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CNN Live Event/Special

Reflections on the Anniversary of the Capitol Riot; CNN Panel Talks about January 6, 2021. Aired 8:45-10:30a ET

Aired January 06, 2022 - 08:45   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Who know better to stop belittling what happened on January 6th. I think it was conservative writer Kevin Williamson (ph) who said, of course, the riots that we saw in the cities throughout 2020, of course they were horrific, of course they were criminal, but there is a difference between a coup d'etat and coup d'target. There is a big difference.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: It kind of feels like screaming into the wind, though. I mean if you read this op-ed that's out in "The New York Times" by Jimmy Carter, he's talking about, you know, we're teetering on the edge, this democracy is. And he says it really takes Democrats and Republicans coming together. But that's not happening.

I mean, Jake, finish this sentence as you so often described the state of the union. One year later, the state of our union is --

TAPPER: Teetering. Absolutely teetering. And it's not just Jimmy Carter who has devoted much of his post presidency period to standing up for democracy all over the world and now is concerned about what he is seeing in literally his backyard.

You have Karl Rove, the Republican strategist --


TAPPER: I think he still works for Fox, talking about the Republicans who enabled the attack on the Capitol. And we need more statements like what we're seeing from Karl Rove. Now, certainly it's not as full throated as what we're hearing from Jimmy Carter, but we need Republicans to stand up for this. We need the members of Congress, Republicans, who so bravely, so valiantly fought for democracy, fought for human rights abroad, as members of our military, we need them to have that same courage when it comes to standing up for democracy in the United States.

BERMAN: So, Jake, earlier in the show we ran a mashup of CNN's coverage of January 6th. And you were on during that entire time, watching, witnessing the attack on the building behind us.

But I want to play one moment. Brianna and I like sat up straight when we heard you say this. This is you one year ago today.

Let's listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Trump supporters have stormed the U.S. Capitol. There are violent confrontations going on. Members of Congress have been told to shelter in place. There is going to be an attempt by the people who were part of this effort, President Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Hawley, et cetera, there is going to be an attempt to whitewash what's going on right now.


BERMAN: Yes. Yes. I mean, you were right.

TAPPER: Well, that's not prescient. That's just like saying a crocodile is going to try to eat the deer. I mean, yes, this is what these people do. They have been lying. They were -- you know, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Kevin McCarthy, Donald Trump, these people lied about the election. And they helped incite what happened. All of them.

It is, you know, I don't know how much of it was coordinated, and that's for the Justice Department and the January 6th committee to determine. But it all was of the peace. You have Donald Trump staging a month's long campaign to try to undermine the election through various means. Some of them legal, and then turning into not legal, potentially even criminal, such as trying to shake down the Georgia secretary of state. And then you had people like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley and a majority of House Republicans signing on to that deranged lawsuit from the Texas attorney general that made all sorts of wild, crazy allegations about the election, trying to remove states' electoral votes from counting, based on lies, based on just abject lies, saying that Philadelphia used election software that it did not use, et cetera, et cetera. You could do a whole show just on the lies in that one lawsuit.

Then, after that, even after blood was spilled, even after there were bodies in the Capitol, they voted to not count the votes from Pennsylvania and Arizona. And did any of them -- you know, one of the -- one of the best things, most telling pieces of legislation that happened in 2021 was from conservative Texas Congressman Chip Roy, a very conservative Republican who did not sign on to that crazy lawsuit and did not vote to undermine the electoral votes. But a huge opponent of Joe Biden, and a huge supporter of Donald Trump. But he said, he offered legislation, and I'm paraphrasing, but it was basically, if you are voting to undermine the votes from Pennsylvania and Arizona, you also have to vote to undermine all of the federal elections on those same ballots because that's the only thing that would be intellectually consistent. Very telling legislation from Congressman Chip Roy there.

Of course, not one of the Republicans from Arizona or Republicans from Pennsylvania, who voted to undermine the presidential election from their own states, voted to undermine their own elections to Congress on the same ballots, on the same day, using the same election software.

[08:35:19] Now, why would that be if it was a fraudulent election? Why -- why would that be?

BERMAN: Imagine that.

KEILAR: Well, Jake, I know, look, this isn't a day about giving credit to Jake, right? But I do just want to say, there was a moment where it looked like there were Republicans who might say, yes, this was bad, and we heard them say that. We heard Lindsey Graham say that. We heard Mitch McConnell say that. We even heard for a moment Kevin McCarthy say that before he flip-flopped. But you did -- you knew it from the moment there, Jake.

BERMAN: But he doesn't want us to praise him. He doesn't want (INAUDIBLE).

KEILAR: He doesn't -- he doesn't want to, but --

BERMAN: You know how hard it is for me to say something nice. And here you are.

No, but --

KEILAR: But you saw it. And it, unfortunately, was so true. And that is sort of the defining thing about what happened a year ago that we still see today.

TAPPER: It was very sad. I actually thought you were going to run the clip from that day where I said that the Murdoch family needed to stop pushing these lies because it was a threat to American democracy. And they did not rein in all the lies.

Now, Fox is being sued by some of the election software companies. And we see what that has done to democracy as well.

KEILAR: Run that every day.

BERMAN: That would have been a good one too.

Jake, listen, thank you very much for joining us this morning.

And everyone should join Jake and Anderson Cooper for an unprecedented gathering inside the Capitol with the police, lawmakers and leaders live from the Capitol, "January 6th: One Year Later." It begins tonight at 8:00 Eastern.

KEILAR: And here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 9:00 a.m. ET, President Biden speaks.

1:00 p.m. ET, White House briefing.

2:30 p.m. ET, Congressional testimonials of 1/6.


KEILAR: President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, they are going to be speaking just moments from now. We have more of CNN's special coverage.



BERMAN: All right, we have a live picture to show you now from inside Statuary Hall. This is in the Capitol behind us. President Biden and Vice President Harris set to speak moments from now to mark the one- year anniversary of the January 6th insurrection.

KEILAR: And we are expecting that Biden will be calling out former President Trump for his responsibility as the White House has put it. So, we'll be staying tuned for that.

Wolf Blitzer picks up CNN's special coverage of January 6th, next.



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

We are watching that -- at any moment now the president of the United States, Joe Biden, and the vice president, Kamala Harris, they are about to arrive here at the U.S. Capitol on this, the one-year anniversary of one of American democracy's darkest days, January 6, 2021, when thousands of violent pro-Trump rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results and stop the certification of President Biden's victory.

Tragically, five people died in the chaos, 140 police officers were hurt, all fueled by then President Trump's speech in front of the White House just moments before the attack where Trump urged his supporters, and I'm quoting him now, to fight like hell.

I remember that day well. I was live here anchoring our coverage on CNN. Couldn't believe what I was seeing.


BLITZER: Look at this. These protesters are inside Statuary Hall right now. You see the statues. This is a moment I never saw in my life. These individuals just rushed through security. They are inside Statuary Hall. This is a legendary -- a legendary place where all of us who have covered Capitol Hill, it's hard to believe what we're seeing right there. They're just walking through. Where are Capitol Police? It's a strange -- it's an awful situation.


BLITZER: And what a difference a year makes today. Any moment now, President Biden and Vice President Harris are about to

address the nation and indeed the world from inside that very same national Statuary Hall, a truly historic site at the U.S. Capitol.

And the president has some convincing to do as a majority of Republicans, yes, a majority of Republicans still believe Trump's big lie.

My panelists here, we're going to cover all of this. Full disclosure, everyone on the set has been vaccinated, tested negative.

Let's start with our chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.

Kaitlan, set the scene for us because the president is about to do something he has rarely done since becoming the president. He's about to go after his predecessor.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the White House says he is not going to shy away from that and the role that former President Trump played in this day. And President Biden is on the way to the Capitol right now. He's going to speak, Wolf. You're also going to hear from Vice President Harris in these remarks.

And this is a speech that the president has been working on for several days now. The White House had basically cleared his schedule yesterday so he could work on this, focus on it, because I think they recognize what a moment it was because, remember a year ago, President Biden was two weeks away from being sworn in. He was getting ready to deliver a speech on the economy. Those remarks got delayed because, of course, they were also watching, like everyone else was, in disbelief what was happening on Capitol Hill that day.

And so he'll be in the same hall where you saw rioters roam a year ago today. And he will say, quote, and so at this moment, we must decide what kind of nation we are going to be. And are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm? Are we going to be a nation where we allow partisan election officials to overturn the legally expressed will of the people? Are we going to be a nation that lives not by the light of the truth but in the shadow of lies? We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation. The way forward is to recognize the truth and to live by it.

And, Wolf, I think one big question that a lot of people have is, will he call out former President Trump by name in this speech. The White House hasn't said yet. They were still finalizing this yesterday. But Jen Psaki told me it will be clear who Biden is talking about.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: In a way, he doesn't have to say "Donald Trump," but he will --


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: But I expect that President Biden will lay out the significance of what happened at the Capitol and the singular responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw. And he will forcibly push back on the lies spread by the former president in an attempt to mislead the American people and his own supporters, as well as distract from his role and what happened.



BLITZER: We're told the president, by the way, is en route right now, Kaitlan, leaving the White House, heading down Pennsylvania Avenue up to Capitol Hill.

And as, you know, the press secretary, Jen Psaki, said, the president will cite, quote, the singular responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw.

