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Don Lemon Tonight

Impeachment Articles Now In The Senate; Senator Josh Hawley Upset For Being A Victim Of Cancel Culture; President Biden Says Impeachment Must Happen; Bipartisan Legislation Aimed To Help Americans; No Stones Will Be Left Unturned; Pressure Mounting On GOP Members. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 25, 2021 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): Man, these are some days, huh? That's it for us tonight. "CNN TONIGHT," the big show with the big star, D. Lemon, living history.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: What you talking about, Willis, what you talking about? What do you mean?

CUOMO: These are just people are going to be talking about the things we're living through right now. And it's all racing past us. Everything's so fast. Nothing exists more than a week, but it will live for decades and decades in its significance.

LEMON: I feel like it's changing a little bit. I think the news cycle is a bit longer. Before when the previous person was in office, nothing lasted more than a few hours. And you remember the first time, I think, we were talking about you coming to Primetime. You said, hey, buddy, offer me some advice. I said, don't get too, you know, stuck on what you want. right? Don't be attached because by the time you come in, it's all going to change.

I think that that's -- I think that that's changing a little bit. I think the news cycle is a little bit longer, as I said. I think that, you know, we can actually start putting our shows together a little bit earlier because it doesn't change so much. It's not -- we don't have a person who is so erratic at the top any more.

CUOMO: It's true. The dragon is gone. But you have a lot of people left in the village who believe in the dragon.

LEMON: Amen.

CUOMO: And they don't want to accept any existence without him. And it's a problem --


LEMON: Can I ask you something?

CUOMO: Please.

LEMON: So, I've been trying to figure this out. This is just, because I've watched a lot of TV this weekend, right. And I keep seeing -- and then I woke up today and I saw the Post, and it was Josh Hawley talking about how he's been canceled.

I can't tell you how many interviews I've seen -- he's been in the Post. I see him on Fox. He's on -- you know, there's local news interviews of him. He's on podcasts. He's -- I'm like, how are you silenced? He's got a huge Twitter following, his book is out. What is this whole fake thing about conservatives being silenced? Nobody is silencing anybody.

CUOMO: That's the sword and the shield, brother. They come at you. They try to destroy you --

LEMON: It's totally fake.

CUOMO: -- if you say anything back, they're victims. And you're attacking them.


CUOMO: And it works because, remember, the root of a lot of their support -- what's the flip of hate? Fear.


CUOMO: And you have a lot of scared people out there. Good reason, bad reason.


CUOMO: And that's what he says, they're coming for me now. So, let me go after them for you.

LEMON: Nobody is coming aster you. Nobody is coming after anybody.

CUOMO: And that's what they're trying to do.

LEMON: You got to -- Lisa Kudrow has a show and she has a clip, and it's funny because she's like, listen, she's pretending to be a politician, it's one of those half reality fake shows. And she's like, listen, conservatives are being silent. I said it on Tucker Carlson twice. I said it on Jordan Peter's blog. I said it in the newspaper. I said it on this. I said it in my book, that conservatives are being silenced.

And it just shows you the ridiculousness and the hypocrisy of this. Nobody is being silenced. It's all B.S. And you know what? You know what's the worst thing in all this? Besides the grift that was the fake election thing that was started by the former president and continued -- and continues into this day? Is the grift of the conservatives are being silenced. They're making money off of it by pretending that they are victims. That's the most unbelievable part of it, the awful part of it. CUOMO: One step sideways. You know the news tonight, you're going to

deal with it, that McConnell says they have a deal.

LEMON: That I say, say again?

CUOMO: McConnell came out with a statement that says they have a power sharing deal, him and Schumer. McConnell came out with the statement, not Schumer. I think your boy is winning the game again.

LEMON: Do you think so?

CUOMO: I think McConnell is outplaying this guy. Why is it 50/50?

LEMON: Because --


CUOMO: The Democrats should win every battle with the tie-breaking vote from the president of the Senate also known as the V.P.

LEMON: We'll see. But you know Democrats, they always wet the bed.

CUOMO: They just made a deal.

