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tv   CNN Special Report  CNN  November 8, 2021 8:00pm-9:44pm PST

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the violence at the capitol on january 6th, 2021 was just the most visible part of donald trump's attempt to hold to power. tonight, we talk to those who witnessed the whole plot unfurl and tried to stop it. the lies. >> this election was stolen from you, from me, from the country.
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>> if you ask how many republican congressmen believe donald trump was re-elected, maybe a couple. 60% of the base does. >> conspiracy theories. >> that could have been mickey mouse. >> lawsuits. >> they tried to not have your votes counted. they did not want your vote to count. >> potentially illegal pressure campaigns. >> i want to find 11, 780 votes. >> what he was asking for was not supported by the facts, was not supported by the constitution. >> extraordinary scheming. >> let's talk about the easton memo. >> breath taking that you would have laid out such a clear game plan that's so clearly violating
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the constitution. >> and all too many of the republican party. >> you believe it was a free and fair election? >> and maga media followed along. >> we will never give up. we will never concede. >> stop the steal! >> and it almighty have worked if not for a few people in key places. notably among them, brave republicans. >> in the moments of truth, you need the right people to pass the most difficult tests. we had just enough people on january 6th pass the test. >> pursuant to the constitution and the laws of the united states. >> do you think donald trump attempted to stage a coup? >> i don't know what you could call it other than a coup. >> i have real concerns about the future of this democracy. >> i'm deeply afraid for our country. >> tonight, a cnn special report, trumping democracy, an american coup.
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we are going in! you'll never take back our country with weakness. you have to show strength. >> january 6th was the line that can't be crossed. january 6th was an unconstitutional attempt led by the president of the united states to overturn an american election and reinstall himself if in power illegitimately. that's fallen nation territory, that is third world country a territory. my family left cuba to avoid that fate. i will not let it happen here. >> that's republican congressman anthony gonzalez of ohio. >> i rise today in support of the cuban people -- >> grandson of an immigrant, he has a quintessentially american success story. a talented wide receiver who played three years for ohio state, five more in the nfl, and when injuries sidelined him, he got a business degree from stanford. all this before age 34 when gonzalez felt called to run for
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congress. >> i got in to this because, look, my family came here from cuba, my father's family came from cuba, we come from a country that has fallen and a failed nation, we see what happens when the rule of law is dismantled and a strong man is allowed to take hold and democratic norms c are -- norms cease to exist. >> now he has a warning. >> this country has been through a lot, we have fought through it. as much as i dispise the biden administration. the country can survive bad policy, it cannot survive torching the constitution. >> it's going to be fraud all
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over the place. ? a rigged election, there's going to be fraud. >> donald trump's plan to under mine american democracy began months before the voting started. >> what's going to do with the ballots? where are they going? >> with the return to lies that he has been telling for years. in 2012, he tweeted, more reports of voting machines switching only are any votes to obama. pay close attention to the machines. don't let your vote be stolen. not true. in 2016, quote, ted cruz didn't win iowa, he stole it. not true. and this after he won the electoral college, hence the presidency in 2016. quote, i won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally. also, not true. >> president trump started a commission to look for that in 2017. they could find nothing. they disbanded before they could even file a report. >> in 2020, mail-in ballots
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which were going to be more prevalent because of the pandemic became a perfect new foil for trump's old claim. >> voting by mail is wraught with fraud and abuse and when you do all mail-in voting ballots you are asking for fraud. >> melissa fara was the white house communications director for then president trump from april through december 2020. >> we actually had to pull together a meeting in the oval to remind him many of the voters, particularly senior citizens were voting by mail and we were deterring people from turning out and voting in the way that they would. >> all this caught the attention of congress woman liz cheney. a conservative and daughter of former vice president dick cheney. at the time, she was number three in house republican leadership, the conference chair. >> it concerned me because we wanted people to be able to vote as republicans. i was not concerned about it from constitutional perspective
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at all. the concern cans came later on. >> there will be millions missing ballots. >> cheney's constitutional concerns came five weeks before election day. >> then president trump was asked if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power. >> win, lose or draw in the election, will you commit here today for a peaceful transferral of power after the election? >> we will have to see what happens, you know that. i have been complaining strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster. >> you tweeted a response to that. you wrote, the peaceful transfer of power is enshrined in the constitution and fundamental to the survival of the republic. the america's leaders swear an oathing to the constitution, we will uphold that oath. >> every president is responsible for safeguarding a peaceful transfer of power.
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for president trump not to be willing to make the commitment was stunning. >> that was september 2020, when donald trump stunned republican al schmidt. >> we either need to get them on board or move the polling place. >> schmidt is one of three city commissioners in philadelphia. his job is to oversee the city's elections. >> there was a big problem. in philadelphia they went in to watch. they were called poll watchers. they were thrown out. they were not allowed to watch. you know why? because bad things happen in philadelphia. bad things. >> so you are watching the debate and president trump said bad things happen in philadelphia, what goes through your mind? >> i think i said outloud, i see what you are doing. we had the sitting president trying to discredit the results coming from the city of philadelphia before a single vote was cast in the city.
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>> watch those ballots. i don't like it. thousands of ballots all over the country are being reported. some thrown in garbage cans with my name on then. so, did you see today? there was a big mishap with the ballots. another one. >> not only was trump spreading distrust over the electoral process. >> did you see they found 50,000 ballots in like a river? >> he was doing it in states such as pennsylvania and michigan where the margins were expected to be tight. and the wait for results was expected to be unusually long. >> in most of america, there's a big traditional skew between early votes and election day votes. the republicans usually win election day, and the democrats usually win early associating and absentee voting. we have all the vote flowing in, in pennsylvania. >> he was part of fox news 2020 decision desk. >> the question is do republicans do well enough on election day to offset it. >> trump had been telling republicans not to trust mail-in ballots.
