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Outtakes of Trump Message to Be Shown at Committee Hearing; Committee Hearing to Focus on Trump's Inaction for 187 Minutes; Heat Waves Hit Much of Country; Some States See Gas Prices Fall Below $4 a Gallon. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired July 21, 2022 - 06:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Countdown to primetime. I'm John Berman. Brianna is off. Chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is here. This is such an important day for the January 6th Committee.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: It's a huge day, because it's the last hearing for at least some time. They've said there could be another one down the road, but this is, to a degree, a finale of right now of this summer set of hearings that we've seen so far.

BERMAN: Right. You get the sense that this is the night the committee has been building up to. The final, for now, hearing. They're putting it in primetime with the clear expectation that even more people will be watching.

We're getting new details about what they will hone in on tonight. One hundred and eighty-seven minutes. One hundred and eighty-seven minutes, they say, that points to a dereliction of duty from former President Donald Trump. Get used to those words, "dereliction of duty."

The time from the end of his speech on the Ellipse, when he told people to go to the Capitol, to his video asking the rioters to go home.

The committee will say Trump failed to act, despite pleas from his aides, allies and family; refused to call off the mob who stormed the Capitol and threatened lawmakers, including his own vice president.

COLLINS: The committee is also going to present new testimony and new evidence, including outtakes of this moment, where Trump delivered a message to his supporters one day after the attack, but only after being urged by his advisers to do so, and struggling to tape this message that he did.

The panel plans to show outtakes of Trump having trouble getting through it, refusing to say the election was settled, and even at one point, trying to call the rioters, quote, "patriots." This is a preview.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): The president displayed extreme difficulty in completing his remarks. Of course, it's extremely revealing how exactly he went about making those statements; and we're going to let everybody see parts of that.


COLLINS: We start this morning with CNN's Kristen Holmes who is live in Washington. And Kristen, obviously, there are going to be two witnesses tonight that we know that are testifying publicly, like Cassidy Hutchinson did, that worked in the Trump White House. What do we know about them?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Kaitlan and John.

The big thing about these two witnesses, along with Pat Cipollone, the former White House counsel whose video testimony we expect to see large portions of today, they are meant to give you an inside look at what was going on during that 187 minutes at the White House when Trump refused to act as that violence was unfolding on Capitol Hill.


HOLMES (voice-over): Matthew Pottinger and Sarah Matthews, two former Trump White House officials who resigned after the deadly Capitol attack on January 6. Today, testifying publicly.

SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president started talking about the rally.

HOLMES (voice-over): After talking to the committee behind closed doors.

MATTHEW POTTINGER, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: One of my staff brought me a printout of a tweet by the president; and the tweet said something to the effect that Mike Pence, the vice president, didn't have the courage to do what he -- what should have been done.

I -- I read that tweet and made a decision at that moment to resign. That's where I knew that I was leaving that day, once I read that tweet.

HOLMES (voice-over): Pottinger, former deputy national security adviser, served under Trump for four years. The former journalist and Marine was brought into the White House as a top Asia adviser by Michael Flynn, who he worked for in the military.

According to "The New York Times," Pottinger told the committee he alerted Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, the National Guard had still not arrived at the Capitol on January 6th.

Former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews was one of several White House aides calling for Trump to condemn the violence on January 6. A source tells CNN his inaction led to her resignation that night. MATTHEWS: He said that we could make the RINOs do the right thing, is

the way he phrased it. And no one spoke up initially, because I think everyone was trying to process what that -- he meant by that.

HOLMES (voice-over): Now she will testify about what she experienced in the White House that day.

MATTHEWS: It was clear that it was escalating, and escalating quickly, so then when that tweet, the Mike Pence tweet, was sent out, I remember us saying that that was the last thing that needed to be tweeted at that moment.

The situation was already bad, and so it felt like he was pouring gasoline on the fire by tweeting that.

HOLMES (voice-over): The Kent State graduate has spent her adult life working in Republican politics, spending her college summers interning for Ohio Senator Rob Portman, then speaker of the House, John Boehner, and helping with the 2016 Republican convention.




HOLMES (voice-over): Joining Trump's reelection campaign before being brought over to the White House by press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

Their testimony comes after that of another young White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, whose bombshell revelations sent shock waves through Washington.


HOLMES: And John and Kaitlan, you heard there, Matthews was urging President Trump to give some sort of statement, one of many people. And that's what the committee says we're also going to see in those outtakes: people around Trump urging him to do something, to say something, to condemn this violence, as well as Trump's lack of action.

COLLINS: Kristen Holmes, thank you.

BERMAN: All right. Joining us now, CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp; CNN senior political analyst, John Avlon; and CNN chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

As Kaitlan was saying, in a way, this is the finale for the January 6th Committee, at least for now. They've built up to this night. They may have more hearings later on. They put it in primetime. They think this is obviously so important.

