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CNN Live Event/Special
House Impeachment Managers Present Case to Convict Trump; Soon, House Impeachment Managers to Show New Evidence in Case Against Trump. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired February 10, 2021 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: He even stated again 14 minutes later to make sure his supporters understood, quote, "The Justice Department and the FBI have done nothing about the 2020 presidential election voter fraud, the biggest scam" -- all caps -- "in our nation's history despite overwhelming evidence. They should be ashamed."
And then he adds, "History will remember. Never give up. See everyone in D.C. on January 6th."
That phrase, "History will remember," was the only time, the first time Donald Trump had used it in his presidency. And he sent this to 70-plus million Twitter followers the day they needed to show up and be ready to fight.
On December 27, he reminds them again, don't miss it, information to follow. A few days later December 30, all caps, "SEE YOU IN D.C." This continues all the way up to January 6th.
On January 1 he states "The BIG Protest Rally in Washington will take place at 11:00 a.m. Locational details to follow. StopTheSteal!"
You'll see that an hour later, President Trump re-tweeted one of his twitter followers. That follower was Kylie Kremer, executive director of Women for America first, the group organizing the January 6th rally and the creator of the Facebook group, Stop the Steal.
Kremer tweeted, quote, "The cavalry is coming, Mr. President!," referring to the cavalry showing up on January 6th. She also added a website for supporters to RSVP and made clear what the message was, #stopthesteal.
And what did President Trump say in response to hearing that the cavalry was coming? "A great honor," he wrote back. This wasn't just a single tweet. He and his organizers would do this over and over repeatedly.
On January 3, another supporter tweets, "We have been marching all around the country for you, Mr. President. Now we will bring it to D.C. on January 6th and proudly stand beside you. Thank you for fighting for us."
When President Trump reposted her tweet, she wrote back, "BEST DAY EVER. Thank you for the re-tweet, it has been an honor to stand up and fight for you and our nation. We will be standing strong on January 6th in D.C. with you. We are bringing the cavalry, Mr. President."
We are bringing the cavalry. That was the consistent message. This was not just any old protest. President Trump was inciting something historic. The cavalry was coming. And he was organized.
In her post, Ms. Lawrence tagged Kylie Kremer, the organizer of the event, whose post we just saw president trump re-tweet. Again, you see this is all connected.
I won't show you all of the Twitter statements, and there are a lot, but here's one more. President Trump re-tweeted another of Ns. Kremer's post which had all the details of January 6th with the same hashtags, March for President Trump, Do Not Certify, Stop the Steal.
And in response, President Trump, he writes back, "I will be there, historic day." Before Congress, I prosecuted violent crimes in California as an Alameda county deputy district attorney. And when you investigate and prosecute violent crimes, you have to distinguish, was this a heat of passion crime or was it something more deliberate, planned, premeditated?
The evidence here on this count is overwhelming. President Trump's conduct leading up to January 6th was deliberate, planned, and premeditated. This was not one speech, not one Tweet. It was dozens in rapid succession with the specific details.
He was acting as part of the host committee. In fact, when he had assembled his inflamed mob in D.C., he warned us that he knew what was coming.
This was President Trump's statement the night before the attack. I should say this was one of his dozens of statements on Twitter in the hours leading up to the attack.
"I hope the Democrats and even more importantly the weak and ineffective RINO section of the Republican Party, are looking at the thousands of people pouring into D.C., they won't stand for a landslide victory to be stolen. @senatemajldr @JohnCornyn @SenJohnThune."
"Thousands of people pouring into D.C. who won't stand for the landslide election to be stolen." It's all right there and he tags senators to pressure you to stop this.
And he warns all of us that his thousands of supporters whom you'll see that the FBI had warned were armed and targeting the Capitol won't stand for us certifying the results of the election. This was never about one speech.
He built this mob over many months with repeated messaging until they believed that they had been robbed of their vote and they would do anything to stop the certification. He made the -- he made them believe that their victory was stolen and incited them so he could use them to steal the election for himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This election was rigged.
UNKNOWN: This is tyranny against the people of the United States and we are not standing for it anymore.
TRUMP: If we don't root out the fraud, the tremendous and horrible fraud that's taken place in our 2020 election, we don't have a country anymore.
The left lies, they cheat, and they steal, they are ruthless, and they are hell-bent on getting power and control by any means necessary.