COLLINS: A pretty striking line. We did not know Jen Psaki was going to say that yesterday in the briefing or that it was going to be this clear. But I think the view of the White House is kind of, you can't avoid Trump when talking about this. You can't separate what happened that day and act like he wasn't part of it.

And, of course, Trump views all of this so differently. You know, he was supposed to have a press conference today. He canceled that. He remembers that day pretty fondly, thinking of the crowd that was there for his speech that he gave on the ellipse. Of course, that was the one when he talked about marching down to the Capitol. And so I think this has been something that has loomed over Biden's entire first year in office because, yes, we've talked about other legislative struggles, foreign policy issues, but this has been something domestically that he's had to deal with.

And I think in your introduction, Wolf, you talked about how he has a lot of convincing to do because there are a lot of people who view that day the same way that the former president does, and not the way that the current president does. And so I think that has been a struggle for the White House to breach that gap.

BLITZER: And that, Gloria, is so horrible that there are so many Americans right now that actually believe that horrible, big lie.

BORGER: Right. I mean, I'm just looking at a poll here, 72 percent of Americans believe that people involved in the attack were threatening democracy. But 71 percent of Republicans believe that the election was illegitimate itself and see those people as people protecting democracy. I mean, so -- you know, there's two different Americas right now. And if we all had hope, watching what we watched a year ago today, that somehow the country would come together after this, Republicans took to the floor and said, enough is enough. I remember Lindsey Graham saying that. That didn't materialize. That never materialized.

Instead, January 6th and the election, the so-called rigged election lie, became a litmus test in this country, dividing it even further with Donald Trump on one side, leading one side of it.

BLITZER: You know, and, Jamie, these are live pictures we're showing our viewers where the president and the vice president will be speaking from inside historic Statuary Hall up on Capitol Hill.

But I want to follow up on what Gloria was just reporting. According to "The Washington Post," at least 163 Republicans have embraced Trump's false claims and are running for statewide positions that would give them authority in upcoming elections.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: They have embraced the lie. They have embraced Donald Trump's base. And that's how they think they can get through primaries and get elected. And we have seen those Republicans who didn't either have to retire or lose their elections and primaries.

I want to point out, earlier today, Stephanie Grisham, who was former press secretary, and worked with Melania Trump, she went, voluntarily, to cooperate with the January 6th committee yesterday. And she said something that I think you pointed out, she was not at the White House on January 6th. She was working remotely. But she said something this morning on our air. She said -- so, maybe someone told her this. She said that that day Trump was in the dining room, quote, gleefully watching on his TV, as he often did, look at all of the people fighting for me, hitting rewind, watching it again. That's what I know.

We have never heard that before. She's clearly not a firsthand witness. But that's her understanding.

BLITZER: We see the presidential motorcade has arrived now at the U.S. Capitol. The president and the vice president, they will be walking in to -- as I keep calling it Statuary, the historic Statuary Hall.

You know, Laura, Laura Coates, our legal analyst is with us as well. I thought that the attorney general, Merrick Garland, yesterday, delivered a very forceful, powerful speech, making it clear, yes, they may have already indicted and charged more than 700 people who participated in the insurrection, but that's just the beginning. They're going to go after everyone.

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And isn't that striking that the attorney general, after hundreds of people have been arrested, have been charged, that that's the tip of the iceberg. I think his speech was pragmatic. As a prosecutor, you know, it's not as if every other crime in the world stopped in Washington, D.C., alone when January 6th happened. They're having to balance violent crimes against the violent things they saw at the Capitol as well. They have this overwhelming amount of resources being devoted to this and they're still not done, nor are they backing down from that very notion.


Why? It's what we've all been talking about today. I mean when President Biden first entered this race, he thought he was fighting for the soul of the nation. Little did he know he would be fighting for the soul of our democracy. And in that, thinking about the heart of it, voting, the idea of the integrity of our elections, the idea that people could expect, as Merrick Garland spoke about, a peaceful transition of power. A year ago at this very time, none of us thought that that would be

something that was a fool's errand to expect or a pipe dream. Sure, you had former President Trump, at that time then President Trump, articulating this extraordinary big lie, which frankly was the final installment of a trilogy that involved two Supreme Court decisions, frankly, or one Supreme Court at that time, that started to -- that made the Voting Rights Act anemic. People already had doubts about the ability to challenge discriminatory laws, but they still believed the integrity of our elections.

When the big lie came out and metastasized, people questioned that very notion as well to the tune of hundreds of thousands, let alone maybe millions of people. And now we're seeing the president is going to get there and have to be as forceful, if not more, frankly he has to be more forceful than his own attorney general to say, look, this was an atrocity and our democracy requires more.

BLITZER: We see the president now with the Senate majority leader and the House speaker walking toward Statuary Hall.

QUESTION: Mr. President, how are you feeling about the day, sir?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Praying that we'll never have another day like we had a year ago today. That's what I'm (INAUDIBLE).

QUESTION: Do you hold former President Trump personally responsible?

QUESTION: Are you praying for former President Trump (INAUDIBLE)?

BLITZER: All right, they're walking toward Statuary Hall right now.

You heard the, you know, Kaitlan, you heard the president say he hopes there will never be another day like that.

COLLINS: They asked, what is his mindset really going into this. He said, I'm praying that we will never have a day like what we had a year ago. And I think that's a sentiment that a lot of people feel about just the shock of that day. And just also, look at the setting of where the president is giving this speech.

BORGER: Right.

COLLINS: One year ago, this afternoon, that is where people, rioters, pro-Trump rioters, were roaming the hallways freely. You've seen so many of the images since then, so much of the video that reporters took or that people took, staffers took that were there that day while they were huddling in their offices, a lot of them, as they were walking through. And so I think that's this -- what's so symbolic about this speech. And we were -- I heard Jake Tapper talking earlier about, you know, it's not just important what the president says today, it's important what Republicans say today because, of course, it's their supporters who are the ones who don't view that day and the view in the lens of reality for a lot of them. And so I think that is also symbolic of just where he is giving this speech today.

COATES: I also want to hear from the vice president of the United States, though. I -- I --

BLITZER: She will speak -- she will speak first and then the president.

COATES: Yes. And I'm glad that she is because, remember, she is the vice president of the United States. It was a vice president of the United States who gallows were built for to hang a year ago today.

BLITZER: Mike Pence.

BORGER: Right.

COATES: It was -- Mike Pence. It was a vice president of the United States that was the last line of ideological defense for the certification of the Electoral College count. It was a vice president who refused to back down and feed into a big lie that his own president was speaking of. And it was a vice president who stayed in the Capitol for the duration of January 6th I believe, not leaving, and returning to the floor to finish the job that was started.

And I think it's important to hear from somebody like Kamala Harris, the vice president of the United States, because we have come to expect and hear from a president. But she knows, she was an attorney general of California, she was a Senate -- she's the -- she is the vice -- now the head of the Senate as well. It's important to hear from her, knowing what stands against and knowing the pivotal role that a vice president once played.

BORGER: And don't forget, both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris served here.

COATES: Exactly.

BORGER: They -- Statuary Hall is something that I'm sure Joe Biden has walked in thousands of times to go see his colleagues. And I think the same for Kamala Harris. And so these were his old stomping grounds. You know, you can only imagine somebody who served for 36 years in the United States Senate, reveres the United States Senate, still sees himself as someone, as a senator, and that's, in fact, to his detriment sometimes as president, but that's his identity.


BORGER: And so when those insurrectionists came in and were destroying it, imagine how he felt, not only as somebody who was going to be sworn in as president of the United States, but it was like coming into his house, where he had been for decades. And so to add to Kaitlan, it's so important that they do this, right there, at the scene of the crime, because this is the scene of the crime.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And, Jamie, you know, what's really startling is that so many of the Republican leadership on that day and the days that followed immediately condemned Trump, but since then they've gone silent. JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Remember, Kevin McCarthy, remember Mitch McConnell, remember Lindsey Graham, they all stood up and said exactly what had happened, and called out Donald Trump. And then 48 hours later, a few days later, everybody caved and just went back, fell in line. Kevin McCarthy went running to Mar-a-Lago to make up with Trump.

I want to just go back to something Laura Coates said about Merrick Garland. There were two phrases he used. Some people in the analysis did not think that Merrick Garland was strong enough yesterday. I think Merrick Garland was speaking the way Merrick Garland speaks. That's his tone.

But there were a couple of phrases that he used that stood out to me. He said, as long as it takes, whatever it takes, and then he said, at whatever level. I think that was not by accident.



BORGER: He said, perpetrators -- that he would deal with perpetrators who may not have been at the Capitol.

GANGEL: Right.

BORGER: That's a hint.



BLITZER: And suggesting he's going after bigger fish right now.


BLITZER: And just be patient, it's going to happen. Let's see how long it takes. But he's really going after them. He made that clear yesterday.

Jim Sciutto is watching all of this unfold.

I remember your coverage a year ago today. It was really powerful, Jim.

What goes through your mind as we await the vice president of the United States and the president of the United States to address the people of the U.S., and indeed the people of the world?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I think the point here is that it's not just a political threat, it's a security threat. Now I'm going to quote from Christopher Wray's testimony before Congress a couple of months ago in September where he described how what you saw on January 6th as part of a broader threat to this country, violent extremists radicalized by personalized grievances ranging from racial and ethic bias, to anti-government, anti-authority sentiment to conspiracy theories. The FBI views what we saw January 6th as the principle domestic security threat right now. Even more so than international terrorism.

