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Tomorrow: Two Ex-Trump Aides Headline Prime-Time Hearing; Secret Service Provides Only One Text Exchange To Jan 6 Committee; Wisconsin Speaker: Trump Called Me Last Week About 2020 Election; Trump Electors Targeted In GA Criminal Investigation; 47 House Republicans Vote To Codify Gay Marriage; Cruz: Obergefell "Ignored Two Centuries Of Our Nation's History"; 17 Members Of Congress Arrested At Abortion Protest; Biden Expected To Unveil New Steps To Tackle Climate Ross. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired July 20, 2022 - 12:00   ET



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Hello, and welcome to Inside Politics. I'm Abby Phillip in Washington in for John King. And out of thousands of documents, just a single text exchange. The Secret Service raises eyebrows with the January 6 committee.


REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): Nobody along the way stopped and thought, well, maybe we shouldn't do the migration of data and of the devices until we are able to fulfill these four requests from Congress.


PHILLIP: Plus, a House vote put same sex marriage one step closer to becoming federal law. And now Democrats must peel off 10 Republicans to send a sweeping civil rights bill to the president's desk.



SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): Looking at the bill and probably will.

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): If and when he brings a bill to the floor, you know, we'll take a hard look at it.


PHILLIP: And Democrat Tim Ryan turn Ohio blue again. We'll talk to him live in just a couple of minutes. But up first, new credibility questions for the Secret Service. The agency is alarming the January 6 panel by turning over just a single text message in response to a subpoena. And the committee tells CNN this morning that they did receive radio traffic and emails from the service. Tomorrow though, the panel returns to prime-time to focus on the 187 minutes of Donald Trump's inaction during the insurrection. But today, we have more evidence that the former president is still engaged in an active plot to subvert the 2020 election. Wisconsin assembly speaker telling a Milwaukee station that Donald Trump called him last week, pushing him to flip the outcome in his state.

So, let's go straight up to Capitol Hill, where CNN's Ryan Nobles is. So, Ryan, there's a lot of confusion about what is going on with the Secret Service. What do you know about that?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Abby, I think it's confusion on two fronts. First, there is whether or not these text messages ever existed, and why the Secret Service didn't take special care to make sure that they were preserved. And Secret Service has gone back and forth with a number of explanations. The most recent being that their agents don't conduct business via text. So there really wouldn't be that much relevant information in these texts, even if they existed to begin with.

That being said, the service so far has only handed over one text message. It doesn't really have that much information that would be helpful to the January 6 investigation. So then, there comes the second question, which members of the select committee are very concerned about? And that is, were these text messages deleted on purpose? Could there have been something that the Secret Service was covering up?

Now, there is no specific evidence of that quite yet, but it's clear that the January 6 select committee has a lot more questions for the Secret Service than they've gotten answers to up until this point. Now, Secret Service is complying with the subpoena that the January 6 select committee handed down to them. They have handed over thousands of documents, including, as you mentioned, radio traffic, emails and other things that the committee is now sifting through to determine whether or not, they will be useful in their investigation.

And it all leads up to tomorrow night's prim-etime hearing. The last scheduled hearing right now and the one that committee members have really been pointing to as perhaps the most alarming, and that is the 187 minutes that the Capitol was under siege. And what they've described as Donald Trump's dereliction of duty. We're expected to get new insight into exactly what was happening there.

Hear from witnesses that we have not heard from before, as the committee continues to lay out their case that, not only was Donald Trump responsible for bringing the rioters here, once they attacked the Capitol, he did not do enough to prevent the violence from continuing. So, Abby, hold that on the plate. As always, another busy week up here on Capitol Hill.

PHILLIP: Absolutely, a prime-time hearing should be pretty eye opening. Thank you, Ryan Nobles. And here with me in the studio to share their reporting and insights Tia Mitchell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jonathan Swan of Axios, and Politico's Sabrina Rodriguez. Warm welcome to Sabrina to the Inside Politics table. This January 6 committee issue with the Secret Service is honestly very perplexing to me. And it sounds like to a lot of people who know, the Secret Service, they were asked in early January to hold on to these documents. And then by the end of the month, they went ahead with a migration that ended up deleting them. Jonathan, I mean, do you think that there is anything nefarious going on here?

JONATHAN SWAN, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, AXIOS: Well, I don't want to say that because we don't have evidence that this was done maliciously. And until that time, I don't want to make a statement like that. There are big questions, though, about why we don't have these messages. If they do indeed exist, it's hard to believe that there are none that would exist.


