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Obama Rallies Virginia Voters For Terry McAuliffe In High- Stakes Race; Affidavit: Alex Baldwin Didn't Know Prop Gun Contained Live Rounds; Report: Crew Members Quit Alec Baldwin Movie Over Safety Concerns; Former DOJ Official Who Pushed Big Lie Set To Testify; Director Jamie Roberts Discusses His HBO Documentary "Four Hours At The Capitol". Aired 3-4p ET

Aired October 23, 2021 - 15:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are times where you don't know. Let's face it, when you elected Barack Obama, you're like, I don't know. I mean, that the kid -- maybe you knew, but I have to say, I look at those, I look at some of that old footage, I'm like, man, he looked really young. I can't believe they trusted him to do all that stuff. He looks like he's 25 years old.

That was before the gray hair. Some of you who are very young don't remember, but I used to have black hair. But, but with Terry, you know. He's done it. And you know this about Terry. He knows how to work hard. This guy is the Energizer Bunny. He does not sleep. He does not stop. He started his own business at the age of 14. Paving driveways to help pay for college.

Now I don't remember exactly what I was doing at 14, but I will tell you, I was not starting my own business. And ever since, Terry has brought the same grit and determination to everything he's done. From public service to business to being a husband, to being a father of five amazing children. So the guy knows how to work hard. And he's persuasive. And Terry knows what it means to lead.

You know, a lot of times you see candidates say one thing to one group of people and then they act a little bit different with another group of people. They don't seem sincere. They don't want you to know what they're really all about. But with Terry, you don't have to wonder what he's going to be like as governor because you've seen him. He walked the walk than just talk the talk.

As your governor, Terry kept Virginia on the right track after the great recession. He helped create 200,000 jobs. Drove unemployment down in every city and county in Virginia. Not just in the sections of northern Virginia that were getting tech jobs, et cetera. Every county. Every city in Virginia. He was working to make sure the people got opportunities. Every single one.


OBAMA: So when Terry tells you he's going to help Virginia rebuild a stronger economy that creates good jobs, when he says that he's going to invest in education and workers, when he says he's going to help families from everywhere get ahead, south and north, you can believe it. Because he's done it before. And that kind of experience matters because the work we, we need to do is too important to just leave to chance.

This pandemic has made the last couple of years incredibly hard for a lot of Virginians, but thanks to leaders like the Governor Northam, President Biden, we've been making progress. The national unemployment rate is the lowest it's been since the pandemic started. In Virginia, it's even lower. Schools have reopened. Jobs are coming back. Businesses are starting to recover. We're moving forward.

Now we've got a choice. We can go backwards. We can plunge right back into the misguided policies and the divisiveness and the negligence that made this pandemic so much worse than it ever have to be. Or we can build an economy that works for everybody. Not just the few. Where kids have a shot at a great education and workers can get the skills they need for good new jobs. Where we follow the science when it comes to the pandemic.

Where we work together and we listen to each other and we move this country forward. That's what Terry's running on. That's why he wants to be your governor. That's why you've got to get out there and vote.


OBAMA: To make Virginia a magnet for good jobs. To make sure our kids can go to school safely. Terry talked about it. He's got a plan to boost the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. Help give young people like the ones in this audience the education they deserve. Make healthcare more affordable for everybody. We've got half a million Virginians getting help on the Affordable Care Act.

We could be doing more and Terry's going to do it. He talked about protecting a woman's right to make her own health care decisions.


OBAMA: To keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. And Terry talked about wanting to work in a bipartisan way with reasonable Republicans.


You don't have to -- he's not just saying that for the campaign. He did it when he was governor. He's walked the walk. And by the way, Terry's not alone. And by the way, Terry's not alone. All across the country, Democrats are working to make sure that the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations pay their fair share in taxes so we can do things like make childcare more affordable. So we can make real progress in the fight against climate change.

All across the country, Democrats are trying to make it easier to vote, not make it harder to vote. And push back on Republicans who are trying to systemically prevent ordinary citizens from making their voices heard. Just this past week, some of you probably saw every Democrat in the Senate supported a bill that would protect the right to vote and ban partisan gerrymandering and reduce the influence of dark money in our politics.

Every Democrat voted for it. Every Republican voted against it. Which, by the way, this is a little bit of an aside, but you have to ask yourself, why is it Republicans don't want you to vote? What is it that they're so afraid of? You know, I would assume, Terry, if they think they've got better ideas why don't they just go make the case? Tell us your ideas. Tell us why you think they're going to be better.