So, when folks look at this and they might say, well, this is a political argument, this is only something Democrats say, the fact is the FBI looks at this as a domestic terrorism threat, a sign of how you have violent extremist groups in this country willing to commit violence to pursue political ends and, frankly, driven by the kinds of things we hear from the former president, conspiracy theories, lies about the election. The FBI is taking this very seriously. They're not doing it in a partisan way or a political way because what we saw a year ago today is something they see as a continuing clear and present danger to this country.

BLITZER: You know, Jim, you remember that day very well. I remember that day well. And I'm sure both of us, like so many other reporters who have covered Washington over the years couldn't believe what we were actually seeing here in the nation's capital. We see that kind of stuff in third world countries, but to see it here in Washington was so, so devastating.

SCIUTTO: Yes. And, you know, Wolf, you and I, we covered international interference in our country's election in 2016, driven primarily by Russia, but there are other countries who do this. What changed in 2020 and, frankly, still exists today, right, is that the principle sources of disinformation, incitement, et cetera, are domestic, right? It's not coming from Russia. It's not coming from China. It's coming from a former president. It's coming from his allies who are describing in very open, public terms, not just lies about the election, but what they were willing to do to overturn the election, right? They're speaking the quiet part out loud. They were willing to push members of Congress to decertify results from half a dozen swing states, right, to change the outcome of the election.

And, you know, this was principally a foreign threat a few years ago and in many ways it's become a domestic issue right now. And the question is, how does the country respond? So far, right, we have not seen, frankly, a broad bipartisan response to this, and that's something that is sobering.

BLITZER: It certainly is.

You know, and, Kaitlan, you're our chief White House correspondent. The president could have addressed the American people from the Oval Office today. But they made a conscious decision, a deliberate decision, they were going it go to the scene of the riot and go to Capitol hill.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And this is something that they had been planning for a while. This is a speech that they realized, I think, the moment of what it calls for, just the gravity of this and what -- it matters what he says.


And it's something that has been there since, of course, day one of his presidency, when he was being sworn in at the Capitol just a few weeks after this had all happened. The barriers were still up. There were very few people there, of course. There was really intense security that day because it was just a few weeks in the aftermath of this, while they were still reconstructing the parts of the Capitol that had been damaged and we were still hearing those firsthand accounts. And I think that is why the White House decided this is the place that he should do it.

And I think also, as Gloria said, you know, this is a very special place to him. I mean he relished the time that he had in the Senate. It still is one of his favorite times. He still says he considers himself to be in that chamber. And so I think that that is a big fact into the scene setting of this and showing people what happened. And so I think that's why it's so symbolic to see the president going there, to see the vice president going there.

And I think one thing that has also loomed over this, you see the aides preparing the remarks for this, is voting rights, and what the president is going to say about that, because that's really been an issue that has loomed over that day and the aftermath of what we've talked about. And you will hear President Biden touch on it today. I don't think he's going to get into it in a real substantive way. The White House says that's because he's giving a bigger speech on Atlanta on Tuesday on voting rights. But it does come amid Democrats framing it as basically now or never to get something on that pass (ph) which could require a rules change, they believe.

BORGER: Do you know what I wish we were seeing here, though? I -- and I know a lot of Republicans are going to former Senator Johnny Isakson's memorial service. But I would like to see Republicans speaking from this podium as well. And that -- saying, this can never happen again and we cannot excuse it, whether it be Mitch McConnell or, you know, the leader Republicans in the -- in the Senate. You know that's not going to happen. But that's what I would have liked to have seen, the president of the United States speak, and then leading Republicans speak saying, right on. We -- you know, we agree with you, this can never happen again. And that's not happening.

BLITZER: We'll hear a lot from Liz Cheney, a Republican.

BORGER: Of Course. Of course.

BLITZER: Adam Kinzinger, a Republican. But we're not going to hear from the leadership of the Republican Party.

BORGER: Yes, that's right.

BLITZER: Momentarily, the vice president of the United States and the president of the United States will be walking into Statuary Hall to make their presentations. Very substantive, detailed speeches. They've been working on this for quite a while.

And just moments ago there was an unusual shot. I want to show our viewers what was happening on Pennsylvania Avenue. U.S. Capitol Police, they lined up -- we don't have that video yet, but we're going to get that video. But now we see the president and the vice president walking towards

the podium in Statuary Hall. The vice president will speak first.

Let's listen in as we get ready for this historic moment.


Certain dates echo throughout history, including dates that instantly remind all who have lived through them where they were, and what they were doing when our democracy came under assault. Dates that occupy not only a place on our calendars, but a place in our collective memory. December 7, 1941, September 11, 2001, and January 6, 2021.

On that day, I was not only vice president-elect, I was also a United States Senator. And I was here at the Capitol that morning at a classified hearing with fellow members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Hours later, the gates of the Capitol were breached. I had left, but my thoughts immediately turned not only to my colleagues, but to my staff, who had been forced to seek refuge in our office, converting filing cabinets into barricades.

What the extremists who roamed these halls targeted was not only the lives of elected leaders, what they sought to degrade and destroy was not only a building, hallowed as it is, what they were assaulting were the institutions, the values, the ideals, that generations of Americans have marched, picketed, and shed blood to establish and defend.

On January 6th, we all saw what our nation would look like if the forces who seek to dismantle our democracy are successful.


The lawlessness, the violence, the chaos.

What was at stake then and now is the right to have our future decided the way the Constitution prescribes it, by we, the people. All the people.

We cannot let our future be decided by those bent on silencing our voices, overturning our votes, and pedaling lies and misinformation by some radical faction that may be newly resurgent, but whose roots run old and deep.

When I meet with young people, they often ask about the state of our democracy, about January 6th. And what I tell them is January 6th reflects the dual nature of democracy, its fragility and its strength. You see, the strength of democracy is the rule of law. The strength of democracy is the principle that everyone should be treated equally, that elections should be free and fair, that corruption should be given no quarter. The strength of democracy is that it empowers the people. And the fragility of democracy is this, that if we are not vigilant, if we do not defend it, democracy simply will not stand. It will falter and fail. The violent assault that took place here, the very fact of how close

we came to an election overturned, that reflects the fragility of democracy. Yet the resolve I saw in our elected leaders, when I returned to the Senate chamber that night, their resolve not to yield but to certify the election, their loyalty, not to party or person, but to the Constitution of the United States, that reflects its strength.

And so, of course, does the heroism of the Capitol Police, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, the National Guard and other law enforcement officers who answered the call that day, including those who later succumbed to wounds, both visible and invisible. Our thoughts are with all of the families who have lost a loved one.

You know, I wonder, how will January 6th come to be remembered in the years ahead? Will it be remembered as a moment that accelerated the unraveling of the oldest, greatest democracy in the world, or a moment when we decided to secure and strengthen our democracy for generations to come.

The American spirit is being tested. The answer to whether we will meet that test resides where it always has resided in our country, with you, the people.

And the work ahead will not be easy. Here in this very building, a decision will be made about whether we uphold the right to vote and ensure free and fair elections. Let's be clear, we must pass voting rights bills that are now before the Senate. And the American people must also do something more. We cannot sit on the sidelines. We must unite in defense of our democracy in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our prosperity and posterity.


That is the preamble of the Constitution that President Biden and I swore an oath to uphold and defend. And that is the enduring promise of the United States of America.

My fellow Americans, it is my honor to introduce a public servant with the character and fortitude to meet this moment. A leader whose life's work has been moving our nation toward that more perfect union, President Joe Biden.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Madam Vice President, my fellow Americans.

To state the obvious, one year ago today, in this sacred place, democracy was attacked. Simply attacked. The will of the people was under assault. The Constitution, our Constitution, faced the gravest of threats. Outnumbered in the face of a brutal attack, the Capitol Police, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, the National Guard, and other brave law enforcement officials saved the rule of law. Our democracy held. We, the people, endured. We, the people, prevailed. For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an

election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol. But they failed. They failed. And on this day of remembrance, we must make sure that such attack never, never happens again.

I'm speaking to you today from Statuary Hall, in the United States Capitol. This is where the House of Representatives met for 50 years in the decades leading up to the Civil War. This is -- on this floor is where a young Congressman from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, sat at desk 191. Above him, above us, over that door, leading into the Rotunda, is a sculpture depicting Cleo, the muse of history. In her hands, an open book in which she records the events taking place in this chamber below.

Cleo stood watch over this hall, one year ago today, as she has for more than 200 years. She recorded what took place, the real history, the real facts, the real truth. The facts and the truth that Vice President Harris just shared and that you and I and the whole world saw with our own eyes.

The Bible tells us that we shall know the truth, and the truth shall make us free. We shall know the truth. Well, here is the God's truth about January 6, 2021. Close your eyes. Go back to that day. What do you see? Rioters rampaging, waving for the first time inside this Capitol a confederate flag that symbolized the cause to destroy America, to rip us apart. Even during the Civil War, that never, ever happened. But it happened here in 2021.

