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Trump Aides Dismayed By Refusal To Acknowledge Sicknick's Death; Beyond The Call: Boston Office, Once Attacked By Colleagues, Is Now The New Boss; Pence's Security Said Goodbye To Families, Fearing For Their Lives. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired July 22, 2022 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: 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.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: As of this morning, what do you know about where President Biden caught this?
JHA: We don't know much about it. You know, obviously, he could have gotten it anytime in the preceding days. There's obviously an incubation period but there's a lot of variation in all of that. So we don't know.
Right now, what we're focused on -- obviously, number one, we're focused on making sure that President Biden continues to do well, as he -- as he was through last night. Second is that we have contact tracing happening to make sure that anybody who might have been in close contact is identified and notified so they can take appropriate action.
That -- those are the two major focus areas.
BERMAN: Any new cases amongst those people who have been in contact with President Biden?
JHA: You know, not that I'm aware of. The White House medical unit is running this along with embedded CDC contract tracers. That process is ongoing. I'm not aware that there's anybody else who has tested positive.
BERMAN: Should the president be masking more indoors when he's meeting with people? Should all of us, given the prevalence right now and the rising number of cases, be masking more indoors, in your mind?
JHA: Well -- so, I think this is where I turn to the CDC and the CDC guidance, which I think is quite clear. You know, CDC's Covid Community Levels lays out that depending on what community, what Covid level you're at, you should -- you should make decisions about wearing masks indoors based on that. And we follow that here at the White House and I recommend that people follow that across the country.
BERMAN: Will we see another video of President Biden today?
JHA: That's a good question. I don't know. I mean, again, I'll check in with his -- with his medical team this morning. And I -- but I honestly -- I don't know exactly what the plans are for making more information available in terms of a video or photos, et cetera.
BERMAN: And any plans to have the first lady isolate at this point?
JHA: You know, I think -- what I know is that the first lady is following CDC guidelines. Obviously, if she has other questions she's talking to her physician about this. I know she's going to be in Delaware this weekend. But beyond that, I think -- you know, the CDC guidelines on this are very, very clear. The first lady obviously also vaccinated and boosted, and she is going to be following CDC guidelines.
BERMAN: Again, I should have said quarantined because she hasn't tested positive yet -- not isolate. Isolate is if you have it.
BERMAN: Dr. Ashish Jha, keep us posted, please. Thank you.
JHA: We will. Thank you.
BERMAN: So, we are going to speak by the family of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died one day after responding to the Capitol riot. Their response to the former president's refusal to acknowledge his death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): On January 9, two of President Trump's top campaign officials texted each other about the president's glaring silence on the tragic death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who succumbed to his injuries the night of January 7.
Murtaugh said, "Also (bleep) not to have acknowledged the death of the Capitol Police officer. Wolking responded, "That's enraging to me. Everything he's said about supporting law enforcement was a lie."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: New texts revealed by the January 6 committee last night reveal how Trump's own campaign aides were shocked and upset by his refusal to acknowledge the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick. Campaign manager -- or campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told a colleague he believed that Trump wasn't mentioning Sicknick because if he did, quote, "He'd be implicitly faulting the mob."
Congresswoman Elaine Luria took a moment to thank Officer Sicknick and the other first responders from that day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LURIA: We're honored to be joined tonight by police and first responders who bravely protected us on January 6. Your character and courage give us hope that democracy can and should prevail even in the face of a violent insurrection.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Joining us now are the family members of Officer Sicknick -- his brothers, Ken and Craig Sicknick, and his mother, Gladys. Thank you all for getting up with us this morning to talk about this.
And I imagine hearing those text messages of what they were saying in real time behind the scenes is pretty frustrating.
GLADYS SICKNICK, MOTHER OF FALLEN CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK: Yes, it was. It was -- it was -- I thought it would get easier after almost two years of this but it's getting harder and harder, especially after you learn new things that are coming out.
CRAIG SICKNICK, BROTHER OF FALLEN CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK: It's extraordinarily frustrating. The president is supposed to represent the country and we're, so far, been overall a world example of how to run things. And well -- but the last administration -- that went right out the window.
COLLINS: And you listen to those -- the lawmakers, last night, talk -- and his own staff testified that he had opportunity after opportunity to call off the violence but he didn't want to do so.
KEN SICKNICK, BROTHER OF FALLEN CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK: Well, you know what? I was -- I was thinking about this a little bit that we are focusing on the fact that he just didn't act at all for three hours, which is just absolutely ridiculous. For the first time in a long time, I'm angry from seeing it again and then just realizing that he did nothing.
