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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  February 11, 2021 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

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stay with cnn for complete coverage of the second impeachment trial of donald trump. i'll be back tomorrow 11:00 a.m. eastern to bring argument by the trump defense team. thanks very much for watching. erin burnett out front starts right now. xxxx out front next, the breaking news, republican senators who are jurors in trump's impeachment trial, meeting privately with trump's lawyers to talk strategy. how do they possibly explain that? plus more breaking news. trump was much sicker with coronavirus than he and his doctors admitted, even under a lot of questioning. his condition was so concerning that he was almost on a ventilator. and new details on how sick melania trump actually was. the department of justice says oath keepers waited for trump's
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direction before taking part in the capitol riot. let's get out front. good evening, i'm erin burnett. out front tonight, the breaking news, trump's defense team hours before they make their case in the impeachment trial met privately with key republican senators tonight. remember, these republicans, and they do include exactly who you may think they would include, lindsey graham, ted cruz and mike lee, are jurors in the case. they took an oath. they took an oath to be impartial jurors. senator cruz is not even trying to cover for himself. he said the meeting was held to discuss strategy for tomorrow. i mean, just imagine jurors sworn to judge a case meeting with the defense lawyers to talk strategy. i it's a mockery of the process. trump attorney david schoen was asked by manu raju was asked if the meeting was out of line. he said, quote, that's the practice of impeachment. there is not anything about the semblance of due process whatsoever. so let's just be clear again here. they did take an oath. some republican senators, these jurors, sworn to impartiality in
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the impeachment trial are helping the trump defense team with strategy in broad daylight. they used their identfinal day arguments to warn trump remains a danger unless he is convicted. jeff zeleny is out front live on capitol hill. jeff, what are you learning about this meeting tonight to help with strategy, as ted cruz said, between cruz and other republican senators and the trump legal team? >> reporter: erin, we do know the trump's legal team is putting the finishing touches on its presentation tomorrow. as you said with the help of three republican lawyers, three republican senators in this case three republican jurors. now, this really highlights everything you need to know about this process. it is political indeed. this certainly is not necessarily unique to this case. that's what impeachments are. but usually it's not so blatant. in this case behind closed doors, just hours, really just minutes after the house prosecutor spent hours on their case, these republican lawyers
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went in and spent some time with the trump legal team. erin, the reason they are doing that is, you'll remember the lackluster performance, to put it mildly, at the beginning of the week that angered the president and worried republicans. that's what they are trying to avoid tomorrow. now, all this came after a third day of dramatic testimony here as house impeachment managers told senators the president has no lack of remorse and urged them to use their common sense. >> senators, america, we need to exercise our common sense about what happened. >> reporter: the house impeachment team rested its case tonight, urging senators to hold president trump responsible for repeatedly misleading his followers and inviting them to the capitol in a last-ditch effort to stop the election from being certified. >> he knew they were coming. he brought them here. and he welcomed them with open arms. >> reporter: on their final day of arguments, the prosecutors zeroed in on the former president's own words and actions, saying he showed no remorse, and must be held
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responsible for his conduct. >> you don't have to take my word for it that the insurrectionists acted at donald trump's direction. they said so. >> we win fighting here, the president of the united states. >> reporter: congresswoman wanted the impeachment managers seized upon the stories of rioter after another who said they breached the capitol at trump's direction. >> let's call trump, yes! dude, dude, let's tell trump what's done. >> he'll be very upset. >> he'll be like -- no, just say we love him. we love you, bro. no, he'll be happy, what do you mean? we're fighting for trump. >> i thought i was following my president. i thought i was following what we were called to do. >> all these people who have been arrested and charged, they are being held accountable for their actions. their leader, the man who incited them, must be held accountable as well.
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>> reporter: the big lie that the election was rigged and stolen from trump is also on trial. and prosecutors say the senate has the power to stop it from happening again. >> you know, i'm not afraid of donald trump running again in four years. i'm afraid he's going to run again and lose, because he can do this again. >> reporter: one day after horrific sights and harrowing attacks filled the senate chamber -- >> we love the line, we've lost the line. all p.d. stand back, we've lost the line. >> reporter: convicting the president still remains a remarkably high bar, with 17 republicans needed to join all democrats in finding trump guilty. republican senator bill cassidy of louisiana who voted with democrats on the constitutionality issue said trump's lawyers must address the president's false assertions about a rigged election. >> when the point was made, people felt as if they had no recourse because their vote was being stolen.
