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CNN TONIGHT: Sandy Hook Parent On Testimony By Recent Shooting Survivors; FBI: Man Arrested Near Brett Kavanaugh's Home Told Authorities He Wanted To Kill The Justice; Former Trump Attorney Ordered To Turn Over More Emails To House Investigators. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 08, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Either of these knows that these rare proceedings, often produce surprises and drama, and more often than not, a better approximation of the truth, of what really happened, than anyone might have expected.
Will that be the case, with the January 6 hearings, which get underway, tomorrow night? It will certainly be something to watch for.
CNN's special coverage begins, tomorrow night, at 7 o'clock Eastern Time, right here, on CNN.
The news continues. So, let's hand it over to Laura Coates, and CNN TONIGHT.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: John, thank you so much.
And I am Laura Coates. And this is CNN TONIGHT.
And you know? Some people will tell you that kids, they say the darndest things. Others will simply say, "Out of the mouths of babes," if you're my grandmother.
But today, we heard the truth, from the mouth, of a child, who should be asking to ride her bicycle, with that voice, not having to testify, before the House Representatives, about how she was forced to try and save her own life, and did.
Her quick thinking should be commended. But the fact that she had to even do it, should be condemned.
Nearly three weeks since a child was forced to confront pure evil, we're getting a glimpse of the horror, she witnessed, from inside that courtroom - inside that classroom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIAH CERRILLO, UVALDE SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: He went through there, and shot my teacher, and told my teacher "Goodnight," and shot her in the head. And then, he shot some of my classmates, and the white board. When I went to the backpacks, he shot my friend that was next to me, and I thought he was going to come back to the room, so, I grabbed a little blood, and put it all over me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: If that had been fiction? Parents would not let a child, her age, read it. Had it been a movie? It'd be almost a decade before the rating system would allow someone, like her, to watch it. But it's not fiction. And it wasn't a movie.
And I bet it will replay, in her mind, for the rest of her beautiful life. And it's no fault, of her own, or any of those children, or teachers, whose lives were stolen. Or to the children of Robb Elementary, or of Uvalde, or of Texas, or of the entire country, who now must contend, with the very cruel reality that they too, may have to save themselves.
Maybe they are the ones we've been waiting for. Because in a place, where reason, is often drowned out, by partisan stalemate, we're hearing rumblings that this time, in Congress, this time might just be different.
Now, while congressmen try to convince us, that that's indeed true, a little girl is forever changed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIGUEL CERRILLO, FATHER OF UVALDE SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: She is not the same little girl that I used to play with, and run with, and do everything, because she was daddy's little girl.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Now, mind you, it still feels like we're getting the runaround, from officials, in Uvalde. We're hearing her testify. But who are you not hearing from?
And while we continue to see the images of children, running out, with their hands up? I wonder if Congress will decide to throw their hands up, or maybe roll up their sleeves, and walk the walk.
It's not just the psychological damage that is caused by gun violence, in this country. It's also the very real reality of physical damage. Damage that a Uvalde pediatrician had to testify to, today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROY GUERRERO, PEDIATRICIAN WHO TREATED UVALDE VICTIMS: Children whose bodies had been pulverized by bullets fired at them, decapitated, whose flesh had been ripped apart that the only clue as their identities was a blood-splattered cartoon clothes still clinging to them, clinging for life, and finding none.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: The words, "Pulverized," "Decapitated."
Just think of the moment that you bought your child's clothing, or that harried rush, in the morning, where you're trying to find their favorite shirt, maybe you're trying to pull it out of a laundry basket, you don't even ask (ph) the child has on, and you know they want to wear it again.
Now imagine that's the shirt, the one you're going to use, to identify your baby? Blood-spattered cartoon clothing. Rarely do we hear this level of detail. But it's not isolated to the shootings that end up on the news.
Do you realize that more kids are killed by guns, every year, in this country than those that die in car crashes, or by drugs?
In addition to the 21 families, in Uvalde, that now have an empty bed at home, a bedroom likely unchanged, from the moment their child left for school that day, 17 more families, those of the survivors? They now have to live with the injuries that they suffered that day. So please, don't try and call them, the lucky ones.
When we talk about these weapons, we can't turn away from damage that it's done, whether to the body, of a fourth grader, or to a 20-year- old, named Zaire Goodman. You see, he was shot, in the neck, in Buffalo, while trying to help an elderly woman, with her grocery cart.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZENETA EVERHART, MOTHER OF BUFFALO SHOOTING VICTIM: My son, Zaire, has a hole, in the right side of his neck, two on his back, and another, on his left leg, caused by an exploding bullet, from an AR-15. As I cleaned his wounds, I can feel pieces of that bullet, in his back. Shrapnel will be left inside of his body for the rest of his life.
