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Don Lemon Tonight

The January 6 House Select Committee Holds Its Seventh Public Hearing. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired July 12, 2022 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: The January 6 Committee in a powerful presentation laying out former President Trump's plans to rally his supporters to descend on Washington on January 6th with the help of allies who supported his bogus claim of election fraud. The committee saying the evidence confirms that Trump's call to march on the Capitol was not a spontaneous call to action.

More now from CNN's Ryan Nobles.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The January 6 Select Committee used their seventh public hearing to build the case that Donald Trump had a plan to call his supporters to Washington to march on the Capitol and stand in the way of certifying the 2020 election.

One witness, Stephen Ayres, who has since pleaded guilty to entering the Capitol illegally, said he answered to Trump's call.

STEPHEN AYRES, PARTICIPATED IN JANUARY 6 CAPITOL RIOT: We didn't actually plan to go down there. You know, we went basically to see the "stop the steal" rally and that was it.

REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): So, why did you decide to march to the Capitol?

AYRES: Basically, you know, the president got everybody riled up, told everybody to head on down. So, we basically -- we just followed what he said.

NOBLES (voice-over): The committee unveiling never before seen depositions and communications among Trump insiders, showing that the former president ignored the advice of his own advisers and instead leaned on the council of election deniers like Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, and Rudy Giuliani.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: I'm going to categorically describe it as, you guys aren't tough enough, or maybe I'll put it another way, you're a bunch of pussies. Excuse the expression, but I'm almost certain that word was used.

NOBLES (voice-over): The committee arguing Trump knew he lost the election but was driven to overturn the results anyway.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): President Trump is a 76-year-old man. He is not an impressionable child. Just like everyone else in our country, he is responsible for his own actions and his own choices.

NOBLES (voice-over): A drive that led to (INAUDIBLE) meeting at the White House in the middle of December, when Trump wanted to name Attorney Sidney Powell as special counsel in order to seize voting machines.

SIDNEY POWELL, CONSPIRACY THEORIST: The president said, okay, you know, (INAUDIBLE) and I'm giving her security clearance.

NOBLES (voice-over): Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone testifying that he was displeased to see people like Powell and Flynn in the Oval Office and told Trump naming Powel special counsel was a grave mistake.

PAT CIPOLLONE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: To have the federal government seize voting machines is a terrible idea. That is not how we do things in the United States. There's no legal authority to do that. I don't think any of these people were providing the president with good advice. So, I didn't understand how they had gotten in.

NOBLES (voice-over): Cipollone also describing his frustration dealing with people who couldn't produce any evidence of widespread voter fraud.

CIPOLLONE: I disregard, I would say a general disregard, for the importance of actually backing up things, say, you know, facts.

NOBLES (voice-over): Afterward, Trump shifting gears but not backing down from his pursuit of pushing election lies, tweeting the next day an invitation to his supporters to descend on Washington on January 6th.

MURPHY: Be there, will be wild, the president wrote.

NOBLES (voice-over): The committee also presenting a draft tweet obtained from the National Archives showing Trump planned before January 6th to tell his supporters, please arrive early, massive crowds expected.


March to the Capitol after. This, despite members of Trump's cabinet and inner circle testifying that they told Trump he lost the election and he should concede to Biden after the electoral college met in mid- December.

EUGENE SCALIA, FORMER TRUMP LABOR SECRETARY: I conveyed to him that I thought that it was time for him to acknowledge that President Biden had prevailed in the election.

CIPOLLONE: If your question is, did I believe he should concede the election at that point in time, yes, I did.

NOBLES (on camera): The committee plans to hold another hearing next week and it could be a big one. That is when the committee plans to outline what they describe as Donald Trump's dereliction of duty during the 187 minutes that the Capitol was under siege.

And the committee concluded the hearing that took place on Tuesday with a little bit of a tease ahead to that, and also a note about a potential witness who they say was called out of the blue by the former president, Donald Trump. They say that witness declined a call and then informed his attorney, who then informed the committee. The committee has referred that information to the Department of Justice for possible witness intimidation. Don?


