Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Senators Finish Questions in Impeachment Trial, Will Vote Tomorrow; Trump Lawyer Claims There was No Insurrection; Trump's Attorneys Respond to Presidential Tweet on Pence; Source Close To Pence: Trump Lawyers Not Telling Truth About Whether Trump Knew Pence Was In Danger During Riot; Sen. Tuberville Tells CNN He Stands By His Account That He Told Trump That Pence Had Been Evacuated; Senate Recognizes Police Officer Eugene Goodman With Standing Ovation, Votes To Award Him Congress Top Honor. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired February 12, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Jesse, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
JESSE MCKINLEY, ALBANY BUREAU CHIEF, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Thank you.
BURNETT: And thanks very much to all of you for watching. AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. Breaking news this hour on the former President's conduct during the January 6th riot that could have an impact on his impeachment trial, which is now at a delicate moment and could potentially upend the timeline of when the trial is supposed to end.
In a moment, the defense's team laid out today right now that new report, a phone call between the former President and the Republican Conference leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy as the attack was unfolding.
CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel joins us now with her report.
So, Jamie, this is an extraordinary report. Explain what you've learned.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: What we are learning really speaks to President Trump's continued desire to delay and to try to prevent the election results. I think this is critical insight into his state of mind.
We previously knew there was a phone call that took place on January 6th between Trump and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. When McCarthy called Trump begging Trump to stop the rioters.
I've spoken to multiple Republican Members of the House who have knowledge of that call, and who say that after Trump tried to say to Kevin, "It's not my people," McCarthy responded, "No. These are your people." To which Trump then said, these are the new details, quote: "Well,
Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are." And then McCarthy responded, "Who the eff do you think you're talking to?"
Anderson, CNN confirmed this exchange with Republican Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler of Washington, who was briefed on the call directly by Kevin McCarthy on January 10th. She has been taking copious notes throughout since the insurrection and the impeachment and she took very precise notes on their call.
We're also told by several other Republican members that Kevin McCarthy wasn't shy about talking about this exchange with Trump that he wanted Republicans in his conference to know about it. And Congresswoman Herrera Beutler told me today that Trump's comments to Kevin McCarthy really speak to his state of mind and explain why she voted to impeach.
What she told me was, quote: "You have to look at what he (Trump) did during the insurrection to confirm where his mind was at. That line right there demonstrates to me that he either didn't care, which is impeachable, because you cannot allow an attack on your soil or he wanted it to happen and was okay with it, which makes me so angry. We should never stand for that for any reason, under any party flag. I'm trying really hard not to say the F word." -- Anderson.
COOPER: And you've learned a number of other Republican Members of Congress also feel that the former President's words give critical insight to his state of mind, to his intent and dereliction of duty.
GANGEL: Correct. And I think it's important, these are Republican Members of Congress who are going on the record.
So, I also spoke to Anthony Gonzales of Ohio. He is another one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach and here is what he said about Trump. Quote, "I think it speaks to the former President's mindset. He was not sorry to see his unyieldingly loyal Vice President, or the Congress under attack by the mob he inspired. In fact, it seems he was happy about it, or at the least enjoyed the scenes that were horrifying to most Americans across the country."
You know, the Republican members I spoke to Anderson said that Trump's failure to act immediately after Kevin McCarthy asked for help shows that he was not a blameless observer to this and I spoke to a third Republican member who said that the call between the two and what Trump said speaks to Trump's intent.
Quote, "This proves that the President knew very early on what the mob was doing, and he knew members were at risk and he refused to act is a violation of his Oath of Office to fail to come to the defense of Congress and the constitutional process immediately. This shows that Trump knew what the rioters were doing, and he supported it, and that he facilitated it by failing to act."
We reached out to McCarthy's office and to President Trump. They have not yet responded to our requests for comment. I think the question now is: will this new insight into what Trump was
saying make a difference to the Republicans in the Senate when they vote -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jamie Gangel, fascinating reporting. Thank you.
I want to get some legal perspective on what we just heard trying to answer a very big question this hour: will we now hear from witnesses? Who better to answer that question than a witness for the house proceedings during the first impeachment trial, Harvard Law School Professor Noah Feldman?
Professor, as I said, you were a witness during the last impeachment in the House. At this stage of the trial, could the Senate still call witnesses like Congressman Kevin McCarthy or Senator Tommy Tuberville?
NOAH FELDMAN, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Under the Constitution, the Senate is in charge absolutely of the trial. So, if the Senate wants to stop its plan, create new rules and call witnesses that is within the power of the Senate to do and you could presumably do it with 50 votes plus one.
So, in theory, it's certainly possible. In practice, it seems to me very unlikely that they will do so simply because I think for most of the Republican senators, they have sort of incorporated this information already, and from the standpoint of the Democrats, they've already made their case extremely compellingly.
So, my guess is that they won't, but in principle, they could.
