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Attack on Democracy: The January 6th Hearings; Soon: January 6 Committee Details 187 Minutes of Trump Inaction. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 21, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: More attacks today by Russian forces in parts of Ukraine but Ukrainian military leaders say Russian forces have failed to gain any new ground. Meanwhile, the mayor of Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv, says for the second day in a row Russia has targeted public transportation with deadly force. Two people were killed today, and a warning, what you are about to see is heartbreaking.
Three people were killed in the shelling yesterday as a Kharkiv bus shop, including a 13 year old boy. The boy's father prayed over his son's body for two hours, holding his hands, saying goodbye. Our thoughts of course are with his family and all the people of Ukraine.
Thanks very much for watching. The news continues right now. The January 6 select committee returning to primetime.
CNN's special coverage of tonight's hearings starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, 187 minutes that nearly derailed democracy. The January 6 committee is about to reveal a minute by minute account of President Trump's actions.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Fight like hell.
ANNOUNCER: And inactions during the deadly Capitol attack.
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE: He doesn't want to do. Anything
ANNOUNCER: After weeks of testimony by Trump's inner circle --
WILLIAM BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: He's become detached from reality.
ANNOUNCER: Investigators are zeroing in on the day of the insurrection, and the former president himself.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): President Trump summoned the mob, assemble the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: On Capitol Hill tonight, House investigators are expected to show never before seen video clips of President Trump as they make the case that he refused to act to defend this pillar of American democracy when it was under attack.
Welcome to CNN special coverage of the nearly six hearings. I'm Anderson Cooper in Washington.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: I'm Jake Tapper.
The House Select Committee is promising to give us an inside look at what Donald Trump was doing, with whom he was talking, and what he knew about the unfolding riot in the Capitol in real time. The inquiry is going to focus on the famous 187 minutes, a little over three hours, from the end of Trump speech urging rally goers to head to the capital, to the video he finally released after some staff members and family members of begged him to do so, after which he begged the supporters to leave Capitol and go home, after of course the deadly attack on the capitol was underway in blood had already been spilled.
The panel also is expected to share outtakes from Trump's video message to supporters, which he taped on January 7th. We are told these clips would show Donald Trump's praising the violent mob, calling the rioters patriots and going to great lengths of accusing them of any wrongdoing, even though, as you might know, more than 800 rioters have since been criminally charged. A third of them are admitting their guilt in court.
There will be live witness tears testimony as well this evening. We expect here from two White House insiders. One of them is former National Security Council official, Michael Pottinger. The other, former White House deputy press secretary, Sarah Matthews. Both resigned just hours after the insurrection. Both of them resigning on January 6th.
Committee aides say we're also going to hear recorded testimony from some people who spoke to Trump and were with him that day. A new preview of the hearing reveals for the first time, that the committee has interviewed Trump's White House executive assistant, Molly Michael, who still works for Mr. Trump. We expect to see portions of her interview this evening.
The hearing will be led by Congresswoman Elaine Luria, Democrat of Virginia, and a Navy veteran. And Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, and an Air Force veteran.
The committee chairman, Congressman Bennie Thompson, is expected to participate in the hearing because he tested for positive for COVID.
Let's go right to Capitol Hill and talk to Ryan Nobles.
Ryan, what are you learning about tonight's hearing, and how former White House counsel Pat Cipollone who testified behind closed doors, though it was taped, how is he going to be featured?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, we've known for sometime that the committee was very focused on getting Pat Cipollone to come before them and testify because they view him as a firsthand witness to so much of what happened, not only on January 6 itself but in the days leading up to it. I am told that going into this deposition there were concerns about Cipollone's concerns as it relates to executive privilege, and then he was not going to answer questions that he felt would violate those privilege claims.
Well, I'm told that over the course of that interview, his lawyers, and lawyers for the committee that were doing the interview, found ways for common ground, where he could answer the questions they were looking for without him feeling that he had to violate to those executive privilege claims. And as a result, they view Cipollone's testimony is some of the most important that they have taken even since this process began.
One source was telling me that they viewed Cipollone as perhaps the biggest star of tonight's hearing. We already saw quite a bit of him in the prior hearing, Jake, but I'm told tonight the committee will go back and back to Pat Cipollone and his testimony because what he has to provide is perhaps the most compelling of all the evidence they have collected up until this point, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Ryan, thank you so much.
Let's go to Manu Raju now.
Manu, you just spoke with a member of the community and he gave you some information about tonight's testimony?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that Adam Kinzinger. He's going to help lead quite the questioning tonight. He told me that went tonight's testimony would do would be to corroborate key parts of Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony. You may recall, Hutchinson was a former White House official who testified before this committee several weeks ago and laid out in stark detail about Trump's inaction on January 6th.
