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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  June 23, 2022 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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good evening. i'm anderson cooper along with my colleague jake tapper in washington for a special two-hour 360, looking at what was a truly extraordinary day of witness testimony and stunning new details revealed during the january 6th committee hearings. former top officials at the justice department offering details, sometimes moment by moment descriptions of private phone calls and meetings demonstrating how the former president personally and continually tried to convince them to support his fraudulent claims about a stolen election. >> part of today's hearing focused on someone whose home was actually raided by federal investigators yesterday, former
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justice department official named jeffrey clark. we're going to have more on that raid in just a moment. the committee's interest about clark has to do with the former president's effort to install clark as acting attorney general so that clark could use the levers of the justice department to subvert joe biden's victory in the 2020 election. take a listen to this incredible moment recalled today of a white house meeting just days before january 6th involving jeffrey clark, today's witnesses, the white house council pat sip lini, and jeffrey clark. here's how white house counsel eric hershmann responded. some of the language is a little bit salty. >> i made the point that jeff clark is not even competent to serve as the attorney general. he's never been a criminal attorney. he's never conducted a criminal investigation in his life. he's never been in front of a jury, much less a trial jury, and he kind of retorted by
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saying, well, i've done a lot of very complicated appeals and civil litigation, environmental litigation and things like that. and i said, that's right. you're an environmental lawyer. how about you go back to your office, and we'll call you when there's an oil spill? and pat cipollone weighed in at one point, i remember, saying, you know, that letter that this guy wants to send, that letter is a murder/suicide pact. it's going to damage everyone who touches it. >> today's hearing also provided evidence that directly linked the former president to the effort to overturn the election. former acting deputy attorney general richard donoghue, who you just heard, also testified about a phone conversation he had with the former president during the transition. this is what he told a member of the committee, whom will speak to later in the broadcast, republican congressman adam kinzinger. >> let's take a look at another one of your notes. you also noted that mr. rosen said to mr. trump, quote, doj can't and won't snap its fingers and change the outcome of the
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election. how did the president respond to that, sir? >> he was responded very quickly and said essentially, that's not what i'm asking you to do. what i'm just asking you to do is just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the republican congressmen. >> so let's now put up the notes where you quote the president. as you're speaking to that, you said 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 president trump, correct? >> that's an exact quote from the president, yes. >> perhaps the most dramatic moment of the testimony was what donoghue later said about a december 2020 white house meeting where he tried to explain to donald trump in great detail what would happen if trump removed then acting attorney general jeffrey rosen and tried to install jeffrey clark as attorney general to push this discredited election fraud nonsense. >> this was in line with the president saying, what do i have
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to lose? and along those lines, he said, so suppose i do this. suppose i replace him, jeff rosen, with him, jeff clark. what would you do? >> and i said, mr. president, i would resign immediately. i'm not working one minute for this guy, who i just declared was completely incompetent. and so the president immediately turned to mr. engel, and he said, steve, you wouldn't resign, would you? and he said, absolutely i would, mr. president. you'd leave me no choice. and then i said, and we're not the only ones. no one cares if we resign. if steve and i go, that's fine. that doesn't matter. but i'm telling you what's going to happen. you're going to lose your entire department 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 districts across the country, and my guess would be that many
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of them would have resigned, and that would then have led to resignations across the department in washington. and i said, mr. president, within 24, 48, 72 hours, could you 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? >> i should point out that stopped -- that was a turning point. that stopped the president's efforts to subvert the department of justice, to get the department of justice to say that the election was corrupt. however, it didn't stop the president and his attempted coup. three days later, january 6th, the president was out there in front of that crowd, repeating all the same lies that all his members from the department of justice except jeffrey clark had told him were completely false. he was saying those things, the exact same lies, to that crowd, telling them to march on the capitol. also today, the committee
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publicly stated the names of republican members of congress who actively sought pardons from the former president. we're going to get into that in a moment. it is an extraordinary list. first we want to discuss what we just heard. i'm joined by jeffrey toobin, laura coates, both former federal prosecutors. also gloria borger, alyssa farah griffin, director of strategic communications for the former president. jeff, i mean this line, just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the republican congressmen, there were so many extraordinary revelations that came out of today's testimony. >> that's the biggest one because the issue about a criminal investigation of the president really comes down to intent. what was his intent? was this a good-faith effort to get to the facts of the election? did he really believe that he won and he was simply just trying to get the votes counted, or was this just the use of
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whatever tool at his disposal to overturn an election that he lost? >> right. and the biggest tool is jeffrey clark by the way. >> correct, in more ways than one. >> ba dum bum. thank you. i've been here all week. >> but that comment suggests in a very direct way that he knows he's lost and that all he wants to do is keep the balls in the air so that it can go to the house republicans who can take over from that point. that comment is so devastating to trump. >> it also -- his failure with the department of justice then shows you how awful january 6th -- i mean as if it wasn't awful enough, we now know it was his failure to corrupt these guys, and now he's just knowingly spreading these lies.
