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Inside Politics

House Panel Lays Out Case Against Trump In Prime-Time Hearing; Panel Shows Never-Before-Seen Testimony Of Barr, Ivanka, Kushner; Jan. 6 Panel: Trump "Lit The Flame" For Deadly Violence At Capitol; Cheney: Trump Had "Seven-Part-Plan" To Overturn Election; 1/6 Cmte: Trump Summoned Violent Mob, Directed Them To Capitol; Cheney: Trump Gave No Order To Deploy The National Guard On 1/6; Capitol Officer, Injured In Attack, Recalls "Carnage", "Chaos"; Cheney: Several GOP Lawmakers Sought Pardons From Trump After Riot. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired June 10, 2022 - 12:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Hello, and welcome to Inside Politics. I'm John King in Washington. Thank you for sharing a very important news day with us, simply damning. The January 6 committee came with the goods, new video of the attack. Timeline showing the overlap between the rioters and Donald Trump's tweets, and Trump's people, his family in their own words, calling election fraud claims BS.

Plus, the Uvalde the cops knew, and they waited. Reporting for The New York Times says the officers at Robb Elementary were aware children were alive. Now the police chief in a new interview insists, he didn't hesitate even as his officers waited more than an hour to breach the classroom. And is it an understandable reset or a moral outrage. New CNN reporting on President Biden's decision to patch things up with the Saudi regime. He vowed to make a global pariah.

We begin though with the January 6 committee's big moment. The story as detailed by the committee is as straightforward as it is incriminating. Donald Trump, the former president was at the heartbeat of a sprawling conspiracy to steal the presidency.

That part of a jarring 11-minute compilation of footage, much of it new from the riot, just one new piece of the evidence. There is more. A lot more. The committee promised as it used last night's primetime kickoff to provide the roadmap of what it calls a coup attempt. The evidence proves it was a month-long plot in seven parts the committee says.

And the power is that the evidence and the key details are from Trump insiders, including cabinet members, top aides, even family members. The Committee Chairman, Bennie Thompson, told us here on CNN last night. We will soon see proof of conversations between Trump's people and the extremists who led the Capitol assault.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Are there going to be witnesses that describe actual conversations between these extremist groups and anyone in Trump's orbit?



KING: Liz Cheney, the committee's Republican vice chair played the role of prosecutor. Her opening argument that when other pieces of Trump's conspiracy failed, the then president unleashed chaos in the Congress that was about to usher him out of power. The evidence also included radio transmissions from the police, pleading for backup, staffers sprinted out of Republican Kevin McCarthy's office.

The hearing also featured testimony from a Capitol police officer, who recalled slipping in blood as the halls were overrun by domestic terrorists. Trump calls it all a farce. But the facts were sobering, compelling and hard to ignore. It was team Trump in their own words, making clear he knew, they knew, Joe Biden won fair in square, yet lied and plotted for months hoping to keep power. Bill Barr was the Trump attorney general.


BILL BARR, FORMER U.S ATTORNEY GENERAL: And made it clear, I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president was bullshit. And, you know, I didn't want to be a part of it. And that's one of the reasons that went into me deciding to leave when I did. I observed. I think it was on December 1, that you know, how can - we can't live in a world where the incumbent administration stays in power based on its view, unsupported by specific evidence that the election - that there was fraud in the election.


KING: With us to walk through the evidence to share their reporting and their insights, CNN's Ryan Nobles, Tia Mitchell of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Heidi Przybyla and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times. It was not just what we learned that was new. It was who we learned it from, that gives it the credibility and the power, right?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: That's exactly right, John, and that's what the committee was going for. The idea was that they - there is a recognition that who is telling the story has mattered a lot. When people are trying to convince Trump supporters that something is true, because he tells them everything is fake. And so, what they decided to do was use the words of the former attorney general of the president's son-in-law of the president's daughter.

And then, you know, an array of other campaign advisors, all of whom painted the story of an election that clearly was lost. That was not stolen, that there was no there-there, I think was the testimony from one witness. Ivanka Trump making clear that she was swayed by what Bill Barr said on December 1, 2020. And Jared Kushner, with what most Trump officials thought was the most damning bit of testimony that was aired, sounding kind of as if he was floating above it all, but clearly aware of what was happening. All of that painted a pretty, to be clear, we knew this because we were reporting it in real time, but to the public, hearing it from these people themselves is very different.