Tell us how it's going to help that man get a job or help that young person go to college or help that person get a trade. Just explain it, and if you've got good ideas, people will flock to your ideas, but that's not what they try to do. Instead, you're trying to rig elections. Because the truth is, people disagree with your ideas and when that doesn't work, you start fabricating lies and conspiracy theories about the last election. The one you didn't win. That's not how democracy's supposed to work.


OBAMA: Our democracy is what makes America great. It's what makes us the shining city on the hill. This extraordinary experiment in self- government and protecting that and preserving that, that shouldn't be a partisan issue. It didn't used to be. So that's what Terry and Democrats everywhere are focused on.

So let's shift for a moment to what Terry's opponent is running on.


OBAMA: Don't boo. Vote. Booing doesn't do nothing. Booing might make you feel better, but it's not going to get Terry elected. Vote. Now, so don't boo. I want you to get fired up inside and then go vote.

Terry's opponent, he's thinking Virginians either aren't paying attention or he thinks they're gullible. Now, this is someone who has been very successful. Made hundreds of millions of dollars and you know what, that's great. We don't begrudge success. We want everyone in America to have a chance to pursue their dreams. That's what Terry did. And a successful business person himself.

But you notice that having achieved success, Terry then decided, I need to give back. I need to lift people up. I need to create more ladders of opportunity for everybody else because somebody did that for me. I'm going to do it for the next group of people coming along. That's why he got into public service.

His opponent? Not so much. His opponent doesn't want people like him to pay a dime more in taxes to support education or job training or childcare or all the other things that might help the next generation get ahead. Although now suddenly he wants you to believe that he's discovered the middle class.

(LAUGHTER) OBAMA: Terry's opponent would -- he supported a policy that would cut education and public safety and put more than 40,000 teaching jobs at risk right here in Virginia and now he's telling you he's very concerned about our kids in our streets.


He told some voters in private that he can't talk about a woman's right to choose while he's running, but he said that if he wins, he'll restrict the right across Virginia. So I -- don't boo. So how can he claim to be the candidate for women?


OBAMA: I don't either.


OBAMA: As far as I can tell, the big message Terry's opponent is that he's a regular guy because he wears fleece.


OBAMA: And he's accusing schools of brainwashing our kids. He's also said he wanted to audit the voting machines used in the last presidential election again. Really? Encouraging the lies and conspiracy theories that we've had to live through all this time? And yet we're supposed to believe he's going to stand up for our democracy?

Listen, I want to emphasize this. I'm glad that the guy can play basketball. You know. Many of you know, I'm a big hooper. You know, so that's a good thing. You know. Yes. The guy can hoop. That's great. I'm less convinced that the co-CEO of one of the largest private equity firms in the world spends his time washing dishes and going grocery shopping, but who knows? Maybe.

But, I mean, you do notice that like whenever a wealthy person runs for office, they always want to show you what a regular guy they are. But that's OK. But when your supporters hold a rally where they pledge allegiance to a flag that was flown at the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, the biggest threat to our democracy in my lifetime. When you don't separate yourselves from them, when you don't think that's a problem, well, you know what? That's a problem.

You can't run ads telling me you're a regular old hoops playing, dishwashing, fleece-wearing guy but quietly cultivate support from those who seek to tear down our democracy. Either he actually believes in the same conspiracy theories that resulted in a mob or he doesn't believe it but he's willing to go along with it to say or do anything to get elected. And maybe that's worse. Because that says something about character and character will end up showing when you actually are in office.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) OBAMA: What are you willing to stand up for? When are you willing to say no to your own supporters? When are you willing to say there's some things that are more important than getting elected and maybe American democracy is one of those things?


OBAMA: Virginia, we've got too much to get done to be dealing with the okey-doke. Here we are trying to recover from a global pandemic that has killed more than 700,000 Americans. That shut down thousands of small businesses and put millions out of work. We don't have time to be wasting on these phony, Trumped up culture wars. This fake outrage that right-wing medias peddles to juice their ratings.

And the fact that he's willing to go along with it, instead of talking about serious problems that actually affect serious people, that's a shame. That's not what this election is about. That's not what you need, Virginia. Instead of forcing our communities to cut back at a time when we're just starting to recover, we should be doing more to support people who are educating our kids and keeping our neighborhood safe.

