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Ex-Aides: Trump Watched Attack on TV Instead of Taking Action; GOP Congressman Attacked While On-Stage. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired July 22, 2022 - 06:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: "I don't want to say the election is over." Such revealing words from Donald Trump, caught on tape the day after the insurrection. But even more important than that, more important than not wanting to say the election is over, according to the January 6th Committee, Donald Trump did not want the attack on the Capitol to stop.


I'm John Berman. Brianna is off. Chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is here. And you've been covering this every day for so long, but even then, there was so much new.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: What I was really struck by last night was how much of the reporting in real time they confirmed. People who denied things that we reported they said and did at the time, confirming them under oath to the committee.

But also just the moments that we didn't know about, the small details, the conversations, the chaos in the West Wing that day.

BERMAN: Things we had never heard and things we had never seen. Just a few of the new developments.

Testimony that Trump never made a single call to law enforcement or to the Pentagon. Testimony that the security detail for Vice President Pence was calling loved ones, worried they wouldn't make it out alive. Testimony that Trump initially resisted using the word "peace" while tweeting about the riot while it was happening. Audio of rioters interpreting Trump's tweet in real time, seeming to suggest it gave them a green light to attack the Capitol.

COLLINS: And, quote, "Mike Pence let me down." Those were the last five words that an aide heard Trump say that day before he left the West Wing to go to the residence for the night. Nothing about the attack, according to the committee, just his grievances with Mike Pence.

And one of the most revealing moments of the hearing, the committee showed outtakes from the speech that the former president delivered the day after January 6th, when he refused to acknowledge his defeat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And to those who broke the law, you will pay. You do not represent our movement. You do not represent our country. And if you broke the law -- I can't say that. I'm not -- I already said you will pay.

This election is now over. Congress has certified the results. I don't want to say the election is over.


COLLINS: And you can hear Ivanka Trump helping him edit it in the background as he refused to abandon his election lie.

CNN is told it took about an hour to record that three-minute video.

Let's bring in CNN's Jessica Schneider. Jessica, I mean, it was a remarkable two and a half hours of this hearing last night as the committee just went through minute-by-minute of what happened and really what didn't happen on that day.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kaitlan, you know, the committee compiled this compelling, as you said, minute-by-minute account of Trump's inaction. They documented the pleas from everyone inside and outside the White House for Trump to condemn the violence, all while the former president just sat in his dining room and watched the attack unfold on TV.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): President Trump did not fail to act; he chose not to act.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The House Select Committee Investigating January 6th making the case that then President Trump betrayed his oath of office during the Capitol attack. A White House security official, whose identity was concealed by the panel, details the security concerns in allowing Trump to go to the Capitol after his rally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president wanted to lead 10,000 people to the Capitol. I think that was enough grounds for us to be alarmed.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The committee said within 15 minutes of his speech, Trump returns to the Oval Office and is informed about the violence. From 1:25 until 4 p.m., Trump is in the dining room, watching the riot unfold on TV.

The official White House call log reflects no calls during that crucial period, and the daily diary is blank. The White House photographer said she was told not to make pictures.

The committee has learned from former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani's phone records that the two spoke at least twice during those 187 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to try and get compliance, but this is now effectively a riot.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Once the D.C. Police declare a riot, White House staff start to push Trump to release a forceful statement condemning the violence and telling everyone to leave. He resists, instead sending tweets that many close to Trump think aren't strong enough.

PAT CIPOLLONE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I believe more needed to be done. OK? I believed that a public statement needed to be made.

I can't think of anybody, you know, on that day who didn't want people to get out of the -- the Capitol once the -- you know, particularly once the violence started. No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the president?


