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Police Officer Killed in Line of Duty; Former Trump White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney Interviewed on House January 6th Committee Hearings and Former President Trump's Possible Role in Capitol Riots; Former Trump Adviser Steve Bannon to Stand Trial for Contempt of Congress; Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) is Interviewed About Senator Manchin Dealing a Blow to the Biden Agenda and Inflation Threat. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired July 15, 2022 - 08:00   ET




CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And just two weeks before his wedding, Alvarado died in the line of duty.

OFFICER JORGE ERNESTO ALVARADO, JORGE DAVID ALVARADO'S BROTHER: I want him to be remembered as that man who was selfless, who provided selfless service, thinking of himself last.

BERNAL: That's how he was remembered Tuesday at the San Francisco Giants game. His mom, his brother, his fellow officers, and the chief all there keeping his memory alive.

FILICE: If you want to be a police officer, use him as your inspiration. I tell my officers, when you get up in the morning and you're tired, just go back and think of J.D., because J.D., he just gave it 100 percent whenever it was needed.

BERNAL: And while Alvarado is no longer on earth, the legacy continues.

ALVARADO: The way to honor my brother is to continue to provide that service to the fullest, not to shy away from what we do, what we signed up to do.

BERNAL: Camila Bernal, CNN, Los Angeles.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And NEW DAY continues right now.

Good morning to viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. It's Friday, July 15th, and I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman this morning.

The Secret Service denies doing anything malicious after a government watchdog report claimed the agency erased text messages from January 5th and January 6th and that it did so after oversight investigators had requested them.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The Secret Service claims any lost data was due to a planned tech migration and that the texts investigators wanted were not among those that disappeared. It's the latest example, though, of the agency assigned to protect the president coming under scrutiny for its actions on January 6th.

Joining me now is Donald Trump's former acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. He later served as special envoy to Northern Ireland but resigned from the post following the Capitol attack. Thank you so much for being with us this morning. You've seen the news overnight. The Homeland Security Inspector General put out this statement, saying that text messages from January 5th and 6th were destroyed after the I.G. asked for them. How does that look to you?

MICK MULVANEY, FORMER ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF, TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: Morning, John. It doesn't look very good, but when you sort of deep -- dig a little bit deeper into it, it becomes even murkier. The Secret Service, I think, put out a statement saying that none of the things that the committee was interested in were destroyed, also said it was part of an ordinary transition from old phones to new phones. And the inspector general is actually the guy that was appointed by Trump, and the person running the Department of Homeland Security was under the Biden administration. So, it's very confusing.

It may well be that there's something here that's completely normal, it may be something else, but I think it's probably too early to jump to conclusions. It is yet just another head-scratching moment regarding January 6th, however.

BERMAN: Sure. There is so much we don't know here, but it is interesting that it was a Trump-appointed inspector general making this request and informing people that these pieces of information were destroyed after the request. Why would the Secret Service be uncomfortable? We've seen it in other examples, too, with full disclosure or full discussions with what happened or their role on January 6th?

MULVANEY: I don't know if they're uncomfortable. Keep in mind, as soon as Cassidy Hutchinson testified, the U.S. Secret Service was very quick to say they would be providing testimony under oath that would counter some of the allegations that she made. They've made it very clear they've been cooperating with the January 6th committee from the very beginning. I've not heard anything different up until now, I guess, from the committee, suggesting that the U.S. Secret Service has been anything but fully forthcoming.

And yes, they've got "Secret" in their name, but the fact of the matter is, and I have worked with them for four years, I had a Secret Service detail for about a year-and-a-half, some of the most honorable and upright people in the federal government end up sort of being attracted to this agency. So, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt at this point. They said they testified to Congress twice under oath that part of what the inspector general was saying was not entirely accurate. So again, too early to jump to conclusions. I'm inclined to believe the Secret Service on this one, but we'll see what happens as the committee digs a little bit deeper.

BERMAN: It is interesting, because also, in the last few hours or 12 hours or so, CNN has heard that a D.C. Metro police officer corroborated the version of events described by Cassidy Hutchinson, that she heard took place on the morning of January 6th where Donald Trump was in the limousine trying to go to the Capitol, a D.C. Metro police officer corroborated the version of events. I don't know if the specific details about lunging for the wheel or choking, but what's the important takeaway from that event, from the former president wanting to go to the Capitol?


