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Don Lemon Tonight
Cassidy Hutchinson Testified Bravely Today; Donald Trump Supporters Armed With Weapons; Hutchinson's Credibility Backed By Co- worker; MAGA Movement Not Going To Hurt Trump; Today's Hearing Is A Game Changer. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired June 28, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.
What a day. What a day. It's so much worse than we thought. Now think about that for a minute. It's worse than what we saw with our own eyes and heard with our ears. You wouldn't think that was even possible, right? But today, we heard the absolutely shocking details of all the behavior, the behavior of the president of the United States on January 6, and we heard from Cassidy Hutchinson. She's a 26-year-old former top aide to then White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
I'm going to play a lot of what she had to say right now. Because I think it's important. If you didn't see, if you think someone should see it, call them and let them know because we're going to play it for you. And I think it's important for the country to see, for the world to see.
I want you to listen to every single word she had to say. Because it is like nothing we have ever heard before about an American president insisting on joining his supporters headed to the capitol, supporters by the way armed with knives, guns, spears, and flag poles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: I think the last time we talk you mentioned that some of the weapons that people had at the rally included flag poles, oversized sticks or flag poles. Bear spray. Is there anything else you recall hearing about that the people who gathered in the attack?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF MARK MEADOWS: I recall Tony and I having a conversation with Mark, probably around 10 a.m., 10.15 a.m. where I remember Tony mentioning knives, guns, in the form of pistols and rifles. Bear spray, body armor, spears and flag poles. Spears were one item. Flag poles were one item that Tony had relayed to me. Something to the effect of, and this effing people are fastening spears onto the end of flag poles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, this was a president who knew the danger. He knew his supporters were armed. He wanted people coming in with weapons saying that he wanted the magnetometers or the mags as they're call, taken away because he knew his supporters weren't there to hurt him. And because he was afraid the crowd would be smaller if they had to go through metal detectors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): The president apparently wanted all the attendees inside the official rally space and repeatedly said, quote, "they're not here to hurt me."
And just to be clear, so he was told again in that conversation or was he told again in the conversation that people couldn't come through the mags because they had weapons.
CHENEY: And that people -- his response was to say they can march to the capitol from the ellipse.
HUTCHINSON: Something to the effect of take the effing mags away. They're not here to hurt me. Let me people in. Let my people in. They can march to the capitol after the rally is over. They can march from -- they can march from the ellipse. Take the effing mags away. Then they can march to the capitol.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Just to be clear, I want you -- did you hear what the then president said? They're not here to hurt me. So, ask yourself this question, if he was so sure about who they were there to hurt, why was he so sure about that?
Cassidy Hutchinson also detailing what she says then then deputy White House chief of staff told her happened in the presidential Limo on January 6. When Donald Trump was told by security that he couldn't go to the capitol because it wasn't safe. Testifying under oath, she was told the president of the United States flew into a rage and tried to take the wheel of the limo lunging at his own Secret Service agent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUTCHINSON: The president says to the effect of, I'm the effing president, take me to the capitol now. To which Bobby responded, sir, we have to go back to the West Wing. The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm said, sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We're going back to the West Wing. We're not going to the capitol.
Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel and Mr. -- when Mr. Ornato had recounted the story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicles.
CHENEY: And was Mr. Engel in the room as Mr. Ornato told you this story?
HUTCHINSON: He was.
CHENEY: Did Mr. Engel correct or disagree with any part of the story from Mr. Ornato?
HUTCHINSON: Mr. Engel did not correct or disagree with any part of the story.
CHENEY: Did Mr. Engel or Mr. Ornato ever after that tell you that what Mr. Ornato had just said was untrue?
HUTCHINSON: Neither Mr. Ornato nor Mr. Engel told me ever that it was untrue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And we have some news that's just in tonight. A Secret Service official is telling CNN that Tony Ornato, the then deputy White House chief of staff is denying telling Cassidy Hutchinson that the then president grabbed the steering wheel or an agent on his detail. We're going to have more to come on that. So, make sure you stay tuned.
