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Don Lemon Tonight

January 6th Committee Makes Case to American People; Senate Negotiators Struggle to Reach Deal on Gun Legislation. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired June 10, 2022 - 00:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: For the first time, the January 6th Select Committee making its case directly to the American people tonight with never-before-seen video and testimony from people within Trump's inner circle.


CNN's Ryan Nobles, live for us on Capitol Hill.

Ryan, you were right there in Washington where this is all going down. Good evening to you.

The stakes were incredibly high for the first hearing. What did the Select Committee accomplish tonight, you think?


Yes, I think what the committee hoped to do was, essentially, create a road map for a thesis that they have, that Donald Trump is principally responsible for a plot to subvert the will of the voters and stand in the way of the peaceful transfer of power.

And they didn't give us all the information. But what they did was set the stage for what is going to be, basically, a seven-part argument toward that end.

And the way that they introduced this argument was by hearing from some of the people closest to the former president, including his own daughter. Take a listen.


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.

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

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP/FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: It affected my perspective. I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he said -- was saying.


NOBLES: Now, this soundbite that was played by Ivanka Trump came after a lengthier soundbite from Attorney General William Barr, where he said with great specificity that he told Donald Trump that there just was no evidence that there was fraud and that he lost the election, and that his continuing to say that he won the election was a problem for democracy.

So to hear Ivanka Trump say that she believed Barr and not necessarily her father, well, Don, it just shows how many people very close to the president never believed that he won the election, but he continued to push forward.

LEMON: The president and those -- former president and those close to him had said that they wanted to counter program the hearings. And of course, the first one was tonight. How are Republicans and the president -- the former president responding tonight?

NOBLES: Well, obviously, you know, Don, they're doing everything they can to discredit the work of the committee, but what you'll notice in some of their counter programming messaging, and you know, there were other networks that didn't run the committee; instead, brought on guests to kind of downplay and kind of get around some of the hard evidence that the committee presented here tonight.

And what you're finding from the Republican response is, it's a question about the process. It's complaints about the way the committee was made up, who sits on the committee, not necessarily any refuting of the central arguments.

There was no one saying that what Bill Barr said was incorrect. There was no one refuting the fact that Donald Trump was pushing an agenda that he believed not to be true.

So the Republicans are going to continue to do this. They're going to call this a partisan witch hunt that was authored by Nancy Pelosi. And, you know, some of their arguments are based in the fact that they don't have a seat at this table. Yes, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are on the committee, but they are in lockstep with the Democrats on this panel.

And so because there isn't a minority voice, they're going to do everything they can to downplay the work of this committee and say that it shouldn't be listened to by a good portion of the American people.

LEMON: But is it -- is it -- I don't know, can you say there's not a minority voice? I mean, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney are Republicans. It's just not people who are going to tell you it's not raining outside when it is.

NOBLES: Yes, and you know, Don, it's important to point out that just because Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger don't necessarily agree that it was OK for Donald Trump --

LEMON: Right. NOBLES: -- to pedal a big lie about the election results, that that somehow doesn't make them conservative. I mean, their voting records would tell you a complete opposite story.

Liz Cheney voted with Donald Trump, I think, 80 percent of the time when he was president and she was a member of Congress. It's this specific issue that they found to have a problem with.

And again, it gets back to the idea of if you have a problem with what the committee is saying, you know, make that argument based on the substance of what they are presenting. They are laying out hard evidence here. And if you've got an alternative explanation for why the way this evidence is being interpreted, present that. Don't just try and come up with some other argument that doesn't really have anything to do with the central matter that they're dealing with right now.


LEMON: Your words, you said hard evidence. And you also said that this was just the beginning. So what can we expect next time, because this is the first one?

NOBLES: Yes. Really, tonight was just a tease, Don. They just gave us a little bit of a taste, and they also laid out what they believed to be true.

Over the course of the next six hearings, they are going to lay out that plot. They're going to talk about why Donald Trump wasn't doing anything during that 187 minutes while the Capitol was under siege.

