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CNN Live Event/Special

The Second Trump Impeachment Trial; House Impeachment Managers Present Case to Convict Donald Trump. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired February 10, 2021 - 12:30   ET



REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO): And as a result, it was predictable and it was foreseeable. And of course, that makes sense. This mob was well orchestrated. Their conduct was intentional. They did it all in plain sight, proudly, openly and loudly. Because they believed, they truly believed that they were doing this for him, that this was their patriotic duty. They even predicted that he would protect them.

And for the most part they were right. In his unique role as Commander in Chief of our country and as the one person that the mob was listening to and following orders from, he had the power to stop it and he didn't. Now some have said that President Trump's remarks, his speech on January 6 was just a speech. Well let me ask you this, when in our history has a speech led of thousands of people to storm our nation's Capitol with weapons?

To scale the walls, break windows, kill a Capitol police officer? This was not just a speech. It didn't just happen. And as you evaluate the facts that we present to you it will become clear exactly where that mob came from. Because here's the thing, President Trump's words, as you'll see, on January 6 in that speech just like the mob's actions weren't (ph) carefully chosen those words had a very specific meaning to that crowd.

And how do we know this because in the weeks prior to, during and after the election he used the same words over and over and over again. You will hear over and over three things, you can see them on the screens. First, what Lead Manager Raskin referred to as the big lie; that the election was stolen, full of fraud, rigged. You will hear over and over him using that lie to urge his supporters to never concede and stop the steal.

And finally you will hear the call to arms. That it was his supporter's patriotic duty to fight like hell. To do what? To stop the steal, to stop the election from being stolen. By showing up in this very chamber to stop you, to stop us.

I respectfully ask that you remember those three phrases as you consider the evidence today. Election was stolen, stop the steal and fight like hell because they did not just appear on January 6.

Let me show you what I mean. Let's start with the big lie. You will see during this trial that the president realized really by last spring that he could lose, he might lose the election. So what did he do? He started planting the seeds to get some of his supporters ready by saying that he could only lose the election if it was stolen.

I mean in other words really what he did is create a no lose scenario. Either he won the election or he would have some angry supporters, not all but some, who believed that if he lost the election had to be rigged. And they would be angry because he was telling Americans that their vote had been stolen. And in America our vote is our voice.

So his false claims about election fraud, that was the drumbeat being used to inspire, instigate, and ignite them, to anger them. Watch this clip.



TRUMP: Because we're not going to let this election be taken away from us. That's the only way they're going to win it.


We're not going to let it happen. It's the only way we can beat - it's the only way we can lose in my opinion is massive fraud.


NEGUSE: We all know what happened after that. He lost. He lost the election, but remember he had that no-lose scenario that I referenced earlier. He told his base that the election was stolen as he had forecasted, and then he told them your election has been stolen but you cannot concede. You must stop the steal.


TRUMP: You can't let another person steal that election from you. All over the country people are together and holding up signs stop the steal. The Democrats are trying to steal the White House. You cannot let them. You just can't let them.


NEGUSE: Now while he's inciting his supporters, he's also simultaneously doing everything he possibly can to overturn the election. First, he beings with the courts, a legitimate avenue - a legitimate avenue to challenge the election, but he ignores all of their adverse rulings when all of his claims are thrown out. Then he moves on to trying to pressure state election officials to block the election results for his opponent even though he'd lost in their states. You'll hear my fellow managers discuss that in detail.

Then he tries to threaten state election officials to actually change the votes to make him the winner, even threatening criminal penalties if they refused. He had the Justice Department investigate his claims, and even they found no support for those claims, so he tried to persuade some members of his party in Congress to block the certification of his vote with a tax in public forums.

When that failed he tried to intimidate the Vice President of the United States of America to refuse to certify the vote and send it back to the states. None of it worked. So what does he do? With his back against the wall when all else has failed? He turns back to his supporters who he'd already spent months telling them that the election was stolen, and he amplified it further. He turned it up a notch. He told them that they had to be ready not just to stop the steal but to fight like hell.


TRUMP: We're going to fight for the survival of our nation and we are going to keep on fighting. We will never surrender. We will only win. Now is not the time to retreat. Now is the time to fight harder than ever before. We have to go all the way. We're going to fight like hell I'll tell you right now.


We will not bend. We will not break. We will not yield. We will never give in. We will never give up. We will never back down. We will never ever surrender.


NEGUSE: You will see that in the months as the president made these statements people listened. Armed-supporters surrounded election officials' homes. The Secretary of State for Georgia got death threats. Officials warned the president that his rhetoric was dangerous and it was going to result in deadly violence, and that's what makes this so different because when he saw firsthand the violence that his conduct was creating he didn't stop it. He didn't condemn the violence. He incited it further, and he got more specific.

He didn't just tell them to fight like hell. He told them how, where, and when. He made sure they had advanced notice - 18 days advanced notice. He sent his save the date for January 6. He told them to march to the Capitol and fight like hell. On January 6 as Lead Manager Raskin said the exact same day that we were certifying the election results.


