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New Day Sunday

Senate Votes Trump Not Guilty Of Inciting Deadly Capitol Riots; Trump Faces List Of Legal Problems Despite Senate Acquittal; Senate Acquits Donald Trump, 57 Vote Guilty, 43 Not Guilty; McConnell Votes "Not Guilty," Then Blames Trump For Riots; Biden Team Looks To Move Forward With Agenda In Wake Of Trial; Louisiana GOP Censures Senator Cassidy Following Vote To Convict Trump. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired February 14, 2021 - 06:00   ET



NEWMAN: -- so, therefore, I have no fear.


WIRE: Another one to keep an eye on today Bubba Wallace starting sixth there for the Daytona 500 driving for the newly formed Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan team. He'll be driving the 23 car.

Christi and Victor, to my work, wifey and hubby, happy Valentine's Day.

PAUL: Happy Valentine's Day back, bud. And we all wore red, didn't we?

BLACKWELL: Not one. Not one. Coy Wire, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Coy.

BLACKWELL: NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: Live look now at Capitol Hill. Second impeachment trial of Donald Trump ended last night, but this morning the debate is over accountability for the Capitol insurrection and how the GOP handles the former president moving forward. It's still an open case there.

PAUL: Yes. Forty-three senators voted to acquit the former president after this five day trial. Seven Republicans did join 50 Democrats to vote guilty. It was the most bipartisan impeachment vote in history. But they were still 10 votes short obviously of what was needed to convict.

Now, in their statements on the verdict both the former and current president signaled -- presidents, I should say, signaled a focus on the future. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested that there is more legal trouble ahead for the former president's way. He called Trump practically and morally responsible for the riot right after he voted not guilty. BLACKWELL: So would witnesses and testimony have changed any minds? There was some brief chaos really over a vote to call witnesses, but in the end House managers and the former president's legal team jumped into their closing arguments.


SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT), PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: The Senate will convene as a court of impeachment.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD), LEAD IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: Over the last several days we presented overwhelming evidence that establishes the charges in the article of impeachment. We have shown you how President Trump created a powder keg, lit a match, and then continued this incitement even as he failed to defend us from the ensuing violence.

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA), HOUSE IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: If we don't set this right and call it what it was, the highest of constitutional crimes by the president of the United States, the past will not be passed. The past will become our future.

MICHAEL VAN DER VEEN, TRUMP'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It is an unprecedented action with the potential to do grave and lasting damage to both the presidency and the separation of powers and the future of Democratic self-government. This has been perhaps the most unfair and flagrantly unconstitutional proceeding in the history of the United States Senate.

For the first time in history, Congress has asserted the right to try and punish a former president who is a private citizen. Nowhere in the constitution is the power enumerated or implied. Congress has no authority, no right, and no business holding a trial of citizen Trump, let alone a trial to deprive him of fundamental civil rights.

LEAHY: Senators, how say you? Is the respondent Donald John Trump guilty or not guilty? A roll call vote is required.

The yeas are 47, the nays are 43. Two-thirds of the senators present not having voted guilty, the Senate judges that the respondent, Donald John Trump, former president of the United States, is not guilty as charged in the article of impeachment.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: This was the most egregious violation of the presidential oath of office and a textbook example, a classic example of an impeachable offense worthy of the constitution's most severe remedy. I salute those Republican patriots who did the right thing. It wasn't easy. We know that.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office as an ordinary citizen. Unless the statute of limitation is run, still liable for everything he did while he was in office. Didn't get away with anything yet. Yet. We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It was a very disingenuous speech. And I say that regretfully because I always want to be able to work with the leadership of the other party.


I think our country needs a strong Republican Party. It's very important, and for him to have tried to have it every which way. But we will be going forward to make sure that this never happens again.


