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CNN Live Event/Special

Trump Impeachment Trial Day Two. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired February 10, 2021 - 16:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I knew about it. The police departments knew about it, so the president should know about it through his normal briefings.

And these were posted on places where we know the Trump supporters, the Trump Organization, political allies tend the garden, if you will. This was not a surprise.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And Ted Lieu's praise of the vice president at that time, Mike Pence, I thought was significant, because it clearly was trying to impact, impact, impact of the Republican senators who are watching -- Jake, back to you.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, well, thanks so much.

We are -- welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. And we are in the middle right now of a break between the sessions that the House impeachment managers are doing in the Senate trial.

This is the second impeachment of Donald Trump. And as we take this break, let's check in with our team.

Jeff Zeleny is -- he covers Biden for us.

And, Jeff, tell us what's going on. You're on Capitol Hill.


And we have been watching these proceedings inside the Senate chamber with pool reporters who are rotating in there, looking at these senators, and some very interesting body language that we see, of course.

Senator Bill Cassidy, the Republican of Louisiana, who, of course, was one of the six Republicans last evening who voted that this is indeed constitutional, he's been pacing the back of the chamber, certainly a different reaction from other Republican senators like Josh Hawley of Missouri, who, of course, was one of those Republican senators who questioned the Electoral College vote.

He's been sitting up in the Gallery away from his colleagues, at one point with his feet on the chairs in front of him. Rand Paul, at one point, was not looking at the video screen. They were playing some of these remarks. So, Republicans are -- some of them are less engaged. Of course, that speaks to what really is a sense here of how many are going to vote.

But, Jake, one thing that is dramatically different from the first impeachment trial one year ago, the almost utter silence in terms of defending President Trump. A year ago, we saw a war room that was putting out really minute-by-minute rapid responses. The Republican National Committee was as well.

This time, there is virtually none of that. One top Republican official tells me there's simply no appetite or stomach at this point to defend President Trump -- Jake.

TAPPER: And a lot -- there are a lot of Republicans, Jeff, as you know, on Capitol Hill who blame Senator Josh Hawley specifically for a lot of what happened.

ZELENY: Indeed.

TAPPER: Mitch McConnell, who was at that point the Senate Republican leader, the majority leader, he thought that he had controlled it so there would be no senators who objected to the counting of the electoral votes, which meant that it didn't matter what they did in the House. That was going to be the end of it.

But then Hawley said he was going to do it, and all hell broke loose.

ZELENY: That's exactly what happened.

And it is very interesting to see that he is overlooking the Senate chamber. Jake, as you know well, the Senate chamber is laid out where the senators are on the floor. And in the Gallery, some senators can choose to sit. So, he quite literally is looking down on these proceedings.

So, certainly, this is something that he and Ted Cruz on January 6 were the leading Republicans in the Senate to challenge this Electoral College result. So, many Republicans, their fellow senators, are mad at them, quite frankly. But, again, this is not likely to affect the outcome.

But, Jake, it is so different, the tone here. Many Republicans are exhausted. Republican senators who voted for President Trump and supported him simply want this to be over. Of course, the big question, will any of them change their minds and vote to convict? That still remains a very high bar.

TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny on Capitol Hill, thanks so much.

Let's bring in CNN's Pamela Brown and Jamie Gangel, who are getting reaction from Republicans and from Trump's team.

Jamie, let's start with you. What are you hearing?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, I think what we have seen here is playing to the jury, as John King said. There were a couple of things that were highlighted, one, that the managers chose to show those chants from the crowd of "Destroy the GOP." That speaks to those Republican senators. Also, they highlighted the relentless attacks on Mike Pence. They quoted former Chief of Staff General John Kelly.

But I heard from two very senior Republicans on the Hill who had completely different takeaways on today. One said to me -- quote -- "I will be shocked if anyone changes their vote from yesterday," meaning they didn't think they would hit 17.

The other person said: "I cannot imagine how any senator sits and listens to this and votes against conviction."

So, you're seeing the split in the GOP. You're also, I think, seeing that they are still scared of Donald Trump and the fallout of voting to convict -- Jake.

TAPPER: Yes, remember when Donald Trump bragged that he could stand on Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and his base wouldn't turn away from him.