What else did you see? A mob, breaking windows, kicking in doors, breaching the Capitol. American flags on poles being used as weapons, as spears. Fire extinguishers being thrown at heads of police officers. A crowd that professors their love for law enforcement assaulted those police officers, dragged them, sprayed them, stomped on them. Over 140 police officers were injured. We all heard the police officers who were there that day testify to what happened.


One officer called it, quote, a medieval battle and that he was more afraid that day than he was fighting the war in Iraq. They've repeatedly asked since that day, how dare anyone, anyone diminish, belittle or deny the hell they were put through. We saw it with our own eyes, rioters menace these halls, threatening the life of the speaker of the House, literally erecting gallows to hang the vice president of the United States of America.

What did we not see? We didn't see a former president who had just rallied the mob to attack, sitting in the private dining room off the Oval Office in the White House, watching it all on television and doing nothing for hours as police were assaulted, lives at risk, the nation's capital under siege.

This wasn't a group of tourists. This was an armed insurrection. They weren't looking to uphold the will of the people. They were looking to deny the will of the people. They were looking to uphold -- they weren't looking to uphold a free and fair election. They were looking to overturn one. They weren't looking to save the cause of America, they were looking to subvert the Constitution.

This isn't about being bogged down in the past. This is about making sure that the past isn't buried. That's the only way forward. That's what great nations do. They don't bury the truth. They face up to it. Sounds like hyperbole, but that's the truth, they face up to it.

We are a great nation. My fellow Americans in life there's truth, and tragically there are lies. Lies conceived and spread for profit and power. We must be absolutely clear about what is true and what is a lie. And here's the truth. A former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. He's done so because he values power over principle. Because he sees his own interest as more important than his country's interest, and America's interest. And because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution. He can't accept he lost, even though that's what 93 United States senators, his own attorney general, his own vice president, governors and state officials in every battleground state have all said, he lost. That's what 81 million of you did as you voted for a new way forward.

He has done what no president in American history, the history of this country, has ever, ever done. He refused to accept the results of an election, and the will of the American people.

While some courageous men and women in the Republican Party are standing against it, trying to uphold the principle of that party, too many others are transforming that party into something else. They seem no longer to want to be the party, the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, Reagan, the Bushs. Well, whatever my other disagreements are with Republicans who support the rule of law and not the rule of a single man, I will always seek to work together with them, to find shared solutions where possible, because if we have a shared belief in democracy, then anything is possible. Anything.

So, at this moment, we must decide what kind of nation are we going to be. Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm, or are we going to be a nation where we allow partisan election officials to overturn the legally expressed will of the people? Are we going to be a nation that lives not by the light of the truth, but in the shadow of lies? We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation. The way forward is to recognize the truth and to live by it.


The big lie being told by the former president and many Republicans who fear his rath is that the insurrection in this country actually took place on Election Day, November 3, 2020. Think about that. Is that what you thought? Is that what you thought when you voted that day? Taking part in an insurrection, is that what you thought you were doing? Or did you think you were carrying out your highest duty as a citizen and voting?

The former president's supporters are trying to rewrite history. They want you to see Election Day as the day of insurrection. And the riot that took place here on January 6th as a true expression of the will of the people. Can you think of a more twisted way to look at this country, to look at America? I cannot.

Here's the truth, the election of 2020 was the greatest demonstration, democracy, in the history of this country. More of you voted in that election than have ever voted in all of American history. Over 150 million Americans went to the polls and voted that day. In a pandemic. Some at great risk to their lives. They should be applauded, not attacked.

Right now, in state after state, new laws are being written, not to protect the vote, but to deny it. Not only to suppress the vote, but to subvert it. Not to strengthen and protect our democracy, but because the former president lost instead of looking at the election results from 2020 and saying they need new ideas or better ideas to win more votes. The former president and his supporters have decided the only way for them to win is to suppress your vote and subvert our elections. It's wrong. It's un-democratic. And, frankly, it's un- American.

The second big lie being told by the former president's supporters is that the results of the election of 2020 can't be trusted. The truth is that no election, no election in American history has been more closely scrutinized or more carefully counted. Every legal challenge questioning the results and every court in this country that could have been made was made and was rejected. Often rejected by Republican-appointed judges, including judges appointed by the former president himself, from state courts to the United States Supreme Court.

Recounts were undertaken in state after state. Georgia -- Georgia counted its results three times with one recount by hand. Phony partisan audits were undertaken. Long after the election in several states. None changed the results. And in some of the irony is, the margin of victory actually grew slightly.

So, let's speak plainly about what happened in 2020. Even before the first ballot was cast, the former president was preemptively sewing doubt about the election results. He built his lie over months. It wasn't based in any facts. He was just looking for an excuse, a pretext, to cover for the truth. He's not just the former president, he's a defeated former president. Defeated by a margin of over 7 million of your votes in a full and free and fair election. There is simply zero proof the election results were inaccurate. In fact, in every venue, where evidence had to be produced, an oath to tell the truth had to be taken, the former president failed to make his case.

Just think about this, the former president and his supporters have never been able to explain how they accept as accurate the other election results that took place on November 3rd. The elections for governor, United States Senate, House of Representatives, elections which they closed the gap in the House. They challenged none of that. The president's name was first, then we went down the line, governor, senators, House of Representatives.

[09:30:00] Somehow those results were accurate on the same ballot, but the presidential race was flawed? And on the same ballot, the same day, cast by the same voters? The only difference, the former president didn't lose those races, he just lost the one that was his own.

Finally, the third big lie being told by a former president and his supporters, is that the mob who sought to impose their will through violence are the nation's true patriots. Is that what you thought when you looked at the mob ransacking the Capitol, destroying property, literally defecating in the hallways, rifling through the desks of senators and representatives, hunting down members of Congress, patriots? Not in my view. To me, the true patriots were the more than 150 Americans who peacefully expressed their vote at the ballot box. The election workers who protected the integrity of the vote. And the heroes who defended this Capitol.

You can't love your country only when you win. You can't obey the law only when it's convenient. You can't be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies. Those who stormed this Capitol and those who instigated and incited and those who called on them to do so held a dagger at the throat of America, at American democracy. They didn't come here out of patriotism or principle, they came here in rage. Not in service of America, but rather in service of one man. Those who incited the mob, the real plotters who were desperate to deny the certification of this election, and defy the will of the voters, but their plot was foiled.

Congressmen, Democrats and Republicans, stayed. Senators, representatives, staff, they finished their work the Constitution demanded. They honored their oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Look, folks, now it's up to all of us, to we, the people, to stand for the rule of law, to preserve the flame of democracy, to keep the promise of America alive. That promise is at risk, targeted by the forces that value brute strength over the sanctity of democracy. Fear over hope. Personal gain over public good.

Make no mistake about it, we're living at an inflexion point in history. Both at home and abroad. We're engaged anew in a struggle between democracy and autocracy. Between the aspirations of the many and the greed of the few. Between the people's right of self- determination and a self-seeking autocrat. From China to Russia and beyond, they're betting that democracy's days are numbered. They've actually told me, democracy is too slow, too bogged down by division to succeed in today's rapidly changing, complicated world. And they're betting, they're betting America will become more like them and less like us. They're betting that America is a place for the autocrat, the dictator, the strong man. I do not believe that. That is not who we are. That is not who we have ever been. And that is not who we should ever, ever be.

Our founding fathers, as imperfect as they were, set a motion and experiment that changed the world. Literally changed the world. Here in America, the people would rule. Power would be transferred peacefully. Never at the tip of a spear or the barrel of a gun. And they committed to paper an idea that couldn't live up to -- they couldn't live up to, but an idea that couldn't be constrained.

Yes, in America, all people are created equal.


We reject the view that if you succeed, I fail. If you get ahead, I fall behind. If I hold you down, I somehow lift myself up.

The former president, who lies about this election, and the mob that attacked this Capitol, could not be further away from the core American values. They want to rule, or they will ruin. Ruin what our country fought for at Lexington and Concord, at Gettysburg and Omaha Beach, Seneca Falls, Selma, Alabama. What -- and we're fighting for, the right to vote. The right to govern ourselves. The right to determine our own destiny.

And with rights come responsibilities. The responsibility to see each other as neighbors. Maybe we disagree with that neighbor, but they're not an adversary. Responsibility to accept defeat, then get back in the arena and try again the next time to make your case. Responsibility to see that America is an idea. An idea that requires vigilant stewardship.

As we stand here today, one year since January 6, 2021, the lies that drove the anger and madness we saw in this place, they have not abated. So we have to be firm, resolute and unyielding in our defense of the right to vote, and to have that vote counted.

Some have already made the ultimate sacrifice in this sacred effort. Jill and I have mourned police officers in this Capitol Rotunda, not once, but twice, in the wake of January 6th, once to honor Officer Brian Sicknick, who lost his life the day after the attack, and a second time to honor Officer Billy Evans, who lost his life defending this Capitol as well. We think about the others who lost their lives and were injured, and everyone living with the trauma of that day. And those defending this Capitol, to members of Congress in both parties and their staffs, to reporters, cafeteria workers, custodial workers and their families, don't kid yourself. The pain and scars from that day run deep.

I said it many times, and it's no more true or real than we think about the events of January 6th, we are in a battle for the soul of America. A battle that by the grace of God, the goodness and gracious -- and greatness of this nation we will win.

