Fifth hearing focuses on Trump`s pressure campaign on DOJ officials. Committee details how Trump pushed to replace attorney general with loyalist Jeffrey Clark. Trump aides identify GOP lawmakers who sought pardons. Senate passes bipartisan gun legislation in 65=33 vote.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: We wanted to overtime, sorry. THE 11TH HOUR with Stephanie Ruhle starts now.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, once again, I`m Stephanie Ruhle. Today, was a very, very busy day on the Hill, the fifth January 6 hearing and we saw even more revelations of just how far former President Donald Trump was willing to go to stay in office. Front and center, how the former President attempted to strong arm officials at his own Justice Department to overturn the 2020 election. The riveting testimony came from Trump`s former Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen, his Deputy Richard Donoghue and DOJ Counsel, Steven Engel.
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REP. BENNIE THOMPSON, (D) MISSISSIPPI JAN.6 SELECT COMMITTEE CHAIR: How often did President Trump contact you or the department to push allegations of election fraud?
JEFFREY ROSEN, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: So between December 23, and January 3, the President either called me or met with me virtually every day.
RICHARD DONOGHUE, FORMER ACTING DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: On December 13, an organization called the Allied Security Group issued a report that alleged that the Dominion voting machines in that county had a 68% error rate. He was adamant that the report must be accurate that it proved that the election was defective that he in fact, won the election. And the department should be using that report to basically tell the American people that the results were not trustworthy. What I`m just asking you to do is just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: The committee also exposed how a low level DOJ guy Jeffrey Clark was instrumental in Trump`s plan. Clark and another Trump loyalists were behind a draft letter to state officials down in Georgia, calling Joe Biden`s win into question.
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REP. LIZ CHENEY, (R) WYOMING GOP CONFERENCE CHAIR: This letter claims that the U.S. Department of Justice`s investigations have, "identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states. The department recommends that the Georgia General Assembly should convene in special session." And consider approving a new slate of electors. And it indicates that a separate, "fake slate of electors" supporting Donald Trump has already been transmitted to Washington D.C.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Now, Clark wanted the Acting Attorney General and his Deputy to sign that letter. And they said absolutely not. But he didn`t need them to get to Trump. He had his own back channel and that channel must have been strong. We also learned today that Trump wanted to make Clark, the new attorney general.
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REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R) ILLINOIS JAN. 6TH COMMITTEE MEMBER: Did the President tell you that he would remove you and Mr. Rosen because you weren`t declaring there was election fraud?
DONOGHUE: Toward the end of the meeting, the President, again was getting very agitated. And he said, people tell me I should just get rid of both of you. I should just remove you.
ROSEN: Mr. Clark had told us that the President had asked him to consider whether he would be willing to replace me as supposedly on a timetable by Monday, the fourth. And so I had told Mr. Clark, I thought he was making a colossal error in judgment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: All of this came to a head in an explosive Oval Office meeting on January 3, with Trump the Acting Attorney General Clark, and a bunch of other staffers. That was when Trump said he was ready to appoint Clarke as Attorney General.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSEN: The President turned to me and he said, well, one thing we know is you, Rosen, you aren`t going to do anything. You don`t even agree with the claims of election fraud. And this other guy, at least might do something. And then I said, well, Mr. President, you`re right, that I`m not going to allow the Justice Department to do anything to try to overturn the election. That`s true. But the reason for that is because that`s what`s consistent with the facts and the law and that`s what`s required under the constitution, so that`s the right answer and a good thing for the country.
DONOGHUE: The President said, what do I have to lose? And it was actually a good opening, because I said, Mr. President, you have a great deal to lose.
STEVEN ENGEL, FORMER ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE OFFICE OF LEGAL COUNSEL: All anyone is going to think, is that you went through two attorneys general in two weeks until you found the environmental guy to sign this thing. And so the story is not going to be that the Department of Justice has found massive corruption that would have changed results of the election. It`s going to be the disaster of Jeff Clark on, I think at that point, Pat Cipollone said, yeah, this is a murder suicide pact, this letter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: And a lot has changed since then, especially for Mr. Clark. We found out today that federal agents searched Clark, suburban Virginia home early yesterday morning.
