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CNN Live Event/Special
January 6: One Year Later. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired January 06, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER (voice-over): Tonight, an unprecedented gathering on this January 6.
The police who faced off with the insurrectionists, the lawmakers who were trapped and threatened, the House speaker.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It is imperative that we seek the truth.
ANNOUNCER: Fighting for accountability. The chairman heading the investigation and a leading Republican.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): This is about our duty as Americans.
ANNOUNCER: Defying her party to expose the truth.
All return to the Capitol for an exclusive prime-time conversation about the riots, the revelations, and the plan to prevent the next assault on democracy.
ANNOUNCER: Now, live from the Capitol, this is "January 6: One Year Later."
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Good evening from the U.S. Capitol.
And welcome to National Statuary Hall. Under siege one year ago from insurrectionists, today, it is a room of reunion for those who defended democracy then and are still trying to defend it today.
I'm Jake Tapper.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I'm Anderson Cooper.
We are coming to you from historic grounds. This is where rioters tried to overthrow an election. This also used to be the site of the House of Representatives and the scene of another violent attack in 1814. The British burned this very room and the rest of the Capitol down. And it was Americans who rebuilt it.
From the early to mid-1800s, laws were made in this room.
TAPPER: In fact, you can see a marker on the floor where Abraham Lincoln's desk was while he worked as a member of the House, about a decade before becoming elected president.
Now Statuary Hall is a showcase for famous figures in American history, such as civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, or the inventor of the light bulb and the movie camera, Thomas Alva Edison.
Just down the hall is the famous Capitol Rotunda, which sits under the Capitol Dome, where the nation's most important leaders are honored, including a presidential inauguration and state funerals.
At the other end is the entrance to the House chamber, where, a year ago, lawmakers were trapped as rioters tried to force their way in.
COOPER: On this January 6 anniversary, lawmakers ,their staff and police who risked their lives are coming together to speak out on the continued threats that we face as a nation.
A couple of our guests are returning to the Capitol for the first time since the attack.
We're all vaccinated and boosted and, in the last 24 hours, tested negative for coronavirus.
In a moment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be here, but, first, a look at what we have learned from January 6 one year later.
COOPER (voice-over): Since the insurrection one year ago, we have learned more about those who attacked the Capitol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cops are getting sprayed. There's a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) fight right here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go!
COOPER: They included conspiracy theorists...
COOPER: ... white nationalists, and extremists who were armed with weapons and tactical gear, nearly all of them Trump supporters.
QUESTION: What are you going to do?
PROTESTER: Whatever we have to do. What do you think 1776 was?
COOPER: For the past year, they have been investigated by the FBI, with more than 700 arrested and charged with federal crimes, from disorderly conduct to assault with a deadly weapon.
But was the assault planned, and, if so, by whom? And how much did then-President Trump and his inner circle know about it?
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol Building.
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Let's have trial by combat.
TRUMP: We're going to walk down, and I will be there with you.
COOPER: Congress has since created a select committee in the House to investigate the origins of the attack.
They have been stonewalled by the former president and his associates.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): If you act deliberately, with sneering, cavalier contempt for the American people and their representatives, we will hold you in contempt.
COOPER: But the committee continues its work, revealing this week evidence the former president refused to stop the violence as it unfolded.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): The only thing I can say, it's highly unusual for anyone in charge of anything to watch what's going on and do nothing.
CHENEY: I think that there are a number of potential criminal statutes at issue here.
COOPER: One of the biggest questions is, what would have happened if attackers found the lawmakers upholding the election, like then-Vice President Mike Pence, who defied the former president by going to the Capitol to certify the results...
RIOTERS: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!
COOPER: ... or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose office was targeted by the mob?
RIOTER: Can I speak to Pelosi? Yes, we're coming (EXPLETIVE DELETED)!
COOPER: This video shows what it was like for congressional staffers as they hid inside a room in Speaker Pelosi's office. The rioters tried to break down the door.
COOPER: Her staff hid for more than two hours as the attackers ransacked her office.
RICHARD BARNETT, DEFENDANT: I left her a note on her desk that says, "Nancy, Bigo was here, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED)."
COOPER: The anger of the mob on January 6 hasn't gone away...
RIOTERS: Stop the steal! COOPER: ... as the former president, emboldened and enabled by supporters in his party, continues to deny the election results.
PROTESTER: That's what we (EXPLETIVE DELETED) need, to have 30,000 guns up here.
PROTESTER: Next trip.
COOPER: There are fears this could lead to another politically motivated attack on the Capitol or beyond.
COOPER: And we're joined right now by the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Thanks so much for being with us.
One year ago tonight at this moment, 8:00 p.m., you were on the way back here.
COOPER: And that was important, to come back here to finish the nation's business.
PELOSI: That was very important.
First, let me welcome you to the Capitol, to Statuary Hall...
