Return to Transcripts main page
CNN Mourns Death Of Larry King; Rioter Charged With Threatening To Assassinate Rep. Ocasio-Cortez; NYT Reports Trump Plotted To Fire Acting A.G. In Last Ditch Effort To Overturn Election Loss; Seventeen House GOP Freshmen Send Letter Committing To Work With Biden; Interview With Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC); National Guard Forced To Rest In D.C. Parking Garage After Miscommunication At The Capitol; Tributes Pour In For Legendary Talk Show Host Larry King. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired January 23, 2021 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Make no mistake, there will be a vote whether to convict the President.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You'll never take back our country with weakness.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): He roused the troops. He urged them on to fight like hell.
BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: The American people are hurting, and they can't afford to wait. They need help right now.
GOV. SPENCER COX (R-UT): This shouldn't be the "Hunger Games" like it was with PPE. That was ridiculous.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We didn't get into this mess overnight. It's going to take months for us to turn things around.
LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST: Every night at this time, we'll be here for one hour. We're going to meet fascinating people from all walks of life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One thing he loved was being in front of that camera. And those lights came on, he was just perfect.
KING: Instead of goodbye, how about, so long?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. And tonight, CNN is in mourning, Larry King, one of the absolute legends, not just of our network, but in all of broadcasting has died. We're going to speak more tonight about his legacy. But also this is bittersweet for me.
This is my first night anchoring my own show, CNN NEWSROOM with Pamela Brown, a new beginning for me, even as we remember one of CNN biggest stars.
I was lucky enough to meet and talk with Larry. Three and a half years ago I asked him for advice on how to achieve my dream of hosting my own show and how to get the most out of an interview, and he told me to ask the questions that the viewer at home, you, what you want, answered.
Larry, mastered the art of the question, one that revealed something new about his guests whether it was the first or 20th time speaking to them. And like Larry, we're going to use our relentless curiosity on this show to drive the interviews and tell the stories that you want to hear.
So let's get started. First, a disturbing development in the January 6th siege on the U.S. Capitol, the Justice Department revealing today that a Texas man who stormed the building on January 6th who was inside the building is now charged with threatening to assassinate Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The suspect, Garrett Miller now faces five criminal charges, including making death threats. I want to bring in CNN justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider. So what more can you tell us, Jessica?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Pamela, this suspect has an extensive social media trail. And prosecutors are now saying that he not only made these death threats against AOC, but also against the Capitol Police officer.
So prosecutor saying Garrett Miller of Texas, he posted in online chats, he said this, he said assassinate AOC, and he also talked about the police officer who fatally shot that Trump supporter inside the Capitol. He said of that officer, that he deserves to die, and then he wouldn't survive long because it's hunting season.
Now officials do say Miller was inside the Capitol on January 6th. They say he also posted extensively on social media before the attack and then in the days after the attack here, but Miller's attorney is telling CNN this about his client and his client's motivation. Putting it this way. He said, "He did it in support of former President Donald Trump, but regrets his actions. He has the support of his family. And a lot of comments are viewed in context as a really sort of misguided political hyperbole. Given the political divide these days. There is a lot of hyperbole."
But of course, this is just yet another suspect who is pointing at the President for inspiring him from going into the Capitol. Now in addition to this, the Justice Department has also announced two more arrests tonight. They include one man who actually live streamed his whole time inside the Capitol, and another man who works for the Federal Aviation Administration and they say that he is also a QAnon conspiracy follower.
So Pamela, these arrests really seem to be coming in rapid succession, more than 120 people arrested and charged so far, we're expecting potentially hundreds more, and of course the people who may still be arrested and charged, they could face a lot heftier charges, including seditious conspiracy, and that, of course, includes heftier penalties, including up to 20 years in prison.
So still a lot to come here on top of all the arrests we've already seen -- Pamela.
BROWN: All right, Jessica Schneider, thank you so much. And let's head over to the Capitol now. The Democratic led Senate is trying to balance a looming impeachment trial with Biden Cabinet confirmations.
