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Don Lemon Tonight

Pat Cipollone Sat For Seven Hours With House Committee; January 6 Committee Skip Some Questions; FBI Will Follow The Facts; President Biden Signed An Executive Order; World Mourns The Loss Of A Great Leader. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 08, 2022 - 22:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: And this is DON LEMON TONIGHT. I'm Laura Coates in for Don Lemon.

More than seven hours, seven hours. That's how long Pat Cipollone was behind doors talking to the January 6th committee. More than seven hours. Now you can ask, and frankly you can answer a lot of questions in seven plus hours. That could amount to what? Hundreds of pages of transcript? So, what exactly went on behind closed doors for all of those seven hours? What did the committee learn from the Trump White House counsel?


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Mr. Cipollone did appear voluntarily and answer a whole variety of questions. He did not contradict the testimony of other witnesses. And I think we did learn a few things which we will be rolling out in hearings to come.


COATES: My ears perked up on the idea of answering questions, so, now, Congresswoman Lofgren went on to say that not contradicting is not the same as confirming. More on that.

And two people familiar with Pat Cipollone's testimony says the committee didn't ask him if he told Cassidy Hutchinson on January 6 that they would, quote, "get charged with every crime imaginable," unquote, if they went to the capitol. And he would not have confirmed that, apparently, confirmed that statement if they had asked the question.

Now you also heard the congresswoman say that some of what they learned from Pat Cipollone today will be rolling out in the future hearings to come. So, will we be hearing and maybe seeing? Remember it was videotaped as well some of his testimony as soon as next week. And will the former president be watching?

You got to figure this is one witness that he really, really hoped would not cooperate with this committee. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Our committee is certain that Donald Trump does not want Mr. Cipollone to testify here.


COATES: Well, I want to bring in CNN congressional correspondent Ryan Nobles here tonight. Ryan, good to see you.

Seven hours, first of all, is a long time. And we're told he answered some questions. So, you've got some new information on Pat Cipollone's critical interview with the committee today. What can you tell us, Ryan?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Laura. I fact, just in the last hour we've learned quite a bit about what went on in this interview with Pat Cipollone as you mentioned, that went on for more than seven hours. And I'm told from committee sources that Cipollone was asked very specific questions about his view about Donald Trump's conduct on January 6th and whether or not it was responsible for him to go to the capitol on that day.

And also, that the committee believes that Cipollone was able to help them put together a picture of just the dereliction of duty that the committee believes that Donald Trump was a part of on January 6 and not springing into action when trouble was happening at the capitol on that day.

Now, sources close to Pat Cipollone say that they do took issue with this idea that he didn't contradict any of the hearing -- or the testimony, I should say, from other witnesses, Cassidy Hutchinson in particular. They say there were specific questions that the committee didn't even ask him, as you point out that they didn't ask him about that specific conversation that he had with Cassidy Hutchinson about the potential legal ramifications about going to the capitol on that day.

But the committee says that this interview was really focused more on Cipollone's perspective of that day, the conduct that he witnessed and the advice that he gave.

So, there is a little bit of back and forth and interpretation as to how this interview was conducted. But in the grand scheme of things, Laura, the committee believes they learned a lot and they also, a preview, that we should expect to see much of this testimony in clips in the hearings that are to come.

COATES: You know, a really important point about the idea of one we always talk about as lawyers you never want to ask a question you know the answer to, but at times maybe you don't want to ask the question that you might not get the answer you want even though transparency is obviously the goal, and the idea of perspective, so important here. His whole job here in testifying is not just to buttress someone else's testimony but to actually learn about how he felt his perspective. It's really an important point. Ryan, Cassidy Hutchinson testified about Pat Cipollone's conversations with people like Mark Meadows while rioters were storming the capitol. Listen to this.


HUTCHINSON: 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 to see the president now. And Mark looked up and said he doesn't want to do anything, Pat. And Pat said something to the effect of and very clearly, 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.



COATES: Now let's remember, that Mark Meadows is also getting dozens of text messages around this same time pleading for the president to do something. I mean, Donald Trump, Jr. writing, he's got to condemn this shit ASAP. The capitol police tweet is not enough. And then this is one you go to the mattresses on. They will try to f his entire legacy if it gets worse. And former chief of staff Reince Priebus writing in all caps, tell them to go home. Now these are their words, of course not mine.