COOPER: It's extraordinary.
PELOSI: ... which, in its early day, was the chamber of the House of Representatives, where Abraham Lincoln served and others, of -- some of whom have become president.
COOPER: His desk was just right over there.
PELOSI: His desk is right there.
Well, welcome to the Capitol.
Yes, at that time, we were on our way back. And the decision -- let me just back -- while this was going on, and while our members -- and you will be hearing from some of them, and we're very proud of the testimonies they presented today...
PELOSI: ... the members who were in the Gallery and on the floor while all this was going on.
While that was happening, we were in the undisclosed location. And we were fighting to get the National Guard. And it was very hard.
COOPER: You were on the phone making calls. PELOSI: Yes, making calls.
Chuck Schumer and I, Steny Hoyer were on the phone making calls about this, calling governors to make sure that they -- we understood the readiness of their folks to come. The secretary, un -- one of the under or assistant, whatever you call them, secretaries of defense, McCarthy, kept saying: Well, it's hard and it takes time, and I have got to talk to my boss, and I haven't had a chance to go see him.
There was really a delay. And then, by the time we spoke to the acting secretary of defense: Well, this or that.
And it was just...
COOPER: Did it make sense to you that they were delaying?
PELOSI: No, it was inexplicable. It just made no sense at all.
They'd say -- and it is hard to activate the National Guard. But you have to start early. And when they said -- they had the authority here, but they didn't have the permission to exercise the authority.
COOPER: Is that why you think the January 6 commission is so important, to find out exactly what happened one year ago today here?
PELOSI: Well, the facts and the whole thing, the setup, what went before, what happened during. That's very important, and what's happening after.
So it's the before, the during, and the after. But the fact is that the National -- presence of the National Guard earlier would have -- you would have had a different story to tell.
COOPER: Did you call the White House that day to try to get the National Guard?
PELOSI: We called the authority, which is the Department of Defense.
And they had one excuse or another. But that's why we had to try to change the law, so that the District of Columbia would have its authority to call in the National Guard. Any state can, but not the District of Columbia.
But, anyway, that's one thing we're doing.
The other thing we then had to decide, because people were saying, well, we will just bring busloads of members of Congress over to the undisclosed location, and then you can effect the -- obey the Constitution and do it there.
I said: "No, no. We're going back. We're going back to the Capitol."
And that was agreed to in a bipartisan way. Chuck will tell you that as well. So, at 8:00 that night, same time as now, we're on -- just about
getting here to open up the House.
COOPER: There's -- it's been a solemn day. There have been a lot of members of the House, members of the Senate who've talked about what went on.
We have not heard from a lot of Republicans today.
COOPER: What do you make of that, why -- a lot of the Republicans say: Look, the Democrats are using this for political purposes. They can't let it go.
There are numbers of members in your House who are Republican who have said, the -- it wasn't that bad, that it was a day like any other.
PELOSI: Yes. Well, I -- let's not spend a whole lot of time on their excuses and whining.
The fact is, it was a terrible thing that happened, an assault on the Capitol, an assault on the Constitution, so that we did not ratify -- arrange for the peaceful transfer of power, an assault on our democracy. They can say whatever they want.
But I -- you would have to ask them why they would not want to show up for something that they knew was wrong.
COOPER: Former Vice President Cheney was here today...
COOPER: ... to hear you speak, with his daughter, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, obviously, who's so important on that commission.
What did you make of seeing the former vice president here?
PELOSI: Well, I didn't know he was coming.
And when I went in to call the House to order, there he was. I looked down and saw him. And I was happy to see him.
As you may be aware, Dick Cheney served in the House of Representatives. So, he has floor privileges, as a former member of the House. That he would come this day with Liz Cheney, his -- as you know, his daughter, was quite a statement on his part, one that was well-received by the rest of us.
We have had our disagreements, but never in a disagreement as to whether everybody was committed to honoring our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. COOPER: There are so many Republicans who have not taken part in
If we as a people can't even agree on what happened here one year ago, if we can't share basic truths and accept norms of behavior, how can we pursue the common good?
PELOSI: Well, we have to pursue the common good.
Because some of them were perpetrators, some of them were aware, and they're in denial doesn't mean that we have to meet them halfway. No. We are upholding our oath of office to protect and defend.
Now, we have over time -- and our founders anticipated disagreement. They disagreed. And President Washington, right from the start, President Washington, he's -- he brought the Constitution to the Congress, that would become the Congress. And he said to them: This Constitution will enable a government, to allow for the rigorous debate that would be tempered by the goodwill and good spirit of the American people...
PELOSI: ... in order -- in order to let the best angels of our nature prevail.
COOPER: That is the genius of the Constitution, that, I mean, it's full of compromises, but it's also based on the idea that humans are fallible, and there are times when we are not going to live up to our ideals.
And that is why there are checks and balances.
