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The January 6 Committee Releases Its Final Report; Storm Blasts United States. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired December 22, 2022 - 23:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This is "CNN Tonight." I'm Laura Coates, and the breaking news tonight, we had the final report from the January 6th Select committee. It is now public, it is now online, it's on our own website as well as the House's website as well, so follow along, we are going to dig in deep into this report and what you need to know.

It's a result, by the way, of over a thousand interviews and documents, including emails and texts, phone records, and a year and a half of investigations. Of course, this is after the 10 public hearings we all witnessed and the day's events on January 6th.

The report includes allegations that the former president, Donald Trump -- quote -- "oversaw" -- unquote -- the effort to put forward fake slates of electors in seven states that he has lost.

This report was just released a little over an hour ago and it outlines eight chapters. Chapter 1, the big lie. Chapter 2, I just want to find the 11,780 votes. Chapter 3, fake electors and the president of the Senate strategy. Chapter 4 -- which, of course, is the vice president. Chapter 4, just call it corrupt and leave the rest to me. You're remembering from the public hearings, huh? Chapter 5, a coup in search of a legal theory. Chapter 6, be there, will be wild. Chapter 7, 187 minutes of dereliction alluding to what the president was doing while the attack on the Capitol unfolded. And Chapter 8, analysis of the attack.

And yes, we are going through this line by line, the findings. The report covering 845 pages. We're also here bringing you tonight the reporting, the analysis you need to understand and contextualize in light of all that we've already seen and heard from on this late Thursday evening here in Washington, D.C., the only way that CNN can.

Let's go back to justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, in our Washington newsroom. She is pouring through the findings for us. It's after 11:00 p.m. now here on the east coast. Jessica, we're going through all these chapters. We are pouring over the details. There is a lot in this report. What is the latest?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, the latest, as you know, nearly two years after this attack on the Capitol, January 6, 2021, the committee tasked with investigating and coming up with the report on that very attack has finally released this report, nearly 900 pages.

It really details in narrative form, exactly what transpired on and around and even months before January 6th. The most crucially here, it lays out 11 different recommendations that various bodies, the committee believed, should take actions they should take to prevent something like this in the future or, Laura, to really pinpoint the people responsible for this.

And most notably in that regard, the committee is really zeroing in on the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, Section 3, which specifically says, anyone involved in an insurrection should be barred from holding future federal office.

And while the committee is not saying it directly, they're pointing the finger squarely at Donald Trump, especially because he has just recently announced his candidacy for president for 2024. So, the committee here is saying that provision of the 14th Amendment should be enforced, Donald Trump should be barred from holding public office again.

They also point to the legislation that has already been passed by the House, talking about the Electoral Reform Act that would specifically state that the vice president, of course, does not have the power to overturn the election and reject certain slates of electors.

And then, of course, they point to federal law enforcement, the Secret Service. They want those agencies to do more to combat and target violent extremism, of course, because it was violent extremist groups, Laura, which led the attack on the Capitol, most prominently the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys.

The Proud Boys is beginning their seditious conspiracy trial just in the new year. The Oath Keepers, of course, several members are already convicted of seditious conspiracy.

So, this is a wide-ranging report. Of course, we've been waiting for it. This actually comes to -- about two days after the committee said it would initially be released. We are waiting for shit on Wednesday at noon. It is now Thursday night at 11:00 p.m. The report finally coming out.

The committee was sort of battling typographical errors and maybe some printing delays, but they have finally gotten this report out. It recommends a litany of things going forward in the future, especially detailing how the people who are responsible can actually come to terms with what they've done or be held accountable, and then how to prevent something like this in the future.


SCHNEIDER: So, Laura, a few new details coming out as well, but this really lays out everything the committee has been doing for the past 18 months. It encompasses those 1,000 interviews that they've been doing and, of course, all of the public hearings that they did over the summer, that the public really got to see what this committee has been working on. Finally, now, their comprehensive report. Laura?

COATES: So important, what you said, Jessica. And everyone, take a step back for a second and just remember, this is a legislative body whose job is oversight in nature, legislative in nature. They have made criminal referrals this past Monday. We were all watching the 11th and final hearing.

But now, it's the sort of, now, what component? Electoral Count Act is part of it. The idea disciplinary (INAUDIBLE) for those who are lawyers and beyond, the idea of the violent extremism you speak about, are very important point, Jessica, as we continue to go through the full report.

