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Erin Burnett Outfront
Twitter Suspends Trump's Account Permanently "Due to the Risk of Further Incitement of Violence"; Twitter Suspends Trump Permanently; Dems Plan to Introduce Impeachment Resolution Monday; WH in "Crisis Management" Mode; Source: As Riot Raged, Trump Pressed Senator for Vote Objections; Call Cut Off as Senators Asked to Move to Secure Location; Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) Discusses About When the House is Expected to Vote on Article of Impeachment of President Trump; Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is interviewed about calls for Senators Cruz, Hawley to Resign. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired January 08, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Please join me for a CNN SPECIAL REPORT: The Trump Insurrection 24 Hours That Shook America. That's at 10 Eastern Sunday night only here on CNN.
Thanks for watching. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, the White House in crisis mode. Twitter has now suspended President Donald Trump's account permanently silencing him as Democrats plan to introduce their first article of impeachment on Monday.
Plus, the man who broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office in custody tonight as we learn another rioter packed his truck with Molotov cocktails, a handgun and an assault rifle.
A new reporting tonight on the President pressuring a Republican senator into stalling Joe Biden's victory as rioters were terrorizing the U.S. Capitol. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good Friday evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, the White House tonight in full crisis mode. Twitter has suspended the President's account permanently. And Democrats are fast tracking the impeachment of President Donald Trump now for the second time. They plan to introduce an impeachment resolution on Monday.
We have obtained a draft of an article of impeachment, accusing the President of incitement of insurrection. And as I said, a dramatic move by Twitter. The platform that has been Trump's main method of communication with the American people from day one, as he said so himself so many times he has relied on Twitter almost exclusively and it has now suspended the President's account permanently they say due to the risk of further incitement of violence.
We're going to have much more on this breaking development and it comes as three White House advisors tell CNN that Trump is saying he did nothing wrong. Now, though, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is the first Republican to call on Trump to step down now. She has told the anchorage Daily News and I quote Senator Murkowski, "I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage. He doesn't want to stay there. He only wants to stay there for the title. He only wants to stay there for his ego."
Well, it is true. And it is Trump's ego and his concern only for himself that has led to this fragile and dangerous moment for all of us Americans. The day that will forever be remembered in history started just after 12 o'clock on Wednesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've been in two elections, I won them both and the second one I won much bigger than the first, OK? You'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong. So, let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue ...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. So then, Trump left the mob. He left the mob to go ahead. He went back to the White House where he watched, we have learned with enthusiasm and excitement as rioters stormed the Capitol. So, at 2:23pm, this is what was airing around the world and, of course, in the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is something I have never seen in my time covering Capitol Hill that protesters have actually breached not just the building, but come inside the building and just steps from where U.S. senators have been debating on the Senate floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: 2:23 p.m. rioters step from U.S. senators and from the Vice President who, of course, was presiding over that Senate floor. So, what did Trump do at 2:24 pm, one minute later? He tweeted about his vice president and this is what he said, "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. U.S.A. demands the truth."
So that was 2:24, two minutes then passed, and it is now 2:26 pm, this is what you, me, all of us were watching on TV, 2:26 pm, Trump again takes action. This time he picks up the phone. He calls Republican Senator Mike Lee, who at the time was huddled with his Senate colleagues in a temporary holding room because of the security breach. So, did the President call out of concerns for Lee's safety?
No. Trump according to Lee misdialed. He thought he had called Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville. Lee passed his phone to Tuberville who was also huddled in the room while the Capitol was under attack. Trump talked to Tuberville for nearly 10 minutes.
According to a source, the President was trying to get Tuberville to try and delay the vote to confirm Biden's win. That's what he was talking about where they were huddled because they were under attack and evacuated. And of course, delaying the vote was exactly what the mob was trying to accomplish. It was already happening, thanks to Trump's mob.
And then Lee eventually had to interrupt the phone call reportedly telling Tuberville, "I don't want to interrupt your call with the President, but we're being evacuated, and I need my phone."
Our Sunlen Serfaty is going to have more on this remarkable story coming up.
But back to the timeline here, because about an hour passes the situation, of course, is getting more and more dangerous. At four o'clock, video is out of protesters breaking windows. There had been an armed standoff on the House floor. We had all seen that unbelievable picture.
So around this time, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy talks to Trump. He tries to tell him. This is a really serious thing. This is a problem. He implores the President to forcefully denounce the attackers. The exchange was heated, and Trump refused to do it.
So, Trump then pressured by his advisors to address the rioters and this is part of the video that he finally put out at 4:17 pm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Stolen, landslide win, guns on the House floor, broken windows, but go home. It was all about him and the clock ticked on. At six o'clock pm Eastern, again, the images that were being broadcast around the world and in the White House, the Capitol torn apart, lawmakers' offices ransacked.
I mean, look at this, Trump supporters also at that time were in a standoff with riot police. There was a curfew in effect. The President did come out at 6:01 at that moment and this is what he did, he tweets. "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long."
