tv Cuomo Prime Time CNN February 9, 2021 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
i'm chris cuomo. welcome to another live hour of "prime time." 1:00 a.m. in the east. 10:00 p.m. in the west. we're here because history is unfolding again before our eyes. days that follow the day that just passed. it will be remembered for d decades. the only president to be impeached twice on trial again. the trial will proceed because it is constitutional. and that was backed up by a majority of the split jury. both sides formally open the cases at noon wednesday. we'll break apart what happened in day one in a moment. first here's a recap from jeff zeleny. >> this cannot be the future of america. we cannot have president's inciting and mobilizing mob violence against the government and institutions. >> sering arguments steeped in history. on the opening day of the senate impeachment trial of former
president trump. tonight senator jurors answering a single question. whether it's constitutional to put a former president on trial. >> these powers must apply even if the president commits offenses in his final weeks in office. in fact, that's precisely when we need them most. because that's when elections get attacked. >> the lead impeachment manager a maryland congressman argued it clearly was. all senate democrats and six republicans agree. on a 56-44 vote. advancing the proceedings to a trial. several republicans blasting the presentation from trump's legal team. >> the house managers made a compelling case. and the president's team did not. >> republican senator of louisiana who voted against the majority of the party called it a disorganized unconvincing case on constitutionality. the president legal team opened with a rambling defense.
>> you know, senators of the united states, they're not ordinary people. they're extraordinary people. in the technical sense extraordinary people. >> raising eyebrows before a seconds lawyer stepped up and sharpened the argument. >> this is not just about donald trump. or any individual. this is about our constitution and abusing the impeachment power for political gain. >> to make the 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. >> reviving terrifying images from the deadly rampage on the capitol one month ago. >> what you experienced that day, what we experienced that 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. >> to convict president trump, 17 republicans would have to join with all democrats that is eleven more republicans than voted that it was constitutional to impeach a former president. certainly an open question and a very high bar. as the proceedings now head into the second phase, proving the case. democrats are confident about the case they're making and republicans believe president trump got off to a rocky start. >> all right. our thanks to jeff. let's bring in elliot williams and phil bump. yes, you can criticize. the quality and degree of the lawyering by the trump team. you don't have to do that well when you have the jury in your
pocket. what do you think the calculus is for the next few days? >> that's exactly the main point. look, a number -- 45 of the today senators have indicated how they're inclined to vote. more importantly, eleven senators this morning we started off the day -- this isn't getting talked about. the vote on the rules. for the trial and eleven senators republicans voted against the rules. negotiated by mitch mcconnell and approved by president trump's own lawyers. what you saw is a major portion of the republican caucus even more extreme procedurally than trumps lawyers are. that's what the house managers are up against. you're exactly right they don't really need to put on much of a good case. they can show up and read llama llama to the audience and can still win. it's a political matter.
what is the accountability going to be. in 2022 or beyond. for the senators for the votes they are casting. you're right. it's they didn't really need to make the strong a case, in a very rare proceeding, the jury has spoken. even prior to the any argument having been made. >> what is the downside for a republican who votes to acquit this president? >> it depends on what the long term ramifications are opt events of january 6. who the republican is and where the republican the state the republican represents. one of the things i think is worth remembering is there are people today, yesterday, tomorrow who are still being arrested wi the fbi for the involvement. sp major players involved in the events who are still at large and haven't been arrested and against the fbi and other law
enforcement officials are still building cases. there's more to be learned about what happened that day. and over time, i think the president's team runs risk of having this look worse over long term than it does now. and that may then have implications for the senators who chose to look the oh way at what trump did to cause january 6th to happen. that maybe something which poisons the well down the line. with the votes having been taken. >> what about the threat of criminal prosecution? after this. the doj is making their case. you have a lot of the people that they charge saying i went there because of trump. in a political context, that is i believe carries weight. in terms of the case they're making politically. if the doj tried to pursue this criminally, isn't trump in better position in criminal case than political? >> yes. he is in a petter position.
criminal case you have to prove criminal intent he criminally intended to have the violence. the rioting take place at the capitol. which is a higher bar than finding impeachment proceeding. people are very -- we live in a very criminal society. almost. people put things in terms of is it a crime or is it not? people put impeachment through this lens of is it a crime or is it not? it's a lower standard for impeachment. prosecutors wouldn't have to meet the same bar to find trump -- for his conduct. by any measure trump even if you don't use the word incite. they wouldn't have been at the capitol if it weren't for trump directing them to be there. he said january 6. be there be wild. he didn't call them off when they got there.
