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Ex-WH Aide Provides First-Hand Account Of Trump's Actions On Jan 6; Ex-WH Aide: Trump Asked To Overrule Secret Service, "Take The F'ing Mags Away". Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired June 28, 2022 - 15:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a combination of brilliant reporting and brilliant prosecution. Why did the most sensitive sources talk to Woodward and Bernstein? Why did the most sensitive sources talk to you on any story? Because they think you already know. That you already know so much.

And so what they're doing is - we have it. We have it.


KING: We have it from Cassidy Hutchinson. We have the text, we have the documents, we have new stuff from the archives. Every day we are getting more. And so don't you want to come in and cooperate with us? Do you want to be on team good, team truth, team transparency or do you want to be on team hide? The Committee is doing a breathtaking job of building their case and learning more every day.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYSIS: And look, one thing, I think, big picture after having sat through that, I mean, there was revelation after revelation after revelation. But I've spoken to at least one source who suggests that it is much more likely after what we saw today that there will be people who were - whose actions were discussed today who are facing the significant possibility of jail time, based on what the Committee knows now, what the Justice Department may or may not be able to do with that information.

I think if you want to talk about this politically and I always try to hold these two things together in my mind when we cover this because on the one hand we have what the Department of Justice is going to do. But on the other hand, we have a 2024 presidential election looming, and a lot of people who believe what Donald Trump has said about the election, combined with the possibility that he may be the next Republican nominee.

I think this was the most salient example yet of someone who was in every single room who has functionally unimpeachable motives, it seems, who is showing people who were inclined to be on Donald Trump's side, what an absolute disaster this actually was. And I think that that's incredibly important as we head toward the 2024 presidential elections.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Throughout all of this, we've all talked about the individuals who were in the right place at the right time to uphold democracy and uphold the law, whether it's Brad Raffensperger, the Secretary of State in Georgia or any other individual, Vice President Mike Pence at the counting of the electoral votes.

Here is - let's go to this sat (ph) one, where Cassidy Hutchinson is talking about the White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone having a conversation with the White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, and they're talking about what Trump's response was to the chance of hanging Mike Pence and that was a day, again, where Mike Pence's life was literally at risk because of this Trump mob. Let's run that clip.


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: I remember Pat saying something to the effect of Mark, we need to do something more. They're literally calling for the vice presidents to be effing hung. And Mark had responded something to the effect of, you heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn't think they're doing anything wrong.

Knowing what I had heard, briefly in the dining room, coupled with Pat discussing the hang Mike Pence chance in the lobby of our office, and then marks response, I understood there to be the rioter in the Capitol.


TAPPER: We are now in such a weird place in American politics at the idea that you think that Vice President Mike Pence, one of the most conservative Republicans to ever hold that position, the idea that you do not think he should be hung by a mob, that is somehow portrayed as a liberal position.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's really amazing. I mean, look, I think there are a lot of people who are watching this who have opposed Trump for a long time, who've seen all the things that Trump has done, and you ask yourself, why did - why was any of this surprising to Cassidy Hutchinson.

But you have to understand that if you were in that building on - by January 5th or January 6th, you were a true believer.


PHILLIP: And so for her to be shocked by what she saw, it means that there were really a lot of crazy things happening. And she was so shocked and so stunned that she said - she still is trying to cope with it. That's what you're dealing with here and contrast that with her boss, Mark Meadows, who kept scrolling on his phone and looking up at people coming into his office and saying that there are people with AR-15s outside of the White House and saying--


PHILLIP: He doesn't want to deal with that today, but get out of my office.

GANGEL: Can we please talk about the relationship between Mark Meadows and Donald Trump? I mean, we have heard there's been reporting the Trump was watching the riot on TV, enjoying it gleeful, rewinding it. But what you heard today was from a firsthand fact witness that while that's going on, she goes in and she speaks to Meadows about it and Meadows says, no, he wants to be alone now.


And then White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone - by the way where his White House Counsel Pat Cipollone when this - he's going to ...

TAPPER: He's more of ...

GANGEL: Well, talking about missing in action.

TAPPER: ... (inaudible) is brave ...

