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CNN Live Event/Special

Federal Authorities Search Home of Jeffrey Clark; January 6 Committee to Focus on Trump Pressure Campaign on Justice Department; January 6 Committee Receives New Documentary Footage. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired June 23, 2022 - 13:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: On Capitol Hill with, a very significant day in the January 6 investigation, as the House select committee prepares to hold another public hearing.

The panel just questioned an important new witness behind closed doors. And we also have an inside look at the new evidence that he shared.

I'm Anderson Cooper in Washington.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And I'm Jake Tapper.

A British documentarian, Alex Holder, met with House investigators just a little while ago. Holder says he complied with a subpoena and he turned over hours of never-before-seen footage of then-President Trump and his family and inner circle before and after the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

This hour, we're going to give you a first look at some of that footage that we have obtained, including interviews with Trump two months after the attack, in which he defended the Capitol rioters, and video of then-Vice President Mike Pence reacting in real time to congressional calls for him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from office just days after the insurrection.

Also featured, interviews with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, including the first daughter claiming that her father's goal was to have every vote counted, even as he was actually trying to do the exact opposite, trying to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election and throw out votes from people who might not have voted for him.

Filmmaker Alex Holder had extensive access to the 2020 Trump campaign for this documentary that's going to air later this summer on the streaming service Discovery+, which, we should note, shares the same parent company as CNN. Discovery -- Discovery+ provided these clips to CNN.

So let's take a look. Now at our first clip from Alex Holder's documentary. What you're going to see is part of an interview with then-Vice President Mike Pence on January 12. That's the day that the House of Representatives approved a resolution urging parents to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from the office of president.

Take a look.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I joined the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th Amendment.

If the vice president and Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's when I received it. But the House members got it a while back.

PENCE: Yes, excellent.

Tell Zack (ph) to print me off a hardcopy for the trip home.


PENCE: Great.

I'm always hopeful about America. I always believe that America's best days are yet to come. And I still believe that.


TAPPER: All right, so that is a first look at an excerpt from Alex Holder's documentary. The documentarian met with the House committee today.

Dana, it is interesting to see Vice President Pence receive in real time and alert that the House of Representatives, it was demanding that he invoked the 25th Amendment on January 12, and remove Donald Trump from power.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He asked about the time, that he saw the time stamp on the e-mail that aide was -- or text or whatever it was that the aid was showing him, clearly wanting to know whether or not they got a heads-up about it or whether it went out publicly.

That's certainly how I read that. But also, remember, this was after the trauma of January 6 a couple of days later, and he is so -- he's Mike Pence. I mean, he is so calm, and intentionally not emoting. Most times, Mike Pence is like that in public and in private. That is Mike Pence.

But it also struck me that he is somebody who kind of grew up around broadcasting. He was in -- he was a radio guy before he was in political office. And he was keenly aware that the camera and the microphone were on.

TAPPER: Yes, the camera is rolling.

This was six days after the insurrection, so that traumatic day, and also the deaths of aren't that followed, because, remember, not only did people die that day, Trump supporters and Officer Sicknick, but there were several police officers who committed suicide, either because of the trauma or traumatic brain injury that they'd suffered during the attack.


JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: On the one hand, I would say don't play poker with this man.

On the other, considering the timing of it January 12, that he is having this, it seems surreal that he is so emotionless at it. What does he say? "Yes, excellent," the cough, everything.

Look, obviously, the music in the documentary adds a certain emotion to it. But I think it is...


GANGEL: Sorry about that. It's -- and it's quite something to see in real time, when he knew how much pressure he was under.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The thing is also, I mean, we know, based on what other Cabinet secretaries have said, that the conversation about the 25th Amendment was happening behind the scenes.

So I think it's unlikely that this would have been the first...

TAPPER: From the beginning of the Trump presidency, by the way.

PHILLIP: From the beginning of the Trump presidency, but certainly in that time period after January 6.

So it would be -- I'm curious to know, how did that coincide? Were there conversations privately happening behind the scenes with Pence about his role in invoking the 25th Amendment with other Cabinet secretaries, including some who resigned in that period of time?

Pence, though, in that clip is, as Dana says, that's Pence in public and in private. The filmmakers say in that clip, which, if you're listening to this, you probably didn't see it, he declined to talk about January 6. That tells you everything you need to know about where his head was at in those days after the attack.

Even after all that he experienced, he still wasn't willing to go there, to even be in a position to criticize President Trump.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's visual evidence of the straitjacket Mike Pence put himself in for the entire Trump presidency, trying to stay calm, trying to use his talking points, I believe the best of America, best days are ahead, because he's surrounded by chaos constantly from day one.