And another bombshell from today`s hearing, the Committee revealed Republican lawmakers who allegedly sought presidential pardons. They were among the most outspoken supporters of his false claims of election fraud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And are you aware of any Members of Congress seeking pardons?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT: I guess Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Brooks, I know both advocated for there to be a blanket pardon. Mr. Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon, and he was doing so since early December.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you mentioned Mr. Gaetz, Mr. Brooks.
HUTCHINSON: Mr. Biggs did. Mr. Gohmert asked for one as well. Mr. Perry asked for a pardon too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Congressman Biggs and Perry denied requesting pardons, but tonight Mo Brooks said, he did talk to Trump about them. He`s also open to testifying before the Committee, but he insists on doing it in public.
With that, let`s get smarter with the help of our lead off panel. Luke Broadwater, Pulitzer Prize Winning Congressional Reporter for the New York Times. He`s got the cover story tomorrow and he was in the room today. Also joining us, former U.S. Attorney and former Senior FBI Official, Chuck Rosenberg and Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for Counter Intelligence.
Mr. Rosenberg, I have to go to you first. We learned today for anybody who says January 6 is a thing of the past. Today, we learned that the former president was one decision away from appointing a guy to be the attorney general who would have sent our elections into chaos. What would have ensued if he had?
CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, Stephanie, in a word chaos. I mean, thank goodness that there were adults in the room who did the right thing. By the way, I want to say something about doing the right thing. You know, I listened carefully to what Mr. Engel and Mr. Rosen, and Mr. Donoghue said today. And I`m proud of the Department of Justice that they helped lead. But this may sound corny to some of your viewers. But that`s what you`re supposed to do. You`re supposed to do the right thing, even when it`s hard. They did that, good for them. But that`s the job. But had they not intervened? Had there been weaker people, had there been spineless people in their seats rather than them? Chaos, Stephanie. Because it would have given the imprimatur of the Department of Justice to anybody in Georgia who wanted to submit a false slate of electors, or who wants to claim that even the Justice Department believed that the election in Georgia and elsewhere was fraudulent. So a very important moment, one that we should not overlook. And I`m very glad that, you know, smart people, courageous people did the right thing. But again, that`s the job. That`s what you`re supposed to do, even when it`s hard.
RUHLE: Were they able to do the right thing, Luke, by appealing to Trump`s narcissism? They stopped him not because they convinced him that the letter was a bad idea, or that Clark was the wrong guy. Listen to what they said, the story is going to be bad. What are people going to say about you? Everyone is going to quit. It will look terrible. They weren`t talking at all about election fraud. Is this about how this would appear for Trump? Is that why he didn`t appoint Clark because Clark would have given him what he wanted.
LUKE BROADWATER, THE NEW YORK TIMES CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yeah, I thought that today`s testimony was just shocking to hear from those witnesses firsthand. We knew a lot of this reported out in the New York Times and other publications, but to hear these men on the stand, put forward this evidence was really breathtaking in my opinion.
And you`re right only mass resignations, the threat of mass resignations got Donald Trump to back off these extreme plans. I mean, he was talking in this meeting about seizing voting machines, having the Justice Department sees voting machines. He was pushing forward just the most absurd and ridiculous allegations of voter fraud. I mean, contractors in Italy flipping machines, flipping votes, using satellites, it`s almost hilarious when you hear it talked about that anyone took this seriously at all. But this was the kind of nonsense that was being pushed around in this desperate time.
And I do think that really, you know, once -- one time I talked to the Jamie Raskin about this. And I said, Congressman Raskin, what -- how was it that Donald Trump so many times tried to do these things, which seemed completely illegal, but then he would back off when someone stood up to him. And his opinion was that Trump always wanted someone else to actually do take the extreme or illegal action. He wanted to push them up to the line and see if you could get some lower minion to actually crossed that line. And so when the Justice Department said, you`re going to have mass resignations, Trump did then go to a different strategy, but it really did take people standing up to him forcefully.
