Return to Transcripts main page
CNN Live Event/Special
Historic Trial for Trump's Second Impeachment Begins; House Impeachment Managers Address Senate in Trump Trial; House Managers Present Video Evidence in Case Against Trump. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired February 09, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. David, thank you so much.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Sure.
TAPPER: So, Abby, as we wait for the trial to commence, and we'll obviously bring that to you live when it happens, just some final thoughts. One thing I think is interesting, a month before the insurrection, in early December, Republican officials in Georgia were saying, stop lying about the election, somebody is going to get killed, and then a month later it happened.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And to add to that, remember that just before the election, during one of the debates with Joe Biden, the president told one of the groups intricately involved in this riot, the Proud Boys, to stand back and stand by. That happened, and it was then succeeded by months and months of lies, that the president had actually ceded into the conversation even before he lost the election, that he told his supporters something that was not true. And that is why we are here today.
TAPPER: And let's listen in as the trial begins.
BARRY BLACK, SENATE CHAPLAIN: Let us pray. Eternal God, author of liberty, take control of this impeachment trial. Lord, permit the words of the New England poet, James Russell Lowell, to provide our Senate jurors with just one perspective.
Lowell wrote once, to every man and nation comes the moment to decide in the strife of truth with falsehood for the good or evil side. Mighty God, could it really be that simple? Could it really be just truth striving against falsehood and good striving against evil?
Powerful redeemer, have mercy on our beloved land. We pray in your magnificent name. Amen.
LEAHY: Please join in the Pledge Allegiance.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic, for which it stands, one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
Morning business is closed. Morning business is closed and the Senate will convene as a court of impeachment. I ask senators to be seated. If there's no objection, the journal of proceedings as a trial are approved to date.
And I asked the sergeant in arms to make the proclamation.
CLERK: Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye; all persons are commanded to keep silence on pain of imprisonment while the Senate of the United States is sitting for the trial of the Article of Impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives against Donald John Trump, former president of the United States.
LEAHY: I note the presence in the Senate chamber of the managers on the part of the House Representatives and Counsel for the former president of the United States.
SCHUMER: Mr. President.
LEAHY: Majority Leader is recognized.
SCHUMER: Mr. President, in a moment I will call up a resolution to govern the structure of the second impeachment trial of president -- of Donald -- Donald John Trump. It's been agreed to by the House Managers, the former president's counsel and is co-sponsored by the Republican leader.
It is bipartisan. It's our solemn constitutional duty to conduct a fair and honest impeachment trial of the charges against former President Trump. The gravest charges ever brought against a president of the United States in American history. This resolution provides for a fair trial and I urge the Senate to adopt it.
Mr. President, I send a resolution to the desk on my behalf, and that of the Republican leader for the organizing of the next phases of this trial.
LEAHY: Article report (ph).
CLERK: Senate Resolution 47, to provide for related procedures concerning the Article of Impeachment against Donald John Trump, former President of the United States.
LEAHY: The question occurs on the adoption of the resolution.
SCHUMER: I ask for the yays and nays.
LEAHY: Is there a sufficient second? There appears to be -- there is a sufficient second. Desk clerk will call the role.
CLERK: Ms. Baldwin.
BALDWIN: Aye. CLERK: Ms. Baldwin, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Barrasso, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Bennet, aye.
CLERK: Ms. Blackburn, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Blumenthal, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Blunt, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Booker, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Boozman, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Braun, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Brown, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Burr, aye.
CLERK: Ms. Cantwell, aye.
CLERK: Ms. Capito, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Cardin, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Carper, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Casey, aye.
CLERK: Ms. Collins, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Coons, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Cornyn, aye.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: (INAUDIBLE) roll call, John. Everybody is voting in favor. This is a procedural moment right now. They're all going to approve this resolution so the actual trial can begin.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It will be interesting to see if anybody votes no. It's a bipartisan agreement negotiated by the majority leader, Schumer, and the Republican minority leader, McConnell. The only reason to vote no would be if you're a Republican objecting to the trial happening at all. But this is just to lay the rules for the next several days, and then they move on obviously to the trial proceedings itself. But this is a procedural step that must be done.
