The following is a transcript of an interview with Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar of California that aired Sunday, June 26, 2022, on “Face the Nation.”
MARGARET BRENNAN: California congressman Pete Aguilar is a member of the January 6 Select Committee and he joins us from New York. Good morning to you, Congressman.
REP. PETE AGUILAR: Good morning, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We also heard sworn testimony that the former president spoke to the Justice Department and Homeland Security about seizing voting machines. There was testimony this week that a Pentagon official and the Defense Secretary, the Acting Defense Secretary, were chasing a conspiracy theory about Italian satellites changing votes. These are outrageous ideas. But- but how far did this actually get?
REP. AGUILAR: Well, I think what the- the testimony, and- and what we have laid out clearly indicates that the President, you know, knew he lost the election. And then he continued to gravitate to these conspiracy theories along the way, in November and December calling election corrupt, as we heard the Department of Justice officials, and then when every legal door had closed, and he lost over 60 lawsuits, then the pressure campaign to the Department of Justice. to his own vice president, that’s what we saw. But there was no shortage of conspiracy theorists in his ear each and every time the text messages to Mark Meadows lay that out, theory after theory, individuals bringing things up that had no basis in fact, and that his own department of justice refuted.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Does Vice President Pence, who you just mentioned, does he need to come and testify before your committee?
REP. AGUILAR: Well, that was the- the hearing that I led was all about the President’s pressure on the vice president. We heard directly about that pressure campaign from his top legal counsel at the time, and we think it was an important hearing. And clearly, there is a lot more there. And we would obviously love to gather more information. But I think we clearly laid out the case that the President had no regard for the Vice President’s safety, never reached out to him that day, at all, and was willing to sacrifice his own Vice President while stopping a peaceful transfer of power if it meant holding on to power himself.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you don’t have a firm no from the former Vice President?
REP. AGUILAR: I’m not gonna get into, you know, conversations about future interviews or witnesses. But what I can tell you is that the committee has said from the very beginning, more information is good. And we’re always going to be willing to take in more information about what happened on January 6, and what were the causes that led up to January 6, but clearly, as we’ve laid out in five strong hearings, that this is just about telling the facts, and that’s all we’re concerned about.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So we look at our own polling, and we see that confidence in the U.S. electoral system is not faring well. Most Americans think at least somewhat likely in the future, according to our polling, election officials will refuse to certify a result for political reasons. Do you think based on the work you’ve been doing that the public should feel more confident?
REP. AGUILAR: Well, I think the public should be aware of this. And I think that’s exactly what the hearing has sought to do, which is how do we protect democracy? This is bigger than- than Donald Trump. This is bigger than one individual. How do we protect democracy and make sure that we stand up for the rule of law? And clearly, there were individuals who did their job that day, and leading up to January 6, Brad Raffensperger and other elected officials who truly did their job. But in the future, there will be an option, or there is a possibility, that people may not do their job and I think that’s the problem that we- that we face.
MARGARET BRENNAN: There’s a little bit of competing background noise there. But I do want to ask you, we heard from those Justice Department officials who testified this week about Mr. Trump’s plans to install this lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, as the acting Attorney General to help his scheme here to overturn the election. And Liz Cheney, the Vice Chair, made a passionate plea for the White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, to come and talk to you. Are you going to subpoena him? Why is he not on the docket?
REP. AGUILAR: Well, there will be future hearings, there will be more witnesses. That’s what I can say. I’m not gonna get into specifics for witnesses. But I believe that the vice chair was very clear that we would love to hear from Pat Cipollone. There are other witnesses who we feel will add to- to what we are doing and the work product that we’re putting together on future hearings that we have when Congress reconvenes. We look forward to these future hearings. This is about piecing together this puzzle for the American public and so we know clearly what’s at stake in protecting democracy.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to read the names here of the individuals we heard this week actually asked for pardons due to their role on January 6. Congressman Jim Jordan Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene inquired about presidential pardons. A White House aide testified that Matt Gaetz, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert, Scott Perry, all sitting congressmen, explicitly asked for pardons. What actions should be taken against your fellow lawmakers?
REP. AGUILAR: Well, many of these lawmakers, we have asked to come before the committee. We have sent them letters, we’ve sent some subpoenas to them. What’s important is that we tell the truth. But as my colleague Adam Kinzinger mentioned, there really isn’t- I think the American public understands this- folks asking for pardons generally feel that they did something illegal. And so I think it’s important that the public understands that. I think what people understand about the January 6 committee is that we only present things based in evidence and fact. That’s exactly what we laid out this week. We look forward to laying out more facts about what happened as well as this topic.
And we will look for those further hearings. Thank you, Congressman, for your time today. We’ll be right back.
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