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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Trump First President In U.S. History To Be Impeached Twice; Trump: "Mob Violence Goes Against Everything I Believe In"; New U.S. Intel Bulletin: Capitol Attack Likely To "Serve As A Significant Driver Of Violence" For Domestic Extremists. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 13, 2021 - 21:00   ET

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


[21:00:00]

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: Good to share it with you.

I'm Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

History was definitely made. Today, we saw the most bipartisan impeachment in American history, a moment that almost assures Donald John Trump will be forever known as the worst president in history, the only U.S. president impeached not once but twice.

And no other president has had this many, in his own Party, break ranks with him, in an impeachment vote. 10, Cheney, Herrera Beutler, Katko, Kinzinger, Upton, Newhouse, Meijer, Gonzalez, Rice, and Valadao, their names should be remembered, too. It's not just about shame, but the notice of standing up for your conscience.

Still, where are we now? We're all haunted by the same question. What happens next? We're going to get to Trump's fate in a second. But what about our fate? These are dangerous times. Is the government ready for what may come this week or next? The Inauguration is still a lifetime of possibilities away.

I had to think about whether I wanted to remind the rabid, in our ranks, of the names of the true Republicans, who voted their conscience today, to put them in all one place, I had to think about it, why? Well it's not just in my own head.

Democratic Congressman Jason Crow says some of his Republican colleagues are paralyzed with fear. They told him they wanted to vote to impeach, but they had fear for their lives, and their families, if they do so. And it forced a decision to oppose the move.

Now, you can roll your eyes, and think of that as weak. But before you do, think back one week. Are you sure that those types of people wouldn't target anyone else? I have new video to show you that proves what these people wanted to do to our Capitol and the people in it.

There has been a flood of threats to lawmakers, phoned, text, sent on social media. It only takes one, to change your life, or more importantly, the life of your loved ones. And that's what they have to deal with. But they're not the only ones in the crucible. Now, Trump is feeling the heat as well. He's looking to cut his losses. So, he did something he would have never thought to do, just a week ago. He went from demagogue to pedagogue, lecturing people, not to do what he suggested they do last time.

This time, he's all about calm.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Mob violence goes against everything I believe in, and everything our movement stands for.

No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag. No true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans.

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CUOMO: Now, you could argue, only a true supporter of his would disrespect, and contravene, and attack the way we saw.

The hope is that the feral few that believe everything he says, to the point last week, of trying to overthrow the Capitol, in his name, maybe they'll believe this new message and stay home.

We know it was written up for him. But hopefully, it will resonate with them.

For the rest of us, including a growing number of GOPers, who want their Party back, from the Re-Trump-licans, we know what he said, and we well know what he said to them. He told them he loved them, after the insurrection, after they attacked our democracy.

We know that that man can never be trusted to do the right thing, when it counts. So what happens next to him? Now, this is where the story shifts.

Reports of Mitch McConnell's incredible move to maybe holding Trump to account turned out to be just that, not credible. He's going to kick the trial in the Senate until after President-elect Biden's sworn in next week.

"Not fair!" some of you say. He says it's because of timing. True. McConnell says he doesn't believe they have enough time to have a fair trial. Took 21 days, the last time. And he did tell his GOP colleagues he doesn't know how he's going to vote this time.

But why would anyone say how they're going to vote before they've heard the evidence, right? I mean that's not brave.

And I have to tell you, the "Not enough time" thing sure sounds like the same tripe he laid on us during Merrick Garland. Remember? "It's too soon! Too soon before the election!" And then he shut court

his - shortcut his way to two Supreme Court justices that he wanted, he did it as soon as he could. So, is this about delay or for him taking care of what matters to him most?

[21:05:00]

And now, we have the troubling question about what to do next. Timing. Is it worth going after Trump anytime other than now? Why? Well, not only do you have a little bit of momentum, and who know how long good conscience stands, with the constant pressure against these people.

But the country has massive challenges. Trump has distracted us from reality and now they're all on Biden's plate, OK?

The VP and the President-elect, they have to stop a pandemic that is eating us alive worse than ever. Biden is going to have to figure out how to fix the vaccine situation. It's being squandered. And let's be honest, this is a nation on the hairy edge.