PAUL: CNN's Daniella Diaz is following the latest up on Capitol Hill. So, we have watched all of this unfold. Walk us through what happens there at the end after one dramatic week.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Good morning, Victor and Christi. Look, the Senate acquitted -- voted to acquit President Donald Trump marking the end of a very dramatic week in Washington with his second impeachment trial. In the end all Senate Democrats and seven Senate Republicans voted to convict him, but that was not enough. They needed a super majority. So another 10 Senate Republicans to vote to convict him. This comes after a three-hour delay, a dramatic moment that you guys showed where Jamie Raskin decided to put the idea of witnesses on the table. It came to a vote and, ultimately, behind closed doors Senate Republicans and Democrats decided to not have witnesses.

The Senate Democrats warned the impeachment managers that if they had witnesses it would drag the trial on. They just didn't see that it would be a useful thing to do so they moved past that. But I really want to emphasize that seven Republicans voted to convict Trump.

As you noted, it was the most bipartisan impeachment in history, and this comes after his first impeachment when only one Republican in 2020 voted to convict Trump in his first impeachment trial. It was Mitt Romney. And as you guys showed Mitch McConnell was very critical of Trump in his floor remarks. He suggested that Trump could be criminally prosecuted.

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a surprise appearance in an impeachment manager press conference yesterday where she slammed Mitch McConnell and blamed him for delaying the impeachment trial and waiting until Trump was out of office. Here's what she had to say.


PELOSI: Why I came over was because I listened to Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell, who when this distinguished group of House managers were gathered on January 15th to deliver the articles of impeachment, could not, we're told, could not be received because Mitch McConnell had shut down the Senate. And he was going to keep it shut down until right, until the inauguration.

So, for him to get up there and make this indictment against the president and then say, but I can't -- I can't vote for it because it's after the fact, the fact that he established. The fact that he established that it could not be delivered before the inauguration. Now, when you think about January 6th, between January 6th and January 20th, you are only talking about just under two weeks. A day under two weeks.


DIAZ: So, as you heard there from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she was having none of it from Mitch McConnell. She also called this other Senate Republicans that voted to acquit Trump cowards and she said that censuring Trump would not go far enough. She just called it a slap on the wrist, not far enough for him inciting this insurrection. So as you can see, Democrats are signaling that they are done with Trump on this subject -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Daniella Diaz, thank you.

PAUL: Thank you, Daniella. Now, moments after his acquittal former President Trump did issue a statement and in it he teased a return to politics for himself.

BLACKWELL: A bit of an optimistic tone from former President Trump. He says he survived what he calls another phase of the greatest witch hunt, but as CNN's Boris Sanchez reports, he is still concerned about his future.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, Donald Trump's legal team privately expressing relief at the former president's acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial. Sources indicate that they were surprised that seven Republican senators voted to convict the former president. They did not expect a number that high.

Notably though sources close to Trump indicate that he is now worried about potentially facing criminal charges for his role in the insurrection on January 6th. This comes on the heels of that speech that we heard from the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in which he said of the criminal justice system may, ultimately, look at Trump's role in the insurrection, and it's not just McConnell. Federal investigators have laid out to CNN that they are looking at everyone and anyone involved in the violent siege of the Capitol on January 6th. And that includes the former president. Of course, publicly, Trump is expressing relief, and in a statement he expressed that he was pleased with the result on Saturday.


Trump writing in part -- quote -- "Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people."

A note on what Trump wants to share with his supporters. We anticipate that the former president is going to viciously go after all of the Republicans who he feels have betrayed him. First, for voting to impeach him and then for voting to convict him. Trump most certainly will campaign and fundraise against them. And, of course, there is always the specter that he may run again for the presidency in 2024 -- Victor, Christi.

PAUL: Boris, thank you so much. Guy Smith, special adviser to President Clinton during his impeachment is with us now. As well as CNN political analyst Margaret Talev, managing editor for Axios. Thank you both so much for being with us.

Guy, I want to ask you about that right off the top, what is the plausibility that we could see President Trump on a ticket in 2024?

GUY SMITH, SPECIAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT CLINTON DURING IMPEACHMENT: I think it's very remote. He is diminished and disgraced individual. And he is now facing serious legal jeopardy in Georgia, in New York, in the District of Columbia, and that's a state and local level before you get to the federal stuff that Boris was just talking about. And the other thing is that there is going to be a commission like the 9/11 commission. That will expose more of Trump's turpitude in this. It's -- he's in a world of political and legal jeopardy.

