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Cuomo Prime Time
Day One of Trump's Second Impeachment Trial; House Managers Tie Trump's "Fight Like Hell" Speech to Graphic Images from Capitol Insurrection; Impeachment Turns to Evidence and Trump's Words; Opening Arguments Delivered in Trump's Second Impeachment; Poll Reveals American Views on Impeachment; Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is Interview about Balancing Impeachment, Pandemic. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired February 10, 2021 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The main case. The defense expected on Friday, all by senators' questions over the weekend. We of course at CNN will be there to bring it all to you live as it happens. Until then, the news continues on this historic day. Let's turn things over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME" -- Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Appreciate it, Coop.
I'm Chris Cuomo and welcome to a special live edition of PRIME TIME. Midnight on the East Coast, 9:00 pm on the west coast. So let's get after it. Special coverage of day one of the Trump impeachment trial.
Now this constitutionality debate is over. Should have never happened. The law upholds this second trial for Donald J. Trump, period. Six Republicans, just six, joined all 50 Democrats to move on to day two.
I don't know how -- well, look, it's a window, OK. The window, the reason that today was worth it, because it really isn't provided, this was just another accommodation by Democrats of the Republicans and, again, it's weird when the only reason we have this issue is Mitch McConnell.
We'll talk about that more. The question now is, will half the jury give the ex-president a pass for what almost got them killed on January 6th?
Or will more Republican jurors, you need to have 17, join Democrats to convict him?
Will they make this a so-called conscience vote?
We know several are already unimpressed with the Trump defense. Even Trump supposedly wasn't happy with the performance of at least one of his lawyers, according to sources.
House impeachment managers, however, made a strong opening case for why we can't just move on. You can't just allow Trump to walk away without any accountability after one of the worst days in American history.
Can that really bring no consequence for the man at the center of it?
The man who had his name on all the hats, the name on all the flags, who was coaxing exactly this kind of behavior for weeks, who is identified in exactly that way by people convicted or charged with crimes on that day?
He is their rationale for being there, out of their own mouths as supporters of his.
To get at this point, the House managers presented a powerful video sequence of events from insurrection day January 6. We think it is important that you have a chance to see it in its entirety. Here it is.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will stop the steal.
TRUMP: Today, I will lay out just some of the evidence proving that we won this election and we won it by a landslide. This was not a close election. And after this, we're going to walk down -- and I'll be there with you -- we're going to walk down -- we're going to walk down to the Capitol.
PROTESTER: Let's take the Capitol!
PROTESTER: Take the Capitol!
PROTESTER: Let's take it! Let's take the Capitol!
PROTESTER: We are going to the Capitol, where our problems are, it's that direction!
PROTESTER: Everybody in! This way! This way!
TRUMP: Tens of thousands of votes -- they came in in duffle bags.
Where the hell did they come from?
PROTESTER: Let's go now!
CROWD: USA! USA! USA!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Madam Speaker, the vice president and the United States Senate.
(APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Off the sidewalk.
PROTESTER: Fucking prick, faggot--
PROTESTER: Stand up for him. Stand up for him. We outnumber you a million to one out here, dude.
PROTESTER: Take the building. Take the building. Fuck these pigs.
PROTESTER: Join us!
PROTESTER: Let us in!
PROTESTER: That's enough!
PROTESTER: There's much more coming!
TRUMP: The Constitution says you have to protect our country and you have to protect our Constitution. And you can't vote on fraud. And fraud breaks up everything, doesn't it?
When you catch somebody in the fraud you're allowed to go by very different rules.
TRUMP: So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do.
PROTESTER: Talking about you, Pence.
PROTESTER: Take your (INAUDIBLE)!
TRUMP: And we fight. We fight like hell and if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore.
PROTESTER: Fuck D.C. police! Fuck you! Fuck you (INAUDIBLE).
TRUMP: So we're going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I love Pennsylvania Avenue. And we're going to the Capitol and we're going to try and give our Republicans -- the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help. We're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.
PROTESTER: Get the fuck out of here, you traitors!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Majority Leader.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: We're debating a step that has never been taken in American history. President Trump claims the election was stolen. The assertions range from specific local allegations to constitutional arguments to sweeping conspiracy theories.
