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House January 6th Select Committee Holds Public Hearings During Prime Time; House January 6th Committee Reveals Comments Made by President Trump about Vice President Mike Pence being Threatened by Rioters; Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) Interviewed about Ongoing House January 6th Committee Hearings; Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn Interviewed about Listening to House January 6th Select Committee Hearing; AG Garland Faces Growing Pressure as January 6 Panel Lays Out Case. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired June 10, 2022 - 08:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Certified electoral votes, and when Pence defied him, there was this.


CROWD: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!

REP. LIZ CHENEY, (R-WY): And 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."


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: There was also gripping testimony from an injured Capitol police officer who described the scene as the pro Trump mob stormed the Capitol.


OFFICER CAROLINE EDWARDS, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding, they were throwing up, they were -- they had -- I mean, I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people's blood. I was catching people as they fell. I was -- it was carnage. It was chaos.


KEILAR: It was an emotional night for police officers like Harry Dunn and also Sandra Garza, fallen Officer Brian Sicknick's partner, brought to tears reliving the horrific day. Harry Dunn will be joining us just ahead.

The committee also used testimony from Trump's own attorney general, and his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump, to show that President Trump was told repeatedly that his claims of election fraud were a lie, or as Bill Barr put it, B.S., and he did not abbreviate. And committee Chair Bennie Thompson previewing more damning testimony, linking extremist groups with people in the Trump orbit.

BERMAN: Member of the January 6th committee, Democratic Congressman Pete Aguilar of California. Congressman, thank you so much for being with us. That's where I want to start right there, with what Chairman Bennie Thompson said to our Jake Tapper last night. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The door is barricaded. There are people flooding the hallways outside.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That described actual conversations between these extremist groups and anyone in Trump's orbit.


TAPPER: There will be?

THOMPSON: Yes. Obviously --


BERMAN: All right, just to be clear about what that said right there, because we're get something audio bleeds here, Jake asked Chairman Thompson flat out will there be evidence that there was communication from people within Trump's orbit and the people who attacked the Capitol, including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. Chairman Thompson said yes. Can you expand on that, Congressman?

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Well, I'll let the chairman speak for the committee and the mountain of evidence that we have received. But what I can say is that all of that is consistent with what we have found in the evidence that we have found time and time again, individuals near the president's orbit and close to him, not only told him he lost the election, but told him to help, to help those of us who were in the Capitol that day, and he ignored that advice.

All he had to do was to go to the press room to tweet, or to do something to help us at the Capitol that day, and he chose not to do anything. So we plan to talk about the evidence that we have in subsequent hearings. Each hearing will have a theme and a topic. And we will continue to pull away and piece this puzzle together to convey it to the American public how important it is.

BERMAN: There was evidence, though, that in that conversation where Jake was asking specifically about evidence of communication between the Trump orbit and the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. There will be evidence presented during these hearings of such communication?

AGUILAR: There will be a lot of evidence that is presented in general. And each topic, each hearing will have a topic. I don't want to get ahead of each hearing lead and each team lead that is carrying on that activity, but what I can tell you is that it will continue to be compelling, it will be very real, it will be raw, and we will piece together this puzzle. BERMAN: Congressman, one revelation from last night was the claim

that Scott Perry, your colleague, Congressman Scott Perry, sought a pardon from the White House, and that other members of Congress did the same. Again, can you explain? Give us more information about that claim.

AGUILAR: Well, the evidence that we will talk about includes people in and around the president's orbit, advisers, as well as members of Congress who sought presidential pardons in the last days of the Trump administration. So we have gathered that information, and we will share it as it's relevant to the information and to the January 6th committee work that we have. But clearly, individuals who were seeking pardons specifically after January 6th really begs the question what level of behavior did they engage in if they felt it was necessary to seek and receive a pardon.


BERMAN: Just to be clear, members of Congress seeking pardons for connections to January 6th?

AGUILAR: Members of Congress seeking pardons after January 6th, I will say that.