And Senator Schumer, the majority leader, obviously, they could have done this by a voice vote. He wanted this vote recorded, so we'll go through the 100 United States senators.
BLITZER: Then they begin four hours of a discussion, basically, on constitutionality, the legal aspect of this entire trial.
KING: And this was part of getting this agreement, was that the Democrats agreeing to have this constitutionality argument again. Remember, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky earlier had the Senate vote on this when the House manager sent over -- originally brought over the articles of impeachment, but they want to do it again, and that was interesting to watch then. Only five Republican senators broke and said no, there is a constitutional reason, there should be a trial.
Let's see if we get the same vote today after four hours of argument. And this time you'll hear the House managers making their case and the former president's attorneys making their case. That's what gets different once you're in the actual trial. You don't hear from the senators much at all. They are jurors. They are there to listen.
Senator Leahy in the chair presiding will manage the proceedings, a traffic cop, if you will. But once this vote is over, the defense of the prosecution are the voices we shall hear unless any senator then raises a question or point of order.
BLITZER: Looks like they're all wearing masks, John, because of COVID, although Senator Rand Paul, for some reason, is not wearing a mask. I guess he'll have to explain that at some point. But it's a statement that he is making.
And I should point out, John, that after this four-hour debate on the constitutionality, the legal aspect of holding this trial, you just need a simple majority vote. You don't need 67, two-thirds, you just need 51 in favor. And, remember, when they did the constitutionality vote in the Senate the last time, it was 55-45, and presumably it will be similar to that.
KING: The only question here is are there more Republicans who vote to continue the trial, essentially. You're voting on the constitutionality question. So if you vote it's unconstitutional, you're saying, I want to shut the trial down. If you vote you believe it's constitutional to hold the trial, you're saying, let's have the rest of the trial, let's move on here.
[13:10:00] Again, only five Republicans said, let's move on, let's have this trial in the last vote. So, essentially, it's a redo of that vote and the only question is, are there -- after listening to the arguments from attorneys this time, are there more Republicans who say, let's have this trial? That will be your first test of whether, again, five Republicans senator broke and voted with the Democrats last time.
In the end here, you would need 17 Republican votes if all the Democrats stay together to get to the two-thirds margin to convict. So, one, this vote today is another test case, is there any evidence the Republicans are moving?
BLITZER: Yes. The roll call is continuing.
Anderson, back to you.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Wolf, let's talk to our panel here. Ross Garber, just in terms of what they are doing right now and also what the next several hours look like, if you could just tell our viewers.
ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. What we're going to see now are, after this vote is done on the procedures, and we expect that will be accepted, next, we're going to see presentations by the lawyers about the jurisdictional issue, about the constitutionality of trying a former president. The House managers are going to argue that, yes, there is jurisdiction and they're going to cite lots of constitutional scholarship, and the president's lawyers are going to say, no, there is no jurisdiction. Now, the president's lawyers' brief was not very strong on this issue. In fairness, they just got hired. But they didn't cite much scholarship.
I think it's important for the viewers to understand that this is a unique proceeding. It's very unusual in American history. Only one other official, a secretary of war to Ulysses S. Grant, has been tried to verdict before by the Senate, a former official. And so there's no clear answers in this environment, but it will be very interesting to see the arguments and how they're presented.
COOPER: Do all the House managers make this argument? Is it just one initially?
GARBER: I think we're going to see either one or probably two make the argument. I think that's how it's probably going to be structured.
COOPER: And then -- I know each side gets four hours for closing arguments. Is that the same -- is it four hours to make the argument on the constitutionality and jurisdictional issues?
GARBER: Yes. I forget what the rules actually provide for. I think that's the answer. And then we may see deliberations in the Senate, and then, interestingly, a vote. And it is going to be telling to see what the vote is, if it matches the previous vote or if anybody was actually moved on it.
