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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Sources: Hutchinson Told 1/6 Committee Someone Tried to "Influence" Her Testimony; Delta Pilots On Picket Liners At Major U.S. Airports; Supreme Court Rules Biden Can End Trump Era Immigration Program. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 01, 2022 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. It is Friday, July 1st. We made it to July. It is 5:00 a.m. in New York. Thanks so much for getting on early start with us. I'm Laura Jarrett.


Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world.

Let's begin with this. The star witness of the January 6 hearings, Cassidy Hutchinson, has informed the House Committee that she was contacted by somebody who tried to influence her testimony. That is according to three sources.

The committee's vice chair Liz Cheney is pointing to at least two communications from members of the Trump world, as potential evidence of witness tampering.

And now, we know, at least one of the people targeted was Hutchinson.

CNN's Ryan Nobles starts off our coverage this morning.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New information about the January 6th committee's star witness, Cassidy Hutchinson. Sources tell CNN that Hutchinson was one of the two examples that Vice Chair Liz Cheney used to show Trump's allies were putting treasure on former staffers to stay loyal to the former president.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Our committee commonly asks witnesses connected to Mr. Trump's administration or campaign, whether they have been contacted by any of their former colleagues or anyone else who attempted to influence or impact their testimony.

NOBLES: Witness intimidation, among a growing list of potential crimes, the committee believes that Trump and his top advisers could be at the center of.

CHENEY: It's a serious issue, and I would imagine the Justice Department would be very interested in and would take that very seriously as well.

NOBLES: But Trump and allies are pushing back, attacking Hutchinson and questioning her credibility. Her attorney saying she stands by her testimony.

Meanwhile, the committee issuing a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, a key figure members believe has a lot to share.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): There are quite a few things he could tell the committee that would not be subject to privilege. And I think it's important.

NOBLES: Cipollone already signaling that he may be willing to sit for a transcribed deposition. And Thursday, the committee hearing from another key witness, Eugene Scalia, Trump's former labor secretary, who reportedly was part of cabinet conversations to invoke the 25th Amendment.

And Wednesday night, at the Reagan Library in California, Cheney using the work of the committee to make the case that it's time for the party to move past Trump.

CHENEY: For the little girls and to the young women who are watching tonight, these days, for the most part, men are running the world, and it is really not going that well.


JARRETT: All right. Well, on that note, let us bring in a man who knows quite a bit here, Tim Naftali, CNN presidential historian and former director of the Nixon Presidential Library.

Tim, so nice to see you this morning.

Help us out, pull back here, where are we when it comes to this January 6th investigation and these hearings. We have learned a lot of new information, despite I think a lot of people going into these hearings sort of skeptical about what exactly was going to be new.

We have learned a lot, but they are about to go on this hiatus for some undetermined period after having so much momentum. Where are we?

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, good morning, first of all.

Cassidy Hutchinson, testimony was a game-changer, because that testimony brought us inside of the White House. Of for those who remember the, second impeachment the images of the insurrection were shearing. The sense that something horrific had happened on Capitol Hill was absolutely undeniable, but what we did not know was what accounted for the silences for president Trump.

Why was that period of nearly two hours where we didn't hear at all? When on our television screens or our computer screens or iPhones we could see the chaos in the Capitol. What Cassidy Hutchinson did was she brought us inside of the White

House, at the center of that terrible moment in our history. And while she was not sitting right next to Donald Trump, she gave us firsthand testimony of what his key advisers were saying. His White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, and, of course, Mark Meadows her boss, the White House chief of staff.

And it is a testimony that suggests that the president knew in advance that there was likely to be violence on Capitol Hill. That the president actually was asking for the Secret Service to remove the metal detectors, thus allowing not only people to listen to their speech, but allowing them to go to Capitol Hill with guns.


And finally, when they chants of "hang Pence" were being said on Capitol Hill and were being reported by CNN and other networks, the president knew and was not willing to do anything to protect Pence. In, fact we have secondhand testimony that he thought Pence might get we deserved, so-called, deserved.


NAFTALI: So what we have, now is the basis for questions of the people who are even closer to the president. We did not have that basis before.

So, what does that mean? It means that right now, January 6 Committee is doing deeper investigation of presidential misconduct, than any congressional investigation since Watergate.

ROMANS: Fascinating. On that third point of the fourth you made, you mention it's so interesting that the president of the United States very focused on his followers on that day. That's one thing we've heard again and again in these hearings.

Adam Kinzinger, one of the Republicans on the committee, was on "The Late Show" this week. And this is what he said about these hearings.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Ladies and gentlemen, you're going to know the truth, when your kids go to school, someday, they're going to be taught the truth about January 6th, because of the work that this committee is doing.


ROMANS: Where will these hearings hit in the historical record of the last days of the Trump campaign or the Trump administration.

NAFTALI: Well, if we hear from Meadows, Mark Meadows and Pat Cipollone and the secret service folks who were around the president when he demanded to go to Capitol Hill, we will have a portrait of a president who was out of control and a president who is not putting country first, America First, that portrait will be damning, that is what children will learn, they will learn that we cannot have presidents like that, with the awesome power of the presidency, we cannot have people like that in the White House.

So I believe Representative Kinzinger knows more than we do. He has a sense of the mosaic that they're putting together. And so, I think that he is suggesting that the picture will be even more damning for Donald Trump as the January 6 committee continues its work.

JARRETT: Tim, let us move to the current presidency if you will.

President Biden held his first press conference in quite a while. And he was asked if he was the right messenger when it comes to shoring up abortion rights. Listen to this.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am the only president they've got. And I feel extremely strongly that I'm going to do everything in my power, which I legally can do, in terms of executive orders.


JARRETT: So, Tim, he then made some news and said that he was willing to make an exception to the filibuster. Now he knows full well that the votes are not there for that. At least right now. So what did you make of that?

NAFTALI: Well, you know, people forget that the balance of the Supreme Court, who brought us these all important changes, the expansion of our rights since the 1950s. Most of them are Republicans. And what happened was they changed their minds overtime.

Joe Biden, if you look at his career in Congress, has changed his mind on a number of issues overtime. And in the case of Justices Blackmon and Brennan and Souter, the changing of their mind was applauded and understood and accepted. With Joe Biden, as his own approach to abortion, as a policymakers of all, people have not been embraced as much, on the left, progressive in particular, which I think is unfair to the president.

The president has signaled his willingness to push for removal of the filibuster. As a member of the Senate, he has always believed that the filibuster protects more than it prevents. But in the case of this issue of a woman's right to choose, that this may be the hill that we break the filibuster. There needed to be an awesome, huge, world -- historical issue to do it.

And I would've argued that voting rights were the issue, but this also is a key and central American issue. And in any case, he has sent the signal that he supports. It doesn't mean that he's going to get 50 votes, but at least the president supports.

I just believe that progressives, if you look is probably approval rating, the president is at 39 percent, which means that he has lost a lot of Democrats, I would argue he's lost a lot of progressives. Given what he's faced, it doesn't seem to be that his own party is being as fair to him as it has been to the other presidents who've been in a crisis.


ROMANS: You know, let's look -- Americans are, unhappy you talk about Democrats, progressives. But Democrats -- but Americans, look, dissatisfied with the direction of the country -- 92 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of Democrats.


ROMANS: You know, some perspective here, you've got these rolling airline problems, and baby formula, can't get a car that you want. Prices are higher. I mean, there's just a whole host of things post COVID that have people feeling sour. And Joe Biden sits on his shoulders, doesn't it?

NAFTALI: Well, you know, I just come back from Europe and Europe is facing the inflation that we are facing. What is so striking is that Europeans are not blaming their governments the way that we blame our government for the inflation.

There are a number of issues. I mean, the president, you know, has often perfect, president promised the Build Back Better bill and clearly did not have the votes, and I think hurt himself in the process. So it is not that this presidency has been perfect.

But for him to be at 39 percent, he is -- he is in Watergate levels. I mean, he has that -- he has fallen that far. It does not make sense, there is no great scandal surrounding him, we are helping, we are helping an ally that is in the war, usually Americans rally around the flag in such circumstance.

