tv Second Impeachment Trial of Donald J. Trump MSNBC February 9, 2021 6:00am-9:00am PST
one, i still can't figure it out, why they would still stand by him and then secondly it's something to fear, in a way. >> and that's what house managers will do, beginning tomorrow, really, because they have to get through this constitutional vote today, this process vote. they will be taking those senators back to that day, something that they themselves lived through. we'll see if any of them are compelled to convict based on that testimony. that does it for us this morning, we will see you right back here tomorrow morning, msnbc's special coverage of the second impeachment trial, of former president donald trump, begins right now. we are beginning on msnbc right now, our coverage of the second impeachment trial of former president donald trump, just four hours away from the start of what will be an extraordinary event. a former president accused of inciting an insurrection against the country he was sworn to protect with the goal of keeping himself in power. impeached twice now. so today begins a process that
can potentially ultimately keep donald trump from ever holding office again. right now that kind of seems like a long shot. we're going to break down where things stand as this trial gets ready to begin. that happens at 1:00 eastern this afternoon. that's when the senate gavels in. both sides will present their arguments on one of the questions that is fundamental to the proceedings here, whether the constitution says a former president can even be tried in the first place. the democratic house managers begin presenting their case tomorrow, foal l followed by the trump defense team later in the week. we will be there for all of it with the best reporters on "the beat" bringing you what they know, our experts to bring context and analysis and live interviews with the newsmakers at the center of it all, we are at the center of it all here in d.c. i'm hallie jackson, and i'm joined by katy tur and stephanie ruhle. >> before we go forward, let's take a step back and remind people how we got here. this trial is far different from
the last one. it is happening at a literal crime scene. we cannot forget that this trial will unfold in the very same building that was invaded by rioters just 34 days ago. and essentially every single lawmaker in the senate chamber was a potential target for those rioters. >> and democrats are going to make the case that the seeds for what happened january 6th were planted months ago, way back on november 7th when nbc officially called the presidential race for joe biden when donald trump's first response was to tweet falsely that he had actually won by, quote, a lot. ten days later he fired the cybersecurity chief who called the election the most secure in history. contradicting trump's claims of election fraud. on november 20th trump met with michigan lawmakers at the white house trying to get them to change the results in their state. on the 25th he did the same thing with pennsylvania.
telling state senators they had to overturn the outcome. and on january 2nd he tried to pressure the georgia secretary of state into finding him just enough votes to win that state as well. >> throughout that time donald trump lied repeatedly about widespread election fraud that did not exist and brought dozens of lawsuits alleging evidence his team never produced. when he finally got to january 6th the former president played the last card he had. >> our country has had enough. we will not take it anymore. and that's what this is all about. and to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal. >> so here we are in washington, the day this trial begins and katy, it is a high bar for conviction for the former president. let's not make any mistake about
it. >> the democrats are going to come out and try and say that everything that donald trump did in the leadup to the election, after the election and on january 6th, set the precedent for what happened at the capitol. they're going to bring up the things he said on that very day, fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. you'll never take back our country with weakness. when he tweeted at 2:20. this is after the capitol had already been sieged, after mike pence had left the house -- or the senate chamber, mike pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country. they're also going to cite what the president said, stephanie, in the lead-up, remember, he said multiple times, the only way he could lose was if the election was rigged. he said it in interviews, he said it at the rnc, he said it at rallies. and his supporters took him seriously. >> and here's why republicans are going to have a tough time denying any of this. they were there. they were in the building. katy just made the point, think about it. then vice president mike pence,
he himself was a target. so when we look at the last impeachment trial it was sort of easy to be disconnected from it, a call of the ukrainian leader, we didn't have all the information, the jurors were people that we didn't necessarily know. while there aren't witnesses this time, the jurors are the decisionmakers, they were the ones who were in the building, republicans and democrats across the board were all targets. >> but, remember, in many ways this is not going to be a discussion, at least from the trump defense team, about the substance of what happened, it is a process discussion, and that's what we're going to see today about whether or not it is even constitutional for donald trump to be convicted of an impeachment, an impeachment that happened while he was still in office, by the way. that's what we're going to see today. so to talk about it, let me bring in leigh ann caldwell on capitol hill, monica alba in west palm beach, florida near where the former president is staying. kristen welker is at the white house. leigh ann, lay it out for us, we've been having the discussion
about the constitutionality argument that will be on full display this afternoon, walk us through what to expect. >> reporter: what this trial is going to look like is it's going to start today with a vote on this rules package that set the parameters of this trial and then after that there's going to be four hours of debate on this issue of constitutionality. at the end of that four hours, that's when one -- all 100 senators will vote on if this is a constitutional process or not. of course that vote is expected to pass. democrats are in the majority. then they move on tomorrow to the meat of the trial where each side, the impeachment managers and the trump defense, will get 16 hours each to argue their case. on this issue of witnesses, though, that is something that is not completely settled. there are no witnesses at this point. but the senators could vote at any moment in this trial on if they want to call in witnesses. so that is something that we're going to be watching out for.
but today is this big test vote. two weeks ago there were just five republican senators who voted to say that this trial was constitutional. after scores of illegal experts, including conservative legal experts, have said that, in fact, it is. after four hours of debate on this exact issue. i'm going to be watching if that vote tally changes, specifically senate majority -- or senate minority leader mitch mcconnell, what is he going to do? and also those retiring republican senators could make that vote tally increase. >> it's going to be interesting. monica, on the president, the former president's defense, his defense team put out a new outline, outlining their arguments, trying to poke holes in the manager's case, i was interested, specifically, monica, in that they're not going to use the word fraud. anywhere in their defense. >> reporter: that's right, katy, in that nearly 80-page trial
memo you don't see any reference to voter fraud. of course we know that's what the former president wanted his original team of attorneys to focus on because he continues to believe these completely unsubstantiated claims that somehow that election was, quote, rigged when of course we know that was not the case. it was, indeed, a free and fair election. that original team of lawyers parted ways with donald trump because they couldn't agree on a legal strategy but his current team now is going to really focus on this question of constitutionality. they welcome that debate today. they're glad that that is what they're going to be talking about at length because they do believe there are questions about why the senate should have jurisdiction over a private citizen and someone who is no longer the president. of course donald trump was the commander in chief on january 6th when he appeared at that rally, and did encourage his supporters to go to the capitol. but they're going to make the case that when he told them to specifically, quote, fight like hell, he didn't mean that literally. he meant it figuratively and they're going to argue that of the 10,000 words he uttered
during those remarks, it was only a handful of lines that made reference to something like a fight. and that he actually ended that rally by trying to tell his supporters to go and peacefully and patriotically protest. so they're going to argue that all of that should be protected by free speech and first amendment rights. they're also going to make the case that as several outlets have reported and law enforcement have given us some details some of these gatherings and people had been pre-planned, that they had indicated they were going to try to potentially breach the grounds of the u.s. capitol days in advance so how could donald trump be the one singular ly responsible for this. they're going to lay that out. what's notable is the defense team is saying they don't plan to use all 16 hours of their allotted time. this could wrap sooner on their end, though house impeachment managers are probably going to use all 16 of theirs within the senate chamber.
>> kristen, help us out with a fact check. republicans are making this argument, but we're also hearing it from the average person on the street, saying shouldn't joe biden be focused on the economic recovery, the vaccine rollout, doesn't he have bigger fish to fry? people are assuming he's at the center of this trial, but he's not, talk us through what he's doing at the white house right now. >> reporter: well, you laid it out very well, stephanie, you're absolutely right, president biden is going to be engaging in some counterprogramming this week, trying to essentially keep the focus on his key agenda items. at the top of that list, of course, pushing for his $1.9 trillion covid relief package to get passed. he's also going to have a number of meetings this week including today he'll be meeting with his treasury secretary janet yellen as well as business leaders. then wednesday he travels to the pentagon. he'll be meeting with his defense secretary, i'm told you can also expect a nod to black history month during that visit. then thursday he's going to
visit the national institutes of health. and of course that will put the focus on the fight against covid. so president biden doesn't want to lose any momentum in terms of trying to get his covid relief package passed but that's the concern when you talk to those inside the white house ask also some of his democratic allies on capitol hill that this impeachment trial could slow his momentum. of course there are a number of sticking points already in terms of getting that relief package passed, will those $1,400 direct payments be targeted based on income level, will there be a child tax credit, a number of republicans and even some democrats already saying the price tag for the entire package is too high. so there are some high hurdles to getting this passed already, not to mention what is going to happen this week. for his part publicly president biden has said that, yes, he supports this trial, but he will not weigh in on how he would vote if he were a senator. i've been talking to white house
officials asking them, has the president sent a message to senate leadership that he wants the trial to be wrapped up quickly? one white house official said that's not necessary because everyone is on the same page, they want this over within days, ladies, back to you. >> kristen welker, monica alba, leigh ann caldwell, thank you all. where the investigation on the capitol riots stands. and just how close the feds are to tracking down the suspects in the death of capitol police officer brian sicknick. and talking to one of the impeachment managers from the first trial of donald trump, congressman jason crow, joins us live on lessons learned and what the managers should do differently this time. [ engine rumbling ] ♪♪ [ beeping ] [ engine revs ] ♪♪
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today here is where things stand. federal prosecutors have now filed charges against 211 people accused of being part of that deadliryiot. they come from 43 different states. more men than wem, outnumbers women from 7 to 1. 20 of them described as military veterans. pete williams has more for us this morning. >> well t authorities say that if you look at the totality of how many people were in the capitol we still don't know how many there may be estimates of 800, authorities now say they have 500 investigations open of -- and of that 500, about 200 charges so far. so they're still looking, exploiting all the video and images, the massive amount of tips they got. what they say is at least two groups seem to have planned violent attacks in advance. the proud boys and the oath keepers, and they say there's about two dozen people who were in extremist groups. they say the proud boys were at
the vanguard of all the breaches, if you will, when the low bicycle type barricades were pushed down, the video you were just looking at a moment ago, when the person uses the video we've seen over and over again, using a riot shield to break out a window, which is where the first people got into the capitol, and they say that the oath keepers seemed to be prepared as well. they were wearing tactical type gear and using their cell phones and walkie talkie mode to communicate with each other, look at the still pictures of them, you see the pigtails with their ear pieces so they could keep in touch with each other. so that's the sort of core group authorities say and i would expect that at some point we're going to move away from these 211 charges of individuals and perhaps get to charges of groups of people, that that may be where this investigation is going. >> pete, how about one of -- if not the most important investigation, what is the latest you're hearing on tracking down the suspects in
the death of capitol police officer brian sicknick? >> that remains one of the most important investigations. we haven't heard of any progress or charges on that. obviously that's a high priority. and the other high priority is to try to figure out who planted the two pipe bombs the night before at the headquarters of the republican and democratic national committees, which are up on capitol hill. those pipe bombs obviously didn't go off. the authorities say they were functioning, and one question is were they placed outside those offices to be seen by authorities to draw police away from the capitol, which is exactly what happened, there was a pretty sizable contingent of capitol police who responded to those two locations at just about the same time that the rioters began to push their way toward the capitol. >> pete williams, live for us there in washington, pete, thank you. the house impeachment managers, if you look at where the numbers are here in this trial seem to face an uphill battle to get a guilty verdict against the former president. we are learning new details
about what their strategy will be. sources tell nbc news the lead impeachment manager, congressman jamie raskin has been holding daily meetings with the rest of the managers, trying to fine tune their arguments and they want to incorporate visual elements as much as they can. the managers are basically trying to take a more succinct approach from the last trial, the thinking behind that, they don't want to bore the senators. sources tell nbc news the managers will rely very much on video to help prove their case video like perhaps what you're seeing now. they've reportedly spent hours combing through images of the riot on january 6th, plus videos of former president trump in his own words. and his tweets. as for witnesses, sources point out the senators themselves, as we've talking about, were witnesses to what happened. so the need or the desire to maybe call witnesses feels different than the first trial because members have their own memories of what happened that day but one source says we can expect to hear some of those personal stories recounted. for more on the house impeachment manager strategy,
let's bring in democratic congressman jason crow of colorado, of course an impeachment manager in the first impeachment trial of the former president. congressman crow, good morning, thanks for being with us this morning. >> hi, good morning. >> so hopefully you sort of heard what we just laid out there, the strategy of the impeachment managers, the shorter video presentation, what kind of evidence as somebody who's been there before, just a year ago, do you think they need to present to try to get more republican senators over the line? >> well, this is the unprecedented situation where the trial is occurring at the crime scene, the jurors in this case the senators were victims of it, as are the impeachment managers. so using the venue itself, and painting the picture, i think, would be very powerful and very important. but, you know, at the end of the day this trial is not going to be made or broken by one or two witnesses or which witnesses gets called and which do not. i have extreme confidence in jamie raskin and this team to present the right case. but we have to zoom back out and look at the foundation that
president trump laid from november 3rd through january 6th. this was a very methodical laying of a foundation a pouring of fuel on this fire, and then lighting the match on january 6th. that context is going to be extremely important here. >> congressman, it's katy tur. you were an impeachment manager last time as hallie just mentioned. there were some criticisms about the way the trial went last time, that the impeachment managers alienated some of the republican senators. is there advice right now to the current impeachment managers on how to not do that this time, how to potentially appeal to their sense of fear that they might have had on that day, to bring them in, and make them a part of this, rather than separate them? >> well, there's always criticism. that's just the nature of a trial like this. those who don't want to talk about what actually happened on january 6th. those who want to divert
attention from the substance of the case want to talk about everything else. they want to talk about process. they want to say it's boring. they want to talk about the constitutional arguments which are very mer itless. they want to divert away from what's happening. this is about their moral obligations, to stand up for democracy and rule of law and say what happened on january 6th is not okay, that we're not going to tolerate this out of a president, any president, regardless of party affiliation. and i think that's the primary case here is that they have a moral and, you know, a public service obligation to take the right vote, and ultimately this is a vote of conscience. that's what the case could ultimately focus on. >> but, sir, to that very point, what's real and what's realistic are two different things. democrats are trying to establish that former president trump is personally responsible for inciting those riots.