So, Joe Biden came out today, and reminded the Senate of all that is before them, in a statement tonight. He's calling on Senate leadership now, to "Find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation."

Now, do any of you believe that's possible? It's not wrong for him to ask for it. Walk and chew gum. But they can't do either. They are a culture of opposition. The Republicans have existed only to stop the Democrats. The Democrats are now trying to find - trying to find ways to do that themselves, but not having the numbers.

We are in a horrible place. Look at where we are. Look at our Capitol. Look at Washington. It looks like a war zone.

The number of National Guard troops, deployed to D.C., is more than three times the active-duty troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria combined, and all to defend us, against us. This is America right now.

The Secret Service is now too concerned about violence, that President-elect Biden will no longer be able to travel on Amtrak, from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, because of the - in the wake of what happened, and all the chatter about potential threats.

Security is being heightened at capitols all across America. All 50 state capitols are under threat of armed protests in the run-up to Inauguration.

No external terrorists ever did this to us. We never worried like this, even after 9/11. And I didn't read about it in a book. I lived it. I was there that morning. I was there for days, weeks. I lost people. I covered it.

I went to train, and then I covered wars abroad. I've seen ugly things that this country now resembles. But I've never seen this country, more in doubt, about safety at home, than right now. And the enemy is us. Terrible times! Hard to explain to your kids! Same with mine!

We are the greatest country in the world, we say. But why? Answer it for yourself. What is the "Why?" Our "Why?" For me, it's that America is the only place I've ever been, where the competition of ideas can be settled by consensus and not bloody consequence.

I do have to ask whether or not that is still true. But I can also say to you right now, my answer is yes. And today is proof. But it is just one step. And there is still far to go. And our first question is "What is the next step?"

Let's bring in better minds, David Gregory and Michael Smerconish.

Gentlemen, good to see you.

David Gregory, next step?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, AUTHOR, "HOW'S YOUR FAITH?": Well, what you've seen today is historic. That we've established. But it's so important because of the last point that you mentioned.

If we can't rely on a peaceful transfer of power, in this country, then our democracy is not strong. We can't forget that. It was President Washington, who established that, when he shocked Europeans, by leaving office, of his own free will, and stepping down voluntarily.

So, that attack, on our elections, that attack, on the idea of a peaceful transfer of power, is what's under siege now. And the fact that we're going to inaugurate a new president, in this - this camp, this kind of armed camp that is Washington, D.C., is beyond sad.

But there's been a big dodge here, the importance of today, bipartisan, historic, significant, it mattered, but there's a dodge, which is now, Mitch McConnell, who's going to become the Minority Leader, doesn't have to do something really hard. He doesn't have to have a trial. He can kick it down the road.

And what you've outlined is an enormous challenge for a new president, to have to look forward and backward, in the middle of a pandemic, at the same time.

Democrats don't want to give up on one big thing, the precedent, of impeaching him a second time, and seeking to remove Trump, but frankly, to also try to go one step further, and that is to remove the possibility he could ever run again.

CUOMO: But that's a double vote of two-thirds of the Senate.

GREGORY: And that's possible down the road.

CUOMO: You'd need two votes of two-thirds of the Senate.

GREGORY: Right.

CUOMO: To do that. You'd have to have two-thirds to convict, and then two-thirds to remove or ban. And that's--

GREGORY: I think - isn't it a simple majority on a - on a--

CUOMO: It might be. Smerc, what is it? On the second vote, is it majority? So two-thirds to convict.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, HOST, "MICHAEL SMERCONISH PROGRAM" ON SIRIUSXM: Majority, simple majority.

[21:10:00]

CUOMO: And then a majority to remove a ban.

SMERCONISH: Yes.

CUOMO: Thank you, David.

SMERCONISH: Yes.

CUOMO: So, still two votes they'd have to get.

GREGORY: Yes, not easy.

CUOMO: Plausibly, you would think if they can get to two-thirds, you can get the 50 percent, although it'd be largely punitive.

Smerc, what do you think about the now-or-never proposition for a trial?

SMERCONISH: So, I've got this image, in my head, of both McConnell and Schumer, respectively, in their office, looking at flowcharts on the wall, because I think this is really complicated to game out.

