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Trump "Chose Not To Act" As Supporters Attacked the Capitol; Criminal Probe Underway Into Secret Service's Deleted Texts; Biden Isolating At White House With Mild COVID Symptoms; WH COVID Coordinator Joins New Day On Biden's COVID Diagnosis. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired July 22, 2022 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Going to start the morning for those fans.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Sorry about that. Johnson actually --
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The Yankees are the lossiest (ph) team. They're the lossiest team in baseball in the second half so far. No one has lost more in the second half than the New York Yankees. Coy Wire, thank you so much.
COLLINS: Probably going to --
BERMAN: Thank you.
WIRE: You got it right.
BERMAN: All right, we have fantastic news, even beyond that. We want to welcome the newest addition to the CNN family. Meet Luca Ellison Clark. He arrived Thursday to mother, Congressional Correspondent Lauren Fox and father Kellin Clark. Baby Luca weighing in at six pounds, 14 ounces. Lauren says everyone is doing great, and the family is taking the time to treasure their new little one. Just a huge congratulations to all of them.
COLLINS: I bet Lauren is already teaching him the legislative --
COLLINS: He's going to be the smartest baby who can do whip counts by like preschool.
BERMAN: That's right. He -- the kids reserving the balance of his time already. NEW DAY continues right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Can a president who is willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of January 6th, ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That was Congresswoman Liz Cheney with a question, an extraordinary question, closing this round of hearings from the January 6th Committee. It was a question, but it also seems to be the main argument from the committee as they presented new evidence of what they call Donald Trump's dereliction of duty during the insurrection. I'm John Berman. Brianna is off, Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins is here.
COLLINS: And what a remarkable night that was. I mean, going through that hearing, you know, all of these have had like a little bit of new information. But last night, I think they really tried to get behind the scenes, which is what, you know, we have been trying to do as reporter since that day, of what was going on.
BERMAN: Confirmations of things that had been reported by terrific reporters like you, but also new elements, new audio, new video that in some cases I don't think we knew even existed.
COLLINS: And I think it hits home differently when it's reporting that we have which we know is true because we know the sources that we're speaking to. And then, when you actually see people like Pat Cipollone, the top lawyer in the White House, confirming it in testimony to the committee.
BERMAN: Yes, Cipollone, among others, testifying that President Trump never called law enforcement or the Pentagon during the insurrection, that we heard this audio of the Vice President's security detail, we heard testimony that they were calling loved ones to say goodbye.
COLLINS: And that quote that was so remarkable, "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 his vice president. And one of the most revealing moments of the hearing, the committee showed outtakes, remarkable outtakes from the speech that Trump delivered the day after January 6th, refusing to acknowledge his own 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 going to -- you -- 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Also, in that video, you can hear Ivanka Trump helping out her dad edit that statement in the background. CNN has told it actually took about an hour to record that video that ended up being just three minutes, John.
BERMAN: All right, joining us now to lay out some of the biggest takeaways from this hearing, CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig, he's a former state and federal prosecutor. And Elie, the committee build this as their case that Donald Trump was in dereliction of duty during the 187 minutes between his speech and the video. Dereliction of duty you say and then some.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, let's take a look at this clip, John, because I think this shows the best example, where it went beyond dereliction of duty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT CIPOLLONE, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: And generically say. Then I said, you know, people need to be told, there needs to be a public announcement fast, that they need to leave the Capitol.
SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER TRUMP DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And I've seen the impact that his words have on his supporters. He -- they truly latch on to every word in every tweet that he says. And so, I think that in that moment, for him to tweet out the message about Mike Pence, it was him pouring gasoline on the fire, and making it much worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HONIG: So, the theme was dereliction of duty, but I actually think the committee proved quite a bit more than that. No doubt, there's plenty of evidence about things Donald Trump did not do, refused to do, refused to call for military help, refused to call for law enforcement help, refused to issue a clear statement calling off the rioters. Essentially, all he did was sit in the private dining room and watch the riot unfold on cable news. But let's remember, he sent that 2:24 p.m. tweet, verbally attacking Mike Pence. And that's so important because we know what happened next, two minutes later, Mike Pence gets evacuated, the rioters come within 40 feet of Mike Pence and his detail, causing members of the Secret Service to fear for their lives.