PHILLIP: I think the idea that, even though you tell people not to text about work on their work phones, that they don't do it that doesn't seem believable to me, just for the record.

SWAN: So, we don't - there's a lot, we don't know. But one thing that we should bear in mind is that the Secret Service has said that they're going to allow their all-that personnel make them available to the committee. So, the committee can still bring back ostensibly anyway, these Secret Service members like Bobby Engel, who was in the beast with the president. Tony Ornato, who is a senior aide former agent, and asked them under oath, what happened. But if there was a contemporaneous text record of this, it appears that we've lost it.

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL- CONSTITUTION: And I think even like at the most benevolent reading of what happened, we're talking about a law enforcement agency, that at the very least, did not retain records as required, you know, under federal law, just regardless of whether there is a January 6 investigation. So, there are still, you know, it looks like some policy violations were made, even if there wasn't, you know, intent to, you know, mask what Secret Service agents knew about what happened that day.

PHILLIP: And listen to Zoe Lofgren, a member of the January 6 committee. They are really being very careful about talking about this, not going too far, but suggesting that there is more for them to find out about what happened.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN, (D-CA): In their letter, they gave no indication that they have secured the phones in question and done some forensic work with them. That's something we want to know, is obviously, this doesn't look good. And so, you know, coincidences can happen. But, you know, we really need to get to the bottom of this and get a lot more information than we have currently.


PHILLIP: What do you make of how, you know, they're telling this line here, for now, at least?

SABRINA RODRIGUEZ, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Yes. And I think we've seen, you know, even the administration. I mean, we saw Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas yesterday at the Aspen Security Forum, saying, you know, we're committed to cooperating fully, which, obviously, those are good signals to be getting from the administration and from getting from DHS specifically on this front.

But there are questions. I mean, I am not the most tech savvy person when we're talking about phones. But it's clear that the timeline here of that migration of data, they were instructing people to back-up your phones manually, and that wasn't happening. So, there are just questions, no matter what about why.

PHILLIP: Huge ones, but I want to turn over to what's going on with the former President Trump, calling the Wisconsin assembly speaker, just in the last week to once again push him to overturn the results of the 2020 election. This is really perplexing in some ways, but not if you know Trump, because he's done this before. He is called Mo Brooks, asking him to do the same thing. It's a pattern and it fits into the committee. Their major argument has been that Trump is an ongoing threat, and he seems to be doing everything in his power to prove them right.

SWAN: He's completely fixated on the 2020 election. He's been told numerous times by numerous advisors, that it's not in his own self- interest to remain fixated on the 2020 election, but nonetheless, he is. This call is another pattern, it's not out of the blue. It's something that he's been doing, ever since he lost the election.

The question becomes, well, this is where the difficulty comes in for any kind of prosecution is proving that Trump knew that he had actually lost the election and that this was done with his knowledge that it was wrong. What Trump's arguing is, I believe it's stolen and that's what his lawyers laid out in this very detailed 12-page letter. So, you get into the question of mindset, but there's no question about what he's doing. It's out there in the open. He's been doing it for 18 months.

PHILLIP: And over in Georgia. Meanwhile, the Georgia district attorney for Fulton County has basically said that all of these 16 Trump fake electors are now the targets of their investigation. That probe is continuing forward a pace, and it's posing a real potential legal threat to some of these people involved in this game.

MITCHELL: Right. And we know that other Trump insiders have been subpoenaed, you know, and we've got now two members of Congress that have also been subpoenaed. And so, DA Willis has made it clear that people who were very aligned with Trump's inner circle are now the target of the investigation. And she said, she is open to, you know, anyone up to former President Trump. She hasn't said, he definitely will. But she's clearly open to it and she's clearly looking at a wider conspiracy regarding the election.

PHILLIP: And it sounds like a judge has now ordered Giuliani to testify in this ongoing probe, which will be very interesting. But tune in later tomorrow for live special coverage of the January 6 hearings, 7pm Eastern time right here on CNN for more on all of this. And up next for us, Senate Democrats will get closer to 60 on a big civil rights' vote. A key Republican now says, probably to voting yes on codifying a right to same sex marriage as federal law, another promises a hard look. We'll have more on that. Up next.



PHILLIP: This morning on Capitol Hill, there are signs that the Senate could, could have some Republican support for a bill to codify gay marriage.


RAJU: Would you vote for that?