GANGEL: Correct.

TAPPER: That base that remains very loyal to him, that's who the senators fear, in addition to President -- former President Trump himself.

And, Pam, you have been hearing from members of former President Trump's team.


And, essentially, they are anxiously awaiting the new security footage we're expecting to see after this break. That is really what they're waiting to see at this point.


And there is a bit of anxiousness and a recognition that what the Democrats have done so far has been powerful, the videos that they have showed so far has been powerful. And it's added to a sense of urgency in Trump's team for them to put together their own new videos.

As Dana reported earlier this morning, what I'm hearing is, behind the scenes right now, they're scrambling to find prominent Democrats and some of the impeachment managers of what they said about fighting and so forth.

So, that's being worked on behind the scenes.

What's interesting is, when you talk to people in Trump's world about what -- the substance of what we're seeing play out there today, they don't want to talk about it. They just want to focus on the constitutionality aspects. But what lead manager Raskin pointed out very early on was that that

was addressed yesterday. Now it is a trial of the facts and Trump's behavior and the article of impeachment, incitement of an insurrection. That's what they're focused on.

What really stood out to me too is, it was very clear a pattern through all the managers that spoke today was they were making it clear that these rioters, they weren't just acting on their own accord. As much as Trump and his team went to condemn the violence and these rioters, they're responsible for themselves, they were making it clear that they were acting on behalf of Trump.

They were basically following his marching orders and that Trump is the one that should shoulder all the blame for their actions and behavior -- Jake.

TAPPER: Interesting. All right, Pamela Brown, thank you so much.

And it's interesting. Jamie pointed out, Abby, that one of the video clips that they ran was a white supremacist, a well-known white supremacist, whose name I won't honor by mentioning it, leading a chant of, I forget if it was end or kill the GOP. It was anti- Republican Party.

This has been what Donald Trump -- one of his legacies is bringing those people into the Republican Party, or at least into the MAGA tent, who are previously fringe, at least publicly, white supremacist, racist conspiracy theories, and pushing out the people like Jeff Flake or Richard Haass, or others, and...



TAPPER: Mitt Romney, exactly.

PHILLIP: ... the Liz Cheneys of the world.

TAPPER: Yes, Liz Cheney.

And there is this battle going on, but it's just astounding to me that more Republicans aren't there with Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger fighting for their party.


I mean, we have had a lot of discussions about, why is it so hard to just say, we don't want these people?

TAPPER: Right.

PHILLIP: I mean, it should be pretty easy to wall off the mainstream Republican Party from the fringe elements.

But it seems that that is something that they are unwilling to do. And it's in part because, as the impeachment managers laid out, Donald Trump cultivated these people for years, not just over the last six months. But we could go back to Charlottesville, when many of the same individuals were involved in that rally and that riot that happened down there that left a person dead.

So, that's part of the case here, which is that the -- you saw them literally the impeachment managers, showing pictures of individuals who were from the Proud Boys, after the president said "Stand back and stand by," showing up in Washington, having spent weeks and weeks planning, meticulously planning this, and posting all over the Internet about it.


PHILLIP: And then they showed up in Washington, and they did it.

And the case that they make here is that, given that the president and his advisers at the time were trolling the Internet for all kinds of memes and videos, why would they not have seen the planning for some of the things that unfolded on...


TAPPER: Of course they saw it.

I want to bring in CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

They're starting back on the Senate floor. Let's listen in.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): The Senate will come to order.


TAPPER: If you're joining us, this is THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

And right now, we are waiting for the House impeachment managers to resume with their trial, with their presentation.

And, Dana, one of the things, while we wait for this to commence -- there's Jamie Raskin on the bottom left-hand corner of your screen about to step up to the microphone.

One of the things that's been so powerful here is just using the president's own words and tweets.

Let's listen in.

LEAHY: We have order in the Senate, please.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Thank you, Mr...

LEAHY: Mr. Raskin.

RASKIN: Thank you, Mr. President, members of the Senate.

At this point, Representatives Plaskett and Swalwell will take you through the actual day of the attack. They will recreate the attack as it unfolded, focusing on the threats to Vice President Pelosi -- Vice President Pence, Speaker Pelosi, the joint session and law enforcement.