KING: Right. Especially after five plus years of Donald Trump saying, don't believe the media, don't believe the Democrats, don't believe Liz Cheney, to hear it in their own words. How do you defend that? And so, the committee says, we're going to have two weeks of these hearings, and that that last night was essentially breadcrumbs. That was just a tee up, where they're going to tell us and the evidence there are going to prove to us. And they say in two weeks where we're sitting around this table, we will have convincing evidence of this.



REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack.

THOMPSON: Donald Trump was at the center of this conspiracy. January 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup.


KING: The challenge Ryan, you've spent months on this, and they did a very good job laying out the predicate of it, if you will. The opening argument last night is to say that everything from election night through January 6, and even through today was all part of a plot, not individual episodes.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Over the last past 11 months, the committee members have kind of been talking around this idea, right. They never really established the thesis of the point of this committee, but last night, they made it clear. They made it clear that they believe that Donald Trump was behind a plot to subvert the will of the voters and by extension, prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

And they're not mincing words anymore. They're not saying that it was people associated with Trump. It was a people associated with the Trump campaign or people in other factions in the Republican Party. They're saying Donald Trump is principally responsible. So, they've set the bar very high. And you're right, John, the goal now for them is to lay out all this evidence in a convincing way.

The question is, who are they laying it out for? Is it for their fellow legislators to pass laws to prevent something like this from happening again? Is it for the voters in the midterm elections? Or is it for Merrick Garland? And it could be all the above. The question is, who is their top?

KING: I think the, all of the above is an interesting part because from Chairman Thompson, Vice Chair Cheney, they made crystal clear, they believed Donald Trump violated the law. They believe trying to overturn the election results was a violation of the law. And they believe January 6, was a violation of his oath to the constitution to defend and protect the United States, including from Liz Cheney.

We know you've done some breathtaking reporting on this. We know that Trump reacted approvingly was the way it was said, when he was watching television at the White House, and the chanters outside of the Capitol started chanting hang Mike Pence. From Liz Cheney last night, again, more details.


REP. CHENEY: And aware of the rioters' chance to hang Mike Pence, the president responded with this sentiment, "maybe our supporters have the right idea." Mike Pence, "deserves it."


KING: The challenge is they continue to document the evidence. Is that not only corrupt that's not only horrible, reprehensible as a human being, is it a violation of his oath of office. He is supposed to defend the United States.

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, D.C. CORRESPONDENT: And that was the only piece of evidence there at that point, John. That was just the most poignant, but there was also testimony, for instance, that the president was rewinding and watching parts of the riot as it unfolded and ignoring at the same time. Please, from his own staff, please, from members of Congress to put this to an end.

And also, what struck me last night was that, up until this point, we've been calling this the big lie. But what we learned last night was, it's actually it was an open lie. It was an open lie in the sense that the president knew from the beginning, and not only did he know, but up to an including his own daughter.

One thing, one data point that was, I think, really interesting was that the lawyer, the election lawyer, who said that there was no there-there, this took place back in November. So, there was a two month build up all during which this time he were - they were being told that there was no there-there, and that they had no evidences of fraud, and yet, this was building.

KING: And that I think the interesting part, this committee says it will prove a seven-part conspiracy, that essentially started with we're going to sue, we're going to challenge, we're going to demand recounts. Then we're going to bully the Secretary State of Georgia, other state officials to try to get the results.

To your point, the question was, do you have to prove intent if you're trying to prove a crime? And so, from Bill Barr was trying to say, I told the president three times, this was bogus, there's no there- there. And then to your point, again, powerful testimony. Trump tells you not to believe us about his daughter.


CHENEY: This is the president's daughter, commenting on Bill Barr statement that the department found no fraud sufficient to overturn the election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did that affect your perspective about the election when Attorney General Barr made that statement?

IVANKA TRUMP, FORMER PRES. TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: It affected my perspective. I respected Attorney General Barr. So, I accepted what he was saying.


KING: There's incredible power in that because Barr said he told the president this three times in December. The president refused to let it go. Ivanka Trump says she agreed with the Attorney General. She respected the Attorney General. That's what gets you to the intent.

So, you've been told by a number of people, including the top law enforcement person in the country, there's no fraud there. There's no there-there, and yet you continue to ask members of Congress, ask Mike Pence, ask anybody you can, do something to help me keep the White House.

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION: Yes. And I think it shows that President Trump was intent on staying in power. You know, there was a long game for him. That was dismantling our democracy and just keeping a hold on the presidency. And I think what the committee has said is that there is more to come and that there will be more evidence of this. So, it's really outlining like, they're really making a case for what they say is things that not only were illegal them but should preclude Trump from running from office, if he so chooses in the future.