SEN. TILLIS: Looking at the bill and probably will.

SEN. THUNE: If and when he brings a bill to the floor, you know, we'll take a hard look at it.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (DNY): I want to bring this bill to the floor and we're working to get the necessary Senate Republican support to ensure it would pass.



PHILLIP: And yesterday in the House, 47 Republicans joined the white - with House Democrats to pass a bill that would add protections for gay marriage into federal law and that is lose members of GOP leadership, like Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and there is Congressman Tom Emmer, and also conference chair Liz Cheney - and even former Republican conference chair Liz Cheney and even Freedom Caucus chair Scott Perry joining with them to back this bill.

Our panel is back with us now to discuss. Would be incredibly significant if this were to happen. And there's no question that this is a reaction to the Supreme Court rolling back abortion rights. And a lot of Republicans, Republicans being the ones to say, same sex marriage should be next. The court should roll that back.

MITCHELL: Yes. And I think what, what the sign was from that House vote yesterday is that even Republicans, they were - they wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade. They are very opposed to abortion, but they think, you know, let's not go too far. And there are certain things that perhaps maybe too far could backfire on them, especially when it comes to marriage equality, because, again, if you start talking about same sex marriage, then you get to other types of marriage that used to not be legal in the United States.

So, I think it's telling that about a fourth of the Republicans in the House voted with Democrats on that measure. And now we are seeing a lot of Republicans are willing to do it in the Senate, it still is going to be a task for Schumer to find 10. But he's off to a better start than I think a lot of people with it.

SWAN: Yes. They're in the best. Republicans have the best political environment in a decade, this year, on every measure, and they're trying to nip in the bud, any threats to that landscape. And one of the key lines that Democrats have been using since the Supreme Court made that decision is, these other rights are coming next. And of course, Clarence Thomas cited the same sex marriage decision in his writing.

So, what they're trying to do now is neutralize that. They've gone it through the House, they're also reacting to public opinion, not just general public opinion, but public opinion within the Republican Party, that we now have a majority of Republican voters supporting the right to same sex marriage. So, there has been movement in the party. And I think that there's a decent chance they'll get this through the Senate.

PHILLIP: And to that point, I take a listen to Senator Rob Portman on this very issue. He is actually a co-sponsor of this bill. Listen to how he talks about it.


RAJU: Do you feel like that Republican views on this issue are changing?

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): I think that's obvious. When you look at the House vote and you look at just a shifting sentiment about this issue throughout the country. I think this is an issue that many Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, feel it's been resolved.


PHILLIP: That might be true, but there is no question that there is a divide among Republicans on this. You know, over 150 Republicans voted against it in the House. And then you have situations like this where Ted Cruz is saying that same sex marriage should not be codified with that Supreme Court ruling.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Obergefell, like Roe v. Wade ignored two centuries of our nation's history, marriage was always an issue that was left to the states. We saw states before Obergefell that we're moving. Some states were moving to allow gay marriage, other states were moving to allow civil partnerships. They were different standards that the states were adopting.


PHILLIP: It's not a settled issue when it comes to Republicans. And that's why this is more than a scare tactic on the Democrats part.

RODRIGUEZ: Yes. It's definitely not, and I mean, we're seeing Republicans one point to add to the fact that they're toeing the line on this, as even Republicans that opposed yesterday's vote, for example, the talking points that have been circulating are not about them being against same sex marriage.

They've been about Democrats are fear mongering and they're trying to delegitimize the core. They're saying it's unnecessary, because this already was settled in the Supreme Court. So, they're not attacking same sex marriage. They want it to be the broader issue about Democrats and how they're handling the Supreme Court and trying to radicalize the core, their messaging around it.

PHILLIP: Yes. Meanwhile, Democrats seem to really be leaning into these cultural issues, at least for the moment on abortion. There was a protest yesterday, near the Hill where 17 members of Congress were arrested. You see AOC there. There was Cori Bush, Rashida Tlaib. They're leaning into this, including some of the political theater here that you're seeing on the screen.

MITCHELL: Yes. And I think, again, it is the issue that Democrats feel is the winning one for them. There are a lot of things working against Democrats going into the midterms, the economy, inflation, gas prices, Joe Biden's low approval ratings, but winning for the Democrats is the fact that the Supreme Court overturned rights to abortion.


