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Donald Trump's Behavior Shown To The Public; Officials Remain Concerned Of The Nation's Security; Donald Trump Refused To Accept Election Results; No To Donald Trump's Second Term; No Mention Of Officers Who Gave Their Life Defending The Country. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired July 21, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): He showed absolutely no remorse. A few minutes later at 6.27, the president left the dining room, and he went up to the White House residence for the night.
On the screen is the last photograph of the president that night as he went into the residence. As he was gathering his things in the dining room to leave, President Trump reflected on the day's events with a White House employee. This was the same employee who had met President Trump in the Oval Office after he returned from the ellipse.
President Trump said nothing to the employee about the attack. He said only, quote, "Mike Pence let me down."
Ms. Matthews, what was your reaction to President Trump's 6.01 tweet?
SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: At that point, I had already made the decision to resign, and this tweet just further cemented my decision. I thought that January 6th, 2021, was one of the darkest days in our nation's history, and President Trump was treating it as a celebratory occasion with that tweet. And so, it just further cemented my decision to resign.
KINZINGER: Others agreed with your assessment of that tweet. Let's look at what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Who asked you about this tweet before it was sent?
NICHOLAS LUNA, FORMER ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: The president.
UNKNOWN: Tell us about that conversation, everything that you said and he said to the best of your recollection.
LUNA: Sure. So, he said, what do you think of this? And I believe I saw the text message -- or the -- on his phone. And I remember saying to him, the wording on the first sentence -- I guess it's one long sentence. But the wording on the first sentence would lead some to believe that potentially he had something to do with the events that happened at the capitol.
UNKNOWN: What did he say?
LUNA: I don't recall him saying anything in response to that. I believe that was the end of the conversation.
UNKNOWN: Did he change anything in light of your comments?
LUNA: No, sir, he did not.
UNKNOWN: And what about this made you think that someone might perceive the president having a role in the violence at the capitol?
LUNA: It was my interpretation of the words -- I mean I'm not a -- you know, I don't write speeches or anything. But the phrase "these are the things that happen," to me, sounded as if -- as if culpability was associated with it, to me.
TIM MURTAUGH, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I don't think it's a patriotic act to attack the capitol, but I have no idea how to characterize the people other than they trespassed, destroyed property, and assaulted the U.S. Capitol. I think calling them patriots is -- let's say a stretch to say the least.
UNKNOWN: Is that all it is, a stretch, or just flatly wrong?
MURTAUGH: I don't think it's a patriotic act to attack the U.S. Capitol.
UNKNOWN: Would you call it unpatriotic?
MURTAUGH: Criminal, unpatriotic, sure.
PAT CIPOLLONE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: What happened at the capitol cannot be justified in any form or fashion. It was wrong, and it was tragic, and it was a terrible day. It was a terrible day for this country.
GREG JACOB, FORMER COUNSEL TO VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: I thought it was inappropriate.
JACOB: To my mind, it was a day that should be remembered in infamy. That wasn't the tenor of this tweet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINZINGER: Despite the violence of the day the effort to delay the certification continued. That evening, Rudy Giuliani called several of President Trump's closest political allies in the hour before the joint session resumed. Representative Jim Jordan and Senators Marsha Blackburn, Tommy Tuberville, Bill Hagerty, Lindsey Graham, Josh Hawley, and Ted Cruz.
We know why Mr. Giuliani was calling them, because at 7.02, he left a voicemail for Senator Tuberville, which later became public. Let's listen to just the start of it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Senator Tuberville? Or I should say coach Tuberville. This is Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer. I'm calling you because I want to discuss with you how they're trying to rush this hearing and how we need you, our Republican friends, to try to just slow it down so we can get these legislators to get more information to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINZINGER: Mr. Giuliani did not even mention the attack on the capitol. Instead, he was pushing on behalf of President Trump to get members of Congress to further delay the certification.
Even though some members did proceed with objections, Vice President Pence and Congress stood firm and successfully concluded the joint session in the early morning hours of January 7th. Here is some of what members of what members of the president's party said in the days and weeks after the attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: There's no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.
The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet earth.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The violence, destruction, and chaos we saw earlier was unacceptable, un-democratic, and un-American. It was the saddest day I've ever had as serving as a member of this institution.
REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Madam Speaker, today the people's House was attacked, which is an attack on the republic itself. There is no excuse for it. A woman died, and people need to go to jail. And the president should never have spun up certain Americans to believe something that simply cannot be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINZINGER: Well, after three in the morning, Congress certified the 2020 election results. Soon after this statement by President Trump was posted on Dan Scavino's Twitter account because the president's account by now had been suspended.
As you can see, President Trump stuck with his big lie that the election was stolen, but he did say there would be an orderly transition. We learned, though, that the statement was not necessarily his idea.
