it caused here where these hosts are not telling the truth about what happened.
And you know what's going to happen this week, Don. They are going to ignore the 1/6 anniversary as much as they can. Yes, they'll technically cover Biden's speech, they'll mention the anniversary but they are going to minimize, they are going to push this down the memory hole as hard as they possibly can.
They do not want to be reminded of the horrors of that day and of the cover up and the conspiracy since. And as long as they keep doing that cover, as long as Fox is part of that cover up. Well, then, a big part of this country is not going to hear the truth --
STELTER: -- about what happened with Trump.
LEMON: More to come. Thank you all. I appreciate it.
STELTER: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you.
They want to talk to Hannity. They want to talk to Pence. What do they want to hear? I'm going to ask a member of the committee investigating the insurrection. Congressman Jamie Raskin is here and he is next.
LEMON (on camera): The January 6th select committee releasing text messages from Sean Hannity to member of the Trump White House in the days surrounding last year's capitol attack. And the committee's chairman wants to speak to the former vice president, Mike Pence, as well.
So, joining me now is Congressman Jamie Raskin. He is on the committee. He is also the author of the new book "Unthinkable; Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy." It is next on my reading list. I heard good reviews but I haven't had a chance to read it yet. So next time you're on I would have read your book, thank you for writing it and thank you for appearing, sir.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): I appreciate you are having me on tonight, Don.
LEMON: So, let's start with these bombshell texts from Sean Hannity, what does the committee think Hannity knows about the effort to overturn the election and why does the committee believe that he must cooperate?
RASKIN: Well, he clearly knows something because it appears that he was on the course of trying to dissuade them from executing the coup against Joe Biden's majority in the Electoral College. They were trying to overthrow his majority through the announcement of new powers in the vice president to just repudiate Electoral College that's coming in from the states.
But he seems to know a lot more. I mean, those texts are kind of pregnant with possibilities when he says, you know, I'm disturbed about what I'm hearing about what's going to happen in the next 48 hours or I'm very nervous about the next 48 hours.
So, we want to know. Not because he's a news commentator anymore more than he were a school teacher or a mathematician or a sound engineer. Just because he knows. He clearly was a fact witness and his name has come up.
So, everybody owes Congress his or her truthful honest testimony. And the Supreme Court have said as much. We are operating under a command from the House of Representatives from the House resolution 503 to go out and determine everything that happened and the causes of it and what we need to do to prevent another nightmare like this from befalling the republic again.
LEMON: What happens if he doesn't come forward voluntarily? If he wants to -- will you subpoena him?
RASKIN: Well, we've a panoply of options. Obviously, we have subpoenaed a lot of people who didn't want to come involuntarily. I will tell you we've had several hundred witnesses and the vast majority have come in voluntarily because they see it not only correctly as their legal duty but also as a civic obligation and an honor to be able to help our representatives in Congress get to the bottom of this plot to overthrow the 2020 presidential election and to seize the presidency for the occupant.
So, it was a coup surrounded by an insurrection surrounded by a riot. And we're going to tell that complete story to America through hearings and through a report in this New Year. The forces of democracy are on the march.
LEMON: Yes. I just want to ask you and get back -- getting back to you said, you don't -- it's not -- you are not interested in his role as a journalist. You are interested in his role. You think he's a fact witness. Initially, I think his attorney Jay Sekulow said, well, there is some concern about the first amendment.
And, I mean, does that set a bad precedent though for subpoenaing journalists, but clearly, he wasn't acting as a journalist. He has said himself that he's not a journalist, he has campaigned and been on stage with the former president.
And clearly, through his text messages this was a role as an adviser and not a journalist.
RASKIN: I mean, Don, let's say that you are on your way to work and you see a car accident, OK? You can be subpoenaed to come and testify if you were a witness to what had happened. Now, that's different from telling Don Lemon, you got to tell us who your sources are, or we want to see all of your notes or a report that you are doing about it.
We are not asking him any of the journalist stuff. He made himself part of the story by entering into the inner political sanctum of Donald Trump and participating, and apparently in a pretty positive way and trying to pull them back from staging this coup and this insurrection or at least from the initial indications of it.
You know, it's a matter of journalistic ethics that you are better equipped to address than me about whether you should be saying one thing behind the scenes like, don't do this, this is as nightmare and then going out to the public and eventually saying, yes, Donald Trump is right, they greeted the police officers with hugs and kisses.
LEMON: Right. Right. At least what you put in your text messages should match what you're saying on the air or writing about or presenting as a journalist. Congressman, you --
RASKIN: Right. If you are going to make yourself kind of part of a state propaganda news network.
LEMON: Right. It should match up with your reporting.
