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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  February 9, 2021 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

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this truly historic trial. house impeachment managers will lay out their case against the former president in new detail. until then thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. you can follow me on twitter and instagram @wolfblitzer. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. outfront next, the breaking news. president trump furious after his legal team's abysmal performance on the first day of his impeachment trial. plus one republican senator criticizing trump's defense yet he still voted against the trial going ahead. why? i'll ask him. and president biden not taking the bait on trump's impeachment. how long can he ignore it? let's go outfront. good evening, i'm erin burnett. outfront tonight the breaking news, trump fuming tonight after a disastrous performance by his legal team on the first day of his second impeachment trial. according to sources, the former president was practically screaming at his television in
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mar-a-lago as his legal team meandered through its opening arguments. his lawyers' performance was widely ridiculed, even my members of trump's own party, for this. >> there isn't a member in this room who has not used the term i represent the great state of fill in the blank. but nebraska, you're going to hear, is quite a judicial thinking place. we still know what records are, right? the thing you put the needle down on and you play it. >> longfellow wrote, sail forth -- sail forth into the sea o ship through wind and wave. the moistened eye, the trembling lip are not the signs of doubt or fear. >> not something longfellow ever thought an environment in which his poem would be read. on the other end of the spectrum, house democrats making their argument with a
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gut-wrenching video montage of clips from last month's deadly attack on the u.s. capitol, along with portions of trump's incendiary speech of that day which led with the lead democratic impeachment manager making this emotional plea. >> people died that day. officers ended up with head damage and brain damage. people's eyes were gouged. an officer had a heart attack. an officer lost three fingers that day. two officers have taken their own lives. senators, this cannot be our future. >> trump's attorney even saying this about the impeachment managers' case. >> i'll be quite frank with you. we changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the house managers'
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presentation was well done. >> we have a lot to get to tonight. we want to start now with jeff zeleny who's outfront live on capitol hill. jeff, how did senators react to trump's legal defense? >> reporter: erin, senators were unsparing in their criticism and that was just from republicans. senator john cornyn of texas said they rambled on and on. one republican senator said the president's lawyers were disorganized. another described them as awful. another said it was a rocky start. so that all came as they were praising house impeachment managers for presenting a strong and compelling cogent case. with part one of the impeachment trial now over, it is constitutional to impeach a former president. the tough part for democrats begins tomorrow. >> this cannot be the future of america. we cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions. >> reporter: searing arguments
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steeped in history on the opening day of the senate impeachment trial of former president donald trump. tonight senate jurors asking a single question, whether it's constitutional to put a former president on trial. >> these powers must apply even if the president commits his offenses in his final weeks in office. in fact, that's precisely when we need them the most, because that's when elections get attacked. >> reporter: the lead impeachment manager, jamie raskin, a maryland congressman, argued that it clearly was. all senate democrats and six republicans agreed. on a 56-44 vote advancing the proceedings to a full-blown trial. several republicans blasting the presentation from trump's legal team. >> the house managers made a compelling, cogent case and the president's team did not. >> reporter: republican senator bill cassidy of louisiana, who voted against the majority of his party, called it a disorganized, unconvincing case
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on constitutionality. the president's legal team opened with a rambling defense. >> and, you know, senators of the united states, they're not ordinary people. they are extraordinary people in the technical sense extraordinary people. >> reporter: raising eyebrows even among some trump allies, before a second lawyer stepped up and sharpened the argument. >> at the end of the day, this is not just about donald trump or any individual. this is about our constitution and abusing the impeachment power for political gain. >> reporter: to make their case, house prosecutors opened with a video, zeroing in on the president's own words. >> if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. >> reporter: and reviving terrifying images from the deadly rampage on the capitol one month ago. >> what you experienced that day, what we experienced that
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day, what our country experienced that day is the framers' worst nightmare come to life. presidents can't inflame insurrection in their final weeks and then walk away like nothing happened. >> reporter: so it was a spell-bounding afternoon on the senate floor with those very intense arguments from house impeachment arguments, but it would still take 11 more republicans to convict president trump at the end of all this. erin, we do know the former president was watching all of this from mar-a-lago. our colleague, kaitlin collins, reports that he was furious as he was watching these arguments, furious at his own lawyers. erin, perhaps no surprise as well, this legal team has been on the case just a little over a week. >> that's the thing, right? all the other team quit. thank you very much, jeff. i want to go now to harvard law school professor lawrence tribe.
