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CUOMO PRIME TIME

FBI Warns "Armed Protests" Being Planned At All 50 State Capitols And In Washington D.C.; House Democrats Plan Wednesday Vote To Impeach Trump; Attorney For Suspect In Pelosi Lectern Theft On Client's Defense. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 11, 2021 - 21:00   ET

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


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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And now this. We don't want to leave you tonight before an update on the Coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, it is not good. There have been more than 182,000 new cases recorded today alone, while there are nearly 1,600 new deaths. Keep in mind the figures on a Monday are usually slow to be counted because of the weekend.

The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, Anderson, thank you very much.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

The Trump insurrection may spread to all 50 states. It was so easy for toxic Trumpers, on Wednesday. And let's be honest, there is still such embracing of Trump by his Party that people looking to destroy America are making plans everywhere. This comes from the FBI.

They say armed protests, again in D.C., better-armed this time, and in all 50 state capitols, are being discussed online, and in-person, in the run-up to our Inauguration. They're promising, again, to be better-armed and more deadly, specifically targeting President-elect Biden, V.P.-elect Harris, and Speaker Pelosi.

So, who will stand up for America now? How about the President? He could do a public event. He could threaten to bring holy hell down on anyone who interrupts the Inauguration.

But he doesn't. Why? Now you know why. Donald John Trump likes that extremists and would-be terrorists want to advance his cause, apparently.

Now, as for him, and the reckoning, and what can be done here, to show that it was wrong, Trump may be impeached again, on Wednesday. We're going to debate tonight whether that must be done just to set a precedent.

But no matter what the rationale is, it's not going to result in any kind of conviction, not with Mitch McConnell in charge of the Senate. We'll get to him in a second. And an impeachment is not going to keep us safe, and it's certainly

not a sufficient response to the attack on America. Why? Because Trump didn't do this alone. The "electeds" in Congress, the operatives, posing as media, they matter more going forward than the man they hide behind.

Even now, most say the minimum. They lie about being tough on Trump. They claim to be victims. While the coup was ongoing, they were already saying they would be censored that the Left was coming to get them. Political payback is the least of their worries now, isn't it?

But ask yourself this. Why aren't GOP party members calling on Trump to take action? Why aren't they coming en masse, out to the public, and going at the attackers themselves? Why aren't they saying, "Hey, would-be terrorists, you're not part of us. We don't want you?" Think about it. Why aren't they doing it?

Instead, what are they doing? They're playing politics as usual. "Oh, this was no different than any other protest gone awry. What about the summer?" Are they serious?

And be clear, they were baiting what happened on Wednesday right up until the attack and during it.

On the day of the attack, Arizona Re-Trump-lican Paul Gosar tweeted he wanted Biden's concession on his desk. "Don't make me come over there," he wrote. Don't worry. Your friends took care of it for you.

Also, in a tweet, to pump up rioters that day, Congresswoman Boebert, from Colorado, declared, today is 1776. Then she ran, when they came. Some patriot!

It gets worse. Now they're saying "Well we just did what everybody else does," listen.

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REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): The bottom line is, the court is saying, "We're not going to touch this. You have no remedy," basically, in effect, the ruling would be that you got to go to the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM.

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CUOMO: Just think about - hold on for a second. Just think about how crazy that is. So, all the courts reject your appeal. They didn't refuse to listen. They listened. You refused to offer proof.

Then the conclusion of a Member of Congress is "I guess that ruling means we have to be as violent as Antifa and BLM," which by the way have never been as violent as you, and the people you stoked, just were.

So, after a judge threw out, Re-Trump-lican Gohmert, that joke, his ludicrous lawsuit, aiming to force Mike Pence to overturn the vote, he said, "Violence in the streets may be the only remaining option." Look, he said it to sound tough, to be extreme. And then he ran.

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And there were plenty like him, 130 in the House, in fact. They said similar to him, or they allowed it to be said. You didn't hear anybody call him out. There was no pushback. And then they voted to send the same malignant message.

This wall of shame will be remembered in history. They all swore oaths, to defend our country, against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and they failed.

They have become what they were supposed to oppose, helping to incite insurrection, by lending credence to Trump, on his insanity that the election was stolen, voting to help him overthrow it, directly encouraging the violence themselves.

Fealty and fear of doing what was right for you was fuel for dark forces. And that's why these groups now feel empowered, just like Trump did.

And every day that all those Re-Trump-licans fail to own that their fealty was wrong, that they reject these groups, that these people are not patriots, every day they fail to do that, the threat grows.

