Return to Transcripts main page
CNN Live Event/Special
Live Coverage of the Senate Impeachment Trial; House Managers Argue Trump Fomented Culture of Violence; Trump Lawyer David Schoen Appears on "Fox News" During Trial. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired February 11, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): But there was scores of other officers whose names we don't know who were also brutalized that day. Injuries to the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department include concussions, irritated lungs, serious injuries caused by repeated blows from bats, poles and clubs.
Capitol Police officers also sustained injuries that will be with them for the rest of their lives. Once officer lost the tip of a right index finger.
In a statement issued on January 7th, the chairman of the Capitol Police Officers' Union said -- and I quote -- "I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack, who have sustained brain injuries. One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal disks. One officer is going to lose his eye, and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake," end quote.
In total, at least 81 members of Capitol Police and 65 members of the Metropolitan Police Department were injured during the attack on January 6th.
Former Capitol Police Chief Sund described the insurrection as violent, unlike anything he'd seen in his 30-year career in law enforcement.
D.C. Police Chief Robert J. Contee III had spoken with an officer who had been beaten and injured with a stun gun, said, quote, "I've talked to officers who have done two tours in Iraq, who said this was scarier to them than their time in combat," end quote.
Of course, the physical violence is not the only thing that will have a lasting effect on our brave sworn officers. Trump's mob verbally denigrated their patriotism, questioned their loyalty and yelled racial slurs. They called them traitors, Nazis, un-American for protecting us.
For example, in the next clip, a rioter wearing a hunting jacket accosts a police officer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you an American? Act like you fucking are. You have no idea what the fuck you're doing. You guys have no idea what the fuck you are doing. Stand up for America, god damn it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the fuck out of here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't touch me, motherfucker. Take it easy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they work for us, fuck them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CICILLINE: Listen to how the Trump mob talked to these officers. You heard that with your own ears.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fuck you. Fucking bitch --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fucking traitors, you're a fucking traitor. You come here, motherfucker. Fuck you. You're a fucking traitor to your country. You're a fucking traitor. Fucking piece of shit (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CICILLINE: Effing traitor. So much for backing the blue.
Here's a couple more examples.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oath over your paycheck! Fuck you guys! You can't even call yourself American. You broke your fucking oath today, 1776, bitch!
OFFICER: Twenty-two years, I know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a traitor. You're a traitor. Go home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! Traitor!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! (END VIDEO CLIP)
CICILLINE: They called law enforcement officers traitors. You have to wonder, who are these rioters sworn to? To whom do they believe the police owe their loyalty? To the people, to the Constitution, to our democracy? Or to Donald Trump?
Even those who were not outwardly injured, the mental toll has been significant. Several Capitol Police officers have reportedly threatened self-harm in the days following the riot, and in one case an officer voluntarily turned in her gun because she was afraid of what might happen.
Black police officers were also met with racist vitriol. You heard Lead Manager Raskin reference a black police officer who, weary from racialized violence that he had experienced that days, saying, "tears just started streaming down my face. I said, 'What the F, man? Is this America?'"
Is this America, Lead Manager Raskin asks. Is this America? What is your answer to that question? Is this OK? If not, what are we going to do about it?
These people matter. These people, who risked their lives for us. So I ask you respectfully to consider them, the police officers, the staff of this building, when you cast your vote. These people are in deep pain because they showed up here to serve, to serve the American people, to serve their government, to serve all of us. And I ask each of you, when you cast your vote, to remember them and honor them, and act in service of them, as they deserve.
I also want to recognize that four individuals, four insurrectionists were -- who also lost their lives during the attack. These people were led here by the words and actions of an individual who made them believe that they were patriots.
The loss of human life is of course the most consequential, but that was not the only damage wrought that day. The Trump mob also damaged this building. They defiled some of the most sacred places: Statuary Hall, the Rotunda, where some of America's greatest champions, presidents, Supreme Court justices, Civil Rights heroes and other defenders are honored after their death.
Trump's violent mob had little respect for this place. This video shows the wreckage left in the Senate Parliamentarian's Office by the insurrectionists.