She said that Mark Meadows White House chief of staff indicated to Pat Cipollone the Trump didn't want to do anything, even though parts of baloney wanted to confront the president, was concerned about potential death that day. Hutchinson had heard those conversations and testified to that.
Now, we're going to hear this came out today as well. According to what Kinzinger told me, there will be no question over her voracity, referring to Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony. Now, one way they're going to do that as Ryan alluded to is to highlight key portions of Pat Cipollone's on video deposition which will feature prominently heavily in tonight's hearing.
TAPPER: All right. Manu, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Let's talk about this with our panel right now.
Jamie Gangel, what are the witnesses, Matt Pottinger and Sarah Matthews, what are they going to reveal tonight?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, we're going to have these two witnesses who are going to give live testimonies. These are people who were in the White House on January 6th, firsthand witnesses who saw what was going on.
In addition to that, we are going to hear from brand-new witnesses. These will be on videotape, people we have named never seen before who I am told have important new testimony about what Trump wasn't doing.
We have spoken about dereliction of duty. We're going to hear about that tonight. Some of the witnesses, I am told, will be disguised. Their identities will be protected because of the work they do, or because of threats.
TAPPER: Oh wow. That's fascinating.
Dana Bash, you're also learning more about what Pat Cipollone, the former counsel, had to tell the committee bell it was happening inside the White House on January 6th.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You heard Brian report that Cipollone was very careful to not reveal his direct conversations with the president because of executive privilege, and so forth. But one of the ways around it, I'm told, is the discussions he had with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and going to him not once but twice, multiple times. Cipollone going to Mark Meadows saying you've got to get him to do something, imploring him, please, try to get him to do something, obviously without success. And so those are conversations that we are likely to hear about.
The other thing is that there was discussion about the 25th Amendment from some members of the cabinet, that Cipollone testified to during his seven hours of testimony. But there wasn't enough of a groundswell among cabinet members for there to be boats votes for them.
TAPPER: Yeah, I think the education secretary, former education secretary, Betsy DeVos, said that in an interview, maybe in "The Washington Post Live".
BASH: So, he was in the middle of it, Cipollone was in the middle of that.
TAPPER: Very interesting.
John, earlier today, Congressman Kinzinger we just heard Manu talked about Congressman Kinzinger who's going to be one of the two presiding over the hearing, he released a video, kind of a like a preview on social media, of some of the testimony about what Donald Trump was doing during the riot. Let's play a little bit of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was the president in that private dining room the whole time that the attack in the Capitol was going on? Or did he ever go, to your knowledge, to the Oval Office? To the White House Situation Room? Or anywhere else?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Best of my recollection, he was always in the dining room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, what they say, Mr. Meadows, the president at all, during that brief encounter with you in the dining room? What did you recall?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think everyone is watching TV.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know whether he was watching TV in the dining room when you talked to him on January 6th?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's my understanding he was watching television.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you are in the dining room in these discussions (INAUDIBLE) on television.
PAT CIPOLLONE, FORMER WHITE HOSUE COUNSEL: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: I mean, this is really unconscionable.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is methodical. It is repetitive. It's a clear pattern by the committee to show as Trump and his allies tried to discredit the committee to get information from people who work and were loyal to Donald Trump to the very end.
You made that point many times -- after the election, after fighting the election, people who were actually -- many of them disgusted with what he was doing, who stayed on to the White House to the very end and today, they add the element of young Molly Michael who still works for Donald Trump.
The committee is building its case with eyewitnesses to what he was doing and more importantly to what he refused to do on that day, calm -- trying to calm things down. They're also getting under his skin by showing people loyal to you are giving us valuable information.
TAPPER: And that -- that is stunning.
Molly Michael, currently works for Trump, was the executive assistant to President Trump. Basically, you know, she did everything for him.
AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, prior to this point, you can measure the distance between any given witness and Trump by the vulgarity of their language. If you think about Bill Barr, all of these things they say these depositions, they know it will be heard.
But what's happened is we've gone down these sort of like Dante rungs of corruption is that you have people who are closer and closer to him and that's on purpose, right? They've had thousands of hours of depositions to whittle down to this point. And so now what they have put in front of people in prime time is how -- like the closest you could get to the president himself to understand what he was saying, thinking, doing in those moments.
BASH: And the other thing about Molly Michael is -- everybody knows by this point, Donald Trump doesn't text, he doesn't email. And so, people who are in communication with the president or have been up until January 6 know that there are few ways to get to him.
The first way, for the most part, to get to him, was to call Molly. And then she would scream into the Oval or try to find him in the dining room, off the Oval. That was -- she was the one taking the incoming.
TAPPER: All right. We have to squeeze in a quick break.
And, Jamie, I'm going to come back to you, because I need to know more about these people in disguise. So, get some more reporting on that because I'm going to be asking you about that next.
