tv CNN Special Report CNN July 9, 2022 7:00pm-9:00pm PDT
joining me this evening. i'm pamela brown. i'll see you again tomorrow night starting at 6 eastern. up next join jake tapper as he talks about what happened january 6th. the cnn special report, trumping democracy, starts right now. >> announcer: the following is a cnn special report. the violence at the capitol on january 6, 2021, was just the most visible part of donald trump's attempt to hold onto 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 and from the country. >> if you ask how many republican congressmen believe trump was re-elected i'd say maybe a couple but 60% of our base does.
>> conspiracy theories. >> that could have been mickey mouse. >> i'm watching this is the craziest thing i've ever seen, and then people just bought it. >> lawsuits. >> they tried to not have your votes counted. they did not want your vote to count. >> potentially illegal pressure campaigns. >> i just want to find 11,780 votes. >> what he was asking for wasn't supported by the facts, wasn't supported by the constitution. >> extraordinary scheming. >> let's talk about the memo. >> just breathtaking that you would have laid out such a clear game plan that so clearly violated the constitution. >> and all too many in the republican party -- >> do you believe this was a free and fair election? >> -- and maga media who followed along. >> unverifiable dumps of votes. >> stop the steal! >> and it all might 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." >> 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 re-install himself in power illegitimately. that's fallen nation territory. that's third world country territory. my family left cuba to avoid that fate. i will not let it happen here. >> that's republican congressman anthony gonzalez of ohio, 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 side lined him he got a business degree from stanford. all this before age 34 when gonzalez felt called to run for congress. >> i got into this because, look, my family came here from
cuba. my father's family came here from cuba. we come from a country that has fallen. we come from a failed nation, and we've seen what happens when the rule of law is dismantled, when a strongman is allowed to take hold and democratic norms cease to exist. >> and now the conservative republican has a warning for all of us about what trump and his minions tried to do when they tried to steal the election. >> this country has been through a lot. we've fought through it, and we've persevered. as much as i despise almost every policy of the biden administration, the country can survive around a bad policy. the country can't survive torching the constitution. that's the one thing the country can't survive. >> a rigged election. there's going to be fraud. >> donald trump's plan to undermine american democracy began months before the voting started. >> what's he going to do with these ballots? where are they going? >> with the return to lies he'd
been telling for years. in 2012 he tweeted, quote, more reports of voting machines switching romney votes to obama. pay close attention to the machines. don't let your vote be stolen. not true. in 2016, "ted cruz didn't win iowa. he stole it." not true. and this after he won the electoral college, hence the presidency, in 2016. "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 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 wrought with fraud and abuse. when you do all mail-in voting
ballots, you're asking for fraud. >> alyssa farah griffin 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 our voters particularly senior citizens were going to vote by mail, and that we were deterring people from turning out and from voting in the way that they would. >> all this caught the attention of congresswoman liz cheney, a rock red 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 republican. i wasn't concerned about it from a constitutional perspective at all. those concerns clearly came later on. >> there are going to be millions of missing ballots. >> cheney's constitutional concerns came about five weeks before election day. >> then-president trump was asked if he'd commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
>> will you commit here today for a peaceful transfer of power after the election? >> well, we're going to have to see what happens. you know that i've been complaining very 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 our constitution and fundamental to the survival of our republic. america's leaders swear an oath to the constitution. we will uphold that oath." that suggests to me that you were worried. >> i was. it's just a basic fundamental thing. every president is really responsible for safeguarding the peaceful transfer of power. >> we're going to have to see what happens. >> and so for president trump not to be willing to make that commitment was stunning. >> that was september of 2020 when donald trump also stunned republican al schmidt.
>> we either need to get them onboard or move the polling place. >> at the time schmidt was one of three city commissioners in philadelphia. his job was to oversee the city's elections. >> there was a big problem. in philadelphia they went in to watch. they're called poll watchers. they were thrown out. they weren't allowed to watch. you know why? because bad things happen in philadelphia. bad things. >> so you're watching the debate and president trump says bad things happen in philadelphia. what goes through your mind? >> i think i said out loud, "i see what you're 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. >> 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 them. so did you see today? there was a big mishap with the ballots, another one. >> not only was trump spreading distrust of 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 voting and absentee voting. >> chris stierwall was part of fox news 2020 decision desk. >> question is do republicans do well enough on election day to offset it? >> in 2020 the divide was expected to be more pronounced than usual because trump had been telling republicans not to trust mail-in ballots. this set the stage for what experts predicted would prompt misleading early vote counts. >> there may be what some folks call a red mirage so that
trump's numbers may be highest on election night. and there's a long tail called a blue wave as absentee votes come in that in the last decades have come in overwhelmingly democrat. the big caveat is we never had early voting like this. >> we all knew some states were going to show him up and it was going to get closer. did he not know that? >> no, he'd been told that repeatedly and he didn't care. he had decided before the summer, frankly, when it was clear the pandemic was going to change the way by-mail voting worked in a number of states and expanded, he started laying the groundwork for this can't be trusted. >> this is not right. what they're doing is not right. >> everyone who followed the elections closely knew about this. but then right before the actual election day, a convenient alternative explanation. >> this project or the system called hammer. >> a false conspiracy theory popped up in right-wing media. >> it's going to look good for president trump, but they're going to change. >> there would be many, many more conspiracy theories in the
days ahead. >> voters are in the final hours of making a monumental decision for this country. >> we're keeping an eye on voting under way across the country especially in those key battlegrounds. >> projects 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, hangers on, all sorts of people in the east room munching on, you know, mini burgers and celebrating what they believed once the state of florida was called for trump was going to be a repeat of 2016. >> a big win for president trump in florida. >> trump was in a decent move until fox called arizona for biden. >> the fox news decision desk is calling arizona for joe biden. that is a big get for the biden
campaign. >> he believed what he was being told by some advisers after he won florida, which was this is looking good for us, this is looking just like 2016. these states going for biden are going for you, and we got to the arizona call and it fell apart. >> it's a significant victory for joe biden, as i say the first flip of the night in the presidential race. >> the fox news decision desk made that 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, you know, psychotic murderous rage about us. and we don't do anything. we're just weather people. i'm just telling you where the storm is going. i don't make the weather. >> they started calling talent at fox and urging them to retract them. >> right, as though it was the call that made that true, not the votes that were cast. >> he had made up his mind weeks before he was going to go to the podium if election night showed he was losing and he was going to say he won, and that's exactly what he did. >> this was 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 morning and add them to the list. okay? >> but nobody was voting. they were just counting. the focus at this point was mostly on mail-in ballots. in 2020 more democrats voted this way than republicans. >> we were winning everything, and all of a sudden it was just called off. >> what an ideal time to stop the counting if you're a republican president who wants to hold onto office no matter what the voters actually want. >> i've been saying this from the day i heard they were going to send out tens of millions of ballots.
