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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 6/28/22

Guests: Michael Steele, Pete Aguilar


Michael Steele a former RNC chair join Ari Melber to talk about the January 6 Committee hearing new witness and evidence that Donald Trump trying to clash with the Secret Service agent. Congressman Pete Aguilar of California, a member of the January 6 Committee joins Ari Melber to talk about the blockbuster January 6 Committee hearing today. Former senior aide to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Cassidy Hutchinson, testified Trump welcomed armed crowd on January 6th, demanded he marched to the Capitol clashing with Secret Service agents, and other details.


NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Why? Tonight we will be back for a special extended recap, longer than all the others. The recap and analysis of the testimony with my primetime friends and colleagues led by the one and only Rachel Maddow. It starts at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Be there for that.

Thank you for letting us into your homes during these unbelievable times. We`re so grateful. Now Ari Melber takes over on this historic day.

Ari, I`m going to upstairs and watch.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: All right. And I`ll see you at 8:00. Thank you, Nicolle.

WALLACE: Thank you.

MELBER: And thanks to you at home for joining our continuing special coverage of congressional testimony today that was unlike any other. And that`s why our program right now is going to be a little different. We`re going to show you a crucial extended excerpt of this newly revealed testimony by Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson who was repeatedly in the room or at the door during some of the most pivotal and incriminating parts of the now infamous insurrection. And she drew on that front row seat to provide new damning details of the attempted coup.

Today, this was the sixth insurrection hearing. And we tried to cover them precisely for you. We reported on how the first hearing detailed violent crimes by many, though sometimes without clear causal links to Trump. Another hearing shows the criminal liability of Trump appointees and lawyers raising questions about Donald Trump`s own role. Other hearings featured Republicans from Pence`s office and from the state level.

And on this program we report on how some parts of some of those hearings did fall short. Those hearings all had in their own way very important material, but not every hearing has been a blockbuster when it comes to evidence on the former president.

Today`s hearing delivered the blockbuster evidence. Smoking gun, firsthand accounts on both Trump`s corrupt state of mind and overt acts to advance violence in that attempted coup.

Let me just repeat that reporting upfront. Proving a crime requires proving the state of mind and overt action. Today`s hearing features and featured a loyal Trump aide`s firsthand eyewitness testimony on Trump`s state of mind and actions. Hutchinson testifying Trump knew those supporters that he had summoned were armed. He said so. He expected their violence and basically said, in close company, but overheard in a manner that`s now been delivered under oath, he said that would be fine because that violence if it commenced would be directed at others, not him.

Hutchinson testifying Trump tried to order the Secret Service to admit armed supporters into his crowd where then they could go to the Capitol, a likely illegal order to help armed rioters who would then criminally trespass and criminally attack police, and try to do much, much worse against the United States government.

That is new today. That is evidence under oath from a Trump loyalist that Donald Trump abused his power over the government and the Secret Service and law enforcement to try to overthrow the government, and get law enforcement injured or killed. Among other things, just imagine being in the Secret Service or law enforcement and hearing your commander-in-chief order the illegal admittance of armed people, including reports of AR-15s in the crowd, and we know what those can do, while you risk your life and limb to protect that commander-in-chief.

The testimony and now revealed White House documents show Trump intended to join them at the Capitol. He ordered the agents to take him to the Capitol. And before we turn to this excerpt that we are going to play for you, remember, these hearings, this possibly most consequential hearing today, these are not about what anyone thinks of Donald Trump. And they`re not about what you guesstimate seems obvious about all of this and how it went down even if we all pay attention and have our own ideas.

This is a congressional investigative subpoena-backed process. It`s already led to some indictments. This is the real thing. And so today, this hearing is about the actual evidence and record, which is new and damning, specifically regarding the former president.


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO MARK MEADOWS: I remember looking at him saying, Rudy, would you explain what`s happening on the 6th? We`re going to the Capitol. It`s going to be great. The president`s going to be there. Mark said something to the effect of, there`s a lot going on, Cass, but I don`t know, things might get real, real bad.

I recall Tony and I having a conversation with Mark mentioning knives, guns, in the forms of pistols and rifles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s an individual who is in a tree, he`s got blue jeans and a blue jean jacket, and underneath the blue jean jacket, complainants both saw stock of an AR-15.

