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CNN Live Event/Special

The January 6 House Select Committee Holds Its Eighth Public Hearing. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired July 21, 2022 - 23:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: He saw on television that the National Guard were now responding and that the FBI was sending in troops. Just one of the small details of the timeline that we learned today.

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: This is a story, a devastating portrait, not just of dereliction by the president of the United States, a derangement by the president of the United States. He sat in a room for three hours, watching Fox News, watching the people engage in violence on Capitol Hill, and he wanted it to happen.

Everybody else in the White House, according to Cipollone. Cipollone said, you got to say something. And there was one person who didn't want to do it, and that's why it didn't happen.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, and you know, overall these hearings, what you see is that this was a Trump operation start to finish. And that this man grows smaller and smaller and smaller as you watch him. He's somebody who needs the adulation of the mob, but also has to invent enemies. And so, this time, he invented Mike Pence as his enemy, because Mike Pence would not certify the election.

And one of the most stunning things to me, in listening to these staffers, is that everybody kind of knew who Donald Trump was. Everybody knew it. Some said, well, you know, Cipollone, like, I had to stay, you know, I thought about leaving and all this. But all of these people --


CONWAY: The murder talk (ph) exchange.

BORGER: That conversation --

CONWAY: He knew exactly --


CONWAY: Right.

BERNSTEIN: -- would say the right things on January -- right after January 6 and look where that craven leaders have been since.

BORGER: But these election officials -- these election officials --

BERNSTEIN: One thing Liz Cheney said at the end, 50, 60 and 70-year- old men hiding behind privilege. Unfortunately, one of those men tonight was Pat Cipollone. He invoked privilege time after time --

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: But we still got a lot out of Cipollone.

BERNSTEIN: My point is we got a lot out of him and yet, George Conway, you tell me what he knows and what he refused to give up.

CONWAY: It's B.S. Laura can agree with me.


CONWAY: If I'm the general counsel to CNN, and I advise whoever is in charge of CNN something, but I convey it through --

BERNSTEIN: That's right.

CONWAY: -- an assistant, it's still privilege.

UNKNOWN: And by the way --

CONWAY: This was a nonsense.

BERNSTEIN: Absolutely. He withheld information.

COATES: He broadcast several times the idea of almost -- it almost had a godfather notion of, can I say anything, let me look over here.


COATES: We all knew he was talking about Trump each time we had -- it is privilege. This is this person. But I tell you --

CONWAY: One person who I can't talk about, who I might disagree, but I can't talk about that.

COATES: Here's the thing. We all know who he is. We know who he was. The president of the United States. Imagine if this had been an attack by a foreign country --


COATES: -- or a foreign nation. And the president of the United States --


COATES: -- watched from his dining room for three hours --

CONWAY: At 3:00 p.m., not 3:00 a.m.

COATES: -- didn't make a telephone call to the National Guard, to any military force, did not check on the succession of power. The line of succession was inside the very Capitol that you are in that day, Kasie, right?


COATES: I mean, everyone was sitting there. We saw video. Can you imagine if the president of the United States did that? Dereliction of duty, we talk about that, under the military code, that's where you normally have it. He's a civilian commander-in-chief. It likely would not apply to him.

Howeve, you do have the idea of the culmination of a decision to try to obstruct an official proceeding. That was what you saw there. Everything has been checked.

COOPER: And not just a foreign terrorist attack. I mean, if it had been a domestic terrorist attack, any other group of Americans --

HUNT: It's exactly -- you're exactly right.

COOPER: -- he would have been on the phone wanting to be out and front.

HUNT: We heard in earlier hearings, exactly, that he -- that they were his people, he knew that there were his people, he knew that they were armed, and he knew that they were not going to hurt him.

And big picture here, I think the committee did two incredibly important things in this hearing. First, they established that Donald Trump actively didn't do anything. He actively -- it was not a passive set of decisions on the part of the president. And they also established that the crowd was listening to him.


HUNT: They showed footage. I had not seen it. I have watched these pictures over and over and over again as I sort of relive what that day was like. We saw instances of them quite literally reading their tweets -- his tweets, circulating them in their private conversations, taking specific actions. It shows --

COOPER: And actually listening, caring about.

HUNT: Exactly.

COOPER: It wasn't just like, oh, he is saying we should go, but we are seeing --

HUNT: Like what he said about the Capitol police. They are saying, okay, actually, well, we shouldn't hurt the Capitol police.

BORGER: But he didn't say.

COATES: He didn't say don't hurt the (INAUDIBLE) --

HUNT: Right. BORGER: And they listen.

COATES: And speaking of police, remember the summer that George Floyd was murdered? The president is well aware of the power he has to try to order military force or threaten to have them either clear a square or to clear out Portland, or to go in different -- and protection of different private entities.


He's aware of the talking point of that and the protection of law enforcement. Remember, the protection of law enforcement, they were attacked, let alone attacked trying to protect those who were the ultimate lawmakers. He knows what his power was.

