Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

Democrats Furious Over Impeachment Trial Rules; President Trump Heads To Davos Amid Impeachment Trial; Countdown To Iowa Caucuses: 13 Days. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 21, 2020 - 05:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[05:30:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): When you look at his resolution it's no wonder he delayed it until the last minute. He didn't want people to study it or know about it. After reading McConnell's resolution it's clear McConnell is hell-bent on making it much more difficult to get witnesses and documents and intent on rushing the trial through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: All right, let's see how this is all going to play out. Senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju with the latest from Capitol Hill -- Manu.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Laura and Ryan.

Now, just hours before the Senate trial is officially set to begin, Mitch McConnell unveiled the resolution detailing the parameters of how the trial would actually take shape. And under the rules that Mitch McConnell put out -- put forward, it's going to -- it's expected to be a pretty fast-moving trial if senators don't agree to subpoena witnesses or documents. If they decide to reject all that, then we could see the president potentially being acquitted by next week.

Now, this is how it essentially will play out under the resolution that McConnell laid out.

After the debate on Tuesday, in which the lawmakers will take up the resolution the president -- that Sen. McConnell put forward, there will be lots of amendments that Democrats will offer. Those Democrats' amendments undoubtedly will be rejected by Republicans. Probably all of them will fail.

They'll seek to require witnesses and documents from coming forward. Republicans, they will deal with that later in the trial. Ultimately, the McConnell plan will be adopted sometime late Tuesday.

Then, Wednesday comes the opening arguments. The Democrats will have 24 hours to make their case but they can only use two days of the 24 hours, so that means it could go probably on Thursday and -- Wednesday and Thursday of this week. That's when the opening arguments of the Democrats would happen.

And then afterwards, the White House would -- the president's team would have 24 hours to make their case. So that would happen on probably Friday, Saturday. And maybe if they don't use all that time they could yield that time back.

And at that point, the senators would question all of the members of -- question the two sides for up to 16 hours. Now, it's possible that those questions could extend into Monday and if we get into Monday, that's when the question time could be up. And then they'll have a vote about whether to bring forward any witnesses -- subpoena any witnesses.

If that vote fails, which is very possible, then they'll move on to the question about whether to admit any new evidence in the case -- the evidence being the ones that have -- what has been gathered by the House Democrats in the impeachment inquiry.

This is different than the Clinton case that allowed the House evidence to be automatically admitted to the record. Now the Senate will have to vote about whether to admit the evidence into the record. And no matter what happens there, if there's no witnesses that have been agreed to come -- be subpoenaed -- no documents that have been agreed to be subpoenaed, then the president could be acquitted if the Senate moves to acquit him some time by the middle of next week.

And this is exactly what the president wants. He wants to be cleared by the time of his State of the Union address February fourth and it appears increasingly likely that will be the case.

But, of course, this is a hugely consequential trial. Lots of twists and turns along the way. We'll see if anything surprises us along the way.

Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right, a busy day on Capitol Hill, Manu. Thank you.

Meantime, the president's lawyers and his allies in the Senate are working behind the scenes to keep former national security adviser John Bolton from testifying in the impeachment trial. Witnesses said Bolton expressed alarm at the president's shadow Ukraine policy, comparing it to a drug deal.

According to "The Washington Post," they're gaming out contingency plans in case Democrats win enough Republican votes to force witness testimony. The first step would be a huge battle in the courts, of course, but if that fails they would consider moving Bolton's testimony to a classified setting, citing national security concerns. That would ensure the former national security adviser's testimony does not become public, but it could come with serious political risks for the GOP with Democrats asking what exactly are they trying to hide.

NOBLES: Eight House Republicans are being added to the president's legal team, although they're legal role is a little unclear. Doug Collins of George, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Debbie Lesko of Arizona, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, John Ratcliffe of Texas, and Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin, both of New York.