and a number of people at the scene of the crime were saying our president wants us here and there's one person quoted maybe in an article saying it's time for us to go home. the president wants us to go home. certainly for the standard of impeachment which is lower standard than criminal case, there's in doubt that any rational person looking at this can say the people were there because the president sent them. >> phil, they were at the stop the steal rally. which is inherently a lie. mcconnell said today -- i want to get the language right. that this is a vote of conscience. for republicans. first of all, where's his conscience? the only reason they had the delay issue is because of him. he asked to move the trial. democrats wanted to hold it before hoefs out of office. he said give it due time. he never said there was a propriority issue. in terms of a vote of conscience, it seems to open the door that you can vote against
the constitutionality of it and for the conviction of trump. likely? >> not terribly likely. it's clear the votes taken so far on the issue have been partisan. republicans are very wary of going against the base. and seen what happened for example when representative cheny opted to vote for impeachment and the blow back in wyoming. the instigated by trump and allies. it's probably unlikely there are people who are really sitting down and studying the law and coming to the determination the practice is unconstitutional and may still vote to convict trump. the fundamental issue is to be house impeachment managers really need to make a broad case in the same way they did with the first impeachment trial. which trump and republicans tried to make with the phone call of the ukraine. they are making this about the speech that trump gave.
the managers need to make the case broadly. it's not what this is about. it's about the broad of what trump had been doing and that will make it easier for republican ps to be able to potentially say actually that is a valid point. if we're looking at it as incitement at broader than that morning. maybe you might get people who peel away beyond who we expect to peel away. it's highly unlikely. this is a deeply partisan. it's political. it's not criminal assessing guilty. >> know in that room. you have republicans who never said in any strong way that any of the other things that trump said or asked for were wrong. now they would be saying they're wrong. that's tough to swallow. thank you, appreciate it.
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get a dozen double crunch shrimp for one dollar with any steak entrée. only at applebee's. donald trump demands fealty. from republicans. it means something that it's not loyalty. loyal it do for me i'll do for me. that's not the proposition. do for me or else. that comes complete with telling friendly senators what he wants them to say.
remember this is the man who during the insurrection instead of doing something to stop it, tried to contact republicans to delay the vote. all right. that tells you how he felt about what happens happening. what his doubt was. or not. we obtained talking points sent by trumps team calling itself the 45 office. they include the entire impeachment trial is unconstitutional. u.s. senate lacks jurisdiction over the president because he holds no public office to be removed. and limits the authority of the senate in cases of impeachment to removal from office. that's not completely true. but whatever. the constitution says the opposite. the senate shall have the seoul power it try all impeachments. the problem is, that it is not conditional. you see. for trumps argument and a lot of scholars make the argument.
for it to be beyond reproach, it would mean that the constitution the framers thought about these eventties and made different determinations. it is reasonable to believe they think about people quitting when you impeach them. it's happened. they had time to change it and never did. that's before you get to the fact that a bipartisan vote just blew this idea up. it's over. trump's team says what the democrats are really trying to do is change the u.s. constitution for the sole purpose of punishing one man. this is about political v vengeance. no. that's what the stop the sale rally was. the calls to the capitol. vengeance. that's what it was. that's why you didn't stop it. the law and order ex-president is nothing if not consistent for se seeing himself as a victim.
not the people dead. or the cops injured. these are special people who he loves that hurt and killed them. another talking point democrats aren't just putting trump on trial they are putting the first amendment on trial. the 45th president is protected by the fist amendment especially for political speech. very strong protection. nothing president trump said on january 6th was inciteful. let alone impeachable. in fact trump urged spupporters c to exercise rights peacefully. he told them to fight 20 times that morning. having a right to say something doesn't mean what you said is right and comes without consequence. that's exactly what impeachment is. consequence. political, non-criminal, non-statutory.
