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Soon: House Managers Begin Second Day of Arguments; Dems Use President's Own Words to Incriminate Him; Schumer Expresses Optimism Over Witnesses and Docs; 3 Americans Killed Fighting Australian Fires. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired January 23, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As Democrats begin presenting the second day of evidence here, they are going to focus on the law and the Constitution.
REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): The American people deserve to see the full truth when it comes to presidential actions.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): The need for the Senate to hear the testimony of Hunter Biden has become all the more relevant.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I think that's off the table. First of all, the Republicans have the right to bring in any witness they want. They haven't wanted to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the end of the day I believe without a question the president of the United States will be acquitted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he's acquitted, then there's this real danger that he'll walk around saying, I've been exonerated and he'll feel emboldened.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, January 23, 6 a.m. here in New York.
House managers will continue making their case against President Trump today. They are -- they are still trying to convince at least four Republicans that the trial should include witnesses and documents.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was sounding optimistic, insisting after last night's session, that Democrats are, quote, "making gains every day." Do Republicans agree?
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The presentation from the House managers is earning praise even from Republicans.
We have a picture to show you late last night. That's Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the president's fiercest defenders, telling lead manager Adam Schiff that he'd done a good job. Really well-spoken, he said.
Although it does beg the question, how would Senator Graham know? He wasn't in his chair for chunks of the arguments. In fact, many of the senators of both parties were not at their desks at different times, despite the rules which require the apparently herculean task of sitting down for a few hours. This isn't digging ditches. This isn't manning a foxhole. This isn't working in an assembly line. This is sitting in a chair and enjoying all the milk you can drink.
But I guess it's not like the future of the republic is at stake. Oh, wait. It is. Remember, this is the so-called upper house, the cooling sauce, or the higher chamber. Those cushy six-year terms which apparently aren't long enough for some to spare a few minutes to sit down.
Now, this is not meant to hurt anyone's feelings, because being a little mean apparently gets you rebuked by the chief justice of the United States. But leaving the chamber for extended periods of time while the president is on trial, no problemo.
It might be the real risk they run by, you know, sitting is they might learn something. As Louisiana Republican John Kennedy said last night, "I think most, if not all senators are hearing the case by the prosecution and the case by the defense for the first time. If you polled the United States Senate, nine out of ten senators will tell you they have not read a transcript of the proceeding in the House. And the tenth senator who says he has is lying."
So for their benefit, let's talk about the case now. Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Lauren Fox, live this morning for us on Capitol Hill. A big day ahead, Lauren.
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Good morning, John. What we saw yesterday was the first day of House Democrats making a passionate case.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We can and will prove President Trump guilty of this conduct and of obstructing the investigation into his misconduct.
FOX (voice-over): House impeachment managers telling Senate jurors why they believe President Trump should be convicted and removed from office by using his own words against him.
SCHIFF: There's no question that President Trump intended in pressing the Ukraine leader to look into his political rival.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They should investigate the Bidens. SCHIFF: Just as he solicited help from Ukraine in 2019, in 2016, then-
candidate Trump also solicited help from Russia in his election effort.
TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.
SCHIFF: President Trump actually escalated his rhetoric, urging not only Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, but China, too.
TRUMP: China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with -- with Ukraine.
FOX: For more than eight hours, the impeachment managers detailing a timeline of the Ukraine scandal, arguing their evidence, including documents, transcripts, and clips from House investigation testimonies show a clear pattern of the president abusing his power and obstructing Congress.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): The July 25th call warrants our close scrutiny. It presents significant and shocking evidence of President Trump's corrupt intent. The call lays bare the president's willingness to do whatever it takes to get what he wants.
FOX: But Democrats still say they need more evidence and witnesses to fully present the scope of Trump's alleged scheme.
CROW: You should demand to see the full record. The American people deserve to see the full truth when it comes to presidential actions.
FOX: Minority Leader Chuck Schumer optimistic the call is gaining traction.