BORGER: And how about the conversation between, which is for the second time they've used it, between General Milley and Meadows? Meadows understands, the chief of staff understands the president is sitting there and doesn't want to do anything, doesn't want to move is enjoying it, whatever, and Meadows says to Milley, we need to establish the narrative that the president is in charge.


BORGER: He wasn't in charge of anything else, just the mob (ph).

COOPER: There is also this soundbite from Sarah Matthews, the former deputy press secretary. She is talking about what Kayleigh McEnany, the press secretary, told her about a conversation with the president on that day. Let's play that.


SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: She looked directly at me and in a hushed tone shared with me that the president did not want to include any sort of mention of peace in that tweet. And that it took some convincing on their part, those who are in the room.

And she said that there was a back and forth going over different phrases to find something that he was comfortable with. And it wasn't until Ivanka Trump suggested the phrase, stay peaceful, that he finally agreed to include it.


BERNSTEIN: Can we go back to a phrase that I used a few weeks ago? And that is the mad king. We get a picture of him tonight and his court around him trying to deal with the mad king. They don't know what to do. His own children and son-in-law don't know what to do about the mad king.

CONWAY: To the point that it was emotionally draining.

BERNSTEIN: Right. We have many people saying, let us invoke the 25th Amendment because we have a president of the United States who is in a state of madness. That's part of --

CONWAY: A very dark place.

HUNT: What this tells you is that no one can control this group, the most intense of these people who still are out there supporting Donald Trump. So, this is the other critical piece, and it came at the end of hearing. You heard a little bit from Adam Kinzinger, but most of it from Liz Cheney. In that speech that she gave at the end which -- I mean, every time she has concluded one of these hearings, it's been newsworthy and interesting to listen to.

But Kinzinger said, look, these forces are still out there. True, they are still out there. Donald Trump enabled them by allowing this violent rhetoric, encouraging this violent rhetoric all the way throughout. No Republican nominee previously had been willing to do it. They all knew the element in the party was there, but they ignored it.

And then you have Liz Cheney at the end essentially speaking to Trump supporters. And she has done this every time. She has said, you are -- you have been duped by this man. It is not your fault. You thought you're being a patriotic American, you thought you're doing right by your country, but he abused you.

She is trying, politically, to give people space --


HUNT: -- to reject this man for 2024 because right now, he is the most likely Republican nominee. We cannot lose sight of that.

COOPER: I want to go to Capitol. I want to bring in Ryan Nobles. Ryan, the committee touched on the role of the Secret Service on January 6. Obviously, there is a lot we need to know about what has gone on with the Secret Service in regard to these text messages, but it was significant that the committee touched on the role of the Secret Service.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right, Anderson. And honestly, so much of what has come out about the Secret Service in the last week or so came up so close to this hearing that it was difficult for the committee to process all that information and make it a big part of what we saw here today.

But I'm told that this is just the beginning of the committee's interest in the Secret Service and the role that they may have played as it relates to January 6.

Obviously, the deletion of the text messages is one thing, but the committee members are also concerned that perhaps members of the Secret Service may have played a more active role in the former President Donald Trump's effort to stand in the way of the certification of the election.

At this point, they are the early stages of collecting evidence that would perhaps prove that theory if it were to be true. Part of what we saw here tonight, what the committee hinted at, which I'm told we should not ignore, is the fact that they have pointed out that certain members of the Secret Service that are of great interest to the committee have already retained counsel.

And in just last few minutes, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren confirmed to our Annie Grayer that those -- the three Secret Service members, in particular Bobby Engel who is the head of Donald Trump's detail, he was in the presidential limo on January 6, the driver of that limo who has not been identified publicly, and then, of course, Tony Ornato who was a member of his detail and then became his deputy chief of staff, all three of those men have now retained private counsel, which is separate from the council that's afforded to them as a member of the Secret Service.


So that indicates that they have a level of concern about their exposure and also that the committee is bearing down on them, wanting to know more about the role they played in all this.

Of course, we know that both Engel and Ornato have had very informal conversations with the committee. The Secret Service has offered for them to come back and have full on the record, under oath testimony. That has not been scheduled yet.

But Anderson, part of why the committee is now talking about hearings going into September and beyond is because they are still collecting evidence, they are still getting to the bottom of what happened on January 6, and the role the Secret Service played is a major part of that next level of this investigation.

COOPER: Well, especially, Ryan, after learning tonight, you have on the one hand, Vice Presidents Pence's Secret Service detail asking people in the White House to call their families in case they don't make it out and screaming on the radios in fear for their lives and the lives of the Pences. And on the other hand, you have the Trump detail who are now lawyering up. I mean, that is extraordinary.

NOBLES: Yeah. There's no doubt about that, Anderson.

COOPER: Go ahead.

NOBLES: A level of inconsistency between the details and their protectees and the role they could possibly play. That's all part of what the committee is trying to piece together and figure out.