UNKNOWN: Take three steps back, move back.
TRUMP: Can't let it happen, can't let it happen.
CROWD: Stop the steal, stop the steal, stop the steal.
TRUMP: The Democrats are trying to steal the White House, you can not let them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SWALWELL: "Can't let it happen, never concede, fight." He told them in speech after speech, these crowds were ready to fight. This is what President Trump was inciting, he foresaw what was coming and this is what he deliberately led to our doorstep on January 6th.
I want to be clear, during this trial when we talk about the violent mob during the attack we do not mean every American who showed up at President Trump's rally. Certain Americans came to protest peacefully, as is their right. That is what makes our country so great, to debate freely, openly, and peacefully our differences.
Just like all of you were attempting to do in this very room on January 6th. But what President Trump did was different. He didn't tell his supporters to fight, or be strong in a casual reference, he repeatedly over months told them to fight for a specific purpose, he told them their victory was stolen, the election was rigged, and their patriotic duty was to fight to stop the steal.
And he repeated this messaging even after he saw the violence it was inciting. And when they were primed, and angry, and ready to fight he escalated, and channeled their rage with a call to arms. "Show up on January 6th," at the exact time the votes of the American people were being counted and certified and then, "March to the Capitol and fight like hell." He told this to thousands of people who were armed to the teeth, targeting us, and determined to stop the Electoral College count.
What our commander in chief did was wildly different from what anyone here in this room did to raise election concerns. This was a deliberate, pre-mediated incitement to his base to attack our Capitol while the counting was going on, and it was foreseeable, especially to President Trump who warned us he knew what was coming. This is what the evidence has overwhelmingly shown and will show in this trial, and it's also the truth.
SCHUMER: Mr. President.
LEAHY: The majority leader.
SCHUMER: I ask unanimous consent the Senate recess for a 15-minute break.
LEAHY: Without objection, so ordered.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. While the Senate impeachment trial of former President Trump takes a 15-minute break, let us assess where we are in the proceedings right now.
And, Dana, they are making a very cogent case that Donald Trump, since five or six months before the election --
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
TAPPER: -- was claiming that the only way he would lose is if there was fraud, that did not exist in the form he claimed, and that after months and months and months of this, he was really inciting what happened.
BASH: That he primed his supporters for the big lie. And the way that they are going about it, in very deliberate detail, all of the managers we have heard so far, is incredibly powerful.
Because he didn't do it in secret. And this is the hallmark of Donald Trump. Everything that he did that was untoward or, frankly, just wrong throughout his whole presidency and even pre-presidency was done in plain sight.
So they are taking -- they have the benefit of that. So they're taking all of his comments, all of his tweets and making a narrative for the jurors that President Trump handed them on a silver platter.
The question is whether or not these jurors, particularly the Republicans, are actually listening, are really listening and are really open-minded.
Because if they are, how do you not hear that? How do you not -- how are you not moved by those arguments?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're not listening, some of them. Some of them are explicitly not listening. Feet up on desks, they're reading books, they're reading briefing papers on other topics.
And they're doing it intentionally because I guess it gives them plausible deniability with their supporters that they weren't even going to take in the information that's coming to them today.
And I think that that should really be highlighted because this is a really important moment.
I mean, they have the choice to vote however they want, but the responsibility is to listen and to take in the evidence that's being presented by both sides.
They're not doing it -- they're not listening, in part, because they don't want to hear what's being said.
But also because some of them are complicit in what is being laid out today by the impeachment managers.
The undermining of the election, the pushing of the lies about the widespread fraud about dead people voting, about all of these fake irregularities, that was invented as part of a plan to undermine the confidence in this election.
Some of the same Republican Senators who are sitting in that chamber participated in those lies. And so it becomes very difficult for them to sit there and to take this at face value because it would require an indictment on themselves.
And that's one of the challenges with this particular impeachment hearing. It is not just about Trump. It is also about all the other people who were a part of that effort to undermine the election.
TAPPER: Most notably, perhaps, Senators Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley. Those are --
PHILLIP: And Lindsey Graham -- I mean, we should be clear, Lindsey Graham made a phone call to the Georgia secretary of state to ask about how they could find ways to disqualify certain votes.
TAPPER: Yes. And the fact that --
PHILLIP: So it went beyond just rhetoric. It was action as well.
