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Erin Burnett Outfront
January 6 Hearing Witnesses Directly Link Trump To Fake Elector Plot; Filmmaker Turns Over Footage, Interviews With Trump, Family, Pence To January 6 Committee, Could Play Role At Upcoming Hearings; Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) Is Interviewed About The January 6 Investigation; Elections Officials Testify About How Trump's Lies Led To Threats; Senators Expected To Vote Tonight To Advance New Gun Bill; Texas Public Safety Chief: Uvalde Response An "Abject Failure"; White House: "Appalling" Russia Won't Rule Out Executing Detained Americans; Fake Electors Scheme Is Part Of DOJ's Criminal Probe. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 21, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Republican officials one by one taking down Trump's election lies, testifying about a widespread fake elector scheme and the death threats they've endured just because they told the truth.
Plus, new details about Trump tapes now in the hands of the January 6th committee, interviews with Trump himself, along with children and Mike Pence. What were they saying in those days just before and after the insurrection?
And disturbing developments in the Uvalde shooting investigation. Officers wasting precious time looking for a classroom key when the door wasn't even locked.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, we've got a lot of theories, we just don't have the evidence. That is the stunning admission from Rudy Giuliani about the baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 election.
Now, Giuliani, you know, you remember him, right? You know, the stuff coming down his face. He was the center piece of a lot of this, one of the loudest voices in Trump's ear, one of the biggest megaphones out there for the election lies. And today, the speaker of the Arizona State House, Republican Rusty Bowers, testified in the January 6 hearing, that Giuliani knew the conspiracy theories were not true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): At some point, one of them made a comment that they didn't have evidence but had a lot of theories.
RUSTY BOWERS (R), SPEAKER OF THE ARIZONA STATE HOUSE: That was Mr. Giuliani. SCHIFF: What exactly did he say, and how did that come up?
BOWERS: M recollection, he said, we got lots of theories. We just don't have the evidence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Okay, not having the evidence of any of this stuff did not stop the relentless pressure campaign to overturn the election. The scheme spanned several states and Trump's attempts to draw in Republican officials from all levels of government are on display now in these hearings.
Here's the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee talking about what Trump said to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONNA ROMNEY MCDANIEL, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN: He turned the call over to Mr. Eastman who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing changed the result of any of the dates.
SCHIFF: Did you also receive a call from U.S. Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona on the morning of January 6th?
BOWERS: I did.
SCHIFF: And what did Mr. Biggs ask you to do?
BOWERS: He asked if I would sign on both to a letter that had been sent from my state and/or that I would support the decertification of the electors, and I said I would not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A staffer for Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson texted a staffer for Vice President Pence just minutes before the beginning of the joint session. This staffer stated that Senator Johnson wish to hand-deliver to the vice president the fake elector's votes from Michigan and Wisconsin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Senator Ron Johnson's office denies the senator was involved in that fake electors' scheme. But again and again and again, Trump and his allies pushed these theories that the election was stolen even though they knew there was no evidence for it and tried to use fake electors to overturn the election, right, to certify these other slate of electors who would say Trump was the winner and therefore, to just have him, you know, get reelected. These re-election lies turned extremely dangerous.
Wandrea "Shaye" Moss, a former election worker in Fulton County, Georgia, and her mother, Ruby Freeman, testified today about the threats they received because of Trump's accusations that they engaged in voter fraud. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANDREA "SHAYE" MOSS, FORMER GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: A lot of threats wishing death upon me, telling me that, you know, I'll be in jail with my mother and saying things like, be glad it's 2020 and not 1920.
RUBY FREEMAN, FORMER FULTON COUNTY, GA ELECTION WORKER: Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States to target you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American, not to target one. But he targeted me, Lady Ruby, a small business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen who's stand up to help Fulton County run an election in the middle of the pandemic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT live on Capitol Hill to begin our coverage of this crucial hearing today.
And, Pamela, once again, the committee used people who worked on Trump's campaign. It was their words that were so damning against him.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right. In fact, the committee showed clips, video clips of closed door testimony from the two top Trump campaign lawyers who said after they started losing case after case involving the election, they felt like the fake elector scheme was inappropriate, making clear that it was Trump and other lawyers like Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis pushing that scheme against -- that fake elector scheme -- against state officials including Republicans who refused to bow to the pressure.
BOWERS: You're asking me to do something against my oath and I will not break my oath.
