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CNN Live Event/Special
Now: 1/6 Committee Hold Second Day Of Hearings. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired June 13, 2022 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA), JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: -- With respect to the election in Philadelphia, he refuses to look at a mountain of corruption dishonesty, we win.
As a result of that tweet, and the CNN interview you gave where you stated the dead voter claims in Pennsylvania were false. You and your staff were subjected to disturbing threats. Can you tell us about that?
AL SCHMIDT, FORMER PHILADELPHIA CITY COMMISSIONER: The threats prior to that tweet, and on some level, it feels almost silly to talk about a tweet, but we can really see the impact that they have because prior to that the threats were pretty general in nature.
Corrupt election officials in Philadelphia are going to get what's coming to them. You're with the Second Amendment is for you're walking into the lion's den, all sorts of things like that.
After the president tweeted at me by name, calling me out the way that he did.
The threats became much more specific, much more graphic, and included not just me by name, but included members of my family, by name, their ages, our address, pictures of our home, just every bit of detail that you could imagine.
That was what changed with that tweet.
LOFGREN: Behind me are redacted threats that you received, that you provided to the Committee. Now we redacted portions of the text to protect your family.
Mr. Schmidt, I think I speak for all of my colleagues when I say we are deeply sorry for what you and your loved ones have been through. And I also want to thank you for your service to your country, and for standing up for the rule of law.
I want to thank both Mr. Pak and Mr. Schmidt, for their service, their testimony, and for standing up for the rule of law.
Now I'd like to turn to another subject. The courts in our country, provide a legitimate venue for campaigns to challenge what they view as irregular election practices.
Now, courts have the final say and how the law applies to those challenges. We have a renowned legal expert here to address the Trump campaigns activities in court.
Mr. Ginsburg, you spent your entire career representing Republicans in election related litigation. You served as the National Council on Republican presidential campaigns in 2000, in 2004, and in 2012.
You played a key role in the 2000, Florida recount that led to the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore. You served as the co-chair of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. I think it's fair to say you're the most prominent Republican lawyer who's litigated in the election field.
Now you've analyzed the Trump campaigns litigation pretty carefully. What's the like normal process for post-election litigation? How is the Trump campaigns different from the kinds of post-election litigation, you've been involved in a no about?
BENJAMIN GINSBERG, ELECTION ATTORNEY: In the normal course of things, any campaign on the night of the election and the days after, we all do a couple of different things. One is that they'll analyze precinct results to look for abnormalities in the results. And they'll send people to those precincts to ask more questions.
Secondly, all campaigns will have poll watchers and poll workers and observers in the polling place. And so campaigns will talk to those people if they saw any irregularities, that could cause problems in the election.
Now, the Trump campaign talked pre-election about having 50,000 poll workers. So presumably, they did have eyes on the ground in all these places.
And so in the normal course of things, a campaign will analyze the reports that come in. Trump campaign had a couple of basic problems, however. Number one, the 2020 election was not close.
In 2000, that was 537 and close. In this election, the most narrow margin was 10,000 and something in Arizona. And you just don't make up that those sorts of numbers in recounts.
And when the claims of fraud and irregularities were made, you've heard very compelling testimony from Mr. Stepien, from Matt Morgan, from Alex Cannon, about those claims and how they didn't believed.
And so that put the Trump campaign on and sort of a process of bringing cases without the actual evidence that you have to have in which the process is designed to bring out.
LOFGREN: So are you aware of any instance in which a court found the Trump campaigns fraud claims to be credible? GINSBERG: No, there was there was never that instance. In all the cases that were brought and I've looked at the more than 60 that include more than 180 counts. And no, the simple fact is that the Trump campaign did not make its case.
LOFGREN: The Select Committee has identified 62 post-election lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign and his allies between November 4th, 2020 and January 6th, 2021.
Those cases resulted in 61 losses, and only a single victory which actually didn't affect the outcome for either candidate. Despite those 61 losses, President Trump and his allies claim that the courts refused to hear them out. And as a result, they never had their day in court.