RUHLE: Frank, does that mean -- it`s such a good point. Does that mean that we`re going to see that happen again, right? We`re seeing fake electors being subpoenaed all different, mid and lower level people prosecuted. Think about all the actual rioters from January 6 they`ve gotten. But nobody`s touched Trump. Is that his M.O.? Think about the Oath Keepers, he`s helping them find lawyers. Sidney Powell`s group is paying for their lawyers. Trump got Devin Nunes a big job, but he doesn`t sign anything. Because of that, are they never going to be able to get to him?
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: Yeah, this is a case of the mob boss as president and a Teflon Don. But, Stephanie, I got to tell you that with both the Committee hearings, and now simultaneously, what appears to be a warp speed, rapid approach now going into the overt phase of a criminal investigation at DOJ, I do think we`re going to see at a minimum, people very close to Trump held accountable, if not Trump himself.
And we also will hear from the Committee, eventually, a likely long list of things that need to get fixed, to plug the holes in our election system, so that this is less likely to happen in the future. So accountability comes in many forms, Stephanie, one of those forms could well be that the public is so become so resolved from what`s happening now that they choose not to elect someone like Trump, or with the name Trump moving forward. Another form of accountability certainly could be criminal prosecution.
RUHLE: Luke, I want to go back to this conspiracy theory that Trump grabbed onto he found it on the internet. You know, he was disappointed that he didn`t think that the Department of Justice did the good research that he did. How did he find this wacky, wacky theory coming from Italy, that the Department of Justice then had to do some work on?
BROADWATER: Well, he had almost a hilarious quote about this. He said, it`s not on the top of my mind right now. But I spend more time on the internet than you guys do. And he was saying that a sort of a point of pride. So he`d been scouring sort of the nether regions of the internet for more and more absurd, and fanciful allegations of fraud.
And what stuck out to me at this hearing today, is how many people he wasted their time investigating this stuff. I mean, he had Mark Meadows sending the Italygate thing around to, you know, top people at the Justice Department, he had the Secretary of Defense, call Italy about it and see if they can investigate it. It`s -- it was -- of course, it was fake. As soon as you heard it, you knew it was nonsense. But this is how desperate these people were getting. And honestly, how foolish it all was.
I was being interviewed by an Australian radio station today. And they were watching the hearing. And they said, isn`t this embarrassing for your country to hear this stuff playing out that this is what the top people in government were doing? And, of course, it was embarrassing. And anybody who listens to that stuff would be embarrassed by it. And there were points at the hearing today, when it almost turned into a roast of Jeffrey Clark when Donoghue the number two at the Justice Department tells him to go back into his office and we`ll call you when it`s time to investigate an oil spill because you`re unqualified and you`re an environmental lawyer. People in the room are laughing at that. And it wouldn`t be funny. The whole thing was absurd and unqualified person leaving the Justice -- leading the Justice Department, except that it wasn`t funny in the fact that there were trying to overturn an election, install a president who didn`t win. And ultimately this kind of nonsense led to the violent attack on the Capitol. So it is hilarious how stupid it all was. But it`s deadly serious at the end of the day.
RUHLE: Hilarious. I don`t know, humiliating. We actually have a bit of that content from early or today, Jeffrey Clark just getting annihilated. Watch this.
ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: Jeff Clark was proposing that Jeff Rosen be replaced by Jeff Clark. And I thought the proposal was asinine.
And I said, "That`s right. You`re an environmental lawyer. How about you go back to your office and we`ll call you when there`s an oil spill."
I thought Jeff`s proposal, Congress proposal was nuts. I mean, he`s the guy to a certain point -- listen, the best I can tell is the only thing you know about environmental and elections challenges is they both start with E. And based on your answers tonight, I`m not even sure did you know that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And, Frank, if you thought today was horrible for Jeffrey Clark, you weren`t paying attention to what happened yesterday, when his home got searched? Tell us what could they be looking for? What does this mean for him?