Now, I want you to picture that exact scenario for one of your children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: I don't want to!
But 45 Members of Congress sat in today's hearings, asked to do that very thing. And they heard what I've frankly heard, from so many of you, out there.
Whether it's sending your kids to school, or you're going to the grocery store, you're commuting to work? You just want someone in power that's asked you for the opportunity, to lead. And you have granted it to them by voting for them, asking them, to take some action that would maybe make you feel safer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EVERHART: You are elected, because you have been chosen, and are trusted to protect us. But let me say to you here, today, I do not feel protected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Now, I'm not naive, let alone naive enough to think that you will be universally comforted, by the signing of a bill. But if that was, what it would take, to even get us on the path, to feeling safer? I mean, wouldn't it be a step, at least, in the right direction?
Now, I don't want this to happen to anyone. And neither does Lexi Rubio's mother, who never thought for a moment that this would happen to her, to her child.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIMBERLY RUBIO, MOTHER OF UVALDE SHOOTING VICTIM: Somewhere out there, there is a mom, listening to our testimony, thinking, "I can't even imagine their pain," not knowing that our reality will one day be hers. Unless we act now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: You know, as Miah, showed us, today, in her testimony? It's not just us, who need to act, to save our own lives. I mean, last I checked, the common refrain, for the better part of five years, has been about we're a nation of laws, right? So, how about we imagine a way to make just one more?
My next guest knows the heartbreak and pain all too well. She's the mother of Sandy Hook victim, Dylan Hockley, and Co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise.
Nicole Hockley, thank you so much, for joining me, today.
NICOLE HOCKLEY, MOTHER OF SANDY HOOK VICTIM DYLAN HOCKLEY, CO-FOUNDER, SANDY HOOK PROMISE: Thank you.
COATES: And sitting beside you, today, as we are hearing the testimony, as it's being replayed, in the minds of those, who are in Uvalde, and Buffalo, and all across this world? It's difficult to even try to comprehend what must be going through your mind. Can you share?
HOCKLEY: Sadly, I can understand their position far too well. I gave that sort of testimony. I remember crying those tears, and pleading for change, and being so disappointed, when nothing happened, almost 10 years ago.
And my heart is just broken time and time again, when I hear of students, speaking out, or another mom, like me, pleading for change, and just really hoping that this time people step up, and do the job.
COATES: And, in fact, you've spoken to your son, who was just a third grader.
COATES: My own son is a third grader, in school. And I can't imagine what it would be like, for him, now 17-years-old, to hear about this, about these sort of shootings, happening again.
What is it like for him?
HOCKLEY: It's hard. I spoke to him Tuesday night, after Uvalde. And I asked him, how he was doing, because he gets very silent in these moments. And he just said, "I'm numb, mom, because it's horrible. But this is just the latest shooting."
And I realized, for the last 10 years, this is all he's known, is school shootings is active shooter drills, preparing for school shootings. This is what he has grown up with. This is what, we, as a country, have done to him, and his peers, and his generation.
COATES: And sadly, what he is seeing, I'm sure, is also, does it feel like a fool's errand? Does it feel like an exercise in futility, to try to make the changes? I mean, you have not given up hope.
COATES: You have been steadfast, in your advocacy, to try to prevent this, from happening again. But what is your opinion, frankly, of the way that Congress has dealt with this? I mean, it was almost 10 years ago. And here we are, today, having similar discussions, and the needle not moving as far.
HOCKLEY: Well, 10 years ago - I think, a lot has changed, in 10 years, in terms of people's outrage. And I'm hearing more voices, than ever before, demanding change. Senators and Members of House are getting more calls, and emails than they ever have before.
America is fed up. And if they don't make the change happen, this time, then they're saying that we just need to have a continuation of bloodshed. And I don't think that there's anyone who wants that.
I think this time is different. It's just that it's taken 10 years, and tens of thousands of people, to die, in order to get here, which is incredibly frustrating.
COATES: I mean, every life being so precious. Dylan, I know, I'm just seeing it, in your face. Even hearing his name, you had the look on your face of thinking about the name, and what you would call him, and seeing him, and the joy that, I'm sure, he brings, even in his memory.
COATES: And the idea that this had to be the culmination, what makes it feel different for you? Do you feel like Congress is in a space, where negotiation is possible? Is it public pressure that will help to move this over a finish line? And what would that look like, ideally, to you? HOCKLEY: What I would like to see, ideally, is probably not what's going to happen. I have to be a realistic here.
And I think what is going to be happening is a comprehensive and multifaceted package that's going to have gun safety elements in it, that's going to have mental health safety elements in it, that's going to be comprehensive. But it's not going to be what everyone wants. And, for some people, it's going to be too much.