And what's happening also, we saw it start with Mitch McConnell, having it both ways so he can stay leader, is the Republicans are eating themselves alive. This is going to get worse. I mean, even last night the Louisiana Republican party censured Senator Cassidy for his vote. This is the kind of stuff that -- and it just strengthens the Democrats. It strengthens the Biden administration.

And remember, the Democrats control both Houses. So this is going to -- this is -- Trump is going to -- the air has gone out of the Trump balloon.

PAUL: So, Margaret, to what Boris was saying as well, that the seven Republicans who voted to convict him will now be a target for him, but talk to us about -- you know, unpack for us the risk that they took in doing so and what lies ahead for them.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, good morning. And, Christi, this is an interesting group of seven. Because, of course, Senator Murkowski is the only one who's actually facing re-election again in the next cycle in 2022. She has shown a willingness to stand up to her party and has effectively had to run as an independent to stay a Republican. So she has some experience with this.

We have several retirements coming up. You know, Toomey not running for re-election. Burr not -- having said already they will not run for re-election. And the other senators somewhere in the middle of that cycle. So they have a little bit more time. They don't immediately face the electorate. But for those who are on their way out, what are the remaining months like? Probably embolden. They have got nothing to lose at this point.

For those other senators it's a complicated path, but they have decided that they are playing the long game, not the short game, and if voting the other way was what they had to do to remain in the party, they weren't going to do it. So they -- you are beginning to see this kind of breakaway group of Republicans. But they are small. They have now, I think, to some extent given themselves the freedom to vote with Democrats on other issues. But many of them won't vote with Democrats on other issues.

This was a vote of conscience. They don't agree with Democrats on various areas involving fiscal policy or social policy. So this is a lonely place to be right now. They're going to face tremendous pressure and they already have from their own parties in their own states from constituents and some fellow senators. But this is a path they have chosen.

PAUL: Let's talk about what Senator Ben Sasse, his statement yesterday after the votes. He said, "Congress is a weaker institution than the founders intended and it's likely to shrivel still. A weak and timid Congress will increasingly submit to an emboldened and empowered presidency. That's unacceptable. The institution needs to respect itself enough to tell the executive that some lines cannot be crossed."

Guy, to you. Has the power of impeachment been diluted or is the power of Congress in question right now?

SMITH: I don't think either has been diluted. The Congress has the power of the purse. Money. Always follow the money. All Congress needs to do is to shut off the money for the executive branch. That argument about the imperial presidency has been going on at least since the Kennedy administration. And the Congress can just assert itself if it wants to.


And now it's not likely to in the Biden administration at least as long as the Democrats control both the House and the Senate and the White House, and that's what I meant by the strengthening. But the Congress has the power of the purse and can just withhold the money or not vote the money for anything that it wants to. So it's there. It just has to exert itself.

PAUL: I want to look at what the minority leader said yesterday as well because when we listen to McConnell, I think there were a lot of people who are scratching their heads. Let's listen together here to what he said about -- what he said after the vote.


MCCONNELL: There is no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.


PAUL: Margaret, it's not just about the dichotomy of what he said versus how he voted. It's curious as to who he was speaking to. I mean, he wasn't speaking to Trump's base because they weren't going to like anything he said. He wasn't speaking to anybody who wanted him to vote to convict because he didn't do so. So is there any indication of what his intention was in that speech and to whom he was directing it?

TALEV: This is one of the most interesting speeches in modern political memory, and it shows you why McConnell was such a master majority leader and how he intends to use his power in the minority. Still in a very strong way. Yes, it will give you whiplash. Yes, it will incite fury, but he won't care. He doesn't care. He probably likes it when that happens.

Look, what you are seeing here allows him to pursue a number of different paths. On the one hand, he seems to make the case for conviction on impeachment. If you tune in late, you'd think, oh, my God. McConnell is going to vote this way. But in fact he carved out an exact argument to the opposite, right? So he is using all the reasons why Democrats say that Trump should have been convicted, but the loophole for why he says he shouldn't is because it happened so late and that in his opinion, right, impeachment is about removing someone from office.