I want to get some more perspective here on what we're already learning from CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. Juliette, I want to begin in that area, particularly, because when it comes to violent extremism, we've all been watching and saying, how did this happen? How could it have happened in that way?


COATES: What was the intelligence? What was the chatter that was online? Could it have been prevented? We've heard from a number of officers who were impacted that day about their concern, about having a deterrence, about being prepared.

It's been a talking point to try to undermine the nature of the proceedings, Juliette, to suggest somehow that this is the wrong focus. It ought to be on why there were not more officers on the scene.


COATES: I do wonder, I want to read just a part of a section for you here for the audience's sake, and I would love to hear your feedback on this because this is page 553, everyone following along, and it says -- 527, 527, it says, within three minutes of President Trump's tweet, a user on the message board posted Trump tweet, daddy says, be in D.C. on January 6th. Moderators pinned the pose to the top of the board from December 19th until January 6th, a date obviously of great importance.

It garnered, Juliette, nearly 6,000 comments and more than 24,000 --

KAYYEM: Right.

COATES: -- during that time. And interpret it quickly as a call for violence. I will read one last part.


COATES: One user wrote, Trump can't exactly openly tell you to revolt, this is the closest he'll ever get. When you hear that, what goes through your mind?

KAYYEM: That this is the "will be wild" tweet. This is the one that almost everyone who was following Trump on the outside, experts, people on the inside, view that tweet as the moment in which he went from sort of his -- sort of just, you know, vagueness to a directed target. He gave a name -- he gave a place, he gave a time, and he gave what the motivation was which was, of course, "stop the steal."

And so, what the report is doing, you're going to hear from a lot of lawyers about the litigation side, the politics of this, who testified and who didn't.

On the radicalization side, there is a lot of material in here. Remember, the report begins with "stop the steal." What people have to remember is every piece, from the fake electors to the January 6th violence, to all the craziness of Giuliani to the issues of what Trump was saying, all of it is based around a single narrative, which is "stop the steal."

Some people are bringing legal challenges, some people are playing politics, some media folks are supporting Trump. And then you have the violent wing. But they are all working together. This is what is remarkable about the report, is that they (INAUDIBLE) connective tissue, right? Are all these pieces (INAUDIBLE)?

Basically, the connective tissue is the "stop the steal," the lie from the beginning that Trump was promoting. He is the connective tissue from the well-paid lawyers who are fighting in Georgia to the -- to the radical extremist insurrectionists who are trying to kill police officers. Their connective tissue is Trump.

And I think that the report is very, very successful in showing that narrative outside of all the very important details that come out as well.

COATES: That is such an important point, Juliette, because if you even were to just look at the table of contents, for example, and --


COATES: -- you know, the big lie is where it begins, talking about the big lie --

KAYYEM: Exactly.

COATES: -- reflected, deliberate exploitation of the red mirage. Of course, we saw that in this most recent election as well, the midterms. People were on a higher alert because now we have seen this movie somewhere before, right?


COATES: And the idea of the red mirage will materialize in a certain way and it could be used to sort of convolute the -- create a narrative that says, aha, they're stealing an election.

It goes on to talk about the pre-election plan to declare a victory, the pre-election effort to delegitimize election process, the launch of the big lie, just to name a few. KAYYEM: Yeah.

COATES: I want to just hone in on that tweet, that December 19th tweet --


COATES: -- that the committee talks about. I'm going to read again from the report itself, page 528, everyone, the bottom, and it says, after President Trump's December 19th tweet, users on the site posted simple maps of the U.S. Capitol and telegraphed their intent to invade the building.

If we occupied the Capitol Building, there would be no vote, one user wrote. The media will call us evil if we have to occupy the Capitol Building on January 6th. Let them, another post read. And finally, one user argued the goal should be to -- quote -- "surround the enemy and create a perimeter around the Capitol on January 6th, such that no one was allowed to leave until Trump was readmitted for another four years."

And this same post, the same user, posted a diagram of the U.S. Capitol with arrows indicating where the Capitol access tunnels were located.

KAYYEM: Right.

COATES: Julitte, this was not something to be taken lightly.


COATES: Plans were made.