CIPOLLONE: I can't reveal communications, but obviously, I think -- you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you can't really tell on TV --


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): the committee released audio of the frantic dash by the Secret Service to get then-Vice President Pence to safety. Safety.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They've entered the building. Hold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harden that door up. If we're moving, we need to move now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The members of the V.P. detail at this time were starting to fear for their own lives. There were calls to say good-bye to family members, so on, so forth. It was getting -- for whatever the reason was on the ground, the V.P. detail thought that this was about to get very ugly.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Some rioters were reading Trump's tweets, too, as revealed in audio presented by the committee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump just tweeted, "Please support our Capitol Police. They are on our side. Do not harm them."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's saying a lot by what he didn't say. He didn't say not to do anything to the congressmen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he did not ask them to stand down. He just said stand by the Capitol Police. They are on our side, and they are good people. So it's getting real down there.


TRUMP: I know your pain. SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Hours into the attack, Trump finally releases

a video message telling rioters, "We love you," and they should go home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here delivering the president's message. Donald Trump wants everybody to go home.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): He sends another tweet just after 6 p.m., falsely repeating that the election was stolen. Within a half hour, he retires to the residence for the night.

KINZINGER: President Trump reflected on the day's events with a White House employee. He said only, quote, "Mike Pence let me down."

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Several witnesses testified that Trump did not try to call law enforcement or military officials on January 6th, while Pence worked the phones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever hear the vice -- excuse me, the president --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- ask for the National Guard?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever hear the president ask for law enforcement response?


GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Vice President Pence, there were two or three calls with Vice President Pence. He was very animated, and he issued very explicit, very direct, unambiguous orders.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The committee also presented never-before-seen video outtakes of Trump recording a speech the following day, where he refused to say the election was over.

TRUMP: And to those who broke the law, you will pay. You do not represent our movement. You do not represent our country. And if you broke the law -- I can't say that. I'm not -- I already said you will pay.

But this election is now over. Congress has certified the results. I don't want to say the election is over.


SCHNEIDER (on camera): And we also heard last night for the first time from a D.C. Police sergeant who confirmed that he heard that Trump had a heated discussion with his detail about his desire to go to the Capitol on January 6th. Committee member Zoe Lofgren now says that those agents involved,

including Tony Ornato and Bobby Engel, they have now retained private lawyers. The committee is also saying that they are getting more information by the day, Kaitlan and John, and that we should expect more hearings to come in September -- guys.

COLLINS: Yes. It's remarkable. It was at the last hearing is what they seemed to be saying at the beginning of that.

Jessica Schneider, thank you.

BERMAN: All right. So what now? What's the big takeaway? Jeffrey Toobin, CNN chief legal analyst. This committee tried to make the case that Donald Trump didn't fail to act; he chose not to.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, and it's really more than failing to act. It's a series of acts shown throughout this -- these hearings, that he encouraged the false narrative that he won the election and the violence.

I mean, you know, the -- I guess the question that kept ringing in my ears throughout last night and all these hearings is how can you prosecute hundreds of people in this whole fiasco and not prosecute the one person who was behind it all?

And even at the White House, the one thing that -- another thing that struck me last night is that there was no one at the White House except Trump encouraging this. Every single person you heard about there was trying to stamp it down, and he was the one who refused to do it. The only one.

COLLINS: And that became that moment where Pat Cipollone was asked -- Liz Cheney asked, is there anyone in the staff or in the White House that did not want the rioters to leave? And the only person he wouldn't name was Trump, because citing executive privilege.

TOOBIN: And that's in many respects the whole story; and that's going to be the real challenge for the Justice Department. How do you justify prosecuting everyone else except the one person behind it all?

COLLINS: Do you think, Errol, that it raises his criminal exposure at all?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What we saw last night? Not necessarily. I mean, we -- we've seen a case that was built up over weeks and months. And we now know that he was, in fact, behind so much of this.

On the other hand, the very key question about whether or not he can be prosecuted, I think in some ways is sort of superseded by what are the rest of us going to do, whether or not the president, you know, gets into a long, protracted, multiyear fight over whether or not he can be prosecuted? I think the question on the table is what happens in the midterms? What happens in 2024?

