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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  February 9, 2021 5:00pm-6:00pm PST

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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 already has.
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yet, a pillar of the defense argument says it's better to forget and healthier for the country and not constitutional to have a trial. 44 republicans agreed. just six joined democrats in rejecting today's motion to dismiss, that's how the day ended. began with house managers using conservative legal arguments to bolster the constitutional case and a playing a powerful video of the insurrection its several to make the best argument yet first and remembering always. we'll talk about it tonight with the best legal and political minds we know. george conway joins us and republican congressman adam and if republicans have the slightest bit accountable. first we go to this day. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: on day one of the second impeachment trial of former president donald trump, the democratic house impeach the managers wasted no time getting to the most damming evidence.
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the prosecutors unveiled a dock h -- documentary video that ma ticklated the timeline of events on january 6th. >> after this we'll walk down and i'll be there with you. we're going to walk down. we're going to walk down to the capitol. >> yeah! >> reporter: editing together trump's spooeech, tweets and vio message why they responded and attacked the capitol. >> president trump claims the election was stolen. >> usa! usa! usa! >> there it is! >> it's not about the good people of arizona. >> i'll stand in recess until the call of the chair. >> thank you. >> reporter: the video was designed to remind the republican jurors in particular of the riot they experienced a
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little more than a month ago pinning the blame on the former president. >> that's a high crime and misdemeanor. if that's not an impeachable offense, then there is no such thing. >> reporter: today's debate, though was not over impeachment but the constitutional standing of the trial itself. trump's legal team says because he's no long near office, he can't be convicted. >> the majority in the house of representatives does not want to face donald trump as a political rival in the future. that's why we're here and they have to get over the jurisdiction l hurdle they can't get over but that's why they have to get over it to get to the part of the constitution that allows removal. >> reporter: but democrats came prepared to offer evidence to the contrary. they used opinions from conservative constitutional experts who argued former officials already out of office can still be impeached. >> presidents can't commit grave offenses in their final days and escape any congressional
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response. that's not how our constitution works. >> reporter: lead impeachment manager jamie raskin making that case on a personal level. >> my youngest daughter tabytha was there with me on wednesday, january 6th. it was the day after he buried her brother, our son tommy, the saddest day of our lives. 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. [cr [crying] of all the terrible brutal things i saw and heard that day, and since then, that one hit me the hardest. >> ryan nobles joins us now from capitol hill.
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six republicans joined democrats to vote that this impeachment trial is constitutional. what has been the reasoning from the senators why they didn't vote with their party? >> reporter: well, the simple answer, anderson, they thought the arguments made by the democratic house impeachment managers were more convincing than those made by the trump legal team. listen to what louisiana senator bill cassidy had to say. >> president trump's team were disorganized. they did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand, and when they talked about it, they kind of glided over it as if they were embarrassed of the arguments. i'm an impartial juror and one side is doing a great job and the other side is doing a terrible job on the issue at hand as an impartial juror, i'll vote for the side that did the good job. >> reporter: now, cassidy wasn't the only one. there were republicans critical of the trump legal team. the difference, anderson, the vast majority of them still voted that this was an
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unconstitutional process. remember, it's going to take 17 republicans to vote with democrats to ultimately convict president trump and at this point, that's still not seeming likely. >> ryan nobles, appreciate it. inch >> joining us is laura coats and gloria borger and counsel for the house democrats in the first impeachment and ambassador to czech republic. norm, the contrast between the two legal teams today was beyond striking. howf effective do you think eac side was or ineffective because that test came after 5:00 p.m. today. democrats only managed to gain one republican vote. >> anderson, thanks for having me back. i thought the house managers were extraordinary orordinarily. they blended an explanation why there is no january exception for a president who commits a high crime and misdemeanor. discussing the law, the
