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House Panel Lays Out Case in Prime-Time Hearing; Democratic Senator Leading Gun Talks: We're Not Far Away from Deal; NYT: Uvalde Police Knew of Injuries, But Still Waited to Confront Gunman. Aired 6- 6:30a ET

Aired June 10, 2022 - 06:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Friday, June 10. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.


And this morning, it seems clear what the January 6th Committee is trying to do: to make the case that Donald Trump was responsible for the attack on the U.S. Capitol, that he was the central player in trying to overturn the election, and that they have the evidence to prove it.

Over the next few weeks, we will see how they meet the high bar they have set for themselves.

During the primetime hearing, they presented never-before-seen video of the violence as rioters breached the Capitol, and there was testimony from a U.S. Capitol Police officer who suffered a traumatic brain injury during the attack.

Republican Liz Cheney presented the case that Trump's election lies inspired the insurrectionists, alleging Trump had a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the election. And she highlighted the former president's actions and inactions as the riot unfolded.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): You will hear testimony that, quote, "the president did not really want to put anything out calling off the riot or asking his supporters to leave."

You will hear that President Trump was yelling and, quote, "really angry" at advisers who told him he needed to be doing something more.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: We also heard testimony from Trump's attorney general, Bill Barr, who says he told the president there was no evidence the election was stolen and that his claims were "B.S." He did not abbreviate there.

We also saw Ivanka Trump, from her testimony, telling the committee that she respected Barr, and she believed him. And after the hearing, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson revealing to CNN what's to come in the hearings ahead.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Are there going to be witnesses that describe actual conversations between these extremist groups and anyone in Trump's orbit?



KEILAR: Pamela Brown with us now to recap this hearing. It was remarkable in many ways.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR AND SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It really was. It was remarkable. It was historic.

And this first hearing, Brianna, really aimed to tell a story to the American people of the former president's role in the deadly insurrection through never-before-seen video and testimony, using words from Donald Trump's own attorney general and family to make the case that he was told repeatedly his claims of election fraud were a lie, the election fraud claims leading up to the insurrection.

Yet, he repeated them, repeated those lies, spurring the mob to descend on the U.S. Capitol building on January 6.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: D.S. (ph) 21 priority. We just had protestors, Peace Circle, breach the line. We need back-up.

BROWN (voice-over): Chilling new aerial footage showing the moment protesters breached the Capitol grounds on January 6.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is now ostensibly a riot.

BROWN (voice-over): The new video part of the debut primetime hearing of the Select Committee investigating the January 6th Capitol attack.

THOMPSON: Donald Trump, the president of the United States, spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down the Capitol and subvert American democracy.

BROWN (voice-over): The focus immediately turning to the role of the former president in those crucial hours when a mob descended on the Capitol.

CHENEY: President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.

BROWN (voice-over): Committee Vice Chair Republican Representative Liz Cheney referencing then President Trump's alleged seven-point plan to overturn the 2020 election, which a committee source said included possibly replacing the acting attorney general and instructing state officials to create false electors.




BROWN (voice-over): Aware of the rioters' chants to hang Mike Pence, the president responded with this sentiment, quote, "Maybe our supporters have the right idea." Mike Pence, quote, "deserves it."

BROWN (voice-over): Testimony also revealed that it was Pence who called joint chiefs of staff chairman General Mark Milley, demanding that the National Guard defend the Capitol. Milley had further testified that the president's chief of staff called him to say that they needed to dispel the narrative that the president was not taking action.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF (via phone): We need to establish the narrative that -- you know, that the president is still in charge and that things are steady or stable or that sort of thing. I immediately interpreted that as politics, politics, politics, red flag for me personally, no action. But I remember it distinctly.

BROWN (voice-over): Previously recorded testimony from former Attorney General Bill Barr, disputing the president's claims of election fraud, was played.

BARR: I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president was bullshit.

