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Don Lemon Tonight

The January 6 House Select Committee Holds First Public Hearing; Former POTUS' Request To V.P. Pence Is Unconstitutional; Conspiracy Theory Led To January 6 Insurrection; Too Much Video Shown From January 6th Attack; Dereliction Of Duty By Police Caught On Tape. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired June 09, 2022 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. Definitely a moment in history happening just moments ago. The January 6 Committee beginning to make its case to the American people with revelations we have never heard before.

Tonight, with some of the more than 1,000 witnesses told the committee behind closed doors, this new video from members of the then- president's inner circle, even his daughter, Ivanka Trump.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): This is the president's daughter commenting on Bill Barr's statement that the department found no fraud sufficient to overturn the election.

UNKNOWN: How did that affect your perspective about the election when Attorney General Barr made that statement?

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: It affected my perspective. I respect Attorney General Barr. So, I accepted what he said, was saying.


LEMON: But the committee is making it clear this is not just about what happened on January 6th or in the days leading up to it. It's about a clear and present danger to our democracy and what could happen in the next election.

We've got a lot to talk about in the coming hours here on CNN. Here with me in studio is Astead Herndon, Andrew McCabe, and Scott Jennings. So glad that they could join. But first, I want to get to CNN's Manu Raju and Ryan Nobles in Washington on Capitol Hill with the very latest on this. Gentlemen, good evening to you.

Ryan, you first. Stunning first night here. Shocking new video, emotional live testimony, taped testimony from people close to the former president, and the January 6 committee making the case that the former president, Donald Trump, was at the center. Tell us more about what we heard, sir.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Don, I think if there is a takeaway from tonight is that the committee did not shy away from placing the blame on what happened here on January 6th directly at the feet of the former president, Donald Trump.

And they did by very calmly laying out a wide range of evidence from a number of different factions and factors and from hearing from the people closest to him during this period of time.

Just listen to how the committee members laid out the case as part of this hearing tonight.


CHENEY: You will hear that President Trump was yelling and -- quote -- "really angry" at advisors who told him he needed to be doing something more. And aware of the rioters' chants to hang Mike Pence. The president responded with this sentiment -- quote -- "maybe our supporters have the right idea." Mike Pence -- quote -- "deserves it."


PEREZ: And while the committee definitely didn't shy away from blaming President Trump for what happened here, they certainly did not play their entire hand. This was more than anything a tease of what's to come. This is just the beginning of a long set of hearings that are going to take place throughout the month of June. And the committee promised tonight, we are going to hear a lot more about what they have uncovered over the past 11 months.

LEMON: Manu Raju now also in Capitol Hill. Manu, talk to me about what you're learning. I understand you're learning about the committee's knowledge about the House Republicans seeking pardons from former President Trump?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, one of the things that Liz Cheney said in her remarks during this hearing was that there were some House Republicans who asked Donald Trump for pardons about their actions involving January 6th.

Now, one person that she did point out was Congresswoman Scott Perry. He is a Pennsylvania conservative, a member -- a leader of the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative faction within that conference. She contended that he was one of those individuals seeking a pardon.

Now, I caught up with the chairman of the committee, Bennie Thompson, right after to try to get some more information about that as well. He said that they have -- quote -- "documentation" proving that some of these members had asked for pardons.

Now, he would not say how many members that there were that asked for pardons but he did say that this will come out in the course of the hearings.

Now, Jamie Raskin, who is another member of the committee, also wouldn't divulge those details. He said this, in his view, shows a clear consciousness of guilt that some of these members would go and ask for pardons and just knowing that their actions could lead them in some -- lead them in some legal jeopardy.

But the good question, too, for this committee, Don, is, what will they do with these Republican members of the House who have defied the subpoenas from this committee, including congresswoman -- the leader of the House Republican Conference, Kevin McCarthy, Perry himself and others, and asking these members of the committee whether they will go as far as holding these members in contempt of Congress.


They will simply just not say if that is what they plan to do.

So, it's uncertain if they will get the testimony at all from these members who allegedly asked for pardons, but that was one of the key revelations here showing just how many people were involved in what happened in the run-up to January 6th and whether any one of them thought that they could be in trouble for what they did.

