tv CNN Newsroom With Pamela Brown CNN February 13, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
diminishment of impeachment as a remedy is what you are discussing. and that is such a profoundly dangerous thing. because what's left -- if not -- if the impeachment process -- if impeachment, that constitutional remedy is no longer really going to be applicable in some way going forward in american history, that raises a real concern about how presidents are held accountable by a co-equal branch. ly say, it's going to require a change in our politics. that was the whole problem with this impeachment trial was that -- talk about a rigged election? i mean, our politics -- our tribalism, our broken political system rigged the jury well in advance. i'm not suggesting it had to be that way. but that's the reality of what these house managers walked into when she started. >> i'm just pulling this up because you used the word tribalism. this is a big part of the
statement that senator ben sasse of nebraska made about why he voted to convict. and he said, if we were talking about a democratic president, most republicans and most democrats would simply swap sides, tribalism is a hell of a drug. but our oath to the constitution means we are constrained to the facts. >> should mean. should mean. >> right, should mean. >> he said we are -- >> can you imagine a more -- a more important reason why one should put tribalism aside. this case was fundamentally about a sitting president being accused of inciting an insurrection to stop the transfer of power from him to someone else. that is at the core of democracy. and yet the tribalism is still there. and it hasn't been resolved. in fact, maybe it has even been exacerbated by this trial. you heard in donald trump's statement or, you know, donald trump put out a statement today
that basically says, this is just beginning for me. i'm not going anywhere. he is not going anywhere. and he is going to use this as, you know, this is a warning that i think many republicans had, he is going to be vindicated by this acquittal, but he is not going anywhere and is going to be a force to be dealt with. >> that's exactly right. and wolff he is not going anywhere in party because he's got the house republican leader, kevin mccarthy who apparently said do you know who you're dealing with? i'm not using the expletive. following that by going down to mar-a-lago in hopes that he will help republicans in the 2022 election. >> yeah it was an amazing few days. and dana stand by for a moment because for those of us -- for those of you just joining us, this is cnn special live coverage of donald trump's second impeachment trial. as you saw moments ago, the senate voted to acquit the former president of the single article of impeachment, the vote
57 to convict, 43 to acquit. 7 republican senators voting with all 50 democrats to convict trump, 10 votes short of what's needed. you need a two thirds majority, 67 votes in the sfat for conviction. i want to bring in our chief domestic correspondent jim aacute acuteo costa down in florida near mar-a-lago. in west palm beach and our chief white house correspondent kaitlan collins at the white house. jim, what was the former president's reaction to the acquittal? we know he entered a statement. >> not vicing they are declaring victory. and the former president's statement maeks that clear. >> says my deepest thanks as well to all of the united states senators and members of congress who stood proudly for the constitution. we all reveer and for the saerkd legal principles at the heart of our country. we have so much work ahead of us and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant and limitless american future. a couple of things from that
portion of the statement, wolff. one is obviously the former president is he is not leaving the scene and makes it clear in other parts of the statement that he plans to becoming out soon to make announcement, perhaps give speeches to indicate future political plans. does that mean he is running again in 2024? we have no idea. does it mean siphoning more money from the political base? possibly more likely scenario. the other thing we should point out when the president says in the statement that he reveres the constitution, i mean, honestly wolf, what we have seen the last several months is a president who does not reveer the constitution. he has been hugging the american flag and violating the constitution over these last several months. ly give you a couple of different reactions i'm getting from people inside trump world, talked very briefly with bruce castor the president's defense lawyer. asked him him was he disappointed in the fact that seven republican senators voted to convict the former president. . bruce castor said a win is a win. it doesn't matter the ultimate
outcome is for bruce castor and the rest of these defense team in terms of numbers. they were able to get the former president acquitted in the senate impeachment trial. the other thing i will tell you, wolf, talking to a longtime trump adviser about one of the more damning parts of the trial, that was it was basically established the former president did nothing when his vice-president mike pence was in danger up on capitol hill on january 6th. essentially threw his vice-president under the bus. i asked a longtime trump adviser about this and the trump adviser said, the devil is a saint when compared to donald trump. wolf, i mean even inside trump world there are people who know this president's character, know who he is. and to have a longtime trump adviser say something like that, i think, you know, establishes that even inside his own circle of advisers, allies and associates, there are some major questions about this man's character, wolf. >> there certainly it is. . he also in the statement he once again said this is another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.
