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CNN TONIGHT: Former Trump WH Counsel Pat Cipollone Testifies Tomorrow Before January 6 Committee; GOP Operatives Linked To Trump Campaign's Fake Electors Scheme Set To Turn Over Documents To DOJ; British PM Boris Johnson Steps Down After Mutiny In His Party. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 07, 2022 - 21:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does it take, to live, in one of the most wild and isolated places on earth?

"PATAGONIA: LIFE ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD" premieres Sunday, at 9, on CNN.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Wow! I want to go there!

The news continues. Let's hand it over to Kasie Hunt, and CNN TONIGHT.


KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST: So do I, Anderson! Thank you so much.

I am Kasie Hunt. And this is CNN TONIGHT, on the eve of what could be the biggest day, yet, for the January 6th committee. Arguably, the most significant witness yet, set to appear before congressional investigators. We're going to have much more on that, in just a second.

But first, we want to show you video, just obtained by CNN, in another January 6th probe, the federal criminal investigation.


HUNT: We now have bodycam video, of several agents, raiding the home, of former Trump DOJ official, Jeffrey Clark.

He, you may remember, is the environmental lawyer that the ex- President allegedly wanted to install, as Attorney General, because of course, he seemed willing, to help Trump, overturn then-President elect Biden's victory. Other former DOJ officials have testified to that.

The footage shows authorities, arriving at Clark's doorstep, two weeks ago, and executing the search warrant, on his Virginia home. As you can see here, he answered the door, in boxers, and a dress shirt, and was asked to wait outside, while officers searched the house.

The raid was part of the Justice Department's probe, into the effort, to overturn the 2020 election. It is not clear, whether Clark himself, is the subject, of a criminal investigation.

Clark though did plead the Fifth, more than 100 times, before the January 6th committee. So there's that!

Speaking of the January 6th committee that brings us back to someone else about to sit down with the panel.

Former White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, allegedly threatened to resign, in an Oval Office meeting that took place, on January 3rd, 2021, when Donald Trump threatened to replace his then-Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, with Clark.

Cipollone's name has surfaced over and over and over again in these hearings. He was a critical member, of Trump's inner circle. He was present for the most private of conversations.

Allegedly, many of those conversations, disturbed him, so much, in the weeks leading up to January 6th that he almost walked out, numerous times. That's something that Trump's son-in-law, and former Senior Advisor, Jared Kushner, did not deny, when he was asked about it, by the committee.

But, you may recall, he did dismiss Cipollone.


JARED KUSHNER, FORMER WH SENIOR ADVISER UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP: I know that, you know, he was always to - him and the team were always saying, "Oh, we're going to resign. We're not going to be here, if this happens, if that happens." So, I kind of took it up to just be whining, to be honest with you.


HUNT: Whining! OK.

And tomorrow, that former White House counsel, will be under oath, testifying formally, for the first time, about Donald Trump, in the days before, during and after January 6th.

Unlike Cassidy Hutchinson, the former Mark Meadows' aide, who testified last week, we're not going to hear this testimony, in real- time. But it will be recorded and transcribed. Well that means there's a good chance that the American public will get a look at, at least some of his words, at some point. Maybe, who knows, even in next week's hearings.

Of course, it could be a very different Pat Cipollone than the one that we've seen, in public, before. You might remember him. He took center stage, on Capitol Hill, less than a year before the insurrection, when he defended Donald Trump, during his first impeachment trial.


PAT CIPOLLONE, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: They're not here to steal one election. They're here to steal two elections.

They're here to perpetrate the most massive interference, in an election, in American history. And we can't allow that to happen.


HUNT: It's very interesting, to listen back to that now, although now we know what ultimately did happen, on Trump's behalf, regarding attempted election interference. Quite a lot has changed since then.

So how valuable will Cipollone's testimony be tomorrow? I think we have a sense of that. How credible of a witness will he be?

Here's what former Trump acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, told us, last night.


MICK MULVANEY, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: I know, Pat. I worked very closely, with Pat, for 15 months, actually, more than that, when I was in the White House, in the West Wing. And Pat will tell the truth. There is no question about it.

Will he corroborate what Cassie Hutchinson had said? Will he counter what she said? I don't know. But I do know that Pat Cipollone is an honorable guy. And once he puts his hand, on that Bible, he will be telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help him God.



HUNT: All right, I'm joined, tonight, by a man, who probably knows better than anyone, what it will be like, for Pat Cipollone. Former Nixon White House Counsel, John Dean.

Also with us, Jim Schultz, who worked in the White House Counsel's Office, under then-President Trump.

Thank you both, so much, for being with us, tonight.

John, I have to start with you. I mean, how does this Pat Cipollone moment compare, to what you went through, in 1973?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL, AUTHOR, LECTURER, AND COLUMNIST: Well, I think it's very different. I was very inclined to testify.

