Return to Transcripts main page
Cuomo Prime Time
Impeachment Managers Lay Out Damning Case Against Trump Using His Own Words, Chilling Video of Insurrection; New Video Narrows Suspects in Capitol Police Officer's Death; Source: Trump Legal Team Scrambling to Bolster Case with New Videos. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired February 11, 2021 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Appreciate the effort, Coop. I've been watching all day. Great job, as always. I am Chris Cuomo, time to take the baton. Welcome to a live late night edition of PRIME TIME, special coverage of Trump's trial day two, trial two and it may not be the last.
It's midnight here on the East Coast. We knew the Trump mob got dangerously close to lawmakers on the 6th of January a day that must live on and in infamy. We knew that they were close to reaching Vice President Pence whom some wanted to hang, but we didn't know how close.
There are now new videos released by House prosecutors and they show how this really came within feet of an all out massacre. Our democracy came within feet of truly being on its knees that day. Pence, Pelosi, Schumer, Romney, so many others running for their lives and there's video of that now. But still, jurors who live the nightmare themselves are apparently getting ready to look the other way.
Impeachment managers are trying to sway them by methodically laying out how Trump laid the groundwork for the attack. They argued it wasn't just about one speech but a months' long effort by the ex- president to sow doubt about the election results. Democrats will finish presenting their case in a few hours. But let's dive deeper into the proof put forward Wednesday with Ryan Nobles.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT(voice over): Democratic House impeachment manager spent day two of the trial against former President Donald Trump giving the U.S. Senators and impeachment jurors a chilling new look at January 6th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Intel 1, be advised, you've got a group of about 50 charging up the hill on the west front just north of the stairs. They are approaching the wall now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're starting to dismantle the reviewing stand. They're throwing metal poles at us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES(voice over): In never before seen Capitol surveillance videos, the managers demonstrated just how close the rioters came to many of the senators in the room.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): You were just 58 steps away from where the mob was amassing and where police were rushing to stop them. They were yelling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES(voice over): They showed video of former Vice President Mike Pence being ushered out of the chamber as the mob breached the Capitol.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STACEY PLASKETT (D-VI): You can see Vice President Pence and his family quickly moved down the stairs. The Vice President turns around briefly as he's headed down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES(voice over): They revealed video of Sen. Chuck Schumer and his security detail being forced to reroute his evacuation after confronting the insurrectionists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SWALWELL: Additional security footage shows how Leader Schumer and the members of his protective detail had a near miss with the mob.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES(voice over): And video of Mitt Romney breaking into a run to get away from the mob after Capitol Police Officer, Eugene Goodman, warns the Senator to double back and flee.
The managers making it clear, if not for the brave and heroic action of the members of the Capitol police, many of the senators listening to the testimony today could have been hurt or even killed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SWALWELL: You know how close you came to the mob. Some of you, I understand, could hear them. But most of the public does not know how close these rioters came to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES(voice over): The new video and audio clips had an immediate impact on the senators in the room.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): We lived it once and that was awful and
we're now reliving it with a more comprehensive timeline. I know what I was feeling in the Senate chamber when I could hear those voices. I knew what it meant to be running down this hallway with my colleagues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES(voice over): But while it was easy to get Republicans to agree the actions of the rioters was criminal, many say they can't tie back to the former president. The legal theory they have is absurd said Sen. Lindsey Graham that somehow that Trump's a secret member of the Proud Boys.
Impeachment managers never suggested Trump was a member, but they did connect the dots between the president's rhetoric and the far right extremist group.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PLASKETT: When asked to condemn the Proud Boys and white supremacists, what did our president say? He said, "Stand back and stand by." The group adopted that phrase stand back and stand by as their official slogan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES(voice over): And managers repeatedly insisting the president's inaction during the attacks points to his culpability.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): In the first crucial hours of this violent attack, he did nothing to stop it, nothing to help us. By all accounts from the people that were around him he was delighted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES(voice over): And while the evidence is damning and their emotions are raw, most Republicans still remain entrenched in their position that pinning the blame on the former president through an impeachment conviction remains unconstitutional despite the Senate vote Tuesday settling that issue.