And if I'm looking at this from a prosecutorial angle, John, the dereliction of duty, the failure to act, that's really important because it goes to Trump's intent to the larger conspiracy, to steal the election, to obstruct Congress. But that 2:24 tweet, that jumps out at me because that's an affirmative act as Sarah Matthews pouring gasoline on the fire.
BERMAN: You also say we saw last night corroboration from testimony we'd seen before from Cassidy Hutchison. Let's see that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you say, heated, is that your word or is that the word that was described by the TS agent?
SGT. MARK ROBINSON (RET. ), DC METROPOLITAN POLICE: No, they're described by the TSA, meaning that the President was upset. And he was saying there was a heated argument or discussion about going to the Capitol.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HONIG: Well, this is more corroboration, more support for Cassidy Hutchinson on a critical point. It often happens in investigations, John, where a witness will tell you something important, and then another witness will deny it. But you don't just throw up your hands and say, oh, well, what are you going to do? You dig into the evidence; you use your common sense. If we do that here, Cassidy Hutchinson testified under oath that she was told by this guy, Tony Ornato, used to be a Secret Service agent, became a Trump White House official, that Donald Trump wanted badly to go to the Capitol, the Secret Service prevented him, and he lunged at the steering wheel and at a Secret Service agent. Ornato comes along, not directly through a spokesperson, not under oath, and says, no, it didn't happen.
Well, let's do the math here. Donald Trump has already publicly admitted that he did want to go to the Capitol. He said that in an interview back in April, that corroborates a key part of Hutchinson's testimony. Now, this witness, this police officer backs up Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony again. Ornato meanwhile has still not testified, now he has a lawyer. So, when you do the balance in my mind, it's not even a close contest. Cassidy Hutchinson wins that credibility contest.
BERMAN: It can be also laid out holes in the Trump timeline, and the absence of some records. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): There's no official record of President Trump receiving or placing a call between 11:06 and 6:54 p.m. As to what the President was doing that afternoon, the presidential daily diary is also silent. It contains no information from the period between 1:21 p.m. and 4:03 p.m. The chief White House photographer wanted to take pictures because it was, in her words, very important for his archives and for history. But she was told, quote, no photographs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HONIG: How the heck are there no records, no phone records during the crucial time, the daily diary is missing during the crucial time, and not even any photographs? That, to me, is remarkably telling. And let's remember here, this -- if you can dig into this, if you can prove that somebody took efforts to make sure there's no records for this day, that goes to what we call consciousness of guilt. If people either destroyed records, we don't have evidence of that, but said, hey, let's make sure we don't put anything on the record here, that can be used, again, to show intent. You usually don't cover up unless you have a good reason.
Also interesting, testimony that the President didn't call any security in to help in the Capitol but did call Rudy Giuliani or talked to him more than once. OK, Elie, you look at all of this and also say, you heard some evidence of an acknowledgement of responsibility. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I asked him personally today, does he hold responsibility for what happened? Does he feel bad about what happened? He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. Then, he needs to acknowledge that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HONIG: So, we've heard this recording before, but boy, does that jump off the page. Because in all the evidence we've seen, all the hours, this is the one and only piece of evidence where Donald Trump himself acknowledges some responsibility for that Capitol attack. The only person who can testify about that directly is Kevin McCarthy. He was subpoenaed, he has gone AWOL, no consequences, but you know who can subpoena Kevin McCarthy and probably make him testify? His prosecutors.
BERMAN: Elie Hoenig, thank you very much for that.
COLLINS: Joining us now to break all of this down is Maggie Haberman, CNN Political Analyst and senior political correspondent for The New York Times. Daniel Goldman, former federal prosecutor and the House's lead impeachment counsel, and Norm Eisen, former House Judiciary special counsel in Trump's first impeachment trial. Norm, the purpose that the committee wanted to get done last night was to establish that there was a dereliction of duty on Trump's behalf. Do you think they effectively did so?
NORM EISEN, FORMER HOUSE JUDICIARY SPECIAL COUNSEL IN TRUMP'S FIRST IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: I do think they showed a dereliction of duty. It wasn't only the mountain of evidence that they poured in contrasting the violence on the Capitol. And everyone in the White House wanting Trump to do something. Pence reaching out to the Pentagon, others making efforts, Trump totally failed. It was also, Kaitlan, the stage craft. Dan and I know about that from our experience together in impeachment.
