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Jan. 6 Committee: Trump Directly Involved In Bid To Overturn 2020 Election. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired October 13, 2022 - 14:00   ET



REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): That's an extraordinary demand by the president, especially since he already knew from the Justice Department there was no genuine basis for this request. No one could think it would be legal for the Secretary of State to simply find the votes the president needed in order to win. Secretary Raffensperger told the president the truth that he lost the election in Georgia, but President Trump did not accept that answer. Instead, he suggested that Secretary Raffensperger himself might be prosecuted.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's the day -- you know, that's criminal -- that's a criminal offense. And you know you can't let that happen. That's a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. And that's a big risk.

LURIA: We know that President Trump's White House advisors reacted negatively. Immediately after the call, Cassidy Hutchinson had a conversation with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO MARK MEADOWS: I am talking to Mark and I said Mark, you can't possibly think we're going to pull this off. Like that call is crazy. And he looks at me and started shaking his head and he said no, Cass, you know, he knows it's over. He knows he lost, but we're going to keep trying. There are some good options out there still. We're going to keep trying.

LURIA: This call and other related activity is now the focus of an ongoing criminal investigation in Fulton County, Georgia. And Georgia is not the only state where President Trump tried to pressure state officials to change the results. He also attempted to pressure state officials in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Michigan to change the results in those states as well.

While President Trump was pressuring state officials, he was also trying to use the Department of Justices to change the election result. His top officials told him that there was no evidence to support his claims of fraud. But he didn't care. As he told them, just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen. When these officials would not do what he said, President Trump embarked on an effort to install Jeff Clark as acting Attorney General solely because he would -- he would do what others in the department would not do.

We know that Trump was doing so for a specific purpose, so Clark could corruptly employ the Justice Department's authority to help persuade the states to flip electoral votes. For example, when Richard Donoghue and Jeff Rosen, both appointed by President Trump, learned Mr. Clark's proposal, here's why they said they forcefully rejected it.

RICHARD DONOGHUE, FORMER ACTING U.S. DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: And I recall toward the end saying what you're proposing is nothing less than the United States Justice Department meddling in the outcome of a presidential election. But more importantly, this was not based on fact. This was actually contrary to the facts as developed by the department investigations over the last several weeks and months.

So in response to that and for the department to insert itself into the political process this way, I think would have had grave consequences for the country. It may very well have spiraled us into a constitutional crisis.

LURIA: We know from our investigation that President Trump offered Jeff Clark the position of acting Attorney General and that Jeff Clark had decided to accept it. The only reason this ultimately did not happen is that the White House Counsel and a number of Justice Department officials confronted the president in the Oval Office and threatened mass resignation.

DONOGHUE: And then I said something to the effect of, you're going to have a huge personnel blowout within hours because you're going to have all kinds of problems with resignations and other issues and that's not going to be in anyone's interest.

LURIA: The president ultimately relented only because the entire leadership of the Department of Justice, as well as his White House Counsel, threatened to resign.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON. (D-MS): Gentlewoman yields back. The chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Florida, Mrs. Murphy, for an opening statement.

REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY, (D-FL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. President Trump's efforts to unlawfully overturn the results of the 2020 election were not limited to the big lie and pressuring state officials and the Department of Justice officials. Another key part of the president's effort was a scheme to assemble fake electors to cast false electoral votes in the states that President Trump lost.

This was something done not only with the president's knowledge but also with his direct participation. Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee testified before this committee that President Trump and his attorney, Dr. John Eastman, called her and asked her to arrange for the fake electors to meet and rehearse the process of casting their fake votes.


RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIR, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: When I received the call, again, I don't remember the exact date, it was -- it was from the White House switchboard, and it was President Trump who had contacted me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did President Trump have anyone else on the line with him?

MCDANIEL: He introduced me to a gentleman named John Eastman. So I vaguely remember him mentioning that he was a professor. And then essentially, he turned the call over to Mr. Eastman, who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing changed the result of any updates.

