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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  February 11, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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good evening. the former president's defense attorneys met privately today with three of his allies in the senate after impeachment managers wrapped up the case. senators mike lee, lindsey graham, and ted cruz met on capitol hill. cruz said they were working on a strategy and the republican senators were, quote, making sure we're familiar with procedure. problem is the three senators who are also jurors in this trial puts the lie that this is an impartial notion -- it is not. it is a political kerr size. cruz told cnn, i think the end result of this impeachment trial is crystal clear to everybody, which is that donald trump will
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be acquitted. which is one reason democrats appeared not only intent on trying to impeach his bad acts but their legacy as well. more from jeff zeleny. >> senators and america, we need to exercise our common sense about what happened. >> reporter: the house in the meantime team rested its case tonight, urging senators to -- >> he knew they were coming. he brought them here, and he welcomed them with open arms. >> reporter: on their phefinal of arguments the prosecutors zeroed in on the president's words and actions, saying he showed no remorse and must be held responsible for his conduct. >> you don't have to take my word for it tat insurrectionists acted at donald trump's direction. they said to. >> we were invited here! we were invited by the president of the united states!
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>> reporter: colorado congressman diana degette, one of the impeachment managers seized upon to stories of one rioter after the other who said they seized the capitol as his direction. >> trump would be very upset. >> no, just say we love you. 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 of these people who have been arrested and charged, they're being held accountable for their actions. their leader, the man who incited them, must be held accountable as well. >> the big lie that the election was rigged and stolen from trump sal is also on trial. prosecutors say the senate has the power to stop it from happening again. >> i'm not afraid of donald trump running again in four
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years. i'm afraid he's going to run again and lose. because he can do this again. is one day after horrific sights and harrowing sounds -- >> we lost the line. we lost the line. we have been flanked and we 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. >> the point was made, people felt as if they had no recourse because their vote was being stolen. the president built that story. how do you defend that? how do you describe that. >> jeff zeleny joins us now from capitol hill. what else are senators expect to
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hear from trump's legal team? >> reporter: simply wanting to know what trump was doing in the hours of january 6th. we've seen a tweet. we've seen a statement. but in the rest of the hours our report show he was cheering on the insurrectionists. senators want to know what he was doing to fill in the blanks. a big question hanging over tomorrow's defense by the trump legal team is how much they talk about this stolen election. of course those are falsehoods, but the president changed his whole legal team over that specific matter. he wanted his lawyers to focus on that. these lawyers said they would ra rather not. it's one of the reasons we're hearing this could be a shorter affair, perhaps using three of the 16 hours allotted. this could be wrapped up by the end of the weekend. >> cnn legal analyst joins us, john hardwood, jim acosta. jim, you have new reporting
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about what to expect tomorrow from the defense. >> yeah, i spoke with bruce castor, one of the president's impeachment lawyers earlier today. he said they were cutting part of their presentation, shortening things tomorrow. i think brevity is going to be the key. the president's impeachment team wants to maybe earn points with senators by being brief tomorrow. they expect the presentation to be about three or four hours. they do expect to -- anderson, you and i talked about this from time to time. they want the accuse democratic impeachment managers of hypocrisy by saying there are democrats who have used words like feight like hell. of course when the democrats did it there was no insurrection that followed. they're also going to try to make the argument there's no straight line between the president's comment on january 6th and what the rioters did on capitol hill on that day.