BERMAN: Well, look, seeking pardons for what, though? Seeking pardons for something that happened within the four years before, or seeking pardons for something that is directly connected to this investigation?

AGUILAR: It is very clear that some of my Republican colleagues felt, as well as members of the president's orbit and his former advisers and lawyers close to him in the campaign felt the pressure of what happened on January 6th. And they sought a pardon, they had conversations about pardons after January 6th.

BERMAN: There was some evidence presented last night, and I understand the second hearing will focus on this exclusively, which is that evidence that Donald Trump was told that he lost and was told that his claims of fraud did not bear merit, that there was no there there. Why is that important to make that case?

AGUILAR: It's important to talk about that in the context that this was a coordinated campaign. Once the president knew that he didn't win the campaign, and he knew he didn't win the campaign, we heard from his close advisers last evening when we played those clips, we will talk about that, and then we will talk about the efforts that they undertook to continue to perpetuate that fraud, including sending millions of emails to supporters asking them for financial contributions as well as fanning the "stop the steal" flame, and then eventually calling people to action in coming to the Capitol on January 6th.

BERMAN: Congresswoman Liz Cheney suggested that, on January 6th, President Trump did not do a number of things, including calling in the National Guard to help, but that Vice President Mike Pence did. Why is that distinction important? AGUILAR: Well, it's important to note that the vice president did his

job, not only in the certification of the election and carrying on his constitutional duties on January 6th, but it's important to note that he was acting presidential. I'm the vice chair of House Democratic caucus, I'm a partisan, but I can tell you our work is nonpartisan. And I will be very honest in saying that Vice President Pence did his job that day, including acting presidential, by talking to congressional leaders, checking on their health, calling members of the military. He did what he needed to do.

BERMAN: What do you want Attorney General Merrick Garland to see from these hearings, and do after them?

AGUILAR: Well, we hope a lot of people around D.C. as well as throughout this country will watch these hearings and understand them for the gravity that they are. To ensure that this doesn't happen again, we have to understand what truly happened.

Now, our job is to tell that story. But clearly the Department of Justice has a role here. And we tip our hat to the work that they have done in prosecuting hundreds of individuals, insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol. They have an amazing record in seeking to achieve justice by that means. But their work clearly isn't done.

And so we hope that they pay attention, that they watch. We look forward to unveiling the evidence that we've received and telling the story to the American public.

BERMAN: Congressman Pete Aguilar, thank you, as always, for speaking with us this morning.

KEILAR: On January 6th, Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn was attacked by rioters for hours, who also hurled racist insults at him. He became emotional at last night's hearings where he was accompanying the partners and the wives of officers who died responding to the Capitol attack. Harry Dunn is with us now. And, Harry, we could see you last night. You were getting very emotional. We saw Brian Sicknick's partner. Of course, she was emotional. What was this like being there and listening and seeing this hearing?

OFFICER HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: Good morning, thanks for having me on. I also want to acknowledge the widow of Howard Liebengood, Serena, and the widow of Jeffrey Smith, Erin, who were there also. And it was just really emotional, and just being there kind of reliving it. Whoever gets comfortable with watching assaults on your friends, some of the closest people to you, your co-workers, that should be uncomfortable for anybody. So it's always tough to watch.


KEILAR: Was there anything new that you saw or that you learned or that surprised you?

DUNN: So, when the hearing happened -- excuse me, when the facts started coming out about January 6th, everybody had an opinion about what happened. I think what yesterday started to do was confirm a lot of those opinions. And now it's no longer I thought this happened, but this is what happened. And I don't think it was anything new or surprising to me. It was just confirmation of what I thought had already -- I thought I already knew.

KEILAR: And how important is that to you, especially knowing that there are going to be even members of Congress who are not going to give credence to what, clearly, we see with our eyes?

DUNN: That's fair. You really can't worry about that type of stuff. I try my best to be a very matter of fact person. And you can't really get an argument about facts. So, that's on them. I just like to call it willful ignorance if people are still claiming other things happened instead of what you saw with your own eyes, or what you refuse to believe.