LEMON: And the rumors. Yes.

CUOMO: No. Because two senators, I'll try to get Senator Manchin and the other senator on to discuss --


LEMON: Sinema. Krysten Sinema. Sinema.

CUOMO: Why the Democrats, why as Democrats they don't want to get rid of the filibuster, what their reasoning is. And I already know what it is with Senator Manchin. He believes that there can be better days and there can be cooperation. But I have a feeling --


CUOMO: -- that the Democrats are getting played.


CUOMO: And that Schumer got outplayed.

LEMON: I'm not so sure about Manchin. Listen, you believe you won. I just think he's a both sideser (Ph). In this moment you don't need to be both sides. You need to really take a stand.

I've to run though so I can get to all of this that we're talking about.

CUOMO: Watch your boy, though, Don.

LEMON: Thank you. [22:05:00]

CUOMO: He's playing, he's running the game again.

LEMON: Who, McConnell?

CUOMO: You southerners.

LEMON: Hey, that's where we lead in politics in the south. We know how to do it. Thank you, sir. I got to run.

CUOMO: I love you, D. Lemon.

LEMON: I love you as well. I'll see you.

CUOMO: Don't forget it.

LEMON (on camera): This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

Here's our breaking news. A moment in American history, really is a moment. An article of impeachment against a president of the United States delivered to the Senate tonight for the fourth time in history, fourth time, granted it's against a now former president, one who has been impeached twice. But it's still American history.


UNKNOWN: Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. All persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States an article of impeachment against Donald John Trump.


LEMON (on camera): If I didn't make it clear, four times he's half of those. Two of them. The Washington Post reporting sources say impeachment managers are looking at the video released today and you have to look at this. It's by just security. It's an online forum hosted by New York University School of Law, showing how the then president's words were heard and interpreted by the crowd.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. 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, any one you want, but I think right here, we're going to walk down to the capitol --


TRUMP: We're going to walk down into the capitol.



TRUMP: And we're probably (Inaudible). You can't take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength.


TRUMP: Invade the Capitol building.

UNKNOWN: Take the capitol!

UNKNOWN: Take the capitol!

UNKNOWN: Take the capitol!

UNKNOWN: Take the capitol!

UNKNOWN: Take the capitol right now!

UNKNOWN: Take the capitol.


LEMON (on camera): It's extraordinary. And CNN has not independently verified the video, but those who will serve as jurors for the trial to be sworn in tomorrow at the scene of the crime, the U.S. Capitol, where members of Congress were menaced by a mob of violent rioters just 19 days ago.

Senator Patrick Leahy, the president pro tempore of the Senate expected to preside over the trial rather than the chief justice. More on that in just a moment.

Arguments begin the week of February 8 -- 8th, excuse me, and we have more breaking news to tell you about. The new president speaking out to CNN about the former president in the halls of the West Wing making his most pointed comments since taking office.

President Joe Biden telling CNN's Kaitlan Collins this about impeachment, and I quote here, "I think it has to happen." That's new. And going on to say, "it would be a worse effect if it didn't happen."

But one thing is for sure. More and more Republicans are in denial. They're afraid to call the they're afraid to call the former president to account as they realize the grip he still on his party or on their party even though they were force to run for their lives and the rioters -- as the rioters stormed the capitol.

The House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said this today -- the day, excuse me, said this the day the House voted to impeach.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Well, now he has gone from saying the then president bore responsibility to the ludicrous claim everybody across the country is responsible.


MCCARTHY: I also think everybody across this country has some responsibility.


LEMON (on camera): Did everybody across the country incite a riot? No. Did everybody across the country repeat the big lie that the election was stolen? No. That is on Donald Trump. And his enablers, of which you're one of them. And then there's Marco rubio, who days after the riot, said the people and the mob were lied to by politicians who told them Mike Pence could change the election result.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Many of those in that mob were believers in a ridiculous conspiracy theory and others were lied to, lied to by politicians that were telling them that the vice president had the power to change the election results.