Mr. Ginsburg, what do you say about the claims that Mr. Trump wasn't given an opportunity to provide the evidence they had a voter fraud? Did they have -- in fact that they have their day in court?
GINSBERG: They did have their day in court, about half of those cases that you mentioned were dismissed at the procedural stage. For a lack of standing, the proper people didn't bring the case, or there wasn't sufficient evidence, and it got dismissed on a motion to dismiss.
But in the other, there was discussion of the merits that was contained in the complaints. And in no instance did a court find that the charges of fraud were real.
And it's also worth noting that even if the Trump campaign complained that it did not have its day in court, there had been post-election reviews in each of the six battleground states that could have made a difference.
And those range from the somewhat farcical cyber ninjas case in Arizona to the Michigan Senate report that was mentioned earlier. The hand recount in Georgia, that Mr. Pak addressed.
And in each one of those incidences, there was no credible evidence of fraud produced by the Trump campaign or his supporters.
LOFGREN: Thank you know, as Mr. Ginsburg has explained, there are no cases where the Trump campaign was able to convince a court that there was widespread fraud or irregularities in the 2020 election.
Over and over judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans alike, directly rebutted this false narrative, they called out the Trump campaigns, lack of evidence for its claims.
And the judges did that even in cases where they could have simply thrown out the lawsuit without writing a word. You can see behind me a few excerpts from the decisions in these 62 cases.
The Trump campaigns lack of evidence was criticized by judges across the political spectrum. In Pennsylvania, a Trump appointed judge concluded, quote, charges require specific allegations and proof we have neither here. Another Trump appointed judge warned that if cases like these succeeded, quote, any disappointed loser in a presidential election, able to hire a team of clever lawyers could flag claim deviations from election results, and cast doubt on election results.
The list goes on and on. Allegations are called, quote, an amalgamation of theories conjecture and speculation. In another strange legal arguments without merit, unsupported by evidence, derived from wholly unreliable sources, a fundamental and obvious misreading of the Constitution.
The rejection of President Trump's litigation efforts was overwhelming, 22 federal judges appointed by Republican presidents, including 10, appointed by President Trump himself, and at least 24 elected or appointed Republican state judges dismissed the President's claims.
At least 11 lawyers have been referred for disciplinary proceedings, due to bad faith and baseless efforts to undermine the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Rudy Giuliani had his license to practice law suspended in New York. And just this week, a newly filed complaint will potentially make his suspension from practicing law in D.C. permanent.
And as we've just heard from perhaps the most preeminent Republican election lawyer in recent history, the Trump campaigns unprecedented effort to overturn its election laws in court was a deeply damaging abuse of the judicial process as stated by U.S. District Court Judge David Carter.
This was, quote, a coup in search of a legal theory. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS), CHAIR, JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: I want to thank our witnesses for joining us today. The members of the Select Committee may have additional questions for today's witnesses.
And we ask that you respond expeditiously in writing to those questions. Without objection, members will be permitted 10 business days to submit statements for the record, including opening remarks and additional questions for the witnesses.
The second panel of witnesses is now dismissed.
Without objection the Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California, Ms. Lofgren, for a closing statement.
LOFGREN: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Now that we understand the litigation efforts by President Trump and his allies, I'd like to present additional actions taken by the Trump campaign during this time.
President Trump continued to push the stolen election narrative, even though he and his allies knew that their litigation efforts making the same claim had failed, that's worth pointing out that litigation generally does not continue, has the safe harbor date of December 14th.
But the fact that this litigation went on, well, that decision makes more sense when you consider the Trump campaigns fundraising tactics, because if the litigation had stopped on December 14th, there would have been no fight to defend the election, and no clear path to continue to raise millions of dollars.
Mr. Chairman at this time, I'd ask for unanimous consent to include in the record, a video presentation describing how President Trump use the lies he told to raise millions of dollars from the American people. These fundraising schemes were also part of the effort to disseminate the false claims of election fraud.