COOPER: And, Norm Eisen, that issue should be settled today, the constitutionality issue, at least a vote would be taken, correct? NORMAN EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's correct, Anderson. In my view, it was settled in 1789 when the Constitution was adopted. It's a plain matter of the text, the structure, the purpose, the precedent. It's been voted on by the Senate in the 19th century. It was just voted on by the Senate, but, yes, it will be finally resolved today.
It doesn't mean we won't keep hearing about it, because the Republican senators and Trump's lawyers are desperate to talk about anything other than his incitement of insurrection.
COOPER: Go ahead.
GARBER: I was going to say, there is one interesting thing. We're all assuming that if a senator votes that there is jurisdiction, then that senator is going to vote not guilty on the ultimate question, which is likely to be the case, but it's not certain. The one time this happened before, for most senators that's what happened. If they voted no in jurisdiction, they then voted not guilty. But some took different paths. Some abstained and some actually voted guilty.
And so if I were a House manager here, I would probably argue that even if you believe there is no jurisdiction, if you participate in this trial and you get to verdict, you should vote with your conscience on the verdict.
COOPER: Let's listen in.
LEAHY: The resolution is agreed to. And pursuant to the provisions of Senate Resolution 47, there shall now be four hours of argument by the parties, equally divided, on the question of whether Donald John Trump is subject to the jurisdiction of a court of impeachment for acts committed while president of the United States, notwithstanding the expiration of his term in that office.
Mr. Manager Raskin, are you a proponent or a -- or opponent of this question?
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD), LEAD IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: I'm a proponent.
LEAHY: Thank you.
Mr. Castor, are you a proponent or opponent of this question?
BRUCE CASTOR, TRUMP IMPEACHMENT LAWYER: An opponent.
LEAHY: Opponent. Thank you.
Then, Mr. Manager Raskin, your party may proceed first and will be able to reserve rebuttal time if you wish. Mr. Raskin, you're recognized.
RASKIN: Thank you very much. Mr. President, distinguished members of the Senate, good afternoon. My name is Jamie Raskin. It's my honor to represent the people of Maryland's 8th Congressional District in the House and also to serve as the lead House manager.
And Mr. President, we will indeed reserve time for rebuttal. Thank you.
Because I've been a professor of constitutional law for three decades, I know there are a lot of people who are dreading endless lectures about the Federalist Papers here. Please breathe easy.
OK? I remember well W.H. Auden's line that, "A professor is someone who speaks while other people are sleeping." You will not be hearing extended lectures from me because our case is based on cold hard facts. It's all about the facts.
President Trump has sent his lawyers here today to try to stop the Senate from hearing the facts of this case. They want to call the trial over before any evidence is even introduced.
Their argument is that if you commit an impeachable offense in your last few weeks in office, you do it with constitutional impunity -- you get away with it.
In other words, conduct that would be a high crime and misdemeanor in your first year as president, and your second year as president, and your third year as president and for the vast majority of your fourth year as president, you can suddenly do in your last few weeks in office without facing any constitutional accountability at all.
This would create a brand new January exception to the Constitution of the United States of America -- a January exception.
And everyone can see immediately why this is so dangerous. It's an invitation to the president to take his best shot at anything he may want to do on his way out the door, including using violent means to lock that door, to hang onto the Oval Office at all costs and to block the peaceful transfer of power. In other words, the January exception is an invitation to our founders' worst nightmare.
And if we buy this radical argument that President Trump's lawyers advance, we risk allowing January 6th to become our future. And what will that mean for America? Think about it. What will the January exception mean to future generations if you grant it? I'll show you.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will stop the steal.
Today, I will lay out just some of the evidence proving that we won this election and we won it by a landslide. This was not a close election. And after this, we're going to walk down -- and I'll be there with you -- we're going to walk down -- we're going to walk down to the Capitol.
(APPLAUSE) PROTESTER: Let's take the Capitol!
PROTESTER: Take the Capitol!
PROTESTER: Let's take it! Let's take the Capitol!
PROTESTER: We are going to the Capitol, where our problems are, it's that direction!
PROTESTER: Everybody in! This way! This way!