So the president think headwinds that are unusual. I would say a lot of it has to do with the pandemic, the fact that we still have not recovered from COVID in the sense that as a nation, we still have an economy that reflects COVID. And some people are still getting sick.

So I think there's a lot of reasons. I think we've been really hard on this president, more than we have been on his modern predecessors.

ROMANS: Let's be clear, with the United States has been through in the last couple of years has been historic, unprecedented. And I think that is one of the things you see in the polls.

Tim Naftali, so nice to have you drop by this morning. Have a wonderful weekend. Thank you.

JARRETT: Thanks, Tim.

NAFTALI: Thank you.

JARRETT: Just ahead for you, it's getaway day at the airport, at least it's supposed to be. The airline pilots are on the picket line.

ROMANS: Plus, President Biden reveals how far he will go to protect abortion rights in America.

JARRET: And right now in Russia, an American basketball star about to stand trial.



ROMANS: All right. Pilots picketing at major U.S. airports. More than 1,200 Delta pilots and staff demanding higher pay, better working conditions, among other things. Hundreds of flights were canceled, thousands more delayed on Thursday. The eve of a very big holiday travel weekend.

Let us bring in Zach Wichter, a consumer travel reporter for "USA Today".

Boy, are we glad to meet you.

Look, the airline industry got more than $50 million in taxpayer bailouts to survive COVID. They gave veterans buyouts, a lot of retirements, trimmed their staff. They trim their schedules. And now, Americans want to travel like it is 2019. It is not 2019. They are in a smaller footprint, and they can't handle it, right?

ZACH WICHTER, CONSUMER TRAVEL REPORTER, USA TODAY: Absolutely right. You said it perfectly. The airlines, let's be fair to them, they did not know what the COVID recovery was going to look like, right?

ROMANS: Nobody did, nobody did.

WICHTER: Exactly. Nobody knew it was going to happen. And so, they went into preservation mode.

They offered incentives for people to retire early. They did furloughs, that sort of thing, to keep themselves as economically balanced as they could. Travel spring back a lot faster than they were anticipating and now we are kind of seeing the results.

ROMANS: And you can just like grow a pile in ten months, you know? This is something that is a long term problem.

JARRETT: So, how long is this going to -- is this going to go on? If you are somebody who, maybe like Christine, would like a fall vacation perhaps, is there any point in trying to hold out to buy tickets? Is the simple fact that the prices are only going to go up and be the same, so you might as well buy them now?

WICHTER: Yeah, I'm not sure about the prices, obviously. That is a complex formula that I do not have insight to.


WICHTER: In terms of what the situation is with delays and everything, I think it's going to get better after the summer, the airlines are doing with they can to hire as quickly as they can. Experts that I've spoken to in recent weeks have said that the holiday travel season should be better in the summer, but still not great, and hopefully, by next summer will be back.

ROMANS: So, the airlines, am I right, they're trying to preemptively cancel flights, right? And they are getting pressure from the Transportation Department. You know, Pete Buttigieg had a private meeting I think this week with airline CEOs, like guys, figures out, can have people going to the airport and just around for hours and hours.

WICHTER: Yeah, that's definitely right. A lot of airlines have announced schedule cuts preemptively for the summer. Some airlines for example delta, for this holiday weekend issued to what my mind is an unprecedented waiver. Not only are they not charging change fees, which have become pretty common during the pandemic, but all tickets across deltas network, including basic economy, or even have to pay fair differences if they choose to travel on a different day during the holiday weekend, through July 8 --

JARRETT: It shows you how desperate the situation was.

WICHTER: Yeah. The airlines are preparing for it to be messy. And so far I've been looking at the flight cancellations before coming, on today's looking okay, but I think that airlines really know, like, there is a chance that things can go, self especially if the weather gets bad, with that lower staffing level we were talking, about they're having trouble bouncing back.

ROMANS: This bounce back of consumer demand is just incredible. I mean, higher, gas prices higher, inflation higher ticket prices. But coming out of COVID, people want to go somewhere.