If you push for conviction in the Senate, and you get the two-third votes, OK, then Donald Trump is done.

If, however, it's like last time, and they can't get, in this case, 17 Republicans, to cross the aisle, and I think that's unlikely, does he, does now, the former President draw, strength, from that exercise?

Here's something to think about. Are Democrats actually doing Republicans a favor, by taking him out, if they can get the votes? Because, Chris, I believe he's wounded right now, to such a degree that left alone, he can't come back and win.

So, if you're the Democrats, why not leave him as the albatross around their neck? You know he'll cast a shadow. You know two years into this, he'll want to come back, and run again, and the GOP will have to deal with him.

The risk you run, though, if the Democrats take that hands-off approach, is that like Lazarus, maybe something happens, and the guy comes back yet again.

CUOMO: And he would be able to do that, again, unless they convict and then have a majority vote, after that two-thirds vote that says, "No, he can't run again."

I got to tell you, David, it is hard to imagine that they would focus on anything else, that anything else would get done, if they had an impeachment trial going on. And the last one took us weeks. And people need relief now.

GREGORY: Right.

CUOMO: They got to figure out the vaccine now that almost certainly is going to need enabling legislation now. And he's got an economy in tatters, now.

GREGORY: Yes, I'm with you. I mean, I just don't think it's possible, especially for a new administration, to try to be full speed ahead, while you've also got the country obsessed with looking backward and looking at Trump.

And I think that, look, there's a level of speculation to this that is more dangerous than most speculation. And that is, we don't know what's going to happen in the next week. God forbid there's more violence, god forbid we see a repeat. That's certainly what the warnings are.

My hope and prayer is for quiet and a peaceful transition, from this point, moving forward, because regardless, the Republican Party has a lot of sorting out to do.

CUOMO: Right.

GREGORY: And where do they put Trump is a big piece of it. I don't think yesterday was nothing. I don't think Mitch McConnell letting it be known, letting it be leaked that he was happy about impeachment that was a signal.

It's still not clear what Republicans are going to do with it. But they've got a choice about what kind of Party they want to be. And they do, for the first time, since, he came on the scene, they have a Donald Trump, who is, as Smerc says, wounded politically.

But he's still good adherents, he's still got from the Jim Jordans, of Ohio's, who say Democrats wanted to get this guy--

CUOMO: Right.

GREGORY: --and delegitimize him, and wanted him out of office, from day one, to really fringe elements, people who are just willfully ignorant, and are violent, it's the full range. And they all call Trump kind of home base.

CUOMO: I will say though, Jim Jordan did sound like a boy among men and women, today, which is a little bit of a shift.

Smerc, give me a quick button.

SMERCONISH: It was all whataboutism. I mean I tuned in today, to CNN, because I wanted to see what will be the defense. There really was none that was--

CUOMO: Right.

SMERCONISH: --that was offered. Here's a final thought to think about.

You identified those 10 Republicans, who had the guts to cross party lines. I love independent-thinking. What does it say to them, if the Senate doesn't move forward? It sets a dangerous precedent that this was - this was noise, and their courage is not going to be rewarded.

CUOMO: It's interesting thought.

David Gregory, Michael Smerconish, thank you both, brothers. We're going to be talking about this, and a lot more plenty.

Well, look at David, he couldn't wait to leave!

10 House Republicans put country before Party on this historic day. Are enough Republicans in the Senate, willing to give Democrats the two-thirds majority needed to convict? Or is there a different calculus, starting to bubble up, a different formula bubbling up, on the Senate side?

We have a key Democratic Senator, Jeff Merkley. He says it is time to seek justice and heal. Is this the way? Or is there another way? Or do we not know? Next.

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CUOMO: Tough question. I know people are angry at Trump, and with good reason. But what is the right next step for us?

Impeachment took a day this time, versus three months, last time. And it got 10 times more bipartisan support today, because it got 10. It got none last time. The Senate will not happen, as quickly, if at all.

But I have a question for a senator about whether there is something else that they should do first, before even dealing with Trump. Let's get some insight from Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley.

Good to see you.

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): Good to see you, Chris.

