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CNN Live Event/Special
Soon: First Prime-Time Hearing Of The January 6 Committee; Sources: Hearing Likely To Include Clips From Ivanka & Jared's Testimony;" Attack On Democracy: The January 6th Hearings." Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 09, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: A historic night here in Washington. Our special live coverage begins right now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Right now, the nation's focus returns to the U.S. Capitol as we await the most comprehensive account yet of crimes committed against the United States on this sacred ground. Welcome to CNN Special Coverage Attack on Democracy: The January 6th Hearings. I'm Anderson Cooper in Washington.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And I'm Jake Tapper. We're about an hour away from the start of this rare primetime presentation by the House Select Committee. And let's be here - let's be clear, what will happen in this hearing room tonight is not just about the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6th, specifically, it is about a months long campaign and conspiracy to undermine democracy in America.
It's about a president and those around him desperate to hold on to power at any cost even if it meant destroying the American experiment. Committee aides say that we will see and hear interviews conducted with Trump insiders for the first time. We expect that to possibly include members of the former president's family as well as former senior administration and Trump campaign officials.
The hearing will showcase live testimony by U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was seriously injured by the mob as she tried to protect the Capitol and from filmmaker Nick Quested, who documented the movements of the far-right extremist group the Proud Boys before and during the capital attack.
Opening statements will be delivered by the Chairman of the Committee Congressman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat and the Vice Chair, Liz Cheney, a Republican, as they seek to connect the dots between the insurrection and Donald J. Trump.
This is the Select Committee's first and possibly it's best chance to lay out the findings of their exhaustive investigation, investigators will try to weave together what they learned from more than a thousand interviews, more than 140,000 documents and hundreds of hours of that disturbing video. They're promising that a lot of new information will be shared with
the American people tonight about what happened on January 6th and the threats to democracy that continue to this day. I want to start right now with CNN Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel.
Jamie, we have a lot of questions about who we're going to hear from this evening beyond those two who are going to be testifying live. We know that a bunch of people close to Donald Trump testified behind closed doors. Are we going to see any of that?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: I think we will. We're going to, I think, have some star witnesses that we have never heard from before. My sources tell me that Ivanka Trump. Now, this is not live, this is videotaped testimony.
So what we're going to see tonight is like a prosecutor before a jury laying out the case. They're going to give a preview not just of what happened, but of what's coming in the hearings. So we should expect to hear from Ivanka Trump. She did a very long, I think, eight hours of interviews with them on videotape. I think we will also hear from Jared Kushner, then-President Trump's son-in-law, who was seen as the de facto Chief of Staff, the person who ran the place and I'm also being told we should hear from then-Attorney General Bill Barr.
And he is a key witness because you may remember on December 1st, very early, he told Donald Trump there is no significant election fraud. All three of these people told Trump repeatedly that the election was over. He was warned there could be violence if he kept whipping this up, but he kept down that road, Jake.
TAPPER: And Dana Bash, the Vice Chair of the Committee, Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming eyes on her because she's really risking her professional future by alarming Trump, angering Trump and his supporters.
What role do you envision she's going to have this evening?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm told by sources that the heart of the hearing tonight will be Liz Cheney's opening remarks. Jamie, you said that it's like a prosecution. I was told that the way her remarks will be delivered, it's like an opening statement in a trial. And she's going to lay out step by step what happened on January 6th. She's going to use clips from that closed door testimony that this Committee has been gathering. They were impaneled almost a year ago. They've been doing this for a very long time. Expect those clips to include what Jamie is reporting, Trump family members, but also other people in and around the former president.
And you mentioned in the opening that this is all about connecting the dots for them. I'm told that Liz Cheney's lengthy opening remarks will be a big part of taking those dots and painting the picture.
TAPPER: And Abby, I mean, to be frank, as powerful as any of the Democrats on the Committee might be, Democrats going after Donald Trump will never have the impact that somebody like Liz Cheney, a very conservative Republican from a political dynasty will have.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, I think that - for that reason alone, her opening statement becomes extraordinarily important, but tonight is not just about the politics of it all, it is happening in a political environment, but it's also about the facts of the matter, and laying it out in a way that is digestible to people.