They contrasted Trump's inaction with the action of others, not just Pence, but people like their two live witnesses, Pottinger and Matthews, and the people who were following their duty to former service members, Luria and Kinzinger, who were conducting the hearing. I thought it was a very effective presentation.
DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I agree with Norm, but -- and the other thing that you have to think about is all of the requests, all of the pressure, everybody trying so desperately to get Donald Trump to do something, his family, his White House Counsel, his Chief of Staff, Kevin McCarthy, the list goes on. Everybody was trying to get him to call off the mob because everybody knew that only he could. And he sat there and he refused. And the reason why? This was his last, desperate gasp to hold on to power. Pence was his last hope on January 6th to say no. He put inordinate pressure on him, even causing him real threat to his life.
And then, when that didn't work, he was just going to sit there and delay and delay and delay to try to just make sure that this never happens. It is unconscionable and sociopathic, that the President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief, sat in his dining room watching a riot, a violent insurrection at the Capitol, and he did nothing to stop it.
COLLINS: And Meadows, one of the texts that they had read that he had sent to someone, said that POTUS is very emotional and in a bad place that night. Maggie, I just wonder, obviously, you covered this in real time. But I wonder when you watched this hearing last night, what stood out to you the most?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Kaitlan, it's hard to narrow it down. I mean, I think as you and John talked about earlier, a lot of this affirmed real-time reporting by you, by me, by a bunch of other reporters. But the fact that you were hearing all of these White House aides, just describing what they were going through, basically trying to grab a sitting president by the lapels and telling him, you need to do something here. And it wasn't doing anything. Again, it's not that it changed the arc of what we know, it really didn't, it affirmed the arc of what we know, in enormous detail. And the level of disgust in the words of people like Sarah Matthews, as she testified live yesterday, about what she was experiencing.
The piece I was really struck by, Kaitlan, were those outtakes of former President Trump in that video that was filmed on January 7th, where he says, I don't want to say the election was stolen. He sounds defiant. He sounds angry that he is doing this. The outtakes with Donald Trump, when he prerecords something are always more important. And I thought that was a fascinating and revealing piece of video.
BERMAN: What about the outtakes, Norm? You had said coming into this hearing, you thought they'd be some of the most important evidence. What now?
EISEN: Well, we're turning now that we've reached the end of this series, initial series of eight hearings to the outcomes. What are the concrete actions going to be coming out of these hearings? One of them is going to be the very serious consideration of prosecution with a state prosecutor in Atlanta, looking very hard at charges. Target letters have gone out, warning of prosecutions, and of course, the DOJ. These outtakes go to Donald Trump's intent, because they show -- that was so striking to me. I don't want to say the election is stolen. That's his motive. That's the state of mind.
And when you contrast that with what we heard in the beginning of these hearings, witness after witness, the insiders, Bill Barr, Pat Cipollone, Jason Miller, and Bill Stepien from his campaign telling him, you lost. The lawyers telling him, you have no legal claims left. But this is his motive. It goes to intent, very important for consequences.
COLLINS: Go ahead.
GOLDMAN: Well, I was just going to say, the other thing that I would add on is, yes, there'll be a lot of focus on the DOJ now, and there should be, and Fani Willis down in Atlanta. But it's not as if Donald Trump says, oh, you know what, I was wrong. Let's get back to normal. He is still pushing the big lie, he is still gearing up to steal the 2024 election. He has placed his acolytes in positions of power in the state elections, who have -- and they have changed the laws to allow states to overturn the will of the people to allow partisan-elected officials to do so, based merely on allegations of fraud. That's all Donald Trump ever had. That's all Rudy Giuliani ever had. We've seen ample evidence that they have had no evidence.
But now they've changed the law, so that you don't need evidence to actually overturn the will of the people. So, one of the points that Liz Cheney, I think, has made so well is this is not over. Donald Trump has not gone off into the good night, he is still the leader of the party. He is still trying to steal -- gear up to take back his position, not through an election, but through power and installment as a dictator. And the threat continues.
COLLINS: Maggie, that was really the point that Liz Cheney did make there at the end, as you know, noted, she really distilled that that he is not someone who's gone away from political life. He is the frontrunner for the Republican Party for 2024.