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well, the president built that story, so how do you defend that, how do you describe that? >> so that is just one of the many questions that at least this senator, this juror wants to hear from the president's lawyers. now, senator cassidy said he would not decide how he intents to vote in the end until he hears the trump legal case. but, erin, interestingly as these proceedings were unfolding this afternoon, several empty chairs, more than a dozen empty chairs for a big portion of the afternoon on the republican side of the chamber. now, we don't know necessarily if they're watching it elsewhere, but clearly not paying as close of attention as yesterday. erin, there is a sense here we know where this is going. republicans are moved by the proceedings, but say they're simply probably not going to vote to convict. erin? >> all right, thank you very much, jeff. and i want to go to jim accosta in west palm beach, florida, near former president trump's home. jim, what are you learning about the trump's team strategy going into tomorrow? obviously they would have a lot more time available to them than it seems that they will avail themselves of.
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>> reporter: i don't think they're going to take all of that time available to them, erin. i talked to buce castor, one of the impeachment team lawyers with the former president earlier today. and he said that they were cutting their presentation to shorten the amount of time that they're going to take when they make their presentation to the senate tomorrow. but at the same time, castor was saying they still feel very confident the former president is going to be acquitted in all of this. in terms of the case they're going to make, it sort of falls in three different parts. one is they are going to try to accuse some of the house democratic impeachment managers of hypocrisy, pointing out times when they've used rhetoric language like "fight like hell" to say they, too, are guilty of using heated rhetoric. there is no equivalence. there isn't an insurrection that follows like when the president engaged in that heated rhetoric on january 6th. in addition to that, erin, i think you are also going to see -- and they signalled some of this earlier today, the
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president's lawyers, former president's lawyers, just because the president was using words like "fight like hell" and you can't change minds by showing weakness, you have to show strength, that that was not a direct incitement, that you can't draw a line from the president's words to the actions that took place when those rioters stormed the capitol. and then finally, erin, the third thing that we should get into is that -- and i talked to a source close to the president earlier this evening about this. i think one of the big questions tomorrow is whether or not these lawyers weigh into this big lie that the president has been telling for weeks, that this election was stolen from him. you know, they did wade into some of that territory earlier this week when they had that disastrous performance. i talked to a source close to the president. they said, listen, donald trump still believes this big lie. he is going to want to hear his lawyers talk about how this election was stolen from him and the source said to me, erin, he said that donald trump will believe this for the rest of his
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life. he will never stop believing that the election was stolen from him. it just goes to show you, you know, what these republican senators are up against tomorrow. they are facing the prospect of acquitting this president and essentially going along with this big lie. >> all right, thank you very much, jim. and i want to go now to the second highest ranking democrat in the senate, the majority whip dick durbin who is chair of the senate judiciary committee. i appreciate your time. i want to ask about your colleagues lindsey graham, mike lee and ted cruz all three lawyers, met tonight with trump's attorneys. ted cruz didn't try to hide it, he said he was talking strategy with them. all three swore to be impartial jurors in this trial. what's your response to this? >> i'd like to say two things. first, i don't know of any of my democratic colleagues that have done the same. there's been some informal conversations after the end of the hearing each day, but they are informal and really don't talk strategy. we don't have to. the house managers' team has
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done an extraordinarily good job. that's the second point i want to make. the reason why these three republican senators are meeting with the attorney for the president is because they're worried, and they should be. in these two days, the house managers have put together a powerful case against this president. they have a mountain of videotape to back up what they say. countless tweets, all sorts of information that really is not in the best interest of the president. so i imagine they're pretty desperate to come up with a good defense strategy. >> senator, the oath that you took as did senator cruz, who says he is an ardent believer in the constitution and lindsey graham as well unlikely, the oath you all took is this. you swore, i solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the impeachment of donald j. trump now pending, i will do impartial justice according to the constitution and lawes, so help me god. that's an oath, right? you all swore it.