LEMON: Ryan, I found it interesting that the first closed-door testimony to the committee we saw tonight was from the former attorney general, Bill Barr. What did we hear?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Don, it is important to point out that that interview with Bill Barr was only conducted eight days ago. But the committee found what he had to say so important that they made it the first piece of sound that we heard from any of these closed-door testimonies that have taken place over the past 11 months. And what they were trying to show here was that Donald Trump was told by people that he trusted that he did not win the election.

Listen to what Attorney General Bill Barr told the committee.


WILLIAM BARR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I had three discussions with the president that I can recall. One was on November 23rd, one was on December 1st, and one was on December 14th. I have been through sort of the give and take of those discussions. In that context, I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president was bullshit.

And, you know, I didn't want to be a part of it. That's one of the reasons I went into me deciding to leave when I did. I observed, I think it was on December 1st, you can't live in a world where the incumbent administration stays in power based on its view, unsupported by specific evidence, that the election -- that there was fraud in the election.


NOBLES: So, what was remarkable about what Barr had to say was, first, that he was very clear with Donald Trump that he did not think that he won the election, and also that he thought that Donald Trump's actions were a danger to the republic.

That's significant because that is part of the central thesis of the January 6 Select Committee. Don, it is important to point out, Ivanka Trump said that she changed her mind or was influenced by what Bill Barr had to say. You already played that sound a little bit earlier today.

We have only seen a very small fraction of the interviews that this committee has conducted, around thousand different interviews, and there are still a number of hearings left to go. So, there is still a lot more that we are probably going to learn before the end of June.

LEMON: Ryan, Manu, stick around. We still have a lot to go here live on CNN. Since we are on the subject of the former president right now, I want to get to CNN's Kaitlan Collins to talk to her about hat.

Hello, Kaitlan. I understand that you have some new information about how the former president just responded to the hearing. What is he saying?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Unsurprisingly, Don, he is lashing out at the committee, criticizing them for their first prime-time hearing on what happened on January 6th. He is saying that they failed to use the many positive witnesses and statements that he claims back up his accusations, his allegations about election fraud which, of course, you heard from the former attorney general there himself who says they were patently false.

But I am told that in the coming days, one thing you can expect to see in the coming days is potentially those witnesses who were used tonight saying that their comments were taken out of context.

You saw the president who is talking about -- saying that they were not positive witnesses. It's his own former pick for attorney general, his own former campaign advisor, his son-in-law, and even his daughter, who were the ones that the committee chose to use their testimony tonight, though we know there are dozens of others, former Trump staffers that have testified to the committee.

And they are coming out and we are expecting them. What we're told by sources that they are likely to say is that they were taken out of context as a defense against the former president in case he is angry about what they said.

And this is something that you often saw his cabinet secretaries try to use when they testify on Capitol Hill and maybe said something he did not like, they would claim the committee or the lawmakers had taken them out of context.

But we should note that all of these witnesses who went in there, many of them knew they were being recorded, knew their interviews were being transcribed. Some of them even knew they would potentially wind up being used in these televised hearings, which we knew were going to be happening this summer.

And Bennie Thompson, the chair, just committed to Jake Tapper that they will release the full transcript. So, when you see these claims that they are being taken out of context or selectively edited, it is on camera, it is transcribed, and Bennie Thompson said we will get to see the full context of what they said.

LEMON: Kaitlan Collins, thank you very much. I appreciate that. I am wondering -- before -- when I get to my panel a little bit later. It is taken out of context, the new I'll plead the Fifth, or the I don't recall. We will discuss that in just a moment.

First, I want to bring in now a member of the committee, Congresswoman Elaine Luria, a Democrat from Virginia. Congresswoman, thank you very much. I appreciate you joining us.

The vice-chair, Liz Cheney, said that Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. And the committee ended showing -- ended by showing how rioters went because of Trump, how they went down to the Capitol and what they did.


Let's play it and then we'll talk about it.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): You mentioned that the president asked you. Do you remember a specific message?

DANIEL HERENDEEN, SENTENCED TO 36 MONTHS PROBATION: Basically, yes, for us to come to D.C., things are going to happen.

MATTHEW WALTER, MEMBER, PROUD BOYS (voice-over): What got me interested, he said, I have something very important to say on January 6th or something like that.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): What one?

WALTER (voice-over): What got me interested to be there.

ROBERT SCHORNAK, SENTENCED TO 36 MONTHS PROBATION: You know, Trump was only asking for two things. He asked me for my vote. He asked me to come on January 6th.


LEMON: What should Americans take away from this, from night one, congresswoman?

REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): Well, I think that the wrap-up here really follows perfectly with what Liz Cheney said about how the president's words were taken literally, that these individuals were amongst thousands, as we can see, who heard the president say, come to Washington, D.C. on January 6th, be here, it will be wild, then they were here after the rally at the Ellipse and they followed his orders to come to the Capitol.

So, I think that, you know, tonight, we use this as an opportunity to lay out the things that we are going to be talking about over the course of these hearings. We outline what's to come in the next set of hearings, the multipronged conspiracy that led to the events of January 6th and the attempt to undermine the results of the election.

And really, we want to highlight the dangers that still exist in the future for our democracy and for our institutions. And there is a lot yet to come in the hearings that we'll be following.

LEMON: Do you think tonight -- do you think the case was made tonight or TBD, to be determined?

LURIA: Well, this was essentially an opening statement. We did lead in, as you said, with comments from Trump's own former attorney general, who said that the president knew, point blank, that he had lost the election. He was told that multiple times.

And we pointed out as well, there were others who were close to him, who were his advisors, who told him the same thing, but he continued perpetuating this lie. And turn on the TV today, he is still perpetuating the same lies about the election.

LEMON: Yeah. The committee showed a Trump tweet and footage of a rioter reading that tweet to other insurrectionists. Let's play it.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our constitution, giving states a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth.

UNKNOWN: Bring the truth! Bring the truth! Bring the truth!

CROWD: Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence.


LEMON: A direct line between Trump's words and the actions of the insurrections, congresswoman?

LURIA: Well, those were the words once this violence was underway that the president chose. Rather than being presidential, being the commander in chief, having the platform and the microphone to speak to the nation about stopping violence and actually being responsible for carrying out our laws, he chose to point his anger towards the former vice president.

And, you know, as that tweet went out, the world saw it, and there you saw literally one of the rioters with a megaphone in his hand reading it out loud. And almost immediately after that, you hear these chants in the background of "Hang Mike Pence."

So, pretty clear correlation there that the words that came from the president led directly to what these rioters were doing and the violence that day.

LEMON: Let's talk more about that, about more of what we are told we are going to learn about Trump's reaction to the "hang Mike Pence" chants. Trump was quoted as saying they had the right idea and that Mike Pence deserves it.

LURIA: Yes, Liz Cheney mentioned that in her comments, and I think that's some of sort of many impressions that we'll get from those who surrounded the president on that day and his reactions to what was happening. So, I think that is just an initial sort of entree into much more information about his reaction, his peace of mind at the time.

And we all know 187 minutes went by before he actually stood up, got on camera, and ostensibly told these people to go home. But rather than saying, go home, stop the violence, this is unacceptable, something along those lines that one would anticipate from the president, he told them you're special, we love you.

LEMON: I guess in this divided political climate that we're in now, you can call it a hostile political climate that we're in now, perhaps par for the course, but I need to ask you about the GOP's response tonight, saying they are blasting, calling it Pelosi's sham, primetime show, and they want payback if they take back control of the House.


LURIA: You know, I didn't see that live during the hearing because I was participating in the hearing, but I saw Kevin McCarthy's press conference earlier.

The thing that I would say is, you know, honestly, he is supposed to be the minority leader in the House. He is patently embarrassing himself. You know, days after the January 6th riot, he was saying and doing the right things. He was saying we need to hold these people accountable, we need to get to the bottom of this, and we know everything that happened that led to the failure to establish an independent 9/11-type commission.

And now, he doesn't want to get to the bottom of anything. He wants to cover it up, not talk about it, deflect, and essentially, he is not being the adult in the room. I mean, if you are truly a leader within the House, he would want to get to the truth and the facts which is where he started, but somewhere, he went off the rails on that.

LEMON: Representative Luria, thank you for your time. We appreciate it. We will see you soon because this is, as you said, these were the opening statements, so there is much more to go.

You know, the stakes couldn't be higher here. So, did the committee succeed in laying out just how close we came to a disaster? We've got some folks here. More analysis on CNN. And no holds barred. I want to hear from you, Scott Jennings, what you think tonight, because he is never at a loss for words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHENEY: The White House staff knew that President Trump was willing to entertain and use conspiracy theories to achieve his ends. They knew the president needed to be cut off from all of those who had encouraged him. They knew that President Donald Trump was too dangerous to be left alone.





