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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  February 10, 2021 3:00am-6:00am PST

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show they're still loyal to him. that shows you where the party is right now. >> yeah. sure does. jim vandehei, stand by for "morning joe." thank you so much for joining us on "way too early." as we head into today, again, the critical question, how are democrats going to offer new evidence to link what donald trump did or didn't do with that horrifying video we all saw play out yesterday. thank you so much for getting up with us way too early on this wednesday. don't go anywhere. "morning joe" starts right now. their argument is that if you commit an impeachable offense in your last few weeks in office you do it with constitutional impunity. you get away with it. >> my name is bruce castor. i am the lead prosecutor -- or lead counsel for the 45th president of the united states. keep saying prosecutor but i do understand the difference, mr. raskin. >> conduct that would be a high
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crime and misdemeanor, in your first year as president and your second year as president and your third year as president and for the vast majority of your fourth year as president you can suddenly do in your last few weeks in office without facing any constitutional accountability at all after he's out of office you go and arrest him. >> so there is no opportunity where the president of the united states can run rampant in the january and go away scot-free. the department of justice does know what to do with such people. >> this would create a brand new january exception to the constitution. >> i'll be quite frank with you. we changed what we were going to do on account that we thought the house manager's presentation was well done. >> oh, two very different presentations yesterday in the impeachment trial of former
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president donald trump. good morning and welcome to "morning joe." it is wednesday, february 10th. along with joe, willie and me, we have nbc news and msnbc national affairs analyst, host and executive producer of showtime's "the circus" and host of hell and high water podcast from the recount, john heilemann. member of the new york times editorial board mara gay, cofounder and ceo of axios, jim vandehei and former u.s. attorney now an msnbc news law enforcement analyst chuck rosenberg joins us. >> willie, we're going to let a lot of the words of the attorneys yesterday and a lot of video that was presented to the senators, so-called impartial witnesses speak for itself, but before we do i'm curious what your take away was of day one. >> you saw an attorney in bruce castor representing former president trump who was staggered like the rest of us by the presentation of the house managers with that video, parts
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of which we're going to show here in just a minute. 13-minute video put together documentary style that showed minute by minute what was happening on january 6th. and what the president was doing while it was happening. it stopped every one in their tracks. there was silence in the chamber. as you saw, the president, former president's defense team, was completely flat footed, completely hit with a hay maker. and just trying to get to the bell at the end of the round. didn't know what to say in response to it. >> yeah. so today house impeachment managers will begin laying out their case for why former president donald trump is responsible for inciting the deadly january 6th capitol riot. it comes after six republicans joined all 50 democrats in voting that the trial should proceed. here is how the impeachment managers off the bat dismantled the claim from trump's attorneys and supporters that the trial is
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unconstitutional. >> their argument is that if you commit an impeachable offense in your last few weeks in office, you do it with constitutional impunity. you get away with it. in other words, conduct that would be a high crime and misdemeanor, in your first year as president, in your second year as president, in your third year as president and for the vast majority of your fourth year of president you can suddenly do in your last few weeks in office without facing any constitutional accountability at all. this would create a brand new january exception to the constitution. >> he was impeached for inciting a violent insurrection. an insurrection where people died in this building. an insurrection that desecrated
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our seat of government. presidents can't inflame insurrection in their final weeks and then walk away like nothing happened. and yet that is the rule that president trump asks you to adopt. >> jamie raskin and joe neguse making the presentation there. but the most powerful piece of evidence was that harrowing 13-minute video showing the january 6th attack from a every angle beginning with president trump's speech that morning. we have bleeped out some of the worst expletives in this video but it was presented without those bleeps in the senate chamber. >> we will stop the steal. today i will lay out just some of the evidence proving that we won this election, and we won it by a landslide. this was not a close election. and after this, we're going to walk down -- and i'll be there
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with you. we're going to walk down. we're going to walk down to the capitol. >> yeah! take the capitol! >> take the capitol! >> take it. >> we are going to the capitol where our problems are. it's that direction. >> stop the steal! >> everybody this way! this way! >> usa, usa, usa! [ bleep ].
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>> madame speaker, the vice president and the united states senate. >> off the sidewalk. >> [ bleep ]. >> off the sidewalk. >> take the building! >> that's enough! >> there's more coming! >> usa, usa, usa! >> the constitution says you have to protect our country and you have to protect our constitution. and you can't vote on fraud. and fraud breaks up everything, doesn't it? when you catch somebody in a fraud, you're allowed to go by very different rules. so i hope mike has the courage to do what he has to do.