HUNT: Well, yes, the fortitude ...

TAPPER: ... and Pat Cipollone and others are not as brave.

HUNT: Yes, the fortitude it took, can we just, for a second, focus on her. She's 25, 26 years old now. That mean, she was, what, 22, 23 years old at the time to be - I mean, I don't know about you, guys, but when I was that age, I was certainly not as self-aware, poised and hard-headed as she clearly absolutely is. And for her to actually go and do this to put herself out there, she's got to have personal security and then to watch Pat Cipollone who the White House counsel, who was - how many layers above her in the White House at the time to refuse to come to the Committee? I mean, it really throws it into (inaudible) ...

PHILLIP: Well, for what it's worth, Mick Mulvaney, the former White House Chief of Staff ...

TAPPER: Or acting White House ...

PHILLIP: ... acting White House chief of staff ...

TAPPER: (Inaudible) ...

PHILLIP: ... just tweeting a few minutes ...

HUNT: He also said he would hand over their key.

PHILLIP: ... yes, tweeting a few minutes ago that one thing is clear in my mind, Meadows will get indicted for his failure to appear and my guess is that he ultimately shows. For whatever that is worth, it's a sign that even among these people who are kind of somewhat in Trump world, the mindset, this is extraordinarily damaging to the people who are not showing up (inaudible) ... . TAPPER: Yes. And we should note that Mulvaney and Meadows were both Freedom Caucus House members. Like they do have a bond. I assume they do have a relationship.

HUNT: They do have a relationship, but Mulvaney got thrown out of that crowd as well. KING: He got thrown out. Scott Perry is the current chairman of the

Freedom Caucus who was involved with all of this, which gets you to the point, Cassie Hutchinson made a brave choice today. Will other Republicans who are still hiding behind Trump make their choice or will they stay there? And if they stay there, what does that tell you?

In the sense that she was one of them, she worked for Steve Scalise. She was a member of the House leadership team as a staff member. Then she goes to work in the Trump White House where she's their daily conduit on policy issues, on getting people a tour, on getting people a favor. She's there conduit. They worked with her every day and they trusted her.

This is not some never Trumper coming forward and saying stuff. This is somebody who had eyes on all of it, who said at one point, she kept trying to protect the good things President Trump had done, to talk about the important things he had done and she just got to the point where she was disgusted as an American.

So if you are Jim Jordan, Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, I could go on for a very long time, the list of Republicans who continue to say this doesn't matter. Pay no attention to this and continue to take money, raise money and embrace Donald Trump, at what point will you make the right choice she made?

TAPPER: So we're getting new reaction to today's testimony from inside Trump world. Kaitlan Collins has some of that. Kaitlan, tell us what you're hearing.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake. President Trump was responding in real time as Cassidy Hutchinson was testifying on Capitol Hill about his actions leading up to January 6th and what happened actually, on January 6th.

There's a bit of a contradiction in his statement, because he posted it on his social media website, I hardly know who this person Cassidy Hutchison is. Other than I heard very negative things about her saying that she was a total phony and a leaker. And that saying, Jake, and here's that contradiction, because he's saying he hardly knows her, but then he's saying when she requested to come to work at Mar-A-Lago, as some of the other former White House staffers did go and do after he left office.

He said he personally turned down her request, so saying, Jake, that he doesn't really know her but also saying he personally turned down a request from her to come and work at Mar-A-Lago with him in his office following the presidency. I should note, of course, Cassidy Hutchinson has not responded or commented on whether or not that is true that she tried to go work at Mar a Lago, but it does show how he was disputing what she said in real time and often falling back on a tactic that we've seen the President use during his impeachment hearings, during the Mueller trial or the Muller hearings as well as you would see staffers who came in worked with Trump come out and talk about their experiences and then he would say they were low level or he didn't know them, even though there were a lot of firsthand testimony about their interactions with him. Obviously, Cassidy Hutchinson was quite close to Mark Meadows, and she

was regularly on Air Force One with the President and another small group of staff. But he is disputing what she's saying, going after her testimony and denying it, Jake, that we should note, a lot of what she was talking about today was firsthand testimony, saying that she heard Pat Cipollone the White House Counsel come to Mark Meadows, his office, the day of January 6 and warn him about the rioters breaching the Capitol.