Still ahead, we have new details on what's motivating one of today's live witnesses to testify and how the Trump team may respond. CNN's live coverage of January 6 hearings continues after this.
We're going to squeeze in a quick break. Stay with us.
COOPER: We are live in Washington ahead of a primetime hearing the January 6th committee has been building towards for weeks. Panel members are preparing to lay out new evidence of what they call President Trump's dereliction of duty as the U.S. Capitol was being attacked.
Now heading into tonight's hearing, the Select Committee already has given us glimpses into then President Trump's actions on January 6th, including his furious demands to go to the Capitol. His aides insisted he not go.
Here is a look at the key testimony that we have seen so far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE: Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of, make sure we did not go up to the Capitol, Cassidy, keep in touch with me. We're going to get charged with every chant crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the president tell you this? That he wanted to speak at the Capitol?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct, yes. HUTCHINSON: The president had gotten into the vehicle with Bobby. He thought that they were going to the Capitol. And what Bobby had relayed to him, we're not, we don't have the access to do it, it's not secure. The president said something to the effect of, I'm the f'ing president, take me to the Capitol now.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): As rioters chanted hang Mike Pence, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, said that, quote, Mike deserves it.
HUTCHINSON: I remember Pat saying something to him, to the effect of, the rioters got to the Capitol, Mark, we need go down to see the president now. Mark said, he doesn't want to do anything.
CHENEY: He put this tweet out at 2:24 pm, in which the vice president did not have the courage to do what needed to be done.
HUTCHINSON: I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic. It was un-American. We are watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's some of the testimony we have seen.
I want to bring in Laura Coates, CNN senior legal analyst, and George Conway, conservative attorney lawyer.
Laura, what are the legal implications of dereliction of duty?
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, we are past the idea impeachment and a high crime, misdemeanor. We've already tried that very thing. They were unsuccessful.
Now it's about the incitement, it's about your intent, about what you were doing to try to manipulate the law or actually break the laws. Not just from the idea of having election interference, but also the idea of knowing that people were armed and possibly dangerous. Certainly, they were riled up, and having them go to the Capitol nonetheless.
Those 187 minutes are going to be so critical to figure out what he was intending for them to do. He watched sort of maniacally, you know, clapping his fingers together, was he rejoicing in spirits, was he doing what he could to suppress the opportunity, to suppress the insurrection? These are all going to be indicia of what his intent was, and what he was hoping to accomplish by proxy, people he had essentially summoned.
COOPER: George, I mean, has the committee do you think done enough for a criminal referral by them? Do you think they will do a criminal referral to the Justice Department? Not that it's necessary.
GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: I think the evidence will be the criminal referral, whether or not they label it as such. But today's hearing, tonight's hearing is going to be about dereliction of duty, and criminal intent because the two, in this case, go hand in hand. I mean, we have had presidents for 233 years. We have never had a
moment where the president just went AWOL the way that this man did for three hours and seven minutes on January 6th, 2021. You know, we went through the 2016 campaign talking about what happens when you get to the 3:00 a.m. call. This was three in the afternoon. And he sat there and he did nothing.
And how this relates to the criminal intent is that it shows that he did everything he could for weeks. Anything, crazy theories, legal theories, crazy factual accusations to stop this electoral vote count from happening. And, yet all of a sudden, he wanted to go up on to the Hill, as we just saw. He wanted to go up to the Hill, march with these people.
And then he doesn't get to go up on the Hill, and he goes dark for three hours. Three hours. Why? Because he wanted the vote count to stop, and he was hoping that these people, through violence, and whatever means possible, would stop it.
And whether or not he can be hit for inciting violence, which is a high standard, it certainly goes to criminal intent on any number of other charges that relate to defrauding the United States and interfering with an official proceeding.
COOPER: Yeah. We're getting new information about what is driving a new potential White House insider who will testify, knowing he is sure to face the former president's wrath.
Kaitlan Collins joins us now with that.
So, talk about Matthew Pottinger's decision to appear tonight.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Anderson. It's kind of this moment that those who have testified publicly, and even those who have testified behind closed doors and have had their testimonies recorded kind of brace for it, which is this reaction that they know they are going to get from people that are still in the former president's orbit, and that is blowback, and attempts to discredit their testimony, and what they say, even from people that used to work with them.
We saw it with Cassidy Hutchinson, and we are likely to see it again with Sarah Matthews and Matthew Pottinger.
Sarah Matthews, of course, we should note, was a deputy to Kayleigh McEnany, brought in when she was brought in as press secretary. She sat right outside the office in the West Wing. She does have proximity there.