We've been in the media listening to the reports for months, and months and months. It's out there, but the American people have not had that level of attention on this issue. And tonight is about what is the narrative arc of this story, what are the things that we didn't know that we will learn tonight and we're - and it's coming from a bipartisan place.
No matter what Republicans say, this is a committee that includes Democrats and it includes Republicans and that is going to be a fact that's going to be on display tonight.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And Jake, the power of the story, can they connect the dots? Can they connect Trump bullying state officials to tweeting come here on January 6th, can they connect all into a big conspiracy, that's the challenge for the history books.
But looking forward for the continuing threat and the continuing effort of Donald Trump to regain power, who tells the story? I think it's absolutely critical. The Republicans have, cynically but smartly, if your political about this, used their media sound to poison the well about this committee. Liz Cheney is rhino (ph), she left the party, she's at war with Trump.
All these Democrats are the same people who impeached him twice, don't believe a word they say. That's what they have told their people. If this committee is to change minds and get Republicans especially to think about our democracy, which was - is under attack, was under attack that day, but remains under attack.
To hear Jamie Raskin or Liz Cheney or Bennie Thompson say these things, the Republicans immediately say hex (ph), don't believe them. But if Ivanka Trump talks about, I tried to get my dad to go out and stop it that day, if Gen. Keith Kellogg, Mike Pence's National Security adviser talks about what it was like at the White House that day, how did the Republicans push back against that? How do they push back when Mike Pence's Chief of Staff pops up at that hearing and says we thought the Vice President's life was at risk on that day.
KING: So who tells the story is critical and the Committee knows that because they understand, like it or not, the partisan polarized environment we live in.
TAPPER: There was a story in the New York times a day or two ago by our colleague Susan Glasser, her husband a New York Times reporter, Peter Baker, and it was about how Jared and Ivanka were not part of the big lie. Jared washed his hands of the whole thing. He was working on Mid East peace between the election and the inauguration of Joe Biden. I think it's going be very interesting to see if this version of events that they tell to reporters is as forthrightly told by them in this testimony, that will be very fascinating if in fact we see that video.
BASH: I mean, we're saying Jared and Ivanka and I just think we need to really underscore and highlight this. We're talking about the former president's daughter.
BASH: And the former president's son-in-law, who were against a lot of advice that he got in the White House working for him. Jared Kushner was running not just the first campaign, but his second campaign that he lost and so the idea that they went and testified before this committee, which is legitimate, despite the fact that their - her father and his father in law says it is not is so telling. And then the fact that they gave testimony, that was substantial enough that Liz Cheney and others potentially are going to use it in this hearing tonight ...
GANGEL: In the opening.
BASH: ... in the open.
GANGEL: Opening hearing.
PHILLIP: And just to be clear, I mean, Jared and Ivanka can say what they want to say. Ivanka was with her father on the day of January 6th when he was holding a massive rally based on the big lie.
So there is, I think, a lot of - there are a lot of questions to be asked about people who want to distance themselves from that and what they were doing at the time.
Remember, Ivanka Trump was tweeting during the insurrection calling the rally goers and the rioters patriots. So again, a lot of accountability to go around for all of these individuals.
TAPPER: Let's go to Capitol Hill now and bring in CNN's Ryan Nobles, who can talk more about what we can expect tonight. Ryan, tell us more.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake. And there was a lot of deliberation by the January 6 Select Committee about exactly how to present this primetime hearing, which will be their first opportunity to present to the public everything that they've been working on for the last 11 months. And I'm told that those deliberations happened even late into today.
They held a dress rehearsal this morning, where they walked through each stage of the planned hearing and even during that time, they were working out the final tweaks, they were considering what pieces of video to use and not to use. There was even some deliberation over which members of the Trump administration they wanted to hear from, which members of the Trump family they wanted to hear from in this first hearing tonight. Because part of what we have to keep in mind is that this is just the first of a series of hearings that will take place over the month of June.