KEILAR: I thought it was really important that testimony that we heard from Officer Edwards who is the first officer to be injured, and to hear what it was like from her account. That did seem new and really illustrated how scary this situation was for police officers. Here's part of what she had to say.


OFFICER CAROLINE EDWARDS, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: I was called a lot of things on January 6th, 2021, and the days thereafter. I was called Nancy Pelosi's dog, called incompetent, called a hero and a villain. I was called a traitor to my country, my oath, and my Constitution. In actuality, I was none of those things. I was an American, standing face to face with other Americans, asking myself how many times, many, many times how we had gotten here.


KEILAR: You actually trained Officer Edwards, is that right, Harry?

DUNN: Yes, she was assigned to me when she graduated. And yes, I trained her. And she became like a little sister to me. And I was so proud of her. She did such an amazing job. I didn't expect anything less from her. I wasn't surprised by any of her testimony. We've talked several times since that day, so I was familiar with what she has already been through. But I was just extremely proud of her bravery to come forward, because speaking out like that, it isn't easy. And I'm really, really, really proud of her. I just -- I'm so proud of her. But I'm not surprised, because that's who she is.

KEILAR: Do you think this is going -- do you think this is going to make a difference? Do you think that there are some people who may look at this, and this could change their mind?

DUNN: Maybe not about political beliefs or anything. But maybe about the truth. There is really not a narrative. It's about what happened and what did not happen. And once you lay the facts out there, that's one thing the committee, I was proud about what the committee's work yesterday. There weren't any opinions out there given. It was literally matter of fact, this is what happened, and hear it in their own words.

So whether it changes somebody's mind, all that kind of does expose them, like I said, being willfully ignorant and acknowledging something. The facts are clear, the facts are indisputable about that day and the testimonies that were given. Unless they want to call the people liars, then I guess that's their only play from here. So --

KEILAR: Yes, and our eyes are not lying. We see it in the video as we saw so much of the video yesterday. Officer Dunn, thank you for being with us.

DUNN: Thank you. You have a good day, Brianna.

KEILAR: You too, Harry.

So what is next in these hearings? Could Merrick Garland ultimately pursue charges here? Will Mike Pence testify? Our coverage of the January 6th hearings continues.

BERMAN: And very shortly we are waiting the release of a key inflation report, what it could signal about the country's economic recovery.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The House Committee investigating the January 6th riot laid out its case against former President Trump during the first primetime hearing presenting details, and new evidence of how it all unfolded. And according to officials, Attorney General Merrick Garland had planned to tune in, or at least some of it.

Here with what comes next, co-author of "The Early 202" newsletter at "The Washington Post," Leigh Ann Caldwell, and CNN anchor and chief national affairs analyst, Kasie Hunt.

Thank you both so much for being with us.

Kasie, I know you watched this, one thing that struck you was that the focus on exactly who President Trump influenced, it was specifically, it seemed, on the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. Why is that important?

KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR & CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: That's right, John. And this really stood out to me because he committee was very careful to the point -- I mean, there is clearly information they have that we haven't learned yet. They identified stack one and stack two of these groups as they went in. They showed the planning in the parking garage.

It all was part of a very clear effort to make this about criminal conspiracy, which I know you already talked about this morning, that's a message for Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice, but I also think from a political perspective, it's important because it separates out the former President Donald Trump, these groups that they are showing that he activated, the plans that they made, they're separating that out from misled Trump supporters and general members of the American public.


They're essentially arguing those people were listening to leaders who were lying to them, and that's important just because of the extraordinarily divided nature of our country right now. They're essentially -- they're not necessarily absolving people who showed up on that day and were let in by this, but they are giving them a little bit of a break, and I think that's important in how in their ability to convince people who may be undecided about this, or may be tuning in because these hearings are in primetime, to make it seem as though, okay, just because you may have supported Donald Trump, you voted for him, doesn't necessarily mean that we're trying to implicate you.

I think that that's important in trying to make sure that they are able to reach the most number of people as possible in arguments that they're making.

