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Today, Trump Campaign Chief to Testify in Surprise Move; Gun Violence Erupts at Restaurant, Night Club, House Party on Road; Senate's Gun Safety Deal, What's In It, What's Out, What's Next. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired June 13, 2022 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: To be public about how they feel.
And it was an interesting survey that was done in 2019 by a Tufts researcher, Dr. Michael Siegel. And what he found is that gun owners, they want what everybody wants. They want some pretty basic measures to be put in place. 86 percent of gun owners support background checks for concealed carry permits, 76 percent support requiring a permit to carry a handgun.
So, again, my plea to gun owners is to become the American heroes of this story and save more wonderful young people, like Sierra. Brianna?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: We talk about futures stolen by gun violence. I don't think you expect for it to hit so close to home, but it's so prevalent that it does. And Sierra is someone who had such a bright future ahead of her, Elizabeth, and we appreciate you writing about her and sharing that with us. Thank you.
COHEN: Thank you. Thanks, Brianna.
KEILAR: New Day continues right now.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world, it is Monday, June 13th.
A man on the inside set to testify in this morning's second January 6th hearing in a surprise move by the committee. Donald Trump's 2020 campaign manager, Bill Stepien, will appear under subpoena, so it's a question just how much of a cooperative witness he will be.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: What does Stepien know and what is he willing to tell the committee and the country on live television? The focus today, the committee's case that Trump's lies about election fraud helped fuel the mob that attacked the Capitol. The committee says that Trump knew the allegations were bogus.
Joining me now, Elie Honig, CNN Senior Legal Analyst and a former federal and state prosecutor. And, Elie, when we saw this witness list come out, one name jumped off, Bill Stepien, Trump's former campaign manager. What could he testify to?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, John, here is the thing, we don't know. This is going to be a surprise to see what he has to say. Bill Stepien is a very highly placed person. He was Trump's White House political director and then he became the campaign manager for Donald Trump.
Now, we do have a bit of a clue perhaps in the letter that the committee sent to Bill Stepien requesting his testimony. They wrote, quote, you then supervised the conversion of the Trump presidential campaign to an effort focused on Stop the Steal, that's the big lie, messaging and related fundraising.
So, we don't know exactly where he's going to go, it is going to be fascinating to see, John.
BERMAN: He's appearing under subpoena. What does that mean and perhaps what doesn't it mean?
HONIG: So, technically, a subpoena means he has to testify. However, we have seen throughout the January 6 proceedings, people receive subpoenas, casually blow them off with no consequence. So, there does appear to be some element of voluntariness here.
BERMAN: Now, he is going to be live here. What's to keep him if he wanted to curry favor with Donald Trump or Trump world from jumping up on the table and saying this whole committee is a big fraud?
HONIG: It's a great question. So, as a prosecutor, you would never put a witness, never mind potentially a key witness on the stand live in front of a jury or here in front of a television audience without knowing exactly what that person is going to say.
Now, if the person goes off the rails, you want to have some sort of transcript or prior deposition testimony that you can use to discipline them and to bring them back into the fold. So, watch for that dynamic when he testifies today.
BERMAN: Watch for video of Stepien or transcripts on what Stepien has already told the committee under oath.
BERMAN: All right. Who else is testifying today?
HONIG: Also alongside Stepien on the first panel today, we're going to hear from Chris Stirewalt. He is the former political editor at Fox News. He is the person who, on election night, first made the call correctly that Arizona had been won by Joe Biden. That caused the Trump campaign to flip out, they tried to pressure Fox News to take it back, they didn't.
Stirewalt has since become a noted critic of the big lie, saying, it took hold as a, quote, tragic consequence of the informational malnourishment so badly afflicting the nation. Then we're going to get into the second panel. We will hear from Ben Ginsberg, a person you and I both know, a noted Republican conservative election law attorney. He has represented people from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. He's also become a noted critic of the big lie.
He wrote this. This is really good. Proof of systematic fraud has become the Lochness Monster of the Republican Party. People have spent a lot of time looking for it but it doesn't exist.
We also will hear from Al Schmidt. Now, he's a Republican. He was a Philadelphia City commissioner with oversight of elections. Now, the Trump campaign really focused hard on the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the city of Philadelphia claiming there was all sorts of fraud there, but this Republican elected official stood strong, he said they were wrong about the 2020 election. They were wrong about the integrity of elections in Philadelphia. They are wrong about just so very much. You can almost hear the Rocky theme music when this guy talks.