Do these Re-Trump-licans not understand that extreme-Right groups, who are on terror watchlists, in this country, have been turbo-charged, and that the lies they are telling will literally kill, like they just did, and it will happen again?

Just denouncing the violence of the coup, it's not going to make it stop. You released the Kraken on this country. And then, you ran, because you knew what you were doing, all along, was wrong.

And it wasn't just about the coup. If you were acting in good faith, senators Rubio and Cruz, Hawley, Mr. McCarthy in the House, why didn't you stay and greet your MAGA-mates? You told them to come.

You said the election was rigged or said nothing. You said the Left was trying to steal the country. "America would be forever changed! Socialism! Communism! Every ism that's scary!" Why now try to make it just like another controversy?

These are not desperate people that we saw, just becoming what they oppose in a fit. They are evil, zealots, armed, prepared with Molotov cocktails, handcuffs. And they came to do what you said was righteous. They came, hunting for U.S. lawmakers chanting, "Hang Mike Pence!" Thank you, Mr. President.

Everyone knows what happened and why. Five are dead, including a Capitol police officer. But the Re-Trump-licans want to say "You know what the problem is? This Biden, he is no uniter."

Can you believe the unmitigated gall! Now you want to talk about who is not a uniter? At the worst time, when we need you to finally do what's right, you're still going to do what's wrong? You just fomented an overrun of the Capitol. Have you no shame? For

the safety of your own families, can't you just stop making it worse? Stop playing this as another Left/Right squabble. You really may start a Civil War.

It is up to the rest of us to stop this now. How? How? Let's brainstorm. We have the House Majority Whip, Democrat James Clyburn.

Thank you, Sir. Thank you for joining us during these dangerous days.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, thank you very much for having me, Chris. And thank you for your comments. I think they were right on. We are at an inflection point, in the country, and I would hope that sane heads will prevail.

I've been around this stuff for a long, long time. Back in the '60s, we had these kinds of divisions, in the country, but people got beyond parties. They came together, religious groups, other kind of civic groups and political groups.

I've been telling people recently that, I'm blessed with three wonderful daughters, but if I ever had a son, his name would have been James Everett, in honor of J. Everett Dirksen, simply because back when we were trying to get the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act, back in '64 and '65, I was so enamored with Dirksen, until I said "If I ever had a son, I would name him after him."

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And that's the kind of thing that we have to really think about this country. That's what happened when Richard Nixon went awry. It wasn't the Democrats that sat down with Nixon, and said it's time for you to go. It was the Republicans that went to him.

And so, I would hope, that we would take the steps necessary, today, to really appeal, to the right-thinking people, in this country, to come together, as a country, and continue our pursuit.

I call it the "Great Pursuit of Liberty, Justice, For All." So, that's what this thing is all about. And I would hope we would get some help from the other side putting this country back on track.

CUOMO: Do you see any sign of that help? You're certainly not going to get it on impeachment. McConnell already said he wouldn't put it up until after the Inauguration, so you only have a couple of weeks left. Do you have any signs of cooperation?

CLYBURN: Well, there are some signs of cooperation, maybe not on the Senate side. But, as you know, we don't have to start a trial at the time of impeachment.

An impeachment is simply an indictment. And then, you make decisions that collectively, as and when, to bring this thing to trial. And so, I don't believe that you got to rush to a trial, simply because you do the impeachment. So, I would hope that we will vote, on Wednesday, to impeach simply

because I think it's necessary for us to say, to anybody who would ever wish to be President again, "This is not OK. When you do this, there is going to be a price to pay."

And I don't know anybody, who would relish, going around, being indicted, and which, this is what - what this is all about.

CUOMO: I understand.

CLYBURN: So, we have to take the time (ph).

CUOMO: I understand the rationale. To be honest, at first, I was like "Well, it's not going to resolve the way they want again, so why do it?" But I understand the precedential value.

What do you say to a Senator Rubio, who says, "This makes Clyburn, and the Democrats, the problem. Now, you're the problem by doing this. We need to come together and you're doing this." What do you say to him?

CLYBURN: Well, people said that John Lewis was a problem, when he was seeking justice. And now, we say "John Lewis was a saint." You have to do what's in the best interests of the country. You have to do what you know to be right.

I used to run a state agency. And I remember, one time, I was talking to a guy about having made a founding against him. He said to me, "We know when we are wrong." And I think that these people know that they are wrong. The question is whether or not they'll admit that they are wrong.

This was as clean of an election that has ever been in my lifetime. And we know that this President-elect won by over 7 million votes. That, to me, in any other country would be a landslide.