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precedent, the constitution and they told the story. they surprised everyone by telling the story that they'll be sharing with the senate and the country of the horrible insurrection donald trump incited and third, they brought a motion. the president's team was awful. they have no case. the law is not on the side. the facts are not on their side. the politics, the president has a lot of supporters in the senate caucus but anderson, another one broke with him today. senator cassidy of louisiana and that is six times more than the number of republicans who we managed to persuade in the previous trial. ultimately, we only got mitt romney, a signal today six are on board. a very good day not just for the house managers but for the constitution and the rule of law and justice in the united states of america. >> laura, it was shocking the quality or the lack of quality
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of the argument made by the former president's attorneys. you know, we're used to seeing sort of the team of people he has been able to in his later years assemble around him, but i mean, this was surprising even by those standards. >> i mean, to call it a poor quality performance, a team of lawyers charged with actually trying to defend an impeachment, let alone an average case. you had them say they were surprised by the arguments that were raised. we've all read the briefs. they were consistent, the house inpoompeachment managers. the meandering movements. i was shocked to think that these are the people who had a week to prepare. i recognize they didn't have the six-month period, they didn't have a year to prepare but even
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after a week, even after 24 hours, there should have been a more thorough reckoning with what the actual charge was. we didn't hear anything really about the january exception. we didn't hear much about a real foundational reason for why this was an unconstitutional act. we heard them talk about perhaps if i had to try to make a c cohaerent argument, he's trying to say that the congress is scape ggoating former president trump. scapegoating by definition means its somebody else's wrongdoing and mistake and actions. knowing here the evidence shows it was actually assignable to the person who may be culpable here. they didn'ted a eaddress the i and how to say this is witch hunt 5.0. there is so much more that could have been done to address the specific claims and if i was former president trump, i would be shocked. i would be dismayed.
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i would be disgruntled at the end of the day the power of the evidence against then president trump may have been too great even from the most competent lawyer, let alone for what you actually saw there. >> gloria, bill cassidy, the l lone republican who switched his vote tonight whose words you heard from ryan nobles, he called the trump team disorganized. i've heard drunk wedding speeches which have been more organized than some of what we heard today. >> if i were donald trump talking about what laura is talking about. one of his attorneys today said donald trump lost the election. now, if you're donald trump and you've been spending months saying the election was rigged and you didn't lose, and then one of your attorneys gets up there and one of his arguments is well, he's already out of office because he lost the election, wouldn't you be upset about it? >> right. >> another thing --
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>> especially when you raised a quarter billion on your fr fraudulent claims. >> it was stunning. when mr. caster got up there and started flattering the senators for like 20 minutes saying how wonderful they are, that was so insulting to probably each and every one of them sitting there. he wasn't making any constitutional arguments. he was trying to be saying maybe i can win them over because of my winning way. that didn't work, either. it was just honestly a joke. >> norm, the former president's lawyers made the case the democrats are seeking to disinfranchise trump voters to bar the president from ever running for office again. a rich argument considering the impeachment was spurred on his their client was encouraging supporters to disinfranchise 81 million biden voters. >> anderson, hypocrisy and ill
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logic are the hallmarks of trump and he's taken better lawyers than these in the prior impeachment, lawyers i once respected and twisted them into telling absurd falsehoods at his behest. you know, there is no factual basis to exonerate donald trump. the laws against him this whole constitutional argument that you can't try an ex president was a distraction and today was evidentially a distraction from the distraction. it only illustrates just how impossible it is to justify the president's behavior. his high crime and misdemeanor of inciting insurrection and we'll hear a lot about this in the next two days as the house managers really unload on him. today was just the preview. it's the worst behavior in the history of the american
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presidency. there is nothing, clearance darrell couldn't do anything with that. >> one of the interesting arguments congressman raskin had is the idea of a january exception, that essentially those who are saying the president can't be impeached because of this are really saying that any president in the future can do whatever they want in the month of january after the election if they have lost and cause an kind of mayhem and try to subvert whatever they want and there would be no repercussions if you believe the argument that this president can't be impeached. >> that would be the logical follow of that, wouldn't it, anderson? you'd have a get out of jail free card at precisely the time congressman raskin noted, at precisely the time it most enticing to try to undermine positions of power, where it's most enticing to abuse power and try to stay in the oval office at the precise time following an