But Ryan, Pat Cipollone he had a front row seat to critical events, we're talking about seven hours today. The question has been around those 187 minutes while the attack unfolded and despite all of these calls Trump did nothing? This is the heart of the testimonial matter, right?

NOBLES: I don't think there is any doubt about that, Laura. And that's what the committee is focused on tonight. I mean, that's what I was told by sources told tonight, that they truly believe that Cipollone helps to piece together what they view as dereliction of duty by the former president on that day.

And we've known from our previous reporting that Cipollone was among a very small group of people that were in and out of that presidential dining room where Donald Trump was holding court on January 6, where he was watching television and watching the whole riot play out. And seemingly not taking action to try and quell the violence that was taking place on January 6.

So that could be a big part of what we see in the testimony in the days to come. These clips of Cipollone talking about that experience. And it's important to keep in mind that if, you know, through sources he is attempting to it, on some level refute Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony, you know, she said this under oath, on national television, millions of people saw what she had to say.

But also, Pat Cipollone as the White House counsel has the more important role than an aide to the chief of staff. So, his perspective, you know, what he saw was a firsthand witness, which is what the committee believes he is, that ultimately could become the most important testimony that we've seen up to this point in this investigation by the January 6th select committee.

COATES: Ryan, well stated. Thank you so much.

I want to turn to the Nixon White House council, John Dean and of course, special Watergate prosecutor, Nick Akerman.

Glad to have both of you here tonight.

I mean, really important to think about just the gravity assigned to a testimony from one, like a White House counsel like Pat Cipollone. I mean, more than seven hours.

Now, John, of course, I know compared to the way you testified in Watergate and several days, you know, eight hours a day, this might seem like small potatoes, but the fact that it was seven hours do you think his interview with the committee would have lasted that long if he was just essentially saying privilege or the fifth, kind of like Flynn did at that moment in time. This actually means there may have been some meat on the bone, right?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think there probably was given the time span involved. I can tell you from personal experience, decades later checking, I gave about 60,000 words in about seven hours of testimony.

So, you can cover a lot of ground and it's very difficult for us at this stage to tease out what was or what was not really confirmed or what new information the committee, I think, smartly, is holding it very close to its vest.

Congresswoman Lofgren she did hint that he was cooperative, that there were no serious conflicts that appeared to her. But I think that's generally what we'd want to hear. So, I think it's a good day for everybody. The investigation is going forward. It appears they have solid new evidence and we will have to stay tuned, Laura.

COATES: We certainly will. I mean, Nick, I want to turn to you, because I want to play, here's a key moment from Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony. Listen to this.


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.

CHENEY: And do you remember which crimes Mr. Cipollone was concerned with?

HUTCHINSON: In the days leading up to the 6th we had conversations about potentially obstructing justice or defrauding the electoral count.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COATES: Well, now, Nick, of course, sources telling CNN that the select committee didn't specifically ask Cipollone about that particular comment from Hutchinson. And many people are wondering well, why wouldn't you ask him that question? Isn't that what people want to know, the very thing of what were you afraid of actually being charged? Why not ask the question, do you think?


NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Well, I think they may have asked the question. We don't know for sure that that question in substance wasn't asked. I mean, certainly, they could of asked it even going another way around it by just bringing out the fact that Donald Trump wanted to go up there. That Cipollone was concerned about various violations and where it would Trump in terms of being at the capitol.

But I think a lot of this can be brought out by other things that Cipollone said, did and knew. The general overall point being one, he wanted to go to the capitol. Two, that was a bad idea, three, he was not doing anything about the violence which is totally consistent with the idea that Donald Trump knew that his supporters had weapons with them.

He knew that they could perpetrate violence at the capitol and he also knew that his vice president was not going to throw out the electoral vote. So that the only way he could stop it was through the violence. And so, not doing anything is consistent with the idea of letting the violence go ahead and letting the violence attempt to stop the count of the electoral vote.