I was actually trying to end a cover-up that was ongoing. Not - it was more than just a bungled burglary that had happened, at the Watergate, but rather a whole sequence, of illicit activity that needed to be explained, so you could understand Watergate.

So, I was a willing witness. I had been in - I had been involved, in misconduct, on my own, and I wanted to end all that, and explain what had happened.

So, Pat Cipollone is coming from a very different place. And I hope he's not coming from the same place, you showed in the clip, back in October of 2019, when he, I think, was not representing the Office of the President, but rather representing the President. And, I think, if he goes, in front of the committee, and tells what he knows, he can be a very important witness.

HUNT: John, let me just stick with you, for just one second. I mean, one thing that happened in 1973, was that Nixon waived executive privilege. How did that impact your testimony?

Or really, I should say, based on what you know, about how that impacted your testimony, at the time, how do you think the lack of such a waiver, in this case, is going to affect, what we learn, from Pat Cipollone?

DEAN: Well, the understanding of the representation, is much different, today.

It's clear - it was unclear, who my client was, at that time. And I had also told the people, at the White House that they have to go to court, to stop me and shut me up. Otherwise, I was coming forward, on both attorney-client and executive privilege, because I thought criminal activity would not be shielded by either privilege.

So, my background, in that, is a little different, than where we are, today, where, I think, there is - executive privilege is owned by the incumbent President, Joe Biden. And there is some lingering relationship, between the former incumbent, and his aides. But really, the issue of executive privilege, belongs to this president - the sitting president.

And, I think, the courts have pretty well clarified that. And a lot of decisions have already been made, about the Trump effort, to shield some of his activity, through executive privilege. And, of course, we're just saying, it's not there. That privilege belongs to Mr. Biden, and he has waived it.

So, I don't think this is going to be a big issue. Nor do I think attorney-client is going to apply here, because that was pretty well knocked down, back in the Clinton administration, when Ken Starr went after that privilege.

HUNT: So, on that point, Jim Schultz, on the attorney-client privilege idea, here? I mean, you obviously were inside the White House Counsel's Office, in the West Wing, during the Trump administration.

And, of course, as many of us, laypeople, who are not lawyers, understand it, attorney-client privilege does not apply, when criminal acts are being undertaken. We've heard a lot of testimony that suggests that Mr. Cipollone, repeatedly, was advising the President, not to do things, he wanted to do, or said that he wanted to do, because he would be committing a crime, if he did them.

What did you witness, while you were in that office, along these lines? And how are you thinking about Pat Cipollone's upcoming testimony?

JIM SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: So, here's what I think about that. I think Pat Cipollone's going to give honest testimony.

He's an American hero. He stood - he protected democracy, by standing up, against some of the things that were going on there, at that time, standing up against the likes of a Jeffrey Clark, getting into office. It's very, very important. He's going to tell the truth.

I know Pat Cipollone is going to tell the truth. And I think this was - this is something that was negotiated with the committee. He was served with a subpoena. It was negotiated with the committee. The scope is going to be - was negotiated with the committee, and he's going to testify truthfully, when asked.

HUNT: Jim, what's the number one question you want to see him answer, tomorrow?

SCHULTZ: Look, I think the key questions that are going to be asked tomorrow are ones surrounding, one, Jeffrey Clark.

Two, the questions surrounding the effort to go down to the Capitol - the President's alleged effort, to go down to the Capitol that day, by Cassidy Hutchinson. That's, I would want to verify that, if I were on that committee. And I think that's something that they're going to ask.

And, I think, anything surrounding the episodes leading up to - the planning, going up to January 6th, and anything he knows about that.


Because look, John's right. Criminal activity is not protected under attorney-client privilege, which is why, I believe, Pat Cipollone, is coming forward, and talking about these issues. And look, let's not forget. He did spend five hours, with the committee, giving interviews. And really, what this is, is getting in on the record, at this point.

HUNT: Yes. John Dean, what do you want to hear from Pat Cipollone? What's your top question, for him?

DEAN: Well, he's been in a catbird seat for a long time. And if he's going to protect the Office of the President, he should testify about what Trump has done, in his political activities that may have damaged that office, and get that out on the table, for this committee, to understand, in the context, of the insurrection, where that activity culminated. HUNT: John, what is your sense of any knowledge at very briefly, that Pat Cipollone might have, in terms of connections, to the Proud Boys or Oath Keepers groups? That is - seems to be where this committee is also going. That's what we hear they're going to get into next week.

DEAN: Yes, that's - Tuesday hearing is purportedly going to focus on that.

And, I think, Pat Cipollone is a smart guy. And, I think, he stayed away from people, like Roger Stone, and General Flynn, who were boasting these links, to the Proud Boys, and other extremist groups.

But he may know something, and he may have some knowledge, because there were also pardons requested, by some of these people. And he may have taken a look into it there. I don't - there is no privilege, in his review of pardon material that I know of.

HUNT: A very interesting point.

DEAN: And I had that same function once.

HUNT: Indeed you did!

