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tv   Don Lemon Tonight  CNN  June 23, 2022 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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democrats. >> this isn't a partisan witch hunt? is that what you're saying? >> it's hard to believe. >> damning testimony today to talk about coming from the hearings that happened up on the hill today. we have lots to discuss. we're going to get straight to evan perez, senior justice correspondent. good evening to you. the big headlines on today's hearings asked for pardons. tell us more about this and how our lawmakers responded. >> don, one of the big things we learned near the end of this hearing, which was a blockbuster by the time we got to this, there were at least six members of congress who were part of the group that objected to the certification of joe biden's victory who reached out in various places to the white house to ask for pardons. those include matt gates, mo brooks, andy biggs, marjory
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taylor green. some have denied this ever happened. matt gates is under investigation in an alleged sex trafficking investigation. he has denied all wrong doing, he has not been charged. but according to the testimony we heard in the hearing today, matt gates was asking for one of those from the beginning of time for everything he has ever done kind of pardons. and, you know, that could be an interesting thing for prosecutors who are still looking at him and are still going to have to decide whether or not he faces these charges. it depends on what he told the white house his pardons were about. this could add complications to matt gates. at this point, these members of congress are saying that there's nothing to see here but, as you
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can tell from the testimony from people inside the white house, this actually happened. >> you mentioned mr. biggs -- >> mr. biggs did. mr. dornan talked about congressional pardons but he never asked me for one. mr. gomer asked for one as well and mr. perry also. i'm sorry. >> and today was a clear reminder that the investigation is still going on, federal agents searching former justice department official jeffrey clark's home. what do you know. >> this is part of the
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investigation the justice department is doing into the effort to overturn the election. and jeffrey clark, it appears the search occurred at his home predawn hours. he was outside in his pajamas as the federal agents went in there and retrieved whatever information they were looking for. according to his office, they took his electronics. again, we don't know exactly what the agents took but we know this is part of the broader investigation into the effort to overturn the election. and it tells us, look, for you to go search a former justice department official's house, you know, they have to have believed that they just couldn't call him and ask for these things. they believe this perhaps it was going to be destruction of evidence. so that's how we had the event that happened yesterday at jeffrey clark's house. >> evan, take a step back. you've been reporting on all things january 6 from day one. was today's hearing the most
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important yet in understanding just how far trump would go to stay in power, the relentless pressure campaign and his willingness to undermine the rule of law? >> to me it crystallized how close we came to just utter chaos in this country. look, january 6 was bad. but could you imagine if these three men who were testifying today, if they had folded, if the former president had imagined to replace jeffrey rosen with jeffrey clark. if they had just gone along with this plan and this letter had been sent to the state of georgia essentially saying that the justice department believed that there was fraud and it would have given the opening to legislatures around the country to dispense with the election results in their states. these are the states that donald trump fairly lost. and, again, we're talking about how close things were in those
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key days, end of december 2020, beginning of january 2021. to me, having covered these people being in that building during that period, it just astonishes me just reliving all of that today, don, to hear how close we came to losing democracy in this country. i don't think -- a lot of americans don't realize this. a lot of them have moved on, they're like forget about it, it wasn't that big of a deal or let's just let it go. i think it's important for us to relive this simply because we need to learn from it and make sure it doesn't happen again. >> it imp's important to get th information out there. i'm going to bring you congressman adam schiff. good evening, congressman. thank you for joining. >> thi have a cliff of ivanka
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trump in mid 2020. listen to this. >> i think as the president said every single vote needs to be counted and needs to be heard and he campaigned for the voiceless and i think a lot of americans feel very, very disenfranchised right now and really question the sanctity of our elections and that's not right. it's not acceptable. and he has to take on this fight. look, you fight for what you love the most and he loves this country and he loves this country's people and he wants to make sure that their voice is heard and not muted and will continue to fight until every legal remedy is exhausted and