PROTESTERS: USA! USA! USA!
MCCONNELL: But my colleagues, nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale -- the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election.
PROTESTER: Our house! Our house! Our house!
PROTESTER: I want you to smash the door!
PROTESTER: Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!
PROTESTER: Fuck you, police!
PROTESTER: Let's go! Let's go!
PROTESTER: Take my gun, I'll take you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Second floor!
PROTESTER: (INAUDIBLE), man. We have a corrupt government.
PROTESTER: Are you going to beat us all? Are you going to beat us all?
PROTESTER: Right here! Right here!
SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: My challenge today is not about the good people of Arizona.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): Senate, we'll stand in recess until the call of the chair.
LANKFORD: We'll pause.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great decision today.
LANKFORD: Thank you.
REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): Now, Mr. Speaker, can I have order in the chamber?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The House will be in order.
PROTESTER: Go! Go! Go! Go!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The House will be in order. OK.
PROTESTER: Fuck the blue! Fuck the blue! Fuck the blue!
PROTESTERS: Stop the steal! Stop the steal! Stop the steal!
UNKNOWN: Do not stand down. You're outnumbered.
PROTESTER: There's a fucking million of us out there and we're listening to Trump -- your boss.
PROTESTER: Treason! Treason! Treason! Treason! Treason!
PROTESTER: Pence is a traitor!
PROTESTER: Traitor Pence!
PROTESTER: Traitor Pence!
PROTESTER: Traitor Pence!
PROTESTER: Traitor Pence!
PROTESTER: Defend your Constitution! Defend your league (ph)! Defend your Constitution!
PROTESTERS: Stop the steal! Stop the steal! Stop the steal!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
PROTESTER: They're leaving. They're leaving. They're leaving. They're leaving.
PROTESTERS: Break it down! Break it down! Break it down!
PROTESTER: Break it down!
PROTESTER: Be careful!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody stay down! Get down!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. Come on.
PROTESTER: Is this the Senate? Where the fuck are they?
PROTESTER: No, he's in the House.
PROTESTER: There's got to be something here we can fucking use against these scumbags.
PROTESTER: That's what we fucking need to have, 30,000 guns up here.
PROTESTER: Next trip, right?
PROTESTER: Don't let them out!
PROTESTER: Let's go! Let's go!
PROTESTER: Use the shield! Use the shield!
PROTESTER: Use it!
PROTESTER: Use the shield!
PROTESTER: We need fresh patriots to the front!
PROTESTER: Traitors! Traitors!
PROTESTERS: Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!
TRUMP: There's never been a time like this where such a thing happened, where they could take it away from all of us, from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election but we can't play into the hands of these people.
We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel but go home and go home in peace.
PROTESTER: USA! USA! USA!
PROTESTER: Lies (ph) and you live in peace, you have counties (INAUDIBLE). Hang on (ph).
CUOMO: It's hard to watch, right?
Imagine being in that room.
Now reportedly, do you know what some of the people that I call now ReTrumplicans, who are now jurors, were doing in that room while the video aired?
Senator Rand Paul was looking down and doodling on a pad of paper.
Behind him, "The Washington Post" says Rick Scott, senator, former governor of Florida, studied papers in his lap.
And by him, Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio were doing the same.
Why won't you watch?
You're patriots, right?
You love your country, right?
You serve all, right?
Future leaders of this country, maybe, right?
Talked about those riots over the summer, right?
It's one thing when Black people get angry, commit acts of violence. You want them condemned. It's not a protest. It's wrong. They are what they oppose. They say they want justice and yet they seek injustice.
But not now. Not about January 6th. Not one of you got on your box and talked about the America that we should be and what was wrong this day, all those Trump hats. All those Trump flags. And for the first time in my life and yours, too, you had an American
president praise people who were attacking law enforcement and seeking to hurt you, by the way. I have never seen anything like it and I don't know how you tell yourselves that what you're doing right now is OK. I don't get it.
