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CNN Special Reports
Assault On Democracy: The Roots Of Trump's Insurrection. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired June 25, 2021 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOANN ROWE, DONOVAN CROWL'S MOTHER: I also think they believed so much in what Trump was saying that they truly were believing they were following his orders.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The lies, the anger, the escalation of violent rhetoric had been building for months.
ALI ALEXANDER, STOP THE STEAL ORGANIZER: Haven't I told you this fight would escalate?
GRIFFIN (voice-over): The day before January 6th, crowds started pouring into Washington, D.C. At a rally there, Pastor Ken Peters would preach revolution.
PASTOR KEN PETERS, PATRIOT CHURCH KNOXVILLE: We will rise up in this time and say like falling there (ph), the leftists are coming. The leftists are coming. The leftists are coming.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Later that evening, Trump's political trickster, Roger Stone, would speak in biblical terms.
ROGER STONE, LONG-TIME POLITICAL STRATEGIST OF TRUMP: This is nothing less than an epic struggle for the future of this country between dark and light, between the godly and the godless, between good and evil.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Ashli Babbitt tweeted, "Nothing will stop us. In less than 24 hours, dark to light".
To anyone paying attention, a powder keg of violence had been set and was waiting for a match.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen, OK? It's going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is strap in.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Early morning, January 6th, 2021. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They will have to make it through about four different areas and then go through security.
KELSEY SMITH, DIRECTOR OF SCHEDULING AND ADVANCE, SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: I think there was a heightened sense of the importance of that day and the pressure of that day and --
GRIFFIN (voice-over): For aides to Nancy Pelosi, Alisa La and Kelsey Smith, it would be a big workday, the certification of the 2020 presidential election. In an exclusive interview, they admit the growing number of Trump supporters in the city were unsettling.
ALISA LA, SPECIAL ASSISTANT, SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: My parents were definitely a little concerned for my safety going into work. My husband was a little bit worried. But everybody said once you're in the Capitol, you'll be totally fine.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): All across Washington, Trump supporters have been turning out for hours.
PETERS: That's how we got up which we thought was early. The line was so big, it was worthless to even get in line. So we just found a spot out there in the sea of people where we thought we could see a little bit and hear a little bit but it was absolutely packed.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Pastor Ken Peters had spoken at the D.C. Stop the Steal rally the night before. Couy Griffin arrived early too, believing he would speak before Trump.
COUY GRIFFIN, CHARGED IN CAPITOL RIOT: I went to the rally or the ball. I thought I was going to be able to speak out at which unfortunately I wasn't included in them (ph).
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Yvonne St. Cyr began the day posting her excitement.
YVONNE ST. CYR, CHARGED IN CAPITOL RIOT: Hello, good morning, we're here.
We came off the metro and it was just eerie. It was like they had the roads blocked off and dump trucks.
OFFICER HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: They just got a different sense in the air at it. All right, this is a little weird, but still nothing to raise the hairs on your neck.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn called into work for what he thought would be a routine day of protests, saw the early crowds and took note.
DUNN: These people are like wrapped their selves in their flags and it was nothing like I've ever seen before. And it's just -- it was like a cultist mentality.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: There is an enormous crowd here. It's hard to really get a grasp of it. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here because my president called me.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): The crowds waited for hours watching speech after speech.
REP. MO BROOKS (R-AL): Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.
JOHN SCOTT-RAILTON, SENIOR RESEARCHER, CITIZEN LAB, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO: This wasn't just a political show of support for the President, this was a historic day, and a historic moment and action might be required.
GIULIANI: Let's have trial by combat.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Behind the scenes at the rally to save America, Donald Trump Jr. was all smiles.
DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: Kimberly (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Have a (INAUDIBLE) with the riot thing. Fight.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): But President Trump reportedly in a bad mood was glued to the monitors showing the crowds.
SANCHEZ: We'll and see what he has to say at 11:00 when he said to speak. After that, all these supporters are expected to march over to the U.S. Capitol.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Members of the extreme right-wing group, The Proud Boys, were already assembling at a pre-planned location at the Capitol's east side, flashing the OK sign that's associated with white power.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you want to see all The Proud Boys that are here today?