And, to Abby's point, it's that he won't talk about January 6. Now Mike Pence has made a clear break from Donald Trump on that day. Even then, he was still not sure, what is in my best political interest? Not going to talk about it. Going to be careful.

TAPPER: So one thing I do want to note before we go on to the next clip is, this is the letter that Vice President Pence wrote to Speaker Pelosi, in which he says, no, I'm not going to invoke the 25th Amendment.

He says: "Last week, I did not yield the pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election. And I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our nation."

He says that: "The Trump administration's energy is directed to ensuring an orderly transition," which might be true for him, but it was not true for a lot of other people, including Donald Trump. And he said: "I urge you and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment."

So, in other words, he was both-sidesing what happened, like I can't believe you're talking about this.

But let's take a look now at another portion of this documentary from Alex Holder. It's an interview with Donald Trump. This is after the insurrection. This is in March 2021 at his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago.


QUESTION: Can we talk for a minute about January 6?


Well, it was a sad day, but it was a day where there was great anger in our country.

The people went to Washington primarily because they were angry with an election that they think was rigged. A very small portion, as you know, went down to the Capitol. And then a very small portion of them went in.

But I will tell you, they were angry from the standpoint of what happened in the election, because they're smart, and they see and they saw what happened. And I believe that that was a big part of what happened on January 6.


TAPPER: That's actually pretty restrained. He's justifying the criminality and the insurrectionists. He's downplaying what they were trying to do. They were just expressing anger.

They were not just expressing anger. They were there to stop the counting of electoral votes to give the presidency to Donald Trump, to steal it.

BASH: Yes.

And he was talking as if it just happened in a place far away from anything that he did or said or now that we are seeing tried to coordinate with the people around him. They didn't just get angry. He made them angry by telling them lies.

TAPPER: Right.

BASH: And he's not separated from that, even though he's trying to separate himself from it.

That is classic Donald Trump. He knows, because he did this his entire life, if you say something enough times, and if you sell whatever you're trying to sell, whether it's an idea or a product, enough times the same way, you can get people to sign on.


PHILLIP: I mean, let's be honest. It's pretty outrageous that there was not one word of condemnation about what happened on January 6 that came out of his mouth at that time.

But it's also notable that position that Trump had then in the months after January 6 is actually the position that has been adopted by many Republicans today, many lawmakers on Capitol Hill, which is to say, oh, it was just a few people, ignoring totally the violence and the intent here, which was to stop the peaceful transfer of power.

This is a portrait of a former president who is still cultivating what he described as anger on that day. And that is, I think, what the committee, as we're going through these hearings, wants to reiterate to the American public. It's what Judge Luttig said, the clear and present danger for the future, a former president who is not remorseful, but is also still stirring up the anger that might reappear again at some point in...

GANGEL: To Abby's point, not only doesn't he condemn. He calls them smart after all of this.

There is no mention of the people who died. There is no mention of all of the police officers who were injured. There is no mention of the destruction, the threats, "Hang Mike Pence." He's still saying, they're smart and it's still rigged.

It's absolutely perpetuating it.

KING: The man is a pathological liar trying to protect his parallel universe.

And so the only value of that, forgive me, is when you compare it to what was actually happening in the real world...

GANGEL: Right. KING: ... to show, this is what the former president of the United

States says. Here's the reality of what was happening in America. He did it

He his tweets were read during the violence. The truthful part is that he considers them smart people because they were doing, what we have learned from other testimony, he wanted them to do.

TAPPER: I'm not a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, but I have never encountered a politician so devoid of any ability to feel contrition or repentance. It's -- or any human being, rather.

Coming up, we're going to bring you more never-before-seen footage from the Alex Holder documentary, including what Mike Pence says about his relationship with Donald Trump in the wake of that horrific attack on January 6.

Stay with us.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

COOPER: We have breaking news right now on a key figure in today's presentation by the January 6 Committee, Jeffrey Clark, the Justice Department lawyer and Trump loyalist who the president threatened to install as attorney general.

CNN's Evan Perez joins us now with the latest.

What have you learned?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, federal investigators raided the home of Jeffrey Clark yesterday.

He was an environmental lawyer at the Justice Department. Nobody really knew his name until, in the closing days of 2020, early 2021, President Trump at the time was trying to figure out a way to install him at the head of the Justice Department. He wanted to make him attorney general because he was willing to carry out the former president's wishes to send letters to the states, essentially saying that the Justice Department believed that there was sufficient fraud to investigate.

