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Don Lemon Tonight

The January 6 Committee Holds Its Sixth Public Hearing; Primary Election Results Are Coming In. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired June 28, 2022 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Explosive testimony today about what Trump and those closest to him knew heading into the insurrection. An aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows publicly testifying Trump was told his supporters were armed but said, they are not here to hurt me.

CNN's Ryan Nobles has more now.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the moment she was sworn in, Cassidy Hutchison, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, made it clear she had much to share.

CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO TRUMP WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF MARK MEADOWS: That evening was the first moment that I remember feeling scared and nervous for what could happen on January 6th.

NOBLES (voice-over): Providing unique insight into a chaotic White House in the days leading up to January 6th and a president who cheered on the rioters and she says she was told desperately wanted to be with them.

HUTCHINSON: The president said something to the effect of, I'm the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now. The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm and said, sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We are going back to the West Wing. We are not going to the Capitol. Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel.

NOBLES (voice-over): Hutchinson detailed Trump's insistence that he follow his supporters to the Capitol on January 6th despite being told repeatedly it was dangerous and potentially illegal.

HUTCHINSON: 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 are going to get charged of every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen. We had conversations about potentially obstructing justice or defrauding the electoral count. NOBLES (voice-over): She outlined repeated examples of an unstable commander-in-chief who lashed out in anger often after losing the 2020 election, like when he learned Attorney General William Barr told the "Associated Press" there was no widespread voter fraud.

HUTCHINSON: There was ketchup dripping down the wall and there was a shattered porcelain plate on the floor. The valet had articulated that the president was extremely angry at the attorney general's "AP" interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall.


NOBLES (voice-over): Sitting just doors away from the Oval Office, Hutchinson was central to key moments leading up to January 6th. Meadows himself warned her.

HUTCHINSON: Things might get real, real bad on January 6th.

NOBLES (voice-over): She also made it clear White House officials knew about the vast array of weapons the crowd was carrying.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): I got three men walking down the street in fatigues carrying AR-15's. Copy at 14th and independence.

NOBLES (voice-over): Including Trump who said in a tent at a rally site --

HUTCHINSON: I overheard the president say something to the effect of, you know, I don't -- I think they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the effing bags away. Let my people march the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to walk down and I'll be there with you. We're going to walk down to the Capitol.

NOBLES (voice-over): Hutchinson said she was also in contact with Republican leaders like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who warned her that Trump should not come to the Capitol.

HUTCHINSON: He said, well, he just set it on stage, Cassidy. Figure it out. Don't come up here.

NOBLES (voice-over): As the crowd was raging, Hutchinson testified that Trump was cheering them on, agreeing with the chants to -- quote -- "hang Mike Pence."

HUTCHINSON: Mark had responded something to the effect of, you heard it, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves. It. He doesn't think they're doing anything wrong.

NOBLES (voice-over): And recounted White House counsel Pat Cipollone's reaction.

HUTCHINSON: People are going to die and the blood is going to be on your effing hands. NOBLES (voice-over): The day after the violence, the White House counsel and advisors urged him to give a speech condemning the rioters.

HUTCHINSON: We need to get a stronger message out there and condemn this. This will be your legacy. There are already talks about invoking the 25th Amendment. You need this as cover.

NOBLES (voice-over): Trump wanted to float the idea of pardons for those who broke into the Capitol, something he ultimately did not do.

HUTCHINSON: Mr. Meadows seek that pardon.

NOBLES (voice-over): And according to Hutchinson, many others, including Meadows and Giuliani, sought pardons from Trump. A once loyal Republican committed to Trump and his mission, Hutchison now says --

HUTCHINSON: I remember feeling frustrated, disappointed, and really -- it felt personal. I was really sad. As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic. It was un-American. We were watching the Capitol Building get defaced over a lie.

NOBLES (on camera): And Don, tonight, the Secret Service is taking issue with it, with one aspect of Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony, and that's the story she told about the former president lashing out inside the presidential limo on January 6th. They say their agents are willing to testify to the committee under oath about what they experienced on that day. They say it's different than what Hutchinson said. They also said those agents never told her that story.

Meanwhile, the committee is standing by Hutchinson as a witness. They say that she is credible. The fact that she was willing to testify under oath demonstrates that level of credibility.