kaitlan, i understand you are hearing that despite the acquittal, the former president is still very much worried about his legal future. >> he is, wolf. and privately he has expressed concern that ebbed be charged related to the january 6th rally. that's what -- or riot i should say. that's what he told multiple people. that's in part why he has been so quiet every since he left the white house. we hardly heard from the president only in written statements. he does not have access to his twitter account. and one adviser to the president told me that is directly related to that. is that he is concerned that charges could happen and could be ao awaiting him. when you saw mitch mcconnell come out to try to explain his acquittal vote and he very strongly implied that the legal system should take care of donald trump, saying he was practically and morally responsible for that riot, that really does get at the heart of a big concern for the former president. it's something that liz killeeny said as well, implying there could be a prosecution in donald
trump's future related to what happened on january 6th. and the role that he played in it. and the reason that's so significant, wolf, is because that gives cover if those do happen. because, of course if you see the president's statement here that jim was talking about, the former president said that this is another continuation of the witch hunt that's likely what he would use if he were to be charged. but here are two top republicans saying that this is what they believe should be the way to handle donald trump and to handle the role that he played in that. we're clearly condemning his conduct. we should note act thing d.c. attorney was explicitly asked if they were considering charge being someone like donald trump. and he said everything is on the table when it comes to this. everyone playing a role in this if they felt they could be cartridges against them themed. it remains to be seen. we don't know but we are hearing from multiple people. this is a real he shall earno concern for the former president he could be charged related this. and clearly some republicans think this is a viable option. >> we did hear from the senate
minority leader, kaitlan, mitch mcconnell, saying that he is very much suspect in the criminal justice system. he is not immune. he is a private citizen right now. he is a former president. so he potentially -- he he could face criminal justice charges down the road. and i'm sure as you correctly point out he is worried about that right now. he did say, kaitlan -- i'm anxious to get your thought. he did say that his patriotic and beautiful movement to make america great again has only just begun. he clearly thinks he has a political future ahead of him. >> he does. and he knows the influence he wields. because after jamie gangel broke the reporting last night talking about how angry and heated the conversation was as the riot was ongoing between kevin mccarthy the top republican in the house and former president trump, remember mccarthy went down to florida three weeks after that and sought access to trump's donor list. because he knows he is playing a big role in 2022.
i want not just the donor list that kevin kmaerpgt wants but the president's sale of approval to get republicans to take back the house. what i'm told we should expect in the immediate future is that former president trump bruvrp is going overseas to give paid speeches. likely to hold domestic rallies at home tarring those who have crossed him politically. you can guess the republican senators from today could be on the list, those voting to convict him. that's what we should see in the future. i am told wolf, we'll likely see more of former president trump in the weeks to come. he won't be playing as much as of a behind the scenes role as he has been the last few weeks. so whether or not we hear from him in person on this, that still remains to be seen, wolf. >> excellent reporting, kaitlan, thank you very much. jim acosta excellent reporting from you as well. you know, john king, i don't know what he is planning on do be, the former president of the united states. but he clearly thinks he has a political future. >> this begins the next chapter. those who are continuing to enable the frrm president and those like mitch mcconnell who
want to somehow exercise him from the republican party or hope somebody else, a prosecutor or financial trouble or something else takes him off the battlefield. remember, as he was promoting his big lie, he also lied to his supporters, asked them to send him a bunch of money to skevrpt the elections. he took that money with him in a pac. he does have tens of millions of dollars that he has at his deposal now to wage retribution as kaitlan just said against the liz cheneys of the world. the seven republican senators at least those on the ballot there. we'll watch it play out. it's an open question how long he can hold power in the republican power. but on this day, wolf, 17 votes, ten in the house and 7 in the senate. of the congress. 261 of the republicans sided with donald trump on the question in the house to impeach. or in the senate to convict. so the spell is not broken. make no mistake about it. kaitlan just mentioned kevin
mccarthy going down to mar-a-lago and kissing the ring. the same kevin mccarthy we heard on the phone call asking the president to call it off and being told to go away by donald trump. and kevin mccarthy still voted on the night of the insurrection to uphold the big lie. voted against impeachment, went to mar-a-lago. you don't need to know anything about else about kevin mccarthy and how i believes he can't become speaker. can't win the majority back in two years without donald trump's help. lindsey graham remember after the insurrection said i'm done with donald trump. he issued a statement yesterday saying he looks forward to talking to donald trump though hope he will be a team player in 2022. so welcome to the next chapter, which is what next for donald trump. but it's important to note, this is the largest bipartisan impeachment vote, even though just ten republicans in the house and seven in the senate. donald trump has been twice impeached. yes twice acquitted. twice impeached nobody in the history books with that distinction. and the evidence presented by
the managers was so overwhelming that mitch mcconnell who voted to acquit came to the floor and said they made their case but there is a technicality i can't vote to convict. rob portman voted to acquit. he says i'm not standing by the president, what he did was reprehensible and agrees with the democrats that the president did that. a lot of the republican voting to acquit are hiding behind a technical argument that they don't believe the senate had jurisdiction over a former president. the chapter is closing. but a new one opens. >> only four presidents in american history impeached, two of those were donald trump. not once but twice. he has to live with that and the fact that his four-year term as president ended with january 6th, the very violent insurrection that occurred up on capitol hill, a dark day in american history. >> and as his party and those standing with him have to live with it as well. >> and also lives with the fact that biden got 7 million more votes than he got in the last election. even though he doesn't like to
acknowledge that. he likes to acknowledge he got almost 7 a million votes. but biden got 7 million more votes. erin, back to you. >> wolf, you know, don posing the question. what next for donald trump? that's a big question legally as well here now right. you have kbeevrpment, the political process concluded with a afilgts let's bring in pretrial bharara. when we heard mitch mcconnell and we called out his hypocrisy. but said in his speech that the former president is quote still liable for everything he did and that he hasn't been held to account yet. that's the big question. what is trump's legal exposure for january 6th at this point? >> so, i think that's a real question. you know, you've been having all the arguments with respect to the senate trial and the procedures and whether the rules of evidence apply and due process and elements. and there are no rules in the
senate. if the doj was thinking about bringing charges with respect to the january 6th insurrection, they're going to have to do a lot more than what the house managers did. notwithstanding the fact that the house managers did a terrific job. you're not revolving your case by bringing in newspaper articles or by using hearsay or making certain kinds of arguments of a political nature. that can't happen in federal court and the doj wouldn't authorize that. it's more of an uphill battle even though the trial in the senate for political reason was uphill battle. but i think they will take a serious look at it. the leadership of the doj is is not installed under the biden administration. as someone pointed out earlier merrick garland has a confirmation hearing coming up soon. probably he will not answer any question as to process prejudge the issue of criminal exposure for donald trump with respect to january 6th. but i think it's an open question. and they'll probably at least look at it. >> so i guess -- look it's biden's doj.
