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Inside Politics

1/6 Cmte Man Who Threatened Lawmakers Was On GOP Rep's Capitol Tour; Tomorrow: 1/6 Cmte Focuses On Pressure Campaign Against Pence; WH Lawyer To Eastman: Get A "Great F-Ing Criminal Defense Lawyer"; Bannon Threatens Former AG Barr: "We're Coming For Your Bro"; Biden To Oil Companies: You're Cashing In As Americans Pay Too Much; Fed Expected To Raise Rates By Biggest Amount In Nearly 3 Decades; Summers: "We're Likely To Have A Recession" In The Next Two Years; Trump-Backed Adam Laxalt Wins GOP Sen Primary In Nevada. Aired 12- 12:30p ET

Aired June 15, 2022 - 12:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Hello, and welcome to Inside Politics. I'm John King in Washington. Thank you for sharing your day with us. There is no escape and we're coming to take you out and pull you out by your hairs. That rage from a man outside the Capitol on insurrection day is captured in a video just posted by the January 6 committee. That same man was part of a January 5 Capitol tour led by a Republican congressman.

Plus, a big day in the inflation fight. The Federal Reserve weighs a dramatic hike in interest rates. The goal is to slow the economy and ease pressures driving up prices. The risk is stalling the economy and opening the door to recession. And primary lesson, South Carolina voters banisher Republican who voted to impeach Trump, while Nevada Republicans were award big lie proponents up and down the ballot.

We begin though with that dramatic new video and a crackling dispute now between the January 6 committee and a Republican member of Congress. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia is the Republican member in question. Here, you see a man taking photos of stairwells and photos of hallways, not your typical Capitol tour highlights.

The committee says, Congressman Loudermilk led this man and a few others on a tour of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021. The committee says that same man took this video outside the Capitol on January 6, shouting threats at Democratic lawmakers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're coming in like white on rice for Pelosi, Nadler, Schumer, even you AOC will come in and take you out.


KING: CNN's Ryan Nobles up on Capitol Hill live for us. Ryan, tell us more? RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. John, I think maybe each one of these individual pieces of evidence by itself may not be all that suspicious. But when you combine them all together, it is what has raised the concern of the January 6 select committee. And one of the reasons that they have repeatedly asked Congressman Barry Loudermilk to come before their panel and answer questions about what he knew about this group that he led on a tour on January 5.

Now, Loudermilk has repeatedly said that this was a completely innocent tour. This was a group of constituents that were in town, meeting with their member of Congress, and that they weren't there for what some Democratic members of Congress have just described as a reconnaissance tour.

And adding to all of the intrigue here and the contradictory information that we're receiving is that Capitol police reviewed this surveillance video as well. And at the behest of Republican members of Congress, put out a letter earlier this week saying that they believe the tours, at least this video of the tours under themselves, they did not deem to be suspicious.

Now, when you have though the combination of the video of the tours along with this video of the individual outside the Capitol on that day directing threats at members of Congress that is what has made the committee concerned. Now, at this point, the committee has interviewed this individual that were told behind closed doors. We don't know what came from that interview.

But it's important to point out, John, that he has not been accused of a crime. He's not been indicted of a crime, anything along those lines. And there is also no evidence that he ever actually made it into the Capitol on that day, still isn't enough for the committee to be concerned about it. And that's why they are looking for more answers to the questions that they have. John?

KING: And Ryan, the timing is interesting to the point you just made, the Capitol police released a letter saying they see nothing suspicious. The committee decides to post this video essentially saying, but we do.

NOBLES: Yes, that's exactly right. And you basically have two completely different interpretations of what they saw. Now, one of the things we don't know is whether or not the Capitol police had this secondary piece of video. The video of the individual out in front of the Capitol on January 6, making these threatening claims.

And it's also important to point out the pressure that was put on police chief Tom Manger, by Robbie Davis, the chairman of the Administration Committee, and Loudermilk, to say something about what they had viewed in this video that they deemed either suspicious or not suspicious.

So, the big question now, John, is how this all works into the broader investigation by the January 6 committee. You'll remember way back right after the insurrection, it was Mikie Sherrill, who suggested that these members of Congress were giving reconnaissance tours. This is the first hard evidence we have to that fact, and we still don't know very much about it in totality. John?

KING: Ryan Nobles live on the Hill. Come back, Ryan, as we learn more. With me in studio to share their reporting and their insights, CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson, CNN's MJ Lee, and Tia Mitchell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Tia, I want to start with you because you have covered this story as well. Congressman Loudermilk says there is no there-there that he had constituents in town. He did what members of Congress do. The committee clearly thinks different. What more you know?


TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL- CONSTITUTION: It's interesting so, Representative Loudermilk when he was first asked by Punchbowl News to react to the possible existence of video footage, basically dared the committee to release it. He said, if there is footage, they should go ahead and let us see it, because I've done nothing wrong. Now that the footage is out there, of course, his office says they are reviewing it. They said the committee has not come to them directly with any questions, but that they're basically trying it in the media. So, we don't have any reaction yet.

Now that the public is looking at these images that do appear really suspicious, because again, it doesn't look like what you would think normal tourists would do. And so, that raises a lot of questions about why did they spend so much time and what are essentially office buildings? What were they looking at? What were they photographing and why?

KING: Yes. I've been through that building dozens and dozens and dozens of times, those buildings, I don't think I've ever taken a picture of a stairwell. We'll see where that one goes. And we'll see where it goes as part of the committee continuing its hearings. They come back in tomorrow. The focus tomorrow will be on what the committee believes is just excessive pressure, and some members believe illegal pressure by the then president of the United States on his vice president.

The committee released what you'd call a teaser or trailer about this. This year, remember, John Eastman was a Trump lawyer who was pushing this theory that Mike Pence had the power, which he does not have that. Pushing the theory, Mike Pence had the power to essentially block the certification of the electoral college. John Eastman that attorney calls one of Trump's White House lawyers to discuss this plan. Listen?


ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE ATTORNEY: I said to him, are you out of your effing mind? I said, I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth for now on orderly transition. Eventually, you said orderly transition. I said, good, John. Now I'm going to give you the best free legal advice you're ever getting in your life. Get a great effing criminal defense lawyer, you're going to need it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: A dramatic and colorful, but also proof right there that a Trump White House lawyer was telling John Eastman, this is a crime.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. This is a crime, which, of course, is what the committee in some ways is looking at, saying that the Department of Justice would have to actually figure out if any of these are crimes. It also just gets to how many people around Trump were saying, this is not a good idea. This is not something that should happen. We're telling him things if he didn't believe them.

And until the very end, he was pushing crazy theories, pushing this idea that somehow his vice president had more power, and more say over the outcome of the election and actual voters. And then, of course, as the day unfolds on January 6, chance of having Mike Pence, and essentially Donald Trump sitting in the White House, letting it all unfold and really doing nothing to intervene.

KING: And so, tomorrow's hearing MJ, we'll focus on essentially the last effort, right, the last effort before the violence. If you've failed in court, or you failed in pressuring the governor of Georgia, the Secretary to Georgia, other state officials. And so here you are, the certification is about to happen in the pressuring Pence.

Among the witnesses, we don't really - they have not officially said who the witnesses are, but we do know on their list includes Marc Short, who was Mike Pence's chief of staff, Greg Jacob, who is one of his attorneys, and Judge Michael Luedecke, who's very well respected in conservative legal circles, who was advising the vice president's office. This is again evidence. The committee is trying to tell this story through the eyes of people who should have credibility with Trump voters and Republicans.

MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, it is impossible to overstate how central Mike Pence is to the committee's investigation, and everything that went on around January 6. We obviously have talked about a lot, how the former president built entirely a campaign basically to try to get his vice president at the time to not certify the results of the election. And we know that the former president's attempts to do that, ended up sort of stoking even more sort of the violence that was already out there among the Trump supporters, right.

And then when Mike Pence didn't do Trump's bidding, then things got obviously extremely out of control. And what we're going to see tomorrow, and whether Mike Pence likes this or not, and whether he ultimately ends up having any direct role in some of the proceedings, he is going to come out a central figure.

And we also know from some of the evidence that the committee has already collected, Mike Pence is central to that, including these John Eastman emails, we have troves of those emails that really gets to this campaign that Donald Trump built to get him to do his bidding. He did it.

KING: And one of the other expectations Congresswoman Cheney, the Republican vice chair of the committee, teach this at the earlier hearing, was the reaction testimony from people inside the White House of how Donald Trump reacted to the chance of hanging Mike Pence. And the people going in that he was enjoying it and saying maybe his supporters and he's called them his supporters, for all this talk about who was in the Capitol. Trump in according to that testimony, he called them his supporters maybe have a point.


MITCHELL: Yes. I think one of the things that the January 6 committee is trying to show is that, not only was Trump pushing election lies that he knew were no - were not feasible were false, that he was pressuring Mike Pence, but that he also was OK with the violence of that day. I think they're trying to build a case that not only did he not publicly try to quash - they quash the violence, but that privately he was encouraging of it, perhaps even pleased by it, because it showed in some way that people loyal to him were willing to go that length. I think that's the case they're trying to build.