That is what he did and that is what he said, when he saw those images. By the way, what would he have been without Twitter? And that was it without Trump, we would not hear from him for almost another 24 hours. In that time four people had died in connection to the riot, at least 10 staffers had resigned, cabinet secretaries were out the door, Vice President Mike Pence was being urged to invoke the 25th Amendment.
By the way, they still haven't even talked and the call for impeachment was loud and clear. And so at that moment, this was the only way President Trump thought he could save his presidency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence lawlessness and mayhem. Now Congress has certified the results. A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The video weighed with one objective, which was to hold off efforts to remove Trump from office, do it, or else so he did it. It was about him. Since then, Trump, of course, has still not mentioned the five people who died during the riot. He hasn't spoken live to the American people. He hasn't mentioned the more than 11,000 people who have died from coronavirus in the past 72 hours.
Kaitlan Collins begins our coverage OUTFRONT live near the White House. Kaitlan, as I go through that timeline and we juxtapose those images with the President's actions. It's disturbing. But one thing that stands out is that Twitter is so crucial to him, even at that moment, that was the primary way he communicated with the world and now that's over permanently.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's pretty stunning to see Erin that the President can no longer use this main form of communication that he has relied on for so many years. And really the tweets from yesterday and in the last few days just really sum it all up, because it's pushing his messages to the lawmakers that were doing his bidding, people like Tommy Tuberville, Josh Hawley and others but also criticizing people who weren't doing what he wanted. In this case, it was the Vice President.
And so it's just remarkable that now the President had this form of communication that he often bragged about so often how easily he could talk to 90 million of his supporters and now it is just gone like that. And we don't even know if the President is going to respond to this, because typically he would tweet about it and so we're waiting, we've asked the White House if they have any comments on this, but they have not responded so far.
I imagine the President will not be happy about this, but I think you're right that this comes into this context of what we've seen play out over the last several days and now what is happening inside the West Wing, where the President finds himself more isolated than ever. He has been excommunicated from a lot of senior staffers who are not speaking to him right now or not wanting to be around him right now given what's been going on. And also, of course, impeachment talk is ramping up and people in the
White House are kind of in a state of disbelief that they are facing down a potential second Trump impeachment within a year of the last one. And I think it's something that the White House aides who are still grappling with what happened on Wednesday now are facing what could be a very tumultuous 12 days of his final few days in office.
BURNETT: So one thing that was highlighted by that timeline is that Vice President Pence is on the Senate floor about to do his job and we've heard there were people in that mob who were literally talking about killing him in a horribly gruesome way.
And the President goes on Twitter and slams him. And what is the status of their relationship right now, Trump and Pence?
COLLINS: It's the lowest point that it's ever been and it's pretty stunning they're not even speaking to each other right now. They have not spoken since that happened on Wednesday. We've reported the President never called to check in on his most loyal deputy while he was on the Senate floor being evacuated because of what was going on, including those people who were trying to target the Vice President based on witnesses.
And the Vice President was at the White House today, we saw him come into work in his motorcade. It was the first time he had been there since Wednesday. We are told that he and the President did not have any communication today, which is pretty notable given that the Vice President and the President often speak on the phone at least several times a day and he's often in the Oval Office.
But that's where their relationship is right now, and the President has been basically entirely consumed with his grievances with Mike Pence as he was on Wednesday. As those pro-Trump - that pro-Trump mob was breaching Capitol Hill, he was still complaining about the Vice President back at the White House, according to several people I spoke with who had been on the phone and in-person with the President.
And one thing we should note on this, just to give you a sense of their reactions and how they're taking two completely different paths here, today we were told that the Vice President called the family of that slain Capitol police officer who, of course, only the fourth Capitol Police officer to die in line of duty in the 200 years since it's been a force.
And meanwhile, the White House, you'll notice behind me, you can see that flag on top of the White House, it's at full staff. That's not what you see on Capitol Hill where they lowered the flags to half- staff in honor of this police officer who was killed as a result of injuries that he sustained as that pro-Trump mob was attacking Capitol Hill.
And the White House put out a statement that was not in the President's name. He personally did not weigh in on Twitter before his account got suspended and they have not lowered those flags to half- staff despite us asking multiple times if they had planned to do so.
BURNETT: Thank you, Kaitlan.
I want to go to Sunlen Serfaty. She's OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill and a lot to talk about there, including the President's stunning phone call to Mr. Lee and Tuberville. But first, Sunlen, Democrats are now circulating a draft article of impeachment. What does it say? We got 12 days left here, what's the timeline?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there certainly, Erin, is a lot of momentum behind this on the part of Democrats and frankly some Republicans up here on Capitol Hill, which only speaks to the outrage, the anger and the desire to see President Trump get out of office.
Now, on Monday, we will see the House Democrats introduce their impeachment resolution. There is just one article of impeachment for incitement of an insurrection. And in part, the resolution reads, "President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power and imperiled a coordinate branch of government." He therefore betrayed his trust as president, to manifest injury of the people of the United States.
And we potentially could see things move very quickly up here on Capitol Hill next week after they introduced that resolution on Monday. The House Rules Committee will be reading, setting the terms of the debate. They potentially could move, Erin, towards a final vote in the House of Representatives, potentially Tuesday or Wednesday, of course, then it is when it likely will get passed, will be kicked over to the Senate, where of course they have the potential slow walk this before January 20th. The ultimate day President Trump will be leaving office.