BROWN (voice-over): Rusty Bowers, the Republican House speaker in Arizona, offering powerful testimony about the pressure he faced from former President Trump and his legal team, to decertify Arizona's legitimate election results showing Joe Biden as the winner.
BOWERS: He said just do it and let the courts sort it out. And I said, you're asking me to do something that's never been done in history, the history of the United States. No, sir. He said, well, that's my suggestion would be, just do it and let the courts figure it all out.
BROWN: Bowers also telling the committee, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani acknowledged they didn't have any proof of fraud. Bowers even disputing the claim Trump made about him shortly before the hearing.
BOWERS: Anywhere, anyone, anytime, had said that I said the election was rigged, that would not be true.
BROWN: The committee demonstrating how state officials remain steadfast in the fact of a constant barrage of calls. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, NOVEMBER 26, 2020)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: Mr. Speaker, this is Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis. We're calling you together because we'd like to discuss, obviously, the election.
JENNA ELLIS, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN LAWYER: Hello, Mr. Speaker, this is Jenna Ellis, and I'm here with Mayor Giuliani.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BROWN: The committee revealing how Trump-aligned members of Congress like Arizona Republican Andy Biggs urged Bowers to throw out Biden electors and detailing how Trump's election lies inspired many of his supporters around the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The punishment for treason is death.
BROWN: Some supporters even threatening election workers.
JOCELYN BENSON, MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE: We started to hear the noises outside my home, and that's, my stomach sunk. And I thought, it's me. That was the scariest moment, just not knowing what was going to happen.
MOSS: I don't go to the grocery store at all. I haven't been anywhere. It's affect my life in a major way, every way.
BROWN: The committee used Trump's own words to make its case, playing audio of an hour long phone call he made to Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, JANUARY 2, 2021)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BROWN: Raffensperger, who is Republican, insisted Georgia's election result were accurate.
BRAD RAFFENSPERGER (R), GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Every single allegation we checked, we ran down the rabbit trail, to make sure that our numbers were accurate.
BROWN: Trump's top two officials in the Justice Department also testifying.
WILLIAM BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: We didn't see any evidence of fraud in the Fulton County episode.
RICHARD DONOGHUE, FORMER ACTING DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: The major allegations are not supported by the evidence developed. BROWN: State officials are already investigating Trump's pressure
campaign in Georgia and that call, specifically, for any criminal wrongdoing.
FANI WILLIAMS, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: If there's ever a crime and it's ongoing, we're going to look at everything.
BROWN (on camera): And today, Vice Chair Liz Cheney put public pressure on former White House counsel under Trump, Pat Cipollone, to testify publicly and she said the American people deserve to hear from him personally.
But I've been speaking to sources close to Pat Cipollone, Erin, and I'm told he's resisted the invitations to testify publicly because he felt he's already been cooperating with the committee. He sat down for closed door interview with the committee and one of the sources says that he has institutional and privilege concerns.
But we heard Congresswoman Cheney say today the committee is still working on it. So we shall see.
Back to you.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you so much, Pamela.
And we're going to be joined by committee member and put that question to Congresswoman Luria in just a few minutes.
Now, though, Elie Honig is OUTFRONT, former assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, along with John Avlon, senior political analyst, former Congresswoman Mia Love, and David Axelrod, former senior adviser to President Obama, all join me.
So, Elie, you know, the committee today showed the breadth of Trump's involvement, right, and this direct push for the fake elector slates and, you know, Giuliani saying so what, here's the theory, forget the evidence. We'll deal with that later.
So, what was your big take-away to today?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's all a shell game. It's all a shell game. And I think we heard that from two compelling witnesses today, two elected Republican officials who put it directly in the mouths of two leading advisers to Trump, Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman.
That quote that you opened the show with, Erin, I don't have facts, but I have theories. That is what this whole thing is about and I think what this committee is doing at bottom is just to establish truth. The whole strategy here is make something up, throw it out in the ether, hope somebody repeats it and hope it gets a life of its own. And I think we need to see witnesses like this, brave witnesses who came forward today and tell us the truth.
BURNETT: And so, the truth, you know, we saw it again and again today, John. One thing that stood out to me, though, is Gabe Sterling who, you know, gave that impassioned, you know, to cameras saying, stop doing this, Mr. President, there's going to be violence, right? It was unfortunately the most press prescient statement made in all of this. But he basically said today how hard it was to convince even really smart, informed people that all of this was a lie and he put it in a really poignant way. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GABE STERLING, CHIEF OPERATIONG OFFICER FOR GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Often times, I felt our information was getting outlet, there was a reticence of people who needed to believe it because the president of the United States, who many looked up to and respected, was telling him it wasn't true. The problem you have is you're getting to peoples' hearts.