But on the morning of January 6, Cassidy Hutchinson spoke to the then White House counsel Pat Cipollone. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUTCHINSON: And Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of, please make sure we don't go up to the Capitol, Cassidy, keep in touch with me. We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.
CHENEY: And do you remember which crimes Mr. Cipollone was concerned with?
HUTCHINSON: In the days leading up to the sixth, we had conversations about potentially obstructing justice or defrauding the electoral count.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Chairman Bennie Thompson telling CNN that the committee will seriously consider inviting Cipollone for what he calls a transcribed interview or something like that. And now we know why. But there are plenty of people who know what happened in the Trump White House who are simply just aren't talking. Liz Cheney suggesting today that the committee has evidence of witness tampering. Saying one unidentified witness has told them this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: Quote, "what they said to me is as long as I continue to be a team player, they know I'm on the right team. I'm doing the right thing. I'm protecting who I need to protect. You know I'll continue to stay in good graces in Trump world. And they reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Here to talk about all of this, CNN's Dana Bash, our chief political correspondent. Andrew McCabe, the former deputy FBI deputy director, Elie Honig, senior legal analyst, political commentator Alice Stewart, and David Axelrod, CNN's senior political commentator.
We've got it all covered for you. Good evening to one and all.
Dana, I'm going to start with you. To put us -- put this into perspective for us. Cassidy Hutchinson hearing how Trump lunged at the Secret Service because the agent refused to take him to the capitol after the speech on January 6. The portrait of violence and rage she painted it was absolutely devastating testimony. She painted that a picture of a president out of control.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: She definitely did. That particular story was as you just described it, it was -- it was a president out of control. It was secondhand information. And she admitted that. And as you said in the intro that is being disputed by the people, she says told her the story. And says, and they say that they would say so under oath.
That is because that was so dramatic, it's understandably one that we are remembering and talking a lot about. However, there is so much that she testified too, Don, today that she witnessed firsthand. Conversations that she had that she was involved in. Like the one you just were talking about with the then White House counsel Pat Cipollone, very worried about breaking a number of laws.
I mean, in that case it was because the president wanted to physically go to the capitol. But there were again a lot of primary conversations that she said that she had testifying under oath that are incredibly alarming and potentially criminal.
LEMON: And we're waiting to see more or hear more about Ornato and those who are disputing what she said. But again, she was under oath and the rest is yet to come.
Andrew McCabe, in April interview with the Washington Post Trump admitted that he wanted to go to the capitol with the supporters saying, and I quote here, "Secret Service said I couldn't go. I would have gone there in a minute." Or he's already admitted the Secret Service kept him from going there, correct?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. Correct, Don. I mean, look, we now know from this testimony it's not just that we know that Trump wanted to go and we know that almost everyone around him knew he wanted to go.
On January 2 Rudy Giuliani told Cassidy Hutchinson that Trump wanted to go. Cipollone told Cassidy Hutchinson on January 3, I believe that Trump wanted to go. Kevin McCarthy called Cassidy Hutchinson on the sixth and argued with her about, you know, you told me he wouldn't come. So clearly that had been a topic between the two of them.
And then, on the 6th, this entire cadre of senior officials, people as senior as the White House counsel himself is relying on this 24-year- old staffer to prevent the president of the United States from accompanying an armed mob assault on the capitol. It's unbelievable to me that of this entire group of people, this entire thing came down to Cassidy Hutchinson's ability to stop the president. I mean, it's insane.
LEMON: And what about his vice president, Dana, how his total disregard for the V.P.'s safety. I mean, Hutchinson testified that she heard Meadows tell Cipollone --
LEMON: -- Trump didn't care about the hang Mike Pence those chants that were happening there. That he thought Pence deserved it. There was no remorse, no concern.