KING: I think your reporting, you mentioned a little bit less of your reporting last night about the reaction among people who worked in the Trump White House, when they saw Jared Kushner. He has this sort of Pontius Pilate approach to the whole thing is like, oh, I had nothing to do with any of the bad stuff there. Unless I just have a fast, why do you make that point? I just want people to listen.

Remember, they were talking at the Trump White House. Can we use the military? Well, Mike Pence helps us here. The whole White House counsel's team said, you do that, sir, we're out of here. We're going to resign. That is unconstitutional and illegal, Jared Kushner says.


CHENEY: Jared, are you aware of instances where Pat Cipollone threatened to resign?

JARED KUSHNER, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: I kind of, like I said, my interest at that time was on trying to get as many pardons done. And I know that, you know, he was always to him and the team, were always saying, oh, we're going to resign. We're not going to be here. If this happens, if that happens. So, I kind of took it up to just be whining, to be honest with you.


KING: That didn't go well.

HABERMAN: There's really no amount of print stories that can do justice to what that video showed. And what that video showed to Jared Kushner's former colleagues, many of whom were messaging me last night was they use one word, which was arrogance, over and over and over again. And basically, what you saw happen in that period of time was, I understand that, that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are trying to suggest that they didn't really have a whole lot to do with any of this.

In fact, Ivanka Trump was urging people to keep fighting on election night. Jared Kushner was sitting in in a number of meetings for two weeks after Election Day. Now eventually, he moved on to start focusing on policy matters that mattered to him. And then he literally was physically not in the city on January 6.

They were involved and they basically left it to the paid staff to try to talk to Trump about what was happening because by that point, Trump was so irrational and so hard to talk to when the paid staff kept waiting for the family to get more involved.

And so, when you hear something like that, they were threatening to resign, not because they were whining, which was his word and this infuriated allies of Pat Cipollone. They were threatening to resign because they thought the president was both threatening to do things that they consider to be of questionable legality and ensnaring them and that that was his attitude was shocking to them.

KING: Right. And Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have unique access, unique influence, when we think it's over the then president of United States and they're trying to spin their way out of it. Let's just leave it at that. Up next. Some more new January 6 details, including America's top general detailing a stunning call, stunning call from Trump's chief of staff. And later, the Uvalde schools police chief defends, what school safety experts tell us is indefensible.




KING: More now, the January 6 committee's public hearings. The committee drew a direct line from Donald Trump's actions on Insurrection Day to the mob outside the Capitol. One piece of evidence, this Trump tweet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT (voiceover): Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our constitution, giving states a chance to certify a collected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones, which they were asked to previously certify. U.S. demand the truth.


(Playing Video)

KING: Back with our great reporters, including Maggie Haberman. She's the author of an upcoming book, Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America. Part of the challenge here is, you know, Trump says those guys supported me. I had no idea they were going to do that. The committee says no.

Bennie Thompson, the Chairman telling Jake Tapper that say no, we have documents to prove there was in the days before. After Trump tweeted come to Washington on January 6, they can prove it. One thing we did see last night is some of the evidence of the connection between Trump and the Oath Keepers in the Proud Boys. Listen?


MARCUS CHILDRESS, 1/6 COMMITTEE COUNSEL: We learned that this comment during the presidential debate, actually led to an increase in membership from the Proud Boys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you say that Proud Boys numbers increased after the stand by, stand by comment?

JEREMY BERTINO, PROUD BOYS MEMBER: Exponentially, I'd say tripled probably.

CHILDRESS: On December 19, President Trump tweeted about the January 6 rally and told attendees be there, it will be wild. Many of the witnesses that we interviewed, were inspired by the president's call and came to D.C. for January 6. But the extremists they took it a step further. They viewed this tweet as a call to arms.


KING: The chairman says, he has the proof that there were communications between those groups and people in Trump's inner circle.

NOBLES: And that's been one of the missing links that they've referred, and they've hinted at, but it never really come right out and displayed that hard evidence. Because one of the things that committee has said time and time again, is that their job is to connect these dots, right. There were all these dispirited things that all came together to create the riot on Capitol Hill. How are they connected?

So, the chairman revealing that last night. He did it late last night with our Jake Tapper after the coverage was pretty startling, because this is him saying yes, we have hard evidence that links all these groups together. And again, this gets back to what we were talking about at the beginning. That's the makings of a criminal conspiracy, not just a political one.