I remember there's one specific, an attorney, that we know, that we showed walking through this wasn't true, okay, I get that, this wasn't true, okay, I get that, this wasn't true, five or six things, but at the end, he goes, I just know in my heart they cheated. So, once you get past the heart, the facts don't matter as much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: This was a powerful statement.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah.
BURNETT: And it's still that line that they're hitting now.
AVLON: It shows that hyper-partisanship is a hell of a drug.
AVLON: And that people have been drugged by the tribal identities and the way it's reinforced through partisan media and social media, to the point where even lawyers, smart people, people who ought to know better, were so invested in the lie echoed from the White House that they refused to confront the truth.
And that is the hardest part of all of this. That's the disinformation we fight everyday but you see, from all the testimony, particularly from Republicans over the course of these hearings, there's not two sides of the story. This was a lie, pushed by the president, and his lawyers and his enablers and it duped a lot of his supporters at the expense of his democracy.
BURNETT: And the lie had so many layers, Congresswoman. You know, there was a moment where I thought very powerfully Congressman Schiff, you know, would play Trump on the phone call with the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger with an allegation, and then Brad Raffensperger sitting there today would just go through factually why it was completely made up. One of those moments, you know, Trump alleging five thousand dead
people voted, then more than 10,000 people, and Secretary Raffensperger sits there today and says, we checked and it was two. And, by the way, I update everybody, we kept checking, we kept checking, and guess what, it ended up that there were four. Not 10,315.
Congresswoman Love, these are the facts. Do they change anyone's minds?
MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I have watched the hearings and I have found just more and more evidence that Trump's attempt to overturn the result in some states wasn't -- there weren't isolated incidents. It was widespread, widespread.
And to get back to the comments that some people, they just continue to stay baked in. It's because at some point, they have to come to the realization that they were duped and that's difficult. That's difficult for them to get through and to get past.
But ultimately, I do think, thank goodness we had some brave Republicans. We -- Mike Pence, we can't take away what he did. We can't diminish what he did. His commitment to the rule of law prevailed. And, it kept our republic from descending into chaos.
So I have some hope for people, because there are some people that were brave, that kept this, that kept our republic from dissension.
BURNETT: So, David --
LOVE: From descending into chaos.
BURNETT: So, David, CNN learned today that Trump is still defending that call that I referenced, the hour-long call that he had with the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, you know, where the bottom line was after Trump went through the dead people and felons and people under 18 and every single one of those things that the facts -- you know, Raffensperger laid out the facts, they don't add up in any way, shape or form.
But Trump is still defending it, that call, even privately, still calling it a perfect call. We remember the other perfect call that he kept referring to.
Do you -- do you really think he believes it at this point, David?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, I don't have the requisite degrees to tell you what goes on inside of Donald Trump's head, but I will tell you this -- he is under grand jury investigation in Georgia as we speak because of that phone call and related activities.
So I don't know what he's saying privately, but you can -- you know, publicly, I think he is stuck with a position that he has. But we -- this has been revealing about Trump in so many other ways, Erin, and I think this is the most important point. [19:15:05]
He was told and told and told that this was all not true, that it was a lie. He was told by his lawyers --
AXELROD: -- that this was probably illegal. And yet he pursued because he does not believe in rules and laws and norms and institutions, and that is the greatest concern and he used the ginning up of the mob as a cudgel to try and intimidate public officials into doing what they knew was not right or legal and not keeping with their oaths, and as Mia said, thank God there were people who were willing to stand up.
You think Brad Raffensperger, if there was a chance Donald Trump had won that election, would not wanted, have wanted him to win the election? You think Rusty Bowers would not have wanted to -- of course not. So their character came through and that was important for the country, but so was Trumps.
And we're still living with this, and we're still living with the impacts of his, of his lies and his agitation of people. Look at the letter that Adam Kinzinger received or his wife received threatening execution because of his position on this committee.
We are not out of the woods. And Donald Trump is responsible for that, not completely, because there was the drug that John talked about, but we're not out of the woods.