LEMON (on camera): Well, he was right then, but now he calls the impeachment trial stupid and counterproductive.



RUBIO: I think the trial is stupid. I think it's counterproductive. We already have a flaming fire in this country and it's like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire.


LEMON (on camera): You know how you fight the fire in this country? You know how you do that? You do that by holding the former president accountable for what he said and what he did. Accountability, that's how you fight the fire. Accountable for inciting an insurrection, not by letting him hold your party hostage.

And in the face of all that, Senator Josh Hawley who we just talked about, he would have you believe that he's the victim in all of this. He's a victim. Josh Hawley. He's a victim of cancel culture. You know, wait a minute. He's on the TV. He's so canceled that he's on your television. He's trying to sell that claim to Fox News just tonight.

Josh Hawley, who saluted the crowd before the riot broke out, who voted to overturn the results in Arizona and Pennsylvania, even after the riot, Josh Hawley. In an opinion piece for the New York Post now says what he calls, leftist politician and corporate America are trying to cancel him. To muzzle him.

He seems most concerned about his book contract getting canceled, though it was picked up by an independent publisher. Can't you see you're being played, people, if you fall for that B.S.? He's on the TV. I'm sure he's probably on the radio somewhere maybe. He's on blogs. He's everywhere, The Post, one of the most-read papers. And it's syndicated so clips get picked up all over the country.

He's still on Twitter. He's still on social media. He's canceled, muzzled? Well, you have an op-ed in a widely read paper in the biggest city in America and then you tweet about it. And you lie about television talking about it.

I've got some bridges I want to sell you if you fall for that because no one has muzzled Josh Hawley. What happened to Josh Hawley isn't cancel culture. It's called consequences. You can say whatever you want. You can do whatever you want, but you have to face the consequence for it. And his actions, that's what he's doing. He's paying the consequence. It's not cancel. That's how it works. That's how America works. That's how the first amendment works. Say whatever you want, but you've got to pay the price.

If you say something stupid or you do something stupid or treasonous, or if you try to overturn a duly elected president. Right? An effort to overturn our election, he supported an effort to overturn our election which turned violent and it killed people.

He's a victim, my god, he's being canceled, poor baby. Do you need a binkie? Don't fall for this, people. Think about the actions in the capitol. Think about what happened. Think about the people who died. Think about the cops who were beating -- beaten by people. Think about all of that.

And someone is concerned about a book? It turns out that that's hugely unpopular on the free market what he did even though it stokes your base. And as we head into an impeachment trial that looks more and more like it will divide the Senate along partisan lines, President Joe Biden defines what unity means to him.


BIDEN: Unity requires you to take away -- eliminate the vitriol. Make anything that you disagree with about the other person's personality or their lack of integrity or they're not decent legislators and the like. So we have to get rid of that.


LEMON (on camera): The president knows that the impeachment trial is the right thing to do for the country, even if it's the wrong thing for his personal political agenda. More people might want to think about that.

CNN's chief White House correspondent is Kaitlan Collins. Senior political -- senior legal analyst, I should say, Laura Coates joins us as well. Good evening to both of you. Good to see you.


Kaitlan, you spoke with the president about this new reporting tonight. He's at the White House. What is he saying about Trump's impeachment trial now? Because this seems very different than what most -- what most people thought he wanted or would do.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's also interesting that he's saying anything at all about it. Because so far, he's been sworn in, aides have kind of distanced themselves from the impeachment process. They weren't really saying when they believed it should happen. They said they had no opinion on the time line.

Of course, you know we heard from Biden last week. He said he did. And then I ran into him in the Oval -- or excuse me, in the West Wing today. We talked about this. He said he basically views this trial as inevitable. He said, I think it has to happen. He talked about the effects that, of course, has concerned so many of his aides, that this could have on his own agenda in the early days in office, which, of course, is not just getting those cabinet nominees confirmed.

It's also those legislative proposals and other matters that he's working on in the Senate. But he said he believes the effects of them not going through with an impeachment trial for former President Trump would be even worse than if they did.

