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CNN Live Event/Special
January 6: One Year Later; Lawmakers Trapped During The Riot On The Threat To Democracy Now; Rep. Liz Cheney On The State Of The Republican Party; Rep. Raskin's Daughter On Being Back At Capitol For First Time Since Riot; Raskin Family Remembers Tommy Raskin; Fears Forever Engraved In Staffers' Memory; U.S. Capitol Ransacked By Mob. Aired 9-10:30p ET
Aired January 06, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. DAN KILDEE (D-MI): And, in fact, I've been quite open about the fact that this event was so traumatic that it caused me to seek help, after, in just the weeks, after the attack. And, for some of us, we've gathered together, to sort of jointly address, those issues, mental health issue.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: --I mean, how far have we come, as a country, and obviously need farther to go, but for a member of Congress to be able to say, "I've sought help, professional help, because of some traumatic experience I had."
KILDEE: It's really--
COOPER: I think it's a brave thing.
KILDEE: It's important that we do it.
REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D-AZ): Absolutely.
COOPER: Congressman Gallego, you served Iraq, 2005, I believe, if--
COOPER: --that's correct with Marines. So, that was a incredibly difficult year.
GALLEGO: It was.
COOPER: In Iraq.
I understand that you, on a day - this day, a year ago, you were thinking about your - you took out your pen, as, I mean, you were thinking, and I think Congressman Crow, you did as well, thinking, "That's all I have, as a possible means of defense."
GALLEGO: Look, I mean, honestly, looking at the situation, I thought we were about to get overrun. And we have a lot of different members of Congress, different ages. And when you're dealing with a mob? And I'm sure Crow has the same experience, I have, riot control training. The mob is a very scary hive mind. They can just take over, and they could just come and bully you over. And I was worried that they were just going to come in, and just start slaughtering us.
And so, I talked to a couple of other younger members, Colin Allred, for example, Pete Aguilar, Eric Swalwell, Hakeem Jeffries. And I started, talking to them about, getting weapons, figuring out what we can do, because I wasn't sure what we could do.
But the most important thing, I want to do, is at least hold off, whatever was coming, through that door, long enough, for us to get rescued, long enough, for us, to at least be able to break out of there.
The hardest part, though, was really dealing with some of the younger staffers. Seeing these young staffers crying, and being scared, it just reminded me a lot of the young men I served with, in Iraq. And it made me want to be helpful, and be protective, at that point, because there was really no other option.
And, luckily, I had a lot of great members that were there with me. They were going to be - helped me - helping me out. Crow and I were sending each other arm signals, like the good old days. But it had to be done. And, I think, a lot of us were willing to go to the final measure, if we had to.
COOPER: To hear people, who you serve with now, for political reasons, saying, "Oh, it wasn't that - wasn't a big deal. What happened here, was like a regular tourist visit. They were walking through this Statuary Hall, between - wasn't - it wasn't that big a deal." What is that, like?
REP. SUSAN WILD (D-PA): So, I remember being up in the Gallery, and looking down, and seeing them, rushing off the floor, seeing--
COOPER: Those very people, who are now?
WILD: Those very people, who now are claiming that it was no big deal. And those of us, who were up in the Gallery, essentially trapped, seeing them literally flood off the floor, and then to just a day or two later, hear them diminish.
REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Yes.
WILD: The experience was surreal, and still is surreal.
CROW: The fear - the fear in their eyes, and in their faces, then?
CROW: It is illustrative. Because, it's still fear that drives them.
COOPER: Even now?
GALLEGO: Even now.
CROW: They are - they are fearful, afraid people. They were then, and they were - they are now.
CROW: And now, they're afraid of Donald Trump.
KILDEE: Yes, they are. And the very - the very logic that has them now, denying the magnitude, of what took place, pretending that it wasn't real? First of all, we were there. Nobody can tell us what did and did not happen. We experienced it in real-time. We know.
But the logic that they're using, to try to minimize, downplay, this terrible day, in American history, is the same logic that they use, to accommodate the lie that was the necessary predicate, for the attack in the first place. These are people--
COOPER: The "Big lie," the election lie.
KILDEE: The "Big lie."
These people, people we have to look at, every day, put their own election, ahead of the interest of this country, in the interest of some of us, and our lives, our personal safety, they were so focused on having some kind of advantage, in some November election, that they're willing to sacrifice the country.
This beautiful temple, which is a symbol of democracy, a symbol of the principles, this country is founded, was desecrated by people, who thought they could trade that, for a few whipped-up extra votes, some November election. Shame on them!
COOPER: I heard somebody say "Coward." I'm not sure who?
GALLEGO: I said - I said the word "Coward." I mean, they're political cowards, and moral cowards.
I think the other thing that, you know, I was on the floor, and not in the Gallery, because Arizona was being contested.
Myself and a couple other members of Congress, when we got back to the floor, we walked right up to the Republican colleagues, and we told them "This is over. End it. The country is hurting. We just saw the country cry, and the world just be astonished, by what just happened. This is no longer a game. Let's join together, and just end this."
And they told me, point-blank, "We have to keep going. We have to contest Pennsylvania too." "Like why? Why?" "Because Trump wants it."
REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): It could have been a turning point.
GALLEGO: It could have been a turning point.
ESCOBAR: And it should have been a turning point. And it wasn't.
And that's why many of us, the Gallery group, especially, we, and all of us, who were there, there's this incredible obligation that we feel, to continue to tell the story, of what happened that day, to continue to sound the alarm, but also, to fight like hell, for what we need to do, to save our democracy.
Because, those very same people are still in power. And those same people will probably be reelected, and even more extreme people could be elected. We know that future elections could be overturned, based on what state legislatures are doing, in States like mine, in Texas and others. And so, the risk is really significant.
COOPER: Go ahead.
KILDEE: While we're better off, as a country, because we have an adult, as president, in many ways, things are worse now, than they were a year ago.
COOPER: How so?
KILDEE: In the sense that the country now believes somehow, many in the country, not everybody, but at least some number of people, in this country, believe that truth and falsehood are equal sides of an argument.
I mean, we can have an argument. We have plenty of good arguments, in this place, about the policy direction, we should go, about the big issues we face, as a country.
But we've now devolved, to a point, and it's worse now than it was then that fact, and confection are seen as sort of equal sides of an ongoing argument.
And we've got - we somehow, and this is what you devote your life to, ensure that we get facts, in circulation, so that at least if we have differences, they're based on some modicum of fact.
ESCOBAR: But it's more than just facts. I mean, millions of Americans have been radicalized.
ESCOBAR: So, it's - when we talk about how do we begin to debate facts, again, really, for me, the fundamental question is, how do we de-radicalize millions of Americans?
KILDEE: So true.
COOPER: For people who have been, in combat, for you two, who have seen what Civil Wars look like, up close, who have seen what looks like - what it looks like, up close, when there are the tribalization of countries, the polarization?
There's a lot of people, who throw around the term, "Civil War." And some on podcasts seem to kind of relish the idea of the destruction of society. You both have seen up close, through the window of a Humvee, and out on the streets, what happens when a society collapses.