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

I want to bring in now two police officers who defended the Capitol on January 6th. Both were injured. Michael Fanone is a former D.C. Metropolitan police officer. He is now a CNN law enforcement analyst. And Sergeant Aquilino Gonell is with the Capitol Police. Today, the January 6 Committee honored his heroism. His injuries have forced him to leave his job.

Gentlemen, thank you. I appreciate you joining us this evening. Mike, I'm going to start with you because you are both in today's hearing, sitting with your former colleague, Officer Harry Dunn. The details were incredible, disturbing when it comes to how premeditated and coordinated the January 6th attack was. What was it like to sit there in that room and hear that today?

MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: I mean, it just confirmed what -- what I think each and every one of these hearings has, you know, has led us to -- to understand that violence was part of the plan all along, that the president or former president and those in his inner circle like Mark Meadows knew that violence was going to be or play a part on January 6th and that nothing to stop it, and in that, they supported the violence that was, you know, eventually played out on January 6th.

The other takeaway for me was the -- just absolute cowardice on behalf of each and every member of the Trump administration when it came to calling out the -- place inside of Trump's White House. I had waited 18 months to hear from these people. I can't understand it.

LEMON: You cut out a little bit there. You said the acts that played out in the White House and why did you have to wait months to hear from these people, you can't understand it, correct? Did I get that correct?

FANONE: Yes, sir.

LEMON: Yeah. We're having a little bit of trouble, so guys may want to try to fix the signal while I talk to Sergeant Gonell here. Sergeant, you know, you wrote an op-ed in "The New York Times" this weekend titled "I Was Betrayed by President Trump." What was the impact on you of today's testimony?

AQUILINO GONELL, CAPITOL POLICE: Well, thanks for having me on, Don. Good to see you again. The impact that January 6th had on my life is pretty much every single part of my life had been ended. You know, the long recovery, the painful physical therapy, the mental trauma, not being able to perform my job like I normally was doing on January 6th and before to the point that it -- I had gotten to a point that I'm no longer able to fulfill that job in my normal capacity, and therefore, I've been recommended to (INAUDIBLE) by my doctors and my mental health provider as well.

Just like Mr. Ayres, he is trying to get along with his life and get back to normal. January 6th, for me, it wasn't just January 6th.


It has been ongoing and continues to be. And even if I leave the department and when I do leave the department, I see how to be involved with some of the investigations and things like that and trial in the future. So, it is not going to end for me, for a lot of people that were there that day, and that's it.

LEMON: And you know what --

GONELL: As you --

LEMON: Yes. Sergeant, I want to get to Ayres in a second. You talked about not being able to perform your duties, right, and we'll talk about Ayres in a while. I just want -- Congressman Jamie Raskin addressed your situation at the end of today's hearing. I want you to listen to what he said, and then we will discuss.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Last month, on June 28th, Sergeant Gonell's team of doctors told him that permanent injuries he has suffered to his left shoulder and right foot now make it impossible for him to continue as a police officer. He must leave policing for good and figure out the rest of his life.

Sergeant Gonell, we wish you and your family all the best. We are here for you. We salute you for your valor, your eloquence, and your beautiful commitment to America.


LEMON: You said you want to move on. How do you move on? This is a job that you love, sergeant?

GONELL: Today was very emotional because prior to me going to the hearing, I was in a room with the FBI agents going over some trial prep and stuff like that. I've done police work for 16 years, beginning my 17 just last month. I was getting ready and excited, too, because I found out a couple weeks ago that I also passed the lieutenant test based on my scores. And instead of me celebrating that, now I had to plan possibly my life after being a police officer because my career has come to a halt because of January 6 and the person who perpetrated it is still in Mar-a-Lago, living the life and don't care -- didn't care about how many lives he ruined just for his loss of power.

LEMON: And still saying that he won an election that he lost.

GONELL: Correct.

LEMON: It is something that got the people --

GONELL: Correct.

LEMON: -- to march to the Capitol.

Mike, I want to talk to you.

GONELL: Correct.

LEMON: I was talking to Sergeant Gonell. He mentioned Stephen Ayres, a Capitol rioter who testified today. And when the hearing was over, this happened. You said that it caught you off guard. So, tell me about this moment and what was said. I know I spoke to you after the hearing and I -- but I want our audience to hear what you thought of this.