And a lot of this was things that she saw and heard with her own eyes and ears, Jake.

TAPPER: Yes, exactly. Let's bring in Pamela Brown. Pamela, Trump can attack Cassidy Hutchinson however he wants to, but she had the front row seats to all of this.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Jake, even before this hearing started, I was hearing from former White House aides saying Trump is going to say he did not know her. But to not be mistaken, he knew her. He at the very least recognize her because she was in key White House meeting. She was essentially attached to the hip with Mark Meadows in those key meetings in those final days. And we heard of some of her testimony about those final days today, as Kaitlan pointed out, some firsthand conversation. The source is telling me everyone high up at the White House knew her.


She traveled on Air Force One with Mark as well. She was his aide coming here to the Hill for very important meetings. One former White House aide said that, well, today's testimony from her was pretty crazy. The state also said it was a hundred percent believable, knowing how chaotic things were behind the scenes and how essentially power hungry Trump was toward the end and all of the behavior that he displayed.

TAPPER: Yes, indeed. Pamela Brown, thank you so much. I'm going to throw it over to Anderson right now. And Anderson, I mean, just - there was just so much that was unhinged in the descriptions of that whole period of time. And we're - it just feels like we're in the upside down where you have an entire - not an entire, but a large chunk of a political party, either pretending that none of this is being described by loyal Trump officials or actually trying to find ways to justify it.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yeah. Cassidy Hutchinson wiping ketchup off the walls of the White House that the President has thrown against the walls.

Andrew McCabe, I want to play - for our legal folks, I want to play a number of some of the things she said and talk about the significance of it. She recalls President Trump talking about or what she heard President Trump said about magnetometers, metal detectors while he was speaking on January 6th. Essentially, he was concerned that the crowd wasn't large enough right in front of him and that people were not coming through the magnetometers because they had weapons and those weapons were being confiscated when they came through the magnetometers. Here's what she said she heard the President say and/or was concerned about.


HUTCHINSON: And he felt the mags were at fault for not letting everybody in.

But another leading reason, and likely the primary reason, is because he wanted it full, and he was angry that we weren't letting people through the mags with weapons, what the Secret Service deems as weapons and are weapons.

But when we were in the offstage announce tent, I was part of a conversation - I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the president say something to the effect of, I don't effing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away.


COOPER: I mean, I mean, illegally, I want to hear what you think about that. It just seems stunning that he knew that they were armed. He knew they had weapons, as did many people around the president and he wanted the metal detectors taken away because he knew they weren't there to hurt him.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Anderson, that the key to criminal liability from the very beginning, from the first hearing has been when will we ever get to Trump's state of mind, that he have criminal intent with the things that he was doing. We also know that you're never going to get direct evidence of that, right? There's no little messages that Trump wrote. I really want the Capitol - the people to riot on the Capitol and commit violence. You're not going to - he's not a guy who takes notes or sends messages.

The closest you're going to get is circumstantial evidence and this was the best circumstantial evidence of what was in Trump's mind that we have heard today. He knew they were armed. He expected they would be violent. He wanted to march to the Capitol with them, despite the lies that we've heard from Mark Meadows in his own book.

Up until this point, we now know from multiple conversations, everyone knew that the President wanted to go to the Capitol with the rioters who he knew were armed. I mean, I don't know that you can get better evidence than that.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: The defense that Trump would offer for that whole magnetometers thing, I wouldn't find it persuasive, but I should just - we should just ...

COOPER: We barely knew the magnetometers.

TOOBIN: ... no, is that look, all I cared about was getting to see - getting my crowd full for a good picture on TV. That's all I cared about. I wasn't interested in the Capitol, I wasn't interested in the weapons. All I wanted was to get a lot of people in front of me, so it looked good on TV.

The problem is, he didn't know about the weapons, and he didn't know they were going to the Capitol and he didn't care or was encouraging it. And as we know, from later evidence, was doing his best to go with them. And I'm sorry, we can talk about the details of criminal intent and that's very important. But if Donald Trump 200 years from now, people will be talking about that scene in the limousine with him trying to wrestle the steering wheel away and trying to strangle a Secret Service agent.