Then we will hear from B. J. Pak.
He was the U.S. attorney, the top federal prosecutor for the northern district of Georgia, where Atlanta is. He resigned on January 4th under pressure from the White House to validate bogus these election fraud claims. He effused to do it, he resigned and he later said in Senate testimony, I think in the end, the Department of Justice, the people who uphold the law want out.
BERMAN: All right. Very quickly, Elie, talk to us about what the Justice Department lawyers watching this might need to see.
HONIG: Yes. So, DOJ, Merrick Garland, of course, also, let's remember, Fani Willis, the D.A. in Fulton County, prosecutors will looking for two things here, one two of things, either that Donald Trump knew that the election was actually not his and he was therefore committing fraud when he claimed that he had won or that he was what we call willfully blind, meaning he should have known but he sort of put his hands over his ears, buried his head in the sand.
And that's why we saw this testimony last week from Donald Trump's own people saying he was told over and over again by authoritative sources, by his own campaign people, by his data analytics people, you have lost, because I think they're trying to appeal to the prosecutors here showing either he knew or he should have known.
BERMAN: And that's why we're watching Bill Stepien, the campaign manager, so closely today. Elie Honig, great to have you, thank you very much.
HONIG: Thanks, John.
BERMAN: Thank you very much. Brianna? KEILAR: Joining us now, a member of the January 6 committee, Democratic Congresswoman Elaine Luria of Virginia. Congresswoman, thank you so much for being with us.
So, this is really the theme of this part of the hearing which is that Donald Trump knew or should have known. How many people are we going to hear from today who will either testify live or in a deposition that they told or witnessed Donald Trump being told that he had not won the election?
REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): Well, we will have witnesses in-person today who will testify to that and, you know, we have interviewed over 1,000 people. We have other witnesses, we will include recorded depositions and interviews that reiterate the fact that people closest to Trump, his advisers on the campaign side and his official White House offices that they knew and they talked about and they discussed the fact that, you know, you didn't win.
But, nonetheless, on January 4th, he went up and essentially told the nation, we won this, when there was really no -- no concrete proof and the votes were still being counted.
KEILAR: So, he was told over and over, does it matter if he didn't believe it? Does that matter when it comes to his culpability?
LURIA: I think it does matter. There is data when we look at elections. Anyone who has been involved in an election understands that what matters is the data and the numbers. And then if you don't agree with that or you have issues with some of the vote counts or maybe think there's disparities, you take it to the courts. He took it to the courts, 62 cases, 61 of those were determined to essentially not have any validity, the 62nd, it was mildly in favor of their argument, but it didn't affect the outcome, whatsoever.
So, you have results that's data. The courts can handle any disputes, 62 cases, unprecedented number, and they were all found to not really -- nothing impacted the outcome of the election
KEILAR: Are we going to hear about this internal campaign memo that came shortly after the election that showed the campaign knew the Dominion voting machine claims were false?
LURIA: We will definitely address the false claims about Dominion voting machines and go into some detail about that. So, the focus of today's hearing is really to go through the details of this idea that Trump won when he didn't. And we will go through all the elements of that with a series of five witnesses to talk in depth about that.
KEILAR: And was Trump told that? Are we going to learn that today?
LURIA: Trump was told that he did not win.
KEILAR: But the Dominion voting machines specifically?
LURIA: Specifically, yes. We will talk about that in depth.
KEILAR: Does the committee have proof of Donald Trump acknowledging that he knew the big lie was a lie?
LURIA: We have direct testimony, some of which we will hear today that people had conversations directly with the former president to tell him that he did not win and he was provided all of the information to show that, all of the data, the returns in a way that, you know, anyone who understands math would understand that he did not have the most votes and, therefore, he was not the winner.
KEILAR: I think it's clear he should have known, right, that he didn't win. Did he ever -- are there any conversations where he accepted that? Where he accepted that as fact, even as he still tried to overturn election results, as he still tried to hold on to power? Are we going to learn anything about him accepting that from someone, even as he pushed ahead?
LURIA: I think what we will hear will show that in the conversations he knew privately that he had lost, yet he decided to go out into the public and continue to say that he won and he's still doing that today. He's traveling around the country. He's having big rallies essentially telling the world that he won when the votes of the people were not in his favor.