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election weeks, what is a more opportune time to abuse the right to abuse power and refuse to leave office then those final days and weeks of their actual presidency? if you don't hold people accountable, that phrase of you know what? nobody is above the law, that's so far in the rearview mirror these days as conversation about people being above the law, if you can't have a co-equal branch of government, assert some sense of agency, atomnomy and as they say imperilled them, you lost not only the idea of nobody above the law, you lost the foundation of our democracy that says we got three co-branchs of government. you have instead is a thrown and you have people who are around the thrown who are able to enable and empower them to stay there and that would be a real misfortune in our democracy. >> and gloria, the republican -- the former president's attorneys
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never really came up with an answer to the question of well, how are you going to hold a president accountable in the future if this january exception, which is nothing in the constkconstitution about it exists. >> maybe that's what surprised them about jamie raskin's argument, although as we know, it shouldn't have surprised him. they had no answer because they have no argument about accountability here. what they were making was a political argument, and these lawyers are lucky that they're not before a jury. they are before the united states senate, which is acting as a jury because if they were in a courtroom, they would lose. right now, you've got about 13 republicans who have said, you know, publicly, i'm not sure how i'm going to vote but they're probably doing that just to show and it's very unlikely that this president is going to get convicted but if he were anywhere else other than the
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qu united states senate, he might. >> the question tonight of this entire trial is accountability versus forg getting, the next e guest is adam kinzinger of illinois. were you surprised senator cassidy did change his vote? >> yeah, he's been hard to figure out. i'm not overly surprised. he's a principle given guy. it was a pleasant surprise and it's indicative of quite honestly how poorly the defense did in their performance. >> did that surprise you? i mean, clearly the president had problems with paying attorneys, with keeping attorneys. did it surprise you just the -- yeah, just the nature of their, you know, their argument or lack thereof? >> yeah, it did a little bit. how do you defend what happened on january 6th and the events leading up?
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you don't. i mean, i guess to these attorneys, they got on the case a week ago, you know and now you have to put up a pretty serious defense, but yeah, it was certainly out matched and i actually thought the prosecution did a good job. >> i mean, what stood out to you today? >> so, i didn't see all of it. the parts i did see, it wwas methodically out of fact laying down what happened, which sometimes we forget. we've walked away. i thought the most powerful thing was how they opened it. showing the video. showing stuff that we haven't seen on the internet before, having the subtitles and words people were saying with trump and i think anybody at least even if you don't want to vote to remove, if anybody had a doubt this was antifa or blm. there were people that did
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believe this is what it was. >> it was interesting to me because the -- we've all seen a lot of the video and putting it in a chronological thing. opposing what the president was saying and what was happening inside the house chamber at the time that -- and just for the small moments of horror and brutality against law enforcement personnel, you know, i think back to the president saying he was a law and order -- the former president saying he was the law and order president and those people were attacking the capitol said they were patriots, when you see them attacking individual police officers calling them names, you know, torturing them in some cases. it really just even though some of these videos have been seen before, i found that very incredibly disturbing. >> yeah, it's amazing to me because as a supporter of police
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officers but also a person that recognizes we need reform in some areas, to see these folks with, you know, the thin blue line flags and the law enforcement stuff using those to beat law enforcement officers. i mean, it's incredible. i've become friends with own of the gentlemen i won't name him but that was involved in that and was really hurt. he's a police officer. and to hear his stories, he said, you know, these people are walking around acting like they support law enforcement officers and they're saying things that are chilling. it's like i think there was -- not to get overly spiritual, there was a serious level of evil that descended over that and you see what happens when you take rhetoric and let that anger go overboard and i think the president bears serious responsibility for what we saw on the 6th and not just the speech that day. it the four years of building the groundwork leading up to