non-branden burg v ohio. consequence. plus the rioters themselves say they attacked the capitol because trump told them to and still support trump. how do we know? we have asked lawyers. remember. >> i refer to him as a cult leader. >> for people like jake, for millions of americans, they truly did hang on every word of their president. >> he's the commander in chief. telling them to fight and stand up for the country and do all these things. >> the only reason the people went to the capitol and storm it. was because trump demanded it ask asked for it and wanted it. >> those clients support the president today. they are not people looking to throw him under the bus. that's the point. how do you over come that? how? the people who did it say differently. there's the claim that compared
to the rhetoric we have seen radical democrats use the past year the president trump said was nothing. the president bares responsibility for the attack on congress by mob rioters. the president needs to understand that his actions were the problem. the mob was fed lines. provoked by the president. not my words. that was kevin mcar thi who said that. lindsey graham. mitch mcconnell said that. according to trump ts team, a true and actual time line of the capitol attack january 6 shows the bad actors who conducted the horrific activities planned plotted and initiated crimes before trump started speaking. if you limit it to one day. he had been saying things for weeks. which helped motivate the plan. multiple doj indictments of the rioters including those from some of the most dangerous oath keepers. proud boys. other crap shops.
so called bad actors came redid to attack because of trump spending weeks sp months telling them to. or an opportunity to exploit the an mouse for their own goals. democrats can't have it both ways. they can't both claim trumps january 6th speech was single responsible for the attack and saying political commentary from two months played a role. why not? the only people trying to focus on the january 6th speech are trumpers. here's the context of the single larly responsible line. >> it was only the bravery and sacrifice of the police who suffered death and injuries as a result of the president trump actions that prevented greater tragedy. at trial, we will prove with overwhelming evidence that president trump is single and
directly responsible for inciting the assault on the capitol. >> so, was tuesday's gop vote against the constitutionality of the impeachment? abuse of powerly about fealty to trump or senators maintaining power for themselves. let's take this loyalty question to anthony scaramucci. good to see you. appreciate yo. >> good morning. >> is your party dead? will you have a ross perot situation. where you back somebody else? >> the party is dying. it's on the hospital bed and hasn't gotten into intensive care. doctors are trying to figure out what to do. the one thing we learned in law school was the but for causation. plain and simple. but for donald trump, there's no violence at the capitol. if he accepts the free and fair election that took place
november 3. he graciously welcomes biden to the white house. we don't have the five people dead. we don't have the capitol wrecked. or the insurrection or threat of violence. >> he was the cause in fact? but for him it wouldn't have happened. what about the higher sense of scrutiny that doesn't necessarily apply to a political setting but for the sake of argument, do you believe he was also the proximate cause. it was forseeable. based on what he was saying he should have known it was reasonable to assume this might happen. >> there's no question about it. you can look through the tweets and the tweets that day. you can look at his actions during the insurrection. which obviously will come out with witness testimony. the fact he failed to call the national guard in at the appropriate time. after pleas from the governor. you can stop and look at the whole thing. we know he's the but for cause.
republicans senators that know that. they probably also went to law school. and they're not going to vote that. they won't vote conscience or uphold the oath to the constitution for reasons of political fear. they still fear him and fear they'll be primary and money spent against them. they're hoping to sweep this under the rug. guys like rubio. i'll vote to end the trial and nobody is getting a vaccine. you have the constitution of the united states under threat. put this guy lights out and convict him. to send a mezage to people how seriously we take democracy. it's more important than political moves. they're not going to do that. there's at least five to 8% of the republicans working right now. there was a session last week. there will be a session next week about breaking off from the
party. creating a new center right party. to weaken and effectively liquidate party. so, i think that has to happen unless they get their stuff together and start leading and start explains to the radical side of the party that what they're doing is un-american and we're not going to accept a form of violence as a result to disagreement over electoral process. >> can one of the men or women vote to acquit win back your heart? if they don't hold trump to account for what happened january 6, one of the worst days in history. can one of the men or women say i did the wrong thing. i'm still better you than the guys on the left. come home. >> i'm a christian. i believe in redemption and admitted my mistakes. this is actually a very big test. a crucible. not saying i wouldn't say hello