He did not win.
KEILAR: Are you -- this committee, is this committee laying out a roadmap for Merrick Garland when it comes to charges that you would like to see him pursue or a case that you would like to see him pursue against Donald Trump.
LURIA: We are laying out a roadmap for the American people to understand all of the facts and I think the Justice Department is watching very closely. And like the chairman said, all of the information that the committee has collected will be shared with the Department of Justice in a way that they can evaluate it. And Judge Carter, in the case about the Eastman files, has clearly laid out that there is -- there are facts to show that a crime could have been committed. He laid out three specific laws that could have been violated, including essentially defrauding the American people, obstructing congressional proceeding.
And as we go through this, we will show how all of these actions of Trump and those people who surrounded them and what led up to the riot on January 6 were truly, in my mind, and I'm only speaking for myself, I think that they were truly criminal in nature.
KEILAR: Is there evidence of a direct link between Donald Trump and the planning, the actual planning of the January 6th attack?
LURIA: What we have uncovered is that -- and the chairman talked about this after the last hearing -- that the people who were planning this and, you know, we've started to show the story and we will elaborate more about how it was a deliberately planned attack. I mean, the Proud Boys, they went to the Capitol. They weren't there to see the speech at The Ellipse. They were there on scene and ready to accept the crowds of people that came in, that there was coordination, there were conversations, there were people, there were links. And we will go through all of this further into the hearings.
KEILAR: I do want to ask you one of the bombshell things we learned from the first hearing was when Congresswoman Cheney said that, in particular, one congressman but also other congressmen had sought presidential pardons from the Trump White House. What is the evidence of that?
LURIA: We will lay that out in future hearings. And we've been asked, like is there hard evidence? There is evidence. There are -- we have the receipts essentially to show that Congressman Perry and then others did explicitly request pardons from the Trump White House.
KEILAR: How many others?
LURIA: We will --
KEILAR: Okay. But you have hard evidence, it sounds like you're saying.
What are you expecting today from Bill Stepien? He is appearing under subpoena.
LURIA: He is. But a subpoena sometimes can be a formality. There is no indication that he will, in any way, be hostile to the committee's questioning. He is coming in to talk about the facts. He was the former president's campaign manager in 2020. So, he has direct knowledge of his conversations and he can talk about that, what conversations did he have, what did he say about the election results, what was the former president's reaction and then to contrast those conversations about the facts and election results with what Trump went up on the stage on January 4th and said, saying that he won when, in fact, there was nothing to indicate that and the vote was still being counted.
KEILAR: A big day ahead, and we appreciate you taking the time out to speak with us. Congresswoman Luria, thank you.
BERMAN: In Chicago this weekend, multiple shooting incidents left seven people dead, many more wounded at a restaurant, on a sidewalk, inside a driving car. And this weekend, thousands of Americans participated in the March For Our Lives rallies across the nation hoping to bring an end to violence.
Omar Jimenez joins us now from Chicago with news about this horrible weekend there, Omar.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. Well, we typically see upticks in gun violence when we get into the summer months, but this year, we've been on a pace that has been part of a larger uptick over the past three years when it comes to mass shootings.
Now, here in Chicago, to be specific murders and shootings are actually down, but that's compared to what was a record year last year and Chicago is far from the only city trying to get a handle on gun violence.
JIMENEZ (voice over): A violent weekend sweeping Chicago where at least 21 people were shot, seven of them killed. Victims were driving in cars, walking on the sidewalk, eating in a restaurant and even sitting on their front porch when shooters opened fire.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin says his constituents are frustrated more hasn't been done to curb gun violence.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): They are desperate and angry and they challenge all of us in elected office to, quote, do something, close quote.
JIMENEZ: In neighboring Indiana, a mass shooting at a nightclub in Gary left two dead and four injured over the weekend. Police were dispatched to the chaotic scene at Playo's Nightclub early Sunday morning. One person who lives near the club told CNN affiliate WLS she heard 30 to 50 gunshots.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a crowd that just started scurrying and then you heard shots. My biggest person was just making it out.
JIMENEZ: WLS reporting that the city is temporarily closing the club.
In Denver, police are searching for someone who shot six people, two fatally, at a house party early Sunday morning. And in Kentucky, five teenagers were shot Saturday night near a pedestrian bridge in Louisville next to Waterfront Park, at least one is in critical condition.
MAJ. BRIAN KURIGER, LOUISVILLE METRO POLICE: This is a family area. I mean, we want it to stay a family area, but at this time, you know, we're seeing a lot of juveniles down here that are being unsupervised and all kinds of things are occurring
JIMENEZ: The Louisville Police Department is asking the public to help identify the suspect, releasing these photos they say are from the shooting.
And an apparent road rage incident in Amarillo, Texas, leaving an eight-year-old boy recovering from getting shot in the head. His father tells CNN the family was driving home from a fireworks show when he honked at a truck he says ran a red light. The driver slowed, got behind the father's car and allegedly fired one shot striking his son, Nico, and causing a hairline fracture to his skull.
The father followed the vehicle and crashed into it. Amarillo police say the truck's driver was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Just this year, there have been 266 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive. And over the weekend, thousands took to the streets nationwide for the March For Our Lives rallies, protesting gun violence. In Washington, D.C., thousands gathered imploring lawmakers to pass gun control measures.
DAVID HOGG, CO-FOUNDER, MARCH FOR OUR LIVES: No matter if you are a gun owner or a Republican or not a Republican, we all agree we must act to stop this. How much longer are we going to debate this?
JIMENEZ (on camera): Now, according to the national Gun Violence Archive, over the course of this year on top of large-scale mass shooting events, like Buffalo or Uvalde, the United States is on pace to either match or surpass the worst year on record for mass shootings since at least 2014. John?
BERMAN: Omar Jimenez in Chicago for us.
Omar, as thousands were marching for gun safety over the weekend, there were signs of progress, maybe important progress. This bipartisan group of senators came to an agreement on the framework for gun safety legislation. The deal has the support of ten Republican senators, which means that the final language agreed upon, it could pass the Senate without being killed by a filibuster.
Joining us now, CNN's Tom Foreman. Tom, the key is what is in this framework?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and a lot is in there in terms of things that have been sought for a long, long time.
Let's start with red flag laws. They would provide funding that would allow states around the country to either reinforce red flag laws they already have and build those up or to institute such things. What does this allow you to do? This allows you to identify people in the community who clearly are a threat to other people or to themselves and for their guns to be removed because you're saying, look, let's prevent this from happening before it happens, let's not wait until afterward.
Mental health is part of the package, more funding for mental health and suicide prevention programs. Suicide is still a very, very major cause of gun deaths in this country. So, they want to apply more of this money to being able to help out on that front.
They want to get rid of something called the boyfriend loophole. Right now, if you are married to somebody or you're living together or you have a child together, you can be held accountable and guns can be taken away if you represent a threat through abuse.
The boyfriend loophole has been to allow somebody who is not necessarily living together, they don't have a child together but this person becomes a threat, there has been no ability to take away their gun. This would allow that to happen.
Under 21, they want to have enhanced review for buyers under 21, background checks. So, they would look more at their mental health background, more at any juvenile records they have. This also, because it could drag into a few days, could, in a weird way, serve as a sort of a bit of a time delay, a bit of a waiting period but that's purely for the process to go through. In some cases, the process still could be very fast.
They would like a better definition, and this is important here, of what is a licensed firearm dealer. They want to look at people who are engaged in the business of selling firearms. In other words, you can't be somebody -- we don't have an exact count right now, but if you are somebody who really is buying and selling guns all the time, and it clearly is your business, you can't just claim that you are a hobbyist and that it has nothing to do with what you're doing.
So, they would want those people to become federally licensed firearms dealers.
They would also like more school security measures around the country. This is something Republicans very much want. So, it would be a bone thrown at them to say, sure, we will look at school security, things that might provide more help out there.
Just as important of all of this, John, is what's not included, the renewal of the so-called assault weapons ban, which we had for ten years in this country, raising semiautomatic rifle purchase age 18 to 21, many people very much wanted this under control. They don't have universal background checks, safe storage laws.
And what's really not here, John, is the final language, that has to be pounded out in the next few weeks. That will determine whether or not all or any of this actually becomes law.
BERMAN: But it does seem like they're further along than they have been certainly in years.
FOREMAN: Absolutely, at this point.
BERMAN: At this point. Tom Foreman, thank you very much.
KEILAR: Joining us now is CNN Chief National Affairs Analyst Kasie Hunt and the author of The Washington Post Newsletter The Early 202, Leigh Ann Caldwell.