BURNETT: OK. So, this is obviously important, we'll talk to someone who's in charge of these impeachment articles in a moment. But I want to ask you, Sunlen, about your reporting, that phone call that we talked about at the top of the program that President Trump made to Senator Lee, who at the time was huddled, under attack, the President was actually intending to call Sen. Tuberville, called the wrong number, riots underway. Tell me what more you're learning about this?
SERFATY: Well, what's really so stunning about that phone call, Erin, and you did a great job laying that out at the top of the scope of the show is a time that that phone calls came in, 2:26 pm. At that time, it shows where President Trump's concerns were.
His concerns were with his political future. His concern was getting the senators to join in the effort to not certify the results of the election. At 2:26 when this capital was under siege, when members of his party, his vice president was up here, he was calling what he thought was Sen. Tuberville. He called Sen. Mike Lee and Mike Lee put Sen. Tuberville on the phone who President Trump actually wanted to speak to and was trying essentially to lobby him, coerce him a Hail Mary in the end to try to get him to stand up and to object to more states certifying their electoral votes.
So again, this just speaks to where President Trump's concern was as the senators are being moved from room to room up here on Capitol Hill because of the danger, because of the threat. He was focused squarely on their political motivations here in getting Capitol Hill to not confirm the results of the election.
And again, there was another phone call that came in to Sen. Lee at 7 pm that evening, hours after the siege was going on when the debris was just starting to be cleaned up here on Capitol Hill from Rudy Giuliani, the President's attorney, again saying similar things. And again, that message was supposed to be for another senator.
BURNETT: Well, (inaudible) right phone number. All right. Thank you very much, Sunlen. I want to go now to the Democratic Congressman Jason Crow. Now, Congressman Crow served as a House impeachment manager during the impeachment of President Trump in 2019 and, obviously, we talked during that time.
So, Congressman, you know the ins and outs of this, and we've now learned that you, House Democrats, are going to introduce articles of impeachment as soon as Monday and Sunlen was sharing the draft of one article. So, putting all this together in the timeline we have, when do you expect to vote?
REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): I don't think we know enough to know when we have a vote. It's possible, I think, it could happen as quickly as mid to late next week. But the bottom line remains that we just need to do this as quickly as possible, because Donald Trump is a very violent and dangerous man.
He's unstable. He is not well and as we've seen not just over the last four years, but on full display on this past Wednesday, he is a danger to not just the domestic security of our nation and the security of individual Americans, but our national security as well and it has to stop as quickly as we can make it stop.
BURNETT: So, we have 12 days left in this country in the term of President Donald J. Trump and the President-elect Biden was asked about it today. This whole impeachment process and the timing, here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we were six months out, we should be doing everything to get him out of office and impeaching him again, 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He's not backing it, obviously. Are you worried that you all are trying to do something that's a political tool too late in the process?
CROW: This is not a political tool by any stretch of the imagination. This is about what's needed for our democracy in my very strong view and for the health and welfare of the American people on our national security. Like I said, the President has shown us time and time again who he is. There's multiple reports coming out that he has isolated himself. That he's getting less stable by the hour and by the day, but he is the Commander-in-chief and he holds the nuclear codes and he has a lot of power, the full power of the U.S. government behind him for the next day.
So that doesn't make me feel really good and I'm going to push hard. But the second really important point here is America and the world need to see that what happened on Wednesday as consequences, the people who stormed the Capitol, the mob have to be arrested and put in prison and the President has to have consequences, too.
BURNETT: So, for all of that to work, though, it needs to be bipartisan so that it doesn't look partisan, that it doesn't look political. So, do you have Republicans on board who are going to support you that this will be something that is clearly a statement being made by elected officials regardless of party about right and wrong?
CROW: Yes. We are working on that. I'm pushing, I'm having conversation, I'm reaching out to senators and members of the House pushing them hard and my colleagues are to really imploring them to do the right thing for the good of the country and to keep their oath because before Wednesday if they didn't think this was the right thing to do, they sure should know it now after several of us had to defend the House Chamber against a riotous mob.
So, it's always a good time to do the right thing. It should have happened a long time ago, it didn't. But it sure can happen now.
BURNETT: So, let me ask you because you express your concern about the President and what he could do as a clear and present danger. Twitter has now banned him officially and permanently, so he can't come out and tweet over the next 12 days. Do you think that that will make a difference?
CROW: I do think it'll make a difference. The more things we can do that can take away his ability to have a microphone and to influence the mob like he did on Wednesday and continue to peddle with his conspiracy theories, his lies, his falsehoods and don't incite violence like he's been doing for years now, the better it is for our country and for our democracy.
So, I applaud that move and it is now time for members of the Senate and the House, my Republican friends to join with us to defend this country and to do the right thing. So, I'm an optimist, even after Wednesday and it's my hope that we can get some folks to join us.
BURNETT: All right. Congressman, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much, Congressman Crow.