FIGLIUZZI: So I think it`s very, very important here to take the careful approach that NBC News is taking, which is number one, we`re using the phrase federal agents with regard to what happened at Clark`s house yesterday. We`re not really certain that this was the FBI and nor has he actually disclosed which agency or agencies, it was. So that`s interesting. Others have said it is a DOJ entity that limits, for example, the agencies that can be there. But let`s understand one thing clear no matter which agency it was, if it was an executed search warrant, it was signed by a U.S. federal judge or magistrate. What does that mean? It means that that judge or magistrate found that there was reason to believe, probable cause to believe that there`s evidence of a crime in that house and it gets more specific. You can`t just say, there`s evidence of crime somewhere in the house and then tear the house apart. You got it with specificity designate, this is what we need to look at and why and a judge needs to sign off on that.
So we hear the word raid, I don`t like the word raid, it`s lawful. Law enforcement activity, execution of assigned warrant, I hear the phrase pre- dawn. I don`t know where people get that from, but that`s not how that works. It`s early in the morning. Yes, people are taken out of bed, but they don`t think -- you know, they`re not doing it at four o`clock in the morning. That`s not how that works.
So who is it? Is it Postal Inspectors? No, it`s DOJ. OK, is it the marshals, no, probably not. Is it DOJIG, the inspector general trying to retrieve documents that Clark squirreled away, data that he squirreled away? We`ve heard that they were electronic sniffing dogs used so clearly, they`re looking for devices, thumb drives, USBs we don`t know yet. We`ll get to the bottom of it. But he`s in deep trouble because they decided subpoena is not going to cut it, consent is not going to happen. We got to go in before he destroy something, before he understands what`s happening, get what we need.
RUHLE: Do you think that pre-dawn is seven or eight o`clock in the morning, I invite you to come work in television news.
Chuck, I want to ask you about these pardons, members of Congress asking Trump to pardon them, help us understand why he wouldn`t do it. He`s been willing to pardon all sorts of people, and he has 100% power to do so. But if he pardoned any of these people who were helping covering up, tied to something directly associated with him, wouldn`t they then be in a position where they might have to testify against him? And if they did, well, they wouldn`t be able to plead the fifth, like Jeffrey Clark did 105 times today?
ROSENBERG: So Stephanie, if you`re asking me to crawl inside the former president`s brain, I have two responses. It`s not a place I want to be. It`s not an easy thing to do. That said, you may well be right, that when folks come and ask for pardons, in connection with something that he was orchestrated, maybe that casts a shadow a long, shadow on his own conduct. It`s hard to know. But I will say this, asking for pardon --
RUHLE: But would it be dangerous for him? Would it increase the risk for him if he pardons them?
ROSENBERG: Well, think about it this way. Anybody who has information about what he knew, what he did, what he intended, could increase the risk for him. If they`re pardoned, then they no longer have a Fifth Amendment privilege to withhold information, if questioned by the Department of Justice, or the FBI. But there`s a way around that, the Department of Justice could simply immunize somebody who otherwise has a fifth amendment privilege, and compel that testimony.
So if all he`s trying to do is shut down an investigation of himself, he`s not going to succeed, whether or not he pardons these people. What`s interesting to me, Stephanie, look, I`ve never asked for a pardon. I don`t think I ever had to. I don`t intend to. I`m pretty sure you haven`t done that either. They must have had some consciousness of guilt it. Asking for a pardon doesn`t mean they committed a crime, but it sure means they`re worried about having been perceived as committing a crime.
RUHLE: Well, he`s basically got a blank check and he can pardon anybody who wants. I certainly want to know why he didn`t.
Thank you all so much, Luke Broadwater, Frank Figliuzzi, Chuck, I`m not letting you go, you`re going to stay with us and we`ll see you in a moment right after the break.
When we come back, one of our next guests calls this much, much worse than Watergate. We`re going to discuss if Trump or anyone close to him might face serious consequences.