And a lot of us, on my side, are trying to reach out. I just proposed legislation, the other day, to make "Lift Every Voice and Sing" a national hymn.

CUOMO: Right.

CLYBURN: That, to me, would be a unifying effort on our part. I would hope to get bipartisan support for that.

CUOMO: Great idea!

CLYBURN: Because I think it's time for us to sit down and do the things that are necessary to bring us together. And that's something that would bring us together.

CUOMO: One more quick question for you. How concerned are you on the security side?

Congressman Cicilline, and the ugly threats, left as voicemails for him, that people are coming to get him, they are more obvious. They're more ominous. The idea that maybe you had some within the ranks of the security forces that didn't behave right, out of some type of affinity, to the people who were coming.

How worried are you about these two issues?

CLYBURN: I am very worried about that. Because I have been in this business a long time, I used to run the agency here in South Carolina that dealt with those kinds of issues.

When I left state government, for the last five years that I was in state government, I had a full-time law enforcement agency assigned to me. They used to live - stay in my home, when I was not here with my family.

So, I know what this is all about. So, I'm very concerned about it. But I also know that it is the atmosphere that's created that determines whether or not these people are successful with their efforts.

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And that's why we're trying to get people, in Washington, to sit down and create a climate that allows us to solve our problems, as a team, as a group of citizens, and not continue to try to make headlines the next day. I am interested in making headway. Not headlines.

CUOMO: Congressman Jim Clyburn, god bless and thank you.

CLYBURN: Thank you very much for having me.

CUOMO: We do have to change the definitions here. We have to change the metrics, the measurements for success. It's not about who wins. It's about what survives now.

Because Trump did everything with an Acting this, Acting that, because he couldn't get anybody through his own Senate process. We now don't have a Head of Homeland Security. So, who is keeping us safe right now as the FBI is ramping up for what may be new domestic bloodshed?

We're going to take that to a counterterrorism expert. Phil Mudd is back on the show. And talk to Michael Smerconish, about what Republicans need to do, to redeem themselves, and what's being done to Republicans? These things - are things being made worse or better? Next.

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(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Look, Left and Right, be reasonable. We need all hands on deck. This is not just politics anymore. And Trumpers are running off the ship like rats. We just lost the Homeland Security Chief. This comes at a time that the FBI issues one of its most dire nation security bulletins yet.

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Trump insurrection across all 50 state capitols and Washington, D.C., our safety is in the hands of people almost exclusively acting in "Acting" capacities. Who is going to keep us safe? What political and practical moves are necessary?

Phil Mudd and Michael Smerconish join us now.

Good evening, gentlemen.

Phil?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL, FORMER FBI SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ADVISER: Yes.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.

CUOMO: Give us a sense of how you see the nature and degree of the threat.

MUDD: Look, I look at this as a cancer. If you have a central node for cancer, you can attack it. You can attack those cells. The problem, if you're in the government, right now, is you've got an FBI warning that says there are potential threats in 50 states.

You cannot, Chris, you cannot coordinate security for 50 states simultaneously on one day. You have to assume that all those local police and sheriffs are coordinated, maybe with National Guard assistance, maybe with their state governments in support or not. You can't do that.

The second thing I'd say is, to refer back to what you said, about a bunch of "Acting" people, in a real world, you're going to have an operation center coordinated by the White House that is the White House is sitting on live, secure video feeds with agencies, like Homeland Security, like the FBI, saying "What are we seeing minute by minute? Who is doing what?"

And if there is a problem, you've got the players at the table, who can pull the triggers, and also, this is really important, who have the experience to pull the triggers, and say "This is what we're going to do in California and New York."

You can't do that many places at once, Chris, and you don't have the people in place, who are being coordinated by the White House simultaneously.

CUOMO: How worried are you about this? And how worried are you about the people that we saw leading people into the Capitol? MUDD: That's - I'm worried, as both an American, and a practitioner, let me give the easy part, the practitioner.

That's just multiplication tables, assuming that nothing goes south, in 50 states, simultaneously, that is you can assume that people don't show up with multiple AR-15s, if there is not a hostage event, that no security is breached by - like it was, at the Capitol.

But, Chris, that's - that's a multiplication table. I would not assume that that would happen in 50 states simultaneously.

As an American, I'll give you a different perspective. Look, on 9/11, I was evacuated from the White House. It was them attacking us that is people who didn't look like this.

How did we harden cockpit doors for people coming into this country? How did we look at visa processes to ensure that we don't have dirty people coming to this country? How did we have no-fly lists?

