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Don Lemon Tonight
The January 6 House Select Committee Holds Its Fifth Public Hearing; Senate Passes First Major Federal Gun Safety Legislation In Decades. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired June 23, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SENATOR TED CRUZ: It's hard to believe.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Thank you all. I appreciate it. Thank you.
STEWART: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Damning testimony today to talk about coming from the hearings that happened up on the Hill today. We have lots to discuss. We want to get to -- straight to CNN's Evan Perez, senior justice correspondent. Evan, good evening to you.
Listen, the big headline of today's hearing, Trump allies on Capitol Hill who helped the former president in his efforts to overturn the election asked for pardons. Tell us more about this and how our lawmakers responding.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, one of the big things that we learned near the end of this hearing, really, which was a blockbuster already by the time we got to this, there were at least six members of Congress who were part of the group that objected to the certification of Joe Biden's victory who reached out in various places to the White House to ask for pardons. Those include Matt Gaetz, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Louis Gohmert, Scott Perry.
Most of them today have downplayed this. Some of them have denied that this ever happened despite the fact that we had witnesses who testified that they did.
Matt Gaetz, I got to tell, is one of the most interesting ones because he, as you know, is under investigation in an alleged sex trafficking investigation. He has denied all wrongdoing. He has not been charged.
But according to the testimony we heard in the hearing today, Matt Gaetz was asking for one of those, you know, from the beginning of time, for everything he has ever done, kind of pardons. And, you know, that could be an interesting thing for prosecutors who are still looking at him and are still going to have to decide whether or not he faces these charges. It depends on what he told the White House his pardons were about. This could add some complications to Matt Gaetz. At this point, you know, again, these members of Congress are saying that there's nothing to see here, but as you can tell from the testimony from people inside the White House, this actually happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Did they all contact you?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEADOWS AIDE: Not all of them but several of them did.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): So you mentioned Mr. Gaetz, Mr. Brooks.
HUTCHINSON: Mr. Biggs did. Mr. Jordan talks about congressional pardons, but he never asked me for one. It was more for an update on whether the White House is going to pardon members of Congress. Mr. Gohmert asked for one as well. Mr. Perry asked for a pardon, too, I'm sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And today, we got a clear reminder the DOJ investigation is still going on while we watch these hearings. Federal agents are searching former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark's home. What do you know?
PEREZ: Well, Don, we know that this is a part of the investigation the Justice Department is doing into the effort to overturn the election. And Jeffrey Clark, it appears was -- the search occurred at his home predawn hours. He was outside in his pajamas as the federal agents went in there and retrieved whatever evidence they were looking for. According to one of his -- to his office, he was -- they took his electronics.
Again, we don't know exactly what the agents took, but we know this is a part of this broader investigation into the effort to overturn the election. And it tells us, look, for you to go search a former Justice Department official's house, you know, they have to have believed that they just couldn't call him and ask for these things. They believe that perhaps it was going to be destruction of evidence.
So, that's how we had the event that happened yesterday at Jeffrey Clark's house.
LEMON: Evan, take a step back. I mean, you've been reporting on all things January 6th from day one.
LEMON: Was today's hearing the most important yet in understanding just how far Trump would go to stay in power, the relentless pressure campaign, his willingness to undermine the rule of law?
PEREZ: Yeah. Look, to me, it crystallized how close we came to just utter chaos in this country. Look, January 6 was bad, but could you imagine if these three men who were testifying today, if they had folded, if the former president had managed to replace Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, if they had just gone along with this plan and this letter had been sent to the state of Georgia essentially saying that the Justice Department believed that there was fraud and it would have given the opening to legislatures around the country to dispense with the election results in their states. These are the states that, you know, that Donald Trump, you know, fairly lost.
And, you know, again, we're talking about how close things were in those key days, end of December 2020 and beginning of January 2021.
And, you know, to me, you know, having covered these people, being in that building during that period, it just astonishes me just reliving all of that today, Don, to hear how close we came to losing, you know, the democracy in this country.
I don't think -- I think a lot of Americans don't realize this. A lot of people have moved on and they're like, oh, you know, forget about it, it wasn't that big of a deal, or, you know, let's just let it go. I think it is important for us to relive this simply because we need to learn from it and see -- to make sure it doesn't happen again, Don.
LEMON: Uh-hmm. It is important to get that information out there.
