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Officers Speak on Trauma at the Capitol Insurrection; McCarthy Speaks After Vote; Arizona Conducts Audit of Election; Worst Fighting in Years in the Middle East. Aired 9:30-10a ET.

Aired May 14, 2021 - 09:30   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: As some continue a campaign to try to whitewash what happened on January 6th, those who were there, many of them the targets of this terrifying violence during the insurrection, are speaking up, reminding everyone that, no, it could not be mistaken for, as one Republican lawmaker called it, a tourist visit.

With me live from Washington, our law enforcement correspondent Whitney Wild.

Whitney, good morning.


These comments from some Republican members of Congress are deeply upsetting to the people who put themselves in harm's way to protect them. These comments are damaging. They are shocking. And they are deeply personal.

Here's what Officer Michael Fanone of the Metropolitan Police Department had to say, as well as Officer Harry Dunn of U.S. Capitol Police.


OFFICER MICHAEL FANONE, DEFENDED U.S. CAPITOL ON JANUARY 6TH: I'm not a politician. I'm not an elected official. I don't expect anybody to give two (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about my opinions. But I will say this, you know, those are lies.


HARLOW: OK, let me take you in. Let's listen to Kevin McCarthy, followed by Elise Stefanik.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): We just had (INAUDIBLE) conference chair. I want to congratulate Elise Stefanik and welcome -- welcome her to the leadership team. I want to thank Chip Roy as well.

We had a healthy debate and a good election.

We've got a lot of work to do in this leadership team. We've got a lot of work to do in this conference. The policies of Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are destroying this nation.

We've got gasoline lines. We've got stations that have no gas. We've got gasoline in Virginia at $7 a gallon. We've got month over month core inflation we have not seen since the '80s. The gas price has not been this high nationally since the last time Joe Biden was in the White House.

We've got the arrests along the border. The highest it's been in almost two months. More than 170,000.

It's a health crisis.

There's a security crisis where we're catching people who are on the terrorist watch list.

Inflation is a tax on every single American.

This is not where we were 18 months ago. It's where we were when Jimmy Carter was president.

We've got people giving incentives not to go to work when we have more than 8 million jobs out there that need to be filled.


We've got children still out of school, millions of them.

We've got a Congress, run by the Democrats, that pay you even if you don't show up for work (ph).

HARLOW: OK, we're waiting to hear from Elise Stefanik, the Republican congresswoman who has just been elected to the third most powerful seat there in the House. As soon as she speaks, we promise we'll bring it to you all live.

But let me get back to Whitney Wild.

Whitney, sorry we had to interrupt.

WILD: That's OK.

HARLOW: You -- we're monitoring. We're waiting for Stefanik. But, continue. We just heard from Officer Fanone.

WILD: That's right.

So I don't know if we'll be able to hear from Officer Harry Dunn, but, you know, the gist of what they were saying is that these remarks are personal because they put themselves in harm's way to protect these members of Congress. And for them to just say, oh, it was tourism, it was people mingling, it was not an insurrection is deeply hurtful for them.

Do we have the Harry Dunn sound? Can we play it? OK, all right, we're going to hear from Harry Dunn right now.



OFFICER HARRY DUNN, DEFENDED U.S. CAPITOL ON JANUARY 6th: They were there with a purpose to hurt people and they had bad intentions. And for -- it just hurts, like, to believe that people can think that it was a normal day, it was a tour and it's -- it's hurtful.


WILD: Well, in the absence of, you know, truth in some corners of Congress, and I don't want to paint with too broad of a brush here, but there are people who are denying that this happened.

On the other side, there is justice moving forward, at least in the courts, Poppy, because we know that four people have been charged with assaulting Officer Michael Fanone. We know many more have been charged with assaulting other members of law enforcement. So there is, you know, some justice for these men and women who did so much to give themselves that day, Poppy.

HARLOW: And, Whitney, in a new court filing, prosecutors are pointing to what appear to be thousands of text messages from a key Proud Boys leader and Capitol riot criminal defendant. Do you have a sense of what they show?

WILD: Well, they show two things. They show just the volume of communications among these Proud Boys, and then they also show what prosecutors say are specific examples and specific proof that they were planning this attack ahead of time.