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house democrats have consulted him on impeachment and the lead impeachment manager, jamie raskin, is one of professor tribe's former students. john dean also with me who served at president nixon's white house counsel. john, today was a test, right? to see if any republicans had been persuaded after the last vote on whether this was constitutional. and one senator did flip, went from saying no, it's not constitutional to yes, it is. that senator bill cassidy, republican. were you disappointed that more republicans did not change their minds? >> i'm afraid i had very low expectations. the fact that anyone changed his mind was gratifying. but the searing demonstration today was so profound, so powerful. this isn't a matter of grading and evaluating the performance of lawyers. of course the trump lawyers did a dismal job.
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that's not the issue. the issue is how can any self-respecting senator look at him or herself in the mirror and say what this president did was acceptable as a precedent. as jamie raskin so powerfully put it, we cannot have a january exception carved into the constitution, because in the end it will be carved in blood in future disasters like this, some of which may actually succeed. the january exception is not part of our constitution. the powerful demonstration today i think laid the stage for what we will see in the next few days. and the question is will the senate stand up to its obligations? it's the senate that's on trial, not only donald trump. and for donald trump to blame his miserable lawyers?
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that's typical. it's his own fault. he's the one who orchestrated this mob to sack the capitol. get over it. you're the guy who caused this insurrection. you should be gone from american politics forever. >> so let me ask you, john, raskin told reporters moments ago that the additional vote, that that flip from senator cassidy, quote, shows people's minds are open. but, you know, once you vote that a process, that a trial itself is unconstitutional, how can you then vote to convict? i mean do you think conviction is still possible, john, that people who voted this was not constitutional, this is what this is going to mean, would then still vote to convict the president? >> well, erin, theoretically it's possible. but when you look at how the closed minds, 44 of them, voted today to say they shouldn't even try this case, apparently thinking they can't vote to convict if they do, which is not
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a correct assumption or logic, it's kind of disappointing. but in all that mess today, i actually found some encouraging things in what the president's lawyers said. they really made the case that this is a criminal matter. mr. trump should be in front of a grand jury in the district of columbia. while he's not there yet, they made the point, this is where this would be resolved. and i think they sort of pointed to the issue of the fact this president should be prosecuted for this matter. >> which is a pretty incredible thing to say, professor. obviously that's the last thing the president wants is for this to go to a court, an actual court of law where there are penalties, prison penalties and beyond. alan dershowitz, you two have known each other for decades obviously. professor dershowitz commented on the performance of trump's legal team. he said it was, quote, i have no idea what he's doing. that's what he told newsmax
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about trump's attorney, bruce castor, just slammed him. castor just actually walked off the floor, though, and said i thought we had a good day. >> well, if that was a good day, i'd hate to see a bad one. i suppose alan would love to replace castor, but i'm not too interested in what alan dershowitz has to say. i'm interested in whether the country preserves its democracy. we can't do that if we only have what john dean, whom i respect a lot, points to and that is criminal prosecution of the president. of course he's committed crimes. but the standard of proof if he is prosecuted for criminal conspiracy and sedition and insurrection, the standard of proof is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. i don't think we can afford to say that as long as there is at least a smidgeon of a doubt about whether we have a tyrant as president that it's okay to have him again gather the mob and take over the government.