TRUMP: Tens of thousands of votes -- they came in in duffel bags. Where the hell did they come from?
PROTESTER: Let's go now!
CROWD: USA! USA! USA!
UNKNOWN: Madam Speaker, the vice president and the United States Senate.
UNKNOWN: Off the sidewalk.
PROTESTER: Fucking prick, faggot--
PROTESTER: Stand up for him (ph). Stand up for him (ph). We outnumber you a million to one out here, dude.
PROTESTER: Take the building. Take the building. Fuck these pigs.
PROTESTER: Join us!
PROTESTER: Let us in!
PROTESTER: That's enough!
PROTESTER: There's much more coming!
TRUMP: The Constitution says you have to protect our country and you have to protect our Constitution. And you can't vote on fraud, and fraud breaks up everything, doesn't it? When you catch somebody in the fraud you're allowed to go by very different rules, so I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do.
PROTESTER: Talking about you, Pence.
PROTESTER: Take (inaudible)!
TRUMP: And we fight. We fight like hell, and if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore. PROTESTER: Fuck D.C. police! Fuck you! Fuck you (inaudible).
TRUMP: So we're going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I love Pennsylvania Avenue. And we're going to the Capitol, and we're going to try and give our Republicans - the weak ones because the strong ones don't need any of our help. We're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.
PROTESTER: Get the fuck out of here your traitors!
UNKNOWN: Majority Leader.
MCCONNELL: We're debating a step that has never been taken in American history. President Trump claims the election was stolen. The assertions range from specific local allegations to constitutional arguments to sweeping conspiracy theories. But my colleagues, nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale - the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election.
PROTESTER: Our house! Our house! Our house!
PROTESTER: I want you to smash the door (ph)!
PROTESTER: Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!
PROTESTER: Fuck you, police!
PROTESTER: Let's go! Let's go!
PROTESTER: (inaudible). Take my gun I'll take you (ph).
UNKNOWN: Sit (ph)! Second floor!
PROTESTER: (inaudible) man. We have a corrupt government.
PROTESTER: Are you going to beat us all? Are you going to beat us all?
PROTESTER: Right here! Right here! (ph)
LANKFORD: My challenge today is not about the good people of Arizona.
LEAHY: We'll stand in recess until the call of the chair.
LANKFORD: We'll pause.
UNKNOWN: Protesters are in the building.
LANKFORD: Thank you.
REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): Now, Mr. Speaker, can I have order in the chamber?
UNKNOWN: The House will be in order.
PROTESTER: Go! Go! Go! Go!
UNKNOWN: The House will be in order. OK.
PROTESTER: Fuck the blue! Fuck the blue! Fuck the blue!
UNKNOWN: Do not stand down. You're outnumbered.
PROTESTER: There's a fucking million of us out there, and we're listening to Trump - your boss.
PROTESTER: Treason! Treason! Treason! Treason! Treason!
PROTESTER: Pence is a traitor!
PROTESTER: Traitor Pence!
PROTESTER: Traitor Pence!
PROTESTER: Traitor Pence!
PROTESTER: Traitor Pence!
PROTESTER: Defend your Constitution! Defend your league (ph)! Defend your Constitution!
PROTESTER: They're leaving. They're leaving. They're leaving. They're leaving.
PROTESTER: Break it down!
PROTESTER: Be careful!
UNKNOWN: Everybody stay down! Get down!
UNKNOWN: Let's go. Come on.
PROTESTER: Is this the Senate? Where the fuck are they?
PROTESTER: No, he's in the House.
PROTESTER: There's got to be something here we can fucking use against these scumbags.
PROTESTER: That's what we fucking need to have 30,000 guns up here.
PROTESTER: Next trip, right?
PROTESTER: Don't let them out!
PROTESTER: Let's go! Let's go! PROTESTER: Use the shield! Use the shield!
PROTESTER: Use it!
PROTESTER: Use the shield!
PROTESTER: We need fresh patriots to the front!
PROTESTER: Traitors! Traitors!
TRUMP: There's never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us, from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can't play into the hands of these people.
We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens.