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CNN Live Event/Special
Officer at Capitol on Jan 6: Some Shouted Racial Slurs During Riot; Officers Attacked at U.S. Capitol Testify at Insurrection Hearing; Rep. Kinzinger to Capitol Officers: "You Guys Won"; Capitol Officer: Still Recovering from Rioters' "Hugs and Kisses". Aired 1:30- 2p ET
Aired July 27, 2021 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TERRANCE GAINER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: And knowing Officer Dunn like I do -- and you all know how the dome looks -- for him to describe going up into that dome at the end of this fight, at the end of the day, and sit there with some fellow officers, some of whom were African American, and shed a tear.
Big, strong Officer Dunn was broken to tears over how he and others were being treated in that capitol dome, the dome where President Kennedy or President Lincoln laid.
And how important it is to officers, both Capitol Police officers and the D.C. officers.
I think this was one of the most powerful testimonies I've heard in my years being the sergeant-of-arms and the chief of the Capitol Police.
I am so proud of these officers. And boy, have they laid the gauntlet for the members of Congress to do what they're supposed to do. They know their duty, and they ought to start doing it.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Well, let me ask you, on that note, we heard a lot about Black the Blue.
Especially last year when there were the Black Lives Matter protests and the George Floyd protests, when there was violence and vandalism and riots in cities during some of those protests.
We hear a lot about it when progressives were talking about defunding the police.
What does Black the Blue look like for members of Congress starting today? What, in your view, as a former chief of the Capitol Police, what would a congressman who truly backs the blue be today?
GAINER: They would join with the other members of this particular committee and speak up and speak out.
Even if they could maybe separate for a minute the President Trump issue, which has to be address, but concentrate on all the other issues that were raised by these officers' testimony and what's going on before that.
The other members of Congress, who are -- have been repeatedly doubting this and doing the things that were talked about today, whether it was on the capitol grounds today or over at the Justice Department, they ought to listen to what their fellow members said and listen to the challenge of the officers and do better.
You know, there's one other thing. There's an old saying: If you can't stand behind us, maybe the next time this happens you ought to get in front of us. And I think some of them ought to think about that.
TAPPER: We heard today, John King, we heard the officer talk about -- he quoted at length House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, in McCarthy's perhaps only brave moment of the last year, if not longer, when he went on the floor of the House and condemned President Trump for his role in the insurrection and the violence and talked about what a shameful episode it was.
Since then, McCarthy has been singing a completely different tune.
We heard Harry Dunn talking about it, and talking how, then, today and tomorrow, I will be defending and protecting Kevin McCarthy.
Let's play that clip if we can.
Oh, we have old McCarthy, old Kevin McCarthy. Never mind. I misunderstood.
But in any case, how does Kevin McCarthy answer the questions prompted today about his behavior, given the fact that he's been doing everything he could, literally everything he could to sandbag this commission or sandbag any investigation?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He comes up with nonsensical nonreality, non-earth-based answers. I don't know another way to put it.
To say this is a Pelosi partisan committee. No, it's not. And for any Republicans watching at home, do the homework. Don't trust us on television.
They had a chance for a nonpartisan, even committee. They blocked it.
They fought it in the House and lost and blocked it in the Senate. They could have had a committee with nonpartisan investigation to this day.
Now he wants to make it about Nancy Pelosi. Why? He changed his tune.
So let's ask, why did he change his tune? Because Donald Trump got mad at him. And it was made clear to him, you're six to eight votes away from being the speaker of the House.
He believes the only path is to hitch his wagon to Donald J. Trump. Donald Trump doesn't like it, that's what Kevin McCarthy does. There's no other way around it. He won't call his own people into line so he criticizes Kinzinger and Cheney for wanting to pursue the truth. But he doesn't block Marjorie Taylor Greene and Louie Gohmert and Matt Gaetz from running to the Justice Department to say free the prisoners?
KING: Free the prisoners.
Everybody watched the video of what happened that day.
Today, I think, again, if you had any doubts about this investigation, if it's necessary, the officers I think made it clear why.