BASH: That's an example of what I was referring to about these actual conversations that she had with these incredibly senior people who were part of this drama. And this case, it was -- it was more of a nightmare when you think about the president of the United States making incredibly clear to his chief of staff, to his White House counsel that he just didn't care. He was so angry and aggravated about the fact that Mike Pence wouldn't break the law for him.
That when it came to the actual safety of Mike Pence, he said these things or made it clear to the people that Cassidy Hutchinson was talking about. Again, we have gotten these accounts sort of more in and around these events. This is the closest we have gotten. Everybody has wanted to know what was the president doing at that time, in those moments. And we have had people describing it kind of from the outer circle. She was in the innermost circle.
LEMON: Yes. If you take -- I felt like I was watching a movie, right? I was like, is this Good Fellas? Like, what the hell is going on here like listening to this? But even if you just take one of these, right, there were multiple things that we learned. Even if you take one of them, let's just say, OK, the -- they are disputing what happened supposedly happened in the beast or in the SUV or whatever. OK, fine.
Even without that, it's still frightening, Andrew, especially knowing that there were armed people there. And at one point the committee played police radio audio talking about these armed Trump supporters. Here's part of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Mobile one, make sure PPD knows they have an elevated threat in the trees outside the Constitution Avenue. Look for the (Inaudible) flag American flag face mask, cowboy boots, weapon on the right-side hip.
UNKNOWN: OK. Three men walking down the scene. It's a (Inaudible) carrying AR-15s. Copy (Inaudible) right in (Inaudible). (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, we have been hearing from Trump allies, Trump supporters, conservative media. Nobody was armed, they didn't arm, the flag poles weren't there, they didn't have guns. Yes, they had guns. When I interviewed the Capitol Police, right, and the D.C. Metropolitan police officer Michael Fanone and others, they said, yes, definitely people were armed. Now, there's absolute proof that people were armed. The entire situation was a tinderbox, Andrew.
MCCABE: Undeniable proof, Don. And I can tell you as a law enforcement officer spent many, many, many hours of my life sitting in cars listening to radio traffic, to hear that Metropolitan Police Department radio traffic which is essentially like the results of surveillance. Right? Here's what we're seeing on the ground.
This is not like anti-Trump political opponents or something. This is just law enforcement officers reporting what they're seeing. And they are seeing people with AR-15s showing up at a rally where the president is about to speak.
I mean, this is -- it was absolutely stunning and terrifying to me to hear that. And then to understand that knowing that that's what composed this crowd, the president of the United States demands that the magnetometers be removed. That these people be embraced and then he openly exhorted them, pushed them, encouraged them to assault the capitol.
I mean, I don't -- that to me in a day of blockbusters, that was the most significant revelation that we heard today. It was the president's knowledge that the crowd was armed and essentially sent them to the capitol for that purpose.
LEMON: It was violence for me, Dana. What about you?
BASH: Yes. I mean, not just sent them but according to the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony, made it not surprisingly about him. They're not going to hurt me. And yes, he was the president and he was used to the Secret Service being around him to protect him. But a total disregard for the notion of people with arms and people who were completely fired up and angry because he got them to that point. It was all about him.
And I mean, what Andy is suggesting is ten steps further, I think. Which is, yes, of course he was worried about that or focused about -- focused on that because he got the result that he wanted and maybe, maybe, he even wanted to be there. He was in such a state of mind and such a rage about the fact that he was about to be certified the loser, not the president in a second term, that he actually wanted to be with these people who he was told was armed -- were armed. And were extremely angry and headed towards the capitol.
LEMON: Yes. Well, he said he wanted to be there. he said, I'd been there in a second. Thank you, Dana. BASH: Yes.
LEMON: Thank you, Andrew. I appreciate it.
