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CNN TONIGHT

House Moving To Vote On Impeachment; Rep. Liz Cheney Agrees On Impeaching Trump; Shocking Details On The U.S. Capitol Attack; Trump's Fate Depends On Leader Mitch McConnell; FBI Ignored Warning Signs; Domestic Terrorism Now Rampant In U.S. Oil. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 12, 2021 - 22:00   ET

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


[22:00:00]

(CROSSTALK)

KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: Yes. That was Wednesday.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Yes, but I'm saying there's a reason people attack the capitol. And we both know it. This is not apples to apples. Nobody has ever done anything what we saw last week.

CUCCINELLI: Sure.

CUOMO: And it happened for a reason.

CUCCINELLI: Well, they didn't do it --

CUOMO: And the reason is this is now.

CUCCINELLI: No, no, no. They -- they most certainly have. They just haven't done it at the capitol. They've been doing it all over the country --

CUOMO: But that matters. But that matters.

CUCCINELLI: -- for seven months.

CUOMO: Overturning the election is different than being pissed off about getting shot by cops.

CUCCINELLI: Well, they were never going to overturn the election, and I give Congress a lot of credit for not delaying a day just coming back when --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: But they tried at the direction of this president.

CUCCINELLI: -- control had been reestablished.

CUOMO: And others, Ken. It's a big difference. And you are going to have to deal with it next week. Last word? CUCCINELLI: We are absolutely ready to deal with every threat that

comes, no matter who brings it. And no matter who is violent, we will advance prosecution against those people, just like we are doing for January 6. Violence is never acceptable, left, right, middle, or anywhere else.

CUOMO: Thank you for doing the job. Stay safe, and anything you can do to control that single mouth will certainly have a cascade effect. Be well and thank you. Thank you for watching. Time for the big show with "CNN TONIGHT" and D. Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Listen, I don't mind that you're late because that was a very important interview. Listen, I'm glad you mentioned about being shot by cops, because you cannot compare this and I'm sick of people comparing. You can't compare what happened this summer to what happened at the capitol. It's two different things.

One was built on racial justice, on criminal justice, right? On reform, on police not beating up or not treat -- or police treating people of color differently than they do whites. OK. That was -- that is not a lie. Those are facts. Go look at them. What happened at the capitol on Wednesday was built on a lie, perpetrated by the president and the people who support him.

So, just on that one, that merit, if you want to call it, it's not comparable. Those things are not comparable, so they should stop doing that and stop this what aboutism or what happened with this. No one has ever, ever gone this far in saying that an election was illegitimate.

With all the evidence we have that this was the, that this election was legitimate.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: So, I don't understand why Ken Cuccinelli and all these people keep going if the president, and he says I can't imagine --

CUOMO: In a million years.

LEMON: -- in a million years.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: It just happened last week.

LEMON: That the president would be --it just happened last week. If he can't imagine it, then the president should come out and say, stop it with the talk about the capitols, right, the attacks and the protests in the capitols. There's nothing to protest. It was a legitimate election. Stop it with saying the election was fair and square. There is nothing to protest. Everyone, go home. Don't come out in protest. Don't come out and riot.

You shouldn't have done what you did on Wednesday. We are against that. This is not what this movement is about. Has he said all that? No. He didn't. He didn't tell people not to come out.

CUOMO: Nope.

LEMON: So, he can't imagine in a million years? Good luck for what happened.

CUOMO: You know, the tough spot that has you in bed for the weekend and me in an existential crisis is that the lies are a problem, but so is the truth.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: The truth is Trump did not -- he betrayed no dissatisfaction with what happened last week when he condemned that he did so off the teleprompter.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: He knows how to speak from his heart. He didn't. The truth is, as soon as somebody says to you, Don, when they are aware of what happened last week, but this summer. As soon as those words come out of their mouth, they do not care about what happened last week.

LEMON: That's true.

CUOMO: Because they know everything that you and I'm saying. They get that it's not apples to apples.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: What it is, is a reflection of the truth of what is happening in this country, which is there are people who don't care, who don't like what was done, who don't believe that black people are justified, and it's why last week happened.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And we can also get angry too.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: That's the truth. And it's our problem.

LEMON: Well, you are absolutely right. Listen, I've got to -- you don't have a vote coming up soon so I've got to get to the --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: My vote is for you, D. Lemon.

LEMON: I know.

CUOMO: I love you.