John Dean, Jim Schultz, thank you both very much, for bringing your knowledge, and expertise, to bear, tonight.

SCHULTZ: Thanks for having me on.

HUNT: There is news tonight, about the scheme, to install fake GOP electors, in key swing states, to overturn Election 2020. Some Republican operatives are now prepared to work with criminal investigators.

How? And what it could mean? When CNN TONIGHT returns.



HUNT: New signs tonight that the Justice Department's criminal investigation, into January 6th is ramping up.

As soon as tomorrow, Republican operatives connected to the fake electoral push, in battleground states, are set to hand over documents, to the DOJ. That comes from sources close to the investigation.

The operatives, who received subpoenas, for the documents, include two Republican state senators, in Arizona, as well as election officials, in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Federal investigators have also recently targeted two key players, in this alleged plot. The FBI seized a phone, from the masterminds, Trump attorney, John Eastman, last month.

And, as I mentioned earlier, federal agents did raid the home, of former DOJ official, Jeffrey Clark.


HUNT: This is the video, newly obtained by CNN, showing that moment, from a police bodycam, asking him to step outside, and refusing his request, to get dressed, until investigators cleared the house.

Here to discuss, is former Montana Governor, Steve Bullock, who also once served as State Attorney General. We are also joined by Scott Jennings, and Miles Taylor.

Gentlemen, thank you all, for being here, tonight.

Governor, let me start with you, here, if you want to put your legal hat on, for a second?


HUNT: Yes. I mean, what do these moves about - by the Justice Department, tell you about where they are, in their investigation?

BULLOCK: Yes, no, I think, it's significant.

Like first, let's step back. 800 folks had been charged through January 6th, already. 300 have pled. And, I think, what the Department is doing, taking real methodical approach, along the way, following the evidence, where it comes.

And this is another significant step. Because it's now clearly it's more than just what happened, on January 6th, in the Capitol. They're looking into the larger pieces of what could be significant conspiracy.

HUNT: Yes, they're very clearly putting pieces of a puzzle together. Obviously, January 6th is a key culmination. But the hearings have kind of built up to that.

I mean, Miles Taylor, how do, you know, I know, you still talk to some people, who once worked for Donald Trump, despite having left the party, and telling us how you really feel.


HUNT: What's the sense in those kinds of quarters about what's happening, with DOJ? I mean, are people start to get scared?

TAYLOR: They're starting to get scared. And they also see that this thing, Kasie is, it's like an endless onion, or a blooming onion. I mean, it just it has more and more layers. I mean, look at how this proceeded. First, it was the fake votes that the President was trying to find, to win the election. When he couldn't find the fake votes, then it was, "Let's find fake electors." They couldn't find fake electors. Then it was "Let's find fake authorities, for the Vice President of the United States, to use, to nullify the election."

It was this triple fake, that's created a whole range of investigative avenues that's making almost everyone that was in the Trump White House, or in the administration, at the time, have the hairs, on the backs of their neck, stand up. Because, they're worried, at some point, one of those pieces, of the investigation, is going to come their direction.

And, I think, what we've seen, in the past couple of weeks, with the Select Committee, is that if this was a play, we're entering the third act, we're entering the point that it's becoming very dramatic.

And you showed footage of the bodycams, at Jeffrey Clark's house. Well, we're at the place, where we're going to see the bodycams that were in the Oval Office, people like Pat Cipollone, who I know will talk about--

HUNT: Metaphors for bodycams.

TAYLOR: --those were the body cameras. Yes, they're the metaphor.

HUNT: Yes.

TAYLOR: Well, and if there was, this might all be over now, because we would see. But the metaphorical bodycams are getting ready to be introduced, in these hearings. And I think that's going to be very significant.

HUNT: Scott?


I mean, if you were involved, in trying to literally create fake electors, to replace the duly-elected electors that are constitutional officers? I mean, these people are part of our United States constitutional system. This is how it works.

HUNT: Yes.

JENNINGS: And if you're trying to subvert that? You deserve to get a visit, from the Department of Justice. And I hope these people cooperate, and fess up to it, because it's wrong. I mean, it shouldn't be.


HUNT: So, Scott, let me ask you from a political perspective, OK? So, recent polling, shows a little bit - now granted this was before Cassidy Hutchinson testified, we should note.

But it does suggest some of what we've been hearing, anecdotally, which is that Republican voters, who, of course, need to make a decision, about who to nominate, for President, in 2024, aren't really paying attention. 10 percent say, they're watching the hearings a lot. 38 percent say a little. Half of Republicans say, 52 percent that they are watching these hearings, not at all.

My question for you, I guess is, is what is your sense about whether it moves the needle, not necessarily among voters, but among - when I talked to Mick Mulvaney, last night, he said, look, it's moving the needle, among people, like Mike Pence, and Nikki Haley, and Mike Pompeo, people that are thinking about challenging him. Somebody would have to step up, and challenge him, to prevent him from winning the nomination, again.