We got more to talk about. When we come back, I want to know why Elie says, right, I've got my -- the whole group here, and we're going to get into this. You don't miss this conversation. But I want to know why Elie says today's testimony was game changing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUTCHINSON: Mark looked up and said he doesn't want to do anything, Pat. And Pat said something to the effect of, and very clearly had said this to Mark, something to the effect of, Mark, something needs to be done or people are going to die and the blood is going to be on your effing hands. This is getting out of control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, we're back with more from the explosive testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, painting alarming scenes of an angry Trump lashing out as he attempted to hold onto power.
Here with me now Elie Honig, Alice Stewart, and David Axelrod.
OK, now, here is the real conversation. This was crazy. This, you know what was crazy. I was watching you today literally, I'm not kidding, with popcorn because I could not believe that we -- that it had gotten to this point. You said that today with the testimony, you said it was game changing. Why do you -- what was so different about today that we've learned up until this point?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Because we now have the most direct, most credible link between Donald J. Trump and the violence that erupted at the capitol on January 6. Let's think about the speech that Donald Trump gave at the ellipse. We all heard it dozens and dozens of times. We're going to go down to the capitol, you're going to fight like hell or else we won't have a country anymore.
Now think about it in this new context. Now we know that when Donald Trump stood up in front of that crowd and gave that speech, he knew that crowd was armed. He knew the crowd was not there to harm him and knew that he wanted them to bring their weapons down to Congress. To me that changes everything and one of the things we have been asking is will there be a link. This is direct.
LEMON: Let's listen. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We're going to walk down to the capitol.
TRUMP: And we're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women and we'll probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength. And you have to be strong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: David Axelrod, what do you think of that?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I agree with Elie. This was -- this was damming. but you know what, I want to step back and take a larger perspective on this. I worked in the White House for a couple of years. Every time I walked in there, I felt the history of that place. I felt like I was walking into the citadel of democracy.
And I watched that young woman today, 26-year-old, like so many of the young people who I saw when I was in Washington who came there because they believed they wanted to serve, they believed it was an important thing to do. And I was trying to process how she must have felt this idealistic kid who worked in the White House and suddenly was part of gangsterism, the defiling of democracy. And that must have been -- that must have been crushing.
But every single story she told today was chilling about what was going on in that building. And I think we all suspected that. But now, we know. Now we know what he was up to, what the people around him were doing and saying. And she painted a picture and I said from the beginning of this whole process that it was like game of wordle and it spells Trump. But now all the letters are filled in. And it's very, very clear.
LEMON: It's interesting that you said what you said. Because when Trump first became president, the concern that I was like, listen, I thought our democracy could handle it. But that he didn't because he had such little respect for people the way he conducted himself. Right? That he wouldn't have the reverence for --
LEMON: -- the institution of the White House and for --
LEMON: -- and that was concerning. I could -- I could just -- I couldn't imagine him sitting in the Oval Office because of this --
AXELROD: Don, it's even bigger. I have said this many, many times, but I think this illustrated today he does not believe in rules or laws or norms or institutions and democracy depends on those things. And when you have a president of the United States, imagine what the founding fathers would have thought if they had seen or heard about a president of the United States weaponizing a crowd and sending them to the capitol to try and interrupt the trans -- the peaceful transfer of power as dictated by the voters of the country.
It is -- so, you know, we're focused on Trump. We should be focused on what he did and what the potential liability is for what he did. But we once again have to focus on how close we came to an absolute catastrophe in our democracy and how much of our democracy depends on the goodwill of people who hold these high offices.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Part of what I came across today, peeling back the curtains and seeing what happened. We have all seen and heard and understood what happened out in full view. What is unprecedented and unusual display of stopping the peaceful transfer of power. But what he saw today was behind the scenes the unhinged and unstable actions of someone that is just defying what is presidential.
LEMON: And how does that, as a Trump supporter how does it make you feel? What did you think watching today's testimony?
STEWART: It was -- it was unnerving. It was unusual obviously. And look, as we're hearing this and seeing this, it was part gangster, it was part god, you know, godfather. It was part real housewives of New Jersey as he's throwing food and tossing tables.