They're going to talk about how he put a pressure campaign on the former vice president to stand in the way of the election certification.

They're going to show evidence of the pressure campaign that he was putting on state officials to try and prevent them from certifying the election results for Joe Biden.

So there's all these different stages of this argument that they're going to lay out over the next two weeks, with the goal of trying to convince the American people that what they believe to be true is, in fact, true. And also, how to prevent it from happening in the future.

LEMON: Mr. Ryan Nobles on Capitol Hill. Thank you, Ryan. We appreciate that.

NOBLES: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Let's bring in Astead Herndon, Andrew McCabe, Scott Jennings. They're back with me. And joining us now, CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser.

Susan, we're happy to have you join. Thank you so much.

Let's talk about what you thought about tonight. Stunning new video, this testimony from Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Bill Barr. Did the committee accomplish what they needed to on their first night?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I'm certainly interested in tuning in to hear more. I do think, you know, in the end, we knew at the end of the night, what we knew, actually, at the beginning of the night, and what we knew on January 6th itself, which is that the mob never would have been there, had Donald Trump not attacked the election and summoned the mob in order to stop his defeat from being finalized. Right? So we already knew that.

But I do think that the nexus of information they laid out, the thousand interviews and the transcripts that we've yet to receive suggests there's an enormous amount still to be learned. I certainly have learned a lot, and I think I've read just about everything, you know, up until now.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, I think you're right. But I also think, if we bring it here in the studio, also think that we live this, right? Meaning those of us who are in the news media, who consume it every day, who talk about it every single day; those who, you know, are in Washington who are paying attention to it every day.

I don't necessarily think that the American people have -- some of them may have never seen the video. If you are, in your words, trying to figure out how to, you know, pay your taxes, pay gas, take care of your kids, put food on the table and all of that. You may be doing things at night when you come home, and you don't have a chance to turn on the news. Maybe you listen to it. Maybe you have some idea.

But you know, I don't -- I think this was the perfect time for the American people, for them to make their case to the American people. And there's more to come.

ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's absolutely the critical audience for these hearings. Maybe the person who did not read the scope of evidence, or maybe who hasn't seen those type of videos.

We know that this has been in the kind of ether of political media, of people who lived through that event. And I think regular folks definitely know the kind of scope and gravity of what was going on at the time, but maybe not the details.

And so what you're going to see from Democrats, what they are laying out today, is a detailed picture of not only President Trump's actions, but also the kind of ecosystem around. You know, they're going to lay out evidence around the Proud Boys. They're going to lay out the kind of scope of conspiracy around this.

But it is about whether they're going to do -- I remember when the congresswoman was talking earlier from the committee. She said a causal -- she didn't say a causal relationship between those two things. She said that there was a correlation between President Trump.

That's actually a critical point. Right? Whether Americans see a causal relationship between the Republican actions and what we saw on January 6, or is it just a general feeling that President Trump correlationally affected that. That's going to be critical to them, whether they change their voting actions, come November.

LEMON: You know your way around a courtroom, right?


LEMON: Do you lay everything out in your opening statements, in your opening remarks? Or is there -- do you there are surprises? You want to surprise and then build along the way?

MCCABE: Prosecutors will typically lay out the basic framework of the argument that they're going to make, but there's always those gotcha, those aha moments, where you really want the witness to be able to present a piece of information that's going to grab the jury's attention.

LEMON: So my question is, is there more to come? This is not just --

MCCABE: You have to assume that there's more to come. I think they did a very -- very effective use of some pieces of evidence.

For instance, one of the primary arguments they're trying to make is that those rioters, those insurrectionists, they did what they did because they were very closely listening to President Trump, and they were doing what they thought he was telling them to do.

So the moment when they had the Trump tweet on the video, and you heard the -- one of the insurrectionists reading the tweet from the Capitol, through a bullhorn, I mean, that's a powerful --


LEMON: Let's play this. Let's play that, Andy, and then we'll talk about it. Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution, giving states the chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. U.S. demand the truth."