And I want to go now to Gloria Borger, Nick Ackerman, who is an Assistant Special Watergate Prosecutor and our own Abby Phillip.
Gloria, let me start with Twitter, as the Congressman was just talking about, banning Trump permanently. He has so often said, I don't need any of you, meaning the media, I have Twitter. That has been his way to communicate and it has now been completely taken away from him. It's a big deal.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Twitter is his lifeline. Twitter is his best friend. Twitter seems to be where he spends an awful lot of his time when he's not watching television. It's going to be very difficult for him to figure out what to do without it.
Of course, they can always use, until January 20th, the White House account if the President has something urgent. He wants to say or retweet. But that is the official White House account.
So, Twitter understood exactly what it was doing when they took away this toy from the President of the United States, but clearly, they felt that there is something very onerous going on here. And you can see this and what they tweeted and let me, in their blog, they made it very clear. Let me read this to you.
"Plans for future armed protests have already gone proliferating on and off Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the U.S. Capitol and State Capitol buildings on January 17, 2021." We at CNN, of course, are going to be looking into this. But they clearly believe that the President's tweets can continue to talk to people who are planning future attacks against the United States government.
BURNETT: Wow. I mean, Abby, as Gloria said, we are looking into that and the reporting there. But they're not putting it out if they don't believe it's serious and they're not seeing it. So, Abby, what is the significance though for Trump here? It is where he spends all of his time and he loves that he can be so inappropriate on Twitter. That's his lifeline.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is his outlet and this is a president who constantly needs an outlet from what seems to be based on what we're hearing from sources an increasingly isolated and frustrated state that he's in, in the White House in which very few people around him can reach him.
What's important also about his Twitter account beyond just being a venue for him to speak to supporters, it's also a way for him to go around his own aides. One of the things about the Twitter account is that many times White House aides actually have no idea what the President is about to tweet and so they can't look at it, they can't edit it, they can't try to censor it themselves in any sort of way or convince him out of some of his most outrageous tweets, so he loses that.
But let's be honest here, first of all, Twitter is a private company. They can do what they want with who is on their platform. And the President, like every other president before him, still has the ability to put out press releases. He controls the whitehouse.gov website that he can put press releases out himself. He can do all kinds of things. But all of those things require him to go through actual White House channels, which is probably why he'll be pretty frustrated about this.
BURNETT: Right. Well, and of course he could speak live to the American people at any point. He has chosen not to do so since any of this began, not in any way, shape or form.
Nick, I want to ask you about the draft article of impeachment. Congressman Crow was talking about it. I know you've had a chance to look at it. The Democrats are circulating it. Obviously, they need to get Republicans on board. But I want to ask you, is it the right article? Is it the right thing? Is it written right?
NICK ACKERMAN, FMR. ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Oh, yes, absolutely. I mean, it's very pointed, it goes right to his incitement at the riot at the Capitol. It goes right to what he did. I mean, this is an extremely serious crime. It just can't be understated at all.
I mean, what he did wasn't just making and perpetrating and continuing to lie about having won the election and that the election was rigged. But he also incited people to violence that resulted in four people being murdered.
Now, if you just took it outside of the impeachment process, he could be charged with felony murder. That's the job (ph).
BURNETT: So, let me jump in there, because that's my question to you, one does not preclude the other.
ACKERMAN: That's right.
BURNETT: But what do you think is the best way for the country to have it be handled legally as indeed it may be a legal thing or to have it go through the impeachment process which, of course, is it is a political process, it is through Congress?
ACKERMAN: Right. But they're both also legal processes. The impeachment process is provided for in our Constitution and I think that people can reasonably assume that this man is extremely dangerous.
It's no coincidence that all of the current living Secretaries of Defense have come out in a statement warning this president not to use the military before he leaves office to further his basically false objective of trying to stay in office. There's a reason why that was done.
I think every day that he stays in there, there's a danger that he could do something like that and I think the one way we have to get him out of there immediately is impeachment, remove him from office and preventing him from ever holding federal office again, which I must say a lot of Republicans are going to find that very attractive if they want to clear the way to have a real presidential election.
BURNETT: So, the process itself though, Gloria, you heard Congressman Crow, they could get a vote in the House by the end of next week and that's moving at lightning speed for this kind of thing. It was four months for the last time.
However, the House Intelligence Chairman, Adam Schiff, he led the impeachment probe in 2019. He was basically saying the trial itself in the Senate wouldn't even happen under all this until after January 20th when Biden is in office and that could make things a whole lot more difficult for Biden that you have this whole thing going on.
BURNETT: And that maybe is why Biden does not, it seems at best lukewarm on this.
BORGER: Right. Well, Adam Schiff is a hundred percent right. It would be very odd to have an impeachment trial in the Senate after the President's no longer in office. Biden was completely unenthusiastic about this today. I mean, he kind of punted when he was asked the question. He said, well, the Congress has got to do what the Congress has got to do, I'm focusing on my administration.
But what you're seeing on Capitol Hill are people who are so angry and frustrated about this president on both sides of the aisle, that they're trying to figure out a way to hold him accountable in one way or another. They just feel like even if it doesn't come to fruition, they want to be on the record, talking about what this President has done and what he incited, which they consider, and we've all called it domestic terrorism.