MULVANEY: Yes, it's a really good question, and I think it's important to remember that Cassidy said she heard this from someone else who heard it from someone else. It was secondhand, or second level hearsay. I don't really care if the president lunged at the wheel or assaulted his Secret Service agent, although the latter is a crime, but in the greater scheme of things, the real issue is, what was his reaction when he was told that he couldn't go to the Capitol? Whether or not he grabbed the wheel or grabbed the person, was he really, really angry? Did he fly into a rage over that? I think there could be some evidence coming out to that effect.

That to me is much more important, his emotional reaction, his immediate response to not being allowed to go down to the Capitol on that day, to my mind, speaks a lot more to his state of mind than whether or not he actually grabbed the wheel or grabbed his Secret Service agent.

BERMAN: And the fact that he wanted to be at the Capitol. To do what, do you think?

MULVANEY: And that's what this whole thing is becoming about, right. I tried to figure out when these hearings started, what the plan was, and I think I see a theme now, which is that everybody sort of acknowledges that what the Proud Boys did and the Oath Keepers did was a crime. In fact, many of them have pled guilty to crimes. And what it looks like the committee is trying to do is draw a line between what those groups did that is criminal and the White House or even the president himself.

And if the president was in the Secret Service, was in the limousine and really, really wanted to go down to lead this effort, it might lead to more evidence that he was involved with some of the planning for it.

Personally, I don't think that's what Donald Trump does. He's not a long-term planner. But it will be curious to see if Mr. Bannon testifies and Mr. Navarro testifies and Mr. Meadows testifies as to whether or not there was communication directly between those right- wing extremist groups and folks in that Trump inner circle.

BERMAN: Have they raised enough questions, the committee? And I know you've been watching very carefully, and you've written about watching them, and you think it's important that people watch them, including Republicans. Have enough questions been raised, do you think, in public, that you think the Department of Justice should be investigating?

MULVANEY: Well, the Department of Justice doesn't -- should they investigate? Yes. The question I usually get is, should they bring charges? And it's way too early to jump to that conclusion. Keep in mind, much of the evidence that's being presented at the hearing would never be allowed in court. It might be allowed in a grand jury, but hearsay evidence would never be allowed in court.

The DOJ is much more serious. If they're going to charge a president of the United States or this inner circle, they're going to have to take it very, very seriously. The political investigation that's going on now is an entirely different level, so I encourage people to take it with a grain of salt what they're seeing coming out of the committee.

But certainly, I have a lot of questions. I defended the president for almost a year, saying that I really did believe that the speech didn't lead to the riot, that it was another one of those adlib things that Donald Trump did that sort of got out of hand and he wasn't involved in any planning at all.

I think Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony, especially that the president knew there were guns with the protesters, and that there may have been direct communications between the inside of the Oval -- excuse me, the West Wing and those rightwing groups sort of caused me to step back and say, OK, wait a second, let's find more out about this. And that's sort of where I am. And I think a lot of folks, including many Republicans, are in the same boat.

BERMAN: Also, the insinuations about possible witness tampering, I know you think these are important. CNN has reported that the phone call that Donald Trump placed was to a White House support staff member who does not normally hear from Donald Trump. Why is that important?

MULVANEY: Yes, that one got me scratching my head a little bit, because I sort of know the people in that universe, at least I did when I worked in the West Wing. And these would be folks like the stewards. And supposedly it was related to some of Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony. One of the things she said that would have taken place in the back hallways of the West Wing where the incident about the throwing of plates or the throwing of lunch or the pulling of the tablecloth off the table, the stewards would see that. The stewards are not typically in communication with the president of the United States.

But at the same time, CNN is also reporting that the person who got the phone call from the president was so alerted to it that they called his or her lawyer. I can't imagine the stewards would have a lawyer. So, I'm not sure who the universe of people would be in that circumstance. I'd be curious to see if the committee does actually have the evidence. I assume they did or else it would be irresponsible for Liz Cheney to mention it. But it's just another thing that we need to wait to see what happens before we jump to any conclusions.