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>> the hearings have been so impressive as a group because you see the former president moving from audience to audience. the vice president's staff, he's trying to convince them and the vice president to overturn the election. he's trying to turn the people in the states, in arizona, in georgia, to overturn the election. here, today's testimony was about getting the justice department to try to overturn the election. none of it having to do with him actually having won the election. all of it having him use the tools at his disposal in a corrupt way. >> laura coates, at one point he tells donoghue that clearly they're not following things on the internet like he is. >> as if that's where you want to head for some information. you actually have the united states government contacting the italian government and the attache to figure out if there are satellites that are interrupting the use of our machines. >> an online conspiracy. >> a conspiracy theory. the idea you also have -- i think jeffrey clark at one point promoted the notion that the
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chinese were using smart thermostats to try to impact our election. i mean these are absurd notions. but when you look at what's happening, if i'm fanny willis in fulton county, georgia, i am doing back flips because this has made my case that much stronger. >> she's leading the prosecution in georgia. >> and remember the dates here. january 2nd was that now infamous phone call with brad raffensperger. this oval office meeting happened the next day, january 3rd. so at the time, even if he hadn't known from all of the people, including bill barr, including vice president pence's counsel, including so many other entities that there was no "there" there, certainly after that call, he goes to his own department of justice and says i want more of this. after they tell him they're going to resign en masse, 30 minutes later, he goes how about a truck full of these ballots? at every turn he wanted an army of yes men and he found one unfortunately on january 6th. >> what more do you need to prove intent?
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this is a president who went everywhere, and he was asking about every conspiracy theory that existed, whether it was satellites in italy or whether it was ballots in china. and at every juncture, he was rebuffed, particularly by the justice department, which we're told he became obsessed with the justice department. he becomes more and more and more manic. and what finally convinces him not to replace rosen with clark is rosen saying to him, you know, if you do that and everybody leaves and clark is presiding over a graveyard, what does that say about you? and once he heard that, because of course, it's all about trump -- once he heard that, he thought, mm, that would look pretty bad. >> there's this misconception too, gloria. you don't have to have him saying, "i intend for people to then do x, y, and z." there is circumstantial evidence and you have to have a good
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faith belief that what you're doing is not violating the law. he was even told at every juncture that what he's doing -- all these notions, it's all showing you that he absolutely was aware that this was not -- >> what was the mood at the white house around this time? >> so i left december 4th, and at that time i kind of had a sense that things were heading the wrong way. i openly said that. but i was struck by the sheer desperation in these final weeks. i mean the unfounded, baseless, just crazy conspiracy theories that were being promoted by sitting members of congress and then being raised to the acting secretary of defense. it shows a president unwilling to give up power and desperate for any effort that he can pursue. but also those around him just going along with it. today was by far the most damning hearing. i'm shocked to even think of what future hearings might include based on what we saw today. >> the hearing just the other day was very emotional, and it
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was very personal, and you saw the personal cost of this to a number of honorable americans. this was equally dramatic but in a whole other way, just how alarming it is. >> and if i may note, cassidy hutchinson, who was a close colleague of mine, who refused to testify under oath, testified under oath that multiple members of congress asked her, a staffer for the white house chief of staff, for pardons to cover up their crime. >> mass pardons for any republican involved in this. >> joining me now is democratic congresswoman elaine luria. was there one most important piece of information that came out today because to me, i have a whole list of them. >> i have a whole list as well. i mean, i think that the key focus of the committee, with this hearing being the levers he tried to pull at the department of justice and just what extent he went in order to try to influence people and replace jeff clark, you know, people at