This was obviously central to the former president's effort to essentially set aside Joe Biden's victory and to get the states to send these fake electors and find a way for Trump to remain in power. And so Clark was willing to do that.

There was this extraordinary meeting at the Justice Department on a Sunday, January 3, a couple of days before January 6, where Jeffrey Clark and Jeffrey Rosen, who was the acting attorney general at the time, essentially were in the White House for hours as Trump sort of lorded over this "Apprentice"-style competition between Jeffrey Clark and Jeffrey Rosen. Who was going to be the attorney general the end of that day?

It wasn't until several of the officials, including the people you're going to hear from today, Richard Donoghue, who was the deputy attorney general at the time. He was acting attorney -- deputy attorney general, Steve Engel, who was the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, they all said to the former president, look, you're going to have mass resignations. Everyone's going to resign. No one is going to stay in office and work under Jeffrey Clark, if you do this.

And so, in the end, Trump did not do this. But Clark was definitely ready to do this. He proposed -- he had written letters, proposed these letters that were going to be sent to Georgia and to other states saying that the Justice Department was investigating fraud, which, obviously, they were looking into some of these claims, but had found nothing to substantiate at the time.

COOPER: So, the raid by the authorities is -- do we know what they found? Do we know what they were looking for?

PEREZ: We do not know yet what they found, but this is something that happened yesterday.

And, at this point, we know that these were federal agents that did this. This means, obviously, that there is something that Jeffrey Clark is at the center of that the Justice Department is investigating, and that whatever evidence is inside that -- inside his home, which is in Northern Virginia, is of interest to investigators, and that they believed they couldn't just go ask him for it, right?


They had to believe -- they had to make the case to a magistrate, to a judge that there was some risk that simply asking him for the information, there could be destruction of evidence and so on. So that's the reason -- that's the way you get to this extraordinary step that you would have a raid by federal agents on a former top Justice Department official, again, somebody who was at the center of this effort by the former president to sort of use the Justice Department to kind of find a way to remain in power.

I should say, the U.S. attorney's office here in Washington, which is overseeing the January 6 investigations, told me that they can only confirm that there was investigative activity in the vicinity of Jeffrey Clark's home. They can't confirm his name and what specific activity was occurring.

But we know it from multiple sources that this is what occurred yesterday.

COOPER: He has not -- has he spoken to the January Committee? Did he plead the Fifth? Did he decline...

PEREZ: He -- right. He did. He showed up, but he declined to answer questions from the committee.

So, again, we don't know very much about his story, because he has really not told a lot of information about what exactly he was thinking about and why he was interested in doing this, when everyone at the Justice Department was telling him that there was no proof of some of these crazy ideas.

He came up with this idea that he wanted the Justice Department to look into whether Italian satellites were changing vote totals. There were all kinds of things that Jeffrey Rosen had to deal with, this guy that he had really had very little interaction with until the closing days of December 2020.

COOPER: And if memory serves me, Jeffrey Rosen was one of the people who threatened to resign if...

PEREZ: Well, Jeffrey Rosen -- Trump would have -- was planning to Rosen with Clark.

COOPER: With Clark.

PEREZ: So, Donoghue, Engel, multiple officials, he was brought -- it was going to be a Sunday night massacre at the Justice Department, because everybody was going to quit if Rosen had been replaced with Clark.

COOPER: It is fascinating that this raid takes place, I mean, the day before the hearings on this very subject.

You do get the sense that this is a very dynamic process, that these are not just sort of static hearings, that there are obviously undercurrents of investigations that are still ongoing.


I mean, it's not as if -- there has been some controversy about cooperation between the committee and the Justice Department. But this makes it clear that the Justice Department is committed to investigating this at its own pace. They have been prosecuting 800 people who were rioting at the Capitol. And you can tell that they're now looking into fake electors.

And here you are with Jeffrey Clark. I mean, this moment in the Oval Office that we're going to hear about today with Jeffrey Clark and Rosen and Donoghue is one -- and the president and the White House counsel -- is one of the most remarkable scenes in American politics, where the president is effectively saying to people, look, I'm going to replace you as attorney general with this guy, who is an environmental lawyer.

And, I mean, my favorite line of all of this is that Donoghue points out that Clark is an environmental lawyer, has no experience. And he says: "You're an environmental lawyer. How about you go back to your office? We will call you when there's an oil spill."



CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: But here's what I don't understand about this.