LEMON: You know what's weird? People are asking me are you and Chris mad at each other. I said, Chris and I talk to each other like that every single day.

CUOMO: I am mad at you.

LEMON: Why?

CUOMO: I am mad at you.

LEMON: Because I'm better-looking?

CUOMO: They are -- you are much better-looking. My own kids say that.

LEMON: They said I'm more handsome.

CUOMO: Come on, I'm trying to say something that's interesting.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: I'm upset because I don't get to see you enough, and you help me when times are tough.

LEMON: I know. I love you. Stay safe.

CUOMO: And you've been selfish with your time.

LEMON: I know. But I haven't seen you enough. But I have to go so I've got to cut our time short again right now. Thank you very much.

CUOMO: I love you, D. Lemon. Tell the truth.

LEMON: Thank you very much. We have to get -- we're going to have a vote coming up in the House, so that's why I want to get to it. Chris and I will talk longer another night.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

And I have to tell you, as you know, this is a stunning day, stunning in American history, a day of breathtaking breaking news, one story after another. As America grapples with an unprecedented threat to our national security from a president who has put the entire country in danger.

[22:05:00]

And let's take a live look now as I told you. There is a vote coming up. The House voting tonight on a resolution calling on the Vice President of the United States to invoke the 25th amendment, to remove the president from office, unprecedented times we are living in.

Mike Pence, in a letter to Nancy Pelosi, says that he does not support invoking the amendment, even though he himself was in imminent danger from the riot the president incited at the capitol. But he didn't say a word about impeachment in that letter, and that's where we are tonight.

As we wait again on another vote from our lawmakers. Hours away from a vote to impeach the president for the second -- second time, something that has never happened in this nation's history.

Members of his own party abandoning Donald Trump less than a week after the insurrection at the capitol. In a stunning development, the Senate majority leader, get this, Mitch McConnell, making it known, and make no mistake, that he wants everyone to know that he thinks impeaching Donald Trump will make it easier to get rid of Trump and Trumpism in the GOP. But he has not said if he will vote to convict the president.

One GOP source is saying quote, "if Mitch is a yes, he is done." Another source says McConnell is furious about the attack on the capitol and, quote, "hates the president for what he did."

Liz Cheney, the number three House Republican, says she will vote to impeach, putting out a blistering statement. And let me quote from the statement. "The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. There has never been a greater betrayal of a President of the United States of his office, his oath to the Constitution. I will vote to impeach the president." Liz Cheney.

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Fred Upton, John Katko, have also said that they will vote with the vast majority of Democrats to impeach. White House officials say that they expect as many as 20 or more Republicans to vote for impeachment in the House.

Multiple sources telling CNN tonight that the president's obsession with pardons for himself and his adult children are heating up right now. Heating up even hotter than it has been. We've been talking about that for a while, but now at a boiling point.

One source saying that he might issue a blanket pardon to cover himself and his children up until the time he leaves office.

That as all 50 states are under threat of armed insurrection by pro- Trump rioters. Think about everything that I'm telling you that I just read to you. They are voting on whether to do the 25th amendment, which means the president cannot handle his duties. Then they are going to talk -- then they're talking about impeachment.

Republicans are jumping ship. Like a frog in hot water. They're jumping ship right now. And then every state capitol, rioters, protests. That's where we are right now. Federal authorities are saying that what happened at the capitol was much worse than we know.

The acting U.S. attorney for D.C. says we'll be shocked by the details.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL SHERWIN, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: People are going to be shocked with some of the egregious contact that happened within the capital.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON (on camera): So, if we are going to be shocked by what we'll

learn in the coming days, what the hell are we now? If we are going to be shocked, what are we now? One federal law enforcement official saying it was armed combat in that building. And that danger is far from over.

Congressman Conor Lamb says this about security preparations ahead of the inauguration in just eight days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CONOR LAMB (D-PA): They were talking about 4,000 armed patriots to surround the capitol and prevent any Democrat from going in, and they have published rules of engagement, meaning, when you shoot and when you don't. So, this is, this is an organized group that has a plan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): The Justice Department says the investigation into the attack on the capitol unprecedented in scope, which it should be. The seat of American government was attacked, and an insurrection by a mob fired up by the President of the United States, all based on lies.

Hundreds of rioters, running rampant inside the capitol attacking police, screaming threats against members of Congress, smashing and looting. There are members who were there who said there was urine and feces left. That's -- those are the reports.

