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CNN Live Event/Special

Soon: 1/6 Committee To Show How Extremists Plotted Capitol Attack; 1/6 Committee Hearing Resumes. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired July 12, 2022 - 14:30   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: I mean, two-thirds of House Republicans voted to not count the electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania based on lies, period.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: And how many of them are running in primaries as election deniers? This is a key part of winning in politics today.

To go back to Carrie's point about the goal of the committee, I think it is there to say two things can be true at the same time. Yes, it's about passing legislation.

But there's no question that the committees focus has been on Donald Trump. The phrase I've heard over and over again is, "We are looking for overt acts traceable to Trump."

And just to go back to the Twitter, the former Twitter employee, who said Trump had been anybody else he would've been suspended a very long time ago.

It felt this is I'm paraphrasing, as if the mop was being organized and they were gathering together with their weaponry.

TAPPER: Right. And the point on that was he was talking about the moment during the October debate when Chris Wallace and now-President Biden challenged Donald Trump to condemn these far-right militia groups, like the Proud Boys, and Donald Trump said stand back and stand by.

That was the moment he talked about suspending Donald Trump, right?

GANGEL: Right.

TAPPER: Not January 6. We are talking October.

GANGEL: Absolutely. Whatever else happens, I think you are going to see the focus remain on Donald Trump and his --


TAPPER: And remember who Carrie Cordero -- remember who gave Sterling, the Georgia election official in December 2020, he was talking to Donald Trump when he said, stop, stop these lies. Someone will get killed.

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Sure. With respect to the overt act that Jamie is describing that the committee has laid out, I think the Georgia hearing, the hearing that featured the Georgia election officials and the Justice Department officials hearing, those two hearings laid out a series of, I counted about half a dozen overt acts the president did that would fall into the category of defrauding the United States.

In terms of trying to overturn the election and the pressure he placed on all the election officials, Justice Department officials and other state government officials to try to overturn the election.

The next piece I suspect we will hear about more this afternoon is the other piece, the violent piece, whether or not they can trace that violent instigation to something other than his public tweet.

GANGEL: And of course, they are connected. Because he wasn't successful in all of the attempts in various forms.

Whether it was state politics, state government, his own federal government to overturn the election, then that was the frustration that they described earlier that he had that he was up until 1:42 a.m. when he tweeted, OK, come and you do it.

TAPPER: The committee members are filing back in. You see the chairman of the committee, Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, next to him Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the vice chair, Republican of Wyoming.

Stephanie Murphy, on the left, Democrat from Florida. Jamie Raskin on the right, Democrat from Maryland. They are co-chairing this hearing.

We've heard a lot of shocking information in the first part of the hearing. The second part more directly about the threat of these far- right militia groups.

And also how much culpability Donald Trump holds for individuals coming to the capitol on January 6 and committing those heinous acts of violence.

Let's listen in.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): The committee will be in order.

The chair recognizes the gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Raskin.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Mr. Chairman, President Trump's tweet drew tens of thousands of Americans to Washington to form the angry crowd that would be transformed on January 6 into a violent mob.

Dr. Donell Harvin, who is chief of homeland security and intelligence for D.C., told the committee how his team saw Trump's December 19th tweet unite violent groups across the spectrum on the far right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. DONELL HARVIN, FROMER CHIEF OF HOMELAND SECURITY, D.C.: We got derogatory information from OSHA suggesting some very, very violent individuals were organizing to come to D.C. Not only were they organizing to come to D.C., but these groups and these nonaligned groups were aligning. And so all the red flags went up at that point.

And when you have more militia collaborating with white supremacy groups, collaborating with conspiracy theory groups online all for a common goal you start seeing what we call in terrorism is a blended ideology and that's very sign.

And when there were clearly, not just across one platform but across multiple platforms these groups coordinating and not just chatting. Hey, how's it going, you known, what's the weather like where you're at?


But like, what are you bringing, what are you wearing, where do you meet up, do you have plans for the capitol. And that its preoperational intelligence, right? That is something that is clearly alarming.


RASKIN: The Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers are two key groups that responded immediately to President Trump's call.

The Proud Boys are a right street-fighting group that glorifies violence and white supremacy. The Oath Keepers are extremists who promote a wide range of conspiracy theories and sought to act as a private paramilitary force for Donald Trump.

