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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Senate Poised To Acquit Trump After Vote For Witness Fails; Hours After Vote, OMB Says E-Mails About Trump's Thinking On Ukraine Exist; Candidates Make Final Push With Iowa Caucuses Two Days Away; Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) Boos Hillary Clinton At Sanders Campaign Event; What Are The Consequences Of Trump's Acquittal?; Coronavirus Declared Public Health Emergency In U.S.; Lakers Return With Emotional Tribute To Kobe Bryant; Super Bowl 54; Global Impact Of Trump's Impeachment Acquittal. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired February 1, 2020 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a very dangerous precedent. The Senate Republicans have created a reckless presidency.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This got to end Wednesday. The President is going to get acquitted. It's going to blow up in their face.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the President is acquitted. no witnesses, no documents, the acquittal will have no value.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Saturday. It's February, all of a sudden. February 1st, 8:00 o'clock in the East.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: How did that happen?
BERMAN: I have no idea. No one told me. President Trump got almost everything he wanted - almost. There'll be no witnesses in his impeachment trial and the implications of that will outlast his presidency, because of the justifications that some Republican Senators have given for it overnight.
So we got that. But he will not be acquitted before his State of the Union address. Instead, the President will deliver the address on Tuesday night under the cloud of an ongoing impeachment trial, which will reconvene on Monday. The final vote to acquit the President will come one - Wednesday about, you know, 12 hours after the State of the Union address.
CAMEROTA: So all of this new schedule allows Democratic Senators running for President to fly to Iowa this weekend and campaign before Monday's caucuses. But then what happens tonight before the caucuses? Will they return to Washington for this vote? Well, they miss the final stretch of campaigning. Well, guidelines say all Senators should plan to be in attendance at all times. Okay, what does that mean? If they leave Iowa, does it hurt their chances of winning?
With us to discuss all of this we have Charlie Dent, CNN Political Commentator, and former Republican Congressman; Laura Jarrett, CNN Correspondent and Anchor of "Early Start;" Michael Gerhardt, CNN Legal Analyst, he testified before the House impeachment inquiry; and Joe Lockhart at CNN Political Commentator and former White House Press Secretary during the Clinton impeachment.
It's great to have all of you here with us on this important Saturday morning. Thank you for being here. I was telling John, and I said last hour, I thought it was a really honest moment when the Republicans finally said, why they voted not to hear more witnesses. They just came out with it.
And basically what it is, what they said was, the bennies (ph) outweigh the cost to them in terms of the fact of corruption and knowing it and recognizing it and saying it was wrong, but they get a lot of good stuff for that. And here's what Lamar Alexander, all eyes as we know, were on Senator Alexander, if he was going to vote to hear more witnesses. Here's what he said.
"Whatever you think of his behavior, with the terrific economy, with conservative judges, with fewer regulations, you add in there and inappropriate call with the President of Ukraine, and you decide if you prefer him, or Elizabeth Warren." And at the end, Laura, that was the calculus, I mean, of why he didn't feel that they - he was never going to be removed. The President was never going to be removed, so why continue to hear more facts?
LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it shows these things baked from the start. And I think we all know he was never going to be removed, he was going to be acquitted. That was, obviously, the - you know, the result that was going to come.
But we didn't know is that they weren't going to hear from a single witness. They weren't going to hear any of the new documents, even though documents are being produced as we speak. They didn't want to see any of that. We didn't know that that was going to happen.
And their explanation for why they don't want to hear it is because we already know he's guilty. Their explanation for why we don't need to see a single - we don't need you to hear a single piece of testimony is because we believe what the Democrats are saying. It's sort of an amazing admission that no matter what John Bolton had to say, it was probably true, and we still don't need to - we still don't need to hear about it.
So we don't, we don't need to have anything that comes out of it. That's an amazing admission from Lamar Alexander. And not everybody has gone that far to say what this was really about was the judges. It's a sort of a revelation there. But--
CAMEROTA: Go ahead. BERMAN: No, look, I think there are two separate things that are going on here. And the first, saying, that I believe everything here - the House Managers proved their case, but I still don't think he should be removed, is different, Alexander, it's a rare disagreement you and I have this morning.