Believe me, I know how difficult democracy is. And I'm crystal clear about the threats America faces. But I also know that our darkest days can lead to light and hope from the death and destruction, as the vice president referenced of Pearl Harbor, came the triumph over the forces of fascism, from the brutality of Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettus Bridge came historic voting rights legislation.

So, now, let's step up, write the next chapter in American history, where January 6th marks not the end of democracy, but the beginning of a renaissance of liberty and fair play. I did not seek this fight brought to this Capitol one year ago today.

But I will not shrink from it either. I will stand in this breach. I will defend this nation. And I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy. We will make sure the will of the people is heard, that the ballot prevails, not violence. That authority in this nation will always be peacefully transferred.

I believe the power of the presidency and the purpose is to unite this nation, not divide it. To lift us up, not tear us apart. It's about us, about us, not about me.

Deep in the heart of America burns a flame lit almost 250 years ago of liberty, freedom and equality.


This is not a land of kings or dictators or autocrats. We're a nation of laws, of order, not chaos, of peace, not violence.

Here in America, the people rule through the ballot, and their will prevails. So let us remember, together, where one nation under God, indivisible. That today, tomorrow and forever at our best we are the United States of America.

God bless you all. May God protect our troops. And may God bless those who stand watch over our democracy.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The president of the United States delivering an extremely powerful, very, very significant speech, arguably the most important words he has uttered as the president of the United States, directly over and over and over again, blaming the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, for the violence that erupted at the U.S. Capitol exactly one year ago today.

He never mentioned Trump by name, but repeatedly referred to the former president over and over again. And the fact that he had to deliver this speech, he really did not want to do it, but the fact that he did seems to underscore the peril to democracy here in the United States, at least as seen by President Biden.

Let's go to our chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.

Were you surprised he never mentioned Trump by name, repeatedly referring to him as the former president, the former president, the former president?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I don't think he had to mention him by name. I think it was very clear, obviously, who he was talking about. But I do think that's a notable choice made by the president, made by the White House, not to just say his name during that entire speech.

But, Wolf, some of the lines seemed designs with only Trump in mind, as if only Trump was watching this speech, saying he's not just a former president, he's a defeated performer president, where Biden leaned into the camera to say that line, saying that he failed to make his case, saying that he lost, saying he is a former president, over and over again, hammering that point home.

And I just think it's notable to see President Biden walking into Statuary Hall, and basically calling his predecessor a liar. He said, he created and spread a web of lies about what happened in the election, which he tried to break down there, talking about not only broadly what he said, but going into detail about how, how can you claim that only your election was rigged when all the other Republicans who were elected, their elections were not. Their elections were valid. How can you make that argument? And I just think it's notable.

I do think -- I wonder, you know, this is a speech he could have given a year ago at his inauguration. He could have talked about that then. That was a speech that was really focused on healing the nation, on unity. And I think it does show where we've come a year from January 6th, where some people maybe thought we'd be in a different position here in the United States, but clearly the president of the United States feeling the need to go on the anniversary of this and basically say that his predecessor is a liar is notable.

BLITZER: Yes, I've never heard an American president --


BLITZER: Accuse a former president of actually being a liar along these lines and a threat to American democracy. He didn't mention Trump by name. He really didn't have to mention Trump by name --


BLITZER: Because he referred to the former president over and over again.

BORGER: You know, I was -- I was watching Biden there, in the Senate -- I mean in the House, Statuary Hall is there, and I was -- I was watching him as somebody who was kind of -- had to get this off his chest. That this -- this has been around since he was inaugurated. It has -- he is acknowledged that the lies of Donald Trump have infected the entire nation. And as the leader of the country, he finally decided, a year after January 6th, that they had to speak the truth, and they had to lay it out for the American people.

And, of course, there are going to be people out there, we know them, who are going to say, oh, this is ridiculous, they don't like Joe Biden, they don't like what he's doing, et cetera, et cetera. So, for them, you know, OK, fine.

But I believe that when we look back on Joe Biden's tenure as the president -- as president, you know, this may well become the strongest speech he's ever given. It was from the heart. And he said at the end, you know, I did not seek this fight, but I will not shrink from it either. I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy.

And time and time again, he talked about the, you know, former president creating and spreading a web of lies, and how he values power over principle, sees his own interests as more important than the country's interests.


It was as if he was giving a summation and a trial and he was standing there with the American public watching him and saying, listen, I'm laying it all out for you, guilty as charged. He's guilty of doing this to our country.

BLITZER: You know, and, Jamie, he minced no words at all in directly blaming Trump for the violence this erupted one year ago today.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, to Gloria's point, I think it will be looked back at his most powerful speech. I think it's also an historic speech.


GANGEL: This is his democracy in peril speech. Dagger at the throat of democracy. And he laid it at the feet of Donald Trump. There is one person responsible.

He also went at Trump with not just calling him a liar, but he said, quote, he can't accept he lost. There is very plain language that he used. That he has a bruised ego. That this was not a group of tourists, this was an armed insurrection. So, it was both -- I have to say, I know the historian John Meacham. A lot of these lines sound like John Meacham had something to do with this speech. It was both historic, but I think it was very pointed, Joe Biden taking on Donald Trump in a way he's never done it before.

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It wasn't, for me, not just speech about Donald Trump, which, of course, was the big elephant in the room. But when he invoked that number of 81 million people, when he asked that rhetorical question of, they'd like you to believe that by voting you were actually the insurrectionists.

BORGER: Right.

COATES: Do you think that was true? Did you know that by participating in our democracy, by upholding your highest civic duty, that you were the insurrectionists? By putting it out there, he was speaking to 81 million people who never entered the Capitol Building, who entered voting booths, and entered their polling locations with the idea of voting and having their will be honored. He was speaking to that notion.

He also spoke -- remember how it began. Vice President Harris invoking the phrasing of the date's that will live in infamy. Pearl harbor, 9/11, and now January 6th. These are key moments, critical moments over the history of the United States of America, to which other countries were looking at this country, saying, what are you going to do now?

He harkened back to that very question again of what kind of nation do you think we should be? And it's imperative to understand, of course, in my opinion, that when there is really only one answer, it can only be a democracy.

You know, famous people have talked about the idea of democracy is not the best kind of government, but I know of no greater one. And he was thinking about that very notion today as he spoke. And, you know, for an audience of one, he also talked about those who were fearful of incurring the rath of Donald Trump. He was talking to Republican members of the Congress right now, who are looking at seeing the plain truth that the three articulated, enumerated lies that he spoke about today, they're helping to continue that, to what gain, fear of rath. And think about it, is a bruised ego of a defeated president enough to continue to batter our democracy? I certainly hope not. Otherwise, we won't have one. He spoke to that today.

BLITZER: You know, I just want to point out that the -- the president was rather really blunt in saying, democracy was attacked one year ago today. And he said, Kaitlan, he said, this is really, I think, significant, for the first time in American history, a president, referring to Trump, a president tried to prevent a peaceful transfer of power.

COLLINS: And I know that in the time of 2022, we've become so accustomed to insanity and having lived through the attack, having lived through a pandemic, having lived through what the world has looked like over the last five years. But to have a moment where someone like President Biden, who has been, you know, this mild- mannered kind of president, politician, a well-known figure who was vice president, obviously served in the Senate for three decades, to go to Capitol Hill and call his predecessor a liar is significant. Likely something that President Biden, Joe Biden, never thought he was ever going to do. And for him to go out there -- you know, we say, yes, of course, he called him a liar. Yes, we know former President Trump lied about what happened that day. But to have him go out and so bluntly say it with the presidential seal in front of him, the two American flags on either side of him, the vice president standing right there, is still so notable.

And talking not only about that he's a liar and saying that he spread lies in the days sense then, talking about what he did that day by inciting the mob, provoking them that day with his speech, and then going back to the West Wing.


And as we've talked about, as the January 6th committee has talked about, as we reported that day, saying that former President Trump was sitting in the office right outside the Oval Office, where he often sat, watching television and highlighting his lack of action as what unfolded that day is something I'm not really sure that Biden has done in a significant way and put a lot of emphasis on it as he just did there.

BORGER: You know, he just called the former president of the United States twisted. I mean he -- you know, when talking about -- as you were talking about, Laura, how he regards November 3rd as the insurrection, he said, can you think of a more twisted way to look at America? That that was the day people cast their votes. I mean, this is, you know, Joe Biden unbound here. It's just the --

GANGEL: But just --

BORGER: It is remarkable how he directly went after the former defeated president, as he said --

GANGEL: Right.

BORGER: From Statuary Hall, getting this all off his chest, and effectively saying, you know, I work with Republicans. Whatever disagreements I might have with them, that's fine, he said, but this goes beyond that because this is warped.

GANGEL: Well, just for context, though, it's not just to get it off his chest, just to go back two lines, we are living at a turning point in history.


GANGEL: We are in a battle for the soul of America. He then said a battle we will win.

But, again, he gave this speech today, as Kaitlan says, a speech he probably never thought he would have to give, because a year later he thinks democracy is teetering.

COATES: Yes, I'm glad, too, from the -- I mean I -- you know, I also was a voting rights attorney for the Department of Justice and I was thrilled to hear him not begin with just November 3rd, as if that was the moment in time where the campaign for the big lie began. He spoke about it being a preemptive strike, even before the election, planting the seeds, laying the foundation for people to be distrustful of the integrity of our elections, and talking about the big lie as a continuous motion, more fluid than simply a finite period of time that began when he was, in fact, defeated by the will of the people.

