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House Managers & Defense Attorneys Will Make Closing Arguments of Impeachment Trial Today, Senate Vote to Follow; Trump Legal Team Uses Just Three Hours to Present its Case; Daily U.S. COVID Cases Below 100K for First Time in 100 Days; Seven-Day Average of New Cases Fall As Vaccinations Increase Across the U.S.; Federal Government Begins Direct Shipments of Vaccines to Pharmacies; White House Aide Suspended for Threatening a Reporter. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired February 13, 2021 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: "STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY" will be there for you. The award-winning actor and best-selling cookbook author's new show airs tomorrow night at 9:00.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
PAUL: It looks dark and fairly quiet there right now. That is not going to be the case in just a couple of hours. We find out today whether the Senate will find former President Donald Trump guilty of inciting the January 6th insurrection on Capitol Hill. In just a few hours, the Senate will reconvene for the final steps in the impeachment trial.
BLACKWELL: Now, House managers could ask for witnesses, but that does not seem likely. Now, we do know today's proceedings will include closing arguments and the final vote on conviction or acquittal is expected to come in the afternoon. Now, the former president's legal team, they laid out a short rebuttal yesterday. The defense claimed that his rhetoric did not incite the rioters. They tried comparing it to speeches from Democrats and argued the former president is protected under the First Amendment.
PAUL: Key question the defense left unanswered here, though, is what, if anything, the then president actually did to respond to the riot, particularly considering the danger to his own vice president. We have more on that reporting coming up as well, but first, here are some of the key arguments from yesterday's proceedings.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Senate will convene as a court of impeachment.
MICHAEL VAN DER VEEN, FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP'S DEFENSE LAWYER: No thinking person could seriously believe that the President's January 6th speech on the Ellipse was in any way an incitement to violence or insurrection. The suggestion is patently absurd on its face.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we fight.
VAN DER VEEN: You can't insight what was already going to happen. This unprecedented effort is not about Democrats opposing political violence. It is about Democrats trying to disqualify their political opposition. It is constitutional cancel culture.
DAVID SCHOEN, FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP'S DEFENSE LAWYER: We have reason to believe the House managers manipulated evidence and selectively edited footage.
TRUMP: I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.
SCHOEN: Why are we walking to the Capitol? Well, they cut that off. The House managers spoke about rhetoric, about a constant drumbeat of heated language. We need to show you some of their own words.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): And you've got to be ready to throw a punch.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we were in high school, I'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.
VAN DER VEEN: This is not what about-ism. I am showing you this to make the point that all political speech must be protected.
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We know how to fight. We like a good fight.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Have got to stand up and fight. And fight and fight.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): We are in this fight for our lives.
HARRIS: We cannot ever give up flicking.
VAN DER VEEN: These are the metaphorical rhetorical uses of the word "fight." We all know that, right? Suddenly the word "fight" is off limits? Spare us the hypocrisy. The reality is Mr. Trump was not in any way, shape or form instructing these people to fight or to use physical violence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): The House managers assert that the January 6th attack was predictable, and it was foreseeable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is our Capitol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): If so, why did it appear that law enforcement at the Capitol were caught off guard?
VAN DER VEEN: Holy cow. That is a really good question and had the House managers done their investigation, maybe somebody would have an answer to that, but they didn't. They did zero investigation. They did nothing. They looked into nothing, but Jiminy Crickets, there is no due process in this proceeding at all.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): And, you know, my counsel said before this has been my worst experience in Washington and for that, I guess we're sorry, but man, you should have been here on January 6th.
Rather than yelling at us and screaming about how we didn't have time to get all of the facts about what your client did, bring your client up here and have him testify under oath about why he was sending out tweets denouncing the Vice President of the United States while the Vice President was being hunted down by a mob that wanted to hang him and was chanting in this building, "Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence. Traitor, traitor, traitor."
(END VIDEO TAPE)
PAUL: CNN's Lauren Fox is on Capitol Hill where the trial's set to resume later this morning. So help us understand what we're going to see today.
This could essentially be it potentially?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's exactly right, Christi, and, look, today is a massive day on Capitol Hill because we are going to get a chance to see or at least we expect we're going to get a chance to see which Republicans are willing to move ahead with convicting former President Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection. This trial has moved rapidly, and you can expect that today, that will also be the case.
