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CNN Live Event/Special
Trump Impeachment Trial Day Two. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired February 10, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DEL. STACEY PLASKETT (D-VI): Destroy anyone who won't listen, who won't help them take the election for Trump.
And, as you will see, this was just the preview for Fuentes, who, like the Proud Boys and the Trump caravan organizers, would later heed the president's call and come to Washington and be there on January 6.
Later in the rally, a former Trump campaign spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, also spoke. During her speech, she stated -- quote -- "This isn't over. This is just beginning," referring to the fight to stop the steal.
And then she added: "We knew both Republicans and Democrats were against we people, we the people. We are the cavalry. No one's coming for us."
It's clear that Trump and some of his supporters saw this as war, a fight against anyone who was unwilling to do whatever it took to keep Donald Trump in power. "We are the cavalry."
And President Trump continued to reinforce his support of these messages throughout the day. At 1:48 p.m., after both speeches, he retweeted his deputy chief of staff's tweet, showing his crowd that he had flown over on Marine one. And he tweeted: "Thank you, patriots."
These people were, as you can see, gathered en masse and being told by the president's allies that their election had been stolen. And they were told they were the cavalry. No one else could do it.
And after hearing these speeches and seeing the president's support, this is what Donald Trump's cavalry was capable of:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back up! Back up!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLASKETT: What you just saw was the violence that ensued after that rally.
The Proud Boys, after that rally, engaged in serious acts of violence in downtown D.C. Some Trump supporters and self-identified Proud Boys vandalized churches after that rally. If we look at these events, it's clear how we got here, because what did the president do after that? He turned right around and, a little over a week later, he began coordinating the January 6 Save America Rally with the same people who had planned the second Million MAGA March.
You will recall that the Women For America First had organized that second Million MAGA March. They had originally planned rallies for January 22 and January 23, after the inauguration.
But Donald Trump had other plans. On December 19, President Trump tweeted his save the date for January 6. He told his supporters to come to D.C. for a big protest, the day, billing it as "wild."
Just days later, Women For America First amended their permit to hold their rally on January 6, pursuant to the president's save the date, instead of after the inauguration. This was deliberate.
Reports confirm that the president himself, President Trump, became directly involved with the planning of the event, including the speaking lineup, even the music to be played, just as he chose the music for his retweet of the caravan driving the Biden/Harris bus off the road with that fight song.
And he brought the same people who spoke at the second Million MAGA rally to help as well. Trump's campaign adviser, Katrina Pierson, who you recall said on December 12 that this is the -- only the beginning, we are the cavalry, also became directly involved in planning the event.
They even sent out invitations together. This is Amy Kremer, one of the founders for Women For America First, tweeting the invitation, tagging Donald Trump and other organizers, inviting the same supporters who had just engaged in serious violence at the second Million MAGA rally to show up to the largest rally to stop the steal.
And President Trump seemed to have other plans for what was going to happen at that rally, too. Women For America First had initially planned for the rally-goers to remain at the Ellipse until the counting of the state electoral slates first was completed, just like they had remained at Freedom Plaza after the second Million MAGA March.
In fact, the permit stated in no uncertain terms that the march from the Ellipse was not permitted. It was not until after President Trump and his team became involved in the planning that the march from the Ellipse to the Capitol came about, in direct contravention of the original permit.
This was not a coincidence. None of this was. Donald Trump, over many months, cultivated violence, praised it. And then, when he saw the violence his supporters were capable of, he channeled it to his big, wild, historic, event.
He organized January 6 with the same people that had just organized a rally resulting in substantial violence, and made absolutely sure this time these violent rally-goers wouldn't just remain in place. He made sure that those violent people would literally march right here to our steps from the Ellipse to the Capitol to stop the steal, his cavalry.
This was deliberate. And because the president of the United States incited this, because he was orchestrating this, because he was inviting them, the insurgents were not shy about their planning.
They believed they were following the orders of the commander in chief. They were, as the tweet we just saw, quite literally, his cavalry. So, they posted exact blueprints of the attack openly, loudly, proudly.