GRIFFIN (voice-over): They had not come to listen to any speeches.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take the fucking Capitol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tighten up, tighten up.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): They had arrived in small groups, dressed without their usual Proud Boy attire to blend in and equip themselves with radios for communication. Their day would begin with a prayer. And they marched to the Capitol's west side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two men on a mission, with about 500 behind them ready to kick some butt, stand up for this country.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Josh Pruitt, who would be among the first wave of Proud Boys to breach the Capitol claims he knew nothing of their plan. JOSH PRUITT, CHARGED IN CAPITOL RIOT: I didn't hear anything about any plans made by the Capitol at all. I was really just with the guys that were part of the Maryland Chapter. So there was probably like 20 of us. We all hooked up around like 10:00 in the morning, and that was down where Trump was speaking.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): At the rally, Trump was finally taking the stage and repeating his election loss lies.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We wanted by a landslide. This was not a close election.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Members of the right-wing militia, the Oath Keepers, including Jessica Watkins, begin to lead the speech.
JESSICA WATKINS, CHARGED IN CAPITOL RIOT: We want Trump.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Watkins and Donovan Crowl make their way towards the Capitol. She uses a walkie-talkie app to communicate to other Oath Keepers.
WATKINS: Everybody's marching on the Capitol, all million of us.
It's insane. We're about two blocks away from it now, and police are doing nothing. They're not even trying to stop us at this point.
TRUMP: Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. And after this, we're going to walk down and I'll be there with you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People from the ellipse where the President has spoken are going to start making their way up here.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): We want Trump. We want Trump. We want Trump.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Back at the Capitol, a group led by Proud Boys are taunting police at a small barricade.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our Capitol.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Blocking the entrance to the Capitol grounds northwest side. Then they make their move, overwhelming officers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA!
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): USA!
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): USA! USA!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rushing the fucking Capitol, brother. The Proud Boys are rushing the Capitol.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Police continue to fall back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want (INAUDIBLE) back.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take it (ph).
NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: As the House comes to order for this important, historic meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): USA! USA!
LA: I started looking out and I saw a lot of commotion. This is not right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there any objections?
GRIFFIN (voice-over): On the floor of the House, Paul Gosar, the Republican from Arizona, who'd previously been in communication with Stop the Steal organizer, Ali Alexander is launching his own protests.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What purpose does the gentleman from Arizona rise (ph)?
REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): I rise up both for myself and 60 of my colleagues to object to the counting of the electoral ballots from Arizona.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right, so there you have it, the first objection, they're going to be separated out.
SMITH: I didn't have a view into the outside, but somebody texted me a photo of people on the inaugural platform and that was the first time I thought, wow, I can't believe we're at this point.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): It was almost the same moment, Donald Trump was delivering this prophetic line.
TRUMP: And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. So we're going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Be advised, the speech has ended.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Outside the walls of the Capitol, mayhem. A member of The Proud Boys named Dominic Pezzola got his hands on a Capitol Police riot shoot (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're throwing bottles, bike racks, and bricks at the Capitol.
DUNN: You hear offices on the radio screaming for help.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Harry Dunn station on the Capitol's east side races to help his comrades on the west and he's stunned at what he sees.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Multiple Capitol injuries! Multiple Capitol injuries!
DUNN: And you've seen these officers come up the steps being dragged up the steps. I can't see almost in tears, help me, help me. And they're walking out with just their arms forward because you can't see with supervisors there in white shirts.
And there's orange stained. The orange is the pepper spray and there's just so -- it's just orange spray. And it's just like, ah help, help. You got officers coming up steps bloodied. And just -- and you're thinking yourself, oh my God, what is happening.
And just seeing the fear in somebody's officers' faces, and I'm sure was present on mine because I was scared. I was absolutely scared. Just seeing that fear is something I don't think I'll ever forget.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): A full scale riot is underway outside the Capitol, leaving the rally down Pennsylvania Avenue. Yvonne St. Cyr has no idea what awaits her.