And by the way, I certainly hope in these hearings, we hear from Bobby Engel, the Secret Service agent, because boy, would he have an interesting story to tell if the story as we heard (inaudible) ...

COOPER: I know you hear about historical fights a hundred years ago in the Capitol or 150 years ago between senators and stuff, this beats that any day.

MCCABE: The relationship between the Presidential detail, members of that detail and the president itself is like it's sacred.


It's almost religious. They not just protect the president day to day in his physical comings and goings, they are absolutely dedicated to that person's privacy, protection and success. And to have that relationship violated in such an obscene way by the President himself by putting his hands on the leader of his detail is something that I'm sure was shocking and traumatic, not just to that leader, but to the entire rest of the detail.

TOOBIN: But in the star investigation of Bill Clinton, there was some testimony from Secret Service agents, so it's not unprecedented to hear them.

COOPER: Carrie, I want to play a clip of Ms. Hutchinson recounting conversation she had with White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. This was ahead of January 6th.


HUTCHINSON: Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of please make sure we don't go up to the Capitol, Cassidy. Keep in touch with me. We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): And do you remember which crimes Mr. Cipollone was concerned with?

HUTCHINSON: In the days leading up to the 6th, we had conversations about potentially obstructing justice or defrauding the electoral account?


CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think that's the quote of the day. That combined with her testimony that Pat Cipollone when the riot was actually taking place and it was turning into violence said that there would be blood on our effing hands or the people he was talking about.

COOPER: Mark Meadows.

CORDERO: He said that to Mark Meadows, there's going to be blood on your effing hands. I think those two quotes from Pat Cipollone and it sure would be nice to hear from Pat Cipollone himself. But those two quotes that she heard, demonstrate that the White House Counsel knew there was extensive criminality going on with respect to the leading up to January 6 and the events of that day and he communicated it repeatedly in clearest terms possible to the Chief of Staff of the White House and to the president.

TOOBIN: And what an - and it's an outrage. What an outrage that we haven't heard from Pat Cipollone, because if he said that to Trump, then the whole thing is game over, then there is proof of criminal intent. If your lawyer says to you, if you do X, you are violating the criminal law, I mean, how much more do you (inaudible) ...

COOPER: Chris?

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN: Can we talk about Cassidy Hutchinson? First of all - and I bow to - particularly to you and the - as somebody involved in prosecutions. She was a great witness. She was absolutely precise. She told you - I mean, if she heard - overheard a conference session, she'd say - Cipollone went in the room, he left the door open, he was standing in the transom. I was talking ...


WALLACE: ... I could hear when I went into the dining room, I stepped back, but the door was open. I could see Mark Meadows, but I could in the background I could hear what Trump and Cipollone were saying. She was just brilliant. And really what you're all saying is that to a degree that nobody has up till now, really nobody in all - the think of all the books we've read by all these great investigative reporters, none of them ever had the scene inside the base (ph), right? So there are some secrets still out there, but she connected the dots more than anybody has between Giuliani on January 2nd talking about well, there's going to be violence and then she talks to Meadows and Meadows says it's going be real, real bad. And then Cipollone comes in and then Trump's knowledge - and she just connects the dots between the violence.

And remember, she also talks about Meadows talking to Michael Flynn and Stone in the ...

BORGER: Well ...

WALLACE: ... but the only thing which you talked about your quote of the day, when she's asked about the 2:24 pm tweet by Trump, where he basically - when Pence is under attack and he's saying, too bad he didn't show courage. She says, represent - I came in to represent the administration to show all the good it had done, when I read this, I felt frustrated, it was disgusting, it was unAmerican, it was unpatriotic and I was watching the Capitol being defaced over a lie.

BORGER: Can I just say one thing? This was a bad day for the White House Chief of Staff. She was a loyal aide devoted to him. And she tells these stories about not only didn't he stop Trump, but he didn't stand in his way. He hears that there's going to be violence and what does he do? He continues to scroll on his phone. He called Stone and Flynn.


BORGER: And he didn't heed these warnings and he asked for a pardon after all.

