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The Second Trump Impeachment Vote; Source: McConnell Signaling He's in Favor of Impeachment; House to Vote on Incitement of Insurrection. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired January 13, 2021 - 12:30   ET

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


[12:30:00]

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln spoke of the duty of the patriot in an hour of decisive crisis for the American people.

"Fellow citizens," he said, "we cannot escape history. We will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. We -- even we here," he said, "hold the power and bear the responsibility."

In the Bible, St. Paul wrote "think on these things." We must think on what Lincoln told us. We -- even here -- even us here hold the power and bear the responsibility. We, you and I, hold and trust the power that derives most directly from the people of the United States and we bear the responsibility to fill that oath that we all swear before God and before one another -- the oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help us God.

We know that we faced enemies to the Constitution, we know we experienced the insurrection that violated the sanctity of the people's Capitol and attempted to overturn the duly recorded will of the American people, and we know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country.

He must go, he is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love. Since the presidential election in November, an election the president lost, he has repeatedly held about the -- lied about the outcome, sowed self-serving doubt about democracy and unconstitutionally sought to influence state officials to repeal reality.

And then came that day of fire we all experienced. The president must be impeached and I believe the president must be convicted by the Senate, a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the republic will be safe from this man who was so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.

It gives me no pleasure to say this, it breaks my heart. It should break your heart, it should break all of our hearts, for your presence in this hallowed chamber is testament to your love for our country, for America and to your faith in the work of our founders, to create a more perfect union.

Those insurrectionists were not patriots, they were not part of a political base to be catered to and managed, they were domestic terrorists and justice must prevail. But they did not appear out of a vacuum. They were sent here -- sent here by the president with words such as a cry to "fight like hell." Words matter, truth matters, accountability matters.

And as public exhortations to him, the president saw the insurrectionists not as the face -- the foes of freedom, as they are, but as a means to a terrible goal -- the goal of his personally clinging to power, the goal of thwarting the will of the people, the goal of ending, in a fiery and bloody clash, nearly two and a half centuries of our democracy.

This is not theoretical and this is not motivated by partisanship. I stand before you today as an officer of the Constitution, a Speaker of the House of Representatives. I stand before you as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, a daughter whose father proudly served in this Congress, Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. from Maryland, one of the first Italian-Americans to serve in the Congress, and I stand here before you today as a noblest of things, a citizen of the United States of America.

With my voice and my vote, with a plea to all of you, Democrats and Republicans, I ask you to search your souls and answer these questions -- is the president's war on democracy in keeping with the Constitution? Were his words in -- in -- insurrectionary mob a high crime and misdemeanor?

[12:35:00]

Do we not have the duty to our oath to do all we constitutionally can to protect our nation and our democracy from the appetites and ambitions of a man who has self-evidently demonstrated that he is a vital threat to liberty, to self-government and to the rule of law?

Our country is divided, we all know that. There are lies abroad in the land, spread by a desperate president who feels his power slipping away. We know that, too, but I know this, as well, that we here in this House have a sacred obligation to stand for truth, to stand up for the Constitution, to stand as guardians of the republic.

In a speech he was prepared to give in Dallas on Friday, November 22nd, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was to say "we, in this country, in this generation, are, by destiny rather than choice, the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may be worthy."

President Kennedy was assassinated before he could deliver those words to the nation but they resonate more even now, in our time, in this place. Let us be worthy of our power and responsibility, that what Lincoln thought was the world's last best hope, the United States of America, may long survive.

My fellow members, my fellow Americans, we cannot escape history. Let us embrace our duty, fulfill our oath and honor the trust of our nation, and we -- we pray that God will continue to bless America. I thank you, Madam Speaker, and yield back.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from New York reserves?

NADLER: Reserved.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Ohio is recognized.

JORDAN: Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

SPEAKER: The gentleman's recognized.

JORDAN: Madam -- thank you, Madam Speaker. 19 minutes -- 19 minutes, four years ago, on Inauguration Day, January 20th, 2017, 19 minutes into President Trump's administration, at 12:19 p.m., the Washington Post headline was "Campaign to Impeach President Trump Has Begun." And now, with just one leek -- week left, they're still trying.