But you know what? It's a step forward. And I am going to take every step forward, I can, because every step forward means that people are alive, that kids can go to school safely that families remain whole. So, I am always going to focus on hope, and optimism.
And I do believe public pressure is definitely getting to Congress, at this moment, in time. So, keep up that pressure, because they are listening. There is energy and momentum like I did not see 10 years ago. And we just got to keep the pressure up and make sure things finish across the finish line, basically.
COATES: What was Dylan's middle name? What's his full name?
HOCKLEY: Christopher Jack. And so, he was Dylan Christopher Jack Hockley.
Dylan Christopher, and then, Jack, because he was born, on the same day, as my grandfather, who passed, long before him. And Dylan stood for "Son of the Sea." And both of my grandfathers were in the Navy. So, I wanted to honor that.
COATES: Thank you for sharing. I always wondered what his middle name was. Thank you.
HOCKLEY: Thank you.
COATES: Thank you for being here.
As we mentioned, tonight, the House did pass wide-ranging gun control legislation, known as the Protecting Our Kids Act. Sadly, it's probably going to go nowhere, with Republicans, in the Senate. So, what does change, after all you've heard today?
Kasie Hunt, Al Franken, and David Urban, will join me next, to discuss.
COATES: So, for all the pain, and the motion that lawmakers have heard, today, about the impact, of gun violence? Somehow, it still seems to be an open question, as to whether Congress is going to do anything about it.
We saw the House vote 223 to 204 to pass the Protecting Our Kids Act. But that might be the last, you actually hear of it, as the bill goes to the Senate, on what might just be a mission, to nowhere.
Joining me now to discuss, Kasie Hunt, Al Franken, and David Urban.
I'm glad you're all here. I mean, I hate to be the pessimist. Normally, I'm a very staunch optimist. But when you see sort of the flowchart, of what's happened, after gun violence, in this country, the thoughts and prayers, the hope for legislation, and then the inevitable? Nothing is actually done. It's hard to maintain that. But we have to.
When you see, what's going on, right now, I mean, what do you make of the testimony? Will this be persuasive enough, to sort of move that needle, do you think?
AL FRANKEN, (D) FORMER U.S. SENATOR - MINNESOTA: I spoke to Nicole, in the greenroom. And I met her 10 years ago, and when I was in the Senate, and the Sandy Hook families, met with her, she's kind of an expert. She is unbelievable.
She's very - her group works very bipartisan. She believes there's going to be a bipartisan bill. And it won't be - it won't satisfy me or Democrats. But, I think, it's - it'll just be progress that we got something done, and some of the elements will be helpful and save lives. So, I was heartened by what I heard, in the greenroom.
COATES: I want to be. But is that too low of expectations, Kasie, the idea, of something's going to get done? "Well we'll do something. We'll do something."
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes. I mean, look, doing something would be a lot more than what's been done, in the past, about this. So, there is that. Even if it's incremental, even if it's something small, it will be more than what Congress has managed, to pull together, in the past, if they're able to do this.
I think this is something where, it's been, I think, slower, certainly, than people, who've been direct victims, of attacks, like this, have wanted it to be than many people, who were on their sides. But I do think the tide is really shifting.
I think you saw it in Florida, after Parkland. I mean, Rick Scott, then the Governor of Florida, now a Senator, who wants to be president, won't talk this way anymore.
But, in the wake of Parkland, he was actually willing, to listen to the masses of families. Lot of whom probably don't even vote, every time, but who see what happened, at Parkland, and said, "No, this is unacceptable." I think he felt, and you can see it, in what Florida actually did, that that feeling became policy.
But it hasn't gotten as far as the United States Senate, partly because senators are afraid of re-election fights, right? And the gun lobby. Probably because a lot of the Republicans, in the Senate, want to be president, and they're all running for president, already, even though we're sitting here, in 2022, before a midterm election.
But I think that the more times this happens, the more it is completely politically, unacceptable, to be seen doing nothing, which is why, I think, Democrats are starting to say, "Look, we'll take what you'll give us. But like, we got to do something. We got to show you that there isn't a political price to pay, for doing something, on this issue."
COATES: She mentioned, people, like Rick Scott. I mean, not only was he not vilified, for it. He became a Senator, after being the Governor of Florida. It was not a penalty.
Are people being - I mean, is there an olive branch, or a benefit of doubt that's not being given to Republicans, when we say, "The whole focus is just about re-election. You're only beholden to the NRA?" Is there more to the story?
DAVID URBAN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP 2016 CAMPAIGN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, no, listen, I mean, the NRA is not the omnipotent force that everybody thinks it is.