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♪ i love this country. i love this democracy, and it makes me very sad to see what many in my party are doing. >> bill gaetz is a conservative republican who worked on voter integrity issues for the arizona republican party for years. >> i'm one of these kind of alex p. keaton kids from the '80s. i've been a republican my whole life. >> thank you so much. >> nowadays he's chairman for the maricopa county board of supervisors. the governing board for the
county, which is arizona's most populous. among the board's responsibilities, running elections. >> the selection 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've ever run. my job was to make sure that there wasn't anything improper or fraudulent that was going on. >> you weren't discounting anything? >> no, my job was to investigate what was being brought to me, and so i followed up on those with our elections officials. >> and? >> and there was nothing to it. >> good morning, sir. >> for gaetz and his colleagues the madness began in the hours after the polls closed. >> as far as i'm concerned we already have won. >> before the tally was finished supporters who believed then-president trump when he said he won arizona began
flocking to the counting site. >> it was a circus. i mean it really was la la palooza for the alt-right. and they were outside of the elections center, which is i mean really off the beaten path. >> across the u.s. local election officials were scrambling to get a record number of mail-in ballots counted. among them in philadelphia was al schmidt. at the time he was one of three city commissioners, 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 and republican party in the state was election integrity. since coming into office in 2012 i've 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're winning pennsylvania by a tremendous amount of votes. >> i want to be clear what then-president trump was calling for. he wanted millions of americans to be disenfranchised. >> which is completely at odds with democracy. it was pretty upsetting to see that. when half of your voters in our case 325,000 voters vote by mail, it takes days to count all those ballots because you can't even begin processing the envelopes they came in until 7:00 on election morning. >> because that's the law the republicans made. >> that is the law republicans made and refused to change. >> and this is a key point especially in pennsylvania. >> this is the most significant modernization of our elections 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 this space for trump and his squad and these goons to go out there and plant lies, to try to steal this election. >> we're going to prove to the american people that arizona is trump country. >> it was happening most notably in swing states. in arizona there was sharpie-gate. the trump campaign falsely alleged sharpie markers on the ballots made them unreadable by
the counting machines. >> that was the beginning of this. let's start and throw, you know, chum out in the water for folks that want to try and overturn this election. >> in georgia a big lie that spread on the internet was that this legal case of ballots was actually a secret suitcase of false biden votes be added to the count. >> i saw four suitcases come out from underneath the table. >> something the republican lieutenant governor jeff duncan and his colleagues looked into and found completely without merit. >> it was cut and spliced. to take the time to watch it from beginning to end there's a very sequenced pattern that can be explained all the way through there. and those weren't suitcases. those were actually pre-approved 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 were 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 asked a judge, judge diamond, for an emergency order to stop the counting. and they're claiming that 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, quote, nonzero number of 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, he clearly went as far as he could. we had republican observers there every minute of every day that we were operating and counting votes right in front of us. >> despite this barrage from trump and his allies -- >> we will await more vote to
come into pennsylvania. >> -- that counting ended quite momentously the saturday after 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 elected 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're also aware that rudy giuliani's coming to philadelphia. >> wow, what a beautiful day, thank you. >> going to the four seasons landscaping place to say that our voters votes shouldn't be counted. >> i was about to bring up four seasons landscaping because it was the most --
>> very suspect method of voting. >> -- degrading. >> there was no security, zero. >> -- pathetic. >> people in this country have no assurance at all those ballots were actually cast. >> -- farcical moment in my view of this post-election day challenge of this all. >> and appropriate. >> it would have to be unanimously cast for joe biden to catch up. >> they obviously didn't mean to have this at four seasons landscaping in an industrial area right across the street from a crematorium and next to a sex shop. and it was the day trump got the news he did not want to hear. >> he was told by two of his top political advisers that basically it was over, and he listened and he decided he wanted to keep fighting. >> so -- >> trump decided he wanted to put giuliani in charge and that's exactly what he did. giuliani was going to do what he wanted. >> and that is what led to this
