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Cheney: Several GOP Lawmakers Sought Pardons From Trump After Riot; Uvalde Schools Police Chief Defends Delay In Confronting Gunman; Senior U.S. Officials: U.S. Preparing For "Reset" With Saudi Arabia. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired June 10, 2022 - 12:30   ET



HEIDI PRZYBYLA, D.C. CORRESPONDENT: 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 that 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.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Right. And we know from CNN reporting, she named Perry on the record and she said there are others from other CNN reporting we know they include those who talked to the White House based on our reporting about some sort of clemency or pardon include Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, Paul Gosar, and now Scott Perry. We see that there.

Again, the challenge here is, you know, Trump's defenders they say he won the election. They say there's all this fraud. Now, Scott Perry says this is not true. The challenge is the record of the Committee so far is they have the goods.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And what is interesting about this is and I know from my reporting is that Scott Perry liked to communicate on encrypted apps very often, specifically, with Mark Meadows, the White House Chief of Staff. So I know that the Committee had a difficult time trying to nail down exactly all the different people that Scott Perry was talking to because he wasn't necessarily open with his communication forms.

He was cognizant of this, he, you know, has an intelligence background. And so what the Committee has said time and time again is that even if you're trying to hide who you're talking to, our investigation that has casting a wide enough net, that we're going to find it from somewhere else, according to what we heard last night, they must have found it from somewhere else.

KING: And it's also clear, look, the based on the reporting, we'll see the evidence the Committee puts on the record as we go forward. But based on the reporting if you look here, the Republicans who have refused to cooperate the Committee has asked them to come in because they know they were in contact either with Trump or with key people in the White House or both of those things in the days before, not just on January 6th, we often focus too much on that day itself and in before. But you see the leader, Kevin McCarthy, you see Perry, you see Biggs, you see Brooks, and Jim Jordan as well, big Trump allies who we know are in touch. They refuse to cooperate with the Committee, Liz Cheney, who of course is at war with her own House Republican leadership says history will prove her right.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): In our country, we don't swear an oath to an individual or a political party. We take our oath to defend the United States Constitution. And that oath must mean something. Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible. There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone. But your dishonor will remain.


KING: She believes this as a matter of principle, but it is also a defining test for the Republican Party going forward.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It is. And it's interesting. I think about this when I watched Cheney who has really stood in the face of an incredible number of attacks, as she's going through this. But she was supportive of Trump, right, up until about a month before Election Day in 2020, when she became disturbed by the things that he was saying about the upcoming election, she did see it as undemocratic. That was her red line.

But very few people have had an actual red line that they weren't willing to just blow past. And I think that's what she's talking about here. She, look, I think that the Republican Party is so entrenched around not just Trump, but Trumpism at this point, but this is going to be going on for a very long time. But there are Republicans who are hoping there are -- is a window to grab people basically by the lapels and say, wake up from this.

KING: And when you listen to last night, and we'll listen to the two more weeks of these hearings is one of the biggest crimes is they knew, they knew and they kept lying. The President kept lying to his supporters, people kept lying to supporters, there are 823 people who've been charged related to the insurrection. They come from 47 states. They're not all members of the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers. They are people who believed this because they were lied to, lied to, lied to, lied to, lied to.

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Right. And that was how they closed that first hearing. And it was really powerful because you had regular people saying they felt that Donald Trump wanted them to come to the Capitol, and that Donald Trump kind of projected that it was more than just a peaceful rally they would be attending that day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But he invited them, I felt he invited them.

KING: He invited them. That's how they felt it. Again, last night teed it up. We have two more weeks of hearings, including the next one on Monday. Stay with us as we go through this drama. [12:33:56]

Ahead for us though, the embattled Uvalde schools police chief defends his conduct at Robb Elementary School.


KING: There are some eye-opening new comments from the Uvalde School Police Chief Pete Arredondo. Chief Arredondo told "The Texas Tribune," he never considered himself in charge of the response to the Robb Elementary School massacre. He says he chose to leave to police radios in his car because he thought they would slow him down and likely would not work in the school anyway. He acknowledges hearing multiple gunshots as he ran toward a classroom but says police waited as a janitor searched for the right key.

And he says he was proud to be there. "The Texas Tribune" spoke with Chief Arredondo by phone in written statements and through his attorney. His attorney just told CNN his client is not doing any more interviews right now. CNN has also reached out to the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Uvalde School District for comment.

Our CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI supervisory special agent Peter Licata joins me now to discuss. Peter, I want to walk through some of this and see if your reaction is the same as mine as you read through this interview. Number one, the chief says he never considered himself the incident commander. He showed up in his title as chief, right?