Yes, this is their opening argument. This is where they're going to begin to lay out the case that they believe that the former president was behind an attempt to subvert the will of the American voters and stand in the way of a peaceful transfer of power. But they have a number of hearings still to go. So while we will see clips, short clips from some of these key members of the administration, key members of the family, we could see them in much greater detail with much greater specificity during some later hearings, which will be focused on key topics of interest by this committee.
And I'm told that those conversations about when and where to place, those videos were happening, even as we approach closer to the hearing tonight. So this is a process it has taken a long time for them to get to this place. To put it simply Jake, they do not want to screw it up.
TAPPER: Yes. And they don't want it to look like a normal congressional hearing either and we'll talk more about that in a bit as we get closer to the start of this historic hearing. We're going to drill down on the case that House investigators are going to try to build tonight, what they need to prove, who they're trying to convince. Our special live coverage continues right after this.
COOPER: The first of the January 6th hearings about to get underway on Capitol Hill, the first comprehensive look at the January 6 Committee's findings after nearly a year of investigation. Welcome back to our special coverage. The hearing kicks off at the top of this hour. Chairman Bennie Thompson will open with a warning that Americans must confront the truth about the insurrection because, in his words, democracy remains in danger.
Republicans already are planning their response to the hearing. I want to go our Chief Congressional Correspondent, Manu Raju, what are you learning about the GOP's plan?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Remember, Anderson, there are two Republicans who are on this committee. Those two Republicans were not approved by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy who did suggest several picks for this committee, but Nancy Pelosi then vetoed two of those picks and as a result, Kevin McCarthy boycotted this effort altogether.
And now what I'm hearing is that House Republicans are plotting a payback of sorts if they do take back the majority in the fall. Just this afternoon, the hot top Republican in the House Administration Committee, Rodney Davis sent a letter to the Committee Chairman of this Select Committee, Bennie Thompson, asking him to preserve all records in - so they could potentially investigate the actions of this committee.
Now at the same time, they're looking into Nancy Pelosi contending that she did not do enough to secure the capitol that day, even though she does not have day to day authority over police operations. But Republicans say that given that this committee issued subpoenas for Kevin McCarthy and also other Republicans, that the Republicans are not complying with yet, nevertheless, they are warning that Nancy Pelosi and a Republican majority could get hit with subpoenas herself.
Now, there are some Republicans Anderson though who do want to hear what this committee has to say particularly the ones who were appalled with Donald Trump's actions voted to either impeach him in the House or voted to convict him in the Senate, one of them was Mitt Romney who's interested in what this committee has to say. I asked him about it and he said, "I'd like to see what the results are, I'm particularly interested in what the President was doing when the ex- insurrection was occurring and what action he could have taken or did not - and what did he - or what he did not take." And that's one of the big questions tonight, Anderson, what did the president at the time not do and what does this committee tell us about that?
COOPER: Yes. Manu, thanks very much. I want to go our team here in Washington, Chris Wallace, they view this as opening arguments and so essentially building their case, how important is it for them, do you think, in this first night to kind of build an overarching picture of the case that they're going to make, the totality of the case?
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN: I think that's important. I also think it's important that they do something to say to the viewing public, wow, this is a big deal, and you're learning something that you didn't know before. Look, I agree with everything that has been said so far. January 6 was a dark day in our democracy, anything that could be done. I care less about what happened. I feel like I know what happened on January 6, but anything that can prevent it from happening again is worthwhile.
But having said that, I'm kind of skeptical about what we're going to see tonight and over the next couple of weeks ...
COOPER: Because so much has been out there already?
WALLACE: Well, a couple of reasons. First of all, I think the Committee has fallen prey to terrible hype, terrible overselling. You've got Jamie Raskin, one of the members of the Committee saying this is going to blow the roof off the House. You've got Adam Kinzinger saying it's going to change history.
Secondly, they have gotten the former president of ABC News, Jim Goldston, to produce this made for TV event. I think that's a bad look both for the Committee and for the mainstream media, it does seem that they are hand in glove with each other. I mean, the fact is, we live in a country. It's a year and a half ago that this happened, I think most people feel they know what happened, they either believe it or they don't believe it and we live in a country in which 70 percent of Republicans, according to the polls, do not believe the Joe Biden was elected legitimately. Do I think that something is going to happen tonight that's going to change that dramatically? I'm skeptical.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: But I think the challenge and I don't think you do it in the first session, but I think the challenge is to tell the American public that the danger is still out there.