COOPER: If somebody like Kevin McCarthy was called, is that -- or Marc Short, who worked for the Vice President. If somebody was called, it doesn't mean they actually have to come. They could just choose not to, right, and then it would just be tied up in courts?
FELDMAN: Yes, I mean, as a matter of principle, if you're subpoenaed, you are obligated to show up, and that's especially true if you're actually a Member of Congress.
You know, the argument of somebody else, they say, someone from the Executive Branch that I'm part of the Executive Branch, and so it would infringe on the independent branch of government that I belong to if you called me would not apply to Kevin McCarthy, because he is from the exact same branch of government that would be calling him.
But if he chose not to show up and chose to challenge it in court, that would, of course, create a delay.
COOPER: The words that Kevin McCarthy spoke and the words of the person who spoke that we are just learning about, I'm wondering what did they say to you about the President's state of mind?
FELDMAN: They said to me that when he was confronted with the reality of what was happening, the President didn't care or even maybe liked it, and that certainly underscores the basic charge the House Managers have been pushing, which is that this is a President who committed high crimes and misdemeanors with respects to denying the election results and encouraging the crowd and apparently tolerating that, or even being pleasurably happy about it as it took place. So, it definitely goes to the question of his impeachment.
It's also true, by the way, Anderson, I think this matter that this is not an ordinary jury trial where the jurors can only consider information that's come to them via testimony. All of those jurors have the right, and I would say their responsibility, also to listen to whatever comes to them through reporting, which is what this is doing.
So,H by the reporting, you're also contributing to the trial.
COOPER: You know what is so fascinating to me, though, is that we are still -- there is still so much we don't know about what the President did during the attack, during the insurrection, and just in the last couple days, I mean, there's reporting -- there is the information that Tommy Tuberville has now said about his conversation, the fact that we're still learning new things is really kind of stunning.
FELDMAN: It is stunning. And, you know, frankly, I really wish that these folks had been willing to go on the record before the House Managers closed their case. It doesn't make me very happy or very confident in them that that was the timing that they chose.
But the reality is, this has been a fast impeachment proceeding and one of the effects of that is we didn't have the kind of lengthy investigation of the facts that we had the first impeachment of Donald Trump and so more information will probably continue to come out going forward.
COOPER: So, I mean, as you were saying, this information doesn't have to be introduced into evidence because the Members of Congress have access to it just like everybody else. They can just incorporate that into their thoughts if they want.
FELDMAN: Yes, and I think as a matter of constitutional law, they ought to. You know, they are trying to determine on their oath, whether the President committed high crimes and misdemeanors. This is relevant.
You know, if they believe that this is what happened in the conversation, and it sounds pretty reliable to me, then that should affect their judgment.
I think what the real problem that we're facing though, Anderson, is that, you know, a lot of these senators have already said on the record, they think the whole trial is unconstitutional for the ridiculous reason that Donald Trump managed to be out of office before the trial began.
And so, they will say, I strongly anticipate we don't care what the evidence is. We don't care if the evidence is absolute. We don't care if there's a video of Donald Trump running into the Capitol, you know, and breaching the Capitol himself.
This trial is unconstitutional, and so we're going to vote to acquit and having said that already in their vote, they seem very, very unlikely to me to back away from it.
COOPER: Yes. Noah Feldman, I appreciate your time. Thanks so much.
FELDMAN: Thank you.
COOPER: Jamie's reporting came just as the impeachment trial ended for the day and there were fireworks there as well. It was the former President's defense team who had their turn today and keeping them honest, it was a defense riddled with cherry picked facts sometimes, sins of omission.
We'll get to several of the more obvious ones in a moment, but the one that stood out the most was the lie that started it all, the one that said the former President won the election, the one he perpetuated that led to the deaths of five people on January 6th.
The President's lawyers were asked about it today, and this is what they said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are the prosecutors right when they claim that Trump was telling a big lie? Or in your judgment, did Trump actually win the election?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The counsel for the former President have two and a half minutes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My judgment? Who asked that?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My judgment is irrelevant in this proceeding? It absolutely is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Refusing to answer the question saying his judgment is irrelevant. Biden won the election, of course, but the evidence is clear. It is a matter of record now, the attorney not willing to go on the record saying that.
It wasn't the only question the President's attorneys had trouble answering, the other involved a still uncertain timeline about a presidential tweet the day of the attack claiming the former Vice President lacked, quote, "courage," unquote in the vote counting fight.
Whether that tweet was sent shortly before or after the former President knew that the Vice President his family were in imminent danger. You'll first hear the clerk read a portion of a question, the ex-
President's lawyer responds then House Impeachment Manager, Jamie Raskin have his turn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tweet and lack of response suggests President Trump did not care that Vice President Pence was endangered or that law enforcement was overwhelmed. Does this show that President Trump was tolerant of the intimidation of Vice President Pence?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The counsel has two and a half minutes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Directly. No. But I dispute the premise of your facts. I dispute the facts that are laid out in that question. And unfortunately, we're not going to know the answer to the facts in this proceeding because the House did nothing to investigate what went on.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): The counsel for the President keep blaming the House for not having the evidence that's within the sole possession of their client who we invited to come and testify last week.