Right now, I can't do that. There's 80 million people on the President's Twitter list. The people coming over the transom, at the Capitol, or in Idaho, or California, or Florida, are me. They are us. I can't defend that, Chris. They're not them. They're us.

CUOMO: Michael, the political fix. The Democrats are going to make a move on impeachment. They say it has precedential value that they have to do it, even if the process isn't complete.

But what do you see as incumbent upon Republicans to be doing right now that they're not?

SMERCONISH: I had a telephone call today on SiriusXM, Chris, where we both enjoy a home, on the POTUS channel. I think his name was Anthony, in San Francisco, and he said to me something I hadn't thought of.

It should be the Republicans, who are pushing for impeachment, because they'll bear the burden. Donald Trump will dominate the Party through to 2024, unless they take him out of the mix.

And taking him out of the mix right now would mean that he is impeached in the House and convicted in the Senate. I don't expect that to happen, but I thought it was a really good observation.

There is this triumvirate that needs to be dislodged. It's conservative media, the hold that they have on the base, and then the ability to primary incumbents, who are scared to death, and kowtow to all that they want.

And I think that the big story today was Cumulus, this owner of more than 400 talk radio stations, across the country, essentially saying to their conservative hosts, "If you lie, about the state of the election, if you continue the fiction that it's not over, we will fire you."

And I don't remember that kind of an edict in the last 20 years, 30 years. I think it was very necessary and very healthy. I don't want them to squelch opinion. But these are facts that we're talking about. That's what needs to happen.

CUOMO: Blurry line though, Michael.

SMERCONISH: Say it again, Chris?

CUOMO: Blurry line, opinion and fact about what you think--

SMERCONISH: But you know Chris?

CUOMO: --is right and wrong.

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SMERCONISH: Chris, I think - I think I have a standard for that. It's the defamation standard. Hyperbole is not actionable, but you make an assertion of fact that's capable of being proven true or false. That's actionable. And I think the same standard should apply here.

If people want to go on and criticize the two of us, or even Phil Mudd, with hyperbole, that's one thing. But if they want to outright lie, about our positions, or what's going on, in the Congress, that's quite something else. I think it's a healthy step. I think it's a step in the right direction.

A final thought I'll say is this. Donald Trump to me, and I blame him, I want to be very clear about that, I blame him for lighting the fuse, last Wednesday.

But this didn't begin with his speech and, frankly, it didn't begin with his election. It's been 30 years in the making, largely stirred by individuals, with a profit motive, to keep you listening to radio shows, television programs, and internet clicks.

CUOMO: Michael Smerconish, thank you very much.

I'll give Phil Mudd his own last word out of my mouth.

When Trump was first starting during the campaign, and he was playing with extremist groups, and rhetoric that plays to them, and they were coming out in favor, Phil Mudd told me, "These are not people to play around with. If they find a way into the legitimate game, we will regret it." And now, here we are.

Phil, thank you. Smerc, thank you.

MUDD: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: Thank you.

CUOMO: Now, you've all seen this startling image, the man making off with Speaker Pelosi's lectern. Look at it, big smile, "Yay!" Not no more, not free for long, not smiling for long. Tonight, his legal team is here. What is the defense? What does this man mean? Why did he do this?

And we have loads of tips that are helping the FBI net dozens of these rioters, and, boy, the work is ongoing, and you won't believe what they're finding.

The key Intel from the insurrection, next.

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CUOMO: Would-be terrorists, marauding in the name of Trump, not done, the FBI issuing a startling warning. I don't even know what we do about it, to be honest. Every single state capitol is being targeted for armed protests. Can they pull that off? I don't know.

But how do you deal with it? Doesn't matter who the governor is, Red or Blue, Trump loyalist, or foe, you see, this was never about whether there is a "D" or an "R" in front of a politician's name.

This is was as clear as the agony on this cop's face. Mob crushed him in a door. This is way beyond politics, using the flag as a weapon in the blood-thirsty berating of an officer on the steps.

You want to know why Re-Trump-licans ran? They knew what they have unleashed. Multiple bombs not just ready, but deployed, Napalm like Molotov cocktails concocted, and at hand, metal pipes, chemical irritants, these guys came with a plan, and the tools, to carry it out.

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(U.S. CAPITOL RIOTERS CHANT "HANG MIKE PENCE! HANG MIKE PENCE! HANG MIKE PENCE!")