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obviously they are not -- they are not being true to that. but do you get the sense that any of your republican colleagues are really watching this with an open mind? >> i really don't want to characterize their motives or their mind-set. it is an exceptional situation that we are facing. but i will tell you this. we are in a predicament here where we have to make a decision, and most importantly -- it isn't just about this president. it's about the office of the president, and whether or not we will accept a crowd that invades the capitol, looting, vandalizing, violence, even murder and accept that as part of a routine reaction to an election. >> so the legal team obviously, with the help of senator cruz, who i'm sure and graham are doing everything they can to have this not be a repeat of what we saw a few days ago. your colleague senator cramer came on and said how he intends to vote.
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he was clear the democrats did a far superior team than the trump team. all agreed on this. cruz is trying to save this from happening again. a source is telling our jim accosta they are not going to use their full time. they may only use three hours. what do you make of that? >> well, i can understand that. when it comes right down to it, so far in this proceeding, the house managers have had the facts and the law on their side. so i'm not sure what the defense has in mind for the president. they're probably at this point dreaming up some new defense theory that they can come up with to try to absolve this president from the situation. but the american people know what happened. all of us sitting in the room know what happened. we were eyewitnesses to this terrible spectacle. we're sitting in a crime scene. the senate chamber that was invaded by the terrorists. so this is not some distant idea that we have to have constructed for us. we saw a lot of it. we saw enough of it to say that this was reprehensible, the united states should be
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embarrassed, and those responsible should be held accountable. some are under criminal charges. the president should be held accountable for his conduct. >> senator durbin, i appreciate your time and i thank you very much. >> thank you, too. >> all right. i want to go now to john dean who served as president nixon's white house counsel and our own nia malika henderson. you heard them talking about this. trump's team may make this short, as short as three hours. you don't need for the defense they have, which is they shouldn't be having the conversation to begin with. let's not talk about what happened. we shouldn't be talking about it. is it a good strategy for them to go as short as they possibly can? >> it probably is since they clearly have 44 votes. they don't want to lose any votes. and i'm sure that's one of the things that ted cruz and mike lee and lindsey graham are trying to tell these lawyers where to focus and what not to do and how to do it. two of those men are very
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skilled lawyers, cruz and lee. graham not so much, but anyway, i think that will help guide them, and i think three hours is probably enough for them to dodge and get out. >> so, nia, trump's team we do know they were scrambling to put in video, right? now we understand that some of the video we may see as democratic leaders as jim was saying, "fight like hell." they have a video of chuck schumer referring to supreme court justices saying, quote, i want to tell you s, gorsuch, price, you won't know what hit you if you go forward with these decisions. they're trying to equate these things. they don't equate. the question is is this enough for republicans to stick by their plan and acquit trump? >> yes. anything they put up there is essentially going to be enough for these republicans who, remember, are already decided this procedure shouldn't happen because they think it's unconstitutional. i imagine if you were ted cruz and you're mike lee and you're
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lindsey graham, you essentially want today tell those two lawyers, don't stink up the joint in the way that they did before. they were awful. by all accounts, republicans were embarrassed they put on such a poor opening statement. i imagine that was what was partly the goal there in the meeting that those folks had. but, listen, we know what democrats are going to do. we know what kind of case they put on, and we know what republicans are going to be prepared to do. i think the big question is maybe they get a 7th -- does the 6th still hold? does cassidy vote to convict? or does what he hears tomorrow put him on the other side. >> right. and, of course, we did, we did -- over the past few days we've seen some emotion, right? senator langford emotional comforted by another republican senator. we saw a lot of emotion from republicans. there are questions out there, i suppose, john. but this meeting that's happening tonight, look, we all
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understand that there were many republicans who weren't going to be impartial. they already made that clear. they weren't even bothering to be at their desks. they were playing with maps, et cetera, et cetera. i do just wonder whether you think it crosses a line to openly meet and discuss strategy as senator cruz said he did. when he took an oath to do impartial justice according to the constitution, ted cruz who talks when that thing every day, and laws, so help me god. does that cross a line, john? >> not only they give the oath orally, they signed a book saying they were committed to the oath. so it is blatant, and i'm sure it's happened in the past with other impeachments. it is a very sort of quasi-judicial situation, so there's more flexibility. but this is pretty blatant. and i think what they're worried ab about, as senator durbin said, they're in trouble and they need somebody in there to help them, to make sure the mistakes that were made on the opening day