i know you say we don't know what merrick garland will do. but it's biden's doj i say that in the sense of wherever the facts lead you there is the political question that's put out there, right? >> so does what mcconnell said give cover to merrick garland, the biden doj to go after trump at all? >> yeah, that's a good question. i think that the play tonic ideal for an attorney general and department of justice is that in the same way you don't make decisions based on what the president says even if it's the president who appointed you. and in the same way you don't pay attention to political winds. you do what is proper, right and just under the facts. you don't take into consideration the fact that a senate majority leader for whatever reason he chose to make those statements, notwithstanding his vote in the other direction, you don't take those into account. will it make it easier if they choose to open an investigation? perhaps bring a prosecution? yes.
but, you know, speaking of the ideal universe, you're not supposed to care what politicians think about prosecutions or -- are or failures to prosecute. >> but you're saying that you think it's a steeper hill to climb, i mean, dechgsly obviously with the criminal dechgs of say inciting an insurrection. but how would you see this? would it be worth pursuing criminal charges for whoever may have jurisdiction to do so against the president? >> well, i think you have to make a threshold question of whether or not you pursue the investigation. and then obviously the next distinct phase is you decide to bring charges or not bring charges. and there are probably other things aside from incitement to insurrection. there is, you know, desigs edition. do you interview people who might have understanding of the president's knowledge and intentions on that day. looking at evidence.
we had allusions to that and press reports about at the senate trial. but you have to do that in a much more rigorous and concrete way, i think, to decide whether or not a charge is okay. now it's also possible that you could do a preliminary sort of, you know, internal deliberation to decide for reasons that would be known to them that you're not going to pursue investigation because there was an acquittal in the trial in the senate and we've been down that road already. i don't know if those will be the consideration that is merrick garland and his team will consider. but the first question is do you open the investigation? and then it depends on how the investigation unfolds. >> all right. so then there is the january 6th issue and then just going through all the other things for trump. the investigation in georgia from the georgia secretary of state. there is the fulton county district attorney in georgia looking in trump's actions to overturn the vote count in georgia. there is the manhattan attorney for looking at tax fraud, insurance fraud and various other things for the trump organization. and there is the new york attorney general la tissue iaaf james looking at asset inflation and things that trump may have
done to lie about his net worth to try to get deals done. those are the main ones we know are out there. do you think, preet that any of these are significant threats to president trump. >> well i think the most significant threat comes from the manhattan d.a.'s office. it's further along. it's a criminal investigation and they don't do civil lawsuits. president trump's liberty is in jeopardy unlike at the senate impeachment trial. there are good lawyers there. you don't know for a fact if it ends up in prosecution owner. but they've been spending a lot of time. got a lot of documents. they won a lot of court victories. and they're serious about these investigations. i would say the biggest jeopardy to donald trump is in manhattan. >> and just taking a step back, preet, because you obviously as the former u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york, you know new york so well. you're very familiar with donald trump. do -- he is someone who has skated past the law for his
entire career. is there anything in any of this that makes you think the outcome will be different? >> you can't -- you can't predict. but, you know, sometimes when you tempt fate -- not speaking as a lawyer here but as an observer of human history and life -- and you cause yourself to be scrutinized by lots and lots of different people. just like the people around donald trump by the way. all these people who have been convicted of crimes around donald trump probably would have skated also. because the spotlight and scrutiny wasn't upon them. when you have so many people in so many different places taking a look, and you have so many different things he has done, at some point luck runs out. >> preet, i appreciate your time. thank you very much. >> sure. >> pretrial bharara, the former u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. let me start with you, he is going other things not just inciting insurrection which mitch mcconnell gave his personal opinion that it didn't reach the legal starred.