What happens -- is Congress -- let's keep in mind this is a hearing for a Congress that may then take up some legislation, tighten up some of the Electoral Count Act questions, make clear that it's only a ministerial role that the vice president is playing. Sort of tighten things up so that this never happens again. I think that's probably the most important part of all of this.

Whether or not Donald Trump has to, you know, face a judge and a jury behind his actions here, a lesser question, I think.

BERMAN: Nia, what surprised you the most?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What surprised me the most was the three hours of him sitting there in the dining room watching it on TV. That visual, right, of his inaction and the violence that we saw unfolding on TV.


He, in many ways, was sort of the producer of the show, the director of the show, who didn't ever want to yell cut. And in so many ways, his silence was the green light for those folks to keep going for those three hours.

When, in fact, he did tweet, they were looking at his tweets and taking directions from him.

The fear, too, right? I mean, we all saw this unfold on TV, but to hear the fear from those Secret Service agents, calling their families; to see Josh Hawley who, of course, earlier that day seemed to urge the rioters on, he was afraid for his life, running and scurrying through the hallway.

It -- it is always shocking to imagine that this was a president, not only dereliction of his duty as president, but really just as a human, right, seeing this unfold on TV and not doing anything about it.

TOOBIN: But it wasn't -- it wasn't just silence. It wasn't just inaction. One -- one of the big themes of this whole hearing has been the 2:24 tweet.

I mean, remember, we're talking about three hours of silence, approximately 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. when the riot was taking place. At 2:24, right in the middle, when the violence is at its peak, when the police are completely out of control, he sends that 2:24 tweet where he says, you know -- he attacks Mike Pence, which does nothing except spur the rioters on in the middle of the riot. That is just the most devastating evidence, I think.

COLLINS: And to read that tweet and to see it now, compared to what the committee showed last night, which really struck me. One of the most telling moments, I think, was this chatter, the radio chatter from Pence's Secret Service detail.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, (EXPLETIVE DELETED), they've taken the building. Hold. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harden that door up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we're moving, we need to move now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we lose any more time, we may have -- we may lose the ability to -- to leave. So if we're going to leave, we need to do it now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They've gained access to the second floor. And I've got public about five feet from me down here below.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Copy. They are on the second floor, moving in now. We may want to consider getting out and leaving now. Copy?


BERMAN: Can I just say, I didn't know such a thing existed. I didn't know that that was something that the public, that we could hear. So that just struck me as unusual.

COLLINS: And not only can we hear it, the committee revealed the National Security Council staff back at the White House is able to listen to it in real time. So they did have an understanding at the White House of what was being said and the complete scramble that was ensuing as they were saying things like we may not have time to move if we do not move now.

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean, this could have been so much worse, right? It was awful; people died; police officers were caught in the middle of that. But, you know, one false move, and it could have been much, much worse.

And you heard the Secret Service agents there saying, Listen, this could get worse. We need to call our families, because we might not make it out alive.

The violence there that happened, that -- that Donald Trump knew about. Right? He knew that those folks had weapons. He wasn't concerned because, again, he said they're not after me. He knew they were after other folks, and he was completely fine with it.

LOUIS: Yes, that cries out for follow-up. I mean, you know, the fact that they knew in the White House that this was going on, that Secret Service agents are calling their families saying, This might be the end of my life, you know, we don't know where this is going to go. I'd love to see a little bit more detail about that.

You know, people clearly in the situation room or wherever else they were picking this up from had to report that to somebody. Did that somebody go into the dining room and talk to the president? Why are there no logs of what the president was doing and who he was calling during those three hours? You know, we really have a lot more questions. And I think that's partly why the committee is going to continue to meet. BERMAN: You know, what may be revealing would be text messages, say,

between Secret Service officers and agents on that day that now appear to have been deleted or perhaps haven't been produced at all. So everything is now tied together.