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that's what he should do. >> so alex holder, the documentary filmmaker who testified behind closed doors this morning told me that this was a big focus of his questioning today. what does this raw footage reveal to you and what did the committee want to know about it from holder? >> what it says to me is here is ivanka basically parroting her father. a lot of people are questioning the election. yeah, because you've been lying about it. she goes on to say he's fighting for what he loves most. yeah, he was. it was donald trump that he loves the most, not the country. as people pointed out so graphically today was he was fighting for them to violate their oath of office, ignore the constitution, write this fraudulent letter to georgia saying we're concerned about fraud and suggesting maybe they should call their legislature
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back into session and he was going to have these letters sent out to other states as well and it took the threat of mass resignations, 150 top lawyers around the country resigning to get the president to stop. and i think it showed us just how close we came to constitutional collapse. >> i want to compare that to what ivanka said, what she told your committee under oath, okay? here it is. >> i respect attorney general barr, so i accepted what he was saying. >> barr had given that assessment on december 1st of 2020 and yet in mid december she said things that appeared to be contradictory. what is the significance of that to your committee in. >> i would need to see the full tape done by the british
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documentary filmmaker. certainly on the basis of that excerpt she appears to be saying one thing under oath and another thing for public consumption. sadly, this is also a trump family story of telling one thing publicly, another thing we get maybe the truth under oath but very difficult to tell. >> does it matter that she told the truth under oath from a legal perspective? >> absolutely. there's no jeopardy to her in lying to a british filmmaker, if she was lying to that filmmaker. lying under oath exposes you to political penalties. there's. >> you can lie to the press. people do it and gates, brooks,
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biggs, gomert, possibly marjorie taylor greene, too. what does it say they're issing for pardons? >> i think of how unprecedented this this is. you have multiple members of congress seeking a pardon from the administration for their role in something. here their role was in a plot to overturn the election. it clearly shows a consciousness of guilt and a fear of criminal liability. thats why you seek a pardon and that's really just another. >> there was a search yesterday at jeffrey clark's residence. does your committee have any information that could aid the d.o.j. that could serve in their
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investigation if. >> i'm sure we have information and we are in dialogue with the department about how to and basically open your files to us, which is not what's done. i've been involved in several high-profile congressional investigations that ran concurrently with d.o.j. investigations and they've never said just give us your files nor have we said open up your files completely to the congress. but we'll make sure they get what they need. we want them to be successful in holding people to account and bringing them to justice. so i think our goals are aligned in that we all want accountability. >> so, listen, people think that maybe the justice department and congress are that you guys are in and justice department has we'll work with you but you're
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going to be and the justice department should be able to do that so i'm confident we'll work this out. it was pretty breath taking to have that initial request and say basically give us everything. >> your colleague says the committee has gotten a deluge of new evidence. can you characterize the type of information you are getting? what is it pertaining to? >> the reality is we continue to get new information pretty much every day, sometimes every week. it's really aiding in our investigation, although it does present a challenge because you start preparing for a hearing and suddenly you about you have to make sure how not to incorporate the most important things. we've been very lucky. >> justice department officials.
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and. >> congressman, thank you so much. appreciate your time. i know you're very which is for the first time in decades. we go straight to jessica dean. hello. thank you so much for joining the senate voting on the final passage of the gun safety anyway and you don, i was in oath
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negotiators, mim for people who supported this legislation, 65-33. that's pretty overwhelmingly bipartisan in this 50/50 senate to see this gun legislation go through. this was just not something that many people had on their bingo card for this year. but then uvalde of course happened and it changed everything. so now we see this legislation that's going to do thing like close the boyfriend loophole, expand enhanced background checks on younger gun buyers and really revolutionize mental health funding in this country, school safety and community safety funding, things like that. so it is an expanse uf bill it in that way. it is now going to head to the house, we're told, tomorrow. speaker of the house nancy pelosi saying it's going to go to the rules committee as it fortunately and again, i really can't underscore enough how
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massive a since th e house or new york returning that new law that has to do with restrictions on maybe two sides of the spectrum right here in washington, d.c., a jess a one witness today called pure insanity.