COOPER: Yeah. I want to check in with Manu Raju. Ryan, thank you so much for your reporting. Manu, what are GOP leaders saying? Are they saying anything about tonight's testimony? Are they saying they didn't watch like so many say on a lot of nights?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're actually saying nothing, Anderson, notably Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, who did feature prominently in this hearing, lots of videotape, including that phone call that had been widely reported, but also featured tonight with Donald Trump. Kevin McCarthy got into a screaming match, a swearing match. Kevin McCarthy told Donald Trump, your people are in the Capitol. Donald Trump suggested that Antifa was in the Capitol as well.

Committee, of course, wants to talk to Kevin McCarthy. Kevin McCarthy not going to comment, I'm told, about this hearing tonight. That's according to his office.

But also silence from other top Republicans. Steve Scalise, the number two Republican on the House side, has not commented. Neither Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, someone else who was featured prominently in today's hearing by all those video clips of him criticizing Donald Trump.

There was some notable reaction, though, from the House republican conference. The Twitter account run by Elise Stefanik, her office tweeted an attack against Sarah Matthews who, of course, testified here tonight. They later deleted that tweet after getting much blowback and then had been relatively silent at criticizing this hearing ever since.

But this is all strategic, Anderson. Republicans don't want anything to do with the revelations coming from this hearing. They want to attack the committee as just being political without getting into the nitty-gritty of these revelations, instead focusing on issues they believe will help win back the Congress in the midterm elections like the economy, inflation, not talk about these issues. So, silence tonight from top Republicans.

COOPER: Yeah. Manu Raju, appreciate that from Capitol Hill. Back now with our team. What is the next step? They are going to be gathering now more information all during the rest of the summer. Ryan Nobles was saying, obviously, the Secret Service piece of this looms incredibly large right now.

BORGER: It does. And I just want to say to you that I've been talking with a top aide to Mike Pence, particularly about the Secret Service issue. And what this aide says is that the relationship between Mike Pence and his two Secret Service agents is terrific, trustworthy, et cetera, et cetera. They have absolutely no issues and only praise.

He also did not know about this audio recording that we heard tonight. And he said he was a little bit skeptical about it because he didn't sense any fear from the agents that day. But, of course, you don't know.

HUNT: It's also their job, though, I will say, is to make sure -- I mean, the agents' job. They would take great pride in making sure that they kept private those conversations --

BORGER: Exactly.

HUNT: -- that they were having from the people they were protecting.

BORGER: Exactly. But he had not heard about it or heard it --

HUNT: Of course.

BORGER: -- until tonight.

HUNT: You know, Anderson, I'm struck still by what Liz Cheney said at the top of the hearing tonight, which was that the dam has broken. I mean, I don't think any of us were expecting these hearings to continue even as long as they have --

COOPER: Right.

HUNT: -- let alone into September. And I think that really shows that -- the depth of surprise even that the committee has of what they're able to learn and the things that they're able to construct here. And I think from a historical perspective, I think we should -- make sure not to forget that we're watching history unfold here and we are going to have a much more complete account than we realize.

COOPER: I want to turn to our legal team here. John Dean has also just joined us. Laura, if you are the attorney general, Merrick Garland, and you're watching this, what are you thinking tonight?

COATES: I'm thinking about civil liability as well and how those cases might be able to buttress my interest in trying to promote prosecution.


What I mean by that is you just heard and one of the things you played recently was the idea of Kayleigh McEnany whispering to Sarah Matthews, he doesn't want to make any mention of peace.

This is a man who already has several lawsuits filed against him, the former president United States, from officers who are injured. Officers who are in a position to be able to be helped by this president. A legal duty to do something, did not do something about it.

So, I'm looking at this and thinking, if there's a civil side of this, if a judge is willing to let those go forward to this point, what can I be doing to try to confirm that I've met my criteria?

Here's what it is. I have to prove there were some official proceeding. That, of course, was the certification process. That there was a dishonest or deceptive means used to try to obstruct it. He knows he did not have a legal leg to stand on or any viable claim of fraud. And then, did I have a corrupt purpose or corrupt means of doing so? These are slowly being checked away.

So, now, the more testimony I see, the more I hear, the more I think, I'm better prepared to present to a grand jury.

BORGER: But can it be a civil case or a criminal case at some point?

COOPER: John Dean, from culpability standpoint, what got advanced tonight?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think, clearly, the culpability that was advanced was a dereliction of duty. That's a moral judgment. That's not a legal judgment unless you're in the military. The president is not in the military. He is the commander-in-chief. He's a civilian. And that law, only a federal law, only applies to people who are in the rank and file of the military.

So, that case wasn't made. Additional evidence for state of mind, there was some of that, yes. But they didn't close the case tonight. There wasn't seditious conspiracy.

COOPER: That for you is the issue.

DEAN: That for me is the key charge.

COOPER: George?

CONWAY: You know, maybe they'll get to seditious conspiracy, maybe they won't, but they certainly are at 15, 12C, the obstruction congressional proceeding provision, and they certainly do have plenty of evidence for conspiracy to defraud the United States which, as we've discussed, is what they charged a lot of people in Watergate.