I do want to alert everyone that there is some very graphic, violent footage coming, just so people are aware. And I'm going to call again on Ms. Plaskett, who I should also tell you when to work at the Department of Justice and was the senior counsel for Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson under Attorney General Ashcroft. So, she's a very well-trained and experienced prosecutor, as you can tell.

DEL. STACEY PLASKETT (D-VI): Mr. President, Senators, almost all of us were here on January 6. And we all have our individuals experiences, what we felt, what we saw, what we heard.

We have seen clips and reports in the media, but I have to tell you, it was not until preparing for this trial that I understood the full scope and learned the information that you're going to see that I understood the effort to attack our seat of government in order to carry out President Trump's mission to prevent the certification of a presidential election.

It was an attack to our republic, to our democratic process.

My colleagues, manager Swalwell and I are going to walk you through the attack onto the Capitol -- on the Capitol that day and the danger that it posed to the vice president, to the speaker of the House, to you all, as senators, my colleagues in the House, Capitol Police, and everyone who works in and around this Capitol.

As you have heard, President Trump had been telling his supporters and his millions of Twitter followers that Pence had the ability to secure the presidency for Trump, that Mike Pence alone had the power to overturn the election results, if he would just do it.

But at 12:55 p.m. on January 6, Vice President Pence formally refused the president's demand.

He wrote -- and I quote: "It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not."

Pence ended his letter with a passage, including the words: "I will do my duty."

Even though the count resulted in the defeat of his party and his own candidacy, Vice President Pence had the courage to stand against the president, tell the American public the truth, and uphold our Constitution.

That is patriotism. That patriotism is also what put the vice president in so much danger on January 6 by the mob sent by our president.

To the president and the mob he incited, that duty to our Constitution was an all-out betrayal. And the vice president was the direct target of that rage.


At 12:53 p.m., senators, members of Congress, Vice President Pence were in their respective chambers. Outside, rioters, including some linked to the Proud Boys, broke through the outer barricade surrounding the lawn of the Capitol.





PLASKETT: Twelve minutes later, Vice President Pence began presiding over the joint session of Congress to certify the results of the presidential election.

You can see Vice President Pence gaveling in the joint session here.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Madam Speaker, members of Congress, pursuant to the Constitution and the laws of the United States, the Senate and House of Representatives are meeting in joint session to verify the certificates and count the votes of the electors of the several states for president and vice president of the United States.


PLASKETT: While Vice President Pence presided over the joint session, Trump supporters began their assault on our Capitol.

Radio communications from the Metropolitan Police Department highlight how, during and following Trump's speech, Trump supporters descended on the Capitol and became increasingly violent.

What you are about to hear has not been made public before.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Multiple Capitol injuries! Multiple Capitol injuries!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thirteen eighteen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, 12 to 50, and we're coming around from the south side.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Be advised, the speech has ended.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Intel 1, be advised, you have a group of about 50 charging up the hill on the West Front, just north of the stairs. They're approaching the wall now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're starting to dismantle the reviewing stand. They're throwing metal poles at us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cruiser 50, give me DSO up here now! DSO! Multiple law enforcement injuries! DSO, get up there!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, we're 30 seconds out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need some reinforcements up here now. They're starting to pull the gates down. They're throwing metal poles at us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cruiser 50, DSO, get up here!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we're here. Twelve to 50, we're here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just had an explosion go on up here. I don't know if it's fireworks or what. But they're starting to throw explosives, fireworks material.


PLASKETT: After attempting to dismantle the outermost perimeter, the rioters did everything in their power to storm past the police and into the Capitol.

They coordinated moving metal barricades the police were using to maintain distance. Listen to the yelling of "Pull them this way" as they grab the barriers and attacked officers trying to hold the line.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pull them. Pull them this way! Pull them forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh-uh. Uh-uh. No, no, no, no, no, no. no, no, no. No. No. No. No.


PLASKETT: At about 1:10 and 1:23 p.m. respectively, Capitol Police sent out the first evacuation alerts of the day, telling people to evacuate the Madison Building and the Cannon Building respectively.

Shortly after, at 1:45 p.m., Trump supporters surge past Capitol Police protecting the Capitol's west steps, the side that is facing the White House.