And they feel that they need a way to express themselves on the record officially one way or the other if Mike Pence is not going to say, OK, let's have the 25th Amendment. And it's clear, Mike Pence, while he may not be talking to the President is clearly not interested in the 25th Amendment.
BURNETT: Right. Well, of course, it's interesting in the context, again, at the top of the program, I mentioned Lisa Murkowski saying that he should resign.
BURNETT: It's all about ego. You do have Republicans who weren't on board last time, who may be this time, but again that's over in the Senate. So, thanks very much to all.
So, I just want to update everyone on what we're learning here on this situation of this breaking news on Twitter. A White House official is telling us that they are now exploring alternatives for releasing the President's next recorded video now that he has been permanently banned from Twitter. The White House obviously planned to release that statement on his Twitter account. OUTFRONT now, Brian Stelter, our Chief Media Correspondent and Anchor
of RELIABLE SOURCES and Donie O'Sullivan, our Correspondent who has been closely covering this information online and talking to many of the people who were at this originally a Trump rally.
So, Brian, obviously, this is a big decision for Twitter. It's a private company. But they didn't do it for years and years and years. They did it now.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right.
BURNETT: And it comes with a very chilling warning and a very specific one, not just because, oh, all of a sudden, they think he's a clear and present danger. There's a specificity to this.
STELTER: Yes. Twitter is not just thinking about the past, they are thinking about the future, the next few days and weeks. Let's put on screen the warning that Gloria Borger read a few minutes ago, this is crucial to read again. "Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating both on and off Twitter, including a possible attack at the capitol or in state capitals on January 17th, in the days before the inauguration.
We know, Erin, this was not just in Washington on Wednesday. There were skirmishes in several other states. There were fistfights. There were other clashes in other states. There's a real concern about further escalation. So Twitter is saying one of the reasons why Trump is now banned it is because of that possibility.
And this is the first time a world leader has been banned from Twitter. We've heard people say what about the White House account. What about the POTUS account? Just now I've heard from a spokesperson for Twitter, Erin, they're still trying to figure out what to do about those other accounts. But those are official U.S. government accounts, so that is a different scenario and they say this ban does apply to Donald Trump.
So, if he goes off and tries to tweet from some other account ...
BURNETT: They'll ban it.
STELTER: ... he will be banned from those accounts as well.
BURNETT: So Donie, the specificity is chilling. You, of course, have been talking to so many of the President's supporters and we've all seen those interviews. What's the permanent suspension - what's the impact going to be do you think?
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: I think this is really going to rile his supporters up. I mean, Trump has been drumming the beat for years that big tech is out to get him even though he had one of the most powerful and the most influential accounts on Facebook and Twitter for years. Of course, that big question is, where does he go next and where does his supporters go next? And there are other platforms out there. They're much smaller. Don't
get me wrong. The president will not have the audience he had on Twitter. But there are platforms out there like Parlier that allow hate speech, that allow all sorts of violent rhetoric and he could move there.
That is going to be a new challenge, you know, in this week really of reckoning for the role of social media in the United States. This is going to be a new challenge. If Trump goes to a platform where there are no rules at all and we saw how bad Facebook and Twitter have been in implementing any rules against President Trump, up until this week, if they go to another platform, that could be dragging them into even more danger, a more perilous situation -- Erin.
BURNETT: So, Brian, now that the president has been banned from all these platforms Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, he does have other platforms like Donie just mentioned, Parler, right?
And so what happens then? Now there are reports apple is going to ban Parler so people can't get it on their phones in case he tries to do that?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right. So, Apple has a message to parlor giving them 24 hours to address content moderation issues. Apple has control of its App Store. It can remove Parler.
We have seen these technology companies take action in the past against Info Wars, against extremist content. Perhaps Parler is the next one.
As Donie says, he's going to feed into Trump fans' sense of resentment and grievance, but the First Amendment does not apply to these platforms and these tech companies believe there is a clear and present danger to the public. I hope the senators and House members hear that.
BURNETT: It's very interesting. As you point out, they are not subject to the First Amendment.
Brian, Donie, thank you both very much.
And, next, breaking news. The treasury secretary of the United States now reportedly involved in discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment, Secretary Mnuchin. "The Washington Post" reporter who just broke that significant development is next.
Plus, charges filed against the rioters who stormed the capitol, including the man seen in Nancy Pelosi's office.
And Ted Cruz, the senator is desperately trying to rewrite history. He's hoping everyone will just forget what he said again and again and again about Trump.
[19:36:11] BURNETT: Breaking news, the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has been involved in talks about the 25th Amendment, and this is according to new reporting just breaking from "The Washington Post".
I want to go straight to Jeff Stein. He's "The Post" reporter who broke this news.
Jeff, tell me what you're learning.
JEFF STEIN, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMICS REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: So, we should be clear here and caveat this, that's still, according to everyone I talked to, in and around the White House. Everyone maintains that this is still extremely unlikely and more to the point, we don't even know if Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is interested in pursuing this.