So we have a couple excerpts of these more than 5,000 communications that prosecutors brought to court over the last few days. So here's just one.

I want to see thousands of normies burn that city to ash today.

Someone else saying it would be epic.

Another person saying the state is the enemy of the people.

This other person saying, we are the people.

F yeah.

And then one other person saying, God, let it happen. I will settle with seeing them smash some pigs to dust. So just really sort of sickening communications that prosecutors have

brought forward and what they say they show is that these are contemporaneous communications with the event that again show that there was a planned attack amongst these Proud Boys. We know many of them have pleaded not guilty. We also know many of them have been charged with conspiracy-related charges, Poppy.

HARLOW: Whitney Wild, thank you for your reporting in Washington for us this morning.

Well, despite House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy saying, just a few days ago, no one, his words, is questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. In fact, many, many in his party have. And in Arizona right now, some Republicans are still chasing conspiracy theories with their partisan review of election results in the state's largest county. It's happening right now.

Our senior national correspondent Kyung Lah joins us from Maricopa County.

Kyung, I mean I call it a so-called audit because that's what it is, it's a completely partisan review, not based on fact or evidence. What can you tell us this morning?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the third review despite the fact that there have already been two audits conducted that show no widespread fraud. But that wasn't good enough for the GOP-controlled state senate here, and they took control of 2.1 million ballots.

They were being counted in this coliseum behind me. We're at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. But just in about 20 minutes, what we are anticipating is that those 2.1 million ballots are going to have to be moved. Why? Because there are high school graduations happening here. Happen every year. This year they're going to happen in Gusto (ph). And they've got to move those ballots.

Where are they going to go? They're going to go across this state fairgrounds and, you know, we're at a state fairgrounds. This is the Crazy Town Carnival that's taking place. And what we're hearing from the people who are running this, the Cyber Ninjas (ph), hired by the Arizona senate, they're going to move them to that green building over there. And that building, there is a room inside. That's where they're going to be housed for a week.


There's 24-hour security, they pledge.


REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): And to thank my colleagues for the opportunity to serve as the House Republican conference chair. I have prioritized listening to all members of our Republican conference. And my focus is on unity, because that's what the American people and that's what our voters deserve. I also want to thank this leadership team. I look forward to working

with them in partnership, shoulder to shoulder, to make sure that we are fighting on behalf of hard-working Americans.

I also want to thank President Trump for his support. He is a critical part of our Republican team.

And, of course, most importantly, I want to thank the voters of New York's 21st Congressional District, whom I'm honored to represent each and every day and fight for them.

The American people are suffering under the far left radical socialist policies of President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In just over 100 days, we have an economic crisis, we have a border crisis, and we have a national security crisis. The economic crisis, we see the worst jobs report in over 20 years. Unemployment is up.

Small businesses are struggling to hire workers. And Speaker Pelosi and Joe Biden's solution to that is to pay people to stay out of work rather than incentivizing people to get back to work. As Republicans, we are fighting to reopen the economy, to create jobs. We are fighting against the trillions of dollars of tax increases and the trillions in dollars of reckless spending.

The border crisis. This is not only a national security and homeland security crisis, this is a humanitarian crisis. We see historic concerning numbers when it comes to human trafficking on the border, when it comes to drug trafficking on the border. Every single state in this nation is a border state and feels that impact. At home in my district, the northern border is being impacted because Border Patrol officers are being transferred from the northern border to the southern border. Republicans stand for border security.

And, of course, the national security crisis. We are seeing our strongest ally, Israel, under attack, and we have seen Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi not step up to stand by and support Israel and prioritize outreach to adversaries like China and Iran.

So I'm very excited for this opportunity. We are unified, working as one team. And the American people know that the stakes are incredibly high. We are going to fight for them each and every day against the destructive, radical far left socialist agenda of President Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi that's destroying America.

And I'll go to the first question from "The New York Post."


QUESTION: So you kind of came under fire from some conservatives that are concerned about your record. Are you concerned about -- I mean -- unifying your message but given those (INAUDIBLE) your -- did the vote -- I guess how do you kind of overcome that?