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this set the stage for what experts predicted would prompt misleading early vote counts. >> there maybe what some folks call a red mirage, trump's numbers may be highest on election night and a long tail called the blue wave will be coming in with the mail-in ballots. >> we knew that some states who show him up and then it would get closer. >> he could do well on election night to watch it shift over the coming days toward the democrats. >> did he not know that? >> he had been told that repeatedly and he didn't care. he decided before the summer, frankly, when it was clear that the pandemic was going to change the way by mail voting worked in a number of states, he started laying the groundwork for this can't be trusted. >> this is not right what they
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are doing is not right. >> everyone who followed the elections closely knew about this. then right before the election day, a convenient alternative explanation, a false conspiracy theory popped up in right wing media. >> it will look good for president trump and then it will change. >> there will be many, many more conspiracy theories ahead. >> voters are in hours of making a decision for the country. >> we are keeping an eye on monumental places in the country. >> president trump will win the state of florida. >> former president trump was in his residence. he had people coming up and down, there were staffers, aides, friends, all sorts of people in the east room, you know, munching on mini burgers. and celebrating what they believed once the statute of florida was called for trump was
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going to be a repeat of 2016. >> a big win for president trump in florida. >> trump was in a decent mood until fox called arizona for biden. >> arizona for biden. that is a big get for the biden campaign. >> he believed what he was being told by advisers after he won florida, which was this is looking good for us. this is looking just like twenty 16, these stays that were 16, these stay2016, these stays that were supposed to go for biden are going for you and then we got to the arizona call and it fell apart. >> it's a significant victory for joe biden. the first flip of the night in the presidential race. >> the fox news decision desk made the call hours before the associated press and days before the major news networks. >> people were sending me what people were saying on social media and it was this sort of psychotic murderous rage about us and we don't do anything. i'm just telling you where the storm is going. i don't make the weather. >> he started calling talent at fox and urging them to retract
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it. >> yeah, as though it was the call that made it true, not the votes cast. >> he had made his mind up weeks before that he was going to go to the podium if it was showing he was losing and say he won. and that's what he did. >> this is a fraud on the american public. this is an embarrassment to our country. we were getting ready to win this election, frankly we did win this election. >> and then he said this, we want all voting to stop. we don't want them to find any ballots at 4:00 in the horning and add them to the list, okay. >> but nobody was voting. they were just counting. the focus at this point is mostly on mail-in ballots. in 2020, more democrats voted this way than republicans. >> we were winning everything.
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and all of a sudden, it was just called off. >> what an ideal time to stop the counting if you are a republican president who wants to hold to office no matter what the voters actually want. >> i've been saying this from the day i heard they were going to send out 10s of millions of ballots. ben isn't worried about retirement his personalized plan is backed by the team at fidelity. his ira is professionally managed, and he gets one-on-one coaching when he needs it. so ben is feeling pretty zen. that's the planning effect from fidelity
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republican party for years. >> i am one of these kind of alex keaton kids from the '80s, i've been a republican my whole life. >> now days he is the vice chair of the maricopa county board of supervisors. among the board's responsibilities, running elections. >> this election was run well. there was no fraud involved in this. no corruption. why do i feel confident about that? because this has been the most scrutinized election we have ever run. >> my job was to make sure there was not anything improper or fraudulent that was going on. >> you were not discounting anything? >> no, my job is to investigate what was being brought to me and i followed up on those with the election officials. >> and? >> and there was nothing to it. hey, ken.
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>> good morning, sir. >> the madness began in the hours after the polls closed. >> as far as i'm concerned we already have won it. >> before the tally was finished supporters who believed then president trump that they had won arizona began flocking there. >> it was a circus, it was lalapalooza for the alt right and they were outside the election center which is really off the beaten path. >> across the united states, local election facilities were scrambling to get a record number of ballots counted. among them in philadelphia was al schmidt, one of three city commissioners and the only republican. he ran for office, promising to protect election integrity. >> one of the things that i was involved in as part of the republican party in the city,
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and republican party in the state was election integrity. since coming to office, in 2012, i referred more than two dozen cases for investigation to city, state, and federal law enforcement. our election operations were centered in the pennsylvania convention center in center city philadelphia, and there was one tv on that i happened to be walking past. and the president saying why are they still counting? we already got the results. >> we are winning pennsylvania by a tremendous amount of votes. >> and i want to be very clear about what then president trump was calling for. he wanted millions americans to be disenfranchised. >> which is completely at on odds with democracy. it was pretty upsetting to see that. >> a key race alert in the battleground states. >> when half of your voters, in our case, 325,000 voters vote by
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mail, it takes days to count all the ballots because you cannot begin processing the envelopes that they came in until 7:00 on election morning. >> because that's the law that the republicans made. >> that is the law the republicans made and refused to change. >> and this is a key point, especially in pennsylvania. >> this is the most significant modernization of our election code in decades. >> expanded vote by mail legislation had been passed before the pandemic. in 2019 by the republican legislature. these were republican rules. >> the refusal to count those mail votes early and be prepared really hurt the country. and if you can't get the ballots counted accurately, efficiently, expeditiously, you create the space for trump and his squad and the goons to go out there and plant lies, to try to steal the election. >> we are going to prove to the american people that arizona is trump country. >> it was happening most notably
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in swing states. in arizona, there was sharpie gate, the trump campaign alleged that sharpie markers made them unreadable by the counting machine-s. >> that was sort of the beginning of this, let's start and throw, you know, chum in the water for folks that want to try and overturn this election. >> in georgia, big lie that spread on the internet was that this legal case of ballots was actually a secret suitcase of false biden votes being added to the count. >> i saw four suitcases come from underneath the table. >> something the republican lieutenant governor and his colleagues looked in to and found completely without merit. >> it was cut and spliced to take the time to watch it from beginning to end.