CUOMO: Hawley and Cruz, what do you think about the first move by the Senate, in terms of accountability for this, moving to censure them for what they did?

MERKLEY: Yes, I think they should be censored. At the heart of this is, is the mega-lie, "The election was stolen," the President repeating it forever.

What the two leaders, in the Senate, who were continuously driving that big lie forward, were those two individuals. And so, they share tremendously in this insurrection, in this assault on the Capitol.

CUOMO: And the reason I ask is, because of what may be the best step forward? I know a lot of people are going to be mad at me, tonight, for saying anything to suggest that the Senate shouldn't go after Trump.

But you got a lot of bad stuff to deal with, and other than the long- shot that you get a two-thirds vote, you get what, 17 of them, to cross lines, in the Senate, and then get a second vote, where you get a majority, saying they want to ban him from office, that's a big long-shot. And you have big problems on your plate.

[21:20:00]

Do you have any hesitation about playing this out to get Trump, in the long game, no matter, how long it takes?

MERKLEY: So, none at all, Chris. This has to go forward.

First, the Constitution lays out the pattern. The House having voted, delivers it to the Senate. The Senate has to hold a trial. It's not - it's not optional. The only way it's optional is if Speaker Pelosi sits on the results.

CUOMO: Right.

MERKLEY: And doesn't deliver them. But that would dishonor what the House has done.

CUOMO: Fair point!

MERKLEY: Second of all, normally when the Senate comes in, it only operates three days a week, from Monday afternoon to Thursday afternoon. We need to be operating six days a week, all day long.

And we need to be taking and doing everything we can to take the things that are used to delay and obstruct that the Republicans do, and working to compact those, not allow the time on the floor to be wasted.

If there is an intervening day, on a nomination, we should be using it on an impeachment hearing. Perhaps we can work out a deal, where we're spending six hours a day, on impeachment, for a week. Maybe it can be done in a week. Look how much faster the House acted. This is a much less complicated

case, and every Member of the Senate saw the evidence directly.

CUOMO: But--

MERKLEY: So, this is not an academic inquiry.

CUOMO: But going fast doesn't necessarily help your chances. And you have a lot of other things on your plate. And saying walk and chew gum, is easy to say. I have never seen it in the current political culture.

$2,000 checks, people need it now. You guys have to have enabling legislation to help figure out the distribution of this vaccine now. We have an economy that's going to need all kind of government assistance, now.

Do you really believe you can go after their guy, and have them work with you, for your guy, at the same time?

MERKLEY: So, everything you're citing is true. But look at this historically. We have a President who incited an insurrection.

We have 50 states that are worried about their state capitol, on January 20th. We are going to have some 15,000 troops in the U.S. Capitol, defending the Capitol. This is a mega assault on our Constitution.

For the Senate to simply say, "We will set it aside because it is too complicated, or the time is too demanding," is unacceptable.

Do we need to do it in a much more compact form, because the case is so much simpler? Yes, we do. Do we need to use every day of the week, and do that for six months, in order to tackle this huge amount of work to be done? Yes, we do.

But we cannot set aside and say we won't proceed on the impeachment trial.

CUOMO: I don't disagree. But aren't you worried? I mean we are in such a bad situation right now, on so many levels. Not least of which, is a country on the hairy edge, which you and I, in our lifetimes, have never seen, at this state of play before.

MERKLEY: I'm--

CUOMO: Aren't you worried about how to do this right?

MERKLEY: I am worried about so many things right now.

People are afraid to get on the planes to go to D.C., to get there, for the 20th. We have a situation, where we have essentially the responsibility of the Senate to act, that is to govern, but it's an ungovernable body under the current rules.

So, we have the burden of leadership, without the appropriate tools, to be able to drive issues quickly, and make decisions, on the pandemic, on the economy, on simply organizing the Senate itself, so we can get to those issues.

On the host of nominations, all those cabinet nominations, the Republicans can insist on not just an intervening day, before you vote, when they require cloture, but they can insist on 30 hours of debate after cloture.

And so, this is a huge challenge that we're facing, no question about it. And the conversation among my colleagues, in the Caucus, is what - we're going to have to be incredibly intense, incredibly determined, we're going to have to make adjustments along the way. But we have to tackle it all.