but that mcconnell's opinion. preet is also mentions seditious conspiracien a other things. what are the other things? do you think never sees charges. >> the justice department is the key player here and we're at a moment of truth for the justice department because coming off four years of unprecedented of politicization of doj by donald trump and bill barr in particular. now we have a new doj in place. the president, joe biden says i will be hands off. he needs make good on that. . it comes to merrick garland to make the decision. the first step is do you open inquiry? i say yes you have to open inquiry into the president's conduct regarding january 6th. you need spread indication. needing some basis of fact that could be a crime. even mitch mcconnell gave us that much in his remarks. now, do you get to a charge? that's going to be a question for the prosecutors based on all the facts. >> and of course we should note, there are people who say it's political. but joe biden said getting rid of the attorneys as everybody
does when they come in office. but keeping the one looking into hunter biden and john durham. started under trump's people, not going to interfere. but laura when you hear what preet said, do you think that there will be charges? >> i think there is going to be investigations. and the ones that are already happening in terms of the finances, in terms of new york, fulton county, may or may not pan out. she may have made missteps by doing early interviews prior to having witnesses. i don't know how that's going to pan out ultimately. but the idea is here, remember, the doj is going to prioritize the most violent and nefarious crimes before they look at issues that are going to be perhaps or can be guaranteeing a conviction. there are hundreds of people right now who are being charged with actually carrying out the insurrection. and you can bet that the majority of them based on what the defense has said, based on what mcconnell has said today, based on what the house impeachment managers said. they are pointing to following
their ring leader, who they thought the president, of course, then trump. and he is going the undercurrent of all of these hundreds of investigations. so not looking at him as a factor in any of these, leading to an investigation, would be absolutely odd to do so. he is a part of it regardless of him who the actual defendant or not. remember there are other people at the rally. the impeachment touched president trump. what about congresswoman mo brooks. don jr., rudy giuliani? alm of these people are going to be part of the conversation in terms of what criminal activity or criminal charges could be brought for all those people as well. >> and yet it seems that the -- the best place to hold him to account was the place that just failed to do so, ross, just to be clear. >> and i've been representing public officials for decades. the way i size it up, if he were my client, is unless something new comes out, unless something big comes out, you know, i
wouldn't be so worried about i were him about charges related to this insurrection. by new and big, i mean, you know, there are all the investigations that are going to be prosecuted. the people who are prosecuted in most cases, they are going to plead guilty. many of them might be very interested in cooperating. and so unless there is something, you know, to bring it up the chain to trump, i wouldn't be that worried about that. if he were my client i'd tell him, stay away from the oath keepers. stay away from anybody who was involved. but i would be worried about you know concerned for him about the new york investigation. >> the new york investigation, right. >> i think that's his real exposure. >> fraud, insurance fraud, waiting for the supreme court final ruling on taxes things like that. >> yeah. >> i'd be more worried about the new york investigations. first of all you have a president of the united states who has made it very clear that he does not want his congress to spend its life or his justice department to spend its life
investigating donald trump. now, he has said things like that before january 6th. i presume that is still the case. you're going to have a huge investigation on 9/11 style investigation into january 6th in congress. you need to see. >> for sure, right. >> you need to see what comes out of that. but one thing i would say, if donald trump were your client, the reason you would be nervous is that you don't know what he is going to do next. >> yeah. >> and, you know, never underestimate that. >> yeah. >> and that possibility that donald trump could yet again cause trouble. >> well, and he has and we're already emerged with wait until you hear from me next. wait a couple weeks until we get through this and now it's already. >> civil liability. i mean, a lot we're talking about the criminal context of things. but civil liability is a really big things in terms of it's a lower standard of proof essentially in order to prove your case. it's not the idea that we think about did he meet the criminal
standard, et cetera? it's about whether this person contributed essentially to somebody's death, somebody's maiming, the gouging, we're hearing about fingers being gone, destruction of property. a whole host of things. there could be -- don't forget what happened in georgia in terms of the investigation and the fulton county talking about one thing. but the telephone call to raffensperger there are election fraud related and election interference things as well. he is not out of the woods. but you're right when you say -- talking about trying to hold a president accountable, impeachment with what the founding fathers did all is not lost. >> think about officer smith there that day. and shot himself and killed himself on his first day back at work. >> yeah. >> he had been injured with a head injury that day. could his wife, say -- she has already said if he didn't go to work that day, he would be alive. is his family someone who could try to hold former president
trump accountable? >> it's such a terribly tragic situation. i think the question is can they show a causal link between donald trump's actions and the injury? one of the things that's important, the impeachment that concluded will abilitily provide leads to prosecutors. if i'm a prosecutor i'm thinking, well i'm going to subpoena mccarthy and meadows. right, by the way they're not having a senate voting against that. >> you're saying you can do that and get them to -- get the information to them that would not happen in the senate trial. >> a criminal subpoena they would not be able to fight off. there is no senate there to come to their rescue. >> yeah. >> and potential leads for potential civil litigants. and potential people who might sue because they claim they sustained damages based on conduct. that impeachment trial is going to have long legs in the court. >> could we, russ, hear from kevin mccarthy, all these people -- what jamie raskin is saying and they made the case without witnesses. but will the american people hear from some of these people who have such crucial information from that day.
