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CNN Live Event/Special
House Impeachment Managers Deliver Closing Arguments; Senate Pauses Closing Arguments After GOP Senator's Interruption; House Impeachment Managers Resume Closing Arguments. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired February 13, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): To quote the statement Representative Liz Cheney made in January: "On January 6th, 2021, a violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes. This insurrection caused the injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic," she continued.
Representative Cheney continued, "Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough." The president United States summon this mob, assembled this mob and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing.
None of this would have happened. Without the president. The president could have immediately and forcefully intervene to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by the President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.
I will vote to impeach the president. Representative Cheney was right. She based her vote on the facts, on the evidence, and on the Constitution. In evidence, the video, documentary eyewitness has only grown stronger and stronger and more detailed, right up to today, right up to 10 minutes ago, over the course of the Senate trial, and I have no doubt that you all noticed that despite the various propaganda reels and so on, President Trump's lawyers have said almost nothing to contest or overcome the actual evidence of the former President Trump's conduct that we presented, much less have they brought their client forward to tell us his side of the story.
We sent him a letter last week, which they rejected out of hand. The former president United States refused to come and tell us. And I asked any of you if you were charged with inciting violent insurrection against our country, and you were falsely accused, would you come and testify? I know I would. I'd be there at 7:00 in the morning waiting for the doors to open. I'm sure that's true of 100 senators in this room. I hope it's true of 100 senators in this room.
Senate was lectured several times yesterday about cancel culture. Well, not even two weeks ago, the President's most reliable supporters in the house, I'm sorry, not the President, the former president's most reliable supporters in the house tried to cancel out Representative Cheney because of a courageous and patriotic defense of the Republic and the truth and the Constitution. They tried to strip her of her leading role as Chair of the House Republican Conference. But you know what? I hope everybody takes a second to reflect on this.
The conference rejected this plainly, retaliatory and cowardly attempt to punish her for telling the truth to her constituents, to her constituents and her country and voting for impeachment. Who says you can't stand up against bullies? Who says? In my mind, was Cheney is a hero for standing up for the truth and resisting this retaliatory cancel culture that was that she was subjected to, but she beat them on a vote of 145 to 61. More than two to one vote.
You know, Ben Franklin, a great champion and enlightenment an enemy of political fanaticism and cowardice. And of course, another great Philadelphian once wrote this, "I have observed that wrong is always growing more wrong, until there is no bearing it anymore."
And that right, however opposed, comes right at last, comes right at last. Think about that. This is America, home of the brave, land of the free. The America, Ben Franklin who said, "If you make yourself a sheep, the wolves will eat you." Don't make yourself a sheep. The wolves will eat you. The America, Thomas Jefferson, who said it another difficult moment, "A little patience and we shall see the rain of witches pass over their spirits dissolve and the people recovering their true sight restored their government to its true principles."
The (INAUDIBLE), Tom Paine, who said the mind, once enlightened cannot again become dark. Now, we showed you hour after hour of real time evidence demonstrating every step of Donald Trump's constitutional crime. We showed you how he indoctrinated the mob with his Orwellian propaganda about how the election he lost by more than seven million votes in 306 to 232 in the electoral, in the Electoral College, which he had described as a landslide when he won by the exact same margin in 2016, was actually a landslide victory for him being stolen away by a bipartisan conspiracy, and fraud, and corruption.
We showed you how 61 courts and 88 judges federal, state, local, trial, appellate, from the lowest courts in the lands of the United States Supreme Court across the street and eight federal judges he himself named to the bench all found no basis in fact or law for his outlandish and deranged inventions and concoctions about the election. In the meantime, President Trump tried to bully state level officials to commit a fraud on the public by literally finding votes. We examined the case study of Georgia, where he called the threatened Republican Brad Raffensperger to find him 11,780 votes.
That's all he wanted. He said, 11,780 votes, don't we all. 11,780 votes. It's all he wanted to nullify Biden's victory and to win the election. Raffensperger ended up with savage death threats against him and his family, telling him he deserved the firing squad. Another elected official urged Trump to cut it out or people would get hurt and killed. A prescient warning indeed. Raffensburg ended up saying that he and his family supported Donald Trump, gave him money. And now Trump threw us under the bus. We saw what happened in Lansing, Michigan, with the extremist mob be
cultivated, which led to two shocking capital seizures and a criminal conspiracy by extremists to kidnap and likely assassinate Governor Whitmer. We saw him trying to get state legislators to disavow and overthrow their popular election results and replace them with Trump electors. We showed you the process of summoning the mob reaching out urging people to come to Washington for a wild time. As we celebrate Presidents Day on Monday, think imagine.
Is there another president in our history, who would urge supporters to come to Washington for a wild time? You saw how he embraced the violent extremist elements like the Proud Boys, who are told in a nationally televised presidential candidate debate to stand back and stand by which became their official slogan as they converge on Washington with other extremist and seditious groups and competed to be the lead storm troopers of the attack on this building. You saw the assembly of the mob on January 6th.