In seven days, there will be a peaceful transfer of power, just like there has been every other time in our country, but Democrats are going to impeach President Trump again. This doesn't unite the country. There's no way this helps the nation deal with the tragic and terrible events of last week that we all condemn.

And Republicans have been consistent -- we have condemned all of the violence, all of the time. We condemned it last summer, we condemned it last week. We should be focused on bringing the nation together. Instead, Democrats are going to impeach the president for a second time, one week -- one week before he leaves office.

Why -- why? Politics and the fact that they want to -- they want to cancel the president, the president who cut taxes, the president who reduced regulations, the president who, prior to COVID, had the greatest economy, lowest unemployment in 50 years, the president who got us out of the Iran Deal, put the embassy in Jerusalem, brought hostages home from North Korea, put three great justices on the Supreme Court, gave us a new NAFTA agreement, the Abraham Accords, the COVID vaccine and who built the wall.

It's about politics. This is about getting the president of the United States. They spied on his campaign before he was elected. 19 minutes into his presidency, they started the impeachment push. Three year Mueller investigation, 19 lawyers, 40 agents, 500 witnesses, 2,500 subpoenas, $40 million to find nothing. Impeachment round one, based on an anonymous whistleblower with no firsthand knowledge who was biased against the president and who worked for Joe Biden. Now, it's impeachment round two.

It's always been about getting the president, no matter what. It's an obsession, an obsession that has now broadened. It's not just about impeachment anymore, it's about canceling -- as I've said, canceling the president and anyone that disagrees with them.

The ayatollah can tweet, the president can't. Democrats can object on January 6th, 2017 but Republicans aren't allowed to object on January 6th, 2021. Democrats say Antifa's a myth, Republicans condemn all violence, all of the time.

[12:40:00]

The double standard has to stop, and frankly the attack on the 1st Amendment has to stop. I mean, stop and think about it -- do you have a functioning 1st Amendment when the cancel culture only allows one side to talk, when you can't even have a debate in this country, this great country, the greatest country ever?

It needs to stop because if it continues -- if it continues, it won't just be Republicans who get canceled, it won't just be the president of the United States. The cancel culture will come for us all.

America's a great country, the greatest country ever. And it seems to me that we -- we -- we need to think about how great the people of this nation really are, think about what we -- we -- we've accomplished in the past and -- and begin to come together as leaders who represent so many great folks across our districts.

Think about this -- think about this: In 1903, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, two guys fly this thing they called a plane 100 feet, barely got off the ground -- barely got off the ground. Amazing thing. Forty- four years later, Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier. In 44 years, we go from two guys flying a contraption they called a plane a few hundred feet to Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier, and 22 years after that -- 22 years after that, another American steps on the moon. Think about it. In one lifetime, in 66 years, two guys flying 100 feet to putting a man on the moon. That's what this country is capable of. That's what we can do.

And we, as the Congress who represent the people who did that should start leading, should start understanding what really is going on here.

So I hope, I hope we defeat this. I hope we can begin to come together and recognize the greatest of the -- of the American people and focus on the things they want us to focus on.

I yield back our time.

SPEAKER: Gentleman reserves.

JORDAN: Or reserve our time.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from New York is recognized.

NADLER: Madam Speaker, I yield myself three minutes.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from New York is recognized for three minutes.

NADLER: Madam Speaker, we all saw it coming. Months in advance, President Trump was baselessly and deliberately whipping his supporters into a frenzy. Weeks before the riot, he used his bully pulpit to spread lies about the election. He told his supporters that the result were fraudulent. He implored them again and again to help him stay in power, and he convinced them that accepting the outcome of the election posed an existential threat to their families and their freedoms.

We have a duty to observe, Madam Speaker, that racism played a direct role in this incitement. The president's violent rhetoric is always at its most fevered pitch when he is talking about the civil rights and civic aspirations of black Americans and other minority communities.