Then, of course, the effects that it could likely have on his agenda if they do. Don, one interesting thing he said is he said he does not think there are going to be enough Republicans to convict President Trump. He said, you know, he spent a lot of time in the Senate. He was there for a few decades. He said it's been a while since he's been gone and the Senate has changed since then, but, Don, he said it has not changed that much.

LEMON: Interesting. Laura, it's only the fourth presidential impeachment in American history. By the way, this president is two of those so he's half of those. We can put the calendar up on the screen now.

Senators are sworn in tomorrow, but the trial doesn't begin until February 9th. Explain the process for me. What happens -- what happens next and why isn't the chief justice presiding this time, Laura?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, we'll start with the last part there. The chief justice according to the Constitution, who presides when the president is the one who is being impeached. We know that now, of course, President Trump is now former President Trump, and so normally if it's not the president, he will not only have not a chief justice presiding, but normally another senator.

In this case the optics of having the president of the Senate, the Vice President Kamala Harris be the person to do so is not in line with perhaps the messaging of unity perhaps of the vice president being that person. So, someone else will oversee it in the form of Patrick Leahy. However, the idea here, you're going to have two weeks now. They're

not going to have an opportunity to have a split day where in the morning they do the Senate business and by night they actually work on the impeachment.

In order to have the more singular focus of the impeachment trial a few weeks from now they're going to have this opportunity to build up the defense if you're President Trump's team which means of course trying to find lawyers who can make the straight-face arguments that he'll need to make to claim his freedom of speech.

And also, to have the evidence and discussions about whether they'll have witnesses or have briefing periods as well for the impeachment managers to put forth and President Trump to respond and vice versa. So, we're in kind of the motion practice as they call it, in the civil litigation world, now in the impeachment trial.

LEMON: All right. Laura, Kaitlan, thank you both. I appreciate it.

President Biden telling CNN the impeachment trial has to happen even though he acknowledges it will have an impact on his agenda. I'm going to ask cabinet nominee Pete Buttigieg about that. He's next.



LEMON (on camera): So, a big news night. President Biden beginning his first full week in office topping his agenda getting more Americans vaccinated for COVID-19 and getting the economy moving again. But acknowledging tonight to CNN that the impeachment trial of his predecessor has to take place even though it may get in the way of his legislative plans.

A lot to discuss with Pete Buttigieg, the president's nominee for transportation secretary. I would normally call you mayor, but I will call you secretary designate, and then I would just -- you know, I can call you mayor after that. Thank you so much for joining me. And congratulations. I appreciate it.


LEMON: Yes. So, let me ask you.

BUTTIGIEG: Thank you. Thanks for having me on.

LEMON: Absolutely. So, President Biden is laying out his agenda and tonight the president is telling CNN that he thinks the impeachment trial has to happen even though it may delay his agenda. What impact will this historic second trial of the former president have on what he wants to get done?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, the Senate is just like the administration, just like the country, going to have to handle many things at once. And we do have some precedent during the last impeachment, the committee hearings were able to continue. Look, we have a national emergency on our hands. That's why the

president has offered the American rescue plan and that needs action, too. So, we need to pull forward. It's not going to be easy to manage all these things at once, but it's absolutely imperative.

The American people can't wait for economic relief, can't wait for there to be stepped up action to facilitate vaccines, to safely reopen our schools. We need to act on all of these fronts and, of course, that's not only for the administration to do, but Congress and the whole country.

LEMON: So, impeachment and everything that you said, acting on getting the economy and COVID in order.

BUTTIGIEG: There's no other choice.


BUTTIGIEG: We're talking about a lot of things that have to happen, and there's no choice but to press forward.

LEMON: So, President Biden was asked about his push for unity. He is saying that you can pass a bill along party lines, and it doesn't mean that there wasn't unity. But he also said that he chose some aspects because he thought that they had Republican support, like the $1,400 relief payments. Is he letting Republicans know that he's going to go his own way if they don't give, if there is not some buy-in from them?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, I think he believes that these proposals are unifying because so many Americans believe it. I'm talking about unifying. Bernie Sanders and the business round table agreeing that we've got to act on this plan. Organized labor and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are saying we've got to do this.