Let's just talk about this. We've covered Congress together at times. This is pretty amazing that this has happened, even as you have like President Biden and others saying it's modest. Obviously, we know we wanted more, we didn't get it, but this is hugely significant.
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: It is. I mean, look, it may be modest but it's still the most significant thing that's happened in decades on guns. And, obviously, they still have got a little bit of ways to go, the devil is in the details, they have got to actually write the bill that lines up with this framework but they have taken some significant steps here. I mean, I think one thing I would underscore in particular is closing the boyfriend loophole, which is something that Congress has tried to do in other context, the Violence Against Women Act, other ways, and they haven't been able to come to an agreement here.
So, I think that really underscores the big picture here. And we've been talking about this that if this actually passes Congress in a relatively quick way and there are a lot of Republicans on board and they're not politically punished for it, that could really, I think, show the kind of sea change that seems to be occurring on this issue as people have been grappling more and more with these school shootings. I do think the politics of this has changed. It takes Congress a minute to catch up sometimes.
KEILAR: That's the question I have, is talking to gun safety, school safety advocates. Their hope has been that this breaks the logjam. Maybe now other things are going to be passed. But also there's a question of, well, now Congress has acted, does this mean they don't have to do anything else for a very long time? I wonder what your read is on that.
LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, THE EARLY 202 AUTHOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, that's the same position as Senator Chris Murphy, he's a key Democratic negotiator, and I spoke to him yesterday and he said that too. One of the most important parts of this legislation is that it does, in fact, break that 30-year logjam where Congress has been able to do nothing significant in any way on guns, mental health legislation in relation to guns.
But the question is, does breaking the logjam mean that that leads to more legislation down the road or does breaking the logjam mean that they are just doing something relatively significant, modest but significant now, and that is the question.
One thing that I'm watching is the NRA has not come out on a position yet. Yes, the statement yesterday had the support of ten Senate Republicans, which is important because that's how much is needed to pass the Senate, but if the NRA comes out against it, or Gun Owners for America, who hasn't said anything yet either, that can make a lot of Republicans very skittish.
HUNT: I mean, I would be floored. So, Gun Owners of America, for viewers who don't follow this every day, is essentially an organization that's to the right of the NRA on guns. They are, in many ways, more extreme. And they actually were very involved when we were -- when Congress was trying to pass legislation in the wake of Sandy Hook, Gun Owners of America put pressure on the NRA. Because, in the past, the NRA sometimes would be willing to make relatively small concessions to kind of avoid the larger, bigger P.R. problem that was coming out of some of these terribly tragic incidents.
The NRA is a much diminished version of its past self. They've been going through all sorts of lawsuits, scandal after scandal, questions about where their money is going. So, I think the reason why -- if Republicans vote for this and they actually get something through, it's going to actually be a real test of the on the ground power of groups like the NRA and Gun Owners of America to then do things on the ground in elections for politicians.
And if they do this, they pass this legislation on the one hand and then those gun groups aren't able to actually kick them out of office or actually impose consequences, that, I think, is what people like David Hogg and other activists are hoping can show politicians that they actually can if they want to stand up to those groups in the interests of a broader group of their constituents, because that's historically who they have been afraid of.
KEILAR: Can these interest groups get in the way before this would be passed? Is there still room for them to cleave some Republicans off of supporting this?
CALDWELL: Absolutely. They have made it very clear they still have to write the legislative text. Senator Murphy told me yesterday that it's going to be a herculean effort in order to get this done and passed before the July 4th recess, which starts in a couple weeks.
So, this is still a few weeks off before this comes to a vote in the senate. And that's what these groups are really good at is influencing legislation and the drafting of this legislation. And they're going to start lobbying right now.
HUNT: And time is really not on the side of people who are trying to get this done, right? Historically, every single time the more days and weeks that pass between a potential political moment where they're trying to get something done and the tragic event in question, that time is not on the side of people who want to get something done.
KEILAR: It's such a good point. It's so true. We've seen it time and again. Kasie, Leigh Ann, thank you so much to you both.
HUNT: Thanks, Bri.
KEILAR: Iran may be closer than ever to being able to develop a nuclear weapon. Is there any hope of reviving the landmark 2015 nuclear deal?
BERMAN: Plus, Capitol police on alert for a potential confrontation with abortion rights protesters who are heading to the Supreme Court today.