As a matter of journalism, as a matter of political analysis and as a level and a matter of simple humanity, this is unlike anything else we have ever seen. And you know that, when you ignore this and give him a pass, it will get worse.
So what is the question?
The question now for us is, what do they do with what they will see over the next few days?
Today was the easy day. You cannot look away from your responsibility and how you will be remembered for what you do in this moment. That goes for the senators, that goes for the people in Congress, in the House, that goes for us and that goes for you.
So we'll take you through what happened on day one and what it means for tomorrow. These days will be remembered for decades to come.
CUOMO: We talked law today. We'll talk facts for the rest of this time. That's where the impeachment trial goes. Let's bring in the better minds of John Harwood and John Dean.
Gentlemen, thank you, especially for the hour. Appreciate you both. But it is history. We have never seen and hopefully will we never see anything like this ever again. But of course, how they proceed during this will largely dictate the possibility of a second instance of it.
John Harwood, for House managers, who is their audience?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think the House managers' audience is, in small part, the Republican senators, because they understand what the odds are against changing many minds.
Their odds are the American public to make the public understand what happened here and their audience is history, trying to make the case for what happened.
I got to say, when we talk about the video you just showed and you talked before the break about Republican senators not looking, I'm not surprised by that for a couple of reasons.
These Republican senators were, of course, witnesses to what happened. They were also victims in one sense. And that's uncomfortable to look at that video because I'm sure they recall the fear that they felt in that time. But it's more than that.
They're also accomplices to what happened. And voting as 44 of them did today to avoid a trial altogether, to avoid facing up to Trump's actions, is also to avoid facing up to their actions, to their responsibility for this.
How many Republican senators, in the two months between the election and January 6th, spoke up and said, this is ridiculous, Trump lost the election and called bull on all the fraud claims?
Not many. I'm not sure any did. Pat Toomey, at some point, stood up for his home state of Pennsylvania and said, I think the election was fairly conducted.
HARWOOD: But those Republican senators themselves having cowered before Donald Trump for four years, 52 out of 53 of them vote to acquit him, even knowing as Ted Cruz acknowledged, that there had been a quid pro quo and he attempted to extort Ukraine for dirt on Joe Biden and then having fostered either actively or by their acquiescence this lie for two months before that insurrection, they bear responsibility for this, too, and they don't want to face up to that.
CUOMO: John Dean, in terms of the arguing of the facts here, how do you get past the idea that the people who committed the crimes on the day of the insurrection, almost unanimously, while supporting Donald Trump, still, say I went there because he was telling us, we've got to fight.
They lied and they overturned the election and we got to get it back and that's why I went. And when he said it's time to go home, I stopped and I said, OK, he just told us to go home.
How do you get past that?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think the House managers want to get past that. I think, indeed, they want to draw that out and, hopefully, they have clips that will do that and show that this man indeed has a tremendous impact on his audience.
He's clearly a demagogue. He has an authoritarian drive in him that respects no law, respects no institutions, he's very anti-democratic. I keep wondering, as this, in particular, I was just listening to the audio on the track of the video you just played.
And listening to the sounds of it, I was thinking, how in the world can the Republicans even think this man could ever get nominated again, let alone Americans would be so stupid as to put him back in the White House if they did nominate him?
I think this trial is going to be an albatross from which he'll never escape. So that's going to serve a purpose of disqualifying him in many ways, even if they don't get the conviction and the disqualification.
CUOMO: One of the lawyers for the president was on Sean Hannity's show tonight. Let's listen to a little bit to see if we can get insight into what their posture will be tomorrow -- or today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID SCHOEN, TRUMP DEFENSE LAWYER: They're using rhetoric that's just as inflammatory or more so. The problem is they don't really have followers, the dedicated followers. So this speech, right now, you're finding out about the pre-planning.
And I'm afraid they'll back off that investigation because maybe so many people want to tie it to Donald Trump. There's nothing they showed today that in any way ties this to Donald Trump. It's just a silly argument. It's not tied to Donald Trump or his speech whatsoever.
So they're going, well, it's not just that speech. He's been inciting people, inflaming people. No, he's been trying, rousing the American public to drain the swamp, whatever they call it on his side, to make a difference in this country. That's what political speech is about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Harwood, how does that wash with you?