A source connected to the committee also telling me on background tonight that the committee is always welcome to hear from anyone who has information that would help with their investigation. Don?


LEMON: All right, Ryan Nobles, thank you very much, sir, appreciate it.

Joining me now, former Nixon White House counsel John Dean and former assistant Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman. Gentlemen, good evening. John, let's start with you. You told me last night that the committee's surprise hearing had to deliver a star witness like Alex Butterfield who testified about Nixon's secret taping system during Watergate or cancel, right? Did Cassidy Hutchinson meet that very high standard?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: She did meet it. In fact, she did better than Butterfield. All Butterfield could tell us was there was a taping system and it would take a long time to get those tapes. So, there was no satisfaction. In fact, it would take decades to get all of them. The special prosecutor's office would get a few of them, enough to run a couple criminal trials.

But she gave instant answers and filled us in. She was a dynamite witness and an important witness.

LEMON: Nick, Woodward (ph) and Bernstein (ph) say that they -- today's hearing shows just how much -- shows how much worse the insurrection was than Watergate. As someone who prosecuted that case, who should be the -- who should be the most worried here about this testimony?

NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: I think Donald Trump should be the most worried about it. I mean, what this did is put knowledge in his head that he knew about the violence ahead of time, that he condoned the violence, that he knew that people that he was telling to go up to the Capitol and fight to protect the government, to protect him, were carrying arms, were carrying weapons, AK331s. I mean, he was -- he had knowledge of all of this.


I mean, we knew up to two days before the January 6 insurrection that Mike Pence told Donald Trump that he was not going to b basically throw the election and throw out the electoral vote or throw the electoral votes back to the states.

The only option that Donald Trump had at that point was to stop that count and to stop it through violence. And that was the plan. We did not have the proof though that Donald Trump was behind that plan, knew of that plan and direct that plan, until we got this testimony today.

LEMON: John, Cassidy Hutchinson also testified about something Trump's White House counsel Pat Cipollone said to her the morning of January 6th, about Trump going to the Capitol Building. I want to play more of that.


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 are going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): 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.


LEMON: John, a whole host of people knew about the potential for violence. The weapons, possible criminal charges. Parallels to Watergate, too?

DEAN: Well, you know, the fact that they didn't go to the -- Trump himself did not go to the Capitol, didn't -- I mean, he still wasn't part of two conspiracies, one which was to obstruct the congressional proceedings, and the other, which -- Nick knows well -- caught most of the people in Watergate, which was the conspiracy to defraud the government, 18 USC 371.

So, you know, there was good advice by council. What I can't understand is why council isn't coming forward and talking about it.

LEMON: Uh-hmm.

DEAN: Cipollone is a big missing witness in this proceeding. He and Philbin, who was his deputy, should be up there explaining why they gave the advice and how did they withdraw from the conspiracy themselves if they knew -- saw it go on? I think they have an obligation to testify, Don.

LEMON: Nick, you have said that Cipollone should be subpoenaed. I mean, why do you think the committee isn't going there and what about the DOJ?


LEMON: That was for Nick. Go ahead, John, answer that, and then I will get Nick in.

DEAN: I think, as Nick was saying, they should subpoena him. They should -- he's either going to be in front of a grand jury very soon talking about it. And there is really no privilege here that is at issue, rather he should come up and explain to the American people, for history, for his 10 children, and stop worrying about how many fees he can collect from Republican clients and get down there and save democracy. Work on that. Much bigger project for his 10 kids.

LEMON: Go ahead, Nick.

AKERMAN: I think that the committee should subpoena him. I mean, there is no reason why they should just sit back and let him snub his nose at the committee and not go in and provide his testimony. I think they should force him in there, give him a subpoena, and question him as to what happened. Go through all of these events that occurred.

I mean, there is so much that is known about meetings that he has sat in on. He was present with respect to what happened at the Department of Justice and inserting a new attorney general. He was present the day of the insurrection. This is a person who, like John, could lay out everything that occurred, everything that Donald Trump did, the advice that he gave him and the advice that was refused. I mean, he is a critical witness in this matter.

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen, John and Nick. I appreciate it.