Jeffrey, we were talking before. We alluded to that moment with Pat Cipollone. We saw much more of the videotaped deposition from the former White House counsel. And there was that moment. Liz Cheney was in on the questioning where they were pressing him: Was there anyone who thought that what was happening in the Capitol shouldn't stop? I think we have that exchange. It's S-22. Let's play it.

We do not have S-22. So what happened there was, again, they went back and forth with Pat Cipollone saying is there anyone? Is there anyone who didn't want this to stop in the staff, and Pat Cipollone says no. And then Liz Cheney basically asks, well, what about the president, and there's this long pregnant pause.


TOOBIN: Right. Where he -- where he says, I can't answer because of executive privilege, but the implication is quite clear. And also, given the conduct the rest of the -- from the rest of the hearing, you know that Trump was the one person in the White House who not only refused to stop or do what he could do stop the hearing [SIC] -- to stop the attack; he was encouraging it.

And it's -- it's just horrifying. And, you know, again, combining it with earlier parts of the hearing, where the only people who were -- who were encouraging this kind of behavior were the Sidney Powells, the Rudy Giulianis, the outside advisers, whom Cipollone and others regarded as terrible influences on the president. But they were the only ones who wanted this fight to continue.

COLLINS: And the thing is it wasn't just chaos at the Capitol that day. Obviously, it's a different kind of chaos as these rioters were descending upon it.

But what we heard from the witnesses last night, including Sarah Matthews, who was a deputy to Kayleigh McEnany. She sat right outside her office. And she talked about even the debate that was ensuing among staff over what Trump should do.

And it also just shows how their previous four years in office had played into how they were making decision that day, even as rioters were storming the Capitol. And it's in -- it's SOT 15 where Sarah Matthews was talking about a debate over whether or not Trump should put out a statement to quell the violence.


SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I couldn't believe that we were arguing over this in the middle of the West Wing, talking about the politics of a tweet, being concerned with handing the media a win when we had just watched all of that violence unfold at the Capitol. And so I motioned up at the TV, and I said, "Do you think it looks like we're 'F'-ing winning? Because I don't think it does."


COLLINS: So she was saying a staffer was worried about condemning the rioters, because it would look like they were giving the media a win.

HENDERSON: Yes, and this is sort of Trumpism, right? The idea that we've got to own the libs and the fake media, and we can't give them a win, so they are reflecting Trump's approach to the media, Trump's approach to the insurrection, Trump's approach to the rioters.

But to see her there with all her kind of courage and forthrightness and talking about what happened that day, so many other people haven't been brave enough to do that. Something Liz Cheney talked about in that closing statement. I mean, she's always full of fire in those closing statements.

And she's saying there that, you know, 60-, 70-year-old men who are hiding behind privilege, and these younger White House staffers, a lot of them women, coming forward and telling Americans what happened for history's sake so we can know what happened so that this doesn't happen again.

LOUIS: One of the key things that they were debating about, which I found just mind-blowing, was the notion that they didn't necessarily, in some cases, want the President to step in front of the cameras and try and quell the violence, because they -- they weren't sure he was going to do that.

You know, they -- they made very clear he could have just walked down the hallway to -- to the Brady briefing room, where a camera is running at all times. He could have stepped up to the podium. It would have taken just a couple of seconds, but they didn't know what he was going to say.

TOOBIN: And the outtakes from the following day show that they were right.


TOOBIN: They were right to worry about what the president was going to say, because he didn't even want to give up the day after.


TOOBIN: You know, the outtakes are -- I almost have never seen presidential outtakes.

BERMAN: I've never seen anything like that.

TOOBIN: Yes. I mean --

COLLINS: Staffers -- Can I say, former staffers were stunned that they had access to that, the committee had that. I think it has something to do with the Presidential Records Act. You can't destroy something like that, some kind of material used and taped on a White House device.