A whole bunch of Democratic and Republican mayors just came forward. And you know, not that long ago, Republican legislators in Congress were saying we've got to do things like get all the way, finish the job on that $2,000.

So, this is a unifying agenda as far as the American people are concerned. And I think there's a lot of confidence that we can get the kind of support that's going to be needed on Capitol Hill, too. The best way to unify the American people is to deliver, and that's been the focus of the president from the moment that he took office last week, and this is obviously something where the American people can't wait.

LEMON: Let's talk about something that is more specific to the job that you will hopefully be doing if you're confirmed soon. The president today signed an executive order aimed at strengthening American manufacturing and they will affect a lot of things, a lot of what's in your lane if you do get confirmed, transportation. This is some of what we heard today. Here it is.



BIDEN: We'll invest hundreds of billions of dollars in buying American products and materials to modernize our infrastructure and our competitive strength will increase in a competitive world. That means millions of good-paying jobs, using American-made steel and technology to rebuild our roads, our bridges, our ports. And to make them more climate resilient as well as make them able to move faster and cheaper and cleaner to transport American-made goods across the country and around the world, making us more competitive.


LEMON (on camera): Listen, we certainly hope that something changes. We had a lot of infrastructure weeks during the last administration and not much changed. Give us some examples of how the buy America plan will work.

BUTTIGIEG: Well, the basic idea is that when American taxpayer dollars are going toward a purchase, or had to purchase something made by American workers and created American jobs. The federal government buys hundreds of billions of dollars of things a year and, of course, supports cities and towns and states in their purchasing, too, from a notebook all the way to a bus.

And you're right, you know, the Department of Transportation, if confirmed, will be an example where I hope to be secretary of where so much of this actually cashes out. I'm from the industrial Midwest. We're good at making things. America is good at making things. And this is something that President Biden promised on the campaign trail. Today's executive action is him making good on that promise.

Now to be clear, there have been buy-America provision rules on the books for a long time. But there have been a lot of loopholes in them, ways to kind of get around the requirements, things in the definition of what really counts, you know, if something is mostly made abroad, but then finished off here, does it really count as American.

This executive order tightens up things like that and creates a level of accountability by assigning someone in the Office of Management and Budget to track all of this. I'm looking forward, if confirmed, to implementing this because this is a big part of how that big vision for infrastructure that we're all so committed to delivering in this administration would actually be certain to lead to the American opportunity that it should, creating good and a lot of union jobs in this country, good-paying jobs that, again, reflect the taxpayers who are paying for this in the first place.

LEMON: We can certainly use it right now. President Biden reversed the former president's ban on transgender troops serving in the military. You're a member of the military. And as a member of the LGBTQ community, someone who served in the military as well, why was it important for this to, for this to happen so quickly, for him to do this so quickly?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, you know, everyone in politics says that they support our troops. This is an example of what it means to actually do it, to support all of our troops and to support patriotic Americans who wish to be among our troops.

You know, when I think about the range of things that people do in the military, whether you are handling travel approval paperwork, or whether you're handling a rifle or a fighter jet, I can't think of a single case where it matters one bit whether you're a transgender or not.

So, it's based on the common sense understanding that people in the military have a job to do. And the moral understanding that if somebody is ready to put their life on the line for this country, we ought to embrace and honor and support that service. That's another example of an area where President Biden was loud and clear on the campaign trail, and moving quickly to deliver on that promise.

LEMON: I want to play this moment. It is from your confirmation hearing where you thank your husband Chasten. Here it is.


BUTTIGIEG: I want to thank President Biden for trusting me with this nomination and I'd like to take a moment to introduce my husband Chasten Buttigieg who is here with me today. I'm really proud to have him by my side. I also want to take this chance to thank him for his many sacrifices and his support in making it possible for me to pursue public service.