FANONE: I don't remember exactly what Mr. Ayres said to me. Again, like I said, kind of caught me off guard. But I know that he did apologize. But I don't -- not to take away from his apology, but I'm not looking for apologies from anybody. I'm not looking for apologies from the people that assaulted me. I'm not looking for apologies from the former president or any of those that supported him on January 6th.

I just want accountability. People broke the law. I want them to go to jail. Period.

GONELL: Me, too.

FANONE: You know, I said if, you know, his apology to me didn't really do anything for me, I hope it did something for him. But, I mean, that is how I felt about it.

LEMON: Sergeant Gonell, go on. What was it like for you?

GONELL: I feel the same way, just like Mike said. But to be honest, I'm not a vindictive person. If that was generally done by him or as a photo op, that's on him. I know I could live with myself with the actions and the things that I did on January 6th. Somehow, in the future, he'll have to answer to the judge legally or to his maker when everything is said and done.

I know I'm trying to live with my life and move on based on my new circumstances. One of the things I'm planning to do, put in writing what happened to me. Hopefully, somebody picks it up. If not, I could live with that.

People need to learn from what happened on January six. One of the ways we can learn from it is if we investigate everything and hold those people who planned or orchestrated did something or didn't do something by action or inaction, then they should be held accountable.


LEMON: Right. Sergeant and Michael, thank you both, gentlemen. I appreciate it.


LEMON: Yeah, go ahead, Mike.

FANONE: Real quick, man. During today's testimony, I heard Pat Cipollone nominate the former vice president for the Presidential Medal of Freedom (INAUDIBLE).



FANONE: I just want to say this. You know, there was recently, you know, 17 individuals, I believe it was, that were nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom and since, you know, we are throwing out nominations, I think that Joe Biden forgot three very important names. Chief Robert Contee, III from the Metropolitan Police Department, Assistant Chief -- I'm sorry, Commander Robert Glover from the Metropolitan Police Department, and Commander Ramey Kyle from the Metropolitan Police Department.

GONELL: Right.

FANONE: If those who knew out there and the audience want to know whose responsible for our victory on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol, those are the three people that are intimately responsible. Joe Biden, get your head out of your behind and award those individuals the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen.

GONELL: One person wanting to include to that one is Inspector Lloyd from the U.S. Capitol Police.

LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you for what you did.

It may have been the craziest part of the plot to overturn our election. Why Pat Cipollone told the committee that's not how we do things in the United States.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: So, the January 6 Committee digging into the heated and -- quote -- "unhinged" Oval Office meeting in the lead up to January 6th, the December 18th gathering, including kraken lawyer Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, and Rudy Giuliani, focusing on wild ideas to overturn the election like invoking martial law and seizing voting machines, and now we know how then White House counsel Pat Cipollone reacted.

I want to discuss now with former assistant special Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman and Donell Harvin, the former head of Intelligence at the D.C. Homeland Security Department. Two perfect people to talk about this. Good evening. Thank you both for joining us this evening.

Nick, I'm going to start with. You -- in this new testimony from the White House counsel Pat Cipollone, what he said about the idea to seize voting machines, an idea that floated at that meeting, I want you to watch this.


CIPOLLONE: To have the federal government seize voting machines? That's a terrible idea for the country. That's not how we do things in the United States, there's no legal authority to do that.


LEMON: I mean, that was one of the wild ideas. Holy, you know. What the --

NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: He's absolutely right. I mean, there's no basis to do it. If you look at the actual order that Sidney Powell showed up with General Flynn, it basically goes on to say that there was probable cause of election fraud, which there was not.

It goes on to allow Sidney Powell to bring civil actions and criminal actions against anybody involved in this, which would have been a complete craziness. The idea that she could go out and just prosecute people willy-nilly and sue people willy-nilly for no real basis, I mean, look at the lawsuits that she brought all over the country, this was nuts!

