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CNN Live Event/Special
Senators Ask Questions in Trump Impeachment Trial; Senators Finish Questions in Trump Impeachment Trial, Will Vote Tomorrow; New Details of Trump's Call with Rep. Kevin McCarthy Show Trump Had No Intention of Calling Off January 6th Rioters at Capitol; GOP Lawmaker: Trump to McCarthy During Capitol Riot, "I Guess These People are More Upset About the Election Than You Are". Aired 6-7p ET
Aired February 12, 2021 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL VAN DER VEEN, IMPEACHMENT ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: And so, again, you need to be focused on, what's the law, and then how do we apply it to this set of facts?
And so, it's important to have that understanding that elected officials and fire chiefs are treated differently under first amendment law. And that's for the benefit of you all, which is to the benefit of us all, because we do want you to be able to speak freely without fear that the majority party is going to come in and impeach you or come in and prosecute you to try, to take away your seat where you sit now.
That's not what the constitution says should be done. But, yes, they do. They do contradict themselves, of course. Thank you.
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Mr. President.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): The senator from Maryland.
VAN HOLLEN: I send a question to the desk for the House managers.
LEAHY: The senator from Maryland, Senator Van Hollen, has a question for the managers.
The clerk will report the question.
CLERK: "Would you please respond to the answer that was just given by the former president's counsel?"
LEAHY: The House managers are recognized.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Mr. President, thank you.
I'm not quite sure which question the senator was referring to but let me quickly just dispense of the counsel's invocation again of Bond vs. Floyd. This is a case I know well, and I thank him for raising it.
Julian Bond was a friend of mine. He was a colleague of mine at American University. He was a great civil rights hero. And in his case, he got elected to the Georgia state legislature. And as a member of SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the great committee headed up by the great Bob Moses for a long time, he got elected to the Georgia legislature, and they didn't want him to be sworn in.
They wouldn't allow him to take his oath of office because SNCC had taken a position against the Vietnam War. And so, the Supreme Court said that was a violation of his First Amendment rights not to allow him to be sworn in.
That's the complete opposite of Donald Trump. Not only he was sworn in, in January 20, 2017. He was president for almost four years before he incited this violent insurrection against us, and he violated his oath of office. That's what this impeachment trial is about, his violation of his oath of office, and his refusal to uphold the law and take care that the laws are faithfully executed.
Please don't desecrate the name of Julian Bond, a great American, by linking him with this terrible plot against America that just took place in the storming of the U.S. Capitol.
I'm going to turn it over to my colleague Ms. Plaskett.
DEL. STACEY PLASKETT (D-VI): Thank you.
Let's just be clear. President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob, lit the flame. Everything that followed was his doing. And although he could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence, he didn't.
In other words, this attack would not have happened without him.
This attack is not about one speech. Most of you men would not have your wives with one attempt at talking to her.
PLASKETT: It took numerous tries. You had to build it up.
That's what the president did as well. He put together the group that would do what he wanted. And that was to stop the certification of the election, so that he could retain power to be president of the United States, in contravention of an American election.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Mr. President.
LEAHY: The senator from Florida.
RUBIO: I send a question to the desk.
LEAHY: The question from the senator from Florida, and it is to both sides. The clerk will read the question, and the House managers will go first for the first two-and-a-half minutes. CLERK: "Voting to convict the former president would create a new
precedent that a former official can be convicted and disqualified by the Senate. Therefore, is it not true that, under this new precedent, a future House, facing partisan pressure to lock her up, could impeach a former secretary of state, and a future Senate be forced to put her on trial and potentially disqualify from any future office?"
LEAHY: The House managers go first.
RASKIN: Mr. President, Senators, three quick point here.
First of all, I don't know how many times I can say it. The jurisdictional issue is over. It's gone. The Senate settled it. The Senate entertained jurisdiction exactly the way it has done since the very beginning of the republic, in the Blount case, in the Belknap case.
And you will remember, both of them former officials. And in this case, we have a president who committed his crimes against the republic while he was in office. He was impeached by the House of Representatives while he was in office.
So, the hypothetical suggested by the gentleman from Florida has no bearing on this case, because I don't think you're talking about an official who was impeached while they were in office for conduct that they committed while they were in office.
LEAHY: The counsel for the former president has two-and-a-half minutes.
VAN DER VEEN: Thank you.
Could I have the question read again to make sure I have it right and can answer it directly?
CLERK: "Voting to convict the former president would create a new precedent that a former official can be convicted and disqualified by the Senate. Therefore, is it not true that, under this new precedent, a future House, facing partisan pressure to lock her up, could impeach a former secretary of state, and a future Senate be forced to put her on trial and potentially disqualify from any future office?"
VAN DER VEEN: If you see it their way, yes.
If you do this the way they want it done, that could happen to, the example there, a former secretary of state. But it could happen to a lot of people. And that's not the way this is supposed to work. And not only could it happen to a lot of people. It would become much more regular, too.