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>> we fight. we fight like hell. and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. >> [ bleep ]. [ bleep ]. >> we're going to walk down pennsylvania avenue. i love pennsylvania avenue. and we're going to the capitol. and we're going to try and give our republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help. we're going to try to give them the kind of pride and boldness they need to take back our country. >> get the [ bleep ] out of here you traitor. [ bleep ]. >> help!
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>> help! >> fight for trump! >> 30,000 guns. >> that's true. >> let's go. >> use the shield. use the shield!
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[ screaming ] >> fight for trump. fight for trump. fight for trump. >> so joe, that's only about five minutes of that 13-minute video. it makes your blood boil. it's horrifying watching the officer trapped in that door. i don't think most of us have seen it all in one place, like they did -- the house managers did it yesterday in those 13 minutes. as i said, there was silence in the chamber from republicans and democrats as they had to relive that terrible day. and yet, there are people who
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watched that video, absorb what we just saw, knowing that somewhere in there a capitol police officer was murdered as well and say, we need to move on. how can we move on from what we just watched? >> lindsey graham saying, let's move on from cop killers. marco rubio yesterday posting a video, saying let's talk about anything else but this. let's move on. marco wants us to move on from cop killers. marco wants -- >> who lost limbs. >> marco wants us to move on from cops, police officers being battered, being abused. >> blinded. >> being blinded, being called pigs, having fences thrown at them, being called traitors. that's what marco wants us to move on from. that's what lindsey graham wants us to move on from. mike lee says after seeing all of this video, seeing the united states capitol breached by
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seditionists and traitors, watching police officers being beaten by the american flag, watching these trump cop killers, watching these trump cop killers storm the capitol in the name of donald trump. what does mike lee say? donald trump deserves a mulligan. a mulligan? no. you don't get a mulligan when you kill a cop, mike. you don't get a mulligan when you batter and abuse a cop, mike. hey, mike, when you're rushing into the capitol to stop a constitutionally ordained process to count votes, and you abuse police officers, and you jam police officer's heads inside of a door, and you bash
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police officer's brains with fire extinguishers, you don't get a mulligan, especially if you're the one who is responsible for bringing those cop killers up to capitol hill. that's unbelievable. not only cop killers, these people are traitors to the united states of america. they're traitors. and we hear these stories of judges across america who are letting some of these seditionists, traitors leave the country and go to mexico, go to foreign destination weddings? letting them out of jail. why are they being let out of jail? these are seditionists and traitors. if these people were islamic terrorists, they would be sent to maximum security prisons the middle of america or if we were
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still sending islamic terrorists to gitmo, they would be sent to gitmo. but we actually have judges who are conspireing with these seditionists and letting them leave the country. why are they even leaving jail? it's an absolute disgrace but the gratest disgrace are people like marco rubio who want you to forget these images. who says we should just move on. let's just talk about anything but this lindsey graham saying let's move on. yes, yes. police officers were killed. yes, police officers were battered and abused with an american flag. yes, it was the words of donald trump that led us to this point. we should just move on. nope. no, lindsey, we're not moving on. marco, i don't know how stupid you think people are that you're talking to.
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your little video tape. but america is awake now. america is on alert now. america understands that these people are seditionists. america understands that these people are traitors. americans understand that donald trump and donald trump's words are the reason they stormed the capitol. and understands he's part of this conspiracy of these cop killers, of these seditionists. we are not forgetting. we are not forgetting. >> here is lead manager congressman jamie raskin recounting his own family's terrifying experience during the capitol insurrection when he was separated from his daughter and son-in-law during the floor evacuation. >> my youngest daughter tabitha was there with me on wednesday,
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january 6th. it was the day after we buried her brother, our son tommy, the saddest day of our lives. also, there was my son-in-law hank who is married to our oldest daughter, hanna. and i consider him a son, too. even though he eloped with my daughter and didn't tell us what they were going to do. but it was the middle of covid-19. but the reason they came with me that wednesday, january 6th, was because they wanted to be together with me the middle of a devastating week for our family. and i told them i had to go back to work because we were counting electoral votes that day on january 6th. it was our constitutional duty. and i invited them instead to come with me.