now infamous press conference mid-november 2020 featuring rudy giuliani and another lawyer named sydney powell. >> the dominion voting systems were created in venezuela at the direction of hugo chavez to make sure he never lost an election. >> the only thing left is the vote. that could have been the same person 30 times. >> one of its most characteristic features is its ability to flip votes. >> thank you. >> ben ginsburg, the preeminent republican party election attorney who has battled with democrats on many recounts and recalls, was watching. >> when i first heard that press conference i said, oh, my god, can that really be true? because if there was nothing there they wouldn't 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," says dominion has no company ties to venezuela. dominion and one of its former employees would later sue giuliani and powell for more than a billion dollars. a court document filed by powell's lawyers said, quote, no reasonable person 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 he got his information about a former dominion employee having antifa ties from social media. >> those social media posts -- facebook, instagram, twitter. >> social media. >> or something else. i think it was facebook. >> he also admitted he didn't, quote, have the time to investigate the claims himself. alyssa farah griffin was the white house communications
director when all these lies were being fed to then-president trump. you say that in november there seemed to be a tacit acknowledgement by the president that he lost, but then something changed. >> yeah, so something did change. and i think this was when the more conspiracy theorist individuals started getting access to the president. the sydney powells, the mike lindells, michael flynns and even steve bannon was in his ear. and it did take a turn. i think he believes it. >> this election was a fraud. >> the former president believes he won the election, and that's scary. and the other thing, though, that your viewers need to know is 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 that the election was stolen. >> there are 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 he made 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 these lawsuits just wanted to throw out the results and then have the general assembly pick their own set of electors. >> brad raffensperger, georgia's republican secretary of state, a conservative republican who supported trump and has fought with democrats on election issues, ordered a statewide hand count. that hand count confirmed there was no widespread fraud involved with the machine count. >> no, we never saw enough fraud that would have ever turned the results of the election. >> still then-president trump hate tweeted about him. and both raffensperger and his
wife were threatened. >> people started threatening her, sending her sexualized threats, those intimidations. >> bill gates got threats, too, >> so did al schmidt we testified about them in congress. >> tell the truth or your three kids will be fatally shot, included our address, included my children's names, included a picture of our home. cops can't help you, heads on spikes, treasonous schmidts. >> we've not had any sort of credible incidents raised to our level yet. >> there was an interesting time line that started to happen, a pattern is a better way to put it. so i would go on tv i would speak the truth and within minutes he would send a tweet out that would say something derogatory or inflammatory. >> his latest target is the lieutenant governor. quote, jeff duncan georgia is a rino, never trumper, two dumb or
corrupt to recognize massive evidence of fraud in georgia and should be replaced. >> and within minutes after that either me or my wife would start to get threats which would show up on our phone. i mean bloodcurdling threats from the most awful sounding individuals in deep meaning that would know things about you and your family. it was all to try to get us to sit down and be quiet. >> then president trump wanted some republicans to sit down, others he invited to washington. he starts bringing in state legislators from pennsylvania, party leaders from michigan. >> he starts having them come to the white house to visit with him. and again this is part of the sales job he thinks he's doing. he's telling them he won and they ought to consider that and ought to consider how they submit electors and go ahead and certifying the elections in their states. but none of them will at the end of the day. >> joe biden ahead now by 61,000 votes. >> in michigan despite losing to
joe biden by more than 154,000 votes, trump waged a fierce fight to keep the results from being certified. it might have worked if one 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 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 you disenfranchise 2.5 million people's votes in a state. i don't care if they're d's or r's. we would have had rioting in every street and every community. it would have been an absolute attack on democracy. >> a version of that, of course, came later. >> fight for trump! fight for trump! you're an owner. that means that your goals are ours too. and vanguard retirement tools and advice can help you get there. that's the value of ownership. dad, when is the future? um, oh wow. um, the future is, uh, what's ahead of us. i don't get it. yeah. maybe this will help. so now we're in the present. and now... we're in the future. the all-electric chevy bolt euv
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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 fr fraudulent claims. >> where is the doj and the fbi in all of this, mr. president? is the doj investigating? >> missing in action. can't tell you where they are. >> barr was investigating. >> bill barr issued a memo that told prosecutors around the country that they could take
overt steps to look into allegations of fraud. this is something the department traditionally didn't do until the votes were certified. it was absolutely seen as putting pressure on prosecutors around the country to at least say publicly or have signs that they were investigating voter fraud. bill barr was looking for it. and the truth was that it just wasn't there. and he eventually came to realize that. >> in an interview with the associated press, barr publicly contradicted trump's baseless assertions saying, quote, to date we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election. >> the president is furious. he calls barr over to meet with him and the two of them get into a shouting match. >> barr told trump they had looked into these things trump was asking about and there was nothing there, and trump got very agitated.
