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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump Impeached For Second Time, 10 Republicans Vote Yes; McConnell Leaves Path Open To Convict Trump; Interview With Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC); Biden Won't Take Amtrak To Inauguration Over Security Concerns; NYT: Intel Agencies Warn Armed Groups Targeting Inauguration; House Impeachment Managers Mapping Out Case Against Trump In Senate; Interview With Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); CNN: Evidence Suggests Capitol Hill Attack Was Planned, Not Just A Mob That Spiraled Out Of Control; Interview With Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN). Aired 7-8p ET
Aired January 13, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN BREAKING NEWS.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, impeached. President Trump now the only American president to be impeached twice. This extraordinary moment in our nation's history taking place one week to the day that rioters incited by the President, stormed the U.S. Capitol and tried to break into the House chamber where today's vote took place.
Ten Republicans joined Democrats to vote yes on the article of impeachment, which accused the President of 'incitement of insurrection'.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The ayes are 232. The nays are 197. The resolution is adopted. Without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: We're all now watching history unfold, because this was the most bipartisan impeachment in American history. And yet a senior advisor tells CNN that the President is 'clueless' as to what any of this means internationally or historically. Clueless that 10 members of his own party took a brave stand. They put their country before themselves.
And let's be clear, there were threats to their lives. There were threats to their family's lives and there are threats now to their political careers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DAN NEWHOUSE (R-WA): There's no excuse for President Trump's actions. The President took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Last week, there was a domestic threat at the door of the Capitol and he did nothing to stop it. That is why with a heavy heart and clear resolve, I will vote yes on these articles of impeachment.
REP. JAIME HERRERA BEUTLER (R-WA): I rise today to stand against our enemy and to clarify our enemy isn't the President or the President- elect. Fear is our enemy. Fear tells us what we want to hear, it incites anger, and violence and fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Republican Congressman Tom Rice of South Carolina among those who voted to impeach and he released a statement that reads in part, "When the Capitol Police were being beaten and killed, and when the Vice President and the Congress were being locked down, the President was watching and tweeted about the Vice President's lack of courage, this utter failure is inexcusable."
Those Republicans spoke the truth. They have stood up for what we know to be true and for the Constitution that has carried this country for 250 years. They stood up to the President and they deserve our respect, because most of their colleagues did not.
In fact, many use their time during today's debate to further spread lies and to fawn over Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): They impeach the President of the United States for saying peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.
REP. ANDY BIGGS (R-AZ): The craving to crush President Trump has never been satisfied, not through investigations, not through false allegations and not even through an impeachment that was wholly without merit.
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Democrats' impeachment of President Trump today has now set the standard that they should be removed for their support of violence against the American people.
REP. JODEY ARRINGTON (R-TX): The President didn't incite a riot. The President didn't lead an insurrection and there are no high crimes and misdemeanors requisite of an impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So you hear all of them. I should just remind you, remember Adam Kinzinger also Republican who voted for impeachment to that last point he said if this doesn't merit impeachment then what does. And here's the thing, even the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, remember McCarthy pleaded with Trump to denounce the riots which Trump refused to do. Kevin McCarthy then polled Republicans on whether he should tell Trump to resign.
Kevin McCarthy did all of those things and yet today he's still voted against impeachment despite, despite, OK, get ready, saying this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The President bears responsibility for
Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. So as to how the President can bear responsibility for a mob attack on the Capitol with the intent of undoing a free and fair election and not get McCarthy's vote for impeachment, that is inexplicable. As all of this is happening, now that he's been impeached twice, the President, again, releasing a video.
He doesn't come out and speak to anybody live anymore. A five-minute video in which he does not mention the fact that he's been impeached. He also again takes no responsibility at all for the riot and he had this to say about anyone who supports him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Perhaps he thinks that people will hear that and believe him and he would have reason to think that because as we have now seen, there are people who will believe things that he says that are complete lies. Because in case you need any reminding, his supporters who stormed the Capitol were only doing what he told them. Those true supporters were merely echoing Trump's own battle cries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Democrats are trying to steal the White House, you cannot let that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't get to steal it from us.
TRUMP: We're bringing our country back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want our country back.
TRUMP: This is our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our House. This is our country. This is our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The President's impeachment tonight comes at a perilous time for all of us, every state in the United States plus Washington, D.C. now on alert for threats leading up to Inauguration Day one week from today. And think about how much the world has changed in the past seven days.
And, of course, the pandemic yesterday saw an all-time record of reported deaths more than 4,300 Americans died of coronavirus. And now the fate of President Trump lies in the hands of the Senate and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not shooting down the possibility of a conviction.
Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT near the White House. And Kaitlan, now the President comes out with this video which, of course, goes completely counter to his actions and his words over months and very specifically over the past seven days. Why is he suddenly saying these things now?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is remarkable how long it took the President to get here, to condemn the violence that happened last week, to say to the people who committed that are not really his true supporters because he says he doesn't condone those kinds of actions.
But one thing he does mention in the video is that he has been briefed by the Secret Service on the threats surrounding Joe Biden's inauguration, which is not just happening here in Washington. We are told by federal authorities, they are seeing a wave of possible violence happening or at least being potentially planned across the country at state capitols all over the United States.
And so the President does cite that in this video. I'm told that he was briefed earlier this week, we believe it was Monday, by federal officials on what these threats were looking like. And so we had heard that people wanted the President to be on the record condemning this violence in case or any further acts like what you saw happen last week, of course, at the U.S. Capitol that has changed Washington and has brought in the National Guard and all of these authorities that you see now just on the streets of D.C. ahead of this.
But Erin, of course, the President there saying he condemns violence. He doesn't talk about his words that he uttered to his supporters before they went up to the Capitol. Of course, those that have been played so many times where he is telling them to fight like hell for the country.
And he also just not mentioned impeachment on the day that he was impeached a second time and he was criticized by his own party, including Kevin McCarthy, people who are typically pretty close allies of his. And we were told the President sat at the White House. He watched most of this coverage throughout the day. He had very few events on his private schedule.
But the one thing that he was robbed of to respond in real time on Twitter, because of course, he has been banned in some form or fashion from all of the social media platform. So there's been an effort to get him on some fringe sites that Jared Kushner has blocked so far.
But it is remarkable that now the President is coming out and saying this and, of course, you've got to think that part of that is to try to stave off Republican support for his conviction when that Senate trial does actually happen.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. It is amazing and frightening the disconnect that we are all seeing right now. I mean, it truly is, that the President of the United States says the only way that Joe Biden wins is if it's rigged and he keeps saying it and saying it. And then these people believe it and they go do these things. And there are people on Capitol Hill who do not connect those two things. That is not reality and it is unexplainable.
So let's go to Manu Raju on Capitol Hill. Because, Manu, obviously what happens next is incredibly important for precedent, for what people in this country believe, for what people in this country will do and for history, and that is the Senate trial. Because that is what would convict the President even post presidency, have that removal and make him a very specific moment in American history. So when does the trial happen?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's going to happen at the beginning of the Biden presidency because of a decision made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who's the outgoing Senate Majority Leader. He will be the Minority Leader come January 20th.
But in order for a quick trial to happen, he would have to reach an agreement with the current Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to bring the Senate back earlier than the scheduled return time of January 19th. McConnell made clear today, Erin, that he has no plans to do that.
He said it's just not possible to have a trial that quickly. He said there are those several steps that need to take place. The there have been three trials in U.S. history in the Senate, impeachment trials. They've lasted no fewer than 21 days to reach a verdict. So he said that's simply not feasible.
That means it's going to step on the first few weeks potentially of the Biden administration just as Joe Biden is trying to get his cabinet filled. And as he's trying to move forward in the domestic agenda, this is going to be dominating here on Capitol Hill.
But notably, Erin, Mitch McConnell has not said how he will come down. He is open to the prospect of convicting Donald Trump. And if he goes to convict Donald Trump, expect a lot of Republicans do just that. So there could be 67 votes in the United States Senate to prevent Donald Trump from ever holding office again.
BURNETT: I mean, which is a pretty incredible thing and I think it's an important distinction for people to understand that McConnell's refusal to have a trial now is not the same thing as him saying that he will vote in Trump's favor.
So this will be then a trial in the Senate. Obviously, it's going to look very different than the last one we saw for Trump. But the House impeachment managers do need to map out a case, a prosecution against Trump. What will it look like?
RAJU: Yes. That's one thing that they're still sorting out right now. I just had a chance to speak with several of the House impeachment managers after they met with Nancy Pelosi. They indicated to me those decisions are still being sorted out.
One of the big questions they're going to have to decide whether to bring witnesses forward on the Senate impeachment trial, including potentially the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger who's mentioned in the article of impeachment, because that article references the President's efforts to subvert the will of the voters in Georgia. His pressure campaign on that Georgia election official.
I asked several of the impeachment managers will you bring Raffensperger forward as a witness. They would not say. They said simply we are in an organizational meetings right now. We have to make those decisions in the weeks ahead.
But if they bring forward more witnesses, that only prolongs the trial, potentially, and that could also impact Biden's agenda. So these are the difficult questions they'll have to answer but, of course, everybody witnessed what happened on Capitol Hill when that deadly riot came, the question is the Democrats believe they need to bring in more witnesses to explain what happened even though it happened before these senators' very eyes, Erin.