And later, today`s landmark ruling from the Supreme Court, expanding gun rights. And the breaking news tonight from the Senate on gun safety. We`ll be speaking to a former gun industry executive about all of it. And what more guns on the streets means for security. The 11th Hour just getting underway on a very busy Thursday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERSCHMANN: When he finished discussing what he planned on doing, I said, "good, (bleep) excuse me, sorry, f-ing, a-hole, congratulations you just admitted that your first step or act you would take as attorney general would be committing a felony and violating rule 6c.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Well, there you have it. The question that is still top of mind for anyone watching this hearing, will there be consequences? And what that could look like? Chuck Rosenberg, still with us to answer those questions along with Matt Miller, former Spokesperson for the Department of Justice. I welcome you both -- Chuck, I welcome you back. Matt, let`s do this thing. Do you think a crime was committed based on what you`ve heard? And if so, I think we`re going to see anyone pick consequences?
MATTHEW MILLER, FORMER CHIEF SPOKESPERSON FOR DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: It`s a really difficult question to answer, Stephanie. I think certainly the Department has enough to write an indictment at this point, I think they probably have enough to win a conviction. But I think the reason you see them acting so carefully and acting so cautiously is that they would have to sustain a conviction on appeal all the way up to the Supreme Court. This is a court that has been very deferential to claims of executive power. It`s a court that has been skeptical in the past of applying the criminal statutes to acts by elected officials that can be, you know, that can be defined or argued our political acts, or part of normal political process.
So there are things that I think are hard to argue, are criminal acts by the President, his pressure on the Justice Department is probably a difficult one. His pressure on Vice President Pence may be a difficult one, but I do think his interference with the state with state election officials, his involvement in a scheme to appoint alternate states of -- alternate slates of electors. I think those do get much closer into the areas where it`s more likely to see him charged.
RUHLE: Matt, what kind of dog do you have? It looks like a mini pony just walked behind you. How much does that weigh?
MILLER: It weighs 80 pounds. That`s Elvis, my old yellow lab coming to bed.
RUHLE: I mean that`s a big 80. What happens if the Justice Department makes the decision that they don`t want to indict Trump? They don`t want to invite the Republicans that helped him, they`re just going to go along with their duty, Matt?
MILLER: Well, look, there certainly is already intense pressure on Merrick Garland, the attorney general, I think there would be even more pressure on him if he was to decline to bring a case. I will say I think the step that you saw taken yesterday against Jeffrey Clark, the Justice Department wouldn`t move lightly to execute a search warrant against a former senior Justice Department official. That tells me that first, obviously, they have probable cause to believe a crime was committed. But I think it tells me that they are very fairly far along in that investigation of Jeffrey Clark. And I think unless they`re investigating him for some crime completely disconnected from this investigation, which is very hard to believe, given that the timing of this search warrant was executed at the same time as other search warrants were executed in this case, I suspect they have -- they`re fairly far along in building a case against him. And if you`re going to bring a case against Jeffrey Clark, it does seem unlikely to me that you would bring one against him and not other co-conspirators who are would be involved in his case, including the president of United States.
RUHLE: Why is it OK, Chuck, that the President and his inner circle can help the Oath Keepers find lawyers? Sidney Powell`s group is paying for the Oath Keepers` lawyers. Why is all of that OK?
ROSENBERG: Well, I mean, as a legal matter --
RUHLE: The DOJ believes this is happening. I mean, that seems just so foul, the American people watching this.
ROSENBERG: Yeah, as a legal matter, I don`t think it crosses a criminal line, Stephanie, but the reason the Department of Justice raised this to a federal judge, is they were concerned that it might cross an ethical line, if a defendant is having his or her case, paid for his or her attorneys, paid for by an outside third party that obviously raised his concerns. And so the Department of Justice appropriately properly raised the issue to a federal judge, then it`s up for to the defendant to, you know, sort of be informed of where the money is coming from and what the conflicts might be, and then waive any conflict on the record in front of the judge. This is something that Justice Department always wants to do, because in addition to prosecuting meritorious cases, they want to sustain them on appeal, and they don`t want to have conflict issues arise that could undermine their good work.
RUHLE: Well, a lot of ethics lines may have been crossed, or for anyone who was watching the hearing today or earlier this week, across a while ago. Chuck Rosenberg, Matt Miller, Elvis, the dog, thank you all for joining us. I mean, that dog is massive.