So rather than yelling at us and screaming about how we didn't have time to get all of the facts about what your client did, bring your client up here and have him testify under oath about why he was sending out tweets denouncing the Vice President of the United States while the Vice President was being hunted down by a mob that wanted to hang him and was chanting in this building, "Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence. Traitor. Traitor. Traitor."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In short, the President does not want to answer this question or at least answer it directly, which is a whole different challenge given the President's track record, perhaps the most surprising of all or disturbing of all is the fact that the most gaslighting answer today filled with gaslighting was that the riots we all saw with our own eyes, the Capitol Police felt with their own bruised and beaten bodies was not an insurrection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE CASTOR, JR. FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP'S DEFENSE LAWYER: Did the 45th President engage in incitement of -- they continue to say insurrection -- clearly, there was no insurrection. Insurrection is a term of art defined in the law. It involves taking over a country, a shadow government, taking the TV stations over and having some plan on what you're going to do when you finally take power.
Clearly, this is not that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, this is the Merriam Webster definition of insurrections. It's kind of ridiculous to have to do this, quote, "An act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government."
It's a word that does capture what happened. It was an attempted insurrection, and the denial of that fact is further proof that today, the big lie got even bigger.
I want to bring in our resident fact-checker, CNN's Daniel Dale. So, Daniel, there were several things to fact check. There are a number of things in the former President's lawyers claims today.
One claim was rejected by an election official in real time, essentially.
DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Anderson. So this was the same claim that Trump's legal team made unsuccessfully trying to get the election overturned, and basically it was that something shady happened with absentee ballots in Georgia.
Listen to what a Trump lawyer said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASTOR: It is clear that President Trump's comments and the use of the word "find" were solely related to his concerns with the inexplicable dramatic drop in Georgia's ballot rejection rates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DALE: Now, there was no inexplicably dramatic drop in Georgia's absentee ballot rejection rates. In fact, a top elections official in Georgia, a Republican, tweeted today that the rate in 2018 and 2020 was about the same, just 0.15% of all absentee ballots.
I also think it's important to add Anderson that even if there was some dramatic drop, that would not be evidence that something nefarious had happened.
Many states, including Georgia made it easier to successfully complete an absentee ballot, reducing what you had to write on the envelopes, making it easier to fix or cure your mistakes and embarking on a voter education effort so that fewer ballots were rejected during the pandemic.
So, in short, no sign of anything nefarious, anything mass fraudulent happened with absentee ballots in the State of Georgia.
COOPER: And we should point out, it was a Republican election officials, Gabriel Sterling, who corrected the President or the President's attorney on that point of fact, the same official who had warned the President that his rhetoric was going to lead to violence is what happened.
COOPER: One argument from the defense was that Democrats had also used inflammatory language and that the former President, quote, "repeated condemnations of violence," unquote.
COOPER: Yes, so the argument was that Democrats were the ones who spent years using reckless inflammatory violence inciting language, whereas former President Trump had been Mr. Peacemaker. All he had done was call for peaceful protest. All he had done was condemn violence.
Anderson, that's almost insultingly misleading because it asks us to forget about numerous comments he has made since Trump launched his campaign in 2015, in which he defended, endorsed, or at least applauded violence.
Listen to a montage of just some of these examples.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's a guy, totally disruptive, throwing punches, we're not allowed to punch back anymore. I love the old days.
You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks.
And when you see these towns, and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see him thrown in, rough. I said, please don't be too nice.
So, if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them would you, seriously? Okay, just knock the hell -- I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees, I promise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DALE: The former President again, that's not even the -- I am sorry, that's not even the entire list. We know that this year, he applauded the supporters who surrounded a Joe Biden bus on a highway. He said it was a beautiful sight when a reporter was knocked over by the state during unrest in Minneapolis. He mocked a reporter who was shot in the knee with a rubber bullet.
So, we have example, after example of the President speaking favorably about violence.
COOPER: Even the incident at the Michigan Statehouse --
COOPER: The President praised the people who did that.
The former President's legal team also seemed to propagate a conspiracy theory that it was Antifa, which again, is something the former President was pushing as well and not right-wing groups that were largely to blame for the riot. I want to play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is apparent that extremists of various different
stripes and political persuasions pre-planned and premeditated an attack on the Capitol.
One of the first people arrested was a leader of Antifa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What do you make of that?
DALE: There are a few things wrong with that. Number one, Anderson, the F.B.I. alleges that some of the insurrectionist preplanned the activities, but that many others acted more or less spontaneously after the Trump rally that morning, that early afternoon.
Number two, we know from copious video evidence -- from copious evidence presented by the F.B.I. that this was a Trump supporters' insurrection. It was not some random hodgepodge of people of all affiliations.