KAYYEM: No. That's exactly right. And Trump understood that that was what was happening. This is the important thing about what the committee is able to show. It wasn't that he was throwing out random things and then can say, oh, my goodness, what happened? He understood, he clearly understood. He is a creature of social media. He is a creature of radicalization. He understood how his people were hearing them.

He's telling us what to do, he's telling us why we're doing it, the vote has been stolen, and he's telling us what he needs to happen, is that he emerges at the Capitol.

Remember, one of the biggest testimonies coming out was, of course, Trump trying to get to the Capitol. Why is that? It is because his people understood that his presence there would then be sort of a rallying cry for some delay. That's what they needed. They need to buy time so that the electoral votes were not certified.

That is what the violence is about. The violence had a legal agenda. It is hard for people to understand. But the violence's purpose was to create enough delay, that the next day, if you're not certified, the next, all the legal shenanigans would happen, which is clearly what we now know to be the plan. And so, that is what is going on, that radicalization, Trump understood that's what his people wanted. And what lessons that we can draw from this? One is, of course, the lesson that the committee is telling us, which is this man cannot be president again.

The other is that these groups are for real, they are anti-democratic, they do not believe in a peaceful transfer of power, so continue to prosecute them, continue to go after the leadership, and denigrate these organizations much like they have been in the last couple months. So, there's a whole other narrative coming out of this report that is outside what is going to happen with the Department of Justice and the special counsel.

COATES: Juliette, before you go. I want to ask you, if there's one recommendation here, the number three, the headline is violent extremism, I want you to help clarify what this means because they are saying that the federal agencies with intelligence and security missions, including Secret Service, should A, move forward on a whole of government strategy to combat the threat of violence from extremists and also to review the intelligence sharing protocols.

KAYYEM: Right.

COATES: Explain to me why that is significant.

KAYYEM: It's significant because everyone on the outside seem to know what was going on the outside, meaning I'm just -- you know, I'm not special here. Everyone in my field understood January 6th to be different. Whether it was the Antidefamation League that is looking at the same materials or experts on counterterrorism were seeing it.

How we able to see it and the federal agencies are not? Part of it is, of course, some of the federal agencies are just -- this is really hard to focus on the president trying to undermine an insurrection. The others, of course, some of the legal rules around what it means to investigate domestic terrorism.

So, let's be clear here. You can be the most hateful person in this country and I don't really care, right? What we care about is the violence. And so, focusing on ability of these organizations to recruit, to arm themselves, and to focus on political violence is where the agenda has to be.


KAYYEM: And we cannot be scared of supporters of the president or others. We cannot be scared that they're going to say, oh, this is just a cancel culture or this is just they don't like our ideas, have the worst ideas in the world, I don't care. It's the violence.

And focusing on the violence then would've gotten the law enforcement agencies out of whatever sort of pretzel they were doing to focus on the organizations planning a violent insurrection, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, QAnon to a certain extent.

So, I think there's a lot of good lessons to be learned from this. We should not be afraid of calling domestic terrorism what it is. It's a violent threat. Bad ideologies will exist in this country. They always do.

And I do want to end with this: The committee report and Thompson, who really should get a lot of credit for this, I know Cheney does, as she should as well, this is -- does not get distracted. This is what is really important. In the end of the report is about the peaceful transfer of power.

All the other staff, the Trump craziness, the finances, the hate that we hear in the media and elsewhere, that's also a secondary. Focusing on violence and a peaceful transfer of power is sort of the big takeaway here. So, we should be grateful for that, that they, too, did not get distracted from, I think, a lot of noise that is out there.

COATES: Juliette Kayyem, thank you so much. Don't go anywhere, everyone. We got much more on the final report from the January 6 House Select Committee. The panel's last word on the insurrection. It is 845 pages long. We are continuing to report. We are going to bring you all you need to know back here in a moment.




COATES: Back with our breaking news, everyone. We got the new release of the final report from the January 6 Committee. I want to bring in CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein on this right now. By the way, Ron, I've got the full report. We are talking about --


COATES: -- 845 pages here.


COATES: It is unbelievable to think about where we are right now. Indulge me for a moment as I -- and I want to hear your reaction initially to it because you had a particular segment that was really impactful, I think, you said about Congresswoman Liz Cheney.

Before we get there, let me just read for you for a second a really significant part here. It is page 586 of this 845-page report. It gives some really good context here. Here's what it says, President Trump -- finally, he told the crowd where to go to, to -- quote -- "take back our country."