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. former top d.o.j. officials testifying that they tried to weaponize the justice department and demanding to know why they did not seize the voting machines. let's discuss with anna navarro and harry lipman, former attorney general. this hearing was riveting. let's talk about the conversation between donald trump and richard donoghue. he took handwritten notes of
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what trump was asking the d.o.j. >> let's now put up the notes where you quote the president. the president said just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the republican congressmen. so, mr. donoghue, that's a direct quote from the president, correct? >> yes. >> the next note shows that even the president kept pressing, even though he'd been told there was no evidence of fraud, the president keeps saying that the department was, quote, obligated to tell people this was an illegal, corrupt election. >> that's also an exact quote from the president, yes. >> even after being told repeatedly there was no fraud but he didn't seem to want the truth. does that say something about trump's motivation, his state of mind? >> it's breathtaking.
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yes, of course. what it says is he's completely indifferent to the facts, which he's been told about again and again and again. let's make a deal. just say it's corrupt, you don't have to do anything else and i can go out and wave around the paper from the department of justice that will back. >> off, dominos could fall and at the end of the day, guess who might be president, meaning the end of the democracy. but it's such a trump we'd heard a little bit about that but he adds me and the republican congressmen will take care of everything. you don't say that casually unless you and the republican congressmen have already been huddling on it and that prefigured the revelation of the pardon request at the end of the hearing. this was breathtaking, that
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d.o.j. is obligated to tell the people that the election was illegal and corrupt he had no idea how the d.o.j. works. he just wanted them to bend to his will. >> well, he viewed the entire federal government throughout his presidency as simply an extension of his will, and as if it was working for him in every way. i thought this was the most riveting and kons convention hearing congress has held since john dean our colleague in 1973. as you noted and harry note and he was told repeatedly that himself actions were when you look at the courage and fortitude these justice department officials displayed, it really kind of putts the spotlight and the current people
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in the justice department and whether they'll have the political fortitude toward serious con tem place of charges for the. >> rudy giuliani was asked whether he ever recommended that clark be given responsibilities beyond the president. watch this. >> well, beyond the president i do recall saying to people that somebody should be put in charge of the justice department who isn't frightened of what's going to be done to their reputation. because the justice department is filled with people like that. >> there was only one reason really to put clark in, it was to rubber stump trump's election lies, don't you think? >> i think it might be easier to
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lie if you're homemading your mandibles and you can force them to move at will? there were these pregnant causes. i think it really emphasizes and brings to light there was a team normal, a team of people pushing back and that rudy giuliani lying, traitor, lunatics. that dpt, they can also win a defamation suit before rudy spends all the money on golf and
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wives. >> this idea that the truck driver moved ballots from new york and pennsylvania and maybe the wildest one, italian satellite switching boats from trump to biden. don hugh, called it insanity. it's pretty grim. there a nnks and you find something else to be shocked and af. we need to find someone who doesn't care about your reputation. yeah, i guess your reputation is going to be damaging and didn't
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care about the two -- all along you find they didn't care about anybody, they didn't care about mike pence. so it's grim. it indefensible. there's no defense of it. i don't know i don't know. >> before i let you go, did you agree with what ron said, that he thought it was the most consequence -- >> it's certainly the most dramatic. we don't know how it going to turn out yet. the difference of course is he's already out of office. i guess whether trump seeks the nomination of the republican
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party again. i guess we'll see how consequential it is and if republicans decide we've got to do something else in 2024 because we can't do this again. >> i want to continue this conversation with you. we're going to take a quick break and we'll talk about the threat by top -- we're not talking about watergate but what they say history doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes. i'm joineded by nick ackerman next. with a painless, one-second scan i know my glucose numbers without fingersticks. now i'm managing my diabetes better and i've lowered my a1c from 8.2 to 6.7. take the mystery out of managing your diabetes and lower your a1c. now you know. try it for free at ♪ it wasn't me by shaggy ♪
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. he said so supposed i do this, suppose i replace him, jeff rosen with him, jeff clark, what would you do? and i said, mr. president, i'm going to resign immediately. i'm not working one minute for this guy, who i just declared was completely incompetent. so the president immediately turned to mr. engel and he said, steve, you wouldn't resign, would you? he said absolutely i would,
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mr. president, you leave me no choice. and i said we're not the only ones. no one cares if we resign, but you're going to lose your entire leadership. your entire department of leadership will walk out within hours and i don't know what happens after that. i don't know what the united states attorneys are going to do. we have u.s. attorneys in disabilities across the country and my guess would be that many of them would have resigned and that would then have led to resignations across the department in washington and i said, mr. presidents are within 24, 48, 72 hours you could have hundreds and hundreds of resignations of the leadership of your entire justice department because of your actions. what's that going to say about you? >> let's discuss now. nick ackerman, former assistant special white house prosecutor. >> watergate. >> excuse me, watergate.