So where was the director of the FBI today? Where was the acting attorney general when we got our first briefing about one of the darkest days in our history? Where were they as the acting U.S. attorney for D.C. laid out some of that defendants facing charges?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[22:10:09]

SHERWIN: In terms of what we are looking at is the initial charges, everyone is familiar with, the zip tie guys, the Munchel's and the Brock's that were arrested on the House floor with zip ties, rifling through the House floor.

People are familiar with online, they see the Barnett's sand Johnson's who were literally rifling through Pelosi's office and stealing items, stealing materials, mail and sometimes even personal mementos.

So those are the cases the public is familiar with. They are familiar with those cases because of social media, but what the public isn't familiar with is that the FBI, working with the U.S. attorney's offices across the country, and the crux of those being in D.C., we are looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON (on camera): That as the contrast between teleprompter Trump and

the real Trump was on display today. The president backed into a corner, doing just enough to try to tip the GOP away from impeachment, without taking any responsibility for the violent attack he unleashed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We want no violence.

We love you. You are very special.

On the impeachment it's really a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics.

CROWD: Hang Mike Pence!

TRUMP: People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): He stirred up a crowd. It was an executive branch attacked on the legislative branch.

GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): There is no question in my mind that he was -- he was responsible for inciting this riotous mob. This was an insurrection. And you know, they stormed the capitol and threatened to kill the vice president and put the lives of people in danger.

COLIN POWELL, FORMER UNITED STATES NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: What he is responsible for is one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen, in all my years as a government employee here in the United States of America and in Washington, D.C. He should be ashamed of himself, and he should take that shame and turn it into a resignation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): But listen again to the president's comments to the mob at his rally last week. He is directing them specifically against Republicans who weren't supporting his coup attempt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I love Pennsylvania Avenue. And we are going to the capitol, and we are going to try and give -- the Democrats are hopeless, they are never voting for anything, not even one vote. But we are going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help, we're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): And today, some of those same Republicans are still defending him, even as he says that he did nothing wrong, and claims that he was right to say what he did. Exhibit a, Mike Pence, the New York Times reports the president called him just before he headed to the capitol for the electoral vote count, called his own vice president and said, I debated about saying this but I have to. I have to. This is the news. OK. I apologize for the language here. But this is the quote. "You either go down in history as a patriot, or you can go down in history as a pussy".

So, look, we have heard this kind of language from the president before. That time, he was talking about sexually assaulting women, not about his V.P. who has been loyal to a fault. But he was not done with Pence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so. Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): So, he seeks a mob on Pence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! hang Mike Pence!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): And tweet trash the vice president for doing the right thing. Well, that was back before he was permanently banned from Twitter. And this is the way he treats his own party, his own party. Republicans, who are the only ones standing by him in an ignominious early end to his doomed presidency.

[22:14:59]

By the way, how much peaceful and how much calmer as your life and that you don't get like just crazy, random Twitter alerts from the President of the United States? Lies being spewed. Almost normal. Except for the insurrection.

We're talking about Republicans like lapdog Lindsey, lapdog Lindsey Graham. He sure had some tough talk for Trump before he became president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): He's a race baiting xenophobic religious bigot. He doesn't represent my party.

I think he's a kook. I think he's crazy. I think he's unfit for office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That was before, but then, you know. Tell us how you really feel, Senator. He even tweeted, if you nominate, we will get destroyed and we will deserve it. But when Trump got to the White House, everything changed.

Senator Graham even got on board the president's crazy train of election lies. Not just disputing election results but allegedly calling Georgia's secretary of state to discuss how absentee ballots could be thrown out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I just want to be clear on this, Mr. Secretary. You say Senator Graham wanted you to find ways to get rid of legally cast ballots. Because CNN asked them about these allegations, he denied them, he says that's ridiculous, his words, that's ridiculous.

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well just an implication that look hard and see how many ballots you can throw out. I think that they're looking at that as part of the court case when actually was subsequently followed, wasn't it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Lindsey, Lindsey, Lindsey, and then there's this. Not even one week ago tonight Lindsey Graham on the Senate floor just hours after the attack on the Capitol Hill saying, count me out, enough is enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM: Trump and I we've had a hell of a journey. I hate it being this way. My God I hate it. From my point of view, he's been a consequential president, but today, first thing you'll see. All I can say is count me out, enough is enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Enough is enough huh? The senator telling the Washington Post, quote, "The president saw these people as allies in his journey and sympathetic to the idea that the election was stolen."