SCHUMER: If the Republicans begin to break, Leader McConnell may come to me and say, let's negotiate. He doesn't do that unless he's not -- unless he doesn't think he has the votes. And we'll try to work something out.
FOX: But for President Trump's defense team and his allies, one key witness is at the top of the list.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: You could never have witnesses here without Hunter Biden being a central witness.
CRUZ: I've got to say, the need for the Senate to hear the testimony of Hunter Biden and the need for the Senate to grant the White House lawyers the ability to take that testimony has become all the more relevant.
FOX: Schumer quickly shutting the door on allowing a witness swap for someone like John Bolton.
SCHUMER: First of all, the Republicans have the right to bring in any witness they want. They haven't wanted to. And that trade is not on the table.
FOX: Former Vice President Joe Biden also shutting that idea down.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a constitutional issue. And we're not going to turn it into a farce, into some kind of political theater. They're trying to turn it into political theater. But I want no part of being any part of that.
FOX: And House Democrats will continue to make their case today and tomorrow. Then we can expect that the president's team will make their defense beginning on Saturday. Now, that timeline can always shift, but each side has 24 hours to make their case -- John and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Lauren, thank you have been much.
Joining us now to talk about everything, we have CNN senior political analyst John Avlon; CNN political commentator Joe Lockhart. He was President Clinton's press secretary during that impeachment.
So John, I just want to hit this point again, because I think it's interesting to see the color from the Senate floor. And so our reporters are watching the Senate chamber. OK? And some senators are actively not listening. I mean, they're up. They're out. They're in the Senate cloak room, which has nothing to do with coats. I didn't realize that until recently. And they're on their -- they're on their devices in the cloak room, which they're not allowed to be.
They don't -- either -- either they're bored and have no attention span, which is possible. Or they don't want to hear the evidence that's being presented. And I just think that that's a really important note. Because these were not -- that wasn't going to be allowed, as we'll remember. And as John points out, for some reason, Chief Justice Roberts isn't shutting all of that down.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And it's a dereliction of duty. Let's be really clear about that. As John pointed out in his opening, it's not like this is digging ditches. This is sitting and listening to all the evidence.
And I'd be more sympathetic to the argument that they've heard it all before if there was evidence that they'd heard it all before. But Senator John Kennedy said a lot of senators are hearing this for the first time. Which begs the question, what have you been doing? Why have you been going on television talking about it? And it shows how much polarization and partisan media makes people stupid. Particularly, apparently, senators.
BERMAN: I can't -- When I first read yesterday that there were senators not at their desks and in the cloak room, I didn't believe it. Because how could that possibly be true in this chamber, where they hide -- hold themselves in such high esteem, right? We're the Senate. We're the upper chamber here. We're the serious place.
But not serious enough to listen to actual arguments about the president of the United States.
John Cornyn, who for a period of time, was the No. 2 in the Senate -- he's still in the leadership -- said, "Certainly, senators are struggling to see why we have to sit here, sit hearing the same arguments over and over and over again."
You know why, Senator Cornyn? Because it's your job. It's your job to do it. And what's more, the complaint that they're not hearing anything new, well, you know what they voted not to hear the other day?
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Something new.
BERMAN: Anything new.
LOCKHART: There you go.
LOCKHART: One for one today. Listen. There's -- I take exception with your example earlier, because if a ditch digger stopped digging ditches, he'd be fired, on the spot. Like, gone.
You know, I completely agree. But you know, I don't want to have lost the idea that the Democrats put on an impressive first day yesterday. Adam Schiff was brilliant, I think, in the first two hours. And they took what was a lot of complicated material and broke it down into little stories. And each House manager came and told a story about Marie Yovanovitch. Or told a story about Dr. Hill and Colonel Vindman. And I think it -- I think it was very effective.