Coming up next, we`re going to take a closer look the politics surrounding these requests for the pardons, when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
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KINZINGER: The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is because you think you`ve committed a crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Let`s bring in Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Jonathan Capehart, Associate Editor at the Washington Post and of course anchor of the Sunday show right here on MSNBC, and MSNBC Political Contributor Matthew Dowd, also a former George W Bush Strategist and Founder of Country Over Party.
Jonathan, walk me through this, sounds like a member of Congress is saying, hey, President Trump, I did this bad thing maybe to help you and I might need a pardon for it. That sounds pretty bad, no?
JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Yes. That is very bad. Also, because if you take apart -- well, one, I think Congressman Swalwell had the best tweet earlier this evening, where you said, remember only -- remember, something like who doesn`t ask for a pardon, innocent people.
Another key point is, if you ask for a pardon, that`s sort of an almost, you know, hey, I`ve done something wrong. But in order to take the pardon, you have to admit to have done something wrong. So the idea that you have sitting members of Congress, who are asking the outgoing president of the United States for pardons before he before -- he leaves I don`t know, I`m not a lawyer. But that tells me you`re saying you did something wrong, that you are guilty that you broke the law.
RUHLE: Matt, we saw Liz Cheney earlier today, speaking directly to Trump supporters, which she`s got a lot of them in her state. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: It can be difficult to accept that President Trump abused your trust that he deceived you. Many will invent excuses to ignore that fact. But that is a fact. I wish it weren`t true, but it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Is this a fool`s errand to try to change the minds of Trump supporters who are so dug and there are plenty more Americans out there to inform about this rather than just the Trumpsters? Does it make sense to continue to talk to them?
MATTHEW DOWD, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think for two reasons, I think it makes sense. The first one is there`s about 20% or 25% of Republicans out there who are available to break from the from that attachment they have to the former president and Republican Party.
RUHLE: Why do you think that?
DOWD: Well, you just look at the polls, 20%, of the folks think -- 20% of Republicans think the president did something wrong and think prosecution should be considered when you look at all the polls. And so that`s an available group out there, which what not a majority is a sizable enough group to make a difference. The second part is when Liz Cheney does that, and this is why I think the committee, the January 6 committee has been very smart is when you make this about speaking to Republicans, by Republicans, who pays attention to that are Democrats and independents, because it makes it less partisan, it makes it, we`re just going to tell you the facts. And we would want to do what`s right for the country in our democracy. And I`m going to do it. And I`m going to do it as a Republican, which is why seven of the last eight people that have testified before the hearings have been Republicans. And so I think from that vantage point, there`s a sizable enough minority Republicans that can be swayed. But even more important, it`s a message that goes to Independents and Democrats saying we`re just doing the right thing, as Republicans as Democrats or as independents.
RUHLE: Jonathan, I mean, he`s right, what was almost every witness we`ve seen is either a Trump employee or a Trump appointee. But in conservative media circles, are they actually covering this and talking about it?
CAPEHART: Well, no, not in the evening. They`re not covering it. And they`re not talking about it. And in fact, they`re covering other things. But it is important to also remember that these Republicans who are testifying at this hearing who else is going to testify, but Republican members of the Trump administration who pushed back against this. And you know, quite frankly, I have stripped away whatever political affiliations people might have, not thinking about Democrats or Republicans. I`m thinking about Americans who are coming forward, testifying under oath before the American people about what happened in the days leading up to January 6, and on January 6. And in the last few days, we have seen people who behind the scenes, unbeknownst to us, but now we`re getting the details, who were holding the line, people can criticize them for not coming forward in real time. But to hear these -- to hear these stories in detail from the people who were involved, using their own language about what happened in those rooms, is like the little bit of solace I get in just sort of understanding how close we came to losing everything and how it is -- it was individual Americans who stood in the breach and said no, is said no to a President of the United States. And I think the other hearings that were going wanting to see going forward are extremely important and I hope that the other half of the country Republicans those who are dug in who say they aren`t watching, I hope that snippets of information, the torrent of information that we`re getting from these hearings, gets to them so that a colonel, a seed is planted that lets them know that what was done in their name by people they followed sometimes blindly. What was done was against this country.