What's your thinking about that?

JENNINGS: Well, I do think these people, who are thinking of challenging him, are ultimately going to have to make the argument, centered around some of what we're hearing, right now that "Look, we all supported Donald Trump. We all voted for him, twice. We were all glad for his successes. But we can't re-litigate 2020 in the 2024 election."

Mike Pence has obviously already laid down that marker. But these other candidates are going to have to do the same thing. And so, this--

HUNT: Right.

JENNINGS: --whole process that's going on right now gives them the ammunition to do that. I'm not surprised, by the way that a lot of Republicans aren't watching this.

HUNT: Right.

JENNINGS: I mean, you can't put Adam Schiff, and Jamie Raskin, on a TV show, and expect Republicans to watch it. That's what been the biggest failing of this committee is that they put--


HUNT: He's trying to jump in.

JENNINGS: --they put partisan hacks (ph).

HUNT: Push back on that.

BULLOCK: Yes. I mean, more than that. Look, I could walk down Last Chance Gulch, in Helena, Montana. No one's going to talk to me about these hearings. They're going to talk to me about gas prices, about things that impact their daily lives.

Now, we know if there was a seven-part hearing, on gas prices, not only would a lot more people watch it, but every cable television network--

HUNT: I think C-SPAN's ratings, and I love C-SPAN--

BULLOCK: --would actually cover the damn thing.

HUNT: --might actually contradict you.


HUNT: But continue.

BULLOCK: So, there's a piece to that, though, that it doesn't impact people's everyday lives, outside of this place, we gather, called Washington, D.C.

I hope, to Scott's point, that's ultimately, even if voters aren't following this, on a daily basis, they're more worried about, what's around their kitchen table, I hope it's kind of that awakening, to what the Republican Party used to be, and more and more folks standing up and saying, "Look, we can do a lot better than this."

HUNT: Well, I mean, your state is - it's voted for Democrats, in the past. It's trended red, recently. I'm sure, you talk regularly, with people, who vote, for those who are not in your Democratic Party. I mean, do you think that they are open, when you listen to people that they want someone that's not Donald Trump as their nominee?

BULLOCK: I think one of the problems, or one of the challenges, of all of this, is we can't even agree what the table looks like, right now, anymore. Meaning that we can talk about these investigations. We can talk about the hearings. But if people don't even believe the commonalities of "Boy, it was more than a riot!"

HUNT: Yes.

BULLOCK: I mean, remember Ted Cruz saying it was a terrorist act, until he got his collar pulled.

HUNT: Right. And Kevin McCarthy going down to Mar-a-Lago (ph).

BULLOCK: So, I do think, at the end of the day, look, some folks will pay attention. But we can't count on these hearings. And these hearings are playing a critical point, for both accountability, for helping build cases, for the Department of Justice.

HUNT: And for history.

BULLOCK: But that's not what's going to move the voters.

HUNT: And for history.

BULLOCK: And for history.

HUNT: All right, gentlemen, stick with us. We got a lot more to chat about, tonight. We're going to have three of you back, later on, this hour. Americans though, woke up this morning, to Boris Johnson resigning, as the British Prime Minister. This is what it looks like, when Conservatives, in England, decided that they are over it. But what would it take for more conservatives, in this country, to rethink their loyalty, to Donald Trump?

The Author of the new book "Why We Did It," Tim Miller, joins me to discuss. Coming up, next.



HUNT: Boris Johnson did survive many scandals. He survived being caught telling lies. He survived a vote of no-confidence, and that was just last month. But it all piled up. And in the end, the U.K. Prime Minister just couldn't survive, without the support of his own party.

After more than 50 aides and government officials resigned, basically en masse, Johnson says, he is stepping down, and he blames, quote, "The Herd."


BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: As we've seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful. When the herd moves, it moves. And my friends, in politics, no one is remotely indispensable.


HUNT: Sure did move!

It's amazing, what pressure from one's own party can do to any politician! So obviously, it begs the question, what about the conservative herd, here, in the United States? Will the Republican Party ever say enough is enough, with former President Trump?

I want to bring in the perfect person, to discuss this, Tim Miller. He is a former Republican political operative, and the Author of the new book, "Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell."

Tim, it's always great to see you. Thank you for being here.

I want to show everyone, a tweet, you put up, earlier. You wrote, quote, "A conservative political party that holds their own head of government accountable for bad deeds. Fascinating. Something worth looking into GOP." What is behind conservatives abandoning Boris Johnson, but not Trump?

So, I'm going to make you answer your own question. What's behind it?


One is, the British system of government is different, and has, I think, provided more opportunities for getting rid of a party leader. Boris isn't the first party leader, to get thrown over, by his own government. It's the nature of parliamentary system. So, I think, probably something worth reflecting on, in America.