You also want to hear directly from the former vice president, Mike Pence. Members of his inner circle have cooperated. Have you gotten any indication that Pence is willing to talk to you and what do you most want to know?
RASKIN: Well, by not privy at this point to whatever conversations have taken place. But, look, Mike Pence to my mind was a hero and a constitutional patriot on January 6th because he did his job and he refused to succumb to overwhelming political pressure and coercion being brought down on him by Donald Trump to reject the Electoral College votes for the first time in American history.
You know, to declare this totally extralegal powers in the vice president to repudiate electoral votes coming in from the states. And he issued a memo that we got right before we met at 1 p.m. on January 6th, saying he did not have the powers that the president was impugning to him.
He couldn't do it. And for that they chanted "hang Mike pence," and you know, they set up a scaffold outside as if they were going to start hanging people. And he was the first one they wanted to hang. He -- the vice president of the United States had to flee the peaceful transfer of power the joint session of Congress because a mob wanted to assassinated him.
LEMON: Congressman, I want you to stick around. Because as I mentioned at the beginning here you have a new book. A lot of people may not know this about you, so I'm going to tell them. Congressman Raskin lost his son to suicide shortly after that insurrection happened. His family was inside the building during the attack. I want you to stay with me to talk us about this because you mentioned that in the book as well, and I want to discuss some things. We'll be right back with Congressman Jamie Raskin.
LEMON (on camera): So back now with Congressman Jamie Raskin, he is the author of "Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth and the Trials of American Democracy."
So, Congressman, I really appreciate you talking about this and as I understand your book is really candid. And it begins with two horrible events that happened just a year ago, the death of your son Tommy, and the January 6th attack on the capitol. And you say that you are going to spend your life trying to disentangle and understand both. Talk to me about the challenge, how difficult is that?
RASKIN: Well, we lost Tommy on December 31st of 2020. That was the end of the world for us. He was the light of our lives along with Hannah and Tabitha our other two kids. And I was drowning in agony and grief along with Sarah and my wife and the rest of my family.
I thought I might never recover from it. I truly taken my chief of staff who came over that day and was there with the police. Said that I was essentially catatonic, I was rocking back and forth in my chair saying I have lost my son, my beautiful son, my dear Tommy is gone and my life is over. My life is over.
And I felt that and we were surrounded by a lot of love from my friends and our family and y constituents in Maryland's beautiful eighth district for several days. We buried Tommy on January fifth and the next day I had to go in for the traditionally ceremonial peaceful transfer of power and the receipt of those Electoral College votes.
My kids were urging me not to go. They were trying to stop me. I said it was constitutional duty I had to be there. Speaker Pelosi had asked me to one of the handful of Democratic members who would answer the anticipated GOP objections to Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania and some of the other states.
And so, I said instead why don't you come with me and Tabitha asked me would it be safe? She said I know that Donald Trump has been asking his people to come to Washington. And I said of course it will be safe. It's the capitol.
And I had a very specific image in my mind, Don, from June the 2nd, the day after, you know, Trump and William Barr had unleased that police riot in Lafayette Square against Black Lives Matter and BLM came to the capitol the next day.
And I had this image of phalanx of National Guardsmen and women standing on the capitol steps armed protecting the capitol. And I just could not imagine that somehow the capitol would be breached and much less overrun and laid siege to by an angry mob.
And yet, that is precisely what took place. And my book describes what happened on that terrifying day.
LEMON: You also describe, I remember during -- you were as the lead impeachment manager that you were talking about that in your speech about impeaching Donald Trump and about that very day. Let's listen to it and then we'll continue to discuss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RASKIN: The kids hiding under the desk, placing what they thought were their final texts in a whispered phone calls to say their good- byes, they thought they were going to die.
My son-in-law had never been to the capitol before. And when they were finally rescued over an hour later by capitol officers and we were together, I hugged them and I apologized and I told my daughter, Tabitha -- who's 24, a brilliant algebra teacher and teach for America, now I told her how sorry I was and I promised her that it would not be like this again the next time she came back to the capitol with me.
And you know what she said? She said, dad, I don't want to come back to the capitol. Of all the terrible brutal things I saw and I heard on that day, and since then that one hit me the hardest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): One of the most moving things I had ever heard. I remember watching it and watching you and I couldn't imagine everything that you had gone through and how you were still standing and you had the strength and the courage to be able to do that.
And just, you know, Congressman, the trauma of that day is undeniable, yet people are still questioning that it even happened or that it was even violent. That has to infuriate you on some level. How are you -- how did you handle that? Is that that you have to -- was the book part of the catharsis to get that out?
