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Jan. 6 Committee Hearing Schedule In Flux As New Evidence Emerges; Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) Discusses About The Illegal Effort Of Donald Trump To Overturn The Election; Trump's Lies Stocked Violence, Threats To Election Officials In U.S.; McConnell Praises Gun Bill; Says "Democrats Came Our Way". Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired June 22, 2022 - 15:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: It's the top of the hour on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Alisyn Camerota.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

A flood of new evidence is appending the insurrection hearings schedule. The January 6 Committee is preparing now to delay its next round of hearings because new information is piling up. That includes a documentary from British filmmaker Alex holder. It features a December 2020 interview with Ivanka Trump, a source who watched that video tells CNN that Ivanka said her father should continue to fight the election results until every legal remedy is exhausted.

CAMEROTA: The Committee also says they're learning new information from their own hearings.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Evan Perez joins us now. Evan, tomorrow's hearing still a go, yes, but what's after that?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The hearing tomorrow is an important one. But you're right, after that, it looks like the Committee is going to take a break and come back in July. But tomorrow is going to be an important hearing because it really does sort of help the Committee tell the story of what happened before January 6 and the effort that the former president was making to use the Justice Department to essentially give some support to what he was trying to do try to pressure the states to send alternate slates of electors and find a way to remain in power.

And so you have three important witnesses: Jeffrey Rosen; who was the acting attorney general, Richard Donoghue; who was his deputy and Steve Engel; who was the number three there or I'm sorry, another top official at the Justice Department. They were at the White House on this very key day on January 3rd where the president, at the time, was trying to fire Rosen and install a puppet who would have done what he wanted. That's how close things were in those key days. Three days before January 6 and I think you're going to hear a lot of that tomorrow from those witnesses. CAMEROTA: So Evan, Committee Vice Chair, Liz Cheney is also making

this public push for testimony from the former White House lawyer Pat Cipollone. So any response, any movement?

PEREZ: No movement. But I think you hear - you can hear the frustration from members of the Committee, especially Liz Cheney calling out Pat Cipollone who has sat down with the Committee. And we know that the Biden White House is not blocking him from coming in, again, to testify in public. But she really is frustrated, listen to her calling him out in public yesterday.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Our committee is certain that Donald Trump does not want Mr. Cipollone to testify here. Indeed, our evidence shows that Mr. Cipollone and his office tried to do what was right. We think the American people deserve to hear from Mr. Cipollone, personally. He should appear before this committee and we are working to secure his testimony.


PEREZ: Alisyn, Victor, we've heard a lot about Pat Cipollone. We've heard from Jared Kushner who called him essentially a whiner or whining because he was threatening to quit over some of these schemes that the front - the people in the White House were trying to come up with.

We've heard witnesses who said they were in the room when he told all of these lawyers saying this was - this stuff was illegal, essentially. So we've heard a lot about him. We just are not going to hear from him publicly. He believes he's cooperated enough with the Committee and I think one of his concerns is, at least from what I've been told, is it harkens back to John Dean in the Nixon era. It takes a lot for a White House counsel to testify in a public setting like this and he doesn't want to do that.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Evan Perez, thank you very much for the update.

Let's discuss now with Congresswoman Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania. She is the member - a member of the House Judiciary Committee and was an impeachment manager in former President Trump's second impeachment trial. Congresswoman, thanks so much for being here. So put on your Judiciary Committee hat for us. What, if anything, have you heard in these hearings that you believe was illegal?

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): So many things, it would be hard to list them. But I think the overarching theme is that Donald Trump would do anything and would leave no corrupt stone unturned in his pursuit of power and clinging to the presidency that he knew he had lost. He also didn't give a damn about anybody in his way.

So in yesterday's testimony, I was in the hearing for much of it.

[15:05:01] You heard from extraordinary state leaders whether they were

secretaries of state, speakers of the house, all Republican, by the way, all people who said they had supported Trump. And then you heard from election workers, election volunteers, a daughter, a mother and her grandmother, who you heard about.