THOMPSON: Without objection, so ordered.
AMANDA WICK, SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL: My name is Amanda Wick. And I'm senior investigative counsel with the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol.
Between Election Day and January 6th, the Trump campaign sent millions of fundraising e-mails to Trump supporters, sometimes as many as 25 of the day.
The e-mails claimed the quote, left-wing mob was undermining the election implored supporters to quote, step up to protect the integrity of the election and encourage them to quote fight back.
But as the Select Committee has demonstrated, the Trump campaign knew these claims of voter fraud were false, yet, they continue to barrage small dollar donors with e-mails encouraging them to donate to something called the Official Election Defense Fund. The Select Committee discovered no such fund existed.
HANNA ALLRED, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN STAFFER: I don't believe there is actually a fund quality Election Defense Fund.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it fair to say that the Election Defense Fund was another, I think we've called it a marketing tactic?
GARY COBY, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN DIGITAL DIRECTOR: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And tell us about these funds as marketing tactics.
COBY: Just topic matter where money could potentially go to be, how money can potentially be used.
WICK: The claims that the election was stolen were so successful. President Trump and his allies raise $250 million, nearly $100 million in the first week after the election. On November 9th, 2020, President Trump created a separate entity called the Save America PAC. Most of the money raised went to this newly created PAC not to election related litigation. The Select Committee discovered that the Save America PAC made millions of dollars of contributions to pro Trump organizations, including $1 million to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows's charitable foundation, $1 million to the America First Policy Institute, a conservative organization which employs several former Trump administration officials, $204,857 for the Trump Hotel Collection, and over $5 million to Event Strategies Inc., the company that ran President Trump's January 6th rally on the ellipse.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by embolden radical left Democrats which is what they're doing.
WICK: The evidence developed by the Select Committee highlights how the Trump campaign aggressively pushed false election claims to fundraise, telling supporters that would be used to fight voter fraud that did not exist. The e-mails continued through January 6th, even as President Trump spoke on the ellipse.
Thirty minutes after the last fundraising e-mail was sent, the Capitol was breached.
LOFGREN: Every American is entitled and encouraged to participate in our electoral process. Political fundraising as part of that, small dollar donors use scarce disposable income to support candidates and causes of their choosing to make their voices heard. And those donors deserve the truth about what those funds will be used for.
Throughout the Committee's investigation, we found evidence that the Trump campaign and its surrogates misled donors as to where their funds would go, and what they would be used for. So not only was there the big lie, there was the big rip off.
Donors deserved to know where their funds are really going. They deserve better, and what President Trump and his team did. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
THOMPSON: Without objection, the Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Wyoming, Liz Cheney, for a closing statement.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY), VICE CHAIR, JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank all of our witnesses today. And I'd also like to, in particular, wish Mr. Stepien and his family all the best on the arrival of a new baby.
Today's hearing, Mr. Chairman, was very narrowly focused. And in the coming days, you will see the committee move on to President Trump's broader planning for January 6th, including his plan to corrupt the Department of Justice and his detailed planning with lawyer John Eastman to pressure the Vice President, state legislatures, state officials and others to overturn the election.
Let me leave you today with one clip to preview what you will see in one of our hearings to come. This is the testimony of White House lawyer, Eric Herschmann. John Eastman called Mr. Herschmann the day after January 6th, and here's how that conversation went.
ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: I said to him, are you out of your effing mind? I said, I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth for now on, orderly transition.
CHENEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
THOMPSON: At the conclusion of last week's hearing, we showed you a video of rioters explaining why they had come to Washington on January 6th. It was because Donald Trump told him to be here.
Today we heard about some of the lies Donald Trump embraced and amplified when it became clear, he didn't have the numbers of votes to win the election.
We heard about how officials at different levels of government explored claims of fraud and found no evidence. Yet the former President continued to repeat those false claims over and over again.