But that's about our institutions, that is. But that's not an excuse, for the Republicans, here. Because there are mechanisms, in the U.S., for Republicans, to do exactly what happened, in Britain well--

HUNT: Well, yes. So, I was--

MILLER: --within our system.

HUNT: --I was just going to say, Tim, because there actually was an opportunity. I mean, you're absolutely right. In this case, it's a group of elites, basically, of elected officials, of leaders, who make the decisions, where, in the United States, the people make the decisions, for President.

However, we did have a United States Senate, including a Republican leader, at the time, who seemed to very much be on the fence, and potentially willing to vote, to convict Donald Trump.

They could have together, as a group of elites, voted to impeach him, and prevented him, right in the wake of the riot that ransacked their building that would have prevented him, from becoming a Republican - from becoming president ever again. And yet, they didn't do it.

MILLER: Yes, this is absolutely right. And the 25th Amendment was also an option before that.

January 6th, Trump's own cabinet, in the same way that Boris' did, could have gotten rid of him. He'd already lost the election anyway. Would have just made Mike Pence the head of state. He'd actually shown that he acted responsibly that day. It was kind of a no-brainer.


Then the conviction coming in the Senate, it only would have taken 10 more Republican senators, some of them, were retiring, who still didn't vote for it, people who didn't have any political skin in the game. And so, I think that is what shows the real difference, here.

And so, the politicians here, for a variety of reasons that I get into in the book, are so addicted to the access, so addicted to being close to power, that they could not summon the courage, to do what needed to be done.

This was not a political thing. And people say, "Oh, well, the politics wouldn't have let it be so." That's not true. Republicans could have moved on to Ron DeSantis, or Mike Pence, and gotten all the policies that they say they claim to care about, and gotten rid of Donald Trump, and his corrupt actions.

They chose not to do it, because they wanted access to power, because they were cowardly. And because the Herd, as Boris put it, in America, didn't work together, in the way that they did in England, to make sure that non-corrupt officials were the head of the party. HUNT: So, I had an interesting conversation, last night, with Mick Mulvaney, the former acting Chief of Staff, to the White House.

And he's arguing basically, to Republican voters, "Hey, listen to the Republicans, who are testifying, at the January 6th committee." And he's arguing that it is potentially moving the needle for some of those rivals that you mentioned, the Mike Pences of the world.

Take a look at what Mulvaney had to say.


MULVANEY: Inside Washington, inside the political world, so outside of Washington, in politics, it is moving the needle.

And what you're seeing, I think, is folks, especially in my party, are looking at Donald Trump, as damaged, and as something that might weigh down, the party, going into the midterms, and into 2024, which is why, I think, you're starting to hear rumblings now about Mike Pence, running in 2024, against Donald Trump. Mike Pompeo, Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley.

Those were discussions that I don't think you would have had six weeks ago, or eight weeks ago, before these commission hearings started.


HUNT: Pretty interesting. Tim, do you buy it?

MILLER: Well, on the one level, I kind of buy it.

We have, at "The Bulwark," we do these focus groups, with Trump voters. And there's a podcast called, "The Focus Group." And it is true that in the last month or so, you've heard more, from Republican voters, who like Trump that are thinking "Ah, maybe the drama's a little too much, it's time to move on." The problem is we've all been through this before.

And in order to kill the monster, you actually have to go at him, and put a stake through his heart. And none of the Republicans are willing to do it. I feel like, I'm going through the same thing, I went through, in 2016, when we tried to stop Trump, with an anti-Trump - Conservatives against Trump PAC. And they won't do it.

Mike Pence, look at Pence. He won't testify, to this committee. Mike Pence is the one, who could reveal what - just how derelict Trump was, that day. Ron DeSantis says, he wants to challenge Trump. But all he does is talk about how great Donald Trump is, whenever he's asked.

And so, I'm deeply skeptical that the people who are actually in the game? Mick Mulvaney is out of the game now, so he can speak a little bit more freely. But the people who actually are - still need voters for power, are going to do what it takes, to defeat the monster. None of them are willing to do it.

You just saw it in the last segment. It's Scott Jennings talking about how "Oh, Republican voters aren't watching this, because Jamie Raskin isn't doing this."

Well, this is because Republican elites aren't giving this committee the power that it needs to have. It's not being covered in conservative media, fairly, despite the fact that Liz Cheney, who's a deep conservative, is the lead prosecutor, for it.

So, I'm not seeing a lot of evidence that the Elites are changing their views, even though we are seeing a little bit of movement, among voters, which is encouraging.

HUNT: Yes. The Liz Cheney point's interesting, because Mulvaney, also, in our interview, trashed Liz Cheney, quite frankly.

MILLER: Right.

HUNT: Said "Don't listen to her"--

MILLER: Right.

HUNT: "But do listen to all of the Republicans, who are coming forward, people like Cassidy Hutchinson." So, I guess--

MILLER: Crazy!

HUNT: --only time will tell!

As always, Tim Miller, thanks very much for your time tonight, sir. I really appreciate having you.