And here's the thing also that I was really disturbed with, is he came into office and exited office with such an obsession with crowd size. And the optics of his support that he just did and said things that just defy rational thinking. And to hear today that he was obsessed with the small crowd because many of his supporters were outside the magnetometers with weapons and weren't allowed to be in. And he said, f the mags, f that, f this. Bring those people in with their weapons because they're not out to hurt me but they will eventually walk down to the capitol and storm the capitol. That's disturbing.
LEMON: But we should, I mean, the first day in office you remember the biggest crowd size ever, period or whatever.
STEWART: Yes. Yes.
LEMON: What's his name?
STEWART: Sean Spicer.
LEMON: Sean Spicer said, and who made him do that?
LEMON: It was Donald Trump.
STEWART: Donald Trump.
LEMON: Elie, I want to get you in here, because I just want to play part of, this is part of Hutchinson's testimony about what happened after rioters breeched the capitol and White House counsel Pat Cipollone confronted chief of staff Mark Meadows. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUTCHINSON: He's also on his phone and I remember Pat saying to him, something to the effect of, the rioters have gotten to the capitol, Mark, we need to go down and see the president now. And Mark looked up and he doesn't want to do anything, Pat. And Pat said something to the effect of -- and very clearly had said this to Mark, something to the effect of, Mark, something needs to be done or people are going to die and the blood is going to be on your effing hands. This is getting out of control. I'm going down there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Trump doesn't want to do anything. What are the legal implications for Trump and for Mark Meadows?
HONIG: So, we've heard this phrase dereliction of duty. To refer to the notion that Donald Trump sat there and did nothing during those crucial three hours. But it's so much worse than that. Dereliction of duty, doing nothing it's hard to argue that's a crime. But we now know that he did so much more than nothing. He incited that crowd knowing that they were armed.
You know, put aside all the things he did in the preceding weeks to pressure DOJ to pressure the vice president. And when I heard this testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson today, the bravery of what she did. The enormity of what she did. I mean, the power imbalance. Think about the people she testified about how experienced they were in Washington, D.C., how much more powerful they were than her.
Donald Trump, Pat Cipollone, Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, members of Congress, none of them have talked. And this young woman --
LEMON: Twenty-four years old.
HONIG: -- 24 years old at the time, 26 now.
HONIG: Came forward and stood in front of the cameras and the American public and told the truth. That is a remarkable feat.
STEWART: Interesting. Juxtaposition here. Two people there, Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, asked for pardons and Cassidy Hutchinson testified before a House committee.
LEMON: Can I ask you something, David, I feel like look, yes, I think today was significant. But I feel like we keep having the same conversation over and over. As you said, many people knew. Like, didn't we know this from the very beginning? Wasn't this brought up in the impeachment hearings?
And do you, I mean, was the country sort of brainwashed in a way? AXELROD: Well --
LEMON: Or did we just sort of get used to Donald Trump's antics like, you know, day after day like he would do something and then, you know, two minutes to show time he would do something crazy and then we get the change the run down because he did something crazy like. Did we just get kind of used to it? Because I feel like we're hearing this again and we've -- I've heard this song before.
AXELROD: Yes. I mean, in fairness, the impeachment took place after a few weeks of investigation. This was the product of 10 months of investigation, a thousand interviews. And they have much more information. I mean, it would have been interesting to see what happened if the kind of information that we heard today was presented at the impeachment hearings.
AXELROD: Of course, they would have been contested as well. But, yes, we knew who he was. But some of the stories that we're told today were -- I think beyond what anybody imagined.
Let me just say one more word about that young woman who testified today. One of the most poignant moments here it wasn't that one of the big news moments, but was the story about going to the president's dining room on December 1 after he had read the attorney general's interview and he taken his lunch and thrown it against the wall. And there was the poor valet trying to get the ketchup off the wall and she said so I tried to help him get the ketchup off the wall. And to me that was symbolic of the whole thing.
She's trying to get the stain off of that building and off of our democracy. And she deserves a great deal of credit for that.