That, in fact, although this committee will say and we know that, I mean Bennie Thompson told me he thought Donald Trump is the puppet master, you know where they are on all of this. But in the end, they have to re engage the American public and they have to, in their way by telling this story, let the American public know that this isn't just about Donald Trump, because this is out there still. And these people who wanted to overthrow the government, who wanted a coup, it's not just Donald Trump, they're there. This is what the FBI Director keeps talking about, domestic terror is a challenge. They've got to talk about that to Americans.
COOPER: We're also learning about another key player who's actually going to be watching the hearing tonight. I want to bring in our Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez. You've got new reporting on the Attorney General's plans tonight.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson. The Attorney General has told people at the Justice Department that he is planning to watch as much of the hearing as he's able to tonight. And obviously, this is an important thing for the Justice Department to see what exactly this committee has come up with. And I think for - to remind the public, the fact that the Committee has been able to get so much information from the Justice Department from the White House is in part of decisions, because of decisions made early on by Merrick Garland, by Lisa Monaco at the Justice Department.
They turned over documents that traditionally, frankly, the Justice Department doesn't turn over to Congress. But they did that, in part, because they were aware that the Justice Department investigation, criminal investigation takes years and they knew that the American public needed to see, get some answers, needed to see some of the things that this committee has been able to produce, which is obviously much more quickly than the Justice Department can work.
And finally, one of the things that has become an issue between the Justice Department and this committee, the Justice Department is asking, prosecutors have asked for transcripts of some of these interviews that they have done and so far the Committee has declined to provide that which is also hampering it and hindering some of the work that prosecutors are trying to do, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Evan. We're looking at the Committee room where this - the hearings are going to take place in about 40 minutes from now. Back here in the studio with Laura Coates. How important is it for the Committee ultimately to share all those transcripts with Department of Justice? I mean - and why wouldn't they have done that already?
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's critical to do so because as Chris was speaking about, you think you know the story. But the vantage points are now going to come out. The ones you didn't realize, the information that was not apparent in the instance.
Remember, if you're talking about trying to create this story, not create it, but tell a story, you have to be able to bring all the different perspectives and also realize this is not a court of law, but it is the court of politics. If we're going to have to understand why it is - this is the second bite at an apple.
We remember all too well the second impeachment hearing. It was thematically similar, but having a target of a president, it doesn't have legislative function of saying here's what you were able to know. Here's what we're going to do as members of Congress to prevent this from happening again. In a way this is going to answer a question for me and rest the public, that question that follows that old adage of republic, if you can keep it, they have to show you what's at risk if this continues and how to lose a republic.
COOPER: George Conway, are there Republicans out there whose minds would be changed potentially by it?
GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: Well, I read most Republicans minds won't be changed, but they're - I believe that there are certain percentage of them who will be changed - whose minds could be changed if they watch this. And I think it's important. I think the American public thinks they know what happened on January 6th. Trump gave a speech got out of hand, some guy - some people rioted on the Hill and that was it. That's not the story.
The story is most - it has many, many threads to it. It was a long, long effort to undermine respect for the election before the election was even had. It was a continual set of lies after the election. There were attempts to coerce Vice President Pence into violating his constitutional duties, the attempts to coerce state officials into violating their legal duties. There was - there were fake electors. There was all sorts of things that tie up and are going to be a - should be presented as a giant criminal conspiracy led by one man, Donald Trump.
And if they can do that and show how all those threads got to - get put together, that's how they show, as Gloria points out - once points out that this is an ongoing threat, because it wasn't - it was something much bigger than some people getting out of hand on January 6th.
BORGER: Right, it was ...
WALLACE: Well, I just wanted to say, we talked about this as a criminal conspiracy and we just started talking about maybe the Justice Department is going to do it. This is the same Justice Department that just announced that it is not going to file contempt of Congress charges against Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino who have stiffed the Committee. This is not a Justice Department that has shown that it is very aggressive about against.