Now, there were some alleged insurrectionists who do have political ideology that's hard to pinpoint. There was one gentleman for example, who has used #Antifa on Twitter. But even with that man, there was no allegation from the F.B.I. that he was actually involved with Antifa, much less that he was a ringleader, a mastermind of this movement that the F.B.I. also says, Anderson, is not even an actual group that you know, would not actually have a single leader.
COOPER: Daniel Dale, I appreciate it. Thanks.
For reaction on the hearing on the Hill, I want to bring in our congressional correspondent, Ryan Nobles. So Ryan, Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville who has been one of the former President's strongest allies from day one, he has been responding to this new reporting. What is he saying?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Anderson. You know, the Trump impeachment lawyers attempted to make the case that the recollection of what Tommy Tuberville remembered on that day at the Capitol wasn't correct and that that indicated that the former President had no idea that his Vice President was being evacuated after or I should say before he then attacked him on Twitter.
But Tuberville stood by his recollection of that day today telling reporters afterwards exactly what the phone call was like. He actually told our Manu Raju that he had to get off the phone with the President and he told him the reason he needed to get off the phone was because the Vice President was being evacuated.
NOBLES: And if you match up the timeline, the President's tweet attacking Vice President Pence came about 10 minutes after that fact.
So, this idea that the Trump legal team is trying to present that somehow the President had no idea that his Vice President was in danger when he attacked him just really does not meet up with the facts of the case.
COOPER: Are you getting reaction from others on Capitol Hill to the latest reporting from Jamie Gangel?
NOBLES: Not yet. That report did not drop until after most of these Republican senators had already left for the day. But Anderson, it is important to point out that when you really press these Republican senators, they don't dispute the fact that President Trump did not play a responsible role on the day of the January 6th insurrection.
Many have actually been very vocally critical about the role that he played and there's not much that would indicate even a bombshell report like this would change their minds.
They continue to fall back on this excuse that this is a process problem, and it is all about the Constitution and that their interpretation of the Constitution says that you can't impeach a President that's already left office.
I asked Marco Rubio that specific question today after the testimony wrapped up and he said he just can't get around that and he believes it sets a bad precedent going forward.
So, there's nothing to indicate that even a report this damning is going to change the math of the vote tomorrow. You need 17 Republicans in order to convict President Trump, and at this point, it just does not look like there are enough to make that happen.
COOPER: Ryan Nobles, appreciate it. Thanks.
We're going to continue our conversation about the breaking news involving that phone call between the former President and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy next. We will have a live report from Florida.
We have reaction from sources close to Mike Pence about one controversial claim the attorneys made today. Also word on how the former President thought his defense team did today.
Later tonight, more on whether the former President knew about the threat to his Vice President the day of the attack when he tweeted that Mike Pence lacked quote, "courage."
COOPER: There's new development related to our breaking news this hour. As we reported, multiple Republican Members of Congress telling CNN of an expletive-laced call between the former President and the House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy as the January 6th riot was taking place.
Sources say McCarthy and others begged for help, but the former President had no intention of calling off the rioters. And now CNN is hearing from other sources who are pushing back on defense attorneys attempts today to suggest that the former President did not know his Vice President was in serious potentially mortal danger when he tweeted that Mike Pence lacked quote, "courage."
I've got our chief domestic correspondent, Jim Acosta who is following the former President at West Palm Beach, Florida. So you have some new reporting about how sources close to former Vice President Pence are reacting today's defense of the former President.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF DOMESTIC CORRESPONDENT: Right, Anderson. I mean, that was one of the moments that stood out for a lot of people when Michael Van der Veen, the President's impeachment lawyer said during this impeachment trial earlier today that at no point, did Donald Trump know that Mike Pence was in danger up on Capitol Hill on January 6th when he was being rushed out of danger by U.S. Secret Service. That is just not the case.
We know that that's not the case, but I talked to a source close to the vice President earlier this evening who said as well that that is not the case. That is not true.
And when I asked whether or not Michael Van der Veen was lying when he said that during this trial, this source close to the Vice President said yes.
Now I will tell you, Anderson, aides to the former Vice President are still fuming over President Trump's actions that day. They believe he did not do enough to make sure that Vice President Pence and his family were safe as they were essentially being rushed from danger on that day.
And it sounds as though because of what Michael Van der Veen said during this trial earlier today, there are some lingering hard feelings and maybe some of those feelings are hardening tonight.
COOPER: Regarding Jamie Gangel's new reporting, any response from the former President's team?
ACOSTA: No, we reached out, Anderson, and they just have not responded to that. I mean, I will tell you that what Jamie is reporting lines up with what I was hearing from sources earlier this week, and we reported this earlier this week that former President Trump then President Trump at the time was quote, "loving" the Capitol mob.
He was loving watching the mob do what they were doing up on the Hill that day that they were showing force, as one other adviser put it, and that is what the President at the time wanted to see, and so it makes perfect sense what Jamie is saying and what she is hearing from her sources that the President at the time when he was on the phone with Kevin McCarthy was not showing any kind of concern whatsoever as to what was being unleashed on the Hill that day.