The very people, who are kind of promoting that, here, on podcasts, right now, and other networks, who probably have not done service, and have not seen it for themselves? They will be swept up in it, and destroyed, as well as everybody else. I mean, that is not anything, anybody should even talk about, or wish ever think about happening.
GALLEGO: Absolutely not.
CROW: I grew up--
GALLEGO: Go ahead.
CROW: I grew up, Anderson, just with this notion that democracy in America was inevitable. And it would self-perpetuate that it would just always be that way. And that, the challenges, we face, as a nation, we're exporting it. We're trying to grow democracy worldwide.
Well, now we're in a position, where not only, is there, a democratic recession, worldwide, but we're seeing it, here, right now, in America, too that nothing is inevitable. Nothing can be taken for granted. And a lot of the same challenges of tribalism, and division that I saw overseas, I see that starting to grow here.
Now, to be clear, I don't think democracy is dead. I think it's far from it. I think the vast majority of Americans do not want any part of this extremism, this division, this tribalism.
But what usually happens, in cases like this, is just an extreme minority that can cause tremendous disruption to a system. And, in historical examples, it's extreme minorities that can actually take over, and ruin democracy.
So, I would much rather be having this conversation, now, and getting out ahead of it, than when it's too late. I don't think it's too late. I think we have an opportunity.
GALLEGO: I will say, and it's not just from my experience, seeing, what happened in Iraq. I mean, just being the son of immigrants, I know the stories, and heard the stories, of what happened, in Latin America, where, there wasn't a transfer of power.
It's is frightening to think that, almost happened here. I mean, I joined the Marine Corps, to serve my country, because I loved it so much, because it - I gained the inheritance of democracy. And it was almost at stake, on January 6.
And I agree with Representative Crow. We still have a chance to save democracy. But we have to take this serious. What happened that day was a serious thing, and there are serious threats to it.
The Best of America can really stop the Worst of America. But we have to accept what occurred was an actual threat, upon our country.
WILD: But, at the same time, I think, it's really important that we not accept defeat. That we think about the inherent goodness of people. That we think about the fact that truly a majority of people, in this country, are good people, who want to see our democracy thrive.
COOPER: Well, I mean, that's the thing about - one of the horrors, of the big election lie, is that the last election was actually a remarkable victory for democracy.
WILD: Yes. Exactly.
COOPER: And whatever side of the political aisle.
WILD: And more young people than ever voted.
COOPER: And, for Republicans, they did very well, at the ballot box. The President didn't win. But they gained seats in the House.
COOPER: And people came out, in the midst of a Pandemic.
REP. LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER (D-DE): Exactly.
COOPER: More people voting than ever before.
BLUNT ROCHESTER: Exactly. I mean, I think that, for me, gives me hope, to see the level of participation, young people, who said to me, "I care about this planet. I care about criminal justice reform. I care about jobs." People came out.
And, for us, again, the story here is, we talk about democracy, and why it's so important. But, a lot of times - right now, people are dealing with COVID. They're dealing with their uncle on heroin, or on opioid. They're dealing with real serious issues.
And while I know racism, and sexism. I'm right behind, you know, I got, right behind me, you know?
COOPER: You got Rosa Parks right behind you.
BLUNT ROCHESTER: Right. Right behind me. And--
COOPER: And you got Huey Long over there.
BLUNT ROCHESTER: Exactly. I know that. But I also know that what they have been able to tap into, are a whole lot of pains that we feel. And, I think, as a country, if we don't face that, we don't face these underlying things? We can't reach the heights that we want. COOPER: If I could just ask you, about the scarf that you are--
BLUNT ROCHESTER: Yes.
COOPER: --holding on to?
BLUNT ROCHESTER: Yes.
COOPER: I know it has significance for you. Explain.
BLUNT ROCHESTER: The day that I was sworn in, I came in at the same time, 2016, I was elected.
And, I said to my sister, "I got to wear something special. I'm the first woman to represent Delaware, first person of color."
And so, she found a record of the Returns of Qualified Voters and Reconstruction Oath. And it's from 1867. At the bottom is an "X." Our great, great, great grandfather, who was the slave--
BLUNT ROCHESTER: --marked this "X," to have the right to vote. I carried it on the day, I was sworn in, as my proof--
BLUNT ROCHESTER: --that we've been through slavery. We've been through Reconstruction. We've been through Jim Crow. And I carry it, as my inspiration, of what is left to do. We can't give up. We cannot give up.
COOPER: Could you--
BLUNT ROCHESTER: And we will not give up.
COOPER: Do you think the man who made that "X" could have ever imagined that you would be sitting here, in this extraordinary Hall?
BLUNT ROCHESTER: Oh! I don't know if I could have imagined it. It's - and I think we got to hold on to that. And I want people to know, I decided to run, having never run for anything, in my life, at the - over the age of 50, as a widow.
I decided on the anniversary of my husband's death, because I saw a father, and three kids, in a supermarket, putting back grapes, because they were $9. That's the pain. My city was being called "Murder Town USA." That's the pain.
That's why we're here. That's what democracy is about. It is about media being able to talk, and not get murdered, for speaking out. That's what democracy is about.
KILDEE: We're in Statuary Hall. Jon Meacham made a very important point, this morning. And we have to be clear about this. Some of our Republican colleagues have stood tall. BLUNT ROCHESTER: Yes.
KILDEE: But for many of them, Jon asked this question, he was talking about portraits, been here, in these statues. Every one of these statues, are people who were known for something.
A 100 years from now, our colleagues are going to have to face the reality that they're going to be known for something. Do they want to be known, as people, who put their own individual interests ahead, of something much bigger, and something much greater than that?
And I think if we're going to find a way to appeal, to enough of those folks, to put this down? It's going to have to be the long view of history, put in front of them, and ask them that really tough question. I don't think, right now, they have a good answer for it.
COOPER: Well, I understand why the Gallery group has stayed in touch, and communicates with each other, because you all are great support for each other, and obviously doing a lot--
WILD: I just hope the rest of the country can find the solidarity that this group has found. There has been a real solidarity that has come about, as a result of January 6. That's the silver-lining, I suppose. And that's what we need to find, for this country.
COOPER: Up next, a Republican - thank you all, for being with us. I appreciate it.
A Republican punished, for seeking the truth, about the insurrection. We'll talk with Representative Liz Cheney, the Vice Chair of the January 6 committee, along with the panel of, Democratic Chairman, Bennie Thompson. They'll share new details, about the investigation.
We'll be right back.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, CNN HOST, THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER: The January 6 select House Committee is engaged, in an urgent battle, to get the facts, fighting former President Donald Trump, and his allies, every step of the way.
Just this week, they set their sights, on getting testimony, from former Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Fox host, Sean Hannity.
Joining us now to discuss, the leaders of the House select committee, investigating the attack on the Capitol, Chairman Bennie Thompson, he's a Democrat, and Vice Chair Liz Cheney. She is, of course, a Republican.
And Vice Chair Cheney, I want to start with you, because there was a very memorable moment, or at least an image, I saw. Your father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, joined you, here at the Capitol. You were the only Republicans, I saw in that Chamber, during the moment of silence.
Tell me about the importance of him, being there with you. Obviously, he's former Vice President. He was President of the Senate, at one point. But, obviously, there was more than that.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Well, he has such tremendous love, for the institution of the House. And obviously, it's something that we've shared. And he's also been so troubled, watching what's unfolded, certainly watching the attack, last year.
