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DOJ: Proud Boys Leader Sent Message On 1/6 Saying, "We Did This"; Progressive D.A. Faces Recall Push In Liberal San Francisco; Biden Summit Overshadowed By Snub From Mexican President. Aired 12:30- 1p ET
Aired June 07, 2022 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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ENRIQUE TARRIO, PROUD BOYS LEADER: There's eight members of the Proud Boys that decided to go in. I think that was a mistake to go in. But they're painting it like as like we coordinated to go into the Capitol previously and that's untrue.
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JOHN KING, CNN HOST: So he's making the case there. This happened. We didn't direct it. I think it was a mistake. That's what he says. The Justice Department has to prove this in court. But here's what they say in the indictment. At 2:38 p.m., Tarrio made a public post on social media that said don't effing leave. At approximately 2:39, Tarrio responded to a question by a Proud Boys member, are we a militia yet? With a one word voice note in which Tarrio stated, yep. Tarrio then posted two additional messages stated, make no mistake, and then we did this.
So that's the challenge in court from the Justice Department, but in the court of public opinion for the Committee to match up. Here's what somebody said. But here we can prove this is what they did.
LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, EARLY 202 CO-AUTHOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, the Justice Department just expanded the charges into seditious conspiracy the other day, there are already previous charges. And so they must think that they have enough evidence to do that. As far as the committee is concerned, they have, you know, they have one primary goal, and that is there's a legislative activity to prove that there needs to be legislative changes.
But members of this committee want to go further. They want to present to the American public, that there is evidence that they're -- that they can tie the conspiracy to top members of the Trump administration or even the President himself. Now the challenge is, is that going to be enough? Do they have enough for the Justice Department to take that up as well or for them to recommend the Justice Department? And I think that's going to be one thing that we're all going to be watching through this month. KING: And at the committee hearing, just for guys just to get this out of the committee hearing, you mentioned the documentarian Mr. Quested (ph). There's also going to be Caroline Edwards who's a member of the Capitol Police Force who suffered injuries including a brain injury, and the quite, you know, they're heard testimonies to get firsthand account of who came through, how they acted when they came through. Listen to what she said, this is back in October 2021, her talking about that harrowing day.
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CAROLINE EDWARDS, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: They rip down our barricades and use those barricades to injure a couple of us, a few of us. Just hours of like hand to hand combat. Pepper spray is going all over the place. You know, it's -- it was, you know, there's blood, there's just, it was a warzone.
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KING: The challenge, and forgive me for interrupting, the challenge is you hear these individual accounts. And they're stunning, and they're heartbreaking, and some of them are infuriating. The challenge for the Committee is trying to put this together to this started, the Committee will make the case. This started the day after the election. And it ran to January 6th, and they'll actually make the case that in some to some degree, it's continuing.
ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, absolutely. And look even just with that audio there. Part of this is obviously about filling in the gaps operationally of what happened that day, what happened in the days leading up to it, who communicated to who, another part also, if your Committee is tapping into or trying to resonate with the American public through empathy, right?
And one way to do that is by putting first responders, the police officers who were there on the front lines, and also had a firsthand witness to what happened that day, and putting their -- them up to also speak to the public. I just want to say also, there was a good point here. It's not just about filling in the gaps here, there is a political component to this as well, and that you are going to see some members of the Democratic Party also trying to show these narratives to show that this event, if they can represent it a larger threat to democracy as well.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And then as a threat to what's going forward. You see Liz Cheney on shows trying to spin it forward talking about this upcoming election, the next presidential election, the assumption that former President Trump might run again. I do think it's going to be difficult for them potentially. They have challenges ahead of them, the Committee, to get the American public's attention here. That was something that has happened 17 months ago.
I will note our colleague Marshall Cohen noted that Robert Mueller and his investigation interviewed about 500 people in about a two year period. This Committee has interviewed over 1,000 people in a one year period. So they have all of that to put together. But they also have to tell it in a way that becomes a narrative that captures attention based on facts, based on interviews, and that's going to be the challenge ahead of them for these hearings.
KING: And one of the facts again, there's the Justice Department investigation. There's a Fulton County D.A. who's doing investigation just related to Georgia and the Trump efforts to steal the Georgia elections. And we've know some new e-mails in that investigation that we also know the Committee has, and this is one of them here, the Georgia e-mail.
This is an adviser to Donald Trump and lead in Georgia. I -- they're trying to put together a slate of fake electors, essentially, alternative electors, they would say, fake electors to come to Washington and say no, Trump won Georgia, not Biden when Biden won Georgia. But the e-mail says, I must ask for your complete discretion in this process. Your duties are imperative to ensure the end result, a win in Georgia for President Trump, but will be hampered unless we have complete secrecy and discretion.
If you thought you actually won and you could prove fraud. Why would you have to have secrecy?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this gets to the heart of the idea that this was a conspiracy, right? And the argument that the Peter Navarros of the world are making, that Rudy Giuliani is making is no, no, no, I believed there was election fraud, I still believe there was election fraud this election was stolen.