PELOSI: Well, the checks and balances are -- thank you for mentioning that.
That's the genius of the Constitution, checks and balances, three separate branches of government, co-equal branches of government, each a check on the other.
If you -- if you have a president who disrespects the Congress of the United States, well, the founders even allowed for that. They figured there could be a rogue president. And that's why they have impeachment in the Constitution.
COOPER: But so...
PELOSI: They didn't figure they'd have a rogue president and a rogue Senate.
COOPER: One of the things that we have learned that has come out of the last several years is how much of our democracy depends, though, on norms of behavior, accepted norms.
COOPER: And people -- good people can disagree about things...
PELOSI: That's right.
COOPER: ... and see things completely differently, but that there are just norms of behavior.
And when you have leaders who are willing to ignore those norms, who are shameless, then our democracy is in real peril.
How do you fix that?
PELOSI: Well, first, let me just get back to your other question.
We have to -- or how we're going to work together. We must work together. And a democracy is predicated on the idea that people will have different views. It's not a monarchy, where everybody thinks the same. We might as well all stay home and let one person decide.
So, we have to reach that place. And in order to do that, there have to be norms of -- no one is above the law, no matter who he or she is. The president of the United States is not above the law. You must respect the law. And that is what they have not done in this case.
But in the systems of checks and balances, we have a select committee that will seek the truth. It's not about politics. It's about patriotism. And I'm so proud of the courage of the members of the committee. Seek the truth.
The Bible tells us that the truth will set us free. And there will be some people who will never depart from supporting the lie that President Trump has told them but we can't go as slow as that slow a ship. We have to find our common ground. I wish the Republicans in the country would take back their party. This is a great party, the Grand Old Party.
COOPER: You want there to be a vibrant Republican Party.
PELOSI: Definitely. The --
COOPER: Even though you don't believe what they believe in.
PELOSI: Well, we have a difference of opinion on the spectrum of things; what is the role of government? Where local or national, whatever that is. But you come to Congress with your ideas representing your -- it's the House of Representatives. Your job title and your job description are the same, representative.
So you know that you may have confidence in what you believe but you have humility to recognize others are representing their districts. And for a long time that's how I served in the Congress. Some of my best friends are on the other side of the aisle. It didn't interfere because it wasn't about are you a patriot, do you believe in our system of government as it is now.
COOPER: Do you, there's a lot of Americans right now who are very worried about the state of democracy --
COOPER: -- who are very worried about the future for their kids? Do you worry about where our democracy is?
PELOSI: Well, I, let me say this. We always worry, you know you always have concern. You have to be ever vigilant. A democracy is like a horizon, you don't want it to get too far away. You're always reaching for it to improve it and the rest.
But the fact is this is the United States of America. This is this great country. It has resilience. It has strength in its institutions. It can survive. it survived a civil war, it can survive the previous president of the United States.
COOPER: The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board at yesterday said "Democracy isn't dying," Do you agree with that?
COOPER: It's not dying.
PELOSI: No, it isn't dying. But it needs attention. And everything is an opportunity. Right now, I see us having an opportunity where this horrible thing, a catastrophic attack on the Capitol where democracy, they almost overturned an election.
COOPER: There were riders (ph) running through here trying to get to the House, just right over there.
PELOSI: That's right.
COOPER: To get into the House Chamber, which they weren't able to get into.
PELOSI: Yeah, they were in my office which is right there --.
COOPER: What if they had found you? What would have happened?
PELOSI: They said they were going to shoot me in the brain. But in any -- in the brain, oh that's, but I wasn't worried about myself. I was worried about our other members of whom I'm very proud. I was worried about the police, the Capitol Police, the Metropolitan Police -- we owe them so much.
They saved our lives. We have to worry about the maintenance people who make things happen here, how they were mistreated by those people. It caused great trauma for people.
COOPER: When you talk about democracy isn't dying, talk about the, or if you believe the nature of the threat moving forward, I mean the next election, the election after that, you know this last election, there were a few state election officials, Republicans who chose not to follow the president's lead and actually followed the Constitution and do their jobs. Had they not, it's very -- it could have gone a different way.
PELOSI: Well, had they got in these boxes you see and they filmed one, when they're bringing the mahogany boxes in which had the certificates from the states, that's what they were trying to get to destroy. And then they had this plan that they thought would work. It wouldn't.
But the fact is, is that we have legislation in the Senate now which we hope they will send back to the House with their amendments that we can pass to protect our democracy, the sanctity of the vote, to stop their nullification of elections. Not only do they want to suppress the vote, they want to nullify the results.
And they were appointing certain people who make a judgment as to who really won the election rather than the numbers speaking for themselves. So we have to stop that.
And you would think that there would be enough people in the Republican Party to do so. And there were in this case. So the judges who were appointed by Trump. Some of the elected officials, the election officials were Trump-mates. But they honored their oath of office.