On January 6th at a rally that was large, angry and widely-reported to be armed, the president's lies and violent rhetoric reached their crescendo. At that rally, the president took the stage. After reiterating the falsehood that "We won this election and we won it by a landslide," he told the crowd that "If you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore." And then he urged the mob to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to prevent the Congress from confirming the election of an illegitimate president.

On that day, President Trump unleashed the force of a mob on this, the people's house. He encouraged that attack with the explicit intent to disrupt the joint session of Congress, an attack that threatened the safety of the vice president, the speaker of the House and the president pro tem of the Senate, the next three officers in the line of succession, and look at what that violence has wrought. At least six dead, offices ransacked, the sanctity of our Capitol breached for the first time in two centuries, our hallways littered with broken glass, the battle flags of a long-dead Confederacy and the debris we have come to associate with the Trump campaign.

Mr. Speaker -- Madam Speaker, I have faith in the resiliency of our government. We will bring the rioters to justice. Their accomplices in this house will be held responsible. But today, we must focus on the gravest threat first: President Trump, who incited this riot and who remains a grave danger to the nation.

As we warned the Senate when we tried him for his first impeachment, President Trump has made clear in word and deed that he will persist in such conduct if he -- if he is not removed from power. He poses a continuing threat to our nation, to the integrity of our elections and to our democratic order. He must not remain in power one moment longer, not one moment longer. The danger is too great. We must impeach.

[12:45:00]

I reserve the balance of my time.

SPEAKER: The gentleman reserves the balance of his time. The gentleman from Ohio is recognized.

JORDAN: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would yield two minutes to the gentleman from California, Mr. McClintock.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from California is recognized for two minutes. The gentleman from California is recognized for two minutes.

JORDAN: (inaudible) Four minutes, excuse me. I didn't realize that.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Ohio in control of the time on that side of the aisle wishes to yield four minutes to the gentleman from California, correct?

JORDAN: Yes.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from California is recognized for four minutes.

MCCLINTOCK: Thank you, Madam Speaker. You know, I didn't like the president's speech on January 6th either. I thought he was wrong to assert that the vice president and Congress can pick and choose which electoral votes to count. He was wrong to set such a confrontational tone in a politically-tense situation.

But what did he actually say? His exact words were, quote, "I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard," unquote. That's impeachable? That's called freedom of speech.

Now, he also threatened to oppose candidates in future elections. And by the way, that was directed at Republicans like me who'd resolved to uphold the constitutional process and protect the Electoral College. Well, so what? That's called politics. If we impeached every politician who gave a fiery speech to a crowd of partisans, this Capitol would be deserted. That's what the president did. That is all he did. He specifically told the crowd to protest peacefully and patriotically, and the vast majority of them did.

But every movement has a lunatic fringe. Suppressing free speech is not the answer; Holding rioters accountable for their actions is the answer, and we are. And if we'd prosecuted BLM and Antifa rioters across the country with the same determination these last six months, this incident may not have happened at all.

Now, short of declaring war, the power of impeachment is the most solemn and consequential act that Congress can take. To use it in this manner, in the heat of the moment with no hearings, no due process, many members phoning in their votes after a hastily-called debate exactly one week before a new president is to take office trivializes this power to the point of caricature.

The Democrats have won everything in sight -- the House, the Senate and the presidency. In a republic, that calls for magnanimity by the victors. Only in a banana republic does it call for vengeance.

Benjamin Franklin warned us that passion governs, and she never governs wisely. In our passions this week, we've set some dangerous new precedents that will haunt us for years to come. Yesterday, we redefined intemperate speech as a physical incapacity requiring removal from office. Today, we define it as a high crime and misdemeanor. Well, the moment any member of this body gives an impassioned speech and a lunatic fringe of their movement takes license from it, be prepared to answer to this new precedent that we established today.

Now, I could cite plenty of provocative speeches made by Democrats that directly preceded violence this summer, but we've already had enough of that. You know, after 600,000 Americans had perished in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln appealed to the better angels of our nature. He said, "With malice toward none, with charity for all, let us bind up the nation's wounds." Those words were so important to the unity of our nation, they're inscribed in marble at the Lincoln Memorial.

