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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Tonight's Hearing to Focus on 187 Minutes When Trump Sat Back; 85 Million+ Under Heat Alerts Coast to Coast Today; Warm Temperatures Cause Troubling Ice Melt in Greeland. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 21, 2022 - 05:00   ET



KRISTIN FISHER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. It is Thursday, July 21st. I'm Kristin Fisher, in for Christine Romans.

And let me begin with dramatic new evidence set to be unveiled by the January 6 committee just hours from now.

Tonight, in primetime, never before seen outtakes from a video message that former President Trump recorded for his supporters in the day after the Capitol riot. The focus of tonight's hearing, those critical 187 minutes during the riot when Trump refused to take any action to call off that mob.

More now from CNN's Ryan Nobles in Washington.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One text exchange is the sum total of what the Secret Service handed over to the January 6 committee, leaving the committee with even more questions about what the agency is up to.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): You're asking the question that we're asking. We're trying to determine where those texts are and whether they can be recovered and retrieved.

NOBLES: The Secret Service says their agents don't typically text as part of their job, but they have yet to give a definitive answer about where texts from January 5th and January 6th may have gone. Messages the DHS inspector general believes were deleted during a device upgrade program.

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): There's a lot more questions to answer. But we have a responsibility to tell the truth and to chase the facts, and that's exactly what we plan to do in this regard, as well as our general oversight over the executive department.

NOBLES: Meanwhile, Secret Service has started complying with the committee's subpoena, handing over thousands of documents including radio traffic and emails. REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): We also need to find out what

technologically is possible to recover all of the communications between the Secret Service and others on the 5th and on the 6th in particular, but not just those days.

NOBLES: As the agency faces a credibility crisis, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas who oversees their work, promised they would comply with the investigation.

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The Secret Service remains committed to cooperating fully with the committee. The migration was planned well before January 2021.

NOBLES: The Secret Service and what they witnessed on January 6th could be a key part of what the committee hopes to uncover in their primetime hearing. Showing how President Trump refused to act for 187 minutes while the mob was raging at the Capitol, and hearing from those who witnessed what Trump was and was not doing.

REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): People who were in the White House, people who were close to the president, and also people who had insight into the actions that were going on in the variety of ways that they were trying to control the violence.

NOBLES: And while the committee says many witnesses in Trump's orbit have been forthcoming, one witness, former aide Garrett Ziegler was defiant. Ziegler is a low level aide who got Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn and Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne into the White House for a raucous meeting in December where the election deniers encouraged Trump to fight on.

The former White House aide took to social media after his deposition in a white nationalist rant calling the committee a --

GARRETT ZIEGLER, FORMER TRUMP AIDE: Bolshevistic anti-White campaign, they see me as a young Christian who they can try to basically scare.


NOBLES (on camera): There will be a big difference to the hearing on Thursday night. The Chairman Bennie Thompson will not appear in person. He tested positive for COVID earlier in the week, so he will chair the hearing from a remote location. And we're also expected to see outtakes of former President Donald Trump's attempt to tape a video message on January 7, the day after the riot, and in these outtakes he is seen having a hard time trying to put into words his feelings about what happened on January 6 and tries to call the rioters at least some of them patriots and also refuses to say that the election is settled. It is expected that we'll see some of that video during Thursday night's hearing.

Ryan Nobles, CNN, on Capitol Hill.

FISHER: Joining us now, Dave Aronberg. He's a Florida state attorney for Palm Beach County.

Good morning, Dave.


DAVE ARONBERG, FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: Good morning, Kristin. Thanks for having me.

FISHER: Yeah, you bet.

So let's start with this big hearing tonight. Former White House staffers Matthew Pottinger and Sarah Matthews, they are expected to essentially fill in the gaps of what Trump was doing during the riot. How critical is their testimony for the committee and do you think that there is a chance that it could be even more impactful than the testimony that Cassidy Hutchinson gave?

ARONBERG: Well, it's hard to beat Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony because I think tonight will be must see TV because you have in Pottinger and Matthews two of them who are both very loyal Trumpers who stayed throughout the entire administration through all the controversies until January 6 when they resigned in disgust.