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don't happen again. and these people are going to exonerate an insurrectionist. they need some cover. and they're hoping these lawyers can help provide that cover. so i'm sure that's what they're being told, is how to design some cover for the republicans. >> nia, i think it is significant. it's not like they were caught trying to do this on the sly. >> right. >> they're admitting to it. ted cruz is, yeah, we're talking strategy. they want people to know. >> they want people to know. they want to be in donald trump's, you know, fan boy club, the sort of number one fan boy to donald trump's followers as well. so they are being very open about it. you know, openly disdainful about this whole process, people doodling while the proceedings are going on, as you said. that has been their whole approach to this. we'll see what comes out of this if their presentation tomorrow is any good. three hours, i think, is perfect for the attention span of donald trump. they may want to cut it to 90
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minutes because he is not someone who is known to have a long attention span. so we'll see. but listen, i think the republicans are going to hear ideally for them a case that is credible enough for them to be able to feel like they can vote to convict this or acquit this president or the former president, which is what they -- >> we'll all be watching. there will be so much curiosity, to your point. do you even keep cassidy in your group? do you pick up one or two who choose to go with a true vote of conscience as mitch mcconnell has made it clear this will be? all these questions. all right, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> next a former trump administration official saying, quote, if these managers can't convince you, you are not listening. so, are any more republican senators listening? that is the crucial question. and breaking news, we are learning trump and melania trump were much, much sicker with covid than previously known. the president was so sick he was about to be put on a ventilator. and we were all lied to about
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constitutionality of the impeachment earlier this week. >> the president continued to say the election was stolen. well, the president built that story. so how do you defend that, how do you describe that? because again, people will still be telling me that dominion rigged the machines. >> people are still telling him that. it did not happen. it is a lie. and the perpetrator of that lie was president trump. manu raju is out front. manu, you spoke to several republican senators after today's hearing including obviously cassidy who is going to be crucial here. what are they all telling you? >> reporter: well, cassidy is one who may vote to convict donald trump. he would not say one way or the other where he was leaning. he did say that your mind is made up until you hear the other side. he seems persuaded by the prosecution's argument, but he still wants to hear the other side of the equation here. the question is will there be more than six republican senators who will break ranks. at the moment, erin, i surveyed
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republican senators from the most conservative to the most moderate, and there just really aren't that many who are willing to break ranks. the vast majority of them are still siding over the concerns they have raised days and days there is no role for the senate to try a former president. what is also consistent today in talking to a number of republicans, including the republicans in the leadership like senator john cornyn, they praised the house democratic performance. cornyn himself indicated it was -- they set a high standard for the trump legal team to meet when they argue tomorrow. and that is much different than the message from republicans after the 2020 impeachment trial in which they sharply criticized the democratic performance for the most part. here they are praising what the impeachment team has laid out. but they are signalling because of their process concerns, they are going to acquit, and one reason, of course, also could be the backlash they could get from
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the base if they were to break ranks. also, erin, it's clear that some republicans are simply not comfortable with donald trump at this moment. one senator tommy it upperville who is an alabama republican, a freshman who won his race thanks to donald trump's role in his race, told me he would not say one way or the other if he would back donald trump running for reelection again. he called it a hypothetical. he said in the middle of a trial i don't want to get into that question right now, but i did ask him if he regrets personally voting to throw out the electoral results in two states after the riot happened january 6. he said, just like i was when i was a football coach, i'm going to own it and not look back. erin? >> all right, thank you very much, manu. i want to go now to bill crystal, editor at large of the bulwark and director of the anti-trump group defending democracy together. and the senate minority leader mitch mcconnell. let me start, bill, with you. my friend jamie spoke with a former trump administration
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official who said, quote, if this isn't an impeachable offense, what is? okay, if these managers can't convince you, you are not listening or you don't want to listen. i know you agree. do you think more republican senators will, too? >> you know, i think there are some who have been pretty quiet so far who know that he deserves to be convicted, who don't buy the jurisdictional argument that he's not eligible to be tried or convicted because he is now an ex-president. he was impeached while he was a president. the question is whether they will have the nerve to do what they do know is right. i think a ton of that -- a lot of that depends on mitch mcconnell. based on what he said on the floor of the senate, was it on january 7th? i can't remember. believes that donald trump is responsible for what happened. >> yep. >> he spent two months building the case for it. he incited the riot, and he did nothing.