I think people are responsive to their constituents, right? If you come, from a state, like South Dakota, or Pennsylvania, a lot of firearms, I think, people are being more responsive, to their constituencies, not necessarily the NRA.
But look, I think Kasie's right. In Florida, what happened, after Parkland, was an incredible model. We had a Republican legislature, a Republican governor, and you passed really meaningful reform in Florida. They raised the age, from 18 to 21, that a cooling-off period for guns, for long guns. They hardened schools. They put tons of money into mental health.
So, they had a really holistic approach to what, I think, everybody in the Senate would like - would be very happy, to see Democrats, in the Senate, we'd love to see, a bill, similar to what's passed in Florida, down on the federal level. And so, I am optimistic. You see--
COATES: You've agreed (ph)?
FRANKEN: I think that the Republicans have to get something.
FRANKEN: Because they'll be - they'll be hurt terribly, in the midterms. People are outraged. Senator Lummis, from--
FRANKEN: --Wyoming, is hearing, from Wyomians, I don't know what they're actually called, but they're--
COATES: They're called - they're called, voters. They're called, voters. FRANKEN: To her, they're called voters.
HUNT: Wyoming voters.
URBAN: So, I would say, look--
URBAN: I'm sorry.
FRANKEN: No, no, no. I'm just saying, there's going to be something. Because, Republicans will pay a price, for not doing it.
COATES: I've just been told in my ear--
FRANKEN: And they know it.
COATES: --I've been told in my ear, it's Wyomingites.
URBAN: Wyomingites, right, yes.
COATES: Breaking news! It's Wyomingites, everyone!
But I got to say, you're talking about--
FRANKEN: I knew that.
COATES: --you're talking about what Republicans need to do. But listen to what Steve Scalise said. Remember, there are actual victims, of gun violence, right now, as sitting Members of Congress. And he had this to say about this--
URBAN: He was a victim.
COATES: That's my point, and so talking about this, when we're playing a clip--
COATES: --and what he had to say about this issue, talking about the reaction, he thinks might be too much.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): I go back to September 11th. Airplanes were used that day, as the weapon, to kill thousands of people, and to inflict terror on our country.
There wasn't a conversation about banning airplanes. There was a conversation, about connecting the dots, how can we try to figure out, if there are signs, we can see, to stop the next attack, from happening? (END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKEN: Jesus! I'm sorry.
FRANKEN: But that is so awful!
First of all, we made planes safer, to travel on. We know that anytime you take a flight. That's what you have to do with guns. But everyone use - you need planes. You don't need assault weapons. How's that?
URBAN: So, I would just say - I would just say also, like, listen, let's describe the problem, we're trying to address here. Is it mass school shootings? Is it violence in Chicago? Is it suicide? Is it domestic violence?
Because, if you're looking at gun violence, in America, it breaks down into very different categories, right? Lots of suicides, right? Older White men commit suicide. About 2,000 women a year get killed, by their partner, with a gun, right? So they're - handguns kill lots of kids, in inner cities, and across America.
So, if we're going to address gun violence, in America, let's be specific, about what we're trying to address. Is it mass shootings, with assault weapons, assault-style weapons? Then, there's probably a way to address that that's going to be different, than addressing gun crime, in Chicago, or domestic abuse, the people get killed.
URBAN: And those are all real problems. And they need to be addressed.
COATES: But maybe that's a part of the issue, though.
URBAN: That you - yes.
COATES: The idea of thinking, I think, probably, to your point, the idea that are these opportunities, by virtue of talking about the umbrella, being so large, and the idea of there's so much nuance? And, of course, there's nuance, in gun violence. It's not a one-size-fits- all approach, to murder, in this country.
But the idea, are these offering exit ramps, for people to say, "Well, you know what? I can't really approach it the same way I would if it was a school shooting, as if it were in Buffalo, or if it was somebody in a synagogue, or if it was somebody, in an intimate partner relationship?"
Is that part of the problem, Kasie?
HUNT: I mean, yes, I think so. I think it's also, it's very easy for opponents, of gun safety reforms, to go down the various rabbit holes, right?
And I think that the basic fundamental question that Congress should be grappling with, right now? And, I think, there are, well-meaning members. Frankly, there are people, from both sides of the aisle, who are in this room, right now, having these negotiations.
What is - I mean, you don't want it to be the least you can do. But what is the smallest thing that Congress could do that would make the most difference? How can you save as many lives, as possible, with whatever policies are actually possible?
And, I think, to the Senator's earlier point, it is becoming less and less tenable, to be seen doing nothing. Does that mean that they may do nothing, in this case? It might.
But it's going to be another example, another terrible, awful, tragic - just, I mean, you think about, what was done to the children, in that classroom, and you think how can we do nothing, right? But the reality is our political system has. So, is that going to be OK, this time?