None of them are expected to speak on the Senate floor. Instead, sources say they're going to serve as outside advisers and T.V. surrogates. A number of the House members have been meeting regularly with President Trump's lawyers to help them prepare for the floor arguments.

JARRETT: The majority of Americans believe the Senate should remove President Trump from office. Take a look at the latest CNN poll here. Fifty-one percent of voters say the president needs to go before the trial even gets underway. Forty-five percent, however, do not believe he should be removed. That's an increase of six percentage points since December.

And when asked if there should be testimony from new witnesses at the president's trial -- well, 69 percent said yes, an obvious overwhelming majority. Twenty-six percent said no.

[05:35:04]

NOBLES: And as his Senate impeachment trial heats up, President Trump is at the 50th World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In fact, he's expected to deliver opening remarks momentarily.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live at Davos where the president is getting set to speak. Jeremy, what's the latest?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ryan, moments from now we expect the president to walk in right behind me here. That's why you see the big crowd gathered awaiting the president's arrival here at the World Economic Forum.

And the president is expected to bring with him a message, of course, of a booming U.S. economy. That is, of course, the scripted remarks that we expect to hear from him.

The question though, of course, Ryan, is to what extent will impeachment enter the president's thought process and to what extent it will enter the remarks that he delivers here at the World Economic Forum. We know that in the days before arriving here in Davos the president has been tweeting and privately complaining about the impeachment proceedings that are taking place against him. And, of course, that trial is set to begin in a matter of hours.

Now, some of the president's aides are hoping that the speech that he is going to give here, the meetings that he has with world leaders as well -- as business leaders as well -- that that will perhaps take the president's mind off of impeachment a little bit. That he'll be focused on other matters, including the economy -- things that the White House really likes to sell and likes to talk about -- likes to have the president talk about. But we know, of course, that the president is -- you know, often goes off scripts -- often talks about whatever is on his mind, and so we will be expecting that.

Either way, though, the White House does hope that this will be a positive split-screen moment for the White House. While back in Washington, thousands of miles away, you have Democrats pushing to remove the president from office, the White House hopes that that contrast will be the president here focused on the economy, focused on doing the business of diplomacy here at Davos -- Ryan.

NOBLES: All right, Jeremy Diamond live in Davos. Jeremy, thank you for that update.

We'll wait to hear what the president has to say. He's -- you know, the hope here is that, at least from his advisers, that he doesn't talk about impeachment. But with President Trump, you don't know.

JARRETT: It's the first day of the trial -- come on.

NOBLES: It's going to be difficult for him to stay away.

JARRETT: Well, the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell's plan for President Trump's impeachment trial has Democratic leader Chuck Schumer warning of a cover-up. We'll discuss, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:41:30]

NOBLES: It will be a busy day in Washington. Here's a live look at the Capitol right now. We're just hours away from events taking place right here that historians will one day write about -- just the third impeachment trial in American history.

JARRETT: Let's bring in Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst and also a historian and professor at Princeton University. Julian, it's so great to have you here --

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, CO-AUTHOR, "FAULT LINES: A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES SINCE 1974": Good morning.

JARRETT: -- on such a historic day.

We have now gotten the trial briefs from the president's team, really the first articulation -- meaningful articulation of their argument. And what do they say? Well, he didn't do anything wrong -- the call was perfectly fine. They also make this argument -- this zombie that has somehow come back to life -- that if there wasn't a violation of the criminal code -- no crime here -- then it's not impeachable.

Explain for our viewers why that just completely flies in the face of what the founders envisioned.

ZELIZER: Well, that's not part of what the founders said. That's not the definition of what's impeachable. We have precedent with Andrew Johnson where that wasn't actually a standard that's being used. So that's a standard that's being used by the Trump team to defend what the president did and similar to the first argument many people dispute as well that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense.

NOBLES: You know, ultimately, Julian, this is not a legal conversation, right --

ZELIZER: Right.

NOBLES: -- it's a political one, so it's important for us to look at what the polls tell us about this.