ST. CYR: And I was so excited to get to the Capitol. I just wanted to see what was going to happen. So 1:11, we started marching.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Alex Jones, the conspiracy theory profiteer with the organizer of Stop the Steal, Ali Alexander in tow, begins his own march to the Capitol grounds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is history happening.
ST. CYR: I skipped, literally skipped with my flag all the way to the Capitol.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): In the crowd, Ashli Babbitt.
ASHLI BABBITT, SHOT DEAD DURING THE CAPITOL HILL RIOT: We are walking to the Capitol and a mob. There's an estimated over 3 million people here today. So, despite what the media tells you, we talk ground definitely say something different. There is a see of nothing but red, white and blue patriots and Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what you get ruining (ph) the mob.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): At 1:26 p.m., U.S. Capitol Police order the Capitol Complex to begin evacuations. Two minutes later, a call is made requesting the National Guard. Pipe bombs are being investigated nearby at the headquarters of the DNC and RNC.
DUNN: Whoa, this is bad, this is bad.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): By 2:00 p.m. both sides of the Capitol are surrounded with mobs fighting police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're still taking metal, sharpened objects, missiles to include bottles and rocks and hand-throwing chemical-grade fireworks. This is now effectively a riot.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Capitol Police are fighting a two-front war (ph).
DUNN: Total chaos, a total chaos. The screaming, yelling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leave him alone. Leave him alone. Leave him alone.
DUNN: Bullhorn being blown. Aah, aah, aah.
Cheers of America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is our tribute (ph).
DUNN: And trader and we want Trump and just absolute pandemonium. It's so loud you, can't even hear your radio that's right here in your ear. They were prepared for war.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Then the moment happens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've breached the scaffold. They have breached the scaffold.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): USA! USA! USA!
GRIFFIN (voice-over): At 2:12 p.m., using a stolen police shield, Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola breaks a window. The Capitol has been breached. The danger has only begun.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): At 2:12 p.m. using a police shield, Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola breaks a window on the Capitol's west side and the mob starts pouring in. Josh Pruitt jumps a railing and follows other Proud Boys through a now open door.
What did you do?
PRUITT: Walk in through a front door being held open by cops, a weed (ph) man.
GRIFFIN (on-camera): Now you know that's not true.
PRUITT: No, I know that is true. There's proof of it. There's video of it. And when I walked into the front door, the cops were at the door and they were standing to the sides of the door and they were waving people in.
GRIFFIN (on-camera): Yes. The video I saw of that moment was a couple of cops overwhelmed by a mob. PRUITT: Well, you didn't watch all the videos then.
GRIFFIN (on-camera): I didn't? I think I did.
(voice-over): It was all caught on video. Here is Josh Pruitt walking through the door 70 seconds after the window breaks. It is almost the same moment rioters smashed windows on the east side.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And be advised they're attempting to break a window on the east front. 14:13 hours Capitol has been breached on the east side.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Armed with sticks, flagpoles, riot shields, they had stormed past and overpowered police who could do little but copes (ph) and steer them away from lawmakers.
REP. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): My challenge today is not about the good people of Arizona.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I will stand in recess until the call of the chair.
LANKFORD: We'll pause --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Protesters are in the building.
LANKFORD: Thank you.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): The rioters weren't just in the building. At the moment the Senate adjourned, they were screaming straight toward the Senate chambers and Vice President Mike Pence. Senator Mitt Romney is about to head straight into a mob but it's intercepted by a single Capitol Hill police officer. A moment later, that same officer, Eugene Goodman, somehow coaxes the mob away from the Senate and straight into a waiting row of Capitol Police.
DUNN: My hero seems great. He is great. He did a great job. There were a lot of Eugene Goodmans that day that did a lot of great heroic things, and people will never know their name.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Biggs, what you got to say?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is awesome.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): There are now hundreds in the mob, roaming halls, banging on doors, taking photos and video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Some members of Congress are being escorted to safety, but scattered behind doors. Staffers, news media are in hiding.