MCCABE: To see the president's words and to hear them spoken by one of the rioters, it's a very powerful combination of images.

LEMON: What do you think of that?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, this whole event tonight and everything that's in the news this week is a chance for all of us to reflect on the absolute corrosive nature of the idea of angry mobs circumventing the rule of law, using intimidation to try to get what you want out of the U.S. government.

They were trying to intimidate Mike Pence. They were trying to intimidate the United States Congress. We see mobs right now trying to intimidate the Supreme Court. This is a dangerous and corrosive period.

No one anywhere on the political spectrum should tolerate angry mobs.

To your all's point, though, about Trump and linking him to all this, I'm wondering to what end? And who is the audience, and what action do they want them to take?

There's really nothing the American people can do about Donald Trump today. There is one man who can do something, and that's the attorney general.

When I watch this tonight, I'm not a lawyer, but it struck me that there was really one -- an audience of one. And it was Merrick Garland. And I -- yes, I think, obviously, public opinion would be an ancillary thing here, if it moved. But the only thing anyone can do about Donald Trump right now is the court of law. And he's not on the ballot yet. He may run again, but as we sit here today, it's Garland.

LEMON: Sounds like you want to get in. Did you want to get in? You want to get in?

MCCABE: You're absolutely right. You're absolutely right. Donald Trump does not get convicted of a crime at the end of these hearings. He does not get impeached at the end of these hearings.

This is a case that's being made to the American people. To a lesser extent, of maybe a greater extent, also a case being made to the attorney general.

What do we know about the attorney general? He is a very contemplative, thoughtful, takes a very contemplative, thoughtful approach to his job and his responsibilities.

If the committee makes a recommendation to the Department of Justice at the conclusion of the process, that they believe the president should be investigated or charged with a crime, it's not clear to me that the department will -- would actually move forward with that recommendation at this point. But we need to see the rest of the evidence they present.

LEMON: Susan, I want to get you in. I want to play a quick soundbite, though, and get your response to that and what these gentleman have said here at the table.

Tonight, the chairman, Thompson, telling CNN's Jake Tapper the committee will make the connection between extremists and Trump. Listen to this.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Are there going to be witnesses that describe actual conversations between these extremist groups and anyone in Trump's orbit?


TAPPER: There will be?

THOMPSON: Yes. Obviously, you'll have to go through the hearings. But we have a number of witnesses who have come forward, that people have not talked to before, that will document a lot of what was going on in the Trump orbit, while all of this was occurring.


LEMON: Susan, what should we expect them to show, then?

GLASSER: You know, this really is the key question that I've been wondering going into these hearings. Is, you know, we understand that there's a nexus between Trump's words and calling forth the mob. I didn't hear it in the hearing tonight, but I would be very interested, you know, to hear them follow through on the chairman's words and to see they have specific evidence.

He didn't say he has Trump himself, evidence of Trump himself speaking directly with these groups. So he just said, "in Trump's orbit."

But again, if you are actually looking to make a case, I'm not a prosecutor, but it seems like what we haven't heard yet is that specific documentation. And I feel like that would be an extremely important aspect of the hearings yet to come.

LEMON: I would be derelict in my journalistic duty if I didn't ask you. I know you're on deadline, Susan. Are you writing about this tomorrow?

GLASSER: Yes, I just filed this on. So my point was I think it's very appropriate that, you know, they left the starring role today to Liz Cheney. It's Republicans who brought us Donald Trump in 2016. It's Republicans who have refused to disavow Donald Trump.

The reason this is not merely a matter for the history books, but really a live-action crisis that we're still talking about, is because ever since January 6, Republicans in the Capitol have refused to disavow Trump.

Remember that two-thirds of the House Republicans actually voted not to certify legitimate votes, walking over the shattered glass of the Capitol that they had to flee their -- for their lives from.