I cannot think of a more petty, vindictive and gratuitous act than to impeach an already-defeated president a week before he is to leave office. President-elect Biden's promise to heal the nation becomes a hollow mockery in the harsh reality of this unconstitutional act. God help our country.

SPEAKER: The gentleman's time has expired.

(APPLAUSE)

The gentleman from Ohio reserves.

JORDAN: We reserve (ph).

SPEAKER: The gentleman from New York is recognized.

NADLER: I now yield one minute to the gentlelady from California, Ms. Lofgren.

[12:50:00]

SPEAKER: The gentlewoman from California is recognized for one minute.

LOFGREN: Madam Speaker, I'm the only member of Congress who has been involved in all three of the last presidential impeachments. Those were long proceedings. Today, we don't need a long investigation to know the president incited right-wing terrorists to attack the Congress to try to overturn constitutional government.

The actions were in public, plain as day. His actions are the most serious offense against our Constitution and our country. They are impeachable acts.

The founders devised the Impeachment Clause to protect against a president who would threaten constitutional order. If we don't act now, the Impeachment Clause would essentially be meaningless.

Faced with these facts, if we don't impeach to protect our country, we will fail our own oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and, yes, domestic.

We have no choice. We must impeach.

SPEAKER: The gentlewoman's time has expired.

LOFGREN: God bless America.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from New York reserves?

NADLER (?): I reserve.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Ohio is recognized.

JORDAN: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I yield two minutes to the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Biggs.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Arizona is recognized for two minutes.

BIGGS: It is with wariness (ph) and a certain unhealthy, morbid curiosity that I watch the beat attempt to devour President Donald J. Trump again. 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.

And the timing of this impeachment makes little sense. Your candidate -- your candidate will take office in a few hours, and President Trump will relinquish the levers of power to President-elect Biden.

But your craving was never a Biden victory, nor was it even a Trump defeat. You believe that your hunger will be finally satiated by impeaching this president without completion of his full term of office. You don't merely seek victory, but you seek obliteration of your nemesis.

The thirst for Trump's destruction will not be slaked, however, even if you're successful today and were the Senate to convict President Trump. Yours will be a Pyrrhic victory, for instead of stopping the Trump train, his movement will grow stronger for you will have made him a martyr.

Surely you are aware of this, and that is why your allies in the media seek to censor conservative voices. Your chums that sit on the boards of corporate America -- yes, the same companies that the left vilifies -- promise to starve Republicans from receiving their PAC donations.

But I bet that the groundswell of support for President Trump and his policies will not go away. You see, the movement he started is based on building an incredibly robust economy on a foundation of lower taxes and fewer regulations that has the wonderful effect of putting more people to work than ever. It is built upon a strong military that is extricated from endless wars. It provides border security, America First trade agreements, Mideast peace and stability.

Those are the things the American people want. Your four-year appetite will be temporarily assuaged, while you will no doubt continue to chase after leaders of this movement, but your appetite will be unfulfilled. I urge you, please, do not -- and I'm mixing metaphors here -- attempt to douse the remaining burning embers of this movement with gasoline, no one wants that.

I urge you please to reconsider the reckless action in which you engage today.

SPEAKER: The gentleman's time has expired.

BIGGS: I yield. SPEAKER: The gentleman from Ohio reserves, the gentleman from New York is recognized.

NADLER: Madam Speaker, I now yield one minute to the gentleman from California Mr. Schiff.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from California is recognized for one minute.

SCHIFF: One week ago, the president incited an insurrection against Congress to prevent the peaceful transition of power. It was the most dangerous moment for our democracy in a century. Today, we invoke the remedy the founders provided for just such a lawless president: impeachment.

More important, today, we begin the long road to restoration. America has been through a civil war, world wars, a great depression, pandemics, McCarthyism, and now a Trumpist and white nationalist insurrection. And yet our democracy endures.

It endures because at every juncture, every pivotal moment, when evil threatened to overtake good, patriotic Americans stepped forward to say, "Enough." This is one of those moments.