KING: And back to something, I said earlier, is that you learn details, who you learn them from, sometimes it's just as important as the details. And one of the key witnesses last night was America's top military official, General Mark Milley.


Listen here. Listen here to the contrast, Mike Pence, whose life was at risk in the United States Capitol. Donald Trump was watching on television at the White House. Mike Pence called General Milley. Donald Trump didn't call, but his chief of staff did.


GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF (voiceover): There were two or three calls with Vice President Pence. He was very animated, and he issued very explicit, very direct, unambiguous orders, and get the military down and get the guards down here, put down this situation, et cetera.

CHENEY: By contrast, here is General Milley's description of his conversation with President Trump's Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows on January 6.

GEN. MILLEY (voiceover): He said, we have to kill the narrative that the vice president is making all the decisions. We need to establish the narrative that, you know, that the president is still in-charge and that things are steady or stable or words to that effect.


KING: It is a just a stunning contrast in leadership, and the committee tried to make the point just dereliction of duty. Liz Cheney, saying not only did he ask General Milley. President never called General Milley, his chief of staff did, didn't call the department home security, didn't call the attorney general, didn't call anybody who could have tried to do something.

HABERMAN: There's three pieces there that I found astonishing. I thought that was some of the most riveting testimony that we heard last night, and it got comparatively little attention. Number one, it talks about how adrift the military leaders felt because they were getting so little input from the White House.

Number two, it shows you again that Pence whose life was being threatened, was down there, you know, basically trying to take decisions because the president wasn't doing anything. And number three, it again, points back to Mark Meadows.

The White House chief of staff who has emerged as just one of the most important figures in this in terms of allowing all kinds of different things to happen, telling different people different things, managing the president's image above all else. In that moment, that is just a stunning thing to be saying.

KING: Right. The country is under attack, and he's worried about the president's image. And part of the committee's challenge is that the former president and many of his allies want the American people. You're watching at home to believe this day was not as big a deal, as they say, it was really not a big deal. Caroline Edwards, who was right there on the front line. She is a hero. She has a traumatic brain injury, was one of the witnesses say, oh, yes, indeed it was.


OFFICER CAROLINE EDWARDS, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: There were officers on the ground. You know, they were bleeding. They were throwing up. They were, you know, they had, I mean, I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people's blood. You know, I was catching people as they fell. You know, I was - it was carnage, it was chaos.


KING: You were there that day. That was, wow, powerful.

MITCHELL: It was powerful. And I think part of the reason why officer Edwards was so highlighted last night, is because she also helps counter some of the narrative, not just from the Trump allies in his inner circle, but within Congress. Those U.S. House members that continue to kind of, you know, try to question the narrative of January 6.

So, by having an officer out front, talking about police officers being under attack, being bloodied. Now that puts Republican lawmakers on the hook to say, do you support our law enforcement or not? Because you're hearing from her saying, this is what we experienced.

KING: Up next. We'll continue the conversation, including the new revelations not just about Trump, or his White House. The committee says, House Republicans who tried to help Trump steal the election, then asked for pardons in the final days of the Trump presidency.




KING: The committee Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney, last night teed up a theme, she promises will be fleshed out in a later hearing. That several of her House Republican colleagues who tried to help Donald Trump steal the election, then appealed for presidential pardons after their efforts failed. And it was clear Joe Biden would become president.


REP. CHENEY: Representative Scott Perry, who was also involved in trying to get Clark appointed as attorney general has refused to testify here. As you will see, Representative Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after January 6, to seek a presidential pardon. Multiple other Republican Congressman also sought presidential pardons for their roles and attempting to overturn the 2020 election.


KING: Just moments ago, the Congresswoman Liz Cheney named, Scott Perry tweeted this. You see it on your screen. The notion that I ever sought a presidential pardon for myself, or other members of Congress is an absolute, shameless, and soulless lie. Our reporters are back with as. Well, there he is on the record with that tweet, the challenge, Liz Cheney. Chairman Thompson say, they have the documents to prove this.

PRZYBYLA: Well, they do have the documents, then this is specifically what Liz Cheney was talking about, which is these members, I think if she alluded to this, were pressuring Mike Pence to not certify the votes. And that is specifically what the criminal evidence could be or the criminal charges the basis for that.

And so, the thing here is it's not just Perry, right? They said there were multiple members. And if they have documents for multiple members, it shows that they knew, again intent, that what they were doing was wrong. They got caught and now they're going to get in trouble.

KING: Right. And we know from CNN reporting. She named Perry on the record, and she said there are others.