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he did nothing as it was happening, when he could easily have tried to call it off and to tamp it down. so i think if mcconnell is willing to vote yes, i think you can get a bunch of others, not the famous ones, not the ones who run cnn, the jim inhoffs, dakota and north dakota. quiet senators andence institutionalists who are close to mcconnell. >> he did say with passion that he held trump responsible and that trump built this up for months. right? not just the day of the insurrection, but the months before. with the great lie. and he has signalled that he's still open to convicting trump. you know him very well. do you think it is still possible that he would convict? >> i do, because he has said on the record publicly that he's undecided, that he's going to listen to all the evidence and that he's going to make a decision. i think he's keeping very close counsel here and by close, i mean he's keeping it to himself. and so i think anybody out there telling you they know what he's
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going to do isn't telling the truth because i truly believe he is waiting to hear all the evidence before he makes up his mind. i'd also just say that whether he convicts or doesn't convict, i do think it could be overblown how many people he could bring with him. i've seen it reported that he said this is a vote of conscience. i do think the vote on the constitutionality of the thing is fairly indicative of where people are going to land. i don't personally agree with it, but it was a passable enough off ramp to give people a way out of this without having to make the hard vote. i will also finally just wrap up, erin, and say i think if it were a secret ballot he'd get convicted 90/10. that's not the world we live in. >> 90-10, graham, lee and cruz are meeting with the defense trump team tonight, bill. can i talk to you for a second about ted cruz? this is a guy who knows a lot of constitution, really smart guy, went to harvard. he talks about how he's a
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constitutional guy every day of the week. he voted against this trial. he said it was not constitutional because he cares so much about the constitution, and he has talked about it all the time. here he is just one time. >> as we defend our constitution, as we defend our freedom, and question will not go quietly into the night. we will defend liberty. into the future. and we are going to win. [ cheers and applause ] >> so that was in january. the passionate constitutionalist ted cruz. he swore an oath this week saying, i solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the impeachment of donald j. trump i will do impartial justice. he violated that oath by meeting with the trump defense team, he says, helping them with strategy. what do you say to ted cruz? >> you know, i probably can't say it here on cnn, not suitable
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for family viewing. scott told the truth. i mean, if it were a secret vote, it would be overwhelmingly to convict. what does that say? scott knows the implications of that. what does it say? they swore an oath. they signed a book with an oath in it. and now people, gee, if they actually did what they believe is right, they would convict. they are violating their oath, not just in meeting with the trump team, but in the way they are handling themselves entirely in this trial, the kind of disdain for the whole process. it's so bad for the country really the way cruz and lindsey graham, hawley, rand paul are behaving. if people want to keep their counsel and look for that off ramp that scott mentioned, in terms of the jurisdictional question -- i don't like it, but i think you can live with that. reluctant anger, dignified, i'm sorry, i can't go there. but just do it, to have contempt for the whole process is really a terrible thing. it diminishes what happened on
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january 6, and i really just am kind of shocked by it still. we've seen enough of this over the last couple years. >> what i find shocking about the thing of ted cruz is that he just -- he doesn't care that it's just so blatant and ugly for everyone to see. he doesn't -- a moment like we just played and explained does not shame him. and it should. it should if he's somebody who cares about the things he says he cares about. scott, a lot of the evidence has been directed to republicans in the room who are listening. i don't know how james lankford will vote. he's been emotional, others have as well. what democrats did to appeal to republicans was play a monday taj of republican governors very clearly saying, donald j. trump was responsible for the insurrection. here's what they played today. >> people have to be held accountable and, yes, that includes the president. >> remember that they were the culmination of months of president trump repeating over and over again that the american electoral system is a fraud. >> president trump's continued
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refusal to accept the election results without producing credible evidence of a rigged election have started to fire to threaten 0 to burn down our democra democracy. >> it's clear to me president trump has abandoned the sacred oath. >> the fact these flames of insurrection were lit by the president of the united states will be remembered as one of the darkest chapters in our nation's history. >> so, scott, they also played former trump officials, his chief of staff -- prior chief of staff, sorry, defense secretary. does this move any of the republicans watching? >> i think it's all very moving and i think it's a much smarter strategy than they employed in the first impeachment. the first time around it was a partisan exercise. this time they learned their lesson. they're saying to republicans, look, if you want to go down this road there are many people
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who agree with you. i don't know how many will vote to convict this president. i will say this. i think the house manager with the inclusion in the republican voices and the way they laid out the evidence, even if they don't convict him in the senate, they have certainly convicted him in the hearts and minds of the american people. his job approval was already pretty bad when he left office. it's going to be even lower now. and even if they never bar him from running again, i find because of what they've done, i find it inconceivable that he could ever get close to winning the presidency. it doesn't necessarily mean he couldn't win the republican nomination which would be a disaster for the party. >> i thank you vote very much. next, we have breaking news. we have new details about trump's condition when he had the coronavirus. and this matters, right? because he was the sitting president. we all had a president who never, ever gave his responsibilities to mike pence, and we are finding out he was so dire he almost went on a ventilator. and why isn't there a plan yet to call witnesses in the impeachment trial? the lead manager for trump's first impeachment trial congressman adam schiff is out front.