And we have a new CNN poll that came out yesterday -- and we can put that up on the screen right now -- talking about whether or not there should be testimony from new witnesses because this has been a big part of the controversy, if you will, about the way this is going to proceed. And this is one of the things we're looking for from these kind of four errant Republicans senators.

Look at that -- 69 percent of Americans say that we should at least hear from witnesses. And this has to include folks that likely believe that the president should be in some way, shape or form exonerated.

Is this the kind of number that could sway those wayward Republicans to perhaps at least open the door to witness testimony?

ZELIZER: Possibly. It's a little like the elections, meaning we have these national polls and we see one trend, and then we look in the states of the Republicans themselves and it's very different. But public opinion is pretty clear. They want a fair trial, they want some kind of witness testimony and evidence.

And so, will Mitt Romney, Cory Gardner, Susan Collins -- will these Republicans stand against these national trends? It's the public opinion that will change them; it's not legal arguments -- you're correct. But at this point, Romney, last night, and Lamar Alexander both have signed on to the rules proposed by Sen. McConnell, so there's a little bit of a red flag for everyone who's hoping they shift their opinion.

JARRETT: Yes, essentially punting at just for a later time --

NOBLES: Right.

JARRETT: -- not ruling it out.

ZELIZER: Right.

JARRETT: For weeks, we've heard Mitch McConnell say I'm following the Clinton model. We're going to just do what we did back in 1999. I want to play a little bit of what he's been saying about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): All I'm asking of Schumer is that we treat Trump the same way we treated Clinton. We haven't ruled out witnesses. We've said let's handle this case just like we did with President Clinton. Fair is fair.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Except they're not going to handle it the way the Clinton trial was actually played out in 1999. I think we have a full screen, if we can, of all the ways that this is actually a little bit different. The most meaningful, the timing here, right? So they have 24 hours to present their case but only two days to do it.

Do you think the American people are going to look at this and say wait a minute, why are we rushing?

[05:45:02]

ZELIZER: Well, they might and then that's what the polls are suggesting, but it might not matter and that's what McConnell is counting on. He is counting on rushing through this. He is counting on doing it in a way where the debate moves forward very quickly and a lot of it takes place at night when people are not going to be watching as closely, and he can live with that.

So there's a disconnect between what public opinion might think and what the Republican leadership might think. They are betting they can get through this, they can handle it in a pretty rough fashion, and they will be OK. Within a month people will move on.

NOBLES: So, President Trump, as you know, in Switzerland right now. We wondered whether or not he's going to deal with impeachment because he's there to talk about the economy and other things. It didn't take very long. Take a listen to what the president just had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Frankly, it's disgraceful. But --

(Video difficulty)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Well, we couldn't hear it there but we heard -- the bit you heard -- the bit you heard, I think gives us the context we're looking for here.

I mean, how much of the president's casting dispersions on this process feeds into that public perception that we're talking about? Is this just about driving up the support within his base? I mean, how -- it doesn't seem as though that this is a kind of a winning argument for these folks that are in the middle and want to actually see this played out fairly.

ZELIZER: Well, that's true. Look at his polls. They're not good.

Most presidents don't walk around with 51 percent of those polled wanting them removed from office. That's where he is. That's what Sen. Romney is looking at. And whenever he does this or says something disgraceful or tries to delegitimate it, it seems to drive the polls in the wrong direction.

But again, this is a Republican Party that plays to its support, not to national polls. And that's really the bet for getting through this, the bet for getting to 2020, and that's what we're watching. But the question is do those Republicans in the middle get caught up in this and lose their power as a result.

NOBLES: Yes. And just for context, not a surprise he called it a witch hunt and a hoax -- the things he's been saying over and over and over again.

ZELIZER: You don't even have to see it to kind of hear what -- you know, to know what he's going to say, which says a lot.

JARRETT: The polls show people really do want to hear the witnesses. I mean, that's the real takeaway from a poll. Whether they want him removed from office --

ZELIZER: Yes.