DEAN: That's what got everybody in Watergate.

CONWAY: Yeah, absolutely.

CONWAY: And so, what was it? It wasn't just a dereliction, as I said before, it was the depravity of what he didn't did and didn't do. Not just that he wanted to go up on the Hill, even though he was told that these people were unarmed. It wasn't just that he just sat there and watched TV for three hours. It was that he actually pretty much sic the mob on his vice president.

And at the end of the day, he had no remorse for it. None. He wouldn't criticize the rioters. He wouldn't -- all he wanted to do was say, Mike Pence let me down.

COOPER: Yeah. I want to go to Kaitlan Collins. She's working her sources in Trump world. What is the mood after all the damning testimony you've been hearing?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Certainly, some shock from former Trump officials, especially listening to the audio of Mike Pence's Secret Service agent as they were scrambling to get him to safety that day, Anderson.

We're also learning some new reporting about one of the most remarkable moments of this hearing, though, which was, of course, the outtakes from Trump's speech on January 7th. For those of us who cover the White House, it's not entirely surprising because a lot of people who worked with Trump as he recorded videos often would have stories about what it was like to have these recordings.

But my colleague, Kevin Liptak, and I are reporting tonight that what we saw tonight from the committee was just a portion of the outtakes because it actually took about an hour for the former president to record that video, which, as we know, only ended up being a three- minute video that was published on January 7th with his remarks.

And I think when you look at the totality of this hearing and you think about what part is going to bother Trump the most, it's likely going to be that, Anderson, because it's very revealing, it shows the former president behind the scenes, stumbling over words, saying he did not want to say the election was over, he instead only wanted to say that Congress had certified it. He hits the lectern several times.

None of that is surprising to people that I have spoken to that worked inside the White House and were familiar with how this went down. But it is very revealing of what his mindset was on that day. His daughter, Ivanka Trump, was in the background. You didn't see her but you heard her helping him make those revisions.

We haven't actually seen Trump respond to this hearing yet, Anderson. He does have a rally tomorrow night in Arizona with an election denier. Obviously, we will likely hear from him on this. But it was remarkable to see --


COLLINS: -- Trump behind the scenes.

COOPER: Also, for somebody who, you know, pretends to want to project or who does want to project the appearance of being, you know, strong and powerful, to look weak and foolish, reading a teleprompter and equivocating about, you know, being accurate, and then getting advice from his daughter and taking her advice, I mean, he looks weak in that, which is certainly not going to sit well with him.

COLLINS: And looking weak is Trump's kryptonite.


That's the last thing he wants.

COOPER: Yeah. Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it. Some quick final thoughts from the --

HUNT: She's so right about that video. And honestly, I mean, as someone who has covered politics for a long time, I'm sort of stunned that the footage still exists, let alone the committee managed to put their hands on it. I mean, the fact that they were able to do that is really remarkable.

COOPER: If the Secret Service has been in charge of it, maybe it would be disappeared by now.


HUNT: Perhaps. Look, if it wasn't so serious, it would be an SNL skit.

BORGER: Right. BERNSTEIN: What does the Republican Party do as a result of this? Can the Republican Party or parts of it do what happened in Watergate and do something independent of Donald Trump? I doubt it. But that's the big question that we have.

HUNT: They're all going to run for president now, big change.

BERNSTEIN: That's right.

HUNT: But the problem is that guarantees it's going to hand Donald Trump the nomination.

BORGER: Can you isolate him anymore than he already is?

COOPER: Up next, former Trump White House insiders tell us how tonight's chilling accounts of the president's action square with their experience. Did anything surprise them? We'll be back in a moment.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: We're getting new reactions to tonight's hearing in the January 6 Committee's detailed and disturbing portrayal of a president who not only failed to act to call off his mob but willfully chose to not act.


We are joined by our panel, former Trump White House insiders Olivia Troye, Alyssa Farah Griffin, and Stephanie Grisham.

Stephanie, let me start with you. The scene where Donald Trump was taping video messages to his supporters that -- and they were outtakes. He -- I can't say that or I don't want to say that the election is over, that must have rung true for you, I'm guessing.

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, I saw that show many, many times. You know, tonight made me sad and it made me disgusted all over again. But actually, nothing surprised me. He -- Donald Trump, as all of us know here, he will not apologize and he will not admit defeat. And I think those outtakes really showed that, really showed what he was like.

And I think if I could say anything, I cannot echo Liz Cheney's words enough, as to say the American people were duped by him. I was duped by him. He doesn't care about this country. He cares about Donald Trump.

TAPPER: Yeah. It's interesting when he said that he used -- he weaponized the patriotism of his supporters.

Alyssa, you know Sarah Matthews, the deputy White House press secretary who testified, and there was a very interesting moment when she was talking about having a conversation with then-President Trump about calling off the mob and his bizarre concerns about whether doing that would make him seem weak, would give him a victory to the media. Let's roll some of that.