COATES: I mean, the more circuitous rather. You talk about it's not one that's just, you know, plainly, sort of, all who wander are not lost, the idea of going around that notion of trying to get to the same point to be able to present the testimony overall.

The way we've seen, John, in many respects of, you know, to sort of splicing in testimony here and there to confirm to buttress credibility as all. I mean, Zoe Lofgren says that they learned some new information tonight from Pat Cipollone.

What would be the most damning thing that he could have said that might implicate Donald Trump? I mean, this is a -- this is somebody as we're all talking about -- talking about the front row seat. I mean, he is in the room where it happens so much so that he would be the person who might have the ear of the President of the United States.

DEAN: Well, the most damaging thing in your question that you raised would probably be that Trump was ready to lead an armed attack on the Congress. I think in essence that's what he had in mind. Some sort of militia that would join him and he would go in and take control of the government. I mean, it's just crazy.

But Donald Trump is not known for his sound thinking about how government operates and how indeed he should operate. So, it could be anything. And I think that, probably the person who did the most good today was Cipollone for himself, by coming up there and having a full exchange with the committee, the committee is satisfied with what they got. That's good for Pat Cipollone.

Now, we all hope that he has revealed information that tells us what happened that day and it will be a good day for the country, too.

COATES: Well, of course he was the White House counsel at that time. I mean, by nature of his position it is supposed to think about the institution, about the integrity of it in the long run as well.

DEAN: Right.

COATES: So, one would hope that honesty was there. Nick, to you, and finally, Cipollone, I mean, we talk a lot about January 6th, understandably so, but he was also in that key Oval Office meeting on January 3rd when Trump was considering making Jeffrey Clark the acting A.G. And the top DOJ official Richard Donoghue testified that Cipollone called Clark's draft letter falsely claimed and the DOJ found some evidence of election fraud he called it a murder suicide pact.

What do you think the committee may have asked about from that meeting today? That's a pretty important moment.

AKERMAN: Yes, I think it is. And I think they went through it in pretty much good detail is my guess. I mean, they had very detailed testimony already from Jeff Rosen, who was the acting attorney general, they had it from his deputy. They knew all of the details.

And I get the sense, also, that Cipollone in his informal discussions with the committee back a month or two ago, basically told them what happened on that occasion. I mean, there is no executive privilege there. Everything was already revealed.

And so, I think that Cipollone probably did give a very detailed account of what happened at that moment all of which related to all other aspects of what Donald Trump was doing with the phony electors, his effort to try and get the states to send new electors that would be pro-Trump as opposed to the Biden electors that were rightfully elected by the states.

And I think once you get into that meeting it sort of relates to everything else that we know that was going on leading up to the meeting and what happened after the meeting. So, I wouldn't be surprise if they actually started there and moved out from that particular meeting.


COATES: Yes. I think you're right. One thing occurs to people or should occur to people is, just as you and I, and really the world is able to watch these hearings and know what people like Donoghue or Jeffrey Rosen or Cassidy Hutchinson have said on the record, he, too, could be watching it. It's not like a regular trial where you're not really knowing what the other person is saying. He is also virtually now in the room where these hearings are happening. So, he'd have a vested interest and essentially knowing what to get right.

Thank you, gentleman. Nice to talk to both of you. We'll stay along with you. Thank you.

AKERMAN: Thank you.

DEAN: Thank you.

COATES: But the question now really is, I mean, just how damaging and impactful or persuasive could Pat Cipollone's testimony be. I really want to know how much is he telling.

Plus, the director of the FBI tells CNN that their investigation of January 6th is going to follow the facts wherever they lead.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, U.S. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: We're going to have to act, that's the rule of law. That's what the rule of law is all about.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: And does that mean anybody, anybody who was involved at all levels?




COATES: Former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone giving more than seven hours of videotaped transcribed testimony to the January 6th committee. Of course, it happened behind closed doors but it happened.

And sources say that he was one of a handful of the people in the dining room where the then president watched the capitol riot unfold on TV. So what could it mean for the committee to get this kind of glimpse into the Trump inner circle on a day like that?

Joining me now to discus, Chris Whipple. He is the author of the book "The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden's White House".