But those outtakes, I guarantee you Trump did not know --

HENDERSON: Oh, my goodness.

COLLINS: -- that they were going to know that they could access them.

TOOBIN: I certainly have never seen outtakes of other presidents preparing -- preparing for speeches. But outtakes are so revealing, because you get to see President -- a president -- here, President Trump -- editing in real time what his staff wants him to say and what he's willing to say.

And that line, I'm not going to say the election is over, on January 7th is so revealing that here we are in July 2022, and he's calling a political official in Wisconsin, saying he wants the election overturned, even now.

HENDERSON: And he had to hate seeing those outtakes. I mean, we know that he's watching these hearings. He was tweeting about it. At some point, he is such a vain and narcissistic man, to see himself there saying -- I think at some point he said, I can't say the word "yesterday," it's a hard word to say.

I'm sure he hated seeing himself, in some ways, look like a fool, somebody who needed to be coached into saying what was needed to be said in that instance.

BERMAN: Right. Nia, Errol, Jeffrey, thank you all for being with us this morning.

Ahead, we are going to speak with January 6th Committee member Jamie Raskin about what happened last night, but also importantly, what's next, now that we've learned there are more hearings coming in September.


So more revelations from the hearing. What made Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone exert -- assert executive privilege? George Conway joins us live.

COLLINS: And there's also been quite a scare on the campaign trial.


REP. LEE ZELDIN (R-NY), NEW YORK GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: And there's only -- there's only one option --


COLLINS: Congressman Lee Zeldin attacked by someone who ran on-stage in New York. Police now say they have that man in custody.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: This morning Republican candidate for governor of New York, Congressman Lee Zeldin, is safe after being attacked during a campaign event last night. Zeldin's campaign says a man climbed on-stage and attempted to stab him.


CNN's Brynn Gingras joins me now. Brynn, this was remarkable to see this man be able to get on-stage that quickly, and luckily, they are OK.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I feel like we've kind of been seeing this in all different forms. Right? I mean, we've seen this in comedy. Now we're seeing it on the campaign trail.

Republican congressman, running for New York governor, on that campaign stop in Monroe County last night. I want you to watch, again, what happened next.


ZELDIN: This is our last stand for New York, and there's only -- there's only one option --


COLLINS: So it might have been a little hard to see from the distance there, but that video showing Rep. Lee Zeldin on stage, talking in front of that crowd when this man who was in the audience, according to police, walks up and swings his arm towards Zeldin's neck before the congressman grabs his other arm. And then others tackle that man to the ground, restraining him until authorities could get there.

Now, Zeldin says that man tried to stab him. Police identified the alleged attacker as 43-year-old David Jakubonis. They say he had a weapon in his hand and said "You're done" as he approached Zeldin.

Jakubonis is charged with second-degree attempted assault, and he's been arraigned. And get this: he's already out of jail on his own recognizance.

Luckily, no one was hurt, and Zeldin did return to finish his campaign speech.

Now, Governor Kathy Hochul, his opponent in the upcoming race, said this. She's "relieved to hear that Congressman Zeldin was not injured and that that suspect was taken into custody. I condemn this violent behavior in the strongest terms possible. It has no place in New York."

Of course, this is something that is up for discussion on the campaign trail, right? Are all these bail reform laws and the fact that he's now no longer in jail. And of course, I mean, just terrifying incident right there in front of everybody.

COLLINS: It's a terrifying video. And he has little daughters. And just to see that man be able to get up on-stage that quickly is very scary.

BERMAN: Yes. There's no place --

GINGRAS: Absolutely.

BERMAN: -- for in this our society. Thanks, Brynn.

GINGRAS: Absolutely no place.

COLLINS: Thank you so much.

Meanwhile, the conservative attorney George Conway is going to join us next on what surprised him the most at that three-hour hearing last night.

BERMAN: Plus, significant new information on the now criminal investigation involving the missing Secret Service texts from January 5th and January 6th.