And they did this all over public forums. These were not just hidden posts in Dark Web sites that Trump would not have seen. Quite the opposite. We know that President Trump's team monitored these Web sites. We know this because his advisers confirm it.
An ex-White House and campaign insider, as you will read, who has known both Scavino and the president for years said, there was no way that Scavino and the Trump social media operation would not have been aware of the plans circulating online to storm the Capitol, because -- and I quote -- "The Trump operation closely monitored the Web's darkest corners, ranging from mainstream sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit, to fringe message boards like 4chan and 8chan, now called 8kun, to TheDonald.win, an offshoot of a banned Reddit community dedicated to rabidly supporting all things Trump."
They actively monitored the exact sites, like TheDonald.win, on which these insurrectionists wrote their posts.
And so what would Trump and his team have seen when they were monitoring these sites? What would his supporters have said? They would have seen a clear road map of exactly what happened.
This is an example of a post that was captured from one of the sites dedicated to Donald Trump that we just talked about shortly before the site was taken down.
And the meme reads -- quote -- "The Capitol is our goal. Everything else is a distraction. Every corrupt member of Congress locked in one room and surrounded by real Americans is an opportunity that will never present itself again."
Let that sink in. Think about that. The exact thing that happened on January 6, that was their goal. And they said it out loud on sites that the Trump administration was actively monitoring.
A third-party site captured a post on TheDonald.win where one user posted -- quote -- "This cannot simply be a protest. It has to be the establishment of the MAGA militia, with the command offices set up, with all further militia tactical missions spreading from there."
Another user said in response -- quote -- "We will have to achieve an actual tactical victory, like storming and occupying the Capitol, to have the intended effect."
That's what they understood Donald Trump to want. There it is in black and white. And they explained why they felt justified in this. Another poster on the forum TheDonald.win wrote on January 4 -- quote -- "If Congress illegally certifies Biden, Trump would have absolutely no choice but to demand us to storm Congress and kill/beat them up."
Donald Trump will have no choice. That was what he made them to believe, to the point his supporters felt justified even in carrying weapons and storming our Capitol. This was in post after post.
Here's another. When discussing how to carry guns into D.C., one noted -- quote -- "Yes, it's illegal, but this is war, and we are clearly in a post-legal phase of our society."
What? They treated it as a war. And they meant it.
The morning of the attack under the thread "Today, I told my kids goodbye," one poster wrote: "Today, I had the very difficult conversation with my children that daddy might not come home from D.C." Within a matter of hours, that post amassed 4,000 likes.
President Trump had truly made them believe that their election had been stolen and it was their patriotic duty to fight to steal it back, patriotic, a term he gave those who used violence for him, and they were willing to say goodbye to their children for this fight.
And their supporters didn't just rely on entering the Capitol with guns haphazardly. They had maps of this building. They talked through which tunnels to use and how to get to the Senate chamber. Some posted specific floor plans, layouts of the Capitol, alongside hopes of overwhelming law enforcement to -- quote -- "find the tunnels, arrest the worst traitors."
Posters also fixated on what they saw as their ability to easily overwhelm the Capitol Police, as -- quote -- "There are only around 2,000 of them." And again, they urged -- quote -- "The Capitol is our goal. Everything else is a distraction."
There were hundreds of these posts, hundreds, monitored by the Trump administration. And these posts, they were chillingly accurate, right down to communication devices. A new affidavit filed by the FBI described preparations by the right-wing group the Proud Boys to storm the Capitol, including using earpieces and walkie-talkies to direct movements throughout the building.
This happened. That's the level of planning in advance that occurred. They had earpieces. On the slide, you will see Proud Boy member Dominic Pezzola has an earpiece in his right ear, consistent with the affidavit.
And in addition to these detailed posts, they made clear why they thought they should do this, why they thought they could do this. It wasn't just that they were doing it following the president's orders. They thought he would help them.
A third-party site captured a post on TheDonald.win, again, the site monitored by Trump's team. And he wrote -- quote -- "He," meaning Donald Trump in this instance, "can order the Nat Guard to stand down if needed. Unfortunately, he has no control over the Capitol Police. But there are only around 2,000 of them. And a lot are useless fat- asses or girls."