Chris, nice to have you here today. You know, look, people are wondering whether his testimony might be a John Dean moment. Obviously, John Dean and Cipollone, both White House counsel in very different eras for very different presidents. But he was in fact a reluctant witness.

What do you think about the fact that only now are we really hearing this moment and what could it possibly mean for his inner circle, the fact that he even presented himself to give testimony?

CHRIS WHIPPLE, AUTHOR, THE FIGHT OF HIS LIFE: Well, it could be devastating. We are going to find out pretty soon. But I think that it's important that we should not run out and lionize Pat Cipollone. You know, I was interested to hear my friend John Dean giving him brownie points for coming forward, but he came forward reluctantly.

He is a long time Trump loyalist. He was all in on Trump's shakedown of Volodymyr Zelenskyy denying weapons unless he got dirt on Joe Biden. We shouldn't forget all of that. So it's hard to say.

But you know, having said all of that, you have to sympathize with a guy in his position. I used to think that the worst job imaginable was being Donald Trump's White House chief of staff.

Reince Priebus told me, take everything you know and multiply it by 50. But imagine being Donald Trump's White House counsel. I mean, who in his right mind would sign up for that job? So, you know, a little sympathy is in order here. And obviously, he knows a lot and it could be devastating for Trump, Meadows, and the rest of the inner circle.

COATES: I mean, you wrote the book, really, on president's chief of staff. I mean, the idea of knowing how important their role would be if you are a Mark Meadows in a case like this. But you were right about the importance, of course, in this context of the person whose job it would be to legally advise the president, particularly about things like, I don't know, handling over the keys to the castle because the electoral says it's time to do so.

I mean, the committee Zoe Lofgren, Congresswoman Zo Lofgren says Cipollone did not contradict Hutchinson's testimony. Said that. And that he revealed new information. Now you know what these discussions can be like between White House officials. Can you explain a little bit about the kind of access that a Cipollone may have had compared to maybe even a Mark Meadows would have had? Would it been more of an intimate one-on-one moment in terms of the advice and counsel, and conversations for say, a Cipollone and Meadows may have been outside the room at times? What is that like?

WHIPPLE: Well, I would say that next to Mark Meadows, Cipollone probably knows more than anyone about what went on in the Oval Office. Maybe you could put Jared Kushner and Ivanka in that category as well. But he would know an awful lot. And he obviously is being very careful about what he shares with the committee.


WHIPPLE: And so we'll just have to see how that turns out. But you know, what's fascinating to me about Cipollone, and I write about this in my upcoming book on the Biden White House, is that during the final days of the Trump White House there were a number of staffers in the West Wing who were trying to make the peaceful transfer of power take place. They were doing it sometimes secretly, you know, under Trump's nose. Cipollone was clearly one of those people.

But of course, you have to ask yourself given the horrors of January 6th whether maybe he should've pushback sooner and harder.

COATES: Well, that's the question that everyone is asking and wondering. You talk about not wanting to give either brownie points or participation awards for simply showing up at a time like this. I know your book delves into the deeper there will be questions about that throughout the hearings.

Nice talking to you Chris, thank you so much.

WHIPPLE: Great to be with you.

COATES: Look, the FBI director is speaking to CNN and the FBI director is warning about the rise in political violence. Stay with us to find out more.


WRAY: There are way, way too many people in today's world who are taking their very passionately held views and manifesting them through violence.




COATES: FBI director Christopher Wray issuing a disturbing warning tonight about political violence in the United States. He is also weighing in on the Justice Department's investigation of January 6th. Saying they are going to follow the facts wherever they lead.

Now, here is part of Wray's interview with CNN's Evan Perez.


PEREZ: The question that has risen from the recent hearings makes it clear that the former president was very involved in at least trying to help make sure that the election results were overturned. What's your -- what's your thinking about, you know, the FBI's process of looking, you know, at everyone who may have had a role in what happened on January 6th.


WRAY: January 6th was a reflection of a brooder phenomenal that we see in our country today, which is that, there are way, way too many people who are willing to take their ideological, social or political grievances, perhaps very earnestly felt and manifest them through violence.

And in our system, there is a right way and a wrong way to express when you are angry or upset about something. And it doesn't matter whether you are upset about an election, upset about a trial, upset about the criminal justice system, upset about any issue.