BERMAN: And, Leigh Ann, I think one thing that came out last night is the committee is making a case against Donald Trump, that these hearings to an extent are the case against Donald Trump.

What then does that tell us about what they will do over the next several days? What exactly is their burden?

LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, THE EARLY 202 CO-AUTHOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yeah, that's absolutely right, John. So last night they did a really good job of laying out the overview of what the public is going to hear over the next subsequent hearings. And part of that, what they say, is, which they touched on last night, and especially the next hearing they say is going to focus on that Donald Trump knew that the election, that he lost the election.

He was told over and over again not only by some of his top campaign officials, but also his Attorney General Bill Barr and despite that, he continued to move forward and they have put him at the center of perhaps this conspiracy they are going to try to prove. Of course, the committee has a legislative purpose, they can try to legislate to ensure that something like this never happens again. But ultimately, they -- what they really want is they want there to be enough evidence for perhaps the Department of Justice to take up some charges against top Trump officials, maybe even the former president himself.

BERMAN: That's a really interesting way of framing it. Carrie Cordero, an attorney we had on, and the first hour of the show, Kasie, said not only is it we are making a case against Donald Trump, what Carrie said is say they prove, say they prove their case to their standards, the question becomes what then?

HUNT: It does. And the -- this is going to be a question for Merrick Garland at the Department of Justice, and, you know, that's important because right now it is pretty clear that the former President Donald Trump is probably most likely the Republican nominee in 2024, just sitting here and taking a candid look at the field. And he's said to be making preparations behind the scenes, thinking and talking about it, and he's obviously paying close attention to people who may try to run against him, like the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

So, what happens to him and what -- and how these cases are made, if they are made, is going to be very important. And, you know, I think this is where you have a significant challenge because while, yes, the Department of Justice is in theory supposed to be disconnected from our politics, I think the reality is we all know that it isn't. And we have seen some reluctance on the part of our institutions in the past to take on someone like Donald Trump because of his popularity, quite frankly.

So I think that what they decide to do based on this and whether, you know, Liz Cheney in particular, her voice in being the person that lays this out and says clearly this is about the country, which is the argument that she has been making, she's got to make a politically persuasive case in addition to one that lays it out for the Justice Department to give any credibility to something that they might undertake because the way it is perceived is incredibly important because, again, we are in such divided times.

And in many ways the country is a tinder box. And I think Merrick Garland is very clearly aware of that.

BERMAN: Yeah, no doubt.

And, Leigh Ann, just one presentation thing here, the amount of videotape deposition evidence, they heard from so many witnesses and some of them are household names, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Bill Barr, Jason Miller, again and again and again -- I'm wondering what you think of the impact of all this videotape testimony might be.

CALDWELL: I thought it was extremely impactful. The fact that they are not just describing what happened in these depositions and lawmakers reading transcripts, that we are now seeing in these people's own words, like you said, Ivanka Trump, Bill Barr, and I expect there is going to be a lot of others that we're going to see this deposition.

And so there is -- it is proof, you see it with your eyes rather than having to trust what the lawmakers say happened behind those closed doors.


BERMAN: It is worth noting, right now, the committee picking and choosing what parts of that video they present to the American public, but they have been making the claim they will release all of the depositions at some point to give it the full context.

Leigh Ann Caldwell, Kasie Hunt, thank you for being with us.

HUNT: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: The Uvalde school police chief defending his department's response to the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School, his interview, more from this first interview ahead.

And mortgage rates on the rise after taking a breather for a couple of weeks. That happening ahead of a key inflation report set to be released in just moments.


BERMAN: The Uvalde school's police chief, Pete Arredondo, is breaking his silence in an interview with "The Texas Tribune." Chief Arredondo says he never considered himself the scene's incident commander and didn't give any instructions that the police should not breach the building. But "The Tribune" reports Arredondo did give at least one instruction when he told officers to break windows to evacuate other classrooms.

We should note the "Texas Tribune" spoke with Arredondo by phone in written answers and statements provided by his attorney, George Hyde.

Also this morning, a new report by "The New York Times" reveals law enforcement at the scene.