BROWN (voice-over): That was enough to convince the president's daughter and former adviser, Ivanka Trump.

I. TRUMP: I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he was saying.

BROWN (voice-over): The committee says the president had been told by at least four close aides that he had lost reelection. Testimony played reveals that at least one individual associated with the campaign even told him he was likely to lose the election.


JASON MILLER, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: At some point in the conversation, Matt Oczkowski, who was the lead data person, was brought on, and I remember he delivered to the president in pretty blunt terms that he was going to lose.

BROWN (voice-over): The committee played a huge emphasis on the role of two extremist groups, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.








BROWN (voice-over): Both groups were visibly present at the Capitol on January 6 and were some of the first to break into the Capitol building.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am not allowed to say what's going to happen today, because everyone is just going to have to watch for themselves, but it's going to happen.

BROWN (voice-over): Never-before-seen footage from inside Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office shows the moment everyone fled the scene.

A GOP source with direct knowledge says McCarthy's staff was scared that day, and Cheney stated that McCarthy was calling Trump's allies and family members to try to persuade the president to intervene.

Now McCarthy, along with several other GOP members of Congress, have refused to comply with requests to testify before the committee.

REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): He's patently embarrassing himself. If he were truly a leader within the House, he would want to get to the truth and the facts, which is where he started, but somewhere, he went off the rails on that.

BROWN (voice-over): The committee also claims that multiple Republican lawmakers, including Representative Scott Perry, were advocating for pardons in the final weeks of the administration.

The committee also heard live testimony from documentarian Nick Quested and Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who were both on the ground.

Many Capitol officers were in attendance, watching on as one of their own testified about the extensive injuries she sustained as one of the first officers on the scene.

OFFICER CAROLINE EDWARDS, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: What I saw was just a war scene. I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people's blood.


BROWN (on camera): A spokesman for former President Donald Trump slammed the January 6 Committee hearing as a "production, not a legislative hearing" in a tweet, suggesting the public hearings won't hold eyeballs ahead of the November midterms.

And of course, Brianna, the second one will be held Monday morning.

KEILAR: And we'll be watching that. Will other people be watching that? Who will be watching that? It's so important.

Pamela, thank you for that report.

BERMAN: All right. Joining me now, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin; CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp; and CNN political commentator and host of the "You Decide" podcast, Errol Louis.

Jeffrey, let me start with you. What did we see last night?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: I saw a lot of evidence. You know, what I was concerned about as a citizen was, is this just going to be a political forum to attack Donald Trump? We didn't see that.

We saw a lot of concrete evidence about what went on in this period. Most especially, the thing that really struck [SIC] with -- stuck with me was evidence that Donald Trump and everyone around him knew that he lost.

So this was not a good-faith expedition on the part of the former president to find the votes that were actually cast. It was an attempt to overturn an election that he lost, and that's a huge important distinction, you know, whether this was in good faith or not.

And I think they made the beginning of a very powerful case that this was not in good faith, that this was a knowing attempt to overturn a decided election.

BERMAN: Errol.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. In fact, piece by piece, they were making a lot of news. There were a lot of things that we'd suspected, that we had a little bit of reporting on. But without putting a spotlight on it, the committee really brought forward a lot of things that we did not know. Members of Congress asking for pardons. I mean, you know, like that's a clear indicator that somebody thought something was wrong, that perhaps a crime or other wrongdoing had been committed and, again, that they knew it, that they knew that there was a problem here, all the way from the beginning.

Also very struck by General Milley, sort of confirming something, again, we'd suspected. We'd heard things. We'd seen some reporting, but saying absolutely, the president did not contact the military and tell them to squash this -- this insurrection. Really devastating information.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Ditto, ditto. I'll just say, you know, we all watched January 6th in real time, and then we watched the congressional video that they had sort of a mash-up of moments.

This video was striking, because a lot of it was CC footage from the street and the Capitol itself. So it really put you in the Capitol.