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that's terrible. our standard ought to be can we trust this man ever again to hold office. that's the issue. that's the reason the senate has jurisdiction to try this case, because under the constitution, removal is only one remedy. the other one is disqualification and he should be disqualified forever. i'm just not going to give up on that prospect just simply because he might be prosecuted. >> let me ask you, john, obviously when you look at american history, right, half of the impeachments in history now belong to president trump. this trial, though, so far started off very differently than his last impeachment trial. that very moving and poignant 13-minute long video of what happened. a lot of that video, new video we haven't seen. we'll show more of it to people this hour. and then at the end of it, ten seconds we understand of complete silence in that chamber. senators of both parties moved by what they saw and what they, of course, then remembered.
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how different is this impeachment trial so far than the last? >> well, erin, that was a big difference, the use of video. while the trump lawyers accused them of getting a movie company and a big law firm to present their case, that isn't true. they drew all those clips together and assembled that and just had somebody else do the production. it was extremely dynamic and powerful. it was an effective use of it in advocacy, and i think it could turn the day, particularly in the assembling of all the facts that we have to deal with in this case and part of the historical record. >> professor tribe, congressman raskin, who was the lead today and of course spoke so movingly and also so compellingly laid out the historical record on impeachment. you've known him for decades. you've advised him on this trial as well. he had several emotional moments on the floor today. one, of course, where he talked about his son's recent death and his fear on january 6th that something would happen to his
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daughter and son-in-law who were there with him that day, just after the funeral of her brother. they were then separated from congressman raskin when the rioters stormed in. he talked today about what happened when he was finally reunited with his daughter. here he is. >> i told her how sorry i was, and i promised her that it would not be like this again the next time she came back to the capitol with me. and you know what she said? she said, dad, i don't want to come back to the capitol. of all the terrible brutal things i saw and i heard on that day and since then, that one hit me the hardest. that and watching someone use an american flag pole, with the flag still on it, to spear and
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pummel one of our police officers ruthlessly, mercilessly, torture d by a pol with a flag on it that he was defending. with his very life. >> professor tribe, you've known him, as i say, for decades. what did you think when you heard that? >> he is a very courageous man. i was -- my heart broke for him and i was proud for him. my dad was a prisoner of war and i still have the flag that was hidden in the trunk that he left to my mother when he died. and if someone used that flag to desecrate our capitol, i would have broken up too. it's hard to describe what congressman raskin must have felt. he's devoted his life to our constitution. he is arguing on behalf of his own son, tommy, as well as
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himself. and to see the capitol desecrated, to see his own fellow senators, many of them with minds closed, not share his heartbreak and not preserve the country for the future by disqualifying this man, that is heartbreaking. i couldn't have been more proud. i could not have done what he did. >> all right. well, i appreciate both of your time so very much tonight. thank you. as you heard jeff zeleny say, many republicans have publicly started to criticize president trump's defense team on day one. they have minced no words, including the only republican senator to change his vote. he now says he believes the trial is constitutional. that's bill cassidy. here's senator cassidy. >> you listen to it, it speaks for itself. it was disorganized, random, had nothing -- they talked about many things but they didn't talk about the issue at hand. >> outfront now, republican
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senator from north dakota, kevin cramer. senator, i appreciate your time. what did you think of trump defense team's performance? >> erin, my first thought was i don't think they were very well prepared for what was something other than a discussion about the jurisdictional question, while the house managers got to that point, it took them a long time to get there. i think they spent more of their time setting the table of what's going to be done the next two days than this question, realizing they already had 55 votes to move forward so i think that threw mr. castor off a little bit, quite honestly. and then of course it wasn't until about the 90th minute that mr. schoen got to the actual text of the constitution which dealt with the question of jurisdiction. so i think they were thrown off and unprepared. all of that said, however, both sides made relevant points to what's next. in the case of the president's defense team, they focused a lot