CICILLINE: A bust of President Zachary Taylor was smeared with what appeared to be blood; an empty picture frame, presumably robbed of its contents, was found on the floor; and videos of the insurrection capture one man stealing a framed photo, another one tearing a scroll from the wall and ripping it up and throwing those pieces on the floor. A sign paying tribute to John Lewis was also shamefully destroyed, and
only a broken piece of the memorial was found on the ground, next to a trash can. The photo of Mr. Lewis was gone.
The damage done to this building is a stain on all of us, and on the dignity of our democracy. The attack we saw had a purpose: stop the certification, stop our democratic process. Fortunately, they did not prevail.
Newspapers across America on January 21st, the day after the inauguration, proclaimed, "Democracy has prevailed." President Biden said that in his inauguration speech.
The headline was in so many places because the world's oldest constitutional democracy and the principles underlying it had been attacked and challenged. This wasn't just an attack on the Capitol building, the dedicated people inside. It was an attack on what we were elected to preserve: our democracy.
This attack on our elections, on the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next, didn't even happen during the Civil War. But it did just happen because of the cold, calculated and conspiratorial acts of our former president, Donald J. Trump.
We showed you that the insurrectionists were deliberate, that they came looking for Vice President Pence, and Speaker Pelosi, ready to kill.
When President Trump incited a lawless mob to attack our process, he was attacking our democracy. He was trying to become king, and rule over us, against the will of the people and the valid results of the election.
For the first time ever in our history, a sitting president actively instigated his supporters to violently disrupt the process that provides for the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next.
Think about that for a moment. What if President Trump had been successful? What if he had succeeded in overturning the will of the people and our constitutional processes? Who among us is willing to risk that outcome by letting Trump's constitutional crimes go unanswered?
The founders included impeachment in our Constitution not as a punishment, but to prevent. We have to prevent every president -- today, tomorrow or any time in the future -- from believing that this conduct is acceptable.
Today, we have to stand up for our democracy and ensure we remain a country governed by the people, for the people by telling Donald Trump and people all across this country and all across the world that his crimes will not and cannot stand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We now stand in recess for 15 minutes.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): The Senate will stand in recess.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I ask unanimous consent the House stand in recess for 15 minutes.
LEAHY: Without objection, the Senate will stand in recess.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, the Senate is in recess in the president's impeachment trial. We just heard presentations from a number of the House impeachment managers. They focused on three basic issues today.
One, that President Trump has long been fomenting a culture of violence, in which he encouraged violence among his supports on his behalf, and that what happened on January 6th was therefore foreseeable. Two, that President Trump feels no remorse for what happened on January 6th, and did nothing to protect any of the individuals in the Capitol on that day. And that, lastly, because of this, the threat is not over.
And, Dana Bash and Abby Phillip are here with me. Dana, less startling, stunning video today than what we saw yesterday, but clearly the argument is being made that President Trump, in their view, remains a clear and present danger unless the Senate votes to convict him.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And that's really the key, the takeaway from what we've heard so far from these Democratic house managers. It's -- what you said at the beginning, which is that this was something that people who followed him had a practice run for, to use their term, with what happened in Michigan.
But more importantly, what is before these senators is, A, to convict a president who is no longer in office; and, B, if that happens -- which we know is a big if, but if that happens -- to then vote to prevent him from running again.
And so if you kind of look at the totality of what they were trying to do, they were trying to say, we have to -- if we don't stop him, it will happen again. And the it not being he's going to run, the it being the violence that he - that they claim that he put forward.
And one of the most compelling lines, I thought, was from Congressman Ted Lieu, who said, I'm not afraid of Donald Trump running again in four years, I'm afraid he's going to run again and lose. Because he may do this again.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, I think it's very much about establishing a pattern of Trump not only, you know, being an encourager of violence, political violence specifically, but being indifferent to it when it appears, especially in his name.
You know, Jamie Raskin, one of -- the lead impeachment manager, he set this all up by saying what happened on January 6th was not an aberration for Donald Trump, it was a continuation for Donald Trump. And that's why you saw such a broad swath of examples coming from the impeachment managers.
But the problem for them then becomes that Republicans will say, you all are painting to wide of a brush, that you are trying to accuse Trump of the violence of all of his supporters in no matter what form it came. So I think today's presentation is a little bit of a double- edged sword in that respect.