And so to me, you know, the dramatic moment, not the investigative moment, but the dramatic moment of tonight was certainly having Liz Cheney speak directly to them and say, essentially, your shame and your disgrace at not disavowing this will live forever.

LEMON: All right. Susan and everyone else, thank you -- thank you all. I appreciate it.

Did the committee start connecting the dots tonight on criminal conspiracy? And what will the DOJ do about that?


LEMON: Congresswoman Liz Cheney alleging former President Trump engaged in a, quote, "sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the election and stop the transition of power."

A committee source laying out those seven points to CNN, and here they are.

President Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information to the public, claiming the 2020 election was stolen from him.


Trump corruptly planned to replace the acting attorney general so that the DOJ would support his fake election claims.

Trump pressured Vice President Pence to refuse to count electoral votes.

Trump pressured state election officials and state legislators to change election results.

Trump's legal team and other Trump associates instructed Republicans in multiple states to create false electoral slates and transmit them to Congress and the National Archives.

Trump summoned and assembled a violent mob and directed them to march on the Capitol. As the violence was underway, Trump ignored multiple pleas for assistance and failed to take immediate option to stop the violence and instruct his supporters to leave.

Let's break this all down now with CNN's senior legal analyst, Elie Honig, and senior -- CNN's legal analyst, Ambassador Norm Eisen. Thank you very much.

Good to see you, Norm. I haven't seen you in a while. I see this guy next to me all the time. It's good to have you both on, but I haven't seen Norm in a while.

So Norm, we're going to start with you. A lot of what was laid out in the plan, we saw with our own eyes, really, on that day. But -- but did the committee tonight start connecting the dots of a criminal conspiracy?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Don, I think they did. The -- the two principal crimes, remember the federal crimes have already found to have been likely by a federal judge in California, obstruction of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

And that seven-part plan that was substantiated. We got some new information tonight from Republican voices and former Trump allies, Don, like Bill Barr, and corroborated by the president's own daughter, Ivanka Trump. I think they started putting that together.

But Don, it's not just the federal case. We have to remember the criminal case that may be moving even more quickly -- and we heard about this tonight, as well: "Just find 11,780 votes." The Georgia conversation, Georgia D.A. Fani Willis.

So it's not an audience of one, Don. It's an audience of two: United States Attorney General Merrick Garland and Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis. I think they made progress. Liz Cheney would have made a great prosecutor.

LEMON: Elie, one of those seven points is that Trump summoned the mob. This is what the committee played for that. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been invited by the president of the United States!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What really made me want to come was the fact that, you know, I had supported Trump all that time. I did believe, you know, that the election was being stolen. And Trump asked us to come.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He personally asked for us to come to be seen that day. And I thought, for everything he's done for us, if this is the only thing he's going to ask of me, I'll do it.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to walk down to the Capitol.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you hear President Trump mentioning going to the Capitol during his speech?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. So that's one of my disappointments. He said he was going to go, go with us, that he was going to be there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know why I was there, and that's because he called me there, and he laid out what is happening in our government. He laid it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I remember Donald Trump telling people to be there, I mean, to support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mentioned that the president asked you. Do you remember a specific message?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically, he asked for us to come to D.C., and big things are going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What got me interested, he said, I have something very important to say on January 6th, or something like that. It what's got me interested to be there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, Trump has only asked me for two things. He asked me for my vote, and he asked me to come on January 6th.


LEMON: I'm quite frankly, Elie, surprised that people can be that gullible, and listen, I don't mean to, you know, I'm not speaking ill of those folks. But I'm shocked.

So, they were following -- I want to -- does this prove that they were following the directive of the former president? And what does the DOJ do with this information?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think what's so effective about the evidence is it all comes directly out of the mouth of the very people who stormed the Capitol. It's one thing if Liz Cheney or Bennie Thompson gets up and says the reason they stormed the Capitol is because Donald Trump told them. It's much more powerful to show those people themselves saying it.

LEMON: I was there because --


LEMON: -- I believe the president, he asked me to do two things. He asked me for my vote, and he asked me to be there on that day and do what I did.