HARWOOD: That was as weak as it is frantic. That lawyer, who, you know, followed Bruce Castor today, Castor was horrible. Schoen was somewhat better.
But ultimately, the argument that Democrats are just like what Trump did just doesn't wash in any respect. You're talking about Democrats who use political rhetoric that criticized the president.
This president led a sustained assault on American democracy itself. He undercut before the election even happened. He claimed that the election was going to be fraudulent if he lost.
And then after he lost, which he did, legitimately, fairly, he then claimed it was fraud and he whipped up his followers to the point that he actually called out his own vice president for lacking courage for not undertaking something that Mike Pence could not do.
They're not analogous at all. This is a common thing that Republicans do, is when they misbehave, they say, well, both sides do it.
No, both sides don't do what Donald Trump did. They don't do what Republican senators did in questioning the legitimacy of the votes in other states. They don't do what 145 House members did in signing on to that ridiculous Texas lawsuit, trying to disenfranchise voters in other states. No, they don't.
And there's a reason why we have not had a violent, deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol of this kind because we haven't had a president behave in this way. CUOMO: Can't say that anymore.
John Harwood, John Dean, thank you both. It's a long week. Let me let you get some sleep.
A conviction could clear the way for Trump to be barred from ever holding office again. How? If you are convicted, you are automatically removed. Then the Senate can have a secondary vote at their own discretion, for disqualification from future office.
The conviction vote has to be two-thirds of the Senate, 67 senators. The subsequent potential disqualification vote needs to be just a simple majority.
So what do we think is the important question for people tonight? What do the people in the districts of these senators think they should be focused on at this trial? The Wizard of Odds is with us tonight, he has answers, next. Tonight. He has answers, next.
CUOMO: So while Mitch McConnell just put out a message that, reportedly, he believes that this vote for Republican senators is a conscience vote. Even after voting, without a good, legitimate basis, so that this is not a constitutional proceeding, even though he knows he's the one that extended it past when Trump would be president, and he said he did it in good faith to allow enough time for a trial that he then said was improperly being held.
Put all that to the side. Their operating theory is, Well, look, this is about what our owners want. So let's take a look at that. Recent polling shows millions who likely voted for Trump want him barred from future office. Our Wizard of Odds, Harry Enten, breaks it down. Show us the numbers.
HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST: Sure, I'll show you those numbers, Chrisco (ph). Look, here's the situation.
Look at the polling right now and say, OK, what did Joe Biden and Donald Trump get back in November? And look at the percentages that want Trump barred from federal office.
Now remember, Biden only got 51 percent of the vote, but now 57 percent of Americans say they want Trump barred from office. So that just gives you an understanding. There are plenty people who didn't vote for Joe Biden, in fact voted for Donald Trump, that now want Trump barred from office.
But here's the key nugget, Chris. The key nugget is look among Republicans, right? Look at their percentages. And what you see is that most Republicans, in fact, do not want Trump barred from office. What they want, in fact, is they want Trump to stay in his -- to not be barred. Only 19. Seventy-eight percent say no. And so the Republican voters are very different than the general electorate.
CUOMO: But that 19 percent is where you see that shift from the general pop -- the -- the popular vote numbers, to the difference in how people want him to leave.
Mitch McConnell's popularity, what do we know about that right now?
ENTEN: I just think that gives -- Mitch McConnell, to me, is a perfect test case to give you an understanding of what exactly happens when you go against President Trump.
Back in September, his positive rating in a "New York Times"/Siena College poll was 60 percent. Then, of course, you saw Mitch McConnell say, You know what? We are going to, in fact, ratify that Electoral College result. We're not going to object it back in January.
And look at this positive rating now. It's 31 percent. His negative rating jumped from 16 percent to 51 percent.
So if you're one of these swing-state Republicans, or you're a Republican and you're worried about the Republican base, just look to mention McConnell, and you get an understanding of why it's so difficult to go against the former president. Because if you do, the Republicans will turn on you. They are Trump Republicans. They aren't just Republicans. They like Donald Trump and if you go against the former president, your ratings are going to go -- they're going to plummet.