MATTHEWS: I couldn't believe that we were arguing over this in the middle of the West Wing, talking about the politics of a tweet, being concerned with handing the media a win, when we had just watched all of that violence unfold at the Capitol. And so, I motioned up at the tv and I said, do you think it looks like we're effing winning? Because I don't think it does.


ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: And just what a masterful line by Sarah, but it's actually even worse than how you describe it. This was a conversation among aides in the press office. Kayleigh McEnany had already come from the Oval Office trying to get Trump to say something. She came back and whispered, he doesn't want to say stand down.

And then the aides among themselves are arguing whether they should say something more forceful. And the sense of many of the other people in the room, including, I imagine, the former White House press secretary was, we'll look like we're winning and giving a win to the media if we come out and condemn this when everyone is telling us to.

I think what they did masterfully today was get into kind of the psychology of the Trump White House and the people around him, which was never admit defeat, never admit fault, and make sure you insulate this man who feels like a constant victim in every scenario.

I mean, that line will stand out to me if Eric Herschmann is saying, we were all drained, like 4:15 in the afternoon, calling it a day in the West Wing, when on Capitol Hill, there still a riot and an insurrection to taking place. Just a pathetic showing all around for those who didn't speak out.

TAPPER: Yeah, I know, it is interesting. There was a quote from one of the policemen who were on the Capitol that day who couldn't believe that Eric Herschmann was saying that, you know, they felt drained. He said something. Let me see if I can find it here, but he said something like, you felt drained? How do you think we felt? I'm paraphrasing poorly also.

Olivia, you are up there watching the testimony. I saw you sitting with the officers. Just to remind our viewers, you were a national security adviser to Vice President Pence. What was it like for you to hear a White House official who works in the security field who was given anonymity talk about how the crowd was chanting, hang Mike Pence? They were coming for him. They were literally coming for Mike Pence.

And Secret Service agents, people on the vice president's detail, were calling their family members because they thought they might not make it home.

OLIVIA TROYE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER TO MIKE PENCE: Look, I'm not going to lie, I got very emotional in the hearing. I was fighting back tears. And it was because it was tears of sadness that this had happened in our country and that the vice president's life was put at risk. But it was anger as well. I was so angry at that moment because I was thinking to myself, this is all because of Donald Trump. Directly implicated because of him.

And to hear the Secret Service people, you know, they were saying -- you know, I think they were referring to saying goodbye to their families. And also, I can't imagine, knowing them, having traveled with them, and how much pride they had in that job, knowing that the vice president is the person they're trying to protect in the moment, and they know that they're losing, right, they're losing holding the line while people outside the Capitol, those officers, are doing their best to fend off this mob, and then you've got the scenario where we saw firsthand how chilling that moment was.


And I think that's incredibly important for Americans to have heard that, from the Secret Service themselves to talk about that because I really think that that gets to this entire -- the committee's work, the incredible importance of it, and why it's important to get these facts out there so that people realize, no, this is not -- this is not a sham, this is a really dark day in history, that really we just need to acknowledge and accountability needs to happen.

TAPPER: Do you think, Stephanie, that this is going to change any Republican minds? Whether members of Congress that have been going along with this, you know, horrible charade for so long, or just Republican voters out there, is it going to have an impact?

GRISHAM: I have to believe it will. I think for sure it will have an impact on independence. I think that's who we need to be talking to in reaching because Donald Trump's base, we're not going to change their mind. But I do believe they're responsible Americans who may not want to say it out loud, but who will go into the voting booth, knowing that their president sat and watched TV for three hours while people were fighting for their lives.

TAPPER: People -- yeah, because of the mob, that he sic on them. We should note, we were talking earlier, that while the testimony was going on, some troll who works for the House Republican Conference, who works for Congressman Elise Stefanik, personally attacked Sarah Matthews while she was under oath, telling the truth. Said something nasty about her. The tweet was eventually deleted.

You called it out. Other people called it out on Twitter. The tweet ultimately was deleted. But this is a small taste of what happens when people come forward and criticize Donald Trump.

GRIFFIN: Yes. It was indicative of -- I mean, Cassidy Hutchinson has dealt what Sarah Matthews is going through. We all have. But I will say --

TAPPER: You have? GRIFFIN: I have. But I will say this, it was particularly shameful coming from Elise Stefanik's House GOP Twitter account. This is a woman, who at one point I admired, that championed young women, tries to get more Republican women elected. You have a Republican House staffer in Sarah Matthews who is under oath, when so many men, twice her age, will not go under oath and testify, and they're personally attacking her, calling her a pawn and I think a liar --


GRIFFIN: -- and trying to undermine her. So, I just thought it was shameful. They did the right thing and taking it down. But I was actually very heartened by how many people came to Sarah Matthews's defense. She had an impeccable reputation with the White House press corps and with the Capitol Hill press corps. So, people coming out of the woodwork, like, what are you doing? This is somebody who is above reproach and who is doing the right thing when others won't.

TAPPER: Well, I hope the deletion of that tweet is some sort of sign about the direction of the House Republican Caucus, but I have to say, I'm not holding my breath. Thank you so much to all of.