Matthew Pottinger is even a different story. He worked in the White House all four years under Trump, on the National Security Council. He was on the West Wing on January 6th, as the powerful deputy national security adviser. He was the most powerful person, Anderson, to resign on that day. And so, he has already testified before the January 6th Committee. We
have seen other clips from that. I was told that it was three or four hours. But he felt it as a former military officer, he could not resist a summons from Congress to come in and testify publicly.
And that is why he is coming again tonight, which I'm told by a person familiar with the committee's work that he was actually reluctant to do. He did not want, or seek to come before the committee, but he felt it was important to do so. And, of course, one thing that we can inspect them to zero in on are the conversations that he had with Mark Meadows about why the National Guard took so long to get to Capitol Hill.
COOPER: Joining us now is Gloria Borger and Kasie Hunt.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think we -- to follow, Kaitlan, I think we are going to follow a lot about mark meadows, and the role of White House chief of staff here, because we know from Pottinger's previous testimony that he went there and had heard from a former National Security adviser in the White House.
Look, what is happening with getting the National Guard up there? He went to Mark Meadows, and meadows seemed frustrated, told the committee that he was trying to -- I mean, told Pottinger he was trying to do something about it. Of course, nothing happened. We know from other testimony that Mark Meadows was often telling people one thing, that he was doing with Donald Trump, and doing something very different.
I think we will hear more about what that means this evening, and particularly from two people inside of the White House, who both resigned in disgust after the president's tweet about Mike Pence. And you are going to hear about what they felt about Meadows, and what they felt about that tweet.
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think we should be clear here. These 187 minutes, I was at the Capitol complex during this time. It was the longest 187 minutes that I can remember in my recent life. And I think that was true for everyone who was at the Capitol complex, because you have to understand, people who go to work at the capital, they expect the possibility that there could be a foreign terrorist attack, or something bad might happen while you're on the job. It's all at the realm of possibility.
But what nobody expected was that it wouldn't be a foreign adversary. It would be our own countrymen who would be coming for us. And I think that these questions about the national guard are the absolute critical ones because there were a lot of conversations leading up to the day about whether the White House wanted the guard there, and why that was. And some people have privately acknowledged that it was because they wanted to protect Trump supporters that were going to show up.
That was why the White House potentially wanted it. The military on the flip side was concerned, because of what had previously happened at the Lafayette Square, that they would be used for military reasons, right? So, they didn't want to be there.
So, then, you know, fast forward to the actual moment, and if you think about what we have built on from the committee so far, that stunning testimony from the Cassidy Hutchinson hearing, where we learned that the president knew that the people were armed in the crowd. He wanted the magnetometers gone, and he was fine with sending them down the mall.
I think that all adds up to a very chilling narrative about the fact that we had a commander in chief in the United States military who failed to protect the second branch of the government. And I think, you know, certainly from a personal perspective, as well as a journalistic one, I'm dying to hear what they tell us.
BORGER: Well, that's the dereliction of duty, isn't it?
Up next, Trump White House insider shared their takes on today's witnesses, and what we expect to hear about the president's actions on January 6th.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: About a half hour from now, the January 6th counselor committee is expected to take us minute by minute through a critical stretch of the insurrection timeline, the three hours and seven minutes when investigators say President Trump refused to take any action to call off the mob that was attacking the U.S. Capitol.
John King is at the magic wall.
John, remind us what we do know about that three hours and seven minutes.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We know a lot, Jake. Back and forth about what was happening inside the White House. What we're told this tonight, we'll get it in a more granular detail in a more damning way.
But let's go back on what we know in that three hours and seven minutes or 187 minute starts at 1:10 when the president ends that speech on the ellipse, and near the end of that speech, remember what Donald Trump said, after this, we're going to walk to the Capitol. I'll be with you. We're going to walk to the Capitol and we're going to cheer our brave senators and congressman.
Donald Trump intimating that he would go with them. Now, we know that he wanted to go, but we also know what happened next. Cassidy Hutchinson said the president got on the motorcade, that the White House counsel Pat Cipollone said, do not let him go, do not let him go.
And according to her, and we'll learn about this tonight, there was a confrontation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUTCHINSON: The president said something to the effect of, I'm the f'ing president, take me up to the Capitol now, to which Bobby responded, sir, we have to go back to the West Wing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: (AUDIO GAP) so the president does go back to the west wing. We know, as we watch this, that was around 1:20 p.m. This is 2:15 p.m. So, the president's back at the White House.
And here is what is happening. Pat Cipollone, who we will hear from tonight, texts the chief of staff, Mark, we need to do something more. They are literally calling for the vice president to be f'ing hung.
And this is critical, the chief of staff, you heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserve it. The president saying I think the vice president deserves it. He doesn't think they are doing anything wrong.
That is Donald Trump's loyal chief of staff, Mark Meadows. The president doesn't think they're doing anything wrong. Pat Cipollone responds, this is f'ing crazy. We need to be doing something more -- 2:15 p.m., that's when these checks are happening.