And how beautiful that angry mob must have looked to Donald Trump as he peered down from the lectern with the seal of the President of the United States of America emblazoned on it. That crowd was filled with extremists in tactical gear, armed to the teeth and ready to fight and other brawling MAGA supporters. All of this, all of them saying stop the steel right now. And he said he was going to march with them to the Capitol, even though the permit for the rally specifically for beta march, but he said he would march with them, giving them more comfort that what they were doing was legitimate.
It was OK. But of course, he stayed back, as he presumably didn't want to be too close to the action at the Capitol as the lawyers called it, not an insurrection they are just yesterday, it's an action. He didn't want to be too close to the action, when all hell was about to break loose. Now, incitement as we've discussed, requires an inherently fact-based evidentiary inquiry, and this is what we did.
We gave you many hours of specific factual details about use, Congresswoman Cheney's words, President, how the president summoned the mob, assembled the mob, incited it lit the match, sending them off to the Capitol, where they thought as they yelled out that they'd been invited by the president United States. And then of course, they unleashed unparalleled violence against are overwhelmed and besieged but heroic police officers who you thoughtfully honored yesterday when the officers got in their way as they entered the Capitol at the behest of the President of the United States to stop the steel.
Now, I'm convinced most senators must be convinced by this overwhelming and specific detail, because most Americans are. But say you still have your doubts, do you think the president really thought that he was sending his followers to participate in a peaceful, non- violent rally? The kind that might have been organized by Julian Bond?
Who might distinguish opposing counsel brought up? Ella Baker, Bob Moses, our late beloved colleague, John Lewis, for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Maybe, the president really thought this was going to be like the March on Washington organized by Bayard Rustin.
And Dr. Martin Luther King, who said, non-violence is the answer to the crucial moral and political questions of our time. So, let's say you're still flirting with the idea that Donald Trump's conduct was totally appropriate, as he proclaimed right off the bat, and he's the innocent victim of a mass accident or a catastrophe, like a fire or a flood as we were invited to frame it on our opening day by distinguished co-counsel or opposing counsel. And you think, maybe we're just looking for somebody to blame for this nightmare and catastrophe that has befallen the Republic.
We're just looking for someone to blame. Well, here's the key question then in resolving your doubts if you're in that category: how did Donald Trump react when he learned of the violence storming of the Capitol, and the threats to senators, members of the House and his own Vice President, as well as the images he saw on T.V. of the pummeling and beating and harassment of our police officers?
Did he spring into action to stop the violence and save us? Did he even wonder about his own security since an out of control anti- government mob could come after him too? Did he quickly try to get in touch with were denounce the Proud Boys, the oath keepers, the rally organizers, the Save America, rally organizers and everyone on the extreme right to tell them that this was not what he had in mind.
It was a big mistake, call it off, call it off, call it off, as Representative Gallagher begged him to do on national television. No. He delighted in it. He reveled in it. He exalted in it. He could not understand why the people around him did not share his delight. And then a long period of silence ensued while the mob beat the daylights out of police officers and invaded this building, as you saw on security footage, and proceeded to hunt down Vice President Mike Pence as a traitor and denounced and cursed Speaker Pelosi, both of whom you heard mob members say they wanted to kill.
They were both in real danger. And our government could have been thrown into absolute turmoil without the heroism of our officers, officers and the bravery and courage of a lot of people in this room. Here's what Republican Representative Anthony Gonzales of Ohio said he's a former pro football player: "We are imploring the president to help to stand up to help defend the United States Capitol, the United States Congress, which is under attack. We are begging essentially, and he was nowhere to be found, nowhere to be found."
And as I've emphasized this morning, that dereliction of duty, that desertion of duty, was central to his incitement of insurrection, and inextricable from it, inextricable. Bound together. It reveals his state of mind that day, what he was thinking as he provoked the mob to violence, and further violence.
It shows how he perpetuated his continuing offense on January 6th, his course of conduct charged in the article of impeachment, impeachment, as He further incited the mob during the attack, aiming it at Vice President Mike Pence himself while failing to quell it in either of his roles as Commander in Chief, or his real role that day, Inciter in Chief. And it powerfully demonstrates that the ex-president knew, of course,
that violence was foreseeable, that it was predictable, and predicted that day since he was not surprised and not horrified. No, he was delighted. And through his acts of omission and commission that day, he abused his office by siding with the insurrectionists at almost every point, rather than with the Congress of the United States, rather than with the Constitution.
In just a moment, my colleague Mr. Cicilline will address President Trump's conduct his actions and inactions, his culpable state of mind during the attack, as he will establish yesterday's explosive revelations about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is desperate call the Trump, and Trump's truly astounding reaction confirm that Trump was doing nothing to help the people in this room or this building. It's now clear beyond doubt that Trump supported the actions of the mob, and so he must be convicted. It's that simple.
RASKIN: When he took the stage on January 6th, he knew exactly how combustible the situation was. He knew there were many people in the crowd who are ready to jump into action to engage in violence and any signal that he needed them to fight like hell to stop the steel, and that's exactly what he told them to do.