and barr kept saying this is not real, sir. and at one point barr described giuliani and his ilk as clowns and trump sort of listened and said, maybe, but he he would not get off of it. >> it was not just characters like rudy giuliani peddling the false claims. >> kim paxton, a big supporter of donald trump, brings a lawsuit arguing that the ballots from four states, pennsylvania, michigan, wisconsin and georgia, should be thrown out because those states had not followed their own laws in allowing mail-inn balloting and the way they'd carried out their elections. he was arguing millions of ballots should be thrown out. >> the legal filing was so constitutionally unhinged and substantively bereft the texas solicitor-general refused to allow his name on the suit. it cited convoluted and speculative allegations and some down right lies. >> philadelphia doesn't use dominion voting machines, like
basic facts like that. it was completely absurd to read. >> another absurdity, the lawsuit cited a statistical analysis that claimed the probability of biden winning those four states, quote, given president trump's early lead in those states as of 3:00 a.m. november 4, 2020, is less than 1 in a quadrillion. >> for the vote to swing by as much as it did the probability of that in one state is 1 in 1 quadrillion, that's one, comma 15 zeros. to happen in all four it's 1 comma 15 zeros 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 mendacity of the lawsuit 17 other republican state attorneys general signed a legal brief backing it. an overwhelming number of house republicans were drawn into that
effort as well. at trump's 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 colleague who was preparing the brief not to do it. >> i didn't sign it because i thought it was just wrong, frankly. and that's when i started getting some phone calls from people going, 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 that signed onto it do you think actually
believed the nonsense in it? >> if i had to guess i'd say 5 to 10. >> i think there was a sense among those who did sign it, at least some of them was sort of, well, we're just going to do this to placate president trump. and i thought that was not doing our duty. kevin mccarthy told me directly he wasn't going to sign it. i said, good, this is not a brief we ought to be associated with. and then a free hours later he signed it. >> the brief went out without kevin mccarthy's name and then the next day claiming he was inadvertently left off and he signed onto it. that was bad. he initially didn't want to sign it and realized what the pressure was. what you see there people sign-on to something they don't believe to avoid political pressure. it's leaders who 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 two-thirds of them literally 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'll just 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 that personally. they tried to not have your votes counted. they did not want your vote to count based on nothing whatsoever. that is so mind-bending and so difficult to comprehend. >> so what's going to happen the next presidential election? how many people are going to sign some brief that says overthrow this to the supreme court. that becomes the bottom line standard. that happens every time in d.c. and a lot of those standards were broken in this season, and i'm worried we'll 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. tastes great in our iced coffees too. which makes waking up at 5 a.m. to milk the cows a little easier. (moo) mabel says for you, it's more like 5:15. man: mom, really? sorry i'm late! dude, dude, dude... oh boy. your cousin.from boston.
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before the 2020 election you were perceived as a rising star in the republican party in georgia. but now you're not running for re-election, so what happened? >> yeah, it's funny. and talk about rising star, i don't know if i would agree with that. but one of the biggest knocks against me when i was running for lieutenant governor was that i was too conservative to actually be a statewide candidate. >> hey, georgia, it's jeff duncan again. conservative candidate for lieutenant governor. >> 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 place -- >> and he won. so no one actually can question your conservative bona fide. there's no issue when when it comes to social issues or economic issues or foreign policy. there's no way you're squishy or a liberal. >> yeah, i'm conservative because i believe in the principles of it. not because it gets me elected in georgia. 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's just who i am. >> but in 2020 after duncan pushed back against the wave of false claims -- >> it's certainly disheartening to watch folks willing to kind of put their character and their morals out there just so they can spread a half truth or a 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 raffensperger whose office was flooded with calls from voters urging him to change the results of the election. >> i want to talk to brad raffensperger. i want to talk to this piece of [ bleep ] for not [ bleep ] doing the right thing. this election was [ bleep ] stolen. >> we could feel the angst and hate building in the air over nothing, over a mirage, over a shiny object to deflect from the fact that donald trump had lost the election fair and squarely. >> you could have very easily kept your mouth shut, not said anything, gone along. was all of this 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 our center for elections was taking the trash out. this is young guy, been working with us for a few years, and all these people swarm around him with cameras going you're going to prison, you're going to prison . someone is going to get hurt, someone's going to get
shot, someone's going to 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. i thought, i'm doing something that is vitally important. i want all americans to understand that their vote is counted. >> despite sterling's please to turn down the rhetoric, president trump continued his pressure campaign. >> your governor could stop it very easily. if he knew what the he was doing. he could stop it right now. >> days later, he publicly excoriated georgia republican such as governor kemp, for not helping him overturn the election. something that he 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. >> your he was calling us in the question only because we wouldn't lie in front of a national audience for donald trump. >> jump trump leaned on the chief investigator. >> the people of georgia are so angry, we won by hundreds of thousands of votes. whatever you can do, it's a great thing. important thing for the country. >> the surprising part to me was 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+ minute call with brad raffensperger . >> they are shredding ballots in my opinion, out-of-state voters, they voted in georgia but they were from out of state. >> it was a complete disaster, and embarrassment to anybody that cares about democracy. >> after repeating a litany of false allegations, trump said he was, quote, notifying secretary of state and said that in his view, the secretary was breaking the law.
>> you are not reporting it. that is a criminal offense. and, you can't let that happen, that's, 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. >> what sticks with you the most? >> well, he continued to circle back on, well all i need -- >> i just want to find, uh, 11,780 votes. >> he wanted us to go out and somehow find additional votes. we had all the ballots, there were no more ballots we could add. >> was he telling him to break the law? >> it certainly felt like it, it's embarrassing as an american to hear a u.s. president having that type of
conversation. there's 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 fact, wasn't supported by the constitution. >> the phone call is now key evidence in an ongoing investigation by prosecutors in georgia who are looking into whether donald trump broke with law in his efforts to overturn the election. 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. r all l night ♪ applebee's late night. because half off is just more fun. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. there's a monster problem and our hero needs solutions. so she starts a miro to brainstorm. “shoot it?” suggests the scientists.