LA: Then I remember telling my colleagues, I think we need to go into lockdown. GRIFFIN (voice-over): Inside, House Speaker Pelosi's office, her staffers rushed to a conference room, lock the door. Among them, Alisa La and Kelsey Smith speaking exclusively to CNN.
LA: Then we started hearing the banging and like the hooting and hollering very close to us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) brother.
LA: And then I realized OK, music off, everybody silence your cell phones, turn the lights off. Do not say anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're coming for you, Nancy.
LA: It was menacing. I mean, they were like where's Nancy? Where's Nancy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're here for you, Nancy.
LA: Where are the people that work for her like --
SMITH: We'll find you.
LA: -- yes.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): They had barricaded themselves in hoping the door would hold.
SMITH: The den (ph) was coming from all directions. And we heard somebody yell, I found Nancy Pelosi's office, like Nancy. That people are chanting, Nancy, Nancy. They come through this way.
So we're hearing it from behind us and in front of our door, so it was completely -- the sound surrounded us to the point we're just hearing the shouting and the yelling and the banging and the crashing and shattering of glass. But then once they started banging on the door, that's all I heard. That's what I still think about, the door's sound.
One of us said to the other, they take us hostage, right? I said, yes. I think that was one of the few words I said out loud in the room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to fight, you'd play (INAUDIBLE).
GRIFFIN (voice-over): One of the trap staffers whispers a phone called plea for help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need Capitol Police. I think they're coming down the hallway. They're pounding on doors trying to find her.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): It was pure terror.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you Nancy? We're looking for you.
SMITH: That's the way he was chanting her name. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nancy.
SMITH: It haunts me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, Nancy.
SMITH: He was not going to be nice if he found her or someone associated with her.
LA: And it could have been multiple --
LA: -- men that were doing that too. I mean, we don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nancy. Where are you Nancy?
SMITH: We didn't know what was actually happening because it was just the eight of us in a completely dark room and all we could hear was all those outside.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Inside the halls of Congress, the mob refuses to stop.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Stop the Steal! Stop the Steal!
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Outside, more and more are trying to get in. In the midst of the massive protests, what appears to be a single file military column climbs the eastern staircase as the crowd sings.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): These are the Oath Keepers and in the column is Joann Rowe's son, Donovan Crowl.
ROWE: And I never dreamed that he would ever do anything like that. Never. It's just heartbreaking to me.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): It's alleged the Oath Keepers had stashed weapons in a nearby hotel had been planning practicing military tactics since the election. Now, over radio communications, they were broadcasting their triumph.
WATKINS: We are in the mezzanine. We are in the main dome right now. We are rocking it. They're throwing grenades, they're fricking shoot people with paintballs, but we're in here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get it, Jess. Do your (INAUDIBLE). This is what we've -- lived up for. Everything we've -- trained for.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll take all (ph) the Capitol, overrun the Capitol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in the fucking Capitol (INAUDIBLE).
GRIFFIN (voice-over): In almost every corner, inside and out, many battles are raging.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's over. You better run cops.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All MPD pull back to the upper deck, ASAP.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Police officers are being crushed trying to keep a surging mob from gaining entry to the lower west tunnel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody, freeze (ph).
GRIFFIN (voice-over): One Officer Daniel Hodges is screaming as his body is pressed into the door. Officer Michael Fanone.
OFFICER MICHAEL FANONE, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: This is not a law enforcement operation.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): His body camera captures the moment. He faced the mob of thousands.
FANONE: We're in a medieval battle. This is hand-to-hand combat in its most brutal form (ph).
GRIFFIN (voice-over): The rioters had come armed and were fighting to get inside. They hit police with bats, sticks, batons, tasers.
FANONE: Guys (ph) are bleeding. You know, these are officers that I think under normal circumstances they'd be in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. But they weren't because there was nowhere to go. If you left that line, we are going to lose that door and that just wasn't an option.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Fanone trying to defend the line was yanked across it.