Today, we'll end things where we did on Thursday, back on January 6th, hearing words of individuals who wanted to stop the transfer of power. We know they were there because of Donald Trump. Now we hear some of the things they believed. Without objection, I enter into the record a video presentation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know exactly what's going on right now. Think election. They think they're going to fucking cheat us out of our vote, put Joe to this fucking Biden office. It ain't fucking happening today baby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you voted?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did it go?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voted early. It went well, except for the -- I can't really trust software, Dominion software all over it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We voted and right in the top, right hand corner of the Dominion voting machine that we use, there was a WiFi symbol with five bars, so that most definitely connected seeing that without a doubt.
So they stole that from us twice. We're not doing it anymore. We're not taking it anyone. So we're standing out. We're here. And whatever happens we're not laying down again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm from Pennsylvania.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It didn't work,
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It worked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It didn't work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You voted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trust the system.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two hundred thousand people that weren't even registered voted. Four hundred and thirty thousand votes disappeared from President Trump's ally. And you can't stand there and tell me that it worked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to tell you that what we're doing is right for the election is being stolen, what is it going to take?
THOMPSON: The chair request those in the hearing room remain seated until the Capitol Police have excluded members from the room. Without objection, the Committee stands adjourned.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We just heard the Vice Chair Liz Cheney's closing argument. We heard from the Chairman Bennie Thompson. We certainly saw the video very, very powerful video of the rioters and from these three witnesses who testified today, detailing how Trump's claims of election fraud were bogus, including one who was threatened for refusing to buy into that lie.
But perhaps the most powerful and damning testimony today came from a witness who appeared on video, the former Attorney General of the United States, Bill Barr. Chris Wallace, that was a really powerful video presentation that we saw the deposition from the former Attorney General.
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: Absolutely. And remember, Bill Barr had carried a lot of water for this President as Attorney General. He was the one that talked about the FBI during the 2016 election spying on the Trump campaign.
He was the one who appointed John Durham as a special counsel to investigate. He was the one who according to the Mueller team, mischaracterize what was in the Mueller report.
But it was clear that by November of 2020, he was done with Donald Trump and Donald Trump's lies. And this was the Bill Barr show today. I just went back November 23rd. He's meeting in the Oval Office, and Trump is talking about fraud.
And as he's leaving, he talks to Mark Meadows, the Chief of Staff and Jared Kushner, he says, how long is he going to carry this on?
And Meadows says, he's becoming more realistic. He the President does a limit to how far it will take this. And Jared says, we're working on this. And then on December 14th, he goes in and tries to put the lie to all of the talk about the big steel and says I've become demoralized because it became clear to me that Trump really believed this and perhaps was becoming detached from reality.
This is a Trump loyalists, the President's own attorney general, basically saying that I threw up my hands. I gave him the truth and he would not accept it.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's what was so stunning today. Not only Barr but all of these Trump loyalists, these are Trump loyalists.
Bill Stepien's testimony, you get this sense of Trump's campaign advisors, kind of saying to each other, what are we going to do Rudy Giuliani, who they think is nuts, wants to go in there and talk to the President.
What are we going to do we have to talk to Rudy before he can get to the President, so they deal with Rudy. Then you then you have Barr calling the President's theory's BS, idiotic, stupid, crazy, a disservice to the country nonsense, right?
And then you have the sense that all of them, when you take all of this testimony, put together from deputy AG on down, Donahue, you have a sense that they believe they were dealing with somebody who was completely detached from reality.
And who would never admit whether he believed it or not, we don't know the answer to that, we may never, that he could never say I lost, and he didn't care what it took. So they piled on and they piled on and they piled on.
And it didn't matter until he could find the people like Rudy Giuliani and others, a few, who would, you know, who would play these conspiracy games into courts in which they lost 62 times.
So it's this kind of stunning picture of this going on behind closed doors in the White House. We always wonder what goes on behind closed doors in the White House, this is what went on behind closed doors in the White House.