or forgive them. i don't think you can support them political this day forward. this would be the load star of the coward and un-american behavior to support trump. trump is the most un-american president that we have had in the modern era. he incited insurrection. he didn't accept the peaceful transfer of power. as a result of the electoral process. that's ha historic tradition back several centuries. to me, i think you can't support them politically. i wish them well and want them and families to do well. i don't see how you support someone politically if they don't see how important the vote it. there will be an acquittal. you're moving hearts and mind of the more than people and the majority of the american people know the truth. that is where the new coalition
lies for america. >> your party is 78 -- 19. >> the party is 30% of the registration. 30% -- 24% of the american people. that means 76% of the american people realize how wrong this is. and hopefully we can expand that. maybe get that over 80% and that's one of the purposes of this trial. >> you care tlhow trump feels about the trial? >> listen, i personally don't care: that's part of the theater and the drama. he's probably leaking to people. because he's trying to gin up the response and fire up the base. i get his personality. i don't care. i understand why it's being leaked how incensed he is. that will scare people like rubio and the guys that are just
basic cowards trying to keep a job. >> i appreciate you. thank you very much. >> senator rand paul. spent his time as a juror doodling on day one. during video of january 6th. he was a victim. of the attack on the democracy. so was the lead impeachment manager. who powerfully shared his account on the senate floor. something we should all listen to closely. next. i think the sketchy website i bought this turtle from stole all of my info. ooh, have you looked on the bright side? discover never holds you responsible for unauthorized purchases on your card. (giggling) that's my turtle. fraud protection. discover. something brighter. keeping your oysters business growing (giggling) has you swamped. turtle. you need to hire. i need indeed indeed you do. the moment you sponsor a job on indeed you get a shortlist of quality candidates from a resume data base claim your seventy-five-dollar credit
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was in office -- congress that day. the message was delivered in an extraordinary moment of emotion, passion, pain, by representative and lead impeachment manager, jamie raskin. let's take a moment and look at the unforgettable human sentiments. >> senators, to close i want to say something personal about the stakes of this decision. whether president trump can stand trial. and be held to account for inciting insurrection against us. this trial is personal indeed for every senator. for every member of the house. all the staff. every manager. the capitol police. the washington police. national guard. maintenance crews. the print journalists and tv people.
who were here. and all of our families and friends. i hope this trial remind america how personal democracy is. and how personal is the loss of democracy too. distinguished members of senate my youngest daughter was there with me on wednesday, january 6th. it was the day after we buried her brother. our son, tommy. the saddest day of our lives. also there was my son-in-law who is married to our oldest daughter. hannah. and i consider him a son too. even though he eloped with my daughter and didn't tell us what they were going to do. but it was in the middle of covid-19. the reason they came with me that wednesday january 6th was because they wanted to be
together with me in the middle of a devastating week for the family. i told them i had to go back to work because we were counting electoral votes that day. on january 6th. it was our constitutional duty. and i invited them instead to come with me to witness the historic event. peaceful transfer of power in america. and they said they heard that president trump was calling on followers to come to washington to protest and asked me directly would it be safe. would it be safe. i told them, of course it should be safe. this is the capitol. our majority leader had kindly offered the use of his office on the house floor because i was one of the managers that day. and we were going through our grief. so they were with me in the
office, as colleagues dropped by to console us about the loss of our middle child. tommy. beloved tommy. dozens of members, lots of republicans, lots of democrats, came to see me. and i felt a sense of being. lifted up from the agony. and i won't forget they tenderness. and through the tears i was working on a speech for the floor. when we would all be together in joint session. i wanted to focus on unity. when we met in the house. i quoted lincolns famous 1838 speech. when he said that if division and destruction ever come to
america, it won't come from abroad. it'll come from within. said lincoln. in that same speech lincoln passionately deplored mob violence. this is right after the murder of the abolitionist newspaper journalist. he deplored mob violence and mob rule and said it would lead to tyranny in america. that was the speech i gave that day. after the house very graciously and warmly welcomed me back. they came with me to the floor and watched it from the gallery. and it was when it was over, they went back to the office. off of the house floor. they didn't know the house had been breeched yet. and that an insurrection.
a riot. a coup had come to congress. by the time we learned about it, about what was going on, it was too late. i couldn't get out there to be with them. in that office. all around me people were calling their wives and husbands and loved ones to stay good-bye. members of congress in the house and removing their congressional pins so they wouldn't be identified by the mob. as they tried to escape the violence. our new chaplain said a prayer. we were told to put gas masks on and there was a sound i will never forget. the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram. the most haunting sound i ever heard and i will never forget it.
