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Trump Lawyer Wrote Six-Step Plan To Overturn Election; VP Harris: "Deeply Troubled" By Video Of Border Agents. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired September 21, 2021 - 12:30   ET



DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: If they got the one dose of J&J vaccine and having this very rare but very serious blood clotting disorder for those individuals and I'm one of them, a woman under the age of 50, I think they should be getting the option at least of having a booster dose that's not the Johnson & Johnson if they got the one dose J&J, a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna may actually be safer for them.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Right. You say should get the options but they should be waiting for the government to tell them that not to say on their own, I'm going to go outside of the rules and show up somewhere and say, give me a Pfizer dose or a Moderna dose in which you would have to essentially, wouldn't you have to lie and say, I'm not vaccinated?

WEN: I think that at this point, our federal health officials should follow the lead of San Francisco, for example, that is already allowing people who got the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to get a booster dose of something else.

There are a lot of physicians who have already recommended to their patients who have -- who are particularly at high risk, older individuals, chronic medical conditions or high risk exposure for those people who got the one dose J&J vaccine to get a second dose of especially of Pfizer, because that has full approval and therefore could be given off label.

I think that people should really be allowed to measure their own risk and to do what's best for them in consultation with their physician.

KING: Dr. Wen, I want to appreciate your insights. We're going to continue this conversation. Obviously, those studies are pending with the government. I know there a lot of people saying the government's not moving quickly enough in this terrain. We will continue the conversation because there's so many questions about booster second shots and the like. Thank you for your time today.

Up next, Mike Pence and the big lie. A leaked memo details just how Donald Trump's lawyer wanted the Vice President to overturn the 2020 election.



KING: There is a two-page memo marked privileged and confidential. January 6th scenario is the title. The goal outlined in six steps to have then Vice President Mike Pence throw chaos into the Electoral College certification process and find a way to ignore the 2020 election results.

The memo, this is a copy of it right here, is from a Trump lawyer, was first reported in the new book "Peril." The authors Bob Woodward and Robert Costa also detail how Trump allies were at the same time pressing Republican members of Congress to join their efforts to claim fraud and to keep Trump in power.

Pence and key Republicans in Congress were skeptical, there was such a path. Yet, some kept telling Trump and his legal team, they were going to look for ways to help.


BOB WOODWARD, CO-AUTHOR, "PERIL": Its politics in the riding both horses, they're trying to find and Pence is the model of this. Pence is really working hard to see if he can do something to stay on the good side of Trump.


KING: It is -- it's just scary. It's scary because of the threat and it's also lunacy as you read through it in the sense that, you know, here's this memo from John Eastman, a conservative lawyer that says there's a way to do this, the Vice President controls the process and came pretty close.

PAUL KANE, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Look, there was a part of that memo also outlines the scenario in which if they could have just sort of invalidated Pennsylvania and a couple other states, Biden wouldn't have had 270 which is the minimum threshold at which point, you throw it to the House of Representatives and they vote in a strange way, they vote state by state.

So California would count the same as Montana and Republicans had a majority in that scenario in which they could have voted to name him president in the second term.

KING: You're dead right. And the six steps tells you how serious they were, which is why that as this played out, I remember, Trump tweeted that very day, Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done. That's what the President -- then President Trump wanted to do because if you go through this, Paul, you're exactly right.

So it's number one, first just try to say there are seven states with dueling electoral sites, that's not true. There were seven states in which Trump clown cars came up and said, we have our own electors. They were never certified by the legislature, they weren't official. But try to do it without 270. And then if there's an objection to say, no, you need 270 then just try to throw it into chaos.

The Vice President, according to the book and, you know, it was like trying to figure out can I do this? In the end decided no, but this got pretty far down the path.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And also just reminds you how significant that letter that the Vice President sent outlining, that he was not going to do this, that he did not think it was legitimate to challenge the results of the election. How significant that was. I mean, it's dated. I looked at it this morning, January 6th.

KANE: Yes.

FOX: I mean, that is late in the game to make it official. Now, you know, he may have come to that conclusion a little sooner, but it shows you just down to the wire, how close we came.

ASMA KHALID, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NPR: I mean, I was struck in the book where there's this excerpt of Mike Pence, fellow Hoosier reaching out to former Vice President Dan Quayle seeking advice. And if you look at that exchange, it does seem like the former Vice President Mike Pence was really toiling with what to do and he was not necessarily as convinced in the early stages that there might not be a path out. And he said, I think to Dan Quayle, you don't really understand the predicament that I'm in. And Dan Quayle essentially said, no, I understand. There's really no other option, right?