I can`t remember the name of the Arizona House speaker, with tears in his eyes.
RUHLE: Rusty Bowers.
CAPEHART: Rusty Bowers tears in his eyes, talking about how, you know, he was for the President. And he`s this and he`s that, but there was no way he was going to violate his oath of office to steal an election for President of the United States. I don`t probably wouldn`t agree with him on -- 99.999% of his policies, but on that one, I`m 100% behind him.
RUHLE: And tonight, Arizona`s GOP Chair, Kelli Ward has been subpoenaed for her ties to the fake electors scam. What`s going to happen to all of these Republicans, Matt, who got up, stood up for the truth, stood up to Trump when he ran right after January 6, and came and testified now, what`s going to happen to them in Republican circles? Heroes are --
DOWD: Persona non grata is probably the best term for them. You can already tell what`s happening to them. Liz Cheney is in an uphill fight for -- I mean, she`s a Republican trying to hold other Republicans accountable. She`s in an uphill fight to win re-election.
We saw another member who was defeated last week, because he voted for impeachment of Donald Trump to hold him accountable. We were going to see a number of other candidates who voted for impeachment probably lose their elections in this. But, you know, the part of this process to take, say, carry on with something with Jonathan said is, is that this is part of the process to clean the soil that`s been infected now by this virus in my worry, as much as we want to hold accountable looking in the rearview mirror, my biggest worry is looking forward and the effect this could have on our democracy, because what the Republicans who are interested in taking power at all costs, and they don`t care if they roll over the democracy or not. They figured out that the only thing that got in the way were good men and women in key positions of authority. And they`re systematically trying to figure out how to beat secretaries of states and places like Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, by electing a governor who was part of the January 6, who gets to a point, the Secretary of State.
Can you imagine what, who he would appoint if he got elected? So they are figuring out the only thing that kept us from losing our democracy, were these good men and women who stood up even if we disagree with them, they stood up in the moment, third, systematically in this year`s election, trying to remove them from office. And one piece of advice I would give, again, taking up something Jonathan said and extending it, Democrats have to throw out the vote blue stuff, quit saying vote blue, vote blue, vote blue. What Democrats need to do is say vote democracy, vote democracy, we don`t care if you`re a Republican, Democrat or Independent, you know, give -- get rid of the colors and say vote for democracy that may -- may be overwhelmingly democratic, but stop with the vote blue and make this a race about democracy versus autocracy and the law and order versus corruption. That`s what they ought to make this about.
RUHLE: Tonight`s nightmare brought to you by Matthew Dowd. Matthew, Jonathan, thank you both so much. We`re going to leave it there.
RUHLE: Coming up, more on the days other very big, very significant story, the Supreme Court tossing out restrictions on concealed guns, what it means for your safety from a former gun company executive when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
RUHLE: This matters, today the Supreme Court struck down a New York State law restricting the carrying of concealed guns. And hours later, the Senate passed bipartisan gun safety legislation breaking nearly three decades of inaction.
With us tonight to discuss Ryan Busse, a former Firearms Executive who helped build one of the world`s most iconic gun companies. He`s also a Senior Advisor at Giffords and the author of Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry That Radicalized America.
Ryan, two very significant things happened today. You`re a former gun executive, you`re a gun safety advocate. What do you make of today`s Supreme Court decision?
RYAN BUSSE, FORMER FIREARMS EXECUTIVE: I think the Supreme Court decision is really evidence of how detached this court is now from where the mainstream of American -- of the American public is.
Just a couple hours ago, we had 65 senators, vote yes on a gun safety bill, something that we haven`t seen for almost 30 years. I mean, let`s face it, you couldn`t get 65 senators to vote yes about whether or not ice cream is delicious. And yet they came together on guns. And I think that tells you this sort of bubbling up from the base of the American public about how fed up everyone is with the lack of gun safety and how gun radicalization has taken over the country. So I think the Supreme Court case is pretty reckless.
RUHLE: What the Senate is doing is a very, very big deal, but since it`s one moving forward on this bipartisan legislation while the SCOTUS is going the opposite direction is that one step forward and two steps back?
