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Cheney Directly Calls On Ex-Trump WH Counsel To Testify; Trump Rebuked Again By Georgia GOP Voters; TX Public Safety Chief: Uvalde Response An "Abject Failure". Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired June 22, 2022 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Nothing is guaranteed in this town anymore, but it certainly looks like this will get to the President's desk because of the congressional recess around July 4th. They say that won't happen until the end of July. We just had on the screen the 14 Republicans who voted to advance the gun safety measure. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania is retiring. He wasn't there for the vote. He said he would have voted yes. So you have 15, so 15, which gives you 65.

When they started these conversations, and they ended -- and when John Cornyn, the senior Republican got involved, there was a lot of talk that maybe we could get to 70 votes or 80 votes, maybe they would do something big and truly. But the NRA said no, the NRA said it was against this. Today, at the House leadership meeting the majority leader -- the Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, his whip Steve Scalise, not only did they say they're no, they're going to whip against it in the House. So you're not going to get that many House Republicans now.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. I mean, the NRA is still very popular. The gun lobby just in general and sort of the gun culture among Republican conservatives, and that's why you only going to get as many as you're going to get in the Senate. And then, you know, as much as this is great if it passes, people die, right? Kids died in their classrooms. You know, laying there in piles of blood, other students covering themselves with blood so they wouldn't get shot to death, people in Buffalo, 10 people in that grocery store. So, you know, it's a good thing that it happened. It's a damn shame that it has taken so much bloodshed to get to this moment.

KING: It is, Alex, just maybe a tiny modest but a bit of a shift in gun politics. If you look at those 14 senators, only two are on the ballot this year. Todd Young of Indiana, his primary he was unopposed, but his primary is already over. And it's Indiana, so he's going to be reelected to the Senate most likely. Lisa Murkowski still has her primary. Kelly Tshibaka is her opponent. Donald Trump's supports her. Kelly Tshibaka saying this when she visits Alaska, she pretends me and Murkowski to be a friend of the Second Amendment when she's in Washington. She sides with the elites and the insiders and votes against the interests of law-abiding Alaskans. We will have one Republican primary test of this issue. Will it teach us anything? Are things moving? ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, the wager behind this legislation on the part of gun control advocates, at least in part, you know, folks like Senator Chris Murphy, the Democrat of Connecticut has been his party's biggest leader on the issue is that if you do anything on gun control, and get Republicans to vote for it, and then they turn out to be fine at the ballot box, then it opens perhaps a wider path in the future. I think that's very much a glass more than half full view of the possible political implications of this.

But the fact that so many Republicans are willing to take this vote in the Senate, it recalls the vote on infrastructure, including the specific folks who are willing to cast their votes. It's a major shift from where the party was a couple months ago. And also, it's a lot of people who aren't actually on the ballot this year.

KING: It would be interesting if they would try to do this. Go small on something like DACA and the DREAMers, you could do that. Other issues, my bet is they will not. But here's a template for actually doing things and then making steps but never mind, this is Washington.


Ahead, the aide famous returning on Richard Nixon says the country now needs a Pat Cipollone moment, the January 6th Committee agrees. And he's trying to pressure the former White House counsel to testify and to do so at a public hearing.


KING: The January 6th Committee says it is time for a key Trump White House insider to talk and to talk publicly. We know from other witnesses and from reporting back at the time that then White House Counsel Pat Cipollone repeatedly objected to steps Donald Trump took or wanted to take in his effort to steal the 2020 election. But the Committee sees power in Cipollone speaking for himself and speaking at a public hearing.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Our committee is certain that Donald Trump does not want Mr. Cipollone to testify here. Indeed, our evidence shows that Mr. Cipollone and his office tried to do what was right. But we think the American people deserve to hear from Mr. Cipollone personally. He should appear before this Committee, and we are working to secure his testimony.


KING: Our great panel is back with us. Shan Wu, Liz Cheney didn't do that by accident, just closing statement of the hearing to publicly essentially try to pressure Pat Cipollone to come forward. His take, according to CNN reporting is that he's cooperated privately. And he does not want to testify publicly. A, what is the value of getting him, the guy who was right there in the West Wing? And B, what are the complications? He represents the building, the institution, not the president, but he does have a lot of privilege. SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: He has a lot of privilege. There's the crime fraud exception privilege, and since the Supreme Court decision of Nixon, it indicates that, that privilege can't withstand the need for it in a criminal proceeding. But I think really crucially, the January 6th panel here is really speaking to Merrick Garland. They are putting forth all of this evidence to eviscerate the potential intent question which Garland may be agonizing over, do we have enough to prove that Trump really has criminal intent?

And they're saying, look, we got your back, buddy. We're putting this out here. And also by putting it out first, the American people and this has controversy over why is DOJ going second, they usually go first. There is some reason to do that, which is if you get the public sentiment worked up first, it may make Garland feel like he's taking less heat for making this charging decision which could be attacked as political.