What time was that rally scheduled for? The exact same time that this chamber was certifying the election results in joint session. When did he conclude his speech? Literally moments before Speaker Pelosi had gaveled us into session. Many of us were in the House during that joint session of Congress. I was sitting two rows behind Leader Schumer and Leader McConnell. I remember it vividly.

And as we were standing there fulfilling our solemn oath to the Constitution the president was finishing his speech just a couple of miles away. How did he conclude that infamous speech? With a final call to action. He told them to march down Pennsylvania Avenue, to come here, that it as their patriotic duty because the election had been stolen. And when they heard his speech they understood his words and what they meant because they had heard it before.

Let's take just a minute and really look at his words on January 6 as he spoke at the Save America rally. Now remember, I told you use your (ph) three phrases. The election was stolen, stop the steal, and fight like hell. Let's start with that first phrase.


TRUMP: All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen. There's never been a thing like this. It's a pure theft in American history. Everybody knows it. Make no mistake this election was stolen from you, from me, from the country. (END VIDEO CLIP)

NEGUSE: Now, of course, each of you heard those words before, so had the crowd. The president had spent months telling his supporters that the election had been stolen, and he used this speech to incite them further, to inflame them, to stop the steal, to stop the certification of the election results.


TRUMP: We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn't happen. You don't concede when there's theft involved.


And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal. We must stop the steal.


NEGUSE: Finally, the president used this speech as a call to arms. It was not rhetorical. Some of his supporters had been primed for this over many months. As you'll learn, days before this speech, as Lead Manager Raskin noted, there were vast reports across all major media outlets that thousands of people would be armed, that they'd be violent. You'll learn that Capitol Police and the FBI reported in the days leading up to the attack that thousands in the crowd would be targeting the Capitol specifically, that they had arrested people with guns the night before the attack on weapons chargers.

And this is what our Commander in Chief said to the crowed in the face of those warnings right before they came here.


TRUMP: We will not let them silence your voices. We're not going to let it happen.



NEGUSE: Not going to let it happen. Thank you. And you have to get your people to fight because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong, and we fight. We fight like hell, and if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore. You have to get your people to fight. He told them.

Senators, this clearly was not just one speech. It didn't just happen. It was part of a carefully-planned, months-long effort with a very specific instruction. Show up on January 6 and get your people to fight the certification.


He incited it. It was foreseeable. And again, you don't have to take my word for it. The president's former chief of staff -- he's a retired Marine, four-star general -- was confirmed by this body to be the secretary of Homeland Security overwhelmingly -- overwhelming vote. That man was John Kelly.


JOHN KELLY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: You know, the president knows who he's talking to when he tweets or when he makes statements. He knows who he's talking to and he -- he knows what he wants them to do. And the fact that he said the things -- he has been saying the things he's been saying since the election and encouraging people, there's no surprise, again, at what happened yesterday.


NEGUSE: "No surprise," think about that. "No surprise." The president had every reason to know that this would happen because he assembled the mob, he summoned the mob and he incited the mob. He knew when he took that podium on that fateful morning that those in attendance had heeded his words and they were waiting for his orders to begin fighting.

And that, of course, brings me and my fellow managers to what happened here in this building. As Lead Manager Raskin stated, my colleagues are going to walk through the events of January 6th and the evidence in very great detail. They are painful to watch and to recount.

And I'm not going to repeat the evidence now. But I do want to be clear about what also happened during that terrible attack and that is this -- that President Trump, once again, failed us. Because when the violence erupted; when we and the law enforcement officials protecting us, protecting you, were under attack; as each of you were being evacuated from this chamber from a violent mob, as we were being evacuated from the House, he could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence.

It was his duty as commander-in-chief to stop the violence. And he alone had that power, not just because of his unique role as commander-in-chief but because they believed that they were following his orders. They said so.


PROTESTER: President Trump! President Trump! CROWD: Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!

PROTESTER: We were invited by the president of the United States!

PROTESTER: I thought I was following my president. I thought I was following what we were called to do.

President Trump requested that we be in D.C. on the 6th.


NEGUSE: You heard it from them. They were doing what he wanted them to do. They wouldn't have listened to you, to me, to the vice president of the United States who they were attacking. They didn't stop in the face of law enforcement, police officers fighting for their lives to stop them. They were following the president.

He alone, our commander-in-chief, had the power to stop it and he didn't. You will hear evidence tonight, tomorrow, throughout the trial about his refusal as commander-in-chief to respond to numerous desperate pleas -- on the phone, across social media -- begging him to stop the attack.

And you will see his relentless attack on Vice President Pence, who was at that very moment hiding with his family as armed extremists were chanting, "Hang Mike Pence," calling him a traitor.

You will see that even when he did finally, three and a half hours into the attack, tell these people to, "Go home in peace," he added -- as Lead Manager Raskin said -- I'll quote, "You're very special. We love you."