And speaking of allies in his journey, there is Lindsey Graham at the White House this morning, there he is, there he goes. Right before hopping on Air Force One with the president. Lindsey.

And that's where we are tonight. A second impeachment looming. An unprecedented threat to our national security from a president who has put the entire country in danger. And here's where we are, as we look live now at the House floor as the House is preparing to vote on the resolution of the 25th amendment.

Tomorrow impeachment is on the agenda, Mitch McConnell making it clear tonight that he has had it with the president as more members of the president's own party are turning on him. The question is, as we watch this live.

[22:20:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON (on camera): So, we're back now with our live coverage that you are looking live at the Senate -- excuse me -- at the House floor where they are about to vote on the 25th amendment and we're tracking this debate that's happening on the House floor. Major crack in the GOP wall tonight ahead of tomorrow's impeachment vote.

Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the third highest ranking Republican in the House announcing that she will vote to impeach President Trump. A staunch Republican she is.

The New York Times is reporting that senator -- the majority leader, I should say, Mitch McConnell believes that Trump committed impeachable offenses. Don't get any more conservative than Mitch McConnell. A source telling CNN that McConnell moves -- if McConnell moves to convict the president that Trump is done.

So, I want to bring in now CNN senior analyst, political analyst and that's Mr. Mark Preston, White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins. Thank you both for joining. Thanks for helping them get through this this evening as we wait for this vote.

Kaitlan, four House Republicans now signing on to impeach the president including Liz Cheney, who says there's never been a greater portrayal by -- betrayal by a president. And according to our reporting now the House expects more Republicans to join them.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We -- the White House is currently tracking that. The question that they don't yet and they really won't know tomorrow until is how many more are going to join the ranks with Liz Cheney and others. Because it's not just that Liz Cheney said she is voting to impeach the president. That of course is huge.

She is the number three House Republican, but it's what she said in the statement that you just quoted there. Saying this is a betrayal of the president's oath to office by doing what he did there. She's kind of leaving no wiggle room for her other Republicans to either say well, we don't like what the president did but we're not going to vote to impeach him.

She is saying what he did is a direct result of what's changed her mind on this. And so, you were talking about how Mitch McConnell, you know, it doesn't get any more conservative to that -- than that. That's exactly the way that people view Liz Cheney. She is not someone who always has had, you know, this perfect relationship with the president. They've argued on several occasions in the Oval Office. But she's been in the Oval Office, she's that kind of figure.

And so, for her to come out and say this doesn't leave any room for interpretation for what she is saying here. And I think the question is, is she giving cover to other Republicans to also vote to impeach the president by coming out putting out the statement in the manner that she did. And that's something that we will find out alongside the White House tomorrow. LEMON: Mark, Mitch McConnell, the majority leader has stood by

President Trump until the day of insurrection, which was perhaps also not coincidentally the day he found out that he lost the Senate too. He's now basically giving the green light on impeachment.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

LEMON: Do they want him out?

PRESTON: Yes. Yes.

LEMON: Yes?

PRESTON: Yes. No question about it. I mean, what I have to say about Mitch McConnell was no fan of Donald Trump, certainly not an ally. Was a partner when it comes to legislation and really saw him as a vessel to get things done.

LEMON: He was getting what he wanted though --

PRESTON: Exactly.

LEMON: -- Donald Trump. Yes.

PRESTON: Correct.

LEMON: Yes.

PRESTON: You look at the federal and judiciary right now. You look at Supreme Court, you look at the appeals courts, you look at the district courts right now.

[22:24:59]

Republicans have done a very -- a very good job of filling a lot of those vacancies with conservatives to try to shift the judiciary to the conservative side. So, Mitch McConnell does want him out, and quite frankly, most Republicans do want to see him out of office, those that are elected. Because they do see him as somebody who has destroyed the Republican Party.

LEMON: I understand, Mark, that you have some interesting reporting that there may be a financial motivation behind this for some Republicans.

PRESTON: Yes. I mean, they very well could be seen over the past 24 hours, 48 hours that corporations all across the country have said that they are either going to stop donating to the Republicans who voted against the certification of the electors. And we've also seen the likes of the chamber of commerce come out and say that they would do the same.