CUOMO: All right. So Ryan, you were in the chamber when some of these never before seen videos were shown. What did you see in the reaction from the senators?
NOBLES(on camera): It's been remarkable, Chris, to see, in particular, how the Republican senators responded as those videos played. Every single one of them that I saw was paying very close attention. There were periods of time where they were nodding their heads in disappointment, even turning away, unable to watch the videos because the emotions were so raw.
But yet, when I talked to many of the same senators after the trial wrapped up for the day, it was amazing to see kind of the gymnastics that they performed to explain away their feelings. Yes, what they saw was terrible. They hated reliving that moment, but they had a hard time connecting that back to President Trump and they continue to walk back into this process argument about it being not constitutional, because the trial should not take place because the former president is no longer in office.
And I don't think there's any doubt that these Republican senators in particular, were moved by what they saw it today. But, Chris, we're in no different place than we were when this trial began and it still seems very likely that the former president will be acquitted when this is all over.
CUOMO: Ryan Nobles, appreciate you. Thank you very much.
Let's bring in John Dean and Professor Ron Brownstein.
John Dean, who knows better than you what the exact nature is of this type of inquiry that it's not legal and yet you keep hoping that there were some type of sense of fairness or some type of sense of duty and that just seems not to be here.
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Certainly not with the Republicans. They don't seem to grasp what's going on or if they do, they seem to struggle drawing inferences from testimony or information and evidence that shows the link between Trump in these activities. But Chris, one of the things I thought about today as they were showing this damning evidence of Trump's involvement is what in the hell did he have in mind? What if this insurrection succeeded, he still wouldn't have been president, his term expired on January 20th at noon, who would be president, if Nancy Pelosi hadn't been killed, she would have been president.
If she had been damaged or injured, it would have been Pat Leahy, because that's the way the statute reads. If a president isn't selected, then automatically there's statutory provisions to fill that gap.
CUOMO: Well, obviously, I don't know that he had a plan. Chaos can often be an end in and of itself. His thinking was obviously that this may be reversed that you may get them to not certify the election. It would go back to the states and there'd be some type of alchemy that would lead to a different outcome.
But the problem is, he didn't need to have a plan. He just needed to play a role in what motivated the insurrection for this impeachment to find pay dirt and they're obviously ignoring that fact, Ron. And the irony, as you keep explaining it to us is you're going to have jurors who are not just witnesses, but potential victims of the same group that they're about to glorify and forgive.
RONALD BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Not only witnesses, but also accomplices in many ways. I mean, look, the most striking thing of the testimony and the kind of the argument today was showing that this was not something that simply happened on January 6th. That the President spent months priming his supporters for this kind of ultimate terminus of his presidency, arguing as the managers noted that the only way he would lose if the election was stolen, telling them all the way through, they would have to fight.
I've noted many times he uses this language, this is our country, he would tell them. And they are trying to take it from us and that they, not too hard to figure out, claiming the election was being stolen in cities with large African-American populations like Philadelphia, and Milwaukee, and Detroit and Atlanta.
And then, I thought, Chris, in some ways, the most revealing moment of the whole day when the managers talked about the incident in Texas where Trump supporters tried to run off the road a Biden bus and showed that the person who organized that attack also was central in the attack on the Capitol.
Well, what happened after that Texas incident? Marco Rubio went out on a stage and praise the people, exuberantly praised the people who attack the Biden bus and that underscores kind of the implausibility of this entire process. Many Republican senators aided and abetted Trump's efforts throughout, both in terms of the big lie about the election was stolen, but also in kind of welcoming this kind of far right element into the party, and now they are going to deliver impartial justice on this. I mean, it's kind of absurd on its face.
CUOMO: So then we get to what the defense will do, Counselor Dean. I believe we have some sound of one of the Trump attorneys responding to what was done today by the House managers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID SCHOEN, TRUMP DEFENSE LAWYER: It's not only that they wanted plenty of video time today, it seems like they want a lot of screen time for themselves. They're clearly playing to the cameras, to the public all of the time does nothing for healing. It's the exact opposite. It's continuing to open wounds for the American public and it is something that President Trump has condemned in no uncertain terms, the terrible violence that went on there.