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell Pelosi we're coming for that (BEEP).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell (BEEP) Pelosi we're coming for her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: So much for high ground, right? You're still telling yourself this wasn't a coup? That's the two top officials in the line of succession being targeted by name.

The criminal justice system is moving. You got 20 federal criminal defendants, about another 40 charged in D.C. Superior Court. One of the things that's a benefit of these people feeling so entitled

is that they put their names and photos everywhere, they gave interviews, because they thought they were better than other thugs, terrorists, and rioters. They were wrong. Justice is blind!

The guy seen chasing after a Black police officer, the guy with his feet on Pelosi's desk, the guy who walked off with her lectern, none of them smiling in their mugshots.

As for Adam Johnson here, his lawyers are going to join me in a bit. We'll see how they explain why he was there, and what he is about.

Plenty of officers also have some explaining to do. Officers! As many as 17 Capitol Police under investigation for their behavior during the attack. We know the Officer who decided to pose for selfies as well as one who popped on a MAGA hat. They've been suspended. Is that enough?

A badge is no shield for consequences from what we saw.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cops are very cool. They're like, "Hey guys, have a good night." And well some of them, it's just crazy, it's really weird, you can see that some of them are on our side.

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CUOMO: Each day, that passes, gives us more and more clarity. This is a big problem, and it requires everybody to come together, in the name of what is right. The more we learn the more clear it becomes. We can't move on.

And I know that people on the Right want to play this like it's just the latest, or that they're the victims, and that the Left is coming to get them. But it is pastime for that BS.

We need accountability, and it is on you people, not to complain as victims, but to come out and say "You know what? This was wrong. What Trump was doing was wrong. And we should have done more to stop him." That would be a first step, OK?

Now, look at this. This is what you've unleashed. These guys are not just people who came overwhelmed with their outrage. They came ready with handcuffs. Those zip ties are handcuffs. Who are they looking for? Who did they want to cuff?

The FBI is running down some 45,000 tips. Time is not on their side. This wasn't a one-time event. Every day we see another Member of Congress being threatened in an airport, all while they get voice mails, that sound like this.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You poked the (BEEP) bear this time you little (BEEP).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got 80 (BEEP) million people coming after you, you commie little (BEEP).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You haven't seen anything yet. You haven't seen anything yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you impeach him, civil war is on, buddy.

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CUOMO: Now, listen. I get calls like this. I have people say this stuff to me in-person, at a distance. But once you see what happened last week, talk doesn't just sound like talk anymore, does it?

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And remember, we didn't get here overnight, and we didn't get here because of Trump alone, and people have to stop saying that, especially on the Right. "Trump is different now." No, you're different.

You're different because you saw the effect of what you caused. Re- Trump-licans spent years, weaponizing that anger. Take notice. The same ones that now insist we have to move on, in the name of unity, seriously?

The only thing that's unifying the nation at this moment is the terror threat that currently stretches from sea to shining sea, oh, yes, and the pandemic that's killing all of us that you're doing nothing about, and the vaccine rollout that you totally botched, and you're not fixing.

So, let's start small. The people who went into that Capitol, the situation demands justice. We have the lawyers for the guy who was carrying the lectern away. One of the iconic photos of this disgrace!

We'll hear their side. Is there any good explanation? Is there a window into worse? Next.

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CUOMO: Tonight, Adam Johnson, the man photographed taking House Speaker's - the House Speaker's lectern, during the Capitol riot, is out on bond, after appearing before a Tampa federal judge. He now faces three charges. One count of knowingly entering or

remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, one count of theft of government property, and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

He got out on bail. So, I hope he is not part of one of these groups that's planning to do this again. His attorneys are David Bigney and Dan Eckhart, and they join us now.

Gentlemen, thank you.

DAVID BIGNEY, ATTORNEY FOR SUSPECT IN PELOSI LECTERN THEFT DURING RIOT: Chris, thank you very much. Greatly appreciate you giving us the opportunity to speak about our client, Adam Johnson.

CUOMO: Now Dan, you have a very prestigious pedigree. You were a federal prosecutor. You were a federal agent. Everybody has a right to a defense. They don't have a right to you as counsel. Why does this man deserve your level of defense?

DAN ECKHART, ATTORNEY FOR SUSPECT IN PELOSI LECTERN THEFT DURING RIOT: Well Chris, that's a - that's a great question. Again, I want to thank you for giving this opportunity to talk to you a little bit.

I mean, Mr. Johnson has the right, as you know, you are an attorney, as anybody else that's a member of this society. That's one of the beautiful things about the United States. You have the right to counsel. And myself and Mr. Bigney feel like we are going to represent our client to the fullest extent of the law.