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of course, you know, the impeachment managers did present that video evidence. it was compelling and sometimes devastating video evidence that showed there were trump supporters on the capitol that sowned as though they were taking their cues from donald trump himself. and so i think that at this point the idea for the impeachment team is they want to do no large they want to think less is more, and by getting out of there as quickly as possible, they're hoping to keep as many republicans on as possible. talking to bruce castor today they said they're very confident they're going to be able to walk out of the process with the former president acquitted and not convicted. and i think all indications are, that's what we should expect. >> democrats are going forego calling witnesses. do you think that's the right call? >> you know, i don't, and i have to sort of show my bias as a former prosecutor, state and federal prosecutor. you always want witnessed. you want as much evidence as you
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can have. and i think there are some unanswered questions here. >> like what? >> there are a lot of questions in my mind about the ellipse and the permit. who was involved in the changing of that permit so it was january 6th and did allow a march to the capitol? why did it take so long for the national guard to respond? what was donald trump doing on january 5th and 6th? there is also a money trail that representative swalwell started to talk us through that had gone recruit trump supporters to come to d.c. on january 6th. when you've put in your case, you want to sit down believing you put in every piece of evidence you can. they've done an outstanding job, but i think -- i think they're drawn that line and shown donald trump's finger prints are all over the insurrection, but i still think there are questions i'd like to see them answer with witnesses. >> john, we know many senate republicans are not going change
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their mind. what do you make of reporting that senators graham, cruz, lee met with trump's lawyers today? >> it shows this is a political process and not a courtroom. that informs the decision of the house managers to move ahead without witnesses, despite ann's valid objection as a prosecutor to the fact that they haven't fully developed the case as they could. but you know, unfortunately for president trump, he's got a bad case, and he's got lawyers who aren't nearly as effective as the house managers. fortunately for him, because it's a political process, he's going to win, as bruce castor's confident for a reason. and the reason is that the republican party has been radicalized. we saw that expressed in the insurrection. president trump was able to put the anger ands fear of his
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supporters. it's becoming less white -- base of white working class voters are concerned about. faing behind. they're open to nondemocrat you can mean of holding their power. some of the republican politicians themselves have been radicalized. that's why they favor steps to make it more difficult for people to vote. but even people who aren't radicalized fear that beims they're noting areling to cross the base. that's why so many republican senators are not going consider the merit of the case. they're going to hide behind the idea this is unconstitutional and simply wash their hands of the case and try to move on after acquitting the president. >> we saw one of the defense lawyers, david schoen leave the trial to do an interview on fox. even out of office it's clear president trump wants his lawyers to be on tv and i know you have been getting that message. >> absolutely. i talked to a source familiar with the former president's
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thinking early rl today who said, listen, the former president wants to see more lawyers out this on television extolling the virtues of his case and definite, as if there is a defense that adds up at this point. i think at the end of the day, as john was alluding to and ann millgram. these republicans are essentially going settle on this process argument. it was unconstitution toll put the former president through this process to begin with because he is now out of office. anderson, because it's because it's the night before the final day all of this breaks down and the senators go to decide whether or not they want to acquit or convict -- i think it needs to be said that it is going to be written in our history books with a lightning bolt that the republican party, as john was just saying a few moments ago, is going to forego an act of counselor here.
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they are going skip past a moment where they could have had a profile in courage and decided to just weigh on the evidence, decide on the evidence, to go ahead and convict this president. it's undoubtedly the case. if you look at the video, look at the evidence presented by the managers, you can call witnesses until the cows come home. there's no doubt when you look at the video of the president that day, inciting people, calling them to march down to the capitol, make their voices heard, he was sending people to the capitol. there's no doubt in anybody's mind about that. but at the end of the day, this is a political process that was playing out. this is why you're going to see this president being acquitted in all of this. but at the same time, there's just a massive missed opportunity here for a lot of republicans to side with the country. and not their own party here. it just seems to me, anderson,
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when david schoen is skipping out of the trial to appear on fox news he's doing that for an audience of one. where is a decision being made to stand on principle? just not seeing that kind of act of courage in any of this. and frankly watching it it's just really disappointing to watch. >> ann, it's interesting. jamie raskin tried to approach to notion of the figure leaf that senators are going to try to use, which is we don't believe a former president can be impeached, can be put on trial for an impeachment. therefore we're going to just -- we're not even going to address whether or not he's guilty of all of this. raskin took that head on and said, look, that's already been settled. the senate decided, yes, the senate actually does have the right to do this. now you need to decide how you're going to vote based on the evidence that's been presented. it doesn't mean they're going to do that, but i thought it was an
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interesting argument he basically took head on and said, they're going to argue perhaps, you know, you don't have to right to put him on trial. that's already been decided. >> absolutely, and i think he was right to point that out, because it's one of the first things they're going to say tomorrow. it is a major defense for trump. and remember, what both jim and john just said is absolutely true. they're arguing process. they're not arguing the facts or what happened on january 6th or before that. and that's a really important thing to know. i think they can't argue those things. so they're going with this very process oriented argument, and what raskin was trying to do is take that off the table. what's really important also about raskin calling them out on this is if they take this process approach, what they're doing is really in some ways they're complicit with the big lie. they're failing to call out how we ended up where we did on january 6th.