BURNETT: Right. You would think he wouldn't, that what they saw, what they experienced, would be what they needed. All right. Manu, thank you very much.
I want to go now to the Democratic Whip Congressman James Clyburn. Congressman, much to ask you tonight. But look, you can look at this as 10 Republicans voted to impeach the President. It is the most bipartisan impeachment in American history or you could look at it as what occurred here was a unique moment in American history, an extraordinary moment in American history. And you would expect a whole lot more than 10 Republicans. Were you surprised that more Republicans did not vote to impeach the President?
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): No, I wasn't. We live in a pretty divided world, political world that is, so I'm not surprise of that. I was hoping it would be maybe 10 more than that. But I understand what sound bites can do to you politically. We've seen how fortunes in local campaigns that can turn on sound bites and I just think that there was enough cover in terms of time and circumstances to allow these people to really hold on and not vote for Trump. So I'm not surprise of that.
BURNETT: Let me ask you about the Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. I played a moment ago what he said on the floor, quote, "The President bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack." He didn't mince words. He was very clear. He then continued to say, "The President should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding."
So Kevin McCarthy said all that. He gave the sound bite, but then he didn't vote to impeach despite by the very logic of his own sound bite that being the vote that he should have cast. Why do you think that is?
CLYBURN: Well, once again Republican primaries are pretty dominated by some pretty right-wing people. I think until Trump is no longer eligible or allowed to participate in the process, they will still be fearful of him. And that's why I think there's a very good chance that there will be conviction in the Senate, because I think that Mitch McConnell and a few others recognize that that's the quickest way to get him out of their hair, so to speak.
And so these articles will go over there. There will be people who will conduct the trial, our managers will do a good job of that. They'll have to do that good of job to take the truth. Just put up the videos and bring in the people who are recipients of these phone calls. And I think there'll be enough to put on the record until you could very well get a conviction.
BURNETT: Yes. I mean, look, you can play the President's word and the echo of those rioters on Wednesday as I just did.
But let me ask you about the timing here because the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of course, is not going to bring the Senate back early for a trial. He's made that clear. So you've suggested waiting a hundred days for a trial in the Senate. I know the House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has said it should be right away when the Senate returns to session.
And I want to make it clear, you all have the power to determine this, because when you formally walk those articles of impeachment over to the Senate, they have to begin a trial essentially the next day. So where do things stand tonight, Congressman, on when you will send those articles to the Senate?
CLYBURN: I don't know, that's the Speaker's call. I've made a very clear that I would love to see the people of this country get attended to (inaudible) COVID-19 is a big, big problem for us. I want to see Joe Biden able to come into office, hopefully, use his executive authority to get us on the road to some distance beyond this pandemic.
And I also want to see him do what's necessary to get people comfortable in their circumstances again. And so an impeachment trial could very well interfere with that. And so that's why I talked about one of the days because we always give this (inaudible) one of the years to evaluate a president's success.
And so I was being a bit facetious when I said that, but I do really feel that we ought to do what's necessary for this man not to ever run again. But we need to do what is necessary for people's lives to get restored as soon as possible. And I would not want to see an impeachment trial postponed that for too long.
BURNETT: All right. Congressman Clyburn, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you, sir.
CLYBURN: Oh, thank you very much for having me. BURNETT: Right. And now, David Gergen, he advised Four Presidents and
the Republican former Governor of Ohio, also a former U.S. Congressman, John Kasich joining me.
So Governor Kasich, let me start with you. I want to ask you about Republicans in a moment. But first, as we indicated in a week, we're going to have a new president. We have an inauguration with unprecedented threats. Seven days ago, we were not even talking about impeachment. The insurrection was just happening. People were trying to figure it out.
Eight days ago, nobody would have even, in a million years, thought about something like this happening. And yet here we are now, for the first time in history, a president impeached twice by the most bipartisan vote that we've ever seen for an impeachment. Could you ever have imagined this?
JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Erin, that's such a - is that a good question? I mean, I guess the answer would be things are so crazy that there's nothing that surprises me anymore. I thought a couple months ago, there were things that Trump had done that would have kind of ended his career, would have turned people off and it didn't and I just come to learn that whatever is out there that we never would have thought of are things that we're seeing today.
I watched some of this today and I have to tell you, I served in the Congress for 18 years. I've been in public life for a long time. This was a necessary thing. I support impeachment. I support removal. But it's a sad day.
KASICH: And the question in my mind, Erin, is how do we get people who have a view that none of this is legitimate, none of this is real, how do we begin to bring them back? How do we take those folks who have moved away and are living in another dimension somewhere, how do we get them back to me?
That something that we all have to think about. It's something that I think is top of mind. It should be top of mind, because we need a more united America. There's going to be some we'll never get back, but we got to get some of the get backs ...