And he really wanted to be here today. He wanted to be here, to pay his respects. He wanted to be here, to commemorate the grave nature, of what happened. And really, to help to remind people, of the ongoing threat.
TAPPER: Chairman Thompson, you were in the House Chamber, when the attack took place. How does that experience guide your leadership of the committee?
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Well, there's no question, Jake, that we have to get it right.
Never in my wildest dreams, as a member of Congress, would I have envisioned our Capitol, being under attack, for any reason. We're the citadel of democracy. And so, that day, was very troubling for me.
It continues to cause me concern, because Liz, and I, and other members of the committee, we have to get this work, right. It's our democracy that's at risk, more than anything else. It's not about Democrat or Republican.
TAPPER: And yet, you were the only House Republican, in the Chamber, this morning during the moment of silence.
I know Congressman Kinzinger would have been there. But he's on baby standby in the Chicago area. He says he would have been there.
This has not been easy for you, as a Republican, a very conservative Republican, more conservative than all the House Republican leaders, according to voting records. What was the moment, if there was one, when you said, "I just have to do with right - what's right, and I don't care about the politics?"
CHENEY: Well, I think it really, began watching President Trump, in the aftermath of the election, last year, in 2020, and the extent to which, after he had exhausted, all of his legal challenges, he ignored the rulings, in the courts, and continued beyond December 14.
And, of course, because of the work that we're doing on the committee now, we know, the extent, to which he was working, to pressure the Justice Department, to pressure state officials.
And then, of course, January 6, itself was a line, you just can't cross. And so, leading on from that, I think that it's - there's never been a situation, where you've had a President, engaged in a more serious violation of his oath of office, of his duty to the Constitution.
And, to me, that's just very clear that that the security, the Republic, depends upon, as the Chairman said, we have to get this right. And we have to put this above politics.
TAPPER: But, as you know, so many of your colleagues, were part of the problem. Not a majority of your colleagues, necessarily - well, depending on how you look at the votes, or signing on to the amicus brief, from Texas.
But, on January 6, when Congressman Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, who may well go on to become the next Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, maybe even Speaker, someday, he tried to help you to safety, not that you needed it, but you smacked his hand away, and you said, quote, "Get away from me. You effing did this," except you didn't say "Eff."
Some of your fellow Republicans are out there, probably right now, on certain other channels, saying this was no big deal, or making too big a deal out of this. Ted Cruz said that this special, tonight, was just political theater.
What do you say to them?
CHENEY: I say that's how democracies die that if you have members of political parties, who ignore an attack - we've never before been in a situation, where the President himself, provoked a violent assault, on this Capitol building.
And when you sit here, in Statuary Hall, tonight, and you realize the history of this place, and you realize how sacred this place is?
Any American, who would enable, or look the other way, or dismiss what happened, or refuse to do their duty, to get to the bottom of it, I think, is failing to live up to their oath of office, and to their duties, as a citizen of this great nation.
TAPPER: Chairman Thompson, the Justice Department has charged more than 700 of the insurrectionists, with various crimes. 30 have been sentenced, I believe, to prison.
There are a lot of people, in your party, Congressman Gallego, for example, who was just here, moments ago, who think the Justice Department is not doing enough, not moving quickly enough.
And none of the organizers have been charged. None of the people that organized the buses, and the planes, of people coming here, to do what ended up happening.
What do you say to that?
THOMPSON: Well, I would say, part of our investigation, we are looking into, the organizers, the financers, as well as some of the security people, around January 6. That's part of our body of work.
We are not coordinating what we do, with the Justice Department. It's two independent investigations.
But, Jake, the real dilemma, is this insurrection played out, in full view. It wasn't like someone doing a movie, or telling you a story, about their experiences. The majority of people, in this country, saw January 6, for themselves. They saw people, fighting law enforcement. They saw windows being broken. This is not who, we are, as a country.
I'm from a part of the United States, where my government help people, who look like me, register vote, and run for office. We have always looked, to our government, as the backdrop, for any issue that's going on, in this country.
And so, here we are, at this moment, asking through our committee, to help get this right. We can't afford to have disputes settled like January 6. We are a better country than that.
TAPPER: And Vice Chairman Cheney, you talked about President Trump's culpability.
We heard from Stephanie Grisham, who was the White House Communications Director. And she testified, before your committee, had the conversation with people, in your committee, talking about she wasn't there at the time, but she had close friends, at the White House of President Trump.
Then-President Trump was just sitting, in the dining room, off the Oval Office, and watching what was going on, and "Gleeful," was the word used, and rewinding, and watching more, watching more.
You have said that Donald Trump committed a, quote, "Supreme dereliction of duty." Now, dereliction of duty is a crime. I don't know if you mean it that way, or if you mean it more conceptually?
How do you mean it, when you say, Donald Trump is guilty of dereliction of duty?
CHENEY: Well, I think that, as the first course, it's absolutely clear. We know, from firsthand testimony that he watched television, while the attack was underway. He watched the attack happen, on television.
We know that he did not walk the very few steps, to the White House Briefing Room, get on camera immediately, and tell the people, to stop and go home.
TAPPER: As people were begging him to do.
TAPPER: Including Ivanka Trump.
CHENEY: Right. So, the President of the United States is responsible for ensuring that the laws are faithfully executed. He is responsible for the security of the branches.
So, for a President to, through either his action, or his inaction, for example, attempt to impede, or obstruct, the counting of electoral votes, which is an official proceeding of Congress, is, you know, we - the committee is looking at that, looking at whether what he did constitutes that kind of a crime. But certainly, it's dereliction of duty.
I mean, imagine, Jake, if President Eisenhower, had summoned, a mob, to Washington, and told them to march on the Supreme Court, when they were hearing arguments, in Brown v. Board of Education? And then, imagine, if he sat, and watched them, invade the Supreme Court, and didn't do anything, to stop it?
We couldn't imagine that an honorable man, like Dwight Eisenhower, would do something like that. Yet, that's almost exactly what Donald Trump did. And I think it's important, for the American people, to understand how serious that is, and for us to get to the bottom of it.
TAPPER: Chairman Thompson, you've been investigating this now, for several months. I know you're not going to get ahead of your interim report, and then your final report.
But some people think this was a spontaneous event. Some people say it was planned, strategized, a conspiracy, to create what happened. At this point, can you say, whether it's one, the other, or both?
THOMPSON: Well, I can say that our report will be accurate. I can tell you that the facts, we'll be able to substantiate. I can tell you that the body of work will be thorough, and that the public will have an opportunity to review it.
We won't take sides. We'll do it. The facts and circumstances, around January 6, we'll look at it. But we have to make some recommendations too, to make sure that something like January 6, never ever happen again.
This was traumatic. I'm troubled by the fact that a year later, some of my colleagues, here in Washington, given this notion that somehow, this really wasn't a big deal. And I just said, "Look at the film, for yourself."
People climbing walls. People trying to find the Vice President, and hang him. People trying to find Speaker Pelosi, and kill her. And gallows being erected, on the lawn of the United States Capitol. This is not who we are.
