Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Biden: "Good Thing" Trump Is Not Attending Inauguration; House Judiciary Dems To Introduce Impeachment Articles as Early as Monday, Includes "Incitement of Insurrection". Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired January 08, 2021 - 15:00   ET



JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, right down to blowing up, you know, a bomb going off in the Capitol when I was there, two policemen.

But the idea of thousands of people, thousands of people could be marching up the steps of the United States Capitol, breaking windows, breaking doors, forcing their way in, stepping aside, and the photographs of, well, I don't know what the circumstances, the photograph that would look like, you had some of the Capitol Police taking selfies with these people, that has to be thoroughly investigated.

The authorities responsible have to be held accountable for the failures that occurred. And we have to make sure that this can never ever happen again. The damage done to our reputation around the world, by a President of the United States, encouraging a mob, a mob, this reminded me more of a state I've visited in the over the hundred countries I've gone to.

And third 10 horn dictatorships, it's just cannot be sustained, it has to be immediately, immediately investigated in depth. And people have to be held accountable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And lastly, do you think you need to change any of the planning for your inauguration as a result of this?

BIDEN: Totally different entity is in charge of the inauguration that was in charge of protecting the Capitol, the Secret Service. I have great confidence in the Secret Service. I have great confidence and their ability to make sure that the inauguration goes off, goes off safely and goes off without a hitch. So it's a different, so I have confidence in what is going on -- in the planning that been underway before this, and continues with the Secret Services, the lead agency.


BIDEN: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, good to see you both. I want to pick up on something that you just said about President Trump actively encouraging the insurrection at the Capitol, given that, given the perceived threat that he poses, my question to you is not so much about the role that Congress should play in impeachment but rather, should President Trump in your estimation remain in office?

BIDEN: I didn't think, look, I've been saying for now, well over a year, he is not fit to serve. He's not fit to serve. He's one of the most incompetent presidents in the history of the United States of America. And so the idea that I think he shouldn't be out of office yesterday, is not the issue.

The question is, what happens with 14 days left to go or 13 days left to go? And I think that what 81 million people stood up and said, it's time for him to go. And the United States Senate voted 93 to 6, to confirm that we should be sworn in. We were duly elected. So I think it's important we get on with the business, getting him out of office, the quickest way that that will happen is us being sworn in on the 20th.

What action happens before or after that is a judgment for the Congress to make. But that's what I am looking forward to, him leaving office. I was told that on the way up here, way over here, that he indicated he wasn't going to show up at the inauguration, one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on. It's a good thing I'm not showing up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier, you'd said that if you'd hoped that he would show up only in the sense that it was valuable to send a signal to the world about the transfer of power. You've clearly changed your perspective on that.

BIDEN: Because he has clearly demonstrated, he exceeded even my worst notions about him. He's been an embarrassment to the country, embarrassed us around the world. Not worthy, not worthy to hold that office.

If we were six months out, we should move in everything to get him out of office, impeaching him again, invoke, trying to invoke the 25th amendment, whatever it took to get him out of office. But I am focused now on us taking control as President and Vice President on the 20th and to get our agenda moving as quickly as we can. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another question about holding public officials to account and this is about an issue that's no longer a headline but is no less significant and serious. And that's about the more than 600 children who are orphaned under the Trump administration as a result of the family separation policy along the border. During the campaign, you said that practice was criminal. Can you commit, will you commit to making sure that the Trump administration officials responsible for that policy will be held to account?


BIDEN: I'll commit that our Justice Department and our investigative arms will make judgments about who is responsible, however responsible and whether or not the conduct is criminal across the board. But as I said yesterday, I am not going to tell the Justice Department who they should prosecute and who they should not. That's a judgment will be made by the Attorney General of the United States of America, not influenced by me.

But there will be a thorough, thorough investigation of who is responsible and whether or not the responsibility is criminal. And if that is the concluded, the Attorney General make that judgment, I will not intervene to tell him who he should or shouldn't indict, or if he should have indicted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And lastly, beyond the COVID plan which you've detailed, what is your -- what are your legislative priorities? You've talked about infrastructure. You've talked about introducing an immigration bill. After January 20th, you'll control, Democrats rather, will control the House and the Senate. What do you do first?

BIDEN: Two different -- three different issues there in that same question. One, the commitments I made that I would introduce, not necessarily we would move tom but introduce in the United States Congress first I will do. I will introduce an immigration bill immediately and have a sense of the appropriate committees to begin movement.