and at the same time 45 republican senators have already voted that the trial is unconstitutional. giving those challenges, do you really think this will move forward in a successful way? >> well, first of all, this is a crime that played out in front of the american people. we all saw what happened. it's pretty clear what happened here. and very few republicans, and republican senators even dispute that. that's why they're not out there talking about the merits of january 6th and what happened before. but i also learned a long time ago that your obligation to uphold your oath doesn't depend on other people's obligation to uphold your oath. you can only do what you need to do to discharge your obligation, to fulfill your oath and your duty. and that doesn't depend on somebody else. so this notion that we shouldn't do our job and we shouldn't proceed in a way that our country requires us to proceed just because other people might not keep their oath is something
that i really can't wrap my brain around, frankly. >> how many republican senators do you think are open to conviction? >> i don't know. my crystal ball broke a long time ago, so i'm not sure. but, you know, we just have to make the best case that we can and we have to say that you have an obligation to the american people, to our democracy, to the constitution to convict here, because if you don't it sets a precedent that's extremely dangerous for our country. but also, look at the racism and the white nationalism and the white supremacy that was a part of what happened on january 6th. what message does it send to those folks, does it say that that's okay, that we're going to tolerate that type of hateful violent rhetoric? that's a message that we absolutely cannot send. >> congressman jason crow, thank you very much for your time and for your perspective for us here this morning. we appreciate it. after the break, brand new nbc news reporting on how the biden administration is planning to get rid of dozens of trump
era officials as soon as today. we're taking you to a pennsylvania county where four months ago four out of five voters cast ballots for donald trump. what are they saying about him now? >> i will not ignore what galvanized people around donald trump. >> i hope he doesn't run for office again. (deborah) i was hesitant to get the hearing aids because of my short hair, but nobody even sees them. (vo) discover the exclusive, new miracle-earmini- a nearly invisible hearing aid from the brand leader in hearing aids. new miracle-earmini. so small and comfortable that no one
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latest poll data shows americans are split on the outcome. 56% say donald trump should be convicted and barred from holding office again while 43% support acquittal. but what about the republicans who voted for donald trump, do they still see him as the future of their party? we sent dasha burns to beaver county, pennsylvania, a country trump won by 18 points. so dasha, we know he won that county. have minds changed since everything that's happened? >> reporter: katy, donald trump may no longer be in the oval office but western pennsylvania is still very much trump country, and many of the folks we spoke with still view him as the embodiment of the republican party. or at least, katy, the version of the party that they are willing to support. you've got this tale of two republican parties right now and what i'm hearing here is in sharp contrast to the conversation you and i had on air just a few days ago when i was in kent county, michigan, which is a place of moderate
republicanism and there voters were telling me they were leaving the republican party because of donald trump, especially after what happened on january 6th but here the opposite is happening. here trump brought people into the party, engaged new voters, got democrats to switch over and vote republican. they saw record turnout in beaver county in november, four and five voters cast a ballot, and donald trump, as you said, won by 18 points. so this is something the republican party at the local and at the state level has to factor in, especially with a very important senate seat up for grabs here next year. and the chairman of the gop here in beaver tells me it would be foolish to turn away from the guy who galvanized people. so they're walking a tough, tough balancing act right now. i want you to hear what we heard from trump voters here. take at a listen. 75 million plus people voted for donald trump. i was one of them because my opinion on donald trump was, he was the man for the country.
he's going to be back. >> reporter: we have an impeachment trial this week. what's your take on that? >> i think it's an absolute joke. it's not constitutional. i don't believe. how can you go through with this and remove somebody from office who isn't in office? >> it frightens me because he can impeach anybody for anything. this impeachment is being pushed because they don't want him to run for office again. i personally hope that he doesn't run for office again. i think that he should just go about his business. >> reporter: as you can hear some folks pretty upset about the impeachment trial here. and some of the voters we spoke with are also very upset with the republicans who supported it. and many told me that they will not support a candidate who is not a supporter of the former president. so in places like western pennsylvania, it does seem to still be politically perilous to do or say anything that looks like crossing donald trump.
>> da sha burns, live for us in beaver county, pennsylvania. here's the thing. dasha talked about this, that's something that donald trump is banking on, republicans who still follow him will listen to him when he says, yes, we need to primary some of these people who voted against me in the impeachment. you look at somebody like congressman adam kinzinger. listen, he is not exactly a voice of the mainstream republican party as it is right now but he's out with this new op-ed talking about how convicting the president is something that's necessary to do, effectively to save the soul of the country, paraphrasing. after listening to that, how effective is that message going to be in places where voters are where dasha was. >> they didn't know president trump five or six years ago, they voted for him because he said i see you, i hear you. this is an administration of economic empowerment for all. when you dig into it it wasn't economically beneficial to that region, not at all. and so this is actually an opportunity for joe biden to do something for those voters, and
he may solve this issue. the question is, will he? >> i think we need to focus -- or we will get a lot of answers in 2022 when someone like lieutenant governor john fetterman starts running for senator. he is a western pennsylvanian, does he go to those voters and say, i see you, come back to the democratic party and do they trust him or do they reject him? that's an indicator of what might happen to those voters in the future. four years is a long time and republicans have a lot to sit with, and sit on. between now and 2024 when the next presidential election is. it is unclear at this moment, donald trump who has been deplatformed, who doesn't have the voice he once had, how influential he'll be over time. >> yeah, he wants to be. >> it's going to be hard to argue that fetterman isn't a man of the people in western pa, i mean, those are his guys. you can't say, oh, you know, he's a washington elite. that is not who he is. >> he'll point to support from
every county in pennsylvania. it is worth noting, listen, talking about republican voters is important because that is where the schism is right now in this that party given what we've seen over the last four months. most people, you talked about that abc poll, cbs is out with a new poll this morning, the majority of americans think this president should be convicted. >> the majority of the americans think that, but with presidential elections and congressional elections it's about the districts and with the way the congressional districts have been cut up a lot of republicans see who they have to face in a primary and they're going to go right to make sure they win that primary. the general election is harder, especially in senate, especially for president, obviously joe biden got millions more votes than donald trump did, he turned out people in a way that no one has ever done before. what does that like in 2024? >> if you're a moderate republican, why don't you lean into this idea of impeaching him so he cannot run again because when he shows up to run again in
a few years, what is that going to do? split the republican ticket and please democrats. >> seems like they're scared. >> you hear also moderate republicans saying that's not for them to decide, for voters to decide. >> it is for them to decide what happens in this impeachment trial. the biden administration is about to get rid of more than 50 trump officials. the justice department is set to ask nearly all senate confirmed u.s. attorneys from the trump era to resign as early as today. but two of the highest profile attorneys, they will not be going anywhere. john durham will continue his special counsel investigation into what started the russia probe, but he is expected to resign as u.s. attorney in connecticut. david wise, the u.s. attorney for delaware will stay on, he is overseeing the tax probe of hunter biden. julia ainsley is watching this
story. some people are connecting the impeachment trial, isn't this totally normal for new any administration to bring in new people? >> totally normal. especially if you consider the fact that donald trump did this really in an abrupt across the board way. he did this in early march of 2017. we're seeing the biden administration get there a little faster but they still want an orderly transition process. where these outgoing u.s. attorneys are able to designate someone to take their spot. and as you point out, some of those high profile people that might look to have some connection where their dismissal would look like it was politically motivated, those people will be staying in their position and you also have to think about the difference in priorities when you have over 50 u.s. attorneys who were appointed by trump, and then you have these people coming in from biden. we're talking about a difference not heavily prosecuting immigration crimes as much. we're trying to dig in to hate crimes as a higher priority,
look at civil rights violations that might be committed systemically by police departments. these are all priorities of the incoming administration. that weren't priorities of the trump administration. so it would make sense to want people in those high positions, as u.s. attorneys and prosecutors across the country, who align with biden. that is a transition process they are starting today. very different than that abrupt firing we saw in march of 2017 when everyone was out overnight. >> julia ainsley, thank you very much for bringing us your latest reporting. some news out of georgia, where the secretary of state's office is now investigating that january 2nd phone call with former president trump. remember this one? it's when the then president basically pushed his fellow republican, brad -- to find enough votes to overturn the state's election results. the finding of that investigation will eventually be taken to the state election board which will decide whether to dismiss the case or refer it over to prosecutors. we're following that one.
and here on this broadcast we're following the former president's legal defense, including brand new details that might make this trial go even more quickly than expected 6789. . if you have high blood pressure, a cold is not just a cold..... mo.st colood pr choose coricidin hbp. the brand with a heart. for powerful cold relief without raising your blood pressure. ♪ ooh la la by cherie ♪ the moxie showerhead speaker. only from kohler. some say this is my greatest challenge ever. but i've seen centuries of this. with a companion that powers a digital world, traded with a touch. the gold standard, so to speak ;) >> man: what's my safelite story? my truck...is my livelihood. so when my windshield cracked... the experts at safelite autoglass came right to me...