So, we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I love Pennsylvania Avenue. We are going to the Capitol, and we are going to try and give -- we are going to try and give our Republicans the weak ones because the strong ones do not need any of our help. We are going to try and give them he kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So, let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. When the president announced his intentions from the microphone, people listened. House Republican leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy, called Hutchinson mid-speech. Do you guys think you are coming to my office, he asked her. She assured him that they were not coming at all. Figure it out. Don't come up here, he replied.

The announcement from the stage put the Secret Service on alert, prompting agents to designate over email a last-minute response team to filter in with the crowds on the president's walk/motorcade over to the Capitol and establish an emergency plan if things go south.

White House security officials were monitoring the situation in real time, remarking that President Trump was going to the Capitol and that they are finding the best route now. Nonetheless, these staffers were in a state of shock because they knew, particularly, if the president joined, this would no longer be a rally.

We all knew that this was going to move to something else if he physically walked to the Capitol, an employee said. I don't know if you want to use the word "insurrection," "coup," whatever, we all knew that this would move from a normal democratic public event into something else. But the logistics made the move all but impossible.

Ron -- we heard some pieces, Ron, from different testimony. Having it eliminated in this way, what is your reaction?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, first, I would (INAUDIBLE) with the analysis from that White House official. It was already something else beside a normal democratic rally because one of the great contributions of the committee has been from the beginning, to make clear that what happened on that day was not a kind of momentary flash, a peek from the president off the cuff, let's go march down Pennsylvania Avenue.

It was the culmination of a multi-pronged, multi-month effort that had brought collaboration within his party to overturn the election.

You know, if you read those early chapters, one of the things that really comes out of this report very powerfully, and as a former prosecutor, you probably know the relevance more than I do, is that how often President Trump was called, what he was doing was both later, illegal, and earlier, incorrect.

I mean, it shows in copious detail in that chapter on the big lie how not only the Justice Department but his own campaign officials repeatedly told him that what he was saying about fraud and particularly about the Dominion Voting System was not true. It documents again that John Eastman acknowledged that the plan that he was urging on the president and the president in turn urged on Mike Pence violated the Electoral Count Act.


BROWNSTEIN: He had reason to know that what he was doing was wrong, and he pressed on with it. You know, I would say that one thing that strikes me about this report is it makes a powerful and comprehensive case that President Trump faces all sorts of legal vulnerability. But the report does zoom in so tightly on him and his immediate circle, that it's somewhat cropped out of the picture for large number of other Republicans in Congress and in the states, who are willing in different ways, Laura, to advance the scheme.

I mean, as in the executive summary, it largely gives the benefit of the doubt to the fake elector, suggesting that they were duped by the Trump campaign into participating. It discusses very little of the extensive communication from Republican members of Congress with Mark Meadows throughout this entire period, including one call for the declaration of martial law to stay in office.

This is a report with one goal, I think, overall to make the case that Donald Trump violated his oath of office, violated the law, is unfit to ever again serve as president. But I think it leaves open the question of how broadly the rot that he set in motion really spread across party and the willingness to overturn a democratic election to stay in power.

COATES: This was one of the concerns, right? The questions around the phrase and others that we heard time and time again on Monday. The idea of who was included in that overall umbrella. Was it intended --


COATES: -- to make it so that people were nervous, biting their nails, wondering if they should be more forthcoming at this point even though this committee was being good knighted, or there are other ways to bring people to the table and make them acknowledge what you talk about?

But you are right, especially in the notion, Ron, about -- so often, we talk about prosecution, of course, we think about intent, and the idea of -- do you -- can you reasonably say that you were not aware? Can you reasonably say that you believe that you actually won this election and the report is thorough in that belief, if it was there, is nonsensical?

But there's a part. And Ron, I'm going to read it. I know that you feel strongly about this particular part. It was part of the foreword from Congresswoman Liz Cheney. She says, part of the tragedy of January 6th is the conduct of those who knew that what happened was profoundly wrong, but nevertheless tried to downplay it, minimize it, or defend those responsible. That effort continues every day. Today, I am perhaps most disappointed in many of my fellow conservatives who know better, those who stood against the threats of communism and Islamic terrorism but concluded that it was easier to appease Donald Trump, or keep their heads down. I had hoped for more from them.