KING: And to the point you talked about with the chief -- forgive me -- and the chief and Laura, that anger and rage is out there. The people who, whether it was the racism, the violence, the attacking an institution, that is still out there.
And it's still being fed by lies. By -- from Donald Trump, to the day, statements in the last 24 hours.
And by Republicans and leadership in the House who will not say no more. We're breaking from there. We will not take his money or support. We do not want his endorsement.
There's a way out for them. They won't take it. They believe it will cost them power.
TAPPER: Yes. I have to say, Congressman Kinzinger's wife is pregnant. That baby is someday going to read about her dad today, going to watch videos of her dad today.
And we'll see how it stands the test of time. I tend to think the Congressman Kinzinger is on the right side. I don't like violent attempts to insurrect the nation.
TAPPER: Let us run a clip of Congressman Kinzinger. This is clip number 13, if we can.
This is one of the two Republicans on this House Select Committee. He is being threatened by his fellow Republicans who want him stripped of all over committee assignments.
Kevin McCarthy is calling him a Pelosi Republican, along with Liz Cheney, because they're trying to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6th.
And here is his -- here is a brief excerpt of his testimony today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): I never expected today to be quite as emotional for me as it has been.
You guys may, like, individually feel a little broken. You guys all talk about the affects you have to deal with. And you talk about the impact of that day. But you guys won. You guys held.
In a democracy -- democracies are not defined by our bad days. We're defined by how we come back from bad days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: We're defined by how we come back from bad days.
You almost heard him stumble. It almost sounded like he was going to say Baghdad. He is a veteran with the Air Force.
A difficult time for him.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. His testimony was so powerful today.
He went onto say, "Serving on this committee, I'm here to investigate January 6th. Not in spite of my membership in the Republican Party, but because of it. Not to win a political fight, but to learn the facts and defend our democracy."
I just want to go back to Officer Dunn and Kevin McCarthy for a minute.
I've had the privilege to get to know Harry Dunn over the last couple months. I spoke to him last night about how he was preparing his testimony and what he wanted to talk about.
And those words of Kevin McCarthy that he put in there, and that he will still protect him today, were critical to the message he wanted to send.
I'm a police officer. I'm here to protect you. But I want everybody to listen to what you said on January 7th in contrast to what you're doing today.
And one other thing we mentioned before in the last question. The chairman asked Harry Dunn what do you want to come from this? And he told the story about a hitman goes to jail, but not only does the hitman go to jail. The person who hires them does.
TAPPER: Let's run that clip if we can.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFC. HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE DEPARTMENT: I use an analogy to describe what I want as a hitman.
If a hitman is hired and kills somebody, the hitman goes to jail. Not only does the hitman go to jail, but the person who hires them does.
There was an attack carried out on January 6th. And a hitman sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GANGEL: So to me, there's no question. That is the statement of the day.
And that is what I've been hearing from the officers who testified today, members of the committee.
I spoke to Liz Cheney. Today was only the beginning. They want to know everything about what happened in the weeks and months leading up.
And they want those phone calls and the conversations and the testimony that happened between President Trump, his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, Kevin McCarthy.
And if it goes to Republican members, that's what they want to get at.
TAPPER: Yes. And we should be clear about this -- and let me bring in the law enforcement team over here -- there's a lot we do not know.
You know, 9,000 people -- there were more than 9,000 on the Ellipse. But I'm talking about the ones who were violent. Thousands of people, not from D.C. largely, showed up here.
Then to President Trump, then outgoing President Trump had been talking for weeks if not months about January 6th. Calling people to come, January 6th.
Some of the people who showed up in the capitol that day, I have no doubt, it was spontaneous. They were swept up in the emotion of the moment. No question.
But not the dude who built the gallows. Not the guys who had shirts on that said "January 6th."
I mean, there was planning. And there was coordination. Buses were rented. I mean, people knew. I don't know who. And I don't know what they knew. But people knew.
As a police officer, where do you start?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, you start with January 6th, but you have to work your way back. I mean, like you would in any investigation.
