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CNN Live Event/Special
Ex-Trump Campaign Chief Won't Testify Today, Source Says Wife is in Labor; Dow Sinks 700 Points, Stocks Enter Bear Market. Aired 10- 10:30a ET
Aired June 13, 2022 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And part of what the campaign hopes to do is establish this coordination between all the different factions of the Trump campaign and the Republican Party through this fundraising apparatus, and that you're able to kind of follow that money trail because of all the documentation that's necessary for modern fundraising.
The problem here, though, Jake, is that the committee did attempt to get information from Salesforce, which is a major vendor for the Republican National Committee and Republican campaign fundraising apparatus. They were unsuccessful in those attempts and they even delayed responding to part of that court hearing, that court trial, until after the hearings were over.
So, it's not as if the committee has all the information necessary to make this case but I'm told they do have enough to present this information and show it was just one of the many ways the Trump campaign was pedaling a big lie, not just about the election results itself but in the way that they were raising funds around that period of time. Jake?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks, Ryan.
We're getting new reporting now on why the live testimony by Trump's former campaign manager has been delayed. Kaitlan Collins has details on that for us.
Kaitlan, what can you tell us about this family emergency?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake. Bill Stepien obviously was supposed to testify today. He is no longer scheduled to do so due to this family emergency. We are told it's a genuine family emergency, that his wife is in labor. And he was set to come forward this committee under a subpoena. That is something that he had received last week. We are told he was not going to defy it, like you saw others try to do so, like Peter Navarro, Steve Bannon tried to do so. Obviously, that's a very costly legal endeavor. It's not something that a lot of people in the former president's orbit had wanted to do, though the ones who have done have done so pretty loudly. And he was going to come in testify and, obviously, the committee had a general idea of what he was expected to say given the central role he played in Trump's campaign as his final chairman, and also someone, Jake, who met with the former president the night of the election and the days after. He was part of those efforts talking to aids and campaign staff and calls telling them to keep up the fight, but he's also a data guru. And if you know Bill Stepien, you know that he's someone who was well aware of what the numbers actually were, not only once the election had already started but looking at what the former president's odds were of winning in the days before the election.
And so that, I think, is why the committee wanted to bring him in, have him on display, talking about what the numbers were actually showing and what they were telling the former president at the time. And so now he will not be testifying today given his wife is in labor, we are told, but it still remains to be seen if the committee uses clips of his previous appearances with him behind closed doors. That is something that really angered the former president when they were talking about this last week. For example, they used Ivanka Trump saying she respected Attorney General Bill Barr and, therefore, accepted his conclusion that there had no widespread in the election. That is something that really irritated Trump as he watched that.
And so we are expecting him to watch today. We'll see what he says if they do use clips of Stepien, because Stepien is someone who has really remained on the president's good side in the last several months. He's serving as an adviser to the person who is challenging Liz Cheney in the primary in her state in Wyoming. And so all of that remains to be seen what it actually looks like and whether or not they bring Bill Stepien back in the future given, of course, the central role he played and so much of what happened during the election.
TAPPER: Yes. And, in fact, Trump responded to Ivanka's testimony on his social media site claiming that his daughter had, quote/unquote, checked out at that point, which is not my impression of the role of his daughter at that point in time.
COLLINS: And, Jake, we actually -- CNN had gotten a lot of the text messages that Mark Meadows. Of course, Jamie Gangel got so many of those. And so what those showed were group messages that Mark Meadow was on and Bill Stepien getting messages from Ivanka Trump urging them to keep up the fight in the days after the election.
And one thing this committee is really showing is what people are saying when they are testifying and when they're testifying privately about what happened and what they were saying publicly at the time. Of course, Jake, we know based on our reporting and now based on this witness testimony they did not always align.
TAPPER: Yes, because there's no criminal penalty for lying to the public or to the press, just for lying to Congress or a judge. Thanks so much, Kaitlan.
Let's go to Jamie Gangel now. Jamie, we're going to hear testimony from a very respected Republican election lawyer, one that I first met during the Florida recount, 300 years ago. This was the Republican Party's guy when it came to recounts, when it came to election fraud. His bona fides were undisputed.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: When Ben Ginsberg speaks, Republicans listen. I'm told that he is going to testify today, that this was, quote, not a close election and that Trump and his allies declared fraud and then went looking for it. It wasn't as if there was fraud and then they announced. I'm also told that Ginsberg will discuss that, by promoting these lies, Trump created a very dangerous situation.
And, look, we're going to see from many, many witnesses, I'm told, from the committee that Trump was repeatedly told there was no significant fraud and repeatedly told that what he was doing could lead to violence.