But I want to address that, and I want you to be clear on this. Mr. Raskin can't tell you on what grounds you acquit. If you believe -- even though there was a vote that there's jurisdiction, if you believe jurisdiction is unconstitutional, you can still believe that.
If you believe that the House did not give appropriate due process in this, that can be your reason to acquit. If you don't think they met their burden in proving incitement that these words incited the violence, you can acquit.
Mr. Raskin doesn't get to give you under what grounds you can acquit. And so you have to look at what they have put on in its totality and come to your own understanding as to whether you think they have met their burden to impeach.
But the original question is an absolutely slippery slope that I don't really think anybody here wants to send this country down.
SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): Mr. President, I send a question to the desk.
LEAHY: The senator from Colorado is sending a question to the desk.
And I would note, just for the -- as the hour is tending to get late, I would note, for all counsel, as Chief Justice Roberts noted on January 21, 2020, citing the trial of Charles Swayne in 1905, all parties in this chamber must refrain language that is not conducive to civil discourse.
The senator from Colorado, Senator Bennet, has a question for the House managers.
And the clerk will read the question.
CLERK: "Since the November election, the Georgia secretary of state, the vice president and other public officials withstood enormous pressure to uphold the lawful election of President Biden and the rule of law. What would have happened if these officials had vowed to the force that President Trump exerted or the mob that attacked the Capitol?"
LEAHY: The House managers have five minutes.
CASTRO: I want to take a minute and remind everybody about the incredible pressure that Donald Trump was putting on election officials in different states in this country, and the intimidation that he was issuing.
And I want to remind everyone of the background of Donald Trump's call to one secretary of state, the secretary of state from Georgia, Mr. Raffensperger. Donald Trump tried to overturn the election by any means necessary. He tried again and again to pressure and threaten election officials to overturn the election results.
He pressured Michigan officials, calling them late at night and hosting them at the White House. He did the same thing with officials in Pennsylvania. He called into a local meeting of the Pennsylvania legislature, and he also hosted them at the White House, where he pressured them. And, in Georgia, it was even worse. He sent tweet after tweet attacking the secretary of state, until Mr. Raffensperger got death threats to him and his family. His wife got a text that said -- quote -- "Your husband deserves facing a firing squad," firing squad, for doing his job.
Mr. Raffensperger stood up to him. He told the world that elections are the bedrock of this society and the votes were accurately counted for Donald Trump's opponent.
Officials like Mr. Sterling warned Trump that, if this continued, someone is going to get killed.
But Donald Trump didn't stop. He escalated it even further. He made a personal call. You heard that call because it was recorded. The president of the United States told a secretary of state that, if he does not find votes, he will face criminal penalties.
Please, Senators, consider that for a second, the president putting all of this public and private pressure on election officials, telling them that they could face criminal penalties if they don't do what he wants, and not just any number of votes that he was looking for.
Donald Trump was asking the secretary of state to somehow find the exact number of votes Donald Trump lost the state by. Remember, President Biden won Georgia by 11,779 votes. In his own words, President Trump said -- quote -- "All I want to do is this. I just want to find is 11,780 votes."
He wanted the secretary of state to somehow find the precise number, plus one, of votes that he needed to win. As a Congress and as a nation, we cannot be numb to this conduct. If we are, and if we don't set a precedent against it, more presidents will do this in the future. This will be a green light for them to engage in that kind of pressure and that kind of conduct.
And this could have gone a very different way if those election officials had bowed to the intimidation and the pressure of the president of the United States. It would have meant that, instead of the American people deciding this election, President Trump alone would have decided this American election.
That's exactly what was at stake, and that's exactly what he was trying to do. He intended, wanted to, and tried to overturn election by any means necessary. He tried everything else that he could to do to win.
He started inciting the crowd, issuing tweet after tweet, issuing commands to stop the count, stop the steal, worked up the crowd, sent a save the date. So, it wasn't just one speech or one thing. He was trying everything. He was pressuring elected officials. He was riling up his base, telling them the election had been stolen from them, that it had been stolen from him. It was a combination of things that only Donald Trump could have done.
And for us to believe otherwise is to think that somehow a rabbit came out of the hat and this mob just showed up here on their own all by themselves.
This is dangerous, Senators, and the future of our democracy truly rests in your hands.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): Mr. President.
LEAHY: The senator from Texas.
CORNYN: Mr. President, I send a question to the desk.
LEAHY: The senator from Texas, Mr. Cornyn, has a question for both counsel for the former president and the House manager.
The clerk will read the question, and the -- we will recognize first the counsel for the former president.
CLERK: "The House managers have argued that, if the Senate cannot convict former officers, then the Constitution creates a January exception, pursuant to which a president is free to act with impunity because he's not subject to impeachment, conviction and removal and/or disqualification. But isn't a president subject to criminal prosecution after he leaves office for acts committed in office, even if those acts are committed in January?"