There is a potential debate on witnesses. We have no expectation at this point that House managers plan to push for witnesses. If that's the case, they can skip that two-hour debate, potentially move on to a debate about motions and evidentiary support. If they want to go ahead and waive that, which we expect could also happen, then they move into four hours of closing arguments. Each side will get an opportunity to make their final plea to the senators in the chamber.
This is an opportunity for House managers to try to cement support from some of those Republicans who we expect are really mulling over whether or not they want to convict the former president. Senators like Senator bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana who, a couple of weeks ago, didn't think this trial was even constitutional because it was of a former president, but has been convinced that the House managers' case was so compelling, so strong that he believes that this is a constitutional process.
All eyes on him. He asked a question yesterday trying to get a better sense of the timeline. What did the former president know and when did he know it about when Mike Pence, his vice president, was in danger? He didn't get a clear answer from the former President's defense team and he was disappointed by that, he told reporters. He said he didn't think that he got the clarity that he needed.
So, I think that that is the kind of example of you are seeing Republicans seriously consider what to do. I should note, there are not 17 Republicans at this point willing to convict the former president. Yes, they think that this testimony has been compelling, yes, they think the video evidence that they have seen has stirred something in them, but that is different than being willing to convict the former president.
And I think that all eyes are going to be on those six Republicans that voted that this process was constitutional and whether they ultimately join with Democrats today in convicting Trump. Victor and Christi?
BLACKWELL: Well, Lauren Fox for us there on Capitol Hill. Thanks so much. Let's bring in CNN political commentator Errol Louis, host of the "You Decide" podcast, and Michael Zeldin, former federal prosecutor and special assistant to Robert Mueller at the Justice Department. Gentlemen, good morning to you. Let's start with this question of witnesses and I want to split it up. Errol, I'll come to you with the political considerations in a moment, but, Michael, I'm going to start with the legal element here.
Tommy Tuberville, Alabama senator, says that he spoke with President -- former President Trump and mentioned that the Vice President had just been taken out of the chamber. CNN's reporting is that Leader McCarthy spoke with the former president as the insurrectionists were breaking into his office through the window. Should they be deposed? Should they be called as witnesses? Michael first.
MICHAEL ZELDIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think they should call witnesses because there's a key aspect of this case that's not yet solidified which is what did President Trump know at the time that Pence was in trouble and what did he not do in response to that knowledge? We have reporting that McCarthy and Trump were in a heated argument about that.
We have two congresspeople on record saying that Trump was being begged to call in the National Guard or take affirmative steps to call off the insurrection and he did none of those things (ph) and that is, I think, a critical part of his state of mind and it goes very much to did he intend this incitement? Because if he intended it, not calling it off is proof of that.
So yes, it's complicated, yes, they want this trial to move forward quickly. The Senate is supposed to go on recess starting on Monday for President's Day week, but I think America needs to hear from these witnesses about what the President knew, why he didn't act and I think that will determine the outcome of this trial.
BLACKWELL: And that leans into the political considerations. Errol, to you because Senator Sheldon Whitehouse says that Tuberville and McCarthy should be deposed, but you've got the Biden administration that wants to move forward on COVID relief, the continuation of confirmation of cabinet and sub-cabinet level appointees. Walk us through what the considerations are around this decision.
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. Well, look, when it comes to the Biden administration, they have steered clear of any mention of this, we've heard. From time to time, they might answer questions, but they've gone out of their way to make clear that they are not in any way, shape or form -- they put out a president schedule in which he's doing all kinds of different things while this impeachment trial is taking place.
They want to make clear that this is not something that they're spending time on, at least they don't want to be seen that way.
But honestly, if there were a day or two, even a day and a half worth of factual inquiry in this, it wouldn't really substantially set back their agenda. The time is not so tight that they need every spare hour in the next few days, but it does mean that the Democrats are going to try and push for this and the Republicans are going to try and get it over with as quickly as possible, preferably during this holiday weekend.
I think it is known at this point that the President's defense has been lackluster, to say the least, that it raises questions that they don't necessarily want to answer and so for the Democrats, it's going to be, I think, kind of an attempt to really sort of make their last points not to the Senators who are in the chamber so much, but to the broader public and try to establish that the Republican brand is forever or at least for the next couple of years associated with Donald Trump.