But we can report according to three people with direct knowledge of the conversations Mnuchin had discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment, which would allow the cabinet and vice president to unilaterally get rid of the president.
Again, I can't stress this enough, it still doesn't seem like the most likely outcome here.
STEIN: But the fact it has been discussed at all is a remarkable indication of the fallout within the Trump administration itself of the events of the Capitol.
BURNETT: Yeah, and, Jeff, I think that is a really important point. Because, obviously, you know, the vice president has not indicated in any way that he is on board which is a big issue and there are questions. So many people have been leaving the cabinet so how would this even happen?
But to your point, Mnuchin who is very well respected, came into this administration, stuck through it by the president's side, he has been very loyal by staying, right? Many others have left and made it clear they can't tolerate it.
So, what does it tell you that he is even engaged in these conversations?
STEIN: I think as someone who has covered Steven Mnuchin for a number of years now, I never really thought I would see the point at which you would even hear private complaints from the treasury secretary about the president. His fealty, his obedience, his loyalty to the president has been remarkable since he joined as campaign finance co- chair in 2016.
Mnuchin, of course, shielded President Trump's tax returns despite a 1924 congressional law that explicitly gave Congress the right to see them. He has defended the president after his remarks following Charlottesville. Over and over again, after controversy and controversy, we have seen Mnuchin go to bat for the president. The fact that as I reported today, Mnuchin is privately expressing
frustration and anger toward how the president handled this, is really a remarkable sign of how even people close to the president are appalled by what happened on Wednesday.
BURNETT: Jeff, thank you very much.
As that news breaks, also breaking this hour, federal prosecutors announcing another person charged after the riot on Capitol Hill. That brings the total now to 14 federal charges. This is the founder of the Hawaii chapter of the far-right Proud Boys arrested after admitting to CNN he had entered the U.S. Capitol.
Federal prosecutors also charging another man Richard Barnett, the man you see photographed kicking his feet up on the House speaker's desk writing on a folder, quote, we will not back down.
Pete Muntean is OUTFRONT.
And, Pete, what else do you know about the charges that are announced today?
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Stunning new details, Erin. The Department of Justice says one man packed his truck full of explosives, parked it only a few blocks from here. But it wasn't for hours until police made the discovery. Investigators say the fall out for him and many more in Wednesday's mob is only just beginning.
MUNTEAN (voice-over): New court documents detail the charges against Lonnie Coffman of Alabama who federal officials say packed his truck with 11 Molotov cocktails, a handgun, and an assault rifle and parked it only a block from the Capitol grounds. He is one of 13 people just charged by the Department of Justice as investigators are scouring the Internet for images to identify those involved in Wednesday's attack on the Capitol.
Federal officials also just charged West Virginia state lawmaker Derrick Evans after he live streamed from inside the Capitol and identified himself.
DERRICK EVANS, WEST VIRGINIA STATE LAWMAKER: We're in, we're in! Derrick Evans in the Capitol!
MUNTEAN: Evans' attorney insists his client is not a criminal, instead exercising his first amendment rights as a, quote, independent activist and journalist.
Evans later deleted the clip, but West Virginia's governor did not mince words about what he saw.
GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R-WV): This is a scar on West Virginia. How in the world can we possibly, possibly think that's anything but bad stuff? MUNTEAN: Also arrested, the man seen sitting at a desk in House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.
Richard Barnett of Arkansas now faces a trio of federal charges including theft of public property. An act he detailed in a local television interview on Thursday.
RICHARD BARNETT: I set my flag down, I sat down there in my desk. I'm a taxpayer. I'm a patriot. That ain't her desk. We loaned her that desk and she ain't appreciating the desk, so I thought I'd sit down and appreciate the desk. I threw my feet up on the desk.
MUNTEAN: But not all the consequences are coming through the justice system. A Texas attorney is no longer employed by his insurance company after posting what he called peacefully demonstrating on Facebook. A Maryland marketing company fired a worker seen inside the capitol wearing his company ID badge. And former Pennsylvania state lawmaker Rick Saccone resigned from his post as an adjunct college instructor after he posted this video to Facebook.
RICK SACCONE, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA STATE LAWMAKER: Broke down the gates and they're macing them up there. We're trying to run out all the evil people here and the all the RINOs that have betrayed our president. We're going to run them out of their offices.
MUNTEAN: Police in Washington are distributing photos of those who stormed the capitol and now say they've received more than 17,000 tips. D.C.'s acting police chief says they will aggressively pursue persons of interest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still have a significant amount of work ahead of us to identify and hold each and every one of the violent mob accountable for their actions.
MUNTEAN (on camera): Investigators say the photos are key, Erin. The FBI set up its own portal so people can upload their own photos in a place already laden with cameras, it will become especially hard to hide from the law -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Pete, thank you very much.
Next, you have to see this. Senator Ted Cruz, so he is in cleanup mode tonight giving an interview trying to explain his strong support for Trump. He claims that he has strongly disagreed with the president, but he has been a critic of the president. The facts, next.
And sources telling CNN a Trump impeachment trial could take place after Trump is out of office. How? What? Will it happen?