Then he aimed them straight here, right down Pennsylvania at the Capitol, where he told them that the steel was occurring, that is the counting the Electoral College votes. And we all know what happened next. They attacked this building.
They disrupted the peaceful transfer of power. They injured and killed people convinced that they were acting on his instructions and with his approval and protection. And while that happened, he further incited them while failing to defend us. If that's not grounds for conviction, if that's not a high crime and misdemeanor against the republic in the United States of America, then nothing is. President Trump must be convicted for the safety and security of our democracy and our people. Mr. Cicilline.
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): Mr. President, distinguished senators. As we've demonstrated, there is overwhelming evidence that President Trump incited the violence and new violence was foreseeable on January 6th. He knew that many in the crowd were posed for violence at his urging, and in fact, many in the sea of thousands in the crowd, were wearing body armor and helmets and holding sticks and flagpoles. And then, not only provoke that very same crowd but aim them at the Capitol.
He literally pointed at this building, at us, during his speech. He pointed to the building where Congress was going to certify the election results, where he knew the vice president himself was presiding over the process. Now, no one is suggesting that President Trump intended every detail of what happened on January 6th, but when he directed the sea of thousands before him, who were reportedly ready to engage in real violence, when he told that crowd fight like how hell, incited violence targeted at the Capitol, and he most certainly foresaw it.
My colleague, Manager Dean, will stand up after me and walk you through the overwhelming evidence that supports those claims. I want to start though, by talking about what happened after that. There was a lot of discussion yesterday about what the President knew and when he knew it. There are certain things that we do not know about what the President did that day. Because the president, his former President Trump has remained silent about what he was doing during one of the bloodiest attacks on our Capitol since 1812.
Despite a full and fair opportunity to come forward, he's refused to come and tell his story. As Manager Raskin said, we would all do that. In fact, I would insist on it. If I were accused of a grave and serious crime that I was innocent, I would demand the right to tell my side of the story. President Trump declined. But there are certain facts that are undisputed that we know to be true, despite the President's refusal to testify, which is counsel either ignored entirely or didn't and couldn't dispute.
Before I go to those facts, let me quickly just touch on a few things. First, President Trump and his counsel have resorted to arguments that the evidence presented was somehow manufactured or hidden from them. And I want to be very clear about this because this is important. In terms of the timing of when they received materials here, defense counsel had access to all materials when they were entitled to have them under Senate Resolution 47 and they cannot and have not alleged otherwise.
As to their desperate claim that evidence was somehow manufactured, they have not alleged that one tweet from their client was actually inaccurate nor can they. We got these tweets, which are of course statements from the former president from a public archive, and they are all correct.
You also know the president, his claims about evidence being manipulated, also are untrue because they didn't even object to the introduction of the evidence when they had the opportunity to do so. So, I hope we can now set those issues aside and turn to the facts of this case. And really set the record straight about the undisputed facts in this case about what the President knew that day and when he knew it.
Now, at the outset, let me say this, as you may recall, in direct response to a question yesterday, President Trump's counsel stated, and I quote: "At no point was the President informed the Vice President was in any danger." As we walk through these undisputed facts, you will see quite clearly, that is simply not true. As you can see here from just after 12:00 p.m. to just before 2:00 p.m., President Trump delivered his statements at the rally, which incited an initial wave of protesters is coming down to the Capitol.
And his speech was still ongoing, and you saw the evidence of people broadcasting that on their phones. He finished his speech at about 1:11 p.m., at which point a much larger wave surge toward us here at the Capitol, ripping down scaffolding and triggering calls for law enforcement assistance. 30 minutes later, at 1:49 p.m. as the violence intensified, President Trump tweeted a video of his remarks at the rally with the caption: "Our country has had enough.
We will not take it anymore. And that's what this is all about." During the half hour following that tweet, the situation here drastically deteriorated insurrectionists breached the capital barriers that had steps than the complex itself. By 2:12, the insurrectionists' mob had overwhelmed the police and started their violent attack on the Capitol, and as you all know, this attack occurred and played out on live television, every major network was showing it. We've shown you during the course of this trial, side by side, exactly what the President would have seen on T.V. or his Twitter account.
We've also shown you that he would have seen around 2:12 p.m. images of Vice President Pence being rushed off the senate floor. Now, I won't replay all of that for you, but for timing purposes. Here's the footage, reacting to Vice President Pence leaving the floor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It had no audio. They say just cut out. Looks like, they, they -- and sometimes --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seems like, they just ushered Mike Pence out really quick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they did. That's exactly what just happened there. They ushered Mike Pence out, they moved him fast. There was -- I saw the motions too
CICILLINE: Defense counsel seems to suggest that somehow the President of the United States was not aware of this, that the President had no idea that his, his, his Vice President had been evacuated from the Senate floor for his safety because violent rioters had broken into the Capitol with thousands more coming, and with the Capitol Police completely overwhelmed. This was on live television.