We know the president did something more. He just did the opposite of what his family members, what his staff, what his political loyalists were telling him to do. Instead of saying calm down and go home, he said Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do it should have been done. He incited it. He poured kerosene on the fire with this tweet at 2:24 p.m.
Then, there's more blowback inside the White House. Aides are disappointed with the president. So, he does tweets again, but Trump has used this for his rationalization. I said please support our Capitol police and law enforcement. Stay peaceful. He did send that tweet at 2:38.
What's missing? No go home. Go leave the Capitol.
KING: No this is wrong. No this is wrong.
Donald Trump has used this is his rationalization. Aides at the White House were happy that he sent this tweet, but said it was nowhere near enough.
So then the time plays out. This is around 2:38, it's in this timeframe, just before 3:00 p.m., that the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, calls the president, says, I need help, you need to stop this, this is bad, this is getting ugly, this is dangerous.
What does Donald Trump say? Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.
Think about the mindset there. The president of the United States, his government is under the attack, the capital is under attack. Kevin McCarthy is at risk, vice president at risk, all members of Congress, all the police, all the staff at risk.
These people are more upset about the election than you are. That's what Donald Trump told the House Republican leader.
So at this time, incoming, from all across Trump land, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the congresswoman, Laura Ingraham, the Fox News host, Mick Mulvaney, the former chief of staff, Donald Trump Jr., the president's son, Chip Roy, a Republican loyalist in Congress.
All of them sending tweets in the 2:30 to 3:00 range, saying, stop, active shooter on the floor. President needs these people to go home. He needs to stop it now. He's got to condemn this shit ASAP. This is a shit show. That's from a Republican member of Congress again to the White House chief of staff who was central to all of this.
Remember Cassidy Hutchinson saying he kept going to his phone and looking at the texts, apparently disinterested and trying to stop the president. There was -- we learn from her testimony, Cassidy Hutchinson, a draft statement or tweet they wanted the president to send, saying anyone who entered the Capitol, initially said illegally, crossed out, without proper authority, should leave immediately. The president did not send that tweet. That was around 3:00 p.m.
They try to get the president to say that. Donald Trump, instead, said this tweet at 3:15. I'm asking for everyone at the Capitol to remain peaceful. Not to leave, but to remain peaceful. So, the president did tweet that. No violence, remember, we are the party of law and order. Respect the law and our great men and women in blue. Thank you.
And then after 3:00, after 3:00 people still dissatisfied, wanting the president to do more. Reince Priebus, the former Republican Party chairman, the former White House chief of staff, telling them to go home. POTUS has to come out firmly and tell protesters to dissipate. That from his former communications director.
Sean Hannity of Fox News, can you make a statement? I saw the tweet. Ask people to peacefully leave. This is at 3:00 p.m. at the Trump White House. There's still incoming.
Finally, finally, at 4:17, Donald Trump, in this recorded video, tweets this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: This was a fraudulent election. But we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You are very special.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: One hundred and eighty-seven minutes, three hours, and seven minutes later, the president of the United States says go home. But he says they are special, Jake. He says they're special.
He does not say this is wrong. He does not say this was terrible. He plays victim and says we cannot play into their hands, go home.
TAPPER: We're joined now by former Trump White House insiders. Olivia Troye was a top aide to Vice President Pence, Alyssa Farah Griffin is a former White House director of strategic communications for President Trump, and Stephanie Grisham was, of course, chief of staff for the first lady on January 6th and resigned later that day.
Alyssa, let me start with you.
So, tonight's hearing is all about the three hours and seven minutes between Donald Trump leaving the ellipse after telling the mob to go to the Capitol, and when he finally issued the video statement telling everyone to leave the Capitol, you know where a lot of people who were White House insiders where.
You left the White House by then. But you know what they were doing during that three hours and seven minutes.
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, and even myself, I showed this before, but I reached out to the chief of staff, Mark Meadows, by phone, by text message, saying even if the president won't say something, you should go out to the sticks, meaning the cameras at the White House, and condemn it yourself.
I was reaching out to Kayleigh McEnany, Ben Williamson, and yes, Sarah Matthews, deputy press secretary, who's testifying today was back for to the Oval Office trying to get somebody to get the president to put out a statement condemning the violence.
So at that there is no question that most people in the west wing knew that this was horrifying and he needed to do something. What I still take issue with to this day is, why weren't there more people like Stephanie and Sarah who resigned that day? Why weren't there people, anyone with a Twitter following an access to a carry themselves, should have gone out in those three hours when Donald Trump wouldn't condemn it?
TAPPER: And you in fact, Stephanie, asked the first lady if she would be willing to condemn the violence, saying it's time for people to protest peaceably but the violence is bad. She said she didn't want to do.