KING: And so, you heard the rage of the man who was on the tour with Congress Loudermilk. We have seen the pictures. We all know what happened on that day. And we saw the video, new video presentation at the first hearing. Steve Bannon, who was part of Trump's orbit, who on his podcast and other his media silo, in the days from election day to January 6 was saying, come to Washington, it's a war.

Now Steve Bannon will say, I never encourage any violence. I just use militaristic words. Bill Barr, the former attorney general. His video testimony was shown in great detail the other day. He used to say, he told Donald Trump was over. He told Donald Trump this is wrong. He told Donald Trump this is bullshit. He told Donald Trump let it go. Steve Bannon, this is Steve Bannon talking about Bill Barr, looking forward.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Bill Barr, we're coming for you bro. You're sitting there lying about this. This is the type of crap that we're stopping. You're not just going to sit there and phone this in, throw in a couple of lines. We are going to deconstruct this, and we are going to rub your nose in it and then we're going to come after you legally.


KING: Now, he says legally at the end. So that will be Steve Bannon saying, I said come after you legally.

HENDERSON: But in this environment and we are talking about what we already know happened on January 6 on the kind of rage very much on display there. That kind of language is dangerous.

KING: They don't want to dial it back.

LEE: Yes. And in so many ways when the history books are written about January 6, and the committee's investigation, the story that we're going to see is going to be a story of complicity. The many, many people, whether it is Steve Bannon, whether it is a member of Congress, just having behaved in a way to stoke this kind of violence, knowing that things were probably going to get out of control at some point.

KING: It's their brand, they get what they believe, celebrity out of it if that's the right word and financially they benefit from it, and so they will not back away from it. Tomorrow at noon, join me and our team for special coverage to hear the new details on what happened inside the White House on January 6. That coverage tomorrow begins at noon eastern. Up next. The Biden economy. The president pressures oil companies to lower costs. And the Fed nears a decision likely to make a new car loan or a new mortgage cost you more.




KING: Today the president is taking aim at big oil and demanding it find ways to lower your pain at the pump. At a time of war, refinery profit margins well above normal being passed directly onto American families are not acceptable. The president writes in a new letter to seven oil companies. The latter is the latest Biden administration effort to fend off or at least ease inflation, which is crushing consumer confidence, and of course, crushing the president's political standing.


ELSA ROLDAN, NEVADA RESIDENT: It was my birthday, and I couldn't buy a purse. I mean, there's so many things.

SHAWN SPIVAK, RIDE SHARE DRIVER: I'm literally driving two and a half to three hours a day just to pay for the gas. So, instead driving eight-nine hours a day, I'm driving 12-13 hours a day.


KING: Get straight to CNN's Arlette Saenz. She's at the White House for us. Arlette, take us inside the strategy behind this letter.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. Well, President Biden is really trying to ramp up the pressure on these oil companies to boost their refining capacity, while also slamming them for those high profit margins that they've been seeing, saying that they are worsening the pain for Americans as they head to the gas pump each day.

Now this is really part of a pattern that we've seen recently from the president, trying to shift blame for these high prices, not just on Russia's war in Ukraine, but also on these big oil companies. The president delivered this message in a letter to seven CEOs of major oil companies, including ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell. And the Biden administration is also going to hold an emergency meeting with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. And the president told these companies that he wants them to explain the reductions in refining capacity that they've made and also offer some concrete ideas for how to lower prices.

Now, at least one energy trade group is already firing back, the head of the American Petroleum Institute, saying that they welcome these conversations with the administration, but that they quote, believe that it is the administration's misguided policy agenda shifting away from domestic and natural gas that is really compounding these inflationary pressures.

Now, this comes as the Biden administration is trying to show that they are having a handle on inflation or trying to take additional steps. But of course, there's little the administration can do at this moment. But right now, Biden trying to ramp up that pressure on those big oil companies.

KING: Arlette Saenz at the White House. Arlette, thank you. CNN's Matt Egan is here to join our conversation to that end that matters with us. I'll come back to the president's letter in a minute. The biggest thing today in the inflation fight will come with a little less than two hours from now, when the Fed makes an announcement. It is universally accepted the Fed will raise interest rates. The only question seems to be how much?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: That's right, John. You know, inflation is on fire and the Federal Reserve and Jerome Powell, they've been trying to put it out. But I think they realize now they need to call in for some reinforcements. And so that means taking a page out of the playbook of Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker with aggressive interest rate hikes to try to team inflation. And so that means higher borrowing costs right, on mortgages, credit cards, car loans.


The Fed was late to this inflation fight, right? First, they thought it was transitory then they decided to retire that term, finally raise interest rates earlier this year. And now the expectation is an even bigger interest rate hike, three quarters of a percentage point for the first time since 1994.