It's all right there, the overall goal, maps of the Capitol, the weapons, communication devices. They even said publicly, openly, proudly, that President Trump will help them to commandeer the National Guard, so all they have to do is overwhelm the 2,000 Capitol Police officers.
This was reported in the NBC News and "The Washington Post" with headlines like, "Violent threats ripple through far-right Internet forums ahead of protests," "Pro-Trump forums erupt with violent threats ahead of Wednesday's rally against the 2020 election."
FOX News also reported that the Proud Boys would come to the January 6 rally prepared for violent action, even quoting a Proud Boy member who said they would -- quote -- "incognito" and spread across downtown D.C. in smaller numbers.
City officials, seeing these same warnings, also publicly warned about the violence and unlawful weapons at the event. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser cautioned residents of the District of Columbia to avoid the downtown area while the rally attendees were in town.
Federal law enforcement warned of these threats also. On January 3, a Capitol Police intelligence report warned of a violent scenario in which Congress itself could be the target of the angry supporters of President Trump on January 6.
According to that report obtain obtained by "The Washington Post," "Supporters of the current president see January 6, 2021 as the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election. This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more incentive to become violent. Unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counterprotesters, as they were previously, but, rather, Congress itself is the target for January 6."
The day before the rioters stormed the Congress, an FBI office in Virginia also issued an explicit warning that extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and -- quote -- "war," according to internal reports.
The FBI reports cited to an online post where the user declared that Trump supporters should go to Washington and get violent. The supporter said -- quote -- "Stop calling this a march or a rally or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our president or we die." These threat warnings were not just hypothetical. Actual arrests occurred in the days leading to the attack. On January 4, two days before the rally, one extremely well-publicized arrest was of a Proud Boy leader who destroyed a church's Black Lives Matter banner a month earlier during the December 12 second Million MAGA March.
The report emphasized that, when he was arrested, he was carrying high-capacity firearm magazines, which he claimed were meant to be supplied to another rally attendee for January 6.
By the night of January 6 attack, D.C. police had already made six arrests in connection with the planned protests on charges of carrying weapons, ammunitions, assault, assaulting police. This is all in public view, all of it.
The truth is usually seen and rarely heard. Truth is truth, whether denied or not. And the truth is, President Trump had spent months calling his supporters to a march on a specific day, at a specific time, in specific places, to stop the certification.
And leading up to the event, there were hundreds, hundreds of posts online showing that his supporters took this as a call to arms to attack the Capitol. There were detailed posts of plans to attack online. Law enforcement warned that these posts were real threats and even made arrests days leading up to the attack.
And, yet, in the face of all this, these credible warnings of serious, dangerous threats to our Capitol, when those thousands of people were standing in front of President Trump ready to take orders and attack, this is what he said: "We're going to the Capitol, and we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."
And that's why this is different. And that's why he must be convicted and disqualified.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Representative Dean will now return to the events of January 6 itself. She will demonstrate President Trump's repeated incitement of the crowd that morning, as he directed them to the Capitol in his last-ditch effort to retain his hold on power.
REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): For me and for many Americans, January 6 is forever etched in our memories.
I went to work a sense of excitement, the start of my second term in Congress and the first time I would participate in the certification of a presidential election. And then we all know what happened. I know many of us have similar experiences from that day, but I will briefly share mine.
I stood with colleagues in the Gallery above the House floor to observe the Arizona challenge. Moments later, police radios reported a breach of the Capitol grounds. Someone shouted up to us, "Duck," then, "Lie down," then, "Ready your gas masks." Shortly after, there was a terrifying banging on the chamber doors. I will never forget that sound, shouts and panicked calls to my husband and to my sons, instructions to flee, and then the constant wearing of the gas masks filtering the air.
The chamber of the United States House of Representatives turned to chaos. For Donald Trump, it was a very different day. Earlier, I showed you Donald Trump's desperate attempts to maintain power, ignoring adverse court rulings, attacking elected officials, pressuring his Justice Department, even attacking his own vice president.
You saw a man who refused to lose, who was desperate to retain power by any means necessary. You saw a man willing to attack anyone and everyone who got in his way. And you saw a man who thought he could play by different rules. He told his supporters, as my colleague Ms. Plaskett just showed you, exactly what he thought those different rules were, combat, fight, violence.