I will in fact, countermand executive orders that the President has, in fact initiated that are contrary to what I think is either his authority and or even if its authority, contrary to the interests of the United States on environmental issues and a whole range of other things.

And thirdly, I will immediately move though the most urgent need of asking the Congress to give me the financial wherewithal to deal with the virus, to deal with the virus, to be able to move so that we have Operation Warp Speed really working. The Warp Speed got the vaccine to places that were delivered but did not get them from those vials into people's arms.

And so, it is a gigantic logistical concern of how we do that. I'm committed to get 100 million shots in people's arms in the first 100 days. I'm committed to insisting that on all federal jurisdictions, any place I have control as President, everyone will be mandated to wear a mask in interstate transportation as well as federal facilities.

And thirdly, I'm committed to moving as rapidly as possible to get the vaccine to teachers and the material to children that can provide for the safe opening of our schools at the end of that beginning, at the end of that 100 days. They're the most urgent things we have to do now.

Now, immediately upon getting an officer, it's going to be multiple things as you will know, because you're a seasoned veteran of how this policy, how we work. And that is that there will be other committees will be holding hearings on a whole range of issues from my positions on infrastructure, what we should be doing to generate green economy, how we -- and so on.

But in terms of the immediate need to get done, not just introduced, but to get done, voted on and get the money and resources to do it. It turns out that the most urgent need is dealing with the virus, number one, and economic relief to Americans who through no fault of their own, are really getting battered. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you both.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. President-elect and Madam Vice President-elect. I want to follow up with respect to what you just said about the inauguration and that it's a good thing that the President is not coming, but what about the Vice President Mike Pence?

BIDEN: He's welcome. I think it's important that the -- as much as we can stick to what have been the historical precedence of how in a circumstance in which an administration changes should be maintained. And so, if Mike, if the Vice President is welcome to come, I'd be honored to have him there, and to move forward in the transition.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you spoken to him at all?

BIDEN: No, I haven't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you have called for unity and healing in this country. But after the events of Wednesday, does that make your job easier or harder?

BIDEN: I think it makes my job easier, quite frankly. I've had a number of my Republican colleagues, former colleagues. I've used to serve in the Senate for a long time, called me. They are -- many of them are as outraged and disappointed and embarrassed and mortified by the President's conduct as I am, and Democrats are.


And I think it's -- I have said from the beginning, and I have not changed my view. My overarching objective is to unify this country, we must unify the country. And I think that you've heard me say this before, and I apologize for repeating myself. But understandably, the questions are repetitive and good. I mean, they're -- I'm not being critical to the question.

And that is that there's two ways people are inspired by inspirational leaders and by terrible leaders, by terrible leaders. What this President has done is rip the band aid all the way off to let the country know who he is, and what he's about. And how thoroughly unfit for office he is. And you see already a number of Republicans. I was so proud. I know we're on opposite sides. I'll get criticized from some of the people in my party for saying this.

But I've worked very hard with and against the former, the President, the former, soon to be former Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. I thought what he said on the floor of the United States Senate was, in fact, the right thing to do. He stood up. He's ashamed. I spoke with a guy I have enormous respect for, enormous respect for, and I ran against him. Mitt Romney, I spoke to Mitt this morning, again. This is a man of enormous integrity, enormous integrity, who lives his faith.

There are so many more, but there's others who should be ashamed of themselves. But they make up a minority of the Republican Party. This isn't about Republican-Democrat anymore. This is about people who understand what this country is about. And the things we have to agree on a move together on.

I just think that if you look at it, speaking to some of my Republican colleagues, and I've spoken to a number of them over the last, last month since I've been, since we've been elected through recently as the day in which this god awful debacle was taking place up on the Hill. And I think they understand that they're going to have to -- we need a Republican Party. We need an opposition that's principled and strong.

And I think you're going to see them going through this idea of what constitutes Republican Party. And to hear some of my colleagues, Republican colleagues, talk about how shameful it is of the way Ted Cruz and others are dealing with this, how they're responsible as well for what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think some of them should resign? Should Senator Cruz or Senator Hawley resign?

BIDEN: Well, I think they should be just flat beat the next time they run. I think the American public has a real good clear look at who they are. They're part of the big lie, the big lie. I was being reminded by a friend of mine, and maybe you can think (ph), I can't recall when we're told that you know Goebbels in the great lie, you keep repeating the line, repeating the line.

Well, there was a print that when Dresden was bombed, firebombed, there were 250 people that were killed. It was a 2,500 people who were killed. And Goebbels said, no 25,000 or 250,000 were killed. And our papers printed that, our papers printed it. It's the big lie. People will notice one thing for one man, one woman to repeat the lie over and over and over again.