So there's not an issue about that. They're just hoping to drum up emotion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: It's not exactly a defense. The idea of 1st Amendment security being taken out of his context with his statements, that's what they're going to come with. That you do not have indicated language that A plus B equals C, that Brandenburg would suggest that he was giving them direction and they followed the same.
DEAN: Well, Chris, if that is telescoping what they're going to do, hopefully, they're going to be very brief in their presentation. If they think that the very distinct presentation by the managers, the House managers, was any sort of screen time grab by them, I thought they took a lot of evidence and distilled it remarkably well and connected the dots.
So they they're up against stiff facts. They don't really have good arguments. The 1st Amendment doesn't really solve their problem. They've got to make a lot of hard evidence go away and they don't have any defense against that. So I guess they got to find some sort of diversions and Lord knows what they'll be. They're obviously not going to tell us on Fox News.
CUOMO: Here's what I have heard, I don't know if it'll come to pass, but it sounds very much like the former president, Ron. You know the Leonard Cohen song You Want It Darker? You want it darker will kill the flame and the defense may be going right into the belly of the beast, show your own video of the riots from the summer and say, you people didn't want to impeach anybody then, but now you do because it's Trump and it's not the blacks and their allies, and black people and people that you care about, it's just the poor old white folk who keep getting cut out of the deal and that's all this is about. What would that do?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, that would kind of peel back the face even more explicitly in what this is all about. As I said, Trump started his political career with a racist conspiracy theory that Barack Obama wasn't born in the U.S. and thus wasn't eligibly president. He ended it with a racist conspiracy theory that the election was stolen in cities with large African-American populations, even though his vote declined more from 16 to 20 in white and diverse white-collar suburbs. He never accused Oakland County, Michigan or Montgomery County or Cobb and Gwinnett in Georgia of stealing the election. He accused Atlanta, and Philadelphia and Detroit.
BROWNSTEIN: And his message all the way through has been I am here to protect you against these demographic changes that you think are displacing you from your position a top American society. And look, I think if you take what we are watching in the Senate, the willingness of all of these Republicans to forgive Trump's clear role, palpable role in fomenting this violence and you couple it with what just happened in the House with Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Republicans basically saying we will accept you, I think we are seeing the message from the mainstream of the Republican Party that the extremist element at this point is just too big to confront, too big to kick out that you can't kind of confront it head on without endangering the party's political prospects. And I think that is kind of the ultimate triumph of trump card for Trump at this point in the Senate.
CUOMO: Gentlemen, appreciate you as always. John Dean, Ronald Brownstein, sirs, thank you.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.
CUOMO: We're learning about what could be a major break in the case of Officer Brian Sicknick. That is the officer that died the day after the capitol riot.
There is new video helping investigators understand the circumstances that may have led to his death and we'll show them to you next.
CUOMO: Investigators believe that they're getting closer to answering one dark looming question from January 6th, how did Officer Brian Sicknick die. Let's bring in Evan Perez.
Before we talk about the proof that they've discovered that we can play for the audience, what is the evolving theory?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, the theory that investigators are going on is that there was, perhaps, a chemical irritant, perhaps bear spray, that was sprayed on these officers, including Sicknick as they're engaging in hand to hand combat with these attackers. And that that ended up causing the fatal reaction that killed him.
Remember, after he's engaging with the rioters, he goes back to his office, later collapses, taken to the hospital and dies the following day.
Investigators spent all this time, days and days looking at hours and hours of video, different types of surveillance video capturing where he was. And it wasn't immediately clear what exactly caused his death and so that's one of the struggles in this investigation. It's been a struggle so far.
And so the idea that they now believe they have new video, as you mentioned, new video that they believe helps them narrow the number of suspects that they're working with to just a handful is a significant break for them.
PEREZ: Again, this is a top priority for these investigators. They want to be able to bring federal murder charges against whoever is responsible for this crime.
CUOMO: Now, we have audio that we want to play of this. But just one quick side question, was there an autopsy done of the officer?