Instead of spreading misinformation and disinformation about the last election, we should be trying to strengthen our democracy and make it easier for more people to vote in future elections. Instead of --



OBAMA: Instead of stoking anger aimed at school boards and administrators who are just trying to keep our kids safe, who are just doing their jobs. Stoking anger to the point where some of them are actually getting death threats. We should be making it easier for teachers and schools to give our kids the world class education they deserve and to do so safely while they're in the classroom.


OBAMA: So we're in a turning point right now. Both here in America and around the world. Because there's a mood out there. We see it. There's a politics of meanness and division. And conflict, of tribalism and cynicism. And that's one path. But the good news is there's another path where we pulled together. And we solve big problems. And we rebuild our society in a way that gives more and more people a better life. And that's the choice we face.

It's a choice I believe will define not just the next few years. But the next few decades of human history, maybe longer than that. You know, I look out at some of these young people who were 2 when I was elected. Not born yet. You were born. I thank you. I'm glad you were at least born. He's only a few months old, but he was born.

So -- but I look at them, because I see in these young people, I see my own daughters, right? And I think about the world we're giving to them and I -- the thing about being a parent is that you hear it's a cliche and then it happens and two of those cliches are true. One cliche is, boy, they grow up fast. But the other cliche is you will do anything. Anything. To make sure their lives are better. You will sacrifice anything for them.

And so right now we're helping to determine what kind of democracy are they going to inherit. What kind of planet they're going to inherit. What kind of economy we're going to inherit. What are we leaving for them? And it's our choice. And I'm here today because I believe Virginia will make the right choice. I believe America ultimately will make the right choice.

I believe you right here in Virginia are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts. We're not going to go back to the chaos that did so much damage. We're going to move forward with people like Terry leading the way.


OBAMA: But -- and here's the thing, in order for that to happen, we need your help. We need you to vote. Look, I know a lot of people are tired of politics right now. I -- listen, I'll make a confession. I never watch political shows. Michelle and I, when we're at home, you know, I'm reading. She's watching HGTV. Maybe the Food Channel. So I understand why people might be tired of politics, and the arguments and the tweets and the back and the forth.

And some of you are just plain tired because this has been hard. I understand why people are frustrated. You know, we thought that the pandemic was just about done and then suddenly the Delta comes up and kind of throws us for a loop and people are just tired. They feel cooped up. They're not sure what's safe. All this arguments going on on TV all the time. Folks wearing masks.


Look, I believe in wearing masks is the right thing to do for people that we care about. We do it, we do it for people who are vulnerable. Not just for ourselves. But let's face it, I mean, I think it's important to acknowledge. You know, sometimes I lose my mask, I'm like, oh, man, where is it? You know? I mean, I understand why people just feel kind of like, ah, when is this going to end? And sometimes politics in Washington feels that way. Right?

It's like, oh, are we still arguing about gay marriage? Really? I thought that ship had sailed. I -- I thought was pretty clearly the right thing to do. We got Republicans across the country who said yes, of course. And we're going to reopen that can? What? So I understand why sometimes folks get tired? But here's the thing. We can't afford to be tired. Because of these young people right here. And the young people that are coming.

It's hard, and nobody, Terry doesn't claim that by being governor, suddenly every problem is going to be solved. I didn't solve every problem when I was president. I mean, the fact is that it's hard to undo the legacy of discrimination that goes back centuries. It's hard to deal with special interests who want to keep the status quo when you're trying to make the economy more fair and more just.

It's hard in a big country like this where people disagree a lot. To get everybody move ng the same direction, but here's the thing, we can make it better. When you've got the right person in the job, we might not get every single people get a job but more people will get jobs. We may not get every child the best education in the world, but we can get a lot more kids a better education. I didn't get everybody healthcare in America, but we got a whole lot more people healthcare in America.

It makes a difference. When we decide to make things better. And when you've got somebody in your corner who has shown that they will work for you who has a track record of accomplishment, then you've got to go out there and work for them. Not because everything's suddenly going to be perfect, but because it's going to be better. When you've got somebody like Terry who's responsible and serious. He's worth fighting for.

So you got to go out there and show the cynics that you're willing to knock on doors for Terry. To make the calls for Terry. To tell your friends and neighbors what's at stake. We ain't got time to be tired. We don't have time to be tired. What is required is sustained effort. You know, I was thinking back because I haven't campaigned for a while. I went back to my first campaign. And I remember in the -- in my first presidential election, I spoke in Grant Park about a woman, 106 years old who had voted for me, African-American. Miss Cooper. 106.