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on constitutional questions like due process, free speech, the casting of the wide net which was really more of a senate rules question. all of those are relevant. maybe they're even relevant to a potential dismissal, but none of them addressed the constitutional jurisdictional question, which is what today was supposed to be all about. >> right, it was supposed to be about. i will tell you, it was addressed very specifically and in great detail by congressman raskin when he talked about it. i should note obviously this is the second time, senator, that you voted to say that the trial itself was unconstitutional so you've been consistent there. but democrats and raskin went through this long list, right, of history. he talked about james monroe and when the founding fathers were alive, the only context in which impeachment was used was for former officials. he quoted and listed many conservative lawyers and jurists and constitutional scholars who have all come to the conclusion that this is indeed constitutional. he cited republican lawyer chuck
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cooper, and i know you read this but let me read it for our viewers. mr. cooper says given that the constitution permits the senate to impose the penalty of permanent disqualification only on former office holders, it defies logic to suggest that the senate is prohibited from trying and convicting former office holders. did you find none of this compelling. >> i found it interesting. i thought they did a better job of presenting their point, although i don't think the opposite point is that difficult to present and that is the plain reading of the constitution. the term "the president" not former president. the president will be removed from office. and when you refer to the president in one context, it's the same person in every context. i think that's the fundamental plain reading of the constitution quite honestly, erin. but also remembering that the question is only answered by the senate in this case which baffles a lot of people. they think a lot of constitutional lawyers can bring this to the supreme court and
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the chief justice would rule on it or something. i'm not a lawyer. the plain reading seemed pretty clear to me that it was beyond our jurisdiction. that said, a majority voted that it was not and it is within our jurisdiction and tomorrow we start the trial. >> what about that point, the senate can only have disqualification on former office holders. you can't do that unless you convict. that's just a very clear layout from one of the chief conservative constitutional jurists in this country. >> that is a limitation on our powers, that's not a granting of powers. that's a limitation on powers. you know, the conviction part of it has to obviously come first because you can't do the other. by the way, it does raise another question that i intend to ask if we get the opportunity to ask and that is the sentencing part of this, how many senators might vote for impeachment but not then vote for permanent removal from office. by the way, what is it the democrats are so afraid of?
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that's i know secondary to the point here. but why are they so afraid that donald trump might run again? do they really believe that he could win another election? >> well, nobody believed it last time, senator. i'd be shocked if you'd think it's just not possible. that doesn't seem like a good reason here. let me ask you about something else because you did criticize your democratic colleagues in the house who are the impeachment managers in a statement you put out. while speaker pelosi has back benchers come before the senate to make her case, she sent the rest of the house home instead of carrying out the actual work of the american people. i do want to note the lead impeachment manager, jamie raskin, you know, he is a professor of constitutional law at american university for more than 25 years, harvard law graduate. he's exactly the kidnd of guy, the first string guy you would pick to make the case and here's what the trump lawyer said about him. >> i'll be quite frank with you,
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we changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the house managers' presentation was well done. >> do you -- do you stand by that, back benchers? >> well, i think that mr. raskin did a superior job frankly. i actually think that they all did a pretty good job. but again, he did a nice job presenting, but when i refer to back benchers, i'm talking about as legislators. the fact that they're doing this raises serious partisan political questions for me. the fact that they're bringing impeachment articles within a year for the second time. i mean the fact that they did this 48 hours after getting the articles and then withheld them until late in this process for trial almost as though they were preparing for the trial to be done after president trump left office. so there are a lot of questions i have about how good they are. their presentation was very good, there was no question about it. it was superior.