MURPHY: These fake electors were ultimately part of the president's plan to replace genuine Biden electors with Trump electors on January 6. As part of this plan, the false electoral slates were sent to the National Archives into the Capitol. The fake electors' plan was also tied to another plan, the coercive pressure campaign to make Vice President Mike Pence reject or refuse to count certain Biden electoral votes so that President Donald Trump would "win reelection instead." Here's what Vice President Pence has said about this scheme.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Trump said I had the right to overturn the election but President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone. And frankly, there is no idea more on America than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.


MURPHY: Make no mistake. President Trump knew that what he was demanding Vice President Pence do was illegal. He was informed of this repeatedly and specifically on January 4. Even his lawyer John Eastman admitted in front of President Trump that this plan would break the law by violating the electoral Count Act.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did John Eastman ever admit or as you know, in front of the president that his proposal would violate the electoral Count Act?


MURPHY: And Dr. Eastman confirmed this in writing. Recall this e-mail written on January 6, in which Vice President Pence's counsel asked Dr. Eastman, did you advise the president that in your professional judgment, the vice president does not have the power to decide things unilaterally? Dr. Eastman replied he's been so advised. Of course, President Trump's own White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, also recognized that this plan was unlawful. Here's Mr. Cipollone's testimony.

PAT CIPOLLONE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: My view is that the vice president had -- didn't have the legal authority to do anything except what he did. MURPHY: There is no doubt that President Trump's pressure campaign on Vice President Pence was significant. On the morning of January 6, President Trump called the vice president from the Oval Office and demanded that he overturn the results of the election. Numerous witnesses told the select committee about the invective that President Trump leveled at his own vice president.

NICHOLAS LUNA, FORMER ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Something to the effect is the wording is wrong, I made the wrong decision four or five years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the word that she related to that, the president called the vice president, I apologize for being impolite, but do you remember what she said her father called him?


MURPHY: But Vice President Pence didn't waver even when his own life was endangered by President Trump and the rioters at the Capitol on January 6, as you'll see in more detail later. A federal judge concluded based on this and other evidence that President Trump's pressure campaign against the vice president likely violated multiple criminal statutes. In the end, all these people, Department of Justice officials, state elections officials, his own vice president, stood strong in the face of President Trump's immense pressure.

But as we now know, President Trump had already summoned tens of thousands of his supporters to Washington on January 6 to take back their country. On December 19, President Trump first told his supporters to come to Washington. In this and numerous other tweets, he fraudulently and repeatedly promoted January 6 as the day Americans could come in and change the election outcome.


For weeks, President Trump worked with others to plan the rally, intending all along that he would send an assembled crowd of angry supporters to the Capitol after his speech on Ellipse on January 6. We obtained a text message that one rally organizer sent on January 4, in part it reads that "POTUS is going to have us march there/the Capitol. And POTUS is going to just call for it unexpectedly."

Again, each of these examples, The Big Lie, the pressure campaigns against state officials, the pressure campaign against the Department of Justice, and his vice president, the fake electors, summoning the mob, all of this demonstrates President Trump's personal and substantial role in the plot to overturn the election. He was intimately involved. He was the central player.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I yield back.

THOMPSON: Gentlewoman yields back. The chair recognizes the gentleman from California, Mr. Schiff, for an opening statement.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In our past hearing, as you have seen direct evidence that President Trump sent a crowd of his supporters to the Capitol on January 6, knowing they were armed and angry. This was the last most desperate and dangerous prong of his plan to disrupt the joint session and prevent the orderly transition of power.

On the morning of the sixth, the Secret Service was at the Ellipse screening the members of the crowd as they entered the rally site. And they noticed something significant about the crowd. Tens of thousands of people were outside the rally site but did not want to go through the magnetometers, the metal detectors that were used to screen for dangerous weapons.