it's abstract expressionism. when you start with a better hot dog from oscar mayer, you can do no wrong. it's all for the love of hot dogs. we have some new details this morning about former president trump's legal strategy, two sources confirming to nbc news that the trump legal team does not plan to use their full 16 hours to make their case over the course of the next week or so. that obviously could change as the trial goes on. their main argument is going to take center stage today. that's the argument where the defense team says trying a former president in the senate is not even allowed. senators will vote on that very question after they convene on the senate floor at 1:00 eastern today. that motion to dismiss the trial as unconstitutional is expected to fail just like it did last month. joining us now to talk through it, daniel goldman. he served as majority counsel, a
former director of investigations for the house intelligence committee. melissa murray is also with us, constitutional law professor at nyu, and a former clerk to judge sonia sotomayor. thank you to both of you for being here. melissa, strategic perspective, i'm told by a source familiar with the strategy that the former president's team is playing videos with incendiary comments from democrats trying to create in the eyes of the defense team this kind of equivalency between the language of donald trump and the language of democrats. do you think that's effective? >> what depends entirely here is the idea that this is not an ordinary trial. it's not a criminal trial. it doesn't come with any of the same procedural protections as criminal trials do. everything depends on what each individual senator believes at the end of the conduct of the trial itself. it may be the case that some senators are swayed while others
are on the. again, this may be persuasive to some. but the idea that there are false equivalencies here, that would really only matter in a criminal proceeding or in an actual trial. this is not that. >> but they -- since it is a trial of public opinion, daniel, is the defense -- is it a good idea for the defense to go after that front on, by saying you're taking these comments out of context, you're also using lawmakers to say that they're somehow as influential as donald trump was, and also cite that they're not -- they didn't cause an insurrection, the way donald trump allegedly did according to the democrats, is it good to confront it full on, or to just let that argument go, and move on? >> i think it is pretty sound strategy, and for the reasons that melissa just said. it wouldn't be a good strategy in a courtroom but this is not a courtroom, and what they're trying to do is give republican senators some ammunition that they can use to support a vote
of acquittal. and they need that ammunition when they go back to their constituents. what they're trying to do is give a little bit of a hook to republican senators for them to be able to explain their vote. and if you are to say, well, donald trump said fight like hell, but so did "x," "y" and "z" democrat previously, that gives -- potentially gives some of these republican senators something to say on the merits. because other than that all they have is this poor, shoddy legal argument than constitutionally to have this trial. that's a procedural argument not related to the conduct at hand. i don't think it's the worst argument that they can bring by any stretch. >> melissa, democratic lawmakers have already stated that they started drafting articles of impeachment moments after they were trapped inside the capitol during the riots. trump team is going to argue
that how could they possibly have done that before an investigation even took place? what do you think of that argument? >> again, this goes to the point that dan just made, all of this is to provide the jurors here, the senators with ammunition, to be able to refute a conviction because they believe that there is some sort of substantive or procedural abnormality about way all of this was conducted. the idea here behind this -- the charge that the impeachment articles were drafted quickly, and in a slip shod way to basically say this is part of a witch hunt. they knew what they wanted to do. the fact this is a second impeachment of the same president feeds into that narrative and it may be incredibly persuasive for some of the senators and will certainly play with the base who believes that this president has been unfairly targeted by the democrats. >> i want to ask about daniel this defense brief that focussed on the question of
constitutionality and this interesting thing around michigan law professor, brian kalt who said he was pretty misrepresented in the trump defense brief. our own pete williams noted it was interesting they cited this professor in the first place given he seemed to argue the opposite case. the article was the constitutional case for impeachability of former federal officials and he tweeted about how the brief cites his article and they misrepresent what i wrote quite badly. if you're looking at this from the legal perspective is that something that could come back to bite effectually the defense team? >> in a court of law it would bite them a lot. in the senate trial, i don't think it will have that much of an effect. but what is interesting about it is that it goes to the quality of work being put forward by donald trump's defense team. which, as we know, was hired very recently. i'm not at all surprised they're
already forshadowing they're not going to use their full 16 hours. i'd be surprised if they used even eight hours. and that's in large part because they're really trying to catch up. and so, you know, as shoddy citations and taking things out of context going to happen when you're under the gun and rushing and not that well prepared? yes, it will. the real question, though, becomes if these misrepresentations continue, and if they relate to something a little bit more central to the conduct. for example, if they were to make misrepresentations about what a senator or a representative has said in the past, that may come back to bite them. so i would suggest if they're going to cite congressmen and senators as part of their defense that they don't take it out of context. >> there's a lot of context that was missing from the legal brief so far. trump's lawyers say trump's use of fighting language was
metaphor iccal, and that he only used the word fight a handful of times. let me play what we found. >> he fights, he fights, fight rkt fighting, fight, fight, fight, fighting, fight, fighting, i'd fight -- they'd fight, i'd fight, i'd fight that fight. fight. >> why does it matter if he's saying it once, twice, 17 times, 100 times? why does it matter here, melissa? >> i think the argument that the defense is trying to make is that this was all meant to be figurative and not literal and the president didn't actually spur the protesters to lay siege to the capitol, that he did not incite them. remember, the article of impeachment here is for incitement of insurrection. they're trying to dismantle the causal link between this statement on january 6 that the president made in advance of the siege and the siege itself. >> daniel goldman, melissa murray, thanks for coming on with us this morning. up next here in washington
it looks a lot different than it did the day before the january 6th riots, you have fences, armed troops surrounding the capitol. just feet, frankly, from where we are sitting right now. so as the second impeachment trial gets started we're talking about the extra security in place and what it means. that's next. ace and what it mea. that's next. your blood sugar is crucial. try boost glucose control. the patented blend is clinically shown to help manage blood sugar levels. boost glucose control products contain high quality protein and key nutrients to support immune health. try boost. this phone paired with 5g ultra wideband, wow! the new samsung galaxy s21 is on verizon 5g ultra wideband. available in parts of many cities. it's ridiculously fast. buy samsung galaxy s21+ 5g, get one on us. only on verizon.
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far from normal here in d.c. thousands of national guard troops remain stationed in washington with extra barriers and fences surrounding what is supposed to be a global symbol of freedom and democracy. with a contentious impeachment trial getting under way, law enforcement in our nation's capitol is on high alert to make sure we do not see a repeat of the january 6th riots. let's bring in nbc's ellison barber from the capitol building. ellison, what's the level of security concern today and what extra measures are in place? >> reporter: hey, stephanie. of course, there are still these barricades that are starting to feel like a familiar scene in d.c., topped with razor wire that if it reminds you of anything, it is probably a prison or a war zone in some foreign country. there are still national guard members patrolling the grounds of the capitol, a spokesperson for the national guard tells me as of this morning they have about 6,400 guard members on the ground assisting in d.c.
now until mid march they expect to keep that number somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 airmen and soldiers. you can see there is a checkpoint, this is a staff only checkpoint, for the most part this building, which so many people have been to, have walked through the grounds is only for staff. this is where staff are stopped, they check in before they are able to make their way inside closer to the capitol. as for the security threat, we have asked d.c. police, u.s. capitol police as well as the fbi washington field office to give us some sort of threat assessment. so far we haven't heard anything back from them and aren't aware of any specific security concerns. national guard says those threat assessments come from local law enforcement agencies. for now, though, we only know of one planned demonstration this week and that is in support of the impeachment. back to you. >> ellison barber live for us a few blocks from where our studio is on capitol hill. thank you. up next, we might be getting more details about how the house impeachment managers intend to
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strategy as they get ready to present their case to convict the former president for inciting an insurrection at the capitol january 6. here is the deal, we are just learning now from senior aides involved with that impeachment team that these managers plan to present new evidence, evidence that has not been seen before at this trial. we don't have many details yet on what that is. we're going to check in with our reporter covering this in just a sec. plus we have new details from trump world and some republicans who are calling all of this political theater. straight ahead, how long this trial might last, where this vote could be headed and the stakes for everybody involved as donald trump becomes the first president in history to face two impeachment trials. good morning, i'm hallie jackson in washington. this week joining me here in the nation's capitol stephanie ruhle and katy tur. a reminder, we want to show the timeline of what happened specifically on this day that we're talking b january 6. it started, remember, with president trump's speech, the president at the time, at the
ellipse 11:50 a.m. at 1:00 p.m. you had vice president pence gaveling in a joint session of congress to accept the election results from november. shortly after that during that speech the now former president told his supporters to head over to the capitol. his lawyers will note he told them to peacefully and patriotically make their voices heard. impeachment managers will point out he also told the crowd to, quote, fight like hell and never give up. about 15 minutes later the mob breaches the capitol grounds and an evacuation order is given. at 1:34 in the afternoon that day the u.s. capitol police and the mayor of washington here asked the department of defense for help. half an hour later the rioters breached the walls, they get inside the capitol building and it took 30 more minutes for all senators to be evacuated. just after 3:00 p.m. the pentagon authorizes the deployment of the d.c. national guard and more than two and a half hours later the guard arrives at the capitol to help restore order. that brings us to what happened the evening of january 6.
8:00 p.m. the senate reconvening, vice president pence saying let's get back to work. then at 3:44 in the morning after rejecting challenges to joe biden's wins in arizona and pennsylvania, vice president pence affirms the election results, declaring joe biden the president-elect and the joint session of congress gavels out after a long and very dark day in the nation's history, but a day in which democracy ultimately prevailed. katy, stephanie, here in washington we are three hours away from the start of this trial and today we're going to see these arguments on the constitutionality point that the former president's defense team has been making that they say can't even impeach a former president. >> they are. and we have a tendency to talk a lot about the politics and how republicans might vote, how they're influenced politically and what they might believe for their political future, but let's take a step back and take a breath because this is a moment, a true moment for history. this is a president who has been
accused of citing an insurrection, of citing thousands of people to storm the u.s. capitol, to stop the fair election, from not being certified, but from being counted. they were given this idea that they somehow had the ability to stop it if it just wasn't counted by congress. there was no constitutional duty there where congress would be able to roll back what happened during the election, but they thought there was because the president had kept telling them over and over again that mike pence could stop it, mike pence could do it. we are at a crisis of disinformation in this country and where we go from here is going to be partially determined by the outcome of this impeachment trial, but it's largely going to be determined by the way that we approach it, the way that we talk about it and what we allow to be said in this country, not to impinge on free speech, but the facts and
the disinformation and what we allow to stand as true. >> there's also a lot of disinformation around this argument that you cannot impeach a president once he's left office. let's go back two and a half weeks when it was mitch mcconnell to said let's slow this down. we don't need to vote on this right now and people said, listen, the most important thing is that we have a peaceful transfer of power, the inauguration goes well, let's cool things down and as the investigation continues we can do this within 100 days, we can do this over time. well, suddenly people are saying, no that's not possible. well, that's not what republicans were saying just three weeks ago. >> so that point you have charles cooper, conservative lawyer, top name in washington and beyond who is now saying actually, guess what, it is constitutional to move forward with this. and that is something that you have to wonder if it's resonating with the republicans who are acting as not the real jurors, but the de facto jurors in this instance. i want to bring in our nbc news
reporters, garrett headache is on capitol hill, monica alba in west palm beach, florida. mike memoli is at the white house. we're joined by i can't mean alcindor. i want to start with you and this new information you are getting with house impeachment managers. new evidence, what's up with that? >> well, we don't know the specifics but that was sort of tantalizingly dropped in a briefing by senior aides working on the impeachment that there will be never before seen evidence included at some phase in this trial. when you look at the legal brief filed by managers it relies on open source information, documents, news clips and so forth that we've ever r. already seen. what they may have up their sleeve remains to be seen. we're learning more about their strategy, they're going to try president trump not just for the incitement on and before january 6 but also for his failure to respond forcefully during the attack itself, which i think was a key point during the house proceedings on impeachment, will be a key point going forward.
