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CNN Live Event/Special
House Managers Present Video Evidence in Case Against Trump; CNN: 15 Empty GOP Seats During Points of Impeachment Testimony; Trump Impeachment Trial Resumes. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired February 11, 2021 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And then, you know, you need to think about that if Donald Trump is going to run for office.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I just want to play something that the House Manager Raskin said about this being the M.O. of the former president. Let's play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): January 6th was not some unexpected radical break from his normal law-abiding and peaceful disposition. This was his state of mind. This was his essential M.O.
He knew that egged on by his tweets, his lies, and his promise of a wild time in Washington, to guarantee his grip on power, his most extreme followers would show up bright and early, ready to attack, ready to engage in violence, ready to fight like hell for their hero.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORMAN EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Anderson, that goes directly to where we started this week. And one of the arts of the trial lawyer is coming full circle where we started on: Can you try an ex-president? Of course, you can, because the Constitution talks about disqualification.
And their foreshadowing what -- I think what we'll get in the next segment, which is more of law. Look for a prebuttal of the First Amendment arguments.
They're not just going to close and let the president's lawyers run rampant. They're going to pre-but. They'll have another chance to respond to it.
It's very important to remember that, as a matter of constitutional law and impeachment law, those criminal standards do not apply.
The question is: Did the president commit a high crime and misdemeanor? Incitement of insurrection is one. The Supreme Court said those same tough First Amendment rules that you
have in criminal cases, the Brandenburg case, do not apply to public officials because they have a public duty and they need to meet that duty.
And that legal framework will be very important for prebuttal.
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: But, you know, even though that's not required, I think they have met the burden, nonetheless, of showing there was a link between the statements of then-President Trump and the conduct that resulted in the imminent lawless action.
And I think the framing of how they'd done it has been to talk about everything leading up as a dress rehearsal, the practice runs. And then the big show was January 6th.
Weaving in what happened at the Michigan state House. Weaving in trying to run the bus off the road. Weaving in the conversations about every detail that led to figuring out whether this particular puppet master had enough strings and enough places to commandeer a mob and instruct them.
And so that theme is going to play out.
If you're talking about criminal context, you know, how often have the lawyers ever had a smoking gun at a trial? No, you have the contextual clues about intent. You have the evidence that surrounds what the state of mind was.
That's them saying, I intend for the imminent lawless action to occur now.
They've done a really good job of building up the contextual arguments.
But I think what still needs to be there, for people to have that home run, over the park, not coming back, if they were ever inclined to actually convict would be to say: What was he doing?
If you had eyes on Trump, what was he doing? What does he face look like? Is he smiling? Is he laughing? Is he clapping? Is he crying? Is he making phone calls? What he's doing about trying to get the National Guard or anyone there? Who are the people that can justify it?
So I think that's the last hook. But it's not necessary in a criminal trial if you have all of the other contextual clues there.
BORGER: Well, if you have witnesses -- you know, Kevin McCarthy was talking to him on the phone trying to get the National Guard in. And he had to call the president's family to get the president's attention on this matter.
If you had those witnesses --
(CROSSTALK) BORGER: -- you might find that out.
ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I agree with Laura and Gloria. I think that's the one piece where they do need more.
Several more hours of presentation, Jake, this afternoon.
Back to you.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: That's right, Anderson.
And we are waiting for the House impeachment managers to come back from that brief recess that they took.
We'll check in with Jeff Zeleny in a minute when we're told that he's up. He has some -- oh, he's there right there.
OK, Jeff Zeleny, how are you, sir?
Tell us what you're seeing because obviously the deal that was struck with the Senators denies us the opportunity to see what they're doing.
There are cameras there that could show us, CSPAN2 cameras, but they have been turned off for the day.
What are you seeing? What's the color there?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Jake, it certainly is a less-intense day than yesterday. Certainly, not as much video or audio and not as many words of the former president himself echoing through the Senate chamber.