Politically speaking, that's exactly where the Democrats want to be.
BLACKWELL: Errol, let me stay with you and on this McCarthy conversation that Jamie Gangel reported out that the President -- and I'm paraphrasing here -- said that, well, Kevin, it appears these people more upset about the election than you are. This is something that Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, and she put a statement out on Twitter, says that she's told reporters and constituents and colleagues for weeks now.
For all the lauding of the Democrats, the House manager's case and the depth and detail, one has to ask why wasn't this part of the original 16 hours instead of now at the last minute, should we bring this in?
LOUIS: Well, look, the problem with relying on somebody like Kevin McCarthy, who apparently did get into this heated exchange with the President on January 6th, is that he flip-flops too much. You know -- he'll say one day, he'll tell you that he was very upset with the President, the next day he'll tell you that he's entirely in lockstep with him.
He's got political considerations as well. He is fixated, like a laser, on trying to win back a majority of the House of Representatives in the next election and to the extent that Trump still controls the Republican party, still is popular with the Republican base, still controls a whole lot of political money that Kevin McCarthy would like some access to, he's probably going to change his mind and he's simply, what you would call in court terms, an unreliable witness. BLACKWELL: Michael, let's listen to Michael van der Veen here, one of the former president's attorneys, and this is his description of President Trump's remarks on January 6th. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN DER VEEN: Instead of expressing a desire that the joint session be prevented from conducting its business, the entire premise of his remarks was that the Democratic process would and should play out according to the letter of the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: The former President wanted then Vice President Pence to reject the certification of several states, which is really the antithesis of the letter of the law which simply says the vice president, as President of the Senate, presides over that process. I wonder what you make of the presentation from the President's -- former President's attorneys and those things that were true and not true. Michael Zeldin.
ZELDIN: So, Victor, you're breaking up a little bit. I had a little bit of trouble hearing the question. I think that the problem here with this whole -- the pursuit of his Trump's legal rights to contest the election and all that is a red herring. I think that really what is going on here was a month's long effort that culminated in the attack on the Capitol, that it was not really an effort to select particular legislators to lobby in the normal sense of the word.
But rather this was an effort to prevent them from exercising their constitutional authority to certify this election and we see evidence of that in the Tuberville phone call and we see evidence of that in the McCarthy phone call. Do I think the argument that this was something that the President was doing, constitutionally protected speech and proper lobbying of Congress is just unavailing? It doesn't equal the facts that were presented to the American people in the managers' case in chief.
BLACKWELL: All right. Michael, Errol, thank you. Stand by. Christi's got more questions for you after the break.
PAUL: I sure do. We'll talk about so much more for this, including the first time in 100 days now the United States is averaging less than 100,000 coronavirus cases per day. Good news there.
When the Biden administration says they're going to have enough vaccines to cover most Americans, though, that is in question.
BLACKWELL: Plus, the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol came within feet of Vice President Pence's nuclear football. This was during the siege of course and the Pentagon had no idea. We'll have more on those revelations ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PAUL: Donald Trump's second impeachment trial is rapidly reaching a conclusion here. In just a couple of hours here, both sides will present their closing arguments. That's ahead of a final vote on whether the former president is guilty of inciting the rally at the U.S. Capitol January 6th.
Errol Louis, Michael Zeldin back with us. Michael, one of the words that we heard a lot of through all of this was the word "hatred." Let's listen to President's attorney David Schoen and how he was trying to use that word when it comes to due process for the former president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOEN: The hatred that the House managers and others on the left have for President Trump has driven them to skip the basic elements of due process and fairness and to rush an impeachment through the House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: So, some people would argue the due process came in 61 different lawsuits throughout the country where the President alleged election fraud and all of those 61 were dismissed. How was this president's voice not heard up to this point?
ZELDIN: It has been heard and it's been heard repeatedly and this notion that he was denied due process in the charging stage of this investigation is just without merit. If you -- if you analyze this is an analogy to trial, what happened in the first part, the impeachment part, is he was indicted. Very little due process occurs in the indictment stage. The prosecutors usually do this at a grand jury, you have no right to appear in the grand jury and then you are charged.