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that. >> you know, part of it, i think, just based on what you were just saying, comes to mind the idea of otherizing people is a lot of what we've seen. something we've seen a lot over the last decades but it's so easy to make people other than, other than american, other than patriotic and human and we've seen it in bosnia and ro wwanda you see it in these videos where people who claim they are patriots are in the face of a police officer calling him, you know, as we're seeing it right there, you know, gouging out the eye of one, squeezing one, suffocating one in a doorway. >> it's incredible and that's the huge problem, anderson is not even our political dialogue. that's huge problem. that's a result of the fact that we've picked tribes in this
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country. you're on the left tribe or right tribe and nobody that's not on your tribe, if they are not on the other tribe, they're seen as the enemy and i've said before, i feel like if california got a nuclear missile that, you know, some on the right would say well good, less electoral votes for the democrats and if texas got it some on the left -- i think the bottom line is we have to understand each other's humanity. you can disagree, but as we saw on a commercial that's made the round, we have common ground and we're standing on it. this is our earth. this is our country. this is us and we need to see the humanity in each other and we're just not. >> you wrote an opinion priest in -- piece in the washington post to say enough is enough to force every american regardless of party, affiliation to not only remember what happened on january 6th but the path that led there and the further down this road we go, the closer we come to the end of america as we know it. what message do you think senate
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republicans are sending about who are voting not to proceed with this or voted not to proceed with this about where their priorities lie for the future? >> so, you know, i'm not going to judge individual but i'll tell you this, if it's politics, which is why you would not vote to remove, that's the wrong answer. this is one of those moments and by the way, i have to promote this, go to this website. the bottom line on a vote like this and moment like this is it has nothing to do with your ele election. anderson, we ask young men and women to give their lives to defend this country and appreciate them as we should and we're unwilling to give our own careers to a cause of the country. the junction of position to that
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maddens me. >> cnn is reporting the former president is focussing on retribution for republicans voting against him. how much does that loom in the minds against republican senators, not individuals but how much do you think it looms in their mind and do you worry yourself about retribution from him? >> you know, i don't fear the president at all. i mean, i really don't. the bottom line is i'm fine if i'm not reelected because i can look at myself in the mirror and i feel real peace and when i have kids would be day, they will be proud of this. i feel accountable to god and it's the right thing. in terms of others, it's certainly fearful because they envisioned sole their entire life being in politics and who they are. nothing wrong with that ambition. but then when that ambition goes above things like do we defend the constitution? happens if the next president does this again and if that person happens to be a democrat? we have no moral authority
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whatsoever to be outraged about anything because we lost that moral authority with this relative is m. >> i definite recommend you have kids. i just tried it. it a great thing. you'd be a great dad. conservative attorney george conway that knows good lawyering when he practices it, his take on the day and president biden's take on the proceedings as our 360 coverage on the impeachment continues. the new lexus is. all in on the sports sedan. lease the 2021 is 300 for $359 a month for thirty nine months. experience amazing at your lexus dealer.
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senate minority leader voted to end the trial of an ex president after blocking the trial of a sitting president a few weeks ago. 43 other republicans voted with him signaling words their first priority is working the other way even though many are praising the work of the democratic house managers. we showed you a portion of the video presented from the democrats at the top of the program. we want to play you another extended clip because we think it's important and we do want to warn you some of it is hard to wa watch. >> everybody this way! this way! >> folks came in. where did they come from?
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>> usa! usa! usa! >> when you catch somebody in a fraud, you're allowed to go by very different rules. so i hope mike has the courage to do what he has to do. and we fight. we fight like hell and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country any anymore. >> f you. >> usa! >> we're going to walk down pennsylvania avenue. i love pennsylvania avenue. and we're going to the capitol and we're going to try and give
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our republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help, we're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness they need to take back our country. >> get the f out of here you tr traitors ! >> fight for trump! fight for trump! fight for trump! >> f you police! >> stop the steal! stop the steal! stop the steal! stop the steal! stop the steal!