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the top by inserting jeff clark. that and then essentially the principles that those others such as rosen and donoghue had to stand up and essentially say, we're not doing that. and if you do this and try to put him in, we're all going to resign. so the impact that that had. and then, you know, secondly, another piece of it is, you know, this information about what other members of congress did. it's pretty straightforward. i think adam kinzinger said this explicitly during the hearing. you don't request a pardon if you don't think you committed a crime. the fact that we've heard from witnesses under oath that this, in fact, took place, you know, it's very damning, and it really confirms that whole thing. like leave it up to me and the republican congressmen. who were the republican congressmen? i think, you know, that what we've learned from witnesses, that's all becoming even more clear than it was before. >> i remember -- i think it's what he said to president zelenskyy in that phone conversation years ago when he was trying to strong-arm him. he said, you know, just say
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you're going to launch an investigation into hunter biden, and basically he'll take it from there. him telling donoghue, just say the election is corrupt and leave it up to me and the republican congressmen to do the rest. >> it was very similar. you know, just say it's corrupt. people will believe it. oh, if we appoint a special prosecutor in the 11th hour here, that sows enough doubt in people's minds that he can use that as cover to go forward with his next phase of the plan. so i did see a lot of parallels too. >> former attorney general eric holder was quoted as saying he called that a smoking gun. do you see it that way? >> you know, to me it's not the only smoking gun that came out in today's hearing. but, you know, definitely when we were asking the question of intent, i mean there was a deliberate plan, and it was many levers of government. today we focused in on the department of justice. last hearing was about the different election officials in the state. and we're continuing to put those pieces together as we move forward in the hearing. so i think it will paint a very clear picture by the end of our
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hearings, just what all of those levers were. >> also so much of the power from today of the people we heard from is they were republicans who were very loyal to the president. many had been in the administration at the department of justice throughout the entire administration. while we heard the department of justice officials talk about how alarmed they were from the president's behavior, cnn's evan perez has concluded he never ask -- >> well, i can't comment, you know, from the department of justice and their perspective in trying to prove a crime. as we've said many times, that's not the purpose of this committee. it's a legislative committee. but what i would say is the pressure was clear. all indications were out there he was willing to do anything, essentially wipe away the leadership in his department of justice and replace it with someone who was wholly unqualified to hold that position and someone who was truly a loyalist. another thing that was shocking as well was this call to the
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department of defense that was talked about with kash patel, someone else who came in very late in the administration, who had a role there. and so kind of trying to really see everywhere there was someone in a role or attempted to be put in a role who could help implement this plan. >> and the idea of appointing sidney powell as a special counsel, i mean, is just -- you can't make this up. congresswoman elaine luria, i really appreciate it. thank you. >> thank you. >> i'm joined now by cnn special correspondent jamie gangel, dana bash, chris wallace, and nia-malika henderson. what do you make of what congresswoman luria said? >> she kind of put it all together that the committee is putting it all together, connecting all of the dots and really painting the picture of what the former president was doing in a frantic, frenetic way, both from congress' point of view, from the states' point of view. all of the pieces of the federal government particularly today,
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obviously, was just remarkable the way that these doj -- republican trump doj officials described it. because so much of this is jaw-dropping, any one of these issues could be, like, a blaring headline in and of itself. but the pardon issue, particularly for these members of congress, is huge because -- and i should say they deny it. people like scott perry, they deny it. but you have people under oath saying that members of congress either requested individual pardons or blanket pardons for anybody involved in and around january 6th. >> yeah. although, jamie gangel, i should note that congressman mo brooks released the letter that he sent to the white house, which is something along the lines of, you know, the crazy democratic socialists and liberal republicans are going to try to abuse the justice department and go after us criminally, so you
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should offer blanket pardons to anybody who signed on to that crazy amicus brief. i called it crazy. mo brooks didn't, or anybody who voted to disenfranchise the voters of pennsylvania and arizona. >> the committee had the receipts on mo brooks, so he had to find some excuse. scott perry came out today and denied it completely, said, but let's remember he would not come in and testify under oath. >> right. >> cassidy hutchinson did. just to emphasize something that dana mentioned, donald trump was relentless in this. that is the pattern we are seeing throughout these hearings, and i think what was so impressive today was the system held because of these lawyers, conservatives, republicans, political appointees who the trump administration had put in, and they said no over and over and over again.