>> it depends what congress does. i mean, the process elle is talking about is a grand jury testimony where testimony would be in secret. elle is a much more aggressive prosecutor than i think most. and the notion that a new leadership at the department of justice for one of the first acts is going to be go start issuing federal grand jury subpoenas to senior members of congress, i don't know. >> yeah. >> it's unlikely. >> i wouldn't hold my breath about that. that is why, actually, judge merrick garland is such a perfect person to head the justice department now. because he is so well respected on both sides of the aisle. and he is in a very tough position. but i don't think people are going to say, you know, you're doing this because you -- you hate donald trump. >> well lindsey graham certainly well. but there is lindsey graham he will say that about anybody. >> i mean, i have to say, let's forget about lindsey graham, but, you know, the notion that
he and others say that all of this is driven by some hatred. i mean i think that's one thing i took away from the 43 people, the republicans, that lindsey graham and others are saying this is totally driven today by hatred of donald trump. and i think the more investigation you do about this, that will not stand up to history. and. >> no. >> and whaj drove this is going to be investigated and reinvestigated. and those statements will be proven to be completely and utterly false >> it's also likely they may wait to do any prosecution in terms of the criminal side until after a congressional investigation gets done. because any don't want the same issue they had with, say, the mueller report where you had the prrs chomping at the bit, wondering about the somebody, versus what's going to happen in the criminal court. >> right. >> and the investigation, et cetera. it might be something similar to that. and, again, the idea and the quest for truth and full
transparency and what precisely happened, we still have yet to see the full accounting, although they did meet the burden of proof, i think. we still don't have all the information about what took place. so a bipartisan commission in congress, designed to give that information might be the precursor to any criminal prosecution at the federal level. because until you have that, you're stepping on toes. it's about who is going to take the lead. and you're going to have the same issues about whether the members of congress will respond to the bipartisan commission versus the criminal prosecutors. not wanting to talk to one over the other. it might be more prudent to wait until that investigation takes place. and that might be the out for garland and biden, et cetera. >> and there will be the historical irony that the greatest speech dieting president trump will be mitch mcconnells. just to say that. >> soo yeah it was a tough speech but voted to acquit. stand by. manu raju and jeff zeleny both on capitol hill for us. that's where they've been non-stop. jeff, you just had a chance to speak with one of the former
president's lawyers. what did he say? >> wolf, we spoke with michael van der veen, the lawyer making most of the closing arguments today. and of course putting this in perspective how quickly this has all gone, it was two weeks ago this evening when the president parted ways with his first legal team. and there's been a mad scramble to find new lawyers and to get them up to speed. so he has been on this case less than two weeks. one question hanging over all that, is he being paid for services or not? we know the former president has long history of not necessarily paying his bills. that's been a question, what is the arrangement of payment? i asked him if he was being paid. he said i am being paid. but he would not elaborate beyond that. in terms of the actual matter of the case, he said the former president felt vindicated he felt vindicated but asking about the seven republican senators who voted to convict along with all democrats, he pushed become on that. he called them politicians doing what politicians do. so he certainly was not very respectful their positions in
that respect. but he said he would not answer our questions if he will keep representing the former president going on in the future here. but they certainly feel vindicate the and he had some rather blistering words for the house impeachment managers. but we should point out republican senators and democratic senators have praised the work of house impeachment managers. there is no question that presented a more thoreau case. but the trump team has been just on the job now less than two weeks. two weeks ago this evening is when the president blew up everything and changed his legal team on the fly, wolf. >> and the lawyer you spoke to michael van der veen, clear emerged as the lead trump attorney during the course of 9 five days of this trial. manu, you were up there at the news conference when the nine house managers had a chance to make statements, answer reporters questions. but all of a sudden in the surprise the house speaker nancy pelosi made an appearance. tell us about that. >> and she bashed republicans in the senate, calling them
cowards, going after senate minority leader mitch mcconnell for not bringing the senate back in january to try donald trump in his final days in office, given that ultimately mitch mcconnell decided to acquit donald trump because he is a former president. but mcconnell at the time said there was not enough time for a trial. but pelosi wasn't having any of it. she went after this and made clear they would not move forward with another form of punishment and donald trump such as kreps yurring the former president >> oh these cowardly senators who couldn't face up to what the president did and what was at stake for our country are now going to have a chance to give a little slap on the wrist? we censure people for using stationary for the wrong purpose. we don't censure people for inciting insurrection that kills people in the capitol. >> and this had been a debate behind the scenes for several days now whether or not democrats should move forward with another form of punishment.