BURNETT: Right, and I should say, you know, to your point, Mr. Bowers and Mr. Raffensperger both voted for Trump and were both Trump supporters. You know, and for some people watching, to even, you know, imagine getting that -- they were. They wanted him to win, fully, and yet still stood up and did the right thing loudly and clearly.
Congresswoman, I want to talk about a woman we heard at the top of the program briefly. This is an American citizen, elections worker, Shaye Moss. Just goes out, volunteers, out there, she's working at the election.
Starts receiving threats because she became the subject of one of Trump's election lies and here is what she said about how her life has changed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): One of the videos we just watched, Mr. Giuliani accused you and your mother of passing some sort of USB drive to each other. What was your mom actually handing you on that video?
WANDREA "SHAYE" MOSS, FORMER GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: A ginger mint.
Don't want anyone knowing my name. I don't want to go anywhere with my mom because she might yell my name out over the grocery aisle or something. I don't go to the grocery store at all. I haven't been anywhere at all. I gained about 60 pounds. I just don't
do nothing anymore. I don't want to go anywhere. I second-guess everything that I do. It's affect my life in a major way, in every way, all because of lies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: A testimony, Congresswoman, that gives you goosebumps.
MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. And again, unfortunately, this isn't an isolated event.
I can tell you right now, Erin, it's difficult for even Utah to find people that will work elections because of this. This is a Republican state. And we're still having trouble finding people to work elections because of these widespread threats and fears. It's -- it's just unbelievable to me.
And like my parents always say, when someone shows you who they are, you should believe them.
LOVE: And we've seen, we've seen the characters of some individuals and we have certainly seen the characters of those who were brave and would know the character of the former president. We should believe him.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks to all of you and of course, please stay with me as our special coverage continues.
Next, Ivanka Trump reportedly contradicting herself. A new video just handed over to the January 6th committee -- new video that many top Trump aides didn't know existed and yet it was filmed. So this could be really crucial stuff. What does it show and how was it filmed?
Plus, chilling new video of the threats that election workers face because of the election lies of the former president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are a tyrant, you are a felon and you must turn yourself into the authorities immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And the White House, calling out Russia for treatment of two Americans captured in Ukraine, the mother of one of them is OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Tonight, the January 6th committee now has never before seen video. Can you imagine there's still never before seen video? There is, and it's from a British documentary and could play a crucial role in the upcoming hearings, even at this very late stage.
The video comes from a filmmaker named Alex Holder and it involves interviews with Trump himself. Also, with Mike Pence. Also, with some of Trump's children, and with his in-law, Jared Kushner.
Here's the thing, the existence of this video has caught some Trump -- top Trump aides by surprise. It's pretty incredible. They didn't even know about it.
He got to interview the president, the vice president, children of the president, Jared Kushner. So, according to "The New York Times", Ivanka Trump told the filmmaker that her father should, quote, continue to fight until legal remedy is exhausted, which, of course, is a very different tone from when Ivanka said this to the January 6th committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVANKA TRUMP, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: I respect Attorney General Barr. So I accepted what he was saying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now and, of course, what Barr said was right, Trump became completely disassociated from reality and this was all a bunch of lies.
So, committee member, Congresswoman Elaine Luria, joins me now.
And I appreciate your time, Congresswoman.
So, this filmmaker, British filmmaker Alex Holder, he has extensive access to both President Trump and his family. Also interview with Mike Pence we understand. And we're now just finding out about this -- this documentary and all this extensive footage and interviews.
What can you tell us about what's on those tapes?
REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): Well, I would say these tapes and many other things, the committee is actually still receiving a lot of information relative to this investigation.
So, the committee is eager to listen to all of these interviews, to understand what's there and to see, you know, how that adds and continues to paint a more full picture for the investigation that remains underway even as we continue to present what we've learned so far to the public.
BURNETT: So you're using the future tense here. Have you had a chance to even see this video yourself, or is it so new the committee hasn't had a chance to review it?
LURIA: I personally have not yet, but I know it is amongst the new things that the committee is, you know, eager to examine and understand how it fits into the information we've already gathered.
BURNETT: So one quick point to that, are there other, you know, potentially equally as important pieces of information that have come in you're still to review? That come in as a result of, you know, Chairman Thompson saying, please submit information if you have it?
LURIA: I would certainly say after the chairman's appeal at the previous hearing that we did receive contact from other individuals. We're continuing to evaluate that and determine if, you know, there's yet more people who are now willing to share information.