HUTCHINSON: Bear spray, body armor, spears and flagpoles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two individuals in that group at the base of the tree near the porta potties they have Glock style pistols in their waistband.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got three men walking down the street carrying AR- 15s. Copy at 4th and Independence.


HUTCHINSON: Have you talked to the president? And Tony said yes, sir. He`s aware.

CHENEY: Was he told again in that conversation that people couldn`t come through the mags because they had weapons?


CHENEY: He was effing furious.

HUTCHINSON: I don`t effing care that they have weapons. They`re not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away. He felt the mags are at fault for not letting everybody in. He wanted it full and he was angry that we weren`t letting people through the mags with weapons.

CHENEY: Just to be clear, Miss Hutchinson, is it your understanding that the president wanted to take the mags away and said that the armed individuals were not there to hurt him?

HUTCHINSON: That`s a fair assessment. There were many discussions on the morning of the 6th about the rhetoric of the speech that day. Fight for Trump. We`re going to march to the Capitol. I`ll be there with you. Fight for me. Fight for what we`re doing, fight for the movement.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: We`re going walk down, and I`ll be there with you. We`re going to walk down to the Capitol.

HUTCHINSON: It was becoming clear to us and to the Secret Service that Capitol police officers were getting overrun at the security barricades outside of the Capitol building, and they were having short -- they were short of people.

CHENEY: Staff believed that Mogul, the president, was, quote, "going to the Capitol."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a breach of the Capitol. Breach of the Capitol. We`ve lost the line. We`ve lost the line.

CHENEY: When President Trump left the Ellipse stage at 1:10, the staff knew that rioters had invaded the inaugural stage.

HUTCHINSON: I called Mr. Ornato to reconfirm that we weren`t going to the Capitol. We were not going up to the Capitol.


MELBER: We were not going up to the Capitol amidst the march, the breach, the violence against the officers. It was red alert level, and then the other part that is most significant today and most legally damning for Donald Trump, accused of crimes in office, is that when the agents refused his insistent, repeated requests that he go join the armed protesters, who some of these agents had heard him say he wanted to be admitted armed so they could do whatever it was they all planned to do together, the agents refused for Donald Trump, then President Trump`s safety.

We learned today the extent, absolutely extreme extent that Trump acted, and keep in mind, if a different person inside the government did this, had physical contact, initiated a physical clash with an agent, they would not only be out of a job, they would be detained on the spot. Here`s more of what he learned in the bombshell evidence against Donald Trump today.


HUTCHINSON: Bobby had relayed to him, we`re not. We don`t have the assets to do it. It`s not secure. We`re going back to the West Wing. the president had a very strong, a very angry response to that. Tony described him as being irate. The president said something to the effect of, I`m the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now, to which Bobby responded, sir, we have to go back to the West Wing.

The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We`re going back to the West Wing. We`re not going to the Capitol. Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel. And when Mr. Ornato had recounted the story to me he had motioned towards his clavicles.


MELBER: Our special coverage begins with former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman and the "New York Times`" Michelle Goldberg.

Nick, what is the level of this testimony as criminal evidence?

NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: It`s pretty spot-on. I mean, what we didn`t know about before today, and we had a hunch, at least it was my hypothesis, that Trump knew two days before January 6th that Vice President Pence was not (INAUDIBLE) back to the states. He wasn`t going to disregard them. So, what Trump -- what it showed today was that Trump`s final game plan was to use violence, was to stop the vote of the electoral count through violence.

MELBER: Is this -- I`m just pressing you on this for precision. In your mind, is this the first time we`ve had an eyewitness inside the Trump White House directly link him to encouraging armed violence?

AKERMAN: That`s right. Before, we had nobody, not -- forget inside the White House, we had no evidence linking Trump to the violence. Remember, at his second impeachment hearing, he was claiming that his statements at the Ellipse were simply guaranteed by the First Amendment. He was trying to encourage his supporters who were disappointed and the fact that he lost the election.


MELBER: And let`s dig in on that. In fairness, there are politicians who say all kinds of things in speeches. The Supreme Court has actually given a wide berth for that.