And so, as someone, who takes democracy very serious, I want to get it right. Every other member of the committee wants to get it right. And I assure you, our report will do just that.
TAPPER: Congresswoman Cheney, you just mentioned Dwight Eisenhower, who, in my opinion, is one of the greatest presidents we've ever had.
This is not Eisenhower's Republican Party anymore. This isn't Liz Cheney's Republican Party anymore. What happened?
CHENEY: Well, we're certainly in a very dangerous place, as a party. I think that, right now, we have a cult of personality. We have too many people, in the party, who've decided to embrace the former president.
And look, the Chairman and I are on very different ends, of the political spectrum. And there are many things, on which we don't agree. But we both agree that you have to have healthy political parties, in this country, so we can engage, in that debate, on those issues.
And right now, my party is not embracing truth, is not embracing substance, and seriousness.
And I think, both of our parties, need to be focused, on electing serious people, to office, and people, like Dwight Eisenhower, people, who take their oath seriously, and their obligation seriously and, will engage, in a way that reflects that that's worthy this nation.
TAPPER: And Chairman Thompson, from the committee's work, this week, we've learned, a lot of things, including firsthand testimony, about Donald Trump, what he was doing that day.
About Ivanka Trump, reaching out, trying to get her father, to call them - call off the mob.
About Sean Hannity, from Fox, texting, and other Fox people texting, saying, basically, saying to the White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, "You know, please get him to try to stop doing - stop the crowd from - the mob from doing this."
What else are we learning? And who else do you need to talk to?
THOMPSON: Well, quite a few people. I can tell you that we are learning that individuals conspired, to change the outcome of the election. And that's very concerning, that they used assets, of the federal government, to try to promote the "Big lie," that they intimidated state officials, toward the "Big lie."
And so, again, we have to tell that story. We'll be able to document it. And, I'm concerned that even the replacement of certain people, to accomplish the "Big lie," was under consideration.
Again, we are better country. And so, the Vice Chair and I have joined together, to make sure that democracy stands, in this country. After the report, Liz and I will go to our corners, to do what we were doing--
TAPPER: And disagree on everything!
THOMPSON: --before January 6. But, for this moment, we love our country. We understand democracy.
TAPPER: You said "Individuals conspired," conspiracy, obviously being a crime. Individuals, including people in the inner circle of the Trump White House? THOMPSON: Oh, no question about it. And--
TAPPER: Including Donald Trump himself?
THOMPSON: Well, look, Donald Trump is an open book. Everyone watching this show, they have an opinion of him. He's not known to tell the truth. He's known to promote lies.
But, in this instance, he invited people, to Washington, on January 6. And, at the end of the invitation, he said, it was going to be wild! Little did we know it was going to be as wild as it was!
TAPPER: You, Vice President - Vice Chair Cheney, sorry, said, this morning, you look forward to Vice President Pence's cooperation, with the committee. We know that a number of people, in his inner circle, are cooperating. And they would not be doing that one things, if Pence had not signed off on it.
You mentioned before the mob shouting "Hang Mike Pence!" The demonization of Pence by Donald Trump.
When you say that you look forward to Pence cooperating, is that wishful thinking, or, is he committed to cooperating?
CHENEY: Look, I think that the committee is going to continue to work, with a number of people, including the Vice President. He clearly was someone, who was responsible, for the fact that our institutions held, right where this stage is.
Early on the morning, of the 7th, I had the chance to thank him, to thank him, for what he had done that day, to thank him, for not succumbing to the pressure that President Trump was putting on him, the efforts to intimidate him.
And so, I think, he played a hugely important, consequential role that day, in making sure that we were able to carry out our constitutional duties.
And I'm confident that he wants the American people, to know the truth, to know what happened that day. And I'm confident that he's a Patriot, and he loves this country. And he'll want to make sure that this committee is successful.
TAPPER: You have said that another Donald Trump presidency could be the end of our democracy. I don't need to tell you that he's the front-runner for the presidential nomination, for your party, for 2024, if he runs.
What would it say about the Republican Party, what would it say about the United States, if Donald Trump, is the Republican nominee, for president, again in 2024?
CHENEY: Look, what we saw him do after the election, what we saw him do, on the 6th, are absolutely disqualifying. And when you think about the trust that we put, as Americans, into the hands, of our president? And you think about the inscription that's over the fireplace, in the dining room, in the White House, which is a John Adams letter to Abigail Adams? And he said, "May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof."
And I think that's really important, when you have somebody, who has demonstrated his lack of fidelity, to the Constitution, someone who's at war, with the rule of law, you cannot entrust that person, with the power of the presidency, ever again. And I think it's critically important, for the Republic that he not be anywhere close to the Oval Office, ever again.
TAPPER: Chairman Thompson, what do you think?
Because it is - it looks like he's going to run again. And if he runs again, polls favor him, winning the Republican presidential nomination? And it looks like - I mean, the Republican Party is deferential to him.
THOMPSON: Well, that's unfortunate.
Being a bully, being someone, who's not known to tell the truth, should not be a qualifying asset, to become President of the United States. That tells you that, as a country, we have moved, beyond the norm, when a Donald Trump get elected president, and is a leading contender, of his party, to run again.
So, I agree with my Vice Chair, that we should have better people, running for office. Donald Trump would not be one of those individuals. He's demonstrated every day, that he is not the quality of person, who should be President of the United States.
TAPPER: All three of us are old enough to remember when Chairs and Vice Chairs of committees regularly behaved like this, when it came to important issues, whatever the committee.
So, thank you for both of you - to both of you, for what you're doing, for this important work, to get to the bottom, of what happened, when our, not just members of Congress, but our democracy was attacked. Thank you so much.
THOMPSON: Thank you.
TAPPER: When we return, a congressman, who faced the unthinkable, on January 6, with family members, trapped during the attack, only days after his son's death.
Congressman Jamie Raskin, his daughter, and his son-in-law will join us next.
COOPER: On January 5, 2021, Congressman Jamie Raskin buried his blood son, Tommy, who died by suicide, on New Year's Eve.
He arrived, at the Capitol, on January 6, heartbroken. His daughter Tabitha, and his other daughter, Hannah's husband, Hank, accompanied him, for support. When the Chamber was evacuated, the Congressman was separated from Tabitha and Hank, who ended up hiding, under the desk, in the office of Steny Hoyer, not far from here.
Congressman Raskin joins us now, along with his daughter, Tabitha, and his son-in-law, Hank. Thank you all for being with us. Thank you.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Thanks for having us.
COOPER: I cannot imagine coming to work. I mean, obviously, it was an important day to come to work, on January 6. But the day after having buried your son Tommy?
J. RASKIN: Well, it was surreal. There's no doubt about that. I felt Tommy very much, in my heart, in my chest.
And, like I told Tabitha, and her big sister, Hannah, and Hank, and Sarah, the whole family, I just said, "It's a constitutional duty. The Constitution says we got to be there that first Wednesday, in January, in order to count the Electoral College votes."
And, as you know, it was a surly political environment. And we had a very narrow majority, at that point. And COVID-19 was running rampant. And there were people, who were being waylaid, and people, who were getting sick.
And I just said, "Hey, we live closer to the Capitol than any other member of Congress," other than Eleanor Holmes Norton, who's a non- voting delegate. I said, "I got to be down there."