PEREZ: There is and none of that is publicly known. We know that they're still waiting for a final medical examiner's report. One of the things that initially, Chris, was believed was that perhaps he was struck by something, perhaps, there was a report that he was struck by a fire extinguisher. That turned out to not be true. And so there was no indication of blunt force that would have caused
his death and so that's, again, one of the mysteries here that they've been working on. And one of the things that makes it difficult for you to bring murder charges, again, that's one reason why this new video is so key.
CUOMO: Right. So let's play that for the audience and this is what's helped the officer, what's helped the investigators narrow down the world of possibility of where he was and what was going on around him. Let's listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cruiser 50, I copy, we're still taking rocks, bottles and pieces of flag and metal pole. Cruiser 50, the crowd is using munitions against us. They have bear spray in the crowd. Bear spray in the crowd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1328.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Multiple deployments U.S. Capitol with pepper spray (inaudible). DSO, DSO, I need a re-up. I need a re-up up here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now, first of all, this goes on the sound and you hear just how desperate, how outnumbered these men and women were. Now that is not Officer Sicknick, but the relevance to investigators is what, this was the detachment, the area where he was and their description allows for them to start zeroing in on what was going on around Sicknick.
PEREZ: The importance of that sound really kind of, I think, crystallizes what these officers were going through. And one of the things we've heard Chris from some of the folks who were there was that the attackers were in some ways better armed than the officers. They came with the sprays that could project from a longer distance than the pepper spray that the officers had, for instance.
And so that's one of the things that they had. Frankly, they were at a disadvantage and what you're hearing in that audio is your hearing, obviously, just a harrowing sound of an officer who's overwhelmed, his buddies are overwhelmed, his entire team is being overwhelmed. And one of the things that is being used against them is this bear spray.
And again, if this is the thing that ends up causing the reaction, the fatal reaction in Officer Sicknick, I think that's part of what will be key to this case.
PEREZ: Again, there's so much work that needs to be done. There's so much work to be done and I think that's part of why they're working so hard to try to solve this.
CUOMO: But then narrowing it, especially with him being the signature homicide of that day in all likelihood, the efforts are extraordinary. Evan Perez, thank you. Appreciate you.
PEREZ: Thank you.
CUOMO: Now, let's talk about who was there that day at the Capitol because, again, I've used different colorful language here to explain the threat but whether it's releasing the kraken or opening Pandora's box, introducing oath keepers, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, the Proud Boys into the mainstream dialogue was a mistake.
Now let's bring in somebody with experience in that area, FBI's domestic terrorism squad before he worked his way up to Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe.
Earlier, Andrew, I had on a lawyer for one of the Proud Boys members who was there initiating the attacks on the Capitol.
And he's singing the same song, which could be very damaging in Trump's trial that, hey, look, he believed the president. He thought this was happened and that happened. But I went after this lawyer differently, because the Proud Boys are not some hapless group of people looking for guidance. They have their own malicious agenda. And now, they've been introduced in a way that they can radicalize a whole new reach of people that they would have never had access to before Trump.
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That's absolutely right, Chris, and that's one of the things that makes this attack on January 6th so unique and so uniquely devastating, because you have the confluence of a number of different groups. You've got the Proud Boys, you got the oath keepers, you got the Three Percenters, you've got white supremacists.
All of these formerly kind of singular kind of niche groups that stayed in kind of their own circles and pursued their own agendas. They have all been united under the flag of stop the steal and supporters of President Trump. Of course, some of them, the Proud Boys in particular, have been recognized by the president in his comments during the debates a few months ago.
So to take all these violent extremist groups and bring them together under one flag under one cause, I mean, that gives you the incredibly volatile situation that we saw in the Capitol.
CUOMO: Now, we'll do with the intent and then we'll do after effects in terms of the radicalizing. This guy in Pensacola, who they're focusing on the authority say there's no indication he's changed his mind about fomenting rebellion since January 6th. His attorney was trying to push back the idea that he had any bad intentions other than vandalism, basically. But what did they find and what do they know about what the intentions of that group were on that day?