Alexander was answering two separate questions. One question was why aren't you going to vote for witnesses? The question where he talks about judges and whatnot, he was asked, who were you going to vote for next November?
CAMEROTA: And I appreciate that. I appreciate that you're making that distinction to me. And the reason that I'm glossing over it is, because I think the answer is the same. I think the answer is the same. The reason he invoked for witnesses is because he gets all this other good stuff, and he doesn't want the President to be removed.
BERMAN: I think the other reason he gave in the answer, for instance that Rob Portman gave here, which is, "I believe that some of the President's actions in this case, including asking your foreign country to investigate a potential political opponent, and the delay of aid to Ukraine were wrong and inappropriate."
By saying the case was proved, and by saying it's inappropriate, but saying I still don't think there should be - not only any action, but any witnesses, I think that sets a precedent for a legislature which goes beyond voting preferences in the fall. This is something that will outline voting preferences.
And professor I wonder if you can address this, because essentially, what the Republican Senators have done is said, you know, we're not going to remove a President, so a President can do whatever he or she wants.
MICHAEL GERHARDT, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA: Well, I think everybody is right. I think there is a - and let me begin, on a personal note. I feel really - the only vindication I get out of all of this is about 20 years ago I wrote my book on impeachment that the decisions in the Senate, basically, are based on the series of factors and we just listed them today - be it the popularity of the President, the agenda of the Senator and seriousness of the offense.
We can see how the Senators have all taken that bunch of factors, weighed them and come out in the direction they did. However, there are repercussions here, and there are consequences. So we know, for example, as a result of this verdict, or what will likely be the verdict of acquittal, that first the presidency will get stronger.
Second, the Senate is weaker. The Senate, basically, has given the President a pass in a spectacularly bad way, which is no witnesses, no serious look at the evidence and the law. And the final thing, I think, is that the Senate also has tried to diss the House. The Senate has basically said look, it's the Democrats fault. But here's the last quandary, your last factor and that is, if it's the House's fault, how could they agree with what the House just said? So what we are also seeing at the very end is not just the acquittal, but the emergence for the first time, really, of criticisms of the President. There's going to be a censure here of sorts. It's in the aggregation of all these criticisms.
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But by failing to hold the President to account here, this is not the first time. I mean, we can just go back several months, and we saw how the President, against the law, he moved military funds to pay for a border wall without the consent of Congress and Congress couldn't stand up for its own Article I authority. Its power of the purse authority. Arguably, its most important authority.
So as an institution, or institutionally Congress is weaker, and we set precedents, and this makes it easier for the President to walk all over Congress on other issues that come down the track. But they have to hold the President to account at some point.
BERMAN: They don't seem to want to, and Marco Rubio doesn't seem to agree with you. They don't have to hold the President to account. He says, "Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment, does not mean it's in the best interest of the country to remove a President for office," or frankly, Joe, even here, witnesses.
And that's why the witness vote was so important, because it did offer a way to sanction this. A way to say this was bad. An informal censure, if you were would have been to vote yes on witnesses, and they chose not to. And I don't see any way that this Senate will do anything to keep the President from committing this very same act again.
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, of course they won't, and the President has said on national television, he plans to do it again. He said, I'll look at any information. He asked China to look into Bidens.
And you know, on the list of things that the President got, let's not forget, he got to smear Joe Biden on the floor of the United States Senate. Using his legal team, his White House Counsel, we now know shouldn't have been standing there in the first place.
Here's where I think Lamar Alexander is dishonest He put out - in answering this question, he put this down as a phone call. He made it an inappropriate one. Here's a massive conspiracy around this phone call. We - that now we find out today went back months before we thought. This is this is not just the President riffing on a call, and to minimize it that way is incredibly dishonest.
They - the Republicans have decided that they're going to buy into the cult of Donald Trump, and they went down the road. And I think they figured out that the road collapsed behind them. And there's no way back, and they're now all in. The problem is they've damaged both the House and the Senate. And you just - you didn't see enough purge, yes, because they could have, John, you're right. Just having the witnesses come in, they could have - that could have been the message to the President that you were wrong, now let's get back to our business.