BERMAN: So I want to ask you, because Olivia Nuzzi interviewed Donald Trump who told her at this point it's not a matter so much of if he runs for president again, but as he puts it, "I would say, my big decision will be whether I go before or after," seemingly to refer to the midterms, "Do I go before or after? That's my big decision." What happens if he goes before the midterms?

MULVANEY: The midterms become about him, by the way, at least a little bit. All politics is still local, and if you're still worried about paying $5 in gas in rural Illinois, that's going to drive your decision making a lot more than whether or not President Trump has already announced to run in 2024.


So I don't put that much sort of weight on the president's impact on the midterms, but it could certainly have some impact in some districts. I think the real irony here, John, is that if part of the committee's purpose was to damage Donald Trump to where he wouldn't run or would discourage him from running, it's actually having the exact opposite impact. I think Donald Trump wants to be able to tell his side of the story. He feels like he's not being represented at the committee, and that he will choose to get that higher -- that larger podium, that larger platform as a candidate and announce earlier rather than later.

BERMAN: You told my friend, Kasie Hunt, that you would support a lot of people before you supported Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. Do you hope he doesn't run?

MULVANEY: Yes, I do. I just think it's better for the party. I look around, and I look at folks like Ron DeSantis and Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, go down the list, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, there's a lot of folks that the Republicans can vote for that get the same policies and the same sort of willingness to stand up and fight for the middle class that Donald Trump had without the baggage. And I think that's important. It's important in the House. It's important in the Senate. I think you get a lot of the benefits without a lot of the drawbacks. So, yes, I think that's where a lot of Republicans are as a direct result of these hearings.

BERMAN: I do want to ask you, your former colleague in the White House, John Bolton, who was national security adviser when you were the acting chief of staff, he was speaking to Jake Tapper the other day and he was talking about -- he didn't like the formulation that some people use that Donald Trump was attempting a coup on January 6th. And this was the exchange that he had with Jake. Listen.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: One doesn't have to be brilliant to attempt a coup.

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I disagree with that. As somebody who has helped plan coups d'etats, not here, but other places, it takes a lot of work. And that's not what he did. It was just stumbling around from one idea to another. Ultimately, he did unleash the rioters at the Capitol. As to that, there's no doubt. But not to overthrow the Constitution, to buy more time to throw the matter back to the states to try and redo the issue.


BERMAN: He raised a whole lot of eyebrows, as someone who has helped plan coups d'etats. What do you think?

MULVANEY: There's two different pieces of that. Let's deal with the president first, which is I think John's probably right. The president is not a chess player. He's not moving pieces across a chessboard in a grand plan to overthrow the government. I think John's take there could be accurate in that the president was doing something, that could still be illegal, by the way, to try and buy time. So that strikes me as somewhat accurate.

On the part about John Bolton planning coups, listen, I worked with John. I think very famously John and I didn't get along very well. It doesn't surprise me that John is sort of pumping himself up, he likes to sell books. But I don't put much weight in his version of his planning coups d'etats overseas. I'm more interested in what he had to say about January 6th.

BERMAN: Mick Mulvaney, thank you for joining us on NEW DAY, appreciate it.

MULVANEY: Thanks, John.

KEILAR: On Monday, Steve Bannon's trial begins as he faces contempt of Congress charges after failing to cooperate with the January 6th committee. CNN's Drew Griffin has a new investigative report examining the role that Bannon played in the insurrection, and Drew is joining us now on that. Drew, what did you find?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, this guy is potentially one of the most influential political people in America right now, yet a lot of people don't even know who he is, let alone how intricately he was involved with January 6th.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wrap your arms around Donald J. Trump.

GRIFFIN: Bannon threw his weight and power behind the Stop the Steal movement. His show financially supported protests. Then, behind the scenes, Bannon circled a date on the calendar, January 6th, for an entirely new plan.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: We're going to run the Green Bay Sweep.

GRIFFIN: Dubbed by Bannon the Green Bay Sweep, the plan called for rightwing members of Congress to object to certification of the election when lawmakers convened on January 6th. Trump attorney John Eastman outlined the legal theories.