Thank you, Evan. I appreciate that.
LEMON: I want to bring in now Congressman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who is a member of the January 6 Committee. Good evening, congressman. Thank you so much for joining.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Good to be with you.
LEMON: I want to get to the content of today's hearing with you, but first, we obtained a new clip, and I'll take from the raw footage from the Discovery Plus Trump documentary. It is of Ivanka Trump in mid- December 2020. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVANKA TRUMP, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: I think that, as the president has said, every single vote needs to be counted and needs to be heard. He campaigned for the voiceless. And I think a lot of Americans feel very, very disenfranchised right now and really question the sanctity of our elections. And that is not right. It is not acceptable.
And he has to take on this fight. Look, you fight for what you love the most, and he loves this country. And he loves this country's people. And he wants to make sure that their voice is heard and not muted, and will continue to fight until every legal remedy is exhausted. And that is what he should do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Alex Holder, the documentary filmmaker who testified behind closed doors this morning, told me that this was a big focus of his questioning today. What does this raw footage reveal to you and what did the committee want to know about it from Holder?
SCHIFF: Well, what it says to me is here is Ivanka basically aerating her father in the same way that Donald Trump would say, you know, a lot of people are questioning the election. Well, yeah, they're questioning it because you've been lying about it. She goes on to say that, you know, he is fighting for what he loves most. Yeah, he was, which was Donald Trump, which is what he loves moss, not the country.
And as these top Justice Department people pointed out so graphically today, what he was fighting for them to do was violate their oath of office, ignore the Constitution, write this fictitious fraudulent letter to Georgia saying that we are concerned about fraud and suggesting that maybe they should call their legislator back into session. He was going to have these letters sent out to other states as well.
It took the threat of mass resignations. You know, 100, 150 top lawyers around the country resigning to get the president to stop. And I think Evan Perez is exactly right. It showed us just how close we came to constitutional collapse.
LEMON: I want to compare that to what Ivanka said, what she told your committee under oath, okay? Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he was saying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Barr had given that assessment she claimed she believed on December 1st of 2020, and yet in mid-December, she was saying things that appeared to be contradictory. What is the significance of that to your committee?
SCHIFF: Well, I would need to see the full tape of the interview done by the British documentary filmmaker before I can really say, but, you know, certainly on the basis of that excerpt, she appears to be saying one thing under oath and another thing for public consumption.
And, you know, sadly, this is also a Trump family story of, you know, telling one thing publicly and another thing privately, and here, we get maybe the truth under oath, but very difficult to tell.
LEMON: Does it matter that she told the truth under oath from a legal perspective?
SCHIFF: Absolutely. There is no jeopardy to her in lying to a British filmmaker, if she was lying to that filmmaker. Lying under oath exposes you to criminal penalty. So, there is a far stronger incentive to be truthful when you're testifying before Congress.
LEMON: Yeah, you can lie to the press. People do it all the time, sadly. But you cannot lie to Congress and officials, right, especially if you are under oath.
Let's move on to the pardons that the committee says that your colleagues asked for: Gaetz, Brooks, Briggs, Gohmert, Perry, possibly Marjorie Taylor Greene, too.
What does that say that they are asking for pardons, congressman?
SCHIFF: Well, I think how unprecedented this is. I have been in Congress for 20 years. I've never seen anything like it, where you have multiple members of Congress seeking a pardon for the administration for their role in something. Of course, here, the role was in a plot to overturn the election.
It clearly shows a consciousness of guilt and a fear of criminal liability. I mean, that is why you would seek a pardon. That is really just another shock to the system, particularly when so many of them appeared to have denied it.
LEMON: There was a search yesterday at Jeffrey Clark's residence. Does your committee have any information that could aid the DOJ in their investigation?
SCHIFF: Well, I am sure that we have information that the department will be interested in. We are in dialogue with the department about how to share that information and what particular information they really need. They did make a pretty unprecedented request of just basically open your files to us, which is not what is done.
I have been involved in several high-profile congressional investigations that ran concurrently with DOJ investigations and they never said, just give us your files, nor we said, open up your files completely to the Congress.
But we will make sure that they get what they need. We want them obviously to be successful in holding people to account and bringing them to justice. So, I think our goals are aligned and that is we all want accountability.
LEMON: Yeah. So, listen, people think that the Justice Department and the Congress, you guys are in cahoots, but the Justice Department has asked you to open up and give them everything that you have and you have denied?