BRUCE CASTOR, IMPEACHMENT ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: The senator from Texas' question raises a very, very important point.
There is no such thing as a January exception to impeachment. There is only the text of the Constitution, which makes very clear that a former president is subject to criminal sanction after his presidency for any illegal acts he commits.
There is no January exception to impeachment. There is simply a way we treat high crimes and misdemeanors allegedly committed by a president when he is in office, impeachment, and how we treat criminal behavior by a private citizen when they are not in office.
LEAHY: The House managers.
RASKIN: Thank you for this excellent question.
Wouldn't a president who decides to commit his crimes in the last few weeks in office, like President Trump, by inciting an insurrection against the counting of Electoral College votes, be subject to criminal prosecution by the U.S. attorney general for the U.S. District of Columbia, for example, the Department of Justice?
Well, of course he would be. But that's true of the president regardless of when he commits his offenses in office. In other words, that's an argument for prosecuting him if he tried to stage an insurrection against the union in his third year in office or his second year in office. You could say, well, he could be prosecuted afterwards.
The reason that the framers gave Congress, the House the power to impeach, the Senate the power to try, convict, remove and disqualify was to protect the republic. It's not a vindictive power.
I know a lot of people were angry with Donald Trump about these terrible events that took place. We don't come here in anger, contrary to what you have heard today. We come here in the spirit of protecting our republic.
And that's what it's all about. But their January exception would essentially invite presidents and other civil officers to run rampant in the last few weeks in office, on the theory that the House and the Senate wouldn't be able to get it together in time, certainly according to their demands for months and months of investigation, wouldn't be able to get it together in time in order to vindicate the Constitution.
That can't be right. That can't be right. We know that the peaceful transfer of power is always the most dangerous moment for democracies around the world. Talk to the diplomats. Talk to the historians. They will tell you, that is a moment of danger. That's when you get the coups. That's when you get the insurrections. That's when you get the seditious plots.
And you know what? You don't even have to read history for that. You don't even have to consult the framers. You don't even have to look around the world. It just happened to us.
The moment when we were just going to collect the already certified Electoral College votes from the states by the popular majorities within each state, except for Maine and Nebraska, which do it by congressional district, as well as statewide -- but, otherwise, it's just the popular majorities in the states.
And we were about to certify it. And we got hit by a violent, insurrectionary mob. Don't take our word for it. Listen to the tapes, unless they're going to claim those are fabricated too, and the people are yelling, "This is our house now," and, "Where are the 'blank' votes at?"
LEAHY: Time is up.
RASKIN: And "Show us the votes," et cetera.
LEAHY: The majority leader.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Mr. President, it's my understanding that there are no further questions on either side.
LEAHY: The Republican leader?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): That's correct. I know of no further questions on our side.
SCHUMER: I ask unanimous consent that the time for questions and answers be considered expired.
LEAHY: Without objection, so ordered.
SCHUMER: Now, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that it be in order for myself and Senator McConnell to speak for up to one minute each, and then it be in order for me to make a unanimous consent to request as if in legislative session.
LEAHY: Without objection, ordered, the senator from New York.
SCHUMER: Thank you, Mr. President.
And, Mr. President, in a moment, I will ask the Senate to pass legislation that would award Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal.
In the weeks after the attack on January the 6th, the world learned about the incredible, incredible bravery of Officer Goodman on that fateful day.
Here in this trial, we saw new video, powerful video, showing calmness under pressure, his courage in the line of duty, his foresight in the midst of chaos, and his willingness to make himself a target of the mob's rage, so that others might reach safety.
Officer Goodman is in the chamber tonight.
Officer Goodman, thank you.
SCHUMER: Mr. -- wait a minute.
LEAHY: The Republican leader.
SCHUMER: Leader McConnell?
MCCONNELL: Oh, I'm sorry.
SCHUMER: I just want to say, I think we can all agree that Eugene Goodman deserves the highest honor Congress can bestow.
But I just -- before we move to pass this legislation, I want to be clear that he was not alone that day. The nation saw and has now seen numerous examples of the heroic conduct of the Capitol Police, the Metropolitan Police, the SWAT teams that were with us on January 6 here in the Capitol protecting us. Our heartfelt gratitude extends to each and every one of them,
particularly now, as members of the force continue to bear scars, seen and unforeseen, from the events of that disgraceful day.
Let us give them all the honor and recognition they so justly deserve.
MCCONNELL: Mr. President.
LEAHY: The Republican leader.
MCCONNELL: I'm pleased to join the majority leader's request.
January 6 was a day of fear for those who work here in the Capitol and of sadness for many more watching from afar. But that awful day also introduced our nation to a group of heroes whom we in Congress were already proud to call our colleagues and to whom we owe a great debt.