By the way, Trump said that before he ran, if you say it enough, I'm going to convince you, I'll say it enough. The press is bad. The press is bad. The press is bad. The press is bad. If he's the only one saying it, that's one thing. But the Acolytes that follow him, like Cruz and others, they are as responsible as he is. And so it's not about whether or not they get impeached. It's about whether or not they help can continue to hold power because to discuss the American people have for their actions.

There are decent people out there who actually believe these lies because they've heard it again and again. I was with a friend of mine who's a medical doctor telling me that his neighbor said to him, he lives in another state. His neighbors a good person said but, you know, Doc, this is true. There's a lot of, there's a lot of, a lot of chicanery that went on in this election. So, tell me what -- well, I just know the ones they say it is. They say it is. This is a human condition. You say it and say it and say it and say it.


The degree to which it becomes corrosive is in direct proportion of the number of people who say it. And so it's interesting to me and I was pleased to hear some more prominent Republicans say to me that Ted Cruz's of the world are as responsible in terms of people believing the lies as not as responsible but similar responsible like Trump. But they didn't say go to the Capitol. I'll be with you, follow. That's a different story. Thank you.


BIDEN: Thank you all very, very much. Appreciate it. Thank you.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: All right, let's take it from here. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. You've been listening to President-elect Joe Biden forceful, strong on the violence, the mob, the domestic terrorism that we saw this week, descending upon the U.S. Capitol, and also on the current sitting president, President Trump.

I've got Gloria Borger and Dana Bash. And ladies, as we walk through all of what we just heard, a couple of news nuggets and of course, I want to get to the inauguration in what he said. He was asked to point blank, do you support impeachment? We've been hearing that the Democrats are going to be introducing these articles as early as Monday. He is essentially saying, you know, it's up to Congress, right? So it seems to me he's not going to lead the charge, but he's also not going to get it in Speaker Pelosi's way.

Secondly, he said that there should be a full-blown investigation into the U.S. Capitol Police, into law enforcement, into the failures on so many levels. But Dana, let me begin with you on the third news nugget where we learned today that President Trump would not be attending President-elect Biden's inauguration January 20th. And he said, that is one of the few things we agree on.

Biden is clearly thrilled that Donald Trump is not coming. He said Trump has exceeded. This is a quote, exceeded my worst notions about him. What did you think of that?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Very strong, especially given as Gloria knows better than anybody how much of an institutionalist Joe Biden is, for him to go that far, particularly since he told our colleague Jake, I believe it was not that long ago that you hope that Joe Biden, that Donald Trump would come to his inauguration.

And that changed because of the quote that you just read, because he said he's not worthy, because of his actions over the last, you know, couple of weeks, but particularly over the last 48 hours or so. Remarkable.

But the kind of traditionalist came out when talking about Mike Pence, saying he would be honored for Mike Pence to be there. And it's clear that he believes that that is the sort of symbolic show that there still is a, you know, an American style peaceful transition with Mike Pence attending his inauguration.

BALDWIN: Gloria, what did you think?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Look, I think Joe Biden made it very clear that he's going to go his way and the Congress will go its way. And as Dana says, he's not going to get in their way. But he sorts of slipped at one point. And he said, you know, if this were six months out, I would do everything to, that's not a quote here to get rid of the guy, right? It seems to me that that's what he was saying, which but with less than two weeks left, he's kind of going to focus on what he's got to do on day one.

So, I think he's going to have a really interesting talk with Nancy Pelosi. And I don't think he's going to stand in anyone's way. But he doesn't want it to get in the way of his call for national unity, which is something he still wants to do. And in an odd way, the reason he's changed his mind about having Trump there at the inauguration, is that I think it's easier for him to make the case for national unity without Trump making a scene somehow, in the stands behind him.

I think the question still is, of course, what will Donald Trump do on Inauguration Day? Will he'll be playing golf at Mar-a-Lago? We don't have any idea. But I think at this point, Biden is so disgusted, and you could hear it in his voice. He's just so disgusted with him that he just wants to get past him.

BALDWIN: Yes, yes, yes.

BASH: Yes. Can I just add one thing, Brooke, if I may, on the impeachment? Gloria is right. And we were texting while we were listening to him because he was very much in, I need to punt mode and not say how I feel, and we know say this is up to Congress. But then, you know, when he was further questioned, he said well, you know, if we were six months out, that was definitely a tell about it, probably how he really feels.