HUNT: I think it's going to be less OK--
COATES: Well then--
HUNT: --and less OK, and less OK, as time goes on.
FRANKEN: They're going to do something.
COATES: You're right. The thing is, democracy is built to keep score. We'll see what happens.
Kasie, Al, David, stick around. There's a lot more to talk about, on this very issue.
And up next, what we now know, tonight, about the armed man, arrested outside of Justice Brett Kavanaugh's home. And what does it say about keeping justices and, frankly, our democracy, safe? Next.
COATES: So tonight, the man arrested, outside of Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh's home, now faces attempted murder charges. This comes less than 24 hours, after the Department of Homeland Security, warned, of possible violence, from the pending High Court ruling, possibly, on abortion.
The FBI says, the suspect, Nicholas John Roske, told agents that he traveled all the way, from California, and apparently, he was angry, in part, over the leaked draft opinion, on Roe v. Wade, and - now, as perhaps as ironic as this might sound, the idea of a Justice, ruling, to loosen gun laws.
Now, I say, "Ironic," because agents say that he came armed, with a Glock 17. And look at everything else they say that he was actually packing. The complaint says that Roske wanted to murder Kavanaugh, and then kill himself, because he thought that it would give his own life, purpose.
Former Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, joins me now.
Andrew, first of all, the DHS bulletin, all but predicted, something like this.
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That's right.
COATES: So, we can't really be shocked. But I'm still stunned that this is happening in America.
MCCABE: It's an incredibly timely warning that we got, from DHS, yesterday, which describes almost perfectly, what we saw play out, last night, in front of the Justice's house.
But I think the thing that really resonates with me, Laura, is that the warning, we got, basically said extremists, of all sorts, are going to be, or could be, motivated, by these major upcoming events, like the impending release, of the court's decision, on the abortion issue, like the upcoming midterm elections, other events, and those folks can be motivated, to get involved, in acts of mass violence.
They've got plenty of examples. They're seeing mass shootings, on television, on our coverage, other coverage, every single day. Those sorts of things can inspire people, who are on the edge.
COATES: I mean, we used to talk about grievance politics, as part of the campaign platform. Now, it seems it's a catalyst, for possible violence.
MCCABE: It certainly seems that way, right? You look at the mass shooters that we've seen, just in the last few weeks. Each of them approaches, their terrible acts, with some sort of deep-set grievances. Some of them have been writing about those things, for weeks and months, leading up to those events.
So, it's not unique, to have people, in a society, a free society, who believe very strongly, in these strange beliefs, who have deep-set grievances, or are being radicalized, into extremist positions. What makes us different, is that those folks can easily become heavily- armed, very quickly.
COATES: And, as you point out, the idea that there's not much predictive value, if it could come from any direction, there's no - well, let's say, "Listen, if there is this ruling, then this flowchart then becomes obvious and helpful."
But if it's anyone, who has a problem with a decision, or even in this case, has a problem with the idea of gun violence, to react in this way, how, and part of Intelligence, how do you try to combat that?
MCCABE: It's very challenging, because you're seeing these deeply- aggrieved people, these extremists, motivated by very different things, but all ending up, in the same place, where they feel like they have to strike out, in a moment of mass violence. It's very, very hard, for our Intelligence, and law enforcement folks, to track.
COATES: And as this particular person, was speaking, to authorities that he wanted to give his life, purpose? I couldn't help but think to myself, the way, in which, we talk about, those who commit, these atrocities, and mass shootings, the media does not want to raise attention, and give them a profile, not on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, and the like.
MCCABE: That's right.
COATES: Because they don't want people to feel as though this validates their sense of self, and creates copycats.
MCCABE: That's right. But despite our efforts, we know that mass shooters are motivated, and inspired, by the mass shooters that went before them.
They look at guys like the Christchurch shooter. They look at the Poway shooter. And they echo those same sentiments, in their own thoughts, and their own writings. So, that inspirational factor is always there.
COATES: I mean, the times we live in, Andrew?
MCCABE: It's tough, it's tough.
COATES: I mean, you've seen a lot, obviously. But the trajectory that the DHS' bulletin is speaking about, tells us that there's a lot more to come. It's scary!
COATES: Thank you for your insight.
COATES: Really appreciate it.
And we'll take this up, with Kasie, and Al, and David, a little later. We certainly will.
But first, emails, from Trump attorney, John Eastman, revealed, well, that the day before January 6, the hearings, that he was - there was a fully-formed plan, to create chaos, a month before the attack, on the Capitol.
Could that be true? Next.
COATES: It's almost showtime, because the prime time, January 6 committee hearings, they're starting tomorrow. And it comes just after a federal judge has now ruled in favor of giving that panel even more evidence.