BERMAN: And we don't believe you. And the fact that we don't believe you will create some kind of action or reaction here in the Senate.
CAMEROTA: And so prepare yourselves everyone and I mean, everyone out there, Democrats and Republicans alike, because more reporting, and more revelations and more documents are coming forward. So the impeachment trial could be over on Wednesday. But it doesn't mean that the reporting on all of this is over.
And case in point is this document dumped last night. Two minutes before midnight you were saying, right, Laura? And the document is - the documents are from the OMB. And it's all about what's behind this.
We knew these were e-mails that were exchanged between the OMB and other executives about the Ukraine hold. But we didn't know exactly the context. And now we do, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, and a watchdog agency that found out that Mick Mulvaney was more involved than we knew Pat Cipollone was more involved, all that stuff.
JARRETT: Well, the thanks to these good government groups that have been really pressing for this litigation, because Congress doesn't want to see what's behind those documents. Congress doesn't want to hear from any of these witnesses. We now know that what's behind those is it reflects the President's thinking about this. It reflects the Vice President's thinking. And that's according to lawyers in this administration.
CAMEROTA: As the Vice President, that's a good one, because we hadn't known that how involved he was as well.
JARRETT: It's really the first acknowledgement from this administration in a formal way of the reason that we're holding back some of this material, is it because it reflects the very thinking by the highest levels of this administration. And so - I mean, I think we're going to see eventually what is behind those, because the groups are still pressing for it.
So this isn't, this isn't going away, just because the President is about to get acquitted. We're going to see more documents. We're going to see this litigation continue and judges, I mean, I don't know if you'll agree, professor, but we will see eventually, what was behind this.
BERMAN: Look - and John Bolton has any number of book readings at Barnes & Noble coming up. Seriously, where we will learn a whole lot more, including a revelation that came out over in "The New York Times," and we'll talk much more about that over the next several minutes as well.
Laura, Charlie, Joe, Michael, thank you--
CAMEROTA: Thank you all.
BERMAN: -- all for being here on Saturday.
The Iowa caucuses are Monday and something happened at a Bernie Sanders rally last night. It shows the divide inside the Democratic Party before these first boats. The moment that's going viral this morning, next
BERMAN: The first votes of the 2020 race will be cast just two days from now in the Iowa caucuses. Joining us now, Senior Washington Correspondent and Iowa Caucus Maven and czar, Jeff Zeleny --
BERMAN: Who's been covering the Iowa caucuses for how many - how many, many years? How many cycles is this for you?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: This was the sixth presidential cycle, the sixth Iowa caucus, John, that's where we met back during the 2000 campaign, if you'll remember.
BERMAN: I know, I have it marked in my calendar still.
CAMEROTA: That's romantic.
BERMAN: I still have it marked on my calendar, the exact moment.
CAMEROTA: That is very romantic.
BERMAN: So Jeff, give us a sense of where we are, 48 hours to go.
ZELENY: Boy, things are incredibly tight. We, you know, hear that a lot in elections, but this is particularly true. And this is one of the reasons why. This is not just a Democratic primary race unfolding in a vacuum here. President Trump who was here in Des Moines the other night is at the center of all of this.
So that is going through the minds of so many voters we talked to here. Who can beat President Trump, who's the strongest Democrat to take on President Trump? So in that respect, it reminds me of 2004 when George W. Bush was running for reelection, and there was John Kerry and Howard Dean and John Edwards and others in the race there.
So like that race, this one is shaping up to be very close at the end as electability argument is front and center in all of these decisions. Now, there's no doubt that Bernie Sanders has had some considerable strength here at the end of this campaign.
But the moderate lane, if you will, is being divided at least three different ways between Biden and, Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg. So those are some of the dynamics. Elizabeth Warren, one of the strongest organizations, almost everyone agrees here in the States. So it's all about who gets their supporters out on Monday night. But this final weekend is so critical.