In the face of lawlessness, the officers of the U.S. Capitol lived out the fullest sense of their oaths. If not for the quick thinking and bravery of Officer Eugene Goodman, in particular, people in this chamber may not have escaped that day unharmed.
Officer Goodman's actions reflect a deep personal commitment to duty and brought even greater distinction upon all his brave brothers and sisters in uniform.
So, I'm proud the Senate is taking this step forward, recognizing his heroism with the highest honor we can bestow.
SCHUMER: So, Mr. President, as if in legislative session, I ask unanimous consent that the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs be discharged from further consideration of S-35 and then that the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration.
LEAHY: Without objection.
And the clerk will report.
CLERK: "S-35, a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Officer Eugene Goodman."
LEAHY: And, without objection, the committee is discharged.
And the Senate now proceeds to the measure.
SCHUMER: Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Van Hollen substitute amendment, which is at the desk, be considered and agreed to, the bill, as amended, be considered, read a third time and pass, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table.
LEAHY: Without objection, so ordered. SCHUMER: Now, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the trial adjourn
until 10:00 a.m. Saturday, February 13, and that this also constitute the adjournment of the Senate.
LEAHY: Without objection, we are adjourned until 10:00 tomorrow.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right, so there you have it, the session of the U.S. Senate ending with a rather emotional, powerful tribute to Capitol Police officers, especially Officer Eugene Goodman, who all did such incredible work on January 6, saving lives, dealing with this.
And this hero, Officer Eugene Goodman, was just awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.
This is really symbolically and substantively a very important movement indeed, and you saw the standing ovations that the Republicans and the Democrats they all gave Officer Eugene Goodman.
This concludes also the question and answer portion of the Trump impeachment trial. They went on Q&A for about two and a half hours. The proceedings now racing toward a final vote that's expected to happen tomorrow.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. I'm here in The Situation Room with our special live coverage.
During the question and answer session that we all just watched, we got a window into the thinking three Republicans who we know who are open potentially to convicting the former president, Donald Trump, by Senators Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. They pressed for details about what Trump did to stop the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, and when he knew that the then Vice President Mike Pence was in real danger, not only Pence but his family as well. They're all in the U.S. Senate.
They didn't get much an answer from the former president's lawyers who spent only a few hours defending him earlier in the day. Lots of drama unfolding. Jake?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Wolf. That's right. And I'm here in studio with Abby Philip and Dana Bash, and a lot to talk about. One of the things that comes to mind is, unlike impeachment trials that we've seen in the past, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump's impeachment a year ago, I have never seen a set of lawyers so outmatched than the Trump defense attorneys.
First of all, Castor is a former prosecutor from outside Philly, van der Veen is a personal injury attorney. They just were outmatched. They do not know the Constitution as well as Jamie Raskin and the others. They were indignant as if they were trying to appeal to a jury in a Philly courtroom or in Norristown.
And they acted as if the president was up on criminal charges, talking about the standard, and that's not what this is. This is a constitutional proceeding about whether or not President Trump should be penalized according to the obligations under his office, not as if he's going to go to jail.
So before we get to the questions, I mean, I just -- by the way, not that I think it's going to matter. I think, ultimately, people are not going to vote based on who the better lawyer was but they really were outmatched. I mean, the legal team that Trump had last year with Jay Sekulow and Alan Dershowitz and others, I mean, just leaps in balance better than this one.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and one of them, I mean, talk about you know, read the room, dude. He says to them at one point, boy, this is worst experience I've had in Washington, in a place that was ransacked and people almost lost their lives and some did because of the very insurrection that the president is on trial for right there. It was really remarkable.
And that real was -- it was the tone and the tenor that he set that was clearly exactly what his client wanted. I mean, he was channeling Donald Trump in a way I've seen few people do. And, you know, he got the lawyers that he deserved and probably the only lawyers at this point of the few that he could find.
But you're absolutely right, Jake, they were outmatched on the basic questions that they were arguing. Not the least of which was the constitutionality of the trial which, by the way, was put to bed and put to rest a couple of days ago. And the fact that they didn't -- not only did they not answer a lot of senators' questions, even potentially on defense senators like Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and maybe even told them -- told them something that wasn't true, I don't know how that's going to go over.
TAPPER: And also, just Abby, I mean, van der Veen, Mike van der Veen, just to put a note on this, like his a personal injury attorney in Philadelphia. He is used to expressing indignance in front of a jury about a cyclist hit and killed by a septa bus on the Schuylkill Expressway, you know. That is what he is there -- and I'm sure it plays well. I'm sure that plays well when you have an actual victim that you're representing.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right.
TAPPER: Who thinks that Donald Trump is a victim?
PHILLIP: Donald Trump.
TAPPER: Right, other than Donald Trump.