my chief of staff was with tab that and hank. locked and barricaded in the office. the kids hiding under the desk. placing what they thought were their final texts and whispered phone calls to say good-bye. they thought they were going to die. my son-in-law had never been to the capitol before. when they were finally rescued, over an hour later. by capitol officers. and we were together. i hugged them and i apologized and i told my daughter, who is 24 and a brilliant teacher. and teach for america. now, i told her how sorry i was. and i promised her that it would not be like this again the next time she kale back to the
capitol with me. 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 hit me the hardest. that and watching someone use an american flag pole with the flag still on it, to spear and pummel one of our police officers ruthlessly. mercilessly. tortured by a pole. with a flag on it. that he was defending. with his very life. people died that day. officers ended up with head damage and brain damage. people's eyes were gouged. officer had a heart attack, lost
three fingers that day. two officers have taken their own lives. senators this cannot be our future. this cannot be the future of america. we cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government. and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people. we can't create a new january exception. in the constitution. that prior generations have died for and fought for. so the corrupt presidents have several weeks to get away with whatever it is they want to do. history doesn't support a january exception in any way. so why would we invent one for
the future? we close, mr. president. reserve our tichlt -- time. >> why was his message so res nant? is it sad he lost his son, certainly. and that he was so vivid and emotional and poignant. in his of what happened that day. no. he was eloquent. it's painful. i feel for him and his family about what happened with his son. i hope that my son is half of what he was. and the loss is so terrible.
but i think the power of it that behave forgotten goes to one word, three letter question. that really defines all the confusion right now. all the division. why? why do we do this? why do we endure? why are you a senator? why are you in congress? why do you feel the way you do when you listen to jamie raskin. it touches your heart. and remind you of your interconnectedness. there's a deeper connection. or is there not? i think that is the scariest proposition about this week. we know what's going to happen in all likelihood the question is why?
it will happen. what that says about us. this is not just another moment in political history. it's not a bitter election where the battle of ideas is has gotten off. it's not that. they came to kill the people in the capitol. and they were us. what does that mean? about what we are about in this country. let's take a break. we'll come back and discuss what we will see on wednesday. of the trump trial. ok for when you trade? i want free access to research. yep, td ameritrade's got that. free access to every platform. yeah, that too. i want to know what i'm paying upfront. yes, absolutely. now offering zero commissions on online trades.
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fright of white fright but whether be in mobilization of the portion -- -- if they are not the majority it is being stolen. i still think the most important word that's he said, not only wednesday but earlier was this is our country. and they are trying to take it away from us through fraud and stealing. and that ultimately produced the insurrection and riot. >> let me ask you, based on the
position as it stands right now, they acquit, then what? aren't they tied to trump and what he wants this party to look like in the mid-terms into 2024 because the fear is far from the right he can pull the string on that whenever he wants. >> think i lost you. >> you can't hear me now? ron? >> i feel like we're talking past each other. >> want me to take a break and we'll come back to ron on the other side. that's a little conversation with myself. >> chris? >> i hear you now ron, do you hear me? no. all right. let's go to break. seriously. stomized my car insur, so i only pay for what i need. what a great day! what an ok day. what a messed up- only pay for what you need.
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my brothers and sisters we will not be deterred we have the professor ron brownstien back, sorry. >> no worries. >> we were at the discussion if they vote to acquit what's it say about the party and where it is headed. >> i mean, look, it's not happening in a vacuum. republicans in the house chose not to sanction marjorie taylor greene equating moral equivalence to her offense and that of liz cheney seeing the party censor those republicans that took any step against them. we have ties to the party in michigan and militia there and an arizona state republican, in cessationence, theretoening violence when the state didn't
sanction mara copa county over the election. in all these ways you have to wonder whether the party is going to pull out of this direction. a wave in states of bills in republican-controlled states to make it tougher to vote based on trump's discredited claim of fraud and likelihood of new wave of geri mand -- gerrymander in places like georgia and texas demographic away, in most of the history whites without degree sore white christian big part of the population and now 40% of the population and appeal to trump's racial anxiety if smo they are open to the appeals 48% of the population today what make you think it will be the
same with 25 in 2024. so i worry we have leadership that zplisittedly tries to pull out of this nose dive i think 20's will be most difficult for america since 1850's. >> but the threat from the right, if you don't appease the base and lose in the primary, how real is that in how many places? >> it's real. that is real. here's the conondrum republicans are in, there's a brand new poll out from cbs three-quarters republicans basically still support trump and think he did nothing wrong and think the election was stolen and think he is within his rights and don't blame him for january 6th. but sometimes up to 30% of the party do reject to the way republicans have been handling themselves since the election. for and while the balance of
power makes it tough to stand up within the party if even a portion of the 20 to 25% pull away from the g.o.p. because they think it is tolerating and coddling, that's the result. >> i got to jump, ron, thank you for bearing we me. thank all of you for bearing with me on this historic night. news continues on cnn. >> good evening. end of the historic day in washington first day of second impeachment trial and first in crime scene where five were killed mand more suffered injuries. today where democracy was tested like it hasn't been since the civil war democratic house manager cited consve