But overall, we should be focusing on the fact that he started this whole thing, to begin with. So, yes, he's at fault for not stopping it but he is really at fault for riling up the crowds and getting his -- I mean, they're real sycophants following whatever word he says. They were on their phones. You saw -- we saw video of them looking at their text messages for their next command to call of -- you know, to do whatever they needed to do.
So, you know, I'd like to focus on the fact that he's responsible for it to happen -- for it happening in the first place.
COLLINS: And Ken, what did you make of the testimony from Sarah Matthews, who was a deputy press secretary, talking about the internal struggle to get him to say something, but saying he did not want to use the word peace or peaceful in his message? K. SICKNICK: I don't understand. It's obvious to me that his existence in the White House had nothing to do with helping the country. Had nothing to do with looking out for the best interest of the country. It was looking out for him. It was looking out for -- to make sure he is in power. To make sure he can control everything.
And the silence of the three hours -- it could have been him stuck, deciding whether to say something. But ultimately, it was -- it was him covering his rear end and him making sure that he was in power and that he could not admit to anything happening. And I just -- I can't comprehend him not doing a thing to stop that. He knew what was going on, as we saw in the testimony, minutes after his little rally.
COLLINS: And, Craig and Gladys, there was this moment that really stood out to me last night where you saw Eric Herschmann, who was this attorney inside the White House at the time. He talked about just what that day was like -- the chaos inside the West Wing. And he talked about how drained they were by the time Trump did finally put out that statement from the Rose Garden.
But the attorney from the committee who is interviewing them noted that when they were kind of calling it a day, talking about how drained they were, that was still in the middle of the afternoon when rioters were still there at the Capitol. And these officers, including Brian, and these people were still in the middle of dealing with responding to this.
G. SICKNICK: Yes, that really bothered me a lot. And, you know, they went home to their families. They had dinner. I don't know what -- if they had little kids, what do they tell their little kids?
And what really bothers me about this whole thing is that all the people around Trump -- they stayed with him for four years and let this happen. So they're culpable too, big time -- in my eyes, anyway.
C. SICKNICK: It's astonishing. He decided he had a rough day and it was time to go to bed. Meanwhile, people were still being injured, some of them quite severely -- many of them who were just trying to do their job and support the country and the oath that they swore which, apparently, Trump ignored. And it was just unbelievable that this can happen in the United States.
COLLINS: It is unbelievable. It's unbelievable to watch them lay out each crucial moment of what happened and, really, what didn't happen.
Ken, Craig, Gladys, I -- you guys have been through a lot and we're very grateful that you came on to talk about this because I do think it's important. I'm glad the committee went out of their way to note the contributions from Brian and everything, and to honor him, and we're very sorry for your loss. But we do thank you for joining us this morning.
G. SICKNICK: Thank you.
C. SICKNICK: Thank you for having us.
K. SICKNICK: Thank you.
COLLINS: Thank you.
Up next, we are going to speak with a member of the January 6 committee about what happened last night. Jamie Raskin on the new revelations and where the committee is headed next.
The committee did also release some very remarkable new audio that reveals the fear of the members of Vice President Pence's security detail. You can see them there evacuating down a back hallway as they scrambled to put the president -- the vice president in safety as rioters were breaching the Capitol.
BERMAN: In 1995, while he was an undercover officer, Michael Cox was mistaken for a suspect and beaten by his own colleagues. Today, he is Boston's new police commissioner. And he sat down with CNN's Brynn Gingras to discuss what is different about his approach to policing, beyond the call.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): You've had a lot of roles in BPD. How does commissioner sound?
MICHAEL COX, BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: It sounds different -- there's no doubt about that -- but I am excited.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Boston's new police commissioner, Michael Cox, has a past that brings a unique perspective on policing today.
COX: I also had a pretty bad experience in the police department early on, understanding that the worst in policing, if it's not addressed, if it's not checked, if the culture is not monitored, bad things can happen.
GINGRAS (voice-over): In 1995, Cox was an undercover officer. While responding to a call one night, he was beaten by fellow officers who mistook him for a suspect. They left Cox bloodied and bruised after discovering his identity. He was out of the job for six months before returning to the department where he'd stay for 30 years.
GINGRAS (on camera): Why did you stay?
COX: You know, I mean, it wasn't an easy decision at the time but I had served the public and I loved the job. I know all the good people that do this job. And yes, there's some knuckleheads and people like that that are out there sometimes in these places, but the reality is back then I was saying that's not what policing is, and if I leave how am I helping to get better?