KASICH: ... over here across the line thinking rationally again.
BURNETT: We certainly do, because what we saw in the Republican caucus today was a reflection of what they see among people they think they're going to vote for them in a primary. That's what we saw.
So David Gergen, a senior Trump adviser says the President does not grasp the magnitude of the damage being done to his standing in American history. So try to contextualize it, how significant is this moment for him? DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, I think it's extremely
significant, it's a milestone. His fate in history was sealed today. From now on, Donald Trump in the history books will be the only president in our history who was impeached twice. He's going to be seen as the worst president in American history and he's going to be seen as the most dangerous president in American history.
I do think there was good news today though for the country.
I think this is a happy day in many ways, because our checks and balances held the constitutional work. This is the way it's supposed to work.
As you pointed out just a week ago, there were these assaults on the people's House in Washington. And just one week later, they're ringmaster. The man who made it all happen is now been put on trial in the Senate. He's been impeached and his whole life is crumbling before him, his creditors cutting off money, a lot of people are pulling out of his various events. He's been pulled back off Twitter.
This man had been battered here and there's good reason why he sort of go walking around like he'd been slugged as he has been. And that is because the checks and balances still work in this country, one of the most important aspects of our democracy and most important assets of our democracy.
BURNETT: And amazing that in all of this - so Twitter took away his voice, but not really, he is the President. He doesn't come out and speak live. He does it all the things that he did nothing, it's these videos. That's all he does. He seems like you can kind of see the walls around him.
BURNETT: Governor, you mentioned what Republicans - the pressure that they're under. Among the 10 who voted obviously to impeach was the third ranking Republican in the House Congresswoman Liz Cheney. And now, of course, she's being slammed by Jim Jordan, people are saying, oh, she should resign her leadership post.
Congressman Adam Kinzinger who I mentioned also voted to impeach tweeted, "Liz has more support now than she did two days ago. She has gained in measurable respect. Since the discussion is opened though, we may have to also have a discussion about who in our party fomented this, and their roles as ranking members."
OK. A lot of questions off of that but first let's start with this, what is happening inside the Republican Party right now? Schism would seem to be the right word.
KASICH: Well, it's really a civil war for the future of the party. And let me just talk, Erin, for a second about what it was like for these congressmen. I give them - like there's two categories, those people who use conscience, and some who use conscience may have actually voted against impeachment. I don't know how they can conclude that but they - and those who played politics.
And those people who voted for impeachment, obviously, and I know Fred Upton, he's one of the people that voted for impeachment. This is a guy didn't play much politics. He's a man of conscience. Now, the question for the Republican Party is going to be who are we going to be, are we going to just say, here's the thing that's important.
And I don't know if David would agree with this, but it's not just that Trump's tweets or Trump's personal behavior was bad and all of his policies were good. His policies were not good. I mean, think about this. He tried to kill Obamacare with no alternative, with no plan as to how we would go forward and people with preexisting conditions were going to be at risk.
Look at what he's done on immigration. He used immigration. Immigrants were used as scapegoats to further his demagoguery. And as a result of that, the party got behind legal - reducing legal immigration to miniscule amount.
Think about the name-calling, think about Charlottesville and how people didn't stand up and correct that. Think about police and community reform, which he's ignored. I mean, the party is not going to be successful, Erin, in my opinion if they think those policies were fine. The trade policies, they were nothing but a tax on the American people.
This has to change and they have to have ideas. Now, Republicans are going to start to think that all they need to do is sit back and criticize Biden. I got to tell you, I'm from a school of Republicans that say ideas are what you use to lead your country. And if you don't have ideas and all you want to be is negative, why don't you go somewhere else, because to me the party has to rehabilitate itself and it will start with younger Republicans.
I don't mean young Republicans just, but younger Republicans who realize we're lost.
BURNETT: Quick final word, David.
GERGEN: Yes. I might point out among the 10 (inaudible) so much, but we've got a couple of these new young (inaudible).
GERGEN: Growing number (inaudible) in that group today.
BURNETT: Yes. And it is very significant, obviously, Congressmans Meijer and Kinzinger on that list. Thank you both so very much.
GERGEN: Thank you.
BURNETT: I want to go to Jeff Zeleny now. He is with the President- elect Biden in Wilmington, Delaware. And Jeff, obviously, it's been just about three hours since the House impeached President Trump, the second time. So far, though, silence from President-elect Biden and that actually is quite a telling thing. JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORREPONDENT: Erin, look, we know
President-elect Joe Biden's view of impeachment. It's not like he supports President Trump or believes he does not deserve to be impeached. Of course he does believe that. But he does not like with the idea of impeachment would mean for the opening days, perhaps, weeks of his presidency.