And so you do see, I think in the book, I was like covering this election, specifically, I was covering Joe Biden at the time of the Democrats, I think reading excerpts even of what is described in "Peril," you understand how conflicted Mike Pence was and how really uncertain it felt from Republicans that they potentially really thought there was a viable path which from the Democrat side just really sounded completely out of the realm of possibility like it was not really legal path forward, you know, is what most I would say Americans thought.


KING: Most Americans thought the math was the math. And the math was settled. And the Trump campaign had every right and every chance to go to court, to go to state election officials. They lost, they lost, they lost, they lost. They thought by this day, it was done. But now we learn from this memo and from the book.

No, they went to the last hours and part of the effort detailed in the book is not just having the Vice President potentially ready to follow these steps and throw the election into chaos, but to get allies in Congress to keep raising allegations of fraud and to say there was fraud to -- as if you had to push come to shove and vote on the floor to be able to say no.

Among those they reached out to according to the book, Mike Lee, conservative Senator from Utah, Lindsey Graham, Trump ally, in the end, not always a Trump ally, but in the end, who say that they kept looking at the results, referring it to their own lawyers, and then they come to the conclusion, there's nothing here.

This is Mike Lee, you might as well make your case to Queen Elizabeth II, Congress can't do this, meaning there's no legal way to overturn the election. Or Lindsey Graham, this is his analysis of the fraud allegations. Third grade, I can get an affidavit tomorrow saying the world is flat.

But it's also clear, you know, they're saying, you know, BS, I'm being polite, that all the analysis, all the way you tried to prove there were fraud if you dig deep into it, there's no there, there. And yet Trump believed it and the people around him either believed it or just convinced themselves they believed it.

TARINI PARTI, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: I think the fact that it went down so far, and they tried so hard to get so many Republicans on board, actually, you know, well, we're going to see now in future elections if that has an impact. They've talked so much about fraud, what this does to the democracy and the people's belief in the election system and whether it's valid or not, you could see this potentially even hurting Republicans if, you know, if their base sets at home in future elections, given how much they've talked about fraud and widespread allegations of fraud.

FOX: That actually came up before the election. Republican senators, you would ask them should Trump stop talking about how not secure the U.S. voting system is because Republican voters might just stay home. And Republican leadership folks that I was talking to we're saying absolutely this is not helping us turn out the vote. I mean it's the same as Georgia.

KING: The two Georgia races, the two Georgia Republicans believe that Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are Democratic Senators from Georgia, in part because Trump convinced enough Republicans that my vote doesn't count. I'm not participating in a fraudulent rigged system. Well, that's looking backwards. The key point, Laurence Tribe is the Harvard scholar whose work is quoted in some of this memo. He says it is bastardized and cherry picked and taken out of context.

And he tweeted last night to the point looking forward, ludicrous but scary as hell. Think 2024. Then he says this memo, he says spends a totally fake web of law that no halfway decent lawyer would take seriously, no wonder it couldn't fool even Mike Pence, Larry tried taking a shot at Mike Pence there, which is a little bit gratuitous.

But the ludicrous scary as hell, think 2024, that is why it is important that we dig as deeply as we can repeatedly when we learn new information about this because Trump wants to come back. The same people continue to raise questions that the big lie. Just the other day, he sent a letter to Georgia again, saying, you know, you didn't count the votes right.

KANE: The scenario on January 6th is, it is supposed to be an honorific day. Everybody comes in and it's just, you know, hoity- toity, they get this done by within 45 minutes, usually. And there's a script and the Vice President is supposed to read from it. The doomsday scenario that I when I talked to Democrats about that day

as they were preparing for it is they didn't know what would happen if Mike Pence went off script. There's no role that day for the Speaker of the House or the Senate majority leader. They're just like any other member.

And so, if you look ahead four years from now, six years, eight years, how -- what happens if somebody doesn't do what Mike Pence did, what happens if somebody is just like, bangs the gavel and declares so and so the winner. And there's not a lot of scenarios with which Congress has dealt with this to sort of set up a new a new process to make sure this doesn't happen again.

KING: It's a key point because Pence ultimately, you've mentioned the same tormented about it. But Pence ultimately got to the right place. This memo, the main thing here is that Pence should do this without asking for permission, that he should just try to take control of the process and go rogue, if you will. It's fascinating reporting.


Up next for us, the Vice President's first reaction to this disturbing video, you see it right there, Border Patrol agents using aggressive tactics at the border.


KING: Just moments ago, the Vice President Kamala Harris weighing in on what many of you have seen disturbing new images, show them right here, Border Patrol agents on horseback, acting aggressively toward migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I saw depicted about those individuals on horseback treating human beings the way they were horrible. And I fully support what is happening right now, which is a thorough investigation into exactly what is going on there. But human beings should never be treated that way. And I'm deeply troubled about it. And I'll also be talking to Secretary Mayorkas today about it.