COOPER: And is that because Meadows and Scavino did hand over some ...
COOPER: ... or at least Meadows hand handed over ...
BORGER: Yes. There was a certain amount of cooperation.
COOPER: So that's why the Justice Department show not to?
BORGER: Well, we don't really know.
CONWAY: We don't really know.
BORGER: We don't really know exactly but ...
COATES: Well, the DOJ is not been lax. I mean, they'd have over 800 charges of people stemming from the capitol as we speak right now. Now, granted, they have a conspiracy - this conspiracy, excuse me, charge, it's not the end all be all, but they have not done nothing. But your point really is taken, Anderson, the idea of if this committee is the only keeper of these transcripts, if it hasn't been shared, then I have a bigger question for Congress and DOJ and that is, is it a fundamental mistrust that's happening? Do you not believe that they've done enough collectively as a whole of government approach to try to deter this or is there some reason why you DOJ or not, perhaps, providing all the information to them. Is it really a one way street?
BORGER: Or maybe they don't want to appear to be working in concert ...
BORGER: ... to make the Committee seem so political?
COOPER: Chris, (inaudible) ...
WALLACE: But it's just - it's one thing to charge somebody who was hitting a policeman or was in the Capitol, it's a very different thing to say, we're going to out to the president or John Eastman or some of the other top people that is something that this Justice Department has not shown that it's willing to do yet.
COOPER: Up next, we're going to get insight into tonight's live witness testimony from two officers who defended the Capitol as rioters stormed in. We're going to take a quick break as we await the start of the January 6th hearing.
[19:31:01] TAPPER: You're looking at live pictures from inside the House Cannon Building's caucus room. That's where the January 6th Committee will soon be holding its very first prime time hearing. We're told it will feature never before seen video of the riot, the insurrection, and live testimony by witnesses to the insurrection, including an injured Capitol police officer named Caroline Edwards.
And joining me now, two men who defended the U.S. capitol on January 6th, and have testified before the committee, the former Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone. He's now a CNN law enforcement analyst. Also with us, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn.
Thanks to both of you for being here.
Harry, let me start with you.
You trained Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards who we're going to hear from this evening, said she is like a sister to you. There she is in this footage. You heard her cries for help on your radio on January 6th. What should we expect to hear from Officer Edwards this evening?
HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: That's when, when I, why I had the urgency to run to the west side of the capitol because the voice I heard on the radio I can't 100 percent confirm it was her, sounded just like her and it rose the hair on my back, I got to get over there.
Like I said, she's like a little sister to me, I trained her and she's such a sweet, caring person. And she cares about people. She cares about doing her job.
So I can only just imagine, I know some of the things she shared with me about that day. I don't know exactly what she plans on, you know, telling fully, but it will definitely be heart felt, it will be emotional. She is a caring person. She cares about her job, cares about this country, and cares about doing things right so that's why I think she's going to do a fantastic job tonight.
TAPPER: You told me that you told Officer Caroline Edwards to tell the truth and get off social media. You two testified last year and you told the truth and you were attacked, not just on social media but by hosts on Fox who said the rudist, most offensive things about you. How do you think the experience will be for Officer Edwards?
MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I mean, I hope it's considerably different than my own experience. Unfortunately, those attacks didn't just come from, you know, entertainment media outlets, didn't just come from conservative pundits or politicians -- it came from members of law enforcement community. And for me, that was kind of the straw that broke the camel's back with regards to my career. It played an integral part in me making the decision to leave law enforcement.
TAPPER: The panel is going to reveal, Harry, never before seen video of the horrors from that day, that's what we're told. You lived through it, what could we see? DUNN: You know, I was just thinking the same thing, what could they
possibly release we haven't seen. One of the things I talked about early in this whole process is we don't even know what we don't know yet. So I'm just going in like what do you all have? I'm sitting back, obviously, as a person who was there defending it, fighting through that, but also as an American citizen, like, we got to get to the bottom it. So, bring out everything you have and tell the whole truth, and paint the full picture of what really happened that day.
TAPPER: House Republicans, Senate Republicans, others already attacking this saying tonight's hearing is going to be the greatest distraction on earth. What do you say to that?
