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January 6 Committee Votes To Subpoena Trump For Docs, Testimony. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired October 13, 2022 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The January 6th House Select Committee has to decide now how hard it is going to fight in order to get Donald Trump's testimony, if as we suspect he refuses to comply with the subpoena that the panel voted to issue today.
Let's bring in CNN's Sara Murray on Capitol Hill. She spoke with the chairman of the House select committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, a short while ago.
Sara, what did Chairman Thompson have to say about the next steps after this vote?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, look, we wanted to talk to him about whether they were still going to try to talk to Mike Pence, and frankly, why Donald Trump would want to come before this committee when see still facing scrutiny by the Justice Department. Take a listen to what the chairman told us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Well, we have collected enough evidence that former vice president pence did his job. We now need to hear from the president. What we presented today clearly shows the president's culpability in what occurred on January 6th. So if he wants to clear the record, he will have an opportunity to do it.
MURRAY: If he knows your work is going to end at the end of the year and he is also under criminal investigation, why would he come here and talk to the panel?
THOMPSON: Well, ask Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: Ask Donald Trump.
Now, both he and Jamie Raskin who we also talked to when he was leaving the committee were more wishy-washy on whether they were willing to fight this subpoena out in court. And Jake, as you and the other panelists have noted, Donald Trump's constant strategy is to delay, delay, delay. We don't expect it to be any different when it comes to this.
We did hear from committee members, they really think Donald Trump should come up here and clear his name -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Sara Murray, thank you so much.
We are joined by a member of the January 6th Select Committee, the one that Sara described as wishy-washy on whether they were going fight this, Congressman Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland.
How much of this is setting a marker we're inviting him to tell his story, we're inviting him to give his side, and how much of this is no, we really think that we can get him to testify?
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Oh, more than a thousand Americans have come forward to testify.
TAPPER: I know.
RASKIN: Including lots of people in his administration, cabinet officials. There have been --
TAPPER: Of course, he should.
TAPPER: Of course, he should. I'm not disputing that. He is not going to.
RASKIN: Put it this way. You know, if you interviewed 100 people on the street and said they're accusing you of trying to overthrow your own government, overthrow presidential election, and they deny it, well, would you come forward and testify? I think that they would.
But even if he thinks that it was a righteous manifestation of pro- Trump sentiment, then he should come forward. If he really wants to be the Mussolini of a mass right wing populous movement to attack the constitutional order, he should come forward and explain that.
It seems like he's got lots of time to go on TV and to speak in mass audiences. Why doesn't he have time to do what every other American pretty much we've invited to do which is come forward and tell what they know about this assault on American democracy.
TAPPER: He just posted on truth social, his social media site -- I'll just paraphrase. If you're so interested in having him testify, why not invite me months ago. That's what he said.
RASKIN: Well, I invited him more than a year ago actually to come testify in his impeachment trial. And it took him less time to say he would not come than it took him to respond to our police officers getting hit over the head with steel pipes and Confederate battle flags. So he already turned that down. But this is an opportunity for him to come forward and tell the truth. And, you know, that is everybody's responsibility. Seven former
presidents have come forward to testify in American history. Two of them by subpoena.
TAPPER: Right. I mean, I know --
RASKIN: John Quincy Adams, John Tyler did it. And there is nothing really extraordinary about a former president coming forward to testify.
TAPPER: Bill Clinton was called before the independent council. Ken Starr, Richard Nixon, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford.
TAPPER: I know, there is a long list. Why not start this process a few months ago? Why not?
RASKIN: Look, if we started a few months ago, everybody would say you're calling him in before you've done the investigation. I mean, those are all the wrong questions. The right question is why doesn't Donald Trump want to come forward and answer questions about exactly what he was doing that day?
We saw Speaker Pelosi, we saw Senator McConnell, we saw a number of political leaders scrambling to get law enforcement to come and rescue the police forces at the Capitol, to try to defend the House and the Senate which had been driven out of our chambers, to defend Donald Trump's vice president. We saw them doing that.
And all that we have from witnesses is that Donald Trump was sitting in the White House dining room. We don't know exactly what he was eating, but he was there for several hours watching these events on TV. And we'd like him to explain what did he have in mind there and why didn't he call the secretary of defense, why didn't he call the head of the National Guard, why didn't he call the chief of the D.C. police, why didn't he call the mayor of the District of Columbia or any of those congressional leaders who were desperately trying to get military reinforcements to defend our institutions.
TAPPER: Is there a deadline for him to respond to the subpoena?
RASKIN: Well, the subpoena has not been issued yet. What just happened was we voted 9-0 on a bipartisan unanimous basis in the committee to authorize and to direct the chair of our committee to go forward and to issue a subpoena. That subpoena will have specific dates for when documents are expected from the former president and when we expect him to come and show up.
And, remember, Steve Bannon is one of a handful of people who just blew us off, and he has been convicted for contempt of Congress.