LEMON: As we saw just moments ago here on CNN in prime time, the January 6 Committee laying out their case in the first public hearing tonight with revelations that we have never heard before.

I want to bring in now CNN political analyst Astead Herndon, senior law enforcement analyst Andrew McCabe, and political commentator Scott Jennings. We would have a woman on the civil affairs. She will be joining us later. So, it wasn't supposed to be just guys.

I'm glad you're all here to talk about this seriously. I want people -- you know, people say, why don't you say how you really feel? The committee knows the stakes, Astead, are high. Do you think that they succeeded in showing Americans, making their case to Americans, reminding them of the disaster that we came close to?

ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they accomplished their goals in terms of refocusing the political energy on this moment and on this day. I think that we have to be honest here that Democrats are -- the committee, you know, a bipartisan committee, is doing multiple things here.

They are trying to lay out a legal case and they are also trying to refocus public attention and political energy on this moment. It dovetails with the Democrats midterm strategy to paint Republicans as irresponsible stewards of democracy. That's what -- and these things are about doing both of those things at the same time.

LEMON: You think this is a midterm strategy? I heard that from the right. I'm not sure. Maybe it is. I'm not sure. I thought this was --

HERNDON: I think two things are happening at once.

LEMON: -- about saving the democracy.

HERNDON: No, no, no. I think there is definitely a legal case being played. Right? I am going to leave that to the folks who know that best. I am saying there is also politics happening.

LEMON: Yeah.

HERNDON: I don't think there has to be any ignorance around that. This is part of a Democratic Party argument that Republicans are irresponsible stewards of the American democracy. I think part of this case is in making that clear to the American public. And they are doing that through a step-by-step evidentiary basis that we did see tonight be laid out in a more explicit form than we have seen previously.

LEMON: Okay. Let's talk about the legal case, the person who knows about that evidentiary. They are playing, of course, to the attorney general.


LEMON: They are playing with Merrick Garland, playing to the Department of Justice. What do you -- do you think that they made their case tonight?

MCCABE: You know, they are playing to DOJ. They are playing to the AG, Merrick Garland. But first and foremost, they are playing to the American people. They have to convince people that this is important. It's more important than the price of gas. It is more important than inflation. This should matter to you. That's their hardest sell, I think, right now.

They tried to really emphasize that point by constantly going back to the point here is this was an intentional conspiracy by the president and those around him to undermine the results of the election, to essentially take away the will of the voters, and that is something that should matter to every Republican no matter where you sit on the political spectrum.

I think they got that message out tonight. Did they convince the American people that that's why they should think this is important? I guess we will see as the night goes on.

LEMON: Let us ask the Republican on the set. The committee said that they -- at least four Trump aides testified that they told Trump and his team that he lost the election. Whether he believed it or not, that's another story. He says he didn't believe it. So, what do you think? They say he knew he was lying to the American people.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDNET TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I mean, they lost all the court cases. All the evidence -- you know, all the evidence that was coming in from the field was, you know, you lost the election. And he kept up the charade. And, obviously, it led to what happened on January the 6th. I thought that was actually pretty compelling to use his own people against him, right, in this opening night.

I think the political challenge for the Democrats though is to try to get people who are currently paying 150, 180 bucks to fill up their car to believe that something that happened 18 months ago under a president that no longer is in the office matters as much as the current economic situation going on in their household.

I believed this since the day it happened. This is going to matter more in 2024 than it does in November 2022. There is no evidence that voters are holding this against rank-and-file Republicans.


In fact, there was no evidence they held Trump against Republicans on election night in 2020 when Republicans did quite well down the ballot.

But if he runs again, this is the great question. Can he be trusted with the office again? Should he be trusted with awesome power? That's when Republicans and voters at large are going to have to do some soul searching about his impact on another administration.

LEMON: Okay. So, I'm going to say this. I think that you're right in a lot of your assessment. I think much of what you said doesn't matter. I think what matters is what happened, what this means for our democracy. What this means for politics. I think that is secondary and, you know, let them -- it's always going to be politics.

But I think for something like this to happen, to have an attack on the Capitol, to have an attack on our democracy, to have a president of the United States saying that he won the election when he didn't, I think that is more important than anything. If you don't have a functioning democracy, then it doesn't matter if you have a penny gas prices. You don't have a functioning democracy.