I expect that we'll see some Republicans recoiling from some of these examples, that you know, go as far back to when he was on the campaign trail, talking about, you know, wanting his supporters to hit protestors who were in the room. That is part of the pattern of Trump, but I think Republicans will look at that and say you all are reaching into the grab bag to take whatever you want, and use it as part of, you know, this impeachment proceeding.
BASH: Yes, it's -- you know, you're saying that -- because we were talking about this while we were watching, I texted a Democratic senator during this, asking that very question. Isn't this a little bit too broad, and you know, kind of painting it -- to use your term -- with a brush that's too broad?
And the response was, no, this is part of the argument to making -- for obviously the Republicans, who are, if they're listening -- to say, this is who he is and this is why this conviction is so important: to prevent it from happening in the future.
TAPPER: You know, one of the things that's interesting is that the question of who are the House impeachment managers speaking to. And there's some discussion and debate about this. Are they really actually trying to convince the Senate, specifically the 50 Republican senators there, to convict President Trump? Or are they speaking to the wider audience of the American people and again, the world, watching, to make their case about President Trump and why he is unfit for office?
I would say until today, it had been very carefully tailored for Republican senators, giving them an opportunity to break from Trump. And in fact, in a way that I would say even sometimes was contrary to the facts because, as we know, Donald Trump was not the only one lying, he was not the only one who let what happened on January 6th happen. There were a whole number --
BASH: Including people who are now jurors.
TAPPER: -- including people in the room, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Josh Hawley, there are a whole number of individuals who are co- conspirators, in a way. Not that anyone knew what was going to happen, but all of them were playing with fire.
And in fact, yesterday, Congressman Eric Swalwell, one of the House impeachment managers, said something that really let them all off the hook in order to allow Republicans to say, no, this is the line, I'm on this side of it, President Trump is on that side of it.
If we could run that clip from Congressman Eric Swalwell, (INAUDIBLE) 99, yesterday?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): 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, premeditated incitement to his base to attack our Capitol while the counting was going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That's empirically accurate, what Trump did was wildly different than what anybody here in this room did to raise election concerns. That's true. But the way that Eric Swalwell, Congressman Swalwell -- and I get it, I understand, he's trying to -- they're a jury.
But he talked about Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz and others, you know, casting their lot in with the big lie, he's describing it as raising election concerns. I'm quite certain, when the trial's over, next time any of us have an opportunity to interview Eric Swalwell, that's now how he will describe what Josh Hawley and Ted Crus and others did.
BASH: Right. And to answer the first question that you posed, are they trying to convince the senators in the room, or are they trying to get this out to the American people? Both, but these are all -- these managers are all politicians, they know basic math.
Yes, they are also, almost to a person, former prosecutors who have probably tried cases where they thought it was a lost cause, and went into the room and things changed and they won their case. So I'm sure they have that in the back of their mind.
But they also have history, and they also understand that that's what this is, and that, you know, we've been talking about this, that regardless of what happens in this trial, whether Donald Trump is convicted or acquitted, this is his legacy and they want to put as much information for the history books on that legacy as possible.
PHILLIP: And I think that that is -- that may ultimately be what this trial is about. Because this actually goes back to what you were saying, Jake. One of the real problems with this trial is that Republicans as a party have not let go of the big lie.
If you look at what's happening at the state level, at the local level, they're building on it, building on it by trying to claim fraud as a way of cracking down on voting.
And so if you're a Republican senator, you can't then condemn the big lie and then go home to your political party that's trying to use it to move -- to move forward restrictions on voting that are based on the fallacies that Donald Trump presented to his supporters over the last couple of months. It's the fundamental problem with this impeachment hearing, is that
even if many of these Republicans in the Senate now say Joe Biden won fair and square, they're also not necessarily willing to say there was no widespread fraud in the election, because that's actually the message that is the rallying cry now for the party, going forward, after today. And no matter what happened on January 6th. But it undergirds this whole thing. You can't have January 6th without that lie.