And I tried to imagine everything that she had gone through in her life. All right. Born in the shadow of slavery. Deep in the midst of Jim Crow. A time where women, when she was born, didn't have the right to vote. Much less black folks. And yet, she described how she, the minute she had a chance to vote, would never miss it. Including up to the time where the first African-American nominee of a major party had the chance to become president of the United States. She had witnessed all that. And I thought, now, if she's not tired, I can't be tired.



OBAMA: If Jon Lewis wasn't tired, we can't be tired. If the folks who had to fight for union rights across the country weren't tired, we sure can't be tired. If the suffragists weren't tired, we can't be tired. So go out there and fight and work because you're going to decide this election in the direction of Virginia, in the direction of this country, for generations to come.

Don't sit this one out and make sure you vote for Democrats up and down the ballot including for state legislature where a lot of important work actually gets done. I used to be a state legislator. Don't forget them because that's what's going to help Terry be able to deliver for you. And if you do, if you do these things, if you're not tired, if you work, if you vote up and down the ballot, if you get your friends and neighbors and your cousins to vote, if you do all that, we will elect Terry McAuliffe. We will elect Hala Ayala. We will elect Mark Herring. We'll build on

our majorities in the state legislature. We'll keep Virginia on the path to a better future. I have faith in you. Have faith in yourselves. Get out there. Get to work. Yes, we can.

God bless you, Virginia. And God bless the universe. God bless the United States of America. Thank you, everybody.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: And you've been listening to former President Barack Obama rallying voters in Virginia. And that was former President Barack Obama rallying voters in Virginia on behalf of gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe.

The state's race for governor is seen as a bellwether for the nation's political landscape going into next year's midterms. Democrats believe a strong showing by Terry McAuliffe will bode well for 2022, but a Republican victory by Glenn Youngkin could be a warning shot about the political direction of the country nearly a year after Joe Biden beat Donald Trump for the presidency.

Let's go to CNN's Dan Merica who is in Richmond for us right now. He's live in the Virginia capitol where the former president just finished speaking. Also with us is CNN political commentator Paul Begala, and with me on set, senior political analyst for CNN and "USA Today" columnist Kirsten Powers.

Dan, let me go to you first. Some familiar lines from Barack Obama. I covered them 13 years ago. We heard don't boo, vote back then. We heard it again today. But he really went after Glenn Youngkin there describing him as sort a wolf in sheep's clothing at times, or maybe in a fleece vest. You know, somebody who is playing footsy with the far right, playing footsy with Donald Trump, and trying to sell himself differently to Virginia voters.

What did you pick up on?

DAN MERICA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim. You'd be forgiven to think that this was a 2012 rally that you would have been at, but, you know, this is a chance for Obama to kind of shake off some political rest and he made very clear that he is happy to go after Republicans in these elections. And it's a preview of likely what's to come in 2022.

You're right. He really went after Glenn Youngkin, the Republican opponent in this race. Sitting behind him obviously was the Democrat, Terry McAuliffe, but much of Obama's speech focused on Youngkin. Taking him apart. Really going after his public persona. Questioning his rallies. Questioning his ads. The way he casts himself. Even kind of mocking the fact that he plays basketball in his ads. That he's seen doing house work.

There was sometimes a mocking, sometimes personal attacks against Youngkin, saying -- he wrapped it all up by saying that, you know, this might not seem like it matters, but it's about character and he said that character will show itself if Youngkin is elected. Take a listen to one attack he said against Youngkin and the fact that he did not necessarily distance himself strongly enough from some folks that held a rally here in Virginia and apparently pledged allegiance to a flag that was said to be used in the January 6th insurrection.


OBAMA: When you don't separate yourselves from them, when you don't think that's a problem, well, you know what? That's a problem. You can't run ads telling me you're a regular old hoops playing, dishwashing, fleece-wearing guy but quietly cultivates support from those who seek to tear down our democracy.


Either he actually believes in the same conspiracy theories that resulted in a mob or he doesn't believe it but he's willing to go along with it, to say or do anything to get elected.

And maybe that's worse. Because that says something about character. And character will end up showing when you're actually in office.


MERICA: Yes, Jim, this rally is not necessarily about convincing voters to vote for Democrats. We're in a city that voted 80 percent of it voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012.