KING: Right. And so to that point of criminal intent, if Pat Cipollone were to say I told the President was illegal. I told the president no, I told the President not, directly from the White House Counsel, you get power. But listen, this takes a bit because we've heard so much from so many other witnesses.



JASON MILLER, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: Pat Cipollone thought the idea was natty and had at one point confronted Eastman, basically with the same sentiment.

MARC SHORT, FORMER PENCE CHIEF OF STAFF: Pat express the admiration for the Vice President's actions on the day of the sixth.

BILL BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Obviously, he had lost the election, and I hadn't said anything to him. And so Cipollone said, you know, I think it's time you come over here. And so I came over to meet with the President in the Oval Office.

JARED KUSHNER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you hear the White House Counsel's Office say that this plan to have alternate electors meet and cast votes for Donald Trump in states that he had lost was not legally sound?



KING: So you have a lot of it there. Other Trump essentially saying I was in the room and Pat Cipollone said, but the Committee wants him. They had Bill Barr. They had the campaign manager. They want the top guy. HENDERSON: Yes, I mean, in those moments when Bill Barr uses an expletive to describe what was going on, when you have Ivanka Trump there contradicting her father, those have been powerful moments. There have been a lot of other powerful moments in these hearings as well, and they want more. And Pat Cipollone would be one. You hear Liz Cheney, they're really sort of appealing to his ego, you know, saying you can sort of, you know, you did what was right, you stood up to Donald Trump. Let the American people hear what you did and the way you stood in the way of this plot.

KING: And so let's hear John Dean himself. John Dean was on our air. He's a CNN contributor. He obviously was the man who turned on Richard Nixon at the Watergate hearings. He said this.


JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I think we need a Pat Cipollone moment. I truly do. Pat Cipollone does not represent Donald Trump. He either, he represents the Office of the President. And I think he really has a duty to come forward to protect democracy. He sworn an oath to the Constitution, exercise it, Pat.


KING: Does his access, his proximity, does it make him that much more powerful a witness than the many other powerful witnesses we've heard from?

BURNS: Look, I think it clearly would make him a very legally powerful witness if the Justice Department were to proceed with an investigation and indictment and prosecution of the former president. I am personally pretty skeptical that a Pat Cipollone moment would have the same political impact than a John Dean moment had, all those years ago during Watergate. The country is just so fragmented. It's very clear at this point that there's an accumulation of very, very compelling and riveting evidence on the part of this Committee from so many witnesses that I'm just not sure that the White House Counsel is the one missing piece that would move a public opinion, but certainly having his cooperation for legal purposes is important than it couldn't hurt politically.

KING: Couldn't hurt. We'll watch and see how it plays out. His answer right now is I don't think so. But we will see.


Up next for us, some new primary lessons from Alabama to Georgia, are Republicans still loyal to Donald Trump?


KING: Several big primary and runoff elections last night. And in Alabama, Katie Britt, the big winner. She's likely the next senator from the state of Alabama. Richard Shelby is the incumbent. He's retiring. Mo Brooks, the congressman, initially had Donald Trump's endorsement in this race. Then Donald Trump pulled it. In the very end, Donald Trump endorsed Katie Britt. But mainly it was the support of Shelby in the Republican establishment propelling her to a big victory there. There's a Democratic candidate but Alabama, a very red state.

Let's move over here now to the state of Georgia. And Donald Trump lost again twice in the sense of this. Look at these Georgia, these are House Republican primary runoff elections in this the sixth district, Donald Trump endorsed Jake Evans, you see he was beaten almost two to one by Rich McCormick. That's one more defeat for Trump in Georgia. Then over here in the 10th district in the runoff, Donald Trump back Vernon Jones, nearly three to one. He lost a Republican Mike Collins. So Trump kind of won in Alabama but he lost twice again in Georgia. Remember in the governor's race, the Secretary of State's race and more in the primary, he lost as well. The governor says sure, Donald Trump's still popular but this is Georgia.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It appears that Donald Trump is doing really well in a lot of these primaries in different parts of the country. Not so much in Georgia. How come?

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): Well, I think here all politics is local. Look, President Trump had endorsed other candidates around the state and a lot of other races and that certainly his right to do that. I back Mike. I felt like he was the true conservative in the race.


KING: Kemp is being very clear, he doesn't want to pick a fight with Donald Trump. They are archenemies too. He doesn't want to pick the fight. But what is it about Georgia? I mean, Trump has a mixed record in many places. Georgia Republicans have just said, sorry, no.