SCHIFF: Well, you know, we said, look, we will work with you, but you're going to have to be specific about what you need and give us some sense of why you need it. That is traditionally how this process or the combination has worked. And the Justice Department should be able to do that. So, I'm confident we will work this out. But it was pretty breathtaking to have that initial request come in and say just basically, give us everything.
LEMON: Your next hearing has been pushed to July. Your colleague, Jamie Raskin, says that the committee has gotten a deluge of new evidence. Can you characterize the type of information you are getting? What does it pertain to?
SCHIFF: Well, you know, the reality is we continue to get new information, you know, pretty much every day, sometimes every week. It has really aided in our investigation although it does present a challenge because you start preparing for a hearing and then suddenly you get some new additional information and you need to figure out how to make sure to incorporate the most important things.
But it is a nice problem to have. You know, we have been very lucky to have lots of people cooperate like these three senior Republican Justice Department officials. Those who are not cooperating, the Cipollones and others, really stand out from their unwillingness to do the patriotic thing that we see other people doing.
LEMON: Congressman, thank you so much. Appreciate your time. I know you are very busy.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you. And just moments ago, the Senate successfully passed a major bipartisan gun safety bill for the first time in decades. Straight to CNN's congressional correspondent Jessica Dean. Jessica, hello. Thank you so much for joining. The Senate voting on the final passage of the gun safety bill tonight. It is a big deal. A bill like this hasn't gotten through in quite some time.
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and you can tell it was a big deal just watching the senators on the floor just a little bit ago, Don. I was inside the chamber as that vote has happening and there was a lot of hugging, a lot of fist-bumping, a lot of high-fives both between Democrats and also to the Republican negotiators on this, John Cornyn and Thom Tillis. Mitch McConnell also stopping and talking with Kyrsten Sinema and Chris Murphy.
It was pretty jubilant in there for people who supported this legislation. Again, that final vote, 65 to 33, that is pretty overwhelmingly bipartisan in this 50/50 Senate to see this gun legislation go through.
This is just not something that many people had on their bingo card for this year, frankly, but then Uvalde, of course, happened and it changed everything. And so, now, we see this legislation that is going to do things like close the boyfriend loophole, expand and enhance background checks on younger gun buyers. It is going to really revolutionize mental health funding in this country, school safety and community safety funding, things like that. So, it is an expensive bill in that way. It is now going to head to the House, we are told, tomorrow. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sending out a statement tonight, saying that it is going to do to the rules committee first as it normally would, then they will vote on it in the House tomorrow, and then it will head, Don, to President Biden's desk for his signature.
And again, I really can't underscore enough how massive of a deal this is. You mentioned that it has been decades since either the House or the Senate has been able to get through the gun legislation that can go to the president's desk.
So to see this happen today was pretty monumental in the Senate. And also worth noting, Don, that on this very same day, just across the street at the Supreme Court, we saw something swing in the other direction when it comes to gun laws in this country. We saw the Supreme Court overturning that New York law that has to do with restrictions on concealed carry permits and really expanding gun rights in this country.
So, really two sides of the spectrum right here in Washington, D.C. less than a mile, far less than a mile from each other, just in each other's backyard.
LEMON: Jessica Dean in Capitol Hill, thank you very much. Appreciate that.
Up next, a wild conspiracy theory. One witness today called pure insanity. Would you believe vote switching Italian satellites?
LEMON: Former top DOJ officials testifying the then-president tried to weaponized the Justice Department to overturn the election, telling them to just declare the election was corrupt and demanding to know why they did not seize -- seize the voting machines, I should say.
Let us discuss now with CNN political commentators Ana Navarro and Scott Jennings, also senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, and Harry Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general. So glad to have all of you on. Good evening.
Harry, I'm going to start with you. This hearing was riveting. Let us talk about the conversations between Donald Trump and Richard Donoghue on December 26th -- December 27th, I should say, of 2020. Donoghue took handwritten notes of what Trump was asking the DOJ. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Let's now put up the notes where you quote the president as you are speaking to that. You said, the president said, just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen. So, Mr. Donoghue, that's a direct quote from President Trump, correct?
RICHARD DONOGHUE, FORMER ACTING U.S. DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: That's an exact quote from president, yes.