COOPER: And I know you've been talking with former White House officials about their view of his actions on January 6. What are they saying? Because really there is just in the public record. There's not a lot we know of kind of a -- we don't have any kind of minute by minute account, which would be obviously fascinating to see what the President actually was doing.
ACOSTA: We don't have that. And actually, I will tell you, Anderson, it is interesting that you asked that because I talked to a former top White House official about some of this earlier today and this one former official said it might have been beneficial to the entire process to have had hearings on all of this, to get to the bottom of what former President Trump and top aides knew at that time as things were progressing minute by minute.
You know, when Trump decided not to participate in any of this and not testify, there was a huge missed opportunity to get to some of the facts as to what he was doing that day.
But I talked to a couple of former top White House officials about this earlier today. There they are still sickened about -- sickened by what Trump was up to that day, his actions on that day, how he seemed to be delighting and what was going on that day.
And Anderson, you know, one of the aspects that really sicken some of these former White House officials the most is the way Trump was behaving towards Vice President Mike Pence.
I mean, this is, as you and I have talked about on so many different occasions, this is perhaps the most loyal official under President Trump during that entire administration and he was essentially throwing him to the lions up on Capitol Hill.
And in the words of this one former top White House official I spoke with earlier today, Trump saw Pence as essentially the fall guy, blaming Mike Pence for not overturning the election results and it is still something that really sickens people who worked for the former President although, Anderson, as you and I both know, there are still plenty of former officials who will believe until the end of time that Donald Trump didn't do anything wrong that day.
But we have to be honest, that does not mean everybody who worked under former President Trump. There are a lot of former officials who were disgusted by his actions that day, Anderson.
COOPER: And what about how the former president viewed today's hearings? I assume happier than he was the first day when he heard from the quality of his attorneys.
ACOSTA: Right. I mean, it was a disaster earlier this week. And so, he was obviously angry about that. But I talked to a couple of sources who were familiar with his thinking, and they said, yes, you know, that he was much happier today. But of course, why wouldn't he be happier today? When you listen to some of what these defense attorneys were saying, it sounded like Trump TV. You know, they were airing his grievances. They were airing his lies, they were giving credence to things that just weren't true. Getting back to this issue of Pence and whether or not Trump knew he was in danger. And so, it was a cavalcade of what about-ism and lies and grievances. And obviously, that is going to play well with the so-called audience of one. Just as these former officials were playing for the audience of one. when Trump was in office, they're playing for the audience of one when he's out of office, Anderson.
COOPER: Jim Acosta, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Perspective now from CNN legal analyst Ross Garber, who teaches impeachment law at Tulane Law School, chief political analyst Gloria Borger, and two more CNN legal analyst, Laura Coates, former federal prosecutor and Elie Honig, a former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Ross, I mean, House managers could theoretically call witnesses that seems unlikely even after this Jamie Gangel reported.
ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, not even theoretically, I thought the House managers did a terrific job in their presentations. The rules actually provide for an opportunity for the House managers, or the Trump lawyers to request witnesses, it would be up to the Senate, which is controlled by the Senate Democrats. And let's keep in mind the perspective which is this is probably one of the most significant proceedings in a democracy to have, the notion of an impeachment trial. And to have it without witnesses, without any sworn testimony is extraordinary.
I mean, we all know we've all practiced law. I mean, a dog bite case you have testimony of witnesses, you have evidence, and we haven't had any of that in this proceeding. I mean, it's an amazingly, like, quick process. And in my opinion, it's hard to justify how quick it's been.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Particularly since everybody is there. I mean, Tommy Tuberville, who spoke with the President is sitting right there in the chamber, and he's telling the press exactly what the President said to him. For the life of me, I don't understand why Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the Republicans in the House, wouldn't feel that it is his constitutional duty to come out and tell the Senate exactly what his conversation with the President was, particularly now it's been (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER: I mean, this is the guy who -- he went down to Mar-a-Lago --
BORGER: To kiss the ring.
BORGER: And getting the donor list. OK. But I believe, excuse me for being Pollyanna, it is his duty to do this. You shouldn't have to force him to do this. He, you know, he took an oath to protect and defend. And here he is, he needs to come out publicly and talk about these things, as do other people who spoke with him, or spoke with the President or who worked for Mike Pence.
COOPER: Yes. Well, you know, McCarthy actually talked about this call the day of the attack over on Fox News, I just want to play the clip what he said there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): As this was Capitol was being overrun, I called the President and I talked to the President and explained to him what was going on right now. And I asked him to go and speak to the American public, speak to these individuals and tell them to stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's all he said.