Jason Miller, a campaign adviser, told us that after the joint session started, he heard nothing from President Trump or the White House about assuring the nation that the transfer of power would take place. So, Mr. Miller took it upon himself to draft the statement and called the president at 9.23 that night to convince him to put it out. Let's listen to what he had to say about the call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Did he disagree with something that you had put in the statement, some particular word or phrase that he did not want included?
STEPHEN MILLER, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: I'd say just the -- he wanted to say peaceful transition, and I said that ship is kind of already sailed, so we're going to say orderly transition. That was -- that was about the extent of disagreement or pushback from the conversation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINZINGER: The last person President Trump spoke to by phone that night was Johnny McEntee, his head of personnel. Mr. McEntee told us that they talked about the events of the day, and the multiple resignations by administration officials. The decision whether to resign was one that weighed heavily on the people in the administration.
On the one hand, people like Mr. Pottinger and Ms. Matthews here, as proud as they were to have served, refused to be associated with President Trump's dereliction of duty. But others were seriously worried that leaving President Trump to his own devices would put the country at continued risk.
Listen to what we heard about that tension from Pat Cipollone, from General Mark Milley, and Eugene Scalia, who was the secretary of labor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CIPOLLONE: And then after that, some people were resigning obviously over January 6th. We know who they were. Did I consider it? Yes. Did I do it? No. One thing I was concerned about is if people in the counsel's office left, who would -- who would replace me. And I had some concerns that it might be somebody who, you know, had been giving bad advice.
EUGENE SCALIA, FORMER SECRETARY OF LABOR: On the morning of the 7th, the decision I arrived at was that the most constructive thing I could think of was to seek a meeting of the cabinet. You know, I thought that trying to work within the administration to steady the ship was likely to have, you know, greater value than simply resigning, after which point, I would have then been powerless to affect things in the administration.
CIPOLLONE: He thought that there should be a cabinet meeting.
UNKNOWN: Do you remember why mark thought it would not be productive?
CIPOLLONE: I don't remember why. And I think it probably had something to do with Mark's view of how the president might react to that, you know, things like that.
MARK MILLEY, U.S. CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Now there was a couple of calls where, you know, Meadows and/or Pompeo, but more Meadows, you know, how is the president doing? Like Pompeo might say, how is the president doing? And Meadows would say, you know, he's in a really dark place. Like here's one, for example, on the 7th of January. So, this is the day after, right? POTUS is very emotional and in a bad place. Meadows.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINZINGER: As you heard Secretary Scalia wanted President Trump to convene a cabinet meeting. He put his request in a memo to the president, and here's what it said. You can see that Secretary Scalia recommended that the president, quote, "no longer publicly question the election results after Wednesday. No one can deny this is harmful."
Secretary Scalia also highlighted the importance of the public knowing the president would invoke his cabinet in decision-making and not, quote, "certain private individuals." Though Secretary Scalia did not say it, he was referring to Rudy Giuliani, and the rest of the so- called clown car working with President Trump to try to overturn the election.
Secretary Scalia understood that the president needed to do more to reassure the public about the last few weeks of the Trump administration.
Mr. Pottinger, when you made the decision to resign, did you walk out of the White House immediately?
MATTHEW POTTINGER, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: No. I wanted to first talk to my immediate boss. That was the national security adviser, Robert O'Brien. Robert O'Brien was traveling on the 6th. I reached him at about 4.30 p.m. And told him that I was submitting my resignation. He accepted the resignation, but he also asked whether I could stay until he could get back to the White House. And I agreed to that. We both wanted to make sure that I was leaving in a responsible way.
We still have foreign adversaries to worry about, you know, hackers, terrorists, nation states, and I did not want to leave my chair empty given that I was the top national security staffer in the White House. So I ended up staying at my desk through the night. When Robert O'Brien arrived back at the White House the next morning, the morning of the 7th, I debriefed with him and left for the last time. KINZINGER: So, you and I both share a passion for national security
of our country. Can you share with me, what's your view on how January 6th impacted our national security?
POTTINGER: Well, when you have a presidential transition, even under the best circumstances, it is -- it's a time of vulnerability. It's a time of vulnerability. For, you know, when you have a contested election, I was certainly concerned that some of our adversaries would be tempted to probe or test U.S. resolve.
As an example, in late December, the Iranian government attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. They did that using some of their terrorist proxies. President Trump did handle that. He sent a very clear warning to the ayatollah and his regime, which I think had a useful effect. I think that we would have handled other threats of that nature, and luckily no other threats materialized before the inauguration on the 20th.
But our national security was harmed in a different way by the 6th of January, and that is that it -- I think it emboldened our enemies by helping give them ammunition to feed a narrative that our system of government doesn't work, that the United States is in decline. China, the Putin regime in Russia, Tehran, they're fond of pushing those kinds of narratives. And by the way, they're wrong.