PHILLIP: I mean, the whole point is that this was not about the senators in the room, and you saw that because he in some sort of insulted two of the senators that he kind of wants to keep on his side. It wasn't about them. It was about Trump. And Donald Trump's spokesperson Jason Miller basically confirmed on Twitter that his boss is happy with van der Veen's performance today. So we know what that was all about. But, you know, on the substance, I mean, I thought it was really spectacular how -- in a bad way, how he actually not only failed to defend Trump on some really predictable charges.
This idea that Trump did not care about what happened to his vice president, which we know based on the facts of what unfolded that day is likely to be true, but he didn't even attempt to defend Trump on that basis. And, in fact, called, you know, a senator, Tommy Tuberville, basically a liar for saying that he told Trump that Pence was in danger.
So there was some real malpractice on his part and the contrast was so stark on the Democratic side where they were prepared. They had their notes. They knew to anticipate a lot of these questions but they were also -- I think, more importantly than, they were prosecuting their case while answering the questions, which is actually what this Q&A section is all about. There was -- it's a continuation of the case. And the Trump side never even bothered to do that. He was trying to create a spectacle.
TAPPER: And, look, the Trump team down in Mar-a-Lago could have told the lawyers if they ask, as Senator Susan Collins and Senator MurkowskI did, if they ask, Anderson, when did the president know about the breach and what did he do about it, here are the answers, but they didn't, which, to me, seems kind of damning. Same thing with Mitt Romney and Bill Cassidy wondering well, what about when Pence was being threatened and what did Trump know about that?
Again, Mar-a-Lago could have told van der Veen, Castor and the others this is what the president did, but they didn't provide that information. Again, I don't think this is going to matter because this is going to be a rather partisan vote, but it really was damning in its omission.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Which may be why they didn't choose to give them that information, A, because it is damning and, B, because it doesn't really matter for the Republican senators in that room.
We have a legal panel here. Elie Honig, what did you make of what we've just witnessed?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well couple of things, first of all Anderson, I think we saw the lawyers operating on two separate plains (ph) there. I think the House impeachment managers were all about facts, what did Donald Trump do on January 6th, what happened on January 6th, and Trump's lawyers were all about anything else, anything in the world but.
And I hope people don't mistake what we just saw for real life meaningful cross-examination because what we saw each side sort of lobbying softballs to their own side. I would have like to see it more challenging of the other side's case across the aisle.
And I think the single most important question was the one Jake just mentioned, what did can the president know, when did he know it and answer from the lawyers was a combination of one tweet and how am I supposed to know. I mean, that is so damning that they weren't able to answer that with any substance.
COOPER: Even the information which has came out over the last couple of days from Senator Tommy Tuberville about the conversation he had with the president, in which he informed the president that Mike Pence had been removed, that wasn't even acknowledged by the president's attorneys.
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: No, because, apparently, in their minds, the way to actually advocate was to just repeat the words due process, hoping it would stick to the wall some place. Due process is not a synonym for a deflection but apparently it was today.
The lawyers, in response to the basic question which was asked, and give us specific details as to what then President Trump was doing while we were all running for our lives, due process, due process. We don't know. We don't have an investigation.
Well, you've written in the brief that you knew the answer, and there was a flurry of activity, you called the House impeachment manager briefs' lies because they said that you did nothing. You provided no information.
Then what really bothered me was after all of that conversation, and it's one of the throwing weight around by van der Veen in particular, hoping that if you show enough bravado and indignation that somehow will translate to persuasive advocacy, it does not. It does not unless you actually answer the questions.
And he made this one statement which said, hey, Raskin can't tell you why you acquit. You can choose any reason you want. Well, actually, a Senate impeachment decision is not appealable. So when they said that it was constitutional that became the law. So he is actually telling the senators, you can rely on something that's no longer an issue, like a jurisdictional constitutional argument.
Now, choose what you'd like. It's not a choose your own adventure. It's an impeachment about the incitement of a riot by the president of the United States. They didn't answer the question, they deflected, they mistook belligerence for actual substance. It was unpersuasive.
ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it remains to be seen, right, whether it was persuasive or unpersuasive. We're going to know tomorrow during the vote. We saw six senators, six Republican senators say that there was jurisdiction. I'll be very interested to see how those six Republican senators end up.
I think the point the Trump lawyers were trying to make that I think actually may have persuaded -- may not persuade us or may not the general public, it may have persuaded perhaps some of these six Republican senators and maybe, you know, the other Republicans is about the process that unfolded.
[18:40:14] You know, I think what they were trying to say is, you know, you've brought the former president of the United States in here. You're talking about taking this dramatic consequence of disqualifying him from running for office in the future. It's commonly accepted that the House managers have the burden proof and that that burden is high. And what they are saying is the House managers didn't meet their burden and that it's not up to them to go out and find evidence to help those House managers meet their burden.
The House managers decided when to impeach. They decided when to transmit the articles. The Senate Democrats decided when to hold the trial and now here we are, and they are saying the House managers haven't -- haven't brought their case.