This was less about persuasion and more about turnout. And you heard Obama repeatedly come back to this idea that you can't sit this election out.

And that is a concern Democrats have had throughout this race. They worry that voters are not as plugged in this this 2021 off-year election than they were for Biden in 2020, for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Obama twice in 2008 and 2012.

That's a concern. And that's why you heard Obama repeatedly say here, this is important. The issues that elected me are on the ballot. And that's why he pushed folks to get out and vote.

ACOSTA: All right. Dan Merica, thanks for that.

And, Paul Begala, the former president, he slammed the GOP for trying to subvert democracy. A lot of people have been waiting for Barack Obama to talk about these sorts of things extensively. He did that today.

Let's listen.


OBAMA: Why is it Republicans don't want you to vote? What is it that they're so afraid of?

You know, it -- it -- I would assume, Terry, if they think they've got better ideas, why don't they just go make the case? Tell us your ideas. Tell us why you think they're going to be better. Tell us why it's

going to help that young man get a job or help that kid go to college or help that person get a trade?

Just explain it. And if you've got good ideas, people will flock to your ideas.

But that's not what they try to do. Instead, you're trying to rig elections because the truth is people disagree with your ideas.


ACOSTA: Trying to rig elections.

He went right after them, Paul. What do you think?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think this fellow, Obama, has got a future in this business, Jim.

What I thought was really --


ACOSTA: Michelle would be against that though, as he was saying.

BEGALA: Just kidding. Mrs. Obama, just kidding, ma'am.


BEGALA: I thought what he did that was really effective. Listen, this is very serious stuff. I mean, an insurrection and a riot. We had police officers wounded and died.

But he was still playful, even as he stuck in the knife. Playfully, not hatefully. I thought that was a very effective turn.

That clip you ran, particularly important because Democrats are worried, terribly worried. I've seen private polling that has a dead heat. Youngkin at 42, McAuliffe at 42. They're terribly worried about turnout and enthusiasm.

So sometimes in politics, common sense is not too common. That's what President Obama just brought to this. He said, look, why do you think they don't want you to vote? Right?

If they had better ideas, they'd want you to vote. They're trying to stop you from voting.

When you tell people that -- he's right -- it will motivate them to get into this off-year election that Democrats are so worried about.

ACOSTA: And, Kirsten, you know, the Youngkin campaign, they've been pretty surgical, pretty clinical in the way they've waged this campaign and Obama was trying call them out for that.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. ACOSTA: He appears in these ads wearing a fleece vest and so on and plays basketball. But yet, playing footsy with the Trump forces of the far right. And Obama tried to put that out in front of voters today.

Do you think voters are going to be paying attention in places like northern Virginia where Republicans are definitely dead set against someone like Trump? But Donald Trump's not running? It's Glenn Youngkin.

POWERS: Right, but they're tying him to Donald Trump. And he's making it a little easier for them because of these types of things that President Obama talked about.

I mean, that's pretty egregious to have people pledging allegiance to a flag in the insurrection and not calling it out.

But Glenn Youngkin has also done a pretty good job. That's what President Obama was going after. He's done a pretty good job of portraying himself as a reasonable person, that he's just this reasonable Republican.

And done as much he can to play footsy, as you said, in a way that won't get too much attention from the people that the country doesn't want to pay attention to it and get enough attention from people that he does want to pay attention to it.

Because there are going to be people in the suburbs, women in the suburbs, particularly, that aren't going to like that. But there are going to be some voters that need that in order to turn out for him.

ACOSTA: Paul, the former president said there's no time to be tired. Political fatigue is a reality. And some Democrats have been fighting Trump for years at this point, especially all the way back to Birtherism and so on.


Do you think that is this message from Obama today is going to motivate enough Democrats to make a difference? Because fear is a motivator, too.

And I mean, if you talk to Democrats -- and I mean, you're a friend of Terry McAuliffe. So I have to ask you, how worried are you that Terry McAuliffe is going to lose this race? And should that be a motivating factor out there?

BEGALA: Oh, man. I go back 34 years with Terry. He's a dear friend of mine. My wife was his kids' Sunday School teacher. Our kids have grown up together. So we're terribly close.

I'm biased as I could be. One of my many children works for the polling firm that's consulting for Terry. So I'm all in on this race.

So people should know I have this very personal stake in this.

And yet, yes, the campaign should be worried. It is worried. Democrats ought to be worried. This is fatigue.