MELBER: And so at that impeachment, as you mentioned, that`s not referring to outside the White House, there are people who said, they read that as directly incitement. Incitement is a crime. Other people said, well, that`s a tough case to prove or tie goes to the president, it wasn`t incitement.

AKERMAN: Except --

MELBER: Today, Nick.


MELBER: Today you have the White House aide loyal to Trump in the room on site detailing that when he was told people had weapons, he tried to further their access to then be on site with those weapons, and what do people do with weapons? Potentially use them.

AKERMAN: That`s right. What else were they doing with those weapons there? It`s a whole different story. I mean, it`d be different if you had -- if he was talking to an aged group of people that were there in their walkers. That was not the situation. He knew that people had AR-15s, that they had Glocks, that they had other kinds of weapons, but yet he was using language he did, which his own counsel, the counsel to the president told him he should not use.

MELBER: And before I bring in Michelle, just again to you as a prosecutor, would that be an illegal order?

AKERMAN: Yes, it would be. I mean, I think what you`ve got now is a setup for a real thorough grand jury investigation. We know this happened. Now the question is, what can you prove? What`s hearsay? What`s admissible? But you`ve got people like Meadows who could be put into a grand jury, and if he refused to cooperate, the government can give him immunity. You`ve got lots of people that were privy to all of this, and you`ve got the makings of a real case against Donald Trump at this point.

MELBER: Yes. Your point about Meadows, interesting. He was seeking a pardon, which means he was aware of criminal liability. If there`s a real probe, if Merrick Garland looks at this and says, I`ve got to go further, well, Mr. Meadows might get a veritable result of a pardon by other means.

Immunity, Michelle, can be a different route to what he wanted to do which is not apparently go to jail for Donald Trump. I gave Nick several legal questions, I give you, your overall reaction to today.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: You know, you said before that this is not about what you guesstimated was happening with Donald Trump. I think that, you know, a good rule of thumb with Trump is that whatever you think of him, the truth is probably worse. It won`t be a surprise to anyone who`s seen me on the show or read my column that I have a low opinion of Donald Trump, but I was still shocked to see him, you know, lunging at his Secret Service.

I also thought -- and this isn`t necessarily the most legally salient details but it was one of the more colorful ones that we learned that he often threw plates around and, you know, pulled out the table cloth, which I think is interesting only because there`s been so many tell-alls about this White House that we assume we know most of what went on, and I think we now know that there`s all kinds of stuff that was going on that we had no idea.

The other thing that really struck me about the testimony is that we`ve seen -- there`s been reporting already that Donald Trump had said, in response to the "hang Mike Pence" chants, you know, maybe he deserves that or he deserve it. I don`t think we knew before that he had said that and then sent the tweet saying, Mike Pence didn`t do what needed to be done, which was one of the ones that was read by the rioters, and that they interpreted as kind of further encouragement from the president.

MELBER: Well, Michelle, you promised us nonlegal analysis, but you have landed in some very salient legal points, which is, again, whether people like it or not, there are high bars to this type of thing, which means that just saying or sending out certain types of remarks on their own, even vicious horrific things you`d never want to hear from a president are not if so facto crimes. What you just pointed out was the advanced corrupt knowledge of the violent threat, of who`s on site, and then doing that, well, that changes everything, right?

Just as in a criminal case, Nick, trying to light a cigarette randomly is not usually by itself a crime. Right? That`s just smoking up.


MELBER: But if you have reason to know that the room is full of gasoline and your enemy is in there, and you light the cigarette and toss it into the room, the action -- that`s why I mentioned the overt act combined with the criminal intent changes everything, right. The difference between an accident and running someone over with a car is a big deal because car accidents happen. They`re different than murder.

I want to say all that by way of introduction to the next piece of testimony that I want both of your reaction to. This is the heart of the incriminating evidence. Trump knew his supporters were armed. The aide says not only did he not care, but critically, and listen to this part, how that figure into his plotting and plans for the day.


HUTCHINSON: And he felt the mags were at fault for not letting everybody in.


He wanted it full, and he was angry that we weren`t letting people through the mags with weapons. But when we were in the offstage announce tent I was part of a conversation -- I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the president say something to the effect of, I don`t care that they have weapons. They`re not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away.


MELBER: Again, Nick, on the evidence.