LEMON: I think she, today she did that somewhat at least. And we'll see if she continues to get the rest of the stain off if, you know, if what this leads to. Stick around, everyone.
Cassidy Hutchinson speaking up. Testifying under oath about Trump's actions on January 6. Someone who knows her personally, the former V.P. Pence's adviser Olivia Troye joins me next.
LEMON: Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to the White House chief of staff Mark Meadows delivering bomb shell testimony today about then President Trump's actions on January 6. Hutchinson's lawyers putting out a new statement following her testimony saying in part, and I quote, "while she did not seek out the attention accompanying testimony today, she believes that it was her duty and responsibility to provide the committee with her truthful and candid observations of the events surrounding January 6." I want to bring in the former homeland security and COVID task force adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, that's Olivia Troye.
Olivia, thank you so much. Talk to me about Cassidy Hutchinson. You know her. She is being, you know, revered in some circles and reviled in other circles. What's your reaction to her testimony and the response to it?
OLIVIA TROYE, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER TO VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: I feel like I worked very closely with Cassidy. She was a prominent figure in the West Wing in the Trump administration. She was the gatekeeper to Meadows. Everybody who worked there or was familiar with the senior circles in the Trump administration knows that she was a dedicated, loyal staffer.
And she was Mark Meadows' right hand person. And I commend her. I -- it took incredible strength of character to stand there on the witness stand by herself doing public testimony with the entire nation watching you. Knowing what's to come. Look, he was inside the White House when I came forward and spoke publicly.
She has seen firsthand what they will say and what they will trash your name, they'll disparage you and they'll try their best to discredit you. But there's no discrediting Cassidy. Because, look, she worked in Republican circles. This is -- this is her life. This is her career thus far and she took a stand for our country regardless of that. Regardless of cost, personal cost to her. And I commend her. I commend her bravery and I commend her ability to stand there on her own when so many others have cowered and will not do that, they will not tell the truth about what happened.
LEMON: Do you remember, Olivia, part of the testimony where they put up -- in the very beginning where the chairman, they put up the map and she said, but it looks bigger on the map. It's really small. You know, showing how close her office was and Mark Meadows office to the Oval -- to the Oval.
And my question is, why is the former president claiming that he, quote, "hardly knows her" when she has traveled with him, she's close to in proximity to the Oval Office. You know what I'm saying. Why is he saying, huh, I don't really know her? Never really met her.
TROYE: Yes. It's the typical Donald Trump shtick. There's photos of her around. We all worked with her. She is correct. I chuckled. I was in the hearing today there to support her and when I heard her say that I chuckled to myself because she's correct. It is a very small West Wing. It may appear larger. A lot of people aren't familiar with the inside of the White House. It's a tiny space. We're kind of sitting on top of each other.
And so, I think it's par for the course that he would say that. Anybody who comes forward and tells truth about him he'll say I don't know this person. They're lying. You know, they're angry or they didn't get something they wanted. That's just -- that's just what he does. It's an attempt to spread disinformation and discredit someone who is a very credible witness, who is telling the truth that is, what I would say significantly damming as a firsthand testimony of who this man is.
LEMON: Again, you worked in the Vice President's office for Pence. So, I just want to get your thoughts on what Hutchinson said about Meadows reaction to rioters calls to hang Pence. Listen to this and then we'll get it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUTCHINSON: It wasn't until Mark hung up the phone, handed it back to me, I went back to my desk. A couple minutes later, him and Pat came back possibly Eric Herschmann, too. I'm pretty sure Eric Herschmann was there. But I'm confident it was Pat that was there. I remember Pat saying something to the effect of Mark, we need to do something more. They're literally calling for the vice president to be effing hung.
And Mark had responded something to the effect of, you heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn't think they're doing anything wrong. To which Pat said something, this is effing crazy. We need to be doing something more, briefly stepped into Mark's office.