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to witness this historic event, the peaceful transfer of power in america. and they said they heard president trump was calling on his followers to come to washington to protest and they asked me directly would it be safe? would it be safe? and i told them, of course it should be safe. this is the capitol. tapitha and hank came with me to the floor and they watched it from the gallery. and it was -- when it was over, they went back to that office, denny's office, off of the house floor. they didn't know that the house had been breached yet. and that an insurrection, a riot, or a coup had come to congress. and by the time we learned about it, about what was going on, it was too late. i couldn't get out there to be with them in that office. and all around me people were calling their wives and their
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husbands, their loved ones to say good-bye. members of congress in the house were removing their congressional pins so they wouldn't be identified by the mob as they tried to escape the violence. our new chaplain got up and said a prayer for us. we were told to put our gas masks on. then there was a sound i will never forget, the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram. it's the most haunting sound i ever heard and i will never forget it. my chief of staff was with tabitha and hank locked in that office hiding under the desk placing their whispered phone calls to say good-bye and last texts. they thought they were going to
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die. my son-in-law never even been to the capitol before. and when they were finally rescued over an hour later by capitol officers and we were together, i hugged them and i apologized and i told my daughter tabitha, who is 24 and a brilliant algebra teacher in teach for america now, i told her how sorry i was and i promised her that it would not be like this again the next time she came back to the capitol with me. and you know what she said -- she said, dad, i don't want to come back to the capitol. of all the terrible, brutal things i saw and i heard on that day, and since then, that one hit me the hardest.
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>> you know, i remember bringing my children to the capitol when they were young, bringing friends and family members, a preacher, other loved ones up there. and everybody would just -- you stand in front of the capitol and look up. and it is one of the most awe-inspiring sights. it's actually far more awe-inspiring than even staring at the white house. you just stare up at the capitol and it is extraordinary. and everything that we have been taught about this nation about american exceptionalism, you feel it when you stand underneath the shadow of that capitol dome. a capitol that has been stained by the events of january 6th. and a stain that can be washed away by a vote this week.
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but i just don't know if republicans have the will or have the courage or have the values required to wipe clean that stain from the united states capitol that donald trump and his seditionists and cop killers put on that capitol dome. john heilemann, republicans, it's not as if these republican senators don't know what a difficult position they are in. they were there when the riots took place. they understood their lives could be in danger. they understood these trump rioters wanted to kill not only nancy pelosi but their former colleague mike pence. and you saw bill cassidy angrily talk about how one side did a
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great job yesterday, the other side did a poor job and he he actually voted with the house impeachment managers. but you had the sense that other republicans felt a sense of betrayal yet again because they were hung out to dry with one of the worst legal defenses that any of us had ever seen. >> yeah, joe. you know, the number of times that i've been stunned in the last four, four plus years at what has become of your former party, was surpassed in some exponential way yesterday as you watch those republican senators. i think we know the answer about whether they have the courage, the values as a collectivity in the senate, they do not. we may get -- i want to keep an open mind of the possibility that the power of public opinion
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and what i think now we know is going to be an even more powerful presentation over the next couple days by the house managers if the first day is anything to judge by, that video you guys played by, anything to judge by, we know the next couple days will be a very powerful case they'll make, the public opinion might move some and remain open some more minds might change, we know what the baseline is, 56 votes in the senate and there's 6 republicans who picked up one yesterday, bill cassidy, you mentioned from the earlier rand paul test vote at the end of january on the constitutionality question. we sort of know what the baseline is. are there going to be 11 more republicans who are going to change their minds? i think it's highly dubious that will be the case. i come back to the point of moral bankruptcy. it's like the republican senators sat there yesterday and while that video played stared at their shoes and looked at
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their phones and passed notes to each other and tried to avert their eyes from the plain truth of what they were watching. then on the question of constitutionality, the starkest difference between the presentations was on display, the democratic managers exhibited not just a mastery of the constitution but of the constitution's plain text, they made an argument designed to appeal to what republicans have always believed, that original intent, what the framers and the founders wanted, what was in the text of the constitution, was what should govern constitution interpretation. that's the argument. it's happened for the last 100 years. liberals say the constitution is living document. you have to extract principles from it. you can't just look at the text. conservatives say you have to look at the text, only the text. that's all that matters. the democrat house managers said let's look at the text and went through methodically and showed that this proceeding was constitutional and on the other
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side the two lawyers representing donald trump never, ever even addressed tissue in any meaningful way. they had one meandering presentation that never got to anything constitutional and you had a second presentation that was more fiery but almost entirely political and didn't address the constitutional issues in any really meaningful substantive way and those republican senators, not only did what you just said, joe, exhibited the moral zombie quality come to dominate the republican party, it's still alive the party, it's dead intellectually, dead morally, not only did they turn away from all the things you said they turned away from and the plain facts, the culpability of the president, they also turned away from a generation upon generation of conservative, judicial ideology. the party believes nothing anymore. if they don't if they voted the way they voted yesterday on this constitutional question. it's just a devastating
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indictment of where the party is intellectually, idealogically and morally. >> these republicans aren't originalists. they aren't in the purest sense of the term. only when it applies to them and yesterday was a great example of that. you talk about also changing the number of judges on the supreme court. which they claim sacrosanct washington, adams, jefferson, you can go through many of the first founders who changed the number of justices on the supreme court. so, but they made that argument before months ago. they escaped the originalist argument and now they're claiming actually that the filibuster goes all the way back to the founding of the constitution. it doesn't. that's just yet another lie. so, you're right. they are intellectually bankrupt at best. morally bankrupt at worst if they could look at that video yesterday and turn a blind eye to it.