The Department of Justice has charged leaders from both groups with seditious conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States on January 6.

Trump's December 19th tweet motivated these two extremes groups, which have historically not work together to coordinate their activities.

December 19th at 10:22 a.m., hours after President Trump's tweet, Kelly Meggs, the head of the Florida Oath Keeps, declared an alliance among the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and the Florida 3 Percenters, another militia group.

He wrote, "We have decided to work together and shut this shit down."

Phone records obtained by the Select Committee show that, later this afternoon, Mr. Meggs called the Proud Boys leader, Enrique Terrio, and they spoke for several minutes.

The very next day the Proud Boys got to work. The Proud Boys launched an encrypted chat called the Ministry of self-defense.

The committee obtained hundreds of messages, which show strategic and tactical planning about January 6, including maps of Washington, D.C., that pinpoint the location of police.

In the weeks leading up to the attack, the leaders in the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers worked with Trump allies.

One such ally was Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security advisor, and one of the participants in the unhinged meeting at the White House on December 18.

He also had connections to the Oath Keepers.

This photo from December 12 shows Flynn and Patrick Byrne, another Trump ally, who is present at the December 18th meeting, guarded by indicted Oath Keeper, Roberto MoMoneutra (ph).

Another view of the scene shows Oath Keepers leader, Stuart Rhodes, in the picture as well.

Another central figure with ties to this network of extremist groups was Roger Stone, a political consultant and longtime confidant of President Trump.

He pardoned both Flynn and Stone in weeks between the election on November 3rd and January 6.

In the same timeframe, Stone communicated with both the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers regularly.

The committee obtained encrypted content from a group chat called Friends of Stone, FOS, which included Stone, Rhodes, Tarrio and Ellie Alexander (ph).

The chat focused on various pro-Trump events in November and December of 2020 as well as January 6.

As you can see here, Stuart Rhodes himself urged the Friends of Stone to have people go to their state capitals if they cannot make it to Washington for the first million MAGA march on November 14th.

These Friends of Roger Stone had a significant present at multiple pro-Trump events after the election, including Washington on December 12th. On that day, Stuart Rhodes pulled for Donald Trump to invoke martial law promising bloodshed if he did not.


ENRIQUE TARRIO, PROUD BOYS LEADER: He needs a know from you that you are with him. If he does not do it now while he is commander-in-chief, we will have to do it ourselves later in a much more desperate and much more bloody war. Let's get it on now while he is still the commander-in-chief.



RASKIN: That night, the Proud Boys engaged in violence on the streets of Washington and hurled aggressive insults at the police.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are oath breakers. Do your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) job. Give us one hour. One hour.


RASKIN: Just the previous night, the cohosts of Info Wars issued an ominous warning at a rally alongside Roger Stone and Proud Boys leader, Enrique Tarrio.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will be back and genuine.



RASKIN: Encrypted chat obtained by the Select Committee show that Kelly Meggs makes, the indicted leader of the Florida Oath Keepers spoke directly with Roger Stone about security on January 5th and 6th.

In fact, on January 6th, Stone was guarded by two Oath Keepers who have since been criminally indicted for seditious conspiracy.

One later pled guilty, and according to the Department of Justice, admitted the Oath Keepers were going to use, quote, "lethal force if necessary" against anyone who tried to remove President Trump from the White House, including the National Guard.

As we have seen, the Proud Boys were also part of the Friends of Stone network. Stones' ties to the Proud Boys go back many years. He's even their taken their fraternity creed required for the first level of initiation to the group.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Roger.


RASKIN: Kelley SoRelle, a lawyer who assists the Oath Keeper and a volunteer lawyer for the Trump campaign, explained to the committee how Roger Stone and other figures brought extremists of different stripes and views together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mentioned that Mr. Stone wanted to start the Stop the Steal series of rallies. Who did you consider the leader of these rallies? It sounds like, from what you just said, it was Mr. Stone, Mr. Jones and Mr. Allie Alexander (ph). Is that correct?

KELLYE SORELLE, OATH KEEPERS GENERAL COUNSEL: Those are the ones that became the like the center point for everything.


RASKIN: We will learn more from Ms. Murphy about these individuals and their involvement in the days leading up to the violent attack on January 6.

