Return to Transcripts main page

Inside Politics

President Biden Condemns Trump in Scathing Speech; U.S. Marks Deadly Capitol Insurrection; Oren Segal, V.P. Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism, Discusses the Ongoing Threat of Domestic Extremism; Lessons Learned from 1/6 Attack, Challenges That Remain. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired January 06, 2022 - 13:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Also this morning, a defining speech of the president of the United States. President Biden promising he will stand in the breach, he says, and fight for American democracy.

The president making a pointed attempt to puncture Donald Trump and his Big Lie.

Just listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What did we not see? We didn't see a former president, who had just rallied the mob to attack, sitting in a private dining room off the Oval Office in the White House watching it all on television.

The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.

The Big Lie being told by the former president.

The former president's supporters trying to rewrite history.

Because the former president lost.

Instead of looking at election results from 2020, the former president and his supporters have decided the only way for them to win is to suppress the vote.

He's not just the former president. He's a defeated former president.


KING: CNN's Jeff Zeleny, Kaitlan Collins join our conversation.

Kaitlan Collins, I'll start with you.

Joe Biden was making a very important point about America's democracy. But he also went out of his way, something we haven't heard before, to be very personal in addressing the former president. Not only assigning blame for what happens one year ago today, but Mr.

Trump insists on being called President Trump.

Joe Biden: "former president, former president, former president" 16 times I think, I believe. And then "liar, liar, defeated."

This was personal.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there were lines that seemed to be written and designed to sting.

And they were. almost sometimes for an audience of one, where you saw President Biden leaning towards the cameras as he delivered some of them, including that one saying he's not just a former president, he's a defeated former president.

It isn't something you usually see from President Biden. He tries not to talk about the former president. He tries not to mention his name.

He said not doing so today specifically was by designed. Because he said this isn't just about Joe Biden versus Donald Trump. It's a bigger issue here. It's about democracy here. There's something more at the heart of this.

I think that was what he was talking about there in his speech.

John, at the capitol, he told reporters the reason he felt the need to do that, to talk so much about the former president's role in what happened one year ago today, on January 6th, because he said, to heal from a wound, you have to show the extent of it, to show how deep it goes.

That's what he was trying to do in that speech today on the capitol in the same hall where rioters were roaming freely one year ago today.

And also drawing attention to what President Trump was doing that day. Because not only, John, did he say he rallied that day, but he talked about how he was watching television outside the Oval Office, watching television.

He said a lack of action, not doing anything in the hours that followed.

KING: And, Jeff, let's listen to a little bit more of the president. Because he was trying to make a point. He was getting very personal about Donald Trump.

He also seemed to almost be trying to goad the Republicans who still follow Donald Trump.

And one of the points he made, Joe Biden, president now, vice president for eight years, in the Senate 35-plus years, saying he knows a lot about the Republican Party and he doesn't recognize it today.


BIDEN: I see them no longer wanting to be the party, the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, Reagan, the Bushs.

But whatever my other disagreements are with Republicans who support the rule of law and not the rule of a single man, I will always seek to work together with them to find shared solutions where possible.

Because we have a shared belief in democracy and anything is possible. Anything.


KING: On the one hand, Jeff speaking to history. On the other hand, driving right into the extremely complicated politics of today.


Now you can add the Cheneys to that long litany of Republicans as we've seen a former Vice President Dick Cheney, of course, a former member of the House, alongside his daughter, Liz Cheney.

The only two Republicans literally on the House floor during that national moment of silence. So this is exactly what President Biden was talking about.

John, I was struck watching the president's remarks today. This is not something he's ever wanted to allow Doanld Trump to hijack, his agenda or his presidency.

Since that day in November, the Saturday after election, when he was declared the winner, up until the point of him taking the oath of office, he rarely talked about Donald Trump.

But also, this afternoon, one year ago, it was Joe Biden who came to the cameras. He was going to be delivering a speech on the economy in Wilmington, Delaware. And the speech was delayed several hours.

I was in that audience watching everything happen. But it was Joe Biden who came to the cameras first, before Donald Trump.

But this is something he's not wanted to talk about. Now it is an issue he cannot ignore.

He has been criticized by Democrats for not really focusing more on voting rights, more on election reform. So we are told that is going to be more of a clarion call for this second year of his presidency.

He will be delivering a speech next week in Atlanta, giving more specifics on that.


But this certainly, he said himself, was not a fight he wanted. But it is a fight he'll take on.