CUOMO: Any sense of what happens if he runs again?
ENTEN: Yes, this I think, tells you everything. If he does, in fact, run again, look at this. He's in first place in the primary poll. And that is very unusual for a former -- one-term president, right? Carter was in third, Ford was in second, H.W. Bush was in fourth. Trump is in first place, getting 40 to 50 percent of that primary vote. He's in the strongest position for a former president to go back and win that party's nomination, at least in the polling, Chris.
CUOMO: So I guess that's what really tells us the story, then. This is his party. And if you don't side with him, yes, sure, Republicans will still vote Republican, but they may not vote for you in a primary. If your primaried from the right, which as we know, if this man is consistent about one thing, it's his own interests. And right now, that means being vindictive to anyone who is anything but loyal to him, which really means fealty.
Harry Enten, appreciate you, brother. Thank you.
ENTEN: Be well.
CUOMO: Democrats only managed to get one new Republican to vote alongside them on the premise that this impeachment trial against Donald John Trump is constitutional. That's the window that we just got into those numbers. They are afraid of doing anything that might get them primaried. Now, the problem with this is that's what you'll do for this job.
Something that's supposed to be temporary, by the way, not permanent. You literally ignore what is so obvious about January 6 to please a minority.
Now, bringing bipartisan support for the trial to a total of just six Republicans is an obvious window into our future, right? And it ain't a pretty one. So if it's not swaying, what is this trial for?
Let's discuss with S.E. Cupp and Charlie Dent. Good to see you both. S.E., why are we doing this?
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think a couple of reasons, one is accountability, not just accountability of the president but accountability of Congress, and accountability to voters, especially Democratic voters who voted this president out. I think they want to see someone held accountable for what happened after the November elections and leading up to the Capitol riots.
Two, I think it's important to determine and establish a consensus narrative of what happened on that day. That's important for us to know who is there, why were they there. What were they doing?
And that's important for history's record, as well. And then finally, I think this is laying a groundwork that will be very useful when, inevitably, civil cases, maybe criminal cases, come forward against Trump and maybe some of his allies, because through this trial and the process of sworn-in testimony and witnesses and evidence and videos will probably get more information than we would have, had this not happened.
CUOMO: Charlie, the -- seems to be the predominant narrative in the party right now is -- or really, the excuse is, I'll get primaried from the right and lose. So really, you may think I'm doing the wrong thing by voting to acquit, but I'm actually saving the party from more Trumpers and more radicals by giving myself a chance to win.
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: My quick argument to that Chris, is you're being co-opted by Donald Trump, then. If that's your excuse, if that's your reason that you need to -- you go along with this, you've been co-opted.
And so I've always felt that, if more members spoke up in greater numbers, you know, basically, the base could be -- could be led. They will follow you if you lead.
And that's really what the problem has been. You know, there's too few people who have spoken up. You know, we see Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, but you know, there's -- what's a -- you know, what's a leader with [AUDIO GAP] -- a guy taking a walk.
So you need a whole bunch of people out there speaking up. So those 10 members, in particular, in the House to impeach Republicans. Those folks, you know, they've resigned themselves to the fact that they may have committed a political act with a consequence that they could be defeated. But they've also been liberated. They're -- they feel like they've
done the right thing. But they also know, too, that over time, that this vote will look even better politically. It's a good vote now, but it will look even better, because you know, as we learn more about what's occurred under this Trump administration, particularly over those last several weeks, I think the narrative will get better. And, you know, it's time that people in the Republican Party stand up.
There are plenty of us right now who are saying, we want a new direction, and there's not going to be a new direction. You know, we're going to see a diminished Republican base. Trump lost the election by a considerable margin. The House and the Senate are gone. Why would anybody think that going back to Donald Trump is going to help us regain majorities when, you know, we've just been through this disaster?
CUOMO: All right. Let me jump -- I'm short on time. I don't know how at 12:42 in the morning, but I am.
S.E. Cupp, thank you very much.
Charlie Dent, appreciate you.