CUOMO: I know you will. But I'm saying why does he deserve your help in this situation? He has no right to your help. What do you know about him that makes you feel that there are redeeming characteristics to who he is, and what he did, Sir?

ECKHART: Well, I'll tell you one of the things, Chris. To be honest with you, it's, you know, you always can't judge a book by its cover, so to speak.

So, you've got the photos, and you've got a lot of things on social media, where they're demonizing Mr. Johnson. And it's just really a mischaracterization. I mean he's a family man. His wife is a physician. He's got five children.

There is nothing in his background or his past that would attribute any type of violence, or this type of rebellious - rebellious-type behavior to him. So, it's an anomaly, it's an unusual situation for him.

CUOMO: So, he is not part of some extremist group? He wasn't part of an organized effort--

BIGNEY: No.

CUOMO: --to get into the Capitol? Doug, you can take this.

BIGNEY: Well, no. No. He certainly wasn't. He was there to witness a little bit of history, and that's the extent of it.

He wasn't involved in any coup. He wasn't involved in any planning of any entering of the Capitol. Things got out of hand. You saw the pictures. But no, he was not there for any destruction, any treason. He was just there to witness history.

CUOMO: All right, so now, we turn to where being two on one--

ECKHART: Chris? Yes.

CUOMO: --does not become an advantage.

The guy did it. He's obviously in there. He was in there with a pack of savages, who were trying to find and target Members of Congress, and do terrible things, did terrible things. He is smiling his ass off while he takes a lectern. What is any rationale for him not being guilty, Dan?

BIGNEY: Well, David.

CUOMO: Oh, sorry. I'm calling you a different name--

BIGNEY: That's all right.

CUOMO: --to protect you for the fact that you're representing this guy in the first place.

BIGNEY: Well--

CUOMO: No, I'm kidding.

BIGNEY: And I - I appreciate you looking out for me.

CUOMO: But why should we have any kind of sympathy for this cat when he was part of one of the worst acts in American modern history?

BIGNEY: Well look, a couple of things.

First of all, we've gotten to know him a little bit over the last week or so. He is not the guy that's being portrayed on the media. We're here to defend him. He's got his constitutional rights, and we are here to protect him.

As far as him going in, you've got to realize that the Capitol is in theory one of the most secure buildings in the country. There is cameras everywhere.

CUOMO: Yes.

BIGNEY: That being said, I'm pretty certain that the government, that the U.S. Attorney's Office, that they have looked at the videos. They have had an opportunity to see every step that he took from the time that his--

CUOMO: Right.

BIGNEY: --from his entire involvement in this case. Yet he is out today. He's at home. He's with his wife. He's with his five children.

CUOMO: Right.

BIGNEY: And it's not because he is a threat to the country. And it's not because he's a flight risk. So, you've got to think that if he was that type of threat, or if the government really thought that he was involved in some sort of coup--

CUOMO: Right.

BIGNEY: --that he'd probably still be incarcerated right now.

CUOMO: But that's my - that goes to my first question, David, which is why are you representing him? I think you're why he got bond, because when you have really talented lawyers, they can work the system.

[21:45:00]

And Dan, the problem for you is the picture. The guy has the lectern. He went in there. He took it. Nobody forced him to go in there, and take it. And he was with a group of people that were trying to perform a coup.

I mean, what's the upside for this guy? Why does he deserve bond or anything else?

ECKHART: Well, the upside, Chris, again, there're different levels of culpability in a situation. I mean, you had a mass crowd, hundreds, thousands of people.

And so, I've seen the same videos. I mean, I've been watching you on CNN. I mean I've seen these videos of these people that are fighting with law enforcement, and they're destroying property, and they're the tip of the spear. That's not our guy. Our guy is pro-law enforcement. He's pro - I mean, he's not that guy.

And so, you're going to have different levels of all these people that are being charged and indicted, and our guy is not one of the violent, disruptive people that wants to, in your words, I mean, you know, overthrow the government. He's just not that person. That's why he deserves our representation.

CUOMO: David, he is not one of those people. He did exactly the same things. He broke into the U.S. Capitol.

BIGNEY: Well no, he didn't do the exact same things.

CUOMO: He went where he wasn't supposed to be. He stole something that he knows isn't his. And he loved it.

BIGNEY: Well, there is a big difference between him and the people that actually broke into the U.S. Capitol. I don't believe there's any evidence that he did any damage to anything that he forced his way into a building.