This in theory allows the Senate -- it gives cover for Republicans to pursue a censure against Trump if they ever want to. The 14th Amendment to prevent him from running again. But McConnell is not making the case for those things to happen.

It also gives, in theory, a prosecutor or some grand jury or future attorney general or something some evidence to help try to make his case or her case if they were to try to pursue a prosecution in the courts of former President Trump. But, again, McConnell not actively making the case for that. Just saying it's possible. And it gives McConnell some way for the history books to say, I wasn't really trying to help Trump. I was just trying to protect the institution.

After, I think you can also make a case for weakening the institution against the impeachment power. There is a lot of duality, gives him a lot of running room for he and his party to make different arguments. But in the end, it's just completely frustrating to Democrats and to the seven Republicans because, regardless of what he said, his actions and leadership leading up to it blocked anything other than an acquittal from taking place.

PAUL: All right. Guy Smith, Margaret Talev, we appreciate both of you so much. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Now that the impeachment trial is over, what's next? President Biden's plan to move forward with his COVID relief bill and the uphill battle to get it through a divided Congress. We'll talk about that.

PAUL: Despite a declining number of cases and hospitalizations, which is the good news, there is still a grim new forecast revealing the U.S. has a long battle ahead in the fight against the coronavirus. We'll tell you what we're learning today.



BLACKWELL: President Biden is ready to push forward with his agenda and stay focused on fighting COVID-19.

PAUL: He did make time to weigh in on former President Trump's impeachment trial though. He said even those opposing conviction of President Trump still believe that he is responsible for the violent riot -- violent riot at the Capitol.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in Jasmine Wright. She is in Washington following the latest there. Jasmine, what more did President Biden say?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, President Biden really weighed in for the first time since that second acquittal of former President Trump calling democracy fragile in a statement released late last night. Now, Biden has been really careful about what he says on this impeachment trial overall, but last night in this statement he did not mince words.

So let me read it for you. President Biden wrote that, "This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile. That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant. That violence and extremism has no place in America. And that each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders to defend the truth and to defeat the lies."

Now, Biden highlighted the bipartisan support that the conviction, that the vote for conviction received. Now, despite the fact that there was no conviction, obviously, former President Trump was acquitted, Biden said that the substance of those charges was not -- that charge was not in dispute. Now, the last time that we heard from President Biden was on Friday when he told my colleague, Jeremy Diamond, that he was anxious to see how Senate Republicans would vote, whether they would stand up.


Now Biden has his answered. But President Biden over the course of impeachment was really careful not to put his finger on the scale, not to tell senators how they should be voting. But in this statement last night, Biden looked to the future. As he is looking forward to passing his agenda, and that includes that $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill that he has proposed that he hopes will work its way through both chambers.

PAUL: All right. Jasmine Wright, thank you so much for the update.

BLACKWELL: Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy faced immediately backlash after his vote to convict former President Trump. Hours after yesterday's vote, Louisiana's Republican Party voted to censure Cassidy. Now he won re-election last year. That means he won't face voters for six years now, almost six years, but the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach the former president have also been censured or face some sort of backlash and they now face voters next year. Let's bring in now Margaret Talev, managing editor at Axios and CNN political analyst. North Carolina GOP condemned Richard Burr as well last night after his vote. Margaret, do you expect any of that backlash is headed towards Mitch McConnell? He did not vote to convict but his condemnation really might be most damning of all.

TALEV: I mean, Victor, look, McConnell is a really interesting figure because inside the Republican Party right now at least the polling tells us he is much less popular than President Trump is, but McConnell, you can also put him in the camp of people who just won re- election and doesn't really have to worry about his own immediate prospects.

From a leadership perspective, I think you are seeing in terms of his leadership of the minority in his actions over the weekend and the way he handled this trial, you have seen him carve a path where he was able to give Republicans who didn't want to or felt that they couldn't politically vote for the conviction of President Trump to give them a path to do that while still giving them an argument, you know, to say they didn't agree with the things that President Trump had done. Maybe the most interesting line in McConnell's explanation yesterday after the vote was to say that he didn't think that -- that he doesn't think that Congress should be overarchingly in charge as like sort of the moral tribunal, the moral decider for the United States.