So, I think the case, the biggest case that should be made is, how do we save our democracy, how do we hold the people accountable who were trying to steal the democracy in order for us to be able to fix all of those problems that we have that are fixable because we have a functioning democracy and a republic -- and a republic that is intact. Am I wrong?

HERNDON: I don't think those are disconnected issues. Right? When we think about what Democrats want to do, to -- quote, unquote -- "save democracy in this moment," it is about passing bills of protection that is going to require a motivated voting base, particularly in November. I mean, these are things that they need, the American public to be rallied around to be able to put in place --

LEMON: Don't get me wrong. I think -- listen, of course, that is going to happen. As said, much of what you said is right, but at this point, I don't believe that it is important.

People are going to think, what does this matter if our gas prices or whatever. Okay, fine, we will get to the gas prices. What does this mean for inflation? Fine, we will get to that. We talk about that all the time.

What this means for our democracy is the most important thing, and that's what we should be focusing on.

MCCABE: We don't even have the opportunity to argue over economic policy if we don't have a functioning democracy to rely upon. And that's the message they are trying to get out tonight. I think they did a pretty good job of that. Early on, I thought Liz Cheney's presentation was remarkable for its scope, for its detail, and for her tone. She laid out some really compelling evidence in a way that didn't come off as overly politicized.

It was absolutely targeted at the person that they clearly think is responsible for everything and that is Donald Trump.

LEMON: I also thought a strategic -- something that would have been really strategic, as if they let the Republicans on the panel instead of the -- I know Bennie Thompson is the chairman. If they have Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger actually do all of the speaking and all of the questioning tonight so that -- because then Republicans would be attacking their own.

JENNINGS: I actually think that Thompson's opening 14 minutes were the least effective portion of the night.

LEMON: I don't disagree with that.

JENNINGS: And so, if you are an average person, you were treated to the normal sort of congressional problem. And then when Cheney started talking and laying out the case, she was quite effective. I mean, Trump turned her into public enemy number one and she got a chance to --

LEMON: She was quite comfortable. She was quite comfortable. It did not look like she was reading a teleprompter.

JENNINGS: Imagine if they had just gone right out of the gate and said, we are starting right now, here we go. For the average person -- you put it in prime time for a person.


JENNINGS: The average person tuning in would have been more compelled by that out of the gate.

LEMON: Bennie Thompson had said, I am going to start with my republican -- the co-chair of this committee, the vice chair of this committee, Liz Cheney, and let her lay this out. I think it would have been more effective to have a Republican there talking about it.

HERNDON: Yeah, I see that argument. I think what the Democrats are trying to do with the Bennie Thompson opening is really position the history of American democracy in this moment, right? That he was invoking Mississippi, he was invoking the racial history, the folks who died to kind of bring that forth and then to call back to the violence that happened on that day. Whether it was effective or not is a separate question.

That was the thinking --

LEMON: But if you're going to hire a former television producer to do it, then you produce it with the person who is most effective to be able to convey the message that you are trying to convey. That is all I'm saying. We got to get to the break.

The committee laying out their evidence, but where is the DOJ in all of this? We are going to talk about that, next.




LEMON: We are back now with more on tonight's historic hearing -- hearing from the January 6th committee. So, let's dig in on the legal analysis with our senior legal analyst Elie Honig. Elie, hello to you. Thank you so much for joining us. I want to start with this.

This is Liz Cheney where she alleges that the former president acted illegally or criminally. Watch.


CHENEY: What President Trump demanded that Mike Pence do wasn't just wrong. It was illegal and it was unconstitutional. Witnesses in these hearings will explain how the former vice president and his staff informed President Trump over and over again that what he was pressuring Mike Pence to do was illegal.

The judge evaluated the facts and he reached the conclusion that President Trump's efforts to pressure Vice President Pence to act illegally by refusing to count electoral votes likely violated two federal criminal statutes.


In our final two June hearings, you will hear how President Trump summoned a violent mob and directed them illegally to march on the United States Capitol.


LEMON: We've talked about this before. The actual power that Congress has. They can't really decide anything legally. they can't charge anyone. She is sitting there waving her arms at the DOJ saying, hey, look at this?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: She is waving her arms, she is stamping her feet, she is yelling into a megaphone. It's becoming more and more clear that the primary audience, yes, it's the American public, of course, that matters, but is DOJ.

Because Don, these hearings are going to end. And then you know what happens? They end.

LEMON: Right.