And I point out again, you know, the committee's interviewed over a thousand people. We have over 120,000 documents. And, you know, the vast majority other than a very small number as the vice chairman mentioned today in the hearing have come forward and provided us useful information, and that -- that continues even today.
BURNETT: So, your fellow committee members, Congresswoman Murphy and Congressman Raskin, tell CNN that the hearing schedule was a bit fluid right now in light of new information.
Is that information to your understanding, the video, or why is the schedule in flux? Because we had now just received what appeared to be sort of a formal and final schedule and now, we're finding that it may be in flux, and I'm wondering if we could understand a bit more why?
LURIA: I would say we've always been flexible with regards to understanding that we continue to receive information. We'll incorporate that into the work that we're presenting, the hearing scheduled for this Thursday, which we'll talk about pressure on the Department of Justice will continue as scheduled. And then the committee continues to evaluate how we can best bring together all of the information that we have, that we're continuing to receive, and, you know, we will let the public know about future scheduled hearings after this Thursday.
BURNETT: And just one final question, if I may ask you, about this particular video. I know you're saying there is other information as well, but this video from Alex Holder -- how extensive are the interviews with the former president and are they in those immediate days prior to January 6th?
LURIA: Well, I, first, as I said earlier, I haven't had a chance to review it personally yet, and as with other information the committee receives, you know, we -- you know, haven't been disclosing, you know, specifics of people we've spoken to or the content of documents we received until we're ready to present those as part of our hearing process and then the final report of our investigation.
So I think they'll be more information to follow on that as we're able to digest it and incorporate it and determine, you know, how it fits in to the information we've already gathered.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Congresswoman Luria, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
So, Elie Honig and John Avlon are back with me.
John, this is -- look, they're saying there are multiple pieces of information, and Chairman Thompson has, and it sort of -- I think it stood out to a lot of people. Like you've been looking at this for months, you're Congress, you're the special committee, and, you know, sort of saying, hey, call this number if you know anything.
This is -- this one particular thing seems to be pretty significant that nobody knew about it.
AVLON: That's what's so surprising. This is a film crew that apparently had access to the Trump family, Trump campaign, and potentially the White House, that people seem to not have known about.
BURNETT: In the top Trump aide.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That seems incredibly odd, but there seems to be a lot of documentary film crews going around. We know the one about the Proud Boys.
So, the question is, what footage did they get, that your key question to the congresswoman earlier, was the president on tape? And how close to January 6th was he caught on tape. Could that shed new light on his thinking, his state of mind? What he was saying in private, whether that was different from what he's saying in public.
But a lot of that is what-if right now. We need to see what's on the tape, apparently, members of the committee did see what's on the tape.
BURNETT: I mean, what do you make of this, Elie?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: First of all, there's no more powerful evidence than video tape. I mean, you can argue with a witness all day long. You can claim that a person has an agenda, or is not credible. But if it's on video, there you go.
So this could be, like John said, we don't know what's on it, but this could be very important.
The other thing to know is, investigations do this. You don't where they're going to lead. We used to say as a prosecutor, your investigation is not over until the jury comes back with a verdict. And I've had investigations go ways I never expected I've gotten revelations in the middle of trials. So you have to be flexible and go with it.
BURNETT: Which is interesting, because the way you see this, you sort of as a citizen you're watching, you're expecting a presentation and a conclusion. But what we're actually seeing is an iterative work, which is a little, you know, unsettling I think to the average person. Wait a minute, the schedule just changed again, right? I mean, but you're saying that's normal.
HONIG: Oh, the schedule is making all of us crazy, of course, and there would be some benefit to consistency. But you do have to adjust where the facts take you.
AVLON: That's right. And this is what we see with journalistic investigation, too. More people come out, information comes out. The thing is to get the fullest picture possible.
BURNETT: Yeah. And this is going to be -- obviously, you know, could be very important, nonetheless, happening at this point, causing things to be in flux, significant and happening in its own right.
Thank you both so very much.
And, of course, our thanks to the congresswoman.
And next, shocking testimony of just how bad it is for election officials who are still standing up to Trump's election lies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSTY BOWERS (R), ARIZONA HOUSE SPEAKER: They have had video panel trucks with videos of me proclaiming me to be a pedophile.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Plus, three minutes. We now know that that's how long it took for 11 armed officers to arrive at Uvalde Elementary after the massacre began. Three minutes, think about how many lives they would have saved. But then they waited more than an hour to go in.