And then that's when, Tabitha offered to come. And Hank, who's married to my older daughter, Hannah--
J. RASKIN: --he offered to come too.
COOPER: You wanted to come for support?
HANK KRONICK, REP. JAMIE RASKIN'S SON-IN-LAW: Correct.
COOPER: Where were you sitting, when you realized, something was going on?
KRONICK: So, we were in Steny Hoyer's office, which, as you said, is close to the room, we're sitting out today. And we were there pretty much all day. And what you see on the news, it's a lot of shock, and everything's happening at once. But for us, it was just a normal day.
And we were there. And we were kind of looking out the window, and seeing the chaos build. And we really didn't know what was going on. There were points, where we were concerned, but then we kind of went back to what we were doing.
And it really wasn't until we heard, the rioters, actually break, inside the Capitol that we were like, "Whoa!"
COOPER: You were evacuated. You were separated then. You were aware they were in Speaker - in Steny Hoyer's office.
Is it true, you both ended up, under the desk, in Hoyer's office?
TABITHA RASKIN, DAUGHTER OF REP. JAMIE RASKIN, ON CAPITOL HILL DURING THE INSURRECTION: Yes, so, yes, we - as soon as we heard them close, we immediately looked, for someplace to hide. It was really the only good hiding spot.
So, the two of us, we hid under his desk. We were under there for a while. I remember there was a - the hole in the desk for cords. And I was scared. I just imagined people coming in, and like seeing us, through the hole. And then, I remember trying to cover the hole. And yes, we--
J. RASKIN: You'd already locked the doors, right?
T. RASKIN: Yes.
J. RASKIN: And barricaded the door.
KRONICK: We were locked inside.
J. RASKIN: With Julie Tagen.
T. RASKIN: Yes.
J. RASKIN: Who was my Chief of Staff, she was with them.
T. RASKIN: Yes. And I thought there was really, I mean, both of us thought there was just no way we, were getting out alive, really.
COOPER: I mean, to deal with the unspeakable, unimaginable grief that you were dealing with, and then to have this horror, on top of it? Your daughter said something to you that day, when it was finally over, and you were all able to leave that that really affected you. Do you remember what she said?
J. RASKIN: Oh, yes. Well, we were drowning, in grief and agony, because of Tommy. And I actually invited them because I thought they needed me. But they came because they thought I needed them. I guess all of us were right. We really needed each other. It was a very dark time for us.
And then, this unthinkable thing happens, which is there's a massive violent insurrection, by a mob, chanting, "Hang Mike Pence!" and "We want Trump!" and "Stop the Steal!" And they're banging on doors. And they tried - when I first heard them, they tried to barrel into the House Chamber.
COOPER: Which is just right down there?
J. RASKIN: Just a few steps away, from where we are.
And someone sent me a picture of one of the Insurrectionists bearing the Confederate battle flag. I think it was in this room.
And I walked across the aisle, to Liz Cheney. And I said, "Liz, look - looks like we're under new management here." And she looked at it, and she just shook her head, and she just said, "My God, what have they done!"
So, my main concern, the whole day, was getting them out. Because we were evacuated, to the right of the Speaker's Lobby. To the left is where the mob had come in. And that's where Ashli Babbitt, was shot and killed, when she tried to enter.
And we got - we escaped over to the House side. But it was about an hour later, when finally, the officers, said that it was secure enough, to come in, to try to get them out of Steny's Capitol office. And so, they came back, and you can imagine the sense of relief, I felt.
J. RASKIN: And it was very emotional, when they came back.
And then, I was working to get them home, because we were planning on being here, most of the night, as we were, because all of us were adamant that we were going to see the Electoral College votes certified.
J. RASKIN: We were not going to leave until that happened.
And so, when we finally figured out a way for them to get back home, I was giving them, hugs and kisses, and saying goodbye.
And I said to Tabitha, "I promise it'll never be like this again, when you come back to the Capitol."
And she just looked at me, I'll never forget, and she said, "Dad, I don't want to come back to the Capitol."
COOPER: Do you remember saying that?
T. RASKIN: Yes.
COOPER: And yet, here you are. Is this your - this is your first time back?
T. RASKIN: Yes. COOPER: What does that feel like?
T. RASKIN: I - nerve-racking, I think, just because of the conditioning, of the experience. And--
COOPER: You had to walk by Steny Hoyer's office, as you were coming here.
T. RASKIN: Yes. And that certainly made, definitely felt my heart drop, a little bit there. And, yes, it's - it's nerve-racking being back, definitely.
COOPER: Why did you want to come back?
T. RASKIN: I think it was, for a number of reasons. My dad comes back every day. His colleagues come back every day. The maintenance workers come back every day. The Capitol Police comes back every day.
And they are showing the world that the lies being told have not won. We're still here. We're still running things. And I think--
COOPER: Democracy is still alive?
T. RASKIN: Yes. It's, yes, it's holding on. And I think it's, I'm showing solidarity, by coming back.
COOPER: You must be really proud of her!
J. RASKIN: Very proud of Tabitha, and Hank. And they were troopers getting through that. There weren't many kids here. Because of COVID- 19, people were told not to bring their families. Very few staff were here.
It's kind of an unremarked facet of this whole thing that had we not been in COVID-19, there would have been probably thousands, certainly hundreds more people here. It would have been a far more dangerous thing, when the mob broke in.
COOPER: I want to read some of - you have written a book. You've written a book about your son Tommy, about what happened with him, and grief and, all of what you have been through.
And one of the things you said, you said, "I have learned that trauma can steal everything from you that is most precious and rip joy right out of your life.
But, paradoxically, it can also make you stronger and wiser, and connect you more deeply to other people than you ever imagined by enabling you to touch their misfortunes and integrate their losses and pain with your own.
If a person can grow through unthinkable trauma and loss, perhaps a nation may, too."
Do you think this nation can grow through the trauma that it has experienced over this last year?
J. RASKIN: I know that we can.
And Tabitha and Hank will tell you, we have boxes and boxes of letters, thousands and thousands of letters, from people, around the country, from people, around the world, reaching out to us, to console us, to send us love.
But also, to talk about what it was like, for them to lose someone, in their family, to suicide, to lose someone in their family, to COVID- 19, to lose someone in their family, to the opioid crisis, to lose someone in their family, to the waves of emotional and mental illness that have overcome America.
We are a hurting wounded nation, which is one reason I love Joe Biden, because he connects with that. And he knows misfortune. He knows grief, in his life. And we've got to heal our country. And that starts with telling the truth, about everything.
COOPER: That is the road to healing.
J. RASKIN: Truth is the road to healing. Any psychologist will tell you that. Any psychiatrist will tell you that "You got to start with the truth." And then, as you were saying, you've got to connect to other people, in your family, on your block, other people in the community, who've been through similar things.
We're going to come back, from the nightmare, of January 6th. I've got no doubt, Anderson. No doubt, we're coming back, and America is going to be stronger. I have--
COOPER: But that is one of the things of the difficulty of not only COVID. But, I mean, all trauma is that it isolates you.
In your grief, you feel isolated. You feel no one understands what you're going through. And this country is polarized. And we are isolated from one and another, by a virus, by the media, we watch, whatever.