As a bombshell, "New York Times" report says the Donald Trump considered replacing his acting Attorney General with a loyalist as part of his plan to avoid Joe Biden's Georgia win. CNN congressional correspondent, Ryan Nobles joins us now.
So Ryan, what more can you tell us about the impeachment timeline and how this new report is affecting thinking in the Senate?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, there is no doubt that this timeline which was set out on Friday by Chuck Schumer, which indicates that the Impeachment Articles will be brought here to the Senate on Monday, but the trial itself won't begin until February 8th, was initially something that Republicans applauded.
NOBLES: They thought that it was good for President Trump to get an extra amount of time to prepare for his legal defense. But what we're seeing tonight, in this report by "The New York Times" is the pitfalls for the Trump legal defense that could arise over those two weeks.
These two weeks essentially allows Democrats that will prosecute this case during the trial -- the impeachment trial -- to gather more evidence, to provide more evidence that President Trump was essentially working to overturn the election and in part to incite the riot that took place here on Capitol Hill.
Now, the timeline in general was something that both Republicans and Democrats agreed to, for two reasons. One, so that President Trump would have more time to prepare for that trial, but also because President Biden wanted some time for his Cabinet officials to be put in place.
Many of those Cabinet officials, their ultimate confirmations have been stacked up because of the delayed timeframe in which they were given an order to confirm them. So now there will be that time where there will not be the impeachment trial taking place where they can focus on the beginning of the Biden agenda. But we should point out, in a tweet tonight, Pamela, Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader who is essentially leading the prosecution of President Trump made it clear that this "New York Times" report will be a part of their case.
He said it's unconscionable that a Trump Justice Department leader would conspire to subvert the people's will, the Justice Department Inspector General must launch an investigation into this attempted sedition now, and this is the important part, and the Senate will move forward with Trump's impeachment trial.
Pamela, we could learn a lot more between now and when that impeachment trial takes place and all that may not be good for the former President -- Pamela.
BROWN: And there's also this other big development on the Hill this weekend, Ryan. We've learned that Democrats are working on legislation that would send direct payments of $3,000.00 to parents during this pandemic. So where does that stand?
NOBLES: Well, right now, it's something that House leaders agree with. They think that President Biden's proposal is a good one. It would essentially expand the child tax credit, doing it differently than how you file your taxes.
Now, this would actually put a direct payment in people's pockets every month throughout the year. The problem -- and this is going to be an ongoing problem for the Biden administration as well, it may enjoy plenty of support in the Democratic controlled House, a Democratic -- a significant majority in the House and be able to get through the House. It could still run into trouble here in the Senate.
Republican senators, while they are now in the minority, it is only a 50/50 split, and at this point, the filibuster rule is still in place and any Republican can force a 60-vote supermajority on any piece of legislation.
Republicans have already raised red flags about expanding more aid because of the coronavirus pandemic, more spending is something you can bet they're going to complain about. Of course, it is a bit ironic that Republicans are all of a sudden rediscovering deficit spending after the four years of the Trump administration where spending ran amok, but that is essentially the new battleground that's going to take place here on Capitol Hill -- Pamela.
BROWN: Here we go. Ryan Nobles, thank you.
Well, the Senate's two-week delay for the impeachment trial buys Democrats time to confirm more Biden's Cabinet nominees as we were just discussing, as the new administration confronts the health crisis.
Joining me now is a senior advisor to President Biden, former Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond. Before he resigned from his seat, he was among the House Democrats who voted last week to impeach President Trump. Nice to see you. Thanks so much for coming on.
CEDRIC RICHMOND, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thanks for having me, and congratulations.
BROWN: Oh, thank you very much. I appreciate that.
I want to start with the most pressing crisis facing the administration, the pandemic, of course, the Biden administration has pledged 100 million doses in 100 days of the vaccine. We're already approaching one million doses per day and some experts are saying that's too modest. Why not set the bar higher?
RICHMOND: Well, I can tell you this, when we announced 100 million doses in 100 days in December, those same experts were saying it was too ambitious, it was unreasonable that it couldn't be done.