Still ahead, one of the leaders of tonight's hearing joins us with her first reaction, how it went, and what the committee is going to do going forward. Plus, police officers who defended the Capitol will be here to tell us what they thought about tonight's testimony. Stay with us.




TAPPER: Tonight's hearing of the January 6 Select House Committee drew a sharp contrast between the mortal danger the MAGA mob posed to law enforcement, lawmakers, the vice president of the United States, staffers and others, and Donald Trump's refusal to act, to stop that violence, his apparent indifference to the lives that were at risk and lives that were indeed lost that day.

Let's bring in four of the officers who defended the Capitol on January 6 and attended tonight's hearing as they have been attending every hearing. U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, former D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, and current D.C. Officer Daniel Hodges.

Let me start over here. Officer Fanone, what is it like to hear about Donald Trump refusing after being pleaded with, please do something, please stop this mob, to hear that he just -- he wouldn't? And in fact, the suggestion was made that he wanted the mob to be doing that. Not just that he was derelict, but that it was something he wanted them to do.

MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: For me, it conjures up words that I can't say on television.

TAPPER: Actually, we're on cable. You can say anything, really. It's late night, so, you know, let a rip.

FANONE: Don't tempt me. I mean, it's infuriating. But it's clear to me that Donald Trump and members of his administration are plagued on our democracy. That Donald Trump committed criminal acts and that he should be held criminally accountable for those actions as should the members of his administration and members of our government who participated.

TAPPER: Just to remind our viewers, you voted for Donald Trump. I don't bring that up as a criticism, but I don't want people to think that the people who feel strongly about what happened that day are all liberals, you know, have it in for him. You're someone who supported him at one point. You don't have to go into that, but I just want to make sure that people don't falsely label you as somebody who never liked him.

Officer Hodges, what was it like for you? We've all seen that horrible video of you in pain during this attack.

DANIEL HODGES, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE: Yeah. I mean, the hearing, it's simultaneously surprising and not surprising at all. I mean, Donald Trump is the one who sent those people to the Capitol, why would he take steps to send them home? You know, he gave them a mission and he wanted to see it done. The only time he sent them home was when it was clear that they were going to fail.

TAPPER: That's interesting observation. There was a moment when an adviser to Donald Trump, Eric Herschmann, was describing the mood at the White House after Trump finally finished filming that video in the Rose Garden, telling the crowd to go home. They've been trying to get Donald Trump to call the crowd to go home, and he refused, refused, refused. Finally, he did it. And this was how Eric Herschmann described it.


UNKNOWN: When we say day over, there were still people in the Capitol that point, weren't there?


ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: There were people in the Capitol, but I believe by this stage, law enforcement -- I have to go back. Look, but I believe law enforcement was either they're moving in or going to take charge. I can just tell, people were emotionally drained by the time that videotape was done.


TAPPER: Emotionally drained. You are somebody who sat -- whose wounds from that day are so bad, wounds that you suffered -- that you suffered worse on January 6th than when you served abroad in Iraq with the military. What do you think about Eric Herschmann saying that they felt drained?

AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE SERGEANT: Well, like I said on my testimony last year, they thought that that was fun. Maybe that should have happened at their house. But to know and learn that they were mentally drained, we were physically drained and exhausted from that fighting that day to the point that we literally put out bodies and lives on the line to protect every member inside the Capitol. And then you have some of the same people who we protected running for their lives. That put it in perspective.

Then, they come back and say, it was a tour. What is that? It's a peaceful protest. But yet you see them running for their lives, the time that us, the officers and our colleagues, afforded them to get to safety. It's disgusting to me.

TAPPER: Yeah. Officer Dunn, CNN is reporting that the heads of Donald Trump's Secret Service detail and Pence's Secret Service detail are among the 24 Secret Service agents whose text messages were requested for review in the investigation into all this. The texts might be missing.

And, in fact, we are told that Tony Ornato, who was a Secret Service agent, who then became Trump's deputy White House deputy chief of staff and is now back at the Secret Service, Mr. Engel, who was Trump's Secret Service agent, and the guy who was driving the SUV, all three of them have retained separate council instead of using the Secret Service lawyers.

What's your response to that?

HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: It's interesting you bring up Secret Service. That's one of the thoughts, one of the more interesting parts of the hearing tonight, when they said over the radio that the Secret Service agents were saying their goodbyes to their families over the radio. And that stuck with me because if that was the case, you should absolutely want to get to the bottom of this.

You thought you are going to die. So, why are you not being forthcoming with all the information and, you know, running to the committee to testify and tell your side of the story?

I'm not too sure about how the Records Preservation Act -- but I'm sure -- I thought I saw that that's illegal. Records Preservation Act -- I could be wrong. Don't quote me on that. But they made a request for records. And after that, they were deleted afterwards. Sounds like a coverup, but I mean --


DUNN: -- I don't do the investigating.

FANONE: I'll chime in on that. I'll tell you why people aren't running to the committee to offer up information. It's because most likely, they committed crimes. I would be very reluctant to testify before a committee that could potentially lead to criminal charges if I had committed a crime as well.