How do you come together? How does this country bind its wounds and move forward?
J. RASKIN: Well, I think we've got to connect to the past, to the great heroes, who have come before us, who helped America, heal from its wounds, and see through its conflicts.
Frederick Douglass is a great Marylander I turn to, who said "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and never will."
Abraham Lincoln, who I quoted, on January 6, on the floor, saying that "No foreign monster could ever crush America. If ruin is to come to America," he said, "it's going to come from within."
And that's true. It's our own demons, and violent white supremacy has been our enemy, from the beginning of the Republic. And just when we're on the precipice, of getting through it, well, then this nightmare flashback emerges, on January 6.
COOPER: But, I mean, I don't want to sound political here. But there are many Republicans, who are not acknowledging, this day, or who are mocking, this day, and saying, "Oh, this is Democrats trying to milk something, milk a minor event, an unfortunate event, from the past, for political gain."
If even people, who are serving in Congress, aren't wanting to know the truth, of this day?
J. RASKIN: Yes.
COOPER: I mean?
J. RASKIN: Well, I feel bad for those people, because they are essentially, in a political religious cult.
And their cult leader, Donald Trump, is telling them, they can't believe their own eyes, the evidence of their - of their own experience, and their own ear. So, we should try to embrace those people, and help them through, what they're going through.
Because they've been fed lies, and they're swallowing the lies. And some of them may have thought they were clever, at the beginning, that they could just go along with it, and not believe it. But many of them have allowed the lies really, to seep into their soul. And it's beginning to rot their minds.
COOPER: Do you think - are you glad you came back, Tab?
T. RASKIN: I'm glad to meet you!
COOPER: Now you're just being polite, you know?
T. RASKIN: No. No. I am--
COOPER: You're a teacher. You work with kids. I mean, are you optimistic, about the future, of this country?
T. RASKIN: I would say, for me, one of the greatest, I mean, what I'm learning, from this time, and this experience, and January 6 specifically, is just how desperately, we need, our future generations, to be able to think critically.
And as a math teacher, I'm always talking about thinking critically. And so, yes, I think that's - there's a lot we need - we should take from this experience, and put into education, in my opinion, so.
J. RASKIN: And the young people give me a lot of hope. Tabitha's generation. Hank's generation. And they give me a lot of hope. I think they are beyond a lot of the racism and anti-Semitism and misogyny. And they're ready for a strong universal democracy. So, we just have to get through this very tough period.
COOPER: What does it say about a country that - a country that elects Barack Obama, for two terms, then turns and elects Donald Trump?
J. RASKIN: Well, and there were millions of people, who voted for Obama, who voted for Trump. And there are a lot of people, who are disaffected, and feel passed over, by government.
And the magic of democracy is that we can constantly renew ourselves. And so, we have to go out, and we've got to hear everybody, and listen to everybody's experience, and try to build a stronger democracy, on that basis.
COOPER: You've been a law professor. You believe in the law. I mean, you put trust in the law. And you have faith in the law. Is it - and being on the January 6, committee, I mean, is it the - is it essential to find out every detail, about January 6? Why pursue that? Why not let it go, into history?
J. RASKIN: My dad, Tabitha's grandfather, Marcus Raskin, once said, "Democracy needs a ground to stand on. And that ground is the truth."
In a democracy, people have a right to the truth. It's not some kind of discretionary gift. It's our government. It's our democracy. We have a right to get to the truth.
So, our committee, the select committee, which Chairman Thompson, and Vice Chair Cheney, are doing such a great job, managing, that, committee is going to get exhaustive truth, in painstaking detail.
And we're going to tell the story, the best we can, of what happened. And we're going to make recommendations, about how to fortify, democratic institutions, going forward, in the future. That's our job. When we talk about accountability, it's not just about individuals. It's about accountability, for our society.
Because, the world needs America, right? The world needs a strong democratic America, for human rights, for social justice, for peace, and also, to deal with the real nightmare, of our age, which is climate change.
And if we're spending all our time, fighting with Oath Keepers, and Proud Boys, and nonsense, like this, how are we going to deal with climate change?
So, we've got to get through this process, defeat fascism, in America, and then move forward, to lead the world, to environmental security, and safety, for everybody, and a flourishing future, for these generations.
COOPER: You've described your son Tommy, as having a brilliant political mind. And I think you're - the term was a "Radiant goodness," which I love that - I love that idea. You said he had a zeal, for the truth and social fairness.
What do you - what did you learn from him? And what do you want people to know about him? And what he would have thought about what has gone on, this past year?
J. RASKIN: Well, we learned from Tommy, every day, and we continue to learn, from him, as we quote him to, each other. One of the things Tommy said, when he taught Sunday school, was he had a lesson that was built on this thesis topic, which is make friends with someone you don't agree with.
Tommy was not any kind of a paragon of political correctness in any way. He, one of his good friends when he was at Harvard Law School was a guy who had been in the Trump administration. A young man who writes us all the time. I mean, Tommy never gave up on the potential goodness of everybody, and the potential goodness in humanity.
And at the same time, he detested fascism and bullying and authoritarianism. And we've got to keep both of those ideas in mind. We can't give up on anybody in America but we can't tolerate the lying and the big lies and the authoritarian attacks on our institutions that our forebearers and our parents and grandparents built in America.
COOPER: Hank, how do you remember Tommy?
KRONICK: I don't think I can describe him much better than that. But he had such a beautiful soul. And he had so much to say about the state of this world. And I think he, put simply, he was out of his time in how he viewed animal rights. And --
RASKIN: He's turned a lot of us into vegetarians.
RASKIN: And he recruited dozens and dozens of people, too. Right? He said in an age of beyond sausage and impossible burgers nobody needs to be involve in animal slaughter to survive.
COOPER: Tabitha, I lost my brother to suicide when I was 21 and he was 23. And I found it hard to talk about him for decades. So I don't know if you feel comfortable talking about him but if you do, what do you want to leave people with about Tommy?
T. RASKIN: He, when we would go, like we would meet, you know, just, you meet people. Like strangers, you know. Whether it's a cashier or, you know, just people that you just pass by you. Like say a word to. Have an interaction with.
And he would always, you know, he was in a joking manner but also in a kind -- it was a rhetorical question. Why don't we ask them to hang out? About like just, people don't think that way. But in his mind, he just didn't view -- like he viewed this kind of, this humanity in every person that allowed him to --
COOPER: And the possibility for connection you're saying.
T. RASKIN: Yes. Yes. The -- sorry. The capability of connection was always there and he would say, you know, it's hard to be human. That was something we remember and talk about often. And I think those kinds of go hand in hand where he is seeing, he saw the humanity in everyone. And you know, kind of, he didn't tolerate, he didn't tolerate fascism and bullying --
RASKIN: Meanness, cruelty.
T. RASKIN: -- and meanness. Because he -- he hoped and expected better. And that's what it came from. An expectation that everyone can be better so you can't tolerate, you know, you can't tolerate that stuff.
COOPER: There is a saying that every friend was once a stranger. And I'm wondering if Tommy ascribed to that idea of why don't we just hang out. I mean, is that -- is that a way for -- is that essential for the country moving forward, that we are also, people are so polarized in their political life --
COOPER: And we need to get beyond that. And even if people were made polarized in their political life to still have a community life, and to still be part of a community and be friends with people who they may disagree with.