Since our last hearings, the select committee has received greater cooperation from the Secret Service. Nevertheless, the Secret Service text messages from this period were erased in the days and months following the attack on the Capitol, even though documents and materials related to January 6 had already been requested by the Department of Justice, and Congress. But we were able to obtain nearly one million e-mails, recordings, and other electronic records from the Secret Service.

Over the month of August, the select committee began its review of hundreds of thousands of pages and multiple hours of that material, providing substantial new evidence about what happened on January 6 and the days leading up to it. That review continues. What you're about to hear is just a sample of the new and relevant evidence that we have received.

Mounting evidence before January 6 predicted violence and not just violence generally, but violence directed at the Capitol. Intelligence about this risk was directly available to the U.S. Secret Service and others in the White House in advance of the Ellipse speech, in advance of the march to the Capitol. The committee has shown evidence that President Trump was aware of the risk of violence, the FBI, U.S. Capitol Police, metropolitan police, and other agencies all gathered and disseminated intelligence suggesting the possibility of violence at the Capitol prior to the right.

We're now going to show you just a sample of the evidence we have received. Days before January 6, the president's senior advisors at the Department of Justice and FBI, for example, received an intelligence summary that included material indicating that certain people traveling to Washington were making plans to attack the Capitol. This summer, he noted online calls to occupy federal buildings, rhetoric about invading the Capitol Building, and plans to arm themselves and to engage in political violence at the event. Other agencies we're also hearing predictions suggesting possible violence in the Capitol.

On a call with President Trump's White House National Security staff in early January 2021, Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist had warned about the potential that the Capitol would be the target of the attack. Here's General Mark Milley who was also present for this call describing Deputy Secretary Norquist's warning.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF JOINT CHIEF OF STAFF: So during these calls, I only remember in hindsight because he was almost like a clairvoyant. Norquist says during one of these calls, the greatest threat is a direct assault on the Capitol. I'll never forget it.


SCHIFF: This e-mail, for example, was an alert that the Secret Service received on December 24. With a heading armed and ready Mr. President. According to the intelligence, multiple users online were targeting members of Congress, instructing others to march into the chambers on January 6 and make sure they know who to fear. In this report received on December 26, the Secret Service Field Office relayed a tip that had been received by the FBI.

According to the source of the tip, the Proud Boys plan to march armed into DC. They think that they will have a large enough group to march into DC armed, the source reported and will outnumber the police so they can't be stopped. The source went on to say their plan is to literally kill people. Please, please take this tip seriously and investigate further. The source also made clear that the Proud Boys had detailed their plans on multiple websites like

Let's pause here. The Secret Service had advance information more than 10 days beforehand, regarding the Proud Boys planning for January 6. We know now, of course, that the Proud Boys and others did lead the assault on our Capitol building. On December 31, agents circulated intelligence reports that President Trump's supporters have proposed a movement to occupy Capitol Hill. In particular, the flagged spikes in violent hashtags like we are the storm, 1776 rebel, and occupy Capitols.

On January 5, a secret service open source unit flagged the social media account on They're threatened to bring a sniper rifle to a rally on January 6. The user also posted a picture of a handgun and rifle with a caption Sunday Gun Day providing Overwatch January 6 Will Be Wild. Later on the evening of January 5, the Secret Service learned during an FBI briefing that right-wing groups were establishing armed QRFs or quick reaction forces readying to the ploy for January 6. Groups like the Oath Keepers were standing by at the ready should POTUS request assistance by invoking the Insurrection Act, agents were informed.

As we all know now, the Oath Keepers did play a specific role on January 6 and had stashed weapons in Virginia for further violence that evening. Also, on that day, the Secret Service was reading its security precautions for the president's speech at the Ellipse the next day. A secret service Deputy Chief instructed agents to add certain objects to the list of items that would be prohibited at the rally site, including ballistic vests, tactical vests, armored or not, and ballistic helmets.