MILLER: Thanks, Kasie.

HUNT: All right. Back to the January 6th hearings. How will the Select Committee try to tie domestic extremism, and extremists, to Donald Trump's efforts, to overturn the election, when their hearing happens, on Tuesday?

Predictions, around the table, when CNN TONIGHT returns.



HUNT: We saw the people, who were part of the mob, on January 6th, many of them affiliated, with various far-right groups, including the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and the Three Percenters. Was there any coordination, between these extremists, and the Trump White House? That is the question that's at the center of next Tuesday's hearing.

Remember, Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Donald Trump instructed Mark Meadows, to meet with Rudy Giuliani, and two of his other key allies, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, on the night, before the attack. Both Stone and Flynn are known to have ties with these groups.


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO TRUMP WH CHIEF OF STAFF MARK MEADOWS: Mr. Meadows, had a conversation with me, where he wanted me, to work with Secret Service, on a movement, from the White House, to the Willard Hotel, so he could attend the meeting, or meetings, with Mr. Giuliani, and his associates, in the war room.

I had made it clear to Mr. Meadows that I didn't believe it was a smart idea for him to go to the Willard Hotel that night.

Throughout the afternoon, he mentioned a few more times, going up to the Willard Hotel that evening, and then eventually dropped the subject, the night of the 5th, and said that he would dial in instead.


HUNT: Steve Bullock, Scott Jennings, Miles Taylor, are back with me now.

Scott Jennings, I have to go to you on this. Because, the committee has been extraordinarily careful, to delineate what the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, these organized extremist groups were doing. They've been separating them out, from Trump supporters, who were there, who did not plan in advance, to do some of the things that we saw, these groups try to do.

If this connection is made, directly, or as a matter of perception, what does that mean, for Republican leadership? Like what do - what does Mitch McConnell need to be saying, and doing, about this, right now?

JENNINGS: Well, if they can prove this link, it's incredibly damaging, to the whole idea - there's this pervasive idea, on the Right, that these people were invited in. "The police let them in, and it's just wandering tourists, wandering."

HUNT: Yes, I was there. They were not invited.

JENNINGS: And if you watch the video, though, and you see these people dressed in paramilitary gear, and have rappelling equipment, and zip, handcuffs--

HUNT: Zip ties.


JENNINGS: --they were obviously there for a reason. The core question is who told them to be there, who helped them plan it, and do any of those people exist, in Trump's inner circle? It's the right question, to ask. So, we'll see what they can prove.

But every Republican, should condemn links, to these groups, and pay very close attention to this. I'm interested to see what evidence they have. But it's apparent that some of these people were not there, for spontaneous reasons that they actually had thought about it in advance.

HUNT: Miles Taylor, I mean, you were inside the Department of Homeland Security, for much of the Trump administration. They often dealt with these groups, or did not, depending on the proclivities of the administration.

I mean, what do you know? What are your - what's your view of how this could play out?

TAYLOR: Anyone who thinks that these people were in Washington, on January 6th, and it was a fluke, is a fool for believing that.

There is a thread that goes all the way back to the beginning of the Trump administration that shows this problem with domestic extremism was not a political situation. It was a real public safety threat.

And, at the beginning of the administration, Trump largely gave a pass, to these groups, because the people at the White House would say, he viewed a lot of these types of organizations, as his supporters.

We explicitly went to the White House, and asked them to develop and issue a domestic terrorism strategy. The answer we got back? "We'll do that later." And it was largely because, again, they saw these people, as political supporters, not domestic extremists.

That went from giving a pass to extremist groups, to being permissive towards them, when you saw Trump say things, like "Stand back and standby," about these groups, all the way to potentially partnering with them, on January 6th. There is a whole line, here.

Look, today, in all 50 states, there are domestic terrorism investigations, in this country. Most of them are far-right extremist groups. That was not the case, when Donald Trump came into office. Every single state in this country.

This isn't just a political issue. I mean, in 2000, when Bush lost the election, his supporters didn't go try to violently overthrow the government, and inspire plots, to potentially assassinate public figures. That's what we're dealing with now. This is a very serious public safety threat.

HUNT: Well, unstable - look, I mean, it's out west, it's particularly probably--

BULLOCK: Yes. And to Miles' point, not only "Stand back and standby." Go back to Million MAGA March, in December, when Stone, and Flynn, were there, the Proud Boys were there.

Look, we've already seen links, when a federal judge, looking at a case that has both the Trump - President Trump, his family, and the Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers, say, there's enough evidence here to at least let this claim go forward.

You had Chairman Thompson saying that, "Look, we will actually provide evidence of, or discussion, of the Trump orbit and these groups."

So, I think that there is a lot more there. I think this will be an interesting piece. And I hope that Scott's right that this will be a wake-up call for a lot of folks saying, "Look, we've been on this train, for quite a while. But now, at least we get off." HUNT: I mean, Scott Jennings, do think - I mean, it seems like DOJ has to charge, if they prove links, here.