CUOMO: Look, you're in a hard spot. And I know, on one level, it's simple. "No, you have to go after him. The Constitution suggests it. And this is really horrible what he did." I got you. But the country is in a horrible situation as well. It's almost a Hobson's choice in one way.

Let me ask you something quickly. I know it's premature. But do you believe it is worth investigating whether or not there was an inside- job aspect to what we saw last week?

MERKLEY: Yes. That's going to be investigated, because there has been rumors about the possibility that individuals were escorted the day before, to give them a lay of the Capitol. We have to know how that happened, or if it happened.

Every aspect has to be looked at, because how can you alter the outcome, in the future, if you don't fully understand what happened a week ago, today?

CUOMO: Senator Jeff Merkley, we're going to show video later, in the show. They were coming for you guys with bad intentions. Thank god, as bad as it was, as rocking as it was, to the country, it could have been a hell of a lot worse.

MERKLEY: It could have been much--

CUOMO: And thank god it wasn't.

MERKLEY: --much worse, absolutely.

CUOMO: Senator, be well.

MERKLEY: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: And good luck, doing the country's business.

[21:25:00]

MERKLEY: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, so look, we're going to take a look at this question. I have no interest in going down some endless hallway of speculation, OK? And I'm not just going to act on rumors. I promise you that.

But the question of how it was so easy, for these people to get in, it can't just be all about the Capitol Police, can it? It's one of the most concerning questions of all. Was there any kind of assistance by anybody, Member of Congress, anywhere?

What about what this one lawmaker says she witnessed? Let's take it up, next.

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CUOMO: The danger remains. In fact, it will probably grow, in terms of the challenges we have to face, and the stakes. Impeachment is an attempt to remove one of the main accelerants.

But let's be clear, Donald Trump is not the only one in power. He didn't do this alone. Members of Congress accused by one of their own of showing soon-to-be-rioters the lay of the land.

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REP. MIKIE SHERRILL (D-NJ): Those Members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on January 5th, a reconnaissance for the next day.

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CUOMO: Maybe, maybe not.

Meanwhile, Democratic Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon told CNN, she saw tour groups in MAGA apparel, one day or two days, before the attack. It's not clear if any of them returned during the insurrection.

[21:30:00]

I am not particularly swayed by either of these suggestions. But that doesn't mean there isn't an investigation to be had. And you're about to see why. Democrats are demanding that investigation.

There are videos coming out that indicate just how determined some of the rioters, who were would-be terrorists, as it turned out, to penetrate the Capitol. I want you to listen to how some of the insurrectionists, and look, that's what you are, OK? Not all Trump. Don't make yourself victims. Listen to this video, look at who they are, look at what they did.

That's what they were. By you are, what you do. Just listen.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey guys, I've been in the other room, listen to me. In the other room, on the other side of this door, right here where these feet are standing, there is a glass that if somebody, and if it's broken, you can drop down into a room underneath it. There's also two doors--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open this with this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --in the other room, one in the rear, and one to the right when you go in. So, people should probably coordinate together, if you're going to take this building. (INAUDIBLE) we got another window to break to make it in and out easy. And this window here... (INAUDIBLE) needs to be broken.

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CUOMO: OK. This was during, obviously, the insurrection activity, around 5:00 P.M. Eastern. Then there's the rally, where the lies these people had been fed, for months, was whipped into a frenzy.

An organizer of the so-called "Stop The Steal" event, little note for you, people who say, "Jordan never said the election was stolen," what was he doing at that event? Why did he keep saying "They're trying to steal?" Is this about syntax? No. It's about intentions? This was all about helping set it up.

Congressman Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks of Alabama, had instructions for an angry crowd. Listen.

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REP. MO BROOKS (R-AL): Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass!

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CUOMO: That's before you get to the conspiracy theory, supporting Re- Trump-lican Member of Congress, who was tweeting about Nancy Pelosi's whereabouts, during the attack, or those who actively voted to decertify an election, knowing it was a lie, yet now insist they must stand up about the reckless application of House procedure. Are you kidding me?

You need proof of the threat? Don't look at the politicians. Look to those who stand against the forces of evil across this planet.