CAMEROTA: and Joe Biden was making that point. In fact, he was doing some math, should we - let's listen to that for a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's say everybody comes out of here with you know, 19, 20, 21 and 22 percent. Well, it's essentially a tie. And so everybody goes to the next stop. If you come out here, somebody's 25 and you're at 12, you know, well, then you're done. You know, in terms of Iowa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Fair point, Jeff?
ZELENY: Well, Joe Biden knows something about that. He's been done in Iowa a couple different times. So the first time we ran, of course, in '88, didn't even make it to caucus day. In 2008, he ended his campaign on caucus day, so he knows what that's like.
I'm not sure why the former Vice President there is setting his own expectations there with specific numbers like that, because that is what some of his supporters are wondering here. If he doesn't have a strong showing in Iowa, is he going to be done? Of course he'll go forward.
But he has one other thing that's worrisome, some of his supporters - $9 million cash on hand, lower than all of his rivals here. So that is one of the dynamics. All these candidates are all in in Iowa and they've spent so much money here, not all of them will get a good return on their investment.
BERMAN: So Jeff, I woke up to my phone on fire, with people tweeting about and commenting on a moment that happened at a Bernie Sanders event. Sanders was back at the impeachment trial, but a number of his supporters, including Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib were there.
And there is this moment where Hillary Clinton's criticism of Bernie Sanders - remember, she said that no one likes Bernie Sanders and criticized how little help she got from Bernie Sanders. That was raised in this event. I just want people to see what happened here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Iowa we have three days I don't remember if you
guys remember last week when someone by the name of Hillary Clinton said that nobody - we're not going to boo. We're not going to do boo - we're classy here.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): Oh, no, I will boo. Boo! You all know I can't be quiet. No, we're going to boo. That's all right. The haters will shut up on Monday when we win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That is a sitting member of Congress appearing to call for a round of boos on the last Democratic nominee for President, that's a really stunning thing to see Jeff.
ZELENY: It is a significant thing, John. It really highlights exactly the rift that is still alive here as we head into the first voting of 2020. We're picking up exactly where Democrats left off in 2016, particularly here in Iowa.
Bernie Sanders, a lot of his supporters believe he was sort of robbed, if you will in Iowa. He just narrowly lost with Hillary Clinton four years ago in 2016. And it's one of the reasons a lot of - several of the rules have changed here in terms of how the caucuses are going Monday night. But the rift is very much alive amongst supporters.
I was talking to the Chairman of the Polk County Democratic Party yesterday, and he said it's one of the things that concerns him the most, about just the hard feelings that still exists between some Bernie Sanders supporters and some other Hillary Clinton supporters who now are going a variety of different ways here. So that dynamic is key.
The question is, is Bernie Sanders going to say anything about that when he campaigns here today? He calls his rallies, not me, us. He's trying to say that he's for everyone and a unified candidate. But that is the central question here. So a lot of unrest over that as this plays out, as people wake up here. We'll see what the Sanders campaign and the Senator himself has to say about it.
CAMEROTA: And we have to go. But Rahm Emanuel has an interesting op-ed in "The Wall Street Journal" where he says that, "Note to Democrats, it sounds like they're forgetting who the enemy is. And it's not Barack Obama and it's not Hillary Clinton, and it's not Bill Clinton," according to him. "It's keep your eye on the ball of Donald Trump." That's what he is recommending instead of all this (inaudible) infighting. But in any event, we will see what happens there. Thank you very much, Jeff, for all reporting.
BERMAN: And I'll see you in a few hours in Iowa.
CAMEROTA: That's also romantic.
BERMAN: With only 48 hours before the Iowa caucuses, the final CNN Des Moines Register poll numbers, they will be revealed live during a CNN special event tonight at 9:00 o'clock Eastern. Our special coverage, Monday, for the Iowa caucuses begins at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, and just - we're allowed to tease the fact that I'll be in Iowa, Monday morning as well.
CAMEROTA: We'll miss you. I've already said this. But I mean, you - it sounds like you're still going.
BERMAN: Yes. I'm still going in spite of that.
CAMEROTA: All right. Well, Democrats warn that President Trump's acquittal will only embolden him. So what will the next 11 months or five years look like? We discuss next.