JENNINGS: Oh, I mean, look, they've already, as Steve pointed out, the Governor pointed out, a minute ago, I mean, numbers, hundreds of people have already been charged. There's obviously a willingness to move on these folks. And if you broke the law?

HUNT: But I mean, I'm talking about--

JENNINGS: You deserve to be charged.

HUNT: I'm talking about charging Trump.

JENNINGS: Oh, you mean to?

HUNT: Like if they can link the--

JENNINGS: You know?

HUNT: --White House to--


HUNT: --these extremist groups?

JENNINGS: This question's--

HUNT: How do they get around charging it?

JENNINGS: This question's interesting, because obviously, Joe Biden, who beat Donald Trump, sits at the top of this administration, which ultimately runs the Department of Justice.

It's a tricky question. I hear you. It is a tricky question about whether the administration that just beat the guy should charge the guy with a crime, if he intends to run for reelection. I know.

HUNT: Let me put you in an--

JENNINGS: This is unprecedented. But--

HUNT: Let me reverse--

JENNINGS: --there is a school thought here, where this takes us down a very weird road.

HUNT: Well, let me reverse this on you, for a little, because I get - I get all of the, Republicans want to say that the, you know, "This is the Biden Justice Department. They can't charge Trump, a Republican president."

But as someone, who has worked for - I'm going to put you - I'm going to ask you to put your McConnell hat on, right now. Because, he is a Republican leader, who has publicly, so not insulted Trump, but privately we all know where he stands. Can't stand him, wants him out of the party. He lost him two Senate seats, in Georgia.

For Mitch McConnell, what is the best thing the Department of Justice can do here? If they charge Trump, does that keep him in the spotlight? What is, I mean, if you're trying to - if you're a Republican, trying to get Trump off the stage, what is the best case?

JENNINGS: Well, I think, if he were sitting here, right now, he would say the Department of Justice should follow the law. Period! As a political matter--

HUNT: Obviously, yes.

JENNINGS: --as a political matter, I will tell you, there is a debate, within Republican circles, about whether if he does get charged, whether it's at the federal level, or in any of these state investigations, that it actually martyrs him, that it makes it worse, in some way that turns him into, a persecuted martyr. And it sounds crazy to say, but does it rebound, and make--

HUNT: And that's my question, yes.

JENNINGS: --make it worse? And no one quite really knows what the political impact of that would be.

I do think the culmination of all these investigations, and hearings, is that for even some of the people, who love voting for Donald Trump, they realize re-litigating this, and going through this again, in 2024, gives the party the least best chance, to win back the White House.

HUNT: Sure does.

JENNINGS: So, even in public, they might say, "Donald Trump's great." But in their heart, they know, "There's got to be a better way here."

HUNT: So, Governor, briefly, from the Democratic side, what's the flip side of this? Because I mean, you're someone who ran as a relatively moderate Democrat. I mean, you understand, what it takes, to run, in a state or an environment that's perhaps--


HUNT: --not terribly progressive, or like it's tough. Is charging Trump good for the Democratic Party?


BULLOCK: So, I think that, first of all, Department of Justice, and we've already seen seditious conspiracy charges, against the Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers, like that's definitely the right path to be going down.

Any prosecutor would turn around, and say, "Do I have the evidence to actually, the proof, to charge the crime? And also, do I want to exercise my discretion?" It is a little bit different, from a prosecutor, in Georgia, to the-- HUNT: Yes.

BULLOCK: --Attorney General of the United States doing this. So yes, I do think we still have to continue to say, "What more comes out?" But you don't make that decision lightly, for both legal reasons, and for political reasons.

HUNT: It's a very, very tricky needle--


JENNINGS: I mean, if Donald Trump were running, for President, and Biden, were running for reelection, and his administration was prosecuting the former President, and possible future opponent? I wonder what the political--

HUNT: It's an explosive situation.

JENNINGS: Absolutely.

HUNT: It absolutely is. All right. Thank you.

Steve Bullock, Scott Jennings, Miles Taylor, this was great conversation. Come back anytime!

The national divide is not all about white nationalists, in camouflage, looking for trouble. Sometimes, the battles are a lot more subtle, and they can come down to a simple four letter word. Woke!

W. Kamau Bell looks into its surprising impact, in the new season, of CNN's "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA." He's here with a preview, next.




DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what woke means? It means you're a loser. Everything woke--


TRUMP: Everything woke--


TRUMP: It's true. Everything woke turns to shit.


HUNT: Donald Trump made a platform of being anti-woke. What does that mean exactly?

W. Kamau Bell went to election battleground state of Arizona to ask that question. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know what that means. So I can't answer either way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel old, just like hearing that word. Because honestly, I know--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you say, "I feel old just hearing that word?"


BELL: Because I did, yes (ph).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. I'm only 16. Yet, I don't really understand, like some of the slang terms nowadays.