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you can shop the latest phones, bring your own device, or trade in for extra savings. stop in or book an appointment to shop safely with peace of mind at your local xfinity store. breaking news. former president donald trump
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was much sicker with coronavirus than we ever knew. than he admitted or his doctors admitted, despite holding press conferences to tell us the truth. this is a stunning report first coming out in "the new york times," confirmed by cnn. trump was so sick, doctors considered placing him on a ventilator, right, be intubated, not conscious. the times also reporting that his blood oxygen level fell into the low 80s, extremely concerning since a level in the low 90s means the virus is severe. this is all just hours before we saw trump walk out of the white house to take the helicopter to walter reed. a trip mr. trump refused to take until they convinced him to walk out on his own or be removed on a stretcher. cnn learned tonight it was a long time for melania trump to recover from the virus. she got sick. it wasn't she's a little under the weather. no, she was really sick, and she took over the counter pain
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relievers, but it took her a long time to get better. one of the times reporters who broke the story, mark, i'm really glad to talk to you. this is not what we were told at the time, and we all remember that saturday morning press conference, right, when it was oh, everything's okay, plenty of oxygen. the sitting president of the united states, they were thinking about putting him on a ventilator, right? i mean, he wouldn't have been able to then continue with his duties as president. and they were not honest about this at all. what else can you tell us? >> yeah, recall how difficult it was to get any information during that period of time of a few days where the announcement was made that president had indeed had covid-19. but the severity was, of course, in question. and we're learning that the doctors -- how much they under played the severity of the condition. he had a lung condition -- it's sort of associated with ainu moan i can't. he had his blood oxygen level, as you said, was in the 80s, which is a sign of a very severe
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form of the disease. and there was great concern, as you said, that inside the white house that he might, in fact, have to go on a ventilator. another thing reporting in our story is the sort of frantic effort that went on to get him approved for one of these experimental drugs that we now know he took, which was made by regeneron, where deputy white house counsel calls the fda the night before he goes into the hospital to sort of get this approval. the fda commissioner at the time didn't know it was for the president. so it turns out it was for both the president and the first lady. >> wow. so this is your reporting, mark. so just to be clear, you know, this isn't -- this is the president of the united states, right, who did not at any point hand his duties to mike pence, right? acted like everything was fine, it was no big deal. i went in as a precaution. and his doctor, dr. connelly, was telling the public sunday, october 4th, two days after he was taken to the hospital,
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walter reed, this is what they were telling us. >> what do the x-rays and c.t. scans show? are there signs of pneumonia? are there signs of lung involvement? were any damage to the lungs? >> yes, we're tracking all of that. there are some expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern. i'm sorry? >> i want to ask did his oxygen level ever dip below 90? >> we don't have any recordings here of that, that's right. >> what about if he white house here, below 90 to follow-up on our question? >> it was 94%. not in the 80s. >> just to be clear, what about at the white house here, anything below 90? no. that was a lie. >> right. he ends up on this range where he says, it was below 94, but nothing in the low 80s. well, what we're reporting today
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was that it was in the 80s. we have it reported it was in the low 80s. but clearly any reading that is in the 80s even if it's in the high 80s is a very, very concerning reading. and dr. connelly, you know, did not give all the information in that press conference as we now know. >> so, stay with me, mark. i want to bring in dr. jonathan reiner. our viewers know from the george w. bush white house. you've been in situations where you're dealing with the public, dr. reiner, and you worked with vice president cheney. what do you make of this, though, under direct questioning asked, did it go below 90, and the doctor said no. also, of course, dodging on lung damage, oxygen level, all of these things. is this -- is there anything that would make this okay? >> no. we are medical doctors. we are not spin doctors. you know, in my years with the