TAPPER: In fact, the criminal investigation going on into Donald Trump when it comes to his call to Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, the reason that that audio exists, according to the secretary of state's office, is because after the Lindsey Graham call, they say Lindsey Graham lied about what that call was about.
TAPPER: Therefore, they recorded it when Donald Trump called. So, in many ways, Donald Trump has Lindsey Graham to thank for this prosecution or at least investigation into Trump's behavior as evidenced on that tape.
BASH: You're exactly right, which is happening on a parallel track in the actual courts as we speak, which CNN reported about earlier.
When you talk about the Senators and the fact that so many of them sitting in that chamber on the Republican side obviously were complicit in the big lie, that is absolutely true.
But there was a moment when Eric Swalwell, towards the end there, was showing one of Donald Trump's tweets. And in it, he was calling Mitch McConnell, John Thune, John Cornyn RINOs, meaning Republican in Name Only.
And it looked to me like -- we don't see the cutaways of the Senators.
But it looked to me like Swalwell was looking directly at each of them, frankly, you know, shaming them and maybe even questioning their manhood. Are you going to let him bully you like this and not stand up to him and what he actually did with the insurrection in your name?
TAPPER: Yes. Spoiler alert, yes, they are.
TAPPER: But the other thing that's interesting, if anybody out there's wondering how come we're not seeing the reaction shots from the Senators, normally, the CSPAN2 cameras are there recording what people are doing.
And the agreement that was arrived upon by Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer was that there would not be cameras showing them. There is a courtroom artist in there drawing pictures as there was during the last impeachment.
BASH: So we don't see them with their feet up on the desk and reading the comic books.
TAPPER: Yes, so my only point is, they're really tough and defiant about the fact that they're not participating, except that they won't allow cameras there to show that.
TAPPER: It's real easy to be defiant when no one's looking. PHILLIP: Yes, it's true.
The other thing is, you know, this is, to some degree, a legal proceeding. And they have every right to fall on the side of the evidence that they think is the strongest.
The problem is they're not even brothering making the case that their side is making a strong argument.
We saw this happen yesterday. The case against the constitutionality of this proceeding was so weak that it prompted Senator Cassidy to say there's no way you could have listened to this and come to the conclusion that we should say that this is an unconstitutional proceeding.
But it's not about the merits of the argument at this point. It's about the politics of whether they think, you know, they should even be bothering to vote on what Donald Trump did or did not do.
And that's a shame because there's real -- you know, I think it's important to litigate what happened here --
PHILLIP: -- and whether it was right or whether it was wrong, what kind of precedent it sets, if it is punished or not punished.
That's important not just in this moment, but it's important going forward for this country.
That's part of the argument the impeachment managers are making by the way, which is that we have to decide as a country whether this is acceptable or not. Otherwise, it may very well happen again.
TAPPER: And as Dana notes, a lot of this took place out in the open.
TAPPER: Now there's probably a lot of stuff we don't know about. I can't imagine that that was the first call Donald Trump made that was inappropriate, the one with Secretary of State Raffensperger of Georgia.
But a lot of stuff was going on in front of the world, in front of the cameras. And, in fact, a lot of CNN reporting was in that presentation.
CNN reporters talking to Trump supporters, Anderson, finding out what they think. Is there any way that if Donald Trump loses, it's legitimate and they say no. This was CNN reporting.
John Kelly, former White House chief of staff, saying Donald Trump told his supporters what to do, and they did it. All right there, all reported by CNN.
Anderson? ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And we should point out, Jake, that the
phone call with Raffensperger and the president, Raffensperger only released that because the president lied about the content of the phone call --
COOPER: -- which is, again, is him shooting himself in the foot over and over again.
One argument the managers keep making is that the rioters were acting out for President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Our attorneys, our legal scholars have been watching as well.
Laura Coates, what have you made of the House managers so far?
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's been outstanding, the ability to craft a narrative and follow along with what Trump was actually doing. The phrases like, "He is no innocent bystander."
As if the president of the United States just happened to coincidentally be able to have all these people arrive and then follow his instructions, just blowing it out of the water that this is even possible.
I thought that Congressman Neguse did a phenomenal job as well talking about the drum beat of incitement, that it did not begin that day on January 6th, that they were in prime position.