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there's a pattern that can be explained all the way through there, those were not suitcases, they were preapproved cases already used all over the state. >> in philadelphia, trump did better than he had in 2016. better than romney in 2012 or mccain in 2008. he was losing pennsylvania because he did so much worse in the philadelphia suburbs. nonetheless, because trump decided discrediting big cities was going to be one of his false political attacks in philadelphia, trump's lawyers falsely claimed republican observers had been barred from the counting rooms. >> one of the attorneys for trump asks a judge, judge diamond for an emergency order to stop the counting and they are claiming they had no people in the room. that's what they had been claiming outside the courtroom. but inside the courtroom, this trump lawyer concedes that there were a quote, nonzero number of
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their own observers in the room. and essentially the case was laughed out of court. >> short of that lawyer lying to the judge, and committing perjury, clearly went as far as he could, we had republican observers there every minute of every day that we were praying and counting votes, right in front of us. >> this is rampant corruption are. we will await more who vote coming in to pennsylvania. >> that ended the saturday after the election. ultimately the final decision of this very long election week came down to philly and after philly was decided, and announced -- >> cnn projects joseph r biden jr. is elect willed the 46th president of the united states. >> joe biden declared victory. what was that like? >> to have our voters votes result in the election being called was an incredible thing to watch. while all that is happening, we are also aware that rudy
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giuliani is coming to philadelphia. >> wow, what a beautiful day, thank you. >> going to the four seasons landscaping place to say that our voters' votes should not be counted. >> i was about to bring up four seasons total landscaping because it was -- >> in philadelphia, they keep the votes of dead people secret. >> the most -- >> suspect method of voting. >> degrading. >> there was no secure. pathetic. >> zero. >> people have no assurance at all that those ballots were cast -- >> farsical moment in my view of the post election day challenge of all. >> and inappropriate. >> and was unanimously cast for joe biden to catch up. >> they did not intend to have it at four seasons landscaping, across from a crematorium and a sex shop. >> and it was the day trump got
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the news he didn't want to hear. >> he was told that it was over and he listened and he decided that he wanted to keep fighting. >> so. >> trump decided to put giuliani in charge and that's what he did. giuliani was willing to do what he wanted. >> and that is what led to this now infamous press conference mid november featuring rudy giuliani and another named sidney powell. >> those voting systems were created in venezuela at the direction of hugo chavez to make sure that he never lost an election. >> the only thing left was to vote. that could have been the same person 30 times. >> one of the most characteristic features is its ability to flip votes.
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>> thank you. >> ben ginsberg, the republican party attorney was watching. >> when i first heard the press conference, i said, oh, my god, can that really be true? because if there was nothing there, they would not just be making it up and then they went through the entire press conference and i sort of remember looking out the window and saying they just made all that up. >> they did. this campaign memo from six days before the press conference first reported by the new york times said dominion has no company ties to venezuela. dominion sued for more than a billion dollars. there was no reasonable person that would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact. someone should tell that to the republican national committee because they still have powell's lies in its social media feed. in a deposition for another related case, giuliani said is he got the information about a former dominion employee having antifa ties from social media.
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>> those social media posts get, facebook, instagram, twitter -- >> social media postings. >> or something else. i think it was facebook. >> he also admitted that he did not have the time, he said, to investigate the claims himself. the white houses communications director when all the lies were being fed to then president trump. >> you are saying in november, that there seemed to be an acknowledgment that he lost. something changed. >> something did change. this was when the more conspiracy theorists got access to the president. the mike lindells and steve bannon was in his ear and i think he believes it. the former president believes he won the election. and that's scary.
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and the other thing though that your viewers need to know, the people around the president, the sane ones know that he did not win. and they are lying to you, and they are lying to him when they suggest is that the election was stolen. >> there were more than 60 lawsuits filed by the trump campaign or its supporters. they only prevailed in one case. from pennsylvania. but the number of ballots affected was too small to change the results from the state. >> none of the claims were found meritorious by any court in any way that would have reversed the results of the election. >> georgia faced more than a dozen of these suits. >> many of the lawsuits, they just wanted to throw out the results and then have the general assembly pick their own set of electors. >> brad rathensburger, a conservative republican ordered a statewide hand count. that confirmed there was no widespread fraud involved with the machine count.
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>> no, we never saw enough fraud that would have turned the results of the election. we have about 250 investigations going on. if you look at it, it's onesies, twosies is, a couple of people doing something, but never added up to 12,000 votes. >> still then president trump hate tweeted about him and he and his wife were threatened. >> people were threatening her, and sending her sexualized threats. >> bill gates got threats too. >> so did commissioner al schmidt, who testified about them in congress. >> tell the truth or your three kids will be fatally shot. included our address, included my children's names. is included a picture of our home, cops can't help you. heads on spikes treasonists schmidts. >> we have not had any sort of
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credible incidents raised to our level yet. there was a interesting time line or pattern is a better way to put it. i would go on tv, speak the truth. and within minutes he would send a tweet out that would say something inflammatory. >> a rhino, never trumper, too dumb to recognize massive fraud in georgia and should be replaced. >> minutes after that me or my wife would start to get threats showing up on our phone. blood curdling threats from the most awful individuals. they were trying to scare us and intimidate us, it was to try to get us to sit down and be quiet. >> then president trump wanted some republicans to sit down. and others come to washington. he starts bringing in state legislators
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from pennsylvania. >> yes, brings them to visit with him. this is part of the sales job he thinks he is doing. he is saying he won, and they should consider that and how they submit electors and how they certify the election in the states and they did not go along with it at the end of the day. >> in michigan, despite losing to joe biden by more than 154,000 votes he waged a fight to keep the results from being certified. it might have worked if one of of the two republicans on the state canvassing board had not resisted intense pressure and voted with the democrats to certify. >> we must not attempt to exercise power we simply don't have. >> after that act of courage state republicans replaced him
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on the board. >> it was all part of a presidential push for legislators to disenfranchise their own constituents, based on lies. there was no credible evidence of widespread fraud. perhaps the president's most shocking push was in georgia. >> so then president trump asked governor kemp, to call a special session of the legislature so the legislators could appoint their own electors instead of the ones for biden that the voters had picked. >> you play that out and disenfranchise 2.5 million people's votes in a state, i don't care if they are ds or rs, we would have had rioting in every community. >> a version of that came later. >> fight for trump! fight for trump! free trump!
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as court losses piled up and inauguration day crept closer, trump hoped that u.s. attorney general bill barr with the might of the department of justice behind him would back him and add credence to his fraudulent crimes. >> where is the d.o.j. in all of this? is the d.o.j. investigating? >> missing in action. can't tell you where they are. >> bill barr was investigating. >> bill barr issued a memo that told prosecutors around the country that they could take steps to look in to fraud a, something that they typically did not do until the votes were certified, it was seen as putting pressure on prosecutors around the country to at least say publically, or have signs that they were investigating voter fraud.