Donald Trump didn't stop at anything to pursue power, whether it was in the courts, with state legislatures, including my own. You saw the testimony yesterday of Rudy Giuliani calling repeatedly to Speaker Cutler of Pennsylvania, a Republican Speaker of the House, and Cutler had to say to his attorney, please tell them to stop calling me it is inappropriate. And after that, of course, he was hounded both at his house and at the Capitol.

Donald Trump and his minions would stop at nothing for the corrupt claiming of power and they didn't give a damn who got in their way or what harm they did to their lives.

CAMEROTA: It was really striking to hear the testimony just about the fallout it's taken on all these public servant's families as well, the threats that they have had to endure because of all this. So as we now know, Republicans in seven states that Joe Biden won submitted this slate of fake electors trying to claim that Joe Biden hadn't won. And so do you think that the Department of Justice will prosecute or should, I should say, prosecute them?

DEAN: Well, I'm not in their shoes, but I certainly think they should. There are - and there are more crimes than that to be looked at, the actual damage that they did to these people and to their families.

But the bogus slates of electors and the persons here, members here in the Senate and the House, who were eager to facilitate passing these bogus slates of electors to Mr. Pence on January the sixth, every single one of them must be investigated for their role in trying to help a deranged former president, cling to power, all the while, while he was raising $290 million in support of this nonsense.

Of course, it's not nonsense. What really is impressive and depressive about this is that this pursuit continues. We have many election deniers who have sought nominations and gotten nominations for higher office since January 6. In my own state, we have a Republican running for governor, Mr. Mastriano, who was a big election denier and tried to help Mr. Trump in this bogus slate of election - electors scheme.

But what is so telling is how Mr. Trump had his fingers on every single one of these corrupt measures.

CAMEROTA: One of those people that text messages suggest was trying to hand over the slate of electors to Vice President Pence before the certification was Senator Ron Johnson. I mean, this - we now have seen these text messages from his own, I guess, chief of staff or staff member to the vice president's. But our Manu Raju confronted Sen. Johnson about that and here's how he explained it.


for that?

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Because somebody delivered this to our office and asked to go to that with the vice president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you support his efforts to try to get those slates to the Vice President?

JOHNSON: No. I had no knowledge of this.

RAJU: Who was the person that delivered?

JOHNSON: I don't - I had no involvement in an open slate of electors. I had no idea this thing is going to be delivered to us. It got delivered staff to staff. My chief staff do the right thing, contacted the vice president's staff. They said they didn't want it, so we didn't deliver it. That's the end of the story.

RAJU: Who's the person that delivered it to your office?

JOHNSON: I have no idea.


CAMEROTA: What do you think of his explanation?

DEAN: Incredible, just absolutely incredible. On the day of the certification of the president and the President's win, that would be President Biden's win that this Senator would claim that staff to stamp these papers were passed to the vice president who had the pivotal role and he claims to know nothing.

Well, that's real malpractice by a senator. It makes no sense whatsoever that staff to staff they would say we're going to pass you this envelope and nobody knew what was in it makes no sense and Mr. Johnson knows so.

CAMEROTA: Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, thank you very much for being here.

DEAN: Thanks for having me.

BLACKWELL: Joining me now former Assistant Special Watergate prosecutor, Nick Ackerman. He's also a former Assistant U.S. Attorney at the Southern District of New York. Thanks for coming in.


BLACKWELL: Let's start with what we've learned yesterday about the President's involvement on these calls with state officials pushing the fake electors' scheme. Here is the speaker of the Arizona House Rusty Bowers talking about his call, Trump's on it, Giuliani speaking.


well, we have heard by an official high up in the Republican legislature that there is a legal theory or a legal ability in Arizona that you can remove the electors of President Biden and replace them.


And we would like to have the legitimate opportunity through the committee to come to that end and remove that. And I said that's something I've - that's totally new to me. I've never heard of any such thing.