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and we saw how close it came, but they pulled democracy back from the brink. >> chris, one of the most shocking things, although i don't think we've covered it all that much really, is donald trump pushing both the justice department and the department of homeland security to seize voting machines. >> right, which was something that michael flynn talked about at one point, rudy giuliani, the idea of seizing these voting machines. there were two things that struck me, jake, about the hearing today. win, i think one of the reasons it was so powerful is it's like a perfectly constructed play. all of this happens in 11 days from december 23rd, when jeff rosen takes over as the acting attorney general, until january 3rd, when they had that crazy meeting in the oval office, when it's literally up for grabs in front of his desk who's going to be the attorney general. and you can see trump getting, as it's described, more and more agitated as he tries to get rosen and donoghue, the people who were in office, to accept and to say that the election is
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corrupt, and they refused to do it. then finally he goes to jeff clark and he's thinking about putting him in to say it. that's one thing i think was the power. the second is the letter, the letter that he wanted somebody to send, was that the justice department would declare that they had found significant concerns about the elections and that they were insisting that -- or suggesting that the state legislatures come and name alternate slates of electors to go to congress. think about that for a second. you get to january 6th. i know what pence has said he was going to do. if you'd been presented in georgia and arizona and pennsylvania with a trump slate and a biden slate, who knows what happens. >> absolutely. nia-malika, there was a moment in the hearing when we learned the white house was prematurely referring to jeffrey clark as acting attorney general. take a listen here. >> white house call logs obtained by the committee show that by 4:19 p.m. on january 3rd, the white house had already
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begun referring to mr. clark has the acting attorney general. as far as the white house was concerned, mr. clark was already at the top of the justice department. >> i mean, that shows that if rosen and donoghue hadn't taken their stand, this would have happened. >> this was a fait accompli in the mind of donald trump, encouraged by somebody like scott perry, who introduces this white house to jeffrey clark, who isn't really known to this white house before. you have rudy giuliani saying, listen, we need somebody in that position who will do the president's bidding. so the president finds jeffrey clark, who is all too willing to help the president stay in power and orchestrate this corrupt plan. fascinating to see the department push back against him, and we see how close we came. i thought what was also really interesting was liz cheney's final thoughts, right? there is an attempt by this committee obviously to show the american public that trump knew
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that he lost. there is an attempt to change minds, change the hearts and minds, particularly of republicans. so you have liz cheney, a republican on that committee, saying directly to republicans, listen, these are republicans who are telling you trump knew that he lost. these are trump loyalists, people that he put in power, and you have to come to terms with the fact that he deceived you, that he abused your trust, and that is a fact. whether or not she actually changes hearts and minds or the people who are true believers, we'll see. >> they have to be watching is the issue. everyone stay with us. we still have a lot more to discuss including that raid we mentioned at the home of former justice department official jeffrey clark, the ally of donald trump, who is at the center of what witnesses describe as an attempt to politicize, weaponize really the justice department. we'll have the latest on the separate official investigation on what we heard today. later, the january 6th committee named names when it came to which republican members of congress were seeking pardons. we'll name those names for you
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jeffrey clark, the man who almost became acting attorney general, was one of the main focuses of today's hearings, and shortly before top officials from the trump-era justice department told the committee today how they fought to stop clark from becoming acting attorney general, as he tried to ram through his plan to overturn the election, we also learned that federal investigators just raided clark's home yesterday. our senior washington correspondent pamela brown is on capitol hill for us. pamela, what do we know about this development? >> reporter: first of all, jake, this was a surprising twist here. in the halls of congress just before this hearing where testimony about jeff clark took center stage. what we know about this raid is it happened in the pre-dawn hours on wednesday, and it's part of the overall doj investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results according to multiple people familiar with the matter.