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: And of course, what we're hearing this, the rest of the story and how animated it was. And this is precisely why the Attorney van der Veen was so ineffective, and his rudeness does not translate, because think about this, he let it out there and made this statement that he has no idea what the President was doing. He certainly was not doing anything to stop or to hurt this in any way. But in doing so, he has allowed for this sort of information to really undermine the defense case. He's allowed it to linger right now and have this question of credibility of who are you supposed to believe? I mean, you've got McCarthy and he will know with McCarthy saying that the President --
COOPER: Well Mark Meadows has gone on --
COOPER: -- Fox just yesterday saying, well, you know, the President wanted -- it was trying to get the National Guard, President was very concerned, President spoke in real time calling for peace. Even though real time and it was two hours went by without the President saying anything.
COATES: Sure. And I'm sure he'd like to sell some magic beans and there's a giant on the top, had the golden goose. I mean, all these sorts of fantastical statements about how they'd like to recreate and recast this narrative, when there is no evidence. They didn't present to the people who were supposed to present the evidence. I know the burden on the House impeachment managers to bring the case and they did that. But the people who raised a factual dispute in their briefing and in their actual statements have not provided any substantive corroboration of what they've said.
Specifically, a flurry of activity to try to stop and confront these insurrectionists. Where is the evidence of that? Where is the information that Trump did anything to stop it? And that same question keeps lingering that Raskin asked, why did he leave you out to dry? Why did you become sacrificial lambs in his lame duck presidency? They haven't answered that question. And now they have this out there that refutes the thing that they were saying about the rest of impeachment is that they were the ones who were not credible. They had misinformed mischaracterize. Sounds like they're the ones that just did what. COOPER: I mean, you were saying even before we knew about this McCarthy exchange that are the details of the Jamie Gangel. You said that the biggest question that needed to be answered is what did the former president know and when did he know?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Exactly. So big picture. The House managers have put on a very compelling case here? Arguably the biggest gap, the only gap in the case is what did the President know and do during those key minutes and hours immediately, as the Capitol was being seized and afterwards. And now this new reporting. I mean, Jamie Gangel has answered the question better than the House impeachment managers have. And what this really brings up is the question of witnesses. Are we going to see witnesses? I think it's highly unlikely.
But this is why exactly what Laura was saying, this comes down to issues of credibility. This is what testimony and cross examination is for. And I'm getting a bit of a flashback to last year's impeachment with John Bolton, who we learned in the midst of the trial had this smoking gun evidence, but the Senate voted no witnesses. That was Republican control. Now, it's Democratic, and maybe it is on them. The burden is on them.
BORGER: But maybe this Congresswoman has broken the dam and the witnesses will come forward. I mean, you can hope that the witnesses will do the right thing and come forward, if they have information that they think is so important. I mean, is that impossible?
COATES: There are witnesses. They are there in the actual room.
COOPER: I think there's no dam right, you know. I mean --
GARBER: I think that's just it. I mean right now it looks like the President has the votes for acquittal. Right now, that's that the President is set up to win this trial. If the House managers want to take a legitimate shot at changing that dynamic, they're going to have to call witnesses, there's going to have to be new evidence. It doesn't look like that's going to be happening.
HONIG: And just for perspective, I know the concern with calling witnesses as well, this will draw things out. To this day, the shortest presidential impeachment trial we've had ever was last year, 21 days. This is day four. So, if it draws it out another week. I know it'll be a lot of work for all of us and for the Senate. But to get the truth here, is it worth it?
COOPER: Yes, they're off next week, and this is not happening. This is -- I mean they -- this is --
BORGER: Anything can happen. COATES: But they are the witness that I mean -- keep in mind, we're talking about last year, I mean, John Bolton, I know he had a book and he wanted to not mess up with his release date and have smoking guns. We're talking about every single person who is the actual jerk. They are the witnesses that Mike Lees, the Tuberville, the people who are around them in that room, they know what happened. They remember the conversations. And by the way, they knew that no help came, they were there for those two hours plus amount of time coming back to the floor.
So it's a really, it's an odd exchange. It's an odd notion. But I think one of the reasons they're not calling witnesses is because they are in front of them right now. I will say though, what I still think is missing, who was actually in the White House with Trump actually watching and what did that person see? What did those people see? That would be to me the most direct link ads would be the person to show me that the National Guard or that reinforcement that Trump had his thumb on the scale, who's the paper pusher who heard that call, you know.
COOPER: And you probably won't hear that till, you know, Mark Meadows one day, you know, can't get any more speaking gigs or whoever replies to me, nobody's going to write a book and that will have details. And that will be years from it.
BORGER: And it opens a whole Pandora's Box. And, you know, I take your point, and I say it, you also have a new Democratic president who wants to get his COVID response package through and there's all this concern that's going to delay everything. But this is important.
GARBER: This is an impeachment trials of judges, sometimes take months. If you're going to do an impeachment trial. But I'm going to talk to history now, do not do it this way. This is not how you do an impeachment trial.
COATES: But what about the commission? In my mind and the thinking about maybe their thought is we'll wait until we have this bipartisan commission to the full investigation. That was what van der Veen was alluding to today about the due process and the investigation period and having that. But I think to myself, what you're doing is essentially kicking the can down the road. I understand why they're making those arguments. But if you already know which is very clear from the House, impeachment manager's case, you already know that Trump did nothing that he watched and sat idly by as our government was under attack and under siege.