We will also hear how they were allowed to speak at a rally for President Trump the night before January 6, even though organizers expressed serious concerns about the violent and extremist rhetoric directly to Mark Meadows.

You will hear testimony from White House aides who were with the president as he watched the crowd from the Oval Office and will testify about how excited he was for the following day.

Let me note now that our investigation continues on these critical issues. We have only shown a small fraction of what we have found.

I look forward to the public release of more of our findings later, Mr. Chairman, and I know yield back.

THOMPSON: The gentleman yields back.

The chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Florida, Ms. Murphy.

REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): During our most recent hearing, the committee showed evidence of what President Trump, chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and other White House officials knew about the potential for violence on January 6th.

Despite this information, they made no effort to cancel the rally or halt the march to the capitol or to lower the temperature among President Trump supporters.

Katrina Pierson, one of the organizers of the January 6th rally and a former campaign spokeswoman for President Trump, grew increasingly apprehensive after learning multiple activists had been proposed as speakers for the January 6th rally.

These included some of the people we discussed earlier in this hearing. Roger Stone, a longtime outside advisor to President Trump. Alex Jones, the founder of the conspiracy theory Web site Info Wars. And Ellie Alexander (ph), an activist known for his violent political rhetoric.

On December 30th, Ms. Pierson exchanged text messages with another key rally organizer about why people like Mr. Alexander and Mr. Jones were being suggested as speakers at the presidents rally on January 6. Ms. Pierson's explanation was POTUS. And she remarked that the president likes the crazies.

The committee asked Ms. Pierson about these messages and this is what she said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you said he likes the crazies, were you talking about President Trump expect?

KATRINA PIERSON, FORMER CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes. I was talking about President Trump and he loves people who viciously defend him in public.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But consistent in terms of the support for these people, at least for what the president likes as you can tell?

PIERSON: Yes. These are people that would be very, very vicious in publicly defending him.


MURPHY: On January 2nd, Ms. Pierson's about the potential rally speakers had grown serious enough that she reached out to Mr. Meadows directly.

She wrote, "Good afternoon. Would you mind giving me a call regarding this January 6 event. Things have gotten crazy and I desperately need some direction, please."

According to phone records obtained by the committee. Ms. Pierson received a component call from Mr. Meadows eight minutes later.


Here is what Ms. Pierson said about the conversation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what specifically did you tell him about other events?

PIERSON: Just that there were a bunch of entities coming in. Some were very suspect. And they are going to be on other stages, some on other days. A very, very brief overview of what was actually happening and why I raised the red flags.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when you told him people were very suspect, what -- did you tell him what you meant by that? Or what did you convey to him about the problems with these folks?

PIERSON: I think I texted him some of my concerns. I did briefly go over some concerns I raised to everyone, with Alex Jones or Alexander.

I probably mentioned to him that they already caused trouble at other capitals at the previous events, the previous march dated for protesting and I just had a concern about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MURPHY: Ms. Pierson was concerned about Ellie Alexander (ph) and Alex Jones.

In November 2020, Boltman had protested the election. He believes she mentioned it to Mark Meadows on this January 2nd call.

Anyway, second , the same day on which, according to Cassidy Hutchinson, Mr. Meadows warned her that things might get real, real bad on January 6th.

After her January 2nd call with Mr. Meadows, Katrina Pierson sent an email to fellow rally organizers and wrote, "POTUS' expectations are to have something intimate and call on everyone to march to the capitol."

The president's own documents suggest the president had decided to call on his supporters to go to the capitol on January 6. But he chose not to widely announce it until his speech that morning.

The committee has obtained this draft update, an undated tweet from the National Archives, including a stamp stating the president has seen.

Draft tweet reads, "I will be making a big speech at 10:00 a.m. January 6 south of the White House. Please arrive early. Massive crowds expected. March to the capitol after. Stop the Steal."

Although this tweet was never sent, rally organizers were discussing and preparing for the march to the capitol in the days leading up to January 6.

This is a January 4th text message from a rally organizer to Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO.

The organizer says, "This stays between us. We are having a second stage at the Supreme Court again. POTUS will have a smart there/the capitol. It cannot get out about the second stage because people will try to set up another and sabotage it."