and pelosi had had been mum about what he wanted to do, making clear that censuring donald trump is completely off the table. wolf, one reason now is the democrats want to focused on the biden agenda. this could be a distraction if they focused on censuring donald trump. and also what could be a distraction was the possibility of moving forward with witnesses in this kbeevrpment trial. that is one reason why democrats did not move forward today. wolf, i'm told that senator chris coons warned people not to move forward with witnesses because it could bog down, the republicans could move forward endless motions could drag out the trial and distract from of course the effort to pursue the biden agenda. ultimately it's the democrats that looked at possibly one to two witnesses, including john kackle of new york, a republican who voted to impeach donald trump i'm told but they decided not to move forward because in large part they want to move on with donald trump. the impeachment vote is over. the trial is done.
now they want to focused on the biden agenda, wolf. >> the house managers wanted trump convicted. but beyond that they wanted to disqualify him from ever holding federal office again. i take it the disqualification issue has now gone away since he was acquitted. >> no question about that. tim kane of virginia proposed an idea to censure donald trump but also disqualify him through the 14th amendment of the constitution. that's an idea that did not pick up much team. some republicans such as susan collins of maine suggested she was open to it. but democrats thought it was too weak. going forward with the conviction of donald trump of the impeachment trial was the way to go. now as you heard what nancy pelosi said, that's not on the table either. so donald trump looks like will not be subject of this anymore punishment. but i can tell you the democrats are punish pushing for it thought it could have put republicans in a difficult spot. because republicans could not rest on the process argument that led to the vote to acquit
donald trump because they couldn't say, well you can't try a former president in an impeachment trial. now it's a completely different form of punishment. but as you heard from the speaker she doesn't even want to go that route. they're signaling they're done with this portion of dealing with donald trump and his actions ahead of january 6th. >> we'll see what trump decides to do in the coming weeks, months and years if he wants to run -- try to run again for president in 2024. manu excellent reporting thank you very much. president trump once again acquitted in this his second impeachment trial. but what kind of precedent does this set for the future? more of our special coverage coming up right after this. .. lysol disinfectant spray and lysol disinfecting wipes together can be used on over 100 surfaces. and kill up to 99.9% of germs. lysol. what it takes to protect.
the vote was 57 to 43 with seven republicans joining democrats and voting to convict. and joining us now is one of the managers of the impeachment process, eric swalwell, democrat from california. thank you are fore joining us congressman. seven senate republicans as you know voted to convict the former president but still ten short. what's your reaction. >> well today we proved to 57 bipartisan senators and the court of public opinion donald trump guilty of the greatest crime ever against our constitution. and dana as someone standing in the room and presented to the senators, the number of snorps who said guilty today did not match the number of senators i watched over days who were concerned and moved and bothered by what donald trump did. i can't explain why they could not find the will to say guilty. but i think the american people forever know just who donald trump is, and what he did not do when we needed him. >> and we heard the senate minority leader mitch mcconnell
not just appear but body language that he was upset about what happened and that he effectively agreed with the argument that you and your fellow managers made, but he had that big speech condemning trump's lying and conspiracy theories, saying the former president was practically and morally responsible for provoking the january 6th attack. what -- what was your reaction to that given the fact that he didn't vote that way, he voted to acquit, citing a process argument? >> well, we needed -- you know, words -- we needed more than words. we needed deeds. and, for the seven who voted guilty, you know, they did the right thing. they followed the evidence. for leader mcconnell, he gave the president a loophole. and, again, i think the american people know what the president did. and, you know, he'll be held accountable in other forums whether criminal or civil liability. but we did our job. >> earlier this morning, the senate voted to call witnesses, which was a little bit of a
surprise, including republican congresswoman jamie herrera beutler. but her statement was instead admitted into the evidence. i think a lot of people are wondering, why not just start there? why diddant house managers just ask to admit that into the evidence and avoid the perception that the democrats backed down from this request for witnesses after what seemed to be pressure from both sides of the aisle. >> so, abby, last night we wrapped up, in a meeting and saw the cnn reporting that jamie herrera beutler made this statement, that donald trump told kevin mccarthy these rioters are acting like they care more than you do. wanting to have a complete record, because we felt strong about our case at that point, we were going to call miss herrera beutler. but the defense counsel ultimately said well just put the statement in the record. and we also saw what -- you know what should also be noted, mitch mcconnell said this morning he was going to acquit the president and jurisdictional grounds. that was telegrachik to us that we could have called god herself and we still would not have received the votes from mitch
mcconnell. we didn't need more witnesses. we needed more spines. >> so you're saying you would not have -- you would have called herrera beutler, had mcconnell not made that statement. is that what you're saying. >> what weighed on us was that the issue in our case with republican senators was not a lack of witnesses. it was a lack of, you know -- it was a lack of courage. they were looking for a loophole,off ramp and using the jurisdictional issue. when you look at the statements from the 43 who voted ng, they're not saying, well the democrats should have brought more witnesses. they're saying no matter what, we found this proceeding to be illegitimate. and so we weren't going to, you know, go for months in the courts, chasing subpoenas and witnesses if they're going -- they're never coming around to it anyway. >> do you feel like on the substance, though, of what congresswoman herrera beutler put forward, that ultimately there were many more of your republican colleagues who knew about that conversation with kevin mccarthy and about the trump call, and just chose not
to speak up about it? >> well, actually, i gave a lot of credit to adam kinzinger, and others who voted with jamie herrera beutler. but she showed a lot of courage. and what she saw matched the time line we put forward forward, which was the president had knowledge about mike pence, the threat to pence, the threat to the capitol. and instead of doing something, sending in the guard, calling off or condemning the rioters, he took great delight in it and showed scorn to kevin mccarthy, because mccarthy wasn't with him. >> i want to follow up on something you said a little bit earlier about the former president being potentially prosecuted for criminal or civil liability. talk more about that. first of all, where do you think and how do you think that could happen? and secondly, i guess, as part of that question, is do you want the biden justice department to pursue charges? >> the biden justice department should just follow the law and i quoted churchill in the trial.