And when Mark had said something -- when Mark had said something to the effect of, he doesn't think they're doing anything wrong. Knowing what I heard briefly in the dining room, coupled with Pat discussing the hang Mike Pence chants in the lobby of our office and then Mark's response, I understood there to be the rioters and the capitol that were chanting for the vice president to be hung.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Olivia, what did you think when you heard that?
TROYE: It was infuriating and astonishing. You may not agree with Mike Pence's politics. But the fact to the matter is that there are internal discussions happening in the White House, in the people's house about someone coming forward like Pat Cipollone who I work closely with. I know him. And saying, hey, the vice president of the United States' life is in danger. They are calling to hang him.
And they sat. And they, you have it firsthand right there from Cassidy, you have it from Mark Meadows the chief of staff to the president of the United States, saying, yes, Donald Trump is aware. Doesn't want to do anything about it. That is an incredible amount of dereliction of duty which has been said.
But never, look, I am a career national security person who has served this country for almost 20 years. And I never thought I would see the day where there would be a president of the United States just giving fair pass to the fact that his own vice president who is very loyal to him, extremely loyal to him until the end, his life is in danger and doesn't care. Won't do anything about it.
LEMON: Olivia Troye, pleasure to have you on. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Did today's testimony reveal any criminal liability from members of the Trump White House? The question for our experts next.
LEMON: OK, so there was stunning testimony today from Cassidy Hutchinson who was an aide to then White House chief of staff mark meadows. But is there evidence, is there evidence of criminal liability? That's the question.
Let's talk about it. Elie is here, Alice Stewart, and David Axelrod. All back with me.
Elie, so we talked about White House counsel Pat Cipollone, telling Cassidy Hutchinson that if anyone helped Trump get to the capitol, they would be charged with every crime imaginable. Trump did not go to the capitol and you know what happened in the car and what have you. That they wouldn't get him there and that's to be determined.
She's saying, you know, lunged all that stuff.
LEMON: Lunge for the guy and all that stuff. Take me, I'm the effing president or whatever. But based on today's testimony do you think that the Trump White House has any criminal liability over what happened on January 6?
HONIG: Well, I agree with Pat Cipollone. I mean, he basically said we're in the midst of a crime spree here. And I think we crossed two important thresholds today. One is the violence threshold.
HONIG: The direct link Donald Trump knowing that that crowd was armed. And the other is intent. Remember early on when the big question the big point of dispute was, gee, did Donald Trump know what that crowd was going to do? Did he want them to remain peaceful or did he want them to go into that capitol angry? I mean, is there really any question about that anymore?
So Pat Cipollone actually nailed the crimes that I'm looking at. Conspiracy to defraud the United States, attempt to obstruct the proceedings in Congress, and I would argue even now that you have the force element. That's what makes seditious conspiracy. So, I think this is a game changing day.
LEMON: The question is what is the DOJ or if they're going to do anything.
HONIG: Yes. And the big question I have is, has DOJ interviewed Cassidy Hutchinson? We don't know the answer to that. Jamie Raskin was asked that earlier on our air. And he said he doesn't know. But if DOJ has not interviewed her yet, shame on them. And they ought to do it as soon as possible. STEWART: Of course, you are the legal expert. But the final
cliffhanger of the testimony today, Liz Cheney putting out there the potential for witness tampering.
STEWART: Reading texts --
STEWART: -- and messages from people that say, hey, we know you're a team player. We know that you know that the former president reads all the testimony. So there potentially could be claims for witness tampering if that proves to be true.
LEMON: You guys want to hear it? Let's hear it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: This is a call received by one of our witnesses. Quote, "a person let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know he's thinking about you. He knows you are loyal. And you're going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Tampering or to me, that's definitely influencing.
AXELROD: Yes. All I can think of when I heard that is the scene in the "Godfather" where the guy was the government witness --
AXELROD: -- and they got to him and he shows up at the -- I guess it was a Senate hearing. It's a Senate hearing. And you know, completely denies everything that he said previously.