So, what's that evidence? How about 159 more emails, from John Eastman, a former Trump lawyer, who infamously devised a plan, for then-Vice President Pence, to try to overturn the election. Now, Eastman's team has until now, June 13, to turn those emails over.
Well, this may, in fact, be key. According to the judge, Quote, "[Eastman's] plan to disrupt the Joint Session was fully formed and actionable as early as December 7, 2020." That's a full month before the attack.
Back with us now, our top political minds, Kasie Hunt, Al Franken, and David Urban.
I have to ask. When we're talking about, the January 6 hearings, and we're hearing the 159 more emails, the fundamental question that so many people are asking is, "Do people still care?" Is it still in the minds, in the forefront, of the American electorate, in a way that will be meaningful?
HUNT: What matters is that they paint a big picture, all right?
The public has been inundated with incremental pieces of information, about what all of these various actors, were doing, over the course of this time, enough that like, there's a lot of people who've just tuned it out, like I've been hearing about this for a long time.
But what happened that day, is an incredibly important, and difficult point, in American history.
And the committee's job? And I think, if you talk to members, and people, who've worked, in and around it? I mean, I think, they know this very well. They got to tell a story. They got to show people what happened, why it matters. And they have to show it, from the people, who were actually there, and were actually involved.
And it's a tall order, especially when the way that the media coverage, of this, has worked, has been to look for some sort of explosive revelation, when, I think, the most important thing is going to be that story as a whole. And we need to make sure that we're keeping that in mind.
FRANKEN: That story, as a whole, is that this President, tried to overturn a democratic election. And he's - we know he's guilty of that. We know that. We're just going to - we're just going to--
HUNT: I mean, he's basically said it, in public.
FRANKEN: Well, we know it, from what we've heard, thus far. But a lot of Americans don't pay as much attention as the four of us. And they, I think, are going to be tuning in, tomorrow night. It's on every channel, except Fox.
COATES: But is there a--
URBAN: So, I'm going to say - I was going to say shocking that 54 million people, who voted for Donald Trump, are set - should be 74 million, whatever the number, gigantic number, was right? That they probably don't feel the same way. And I think that they - Kasie's point, right? There's been inundated by the drip-drip of facts coming out, right? And so, the challenge--
FRANKEN: I think they've been inundated with the drip-drip of false quotes.
URBAN: Look, no, no, I don't think it's false.
FRANKEN: I mean, that's what I think.
URBAN: It's, I mean, this is actually leaks from that - from the panel, and the putting out. I mean, I've watched some of the folks, come in.
FRANKEN: Yes. But they're watching Fox.
URBAN: And just getting it out (ph) no.
FRANKEN: They're getting disinformation on Facebook.
URBAN: That we're going to (ph)--
FRANKEN: There - these--
URBAN: I would say that it's going to be - it'll be very hard. And the committee has hired a producer. And they think - the committee is well-aware that they get there one bite at the apple, tomorrow night, to really capture Americans, to kind of get their attention, and say, "Pay attention to this."
URBAN: And if they fail tomorrow night, I think, they're going to - you're going to see viewership, and attention span, people have very short attention, going out (ph).
COATES: Well they do. And that's part of what the comment, from the Coordinator - from the Commanders, the Washington football team Commanders had to say about not only the attention span, but also about what he sees as a double standard, by not focusing on other things.
This is a familiar talking about, we heard of, frankly, in the second impeachment hearing, of the same matter. Let's listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JACK DEL RIO, WASHINGTON COMMANDERS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: People's livelihoods are being destroyed. Businesses are being burned down. No problem!
And then, we have a dust-up, at the Capitol, where nothing burned down? And we're not going to talk about - we're going to make that a major deal. I just think it kind of two standards.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: So, I think, we're all clear that it was not a dust-up that, right? Well, we're all on the same page about that?
URBAN: Yes. So, it's a little bit bigger than dust-up.
HUNT: I was at the Capitol, that day, OK? It was not a dust-up. We were literally looking out the windows. I was lucky that I was in the Russell Office Building. I mean, there was a point, where we looked, at my colleague, and I looked at each other, and thought, "Should we run to the Capitol? It's always the safest place to be."
FRANKEN: There are five dead Capitol police.
HUNT: And these Capitol police officers died afterwards. They were beaten.
I mean, they - I spoke to one, afterward, who said, "Donald Trump was the only person that could have called these people off. I told them to leave. And they said to me, 'Well, Donald Trump told us to come here. And if he tells us to leave, we will.' But he won't." And they then stormed past him into the - and he's still, to this day, grappling with the effects of his injuries.
COATES: But isn't part of the concern, though? I mean, we're - I've asked the question of all of you, and it's come down to Donald Trump.