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you believed there would be hundreds and hundreds of people that would resign from the justice department? >> i think it would be pretty damning what would happen. this was reminiscent of had archibald cox was fired. president nixon ordered his attorney general to fire cox. he refused to do it he ordered his deputy attorney general to do it. he refused to do it. when finally robert bork did it, it was part of the agreement among the three of them, the attorney general and the depp testify attorney general would both resign and refuse to do it because they had made a commitment to the senate that they would only fire cox for gross improprieties but they wanted somebody in the department of justice so that nixon would not put one of his cronies or puppets in as
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attorney general. >> did trump just assume he would get his way? >> of course. he thought he would put this guy. he was in there purely as a puppet. the part that i found most disturbing was that john eastman inserted and installed an employee in the middle of december with only a couple weeks left in the term of donald trump to be a member, an employees of the department of justice whose only purpose could have been basically to tell jeffrey clark what to do. i mean, he had no conception of what it was to be the attorney general, he had no background in criminal law, had never been to a grand jury, a trial jury. he was simply an environmental lawyer and certainly was not qualified to be attorney general. >> this has been fascinating to me to hear about these emails and testimony revealing today
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that several republicans sought pardons from trump. is that an admission of guilt? >> yeah, of course it is. even the supreme court said accepting a pardon is an admission of guilt. there's no question. why would you ask for a pardon unless you were concerned you would be prosecuted for some sort of criminal crime you mitt committed. >> this evidence ultimately will be used by prosecutors. whether it be in the department of justice and the federal side or in georgia, it's going to be used. if you use it in georgia, it explains what happened in georgia in the context of all the evidence. if you use it from the department of justice, it's going to be a crime that will be prosecuted as a federal crime. so there are a couple of avenues here that we're not going to really know where it's going until we see what all the
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evidence ises that's ultimatel gathered by the department of justice and through the committee. >> listen, we learned a lot today happening in these conversations we learned a conversation where trump was drilling donahue about bogus fraud claim. does it show criminal intent on trump's part? does this give him an argument he actually believed what he was saying. >> well, there's no way he believed what he was saying. he's even -- the whole idea of this lie about he won the election, this was the same thing he told the candidate that he was backing in the pennsylvania primary, the wizard of oz, the guy he was backing and told him just claim that you won. that's his whole technique. his technique is to get in there, just make up a lie because a lot of people will believe it. it's the president of the united states. >> always a pleasure.
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>> thank you so much for coming in. really appreciate e it. >> liz cheney endiding today's hearings speaking directly to trump supporters. what she said next. . go to and pick your favorite. wooo. oh yeah, she digs it. buy your car on vroom. get in. so this is the meta portal plus. a smart video calling device that makes working from home work. a 12-megapixel lens makes sure your presentation is crystal clear. and smart camera auto pans and zooms to keep you peectly in frame. ohand it syncs with your calendar. plus, with zoom, microst teams, and webex, you'll never miss a meeting. and neither will she. now that's a productive day. meta portal: make working from home work for you.