TAPPER: Yes. Although, Wolf and John, I mean, I think it's clear that the House impeachment managers are at least presenting a reality where they are saying to all of the Senate Republicans, no matter how complicit they were in the big lie, or anything that happened on January 6th, they are giving them the opportunity.
Now is your chance, we're saying you're not responsible at all, you had nothing to do with it, you just brought up election concerns. What Donald Trump did was above and beyond.
We'll see if any of them take that opportunity, I remain quite skeptical.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Yes, we'll see in the next two, three days, what exactly happens.
You know, John, you and I were watching very closely. The House managers were quoting a lot of Republicans out there, Republican governors, Republican lawmakers who were saying very, very compelling and strong -- uttering strong criticism of then-President Trump for his role in organizing, they believe, this insurrection.
And one of the main points they were making is that the insurrectionists who actually showed up and violated the U.S. Capitol, they believed they were following -- in the words of these House impeachment managers -- Trump's marching orders. And they also believed because they were obeying the commander in chief, they would not be punished.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Trying to create a less political environment. The first Trump impeachment trial was political from the beginning, from the pregame all the way through the proceedings.
These Democrats here, to the point Jake, Dana and Abby were just making, the Democrats have to change minds, right? They know the math is stacked against them, coming in, they have to change minds.
So they can make the case themselves, very compelling testimony, I think a very compelling look at the historical Trump belligerent language, to try to say he's been doing this for a long time, and most of you have been saying it doesn't matter, it's just Trump, it's just the way he talks, it's just, you know, New York language, it's street language over the years, over the years, over the years. Well, look what just happened. Now it's time we stand up, because it
has crossed a dangerous line into an attack on the Capitol, now we must stand up.
But trying to convince them by saying, listen to this Republican governor, listen to this Republican congressman. And also bringing in some of the congressional staff members? You're going to have to leave this chamber and go meet with your staff, look them in the eye. They were terrorized that day too, they would like accountability.
So this is -- it's the power of persuasion, using anything they can find, both in the former president's words and tweets, both in the words of the insurrectionists saying Trump sent us here, fight for Trump, et cetera.
But then also trying to, again, make it personal, make it emotional by saying, you've got to look your family in the eye, you were threatened that day, a lot more so than you even thought that day, not that you've seen the security footage, they were closer to us than even you thought that day, weren't you. To try to essentially, you know, connect the facts with the emotion and the power. Will they be successful? You know, that's why we're here, we're going to watch this play out.
I -- just one other quick point. I find it interesting, as they are trying to change minds, the Trump legal team knows it just has to keep things as they are. One of the president's lawyers, David Schoen, left during the presentation to go do an interview on "Fox News" during the trial. Why? Preaching to the choir, because they're just trying to keep things as they are.
BLITZER: You know, it's interesting, it's interesting that at the point that they were -- the point that they were making that the insurrectionists didn't believe they would be punished? Well, more than 200 of them have already been criminally charged and hundreds more are expected to be criminally charged in the days, weeks and months ahead, once more evidence is coming in.
Stand by for a moment.
There's some new reporting, just coming in to CNN right now, about how the former president's lawyers now plan to mount their defense, and that starts tomorrow, as well as, just minutes ago, some expectation setting -- coming in from the former president's legal counsel. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID SCHOEN, TRUMP IMPEACHMENT LAWYER: There's no reason for us to be out there a long time. As I said from the start of this thing, this trial never should have happened. And if it happened, it should be as short as possible, given the complete lack of evidence and the harm that this is causing to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: One of the president's lawyers, former president's lawyers, David Schoen, in the middle of this trial, Fox, you know, breaks away from live coverage and does some interviews, some programming, which is strange, given the historic nature of what's going on right now.
But, Pamela, you're watching all of this very closely. Share with us what you're learning.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It'll be interesting to see what they do tomorrow, when the president's lawyers present. And we're learning in terms of that, that the president's lawyers are really going to be focusing on when the president said to the eventual rioters at that rally, go protest peacefully and patriotically.
That's one of the points that they're really going to be focusing on tomorrow, to try to argue that the president did not intend for them to go and cause an insurrection, essentially. Of course, the Democrats, on Tuesday, did not include that line in the video. They were criticized. It was shown yesterday by Congresswoman Dean.