And part of the concern for January 6 committee? I understand why we're naming his name. But the committee's part of their hurdle, and story is going to be about convincing the American public, they did not spend all this time, on a target of one that, they have to make it more broad.
HUNT: No, I--
COATES: Is that a misgiving?
HUNT: --I don't - I don't actually think that's the case. I think if you talk to - Liz Cheney is somebody, who has really had a North Star on this. I mean, we don't see a lot of politicians, who are willing to do this. She's putting her political career, on the line. She's got a primary challenge, in Wyoming, to do what she's doing here.
And, frankly, there's been reporting that there are disputes behind- the-scenes that she wants to go harder after Donald Trump, than even some of the Democrats want to do.
HUNT: Because, frankly, for some Democrats, they need Trump voters. But, I think, for a lot of people, are really--
FRANKEN: This is about the President of the United States--
HUNT: --"What happens if Donald Trump gets back into the Oval Office," right?
FRANKEN: --this is about the President of the United States being a traitor, which is trying to overturn a demo - a legitimate election. That's the worst thing you can do.
COATES: Wasn't that the impeachment? No?
URBAN: But, Senator? But, Senator?
COATES: But that was the impeachment hearing, was it not?
URBAN: Why is such a--
COATES: That was part of the impeachment.
URBAN: Yes. You had impeachment. You had Mueller. You had all these - had two impeachment hearings. I think Americans are like, "We've seen this play before," right? We've seen - we've seen this, by the Democratic Congress, impeaching the President, twice, and then nothing coming with.
So, I think you have to convince - you don't have to convince people around this table. We're in Washington. You got to convince people across America of that. And I think it's a much higher bar than you think.
COATES: I'll give you the last word, Senator.
FRANKEN: We'll see. We'll see.
And I don't know what you want. But I know what I want. I want people to see exactly what happened, and how you can - look, two-thirds of Republicans think that the election was stolen, by Biden. That's ridiculous. And it's all disinformation, and lies, and they're going to see the truth.
COATES: Last words, the one last word was actually truth. So, we'll see that comes up.
Kasie, Al, David, hold on. We're coming back to all of you.
And we're coming back to look at this alleged murder plot, against Supreme Court justice, Brett Kavanaugh. Add this, to the mass shootings, and other domestic terror threats? And you have to ask, where does this toxicity, in our culture, end? That's next.
COATES: So not one, not two, but at least three incidents of potential, or actual, acts of political violence, in less than a week.
We told you about the retired Wisconsin judge, killed in his own home, by a man that the judge had sentenced, more than 15 years ago.
On Friday, a Michigan man was arrested outside the U.S. Capitol, carrying a fake badge, a BB gun, body armor, high capacity magazines, and more.
And today, an armed man, equipped with a handgun, knife, and burglary tools, was arrested, outside of Justice Brett Kavanaugh's home.
Kasie Hunt, Al Franken, and David Urban, are back with me.
I can't help but wonder, what your impression, has been, at this. The notion that there was a time, people remember fondly, where you decided through the ballot, and you aired your grievances that way?
Is this the new normal?
FRANKEN: These people are mentally ill, I would think. And we have to, I think, this means, you have to protect Supreme Court justices and judges. I don't know where you draw that line. But certainly, if this kind of thing is happening.
And also, you wonder where this guy is getting his information. And there is a lot of this. You know that the Buffalo shooter got his - this race theory, this that--
COATES: Replacement theory, yes.
FRANKEN: --replacement theory. Gets that on - I mean, there's way, way too much disinformation going around that's radicalizing people. But I don't know what the case is with those other two. They - I mean, obviously, someone had a grudge, and some--
COATES: Well you from - well, before I go on, you were a member of the Senate. And Senator Mitch McConnell has been quite angry, today, about the fact that there is a bill that he wants to see the House pass that protects Supreme Court justices.
Their pushback has been, "OK, well, we want to protect also employees of the justices." I'm thinking clerks and whatnot.
Who has it right? Do you wait until everything is buttoned up? Or do you have incremental legislation?
FRANKEN: First, I'd like to see the justices protected. I mean, look, McConnell is protected, right? Not every senator is protected, like McConnell is. OK, well, he's actually on the side of just protecting the justices. But that makes perfect sense to me.
HUNT: The reality here is--
FRANKEN: At first.
HUNT: --I think, the problem is that we are normalizing, or our society has been normalizing violence as a way to solve political problems, in recent years. I mean, January 6, is the most extreme example of this. And it's not an example of mentally-ill lone people.
There were a lot of supporters of Donald Trump, who were kind of along for the ride. But it was organized by extremist groups, who were using violence, and the threat of violence, to get a - to get the - as the means, to their political end, right? That is not how we do things in America.