KINZINGER: The next note shows that even the -- even the president kept pressing, even though he had been told that there was no evidence of fraud, the president keeps saying that the department was -- quote -- "obligated to tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election."
DONOGHUE: That is also an exact quote from the president, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Leave the rest to me even after being told repeatedly there was no fraud, but he didn't seem to want the truth. Does that -- does that say something about Trump's motivation, his state of mind?
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: It's breathtaking. Yes, of course, what it says is he is completely indifferent to the facts, which he has been told about again and again and again.
Okay, look, let's make a deal, just say that it is corrupt, you don't have to do anything else, and then I can go out and wave around the paper from the Department of Justice that will cowl the state, that will back everyone off, dominoes could fall, and at the end of the day, guess who might be president, meaning the end of the democracy.
But this is such a Trump move. He doesn't care what the state (INAUDIBLE). He doesn't care what the facts are. He just wants the red meat -- quote -- "talking point to use." And at the end of that, we've heard a little bit about that, but he adds, me and the Republican congressmen will take care of everything.
You don't say that casually unless you and the Republican congressmen have already been coddling on it. And that prefigure the revelation of the pardon request at the end of the hearing. This was a breathtaking, truly attempted coup.
LEMON: Ron, when you see this note that Trump said that DOJ is obligated to tell the people the election was illegal and corrupt, he had no idea how the DOJ works. He just wanted them to bend to his will.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he viewed the entire federal government throughout his presidency as simply an extension of his will and as if it was working for him in every way.
I thought this was the most riveting and consequential hearing that Congress has held probably since John Dean testified, our colleague, in 1973, because as you noted and Harry noted -- I mean, one of the things we are learning is that the president, Trump, was told over and over and over again that his claims had no basis in fact, and he was told repeatedly that his actions were illegal, and yet he pressed forward on them.
And, you know, when you look at the courage and the fortitude that these Justice Department officials displayed, it really kind of puts the spotlight on the current people in the Justice Department and whether they will have the political fortitude to go where this evidence seems to be leading, which is towards serious contemplation of criminal charges against the former president.
LEMON: Ana Navarro, I'll save Rudy Giuliani for you, because the tape testimony Rudy Giuliani --
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Why? Because we use the same color hair dye?
LEMON: Rudy Giuliani was asked whether he remember ever recommending that Jeffrey Clark be given election-related responsibilities beyond the president. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN LAWYER: Beyond the president? I do recall saying to people that somebody should be put in charge of the Justice Department, who isn't frightened of what is going to be done to the reputation, because the Justice Department was filled with people like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Let's get your response. There was only one reason really to put Clark in. It was to rubberstamp Trump's election lies. What do you think?
NAVARRO: I guess it might be easier to lie if you're holding your mandibles and you can force them to move at will. I mean, that was -- that was the weirdest Rudy Giuliani interaction.
There were these pregnant pauses. And I -- you know, it really, I think, emphasizes and brings to light that there was a team normal, a team of people pushing back on all these crazy conspiracy theories, and that Rudy Giuliani, frankly, was one of the leaders and worse culprits and accomplices in team lying traitors, threats to democracy, lunatics.
And I -- you know, as long as I live, I will never forget the damage that Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani have done not only to democracy but also to regular Americans like Lady Ruby, like Shaye Moss, who I hope, I hope if Johnny Depp can win a defamation suit, they can also win a defamation suit before Rudy spends all the money on golf and wives.
LEMON: Uh-hmm. Scott, the idea that the DOJ was running down this wild ideas about election fraud, a truck driver moved ballots from New York to Pennsylvania and maybe the wildest one, an Italian satellite switching votes from Trump to Biden, I mean, Donoghue, called it insanity.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDNET TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah, it's pretty grim. I mean, the idea that the last days of his administration were fuelled by these, you know, crazy internet theories, conspiracy theories, I mean, it is pretty grim. There is really no defense of it. It is damning. It is damaging.
In every corner of this hearing, you find something else to be shocked and appalled by -- what strikes me is every day, we see this evidence coming out and you see just how disposable they thought other human beings were.
I mean, Rudy Giuliani saying, you know, we need to find someone who doesn't care about their reputation. Well, yeah, I guess your reputation is pretty damaged if you're going to go commit crimes and try to overthrow the republic. I guess that would be reputation damaging.