Looking at your own website today, it's clear that there was no security prohibiting the entry of a lot of the people that went in. So, he was not one of those people that was forcing anything. And--

CUOMO: But he knew he wasn't supposed to go in, David.

BIGNEY: Well, but that wasn't your question. Your question was, he - started out with he had forced his way in, and that's not what happened.

CUOMO: David, he knew he wasn't supposed to go in. He knew he wasn't supposed to take that lectern.

BIGNEY: Well that being said, what you've seen is a picture. You've seen a picture of one instance. Holding--

CUOMO: Did somebody force it into his hands, Dan?

BIGNEY: We're--

CUOMO: Did somebody tell him at gun point "You take this lectern or we're coming for your kids?" What am I missing?

ECKHART: Chris, I made a mistake during - during the initial questioning, where somebody did point out, "Hey, there is a photograph," appears to be a photograph that we got reported like in the Capitol with a lectern, and I said something to the effect of "I'm not a magician," meaning we can't make that evidence disappear.

There are certain things in this case, and David will opine, that yes, that we can't run with. And I think those are things that we have to live with, and we're going to have to deal with.

But what we're trying to say is, you have a picture of a man in the Capitol with what appears to be a lectern, appears to be in the Capitol with a lectern.

That's a far cry from the people that you see that are fighting with law enforcement that are assaulting law enforcement, that are, you know, again at the tip of the spear, where there's thousands of people that are in this mob, so to speak.

CUOMO: Here is my worry.

ECKHART: So, that's a mistake.

CUOMO: And I'm very slow to say this you to.

David, I don't know your background as well. I even got your name wrong, but I'll blame myself for that later. I got COVID brain. I apologize to you, brother. It wasn't done out of disrespect.

But Dan, here's why I'm not coming at you, the way I would some other people, because of your service. And I've, you know, looking into who you are, I'm not coming at you, with any kind of ugly assertion. But here is the concern. We're looking at more of this.

ECKHART: Yes.

CUOMO: And we're looking at people feeling emboldened by what happened on Wednesday.

And this fool has been all over the place, smiling as like the picture of exactly who you want to be, if you're a big Trumper. And I'm worried that him getting off, getting bond, sends the message that "It's not that bad. You should try to do it, too."

Are you worried about that?

ECKHART: Well, we're not worried because, Chris, this is the initial stage, as you know. We just got the bond today. And we just got him out today.

There's more to this story, and you'll be one of the first to know, as the case evolves. We've got evidence to evaluate. We've got things we've got to do, communicate to the U.S. Attorney's office in D.C., and also the Middle District of Florida.

BIGNEY: And, also, as you're saying, he is not all over the place smiling. His picture of one instant is all over the place. So, he is not putting himself out there with the big smiles. He's not doing any self-promotion, or he's not sending out treasonous messages. You've got a picture of him.

ECKHART: Yes, and just to, before, I know we don't have much time, but Chris, I will want to - I do have to point out, I mean, the level of threats against him and his family have been unprecedented.

And I do have to commend law enforcement. FBI has been working with us all throughout the weekend. I mean, there's demonstrated threats against his wife and his family. They had nothing to do with this. So, that's the other side of it.

I mean, we're, as you know, we're in a fractured society right now. So, we have, you know, we have people that are obviously very hateful of our client. And so, they're making death threats against him and his family, which law enforcement's taken very seriously.

CUOMO: Well he didn't help his cause by what he decided to become part of.

Dan Eckhart, again, thank you for serving the country, as a prosecutor, and as an agent.

David Bigney, I'm sorry about your name. I had a lot of different pieces of paper in front of me.

BIGNEY: That's OK.

[21:50:00]

CUOMO: And look, I'll tell you this much. He's lucky he's got you guys. And he's lucky that his wife has been working, making that doctor money, to afford representation like you. Otherwise, he may be staring at the inside, even longer, than he has looking at him.

Gentlemen, thank you for taking the time. Appreciate it. BIGNEY: Thank - thank you, Chris.

ECKHART: Thanks, Chris

CUOMO: All right.

Listen, look, my concern is, one, that's how the game goes, right? You get good lawyers, because you got money coming at you, from your wife, who is a doctor, you get that kind of defense. We all know how it goes when you don't have that kind of defense. But what if it empowers people to try to do the same thing?

Nine days, nine days we have, feels like it could be forever. What else is Trump capable of? We know he's not going to come out and stop these people, evidently. He could be saying that.

Let's talk to his niece. What does she know about him and what it could look like with him between now and the 20th? Mary Trump, next.