But also, there was a lot of talk with Donald Trump and his advisers about messaging post-this trial. There is an awareness of how this could impact public perception. Trump and his team do not believe that enough Republicans will get on board to convict him, but there is concern about public perception and what it could do for Trump if he still brought up the election being stolen from him, the big election lie.
Advisers have been telling him he shouldn't bring it up any more, he needs to move on, it will be forever bound with the riot on January 6th. One source I spoke to who just recently spoke to Trump said he gets it, he's going to move on, he's not going to be talking about the election. Another source I spoke to though said good luck with that. As we know, Trump doesn't move on from grudges, even if there's no basis in fact.
And we reported yesterday, me and my colleague Jim Acosta, that Donald Trump has no regret. As he is watching all of this play out, he has no remorse of his words and his actions surrounding the riot. So we'll have to see if he actually does move on from that messaging about the election -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We'll see how much time -- they can have 16 hours, these Trump lawyers, they don't need it, we'll see. Apparently they -- Mr. Schoen just said they don't need that much time, we'll see how much time they take up tomorrow. All right, Pamela, thank you very much.
Anderson, one Important point that we keep hearing from these House impeachment managers, it's not enough that the Senate actually convicts Trump of incitement of insurrection, which is the one impeachment charge that they are dealing with right now, but then a separate vote, simple majority, they have to permanently, forever disqualify Trump from ever holding any federal office again. ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes, and we'll see if they actually get to
that vote at all, here in New York with our legal team.
Ross Garber, you've been watching the morning proceedings so far, what do you make of where they're at?
ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, so as John King noted, the thing that has really struck me -- and I was very critical of the first impeachment trial for failing to do this, for failing to make it a nonpartisan issue, for the managers failing to reach out to the Republicans.
You've seen it every day, and you saw it again today: over and over, an appeal being made to Republicans. Republicans in the room, but also Republicans, you know, out in the public, you know, talking about the custodians, talking about the police officers. That has been very, very striking.
You know, I think what we're going to see from the president's lawyers is, yes, all of that's great, none of it matters because they didn't meet the technical definition of inciting an insurrection.
But what the managers, you know, did today and have been doing, kind of reaching across the aisle, is critical.
COOPER: When you say they didn't meet the technical definition of insurrection, being?
GARBER: Yes, so I think what we're going to hear a lot about is that the charge -- excuse me -- was inciting an insurrection. And I think the Republican -- the president's lawyers are going to focus on those terms and what they believe needs to be proven, because it's a crime. And kind of the broad First Amendment concerns there.
And so you know, we haven't seen much of that technical discussion. I think it's a preview of what's to come --
COOPER: That the -- the actual charge of inciting a riot requires certain specific things --
GARBER: Yes, exactly, yes, yes, yes.
COOPER: -- and that threshold, they will argue, is not met?
GARBER: Yes, they're going to say that what had to be proven is that the president intended for the violence to happen, and that he intended for it to happen imminently. So all of this stuff about 2016, 2017, none of that matters at all. They're going to focus on the speech, and say -- because that's the only thing they're going to say matters for imminent violence.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST (?): Are they right?
GARBER: And they're going to say that -- to prove the crime, if the crime is necessary, probably technically they are right. And that's the discussion that we're going to have. The managers are going to say, this isn't a criminal case, that the crime doesn't have to be proven.
BORGER: Yes --
COOPER: And certainly, you know, what they were doing today, Raskin and others, is saying there was a long preamble to this.
BORGER: Sure, that this was a pattern, and you know, they went back to what happened, in Michigan for example, with Governor Whitmer and the capitol there being attacked by armed insurrectionists and Donald Trump's reaction to that, which was to say so what, why aren't you thanking me for what the FBI did for you? They were drawing a straight line between the insurrectionists and Donald Trump.
And then I think what they did today was important -- to me, and I'm not a lawyer, but -- what was important to me was show the lack of remorse on the part of the president, that clearly feels no accountability for it, no remorse, didn't see surprised enough by it to jump into action and say, oh my God, we've got to do something about this.
And then to make the point, if you don't do something about this here, it's going to happen again. And then, you know, you need to think about that, if Donald Trump is going to run for office.