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bill barr was looking for it and the truth was it was not there and he came to realize it. >> barr publically contradicted trump's baseless assertions saying quote, to date we have not seen fraud to a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election. >> the president is furious. he calls barr over to meet with him and the two get in a shouting match. >> barr told trump they had looked in to these things that trump asked about and there was nothing there. and trump got aggitated and he said, this is not -- at one point barr described giuliani and his ilk as clowns, and trump said maybe but would got off of it. >> there were others that were aiding in the dirty work of subverting the election. >> they bring a lawsuit arguing that the ballots from four states, pennsylvania, michigan,
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wisconsin, and georgia should be thrown out because the states had not followed their own laws in allowing mail-in balloting and in the way they carried out the elections. he was arguing that millions ballots should be thrown out. >> the legal filing was so constitutionally unhinged and substantively bereft, he refused to put his name on it. >> it said philadelphia's vote should on not be counted because it used dominion voting machines. philadelphia does not use dominion voting machines. basic facts like that was completely absurd to read. >> and the statistical analysis, given president trump's early lead in the states is less than 1 in a quadrillion.
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>> for the vote to swing by as much as it did, the probability of that in one state is one in one quadrillion, that is one, comma, 15 zeros and then to the fourth power. >> it was nonsense, a lie, the analysis completely ignored what everyone, including the trump campaign, knew, because of vote by mail, and when states counted early ballots, some states were going to show an early lead for trump that would not hold. despite the lawsuit, 17 other republican state attorneys general signed a legal brief backing it. an overwhelming number of house republicans were drawn in to that effort as well. at trump's with request, congressman mike johnson of louisiana circulated an e-mail to his republican colleagues asking them to sign on to the brief, supporting paxton's lawsuit. >> as the amicus brief was being prepared, i was urging my
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colleague who was preparing the brief not to do it. >> i did not sign it because i thought it was wrong, frankly. that's when i started getting some phone calls from people saying hey, wait a minute, aren't you going to fight this thing, this election was stolen? >> in the end, 126 house republicans signed their names to it. adam kinzinger, a republican congressman from illinois, did not. >> how many people do you think believed the nonsense in it? >> if i had to guess, 5-10. >> i think there was a sense of some of those that signed it, at least some of them, we are doing it to placate president trump. i felt that was not doing our duty. mccarthy said he is not going to sign it. and i said good, this is not a brief we should be associated with and then a few hours later he signed it. >> the brief went out without kevin mccarthy's name and the next day claiming he was left
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off and he signed on to it. that was bad. initially he did not want to sign it and realized what the pressure was. and what you see there are people that sign on to something they don't believe to avoid political pressure. it's leaders that are afraid of their base and not leading their base. >> the supreme court declined to even hear the suit. >> a majority of house republicans, like 2/3 of them saying, i don't want any of the votes from pennsylvania. i don't want any of them to count, based on this lie. i mean, i will say, for me personally as a pennsylvanian, they were trying to disenfranchise my mom and dad based on lies. >> i don't know how everyone doesn't take it personally. they did not want your vote to count based on nothing whatsoever.
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that is so mind bending and so difficult to comprehend. >> what is going to happen next president ally election. how many people will sign a brief saying over throw it to the supreme court, that becomes the bottom line standard, that happens every time in d.c. and a lot of the standards were broken in the season and i'm worried we will never get them back. >> up next, donald trump's phone call to the top election official in georgia. >> i just want to find 11,780 votes. >> was he telling him to break the law? >> it certainly felt like it. et. that's the planning effect from fidelity
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before the 2020 election, you were perceived as a rising star in the republican in georgia. but now you're not running for re election. what happened? >> you talk about rising star, i don't know if i would agree with that. in one of the biggest knocks against me when i was running for lieutenant governor, i was too conservative to be a state-wide candidate. hey, georgia, jeff duncan -- >> in 2018, in the increasingly purple state of georgia, jeff duncan ran as a long-shot on his conservative values. >> please raise your right hand >> and he won. so no one actually can question your conservative, there's no question with social issues or economic issues or foreign policy, there's no way that you are squishy and a liberal.
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>> yeah, i'm a conservative because i believe in it, i'm wired to be a conservative, i was raised that way. i think our family is conservative. the businesses that i run are conservative. that is just who i am. >> in 2020, after duncan pushed back against a wave of false claims. >> it is disheartening to watch folks willing to put their character and morals out there to spread a half truth or lie in the efforts to maybe flip an election. >> duncan found himself on the receiving end of republican fury. just like georgia's secretary of state brad rathensberger, who's office was flooded with calls from voters urging him to change the results of the election. >> i want to talk to -- >> this election was -- stolen. >> we could feel the angst and the hate building over the air
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over nothing. shining objects deflect from the fact donald trump lost >> you could have very easily kept your mouth shut not said anything, gone along, was all of it worth it? putting it all on the line for the truth? >> the answer is absolutely it was worth it. >> the lieutenant governor found himself amongst the few willing to speak the truth, but he was not alone. disgusted by threats his election workers were getting from misled trump supporters fellow georgia republican gabe sterling also became a vocal critic of the public lies. >> i remember we had our warehouse manager at the center for elections was taking the trash out. this is a young guy. he has been working for us for a few years. and all these people swarm around us say with their cameras, you're going to prison, you're going to prison.
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he is a warehouse guy. nobody should have to go through that. >> on december 1st, 2020, sterling gave a blistering warning, directed at the most powerful man in the world. >> two minutes before he was going to go up there, one of my friends called and said gabe is about ready to go have a press conference, and you might want to watch. >> mr. president, you have not condemned these actions or this language. this is elections. this is the backbone of democracy, and all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this. stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. someone is going to get hurt. someone is going get shot. someone is going get killed. >> it felt like me saying those words. he said everything i wanted to say. it was heartfelt. >> this is the backbone of elections. this stuff getting done. at that level it did eat at me, and i thought i'm doing something that is vitally important. i just want all americans to
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know their vote is counted. >> despite sterling's pleas to tone down the rhetoric, president trump continued his pressure campaign. >> your governor could stop it very easily if he knew what the hell he was doing. he could stop it very easily. >> just days later, he publicly excoriated georgia republican such as brian kemp for not helping him overturn the election, something kemp could not legally do and had no grounds to do. >> so far we haven't been able to find the people with the courage to do the right thing. >> and here he was calling us into question only because we wouldn't lie in front of a national audience for donald trump. >> and trump leaned on the state's chief elections investigator. >> the people of georgia are so angry at what happened to me, they knew i won. won by hundreds of thousands of votes. it wasn't close. whatever you can do for frances, it would be a great thing.