You know, they didn't care about the two election volunteers in Georgia. They didn't care. All along, you just find that they don't care about -- they didn't care about Mike Pence, you know. I mean, starting with the vice president all the way down to election workers.
And so, it is grim. It is indefensible. I mean, there's no defense of it., and I don't know how it is all going to turn out, but every day, it has just been a cascading river of something worse than before.
LEMON: Just quickly before I let you go, did you agree with what Ron said, that he thought it was the most consequential hearings since the Watergate, since John Dean?
JENNINGS: Well, it -- I mean, it certainly the most dramatic. Obviously, we don't know how it is going to turn out yet. I mean, the difference is, of course, is that he's already out of office. I guess the real question will be, what are the consequences of these hearings vis-a-vis the 2024 presidential campaign?
JENNINGS: And you know, and whether Trump seeks the nomination of the Republican Party again. I guess we'll see how consequential it is, and if the Republicans decide, we've got to do something else in 2024 because we simply can't do this again.
LEMON: Yeah. I want to continue this conversation with you, it is fascinating, but I'm going to take a quick break and we're going to talk about the threat by top DOJ brats to resign all at once if the new attorney general is installed.
No, I'm not talking about Watergate, but -- Scott and I just talked about it a little bit ago. We were not talking about Watergate, but what they say, history doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes. I'm joined by the former assistant special Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman. That is next.
LEMON: Today's testimony showing then-president was warned explicitly by DOJ officials that he would face a major crisis within the department if he fired Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen for refusing to go along with the scheme and replace him with Jeffrey Clark. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONOGHUE: He said, so suppose I do this, suppose I replace him, Jeff Rosen, with him, Jeff Clark, what would you do? And I said, Mr. President, I would resign immediately. I'm not working one minute for this guy, who I just declared was completely incompetent.
And so the president immediately turned to Mr. Engel, and he said, Steve, you wouldn't resign, would you? And he said, absolutely, I would, Mr. President, you leave me no choice.
And then I said, we are not only once. No one cares if we resign. If Steven and I go, it's fine, it doesn't matter, but I'm telling you what's going to happen. You're going to lose your entire department leadership. Every single agent will walk out on you. Your entire department leadership will walk out within hours.
And I don't know what happens after that. I don't know what the United States attorneys are going to do. We have U.S. attorneys in districts across the country, and my guess would be that many of them would have resigned, and that would then have led to resignations across the department in Washington.
And I said, Mr. President, within 24, 48, 72 hours, you will get hundreds and hundreds of resignations of the leadership of your entire Justice Department because of your actions. What is that going to say about you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Let's discuss now. Nick Akerman is here, the former assistant special White House prosecutor --
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Watergate prosecutor.
LEMON: Watergate, excuse me, Watergate prosecutor. Thank you so much for joining us. What do you think of what he said? Do you believe there would be hundreds and hundreds of people who would resign at the Justice Department?
AKERMAN: I think it would be pretty damning, what would happen. I mean, this is very reminiscent of what happened in the Saturday night massacre with Watergate, when Archibald Cox was fired. President Nixon ordered his attorney general to fire Cox. He refused to do it. He ordered his deputy attorney general to do it. He refused to do it.
But what we didn't know was when finally Robert Bork did it, it was actually part of an agreement among the three of them that Richardson who is the attorney general, Ruckelshaus who is the deputy attorney general, would also resign and refuse to do it because they have made a commitment to the Senate that they would only fire Cox for gross improprieties.
AKERMAN: But they wanted Bork to do it because they wanted somebody in the Department of Justice so that Nixon would not put one of his cronies or puppets in as attorney general.
LEMON: Is that -- I found this very interesting because Donoghue noted several times that he felt that Clark was unqualified to lead the DOJ. But on January 3rd, there were White House call logs that referred to Jeffrey Clark as the acting A.G. Did Trump just assume that he would get his way?
AKERMAN: Oh, of course. I mean, he thought he would actually put this guy in. I mean, he was in there purely as a puppet. The part that I found most disturbing was that John Eastman actually inserted and installed an employee in the middle of December with only a couple of weeks left in the term of, you know, Donald Trump to be a member or an employees at the Department of Justice whose only purpose could have been basically to tell Jeffrey Clark what to do.
I mean, he had no conception of what it was to be the attorney general. He had no background in criminal law. He had never been to a grand jury, a trial jury. He was simply an environmental lawyer and certainly was not qualified to be attorney general.