You know, we've been hearing for the entirety of U.S. history from kings and despots that the United States is in decline, and those kings and despots have been proven wrong every single time.
But nonetheless, January 6th helped feed a perception that I think emboldens our adversaries. You know, the other part I think is simply our allies. I heard from a lot of friends in Europe, in Asia, allies, close friends, and supporters of the United States that they were concerned about the health of our democracy. And so, I think it's incumbent upon us to put their minds at ease, to put our own hearts at ease by investigating what happened on the 6th and making sure that it never happens again.
KINZINGER: Look, I've always said democracies are not defined by bad days. They're defined by how they recover from those bad days, and that's what we're doing here is to bring accountability to that so we can actually come back even stronger than when we went into January 6th 6.
Ms. Matthews, as you left the White House for the last time that night, January 6th, what did you think Americans needed to hear from President Trump?
MATTHEWS: I think that the American people needed to hear and see him publicly commit to a peaceful or at least orderly transition of power. In the aftermath of the capitol attack, it wasn't just enough for us to ask him to condemn the violence. He needed to agree that he would peacefully transfer power over to the incoming administration because that's one of our fundamentals and what it means to live in a democracy.
And so that evening when I resigned, the resignation statement that I drafted, I referenced this, and I said, our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power in hopes that it would put some sort of public pressure on the White House and President Trump to publicly agree to an orderly transition.
KINZINGER: Thank you. I yield to my friend from Virginia.
REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA), JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: Thank you, Mr. Kinzinger. The staff who remained at the White House on the morning of January 7th knew the president needed to address the nation again, and they had a speech prepared for him that morning. But he refused for hours to give it.
As you heard Cassidy Hutchinson testify previously, President Trump finally agreed to record an address to the nation later that evening, the evening of January 7th, because of concerns he might be removed from power under the 25th amendment or by impeachment.
We know these threats were real. Sean Hannity said so himself in a text message that day to press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. He wrote, no more stolen election talk. Yes, impeachment and 25th amendment are real. We obtained the never-before-seen raw footage of the president recording his address to the nation that day on January 7th more than 24 hours after the last time he had addressed the nation from the Rose Garden. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Whenever you're ready, sir.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I would like to begin by addressing the heinous attack yesterday, and to those who broke the law, you will pay. You do not represent our movement. You do not represent our country. And if you broke the law -- you can't say that. I'm not -- I already said, you will pay.
The demonstrators who infiltrated the capitol have defied the seat -- that's defiled right? See, I can't see it very well. OK?
TRUMP: I'll do this. I'm going to do this. Let's go. But this election is now over. Congress has certified the results. I don't want to say the election is over. I just want to say Congress has certified the results without saying the election is over, OK?
IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: But Congress has certified. Now Congress has certified.
TRUMP: Yes, right.
I. TRUMP: Now Congress has certified.
TRUMP: I didn't say over, so let me see. Go to the paragraph before. OK? I would like to begin by addressing the heinous attack yesterday. Yesterday is a hard word for me.
I. TRUMP: Just take out. The heinous attack -- say heinous attack on our nation --
TRUMP: Good. Take the word "yesterday" because it doesn't work with the heinous. On our country. Say on our country. You want to say that?
I. TRUMP: No, repeat this.
TRUMP: My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote. My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LURIA: On January 7th, one day after he incited an insurrection based on a lie, President Trump still could not say that the election was over.
Mr. Pottinger, you've taken the oath multiple times in the marines and as an official in the executive branch. Can you please share with us your view about the oath of office and how that translates into accepting election results and a transfer of power?
POTTINGER: Sure. You know, this isn't the first time that we've had a close election in this country, and President Trump certainly had every right to challenge in court the results of these various elections. But once you've had due process under the law, you have to conform with the law no matter how bitter the result.
Once you've presented your evidence in court, judges have heard that evidence, judges have ruled, if you continue to contest an election, you're not just contesting an election anymore. You're actually challenging the Constitution itself. You are challenging the societal norms that allow us to remain unified.
I think that one example -- for example, you've got Vice President Richard Nixon back in 1960 had lost a hard-fought election against Senator John F. Kennedy. There were irregularities in that vote according to a lot of the histories, and a lot of Vice President Nixon's supporters asked him to fight, contest it, don't concede.
But in one of his finest moments, Vice President Nixon said, no. He said it would tear the country to pieces, and he conceded to Jack Kennedy and announced that he was going to support him as the next president.
We have an example of a Democratic candidate for president, Vice President Al Gore, who faced a very similar dilemma. He strongly disagreed with the Supreme Court decision that lost his election bid and allowed President George W. Bush to take office. But he gave a speech of concession in late December, mid or late December of 2000 where he said, this is for the sake of the unity of us as a people and for the strength of our democracy, I also am going to concede. I'm going to support the new president. His speech is actually a pretty good model, I think, for any candidate
for any office, up to and including the president, and from any party to read, particularly right now. You know, the oath that our presidents take, it's very similar to the oath of office I took as a U.S. marine officer and the oath I took as a White House official. It is to support and defend the Constitution. It's to protect the Constitution, to bear truth faith and allegiance to the Constitution.