So we are seeing more empty seats on the floor of the Senate. Our colleague, Manu Raju, was in the Senate Chamber just a few moments ago. He counted up to 15 empty seats on the Republican side of the chamber.
And that is how Senators sit, Democrats on one side, Republicans on the other side.
And they can be watching this from other places, no question. But clearly, there's a sense of fatigue sitting in among the jurors, among the Senators. They're not required to sit and watch the proceedings.
And that's one big difference from a year ago, the first impeachment trial. All Senators were instructed, required to sit at their desks. Because of the pandemic, they're allowed to be other places. But it's clear some are not paying attention.
As well as Florida Senator Rick Scott appeared to have a map of Asia in front of him and appeared to be writing in the names of the countries in Asia. He was doing that.
And the other side, on the Democratic side, Senator Bernie Sanders appeared to be dosing for off a bit.
This is based on just observations in the gallery of the Senate chamber.
But no question there's not as much attention and focus being paid on this.
But certainly, in the coming hours -- if this wraps, you know, by late afternoon, as it's expected -- there's still more testimony coming, still drawing that link between the president's actions and those insurrectionists here on Capitol Hill -- Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.
We'll squeeze in a quick break. We're waiting for the impeachment trial of Trump to resume.
We'll be right back. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's coverage of the second impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump.
The House impeachment managers are squeezing in a quick break, so we're discussing while they are doing that. We expect them to come back any minute and resume their case, their prosecution, as it were, against former President Trump.
Abby and Dana are here with me.
And one of the points that one of the House impeachment managers, David Cicilline, a Democrat of Rhode Island, made today, was how hurt, physically wounded, maimed, so many members of the capitol police force and the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., were because of the violence committed by the MAGA mob.
Here's just a brief excerpt from his comments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI), IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: 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.
One officer lost a tip of a right index finger. One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs. One officer is going to lose his eye. And another was stabbed with a metal fence stake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So that is Congressman Cicilline talking about some of the injuries.
We also, of course, know about the death. We're not sure how, of capitol police officer, Brian Sicknick, who was killed that day.
And also subsequent, two officers, one a capitol police officer and the other a Metropolitan Police Department, died by suicide after this.
One of the things that's interesting about all of this is, of course, the police have been very much in the news last year and the year before, I believe, because of Black Lives Matter and allegations of police brutality and, in some cases, evidence of police brutality.
I haven't really heard much from the Blue Lives Matter group in the last five weeks.
I have -- other than Metropolitan Police Department and capitol police department unions, I haven't really heard much from the Fraternal Order of Police about the violence committed by this mob against police officers doing their jobs, guarding the capitol.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's such a good point. I just got a text from somebody saying -- just observing -- saying, you know, what happened to law and order with regard to Republicans, never mind this president.
In this particular instance, Brian Sicknick wasn't honored with the flag being lowered over the White House for a couple of days, which one of the managers mentioned as well.
Look, the -- it is -- the hypocrisy on that runs pretty deep, I think it's fair to say.
And that raises the bigger question, which is -- it's been raised a little bit but I'm surprised it hadn't been done more -- which is: Why was it just the capitol police there? Why wasn't it more?
If we knew -- we, in the public knew, and the press -- about the plans going forward beforehand, because it was on the Internet, why weren't they more fortified?
And was it a decision made by the administration? And is there any evidence that they were asked and said no, or that there were discussions about this?
That's something that we haven't yet heard about at all.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We have talked a little bit about the contrasts between the preparations of January 6th and the preparation for protests in Washington over the summer, and the show of force that Trump personally mobilized in Washington last summer in response to Black Lives Matter protesters.
That contrast, I think, is relevant because the reason -- I mean, I think it's pretty apparent that the reason there was not advanced preparation and sufficient force to prepare for the likelihood of violence, which we know was all over the Internet at the time, is because the people being brought to Washington were being brought there because of the president.
Trump asked them to come and told them to be there. And so it would be actually, probably more surprising that he would mobilize, you know, the National Guard and police to prevent violence from his own supporters because he was the one that brought them there.