Well, I've been talking to fund-raisers all night, lobbyist here in town as well. And they are saying that they are steam building up behind the idea that this impeachment vote and the potential Senate trial vote could be seen as a proxy vote for these corporations to continue to support Republicans moving forward.

Now behind that is, the concern amongst corporate America right now that being tied to the Republican Party is tearing down their brands. I'm also told that several of these Republicans who have looked at, or rather who had voted for the -- against the certification, Don, are reconsidering and perhaps are looking at voting to impeach the president.

Now that puts him in a tough position, because they need to cleanse themselves away from Donald Trump. But at the same time, they are very, very much concerned about facing a primary.

And as far as Liz Cheney goes, I do think that Kaitlan is correct. Everything that I've heard tonight from Republican activist and strategist are saying that, Liz Cheney is providing cover right now for Republicans who feel that they're in a position that they are going to have to come out and vote to impeach the president.

And this one little interesting nugget, talking to a long-term lobbyist tonight, a Democratic lobbyist, Don, told me he had just cut a check to Liz Cheney. Doesn't even know where, to Liz Cheney, doesn't even know where but thought that she deserves it. Rotary check tonight, so that says something.

LEMON: Well, interesting. More of that probably coming. I'm going to need you guys to stand by, I know you thought maybe we were done but we're not because we're going to this vote and I'm going to need you guys to help me. So, stay with me, Mark and Kaitlan.

The House releasing their official arguments for impeaching Trump for a second time, they're talking about the 25th amendment now but they're setting it up for tomorrow when they will vote on impeaching the president. This time they are moving fast.

[22:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON (on camera): We're back now. The action is on the House floor. And now, we are just hours away from impeaching President Trump for a second time, charging him with inciting insurrection.

So back with me now, Mark Preston, Kaitlan Collins, I want to bring in also CNN's senior legal analyst Laura Coates, a former federal prosecutor. Laura, welcome to the program. Hello to you. Let's start with you, while we are at it.

So, Laura, there is one article of impeachment, incitement of insurrection, and the resolution mentions this moment, watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON (on camera): This is what the judiciary committee impeachment report says about the insurrectionists. OK? It says they left bullet marks in the building walls, looted or destroyed monuments, including a commemorative display honoring the late Congressman John Lewis, speared their feces in several hallways, and fatally injured a capitol police officer. Several brandished the confederate battle flag and extremist paraphernalia.

I mean, Laura, come on. Is there any doubt that this is incitement of insurrection?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This is absolutely absurd --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Besides being disgusting.

COATES: -- to even think about. It's disgusting. It's deplorable. It is ridiculous. It's un-American. It's also criminal, which is the part that I focus on here. Because of course, these actions weren't just spontaneous, were they, Don? It's not as if they were coincidental, as if all of a sudden, all the stars align and suddenly, these people happen to be in this location at this date and time following this rally.

And so, with the president's words, along with others who were at the rally who used words that encouraged or incited people to behave in this way, in an attempt to delay what is already known to be a lawful activity, counting and certifying the Electoral College votes, this is really a classic case book example of what it means to engage in this behavior.

And so that's why you are seeing the U.S. attorney in D.C. saying look, no stone is going to be left unturned, and his marching orders were to build your cases around sedition and conspiracy perhaps for those who may have been involved, including public corruption prosecutors whose job it is to explore what elected officials have done wrong, and their involvement.

LEMON: Yes. Again, we are waiting on the House vote now. They are going to vote on impeaching the president tomorrow, but they are voting on the 25th amendment tonight, but the vice president has said that he is not going to go along with it. This sets him up for an impeachment vote starting in the morning.

Kaitlan, the, speaking of impeachment, the resolution says that President Trump will remain a threat to the national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office. Are they planning for a defense at the White House, even if it is post presidency?

COLLINS: No, not right now. So that's actually what looks a lot different with this impeachment scenario than what happened last time. When that wasn't even a perfectly smooth-running machine, but they don't have this, you know, group of attorneys waiting to represent the president like last time when they formulated this defense. You saw the attorneys who came out on the floor. They brought in some from private firms.

The White House counsel Pat Cipollone played a role in that. They don't have anything resembling that right now. And so, whether or not they are going to try to formulate that is kind of anyone's guess. It's going to be hard to find an attorney who would come forward and represent the president in this situation, I think given the backlash that we've seen in other situations, what Mark was talking about, what Republicans are facing as well.