And if you look at the 38 days that this administration -- the past administration was dealing with, they were averaging around 450,000 doses a day. And so out of those 38 days, they hit a million doses twice.
And so we're pledging to hit it every day, and we think it's ambitious, but we think it's necessary.
Look, we can't fix any of the economic problems until we get our arms around the health problem and that's why we're going to get the 100 million doses out. We're asking people to mask up for 100 days, we're asking people to stay socially distanced. And then we're going to make sure that we expand vaccination sites and that we give more aid to state so that they can get it done. We're going to do everything we can because we're laser focused on getting this country out of these multiple disasters.
BROWN: Well, let's talk about one of them. And that, of course has been the vaccine distribution that has rolled out so far. What is the reality behind the scenes of getting a vaccine distribution plan into action and building on what the last administration left? What is actually going on behind the scenes?
RICHMOND: Well, the sad part is the last administration didn't leave anything. They didn't leave a plan.
BROWN: Didn't leave anything. They didn't leave a plan. I just want -- okay, go ahead.
RICHMOND: They didn't. But if you look at it, they vaccinated the easiest populations that is first responders and people in nursing homes. And so now we have the hard task of vaccinating the American people, which means going to where they are.
The President has rolled out that he liked to have more mobile vaccination vehicles that he would like to use government buildings and more federally supported sites so that we could give out vaccines. And look, it's not going to be easy, but we're going to do it. But it's also going to take state partners and part of this is why we're calling on Congress and the American people to push for passing the American Recovery Plan or Rescue Plan. Because we know we're going to need resources to get these vaccinations out and in the arms of people who need them.
BROWN: Okay, just really quick, I want to circle back to what he said at the top. He said they didn't leave anything. Anthony Fauci was asked about that yesterday and he said, no, we're not starting from scratch. So where is the truth?
RICHMOND: Well, it depends on the question you're asking. No, we're not starting from scratch because we actually have the vaccines. But no, we didn't have a plan on how to distribute the vaccines. We didn't have a coordinated plan on how to deal with the states and getting the vaccines out to people. We didn't have a plan on making sure that there were enough supplies.
And so we're going to get it done. We are going to hit our goal of 100 million doses within the first 100 days. And look, we're not making excuses. We know what we have, we know where we are right now. We're going to keep working and we're going to achieve our goal.
BROWN: We've learned that the Senate trial will be held in February. As we get further away from the January 6th insurrection, do you think the Senate is more likely to acquit former President Trump?
RICHMOND: I don't know. That's what trials are for, for people to lay out the facts. And I think that in two more weeks, you know, the President, former President will be afforded a chance to put up a defense. The House will make their case, and then the Senate will vote. And look, that is what the House and the Senate should be doing.
However, what we should be doing is making sure that we get our hands around this economic crisis that we have, and the health crisis. So we're not coming -- we have all the faith in the world in the House in the Senate, for them to do their duty and what they were sworn to do.
BROWN: So do you want to comment on whether you want to see an acquittal or a conviction?
RICHMOND: No and I don't think that people should comment on that. The facts should lay out what happens, and that's what makes America one of the best countries in the world, it is that we have a democracy where you lay out the facts and the jury decides and this jury is the United States Senate.
I know many of those senators, and I think that hopefully they will let the facts dictate how they vote.
BROWN: Okay, Cedric Richmond, thank you so much for coming on. And I hope that you will come back on the show. We really appreciate you taking the time for us.
RICHMOND: Thank you for having me. BROWN: Well, he had many of his Republican colleagues tried to prevent Congress from certifying the election while still pledging to work with President Biden to move the country forward. Can you do both? I'll talk to Congressman Madison Cawthorn ahead.
Plus, coronavirus cases are skyrocketing while vaccine supplies are dwindling in some areas. CNN's Natasha Chen is following it all.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pam, a lot of people want this vaccine. There's not enough of it at the moment and they're struggling in some places to even get an appointment scheduled.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration trying to keep up that million shots per day in arms. We're going to talk after the break with local health providers on some of the challenges in meeting that goal.