That's a hell of a closing message to her colleagues as she leaves Congress.

BROWNSTEIN: It sure is. She drew a bright line and there are very few Republicans who have followed her over that byline where she has said it very clearly. And I think this is a very powerful affirmation of the case. If we look at this evidence, Donald Trump, in our word, should not hold office again, is unfit to hold office again, that is something that other Republicans in Congress are tying themselves in knots.

Even someone like Mitch McConnell, who has been critical of Trump for his conduct on that day, will not say that as unequivocally and, I think, is very clearly leaving himself open the door -- opening the door to supporting Trump if, in fact, somehow, he wins the republican nomination again.

Obviously, Kevin McCarthy has gone further in the opposite direction. He started by quoting Trump's speech where he said we have to take back our country.

You know, the report offers evidence. I have not seen before of a White House official arguing in the days immediately after the election, when the idea of having state legislatures overturned the vote in their state first appears from Donald Trump, Jr., from Mark Meadows, from others.

This White House official argues, you know what, we don't even need fraud to argue for that. We can argue for that state legislatures overturning the vote simply to prevent the threat of socialism from Joe Biden.

That, I think, gives a sense of kind of the apocalyptic arguments that Trump has been feeding and others in the party have been feeding to their base voters over the years. If Democrats win, the country, as you know it, as we know it for over two centuries, would simply cease to exist, and therefore, any means necessary was justified to prevent your way of life from being destroyed.


BROWNSTEIN: That was not solely unique to Trump. And so, it seems to me one of the questions that comes out of this is whether either politically marginalizing, indicting or convicting Trump is sufficient to really contain the virus of antidemocratic thought and even action that he has let loose or accelerated in our political body politic.

I'm not sure that it is. I think if there's any criticism in this committee, which has done incredible work in terms of tenacity and creativity and presenting the evidence to the public, the only question would be whether they are too focused on the idea that dealing with Trump himself will deal with this broader problem.

Yes, they talk about political extremists, but they -- do they really grapple with the way this has spread within the mainstream political universe? And I think there are questions on that front. For example, when you talk about, when they say there should be more accountability, they're talking about lawyers. They didn't go as far as the group of former members of Congress who said, what about the other members of the Congress who (INAUDIBLE) on how to overturn the election?


BROWNSTEIN: Do they need accountability?

COATES: Ron, that's the question. This report tries to answer, I think, some of those. But we will leave this to the electorate to understand whether they're convinced or not. More in a moment on all this. We got 845 pages. If you can see the stack of paper next to me, the (INAUDIBLE) would be pissed.

What will tonight's release of the January 6 Committee's final report mean for the Justice Department's investigation into Donald Trump? One of the many questions to be answered as we continue going through all of the findings. We are coming right back.




COATES: Back with our breaking news coverage, the release of the final report of the January 6 Committee. I want to bring you again CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider. Jessica, you're looking at what the committee found about the altercation in the Trump motorcade on January 6th. What did they find?

SCHNEIDER: Well, Laura, the committee is actually designating six pages of their report to this detail that Cassidy Hutchinson first put out there in her public testimony over the summer. Of course, after she put it forward, there was an avalanche of criticism. Some people call it out, saying that her -- what she was asserting was unfounded.

And, of course, Cassidy Hutchinson had said that the president demanded to go the Capitol, that he became irate when he was told he couldn't go to the Capitol on January 6th, and that he lunged towards his Secret Service agent, Bobby Engel, and also launched at the steering wheel with another hand. This committee has done painstaking interviews to try to corroborate what Cassidy Hutchinson said.

And they've detailed in these particular six pages of their report, they say that they have interviewed numerous people associated and working for the Secret Service as well as the White House. They say they've come up with witnesses describing the president as angry, irate, and furious.

And in particular, this is something that our team reported one month ago that we are now getting confirmation of in this committee report, the fact that the driver of the vehicle was, in fact, interviewed and seemed to corroborate the fact that the president was animated and irritated.

Granted, Laura, this doesn't particularly solidify the fact that the president lunged, grabbed the steering wheel, as Cassidy Hutchinson claimed, but there's a lot more detail on these pages of the report about that specific incident.

COATES: And what does the report say about Sidney Powell's election claims?