COOPER: Still ahead, the first reaction of Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony from two former Trump administration insiders who know her well and the star witness in Watergate, John Dean, shares his take on significance to everything we heard today.



COOPER: Breaking down everything we've learned from today's bombshell testimony in the January 6th investigation, a former White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, sharing her account under oath then-President Trump's anger, recklessness and potentially criminal behavior on that day. I want to get reaction from former Nixon White House Counsel, John Dean, journalist, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

John, let me start with you. You tweeted about this hearing. You said better be a big deal and it needs to meet a 'very high historical standard', did it?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It was a big deal, absolutely. I think she did - she knocked it out of the park. She was a very important witness. We don't know what all they - she knows, because of the way they focused the hearing. They kind of controlled what her testimony would be based on her prior behind the scenes testimony. So I think she's still an important witness and an ongoing witness.

COOPER: Bob Woodward?


COOPER: Did it clear - I mean, there were things which surprised I think everybody here. You've done extensive reporting on this.

WOODWARD: I called my second book on Trump Rage.


Because he told me that he brings out rage in people. This is the first concrete series of examples of him resorting to rage and violence himself. And it's Gina Haspel, the CIA Director, he appointed early on, said when he fired the defense secretary, said he is having a tantrum like a six-year-old and that's exactly what this is. And Gina Haspel is somebody who's qualified to assess the stability,

the core of who somebody is, and for her to reach that conclusion. And now we have evidence - we also - I'm sure that this committee has talked to those secret service agents, wouldn't put this testimony on without having backup on.

So we're - we - the populace, the voters in America have to address the question, and the Republicans have to address the moral question, is this the man we want for President.

COOPER: Based on the other things you heard today, did you hear evidence of a crime potentially by this president?

WOODWARD: Well, I don't know - I mean, that's something the Justice Department's going to sort out. Bless them, they have the job and that's not significant. The idea of a president in his vehicle wanting to go to the violence not away from violence, but to the Capitol (inaudible) ...

COOPER: Knowing that the crowd was armed.

WOODWARD: Yes. Knowing well, knowing what was going on which he incited and clearly wanted, from his own statement, to grab the steering wheel and, I mean, is dangerous, dangerous act and then whatever - to grab the Secret Service agent. I mean, this is beyond - at the end of my book, Rage, I reached the conclusion that Trump was the wrong man for the job. I realized once again, I understated what I should have said.

COOPER: John Dean, I should have asked you, do you - did you hear evidence of criminality today?

DEAN: Absolutely did. She was describing in detail situations that are lead right to a crime. They were very worried about obstruction. They knew it from the get go. They talked about it. They debated it. The White House counsel was telling them things were illegal. This is - this just radiates a misbehavior.

So I'm sure she's going to - her next experience - test trial will probably be in front of a grand jury and that probably will happen pretty soon.

COOPER: Carl Bernstein, what stood out to you?


COOPER: So many details.

BERNSTEIN: ... she gave the picture of a mad king. That's what the picture she drew was. Also the whole idea is now absolutely confirmed, proven. He is a criminal and a seditious President of the United States. How the legal system, the Department of Justice, deals with that and we're now talking about future obstruction evidence that - as Liz Cheney indicated, obstruction by the President of the United States, presumably, she's talking about. There is now both a legal, moral and political case in which Donald

Trump is now in a total box, including with his supporters who have gone along with his criminality, have gone along with his sedition up to now. And so one of the big questions is how are some of these Republicans going to explain their silence, including Mitch McConnell. He's known, perhaps, not that he was so far gone in his stability, that he would try to grab the steering wheel.

But look on CNN, in the first and second years of Trump's presidency, we were hearing from Republicans on the Hill, using the term instability. He seems to be an unstable president. These same Republicans as their wishes, as their political wishes became realized through Donald Trump as an instrument. They moved aside went along with things but they have known all along about this aspect of his 'character'. They did not perhaps know that it went so far as the mad king that she was picturing today.

COOPER: Bob, extraordinary detail that she had, she heard President Trump say a on January 6th about the crowd, he was upset that they weren't getting through the magnetometers.