BURNETT: The January 6th Select Committee showing just how far Trump supporters went to threaten state officials and lawmakers to overturn the election, all because they believed these lies that the election was stolen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're a threat to democracy!
You are a tyrant, you are a felon and you must turn yourself into the authorities immediately.
JOCELYN BENSON, MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE: And then about 45 minutes later, we started to hear the noises outside my home, and that's -- my stomach sunk and I thought, it's me. And then, we don't know what's going -- the uncertainty of that was what was the fear, like are they coming with guns? Are they going to attack my house? I'm in here with my kid, you know, trying to put him to bed. And so it was -- that was the scariest moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, two election officials who refused to cave into the threats and pressure to overturn the election. One of them you heard just there, Democratic Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Also with me, the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Republican Bill Gates.
And thank you both very much.
So, Secretary Benson, we just heard your voice there. Obviously, you know, what the committee showed today was chilling and for yourself, for Mr. Bowers in Arizona, for others, you say you were also told Donald Trump suggested you should be arrested for treason and executed for that.
Of course, his team denies that, but how scary is it? How frightening is it to be an election official in the United States right now?
BENSON: It is. Well, first, thanks for having us tonight.
It is -- it is an air of uncertainty and anxiety to do the work that we have to do and the path ahead is filled with a lot of potential threats, but it also has emboldened a lot of us to stand firm in support of our democracy.
We took oaths of office to support and defend the Constitution. We know the truth and law and history of this country is on our side. We know that standing up for democracy is what every American needs to do right now.
And so, I'm proud to join my colleagues in standing on the front lines even with the threats because in times like this, that is what protecting and preserving democracy requires.
BURNETT: Chairman Gates, you also had stood on those front lines, stood up to the lies. You put out extensive report. You know, when the Cyber Ninjas had all those false allegations, you have taken down every single one of those claims in Arizona, as Secretary Raffensperger has done in Georgia.
As a result, you and your family had to flee in Airbnb because of death threats. You had people calling your office saying they would slaughter your family. You've had sheriff deputies guarding your home.
Here is the Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers -- who, of course, you know well -- on some of the threats he and his family have faced and how painful it's been.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOWERS: It is the new pattern or a pattern in our lives to worry what will happen on Saturdays because we have various groups come by and they have had video panel trucks with videos of me proclaiming me to be a pedophile and a pervert and a corrupt politician. There was one gentleman that had the three bars on his chest and he had a pistol and was threatening my neighbor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Three bars is associated with a far-right militant group. Are you still afraid for your own safety and the safety of those close
to you, Bill?
BILL GATES (R), CHAIRMAN, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: So, first of all, thanks for having me on the show.
Look, here's the situation: we've got a job to do. We've got important elections to run in 2022. And we cannot let these people intimidate us.
GATES: We have to be safe, but the threats have come in. You mentioned many of them before. They set up a guillotine for my colleagues and I at the Arizona state capitol on January 6th, 2021, but we've got to press forward.
And I agree with Secretary Benson, I think a lot of us are as inspired and as emboldened as ever, and we're actually seeing new people, young people, who want to get involved in the business of running elections. It's inspiring.
BURNETT: Well, I hope that we are seeing that because, of course, you know, we hear so many reports of other -- the pain that people feel. Secretary Benson, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, we heard from them. You know, the mother and daughter, right, who Trump had said, oh, they passed this USB to each other, and they were cheating on votes -- and it was a mint. It was a mint.
And yet, you heard Shaye Moss talk about her entire life changing, right? The fear that she feels, that she doesn't leave her home, that she's gained 60 pounds, her entire life has changed because of this. The president, you know, accusing her.
Secretary Benson, what does this mean for volunteer election workers who are the bedrock of this country's democracy?
BENSON: It means that we are requiring and asking so much of them right now, and many of them are so proud to do their work and yet, feel really beaten down by the lies that the former president and his supporters have spread, falsely, maliciously, with no evidence of their wrongdoing.
And at the same time, we have seen, while we've seen many leave, we've seen many more people step up. And that's really what I hope Americans watching the hearings do in response, to recognize this is about the truth, and unveiling the truth and seeking accountability. But it's also about protecting our democracy for the future against future attacks.