So it is striking now more than three hours after that final vote was cast, we've not yet heard from Mr. Biden on this.
I am told by aides that he will be having a statement at some point this evening. And, of course, we can imagine what it says. He is, again, not in favor of this president, but wants to focus on coronavirus, wants to focus on the economy and urgently wants to focus on getting some of his top national security nominees confirmed.
So I'm told his aides are working behind the scenes with Senate Democrats and House impeachment managers over the coming days and they'll be working on a way to keep this impeachment trial tight and speedy as much as possible. But of course, it's unclear tonight how possible that will be.
BURNETT: So President-elect Biden when he's going to Washington, obviously, for his inauguration was planned to take an Amtrak from Delaware to Washington, which, of course, he notoriously did as his children were growing up. That's part of the Joe Biden story. So it was important to him. But he's now not going to do it, why?
ZELENY: Well, they called them Amtrak Joe for a reason because he did travel everyday from here in Wilmington to Washington. He took that last train ride back from Washington here on his final day as vice president. Now, he's not going to be doing this, I am told, because of this heightened security concern.
His team had a briefing today with top security officials. This is one of the things that came out of that. They're deeply concerned about what they see happening in Washington. I'm told that this is much about Union Station in Washington, which is just a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. We've seen the perimeter around there. That was one concern.
So I'm told that he's going now to travel with his family next week on Tuesday evening likely to Washington. He'll be staying at the Blair House, which of course is right across the street from the White House on the eve of his inauguration. But Erin one week from tonight, he is the sitting president and he wants already to have these things underway. But, of course, he's inheriting that Trump impeachment.
BURNETT: And that's the big question, of course, is how and when to do that because now it's got to be done. All right. Thank you very much, Jeff.
So I want to go to Laurence Tribe, Constitutional Law Professor at Harvard Law School who advised House Democrats on President Trump's impeachment probe and the author of To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment.
So Professor Tribe, here we are at this moment. You've spent a career studying the aspects of this part of American life, impeachment. And now here we are with history being made in many ways, including the most bipartisan impeachment in American history and the only president to be impeached twice. Could you ever have imagined you see such a thing?
LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: Not really and it's a sad day. I mean, it's good that the system held. It's good that 10 Republicans joined the Democrats, making this, as you said, the most bipartisan impeachment in American history. But it is sad that we had a president who fomented a riotous seditious insurrection against the Capitol and that there was no choice but to impeach him and that is really sad and I can't wait till this is over.
BURNETT: So let me just ask you about that because, obviously, the House sends over the articles and then the Senate essentially the next business day they've got to start a trial. There's a lot at stake on this and I guess there's a legal part of this and a political part. First of all, can they afford to not have him be convicted?
And I know McConnell opened the door to that vote but you need those 16 or 17 votes, can they afford to not have it and with conviction? And how much leeway does the House have on the timing here?
TRIBE: Well, it's entirely up to Nancy Pelosi in the House as to when they send the articles over. I'm not in favor of waiting any longer than necessary, because President-elect Biden has made it clear that he can walk and chew gum at the same time to use the old cliche. That is they can bifurcate things, they can spend part of the day on impeachment and part of the day on rescuing the American people from the disaster that this President left behind and the impeachment trial needn't last very long.
The earlier one that we had with President Trump lasted a couple of days. Here it was all in real time and in public (inaudible) there's really no question, but that he should be removed from office. And more important, even if he's already out of office by the time the trial occurs, he needs to be disqualified from holding office in the future and I think (inaudible) ...
BURNETT: So let me ask you about that point, because I know you have to have a conviction in the Senate first and then a second vote on a majority basis on not holding office in the future, but one must be a predicate of the other.
BURNETT: So Senate Majority Leader McConnell says obviously he's not going to bring the Senate back so you this isn't going to happen until Joe Biden is president, I'm sorry. Some legal experts though say that that ends the whole thing, that you cannot hold a trial once the person you are removing from office is no longer in office.
You've just written an op-ed in "The Washington Post" about this. [19:30:03]
And you say President Trump can be tried and convicted after leaving office. Why? Explain.
TRIBE: Well, basically, the Constitution's texts makes it clear that as long as you are on officer when you commit an impeachable offense, the ability to convict you and prevent you from repeating your dangerous activities doesn't cease. If it were written otherwise, it would be crazy.
And William Belknap who was secretary of war in 1876 thought he could gain the system by resigning his office minutes before the impeachment was returned. But then the Senate by a vote of 37-29 held understandably, you can't get away with it that way. It's not like when someone says you're fired, you say so, you can't fire me, I've already resigned.