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bush/cheney white house, and as an adviser to the white house medical unit in the obama administration, never in any of my years have i ever been told what i could or could not say. and our team always strictly went by the motto that everything we said had to be the truth. and it had to be the spirit of the truth as well. doctors need to be truth tellers, and we were not told the truth. >> no. >> the president of the united states appears to have been very close to needing to be put on a ventilator. and a septegenarian, obese, we were never told that. >> dr. reiner, you know, when trump came out, not only did we not hear the truth at the time about the sitting president of the united states, but then they continued this cover up. here's some of what we heard when the president came back to
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the white house. >> one thing that's for certain, don't let it dominate you. don't be afraid of it. you're going to beat it. two days ago i felt great, better than i have in a long time. i said just recently, better than 20 years ago. now i'm better and maybe i'm immune. i don't know. but don't let it dominate your lives. get out there. >> this is a guy who you just said if he had gone on a ventilator and hadn't been the president, hadn't gotten all that special treatment would have likely died. but that's what he came out and told us when he came back. when he came back that night, you were on with me. we watched it live. we were on tv live when he came back on the helicopter. and he walked up those stairs, and you said he appeared to be gasping and having trouble breathing and that he didn't look well. it now turns out you were right. >> right, he was obviously sick. and he was lucky -- he was lucky to be alive. probably the decxamethasone savd
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his life. what he should have done was, wow, this has shown me the best way to prevent this illness is to wear a mask. don't mess around with this. this can kill you. instead he tried to play superman, and he tried to basically say, this is no big deal. don't let this beat you. what he should have said was, don't let this virus infect you. another missed opportunity. >> and, of course, we just saw that moment. i will never forget we were sitting here when he took that mask off. thank you for that reporting. >> thank you. >> next trump's lawyers dismissing the video used against the former president. >> this is what you get when you have -- when you bring in a movie company. >> plus the justice department drawing a direct link between one of the alleged rioters and donald trump's rhetoric. if she can retire sooner,rls
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former president trump wants to see more lawyers on tv defending him. a source familiar with his thinking tells cnn. it comes as his impeachment lawyer david schoen left during the middle of today's impeachment trial to do a television interview where he dismissed everything that we've seen over the past two days.
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>> this is what you get when you have -- when you bring in a movie company and hire a large law firm to make a professional product that takes things out of context and presents it as an entertainment package. what i said from the start is this isn't a blood sport. it's not about >> out front now, democratic congressman adam schiff of california who is the lead impeachment manager for donald trump's first impeachment trial. congressman schiff, the facts are the facts. and everybody knows what they are. you either believe they're impeachable or not. but the facts are that president trump peddled a lie and his lie was why the people went to the capitol that day. so what do you say to schoen, who's now going to be making his argument to the senate tomorrow? >> he'd better have a better argument than that. when the facts are against you as they are and they're so overwhelming. the house managers presented a really compelling case. then you don't want to talk about the facts and you attack the other side for the delivery of their presentation.
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but i don't think even the republican senators would suggest that they found that presentation somehow to be entertainment. i think that in itself is degrading the seriousness of what the senators saw. and they were shocked, and they should be shocked. i was there, and i was shocked to see a lot of that footage. so i think the senators take it very seriously. i know the managers do. and defense counsel would be wise to take it seriously himself. >> so let me ask you, our legal analyst ross garber has been saying trump's lawyers -- the president -- they haven't yet argued, the impeachment managers, that president trump intended for the violence to happen by inciting an insurrection. that's the point that he's sort of making. obviously, the fact that the rioters were there to begin with was because of the lie that trump peddled. all of that clearly has been proven. but he's saying on that specific point that they haven't made the case that trump intended for the violence to happen by inciting the insurrection. do you agree with that? >> no, i don't agree with that.