And so, the investigation may provide some more fulsome comprehensive information, but the high crime isn't demeanor impeachable part, I think it's already there. The problem is they're fighting against common sense and political obstinance of people who already have made their minds up in spite of the obvious evidence.
HONIG: One other consideration, the new Justice Department, with Merrick Garland likely to become our attorney general, within the next week or two, is going to have to make a decision about what they do about this whole Capitol riot. Obviously, they're already prosecuting the people who physically were in the building. But they're going to need to take a look at others who didn't physically go in there up to an including the President. And all of this information that's coming out now is and could be relevant to their investigation could lead to subpoenas, could lead who knows where.
COOPER: Thanks everyone, appreciate it.
A lot more to discuss. I'm just thinking about that possible. I mean, just from a political standpoint, though, obviously, that for the budget ministration would cause all sorts of agenda.
HONIG: Yes. Joe Biden has made clear he doesn't want to tell his DOJ what to do. That's absolutely the right thing. This is a tough decision that Merrick Garland is going to have to make.
COOPER: Yes. Had more on the growing questions over what the former president knew when Vice President Pence was being hustled to safety on January 6. We'll speak with the former aide to Pence about what she thinks the timeline with former president abandoned Pence.
COOPER: Along with breaking news about House Republican leader McCarthy's phone call with a former president during the riot. As Jim Acosta just reported a source close to a former Vice President Mike Pence says that the former president's lawyers were not telling the truth about whether the former president knew Pence was in danger during the insurrection. There was a lot of questions on that topic today. Here's one submitted by Republican senators Mitt Romney and Susan Collins.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): When President Trump sent a disparaging tweet at 2:24pm, regarding Vice President Pence, was he aware that Vice President had been removed from the Senate by the Secret Service for his safety.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A lingering question tonight. Here's our Randi Kaye with the timeline of what we do know.
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): On January 6, President Trump left everyone in this Capitol for dead.
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democrat House managers say that includes his own vice president. Instead, Donald Trump was focused still on overturning the election results as Congress voted to certify them. Trump called Senator Tommy Tuberville, a freshman Republican senator from Alabama shortly after 2:00 p.m. according to The Washington Post.
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): On that call, Donald Trump reportedly asked Senator Tuberville to make additional objections to the certification process. That's why he called.
KAYE (voice-over): The Washington Post reports that call occurred at 2:13 p.m.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will stand in recess until the call of the Chair.
KAYE (voice-over): At that point rioters were getting dangerously close to the Senate floor forcing Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress to run for safety. Having stopped the process of certifying the vote. Speaking to reporters Wednesday on Capitol Hill, Tuberville describe that call with Trump sharing how he warned him of the chaos surrounding Vice President Pence. I said Mr. President, they just took our Vice President out there getting ready to drag me out of here I got to go.
As House managers look to convict the former president for his role in the January 6 riot, that phone call with Tuberville serves as a timestamp. A crucial piece of evidence that shows not only was then President Trump aware of the danger his vice president was in, but that Trump did nothing about it.
Instead of taking action to help save Pence who the angry mob was hunting for --
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!
KAYE (voice-over): -- Donald Trump waited. He waited approximately 11 minutes before tweeting this. Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution. USA demands the truth. And there it is at 2:24 p.m. Donald Trump's tweet that put yet another target on his vice president's back by inciting rioters even more.
CICILLINE: On January 6, the only person he condemned was his own Vice President Mike Pence, who was hiding in this building with his family in fear for his life.
KAYE (voice-over): Surveillance video shows Pence and his family being rushed from the area near the Senate chamber about 2:25p.m. One minute after Trump's tweet. Somehow, he managed to escape the mob that went so far as to construct a noose outside the Capitol, meant to punish those they believe are traitors based on the vitriol coming from the former President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pence lied to us. He's a total treasonous pig. And his name will be bought forever.
KAYE (voice-over): Despite it all Trump's defense team sticking to its story that Trump at no point was informed his vice president was in any danger. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Randi, where does this go from here? I mean, will Congress look further into the phone call with the former president Congressman Tuberville even if it's outside this trial?
KAYE: It seems that way understand, Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island has said that seven senators have actually signed a letter given to the ethics community asking that committee to investigate this phone call between Tuberville and former President Donald Trump. He said that it's in the initial process of review right now before they would decide if it would be a full and formal investigation.
But, Anderson what's so critical here is, again, we have this time stamp. Of course, we know the riot was unfolding on national television. The president at the time Donald Trump could have and should have known that his vice president was in danger in the middle of all this chaos. But now we know that he was actually informed around 2:15 that afternoon by Senator Tuberville telling him that things got so bad and there was such a danger that the vice president was evacuated. So, no matter how much the former president's legal team denies that that the president ever knew anything about his vice president being in danger or in trouble, Senator Tuberville again tonight telling CNN that he stands by what he told reporters about his conversation with the former president, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Randi Kaye, appreciate it. I think I said Congressman, it is Senator Tuberville.