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>> how granular of a level donald trump was personally engaged in trying to overturn the election in georgia. certainly we started hearing about phone calls he was making, and of course we all heard the unfortunate 60-plus minute call with brad raffensperger. >> they are shredding ballots. in my opinion, you have out of state voters. they voted in georgia, but they were from out of state. >> it was just a complete disaster and an embarrassment to anybody who cares about democracy. >> after repeating a litany of false allegations, trump said he was, quote, notifying georgia secretary of state raffensperger that in his view, the secretary was breaking the law by ignoring his false conspiracy theories. >> you're not reporting it. that's a criminal -- that's a criminal offense. and you know, you can't let that happen. that's a big risk to you. >> did you feel like he was threatening you? >> i think you could take that as a form of pressure.
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>> of everything he said to you on the call, what sticks with you the most? >> well, he continually circled back on well, all i need is -- >> i just want to find 11,780 votes. >> we wanted us to go out and somehow find additional votes. we had all the ballots. there were no more ballots we could add, and all those had been tabulated time and time again. >> was he telling you to break the law? >> it certainly felt like it. it's absolutely embarrassing as an american to hear a u.s. president having that type of conversation. there is just no setting where that call is appropriate. >> what he was asking for wasn't something that was supported by state law, wasn't supported by the facts, wasn't supported by the constitution. >> that phone call is now key evidence in an ongoing investigation by prosecutors in georgia who are looking into whether donald trump broke the law in his efforts to overturn
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the election. >> hey, good morning, guys. >> but raffensperger steadfastness to the law notwithstanding, trump was not even close to done in his efforts to overturn the election. ahead, a memo that could have destroyed democracy. >> it is a blueprint for how to ignore the vote of the people. what does it feel like to sell your car to carvana? it feels amazing. when you get a great offer in seconds... (all cheering) it feels too good to be true. it's kicking back and relaxing as we pick up your car. and when you get paid on the spot, it feels like scoring big. you know the feeling. you just never imagined you could get it from selling your car.
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in the weeks following the election the word from those closest to donald trump is he would eventually accept reality. >> there were people around trump, jared kushner, mark meadows in particular who were telling senior republicans in congress that he will -- trump will concede. he will get there. he was going to accept it. and it's not clear how much of that was just wish casting. >> most republicans in congress spent those first few weeks telling reporters that trump had every right to pursue legal remedies, but the cases then failed over and over the trump team had no credible evidence of significant fraud. but most republicans would not acknowledge reality, not wanting to poke the bear. that's partly because there were
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georgia senate runoff elections on january 5th that they needed trump to help them win. >> shelly fights for me. david fights for me. that i can tell you. >> and partly because they had giant spending bills they needed him to sign then. >> breaking news, biden has received the majority of electoral votes needed to win the presidency. >> on december 14th, 2020 the electoral college voted in all 50 states formalizing trump's loss. >> on january the 20th. >> on the 15th, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell finally publicly embraced the truth. >> today i want to congratulate president-elect joe biden. >> republicans who had spent the previous weeks trying to placate donald trump now found that the vacuum their silence left had been filled by trump's lies. trump lashed out at the few republicans that acknowledged his defeat, tweeting, quote, too soon to give up.
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the republican party must finally learn to fight. privately the president was entertaining concerning paths forward. >> i got a tip from someone that there had been a really intense, bizarre oval office meeting. sydney powell had been having a conservation about being made special counsel within the white house to investigate election fraud. i also found out that mike flynn, the former lieutenant general of national security advisor who was fired very early on in the trump administration was talking about seizing the voting machines and rerunning the election. it was incredibly jarring that there was a conversation in the oval office with a former military leader talking about a seizure of voting machines. >> and flynn publicly spoke about this. >> he said a version of it on "news max" the night before this meeting. >> there are people talking about martial law like something we have never done. we did -- martial law has been instituted 64 times.
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>> he was told by officials, this isn't legal. we don't have the authority to do this. >> trump was eventually convinced by advisers to pass on that idea, but he became fixated on a new one, derailing the certification of electoral votes. >> once trump realizes that the fraud claims are going nowhere, he now has a new plan, which is for there to be enough doubt that he could maybe persuade some of these states, conservative states to send a separate set of electors. >> on december 19th, trump sent his first tweet encouraging supporters to come to washington d.c. on january 6th to protest the election results at a rally organized by a group called women for america first. with ties to controversial characters such as roger stone and steve bannon, that
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organization had become the de facto force for the false fraud claims after the election. even taking a bus tour across the country trying to sway members of congress to object to the election results. while women for america first pushed conspiracy theories around the country -- >> if you still love america! >> the president continued his assault in the capital. >> the attorney general of the united states bill barr is leaving administration. >> thus began a new near daily pressure campaign on the department of justice. according to a sweeping report from the democrats on the senate judiciary committee, based on interviews with trump's top officials at the justice department, jeffrey rosen and richard donoghue, trump directly asked the doj to undermine the outcome of the election. he did so nine times. and his chief of staff mark meadows broke with long standing
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policy and pressured the doj to look into election fraud claims. >> the wildest theory was this thing called italy-gate. mark meadows sent an email to the acting attorney general at the time asking him to look into this theory that there was some italian contractor who was using satellites to change vote tallies on machines, on voting machines in the united states. >> on a december 27th call with the new acting attorney general jeffrey rosen, trump pushed him to quote just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the republican congressman. >> trump knows that if the justice department goes out and raises questions about corruption or fraud, just saying that they're investigating it or looking into it, that allows republican congressmen to go out there and do the work and put pressure on the states to start audits and again, gives him room
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to operate between then and january 6th. >> the whole notion behind it was trump and his supporters saying don't worry about it, we're going to make it up. don't pay attention to the facts. don't pay attention to the law. we're just going to make it up and forge ahead. >> trump continued to press rosen on the call saying quote, this was an illegal corrupt election and according to acting deputy attorney general richard donohue's notes from the conversation, trump told rosen the doj was failing to respond to reports of crime. >> rosen stood firm on this call saying there is not much the justice department could do. >> trump also plotted with another justice department official jeffrey clark to oust the acting attorney general after rosen's refusals to go along with trump's fraudulent allegations, but that scheme imploded at a dramatic white house showdown on january 3rd.