And that was so important because I think a lot of us thought to ourselves, well, he's giving that speech in Atlanta next week about voting rights. Will he lean into the idea that here they are, in this place, where voting rights are being fought for by the House, in many ways hurdles are being put in place in the Senate because of the filibuster and other mechanisms, and him -- he leaned into that notion of talking about how this was a preemptive strike and the development of ways to claw back voting rights also presented the pretextual reason to have this big lie metastasize the way it did.

I think it's a very important point that he raised and one that should not be lost even though January 6th was the emphasis. But we know the days that mark our history are not defined by one 24-hour period. It is over the course of weeks, of months, of clawing back rights, of letting them go away until, poof, one day they're gone. He was reinforcing that democracy was back.

BLITZER: And, Kaitlan, I thought it was also significant that he didn't just accuse the former president of lying, he then went one step further, that Trump and his supporters were lying and they were lying to spread this notion for profit and power.


BLITZER: The former president of the United States was spreading a web of lies because he believes in power over principle and over democracy.

COLLINS: I'm glad you brought that line up because I do think that that goes back to kind of the center of all this, is the way that former President Trump supporters and his allies have viewed this, the ones who have viewed it favorably and said it's overhyped, it's oversold, it's not what you thought it was, even though, of course, a lot of us who were here and even if you weren't here and you watched it, you know what happened that day, is talking about what motivated it and this idea of how these people refer to themselves as patriots. And President Biden saying that they're not patriots and talking about what drove former President Trump to do what he did, which is that he didn't want to deal with an election loss, saying not only that he put principle -- power over principle, but saying he sees his own interest as more important than the country's interest.

And I just want -- you know, we talk about what it was like on that day. And I was rereading some of my notes from that day, calls that I have with sources that were just frantic that day. White House aides who were in the West Wing that day were deeply shaken by his reaction, not just by what had happened on Capitol Hill, some of them having worked on The Hill before, been in Washington for a while, they were so shaken by how Trump responded to it because he genuinely was not viewing it through the same lens that everyone else did. And a lot of people, Kevin McCarthy and others included, have, you know, changed the way that they viewed that day in the aftermath. We've seen how they've reverted back to defending him. But that day, and in those moments, and in the conversations that I had firsthand with these people, they were deeply shaken by the way Trump had responded.


Because watching him be borderline enthusiastic, which is what we reported that day his reaction was watching it, they couldn't believe it. Even though they knew him, they knew what had happened internally, they worked in a very chaotic West Wing where things happened that you never expected, that was a day that stood out, obviously, so much to him.

And I think what Biden is saying there, that it was his own interest that drove this, putting it over the United States' interests, that is something that a lot of people may not say publicly, but a lot of allies of this president would concede is what drove him since he lost the election to act in the way that he has in the year since.

BORGER: Well, you know, I think this speech pushed every Trump button. Every one of them.

COLLINS: Oh, yes.

GANGEL: Absolutely. BORGER: And I'm sure he was watching. He'll say maybe he wasn't, but

I'm sure he was watching. And every button. Every button went directly -- went directly at Trump about the lies, being defeated former president, the mob are the true patriots when the -- when Joe Biden said to the -- to the country, is that what you really thought? Is that what you thought?

Every single point, the big lie, the three things he went over, directly aimed at Donald Trump. Didn't have to say his name, just had to talk about the lies that he is telling. Again, to the jury, in his summation, saying, you know what, you can't love this country only if you win. And that was sort of his closing. And you can't obey the law only when it's convenient.


COATES: And speaking of love, I mean -- sorry, Wolf. But speaking of love, I mean, he made that statement of, those who profess to love law enforcement assaulted them that day. I mean we talk about that phrase, a nation of laws, and we talk about the ways in which Republican members of the Senate and the House have looked at this in some respects, some members, and have said, you know, what about Black Lives Matter protests, what about Antifa, talking about different notions and trying to somehow conflate and incorporate this and flash these diamonds.

But, in reality, it was this -- what we were all seeing was one of the very reasons that the attorney general is having an issue right now with trying to prosecute everyone involved, because people were able to walk back out, number one, of that Capitol, obviously they were overwhelmed. We know about the ratio that was in play. But also about the idea of this whitewashing to say that, no, these were people who really valued law enforcement and a nation of laws. They were trying to uphold these principles. You saw that quite clearly about this very notion.

BLITZER: Hold on a second. He's speaking now.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the president (ph), it's way beyond that. It's way beyond that.


QUESTION: Mr. President, does calling him out divide more than it heals? You've talked so much about healing, sir, healing this country.

BIDEN: No, no, look, the way you have to heal, you have to recognize the extent of the wound. You can't pretend. This is serious stuff. And a lot of people, understandably, want to go -- look -- that was -- I, you know, I just assume not face it. You've got to face it. That's what great nations do, they face the truth, deal with it, and move on.

QUESTION: Mr. President, has anything changed in this country a year on?

(INAUDIBLE). QUESTION: Has anything changed in this country a year on?

BLITZER: All right, the president walking out of the U.S. Capitol now, answering a couple questions from reporters. This is serious stuff, he says, you've got to face it, you've got to face the truth.

You know, and the president, President Biden, was really blunt in, you know, going after Trump in all sorts of ways. He could have gone even further and noted that Trump was going originally to give a speech today, but decided in the end not to do it, presumably because he wasn't going to get a lot of attention.

COLLINS: Yes, he was planning that press conference right around when there's supposed to be a candlelight vigil tonight at the Capitol. We have heard from -- for multiple reasons why he canceled that press conference that he was scheduled to have, in part because Republicans even did not want that because, of course, they're the ones who have struggled to really maintain, you know -- respond to questions about what happened that day.

I do think what Gloria said, he did hit all of the trigger points for the former president --

BORGER: Totally.

COLLINS: Saying -- you know, mentioning the former president 16 times, as my colleague Kevin Liptak (ph) just noted, and saying he lost, he failed, he lost, he lied. Using all these words that you heard former President Trump use so many times, but using them to describe him and his behavior in the aftermath of that.

The reporter there was asking President Biden, of course, what he talked about, what we were talking about in his inauguration speech about healing the nation given how divided the nation is, which no one can deny. He was saying that you have to address it head on.

But then he said there at the end, move on. I don't know that that's a -- like what that looks like going forward, especially ahead of the 2022 elections. What we've talked about with them changing elections nationwide and the efforts by Democrats to get some kind of voting rights legislation passed. You know, the idea of moving on if that's even possible, that remains to be seen.


And I don't think that's clear to anyone.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we don't know. Just remember that in the immediate aftermath of the insurrection, you had eight senators and 139 House Democrats voted against certification.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Can I tell you Trump has just put out a statement and Liz Harrington, who is his spokesman, has put it on Twitter. And trump says, quote, Biden, who's destroying our nation with insane policies of open borders, corrupt elections, disastrous energy policies, used my name today to try to further divide America. He actually didn't use his name. This is a bad day for Donald Trump and a bad week for Donald Trump. He canceled that press conference. Republicans may not have wanted him to do it, but he usually doesn't listen to Republicans. He canceled that an hour after Sean Hannity's text to Mark Meadows were made public.

And his base may dismiss this speech but this was a very powerful attack on Trump by Biden.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. And, remember, what President Biden said is we have to now determine, and I'm anxious to get your thoughts, what kind of nation are we going to be. The big lie was formed by the former president and it's still out there.

Jim Sciutto is watching all of this together with all of us as well. We're seeing the motorcade getting ready to leave Capitol Hill and head back to the White House with the president. But I'm anxious, Jim, for your thoughts right now. Because, as I keep saying, people here in the United States are watching President Biden, but people all around the world are watching what the president of the United States had to say about the peril to American democracy right now, and they're probably scratching their heads and wondering what's happening in the greatest democracy in the world.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: What's striking, I think, Wolf, is that, in addition to placing blame for the former president, for events that happened on January 6, Biden spoke to a broader issue here. He said, we have to be clear, quoting him, about what is true and what is a lie, putting his finger on what goes beyond Trump, right, is that we don't in this country, sadly, have a shared set of facts about January 6th, but a whole host of things, that the bubbles we all occupy are impenetrable to some degree by facts from many people.

And that extends beyond January 6, beyond the 2020 election, even to an issue of the vaccines, right, where people believe lies about the vaccines or believe lies about the seriousness of COVID. And that's a large issue, right, that extend beyond the former president. The former president, of course, fuels them, and as President Biden noted in his speech, he said the lies have not abated. And, by the way, as Jamie was just quoting there, Trump is still lying about the election. But we have a broader problem in this country that there is, sadly, for many people no shared reality, no shared facts.

And I think that Biden realized he had a rare moment here to address a broad swath of the country, right, to reach Republican voters, right- wing voters, Brian Stelter has noted that Fox and Newsmax were airing his comments to speak directly to them about counter the lies about the election point by point. But the fact is those bubbles persist, right, and they extend beyond January 6. And that's a larger issue for you and me and folks watching at home have to figure out how to deal with.

BLITZER: And it's interesting, Gloria, because President Biden said of Trump, he can't accept the fact that he lost the election, became a one-term president, twice impeached, by the way, the only president to be twice impeached while serving as president of the United States.