And so, you are not seeing that, but there is a sense in the White House. You know, this is moving really quickly, and they did not even think it was going to get to this point. So far, what they're reporting on Mitch McConnell which we should note, McConnell's office has now put out a statement denying that he is open to impeachment.

[22:35:04]

And of course, we're still waiting to see how he would actually vote on that. And I think that does give a sense inside the White House that this is unraveling really quickly. And they are trying to kind of contain it, but still, the White House has said nothing since Liz Cheney came out and said she is going to vote to impeach the president. There are House Republicans.

Remember, last time around, not a single House Republican voted to impeach the president. Now we've got at least four already saying that they are going to.

LEMON: Yes. They -- he waited a long time for this to simmer and ruminate and stew before he put out a statement saying that he wasn't going to vote. What, you know, let's think about the worst thing that could have happened, Mark, if it wasn't for that one officer who steered people away from the chamber.

PRESTON: Right.

LEMON: What if a lawmaker had died?

PRESTON: Well, a police officer died. Right? And another police officer who was there died a few days later. We saw these other deaths. You know, the more -- I was talking tonight, Don, and I'll just very brief on this. In all the conversations I've had tonight with folks, the disbelief of what has happened is really starting to settle in right now.

Usually in a situation like this, Don, the immediate impact would affect us and it would kind of wash away. This is something that is building momentum. And that is why I think Donald Trump is in a lot of trouble, a lot of trouble, about staying in office the next 10 days.

LEMON: I just want you guys to hear this with me, as I said to Laura. This report says they left bullet marks in the building walls -- building walls, looted art, destroyed monuments including a commemorative display honoring late Congressman John Lewis, smeared their feces in several hallways, and fatally injured a police officer. It also says that officers were got beaten with flagpoles, American

flags, and it also says that they were, talked about Molotov cocktails, the black handguns, assault rifles with loaded ammunition and magazines, pipe bombs.

I mean, the more we find out, the worse it gets. Unbelievable. Thank you all. I appreciate it. I'll see you soon. So, we may need you so stick by, but thank you for now. We'll get back to you if we need you.

In the meantime, the FBI was warned about, quote, "war at the capitol a day before the riots," according to The Washington Post. So why aren't they prepared? Let's go now to CNN's Ryan Nobles to talk about what's happening at the capitol. Ryan, good evening to you. Thank you so much for joining.

What are you hearing now? Where are we with the vote? What's going on at the capitol?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, we are very close, Don. I think we are at the last two speakers, for both the Republican and Democratic sides. Right now, they are debating this resolution that was put forward by the House Democrats that encourages Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment and if he refuses to do so, then they would then bring forth the articles of impeachment which we now know they plan to do tomorrow morning. Of course --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Ryan, let's get to the House floor, we need to listen. here we go.

NOBLES: Right.

LEMON: Let's listen in.

UNKNOWN: Thank you for that, Mr. Speaker. But this, what we are discussing tonight about us, it's about the will of the American people, they're brokenhearted, they are crying, they are discouraged, and the overwhelming number of American people want this president out of office now.

This is why we've got to do it now. We've got to heal the wounds. The longer the president is over there, the more we are tearing the heart and soul out of the American people. Let us do it now.

(CROSSTALK)

UNKNOWN: The gentleman's time -- the gentleman's time has expired. All time for debate has now expired. Pursuant to House resolution 38, the previous question is ordered on the resolution, and on the preamble, as amended.

The question, the question is on adoption of the resolution. Those in favor say aye.

CROWD: Aye. UNKNOWN: Those opposed no.

CROWD: No.

UNKNOWN: The ayes have it. The ayes have it. The resolution is agreed to.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Mr. Speaker? Mr. Speaker, I'd ask for a recorded vote.

UNKNOWN: Pursuant to section 3 of the House resolution 8, the ayes and nays are ordered. Members will record their votes by electronic device.

LEMON: OK, so right now, they are recording the vote. As you heard the gentlemen say that the ayes and no's, then he said the ayes have it, and then Jim Jordan, Congressman Jim Jordan wants a recorded vote. So now, they are recording their votes electronically, and you can see the votes there for Democrats and Republicans popping up on your screen.

[22:40:06]

So far, 16 ayes from Democrats, 21 no's or nays from Republicans. But again, the vote is just starting, and as you can see there it's telling up right now.

I want to bring back in CNN's Ryan Nobles who has been covering this and he's been at the capitol this evening watching all of it.