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>> this was a scene straight out of "apprentice." trump has rosen and clark vie for the job of attorney general of the united states and the president is told that if he replaces rosen with clark, there are going to be huge consequences. number of top officials at the justice department would resign. there were probably going to be hundreds of other resignations of political appointees across the country as a result of this. it was a murder/suicide pact is the way this was described during this meeting. >> trump decided that the effort would not be worth the embarrassment of mass resignations and abandoned the plot. he then pinned hopes to overturn the election on mike pence based of a legal memo written by conservative attorney john eastman. >> let's talk about the john eastman memo.
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what was your reaction when you first heard about it? >> just breathtaking that you would have laid out such a clear game plan that so clearly violated the constitution. >> the eastman memo detailed a six-step plan for pence to throw the election to trump during the january 6th certification. it also called for pence to throw out all electors from seven states. and gavel president trump as reelected. eastman has since publicly tried to downplay his memo and his role in attempting a coup, but he told a very different story in recent undercover video from a progressive activist. >> so giuliani and me met with 300 legislators on january 2nd via a zoom conference call. and they all spinelessly
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wouldn't do anything. >> and in appearances in past right wing media. >> are we to assume that this is going to be a climactic battle that will take place this week? >> it depends on the spine of the individuals involved. >> would that be a nice way to say a guy name d vice president mike pence? >> yes. >> this level or corruption can't be allowed to stand and i think that makes the exercise of the vice president's power here very compelling. >> it's quite dangerous. it is a blueprint for how to ignore the vote of the people. that would have cast aside all the legal foundations upon which the country and the democracy is based. >> the foundations are laid out in the u.s. constitution specifically section 1 of article 2 it's very clear about how the u.s. president is chosen. state electors make a list of who they voted for. the list is signed, certified and sealed and sent to the seat of government. once there, the president of the senate who is the vice president
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opens all the certificates in front of the house and the senate. the results are counted and the person with the most votes is president. nowhere does it say that the vice president can reverse the will of the people because of some made up story about wide spread election fraud and yet, that is what president trump wanted to occur. >> the vice president. >> publicly, vice president pence raised the hopes of the trump supporter, telling one georgia rally -- >> we'll have our day in congress. we'll hear the objections. we'll hear the evidence. >> pence reached out to others to see if there was someway he could carry out this unconstitutional move, including, according to "washington post" journalist bob woodward and rob costa fellow hoosier dan quayle who convinced pence he had no constitutional power to throw out the election.
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also reported by woodward and costa was steve bannon's role in pushing the plan. on a phone call with the president, bannon said, quote, you got to call pence and get him back here today. we're going bury biden on january 6, f-ing bury him. >> pence says he's talked to all of the lawyers that he can talk to, and he has decided that he can't. he doesn't have the power that the president says he has. and trump turns on him. yells at him. says that essentially he's betrayed him and the meeting doesn't end very well between the two men. >> but that did not stop the president from publicly pressuring the vice president of on twitter ahead of the certification. up next. >> we were on a conference call and i told kevin mccarthy when people are convinced that the election is stolen and there is a route out, there is going to be violence.
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stop the steal! stop the steal! stop the steal! >> we have the power of numbers. we came here to protect our republic. >> fight for trump! >> january 6th, 2021. >> fight for trump! >> where were you? do you remember that day? >> i remember that day crystal clear.
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>> there are some days that stick out, 9/11, war, stuff like that. this is among those. >> on the day congress was scheduled to certify the election for joe biden -- >> usa! >> you will listen! >> thousands of people descended on our nation's capitol. >> biden did not win this election. >> what do you think happened. >> fraud. it's not made up. >> angry at what they falsely believed had been a stolen election. >> unquestionable that our votes were stolen. >> the supreme court isn't helping us. nobody is helping us. >> we're taking this country back. >> i wake up at 4:30. buses were everywhere. you couldn't get a clear path into the office from where i was. >> this line wraps around the washington monument. >> and there is all kinds of traffic at 4:30 in the morning, 5:00 in the morning and strobe lights already on the national
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mall and couple thousand people milling around at that hour just it just felt like something was off. >> fight for america! fight for america! >> when did you start becoming worried as january 6th as a day? >> a couple days before january 6th we were on a conference call, all the house republicans. >> kevin mccarthy, who at this point we did not know how he was going to go on certification, he says he's going to object. and i say, "kevin, you have to understand there will be violence. when people are convinced that the election was stolen and there is a root out, there is going to be violence." his response was simply, "operator, next caller." so on january 6th, it was obvious what was going to happen. >> fight for trump! fight for trump! >> they thought they could steal this election. >> the crowd had been told lies about the election not just by trump but by his supporters on capitol hill and in maga media.
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they were encouraged to take action. >> i don't know how this is going to end but if they want to fight, they better believe they got one! >> and told how to think about those republicans who acknowledge joe biden won. those who were grounded in reality. >> this is about as mindless as i've ever seen these republican ri no establishment hacks behave. >> we're coming for you. >> many of famous faces peddling the big lie were there. >> we are going to take our country back. >> but not just to rev up the crowd at the rally. according to the book "peril" by bob woodward and robert costa, on the days surrounding january 6, steve bannon, john eastman, rudy giuliani and others gathered at a hotel just two blocks from the white house, discussing plans to delay the certification. >> i'll tell you this.