I want to bring in now presidential historian Tim Naftali. He is the former director of the Nixon Presidential Library. Tim, I'm interested to hear -- good evening to you. I'm interested to hear your perspective on this. It is hard to overstate the shock value of today's testimony, demanding to lead the mob to the Capitol himself, unconcerned about violence, throwing plates, flipping tablecloths. Talk to me about the portrait of this president that Cassidy Hutchinson laid out today.

TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, Cassidy Hutchinson today, in her testimony, made this, I believe, this investigation, the January 6th investigation, the most significant by Congress since the Senate Watergate investigation of 1973, because she put the president in a criminal conspiracy.


She made it clear that for the White House, the violence on Capitol Hill on January 6th was premeditated. She made it clear that people around the president were trying to get him to stop the violence.

We have wanted since January 6th to understand those critical hours, when a very small group of Capitol police officers were trying to protect those who are protecting our votes. We are trying to figure out, why didn't the White House do anything? Why did it take the president so long to speak to us? Cassidy Hutchinson has now begun the process of laying the groundwork for us to understand it.

And as John and Nick have both just said, we now need to know much more and we need to hear from both Pat Cipollone and Mark Meadows.

What is the portrait of Trump? We are hearing things about Trump that are even worse than things he tweeted. For a long time, people argued everything we needed to know about Trump, he was sharing with us. Unlike Nixon, they said, he was giving us a taste of all elements of his dark side. Well, no. In fact, he wasn't.

He never tweeted to us that he threw dishes against the walls. He didn't tweet to us about how he physically tried to force his way to the Capitol on January 6th.

So, actually, his behavior is worse than we imagined. So, there are elements of Cassidy Hutchinson's story that need to be cooperated. But just on the basis of what she witnessed, we know that the president and those closest to him could have prevented the tragedy, could have prevented the violence of January 6th. That is something we could have not said with the same amount of confidence before today.

LEMON: So, you call today's -- you said it was Watergate level, and then -- listen, Cassidy Hutchinson told the committee that Trump finally said that Biden would be inaugurated on January 7th because there was a large concern the 25th Amendment could be invoked. Talk about how big of a deal it is that this was ever considered.

NAFTALI: Well, this would -- would have been the first time that the 25th Amendment was seriously considered, was invoked. But the very fact that people around the president were fearful that his own cabinet was prepared to turn against him gives you a sense of the level of chaos in the White House and anxiety about the president's state of mind.

I think what is absolutely clear is that that to those closest to him on January 6th and January 7th, there was a sense that the president was out of control and it was important to reassure Republicans, most importantly his own cabinet, that he could continue through January 20th.

The level of anxiety, we heard bits and pieces about it. But now, we have actual testimony of extent to which the Trump administration was coming apart on January 6th and 7th, and the extent to which the president himself wasn't really willing to do what was necessary, that he did not change his mind, is that to this day is clear, that Donald Trump does not believe that the insurrection did anything wrong

And as Cassidy Hutchinson made clear, the only person that Donald Trump felt was an error on January 6th was Mike Pence.

LEMON: Right on. Tim Naftali, thank you. I really appreciate it. See you soon.

NAFTALI: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Next, more jaw-dropping moments from today's January 6 Committee hearing. Is this a turning point in how the case moves forward? We will talk about it. That is next.




LEMON: Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony to the January 6 Committee today is shocking, even after everything we have seen and heard. An irate president demanding to go to the Capitol and allegedly saying -- and I'm quote here. Okay? "I'm the effing president." His supporters were armed, yet he demanded the magnetometers be taken away because he insisted they were not there to hurt him.

Joining me now is Alex Burns, CNN political analyst and co-author of "This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America's Future," also CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero, and CNN political commentator Charlie Dent. Good to see all of you. Thank you so much for joining.

Carrie, so, Hutchinson testified to the hearing, discussions about the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, whenever Rudy Giuliani was around at the time of the planning of January 6th rally. And she also testified that Trump told Mark Meadows to ask allies who are at the Willard Hotel what was going to happen on that day. Listen to this.


CHENEY: And do you know if Mr. Meadows ever intended to go to the Willard Hotel on the night of the fifth?

HUTCHINSON: Mr. Meadows had the conversation with me where he wanted me to work with Secret Service on the movement from the White House to the Willard Hotel so he can attend the meeting or meetings with Mr. Giuliani and his associates in the "war room."

CHENEY: And what was your view as to whether or not Mr. Meadows should go to the Willard that night?