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>> they're leaving. they're leaving. >> break it down! break it down! break it down! break it down! break it down! break it down! >> oh! >> break it down! down ! >> where the f are they?
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>> there has got to be something in here we can use against these scum bags. >> that's what we f-ing need to have 30,000 guns. >> patriots! [scr [screaming]
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>> fight for trump! fight for trump! fight for trump! >> the video was powerful enough that even the president's attorney bruce caster acknowledged it. what came next in his presentation did not please his client. jim acosta joins us not far from mar-a-lago. what are you hearing about his reaction so far about his legal team's performance? >> reporter: anderson, he was angry. he was disappointed. i talked to a source familiar with his thinking a short while ago who said it not been great. he's obviously disappointed in how his impeachment team performed earlier today. anderson, keep in mind i talked to the source this evening about this who said listen, this is a legal team that jumped in at the almost very last minute after the previous impeachment team bailed on the former president and, you know, in this source's assessment, essentially what can you expect at this point when they have that, you know, that
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amount of time to prepare for an impeachment of a former president of the united states? i will say, though, anderson, that, you know, the source was making the point that if you look at the president's current legal team, his impeachment team as it stands now, it's not as experienced as the one we saw back in the beginning of 2020 at his first impeachment trial where he had people like star, and so on. this is just a very different team of lawyers to say the least. >> and without much time at all for them to prepare, as well. i understand you spoke to one advisor worried about how his legal representation would do if he faced criminal charges. >> reporter: right. i think that's important. i talked to a trump team advisor earlier today who said listen, you know, the former president is not able to attract the same kind of caliber of legal talent he used to be able to. and in the words of this advisor, you know, trump would
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be quote f-ed if he ended up in a criminal procedure and brought up on criminal charges. essentially because he cannot attract the kind of legal talent in terms of lawyers that he used to be able to in the past and in the words of this advisor, nobody wants to represent him. that is a huge problem. i will tell you talking to a source who has spoken with the president in recent weeks, you know, this is -- you know, this is a donald trump who is not so much concerned about where things stand in terms of the impeachment trial. listen, obviously, this washe i team. he believes he'll be acquitted but beyond this impeachment trial, anderson, the former president has been reaching out to aides and advisors saying he's concerned how he could be prosecuted criminally outside of this insurrection probe and so that is what he faces after all of this is over and he's concerned about it and the advisers, you know, assessment
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earlier today trump would be in a lot of trouble. he's in serious jeopardy if he ever ends up in a court of law because that is where not having a good legal team really could come back to haunt him. >> jim acosta, appreciate it. thanks. joining us is lincoln project co-founder george conway. i want to get your reaction in a moment but first, we heard how the former president apparently reacted to today's proceedings. he was the one i guess to replace the legal team days ago. does that reaction surprise you? >> no, it doesn't. i mean, one of the things i tweeted during these proceedings was there is going to be one guy in palm beach, florida who will be very, very unhappy at what he was saying, particularly mr. caster who had no, nothing to say that was co-haerent and saying it in a way. nothing in there that was either compelling from a legal standpoint and importantly for the president, for the former president engaging from a television standpoint.