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it's not going to happen the way you think it's going to happen. >> the day before on january 5th, bannon ominously teased what was to come on his podcast "war room." >> it's going to be quite extraordinary different. you've made this happen and tomorrow it's game day, so strap in. let's get ready. >> everything points to bannon was very closely associated with anything the campaign was doing. >> i think an overwhelming majority of that crowd was there to try to overturn democracy at that point, or the democratic process. >> bull! bull! >> i knew i was kind of the face of so-called the deep state and the republican party so i didn't want to be out in public too much so i never bring my gun into the capitol complex. i brought it that day. >> i was sort of nervous for the morning. i was curious to see what the rally was. i was hoping not to hear some of the speeches that i ultimately heard. some of the more inflammatory ones.
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>> we know there was fraud. >> speakers at the rally included john eastman, the author of that memo detailing how pence could violate the constitution and keep trump in office, as well as many other republican officials who saw opportunity in joining in on the big lie. >> are you willing to do what it takes to fight for america? start taking down names and kicking ass. >> let's have trial by combat. >> but as he preferred it -- >> fight for trump! fight for trump! >> the marquee speaker was the president himself. >> president donald j. trump! [ cheers ] >> meanwhile inside the chambers of congress, the certification of the votes paused. >> i want to object to further reading. >> with objections from republican senators and some republican house members. >> i rise today to object -- >> i rise to support the objection. >> i rise to support the objection.
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>> earlier that day vice president pence put out a statement saying he would not going to follow trump's instructions. >> usa! >> which upset the president as he conveyed to the massive crowd. >> mike pence, i hope you're going to stand up for the good of our constitution and for the good of our country and if you're not, i'm going to be very disappointed in you. >> trump continued to rile up the crowd demanding they take action. >> you'll never take back our country with weakness. you have to show strength and you have to be strong. >> many at the rally took his words literally. and we all watched as the effort to overturn the election. >> it's over! >> came to a violent, bloody crescendo. >> it was so unimaginable.
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that you would have a mob having broken into the capitol and attacked police officers. >> treason! treason! treason! >> attempting to break into the floor of the chamber of the house of representatives. you just couldn't compute that was happening because so it's fundamentally un-american. >> un-american -- objection to counting the electoral votes. >> -- yet very close to happening in america. this video shows utah republican senator mitt romney, someone the angry mob considered an enemy unknowingly walking towards the rioters. capitol police officer eugene
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goodman tells romney to get out of harm's way and runs to confront the insurrectionists. leading them from the senate chamber. vice president pence. >> president and vice president -- >> the man many rioters called to be hanged that day. >> hang mike pence! hang mike pence! >> was inside the chamber and had to be rushed to safety with his family from the senate floor. minutes after rioters breached the capitol. according to reporting from "the washington post", one of the vice president's aides greg jacob who was with pence during the insurrection sent an email to john eastman after they were escorted off the senate floor. >> he said in the email, "thanks to your bullshit, we're now under siege." >> eastman fired back blaming
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the riots on the vice president and his staff. >> he's been responded by saying that it was actually the vice president's fault and mr. jacob's fault for the quote unquote siege. he said if you would have done what you needed to be done and been transparent and have a debate, if you would have gone forward like we asked you to go, it wouldn't be happening to you right now. >> he's got a gun! >> the conversation you had with your wife, you've been off to war before having conversations with loved ones. was it like that? >> this was different, you know. i never really had a sense i might not survive this. there was a real sense that if they're in the capitol complex and they've already over run two or three lines of police barricades, there is nothing to stop them from the rest of the complex. yeah, it was an emotional conversation. it was nothing i ever had before. i hope to never have to have that conversation again.
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>> we have two young kids and i didn't want to alarm my wife. at the time, it felt like anything was possible. because you're seeing the bomb threats. you're tracking it on twitter. i'm seeing messages on telegram and some of these other platforms come through about organized militia groups will storm the capitol and some folks saying they're going to kill whoever they find and all these sorts of things. and so at the time, you don't know how it's going to end. >> on the other end of pennsylvania avenue at the white house, trump remained isolated, watching the events unfold on television. >> when he found out about what was going on, the violence, his supporters attacking policemen, beating policemen, members of congress hiding, running for their lives, what was his response? >> kevin mccarthy had a conversation with him telling
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him how bad it was, people breaking into my office and they're doing this. and his response was, well, kevin, i guess they're more upset about the rules of the election than you are. >> it was chaos, when some on the biden team were genuinely worried there would be no transition, sources tell cnn, that trump and his mob had successfully disrupted the counting of electors and might find a way to cling to power. >> stop the steal! stop the steal! >> thank god that there weren't more people killed. at the time you don't know that. at the time you know there is an angry, violent mob who believes the election was stolen in the united states of america. you're seeing even members of congress saying this is our 1776
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moment, which as a reminder, that's a bloody violent revolution. >> let's take a seat, people! >> this is our house. >> well, of course you're going to have violence and of course you're going to have a riot at the capitol. >> people, come on! >> and that's what all this was about. it wasn't just an attack on our symbols of democracy. it was an actual attack on the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another. >> after the insurrection was over, hundreds had been injured. five dead. and the capitol had been breached for the first time in more than 200 years. >> it's a -- revolution. let's take this -- this is ours. coming up, will trump try to
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steal the election again? >> you think he will try to impose some form of autocracy? >> i think he absolutely would. ♪ ♪ [doorbell] ♪ ♪ [doorbell] ♪ ♪ [doorbell] all the delivery. no delivery fees. dashpass. ♪ ♪
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hours after the last rioters had been pushed out of the
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capitol, while there was still glass on the floors and blood on the stairs, congress tried to get back to the business of democracy. >> let's get back to work. >> they had a presidential election to certify. >> we reconvened that night. there was an opportunity for leadership from kevin mccarthy, an opportunity for him to stand up and say it's time for us to recognize that the election is over. it's over. and we need to come together and heal. >> i rise to address what happened in this chamber today. >> as i sat on the floor and listened to his remarks, they began like that but then it became clear he was urging continued objection to the electoral votes, which i can't understand. >> hearing valid concerns about election integrity. >> by the end of the night, two-thirds of republicans in the house of representatives including the current republican leadership voted not to certify the state of arizona.