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[21:55:00]

CUOMO: Mary Trump, the President's niece, has been saying for some time now that her uncle needs to be removed from power because he will do unstable, unhinged, whatever word you want to use, and that's what's happening.

Many of Trump's allies have said nothing. It took people to die, to do what we just saw, to even admit that there's a problem.

Mary Trump is also a psychologist and Author of "Too Much and Never Enough." She joins us now.

You take no solace in having been right, I know that, and you're also saying it's not over.

Now, he is going to Alamo - the Alamo in San Antonio. We all know what the Alamo is about. We know the virtue of the call for aid and being unheeded and fighting against huge - huge odds.

He's going to Alamo, Texas. And Alamo, Texas is named after that mission in San Antonio, OK? So the symbol is there, OK? Do you think that's why he's going there? MARY TRUMP, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S NIECE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, AUTHOR, "TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH": Undoubtedly. I'm sure somebody else told him to go there, because as you know, as well as I do, Donald knows absolutely nothing about American history.

But I'm sure, once, he was told what the symbolism was, he thought it was a good idea. But I guess whoever informed him about the Alamo didn't tell him how it ended. But he is there - he is indeed going there to make a stand of one kind or another.

And it's - you know, as I've said, and as you've said, and as many other people have said, this is going to continue to get worse because Donald will continue to stir this up.

I read the transcript of his January 6th speech. And it was incendiary. And it was also a prescription, if you will, to his followers.

So, Donald has never been contained. He's never been stopped. He's always been allowed to get away with whatever he's wanted to get away with.

I think it's time, though, for us and - well, actually, for the Republicans in Congress, who are literally the only people, on this planet, who can mitigate the horrors that are going on right now.

CUOMO: And why aren't they speaking out about this? I can't think of many things other than calling for more insurrections that he could do that is a more harrowing symbol than going to the Alamo, which was the last, you know, Alamo, Texas. I don't care that he's not going to the Alamo. Obviously Alamo, Texas--

M. TRUMP: Right.

CUOMO: --is not a coincidence, OK?

He shouldn't be going anywhere near anything called like that right now, not out of disrespect for the Alamo, but what it will mean to these crazy extremist groups, who love to see themselves, as fighting to the death, against the odds. How can people around him be letting him do this?

M. TRUMP: Because they think that it benefits them to some degree. Listen, if Mike Pence, who was literally being threatened with hanging--

CUOMO: Hunted.

M. TRUMP: Yes, hunted and threatened with hanging, at the hands of a mob, Donald incited, if he's not going to stand up, and exercise his constitutional right, to invoke the 25th Amendment - and by the way, why were they hunting him and threatening him? Because on January 6th, he was exercising his constitutional duty to certify the election.

CUOMO: Right. M. TRUMP: And apparently, because he was not going to tell the big lie that Donald has been peddling, for the last two months, Mike Pence deserved to die. And yet, he still is not putting a stop to this.

CUOMO: Right.

M. TRUMP: And he could.

CUOMO: And now, Pence and his guys are supposedly trying to tamp down the temperature. They should be doing the opposite.

M. TRUMP: Right.

CUOMO: Not being on Twitter, being somewhat isolated, hearing some members of his Party go against him, will any of that mean anything to him in terms of thinking about where he is and what he should say?

M. TRUMP: No. And I take issue with the whole "He's isolated because he's not on Twitter."

He has an entire press corps with cameras ready to go, anytime he wants to, to step in front of a camera. So, that's just absurd on the face. He just knows that if he steps in front of reporters, he can't control the narrative completely.

I literally think there is nothing anybody can say. He's not going to come to his senses because he doesn't have any, you know? So, it's a question of other people stepping in, and blocking him, and containing him.

And Republicans in Congress are the only people who can do that. And yet, instead of doing that, what are they doing? They're putting it all on Democrats, and telling the Democrats that they're the ones--

CUOMO: Right.

M. TRUMP: --who need to call for unity and, I guess, just let bygones be bygones?

CUOMO: I don't know.

M. TRUMP: Donald incited an armed insurrection against his own government in the process of which a capitol police officer was killed. What else did they need to see have happen?

CUOMO: Obvious more because they're still playing the game. But you never happen --

(CROSSTALK)

M. TRUMP: They're going to get it.

CUOMO: And I appreciate your perspective. Mary Trump, be well.

M. TRUMP: Thank you. You, too, Chris. CUOMO: All right. I'm late. let me get to the big show "CNN TONIGHT"

with D. Lemon. Don, you know, not Congress but it was one kind of leader who took a stand today.