BLACKWELL: Is that evidence of Trump's commission of a crime there?

ACKERMAN: Oh, definitely.


ACKERMAN: I mean, what he did with Bowers clearly was a crime. And when you combine it with what he did with Raffensperger in Georgia, I mean, it almost - it's a pattern that emerges here with two of the battleground states that he talks about the exact same thing in both calls. He talks about people who are dead that voted. He talks about illegal immigrants who voted. He takes sort of appeals to the fact that they're Republicans, and therefore they should go along with him.

I mean, he was just trying to find more votes. He was trying to pull off a coup and he was trying to do something that was a fraud on the government and also an obstruction of what Congress do right is under the Electoral College act.


ACKERMAN: No, question there's a crime committed here.

BLACKWELL: Your expectation that it will become a prosecutable case watching this AG who has made it his goal to make the DOJ apolitical?

ACKERMAN: Well, that's another question.


ACKERMAN: Okay. Is Merrick Garland actually going to approve a federal prosecution here? I mean, it seems to me he's got one major problem and that is there is a huge conflict here in the sense that he was appointed by Joe Biden. Joe Biden is going to be running for president, again, as he says, his prime rival at this point is going to be Donald Trump.


ACKERMAN: So for Merrick Garland to actually approve a prosecution against Joe Biden's prime rival in itself creates a conflict. So what does he do about it? He's got two options. One is he could appoint a special prosecutor, not under that regulation that's in the Department of Justice which Trump and Barr manipulated with Mueller and now with Durham.


ACKERMAN: What they ought to do is they could appoint a special prosecutor under the same mold as Archibald Cox, who has total independence from the Department of Justice. The second thing he can do under the Department of Justice standards is to actually give it to the State of Georgia and say, I'm not going to prosecute this. There's a standard set forth in the Department of Justice regulations that looks first whether or not the state has an interest, which Georgia clearly does, because Trump was trying to interfere with that election.

BLACKWELL: And there's an investigation going on now in Fulton County.

BLACKWELL: Exactly. And the question then becomes whether they have the capability to do it and they certainly do, the assistant - the DA down there in Fulton County is totally capable of doing - prosecuting a crime like this. And the third standard is whether or not the punishment is going to be sufficient.

Now, under the Georgia statute, there is a crime for soliciting election fraud, which carries a three year term of imprisonment. That's more than sufficient under this situation.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Let me ask you about Pat Cipollone, former White House counsel ...


BLACKWELL: ... who says I've already answered your questions, I don't need a John Dean moment like in Watergate. Do you think he should come forward? And has he answered enough questions with the hours behind closed doors with his attorney?

ACKERMAN: Look, he said that he just doesn't feel like doing it. Well, my response to that would be tough noogies. Give this guy a subpoena and get him into that committee room and start questioning him. First, he's got no attorney-client privilege. The - a White House counsel does - is not the personal counsel to the President of the United States.


ACKERMAN: There is no executive privilege, because the Supreme Court has basically said executive privilege doesn't apply to conversations in furtherance of criminal activity, such as pulling off a coup or trying to overthrow the government or keep the normal transfer of power from going forward.


ACKERMAN: So he really has no standing to object to this. They should just subpoena him. If representatives want him in there, they ought to hand them a subpoena, put him on the hot seat and question him.

BLACKWELL: Nick Ackerman, thank you so much for the insight.

ACKERMAN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right.

CAMEROTA: Well, President Biden calling for a gas tax holiday to bring prices down for drivers this summer, but some members of even his own party are skeptical that this will help.

BLACKWELL: And the economic pain goes beyond the pump, of course, Sen. Elizabeth Warren sends a stern warning to Fed Chair Jerome Powell over recent interest rate hikes. We've got more on that next.



BLACKWELL: In an attempt to bring relief to Americans frustrated by high gas prices, the President just asked Congress to approve a three- month federal gas tax holiday. This equates to about $0.18 off a gallon for regular.