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jim vandehei, i thought it was very interesting yesterday that we heard from mitch mcconnell the words we heard from liz cheney before she voted to impeach the president, president trump. and that was that the vote was going to be a vote of conscientious. yesterday was more of -- i would say it was more of a procedural vote, but mcconnell telling his members that they are free to vote the way they wish on the final impeachment vote. and you still do wonder where -- i'm not quite as kept kal as many. i still think there may be more republicans voting to impeach this president who was part of a conspiracy to kill cops and commit sedition against the united states of america than maybe we think right now. and mitch mcconnell seemed to signal yesterday what liz cheney signaled after january the 6th.
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>> yeah. i'm probably in the camp of i'm skeptical if there's more than six or seven that will vote against the president here, but mitch mcconnell is such an interesting case. remember, it was his staff that was telling us, telling others that he might vote to convict the president. that he was so infuriated by his actions. remember, it was his wife who was in president trump's cabinet who quit the cabinet in consultation with mitch mcconnell because of the president's actions. what were those president's actions that made her quit? it was the incitement of the mob that attacked. how do you -- just thinking about it from the moral dimension, believe that, act on that, and then decide, you know what, there's not going to be a punishment for it? and so to me he's the most interesting person to watch. i don't think, by the way, if he votes against trump and votes to convict that a bunch of other republicans follow him.
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i think that you can never underestimate the seductiveness of politics. that's what this is about, whether marco rubio, all the people you talked about this morning. they're making the calculation that based on what they're hearing from their voters that the consequences of turning on trump would mean they're surrendering their political career and they're not willing to do that. and i think that's what's at stake here. that's what's motivating them here. they want to move on. they want to move on to something else. they want to move on and figure out if they can repair and restore a political party that's in total disarray. take trump out of it, there's no leader to step in to fill the void. the party is deeply divided on even substantive topics like tax cuts or title reform or much less issues of morality that we're dealing with here with the mob and the capitol. if you watch that video, joe, you and i have spent years of
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our lives inside that building. we are so damn lucky that it wasn't so much worse. >> oh my god. >> look at that. >> i know. >> who could have been trampled, ended up with hundreds of people dead. and it was -- it's -- for all the awfulness, it could have been much worse and you see that rage and people pushing on cops. when you see a congressman on the floor in tears during his presentation while maybe some folks on the right might mock him, if you're in that constitution, there is what you said, joe, such a beauty about it. i would argue it might be the most beautiful building in the world in terms of being a citadel for freedom and democracy. and when you spend time in there, then to see it trashed, to see literally acts of treason against the institution, the buildings, the walls, the people, the art work, the monuments. that's why it's got to be so hard to be a republican senator,
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republican congressman and sit there and know that that happened, know that desecration took place, know that murder took place in that building and yet feel like i got to move on. i just got to move on. so, i am skeptical that you're going to get more than a couple of republican votes beyond the five or six that we think are locked in. but it's important for us to keep reliving this and should probably relive it for a long time. >> it remains stunning that some republicans are willing to look away from what we're watching and try to move on from this. mara gay, to jim's point the louisiana party quickly condemned its republican senator bill cassidy for voting this process was constitutional, for stepping out of line. so there is a price to pay from these state republican parties who are coming out against their own senators. but i wonder what your take away was watching yesterday, how a group of senators who experienced this, this is not new evidence, something that happened in the abstract, a
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prosecutor who lived through this, cannot want to hold the president accountable for what they lived through. >> it's just pure cowardice and of course treason. you know, i think we can never forget who these people were who converged on the capitol, why they were there and what they were attacking. the thing that stuck out to me that has stayed with me in these weeks since the insurrection is somebody who is a journalist and cares very much about institutions and public servants, just this was an attack not just on democracy as an institution, but also on public servants. who is in that building? people who are duly elected, people who are police officers, who are just trying to do their job, the staff members of members of congress, young, young people who just believe in their country and are there to serve and the janitors who had to clean up after, who are washington, d.c. residents, most
