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House January 6th Select Committee Continues Hearings into Pressure Campaign Former President Trump and His Supporters Brought to State Officials to Overturn 2020 Presidential Election; Justice Department Issues Subpoenas Tied to Trump and Supporters Fake Electors Scheme; DeSantis Tops Trump in Early 2024 New Hampshire Poll; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is Interviewed on Inflation and the Economy. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired June 23, 2022 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Former Congressman Joe Cunningham, thanks so much for us for joining us.
JOE CUNNINGHAM, (D) SOUTH CAROLINA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, appreciate it.
BERMAN: Nice to see you in New York.
CUNNINGHAM: Good to be here.
BERMAN: NEW DAY continues right now.
Good morning to viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Thursday, June 23rd I'm. I'm John Berman. Brianna is off. Our chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins with me here this morning.
And there are new developments in the January 6th committee's investigation. A British filmmaker who was embedded with former president Trump and his inner circle for six months before and after the Capitol riot about to meet behind closed doors with committee members. We have newly obtained footage from the series he made. It will be released by Discovery Plus, which owned by CNN's parent company. Maggie Haberman reports this footage, some of which you're seeing here, is causing anxiety for the Trump family. The filmmaker has already handed over his interviews with Trump, his adult children, and former Vice President Mike pence to the House select committee. What we have for first time this morning is the documentary's trailer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: OK?
IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: My father, he's very honest, and he is who he is.
DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: He believes everything that he's doing is right.
TRUMP: I think I treat people well, unless they don't treat me well, in which case you go to war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we talk for a minute about January 6th?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: On top of that, CNN has also learned this morning that the former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen will testify today that while he was there, the Justice Department was, quote, "presented with no evidence of widespread voter fraud." He also says, quote, "Some argued to the former president in the public that the election was corrupt and stolen. That view was wrong then, and it is wrong today." That comes as the Justice Department is now ramping up its criminal investigation into the fake electors scheme that was concocted by Trump and his allies, with federal agents delivering grand jury subpoenas to at least four people on Wednesday.
This is at a scale that we had not seen before from the Justice Department, and it does raise questions about how deep they are going into looking into this fake electors scheme. So joining us now to discuss is EARLY START anchor and attorney at law Laura Jarrett, and Elie Honig, CNN senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor.
BERMAN: Laura, in addition to all of those titles, you are also a former Justice Department correspondent. You covered the Justice Department.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: The good old days.
BERMAN: So when you see news like this developing overnight, subpoenas, grand jury subpoenas going out to at least four states, people in at least four states, phones being obtained by the FBI from key people, what does this tell you about where this investigation is?
JARRETT: It means something has materially changed here. We know that subpoenas had already gone out, and we had seen the grand jury investigation started, which was already big news. But the fact is that in the beginning, it appeared to be sort of low level people, people who were sort of on the edges of the fake electors scheme, certainly not the architects of the plan, people who maybe bailed out, people who thought maybe something was a little wrong, or maybe they just were ill and couldn't make it that day. Now it appears to have shifted to people who actually wanted to participate in this alleged scheme, and that switch is meaningful.
BERMAN: People who may have signed documents, Elie?
ELIE HONIG, SENIOR CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So a couple of really important things to understand about subpoenas. A subpoena is not an accusation. I think people sometimes think that it's a precursor to an indictment. It's actually the contrary. DOJ policy is you don't subpoena someone who you see as a target, someone who you're likely to charge. So this tells me, they want tell out of these folks. They want these people to flip and to tell who is behind this, who brought this to you, who coordinated this.
The other thing to know about subpoenas, this is the real kind. This is a grand jury subpoena coming from DOJ. We have all gotten used to the January 6th committee, the kind of subpoenas people brush off, Kevin McCarthy, no consequence, Mark Meadows, no consequence. That doesn't work here. If you get a DOJ subpoena, basically your options are you can take the Fifth, fine, you can testify, or you will get locked up. You don't even get a trial. A judge will lock you up until you comply.
So these are real subpoenas. Congressional subpoenas are sort of the weakling cousin of them.
JARRETT: I think it's such an important point is these are not going to the targets of the investigation. These are not going to the top dogs. And one of the ways you know this is one of these would be electors in Georgia, "The Washington Post" version of this story says the FBI shows up at his door, he wasn't involved in it, but they still serve him with a subpoena. But what are they asking him? They wanted to know if I could talk to Giuliani. They're not there for him. They're there to find out what the connection is to Giuliani. And that's one of the questions here, as Giuliani is part of this scheme that we know with John Eastman, the other Trump adviser, Trump outside lawyer.