CAMEROTA: The top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer is warning of the consequences of President Trump being acquitted without the Senators hearing from witnesses or seeing new documents in the impeachment trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY): What will the President conclude? We all know he'll conclude he can do it again, and Congress can do nothing about it. He can try to cheat in his election again, something that eats at the roots of our democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Joining us now is John Dean. He's the former Nixon White House Counsel and a CNN Contributor. John, great to have you here.
You know, the President himself - sometimes you have to believe people when they talk and the President has said to George Stephanopoulos. I don't see what was wrong. Of course, I would do this again. I don't see any problem if asking a foreign government for help within election. I mean, I'm paraphrasing.
And so Chuck Schumer's fears sound founded. He, he hasn't been - there's no accountability. This - what makes Republicans think that this won't happen again in 2020 and possibly beyond?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There is just no reason to believe it won't. And I think what drives Trump is not strategic or tactical thinking, he just blunders into these things. He has an instinct to feel.
He's still operating like he was running the Trump Organization from the back office with the family. He has no real knowledge of the way government works. So he'll just plow ahead, and he won't let anyone tell him this is the way you should or you should not do it. He doesn't listen. BERMAN: There are a couple decisions after the President is acquitted that Congress has, the Senate and also the House of Representatives. The Senate - you already hear people suggest the President should be censured. I can't imagine Mitch McConnell will ever let that get to the Senate floor, but it will be raised.
And then the House Nancy Pelosi, as soon as tomorrow has it as about whether to ask for a subpoena for John Bolton to fight for a subpoena to have John Bolton come testify before the House in various ways. Do you think they will go or what are the arguments for that and against it, John?
DEAN: Well, I have no idea what she will or will not do. There's certainly a lot of people in the House that think even during the impeachment proceedings, they should have brought Bolton into the House and flush out what this is, he's got in his book that relates to the impeachment proceeding.
CAMEROTA: They tried.
DEAN: Well, you know, his book is not being cleared, but that doesn't mean it - it's not available for the House--
CAMEROTA: They should have subpoenaed.
DEAN: Yes, they should have subpoenaed. On the censure issue, that is a very effective tool. Andrew Johnson--
DEAN: Jackson, excuse me. Johnson was impeached. Jackson was not. He wrestled with that his entire life. He, if you recall, he tried to get rid of it. He didn't - it was a real mark on his career. You know, I don't know that anything affects Trump. He doesn't show shame. He doesn't show empathy. He doesn't show any of those traits. But it would give him a guideline you don't do this.
CAMEROTA: I also think that censure option is interesting, because so many Senators, last night, when it was basically all over in terms of the witnesses, started saying that they did think that what he did was wrong. They weren't comfortable with it.
I mean, we've been talking all morning about how they made a decision, a calculus, that it was better for them not to get rid of him on every level. And here, let me just read to you what Lamar Alexander said about this.
He said, the "Senate reflects the country and the country is as divided as it has been for a long time. For the Senate to tear up the ballots in this election and say President Trump couldn't be on it, the country probably wouldn't accept that, it would just pour gasoline on cultural fires that are burning out there."
And so what would I take from that is that the removal is too much. Removal is too much. They were scared to remove the president before an election. They didn't think it was right. But censure doesn't remove the President.
DEAN: We went through this during the Clinton impeachment. There was a search for whether censure was the right answer, because his conduct was clearly improper. He did obstruct justice. He did commit perjury. We just can't let this pass. But they decided not to at the last minute. I think it's more important in this instance than it was with Bill Clinton. Because he had knowledge he had done something wrong. This President doesn't even acknowledge that.
BERMAN: I have to tell you what's so interesting to me about all of Lamar Alexander statements is, is it's - that's an argument against removal, but he's actually deciding not to hear even more witnesses or evidence.
CAMEROTA: Yes. The keeping the blinders on argument has been very interesting to see play out over the next 48 hours. Why keep the blinders on?
BERMAN: And that's what interests me so much about how the House will now handle John Bolton, if they will try to accelerate - his book is going to come out.