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of them black and hispanic. you know, i think we can never forget that this was an attack on a country that is changing. it was an attack on an america that is not the america that the insurrectionists believe in. and the message of the republican party and of donald trump's republican party which it remains donald trump's republican party, is that if we don't win, there is no power sharing. if we don't win, there is no democracy. if our voters aren't the most important voters, no other voters matter. i mean, that is the essential message which is that the expansion of democracy to include non-white americans is unacceptable. and that's why the capitol was attacked because these were people who felt that they had no longer -- they no longer had an option to pursue democratic means. they were going to take the capitol by force. >> you know, mika, it is
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remarkable that so much of this is all about an america that is changing. and certain people who cannot accept the change and don't understand that they're not going to be the majority in this country anymore. and it's fascinating. i have been reading along with kate, going back and reading flannery o'conneller short stories and one after another after another after another is written about white people in the '50s and early '60s adjusting to changes and not being able to understand what is happening around them in the south. and it is searing, of course, anybody that read flannery
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o'conner knows it's searing and at the same time you sit there and go, oh my god, here we are 50 years later and you still have characters from a 1962 or 1957 short story showing up on the front pages of our newspapers and storming u.s. capitols because they just can't cope with the fact that we live in a constitutional republic. that democratic values still matter here. they're not always going to get their way. and that's part of the pe chew lens that you saw on january 6th and still see. >> yeah. i just -- it's you touched on race. i mean, if this was any other
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group of people rather than predominantly white people storming the capitol, i think the conversation this morning would be different and that is really painful along with just witnessing once again what happened. >> no. let me be clear about it. we wouldn't be talking about it. you know why because i said on january 7th if they were black people predominantly storming the capitol, they would have been shot in their face. if they were muslims, there would have been snipers across the top of the capitol and they would have all been shot, killed, dragged away or arrested immediately, thrown in jail. and this story would have been over. we would just be wringing our hands saying how did we allow so many muslim terrorists that close to the united states capitol. how did we allow that black mob to get so close -- no.
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that's all we would be talking about. instead, instead we saw white people storm the capitol and be allowed in by some. of course, many capitol hill cops fought hard. some gave their life. because trump cop killers struck them dead. but this is -- there are two sides of this. there is the side of the entitled, those who think this is their country to such a degree that, oh, i don't know, the united states constitution is inapplicable when they don't win. then there's the other side of it. how these people were treated on that day by some police officers and how these people are still being treated by certain judges who are letting them leave jail after committing sedition
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against the united states. and go to foreign countries. >> well, one of the reasons why we're having trouble moving on to use lindsey or marco's words -- >> wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. we're not having trouble movering on. we still haven't moved on from 9/11. i got no problem here. i got no problem. i'm not moving on. >> yes, but the problem -- >> and americans aren't moving on. listened lindsey, we didn't move on after 9/11, did we, buddy? marco, were you telling people after 9/11 to move on a week or two later? were you, marco? >> no. >> you need to move on from osama bin laden a couple weeks later. i don't think so. we're not moving on. and by the way, something would be terribly wrong with this country if they moved on after the citadel of democracy, the center of democracy in this country and across the planet, if that was invaded by trum
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terrorists. >> the trouble with moving on is that it is impossible to believe that the republicans standing by trump at this moment truly cannot make the connection in their minds as simple as one plus one equals two. look at these pictures. look at these flags. trump flags. look at these people. screaming in the name of trump. look at these people who came from a trump rally, trump promised he would go with them. of course he didn't show up because he's a coward and would never follow through on his word, but they came because of trump. and everybody knows it. >> move on, they say. >> everybody knows. >> give them a mulligan, they say. >> why these people were there desecrating the people's house. ruining things. hurting people. murdering people. maiming people. and using the american flag as a
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weapon. they were doing it for trump. and the frustrating thing here is that this has to be explained explicitly to republicans and they turn away? they can't make this math themselves? >> yeah. >> it's not stupidity. i'm sorry. it's something way worse. this is evil. if you can't see what happened here, look in the mirror because there's a big problem with your moral core and you're not a patriot if you can't see what happened here and stand on the right side of history. all right. so you know, yes, this was done for trump, but this was also done because of trump. trump, who said we're going to the capitol. trump who said to these people, we are now allowed to, quote, go by very different rules. the same donald trump who said we're going to fight like hell.