HONIG: And it fills out this theory. This whole seven-point plan, to me, it's a bit much. Let me try to get it down --

LEMON: I know. When I was reading, you're like, you're --

HONIG: You're going to lose your voice.

But let me try to get it down to one sentence. It's a compound sentence. Trump tried to steal the election through fraud, comma, and when that didn't work, these people took over tried to steal it for him by violence. That, to me, is a sort of more condensed version, and I think this supports that theory.


LEMON: Listen, they also really hammered the former president, Norm, on -- for not doing anything during the riot to stop it. Saying that it was Pence who was making calls and taking action, and Trump was not. Is that a dereliction of duty, and would that be a crime?

EISEN: If it were the only element, Don, it would be tough to -- to put the crime together on the failure to act. That's why I think, as Elie and I do, we're friends, we debate on and off the screen. That's why I actually think the detail, I might boil it down to five points, but not to one compound sentence.

The detail is important, because when you plan the arson, when you pour the gasoline, when you light the match, when you throw the match, when the building bursts into flames and then you do nothing, yes, that can be a crime.

We're not across the line of proof beyond a reasonable doubt yet, but I think they laid out a very compelling federal and state case tonight.

I do love that Georgia case, Don, because you have the tape recording. And to Elie's point, it's so simple. You cannot -- and Liz Cheney talked about it tonight -- you cannot say just find 11,780 votes. No matter if you believe you won the election, you can't use fraudulent self-help, vigilantism, if the votes don't exist.

And she teased the possible John Dean of these hearings. I think she suggested we may hear from that Georgia secretary of state, perhaps, Brad Raffensperger.

LEMON: Raffensperger. I remember --

EISEN: So that's significant.

LEMON: I remember, gentleman, where I was. That's one of those moments where you remember exactly where you were. When I heard the 11,000 -- what was it -- 700 and --

HONIG: Eighty.

LEMON: -- 80 votes, I was shopping. It was on weekend. I think it was a Sunday, and it was during quarantine. And I was shopping in a supermarket with the masks and everything. And -- and it was playing in my ear. I was listening to CNN on satellite radio with my headphones, and my jaw dropped.

I was like, I cannot believe they have him on tape saying this. And yet we did, and folks still didn't believe it. I can't believe he said the quiet part out loud.

Thank you both very much. I appreciate it.

Stay with us for much, much more on tonight public primetime hearing from the January 6th Committee.



LEMON: So the January 6th Select Committee kicking off their first hearing tonight. Astead Herndon, Andrew McCabe, they're back with us. CNN political commentator Alyssa Farah Griffin with us, as well. Also back, Mr. Scott Jennings. So thank you all. So glad that you're here.


LEMON: We've been talking about you coming since the very beginning. First of all, let me get what -- did you have a chance to at least see

the hearings -- the hearing? What did you think? What's your takeaway here?

GRIFFIN: So I think they were monumental. And I say that, because I think there's been a sense in Republican circles that you're not going to change anyone's hearts or minds. And listen, in the ultra-MAGA, you're not going to change their hearts and minds.

But what was laid out today was a credible breakdown of the lies that were told -- told by the former White House, and showing how it stoked this violent insurrection.

And I can tell you, that is breaking through to just the average mainstream Republicans, who aren't highly invested in, you know, midterm elections, are just home thinking about what they want the future of their country to be. I think it was incredibly effective. And, you know, Congressman Cheney, I think, really did a masterful job today.

LEMON: And you were there. I mean, you were in the White House. The committee played clips of the chairman, joint chiefs -- joint chiefs of staff, I should say, Mark Milley, describing his conversation with Vice President Pence that day, versus the White House.


GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF (via phone): There were two or three calls with Vice President Pence. He was very animated. And he issued very explicit, very direct, unambiguous orders. There was no question about that. And I can get you the exact quotes, I guess, from some of our records somewhere.

But he was very animated, very direct, very firm. And to Secretary Miller, get the military down here, get the guard out here, put down this situation, et cetera.