The West Coast, though, it's only 9:42, so we're right in the meat of primetime. So we'll keep giving you what happened today and looking at what will happen tomorrow.
Now, interestingly, one of the arguments that you could make about why not to do this is we're in the middle of a pandemic. And a day like today is a day wasted in terms of getting anything done to help promote our vaccine efforts and the economic pain that we're having, to do something about it. OK?
President Biden says I'm going to leave this to the Senate. I don't want to talk about this. Which is refreshing. What is the state of play on what he's going to focus on, then, which is a package to get aid to millions of struggling Americans? We'll ask a House Democrat about some squabbling within her party, next.
CUOMO: The impeachment trial is underway. President Biden says that's not his priority.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've already lost over 450,000 people. We're going to lose a whole lot more if we don't act and act decisively and quickly. A lot of people, as I say, they're going to -- children are going to bed hungry. A lot of families are food insecure. They're in trouble. That's my job. The Senate has their job.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Biden's relief package is -- is -- package is being reviewed across a number of House panels this week. Democrats are trying to finalize legislation that can satisfy both moderate and liberal wings of the party. It's not going to be easy.
Progressive leaders like my next guest are strongly opposed to lowering the income eligibility for those promised the $1,400 checks. They're also adamant that a $15 minimum wage hike must be included. So far, they're going to get what they want, but let's discuss. All right?
Right now, I want to bring in Representative Pramila Jayapal from Washington. Good to see you, as always.
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Good to see you, Chris.
CUOMO: Now, my heart isn't gone yet. So I'm not going to talk numbers with you before I talk humanity.
I had seen the footage of you on January 6. I was afraid for you guys. That was a very sad day for me, before any other emotion, and when we see you on that video, you look exactly like any of us would. That was scary. You were in the gallery so they couldn't evacuate you as soon as the people were that were lower.
And when you think about January 6 in the context of how it has been handled by your colleagues in the House, and now in the Senate, how do you feel?
JAYAPAL: It was so visceral today, watching the replay of everything that happened. I don't know how you can watch what happened and even begin to think that that was defensible conduct in any way, or that it shouldn't be addressed with impeachment. I really -- removal. I really don't know how.
And I'll tell you that a lot of my colleagues today were watching that. It felt like we were transported back to that day and the fear that we had that we were going to die.
And, you know, for me, I was literally maybe 15 feet between me and the door. There was no furniture to bar the doors up in the gallery, because that furniture is all bolted down. And we could hear them ramming at the doors, you know, pounding at the doors. We could hear the screaming, very, very closely. We heard the shot being fired, which later we came to know was Ashli Babbitt.
So all I can say is that these senators have to convict. I'm not saying I think they will, Chris, but I'm just saying the stakes couldn't be higher for our democracy, for our future. I don't know how else to say it.
CUOMO: People died. A lot of people were hurt.
I was talking to Senate -- Senator Klobuchar earlier. And you know, it's a provocative question, but I don't think it's a bad one.
What would have happened if they got to some of you and they hurt some of you? Do you think that would have been enough for the senators? I mean, what would it have taken? Someone they like, you know, from their own party? Because these guys were coming after all of you. They were looking for Mike Pence, these guys.
Do you think that would change it? Or at the end of the day, are we in such a perverse place where people who were hiding with, who were all sharing the same fear, then got up and did totally different things when the vote resumed?
JAYAPAL: Well, that's what I keep asking myself over and over again. What would it take for these Republicans to recognize their duty and not be beholden to the cult of one man? That's all -- that's all this is.
His conduct was indefensible, and I think you saw that with the attorneys today. They had no way to defend anything that he did or said. They were -- they provided a terrible performance, but they had a terrible client.
And so I don't know what it would have taken. I don't think, Chris -- it just pains me to say this. I don't think that, even if one of us have been killed, they would necessarily change the minds of many of those Republicans.
I'm still holding out hope that some -- at least 10 of these Republicans will do what is right and not damage our democracy, our future, our Constitution, everything with -- without convicting this president -- this last president.
CUOMO: So let's talk about how things take shape in terms of taking care of other people who need it.