HUTCHINSON: I had made it clear to Mr. Meadows that I didn't believe it was a smart idea for him to go to the Willard Hotel that night. I wasn't sure everything that was going on at the Willard Hotel although I knew enough about what Mr. Giuliani and his associates were pushing during this period.

I didn't think that it was something appropriate for the White House chief of staff to attend or to consider involvement in. I made that clear to Mr. Meadows. Throughout the afternoon, he mentioned a few more times going up to the Willard Hotel that evening and then eventually dropped the subject the night of the fifth and said that he would dial in instead.


LEMON: Okay, Carrie, listening to that, what do you the committee is trying to do here?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this was the part of the testimony, Don, that really left me wanting to know more in particular about the conversations between Meadows and Giuliani and particularly in a timeframe between about January 2nd and January 5th, sort of those few days leading up to January 6th, because she testified that she had heard people talking about the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.

And so the big question that I've had is would these hearings, all of them together, both this month and the ones that might come next month, are these hearings going to establish that the individuals closest to the president himself were part of the coordination of the violence that occurred which involved the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys who the Justice Department has already charged with seditious conspiracy?

So, that is still the piece that I think there are more witnesses and more individuals who know what the nature of those conversations were, why did Mark Meadows worry or think, why did he think, according to Cassidy Hutchinson, that there was going to be violence on January 6th? That's the piece that we are still missing a little bit of the facts, Don.

LEMON: Charlie, another moment from today's hearing where Hutchinson recalled the conversation with Giuliani on January 2nd. Here it is.


HUTCHINSON: As Mr. Giuliani and I were walking to his vehicles that evening, he looked at me and said something to the effect of, Cassidy, are you excited for the sixth? It's going to be a great day. I remember looking at him saying, Rudy, could you explain what's happening on the sixth? He responded something to the effect of, we are going to the Capital, it's going to be great, the president is going to be there, and he's going to look powerful.


LEMON: So, on the same day, January 2nd, Meadows told Hutchinson that events on the sixth could get out of control and be -- quote -- "real, real bad." It sounds like there is no denying that Trump's allies knew something serious was possible on January 6th, Charlie.

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA REPRESENTATIVE: Yeah, it's very clear to me, it seems that many people around the president knew that this was all building up, this lie about the election was building up to the crescendo on January 6th, and that they were going to go to the Capitol.

Now, whether or not they knew that there was going to be a violent attack, I simply don't know. But what we do know and what Ms. Hutchinson has reaffirmed and corroborated is that the president, you know, incited the mob on the Capitol to violently attack Congress, to prevent it from fulfilling its constitutional duties, to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

And the question before us all is this, only the people who were attending the mob, the mob who attended the attack, are they the only people who are going to be held account for what happened that day, or those who were involved with this conspiracy, are they going to be held to account?

You know, again, it gets back to why were all these people, why were they all seeking pre-emptive pardons, because they did so, because they thought they did something wrong. That's what this is about.

And so we need to get the answers that Carrie just laid out. Her testimony today, Hutchinson's testimony, just really begs for more questions to be asked of those who could provide additional information. And if Trump is thinking that everybody is lying about what happened that day, well, maybe he should just raise his right hand and go to the Select Committee and tell us the truth.

LEMON: Him and Cipollone. So Alex, there's also this account of Trump throwing a plate of food at the wall after then Attorney General Bill Barr told Trump that there was no election fraud. You wrote a lot about what happened in the final days of Trump's presidency. What does this tell you about his mindset as all this was unfolding?


ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, Don, I think what this does, it flushes out in more detail than we have ever heard from somebody that close to Trump and his senior staff personally, the president at a time and eyewitness at the time, of just how much the president was out of control and just how much he was subjecting the people closest to him in government, including long-time loyalist like Bill Barr, to just increasingly outrageous loyalty test based on his conception of what happened in the 2020 election.

Look, what I think the committee is doing an expert job of is dismantling this sort of theoretical defense that the president and his lawyers might give in a trial that -- look, he sincerely believe all of this, right? So, it can't be a fraud, it can't be sort of a conspiracy to overthrow the government.

He genuinely did not realize that what he was doing was wrong and dangerous and based on fraudulent representations about what happened in the 2020 election. In just every hearing, that pre-tense falls apart a little bit more.

LEMON: Yeah. I want all of you to stick around. We are going to continue our conversation.