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raskin is trying to pull away the figure leaf and say, that's not a valid defense. you have to address this issue, because to vote otherwise is to vote against the constitution and also to vote, i think, against truth of what really happened on that faithful day. >> thank you. just ahead, more breaking news. sources say the president's coronavirus infection was so serious they considered putting him on a ventilator. which tells you the doctors when they gave the ridiculous press conferences were dying, which we knew they were. we'll also continue the impeachment discussion with carl bernstein about how this trial will shape the nation and history.
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our coverage of the impeachment trial continues in just a moment. right now, breaking news story first reported by "the new york ti times". according to "times," back in october when he contracted the coronavirus, the condition was far more dire.
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>> have his oxygen levels ever dipped below 90? >> we don't have any reportings here. >> what about the white house or here, anything below 90? >> it was below 94%. wasn't down into the 80s or anything. >> mark, i remember when dr. connelly said that. it was so obvious he was trying the avoid that question altogether, and he had two misleading answers. explain what you have learned through your reporting. >> well, you're right. you recall back to that period of time when it was very difficult to get answers not only from the president's doctors but also white house officials about what the president's condition was. dr. connelly talked about a
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range of numbers for a very key metric in coronavirus, which is the president's blood oxygen level. and what we're reporting in our story today is actually blood oxygen level dipped into the 80s, which is a sign of a very severe case of the disease, and something that was greatly concerning not only to the doctors but to white house officials. and it was one of the key reasons the president ultimately went to walter reed hospital. so what we're learning is that the president's symptoms were par worse than we or anyone knew before and with the doctors at the time certainly not being up front with the extent to the president's condition. >> what was the concern that a ventilator might be needed? was that a doctor's concern? >> it was -- what we know is there was a concern among white house officials.
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now, we don't know right now about whether it was actual medical concerns or that was conveyed to white house officials, but certainly the president, we know his oxygen levels were plummeting. he was having trouble breathing. and it got to a point where, while he didn't want to go to the hospital, it was sort of -- he was convinced that the only way he was going to go, if he wanted to go, was to go in the helicopter walking. if he waited too long, he might not actually be able to walk. he wanted to actually have to photo op of going into the helicopter to the hospital, and so that was one of the things that convinced him that was the time to go. >> dr. wen, when all this was going on, you were skeptical. you suspected he was far sicker than they were letting on. i don't know if the doctor was being misleading because his
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patient was telling him he had to be misleading but it seems like the doctor's job isn't to be spinning stuff. it's either to give information or say, i'm not going to give out any patient information. >> that's right, anderson. to me, this is the equivalent of a patient who doesn't want their family members to know how sick they are. we physicians are in that position quite often. we always respect the patient's decision. but if that's the case, we then tell the family, the patient doesn't want us to tell you this information. we don't mislead or try to paint a rosy picture by cher way picking certain details. we nodon't know what's happenin here. it was striking we never found out what the lung imaging studies showed. and now we know probably it was showing pneumonia, which was suggested by the fact this he
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was put on a powerful steroid that you don't put patients on unless they're severely ill. >> you know the president's lungs were in worse shape than they were letting on. you also know the lengths the white house went to to get him and the first lady it turns out, special treatment. >> the day before he goes to the hospital. the first day that the president -- we know that the president has the diagnosis of cov covid-19, we are reporting about a scramble by the white house to get fda approval by the president and it turns out the first lady to get regeneren. deputy white house counsel calls the fda dr. stephen hahn and tell him they need this approval for two white house officials. hahn doesn't know who he's approving it for.
