Return to Transcripts main page
The Capitol Insurrection, One Year Later; Children Caught in Middle as Cities Close Schools Amid COVID Surge. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired January 06, 2022 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Thursday, January 6. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.
We are live this morning from Capitol Hill for our special coverage of the January 6th anniversary. One year ago today, the world watched madness and destruction descend on the steps of the Capitol right behind us. Democracy was under siege, and it unfolded before our eyes.
We watched an attempted insurrection. The mob, incited by the former president and his allies. The weaponized attempt to overturn the 2020 election in favor of Donald Trump, and it failed.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And then inside the Capitol, an even more harrowing picture. There were sickening attacks on dozens of officers. One was nearly crushed in the rush to storm the building.
For three hours -- more than three hours -- former President Trump refusing to call off the violent crowd that left law enforcement beaten and bruised.
And on the House floor, lawmakers reigned. Lawmakers ran. They were cowering in fear of their lives. Many to this day are still living with that trauma.
And amid the mayhem, Secret Service agents swiftly escorted then Vice President Mike Pence out of the Senate chamber, rioters calling for him to be hanged. Trump defending them, not his vice president.
And the shameful sight of a man photographed carrying a Confederate flag inside the Capitol, something Confederate soldiers weren't able to do during the Civil War. These are the stunning images that left a stain on America.
BERMAN: Today, 700 people have been arrested, hundreds more still at large, including whoever planted the pipe bombs outside the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee. And several others face years of prosecution.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, who's facing immense pressure from some Democrats, vowed to keep following leads.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The actions we have taken thus far will not be our last. The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: This morning the country remains deeply divided over the significance of this anniversary today. Republicans, they continue to push the big lie. Trump supporters still question what happened, despite countless debunked conspiracy theories.
KEILAR: And in three hours, you're actually going to see the president here on Capitol Hill. We'll see the vice president, Kamala Harris, marking this first anniversary with a speech, with Biden telling Americans that it is Donald Trump -- he's going to single him out -- that carries the -- the person who carries singular responsibility, as we are told he will say, for the assault on the Capitol.
CNN's Alex Marquardt is with us now.
Alex, it's hard to believe that it's been a year. I know you were outside of the Capitol, watching all of this go down as it happened on that fateful day.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I was. Good morning, John and Brianna.
We were right here on the western side of the Capitol. This is where the insurrection started. When those rioters burst through those police lines, those police barricades.
It has been one year since those shameful scenes as people started to climb the walls here. Remember, this is where the inauguration of Joe Biden was due to take place in just two weeks' time. So everything here had been set up for that.
And many of those rioters had walked here from that rally being held by the former president not too far away, near the White House, where he told his supporters, We will walk to the Capitol, he said, to take back our country.
A quick warning to our viewers that this package contains some graphic language.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): For weeks, President Donald Trump hyped the rally on January 6th. "Be there," he tweeted. "Will be wild!"
That day, his family and allies whipped up the crowd.
ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: Have some backbone. Show some fight.
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: Let's have trial by combat! MARQUARDT: Then, Trump proceeded to call out his own vice president.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us. And if he doesn't, that will be a sad day for our country.
MARQUARDT: He lied about the election and urged his followers to march on the Capitol.
TRUMP: And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore.
MARQUARDT: A year on from the January insurrection, we've learned much more about how the day unfolded, who the players were, how they organized, communicated and attacked the Capitol.
More video has come out revealing how dangerous it truly was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA!
MARQUARDT: As Trump spoke on the Ellipse, the first clashes between protesters and police, while Vice President Mike Pence made clear he would follow the law, and Congress started to certify the Electoral College vote.
It wasn't long before the scene quickly unraveled.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have been told by Capitol Police that the Capitol is in lockdown.
MARQUARDT: Pence was rushed off the Senate floor. Certification was halted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Protestors are in the building.
MARQUARDT (via phone): I can see at least half a dozen protesters scaling, literally climbing the walls of the Capitol to get up to where their fellow protesters are.
(voice-over): Rioters smashed windows, broke down doors and rushed into the hallways.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!
MARQUARDT: Officer Eugene Goodman led the mob away from the Senate chamber, where Pence was located, as they shouted his name. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Treason! Treason! Treason!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Treason! Treason! Treason!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Treason! Treason! Treason!
MARQUARDT: Lawmakers like Senator Mitt Romney ran from the advancing crowd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where the fuck are they?