COOPER: What about securing the Capitol itself? Changes have been implemented. Are they enough to ensure that what happened in this incredible building a year ago can't happen again?
PELOSI: Yes. But more needs to be done because we need more resources. The Senate cut some of the funding that we sent over to the House. So let's take that in three parts. One is the physical structure of the building. We have resources here for the architect of the Capitol to more -- physically make the Capitol more study so that people cannot break in that way.
Second is the personnel, the Capitol Police, the morale, the numbers, the intelligence divisions and the rest. That has all moved way down the line. More needs to be done. And one of the reasons that it's not as easy as it could be is COVID because these police have to be trained.
And the training academies have to be open to do that for a number of weeks and then they come back here and get further training. So while they have enthusiastic people who want to sign up, there's still a delay because of COVID. And so when you come to the Capitol people say oh, when are they going to open up. There's -- so security issues, there's -- it's mostly COVID that has kept us shut down. COOPER: There's a statue here, one of the oldest statues in this hall
and I want to show it to our viewers; it was created just a few years after the Capitol was attacked --
COOPER: -- an 1814 Clio, the muse of history recording events as they unfold; she bore witness to the attack here, she looks down on us now. How do you think she would look at this chapter in American democracy?
PELOSI: With tears in her eyes. I'll call this a chapter in our democracy. I'll call it an episode. Every time we have a new class of members I bring them here. We have dinner, this or that and we talk about Clio, that she is recording everything that she sees.
Clio is a muse history. In fact, the president referenced her this morning beautifully because we - Joe (ph) very possessive of Clio. And so seeing that had to bring tears to our eyes because for all of the visions (ph) we have had in our country, we never had a Confederate flag walking through here.
We never had the kind of disrespect and defecation and all the rest of it that went with that motley crew that came through here at the wish of the former President of the United States. So I think that Clio and not only Clio but Lincoln, whose desk was right over there, Rosa Parks who's looking at us from over here, she wanted to be seated, she told me that in her statue, she wanted her to be seated.
PELOSI: As she was seated on the bus. And so many other heroes. Some of these people have to go and we have a bill to get rid of them. But nonetheless some of the newer people we are very proud to have in the Capitol with more diversity, shall we say and more shall we say consistency as to United States (ph) --
COOPER: You're being optimistic though about --
PELOSI: Always. No, you have to be optimistic but you cannot be as President Obama said, being hopeful doesn't mean being, shall we say, what did he say about it -- almost negligent in your optimism. You have to -- you have to work at it. Democracy is always a work in progress.
And this great country with a vision of our founders which was remarkable in its day and continues to be a great legacy for the world, our founders, those who have fought to defend our freedom, the example that we are to the world, there is great strength in all of that. And again, I can't say it enough, I have confidence in the American
people. The American people have goodness about them. They love our country. There are disagreements. But by and large, I have faith in the patriotism of the American people. I have confidence in the young people who care about the planet, even larger than our country.
They care about the planet. They care about personal issues that relate to their freedom and the rest. And we want to show them a path as to how they think personally act locally for a global purpose.
COOPER: Hope is not blind to optimism I think was the line.
PELOSI: Is that what he said?
COOPER: From President Obama.
PELOSI: It was something about optimism not being --
COOPER: Speaker Pelosi, I appreciate your time tonight.
PELOSI: It's my pleasure. Thank you.
COOPER: We're going to continue the conversation next with the heroes of the insurrection, the police who risked their lives to defend the Capitol and democracy, the pain they still feel and the concerns they have about another possible attack. Live from the Capitol, this is January 6th, One Year Later.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: On this January 6th, police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol one year ago still in many cases bear physical and emotional scars and lived with the fear that it could all happen again. About 140 officers were assaulted by rioters during their deadly rampage. Four of those heroes are joining us tonight. But first let's take a quick look at what they went through.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: On January 6th the Capitol Hill police officers were the first line of defense.
SGT. AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: We fought hand-to-hand, inch-by-inch, to prevent an invasion of the Capitol.
TAPPER: During the three-hour standoff, officers were assaulted while trying to prevent rioters from breaching the Capitol.
DANIEL HODGES, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT OFFICER: The man in front of me grabbed my baton that I still held in my hands, bashed me in the head and face with it. I did the only thing that I could do and screamed for help.
MICHAEL FANONE, FORMER D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT OFFICER: I heard chanting from some of the crowd, "Get his gun and kill him with his own gun." I was electrocuted again and again and again. I'm sure I was screaming. But I don't think I could even hear my own voice.
TAPPER: Officers inside raced to protect members of Congress. Officer Eugene Goodman directed Senator Mitt Romney away from the advancing mob and then led them away from the Senate Chamber.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch your head. Watch your head.
TAPPER: Officer Brian Sicknick died after he was attacked by the mob that day. Others are still dealing with physical and psychological trauma they experienced.
HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: No one had ever, ever called me a (slur deleted) while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer. How the blank could something like this happen? Is this America?
TAPPER: And joining us now are four of the heroes of January 6th, from the U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, and from the D.C. Metropolitan Police, Officer Daniel Hodges and former Officer Michael Fanone, who is now a CNN law enforcement analyst. Also joining us Officer Harry Dunn from the U.S. Capitol Police. He is joining us this evening remotely.
Michael Fanone, Officer Fanone, let me start with you. As you mentioned in that clip, you were brutalized, you were electrocuted, you were tased, beaten, you suffered a heart attack. This is kind of an awkward question to ask, but are you even supposed to be here? Are you surprised that you're here right now?
FANONE: I'm not surprised. I'm -- you know, like the other officers that were there that day, they were tough, steadfast, resilient, you know, we held a line.
TAPPER: You did, indeed. You did. Is it tough to watch that video? I can't -- it's tough for me and I wasn't here.
FANONE: I've seen it so many times. I have a difficult time now, I think -- like, it doesn't draw any personal emotion about, like, the experience that I went through, but it does make me angry that, you know, here we are a year out and, you know, we have not attained the accountability that I would have expected.
TAPPER: And, Sergeant Gonell, you're still not back to work full-time because of your extensive injuries. At one point, Officer Fanone took your place in the Capitol doorway so you could go back for water and get reinforcements. Do you sometimes think about what might have happened if he had not been there?
GONELL: Yes, I definitely -- I told him this morning when I saw him that I didn't tell him that before. At that time I didn't know that was him relieving me to go back for a bathroom break. And by the time I went to the bathroom and came back out, he was already out being dragged. So I feel guilty sometimes that had I stayed there, besides my injuries, I would have gone through whatever he had -- he went through. So it's tough on me. A lot of people continue to say that I self-inflicted my injuries for -- come on, I wanted to get hurt that day? That's very cynical of them to mention that...
TAPPER: It's disgusting for anybody to say anything like that.
GONELL: Yes, definitely.
TAPPER: Officer Hodges, rioters attacked you with your own weapon, some tried to gouge out your eye. You were called a traitor. I mean, what is that like to hear? You're protecting the U.S. Capitol from an angry mob and a fellow American calls you a traitor?
HODGES: Yes. I -- it's hard to wrap your head around it, but these people, they're just -- they're capable of incredible mental gymnastics in order to believe what they want to believe at that exact moment. They can accomplish great cognitive dissonance in order to justify their actions no matter how ridiculous it is. Obviously, you know, we protected the Capitol. We protected Congress. So calling us traitor is absurd, especially when they're the ones laying siege to the Capitol of the United States of America.
TAPPER: Well, more than that, right, you weren't just protecting the Capitol and members of Congress, you were actually protecting the democratic process. That's the exact opposite of a traitor.
HODGES: That's -- I mean, that's the whole point of this, isn't it? To the republic. It's a republic, if you can keep it. And we kept it. So I don't -- I don't know why they would call us a traitor.
TAPPER: And, Officer Dunn, despite the horrors that officers went through, nearly every armed officer on January 6th except for one held their fire. Do you ever think about that and wonder how much worse it could have been? I mean, you were being attacked by people with weapons. There's this lie out there by MAGA media that everybody was unarmed. That's just a complete and utter lie. People were armed with all sorts of weapons, including firearms.
What kept you and other officers from firing your weapons in self- defense?
DUNN: Well, first of all, I have got to acknowledge that it's an honor to be here right now. I would be very remiss if I didn't acknowledge my unit that I work with, the first responders unit, led by Inspector Lloyd (ph). You're hearing four individual stories right now, but as you see in the videos, it's way more than four officers out there. So kudos to the men and women at the U.S. Capitol Police and also to the men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department. But as far as, you know, using lethal force and everything, I think
everybody was just focused on survival and getting home and protecting each other and fulfilling our mission, which is, you know, protect members and staff so that they are able to fulfill their congressional responsibilities. As ugly as the day was, at the end of the night, 2:00, 3:00 in the morning, like the speaker just said, they came back to the Capitol and they certified the election. So we succeeded in that capacity, as ugly as it was. So I'm really proud of that and the men and women that I work with, so.
TAPPER: Officer Fanone, shortly after the attack, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy blamed Trump for the mob. Now he has since backed off that and tried to exonerate Trump and he is part of the whitewash brigades. But we heard similar language today from Joe Biden, President Biden using some of the strongest language yet blaming Donald Trump for what happened. Do you blame Donald Trump?
FANONE: Absolutely. Donald Trump and his administration are responsible for inciting the insurrection and the attack on the Capitol, and our democratic process, and in a lot of ways, inciting a cultural war that we're still battling today in America.
TAPPER: And, Officer Dunn, what did it mean for you to hear President Biden say those words out loud today?