BERMAN: But that's different than testifying under oath. So will they try to get him to testify under oath? And how will Republicans refute that? I imagine they're going to come out and say, well, we already acknowledged we believe everything John Bolton says or has been reported to say in the book, so why do we need to hear him? It's the asked and answered argument that you hear so much?
DEAN: Because you want a broader audience to hear it and understand it. And Trump might even pick up that some people think this is bad behavior.
CAMEROTA: Maybe. John Dean, thank you.
DEAN: Thank you all.
CAMEROTA: Thank you very much. Always great to get your perspective.
DEAN: Enjoy Iowa.
BERMAN: Thank you very much.
So LeBron James, as the Lakers honored Kobe Bryant last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEBRON JAMES, LAKERS FORWARD: Laker nation, man, I would be selling you all short if I read off this (beep) so I'm going to go straight from the heart.
BERMAN: We'll play you LeBron James's emotional tribute next. JAMES: Laker nation. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So new this morning a major development in the battle - the worldwide battle against the spread of the coronavirus. The United States now imposing a travel ban on all foreign nationals who been in China. This is, as health officials declare, a public emergency over the coronavirus here in the United States.
CNN's David Culver live really in the center of it all in Beijing with the very latest from there, David?
DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, John. Yes, this containment effort is becoming extreme here. Now we've talked about the lockdown zone, Hubei Province, in particular. 15 cities within that. Some 16 million people.
And, of course, the epicenter of all this is City of Wuhan. Well, next to the City of Wuhan, still within that lockdown zone is a City called Huanggang. That city has now implemented a new policy that just went in a few hours ago into effect. It essentially says that people are not to leave their homes, but every other day. And only one person from each household can leave that home and go to the grocery store and then come back.
It affects about 400,000 people. But the suggestion from officials that they'll make that a little bit wider and include other communities, that would in total be about 7.5 million if they did that. Take the state of Arizona, it's the same population size. I mean, this is incredible, the extreme measures that they're going through here.
They're also, we're hearing about drones being used by Chinese officials. These drones are being flown mostly in rural areas. State media is reporting this. We can actually show you this.
This is from Xinhua, one of the state media outlets, and they have this video showing these drones going to these folks and essentially calling them out saying hey, you're not wearing your mask, put your face mask on, to the lighthearted manner, but it's actually very serious in it's undertone, trying to spread this education and awareness campaign.
All right, let me update you on the U.S. now. As we talk about the containment efforts here, we know about this mandatory quarantine Alisyn, 14 days, for anybody who has come from Hubei Province, in particular, and that is something that we have not seen in the U.S. in more than 50 years. The CDC putting that into effect.
This, as a top U.S. infectious doctor has said, that this virus can spread without somebody having symptoms. Pretty scary to hear that. And that has fueled fears, really, amongst the airline industry too. We've been seeing these airlines cutting back on flights and cutting off all together. Now pilots and flight attendants, they're joining in that flight, calling for all flights to China to and from to be halted, Alisyn,
CAMEROTA: I mean airlines and doctors and officials just don't have enough information yet about what this looks like. David, thank you very much for your reporting.
So back here, the Los Angeles Lakers honoring Kobe Bryant and an emotional tribute, Friday, at the Staples Center. It was the team's first game since Kobe, his daughter and seven other parents and daughters were killed in a helicopter crash. CNN's Sara Sidner has more.
SARA SIDNER, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is the Laker nation grieving a Laker legend. It began with a spotlight on the empty jerseys never again to be filled by the man who made those numbers means so much to so many. The sound of Amazing Grace was ushered in to throngs of fans.
It was a night of raw emotion, a night to throw away the script and throw on the commemorative t-shirt everyone received and console each other. LeBron James took the lead.
JAMES: I got something written down. They asked me to kind of stay on course or whatever the case may be. But Laker nation, man, I would be selling you all short if I read off this (beep) so I'm going to go straight from the heart.
SIDNER (voice over): It is the first times James has spoken publicly about Bryant since the deadly helicopter crash that took nine lives, including Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
JAMES: The first thing that come to mind, man, is all about family. And as I look around this arena, we're all grieving, we're all hurt, we're all heart-broken, but when we're going through things like this is lean on the shoulders of your family.