In another radio communication between Metropolitan Police officers, you can hear an officer declare that there is a riot at the Capitol at 1:49 p.m.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cruiser 50, we're going to give riot warnings as soon as the LRAD is here. We're going to give riot warnings. We're going to try to get compliance, but this is now effectively a riot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thirteen forty-nine hours, declaring it a riot.


PLASKETT: The next video, as well as several videos that follow, have a model of the Capitol Complex.

The video is from the West Front of the Capitol on the Senate side, the side facing the White House.

Watch the red dot, which moves up the lower steps of the Capitol, indicating the approximate location of the rioters as they surge past the police.




PLASKETT: While the mob that Donald Trump sent to stop the certification came closer and closer to breaching the Capitol just one floor below where we are now, Vice President Pence continued to preside over the session in the Senate chamber above.

At about 2:12 p.m., Secret Service quickly and suddenly evacuated Vice President Pence from the Senate floor.

Here is the immediate reaction to that evacuation.


CHUCK TODD, MSNBC: No audio. They just cut out -- it looks like -- and, sometimes, the Senate controls it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seemed like they just ushered Mike Pence out really quickly.

TODD: Yes, they did. That's exactly what just happened there.


TODD: They ushered Mike Pence out there. They moved him fast. There was -- yes, I saw the motions, too.


PLASKETT: While the vice president, Pence, was being evacuated from the Senate chamber, rioters were, at that time, breaking into the Capitol.

This next video shows their approach and the initial breach of the Capitol Complex. Remember to watch the red dot, which broke -- is being -- tracking throughout this incident.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Storm the Capitol!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't break the windows, bro.



PLASKETT: Now we're going to show you, through security footage that has not been made public before, what that same breach looked like from the inside.

Now, because this is security footage, there is no sound. Note, as the video begins, we're seeing the inside view as the mob approaches from outside and beats the windows and doors.


You can see that the rioters first break the window with the wooden beam you first saw previously. And a lone police officer inside responds and begins to spray the first man who enters, but is quickly overwhelmed.

I want you to pay attention to the first group of assailants as they break into the building. The second man through the window is wearing full tactical body armor and is carrying a baseball bat. Others are carrying riot shields.

Among this group are members of the Proud Boys, some of whom, like Dominic Pezzola, who was recently indicted on federal conspiracy charges, we will discuss later. You can watch where they're coming on our model as well.

When I first saw this model that was created for this, I thought back to September 11. I know a lot of you senators were here. Some of you might have been members on the House side. I was also here on September 11. I was a staffer at that time.

My office was on the West Front of the Capitol. I worked in the Capitol, and I was on the House side. This year is 20 years since the attacks of September 11. And almost every day, I remember that 44 Americans gave their lives to stop the plane that was headed to this Capitol Building.

I thank them every day for saving my life and the life of so many others. Those Americans sacrificed their lives for love of country, honor, duty, all the things that America means. The Capitol stands because of people like that, this Capitol that was conceived by our founding fathers, that was built by slaves, that remains through the sacrifice of service men and women around the world.

And when I think of that, and I think of these insurgents, these images incited by our own president of the United States attacking this Capitol to stop the certification of a presidential election, our democracy, our republic?

At the same time that that breach on this Capitol Building occurred, at approximately 2:13 p.m., just one floor up, while Senator Lankford was speaking on the Senate floor, Senator Grassley, who had taken over for Vice President Pence, called an unscheduled, immediate recess of the Senate.

A Senate aide approached Senator Lankford and informed him that the Capitol had been breached. Senator Grassley is immediately escorted out of the Senate chamber.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Protesters are in the building.



PLASKETT: Now, while this was going on, Officer Eugene Goodman responded to the initial breach.

You all may have seen footage of Officer Goodman previously, but there's more to his heroic story.

In this security footage, you can see Officer Goodman running to respond to the initial breach. Officer Goodman passes Senator Mitt Romney and directs him to turn around in order to get to safety.

On the first floor, just beneath them, the mob had already started to search for the Senate chamber. Officer Goodman made his way down to the first floor, where he encountered the same insurrectionists we just saw, watched breach the Capitol.

In this video, we can see the rioters surge toward Officer Goodman.