And you watched this mob descend upon the Capitol from that building. You felt like you were inside. So it really made the threat of violence palpable. This was not peaceful. This was not political protest. These were not very fine people.


TOOBIN: And there was one moment in the video that I will always remember, which was, you know, as the crowd is searching for -- is surging forward, one rioter is sitting there looking at his phone, and he's reading a tweet --

CUPP: Yes.

TOOBIN: -- that Donald Trump has just made.

CUPP: In real time.

TOOBIN: In real time, encouraging the rioters.

BERMAN: And that matters because?

TOOBIN: And that matters because it shows that Trump personally was encouraging the violence that day. Now, he may say, I didn't mean to encourage violence by my tweet, but, you know, it is hard to imagine more concrete evidence of how Trump was fomenting this rebellion by -- other than this piece of video.

BERMAN: Let's just play that.

TOOBIN: You have it?

BERMAN: We do have that so people can see. Someone with a megaphone reading a tweet, and then you can hear the chants there. Do we have that?






BERMAN: What happened before -- we didn't show it there -- was that person reading the tweet from Donald Trump about Mike Pence.

And, again, Errol, when you look at that, it matters because why? Particularly as this committee has made clear, that they are now making a case against Donald Trump.

LOUIS: Absolutely. Look, it matters, because the president and some of his supporters have made this case that, well, it got out of control. You know, he spoke. He said that he thought that there was a problem with the election. And then the protesters got out of control.

This makes clear that he was in direct contact with them, that they were acting at his behest. There are over 800 people now who are facing various forms of legal consequences for what they did on that day.

And for a lot of them -- and we heard some of them in testimony last night -- they said we thought we were doing what the president told us to do. They said it directly. We have footage of it sort of being an act of connecting those dots.

And so, you know, there's kind of no escape for the president when it comes -- the former president, when it comes to whether or not he was really in control of the situation.

CUPP: And also, just another 30,000-foot view, you know, we talk about right-wing extremism. We talk about a rise in domestic terrorism. People like Tucker Carlson say it doesn't exist. You can think of it maybe as a lone wolf or some fringe outfit.

We saw hundreds, maybe thousands of right-wing extremists, some of whom for sure domestic terrorists. That was terrorism in some cases, descending upon the Capitol with the intention of breaking democracy, violently if necessary. One guy said, I would die and lay down my life for this.

One woman yelling, Drag Nancy Pelosi out.

For what purpose? What were you going to do to her?

And so to know that all of these people were there, animated by hate, racism, conspiracy theories. And the former president intentionally lied to them. That's why they were there, because of a lie he kept telling. It's just chilling and indefensible.

BERMAN: Jeffrey, what do you think the committee promised to do last night? If you look at this maybe as an opening statement. Now this wasn't a court case.


BERMAN: But if you look at it as an opening statement, what did they tell us they were going to deliver over the next two weeks?

TOOBIN: I would say two things is the main -- is the main goal here.

One is showing that the president and everyone around him knew that he lost. That this was not an attempt to find the true result of the election. This was an attempt to overturn a result that they all knew had taken place.

And second, that the president and the people around him encouraged the violence. And that -- that's going to be -- that we saw less proof of.

But I think the president's responsibility for the violence is going to be the biggest challenge so far. I thought they made a promising start, but they made a more promising start in proving that the president and his people knew that -- knew that he lost.

BERMAN: Jeffrey, Errol, S.E., thank you all so much.

So coming up, more on what January 6th Committee Chair Bennie Thompson revealed to CNN. Again, he said there was a link between the extremists, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, and Donald Trump's orbit.




TAPPER: Are there going to be witnesses that describe actual conversations between these extremist groups and anyone in Trump's orbit?


TAPPER: There will be?

THOMPSON: Yes. Obviously, you will have to go through the hearings, but we have a number of witnesses who have come forward that people have not talked to before that will document a lot of what was going on in the Trump orbit while all of this was occurring.