NOBLES: Yes.

JARRETT: -- everyone's split, but they do want to hear from people and hear what the evidence shows.

NOBLES: And once you open the door there, you know, all bets are off.

JARRETT: Yes, it will go way longer than two --

NOBLES: Which, perhaps, one of the reasons the White House does not want to get into that.

JARRETT: Exactly.

Julian, thanks so much for joining us.

NOBLES: We appreciate your time.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

NOBLES: All right.

Meanwhile, President Trump's impeachment trial will have an immediate impact on the 2020 Democratic race. Less than two weeks out from the first voting in the Iowa caucuses four sitting senators have to leave the trail and return to the Senate to serve as impeachment jurors.

Let's get more now from CNN's Arlette Saenz. She's in Des Moines.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Ryan and Laura, we're 13 days away from the Iowa caucuses and these White House contenders are facing a new challenge running their campaigns against the backdrop of an impeachment trial.

Four of the Democratic contenders are turning their attention from the campaign trail to Capitol Hill. Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Michael Bennet all preparing to sit as jurors in President Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate. That could take them away from the campaign trail for a good chunk of time in these final weeks before voting begins.

So these senators who are campaigning for president are going to have to find creative ways to stay involved in the 2020 race. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren are planning on deploying their spouses out on the campaign trail to stump for them while they're back in the Senate.

And for candidates who aren't sitting in that impeachment trial, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, they're going to try to take advantage of this time when they are some of the only people on the ground here in Iowa. But they also need to find ways to stay relevant as impeachment is going to dominate.

And let's not forget 60 percent of Iowa Democratic caucusgoers either aren't committed to their first choice candidate or are still undecided, showing just how crucial these final weeks for the Iowa caucuses will be in swaying voters' minds -- Ryan and Laura.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBLES: All right, Arlette, thank you.

I know for the Bernie Sanders campaign, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez making her first solo trip for him this weekend --

JARRETT: A huge draw.

NOBLES: -- in Iowa. A big draw. So that shows how they're trying to --

JARRETT: Do both.

NOBLES: -- deal with both, yes.

JARRETT: Yes.

Well, coming up, how a California father armed with only a backpack saved his young son from a mountain lion.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:53:48]

NOBLES: Protesters in Puerto Rico calling on the governor there, Wanda Vazquez Garced, to resign. Puerto Ricans are frustrated following the discovery of a warehouse filled with unused disaster relief supplies, including bedding, food, and medical equipment.

The island has been rocked by ongoing earthquakes and is still recovering from Hurricane Maria more than two years later.

JARRETT: A New Hampshire father kills a coyote with his bare hands after it attacks his 2-year-old son. Ian O'Reilly says he was hiking on a trail with his family when the coyote grabbed the toddler. O'Reilly was bitten and scratched by the coyote as he struggled to free his son.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IAN O'REILLY, KILLED COYOTE: I had its snout here, pushing it into the snow, and then just took my hand and got on his windpipe as best I could, and then putting my knee on its ribs to try and pin it. Never underestimate the power of survival, I suppose. That coyote was very much interested in living but, you know, so were we.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: He is just as calm and collected as can be. O'Reilly was treated for his wounds and is, thankfully, OK. His son was not injured.

NOBLES: I like that -- the way we describe him as killed coyote. Like, he should just -- that should be his Twitter profile picture.

[05:55:04]

In California, a 3-year-old boy attacked by a mountain lion. This child also saved by his dad who threw a backpack at the big cat after it came out of nowhere and grabbed the boy by the neck. The lion dropped him, picked up the backpack, and then raced up a tree.

The child did suffer some injuries to his neck and is listed in stable condition. The mountain lion, though, was put down.

JARRETT: That's just incredible.

The coldest air of the season lingering across the eastern half of the country. Here's meteorologist Pedram Javaheri with more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Ryan and Laura.