If you look at his actions, his decisions and his strategy for the Senate through that lens, it explains a lot from whether once upon a time when he was controlling the majority from who gets to be called up for Supreme Court nominations to every other policy in between. If it's not Congress' role to be a moral voice, you know, then every vote can be political.

BLACKWELL: Yes. It's interesting because McConnell is the only person in this section of the Venn diagram. You've got the people who did not vote to convict. Then you've got the people who voted to convict and condemned. But then he is there alone in the center space who condemned but did not offer a consequence. So we'll see how he navigates that space.

Now, you'll remember after Minority Leader McCarthy went to meet with the former president about 2 1/2 weeks ago. He said that he got a confirmation from former President Trump that he was going to work to get Republicans back into the majority in the House and the Senate. How do you think last night's excoriation from McConnell maybe changes that calculation from former President Trump?

TALEV: Well, look, I think those midterms, there is going to be a lot of cross currents that play. On the one hand, the party that's out of power traditionally does pretty well in the midterms, has some ability to come back. The overarching the lasting legacy of Trump is really going to be a question, particularly if it forces more primaries to the right inside the Republican Party and pulls the party more towards those extremes than I think in anything that remotely resembles a swing district, it could actually be a problem for the Republican Party. So these are some of the issues that I think both McCarthy and McConnell are trying to balance and some of the issues that the Democrats see on the horizon. And then, of course, if you are Biden, this is your moment. You know, trial is behind you now. Biden is going to try to push ahead on all of the COVID relief funding, right? And to try to carve a path on foreign policy that distinguishes him from President Trump. And to hope that he can see enough of the agenda that is popular with the American public and steers the country towards more solid ground that he can actually bolster his own party in the midterms. But there are cross currents working against each party and we're going to see all that begin to play out like in two days.


Don't forget it's Presidents' Day weekend, so we're viewing all of this through the lens of political power. And I think no matter what you argue, the presidency as an institution has been emboldened and empowered from this. What Biden does that, how he takes the reins on that, you know, we'll see.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Congress is on a bit of a break for this week, but we'll start to see how the move forward shapes up. Margaret Talev, thanks so much.

TALEV: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: And Tuesday night, President Joe Biden will join Anderson Cooper live from Milwaukee in an exclusive presidential town hall. It starts at 9:00 Eastern.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So, do you think you should be required to have a COVID test before flying? Well, the CDC is issuing its recommendation for passengers on domestic flights. We'll tell you.



PAUL: Well, the CDC will not require you to have a negative COVID-19 test before you take domestic flights, but it is still recommending that people stay home and just not travel at all.

BLACKWELL: Also, the influential IHME model from the University of Washington, it's forecasting that more than 600,000 Americans will have died from COVID-19 by June 1st. That's slightly down from previous models.

PAUL: CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is with us live. So, that's some of what we're hearing, but the good news that we hear doesn't mean we're all in the clear just yet. Help -- make us understand the reality of what we're living in still.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. In short, we're in a deadly pandemic. In the long story, it's a little better this week, and it has been in previous weeks.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice over): In the United States, a promising sign of hope this weekend. For the first time since November 3rd, the U.S. is averaging fewer than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases per day. But there's still danger for Americans. An updated IHME model projects more than 610,000 Americans will have died of COVID-19 by June 1st. That's down slightly from last week's forecast. Experts say the key continues to be vaccinating as many people as possible.