BURNETT: Breaking news, Lisa Murkowski, the first Republican senator to say President Trump should resign after inciting the insurrection on Capitol Hill. This as one of Trump's biggest defenders in his election lies, Senator Ted Cruz, is doing damage control.
This is what Senator Cruz is saying now. He just gave an exclusive interview about Trump to station KTRK.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): The president's language and rhetoric often goes too far. I think yesterday in particular the president's language and rhetoric crossed a line and it was reckless. I disagree with it. And I have disagreed with the president's language and rhetoric for the last four years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: What? He has disagreed with the president's language and rhetoric for the past four years?
OK. Hold that thought about the four years. I want to start with what else he said. Quote, yesterday in particular. The president's language and rhetoric crossed the line and it was reckless. I disagree with it, end quote.
This is pretty easy to check. OK? Here is Trump with his language and rhetoric at 12:15 p.m.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to walk down to the Capitol and we're going to cheer on or brave senators and congressmen and women and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength. And you have to be strong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, then the violent mob incited by that rhetoric descended on Capitol Hill. That was 12:15.
So, at 1:12 p.m. Senator Cruz stood up to challenge the free and fair election on Trump's behalf.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Is the objection in writing and signed by a senator?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is.
CRUZ: It is.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: That is Senator Ted Cruz not calling out Trump's rhetoric and language, and neither by the way did he in the fundraising text his campaign sent as the insurrection was taking place. Cruz raising money off it.
The text said: I am leading the fight to reject electors from key states unless there is an emergency audit of the election results. Will you stand with me?
So, when Senator Cruz in that interview told Texas voters. He thought Trump's actions, his words, his language, and rhetoric on Wednesday was wrong, he was not telling them the truth.
OK. So now the next part of what Cruz said in that interview, right? Quote, I have disagreed with the president's language and rhetoric for the last four years. This is too easy. Because Senator Cruz not only did not stand up to disagree with Trump's language and rhetoric during the four years of his presidency. He -- OK. You listen. You decide what words are best to describe this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: I am honored that President Trump is here endorsing and supporting my campaign.
I've worked hand in hand with President Trump from the day he's been elected and been together we've accomplished incredible results for the country.
God bless President Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And, of course, it isn't as if anything that Trump said on the day of the riot is different than other things, he has said over the past several months to win re-election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The only thing they understand is strength. Remember that.
Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.
We did not come this far and fight this hard only to surrender.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Cruz never said a word about that language or rhetoric. Not a word.
Of course, to state the fact again, he was the one who led the charge to object to the election on the Senate floor.
And think about this. In that crowd, that mob, there were people that "Reuters" heard talking about killing Mike Pence and stringing him up on a tree. Could some of that be because of people like Ted Cruz never disagree with these kinds of comments made by Trump again and again against those die-hard supporters?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of the paddy wagon -- you just see them thrown in, rough -- I said, please don't be too nice.
Any guy than can do a body slam is my kind of guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Never a pip from Cruz, never once. And then there is this. When Ted Cruz was running against Donald Trump to be the Republican nominee for president, back then, he did disagree.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: Donald, you are a sniveling coward.
This man is a pathological liar, a narcissist at a level that I don't think this country ever seen.
The man is utterly amoral. Morality does not exist for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNET: Wow. In fact, the old Ted Cruz back in 2016 actually spoke out about the violence. He nailed it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CRUZ: He's willing to say things regardless of the consequences. What he's willing to say and what he's willing to do does real damage potentially to the country, Donald Trump now has a consistent pattern of inciting violence. Of Donald and his henchmen pushing for violence.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: You could not make that up, could you? What happened to that Senator Ted Cruz? Because once Trump was president, Cruz became a sycophant.
OUTFRONT now, Amanda Carpenter, who used to be the communications director for Senator Cruz, and the former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania, Charlie Dent.
Amanda, you know Cruz pre, during, post. What he said in that interview to the Texas station is false, as we just showed. But he says it with a straight face. What's your reaction?
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, the old Ted Cruz is the one I work for and supported. And the new Ted Cruz post-Trump is one I don't recognize. I can surmise that he thinks he is a very smart lawyer who can parse his way out of this and perhaps in his mind he has some kind of rationale, but that's just not believable. And he has to come to terms with the fact that he, threw his actions directly played into the hands of the mob, and stop.
That is what happened, and it is so horrifying to watch someone descend into this and not be able to admit would happen. When you work for him and you believed in him, it's just -- it's really hard to watch, Erin.
BURNETT: I'm sure it is. I knew you back then and you were loyal to him. You believed in him in those days.
Congressman Dent, what do you make of this? I mean, he actually uses the words that Trump incites violence. He actually used those words in 2016.
CHARLIE DENT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Erin, I did not support the old or new Ted Cruz. I watched him operate in 2013 when he led the charge to shut down the government, completely futile, destructive effort, just to raise his political profile and advance his own presidential ambitions. It was a terrible thing that he did.
And again, here we are. He is advancing his own political ambitions by carrying the president's water, to challenge the electoral vote and again in a futile effort. He did this and he isn't unapologetic.
This is what he does. This is part of the reason he is so unpopular with much of his colleagues. So, he is not fooling anybody with this.