FANONE: Well, I mean, I've been playing this role for a while now and I think it's what's to be expected.
I mean, unfortunately, Republican leadership, and many members of the Republican Party have chosen to place their party and personal political careers above our democracy and, you know, the future of this country.
TAPPER: You know, at a time when there are lots of questions about police rising to the moment in other parts of the country, you two rose to the moment, you did everything you could. You risked your lives and livelihoods, not only to protect the Capitol, to protect members of Congress but also testify about that day.
So thank you so much for doing that and thank you both for being here.
DUNN: Thanks for having me.
FANONE: Thank you.
TAPPER: We are closing in on the start of one of the most significant congressional hearings since perhaps the Watergate investigation. The journalists who broke that story, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, will join us next.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: People are gathering inside the hearing room where the January 6th committee is about to kick off a high stake summary of its investigation.
We expect both the former and current presidents of the United States will be paying at least some attention to what happen.
Let me go to our chief White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins.
So, you are in Los Angeles with President Biden. Will he be watching tonight? KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I am told,
Anderson, he plans to watch as much as possible. He's got some meetings with world leaders going on. He's hosting a dinner with them tonight.
But President Biden does have some downtime in his hotel, as this hearing is about to get kicked off. He actually brought the hearing up unprompted earlier today while meeting with some of these world leaders, saying that he believes it's going to occupy a lot of the attention of the country tonight. Watch it closely to see what happened.
He thinks a lot of Americans are going to learn details about what happened that day for the first time because that is the goal of the committee, is to try to really piece this together with the before, during, and after of it all. And that is something that President Biden says he believes. Obviously, he's shared his unvarnished views of it. He believes sees it was a violation of the Constitution.
But he thinks, Anderson, that tonight is going to raise constant questions for people about ultimately who is responsible for what happened that day. He said, he wasn't prepared to weigh in on exactly what the thinking is there, but he said that it's going to be something that people are watching for tonight, as this hearing starts.
COOPER: What about the former president?
COLLINS: I'm told he also plans to tune in. It's not clear if you will be watching all of it in real time, often former President Trump would record things and watch chunks and highlights of it later on.
But obviously, he is going to be at the center of all of this. He was the one in the Oval Office watching that day, as his own supporters stormed the halls of the Capitol, which we reported at the time, he was borderline enthusiastic about what was going on.
But the fact that so many of his former aides, their testimony is going to be part of this narrative there tonight. Not even just that, his own family with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump after they testified for several hours to the committee. So we'll see how former President Trump responds if he does actually see part of that testimony played in real-time during this hearing.
And, Anderson, we should note one other thing, it's not just former President Trump that is expected to be tuning in and keeping eye on what's happening tonight, I'm also told by several former West Wing staffers they plan to watch because they've seen a lot of these hearings on Capitol Hill before. Obviously, the impeachment hearings for former President Trump. All of this is centered on the work that they did and this seems that they witness inside the halls of the West Wing.
And so, they want to see if the committee is successful with painting a narrative here, or if it is something that falls flat.
COOPER: All right. Kaitlan, appreciate.
I want to get a unique take now of what we're going to see tonight. We're joined by legendary journalists who broke the Watergate scandal, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
Bob, there's been obviously a lot of comparisons to Watergate. What are you expecting tonight?
BOB WOODWARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I'm expecting a lot. If I can take one part, I'm struck by the reporting that we already have about the pressure Trump applied to Vice President Pence. I mean, saying things like, I'm not going to be -- you're not going to be my friend anymore, you have betrayed us. As you look at the overall picture, that is clearly an overt act and an obstruction of justice.
Here, you have the president saying so the vice president, you can't follow the Constitution and the law. And the ugly talk and, you know, whether pence is going to testify or not, I understand he's written a book that will be coming out and we will see he has this moment, Pence does, to decide what his legacy is. And is he going to follow, as he did, in the end, the Constitution and the law? Or is he going to bow down to Donald Trump again?
COOPER: Carl Bernstein, the Watergate hearings were obviously very different. They went on for a long time. There was kind of a slow build to them.