The cold air and also the wintry weather ahead of us here are going to be the big stories moving forward.

This morning, temps 10 to about 20 below zero -- what it feels like across portions of the Midwest. While in Washington, in New York, in Boston, temperatures feeling like six, eight, to about, say, 16 degrees when you factor in the winds across the region. And even along the Gulf Coast we do have freeze warnings and freeze watches where the middle-40s are in place across portions of, say, Tampa, Florida. But the trend runs about 10 to 15 degrees below average across this region into the north. Similar sort of a setup but really going to be following this storm system on approach out of areas across the Intermountain West. It does tap into some moisture here as we go in from Wednesday into Thursday, so we get quite a bit of rainfall once again along the Gulf Coast.

And then back toward the north, it is going to be cold enough, even though a warming trend is in store here, to tap into some snow showers. So, Chicago on into Minneapolis, even as far south as St. Louis, you could see some wintry weather. Accumulations generally light around St. Louis, but in Chicago you could see as much as six inches as we in towards late-week -- guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JARRETT: All right, Pedram. Thank you for that.

Senators in D.C. are gearing up for a very quiet and very low-tech impeachment trial. Under the rules of the trial, the chamber is now a no-phone zone.

CNN's Jeanne Moos explains as only she can.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sharpen your pencils, senators. It's going to be a low-tech impeachment trial. No use of cell phones and no talking, you hear?

MICHAEL STENGER, U.S. SENATE SERGEANT AT ARMS: Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! All persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment.

MOOS (voice-over): No cell phones, no yacking. "Oh, the humanity! Duck tape and barbiturates for all," mocked some heartless soul.

Special cubby holes were built so senators can stow their electronic devices, just like schoolkids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your cell phones are supposed to be where? Yes, in your locker.

MOOS (voice-over): Senators struggling with phone withdrawal must confine themselves to salivating over the stenographer's keyboard. And none of this (Mitch McConnell's phone ringing). Senate majority leader McConnell's phone seems to ring (phone ringing) --

MCCONNELL: Members will have the opportunity to review investigators' records.

MOOS (voice-over): -- at the most inopportune times. During the impeachment trial, no disembodied hand will have to reach out to relieve the senator of his phone.

No one will be tempted to toss their phone like a grenade. GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER (Phone ringing): Things that were put back in place. They've shot down -- (throws phone) -- they've shot down the -- sorry about that -- but they caught it, too.

MOOS (voice-over): And no watching a golf tournament as Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond did during a House impeachment vote.

ROLL CALL: Mr. Stanton?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

MOOS (on camera): But, racy stuff has popped up in the past. For instance, the time a Florida state senator said he just innocently opened an e-mail on his laptop.

MOOS (voice-over): What should appear but topless women in bikinis. State Sen. Mike Bennett told the "Sunshine State News," "I opened it up and said holy (expletive)! What's on my screen? And clicked away from it right away."

Senators, if you have to do something with your hands, scratch your nose.

At an old-fashioned impeachment, the ayes may have it --

ROLL CALL: Mr. Sensenbrenner votes aye.

MOOS (voice-over): But not the iPhone.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBLES: See, phones have always got to be on silent. You never, never know.

JARRETT: I love the disembodied hand just reaching out to grab it.

NOBLES: We don't have anyone here like that for us.

All right, that's it for us. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Ryan Nobles.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: Just hours before the Senate trial, Mitch McConnell unveiled the resolution detailing how the trial would take shape.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Each side gets up to 24 hours over two days to lay out their case.

SCHUMER: This resolution is totally departing from the Clinton resolution, despite what leader McConnell promised. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wants a fast trial, not a fair trial.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want to get it in before the State of the Union. If they aren't, they're crazy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, January 21st, 6:00 here in New York.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You ready?

CAMEROTA: I'm ready, I'm ready. I mean, I think that the country seems ready. People are very eager to see what's going to happen today.

So, the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history begins in just hours.

END