And basically, I think what struck me about this was that finally, the normal people in the White House, the White House counsel and the people around the staff, prevailed upon Donald Trump to get rid of these clowns and to get them out of the Oval Office. But then, within, I don't know, hours, somehow, he spoke to somebody, somehow, he came up with this plan to basically send out that tweet inviting all of the crazies to Washington for January 6th.

LEMON: That's what I was going to say. I want to -- speaking about tweets, when Trump realized that he wasn't going to get what he wanted, he went on Twitter just hours later -- this is for you, Donell Harvin -- and posted that infamous tweet saying January 6th would be wild. I mean, what did Trump supporters and some of those extremist groups take from that tweet?

DONELL HARVIN, FORMER HEAD OF INTELLIGENCE AT D.C. HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT, SENIOR RESEARCHER AT RAND CORPORATION: Well, they took a cue from the tweet. We have been monitoring that event for a few weeks before. It was really what we call nothingburger. Very little interest in that particular date.

The next day, Twitter and what we call open source intelligence completely blew up. We saw a lot of information that suggested that a lot of people were going to be showing up, not just regular Trump supporters but really violent individuals, and that's what concerned us.

LEMON: And so, even after that, your concern was -- you said your concern was about the Capitol and protecting it? What was that?

HARVIN: Absolutely. Well, you know, they weren't coming to say, you know, who's got the (INAUDIBLE), right? They were saying, who's got the guns, where do we hide the guns, who has the plans for the Capitol, how do we penetrate into the Capitol? So, these weren't regular First Amendment protected activities. This had nothing to do with the First Amendment. They were coming to take over the Capitol, and we expressed that.

LEMON: You're concerned about the Capitol not being protected?

HARVIN: Well, I personally wasn't concerned about the Capitol not being protected because it is not in my jurisdiction.

LEMON: Right.

HARVIN: And I had no idea that it wouldn't be protected. So, that's what I am really curious about. They were clearly putting this out on open source, media, that they were going to do this. Why weren't things protected the way they should have been?

LEMON: Here is some of the testimony the committee showed today. Watch this.


HARVIN (voice-over): We got derogatory information from OSINT, suggesting that some very, very violent individuals were organizing to come to D.C. and not only were they organized to come to D.C., but these groups, these nonaligned groups were aligning.


And so, all of the red flags went up at that point. You know, when you have armed militia collaborating with white supremacy groups, collaborating with conspiracy theory groups online, all toward the common goal, you start seeing what we call in, you know, terrorism, a blended ideology and that's a very, very bad sign.


LEMON: Yeah. Again, that was your testimony, right? It's pretty clear that there were some very bad actors, as you said, converging. You got this open source information, converging on the Capitol, but has the committee been able to directly connect those plotters to the former president?

HARVIN: I don't know if they have been able to. I think that's the direction that they are leading into. I think they are making very good cases after the seventh hearing, that there was a lot of nexus there between these individuals who are just waiting for the call. I mean, literally, they are waiting for the call. The next day, they started talking about openly what they were going to do.

I want to tell you why they did this. We're not talking about the deep and dark web, Don. We're not talking about encrypted chat rooms. They were doing this on Twitter, right? Now, why would they do this on Twitter? They were invited to do so. They thought it was a legal action.

And so, that's what you see. A lot of individuals like the person who testified today, they thought they were getting a legal direction to come to the Capitol and prevent something that should not have been happening.

LEMON: Nick?

AKERMAN: Yeah, but this was all part of a very concerted plan. I mean, I would like to know who Donald Trump called after all the crazies left on December 18th and before he did that tweet. We've got several suspects here. One is Roger Stone, who was involved with the Proud Boys, involved with the Oath Keepers. You've got Steve Bannon who was at the war room at the Willard Hotel.

You heard the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, who said that her boss called Roger Stone. We don't know what was said. We know that he also called into a meeting at the war room. We know that Steve Bannon was involved in this after he spoke to Donald Trump. We learn today that immediately after that, he went on his podcast, talking about what would happen the next day, at the January 6th, at the Capitol.

I mean, the whole point of this was not so much that they were not letting people know for -- because it was a dereliction of duty. This was very purposeful. The whole point was to create violence and mayhem to stop the count of the electoral vote, so that Joe Biden could not be certified as the United States president. It was to stop the peaceful transfer of power.