HABERMAN: That's exactly right. Look, Kaitlan, I reported last year that Donald Trump was telling people that he expected to be reinstated in August. This was a theory with absolutely no basis in reality, that was being pushed by an ally, Mike Lindell. And he was -- Trump was trying to encourage people to echo it. That was the first warning sign this was not going away in addition to his public statements. He has continued, he has continued trying to pressure officials in Wisconsin to decertify the election, he has continued to spread baseless lies about, you know, the sanctity of the vote, and whether there was widespread fraud. And he will, I expect, continue to do that.
So, I do think you saw Cheney try to draw a tie saying, this is not just the past. This is this moment we are living in in the present. Whether this gets through to anyone and changes their minds, I think is an open question, Kaitlan. But that hearing was pretty astonishing in terms of the case that laid out.
BERMAN: You know, and again, that question that she asked at the very end, can a president who was willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of January 6th ever be trusted with any position of authority to our great nation? Again, she asked that as a question. You can also read it as a statement. But I'm curious who it was being posed to? Is she posing that to the Justice Department? Is that for Merrick Garland? Is that for voters? Is that for members of Congress to somehow get involved and do something? To whom is she addressing that, Maggie?
HABERMAN: I think she's addressing it to all of the above, John. I mean, I think there's certainly been frustration on the part of the committee that they believe DOJ has not always moved the way they would like. A lot of this is targeted for their consumption. There certainly is the piece with voters, you have seen Cheney make that case to her own voters in her race in Wyoming, where she is the underdog in a primary fight now, in part because she has spoken out so aggressively against Trump since January 6th. I think she is making this case broadly because it is going to take, I think, in her mind, multiple avenues for people to address what she sees as a -- as an existential threat posed by Donald Trump.
COLLINS: And Trump wasn't the only 2024 candidate that was kind of alluded to last night. Josh Hawley is also someone who is rumored to potentially run, and the committee went out of their way --
BERMAN: No pun intended, sorry.
COLLINS: Yes, running in two different ways. The committee went out of their way to show this video of Hawley, who earlier in the day, had pumped a fist at the rioters running through the halls of the Senate. You can see him there on the right, as he comes down the stairs, running as all of these lawmakers were escaping the rioters that were descending on the Capitol. What did you make of that?
GOLDMAN: Well, wait, there's also video from within the room of the hearing room, where when he is shown running across the Senate floor, everyone burst into laughter. It was completely gratuitous. Josh Hawley had really nothing to do with this. But the committee wanted to make the point that if you are going to be on the side of evil in this, you're going to be exposed. And so, maybe it's for 2024 or maybe it's just because he was riling up the crowd beforehand. And then as soon as the crowd came in, he started running like a baby away. But it was -- it was pretty comical. The other thing that really jumps out now is what happens with Mike Pence? The evidence is so strong that Donald Trump was trying to put Mike Pence in jeopardy. And Mike Pence has had his lawyer testify, his chief of staff testified. But he has thus far, we understand, resisted testifying. I think these eight hearings ratchet up the pressure on Mike Pence to come in and to explain what -- his perspective that day.
EISEN: Pence was a hero of January 6th, and we saw more of that today. When you had that -- they put together the mosaic of evidence yesterday about how close to crowd came to him and the alarm and the danger, the radio transmissions, the danger, but he and the Republican Party -- and this is what Kinzinger when he said it's still out there and what Cheney was talking about at the end of the hearing. He and the Republican Party have not really come to grips with what is still out there.
And they're doing this triangulation. Cipollone did it, too. He didn't have to stand behind executive privilege, he wanted to do enough to avoid criminal contempt, but not so much as to piss off Donald Trump. That is a test of courage that Mike Pence is now going to face.
GOLDMAN: And by the way, I think very quickly, executive privilege goes away when DOJ gets to Cipollone. Because --
GOLDMAN: Well, I think they will. I think they will, because there's no executive privilege for misconduct. There's no executive privilege to conceal wrongdoing. And there's no question that Trump's dereliction of duty and his refusal to do anything is wrongdoing. This goes back to the Nixon case. So, I think that DOJ will be able to pierce that privilege veil, and they will get from Cipollone all of the testimony.
EISEN: It wouldn't be a Dan and Norm get together if we didn't have at least one disagreement. We are friends but we debate. If you look at what DOJ did, Dan, with Meadows, with Scavino, where they failed to charge, I think that there is a conservatism within the department, and they are very cautious. I fought with them when I worked in the White House at the Office of Legal Counsel, they're so protective, too protective of the prerogatives of the presidency. I think they may tread a little more lightly looking ahead to a new Congress that is going to target Joe Biden and his administration, where they're going to want to use executive privilege as a shield. So, I think it may be a slightly more complicated calculus.