MELBER: He knows they`re armed and he instructs law enforcement and the Secret Service agents, take the effing metal detector away so they can get closer to agents, police, and ultimately the Capitol. Is that evidence of a crime?

AKERMAN: Of course. I mean, what he`s doing there is basically -- he says they`re not after me, so who are they after? They`re after, of course, the people in the House and Senate, the people that he wants to get back at who are not going to do his bidding on the electoral votes. So, yes, sure, that is absolutely. I suppose what he could argue is that, well, he just wanted to have a bigger crowd there for the press.

But the fact is, he knew that they had weapons. He knew that they were going to be around him, and he also knew that they weren`t coming for him, which kind of implies that he knew what this plot was all about from the beginning. So again, I mean, there`s more work for a grand jury to do. There was an interesting little tidbit that came up today about our friend Roger Stone and the outreach to him, that he was in the war room at the time.


AKERMAN: And I think that is going to be kind of a little tidbit that`s going to get some more play at one of the other hearings. But we certainly knew that the chief of staff wanted to go to that meeting. He wound up being on the phone instead. He did call Roger Stone.

MELBER: Yes, and we`ll get to that.


MELBER: And I know you`re following every lead. On the removal of metal detectors to make it easier to bring weapons, Michelle, again, sometimes people don`t like it when I say this, but legally there is an individual right to bear arms in this country. That is what the Supreme Court has found. You can bear arms in certain contexts for self-defense. So when we analyze these situations, if someone can say their goal and intent was only self-defense, then that can be lawful.

The problem for Donald Trump, he`s not talking about self-defense. He says the weapons will be used against other politicians. The target is someone else. The target removes the defense of self-defense if you`re using weapons to target people.

GOLDBERG: I mean, look, I think that Donald Trump frequently uses his narcissism, divorce from reality as an alibi to say, well, you know, of course, I just wanted more people in the crowd. I just -- you know, I didn`t want to say bad things about my supporters. There`s, you know, part of the problem with kind of establishing a corrupt state of mind with Donald Trump is that his connection to reality has always been called into question.

I think what`s clear here is that both he knew exactly what they intended to do, and he, you know, encouraged them, knowing that they were armed. He encouraged them to march on the Capitol any way, and at every stage, he -- you know, as we heard from this witness that when she tried to say, you know, they`re about to breach the gates. They`re about to overrun the building, Mark Meadows basically replied to her, the president thinks they`re doing the right thing.

MELBER: Yes. They`re telling me we`re running over on time but I have one more thing I want to show, so I`d like you to both get sort of lightning round, in a sentence, your reaction to how this matters in the world. We live in a time of great intensity and deaths, also fatigue and cynicism. We talked about this before, Michelle. People don`t know which thing to care about. They don`t know which thing is going to matter.

But I do want to show as this plays out around the country today, this bombshell we saw reaction from some real veteran people, including Watergate journalists, other people on this network and others. Over on FOX News, we checked, there was one moment where coming out of it there was actually a stunned silence, and I will say as someone who talks too much, maybe for a living, when you stun people into silence that sometimes says more than whatever they might say on a network that has tried to minimize deflect, and at times lie about the horrific violence that day. So we just want to show this for your reaction. Take a look.


BRETT BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The testimony in and of itself is really, really powerful.

CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST: She gave the picture of a mad king.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Civility is not a sign of weakness, a lesson apparently lost on our former president.

BERNSTEIN: He is a criminal and a seditious president of the United States.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: All of this is obviously riveting. It`s very dramatic.


JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: It is worse than we ever imagined.

KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST, KATY TUR REPORTS: This hearing was billed to be a wow moment, and it certainly it seems to me delivered on that wow.


MELBER: In this segment, final thought in a sentence, Nick?

AKERMAN: Facts matter. Evidence matters.

GOLDBERG: I think her bravery matters. When you think of, you know, the cowardice of so many of the other people around him, including Mike Flynn who took the Fifth when asked if he believed in the peaceful transfer of power. You know, her bravery shows that even in a very cynical country that can still break through.

MELBER: Far braver, although it`s a low bar than her boss, the chief of staff for the president of the United States.

GOLDBERG: Who asked for a pardon we learned today.