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so he was never going to like that, and the reporting that we've just heard is not surprising at all. >> is it just that he can't attract descent -- i mean, you know, great lawyers that he, you know, doesn't pay them -- >> he can't. he can't. he always had trouble attracting great lawyers, and 2017, in fact, he done consulted with me this. he was asking around to find a good topnotch law firm to represent him in the mueller investigation. and he couldn't find one. that's how he ended up with jim a solo practitioner. he cannot. it gotten worse since then. not even the people who represented him from -- represented him in the 2019, 2020 impeachment are willing to help him now and it a really extraordinary thing. i mean, this man is suppose dly and probably worth a couple
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billion. he's a former president of the qu united states, and this is the best he can do in terms of lawy lawyering? these guys were terrible. in 30 years, i practiced law for 30 years. i've seen good lawyers and bad lawyering. i have never seen such an extreme position to good lawyering and bad lawyering at one proceeding at one time and these guys were absolutely awful. you can cut them a break because they're only called onto the case a few days ago but still, there are law review articles that explain the arguments they could make. they discourtorted one of them. a professor that laid out both sides took the other side but laid out the arguments they needed to make. they didn't even do that. the first -- >> what do you think was the
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first -- what do you think was his strategy? there must have been some thought process. to me it was like a me aianderi drunk wedding speech but there was something behind the ridiculous flattery of senators and i don't know, do you think there was or was he trying to distance himself from the emotion of raskin? >> i have no idea what that -- i mean, he was -- he had a yellow pad where he had notes. so it was thought out to some degree what he was trying to accomplish was beyond me. it was disorganized and rambling and didn't touch upon the issues we're facing the court of impeachment. it was mystifying what he was doing. i just don't get it. >> and yet, only one republican senator seemed to be convinced from a previous vote he had that this should go forward. what does that say that the president's attorneys can put on
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a terrible display and doesn't, you know, only one person -- >> it's shameful. it is absolutely shameful because the fact, you know, this was bad lawyering. this was ill preparation. but the fact of the matter is the fundamental problem they had is they didn't have an answer to -- this should have been their best day, actually, because this is -- there at least is an articulateble case against a trying a former public official, it 's not a good one but at least there is a co cohaerent argument to be made and some people made it. there is no cohaerent argument to be made whether or not the president of the united states has a first amendment right to encourage people to basically end american democracy by stopping a count of the electoral votes and on the
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merits, on the facts as that video powerfully showed, they're dead to right. this should have been trump's best day. >> this was the easier day. >> they got 44 votes, but that's -- that just -- i mean, that is just shameful that 44 senators could look, watch that for four plus hours and not do the right thing because there was no -- there was literally nothing that the trump lawyers gave them to justify a vote against holding the trial. >> the argument i thought of what representative raskin called a january exception, i thought was an interesting argument that a president can be impeached all the way up until an election and suddenly, if he believed that there -- he can't be impeached as a former president, a future president could do whatever they want in the month of january. do you buy that argument?
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>> absolutely. it's a powerful argument. they refer to the so-called january exception in their briefs, and there is a lesson there for lawyers. one of the things i first learned when i began practicing law for senior lawyers is that whenever you get a chance to appear before a judge before a trial, whether it's on a matter of jurisdiction or matter of discovery or a scheduling conference, you want to preview your case before the judge to get the judge thinking hey, these guys sameeem like they ha something they're right. here is what the house impeachment managers brilliantly did, when you are making a legal argument of any sort where you're trying to persuade the court that x is the correct rule of law, you basically do three things in this -- and basically in this order. one is you show that the text of whatever it is you're interpreting says x. the second thing you do is you show that historically, people
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understood that the text meant x. and the third thing you do and the last thing you do is and x makes a lot of sense. how could the rule be anything other than x like we've shown you? they did here is they took that last point that you normally make in a brief and they put it front and center. which is this has to be the rule. there cannot be a january exception to a president's constitutional oath of office to protect, preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states. it cannot be that in his last days of office, there is a january exception that where he can basically do whatever he wants including subvert democracy to stay in power and not be subject to impeachment and a future punishment such as disqualification. and that's how they brought in -- that's how they made that movie relevant. that's how the video relevant
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and that's how they brought in the emotional points that representative raskin made in the closing portion of the argument. it was just brilliantly done and in 30 years i never seen such goodwas effective because watching it when he showed the calendar with the years blocked off except one month, it made the video then even more powerful and gave you an intel l -- intellectual basis behind it. >> it set up a historical argument because in 1787 they explain there is a fellow named warren hastings who is governor general, the king's governor general in india and he was impeached and tried after he had come back to britain, and then the 1876 precedent of secretary
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of war william bellnap who resigned before he was impeached and he was tried and the senate voted they had jurisdiction 37-29. the trump lawyers had basically nothing to say about that. >> in fact, what they did have to say which i thought was so -- i'm no lawyer but i do know british common law, american law is based on what happened before and that was one of the first things that the first attorney said is, you know, why are they talking about -- we don't want a king here, which is sort of -- just ridiculous. >> what's -- and the reason why it's relevant is the constitution talks about impeachment in very basically three or four very short sentences and the reason why it doesn't say it doesn't put forth like two pages about impeachment is the framers had -- were relying on english parliamentary history. they knew what icmpeachment was. they limited punishments for a
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conviction to remove from office and disqualifications from further office in england you could actually put somebody in jail, but other than that, they left it unchanged and that's why it was relevant. >> george conway, thank youm. appreciate it. >> thank you. next, john bolton joins us to discuss the conservative legal opinion to bolster their case and what president biden said at the white house today about the trial.