BROWN: A brand new President is spending his very first weekend at the White House after a full week stuffed full of executive action. CNN White House correspondent, John Harwood is standing by at Biden's new residence. So John, what is Biden up to during his first weekend as President?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, first of all, big congrats to you on the new show. That's wonderful.
BROWN: Thank you.
HARWOOD: As for Joe Biden, he is doing the standard things that Presidents do in terms of reaching out to close allies in the opening days of his presidency and that's all the more important given the way Donald Trump often ruffled those allies.
So today he talked to Mexican President Lopez-Obrador, who will be a key ally as he tries to change the immigration policies that Donald Trump practiced. He spoke with Prime Minister Johnson of the U.K., who will be an ally on climate change. He's already cheered. President Biden's decision to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord.
Earlier, he talked to Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau. There was a little static there because the President's efforts on climate change including canceling that Keystone XL Pipeline, which Trudeau in Canada are in favor of.
Other than that, he is trying to get on top of the two twin interrelated crises of his presidency. First, getting on top of the coronavirus pandemic. We saw the Executive Orders to try to create a pandemic testing board, use the Defense Production Act and expand vaccinations.
And in addition to that, you've got this big COVID Relief Bill, $1.9 trillion that he has proposed. That's the key to both the vaccine rollout and vaccination program and also some of the economic recovery efforts.
Tomorrow, you're going to have a phone call with his economic adviser Brian Deese with 16 senators of both parties to try to see if he can get bipartisan support for that package and move it with both Democratic and Republican votes alike, don't know if he's going to be able to accomplish that.
Expect he will explore that for weeks, if not months. And if necessary, he'll fall back to an all Democratic plan using the special budget procedures we call reconciliation. But he's trying to get a quick start, generate some early momentum, Pam, on those twin crises of COVID and the economic problems.
BROWN: Yes, because he is already facing some Republican resistance on that COVID package. So we'll have to see how that plays out. John Harwood, thank you.
The United States is set to reach a grim milestone at some point in the next few hours hitting 25 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began just over one year ago.
But also, as of today, more than 20 million vaccine doses have been administered. Getting vaccinated is not yet a simple task for everyone who qualifies. Look at this. This is Los Angeles, the parking lot at Dodger Stadium, where some people say they waited up to five hours to get the vaccine. And not every area has the vaccine on hand.
CNN's Natasha Chen joins me now live from Atlanta. So Natasha, where else is the vaccine rollout running into problems right now?
CHEN: Well, Pamela, let me also congratulate you on this show. And yes, it is a struggle in many places with the Atlanta Mayor saying that she is getting daily calls of people struggling to schedule a vaccine appointment. And we've heard isolated reports of people crossing state lines into Georgia, into Florida, to try and get a vaccine where they could find an appointment causing state health officials in these two states this past week to clarify that the vaccine given to the states with some limited exceptions are for residents only.
CHEN (voice over): As the Biden administration went into its first weekend promising to remain laser focused on the pandemic, the virus continued its lethal now year-long rampage; 764 deaths on Friday alone in California, an all-time single day record for the state.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Saturday, more than 1.4 million vaccine doses were administered. So far, the Biden administration has been meeting its goal of one million shots per day about double what the U.S. was averaging in the month before the President took office.
But local health providers are hitting roadblocks in ramping up. CHEN (on camera): What resources would you need to be able to double what you're doing every day?
ERIC NICKENS, JR., SPOKESPERSON DEKALB COUNTY HEALTH: A dependable vaccine supply. Right now, we're having to kind of dance a delicate dance between opening up additional appointments and the amount of vaccine that we have on hand.
CHEN (voice over): Friday night, the Board of Health and DeKalb County, Georgia offered new appointments for the first time in nearly two weeks because they had been uncertain of how many new doses they get.
Publix grocery stores, which are offering the vaccine in three states told CNN they're also only releasing new appointments when they've confirmed and verified shipments of vaccine.
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): I'm less worried unless new news pops up about running out, as I am. This is going to take at the moment a lot longer than we had expected in early December. I think the Biden team has found that the cupboard is a lot barer than anyone thought.