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he only finds out later it's for the president and first lady. the president got the treatment. one of several different treatments he got at that time. but it also shows the that the white house really was scrambling at this time to get any kind of treatment they could, however experimental, to give to the president because there was so great concern about his condition. >> doctor wen, when the president left the hospital, he returned in a dramatic fashion where he takes the mask off, climbs a step. he's clearly struggling to breathe at that time. >> that's right. one of the sign wes look for in breathing is whether you're using other muscles to help you breathe. if you and i are breathing and talking we don't look like we're breathing. if someone is using their neck muscles and straining, that's when you can tell there's
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breathing. i was worry for mr. trump. it was too soon to leave the hospital. he was having drops which means test by definition unstable. if you were having changes in your oxygen level, why are you being discharged? i'm glad he ended up doing well but it says a lot about the -- he has that other americans do not. coming up i'll talk to watergate reporter and author carl bernstein.
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no matter how this impeachment trial ends up, it is undeniable the former president now counts for half the impeachments recorded in history. author carl bernstein along the bob woodward lived and report through the last time the nation had such a tumultuous chief executive the. house in the meantime managersing up today, what were your impressions? >> a remarkable case about the sedition of a president of the united states, the first seditious president in our history was presented airtight and showed that this president, donald trump, led incity gated, and embraced an attack on the united states of america and meanwhile, the republican senators, instead of saying mr. president, this attack is unconscionable, it didk not stand, we will repudiate you and convict you, they are embracing
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the evil of donald trump and trumpism at a moment in our history when they had the chance to absolutely repudiate it and take a stand for principle wh against the most evil force in the white house we have ever seen. >> the former president is likely to be acquitted. i mean, at this point, obviously getting 17 senators to vote with democrats unlikely. if inciting a mob to attack the capitol is not impeachable, and even without that, just undermining the electoral process and the confidence in democracy, you would think would be almost impeachable. >> well, nixon would have been convicted in the senate for understood mining the electoral process. this goes further. this is a dereliction of duty such as has never been imagined by the united states. and i think we need to look at something else of donald trump's dereliction of duty, and that is
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what he has done in covid. hundred of thousands of americans have died because of his homicidal neglect. and the same attitude is indicate in the what he did in terms of leading, instigating this insurrection. this is a president of the united states who does not care about the united states, who does not care about its people. he cares about himself and about his seditious movement, about his own demagoguery, about his own welfare. whatever you say about richard nixon, he was not seditious. he had a belief in what the united states is, what its place in the world is. he did not daily undermine the interest of the united states and fight the interest of the united states for his own personal welfare. he did it in terms of his election -- what he did in terms of undermining the electoral process, but nothing like this.
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>> now the republican party, there was a moment that the night of the insurrection where they had a moment where it seemed like they might actually be taking a stand in deciding to rid to party of -- to no longer have it be the party of trump, and that lasted for, you know -- lindsey graham's moment of courage lasted for a minute or two. >> 12 minutes maybe. >> yeah, but the next morning gets heckled in an airport and suddenly is a different lindsey graham. >> more important than lindsey graham is mitch mcconnell. mitch mcconnell is going to be remembered as the equivalent of a minority leader in the senate who embraced jefferson davis before the civil war, se secessionist. this is an act by a leader of the senate of the united states putting self-interest, political party interest above the country
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in a way sauuch as we have not seen who is believed by his colleagues for a while to at least have some figure leaf of responsibility to the nation. that is gone now. the idea that the evil, the evil that mitch mcconnell pointed out on the floor of the senate only a few weeks ago, that he turned tail and ran, is something to behold. look, we have been in a cold civil war for a good long time in this country. donald trump poured the flames on that cold civil war and ignited it. and now the republicans in the senate have said, we are going to have an ignited civil war of some sort in this country. it transcends politics. it's culture. it has to do with racism. it has to do with misogyny. it has to do with the character and cult of donald trump, and these senators throwing away