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it makes the point that i made up front and that is i think that the president's attorneys were not prepared to deal with anything other than the specific constitutional question. >> but you're saying they also lost on how they presented the constitutional question. you voted on their side because you've come to that conclusion yourself, it's not because of what they said today. that's what you're saying. >> no, that's not what i said at all. while they made a superior presentation, the presentation for the defense is an easier one. it's a plain reading of the constitution. so they were adequate to that task. they didn't spend very much time on it. frankly there's not a lot of time to spend on it. it's not a complicated question. the president is the president and the president is who we're talking about. we were talking about impeachment and removal from office. >> when you talk about the superior performance of congressman raskin and the other managers, arguably the most powerful part of what they did today was not laying out the constitutionality, although that was itself extremely powerful. >> i agree. >> it was that dramatic 13-minute video that left so many of you in silence that
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shows former president trump and the insurrection unfolding during that day. i want to replay part of it, senator, for any of our viewers that didn't see it. i'm not playing all of it. i want to warn anyone that hasn't seen it that the images and language of this is graphic. >> where the fuck are they? >> there's got to be something here that we can use against the scumbags. >> we need to have 30,000 guns up here. >> no trump, no peace. >> we need patriots up front. >> traitors! traitors!
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[ screaming ] >> senator, it was hard to watch that for all of us, and i'm sure for you and your colleagues because you were there that day. >> that's right. >> and something awful could have happened to you or any of your colleagues. but this is why i want to ask you. we watched that video of what happened. we experienced all of us perhaps what you experienced in real life, yet in that same statement where you said pelosi had back benchers come before the senate to make her case, you said
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welcome to the stupidest week in the senate. >> right, yeah, really because, erin, the question isn't whether or not that was an awful night or whether the people that broke multiple laws hurt people, killed people, stormed the capitol trying to stop us from doing our constitutional duty weren't wrong. they were clearly wrong. there were awful things that happened and they should all be punished, but i don't think diverting the blame from them to the president because he gave a speech, that's the question in front of us. i think that's the standard that they have to meet. they're not going to meet by showing the same videos over and over and over again. >> can i just ask you one quick question before we go. they wouldn't have been there if the president hadn't told them the election was stolen and rigged again and again and again. i think that's a fact. do you think he should be held accountable in any way. >> if he committed a crime, if somebody thinks that there's a crime that was committed that would reach a guilty plea, they should bring it to the u.s. district court here in d.c.
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i think that he bears some responsibility for ramping up the rhetoric, there's no question. i said that day that was recklessness in my view. but again, we're talking about a different standard here. we're talking about a standard of inciting violence. i don't think it meets that standard. i think -- one of the things i think that the president's lawyers did very well and that is reminded us without apology of how very, very precious our constitution is, particularly freedom of speech and freedom of expression at a time when we're experiencing cancel culture, where big tech is shutting down whoever they feel like shutting down. i think that's an important point that can't be lost on a night like this. >> i appreciate your time, senator. thank you very much. >> my pleasure, thanks, erin. next, one trump advisor telling cnn tonight trump is f'ed if he is charged in the future. more on the fallout from the trump legal team's performance. plus president biden brushing aside questions about trump's impeachment. is that a smart strategy for the president? and house impeachment managers are not yet requesting
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tonight has been pretty ugly. >> reporter: it has been universally ugly, no question about it, erin. i just spoke with a source familiar with the former president's thinking just a short while ago and asked about his reaction. said it has not been great and that he is stewing over this. he is disappointed in the performance of his defense team. but erin, keep in mind, this is a defense team that had to swoop in at almost the last minute because the first impeachment team bailed on the former president about a week ago. and so we're sort of at a point of what do you expect? but yes, i did talk to a trump advisor earlier this afternoon, somebody who advises the former president's team as it stands now who described it as this is a major warning sign for donald trump. if he gets into any kind of criminal court proceeding, this advisor was saying, he could be in serious jeopardy because of the current level of talent that he's attracting from a standpoint of who would