CHEN (voice over): The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health says they've only received enough vaccine to inoculate one in every four people who are currently eligible.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All the work of getting here was worth it.
CHEN (voice over): About five percent of the U.S. population has gotten at least one dose, around half of the doses distributed to states still haven't been administered according to data from the C.D.C.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Feds need to, you know, take control so that they can help the states. The line was long. And I waited an hour and a half. But you know, that's okay. If you really want to get this, you'll wait.
CHEN (voice over): And there's hope for improvement because Dr. Anthony Fauci says, now science is guiding the way.
FAUCI: That's a different tone, actually, that's strikingly different. And that's the reason why even though there's still going to be a lot of challenges ahead, if you stick with the scientific data and are transparent, open and honest with the American public, I think you're going to see things that are going to be different as we move forward.
CHEN (on camera): Someone we often saw next to Dr. Fauci in those press conferences, Dr. Deborah Birx, she resigned on Wednesday, and she told CBS she often thought about quitting and was troubled by her colleague's perception that she had become political -- Pamela.
BROWN: Natasha Chen, thank you for bringing us the latest there from Atlanta. We appreciate it. And be sure to join us for an all-new CNN Global Town Hall, Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears" Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time right here on CNN.
BROWN: And still with us, next hour. I'm going to talk to a Georgia doctor who is forced to treat coronavirus patients in hallways. How much worse does he think it's going to get before it gets better?
And can you push for unity while trying to stop an election from being certified? Well, I'm going to ask North Carolina Congressman Madison Cawthorn. He voted with his G.O.P. colleagues to try and halt the certification of Electoral College votes and then signed a letter pledging to work with President Biden.
We'll be back.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Well, unity has become a big buzzword in Washington. For President Biden, bridging the partisan divide was a central part of his campaign pitch. And after the deadly capital insurrection, many Republicans have adopted a unity posture, including 17 freshmen Republicans in the House. They sent a letter to Biden this week saying they're willing to work with him.
This letter reads in part, "We are hopeful that - despite our ideological differences - we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve."
But the fact is the majority of House Republicans tried to overturn Biden's electoral victory and there were falsehoods spread about the election leading up to the Capitol insurrection. So just how genuine are these GOP leaders calling for bipartisanship? Let's ask one of those freshmen 17. He is the youngest member of Congress, North Carolina Republican Madison Cawthorn joins me now.
Thank you so much for coming on, Congressman.
REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): Pam, it's an honor to be on with you.
BROWN: You sign on to this letter vowing to work with President Biden, what do you hope to accomplish and how will you reach across the aisle?
CAWTHORN: Well, I believe it's very clear that President Biden and myself have very clear ideological differences. But where I do believe that we might be able to work together to better the lives of the American people are in areas like environmental policies and areas that increase the effectiveness of America's infrastructure, whether that's rural broadband or just making better roads.
BROWN: The letter says that you aim to 'rise above the partisan fray'. Yet you were one of 138 Republicans who voted to decertify the election results. You actually did that even after the January 6th riots. So how does that help you reaching your goal of reaching across the aisle and working with the Biden administration?
CAWTHORN: Well, I'll tell you as despicable as the events on January 6th were, it didn't actually affect my thought process on objecting to the election. You see, I wasn't objecting to President Biden himself. I wasn't doing it on behalf of President Trump. I was doing it on behalf of the Constitution.
I think in six key swing states, particularly in Wisconsin, you can see that the state legislature who is the sole body that is supposed to dictate the law that circumvents and is around all of our election laws was circumvented. They subverted the state legislators there and I believe that's a constitutional infraction.
BROWN: OK. So let's talk about this, let's unpack that. Can you just share some specific examples of election fraud? What are some specific examples that informed this bold decision, this audacious decision even after the riots took to decertify the results. You must have seen some concrete evidence.