She was the aide to the White House chief of staff, and what she says went on behind closed doors is stunning. Next, the man who wrote the book on White House chief of staff, Chris Whipple, is here with me.




LEMON: In her testimony today, Cassidy Hutchinson telling the January 6 Committee that as violence broke out at the Capitol, there were basically three camps inside the White House taking different positions on what action the president should take, including her boss, the chief of staff, Mark Meadows. Listen.


HUTCHINSON: There is a group of individuals that were strongly urging him to take immediate and swift action. I would classify White House Counsel's Office, Mr. Herschmann, Ms. Ivanka Trump in that category of really working to get him to take action and pleading with him to take action.

There is a more neutral group where advisers were trying to tow the line knowing that Mr. Trump did not necessarily want to take immediate action and condemn the riots, but knowing something needed to be done.

And then there is the last group, which was to deflect and blame. Let's blame Antifa. These aren't our people. It is my understanding that Mr. Meadows was in the deflect and blame category, but he did end up taking a more neutral route, knowing that there were several advisers in the president's circle urging him to take more action.


LEMON: So, Chris Whipple is here. He is the author of "The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Defined Every Presidency." Chris, good evening. Thank you so much for joining us.

CHRIS WHIPPLE, AUTHOR: Good to be here. LEMON: So, here is what Hutchinson is describing. There are three

camps with totally different explanations of what went down. Meadows is sticking with the deflect and blame side of things to neutral. I know you have called Mark Meadows the worst chief of staff in history. Does this paint the picture that he was not in control?

WHIPPLE: Well, you know, back in January of 2021, I wrote at "Washington Post" op-ed, anointing him as the worst chief, and he own that title by a country mile, Don, as you know. I mean, he was -- not only did he raise sycophancy to an art form, never telling the president hard truths, but he also helped the president pretend there was no pandemic, costing God knows how many hundreds of thousands of lives in the process.

But the truth is that I did not know the half of it, I didn't know how bad it was. It turns out, as we learned today, that Meadows was a co- conspirator. He and Trump knew exactly what they were doing. They sent an armed mob to attempt an insurrection at the Capitol. They did not care how many lives at cost. That is what we learned today. It is staggering.

I think that the defining image of Mark Meadows, I used to think it would be him at the tent (ph) of the Ellipse on the morning of January 6th holding Trump's coat as he went out to incite the mob. I now think it will be the chief of staff sitting on the couch in his office, scrolling through his cell phone, while the mob attacked the Capitol. It is almost the definition of the finality of evil.

LEMON: Let's talk about that because this is Hutchinson describing how Meadows reacted to the riot. Here it is.


HUTCHINSON: Around 2:00 to 2:05, you know, we were watching the TV, and I could see that the rioters were getting closer and closer to the Capitol. Mark still had not popped out of his office or said anything about it.

I went into his office. I saw that he was sitting on his couch, on a cell phone, same as the morning where he was just kind of scrolling and typing. I said, hey, are you watching the TV, chief? The TV was small, you can see it, but I did not know if he was really paying attention. Are you watching the TV, chief? He is like, yeah. The rioters are getting really close. Have you talked to the president? He said, no, he wants to be alone right now. He is still looking at his phone.


So, I start to get frustrated because I sort of felt like I was watching -- not a great comparison, but a bad car accident that was about to happen where you cannot stop it but you want to be able to do something. I remember thinking in that moment, Mark needs to snap out of this, and I don't know how to snap him out of it. He needs to care.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: I mean, you can't get that image out of your head.

WHIPPLE: Yeah. I mean, it is just hard to imagine the level of moral bankruptcy here. And just to say a word about Cassidy Hutchinson, obviously, courageous, credible. As you watch her, you couldn't help wondering how, you know, defending your oath to uphold the Constitution or knowing right from wrong could be so easy for a 26- year-old woman in her second job in the White House.

And so evidently, impossible for a grown-up like Mark Meadows who swore an oath as White House chief of staff to defend the Constitution and utterly failed in the moment of truth. She was heroic.

LEMON: Yeah. Well, you said it. You wrote about it. The worst in history, and then here you have this picture that is painted today. Thank you, Chris Whipple. Good to see you.

WHIPPLE: Great to be back.