PETER LICATA, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Exactly. The senior officer on scene is always the incident commander. The first officer on scene is the incident commander until he's relieved by somebody senior so. Him being on scene as a police chief for the city of Uvalde, he is the incident commander you cannot delegate that down especially when you're on scene.


KING: And he says he didn't give any orders but then he does acknowledge he gave instructions telling officers to break windows and evacuate other children. You're familiar. We all are becoming too familiar, sadly, with the protocols. If there are shots -- if you're running toward a classroom and you hear shots being fired, what is the number one thing in the protocol, to evacuate kids from other classrooms or to storm that classroom?

LICATA: It's a multi-tasking incident. So you want to evacuate others. So he should be resourcing his officers to evacuate those that are that you can but there should be the order to go in. They, again, we've talked about this before, John, active shooter training, three individuals, three officers, that's all you need in order to go ahead and engage in active shooter situation. They had 19 within 15 minutes. They had officers on scene within about five or 10 minutes. Why they didn't go in that door is inexplicable and why that police chief didn't get that order to go in is still knowing. Anyone -- any logical -- anyone -- the logic is just, and again, I'm getting flustered, because it's just illogical on his lack of a decision.

KING: Right. I want to be as fair as we can be to the chief. So let's use his own words, I didn't issue any orders, Arredondo said, I called for assistance and asked for an extraction tool to open the door. He's calling for assistance. He's asking for an extraction tool. He did ask, he says he's contradicting himself to a degree saying he asked for evacuations, that's an order or not. He also says he left his radios in the car because he thought they would slow him down. And that perhaps his experience was it wouldn't work in certain parts of the school anyway. Does that make any sense at all when you're trying to coordinate and communicate?

LICATA: No, that makes zero sense. So again, as the senior incident commander, you should be you should be communicating with those officers that are dealing with the incident. He obviously left those radios in his car, knowing how can you communicate with the officers and getting real time information? How could you be communicating with 911 dispatch who are receiving calls and trying to get a hold of him saying that there are calls coming in from the classroom that there are children and survivors inside there? That's a fatal flaw.

And moreover, let's go back to incidents that have been on in the FBI. And then as my time in the army, there's always a saying we had, the only bad decision, there's no decision at all. And he made a bad decision because he did not make a decision. We know from transcripts that officers are arguing amongst themselves about whether they should go in or whether they should not go in. And they were all waiting for the order to go in. And that was his fatal flaw by not making a logical decision not having communications. And basically he locked on scene. He couldn't make a proper decision and analyze what was going on appropriately.

KING: That last point you just made is illuminated, sadly, by this "New York Times" reporting, quoting transcripts of some of the police body cameras on the scene. People are going to ask why we're taking so long, if there's kids in there, we need to go in there. So it is clear that some of the officers at the scene knew their training, knew the protocols, but.

LICATA: That's correct but. So again, the police chief is going to circle the wagons. He's going to defend his actions. He's going to rightly as any leader would defend the actions of his officers in this case. But who's holding him accountable? Who in Uvalde, the Uvalde city council, the mayor, who he reports to, who's holding him accountable for his actions, so obviously, no one is just yet and he's trying to do his best to defend himself and there's really no defense for his inaction?

KING: Peter Licata, thank you for your time and your insights on this horrible story as we continue to learn new details. Peter, thank you.


Up next for us, from pariah to partner, new CNN reporting on what a senior Biden administration official calls a reset with Saudi Arabia.


KING: To new CNN reporting now on what a senior Biden administration official describes as a quote reset in U.S.-Saudi relations. You will remember candidate Joe Biden was harshly critical of the Saudi government and of the Trump administration for not holding the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the 2018 murder of a "Washington Post" journalist.


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.


KING: Now though, Biden administration officials say current world events justify a more nuanced approach. CNN's Natasha Bertrand is here. You're part of this fascinating reporting. The word reset. The President has insisted there's no direct plans, but based on this reporting, it appears they are likely to have the President traveled to Saudi Arabia to sit down with the Crown Prince on his turf and say you're a bad guy, but we can do business.

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's pretty much right, John. And this shift has been underway for months now. Two of the President's top national security officials, Amos Hochstein and Brett McGurk of the National Security Council had been going back and forth to Riyadh meeting with MBS for about six, seven months now. This is something that the administration recognizes they don't really have much of a choice in at this point. And that's because of they say Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The war has changed the world in a dramatic way.