And that's the big difference between now and nine months ago over the summer and what we saw there.
It's part of the impeachment managers -- I think it's part of their argument about why Trump not only didn't -- not only, in their view, incited the mob, but he was indifferent to the probability, the likelihood that that was out there in the open that this would become violent.
TAPPER: Yes. I mean, it touches on what we were discussing yesterday when we talked about what's the difference between these terrorists and ISIS or al Qaeda terrorists? Why is there sympathy for these terrorists from Donald Trump.
And it's also a question about: Why is there -- oh, they're coming back in session. Let's listen in.
RASKIN: We'll now return to address the harm visited upon America's national security by these events and the damage to our international reputation.
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX), IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: My colleagues discussed with you the many harms to our nation as a result of President Trump's conduct.
Now, I'd like to spend some time talking about the harm to our national security and our standing in the world.
On January 6th, when President Trump incited a mob to march to the capitol, he led them to a building that Houses some of our nation's most-sensitive information.
And consider who was part of that mob. Some of the individuals were on the FBI watch list.
And the past behavior of some individuals led here by President Trump so alarmed investigators that their names had been added to the national terrorist screening database.
And at least one of the insurrectionists may have intended to steal information and give it to a foreign adversary. According to charging documents, Riley Williams allegedly helped steal
a laptop from Speaker Pelosi's office to quote, "Send it to a friend in Russia who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia's foreign intelligence service."
While we can't be certain if or how many foreign spies infiltrated the crowd, or at least coordinated with those who did, we can be sure that any enemy who wanted access to our secrets would have wanted to be part of that mob inside these halls.
And the point is this. Many of the insurrectionists that President Trump incited to invade this chamber were dangerous: People on the FBI watch list, violent extremists, white supremacists.
And these insurrectionists incited by President Trump threatened our national security.
Stealing lab tops, again, from Speaker Pelosi's office, taking documents from Leader McConnell's desk, snapping photographs, as you saw in the videos earlier, in sensitive areas, ransacking your offices, riffling through your desks.
The president of the United States, the commander-in-chief, knew the risk of anyone breaching the capitol. He swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend this country. And yet, he incited them here to break into the capitol.
Senators, as you all know, we have spent trillions of dollars building the strongest military in the world and billions of dollars on the most sophisticated weaponry on the planet to prevent the kind of attack that occurred at this capitol on January 6th.
And here's what the insurrectionists incited by President Trump did.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, let's take a seat people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nancy Pelosi.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god, we did this shit. We took this shit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- snap it up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I took a picture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASTRO: In many ways, this room is sacred. And so are the traditions that it represents. They have been carried on for centuries.
Congress has declared war 11 times on this floor, including entering World War II.
And Congress passed the Civil Rights Act and expanded the right to vote to ensure that, no matter your race or your gender, you have a voice in our nation.
And this floor is where history has been made.
And now our intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies have the burden to figure out exactly what was stolen, taken, ransacked, and compromised.
As acting U.S. attorney, Michael Sherwin, explained, quote, "Materials were stolen. And we have to identify what was done, mitigate that. And it could have potential national security equities."
These investigations are necessary now because of the actions of President Trump.
And it wasn't just the people that he led here that the intelligence agencies have to look into. It's also what they took and what they gathered.
And it was the very fact that this building, with so much sensitive information and some classified information, that this capitol was breached.
And think about it. Every foreign adversary considering attacking this building got to watch a dress rehearsal, and they saw that this capitol could be overtaken.
As Elizabeth Neumann, a former Trump official, stated, quote, "You have terrorists who would love to destroy the capitol. They just saw how easy it was to penetrate. We just exposed a huge vulnerability."
And it's not just the capitol. This attack has implications for all government buildings.
And Senator Rubio made this point well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): If you're a terrorist right now and you're sitting out there watching this, you're saying to yourself, hey, it's not that hard to get into the capitol. It's not that hard to get into the White House or the Supreme Court building or somewhere else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASTRO: Our government, our intelligence agencies, and our law enforcement have implemented additional safety measures since the attack on January 6th.