We're talking about a historic event. You have to see what led up to that event. We don't know if it goes back a week, a month, two months, three months. We don't know the answer to that yet.
But there's a trail. There's no question there's a trail. You just have to find it.
TAPPER: There was a meeting at the White House where it was Donald Trump, Mike Flynn, the former national security adviser, who has since become, apparently, some adherent of a QAnon cult.
And who also has been -- was talking quite publicly about declaring some sort of martial law of the National Guard going in and -- having another election in states that went for Biden, where the lies were taking hold.
And I don't know what happened in that meeting.
As a former prosecutor, if you were given subpoena power, if you were put on this committee, what would you want to know? What would you look at?
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I'd be thrilled to know there's no executive privilege for my justice employees, including Jeffrey Rosen, and the like, who can tell me what was known.
Why was there the ability to have some elements or foresight? What was the chatter going on? Who knew what, when? And why was nothing done about it?
That's why I said --
TAPPER: Let's explain what you just said. The attorney general today said they were waiving executive privilege declarations for anybody at the Justice Department during that time.
Which we interpret it to be Jeffrey Rosen, the then-acting attorney general, wanting to testify.
COATES: Absolutely. I'm glad you clarified that because that's so important to know about how you can actually achieve transparency.
Transparency has so many hurdles in front it. In order to get to the truth, sometimes there are insurmountable hurdles, including things like privilege that says, I don't care what you want to know. I don't have to tell you anything.
Then there's times you can get to the foundational aspects of it. I want to follow that trail and that thread.
It could lead to unraveling or a dead end. But that's why this is really the middle of the story.
As provocative, as heart wrenching as this has been, this is not even us at the tip of the iceberg. We are seeing it from a distance.
COATES: How did we get there? As you said, you, all the sudden, gather the materials for gallows on the mall in front of the capitol. (CROSSTALK)
TAPPER: That was a well-constructed gallows.
COATES: It was well constructed.
And remember, it keeps my mind. Who planted a bomb? Why was there talk and chatter about a bomb, more than one? They didn't happen all at once.
You heard Officer Hodges talk about that, Officer Dunn about the notion of, hearing that, they heard that and thought there's a bigger crowd gathering.
Not because they were afraid of being overwhelmed but they were victims of it.
And think about how this entire hearing today began. That video. The end of the video. And they said we should have more guns here next time.
TAPPER: And 30,000 or something.
COATES: So, 30,000. How foreboding.
That's why I say we don't yet know where this ends or know whether the investigation will lead us to conclude there are other instances that might be happening, whether the chatter has stopped.
If I had subpoena power in the way of the DOJ, no stone would be left unturned.
And the 500-plus people who happened to follow whatever orders is just a part of what I want to look at. I want to know, like Officer Dunn, who sent? What was the hitman?
TAPPER: Yes, who hired the hitman.
Chief Gainer, let me ask you, we heard, I think it was Daniel Hodges, say -- there were four officers, I think it was Hodges -- say, there was no doubt in his mind that the crowd would have kidnapped or killed members of Congress if given the opportunity.
I'm told we have that sound bite. Let's run that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): What is worth all of that pain? What was worth it? What were you fighting for that day?
OFC. DANIEL HODGES, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: Democracy. You were 40 feet away, 40 yards, whatever. If -- especially with the razor-thin margins on Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate.
If any single one person was kidnapped or killed, which is what I believe they intended, that would affect the outcome of legislation and all your duties for years to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: We also have seen, Chief Gainer, video, closed-circuit TV video of Senator Romney running for his life, being led by a police officer, I believe a Capitol Police officer.
Does it surprise you that more Republicans in the House and Senate when they see Mitt Romney running for his life or hear a police officer saying they were going to try to kidnap members of Congress, when you hear the crowd chanting, "Hang Mike Pence," and we saw video today of one of the insurrectionists picking up a phone and I guess saying, "Mike Pence, we're coming for you, you traitor?"
Does it surprise you that more Republican officers, whose lives were at risk that day, are not more vocally outraged?
GAINER: I think it disappoints me more than surprises me.