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principle have said all right, we are going once again to go our craven cowardly way and embrace trumpism, an evil force. you know, i said on this air and did a piece about more than 21 republican senators who despise donald trump. the number is probably 30, 35. they include mitch mcconnell. they think he's a danger to democracy. these republican senators have no spine whatsoever, and they now have endangered the united states, and we're going to have also a kind of civil war for the future of the republican party. that's evident now, and perhaps there will be a third party started for a legitimate conservative movement that can fight trumpism. >> carl bernstein, appreciate it. thanks very much. up next, a new allegation from federal prosecutors as they try to -- the former president
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in the capital attack. why they say a former oath keepers leader arrested said she was responding to a call from the former president himself. a lot of people think dealing with copd is a walk in the park. if i have something to help me breathe better, everything will be fun and nice. but i still have bad days flare-ups (coughs),
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justice department filing. details from jessica schneider. >> reporter: prosecutors putting it plainly in court filings. they believed they were responding to calls from president trump himself. the latest revelation comes in the case of jessica watkins arc me tear veteran who's a leader in the group the oath keepers. they told a judge arcs the inauguration grew nearer, jessica watkins indicated she was awaiting direction from president trump, specifically they say she sent a text on november 9th saying i'm concerned this is an elaborate trap. unless the potus himself activates us, it's not legit. the potus has the right to act vat units, too. if trump asks me to come,ly. this is the most direct language we've heard yet from investigators linking the trump's rhetoric to the people charged with the most militant
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aspects of the insurrection. watkins trained and plotted for a moment like this, prosecutors argued. they say she wore fatigues and combat gear, leading 30 to 40 people on a radio app january 6th. prosecutors are also detailing the plans of a man they say worked with watkins, thomas cal well. a fellow member of the oath keepers he discussed tr transporting weapons to the capitol by boat. he texted someone he believed was connected to another military group, the three percenters. he explained bringing weapons by boat would help them get around d.c.'s weapons rules. both caldwell and watkins have
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been charged with conspiracy. all of this as a judge released this woman from custody. rachel powell directed fellow rioters with a mega phone. they presented plenty of evidence to try to keep powell behind bars, showcasing firearms par perral ya in the her home and go bags. inside those go bags prosecutors say she pout throwing stars and lighters, tape, and tarps. the judge who released her said since two proud boys have been released a judge could not keep powell, a pennsylvania mother of eight, locked up. >> you just mentioned several proud boys in your piece. the jd say several more members involved in the attack have been arrested? >> all five now being charged
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with conspiracy. this is the largest set of charges against the proud boys, really relating to their coordinated role in this attack. prosecutors here, they're laying out the details. they say all five of the people associated with the proud boyce moved through the capitol together. they wore flour assent ourng t orange tape on their clothing. the fbi hinting there will be more conspiracy charges to come against the proud boys. they said they're investigating more people. >> proud boys love their costumes. appreciate it. thanks very much. so far, more than 200 arrests in the wake of the insurrection, but what would a senate acquittal of the former president mean to the extremist who is believe what he was telling them?
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jessica s jessica schneider's report. the oath keepers and proud boys and others, in the face of a likely acquittal by the senate, will these groups feel emboldened to act more? joining a many now, denver congressman wriggleman and mia bloom. m mia, how do you think extremists are going to argue -- >> you're absolutely right, it's going embolden them and encourage them perhaps to do it again. right now on many of the chat rooms on the encrypted telegram application, the qanon are talking about march 4th. if the president gets off scot-free, when they don't know what's going to happen in march. but also we don't know what happens if he runs again, if he loses again. it's not just immediate. it's a long-term threat. >> what's up with march 4th? >> well, so what happens is that a lot of qanon people were
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absolutely positive the storm was going to come on january 20th. and if you were watching along with some of the videos they posted they watched president trump walk up the steps of air force one, and they were like, any second now it's going to be martial and so what they do very often when the q oracle is wrong, they push back a little bit and change everything to a different date. now the date for the storm is going to be in march. >> all right. yeah, i mean, this q oracle, this whole cult of q has been wrong every single time and predicted all this stuff that has never happened and yet it is this ever-changing conspiracy cult and they just come up with a different explanation. congressman, i know you're disturbing by all of this, as well. more than 200 people from 40 states have been arrested for the attack on the capitol. if the former president himself isn't held responsible, what message does that send?