The Capitol rotunda resembles the military barracks, as some troops are now grabbing a quick break, while others stay in guard. We got more people, lined up, to protect that Capitol, than we have troops abroad, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria combined. The center of our democracy, it's like a fortress under siege. Some 20,000 National Guard troops are going to be in D.C., for the Inauguration, to defend against us. I mean, look, this is the proof of what I just said.

Those in the business of monitoring menace are, at this moment, considering raising the terrorism threat level against ourselves. The leader is not in a cave. He doesn't have a beard. He's not a member of a faith you don't understand, and think is out to get you.

He's sitting in the Oval Office. You saw his followers on that video. Does that sound like just "Protesters were passionate, it go away from them." They wanted to take the building. Did they think it was unoccupied? No. They knew people were in it.

They knew what they were doing in that building. And they wanted to take it, which means what, stop the activity, which means do what? How can you say - it offends reason to suggest that these people didn't want worse to happen, once they got inside. You don't take a building without doing taking.

"The chatter is off the charts right now." We are on the hairy edge. And how dare any Re-Trump-licans say "Biden should be giving unity?" No, that was on you, to talk to Donald Trump, about unity, to stop the poison that was coming out of his purse (ph) on a daily, hourly basis.

And you said nothing, or worse, you echoed it, and said he was right. That's what those decertification votes did. That's what Mo Brooks did. That's what all these people did.

And it is time for a reckoning. Don't make yourself victims. This isn't about being punished for speech. It's about being held to account for what you did, in the name of leadership of this country.

Thousands of armed pro-Donald Trump extremists are plotting to surround the Capitol, ahead of Biden's Inauguration. And his milquetoast words right now that someone wrote for him are not going to get it done, and you know it.

And then you got 50 state capitols to worry about.

[21:35:00]

Our nation's Capitol is what we show off as a symbol of our democracy. It means every bit and more than the Twin Towers ever did. This is what we look to. This is the white plume pointing that the way is up.

At this moment, the entire city is under an emergency declaration. Americans are being told, for their safety, to stay away from our Capitol. There is no moving on. There is no forgiving and forgetting. That would be a mistake.

They'd like it. Jim Jordan, who is afraid, to be oppressed by a mask, now is not the time to be brave, brother. You won't even come on this show. Stay safe over on State TV, where they believe your BS.

We're going to take these questions to one of the lawmakers, who was forced into hiding, while the Trump mob hunted for blood.

Congressman Ted Lieu is among the nine impeachment managers, who would prosecute Trump into trial. What does he see as the next step? What does he see as healing? Next.

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CUOMO: Even House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted today that Trump bears responsibility for what happened last week. But this isn't about votes, or truth, or logic.

No! It is about votes. That's all it's about. It's not a legal process. It's not about what makes sense. It's about what makes you vote. That's it. Can they get this done in the Senate?

Congressman Ted Lieu is one of the Democratic impeachment managers, who will prosecute this case, in the Senate.

Good to see you. I'm glad you're safe.

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: The Constitution says you have to have a trial. The world is watching us, and we are in some of the worst shape you and I have ever seen in our lifetime. Do you believe that you can make the case in a way that you get 17 Republicans to cross the line?

LIEU: I do. This is a very simple case. We had a mob that violently attacked our nation's Capitol to stop Congress from formalizing Donald Trump's defeat, and Joe Biden's win. And the person that incited that mob was Donald Trump.

We have videotapes of his speech. We have tapes of what he said before and after January 6th, and then we have videotapes of this mob attacking the Capitol, resulting in numerous deaths. The evidence is in broad daylight.

CUOMO: Stipulating to the point that Trump helped put the animus in their heart, do you believe there was inside help that put ideas into their head?

LIEU: It's certainly possible. And that's why we need a full investigation. And in terms of the law, no one is above the law. Not the President, not his attorney, and certainly not any Member of Congress.

If any Member of Congress incited the insurrection, or gave inside information, the FBI should investigate them. And if prosecutors look at the facts, and think they should be charged, then they should be charged.

CUOMO: But do you have any reason to believe it?

LIEU: Just based on some of the articles I've read, there does appear to be suspicious activity. Without doing an investigation, we won't know. And so, we should do an investigation.