In the case of January 6th, those things plus interference with a sacred part of our constitutional process then we are going to have to act. That's the rule of law. That's what the rule of law is all about.

PEREZ: And does it mean anybody, anybody who was involved at all levels? WRAY: So, we are going to follow the facts wherever they lead. No

matter who likes it. We are going to follow the law. I'm not going to comment on any spectacular individual who may or may not be under investigation. We're going to let the facts speak for themselves as the investigations develop. And if there are charges against individuals the public will see that through the charges at the Justice Department.


COATES: And Evan Perez joins me now. Evan, I mean, you asked Wray about people at all levels there. We know the next public hearing from the committee is focusing on extremists, right? And connections that might there to the White House. I'm wondering, is the DOJ prepared to really act, I mean, criminally prosecute if evidence is shown during these hearings and there is evidence of that connection, are they going to go there?

PEREZ: Look, I think what he is opening the door, or certainly leaving the door open for is to follow exactly that path if that evidence is there. And you have heard this from Lisa Monaco from the deputy attorney general who told us earlier this year that they are going to look at this effort to put up fake electors.

And of course, we saw in recent weeks, we've soon some of the subpoenas being delivered, we saw federal agents raiding the home of Jeffrey Clark who was very much involved in all of this effort. So, you see, you are familiar with how the Justice Department works and these guys do their work, which is, you know, they go from the bottom up.

And you know, they've got plenty of time to investigate. I know there are a lot of people who are very impatient with the pace of this. But you can tell that, you know, Chris Wray and some of the other officials who are overseeing all of this they have a lot of patience because they want to make sure they get it right. It's not, obviously, if you get to that level you have to make sure you have everything right.

COATES: I did notice he made the statement of, you know, follow the facts, essentially no matter who likes it. You know, a kind of akin, a close cousin to the idea of without favor or political favor just following the facts.


COATES: You heard from A.G. Merrick Garland time and time again. Even, he also commented on the July 4th parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. What did he tell you about that tragedy?

PEREZ: You know, one of the interesting things about this conversation, Laura, is that he brought it back to, you know, the fight that the FBI and the Justice Department had on their hands with radicalization from foreign terrorist groups, ISIS and some of those groups. And he compares today to the same phenomenon -- to the phenomenon that we're living with these mass shootings by people, some of them who are inspired by racism, anti-Semitism, anti-black, bias.

And, you know, this is what they are dealing with because, you know, as we have heard in the July 4th shooting repeatedly this person was able to get guns despite the fact that there were clear signs that he should not have been able to.

And so, what Wray told me today was, you know, they are trying to apply some of the same tactics that they used then to this current problem. Obviously, it's a different issue, right? There are no material support law that could -- that could get you to get, to cut off some of the people before they strike.

But he says, you know, we want people to if they see something wrong with a family member, they need to say something. Because that's the only way the FBI and prosecutors are going to be able to stop the next Uvalde, the next Highland Park.

COATES: Well, there is that see something, say something, and then of course what's incumbent upon the government is to do something about what's been told, you know.

PEREZ: To do something.

COATES: Only you can look this sharp at three o'clock in the morning in London. Even Perez.

PEREZ: Thank you.

COATES: Nice seeing you.

President Biden is signing an executive order on abortion. But can it actually protect women and girls and their access the medical care that they need?



COATES: President Biden signing an executive order today aimed at protecting abortion rights. It attempts to safeguard access to emergency conception, as well as protect patient privacy and bolster the legal opinions and options available to both patients and doctors.

The executive order comes amid mounting pressure on the administration to take action after, of course, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the Dobbs decision just last month. President Biden said the court's decision was a call for women to head to the polls.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: When you read the decision, the court has made clear, it will not protect the rights of women. Period. Period. After having made the decision based on a reading of a document that was frozen in time in the 1860s, when women didn't even have the right to vote. The court now, now, practically dares the women of America to go to the ballot box and restore the very rights they've just taken away.


COATES: For more, I want to bring in former Texas State Senator, Wendy Davis. I'm so glad you're here. A lot of people were focusing on this issue out of Texas, long before we even knew about the Dobbs decision or of course overturning Roe v. Wade.