And I can only wonder what these people were actually saying to each other at the time because not one of them, not one of them came out and said, you know, the President's wrong.
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: But whether he was attached from reality or not, these lives were attached to the bank accounts of many Trump supporters. To me the line of the day that really honed in on what at least Congressman Lofgren was hoping to achieve was it wasn't just the big lie, it was also the great rip off.
Talking about the timeline, knowing at what point the President of the United States was at least alerted, that time and time again, there could be no inference of truth to the any of the fraudulent theories he was speaking about.
And then knowing that the e-mails, millions would still go, 25 a day, they spoke about this very notion. It seemed as much as they were trying to prove the case about Donald Trump today and the part of the electorate. They're also trying to perhaps alert those who still believe the big lie.
Remember, was an ongoing threat that look, he in fact lost the election, let me tell you all the way you were swindled. And that was a very big part of this entire conversation today.
GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: To me, two of the biggest pieces of testimony that showed that Donald Trump knew he was lying. One was from Barr. And in addition to all that detail that that Chris described, Barr said Trump never had any interest in what the facts were, no matter what they were saying to hi, it just didn't matter.
And then Donahue, the Acting Deputy Attorney General said he wouldn't fight us when we told him, when we were rebutted some stupid theory, he wouldn't fight us, he would just move on to the next one. It was all instrumental.
It was all designed to just throw something out there, it didn't matter what the facts were, it didn't matter whether it was true. And, you know, he did it from way before the election, as we -- they began today with the Red Mirage by talking about how everybody knew, and they told Donald Trump that the Republican Election Day votes would come in first, and it would look good.
And then the Democrats, early votes would come in, and it wouldn't look so good.
And he basically, and they said, but you can't dump on mail-in voting because it hurts us, right? They got old people in Florida, they got people who can get people out to the cast mold -- mail-in votes.
COATES: And Kevin McCarthy was --
CONWAY: Right, and Kevin -- they brought Kevin McCarthy --
CONWAY: -- don't dump on mail-in votes, and yet he didn't because he was planning to claim flawed if he lost. It's like, you know, he once told Lesley Stahl, she now -- she said this three years ago or four years ago that Donald Trump once told her that the reason why he demeans the press is because that way, the press is already discredited if it says report something bad about him, he did the same thing with mail-in voting and with the electoral process.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on what you said, Laura, because I think it's really important. An awful lot of what's been done so far in these two hearings is to talk to people who are already persuaded that Trump has lied.
But what I thought that they skillfully did, at the very end of the hearing today, was trying to make an appeal to the Trump supporters and to say, look, we're not the victim of these lies. You're the victim of these lies financially because, you know, them
the idea of this Official Election Defense Fund, and in fact, that wasn't a fund, $250 million, which even in Washington is real money now goes into that fund, it doesn't go for election fraud litigation, it goes to the Trump Hotel Collection, it goes to organize the January 6th rally.
And then the very end is when they went to the people who were on the mall on January 6th. And they're saying, I'm here because Trump persuaded me, my vote was stolen.
So what they're really saying, you the Trump supporters are the dupes here. You're the ones who got played for fools, by Trump and his bogus plan.
BORGER: And to that point, here's the question that went on asked, but I think it was answered. The question is, should this man be back in the Oval Office, ever?
And I think you saw what went on inside the White House, how he would not believe his own people, how he lived this lie, because he couldn't stand the notion of ever losing to Joe Biden, as he used to tell people over and over again.
And then the question you have to ask is you see those people out on the mall, who were duped by Donald Trump, as you see his lawyers who could not talk any sense into him whatsoever?
The question they didn't say, because they don't want to hear any political is would you put this person back in the Oval Office?
CONWAY: Bill Barr would.
BORGER: Bill Barr, that's right. That's right. Well, that's right. I mean, and Bill Barr said he was detached from reality, right, right.
BLITZER: And legally, Laura, how much of a legal case against Trump was unfolded during the course of this testimony?