And it is a sacred oath. It's an oath that we take before our families. We take that oath before God. And I think that we have an obligation to live by -- by that oath, and I do still believe that we have the most ingenious system of government on earth. Despite its imperfections.
I don't envy countries that don't have this system that actually allows for a predictable, peaceful transfer of government every four to eight years, and it's not something that we should take for granted.
LURIA: Thank you. As we heard at the start of the hearing, in the immediate aftermath of January 6th, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy understood that President Trump bore responsibility for that day and should have taken immediate action to stop the violence.
He was even more candid in calls with Republican colleagues. As you'll hear in a moment, recordings of some of these calls that were made were later published by The New York Times. The context for these calls was that a resolution had been introduced in the House calling for Vice President Pence and the cabinet to remove President Trump from power under the 25th amendment. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: I've had it with this guy. What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it.
The only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation he should resign. I mean, that would be my take, but I don't think he would take it. But I don't know.
But let me be very clear to all of you, and I've been very clear to the president. He bears responsibility for his words and actions, no ifs, ands, or buts. I asked him personally today does he hold responsibility for what happened? Does he feel bad about what happened? He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. And he needs to acknowledge that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LURIA: President Trump has never publicly acknowledged his responsibility for the attack. The only time he apparently did so was in that private call with Kevin McCarthy. There's something else President Trump has never acknowledged -- the names and the memories of the officers who died following the attack on the capitol.
We're honored to be joined tonight by police and first responders who bravely protected us on January 6th. Your character and courage give us hope that democracy can and should prevail even in the face of a violent insurrection.
We on this dais can never thank you enough for what you did to protect our democracy. On January 9th, two of President Trump's top campaign officials texted each other about the president's glaring silence on the tragic death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who succumbed to his injuries the night of January 7th.
His campaign officials were Tim Murtaugh, Trump's director of communications and one of his deputies, Matthew Wolking. Their job was to convince people to vote for President Trump, so they knew his heart, his mind, and his voice as well as anyone. And they knew how he connects with his supporters.
Here's what they had to say about their boss. Murtaugh said, also shitty not to have acknowledged the death of the capitol police officer. Wolking responded, that's enraging to me. Everything he said about supporting law enforcement was a lie. To which Murtaugh replied, you know what this is? Of course, if he acknowledged the dead cop, he'd be implicitly faulting the mob, and he won't do that because they're his people. And he would also be close to acknowledging that what he lit at the rally got out of control. No way he acknowledges something that could ultimately be called his fault. No way.
President Trump did not then and does not now have the character or courage to say to the American people what his own people know to be true. He is responsible for the attack on the capitol on January 6th.
Thank you, and I yield to the gentleman from Illinois.
KINZINGER: Thank you, Ms. Luria. Tonight's testimony and evidence is as sobering as it is straightforward. Within minutes of stepping off the ellipse stage, Donald Trump knew about the violent attack on the capitol.
From the comfort of his dining room, he watched on TV as the attack escalated. He sent tweets that inflamed and expressed support for the desire of some to literally kill Vice President Mike Pence. For three hours, he refused to call off the attack. Donald Trump refused to take the urgent advice he received that day, not from his political opponents or from the liberal media, but from his own family, his own friends, his own staff, and his own advisers.
In the midst of an attack, when there was no time for politics, the people closest to Trump told him the truth. It was his supporters attacking the capitol, and he alone could get through to them. So, they pled for him to act, to place his country above himself. Still, he refused to lead and to meet the moment to honor his oath.
It was only once the vice president and the members of Congress were in secure locations and the officers defending the capitol began to turn the tide that then President Trump engaged in the political theater of telling the mob to go home. And even then, he told them all they were special and that he loved them.
Whatever your politics, whatever you think about the outcome of the election, we as Americans must all agree on this. Donald Trump's conduct on January 6th was a supreme violation of his oath of office and a complete dereliction of his duty to our nation. It is a stain on our history. It is a dishonor to all those who have sacrificed and died in service of our democracy.
When we present our full findings, we will recommend changes to laws and policies to guard against another January 6th. The reason that's imperative is that the forces Donald Trump ignited that day have not gone away. The militant, intolerant ideologies, the militias, the alienation and the disaffection, the weird fantasies and disinformation -- they're all still out there ready to go. That's the elephant in the room.
But if January 6th has reminded us of anything, I pray it has reminded us of this. Laws are just words on paper. They mean nothing without public servants dedicated to the rule of law and who are held accountable by a public that believes oaths matters -- oaths matter more than party tribalism or the cheap thrill of scoring political points.