TAPPER: Yes. And just to underscore for people out there who are not familiar with election lawyers in Washington, D.C., I mean, Ben Ginsberg was the gold standard when it came to a Republican elections attorney. For him to say there's nothing there when it comes Republican claims, that's a big deal.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and still is the gold standard for Republicans who want to know the actual facts.
TAPPER: I should take it back. It's not that he was the gold standard, he has long been the gold standard.
BASH: Exactly, what you're saying. I mean, back, he became sort of famous politically back in 2000. And you're absolutely right, I mean, there's no question he is going to say here what he has said in interviews that I'm sure you've done. I did for an hour on voting rights. He is absolutely, fundamentally sure that the election was not stolen, that it is appropriate because he has been the lead lawyer to do challenges for elections in various states, in various elections, both federal and statewide. He is somebody who thinks it is appropriate to do that. But then you stop when you know the answers. You don't, as Jamie said, try to find fraud in order to prove your lie.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The arguments from Trump campaign, I mean, honestly, it's not that complicated. They were basically making blanket arguments that certain votes shouldn't count because it doesn't seem right. And that's just not how it works. And when you're a serious lawyer who's looked into -- Republicans tend to believe that there's probably a little bit more fraud than Democrats tend to believe, and Ben Ginsberg is on that side of the line. But even here, he acknowledge and knew pretty early on that it would have to be so widespread in so many states for the outcome to be changed for Trump, that it is not possible. It wasn't possible even in that election week, let alone weeks after when all of this was going on. And he was one of the people that reporters, like I did, talked to for months leading up to the election about what legitimate concerns could there be out there. What would could the recourse be? And he was pretty clear that there could be recourse if there was signs of trouble. But as we got to Election Day, Election Day in America in 2020 was actually pretty free of a lot of widespread problems in a way that surprised a lot of people. I think that actually took the Trump campaign aback. They were expecting more chaos. They were expecting more trouble. And it's because election officials prepared for that day so rigorously for so many months that there wasn't trouble. And that's why their plans really went haywire at the end of the day.
TAPPER: And, John, we shouldn't -- I mean, every election, there is some fraud, some inconsistencies. It's always happens. You're dealing with human beings, you're dealing with fallibilities. There are a number of Pennsylvania Republicans that have gotten into legal trouble for voting on behalf of dead spouses. That happened in Florida as well at that senior community that's very popular with Republicans. What's it called? The villages.
So, it does happen. The question is, is there enough of it to change an election?
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: And the answer almost always is no. And we've gone through years and years of history. This is just why Ben Ginsberg is so important. They're called battleground states for a reason because they're the most competitive states, and so they tend to be repeatedly in presidential years. It's Florida, it's Pennsylvania, it's Wisconsin, now it's Arizona and Georgia because of changing demographics. Ben Ginsberg has years and years and years and years of experience in these states, not just in the national elections, but he's the guy they call I, whether it's a governor's election, whether it's congressional election. Can you look at this for us? Can you talk?
And so for the system to function, it has to have rules and guardrails and an end point. For Ben Ginsberg in 2000, it was the Supreme Court of the United States. Al Gore, if anybody in America, any presidential election has ever had a grievance, it was Al Gore, and he said the Supreme Court has spoken. This is what you do in America. You say congratulations, Mr. President-elect George W. Bush. Donald Trump refuses to do that.
And that's why today is so important, told repeatedly by his campaign manager, by the lawyers who actually understand the law and process and do not make stuff up. It's not there. Told that pretty much from the couple of days after the election. Remember, we had election week in America. It took us several days to call Pennsylvania. But he was told. He was told.
So, the question then is, can the committee mount that evidence, told by lawyers, told by campaign people, told by data people, told by people around him and he continued to promote this big lie to get at his mindset.
And, remember, one of the things we need to remember here is this is Donald Trump's trademark. He lies and repeat lies even when he's told to stop. Barack Obama is not American, reprehensible lie.
Donald Trump kept repeating it, repeating it, repeating it, to the point that Obama released his long form birth certificate and then Trump cast doubt on that. During the coronavirus pandemic, the experts kept telling him things, Donald Trump kept saying the opposite, reckless lies that endanger the health of Americans in just bleach, for example. This is part of a pattern. This is what he does. It's how he's built his brand.
The question is, in this case, it's American democracy. I mean, it got to this capstone where it went from reckless and dangerous. Some of his lies, you might say, are amusing, this one is downright dangerous, and it continues. We have primaries coming up this week where there are people running for office around America who are election deniers, who are still repeating what we know to be not true, that Joe Biden didn't win, that Joe Biden stole the election.