But as part of that, Officer Hodges was in one of the perfect positions of all the four to testify.
He was down on the Ellipse and had some sense of what he saw in the crowd about people being armed and have vests and had the military look but were not police and then ultimately being up at the capitol.
So he had a good sense of how this was developing, and he kind of leads to one of the next phases of this is going to be, what did he miss and how?
When you get back to the members, on that day, they were just worried about themselves and perhaps their staff.
And it was only later, when they saw if they sided too much and were too honest, and who were the insurrectionists, that they were going to affect their election.
Did they turn tail and just try to protect themselves and not offend former President Trump?
So, again, it's -- it says a lot about them, and how weak they are when they have to decide which way they want to be. What oath of office is important to them, if any?
TAPPER: John King, one of the most telling events post-January 6th was when former Vice President Mike Pence, who still harbors some presidential ambitions, I believe was in New Hampshire giving a speech.
And he put a crack of daylight between him and then -- former President Trump saying, I don't think that the former president and I ever see that day the same way, January 6th. You can't yada, yada, yada, hang mention.
The idea that this is -- this isn't like, you know, we'll never agree on the ball going through Buckner's legs. No offense.
TAPPER: It's about whether or not an angry mob that was chanting, "Hang Mike Pence," that had a noose a few yards away was actually going to do it.
Donald Trump, that day, never called Mike Pence. He never expressed any concern for Mike Pence or his family. And yet, again, yada, yada, yada.
KING: Look, you can ask this question both ways. Why doesn't Mike Pence walk away from Trump? You answered it. He still has some presidential ambitions and he won't make the break completely.
TAPPER: The MAGA folks think he's a traitor.
KING: And in an interview with Carol Leonnig and Phil Rucker, of "The Washington Post," for their new book just out, that was conducted four months after the insurrection, Trump jumped all over Mike Pence again and said, if he runs again, he won't commit to him, he's disappointed in Mike Pence.
Mike Pence did his job and followed the Constitution. Mike Pence did his duty to the country. But he had no powers to do anything else.
And yet, Donald Trump to this day -- and again, it gets you back to the bigger point. That's one piece of the many fictions, lies, falsehoods that Donald Trump continues to tell.
It's another piece of this foundation of the Big Lie, which brought those people to the capitol.
The committee can -- hopefully, to your point about how do you build this now?
To the chief's point, who paid for the buses? Who sent the first e- mail that was then spread to everybody? To the Proud Boys. To the haters, to the violent groups? The groups known to the violent?
And to thousands of people who may have come here because they believe the Big Lie and some of them got caught up in something horrible.
The digital footprint is critical in this relationship.
Mike Pence, from the capitol, we know he called asking for the National Guard, saying I need it now.
Well, what were the delays? Were they just normal delays? Sometimes bureaucracy happens. Or was the president of the White House saying no?
That's the challenge for the committee now. And it's a daunting challenge. Even though -- even the current attorney general has said he sees no
The question is, we went through this, and whether it was a big impeachment or just normal traditional congressional oversight of the Trump administration, they just kept saying no, refusing to cooperate with even routine oversight.
Will we now see the records? Will we see?
It's not just inside the White House. What about Giuliani and the lawyers working with the president's political team? They're in touch with these, forgive me, crazies, around the country who want to continue to repeat the Big Lie.
And I think the huge challenge today, after the committee -- just those officers -- not the politicians, the officers made the case of why we need this committee.
Now they have to do their work, and that's painstaking.
GANGEL: Just to add one thing, Donald Trump invited these people. He went on Twitter.
TAPPER: Yes, repeatedly.
GANGEL: It was his staff and former staff got the permits for the rally, and then he went out and said come.
TAPPER: And at the rally that day, he said, "We're going to go walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the capitol."
TAPPER: He didn't actually walk, but he said, "Join me."
GANGEL: One other thing to add, the new chief of the Capitol Hill police, Tom Manger, spoke to our Josh Campbell this week.
And he has told -- he told Josh, and Harry Dunn told me last night, that the chief said the same thing to him. He said, he's going to encourage other officers to speak out.