Well, if you thought that why did you need to do so many things behind closed doors and do it secretly? It's because you were hatching a plot to undermine, an duly election that was done properly. And that's part of what the Committee has to establish that these aren't just isolated events where people were being secret in certain places. This was a broad conspiracy that involved a number of different players, many of them connected to Donald Trump.
KING: Again, big night, Thursday night for the Committee to try to get the country's attention. Whatever your views why not listen and learn, have an open mind.
Up next for us, it's a busy primary day. Voters in seven states making midterm choices, we'll go live to California where crime is a rising issue.
KING: Tuesday in an election year seven states holding primaries today, among them California where voters are overwhelmed soaring gas prices. Yes, the highest in the country in California. Rising homelessness and rising crime. That is the dominating theme this cycle take San Francisco crime is central in the push to recall the District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Put another way, a progressive prosecutor may be fired by voters in one of America's most liberal cities.
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BROOKE JENKINS, FORMER PROSECUTOR, SF DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE: Like so many of my colleagues, I resigned in protest because Chesa Boudin interfered in every single case and failed to do his job.
DON DU BAIN, FORMER PROSECUTOR, SF DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE: The office is absolutely in disarray right now.
SHIRIN OLOUMI, FORMER PROSECUTOR, SF DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE: Chesa dissolved my unit prosecuting car break ins. Now criminals flocked to San Francisco because there are no consequences.
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KING: CNN's Maeve Reston is live for us in Los Angeles. Maeve, let's start there. We'll talk about some others. But I just want to go up to San Francisco and pop up the crime stats. Theft -- this is since last year, theft of personal property up 20 percent, homicide up 11 percent, assault up to 11 percent, rape up 9 percent. This is a liberal city. This was a progressive prosecutor who ran on criminal justice reform. And it appears that there's significant anger backlash even.
MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. And he has argued that, you know, his progressive policies are not the cause of this, that we're seeing, you know, violent crime rise across the nation. But that's not a satisfying answer to people, not just in San Francisco, but all across California right now, who are feeling that that debate over criminal justice a couple of years ago that was so front and center just went too far.
And there's so much unease about crime and also about homelessness, those issues being closely intertwined. And that's created a lot of problems for people like the district attorney.
KING: And so we'll watch as San Francisco plays out. I just want to show our voters now the two leading candidates in the Los Angeles mayor's race. You have Congresswoman Karen Bass, a trusted deputy of Nancy Pelosi, she was on the shortlist for Joe Biden when he's looking for a vice presidential candidate. She now wants to return home and be mayor.
Rick Caruso is a businessman. He's a billionaire. He's a one-time Republican. Now he's running as a Democrat, but he has made crime, homelessness, unease if you will more broadly. And again, I just want to show the LA crime statistics shootings up 65 percent from two years ago, motor vehicle theft up 37 percent, homicides up 34 percent, robbery up 18 percent.
This is another example right of progressive voters in a city dominated by progressives. But I remember Mayor Riordan back in the mid-90s, it was the same issues, it was crime that got Los Angeles a Republican mayor back then. RESTON: Exactly. And, you know, voters that I talked to here are just not as concerned about the former Republican mayor, what they want is someone that can come in and fix the problems. They know that there are billions of dollars flowing to deal with homelessness, for example. And yet, as you've seen here, John, there are tents in every neighborhood, you step over needles on the sidewalk. People are concerned about how, you know, how crime is rising.
And so that has created an opening for Rick Caruso, along with his $40 million that he has spent here to drive the message that career politicians are failing and that it's time for an outsider to tackle these problems. And that's exactly the argument, as you pointed out, John, that Riordan made back in the 90s very successfully.
KING: One mistake people in our business may sometimes is to over focus on with one issue. I'm not saying crime is not a driving issue both of those races, because it is. But you're in a state that often sends a message to the country because it's our most populous state. And I just want to talk about this, you know, we're coming out of the COVID pandemic still in it in some ways. We have high inflation. Yes, there's crime. Yes, there's homeless. It's anxiety, right?
People are uneasy, in your state may, gas prices $6.37, the national average 4.92. A year ago California was at 4.22, the nation of 3.05. How much is it just a toxic combination, if you will, of anxiety or unease, uncertainty?
RESTON: It's all of those things. And I was up in Bakersfield a number of times talking to voters there in that race where David Valadao is running against Rudy Solace, trying to hold on to his job. But people are just feeling this pinch of gas prices so much. They are cutting out basic things in their life. They no longer feel that they can keep their kids in sports. They are having problems obviously, struggling with those grocery bills. And they feel like the party in power is not doing enough to help them.
So the message that Joe Biden is sending back in Washington is not making its way to people out here and they are looking for another alternative. And we may very well see all of that unfold, not just in Democratic enthusiasm at the polls today but also in November where Democrats may be punished for that, John.
KING: Maeve Reston, grateful for your time today. And it's great to see you. We'll see how the voters of California, what message they send tonight. Thank you.
Up next, the summit where the biggest issue seems to be the invite list. Mexico's president is boycotting. And the reason well, it raises a hypocrisy debate for the Biden White House.