FANONE: I was pulled away from the other officers out into the crowd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got one.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Video would capture Fanone being tossed, pulled, beaten. His own body camera, a jumble of confusion and violence.
FANONE: They'll getting the shit, kicked out me. Yes, that was like the ass beating of a lifetime.
GRIFFIN (on-camera): You're in a police uniform.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): The mob grabbed for his gun. Someone repeatedly tased him in the neck.
FANONE: They were trying to kill me. GRIFFIN (voice-over): Fanone struggling to survive outside the Capitol, was trying to defend lawmakers still trapped inside.
REP. PETER WELCH (D-VT): We were just told that there has been tear gas in the rotunda and we're being instructed to each of us get gas masks that are under our seats.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Armed Capitol Police are now blocking the doors of the United States House of Representatives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're traitor.
GRIFFIN: Up in the gallery, Colorado congressman Jason Crow was in a group of members trap.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody stay down.
REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): We are the targets. We were the ones the members that they were going to try to kill or capture.
GRIFFIN: Grow called his wife told her I love you. Then the former Army Ranger with more than 100 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan plotted to escape.
CROW: There was a part of me that was thinking, if this mob breaks through those doors, they're going to try to kill us all. And I need to do what I need to do to protect myself protect my colleagues, protect others.
GRIFFIN: On the capital's front lawn, the mob was becoming incensed. Donald Trump had just tweeted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution.
GRIFFIN: There was a scaffold and a noose and chance of paying Mike Pence.
Security is now whisking Pence and his family down a back stairway.
JOHN BOLTON, FMR. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think Trump wanted the crowd to turn into a mob. I think he wanted them to disrupt the certification of the Electoral College votes to give him more time to play out some other scenario that might yet end up with him being president and that's the most dangerous part, not the crowd in the Capitol, although that was sad and tragic. The worst part was Donald Trump himself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we came that far. What do you say?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring him out.
GRIFFIN: Back inside, Ashli Babbitt is approaching a mob that has reached the doors of the House speakers lobby. It's a hallway that leads directly to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, members and their staff just steps away. Reinforcements arrived.
Three uniformed officers holding the door step aside. All that separates members of Congress from the mob is a wood and glass door barricaded with furniture.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, he's got a gun. He's got a gun.
GRIFFIN: In that split second, Ashli Babbitt tries to climb through a broken window.
ROGER WITTHOEFT, ASHLI BABBITT'S BROTHER: That's one of the hardest parts about seeing the video is someone grabbed her and shaker and be like dammit, Ashli, why'd you have to do that? You know?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sound like a fucking gun.
GRIFFIN: Ashli Babbitt is shot.
CROW: You know, I know gunshots pretty well. I knew that. This was this was real and people were being killed.
GRIFFIN: Ashli Babbitt would die because of Trump's big lie. She would not be the last.
GRIFFIN: The battle raging for nearly two hours. Showing no signs of stopping. Rioters are on the Senate floor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, whose office is this?
GRIFFIN: And rummaging through offices.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh wow.
GRIFFIN: Outside more and more are trying to fight their way in. DC Police Officer Michael for known dragged into a mob being beaten, is heard on his body camera pleading for mercy.
OFFICER MICHAEL FANONE, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: I think it saved my life.
GRIFFIN: Officer Fanone suffered a mild heart attack after being repeatedly tased and beaten. One of nearly 140 police officers wounded in the protest.
Another Officer Brian Sicknick sprayed with a chemical would die the next day officially have a stroke. Though the riot played a role according to the medical examiner.
Cowboy Josh Pruitt walking around the Capitol is spotted at the frontlines and smashing a wooden sign. He calls it all a peaceful protest.
JOSH PRUITT, CHARGED: CAPITOL RIOT: There's a picture of me picking up a side. OK, cool.
GRIFFIN (on camera): Now holding it over your head and throwing.
PRUITT: I'm sure I've seen trust. We have seen all the pictures, because that's their narrative.