CAMEROTA: But some economists worry that the savings will - would not be passed along to the consumer but instead benefit the companies which are already seeing record profits.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've heard plenty of explanations from companies and economist about why it normally takes time for these price reductions to reach the consumer. The company's running gas stations and setting those prices at the pump. This is a time of war: global peril, Ukraine. These are not normal times.


Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you are paying for the product. Do it now. Do it today. Your customers: the American people, they need relief now.


CAMEROTA: CNN's Rahel Solomon joins us now. So Rahel, how would this affect the regular consumer and will oil companies listen to that?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a very good question. But I think the concern is not only will the savings be passed on to the consumer, but even if they are, how much of a savings would we actually see. So say for example, the average consumer is driving about 1,200 miles per month. Let's say your car gets about 25 miles per gallon.

Well, you're using about 47 gallons per month. This federal tax cut would essentially mean a savings of less than 10 bucks a month, guys. Ten dollars does not go very far in this high inflation environment. And it's not just this, but there are some that believe that maybe it's just not the federal tax cut, but if it's coupled with state taxes, which of course we heard the President call for that states would do their part, then perhaps we would see more of a meaningful contribution.

Garrett Golding of the Dallas Fed, an economist there, telling me earlier today that look if you take away state taxes on top of it, which can be over twice the federal tax, the impact could be significant. However, and this is very important, his words here, this is very important, the more prices fall because of this, the more demand could be stoked and with refining capacity already strained, that can lead to prices rebounding in short order.

So guys, the concern with this idea is not only does it not address the underlying issue, which the President has acknowledged, but that it could be inflationary, that it could increase demand, which is, perhaps, the one thing we don't need right now. There is already such an imbalance with the demand of supply and - the demand of gas and the supply of gas that we have.

BLACKWELL: Yes, backfire potential there. Let's talk about Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Capitol Hill today. We heard from Senator Elizabeth Warren some concerns that these interest rate hikes could trigger a recession. Here's what she said.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): You know what's worse than high inflation and low unemployment is high inflation and a recession with millions of people out of work and I hope you'll reconsider that as you drive this - before you drive this economy off a cliff.


BLACKWELL: So what's Powell saying to that?

SOLOMON: Look, I mean, I think he's been very honest about the fact that this will not be an easy task, this idea of raising interest rates as high as it looks like they now will have to without curbing demand so much that it provokes a recession, Citibank saying just today that it sees the probability of a recession reaching 50 percent. Here's how Powell responded when asked about it today. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree with the perspective and then I'll be done - but do you agree with the perspective that if interest rates go too high and too fast that it could drive us into a recession?

JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Certainly a possibility. It's not our intended outcome at all, but it's certainly a possibility.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SOLOMON: And guys, I was reading through some comments Powell made

earlier this year just trying to get a sense of where he was in terms of tone. And back then he said, look, history provides some grounds to be optimism, to be optimistic. That said, he and his colleagues will do their very best to succeed at pulling this off, but it's looking more like they're going to need more than just their best. They might need some luck.

BLACKWELL: Yes. All right. Rahel Solomon, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks, Rahel.

BLACKWELL: There are more calls now for Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo to resign his city council seat.

CAMEROTA: Just yesterday, Texas' public safety chief called the police response to the elementary school mass shooting a, quote, "abject failure," and said armed officers just outside of the classroom could have stopped the shooting three minutes after it started.

CNN's Rosa Flores has been in Uvalde in covering this. So Rosa, Chief Arredondo requested to take a leave of absence from the council and then what happened?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a tough one for this community. So Arredondo is not only the chief of police at the school district, he's also a newly elected city council member and he requested for a leave of absence. And here's the thing, people in - a lot of people in this community don't want just him to have permission to miss these meetings, they want him out altogether. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, please, we're begging, get this man out of our lives, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We may not be able to remove Pete by petition due to the city charter, we may not be able to amend the city charter for two years due to state laws, but we can remove you.