TAPPER: So if he does not comply with the subpoena, which I think is a fair assessment of what's likely to happen, will the select committee bring it up for a vote whether or not to criminally refer him to the Justice Department for refusing to comply? [16:40:02]
RASKIN: I mean, you're 12 hypothetical steps ahead of me there.
TAPPER: I think it's a pretty good prediction. I'm not Nostradamus, but that's likely what's happened here.
RASKIN: Well, put it this way, haven't even seen the subpoena yet. I'm not sure it's drawn up yet. But it will be coming in a matter of days.
TAPPER: What documents do you want the see, hypothetically?
RASKIN: There is a whole list of documents. Remember, we've spoken to more than a thousand witnesses. We've seen hundreds of thousands of documents. And, you know, we know that Donald Trump is pretty good at possessing documents and being a caretaker for them. So he may still have some documents that are relevant to our investigation.
TAPPER: The chairman of the committee, Bennie Thompson, told me right at this table a few months ago that there would be evidence of direct links between the people carrying out the violence, the far right militia, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, charged with seditious conspiracy, some of them have pleaded guilty, and the Trump orbit. We know that there are relationships, Michael Flynn and Roger Stone.
TAPPER: But there isn't -- there hasn't been presented any evidence of direct coordination. There just hasn't. Now I'm not saying that it didn't happen.
RASKIN: There is a lot of circumstantial.
TAPPER: There is a lot of circumstantial evidence.
TAPPER: But it's also worth pointing out that stone and Bannon and all the people with knowledge potentially of whether or not there is any direct correlation or coordination, they have all refused to comply.
RASKIN: They've either asserted the Fifth Amendment, their privilege against self-incrimination because they think it will expose them to criminal prosecution, or they've blown us off, as Bannon did at his own legal peril. That's one of the reasons we need to talk to Donald Trump.
I mean, there is tons of circumstantial evidence, including the things that Trump does publicly, including saying to the Proud Boys at the first presidential debate of 2020, stand back and stand by.
RASKIN: Which was kind of like the message he sent to Russia about Hillary's emails. Russia, if you're listening, find her emails. Sometimes his unlawful orders are issued in plain sight.
TAPPER: House Republican Elise Stefanik, the number three Republican in the House said that, quote, this is not oversight, it's political revenge because it's likely, she says, that Trump will be running against Joe Biden in 2024. A Trump spokesman called the hearing today partisan theatrics. What's your response?
RASKIN: Well, if it's partisan theater, or if it's partisan revenge, it's from the Republican Party because the overwhelming number of our witnesses have been Donald Trump's own political lieutenants, his cabinet secretaries, people like Cassidy Hutchinson who spent years working for Donald Trump, but basically, these people are saying that they didn't sign up for insurrection and coup and destruction of the American form of government. That's what it means to them to be Republicans.
And they don't have a right to write Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and Mitt Romney and the 17 representatives and senators in the Republican Party who voted for impeachment or conviction or who are participating in this process out of the Republican Party.
RASKIN: Those people are real Republicans too. This is a completely bipartisan effort that we're engaged in. And if it's partisan, it's because it's overwhelmingly Republican. But the Democrats have been working real hard on it too.
TAPPER: You mean partisan in terms of the witnesses?
RASKIN: The witnesses that have come forward.
TAPPER: So just two more questions. The Vice Chair Liz Cheney suggested that there would be in all likelihood criminal referrals having to do with individuals, having to do with obstruction of justice. And she seemed to suggest Stone, Bannon, et cetera would be among those.
When will a decision be made about those criminal referrals?
RASKIN: Well, we have a little committee which I'm leading looking into that question right now about criminal referrals. And how we would do it, and how we would set it forth. There are not explicit statutory mechanisms for doing that. And so we want to proceed with some care and some thoughtfulness about how we do it.
I mean, I think the media was a little bit confused because there is a statutory mechanism for referring someone for contempt of Congress. That exists. But if Congress comes into possession of other evidence of crimes being committed, we have to figure out the right way of turning that over and making that referral happen.
TAPPER: Lastly, the vice chair of the committee, Liz Cheney, told me, and I'm paraphrasing, but she basically told me she thinks Donald Trump broke the law. And she has suggested that if there is a vote to criminally refer the matter from the committee to the Department of Justice, that it would be a unanimous vote. When --
RASKIN: Well, I think we've already committed ourselves on that. In the John Eastman litigation in California, in the California district court under Judge Carter, we -- we submitted a pleading saying that we thought that federal crimes had been committed.
RASKIN: And Judge Carter adopted that and said he thought it was more likely than not. He thought it was likely that President Trump had engaged in federal crimes.
I mean, what are all of these people being charged with? Well, conspiracy to interfere with a federal proceeding.
RASKIN: The joint session of the Congress on January 6th to count Electoral College votes and to cute the peaceful transfer of power is a federal proceeding. A lot of these people are being charged with or have already pled guilty to seditious conspiracy.