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: There were. They're very slow build, those hearings. But what happened ultimately was the Republicans joined Democrats. The Republicans were the key figures on the committee and in the House of Representatives, and the Senate, who pushed Nixon out of office because of the facts.
We now have a hearing which we are going to learn a lot of facts. Will Republicans push to punish Donald Trump under the law, under the Constitution? What is going to happen in this hearing?
COOPER: There are key Republicans on this committee, but they've essentially been expelled for the rest of the Republican Party.
BERNSTEIN:: They have, but what we are about to see is a narrative of sedition by the president of the United States, starting a couple months before January 6th and then leading up to January 6th. We've never had anything like a seditious president in our history. We are now going to see the record of sedition.
The question is, will Republicans, Trump nation, people around the country, as well as members of the House and Senate, particularly the Senate, will some break when they see Liz Cheney, her credentials are impeccable. Her father, a conservative vice president of the United States, reviled by the left, reviled by Democrats, this is an interesting mix we are about to see. And one of the things that we want to know, one of the big secrets of
this town is, and I did a story saying, 21 Republican senators, and I named them, on this network, despise Donald Trump. And another senator called me the next day and said, Carl, the number is more like 40. They hold him in contempt.
And yet, they are craven because they are afraid of what's Trump nation, that he has groomed, will do to them.
COOPER: Bob, do you think there will be new things learned tonight or in the nights ahead, in the days ahead?
WOODWARD: Well, of course. I mean, this committee has worked diligently and I know Chris is skeptical about this. I'm skeptical also, but I know a little bit about it and this is a serious examination about what our democracy is about. Do we really have one? This question is posed regularly.
And they -- this is a moment for people to step back and we all know as reporters, Carl and I talk about this all the time, the most important thing a reporter can do is listen. And I think that has to do with everyone in the country, whether you like Trump or you don't like Trump, listen to this and make your own judgment. But it is a serious inquiry.
And we know a couple of things. One is that it is a crime to attempt or to actually subvert the legitimate function of the government. There is no more legitimate function of government, it's in the Constitution, it's in the electoral act. And that is to certify who the next president is, specifies January 6th, 1:00 p.m.
BERNSTEIN: January 6th, 1:00 p.m.
WOODWARD: This is when this will happen.
What Trump and the lawyers, and the people involved in this conspiracy, oh, that is a soft spot in democracy, in -- we will go right for the jugular. We're not going to just mess around with public relations and -- we are going to, sorry to go on, but I think the evidence is compelling.
If this were January 5th and we were sitting here and saying, oh, tomorrow, a thousand people are going to attack the Capitol, we would say, oh, you're smoking something. That is impossible. Look at what happened!
I mean, it's a Halloween costume after Halloween costume and this is not a joke. If they succeeded, there's nothing in the law or the Constitution that would say, Joe Biden is the next president.
COOPER: Are there enough minds, though, to be changed?
BERNSTEIN: It depends. One of the things that we are going to get is a timeline, such as we have never seen. The day by day, minute by minute leading up to January 6th. And through January 6th, second by second, minute by minute, we're going to see not only what Trump and the lawyers, and everyone around him did, we're also going to see what they did not do, especially with Donald Trump didn't do on the afternoon of January 6th went on.
He did not call the dogs off because he knew if he could continue the insurrection, there might not be certification of the next president of the United States. He attempted to stage a coup.
We've never had a coup by a president of the United States. We see them in banana republics. We see them in the Middle East. We see them in Pakistan. We have a coup attempt by a sitting president of the United States.
WOODWARD: But it goes beyond that, if I may.
BERNSTEIN: Go ahead.
WOODWARD: And that is the common sense notion of what a president is. I remember sitting in the Oval Office asking President Trump, what's the job of the president? You know what he said? To protect the people.
It's a very good answer. And you look at the history, the minute by minute, second by second not just on January 6 --
WOODWARD: -- but going back.
He failed to protect the people, his own definition of his job.
Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, thank you.
We are just minutes away from the first primetime hearing of the January 6 select Committee.
Stay with us with the expected Trump family testimony, dramatic new video of the Capitol attack, much more all ahead.