MARQUARDT: Others inside the House chamber took cover, the doors barricaded. Police officers' guns drawn.
The day's first fatality came when insurrectionists tried to break through the Speaker's lobby. Rioter Ashli Babbitt was shot by an officer and died from her wounds.
Outside, our CNN team was moving to the north side of the Capitol when we were attacked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fuck CNN. Go away, mother fucker! Boo. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go, go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fuck you!
MARQUARDT: We tried to get out as quickly as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you with?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's more of us than you. There's more of us than you.
MARQUARDT: We were physically unharmed. Others not as lucky.
When rioters poured into a tunnel blocked by police, they sprayed officers with pepper spray before dragging out D.C. Police Officer Michael Fanone, Tasing him and beating him with a flagpole.
MICHAEL FANONE, CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: They were screaming out, "Kill him with his own gun." I just remember yelling out that I have kids.
MARQUARDT: Officer Daniel Hodges was pinned down in the crush of bodies, wedged in a doorway, his mouth bleeding.
DANIEL HODGES, CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: There was a guy ripping my mask off. And he was able to rip away my baton, beat me with it. And he was practically foaming at the mouth.
MARQUARDT: We now know that, as the rampage spiraled out of control, Trump sat for hours, watching it all on TV, before issuing a tepid message to his followers.
TRUMP: Go home. We love you. You're very special. But go home and go home in peace.
MARQUARDT (on camera): A curfew will go into effect in around an hour's time. There is no indication right now that these protestors have any inclination of going anywhere. There's no indication that they had heard the message from the president to go home.
(voice-over): They weren't done yet, descending on a press area, destroying equipment, and talking about killing journalists.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're making a list. Put all those names down. We start hunting them down one by one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Traitors get (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
MARQUARDT: With night falling and a curfew approaching, reinforcements finally arrived to flush out the rioters.
(on camera): Wolf, we are back on the western side of the Capitol. What you can hear there is a flashbang, presumably from this police force that has just moved in.
Wolf, what you're looking at now is Metropolitan Police from Washington, D.C., who just before this 6 p.m. curfew have moved in here to push out the rioters. They have been shouting, move back, at this crowd of hundreds, if not more, Trump supporters on the western side of the Capitol building.
(voice-over): Many felt victorious, their message heard. Several dozen were arrested, but hundreds more slipped into the night, away from the police, a relatively quiet end to one of the most dramatic and dark days in American history.
MARQUARDT: In the days following the insurrection, the FBI would launch what would become the largest investigation in the bureau's history. To date, according to the attorney general, more than 725 people have been arrested and charged for the insurrection.
One man has been given a sentence of five years, more than five years, for throwing a fire extinguisher at the police. That's the longest sentence so far.
And John, the Department of Justice is not done yet. They believe there are hundreds more people out there who need to be found, who need to be charged and brought to justice -- John.
BERMAN: Alex Marquardt, thank you for telling the story this morning. And just thank you for being there one year ago, living through all of that, witnessing history under extraordinary circumstances. So thank you to you and your team.
MARQUARDT: Thanks, John.
BERMAN: Joining us now, two people who were inside the Capitol during the insurrection one year ago today: Democratic Congresswoman Annie Kuster of New Hampshire and Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan.
And thank you so much for being here with me. And I have to say, you don't mind my saying, it was really interesting to watch that piece from Alex with you here. The whole time that was airing you were saying, Oh, God, oh, God.
REP. ANNIE KUSTER (D-NH): I haven't seen that footage. We were -- I didn't know how they finally cleared the Capitol.
But Dan and I were in the Gallery. We were among the last members of Congress to be evacuated from the building. And what I've learned since January 6th is that the insurrectionists, the rioters were literally in the hallway that I had to cross to get to an elevator to get to safety.
And you look at the -- just the vehemence. What would they have done? They were 40 or 50 feet away from myself and three other members of Congress. Were they going to tear us limb from limb or bear spray us or kidnap us? So it's very difficult, watching the footage.
BERMAN: You were in a gas mask at one point.
KUSTER: Yes. Yes. Absolutely. We had to wear gas masks, because when they told us that the rioters were coming toward the chamber, they were clearly coming to try to attack us personally as members of Congress. And they said that tear gas had been used.
They were in the Rotunda, not far from where we were, and that with he needed to put the gas masks on because of the tear gas.