JOHN SCOTT-RAILTON, SENIOR RESEARCHER, CITIZEN LAB, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO: I think we got so lucky that this didn't become worse. And what was remarkable is the hours that went by without a word from Trump.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): It's been an hour since the Capitol was breached at 3:13. Donald Trump would make his first response to the violence, tweeting, I'm asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful, no violence. Remember, we are the party of law and order.
FANONE: I don't think the people that came to the Capitol that day had a lot of respect for my co-workers and I.
REP. MIKE GALLAGHER (R-WI): I mean, this is insane.
GRIFFIN: Lawmakers, including Republicans calling into CNN were astounded at the President's detachment.
GALLAGHER: The elections over any objectors need to stop meddling with the primal forces of our democracy here. So call it off. Mr. President, we need you to call this off.
GRIFFIN: President Trump did not call it off. On approach overlooking the crowd, Alex Jones begins to spend the lie, Antifa was causing the violence.
ALEX JONES, CONSPIRACY THEORIST: 95 percent provocateur. We have the witnesses, we have the footage.
GRIFFIN: Couy Griffin who claims he didn't see anybody makes his way to the inauguration stage.
COUY GRIFFIN, CHARGED IN CAPITOL RIOT: But it wasn't part of the Capitol building. It was an exterior staircase. I never went inside.
D. GRIFFIN: And tries to get a mob shouting fight for Trump to pray for Trump.
C. GRIFFIN: Take a knee. If you want to, take a knee, take a knee.
Wonderful opportunity to pray with people. After that we laughed, we walked down the staircase. We walked away from the Capitol.
GRIFFIN: The aftermath of Ashli Babbitt's fatal shooting is playing out on live TV.
WITTHOEFT: By the time I had made it to my parent's house, my other younger brother and met me out in the parking lot and told me she passed. One of the only times I've ever seen my father cry. I mean, go down to your knees sobbing like a kid. Cry. My mom was told about it. But I mean which mother wouldn't be, you know.
GRIFFIN: Yet the President had still not told his followers to stop. Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urges Trump call it off.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I begged him to go talk to the nation. Don't do it by Twitter.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: He was resisting phone calls from people. He did talk to Kevin McCarthy. Kevin McCarthy told him what was happening, that people were breaking into McCarthy's office and Trump's reaction was they must be more upset than you are about the election results.
BOLTON: Donald Trump is watching this on television and I wondered what is he doing to stop this? I think we know now he didn't do anything. Not doing anything while the Capitol was being desecrated, I thought was unforgivable.
GRIFFIN: Pastor Ken Peter says he didn't make it to the Capitol till later.
KEN PETER, FMR. PASTOR OF SPOKANE'S COVENANT CHURCH: There were still people all over the stairs and waving flags. You saw people standing and letting their voices be heard.
GRIFFIN (on camera): People bashing in windows, pushing through doors fighting with cops. Do you believe that did happen?
PETER: I did. I do.
GRIFFIN: And was it right wrong?
PETER: There's how -- it was horrible. No, it was terrible. As Christians, we stand but we don't riot. Christians are never to be destructive.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Capitol Hill police now formed in tactical units were performing rescue mission. Congressman Jason Crow among those trapped in the House gallery was being escorted past rioters spread eagle on the ground.
CROW: They were holding rioters at bay at gunpoint on the other side.
GRIFFIN: Nancy Pelosi's staff waited two hours barricaded and terrified before they too were escorted to safety.
KELSEY SMITH, DIRECTOR OF SCHEDULING AND ADVANCE, SPEAKER PELOSI: That was easily the worst day of my life. The worst two hours of my life easily.
GRIFFIN: Amidst the chaos, QAnon believer Yvonne St. Cyr, climb through a window to get inside. YVONNE ST. CYR, QANON BELIEVER: I was caught up in the moment. Oh my gosh, we were storming the Capitol. I was inside the Capitol. So I went live in the moment and I stuck my head out the window and said this is our house and all the energy and emotion of what I was feeling. Super sad and this is America and Americans are being beaten for wanting to save their country. So welcome to communist America. Aren't you so fucking proud?