DUNN: I think the president gave a pretty good speech. I'm very fact- based, truth-oriented, and I appreciate him telling the truth. I wish it would have came a little bit sooner, but I'm very glad that he did speak the truth, because I think that's honestly what all Americans should care about is the truth and nobody's opinions. Lay out the facts about what happened. And that's your opinion, and then if someone starts disagreeing with the facts, then proceed accordingly deal with that person. But I was appreciative of the fact-based speech that he gave.
TAPPER: Sergeant Gonell, before the attack, you said you went to your superiors and warned them that you thought something was coming, something bad. Are you angry that those concerns went unanswered? And have there been enough changes made to the Capitol grounds and personnel to prevent anything like that from ever happening again?
GONELL: At that time the concern that I had, I sent it up the chain of command. Where did they stop? I'm not sure where. But the way we -- things have been addressed, I've been assured that certain things that have been made better. We still have a lot of work to do. I hope that this, the planning, the logistics of protecting the Capitol improve or has improved. But there are things that have not. I just walked this morning from the same entrance where I almost lost my life, and them as well, and the only thing that had changed is the glass on that door. The door still had not been reinforced. I wish they had, it has been almost a year now.
I think a lot of officers, if they see a lot of reinforcement of the building, that will give them a lot of sense of protection, a lot of things that improved, and that will help with the morale, that will help with retaining officers as well. TAPPER: Officer Fanone, do you agree? What changes still need to be
FANONE: I mean, I think the most important change that needs to be made specifically with inside the United States Capitol Police is they need to change the leadership culture within the department. And that's something that starts at the top, at the executive level. The failures of the U.S. Capitol Police's command staff on January 6th are outrageous. And they still have yet to be addressed. You know, there are members of their command staff that do not belong in a position of leadership. They should not be responsible for officers' lives.
They failed them on January 6th and it's time that they found a different career path.
TAPPER: Officer Hodges, everyone at the Capitol that day, especially law enforcement officials, law enforcement officers, went through emotional trauma. You couldn't not. You're back at work. Are you and your fellow officers, are you getting the support you need, the emotional support you need, whether professional or just institutionally?
HODGES: Yes, the Metropolitan Police Department has psychiatric help for anyone who needs it and it's free of charge. So anyone who feels like they need it is free to go and get the help they need from them. We haven't really done a lot of talking about it amongst ourselves, honestly, but I get the impression that everyone is doing pretty well mentally.
TAPPER: Sergeant Gonell, one of the biggest challenges facing the Capitol Police is the large spike in threats against lawmakers. How have those threats changed since January 6th, a year ago, if they have? And are you still able -- is your force still able to keep lawmakers safe?
GONELL: We are. And we have made a lot of improvements. However, the -- because of the same work environment that we live in and the -- some of the members themselves are bringing up these threats to us, to the building itself because the way they talk about what happened January 6th, the way they refer to what January 6th is, a tragic event in our history to the Capitol, to the officers themselves, and to themselves. On January 6th those same members were running for their lives. Those same members were helping barricade the chamber across the hall. And now a year later, they continue to propagate the lie that it was a tour. It wasn't. I had never been in a tour that people get beat up on any monument around the world.
TAPPER: Yes, the whitewashing and the lies about what happened are just -- it's just so offensive.
And on that subject, Officer Dunn, you went and you personally begged for 10 Republican senators to support the independent commission that the House was trying to pass to investigate the attack. An independent commission, free of lawmakers, bipartisan. But even after everything that happened, you could not get 10 Republican senators to vote for it. And you still go to work and protect these lawmakers every day. What do you say to them?
DUNN: So it's -- I also -- I want to go back to Officer Hodges's response.
What's up, Danny? Good to see you, buddy.
The people healing and people -- a lot of people suffer in silence. He said a lot of people don't really talk about it. I have to believe a lot of individuals are suffering in silence. There are so many different -- people cope differently. But I encourage people to get therapy and to talk. It is very helpful. People are probably tired of seeing my face all on the TV. You know what, it's therapeutic for me. It helps me to talk about what I've been through, talk about my story. My story is one of hundreds of that day and I'm just going to continue to tell my story, because that's what I went through.
As far as the lobbying for the commission, you know what, I don't even know how that works. I just know that I want the truth to come out. I want the facts to come out. And I believe that every reasonable person in this country should want to the facts. A lot of people are saying that politics has been bogging down, you know, this investigation and that's why it's so divided. You cannot deny the cause of January 6th was political, so how can you say that we're making it political? The whole incident of January 6th, the insurrection, was political, and it was politically motivated. So politics wasn't inflicted in it during the investigation. It was because of politics that January 6th happened.