JOHN EASTMAN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: We need to bolster the authority of our leaders in Congress to not accept fraudulently certified slates of electors.

GRIFFIN: According to the plot, Vice President Mike Pence could then refuse to certify the votes and send the election back to the states, where fake electors would flip the vote for Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald J. Trump of the state of Florida, number of votes, 11.

BANNON: If Pence decides that it can't be certified, kicks it back to the state legislators, then that election is over.

GRIFFIN: "The War Room" would talk about Mike Pence in 37 shows in the lead-up to January 6th. Eastman was a frequent guest. The plot, now part of an investigation by the Department of Justice and the January 6th Committee.

BANNON: Live from our nation's capital, you're in the field headquarters of one of the small divisions of the bloodless coup.

GRIFFIN: To make the plan work, Bannon sought to pressure lawmakers and told his listeners to do the same.


BANNON: Step by step by step, day by day, understanding we're all going to converge on that point on the 6th.

GRIFFIN: It was, as he told them, their moment to save America.

BANNON: I met so many people through my life that said, man, if I was in the revolution, I would be -- I would be with Washington at Trenton, or I would be in the civil war. Well, you know, this is where -- this is for your time in history.

GRIFFIN: On January 5th, Bannon and Trump would speak by phone at least twice and Bannon joined a meeting of Trump's inner circle at the Willard Hotel, according to a congressional subpoena, in an effort to persuade members of Congress to block the certification of the election.

BANNON: It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen, okay? It's going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is, strap in. The war room, a posse, you have made this happen, and tomorrow, it's game day. So strap in, let's get ready.


GRIFFIN (on camera): Brianna, the very next day, January 6th, Steve Bannon, from his war room studio, told vice president to run his Green Bay sweep. Pence refused, of course, Bannon and Trump lost their attempt, but Steve Bannon has not given up, as we found. He's built an entire political movement based on these lies, and has motivated millions of followers to take over the elections process, take over government, and he hopes rule for a hundred years -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Fascinating. Drew, thank you for sharing that with us.

And Drew's special report, "Divided We Fall," is going to begin Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

A House Democrat criticizing her own party for its handling of the inflation crisis. She's going to join us next to explain.

This, as we await a key report on retail sales. Those numbers out in minutes.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And Senator Joe Manchin causing a new headache for his Democratic colleagues, dealing a blow to President Biden's economic agenda and the president's efforts to fight climate change. We have new reaction from Capitol Hill.



KEILAR: New overnight, a colossal wrench thrown into the Biden agenda. Sources say Senator Joe Manchin told Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer that he unequivocally will not support the climate or tax provisions of a reconciliation package that the two had been negotiating for months.

Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin of Michigan.

We have so much to talk about, but I did want to start with this. What do you think about how this went down? Because they've been negotiating for so long, dragging this on and then Manchin saying, no.

REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MI): Well, look, I mean, we've always known that Senator Manchin plays a really important role in these negotiations. There's a very slim majority in the Senate. I hope that they will all get there -- themselves back into the negotiating room and continue to have the conversation.

And I don't like that they go to the press when they're -- they've hit loggerheads, so I expect them auto to get back in a room and finish this out one way or the other.

KEILAR: Is the Biden agenda dead?

SLOTKIN: No. I think that there's still -- I mean, frankly, the provisions I'm most interested in, in that deal, that I understand are still pretty solid, are on prescription drug pricing and allowing Medicare to negotiate for drug prices for the first time.

So, there's still good to be had, and I just think it is a tender negotiation.

KEILAR: I do want to ask you, I know you've been at odds with your party, some in your party, and leadership in your party about inflation. What else should the president be doing when it comes to inflation?

SLOTKIN: You know, I think for me, this goes back to just making sure we're actually hearing what people are going through and reflecting that here in Washington. I think it should be the start of every press conference at the White House and every other relevant department and agency. I think there should be a task force. I think that we should be trying everything we can to solve a problem that, of course, there's no silver bullet for, but that requires constant action.

I was glad to see the president going off to Saudi Arabia. I know we're not talking about that being about gas, but I hope it's about gas or at least in part. We have had a steady decline in the price of gas every day. I want that to accelerate and continue. It's just a matter of making sure that it's the first priority for everyone working on the domestic agenda.