She told Fox, quote, what she was doing, in fact, was, I was fulfilling one of my duties as first lady of the United States and accordingly, I was unaware of what was simultaneously transpiring at the U.S. Capitol building. It was my obligation to record the contents of the White House's historic rooms, including taking archival photos of all the renovations as required, reschedule January 6, to complete the work on behalf of the nation.
Is it really possible that she would not know that there was a major riot at the Capitol?
STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO FIRST LADY MELANIA TRUMP: The short answer is no. I don't want to take the importance of today or tonight but I will say that everything she said seems to me like an attempt of distraction, actually, on behalf of her husband. I can dispute every single thing that she said today with emails, with texts, and also I sent her a text saying, do you want to condemn violence?
If she didn't know what I was talking about, why didn't she say, what violence? Instead she just said no.
So, it just rings to me is not true. It brings to me as a distraction. It just takes away from, I mean, it's nonsense, and it takes away from what is going to happen tonight.
TAPPER: So, Olivia, committee member Jamie Raskin, the congressman from Maryland, told CNN that we're expected to see outtakes tonight from the speech that Donald Trump gave the day after the riot, January 7th.
Here's a moment from that speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would like to begin by addressing the heinous attack on the United States Capitol. Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness, and mayhem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Raskin's told CNN, these clips are going to show Trump having a lot of difficulty recording this speech in terms of, he didn't want to condemn what happened. He wouldn't say that the election was fair.
Do you think this could be a big deal?
OLIVIA TROYE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER TO MIKE PENCE: Yes, absolutely, because, look, I think he didn't want to condemn what was happening because they are his supporters. Those people were there for him.
I think what we will see today is the corroboration of what we heard in previous hearings, where we heard former oath keepers saying I was there because I believed I was there at the president's direction. We will hear corroboration on Cassidy Hutchinson, saying he stated that he knew that they had weapons. He was told that.
And he said, you know, it's okay, they're not here for me. He knew he was safe. But I think what's important here is the amount of time that went on where people were getting hurt, while the leadership of our countries, lives were at risk, and while the vice president, Mike Pence, was there. Every minute that he hesitated during the moment is another minute that somebody else was possibly hurt or died.
And so I think in the next day, he still has trouble condemning that. And that's what we have seen, honestly, in previous domestic terrorist attacks or mass shootings where he has a problem coming forward and calling for what he is because he knows it's people that he is beholden.
TAPPER: And, Olivia and Alyssa both worked for Vice President Pence. He had a target put on his back because he wasn't going to try to overturn the election, and he didn't have the constitutional power to do so either.
Alyssa, the committee has played a clip from Sarah Matthews' testimony. She's a deputy White House press secretary. This is her talking about the Trump tweet where he called Pence out for not having courage. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We've heard that the president needed to tweet something and tweet something immediately. So that tweet that Mike Pence tweet, was sent out. I remember us saying that that was the last thing that needed to be tweeted at that moment. The situation was already bad. And so it felt like he was pouring gasoline on the fire by tweeting that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: I mean, they wanted him to tweet something to get the crowd to leave, and he tweeted something that actually aimed the crowd at Mike Pence.
GRIFFIN: That was the moment, to me, I remember, I thought this was worse than I expected. I started calling the White House signal to even try to reach the president, but Sarah Matthews and Matt Pottinger have both stated that they decided to resign after the Pence tweet. Both of them had worked closely with him on the West Wing. Matt Pottinger has traveled to Southeast Asia with Vice President Pence a number of times.
And I think seeing somebody was so widely respected in the West Wing who honestly for four years was sort of the person who kept the trains on the tracks and was seen as a steady force, to have the president just throw him under the bus, his most loyal person, his vice president, was just devastating to so many people.
And I think you're going to hear more about what went into the effort out forward to get him to more forcefully actually just condemn what was happening. But that was a moment that stuck in everyone's mind that day. TAPPER: And, Stephanie, we knew Sarah Matthews and Matt Pottinger
were so upset that day, just like you, that they resigned that day, just like you. What do you make of them now testifying live in primetime before the committee?
GRISHAM: Well, I'm very, very happy to know that they are doing that. Matt, I worked with for years in the White House. He was one of the people, Alyssa is one, kept the train on the track.
Inside, he was one of people American public should know and was a good thing he was in that White House. He's a man of integrity. He's very honest.
He used to come into the White House when COVID started with the mask and everybody would make fun of him that tell him to take the mask off. So I was really, really happy to see that he will be testifying.
And then Sara, I did not work with her, but once again, I think it's a testament to this young woman's bravery but she stepping forward, unlike so many men in leadership at the White House and in Congress.
TAPPER: A lot of brave young women. A lot of cowardly middle aged man.