John, we have stood here and criticized and critiqued Joe Biden's speeches, many of them. Some people wanted to know if he was engaged or not.

This morning was a speech unlike I've heard from Joe Biden. Perhaps it was the comfort of being in Statutory Hall, in a place where he had worked so long.

This was an issue that he desperately wanted to talk about and convey to the American people.

He sounded stronger than I think we've heard him almost deliver any speech in this presidency.

KING: I think, to your point, it was a fascinating speech. It'll be interesting to see the follow up as the voting rights becomes more prominent in the days and weeks ahead.

Jeff Zeleny, Kaitlan Collins, grateful for the important reporting.

Coming up, how domestic extremism continues to thrive and what is being and not being done, sadly, to fight it.



KING: Welcome back. We are live today from the United States capitol, where exactly one year ago today, our country and our democracy was violently attacked.

The day should have been about certifying President Biden's victory. It is about staying with images like this.

Protesters and rioters ransacking the capitol in their effort to try to block, to try to overturn the results of the 2020 elections.

Inside, the mob violently smashed glass, tried to make its way through the speaker's lobby.

And as lawmakers took shelter, fearing for their lives, the crowd of insurrectionists inside made their way into the Senate chamber.

Let's remember, some even called for the hanging of then-Vice President Mike Pence.




KING: Today, in the capitol Statuary Hall where the mob marched through a year ago on live television, President Biden placing the blame for that horrific day squarely on Donald Trump. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.

He's done so because he values power over principles. Because he sees his own interests as more important than his country's interests and America's interests.

And because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution. He can't accept he lost.


KING: It is critical to remember, those were American citizens attacking the American government that day.

Federal officials say domestic extremism is still one of the biggest threats to the homeland.

Dozens of members of extremist groups have already been charged in the federal riot investigation.

Experts say we should have seen this threat coming. And those experts warned us, not enough has changed to prevent another.

Joining us now is one of those experts, Oren Segal. He joins me now. He's the vice president of the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism.

Oren, grateful for your time today.

Let's look back. You make the case a lot of the clues were there.

If people were studying and tracking closely, what was being said online by many of the participants in what happened here, perhaps it could have been prevented or at least we would have known more about it.

Take us back. What clues were missed and why?

OREN SEGAL, VICE PRESIDENT, CENTER ON EXTREMISM, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: So this was an insurrection organized in plain sight. Social media hosted by not all of the extremists involved but others who were adjacent to them. It was clear for anybody to find.

We also saw examples of violence in D.C. in the months beforehand that were animated by similar narratives.

So it seems like anybody who was identifying and tracking extremism was raising a red flag. Yet, at the end of the day, it still happened.

KING: So, critical question, one year later is, have the lessons been learned? We have to ask, after 9/11, where the dots weren't connected before 9/11.

One year after January 6th, does the government and various agencies of government have a better handle on this?

SEGAL: I think most people in this country are hungry for accountability. Even stability in this time of chaos.

And the fact that we've seen over 700 insurrectionists arrested is a step in the right direction.

But real accountability also acquires addressing the deeper issues and the tactics that brought insurrectionists to the capital in the first place.

Our democracy is being tested by extremists.

We need to come to term with the fact that these extremists rely on enablers in elected office, enablers in social media, enablers with megaphones and broad audiences to help them spread their messages that undermine democratic institutions and undermine basic civility.

Violence is often not far behind.

KING: In your work, you continue to track what's happening in the evolution.

I just asked if the government learn things. What about these groups? What about these groups?

There's no violence at the capitol today. Around the country, you see evidence of exchanging tactics. Explain.


SEGAL: Yes, extremists are glomming on to other cultural issues. We're seeing, for example, Proud Boys showing up at school board meetings.

If you really think about it, our medical professionals, school boards, election officials are being threatened, harassed for just doing their job.

Because extremists never miss an opportunity to leverage a crisis. And they recognize, in order for them to keep the momentum going, to win hearts and minds, they have to focus locally.

The front line against extremism is in our local communities.

KING: One of the conversations for a long time, especially in the last year, was, is the responsibility of the social media companies to police the traffic on their networks?

Has that improved at all since a year ago?

SEGAL: There's an extremists migrate from one platform to another. The Internet is complicated because of its ecosystem.

I think the short answer is no, they have not done enough. It shouldn't be so easy for my analysts and my investigators to find conspiracy theories and narratives and disinformation that we know animates people to action.

It's still easy to find. And the companies need to do much more because our democracy is at stake.