and as it relates to accountability, you know, this is not the end of accountability for donald trump. it's not the beginning of the end. it may be this trial the end of the beginning. but you have criminal proceedings taking place in georgia, manhattan, who knows for some of the federal exposure the president has. and of course all of the civil cases that were suspended because he was president will now come home to roost. >> you said that they should follow the law. but you just spent a week laying out what could be a road map for them, should they take that road map and pursue that? >> again, you know, i'm no longer a prosecutor. i was briefly able to put that hat on for this trial. but i want these prosecutors at the department of justice, again, to be independent. if they need cooperation oh from us i know we would want to help any way we could to give evidence they may not have. but it has to go back to an independent department of justice. >> congressman eric swlle thank you so much. >> my pleasure. thank you. >> thank you. and very interesting that he
sort of put that out there earlier about pursuing criminal and civil charges. and obviously there are a slough of other issues that are our friends on the legal panel have been talking about separate and apart from what happened leading up to on january 6th but have been on hold when it comes to the former president. but it's pretty clear that they -- they the house managers, even though they can't say that now, because they are not only politicians but democrats who don't want to mess things up for the biden justice department and its independence, think that they could use it. >> there is obviously a body of evidence. but i have to say, there is probably a lot more that needs to be uncovered. and we heard our legal analysts talking about this. there were -- i think the outcome of this impeachment hearing may very well have been that there are some open questions that are left unanswered about what transpired, particularly on the day on january 6th that need to be answered.
and perhaps could be answered if some of these witnesses are compelled to come forward in a way that they weren't compelled this time around, because there were no witnesses? because the house managers didn't believe that they could get anyone with knowledge of the situation to agree to come forward in a timely fashion? so that's where potentially some of the legal -- these -- these criminal charges or -- and civil liabilities could come into play. >> david, i want to switch gears and talk about the politics. >> the other outcome of this trial. >> exactly. >> the political fallout for the trial. >> the fallout for the seven republicans who voted yes. >> yes, we have seen, right, the ten house republicans that voted to impeach, all the trouble they've had at home. liz cheney has had trouble at home. adam kinzinger and now we see it with the senate seven republicans. how does their home political environment sort of deal with this break from the president? we're getting one clue in louisiana tonight. the executive committee, the louisiana republican party, put
out this one sentence statement. the executive committee of the republican party of louisiana has unanimously voted to censure senator bill cassidy for his vote earlier today to convict former president donald trump on the impeachment charge. there you go. in case you didn't know whose party this was. it's very much donald trump's party. in case the 43 votes didn't indicate that, here you have the louisiana republican party taking on one of its own senators, unof its two senators who runs on their party line. who is a representative of the louisiana republican party, and the executive committee within hours. >> exactly. >> i mean, just like within hours voted to censure bill cassidy for what he says is a vote of conscience that he delivered here today. we see it in state parties throughout the country. state chairs, state executive committees, very much in full support still of donald trump. and they're not all that interested in tolerating anybody who sways from that.