I mean, the president of the United States called his wife ugly and said his father was somehow part of a conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy, and he still goes out there and grovels before the president, and a party, as Amanda said, to this horrible insurrection that we just witnessed at the U.S. capital.
BURNETT: So, you know, Amanda, what is interesting here is that you saw the same thing. You had Senator Hawley, Josh Hawley, right? He's equally as Ted Cruz a part of this.
And then no one perhaps more loyal to President Trump in the Senate than Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
Yet this is how supporters of President Trump greeted Senator Graham at the Reagan National Airport today, because even though he is still standing by Trump in all of his tweets, he did not actually exact object to the election results. Here's what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lindsey Graham you are a traitor to the country. You know it was rigged. You know it was rigged. You know it was rigged.
You're garbage human being. It's going to be like this forever wherever you go for the rest of your life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Amanda, that's after Graham had tweeted how wonderful the video was of Trump kind of trying to move on past it. They turned on him.
CARPENTER: Yeah, and I think Cruz and Hawley somehow have convinced themselves out of arrogance that they can tame this mob, maybe they can do Trumpism without the bad tweets.
That's false. That is false. They only care about power and Trump and they'll come after you. That's why it is absolutely imperative Trump is impeached and removed and members of Congress who played a role in the hands of the mob should also face some accountability.
BURNETT: I thank you both very, very much. Thank you, Congressman and Amanda.
I want to go to now to Democratic senator from Oregon, Jeff Merkley.
Senator, you know, there are calls for Senators Cruz and Hawley to resign over their roles and all of this. President-elect Biden said voters should be the one to remove them from office. What do you fall on this?
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): Well, Erin, I do think for them to resign is appropriate. And here's why, there were -- there were two insurrections that they witnessed this week. One was a mob outside the Capitol that surged into the Capitol, trying to disrupt the process and they could have gotten their hands-on on the electoral ballots, they would have burned them.
And the second was leadership inside the Senate with Hawley and Cruz basically saying we want to burn the ballots, and the voted to do so. They voted to burn the ballots of Arizona, they voted to burn the ballots of Pennsylvania, and they didn't comply with the constitutional role of counting the ballots.
And they made no case that indeed there were some great flaw in the election. They said simply because there is a mob that is upset, we should listen to them and do what they want and interrupt this process.
And you -- that is not a stature of a U.S. senator. That is not the way to show leadership. They should have said to the mob you were wrong. The president is wrong. This election was valid.
That's how we sustain the institutions that have proven to be more fragile than we anticipated. I think it is appropriate for them to step down.
BURNETT: All right. So, you have tweeted that Trump is absolutely unfit and should be removed from office. If we can do it on January 20th, by impeachment, I am all for it. By the way, of course, your Republican colleague Lisa Murkowski has now said she believes that the president needs to resign, should be removed. He's all about ego.
So, maybe you have more votes than you had last time around. It's the only point I'm making.
However, you know, Adam Schiff is saying that your impeachment of Trump in the Senate would not be completed by inauguration day. So, first of all, can it? And if it can't, do you just say hold off on the impeachment?
MERKLEY: You know, my first reaction when the idea came up was to say, you have to realize it takes months in the House. You have a big complex process in the Senate. It can't possibly have a trial completed. Mitch McConnell would never put on the floor and all kinds of procedural problems.
But then I listen to people, and I said, you know, even if the House acts alone and Mitch McConnell never puts it on trial which he should if the House acts but if he doesn't, it is still a sounding statement about the president's conduct that will resonate through time to come and there have to be other ways to hold people accountable.
We cannot look pass this and not have a pardon. We need to hold them accountable in every way possible.
BURNETT: Before we know, I know your office was damaged, a lot of damage there. You put out some videos of what it was. They left the flag. A laptop was stolen.
Can you tell me what happened to your office and if you have concerns about what was on that laptop?
MERKLEY: Yes, people smashed into the door of my Capitol office, threw things on the floor, smoked, threw things on the floor, threw things around, a laptop disappeared off the table.
The Capitol police were able to track its signal and recovered it. So, it is fine. It was password protected and I was never really too worried about the contents, but the laptop itself is now safely back in our hands.
BURNETT: And very quickly, that office was your hideaway office. Your name is not on it, how did you think it got there? Do you think they knew it was yours? What happened?
MERKLEY: No, I don't think they knew it was mine, because every single door of that hallway was damaged. And they -- I mean, I couldn't -- I tried to shut the door and lock it that night when I went back there late at night and reviewed the damage and take -- took the videos. And the hinges -- this is a massive door that's probably been in that office for 100-plus years, who knows when it was -- maybe it's the original door.
It's in the old -- it's in the old section of the Capitol where the wings were at it. Those hinges were ripped from the side of the door.
And so, they were, they were -- I think what they were doing was taking the cases that you saw piled up like desks broken in the hallway. My office was right across from that. And I think they were smashing -- my suspicion was they smashed it into the door until it gave way. But there it is.
BURNETT: Well, that's actually a very powerful image. Thank you very much, Senator. And I appreciate your time.
MERKLEY: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: Thanks to all of you.
Anderson is next.