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and it happened on the same day that doj sent subpoenas to people involved in trump's push to send the alternate slate of electors. we know that clark was central in that, and trump's overall plan that he worked with trump, devised a plan for trump to put him in as the acting attorney general so that then he could use the power of the justice department to overturn the election results. that was part of the evidence and testimony that was laid out here today. we reached out for an attorney -- to an attorney for clark, who didn't respond, but clark's workplace, the center for renewing america, did send a statement saying the new era of criminalizing politics is worsening in the u.s. yesterday more than a dozen doj law enforcement officials searched jeff clark's house in a pre-dawn raid and took his electronic devices all because jeff saw fit to investigate voter fraud. we know that last line there is not the full story here. again, as i laid out, doj did
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investigate voter fraud. we heard that in the testimony today from these witnesses speaking under oath, saying they chased down these various voter fraud claims and turned up empty. but despite that, jeffrey clark wanted to take it even further, using the power of doj allegedly to overturn the election results, jake. >> all right. pamela brown, thanks. let's talk about the raid more. back with us, jamie gangel, dana bash, chris wallace, and nia-malika henderson. chris, obviously there was a lot of people investigating voter fraud. u.s. attorneys, justice department officials, elections officials. that's not what jeffrey clark's being investigated for. >> no, of course not. we heard today in chapter and verse he's obviously being investigated because he was pushing this idea that the justice department should say that they had found evidence of fraud when they hadn't found evidence of fraud. i find the timing of this odd because on the one hand, you say to yourself, well, gosh, this has been going on for a year and a half. we've known about jeffrey clark's involvement for a long
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time. this was thoroughly investigated by the senate judiciary committee, so why did it take them so long to get -- you know, and was it that they decided to raid jeffrey clark's house because he was going to be the subject of this big investigation and hearing today? but having talked to some attorneys today, it takes a lot to be able to raid. you've got to have -- you've got to convince a magistrate that you need to go and raid the guy's house. you need to convince them that you can't just ask him for the evidence, that he might destroy it. it seems odd a year and a half later, but apparently they had some pressing new evidence and reason for needing to raid his house. >> you might remember, nia-malika, just a few days ago, justice department officials were complaining that the committee, the january 6th committee, was not sharing transcripts enough. it's possible -- this is pure speculation by me. it's possible that the committee started handing over these transcripts. they knew that -- i think donoghue, the acting deputy attorney general, was going to say that jeffrey clark was
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meddling in an election, which is a criminal activity. >> right. >> so maybe they just wanted to get ahead of it. they knew this person was going to -- i mean i don't know. there's a former justice department official who basically accused jeffrey clark of a crime today. >> that's right. we don't know to the degree that this committee is cooperating with the doj. one of the reasons they haven't wanted to give some of these transcripts up is because then they're subject to discovery because the doj is obviously conducting its own investigation of folks who were involved in and around january 6th. but this was a surprise to the committee apparently that jeffrey clark -- his home was raided was clearly a surprise to jeffrey clark as well, who was out in his pajamas. but what a stunning figure that jeffrey clark is, you know, this sort of environmental lawyer who thinks that he should ascend to be the acting attorney general of the united states and defraud american voters essentially. >> he didn't think that. donald trump thought that. >> well, he thought it too.
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>> he just went along with the plan. >> dana, let me play some of former acting attorney general jeffrey rosen's testimony where jeffrey clark told rosen he had taken over and offered rosen a job to work for him. >> at that sunday meeting when he told me he would be replacing me, he -- he said that he had asked to see me alone because usually he had met with me and mr. donoghue, because he thought it would be appropriate in light of what was happening to at least offer me that i could stay on as his deputy. i thought that was preposterous. i told him that was nonsensical and that there's no universe where i was going to do that, to stay on and support someone else doing things that were not consistent with what i thought should be done. so i didn't accept that offer if i can put it that way. >> i would have loved to be in
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the room to hear that. >> yeah, it just is a really rich anecdote about how out of touch and audacious this guy was, that he could actually offer that seemingly without any irony or humor. like he actually thought, well, if i get this job -- actually, i should say, when i get this job because of what you put up earlier, bon the white house lo, they already called him acting attorney general, and the president was clearly stunned that he had this intervention, which is basically what it was, by all other senior members of the doj. >> so can i just throw some yiddish in here? >> yeah. >> i know some people -- >> oy. >> i know some people who worked with jeffrey clark, and this is not to diminish the nefarious things that were going on. but he was described to me as
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sort of an absent minded professor, and here's the yiddish, a schlemiel and a schlimazel, someone who would spill his soup on himself. this was not really someone who was in tune with -- >> that was very nice to -- >> i know what a schlemiel is. what's a schlimazel? >> a schlimazel is the guy who gets the soup spilled on him. he's spilling it on himself. >> stick around. we have much more to discuss with all of you. >> all the names brought up in video testimony by aides to the 45th president. >> was representative gates requesting a pardon? >> i believe so. a pardon that he was discussing,
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requesting, was as broad as you could describe. he mentioned nixon, and i said nixon's pardon was never nearly that broad. >> mr. biggs did. mr. -- talked about congressional pardons, but he never asked me for one. it was more for an update on whether the white house is going to pardon members of congress. mr. gomer asked -- gohmert aske one as well. mr. perry asked for one as well. [ inaudible question ] >> as was mentioned earlier, in a statement to cnn, congressman mo brooks confirms to cnn that he sought a pardon. he shared an email in which he expressed concern that democrats would abuse the judicial system.