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and i think the managers showed abundant evidence that the president knew exactly what he was doing, that he didn't pick that day at random. that was the last chance he had to stop the certification of the results. and when he told them to go to the capitol, when he told them that they needed to fight like hell, what was the point of that? how was that going to stop the steal, so to speak, unless they used violence to interrupt the counting of those votes? so he knew exactly what he was doing. and if you had any question about it, that tweet that he put out at 6:00 that night when people lay dead because of his incitement, this is what you get, these are the things that happen and the events that happen, he said, when you take away a landslide victory like this. and so he knew exactly what was going to happen. he was indeed gleeful about it. and it was eminently foreseeable and i think willful. >> it's interesting that you say, he did say these are the things that happen when it was
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all done and people were dead. that is how he responded. and it is a good point that you make, right? that how else did he think they were going to overturn it? they weren't just going to do that by standing outside. so let me ask you this. another thing that could be incredibly powerful here would be witnesses. now, some of them certainly wouldn't want to appear. that could be crucial. but it could be very important. it doesn't appear that there are going to be any witnesses at this trial. obviously, you didn't bring witnesses in the impeachment you that led. how can the democrats make the argument that you shouldn't hear from capitol police officer eugene goodman, someone like him? >> we urged we be allowed to present the case we want best and we wanted witnesses and the senators didn't allow it. here the house managers believe that the most powerful case they could make was the one that they just did, and they didn't need to have live witnesses. and i think that the evidence was so overwhelming that they
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presented that they made the case without adding the additional uncertainty of bringing people in who are always going to be inherently unpredictable. they made a compelling case. if the defense chooses not to call witnesses, that's their decision as well. but it's a strategic decision, and i have to say i think jamie raskin and the managers have made all the right calls. >> all right. well, congressman, i appreciate your time. thank you. >> thank you. and next, prosecutors now allege a leader in the oath keepers was awaiting direction from president trump. and we have the new details on that this hour.
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& free premium delivery when you add a base. ends monday. tonight, as former president trump's attorneys prepare to argue that there isn't a link between trump and the capitol hill riot the justice department is drawing a link between trump's words and one of the alleged rioter's actions. in court documents prosecutors allege that jessica watkins, a leader in the oath keepers paramilitary group, was "awaiting direction from president trump" and that she had "trained and plotted for a moment like this." our senior justice correspondent evan perez is out front. and evan, this seems to be the most direct language yet from the justice department which directly links trump's rhetoric to an alleged rioter's activities. so what have prosecutors learned to make this link? >> reporter: it is. it is the most direct language that prosecutors are drawing between what the rioters are saying and what they were talking about and what the president was egging them on to
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do. this isn in the case of jessica watkins. she's a leader in this oath keepers militia. she's from ohio. according to prosecutors, they recovered some text messages in which she's sort of a little confused and perhaps a little hesitant about coming to the january 6th rally and one of the things she says in one of these text messages, she says i'm concerned this is an elaborate trap. unless the potus himself activates us, it is not legit. she goes on to say that she'll only go to the january 6th rally essentially if she believes the president is asking for these people to come. that's exactly what ends up happening. keep in mind she is part of a broader conspiracy that prosecutors say organized even training camps before they traveled to washington. they talked about having tactical gear. they had tactical gear as they tried to lead the crowd in breaching those police lines at the capitol that day. and again, this is the most
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developed conspiracy charge that we've seen so far. we expect a lot more from some of the charges that are still coming. >> wow. but amazing she was literally sitting there waiting, right? waiting and listening. all right. evan perez, thank you very much. and thanks as always to all of you. we'll see you here tomorrow. "ac 360" starts now. good evening. house impeachment managers have now concluded their case for why the former president of the united states must never be allowed to even contemplate another run for that office. presenting a case that was as much about arguing his guilt before 100 u.s. senators as it was defining his legacy before the american public. tomorrow his legal team before their turn to rebut the house managers' case. however, those arguments to senators appear to have already begun at least behind closed doors. hours ago three of the former president's most reliable backers in the senate, lindsey graham, ted cruz, mike lee, met privately with the former president's attorneys on capitol hill. senator cruz told cnn this


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