And so, anything that Trump did -- I mean, the fact that he sat around and didn't do anything during the day on January 6th was very purposeful.

LEMON: Yeah. But also, the bombshell that Liz Cheney, you know, talked about at the end of the hearing, right? She said that Donald Trump attempted to contact a witness and then that they turn that over. They informed the DOJ. How -- is the DOJ obligated to follow up on that?

AKERMAN: Well, it's very hard because nothing actually happened because the person ever reached the witness. But there is a general overall problem here. The fact that they are paying -- the lawyers' fees for all of these various people, what it means is that these lawyers have all entered into a joint defense agreement. It is something that is very common.

And when you enter into a joint defense agreement, it means that you can then tell each and every lawyer who is part of that agreement who is testifying, what they are saying. Now, all of that is normally proper, but if you are using that information in some way to find out who the people are that might be writing you out or might be talking or cooperating, that's when it comes into a problem. I don't think that's really been explained. That's the underlying issue here.

LEMON: Really quickly, where do you see this going?

AKERMAN: I see this going being tied up next week in the final hearing. I think they are going to tie in the people to the actual extremist Roger Stone and the others that were involved in this are going to be shown to be the conduits to Donald Trump. That's where, I think, this is going.

LEMON: Nick, thank you. Donell, thank you. I really appreciate both of you joining me this evening.

He's a 76-year-old man, not an impressionable child. That's what Congresswoman Liz Cheney is saying about Donald Trump. Her argument that he is responsible for his actions, not the people his advisors called the crazies. Stay with us.




LEMON: So, today, we learned a lot more about how January 6th happened with testimony from witness after witness about one of the most shameful episodes in our history.

Joining me now, CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd, CNN political commentator Ashley Allison, CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams, and CNN political commentator Alice Stewart. Good to see all of you, except for Phil Mudd.


LEMON: So, I'm going to start --


LEMON: -- with Phil Mudd.

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Don't jump ugly with me. It won't go well.

LEMON: Phil, the committee really hammering home that Trump wanted people to march to the Capitol. He really wanted them there. It was preplanned. How do you think the committee did laying out Trump's culpability in all of this?

MUDD: Well, shockingly, you started wrong, Don. They didn't hammer it home. They've hammered home one piece of the story here. That is if you look at the election interference or the attempted election interference, what happened in the president's responsibility for it?


For example, calling down to Georgia just to say, I want to find fake votes, I don't know how you get around that one. The president is culpable. His intent is clear. His involvement is clear. On this one, you have comments like from the president, it is going to be a big day and come down for a major event.

If you are defending the president, and remember, there is no defense here, somebody is going to say, he never told him to go break windows at the Capitol. I think the committee on issue of election interference is clear and compelling. I think on this, today, they didn't make a case and not even close.

LEMON: Elliot? You're the attorney here.


did they -- the question of, did they make a case or not? As much as I love my friend, Phil Mudd, I think we're holding Congress to the wrong standard, right?

It is the Justice Department's ultimate job to decide whether you can move forward with the case. Congress is quite persuasively making the argument that, number one, historically, bad things happened on January 6th. Number two, there may have been any number of crimes committed. One, by President Trump. Two, by his senior advisers. Three, by, you know, we are giving Rudy Giuliani a free pass here by not talking about him.

But this argument that we are following into quite often that somehow Congress needs to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that anybody has committed a crime, it's holding Congress to the wrong standard.

It is a political body that has the power to refer charges to the Justice Department, you know, who can bring cases, but I think Congress did a great job today for what they set out to do.

LEMON: I think a lot of this, too, if you sort of pick up what they're putting down, as they say, it sounds like Congress is sort signaling to the Department of Justice.

I mean, the committee showed images of Oath Keepers with Roger Stone and then here with Michael Flynn. They also showed Roger Stone in group chats with the leaders of the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys. Stone denies this. But does that give a thread to follow that could link Trump to knowledge of what was happening, Phil? WILLIAMS: Yeah. Oh --

LEMON: Go ahead, Elie. Go ahead since you're going to answer.