So, this is going to take just a moment and then we'll get back to them, Ryan. But this is all but certain to pass, because Democrats have control of the Congress. Tomorrow, this sets them up tomorrow to vote on impeachment.

NOBLES: Yes, that's right, Don. This probably will take about an hour for all the members of Congress set to cast their vote on this particular resolution. And it could actually lend some insight into what we expect tomorrow. You're absolutely right this should pass without much trouble because the Democratic majority in the House.

But we could find some Republicans voting in favor of this as well. We already know that there's a growing list of Republicans who have said that they will vote for impeachment. Now there is the possibility that some may vote no on this, because they don't think the 25th amendment is the right route to remove President Trump from office, or to hold him accountable for what took place on Wednesday.

But the more Republicans we see voting for this tonight, could be an indication of how many Republicans end up voting for it tomorrow. And of course, there are already some big names which you've already talked about tonight including Liz Cheney who's the third most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives and others.

So, you know, this could give us some indication where Republicans are headed. And you know, you've had a lengthy discussion tonight about whether or not Republicans like the idea of moving forward with impeachment and there is a big difference, Don, between what we see on the House side versus what we see on the Senate side.

You know, many of these members of the House, particularly the ones that have stood and rushed to that defense of President Trump here tonight. They come from districts where President Trump is very popular and won their districts by overwhelming margins. It's very difficult for them to step away from the president.

It's a little bit different on the Senate side where, you know, there are certainly deep red states but there are other states that are a little bit more on the margins that tilt Republican and it could be, you know, a question that some of these Republican senators have.

So after tomorrow when they vote on impeachment which is expected to pass, it will then be on the hands of the United States Senate and the Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Don, and at this point we don't know what he plans to do.

LEMON: Yes. If we can put the tally back up, Ryan. It appears that so far, it's along party lines. Republicans saying no, Democrats saying yes but again, they still got a ways to go there.

So, Ryan, standby, we'll get back to you when it all -- if it needs to be and when it all comes to a culmination here.

So, while they vote, we're going to bring you the very latest on the FBI investigation into the attack on the capitol and who is being arrested in connection with the insurrection.

[22:45:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Look a lot going on, so let's talk about the investigation now as we wait on that vote on the House floor. The FBI admitting that it had intelligence before the insurrection, that people were planning to travel to D.C. with the intent to cause violence.

The Washington Post reporting that the FBI warn the day before the insurrection about a violent war at the capitol. Fellow investigators today saying they are chasing thousands of leads and that people are going to be shocked when they learn more about what happened.

Let's discuss now. Olivia Troye, the former homeland security advisor to Vice President Pence, and Mike German, the former FBI special agent and the author of "Disrupt, Discredit and Divide."

Good evening to both of you. What crazy times we are living in and I'm so glad to have you here to help us get through them.

So, Olivia, these officials are talking about how unprecedented the scope of this investigation is. They say what they have so far is just the tip of the iceberg with 70 cases, charged --charged 70 cases charge so far. And that we will be shocked by what we learned. That sounds very ominous to me. I mean if we're not shocked now, what are we going to be?

OLIVIA TROYE, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER TO VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Yes. It's certainly as cause for concern, that there has been a threat stream that's been in existence for a while now. We know that these groups have been communicating, they've been communicating on chat groups and this is something that I think the community has been wrestling with for quite some time now.

And I think the case with domestic terrorism and these types of groups that are radicalized by our own president, it's a challenging situation because you struggle with first amendment rights, freedom of speech and all of this. And really, it's just also social media posting and how do you track, and you know, the threat and the credibility of what these people are saying.

LEMON: Mike, I want to bring you in, because we're learning tonight that the Idaho man who was in the Senate chamber hanging from a balcony and sitting in Pence's chair is now in jail. Are you confident that authorities are going to get all of these insurrectionists?

MIKE GERMAN, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: No, and particularly not get the right ones. So, you know, the only thing I'm shocked about is that the FBI was shocked by the assault on the capitol. It was something that was planned in public over many weeks. It wasn't a last-minute warning that should have change the outcome.

Many of us have been warning about exactly this problem for some time. And this isn't the first time that a legislator has been attacked. Just two weeks ago the Oregon state legislator was attacked by far- right militants and they breached the doors.