TAPPER: And keep in mind, Donald Trump was making the same allegations in 2016 when it looked like he was going to lose in Hillary Clinton. Then he won and suddenly all those allegations of frauds in Philadelphia went away.
As we near the start of the hearing, we are getting a behind-the- scenes look now at one of the big themes the committee wants to hammer on today. There's much more ahead of our special coverage of the January 6th hearings. We're going to squeeze in a quick break. Stay with us.
TAPPER: As we await the beginning of the January 6th hearing here in Washington, D.C., stock prices are taking a nose dive on Wall Street. Let's go to Alison Kosik now.
Alison, what's the Dow doing right now and why?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We're seeing the Dow down, Jake, over 700 points. The broader market index, the S&P 500, has now entered a bear market. That means it's a 20 percent fall from a recent high. Its most recent high was January.
I think what we're seeing here in the stock market today is really capturing not just the mood of investors but the mood of Americans about where the U.S. economy is headed, and a lot is unknown.
This week, there will be a two-day policy meeting for the Federal Reserve, you're seeing that nervousness about what's going to happen in that policy meeting play out there on Wall Street. The Federal Reserve is set to decide how much to raise interest rates. Back in May, when it raised interest rates a half a percent to try to get a handle on in inflation, Federal Reserve Chief J. Powell said that any bigger rate increase would be off the table.
Well, now, there are growing calls for the Fed to go ahead and raise rates at a bigger clip, meaning at three quarters of a percent. That would actually be a rare moment because the last time that the Fed raised rates that much, it was November 1994 when Allen Greenspan headed the Fed. And it shows the urgency, at least the numbers do there on Wall Street, it shows the urgency about how concerned investors are about the ability for the Fed to get control of inflation.
And the Fed is really in a tough spot. Because as it raises rates even higher or at a bigger clip, it certainly looks at the possibility of putting the U.S. economy into a recession, because the whole point of raising rates is to kind of tap your foot on the brakes of the speed in which is economy is going trying to cool an overheated economy which we are in.
So, the Fed is kind of between in a rock and a hard place right now. Investors are calling out to the Fed to go ahead and raise rates even more and we're seeing lots of economists now saying the same, from 3 percent to 40 percent of economists from just a few weeks ago saying, hey, Fed, you have to go ahead and raise rates more to get a hold of inflation, which consumers are saying every day, whether it's at the grocery store or the gas station.
As far as that bear market goes, for the S&P 500, which it is now in, it will be -- the last time the S&P 500 traded at an intraday level like this was about three weeks ago. We will know for sure at the closing, Jake, if the S&P 500 actually closes in bear market territory. Jake?
TAPPER: All right. Alison Kosik, thanks so much.
Let's turn back to the January 6th hearing now. Manu Raju just spoke with select committee's vice chair, Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming. Manu, what did she have to tell you?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I just asked her about the big news this morning that Bill Stepien, the former Trump campaign official, will not appear because of a family emergency, his wife being in labor, he's been released from a subpoena.
I asked her how disruptive that is to today's plans. And she told me, we're going to still have a very important set of hearings. She said, Mr. Stepien has appeared previously behind closed doors. And so she told, quote, so we will be able to provide the American people with a lot of interesting, new and important information that Mr. Stepien provided to us previously.
And I asked to confirm what we've been reporting this morning, that, in fact, they do plan to use video of his closed deposition. She said that they will do that later this morning.
Now, as part of this hearing that the committee is trying to draw on a theme here, that if it weren't for a handful of principled people throughout the country, Donald Trump's plan to overturn the election could have succeeded. So, we will see that play out today in questioning, which will be led in part a Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat who has been a key investigator in various past impeachment proceedings, but has played a key role on this committee, that's going to be a them today.
That will be a theme in the coming hearings about pressure on Mike Pence to overturn, the pressure on the Justice Department, but that is one thing they are going to be talking about as they discuss Donald Trump's baseless claims of fraud, that if it weren't for a handful of people, perhaps he could have succeeded.
TAPPER: All right. Manu Raju, thanks so much.
Let's bring Alyssa Farah Griffin, the former Trump White House communications director, and David Urban, a member of Trump's 2020 advisory committee.
Both are CNN Political Commentators.
So, David, the committee is going to emphasize today that Trump was repeatedly told from data experts, campaign experts, et cetera, that he lost, and then, in fact, that his loss is lined up perfectly with the polling before the election.
You used to be an adviser. Does Donald Trump listen to experts?