We, the people, must demand more of our politicians and ourselves. Oaths matter. Character matters. Truth matters. If we do not renew our faith and commitment to these principles, this great experiment of ours, our shining beacon on a hill, will not endure.
I yield to the gentlewoman from Virginia.
LURIA: Thank you, Mr. Kinzinger.
Throughout our hearings, we've provided many facts and painted a vivid picture of the events of January 6th, the violence, the human toll, both emotional and physical, including the tragic loss of life. The threats to our Constitution, the rule of law, and the danger to this nation, a nation we all love as Americans.
In tonight's hearing, we've gone into great detail about the events inside the White House on January 6th. We've described how the President of the United States, who was bound by oath to the Constitution and by duty to ensure the laws are faithfully executed, took no action when the cornerstone of our democracy, a peaceful transition of power, was under attack.
But it's more than that. Donald Trump summoned a violent mob and promised to lead that mob to the capitol to compel those he thought would cave to that kind of pressure. And when he was thwarted in his effort to lead the armed uprising, he instigated the attackers to target the vice president with violence, a man who just wanted to do his constitutional duty.
So, in the end, this is not as it may appear, a story of inaction in a time of crisis. But instead, it was the final action of Donald Trump's own plan to assert the will of the American people and remain in power. Not until it was clear that his effort to violently disrupt or delay the counting of the election results had failed.
Did he send his message -- a message to his supporters in which he commensurate with their pain, and he told them affectionately to go home? That was not the message of condemnation and just punishment for those who broke the law that we expect from a president, whose oath and duty is to ensure the laws are faithfully executed. But instead, it was his newest version of "stand back and stand by."
To me, this is personal. I first swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic when I entered the U.S. Naval Academy at age 17. I spent two decades on ships at sea, defending our nation from known and identifiable foreign enemies who sought to do us harm.
I never imagined that that enemy would come from within. I was not as prescient as Abraham Lincoln who 23 years before the Civil War said, if destruction be our lie, we must ourselves be its author and its finisher. Donald Trump was the author, and we, the people, for ourselves and our posterity, should not let Donald Trump be the finisher.
Thank you, and I yield to the vice chair.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Thank you very much, Mrs. Luria. I want to thank our witnesses for joining us today. The members of the select committee may have additional questions for today's witnesses, and we ask that you respond expeditiously in writing to those questions.
Without objection, members will be permitted 10 business days to submit statements for the record, including opening remarks and additional questions from our witnesses. I'd now like to turn things to Chairman Thompson for a few closing words.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS), CHAIR, JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE: The members of the committee -- and I appreciate and thank all person who's have come forward voluntarily to provide information to help protect our democracy. And our work continues. As we're made clear throughout these hearings, our investigation is going forward.
We continue to receive new information every day. We are pursuing many additional witnesses for testimony. We will reconvene in September to continue laying out our findings to the American people and pushing for accountability.
In the first hearing of this series, I asked American people to consider the facts and judge for themselves. The facts are clear and unambiguous. I thank the American people for their attention over the past several weeks. I wish you all a pleasant evening.
CHENEY: Let me again thank our witnesses today. We've seen bravery and honor in these hearings, and Ms. Matthews and Mr. Pottinger, both of you will be remembered for that, as will Cassidy Hutchinson. She sat here alone, took the oath, and testified before millions of Americans.
She knew all along that she would be attacked by President Trump and by the 50, 60, and 70-year-old men who hide themselves behind executive privilege. But like our witnesses today, she has courage, and she did it anyway. Cassidy, Sarah, and our other witnesses, including Officer Caroline Edwards, Shaye Moss, and her mother, Ruby Freeman, are an inspiration to American women and to American girls. We owe a debt to all of those who have and will appear here.
And that brings me to another point. This committee has shown you the testimony of dozens of Republican witnesses. Those who served President Trump loyally for years. The case against Donald Trump in these hearings is not made by witnesses who were his political enemies.
It is, instead, a series of confessions by Donald Trump's own appointees, his own friends, his own campaign officials, people who worked for him for years, and his own family. They have come forward, and they have told the American people the truth.
And for those of you who seem to think the evidence would be different if Republican Leader McCarthy had not withdrawn his nominees from this committee, let me ask you this. Do you really think Bill Barr is such a delicate flower that he would wilt under cross-examination?
Pat Cipollone, Eric Herschman, Jeff Rosen, Richard Donoghue, of course they aren't. None of our witnesses are. At one point in 2016 when he was first running for office, Donald Trump said this. "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters."
That quote came to mind last week when audio from Trump adviser Steve Bannon surfaced from October 31st, 2020, just a few days before the presidential election. Let's listen.