We're going to talk to all three of you after the hearing as well. Thanks so much.
Still ahead, what the January 6 Select House Committee needs to prove tonight. We're going to talk to some iconic figures from the Watergate era, former Nixon counsel John Dean and journalist Carl Bernstein.
Stay with us.
COOPER: We are nearing the start of a climactic hearing of the January 6th Select Committee. House aides promising a lot of new information, including some that was recently obtained. It's all focused on Donald Trump's action and inaction on the day of the insurrection.
As tonight's hearings zoom in on the former president, the U.S. attorney general is undergoing pressure to explore criminal charges against him.
Evan Perez joins us now.
What is the latest from Attorney General Merrick Garland, Evan?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we know that these certainly raised the public perception of the president's central role in trying to overturn the elections. We are seeing signs by the attorney general, who we know is watching these hearings, is hearing the criticisms from some of the members of this committee that they are not doing enough, not moving fast enough to hold the former president accountable.
Listen to him answer these questions just in a couple days ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: No person is above the law in this country. Nothing stops at us.
REPORTER: Even a former president?
GARLAND: No, I don't know how to -- let me say that again. No person is above the law in this country. I can't say it anymore clearly than that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREZ: Anderson, those are words that the attorney general has been resisting saying for some months. It is clear that, look, the Justice Department investigation is a lot farther along than some of the critics may realize. We know that there are subpoenas of dozens of people who are associated with the fake electors scheme, and those have clear indications for people around the former president, and the president himself.
So, this investigation is a lot more advanced then some of the critics realize, and I think with the attorney general is showing is some frustration that people don't realize that.
COOPER: And we're joined -- Evan, thank you.
We are joined by former Nixon White House counsel John Dean, veteran journalist Carl Bernstein as well.
John, do you think that these hearings have made charges against the former president more likely?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think they have certainly raised the prospect because they've outlined criminal behavior by him. I don't think it's the right case yet. Clearly, what Nixon was accused of was violating the conspiracy law to defraud the government. Very similar facts lead to the same conclusion here.
Also in this case, you have obstruction of Congress. Those cases I think have been made. This seditious conspiracy case which is really at the level it should play has not been made.
COOPER: That is a case you think should be made against the former president?
DEAN: I do. I do. It's always the crime that befits the office holder who is involved in a situation like this and that's --
COOPER: If that's the case, why hasn't this committee tried to make that case?
DEAN: I don't think this committee -- that's their assignment. If it comes up easily, that's one thing. I think a grand jury is much more likely to get that evidence than this committee.
COOPER: Carl Bernstein, I mean, the Watergate hearings obviously uncovered the existence of the Nixon tapes. Is there a smoking gun we've heard so far?
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think we have more than a smoking gun here. We have a plethora of evidence here of three things and we're going to see it with the witnesses tonight, particularly Pat Cipollone. He was there in real time, in that 187 minutes to witness the following: a criminal president of the United States out of control; a seditious, to go to John's point and it's there, a seditious president leading an insurrection out of control in real time, and finally, a mad king out of control.
Will somebody rid me of this meddle meddlesome priest? Pat Cipollone, a meddlesome priest who threw out the Trump presidency, not just in this event, has seen a crazy president of the United States.
Matt Pottinger, of the National Security Council, along with Fiona Hill and others, watched this president be a crazy man with foreign leaders. There is a pattern to all of this. There is context to all of this. But in this 187 minutes, we see something unique in American history -- an out of control, criminal, seditious, mad president.
COOPER: It seems, John, the objective tonight is to show the president's -- there was dereliction of duty. How does that play into a legal charge?
DEAN: Well, it can show his state of mind, clearly. I think that the committee is looking for the broader context. People understand when a president has responsibilities and duties, and clearly some of those duties are protecting Americans, protecting the Capitol. Those are very high on that list.
The fact that they're going to show that he did not respond to, did not deal with that, I think is going to color their whole view of who this man is, and how he operates.
COOPER: Yeah. John Dean, Carl Bernstein, thanks very much.
The hearing begins just minutes from now. Our live coverage continues after a short break.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And we're back.
Just minutes from now, the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack returns to prime time. We are told that they will share the most detailed account yet of what President Trump was doing, and perhaps more importantly, what he was not doing as the U.S. Capitol was under attack by his supporters, whom he sent to the Capitol.
Let's be clear about the stakes here. Not only was the very notion of American democracy attacked that day, but during the riot, four Trump supporters died, including one shot by police as she and mob prepared to break into the House chamber.
Officer Brian Sicknick who was on the frontlines died one day later. And over the next several months, four other officers, Capitol police officers and Metropolitan Police Department officers, who defended the Capitol in January 6th. For them died by suicide. Other officers sustained serious injuries and post-traumatic status.