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congressman matt gaetz's office -- congressman scott perry tweeted a short time ago that he stands by his denial of seeking pardons for himself or others. if someone pleads the fifth in court under oath, it's not necessarily an indication they've done something wrong, but when someone, in this case several members of congress allegedly contact to an aide to the white house chief of staff seeking pardons, that certainly is an indication they at least have something they're concerned about. >> if you're asking then-candidate trump, pleading the fifth is enough to actually confirm your guilt. so the idea we're talking about it is at this point in time is different. it's a red flag for an investigator to figure out why it is you're doing so 147 times. that's more than a red flag. but the idea of actually saying and suggesting that you're not going to answer questions.
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you have the corroboration of other people saying, here's what this person is doing and what they've done. and they've been so bold and audacious in trying to go an end round around the acting attorney general. you heard from jeffrey rosen today saying, what do you mean you happened to be at the white house, jeffrey clark, without my permission or knowledge or any reason? you're going around and doing these things, and all this is in indicia that you know what you're doing is the wrong way. >> but on the pardons, jeff, mo brooks sent an email asking for all-purpose pardons for any possible thing. >> right. >> is that a thing? >> well, it could be done. i mean the president -- he can only pardon you for federal crimes. you can't pardon you for state crimes. but one of the things i think we've learned in these hearings is that the possibility of criminal prosecution of the people involved was something they were thinking about even then. i mean eric hershmann is saying to jeffrey clark, you are committing a crime here. and who does he say?
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he said, you better get a good criminal defense lawyer. he says that to eastman. >> we don't know he didn't ask for a pardon. >> eastman, clark, all these people are being warned at the time that they may be committing crimes. so the idea that they're somehow shocked that this criminal investigation is now ongoing, you know, they knew the possibility was there even at the time. and the people seeking pardons, they obviously thought a criminal investigation was possible. >> preemptive pardons have been done before. that's not the real shock. >> richard nixon by gerald ford. >> but the idea of why they're doing it here in anticipation of what's going on is what's shocking in this instance. >> well, there's a process for pardons, and you've seen former presidents go through it. it's a long process in concert with the justice department. you come up with lists of people. people suggest people who might -- >> but it doesn't have to be. >> it doesn't have to be. but this notion of mass pardons
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in advance of being accused of any crime is kind of stunning and shocking to me because all of these people seem to think, as you were saying, that there's something wrong here. >> scott perry is the congress person who seemed to be the one who brought jeffrey clark into the orbit of president trump. he seems to be the one who brought clark over. >> right, and he came out with a statement just denying it outright, yet won't testify under oath. i actually think mo brooks' statement is the most telling. the same person who was cooperating with the trump administration to try to weaponize all aspects of government to hold on to power was, himself, now saying, oh, well i thought the incoming administration might politically do that. i think for some of these members, that's actually how they view it. i think we can't lose that in this discussion. we live in a split screen in america. today showed some people live in a different reality than we do, a different fact environment where it's just -- i mean these
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conspiracies that they were sharing, these pardons they were seeking, they're not seeing things the way you and i -- >> or they knew they were lying and that maybe some other -- and maybe they knew that they just had seen the department of justice, even though they are republican officials or supporters of the president, were not willing to do the president's bidding, and they're suddenly worried. oh, wait a minute, maybe there are -- >> uh-oh. >> you just used a wonderful phrase. the fact environment. you know, i hope we live in the environment of facts. and the fact is that joe biden won this election, and the whole reason we're doing this investigation is that donald trump mobilized his entire administration and everyone around him, including his supporters, to try to overturn that fact. >> and to anderson's point, most of these people knew better. that's what drives me crazy as someone who spoke out is they knew better and they're just lying because they're hoping to stay in power. >> they're worried the next administration is going to do
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what they were currently doing. >> which is projection. >> it's also unprecedented in american history. >> totally. >> you've got jim jordan and others who are already threatening things like impeachment if republicans reclaim the majority. we're going to impeach joe biden and the like. they're talking about the ideas of having these meetings, having thee investigative committees, which is pure projection. >> we also don't want to get into a place in this country where every administration just does blanket pardons of everybody that they support as they're leaving because of any -- i mean it just -- it's an untenable situation. >> matt gaetz, for example, is under investigation for things totally unrelated. >> and he wanted, we're told, a broad pardon for everything. but it's just absurd. i don't know that they all knew, and you know more about this because you were living with them in the white house, so to speak. but i have a sense that some of them didn't, that they had convinced themselves that this was the right thing to do.