LEMON (on camera): Listen, congratulations on the first, but it's hard to believe that this is 2021 and we -- you're the first, you know what I'm saying? Visibility does matter. You are likely to become the first Senate confirmed LGBTQ cabinet secretary. What does a moment like that signify to the country and what the next four years will look like?

BUTTIGIEG: My hope is that it sends a message about belonging. I can remember being a teenager watching a nominee and a nomination stopped in its tracks because the nominee was gay.


And you know, some 20 years later, to be able to sit there in that Senate room with the chair and the ranking member and do what any cabinet nominee would do, which is if their spouse was there, to turn to their spouse and acknowledge them and thank them, and yet to know that no cabinet nominee has ever been in a position to do that in a same-sex marriage.

Look, the reality is Chasten like any spouse in this situation, he's giving up a lot, you know, turning his life upside down coming to Washington with me in order to support my ability to be part of public service. And so, in a way it's like any other cabinet couple. And in a way it's like no other cabinet couple has been.

But my hope is that, you know, somebody is watching that just like I was watching a very different story when I was younger and seeing that signal that they belong, too. Whether they want to, you know, be in the cabinet or be in public service or something completely different. Just seeing the President of the United States invited somebody like me to be part of that cabinet, hopefully sends a message of belonging to people that they belong in our society, in their community, in their own family, which is a sense of belonging that is so often challenged, especially for young LGBTQ Americans.

LEMON: Thank you, sir. And I got through this without calling you mayor, though I know you would not have minded if I did it.

BUTTIGIEG: I would not.

LEMON: Thank you, Secretary-Designate Pete Buttigieg and Mayor Pete as well. Thank you. Best of luck. We'll see you soon.


LEMON: The clock is ticking to the second impeachment trial of the former president. Is there enough evidence for a conviction? The former lead counsel to the House majority and Trump's first impeachment joins me next.



LEMON (on camera): The House tonight delivering its article of impeachment against former President Trump to the Senate. Senators will be sworn in tomorrow and the summons will be issued.

Well, Trump will have until next Tuesday to file his answer to the impeachment article. All the paperwork must be in by the following Monday, making February 9th the start of the trial.

So, joining me now, someone who knows this process very well and that's Daniel Goldman. He is the former lead counsel to the House majority in Trump's 2020 impeachment inquiry. And he used to be a frequent guest on this show and we miss having him, but we're glad to have you on every once in a while.

Thank you, sir. I appreciate seeing you, I appreciate you doing this.

So, you were as I said, a key part of making the case against Trump in his first impeachment trial. How would you make the case this time?

DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER LEAD COUNSEL TO HOUSE MAJORITY, TRUMP IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY: I'd do a couple of things. First, I'd comb Twitter for the president's own tweets and his own statements in the two months leading up to January 6th. I'd widen the lens a little bit to talk about how he was trying to overthrow a lawful election through lies and other false accusations.

Then I would narrow in on his preparations for the January 6 riot, extorting -- exhorting his followers to come to Washington to make it wild. Then I would focus on all the statements that occurred in the lead up to the January 6 riot on Parler and on the internet about plans to violently storm the capitol. You'd then want to play some of the statements and speeches of the

January 6 rally, and then finally, Don, and I think this is very important, you want to focus on the president's inaction after the riot began. And his, according to reports, him just watching it go, refusing to speak to lawmakers desperately calling for him to talk the protesters down.

And then him somehow, either him or others refusing to allow the National Guard to come in, because that really demonstrates that he was neither surprised by this nor disappointed to see it happening.

LEMON: So, what about this, Daniel, you saw this video that is from just security. I don't know if you saw that, about how the crowd was reacting to the president's remarks. Again, this is Washington Post reporting. CNN has not verified the video. But we understand that impeachment investigators are looking into that or actually are wanting to see that video, interested in seeing that video. Would that be part of something you would use, part of your strategy?

GOLDMAN: Absolutely. In fact, ProPublica has an exhaustive library of videos from Parler through in a time line throughout the course of the day that I think could be a very effective way to show what the people who stormed the capitol were thinking, how they interpreted the president's language.