"It cannot get out about the march because I will be in trouble with the National Park Service and all the agencies. But POTUS is going to call for it, unexpectedly."

The end of the message indicates that the president's plan to have his followers march to the capitol was not being broadly discussed.

On the morning of January 5th, Alexander, who concerned Katrina, sent a similar text to a concerned journalist.

"Mr. Alexander said, "Tomorrow, Trump is supposed to order us to the capitol at the end of his speech."

We will see President Trump did follow through on his plan, using his January 6 speech to tell his supporters to march to the capitol on January 6th. The evidence confirms this was not a spontaneous call to action, but

rather was a deliberate strategy decided upon in advance by the president.

Another part of the presidents strategy involves certain members of Congress, who amplified his unsupported assertions that the election had been stolen.

In the weeks after the election, the White House coordinated closely with President Trump's allies in Congress to disseminate his false claims and to encourage members of the public to fight the outcome on January 6.

We know that the president met with various members to discuss January 6 well before the joint session.

The president's private schedule for December 21st, 2020, shows a private meeting with Republican members of Congress. We know Vice President Mike Pence, chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and Rudy Giuliani also attended the meeting.

And we obtained an e-mail that was sent by Congressman Mo Brooks f Alabama to Mo Brooks setting up the meeting with the subject line, "Is White House meeting December 21st regarding January 6?"


In his e-mail, Congressman Brooks explained he had not asked anyone to join him in the, quote, "January 6 effort." Because, in his view, quote, "only citizens can exert the necessary influence on Senator sand congressmen to join this fight against massive voter fraud and election theft."

At this point, you may recall testimony given in our earlier hearing by acting attorney general, Richard Donoghue, who said that the president asked the Department of Justice to, quote, "Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen."

According to White House visitor logs obtained by the committee, members of Congress present at the White House on December 21st included Congressman Brian Babbin, Andy Biggs, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, Paul Gosar, Andy Harris, Jody Hice, Jim Jordan and Scott Perry. Then-congresswoman-elect, Marjorie Taylor Greene, was also there.

We heard testimony in an earlier hearing that a pardon was requested by Congressmen Mo Brooks and other members of Congress who attended this meeting.

We've asked witnesses what happened during the December 21st meeting. And we've learned that part of the discussion centered on the role of the vice president during the counting of the electoral votes.

These members of Congress were discussing what would later be known as the Eastman theory, which was being pushed by Attorney John Eastman. In one of our earlier hearings, you heard in great detail that

President Trump was trying to convince Vice President Pence to do something illegal.

His White House counsel confirmed all of that in testimony last week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your view, Mr. Cipollone, upon those discussions with Mr. Philbin, what was your perception of what the vice president could or could not do?

PAT CIPOLLONE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: What was my assessment what he could or couldn't do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, your view of the issues.

CIPOLLONE: My view was the vice president didn't have the legal authority to do anything except what he did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They both told us that they looked very closely at the Eastman memos, the Eastman theory, and thought that it had no basis, that it was not a strategy that the president should pursue.

Sound like that's consistent with your impression as

CIPOLLONE: My impression would have been informed certainly by then.


MURPHY: Campaign senior adviser, Jason Miller, told us that Mr. Cipollone thought John Eastman's theories were nutty, something Mr. Cipollone wouldn't refute.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have seen testimony from various people about this, one from Jason Miller, who was on the campaign, who said that it was communicated that Pat Cipollone thought the idea was nutty, and confronted Eastman with the same sentiment.

CIPOLLONE: I don't have any reason to contradict what he said.


MURPHY: On January 4th, John Eastman went to the White House to meet with the president and vice president. Mr. Cipollone tried to participate in this meeting but he was apparently turned away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't go to the meeting in the Oval Office where Eastman met with the president and vice president. Do you remember why you didn't personally attend?

CIPOLLONE: I did walk through that meeting, and I did go into the Oval Office with the idea of attending that meeting, and I ultimately did not attend that meeting.


CIPOLLONE: The reasons for that are privileged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Were you asked to not attend the meeting or did you make a personal decision not to attend the meeting?

CIPOLLONE: Again, without getting into -- privileged.


MURPHY: Recall that Greg Jacob, the vice president's counsel, stated that Mr. Eastman acknowledged he would lose 9-0 if his legal theory were challenged in the Supreme Court.