LEMON: I think that's --
AXELROD: It was -- it was really, really gangsterish. That's the only way you can refer to it. I want to make a point about the whole, the flap about whether he lunged at the Secret Service guy in the limo. No one disputed -- it's really interesting. Nobody disputes that he angrily wanted to be taken to the capitol.
The real issue is -- I mean, that was a dramatic flourish and it will find out what the facts were as best as we can. But no one is disputing the fact that he wanted to go down there with the mob to the capitol and be a part of what was going on down there.
STEWART: But just --
(CROSSTALK) LEMON: What is, so then, what is the take away here for the supporters and allies of the president? Even conservative media today they were like -- wow.
LEMON: That's a lot.
STEWART: Yes. That's the shocking part is they actually acknowledged that for the first time. Look, I have spoken with several members, Republicans members of the House and Senate today. They still look at this as a witch hunt from Democrats. They look at this, they call this, several of them had called this a kangaroo court. They call it a political prosecution.
They say that Liz Cheney should be the last person asking questions and they wish that there was a Trump ally on this committee to, what they say, put a lot of this evidence into context. But at the end of the day, when you hear this evidence and hear this testimony, it's pretty damming.
LEMON: But they could have had --
STEWART: And there's no amount of lipstick you can put on this to make this not look like --
LEMON: But could they have had a Trump ally there?
AXELROD: They could have. Yes. They chose not to. That was Kevin McCarthy's decision. He wanted to put Jim Jordan and others on there who we now know are part of the deal.
LEMON: Can I get a pardon, please?
AXELROD: They were part of the deal. So, the speaker said no, and said you can put other people on the committee. And he, and I think Donald Trump at that point said we don't want legitimate it, we want to call it a kangaroo court. They are executing a political strategy.
But I will say this. Tonight, in Illinois, for example, there was a race between two Republican congress -- members of Congress. One was a freedom caucus member named, Mary Miller. Trump went down and endorsed her over the weekend. It was a very close race at that time. It looks like she's going to win by more than few points tonight.
He endorsed the candidate for governor. He jumped on a moving train there, but the guy is 100 percent Trumper, Darren Bailey who got nominated there. So, we shouldn't underestimate the loyalty that people feel to Trump among his base. And it, you know, I don't know that it has been, it may have been shaking among some. I don't know among most.
The real question is, does that trans -- two things. Does that translate into yes, we would like him to run for president again? And I think this may have some impact on how people view him moving forward. I think people are tired of the 2020 stuff and they may want to move -- and they may want to move forward.
The second thing is, on this issue, this is not just a legal issue what the Justice Department does. There is no parallel here, if the Justice Department indicts a president of the United States who is the preceding president, there are consequences to that that have to be considered including how all those people who were out there with guns and knives and all of that, how do they process this?
So, I mean, this is a really, really complex situation. I think what Donald Trump did was despicable and boy, I'm not a lawyer, much my mother should grin, but I think that it sure feels like he bears legal responsibility for it and in Georgia as well. But you have to weigh a lot of factors before you bring that case.
HONIG: You do.
LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate it. Today's hearing was a damning account of the then president's actions on January 6. And that's not all. There's bad news for Trump on the investigation in Georgia as David just mentioned. We're going to tell you why, that's next.
LEMON: We're learning tonight documentary filmmaker Alex Holder has been subpoenaed by the district attorney of Fulton County, Georgia as part of her investigations of Donald Trump's pressure campaign to get state officials to overturn election results.
A lawyer says Holder will comply. He was given widespread access, behind the scene access, I should say, inside the Trump White House interviewing the former president and his family and allies for his upcoming documentary, Unprecedented which will be released on Discovery+ which is owned by CNN parent company.
A source saying the D.A. is seeking Holder's cooperation as well as raw footage from the documentary.
A damning portrait of the then president desperate to get to the capitol insisting I'm the effing president. All of today's testimony, next.