I want to bring in Olivia Troye a former key aide to Vice President Pence who watched today's Senate hearing with some degree of alarm but how the defense team was portraying events surrounding her former boss.
Olivia, thanks for being with us. What do you make of the reporting that the former president's attorneys didn't tell the truth today about whether the President knew former Vice President Pence was in danger?
OLIVIA TROYE, FMR SENIOR AIDE, TRUMP ADMIN, CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: I thought it was so egregious because they were flat out lying. And then what was even more upsetting was the fact that they had the audacity to say, I think we're under oath. That moment wasn't lost on me. Where they repeat that to members of Congress and the Senate. And I'm thinking to myself, yes, you are under oath, and you are flatly lying repeatedly, to Congress and the American public is watching you and you're going along with the lies still today. And that is a dangerous moment for our country because people are listening and they're watching and they're using this again as a propaganda piece for themselves.
COOPER: Yes, want to play that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL VAN DER VEEN, DONALD TRUMP'S LAWYER: As many will recall, last summer, the White House was faced with violent rioters. Night after night. They repeatedly attacked Secret Service Officers and at one point, piers to security wall, culminating in the clearing of Lafayette Square. Since that time, there has been a sustained negative narrative in the media regarding the necessity of those security measures on that night, even though they certainly prevented many calamities from occurring.
In the wake of the Capitol attack, it must be investigated whether the proper force posture was not initiated due to the political pressure stemming from the events at Lafayette Square.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I mean, that's not only a rewriting the history of what happened in Lafayette Square, but suggesting that somehow, like political correctness, I guess, was is what the reason that there wasn't enough adequate defense at the Capitol. But that particularly bothered you.
TROYE: Right. It made me angry because I was there every single night sitting in the White House working on the COVID response. And this pandemic then continues to rage on. And I saw the protesters every night when I left, there was nothing violent happening there. I saw a White House it was fortified to the extreme dance bond forcement everywhere. And the day of Lafayette Square, I had walked around outside the mask on I was very careful. But I wanted to see democracy and part progress, and it was peaceful protesters.
And so, this is just part of the ongoing Sham of the Trump administration being the president of law and order, which they go on and perpetuate during this trial saying that he wouldn't causes, he is a line order. No. Donald Trump use that narrative, to pit law enforcement against the people and to scare people in communities and lied, because he thought it was an election ploy to get reelected.
And so, all of that culminates with these supporters following his rhetoric, his violence, incitement, and everything on January 6, that leads to the Vice President's life and others being put at risk. He's a man who watches this. And he encourages it repeatedly. And to watch these lawyers flat out lie. It's just continuing to push that narrative to the American public. And fundamentally, as a national security person.
I got to say, Anderson, I find that so egregious. And so, these senators tomorrow, and whenever they vote, these Republicans, when they place that vote, they need to think about the fact that they're saying that it's OK for a president to basically, you know, call for incitement and put his vice president the number two the country at risk, what does that say for the future of our democracy in our country? When we say that, that's OK and we equipped someone of it.
COOPER: I mean, do you think the White House the President saw a political advantage in violence? TROYE: Absolutely. This was discussed in meetings. This was discussed about the law and order and how violence was actually playing in his favor, and they could use that as a campaign ploy. Months out in the summer --
COOPER: You heard that?
TROYE: -- this one's discussed. I heard it firsthand. I was in the meetings during it. It was said sometimes in governor calls when they weren't taking charge of the violence, they were bullied into it. They were called, you know, weak, and cowards. Staff discussed us. I can tell you that people on the President's comms team, were actually a very upset the next day after the Lafayette Square incident and this bond order narrative continued afterwards on that. And that is how you end up with the white supremacy narrative being played down at DHS and in these reports. Right.
All of this is part of the line order sham of this president and he needs to be held accountable. These people need to vote and hold us accountable. It's important for our country.
Olivia Troye, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
TROYE: Thanks for having me.
COOPER (voice-over): Up next, the moment that led to a standing ovation today on the Senate floor a rare moment of unity to honor hero, when we continue.
COOPER: Just moments after today's impeachment trial proceedings the Senate voted unanimously to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Capitol Hill police officer Eugene Goodman is being hailed rightfully as a hero for his actions on the day of the riot. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer lead the Senate in applause as he said Goodman quote, deserves the highest honor Congress can bestow.
As you likely remember, it was Officer Goodman seen in this new security video leading Senator Mitt Romney to safety on January 6, and it was Officer Goodman seen leading part of the mob away from lawmakers in the Capitol Hill hallway.
Senator Schumer also praised the other members the Capitol Police Force as well as officers from the D.C. Metropolitan Police and SWAT units. As for Officer Goodman himself, asked by CNN's Manu Raju if he enjoyed the attention, he answered, no, not at all. A humble hero and a much-deserved honor.
The news continues. Let's hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME". Chris?