As far as, you know, coming to work and doing my job, I'm very proud, I'm honored to be a Capitol Police officer. I don't look at it as a member or a person that I'm representing -- that I'm protecting, my job is to protect that seat that that person occupies. That seat represents more than just one person, it represents the thousands, sometimes the millions of people who voted to put that member in that seat. So I've just got to look at the bigger picture and just go on from there, so.
TAPPER: Amen to that. Let me just say while others on other channels and other parts of the country, people might besmirch you all and the people that you worked with to hold the line that day, every one of you is a hero.
And you stood up not just to protect people, you stood up for democracy. You did, of course, save the lives of people serving in that building that day, but you also preserved the republic. Thank you for what you did, every one of you. Thank you. It was an incredible act of bravery. It's not forgotten.
And I also want to take a moment, if I can, to recognize some of your colleagues who died in the wake of the attacks. U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick suffered strokes and died the day after the attack. Four other officers, who struggled with the trauma of what happened that day, later died by suicide, including Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood and D.C. Metropolitan Police Officers Jeffrey Smith, Gunther Hashida and Kyle deFreytag.
Some of their families who have also suffered greatly over the past year are joining us tonight. Officer Sicknick's parents, Gladys and Charles, are here with us in Statuary Hall. Officer Liebengood's widow, Serena and his siblings, John (ph) and Ann (ph), are honoring us with their presence. We also want to acknowledge Officer Smith widow Erin, who's with us.
All of these men fought for our democracy. We are so sorry for your loss. May their memories be a blessing.
Still ahead, we're going to talk with members of Congress who were trapped in the House gallery and barely escaped from the mob storming the Capitol. Our special coverage continues after this.
COOPER: One year ago tonight, members of Congress who went to the Capitol expecting to finalize the election wound up feeling trapped and frightened and defenseless, as an unprecedented attack on American democracy unfolded around them.
Some of them hunkered down together in the House gallery, going into survival mode. Take a look at the harrowing minutes when they didn't know if they'd make it out alive.
(UNKNOWN): The House will be in order.
(UNKNOWN): This is because of you!
(UNKNOWN): Let's go!
COOPER (voice over): Eighteen minutes. That's how long it was between the first rioter breaking into the Capitol and the House moving to adjourn.
(UNKNOWN): Without objection, the House is going to go back into recess.
(UNKNOWN): Whose House?
(UNKNOWN): (inaudible)! Stop the steal! Stop the steal!
COOPER: But as members evacuated the House floor...
(UNKNOWN): They broke the glass.
Everybody stay down!
COOPER: Dozens were stuck in the gallery above, some praying for their lives.
(UNKNOWN): Back up! Get away from the door!
REP. PETER WELCH, (D) VERMONT: We're being instructed to each of us get gas masks.
(UNKNOWN): They'll let us know when we need to put the masks on.
(UNKNOWN): Yeah, the (bleep).
(UNKNOWN): Take your pins off!
REP. TOM SUOZZI, (D) NEW YORK: Shots are being fired inside the Capitol chamber.
COOPER: Trapped lawmakers say they waited for more than 15 minutes before they could evacuate. During that time, they turned to each other for comfort.
(UNKNOWN): Susan, it's OK. It's OK.
COOPER (on camera): Here with me, six members who were trapped in the House chamber on January 6th, Congresswoman Susan Wild, Congressman Jason Crow, Congressman Ruben Gallego, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, Congressman Dan Kildee and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester.
Thank you all for being with us.
Congresswoman, what is it like to see that video, even though it's a year later?
REP. SUSAN WILD, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: It -- it's bizarre. I actually don't remember much of what happened.
WILD: It's fragmented memories for me. So seeing that little clip just now really -- really struck me. It was -- I remember Jason being there, but I -- I don't remember a lot of specifics.
COOPER: Congressman Crow, I mean, we saw you reaching out to -- to -- to help. What was that like for you?
You have been -- you served in the military. You've been in Iraq and Afghanistan. You've been in kinetic, violent situations.
REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Yeah, Anderson, it was surreal. One of the things I never thought would happen was my old life, my prior life as a ranger, having been at war -- that's a life that I thought that I had left behind a long time ago. And I was a different person then. That was before I was a father, before I was a member of Congress. You get into a certain mindset. You have a certain mentality when you're doing that work and when you're going to war time and time again. And I had moved past that. And on January 6th of last year, a lot of that came back to me, and my
prior life integrated with my present life. And I didn't quite know how to handle that. And it's still something that I'm processing to this day. So it was a very surreal feeling. But at the same time, I'm glad that I had some of that skill set to draw upon because I just took my emotion and I put it in a box and I set it aside and I created a mental checklist in my mind.
COOPER: Was that you saying "Take your pins off?"
CROW: I think several people were saying take pins off. I had said it at one point; others had repeated it. And what was going through my mind and others is, if that mob made it through that door; if they broke down that barricade, they were coming for us. And we had to try to figure out how we made ourselves less identifiable so we could try to get through the mob if we could.