And we know that even at creating federal protections polls pretty well, it's pretty popular that even Republican voters think women should have a right to choose, and especially because a lot of the new state limitations on abortion take away even, you know, ability for doctors in cases of rape or incest or the health of a mother. So, I think Democrats see a winner here, you know, other rights issue.

PHILLIP: On the issue of the health of the mother, I mean, the laws do technically have exceptions for that. But what we've seen over the last few weeks is the way in which the trickledown effects of these restrictions, have a chilling effect on how doctors are able to operate. But more with a panel coming up, ahead for us, congressman in Ohio, Senate nominee Tim Ryan will join us and weighing in on the Biden agenda, and on his strategy for Democrats running in red America.



PHILLIP: This afternoon President Biden will lay out new steps to tackle the climate crisis in a speech at a former coal plant in Massachusetts. He's expected to announce new funding for communities that are battling extreme heat, amounting to what White House officials described as the first in a series of executive actions since climate legislation was stalled.

One official tells CNN that the president is taking these initiatives, "since Congress is not going to act on this emergency." And with me now is Ohio Congressman, Tim Ryan, he is also the state's Democratic nominee for Senate. Congressman Ryan, thanks for being with us this morning.

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Thanks for having me.

PHILLIP: So, Senator Joe Manchin, over in the Senate did torpedo this climate initiative, which would have paired climate investments with tax increases on the wealthy. Do you agree with that decision to hit the brakes?

RYAN: No, I think we need to be going all in on some of these initiatives, not just for the obvious reasons of dealing with climate and making sure that we have a planet that we can steward to the next generation in a healthy way. But also, so that we can outcompete China in these industries of the future, like building electric vehicles, building electric trucks, you know, we've got a burgeoning and significant solar industry in places like Toledo, Ohio, we need to dominate those industries of the future.

But I think as we talk about what the president is doing. I think it's important that we really think about having something that is sustainable. And I think we have to start looking at things like natural gas to be a bridge that we could maybe get some Democrat and Republican consensus on, you know, China's putting on one coal fired power plant a week.

Europe's talking about going back to coal. I think it's a much better world, much safer world and a significant step. If we could increase natural gas production here to drive down costs for consumers in America, and then export it to Europe from eastern Ohio to Eastern Europe. And to China, we will have significant reductions, if we can do something like that. And it would be sustainable over different administrations and different Republican and administrations in power.

PHILLIP: And Senator Manchin cited inflation largely as the reason why he thought that Democrats need to hold off on this for now, do you buy that as a reason to maybe go slowly on legislation like this? And also, I mean, you've talked about inflation in the Senate race. You know, how big of a concern that it is for voters?

RYAN: People are getting crushed. I mean, there's no question, there's no denying how difficult these past few months have been for working class people all over this country. The gas prices, the food prices, the supply chain lock up, the whole nine yards, it's been brutal. That's why I've been calling for a tax cut. I think if we want to do one thing in this Congress right here in this Capitol in the next day or two or week, it's the past a significant working-class tax cut for workers and small businesses to absorb the shock.

We're seeing gas prices start to come down, eventually the supply chains will get unlocked. But right now, we need we need a tax. I don't think inflation is really an issue when it comes to investing into the jobs of the future.

PHILLIP: So, turning to the politics of it all. You raised more than $9 million last quarter. That is quadruple what your Republican opponent JD Vance brought in. That's good. More money in a campaign war chest is good. But do you think that it will be enough to help you compensate for a really tough political environment? And frankly, a president of your party whose approval rating is in the 30s or talking about 38 percent in the latest CNN poll.

RYAN: We are absolutely going to win this race. JD Vance is lucky he made it through the primary. He had one donor Peter Thiel, who gave him $15 million, and Donald Trump endorsed them in the primary. And he barely - he didn't even get a third of the vote. He only got 32 percent. Contrast that with the fact that I have 250,000 donors, low dollar under 100 bucks powered by the people.

And when Ohioans hear that they say, here is JD Vance moved here from California, has a Silicon Valley billionaire that wrote him a $15 million check to get them through the primary. What the hell, does he have in common with anybody in Ohio? And the answer is nothing. And Ohioans know that which is why we're up in the polls and why we're going to continue to win in addition to he can't raise any money because people, you know, no, he's not a good candidate and he's not from the state. So, I don't want to give him money.

PHILLIP: I do have to ask you, you have an ad out, where you're touting the support from a bunch of conservative television hosts including, Tucker Carlson and people like Maria Bartiromo. People in your party say, are threats to democracy, why, why is that?