MELBER: Who asked for a pardon because he things he needs a pardon, and pardons are for criminals.

We ran long because this is super important. Thanks to both of you, Nick and Michelle.

Coming up, there are other revelations we`re going to walk through. A bombshell about tampering. A Trump aide pleading the Fifth about the peaceful transfer of power. We have people coming out basically on the record as tyrants. Michael Steele is here. And by the end of the hour, a Trump filmmaker we learned late today got a new subpoena. He`ll be reacting for the first time right here on THE BEAT. Stay with us.



MELBER: Welcome back to our special coverage as we track what many experts see as the most incriminating day of insurrection testimony against Donald Trump. Here is what that same White House aide that we`ve been covering discussed about the top lawyer in the Trump White House. The White House counsel said about concerns about crimes being committed if they went ahead and marched on the Capitol with the president.


HUTCHINSON: I saw Mr. Cipollone right before I walked out onto West Exec that morning, and Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of, please make sure we don`t go up to the Capitol, Cassidy. Keep in touch with me. We`re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.

CHENEY: And do you remember which crime Mr. Cipollone was concerned with?

HUTCHINSON: In the days leading up to the 6th, we had conversations about potentially obstructing justice or defrauding the electoral count.


MELBER: Crimes, obstructing justice, defrauding the electoral count. Before the 6th. That`s not a portrait of a riot that got out of control or lawful advocacy of an election. It is a portrait on the inside of the White House, among Trump loyalists, they knew crimes were in the works. They were worried about crimes on the 6th.

It`s a whole other part of today`s testimony we have not gotten to yet. Michael Steele is here when we`re back in just one minute.



HUTCHINSON: I remember Pat saying something to the effect of, Mark, we need to do something more. They`re literally calling for the vice president to be effing hung. And Mark had responded something to the effect of, you heard him, Pat, he thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn`t think they`re doing anything wrong.


MELBER: More incriminating testimony there about Donald Trump thinking that assassinating the vice president was proper. Some of the most shocking testimony was not only the legal criminal evidence, which we`ve been walking through, but as we bring in Michael Steele, it is also a portrait of a Trump presidency so unhinged that it goes farther than so much of the supposedly shocking and terrible things we`ve already heard.

Donald Trump basically completely out of control, physically, mentally, emotionally. Throwing tantrums in the White House residence like when he learned that his once loyal attorney general had publicly fact checked his loss and referred to the fact that there was no major voter fraud.


HUTCHINSON: There was ketchup dripping down the wall and there`s a shattered porcelain pretty on the floor. The valet had articulated that the president was extremely angry at the attorney general`s "AP" interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall. There were several times throughout my tenure with the chief of staff that I was aware of him either throwing dishes or flipping the table cloth.


MELBER: Flipping the table cloth. Amidst the attempt to overthrow the government he`s also overthrowing the table with this very deeply Trumpian testimony of ketchup dripping, dripping down the wall.

We knew that there was a coup attempt. That much has been clear, and it`s been referred to as a sloppy coup. Now we know just how sloppy it was. If it weren`t such a serious news day, I might quote Aubrey Graham to say, you see how sticky it gets.

I`m joined now RNC chair Michael Steele. It`s too serious for me to do that, as you understand, so I won`t. But the ketchup on the walls, it`s like a cross between the final days of Nixon, the shining.


And then Donald Trump physically clashing with Secret Service agents, which is a combo that I don`t know, that we`ve ever seen documented in American history. Beyond the law, which we`ve now spent half the program on, I wanted your reaction to what it means to have such an unhinged president. Was that a national security concern? If this person returned to power what would that mean, with the control over the nukes and everything else?

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIR: Well, it`s obvious if you returned to power, we`re all screwed. I mean, beyond screwed at this point. I mean, because he will have around him people who will be much more protective of his self-interest and self-image, who will without hesitation, or any, you know, independent thought, do what he wants them to do. So, I`m not -- we won`t even go there.

That`s just not even something that`s worth musing about at this stage. Because the evidence coming out is so damn. And yes, we`ve all understood Donald Trump to be unhinged on a number of levels for a number of times for a while. Now, this is just further verification for a lot of that, Ari. Where I kind of tip -- where the scale tips for me is the Cipollone and the Mark Meadows, particularly Cipollone -- Cipollone.