ERNEST "CHIP" KING: I've heard you guys and this bothers me. But I don't need to talk a whole lot more. I make a motion we do not grant the leave of absence for Councilman Arredondo."


FLORES: So as you saw there, there was a unanimous vote to deny the leave of absence and Victor and Christi - excuse me, I always make that mistake, I'm so sorry, Alisyn.


What I wanted to mention was that there was always discussion - there was discussion there about how if they miss - if Arredondo miss his three meetings that he could be removed by council, if there is a unanimous vote as well. So that's what the people there were asking for.

CAMEROTA: Rosa, great reporting. I make that mistake too. I call myself Christi. It's such a habit because everybody associates Victor with Christi. Thank you, Rosa. Great reporting as always.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

Let's turn now to this rare moment of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill.

CAMEROTA: Sixty-four senators say they support the new gun safety bill, including 14 Republicans. If passed, this would be the first significant piece of gun legislation in decades. Senate Minority Leader McConnell says he's ready to make it happen.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): This time it's different. This time the Democrats came our way and agreed to advance some common sense solutions without rolling back rights for law abiding citizens. The result is a product I'm proud to support.


CAMEROTA: Fred Guttenberg lost his daughter Jaime in the Parkland Florida School shooting. He's also the author of Find the Helpers: What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope. He is also a senior adviser to the Brady PAC. Fred, always great to see you. I was so touched to see the photo that you tweeted out of you today with Jaime on your - standing on your shoulders, and you said, "Jaime, we did it! With you standing on my shoulders, it was always only a matter of time." Why are you so optimistic this time, Fred?

FRED GUTTENBERG, DAUGHTER WAS KILLED IN PARKLAND SCHOOL SHOOTING: Because it's going to get done. We have 15 Republicans in the Senate. I think there could be one or two more. There will be Republicans who joined Democrats in the House. This deal will get done. This will go to the President for a signature.

And listen, Alisyn, I've told you in the past, I am nothing but Jaime's voice. I have spent the past four years every second of every minute of every day fighting to do one thing and it's to reduce gun violence. It is to help this country understand that any steps we take to save lives is a big deal. I heard what Mitch McConnell said, I'll smile today and in the interest of bipartisanship, I will ignore him. This is a big day that wouldn't have happened without Democrats in the House and the Senate and then President Biden.

BLACKWELL: Fred, I know that that you want more. That this is a significant step forward, but there is the next goal. How do you get the next incremental change? Do you think that's federal or do you have to now shift to the states?

GUTTENBERG: Hey, listen, it's both. I just - in the news this week is New Jersey, my friend, Gov. Phil Murphy who has been relentlessly doing more and more every day to reduce gun violence. But we need federal - a federal response. Simply put, you can't solve this problem, just going state by state because while there are people like Governor Phil Murphy doing it right, there are states like Texas and Florida, who's threatening to go the other direction that will do it wrong.

And so we need a federal response. I believe that Americans will pay attention to the fact that what was done is what we always wanted, which was to support gun owners and reduce gun violence. And by giving the Democrats the ability to lead this process, we've shown who we are and what we want to do and at the end of the day, gun violence will be reduced because of this and it is a big deal.

CAMEROTA: Fred, I mean, it's so heartening to hear you say that because obviously it's - it is incremental, as you say, and there are so many people who wish that it went so much further, but you think that this will actually make a dent.

GUTTENBERG: Listen, I will - someone, a friend of mine, who's running for Congress, Jared Moskowitz said it's necessary, but not sufficient. So what happened now is necessary. But, of course, there's more that we need to do.

But Alisyn and Victor, I have three metrics, one is reduced the gun violence death rate, this bill will do that. The other is reduce the instances of gun violence, this bill will do that. And the third is to reduce the severity of gun violence (inaudible) as well.

Anything we do that continues us in that direction, we should look at while protecting the rights of gun owners and the Second Amendment.