And the more people see examples of this, the more you're going to see these people, on the fringes, whether they're mentally ill, or they've got a problem, trying to use this to solve their problems. And we got to condemn it, across the board, all the time.
URBAN: I think it's even broader than that. The problem stems, I think, you got to stop it far, far in advance to that, right?
So, you have these women, following Kyrsten Sinema, into the restroom, and berating her, right? Because they don't agree with her political views.
You have, when Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was a press person, her and her family are eating dinner out, someplace, and she gets accosted, by a group of people, at a restaurant that can't sit and have dinner with her family. I think and let's just call--
COATES: That was a precursor, in your mind?
URBAN: Yes, yes.
COATES: To this?
URBAN: And like, Kyrsten Sinema, like you can't - well yours--
FRANKEN: That's incivility. That's not--
URBAN: But it is incivility. But - no, it is incivility. But then, where is the line drawn, right?
When you have politicians saying, "Follow people, make them uncomfortable," right, both, on the Republican side, and the Democratic side, people have said, to do those types of things. And I think you have to decry that and call it out.
Because that leads to this type of thing, right, if you say, "Go shout down, politicians, go make them feel uncomfortable, go protest outside." We all saw the protests outside the justices' homes here, a few weeks ago.
HUNT: You know? URBAN: And the Marshals showed up, and had to make those people disperse. And so, it's a fine line, you get between that, and some crazy guy showed up at 2, in the morning, and the Marshals catching him, before he breaks into Brett Kavanaugh's house.
HUNT: Where do we draw the line?
COATES: Is that a fine line? Yes.
HUNT: On homes versus - I mean, protesting people, at a workplace, right, standing out the Supreme - outside the Supreme Court--
HUNT: --"This is not OK," versus going to a house, like where's, the line for you? I mean, you served in public office?
FRANKEN: Well, I don't think it's cool to go to someone's house and do that. But it's different--
HUNT: I mean, honestly, it's different than a violent threat.
FRANKEN: --than having a gun.
URBAN: Or at a restaurant, right? Or on the train--
HUNT: But where do you draw that line?
URBAN: --or in a public place.
HUNT: Where do you draw the line?
FRANKEN: Personally, of course, I think that people should be civil, and not act that way. But I think there's an enormous difference between just being a jerk, following someone, into the bathroom, and--
HUNT: Maybe the jerk is probably constitutionally-protected.
HUNT: That is probably true!
COATES: It's also being a jerk might be - might be a characteristic, of Washington D.C.
FRANKEN: That's interesting (ph), jerk.
COATES: But here's the thing.
COATES: We talked to Andrew McCabe, the former FBI Director, just a moment ago. And his point was the idea of, it was the confluence of these two factors. The increase of accessibility to guns, and the idea of people resorting to believing they're entitled--
COATES: --to air out their grievances, and solve them. And so, if you have that sort of intersection going on, where do you go from here?
URBAN: Right. Well, your point's well-taken, right? The first is constitutionally-protected, right? You could petition the government for redress of grievances. It's in the First Amendment, protected. But where do you do it, right?
COATES: But isn't that the following, and saying, "I want to address this with you right now. I'm sorry, you're eating your meal."
URBAN: Right, I know. But that's the thing. Where is it acceptable? Where does society deem that acceptable?
FRANKEN: Well, for example, on a--
URBAN: How is it acceptable? On vacation with your family?
FRANKEN: --let's say--
URBAN: Is that acceptable?
FRANKEN: Let's say family planning, or abortion clinics, right? That was a real issue, about how--
URBAN: Right. Right. That--
FRANKEN: --what you could and couldn't do.
FRANKEN: And if I hadn't seen before someone gathering - people gathering, outside of Supreme Court justices' place.
FRANKEN: If that starts to happen? Yes, then you can draw that line. But that--
HUNT: Well, I mean, and look, we should say, out front, the Biden administration, Jen Psaki got up, and said, like, this is fine, this is cool. And part of that's because their political base would get really angry--
HUNT: --if they said anything else.
COATES: Yes. HUNT: But like--
URBAN: She did say (ph) it was cool to protest outside--
HUNT: Right. But like, at some point--
HUNT: --when do, when are adults standing up in the room? That's the question.
COATES: Well, that's why we need our Congress to set those lines. They're the ones, who make the laws. They will draw those lines. And will they be the appropriate ones?
We want to thank Kasie Hunt, and Al Franken, and David Urban. Great hearing from all of you.
We'll be right back.
COATES: Hey, thanks for watching. I'll be back, Friday night.
So, please join CNN, tomorrow, for "ATTACK ON DEMOCRACY: THE JANUARY 6 HEARINGS." Our live special coverage begins at 7 PM Eastern.
"DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts right now.
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