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>> i think that's true. i think that's true. >> and that in some way, shape, or form, they were doing it for greater good, for the country, even if it meant lying, a little machiavellian there, but that's why we're doing this, because it's for the greater good. and donald trump should be president of the united states. >> i think it's true, and i don't know which is scarier to be honest. >> or they just didn't give a crap, and they were fine with doing whatever donald trump wanted. thank you very much. appreciate it. up next, more revelations from today's hearing showing just how far the former president went in efforts to subvert the election, including putting pressure on the justice department and homeland security to seize voting machines. t developer isn't easy. but, at upwork, we found her. she's in prague between the ideal cup of coffee and a truly impressive synthesizer collection. and you can find her right now (lepsi?) on (lepsi.) when the world is your workforce, finding the perfect project manager, designer, developer, or whomever you may need...
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he discussed a variety of election matters. he did say this sounds like the kind of thing that would warrant appointment of a special counsel. there was a point at which the president said something about one of you guys seize machines. >> that was former acting attorney general richard donoghue, recalling the hours long white house meeting on january 3rd where the former president asked top officials at the justice department why they couldn't seize voting machines.
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jeff rosen today said he told the former president that the department would not seize the machines. he testified that trump called the department of homeland security ken cuccinelli and told cuccinelli said that rosen said it was homeland security's job to seize the machines. rosen testified he never said that. joining me now, kaitlan collins. is it clear how the former president and his allies are feeling tonight about these latest hearings because there was a lot of very, very damaging testimony today. >> it really stood out today, really comparing to the other hearings that we've seen from the january 6th committee, and i think it also stood out to the people who used to work in the trump administration or people who still find themselves in his orbit. and several of them, anderson, that i spoke to said they actually found today's testimony pretty damaging to trump because i think that they've downplayed a lot of the other hearings. a lot of them have said they're not watching. they're not paying attention. not as many people were saying that about what has happening today. you're hearing these top justice
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department officials testify about just what a kchaotic environment it was in the last several weeks. i think the reason they found today more damaging based on the conversations that i had with these people, several of them, was that it was not just that trump tried to use the justice department in this blatant manner for his own political gain, but also there were those more embarrassing moments where you heard the committee confirm that, yes, mark meadows, the chief of staff, did reach out to the acting defense secretary at the pentagon, had him call an official in italy to check on whether or not this theory about italian satellites being used to change votes actually checked out, which of course it didn't. and these officials testified today they found that allegation, that baseless allegation to be pure insanity. but also ranging to things like the call books at the white house, already calling jeffrey clark the acting attorney general when he very much was not so, or in that very notable meeting that trump had with these top officials where they were saying trump asked if they were now going to try to fire
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jeffrey clark after he mulled putting him in the top spot at the justice department. and they had to explain to the president that actually they couldn't do that given he's in a senate firmed position. that's only something the president could do. so i think those testimonies one by one coming out from these top officials, republican officials, career officials, talking about what they'd been through, that's why they found it more damaging than the other days and the other testimonies that you've seen from this committee. >> i assume -- i shouldn't assume. doknow that at the end of the day he was going to stop watching the hearings. he had obviously started watching them, he does watch these things, especially when they are about him very closely, but he had been growing angrier and angrier, frustrated that none of his aggressive are publican allies,