KEILAR: New revelations from January 6th Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson about what is yet to be exposed at upcoming hearings.

Joining us now to discuss this, CNN legal analyst, Carrie Cordero; and former Republican presidential candidate and former Illinois congressman, Joe Walsh.

What did that answer from the chairman make you think? What questions did it also raise for you?

JOE WALSH, FORMER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE/FORMER ILLINOIS CONGRESSMAN: It made me hope, Brianna, that they can connect what these people did to Trump.

Look, what this committee is doing is telling the story, and it's a horrible story. And, Brianna, sometimes we need to pull back and think about why we're here, why the three of us are on this set, why we're even talking about this.

For the first time in American history in 2020, a president lost an election, refused to concede, refused to participate in the peaceful transfer of power, tried to overthrow that election then.

I mean, that's why we're here. It's a horrible story. This committee has to tell that story. I just don't know, Brianna, how many people are watching.


KEILAR: Well, that's a very good point. Will minds be changed, or is this just for history?

Those discussions that he's talking about that are going to be revealed, what do they need to look like? Who do they need to be between in order to draw a line directly between extremists and President Trump, in your mind?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, yes, it's clear from the hearing last night that the committee is trying to pin all of the violence that occurred, they're trying to make that connection between the violence and the attack on the Capitol, and the electoral strategy to overturn the election that Trump and his associates and his inner circle were clearly, clearly trying to do. We know that that was -- their strategy was to overturn the election.

And so to make those connections, what you need is you need either witness testimony, people who were actually in the room in the inner circle with the former president, who are connected to these far-right groups that have been already charged with seditious conspiracy, who were the ones who led the actual physical charge, broke the windows, led the effort to commit the violence.

If they're going to try to make those connections, they need witness testimony. They need documents like text messages. They need actual evidence.

Tweets from the former president that indicate that he -- he inspired the attack. That's not -- that would not be anything new, and that's a little bit of what they showed last night.

KEILAR: I know -- and you tweeted about this, Joe, about the pardons. This was something that I think a lot of us said, Wow, that's new.

When Liz Cheney revealed that Congressman Perry and then other Republican members of Congress, congressmen, she said, sought presidential pardons from the Trump White House following January 6 because of their -- whatever their involvement was in it.

What did you think about that as a former congressman?

WALSH: They knew they did wrong. Consciousness of guilt. These Republican congressmen, Brianna, knew that what they were doing for Donald Trump was wrong. And it's just -- it also reminded me last night that everybody around Trump kind of knew that this was all B.S. It was all bogus. He lost.

That was the other startling thing. And Perry and the rest of my former colleagues, I think they all knew that, as well, but they all went -- they all went along with it.

KEILAR: What were they seeking a pardon for specifically is something I would wonder. CORDERO: Well, I think folks who were involved in this effort were

seeking pardon from potential criminal culpability for trying to, potentially, overturn an election.

Or we don't know whether these -- First of all, we don't know who these individuals are, so we don't know whether they were involved in planning the violence.

But I mean, Brianna, coming out of last night, my big question is what the committee intends to get out of this process. Going into it, I thought that its goals were going to be to lay out the factual history, look at whether security things could change at the Capitol, look at whether they could make legislative action, they could pass laws in order to protect a future certification of election, so that a future corrupt president or corrupt leadership could not try to overturn the outcome of the actual election.

And what they actually are doing is looking at Trump himself. I mean, that's what I took away from last night.

And so the question is, are they going to make a criminal referral at the end of this for conspiracy to defraud the United States? Because that's the case that they were arguing last night.

KEILAR: And what recommendations might they make at the end of it, too? That's also the question, Joe.

WALSH: Well, if they don't and cannot make that case, Brianna, what is the political impact? And again, here we are. It's the summer of 2022, 17 months after an insurrection. It just seems so late, and sadly, I think so many people's minds in this country are already made up.