COOPER: That's one of those details, I mean, Congresswoman Escobar, that really shocks me to this day, the idea of members of Congress having to take off the pin that identifies them as a member of Congress because they're afraid the mob will kill them if they identify them.
REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): Right. And many of us, spoke a little bit afterwards, those of us who were women of color, people of color, that you can take your pin off but you can't take the color of your skin off. And it was a mob. It was a group of terrorists that were fueled by white supremacy. And so we knew that a lot of what was unsettling to them was the browning of America, was the fact that so many people turned out to vote in places like Georgia, African- Americans, Latinos, others.
And so while it might be easier for someone to -- to shed their identity a bit with a pin, it's not so easy for those of us who are people of color.
COOPER: Congresswoman Blunt Rochester, in that video, I saw you -- I think you were praying. And -- and -- and I understand it started off softly, and then you were testifying?
Well, first of all, Anderson, I want to comment on the last question as well, about the pin. Because it was a -- a pivotal moment, even thinking about how, as a woman of color, as a black woman, I had to think twice about do I take it off or do I keep it on?
If I take it off, will the people who are trying to protect me not recognize it? And if I keep it on, will I be attacked?
REP. LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER (D-DE): And so what I ended up doing was holding it in my hand so that I could easily show it if I needed to. And those kind of decisions, you know, are things that, you know, sometimes people don't think about. COOPER: I mean, that's a -- that's an incredible juxtaposition of do I
keep the pin because maybe somebody won't recognize me as a member of Congress if I'm not wearing it?
BLUNT ROCHESTER: Right. Right. And -- and to your question about -- about praying, you know, for me, I was in that gallery; those of us who were up there, we volunteered to go up there to witness the peaceful transfer of power, to witness the certification of this presidency. And for me coming from Delaware, to see Joe Biden, the first Delawarean, to see that certification, as well as Kamala Harris, the first woman of color, first woman.
And so when it all broke out, I just remember, I -- "figure it out; how do we get out of here; how do you open this; how do you get around this room?"
And so by the time we made it through, all the way to the other side of the chamber, I looked down and saw the guns, and I realized, I don't -- I don't have anything to protect me but God. I realized I could call my family. I just text them, and said, "Pray."
And people around the country have said to me, "When you got down on your knees and prayed, we got down on our knees" -- families across the country.
COOPER: I can hear the emotion in your voice. And we just met, but I...
BLUNT ROCHESTER: Yeah.
COOPER: ... I can hear it, even one year later.
BLUNT ROCHESTER: Yeah. And I think, for all of us, we've been together all day, doing different things, trying to support the police, the -- the staff here, the -- and we just don't want people to forget how close we came to losing our democracy. If a number of us had died, we wouldn't have been able to go back in and vote to certify that election. That's how serious it was.
COOPER: It's interesting what you said, because I -- you ended the sentence differently than a lot of people would have ended the sentence. A lot of people would have ended the sentence, "how closely we came to being killed." You said, "how close we came to essentially democracy being killed," because that's really what...
REP. DAN KILDEE (D-MI): Matters.
COOPER: ... the attack was about.
BLUNT ROCHESTER: Exactly.
COOPER: Do you feel the same way?
KILDEE: I do. And in fact, I think one of the points that we've been talking about during this day is that, you know, January 6th was a terrible day for our country, but January 6th was the manifestation, one manifestation, of a much deeper problem that continues to this day.
What we saw was an attack on our democracy because, as Veronica said, there are people in this country that don't like the fact that this country is beginning to have a government that looks more like the people. They've become accustomed to having their own way, and they want to continue that.
And so while January 6th was a violent manifestation of that phenomenon, every single day, every one of us are dealing with it in other forms. We're seeing it happen in states legislatures and county offices. We have a whole raft of people running for office with the very explicit intent of ensuring that, the next time that this happens, that they will have the tools to see it all the way through. They're becoming much more sophisticated.
COOPER: I want to talk about the threats to democracy, but just -- I understand that -- I've read that you all, kind of, have a -- I don't know if it's a WhatsApp group, or you -- you all have a, kind of, a message chain, all of those who were in the gallery that day.
WILD: A Signal thread.
WILD: We have a Signal thread.
COOPER: A Signal thread.
KILDEE: We're the gallery group.
WILD: The gallery group, yeah.
COOPER: It's the gallery group.
COOPER: There's a -- a camaraderie, having lived through this horrific experience.
ESCOBAR: Sheer trauma.
COOPER: Sheer trauma.
KILDEE: From that very day, we've been connected to one another by this shared experience. We all experienced it, the country did, the whole Congress did. But for some of us that actually looked at one another wondering if these were the last faces we would see, we can't shake that.
And we have found, I think, a great deal of strength by talking to one another about this experience that nobody else had. And in fact, you know, I've been quite open about the fact that this event was so traumatic.