It almost analogized -- in my mind, I was thinking about a coach in a locker room who's getting the players ready. And then when they're in prime position, they can actually execute the strategy.
He riled people up on that point to get them on the playing field to then launch an attack.
And you're seeing that thematically play out right now with these House impeachment managers.
And really showing in a very methodical, straightforward way, using the president's own statements, about the way in which this did not begin on January 6th, but it was intended to end the way it did. [13:50:03]
NORMAN EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Anderson, I think it's interesting that they're speaking not only to the Senate jurors but to the jury of the American people.
And so, to me, what is so fascinating is they're is they're blaming Trump but they're point out that Trump's followers, who, after all, they also represent, we're simply exercising their -- what they believed, wrongly, mistakenly, misled intentionally and woefully and knowingly by Donald Trump -- what they believed to be their patriot duty.
And in showing tweet after tweet, radio show after radio show, television clip after television clip, Donald Trump's state of mind, the big lie over and over again.
Pouring kindling on the flames as Mr. Swalwell said, kindling, putting the logs on, building up what is going to be the bonfire, I think is a very skillful case for the American people and the Senate.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And you know, it's funny. We all covered all of this and we were there, but you kind of forgot all the times -- at least I did -- that Donald Trump said these things over and over and over again.
And what this video reminded me and the point that Neguse really wanted to make is he said, it doesn't just happen. It was part of a carefully planned, months-long effort, with a specific instruction: Show up on January 6th and get your people to fight certification.
By showing that video with Trump saying this over and over again, you say, wait a minute, this isn't a speech about fight like hell. This is about a plan to --
ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Stop certification.
GARBER: So one of the things -- I think it's been very interesting what the managers have done is that they're actually reaching out very subtly to Republicans.
You'll notice that Representative Neguse praised Vice President Pence. Congressman Swalwell distinguished between the peaceful protesters, the peaceful protesters there on January 6th and the violent ones. That's very important.
One thing that I think they're going to need -- and we're still very early in this. But one thing I'm watching for is, you know, it's one thing to get folks there to rally, but if what Trump wanted was violence, to what end? Because it actually doesn't make any sense what happened with the
violence in -- in an insurrection, it didn't help him at all. The managers need to address that. If that was his intent, why?
COATES: You're saying --
GARBER: Yes. It was counterproductive. Look what happened. He didn't help him. If the goal was to delay certification, it actually sped things up.
COATES: Well, the goal was for him to feel the admiration of the people who followed his instructions. Sometimes that is the point.
But I have to say -- it's a point you made, Gloria, as well -- I think so much of the time now we often attribute January 6th as the new date that will live in infamy as the insurrection date.
But it wasn't coincidental to their theme of the case as to why January 6th was so important.
It was the day that they thought they were going -- to your point -- to Stop the Steal, to stop this ceremonial function that Pence was presiding over will they were building a gallows and noose on the lawn outside.
It's important for the theme for them to make it's very clear that the reason that his comments up to January 6th, the big lie, it's all about why they were marching towards that day of infamy. They wanted to interfere with what the congressional role was supposed to be.
And if you consistently put it into that light, in that perspective, the case becomes even stronger to show he wasn't just trying to stay in power. The articles of impeachment talks about imperiling a co- equal branch of government who was performing their constitutional duties then.
So you have to keep in mind that it wasn't just the insurrection on January 6th. It was a day that has been set out for so many generations, that that's the day we acknowledge the certification of our Electoral College system. And that was the disruption.
EISEN: And Trump wanted to exert maximum pressure on those Senators who might side with him, the congressmen who might side with him. And above all -- and we heard this in his speech on the 6th -- we've heard the references to Pence. We will hear a lot of this again in response to Ross' question, pressure on Mike Pence.
Pence could have done the wrong thing. He could have broken either way. If he were as unlawful as Trump's most extreme enablers, a Cruz, a Hawley in the Senate, a Mo Brooks or a Jim Jordan, in the House, he could have said, no, I have the power to throw this over.
So Trump applied the squeeze, like every extortionist.
It's really the same story as the Ukraine impeachment, extortion. Like every extortionist, who says, gee, it would be a shame if your beautiful shop caught fire. Trump said, gee, it would be a shame if our beautiful democracy caught fire. And then he had to follow through on the threat.