And it's ironic that these Republicans are talking about we have to listen to this over and over again when, in the same breath, they say, well, Donald Trump is a brilliant marketer, because he just repeats things other and over again. So --
CAMEROTA: Some people do get an A-plus for attendance. Here's who our reporters say have been in their seats the whole time. And I mean, who knows -- they're paying rapt attention. Who knows what they're thinking, as it's going on? But it's Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski. That makes sense. They're going to -- they have a big decision to make soon. Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar.
And so here are some of the things that they heard. One of the things that, perhaps, you think that Adam Schiff did really effectively was play President Trump's own words so that the senators could hear how the president is feeling about all of this. So listen to this moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: A rally in Florida, he said the following.
TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.
[06:10:00] Then I have an Article II where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.
Well, we're fighting all the subpoenas.
I'd love to have Mike Pompeo. I'd love to have Mitch. I'd love to have Rick Perry. And many other people testify.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AVLON: Look, the most compelling evidence is always when someone speaks in their own words. And the thing about those clips from Donald Trump, individual senators apparently, you know, smiled and grimaced at certain of the greatest hits.
But it bridges the gap of the rationalization you hear from a lot of Republicans. Don't pay attention to what he says. Pay attention to what he does. And what I thought the opening articles did was bridge that. What he says and what he does are directly connected, particularly in these instances.
And also, I thought Schiff did an exceptionally good job connecting his case to the Founding Fathers. Kind of -- I've got a weakness for those kind of arguments, but he deployed a perfect Alexander Hamilton quote that, if a senator is actually listening, needs to understand that this, unlike, say, an affair with an intern, which was tawdry and shouldn't have been lied about, was not what the Founding Fathers were worried about when they wrote about impeachment in the Constitution and the Federalist Papers.
BERMAN: Jimmy Kimmel said Schiff quoted Hamilton so many times he got nominated for five Tonys.
BERMAN: Which was a really good line.
AVLON: Good one.
BERMAN: In addition to the Founding Fathers, which I agree was really interesting, Schiff also made the case, in his mind, that the president committed impeachable offenses; but also repeatedly through the day, including in prime time, tied it back to the notion that there's a cover-up going on here.
BERMAN: And they still need to get more information. And this is one of the cases he made during prime time. I want you to listen to this. This has to do with cables written by then-lead diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, to Mike Pompeo. We know he wrote it. Taylor told us he wrote it. But we don't have it yet. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SCHIFF: Taylor sent that cable on August 29. Would you like me to read that to you right now? I would like to read it to you right now, except I don't have it. Because the State Department wouldn't provide it. But if you'd like me to read it to you, we can do something about that. We can insist on getting that from the State Department.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So there are two trials going on here, right?
BERMAN: The trial of the president of the United States and the trial of whether or not to allow witnesses. That's on the Senate. And Schiff made that point and chose to make that point last night in prime time.
And I'll only say it again. This is not only me praising Adam Schiff. Lindsey Graham, the senator from South Carolina, told Adam Schiff he did a good job.
LOCKHART: Yes. No, I was thinking the same thing, which was this is -- there's a trial within a trial here. And for Democrats, the prize is to get these -- probably the documents, as much as the witnesses. But, you know, they'll take either at this point.
So I think he made that point very, very clear.
The other thing he did and, you know, it goes to the idea that they're trying to tell a story, so it doesn't feel repetitive and boring. He did something really important last night, which is he told us why it's important right now.
You know, Jay Sekulow went out and said, you know, having this impeachment so close to the election threatens our republic. Well, that's -- you know, that's leading with your chin. Having a president pressure a foreign government to try to cheat in the next election so close to an election is certainly far more dangerous than having a Senate trial that a lot of senators don't even think they need to sit through.
So I think he's done -- you know, he set the whole thing up early in the day. And then late at night he did both of those things, which is to say these documents are critical. I want to know; you want to know. But then, it's about cheating.