LEMON: This has been fascinating to me today to listen -- to hear about these emails and testimony revealing today that several Republicans sought pardons from Trump. Is that an admission of guilt?
AKERMAN: Yeah, of course, it is. Even the Supreme Court said, accepting a pardon is an admission of guilt.
AKERMAN: So, there's no question. I mean, why would you ask for a pardon unless you were concerned that you are going to be prosecuted for some kind of criminal -- crime that you committed?
LEMON: I hate to rush you, but just quickly, before I let you go, is there anything to come of these hearings? What do you think?
AKERMAN: Oh, I think yes. This evidence ultimately is going to be used by criminal prosecutors. Whether it is going to be in the Department of Justice, in the federal side or whether it is going to be in Georgia, it's going to be used. If you use it in Georgia, it explains what happened in Georgia in the context of all the evidence. If you use it from the Department of Justice, then it's going to be a crime that will be prosecuted as a federal crime.
So, there are a couple of avenues here that we're not going to really know where it's going until we see what all the evidence is that's ultimately gathered here both by the Department of Justice and through the committee.
LEMON: Listen, we learned a lot today happening in these conversations. We learned these tense conversations where trump was grilling Donaghue about bogus fraud claim. Donoghue battled (ph) that down. You know, that single one. But what do you think? Does this show criminal intent on Trump's part? Does this actually give him an argument that he actually believed what he was saying?
AKERMAN: Well, there's no way he believed what he was saying.
LEMON: Thank you very much. I agree with that. End of story, right?
AKERMAN: Yeah. I mean, that was ridiculous. Look, he has even -- the whole idea of this lie about he won the election, this is the same thing he told the candidate that he was backing in the Pennsylvania primary, the "Wizard of Oz," the guy he was backing, and told him, just claim that you won. That's his whole technique. His technique is to get in there and just make up a lie because a lot of people will believe it.
AKERMAN: It's the president of the United States.
LEMON: Always a pleasure. Good to see you.
AKERMAN: Always. Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you so much for coming in. Really appreciate it.
Liz Cheney ending today's hearing speaking directly to Trump supporters. What she said next.
LEMON: As promised, I'm back now with Ana, Scott, Ron and Harry. So, Harry, let us start with you. We have now heard about all this pressure campaigns on Pence, local officials, now the DOJ. Is there a clear case against Trump for the DOJ to pursue here?
LITMAN: There is. Now, you and I talked about this before, whether it automatically follows if they've got the goods on, but they've got the goods on. And look, the charge that Clark would face and it would manifest is a conspiracy to defraud the United States of something of a valid election.
You got to conspire with someone and there are a few here. In fact, we learned about more and more people interestingly today. But definitely, he shares in Clark's liability down the line 100%.
So, if they go after Clark, and by the way they are, they served a search warrant yesterday, so they have really come a far away from just the, you know, the actual rioters, they go down that road, it ends with Trump. They cannot stop short without investigating Trump. Not to say that they will charge him, but, yeah, he's looking at it.
And one more thing, Clark is a ready-made guy to cooperate, to turn on Trump.
Trump made him a stooge. He is ruined. He has something to offer against Mark Meadows and Trump. He has now become a dangerous man as has Eastman for the former president.
LEMON: I just, man, I feel like I'm watching "The Godfather" again, which I did watch last weekend, by the way.
LITMAN: It is "The Godfather."
LEMON: Yeah, it is, right. So Scott, committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney ended the hearing today with a message to Trump supporters. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Let me also today make a broader statement to millions of Americans who put their trust in Donald Trump. In these hearings so far, you've heard from more than a dozen Republicans who told you what actually happened in the weeks before January 6th. You will hear from more in the hearing to come.
Several of them served Donald Trump in his administration, others in his campaign. Others have been conservative Republicans for their entire careers.
It can be difficult to accept that President Trump abused your trust, that he deceived you. Many will invent excuses to ignore that fact. But that is a fact. I wish it weren't true, but it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Are Republicans listening, Scott?
JENNINGS: Well, I'm certain some are listening. Whether that brings them off their desire to see Trump re-nominated, I'm sure some will. This is ultimately the fundamental question. I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know whether he's going to be prosecuted or not. But the political question for the Republican Party is, do you want to go down this road again?