And as you know, Wendy, Biden's order lists a few goals. I mean, you can see them on the screen. But the question many people have is, how are they intending to be able to accomplish this? I mean, much of it is being left of course to the Health and Human Services Department. How far is this going to go in actually protecting abortion rights do you think?

WENDY DAVIS (D), FORMER TEXAS STATE SENATOR: You know, Laura, I think what the executive order did today was try to create some clarification of protection around people who are able to leave states where abortion is illegal and travel to other states to receive that care. Protecting the confidentiality of their Google searches, for example, for example, protecting the confidentiality of a doctor who may treat a patient from another state.

But it falls far short of protecting people who need care in states like mine, who cannot afford the privilege and luxury of being able to travel. We know that most women who access abortion care are low income, are in their 20s, and most of them already have children. And the hurdles that they face in traveling hundreds of miles to receive care are overwhelming.

I understand that President Biden is encouraging us all to vote, and I know people are feeling incredibly motivated to vote as a consequence of this decision. And our anger and are upset about it are one thing. But I do also believe that we need to see Democrats fighting with every tool possible to motivate us to step up and get behind Democrats who are running because we believe that they are going to bring solutions to the table.

COATES: So, what are those changed tactics you are talking about? And the idea of a fight? What does the fight look like? Obviously, the White House has some constrains in terms of what it can put for it because of obvious separation of powers, but what do you think at the state level in particular?

I mean, one of the things that has been suggested, abortion rights advocates have suggested, that in states, for example, where abortion is banned, the White House should allow abortion services then on federal land. Now Biden has dismissed this idea, but is that one vehicle, and one area to that in?

DAVIS: You know, I think -- I think that it is and I think it's something that should be tested. What I find so interesting, Laura, and frustrating, as a person who has not been involved in partisan politics for a long time, is that Republicans don't worry about the rules before they proceed headlong into whatever it is they are hoping to achieve.

And Democrats, we tend to be rule followers, and we think of all the hurdles in front of us before we decide we are going to take action, rather than boldly moving forward and dealing with the hurdles as they come.

And yes, there may be some significant hurdles when it comes to using federal properties for providing abortion care, or telemedicine abortion care to women. There also has been the suggestion that a public health emergency could be declared so that doctors out of state could provide telemedicine support to women who live in antiabortion states like mine.

And I think these have to be explored, and we should be testing every boundary possible, and taking them wherever they may lead us. But at the very least, demonstrating that we are going to fight and go to the map for people who so desperately will need this care and will not be able to receive it.

COATES: Wendy, if we've learned anything from what's happened in the last summer with the abortion laws in Texas or what we've seen the Supreme Court as of late, it seems like it's an advantageous tactic to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, to your point entirely.

And sadly, I want to remind our viewers of course, and you know this as well, as we're talking about the rights of women, we must include the fact that there are girls, minors, who are also impacted by these decisions. Crimes committed against them, where they found themselves having to find resources that are not there, and means to travel as minors to try to access care.

Thank you, Wendy. I want that reminder to remain in people's minds.

DAVIS: Absolutely.


COATES: Japan's longest serving prime minister was assassinated. Shot to death in the middle of a speech. We have the latest on the investigation, next.


COATES: President Biden mourning former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot and killed while giving a campaign speech in central Japan. The president ordering flags to half-staff and referring to Abe as his friend in a speech today.


BIDEN: Service to his country and his people was in his bones. Even after he stepped down from public office, his focus on his health, he stayed engaged. He cared deeply. I hold him in great respect.


COATES: Abe's death sending shockwaves across Japan, a country with some of the world's strictest gun laws.

Here is CNN's Will Ripley.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A campaign speech in central Japan, one of many in the long career of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. But this would be his last. The country's longest serving prime minister and one of Japan's most high-profile figures, laying on the ground, shot twice, bleeding profusely from wounds in the neck and chest. He would later die after being rushed to the hospital, a team of 20 doctors unable to save him.

His alleged attacker, 41-year-old Yamagami Tatsuya, also lay nearby, tackled by security. Police say he had a handmade gun and similar pistol like items in his own. They are investigating his motive.