BELL: So, it's not a word that you're using in your - I mean, I'd be shocked if it was.


BELL: But it's not a word that you all are using?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it's a word used against us. It's a word that's like, "Oh, I'm sorry, I'm not woke enough to know what non- binary means, or what any of that means, or to use your pronouns." I identify as a tack helicopter (ph). I is it, its pronouns.


HUNT: That is from the first episode of the new season of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," premiering Sunday night, right here, on CNN.

And Kamau Bell joins me now.

Sir, thank you so much for being here. I want to put the same question to you that you put to those kids. What does woke mean? And how have the cultural warriors, on the Right, changed the term?

BELL: I mean, first of all, I think Donald Trump, when he said things turn to shit, was projecting there. Let me just say that, right now.

So, I think, woke is slang that Black people invented, as Black people do in this country, we've been slanging it. All it means is like, be educated and be aware. And it's ways that Black folks tell each other, to pay attention to the world, pay attention to America, because America is a dangerous place, for us. That's what it means. Full stop!

But like the best Black slang, it is taken by the mainstream America, and often twisted into something we don't recognize. But, in this time, it's been twisted into something that is harmful, and specifically harmful, and targeting us, in sort of saying that "Woke is anti-American," which is what Black people are always in the position of being told, our version of America is not the most American version of America.

And most damagingly, they are targeting the schools, as a way, to stop schools, from teaching accurate, age-appropriate versions of the history of this country.

HUNT: Yes, I was going to say, I mean, this war really has - this version of the culture war really has gone into schools, when people talking about critical race theory, and some of these other issues.

How do you think people who oppose that framing, largely Democrats, progressives, however you want to label them, how, what tools do they have to push back?

BELL: I think we have to start pushing back earlier. I think a lot of times, those of us, on the Left go, "That's nonsense. That's not going to stand. We don't have to worry about that."

And what we learn is that the longer we let it fester, even like, it's things that sound ridiculous, like the "War on Christmas," the more they start to take up shape, and we have to start dealing with those, as if that's actually where the argument lies.

And I think that's what's happened, with woke, and with critical race theory. Critical race theory has nothing to do with what your kid learns in elementary school. If your kid is learning critical race theory, in elementary school, congratulations, your kid is a genius, because that is for law schools, and graduate level schools.

So - but it's we don't take that stuff seriously, because we do, I think, frame it as a culture war. And really, that's where a lot of the wars in this country happened, is in the culture.

HUNT: So, I will say, I do talk to some Democrats, on Capitol Hill, or I have, who would probably describe themselves, as more moderate members of the party, who think that some of the language goes too far.

What do you argue, to those people, to people who, policy-wise, are on the side of many people who would call themselves woke, but who think it's potentially alienating? What do you say to them? How should they be approaching it?

BELL: "Congratulations! You sound old!" That's what I would say to them.

The culture shifts, language changes, and those of us, and I'm also in that old category, have to understand that as the language change, it's your turn to sort of go, "Oh, this is new. I should learn about it," or you go, "No, that's not the way it was, when I was coming up. So, I have to stay in my place." So, for me, I sit here, wearing this shirt that says "Trans people belong." That is a place I came to. I was not born that way. I didn't grow up around Trans people. But I've been educated, by loving people, around me, who explained to me that Trans people belong. And that's why I wear shirts like this.

So, this is about, can you accept new ideas, in your head? Can you process them? And can you then take those new ideas, and share them with the world?

HUNT: I was going to say, I mean, you described the way you initially described woke was something that was adopted by Black Americans. But it's come to be something that many other communities have identified with.

BELL: Yes, I mean, let's be clear. Black people, often in the American language, are the culture engine, of the American language.


So yes, there are ways, to talk about woke that is positive. I mean, the phrase "Stay Woke" took off, during 2014, in the wake of Michael Brown's killing, by the police, in Ferguson - by a police officer, in Ferguson.

There's nothing wrong with taking these phrases, and using them, as long as you're using them the way they were meant to be used. But often, as happens with Black culture, it gets weaponized, against us, eventually.

HUNT: Right. Kamau, thank you very much, for this conversation. I'm sure the episode is going to be fascinating.

Do be sure to tune in. The all-new season of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" with W. Kamau Bell, premieres Sunday, at 10 PM Eastern, only right here, on CNN.

We'll be right back.


HUNT: Thank you all, for joining us, tonight. I'll be back, tomorrow night. I hope to see you.

"DON LEMON TONIGHT" with Laura Coates, sitting in for Don, starts, right now.

Hi, Laura.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST, DON LEMON TONIGHT: Hey, Kasie. Thank you so much. And we'll see you tomorrow night.

This is "DON LEMON TONIGHT". I'm Laura Coates, in for Don Lemon.

And look, the clock is ticking. In fact, by this time tomorrow, when we meet again, the January 6th committee, may have some answers, from none other than Pat Cipollone. He's going to talk to them, behind closed doors, tomorrow.