But while we secure this physical space, what message will we send the rest of the world?
We already know that the message our adversaries took from January 6th. This is how some of them responded after the attack:
Quote, "For America's adversaries, there was no greater proof of the fallibility of Western democracy than the sight of the U.S. capitol shrouded in smoke and besieged by a mob whipped up by their unwillingly outgoing president."
And to make matters worse, our adversaries are even using the events of January 6th not only to denigrate America but to justify their own anti-democratic behavior, calling America hypocritical.
Here's what the Chinese government is saying:
The spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the capitol riot should spark, quote, "Deep reflection among U.S. lawmakers regarding how they discuss the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Suggesting that the U.S. is hypocritical in denouncing Beijing's crackdown in the city while it struggles with its own unrest at home."
And the "Global Times," an outlet affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, even tweeted a series of side-by-side photos of two events, the siege of the U.S. capitol, and a July 2019 incident in which pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong broke into the city's legislative council building.
Think about that. President Trump gave the Chinese government an opening to create a false equivalency between Hong Kongers protesting for democracy and violent insurrectionists trying to overthrow it.
As Representative Gallagher described in real time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE GALLAGHER (R-WI): If we don't think other countries around the world are watching this happen right now, we don't think the Chinese Communist Party is sitting back and laughing, then we're deluding ourselves.
So call it off, Mr. President. We need you to call this off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASTRO: Russia has also seized on this violent attack against our government, decrying that democracy is, quote, "over." The chairman of the Russian Upper House of parliament's International
Affairs Committee said, quote:
"The celebration of democracy is over. This is, alas, actually the bottom. I say this without a hint of gloating. America is no longer charting the course. And therefore, has lost all its rights to set it. And especially to impose it on others."
They're using President Trump's incitement of an insurrection to declare that democracy is over.
In Iran, the supreme leader is using President Trump's incitement of insurrection to mock America. He said of the situation in the United States, quote:
"This is their democracy and human rights. This is their election scandal. These are their values. These values are being mocked by the whole world, even their friends are laughing at them."
These statements are serious and pervasive.
And according to a Joint Threat Assessment Bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and eight other law enforcement entities, quote:
"Since the incident at the U.S. capitol on January 6th, Russian, Iranian, and Chinese influence actors have seized the opportunity to amplify narratives in furtherance of their policy interests amid the presidential transition."
We cannot let them use what happened on January 6th to define us, who we are, and what we stand for. We get to define ourselves by how we respond to the attack of January 6th.
And some might be tempted to say and point out that our adversaries are always going to be critical of the United States. But following the insurrection on January 6th, even our allies are speaking up.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, quote:
"What we witnessed was an assault on democracy by violent rioters incited by the current president and other politicians. As shocking, deeply disturbing and, frankly, saddening as that event remains, we have also seen this week that democracy is resilient in America, our closest ally and neighbor."
The German foreign minister said, quote:
"This closing of ranks begins withholding those accountable who are responsible for such escalations. That includes the violent rioters and it also includes their instigators."
The world is watching and wondering whether we are who we say we are. Because other countries have known chaos, our Constitution have helped keep order in America. This is why we have a Constitution.
We must stand up for the rule of law because the rule of law doesn't just stand up by itself.
After the insurrection, my colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the chairman and the ranking member, issued a bipartisan statement that said, quote:
"America has always been a beacon of freedom to the world, proof that free and fair elections are achievable and that democracy works. But what happened at the capitol today has scarred our reputation and has damaged our standing in the world. Today's violence, an inevitable result when leaders in positions of power misled the public, will certainly empower dictators, and damage struggling democracies."
And that's true.
For generations, the United States has been a North Star in the world for freedom, democracy, and human rights. Because America is not only a nation. For many, it's also an idea.
It's the light that gives hope to people struggling for democracy in autocratic regimes. The light that inspires people fighting across the world for fundamental human rights. And the light that inspires us to believe in something larger than ourselves.