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well conceived. he was going to get there. he would accept it. and it's not clear how much of that was wish casting. >> most republicans in congress spent the first few weeks telling reporters that trump had every right to pursue legal remedies but the case is then failed. over and over the trump team had no credible evidence of significant fraud. the most republicans would not acknowledge reality, not wanting to poke the bear. that's partly because in 2021, there were georgia senate runoff election that they needed trump to help them win. >> kelly fights for me, david fights for me. >> and partly because they had giant spelt spending bills they needed him to sign. >> then -- >> biden has received the
majority of electoral votes needed to win the presidency. >> on december 14, 2020, the electoral college voted in all 50 states, formalizing trump's loss. >> january 20th -- >> on the 15th, leader mcconnell finally publicly embraced very true. >> today i want to congratulate president-elect biden pay >> republicans with spent the previous weeks trying to placate from, now found the vacuum their silence had left, had been filled by trump's lies. trump last out of the few republicans who acknowledged his defeat tweeting, quote, too soon to give up. the republican party must learn to fight. privately he was entertaining increasingly consenting paths forward. >> i got a tip from someone that there had been a really intense bizarre oval office meeting, sidney powell had a conversation about they made a special counsel within the
white house to investigate election fraud. i found out that mike flynn, the former general and national security advisor was fired fairly on, he was talking about seizing the voting machines and rerunning the election. >> it was incredibly jarring, there was a conversation in the oval office, with a former military leader talking about a seizure of voting machines. >> flynn publicly spoke about this? >> you said a version on newsmax. >> people out there talking about martial law, like it's something we've never done. martial law has been instituted 64 times. >> he was told by officials this is illegal. we do not have the authority to do this. >> trump was eventually convinced by advisors to pass on the idea but keep became fixated on anyone. the that's my >> once he realizes that the fraud claims are going nowhere,
he now has a new plan, which is for there to be doubt that he could maybe persuade some of these states conservative states, to send a separate set of electors. >> on december 19, trump sent his first week encouraging his supporters to come to washington, d.c. on january 6th, to protest the election result 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 organization had become the de facto force for the false fred claims after the election. >> even taking a bus tour trying to persuade members of congress to object to the election results. while women for america first push conspiracy theories around the country, the president continued his assault on democracy in the nation's
capitol. >> the attorney general of the united states, bill barr, is leaving the administration. >> thus began a new 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 donahue, 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 policy and pressure the doj to look into election fraud claims. >> the wildest theory was italy gate, mark meadows sent in emailed 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 voting machines in
the united states. >> on a december 27 call with the new attorney general, trump told him to, quote, just say the election was corrupt and leave the reps rest to meet and the republican congressman. >> he knows if the justice department goes out and raises questions about corruption or fraud, just saying that they are investigating or looking into it, that allows republican congressmen to go out there and do the rest of the work. and put the pressure on the states to start their own audit and again, it gives him room to operate between then and january 6th. >> the notio n behind it was,
trump and his supporters saying, don't worry about it, we are going to make it up. don't pay attention to the facts, to the law, we are going to make it up and forge ahead. >> trump continue to press rosen on the call saying, quote, this was an illegal, corrupt election and according to richard donahue's notes from the conversation, trump told rosen, the doj was failing to respond to reports of crime. >> rosen stood firm on this, saying there's not much the justice department could do. >> trump plotted with another justice department official, jeffrey clark, to oust the acting attorney general after rosen's repeated refusals to go along with trump's fraudulent allegations. but that's scheme imploded at a dramatic white house showdown on january 3. >> this was a scene out of apprentice. trump has rosen and clark via for the job of attorney general of the united states. and the president is told that if he replaces rosen with clark , they're going to be huge consequences. a number of top officials at
the justice department are going to resign, they will also have other resignations across the country as a result of this. it was a murder suicide pact, is the way this was described during the meeting. >> trump decided the effort would not be worth the embarrassment of mass resignations. and abandoned the plot. he then pinned his hopes to overturn the election on mike pence, based on a legal memo written by conservative attorney john eastman. >> 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 and called for pence to throw out all electors from seven states and gavel president trump as reelected. >> eastman has since tried to publicly downplay his memo and the role in attempting a coup but he told a different story and undercover video from a progressive activist. >> we met with 300 legislators on january 2. they all wouldn't do anything . >> and in appearances and past right wing. >> i think a lot of that depends on the courage and the spawning of the individuals involved. >> is that a nice way to say a guy named vice president mike pence? >> yes. >> this level of corruption can't be allowed to stand. i think that makes the exercise
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. >> we now know you eastman memo was not the only multi step plan to detail how vice president pence could use his role on january 6th to overturn the results of a fair and legal election. another one was written by a campaign lawyer named jenna ellis, according to be trail, the final act of the trump show, a book by jonathan karl, the former president's own chief of staff, mark meadows, forwarded the ellis memo to tenses top aid. >> there was so much talk about the memo, he didn't even work at the white house, he was an outside lawyer but meadows, is
forwarding a document that basically outlines efforts to essentially have a clue, a document written by a lawyer on the trump campaign payroll. >> publicly, he raised the hopes of supporters telling one georgia rally. >> we will have our day in congress. we will hear the objections. >> pence reached out to others to see if there was some way he could carry out this unconstitutional move. including former vice president and fellow hoosier, dan quayle, who convinced pence, he had no constitutional power to throw out the election. also reported by woodward and costa was steve bannon's role in pushing the plan. on a phone call with the president bennett said, quote, you've got to call pence and get him back here today. we are going to vary biden on january 6th, f-ing bury him. >> pence said he's talked to all the lawyers that he could
talk to. and he's decided that he doesn't have the power that the president says he has. and trump turns on him. yells at him, says essentially, he has betrayed him. and the meeting doesn't end very well between the two of them. >> that did not stop the president from publicly pressuring the vice president 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's a route out, there will be violence and his response was simply, operator, next caller. that really takes care of both our teeth sensitivity as well as our gum issues. there's no question it's something that i would recommend. sorry i'm late! dude, dude, dude... oh boy. your cousin.from boston. [whiff] [water splashes]
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descended on our nations capitol. >> biden did not win this election. >> fraud. >> it's not made up. >> angry, at what they falsely believed had been a stolen election. >> unquestionable that are election was stolen. >> we are taking this country back. >> i wake up at 4:30, buses were everywhere. i mean, you couldn't get a clear path into the office from where i was. >> this line, wraps around the washington monument. >> and, there's all kinds of traffic at 4:30 in the morning, strobe lights already on the national mall, a couple of thousand people milling around, at that hour, it just felt like something was off. >> when did you start becoming worried about january 6th as a day? >> a couple of days before
january 6th, we were on a conference call, all of the house republicans, kevin mccarthy, who at this point, we did not know how it was going to go on certification, he said he's going to object. i say, kevin, you have to understand, there will be violence. when people are convinced that the election was stolen, there will be violence. his response was simply, operator, next call. so on january 6th, it was obvious what was going to happen. >> they thought they could steal this election. >> the crowd have been told lies about the election not just by trump and by his supporters on capitol hill, and in maga media. they were encouraged to take action. >> if they want to fight they better believe it. >> and told how to think about those republicans, who acknowledged joe biden won.