MCCABE: Well, I think what they found, Chris, and I'll say what they're alleging in the in the charging documents against many of the members of those groups, is that there was an advanced effort to plan to coordinate their activities, to hide their typical Proud Boys regalia. They are famous for their black shirts with the yellow trim on.
CUOMO: Infamous, I would say.
MCCABE: Yes, infamous, better word. So they kept all of that stuff undercover. They all wore these orange like knit caps to be able to identify each other, but to blend in with the crowd. So this is a high degree of planning and intentionality that they bring to their activity even before the riot really cooks off.
And it's evidence like that that's enabled federal prosecutors to charge many of them with conspiracy in addition to the violent acts that they have proof that they were involved in, in the Capitol.
CUOMO: Now, what is the continuing threat concern for you about what Trump has empowered these groups to do now?
MCCABE: Well, they are operating now on an entirely different level. As I mentioned before, prior to this sort of recognition, prior to this sort of infamy, they kind of existed in the backwater of domestic extremism. The these activities, the attack on the 6th, it brings them out into the open and it imbues them with a level of, as they see it, success. They will look back on the attack on the Capitol as the day they'll never forget, according to the president's directions.
As this incredible success of rising up against what they perceive as being some sort of illegitimate power that's keeping them all down, this will be an inspirational moment, a radicalizing moment that they will use to recruit additional members, to bring people into the fold and to really increase their numbers and expand their influence.
I see it as really a turning point in the domestic terrorist movement in the United States.
CUOMO: Imagine what it will mean for them if Trump is acquitted and comes out and declares it a victory, and says they're out to get us but we won, they will co-op that entire enthusiasm as if it was their success as well. Andrew McCabe, thank you very much.
MCCABE: Absolutely right.
CUOMO: Appreciate you. Thanks.
MCCABE: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: So what do you do as defenders of the president? How do you counter all the things that were said, all the timing, all of these different people involved in the insurrection who say why they went there and the word Trump keeps coming out of their mouths? That's the question, so that's what we have to look at. What are they going to do? What are they going to present in terms of what they can do? All right. And what do we think about from a communication standpoint.
That's where Anthony Scaramucci is going to come in. He's going to talk about what the messaging is here, what this means next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: House managers laid out a damning case Wednesday, because the facts are obvious. It's about what they will mean to the jurors. So in a few hours, they're going to try to build on that, they're going to wrap up their arguments today Thursday.
A source tells us Trump's defense team is now scrambling to counter Democrats by producing their own videos. Now, what will this be about? It's all about messaging. I want to bring in Anthony Scaramucci.
Anthony, now, I had heard, again, I don't know if it's going to happen, but that they wanted to show the riots from the summer and say, look at all this, you guys didn't care about this then, you didn't want to impeach the politicians who were saying this was OK, media wasn't crazy about this. You're just going after these people because they're white and it's Trump and that's the politics you're playing on the left and that'll give them the cover to acquit.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, the President wants them to do that. That's obviously a narrative on the other network. They've been running that in their primetime and you and I know that that's whataboutism. You and I also know from an evidence case and law school that none of that really matters.
And so that will be a series of distractions, Chris. And it's very similar to the distractions that were provided by the president's legal team in his first impeachment. They always move for the whataboutism.
So I do predict that that will happen and he will likely get acquitted. The setup right now from people like Sen. Graham and others is to sweep this under the rug, focus on the 2022 congressional election, make the bet that their base will forget about this and independents and moderates will be apathetic towards it.
I think they're making the wrong decision, however, because that party is about to splinter into two pieces. I think what's happened over the last three or four days has fortified a very large group of people that were former Republicans that are like, OK, if you're not going to put this guy lights out based on the evidence and you're not going to make him guilty or convict him of this impeachment, of these crimes, that party is going to split into two pieces.
And, again, I don't know if it's going to be 60-40 or 70-30. It's not really going to matter, because it'll split enough where the party will be diluted and completely weakened.
CUOMO: Are you part of this?
SCARAMUCCI: I am part of it, yes. We're working very hard on it right now.
CUOMO: Why are you being so secretive about it?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, We're not being secretive, we're meeting regularly about it.
CUOMO: A little bit. You're talking about they, them, they, you know exactly what's going on. You're part of the group.