KAZUHISA YAMAMURA, NARA PREFECTURAL POLICE (through translator): The suspect confessed that he had committed the act as he had a grudge against a specific organization and believe the former Prime Minister Abe was part of it.

RIPLEY (voice-over): A shooting is almost unthinkable in Japan. Guns are strictly controlled here, it's a long and complicated process to buy one involving classes, background checks, mental health evaluations, and drug screenings. It's resulted in one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

In Japan, there were only 10 shootings last year with only one death. In the United States, that figure exponentially higher. According to the Gun Violence Archive, firearms were responsible for more than 45,000 deaths last year in the United States.

Keep in mind, Japan has about 40 percent of the U.S. population. The U.S. is also eclipsing Japan in the number of guns in the country. In Japan, there are 0.3 guns for every 100 people. In the U.S., 120 guns. That is more guns than people.

Disbelief on the streets of Tokyo. A crime most people here only hear about in other countries, not their own.

UNKNOWN (through translator): It's unbelievable to see an attack like this in Japan, which is very safe. It's unbelievable that somebody was walking around with a gun like that.

UNKNOWN (through translator): There are many gun crimes happening abroad, but I never imagined it would happen in Japan.

RIPLEY (voice-over): At the scene of the shooting, mourners laid flowers for the former leader. Some shedding tears for the man who was widely admired at times controversial and one whose death weighs heavily on a country unfamiliar with the grief of gun violence.


RIPLEY (on camera): For decades, Japanese politicians, even high- profile ones, have been able to get up close and personal with their constituents, that's how elections work here. But there are now a lot of questions about what will be changing in Japan, a nation that is so safe.

When I lived there, I never once felt nervous. Whether it's walking around in the middle of the night, big city, small town, you see young kids going to school by themselves, some as young as five years old taking the subway because it's just that safe. And that is why this crime, Laura, is just really shocking and unsettling for people who live in Japan and those who know that country and love that country.

COATES: Even in a country where we have far more pervasive problem with guns, it is still stunning to see this. Will, Abe was the longest serving prime minister in Japan, and he was still very much a leading political figure. I mean, he was giving a stump speech when he was assassinated. Do we know if this is a factor in the suspect's motive for the shooting?

RIPLEY: It's a good question. There are more than 90 police officers on this case, and they have been interrogating the suspect, this 41- year-old unemployed man. And he said that his motivation was not Shinzo Abe's politics. He has specifically said that's not why he held a grudge against him, he says he held a grudge against Abe because he thought that Abe was a part of some unspecified organization that his mother may have donated a lot of money to.

And he thought that Shinzo Abe was somehow connected with that and therefore he felt that he needed to assemble these homemade weapons, shoot him, and assassinate him, the first political assassination that Japan has seen in many, many decades, Laura.

COATES: Unbelievable. Thank you, Will, for your reporting. We're all be captivated by this, an assassination of the former Japanese prime minister, shocking. Thank you.

More than seven hours of testimony here in the United States of America and from who? The former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone. So, what is he telling the January 6th committee?



COATES: Former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone testifying for more than seven hours behind closed doors today.

I want to bring in CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein, and former U.S. attorney, Harry Litman. Good to see you both.

Harry, you and I were talking earlier, on your podcast. Nice to see you again here tonight. Harry, look, there's some new reporting tonight, right, CNN learning from two sources that the committee didn't directly, didn't directly ask Pat Cipollone if he told then White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson that the day of the attack that they would, quote, "get charged with every crime imaginable if they would've gone down to the capitol." Any idea as to why they wouldn't ask that? Was that maybe there were asking around it, tiptoeing, not knowing what he might say? What's the logic of not coming right out and saying did you say it?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Look, I agree, it was a little bit perplexing, they obviously tapped around it, and it's not just that one. She said that he didn't contradict anyone, but also that's not the same as confirming. There are normal reason as a lawyer you would know this as well, you know, better than I, is you don't want to get that bad sound bite that even if they don't display it can be used down the line.


So, they somehow lacked confidence that he would really give them what they wanted. Still in all, this is their chance, why not take it giving the upside.