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if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country. and then, of course, the impeachment manager exhibit showed the video tape as trump was saying that, people deciding that they would follow the president's words. they would go to the united states capitol. they would be able to -- as donald trump said, quote, we would be allowed to go by very different rules, donald trump told them at the rally. they would fight like hell. quote f you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country. it's, of course, reason why so many of these people now, these seditionists, these traitors of the united states of america, these cop killers, it's one of the reasons they're now blaming donald trump. saying they were simply following orders. boy.
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that sounds familiar. sort of a near umbergish tent to that defense. just following orders from donald trump. willie, i'm wondering, i'm wondering, did mike lee say that after 9/11 we should just give those involved a mulligan? did marco rubio said, oh, you know, we should talk about other -- any other issue other than this? did lindsey graham, say we should just forget about that? did they say that after 9/11. >> no, of course they didn't. in fact, they would still talk to you about it today if you asked them about the people who perpetrated 9/11, and of course they weren't saying the things they're saying now after 9/11 about the people who did that. i mean, if you watch the video that we just watched, somewhere on the steps of the capitol the officer is being beaten with a flag. there's a d.c. police officer named michael finone suffered a
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mild heart attack because he was beaten somewhere in that pile, he was beaten, he was tased, and suffered a mild heart attack because of it. he said later in an interview as he lay there on the steps being beaten by these seditionists that he wondered how his four daughters would go on without him. he accepted his fate. how will my four daughters go on without me. they're young, how will they go on? that's what's happening in that pile right there. so, if you're a united states senator, who is pretending as mika said that they don't know that one plus one equals two because they know. they know the math. it's simple math. if you're tre tending, are you willing to look past this and move on from what you saw here? and by the way, what we're seeing here is just on january 6th. the evidence we'll hear from house managers today and the next couple of days goes back much farther than that. it wasn't just one speech by
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donald trump on january 6th, it was months of rhetoric and tweets that was cold from qanon, culled from dark corners of the internet and elevated to the oval office as the president of the united states told this prominent lie that drove all these people to the capitol to kill a police officer and nearly kill several more of them. the opening arguments by the impeachment managers obviously as we said put the former president's attorneys on their heels. here is some of trump attorney bruce castor's rambling, to be polite, 48-minute presentation. >> my name is bruce castor. i am the lead prosecutor -- or lead counsel for the 45th president of the united states. i keep saying prosecutor but i do understand the difference, mr. raskin. senators of the united states they're not ordinary people. there isn't a member in this room who has not used the term i
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represent the great state of -- fill in the blank. we still know what records are, right? the thing you put the needle down on and you play it. representative so and so seeks to walk back comments about i forget what it was something that bothered her. i worked in this building 40 years ago. i got lost then, and i still do. instead of flood gates i was going to say originally we'll release the whirlwind, which is a biblical reference. that particular phrase has already been taken, so i figure i better change it to flood gates. the american people just spoke and they just changed new administration. i'll be quite frank with you, we changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the house manager's presentation
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was well done. after he's out of office, you go and arrest him. so there is no opportunity where the president of the united states can run rampant in january at the end of his term and just go away scot-free. the department of justice does know what to do with such people. >> so, willie, to sum it up, number one, he gets lost inside the capitol and has for the past 40 years. number two, the american people voted joe biden in and they chose to change administration. donald trump's own attorney admitted to that. >> yeah. >> then number three, the justice department has every right to arrest donald trump right now as a private citizen. so, check, check, check. and then that thing about record players. >> the one about arresting him i can't get past that. his argument is you don't need to do this impeachment trial. justice department can go to mar-a-lago and put handcuffs on
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the president. that's his defense attorney saying that. let's bring in former u.s. attorney chuck rosenberg. so chuck, you have to believe rudy giuliani is going, i could have done that. you didn't want that. who is this guy? that's what you're left with when prominent republican attorneys and there are many pass on the opportunity to defend the president. i'm -- i don't know how to explain the fact that mr. castor said he wasn't prepared. yes, the argument from house managers was powerful. the video was powerful. the testimony from jamie raskin was powerful. but it's precisely what they signaled they were going to argue in the brief that everyone saw a few days ago. >> well, that's exactly right, willie. how did you not know that was coming? sure it was emotional. of course it was impactful. it was powerful. we all saw it. but i knew exactly what was coming because i had read the briefs that the house managers filed. you have to be living on another