And also when they did so, they didn't try to defend Trump, they didn't go silent and try to make money on a book deal later on like others did. And that is a reason why their testimony is so credible. They can provide insight into those 187 minutes of silence.

When it comes to Pottinger, he was in the West Wing on January 6. He according to a report was involved in the discussions on sending out the National Guard and according to reports, he and Pat Cipollone rushed into the Oval Office after 3:00 p.m. wondering why the National Guard had not been deployed.

As far as Sarah Matthews, she reportedly previously testified that Trump knew of the violence before he sent out that incendiary tweet about Mike Pence that could go to criminal intent. Also, Matthew said that Trump's tweet was like pouring gasoline on a fire.

And lastly, Kristin, it's going to be hard because of their high level positions for Trump to say he didn't know these two were the coffee boy or coffee girl.

FISHER: Sure. And they were two people that were very loyal to the president and his administration right up until what happened on January 6.

One of the other big bombshells I think that we can expect to see in primetime tonight is what Ryan Nobles was just talking about, the outtakes that we're expecting to see from the video message that Trump recorded on January 7, the night after the riot.

How significant of a moment do you think that will be to see those I don't want to call them bloopers, but, I mean, you know, the outtakes, the moments that got cut left on the cutting room floor that nobody has gotten to see really until now. ARONBERG: Yeah, there is a lot of curiosity about that and I think it

does go to a possible criminal intent. If you can show that he couldn't bring himself to condemn those violent rioters.

I mean, the final video was bad enough. He said we love you, you are very special. So you can imagine how bad these outtakes must be. It does perhaps depending on what is in there, it could take prosecutors further down the line to charging Trump with obstruction of an official producing or seditious conspiracy or incitement of a riot. That's all in play now based on the previous testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson and others, and this could add to that.

And it will go with the testimony that we'll learn about Trump's 187 minutes of silence. What did Trump do or didn't do. And as president of the United States, you take an oath to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. It is hard to say that you fulfilled your oath when you are standing silent while a violent mob is ransacking the Capitol.

FISHER: Dave, yesterday, the attorney general was asked if anybody in America is above the law. Listen to what he said.


MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Look, no person is above the law in this country. Nothing stops us --

REPORTERR: Even a former president?

GARLAND: No -- I don't know how to -- I'll say it again. No person is above the law in this country. I can't say it anymore clearly than that.

There is nothing in the principles of prosecution, in any other factors that prevent us from investigating anyone, anyone who's criminally responsible for an attempt to undo a democratic election.


FISHER: No person is above the law. The attorney general very clear on that.

So, do you think that his Justice Department is going to bring charges against the former president?

ARONBERG: That is the $64,000 question to age myself there. It is hard to say. There has been a lot of criticism of Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice for being timid.

I mean, after all, I think this is why Donald Trump is saying he's going to announce early that he is running for president because he thinks that that can intimidate Merrick Garland into laying off criminal charges. And, you know, Merrick Garland comes from the world of judiciary. And as I've said before, you don't send a judge into a prosecutor's job when your prosecutor, you have to be fearless, aggressive and not care what people say about you. But judges don't wouldn't to be called political. So Merrick Garland is touching this with kid gloves, very nervous about this. And I'm glad he said what he did. But if he decides not to file charges because he doesn't want to be seen as political, that in itself is a political decision.

FISHER: And the January 6 committee seemingly trying to make it impossible for Merrick Garland not to press charges against the former president.


And we'll see what else they -- what else they bring up tonight in this primetime hearing.

Dave Aronberg, Palm Beach County state attorney, thank you so much for waking up early with us.

ARONBERG: Thanks for having me.

FISHER: So, tonight's hearing about what President Trump was doing during the Capitol attack as we were talking about those critical 187 minutes, it's in primetime, tune into CNN's live special coverage tonight. It all starts at 7:00 p.m.

Well, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon back in court later this morning, prosecutors rested their case on Wednesday after calling two witnesses who showed the paper trail of the deadlines that were set for documents and testimony that the January 6 committee wanted from Bannon but he ignored.

Well, today, his defense team will present its case and if no witnesses are called, then the case could be in the jury's hands as early as this afternoon.