And because of that they feel that there is no way that they can continue to shun the Saudi Arabia in the words of one official. They feel that they need Saudi Arabia on their side. Of course, the biggest reason for that is oil. And that is something that many Biden advisors have said openly. Saudi Arabia turns on the spigots if they increase oil production, given how concerned this administration is about the dramatic rise in oil and gas prices and of course, the dramatic rise in inflation, they feel that that could significantly impact global oil and energy markets by having the Saudi Arabians on their side on this.

And that means, unfortunately, moving past the murder of "The Washington Post" columnist Jamal Khashoggi. That means not necessarily demanding anything more from the Saudis in terms of justice and accountability.

KING: And so look, there's a long list of presidents who have regretted things they said as a candidate, maybe are not nuanced, black and white in the campaign, then you have the job. But as President, the Biden administration, also released decided to go public, he was so determined to make Saudi Arabia prior, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Intel report on the Khashoggi murder.

We assess that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill the Saudi journalist. So it's their straight up saying it is the de facto ruler the Crown Prince. In the reporting, Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee says this, President Biden's decision to meet MBS is horribly upsetting to me. And supporters of freedom and justice everywhere.

And other human rights activists view that even if the President says harsh words to him in a private meeting, that they view it as a green light, that you murdered once, the United States is back at the table. So what's to stop you from murdering again?

BERTRAND: That's exactly right. And the administration says, look, we released this report, as you mentioned, we sanction 30 certain Saudi individuals who we believed were complicit in this murder. But that's really kind of the extent of it. They say that they have sanctioned people since that report came out. But there is no evidence right now that they're prepared to do more. And that is because they recognize that MBS, Mohammed bin Salman is the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, and that the President has to effectively do business with him.

And that means and then Saudi officials have made very, very clear to the U.S. that they consider the Saudi -- the Khashoggi case closed. And that means in order to move forward with this relationship, then both sides need to come to the table and move past it.

KING: It's fascinating reporting. And clearly a fascinating month ahead, Natasha Bertrand, thanks so much for sharing that.

Up next, a double thump for your family budget, gas prices are up yet again. And a new government report out today says food and housing costs also still climbing at rates not seen in 40 years.



KING: Topping our Political Radar today, inflation rising at the fastest pace since 1981, that according to the new Consumer Price Index. The driving factor, you know this record gas prices. Today, a new record average $4.99 a gallon, that's the new national average wreaking havoc with summer plans for many American families. This afternoon in Los Angeles, President Biden will deliver remarks on inflation. The major drag of course, on your finances and on his political standing. CNN's Matt Egan takes us inside these new numbers. Matt?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Well, John, really no way to sugarcoat this, a rough day for the American economy, consumer prices rising at the fastest pace since Ronald Reagan was in the White House. This really comes down to four key areas food, fuel, shelter, and used cars. And three of the four of those things, you really can't avoid paying whatever the prices are. And so this means that paychecks are not going as far as they used to.

According to Moody's, the average household is paying $347 more per month because of high inflation that really adds up. And so no wonder that today we also learned that consumer sentiment plunged in June to a record low, lower than the COVID low, lower than the 2008 low, kind of amazing when you think about it. Also going lower today, the stock market, U.S. stocks down sharply for the second day in a row, that means 40(1)k plans, investment portfolios, college savings plans, all of them taking a hit.

And you know, the big fear on Wall Street is that the Federal Reserve is going to have to step up its war on inflation by raising interest rates even more aggressively. But the more the Fed does, the greater the risk that they accidentally cause a recession. So if you put it all together, cost of living is going up, stocks and consumer sentiment are going down. That is not a good recipe for the president or his party heading into the midterm elections.

KING: And not a good recipe for American families heading into the summer. Matt Egan, appreciate the live report.

Later today, the Biden administration will announce the CDC is going to lift the requirement for travelers to test negative for COVID before entering the United States that change will take effect midnight Sunday. White House official telling CNN, the CDC is lifting that restriction because it believes the science and the data support it. The CDC will reassess in 90 days.

Dreams of an Air Force One makeover had been dashed for former President Donald Trump. The Biden administration says the new Boeing jets will not feature the red white and blue paint scheme Trump ordered to replace the light blue that's been around since JFK was president. An official telling CNN, the dark colors who drive up maintenance and engineering costs.

This quick programming note what made John Dean decided to testify against Richard Nixon, the Watergate scandal heats up heats up when the CNN Original Series Watergate: Blueprint for a Scandal continues this Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.


Thanks for your time today. Hope to see you on Monday. Try to have a peaceful weekend. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.