And I mean, I think the goal here is pretty straightforward, right? They want to cool off demand by raising borrowing costs, and that should slow things down. But it's not just going to be easy here, right? Because if they don't do enough, which is arguably what's been happening, then inflation could go hotter and hotter and get out of control. If they do too much, though they can end up slowing the economy right into a recession.

KING: And Larry Summers, the former Treasury Secretary talked about this last night on Don Lemon. Larry Summers months ago, to his credit, when Joe Biden was saying inflation is transitory, Larry Summers was saying no, it isn't. Larry Summers made that point last night. He said this is a very tough call for the Fed. He hopes they find the sweet spot because if they don't.


LARRY SUMMERS, FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY: I'd be very surprised if we didn't still have inflation at a meaningful rate a year from now. I think we are likely to have a recession. I think we have overheated the economy and gotten some bad luck. I think we are likely to have a recession sometime in the next two years.


KING: Joe Biden will be president those entire two years, Larry Summers talks about here. And we could have a debate until we all got blue in the face about, you know, how much of it is Biden's fault. Is these transitory there are global factors here, obviously, look around the world inflation is everywhere. But he's in charge at this moment, that's bleak.

LEE: That's right. And there's no question that in some big ways, this administration, including the president and some of his closest economic advisers got inflation wrong. We've heard that correction from some of his top officials, including the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen saying, yes, last year, when we were saying this is probably going to be temporary and transitory, we were wrong.

Now, to be fair, some things have happened, that have made things worse for the economy, including the war in Ukraine. And they've cited that. But I do think we are seeing a little bit, the administration tried to play a catch-up game, including these policies that are coming out of the Federal Reserve. And I think Larry Summers is right in that, it is an incredibly difficult thing to do to perfectly sort of thread that needle and try to hit that sweet spot.

KING: And so, you try to find the context, if you will. You're right. Things have happened. The war in Ukraine, COVID lockdowns in China, have also impacted the economy as well. But consumers care about what they see when they fill up the car, or when they go to the grocery store. Today, a new report showing that consumer spending dropped last month. That's a huge issue if it continues because consumers drive the American economy. Why are people spending less? Well, listen?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does that done to your savings?

JOYCA SILLA, Retiree: Is gone. It's depleted. No save. That's it.

CYNTHIA TILFORD, RETIREE: We've gone through our retirement savings more quickly than we had anticipated.

DARRINA CATER, MOTHER: I can tell from having the same budget that I had before all of this, I would get less. It seemed like the bags would get smaller and smaller every time.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KING: It's no matter where you look, no matter what people do for a living, they'll pretty much almost no matter where they are in the income spectrum, unless they're in the ultra-high-income spectrum. This hurts, in some cases, it hurts in very punishing ways.

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean, you can see it in every way your retirement savings being depleted, not being able to get enough gas to go back and forth to work, and then having to cut back on other expenses. You know, to put it in sort of a stark political context, those people are the voters who will go to the polls in November and cast judgment on this administration, on Republicans, on Democrats and figure out what the direction of the country should be going forward. And so far, if you're Democrats, you are very dreadful of an outcome in November, given what the current state of the economy in this sense of unease is among voters.

MITCHELL: And we see Republicans zeroing in on that. They don't want to talk about January 6. They definitely don't want to talk about surveillance video tours at the Capitol. But what they do want to talk about is the economy, the inflation, and they continue to put it on the backs of Democrats and President Joe Biden, because they think that's the message that make put voters in the side of Republicans when it comes time for the general election.

KING: A lot of pressure on the president again. We'll get the Fed decision a little bit later. We look for that. Up next for us, though primary election lessons, openly defined Donald Trump is a losing message with Republican voters. And a GOP win in Texas is a warning to Democrats who are banking on Latino support.




KING: We're now almost halfway through the primary season in this midterm election year. 24 states have now held their primaries. Last night, several states and some important lessons. Let's begin out in Nevada with its Senate Republican primary Donald Trump endorsed Adam Laxalt, excuse me. He's a big election denier and he won quite convincingly. 56 percent to 34 percent for army veteran, political newcomer Sam Brown.

This is a Senate race in the fall that could determine control the United States Senate. Republicans hope to pick this up from a Democratic incumbent. We'll see how that one plays out. So, Trump's success there if you will. Let's move now to House Republican primaries.

Over here in South Carolina, it was a mixed verdict for the former president. First, to this race here, Nancy Mace one renomination. She's an incumbent Republican congresswoman. Donald Trump wanted her booted. He wanted Republican voters to boot her, and he endorsed Katie Arrington