SCARAMUCCI: Yes. Well, I'm bringing it up on your show. I mean, we're working on it right now.
CUOMO: You got a name?
SCARAMUCCI: Working on it. Working on it. It will all unfold. Listen, there's people like myself, I'm not ready to give up my Republican registration yet. I still hope - I guess, hope here that they will do the right thing and figure out a way to knit the party back together and people like Kinzinger, and Romney, and Sasse and Murkowski will win the day and that leadership will guide people to the right conclusion here.
But you've got a very strong, fervent cult like magnetic draw to this party and you've got all of that bluster and intimidation, which makes me laugh as a New Yorker that these people are honestly intimidated by Donald Trump. But whatever, I mean, we're here now, but I see that party splintering, Chris.
I mean, if you're asking me for a prediction on the air, I see them acquitting him and I see 5 percent to 20 percent of that party breaking off and starting a new party. It'll be a center right party that will be cooperative with the Democrats. And it will liquidate the nonsense on the far right.
CUOMO: Well, you got an open forum to discuss it on CUOMO PRIME TIME. When you guys decide if you're going to take that kind of step. I think you should call it the grand old party and call yourselves Republicans, and call the rest of them rhinos, because they are Republicans in name only, because Trump is not about your party never has been.
SCARAMUCCI: We could make you the comms director for 12 days, how's that, Chris?
CUOMO: You can't afford me.
SCARAMUCCI: I want to give you at least one more.
CUOMO: Can't afford me.
SCARAMUCCI: I know you're competitive, so I want to give you one more day more than me.
CUOMO: Yes. I don't know if I can make it longer than you playing any kind of partisan game. I think we should have like four or five parties. But in terms of the messaging, that's what gives them the cover, the fig leaf to hide behind to acquit is that this is not fair to Trump. Because the idea of fighting the facts, oh, he had a 1st Amendment right to say it was protected speech and he's being taken out of context. They don't believe that that can really wash, right?
SCARAMUCCI: No, they know that. I mean, there's nobody - I mean, you could just see the lawyers faces. I mean, you don't need a body language expert to look at his lawyers fumbling around to try to make a case and also recognizing from hundreds of years of case law related to what protected speech is and how incitement to violence is not protected speech.
And as we discussed last night, the president disavowed his constitutional oath. He's not allowed to do what he did. He's not allowed to incite violence. He's not allowed to disavow the peaceful transfer of power. Those are those are things that are in direct violation of his oath to office and those are the things that are clearly stated in the Constitution that deserve to be impeached and convicted.
And so they're going to let them off for political purposes and they're going to rue that day. They're going to look back and say, wow, this was a very big mistake. At a time when we needed real leadership, all we got was political expediency.
And so listen, there's a tough very strong group of people in the United States that want to combat these people. And I think the facts that have been elucidated are going to fortify that. And most of the country is against this sort of nonsense and I think that's a good news for the country.
CUOMO: What do you see him doing when he's acquitted, if he's acquitted?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, yes, see, I think he does exactly what you guys were talking about earlier. I think he gets out there as a great champion. He tries to find a microphone somewhere. He's a very insecure guy and so without that Twitter feed, he knows his megaphone, if you will, is not as powerful. It's not clear who's going to follow him.
Maybe there's a few fringe right wing media groups that will put them up on the air, but I think normal people and normal networks won't put them up on the air.
CUOMO: You think so, huh?
SCARAMUCCI: But we'll certainly try to do that.
CUOMO: You think so?
SCARAMUCCI: I'm sorry?
CUOMO: You think that if he calls a network and says I want to come on and talk, give me an hour, you think they're going to say no? SCARAMUCCI: Oh, he's not going to do it that way, though. He doesn't
have the capability to do it. He couldn't withstand the questioning from you. He'd melt like an orange candle. He's got to a podium and do the nonsense that he does, those jamboree sessions. He's not going to come on your network.
If he was willing to do that, of course, you guys would put them on, but he's not going to do that. He's going to be in that one-way zone where he's talking half off a teleprompter and half extemporaneously trying to rile up a group of people that are still with him. And then he's going to try to figure out a way to raise money off of them, because he made more money from November 3rd to January 20th than any time in his life on a per day basis.