CAWTHORN: Well, Pam, the things that I was not objecting to the election on behalf of were things like Dominion voting machine's changing ballots or these UHaul trucks pulling up filled with ballots for Joe Biden as president. The thing I was objecting for is things like in, like I said, in the State of Wisconsin, particularly in the town of Madison, there was an appointed official in that town who actually went against the will of the state legislature and created ballot drop boxes, which is basically ballot harvesting that was happening in the parks.
BROWN: But this was all litigated. You know that the Trump campaign litigated all of this more than 60 cases and they lost, either the cases were dismissed, the Trump campaign withdrew or they never brought a case because they didn't have the evidence to back it up.
CAWTHORN: Indeed. I believe specifically and this is the one that I debated on behalf of on the House floor. In Wisconsin that was never heard because they dismissed it because of standing. Now, I don't believe that that is concrete enough of a way to say dismisses ...
BROWN: Well, there were three Trump - OK, so you have Wisconsin, but you ended up not actually voting against Wisconsin, it was just Arizona and Pennsylvania, because it didn't have the Senate votes. But three Trump appointed judge actually throughout these cases because of merit, it was because of merit. There were three Trump appointed judges out of all of these judges, the more than 60 cases that were tossed out and you keep talking about Wisconsin. I'm still not hearing any specific examples of fraud.
If you would, just tell us what are the specific examples you saw a fraud, because when you think of fraud, you think of a vote. You're slipping one pass the election official or a vote was stolen, somehow it didn't count. Did you see that, specifically?
CAWTHORN: No, Pam. Like I said that's not the reason I contested the election.
BROWN: So you didn't, OK. Hold on. So you wanted to throw out millions of votes without actually seeing any concrete evidence of fraud because that's what you were doing when you were contesting the election. The intent there was throwing out millions of votes.
CAWTHORN: Well, I disagree with you on that point. That was not my intent. My intent was to hold up the constitution and setting up ballot drop boxes, which is essentially ballot harvesting in Wisconsin is unconstitutional, because the state legislature said they didn't want that.
BROWN: So you know more than the judge, the Trump appointed judge who said that - who actually looked at that case before the election and dismissed the Trump campaign's argument that drop boxes are unconstitutional. And if you would, would you point to me and where in the constitution it says that drop boxes are unconstitutional? I don't recall seeing that in the Constitution.
CAWTHORN: No. So the way that I believe it was unconstitutional is because in Article 1 Section 2 Clause 1 of the Constitution, it states that only state legislators will mandate the manner in which an election is conducted.
BROWN: We can throw that up on the screen. OK.
BROWN: We actually have that on the screen. Go ahead.
CAWTHORN: Excellent. But when you go into State of Wisconsin, you see that the state legislature actually voted actively against having vote drop boxes there. And then in the town of Madison, they decided to set them up anyways.
BROWN: OK. So let me just ask you, we're actually going to put up Article 2, which you just mentioned, "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress."
So you're making an obscure case on this, other constitutional experts say, look, what this says right here, this Article 2 of the Constitution says that the legislature can decide what dictates the electors and they did decide before this election. The States did decide that the plurality of the vote would dictate who the electors are, so that did actually happen.
And I just want to also ask you what sort of research did you put in? What kind of work did you put in before you decided to make this objection? I'm just curious what you read. Did you actually go to any of the states to look at the voter fraud? What kind of research did you put into this? CAWTHORN: No. So we hired three constitutional lawyers who looked into this for our campaign. And then the findings that we had is that, as you said, I believe in the reading the constitution through the prism of original intent and I believe the original intent of the framers of the Constitution was to make sure that the federal government can't exercise overreach and go into these states and dictate our laws of how to run elections.
BROWN: So do you think the intent too was to throw out millions of votes because of a suspicion, not even concrete evidence because of - evidence, I should say, just because of a suspicion? Do you think that that was what our founders intended?
CAWTHORN: Well, I'd add we do have concrete evidence that there were ballot drop boxes inside of Wisconsin. I don't have the right pages on me, but I would be happy to send that to you.
BROWN: Right. But I'm still curious because I'm still confused on the unconstitutionality of drop boxes, because a Trump appointed judge dismissed that argument before the election. But if you would just answer my question, so you said you had three constitutional lawyers. What other work did you put in to actually looking at whether there was fraud in this past election?