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR: And what Trump's going to do is declare victory, right? He's going to declare victory. But that doesn't mean he's a winner. He's just going to say he's a winner.
The Democrats -- more of our people vote early that count. Theirs vote in mail. So, they're going to have a natural disadvantage, and Trump's going to take advantage of it. That's our strategy. He's going to declare himself a winner. So, when you wake up Wednesday morning, it's going to be a firestorm.
Also, if Trump is -- if Trump is losing by 10 or 11 o'clock at night, it's going to be even crazier. No, because he's going to sit right there and say they stole it. If Biden is winning, Trump is going to do some crazy shit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: And of course, four days later, President Trump declared victory when his own campaign advisers told him he had absolutely no basis to do so. What the new Steve Bannon audio demonstrates is that Donald Trump's plan to falsely claim victory in 2020, no matter what the facts actually were, was premeditated.
Perhaps worse, Donald Trump believed he could convince his voters to buy it whether he had any actual evidence of fraud or not. And this same thing continued to occur from election day onward until January 6th. Donald Trump was confident that he could convince his supporters the election was stolen no matter how many lawsuits he lost, and he lost scores of them. He was told over and over again in immense detail that the election was not stolen. There was no evidence of widespread fraud. It didn't matter.
Donald Trump was confident he could persuade his supporters to believe whatever he said no matter how outlandish and ultimately, that they could be summoned to Washington to help him remain president for another term.
As we showed you last week, even President Trump's legal team, led by Rudy Giuliani, knew they had no actual evidence to demonstrate the election was stolen. Again, it didn't matter.
Here's the worst part. Donald Trump knows that millions of Americans who supported him would stand up and defend our nation where it threatened. They would put their lives and their freedom at stake to protect her. And he is preying on their patriotism. He is preying on their sense of justice.
And on January 6th, Donald Trump turned their love of country into a weapon against our capitol and our Constitution. He has purposely created the false impression that America is threatened by a foreign force controlling voting machines or that a wave of tens of millions of false ballots were secretly injected into our election system, or that ballot workers have secret thumb drives and are stealing elections with them, all complete nonsense.
We must remember that we cannot abandon the truth and remain a free nation. In late November of 2020, while President Trump was still pursuing lawsuits, many of us were urging him to put any genuine evidence of fraud forward in the courts and to accept the outcome of those cases.
As January 6th approached, I circulated a memo to my Republican colleagues explaining why our congressional proceedings to count electoral votes could not be used to change the outcome of the election. But what I did not know at the time was that President Trump's own advisers, also Republicans, also conservatives, including his White House counsel, his Justice Department, his campaign officials -- they were all telling him almost exactly the same thing I was telling my colleagues. There was no evidence of fraud or irregularities sufficient to change the election outcome.
Our courts had ruled. It was over. Now we know that it didn't matter what any of us said because Donald Trump wasn't looking for the right answer legally or the right answer factually. He was looking for a way to remain in office. Let's put that aside for a moment and focus just on what we saw today.
In our hearing tonight, you saw an American president faced with a stark and unmistakable choice between right and wrong. There was no ambiguity, no nuance. Donald Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office, to ignore the ongoing violence against law enforcement, to threaten our constitutional order. There is no way to excuse that behavior. It was indefensible. And every American must consider this.
Can a president who is willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of January 6th ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again?
In this room, in 1918, the committee on women's suffrage convened to discuss and debate whether women should be granted the right to vote.
This room is full of history, and we on this committee know we have a solemn obligation not to idly squander what so many Americans have fought and died for. Ronald Reagan's great ally, Margaret Thatcher, said this. "Let it never be said that the dedication of those who love freedom is less than the determination of those who would destroy it."
Let me assure every one of you this. Our committee understands the gravity of this moment, the consequences for our nation. We have much work yet to do, and we will see you all in September. I request those in the hearing room remain seated until the capitol police have escorted witnesses and members from the room.
Without objection, the committee stands adjourned.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: An evening of testimony that was frankly infuriating. Donald Trump, after sending to the capitol a mob, some of who were armed, all of whom were angry because of Trump's months of lies about the election, Trump sending them there with the clear purpose of stopping the election, stopping democracy. All of that happening, and the president refused to act to stop the violence.
There was a leader of the far-right militia the Oath Keepers reading his tweets. We heard that. The mob thinking, they were following the president's orders. We heard that. Police were beaten. People died. The president refused to stop it.
We heard Secret Service agents guarding the vice president and his family afraid for their lives. But Donald Trump wanted it to keep going. That is the only conclusion you can reach after hearing the testimony.