Your due process starts upon being charged and that's exactly what President Trump has here. He had an opportunity to present witnesses, he has the opportunity to testify himself, he has capable lawyers representing him. So, this due process argument is a false argument, but it has some, you know, resonance for people who aren't paying attention or congressmen and senators who want to have an outcome predetermined for them.
PAUL: Well, there were some interesting questions coming from some of the Republican senators who are open to conviction. Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski asked just yesterday President Trump's attorneys to be specific in what they can say about what President Trump learned about the insurrection, at what points, at what time did he know about them and his response to it and there wasn't really much of an answer, Errol, that was given to that.
Is that enough, perhaps, for them to argue we need witnesses today?
LOUIS: Well, look, not only was there not an answer, there was -- there were false answers that were given. Michael van der Veen, the personal injury attorney who so bungled this case and was completely overmatched from the standpoint of constitutional law by the House impeachment managers said that, oh, well, the President must have known and I'm sure he was very concerned. That's not even true. That's demonstrably false and he appears not to know kind of what his client did or didn't do it.
But beyond that, look, the defense of the President amounts to blowing up one shaky lifeboat after another and kind of setting it on the Senate floor and allowing Republicans, who already knew they wanted to acquit the president and move on, to jump into one of those little life rafts and so this is an interesting kind of a question, what did he know, when did he know it?
I think it's been pretty well established, but if certain senators like Murkowski or Collins want a different kind of a lifeboat to sit -- to sit in, I'm sure the defense attorneys would be willing to blow them up for them and I think that's what we're going to see in the closing hours of this procedure.
PAUL: All righty. Want to get to van der Veen, who you just mentioned. We have a sound bite here from him as he was talking about the rhetoric on both sides of the aisle. Want to get your assessment of that, Michael, on the other side of this. Let's listen together here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN DER VEEN: The inflammatory rhetoric from our elected officials must be considered as part of the larger context of Mr. Trump's speech at the Ellipse on January 6th. The inflammatory language from both sides of the aisle has been alarming, frankly, but this political discourse must be considered as part of these proceedings to contextualize Mr. Trump's words.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Michael, what's your assessment of the justification of the defense that playing clips of Democrats, as we saw, was not about what about-ism necessarily, but it was necessary for context?
ZELDIN: Well, it was absolutely what about-ism because the context of those Democrat clips had nothing to do with the context of President Trump's clips. The Democrat clips were about Democrats arguing for policy change and fighting for rights and other normal hyperbolic campaign speech.
In Trump's speech, it was at the end of a month's long process by which he summoned people to Washington, he incited them and then he caused them to move forward to the Capitol. That type of fight language is a very different context than the Democrat fight language and to try to equate the two is really what about-ism.
It's exactly what it was about and he should be embarrassed by making an argument like that because he understands that his client's incitement language was very different and for a very different purpose than the clips that he showed with respect to Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker and the likes.
PAUL: Errol Louis, Michael Zeldin, we appreciate both of you so much. Thank you.
ZELDIN: Thanks, Christi.
PAUL: Of course. And be sure to watch CNN's special impeachment coverage. It begins today at 9:00 A.M. Eastern.
BLACKWELL: All right. Let's turn now to the coronavirus pandemic. In the effort to get more children back into classrooms, the CDC has released its new guidance on re-opening schools. Will teachers need to be vaccinated? We've got the answer to that question and more next.
BLACKWELL: The U.S. is reporting a steady increase in coronavirus vaccinations and a slow decline in --
BLACKWELL: The U.S. is reporting a steady increase in coronavirus vaccinations and a slow decline in infections. But the COVID-19 variants are, of course, a concern across the country.
PAUL: Yes, for the first time since the start of November, the seven- day average of new coronavirus cases is below 100,000. That's the good news. This week, the federal government began direct shipments of vaccines to retail pharmacies, so a million doses going to 6,500 stores across the country. That greatly expands availability, obviously. But there's a new report showing nearly a third of adults are undecided about the COVID-19 vaccine.
BLACKWELL: Now, despite hesitancy, the U.S. has averaged more than a million and a half doses administered every day for the past week, and close to 50 million doses have been administered overall.