SIDNER (voice over): The Laker family observed 24.2 seconds of silence. Then Boyz II Men sent emotions soaring with the national anthem.
As the Lakers starters took to the court, a show of solidarity, fans donned the commemorative t-shirts.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just - I had no words.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a lot of emotion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a lot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just a lot.
SIDNER (voice over): And the players answered to one name--
ANNOUNCER: --high school Kobe Bryant.
SIDNER (voice over): Then it was game on, but it wasn't business as usual. In the midst of the joy of the game, halftime brought a reminder of our collective human frailty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once again this fan base expressing their devotion to their beloved Kobe Bryant.
SIDNER (voice over): The final buzzer brought disappointment to the Lakers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see the emotion on the faces of all the players.
ANTHONY DAVIS, LAKERS FORWARD: The entire memorial before the game was tough for me to just to see and then you just hear the voice and just have the common realization that, you know, that he is gone. So, you know, it was tough for me.
FRANK VOGEL, LAKERS COACH: It was a it was very emotional. You know, I mean, our guys were teared up going into the - into the jump ball. And you could just - you just felt it all night.
SIDNER (voice over): But LeBron James ended with a revelation about Kobe Bryant, words to comfort the aggrieved.
JAMES: Felt like these last three years was the happiest I ever seen him. You know, being able to just be with his daughters, be with his family. Just--
SIDNER (voice over): Sarah Sidner, CNN Los Angeles.
CAMEROTA: He definitely looks happy in all of those photos with - that we see of him with his daughters, and with his whole family - his wife. He is beaming. I mean, he just looks so happy to have played that role as well as their father.
BERMAN: Look, I think that's one of the reasons people were so moved and devastated by his death that they've seen him very recently, coming out much more with his family and being much more public.
And I will say, as far as the Lakers go, they had to get through that. That was really difficult for them. I know they were dreading that first game. And you could see it on the court there. They had to get through that. And now they're going to move on. They're going to carry it with them the rest of the season, the rest of their lives, but I know how tough that was.
In the meantime, Super Bowl 54, tomorrow in Miami, all but 10 of the Chiefs and 49ers will be taking the game's biggest stage for the first time. In other way of saying, they'll be playing in their very first Super Bowl. Coy Wire has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. Coy?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Very few NFLers make it to a Super Bowl, but other players that do, there are so many inspiring stories about overcoming adversity like 49ers, Running Back Raheem Mostert is the ultimate fighter. No team drafted in 2015 out of Purdue. You're not good enough, they said, right.
Well, over the next 18 months as a free agent, six different teams cut him before he landed with the 49ers in 2016. Raheem he keeps a tally of those teams and uses it as fuel to the fire that has made him his team's leading rusher.
RAHEEM MOSTERT, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS RUNNING BACK: I know you've heard about the list that I had in my phone. Yes, I look at those dates. And I really - I really just try to take a piece out of out of every spot that I've been at. I always see the light at the end of the tunnel no matter the situation, that's just how I've always been in my life. And, yes, when I was cut by those teams, you know, like I said, I always find positives.
WIRE: Now the light of Raheem Mostert's life his one-and-a-half-year- old son Gunner. Raheem doesn't have any photos of his own childhood growing up in rough neighborhoods here in Florida. It's why he's soaking up every single photo op with Gunner now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: More Super Bowl stories coming your way today in our "CNN Bleacher Report" special "Kickoff in Miami." Andy Scholes and I had Jerry Rice, Drew Brees and other mega stars like Rob Gronkowski. Wish you're here, Alisyn and John. It is 2:30 Eastern right here on CNN.
BERMAN: Give my best to Gron (ph). Tell him to come back on the field next season. We need him. Very exciting year coming up. Coy, thanks so for being with us.
WIRE: I will.
CAMEROTA: All right. So what message could President Trump's acquittal send to the rest of the world? We get the "Bottom Line" next.
CAMEROTA: President Trump will most likely be acquitted by the Senate on Wednesday, even though many Senators - Republican Senators admit that his phone call with Ukraine was wrong and inappropriate, and President Trump admits he'd do it again.