SCHNEIDER: Yeah, there's a little anecdote in here because, of course, Hope Hicks, the president's personal aide, a prominent member his White House, she did testify before the January 6 Committee.

And there's one anecdote in here. Remember, Sidney Powell was that lawyer that was really pushing these false election claims. She and Rudy Giuliani held a press conference where one of the claims Sidney Powell made was that Dominion Voting Systems, the company that handed a lot of the voting software in this country, that they had worked hand in hand with a deceased Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, and she was implicating that there was somehow some funny business, some fraud involved because Dominion was involved. Of course, that was never proven, that was completely false.

But when Sidney Powell was telling Donald Trump her theory on this, Hope Hicks says that Donald Trump put the phone on mute and then explained to everyone else in the room, that sounds pretty crazy, doesn't it? So, that was his initial assessment of this.

Laura, crucially, the president never publicly disavowed Sidney Powell's claims. Instead, despite releasing a statement saying that she was no longer part of the legal team, Donald Trump did seem to go along with Rudy Giuliani's claims, Sidney Powell's false election fraud claims, even though in private, it appears he viewed them as -- quote -- "crazy."

COATES: Jessica, thank you so much. I want to bring in Liam Donovan, former national Republican senatorial committee aide, CNN political commentator Maria Cardona, a Democratic strategist, and political analyst Margaret Talev, managing editor at Axios. What's your reaction to this?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I just think that this is -- again, the focus goes to Donald Trump. But I agree with Ron Brownstein and what he was saying. I think it needs to be broader than Donald Trump. It's the lawyers, which we know are in there in terms of accountability.

But what about the elected officials? I know that we have a huge threshold in this country or an ideal in this country that voters know best. But when voters are deluged with lies and conspiracy theories, the way that we know this happened during the whole January 6th and even before, we have to hold our elected officials to a much higher threshold.

How do we do that? I hope this committee report focuses on trying to get there in some way, shape or form.


LIAM DONOVAN, FORMER NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL COMMITTEE AIDE: I don't think there's much new here or necessarily news, but I think for posterity, it's an important document. I think that's how they approach it. You know, I think it will be dismissed by anybody that supports Republicans. I think, as we saw in the results of the election, there's enough people in the middle that find this compelling, and I think this is going to be important going forward.


COATES: Is it easily dismissed?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, MANAGING EDITOR AT AXIOS: Well, no. It's 845 pages, very rich detail, all of which is going to now move over into a different venue. It is going to be available, clues and threads for the Justice Department and --

COATES: The electorate.

TALEV: Yes. For the electorates to look at, but I think in a potential criminal probe as well. And vice versa, it's going to be information that former president and his allies can use to try to juxtapose against what Justice Department finds. So, it is going to move into a different venue. To Maria's point, there are series of recommendations somewhere in the 600 -- 689 or something.

COATES: Sixty eighty-nine to be exact.

TALEV: Oh, I got. So, that lays out a specific number of very detailed recommendations. But many of these rely on Congress as a body taking an action, and that relies on a level of bipartisanship that has never been there and is not there tonight.

COATES: Could it be there, though?

DONOVAN: I think that the problem here, you're not going to get legislative solutions beyond Electoral Reform Act. I think the tricky point here is if you try to do things that are going to disqualify the president, it touches the nerves with the Republican electorate that backfire in a lot of ways. It is really important that Republican voters decide for themselves that they don't want this guy and they want to turn the page. It has to happen that way. There is no easy way around it.

TALEV: There is another provision somewhere in the 800 of this report, in one of the sub-indexes, one of the appendices that talks about maligned foreign influence. I think we spent a lot of time talking about domestic politics tonight.

But there is a piece of this, Liz Cheney in her foreword talks about not just the early roots of American history, the Civil War that divided this country, but also the imperative of protecting against terrorism. Did the actions of January 6th emboldened the Russians and weaken U.S. democracy? That is a case this report makes.

COATES: That will be the question to answer. Of course, the electorate has a lot of answers to deal with the former voting. A lot more ahead, everyone. Our breaking news coverage will continue to go through this report from the January 6 Committee. We will be back in just a moment.




COATES: There's more coming out tonight about the role the National Guard played in responding to the attack on January 6th. The commander of the D.C. National Guard, Major General William Walker, apparently strongly considered, according to the report, deploying troops to the United States Capitol on January 6th, that afternoon, even without the approval of his superiors, even if it meant he may have to resign from his command the next day. This is according to the report that was released.