Now, we`re not -- don`t go up on the Hill that day, right? Because we could get charged with all kinds of crimes, state of mind, baby. State of mind. I mean, so it`s -- now everybody`s focus on what`s Trump`s state of mind. OK, that`s important, but equally, if not more, so are the people around here who have been charged to do certain things to carry out certain orders.

Even down to a secret service agent who`s told to drive the car to the Hill because I`m the effing president. And so, I think what Ms. Hutchinson did today was to really give us a behind-the-curtains view of not just the mental state of the White House, but the actions and the sort of scrambling --

MELBER: Yes, Michael, let`s bear down what you`re saying. The scrambling in that moment. As someone who has been up close and personal you -- I remind folks, you ran the Republican Party, you know, a lot of these individuals and various moments, when you hear this new testimony that he was grabbing the wheel, physically clashing with the agent to get to the Capitol.

Is it your interpretation, then that he wanted to get to the Capitol that our in that desperate intensity because he thought if he got there to join those armed insurrections, he might actually pull this off and stay in office?

STEELE: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. It`s like -- it`s like, you know, General Washington or Napoleon or any great leader, going to the head of the crowd, you know, the head of the army that sort of serves them over. And so, for Trump, that mattered to him. But what again, it goes back to that scrambling in the moment, trying -- this, you know, being wanting to go to the Willard Hotel and being told not to, the president wanting to go into the Hill and being told not to.

It begs the question. I`m curious now more about the conversations between Meadows, Cipollone, and McCarthy. I`m more interested in how those individuals communicated on that day. And now as you know, I understand why Kevin doesn`t want us up here.

Understand why Cipollone doesn`t want to talk because you now have a lot more to dig into with them about than they may be willing to talk. You thought Flynn was the king of the Fifth Amendment. I would bet these two would come with the Fifth Amendment tattooed on their forehead.

MELBER: Right along with you know, a couple tattoo tears for democracy. Here`s again, Hutchinson on when they had to grab the arm and that whole exchange which you were discussing, take a listen.


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE AIDE: Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We`re going back to the West Wing. We`re not going to the Capitol. Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engle and Mr. woodenness (PH) Renato had recounted the stories to me, he motioned towards his clavicles.


MELBER: Grabbing the throat or the clavicle. Michael, part of my job is just to ask the straightforward question so we don`t lose the thread. If a non-president did this. If any other person civilian or government employee in your experience did that clashing with a senior Secret Service agent what would happen to them?


STEELE: I likely would have been arrested in the moment. In fact, if that occurred inside of the presidential vehicle, they would have stopped, which the video shows it did because people need to keep -- when they leave, then it stops. That`s the moment all of that`s happening. Right? And at that moment, anybody else would have been pulled out of the truck and arrested.

But of course, it`s the president. So that`s not what happens here. It`s a different circumstance, and the agents handled it as best they could, under those circumstances. But that doesn`t mean other authorities shouldn`t look at that. And that there could be ramifications from that.

MELBER: How could you not? Michael to let you finish, he talked about, oh, he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, you know. And again, I made this point -- while serving as president, the federal government has a position that it does not indict the chief of the federal government. That`s a -- you know, that`s a law school hypothetical problem you could deal with.

He`s not president anymore. And there`s a question here about if you`re above the law or not, if you combine what Cipollone said, I`ll let you, you know, finish this up. But Cipollone said multiple crimes. He has a physical clash with the agent.

He is trying to admit armed people who we know then committed crimes against officers who are also on trial for seditious conspiracy. At what point do we stop talking about whether Donald Trump gets indicted for a crime and look at whether there`s a multi-count indictment here based on again, not one`s opinions of the president, but the evidence of crime.

STEELE: I think that`s very much the space that we`re about to walk into with another piece to be delivered by the committee as alluded to by Liz Cheney today about with witness tampering. I`m trying to bring pressure on some of these witnesses. So, There`s --

MELBER: And we have that coming up.

STEELE: There`s a lot here that the Justice Department can chew on because they would -- it would be a meal for them if they were dealing with anybody else other than Donald Trump than a former president. There would be no hesitation about the kind of case that --

MELBER: You laid out and that -- look, Nixon wanted a pardon because he didn`t think it was impossible to be charged. A lot of people around Trump wanted pardons. Added to that list today. According to testimony. Mr. Steele, thank you.