RICHINA BICETTE, EMERGENCY MEDICAL PHYSICIAN: I think in order for us to get back to where we were in maybe January of 2020. It's really going to take us achieving that herd immunity marker. And that's not going to happen until we get at least 75 percent of the population. vaccinated.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Leaders are sounding a positive note on vaccines as new CDC data from Saturday night show that more than 50 million COVID- 19 vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S. That's more than two million doses reported since Friday, though CDC reporting may be delayed. The new numbers come as states continue to expand their criteria for who can get a vaccine.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that individuals with comorbidities may now schedule vaccine appointments. The state has already distributed 90 percent of the first dose vaccines it received from the federal government.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO (on camera): So, a note on that vaccine expansion here in New York, Governor Cuomo says you can sign up and get one if you have comorbidities but it doesn't mean you can actually get an appointment because they're still very, very hard to get. So, more people can get a vaccine, but that doesn't mean they get that they can actually get a vaccine, if you know what I mean.

PAUL: We get it Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Still ahead, why two judges want to have a word with this man, Henry Enrique Tario who's the leader of the Proud Boys, and he's been ordered to appear in court.



BLACKWELL: The leader of the extreme far-right group The Proud Boys could be facing some new charges. Two judges in D.C. say the leader violated the terms of his release from prison after he was arrested last month.

PAUL: CNN Crime and Justice Reporter Katelyn Polantz is in Washington following this story. Katelyn, good to see you this morning. What do we know about this man and what he's being accused of now?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: So, this is the leader of the Proud Boys. This is a far-right extremist group that's been supportive of Donald Trump. His name is Enrique Tario. He was actually pulled off of the street when he came to Washington D.C. before January 6th and the days before. And he was processed for his behavior at a previous protest rally in D.C. and was charged. That put him in court. He wasn't able to attend the insurrection or the Trump rally on January 6th. And so that had him under court supervision.

What the court is saying now is that they lost contact with him, that he wasn't calling them back and was supposed to be in touch. And so what he's told The Washington Post this week was that that wasn't true, that he was going to call the people that were supervising him from the court. But that means that he has to come back now in court on February 22nd and speak to the judge and explain what happened.

It means that if he did have a violation there, he could go to jail. He's currently released. And so, this is just very indicative of how these cases are going. They're very gradual. People are charged initially, sometimes with more minor complaints, and then the cases progress. We learn little by little along the way.

And you know, we are still learning lots more about these cases every week. And we expect to learn more even this week. This past week, there were five additional Proud Boys, members of Tario's group who were charged. And then this upcoming week, we are expecting to hear a little bit more about some members of a group called the Oathkeepers, who had been charged for a conspiracy.

And we have seen things new from the Justice Department in previous days about whether they were responding to a signal from Donald Trump, whether they were organizing. And so, those things could come out in court appearances with Tario and with others in the near future. Christi and Victor?

BLACKWELL: Yes. A few of those details came out in the impeachment trial. We expect those investigations will continue. Katelyn Polantz, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Katelyn. So, we are seeing the first resignation for the Biden administration. Why a White House aide calls it quits after being on the job for less than a month. Brian Stelter has the details for us after the break.



PAUL: Well, the White House Deputy Press Secretary has resigned now just a day after he was suspended for threatening a reporter over a story.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter is with us now. Stelter, do we know why he was not fired in the first place? You remember the standard that the new president set on that first full day?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he set the bar very high saying anyone who is disrespectful of a colleague will be fired. In this case, T.J. Ducklo, the Deputy Press Secretary was dealing with a reporter from Politico who was working on a story about his love life, because he was dating another reporter who covers Washington.

So, Ducklo was trying to suppress the story, apparently trying to keep it quiet. He said something to the effect of I will destroy you or I will ruin you and made other inappropriate comments to this reporter. It seems this happened in -- right after the inauguration. And the White House tried to keep a lid on it at first. But once this news leaked on Friday, that is when the White House at first suspended Ducklo for one week.

And then yesterday, there was -- there was some conversations between Jen Psaki, Kate Bedingfield, Anita Dunn, the White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. And by the end of the day, Ducklo was out. That seems pretty obviously a situation where the White House decided he could no longer -- Ducklo could no longer serve in the role.

But it does get back to the point you're making, Victor, about until this was leaked to the press, until it was public, the White House did seem to keep -- try to keep a lid on it. And that's an early test of Biden's pledge to really break with the prior president and not have disrespect and nastiness, you know, kind of defines this administration.