And they want to know what did Giuliani tell you? What did you understand the plan was? What did you understand -- were there other states involved? Those are the kinds of questions that if you're trying to flush out if there was an actual conspiracy here that you need to get to the bottom of.
HONIG: So the first question you ask, who was running the show here? And as another rule of thumb at DOJ and prosecutors in general, you want to get cooperate people up. You want to get midlevel people to testify about more powerful people.
BERMAN: Keep going with this then, because what is the level above this? If the subpoenas aren't, in theory, going to targets, who might be the target, or what type of person is the target, and what does that tell you about Merrick Garland?
HONIG: My first question would be, who got you into this. Who brought you into this, right? And did you know that this was happening in six other states, or did this just sort of happen generically in your state?
JARRETT: And what did they tell you the endgame was? Because that appears to be muddled as well, right. Was the endgame that you were going to be a Trump elector if, in fact, the vote went his way, and you were going to be sort of a backup, or did you knowingly go into this knowing that this was all -- this was all bogus, this was all fraud, even if he hadn't won, you were going to submit a fake slate so that Pence would have a pretext to throw it back.
HONIG: And regarding Garland, your question, clearly DOJ is investigating this, all of this, however you want to phrase it. I think that the issue people have had it, it's now June of 2022, we're so far down the line, and I can't help but notice the timing here. It may be coincidental, but these subpoenas were issued the day after the committee got all this testimony about the fake electors scheme. That's good. They should be watching, they can build on those leads. But it tells me the committee is leading and DOJ is following.
JARRETT: The important part here, you mentioned, is the timing, is that you know at a certain point, DOJ is going to have to go quiet on this stuff. DOJ does not do things around midterm elections that have anything to do with candidates. And who knows where we'll be in November, but it is just important to note that we may be on a sort of a shortened time frame here. In the same way that the committee is scrambling to get this done before the midterms, DOJ at a certain point is going to go silent.
BERMAN: Counselor, counselor, thank you very much.
COLLINS: Joining us now to discuss is our CNN anchor Chris Wallace, the host of WHO IS TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE. And Chris, I wonder what you make, first, of this new activity from the Justice Department, when it comes to these subpoenas that they delivered yesterday to the people involved in this fake electors scheme.
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Well, let me say, first of all, Kaitlan, I'm not a lawyer. You just heard from two lawyers. But I have been around politics for about half-a-century, and my reaction is, what the heck took Justice so long? It's not like the fake electors scheme just came out Tuesday in the hearing. We have known about it for a long time. It is a year-and-a-half almost since January 6th. So why hasn't the Justice Department been going after this part of the alleged conspiracy a lot sooner than this?
It seems to me, to the degree that we know what's going on inside Justice, I'm struck by how cautious they're being. You had Garland announce that they were not going to prosecute contempt of Congress against Mark Meadows, they were not going to prosecute contempt of Congress against Dan Scavino, the former White House chief of staff and deputy White House chief of staff to Donald Trump for contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before the committee.
The fact that here we are in almost in July of 2022, and they're just beginning to subpoena some of the people who apparently were involved in the fake electors scheme, which, again, which strikes me as not how -- that they're doing it now, why didn't they do this over the last year-and-a-half.
COLLINS: It's a good question, because it is something we have known, and if they are subpoenaing these people to find out what conversations they were having around people, around Trump, Rudy Giuliani, they're asking about those connections, what does it say to you, though, that it is not just these lower level Republicans that they had been speaking to and been wanting to hear from, now it's moving on to what conversations were you having with people who were in Trump's orbit?
WALLACE: Well, I would go back to what we just heard from Elie and Laura, which is that anybody who has seen any mob movie knows, you start at the bottom and you try to get information from them and press them as much as you can, and then try to get them to flip, either legally or just in terms of their political loyalties on people higher up. You build from the bottom. You don't start from the top.
COLLINS: So that's one investigation, the Justice Department investigation. It's separate from what is happening on the Hill, though Attorney General Garland has said they are watching closely, these hearings. I wonder now that we are about to have the fourth hearing today, it's the last one until next month when they're going to return, what you make of how effective they have been so far.
WALLACE: Well, I have to say I'm impressed and a little surprised by how effective they were. At the very first hearing, before the first hearing I said I was skeptical. And to some degree I still am that it is going to cause a landslide, an impact.