RASKIN: Yes, I mean, I tried to analyze that in the book as a tactic of totalitarian political movement. I mean, that is a fascist tactic to deny and rewrite the actual history of an event.
I mean, there were 150 cops who ended up wounded and injured in the hospital, broken ribs, broken legs and broken arms and fractured skulls and traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress syndrome and people were being beaten in the head with steel pipes and baseball bats, hockey sticks. They were throwing fire extinguishers.
And yet, Donald Trump tells them, tells his people that the -- that his followers greeted the officers with hugs and kisses and this is -- you know, you repeat that lie enough. And you hear people parroting back to pollsters saying, yes, it was a non-violent day, it was like the return of Dr. King's march on Washington.
LEMON: Patriots, we love you, go home.
RASKIN: That is a fascist tactic.
LEMON: Yes. He is saying we love them.
LEMON: Calling them patriots.
RASKIN: Well, and that didn't happen --
LEMON: Until that.
RASKIN: -- right. That didn't happen until so many of our officers were wounded and crushed and injured in these medieval-style battles that were taking place.
So, we have to understand this is an attack on our democracy. Democracy needs a ground to stand on. My dad used to say. And that ground is the truth. You can't base a democracy on lies because the people got to have the truth in order to govern.
So that's what our select committee is all about. Getting the truth from everybody who's got anything to tell, telling the truth to the people and making recommendations about how we're going to fortify democratic institutions against future episodes and outbreaks of authoritarian violence and coups against our institutions.
LEMON: Listen, I'm so -- I know this may not mean anything to you, but I'm so proud of you for writing this book as someone who lost a loved one recently, it takes real strength and real courage to be able to do this.
And the next time I speak to you I will finish your entire book, I promise you. I cannot wait to read it. I didn't had -- other things that I was dealing with during the holidays and I didn't get a chance to read your book. But thank you for writing this. I'm sorry for what happened to Tommy but I'm grateful to have leaders like you in this country who's standing up for what's right.
RASKIN: And thank you for having me on, Don.
LEMON: Thank you. The book again is "Unthinkable: Trauma -- Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth and the Trials of American Democracy" by Congressman Jamie Raskin. Our thanks to him again. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON (on camera): The CDC releasing new COVID isolation guidance
after receiving a lot of pushbacks for not including a testing component. If you test positive for COVID the CDC now recommends you isolate for five days but they do not recommend a test after that period.
But if you happen to get a test and it is positive after five days then you need to isolate for five more days. They also say that when leaving isolation after five days you should avoid restaurants, gyms, and travel. Confusing? It sure is.
Joining me now our CNN medical analyst, Dr. Leana Wen. Doctor, good evening. Yes, it is confusing. This new isolation guidance from the CDC does it make any sense to you?
LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Not really. And when something fails the common-sense test people are just not going to follow it. I think what the CDC should have said is it's too bad that we don't have enough testing but if you happen to have tests, then that's a good way to end your isolation.
But instead, this guidance is saying if you test after five days but if it's positive after five days you have to add your isolation to five more days? That's going to disincentivize testing which is really not what we should be doing at this point.
LEMON: But don't people test positive, you can test positive for a while, a long while after you contract COVID?
WEN: With the PCR test, yes, you could test positive even for weeks after. But the antigen test, the rapid at-home antigen test usually that's a pretty good test for infectivity. So, are you infectious at this point in time? And so, a lot of people could clear the virus after five or six days.
What the U.K. has done, for example, is to say that if you test negative twice on two consecutive days you could end your isolation at seven days. That's the kind of policy that actually would have made more sense in the U.S. too.
LEMON: So, President Biden was out today encouraging vaccinated Americans to be concerned but not to be alarmed about the Omicron variant. With this variant now making up to 95 percent of COVID cases in the U.S. do you agree with the president?
WEN: I absolutely do. We are at a very different place than we were in 2020 or 2021. Because we now know this is a different variant, this variant is milder than previous variants. And also, people who are vaccinated and boosted for the large part are really well-protected against severe illness.
So, there should be no reason at this point why teachers are saying we are not going to go back to school because they are going to be well- protected with vaccinations, boosters, and masking. We should not be closing down the economy, shutting down businesses.
For another reason, too. Which is that this may be our new normal going forward. It may be that we get a resurgence of a new variant every several months and we cannot close down our economy --
WEN: -- and shutter our schools every time. We have to figure out how we can live with this virus going forward and if we can turn this into something more like somewhere between a mild cold and the flu, then that is how we can live with COVID-19.
LEMON: And get people vaccinated, that's what we need to do as well. Thank you, Dr. Wen. I appreciate it.
The committee investigating the insurrection wants to talk to the former vice president and one of Fox's top hosts. We'll be right back.