KING: CNN immigration reporter Priscilla Alvarez is with me now. This now has many, many moving parts to it this crisis in Del Rio.


Number one, this investigation, the Department of Homeland Security says it's looking into the behavior. Was it beyond -- was it over the line, was it outside of policy for those agents on horseback to be so close to the migrants.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN IMMIGRATION REPORTER: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has repeatedly said he's going to let the investigation run its course. And in the interim, the Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility is looking into this. And they are also on site to make sure that the behavior is in check with Border Patrol policies. But as you know, John, this is an evolving situation.

This is also happening as we're learning that there are up to 30,000 Haitians in Colombia who may seek to come north. Now, the hope is that by ramping up repatriation flights, it'll send a signal that the U.S. is not allowing Haitians into the United States. In fact, one Homeland Security official tells me that Haitians are returning to Mexico, journey to go back to Mexico, which may help dwindle those numbers under the bridge, but a challenge and an evolving situation nonetheless.

KING: When you say some are going back, I assume that is that we're at -- when they get word, their option is go back or we're going to put you on a flight to Haiti where many of them not lived for a decade, right? They left. So you see, you look at these pictures here you see on the side of the screen. So you have this Homeland and Security Secretary says four repatriation flight scheduled today and that 4,000 plus migrants have been moved so far. But it's you -- so you're subtracting 4,000 so far, and you say there may be more coming. What's the longer term solution?

ALVAREZ: That's the question the administration hasn't answered yet. What we have seen over the course of these last month is addressing the crisis after crisis, a number of migrants coming to the U.S.- Mexico border and overwhelming the resources that the administration has to address them.

So for now, the answer is that they will send these Haitian migrants back to Haiti despite them, in large part, not living there for many years and send a signal to those who may consider coming that they will not be released into the U.S. But it is a politically fraught issue. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said today that the administration should not be sending removal flights to Haiti. So the administration already getting pushback from Democrats.

KING: Getting pushback from Democrats, 26 governors say they want to meet with the President on what they believe to be a border crisis to talk about the issues. You say there are more coming and yet, Secretary Mayorkas on Capitol Hill today was asked a question by the ranking Republican member at Homeland Security Committee. He said in his view, the border is not open, that the border is closed, you look at those pictures, and your eyes tell you something different.

ALVAREZ: The message that they've been sending is exactly that that it's closed. And the reason why is because they've been relying on a Trump era policy known as Title 42, that allows them to kick back migrants who come to the U.S. typically migrant families and adults, unaccompanied children are exempt from this.

And so, by using that authority, they say the borders closed. But what numbers show is that a lot of migrant families are coming into the U.S. and being released. And so that's the mixed messaging that's been sent on top of this -- the misinformation that's following organizations in.

KING: We know that the Vice President has a piece of this portfolio you just heard her comments about the horseback, the agents on horseback. She has a piece of his portfolio. She would argue it's not the border itself, but she is supposed to be working on better relationship with a Guatemala other countries in the region try to stop that migration. Any evidence as yet that she's on the phone trying to help?

ALVAREZ: The administration is sending resources to the Central American countries. But John, what this shows us is it goes well beyond that. These are Haitians coming from South America too.

KING: It is as complicated as it gets. Priscilla, thank you grateful for the new reporting. We'll stay on top of this.

This quick programming note, what would you do if at 10 years old, you were told you were kidnapped from the hospital as a baby? Well, that is what happened to Paul Fronczak and that discovery set him on a lifelong search for the truth about who he really is. What he learned is even more shocking. The new CNN film The Lost Sons explores this and it premieres Sunday night, 9:00 Eastern right here only on CNN.


Up next, the Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection is about to issue subpoenas for witnesses, so who's on that list?


KING: Topping our Political Radar today, the Committee investigating the January 6th insurrections could start issuing subpoenas within a week. The Chairman, Democrat Bennie Thompson says expects subpoenas for witnesses and organizations that have failed so far to cooperate with records requests. Thompson also says the Committee has scheduled its first closed door hearings.

Justin Trudeau will keep his job as Canada's Prime Minister but still cannot form a majority government. Trudeau had hoped his liberal party would win the 170 seats needed to form a majority government but in the snap elections, the Liberals came up short winning 157 seats, the Conservatives won 122.

Democrats introducing new legislation to help renters struggling in this pandemic. Today, Congresswoman Cori Bush and Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced the keeping Renters Safe Act. That law would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to put a national halt on evictions and all this a little fun scoop on Congresswoman Bush, Ben & Jerry's has created a new flavor to raise awareness about one of her pieces of legislation, the People's Response Act, ice cream called changes brewing mixes cold brew coffee, marshmallow swirl, and fudge brownies. Republicans might even sneak a little bite of that.


Thanks for joining us today in Inside Politics. We'll see you back here this time tomorrow. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.