By the morning of January 6, that was clear that the Secret Service anticipated violence. It felt like the calm before the storm when an agent predicted in a protective Intelligence Division chat group another remark how agents were watching the crazies on live stream. By 9:09 that morning, the Secret Service could also see that many rallygoers were assembled outside the security perimeter.

One agent e-mailed possibly because they have stuff that couldn't come through would probably be an issue with this crowd, just a thought. By 9:30 that morning, agents reported more than 25,000 people outside the rally site. An hour later, the Secret Service reported that the crowd was on the mall watching but not in line.

The head of the President's Secret Service protective detail, Robert Engel was specifically aware of the large crowds outside the magnetometers. He passed that information along to Tony Ornato, who worked for Mark Meadows in the Chief of Staff's office. The documents we obtained from the Secret Service make clear that the crowd outside the magnetometers was armed and the agents knew it.

Take a look at what they were seeing and hearing on the ground. One report from the rally site at 7:58 a.m. said some members of the crowd are wearing ballistic helmets, body armor, carrying radio equipment, and military-grade backpacks. Another from 9:30 a.m. said that there were possibly OC spray, meaning pepper spray and/or plastic riot shields. At 11:23 a.m., agents also reported possible armed individuals, one with a Glock, one with a rifle.


Over the next hour, agents reported a possible man with a gun reported. Confirmed pistol on hip located in a tree. And one detained at 14 High Street Northwest, individual had an assault rifle on his person. Minutes before President Trump began his speech, members of the Federal Protective Service, an agency tasked with protecting federal buildings, were alerted about an arrest of a protester with a gun on his waistband. And during the speech, the weapons-related arrests continued.

At 12:13 p.m., the United States Park Police arrested a man with a rifle in front of the World War Two Memorial. These agents remarked on the number of weapons that had been seized that day, speculating that the situation could get worse. With so many weapons found so far, you wonder how many are unknown. One agent wrote at 12:36 p.m. could be sporty after dark. At 12:47 p.m., another agent responded, no doubt. The people at the Ellipse said they are moving to the Capitol after the POTUS speech.

As the documents we receive make clear, the Secret Service was aware of weapons possessed by those gathered at rallies in DC as early as the evening before. Take this document, for instance, which details multiple arrests in the crowds demonstrating on January 5. Those arrests were for weapons offenses, handguns, high-capacity feeding devices, ammunition. What the Secret Service saw on the sixth was entirely consistent with a violent rhetoric circulating in the days before the joint session on pro-Trump websites, at times amplified by the president's own advisers.

On one of these sites, as you've heard, one of those was called The subcommittee has obtained a text message that Jason Miller, a senior communications adviser sent to Mark Meadows less than a week before January 6. I got the bass fired up, he wrote in all caps. He sent a link to this page on The linked web page had comments about the joint session of Congress on January 6. Take a look at some of those comments. Gallows don't require electricity. If the filthy commie maggots try to push their fraud through, there will be hell to pay. Our lawmakers in Congress can leave one of two ways, one, in a body bag, two, after rightfully certifying Trump, the winner. Mr. Miller claimed that he had no idea about the hundreds of comments like these in the link that he sent to Mark Meadows.

JASON MILLER, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: If I had seen something like that, I probably would have flipped it to someone at the White -- if I had seen something of that nature, I would have said we got to flag this for Secret Service or something of that nature.

SCHIFF: But the Trump administration was aware of this type of violent record -- rhetoric prior to January 6. In fact, as we have seen, the Secret Service and other agencies knew of the prospect of violence well in advance of the president's speech at the Ellipse. Despite this, certain White House and Secret Service witnesses previously testified that they had received no intelligence about the violence that could have potentially threatened any of the protectees on January 6, including the vice president. Evidence strongly suggests that this testimony is not credible, and the committee is reviewing additional material from the Secret Service and other sources.