So, defense counsel is suggesting that the President of the United States knew less about this than the American people. This is just not possible that the Secret Service failed to mention that his Vice President was being rushed from the Senate for his own protection; that nobody in the White House thought to alert him.
None of our law enforcement agencies raised a concern to the Commander in Chief that the Vice President was being evacuated from the Senate floor as a violent mob assault of the Capitol. It simply cannot be. And with each passing minute on the timeline of events on January 6th, it grows more and more inconceivable. Let's continue forward in time. Between 2:12 to 2:24, the Senate recessed.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi was ushered off the floor. The Capitol Police announced a breach and a lockdown, and the insurrectionist mob began chanting "hang Mike Pence." It was unfolding on live T.V., in front of the entire world. So, again, let me ask you, does it strike you as credible that nobody, not a single person informed the president that his Vice President had been evacuated, or that the President didn't glance at the television or his Twitter account and learn about the events that were happening?
Remember, this was the day of the Electoral College. Remember his obsession with stopping the certification. It's just not credible that the President, at no point, knew his vice president was in this building and was in real danger. Senators, I submit to you these facts, this timeline is undisputed.
At 2:24 p.m. after rioters breached the barriers, after calls for assistance, after rioters stormed the building, after Vice President Pence was rushed from the Senate floor and just before Vice President Pence was further evacuated for safety, President Trump decided to attack his own Vice President on Twitter.
The undisputed facts confirm that not only must President Trump have been aware of the Vice President's danger, but he still sent out a tweet attacking him, further inciting the very mob that was in just a few feet of him inside of this very building. The Vice President was there with his family who was in danger for his life. They were chanting, "hang Mike Pence," and had erected a noose outside.
And as we've shown the mob responded to President Trump's attack instantly. The tweet was read aloud on a bullhorn, if you remember that video. Insurrectionists began chanting again about Mike Pence. And in those critical moments, we see President Trump engaging in a dereliction of his duty by further inciting the mob in real time to target the Vice President with knowledge that the insurrection was ongoing.
And that's of course included in the conduct charge in this article of impeachment. The former president's counsel suggestion otherwise is completely wrong. His further incitement is impeachable conduct that continued during the course of this assault itself, and it's part of the constitutional crime, and was entirely and completely a part of is an indefensible failure to protect the Congress.
Now, there's been some confusion as the phone call I referenced with Senator Lee. So, I want to be clear about certain facts that are not in dispute. First, Senator Lee has confirmed that the call occurred at 2:26 p.m. So, I've added that to the timeline above. Remember, by this phone call the vice president has just been evacuated on live television for his own safety. And Donald Trump had, after that, tweeted an attack on him, which the insurgents read on a bullhorn.
And a few minutes after Donald Trump's tweet, he didn't reach out to check on the vice president safety, he called a senator to ask about delaying the certification. The call was interrupted, and Senator Tuberville has since explained, and I quote, "I looked at the phone and it said the White House on it. I said, hello, the President said a few words. I said, Mr. President, they're taking the Vice President out and they want me to get off the phone and I've got to go."
That was his second evacuation that day. A minute later, live feeds documented the insurgents chanting. Mike Pence is a traitor. At this point, even if somehow he'd missed it earlier, it's inconceivable that the president the former president was unaware that the Vice President was in danger, and what does the President do after hearing that? Does he rush to secure the capital? Did he do anything to quell the mob? Does he call his vice president to check on his safety?
We all know the answer to those questions too. There can be no dispute. He took none of those steps, not a single one. Even after learning that Senators were being evacuated, and that Vice President Pence had also been evacuated, he did nothing to help the Vice President. And here's some more evidence that we've since learned, at some point over the following 30 minutes President Trump spoke to Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. And as Representative Jamie has revealed evidence that now has been stipulated as part of the evidentiary record.
In that conversation, Kevin McCarthy is pleading with the former president to do something. He first tries to assign the blame to another group and Leader McCarthy says no, these are your supporters, Mr. President. And what has the President say in response? Not send people right away. I didn't realize you were in danger. He says, well, Kevin -- and I quote, I quote: "Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."
CICILLINE: "I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are." The president, just as he conveyed in that tweet at 6:01, was essentially saying you got what you deserve.
Let me say that again. Not only was the president fully aware of the vice president's situation, in a situation we were all in when he was asked for help, when he was asked to defend the capitol less than 30 minutes after inciting this violence against his own vice president, President Trump refused that request for assistance.
And he told us why. His singular focus, stopping the certification or the election of his opponent.
He incited the violence to stop the certification, he attacked the vice president, and further incited the insurrection, to pressure the vice president to stop the certification. He called Senator Tuberville to stop the certification.
And he refused to send help to Congress when this Congress and the vice president of the United States were in mortal danger because he wanted to stop the certification.
And he did these things, attacking the vice president, calling Senator Tuberville, refusing Representative McCarthy's request, with full knowledge of the violent attack that was under way at that point.
He chose retaining his own power over the safety of Americans. I can't imagine more damning evidence of his state of mind.