The question is why? If they're going to talk about the 187 minutes, this dereliction of duty, Jeffrey, why is that so important to the story? JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Because this was a life-or-

death struggle, quite literally, going on at the Capitol. And there was one person in the United States who could have stopped it, and for hour after hour, he didn't. And that's a big story, and that's a story that the committee thinks is worth telling.

BERMAN: Does it have a legal consequence? I know this is a political hearing that the Justice Department is doing separately, but is dereliction of duty a legal issue?

TOOBIN: You know, the -- the -- one of the issues that is often dealt with in criminal law is that failure to act is rarely prosecuted as a crime. That -- that is a difficult thing to prove as a criminal offense.

However, one of the things we will learn in this hearing is -- is that this wasn't just a failure to act. There was other stuff that the president was doing, some of which incited and encouraged this. Most famously and notoriously, the 2:24 tweet about Mike Pence.

Remember, we're talking about a period of roughly 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. when the president was failing to act. It was at 2:24, right in the middle of this period, that he -- he issued this tweet that spurred the rioters to even greater horrors.

COLLINS: And it's not just a failure to act. It's also a resistance to act, because he did give this speech on January 7. I don't really even think it's that well remembered, because it was the day after; and everyone was still processing what had happened that day. But I want to show you what he said and then what the committee is going to talk about today.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now Congress has certified the results. A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.



COLLINS: That's what Trump defenders have pointed to. But if you hear from the testimony, the witness testimony, it was a struggle to get him to do that and to not talk about pardoning the rioters in that speech.

CUPP: Yes.

COLLINS: And to actually say that there was a transition of power.

CUPP: Well, there's a lot we've already uncovered about that day. We know that he didn't do anything really to stop the insurrection for that length of time. And we know he was reportedly pleased with how it was going. But just like Cassidy Hutchinson filled in details we did not know before, I expect a lot of that tonight. And those details will probably be very alarming and jaw-dropping, but it will probably also fall into that category of lawful but awful.

You know, the conduct that's not prosecutable, but that is terrible and that will probably be -- if the -- the hearings have been a seven- layer cake, probably a cherry on top.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I was not expecting the dessert reference this morning.

CUPP: Good morning.

AVLON: You know, look, I think the reason Liz Cheney, in particular, has been focused on dereliction of duty is it goes to the heart of whether he upheld his oath.

This is, let's not forget, a totally unprecedented situation in our history. The president of the United States apparently just watching on television as the Capitol is attacked by his supporters. And real questions about what he did to foment those supporters, what he did to incite them.

The goal is to connect the dots, to find out, in those three hours what was the president doing? How close can we get to figuring out what was in his state of mind? How many people in the White House came to him and urged him to take action? And what were his actions? How did he -- how did he resist?

CUPP: Yes.

AVLON: That's important, not just for the historical record, but I think it has, certainly, political but potentially legal implications.

TOOBIN: Another part of the story is his interactions with Congress during this period. Members of -- members of the House, members of the Senate, what were they doing to encourage him to speak, or what were they doing to encourage him to keep fighting?

CUPP: Yes.

TOOBIN: I mean, that -- the role of members of Congress is -- is important, and I know that's going to be at least part of the focus tonight.

BERMAN: And Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger who, of course, are both on the committee, seem to dig in on that subject whenever they can. They're very focused on what the other Republicans have done and not done in this.

You know, I keep asking questions I find about is it legal or not legal, does this get to a legal question. And it might be that that's not always the right question. It might be that there are other issues here that are just as significant, the political implication, the moral implications of all this that the committee is laying out. So -- so I am aware of that.


But it does get to Merrick Garland's decision about what he does with all of this. And Merrick Garland was pressed on this, the attorney general of the United States, yesterday.

Let's -- let's play a little bit of how he responded to whether or not -- or where he is on the possibility of charging Donald Trump.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: No person is above the law in this country. Nothing stops us --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even a former president?

GARLAND: No -- I don't know how to -- maybe say that again. No person is above the law in this country. I can't say it any more clearly than that.


COLLINS: That's a really notable sound bite from him saying -- you know, the reporter is like trying to follow up. And he's like, no, no, no, just let me get this out and say this and make this clear. I mean, I'm assuming he will be watching very closely tonight.

TOOBIN: He will be watching closely. But it's also worth remembering how the Justice Department works. You know, Merrick Garland is not going to wake up five months from now or six months from now and say, you know, we're going to indict Donald Trump.

There's going to be a process. You know, there will be line investigators. There will be the FBI investigating Donald Trump. There will be a review process of people deciding whether or not an indictment is warranted, and then it will move up the chain to Merrick Garland. He is not going to make this decision in a vacuum.