CHENEY: By contrast, here is General Milley's description of his conversation with President Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, on January 6.

MILLEY: He said, we have -- we have to kill the narrative that the vice president is making all the decisions. We need to establish the narrative that -- you know, that the president is still in charge and that things are steady or stable or words to that effect. I immediately interpret that as politics, politics, politics. A red flag flag for me personally, no action. But I remember it distinctly.


LEMON: This is the chairman of the joint chiefs, saying that it was a red flag to him, and yet, the former president did nothing.

GRIFFIN: Yes, and I worked with Chairmen Milley at the Department of Defense. He's obviously a patriot and somebody who is an apartisan [SIC] figure in our politics. So he's not weighing in on this as a political person.

Two things I would note about this. The first point of that is that Vice President Pence was the person making the calls, saying we need National Guard. We need help. We're under siege.

Because the sitting president had basically just derelicted from duty; he's abdicated his leadership.

The vice president is not in the chain of command, by the way. So he had to assume that role, because the president was not doing anything. [00:35:04]

And then secondarily, yes, it all became political in about who's getting the credit, and who looks like they're in charge? And I think that's -- I mean, it was very clear to the American people who was in charge that day. And it wasn't Donald Trump.

LEMON: How are Republicans going to hear that? Or are they even going to hear it?

JENNINGS: Well, look, Republicans -- I mean, it depends on what Republican you're talking to. You know, there's going to be a group of hard-core Trump supporters that think this is a total sham, that this is selectively edited, that these are the people who always oppose Trump. And not they're getting --

LEMON: Taken out of context.

JENNINGS: So there's a group. I do think there is a much larger group of Republicans than we might know, though, who know in their hearts that this was one of the darkest days in American history.

And on this exchange with Milley, one of the things that jumps out at me is the oath of office. They take an oath of office, the president and the vice president, both. Preserve, protect, defend the Constitution.

It was quite obvious in the moment that the Constitution was under attack. This was a constitutional process, and people were trying to stop it. So it's literally preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution.

Trump hesitated. Pence did not. And I think if you want to take something out of what happened today but also what we might see in an argument on the campaign trail in 2024, who fulfilled their oath of office? And I think it's pretty clear, Mike Pence did.

LEMON: Yes, Mike Pence did.

So listen, Bill Barr, they showed testimony from Bill Barr. I'm not going to play it, but let me just -- This is the crux of it. He said that, "I told the president it was" -- his words -- "bullshit." Right? "And I didn't want to be part of it. And that was one of the reasons that I left," that he left. OK.

MCCABE: I mean, clearly, one of the -- LEMON: Him deciding to leave, he said.

MCCABE: Right. One of the most effective tools they used tonight was the video clips of former Trump administration officials. General Milley, of course. And I thought former Attorney General Barr. Very, very effective for the committee to be able to puncture this myth that Trump, for some reason, actually thought that the election had been stolen. They did that effectively by putting people up like the former attorney general, like Ivanka Trump, all of whom said that we knew that there was no -- there was no evidence to indicate that there was a significant amount of fraud.

Multiple people told the president that. There's essentially no reason why Trump should have continued perpetuating the big lie.

LEMON: Representative Jamie Raskin, a Select Committee member, promised -- this was back in April, Astead -- that there would be revelations in the hearings, saying we -- that the hearings will really blow the roof off of the house. Did tonight's hearing, you think, rise to that?

HERNDON: That's setting the bar pretty high. Right? We know the politics playbook is to set the bar low and then say you can go past it.

I think Democrats certainly hope to blow the roof off here. They think that in the course of this seven-part hearings, that they'll get there. I think it's about -- I think to reach that standard, they're going to have to come up with a piece of evidence that draws that causal relationship between President Trump and those actions.

But that doesn't mean they can't be effective otherwise. Right? They can still really win those hearts and minds, particularly someone who is kind of rethinking, maybe did not know the full scope of the evidence, maybe was seeing this for the first time and really adjusting that. I don't think we can downplay that those type of people exist.