But it is the, you know, exhibit A of and sort of, you know, the ultimate of the high wire act that Joe Biden is going to be on for the next four years. This is a really stark example. But what I mean by that is the fact that right now you have Democrats who are chomping at the bit, saying to Nancy Pelosi, we have to impeach this guy. We have to get Republicans on record.


And by the way, Pelosi is saying that, according to sources, I'm talking to back to her members. And that is the political reality inside the Democratic caucus right now. The political reality that Joe Biden is facing is an inauguration in 12 days.


BASH: And as Gloria said, a promise to call for unity. That is not going to change. There are going to be a lot of examples. This, of course, is an example on steroids.

BALDWIN: High wire act indeed. I mean, we could have a whole conversation and I will with a pretty prominent Republican leader just about the Republican Party and how it seems to be ripping at the seams and how he was saying, you know, that the Josh Hawley and the Ted Cruz's of the world are part of the big lie. We'll hit pause on that. Let me thank the two of you so, so much, Dana and Gloria, just you were both extraordinary to watch all week. Thank you both for being on with me as we kept the week.

BORGER: Good to see you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you. We have much more breaking news ahead, including President Trump telling aides that he has zero intention of resigning. Plus, a West Virginia state legislator who filmed himself storming the Capitol this week and a man who put his feet up on Speaker Pelosi's desk. They are now facing charges for the roles in that riot. We have those new details coming in ahead.

Also breaking right now the White House Task Force warns there could be a fast spreading USA variant of the coronavirus. Lots to talk about on this Friday, you're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.



BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Here's the breaking news now. CNN has obtained the latest version of the articles of impeachment that will be formally introduced by House Judiciary Democrats on Monday. This is provided by a Democratic source and it includes one article, which is incitement of insurrection. Let's start there with our CNN senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju. So, Manu, tell me more about the article and just how lawmakers plan to go about this.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, if assuming that the House does go to impeach and that's where the direction is headed right now, this could move pretty quickly. We could expect a vote in the full House potentially by the middle of next week, if not even an early part of next week.

This measure to impeach the President includes one count that is incitement of an insurrection. That is according to the draft language that is now being circulated. This has been drafted by several Judiciary Committee Democrats, Congressman David Cicilline, Ted Lieu, and Jamie Raskin. And as part of this, it also makes very clear it says that President Trump in their view has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with the self-governance and the rule of law.

This is President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial removal from office and disqualification to hold it enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States. And that last line is important because we're looking at the timing of all this, and the President, of course, is done with his term come January 20th. We're looking at a possible impeachment vote in the House next week.

So, in order to remove the President from office, you need to have a trial in the Senate, two-thirds of the Senate, 67 members need a vote to actually remove the President from office. Republicans control -- currently control the Senate up until January 20th when the majority flips to the Democratic control. And right now, there's no indication that Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader at the moment that wants to actually have a Senate trial before Donald Trump leaves office. That means, Brooke, that there could potentially be a Senate trial, after Donald Trump leaves office. And I am told on a conference call that happened this afternoon with House Democrats, this was something that they discussed, the possibility of having a trial in the beginning part of the new Biden administration with the new Senate Democratic majority, there were concerns about it could be awkward to begin the Biden ministration with a trial at the same time, concerned about those possible pitfalls that could fit -- they could face.

But those are the things they're still trying to sort through in a critical moment this afternoon will be when Nancy Pelosi speaks with Joe Biden. And we just heard Joe Biden did not embrace the idea of going forward with impeachment saying it's up to the Congress to decide. So, we'll see what those two decide when they talk, but at the moment, Brooke, a momentum for impeachment by House Democrats.

BALDWIN: Sounds like he's saying he's not going to get in the way of Nancy Pelosi but he's also not championing the idea either. That is huge that the Senate may take it up during the Biden administration, Manu. Thank you so much for the latest there.

Three White House advisors tell CNN that President Donald Trump has quote, zero intention of resigning. Kaitlan Collins is live at the White House on this angle. And so Kaitlan, despite all of these calls and resignations you're hearing President Trump is planning to stay put for the next 12 days. Does he acknowledge his role in this at all?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, I don't think the President's view of what's transpired this week is changed. No often it can be shaped by the coverage, but the President usually finds a way to deflect criticism. And he taped that video last night we are calling it a non-concession, concession speech, of course. And we were told that was the direct result of pressure from senior staff who said if you do not come out more forcefully and denounce what happened in the Nation's Capital on Wednesday, then you were at risk, serious risk of being removed from office.