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represent him in a court of law. in the words of that advisor, as you were just saying a few moments ago, trump would be f'ed because nobody wants to work with him at this point and i think that just underlines the very serious problem that the president would face if he were to be in a criminal court proceeding. having said all of that, erin, i talked to a couple of republican senate sources who said, listen, that was bad what happened earlier today but if you look at the final score and the vote total on the constitutional question of whether or not you can try and convict a former president who's out of office, the partisan breakdown essentially broke down exactly how everybody expected it with the exception of louisiana senator bill cassidy. and so at the end of the day, erin, yes, there is concern inside the former president's team of advisers, his inner circle, but when they look at what actually unfolded in the final vote total, they aren't that concerned because as i was reporting yesterday, the former president believes he's going to
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be acquitted at the end of the day because he does not think there are enough republicans, essentially 17 republicans who will join with the democrats to convict the former president. >> all right, jim, thank you very much. of course, you know, as we all know what he's worried about is that he can get acquitted in this but he can be convicted in the history books and in the minds of americans and that matters. perhaps more than the technical outcome here. outfront now, democratic senator richard blumenthal of connecticut. senator blumenthal, you just heard senator cramer tell me the house impeachment managers did a superb job. however, he still says that this is unconstitutional and calls it the stupidest week in the senate because he thinks it's a waste of time because it's unconstitutional. can the impeachment managers change any minds at this point? >> i believe they can, erin. what you saw today in that video was so graphic and compelling,
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my heart was in my throat. i had to fight back tears when jamie raskin talked about his daughter. donald trump clearly violated his oath of office. the question is will my republican colleagues obey theirs. if they do and follow the facts and law, they will vote to convict. but i am far from overconfident because for four years, as you and i know, they have been spineless and cowardly. the real threat here, and it's a fundamental threat, is domestic terrorists. the president, then president trump, summoned that mob to the capitol. he urged them to assault the capitol. those domestic terrorists went into the halls. you heard one of them shout "where are they?" they were looking for members of congress to assassinate. we still are seeing the effects of that domestic terrorism in the armed island that our capitol has become with national
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guards and barbed wire but all around the country that threat of domestic terrorism being so lethal. >> there's the specific things that trump knew. obviously they were there because of trump and they echoed words that he had said. we're going to see more of that. also on the day as the riot was happening, he refused -- kevin mccarthy asked him to condemn it and say this has to stop and he wouldn't do it. he kept tweeting that mike pence was abdicating his duties. and then when he finally came out hours later, after not mobilizing the national guard very quickly, he still talked about the election being stolen, okay. so this is all on the record. but what's not on the record is witnesses. witnesses to talk about his state of mind in those hours where he did nothing or in those days before. they asked trump to testify but they knew he was going to not do that and he's not doing that. do you think there should be witnesses? >> i'll tell you, erin, as a former federal prosecutor, i was u.s. attorney for four and a half years in connecticut and state attorney general for 20
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years, i really believe that the trial lawyers have to try their own case. i would support their request for witnesses, even subpoenas, if they want them. but i think this public record already is so powerful that he will be convicted in the minds of the american people. as you put it at the very outset, that's his fate in history. and the public airing here, the public awareness and consciousness of domestic terrorism and of donald trump's violation of his oath i think is very important. >> senator, i appreciate your time as always. thank you. >> thank you. next, biden's apparent strategy on trump's impeachment, ignore and pivot. more than 200 people have now been charged in the deadly capitol insurrection and they're all saying trump made me do it. u e so you only pay for what you need? i mean it... uh-oh, sorry...
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stop in or book an appointment to shop safely with peace of mind at your local xfinity store. tonight, president biden not taking the bait when asked if he's watching the senate impeachment trial. during a meeting with business leaders about his economic rescue plan, he said this.