they also have not yet made a decision on calling witnesses. the managers -- or the aides to the managers, i should say, were vague about the possibility that that might happen in the future. and they stressed what we're going to see today will be somewhat technical, right? this is going to be the debate about constitutionality, the question of whether to have this trial in the first place led by jamie raskin the lead impeachment manager. but beyond today they really want this trial to seem more like a trial for a violent criminal prosecution than a constitutional law class. they're going to make suss be singt pointed arguments and are trying to punch this up and focus on the violent crime aspect and not the dense legal theory about whether or not this is constitutional once we get past that specific argument today. >> or we could say in the dem's legal theory for a moment and let's bring in monica alba in west palm beach. the president's former aide
jason miller has said president trump does not plan to participate in any unconstitutional proceedings. if it becomes abundantly clear and it likely will that nothing happening here is unconstitutional, then what's he going to do? >> reporter: well, it's possible we may see the former president weigh in at some point but not in the ways that we were very accustomed to hearing from him, certainly while he was president and over the last decade or so when he was really prolific on twitter and other social media platforms that he has now been permanently banned from, steph. we could potentially hear from donald trump in the form of an official statement, he's been releasing that through his official office as the former 45th president or he could always call a press conference. of course, he hasn't done anything like that since leaving office last month. when we flashback to his first impeachment trial a year ago, he was of course then the sitting president and he was in the midst of a reelection campaign
season. he was out holding rallies, having events at the white house, in fact, an incredible stat from the second day of his first impeachment trial, he tweeted or retweeted something like more than 120 times. he was completely engaged and essentially his own one-man rapid response team. that's not what we're seeing this time around, in fact, he has been very quiet publicly, but behind the scenes we can now confirm and report that the former president has been reaching out to some republican senators that he is friendly with, and this is according to trump adviser jason miller. donald trump has been checking in with them but he would say it doesn't amount to a full whip effort at this point in terms of trying to influence them, but we know because some of these republican senators have come out and expressed their concerns with questions of constitutionality that's something that donald trump is hoping continues today and will lead them ultimately not to vote to convict him, but what's also interesting here, steph, is now we're getting a really good picture from the former
president's defense team about how they're going to use that as just one part of their argument. they're also planning to call all of this political theater in particular because they don't believe that the senate should have jurisdiction over a former president and now somebody who is a private citizen. so they're going to lay out that case and they're also going to make the point that this is really a public relations stunt that was specifically what they said when the house impeachment managers asked the former president to consider submitting testimony either written or in person. he obviously declined to do that. remember a year ago he submitted written answers that were also riddled with factual errors. none of that expected this time around, but it's possible we could get some in-person reaction as the week develops down here in south florida, but i can tell you so far the former president has spent the majority of his time golfing. it's possible, though, we're told he will be watching some of the trial in between time on the links. >> mike memoli, the current white house doesn't want to talk about impeachment, they don't want to talk about the trial,
they are laser focused on the covid relief deal and the economy and getting help to people that need it, including the pandemic. privately do they have a wish for how this impeachment trial will go one way or another? >> well, katie, certainly they're hoping to see this trial wrap up as quickly as possible because they want to sustain the momentum they think they were building in terms of this american rescue plan, the $1.9 trillion vaccination, economic relief package that they hope to have done in the next few weeks. think about this, katie, how often during the course of the campaign was he talking about the fact that then candidate joe biden his campaign was looking for each and every opportunity to really highlight the contrast between joe biden and then president trump, thinking that was a real advantage for them in terms of viewers. now this white house is operating as if this impeachment trial isn't even happening. you heard the white house press secretary jen psaki yesterday saying she wouldn't even say if the president would be briefed on updates on the trial as it was going on, if senior officials would be monitoring it throughout the day. you heard the white house
communications director, kate bedingfield this morning on msnbc pressed on this issue saying that the president is very proud of the role that he played in unseating trump from the white house but now it's time to focus on doing the work that he was elected to do on behalf of the american people. that's why you see the white house engage in something of a counterprogramming schedule this week. today the president is going to be meeting in the oval office with the treasury secretary, some business leaders as well. tomorrow he will head to the pentagon. on thursday he's going to head to the national institutes of health. i want to go back to that meeting today in the oval office because we just got a list of some of the business leaders that the president will be meeting with as well, it includes the ceo of the chamber of commerce, the ceo of gap, the ceo of jpmorgan chase. this is a meeting that looks like one that could have happened in a trump administration with some republican-leaning constituencies. this is a symbol of how i think the white house is trying to bring outside political pressure even if washington is focused elsewhere. >> garrett, i know you wanted to jump in here to the conversation.
>> reporter: i was just listening to monica talking about the trump defense team plan here and i was reminded of something else that the impeachment manager aides pointed out today. if you have a bingo card at home put no january exception to impeachment right in the center of it. this is an argument that the managers are going to hammer, that the things that the former president trump is being tried for were acts he took while he was president of the united states and he was then impeached while he was president of the united states. you cannot carve out this time and say he can't be tried now because he's no longer president when the crime itself took place during the time that he was. we expect to hear that argument a lot today. >> sadly the three of us don't have bingo cards, although perhaps we should rectify that. yamiche, what is on yours? you had a front row seat to what happened during the presidency of donald trump. >> well, i'm really watching to see how much this becomes a personal reliving of what
happened on january 6th. you're hearing from senior democratic aides that they want this to feel like a violent crime trial, they want people to be brought into what happened at the capitol. so that's why they're saying this is going to be this new evidence. i suspect some of that will probably be possibly videos that we haven't seen before, talking to aides on capitol hill, they're really feeling as though they need to remind people exactly what happened. let's remember that this trial is happening at the alleged scene of the crime. this is so much different than the first impeachment trial because this is lawmakers reminding their fellow lawmakers your life was in danger because of words from this president. that's the argument that they are going to be making. i'm also very much interested in this two-track approach that the republican -- the defense of the president will be making, president trump, that is. they're going to be arguing, one, of course, that there's that procedure argument, there's no jurisdiction, he got no due process, he should not be being tried, but they're also going to
be making this case that this small group of criminals, what they're calling them in that brief, that they misunderstood the president, were enamel in order by him and inspired by his words. this is going to be an argument that is interesting to hear while senators who had to flee for their lives are listening to it and i think it's going to be very interesting to see how republicans walk away from this, especially when it comes to whether or not we will see any of those really critical 45 senators change their mind. the trump team as you reported also is going to be bringing out this video, trying to say hear what democrats said. here is why they are just like president trump. i think the thing that's going to be so obvious is going to be that there wasn't a storming of the capitol after maxine waters or senator harris -- then senator harris had fiery speeches. that's all the things that we should be watching, how they juxtaposed this at the scene of where this happened. >> what president biden is doing at the white house is more than just counterprogramming, it's disinformation combat.
here is why. mike mentioned the names of those companies, the ceos, walmart, jpmorgan, lowe's, the gap, chamber of commerce. why does this make sense? because you know who is going to cover this important meeting, all the business media outlets. yes, they're going to cover the impeachment trial but think about all of those audiences that watch and read and are under this assumption, man, joe biden isn't thinking about the economy, he is not thinking about covid, he is entangled in this impeachment. he is not. all of those outlets will be focused on what was said at that meeting. that's one of the reasons you're seeing this happen today. >> mike memoli, yamiche alcindor, garrett haake, thanks four your excellent reporting. live look at capitol hill, that's where in just the next few minutes we expect to hear from senate majority leader chuck schumer on the other work happening on capitol hill, the efforts to try to get president biden's covid relief bill passed. next up we will be joined by senator richard blumenthal as he
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we are back live from our msnbc studio here on capitol hill with special coverage of the second impeachment trial of donald trump. in about ten minutes you're looking at it on the left side of your screen we expect to see senate majority leader chuck schumer and other top democrats there at that microphone, ostensibly it's a news conference on passing president
biden's covid relief plan but we know know that majority leader schumer will address the impeachment trial right at the start of those remarks. the trial that is set to begin in three hours from now, a little under that actually. we will bring you those remarks when they happen but today's focus on the trial is whether it's even constitutional to do this for a former president. we're joined by somebody who will be listening to those arguments and deciding on them, democratic senator richard blumenthal from connecticut. senator blumenthal, good morning to you. thanks for being on today. >> thank you for having me. great to be with you. >> let me start by getting your reaction to the strategy that we have just heard about this morning from the democrats who will be presenting this case, the prosecution, if you will, that they expect to show some new evidence that they expect this to be a fairly succinct argument leaning heavily on the emotion, the visuals, the video. do you find that compelling and perhaps more compelling do you think it's compelling enough to get any of your republican colleagues who are still on the fence across the aisle?
>> it will be very compelling, hallie, because we all lived through the horror of that day and we've been warned that these videos are going to be very graphic and often painful in the recollections that they entail. i think it will be compelling to many of my republican colleagues. they take an oath, donald trump violated his oath of office in seeking to overthrow a lawful election, and to keep himself in power. if they keep faith with their oath, they will convict. all they have to do is follow the facts and the law. and i know as a former prosecutor that reliance on graphic and compelling evidence that is pictorially moving is often a strategy that makes sense, but these trial managers are also going to be absolutely accurate and i think there may be new evidence about what
donald trump failed to do after he saw this scene, a mob assault on our democracy unfolding in the capitol and his own vice president threatened. he didn't lift a finger and that kind of reaction almost reveling in the destruction of democracy i think will be very compelling and powerful. >> do you know what evidence that is? have you been told about that evidence, senator? >> we have not been told about any new evidence and we can speculate about what it might be, but, you know, the evidence already on the record is so powerful, the words out of donald trump's own mouth are so incriminating. and it's not just during the january 6th mob assault, it's the 77 days before it. the disinformation that he spread, the appeal to domestic terrorism in michigan, for example, where he tried to align
himself with the militia, in the pressure on georgia election officials. he really tried to overthrow a lawful election and keep himself in power. that's a high crime. it's a violation of his oath of office. it's the crime that most disturbed and that the founders most feared. >> if they keep faith with their oath they will vote to impeach. you said those same words several months ago as it related to confirming amy coney barrett as a supreme court justice. they voted to confirm her. so do you have any reason to believe your republican colleagues are going to do as you say and keep with their oath? besides what they should do? >> i have hope. i have no great confidence because for four years i've been urging that they follow conviction and conscience and of course they have been silent or worse in their complicit with
donald trump, and it is not only the spread of disinformation, but also domestic terrorism that now is really front and center in this trial. my hope is they will sense the danger to the fundamental fabric of this country and that they will look deep. in fact, look at themselves in the mirror, look at their place in history now that donald trump has left office, maybe less cowardice and spinelessness and that's the only reason that they wouldn't follow their oath of office. so i have more hope, but not confidence. >> very quickly, senator, do you support, then, if this trial goes as many observers think it might with an acquittal and ends that way, do you think democrats should move to censure the former president and is that something you'd support? >> you know, i think this trial is going to play an immensely important role, regardless of the verdict, in airing this public corruption. i've been a prosecutor and seen
acquittals that had immense effect on the public's view and we wouldn't be talking about this impeachment trial right now if it weren't for the fact that it were happening. i will reserve judgment on a censure resolution until we see the end. >> senator richard blumenthal, thank you for being with us at the start of what i know is an extraordinarily busy week for you. katy, stephanie, we're sitting here, people don't know this, we're like three blocks from the united states capitol where this is happening and it does -- being here underscore the stakes of today. >> it is remarkable. it's the first time i've been here in a year, basically >> you're welcome. >> i couldn't believe what i saw with the fences around the capitol. i keep going back, guys, and thinking about this conversation i had with a man outside of a trump rally in pennsylvania over the summer. i asked him about trump -- he kept on saying that the election was rigged if he would lose. what would you do about it? and the man said he would do whatever it takes. i said would you take us arms?
he said he would do whatever it takes. this was a long time coming. >> and many of those people who would do whatever it takes have now been arrested, they were capitol rioters and their defense is donald trump called us here and his own defense team is distancing saying, oh, it was just a few criminals. remember two nights before that rally in georgia the wifi password was "see you january 6 stop the steal." he invited them there. >> i will see both of you right back here tomorrow and for the rest of the week as we continue our special coverage right here on msnbc. it continues after the break. chuck todd, andrea mitchell, craig melvin pick up our coverage next. ge next. >> man: what's my safelite story? my truck...is my livelihood. so when my windshield cracked... the experts at safelite autoglass came right to me... with service i could trust. right, girl? >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪ you can't plan for your period's... what the gush moments.