Think for a moment -- just a moment -- of the lives lost that day, of the more than 140 wounded police officers. And ask yourself if, as soon as this had started, President Trump had simply gone onto TV, just logged onto Twitter and said, "Stop the attack." If he had done so with even half as much force as he said, "Stop the steal." How many lives would we have saved?

Sadly, he didn't do that. At the end of the day, the president was not successful in stopping the certification. That we know, thanks to the bravery of law enforcement, and to the bravery of the senators in this room, each of you, who still fulfilled your constitutional duty, even under the threat of mortal peril.

But there can be no doubt of the grave harm that he caused to our elected leaders, to us, our families, to all who work in the Capitol, our staff, your staff. To our brave Capitol Police who defend us tirelessly, with little thanks, who believed that they had a commander in chief who would defend and protect them -- and instead put them in harm's way.

To those killed, for heeding his command, to our democracy and the system, which ensures that we have a president elected by the people, to our national security and our standing in the world, the harm was real, the damage was real.

Five people lost their lives on that terrible, tragic day. A woman was shot dead, 50 feet from where we later certified the election results.

And for those who question just how bad it was, criminal complaints recently unsealed by the Department of Justice are more than revealing. You'll see one of these documents on the screen.

In the charging affidavit of one of the leaders of the Proud Boys, we learned that members of this group said -- I'm going to quote -- "They would have killed Mike Pence if given the chance."

In another, we learned of a tweet -- in real time, while they were in the building -- stating, "We broke into the Capitol... we got inside, we did our part." "We were looking for Nancy" Pelosi "to shoot her in the friggin' brain but we didn't find her."

And for anyone who suggests otherwise, these defendants themselves have told you exactly why they were here. You'll see this in the trial that, in the halls of the Capitol, on social media, in news interviews and in charging documents, they confirmed they were following the president's orders.

You can see some of the statements on that screen.

One who said, "Trump wants all able-bodied patriots." Another, that "President Trump is calling us to fight. This isn't a joke." Another one, "I thought I was following my president, I thought I was following what we were called to do." "Our president wants us here." "We wait and take orders from" the "president."

He made them believe, over many weeks, that the election was stolen and they were following his command to take back their country.

As I prepared for today -- yesterday, this trial, one memory that I couldn't shake, which was on the night of January 6th, and the feeling of walking back onto the House floor, and seeing many of you there. I remember us finishing our task at 4 in the morning.

And as I walked off the floor, I was so grateful -- so grateful -- for the opportunity to thank the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, for his actions, for standing before us and asking us to follow our oath and our faith and our duty.


We only got a couple of hours of sleep that morning, early the next day I called my dad who came to this country, as I mentioned, as an immigrant 40 years ago. And I told him that the proudest moment by far of serving in Congress for me was going back on to the floor with each of you, to finish the work that we had started.

I'm humbled to be back with you today, and just as on January 6 when we overcame that attack on our Capitol, on our country -- I'm hopeful that at this trial we can use our resolve and our resilience to again uphold our democracy by faithfully applying the law, vindicating the Constitution and holding President Trump accountable for his actions.

RASKIN: Senators, Representatives Joaquin Castro and Eric Swalwell will now show the evidence of President Trump's long campaign to delegitimize his electoral defeat and to galvanize his supporters to help him retain his power at any costs. So we're going to go at this point step-by-step and explain the progression all the way up until the attack.

CASTRO: Good afternoon you all (ph). My name is Joaquin Castro and I represent San Antonio in the United States Congress. There is a saying that a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put on its shoes -- and that was before the internet. The point of that saying is that a lie can do incredible damage and destruction, and that's especially true when that lie is told by the most powerful person on earth, our commander in chief, the president of the United States.

This attack did not come from one speech, and it didn't happen by accident. The evidence shows clearly that this mob was provoked over many months by Donald J. Trump. And if you look at the evidence, his purposeful conduct you'll see that the attack was foreseeable and preventable. I'll start by discussing President Trump's actions leading up to the election when we set up his big lie.

Beginning in the spring of 2020, President Trump began to fall behind in the polls. And by July, President Trump had reached a new low. He was running 15 points behind his opponent, and he was scared. He'd began to believe that he could legitimately lose the election. And so he did something entirely unprecedented in the history of our nation -- he refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power.

Here's what he said.


WALLACE: Can you give a direct answer? You will accept the election?

TRUMP: I have to see -- look, I have to see. I'm not going to just say yes, I'm not going to say (inaudible) ...

(UNKNOWN): Do you commit to making sure that there's a peaceful transferral of power?

TRUMP: Get rid of the ballots and we'll have a very -- we'll have a very peaceful -- there won't be a transfer, frankly, there'll be a continuation.


CASTRO: Senators, the president of the United States said, "there won't be a transition of power, there'll be a continuation." President Trump was given every opportunity to tell his supporters, yes, if I lose I will peacefully transfer power to the next president. Instead he told his supporters the only way he could lose the election is if it was stolen.

In tweet after tweet he made sweeping allegations about election fraud that couldn't possibly be true.