Now, we've heard Republicans whining that the hearings are not sufficiently bipartisan. But beyond the central roles of Republican members of Congress Cheney and Kinzinger, who we heard from at length tonight, the testimony, the witnesses have overwhelmingly been not only Republicans but diehard Trump-supporting Republicans. And what we heard tonight, they were as horrified as the rest of us, and Donald Trump did not care. Dana Bash, the second half of tonight's hearing just as explosive as
the first. What's your big picture takeaway?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you just summed it up. When you look at the details, seeing then-President Trump the day after of trying to give a speech, taping a speech, and the outtakes, things that he was being asked to say and wouldn't say, were so telling.
In particular, the biggest is "I don't want to say the election is over. I want to say Congress certified." And the point that they made on the panel is to this day, he has not acknowledged that the election was free or fair. Today he is saying it is fraudulent. But seeing those moments were so telling.
TAPPER: It is powerful. Chris Wallace, we saw outtakes from President Trump's speech on January 7th that Dana was just referring to. Clearly, a speech he did not want to give. I believe the voice that we hear in the background is that of Ivanka Trump. Let's run a little bit of that, and then I want to get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And to those who broke the law, you will pay. You do not represent our movement. You do not represent our country. And if you broke the law -- can't say that. I'm not going to -- I already said you will pay. But this election is now over. Congress has certified the results. I don't want to say the election is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: I mean that's just remarkable. I don't want to say the election's over, Chris.
CHRIS WALLACE, FORMER FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Yes. Look, you have to understand the context as we heard today of how that speech on January 7th, the day after the insurrection was made, which is that top advisers, family members were telling Donald Trump, look, you're in real danger of the 25th amendment being invoked and you're going to be taken out of office. You've got to say something, and they particularly wanted him to say there is now going to be a transition of power.
And what becomes clear from watching those outtakes, this isn't just that he's making, you know, fluffs and mistakes as any person would reading a teleprompter. It's how utterly insincere that statement was, that it was the last thing that he really believed. He didn't want to condemn the protesters and say a couple of times that they broke the law. As you say, he didn't want to say the election is over.
He knew he had to say something if he was going to finish his last two weeks in office. But he was going to be dragged kicking and screaming to make that statement, and you saw there just how insincere it was. TAPPER: And we have to acknowledge, Jamie Gangel, first of all the
unusual nature of the fact that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi basically let Liz Cheney preside over this hearing even though she's a Republican.
And second of all, the next hearing's going to be in September, and we don't know what Liz Cheney's status is going to be because she's facing a very tough primary challenge from Trump-supporting Republicans. Talk about her role this evening.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So first of all, her primary is August 16th, --
TAPPER: OK, yes.
GANGEL: -- so we will know the outcome by September.
GANGEL: Liz Cheney may have sacrificed her, at least her career in the House of Representatives by doing this way. Wyoming is one of the Trumpiest states. The polls do not look good for her.
But I will tell you during her final speech there, I got -- I can't even count how many texts from Democrats, liberal Democrats and they all said what an amazing American or some version of that.
I think that the other point we should make again and again, is that tonight they made the case that Trump wasn't just sitting there watching TV. He refused. He chose to call off the mob. We don't know yet whether this committee will eventually do a criminal referral. But as
one lawyer texted to me, the ball is now in Merrick Garland's court.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The committee has provided, it's like a conveyor belt from the capitol to the Justice Department filled with boxes of these transcripts and the testimony. There's more and more damning information tonight. I'll leave it to the lawyers.
There's no question it was a deletion of decency. It was a deletion of responsibility. It was a deletion of loyalty. It was a deletion of patriotism. Is it a, is it breaking the law? I'll leave that to the lawyers. It's certainly what you saw tonight was just a damning primetime glimpse at the character of Donald Trump on that day.
He didn't call the vice president to see if he was OK. Didn't call the Pentagon or the cops or the National Guard, or the Department of Homeland Security, anybody to send help to the capitol. His last words, according to the White House aide were, Mike Pence let me down, not, my God, what happened to my country today? And did I have a role in it?
And we also, I think to the point Jamie is making about Liz Cheney. The committee wants to record this for history. The committee wants to detail this for people at the Justice Department who have to make very difficult decisions about potentially charging a former president of the United States or people close to him with serious crimes.
She also made crystal clear at the end that one of her goals is to disqualify him from running again, to try to break the spell of Trump supporters saying they were patriotic Americans who were misled on that day deployed by Donald Trump cynically. She maybe a primary opponent of Donald Trump in 2024 if he runs, but she is trying to crack the spell with at least enough Trump Republicans to just, just qual -- disqualify him from future public office.
AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I wish we could bring it out of Trump for a little bit, because this whole hearing has also showed us. So many different points of this process are vulnerable, right? You have to have an A.G. who isn't going to do what the president said. You have to have someone who's not going to say sure, put in those fake electors. You have to have people at the state level who can't be pressured.
I know over the context of this we've described some people as heroes, but I would like to hear Congress and more lawmakers talk about what they're doing to shore up their own system, because the idea is not for this to be a trial run. It's a one off. And right now, it's not clear to me going forward what some of the reforms will be.