And so he's going to try to ring the register on these people. He knows they're gullible and he'll be out there, raking them over the coals.
CUOMO: Well, the most interesting aspect of this to me is the unknown about what that party will do, what role you'll have in that, what kind of critical mass you can get, because this game of attrition and white fright, it's just not a long-term winning strategy and it's not what your party's been about. So I look forward to seeing - go ahead, last point to you.
SCARAMUCCI: Just one quick thing, just imagine one quick thing, if Sen. Murkowski and Romney went to McConnell and said, just to give you the heads up, we're going to caucus with the Democrats if we don't convict this guy. And so there's a lot of power in the process right now, so we'll just have to see how it unfolds.
CUOMO: Except Republicans don't like what the Democrats are about. And forget about the polls that are out there right now that say Democrats see Republicans as opponents, and Republicans see Democrats as enemies.
Real Republicans, they really are afraid of the democrat policies. So you're going to have to walk that line. I don't know if they're going to like hearing that your new party would caucus with the Democrats. I don't know how that would work with Republican.
SCARAMUCCI: Well, listen, I mean, let me let me tell you something, you're not going to have a choice. You can't caucus with a radical fringe of people that are prone to violence in a democratic republic. You're forced into a box, Chris, I get the fact, look, I'm not in love with a lot of Democratic policies. I'm a center right person. I'm a socially inclusive person. I'm not in love with those policies.
But the flip side is you can't destroy the democracy. You have to have an order of principles in your mind, the first thing has to be the preservation of the democracy in the Constitution. The thing that got your grandparents and my grandparents over here to allow you to live the American dream, we have to preserve that over everything else.
Forget the policies. The policies are secondary to the preservation of the democracy. CUOMO: One idea then I'll let you go, because they're going to yell
at me that I'm taking too long. But I've been reading about this idea. I think that you have to be present for the vote. I think that they may come and get you, the Sergeant of Arms, for this. I think it's an obligation.
But if it weren't, you think you would have an idea, a chance of getting 15, 17, 18 of real Republicans to not show for the vote? So they wouldn't be on the record of having voted against Trump, but they would have enabled a conviction. SCARAMUCCI: There's a lot of talk of that in Washington right now and so I'm in your camp, they should be present to vote. It should be an upfront and public vote. But yes, there is a lot of talk of that and that's the stuff and I hate to sound cynical, Chris, but that's the stuff that I hate about Washington. Just show up and vote, vote your principles, vote objectively and who cares if you lose the election.
The country and the sanctity and the survivalship of the country is more important than that.
CUOMO: Right. But by the way, it wasn't supposed to be permanent anyway. It just reveals another problem with the system that you're so afraid of not being empowered anymore. Go get a job. Anthony Scaramucci, thank you very much. Appreciate you.
SCARAMUCCI: Good to be here.
CUOMO: We'll be right back.
CUOMO: All right. We need to talk about schools. Of course, the impeachment trial is a big deal. And, of course, it's really stalling efforts to get stuff done on the pandemic. But they're going to be challenges here, OK. The Biden administration on school reopenings and what happens on this 100-day plan is starting to draw some fire. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When President Biden talked for the last couple of months, particularly during the transition, about reopening schools within the first 100 days, why didn't he ever mention the small print that that was just going to be for one day a week as the goal?
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, again, the President set a goal of reopening the majority of schools within a hundred days. And when you asked what that meant, I answered the question. So that is not the ceiling. That is the bar we're trying to leap over and exceed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now, my suggestion, forget about the fact that the question came from Fox and that guy never showed a scintilla of curiosity about anything that Trump was lying about and saying, we should all go back to schools but had no plan. Put it to the side, because we still have the same problem, OK?
In-person learning one day a week is not being back at school, OK? Many schools across the country are already doing that and more. So where's the bar, but more importantly, where is the plan as a function of where the science is?
See, I don't believe the science is telling people what the politics is telling them anymore. Let's get insight from Infectious Disease Expert, Dr. William Schaffner and former Clinton White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart. Beautiful mix for this. Thank you, fellows, especially at this time.