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one of the second ever impeachment trial. the defendant had more members of his party vote to impeach than any other president has and today some of the republican senators will decide his fate. part of the democrats' argument that the trial of an expresident was constitutional rested on conservatives as jamie raskin explained. >> the vast majority of constitutional scholars who study the question and weighed in on the prom significance being advanced by the president, this january exception, heretofore one known, agree with us. that includes the most prominent conservative legal scholars including former tenth circuit judge michael mcconnell. the co-founder of the federalist society, steven school breesy. charles freed. luminary washington lawyer charles cooper, among hundreds
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of other professors. i commend the people i named, their reason writings to you. in the newspapers over the last several days. >> charles cooper is no relation to me but did he represent our next guest, john bolton, one of the president's former national security advisers, also ambassador to the united nations, and author of the room where it happened. a white house memoir. you've written that those arguing it is unconstitutional have the better argument. so if you believe what is to prevent a president from abusing his power in the final days, what is the mechanism of accountability? >> well, i think you have to give the framers of the constitution some credit here. they understood when they set the mechanism up that presidents had defined terms. but accountability can come in a lot of ways. it can come through impeachment, through judicial prosecution, as i think donald trump is very
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vulnerable to, it can come politically from the voters rejecting any effort by a president in that situation. and there are other questions that he didn't talk about. for example, how long after a president leaves can people go back in once you acknowledge what the advocates of impeachment are saying here, that the trial can go on after a president leaves office. i think there is a fundamental misunderstanding when people try to look at the experience of impeachment in england, which the framers were quite familiar with when they drafted the constitution. when it comes to the president, the framers did 180-degree reversal from the english practice because under english law, the head of state and head of government combined at that time in the monarch was not subject to impeachment. ask yourself, how many english kings have been impeached and
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convicted? the answer is zero. by putting the president in the position of being impeached, they were taking dramatic changes from the british practice and there were many others as well. and the structure of how they wrote the provisions in the constitution dealing with impeachment, look at the president in office and consider removal. the principle remedy with future office being future add-on. not an alternative but an add-on. he is not former attorney. >> current. okay. he wrote an op-ed in the "wall street journal" that it is constitutional to impeach and try a former president in part arguing given the constitution permits to impose the penalty only on former office holders. it defies post office the senate is prohibited from trying and convicting former office
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holders. what do you say to that? >> i thought chuck's op-ed was very well written. i've known him 35 years. my admiration for his legal work is one reason why i'm proud he is my attorney today. we diverge on this one. i think the way you look at both article one, section three, and article two, section four, is that to get to the question of disqualification, you have to weigh the predicate. first the conviction automatically leads to removal from office. but it has to be in conjunction with removal. otherwise, article two, section four, which explicitly says removal is the penalty, doesn't work. so the process goes impeachment, trial, conviction, and removal. as if it is one thing. and then the senate in its, can
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do this. the way it's written, it is an add-on. >> what do you make of the former president's attorneys and the presentation they made? >> i didn't watch them. i didn't think it would be worth it. >> you're probably right. you of course didn't testify in the former president's first impeachment. >> i make my own -- sorry. i make my own constitutional analysis. >> he probably could have used your analysis because it was more cogent. there was not much analysis given. at the time you took the house inquiry that did have witnesses, nor the senate trial which didn't have witnesses before, at the time saying you would only, if subpoenaed, in light of everything that has transpired after the former president's acquittal. in first impeachment and january 6th, do you still feel you made