This episode involving Jeffrey Clark, and even specifically what happened on January 3 has really been gone over. The Senate Judiciary Committee already held a whole series of hearings. And these quotes -- and I have to say, that's my favorite quote...

BORGER: Right.

WALLACE: ... of the whole episode. Go back. We will call you when there's an oil -- so, I have been told that too. Go back to your office. We will call you when there's oil spill.

I mean, this is plowed ground. So my question is, why on earth is it only now that the Justice Department or the FBI is going and raiding Jeffrey Clark's house? I mean, we have known about this for months.

BORGER: Well...

WALLACE: We were discussing on "NEW DAY" today, Kaitlan, this morning the fact the Justice Department is now issuing subpoenas to some of the fake electors. Again, this is something we have known about for months.

BORGER: Well, they have been busy.




LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, they may very well have done this before. That's part of the issue here. What we're seeing in Congress...

WALLACE: Well, they didn't search Jeffrey Clark's house before.

COATES: Well, no, but in terms of looking into these issues in a different way.

And one of the things you're looking for -- and this is my old office, U.S. attorney's office in D.C. What you're looking for, maybe there's new information that's come to light from someone who's now about to testify to say, oh, by the way, there might be evidence of this.

Well, we didn't see this the first time around. Is there another cell phone, a sort of burner phone of some kind? Is there other documents that would have been in your possession you did not hand over that was not electronic in some way? Did you not -- did you take something away from the DOJ that you shouldn't have taken away when you left the office?

All these possibilities are there. But I totally understand the point of saying this feels a little bit like a either cleanup crew or Johnny-come-lately.


But, remember, Congress has the role of trying to avoid being viewed as partisan, with the sword of Damocles of the general elections ahead of them. The DOJ has the problem of trying to get enough in and done before they have to stop, because we're so close to an election.

PEREZ: Well, I think...

COATES: There is protocol that says we can't keep muddying our hands because it might actually persuade the electors.

PEREZ: And I think -- to Chris' point, I think -- I don't think you can interpret the lack of visible action until now to mean that there was nothing happening.

COATES: Right.

PEREZ: I think certainly I have heard over the period of months that there was some kind of investigation. We don't know exactly what is being investigated.

We don't know what possible crime they're looking at here. But they have had to look at documents. They have had to look at -- talk to witnesses. They have a number of people who they have talked to before they can take an extraordinary step like this.

COOPER: Kaitlan?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Also, can we talk about who Jeffrey Clark was?

Because, two years ago, no one would have expected this to be...

PEREZ: Right.

COLLINS: ... the story that was written out about Jeffrey Clark, that there was a raid conducted on his home, which a former budget official who worked alongside him has tweeted that it was a predawn raid where he was in the streets in his pajamas, and they took his electronic devices.

That's from Russ Vought. And with Jeffrey Clark, he was this unassuming, quiet attorney at the Justice Department, who then, when he became embroiled in the middle of this, it shocked people inside the administration. They couldn't believe it, because they did not think of him as this person. He wasn't someone like a Matt Whitaker, who was always in Trump's ear or trying to insert himself.

And so they were very surprised by this when they heard about this. But, remember, he was involved in this effort to draft this letter to send to the governor of Georgia back in 2020 in December that said they had significant concerns about the election there and they wanted a special election.

COOPER: Do we know, how did he -- is it known how he even came into the mix? I mean, how did he come into the mix, so that he is suddenly sitting with the president?

PEREZ: Well, the -- yes, it's very surprising, because, again, he was not known to a lot of people. Rosen certainly didn't even know who he was.

But we know that -- we know that Scott Perry, the Pennsylvania congressman, was among the people who helped connect Trump with Jeffrey Clark. Trump didn't really know him. And, by the way, I made a mistake. Clark did work with Rosen. They knew each other. But it wasn't somebody that was very well-known in the department as somebody who would be a heavy hitter, who could involve -- get involved...


BORGER: Who recruited him?


COATES: He was a willing yes-man.

COOPER: Right. Yes.

COATES: That's who he was, a willing yes-man.


COATES: And Trump said, oh, there might be someone with a credential.


COATES: I mean, we're talking about environmental lawyers. This is a huge division that's really revered, but the idea that he was just a yes-man that Trump wanted to have in here.

BORGER: But who recruited him is the question. It wasn't Donald Trump.


BORGER: Right? And that's what they're trying to answer.

COOPER: We have got to take a quick break.

Up next, we're going to have more from this never-before-seen Trump documentary footage. You will hear from Ivanka Trump on her thoughts about the 2020 vote count and how it compares with her testimony before the January 6 Committee.