HONIG: And if people want real consequences it's got to come from DOJ. And in the early days of this committee, if any of the committee members were asked do you think there is a crime, they are very circumspect they tip-toed around. Now you are seeing more and more explicit calls like we just saw from Representative Cheney saying this is a crime in our opinion.

LEMON: The chairman of the committee Bennie Thompson started off by, the hearing by saying that President Trump was at the center of a conspiracy to overturn the election. Let's watch.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS), CHAIR, JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE: Donald Trump was at the center of this conspiracy and ultimately, Donald Trump, the President of the United States, spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down the Capitol and subvert American democracy.


LEMON: So how does a conspiracy become illegal against or against the law here?

HONIG: Yes. We need to be careful with this phrase conspiracy. Because there is a colloquial everyday meaning, which just means a plan with bad intent. But there is a specific legal definition.

LEMON: And we learned about that during the Mueller hearings --


LEMON: -- that there is no specific conspiracy theory that's a whole --


HONIG: Exactly. Conspiracy it means a meeting of the mind --

LEMON: Right.

HONIG: -- and agreement between two people to commit a specific crime. So, look, it's one thing for Congress to say it's a conspiracy. DOJ is going to have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt if they want to charge it.

So, it's really apples and oranges. When we hear the members talk about conspiracy, though, that's not necessary a criminal conspiracy. That's a different question.

LEMON: So, your takeaway from the first night? You heard Congresswoman Luria say this was an opening statement. But do they, as a former prosecutor, as an attorney, how did they do?

HONIG: I'm a tough critic on these things and they had a difficult task. I think it was very effective. They were prosecutorial, Representative Cheney in particular. There is this misperception that prosecutors get in front of a jury and the audience and pound the table and yell and scream. That's not what good prosecutors do. They are what we just saw from Liz Cheney. They are methodical, they are calm, and most importantly she let that evidence to be the star, not her. I thought it was very effective.

LEMON: There'll be much more to talk about. Elie, thank you very much. He defended the capitol on January 6th. Michael Fanone is here to react to what he heard in tonight's primetime hearing. That's next.



LEMON: The January 6th select committee kicking off their first public hearing tonight in primetime with never-before-seen video from the insurrection. I want to play part of it but I have to warn you, OK, it is very graphic.


UNKNOWN: We can't hold this. We're getting too many people. Look at this from our vantage point. And we're fucked.

UNKNOWN: We need an area 4B, House members, they're all walking over now through the tunnels.

CROWD: Donald Trump!

CROWD: No, no, no.

UNKNOWN: We're trying to hold the upper deck. We're trying to hold the upper deck now. We need to hold the doors of the capitol.


LEMON: It's awful. Every time you see that video are similar. Joining me now, one of the officers who risk his life defending our capitol on January 6th, and that's former D.C. Metropolitan Police officer Michael Fanone, he is now a CNN law enforcement analyst.

Mike, good to see you. Thank you for fighting for our democracy before we even get started. I appreciate it. Today --


LEMON: Today I'm sure and in the coming days as these hearings play out on television it's going to be tough. You lived through that horror we saw playing out in that video and were in the room during the hearing tonight. What was it like for you? What was your takeaway?

FANONE: I didn't really have any expectations going into it, but I guess listening to your last segment, what Elie Honig said, I thought they did a good job. I thought that they were methodical in their presentation.

In some ways, it brought me back to, you know, my days as a police officer and testifying in court. I thought that the prosecution in this case had an excellent opening argument. I mean, they have got a difficult task ahead of them.

LEMON: Do you think they conveyed the horror of that day? Because the video is compelling, every time, as I said, every time I see it, it just, you know, it's like I've seen it -- I'm just seeing it for the first time.


Do you think they conveyed the horror of that day, the best that it could be conveyed, because, obviously, it was awful if you lived through it?

FANONE: I mean, I felt they did an outstanding job coupling video with officers' testimony. But then again, I mean, so much video has been made available for so long, I don't understand how people could not recognize how violent that day was.

LEMON: Yes. Mike, do you think tonight's hearing, do you think it's going to help achieve the accountability that you have been pushing for since January 6th, 2021?

FANONE: I don't know. I mean, the committee I think has done its job. I mean, we'll see how it plays out with the rest of these hearings, but, you know, like some of your earlier guests said, now the ball is in the Department of Justice's court. And I mean, by that I mean Merrick Garland's court. They are going to be the last line of defense when it comes to preserving our democracy.