BORGER: He also didn't mention that he lost the House and the Senate while he was in office. Maybe he was being gracious about that. What is the thing that Donald Trump hates the most? Losers, being called a loser. What Joe Biden did today was say, look, fellow, you lost. You're a defeated former president. 81 million people voted for me. The courts --

BLITZER: About 7 million more than voted for Trump.

BORGER: But the courts upheld it. No president in the history of this country has ever refused to accept the results of the election. You're out there, this is about your ego, this is about nothing else, this is not about the country, look at what you've done.

It's not that he's going to convince all the Trump acolytes to change their mind or the conspiracy theorists, et cetera, et cetera, but this was the most powerful speech of his presidency, as Jamie was saying, Historic, because of the clear choices he outlined. And the way Biden sees it is this struggle between good and evil, effectively, between democracy and something else, autocracy.


And Trump's lame response today was all that he could muster. It would be interesting to be in the room with him and see how he was reacting to this.

COLLINS: Well, Gloria, that's why what you said was so interesting because it appears our reporter asked President Biden why he didn't name Trump directly in that speech, obviously. It was very clear he referred to him and he called him the former president, referred to him several times. He said, I did not want to turn it into a contemporary political battle between me and the former president. He said it's way beyond that, way beyond that.

And I do think that's a good point about this, that it's not just Trump versus Biden and it's not that they just disagree on some policy issue. They disagree on a fundamental principle of democracy and what elections look like here in the United States.

And I think that was what he was saying was the emphasis of the speech and that's why he tried to dismantle the arguments that Trump has made about the election and talking about them on a state level, talking about the senators who did vote to certify the election, how Bill Barr, then the attorney general, did say that no widespread fraud had occurred, that Republican governors and governors in battleground states also confirmed that Trump lost the election because he wanted to make it clear on the principle ahead of other elections what that looks like and what really happened.

BLITZER: Gloria, I think it's significant that Merrick Garland, the attorney general, yesterday said that he's really only just beginning. He estimated 720 or 730 people have already been charged, but a lot more are going to be charged and they're going to be higher-ups in the process. And at one point, he seemed to imply that even the former president could face some sort of criminal charges for what he did in orchestrating, organizing this insurrection.

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: And that's so important, because, of course, unfortunately, it is human nature oftentimes to be easily manipulated and to be susceptible to some of the things that happened, right? The big lie has worked because there has been a willing amount of people to be that audience and be those minions.

And so going after the people that have carried out directives, that's important because you want to serve as a deterrent to others so they don't commit those same crimes, thinking, you know what, let me consider or reconsider that person who followed orders before, they got in trouble, do I want to be that person?

But going after the masterminds and the puppeteers are equally important because unless you go after those who have organized, facilitated, funded or in any way carried out and helped to do so, you are only going to cut off the minions and not the people who can actually orchestrate in the future.

But I just want to point out on that notion of a statement that Jamie read. I can't help but laugh that in a nearly 30-minute speech from the president of the United States and an additional speech of about ten minutes from the vice president of the United States, the only thing that the former president heard was inaccurately thinking his name was actually involved. I mean, his name was never said. The word Trump never came out of the mouth. And of all the things that could have been referenced and talked about, the undeniable, irrefutable facts, that's what he focused on. I mean, it was almost like a complete and total illustration to the very point of the self- absorption that was actually the motivation for that big lie as opposed to what democracy stands for.

And, you know, finally, I just -- it reminds me of the Sean Hannity text, you mentioned it, Jamie. One thing that Sean Hannity said in the texts that were recently revealed is, look -- I'm paraphrasing here -- go to Florida, you've lost the race, go to Florida and you'll be able to comment on all the ways that Biden messes up on a daily basis. Don't do what is expected at this January 6 or whatever is going to happen. That was before it actually happened.

BLITZER: Stop talking about the election.

COATES: Yes, stop talking about the election. And look what happened, precisely what was not followed, of course, was actually carried out there. But all he heard in that entire motion, the entire speech was, did somebody say my name? And the answer is no. No one did.

BLITZER: It's interesting because he said, the president, for the first time in American history, a president, referring to Trump, tried to rev prevent a peaceful transfer of power according to the rules of the U.S. Constitution. Potentially, isn't that a crime?

COATES: Absolutely. And the American people are supposed to be able to have an expectation of the peaceful transfer of power, but also we have laws on the books about not interfering with elections or are trying to do so in any way. That's why you have got the courts of law who, when the lawyers for the Trump campaign went to the courts and said, can I please have relief, the courts rightly said on what basis? Where is the evidence to suggest that there was any wrongdoing or any reason to grant injunctive relief? And there was nothing.

And then you heard secretary of state Brad Raffensperger in that now infamous call and the conversations about just find a certain amount of votes, all of these things, the very reasons that the former president is being investigated to this day in places like Fulton County and the likes for his commentary and what he's been saying.


And so there are laws on the books.

But Merrick Garland -- excuse me, General Merrick Garland is absolutely right. The law will constrain the things that they're actually able to do. The elements must be met. The evidence must be there. And the court of public opinion, while impatient, cannot dictate what they do.

COLLINS: I think one thing about Biden also drew attention to in -- made in his speech, maybe not in an overt way, but talking about Trump's role that day. And that's something that he says -- and then Jen Psaki said yesterday that he wanted to talk about how Trump has tried to distract from the role that he played that day.

And you saw Biden there talking about how Trump responded to this, saying that he had just rallied the mob and then went back to the west wing and highlighting his lack of action, because that has been something that we've talked about so much and that we know the January 6th committee wants to get to is what was happening in those hours, those minutes -- it's a little over an hour -- inside the west wing while this attack was happening and the former president was --

BLITZER: And it's an important point because President Biden specifically said this former president did nothing for hours.

COLLINS: And there have been big questions about what he was doing when he was doing nothing publicly, because he did eventually put out that video. I know Liz Cheney, who is obviously on the committee investigating January 6th, has talked about and been questioned about videos, the outtakes that they had of the video that they finally did put out where he told the rioters that they were special, that they loved them, but to go home.

BORGER: He just said he loved them, by the way.


BORGER: But this sets the table for the January 6th committee. This is, you know, another part of what Biden was doing, which is -- and he said, it's about making sure the past isn't buried. And that's what the January 6th committee is doing, making sure that the American public knows everything that occurred in those 187 minutes. And he said great nations don't bury the truth, they face up to it.


GANGEL: To the point of those 187 minutes, what we're hearing from the committee over and over again and Liz Cheney said this and others, quote, dereliction of duty, his inaction during that time. And the reason they want to see the outtakes of the video -- remember, I think he took four or five tries to get to the final one -- is there had been some reporting out there that there were problems with those first four takes. The staff couldn't get it right. What does right mean? He was still not sending a message for these people to stop and go home.

One other point I just heard from a very conservative Republican who voted for Trump once, not the second time, who said about Biden, this historic speech wrote itself from the behavior of the former president and his Republican supporters last January 6th up to the present day. It will go down as one of the greatest speeches in American history.

BORGER: I totally think that's -- I agree with that. And I want to point out that Karl Rove, who we all know, who worked in the Bush White House, and as conservative a Republican as they come, writing in the Wall Street Journal that this has to be taken seriously, and I think, Wolf, you have the full -- we have a full screen of it. And he makes the point today in The Journal that if Democrats had done what some Trump supporters did on that violent January 6th, Republicans would have criticized them mercilessly and been right to do so. Republicans would have torched any high official who encouraged violence or stood mute while it was waged and been right to do so. Republicans would have demanded an investigation to find out who was responsible for the violence and been right to do so.

There can be no soft pedaling what happened and no absolution for those who planned, encouraged, and aided the attempt to overthrow our democracy. That is exactly what the president of the United States was saying today.

COLLINS: And just to take people back to what it was like, because I have been revisiting our reporting and our coverage from January 6th, January 7th, and the days that followed. And when it comes to the video that we're talking about and the several outtakes, I was told then and we reported then that Trump put that video out because he was worried about being removed from office. That's how they finally convinced him to put that video out, because that was the gravity aides were going with to him and saying, this is going to be the issue facing you, even his own daughter, Ivanka Trump, who we know was there that day.

And I was told by sources that Trump hated that he put that video out. He hated that he had put that out. As we had seen with other happenstances in the past, when the Charlottesville speech, he hated that he gave that speech afterward and then backpedalled on that, he hated that put that video out, telling people to go home, from the Rose Garden, that one that he taped.


And just in the days after how things really unraveled and how bleak it was inside the west wing and the days leading up to his inauguration, we saw a lot of resignations but also some people who would thought about resigning, did not ultimately go through with it.

But those days inside the west wing, people described them -- there was a very casual conversation about Trump resigning, something he shut down almost immediately, said he did not want people making even a mention of President Nixon, who, of course, resigned. And, at one point Trump told people he couldn't trust Vice President Pence to pardon him, like Gerald Ford did for Nixon, anyway.

And that is the state of what it was like in the west wing, which is just so remarkable. We talk about how remarkable it is for Biden to come out and call out Trump, to call him a liar, basically, from Capitol Hill on the one-year anniversary of this attack. But the days in the west wing after were also so remarkable. And since the Trump's west wing was always chaotic, always crazy, but those final days, the way people described them, is just really unbelievable.