I mean, it's entirely possible to have been enormously proud as a Republican voter of many of the things that were accomplished during the Trump years from the Supreme Court to whatever, and it can be simultaneously true that you could conclude after all this, there's no way we can do this again.
I think that that is the message really that we are going to see play out over the course of these next several months as the republican primary for president ramps up. I assume many of the candidates, Don, are going to make that very argument, which is I supported Donald Trump, I voted for him, I think he did a great job and I think he was wrong about January 6th, and we can't -- we just can't do this again.
LEMON: Ana, the committee saying six Republican congressmen reached out to the White House for pardons and the committee says that they can prove it. How ugly, do you think, this is going to get?
NAVARRO: Look, we're already seeing that it's getting ugly. We're seeing that Mo Brooks today sent basically a confirmation that this was true. So, while some are denying it, you've got Mo Brooks confirming it in a certain way.
To me, the real question that was really twisted is that Donald Trump, who has handed out pardons like it was Halloween candy, you know, whether it was Kim Kardashian coming to ask for one or all his other cronies, didn't give these pardons, and it is because he so likes to toy with people.
Think about it. Mo Brooks was practically, you know, was part of this conspiracy, was part of this scheme, and didn't even earn Donald Trump -- forget a pardon. He didn't even get the endorsement for his race that he just lost in Alabama.
So, the way that Trump toys with people, demands absolute loyalty but doesn't give it back -- and I just want to say about Liz Cheney, you know, there are certain figures in history that we remember even decades afterwards. One of them would be Larry Hogan, the current Maryland governor, his father who stood up during Watergate against Nixon that cost him his seat.
LEMON: Not everyone is going to be listening.
NAVARRO: I think she will be remembered by history very kindly.
LEMON: I need to get Ron in. By the way, Kim Kardashian was asking for pardons for other people who she thought was wrongly convicted.
LEMON: He did hand out a pardon.
NAVARRO: Maybe they should have gotten her to ask.
LEMON: Ron, listen, we have heard multiple Trump officials say his claims were false and they told themselves Trump didn't care, just kept on trying to change the outcome of the 2020 election. He's a GOP favorite for 2024. Where do we go from here?
BROWNSTEIN: Look, I think the Watergate contrast is really significant here. People forget that Richard Nixon's approval rating among Republican voters fell 40 points from the months after his re- election until the moment that he resigned in August 1974. One reason was he didn't have something like Fox actively trying to rebut the evidence that was being presented against him.
But a bigger reason was that there were Republican elected officials at every stage in the process in Watergate at each point in the investigation who validated that it was important and that what Nixon did was wrong.
You contrast that to now. Marco Rubio, before this season started, before a single witness was heard, said it was garbage, a circus, a kangaroo court. The Republicans who know better, who know that what Trump did was wrong like Mitch McConnell, are even saying, I'm too busy to watch it.
If there are Republicans who believe this was wrong and are saying that they are -- that they can't say so because of their base, that is just simply wrong, Don.
BROWNSTEIN: They may have the ability to influence the base if they're willing to come out and say that what they have heard is significant. And again, look at the courage of those Justice Department officials and you compare to the silence of the Republican elected officials today, and it is a pretty poor contrast.
LEMON: I don't know how big a difference today will make, but I think today was consequential. So, we shall see.
Thank you all. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.
LEMON: For more than 15 years, "CNN Heroes" has been honoring everyday people changing the world. But this Saturday, we're going to take a look at some not-so-everyday people making a real difference.
I sat down with chef and global humanitarian Jose Andres, founder of the disaster relief non-profit World Central Kitchen, who is also featured in a new documentary directed by Ron Howard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE ANDRES, FOUNDER, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: My challenge is how we can keep nimble as we grow old, but it's still keeping the spirit of being fast. We've been in the last few days in Bangladesh. We've been in (INAUDIBLE). We've been unfortunately after the shootings in Buffalo, in Texas.
LEMON: Andres's incredible drive and resilience is captured in a new documentary aptly called "We Feed People," directed by Ron Howard.
RON HOWARD, DIRECTOR: I was fascinated by how he instigated this amazing program in a short period of time and grew it into something so substantial, so meaningful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Find out more about chef Andres's incredible relief efforts along with those of Sean Penn, Glenn Close, Mila Kunis and more this Saturday night when "CNN Heroes Salutes" premieres at 10:00 p.m.
Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.