Mr. Cipollone had reviewed Mr. Eastman's legal theory and expressed his view repeatedly that the vice president was right. He even offered to take the blame for the vice president's position.


CIPOLLONE: I thought that the vice president did not have the authority to do what was being suggested under a proper reading of the law. I conveyed that.

I think I actually told somebody in the vice president -- I'm not a politician, you know. I don't -- but, you know, I just said I'm a lawyer. This is my legal opinion.

But let me tell you this, can I say a word about the vice president?


CIPOLLONE: I think the vice president did the right thing. I think he did the courageous thing. I have a great deal of respect for Vice President Pence.

I worked with him very closely. I think he understood my opinion. I think he understood my opinion afterwards as well.

I think he did a great service to this country. And I think I suggested to somebody that he should be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his actions.



MURPHY: Earlier this year, a federal district court judge concluded that President Trump and Mr. Eastman, relying on Mr. Eastman's theory, more likely than not violated multiple federal criminal laws in their pressure campaign against the vice president.

Also recall, earlier in this hearing, we saw that Rudy Giuliani's team did not have actual evidence of fraud sufficient to change the result of the election.

That's important because, as January 6th approached, the Republican members of the House and Senate were looking for a reason to object to the electors, and no real evidence was ever given to them.

And we know that Republican members of the House received a memorandum from the chairwoman of the House Republican caucus in the days before January 6th explaining in detail the many constitutional and legal problems with objections in describing the principle judicial rulings dismissing the claims of widespread fraud.

But their plan to object the certification of the election on January 6th went forward anyway.

The next day, on January 5th, the day before the attack on the capitol, tens of thousands of people converged on Washington.

While certain close associates of President Trump privately expressed concerns about what would occur on January 6th, other members of the president's inner circle spoke with great anticipation about the events to come.

The committee has learned from the White House phone logs that the president spoke to Steve Bannon, his close adviser, at least twice on January 5th. The first conversation they had lasted for eleven minutes.

Listen to what Mr. Bannon said that day after the first call he had with the president.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP ADVISOR & PODCAST HOST, "BANNON'S WAR ROOM": All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. All converging. And now we're on, as they say, the point of attack, right, the point of attack tomorrow.

I'll tell you this. It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen. OK? It's going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is strap in.


MURPHY: From those same phone logs, we know that the president and Mr. Bannon spoke again on the phone that evening, this time for six minutes.

That same day, on the eve of January 6th, supporters of President Trump gathered in Washington, D.C., at another rally.

This rally was held at Freedom Plaza, which is located near the White House. And featured some of the speakers who Katrina Pierson and others deemed too extreme to share the stage with the president the next morning.

And as this rally was underway, the president asked members of his staff to come to the Oval Office.

Let's hear from the White House aides who were in the Oval Office that night?


NICHOLAS LUNA, FORMER ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: I was in the office, in the Oval Office, and he had asked me to open the door so that he could hear, I guess there was a concert or something going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you say anything other than just open the door?

LUNA: He made a comment. I don't remember specifically what he said but there was a lot of energy.

SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: When we walked in, the staff was kind of standing up and assembled along the wall.

And the president was at the desk and Dan Scavino was on the couch. And the president was dictating a tweet that he wanted Scavino to send out.

Then the president started talking about the rally the next day. He had the door of the Oval open to the Rose Garden because you could hear the crowd already assembled outside on the Ellipse.

And they were playing music and it was so loud that you could feel it shaking in the Oval.

He was in a very good mood. And I say that because he had not been in a good mood for weeks leading up to that, and then it seemed like he was in a fantastic mood that evening.

JUDD DEERE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: He asked if members of Congress would be with him tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what do you understand meaning voting in his favor? Not physically with him or anything like that.

DEERE: Yes. I took that to mean not voting to certify the election.

MATTHEWS: Then he did look to the staff and ask for ideas of how -- if I recall, he said that we could make the RINOs do the right thing, is the way he phrased it.

And no one spoke up initially because I think everyone was trying to process what he meant by that.

SHEALAH CRAIGHEAD, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER: The president was making notes, talking then about we should go up to the capitol, what's the best route to go to the capitol.


DEERE: I said he should focus on policy accomplishments. And I didn't mention the 2020 election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was his response?