those who were grounded in reality. >> it's about as mindless as i've ever seen these republican rhinos behave. >> many of the famous faces paddling the big lie were there. >> we are going to take our country back. >> not just to rev up the crowd at the rally, according to the book by bob woodward and bob costa, on the day surrounding january 6th, 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, it's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen. >> the day before, bannon ominously teased what was to come on his podcast, war room. >> it'll be quite extraordinarily different. you've made this happen and tomorrow, it's game date, so strap and let's get ready.
>> everything points to, bannon was closely associated with anything the campaign was doing. >> i think an overwhelming majority of the crowd was there to overturn democracy at that point or the democratic process. >> i knew i was kind of the face of so-called, the deep state in the republican party, so i didn't want to be out in public too much. i never bring my gun into the capitol complex, i brought it in 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 and i ultimately heard. >> some of the inflammatory ones. >> speakers at the rally included john eastman, the author of the menu memo detailing how pence could violate the constitution and keep trump in office as well as 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. >> let's have trial by combat. >> as he preferred it, the marquis speaker was the president himself. >> meanwhile, inside the chambers of congress, the certification of the votes paused. >> i would object to further reading. >> with objections from republican senators and house members. >> i rise to support the objection. >> i rise to support the election. >> earlier vice president pence sent out a statement saying he was not going to follow trump's instructions. 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. >> from continue to rile up the crowd demanding they take action. >> you will never take back our country with weakness. you have to show strength. you have to be strong pay >> many took his words literally. and we all watched as the effort to overturn the election came to a violence, blood he crescendo. >> it was so unimaginable that you would have a mob, having broken into the capitol and attacked police officers
attempting to break into the floor of the chamber of the house of representatives. you just couldn't compute that that was happening, because it so fundamentally un-american. >> un-american, yet very close to happening in america. this video shows you tall republican senator met romney, someone the angry mob consider the and the enemy, unknowingly walking tour the rioters. officer eugene goodman tells romney, get out of harm's way. and then runs to confront the insurrectionists, leading them from the senate chamber. vice president pence, the man many rioters called, to be hanged that day. >> was inside the chamber and
had to be rushed to safety with his family to 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 in email to john eastman after they were escorted off the senate floor. >> he said thanks for your bull, we are now under siege. >> eastman fired back, blaming the riots on the vice president and his staff. >> they broke through, it's on. >> eastman responded by saying it was the vice president's fault and mr. jacobs fault for the, quote, siege. >> he said if you would have done what you could have done, if you would've gone forward, this would be happening to you
right now. >> the conversation you had with your wife, you've been off to war before, having conversations with loved ones. was it like that? >> i never really had a sense that i may not survive this. there was a real sense that if they are in the capitol complex, and they've already overrun 2 to 3 lines of police barricades, there's nothing else to stop them. it was an emotional conversation. it was nothing i've ever had before. i hope to never have that conversation again. >> we have two young kids and i didn't want to alarm my wife. at the time, it felt like anything was possible. you are seeing the bomb threats, you are tracking it on twitter.
i'm seeing messages on telegram and other platforms come through about organized militia groups that are going to storm the n some folks saying they will kill whoever they find in 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 policeman, beating policeman, members of congress, hiding, running for their lives. what was his response? >> kevin mccarthy had a conversation with him, telling him how bad it was. people are breaking into my office and trump's response was i guess they are more upset about the election then you are. >> there was roughly an hour
that they went some on the biden team were generally worried that 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. >> thank god there weren't more people killed. at the time, you don't know that. at the time you know there's an angry, violent mob. who believes the election was stolen in the united states of america. you are seeing members of congress saying this is our 1776 moment which, as a reminder, that's a bloodied, violent revolution. >> this is our country and this is our house. >> of course you're going to have violence and of course are going to have a riot at the capitol. 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 have been injured , five, dead. and the capitol had been breached for the first time in more than 200 years. coming up, will trump try to steal the election again? >> you think he will try to impose some form of autocracy? >> i think he absolutely would. and nothing worked. there was just kinda this stubborn area on my stomach. but coolsculpting worked for me!