I take silence as acceptance.
Dr. Schaffner, what I said there, I don't know that the science is tracking the way the politics is right now. For one reason, I don't think we have a great handle on what's happening in schools. I don't even know how they get the data.
But do you believe that we have seen in the science that the disease, the virus, is moving at a rate now in schools where we can feel better about kids being there?
DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, INFECTIOUS DISEASE DIVISION, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: I actually think, Chris, that Rochelle Walensky is correct. You can open up schools again. But, there's a big but, you have to do so many things right; everybody is wearing a mask, social distancing, staggered start and stop times, don't send the kids all to the cafeteria at the same time, lots of disinfection in the schools. You could do all that.
Even better, and this is now a personal opinion, if we could make every adult that's in the school part of the frontline essential workers and vaccinate them. If we did that, we would not only secure the schools for the point of view of COVID, but we would also attack a second epidemic that's out there. This epidemic of anxiety or even fear on the part of the teachers.
SCHAFFNER: And then, if the schools were open, the parents would all cheer because they could concentrate on doing their work in the economy again.
CUOMO: See, that's the problem for the Biden, though, Joe, is that if you have to do all those things and that's exactly what's happening. The schools are saying, we'll open, but I need the ventilation. I need the separation. I need all this equipment. And my teachers don't want to come in and the unions are saying we're being held out to dry.
And I don't know that Biden has given them the money that they need. We, in fact, know he hasn't. I'm saying I don't know that it's coming any time soon and I don't know why they slow walk the let teachers get vaccinated. What are the answers?
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think primarily, the science is optimistic. I think Dr. Walensky talked about that in one of the briefings last week. The real problem right now is resources.
The Republicans in the Senate have said that supplying money to states and local authorities, cities, is a non-starter for them. They use this nonsense talking point that Democrats are just trying to bail out badly run states and cities.
LOCKHART: To do all of the things that the science says you need to do, particularly things like increasing ventilation, you need resources. You need money. That's in the recovery package. They are taking the most aggressive way to do it, reconciliation, going without Republicans, but even that takes a few weeks.
CUOMO: But why talk about opening the schools when you know that they don't have the money and the time to get things ready so that they can open? I think they put themselves in a trap. Psaki should have said to the Fox guy, I'll tell you why we can't open the schools, because you guys did nothing and because you said open the schools, but you didn't equip them. You didn't give them the money. You didn't give them the equipment. You didn't give them the guidance, so we're way behind, that's why. You should have asked these questions then.
But she didn't. Instead, you now have this mismatch of mentalities in the administration. Let's play the sound bites back to back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC HEAD: There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen. Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools.
PSAKI: Dr. Walensky spoke to this in her personal capacity. Obviously, she's the head of the CDC, but we're going to wait for the final guidance to come out so we can use that as a guide for schools around the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: What does that mean, Schaffner? I mean, you're not in the messaging business. But I mean, look, why wouldn't the teachers need to be vaccinated when they are largely an at-risk group and they have at-risk people at home, why wouldn't they have to be?
SCHAFFNER: Well, it beats me. I think if they had all those resources and we've been talking about that, then you could do it rather safely. But I think, in the current environment, it would be a really good idea to put all those adults who work in the school, custodians, food service workers, everybody, in the first line of people who do get vaccinated next. [00:55:02]
And that would satisfy them, reduce their anxiety, give them a desire to go back to school. And as I said, make the parents all very, very happy.
CUOMO: Dr. Schaffner, thanks.
SCHAFFNER: That seems win-win to me.
CUOMO: Appreciate you, Dr. Schaffner. Joe Lockhart, as always, appreciate you.
We're going to be back with another hour of late, live special coverage, because this was the second day of Trump trial and it's going to matter and what happens next in our country.
CUOMO: Welcome back to PRIME TIME. I'm Chris Cuomo with more live special coverage of the Trump trial two, day two. It's 1 am in the East. Prosecution is going to wrap up its case today or later today. And then tomorrow. OK.
Now, what will that look like? I don't know. We're going to have to see.