The problem within the party, and you'll say it's not a problem. We're just discussing it. OK. But in my reporting, the -- let's start with the $15 dollar wage. There is a fairly solid consensus that you guys are going to have problems with the parliamentarian on whether or not that is emergency spending, or if it is something that affects the budget. The response is, Well, it would only be temporary, but that may not be a fix for that.
Are you willing to consider that not being part of this bill, at this point?
JAYAPAL: Well, I really don't see why we need to consider not having it be part of the bill, because it needs to go through the House, and then -- and I'm actually in the middle of that markup still, that committee markup. And we just finished talking about minimum wage, spending a couple of hours on it, and the deep need to make sure that we are lifting the wages of 30 million people, lifting a million people out of poverty in this moment of the pandemic.
But I firmly believe that the CBO score on Monday showed us that there is substantial budgetary effect on the federal budget. And so I do think that it will be within the bird rules to consider minimum wage, and it will be a massive boon for workers across this country, frontline essential workers. Twenty-five percent of these workers that will benefit are Latinx; 30 percent are black.
So if we're talking about inequity and injustice right now, and people who are disproportionately burdened, this is absolutely the right thing to do. And of course, it's a structural reform that is far overdue.
CUOMO: What is the balance for you in terms of getting things done now and going big, versus incremental-ism that may allow something to get done more quickly? Do you have any faith in second or third bites at an apple?
JAYAPAL: I mean, look, I think that we are in the midst of multiple crises, and you've been reporting on them. This is not the time for incrementalism. This is the time to go bold, and I think the president has been clear that that is his belief, as well, first with the rescue package, and then with the recovery package, the Build Back Better package that we will have to work on next.
We've got to put people back to work, but we can't do that until we crush the virus, until we get money in people's pockets. You know, the food lines across this country, just going back to the heart and humanity, Chris, the food lines across this country are stunning. Absolutely stunning.
CUOMO: The worst since the Great Depression. We've not had kids hungry like this, have families hungry like this in this country.
JAYAPAL: That's right. And, you know, one million people still, every week, are filing for unemployment. So I just think that we have to recognize where we are. The economists largely agree with us.
And so we are going to push to get the president's package across the finish line, because it's what the American people want.
You know, I always think it's funny when people talk about, well, you know, we need to make this bipartisan. Chris, this is bipartisan. Seventy percent of people, in some polls 90 percent of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, believe that we should pass this package, that we should go big.
If you look at the $15 minimum wage, Florida, in November, in the midst of the pandemic, just as they were voting for Donald Trump, they also voted by a two-thirds majority to pass a $15 minimum wage.
In Georgia, we won the election, in part, in really pushing for these survival checks. And, you know, Warnock and Ossoff have been clear that they believe this is what should happen. We've got to show people that when Democrats control the House, the Senate, and the White House, that we will deliver relief, relief that people can feel. Literally feel, like, Oh, my gosh, my government is working for me. They are helping me. And so that's what we're working on. And so far, so good. We've
preserved the -- the thresholds for the survival checks, and we've preserved the $15 in the bill. And I really believe that we can get it through.
And we shouldn't -- we should not cave to, you know, one or two people that are worried about going big. We have to deliver for the people. That's what we promised. We've got to keep those promises.
CUOMO: So let's do this. Obviously, you're going to have the trial as an interrupt right now on the Senate side. After it, this will begin in earnest. You're welcome back on the show, regular time, and we'll discuss what the state of play is and what you think is right and wrong about it. You made it through the 6th. You can make it through anything.
JAYAPAL: Absolutely I can, Chris. We're all in this together. We're going to stand up for the -- to the end for the people.
CUOMO: You don't have to agree, but you've got to care about one another. That's the part we're missing. Congresswoman, I'll see you soon. God bless. I'm glad you're happy.
JAYAPAL: Thank you so much, Chris.
CUOMO: All right. And what I'm saying is, if you survived January 6, you're happy. Tell yourself you're happy. Life's not perfect. There are going to be problems. But let me tell you, as somebody who's been introduced to trauma before, when you make it through something like that, be happy.
Day two of the Trump trial begins in hours. Right back with what we will see tomorrow, or today, depending on where you are, next.