BORGER: And then he was still calling members of Congress in the Senate while the insurrection was taking place. Because he still wanted to convince Tommy Tuberville, OK, can't you figure out a way to stop it?
He didn't call Mike Pence, which is an interesting side note, because Mike Pence's life was in danger. But he was still trying to convince people. So that's the logic of it.
GARBER: But I think it's going to have to be more than more than that. It's going to have to more of a mere advocacy.
And the article of impeachment actually alleges it was a violent insurrection that was supposed to be happening.
COOPER: Basically, in a coup, you seize the -- seize the power the TV stations. You --
GARBER: Yes. If that's what was happening, that's one thing. I expect Trump or what his Trump's lawyers are going to say is, no, what we wanted was a huge protest to send a message.
GARBER: We wanted them to march on the capitol and protest there, as opposed to storming. Those are very different things. One is advocacy, the other is violence.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Anderson, thank you.
You know, John, as we were watching, you and I were talking, the four House impeachment managers today continued to make a very, very compelling case.
And they used the video, the soundbites, the clippings, the tweets and all that to underscore their effort to make these Republican Senators, Republican leadership, feel so uncomfortable at what they were seeing.
Especially when they suggested some of these House managers, that some of the suspects actually wanted to kill the vice president, Mike Pence, shoot Pelosi in the brain.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And they also, especially Mr. Swalwell, at the end, Congressman Swalwell. They made a tactical choice -- and we'll see if it continues through
the many more hours of the prosecution, the House managers' presentation -- not to criticize the Republican Senators, who many of them say helped enable the big lie, either by repeating it or by not standing up to the president when he was sending all of those tweets, Stop the Steal, massive fraud.
Democrats were urging Republican leaders, please, tell him he's wrong. Please, join the public debate to shut him down.
Most of the Republicans simply did not. Some of them actually backed up what the president was saying. Most just walked away, as they did for four years when he tweeted things that were outrageous.
But the Democratic managers have decided, at least so far, not to challenge because that's their jury.
Why is that -- and Ross Garber just noting, or Norm Eisen -- they were complimentary to Mitch McConnell.
Leader McConnell came in did his duty, even after the insurrection, finished the Electoral College.
But they're trying to play to the jury. They're also playing to the larger audience.
I think what is most noteworthy to me is just how detailed and methodical they are being. And they're trying to use plain-spoken language. Congressman Swalwell said, the president saved the date.
To make clear -- because we will hear from the Trump lawyers -- we heard a little bit of it yesterday in their rambling presentations, that, sure, the president was trying to rally his supporters, sure, the president wanted a protest. But then what happened after that was spontaneous. There was no plan for that.
The managers, I think, are doing a very good job laying out, no, the president was obsessed with this date. He sent a save-the-date notice, big event. He kept reminding people to come. This was a big deal.
His obsession with the date and the importance of the date an import part of their case.
And as we know, as we go more through this, we'll see previously videos that none of us have seen inside the capitol security building.
So they're making a detailed, more of a fact case right now and they're going to try to connect it like they did yesterday with the emotional, visceral part.
BLITZER: We know that those closed-circuits cameras throughout the U.S. capitol are very, very -- they're all over the place. They've got a ton of video that none of us has had access to yet, that they're about to show the American people and, indeed, show the world.
Jamie Raskin, the lead House impeachment manager, he began by saying that Trump was no innocent bystander. He wasn't the commander-in- chief. He was inciter-in-chief. And he was singularly responsible for inciting the entire event.
KING: Right. And he called it a moment of truth for America, that this is a moment of truth for America.
Congressman Swalwell, again, several times, said the evidence and it's also the truth.
They are trying to just stir, stir the Republicans. Most of the -- we know, the math is hard. They need 17 Republican votes. We know, as of today, that's unlikely.
Set all of that aside. The trial is now under way. They're making their case. They won one Republican over yesterday, at least on the idea of proceeding. And they're trying to win other Republicans over now.
One way to do that is to get attention in the room. Another way to do that is to get the American people watching and get the phones ringing, and the emails from people watching their Senators, saying, I think they're making a pretty good case here.
The one thing we do know, if you're just watching the presentation, just like yesterday, the House managers came prepared. They're working together in concert. The production elements of it, the tweets and video clips are very well done.
The president's team was a mess yesterday. They had time to recover. We'll see what they do when they get their chance after this.