You just had the Texas state Republican Party convention in which they said that -- talked about acting president Joe Biden being an illegitimately elected president. So this isn't causing a huge groundswell inside the Republican Party, which is what you're talking about, this is going to change minds.
But having said that, I think the hearings have been very well done, very effective. And I was particularly struck by this last hearing on Tuesday. I thought that Raffensperger from Georgia, Rusty Bowers from Arizona, and the two ladies, Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman from Georgia were all very effective, not only in talking about the pressure that they were put under, but the human cost of having Trump set the figurative mob on them, not the literal mob, and how this disrupted their lives.
COLLINS: Well, Rusty Bowers was so compelling. And he had this testimony, he is a lifelong Republican, he talked about his civic duty, and he became very emotional at points during that testimony, including when he was talking about the threats that he and his family faced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSTY BOWERS, (R) ARIZONA HOUSE SPEAKER: They have had video panel trucks with videos of me proclaiming me to be a pedophile and a pervert and a corrupt politician. We had a daughter who was gravely ill, who was upset by what was happening outside. And my wife that is a valiant person, very, very strong. So it was disturbing. It was disturbing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: You hear him there, and then you see he told the Associated Press that if Trump is on the ballot in 2024, he thinks he'd vote for him again. He said "If he's the nominee, if he's up against Biden, I'd vote for him again, simply because what he did the first time before COVID was so good for the country. In my view it was great."
WALLACE: Yes, it is striking. Subsequently I learned, as in fact a lot of people did, that Rusty Bowers' daughter, who was gravely ill, passed away. She died from her illness. I am not, after listening to him for the better part of an hour last week, going to in any way question Rusty Bowers devotion to the law and his devotion to his faith. This was an enormously impressive man.
But I am struck that, whether it is him and his obvious outrage at what he was being asked to do, Mitch McConnell, who spoke very forcefully against Donald Trump, a number of people have said, on the one hand, they're outraged by what Donald Trump did, but Bill Barr, who talked about -- has talked in really terribly condemnatory terms about what Donald Trump did, they all have said if he were the Republican nominee in the fall of 2024, they would vote for him.
I find that shocking, myself, in the sense that you're saying this is a guy that was trying to steal an election, that was trying to subvert democracy according to their allegations, but they're still saying party loyalty trumps that, and if it ended up being him versus Biden, yes, I would vote for Trump. So again, Rusty Bowers has got more integrity than an awful lot of people I know, but I was surprised that he said that.
COLLINS: Yes. Well, Chris, we want to discuss a lot more of this with you, get more reaction to what we're seeing in these hearings. So stand by. We're going to take a quick break, and we'll be right back on whether or not Trump's former plans about another presidential run could be crushed by an ally of his. A new poll we have, more for you on that. And also on the Democratic side, Senator Elizabeth Warren is going to join NEW DAY after she confronted the Federal Reserve Chairman on interest rates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D-MA): Will the Fed's interest rate increases bring food prices down for families?
JEROME POWELL, CHAIR, FEDERAL RESERVE: I wouldn't say so, no.
WARREN: Will gas prices go down as a result of your interest rate increase?
POWELL: I would not think so, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: And a coach diving in for the save after a swimmer loses consciousness underwater.
[08:18:04] BERMAN: A new poll from New Hampshire has Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ever so slightly ahead of former President Donald Trump among Republican primary voters in a matchup there: 39 percent for DeSantis, 37 percent for Trump. That same poll just months ago showed Trump leading with 43 percent, DeSantis at 18 percent.
Back now with CNN anchor Chris Wallace.
Chris, you know, Frank Luntz told Kaitlan earlier today, he sees this as a possible sign that Republican voters want to move on maybe from Trump.
WALLACE: Yeah. And, I think, John, that could very possibly be the biggest impact of these hearings, that it just adds to Trump fatigue, voters aren't going to say I changed my mind, I want Donald Trump, I voted against him, against Joe Biden, I think it may just be people saying can we find Trumpism without having to deal with the baggage, with all of the drama of Donald Trump.
And, you know, if you're casting about for a Trump alternative, Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, who has a lot of the same policies and a lot of the same bravado, but not a lot of the same baggage, might be a pretty good choice.
COLLINS: I think that raises the question of what we're going to see in this field coming up when it comes to Republicans, this idea that people believe that Trump is going to run, and potentially, you know, be up against a Ron DeSantis, a close ally of his, a Pence and that.
If you're Trump and you're seeing this poll, what does that mean for you going forward?