[12:50:01] KING: The invitation list is causing controversy and a major boycott as President Biden prepares to convene a major summit tomorrow. The Summit of the Americas agenda on paper includes regional economic cooperation efforts to curb migration issues and note sharing on issues ranging from Ukraine to China. But who isn't invited and who isn't coming because of that is now dominating the pre Summit conversation. The White House did not invite Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua citing human rights and political abuses in those countries.
The White House says the President is taking a stand against dictators yet, same White House is making plans for the same President to travel to Saudi Arabia to meet with its crown prince, whose long list of political and human rights abuses includes orchestrating the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Our panel of reporters back to discuss. Let's start first with the historic issue here. The summit -- the United States has long held its arm out to Cuba, and at different periods of time to Venezuela and Nicaragua, depending on the government, the Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says enough.
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PRES. ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, MEXICO (through translator): I believe in the need to change the policy that has been in place for centuries, the exclusion, the desire to dominant.
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KING: It's the desire to dominate is interesting in the sense the perspective of many countries in the region or the United States is says, you know, we're bigger than you, we're stronger than your economies bigger than you will decide who's good or bad.
COLLINS: I think the White House is a little surprised that he made good on his threat to not come to the summit, because he had been saying this, it wasn't a shock to anyone. But they had been wrangling for several weeks now to try to get him over the finish line to accept this invitation.
Obviously, it is incredibly important for the President of Mexico to be at a summit like this, where they're trying to show that not only is the U.S. reestablished its leadership in the region, which is the White House's argument, but also to deal with immigration and so many of the issues between the United States and Mexico that they have before them.
And I think the White House is very annoyed now, when you talk to people privately that this is now the focus of the summit, who is and who was not invited. And he had a pretty clear stance, the White House is defended, there has been as obviously raise these questions about where the threshold is for them. And I think it's -- where that's created is something that past presidents have all had to deal with this question of which leaders in the world do you engage with and which ones you don't? President Biden complicated it for himself, because he was the one who put this moral stance when it came to his foreign policy, when it came to meeting with people like Saudi leaders. And so that's kind of been the focus over what this summit is going to be that he's hosting in L.A. now.
KING: And so to that point, let's go back. This is 2019. This is a Democratic presidential debate. Joe Biden made clear elect me President. I will not call the Saudis like Donald Trump.
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JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We were going to in fact, make them pay the price and make them in fact the pariah that they are. There's very little social redeeming value of the -- in the president, government in Saudi Arabia.
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KING: Now, the White House says he's likely to meet with the Crown Prince, you saw the President bristle. The White House said he was and then the President was asked about it. He said it's not done. But by all the occasions are it will happen. They're just trying to figure out how to spin it. He says it's about peace. Is it fair to say it's about three letters O-I-L?
KANNO-YOUNGS: Right. I mean, that was before we had high oil prices. That was before you had high inflation. That was before economic anxieties represented one of the more political liabilities, one of the higher political liabilities for this administration. Again, it's not the first time a president and administration when it comes to foreign policy hasn't had to put aside some promises when it comes to how it could benefit you domestically. But this is putting aside values that the President-elect and now President has really put at the forefront of his administration.
How many times do we hear President Biden talking about democracy versus autocracy in any foreign policy speech he gets when you have something that binary, and you're putting your values out there like that this is the risk now, when you go ahead, and you're going to do a trip like this? These are the questions that are going on right now.
KING: Right, not the first President to say things as a candidate in black and white to become president and realize, oh, there's a whole lot of nuance here. But Joe Biden ran as, you know, I'm the foreign policy veteran, I get all this. So it seems more striking in his case to see him just nevermind what I said in the campaign or, you know, times have changed, gas prices are up.
CALDWELL: And there's -- yes, and there's been inconsistency too where a couple months ago there was talk among the administration that they were going to reach out to Venezuela to help with the high oil prices and Republicans really attacked that even some Democrats attacked the administration for doing that. They pulled that back really quickly. And then now you have them not inviting Venezuela to the summit, but now perhaps going to see Saudi Arabia so there's an inconsistency. KING: It's polite way.
Up next for us, a surprise visitor at the White House, we'll explain. Stay with us.
KING: Topping our Political Radar today, a word from the White House that the actor Matthew McConaughey will join today's press briefing next hour. McConaughey is a native of Uvalde, Texas, and has been on Capitol Hill the past several days meeting with lawmakers to talk about gun reform and school safety. The Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman may not be back on the campaign trail until July perhaps even later.
That's according to his wife Gisele. Fetterman you'll remember suffered a stroke just days before the Democratic primaries back in May. Friday, he admitted he almost died and his doctor says he has not taken his advice since being diagnosed with heart problems five years ago.
Some sad news to share with you today political reporter and analyst Ken Bode died last week at the age of 83. Ken was irregular here on Inside Politics back in the late 1990. He was also the host of Washington Week on PBS. He worked as a CNN special correspondent and election analyst for the 1992 and 1996 General Elections. Ken Bode survived by his wife, two daughters, her brother and two grandsons. He was wicked smart and very, very funny.
Thanks for your time today and INSIDE POLITICS. Hope to see you tomorrow. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.