Obviously, there's a movement in the Senate. We'll hear more about that proposal in coming days, but that is something that I think we should think about as well. Take Trump's name out of it. Put in your favorite candidate's name. What do you want them to do when they lose? And in a toxic atmosphere, how far can they go to get what they want?
TAPPER: And, and we, we should just know, and I guess I want to reiterate for our -- for our viewers and for any Republicans or independents watching, who have heard the criticisms that this is a, a witch hunt. This is an unfair hearing.
The people that we heard from the Trump supporters and Trump officials that we heard from these weren't even just Trump officials. These were the most die-hard Trump officials, the people who were working for Donald at the end of his term.
And I want to roll a little bit of sound from two of those incredibly loyal Trump officials. One, the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone who led the defense of Donald Trump during the first impeachment, and general, retired General Keith Kellogg who was a national security advisor. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: Are you aware of any phone call by the president of the United States to the secretary of defense that day?
CIPOLLONE: Not that I'm aware of. No.
CHENEY: Are you aware of any phone call by the President of the United States to the attorney general of the United States that day?
CHENEY: Are you aware of any phone call by the President of the United States to the secretary of Homeland security that day?
CIPOLLONE: I -- I'm not aware of that. No.
UNKNOWN: Did you ever get a vice or excuse me, the president ask for the National Guard?
KEITH KELLOGG, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR TO VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: No.
UNKNOWN: Did you ever hear that the president ask for law enforcement response?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: This is so critical. And it's the, one of the key points that Liz Cheney made as she wrapped up tonight, which is that everybody we heard from were very loyal to him. And not only that, it's not as if they were afraid to speak their mind. She said, you think Bill Barr is such a delicate flower that even if they did have some, you know, very challenging questions from people who didn't believe their eyes on January 6th, that their story would change? And the answer is absolutely not.
And to that point, while we saw Sarah Matthews testifying, she is was a young staffer at the White House. She is currently a staffer on the Hill working for the Republican Party on a committee in the House of Representatives. And while she was speaking, she got attacked by the woman who took Liz Cheney's job when she was kicked out of the chairmanship of the House Republican conference attacking her.
Now, apparently that was -- that tweet was deleted afterwards.
TAPPER: It was deleted, the tweet was -- the tweet was --
BASH: It was deleted but it was still sent.
TAPPER: -- deleted by Elise Stefanik's committee --
BASH: It was still sent. And it is very telling as to what the undercurrent is still as we speak when people like her, whether they're young women or some of the, as Liz Cheney said, middle-aged or older men like Matt Pottinger came out that they are being viciously attacked for coming out and telling what they saw and what they witnessed and what they didn't witness.
BASH: And the frustration that they had.
TAPPER: Well, that there's a lot of trolling going on by House Republicans not just anonymous staffers, but also by members of Congress themselves.
TAPPER: And let's just think about what they are defending, OK? What are they defending? I want people to understand what they're defending is a mob sent to the capitol by Donald Trump, a mob that was literally threatening the lives of the vice president of the United States and his family to the degree that the vice president's Secret Service detail were afraid for their lives. Let's run that clip.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
UNKNOWN: OK, that last entry on this page is, Service at the capitol does not sound good right now.
UNKNOWN: What does that mean?
UNKNOWN: The members of the V.P. detail at this time were starting to fear for their own lives. There were a lot of, there was a lot yelling, a lot of very personal to calls over the radio. So, it was disturbing. I don't like talking about it, but there were calls to say goodbye to family members, so on and so forth. It was getting -- for whatever the reason was on the ground, the V.P. detail thought that this was about to get very ugly.
(END VOICE CLIP)
TAPPER: I mean, that's how twisted this is that if you are opposed to the vice president being attacked by a mob, the House Republican caucus now thinks that you are a tool of Nancy Pelosi. That it's, that you can't -- you can't just be offended by the notion of a, an armed mob trying to kill the vice president without being a liberal.
GANGEL: I, I think this was one of the most revealing things we learned today. We were not aware of this radio traffic. I thought it was interesting. This is someone who is testifying anonymously to it's a professional, it's someone in the security field and the committee. Stated that in order to protect them because of retribution and threats they had him testify anonymously. That says something in and of itself.
BASH: Can I just add this quickly. Somebody who was familiar with that situation said that it seems as though, who had not heard that before, seems as though the concern was that if those rioters got close enough to the vice president at the time, then the Secret Service would've had to open fire and there could have been a massacre.
TAPPER: Anderson let's go to you and your panel. ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes. So many extraordinary details of --
let me -- George Conway, let me start with you. I mean, the fact that the president only agreed finally to go out and make that, that statement at 4 something p.m. only after likely he saw on television that the National Guard were now responding and that the FBI was sending in troops.