Because as you know, Congressman, and you knew coming on the show, look, you were spouting some really inflammatory claims after the election and before the January 6th riot, OK, you voted even after the riot to decertify results, millions of votes. So I'm just wondering, what kind of work did you put in to making sure you were rock solid before making those claims and deciding to do that?
CAWTHORN: Yes, ma'am. So mainly it was going through having these constitutional lawyers look into the State of Wisconsin. The people that were actually supposed to try the case and then looking at their evidence and we presented that to the American people. A significant portion of the American people agreed with it. I agreed with it myself and I believe that it was a constitutional infraction and so that's why I oppose the election.
Now, you keep bringing up that I did it even after the January 6th insurrection, which again I think is despicable and I absolutely condemn. But the people who change their vote because of that, I believe they were doing it because of political expediency, either if they were willing to contest or if they weren't going to exist.
The actions of January 6th do not change what happened in November election and I believe what happened in Wisconsin was unconstitutional.
BROWN: OK. So you keep focusing on Wisconsin, but there were several battleground states that you contested to that you talked about. There were several that President Trump had lost. So it's interesting you're focusing on Wisconsin. But would you apply the same issues you had with these battleground states, your own State of North Carolina, because North Carolina also changed a lot of the rules, even after voters had started voting. Why didn't you have concerns about your own home state of North Carolina?
CAWTHORN: Well, Pam, I'm actually not aware of the laws that were changed inside of North Carolina. I believe we had a very safe and a very secure election here.
BROWN: There were several rules.
CAWTHORN: And so there's no reason to contest that.
BROWN: Yes. There were several rules. One of which is to extend when the mail-in ballots could arrive, I believe, by around seven days, that was one and there were a couple of others as well that were changed even after people started voting.
So I'm just wondering if you're so concerned about these rules being changed with the election, why wouldn't you focus on your own home State of North Carolina? I mean, you're telling me that your concern really is about election integrity, not politics, not the results of the election, right?
CAWTHORN: That is absolutely correct. I didn't do that for any one man or against any one man.
CAWTHORN: So North Carolina though, the same issues you've had and you've expressed about the battleground states, those were the same issues that are in your own state of North Carolina and North Carolina actually did have mail in ballot fraud in 2018. So you're not concerned about your home state and whether you were duly elected by your own standards?
CAWTHORN: Well, I'll tell you, because of the mail-in ballot fraud that happened in the midterms here in 2018, I believe our election integrity standards here in North Carolina are some of the greatest in the country. I think they should apply this metric all over the country, but that's just my opinion.
BROWN: So the Democratic-led governor's office ...
CAWTHORN: But the rules you're talking about there were changed ...
CAWTHORN: ... what was that?
BROWN: ... the Democratic governor and the Democratic-led election board, they turned everything around in terms of the concerns about election fraud in North Carolina.
CAWTHORN: I believe they did, yes. The election that was actually overturned was a Republican one in 2018.
BROWN: No. What I'm saying is after that, there is a democratic governor, a democratic election board. You're saying they've turned things around that things are safer in North Carolina now. So I'm just saying, so you're giving the Democrats credit then for making voting safer in your state and so that's why you're not worried.
CAWTHORN: Absolutely. I think our election board here in North Carolina is second to none. I voted for a different person for governor, but I will say that Roy Cooper here in North Carolina did make sure we had a safe and secure election.
BROWN: OK. Madison, stay with us. There's a lot more to discuss. Thank you so much. I also want to really talk about what you did for the National Guard. You brought them pizza, I understand. They were out in the cold parking garage. We're going to talk about what happened there and some of the increased security that we've seen as well there in the Capitol Building, so stick around.
BROWN: Well, in the wake of the January 6th riot, Congress implemented strict security measures inside the Capitol, including metal detectors outside the House floor. Several GOP lawmakers strongly oppose the measure. And on Thursday, Republican Congressman Andy Harris tried to carry a concealed gun on to the House floor.