WILLIAMS: No. It can, right? I think in order to get the president, which is -- you know, the question that everybody has is, you know, what is the specific link to the president? You're going to need some more direct communication than is available right now.

Now, again, is this disqualifying for a future office? Absolutely. Now, there's all sorts of other crimes that may have committed here, namely, witness tampering, I'm sure we are going to talk about that today, conspiracy against the United States.

But this incitement to violence question and whipping up hate groups and charging the president for that is just going to be incredibly difficult to do based on the information that available to the public.

Again, we don't know what the Justice Department has, and the way the Justice Department works is that it's not public with what goes on it its investigations.

LEMON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: So, more may come out. But right now, at this minute, charging the president for those connections, I think, will be incredibly difficult.

LEMON: Liz Cheney who is the vice chair there -- go ahead. Alice, what do you want to say?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SENATOR TED CRUZ: Don, I think there are two different lanes here. There is the court of public opinion and then there is the court of law, which the DOJ will make decision on that.

I think without a doubt, without question, this committee has moved the ball and moved the needle in the court of public opinion.

And not just Liz Cheney and not just Democrats on the committee. We're talking Republicans and Trump's inner circle, what we heard today, before, during and after January 6, his involvement and his culpability in this riot at the Capitol.

We heard former top aide Jason Miller say that early on, he told the president, with regard to voter irregularities and voter fraud, evidence of that is thin, if not nonexistent. We had his top campaign advisor, Brad Parscale, acknowledged and texted to Katrina Pierson that Trump's rhetoric did lead to the riots and even death, and he feels badly about his involvement in that.

And then we heard from Cipollone, who was credible, reliable, trusted, legal adviser for the president, acknowledged that that absurd meeting on December 18th should not have happened and trying to take the ballot boxes is not what we do in this country, and he gave him good legal advice with regard to that.

And then the morons today that were out there on January 6th acknowledged that they were going to do and willing to do whatever the president said and did so until the president finally pulled them away.

So, there is indisputable evidence and information that he is directly responsible for what happened. But the question is, how big of an impact will that be on voters in the midterm election? What will DOJ decide to do with what we've heard in these hearings?


LEMON: Ashley, you have been sitting by patiently. I just want -- she mentioned Liz Cheney. Liz Cheney is the vice chair. She is saying that she feels like Trump allies are attempting to defend Trump by saying that he was influenced by some rogue operatives. Listen and then we will discuss.


CHENEY: This new strategy is to try to blame only John Eastman or Sidney Powell or Congressman Scott Perry or others, and not President Trump. In this version, the president was -- quote -- "poorly served by these outside advisers."

The strategy is to blame people his advisors called -- quote -- "the crazies," for what Donald Trump did. This, of course, is nonsense. President Trump is a 76-year-old man. He is not an impressionable child.


LEMON: So, Ashley, the argument that Trump could claim ignorance here, I mean, that is falling apart, don't you think?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. I mean, he was the person that made the call that said, come to the nation's capital. The other thing, though, is that it's not like when he learned -- when he knew, because we know he knows that he lost that election in December.

But that is not the first time Donald Trump started to say he didn't believe he won the election. He had been laying bread crumbs the whole year trying to undermine our institution of democracy, so that when he -- when and if he lost the election, he could claim, oh, there's no way it could be possible, the election didn't have any integrity.

He knew. He incited people to go to the Capitol. I think he should be held accountable in the court of law. Now, whether or not the committee made its case today, I don't think it was the strongest hearing to date, but I do think ignorance is not the defense that he should try and claim. He is the president of the United States!


ALLISON: Was, yeah, thank God.


ALLISON: He was the president of the United States, he knew, and he is responsible for what happened that day.

LEMON: A couple things here. After all of that, right, after all that he's been accused of doing, they are now accusing him of trying to intimidate a witness or to influence a witness, right? So, we are going to talk about that.

And also, I think Alice brings up something that is very important. What does this mean for the midterm? What does it mean for the next election? Does this weaken the former president? Stick around, everybody. We'll be right back.