But the Trump voter is there for Donald Trump, alone. You know? Does not believe that the aides around him are really the true people -- they see them as kind of -- you know, we go to a Trump rally and you ask about the former administration officials who have come out and said things. And they've already built in that -- that those are people that they can cast off.

And so I think that you can see a different type of audience that they're looking for. They're looking for that swing voter, that person that's open, that person that's looking for evidence. But as we know, the ultra MAGA is also for a reason. And I don't think this hearing will change that.

LEMON: Is he talking about you?

HERNDON: No. No, no.

GRIFFIN: I would say, I think you're actually right. Well, I'll say this. I don't think this has huge bearings on the midterms. Not to make this political.

LEMON: That would be my question to you.

GRIFFIN: I think things are pretty much kind of set in, that Republicans are going to vote based on the economy, inflation, gas prices.

But what this stands to do is change the heart and minds of, you know, independent voters, moderate Republicans going into 2024, when it looks like Trump is going to run.

And this time, it's not a binary race of Trump versus Biden. You've got the alternative of a different Republican candidate. And this hurts him with that.

LEMON: Finally, having -- I'm sorry, say again? OK, sorry, it's not finally. There's two more minutes. So people are always talking to me in my head, even when I'm not wearing an earpiece.

But listen, having worked in the Trump White House, did you ever think that we would be at this moment now?

GRIFFIN: No, and I don't think if that's naivete on my part. But I remember thinking, when January 6th happened, how did this happen? But in so many ways, it was the logical conclusion of where this all would go.

I remember after the race was called for Joe Biden, telling reporters who were saying, "So, when's he going to concede? When's he going to leave?" And saying, you know, I think he's go to Mar-a-Lago for Thanksgiving and just never come back. That's truly what I thought.

I thought, for sure, he would at least, you know, allow the peaceful transition of power and move on, and start building for the future. But that wasn't the case. I was wrong. Many others were.

And I think this is so different than anything. This is so different than any Trump scandal. There's plenty of things I could criticize him for, but this, to me, is disqualifying on every possible level.

LEMON: As everyone knows, he -- this was -- this program was one of the former president's favorite and least favorite at the same time, because he would watch it all the time. Do you think -- he wanted to counter program tonight. Do you think he's watching?

JENNINGS: Oh, I mean, he --

LEMON: Tell all.

JENNINGS: He loves being at the center of the conversation.

You raised something I would love to hear Alyssa's comment on this. You know, obviously, people were telling him, You lost. There's no fraud. There's no "there" there, at one point.

But there were other people who were telling him, no. Why is it, do you think, that he is so taken in by absolute frauds and charlatans? Because you had credible people telling --

LEMON: It's very easy. It takes one to know one.

JENNINGS: But this is an interesting study that's going to come out of this hearing here, is venue shopping and really going to the bottom of the barrel to find someone to validate your impulses.

GRIFFIN: It's a wonderful question. It's something I've asked myself many times. Why I do think was incredibly effective was that the committee got these witnesses on camera.

So someone like a Jason Miller, who still spots the big lie, still pushes it, is on camera admitting that he lost. I think that's incredibly -- that's important, but it's also going to create distance with the former president.

Because even Kellyanne Conway, you know, someone I worked with and think -- you know, thought highly of, came out and said he lost the election. And he denounced her.

So, like, this puts people on the record, which I think is incredibly important. But yes, it takes one to know one, I guess, is my best answer.

HERNDON: I think it is a great point to talk about the midterms, the presidential distinction. I think the midterm, it's choose your own adventure about candidates. It doesn't have to be a referendum straight up and down on Donald Trump.

But that is only punting this question down the road. I mean, there will be a moment where folks can really use this as -- as tried to make that --

LEMON: We've got to go. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And I really thank you, because I know what it took for you to get here. We appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Tonight's hearing not the only big priority on Capitol Hill right now. Negotiations on gun legislation may be getting closer to a deal. We're going to tell you when to expect one and what will be in it. Right after this.