I mean, it's important that the American people understand how close we came to losing our democracy, but more importantly is for, you know, the one agency that we have available to us to hold those individuals accountable.

LEMON: Mike, you -- do you think that they will be held accountable? You have been very critical of, obviously, the reaction from many people in this country, especially the supporters of the president, the former President of the United States. Are you optimistic tonight?

FANONE: I mean, I'm -- I'm not optimistic. I'm not pessimistic. I'm just realistic, you know. I mean, the reality is, like one of your earlier guests said, trying to convince people that live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the U.S. Capitol that this attack wasn't just a physical attack on the capitol complex or the police officers defending it. But it was actually an attack on their democracy and their way of life. I think that's very difficult, especially, you know, in the times that we are living in now.

LEMON: Former Metropolitan Police officer Michael Fanone, who defended our democracy on that day. Michael, thank you. And he is now a friend. I'm grateful that you are here and I'm very thankful for what you did and the entire country should be as well. Thank you very much, sir.

FANONE: Thank you. Love you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you. Love you, as well. Much more coverage on tonight's primetime hearing from the January 6th committee. And The New York Times getting transcripts of what police were saying while standing in the hallway of Robb Elementary waiting to confront the gunman. We'll be right back.



LEMON: We've got a lot more to come on the January 6th committee's first public hearing tonight. But we also have stunning new developments on the Uvalde school shooting.

Tonight The New York Times is reporting law enforcement officials on the scene were aware there were injured people trapped inside classrooms before they decided to breach the entrance to those classrooms. According to CNN's own time line of the situation, law enforcement waited more than an hour to go into the classroom while the gunman was inside.

Joining me now, CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd. Phil, good evening. Thank you so much.

It just seems to get worse the more that we learn. We know protocol in the active shooter situation requires officers to go in immediately, pursue the shooter, neutralize them.

But I want you to look at this quote. This is from The New York Times. It says, "people are going to ask why we're taking so long, a man who investigators believe to be Chief Arredondo could be heard saying according to transcripts of officers body camera footage, we are trying to preserve the rest of life."

Preserve the rest of the life? What do you think that means? And The Times believed that this is the school's police chief saying this.

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I can't defend what's going on here, but I'm going to explain what I think we're seeing and what we might see in the coming months. As a citizen, you look at this, Don, and say you have to move in immediately. But when you hear a phrase like that, you have to ask the question about whether the officer in charge is saying, we think the officers who might go in and storm that room would risk their lives because of how the individuals -- the individual who died, the shooter, was armed.

I'll tell you, the story I take away from this. This is a story of confusion. We're seeing a lack of clarity on what they knew about 911 -- 911 calls, that is what the officers knew, what dispatch was telling him, what different officers on the scene knew, what officers who showed up later knew that different from the original officers who appeared.

Boy, this is a tragic story of a frenzied situation where the picture was unclear, and I'm not sure anybody on the scene knew what was going on at any moment.

LEMON: Right on. The New York Times also reports that officers grew impatient and were voicing their concerns. The Times quotes Chief Arredondo again here. It says, "we're ready to breach, but that door is locked," he said according to the transcript. This is around 12.30 p.m.

The quote then other -- the quotes other officers -- the Times quotes other officers who says, "if there are kids in there, we need to go in there, one officer could be heard saying. Another responded, whoever is in charge will determine that." What does this say about the leadership on this force?


MUDD: Boy, it tells me a couple things. First, one of the lessons learned is going to be about how to get clear communication. But there's going to be a simple question coming out of this, which is why did you give the officer in charge the latitude to make that choice?

This training and policy in the future say simply that an officer may have decades of experience doesn't have the choice to say I should or should not risk the officers under me, I have to go in. That's going to be a difficult policy change if we undergo it.

It also underscores the second major thing I would say, Don, and that is we're seeing a lot of data that is stuff like what's on video, what happened with dispatch, what happened with 9/11 call -- 911 calls. What we're not hearing obviously is the initial interviews from the Department of Justice with the officers. And if you want pain, Don, those are going to be painful if you have officers say we wanted to go and we were held back.

LEMON: Philip Mudd, always appreciate your perspective. Thank you, sir.

MUDD: Thank you.

LEMON: Don't go anywhere. Stay with me for more live coverage of tonight's first ever primetime hearing from the January 6th committee right after this.