[22:49:53]

So, a week before that, there was a far-right protest at the Washington State House where somebody was shot. You know, some of these far-right militant groups rampage through D.C. just a month ago on a pro-Trump rally.

So, what concerns me about the FBI's press conference, is they don't seem to recognize or knowledge that this is a problem that has been occurring in plain sight. Public violence at these rallies for the last four years that state and local law enforcement have been turning their eyes away from, and the federal government hasn't been tracking how they travel in our state to commit this violence.

LEMON: OK. So, Mike, let me -- Mike, I'm glad you said that. I spoke to several people today, some of them former, you know, security folks who worked in other administrations. They were shocked by this press conference and saying where was the FBI. What are they talking about? Because these threats they were out there. They were online. They should have been known about what you said.

So, what was -- what is going on with the FBI? And why are people surprised when Christopher Wray testified before Congress and said that these very types of extremists where the biggest terror threat in the United States. So, what is the surprise here to them? GERMAN: So I think part of it is that, you know, we have sort of two

Americas at this point where we don't even have a common set of facts, right, and there are media outlets that are producing information that is inconsistent with what is actually happening, what you can see with your own eyes.

And they have been covering the Black Lives Matter rallies as if this imaginary force of antifa are the problem when what you actually see there is violence from far-right militants and violence from police. And you have to understand that they are watching and embedded in a far-right echo chamber that is talking --

LEMON: Got you.

GERMAN: -- about these issues in a very different way.

LEMON: Before we run out of time, Olivia, I want to just get you in here. I'm short on time, so sorry for that. But do you want to respond to the question? Like, where is the surprise, especially from the FBI who knows, who should know?

TROYE: There shouldn't be a surprise. I think this is a leadership failure, to be honest with you. And it's a leadership failure across law enforcement, wide.

LEMON: Thank you both. I'm glad you joined. We'll have you back. I'll see you soon. Be safe.

So, Trump is about to be impeached again. Law enforcement is warning of more violence in the next week, and record numbers of people dying of the coronavirus. A man who has covered the biggest moments in modern history weighs in on where America is heading. Do you know who that is? The man who knows, Dan Rather, next.

[22:55:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON (on camera): We have our breaking news, the House voting on a resolution calling for President Trump to be removed from office through the 25th amendment in the wake of a violent siege on the U.S. Capitol last week. And we are just hours away from a vote to impeach this president for the second time, something that has never happened in our history.

That as all 50 states under threat of armed insurrection, and the U.S. records a record high number of COVID deaths just today. What will become of the soul of our country?

Joining me to discuss now is Dan Rather, the host of the big interview on Axios TV, and the author of "What Unites Us." That's a -- man, that's a good one. "What Does Unite Us?"

Thank you very much, Dan. I appreciate you joining us here. You have covered the biggest moments in our nation's history. But right now, chaos in the White House, and attack on our capitol, domestic terrorists threatening civil war, record deaths from a pandemic. Are these the darkest days that you've seen?

DAN RATHER, HOST AXS TV'S THE BIG INTERVIEW: I think the answer to that, Don, is yes. The darkest days I've seen at least since the dark days of the beginning of World War II. That was a very dark time when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor. With that past exception, this is the darkest I've seen.

You know, I've never seen and no one else alive today has ever seen such a brazen frontal attack on our very democracy from within. And by the way, one that very easily could have been a mass death event, there were deaths but not mass events but there could have been. I've never seen anything like it.

Now, I do think that you can see occurrence of what has been wrong about American society for a long time, the racial divisions being a part of that. But in this moment, with what appears to be if not a certainly, a high probability, that we are going to have President Trump impeached for the second time in his first and perhaps only term as president. Never before happened in our history.

And you laid it out with so many other things, the pandemic, terrorism, whether you call it domestic terrorism or not, this is real. This is a real threat to the democracy. What happens to Donald Trump is important, but it's far less important what happens to the country as a whole.

Donald Trump is a loser, how he must hate that, but you know, he lost the election. He has lost his PGA things for his golf tournament. He's just, he wears a scarlet letter of ill loser, and how he must hate that. And no amount of marble or golden toilets can erase that. That's where he is.

LEMON: Yes.

RATHER: But what happens to him, whether he is made to pay any kind of price for what he has deliberately done to the country is going to add to your question of what happens to the soul of the country, what happens to the very future of the country.

[23:00:03]

I don't want to be a doomsayer. I'm an optimist as you know, Don. We can get through this.