RASKIN: Seditious conspiracy is conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States or its laws and to put down the government of the United States. And so, all of these things are very much in play.
TAPPER: All right. After the election I'm guessing is when those meetings will take place, or any announcements or decisions, after the election.
RASKIN: Yeah, stay tuned for that.
TAPPER: All right. Congressman Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, good to see you. Thank you so much.
RASKIN: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Coming up next, new reaction to the dramatic video of congressional leaders at Fort McNair behind the scenes desperate to stop the violence out January 6th. I'm going speak to three officers who were injured defending the Capitol that day.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: The January 6th select committee gave us a never-before-seen look behind the scenes of congressional leaders who escaped the rioters on January 6th. They were at Fort McNair. It was extraordinary video in a hearing packed with new evidence.
Joining us now to discuss, three officers who were injured defending the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Former D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, current D.C. Police Officer Daniel Hodges, and Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell.
Mike, let me start with you.
The shocking video of Nancy Pelosi and others who evacuated the Capitol at Fort McNair, you can see them on the video, pleading for help, calling governors, calling the Pentagon, calling Pence. You were fighting the fight all three of you at that moment, and your brothers and sisters in blue. What was it like watching that? The congressional leaders pleading for help, to help you.
MICHAEL FANONE, FORMER DC METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: I mean, it was infuriating. You know, here we are, here are these members who clearly understood the urgency and were outraged by what was happening that day. And you know, now like 19 months later, very few of our elected leaders, specifically Republicans, see any urgency or outrage as to the president's actions and those that continue to support him.
FANONE: I mean, it made my blood boil.
TAPPER: So, Officer Hodges, the committee also shared these -- new evidence from that day, January 6th itself, messages between two secret service agents about the growing threat. Let's listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): 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're moving to the Capitol after the POTUS speech.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So that's before the violence. Did any of that information from the secret service get to you officers on the ground, that there were guns and people coming to the Capitol?
OFC. DANIEL HODGES, DC METROPOLITAN POLICE: We didn't receive any specific intelligence, you know, the rank-and-file officers, as to whether they had weapons. We had our strong feelings to that effect. And you know, we saw the people walking around with the tactical vests and tactical gear, all that good stuff. But that alone isn't enough to stop someone and search them.
So we just had to, you know, be vigilant and identify weapons when we could and make reports so that they could be investigated.
TAPPER: It just seems like a huge failure in communication between law enforcement agencies. SGT. AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: We didn't get those
TAPPER: You didn't get it either at the Capitol police.
GONELL: No. No, sir. And just like mike was saying, when those leaders were holed up in that room we were fighting for our lives.
GONELL: And the only reason why they got to those rooms for safety was because what we were doing. And it's amazing that some of them, just like Mike mentioned in his book, I run into one of them and he turned his back, in the in the elevator just me and him.
TAPPER: He turned his back on you.
GONELL: He didn't even say thank you, how are you doing, I'm sorry. Nothing.
TAPPER: Who was it?
GONELL: He mentioned in his book.
TAPPER: Who was it?
FANONE: I don't remember which --
GONELL: I'll get --
TAPPER: Tell me, what does it matter? He turned his back.
GONELL: Let's say he's from Indiana.
TAPPER: From Indiana. That doesn't narrow it down. Anyway. So -- but it's very shameful the way we were treated. Even the walking down the hallways of the Capitol, they turn, look different way or pretend that they're doing something to that effect.
FANONE: One of the questions that I had, you know, when we were talking about the Secret Service specifically, I did hear radio transmissions from MPD officers and assets that we had that were out that morning or, I guess, late morning during the actual rally at stop the steal. They were identifying individuals that were armed, that had firearms.
FANONE: Despite what Ron Johnson may say about this unarmed fake insurrection, they had firearms.
FANONE: There were arrests made.
But as far as that information being disseminated from the Secret Service, I'm not aware of any information that was specifically disseminated that day or in the days prior to that, which, you know, comes into the greater question of I feel like the Secret Service, I mean, their credibility has really been called into question with the, you know, missing text messages, with the missing e-mails.
I mean, I was in law enforcement for 20 years, and I worked with federal partners. I know how important it is to preserve that information. And the fact that it's not available, I mean, that's incredibly concerning.
TAPPER: Officer Hodges, the committee asked you what you wanted to see them accomplish. You wanted to know if anyone in power played a role in the insurrection. Has the committee answered your question?
HODGES: I think so. I think they've done a fantastic job. The committee members and their staff working behind the scenes have gotten so many excellent witnesses to come forward which compelled more and nor --
TAPPER: The answer's yes.
TAPPER: People in power played a role in the insurrection.
HODGES: Absolutely. I'd love to he see Donald Trump come and testify. I know it's probably not in his best interest. But also I know that he's compelled to bloviate whenever confronted with a microphone or an audience. So I wonder what compulsion will win out.
TAPPER: And he won't show up.
Thanks to all of you. I hope you're doing well.
Our coverage continues with Wolf Blitzer ahead.