TAPPER: One of the things that was also interesting is at the very end of the hearing, they showed some text messages between these two very loyal Trump aides, Trump campaign aides. You guys don't cover politics. The names of Matt Wolking (ph) and Tim Murdoch don't mean anything to, but it was a chief campaign spokesman another spokesman for the campaign. These people were like in the trenches, fighting for Donald Trump rhetorically in the press every day.

And here they were, stunned that Donald Trump did not even mention Officer Sicknick. Matt Wolking ph0 saying something like, it was all a lie, they don't actually back the blue, I'm paraphrasing. What's your response when you heard that?

HODGES: I thought it was an astute observation when he mentioned that if Trump acknowledged any of the damage he did, including the officers that were killed, then he would be admitting some level of culpability, and he's just completely allergic to anything like that.

TAPPER: And I think one of the things that doesn't get discussed enough in general is, in addition to Officer Sicknick, who, you know, the official autopsy said he died of natural causes, but he had a stroke immediately after this horrific thing, this horrific event, and suffered physical damage. His family certainly thinks he died because of what happened on January 6th.

DUNN: Also, really quick, it says in the medical exam that the events of that day played a part in his condition.

TAPPER: Right. Exactly. Exactly.


So, in addition to the death of Officer Sicknick, there were four other officers, I think one Capitol police officer and three Metropolitan Police Department Officers which is D.C. police officer -- Police Department, who took their lives, who died by suicide in the following months, whether from the trauma or the posttraumatic stress or whatever. Those are victims of this, as well.

GONELL: Yeah. It's very shameful that they always claim that they back the blue, that they're following law and order, part of the responsibility, and then at the end of the day, they have the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that not only to ourselves, the police officers who helped them get to safety that day, but to the American people, that they actually mean what they say, and that mantra just fell apart because they don't.

They only want to investigate. The whole investigation was supposed to be bipartisan from the beginning. And then they came to an agreement and pulled from that (ph).

DUNN: How do you think that makes the families feel, going back to being emotionally exhausted? These three other individuals committed suicide. Let's talk about emotionally exhausted. I mean -- and another thing, they didn't say Officer Sicknick, they said the dead cop --


DUNN: -- in those text messages. With his partner and his mother sitting right there, how do think that makes them feel?

TAPPER: I have to go back and look at it. It is possible Sicknick's name had not been mentioned at the time. I don't know.

DUNN: Maybe, you know.

TAPPER: Just to give them the benefit of the doubt but I hear what you're saying. Officer Brian Sicknick's is one that we need to keep bringing up. I really appreciate all four of you, as always, standing in the line, holding the line that day, and being here talking honestly with the American people tonight. Really appreciate it.

Coming up next, will all the evidence we heard tonight lead to a criminal referral against Donald Trump? We're going to ask January 6 Committee- member Elaine Luria about the panel's next moves. Stay with us.




COOPER: The January 6 Committee revealed tonight that it will resume hearings in September after what may have been the most impactful presentation yet focused squarely on President Trump, and what the panel vice chair calls his purposeful decision to ignore the violence at the Capitol and violate his oath of office.

I want to take a look to some of the powerful testimony that we heard tonight.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): President Trump did not fail to act during the 187 minutes between leaving the Ellipse and telling the mob to go home, he chose not to act.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Your advice was to tell people to come to the Capitol. It took over two hours. Did you continue, Cipollone, throughout the period of time up until 4:17, continued to push for a stronger statement?


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Were you joined in that effort by Ivanka Trump --


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Eric Herschmann --

CIPOLLONE: Yes. UNKNOWN (voice-over): By Mark Meadows?


UNKNOWN (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) we alarmed?

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Right.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): The president wanted to lead tens of thousands of people to the Capitol.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Hold, they've entered the building. Hold.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Harden that door up.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): If we're moving, we need to move now.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Copy.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): If we lose any more time, we may have -- we may lose the ability to leave. So, if we're going to leave, we need to do it now.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): We have a clear shot if we move quickly.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): We got smoke downstairs. Standby. Unknown smoke. Downstairs.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Then members of the VP detail at this time were starting to fear for their own lives. If they are screaming and saying things like say goodbye to family, like the floor needs to know this is going to a whole another level soon.

MATTHEWS: And in a hushed tone shared with me that the president did not want to include any sort of mention of peace in that tweet.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Trump just tweeted, please support our Capitol police.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): He did not say not to do anything to the congressman.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): They were scared.

UNKNOWN: They mean Leader McCarthy and people on the Hill because of the violence?


MATTHEWS: His refusal to condemn the violence was indefensible, and so I knew that I would be resigning that evening.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want to say the election is over. I just want to say Congress has certified the results.

HERSCHMANN: When he finished his video, I think everyone was like, day is over. That people are pretty trained.

KINZINGER: President Trump reflected on the day's events with the White House employee. He said only -- quote -- "Mike Pence let me down."