PAUL: CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is with us live here. So, Evan, listen, we love to highlight the positive and promising news of all of this, but how does it jibe with the reality of what's going on out there?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this moment right now in this pandemic is looking at the future -- end of this tunnel, light at the end of this tunnel, but also the darkness that we're still in.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): More tragedy from this pandemic. In Las Vegas, a family mourning a pregnant frontline nurse rushed to the hospital with COVID complications, only her premature child survived.
NICK ROSE, WIFE DIED FROM COVID-19: She was fighting really hard, that way, because she knew that baby Ken is always still in the NICU. MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The coronavirus ripped this family apart, even in a
week with the virus seemingly in retreat. Forty states are showing downward trends in new reported cases of coronavirus. Only one, Alaska shows reported cases rising. The death toll now over 480,000 remains shocking, but the seven-day average is in slow decline. The vaccine rollout remains a struggle. Friday numbers show only around 11 percent of the American population has had at least one dose so far. And variants of coronavirus are spreading across the country. In Florida, officials reporting around 10 percent of new cases in the state may be due to the variant first detected in the U.K.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, I think we're going to be wearing masks for several months into the future.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Still, the improving numbers have led some states to relax some restrictions put in place during the December surge. Indoor dining partially reopens in New York City, while the country's focus turns to reopening classrooms to students.
JEN PSAKI, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: The president's goal is to have schools open five days a week, kids in school learning, teachers in schools and to do it safely.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: On Friday, there was new guidance from the CDC on how to do just that. Classrooms can reopen safely, it said, if they follow these five rules. Universal and correct wearing of masks, physical distancing, washing hands, improve ventilation and contact- tracing before new cases arise. Not on the list, vaccinated teachers. CDC says states should prioritize teacher vaccinations but should open schools even if they can't.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: It's one of those layers of mitigation that we believe will help. But we believe -- and the science has demonstrated that schools can be reopened safely prior to all teachers being vaccinated.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: That's a problem for some teacher groups who have been urging schools to vaccinate educators before sending them back into classrooms. There's availability in some states, but it varies, some teachers are getting frustrated. This one in Tennessee drove 100 miles to get a shot.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not OK that we're having to do this. We should have been better prepared.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Now, of course, the main focus here, trying to keep classrooms safe, and that's kids and teachers. We have some news on that just in this morning, that in the U.K., they're now beginning to test the AstraZeneca vaccine on kids as young as six. No results on those tests yet, but obviously a sign that maybe kids will soon be able to start getting this vaccine as well.
PAUL: Yes, interesting. And Evan McMorris-Santoro, always appreciate you, thank you, sir. We have new details about the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol. Federal prosecutors are detailing why some of those accused in the attack believe they were acting at the direction of the former president.
PAUL: Well, at least, five people linked to the far-right Proud Boys are facing new conspiracy charges that are related to the Capitol riot.
BLACKWELL: Yes, the Department of Justice says there may be more charges as the probe continues. Officials are also looking at members of the extremist group, the Oath Keepers, prosecutors say they're connecting some of the Capitol rioters directly to former President Trump and his rhetoric. CNN's Marshall Cohen is following the latest. Marshall, what have you learned about some of the members of these groups?
MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Well, that's right, Victor, the last point you mentioned is really the key point. If you were listening to the impeachment trial yesterday, you would have heard Donald Trump's lawyers say time and time again that the rioters were not inspired by his words. They were not listening to his actions. But what we're seeing from these cases as they're being built by the Justice Department, we're seeing a different story. And as you mentioned, the new charges against members of the Proud Boys who have been listening very closely to the president's words.
Other extremist groups, the Oath Keepers, anti-militant group, one of these cases in particular I do want to highlight because it really shows how the Justice Department is kind of undercutting what the president's lawyers have been saying. This group, the Oath Keepers, three of their members charged in a conspiracy indictment together. One of them, Jessica Watkins; a former member of the Armed Forces, she is alleged to have planned this out. The Justice Department says, "as the inauguration grew nearer, Jessica Watkins indicated that she was awaiting direction from President Trump."
And after that, after election day, she was awaiting direction according to the federal government, and even told her colleagues in that group, if Trump asked me to come, I will. It's explicit. If Trump asked me to come, I will. And that's apparently exactly what she did, according to the charges against her and two other members of the Oath Keepers. They planned this out and came to Washington with an intention to breach the Capitol. But Victor and Christi, I want to be clear, most of the people that have been charged so far are not accused of planning it out, but many of them actually attended the speech, the president's speech at The Ellipse, and listen to what he said where they said, let's march to the Capitol, and they did that, they went down to the Capitol.