RASKIN: Tommy once wrote a payment about Lincoln's second inaugural address where Lincoln talked about those mystic memories and specifically the bonds of affection that underlie our democracy. You know, and Lincoln never accepted the idea that states could lead the union. He would be appalled by some of my colleagues we're talking about a national divorce. Because Lincoln said, the country was not created by the states. It was created by we the people.
Those are the first three words of the Constitution. The people of the country. And it's the people together who are going to get us through this thing. And we have good people in every state, in every county, in every town of the country. And people who are not under the spell of ideology and dogma and lies. That's just not an American tradition. And it can't last. We're a far more pragmatic people than that.
COOPER: Congressman Raskin, I appreciate it. Tabitha, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Up next, Capitol Hill staffers who are living with the ongoing threat to democracy every day.
TAPPER (on camera): And we're back live at the U.S. Capitol in the very place where rioters stormed through these halls one year ago today. Capitol staffers who lived through the horror know firsthand that the threat to democracy remains very real. [22:10:01]
Three staffers who were working that day join me now. Leah Han, staff assistant for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Kevin McCumber who is deputy clerk for the U.S. House of Representatives, and Bobby Johnson, the capitol service center manager.
Thanks, one and all for being here. I know it's probably not easy to be here on a day like this, talking about these things.
Bobby, if I can start with you. Your office is 30 feet from an area that was breached on January 6th. One minute you're told to stay in your office. The next minute you're bringing water to capitol police officers who are getting tear gassed by the mob. Take us back to that moment. What was it like?
BOBBY JOHNSON, MANAGER, CAPITOL SERVICE CENTER: Well, initially, the sergeant of arms personnel walked by our door. We know these guys because they're just down the hall. And they had the guns out. But they nonchalantly said, hey, hang here. We got this.
I looked at James Jenkins, my co-worker. Was he serious? He said yes. And so, I went back and stood there a second. Then about three other police officers in riot gear came by, and then more and more and more, and I guess about 10 minutes later, we started seeing the injured.
And these guys came in and asked if we had water and we had maybe a case of bottled water to rinse their eyes. Then we ran out of water. We had ice buckets. So, we started a bucket brigade. I thought I would get the buckets back but we went through about five or six buckets and I'm standing there. The buckets are not coming back. And I'm like, what do we do?
And there were still injured officers. And so, they took them down a little further to rinse their eyes. But at that point, you had people that were bleeding and we had officers' head wounds, you know, cuts and scrapes on their arms.
We had two gentlemen. I don't know their names. I wish I did. I don't know what they looked like because they were in riot gear. But they asked if we had any more first-aid kits. And we had run out. All we had was sea full of paper towels and duct tape. And they stood there and these guys are like 6'3", 6'4", they looked like linebackers and they were like kids. Could you tell, there's a brothership. And they started wrapping each other's fists, you know, and we were helping to wipe the blood off. And it was something.
TAPPER: I mean, a scene that I'm sure you never thought you would see in your office.
JOHNSON: No. It was a normal day. In fact, I was on a team's call with my deputy director and co-worker. They were telling us what was actually going on, because the capitol police, along with metropolitan police, they held the door. You know, I'm nine steps to where they were and I couldn't see because it filled up with tear gas at one point. It started coming. Our officers they closed the door. TAPPER: Tear gas from the mob. Not from the police officers.
JOHNSON: I don't know, you know.
TAPPER: You don't who know the police are. But if they're watching right now, what do you want to say to them, what would you say to them?
JOHNSON: I would say thank you. Because of you, I'm here today. You know, I know Fanone. I've seen him. I've thanked him personally. Harry, I used to see in the marketplace, you know, and the other two unfortunately, I don't know them that well. I've seen them.
But the capitol is like a small family. You know, we go by first names. I see you in the hallway, hey, Jake, Kevin, Leah, we see each other all the time. But I would say thank you. Because it could have easily turned. I'm 30 feet away. And if these people had just come down and made a right, it would have been me and James then. That was it.
TAPPER: Leah, we have some chilling surveillance video from that day, if we can show it. You're one of the staffers who ran out of the house chamber to hide, and then here just minutes later, the rioters, we're going to show you this in a second. The rioters are banging on the door and yelling. You're behind the door. There you see that guy pounding. What was going through your mind?
LEAH HAN, STAFF ASSISTANT FOR HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: There was so much going on at that time. As you can see, we sheltered in that room that I was coming out of. There were seven others, so eight total.
And I remember just us deciding that wasn't safe enough to be in that room anymore. Which was why we decided to go across that -- to the other room. I remember going across, not even knowing where the room was or which one they were talking about. But we decided to go to the store across the hall because ahead two doors, Al Green and are providing, you know, a little bit more protection.
And so, we locked the doors. Both doors, outer and inner. Turned off the lights. I went to the back. I hid under the table and I just waited for what felt like ages until we started to hear chanting. And that chanting was coming from the rotunda, meaning they were in the building at that time. And it was so full of rage. But then as it got louder and louder, I realized that they had come into our office at that point.
TAPPER: What were they saying?
HAN: Honestly, I can't remember at this point. It's more of a feeling that it invokes. Not the actual phrase. There is so much going on.
TAPPER: What was the feeling? HAN: I, I mean, my heart dropped knowing that they were here and it's
the fact that there was an uncertainty of, do they have these weapons on them. Like, what were they going to do if they found us? Like, were they going to find us? And just, was I going to make it out that day. Right?
TAPPER: You thought you might die.
HAN: Absolutely. My mind did wander. I thought of all the worst things that could happen, torture, hostage, rape, everything.
TAPPER: You didn't, I'm told you didn't tell your parents, call them until it was all over. I have to say, you're the youngest one on the stage, if you don't mind me observing. How do your parents feel about you working here? Do they think it's safe?
HAN: They were very angry, of course, you know. That I had to go through all of that. Like any parent would, right? Their child just went through such a traumatic day. They didn't know if I would come home either. But they realize, you know, that it still is an honor to be able to come to work and to be able to work for the speaker.
You know, someone who is actively seeking the truth of this day. And they see, they see that I have been brave. And you know, I'm still willing to go to work despite all of this and they're proud of me. I know that it's, yes.
TAPPER: They should be.
HAN: Thank you.
TAPPER: Kevin, when the insurrection happened, you were the chief of legislative operations. You've been associated with the House clerk's office for 16 years. After what you went through that day, are you confident this is a safe place to work?
KEVIN MCCUMBER, DEPUTY CLERK, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Absolutely. I do. I have full confidence in the capitol police with the security that's not only in place but the security that day. You asked Bobby a question about what he would say to the capitol police.
And I have to tell you, evacuating from the floor to the secure room, everywhere that would you want a police officer to be to direct you along the evacuation route, there was one. So, standing there, showing you the way to safety. We had the luxury, if you can call it that, on the floor of not really knowing what was going on outside to the full extent.
I was getting text message updates from some staff who were, you know, do they breach this line or breached that line. So, I knew we were getting ready to go. But to see the capitol police. When you came to a t-section and see them there guiding you to safety, you know, it was.