GRIFFIN: By 4:00, Vice President Pence was calling the Acting Secretary of Defense demanding he cleared the Capitol. A moment later, battle raging. Trump finally tweets a pre-taped statement.
DONALD TRUMP, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: I know your pain. I know you're hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. But you have to go home now --
GRIFFIN: Then inexplicably tells the mob --
TRUMP: You're very special.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump asked everybody go home. He just said, he just put out a tweet. It's a minute long. He asked everybody to go home.
GRIFFIN: Josh Pruitt who claims he was only in the Capitol for a half hour.
PRUITT: It got a little too rowdy for me in there personally. So I decided to leave.
GRIFFIN: Says he believes it was all a setup.
PRUITT: I think that they let a bunch of people in so they can use their facial recognition and get every Trump supporter with charges that they could. That's what I think happened.
And now you see in these pictures, you know, the cavalry if you will has arrived.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of here guys.
GRIFFIN: By 6:00 p.m. January 6, the riot was largely under control. At 6:01, Donald Trump would signal to his supporters, they had done the right thing. And he shot a warning to the rest of the country that the insurrection he launched was not over.
These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who had been badly and unfairly treated for so long. He finishes, remember this day forever.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Congress has returned to the Capitol --
GRIFFIN: But the day was not over. ALISA LA, SPECIAL ASSISTANT, SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: We went back and did our job. We fulfilled our constitutional duty and they will never break us.
MIKE PENCE, FMR. U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win.
GRIFFIN: Trump lost. The insurrection failed. Congress certified Joe Biden's as the 46th President of the United States. But the big lie has not gone away. The assault on democracy is escalating.
TRUMP: Our movement is far from over. In fact, it is just getting started.
GRIFFIN: On the morning of January 7 like the country itself, the United States Capitol appeared in shock. Broken glass, smashed doors. Damaged but not broken. Democracy had survived Trump's mob. Joe Biden's election had been certified, but at tremendous cost.
Five people died, nearly 140 police officers injured.
In the immediate aftermath, there was no doubt who had caused it.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: President Trump is practically and morally responsible.
GRIFFIN: Republicans briefly united with Democrats in disgust.
MCCARTHY: The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters.
GRIFFIN: Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy who begged Donald Trump to stop the riot while it was happening.
MCCARTHY: I called the President and I begged him to go talk to the nation.
GRIFFIN: Within weeks would do an about face.
MCCARTHY: I don't believe he provoked if you listened to what he said at the rally.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If you don't believe that Trump had anything to do with his insurrection, why are you calling him to have it called off? In the heat of the moment, everybody knew what the deal was.
GRIFFIN: Kevin McCarthy would fly to Mar-a-Lago, Mitch McConnell would signal to the nation Trump was still in charge.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: If the President was the party's nominee, would you support him?
MCCONNELL: The nominee of the party? Absolutely.
GRIFFIN: In that hypocrisy, lower level Republicans many conspiracy believers themselves found their opening to rewrite the history of January 6.
Congressman Andrew Clyde from Georgia who actually helped Capitol Police barricade the door that day later said this.
REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): You know, if you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the six you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.
GRIFFIN: No one could look at this video. This video or this video. And called January 6 a normal tourist visit.
WITTHOEFT: It's kind of eerie and haunting to me that for the rest of my life, I can go watch my sister die on camera. A horrible, horrible video but it always be there.
GRIFFIN: The scars of the siege on the Capitol are permanent. The lives of those who took part have been upended many face prison time lost jobs.
C. GRIFFIN: It's cost me a lot. It's cost me a lot.
D. GRIFFIN: Couy Griffin faces federal charges, and his county commission seat is being threatened.
C. GRIFFIN: Sorry, I'm not quitting. I'm not resigning.
D. GRIFFIN: And still he is a believer.
C. GRIFFIN: I personally will never recognize Joe Biden as a president of the United States as long as I have the type of questions that I have regarding the elections.
D. GRIFFIN: Yvonne St. Cyr, also charged for storming the Capitol thinks it's all part of a grand plan.
ST. CYR: I don't regret going on January 6 at all. And I don't even regret going through the window.