COATES: And let's not forget, there was also an impeachment that took place following this. You invoked the word, President Nixon. And I know that President Biden invoked the names of Eisenhower and Lincoln and the Bushes and Reagan he said in his speech, really delineate and distinguish between president-day Republicans and then the Republican Party of yesteryear, it seemed.

But we can't forget that there was also action taken by members of Congress and there was the same level of distress that you speak of in terms of Trump towards Vice President Pence. That same distrust was the air within Congress as well, among one another, not knowing who may have participated or facilitated even among their own colleagues.

And that's why part of what the work of the subcommittee is so important is really to give the American people all the information but to really give some level of comfort to the notion that what happened that day won't just be in the rearview mirror because it could repeat itself if you just leave it there. We have upcoming elections. And we're going to continue in a democracy to have elections. We have to have that notion.

And I just -- we were talking about this, Gloria, the idea of this would be an opportunity for many Republicans to speak out about -- I mean, nothing that the president said, well, it's highly charged and opinionated. There wasn't a lot of inaccuracy in what he said about describing what we all saw happen that day with our own eyes in plain sight. This would be an opportunity, as the president concluded about, talking about this, the United, emphasis on that, States of America, it would have been an opportunity to really reinforce the notion of bipartisanship and how to come together. And you're right, when we talked about this is a speech he could have gave a year ago. He didn't give that because he was criticized --

BLITZER: And the fact he did it now underscores what peril there is to American democracy, at least seen from the White House, from the president of the United States, the fact he had to give this speech speaks volumes about the threats that are still out there right now. I just want, Jamie, to get your reaction, Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, he issued a statement, two paragraphs. The first part basically saying, the United States Capitol, the seat of the first branch of our federal government, was stormed by criminals who brutalized police officers and used force to try to stop Congress from doing its job. This disgraceful scene was antithetical to the rule of law.

In the second paragraph, he then said the Democrats are simply trying to use all of this for political purposes.

GANGEL: Right. He can't quite get there to say the right thing throughout his statement. He has to turn it to politics. Liz Cheney said this morning that Mike Pence was a hero, that his team is cooperating. She said that she looks forward to his cooperation. But she also said that the embrace of Donald Trump by Republicans is, quote, how democracies die.

And Mitch McConnell has played this weird role where first he said the right thing then he pulled back. He has not spoken to Donald Trump.

COLLINS: In 13 months.

GANGEL: In 13 months.

BLITZER: Well, Donald Trump keeps attacking him as well.

GANGEL: But Mitch McConnell had a moment in history during, as Laura brought up, the impeachment. He could have said to his conference, vote your conscience. If he had said, vote your conscience, that impeachment, that conviction might very well have happened. And we would not be dealing with the question of is Donald Trump going to run in 2024. Mitch McConnell is, in many ways, my opinion, responsible for the power that Donald Trump still has over the Republican Party.

BLITZER: And he still has an enormous amount of power.

It's interesting, Gloria, because the former president, Barack Obama, issued a statement.


Let me read a couple sentences from what Barack Obama said.

Historically, Americans have been defenders of democracy and freedom around the world, especially when it's under attack. But we can't serve that role when leading figures in one of our two major political parties are actively undermining democracy at home. We can't set an example when our own leaders are willing to fabricate lies and cast doubts on the results of free and fair elections.

BORGER: Well, Barack Obama is talking about Republicans in his statement. Joe Biden aimed right at Donald Trump because probably he's got to work with some Republicans to try and get some stuff done. I mean, Obama is talking about how Republicans have followed right in line. And let me just say that one year after January 6th, what's the litmus test for being a good Republican? Is it lower taxes? What is it? The litmus test for being a good Republican is, do you believe the election was freely and fairly conducted? And if you are a good Donald Trump Republican, and Donald Trump owns the Republican Party, you know, you would have to say, no, the election wasn't free and fair.

So, that has become now the dividing line. That's another reason Joe Biden felt the need to give the speech, because one year later, the lie is alive and well and prospering. And Donald Trump is in charge of who gets to win Republican primaries or so he believes. And he is out there endorsing candidate after candidate after candidate, some of whom are spreading ridiculous conspiracy theories, a lot of them, in fact.

And it's not Mitch McConnell who is in charge really of getting the best Republicans to run in the Senate, that he thinks can -- do you think he really believes Herschel Walker is the best candidate? I mean, now, he's had to come out and say, yes, he'd be okay. But Donald Trump is the puppeteer here now, a year later.

GANGEL: Kevin McCarthy just went through this where Donald Trump endorsed Mary Miller instead of Rodney Davis. Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell are not in charge of the Republican Party.

BLITZER: Yes. It's interesting, in the next few months, Laura, we're going to see is select committee investigating January 6th with public hearings. And there are a lot of witnesses, including people who were very close to Trump as president of the United States. And they're going to be coming out. This is going to be potentially explosive. I suspect there will be what they call criminal referrals. But Merrick Garland made it clear once again, he's not stopping where he is right now. He's moving forward.

COATES: And he should. Remember, there is the role of what the select committee is going to do, which is, really, essentially, their legislative and oversight functions fortify whatever gap there was between what was illegal and ought to be illegal and how to really fortify our democracy. The Department of Justice's role will be on the criminal prosecution, and if there are referrals in addition to contempt, of course, they should also pursue those measures.

What's important here as well is remember the last time we had public hearings for the January 6th select committee. It was the officers, select officers who were attacked, some of whom described the racial epithets that were thrown in their direction while in uniform, as if it were ever a good time to say that to somebody, but while in uniform, defending the citadel of our democracy, the idea of being dragged, beaten. One officer had his own gun taken away and had to plead for his life and invoke the fact he was a father to try to make it through, one desperately trying to get to his wife and child at home, and you see what's happening.

And Attorney General Garland talked about these issues yesterday, spoke about the officers who were assaulted, one who was dragged down the stairs face down, people who were tased and beaten and chemicals sprayed on their bodies that burned their skin, the idea of the PTSD that's continuing to happen. These things were deliberately and intentionally stated to make sure that people understood by the attorney general that it's not just the idea of people walking and roaming through the halls of the Capitol. There were People who were actually being violent and physically assaulting members of our law enforcement.

BLITZER: And, Kaitlan, I don't think a lot of us -- I certainly could never forget some of the images we saw on that day one year ago today. I remember that one guy and a few of his friends, so-called, walking around wearing a Camp Auschwitz sweatshirt. There's the picture right there. Camp Auschwitz, where the Nazis killed more than a million Jew section, including my own grandparents were killed at Auschwitz by the Nazis.

And to see a guy walking around praising Auschwitz at the U.S. Capitol on a day like that, to see that was unfolding, something I never would have thought if my parents had been alive, they would have never believed that Camp Auschwitz was being praised by some crazy individual on a day like that.


And it was obviously so painful to so many of us.

It was such a stunning day because I think though people understood something was different that day. It didn't take until they were approaching the Capitol and they had crossed the barriers and they were breaking the windows and they were assaulting police officers for people to understand that something was different and something was off. And I think even our own reporters who were there that day talked about how angry the crowd seemed down on The Ellipse preparing for former President Trump's speech.

Something that we should note, several of his allies got on stage and gave these remarks, including a congressman from my home state in Alabama, the former president's son, his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, at the time he was up there talking about it.

And delivering this language, talking about kicking ass, talking about taking names, talking about just in this violent language that they were using that day, and then, of course, later denying they had any role in inciting the crowd and urging them to go to the Capitol, which, of course, we all listened to. You could hear it.

And then to see them go to the Capitol -- I mean, I remember we were reporting in real-time, talking about what we thought was going to be just the drama of the day, which was the pressure on Pence coming from the west wing, which was incredibly high because they were sending all of the crazy attorneys to go and talk to former Vice President Pence that day about what he could do to subvert the election. And we thought that was going to be the drama, the inside drama of what was actually happening on the floor.

I don't think people realized how insane it was going to get and it was going to do once you saw them breaking down the barriers, police officers assaulting them, and then actually in there that day and the aftermath of how it played out was such a stunning day, not just to us.

And so I want to keep highlighting that. It was a stunning day to the people who served former President Trump, his Republican allies on Capitol Hill couldn't believe their own eyes. They were the ones barricaded in rooms trying to get in touch with the White House about what was going on. And I think that is something that often glossed over and often you don't see the former President Trump's allies talk about what, truthfully, their reaction was that day, which was very similar to a lot of ours.

BLITZER: Yes. Well, guys, this is a historic moment, a historic day, and I believe, like I think all of us believe, the most important speech President Biden has given certainly as president of the United States and probably the most important speech he will deliver. And we'll see where it goes from here.

And to all of our viewers, thanks very much for joining us. CNN's special coverage of the anniversary of the January 6th insurrection continues all day. I'll be back, by the way, at 6:00 P.M. Eastern in The Situation Room. we'll be live from the U.S. Capitol.

And later tonight, please join Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper for a truly unprecedented gathering inside the U.S. Capitol with the police, lawmakers and leaders, live from the Capitol. January 6th, One Year Later, begins later tonight, 8:00 P.M. Eastern.

Stay with us, once again, for continuing live coverage. My colleagues Jim Sciutto and Bianna Golodryga will continue our special coverage right after a quick break.