A New York judge has ordered Rudy Giuliani to testify next month in Georgia. He will have to appear August 9 in front of the Fulton County grand jury that is investigating Donald Trump's attempts to undermine the 2020 election.

Giuliani, Trump's former attorney, failed to appear earlier this month at a hearing in New York about blocking the Fulton County subpoena.

And here in Washington, a bipartisan group of senators have cut a deal that would make it much tougher to pull off a repeat of what former President Trump tried do that effort to pressure his vice president into overturning the election. One measure would reform the Electoral Count Act to make it clear that the VP's job is, quote, solely ministerial and that he or she does not have any power solely to determine, accept, reject or otherwise adjudicate disputes over electors.


SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): Any future vice president cannot, should not, will not be able to overturn the legitimate votes of Americans and their electors that states vote.


FISHER: A second bill is aimed at improving election security. It would increase federal penalties for threatening or intimidating election officials. The two bills need to pass both chambers and it is expected a tough months-long process.

Well, just hours from now, we're hearing -- we will hear from President Biden. He will be talking about his plan to reduce crime and improve gun safety.

Right now, CNN's weather team tracking storms today for the east coast amid this relentless heat and CNN's climate team is watching Greenland change right before their eyes.


RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a high melt day when it's this unusually warm and it's also deeply concerning for scientists.




FISHER: Relentless heat with no relief. Right now, more than 100 million people are under heat alerts, two dozen states from California to the Northeast have seen triple digit temperatures.

And CNN's Ed Lavandera has more.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The growing heat wave now has about 110 million Americans under heat alerts, making millions miserable coast to coast. In Texas and Oklahoma, residents are enduring a string of record-setting high temperatures, several cities seeing temperatures over 110 degrees.

Emergency officials in Tulsa are warning residents to take heat- related illnesses seriously and urging vulnerable populations like the elderly and the homeless to use the area's cooling stations.

JOE KRALICEK, DIRECTOR, TULSA AREA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY: The number one way to protect themselves and their loved ones from heat is by staying in an air conditioned building and to not be afraid to utilize their air conditioner.

LAVANDERA: The extreme heat and drought conditions are forcing many cattle ranchers to sell their cows earlier than usual because it is so difficult to care for their herds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're selling them just out desperation because you don't want to mistreat the animal and make it starve. Mother nature and God, just pray for rain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a hot day and it's good time to come in the water.

LAVANDERA: Scorching temperatures are moving into the Northeast. In Connecticut, firefighters are passing out we're and libraries have become cooling centers. In Philadelphia, people looking to get outside trying to beat the heat early in the morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to be hot, like 95 and above all week, so trying to get down here early.

LAVANDERA: West of Ft. Worth, firefighters are racing to contain several wildfires. 99 percent of the state is now experiencing drought conditions. The fires in the area have already destroyed at least 16 structures, four of the properties belong to Beth Key's family.

BETH KEY, PARENTS LOST HOME IN CHALK MOUNTAIN FIRE: My parents lost their house, my uncle lost his house, another aunt lost everything. And another aunt is still battling out there trying to keep her house.

LAVANDERA: There is no relief in sight from the heat wave. Forecasters say brace for more punishing high temperatures.

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: In fact, it's getting worse and it's growing. It's expanding eastward. Tennessee Valley, up and down the east coast. Next week, the temperature trend shows it getting worse. 87 percent of the U.S. next week will have temperatures above 930 degrees, 20 percent above 100.


LAVANDERA (on camera): The extreme hot weather is being caused in large part by a high pressure system that is just camped out over this part of the country which isn't allowing clouds and precipitation to form. Fittingly this is known as the Death Ridge.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.

FISHER: Thank you, Ed.

So, these heat records, they just keep falling across the South.

Let's get to meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

Pedram, I mean, we also have storms in the forecast too. Are these storms going to bring the temperatures down or it just make them -- make it more humid?


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, a lot of humidity for a lot of folks. The storms will impact portions of the North and Northeast, but when it comes to what is happening across a broad area of the central United States, parts of the south as well, incredible heat in place with temp records falling left and right by the wayside here, with temps as high as 110 to 111 degrees. And that is in the shade, not factoring in the humidity.