TRIBE: The fact is that the Constitution was designed so that the most dangerous characters couldn't escape the important remedy of being taken out of public office in the future simply by resigning. That won't work. And, although there are some scholars, I really admire, in particular, Judge Michael Luttig -- who doesn't agree with me but says he thinks I got a powerful argument, I think the case is pretty clear and there is a lot of argument both historical and textual for the view that I have about this.
BURNETT: All right. So the question then is, will the president be prosecuted criminally in a court of law? Now, he can do a last-minute resignation, try to have Mike Pence pardon him. I understand there are a lot of things happening here.
But it would seem right now we were on a path, assuming a self-pardon will not hold, experts say it will not, but the president will be criminally prosecuted, right?
TRIBE: He can be criminally prosecuted by the Fulton County D.A. because the way he is trying to twist the arm of the secretary of state of Georgia to steal the franchise from the people of Georgia, he can be prosecuted regardless of who pardons whom. He can be certainly prosecuted by the attorney general of New York who is working on all of his violations.
He can be prosecuted by the Manhattan D.A. and I think the incoming Justice Department under Merrick Garland, he's going to have to investigate all of the crimes he's committed, including involvement in and fomenting the insurrection, riot, a lot of deaths resulted from what he did.
So, there is no end from the crimes he seems to be subject to prosecution for once he's out of office.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Professor.
BURNETT: And next, Senator Josh Hawley, one of the Republicans who led the election challenge after the riot, is tonight defending his actions after everything we know about the insurrection after five people died. Hawley defends supporting the president's lies.
Plus, breaking news, CNN learning new details on the attack on the U.S. Capitol. These new details suggest a much higher, more sophisticated level of planning than we had any knowledge of.
And I'm going to speak to Congressman Andre Carson, his name was found in a handwritten note, allegedly the target of a man whose truck parked near the Capitol contained several guns and bombs. Carson's response tonight.
BURNETT: Breaking news at this hour, House impeachment managers are mapping out their strategy for a Senate trial. One possible witness is Brad Raffensperger, Georgia secretary of state. He would be a witness to talk about Trump's pressure campaign against him when Trump, of course, called him on the phone, the entire call, but in particular the part where he asked him to, quote, find the exact number of votes required to overturn Joe Biden's win in the state.
This comes as Republican Senator Josh Hawley is defending his decision to challenge the election results on the day of the riot, fuelling the dangerous lies the election was not free and fair.
That day, Hawley -- this now, I don't know yeah the right word is. We have all seen this image. He raised his fist to pro-Trumpers outside the Capitol shortly before it turned violent and the mob stormed the building.
Hawley writes in an op-ed, quote: Some wondered why I stuck with my objections following the violence at the Capitol. The reason is simple, I will not bow a violent mob or criminals to drown out the legitimate concerns of my constituents.
OUTFRONT now, Democratic senator of Maryland, Chris Van Hollen.
I appreciate your time, Senator.
So, what's your reaction when you hear that logic from Senator Hawley?
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Erin, here we go again. Senator Hawley trying to defend the indefensible. First of all, he helped spout the same lies that Donald Trump gave us, which is that Donald Trump had been cheated out of the election, even though Senator Hawley knows full well that every time that was looked at in a court of law, it was shot down.
But instead of standing up and telling the truth, Senator Hawley fed the lies and he is an accomplice to the attack on our democracy, and there is going to be no whitewashing this. He can try to explain it away. But the country saw what he did in plain sight.
BURNETT: So, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has let dangle out there, right? That he can vote for impeachment. He has not said he won't, right? I mean, this is very significant, right? He is letting the president twist in the wind on this.
And, obviously, he's -- that is hugely significant. What he does is hugely significant.
But he can't alone, right? I know you got some Republican senators who made it clear they'll vote to impeach. But you would need 17 of them to convict the president. Do you think he'll get them?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, the straight answer is I just don't know for sure. What I do know is that there will, of course, more than last time when we only had one, Senator Romney, and the second thing I know is that I think that number of senators recognize that what the president did warrants impeachment and removal. Whether or not they will vote to convict, I don't know. But the fact that Senator McConnell has remained silent on this issue is telling because it indicates that he recognizes that the facts warrant this action.
Again, other people can make their own -- Republicans may try to justify not voting for a conviction. But we'll see.
Senator, let me ask you, have you had any conversations? I mean, you know, I know if you all got to pass a blind ballot, it would be overwhelming in favor of impeachment, not unanimous, but it would be overwhelming. Obviously, it's not a blind ballot. It's not the way it goes. It's not the way it should go.
But have you talked to any of them in private who have made it clear they think the right thing to do is to impeach?