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>> when we reconvened that night, there was an opportunity from 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 election to the electoral votes which i can't understand. >> we are hearing valid concerns about election integrity. >> by the end of the night, two thirds of republicans including the current republican leadership, voted not to certify the state of arizona. >> i object to the electoral votes. >> and not to certify the commonwealth of pennsylvania. >> do you think kevin mccarthy and steve scalise and elise voted not to count electors after this attack, do you think they actually believe this
cause that they've taken up? >> not a word of it. but you can convince yourselves if you are 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, you know, all of those passengers standing up, rushing the cockpit and saving the capitol. had todd beamer or any of those alone, charged the cockpit, we would have a rebuilt capitol today and a lot of casualties but they all decided to do it together.
and, when you only have a few people speaking of, there'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 where justifying the rioters anger became a common theme. >> these are people that understand freedom and they love free markets. >> one week later, the house voted to impeach president trump for willful incitement of the january 6th insurrection . >> my vote to impeach is not a fear-based decision. >> while some republican spoke in favor, once again, a majority of house republicans cited with trump, refusing to vote for impeachment. >> >> 10 republicans breaking rank. >> 10 voted to impeach him . >> i voted to impeach him because i think it's very clear that he provoked the violence that day. >> i felt like i had no choice
in the matter. >> as conservative republicans we are constitutionalists. >> were you surprised only 10 voted to impeach? >> there was a point couple of days before the vote on impeachment where i thought we would have hit 25, because i had talked to 25 people. i look at the people who were going to vote for impeachment and i recognize every one of them that ended up not voting that way, they always mentioned a concern for what it meant for their reelection. >> congresswoman cheney was a 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 said to me that they believe that president should be impeached after the 6th but they were afraid to cast the vote that way because of their security for their families. 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 will have to fight much harder. >> this will remain a cancer on our constitutional republic. >> mccarthy said this, two days after the election. >> president trump won this election, everybody is listening, do not be quiet. >> in may 2021, congresswoman elise challenged cheney for her leadership post. jamie had voted to support from policies more often than the phonic but still phonic supports trump's election lies. >> it became increasingly clear that to stay in house republican leadership, i would
have to be willing to perpetuate the big lie and i wasn't comfortable with that. >> how many of your colleagues that perpetuate the big lie either with their comments where their votes, how many of them do you think actually believe it? >> very few. too many people are putting their own 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 calculation, which is pretty craven if you think about it. >> what is the danger of official 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 is not 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 an equal number of people to pass the test, going forward. >> one of your colleagues said the guard rails health but only barely because there were specific individuals at great risk to themselves, professionally and personally, who stood by those guardrails, people like the maricopa county board of supervisors, people like secretary of state roethlisberger in georgia, people like commissioner schmidt in philadelphia. do you think ultimately, a dozen of these people were placed by other people, trump people and the guardrails don't hold and democracy falls under?
>> i certainly think that's a real threat. anytime you're driving and you see a guardrail that's been hit, it held, it wouldn't withstand a second impact. up next, the second impact led by former president trump may be coming. >> he either wins legitimately, which he that really take may do or if he loses again, he may try and steal it. s care as well as our gum issues. there's no question it's something that i would recommend.
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we are now just months away from the midterm elections which, typically test the strength of the incumbent president. >> liz cheney, how about that? >> there is no 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. >> has been working to turn elected officials into loyalist, or, get them voted for office. >> get rid of them all. >> trump attorney john eastman made it clear while talking about state legislators and an undercover investigation done by a aggressive activist. >> these guys are spineless.
if we take them out in 2022, the precondition for getting elected is, we are going to fight the stuff that maybe we have an opportunity but right now, i don't see it. >> trump's behavior has congressman anthony gonzalez worried. >> it looks to me like he has evaluated what went wrong on january 6th, why is it that he wasn't able to steal the election, who stood in his way, and he's going methodically, state-by-state braces from state senate races all the way down to county commissioner races, trying to get the people who the republicans, the rhinos, in his word, stopped him from stealing the election. he's trying to get them removed. >> it scares me that the secretary of state roles, they are powerful in terms of dealing with elections. >> in georgia, the secretary of state, raffensperger , who refused to find the votes needed to win georgia, faced a challenge from jody hise, he
was endorsed by trumpet that wasn't enough for him to win the may primary, raffensperger will be the republican candidate for secretary of state in november. in arizona, a state representative named mark finch wants the job which is being vacated by a democrat. >> arizona state representative mark finch is with us tonight and what a job he's done. mark. >> is already received the endorsement of donald trump. he has said over and over again, this was a fraudulent election. he's called for decertification. he's got a decent chance to win this primary. if we have people like that, in these key positions, moving forward. i think we are in danger. >> in pennsylvania, the governor appoints the secretary of state, and this is the republican nominee for governor, doug mast rihanna, who was protesting outside the
capitol on january 6th. >> as governor, i get to decertify any or all machines in the state and obviously i have my eyes on several counties that i have believe they -- >> one has already lost, another appears to have eked out a victory. these four, still face races this summer, including liz cheney. >> donald trump is very vocally supporting your defeat. are you worried? >> no. i intend to win. >> you could lose. anything is possible. if you lose your career because of this position you are taking, will it happen were that? >> i will, no matter what happens, never stop fighting for the constitution, never stop fighting for the rule of law. to me, there's not really a
choice or a calculation, it is, what is the right thing here? what has to be done? >> for other congressman who voted to impeach trump have decided to not run for reelection including adam kinzinger, who said he wants to fight against the politics of division instead of running for reelection in a newly drawn district in which he would have to run against incumbent republican and anthony gonzalez decided to retire after two terms. >> the lifestyle, constant fundraising, it wasn't working prior to impeachment. it's clear that now is the time to get out of this. >> the exits are happening at the state level, too, jeff duncan, the lieutenant governor in georgia, is not running for a pre-election. >> i don't want to have to do and say the things i have to do right now to win a primary with donald trump trying to play the games he's playing. >> duncan has began speaking about the republican party