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>> we've already lost over 450,000 people. we're going to lose a whole lot more if we don't act and act decisively and quickly. a lot of people, as i said, are going -- a lot of children are going to bed hungry, a lot of families are food insecure. they're in trouble. that's my job. the senate has their job. >> phil mattingly is out front. president biden is doing everything he could to ignore the elephant in the room. >> reporter: it's by design. it's not just the president it's his senior staff as well. they have done everything they possibly can to engage substantively when it comes to the senate trial. there's a couple of reasons for that. first, while president biden has made clear he believes the trial needs to happen, they know what's happening next. they know that former president trump will be acquitted and they don't want involved in the back and forth knowing how this is going to end but there's another
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element here and that is their cornerstone legislative proposal on the table, $1.9 trillion. while it has moved forward and democrats are unified, the reality on capitol hill is they're just now putting the actual legislative language together. the white house is working hand in glove with them over the course of the next several days. the white house knows and believes they have momentum on that package. while they understand the senate trial will suck up a lot of attention the next several days, they want to ensure that that momentum and unity inside the democratic party on their legislative proposal doesn't wane. that's why that's where their focus will remain. a couple of reasons but one thing we can be assured of, neither the president or his senior team will be playing ball when it comes to questions about this trial. >> let's go david chalian and nia-malika henderson. look, this is what biden has done all the way along. he doesn't think trump was ever fit to be in office but he doesn't want to talk about it. do you think it's the right
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strategy? >> yeah. i don't even think it's a real question. what should joe biden be doing, being consumed with the impeachment of his predecessor? this is -- this is exactly the right strategy. i think let's say he also understands reality, as does the white house. they know that in terms of media coverage, the oxygen is all going to be all about the impeachment trial right now. they know that they have to navigate around that. but certainly joe biden doesn't need to participate. he doesn't have a role here. and so he understands that his political and policy imperative for the american people is to fix covid. that's why he got elected and that is what he has to work on every single day. >> nia, it's true, right, all the oxygen is out of the room. we all know where the oxygen is. can president biden make progress on these other things, specifically his legislative -- you know, that he has said is a must-accomplish thing when this is what's going on in the senate? >> oh, sure.
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he can make progress on it. he can take the message to the american people about why he thinks this legislation is a good idea. polling shows by and large americans, something like 65%, think this legislation is a good idea so that's one thing that he can do. also just work with senators. one of the reasons why this is constructed the way it is, is that they wanted to give the senate a chance to do some business, so that's why the trial is starting a little later in the day so he can do what he was elected to do and handle covid. it wouldn't make sense for him to weigh in, certainly wouldn't make sense for him to spend hours at a time during the day watching the impeachment trial in the way that donald trump clearly would if he were president. >> and is, as he is no longer president, as you point out last time and this time. david chalian, senator blumenthal says he thinks they can win some more people over. can you walk me through how this would work. once you've said something is
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unconstitutional, it would definitionally mean you aren't going to vote to do it, right, as in to convict. but there are some who think the door is still open. perhaps some of those senators, not a majority, but some of those senators, those republicans, who voted unconstitutional may still vote for conviction. is that possible? >> well, i think just in terms of the theory here, erin, it's what senator cramer told you earlier. i don't expect him to be voting on anything but acquittal. but he said we had the vote on the constitutionality of the trial. now the actual trial is going to begin because a majority did vote it is constitutional, and so you hope all these jurors now approach the actual trial with an open mind. but did the hill get any less steep today for the democratic house managers in terms of getting 17 republicans? i'm not sure that it did, even though they have bipartisan praise for how effective their arguments were today. >> right. it was amazing, right? kevin cramer, who had called
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raskin a back bencher. just point out blank said it multiple times that he did a superior job, it's just stating the reality. nia, one other thing senator cramer said, basically, if there's something there, i don't think it's constitutional for us to deal with it, put it in a criminal court. that was also referenced by the trump team. we have reporteding that trump worried about criminal prosecution. how significant do you think this is, that there are republicans who will say we're not going to do it but they seem perfectly happy for trump to be held to account in a criminal setting? >> i don't know that they are actually perfectly happy with that. they're perfectly happy with using procedural arguments as a way to duck their own responsibilities and really look at holding him accountable. but yes, if you are donald trump, you are certainly scared of this post-presidential life that he is getting used to now and what might be coming down the pike in terms of criminal