PAUL: So, let's move on to what was happening at Saturday Night Live last night. We know that they had a little bit of fun with Trump's second impeachment. And the President was acquitted moments really, wasn't it, just before SNL kind of went to air. I mean, it is definitely a testament to the talent at SNL.

STELTER: And I would say, you know, like everybody else, they were expecting a certain outcome. And they are maybe planning for that outcome, although they didn't know when exactly the acquittal would come. So, they did have to quickly move to react to all this news.

Some people say that comedy is tragedy plus time, and there hasn't been enough time since the trial. But here is -- here is SNL pretending to play Tucker Carlson and with an appearance by Lindsey Graham.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we all agree the attack of the Capitol was a horrible thing. But just because the rioters were yelling fight for Trump, doesn't mean they meant Donald Trump. It could have been some real Tiffanyheads. Maybe even some Eric Stans (PH). I don't know.

But regardless, the trial is over. And now we can move past this and focus on the serious issues as locking up Hillary and freeing beautiful Britney Spears.

(END VIDEO CLIP) STELTER: The -- I think the overarching theme from SNL Is that a good riddance to this trial, good riddance to Trump. You know what's missing from these sketches, a lot of talk of the new administration. Clearly, writers at SNL do not find Biden nearly as funny as the prior administration.

PAUL: I don't think there's anything Kate McKinnon can't do.

BLACKWELL: I was just going to say she plays everybody.

PAUL: Everybody.

BLACKWELL: She really is good. She plays everybody.

PAUL: Kudos to her. Brian Stelter, we appreciate you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL, Thanks, Stelter.

STELTER: Thanks.

PAUL: You can catch more of Brian's reporting, of course, this morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES."

BLACKWELL: President Trump has been acquitted twice by the Senate but his legal troubles, they may just be beginning. Still ahead, from New York to Georgia, a rundown of the ongoing criminal investigations into his actions.



PAUL: So, Abraham Lincoln hailed as one of America's greatest presidents, if not the greatest. He ended slavery and he halted the splitting of the country.

BLACKWELL: Yes, his story, though, is more complicated than what you remember from your textbooks. Adrienne Broaddus has a look ahead at a new CNN Original Series. It explores the real Abraham Lincoln in all of his complexity and imperfection.


ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Abraham Lincoln, one of America's most beloved presidents. The first U.S. president featured on a coin. And a lot of the planning and preparation for how he would succeed happen inside this home behind me. It's in Springfield, Illinois, and it's the home he shared with his wife, Mary Todd and their children. Let's go inside.

Three of Lincoln's four children were born in this home, and his second child, Little Eddie, died here too. Little Eddie's funeral was held in this room. But beyond death, there were great memories created here. For example, Lincoln liked to play chess with his boys and wrestle on the floor when he wasn't working. And this is what Abraham Lincoln woke up to every morning. The

wallpaper here pretty bold. The first desk he purchased is in the corner. Neighbors say they often saw the candle burning late into the night. Despite all the darkness in the world at the time, light persisted.

And Lincoln's light was illuminated here at the old State Capitol. One of his most famous speeches, a house divided was delivered in this hall, and words from that speech still resonate today. And the night before he delivered that famous speech he practiced in this room, it's the State Library. He practiced here in front of his supporters. And this is where Lincoln's presidential intellect was built.

But weeks after Lincoln's second inaugural address, he was assassinated, after laying out his plan for reconstruction and saying Blacks should have the right to vote. Indeed, Lincoln's legacy plays out in American politics today. The Emancipation Proclamation is front and center at his tomb.

What you don't often hear about the Emancipation Proclamation is that it allowed for the recruitment of Black soldiers into the military.

Inside, images and symbols reflecting Lincoln's life and legacy. Behind me his final resting place. His wife, Mary Todd, and three of their four children are also buried here. Join us as we launch our new series, Lincoln: Divided We Stand premiering February 14th. Adrienne Broaddus, CNN Springfield, Illinois.


PAUL: Adrienne, thank you. And yes, be sure to tune in to all-new CNN Original Series Lincoln: Divided We Stand. It premieres tonight at 10:00 p.m. only here on CNN. The next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.