BUSSE: Well, I think the SCOTUS decision is going to complicate things for sure, right. In Heller, the previous case decided by or written by Scalia - - authored by Scalia, he denotes that, you know, guns can and should be regulated in sensitive places. And so now, I think you`re going to have a lot of deciphering about what those sensitive places are. We`ve already heard the New York Governor mentioned that she`s going to tear in this in trying to decide that. And I think reasonable responsible gun owners across the country understand and are calling for good reasonable legislation. We don`t want, you know, I`m a responsible gun owner. I don`t want this sort of black mark of, you know, just unfettered gun violence on my record, and I know responsible gun owners don`t want that either.
RUHLE: Explain that to us. Because when somebody like me hears about the SCOTUS decision, I think, man, NRA people must love this. But I know, at a bar after an NRA event, you asked a bunch of industry people if they would be OK. If everyone was armed in a grocery store, and every person you asked said no, so take us inside the mind of a gun insider because I assume they would be high fiving at the SCOTUS` decision.
BUSSE: Well, I think that`s indicative of kind of how the right wing politics in this country has sort of caught the car, right? I was in the industry back when people understood that decency and responsibility were part of it. Like it`s almost as if Trumpism now like the Republican Party thought they could have these dalliances with racism and extremism and radicalism, but like it would never come to pass. Well, it`s come to pass, right. And the same thing happened years earlier in the firearms industry.
I wanted to build a company, so many other people did, but nobody thought that this unfettered, unfettered right to have guns anywhere and everywhere an 18 year old kids, troubled 18-year-old kids buy an AR-15. Like, nobody thought that was OK. Those were times and responsibility govern our actions, and we have to figure out a way to get back to those norms.
RUHLE: We certainly do. Well, we know you are doing your part. Thank you for joining us, Ryan Busse, I appreciate it.
BUSSE: Thanks, Stephanie, I appreciate it.
RUHLE: And don`t go anywhere. When we come back, it is become almost too cliche to say it. Profiles encourage but why that phrase still fits in a call to action when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
RUHLE: The last thing before we go tonight, stand for the truth and reject the lies. As the New York Times pointed out last year, sixth term Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger has been censured by his party and shunned by his own family members after urging his fellow Republicans to leave Donald Trump behind. And as we learned this week, he and his family are now getting death threats because of it. In his closing statement at today`s hearing, Kinzinger once again urged others to open their eyes just stand for the truth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KINZINGER: We`re here today because the facts were irrelevant to President Trump. It was about protecting his very real power and very fragile ego, even if it required recklessly undermining our entire electoral system by wildly casting baseless doubt upon it. In short, he was willing to sacrifice our republic to prolong his presidency. I can imagine no more dishonorable act by a president. As it said, the only thing necessary for evil to succeed is good men to do nothing.
Thankfully, there were good people in the Department of Justice. You heard from other good people, too, on Tuesday, they too defended us. But I`m still worried that not enough has changed to prevent this from happening again. The oath that we take has to mean something, has to cut to the core of who we are, and be the driving force of our service to this nation. We on this committee, we may be able to shine light on the darkness. But that is not enough. It`s now up to every American now and in the future, to stand for truth, to reject the lies wherever we confront them in our towns and our capitals, in our friendships and our families and at the ballot box and within our own minds and hearts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Stand for the truth and reject the lies. While millions of Americans heard that powerful play. Fox News viewers did not. The far right network did show today`s testimony, but Fox to yank the hearing off the air before it was over. Long before Kinzinger and the committee`s other Republican committee member Liz Cheney made their closing remarks. They chose to return to regular programming to talk about liberals guns, inflation, women`s sports, the hearing, which is clearly national news of national importance, an event that again, as one of our guests put it, is bigger than Watergate. It was quickly pushed aside.
And as we often like to say here on THE 11TH HOUR, the truth matters but only if you hear it. And it is now up to all of us no matter what network you watch, no matter who you vote for, to stand for the truth, and reject the lies.
And on that note, I wish you all a very good and safe night. And for all of our colleagues across the networks of NBC News, I want to thank you for staying up late with us. I will see you at the end of tomorrow.