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>> i think it's really a danger if we don't hold people accountable. we seem to have this propensity to put out disinformation. but on march 4th, they've jacked the rates up at the trump hotel -- >> is that really true? >> it's true. absolutely. i would love to be there that night, i can tell you that. i'd love to get a room there. but the issue you have with disinformation, and i want to talk about this, you see proxies pointing out -- one of the defenses you're going to see tomorrow is that president trump wasn't involved in all the planning for the attack. that's pretty easy to prove that he was. when you look at disinformation, attack, it's a deliberate dissemination of information that's false or malicious. and that's what you've seen for months and months with the president, so, again, it's going to be interesting to see tomorrow what happens, it going to be interesting to see these individuals like the proud boys and other people that are immediately saying they were following the orders of president trump, but that just
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goes back to the months of disinformation, the weaponizing of that type of insanity that you saw on january 6th, but again, march 4th is going to be an interesting date, especially around d.c. and especially at trump hotel. >> mia, what's interesting to me is, it is now well-documented that there were a ton of -- a lot of qanon believers at the cop toll, one of them was shot to death, you know, these so-called proud boys -- >> the other woman died because she was crushed. roseanne was crushed on the second level. >> what's interesting is that, you know, a lot of them are now, who are actually facing justice and court cases, say, you know, they feel betrayed by president trump, they were lied to by president trump, but all the -- but there are still plenty of other q people who have seen their fellow q cultists now facing charges and saying, we were lied to, but that doesn't
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seem to influence anybody. >> what's also very disconcerting is that there have been surveys that came out today from aei, and we're actually seeing even after the insurrection, an increase in the number of people that believe in qanon, including 6% are democrats. so, i understand that 29% are republican. we are seeing an increase in qanon and what they're saying is, trust the plan, it's coming, don't worry. we have to consider the fact that qanon is becoming a massive problem because with it's not just one group, it's crisscrossing the political spectrum from right to left and it's starting to involve more and more evangelicals. >> congressman, there have been warnings about right-wing extremism by law enforcement personnel, not politicized warnings, but from actual law enforcement personnel for years. do you think it is, law
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enforcement is taking this seriously you have? >> i think they're taking it seriously now, if you see the barriers around the capitol. and i had a discussion today with somebody, anderson, we were talking about, you know, do we -- somebody asked me, they said, who is the leader of q? and i said, this is an interesting question. there's a lot of different people that have been, you know, sort of identified that way but you know, q sort of takes everything in. it's almost a conspiracy sticky bomb and everything sort of sticks to it. and i think when you see what's happening now and you're seeing the morphing of these conspiracies, again, as mia was referring to. covid-1984, we mentioned that on february 4th, covid-1984 was trending on breitbart yesterday. that's the anti-vax conspiracy theory. so, this is concerning. and we need to understand that this is not over. >> yeah. >> you're still seeing the surge in these belief systems. >> and also just, you know, we're out of time, but just --
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any pretense that these are people who are supporting law enforcement and believe in law enforcement, when push comes to shove and we're seeing plenty of shoving right now on this video from the capitol, they were attacking law enforce pt, when law enforcement was actually standing up for law and order and doing their duty, they were attacking them and not only saying vile things to them, but assaulting them and in one case, killing one officer there and two officers who died later by suicide. congressman, mia, appreciate you being with us. thank you so much. we'll be right back.
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reminder, attorneys for the former president get to make their case for acquittal tomorrow. our special coverage starts at 11:00 a.m. eastern. news continues right now, let's turn things over to chris. >> thank you, anderson. i am chris cuomo and welcome to this special live late night edition of "prime time." it is midnight in the east. the trump lawyers are up next at the impeachment trial after house prosecutors, managers, rested their case. and we're hearing they're looking to keep arguments short and tight, because really, what is there to defend? the less they say may be the better after that opening day disaster. but that was largely stylistic. look, the ju

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