BERMAN: And Congressman, you've been wonderfully open about your mental health and well-being since this happened one year ago. And you said to me one of the things that's been hard is watching all the footage of those and the leadup to the day.
REP. DAN KILDEE (D-MI): It's really tough. This was a traumatic event for us personally, as victims of this attack. But for the country generally, this was an unprecedented attempt on our Capitol.
For a lot of us who were trapped in the Gallery, it wasn't until many hours and days later that we could see the fullness of the violence that was being perpetrated.
And as Annie said, watching how viciously this mob went after armed officers of the law, it re-triggered for all of us exactly what kind of danger we were in. If they had gotten to us, Annie and I wouldn't be sitting here today.
KUSTER: We wouldn't be here today. It's not just us personally, but it's our democracy. If -- if members of Congress had been killed that night, we could not have gone back to the chamber to vote on the certification of the president of the United States.
BERMAN: Well, I have to tell you, President Biden is going to be speaking from the Capitol, which is just behind us, in a few hours. And it's not that common that a president goes and speaks inside Statuary Hall in the Capitol.
And one of the things he's going to say is this. Let me read this to you. He goes, "Are we going to be a nation where we allow partisan election officials to overturn the legally-expressed will of the people?" He's going to ask that. And "We're at a crossroads," he's going to say.
Here's the thing. There are 163 Republicans running for state offices, for offices that do control the outcome of the elections; 163 who have bought into the big lie. That's according to "The Washington Post."
BERMAN: So the president is asking this question: Are we going to be a nation that allows this to happen?
KILDEE: We can't.
BERMAN: Isn't the answer yes?
KILDEE: We can't. Here's the -- here's the reality that we face, is that the obvious violence of this attack can be seen in video.
But we have people who are more sophisticated who want to do violence to our Constitution, to the rule of law, to the principles that our country is founded upon. They've become more sophisticated.
Here's the problem. The very same Republican lawmakers that are now trying to minimize the attack on the Capitol, who voted to overturn an election, even after we were under attack by people whose -- whose sole effort was to try to stop the peaceful transfer of power. They are now coddling and accommodating these people who also want to turn back the clock on voting rights, turn back the clock on these principles that we have fought for for so long.
They put their names on a list with Orval Faubus, with George Wallace. This is Jim Crow reincarnate. And we have to say that, and we have to make it clear and not allow them to say this is a peaceful way to address these issues. They're doing violence through our Constitution when they do this.
KUSTER: And every citizen has a role in this. Today we are witnesses. We were victims of the attack. We're survivors. Our democracy prevailed that night.
We came back to the chamber. There was glass everywhere. There was criminal tape, the yellow police tape around. It was a crime scene. But we voted.
And we left here at 3:30 in the morning. And when I came on this show a year ago at 5:30 a.m., the lead-in was the election has been certified. Joe Biden is the lawfully elected president. But every citizen needs to remain vigilant about that now.
BERMAN: It didn't work. One year ago it didn't work. And I don't want to be Debbie Downer. But can you sit here one year from that moment and say it's less likely to happen again?
KILDEE: We're worse off than we were, in many ways, than a year ago. And it's because, with each passing day, we have more and more of our colleagues who try to pretend this did not happen.
You know, in the -- in the few hours that followed that attack, it felt as if maybe the fever would break. In fact, naively, I thought that, at long last, this attack would put an end to this dangerous lie that is the precondition to the attack.
Unfortunately, we find ourselves a year later not in better -- not in better shape but, in many ways, at greater risk, because the sophistication of this attack on our democracy has increased. And they're doing it in state legislatures. They're doing it in county clerk's offices.
And we have to make sure that we don't allow this one event to sort of stand on its own. It's of a piece of an effort to undo things, principles that we have held true for 200 and more years.
KUSTER: And your reporters are so important. Journalism. The First Amendment, getting the truth out. I know in my constituency, it's the misinformation that's driving this attack on our democracy that's ongoing.
BERMAN: Congresswoman Annie Kuster, Congressman Dan Kildee, I appreciate you being with us. I know you were going to hold a lunch for the Capitol Police and the law enforcement who helped keep you safe one year ago.
KUSTER: To finally thank them for saving our lives and saving our democracy.
BERMAN: It's a wonderful thing. It's nice to see you here today.
KUSTER: Good to be with you.
BERMAN: Good luck going forward.
KUSTER: Thanks so much. Thanks for being with us.