VAN HOLLEN: Yes, I have. Again, there is that distinction that you are making that I am, too, which is the difference between indicating that they think the right thing to do is to impeach and remove, and whether or not that will actually happen. And I think that, you know, as we learn more and more about what happened at the Capitol and everything is in such plain sight, you have a president of the United States who not only, you know, called upon his followers to come to D.C. for this, quote, wild event, but then even as his own vice president was under attack and in danger, said that these monsters were people he loved.
I mean, if you take it altogether, the reality is that we all recognize what happened. This was insurrection against the United States, the attack on our democracy and anybody who doesn't recognize that that is not a gross violation of our Constitution really needs to re-examine their oath of office.
BURNETT: Right. Well, you certainly don't need to have read the constitution of a country to realize it would be a violation of your oath as the president of that country to lie about an election, and encourage sort of behavior.
Thank you very much, Senator. I appreciate your time.
VAN HOLLEN: Good to be with you.
BURNETT: And next, more breaking news, investigators are telling us new evidence suggests there may have been a great deal of planning that went into the riot at the Capitol. We have new details. The violent extremists pose the most significant threat to Biden's inauguration as well. So, all of those details after this.
And two members of Congress, two members of Congress say that rioters were led on a reconnaissance mission before the attack. It's an incredible claim. Could this have had an inside job element to it?
BURNETT: Breaking news, CNN learns the investigators believe the attack on Capitol Hill wasn't a mob that spiraled out of control, but included a higher level of planning that previously known. And it comes as discussions are underway about raising the terror level in the United States, with officials bracing for another potential attack by armed militias on Capitol Hill.
Evan Perez is OUTFRONT and Evan has been breaking all of this reporting on what we are learning, a level of planning, prior organization.
What are your sources telling you, Evan?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, one of the questions that investigators are trying to figure out is whether the groups that were involved, again, there were desperate groups, different types ideologies, what level of coordination there was.
They can see from some of the evidence that investigators have already gathered, they've seen indications that people left the Trump rally at the ellipse in front of the White House where, by the way, they had to give up their backpack, they had to give up some of the items that they were taking, and they left a little early so then they can go perhaps retrieve the items that they had, weapons that they had in order to attack the Capitol.
And then, of course, they turned up with things like sledgehammers, with ropes, with things that they could use for climbing. They had helmets. Some had better shields and better spray than the sprays that the Capitol police were able to deploy to try to calm the crowd, to try to push the crowd back.
So that, too, investigators indicates that there is a high level of planning that occurred here. And so, the question is, who is involved? How much of it went into place before the Wednesday events. They are looking at that travel records, they're looking at
communications. They're looking to see -- following the money. And that's why you have counterterrorism prosecutors and you have investigators who do public corruption because they know how to follow the money.
BURNETT: So, we are also learning National Guard units are being told to prepare for improvised explosive devices, IEDs. These are things that we associate with war zones in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. And now, they are saying they are worried about them here. What are you hearing about the intensity of these security concerns on inauguration day?
PEREZ: It is definitely intensified and a part of the reason, you know, that law enforcement is concerned, is they believe some of these groups looked at what happened at the Capitol and feel emboldened. They feel they can try to do something even bigger, perhaps. And that's why the national guardsmen who are here, and women, who are here, there are some 20,000 of them. That's more than being deployed in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
That is one of the chief concerns is to prepare for a possibility of IEDs, and other weaponry. You see the promises that these groups are making, that they want to come to Washington. They want to surround the Capitol, there are all kind of warnings issued to law enforcement to be on the lookout not only here in Washington but at state capitals around the country, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Evan, thank you very much.
And I want to go now to Juliette Kayyem, the former assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama.
So, Juliette, you hear Evan's reporting. Let's start with the fact that there was possibly a lot more planning to this. Does this surprise you?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No, I would be surprised if that was spontaneous. It was organized. Those pictures of men going up a staircase as if they're in line formation.
Look, I think we have to accept that this is an organized domestic terrorist threat that the country is facing. This isn't a bunch of random people online who decide to jump on airplanes and wear crazy stuff. They are killers. They are a domestic terrorist, violent domestic terrorist group.
And their North Star, their ideological leader is, of course, the president of the United States. That does not mean all Trump supporters are all violent. It means a subset, a very small group of men and some women will use violence to undermine the democratic process. That is terrorism.
I think once we can get our head around that, then the threat becomes real. Right, it's not just random even angry. [19:50:01]
And how we counter it means that we have to use counterterrorism tools, which is, you know, getting them off of these platforms, following the money as Evan was saying. Arresting them, right? Investigating them. That is how you stop a terrorist movement.
BURNETT: And you also heard a warning on IEDs that Evan was saying.
BURNETT: So, officials still do not know or they haven't -- we have no reporting to indicate they have any leads who left pipe bombs outside both the Republican and Democratic headquarters last week. So those were bombs, right? We don't know who left them. Now they're worried about ides.