KING: We appreciate you calling it out when you see it. If those companies won't act, at least, we have vigilant people trying to keep track of it like yourself.

Oren Segal, grateful you for your time and your insights. Thank you.

Coming up for us, the lessons learned from the capitol attack and the challenges that remain to protecting our democracy.




KING (voice-over): It's a scary scene, plain and simple. It is a scary scene.

And every American has the right to protest, even if what they're protesting is a fantasy, meaning that the president of the United States won the election. He did not.

Wolf, there's a line, and it's not a fine line, but there's a clear line between activism and anarchy.

It's sad to say, Wolf, but not a surprise to say that the president has been consistent in failing this leadership test when there are obvious questions of right and wrong, black-and-white questions of right and wrong before him.


KING: That is my voice there during our coverage in the studio with Wolf Blitzer one year ago today.

Dana Bash and Melanie Zanona are with me as we close the hour with some final thoughts.

And I'll say, there's no violence behind us today, thankfully.

But the attack continues. It continues every time Donald Trump lies and chips away at the credibility of the people and the institutions that are vital to our democracy.

More importantly, the sad lies of one selfish man cannot undo it. It's all the help he gets from Republicans here and around the country that is the spreading cancer.

We all -- all of us, everybody watching, have some personal experience. We know what cancer does when it gets its way.

This cancer has to be stopped. I don't know how, but this cancer has to be stopped.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: And I think one thing that doesn't get talked about enough is the way that January 6th has fundamentally changed the institution that is Congress.

January 6th continues to color everything they do up here.

I know staffers that have quit, members that are retiring, in part, because of their experiences during the insurrection.

The police force is completely depleted and demoralized.

You have Democrats who don't want to work with Republicans on bills.

There are still metal detectors outside the chamber and not because Democrats are scared of rioters. They don't trust their own Republican colleagues.

So I think we talk a lot about the scars of January 6th, but in a lot of ways, it's still an open wound.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and Dean Phillips, the Congressman from Minnesota, sat in this chair last hour and said that at least one of his friends across the aisle, Republican friends, is leaving Congress, is retiring, because he is scared.

And it is the fear -- the fear that we all saw that was so palpable here exactly a year ago that doesn't -- maybe it's not the physical fear for all of these Republicans.

But it is they -- the fear of, god forbid, losing their power, losing the love of the constituents who are being lied to, and therefore losing their seat.

And they -- so many of them have chosen that over love of country.

And I know that sounds, you know, somewhat quaint and even corny, but it is important to say how unprecedented it is to see so many members of Congress choosing that.

KING: And the challenges that so many people believe this. Because they're being told this by people who influence them.

And we have to respect their disenchantment. We have to respect their disaffection. And we have to respect their disillusionment.

But we have to, every day, challenge their belief in a fantasy. Donald Trump lost. He had every chance.

There are ways to appeal. Challenge local officials. Go to court. He did all those things. He lost.

BASH: And about one year ago, right now, the then vice president was presiding in the House chamber and he had just released a statement that didn't get a lot of play because -- for obvious reasons.

But in it, he pushed back against his boss, against the president, pushing him to try to use his presiding role.

And he said, it is my judgment that my oath to defend the Constitution constrains me from taking unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.

He is one example of somebody in that moment standing up for his constitutional role. And they tried to hang him. I mean, at least, they had the gallows here.

KING: The challenge is more Republicans need to stand up now. Stand up now.

BASH: Yes.

KING: Now, now, now. That's the way.

We close the hour, this hour, with this flashback, to a change moment back on insurrection day.

It was 1:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, one year ago, the U.S. Capitol Police chief receives initial reports, rioters had breached the doors, and the windows, of the capitol building. They were trying to break in, and they did.

Just minutes later, this was the scene, captured by surveillance footage. The mob breaking down the windows, busting down the doors, and letting their co-conspirators in.


A flood of insurrectionists, brandishing American flags, racing into the building to hunt down lawmakers.

Never forget this day. Never forget the day.

When you watch the images, to this -- to this moment, it's just stunning. This day is different. Don't let anyone tell you this day was not different.

And that does it for me on this special edition of "INSIDE POLITICS." Thank you for your time.

Please be sure to join Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper tonight for an unprecedented gathering inside the capitol building with the police, the lawmakers and the leaders.

Live from the capitol, tonight, "JANUARY 6TH, ONE YEAR LATER." It begins right here 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

Alisyn and Victor pick up our coverage after a quick break.