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prosecution, not only in this case but in other cases that we already know are being looked into in terms of his business dealings, things that folks are looking at in new york, for instance. so he is a man who is struggling with a debt load and possibly some sort of criminal probe as well, so i imagine that he is a very nervous man at this point. >> it would seem so. >> if he does face criminal prosecution, let's go back and ask all these republican senators for comment on what they think about the criminal prosecution. >> yes, exactly. as you point out, in georgia, right, republican secretary of state opening an investigation. you have obviously a new and powerful lower there in fulton county as well. thank you both very much. i appreciate your time. next, 200 people have now been charged in the deadly insurrection. one of them yet not donald j. trump. but another alleged rioter is now asking a judge if he could leave the country. plus new details coming in
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tonight, as trump's impeachment trial begins, we know of more than 200 people charged in the insurrection at the u.s. capitol. they came there from all over this country. 40 states and washington d.c. itself. a growing strategy so to blame
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trump for their actions. jessica schneider is out front and what you'll see, some language is disturbing. >> reporter: they stormed the capitol while chanting trump's name as house impeachment managers are using the mob's words to prosecute their case against the former president. >> there is a f-ing million of us out there. >> this way! this way! >> reporter: an increasing number of defendants coming through court this week are resting their defense on trump, blaming him for the violence. >> the president abandoned his people. it is frustrating that my client is locked up in a federal detention center in middle america where donald trump is down in florida doing whatever he wants to trying to pass the buck and pass the blame. my client never went to washington intending to do any harm. he never intended to end up in the capitol but it was the directives from the person he went there to see. >> we fight.
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we fight like hell. >> reporter: the attorney for patrick who is accused of pushing a police officer into a capitol doorway where he was crushed said his client didn't plan the attack and instead, inspired by trump's words that day. >> you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. >> reporter: in a court hearing, his lawyer referred to trump as an unindicted co-conspirator. the co-conspirator in this case, former president trump was inspeeched for a second time precisely because it was alleged he incited otherwise peaceful protesters such as the defendant to create violence at the capitol. the president's impeachment attorneys are arguing his words were not meant to be taken literally. >> walk down pennsylvania avenue, i love pennsylvania avenue and we're going to the capitol. >> reporter: but another man charged matthew miller told a federal judge he was merely following the directions of trump to march towards congress. miller is accused of discharging a fire extinguisher towards police during the insurrection.
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>> we're in the capitol. >> reporter: as the defendants shift the blame to trump. >> every single [ bleep ] in there is a traitor. >> reporter: new ravelevelation court says thomas coaldwell worked for the fbi and held a top secret security level clearance for decades. the fbi isn't commenting but the department of justice is expected to respond in court later this week. and tonight, another accused capitol rioter is asking a federal judge for permission to travel out of the country. 25-year-old tor troy williams s he's scheduled to get married in peru and wants to go for two weeks. it was last week a federal judge allowed a rioter to go to mexico. that decision getting a lot of criticism. >> thanks very much. destination wedding. up next, breaking news,
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jamie ras kin just speaking to reporters. what he's saying about republicans he thinks could even know vote to convictim trump. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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breaking news, lead impeachment manager jamie raskin says he believes people's minds are open. democrats have eight hours tomorrow and thursday to make arguments and on friday it turns to trump's team. they will have the exact same amount of time. trump's lawyers say they won't use all that time which would mean by friday or saturday, senators get four hours to ask questions and then house managers have to decide whether to call witnesses. if they do, the trial could continue for days. if not, it will end with closing
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arguments and a vote on the article of impeachment. some senators say without witnesses it could wrap up as early as this weekend. we'll be watching it with you. thanks for joining us. "ac 360" with anderson starts now. good evening. what a day. today stands alone in american history, only three presidents, as you know, have ever been impeached, only one has been impeached twice and today, his second trial began. it takes place at a crime scene and that, too, is a first. the first impeachment trial involving the direct loss of human life, the first of an ex president. the only american president ever to refuse to recognize or respect the outcome of a free and fair election. the only trial ever spurred on by an insurrection incited on national television by the defendant. on that day, with blood in the halls of united states capitol, the defendant after praising the attackers expressing his love for them told us all to quote remember this day forever. history alread


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