KEILAR: I know you think this is a tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it --

WALSH: I hope I'm wrong.

KEILAR: -- who should be there listening. I know that's what your concern is, Joe.

Carrie, thank you, guys, both for being with us. Really appreciate it.

BERMAN: This morning, Senate negotiators racing to finalize a deal on bipartisan gun safety legislation. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, whom we spoke with yesterday, expressed optimism, saying, We are not far away. But it's not clear when they will be able to nail down an agreement.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty live on Capitol Hill, with where things stand exactly this morning -- Sunlen.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John. Yes, the negotiators here on both sides say that they are very close to a deal, but there is, indeed, no deal on Capitol Hill yet.

Now, today, the top four negotiators will likely meet virtually, trying to work out the remaining differences and resolve those remaining differences.

One of the top negotiators says today is all about going over those very, very fine points that are left on the table.

And we know there have been lingering questions and concerns from Republicans about incentivizing the states to enact those so-called red state laws. So they will be certainly working through that point today.


And also working through this age group of 18- to 21-year-olds. And the questions on will they be able to access juvenile records before those people who want to obtain and purchase a semiautomatic weapon will be able to do so.

Now, today, certainly, will be a critical moment. There is a lot of confidence being projected from both sides of the aisle. And the question, of course, is will they be able to get this over the finish line?

They say they are in striking distance, so today will be critical. All week, they have said they've been driving to try to get to a deal by the end of the week; and that certainly still is the goal. But indications, John, could be that this could flip until next week.

BERMAN: There is still what appears to be an eagerness from both sides to work together and to get something done.

Sunlen Serfaty, please keep us posted. Thank you.

KEILAR: There are damning new revelations from "The New York Times" about the delayed response to the Uvalde, Texas, school massacre. New evidence reveals law enforcement officials on the scene were aware there were injured people trapped inside of those two classrooms but still waited over an hour to send in police.

CNN's Omar Jimenez live in Uvalde, Texas, with more. These revelations are -- I don't think they're anything other than devastating, Omar.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They really are. Bit by bit with new information that comes out, we learn more devastating details. And this latest one comes from a "New York Times" review of investigative documents and videos and specifically when they looked at the transcript of body camera video.

One law enforcement officer said, "People are going to ask why we're taking so long," which multiple overlapping investigations later remains the central question in this.

According to their review of the transcript, around that time, 12:30 p.m., is when they were looking to try and breach this school classroom door but didn't have a key. So they were trying to get a key to get into this classroom.

Well, "The Texas Tribune" spoke with the school's police chief, Pete Arredondo. And in -- of those moments, when they were trying to find a key, he told them that the only thing that was important to me at this time was to save as many teachers and children as possible.

My mind was to get there as fast as possible, eliminate any threats and protect the students and staff. He told "The Tribune" he wasn't aware of 911 calls, because he didn't have his radio, and no one was relaying that information to him.

His lawyer, though, told them that, even if he did have his radio, it would have been turned off, because they didn't want to make any noise in the hallway, and that officers were even speaking in whispers.

Now, according to "The Tribune," he did use his cellphone to call for a SWAT team, snipers, and to try and get tools to open this door.

But he never considered himself incident commander, he told "The Tribune." And that goes contrary to what we've heard from state officials.

He also talked about the door being jammed, which prevented them from getting in immediately.

I should mention, we've reached out to Arredondo, his lawyer and the school district on these details but haven't heard back.

KEILAR: Yes. As "The New York Times" points out, three children died at the hospital. A teacher died in an ambulance. So there are a lot of questions about whether they and maybe others would have survived if police had acted more quickly.

Omar, thank you so much for that, live for us from Uvalde.

Gas prices inching just 1 cent shy of $5 a gallon. So how high is it going to go? And what, if anything, can be done about this?

BERMAN: And investors bracing for the latest gauge on inflation. The monthly report due out shortly.