And that's where all of us can come together, stand up, defend our democracy, sign up to be a poll workers, support those who are and make sure that everyone, no matter who you vote for, where you live, Democrat, Republican, independent, has a clear path to voting in every election and holding their elected officials accountable.
BURNETT: Secretary Benson, Chairman Gates, I appreciate both of you. I think everyone watching appreciates both of you and the integrity in which you have done your work and all that you have endured. Thank you.
BENSON: Thank you.
GATES: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, shocking details about the police response in Uvalde, including the fact that police wasted time looking for a key to a classroom door that was not locked.
And the State Department blasting Russia for its threats against two Americans captured in Ukraine. Mother of one of those Americans is next.
BURNETT: Just in, the Senate striking a deal on a bipartisan gun safety bill. The first in a series of votes on the legislation is expected to take place any minute. The bill includes billions of dollars in mental health investment, school safety, and scrutiny of juvenile records for gun buyers younger than 21. It would be Congress's most significant response to mass shootings in nearly 30 years.
The deal comes a month after the deadly massacre in Uvalde, in which 19 children and two teachers were killed. And today, the state's top public safety official admitted that the door to the classroom where the school shooter was located was actually unlocked the whole time, as officers waited and waited, took an hour, for a key.
Rosa Flores is OUTFRONT.
COL. STEVEN MCCRAW, DIRECTOR, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Three minutes would have made a difference. They have been dead.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, stunning new criticism of the police response to the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde.
MCCRAW: Three minutes after the suspect entered the west building, there was a significant number of armed officers wearing body armor, to isolate, distract, and neutralize the subject.
FLORES: A surveillance photo obtained by "The Austin American- Statesman", showing 19 minutes after the gunman entered the school, three officers, two with rifles and one with a ballistic shield. Depicting in full color the 77 minutes of horror children and teachers endured, some calling for help while heavily armed police waited to enter their classroom.
According to the latest Texas Department of Public Safety timeline, at 11:33 a.m., within 24 seconds of entering Robb Elementary, the gunman started shooting. Just three minutes later, 11 officers also entered, two with rifles. Nineteen minutes in, the first ballistic shield arrives. At 11:56, an officer is heard saying, "If there's kids in there, we need to go in there."
MCCRAW: The law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure.
FLORES: Testifying before the Texas Senate committee, Colonel Steven McCraw says one of the biggest failures -- waiting.
MCCRAW: While they waited, the on-scene commander waited for radio and rifles. Then he waited for shields. Then he waited for SWAT. Lastly, he waited for a key that was never needed.
FLORES: Despite earlier reports from "The Texas Tribune", that school district police chief, Pete Arredondo, tried dozens of keys that failed to work, McCraw today confirming the door to the classroom was unlocked. The preliminary investigation suggests not one officer even attempted to open the door until it was breached at 12:50.
MCCRAW: Officers had weapons, the children had none. Officers had body armor, the children had none.
FLORES: In addition, "The Texas Tribune" obtained received this screen grab from a Robb Elementary School surveillance camera showing officers in the hallway at 12:04.
According to documents obtained by "The Texas Tribune", Chief Arredondo called at 11:40 a.m. saying: We have him in the room. He's got an AR-15. He's shot a lot. They need to be outside the building prepared because we don't have firepower right now. It's all pistol.
But we now know at least two officers had rifles inside the school at the time.
At 12:11 p.m., the chief asks for a master key and it would take more than 30 minutes more for officers to breach the classroom.
MCCRAW: The only thing stopping the hallway of dedicated officers from entering room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.
FLORES (on camera): We reached out to Arredondo's attorney and we have not heard back.
I just stepped out of the Uvalde City Council meeting. It's ongoing. Clearly missing is Pete Arredondo. You see, he's not only the police chief of the school district, he's also a new elected city council member. And, Erin, on the agenda is a motion to give him a leave of absence. One by one, members of the community going forward and asking one question -- if the individuals from Robb Elementary School did not get a break, why should the police chief?
BURNETT: The whole thing is unbelievable.
Thank you very much, Rosa.
Also tonight, appalling, that is the word the White House is using for Russia's threat against two captured Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, NSC COORDINATOR: It's appalling that a public official in Russia would even suggest the death penalty for two American citizens that were in Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh and Alex Drueke were fighting with Ukrainian forces north of Kharkiv before being captured and he's referring to Putin's spokesman yesterday who said the Geneva Conventions do not apply to those two Americans.