GOLDMAN: That's the practical view, and mine is the legal view.
COLLINS: We'll be waiting to see. Daniel, Norm, Maggie, thank you so much for joining us this morning.
BERMAN: So, we're going to hear from a former Secret Service agent as we learned that Mike Pence's security detail, feared for their lives.
COLLINS: Plus, President Trump's refusal to acknowledge the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Members of his family are going to join us live with their reaction. And meanwhile, President Biden is now isolating at the White House with mild symptoms after he tested positive for COVID-19. We have an update from the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha.
COLLINS: This morning, President Biden is isolating at the White House after he tested positive for COVID-19 for the first time. An unmasked Biden quickly on Twitter to assure the country he's just experiencing mild symptoms, he's been vaccinated twice, he's gotten two booster shots, his most recent one in March. And he sent out a tweet saying that he is doing fine and continuing to work in isolation at the White House until at least next Tuesday. His wife, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden is considered a close contact, but she tested negative, and will be spending the weekend in Delaware.
BERMAN: And joining us now, White House COVID Response Coordinator, Dr. Rajiv Shah. Dr. Shah, thank you for being with us. When was the last time you got an update on President Biden's condition? DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE COVID RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Yes, I got an update last night at 10pm. And he was doing just fine. I'm going to touch base with his medical team. I'm going to speak to him again -- myself directly this morning. But as of 10:00 p.m. last night, which was my last update, he was doing great.
BERMAN: Just fine, elaborate, better or worse than he was in the morning when we first heard about this?
JHA: The symptoms were basically the same. Again, he's got a little runny nose. He's got a bit of a dry cough. He was feeling -- you know, he worked all day yesterday, he was on phone calls, he was on Zoom calls, worked through the evening. And as of 10:00 p.m., as I said, when I talked to the folks, his medical team who had last seen him right around 10:00 p.m. or last talked to him right around 10:00 p.m., he said he was feeling just fine.
BERMAN: Any sign, though? Any symptoms that are getting worse?
JHA: Nope. As of -- again, as of 10:00 p.m., last night, no, it was the same symptoms, about the same level of mildness. But I'll check in with them this morning, I'll check in with him this morning. And I'll be happy to report back.
BERMAN: It's wonderful to hear from you, Dr. Jha, as always on this. But why can't we check in with the President's doctors? The White House doctor often briefs the press and briefs the public when there is an issue with the President's health. Why have not we heard from them?
Well, I think you have heard -- there's Dr. O'Connor is his personal physician, you have heard from Dr. O'Connor in a letter. We are fully committed to transparency here. You're going to hear every day from Dr. O'Connor through written communication. He was going to put out his own statement with his assessment of how the President is doing. And then, the second part is, you know, we're all in pretty constant contact, we're speaking to each other. I'll be speaking to the President every day. That combination means that the American people will have a very full, complete picture of how the President is doing.
BERMAN: But no plans to make him available to the press or the public as of now?
JHA: You know, Dr. O'Connor is going to be sharing his information. I will be out there. I think you're going to hear from a variety of administration officials about the President, but obviously, the clinical physicians, me, Dr. Fauci, you'll hear from, who's also been in touch with the White House. I think you're going to hear from a variety of us.
BERMAN: We understand the President is taking Paxlovid. We do know there have been cases, not just a few of a recurrence of symptoms after patients stopped taking Paxlovid. What are the specific concerns there?
JHA: Yes, let's talk about what we know. There's this thing called rebound. The best clinical data we have suggests it happens about five, seven percent of the time, meaning it's pretty infrequent. 90 to 95 percent times doesn't happen at all. And the good news is even when that happens, people end up doing just fine. Remember, the goal of Paxlovid is to keep people out of the hospital, to prevent serious illness. One of the reasons we have been so vocal that Americans anybody above the age of 50, anybody with chronic diseases should seriously consider getting Paxlovid. The reason is it -- is it works remarkably well at keeping people from getting seriously ill. The President obviously eligible getting it. Rebounds should be not -- should not be a reason for someone not to get it. The goal of Paxlovid is to prevent serious illness. It's doing a great job of that.
BERMAN: As of this morning, what do you know about where President Biden got this?