The call ended with a screaming match interrupted by violent rioters breaking through the windows of Representative McCarthy's office. Senators, the president knew this was happening. He didn't do anything
to help his vice president or any of you or any of the brave officers and other employees serving the American people that day.
His sole focus was stealing the election for himself.
And he apparently has still not thought of anyone else. According to more new facts revealed last night, the vice president's team does not agree with the president's counsel, or the president's counsel assessment either.
The reports says, and I quote, "Pence and his team does not agree with the Trump lawyers assessment that Trump was concerned about Pence's safety. Trump didn't call him that day or for five days after that."
No one else on Trump's team called as Pence was evacuated to one room with a screaming mob nearby.
UNIDENTIFIED TRUMP IMPEACHMENT ATTORNEY: Objection! This is not in evidence. Objection! This is not in evidence. If you wanted to stipulate to this --
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): The counsel will sit down.
CICILLINE: Senators, remember --
LEAHY: The chair has no way of knowing what's in evidence or not. The counsel for the president will have a chance to speak.
LEAHY: And the chair will consider the issue.
CICILLINE: Senators, remember, as one of you said during this attack, they could have killed us all, our staff, the officers protecting all of us, everyone.
And President Trump not only incited it but continued inciting it as it occurred with attacks on his vice president.
And then willfully refused to defend us, furthering his provocation and incitement by the mob, siding with the mob, siding with the violent insurrectionists, sworn to protect us because they were, quote, "more upset about the election than Leader McCarthy."
Those facts are undisputed. President Trump has not offered any evidence or any argument to disprove them. His lawyers almost entirely ignored these facts in their short presentation.
We have only his counsel's false claim yesterday that, quote, "At no point was the president informed that the vice president was in any danger," end quote. A claim that is refuted not just by common sense but by the timeline
you have seen, and also the vice president's legal team.
So there can be no doubt that at the moment we most needed a president to preserve, protect and defend us, President Trump instead willfully betrayed us.
He violated his oath. He left all of us, and officers, like Eugene Goodman, to our own devices against an attack he had incited and he alone could stop. That is why he must be convicted.
I'd like to conclude by making one final point, that follows from directly from what I just discussed. Our case, and the article of impeachment before you, absolutely includes President Trump's dereliction of duty on January 6th.
His failure as inciter-in-chief to immediately quell or call off the mob, his failure as commander-in-chief to immediately do everything in his power to secure the capitol, that is a further basis on which to convict, and there can be no doubt of that.
The ongoing constitutional misconduct is like any continuing offense and the proof of that is overwhelming.
Most directly, his dereliction of duty offers conclusive, irrefutable evidence that he acted willfully as we charge.
He wasn't furious, or sad, or shocked like virtually everyone else in America. He was reported by those around him as delighted.
Rather than rush to our aid, or demand his mob retreat, he watched the attack on TV, and praised the mob to Leader McCarthy as more loyal to him, more upset about the election, and that was all that mattered.
His reaction is also further evidence of his intent. He acted exactly the way a person would act if they had indeed incited the mob to violence to stop the steal.
Moreover, as I've shown, President Trump's dereliction and desertion of duty includes his decision to further incite the mob, even as he failed to protect us.
While the mob hunted Vice President Pence in these very halls, he attacked Vice President Pence. While he tried to stop the steal, he spread the big lie.
We all saw how his mob responded in real time. This further incitement was part of his dereliction of duty, was also part of his course of conduct, encouraging and provoking the mob to violence.
President Trump's dereliction of duty also highlights how foreseeable the attack was to him.
In his tweet just after 6:00 p.m., he said, and I quote, "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly and unfairly treated for so long."
This tweet continued his endorsement of the attack, his failure to condemn it, his desertion of duty.
But it also reveals his view that this was, of course, what would happen when Congress refused his demand to reject the election, that he continued to tell his supporters was stolen and we had actually won in a landslide.
Again, he wasn't surprised. He saw this as a predictable result of his repeated demands that his followers stop the steal by any means possible.
This was all connected. His dereliction of duty. His desertion of duty was part and parcel of the crime charged in the impeachment. And it's certainly a basis on which to vote for conviction.
If you believe that he willfully refused to defend us and the law enforcement officers fighting to save us, and that he was delighted by the attack, and that he saw it as a natural result of his call to stop the steal, and that he continued to incite and target violence as the attack unfolded, we respectfully submit you must vote to convict and disqualify so that the events of January 6th can never happen again in this country.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD), IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: Mr. President?
LEAHY: Mr. Raskin?
RASKIN: I'd like to call up Ms. Dean.
SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): Mr. President, I've got a point of order.
Mr. President, moments ago, House Manager Cicilline --
LEAHY: The Senator will withhold. You're advised by the parliamentarian that debate is not in order.
LEE: The debate is not in order because this is not debate. He said something that's not true.
LEAHY: The quorum has been suggested --
LEE: It's clearly a quorum, sir.
LEAHY: -- and the clerk will call the roll.
UNIDENTIFIED SENATE CLERK: Ms. Baldwin?
LEE: Consent to suspend the quorum call. LEAHY: Is there objection?