COATES: You can't have it both ways though, because what they are saying as well, Ross, that you've done this too quickly and too slowly at the same time. Due process is notice and opportunity to be heard. They were given notice. They admit that they had the information beforehand. They offered to have the then president, now former president of the United States testify and give his answers, they chose not to. So it's not as if there was no way for them to get that --
GARBER: Yes, I think it was less about due process and more about, you know, satisfying the burden of proof.
And in terms of -- of, you know, this -- the jurisdictional issue, I think what they are doing is harkening back to the single time this has happened in our history, the Belknap case back in the 1800s, where the senate voted in favor of jurisdiction but then Belknap was acquitted and most of those who voted to acquit said that the reason was that they didn't believe there was jurisdiction.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: But I think if they knew the answer-- do you -- I'm not a lawyer. I'm just watching this. Do you presume that if they knew the answers to these questions about what Donald Trump knew and when he knew it and it was beneficial to them that at some point they might have let people in on it and said, you know what, the president, aside from van der Veen saying, yes, he had a great relationship with Mike Pence and, of course, he cared about him, et cetera, et cetera, when we know from our reporting what the facts are about what happened to that relationship after all of this, wouldn't his attorneys come out and say, you know, we know that the president called out the National Guard, that he was so concerned?
GARBER: I think maybe and maybe not because the evidence portion of this whole thing ended. The evidence was over and now we're just talking about the Q&As to the lawyers. It's not the time to introduce --
BORGER: But wouldn't they have presented it, if it's were beneficial to their client, which, obviously, there's a big hole here?
COOPER: The chances are they have no idea because it's never been --
BORGER: They haven't talked to him or ask him? COOPER: It's never been put out. In fact, Mark Meadows is the only one who has really spoken about it on television, and he wasn't telling the truth, which is just demonstrable based on the tweets the president was sending.
BORGER: It's a problem.
COOPER: Let's go back to Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much. There's breaking news, Anderson, we're following. This is very important. CNN is learning new details right now about the heated and expletive-laced the January 6th phone conversation between then President Trump and the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, that took operation as the insurrection up on the Capitol was actually under way.
The new details from multiple Republican members of Congress, Republican members of Congress show that Trump had no intention at all of calling the rioters off, even as McCarthy and other members begged him, begged him for help. All of this pointing to Trump's state of mind as he watched the Capitol being stormed.
CNN's Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel has been working this story for us. Jamie, get into details. What are you learning?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is critical insight into Donald Trump. What we're learning speaks to his continued desire to delay and to try to prevent the election results from being counted.
Now, we previously knew that there was a phone call that took place on January 6th between Trump and Kevin McCarthy when McCarthy called Trump pleading for him to stop the rioters. I have spoken to multiple Republican members at the House who have knowledge of that call, who tell us that after Trump tried to say to Kevin, these are not my people, it's Antifa, Kevin McCarthy said to Trump, no, it's not Antifa these are your people.
And here are the new details. After he said that, Trump said to McCarthy, quote, this, quote, well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are, to which McCarthy responded, who the F do you think you're talking to?
CNN confirmed this exchange, Wolf, with Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington who was briefed on the call directly firsthand by Kevin McCarthy on January 10th. The congresswoman she took careful notes on the call as she firsthand by Kevin McCarthy on January 10th. The congresswoman she took careful notes on the call as she has been doing since the insurrection happened and throughout the impeachment proceedings. She's been keeping really copious notes.
We're also told by several other Republican members that Kevin McCarthy wasn't shy about this heated exchange with Trump, that he wanted his members to know about it, and Congresswoman Herrera Beutler says Trump's comments to Kevin McCarthy speak to his state of mind that day and explain why she voted to impeach.
This is what she told us, quote: You have to look at what he did, Trump did, during the insurrection to confirm where his mind was at. That line right there demonstrates to me that either he didn't care which is impeachable because you cannot allow a attack on your soil, or he wanted it to happen and was okay with it, which makes me so angry. We should never stand for that for any reason under any party flag. I'm trying really hard not to say the "F" word -- Wolf.
BLITZER: This is really, really powerful information that you're getting, Jamie. You've also learned a number of other Republican members of Congress also feel that Trump's words give critical insight to his state of mind, his intent and what they describe as his dereliction of duty.
GANGEL: That's correct. We spoke to a half dozen Republican members of the House today, and here's what another member of Congress said to me, another Republican, Anthony Gonzalez on the record, Republican from Ohio. The he is also another one of the ten Republicans who voted to impeach.
Quote: I think it speaks to the former president's mindset he was not sorry to see his unyieldingly loyal vice president or the Congress under attack by the mob he inspired. In fact, it seems he was happy about it or at the least enjoyed the scenes that were horrifying to most Americans across the country.