TAPPER: Yes, they were great.
MCCUMBER: Absolutely. TAPPER: Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us today. We
really appreciate it. I'm glad you're all OK.
MCCUMBER: Thank you.
TAPPER: Coming up, we're going to take an extraordinary live tour that will put you in the shoes of the senators who were here during the insurrection, trying to protect your votes. Stay with us.
TAPPER (on camera): Welcome back. I am standing here with Senator Amy Klobuchar who is the top Democrat on the Senate rules committee. We're wearing masks out of an abundance of caution because we're in an open space. But we want to give you a little picture into what Senator Klobuchar and others went through that night.
Just to give you an idea where we are, this is the Ohio clock. The Senate Chamber is over there. And this you're telling me --
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Exactly.
TAPPER: This is where Officer Goodman led the mob.
KLOBUCHAR: Exactly. With one single baton, bravely to take them away from an area they were going to, where there was no back-up security. And I think it's important for people to know that this is the beautiful Senate hallway. The chamber is right there where the angry mob entered that in the middle of the insurrection.
But right now, it looks all cleaned up, Jake. But that day it was mayhem. And in fact, Officer Goodman led them away and then later in the night, when everything had been cleaned up, when all the reinforcements came in, this was the hallway where Senator Blunt and Vice President pence and I walked with the young women holding the mahogany boxes with the electoral ballots.
TAPPER: And in fact, this hallway people might recognize because they've seen Officer Goodman, the footage of Officer Goodman saving Senator Mitt Romney. Guiding him away from the angry mob.
TAPPER: That who knows what they would have done to him.
KLOBUCHAR: Exactly. Mitt came right out of this Senate chamber when we were told to leave. Most people went together. He came out this way and Office Goodman saw the rioters coming at him and of course, Mitt was a target. And Officer Goodman again put himself between the rioters and the senator, and the senator escorted the senator out to safety.
TAPPER: And of course, earlier in the program, House Speaker Pelosi said that she thought the mob, a lot of them were trying to get at these boxes in here. Why don't you tell us what these are?
KLOBUCHAR: Sure. So, these are the mahogany boxes. And since 1877, the electoral ballots have been ceremonially placed in these boxes.
TAPPER: From all 50 states.
KLOBUCHAR: All 50 states. The biggest one is for some of the states have bigger ballots. And then the Senate brings the ballots to the House and we officially declare the winner basically, certify these Electoral College ballots.
And when we were in the Senate chamber, and we were rushed out of there because of the breach of security, one really smart staff person yells out, works for the parliamentarian, says get the boxes, get the boxes. And it is very clear now as they invaded the Senate chamber that they would have taken them out. That would have most likely burned them and they would have gotten rid of the electoral ballots. And so that presence of mind at that moment meant that they were saved, and that allowed us at four in the morning to finish our work.
TAPPER: I know that there were top people at the Biden team that were worried when the counting stopped and the Senate and the House that were worried, my God. Donald Trump did it. He stopped the election. He stopped democracy. Were you worried?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, yes. I mean, they were worried for good reason. But what I knew was that they had secured the boxes. And when we got into that location, Senator Blunt and I took to the stage in communication with Senator Schumer and Senator McConnell and we said, we will finish our job. No matter what, we are going back to that chamber. No matter what they've done to it. No matter if they're rifling through our desks and we will get this done and democracy will prevail.
TAPPER: And you did that. At 3.30 in the morning. You and Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican of Missouri, walked through here. This we should note, this window had been breached, right?
KLOBUCHAR: Right. Well, this is actually a view out on the inaugural stage at the time. You can see right across to the mall and the Washington Monument. And this is one of the first places they went. Because they wanted to destroy the inaugural stage. They knew what it was. The media tower and everything next to it because that's where the inauguration did take place two weeks later.
TAPPER: Amazing. And we should note, we saw a picture earlier today of the vice chair of the House, the January 6th commission, Congresswoman Liz Cheney here with her dad, former Vice President, Dick Cheney, looking at this bust of him, he said it was odd to see himself like this.
KLOBUCHAR: Right. And as you know, the president of the Senate is the same person as the vice president. So, Kamala Harris is now the president of the Senate so that's why his bust is there and he watched over this through that statue.
TAPPER: Kind of interesting. Because he's watching over that and then his daughter --
KLOBUCHAR: He's one of only two Republicans that were in that chamber this morning.
TAPPER: Yes. But he was watching over that and his daughter is now watching over the investigation.
TAPPER: So, you and Senator Blunt and Vice President Pence and some staffers, 3.30 in the morning, walking through this very hall. What did it look like? Because it's nice and shiny now.
KLOBUCHAR: Right. Exactly. It's beautiful now. But back then, it was a wreck. There was of course broke glass right below us.
TAPPER: This is the old Senate chamber --
KLOBUCHAR: It is.
TAPPER: -- where the Senate used to meet, where the Supreme Court used to meet --
KLOBUCHAR: Supreme Court.
TAPPER: -- back in the 1800s.
KLOBUCHAR: The parliamentarian office right below us totally trashed. Then Blunt and I went there, they invaded that office. And it was eerily silent. And I just remember thinking, we were exhausted and there was security on all sides.
But there was no one else but Vice President Pence, Senator Blunt and myself and the two young women with the boxes. And we just went through here to the waiting House members in the chamber and we were committed for the purpose of democracy to finish our work.
TAPPER: It's just incredible. And this is obviously a building with so much history. And you were, you know, playing this important role during this historical event.
TAPPER: People can see, this is the rotunda. There's the famous painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, there's George Washington, there's Thomas Jefferson.
TAPPER: Right over there, some suffragettes. I recognize the face of Lucretia Mott over there.
KLOBUCHAR: Exactly. I think what's amazing about this, is you see history right here in the past. But it was history in the making. And every one of these leaders had their moment in history to do their part, to uphold our republic and it was passed on to us, all of us that night.
And while it was a horrific day, and we lost incredible people. And officers who did their best that day. In the end, democracy prevailed.
TAPPER: Can I ask you though, having been there that day. How, is this difficult on this one year anniversary?
KLOBUCHAR: Yes. Well, it's always hard. And I think the hardest thing about today was the staff members. Many of them were sheltered in closets. Two of my staff members in there, with each had a fork. Because that's all they could get ahold of to defend themselves.
You had police officers with scratches on their face, with bruises who had lost friends. It was this emotional moment today as they were all back knowing this was the one year anniversary.
TAPPER: Well, thank you for the -- for this trip, and thank you for --
KLOBUCHAR: I think it's important we never forget. And that's why I thought it was important to take you --
KLOBUCHAR: -- down this hallway.
TAPPER: And thank you for what you did and thank Senator Blunt for what did he and Vice President Pence and those smart staffers that saved the boxes.
TAPPER: Who knows where we would be if they hadn't had the presence of mind to do that? Thank you so much, Senator Klobuchar.
KLOBUCHAR: All right. Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: I really appreciate it.
COOPER: Jake, thanks so much. We want to thank all of our guests tonight. I'm Anderson Cooper. For everyone watching at CNN, thank you for watching. We want to leave you a special tribute by the Congressional Chorus
performing the National Anthem.