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back to msnbc's special coverage of what is the second impeachment trial of donnell john trump. i'm chuck todd alongside with my co-angers for the morning andrea mitchell and craig melvin. it is obviously a historic day. at 1:00 p.m. eastern the senate will begin the first ever impeachment trial for a former president of the united states, but it is noteworthy that he was impeached while he was president, for what it's worth. >> indeed. and the focus of today's proceedings is over whether it's even constitutional to hold an impeachment trial for a former president. two weeks ago that question came to the senate floor through a procedural motion from senator rand paul with 45 republicans voting that a trial would be
unconstitutional and only five gop lawmakers siding with the democrats. some republicans, though, say they want to reserve judgment to see the evidence before deciding whether to convict. 17 republicans would have to join all 50 democrats to convict. >> house impeachment managers will start presenting their actual case tomorrow. trump's defense team will then go later in the week and while all of this is going on president biden and senate democratic leaders are trying -- trying the operative word -- trying to keep as much focus on covid relief as they can. in fact, any minute now we're expect to go hear from senate majority leader chuck schumer, senate committee chairs on how they will be moving forward during this trial, chuck. >> well, guys, look, let's set the table here for what this is. craig, i want to start with you because i do think what gets lost here is, you know, andrea and i were sitting in these exact chairs on january 6. january 6 is a scarring memory
for myself and, andrea, i don't want to speak for you, but i assume the same for you. and it feels as if, craig, that the farther we have gotten away from january 6, both geographically and as far as on the calendar, that that scar is not as easy to see it appears. >> i think you hit the nail on the head there, chuck. i mean, listen, it was a day that was obviously terrible for our democracy in a myriad of ways. it has also been -- it's been really bad for politics for republicans. the deadly insurrection, in fact, i think we have a graphic here. you just look at the number of republicans that have actually changed their registration across this country since january 6th in arizona, 9,300, north carolina, 7,000, in pennsylvania perennially a swing state, 12,000 folks changing their party affiliation, california north of 30,000.
so clearly the events of that day resonated with folks outside the belt way. i think the question is going to be over the next week or so how this is going to influence voters moving forward, andrea. >> exactly. and, you know, craig and chuck, i covered the hill for years and anyone who was there who has been there in the past feels a reverence for that building, but so do americans writ large. i think that's what the house managers are trying to convey. it's a steep hill to climb because as chuck points out there has been distance, people want to move past, president biden wants to move past, so do most members of the house and senate, but there's still a real need to educate and the house managers are trying to recreate that through video evidence and through the fact that they know that the 100 senators were all witnesses and victims to the
incursion and with the house. >> andrea, that's really important here. i think that there's a lot of folks in our business who we all want to show you that we see around corners and i know there's a lot of folks in our business who are presuming we know the outcome of this trial, but here is something that's a wild card here and, craig, you were in this town, you cover new york city, we remember 9/11's impact both on washington and new york. those 100 senators were there, too, and we don't know what these videos are going to do to stir their own personal memories here and i think that's the wild card in all of this and why i've been hesitant to be presuming that we know this outcome in advance. maybe you have a 95% certainty of it, but i don't have 100% certainty. >> and here is the thing, chuck, you mentioned the videos, i mean, they were all, you know, witnesses, i mean, essentially this impeachment trial is going to be happening at the scene of the crime. there has been some talk about testimony and what if we start to hear from some of those
capitol hill officers who were facing down those rioters, who were scared -- literally scared for their lives, seeing fellow officers -- seeing at least a fellow officer killed that day. i mean, yeah, to your point i think it would probably be a fool's errand to predict the outcome despite what we saw in that procedural vote, chuck. >> yeah. andrea? >> you know, and i think the house managers also to use a really colloquial phrase, they want to -- the republicans to own the testimony as craig says from cop killers, that five people -- five people died. >> right. >> well, as we said, we are expect to go hear from the majority leader chuck schumer and the top senate democrats in a minute here where they're about to get started. we can get the latest -- in fact, he's walking in right now. before we check in with our hill team, let's hear from senate majority leader chuck schumer. >> there's a distance.
okay. i'm proud to be joined by my colleagues, the chairman -- i was almost going to say ranking member but that was then and this is now -- the chair members of so many of our committees that are involved in the covid legislation. but first i want to say a word on impeachment. the senate has a solemn responsibility to try and hold donald trump accountable for the most serious charges ever, ever levied against a president. those who say let's move on, that brings unity, are false. when you had such a serious invasion of the capitol, incited by a president who we know urged people, told people the election was false, urged people to come to washington, urged people to
march on the capitol, the senate has to find is he guilty in inciting the violence that ensued. when you have such a serious charge, sweeping it under the rug will not bring unity, it will keep the sore open, the wounds open. you need truth and accountability. i believe the managers will present a very strong case, the evidence will be powerful, the evidence some of it will be new and i urge all my colleagues to pay careful attention to the evidence. i particularly urge my republican colleagues despite the pressure on them, pay very real attention to the evidence here because it's very, very serious. every senator, democrat and republican, has to approach this trial with the gravity it deserves. and that is really important for
the future of this country. a mob of white supremacists and inn sur ex-ists and domestic terrorists falsely believed the election was stolen and tried to overthrow the government. and as i said, the trial is about the president, whether the president, the man chiefly responsible for feeding the mob with the lies that motivated their behavior, who told them to come to d.c., directed them at the capitol is guilty of inciting the violence. now, to why we're here. you know, it was said a few weeks ago in all the punditry and everywhere else that the impeachment trial would throw a wrench into president biden's early agenda. we are here today to say we are not letting that happen. we can do both at once. the defining challenge of our moment -- we had to do three things when we gained the
majority, one, fill the president's cabinet. we are doing that. last night two nominees were approved late at night the deputy secretary of defense was approved by voice vote. second, run a fair impeachment trial. and unlike the previous impeachment, leader mcconnell and i are introducing the resolution together. no one can claim it's not fair. but third and just as important is deal with this awful covid crisis. to the pundits who said we can't do both at once, we say you are wrong. we can and we are. the bottom line is simple, the senate is moving full steam ahead on a bold plan to get this country out of the crisis, to speed vaccination distribution, provide a lifeline to small businesses, help schools reopen safely, save the job of teachers, firefighters and other
public employees an so much more. our country has so suffered. every one of us knows people that make our hearts ache with what they're going through. i just saw -- i just saw a video of grand -- grandchildren saying good-bye to their grandparents. they couldn't see them, hug them, touch them. we have to do everything we can to end this crisis and even though the impeachment trial is an important and august responsibility, we are doing both and that's what my colleagues here are doing. we are working with our house members, we are working with our committee members, we are working when we can with our republican colleagues to produce a big, bold piece of legislation that will help us deal with and get out of this awful, awful crisis.
we look forward to working with republican colleagues to make this covid package a reality and you saw there were a number of bipartisan amendments, the first amendment that passed, the very important one to help restaurants, was authored by senator sinema and wicker, one a democrat, one a republican, but make no mistake, senate democrats will not dither, dilute or delay because the covid responsibility is so real. and now let me -- here is the order of speaking, i think it's seniority, i guess. murray, stabenow, wyden, carper, cantwell, menendez, cardin, sanders, brown. >> you just heard there senate majority leader chuck schumer. interestingly enough spending almost as much time on things that don't have to do with the impeachment as with the impeachment trial itself, which i think gives you a sense of -- he was almost bragging about the fact that they believe they can
walk and chew gum at the same time. let's get the latest from inside the capitol. leigh ann caldwell is inside the capitol for us. leigh ann, we know that democrats and president biden have -- want to show that, hey, they've got other things they're also working on this week. do republicans have a counterprogramming strategy here or do they have to own all of this trump stuff in a way and they're just going to suck it up and deal with it? >> reporter: well, republicans are now in the minority in the senate and they continue to be the minority in the house of representatives, so they don't have much say on pushing any sort of agenda, but they do have the power to go on defense, but the reality is that they are going to have to answer for where they stand on this impeachment trial. democrats are talking about covid relief in their legislative priorities, at the same time that they are talking about this impeachment trial,
but republicans are going to have to answer questions from reporters, they're going to have to answer to their constituents on how they vote here. so they are going to be front and center because it is up to them on the fate of the former president donald trump on what happens here and that first test vote is going to come today on if they think that this trial is constitutional or not. there have been a lot of conservative legal scholars over the past couple weeks since the last time they voted on that who have said that it is, in fact, constitutional. so they are under some pressure to at least acknowledge the legitimacy of this trial. >> and, leigh ann, you were at a briefing with the house managers' staff today this morning. what did you learn? what's their strategy? >> reporter: well, andrea, they say that they are going to present never before seen evidence, which is something new. they would not go into the details of what exactly that is.