after trump. he has written a book called gop 2.0. >> it's not just elected officials were being pushed from public view. remember chris stier, the fox political editor who correctly called the state of arizona for biden? he was fired in january, 2021. fox blamed restructuring, his boss, retired. >> a source at fox news told the washington post that i was fired because my ratings weren't as good as on gmail, and audiences weren't responding to me as favorably as they were to dan, which, made me laugh, because, that's not my job, my job is not to tell you what you want to hear. >> he's a conservative pundit not a reporter. on top of all this, a number of states are ushering in integrity laws, that type access to the ballast to prevent
widespread voter fraud, you know, the kind that did not happen. at least 19 states have new laws. >> try to solve a problem that doesn't actually exist. it occurs infrequently pay >> beyond efforts making it more difficult about her efforts making it easier to undo the result of an election for instance, in georgia, some of the power that used to belong to the secretary of state, someone committed to upholding the rule of law, now lies with the republican- controlled state legislature. >> a number of states have tried to take running of elections away from professionals and giving it to politicians. so in state legislatures like georgia, give power to the state legislature to potentially overturn results, that is worrisome. >> in 2021, there was no better example of a politicized counting process then the so- called audit of ballots in
maricopa county, arizona by a group calling themselves the cyber ninjas. >> they have no experience at all in election audits. they are headed by this doug logan, who's been in the trump orbit ever since the election. >> people saw images of the cyber ninjas, looking at ballots to ultraviolet light. what were they looking for? >> they were looking for bamboo on the ballots because there was one of these conspiracy theories that thousands of ballots had been sent in the furiously from somewhere in asia and if there was bamboo, that would indicate that these were in fact, those ballots. >> if you buy into conspiracy theories or believe the falsehood that the election was stolen from donald trump, the so-called audit made you more suspicious of the ballot counting process. in the end, the ninjas concluded that biden did when
maricopa county, arizona which is what the county had certified. all of this happened in the aftermath of the 2020 election. a planned attempt to undo the will of the american people, with dozens of events, maneuvering, pressure campaigns, threats of violence, actual violence, carried out over months and continuing to this day. >> do you think that when president trump and his minions were doing was a coup? >> when you are trying to not count voters votes, when you're trying to overturn the will of the people i wouldn't know how else to describe that.
>> reporter: republican liz cheney is now vice chair of the committee that spent a year interviewing 1,000 witnesses and publicly laying out much of what we detailed this evening. >> president trump assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack. >> reporter: the january 6 committee hearings are explaining the pressure campaign waged by the president this failed the first time around. if he manages to replace enough opponents with loyalists and enough laws are changed, he could try the tactic again. and this time, it might work. >> if we rerun the scenario with people holding the most powerful positions in key institutions being more beholden to him than their oath, i think it is all pushing toward one of two outcomes. he either wins legitimately which he may do, or if he losing again, he will just try
to steal it. should he run again? i will do everything i can to stop him. i believe as a citizen of this country who respect it is constitution, that is my responsibility. >> the nightmare scenario is this and not too far out of the realm of possibility. donald trump is running for president again. he will likely be the nominee of the republican party assuming nobody attempts to challenge him credibly. joe biden will be 82 year old by 2024. many around him don't think he will run again there is very much a scenario where donald trump could be president again and he has challenged our institutions to the breaking point. >> reporter: for those who worked with trump, the fear is not just his undermining american democracy. but once back in the white house, also undoing the american experiment. >> you think that he will try to impose some form of autocracy? >> i think he absolutely would. there were things he wanted to do when he was in power the first time that were well beyond the scope of what the u.s. president should be able
to do. but oftentimes it was simply the motivation of hoping to win reelection that kept him from doing things. it is very different in the second term. and i think that is what scares me the most. >> can you give me an example? >> whether it is weaponriesing the justice department against political opponents, going after the free press, he would certainly be open to using the military for political reasons as well. >> that's terrify ing. >> uh-huh. >> it is a warning we are bringing you from conservative republicans. you might have noticed that other than a few journalists, the voices you have heard tonight have been exclusively gop. because, there is nothing partisan, nothing liberal about supporting democracy. >> the american experiment is an experiment. it is not guaranteed. i mean, when ben franklin said a republic, if you can keep it, he wasn't being cheeky. he meant that this democracy has to be fought for.
how worried are you? >> i have real concerns about the future of this democracy. and i never thought that i would. i didn't think we had this sort of pull toward authoritarianism in our democracy. >> i'm deeply afraid for our country. yeah. i'm afraid that the kind of political violence, the kind of abandonment of the rule of law, the kind of abandonment of the constitution that we watched does threaten the foundations of democracy. the foundations of our system. and the fact so many in my party are willing to be silent or complicit add to the peril. it is a very dangerous place for the country to be. >> reporter: i was discussing with an older friend of mine the subject of our documentary. the undermining of basic rule
of law and respect for facts. stay sane, he said to me. and then, went into that famous quote that shamed joe mccarthy in 1954. my friend said somebody has to sit up and say at long last, have you no decency. on the other hand, my friend said, somebody has to be listening when he says it. the thing is, a bunch of folks have been saying this. journalists. politicians, conservative republicans you have heard from tonight terrified about the end of the american experiment. they have been shouting have you no decency at trump. and, the problem is trump has answered. and, the answer is no. he does not. and his supporters do not seem to care. if the vast majority of republican elected officials do care as they should, well, they
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i'm w. kamau bell. on this episode of united shades of america, we are talking all things white supremacy. the obvious stuff and the more subtle insidious version. we filmed this months before the police of indianapolis killed george floyd and before covid and the protests. before any of us ever heard of defunding the police, and before the president and his cronies used racism to describe the co
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