BERMAN: All right. Stand by. Much more to talk about, including this confidence expressed by Chuck Schumer late last night that he thinks they might be getting closer to getting those four Republicans to sign on to asking for witnesses. Is this just bluster? Is this real? Might Republicans change their minds? We'll discuss, next.
BERMAN: Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer says he believes Democrats are making gains in their push to get Senate Republicans to support hearing from witnesses and get documents that they don't have. Documents that apparently the president of the United States is now bragging that he does have. And isn't giving over.
Back with us, John Avlon and Joe Lockhart. What am I talking about? Well, the president --
CAMEROTA: Oh, I know what you're talking about.
BERMAN: The president saying the quiet part out loud again. You know, there's a show on HBO called "His Dark Materials," right?
CAMEROTA: That's what this is.
BERMAN: Listen to the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're doing very well. I got to watch enough. I thought our team did a very good job. But honestly, we have all the material. They don't have the material.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That's the point.
BERMAN: Exactly. That's the point. You have the material, and they don't, Joe. Do you really believe, though, Chuck Schumer's claim last night that they're making gains for the Republicans?
LOCKHART: I think they're making progress. The question is, are they making enough progress? And we just won't know that.
I don't think that a serious person -- and there are a few serious people in the United States Senate on the Republican side. Not many, but there are some. They can't listen to this and not believe that the president did something wrong.
Now, they may not believe the president should be removed for it. And I think many of them will say that at some point in the process. Or in their questions. But they can't be unmoved by this.
But I don't think we're going to know the answer to that question until they have to say, you know, aye or no.
CAMEROTA: You know, everybody hangs on whatever Lisa -- Senators Lisa Murkowski, or Susan Collins, or Mitt Romney say, because they are the weather vanes to see if there's progress being made.
And so Murkowski said, via her spokesperson, in terms of when the chief justice dressed down both sides for not behaving properly, in terms of what Jerry Nadler said, in terms of a cover-up, she said, "I took it as very offensive. As one who is listening attentively and working hard to get a fair process, I was offended." [06:20:14]
Can we read anything into that?
AVLON: Well, if she's talking about Nadler, I think that was a general conception about the senators. She's talking about the chief justice, that's a different deal.
CAMEROTA: No, no, I think she was talking about Nadler.
AVLON: But I think -- I think Nadler's a good example what the Democrats shouldn't do. Look, you can't persuade people by insulting them. That just makes them double down, particularly on their group think and group identity. And that's what needs to be broken down right now.
Whether senators are persuaded that more evidence is needed is going to really come down to the question of whether they take their oath seriously, whether they take their job seriously. Because the easiest thing in the world is just to become an apparatchik and say -- and listen to what's been said in a vacuum. But if you're confronting facts, particularly for the first time, it's hard to see how you can't say there's a need for more evidence and more witnesses, because so much has been blocked.
BERMAN: Can I also just say that you gave Lisa Murkowski -- and she deserves praise for sitting and listening. She's one of the senators who's been at her desk the whole time, according to our people watching, listening very carefully.
But if you're going to vote against witnesses because Jerry Nadler was mean, that doesn't seem to me to be a very good reason. And you have senators like Josh Hawley, John Thune out there saying, Gosh, the House managers are hurting their case by being so cruel here.
That's a dumb reason to vote against witnesses. If you have a good reason, go ahead. But because Jerry Nadler had cross words for you --
BERMAN: -- that's not in the Constitution. Cross words are not in there.
AVLON: Pettifogging. Pettifogging.
BERMAN: Look, it may be bad lawyering -- lawyering by Jerry Nadler's part; that's OK. But if Lisa Murkowski -- and I don't know that she's going to do this. I doubt she will. But if she's going to stand up in a week and say, I voted against witnesses because --
CAMEROTA: Well, I mean --
BERMAN: -- man, Jerry Nadler was harsh.
(CROSSTALK) LOCKHART: I think you've got to look at the second part of her sentence. She's saying that she's being very attentive and working hard to get a fair trial. That is a signal, I believe.