KEILAR: Should he lift Trump-era tariffs on China so that that relief is passed on to consumers?

SLOTKIN: You know, I know we've been debating this issue around trade. I come from the Pentagon and the CIA, and if we're going to lift some of our tariffs, I want the Chinese to lift some of their tariffs, right? This started as a tit-for-tat, back and forth kind of thing.

I'm just not sure I want to unilaterally give up tariffs if we're not going to get something from the Chinese, and a lot of the Chinese tariffs were on our farmers, of ag, big a deal in a place like Michigan.

KEILAR: We've listened to Democratic leaders. We've listened to the president talk about inflation.

Do you think that the president and the White House have taken enough responsibility when it comes to the role of spending in inflation and the role of their actions in inflation?

SLOTKIN: Look, I think -- like I said, I come from a national security background, and I think that we have a responsibility in leadership to be honest with people, to not try to spin them, and then we have a responsibility to chart the way forward.

It doesn't mean that there's a silver bullet on fixing inflation. We know that there's not, and inflation's going on across the world and is different in different places but it's bad across the globe.

I think that what I would like to see is sort of what is the path? Help light us forward so that we know that maybe it won't be fixed tomorrow, but we know kind of the sort of road that we're on to getting back to our normal pricing.

KEILAR: So, it sounds like you're seeing some issues on both of those fronts, the acknowledgement and the charting the way forward.

SLOTKIN: Yeah, I just -- I mean, I just -- I'm from Michigan, right? We're just kind of straight about what's going on, and I think people can feel and see spin, and I don't think they like it.

And I think what we need to be saying is, look, we know that salaries, you know, increases in people's pay is not keeping up with inflation. So, when you're sitting around the kitchen table at night, your kids have gone to bed and you're trying to figure out how much money is coming in and how much is going out. Those math equations are not looking great right now for the majority, at least, in my state.

So I want to be straight about that, and then I want to say, here's the plan. Here's the path. And even if it's six months, it's a longer term thing, just -- I want to be transparent, because people know that this is a problem. We shouldn't try to pretend it's not.

KEILAR: When Nancy Pelosi said that inflation has peaked, do you agree with her?

SLOTKIN: I just -- I guess I just haven't seen the substance on which that is based, and I remember very clearly in November, when gas prices were really starting to go up, and in my district, we drive 40 miles on average one way to work, so I started hearing about it and I would bring up, I'm really worried about gas prices. I'm really worried about inflation.

And I was sort of -- it was sort of like, listen, we just got to get through the end of the year, we got to get through Christmas, 2022 is going to be better. And that hasn't been the case, right? We have to be honest about that.

So I just don't know what this stuff is based on, and I'm just personally not in a position to say that we have hit some sort of peak when I don't know that to be a fact.

KEILAR: So, do you think it's not based on something? Is it wishful thinking? I mean, what -- how do you understand her saying that? What do you understand that to mean?

SLOTKIN: I'm just not privy to what she's looking at. And, look, the speaker of the House and leaders here have lots of opportunities to get briefed by eminent economists. So I just am not privy to what the substance is behind that.

I'm not saying there's not substance. I'm just saying, I -- I don't know it. I don't see it. I don't feel it. And so I can only speak for myself and my constituents.

KEILAR: You get briefed. I mean, you're looking into this. Have you heard that, that it's peaked?

SLOTKIN: I've heard that. I've heard other opinions too. Just like we did back in November and December, right? There were different opinions among eminent, you know, the most senior economists in the world. There were different opinions.

So, based on what happened back then, I just think it's worth just being a little bit restrained as we talk about this.

KEILAR: All right. Congresswoman Slotkin, we do appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.

SLOTKIN: Thank you.

KEILAR: We do have some live pictures right now. President Biden is about to depart Israel. He has a high-stakes and controversial trip to Saudi Arabia ahead of him. And CNN is live from the ground.

BERMAN: The last thing you want to see, the last thing that I want to see lurking in the water.

KEILAR: It's just a fish.

BERMAN: No, it's not. It's a shark. Just a fish doesn't have giant teeth that can bite your leg off.

The alarming number of shark attacks off New York beaches.