TAPPER: And we're back with CNN special live coverage, "Attack on Democracy: The January 6th Hearings".
The Cannon Caucus Room is set for the gavel to come down in just a little while. We are being promised by the committee, a riveting new look at what happened before and during the siege on the U.S. Capitol. We're told it will be packed with never before seen video and testimony.
The Select House Committee is aiming to draw a direct line between the deadly insurrection and then President Donald Trump. They want to make the case that the former president was at the center of a well- organized conspiracy to overthrow the results of a legitimate election.
Our correspondents are digging for new information, as we head into the hearing.
Ryan Nobles and Manu Raju are on Capitol Hill. Jamie Gangel is with us in the studio.
Ryan, let me start with you. The members of this January 6th Select Committee, the bipartisan group, they are very aware of the high expectations tonight. Tell us more about that and who is going to be in the room watching the proceedings?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right, Jake. There's no doubt that the committee members understand that this is their first opportunity to present what they've been working on for the past 11 months. And they are also very aware that it has been more than a year and a half since all the violence and chaos took place here on January 6th.
And as a result, they need to deliver tonight. They understand that they need to reinvest the American public and exactly what happened here on January 6th, and that's why this presentation is so important. And to that end, there will be many people in the room tonight who have not forgotten about what happened on January 6th, and want to be here to see the beginning of the process of justice being rendered as a result.
Among them, a group of house Democrats who were taking shelter in the House gallery on that day. They are known as the Gallery Group. Our Annie Grayer who is inside the room, seeing some of those Democratic members of Congress who have a text chain and stay in regular contact after the drama they went through on that day.
And then Sandra Garza, who is the partner of Brian Sicknick, who's one of the Capitol police officers who died from his injuries shortly after what happened here at the Capitol. She is also in the room to pay attention to what happened here tonight. She also hoping that at some point, there will be justice for the loss of her loved one -- Jake.
TAPPER: And, Manu, you just spoke with the chairman of the committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson, who shed light on the Trump family's role in tonight's hearing. This has been something of a mystery. What did he have to say?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, he did confirm, in fact, that Trump family members will play a part in this hearing tonight. There will be some video of their depositions. I asked them, will they play a significant role? He didn't go that far. He said, there will be part of tonight's proceedings.
Now at the same time, we expect, as we've been reporting, significant video presentations here tonight. One source familiar with the planning of this told me to expect this and with a bang of sorts, a video at the end culminating, detailing, providing new information through this, for this proceeding. The source -- provide more details, but this hearing tonight, Jake, is going to set the stage for the events leading up to January 6th.
It may not answer every question, I'm told, but at least it will detail all that went into January 6th and also shed new light on Donald Trump's role and the warnings that he was hearing.
TAPPER: And, Jamie Gangel here in studio with me, I guess a big question I have is, who is the intended audience for this hearing? Obviously, they could just put out a report, as many committees do with their investigation. But that's not what they are doing. They want to try to, as you say, build a case. They want to convince people of something.
Who are they hoping here is what happens tonight and in the future ones?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there are two audiences. Obviously, the American public, but even more specifically, people who maybe have moved on after almost a year and a half. Remind them what happened that day and tell them the story of how they got there, and as we've been told, they are going to place Donald Trump in the center of that.
But it's also very important to them. They want to reach Trump supporters. They want to reach Republicans who have said oh, it was just tourists walking through the Capitol that day. It wasn't so bad, which we heard, which was not true.
They also have a very important audience, an audience of one, and I would say that is attorney general, Merrick Garland. The committee can't bring charges. If they make a criminal referral, that's fine, but it has no teeth to it.
So I think what they're hoping to do today, and the hearings to come, is really lay out the case from what they've learned, and there's no question, my sources on the committee have said, they are hoping that these hearings have an impact on the Justice Department.
TAPPER: And, Dana Bash, as we watch people walk into the committee hearing room we just saw, capitol police officer Harry Dunn, we saw former Metropolitan Police Department Officer Michael Fanone, who is now a CNN law enforcement contributor and commentator.
One of the things -- that's Congressman Dean Phillips, I believe, right there in blue.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.