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the right decision to not testify? >> yeah. i think the incorrect decision in almost to the first impeachment was made by the house advocates of impeachment. they rushds it. they limited the scope of it. they made no effort whatever to broaden the base politically of support for impeachment. look. we've now got in contemporary times, four examples. two against trump, one against clinton, one against nixon. the one against nixon in effect succeeded because towed resign. why did that succeed and the other three fail? because the advocates of impeachment against nixon took their time, built up the evidence, made the case irrefutable, until republican support collapsed. barry gold water went to the white house and told nixon, it's over. they didn't make any effort to convince republicans against trump in either impeachment case, and honestly, republicans
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made essentially no effort to convince democrats against clinton in that impeachment effort. it takes time. if you want to have a bipartisan success, that is the way you do it. and this is where i think the first trump impeachment contributed to trump's conduct that has led to the second. nancy pelosi loves saying, trump was forever impeached but he was also forever acquitted. and i think that emboldened him. it did not constrain him. >> i appreciate your time. thank you. >> thank you. >> joining us now, chief white house correspondent kaitlyn collins. what was his response? >> he really doesn't want to talk about impeachment is what he told us. he said it is not his focus, it's not his job to decide what former president trump's fate should be. instead he's focused on getting people back to work, dealing with the pandemic. a lot of that has to do with rallying support for his pandemic relief bill. that's what he was doing in the oval office when we saw him
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earlier. he was meeting with top ceos, the top executives at walmart, lowe's, he believes they'll do their job and execute it well. he didn't say what he believes the outcome should be. that's a question he's declined to answer on several occasions. so he said he's letting the senate do their job while he will focus on doing his job. they are really trying to put a lot of distance between their early agenda that they are trying to move on and what is happening just down the street on capitol hill. >> it makes sense from a political standpoint that he wouldn't want to get too linked to this because no matter what happens, particularly because it seems like so few republicans are willing to be convinced by argument that's they've already made up their minds. he seems to think he knows what the end result will be. >> they haven't even said whether or not they agree with this, a utility over if it is constitutional for a former president to go to trial, given that has been such a big argument.
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that was expected to be a big focus today. so it is a fitting question for the white house. he is the current office holder. it is one they have declined to answer time and time again. they have been very critical of the way former president trump handled january 6th. while they tried to put a lot of distance between this and what's going on, they're making trips to the pentagon tomorrow to deliver remarks, they're scheduling. you can't remove yourself from it. it is historic in its name. a sitting president has never had to deal with the impeachment trial of his predecessor. especially not in his first 100 days in office. it does have an effect. white house aides will privately admit that but publicly they're trying to put a lot of distance between the two lt. >> i appreciate all your reporting. more to come tomorrow. another historic day in washington. one of many that we kept seeing over the last few weeks and frankly, the last few years. wow. programming note, i'll be back at 11:00 p.m. tonight. for now, the news continues.
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let's head over to chris for prime time. >> you'll be on at 11:00 and i'll be on from 12:00 to 2:00 because this is history and it matters. i'll see you in a second. i am chris cuomo. welcome to the first installment of prime time. 13 minutes. that's all that really should have resonated with senators today. 13 minutes was the duration of the video compilation of the events of january 6th. one. worst days in american history. and trump was all over it. and what was wrong about all of it was obvious. the hats, the faux flags being used as battering rams, and most of all, the anger. anger and animus against our country's laws that led to an insurrection attacking our democracy. that is the story of january 6th. and it is one that may not