There's very likely going to be more than just what we heard today.
TAPPER: Chief, let me ask you. Where is the FOP? Where is the Fraternal Order of Police?
RAMSEY: That's a good question.
TAPPER: Why are they not speaking out on behalf of these four officers?
RAMSEY: That's a very good idea. I don't know. I do know Tom Manger very, very well from where he was Fairfax police
chief, Mongomery County. We worked together when I was MPD and later with major city chiefs.
They made a heck of a choice in Tom Manger. So he's going to turn that around, believe me. That was one thing that they did and they got right.
TAPPER: One thing I want -- that we haven't touched on yet, is when the Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, with the Capitol Police, was asked about Donald Trump's comments about the insurrectionists.
That there was no -- I mean, it is just all part of this deranged lie about what happened January 6th.
You have all seen the video tapes since January 6th. You saw the videotape today.
But Donald Trump describing it as hugs and kisses, describing it as the insurrectionists being affectionate to the men and women in blue, who were literally being beaten by the crowd.
Anyway, the officer, Sergeant Gonell, with the U.S. Capitol Police, was asked about that comment from Donald Trump today. Here was his reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFC. AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE DEPARTMENT: It is a pathetic excuse for his behavior for something that he himself helped to create, this monstrosity.
I'm still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day, that he claimed that so many rioters, terrorists were assaulting us that day.
If that was hugs and kisses, then we should all go to his house and do the same thing to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Later, Officer Gonell took back the part about going to Donald Trump's house. But the point still stands, they weren't hugs and kisses.
In fact, in a different time in the testimony, Officer Gonell said, "My fellow officers and I were punched, pushed, kicked, shoved, sprayed with chemical irritants and even blinded by lasers by a violent mob."
And he went on from there. Pretty shocking.
COATES: It is. You mentioned the Fraternal Order of Police, but what about all of the people that were against the protests related to the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd because they were seen as anti-police, who were villainizing those who were calling for accountability of police officers who did not honor their oath. He asked as well, where are all of these people now to support these
police officers, some of whom, as Officer Fanone said, raised their hand that day when they say their fellow police officers, men and women, overwhelmed and overrun, knowing they were the last defense.
The inconsistency is troubling to people.
The officer at the end said the word "hero" was thrown around all day today, and with good reasons. They were heroes that were there.
But what is so heroic about telling the truth, the idea of having to investigate the truth? Why is that where we are right now and the heroism of that or even confronting what we know to be true of what happened that day?
I think this investigation, this committee, this select committee that had the opportunity, as John pointed out, to be a bipartisan commission, and they chose not to because only in Washington, D.C., do you not take "yes" for an answer?
COATES: We still have all of the information to try to uncover right now.
But in terms of, if you are saying that you were supportive of police officers, if you are saying that you do not support even the notion -- although the messaging can be changed -- of, quote, unquote, "re- allocating funding" or defunding aspects of it, then shouldn't you have a vested interest in trying to ensure that these hearings actually happen?
To fortify, to make sure there's not issues about operational shortcomings or misgivings, that the officers have the resources that they need to address what is obviously the mental health issue that will result from this?
Where are those vocal proponents of those now?
COATES: That is really -- that silence is deafening to these officers and it decreases morale.
As a prosecutor, that is one of the most difficult things to then grapple with if you are talking about criminal prosecution.
If you have police officers who lack the morale now to continue, to still serve, to still honor and abide by their oath, you don't have much of a justice system in the end.
TAPPER: Yes. Well, I mean, one of the other things that's going on is you see House Republicans siding with the insurrectionists. And now Donald Trump is trying to turn one of the insurrectionists who was killed that day, Ashli Babbitt, into a martyr instead of somebody who was truly victimized by Donald Trump's Big Lie.
Swept up in the insanity, swept up in the falsehoods, stormed the capitol, got close to where she couldn't be, and there was a violent mob breaking down the doors to the speaker's lobby and, unfortunately, law enforcement took her life.
Thank you for joining our special coverage of the insurrection hearing.
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