The objection is served.
UNIDENTIFIED SENATE CLERK: Mr. Barrasso?
WOLF BLITZER: CNN HOST: We're standing by to hear from Madeleine Dean, one of the House impeachment managers. We just heard from Jamie Raskin, the lead House impeachment manager, David Cicilline, now Madeleine Dean.
But the Senator Mike Lee, John, you just heard him complain that there was a factual misstatement in the course of Congressman Cicilline's statement and he wanted to interrupt and explain.
But clearly, that goes against the rules. So now they've got this quorum call right now to discuss what's going on.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He tried to raise a point of order, and now they're going to have the quorum call again as they turn the microphones off so they can figure out how to proceed, to decide whether that's in order or whether they'll continue.
Remember, earlier in the trial, Senator Lee was mad his name was mentioned about him handing the phone to Senator Tuberville. He later released the phone records, gave them to the managers and to the Trump defense team.
And Congressman Cicilline put that in the timeline, showing the correct time, showing the phone call was after the president sent a tweet about the vice president.
BLITZER: Two or three minutes after.
KING: Two or three minutes after.
But Congressman Cicilline showed it made the indifference of the president of the United States to the threat his vice president was facing in the United States capitol.
Senator Lee wanted to object to Congressman Cicilline's characterization, for one reason or another. We don't know the specifics because he was cut off.
But what you've seen here now is, twice, first Senator Lee and then one of the Trump attorneys, standing up and objecting, essentially trying to disrupt the rhythm of the Democrats' closing statements.
And we'll see the legitimacy of the point Senator Lee is trying to make or whether he gets to make it.
The bigger point here is, after a vote to proceed with witnesses, pressure came on the House managers from the Senate Democratic leadership.
They backed off and cut a deal on stipulating to one piece of testimony, a statement from a Republican Congresswoman.
And now we're moving forward with the closing arguments, Wolf and the conclusion of this trial, by this evening.
And it will be interesting to see what the ultimate ruling is as to whether Senator Lee gets to lodge his objection.
Let's bring in Manu Raju, our chief congressional correspondent, who's there up on Capitol Hill watching all of this.
John is absolutely right, the big picture was, they voted earlier in the day for witnesses. Then there was this long delay. And, all of a sudden, they decided, you know what, there aren't going to be any witnesses and both sides can begin their closing arguments.
The House impeachment managers, they've now spent, by my count, 44 minutes of their two hours delivering some of their closing arguments. They have up to two hours to do so.
But it's been interrupted by Senator Lee who's complaining about a statement that Congressman Cicilline made.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and he's not allowed to just simply object under the rules of the Senate. They're sitting in a court of impeachment. That's why we have not heard Senators from either side debate.
They have to sit there quietly. They have to actually listen to the proceedings. And oftentimes, they're not in their chairs listening. But they're supposed to be listening. And they're certainly not allowed to debate.
There needs to be some sort of agreement to do just that. So that's what Senator Leahy just did. He sent the proceedings into a bit of a delay so they can work out this dispute. Because Senator Lee can't just get up and just start talking.
We'll see how they ultimately resolve this. Probably, they'll figure out some way. He doesn't like how he was referenced in the Congressman Cicilline's arguments just now, his closing arguments.
But, Wolf, it is just remarkable how topsy turvy this day has been so far.
Democrats came into the Senate side, the jurors in this trial. The Democrats were close allies with these House Democratic managers. They had no clue what was coming into their lap at 10:00 a.m.
They had a conference call, at 9:00 a.m. this morning. They were not thinking there was going to be witnesses called. They didn't know for sure. But all of the indications were there were not going to be witnesses.
Suddenly, the House Democrats, at 10:00 a.m., dropped in and said they wanted to move forward and bring forward Congressman Jaime Herrera Beutler, have her testify on -- to say what she heard about that phone call between Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, and Donald Trump on the day of the January 6th riot.
And how Donald Trump did not have any interest in dealing with all the violence that was happening at the hands of his supporters.
They -- that caused a bit of a -- quite a commotion for several hours. Behind the scenes, negotiations between both sides to try to cut a deal.
Democratic Senators were not that keen on moving forward on witnesses. They said they have essentially heard enough here. Republican Senators were saying their minds would not be changed.
And in what was a key calculation here that forced them ultimately to decide to back down in moving forward on witnesses was the likelihood that, if they did go forward, the trial could have gone on for an indefinite period of time. It would hang over the Senate.
There would be potentially an equal number of witnesses on one side, the Democrats may have one or two. The Trump team may have one or two. And it could just go on and on and on.
And that was a real concern, especially as they're trying to get a COVID relief deal done by the end of the month.
They need to get consent to have other nominees confirmed at a key time, such as Merrick Garland, who has been nominated to be the attorney general.
The way the Senate operates is that you need to have unanimous consent, all 100 Senators, to schedule votes. If there's not an agreement the Senator majority leader has to take procedural steps to get a vote on the floor.