STEFANIK: Listen, the Republican Party is a big tent party. And my district is the story of the growth of the Republican Party. My district voted for President Obama by double digits and it voted for President Trump and myself by double digits. We have worked to grow the Republican Party and we -- Nancy Pelosi has her slimmest majority in a generation. We are going on offense and are going to win back the majority in 2022.

This is about being unified. I'm a proud conservative Republican. And I will fight for the Republican conference.


QUESTION: Is President Trump the leader of the Republican Party?

STEFANIK: I believe that voters determine the leader of the Republican Party, and President Trump is the leader that they look to. I support President Trump. Voters support President Trump. He is an important voice in our Republican Party, and we look forward to working with him.

QUESTION: So how can you be unified so long as you have some members who support the former president and some who don't.

STEFANIK: We are unified and I look to the voters across America. Republican voters are unified in their support and their desire to work with President Trump and we are unified as Republicans. As you -- as I said, this is the slimmest majority that Nancy Pelosi has in a generation. We picked up a number of seats, defied expectations.

We're going on offense and we're going to win on the issues because people are understanding that Joe Biden's pledge to -- of bipartisanship, he has broken that pledge since his first day in office. There has been no bipartisan outreach. It has been party line partisan far left votes. And the American people are seeing the disastrous results in the border crisis, the economic crisis, the national security crisis and more. The American people are hurting and Republicans are going to fight for them.


QUESTION: I'm hearing that Chip Roy was getting the (INAUDIBLE) President Trump statement last night suggesting that he should be challenged. Do you agree with that?

STEFANIK: Listen, competition is good in America. We are the United States of America. We should have a discussion of ideas. I welcome the competition. I'm honored for the support. We are working as one team. My job as House Republican conference chair, we are focused on putting forth policies and communicating them to the American people to beat Democrats, and we are going to win the majority in 2022 as one team.


QUESTION: Ms. Stefanik.


QUESTION: Do you -- is there a place in the party for vocal Trump critics like Liz Cheney, like Adam Kinzinger? STEFANIK: Liz Cheney is a part of this conference. Adam Kinzinger is a part of this conference. They were elected and sent here by the people in their district. They are a part of this Republican conference. We are unified in working with President Trump. My job representing our Republican members, the vast majority, we look forward to working with President Trump.



QUESTION: Can you -- have you --

HARLOW: There you have it from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, now the number three in the Republican conference in the House, saying we are unified. We are big tent. But also having to acknowledge to that reporter, of course, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, still part of that conference and making very clear that Donald Trump is the leader of the Republican Party. She reiterated that and said she looks forward to working with the former president.

I just want to note something also that was just wildly inaccurate talking about the economy, blasting this economy, saying we just got the worst jobs report in 20 years. That is not true. Not even close to true.

We'll keep monitoring this.

We'll be right back.



HARLOW: More bloodshed in the Middle East overnight. Israel says at least eight Israeli citizens have been killed since this violence escalated on Monday. The Palestinian Ministry of Health says at least 119 Palestinians have been killed in these clashes, including 31 children.

Let's go to my colleague, CNN chief international anchor, Christiane Amanpour, from London.

And, Christiane, I really wanted you to join us for the big picture as people have watched this happening all week long. You know, it's been 21 years since the second intifada and there have been flare-ups since, but this feels different, including the fact that you not only have the Israelis and the Palestinians clashing, but you have clashes between Jewish and Arab Israelis.

What is this going to lead to?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, that is absolutely right. And actually the internal clashes are unlike what we've seen in the past, to the point that the president of Israel and the current defense minister, who is conducting the war against Gaza, he actually intervened on Israeli television to say we can't win in Gaza and lose the war at home. So they're very concerned about that.

In some places it's neighbor on neighbor. In some places it's roving gangs of, quote/unquote vigilantes who are trying to take justice into their own hand. And there's been a lot of appeals for that to stop.

From where I sit here in the U.K., one of the things that's uniting not just allies but also adversaries, like Russia, the U.S., Britain, you know, all these countries, of course the U.N., is to try to appeal to both sides to deescalate before, in the words of U.N. Special envoy (ph), this descends into full scale war.