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>> i object to the electoral votes. >> and not to certify the commonwealth of pennsylvania. >> do you think kevin mccarthy and steve scalise all of whom voted to not count electors after blood had been shed, after this attack, do you think they actually believe this cause they've taken up? >> not a word of it. i don't think they believe any of it. but i think you can convince yourself if you're determined to that i'll just play the game a little longer so that i'll be here to lead to a new direction. or i'll play the game because i don't have the power and influence to change the ship. when you think about the heroics on flight 93 on 9/11 all those passengers standing up, rushing the cockpit and saving the capitol. had todd beamer or any of those others alone charged the
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cockpit, we would have probably a rebill capitol today and a lot of casualties. but they all decided to do it together. when you only have a few people speaking out, it's no doubt that's not going to turn the ship. everybody has to, particularly the leaders of the party. >> hatred for donald trump. >> the lie continued on maga media, where justifying the rioters' anger became a common refrain. >> these are not conspiracy theorists motivated just by lies. that's a bunch of non-sense people want to tell us. these are people that understand first principles and free markets. >> the house voted to impeach president trump for whiffle willful insightment of the january 6 insurrection. >> my vote to impeach the sitting president isn't fear based. >> there is no excuse for president trump's actions. >> while some republicans spoke in favor, the majority of house republicans sided with trump refusing to vote for impeachment.
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>> the 's are 232. the nays are 197. >> ten republicans breaking ranks. >> three of them you've heard from tonight. >> i voted to impeach him because i think it's very clear as has been public that he provoked the violence that day. >> i felt like i had no choice in the matter. as conservative republicans, we are kiconstitutionalists. we believe in the rule of law. >> were you surprised on ten republicans voted to impeach? >> it was a point a couple days before the vote maybe a day before i thought we hit 25. because i talked to 25 people. i look at those people that were going to vote for impeachment, and i recognized every one of them that ended up not voting that way, they always messagesed a concern for what it meant for their reelection. >> hi, everyone. thanks. >> congresswoman liz cheney was the third ranking republican in the house when she voted for impeachment. because she was so concerned about where trump's big lie was leading the nation. >> you had local officials who were getting death threats. you had members of congress who
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said to me that they believed that the president should be impeached after the 6th but that they were afraid to cast a vote that way because of their security, the security of their families. you know, that is a place that we haven't been certainly since the civil war and never when that threat of violence comes from a sitting president. >> we'll have to fight much harder. >> this will remain a cancer on our constitutional republic. >> cheney has become a leading critic of those who engaged in the big lie and attempted to subvert democracy including house republican leader kevin mccarthy who said this two days after the election. >> president trump won this election so everyone listening, do not be quiet. [ applause ] >> in may, republican new york congresswoman elise stefanik challenged cheney. for her leadership post. cheney is more conservative than stefanik.
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cheney had voted to support trump policies more often than stefanik, but stefanik supports trump's election lies, and stefanik defeated cheney for the leadership position. >> it became increasingly clear that to stay in house republican leadership, i would have to be willing to perpetuate the big lie, and i just simply wasn't comfortable with that. >> how many of your republican colleagues that perpetuate the big lie either with their comments or with their votes, how many of them do you think actually believe it? >> very few. very few. too many are putting their political future and their political fortunes ahead of doing their duty. and so i think that, you know, in some instances, there is fear. physical fear about what trump would do or the threats that might come, but in other cases, i think it's a political
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calculation, which is pretty craven if you think about it. >> what is the danger to elected officials that might know better acquiescing to these demands, to these requests, or winking and nodding about the big lie? >> the danger is that once you do it on this issue, why wouldn't you do it on any other issue? this isn't about right and left at all. it's about right and wrong. >> the institutions don't hold themselves in the moments of truth you need the right people to pass the most difficult tests. we had just enough people on january 6th pass the test. we have to make sure we have equal number of people to continue to pass the test going forward. >> one of your colleagues said the guard rails held but barely and only because there were specific individuals at great risk to themselves professionally and personally who stood by those guardrail,
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people like the maricopa county board of supervisor, people like secretary of state raffensperger in georgia, people like commissioner al schmidt in philadelphia. do you think that ultimately a dozen of these people replaced by other people, trump people and the guard rails don't hold and democracy falls under? >> oh, i certainly think that's a real threat. and, you know, any time you're driving on the highway and you see a guardrail that's been hit, it withheld, it wouldn't withstand a second impact. coming up next, that second impact lead by former president trump may becoming. >> he either wins legitimately, which he may do or loses again, just try to steal it. chimes) ♪ ♪ ♪ i jump up on the stage ♪ move your student loan debt to sofi. earn a $500 bonus when you refi... and feel what it's like to get your money right. ♪ i do my money dance ♪
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we are now about a year away from the midterm elections, which typically tests the strength of an incumbent president. >> liz cheney, how about that? >> there is now growing evidence the midterms will also test the strength of former president trump. >> her poll numbers have dropped faster than any human being i've ever seen. >> who has been working to turn elected officials into loyalists
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or get them voted from office. >> get rid of them all. >> trump attorney john eastman made that clear while talking about state legislators in an undercover investigation done by a progressive activist. >> these guys are spineless. if we take a bunch out of the primaries in 2022, then the precondition for getting elected is we're going to fight this stuff and maybe we got an opportunity. but right now i just don't see it. >> donald trump's behavior has congressman anthony gonzalez worried. >> it looks to me that he has evaluated what went wrong on january 6. why is it that he wasn't able to steal the election? who stood in his way? and he is going midwestcally, state by state at races, you know, state senate races all the way down to county commissioner races trying to get the people who -- the republicans, the
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rinos, in his words, who stopped him from stealing the election. he is trying to get them removed. >> what scares me is that the secretary of state rolls, because those are extremely powerful in terms of dealing with elections. >> the focus for our office. >> in georgia the secretary of state that refused to quote find the votes trump needed to win georgia is facing a challenge from republican congressman jody h hice. hice has been all in on trump's election lie and endorsed by donald trump. in arizona, a state representative named mark finchum wants the job. >> arizona state representative mark finchum is with u


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