And, Wolf, I just want to add the Republican members that I spoke to Trump's failure to act immediately after Kevin McCarthy called him and asked for help shows that he was not a blameless innocent observer.
Another Republican member said to me that the call speaks clearly to Trump's intent. Quote: This proves that the president knew very early on what the mob was doing and he knew members were at risk and he refused to act. It's a violation of his oath of office to fail to come to the defense of Congress and the constitutional process immediately. This shows that Trump knew what the rioters were doing, that he supported it and that he facilitated it by failing to act.
I think the question now is, Wolf, we now know more about what Donald Trump clearly said to Kevin McCarthy. Will it change any votes of Republicans in the Senate when it comes to the trial? Wolf?
BLITZER: Really, really significant reporting, Jamie. Thank you very, very much.
I -- I want to get John King's reaction. This is a powerful new development that we're getting, and it's not from Democratic sources or independent sources. Jamie and her colleagues are speaking to Republicans who heard all of this directly from Kevin McCarthy.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is powerful, and it's important and it's critical context, and it's also proof that until proven otherwise this is the party of Trump. She's speaking about Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader works stood up to the president on that phone call. What did he do hours later he stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and supported the objections to the election even after the insurrection, even after he begged the president for help and didn't get it, even after he challenged the president's view of who was in the mob.
So you have these ten Republicans who voted to impeach. They also did not support the challenges to the election, but Kevin McCarthy, even after that known call with the president of the United States saying your vice president was under attack. These are your people in our building. Please help us, please call this off.
The president doesn't do what he wants. That night, Kevin McCarthy stood with 138, I believe, other House Republicans to continue the big lie to fight the election and then they voted against impeachment.
Only 10, 200 Republicans vote against impeachment in the House, only 10 had the courage to stand up.
Tomorrow, we get the Senate side of it, right? Tomorrow, most likely, we get the Senate side of it. When they vote to convict or not to convict later.
We know there are five or six Republicans maybe available to vote for it. Did the trial convince any other Republicans to come forward? That's the test tomorrow.
But if you watched the president's defense today, the president got the defense that he wanted. It was full of lies. It was full of anger. It was taking things out of context. It was attacking Democrats, and it was not answering any specific questions.
A Republican senator asked, exactly when did then-President Trump find out the Capitol was breached? He attacked the question. He called the facts in dispute.
Marco Rubio, one of the senators we're watching, might he change his mind? A Trump critic back in 2016 but on the ballot in 2022 asked a question that said, if we do this to Donald Trump, might a Republican House in the future do this to Hillary Clinton? Guess how Marco Rubio is going to vote tomorrow? This is as plain as can see. So, Jamie puts this compelling reporting on the table from Republicans who are willing to stand up to Donald Trump.
Tomorrow's vote is who are you? Is this power or principle? Is this your career, is this your career, or put it this way? Are you still the party of Trump, or are you going to vote to break from Trump? That's what's at stake tomorrow.
BLITZER: Kevin McCarthy, remember, a few days later went to Mar-a-Lago and met with Donald Trump at that time too.
KING: Right, there's not a profile in courage.
BLITZER: Yeah, that was a little awkward.
Jake, back to you.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thanks, Wolf.
And for people who are just joining us, let's go over again this incredibly significant exchange that Jamie Gangel just reported based on the on-the-record testimony, the on-the-record consequents from a Republican congresswoman from Washington state.
During the insurrection, House minority leader, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy calls Trump, pleading with him, pleading with him to call off the mob. Trump says -- this is according to Jamie's reporting, according to multiple Republicans including one on the record, Kevin, it's not my people. It's Antifa. McCarthy says, no, it's not Antifa. These are your people, to which the president says, well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are, to which House Republican Leader McCarthy says, who the "F" do you think you are talking to?
Which is a stunningly cold statement from President Trump -- then- President Trump. He knows that they're his supporters. He likes the fact that they're attacking. It means that they care more about the election than Kevin McCarthy.
And, yes, as John pointed out, hours later, Kevin McCarthy votes with the lie, with what president Trump wants him to do, showing his character or lack thereof. But let's just focus right now for a second on Trump saying that. Well, I guess they care more about the election than you do. As terrorists attack the capitol and kill people.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean that's all you need to hear about Donald Trump's state of mind at that moment. As part of the -- the House managers' presentation yesterday -- a couple days ago, they showed Kevin McCarthy calling in to one of the cables, begging people to go home and to go away, and you could hear in his voice how -- how upset he was and how worried about it.
I'm wondering whether or not he decided to do that because the president wouldn't, whether he was trying to take control. Never mind the fact that he voted with the president that day and then also voted against impeachment later.
This trial isn't over, you know. I don't think there's a rule that says that someone like Jamie Herrera Beutler or Kevin McCarthy can't be called as a witness. Why not?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, and we should underscore who Jamie Herrera Beutler is. She's a Republican.