The question that so many people have is how aggressively are they conducting the investigation now that will lead to that -- that decision several months from now. And that question, I think, remains somewhat mysterious.

CUPP: I agree with you and I appreciate all of that and that the DOJ has to take its time to build its case. All due respect to Merrick Garland, that is not true.

Donald Trump today, where we sit right now, is above the law. Donald Trump has been charged with nothing.

One legal watchdog has said that there are at least 48 potential crimes committed by Donald Trump over the course of his presidency or while he was campaigning.

He has not been charged for any allegations of sexual assault; using the government to punish his opponents; anything in connection with January 6; meddling in elections.

And, look, I'll be super, super, hyper, uber fair, nor has Bill Clinton. He is not alone as being a powerful man who has been thus far above the law.

I'm not a legal analyst, nor a scholar of the law. I'm a normal person. And I think if you're a normal person with, you know, some reason you think, well, Donald Trump has been above the law. It's been 18 months since the insurrection.

AVLON: I mean, what -- what Garland was addressing is this idea that had been reported out that somehow the OLC opinion that said a president is beyond prosecution could be extended.

Now, in the grand scheme of things, I know it's emotionally unsatisfying for people, but it is good for Merrick Garland to be taking extra steps to try to depoliticize the Justice Department after prior politicization. That's good for the republic.

What's not good, and what I think he was trying to clear up yesterday, importantly, is equal justice under law. Even for ex-presidents.

CUPP: Right.

AVLON: This is an unprecedented situation.

CUPP: Right.

AVLON: And I do think the committee has probably -- seems to have urged on and created more urgency around the DOJ. But he was trying to be very clear yesterday with regard to at least criminal liability for trying to overturn an election.

CUPP: But even Donald Trump knows. Donald Trump is telling people in his inner circle he wants to run again.

AVLON: This is the point.

CUPP: Because he knows the presidency will be a shield from indictments and jail time.

AVLON: What he's thinking is that he can do a brushback pitch if he runs and say, look, I'm engaged in the political process again. Therefore, any, you know, indictments are therefore political.

CUPP: He might be right.

COLLINS: Lisa Monaco at the Justice Department has tried to push back on that --


COLLINS: -- saying that's not something that factors into our decision-making. But it is something that factors into everyone else's decision-making.

BERMAN: Can we, John -- Before we run out of time here -- we would be remiss. Matthew Pottinger is someone you have known for decades.


BERMAN: I mean, since you were in knee socks.

AVLON: Not quite.

CUPP: Interesting.

BERMAN: So what kind of guy is going to be in front of the country tonight in prime time?

AVLON: Look, Matt has been of my closest friends since high school. Matt is a deeply honorable person, a journalist turned Marine, turned deputy national security adviser.

I think you can see him speak in a way that's consistent with the testimony he has given. Somebody who puts country over party; someone who tries to reflect a nonpartisan tradition that the military has and brought that into public service; someone who's proud of the work he did for Donald Trump with regard to foreign policy, particularly China.

But also somebody who had the moral clarity to realize that, once January 6th occurred, once as you heard in there, the tweet about Mike Pence was revealed, that he was honor bound to resign.

CUPP: After January 6?

AVLON: On January 6.

COLLINS: He was one of the very few people, a senior official who resigned that day.


COLLINS: A lot of people talked about it. Matthew Pottinger was one of the few people who did it.

AVLON: And I think he will be focusing on that impulse and a reminder to people that we all need to put country over party. And that's -- it's the principles that led to that decision at that moment. Not necessarily more information about the president that day from him at that time, although as you heard, you know, he spoke to Meadows apparently in the outer Oval.


BERMAN: Jeffrey Toobin, S.E. Cupp, John Avlon, I got my timeline wrong with the knee socks in high school.

AVLON: I don't even know what knee socks are.

CUPP: You don't know. He might have been wearing knee socks in high school.

AVLON: I don't know what that is.

BERMAN: No judgment. No judgment.

COLLINS: Any evidence?

BERMAN: No judgment.

TOOBIN: Were you born before World War I with knee socks? It wasn't knee socks.

AVLON: Just rock band T-shirts.

BERMAN: I read a lot of Dickens.

All right. So tonight at 7 p.m., tune into live special coverage. This is the January 6th Committee hearing in prime time. They are going to be talking about these 187 minutes, the conduct of the former president between the time that he gave the speech on the Ellipse to when he finally spoke to the nation by video later that day.

So it's interesting. While this is all going on, Mike Pence returned to the Capitol as Republican lawmakers push him to challenge his former boss for the White House in 2024. We have new CNN reporting.

The director of the CIA throwing cold water on the rumors surrounding Vladimir Putin's health. What he just said about the Russian leader's condition.