GINGRAS (voice-over): Cox never fully told his story publicly until two years ago, motivated by the protests following George Floyd's killing.
COX: I just felt like what is happening? You know, what is happening with the world around policing? Like, this is a profession that's needed everywhere. We can do it better, absolutely, but the people that do this job are doing it for the right reasons.
By telling my story and trying to explain to people there are people in law enforcement that care and I'm one of them. I do consider this a homecoming.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Now, the native Bostonian is poised to lead one of the largest police forces in the country.
GINGRAS (on camera): What do you say on day one to your rank and file?
COX: They need to know that they're supported. But it's not just morale of the officers, it's also morale of the public -- expectations of the public, public trust. We need to build that up again and sometimes that means taking criticism and revisiting some of our history just to acknowledge it and then move on and say you know what, we're here.
MAYOR MICHELLE WU, BOSTON: We now have a commissioner who understands deeply what it means when our systems don't see everyone.
GINGRAS (voice-over): A lesson Cox didn't expect to learn while serving his city but now carries with him as he leads.
Brynn Gingras, CNN, Boston.
BERMAN: I mean, talk about a unique perspective for a new police commissioner.
COLLINS: It's pretty extraordinary. I love when there's an arc like that, but it's cool that he could have left and he stuck around he stayed, and now he's in the position. And it's always remarkable to see something like that happen.
BERMAN: Great story.
A criminal investigation underway into the Secret Service. The deleted text messages from January 5 and 6 -- they could now be even more crucial as we hear testimony that agents feared for their lives that day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WHITE HOUSE SECURITY OFFICIAL: The members of the V.P. detail at this time were starting to fear for their own lives. There were a lot of -- there was a lot of yelling, a lot of -- a lot of very personal calls over the radio, so it was disturbing. I don't like talking about it.
But there were calls to say goodbye to family members, and so on and so forth. It was getting -- just -- for whatever the reason was on the ground, the V.P. detail thought that this was about to get very ugly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Disturbing new audio last night showing how much danger Pence's Secret Service was in on -- at least thought they were in on January 6.
Joining us now is former Secret Service supervisory special agent, and former senior law enforcement adviser at DHS, Charles Marino.
Charles, what's your reaction to hearing not just that but also the radio chatter from Pence's detail about that day as they were scrambling to get him out of there, warning about how they were losing time to do so?
CHARLES MARINO, FORMER SECRET SERVICE SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT, FORMER SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ADVISER AT DHS (via Skype): Yes, thanks, Kaitlan.
Look, for your viewers, I think it reinforces the commitment and professionalism of the Secret Service in protecting the top political leaders in this country and ensuring the continuity of government. And they do all this regardless of those that they protect -- their political affiliation.
You know, I'm sure there was a recognition by the agents at the Capitol of just how bad the security situation had become. Let's remember, we had a complete collapse of the physical security presence on the outer perimeter and people were moving in -- large numbers of people. They were not going to move the vice president until it was absolutely safe to do so.
And let's remember, it wasn't just the vice president. It was also his wife and his daughter. So you had the whole package there that was not going to be moved until the Secret Service agents were absolutely sure it was safe to do so.
As far as the reported calls to family and the fear, I'm just not hearing that from my sources. We don't know who the unnamed security official was on those tapes last night describing the events, likely secondhand.
But the agents, as I'm told, were doing what they needed to do to keep the vice president and his family alive. There was no time for phone calls to family and no fear. But you had a group of agents that were rightfully prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that they remained safe. BERMAN: Charles, separate from this, or maybe not, the text messages
that are now not there, deleted from January 5 and January 6. We've now learned that there was a criminal investigation involving them.
What questions do you have? How unusual is it to have a criminal investigation into something involving the Secret Service like this?
MARINO: Yes -- well, it's very unusual. Look, I think this goes back to early 2021 where the -- where the inspector general was notified by the Secret Service that these messages were accidentally purged, for lack of a better word, during the data migration process.
So I think as this kind of moves over to a criminal investigation by the I.G., I think there's a big conflict of interest right now on the part of the I.G. I think the Secret Service is prepared to make that case based on the on and off requests from the I.G. about wanting this information, then saying that they didn't, and then turning it back on. And also, the very late nature of the letter from the I.G. going to Congress to say that the Secret Service wasn't being cooperative.
I just don't know if that narrative is 100% accurate and so I think as a result, there's a conflict. If there's going to be a criminal investigation into the matter, I think it should move outside the realm of the I.G.
COLLINS: That's a big question about where that investigation goes next. We will be watching closely, Charles. Thank you for breaking it all.