COOPER: All right. Now, we are joined by one of the members of the Select Committee who led tonight's hearing, Congresswoman Elaine Luria, Democrat of Virginia. Thanks so much for being with us.

Based on what you laid out tonight about the former president's actions on January 6, do you think there is enough to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department? It is a not a requirement, but is there enough?

REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): I think there is a lot that comes together to show that there may be criminal actions that occurred. It is not our committee that can determine that. It is something the Department of Justice would have to determine if a crime was committed.

But the committee just continues to learn more and more, as you saw. We had originally anticipated that this would be a block of hearings, that this would be the final hearing tonight, but we have so much new information, so many more people coming forward that we are really going to continue to dig into the investigation through the month of August and come back with more in September.

COOPER: Congressman Kinzinger, as he left the hearing, told CNN that the former president, he said -- quote -- "certainly has criminal exposure" after what you and the rest of the committee have revealed so far. Do you agree with that?

LURIA: I agree with that.


We have a federal judge who agrees with that. There is the case with the emails from Professor Eastman. Judge Carter basically said, you know, he can't shield this information from the subpoena of the committee for attorney-client privilege because that does not apply if a crime happened.


LURIA: So, if any federal judge corroborates that, and I think we just continue to build the facts.

COOPER: When would you make a decision about whether to make a criminal referral or not?

LURIA: We haven't made a decision about when we will make a decision. I mean, it is one of those things where the Department of Justice does not need to wait for us. The attorney general has stated that they are watching the hearings.

COOPER: Is there power in the committee making a criminal referral?

LURIA: I think that it would be powerful, but there is no force of law that causes the DOJ to act on it. But the Department of Justice is watching these hearings. We have seen cases where there have been criminal defendants for January 6 crime and they have cited testimony from our hearings in their decision. So, the Department of Justice really doesn't have to wait for us.

COOPER: We heard from security professionals who did not want their identity to be known and it is chilling to hear them and to know that they are concerned about the ramifications of them just telling the truth. Can you talk about that decision?

LURIA: Yeah, I think these people in their mind are thinking if Donald Trump ever got near the White House again, look what has happened before to other people who have come out and stated the truth. So, in those cases, we have respected their request to not make their identity public. We know there are so many more people, I think, who have that same fear.

COOPER: Even during this hearing tonight, there were -- while former Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews was testifying, the House GOP tweeted out saying, just another liar and pawn in Pelosi's witch hunt. They then deleted that tweet.

For them to be disparaging not only a witness as she is testifying, but a witness who has been incredibly loyal to the former administration, worked up until the end of that former administration and is still working for the Republican Party on Capitol Hill.

LURIA: It is disturbing because I don't know what they stand for anymore. When you have people who really are too conservatives, people who have worked on behalf of the administration -- I mean, Mr. Pottinger who testified tonight, he is four years with the Trump administration. And he really took some time during his testimony to talk about the good work they have done. In the Middle East, for example, the Abraham Accords. He talked about our stance with China and the progress that we've made in the Pacific.

These are important things and these are competent people who work for the last administration to advance these goals. But they reached their breaking point. There is a line. And on January 6, I think the two witnesses we had tonight clearly stated that they couldn't be part of this anymore. It just did not reflect their values.

COOPER: What is going on with the Secret Service? The idea -- clearly, that is going to be something you are going to be looking a lot into in the coming months. The Department of Homeland Security inspector general has now opened a criminal investigation. Do you believe these messages were intentionally deleted?

LURIA: It is really hard to say. There are several people we have learned who have retained private counsel. I mean, these are government employees. COOPER: The ones who were in the vehicle with the former president have now --

LURIA: Retained private criminal lawyers as counsel. If they need counsel in the line of duty for their responsibilities on behalf of the government, they are provided counsel for that. So, it just seems unusual, and I think there is a lot more to know here and that really is going to be something that --

COOPER: There also seems to be some sort of schism or big difference between Vice President Pence's detail and the former president's detail. Are details loyal in some -- I mean, are there camps in the Secret Service?

LURIA: I don't know enough about the Secret Service and their culture, but certainly should not be. No law enforcement officer, military officer, government employees should have a loyalty to a person or individual. It is an oath that everyone takes which must be reflected --

COOPER: It is startling to see the video -- some of the video outtakes of the January 7th speech that the president was attempting to make being counseled by Ivanka Trump, not wanting to say that the election is over. My understanding is, according to others reporting, there's actually a lot more outtakes, that this went on for quite some time.

LURIA: We understand the White House photographer, videographer explain to us that Donald Trump is sort of a natural in front of the camera. That has been his advocation, right? This was about a three- minute video at the end, but it took about an hour or more to film this. And we pick things that were just impactful. The idea was not to show outtakes in the sense that everyone has to read the script a few times, but he had trouble. He was pained to say the words that the election is over.


That was, you know --

COOPER: He refused to say --

LURIA: -- really what I emphasized at the end of that clip because he could not say it.

COOPER: Yeah. Congresswoman Luria, thank you so much for your time.