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(music throughout)
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as promised i'm back now with ana, scott, ron and harry. we've all heard of these
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pre pressure campaigns. is there a clear case against trump for the d.o.j. to pursue here? >> there is. you and i talked before whether it automatically follows whether they've got the goods on him. the charge that clark would face is a conspiracy to defraud the united states of something, of a valid election. you've got to conspire with someone. we learned about more and more people interestingly today. definitely he shares in clark's liability down the line 100%. if they go after clark and, by the way, they are, they served a search warrant yesterday so they have come a far way from the actual rioters. they go down that road, it ends with trump, they cannot stop short without investigating trump. not to say they'll charge him. but, yeah, he's looking at it.
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and one more thing, clark is a ready made guy to cooperate to turn on trump. trump made him a stooge, he's ruined, he has something to offer against mark meadows and trump. he's now become a dangerous man, as has eastman for the former president. >> man, i feel like i'm watching "the godfather" again, which i did watch last weekend, by the way. >> it is t"the godfather." >> let me also today make a broader statement to millions of americans whop put their trust n donald trump. in that's hearings you've heard from more than a dozen republicans who told you what happened in the week of january 6th. you will hear more. others have been conservative
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republicans for their entire careers. it can be difficult to accept that president trump abused your trust, that he deceived you. many will invent excuses to ignore that fact, but that is a fact. i wish it weren't true but it is. >> are republicans listening, scott? >> well, i'm certain some are listening. whether that brings them off their desire to see trump renominated, i'm sure some will. this is ultimately the fundamental question. i'm not a lawyer so i don't know whether he's going to be prosecuted or not but the political question for the republican party is do you want to go down this road again? it's entirely possible to have been enormously proud as a republican voter of many of the thing that were accomplished during the trump years and it could be true you could conclude
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after all this there's no way we want to go through this again. i assume many of the candidates are going to make that very argument, which is i supported donald trump, i voted for him, i think he did a great job and i think he was wrong about january 6th and we just can't do this again. >> ana, the committee saying six republican congress members reached out to the white house for pardons and the committee says they can prove it. how ugly do you think this is going to get? >> we're already seeing that it's getting ugly. we're seeing that mo brooks today sent basically a confirmation this is true. while some are denying it, you've got mo brooks confirming it in a certain way. to me the real question was really twisted is that donald trump, who has handed out pardons like it was halloween candy, whether it was kim
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kardashian coming to all of them didn't give these pardons and he so likes to toy with people. think about it, mo brooks was part of this conspiracy, was part of this scheme and didn't even earn donald trump -- forget a pardon. he didn't even get the endorsement for his race that he just lost in alabama. so the way that trump toys with people, demands absolute loyalty and doesn't give it. liz cheney, there are certain figures in indhistory that we remember, one would be larry hogan, the current maryland governor, his father who stood up during watergate that cost him his seat. i think she will be remembered by history very kindly. >> by the way, kim ckardashian
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was asking for pardons for other people. >> trump just kept on trying to change the outcome of the 2020 election. he's a gop favorite for 2024. where do we go from here? >> the watergate contrast is really significant here. people forget richard nixon's approval rating from republican voters fell 40 points until he resigned in august 1976. you didn't have certainly like fox actively trying to rebut the evidence against him but the bigger reason is there were republican elected officials at every stage in the process in watergate who validated that it was important and that what nixon did was wrong. you contrast that to wrong. marco rubio, before this season started, before a single witness was heard said it was garbage, a circus, a kangaroo court. republicans who know better,
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like mitch mcconnell, are saying i'm too busy to watch it. they the have the ability to influence the base if they're willing to come out and say what they have heard is significant. i don't know how big a difference today will make, but i think today was consequential. thank you all. i appreciate it. we'll be right back. ♪ walking on ♪ ♪ walking on the moon ♪ ♪ some ♪ ♪ may say ♪ ♪ i'm wishing my days away ♪ ♪ no way ♪ ♪ walking on the moon ♪
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