Those procedural steps can take days and days and days. And that's something the Democrats did not want to have to deal with because it would be harder to get that cooperation with this trial hanging over, with Republicans threatening to derail all Senate business if the trial were to continue. They had been threatening that for some time.
So all of that calculated into the decision here. Cut a deal. Get Jaime Herrera Beutler's statement into the record. Let's not move forward with witnesses. Let's go towards the end of this trial.
Because all indications were, no matter -- if they had any witness testimony, at the end of the day, Donald Trump would be acquitted because Republicans just simply say they don't believe this trial should go forward on constitutional grounds -- Wolf?
BLITZER: I want to be precise in this, Manu, because you understand the rules of the Senate as far as this impeachment trial is concerned.
So far, we've heard maybe 45 minutes of the two hours that the House impeachment managers have for their closing arguments.
We can hear as much as two hours from the Trump lawyers. Although, they're suggesting they may not even speak for one hour.
But after that, before the final vote, Senators could demand that they have an opportunity to speak on the Senate floor as well. Although, they could delay that until after the vote.
Walk us through that because maybe Mike Lee will be able to say something even before the vote.
RAJU: Yes, that is very possible. There would have an agreement to actually have those speeches on the floor.
And because, as I mentioned everything in the Senate requires so- called unanimous consent, all 100 Senators have to agree to do something. So one Senator could object.
There could try to be an agreement to allow Mike Lee or this Senator or that Senator to speak on the floor. But then all 100 Senators would have to agree to do that. If one Senator objects that won't happen.
If there's no agreement to have Senators actually speak, they would move directly to a vote on whether or not to convict or acquit Donald Trump. So it could happen pretty soon after closing arguments.
This is different than the 2020 impeachment trial. As you'll recall, Wolf, there were several days of floor speeches that Democratic and Republican Senators wanted to give to explain why they were voting to conviction or why they were voting to acquit.
This time around it is much different. In talking to Senators last several days, regularly, through the course of the day, on both sides, there's not really much of an appetite for most Senators to go to the floor and express their views. Some believe it's pretty clear. Others are simply tired.
Republicans don't want to necessarily say why they're voting to acquit Donald Trump when it's -- the evidence is quite clear about what happened in the run-up to January 6th. And rather be done with this trial.
And also, Wolf, there's a week-long recess coming up in the Senate starting Monday, President's Day recess. Don't forget the power of jet fumes if you will.
A lot of the Senator's cars are actually outside the Senate chamber right now waiting to whisk them away to the airport soon after the conviction vote.
I expect that once Donald Trump is acquitted this afternoon it will move pretty quickly. Some Senators may go to the floor and speak. We heard that Senator
minority leader, Mitch McConnell, will speak at some point after the proceedings, after the final vote, explain his decision, which we're hearing from our sources, is to acquit Donald Trump, joining most of his Republican colleagues.
BLITZER: Yes, and if the Trump lawyers spend about an hour with their closing arguments, and the Democrats, the impeachment managers, still have more than an hour left, we're talking about a vote in the 4:00 eastern hour, another couple of hours or so from now. They might be able to wrap it up by then.
But as you and I well know -- having both covered the Senate for a long time -- John King is with us as well.
You never know what's going to happen on the floor of the U.S. Senate. There could be some changes, some more quorum calls, as they say, which could delay this process even further.
Stand by, Manu.
I want to get John King to weigh in.
John, I guess the only question now is: Will there be 54, 55, 56 votes in favor of conviction? You need 67. He's going to be acquitted. Or do you think there could be a different outcome?
KING: You always think you want to have an open mind, that these Senators took an oath, all of them, Democrats and Republicans. Not just Republicans but Democrats also, they took an oath to be impartial jurors, so you always want to think, let's have an open mind.
But we also know the math. We knew it coming in. And we've watched the things play out during the trial, both in the questions -- Senators had the opportunity to ask questions -- and what they have said every day on the way in and the way out.
The universe here is pretty clear. And it was made even more clear this morning of the second-most interesting thing that happened today now is Mitch McConnell making clear he was going to vote to acquit, which is a signal to fellow Republicans.
Had he voted to convict, he would have had followers. Voting to acquit, it means he will have followers there as well.
I'm looking back at the floor to see if they've made any progress.
We say at one point, Senator Leahy, who is in the chair, getting some advice.
So it looks like the question is: Will it be four, five, or six Republicans who join in? And you would need 17 to convict Donald Trump. So that looks inevitable at this point. I will just add the caveat that we've seen a couple of unpredictable
twists so far today. I don't anticipate that we'll see any more except for these procedural hiccups. But that's why we watch.
BLITZER: Yes, we watch it closely. Let's see what happens.
I think they're getting closer and closer.
Dana, you had some excellent reporting earlier. I think you the first, if not the first, one of the firsts, to report they were trying to work out a deal to let the House impeachment managers earlier call for witnesses maybe go away, maybe go away in order to allow this process to continue.
I just want to congratulate you on your excellent reporting.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks. We did break that story. And we're watching, as you are, Wolf, to see if they resolve this procedural hiccup that's going on, as they wind down this trial, head through their concluding arguments to a vote.