He's charged with inciting insurrection. These were the insurrectionists and who was motivating them to do what they did. And it was quite clear from all of these videos that they understood the message from the president to be to storm the capitol, to fight, to be violent. He used lots of language as he's used over the course of his presidency to incite violence. And he sort of, whipped them into a frenzy, and as everyone has said, he lead them (Inaudible) very, very important, and I would expect them to be a big part of it.

LEMON: All right. We had a little trouble with your audio there, but I think the viewer got it. So, Daniel, the Senate makes up the jury for this trial, and that includes several senators who pushed Trump's big lie about the election.

A former Nixon White House counsel John Dean says senators like Hawley and Cruz, he says that they're coconspirators and should be disqualified as jurors. Is he right?

GOLDMAN: In a court of law he's absolutely right. And we ran into this with Ukraine, Ron Johnson, senator from Wisconsin was present for a number of important meetings including with President Zelensky, including with Trump. So, it's inherently somewhat conflicting to have the senators who all were victims of the insurrection be the jury for this, but that is the nature of this political process.

We're not in a court of law. We're in the Senate. The rules of evidence don't apply. This is a sort of different kind of animal that we have to deal with. So, none of these senators will be recusing themselves. They will all be voting. They all bring their own political beliefs and prejudgments. It is not that blank slate of 12 jurors of your peers that you would get at a criminal trial, but again, we're also not talking about sending someone to jail. So, there is a little bit more leeway that should be permitted.


LEMON: Hey, listen, I'm about to run. I'm out of time, but quickly, sorry to do this to you. Do you have any advice for the person who is going to be in your role?

GOLDMAN: Well, the person in my role is Barry Burke who I worked very closely with last time. And he's an outstanding lawyer. I don't think that he needs any advice, you know. The risk you always run with this is to overdo it, to go too long and to kind of bore people. So, I would expect that this presentation will be direct and to the point and quite powerful.

LEMON: Very well. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. Good to see you.

GOLDMAN: You, too, Don. Great to see you.

LEMON (on camera): Breaking news tonight as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer near a power-sharing agreement, Republicans in the Senate have a constitutional duty to put their former leader on trial and one Republican House member has a message for them about that.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): If you're a leader of the Republican Party right now, you need to be focused on one thing. Not winning another election. That's not what we should be focused on right now. What we should be focused on is restoring the integrity of this party.




LEMON (on camera): So, here's our breaking news. An article of impeachment against the former President of the United States delivered to the Senate tonight. Now Republicans have to make a decision. Do they want to be the party of Trump forever? It would take 17 Republican senators joining with Democrats to convict him and hold him accountable for inciting an insurrection at the capitol.

So, joining me now CNN Political Commentator Jeff Flake, a former Republican senator, and CNN political commentator Charlie Dent, a former Republican congressman.

I knew this would happen sooner or later. So good to see -- to see both of you. Senator Flake, I'm going to start with you. Watching your former colleagues divided into two camps over this impeachment trial, what do you think they're really thinking and what would you do if you were in the Senate?

JEFF FLAKE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, if I were in the Senate, I would vote to convict. I think if incitement of insurrection is not an impeachable, you know, find for conviction after impeachment, I don't know what is. And I think it's plainly what the president did.

And before he got to that speech at the ellipse, you know, calling the Republican secretary of state in Georgia and asking him to find, you know, 11,000 votes to overturn the election, and then tried to fire the acting attorney general and have a lackey come in to go at it that way and to go to the Supreme Court, it's clear the president used every lever he had to overturn the election. And so, yes, I would vote to convict.

LEMON: So, what is -- you're closer -- I mean, you both served, Congressman Dent in Congress. You in the Senate. I think you were a little bit closer to it possibly. What is that pressure like is what I want to ask for someone who has recently been in the Senate. What is the pressure like do you think now for Republicans, you know, because they want obviously the Trump voter. They're afraid of being primaried. But you have to do the right thing.

FLAKE: Well, it's very real, that pressure. I mean, for those who are up in two years, and see a primary just around the corner, right now the Trump base is still with the president. And if he wants to take you out in a primary, he likely can.