CUOMO: And are you worried that you're not going to be able to do two things at once, as long as this is locked up, in terms of what can we prove, what can we know? I'm not telling you not to do it. I'm saying that you won't get anything else done. They won't work with you on anything.

LIEU: So, Senator Schumer will be the leader when this trial happens. And we hope that they can do the rules, so that we can both do the trial, as well as get the work of the nation done simultaneously. And I think that can be done.

But even if it can't, we've got to do this trial. And the way we heal is that first have justice and accountability. When crimes occur, no one says "Let's just go straight to healing." You first have to have justice and accountability.

CUOMO: True. But this is political accountability.

I mean, you can have the DoJ look and see if it was an inside job, and keep making cases, the way they're making cases now, let them lead where they lead. That doesn't mean keeping Trump in front of us for the next two months or three months.

LIEU: So, Joe Biden understands that the way to move forward is to have accountability, whether it's political or otherwise. And that's why he is letting Congress move forward with our constitutional duties.

We simply can't heal, as a nation, if we don't respond swiftly and strongly, to what was a violent attack, on our nation's Capitol, resulting in multiple deaths. Just issuing strongly-worded press releases is not an appropriate response.

CUOMO: Do you worry that if you don't get a conviction, then you give Trump a win?

LIEU: No, Donald Trump is already going to go down in history as the only president impeached twice. And future generations will know that when he incited a mob, to attack the nation's Capitol that we responded appropriately.

The House has now impeached on a bipartisan basis Donald Trump, and it's time for the Senate to act. And there's nothing stopping Senator Mitch McConnell, from having a trial on Friday, or next Monday. He simply chooses not to do so.

CUOMO: He says there's not enough time. But he said that same thing about Merrick Garland, and then got judges done for the Supreme Court faster than we've ever seen before, when it suited him.

LIEU: He absolutely has enough time. There's nothing procedurally stopping Mitch McConnell, from staring the trial, this Friday, or this Sunday, or this Monday. He's simply choosing not to do so. With public pressure, we hope he will in fact start the trial earlier.

CUOMO: Is it true Ted Lieu, that while you were still in a room, hiding from an angry mob, you started to call fellow members of the Judiciary Committee, saying we got to impeach this guy for this?

LIEU: I was in Congressman David Cicilline's office, and we were both, watching in horror, what was happening.

[21:45:00]

We were in lockdown, and we realized we're actually, in the middle of an attempted coup. And as the events unfolded that day, we became convinced that we needed to remove the President because he's a clear and present danger.

And so, we started drafting articles of impeachment, working remotely with Congressman Jamie Raskin, as well as House Judiciary staff, and we started reaching out to Members, to sign on to the article of impeachment.

CUOMO: Boy, that is some dedication to the cause in extremis like that, in flagrante delicto, as they taught us in law school, you were already thinking about what to do about what was happening to you all.

Congressman Ted Lieu, good luck going forward, and stay safe.

LIEU: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right.

The evidence so far suggests a level of planning for this attack, that it wasn't just spontaneous. And not just that video with someone barking orders about what to do in the moment.

So, what should that tell us about how to prevent more terror in this run-up to the Inauguration? Because if we don't know how this happened, and it wasn't just organic, well then what could the same forces be doing for next week? Next.

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CUOMO: More breaking news on our watch. CNN has obtained a new U.S. Intelligence bulletin that was put out today.

[21:50:00]

Intel officials are warning that the attack on the Capitol, by Trump supporters, "Very likely will serve as a significant driver of violence," meaning more attacks by domestic extremists in the year ahead.

The bulletin also reports that those who carried out the assault largely view their efforts as a success, and that the next targets could be lawful protests or other gatherings.

So, let's discuss the current danger with Phil Mudd and David Axelrod.

Gentlemen, thank you.

Phil, do you believe that there is anything to the suggestion that there was inside influence, or help, in what we saw last week?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL, FORMER FBI SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ADVISER: Well, let's take out the question of whether we should investigate it. Yes, we should investigate.

The question of whether that actually happened, Chris, I'd give you two answers to that.