We have a lot more coming up. That`s new. We haven`t gotten to yet. The FBI patting down the coup mastermind. This is new video you see here. This is more of the interactions we are learning about as the investigations build on what happened in Congress and the testimony about the pardons. We have a January 6 Committee member here live next.



MELBER: Our coverage continues now this blockbuster hearing. The top aide for Donald Trump up through January 6. Mark Meadows wanted a pardon specifically for what he did related to the insurrection.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY), JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE VICE-CHAIRMAN: Did Rudy Giuliani ever suggest that he was interested in receiving a presidential pardon related to January 6?


CHENEY: Ms. Hutchinson did White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ever indicate that he was interested in receiving a presidential pardon related to January 6?

HUTCHINSON: Mr. Meadows said seek that pardon. Yes, ma`am.


MELBER: I`m joined now by Congressman Pete Aguilar, California, a member of the January 6 Committee after this blockbuster hearing today. Thank you for joining us.

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA), JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE: Thanks for having me, Ari.

MELBER: What was the most important new evidence in your view today?

AGUILAR: Well, I don`t think that there was, it`s tough to put my finger on one thing. But clearly in this hearing, what was laid out very clearly, by Ms. Hutchinson was that the president knew that this was going to be a violent attack. He and his top advisors knew that there could be violence at the Capitol. And they did nothing, not just during the 187 minutes while the attack was going on. But they knew that this mob was capable of these days in advance. And that`s --

MELBER: Yes, congressman -- I`m only jumping in to say -- that the funny part of your job is you`ve probably known much of this longer than everyone else. So, we`re actually asking you to sort of predate your own mind, because it`s new to the world, as we`ve emphasized in our coverage that he was saying before the rally, hey, get the armed people in here. And then I`m going to go with him to the Capitol. When did you first learn that and what does that say about his liability?

AGUILAR: Well, I think committee members have had a lot of these details. And like we have said from the very beginning, this is about piecing these together, putting this puzzle together. But we`ve had some of these details for a little while, throughout these hearings on the five -- the five hearings we had to date. But clearly, you know, this is good work that we are trying to lay out to the American public.

MELBER: Understood. Let`s look at this moment where former member of the U.S. military a convicted member of Donald Trump`s administration, Mike Flynn, basically in public on record. Sounds like he supports violent dictatorships and overthrows the government because he pleads the fifth on the most basic democratic question a peaceful transfer of power.


CHENEY: Do you believe the violence on January 6 was justified morally?


CHENEY: You believe the violence on January 6 was justified legally?

FLYNN: Fifth.

CHENEY: General Flynn, do you believe in the peaceful transition of power in the United States of America?


FLYNN: The fifth.


MELBER: What does that mean?

AGUILAR: The fact that a former general can`t even say he believes in a peaceful transfer of power is scary and alarming, and Americans should be frightened by it. But the fact that this individual was in the former president`s ear so much during this time period and over years, is also equally alarming. But he wasn`t the only conspiracy theorist in Donald Trump`s ear.

MELBER: Yes. And congressman, when this impromptu sort of surprise hearing came through, it was different than every other hearing. It was basically yesterday. The witness`s identity was kept secret. The statement that the committee put out online refer to, quote, recently obtained evidence that necessitated the unusual sudden rollout today. What was that recently obtained evidence?

AGUILAR: Well, Ms. Hutchinson has been incredibly generous with her timing and being deposed multiple times. There was information that was gathered through those conversations that led us to feel that this was an important step --

MELBER: But respectfully -- I just to make sure we`re clear on this. Those are older depositions, those were available, of course, last week, not on a 24-hour turnaround. So, what was the recent part?

AGUILAR: Well, we`ve always said, Ari, that our schedule was fluid, we felt that this was important to share with the American public, we felt that this was timely and important. We feel that there`s a lot here. And we didn`t think that it could wait based on a congressional calendar that I share this with the American public.