GRIFFIN: Bartender Josh Pruitt says he can't find a job because of his role in the riot. And as for the charges against him, you're in serious trouble.
PRUITT: I'll be just fine. Because I didn't do anything.
GRIFFIN: Oath Keeper Donovan Crowl is facing some of the most serious criminal charges in the capital breach.
DONOVAN CROWL, CHARGED IN CAPITOL RIOT: We're going to the Capitol, overran the Capitol.
GRIFFIN: We found him in Ohio, where he's awaiting trial.
(on camera): I'm with CNN.
CROWL: Excuse me?
GRIFFIN: I'm with CNN, Mr. Crowl. Drew Griffin.
CROWL: Thanks, man. I'm good. How's your day?
GRIFFIN: I've been talking to your mom and your sister, they mentioned that you might want to say something to us about.
CROWL: About what?
GRIFFIN: About your case and whether or not you feel bad about it.
CROWL: I feel bad about my case.
GRIFFIN: Feel bad about what you did?
CROWL: Well, actually, the things I did I was hanging out with some of the wrong people it seems like, but I didn't really do anything. So I feel pretty good that my case is going to come out and show that, so.
GRIFFIN: Do you feel like you were manipulated into going to the Capitol?
CROWL: No, no, I really got nothing to say to you. I don't watch your garbage anyway.
JOANN ROWE, DONOVAN CROWL'S MOTHER: I love the person that he used to be, but I despise the person that he is now. He's not my son. And I still have a hard time believing that he did what he did. If he gets 20 years in prison, he'll be 70 years old before he gets out of there. Trump doesn't care about any of those people that stormed the Capitol for him. He doesn't care one iota about him. He hasn't even mentioned them since he's been out of the White House.
GRIFFIN: January 6 only intensified the collective madness around the lie of a stolen election. Amateur Republican attempts are underway to recount ballots in sham audits only in states Trump lost. Republican governors and legislators are passing new laws targeting mass vote fraud that never occurred. Scariest of all, the conspiracy theory that Trump could return in a military coup.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The military is doing their own investigation and at the right time, they're going to be restoring the republic with Trump as president.
CYNTHIA MILLER-IDRISS, DIRECTOR, POLARIZATION AND EXTREMISM LAB, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Well, once people are already radicalized, it is very difficult to bring them back.
GRIFFIN (on camera): So just giving them facts doesn't work.
MILLER IDRISS: It definitely does not work specially for conspiracy theories. You can't give people facts and expect them to believe. They will just see that as feeding into the same construct.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): If you are watching CNN, reading news based in fact, not fiction, you are missing what is driving the delusional views of so many Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think he's going to come back?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Always come back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2024?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's coming back before then.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't know.
GRIFFIN: Trump's true believers get their so called news from unapologetic propaganda, conspiracy profiteers on social media, and lying politicians who are putting their personal careers ahead of the country they claim to serve.
Most influential of all is the liar in chief Trump himself, who fuels the hysteria.
TRUMP: I am not the one trying to undermine American democracy. I'm the one that's trying to save it. Please remember that.
GRIFFIN: Donald Trump's lie. United ordinary Americans with radical extremists on January 6, and that could lead to an even darker future.
ELIZABETH NEUMANN, FMR. TRUMP DHS COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: There are still a lot of angry people. It absolutely embolden them. And it's like it's finally happening. This Civil War. This is the start of it. And it has encouraged people to plot and plan for what their next series of attacks are going to be.
GRIFFIN: The movement threatens the very functioning of the United States government.
JONES: If you don't change anything, we're on the pathway to having a failed state, which means the government can't govern, which means people just start doing whatever they want to do. You could wind up with very bad outcomes the United States over the next 10 years or more.
GRIFFIN: It is an America where white supremacists can march in the open. Politicians can spread lies, push hate and make millions from it, and violent mobs can storm capitals and threatened politicians if they don't like the results of an election. This is Donald Trump's America.