State Department responded today telling those to treat those captured humanly and consistent with the laws of war. Of course, Russia said it will not do so.
We've been checking in regularly with Alex Drueke's mother, Bunny, about these developments and she joins me again tonight.
And, Bunny, I'm sorry to be speaking to you again about this without real and good news of your son. I know your family did just speak with the State Department. What did they tell you?
BUNNY DRUEKE, MOTHER OF ALEXANDER DRUEKE, AMERICAN MISSING IN UKRAINE: They said -- I took it to be very encouraging news. They said that they were using every available manner of communicating with the Russians and I'm confident that they got communication going.
BURNETT: Obviously, when you heard Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for Vladimir Putin, say that the Geneva Conventions do not apply, did the State Department talk to you at all about that and are they concerned that statements like that could impact their ability to get Alex home?
DRUEKE: No, they did not seem to be concerned about that. They really gave us encouragement that they would be able to talk with the Russians about it.
BURNETT: Which I know is so significant. It seems, Bunny, in a sense a development because I know that a few days ago, there were still questions about, you know, sort of where he was or that, you know, Putin's team was sort of saying that he wasn't with pure Russian forces, may have been with Russian sympathizers.
And Putin's spokesperson in a message today to CNN, they still say the Kremlin doesn't know where your son is. And I want to read you their quote. They said, I don't know where they're being held and who is going to judge them. But the only thing that goes without saying is that they are going to be prosecuted and they will be able to stand in court.
Do you believe Peskov when he says that he doesn't know where Alex is? Does the State Department believe him?
DRUEKE: I would be very surprised if Russia didn't know what was going on, because they indicate to the rest of the world that they're very powerful and that they know a whole lot, especially if these are Russian surrogates that are doing their bidding over there in Ukraine so that they can annex all of that territory.
I don't know where Russia is getting their information. They obviously missed out on the fact that my son, Alex, and his friend, Andy, were there to train, not to fight, and that they were members of the Ukrainian army, not mercenaries. And so they are to be considered prisoners of war and treated humanely just as the Geneva Convention says.
BURNETT: Absolutely. Bunny, I know it's your son's 40th birthday this week and you were able to hear a message from Alex recently when he spoke to you in a video that I understand was released by his captors over the weekend. I know that you've been watching it every night before you go to sleep.
BURNETT: Is there anything you can share with us about it? And, you know, what he told you? Obviously his condition and how much it must mean for you to hear those words every day?
DRUEKE: Well, obviously, it's short. But in it he looked good. He looked alive, which was wonderful news. And just the fact that he was able to say "love you" means the world -- I'm sorry, it means the world to me.
BURNETT: For sure is does. I know wherever he is, he must be -- he'll be so grateful to know that you got it, that you're able to hear it every night. I'm sure you'll be listening to it again shortly.
DRUEKE: Oh, yes.
BURNETT: Thank you, Bunny.
DRUEKE: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, new details about why the Justice Department was paying especially close attention to today's January 6th hearing.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: Tonight, the January 6th committee zeroing in on the fake elector scheme allegedly concocted by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election. It's also what the DOJ's federal criminal probe has been focusing on. And it comes as members of the committee, some of the Democrats, expressed frustration with what they view as a very slow-moving DOJ part of the investigation.
Evan Perez is OUTFRONT in Washington.
And, Evan, you know, the committee is obviously -- seems to be moving much more quickly than the DOJ led by, of course, Attorney General Garland.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Look, I think part of the problem for the committee is that they don't know what they can't see the Justice Department is doing. We've known now in recent weeks, Erin, that there's been a pickup of activity. There's certainly a lot more activity that we've seen from witnesses who have received subpoenas. These are witnesses who were involved in the alternate elector scheme, people who had communications.
They're being asked now to provide those communications to the FBI to prosecutors. They want to see communications with Trump lawyers, people like Rudy Giuliani, Justin Clark, people like John Eastman. These people are being asked to provide that information to prosecutors.
And what you see is a little bit of a contrast. DOJ is working from the bottom up. They seem to be asking for these communications so they can try to figure out how to get to those people up top. If you saw what the committee was focusing on today, they were focusing more on Trump's, you know, his connections and his direct involvement in the scheme.
And I think that's one of the interesting things and one of the contrasts you can see today from what the committee was focusing on, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Evan.
And thanks very much to all of you for joining us. Our coverage of the January 6th committee hearings continues now with a special edition of "AC360".