This was not just one speech. This was weeks and weeks of deliberate effort by Donald Trump to overturn the election results, so that he didn't have to give up the presidency.
The speech on January 6 builds on, refers to, and amplifies that same pattern, the pattern Trump had used and broadcasted for months. He refused to lose, his attacks on others, and his different rules. The only thing different about his speech on January 6 from all these other times that we went through was that he was no longer telling his base just that they had to fight to stop the steal.
He was finally telling them, now is the time to do it. Here's the place, and here's how. For weeks, he urged his supporters to show up at a specific time and place. And when they got there, he told them exactly what he wanted.
Let's start with his desperation. You saw how much planning went into January the 6th. And when the day arrived, Donald Trump's desperation was in full force. Between the time he woke up on January the 5th and the start of the Save America March that next day, he had tweeted 34 times.
When Donald Trump wants to get his message across, he is not shy, as you all know. These tweets were relentless. And these tweets all centered on his singular focus, his drumbeat to motivate, anger, and incite his supporters, his big lie: The presidential election had been rigged, it had been stolen from him, and they had to fight to stop it.
And the timing was no coincidence. He sent 34 tweets because this was his last chance to rile up his supporters before the big, historic, wild event he had planned.
Now, I won't go through all of these tweets, but let me just highlight a few. At 1:00 in the morning, he tweeted: "If Vice President Mike Pence
comes through for us, we will win the presidency. Mike can send it back."
This will look familiar to you, because Mr. Lieu just showed you how Trump had privately -- he was pressuring and publicly attacking his vice president to stop the certification. And when Vice President Pence refused, when he explained that the Constitution simply does not allow him to stop certification, Donald Trump provoked his base to attack him.
The late-in-the-evening tweet was no different. It just got more forceful. Let's be clear. What Donald Trump was saying, that Vice President Pence could send back the certification, was not true. For one thing, all 50 states had ratified this election. And for another, Vice President Pence explained to him that he does not have the power to unilaterally overturn states' votes and just send the certification back.
And Donald Trump knew this, but this was his last chance to get his vice president to stop the certification. And so he was willing to say or do just about anything. These tweets attacking the election as fraudulent, attacking his vice president, and urging his supporters to fight continued throughout the morning.
Here's another example. At 8:17 a.m., he tweeted: "All Mike Pence has to do is send it back to them," back to the states, "and we win." "And we win." That's what he said, even though, by then, he had clearly lost.
As Trump continued tweeting, the Save America March at the White House was now in full swing. The speakers who warmed up the crowd for Trump were members of his inner circle, family members, his personal attorney, people President Trump had deputized to speak on his behalf.
Some of the speakers also spoke at the second Million MAGA March, which resulted in serious violence. The warmup acts on January 6 focused on promoting Donald Trump's big lie. They stoked the same fears, a stolen election, of fraud, of ripping victory away from them.
And the speakers told them what to do about it. As the crowd erupted in "Fight for Trump" chants throughout that morning, Donald Trump Jr. urged: "That's the message. These guys better fight for Trump."
The speakers lasted three hours, repeating President Trump's message. And finally, at about noon, Donald Trump took the stage, with the seal of the presidency on his podium and the White House as his backdrop.
President Trump spoke for more than 70 minutes. His narrative was familiar. It was the same message we -- he had spent months spreading to his supporters, the big lie, the election was stolen, that they should never concede, and that his supporters should be patriots and fight much harder to stop the steal to take back our country, the same phrases he'd spread for weeks.
But now the message was immediate. Now it was just no longer just fight. It was fight right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical left Democrats, which is what they're doing, and stolen by the fake news media. That's what they've done and what they're doing.
We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn't happen. You don't concede when there's theft involved.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore. And that's what this is all about.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: That set the tone: "Our country has had enough, and we will not take it anymore."
He told them and us right at the beginning that the only way to take back the country was to fight.
Let's look at what he said next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And, Rudy, you did a great job.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: He's got guts. You know what? He's got guts, unlike a lot of people in the Republican Party. He's got guts. He fights.