COLLINS: And unfortunately, there has been no let-up in the heat that is slow-roasting the country. Some 200 million Americans are facing temperatures of 90 degrees or more right now, so brace yourselves. =



COLLINS: The weather this morning is turning deadly. Two hundred million Americans are bracing for temperatures of 90 degrees or above for the next several days as thermometers are hitting triple-digit records this week in states like Oklahoma and Texas.

Officials also issuing heat alerts in parts of the Northeast, including New York City and Philadelphia. Some of the hottest weather along the East Coast is forecasted for this weekend.

So let's go to CNN meteorologist Chad Myers. Chad, it feels like you're baking when you go outside right now.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It really does. And all of the numbers that I show you on the map are in the shade.

This is the big story. If you're working outside, if you're working on asphalt, if you're in the sunshine, all of these numbers are going to be higher. It is going to approach 100 degrees on Sunday in D.C. Heat advisories

because of the heat and the humidity. It's going to feel like 105, more so down to the South, but excessive heat warnings for the -- for Vegas. How hot does it have to be out there for excessive heat warnings when you know it's going to be hot anyway?

One more thing that this can do. This weather holds a lot of humidity in itself. It's very muggy out there. We've had 8 inches of rain overnight just west of Knoxville. Flash flooding is ongoing, and more of that kind of weather could happen today in other places, from the Northeast all the way down to the South.

This is the area that could see wind, could see lightning, and even a little bit of damage out there. More, of course, heat warnings across the entire country for the rest of the week. This isn't going away. The numbers aren't going down, Kait.

COLLINS: So hot that shade is looking for shade.

MYERS: That's right.

COLLINS: Chad Myers, thank you.

BERMAN: Is that like an Alabama saying?

COLLINS: I just liked it.

BERMAN: All right.

COLLINS: It's hot.

BERMAN: It is very hot. Very hot.

COLLINS: I grew up in the heat, and it's really hot.

BERMAN: New this morning, gas prices are down again. That's 37 straight days down. Now at $4.44 a gallon. That's 20 cents down in a week, 60 cents off the high. This is something that is welcome news for millions of Americans.

Let's get to CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon -- Rahel.

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: John, certainly welcome news. The prices at the pump moving lower and lower each day.

AAA telling me one in four gas stations across the country are lower than $4 a gallon. But to your point, John, remember, it was just about five or six weeks ago that we were talking about $5 a gallon, and there were forecasts for $6 a gallon by the end of the summer.

So what happened? Well, Anthony Gross of AAA puts it this way: "Global economic headwinds" -- in other words, some recession fears -- "are pushing oil prices lower, and less expensive oil leads to lower pump prices. And then here at home, people are fueling up less, despite this being the height of the traditional summer driving season," i.e. some demand destruction. People are pulling are back back on how much gas they're buying, likely because prices became more expensive.

One area, however, that we know is not seeing lower prices, our friends out West, California, they 'e still dealing with prices well above $5 a gallon.

However, if you are in the South, you are seeing prices much lower than that. Texas, for example, South Carolina.

One part of the economy, though, guys, not seeing lower prices, well, that would be the housing market. National Association of Realtors saying that the median home price jumped more than 13 percent compared to last year. That's pushing home sales down 5.4 percent for the month of June compared to the prior month, the fifth straight month of declines.

And it's not just the higher costs of homes. It's also mortgage rates which continue to climb. They've eased a bit. We're now at about 5.5 percent, certainly better than the 6 percent we were at in June.

But guys, take a look at where we were at the beginning of January. We were at about 3 percent. So higher prices, higher borrowing costs, certainly pushing a lot of people out of the market.

I should say, however, that lower demand is exactly what the Fed wants as it is trying to cool inflation and cool spending. But certainly, not a good feeling if you are in the market for a home right now.

And lower gas prices, so there's that.

BERMAN: Again. Again with the giveth and taketh away all at once here. Rahel, thank you very much for that.

So seized decadence. What might be one of these, a rare Faberge egg recovered from a Russian oligarch's yacht. What you get for the czarina who has everything. The story behind the seizure.


COLLINS: Plus, a CNN exclusive. His wife was killed in front of him as Russian troops entered his home. He's now blaming Ukraine. Matthew Chance gives us a look at the filtration process for Ukrainian refugees on Russian soil.


COLLINS: A Faberge egg on a Russian super yacht. The jokes really just write themselves.

U.S. officials may have recovered one of these pricey eggs from a $300 million yacht that has been seized from a Russian oligarch in Fiji. The bejeweled egg, if authentic, would make it one of the few remaining ones in the world, and it could be worth millions.

The Justice Department's KleptoCapture initiative has worked to seize billions in sanctioned assets from these Russian elites since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. [06:30:00]