WICHTER: Exactly. It's just remarkable, really remarkable.

JARRETT: Thanks so much for being. I really appreciate it, Zach.

WICHTER: Thank you for having me. It's great.

ROMANS: Zach, would you come back soon? Thank you.

All right. Next, the Biden administration ready to move on immigration after a big Supreme Court ruling.


JARRETT: And coming, Monday, coast to coast, fireworks and incredible music for some of the biggest stars. Celebrate the 4th of July live at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.



ROMANS: All right. The Department of Homeland Security now set to end a controversial immigration policy that started after the Trump administration, after a win at the Supreme Court on Thursday. CNN's Priscilla Alvarez has more.


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A major victory for the Biden administration. The Supreme Court ruling that President Biden can end the controversial Trump era "Remain in Mexico" policy.


JENNIFER SCARBOROUGH, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: It's a relief. It's a program that should have never been started.

ALVAREZ: The unprecedented program forced non-Mexican asylum seekers to return to Mexico and wait there until their immigration proceedings in the United States. It's just one piece of a complicated set of border policies that have contributed to confusion and desperation among migrants.

Jennifer Scarborough, an immigration attorney in Texas, has been working with migrants for 12 years.

SCARBOROUGH: When people feel like they have no other option, when everything's been so confusing and so difficult, they just end up taking riskier and riskier and riskier routes to try and get here.

ALVAREZ: Those dangers came into sharp focus this week when at least 53 people died after being transported in a semi-truck in the sweltering Texas heat in what is being called the deadliest human smuggling incident in U.S. human history.

There are people who left wanting to achieve the American dream and wanting to be better people, says Jose Luis Castellanos, who lives in Honduras.

The Justice Department says four people have been charged in connection to the incident. But human smuggling remains a top concern for officials this summer with temperatures in the triple digits and as border crossings continue to rise.

In May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection stopped more than 239,000 migrants at the U.S. southern border,according to the latest available data. That's up nearly 60,000 from last May. There's deep disagreement over how to handle the influx. Even some Democrats were not unanimous in agreement with the Supreme Court ruling on remain in Mexico.

Texas Democratic Congressman Vicente Gonzalez represents the 15th district, part of which borders Mexico. He says the administration needs to implement policies that work to address migration further south.

REP. VICENTE GONZALEZ (D-TX): It concerns me greatly especially at this moment in time because we don't have a policy in place that will prevent mass migration to our southern border.

ALVAREZ: But immigration attorneys and advocates say remain in Mexico is not the answer.

SCARBOROUGH: The things we saw happening to people and the way they were having to live was incredibly disturbing to see. It's just now how we treat -- how we should treat human beings.


ALVAREZ (on camera): In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security said that it welcome to the Supreme Court's decision and would work to terminate the program, quote, as soon as legally permissible.

Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, Hidalgo, Texas.

JARRETT: Priscilla, thank you for being there for us.

Despite all of the drama on the high court, it was a historic day at the Supreme Court.


JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, U.S. SUPREME COURT: I, Ketanji Brown Jackson, do solemnly swear.

CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, U.S. SUPREME COURT: That I will support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

JACKSON: That I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all animates, foreign and domestic.

ROBERTS: That I will bear --


JARRETT: It's official, Judge Ketanji John Jackson sworn in as a justice on the Supreme Court, becoming the first black woman to say on the nation's high. The 51-year-old Jackson replaces the now retired Justice Stephen Breyer, who administered wanted the two oaths taken by Jackson on Thursday who she of course clerk for.

ROMANS: And, you know, it's top -- big story, top of all the newspapers, but really got it.

JARRETT: Talk about a picture saying everything.

ROMANS: Pictures worth 1,000 words.

It is a couple of hundred of white men and now the nine and at the very bottom you can see O'Connor and RBG.

But I think the "USA Today", from page to really do it nicely.


ROMANS: All right. Still to come, President Biden versus President Putin. Who will blink first over Ukraine?

JARRETT: But, first, a exclusive with the wife of an American basketball star on trial right now in Moscow.