but one thing that also really stuck out to me and that is that they are going to prosecute this case they say like a violent crime. that is a stark difference from the last impeachment trial where it was a constitutional argument. they say that they are going to look at this in a criminal aspect and it's going to look more like that. we know that they are going to really try to play into the emotions of the senators, those 100 senators who are, in fact, witnesses. they were victims of the insurrection and they are going to try to play into that emotion to bring them back to that space on january 6 to try to convince them that a conviction is the only way out here. >> leigh ann caldwell for us there on capitol hill. thank you. joining us now former federal prosecutor paul butler, donna edwards and "wall street journal" opinion columnist peggy
noonan. a big thanks to all of you. paul, let me start with you here. let's pick up with where leigh ann left off to a certain extent here, the constitutionality of this. the legal angle here. a lot of bluster so far from the trump legal team, they have called this political theater, they've claimed there should be an immediate dismissal. what's your take, paul, on how that part of the argument about play out today, the constitutionality question? >> so, craig, there are two constitutional arguments that the trump team is making, first about the first amendment. the problem with that argument is that what is protected by the constitution is different from what's impeachable. if a president used racial avitas and said he was a proud white supremacist he could be impeached for that speech. here even trump's first amendment analysis is dumb, the first amendment does not protect speech that inn cites violence
and crime. trump didn't just yell fire in a crowded theater, trump actually started the fire. and the other constitutional defense focuses on the impeachment clause text which says that a presidential be removed from office on impeachment and conviction. so trump's lawyers are using that to say impeachment does not apply to private citizens and as an ex-president that's what trump is. the problem with that defense is that when trump was impeached he was still in office. it was the senate trial that happened after, not the impeachment. >> peggy, last week you made a case for impeachment, you didn't make a legal argument, you made the sort of larger symbolic argument about america as sort of the symbol of democracy for the globe and, you know, here we are in this moment of what we're watching china do to hong kong, seeing what's happened in
myanmar, and you seem to be concerned of us not doing something about this, the message that sends around the world. you think your case has any sway over someone like a rob portman? >> i think maybe. i think we have almost all of us grown up with this sense that america is an example to the world in our peaceful democracy, a big roiling place, hundreds of millions of people and yet every two years and four years we work this out peaceably. other nations know that they have had problems with that, they've had violence, they've had fighting on the floors of their parliaments, but they could always look to america, see an example and more important an inspiration. so we have all known this. i have spoken to many people in foreign affairs, including
ambassadors and others representing other countries, and they have been honestly since the events following the november election and the president's attempt to overturn it, they have been not disappointed, they have been anguished by this, by the sense that america is dropping the ball and can no longer function as the thing you are aiming at. so i think two things. i do think that might have some impact in the brain pans of various senators watching, but i also think, as i think you do, the enormous stark drama of the entire country seeing the signs and pictures and sounds of the event, all of the evidence showing all of us what led to it and how it led to it and who led to it. i think that may be very striking for people. i think there are a lot of
people who say, i haven't made my decision, actually deep in their hearts maybe they haven't, or maybe they will simply revert to being political figures as we always expect political figures to act. >> yeah, i think they know the ballot how they might vote but this won't be a secret ballot. >> some of your former colleagues, all of your former colleagues, some in the gallery and you know them so well, i was talking to jackie speier yesterday, the congresswoman from california, who was during the incident when her face was down on the floor and heard the shots, was having a flashback to jonestown guiana and spent years, barely survived that assassination attempt where a congress member she was killed, as a staff member, and she aoc and others, had real traumatic
post-trau mat tick stress. >> keep in mind that impeachment managers themselves, some of them were closeted in the gallery on that date and so, you know, not only do we have the scene of the crime, the impeachment managers, both as witnesses and victims and, of course, the senators as jurors, and i think that the reason that you see the impeachment management team, you know, putting together a case that relies on that video evidence, relies on recreating the before, during and after of donald trump's conduct, i think it is unpredictable, frankly, what their response is going to be after 16 hours of hearing this kind of testimony. so i don't want to prejudge what senators will do and like peggy, maybe they will -- i think maybe they will resort to politics,
but the evidence is going to be compelling and i think that what the team is trying to do is will be to put together a case and you look at the skills and talents both refuting the constitutional arguments, but really getting down to the facts of what happened on that day, and senators will have to make a judgment for themselves. the american people will be making that same judgment. >> peggy, to the congresswoman's point there, this compelling evidence that senators are going to see and hear and relive and experience, that notwithstanding, the conversations that are going to be had among republican senators after they experienced the evidence, peggy noonan, how compelling would the argument be from republicans to each other, this idea, essentially, if we
convict him we can get rid of him to a certain extent, he can't run again, we can move the party past it? how compelling would that argument be? >> oh, craig, i think pretty darn compelling. chuck was mentioning before the republicans at the moment seem to have no legislative counter programming to this impeachment moment we're in, while the democrats do. they've got the covid relief bill. i was thinking as he spoke, guys, republicans' problems for four years, five years, has been they had no counter programming argument to trump. would they love it if it were made clear that they will not be running for president again, man they would love it. we'll see how that goes. it seems almost undemocratic and
yet i think most any republican will tell you honestly, yeah, we would really like that because we have got to get past this moment and the darkness of that moment -- of this moment and see what we can make happen in the future. i would only add republican senators will be watching this live for the next four, five, six days along with the american people. they know the american people are watching too. this isn't like a committee room where only the senators are watching. public opinion is going to play a factor here and be what they hear from back home is going to play a factor. >> hey, paul butler, there's a real through line between the closing argument and adam schiff made at the last impeachment trial and what we're dealing with and what this current crew of impeachment managers is dealing with in this impeachment trial. how much would you advise this
current crop to reference the impeachment saying hey, look, we're here a second time, essentially on the same issue, which is a president who just does not abide by the constitutional boundaries that have been set in this country and would do whatever it took to retain power? how much would you spend your time referencing that or would that be a mistake? >> i think it's key. the context is, look what happens when you let him get away with it. if you give him the power to become president again, our democracy, our very liberty, is at stake. the difference, though, between the first impeachment and the second impeachment is that now the house strategy is not to treat trump like he's a white collar defendant who committed some crimes on paper or on the telephone, the house strategy is painting trump as a angry
violent mob on his perceived enemies. this is more like a mob trial than a white collar criminal trial. >> that's an interesting way of putting it. they're going to use -- quite the -- quite the visuals here with the violent crime they want to prosecute this with and mob trial there. paul butler, donna edwards, peggy noonan, appreciate the three of you helping us get started here, two hours the house impeachment members will arrive at the senate for the start of the trial. more on what we know about how they'll make their case to senators who saw the capitol riot firsthand but didn't see all of it. plus what we know about the ongoing arrests and prosecutions of the people who participated in the riot that led us to this day, that's next on the special coverage of the second impeachment trial of donald john trump. trial of donald john trump. because my body can still make its own insulin. and trulicity activates my body to release it, lowering my blood sugar from the first dose.
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we are counting down now to the start of the second impeachment trial of former president donald trump set to start just two hours from now, chuck. >> look, it's going to be unlike any impeachment trial we've ever had since this one is with a former president. last month the house of representatives made donald trumps the first ever sitting president to be impeached twice and, of course, the then senate majority decided not to hold the trial before january 20th. today, though, will mark the first time in our nation's history that an impeachment trial will involve a president no longer in office. >> it is unlikely but still always possible that the senate will vote to convict donald trump and then bar him from holding future office. it would require two-thirds of the senate to find him guilty of the house's single article of impeachment, incitement of insurrection and to ban him from political office. >> this trial is not just about donald trump's ability to run for future office. it's really about the soul of
our democracy and the future of our politics. on the line is whether the republicans will hold trump accountable for basically trying to overthrow the election he lost with a lie so big it motivated a deadly mob of his supporters to storm the capitol. >> for today this unusual trial will begin in an unusual fashion with a debate and vote and whether the trial itself is constitutional. trump's defense team has staked much of its case on the argument it is not constitutional to try a former president for impeachment. >> the house managers will argue today that it is constitutional and most experts agree. of course all of this against the backdrop of the coronavirus and the battle to fast track president biden's massive 1.9 trillion dollars relief bill. the white house has filled in its schedule with pandemic-related events with an attempt it would seem to counterprogram the trial. >> we're going to kick things
off this hour, we have the latest from our team of nbc reporters. >> we're joined by our capitol hill correspondent garrett haake, nbc news chief white house correspondent kristen welker and peter baker, chief correspondent for the "new york times" and political analyst. what should we be watching with this trial today. you've been with the house managers and talked with them about the briefing as they will be in about two hours walking into the senate. who should we be watching as they debate today? >> this is going to be the most legally dense day of argument. expect to see lead impeachment manager jamie ras kin make the argument the trial is not just constitutional but necessary and there is no january exception to impeachment. the defense we know wants to argue that donald trump is now a private citizen and the u.s. senate doesn't have jurisdiction to go after him today. you will hear the impeachment managers say the crimes he say
committed happened while he was president, he was impeached while he was president and needs to be held accountable now. now there's four hours of debate today that will lead to something of a foregone conclusion. we know there are at least 55 votes in the senate to say the trial is constitutional. we saw that on what amounted to a test vote on something rand paul brought up. the number to watch for today is at the end of this discussion about the constitutionality, how many republicans vote to go forward with the trial. if fewer than 34 republicans say that this is constitutional, that essentially means the managers are going into a trial with not enough votes to convict based on the people who simply don't think we should be doing this at all. a very important day before we even get to the substantive arguments for the president's conviction. >> there's a look at the impeachment managers there. you mentioned jamie raskin who is also for the purposes of the next week or so, constitutional
scholar as well. kristen, let's go back to this counter programming that we talked about. the white house, how are they approaching this week? i mean what should we expect from their counter programming? >> well, craig, president biden is going to try to keep the focus on his key priorities and try to show that he is still doing the job of being president. expect a strong and continued push for his covid relief package that you mentioned, that $1.9 trillion relief package. he has a week that is filled with meetings and various appearances. there's going to be a covid briefing today, for example, later today he and his treasury secretary will be meeting with business leaders, jamie dimon ceo of jp morgan, tom donahue chamber of commerce, president and ceo of lowe's xep company to name a few. tomorrow he heads to the pentagon and i'm told there will
be a focus on black history month and thursday he visits the national institutes of health. the key focus will be on the fight against covid. craig, privately when you speak to officials at the white house and the president's allies on capitol hill, there's some real concern that this impeachment trial could slow the momentum for trying to get the covid relief package passed. it's already facing some headwinds. democrats signaling they will have to go it alone without republicans through mat new ver known as reconciliation. there's even disagreement within the democratic ranks, the direct $1400 payments that president biden is proposing, there's a push to make them more targeted and some of the progressive branch of the party not on board with that. it is a package that still has some hurdles to get through before it is passed. each day that this impeachment trial goes by doesn't necessarily help. knew i have been speaking to white house officials asking if the president has sent a signal
to democrats to get this trial over with quickly. one white house official saying that's not necessary, that there is broad agreement that they want this to be an expeditious process, craig? >> peter baker, in the first ten days after the insurrection, if you look at the signals that frankly both liz cheney and mitch mcconnell sent pretty loudly to the republican party and republican party elites, and there was this moment where i think, and i don't want to speak for you, looked like wow, the ground may be shifting here, and it turned out the ground does not appear to have shifted as much as we thought. what does that say about where mitch mcconnell is in this party? i mean, he put out a -- he doesn't put out trial balloons often, he put out one on basically convicting this guy and he found out he didn't have the votes. what does he do now?