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planet to not see this coming. and so this notion that you have to change your strategy in response to this wild surprise just strikes me as incredulous. so, willie, you know, it's really interesting to me that good lawyers, and there are plenty, won't represent this president. you can't find, good, reputable, men and women to step up and represent this president. our history is replete with people who have taken on very difficult jobs as lawyers against popular and public opinion. john adams represented the british soldiers in the boston massacre. that's what good lawyers do. and yet nobody wants to represent this man. and he's left with bruce castor. it was an embarrassment. i will also say this, 88% of the republicans in the united states senate, 88% of the republicans in the united states senate,
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disclaimed constitutional authority to try in a case of impeachment president trump. how does that happen? when the constitution, as joe said earlier, is so clear that they have the constitutional authority to do just that. it's cowardice. that means they're cowards. they're looking for a political off ramp. they found one. and they have disclaimed constitutional authority. when do senators disclaim power or disclaim authority? it's when they're cowards and looking for an off ramp. >> chuck, just following up on the legal team, if that's what you want to call it, for those who passed, i mean, it's passing on defending the indefensible at this point. what is the argument that could be made to help republicans stand by their really treacherous choices? because i can't think of one. if i really even bend my mind as
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much as possible, it happened right in front of them to them. they were there. they saw it. >> yeah. mika, it's a great question. good defense lawyers and thank god we have them in this country defend the indefensible everyday in courts around the country. i could make an argument for president trump. i would hate doing it. i won't do it. i'm not his lawyer thank god. but you would make the following arguments, you would argue, first that the rioters acted on their own. that they may have claimed that they were inspired by the president's speech on january 6th. but they came ready for battle. you would also claim and again i think this is a red herring that president trump's speech on january 6th was protected by the first amendment. you know, it might be. there's a 1969 supreme court case called brandenburg that talks about speech which is protected and speech which is not protected. and for it to be not protected by the first amendment, it would
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have to be to incite a riot it would have to be a clear and present danger type of speech, imminent violence. so you would also make the argument as his defense lawyer that it was first amendment protected speech. so, are there things you can argue on his behalf? sure. are they compelling arguments? no, i don't think so. would good lawyers make those arguments? absolutely they would. does he have good lawyers making those arguments for him? he absolutely does not. >> chuck rosenburg, thank you very much. we have much more ahead on this historic second impeachment of former president trump. plus, within a matter of days, coronavirus vaccines are poised to roll out at major pharmacies across the country. and president biden pushes ahead with his covid relief package in a meeting with ceos of several top companies. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. ♪♪
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i don't want any trade minimums. yeah, i totally agree, they don't have any of those. i want to know what i'm paying upfront. yes, absolutely. do you just say yes to everything? hm. well i say no to kale. mm. yeah, they say if you blanch it it's better, but that seems like a lot of work. now offering zero commissions on online trades. we charge you less so you have more to invest. ♪♪ ♪♪ president joe biden met with some of the ceos of some of the country's largest businesses to discuss 1.9 trillion covid relief package and the future of the economy. joining us now is dominic chu. one of the discussions was trying to get the vaccine out to people through pharmacies among
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other things. dom, what did you hear? >> so what happened here with this meeting was this kind of broader stroke discussion about how you can get the american economy back on track, what it means, the importance of battling the virus and everything else. so in the meeting, vice president kamala harris, janet yellen the treasury secretary and ceos are some of the big names out there, jp morgan chase, jamie diamond, lowe's ceo marvin ellison, gap and tom donahue from the u.s. chamber of commerce. now, the reports are that biden discussed the importance of the virus pandemic and also giving that necessary financial relief for those millions of struggling americans out there. each ceo, by the way, was given a chance to speak, so we were told. gap single spoke about the impact of the virus on women and minority populations. walmart's mcmillen talked about how walmart is working on improving wages for americans. lowe's ellison talked about the
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importance of jobs in america. jamie diamond at jp morgan talked about policies that might help drive economic growth. a lot of those things were the topics of discussion there. by the way, i should also point out i mentioned tom donahue, he will tep down with his role of the business clark replaced by suzanne clark. clark is going to become the first female to lead america's biggest business lobbying group in its 109 year history and she's taking over at this critical cross roads for the group. it's trying to navigate this world of complex and divided politics, businesses are trying to get back towards the middle, mend some fences with regard to some of the actions over the past few years. it's obviously very politically charged right now for everybody in d.c. so the virus, the lobbying groups, everything else playing out there and mika, you also mentioned again the virus front, the pharmacies that are going to be getting some of these vaccines, cvs and walgreen's the two biggest ones in the country, they'll get those supplies sometime very soon.