What message does that send to the rest of the world? Let's get to the "Bottom Line" with Susan Glasser. She's our CNN Global Affairs Analyst and Staff Writer for "The New Yorker." Susan, first, before we get to the message to the rest of the world, I just want to get your take, because you've spent the past two weeks roaming the halls of Capitol Hill and you have described it as something of a "Through the Looking Glass" experience of trying to have conversations with folks who are so kind of dizzied by their own circular logic.
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, you pretty much summed it up. It's a very disconcerting experience to try to listen and take at face value something that is not really on the level, right. So it's a trial that isn't really a trial with jurors who aren't really jurors, with arguments to unpersuadable audience. And so it is - as an exercise it can be very frustrating.
You know, both sides, of course, have been filled with sanctimonious lectures about the founding fathers and righteous outrage and indignation of the terrible process, followed by the other side.
And, you know, if I have to hear one more time about the senate as the world's greatest deliberative body, I don't think that phrase means what they think it means, because obviously, there's not a lot of great deliberations going on here.
And, you know, my fear is that this just enhances the cynicism about democracy and its institutions, this idea that it's a rigged system. Well, you know, this is this is a rigged trial with a precooked outcome. And I can't imagine that this is a confidence building exercise for anybody really.
BERMAN: You know, one of the things you wrote is, quote, "Perhaps Alexander has done us all a favor, the trial that wasn't really a trial will be over and we will no longer have to listen to it. The Senate can stop pretending." But isn't that one of the biggest weapons that Donald Trump has always had, which is exhaustion. Right?
He has the ability to exhaust all of his opponents and everyone else. He will just keep at it and keep pressing the boundaries forever and ever and ever and eventually wear people out. Has that happened again?
GLASSER: Yes, I think that's an excellent observation, John. In the end, the Ukraine story is a story that is so fundamentally at odds with the behavior of any recent President Democratic or Republican.
And essentially, you have a situation watching that vote yesterday, you have to pull out of the exhaustion to remember that you have a majority of United States Senate saying we do not want to hear the former National Security Adviser testify under oath that the President of United States engaged in this kind of significant misconduct. And we don't want that information before we make an even more significant decision with long term constantly ramifications.
In my lifetime, you know, imagine if in the middle of the Iran-Contra affair, the former National Security Adviser took the stand in Congress and said, Yes, Ronald Reagan knew about it. And he directed that conspiracy. I mean, essentially, that is what we have going on here. And the Senate is saying we don't even want to hear it. So, you know, you're right. The exhaustion factor can numb us to the significance of what's gone on this week. I do believe that this is a very significant week we've seen in terms of what it tells us about Washington and politics,
CAMEROTA: When you frame it through the Iran-Contra lens that is so helpful, because that would just had been the most - been the biggest bombshell during all of that - all that congressional testimony. And so globally speaking, the fact that there's been no punishment and no accountability and that President Trump has said he'd do it again, what is the reaction that other world leaders are having to that?
GLASSER: You know, Alisyn, I think back to the testimony of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who, you know, finally has been forced out of the Foreign Service. That was the news yesterday. Remember when she testified last fall? And she said, you know, what is exactly your question.
You know, now, every dictator, every bad guy, actor around the world knows that the President of United States can smear and force out somebody on the basis of false information, specifically planted with him.
So I do think that, you know, world leaders will see that Donald Trump is highly manipulable as a leader. That you can actually get misinformation and propaganda directly into the Oval Office and have it affect American policy.
And again, we also have a situation where this most powerful leader in the world is essentially unchecked and so I think it's going to have big waves for a long time to come.
BERMAN: Susan Glasser, thank you --
GLASSER: Thank you.
BERMAN: -- for joining us through the looking glass this morning. Have a terrific weekend.
CAMEROTA: Alice in Wonderland. Thank you for joining us all for this very special edition and historic edition of NEW DAY. John is on his way to Iowa, despite my protestations. But, John we will be very happy to watch you --
BERMAN: I'll miss you terribly, terribly.
CAMEROTA: Me, too.
BERMAN: I will buy you some corn or something.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Thank you for that. See you all on Monday. Stay tuned. "SMERCONISH" is next.