The first is did individuals on the inside have conversations with sympathizers and said "We're angry. We understand that you're angry. If you want to come down the street with protests we perfectly - we understand that perfectly well?" That's easy to believe.

To take it a step further, to say individuals on the inside said, "If you want to plan this, and if you want to breach the barrier, and if you want to get inside the building, here are some operational ideas, or support, for how you do that," I want to see some evidence, Chris. I haven't seen that yet.

CUOMO: David, are you curious, as somebody who worked in the White House that that this was so woefully underplanned?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I mean, there are two explanations.

Well, there are several explanations. One is the most nefarious that there was willful neglect because this was a crowd, friendly to the President. The thing that worries me, Chris, is it is a manifestation of a dysfunctional administration. I think that may be closer to the truth.

When we were in the White House, we had a senior Homeland Security Director, who would regularly, when there were issues, like this, before events, not just after-action, convene the relevant federal agencies, along with the Capitol Hill police, along with the Metropolitan Police, in D.C., to go over Intelligence, to share information, and to help coordinate strategies. I don't think that's going on.

I'm not even sure, you know, President-elect Biden named a senior Homeland Security official to his National Security team today, I'm not sure that function is even being served in the White House right now.

So, even if they had the best of intentions, I'm not sure operationally they were playing the coordinating role, at the National Security Council, that they should have been playing, given the fact that this threat of domestic terrorism has been high, on the list of concerns of the FBI Director, in all of his public testimony.

CUOMO: Right. Quick follow for you, David. What do you make of people saying, on the Right, "Listen, I would have voted for impeachment, but I'm worried about the threats?" There are always threats. Do you believe that there is more to the fear now than we've seen in the past?

AXELROD: Maybe. Maybe. I think the bigger concern for most of the people, who would have voted for impeachment, but didn't, was the threat to their political wellbeing, because the Trump base is still out there, and it's still fairly strong, if you look at polling.

And he, despite the "Mr. Rogers" kind of image that he tried to project, in his video tonight, is a vengeful person, and they know it.

But look, I have no doubt that something has been activated here, it's been brewing for years. It has culminated in what we saw there. But I don't think it's the end of it. And I understand their concerns. I think there is danger.

CUOMO: So Phil, you've been telling me for years, Trump should not be playing "Come out, come out, wherever you are," with these White extremist groups, that you're not going to like what they do, once they get out.

MUDD: Yes.

CUOMO: Where do you believe we are, in terms of how much of a threat we are to ourselves in this country right now, from more of what we saw last week?

MUDD: I mean, worse than we would have been two years ago. I'm not as concerned about the Inauguration as I am about 50 states.

When you heard the Director of the FBI, years ago, saying they had investigations open in 50 states on ISIS, people were concerned in this country. I can guarantee you that there are investigations maybe not in 50, 48,

47, whatever it is, on sovereign citizen people, that is, people who don't recognize the U.S. government, and white supremacists in 46 states, 47 states, 50 states across this country, and people seem less concerned. And those are the people who stormed the Congress.

If you don't think this is a threat, let me flip the scenario, Chris. Let me flip the scenario. Thousands of people show up on the Capitol, who are ISIS sympathizers, and storm the Capitol, what would people say? "There's a fundamental threat to this country."

[21:55:00]

What are people in Congress say today? "We're worried about alienating these people by voting against the President."

We have a problem. And the problem partly is we cannot look to our neighbor next door, and say, "We have to say that's wrong, and it's un-American." That is significant.

CUOMO: Phil Mudd, David Axelrod, gentlemen, thank you. We'll be right back.

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CUOMO: All right. I'm going to be back at Midnight Eastern for a live late-night edition of PRIME TIME, as we watch history unfold. Where do we go next?

Right now, the answer is easy, right? The big show, "CNN TONIGHT," the big star, D. Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: That's a--

CUOMO: Right now.

LEMON: That's a good question, where do we go next? I have an idea. And your talk with Phil Mudd was very important. And I think Phil Mudd is on to something.

CUOMO: What's the word he didn't say?

LEMON: Well it's--

CUOMO: About why you would feel one way about who attacked the Capitol, last week, and another way--

LEMON: No.

CUOMO: --if it were about ISIS or anything else?

LEMON: OK. So, here's--