What he had to say specifically is on page 743, in the appendix, and part of what we are talking about today. It says, Major General Walker himself understood that he had to wait for approval from Secretary McCarthy to deploy his forces. But as he waited on that video call for hours, he did strongly consider sending them anyway. He turned to his lawyer and said, hey, you know what? You know, we are going to go, and I'm just going to shoulder the responsibility.

According to Major General Walker, his lawyer responded, what if you get sued? Colonel Matthews, that lawyer, told him not to do that, just hold on. The guard officials located with Major General Walker at the armory all say his serious contemplating allowed the possibility of breaking with the chain of command.

Let's talk about it with our legal expert, former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman. Also here, CNN legal analyst Norm Eisen. Norm, let me get your take on what you are hearing tonight, including the idea of breaking the chain of command, the 11 or so recommendations, the 845 pages of reports that really supplements and gives greater context and granular detail to the 10 public hearings. What are your thoughts?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER HOUSE JUDICIARY SPECIAL COUNSEL IN TRUMP'S FIRST IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: Well, Laura, first, the chain of command is one of the things that saved us from a military coup, and the contrast between Major General Walker desperately wanting to do something, even to break the law to help, and Donald Trump's 187 minutes of inaction that I think the committee has made a powerful case in this report with new details about Trump's culpability, that contrast is so striking, because Trump couldn't count on the military to break the chain of command. Instead, we had an attempted coup, Laura, by lawyers instead of soldiers.

One of the things that really jumps out to me in taking a first pass for this massive document is the new details that emerge about the lawyers, the familiar name, by now, John Eastman, but others like Ken Chesebro in Chapter 3, page 344, we have Chesebro's correspondents showing how deeply enmeshed he was.

I think that when you read the report, it's clear the committee is looking at DOJ, investigating Chesebro together with Giuliani, Jeff Clark and, of course, John Eastman. The other thing that really comes out is Meadows's culpability in Chapter 2. Those six, that's where the action is with Trump. And then finally, we've talked about it before, it's not just criminal referrals. They talk about Barr complaints in recommendation number two. They talk about a Trump defamation case in Chapter 1, on Dominion.


EISEN: He lied about Dominion knowing that. And 14th Amendment, Section 3, there was the first case this year by Crew, which I cofounded, my former colleagues at Crew, disqualifying an official in New Mexico in court because he was at the insurrection.

I think we are going to see disqualification efforts from coast to coast against Donald Trump under the 14th Amendment and the committee invites it.

COATES: On that note, Harry, in terms of, obviously, disqualification, the other D word here is "deterrence," and the idea the report trying to lay out the now what, how to change this, how do course correct at this point. How do you feel about the committee's ability to make recommendations that will actually stick, even outside the criminal context? Is that the only way?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: For them, well, the other way for the DOJ to do it, and I think just to put it in broader relief of listeners, we have this sort of eight pristine set pieces, and the committee was very careful to lead with their foot forward to do the low hanging fruit, the sort of things that Norm is identifying here.

And they are all accurate and important, sort of strayed with (ph) or other details that they did not make part of their package that they showed the American people, but it is part of this meticulous report for two reasons.

One, history. We don't have anything like the 9/11 report that goes through everything. But two, DOJ, my old employer, because this is their roadmap to accountability. These details say about Stone, about Chesebro, great example. He did not figure too much in the hearings but he is really important.

All the things that DOJ can then pick up the ball with and decide what to put together as far as criminal information and indictments come because they have their own information now. There is this (INAUDIBLE) and, as you know, that can be really synergistic when they are trying to make cases. So, a lot of this is the (INAUDIBLE) for the DOJ.

COATES: So important to think about the roadmap for the different entities, including recommendations that are made. Gentlemen, thank you so much for your expertise tonight.

EISEN: Thank you.

LITMAN: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: We will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



COATES: Everybody, stay with CNN's breaking news coverage as our team continues to go through all 845 pages of the January 6 Committee's final report.

We are also tracking the other major story tonight, this monster storm that is bringing blizzard conditions and plunging temperatures and dangerous winds to much of our entire country. Millions of Americans are traveling for the Christmas holiday this weekend. This is all happening now.

Thank you for watching. Our live coverage continues.