Once you factor that in, a few spots will get up close to 115 degrees, the Southwest into areas of the Southeast and into mid-Atlantic and eventually into the northeast as well. And you take a look at this, observations in Little Rock should be close to 99, and Memphis is 99, feels like 105. Shreveport 99, will feel like 109 degrees.

And again very dangerous setup -- your body does a great job essentially air conditioning unit is sweating. That sweat evaporates, and that brings your core temperature down, keeps you safe. But the humidity is so high in these areas that the sweat will just sit on your skin and not much work will be done as far as evaporative cooling. So, you are trouble in this sort of scenarios.

And you will notice broad perspective shows us additional heat is expected going into next week. Parts of the U.S. do see some relief. Initially it will transfer into the northeast. New York City, middle 90s the next three or four days, and then finally Monday into Tuesday, some relief here and storms possible Monday afternoon across the Northeast.

But notice in Dallas, goes right back the other way. And in fact, in Seattle, look at this trend for the Northwest, up into the 90s next week with big time heat for them as well.

FISHER: That is wild that those are the temperatures for Seattle. Pedram, thanks so much.

So, to Greenland now, one of the coldest places on earth, even Greenland has not been spared by the global heat wave. Unusually warm temperatures as high as 60 degrees are causing an unprecedented ice melt, enough to flood the entire state of West Virginia with a foot of water.

CNN's Rene Marsh has our report from Greenland.


RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENTE (voice-over): Off the coast of northwest Greenland, the water is perfectly still, but paddling on icebergs indicate a transformation is underway.

That's the sound of rapid melting, triggered by a few days of unusually warm temperatures. During CNN's first three days in Northern Greenland, the temperature topped out nearly ten degrees higher than normal.

It's days like today, warm enough to wear short sleeves, near 60 degrees in Greenland. It is a high melt day when it is this unusually warm. It is also deeply concerning for scientists.

KUTALMIS SAYLAM, RESEARCH SCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, AUSTIN: It definitely worries me. We are at 67 latitude here on top of the world, in North Pole. And just yesterday, not today, but yesterday, we could wander around in our T-shirts. That was not really expected. ASLAK GRINSTED, CLIMATE SCIENTIST, NIELS BOHR INSTITUTE: It's

basically at the melting point today. As you can see now to make snowballs.

MARSH: At a research site in northeast Greenland, near melt conditions of nearly 9,000 feet made what is usually a frozen landing strip inoperable.

GRINSTED: They have a problem when it is this soft as the surface is now.

MARSH: Climate scientists Aslak Grinsted tweeting: Mini heat wave, negative 1.6 degrees Celsius in the middle of the Greenland ice sheet. Our planned planes are postponed because our skiway is not that good when it is this warm.

Unable to fly out, the scientists past the time playing volleyball in shorts atop the ice sheet. Pre-global warming, Grinsted says, temperatures near 32 degrees Fahrenheit at this altitude were unheard of.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center tells CNN from July 15th to 17th alone, a melt surge in northern Greenland cost ice sheet run off of about six billion tons of water per day. That is about the volume of 2.4 million Olympic-sized pools.

Put another way? Enough water to flood the entire state of West Virginia with one foot of water in three days.

SAYLAM: The amount of melt from the ice flow was very surprising because it is very warm there. You could hear that the ice was melting in front of our eyes.

MARSH: Research scientists tell CNN that this extent of melt in north Greenland this past week is quite unusual and will contribute to global sea level rise, which impacts coastal communities half a world away.

Rene Marsh, CNN, Pituffik, Greenland.


FISHER: Thank you, Rene.

New CNN reporting just ahead into the federal investigation of Hunter Biden.

Plus, we go to Italy where the prime minister just quit.


FISHER: President Biden heads to Pennsylvania today to talk about crime and gun safety. The president will unveil a $37 billion plan to hire and train police officers, clear court backlogs and help cities and states invest in crime prevention strategies among other things. The Justice Department says special strike forces from the Bureau of

Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives sees 7,700 guns and silencers linked to crimes over the past year in big cities like Chicago, L.A., New York, Washington and San Francisco.


GARLAND: Principal driver of violent crime in the country is gun violence. Principal driver of gun violence are illegal guns and an important way in which people are getting these illegal guns are through these trafficking networks.