You know Virginia. It almost always votes against the president's party the year after the presidential election. So Joe Biden, a Democrat, just won. I think Virginia would want it to swing back.

But there's something really noteworthy, as an old guy who's done this all my life. It used to be, especially in the south, Democrats ran away from their national leaders.

I can't tell you how many clients I had that ran saying I'm not a Dukakis Democrat. I'm not a Mondale Democrat.

Now you have the reserve. You have Terry McAuliffe welcoming Barack Obama into the commonwealth. And you see the McAuliffe campaign trying to smoke out Trump. They have these quotes going and saying, Trump represents everything that I -- got me into this race.

They want Trump to come into the commonwealth. So the world is really turned upside-down.

I'd love -- I don't think Trump has the guts. You covered him. You know. He's a -- every bully is a coward inside. And he hasn't had the guts to come into Virginia and campaign the way Obama just did. There's just no way.

ACOSTA: No, he's not going to do that. That's right.

BEGALA: Right.

ACOSTA: There's just no way. He knows.

And, Kirsten, how much of a bellwether is this? We say this time and again. We've said this so many times that if McAuliffe loses in Virginia, this means bad things for Democrats in 2022.

That's not necessarily the case. We don't know where things are going to be a year from now.


ACOSTA: But it sure feels like this is huge, this is big.

POWERS: So actually, I don't think it's quite as big of a bellwether as everybody's saying. It's not necessarily predictive, but we don't have anything else.

ACOSTA: Right.

POWERS: So I think that's why people are paying so much attention to this because there's nothing else really to look at and make any judgment on where things are.


POWERS: -- where the actual voters are turning out. ACOSTA: The thing that I find so fascinating about this race is, when you have an event, like the one you were just mentioning a few moments ago, and they're pledging allegiance to a flag that was carried on January 6th, and Republicans in Virginia and Independents in Virginia.

For them to overlook that kind of -- it's not even playing political footsy.


ACOSTA: We're talking about bedfellows at this point. To overlook that and elect Glenn Youngkin despite that, to me, it means something. It --

POWERS: It means we're very polarized. That's what I take away from it. We're very polarized.

We have a binary political system where you only get to choose between two different parties. People tend -- the biggest predictor of where they're going to vote is the party that they identify with. And for people to cross party lines is a big deal.

And even Independents aren't really Independents. About 10 percent of them are. Most of them are always going to go with whoever they normally go with.

But I do think it could hurt him to be tied too closely to Trump and that's why he's tried to do as much as he can to stay -- to make it seem like he's not that close except when he's talking to the people who he thinks really want to hear it.

So I think a lot of it also is what the president, what President Obama spoke about, what Paul talked about, is just turnout. It's not that the people are voting for that. It's that they're not even showing up to vote.

That's what Democrats are trying to say. You have to show up even if you're exhausted, even if you're not enthusiastic because Republicans are actually enthusiastic.

So Democrats are going to have to ignore their fatigue and turn out.

ACOSTA: All right.

Paul Begala, Kirsten Powers, thank you so much for that.

It's a fascinating race. We'll be watching.

Good to see both of you.

Coming up, what new court documents reveal about the moment Alec Baldwin accidentally mistakenly shot and killed a crew member with what was supposed to be an unloaded prop gun.


Plus, a newly uncovered interview with the set's armorer expressing doubts about her capabilities before the tragedy.


ACOSTA: There are new details about the tragic shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin's film.

According to an affidavit filed to get a search warrant for the set, an assistant director handed Baldwin a prop gun and yelled "cold gun," lingo for a weapon that doesn't have ammunition.

The 68-year-old actor pulled the trigger and the gun went off, firing a live round that accidentally hit the movie's cinematographer in the chest, killing her. The director was also injured.

The affidavit said the prop gun had been given to the assistant director by the set's armorer as the person in charge of weapons during filming.

That armorer has now been identified as 24-year-old Hannah Gutierrez, who, in a podcast just last month, revealed she just finished her first film as head armorer and almost didn't take the job because she wasn't sure she was ready.

That's what she says. Listen.


HANNAH GUTIERREZ, SET ARMORER (voice-over): I was really nervous about it at first and I almost didn't take the job because I wasn't sure if I was ready. But doing it, like, it went really smoothly.


ACOSTA: And joining me now is CNN entertainment reporter, Chloe Melas.

Chloe, "The Los Angeles Times" is reporting that hours before this fatal shooting happened, a half a dozen camera crew workers walked off the set, according to people familiar with the matter who are not authorized to comment.