I want to talk to Abby and David while we watch that happening.
About the fallout that could happen, not procedural, not legal, but the political fallout and ramifications for the Senate Democrats, for looking from the perspective of some progressives, like they caved.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, I think the big question here is: Is this sort of the Twitter universe of liberal Democrats that are --
BASH: Sorry, David.
CHALIAN: We're going back to the trial.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Mr. President?
LEAHY: Majority leader?
SCHUMER: I ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with.
LEAHY: Objection so ordered.
LEE: Mr. President?
LEAHY: The senator from Utah?
LEE: I withdraw my appeal.
LEAHY: The appeal is withdrawn.
The chair would advise everybody, the evidentiary record is closed. S. Res. 47 describes the scope of things not admitted into evidence as those referenced in trial. New evidence is not permitted in closing argument. References to such
new evidence will be stricken. (INAUDIBLE).
The House managers have the floor if they wish to resume.
REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA), IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: Mr. President?
LEAHY: House manager?
DEAN: Esteemed Senators, good afternoon.
We are grateful for your kind attention this week as we engaged in a process formulated and put to paper by the founders in my home city of Philadelphia, which is getting its fair share of attention this week, in 1787, 234 years ago.
My colleague, Mr. Cicilline, addressed the importance of the president's dereliction of duty. I will focus on three specific aspects of this case, which the defense have raised questions about.
First, the defense suggests that this was just one speech and one speech cannot incite insurrection. And the defense suggested, because the attack was preplanned by some insurrectionists, Donald Trump is somehow not culpable.
Both of these things are plainly not true, nor are they what we allege.
So let's be clear. We are not suggesting that Donald Trump's January 6th speech by itself incited the attack. We have shown that his course of conduct leading up to and including that speech incited the attack.
The defense is correct that the insurrection was preplanned. That supports our point.
We argued, and the evidence overwhelmingly confirms, that Donald Trump's conduct over many months incited his supporters to believe, one, his big lie that the only way he could lose was if the election was rigged.
Two, that to ensure the election would not be stolen, to prevent the fraud, they had to stop the steal.
And three, they had to fight to stop the steal or they would not have a country anymore.
This conduct took time. And it culminated in Donald Trump sending a save-the-date on December the 19th, 18 days before the attack, telling his base exactly when, where, and who to fight.
And while he was doing this, he spent $50 million from his legal defense fund to simultaneously broadcast his message to stop the steal over all major networks.
Donald Trump invited them. He incited them. Then he directed them.
Here are a few clips that will help bring that story to light.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Can you give a direct answer, you will accept the election?
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have to see. Look, I have to see. I'm not going to just say yes.
This election will be the most rigged election in history.
This is going to be the greatest election disaster in history.
The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election. We're going to win this election.
TRUMP: It's a rigged election. It's the only way we're going to lose.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you commit to making sure there's a peaceful transferal of power?
TRUMP: You get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very -- you'll have a very peaceful -- there won't be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation.
It's only way we're going to lose is if there's, uh, mischief, mischief. And it will have to be on a big scale. So be careful.
(voice-over): But this will be one of the greatest fraudulent, most fraudulent elections ever.
(on camera): We're not going to let this election be taken away from us. That's the only way they're going to win it.
TRUMP: This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.
TRUMP: We were winning in all the key locations, by a lot, actually. And then, our numbers started miraculously getting whittled away in secret.
And this is a case where they're trying to steal an election. They're trying to rig an election. And we can't let that happen.
You can't let another person steal that election from you. All over the country, people are together in holding up signs, Stop the Steal.
If we don't root out the fraud, the tremendous and horrible fraud that's taken place in our 2020 election, we don't have a country anymore.
We cannot allow a completely fraudulent election to stand.
We're going to fight like hell, I'll tell you right now.
TRUMP: If you don't fight to save your country with everything you have, you're not going to have a country left.
TRUMP: We will not bend. We will not break. We will not yield. We will never give in. We will never give up. We will never back down. We will never, ever surrender.
TRUMP: All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen.
We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn't happen. You don't concede when there's theft involved.
TRUMP: And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will Stop the Steal.
Because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength. And you have to be strong.
Make no mistake. This election was stolen from you, from me, from the country.
And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: Our point is this. This was not one speech. This was a deliberate, purposeful effort by Donald Trump over many months that resulted in the well-organized mob's attack on January the 6th.
That brings me to my second point. The violence. Defense counsel argues that there's no way that Donald Trump could have known what would happen.
Yet, we are not suggesting, nor is it necessary for us to prove, that Donald Trump knew every detail of what would unfold on January the 6th or even how horrible and deadly the attack would become. But he did know. As he looked out on that sea of thousands in front of
him, some wearing body armor and helmets, others carrying weapons, that the result would be violence. The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates this.
A few points on this.
Donald Trump knew the people he was inciting leading up to January the 6th. He saw the violence they were capable of.
He had a pattern and practice of praising and encouraging supporters of violence, never condemning it.