LEMON: Senate negotiators failing to reach a deal today on bipartisan gun legislation, despite all the pressure lawmakers faced with America reeling from mass shootings across the country.

The legislation they decide on needs support from at least 10 Republicans to clear a 60-vote threshold to pass in the Senate.

Joining me now, CNN Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona. Hey, Mel. Thank you so much for joining us this evening. The chief negotiators, GOP Senator John Cornyn, Democrat Chris Murphy, they have both expressed optimism a deal can be reached. Are you hearing anything about when they're going to finalize a deal?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, there is still a lot of work to be done. A group of bipartisan senators met in the Capitol earlier today. They're going to continue those talks over Zoom tomorrow.

But GOP Senator John Cornyn said it is unlikely that they're going to finalize a deal by the end of this week. And even if they are able to come together on something relatively quickly, they still have to turn that into bill text (ph), which is a whole other process. That can get sticky; that can be time-consuming.

And so the unofficial deadline around here seems to be finishing their work by the July 4th recess. Look, lawmakers know that they likely have a small window of opportunity to act. And so they are feeling the urgency to act as soon as they can.

LEMON: That's bureaucracy right there at work.


LEMON: The July 4th holiday. The GOP Senator Thom Tillis noted that negotiations are down to the fine points. Talk to us about what those fine points are, Melanie.

ZANONA: They have really narrowed it down to just several buckets. So one of those buckets is encouraging states to pass red-flag laws. Those would enable a judge to temporarily take a firearm away from someone who's deemed a threat to themselves or others.

But Republicans have concerns about due process. And so that is emerging as a chief remaining sticking point.

And then the other bucket is mental health. Pretty much everyone agrees that they want to expand access to mental health programs, but how do you pay for it? How much do you spend on it? It's those types of familiar questions that are starting to pop up.

And then finally, you know, they also want to expand school safety, and they also want to expand background checks. They're talking about expanding access to juvenile records as part of that process.

But I would say generally, Don, that Republicans don't want to be seen as doing something that could be construed as a massive expansion of background checks. They just want to enhance the current system.

So still, a lot of irons -- differences to iron out here. And as always, the devil is in the details, Don.

LEMON: All right. Melanie Zanona over there. Developing news tonight on gun legislation. Thank you very much. I appreciate that, Melanie.

A Capitol Police officer tells her story of what she calls carnage and chaos on January 6th in her own words, next.



LEMON: Caroline Edwards, a Capitol Police officer assigned to the first-responder unit on January 6, testified tonight about the attack she endured during the insurrection.

The committee says that she was the first law enforcement officer injured by the rioters. She calls the scene at the Capitol "carnage and chaos." Watch.


CAROLINE EDWARDS, CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: I can just remember my -- my breath catching in my throat, because what I saw was just a war scene. It was something like I had seen out of the movies. I couldn't believe my eyes.

There were officers on the ground, you know. They were bleeding. They were throwing up. They were -- you know, they had -- I mean, I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people's blood. You know, I was catching people as they fell.

You know, I was -- it was carnage, it was chaos. I can't even -- I can't even describe what I saw. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that, as a police officer, as a law enforcement officer, I would find myself in the middle of a battle.


LEMON: The committee's next public hearing is Monday morning at 10. And CNN will have special coverage for you.


Thanks for watching, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. Our live coverage continues.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company.

Well, a bipartisan congressional committee unveiling a trove of devastating new details about the January 6th U.S. Capitol riot. And much of it makes the case that Donald Trump and his baseless election conspiracies were directly responsible.

Committee Chair Bennie Thompson said the riot was methodically planned, the combination of an attempted coup by the former president and his supporters.

Republican Vice Chair Liz Cheney explained how Trump and his aides spread lies that the election was stolen, even though they knew they were false.


CHENEY: Those who invaded our Capitol and battled law enforcement for hours were motivated by what President Trump had told them.