Meanwhile, 25,000 National Guard members were stationed on and around Capitol Hill this week. At the end of the week, many troops, look at this, they were moved to a parking garage to rest, drawing outrage from both parties. And I'm back with Congressman Madison Cawthorn.
I know you were outraged to see this, Congressman. You ended up actually bringing pizza to those troops and said you would not let this occur while you're in Congress. What happened there?
CAWTHORN: You know what, that is still being investigated. We're still trying to find answers. The number one rumor that I've heard is that somebody was complaining about the guards not wearing masks and so they were asked to go out into the garage.
As soon as I heard about it, though, I wanted to act, because I feel like too often inside of Washington, D.C. once people hear about a problem, the main thing that they do is tweet about it. But I wanted to get there and actually bring some kind of good news to them and then try and cheer them up.
This is actually the reason I came onto your show tonight, Pam. I believe too long in Washington, D.C. people on the right say on Fox News, and OAN and Newsmax. And people on the left stay on MSNBC and CNN. But I want to change how we do business in Washington, D.C. That means coming on to people who lean a little bit more left and having a true discussion to let the best ideas went out and it also means taking action, like taking those troops pizzas.
BROWN: Well, I appreciate that and I appreciate you coming on to CNN, I really do. Because I know a lot of Republicans will not come on. I will say I do not lean left or right. As a journalist, I just try to focus on the facts, but I really do appreciate your willingness to come on.
CAWTHORN: Well, you were the last of a dying breed, Pam.
BROWN: Well, that's very kind of you to say, just focusing on the facts here. I want to ask you, though, just because you wrote this letter and you signed on to it. Can you now say that Joe Biden was duly elected? That he was duly elected in a legitimate election?
Because if you want to work together with him, I would think you would need to acknowledge that before you can actually develop a working relationship with the new administration.
CAWTHORN: I absolutely know. So when I contest it to the election, that was within the constitutional guidelines that the framers had set up. But after I've done that and the electors and the delegates from each state elected Joe Biden as our president, I respect the office. He is my president and I want to work with him to make sure that we can bring some meaningful change to the American people, although I think he will disagree with most of my policies.
BROWN: And that's OK, disagreement of policies is normal. But can you now say that the election was not stolen, that it wasn't a fraudulent election?
CAWTHORN: Yes. I think I would say that the election was not fraudulent. The constitutional allowed for us to be able to push back as much as we could and I did that to the amount of the constitutional limits that I had at my disposal. So now, I would say that Joseph R. Biden is our president.
BROWN: And you have no regrets.
CAWTHORN: No. I do not have any regrets.
BROWN: OK. Listen, Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn, thank you for coming on. I hope that you'll come on our show again. I think it's really important to hear voices like yours. Thank you.
CAWTHORN: Absolutely, Pam. Good luck with your show. Thank you.
BROWN: Thank you. I appreciate it.
Well, this evening tributes from across the globe are pouring in. Everyone is sharing their story of Larry King and we'll honor the king of talk and some of his most memorable interviews.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST: It's not very often in my life I've been without words, but I want to thank everybody associated with this program. All the people behind the scenes, as I mentioned, Wendy and the staff. The floor people. Everybody that makes it possible, even the suits at the top.
So I'm going to go on and do a lot of other things. We're going to do specials here on CNN. I'm going to be seen in other places to do some radio work, be around baseball. So you're not going to see me go away.
But you're not going to see me here on this set anymore. I don't know what to say, except to you, my audience, thank you. And instead of Goodbye, how about so long.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Be sure to stay with CNN tonight, as we remember Larry King. So long Larry King. Next hour, Bob Costas will be joining us. He filled in as the host of Larry King Live on several occasions. How does he remember the talk show legend?
And in our APM (ph) hour, I'll talk to a good friend and colleague of Larry King, his longtime senior executive producer, Wendy Walker. She was with him for 17 years and has lots of stories to share. And then at 9 pm, Larry's old timeslot, Anderson Cooper looks back at the king of talk with a special tribute to our colleague, mentor and friend. We'll be right back.