So, it's really undercutting a lot of what the president's lawyers were putting forward -- the former president's lawyers were putting forward yesterday, and really connecting some of the dots on whether or not these people were inspired by Donald Trump.
PAUL: All right, Marshall Cohen, appreciate it so much. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: So, during the chaos of the insurrection, we're now learning that military officials, they had no idea that then Vice President Mike Pence's nuclear football was potentially at risk that day.
PAUL: Yes, CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has more on just how close the rioters actually got to the country's nuclear codes.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With new details of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol coming into focus --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you smell possibly a riot --
SERFATY: The clear timeline revealing a damning picture of President Trump's total disregard of the safety of his vice president. At 12:39 p.m., on January 6th as Vice President Mike Pence was on Capitol Hill, President Trump calls him out directly from the National Mall.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mike Pence, I hope you're going to stand up for the good of our constitution and for the good of our country. And if you're not, I'm going to be very disappointed in you.
SERFATY: At 12:55, Pence in defiance of the president puts out this definitive statement, saying, he is not going to stand in the way of the electoral votes from being counted.
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Madam Speaker, members of Congress --
SERFATY: Minutes later at 1:06 p.m., Pence gavels in the joint session of Congress, starting the process towards certifying Biden's win. At 1.45, the mob pushes past Capitol Hill police.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just ushered --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Controls it --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mike Pence out really quickly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they did. That's exactly what just happened there.
SERFATY: At 2:12 p.m., Pence is evacuated from the Senate floor to a room near the Senate chamber. One minute later, at 2:13 p.m., the rioters breached the Capitol building. At 2:24 p.m., Trump took to Twitter denigrating his vice president for not having the courage to overturn the election results. Two minutes later at 2:26 p.m., Pence is rushed from a room near the Senate chamber to a secure location. At that same time, 2:26 p.m., Senator Mike Lee's cell phone rings with a call from the president. The time stamp of that phone call according to a spokesperson for Senator Mike Lee. The president had the wrong number and was actually trying to reach Senator Tuberville. A source familiar with the call tells CNN the president called to convince Tuberville to try to block the certification.
Senator Tuberville says he told the president that Pence was under threat. Tuberville telling reporters, quote, "I said, Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I've got to go." The call according to a source with knowledge of the conversation lasted about five to ten minutes. The chilling security video first shown in the impeachment trial this week also exposing the extent of the vice president's danger. As Pence and his family were rushed to safety, you see the military officer carrying the football, the classified nuclear codes, that goes everywhere with the president and vice president behind him.
At one point, only 100 feet away from the rioters, many of whom were targeting the vice president.
(on camera): And sources have told CNN that the former President Trump was indeed watching TV as the riots were unfolding up here on Capitol Hill, and former Secret Service agents also tell us that it's very unlikely that the president was not aware of what the Vice President was going through at that moment.
That they always have that sort of information at their disposal. All of this certainly just underscores that President Trump was not checking in on his vice president, and certainly, was not reining in his supporters. Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, on Capitol Hill.
BLACKWELL: Sunlen, thanks. A deputy White House Press Secretary has been suspended for a week after reportedly threatening a reporter. We'll tell you what happened during that exchange.
PAUL: Also, we hope that you'll join us for a new CNN original series that chronicles President Lincoln's life, his struggles, his true character, the compromises he made to save the union and free the slaves. "Lincoln, Divided We Stand", that premieres tomorrow night at 10:00 right here on CNN.
BLACKWELL: The White House announced that deputy Press Secretary T.J. Ducklo has been suspended for a week without pay after allegedly threatening a reporter.