LEMON: Alarming testimony to the January 6 Committee from a top White House aide showing just how close Trump's cabinet came to invoking the 25th Amendment. That is next.




LEMON: Alarming testimony to the January 6 Committee revealing just how seriously the 25th Amendment was being considered inside the cabinet following the attack on the Capitol.

Back with me now, Alex Burns, Carrie Cordero, and Charlie Dent. So, Alex, you first. Hutchinson testifying that then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Meadows after the riot that cabinet secretaries were discussing invoking the 25th.

Pompeo is a staunch Trump loyalist. They knew in the moment that the president's behavior was such that he could not be trusted to carry out his duties, even the small amount of time left in his term.

BURNS: That's right. You know, it's something that has been reported in the past, including in our book, that Republican congressional leaders were talking about the 25th Amendment. Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy studied the option and inquired for intelligence on the night of January 6th about whether it was on the table in the cabinet.

We reported that Republican senators were talking to White House officials, including the White House counsel, about the possibility of the 25th Amendment.

This is the most important public on the record confirmation so far, Don, that a figure as prominent in the demonstration, as the sitting secretary of state, was allegedly contemplating that as an option. This is with, at the time, 14 days -- less than 14 days left on the president's term.

People absolutely closest to him and involved in the most sensitive operations in the administration did not believe that he could -- did not have the confidence that he could be trusted to hang on to the presidency for that much longer.

LEMON: Carrie, we learned that Trump's closest allies, including Meadows and Ivanka Trump, wanted him to give his January 7th speech in part to tamp down the threat of this cabinet trying to oust him. But Hutchinson revealed it went through several drafts. Listen to this.


HUTCHINSON: There were several lines that didn't make it in there, about prosecuting the rioters or calling them violent. He didn't want that in there. He wanted to put in there that he wanted to potentially pardon them.

This is just with the increased emphasis of his mindset at the time, which was he didn't think that they did anything wrong. The people who did something wrong that day or the person who did something wrong that day was Mike Pence by not standing with him.


LEMON: So, let's talk about it legally. Anything in those drafts or conversations that could expose him?

CORDERO: Well, just going back, Don, to the context, which was the conversation over the 25th Amendment, you know, I never thought that the 25th Amendment was really the right remedy, and to the extent that the committee is exploring it through the testimony, it is useful from creating a historical record perspective.

But I think what Ms. Hutchinson's testimony shows is that it wasn't that he was unable to effectuate the duties of the office, which is what the 25th Amendment is about, it is that he didn't want to. What he wanted was for the rioters to storm the Capitol. What he wanted was to remain in office despite the outcome of the national election.

So, I think what it shows is that first of all the cabinet never did invoke the 25th Amendment. So, whether people talked about it, they never actually did it, and I think her testimony shows exactly what it is that he was trying to achieve leading up and on January 6th.

LEMON: Charlie, even as the country is still reeling from the insurrection, Trump wanted to pardon the rioters. I mean, what does that say about his state of mind?


DENT: Well, again, you know, he was behaving so recklessly and so dangerously that those closest to him actually thought about having him removed from office.

And Don, what has frustrated me when I was in Congress during the Trump administration is that how many times I would speak with people who are close to this president, Donald Trump, and would tell me how crazy he was. They would say crazy. They would just say it. And I would tell my friends at home who would ask me, it's much worse than you think.

And that is what we just got more of today. The fact that he wanted to pardon people who violently attacked the Capitol and assaulting police officers just speaks to his disconnection from reality on what happened at that time and how consequential this all is and was and remains. So, it's almost inexplicable that he would even contemplate a pardon for people who committed such horrific criminal acts on that day.

LEMON: I enjoyed this conversation. Thanks to all of you. We will get more time next time. Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

It is election night in America and primary results are coming in. We've got the latest. That's next.




LEMON: Guess what? It is election night in America and results are coming in from some high-profile races. In New York, CNN projects Congressman Lee Zeldin will win the republican gubernatorial primary, defeating Rudy Giuliani's son, Andrew Giuliani.

And Republicans in Colorado are rejecting 2020 election denier, a 2020 election denier, in the race to be their next secretary of state. CNN is projecting Pam Anderson will win the GOP nomination, beating out Tina Peters, who pleaded not guilty after being indicted earlier this year on 10 counts related to voting machine tampering allegations. So, now you have it.

Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.