How real of a threat is this especially given the lack of knowledge about the bombs who are already put out there?
KAYYEM: Yeah, so it's good that you raise those and a lot of people I've talked to think those IEDs were distraction, IEDs that they would have gone off, everyone would have headed to the RNC and DNC and then left and left the Capitol exposed. That's just a theory and often happens with IEDs.
Look, the -- you know, the inauguration is an HPSE or high-profile security event. There's a lot of resources. There's not as many people. We got lots of troops there.
KAYYEM: So, in some ways it's known. We know what to expect and Republicans and unity and let's just all calm down, I think what they have to understand is with terrorist organizations, there is -- it doesn't go away. They -- as Evan said, they view the Capitol and what happened at the Capitol as a success they got through so easily, so if you think just making nice makes it go away or these Republicans who are saying that they're worried for their families, it doesn't get better. They keep ratcheting up.
So we have to threat this, right, as the threat it is, and use all the mechanisms that we know for counterterrorism to threat it as a threat it is and to minimize the harm that the president can do not just until the 20th but after to incite violence.
BURNETT: All right. Julia, thank you very much.
KAYYEM: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, a man allegedly in possession of bombs and guns on the day of the Capitol riot is accused of singling out Andre Carson. Congressman Carson responds next.
BURNETT: Breaking news, more than 30 House members calling for an investigation amid growing questions that the Capitol Hill rioters had inside help. These members say they saw, quote, suspicious behavior and access to visitors inside the capitol the day of the attack. One congresswoman claiming members led rioters on a reconnaissance mission, pretty incredible word to use.
Congressman Andre Carson is OUTFRONT. He's one of the members who signed this letter.
Congressman, let me start with this -- before taking office, you work on counterterror for Indiana's Department of Homeland Security. So, why did these tours raise alarm bells for you? What was it about them?
REP. ANDRE CARSON (D-IN): Well, you know, traditionally, staffers will conduct tours as well as members of Congress. I think because you have empathizers and sympathizers not only in law enforcement but in the halls of Congress with many of these groups and to have these tours and the elements within these tours concerns me deeply as someone who has worked at intelligence fusion center and counterterrorism, as someone who's a police officer, as someone who currently serves on the intelligence committee, as the chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence, I'm deeply concerned because these very folks were on this tour obviously were casing the Capitol if you will in order to ultimately do harm.
BURNETT: I mean, it's an incredible thing to say. You're saying it's clear they were casing the Capitol, and I know there is a lot we don't know, but the other part of that, the flip side of that is unbelievable. That would mean there were people on the inside who were fully on board with the casing of the Capitol for a violent act. Is that -- is that -- what could be true here?
CARSON: It seems to be the case. I mean, I'm speaking to law enforcement officials now and just got off the phone with Mayor Joe Hogsett of Indy. I'm speaking to folks on the Intel Committee and we're trying to piece this together.
But, you know, Erin, folks across the country are concerned. I just got a call with -- the phone with Damon Dash (ph) and the commission. People are concerned nationwide about our nation's capitol, specifically the U.S. Capitol being targeted --
CARSON: -- by insurrectionists and aided and abetted by possibly members of staff or members of Congress.
BURNETT: It is an incredible thing to say and when people talk about the significance of this movement, something like this does continue to move. You're talking about members of Congress, it is extraordinary.
We're getting some new details in all of this about specific threats against you, Congressman. An Alabama man, his truck was parked near the Capitol illegally. They found several guns, 11 homemade -- ammunition, I'm sorry, 11 homemade bombs. You were named in a handwritten note, according to the indictment. And next to your name, the note says, quote, one of two Muslims in the House of Representatives.
Now, there are actually three Muslims in the House and you did not even find out about this, that this car, and all of this stuff and your name is in there until you actually read the indictment. Law enforcement never told you.
What was your reaction when you found out?
CARSON: Deeply disappointed as someone who comes from the intel law enforcement community, as someone who sits on the Intel Committee. I spoke with Chairman Adam Schiff who is a dear friend of mine. He's going to look into this.
But I receive death threats all the time, Erin, as well as Ilhan and Rashida, and I'm usually notified by the FBI or even -- better yet, local law enforcement from the Marion County Sherriff's Department or the Metro Police Department here in Indy.
But I'm disappointed with federal law enforcement. There was obviously a gap and unfortunate oversight which is why I'm excited about the inauguration where we can see new leadership.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Congressman. Thank you very much.
CARSON: Always an honor. Thank you.
BURNETT: Really sobering to consider the implications of this and an investigation we're watching very closely.
Thanks very much to all of you for joining us.
"AC360" with Anderson starts now.