PAUL: Yes, "Vanity Fair" was first to report the incident, saying Ducklo made misogynistic comments toward a "Politico" reporter over her story about Ducklo's romantic relationship with an "Axios" reporter. Now, he even went as far as to say, allegedly, that he would, quote, "destroy her if she published the piece." CNN White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond with us now. So, what are we hearing from the White House about this, Jeremy, and good morning to you.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Just to be clear, T.J. Ducklo; the deputy White House press secretary, he is the third-ranking person in the White House press shop. So it is significant that the White House would move to suspend him without pay, and also significant, of course, that he made these threatening comments, misogynistic comments to a reporter who was pursuing a legitimate story. Now, the White House has made quite clear that T.J. Ducklo's comments did not meet their standard. It did not meet the president's standard, and that is why they moved with this suspension. Here is the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki talking about this just yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PSAKI: T.J. Ducklo who is the deputy who you're asking about has apologized to the reporter, apologized to the reporter quite shortly after the comments were made. He had a heated conversation about a story related to his personal life. I'm not saying that's acceptable. But I just want to be clear that it was not about an issue related to the White House or a White House policy or anything along those lines. He's the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the president nor is it the standard of behavior set by me, and I'm his direct supervisor.
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DIAMOND: And it obviously certainly is not the standard of behavior set out by President Joe Biden who said on his first full day in office as he was swearing in political appointees, if I ever hear you talk down to a colleague, if I ever hear you disrespect a colleague, I will fire you on the spot. Jen Psaki was asked about why this didn't apply in this case to T.J. Ducklo, and she simply said once again, that it does not meet our standard, it doesn't meet the president's standard, and she felt that a one week suspension without pay sent a strong enough signal. We should note, however, that, that suspension only came through after "Vanity Fair" actually ran this story publicizing this incident, even though it took place over a week ago. Victor, Christi.
BLACKWELL: Jeremy Diamond for us there at the White House. Jeremy, thanks so much. So, there was a significant shift last year in NASCAR as the sport addressed race and racism led by the sport's only full- time black driver Bubba Wallace. We'll tell you what he says needs to happen next at the start of this new NASCAR season.
PAUL: NASCAR season returns tomorrow. Daytona 500. BLACKWELL: Yes, Coy Wire is here. Coy, this year, there will be a lot
of added pressure for Bubba Wallace.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you could say that for sure, Victor, good morning to you and Christi. During the Summer of marches in the name of social justice, right, you have Bubba Wallace, the only black driver in NASCAR's top series found himself championing anti- racists efforts, wearing an "I can't breathe" shirt before a race in Atlanta, driving a car that said "black lives matter" on the side of it, and pushing NASCAR to ban confederate flags at tracks. I caught up with Wallace to see just how impactful this Summer was for him.
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BUBBA WALLACE, NASCAR DRIVER: For the longest time, we were trying to figure out ways to improve our diversity efforts, and what we can do, how we can do it, when we can do it. And I think everything happened last year just kind of kick-started and ignited the fire in a really positive way. So, glad that I could kind of be the leader and the charge of that, but we can't become stagnant. That's the biggest thing. We have to keep moving, keep evolving and keep up with the times and the changes and everything that's going on right now.
So, it's really cool, we'll see. But there's still a lot of work to be done. And who knows? That work should never be done. You should always continue to work to be better, to treat people equal and fair, not based off of gender, race or whatever it may be. Just treat everybody like we're humans, and brothers and sisters because that's what we are.
WIRE: How does it hit you when you see kids now dressed up like you, wanting to be like you?
WALLACE: Yes, that's pretty cool. It's definitely humbling to see that I have become a name that people want to be associated with or represent. There's so many opportunities that come my way of being that I'm able to capitalize on and take advantage of. And I'd like to share that with others, and hopefully, that motivates them to -- hey, if I can do this, one day if I can work hard, maybe one day these opportunities could come my way. And that's what it's about. You should work hard, whatever it's at, don't ever give up. Don't let anybody tell you, no, that you can't.
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WIRE: Change in the game, big season, big day for Wallace starting tomorrow, driving a new car for NBA hall of famer Michael Jordan and NASCAR legend Denny Hamlin on their newly formed 23XI race team. Wallace starts sixth in tomorrow's Daytona 500.
PAUL: All right, and good to know. Coy Wire, always good to see you. Thank you.
WIRE: Thank you --
BLACKWELL: Thanks, Coy. Next hour starts now. ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi
BLACKWELL: Good to have you. Looking there at the Capitol dome, lights are on, folks are in there. And the action starts in just a few hours because this afternoon, we could know if former President Donald Trump will be found guilty and will be convicted of inciting the January 6th insurrection on Capitol Hill.