LEMON: I'm back now with Philip Mudd, Ashley Allison, Elliot Williams, and Alice Stewart. So, Elliot, Cheney dropping this bombshell that Trump was contacted -- has contacted a witness that we have not seen yet. Cheney says that person never picked up, instead telling their lawyer, who told the committee, who then inform the DOJ. What does it tell you that Trump himself made the call instead of a staffer?

WILLIAMS: Right. You got to find out who the person is. If it is Ivanka Trump, it may not be a big deal. If it's another witness, it may very much seriously be a big deal. So, it depends on number one, who he called, why he called them, and what the purpose of the call --

LEMON: Okay, Elliot, Ivanka Trump would not be calling the committee saying that my dad called me. I mean, come on now.

WILLIAMS: Don, all I'm saying --

LEMON: All right.

WILLIAMS: -- is that -- okay, come on, man, all I'm saying is --

LEMON: It's somebody we haven't heard from yet.

WILLIAMS: All we know is that a potential witness was called. Let's find out more about it. But look, witness tampering, it's not that hard to get to if a person, in a position of the president, picks up the phone and call somebody with an attempt to dissuade or stop them from testifying. We have seen before that it has happened.

So, you know, I'm not really disagreeing with you here on this. I just think we need to find out who it is and we don't know right now.

LEMON: All right. You know better than that. (LAUGHTER)

LEMON: I'm kidding. Alice, multiple Republican aides told the committee just how appalled they were by what was going on in the White House. Today, "The New York Times" is out with new polling, polling that shows half of the GOP is ready to part with Trump. Is that discussed, felt by some of Trump aides? Is that now reverberating through the GOP?

STEWART: It is, Don. Look, the cake is baked on January 6th, on the edges. Trump's base, loyal base, is going to stand by him. Those that don't like him in the democrat and Republican Party have already thrown him off the reservation.

But, look, those in the middle, rational Republicans, they are frustrated. They are looking for someone who will be a conservative without the chaos. And what we've seen in these hearings is a former president who is unhinged, detached from reality, and certainly is not someone that is the right person in many minds to lead the party moving forward.

So, that's why we are seeing people like Ron DeSantis and others raising millions and millions of dollars because people are looking for another option.

LEMON: Wow. Phil, you changed your mind on this. You thought it wasn't going to damage him and now you think?

MUDD: Well, aside from the fact that Republicans are thinking of changing their minds after the man spent his career as a businessman lying and then started his campaign saying that the former president was born in Kenya and with the crotch tape, and now people are saying, I'm not with this guy, so we'll leave that aside, I think that is completely absurd.

But in terms of the hearings, three weeks ago, when we spoke, I was more skeptical about the hearings. I thought they would be a little bit more partisan, and frankly, a lot more boring.


But as someone who looked at investigations, the FBI, the breath of information and the depth of what people were involved in at the White House has led me over the past three weeks to say, not on the January 6th issue but on the election interference issue, man, if you are in DOJ, you are in one hot place!

If you ignore this, you're ignoring a lot of evidence that says, how can you ignore this, this is pretty clear, they try to change the election.

LEMON: What do you think this means, Ashley? Final thoughts going forward for Trump and for --

ALLISON: Look, I think, you know, what we saw in the testimony today was that one of Trump supporters said that he was brainwashed basically by what he was getting on social media platforms. There are still a lot of voters who are still in these chat rooms and on right- wing sites that are getting bad information, that are not allowing them to pull away from Donald Trump.

I think there are other issues that are at play this election cycle, the issue of abortion, gun rights, obviously the economy, and I think if Democrats can tell the story that the Republicans, particularly all these Republicans that Donald Trump has endorsed and they have been using him on the campaign trail, are obstructionists and are authoritarians, the Dems have a chance in the fall.

LEMON: Thank you, all. I appreciate it. I didn't fight with anyone except for Elliot. He deserved it, though.


LEMON: Thanks. We'll be right back.





LEMON: So, make sure you join CNN's Drew Griffin for a new investigation into Steve Bannon and his plan to reshape the U.S. government and the Republican Party. The "CNN Special Report: Steve Bannon Divided We Fall" begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.

Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.