>> yeah, that's a great question because you're right, mitch mcconnell doesn't do anything that he hasn't thought through in a tlib brative way. for him to get out front like that and then discover that caucuses wasn't behind him or enough of the caucuses wasn't behind him to achieve a conviction is a rare thing. doesn't necessarily mean there won't be more votes to convict on top of the five who voted to proceed with the trial already. it's conceivable a few might join on saying i don't think this is the way we should do it but having considered the evidence i will vote for conviction. the truth is they would rather stake their ground on the constitutional question rather than deal with the merits of the case and say yeah, we think what he did was okay. they would rather say we shouldn't be having this trial at all. it's remarkable how both parties end up backing into their traditional corners, particularly the republicans who many of whom with would like to be done with trump but recognize he is still a force to be reckoned with within their party. it's a party that kids of two
very, very, you know, powerful, you know, cross currents, that being trump and his base which continues to believe in him and believe in many cases that the election was somehow stolen and those and the rest of the party would like to move on and say we need to recast the republican party in a new light, to get trump in our rearview mirror. we don't know whether or not that's even going to be possible because i think you're right, the trial at the moment will be leading toward a second acquittal for donald trump that he will use no doubt as validation in the weeks and months to come. >> and peter, do you think there's some flexibility that we don't foresee among perhaps those republican senators who are not running for re-election, another added to that number, richard shelby, veteran from alabama, not seeking re-election, but we haven't seen yet from others, from portman and toomey and others, they are inclined to vote to convict, but
if the evidence is persuasive, we know it's going to be visual and dramatic. >> that's what the house managers are counting on. unlike last year's trial which came down to, you know, the transcript of a phone call on a dry piece of paper, relative to the abstract idea that doesn't galvanize emotion in the same way this trial does, you will see images that will strike at the heart of democracy, it will strike emotional chord among people in the building at the time who faced the danger that the senators themselves faced, vice president at the time, vice president mike pence was a target of some of these rioters and some of these invaders of the capitol, and i think that that is different dynamic than we saw last year. whether it changes minds, i don't know, we'll see. you're right, it certainly is conceivable that some republicans will say okay, i think that this is enough and that they will go along with the
five who have decided to go forward with the trial. whether you get 17 that seems remote at the moment. >> mitch mcconnell the unknown factor because he would bring along with him. peter baker thanks to you and garrett haake and kristen welker, thanks to all. this impeachment trial starting a little more than a month after the deadly capitol insurrection. federal prosecutors have now filed charges against more than 200 people accused of taking part in the riot. justice correspondent pete williams joins us with the latest on that and the investigation. pete, what do we know so far about the 200 or so folks who have been charged? >> probably about 215 and 500 total open investigations. the government is getting a much broader look now at trying to identify all the people that came into the capitol that day on january 6th. and if you look at the breakdown, the government says about a small number of them, about 24 or so, were from
extremist organizations and the court documents say that they were sort of at the vanguard of all the violent moments, the ones that pushed down the low barricades at the outer perimeter around the capitol and the government says they're the ones that broke out windows and pushed in doors to get the first people in and were involved in assaulting what the government says is nearly 140 capitol and metropolitan d.c. police officers who they say were injured during the riot. you have that small group. then you have a sort of second group, a larger one, that was willing to go along with them in some of these more aggressive acts and then you have a third group, perhaps the largest of all, which is people who seemed to be sort of swept up into the fervor. >> hey, pete williams, we noticed at least the gentleman known as the qanon shaman, his lawyer was making an argument that his client was just doing
what president trump told him to do. how many of those defenses are we seeing? >> quite a few and they run the gamut from people, remember, the government also claims that some of these extremist groups had actually planned not just to come to washington, not just to demonstrate somehow, but to actually storm the capitol on january 6th. but setting aside those, many of the other people who have been charged, say they told the fbi, some turned themselves in, say hey, we were doing what president told us to do and undoubtedly that's in the trump lawyer's brief and something they're going to bring up. they're going to say these people intended to go all along and the fact that the president made a speech to make a difference but the house managers will cite a lot of these statements that the people made saying the president told us this is what we're supposed to do. some of them say we're here at his invitation. >> pete, where do we stand in
the more serious investigations, for instance, officers sit nick and some of the others, five people died. >> yes. well the shooting investigation of the woman from california we think is largely finished and will probably recommend no charges be filed against the capitol police officer. in the death of officer sitnick, that's under investigation, an intensive one, and who planted the two pipe bombs at the headquarters of the republican and democratic national committees on capitol hill which some investigators think was an attempt to draw police away from the capitol at the time people were storming the capitol even though they were planted the night before. >> wow. we'll be following up with you on that. thanks so much, pete williams. thanks to you. so much of the evidence for the impeachment trial played out on live television and also on social media videos. up next, we're going to talk to congresswoman and former cia officer abigail spanberger about
what she wants senators to remember about being inside the chambers during the riot, all part of our coverage of the second impeachment trial of donald trump. ♪♪ ♪♪ [ engines revving ] ♪♪ it's amazing to see them in the wild like th-- shhh. [ engine revs ] for those who were born to ride, there's progressive. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪
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welcome back to msnbc's special coverage of the second impeachment trial of donald john trump, the former president is accused of inciting an insurrection that america saw play out on live television and on social media on january 6th. joining us congresswoman and former cia officer abigail spanberger in the house chamber when the rioters were trying to break in and this seems the most difficult part of the case to make because everybody has got their own confirmation bias. i say this just -- just is. you were there. the senators were there. it might actually be harder to introduce new information to
them given that they had their own experience. how would you go about doing it? >> well, i think that in this case, the question is whether or not former president trump incited a violent mob to insurrection and i think the perspective of having been in the chamber, in the house chamber, at a time where we were there for a joint session intending to do our constitutional duty when a mob descended upon the capitol, is so necessary to people understanding really what happened. i was in the gallery as police officers were barricading the doors with benches and tables and i was in the gallery when we had to dawn gas masks but take them off because there was a frenzy and lack of understanding about the threat. i was in the gallery as we were climbing over railings trying to find a door we could exit. i was there when colleagues were praying and colleagues were
crying and rioters on the ground were yelling and chanting and with we heard the gunshot. this is what an insurrection is, when you have lawmakers doing their constitutional duty and that duty is thwarted by an angry mob. so understanding the full scope of what that insurrection on that day meant, what it was for us as lawmakers, what it was for every person who works within that capitol, is important to telling the story of just how serious and dangerous and terrible that day was. for people who experienced it but frankly for the actual foundation of our democratic republic. >> as a former cia officer, you know, you are trained to understand insurrections and how these develop overseas. what is your message to the senate about the situation now? chris wray has been saying that domestic insurrection and these
radicals are more dangerous than foreign radicals right now to america's national security. how do you persuade the senators from your experience base? >> well, there's two points to make. one is we are going to have to have hard conversations moving forward about domestic violent extremism in our country, what it means, how it takes roots, how the unwillingness of some lawmakers to tell their constituents the truth that they may not like to hear, for example, that president trump lost his reelection, that creation of how we enable conspiracies that ultimately can lead to the -- these domestic violent extremist groups to take root that's a conversation we must have, but it's frankly a conversation that will come after all of this. right now at hand is what we as the american people, long into the future, generations to come, are communicating to those who will come after us about what is
accountability, what happened on that day and how we as a people faced it, whether or not we held those who incited that riot, that insurrection accountable or decided to say arbitrarily there's a deadline to accountability. i would argue that there isn't. this is about making generations into the future recognize that in the face of an insurrection, we all stood united to say it was wrong and that all those who had a hand in creating it are culpable. >> congresswoman, these accused domestic terrorists, that's what they are, many seemed to have been motivated by white supremacy at the core of the capitol attack for a lot of these folks. what do you make of how we're combatting that part of the threat? what role does social media, what role does that play specifically? >> well, i think it's incredibly important and you are right, so many of the individuals who
engaged in insurrection came to this effort, if you will, came to their desire to overthrow the election results because of their racist and white nationalist viewpoints. that's what brought them to this larger conversation. we as a nation need to recognize that it is a bit by bit this hatred, division, blaming and other rising of our fellow americans and other people, is what leads to these sorts of crimes being committed. it's what leads to the degradation of some of the foundations of our very democracy. we need to go after and confront white nationalism and other root elements, anti-semitism, white nationalism, racism, just basic bias that has allowed for these domestic violent extremists to bind fellow travelers in their
efforts to undue and wreak havoc on our democracy and on their fellow americans. >> but as you knew, congresswoman, a lot of what they're doing is being done on the internet. they're trafficking in the dark web, they're on facebook. how do we root them out there? i mean and how much more should we be holding these social media companies accountable? >> so it's incredibly important to recognize the accountability that exists for pushing people to these ideologies, to these ideas, slippery slope conspiracy theories that may not begin in white nationalism, that may not begin in outright authoritarian preferences but that lead people to those eventualities. certainly there have been a number of individuals who have left the conspiracy theory following of qanon who spoke about how they first came to it when it was presented to them on
a social media post, where those algorithms sped up messaging that led them down those paths of hate and division of conspiratorial doubt of the very basic foundations of you are -- of our nation. there is an important element of oversight we must have in the united states congress to determine whether or not social media companies are doing enough to determine and to stop their algorithms from pushing people to those ideas. i would argue that they're not, but i think that we need a much broader and deeper conversation because some people are just being pushed to those divisions, to those corners, and the darkest of those corners are, of course, those where white national prevails and recruits and where anti-government forces are drawing people to this notion and this mission and this is similar to what we see in foreign terrorist recruitment. it's where you pull people in
bit by bit by bit and it is very, very some lar. we should confront it the same way or in a similar way. >> virginia congresswoman, thank you for your time. >> coming up we are on the verge of the fourth president impeachment trial of u.s. history but the second in just over a year historian michael beschloss is here to break down what might seem familiar and where we are in completely unchartered territory. that's part of our special impeachment coverage coming up next. t coverage coming up next this phone paired with 5g ultra wideband, wow!