To preserve this sacred place, this citadel of democracy, for ourselves and for posterity, let us say, "Enough, enough."

I yield back.

SPEAKER: The gentleman yields back. The gentleman from New York reserves.

The gentleman from Ohio is recognized.

JORDAN: thank you, Madam Speaker. I yield two minutes to the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Gohmert.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Texas is recognized for two minutes.

[12:55:00]

GOHMERT: here's a quote. "I just don't even know why there aren't more uprisings all over the country, and maybe there will be."

Or, "Sadly, the domestic enemies of our voting system in honoring our Constitution are right at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, with their allies in Congress of the United States."

We were called enemies of the state, those are all quotes from our speaker.

Now, on our side, we didn't take those to be impeachable because we didn't believe she surely meant that. but by the Democrats taking this action, you're telling me, "No, when we say those, we actually mean to incite violence." That's what this action is saying.

Look, I just looked on the History Channel. It says these words, "If the Judiciary Committee" -- he's (ph) talking about impeachment -- "finds sufficient grounds, its members write and pass articles of impeachment, which then go to the full House for a vote."

Half of all the impeachments ever conducted, ever voted for occurred under this speaker. You're setting a precedent that says, very clearly -- because this impeachment isn't going to work, but it's setting the precedent -- unlike a year ago, when we said, "Look, it shouldn't go through Intel, it should go through Judiciary Committee."

Forget that. Now, the message is, "If you have a whim and you want to just go after a president, just go straight to the floor, no investigation, no Judiciary Committee, go straight to the floor. Use it as a political weapon as you wish."

This is so dangerous, what you're doing. Forgetting all the precedents? Yes, we can argue back and forth, but you're using this as a weapon and you're destroying this little experiment in self- government. In a year's time...

(CROSSTALK)

SPEAKER: The gentleman's time has expired.

GOHMERT: ... it needs to stop.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from...

GOHMERT: I yield back.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Ohio reserves.

The gentleman from New York is recognized.

NADLER: Madam Speaker, I now yield one minute to the distinguished gentlelady from Massachusetts, Ms. Clark.

SPEAKER: The gentlewoman from Massachusetts is recognized for one minute.

K. CLARK: Suffragist and abolitionist Lucy Stone stated, "If we speak the truth fearlessly, we shall add to our number those who will turn the scale to the side of equal and full justice in all things."

The truth is, President Trump incited a violent attack against the United States' government. The truth is, President Trump spent his presidency inflaming hate, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and violence. The truth is, he was enabled by all those who perpetuated the lie that the most secure election in our nation's history was stolen.

The truth is that these seditious actions left five dead, our Capitol besieged, our security threatened, and our democracy hanging in the balance. And the truth is, a vote to impeach is our resounding declaration that the government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the Earth.

(CROSSTALK)

SPEAKER: The gentlewoman's time has expired. The gentleman from New York wishes to reserve?

NADLER: Reserve.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Ohio is recognized.

JORDAN: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I yield one minute to the gentleman from California, Mr. Issa.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from California is recognized for one minute.

ISSA: Thank you, Madam speaker.

The last speaker said that for four years, the president did all these terrible inciteful things, including anti-Semitism. I take exception with that. But I think it's important that we embrace one thing that was said.

Yes, the president has been consistent for the last four years. During his campaign, I even -- well (ph), representing another candidate, said that the president had political Tourette's, he said what was on his mind without a filter.

I don't think that's being debated here today, we all know that's true. What's being debated is whether, with 167 hours left until he leaves office, is he a clear and present danger? And he clearly isn't. The president has acted substantially the same for four years. He has rallied his base, and he has in fact called for peaceful protest, as he did just a few days ago.

The fact is, today, we are trying to punish the president -- at least some are -- for four years of what he did, not for what happened last week. What happened last week was the result of anarchists who came, loaded, prepared and with weapons...

(CROSSTALK)

SPEAKER: The gentleman's time has expired...

ISSA: With that, I yield back.

[13:00:00]