Now, in my view, there is nothing worse than going along with the president on something like this. But if you want to stay in politics, if you want to stay in the Senate, then there is very real pressure. And I think that that pressure will lessen over time. I think the president is going to lose influence a lot faster than he thinks he will, but right now that's still pretty real for a lot of members.

LEMON: I agree with you. I think the influence is going to lose faster than you think. Because you, look, as fast as that jet takes off and takes you away, or whenever, usually Marine One, it's over then and you don't have that bully pulpit any more.

FLAKE: Right.

LEMON: Congressman, I have to call you Congressman tonight because we have the senator on. I've known you for five years and I call you Charlie on and off the air. I just want to offer you both the same amount of respect.

So, Congressman, it seems like Mitch McConnell may be caving and will let the Democrats take control of the committees after all. I mean, he's been holding up a power sharing agreement to try to extract, you know, a promise not to kill the filibuster. But he didn't really get that. At least not from Chuck Schumer.

Was this just a power play, you believe? Because, you know, at the beginning of the show, I don't know if you saw it, Chris said, he thinks that, you know, McConnell may be winning this one. I'm not sure who is winning this one. What do you think?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think at the end of the day you're going to get a power sharing agreement pretty much like they had after the 2000 election. And you know, from a personal perspective, I'm very pleased that the filibuster will be maintained. Maybe it needs to be reformed, but I've always felt a filibuster is the least, is really the last mechanism left in Congress to facilitate some sort of bipartisan agreement.

If you like -- if you like the way the House operates with a pure majority authoritarian rule, you'll love the Senate without filibuster. But the filibuster actually does protect the rights of the minority. And so, I hope that it is protected. I'm glad McConnell held out for that and I think the Senate will be better because of it.

LEMON: I want to talk to about after we get a break in, but about being censured. Do you know about that, senator, and Cindy McCain and a bunch of other people. We'll talk about that on the other side of the break. We'll be right back.



LEMON (on camera): Back now with Jeff Flake and Charlie Dent.

So, Senator Flake, over the weekend you, Cindy McCain and Republican Governor Doug Ducey were publicly censured by the Arizona GOP. And you tweeted that you're just fine with being on the outs with the party. Cindy McCain said that she'll wear her censure as a badge of honor.

Is there a purity test playing out with the party? By the way, I had a hard time understanding this whole censure. You guys were being censured for telling the truth and standing up for conservative principle -- it was up odd. But anyway, go on. Is this a purity test?

FLAKE: It was odd. There was one provision that said I was being censured because I rejected populism. I thought -- I thought that's what political parties were supposed to do. But anyway, it was a little tough to understand.


But, you know, nobody likes to be censured by their party, but if the price to be liked by your party is to go along with the president and to condone his behavior, particularly after what happened on January 6th, then I'm just fine being censured.

And I know Cindy McCain feels the same way as does Doug Ducey. He was -- they were upset at him because he certified the election here in Arizona. So, yes. There's a purity test, and it just means that we're going to lose more elections going ahead unless we change.

LEMON: Yes. Well, you think censure was one thing. Wait until you get the criticism you get from appearing on this network.

Charlie, call him up afterwards and tell him.

DENT: Well, I got to tell you. I got to tell you, Don, you know what Jeff Flake and the Doug Ducey and the McCains have in common? They all won the state of Arizona many times.


DENT: And Kelli Ward, the chair, you know what she does? She loses in Arizona. She ran twice and lost. They lost two Senate seats. They lost the presidency. She's really good at losing. And it's just -- these three, you know, they're being -- they have been grotesquely honest and that's why they are being censured apparently.

It's really a shame that this is the state of the Arizona GOP. The only thing dumber than censuring this three would be to make Joe Arpaio the chair of the Arizona state committee to replace Kelli Ward.

LEMON: I've got to run. You got it in, though, Charlie. Thank you so much. I'll s see you both soon, gentlemen.

President Biden weigh in on former President Trump's impeachment telling CNN the Senate trial has to happen. More on our breaking news just ahead.