And the "L.A. Times" is also reporting there were multiple accidental prop gun discharges. It sounds like you had all of the makings of an accident waiting to happen.


What more are you hearing.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Hey, there, Jim. Thanks for having me.

This is the making of a real-life nightmare. You know, you have armorers on set to make sure that these prop guns are safe.

And like you said, you know, the assistant director handing this gun to Alec Baldwin to shoot the scene for the movie "Rust" and yelling out "cold gun," meaning this gun is safe to be using, to fire, that there's not going to be any sort of an accident like this.

So there's a huge question as to Hannah Gutierrez. We haven't heard anything from her.

But you did play that portion of that podcast from last month where she talks about a movie that she worked on with Nicolas Cage, her first film, and that she was nervous to take the job. She is the daughter of a very famous armorer.

We're not putting the onus on her. But this is an active investigation, Jim. And you have these reports out there that there were crew members that walked off the set because three -- two prop guns accidentally discharged.

So we need more information about that. And why were there concerns about safety on the set?

There are reports also that certain union workers left and people who were not part of the union came on to oversee the prop guns and the Armorer Department. So a lot of questions.

This is an active investigation. And everyone is wondering is "Rust" going to most likely halt production completely, especially since they can't be filming anytime soon?

ACOSTA: No, that's true.

Let's play what Baldwin's co-star said just days ago about working with guns on the set.


JENSEN ACKLES, ACTOR: They have me take my gun, like, all right, what gun would you like? I was like, I don't know.

An armorer was like, do you have any gun experience?


ACKLES: I'm like, what's a gun?


ACKLES: And I was like, a little. She's like, OK, well, this is how you load it.


ACKLES: This is how we check it, make sure it's safe.

She's like, OK, I'm going to put some blanks in there and I want you to go and fire a couple of rounds towards the Hill.

I was like, OK. So I put the belt on. I walked out. And she's like, just make sure you pull the hammer all the way back and you aim at your target. (END VIDEO CLIP)


MELAS: Cringeworthy to say the least.

ACOSTA: Yes, absolutely.

MELAS: Yes, cringeworthy.

There are petitions being -- forming right now in Hollywood with people wanting there to be stricter laws and more safety on these sets and why use prop guns at all.

Also, former tweets of Alec Baldwins Baldwin's are coming back to haunt him.

One in particular from 2017, where he said, "I wonder what it would be like to accidentally shoot and kill someone," referring to an incident that happened with a police officer who shot and killed a suspect in California.

So again, this is a messy situation, a lot of questions, and a true tragedy.

ACOSTA: And there are people out there who are trying to troll him bringing that stuff back. Those people should really be ashamed of themselves.


ACOSTA: This is obviously a terrible, tragic mistake.

And Alec Baldwin has tweeted that he's cooperating with the investigation and that his heart goes out to everybody who's been affected by this.

Just so awful.

Chloe Melas, thank you so much. We'll stay on top of that. We appreciate it.

MELAS: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Coming up, big developments in the January 6th investigation. Word now that a central pusher of the Big Lie and a key figure in the scheme to overturn the election has a date now to testify.



ACOSTA: CNN has learned that a former top Justice Department official, who tried to help Donald Trump push the Big Lie and overturn the election, will testify before the House committee investigating January 6th. Jeffrey Clark is the first Trump administration official to comply

with the subpoena. He'll testify next Friday.

Among the things lawmakers want to talk to him about, Clark drafted a letter to Georgia officials falsely asserting that the Department of Justice had found voting irregularities that impacted the outcome of the election in several states. But no such fraud existed.

Jeffrey Clark's testimony will be key to uncovering more about the events leading up to January 6th.

But we're still learning new information about what occurred during the attack thanks to a new HBO documentary featuring unseen and very disturbing footage of the riot as well as personal accounts from police, lawmakers, reporters and even rioters themselves.

Here's one of several eye-opening moments from the documentary, "Four Hours at the Capitol." It debunks the false claim that none of the attackers were armed.


RAMEY KYLE, COMMANDER, D.C. METROPOLITICAL POLICE DEPARTMENT: They were hitting officers with poles and pieces of scaffolding they had taken off the inaugural stage. There was hammers.

I remember, at one point, a gun actually fell out of one of the individuals of the crowd. Of course, I didn't have anywhere to put it. I had a long trench coat.

The entire day of fighting, I had that person's gun inside my coat the entire day.