The Secret Service was monitoring this kind of online activity and was sharing and receiving the results of that effort. They work closely with other agencies sharing intelligence about the joint session of Congress derived from social media and other sources. The same day Jason Miller has sent his text message, agents received reports about a spike in activity on another platform called Parler. This was December 30.

In this e-mail, an agent received a report noting a lot of violent rhetoric on Parler directed at government people and entities, including Secret Service protectees. One of these protectees was Vice President Pence, perhaps the primary target of President Trump's pressure campaign in the days leading up to January 6.


The day before the joint session, on January 5, Secret Service was aware of increased chatter focused on Vice President Pence. In particular, whether he would do what President Trump wanted him to do, reverse the results of the election in the joint session the next day, January 6. On the morning of the sixth, agents received alerts of online threats that Vice President Pence would be "a dead man walking if he doesn't do the right thing." Another agent reported, "I saw several other alerts saying they will storm the Capitol if he doesn't do the right thing." The anger reflected in these postings was obvious the man at the center of the storm on January 6, President Trump.

On the evening of January 5, President Trump gathered a few of his communication staffers in the Oval Office. The door was open, allowing the president and others assembled there to hear the sounds of the crowd gathered at Freedom Plaza, just a few blocks from the White House. President Trump could tell that his supporters were riled up. Here again is Judd Deere, a deputy White House press secretary describing the president's reaction.

JUDD DEERE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: He fairly quickly move to how fired up the crowd is or was going to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. What did they say about it?

DEERE: Just that they were -- they were fired up. They were angry. They feel like the election have been stolen, that the election was rigged, that -- he went on and on about that for a little bit.

SCHIFF: Yes, the president knew the crowd was angry because he had stoked that anger. He knew that they believe that the election had been rigged and stolen because he had told them falsely that it had been rigged and stolen. And by the time he incited that angry mob to march on the Capitol, he knew they were armed and dangerous, all the better to stop the peaceful transfer of power.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

THOMPSON: Gentleman yields back. At this point out in our meeting, we'll take a brief recess. Pursuant to the order the committee of today, the chair declares the committee in recess for a period of approximately 10 minutes.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right as the January 6 House Select Committee takes a brief recess, we have some breaking news on a surprise twist we anticipate that will come in the second half of this hearing. Jamie Gangel and Manu Raju are both working on the story for us. Jamie, first, what are you learning?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, we've been waiting to see how the committee deals with Donald Trump. We can now report, my colleague Manu Raju and I have confirmed from multiple sources that in today's hearing, the committee will hold a vote to subpoena Donald Trump to testify. They are skipping the invitation. They are going straight to subpoena. Do they think that he will comply? No, but they are setting down for the record for history that they want him to testify.

TAPPER: Manu Raju, would you tell us more about this vote that we anticipate coming?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we do anticipate this to happen at the end of this hearing to issue a subpoena for Donald Trump. And Jamie's right. They are not expecting that it actually would be a successful endeavor. In fact, Mr. Raskin -- Mr. Raskin, can you discuss this subpoena? Just sees the members are leaving taking -- during the middle of this hearing right now.

And -- but this is something that they had talked about going in. They had been debating this for some time exactly how to go about dealing with Donald Trump and whether or not to go after and seek his testimony. And also Mike Pence, the former vice president, they have been engaged in discussions for some time about seeking an interview before this hearing. Bennie Thompson indicated that there will be no -- they had not made a decision yet in seeking Bennie -- Mike Pence's testimony but they had -- would not reveal their plans on Donald Trump. But nevertheless the -- what the committee does plan to do is half of this hearing is concluded have a vote. It'll be voted almost certainly be unanimously.

And we're going to ask -- Mr. Kinzinger, what is the purpose of this subpoena? We were live on CNN right now. Can you explain the subpoena?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R-IL): Just watch. But we'll get back to everything else and we'll chat.

RAJU: Is this for his interview or just for documents or both?

So, as you can see, Jake, they're not revealing a lot of details about exactly what they plan to subpoena Donald Trump for.