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special coverage of the second impeachment trial of donald j. trump. it's a historic day as donald trump becomes the first president to face two impeachment trials and the first impeachment trial ever of a former president. so joining me now is the man with the answers, nbc's presidential historian michael beschloss, the historical significance of this trial, michael, the first president to be impeached twice and also the first former president to be impeached. >> that's exactly right, andrea, and the first president of the united states who incited an insurrection that could have destroyed our democratic way of life. i can't think of another president of the united states
who would have ever come close to doing this or who once an insurrection like this had begun, an attack on the congress and capitol that could have led to the assassination of the vice president, assassination of the speaker of the house, assassination of others, maybe a hostage crisis, suspension of the inauguration of joe biden, conceivably all that could have happened. anyone else, other than donald trump, who was president in the white house when this began to unfold would have immediately used every weapon at his command to calm this down. we know that donald trump didn't do that. if i could suggest to a historical anniversary today, the 9th of february, 2021, exactly 160 years ago today, jefferson davis was named president of the confederate states of america. what did he want? >> he wanted an insurrection against the federal government of the united states of america, ultimately after a tragic civil
war, davis went to prison. >> wow. >> so michael, the sort of the defensive theories that have popped up among some defenders of the former president are some doozy. take a listen to how lindsey graham is trying to portray this these days. he seemed to indicate that somehow all former presidents could be impeached. take a listen. >> when you combine a snap impeachment with an impeachment of a president who is out of office, you're going to destroy the presidency itself. they never envisioned going after a president once he's out of office because the purpose of impeachment is to remove the person, not bar them from running in the future. george washington under this theory could be impeached for owning slaves. >> look, lindsey graham has his facts wrong. he was impeached as sitting president of the united states and this is something that continues to be -- it's a very effective misinformation
campaign that they're participating in. but it does seem as if republican senators want to forget that donald trump was impeached while president of the united states. >> of course he was. there is no argument that this should not unfold because he was impeached while he was president. nothing against that. for the senate to fail to draw the line to say, this was not incitement of an insurrection, it wasn't an incitement or insurrection, nothing wrong with this, the senate would be setting a dangerous precedent in the fewer if you have another president who loses an effort for a second term, same as donald trump did, what's to prevent that person from abusing all the huge power a president has to once again attack congress, try to interrupt the counting of the ballots, and try to overturn the results of a free election? we would be losing our democracy. this is a choice between drawing
the line, trying to preserve our democracy in the future, or putting us all in the back seat of a car with a dangerous drunken driver. >> that is quite the analogy. mr. beschloss, i mean the former president's legal team devoted about 24 pages to arguing that senate cannot put donald trump on trial because he is no longer in office. that seems to be their chief argument. do you think that this argument has any -- does it have any merit historically? >> not at all. also we have to remember that even though richard nixon resigned from office in august of 1974, the house of representatives felt it was very important to draw the line, just as i have been saying, and so they had a vote on the floor of the house which was essentially if nixon had not resigned, would we have voted for impeachment? overwhelmingly they said that nixon would have been impeached and the intention there was to say to future presidents, don't
ever try to commit offenses against the constitution and our democracy the way nixon did because you will be impeached and in danger of being thrown out too. what they wanted to make sure was that nixon could not for the rest of his life say, you know, that the house and/or the senate told me that what i did was not anything -- just as lindsey graham was arguing a couple minutes ago in the bit you showed -- they wanted to make sure that nixon could not for the rest of his life say, i didn't to anything that was worse than any other president. i was railroaded and driven out of office and i should not have been. if the senate fails to draw the line this month against donald trump, i guarantee you, donald trump will be back on tv making exactly that argument. >> michael beschloss, presidential historian here, thanks as always. >> thank you, craig. so we are just over an hour from the start of the impeachment trial getting under way. it begins with a debate on its
constitutionality. they're going to get that out of the way first. we've got new details from the trump defense team and a new legal brief from house managers. we'll take a look at all of it during our break and explain it to you on the other side in our special coverage of the second impeachment trial of donald john trump. impeachment trial of donald john trump. >> man: what's my safelite story? i spend a lot of time in my truck. it's my livelihood. ♪ rock music ♪ >> man: so i'm not taking any chances when something happens to it. so when my windshield cracked... my friend recommended safelite autoglass. they came right to me, with expert service where i needed it. ♪ rock music ♪ >> man: that's service i can trust... no matter what i'm hauling. right, girl? >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪
will see them, but you'll notice the difference. call today to start your 30-day risk-free trial. start the year with better hearing and big savings. call miracle-ear today. and we are back with our special coverage of the second impeachment trial of former president donald john trump. nbc news is learning new details about how involved the former president is behind the scenes when it comes to the trial including reg regular contact with republican senators and telling aides he expected to be acquitted. we got our hands on a new brief from the house impeachment managers which responded to former president trump's legal team. joining us we have monica alba in west palm beach, florida, covering former president trump and kasie hunt is on capitol hill. kasie, let me start with you,
and just this new response, sort of yet a -- it is i guess a formal way of saying everything trump said was bunk? it seemed as if that was essentially their response here. >> yeah. that's right. in particular, they focus a little bit on the jurisdiction here and -- because that, of course, is what we're going to be hearing about today, the constitutionality of what's being covered here and the managers essentially say that yes, of course, there is jurisdiction here, there is constitutionality and that the -- most of the legal scholarship around this falls into that category. obviously we also -- in some ways i was thinking about it as i was fanning through this, we have spent so much time and democrats have spent so much time over the four years that trump was president essentially debunking things that he had said over and over and over again, that while this was a more formal language than much of that, i was sort of flashing
back to those kinds of periods because the reality is he said so many things that were not true when he was president of the united states that it was hard to keep track. i think the bottom line reality here is that we know what happened that day, we know or we believe that they're going to show us new evidence that relates to the president's role in that -- we don't have as many details about that yet as we will ultimately find out, it seems -- but the goal here is the overarching political one to remind people of what happened on january 6th and remind them of the emotion that they felt then and to point to the president's role in that which now of course there are so many defendants that are being arrested and charged with crimes in connection with this, a significant number of them are arguing actually, you should show me leniency because i was just doing what commander in chief told me to do, chuck. >> and monica, we know there's a new member of the former president's defense team, one of
the legal arguments she's going to have to face, you can tell us more about her, is that they really in this house manager's document just now, they try to demolish the defense argument that while richard nixon wasn't brought up on impeachment after he left office, well the difference is, he had already served two terms so under the 22nd amendment he could not again run for president and he had acknowledged wrongdoing and had apologized and acknowledged everything that had happened in watergate? >> precisely, andrea, and they will also make the point that he resigned, so it wasn't this major question of what you can do to a former president necessarily who has left office in that manner. the former president's defense team is really going to try to lean on this argument of raising the question of whether the senate should have jurisdiction over someone who is now a private citizen. of course the key response to that is that while donald trump was the sitting president, that is really what's at heart here,
the issue on january 6th when he made those remarks ahead of those pro trump rioters who breached the grounds of the u.s. capitol and engaged in that deadly riot. they're going to try to make the case that now because he's out of office, this shouldn't apply, when, of course, we know and there's plenty of evidence of the behavior he exhibited after he lost the election in terms of spreading misinformation, but you're right, we did get just now some new information about an attorney that's been added to the team. julie ann bateman, going to be joined david schoen, bruce castor and michael vander veen today and for the rest of the week. this comes as we saw a shift in terms of the team that original group of attorneys, parted ways with donald trump because they couldn't agree on illegal strategies and the former president wanted them to focus on baseless claims of voter fraud. we have that reporting that essentially they felt very uncomfortable with that and that's why they headed for the exits. these new lawyers came in and they're going to center their
case around these questions of constitutionality. this new lawyer was added in part also because we know that there was a request made by one of the former president's attorneys david schoen to not have proceedings in order to observe the friday evening and saturday he withdrew that request. even though the defense will go on. another important point on the timing the former president's team does not expect to use all 16 of their hours. guys, back to you. >> all right. monica alba there, in west palm beach, florida, thank you. kasie hunt, thanks to you as well. let's bring in our panel, daniel goldman former lead counsel during the first house impeachment trial and donna edwards and "wall street journal" opinion columnist peggy noonan back with us as well. daniel, since you're newest to the party so to speak, house
managers pushing back hard on the former president's legal team argument that this trial is unconstitutional. what is the best argument that the house managers have here? >> well, i think the best argument is both precedence and the plain text of the constitution. it's a common sense argument where the constitution the way it is written contemplates that a president would first be removed from office before there is a vote on disqualification. so the fact that he is already out of office doesn't change the structure of the constitution. one thing that i would stress even more than what i've been hearing a lot over the last couple days is, this is not a situation where donald trump was charged two years after he left office. he was charged or rather he was impeached, which is akin to a charge, while he was in office. the fact that mitch mcconnell
then delayed the senate trial until donald trump was out of office does not mean that the trial cannot go forward. it is a strawman argument that really has no basis, but it's what we're going to hear today. that's going to be the focus all day long today. i think it has been discredited but we'll see how many senators support it in the end. >> daniel, we're also learning i guess, getting a glimpse of another strategy, it would seem as if the president's team, the former president's team is going to employ, his attorney bruce castor indicating on fox news they plan to use video of democrats' own words during social unrest last year to try to bolster their argument of free speech protections, quote, there's a lot of tape of cities burning and courthouses being attacked around federal agents being assaulted by rioters in the streets cheered on by democrats throughout the country. how do you think that's going to play? >> i think this is part of an effort and we saw it in the
brief to make this as partisan as possiblep by president trump. i think the day after january 6th there was a feeling of nonpartisanship. i wouldn't say bipartisan, but nonpartisanship because the senators and the congress people were subject to the violent mob themselves and it really didn't divide along party lines. what the president is trying to do here through his attorneys is trying to return to his hyper partisan efforts to make this a question of whether republican senators are going to stick with their party or stick with what their conscience or their country might dictate. so i think it's a decent strategy. it worked last time. it's an effort to give some is ammunition to these republican senators to say look, this is just the democrats overreaching, trying to get donald trump as they've been doing from the beginning, they used this same language that donald trump uses
so why are they going after donald trump? it's this trump derangement syndrome, et cetera. >> you know, don edwards, i don't know if we're going to get witnesses but it certainly sounds as if there's a lot of e witnesses. senate republicans don't want to see them. perhaps senate democrats don't. perhaps president biden doesn't. and yet, you know, there is a part of me that fears we're not going to get a complete -- we're not going to get a complete oral history of those firsthand accounts and hearing from those officers. do you think that that will ultimately be a mistake, or do you think at this point given where we are at right you have to sort of make some of those tough decisions? >> yeah. i don't know, chuck. i think it's a good question because right now the plan obviously is to play the president's own words, you know, show some of the video that we've already seen, try to
create a sequential -- a fact pattern as possible to paint the picture for the senators who are sitting as jurors. and i think it's still an open question, although only a very small opening, as to whether there will be witnesses. there could be an opportunity to debate that at the end, and i think the impeachment managers, much like they would do in a criminal trial, are going to see where that evidence is taking them and whether there might be some openings among the senators. we may begin to hear that. i think -- you know, i would love to hear, frankly, from some of those firsthand accounts. we may actually see some video. we haven't seen anything i think from the capitol cameras that are there, and so maybe that's in the offing as well. >> and peggy noonan, the republican party still seems to be standing by donald trump for
the foreseeable future. where is the republican party going? because with the exception of mitt romney on the house side, liz cheney, you don't see republicans willing to stand aside and really separate themselves, denounce donald trump for his behaviors. you had kevin mccarthy going down to mar-a-lago and standing by him and taking a picture. >> yeah. ill include in your list of those who have broken a bit from trump, maybe more than a bit, andrea, mitch mcconnell. he's had some strong statements along the way about what's happening in the base. and you can see i think not distancing but a sense of dislike and antagonism. i think the republican party is having a quorum that for four or five years, maybe four years, it
tried to avoid and it hoped to avoid in general course of good things to avoid, this one was made inevitable by the offenses of january 6th. january 6th was an extraordinary event, as michael beschloss said. there is some danger. it can be seen as precedent. i have written about how you can't let the storming of the capitol exist in people's minds, especially the minds of people who are not fully stable or fully mature, as something possible to them if they don't like what's happening in american politics. so it seems to me 1/6 changed everything. the war has been launched. one of the things i would say is those who are coming out against pro trumpism are surviving. that's something new.
used to be you stood up to trump in the u.s. senate, you didn't survive. these people are surviving. liz cheney just kept her leadership position. so i don't mean the page has been turned, but i think we are in a new post-trump reality that is very dynamic and in play. >> and i should have mentioned that as well. >> their version of the dlc. daniel goldman, knowing then what you know how, how would you have gone about the first impeachment? would you have changed anything? because in some ways all the warnings that were done in that first impeachment came to sad fruition a year later. anything you think you could have done differently? >> i don't think so. i don't think we had a half of the senate or the majority of the senate that truly had an open mind. you know, when you would hear lamar alexander and some of the other republican senators say we
proved our case but we want to let the voters decide in november, there's a direct through line to what occurred in that impeachment where donald trump tried to cheat in the election. then the voters did decide. and then that was not enough for donald trump. he was not going to accept that, so he now is being charged with trying to steal the election. it's just the similar conduct but worse. and there were warnings. and, you know, at the time, chuck, i'm sure you'll remember, that there were some republican senators who did not take very kindly to sort of the direct warning shot that came from the impeachment managers that warned them that this is not someone who is going to learn a lesson, he is going to be emboldened by an acquittal, and you will be connected to him like a cord of steel as adam schiff said, for the entirety of time. and that is what happened now. so, you know, it's easy to look back and say hindsight is
"20/20" and maybe we could have done this or that, but at the end of the day i think we made a good case with what we had and i think the republicans recognized it and wanted to give donald trump a pass and he took pass and just kept going. >> adam's closing argument will haunt them for years and years. thank you all for this. that does it for us this hour. andrea, craig, and i will be back here tomorrow and all week for our special coverage of the executive order impeachment trial of donald john trump. but we'll pick up special coverage of the trial right after this very short break. try boost® high protein... -with 20 grams of protein for muscle health- -versus only 16 grams in ensure® high protein. and now enjoy boost® high protein in café mocha flavor. your mission: stand up to moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. and take. it. on... ...with rinvoq.
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