BERMAN: And tonight, Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper, join them for an unprecedented gathering inside the Capitol with the police, the lawmakers and the leaders. Tune in tonight to "Live from the Capitol: January 6th, One year," at 8 Eastern.
Up next, back to the drawing board. Parents around the country frustrated with the difficulty of children returning to school, if they're lucky enough to be going to school in person. We'll speak with one father on the burdens he faces.
Plus, the No. 1 men's tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic, butting heads with the folks from Down Under. Why Australia just denied him entry into the country. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KEILAR: Students in Washington, D.C., returning to school this morning. My kids are very excited about that.
Some of them, at least, because there are some decisions being made based on last-minute testing. But the district here shifting one school to virtual learning after reviewing the results of those COVID tests that were required for students and staff to return to school today.
D.C. public school officials report that as of 8 p.m. last night, after 3,600 tests were submitted, 1,900 students, nearly 600 staff members were reported having positive COVID tests. So of course, they will not be at school today.
Joining us now is John Settles. He is the father of twin high school sophomores. He is the president of the Parent-Teacher Organization at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School here in Washington, D.C.
John, thank you so much for being with us this morning.
I wonder if we could just kind of start big picture here. Because I know that a lot of parents have been sort of frustrated. There's so much last-minute stuff going on when it comes to testing. But what are you feeling in your household? What are you hearing from other family members -- or from other parents, I should say?
JOHN SETTLES, PRESIDENT, PTO AT BENJAMIN BANNEKER ACADEMIC HIGH SCHOOL: So you know, in our household, we are obviously feeling the uncertainty of the situation.
You know, we have a child who is very anxious to get back to school and her friends and has been, you know, suffering under the isolation and obviously was hopeful that she would be back in school this morning.
Whereas there's other parents, you know, that obviously I have spoken with as the PTO president who were not only concerned about the safety of their kids, but we have, obviously, parents who are essential workers, those who are hourly workers, who are feeling the impact of, you know, kids being home and the ability -- inability to go to work or having to give up hours to work, and the impact that it's having on them.
We're hearing from a lot of parents who have single kids, who -- I mean, one child at home, who, in isolation by themselves, are suffering socially and emotionally, and are really trying to figure out how to support their child while they work and do all the other things that you have to do as a parent.
KEILAR: And I think underpinning all of this, John, is just how -- how tough this time has been on kids. I mean, especially with kids your -- the age of your kids, sophomores in high school. This has been a really tough time as we balance going back to school, isn't it?
SETTLES: Yes, absolutely. You know, I think for kids, for parents, you know, it's been an -- it's taken an emotional toll, you know. Because one, you have the fear of the disease, and the pandemic and worrying about whether you're going to catch it.
But then you also have the lack of normalcy, which I think is very important for young people. And they are just trying to have as a normal life as possible in this very, you know, period of upheaval.
And so I think it's really critical that, while we keep them safe and protect them as much as possible, we can give kids both confidence and certainty.
Look, I know this is -- I'm hearing some of the frustration from parents, as well. There's a lot of last-minute stuff going on. It's really tricky to plan.
The good news is that it's based around testing results that are pretty recent. So we're going to see how the morning plays out, John. Really appreciate you being with us.
SETTLES: Thank you for having me.
KEILAR: Coming up, a harsher, cold place. How January 6th changed Democrats who are still struggling with the aftermath of the attack. We have some new CNN reporting, next.
BERMAN: A judge sentenced these two Capitol rioters, sent them behind bars. Why she compared them to characters from the movie "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure."
BERMAN: So it wasn't "Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure." That was a federal judge, referencing a big move from the 1990s.
KEILAR: Questionable movie? Was it not --
BERMAN: Actually, '89. Eighty-nine.
KEILAR: Late '80s.
BERMAN: Keanu Reeves.
KEILAR: On the cusp there.
BERMAN: It was about two goofy teens before -- she was talking, the judge was talking about it before sentencing two more Capitol rioters to jail time.
They entered the Capitol together a year ago today during the insurrection. The two friends bragged about it over text messages. And one even claimed he smoked pot in the building. The judge said the pair knew the magnitude of what they were doing.
She sentenced both to 30 days in jail.
So as we've been reporting, today does mark the one-year anniversary of the attack on the Capitol. And while the House Select Committee investigates the attempted coup, it's not an easy undertaking, with multiple players, from rioters to people behind the planning, intelligence failures, and dismantling the big lie. They face many hurdles before the Justice Department even gets involved.