KYLE: I think if we had weapons, there would have been a large loss of life, maybe on both sides.

It felt like we were 100 to one. Officers were falling off the line. They were bleeding. They were injured.

I mean, I was terrified that if they broke our lines, they were going to be -- some of our officers, they would pick them off one by one.


ACOSTA: And we're joined now by Jamie Roberts, the director of "Four Hours at the Capitol."

You can watch the documentary on HBO and HBO Max.


Jamie, thanks for being with us.

I watched this. Just incredible film making. It was hard to watch, but so important.

When you dug into the footage and started the interviews, what stood out to you about the attack that maybe wasn't apparent when it was unfolding live that day?

JAMIE ROBERTS, DIRECTOR: Well, I think just, first of all, the clip you just played. I mean, Commander Ramey Kyle said himself that gun that he retrieved but his officers believed there were other guns in the crowd.

And people have asserted there weren't weapons in the riot, on the protesters there, but there was no way to search them because they were 100 to one outnumbered.

But I think already there were preconceptions and rumors around authorities that straight away were being proven to be a different story there.

I think one of the other things is how violent the actual violence was and how prolonged it was and how close the police came to being overwhelmed and thousands more people actually entering the capitol.

ACOSTA: That, to me, stood out as well. I mean, I don't think we understood how much of a battle this was. It was armed conflict at times during those four hours.

I want to play a chunk of the interview with Congressman Ruben Gallego, a veteran of the Iraq War.

And just a warning for our viewers, he uses some very explicit language but it lays out just what they were going through at times.


REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D-AZ): You know, people are hyperventilating. It was just bad. They were scared. They were really, really scared.

I was an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps. I had to deal with some very aggressive crowds when I was in Iraq.

Individuals themselves aren't usually a problem. But when they get collectively together and they create a mob, the mob is the weapon.


GALLEGO: I was ready to fight. I saw a lot of shit back in my day but I was not going to die on the floor of the fucking House of Representatives. Like, I was not going to get taken out by some insurrectionist bastard.


ACOSTA: And Gallego goes on to say -- I apologize for that language there -- but he goes on to say that he was strategizing about how to stab an attacker if they were overtaken. Just pretty stunning stuff.

What was going through their minds at that moment?

ROBERTS: Yes, I mean, Congressman Gallego said, in Iraq -- and he was extremely agitated all the way through the interview.

He was one of the key people in there, along with a few other military veterans, who were actually trying to evacuate people, members of Congress, when they were trapped in the House.

And you know, rioters were just outside the door. They had broken into the capitol with extreme violence and they got all the way to the door and they were smashing through the doors.

I think Congressman Gallego thought he would never see something like that in America. He had seen it in Iraq. And this time, it was Americans trying to kill him and his colleagues.

ACOSTA: I want to play this clip as well about the congressional evacuation. Let's watch this.



REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): I went through the tunnels. Got to our secure location. We received word after we all got there that the rioters, you know, were essentially in control of the capitol.

REP. LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER (D-DE): There were so many of us in that room not knowing how long we would be there.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (D-IL):For hours, we were sitting there. The president didn't say a word. The president of the United States, who runs the military, the commander-in-chief, if he says a word, things happen. To me, that was beyond the pale.


ACOSTA: To Congressman Adam Kinzinger's point, in the film, we see when Trump finally did put out his message hours later -- and it was hours later -- telling people to do home, lots of people inside the mob listened to that directive.

What do you think, Jamie? Could that be significant in determining accountability and responsibility after the fact for Donald Trump?

ROBERTS: Yes. I mean, there's no question that we spoke to members of the right-wing organization, the Proud Boys, various protester, rioters, and they said they went there because Donald Trump told them to come.

And they decided to leave at 17 minutes past 4:00, when he put out the official message, the official video to calm everything down. A lot of people listened to that and said, OK, we'll leave.

We have testimony from the people who broke into the capitol, in the film, saying exactly that. It's incontrovertible. That was one of the things that was being discussed before we made the film, was did Donald Trump really have an influence over the people there? Not everybody.

But there's a very large proportion of the people there, he spoke directly to them. His message goes straight to their minds.


ACOSTA: All right, Jamie Roberts, it's very disturbing, but a job well done. Just excellent work.

The director of "Four Hours at the Capitol," thank you so much.

This incredible documentary is available now on HBO and HBO Max. And I really encourage everybody to watch.