PHILLIP: And our Jamie Gangel and our colleagues talked to multiple Republicans who were so incensed and disgusted by what they were told by Kevin McCarthy about Trump's comments in that moment that they voted to impeach. And the point that Congresswoman Herrera Beutler made is one that we've discussed before, which is that even if you take out for a second the incitement, even if you take out the rally that happened beforehand, it was Trump's indifference and negligence when the capitol was attacked that -- that prompted her to think, that's an impeachable offense.
PHILLIP: You are the president of the United States. You're supposed to defend this country, not to root on the attackers, even if they're people who are coming from the inside, not from the outside.
So I think there's a sense that this is not just, you know, anonymous sources or whatever. First of all, these are on -- multiple on the record Congress people confirming the details of this call, but it's what led them, the knowledge of this call and of what transpired.
And their experience, frankly, led them to get to the point where they said, this is an impeachable offense, not just because of the incitement but also because Trump did not care what happened to them or what happened to his vice president. His lawyers today wouldn't even --
PHILLIP: -- couldn't even say why Trump sent a tweet attacking Pence minutes after he had been evacuated.
TAPPER: And I was -- you know, this is what we do. We get news and we ask people what they think about it. A Republican congressman who wants to stay on background just texted me in response to Jamie Gangel's reporting.
Quote: At no point as the capitol was being stormed and people were dying was there any indication that the former president showed even an ounce of concern for the safety of Vice President Pence, members of Congress, law enforcement, or his own supporters. All he cared about was preventing Congress from certifying this election.
That's from a Republican congressman just a minute ago. And I mean, it just really -- it's depressing honestly, not just that this happened, and it doesn't surprise me at all that that conversation happened with Kevin McCarthy. But it's depressing because forget the impeachment and forget the constitutionality and forget all of that for one second.
The fact that so few Republicans, so few -- you have ten that voted to impeach. But even beyond that, so few of them have said what the president did was disgusting. It was horrific. There's no place for him in the Republican Party. There's no place for him in the leadership of the party.
He needs to apologize to the nation, to the vice president. It's just crickets from not all, but from most of them. Like even if you don't want to vote for impeach, at least stand up for decency.
BASH: Yeah. I mean, we have heard Mitch McConnell, who wasn't exactly running to the microphone every time the president did something that was untoward or just plain wrong, has been saying that he was, you know, effectively responsible for the mob and so on and so forth. We don't know how he's going to vote here.
But just layer on top of what Jamie's excellent reporting tells us what you were referring to about what happened today in the impeachment trial, which is that a Republican senator, Tommy Tuberville, has said on the record, which our colleagues on the Hill say that he stands by, that then-president Trump called him, and Tuberville said --
TAPPER: During the insurrection.
BASH: During the insurrection, while they were being evacuated, and he said, I got to go because we're being evacuated. So that includes your vice president, the vice president of the United States, and the former president's attorneys today disputed that, which is a lie.
BASH: Which is an absolute lie.
TAPPER: And, in fact, on that note, let's go to Capitol Hill where we have chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju.
Manu, Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville, he is a freshman Republican. He has been incredibly loyal to Donald Trump. He went in with the big lie. He's been part of the "stop the steal" nonsense.
What does he have to say about this? Team Trump is basically saying he's a liar.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, they said his comments were hearsay, those comments about Donald Trump communicating with him in the afternoon of January 6th, and Tuberville is telling -- he told Donald Trump that the vice president had been evacuated. So Donald Trump knew that Mike Pence was facing some serious danger, and then moments later, according to public reporting and according to the president's own tweets, that the president sent out a very incendiary tweet about Mike Pence even after that conversation with Tommy Tuberville.
So I just had a chance to ask Tuberville about all this and about whether he stands by his account. He said, he said -- this is how he describes his conversation. He does stand by his account with -- about this president -- conversation with Trump. He said, he said a few things. I said, Mr. President, they've taken the vice president out. They want me to get off the phone. I got to go.
And he said that was essentially the extent of his conversation with Donald Trump that afternoon.
Now, what came out in the trial and what was discussed during the course of the trial that that conversation happened at 2:14 in the afternoon of January 6th, about ten minutes later, Trump issues that tweet attacking Mike Pence. Now, I asked Tuberville, was that conversation -- did that happen at
2:14 p.m. that day? He says he does not recall the exact time, but he said that that conversation absolutely happened.
Again, he told Donald Trump, Mr. President, they've taken the vice president out. They want me to get off the phone. I got to go, the extent of their conversation. Now, the person who asked that question, Jake, was Bill Cassidy, the Louisiana senator, someone who is undecided still about whether to convict Donald Trump. He asked him about whether Donald Trump knew Mike Pence was in danger at the time of issuing that tweet.
I asked Cassidy, was he satisfied with the response from the Trump team, which essentially didn't really quite answer the question. Cassidy said, not really.