MELBER: I guess what I`m asking -- and again, just doing my job, because I`ve already said to the audience, how important today`s hearing was, but on the process, I guess what I`m really asking to pin it is, was there something actually new in the last 24 to 48 hours, or as some critics or cynics have said is -- was this some effort to make it seem extra urgent if the underlying material could have been scheduled in the more normal procedure?

AGUILAR: No, this was a pretty normal procedure. I mean, this is a hearing that we noticed. Look, from a process standpoint, the committee just wants to make sure we`re doing our due diligence that we`re putting this information out in the public and we`re not going to be guided by the congressional calendar alone. We want to tell this story and share it with the American public because there`s so much at stake in protecting democracy. That`s the motivation behind the schedule.

MELBER: OK. Well wanted to get your answer on that. As always, as I said, everyone. Appreciate you taking all the questions. It was certainly a newsworthy hearing, no question about that, sir. And a busy day for you. So, Congressman Aguilar, thanks for making time.

AGUILAR: Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: Absolutely. We`re going to fit in a break and then we have something huge that any other day would have come up even earlier because the man you see on your screen, that Trump filmmaker just got hit with a subpoena down in Georgia. We`ll have his exclusive response tonight.

Plus, the video surfacing of the FBI right here going at a coup mastermind. As he protests, they put his hands on his head and seize his phone under a lawful warrant. That is coup plotter John Eastman, more on that tonight.



MELBER: The other big point in today`s hearing, a warning about witness tampering. One witness telling this committee, Trump officials have reminded them, Trump reads transcripts, keep that in mind, during depositions and the committee recounts a phone call where a witness said to quote, a person from Trump land let me know, Trump wants you to know he`s thinking about you.

He knows you`re loyal, and that you`re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition. Sounds like mob talk. What are they getting at? Well, witness tampering is someone who uses intimidation or corruptly persuades someone to influence delay, or prevent testimony and an official proceeding which this is. A blunt warning from Congress about potential new crimes.

As all of this is going on, I want to tell you the other big story is this video where you can see federal agents going at Trump lawyer and coup mastermind John Eastman, he is the man with his hands on his head as the agents pat him down to make sure he`s not a threat, and then lawfully, pretty peacefully take that phone. This is the evidence they are using. They had a search warrant.

They showed it to him after taking the phone and this is why Mr. Eastman and others there`s a warrant being handed to him are so concerned. He took the Fifth Amendment. He`s a lawyer, he thinks he has criminal liability. And now brand new on video, federal agents treating him like someone with potential criminal evidence. As we`ve reminded you, you cannot get a warrant for that kind of thing, that phone without proving to an independent judge that the man likely has evidence of a crime on his person.

And as if that wasn`t enough, a new subpoena for filmmaker Alex Holder. You may remember he testified to the committee. Now, he`s got subpoenas down in the district attorney case in Georgia, and he just responded to us about it.


ALEX HOLDER, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: Have been subpoenaed. I seem to be collecting subpoenas in the last few days. But we are cooperating with any law enforcement or judicial process. And I look forward to meeting them down the line and we`ll see whatever they like I will definitely provide.


MELBER: As you can tell, we just got that interview. As he says he`s collecting subpoenas. We recorded that here on hearing day. We`ll play you more of it tomorrow. What you see on your screen, though, is a sign of how this investigative committee`s process works. The DOJ makes independent judgments, for example, they never indicted Mark Meadows for defying the committee. They looked at that case and passed.

But when they get other factual information that they have to act on independently. Well, you see on the camera screen here they will. Mr. Eastman they`re the one gesturing, looking at his own subpoena is the one facing this kind of scrutiny and if you add it up, you have DOJ officials and Mr. Eastman now facing these kind of federal lawful investigative measures.


Mr. Eastman not under his own authority there, he has to respond to the agents who are armed, he has to turn over his phone because the judge ordered it. And now his phone will be reviewed for evidence of a crime just as Mr. Navarro and Mr. Bannon await their criminal trials. Justice can be a slow process and there are those trying to fight it in America but the video on your screen combined with today`s hearing shows in some quarters it is still proceeding apace.

I want to remind you we will all be back for an 8:00 p.m. recap special today. Rachel Maddow leading it along with our whole team Joy, Nicole, myself, and others you see on the screen. And speaking of Joy she`ll be back with her coverage continuing live right now after this break.