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Listen, the former president listens to who he wants to listen to. Everybody knows that, right? So, as I said earlier, you had Bill Stepien and I'm sure you will hear from his testimony today, he was advising the president that the numbers weren't going to be there, the things -- we have limited paths forward after the election, similarly Justin Clark, and the campaign team were advising him on that.
And I think at a certain point, he just turned that switch off and turned the switch of Rudy and Sidney Powell on who were saying, no, there are plenty of other alternatives to go down, right? So, there are options that he had, right, that were being provided to him by people outside the White House that weren't necessarily going to produce any fruit but he was still shaking that tree.
TAPPER: Yes. And, Alyssa, I mean, is that how you see it too, that he just like the reasonable people in his orbit were telling him information that he didn't like so he just went seeking people who were going to tell him other stuff even if it was crackpot crazy?
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, absolutely. I completely agree with David's point, which there're kind of two phases to the big lie in the post-November 7th, once the election was called. The first phase is somewhat legitimate. The RNC is contesting different state outcomes.
You have got Justin Clark, Stepien and others saying, we're going to fight this, we're going to see it through. But then it goes this very scary, different direction where you have people like Sidney Powell, Mike Lindell, Mike Flynn coming in and bringing just genuine conspiracy theories to the president and getting in his head.
And I've said before, I actually think Trump knew he lost in the initial aftermath but I think that people around him changed his mind and he became convinced that it was genuinely stolen from him. So, that's scary on many levels.
But what you're going to hear from Stepien, if I had to guess, is both that he briefed the president that there were no paths to victory, but then also pointing to Rudy Giuliani and these others who put bad information in front of him that led to the insurrection.
URBAN: And you get things, some of these conspiracy theories are just -- you can't prove them, right? I mean, the servers were hacked by somebody, a small group of people in some foreign country.
TAPPER: Yes, the Italian military.
URBAN: Like you can make up whatever you want. And then they get to the president's mind and he's like, well, what about that? And you can't just -- who do you just prove a negative? And it becomes something that keeps living on. It becomes -- it just -- it won't die.
TAPPER: Well, some of it is very disprovable. For instance, that crazy lawsuit from the Texas attorney general suggested any number of insane things, but including Al Schmidt, Commissioner Al Schmidt of Philadelphia told me that they accused Philadelphia of using -- I forgot if it was old Dominion or the other one, as a kind of software that Philadelphia wasn't using. I mean, so, some of it wasn't even possible.
URBAN: And Al Schmidt is a very reasonable, capable guy who got who got elected, as you know, by battling election corruption in Philadelphia. So, he made his stripes by combating election fraud in Philadelphia.
And, Jake, just what you said before, I heard you earlier talk about how in a lot of elections, there are inconsistencies, but I find it, in my past election experience, it's mostly not because of anybody trying to do anything fraudulent, it's just because the way the system works. It's clunky, it's old, a lot of the machines don't work. It's not perfect. But it's never going to be enough, in my opinion, like John King said, to overturn an election, right? There's -- along the margins, people screw up in different ways but it's not fraudulent.
TAPPER: Right. And, in fact, Brad Raffensperger, when I interviewed him, the secretary of state of Georgia that Trump tried to pressure to find votes, he said, yes, we found fraud. But as he said, he phrased it, it was onesies or twosies.
GRIFFIN: Right, not going to change the outcome of it.
GRIFFIN: And, by the way, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, a member of the 1/6 committee, made a very good point, which is, if Donald Trump still believes that this time that he lost the election, he's unfit to be president or that he won the election, I'm sorry. The cases have been knocked down in every court that he's been in front of. And, again, he is still promoting these attorneys around him, Jenna Ellises, the Rudy Giulianis, who have lost every court case that they brought up.
So, there's just sort of this cognitive disconnect of the fact that there's no proof there and yet he continues to spout these lies.
TAPPER: Yes. There is much more ahead of our special coverage as we stand by for the gavel to fall and the January 6th hearing to begin. We'll squeeze in a quick break. We'll be right back.
TAPPER: People are gathering inside the Cannon Caucus Room on the outside of the Capitol. We're awaiting the January 6th chairman the open today's hearing. That will include recorded testimony from an unfriendly witness of sorts, the former Trump campaign manager, Bill Stepien. He's a key figure in the panel's effort to show that then- President Trump knew that his claims of voter fraud were false, but he kept pushing them any way.
Let's bring in CNN Senior Legal Analyst Laura Coates and Conservative Lawyer George Conway.
And, Laura, I mean, one of the things that the committee is going to try to prove today is that Trump knew that what he was saying was a lie. Does that matter, do you think?
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. Because, remember, up until now, we have been wondering not only what he was doing at the time but what he knew and when he knew it