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a lot of those mentioned today, when it came to the talk of pardons, so that raises questions about what that would have looked like. he is angry and of them are on the committee pushing back to defend him. it is not clear that he watched today, but it is hard to say that he will not see these testimony from former top officials that he often met with and talked to about his efforts to overturn the election. >> appreciate it, thanks very much. with more on the reaction from the former president allies, joining me again, jamie miguel, you heard reporting about the former president, what is your sense of how damaging today's testimony actually was for donald trump? >> so, we don't know big picture, long-term, but, let's remember, i don't often like to compare these hearings to watergate, but there is one similarity which is, it was not until the middle of the watergate hearings, well along, that things started coming out, like alexander butterfield and the recording. i do think these have an incremental effect. the question is, are the people
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who believe the big lie, listening and watching. >> that is a significant question. obviously, a lot of the people who believe the big lie watch fox, and lann, and newsmax, channels that are either not covering this or covering it, generally speaking, as, look at this partisan witchhunt. >> no question. back then, people were, for the most part, operating from the same set of facts and reality. with limited access to information, and now it is a different world. the question is, whether or not the former president is getting -- whether adam kinzinger in particular, people of his ilk, are getting any traction with the argument he made at the hearing, and made on twitter, afterwards, and in an interview with you, which is, anybody who is a fair-minded person, watching these, in the
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republican party, who was not speaking out, and doing what is right, is going to have, you know, their conscience, to deal with. it is not just the leaders right now, but then, it also goes down to the voters, and that is the ultimate question, right now. >> chris, i want to play more of what acting deputy attorney general richard donahue said in his testimony today. take a listen. >> the december 27th conversation, was, in my mind, and escalation of the earlier conversations, as the former acting ag indicated, there were a lot of negations which preceded that in the month of december, the president's entreaties became more urgent, he became more adamant that we were not doing our job, we need to step up and do our job. and come he had this arsenal of allegations, that he wanted to rely on. so, i felt in that
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conversation that it was incumbent on me, to make it very clear, to the president, what our investigations had revealed and that we had concluded based on actual investigations, actual witness interviews, actual reviews of documents, that these allegations simply had no merit. >> were any of the allegations he brought up credible? did you find any of them credible? >> no. >> that is significant. and again, richard donahue is an army veteran, former u.s. attorney, he is also a trump supporter. donald trump, they all are. well, no, this is the phone call, on december 27th, and, trump, again, as part of this drama, has been becoming more and more agitated in a word, about these various theories, so he is presenting them on the phone, to donahue, he's saying look, what about an home
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county, and what about this and what about that? and, he keeps saying no. no. there is no merit. we have investigated it, mr. president. and, he said, in his testimony, today, i was trying to cut through the noise, because i knew that he was getting all this information, all these allegations about these various places, and, these various suppose it frauds, and, i was trying to say that we have looked into it, it is not true. and, it was at that point, at the end of this, that trump made the famous statement, you know, i'm not asking you to do that, just say the election was corrupt, and leave it to me and the republicans. i mean, this was donahue doing his best to try to get the president to face the truth, and the president saying the quiet part out loud, i don't need the truth, i just need a statement. >> what is remarkable here, is, the president was going to fight it out. >> i think that is right. installed jeffrey clark, who was going to do his hitting. in
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these days, we see a president who is gripped with a kind of desperate mania to hold onto power. he is a cause looking for a mark, right? he tried to get pens to go along with him. it that doesn't work. he tried to get folks at the doj to go along with him that, that doesn't work. he looks at these different states, in georgia, in arizona, to try to get folks to go along with him, and finally, in the end, he does find a mark, right? it is essentially his followers, on january 6th, they are the ones that really, believe him, do his bidding and try to overthrow the government in a violent coup on january 6th. that is what we will see unfold in the coming hearings. coming up next, more on the new damaging details presented in today's hearing. we will hear a reaction from the public and congressman and january 6th select committee adam came thing or. ahead, new unprecedented video donald trump addressing his view of what happened on january 6th. of us.
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