Last time was 2014. It took seven weeks before Israel pulled back and Palestinians, well, Hamas in Gaza pulled back.

But as you can see, it's not an equal fight. Israel is heavily defended by the United States and heavily supported by the United States. It is not true, as Rep. Stefanik said, that President Biden has not supported Israel's right to defend itself. He has very clearly.

On the other hand, they are also saying Israel carries the burden of being careful and responsible so that civilians are not targeted and not hit. And I think, you know, this is what everybody looks at when these flare-ups happen. It's the civilians who are caught and who are primary victims, including children, as you mentioned, on the Palestinian side. They say at least 31 on the Israeli side. A six- year-old boy was killed, as well, as you said, eight others died.

So it's always the civilians who pay the highest price for political dysfunction, and that's what has to be addressed.

HARLOW: And looking, you bring up the Biden administration and looking at what is different this time in terms of, you know, a U.S. role or U.S. conversation. It's notable that there's not a unifying -- unified leader when you look at Mahmoud Abbas capturing or representing the full public sentiment right now. It's not like Yasser Arafat before.

And Tom Friedman, I'm sure you saw, pointed that out in his column earlier this week, right, and what does that mean when there's not that person on the other end of the phone for President Biden? I mean does that make this more challenging? Does this -- does that -- does that escalate this in your mind?

AMANPOUR: Look, it's been the same way since Hamas won the elections in Gaza in 2007, if I'm not mistaken. That's when they won the elections and took control of Gaza and, therefore, Mahmoud Abbas and that faction, called Fatah, are in control in the West Bank.

This started in Jerusalem. It started at the beginning of this week, or, rather, it, you know, spilled over into violence at the beginning of this week for several reasons. And even Israelis, you know, if you talk to them, agree and admit this, it was started by essentially the demonstrations, the protests in east Jerusalem by Palestinian families who saw settler activists and movement trying to evict them from their homes in what's now become a familiar name, Sheikh Jarrah, and the -- that part of east Jerusalem. To the point that the Israeli attorney general had to ask the supreme

court to avoid and delay and postpone a ruling on that so that it doesn't get further enflamed.

Coupled with that, you had Israeli police, the police chief, who apparently is fairly new to his job and somewhat inexperienced according to Israeli press reports on the ground, who, at the height of Ramadan, the holiest month, where they know Palestinians and Muslims go to Jerusalem, go to the al-Aqsa, go to what's called the Damascus Gate to eat after dawn (ph), to gather and talk, they fenced it off, the Israeli police.


Again, a former Israeli (ph) national intelligence -- or rather national security official said we handled it wrong. We gave Hamas an excuse to start, you know, threatening and (INAUDIBLE).

So there's been a lot of misplay on the ground.

And then Hamas starts to fire rockets into Israel and you see what happens in Israeli civilian neighborhoods. And then Israel starts with its heavy and much heavier, obviously, military air strikes and its artillery fire and they're trying to target Hamas infrastructure and, of course, Gaza is a place where Hamas and civilians are all mixed up and who dies? Many, many dozens of civilians.

They say they are attacking and trying to, again, target Hamas tunnels and infrastructure that they use. And I think what we're going see is, because the prime minister of Israel, actually the acting prime minister, and this is another problem because they don't have a functioning government, the acting prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, is saying that until we establish deterrents, in other words hit them hard, we don't even want a cease-fire.

So that's where we are right now. While Egypt is talking -- or trying to talk to Hamas in Gaza, the Jordanians, the Americans and others are trying to talk to the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank. And, you know, at the heart of all of this is an unresolved political crisis where an occupation has to end and both sides need to have their own independent, free, safe and secure states. That's the bottom line. And the longer that get put off, the more we see this.

HARLOW: Christiane, your point is so important. It is the civilians caught in the middle that die, including, as you mentioned, Israeli and Palestinian children.

Thank you, as always, from London, for us.

A new dawn in the pandemic. The CDC says if you are fully vaccinated, you can ditch the mask in most cases. Plenty of questions all of us have this morning. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us to answer them.