BURNS: Look, Brian Kemp is in so many ways the model for not anti- Trump Republicans because he isn't one but sort of non-Trump Republicans. He's a conservative Republican who has enacted and campaigned on ideas that are very much in line with Trump and Trumpism. But Trump came after him because of his grievances about the 2020 election, went after a Brad Raffensperger the Secretary of State in that state. And the foreign president got whooped in both of those races. And there clearly is something of a hangover there that if you were going to run a one state experiment, to see can you kind of train Republican primary voters to think about their options while setting aside what Donald Trump himself is telling you, you ought to do, this looks a lot like that. And boy did it work for Republicans like Brian Kemp and like the folks who won --


KING: Yes, just let us so quickly at the margins, Brian Kemp for governor gets 74 percent, Trump's candidate David Perdue gets 22 percent, in the Secretary of State's race Trump candidate gets 33 percent, in the Attorney General race Trump candidate gets 26 percent. The question is, to your point does this carry over into other states? Don Bacon is a Nebraska Republican. He was never a Trump guy to begin with. But most Republicans don't like to talk about this anymore. Manu Raju got him today and say, hey, if it's 2024, and Donald Trump is a candidate in the Republican primary for President, does he get your vote?


REP. DON BACON (R-NE): Because the primary I will not be supporting him. I'll be looking for a better candidate. So I think we got to have the conservative message, right, or the policy. I think he had it. And we didn't have the respectful side of that, and the comportment and temperament. And that's, so that's why I'm going to look for, someone that fits that mold.


KING: Will there be more of that, especially after listening to all this damning testimony about how Trump conducted himself around January 6th? But more Republicans say, no, I'm moving on.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The more common answer that you get is, well, let's wait and see who's going to run. Nobody wants to answer that question right now. I mean, that is a much more honest, I think answer of I'm going to be looking for someone in the mold of Trump because again, that is a model that works. If you are conservative, if you don't fixate on going up against Donald Trump, if you're not fighting with him every day, and keeping that fight in the spotlight in your race, it can be effective. But certainly a lot of House Republicans, a lot of Senate Republicans may be tired of Trump, but they don't want to talk about it.

KING: And here's another voice. It's interesting. Amy Kramer came to our attention back in the Tea Party movement 2010, 2012. And now she runs a group called Women for America First. She's moved over sort of morphed into a Trumpy. But listen to what she says, Donald Trump is disconnected from the base. It's time for those of us in the movement to get back to basics, back to our first principles. We were here long before President Trump came along, and we're going to be here long afterward. Again, somebody who is in this for political strength and for fundraising reasons too. But that's a -- that's -- you're saying, see you later, Mr. President.

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean, listen, Republicans certainly are tired of Donald Trump. But these also recognize his power. He -- they recognize that the majority of Republican voters still have an emotional attachment to Donald Trump. They have an emotional attach to the way he governs and kind of govern in his manner and sort of his policies as well.

I think the big question going in 2024, Ron DeSantis, people like that. Do they feel like Donald Trump is sort of weak enough where he can mount a challenge to him in his mold? Somebody who I think in large part owes his standing to Donald Trump. Can he actually take him on? That's the big question. To beat the man, you know, to be the man, you got to beat the man. And I think that's the big question among Republican politicians who can actually be tough to him. KING: We're going to have a long time to talk about that question before we get to the place where we can get an answer but it's a good question.

Up next for us, live to Texas, a new report details stunning, simply stunning police failures in the Uvalde school massacre. The mayor says he's being kept in the dark and he's not happy about it.



MAYOR DON MCLAUGHLIN, UVALDE, TEXAS: No, I have a bit of power. I'm not going to lie to you and tell you I do.



KING: Uvalde's mayor is complaining, he is not in the loop as the state investigates the Robb Elementary School massacre. The Texas Public Safety chief detailed new issues with the police response yesterday calling it, a quote, abject failure. At heated town council meeting last night, Mayor Don McLaughlin lashed out.


MCLAUGHLIN: Right now I have to answer to a bunch of bureaucrats up there that haven't been doing their damn job. But that's why we're calling them out today. I didn't have any information because they wouldn't give me any information. So I'm just as frustrated, maybe not as frustrated as the families that have lost their loved ones. But it pisses me off that I can't give you answers or can't get you answers.


KING: CNN's Rosa Flores live for us in Uvalde. Rosa, what's going on here?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, there's so much frustration here in Uvalde. The mayor is upset because he says that he feels that he's left in the dark. The families of the lot -- of the victims here are very upset because they feel that they have been getting shifting narratives conflicting information, updated timelines. And all they want to know is one very simple question, and that is there was a shooter at this elementary school that entered and massacred 19 children and two teachers and they want to know why law enforcement did not go in there and keep their children safe.

Now there's a call for Chief Arredondo to step down from chief and also to step down from the city council because he's a newly elected city council member. Today during New Day, the father of Amerie Jo Garza was asked if Arredondo steps down, if that would be enough. Here's what he said. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANGEL GARZA, FATHER OF SCHOOL SHOOTING VICTIM AMERIE JO GARZA: I just don't get how you can hear these kids, you know, crying and asking for help. But you're scared to enter because your commander doesn't want you to go in. The kids were probably lying there. Just thinking where their parents were and we were right outside.



FLORES: And, John, there's really no words to follow that. There's so many parents here who feel the exact same way.

KING: There are no words. Rosa Flores, thank you.

Thank you for your time today. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.