Let's go back to Ryan Nobles.
Ryan, a key focus tonight will be President Trump's push to join the supporters at the Capitol. Tell us more.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and as Manu reported earlier today, Jake, one of the things that the committee hopes to do today is corroborate some of the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson.
And one of the things that Hutchinson pointed out was that Donald Trump desperately wanted to go to the Capitol on January 6th. And through reporting, with my colleagues, Annie Grayer, Zach Cohen and myself, we've learned that Metropolitan Police Department members, this is the Washington Police Department, have testified in front of the committee, and it said that the Secret Service actually reached out to MPD, asking for them to help secure a motorcade from the White House to the Capitol, as the right was unfolding on January 6th.
Now, MPD did not grant that request, but that did not stop Secret Service from asking. In fact, they asked for different times to try to get MPD to help, MPD was unable to do that. Secret Service ultimately decided it was not worth the risk to take Trump from the White House to the capital. As Cassidy Hutchinson detailed in her testimony, Jake, Trump desperately wanted to do so, and was very angry when he was told it was not possible -- Jake.
TAPPER: Let's turn to the key evidence in the January 6th investigation. Those missing Secret Service text messages. Whitney Wild is digging in on.
Whitney, tell us more about this.
WHITNEY WILD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, just minutes ago, a source has confirmed to CNN that the head of Vice President Mike Pence's detail, Tim Giebels and the head of former President Donald Trump's detail, Bobby Engel, are among 24 Secret Service agents whose cell phones are under a fresh review, or at least were until the watchdog told Secret Service to stand down on an internal review, citing an ongoing criminal probe.
Giebels' text messages may have captured these frantic efforts to sweep Pence away from danger, as rioters flooded the hallway yards from Pence. Others called for his hanging, those texts could have offered a really stark split screen, with inaction in the face of grave danger to his deputy, as his Secret Service agent, Tim Giebels, scrambled to get him to safety.
Meanwhile, Bobby Engel, he was in the car, according to Cassidy Hutchinson, as the former president tried to direct his team to take him to the Capitol. So --
TAPPER: Yeah. Thank you so much. Appreciate it, Whitney.
Right now, we are looking at these two live witnesses come to the table in the committee hearing room. The gentleman on the left of your screen right, now being blocked by a photographer. He's Matt Pottinger, former veteran Wall Street Journal reporter, and he was the deputy national security adviser at the Trump White House for all four years, I believe, he was on the National Security Council there.
And that's Sarah Matthews you're looking at right now. She was a deputy White House press secretary, serving under both communications director at the time, Alyssa Farah, and also Kayleigh McEnany.
Chris Wallace, I want to go to you now. We're just minutes away from the hearing. The committee plans to lay out just what they believe Donald Trump was doing and not doing during these three hours and seven minutes. What are you going to be looking for?
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: Look, there is a mountain of evidence against Donald Trump, Jake, but one could argue that yes, he wanted to go to the Capitol, yes, he urged his supporters to go to the Capitol, but did he really want them to attack the Capitol? And to stop the proceedings in the House, and stop the proceedings in the Senate, and to threaten the life of the vice president, Mike Pence, and other members of Congress?
And the committee is basically making the case, if you want to know what Donald Trump thought of the insurrection, look at what he was actually doing and not doing during the insurrection. So, by going through this detailed timeline, one of the things obviously, that 2:24 tweets, basically saying -- you know, attacking Mike Pence.
But the argument that the committee is going to make is that if you want to know it Donald Trump thought of the insurrection, and how out of control it got, just watch what he was doing during those 187 minutes while the insurrection was going on.
The other thing I am looking for, Cassidy Hutchinson, you know, we had that remarkable moment in her testimony where she told us stuff despite all the investigative reporting about what went on inside the president's SUV when he confronted the Secret Service. Who knows what we are going to hear from Sarah Matthews and Matt Pottinger. Maybe they're going to have another Cassidy Hutchinson moment.
TAPPER: Very interesting. Chris Wallace, thanks so much.
Jamie Gangel, we have been told this hearing is the final hearing of this series of hearings. That doesn't necessarily mean there aren't going to be other hearings. What are you hearing about that? JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Consider tonight the finale
of season one. We will be back in September with more hearings. There is more information coming, more documents, and let's talk about the impact of the hearings.
We have heard Donald Trump keeps asking, when will they be over? Not yet. The committee knows that, and also this keeps pressure on the Justice Department, Jake.
TAPPER: John, there's a lot of hype for these hearings before they started back in June. Not from the committee, necessarily, but from the media and others. Do you think they have delivered?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. What is the test? The test is new information and important information, both from a historical standpoint, looking back, and from whether it is illegal investigative standpoint, or the political viability --
TAPPER: OK. Here comes the committee, I am sorry.