WALLACE: Well, I mean, nothing immediately, first of all, only two points, within the margin of error, two years out, Trump doesn't lack for self-confidence, but you have to wonder, what is the dirtiest word in Donald Trump's lexicon, loser? And the idea that, you know, despite what he said he was a loser to Joe Biden, now he could be a loser a second time and maybe, you know, not even get to the NCAA finals, doesn't get to the Final Four, he's busted in New Hampshire, or something like that.
You know, if you're the president, the former president, and you were to lose in some of the early primaries, that is one of the questions I have about Trump is if he comes into '23, late into '23 and decides, there is a real chance I could lose and lose in some of these primaries, will he have the stomach for that?
BERMAN: Chris, I don't know if you had a chance to see it, I had Joe Cunningham, former Democratic congressman and current nominee, Democratic nominee for governor of South Carolina who just put out a campaign video where he campaigned against the idea of people older than 72 being in office. And he told me that he doesn't think that Joe Biden should run for re-election.
This is the Democratic nominee of South Carolina. What do you think of that as a campaign strategy?
WALLACE: Well, you know, as a question I find it personally offensive, John. I'm older than 72.
You know, I -- look, these are unimaginable ages that these people that are running. I remember -- I covered Ronald Reagan and he -- he was elected at 69, he became president at 70, he left office at 78, and this was new territory because prior to him, the oldest president we had ever had was Dwight Eisenhower who either just turned 70 or not after eight years in the White House.
I mean, when you're talking about Trump, who I think would be 78, in 2024, and Biden who would be 82, and were he to run closer to 90 at the end of his term than 82, it seems to me it is an absolutely legitimate issue.
In the end, you know what, and thank god, voters decide what they think is the right issue and what is legitimate or not, but I can certainly see where as we saw with Kennedy back in 1960, a new generation of leadership, you heard a little bit about that from Cunningham and in his interview with you.
BERMAN: An eternally youthful Chris Wallace, we appreciate you being with us this morning. Thank you.
WALLACE: You bet.
BERMAN: Don't drive this economy off a cliff, the warning from Senator Elizabeth Warren during a contentious hearing with the Fed chairman. Senator Warren will join us live.
COLLINS: And we'll also be joined by the chef and talk show host Rachael Ray, who is live from Ukraine on her efforts to help those who have been displaced by Russia's brutal invasion.
BERMAN: As the U.S. faces high inflation, Fed Chair Jerome Powell faced a contentious hearing on Capitol Hill. Elizabeth Warren warning raising interest rates too much too quickly to lead to higher unemployment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): So, I just want to say, you know what's worse than high inflation and low unemployment? It's high inflation and a recession with millions of people out of work. And I hope you'll reconsider that as you drive this -- before you drive this economy off a cliff.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Here with me is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. She is a member of the Senate Banking Committee.
Senator, raising interest rates, lowering interest rates, interest rates in general, it's the tool in the Fed's toolbox. What would you have the Fed chair do?
WARREN: Well, you have to start with what will that tool do?
So I asked Chair Powell, will it lower the cost of gasoline? And he said no. I said will it lower the cost of groceries? And he said no.
In fact, what he said is that it will, in effect, cause less investment in jobs and factories, and put more people out of work and have more people with their hours cut.
What that really means is it will make a lot of people poorer. And that that is the tool that he has available to try to deal with inflation.
Inflation is a lot like an illness. You've got to make sure that you've got the right medicine. And right now with the kind of inflation we're seeing, raising interest rates is not going to cause Vladimir Putin to turn his tanks around and suddenly restart the flow of oil from Russia around the world.
It's not going to keep these giant corporations from price gouging. It is not going to unkink supply chains. So we've got a mismatch.
But the thing that the Fed can do is if they raise interest rates too fast on this economy, and throw enough people out of work, they risk tipping this economy into a recession.
BERMAN: You compare inflation to a sickness then. Describe to me how bad you think this illness is.
WARREN: Well, I think it is an illness that the president and his administration is treating right now. Obviously, he's trying to deal with Ukraine. He's dealing with COVID that is still causing supply chain kinks and places in the world where there are shutdowns, and his administration is dealing directly with the companies that are price gouging.
Now, frankly, I think Congress should have the president's back and they should pass my bill that gives them more tools to deal directly with price gouging in the oil industry, and in the meat processing industry, and across our economy.
But those are matches of the problem and the solution. Just jerking interest rates up higher than they have been raised in 40 years doesn't match the specific problems that we have.
BERMAN: Let me ask you about some specific proposals, some the White House is already behind, some they might get behind.
Number one, a gas tax holiday. Is that something you support?