>> and it is remarkable how quickly they did it. i mean the expectation given what happened to most of the republicans in the house with their republican party chairs and party affiliations back hope. but the fact that it happened like, what, three hours in louisiana. he was already in hot water because he voted the whole trial in and of itself was constitutional. >> and of course as nancy pelosi said, you censure someone for using the wrong stationery. i'm not sure it's real consequences. it's just a statement of disapproval. but i wonder, so many of the state parties hang their hats on donald trump at this moment. do we have much evidence that trump is a winner on the ballot going forward when he is not on the ballot? look at what happened in georgia. they lost those two seats. and as you said, david, they lost them after tying themselves into knots to donald trump. this is going to be the question
going forward. yes, they are sticking with him because that's what the republican base wants. but when it comes to the ballot box, he is not on there anymore. what will that mean for republicans. >> that's exactly right, which is a large part of the genesis or the impetus behind mitch kpaunl's speech today, let's discuss. tim, this is the second acquittal the record donald trump in a senate impeachment trial. what's the impact of this moment, and give us the historic perspective. >> well, this is not like the acquittal that he had in 2020. in the case of this trial, the leader of republican in the senate said that the house managers proved their case. indeed mitch mcconnell has said that former president trump was
morally and practically responsible for an insurrection, which i believe is the same as saying a seditious act. in 2020 only mitt romney said that the house managers had proven their case. so, we have just witnessed a more bipartisan rebuke of a president than was the case a year ago. but here's the problem. we are in a political crisis because we also heard from republicans who admitted the president had engaged in' seditious act and yet voted to acquit him. >> including mitch mcconnell, the senate minority leader. doug, the president was acquitted now for the second time. but this was, you know, as tim points out, the most bipartisan impeachment vote in history. so, what effect will this have on the former president's legacy? >> well, donald trump's legacy is in tatters. he's beyond dented.
he's wrecked. he's at 25% in the polls, but about three-quarters of the american people want nothing to do with him. it will always be known january 6th as the trump insurrection. in many ways as we're talking right now, it's the opening salvo of insurrection studies. the house democratic managers, particularly jamie raskin, did a fantastic job of setting the tone and the tenor and developing the video information of donald trump. every person watching this week knows donald trump is guilty in the same way in the o.j. simpson trial you knew they were. and there is blood on donald trump's hands. if you see a portrait of donald trump, if you don't see blood on his hands, it won't really be a portrait of him. so, this is what his presidency is going to be remembered for, the double impeachments, the lackluster response to the pandemic and the fact na he was the leader of what will be known in history as the trump
insurrection. >> you know, tim, we did have one rather surprising vote to convict trump today. that would be senator richard burr of north carolina. does that make him the first person to impeach a president in the house and then convict a different president in the senate? how remarkable is that? >> what's remarkable about it is the fact that richard burr could change his mind. everybody -- or many people refer to the belknap case. that's the last case that the senate tried a former official. one person did change his mind similarly, only one though. first of all thinking that the senate didn't have jurisdiction, then the senate gave itself jurisdiction voting on the basis of the evidence to convict secretary belknap. that's what burr did this time. that shows that in this case senator burr was willing to be a juror, which meant listening to the evidence and deciding on the
basis of the evidence what's the right thing to do. and he did the right thing. but he's alone. he is alone because near him was mitch mcconnell who had already decided that donald trump was guilty but had also believed that he had a technical out so that he didn't have to make the tough choice. and that's the difference between richard burr and mitch mcconnell. >> yeah, that's an important difference. doug, we've now had the second impeachment of former president trump in the books. but we also still have millions of americans out there who actually believe his big lie, see the 2020 election as a fraud. have we ever been this divided before? >> not since the civil war has our country been this divided. but, you know, we're facing an epidemic of conspiracy history. there are millions of americans they think neil armstrong didn't go on the moon. there are million of americans that think texas is about to break away from the union and create its own nation. so, we have an education problem in this country.
we have a social media problem. and we've had a president of the united states in donald trump that promoted disunion, xenophobia, racism, and the chickens have come home to roost for our country but also for donald trump. he is now a one-termer. he is an ex-president. we're going to be dealing with joe biden's administration. and when merrick garland gets confirmed, which it looks like he will as the attorney general, very likely there will be continued investigation into donald trump in addition to all the cases you've been talking about on cnn and new york, florida and georgia and on and on. so, donald trump is not out of the hot water. i would not be celebrating in mar-a-lago. it was a shameful performance by i think his defense lawyers and the house democratic managers won the day in the court of public opinion. >> doug brinkley, tim neff tally, guys, thank you very, very much. i'm wolf blitzer in washington.
our coverage of today's historic impeachment trial continues next with pamela brown ruth here on cnn. ♪ ♪ bring it first time i saw you, you blew my mind ♪ ♪ i got this feeling everything was alright ♪ ♪ i've never known someone like you ♪ ♪ but when i'm with you every day is brand new ♪ ♪ new new new new ♪ ♪ new new new new ♪ advanced non-small cell lung cancer can change everything. but your first treatment could be a chemo-free combination of two immunotherapies that works differently. it could mean a chance to live longer. opdivo plus yervoy is for adults newly diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer that has spread and that tests positive for pd-l1 and does not have an abnormal egfr or alk gene. opdivo plus yervoy is the first and only fda-approved combination of two immunotherapies
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-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com >> senate will convene the court of impeachment. >> this cannot be the future of america. >> we are really here because the majority in the house of representatives does not want to face donald trump as a political rival in the future. >> these false claims about election fraud, that was the drum beat being used t