"Fair trial" is synonymous here, I think, with the Democrats' point of witnesses and documents. So I think she -- she was signaling.
But let me -- I think it's too simple, John Avlon, to say whether they took -- take their role seriously. Several of these senators are in very tight races. They are looking very closely about how their constituents are thinking. You know, they're taking polls. And they're going to make a political judgment at the end of the day. People like Susan Collins and Cory Gardner. Some -- many have made their decision, but I don't think Susan Collins has.
AVLON: Not too many days ago Mike Pence wrote an op-ed in "The Wall Street Journal," praising the senator who broke ranks with his party during Andrew Johnson's impeachment trial.
John F. Kennedy's "Profiles in Courage" was once a standard that senators repaired to, the idea of that book, of course, is that some things matter more than party loyalty, and leadership requires more than simply following your constituents. There is a dynamic role there, to be sure.
But look, as they look into their consciences and say what is the right thing? What is consistent with impartial justice? I'd say there's another standard, as well. For those senators who voted to remove President Clinton for lying about an affair, how are they going to justify not voting for witnesses or evidence in this case?
CAMEROTA: Well, I mean --
BERMAN: You wanted to talk about Biden.
CAMEROTA: No, I also just wanted to talk for a second about process. Because what you keep hearing and what you'll hear today on our program when Republicans come on, is if they didn't get it in the House, that's not our job. That's not our fault; it's not our problem.
CAMEROTA: If they didn't get the evidence, and they rushed it through, and they didn't get witnesses, it's not our problem. And that's what you'll -- that's what I hear them hanging their hat on.
LOCKHART: It's -- it's an absolutely absurd argument that argument that Republicans are making.
First off, it's their president of their party who blocked all of this. And if the Democrats had gone to court in the House, it would be 2022 before this was finished.
The president is trying to cheat on the next election, according to Adam Schiff. So this is clear and present danger. It's not something that, in 2022, we can sort out. But the idea that -- you know, that somehow, if a bunch of documents
and witnesses are thrown on the floor, you're not allowed to pick them up and look at them is absurd.
BERMAN: All right. Joe, John, thank you very much. We will talk about Joe Biden later on. There doesn't appear to be any momentum toward some kind of a witness deal.
CAMEROTA: And he said that he is not interested in being part of any deal. So that is new.
Meanwhile, millions of people in two Chinese cities are now on lockdown as authorities work to stop the spread of this coronavirus. Why concern is growing around the world this morning.
BERMAN: Breaking overnight, three Americans were killed in a plane crash while they were fighting fires in Australia. CNN's Will Ripley was just in Australia covering these fires. He joins us now with the very latest.
This is dangerous, dangerous work, Will.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. And this just underscores the fact, John, that this -- you know, these fires, even though they were making a lot of progress when we left the country, now you have an incident like this. Just devastating.
We still don't know the names of the three people who were killed. The firefighters actually working for a private American-owned aviation company that was in Australia near Kuma in the snowy mountainous Monaro region. That's just when the plane went down. They have no idea what caused the accident, but it killed all three crew members on board.
And, you know, we know that any number of things could have gone wrong, because these missions are just so dangerous. They're flying a C-130, which is, you know, one of -- it's basically the oldest aircraft that Lockheed has been producing. They started producing it in 1956.
And dozens of countries around the world use them for civilian purposes. They're used for firefighting, because they can drop thousands of gallons of water on a fire in a matter of seconds, and then they can refuel in as little as 12 minutes. So obviously, they are a crucial tool.
But unlike most aircraft, where the pilots kind of put the plane in autopilot, most of this is hand flying. So these people -- it's very difficult, very dangerous. They have to go through a lot of training. And, you know, a lot of things could happen.
The plane could break apart in mid-air. If they flew into a large plume of smoke, they could lose visibility and then they could crash.