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those distribution efforts are continuing. they trying to get as many people vaccinated as possible. up until now, much of the efforts focussed on healthcare, senior facilities, hospitals that sort of thing, local health departments. so this development is helping to fuel some of the optimism about a ramp up in vaccinations because so many americans already go to places like cvs, go to wall greens to get their flu vaccines every season. maybe the infrastructure is already in place for stuff like that. so that's something to watch for for sure, guys. >> dom, let me ask you really quickly. so, over the past couple weeks, while this debate about the 1.9 trillion, almost $2 trillion stimulus relief bill has been debated we have seen news stories and seen the cbo estimate that we're going to have 3.75 growth regardless of whether any stimulus bill is passed or not, so critics are saying you better be careful, you don't want to overeat the economy, better not be too big
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then yesterday i saw another report saying that revenue to the states actually is higher than expected. so maybe they don't need as much as state and local funding. this always happens. you hear from all sides as you move towards a bill, huge stimulus bill like this. i'm curious, though, what did the business leaders say inside the room to the president? what did they tell him? how big did they think the bill needed to be? >> so the reports are right now, a lot of conversations were kept a little bit more in the room right now, but the idea here is that these ceos really feel as though there needs to be a concerted effort to get things back on track. it's one of the things that treasury secretary janet yellen has said in numerous public appearances there needs to be something substantial to be done because the risks to the u.s. economy and even by ripple effect the global economy of not doing enough, the longer this leads, the longer this plays out, the more difficult it will be to get something done.
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you have to figure that with the ceos that were in the room, especially those who were talking about the impact on everyday americans, there's probably no other company out there that's better suited to do that than walmart. they touch so many people out there from the retail front, one of the biggest employers in america. so when you have the ceos of companies like that as well as jp morgan chase, people think of them as a wall street firm and yes they have investment bankers but they serve a huge amount of the u.s. population in terms of their banking services they have a good window into what's happening right now. as those ceos, joe, start to advise the president on the steps that need to be taken, you have to figure that many business leaders out there are trying to at least tell the president that more needs to be done. the risk is not doing enough. more needs to be done on that front because -- and by the way, remember, we say it all the time, guys, the u.s. economy is like 70% driven by the u.s. consumer. if those consumers are not able to get healthy, are not able to get right, back on their feet
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that affects everybody to the tune of at least 70% of the u.s. economy. so those are all things i'm sure ceos are talking about with everybody in washington right now. >> all right. cnbc's dominic chu. thank you so much. greatly appreciate it. i do think we're looking at a bill that's very close to that $1.9 trillion price tag. mara, mika asked about vaccines. we're seeing a lot of news about some states not being up to the task of delivering the vaccines. we're moving closer to that 1.5 million vaccinations a day number that joe biden has been targeting but now states are saying they're running out. also news out of britain, i think 1 out of 4 citizens in great britain now being vaccinated. looks like we're falling further and further behind because of mistakes that have been made over the past several months. what are you hearing? what can you tell us about
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vaccinations and how it's moving forward? >> sure. i mean, this is really a wartime situation or it should be which is to say we should make it as easy as possible to get these vaccines to the american people as fast as we can. the problem that we have is because we have a state by state effort, we see really wide variation across the board. i can tell you that in new york the decision to first go to the hospitals actually ended up slowing things down. not that we don't want to vaccinate healthcare workers, of course. but just allowing the hospitals to control those vaccines really did slow things down. across the country, there are public health departments and officials who are usually very good at vaccination. so where that is the case, where that infrastructure is in place, it's going to be very important for the biden administration and state officials to allow those officials to do their jobs. where that infrastructure isn't in place, it's going to be
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crucial that governors and the biden administration step in and fill that void to get these vaccines to americans quickly. the other thing that's important is to really focus in a real way on communities that have been the hardest hit. if we don't prioritize the most vulnerable population, i'm talking after the healthcare workers obviously, we're now talking about black, brown americans, native americans, poor americans, people who are on the front lines who are essential workers, if we do not prioritize those populations, they will be last. we learned that in new york where just as of a couple weeks ago unfortunately in new york city we learned that we had managed to vaccinate more non-new york city residents here in new york city than we had vaccinated black, hispanic, and native american new yorkers combined. and so that is the hard lesson is that we really need to focus attention on the communities
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that have been hardest hit by this pandemic because they are getting shut out of vaccine rollouts that often focus on using internet and broadband access to sign up. this is a situation where despite the pandemic, we need to go door to door. we need to have a huge public service campaign to convince people that this is safe and to help them get access. >> all right, mara, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> couldn't agree more. this is a war-time situation and needs to be treated as such and really needed to be treated that way, mika, from the very start. we're at the top of the hour right now. john heilemann, impeachment rolls into its second day. yesterday obviously very eventful for many reasons. what should we expect to see today? >> so, joe, we have two days now starting today and tomorrow where the prosecution is going to actually make its real case,
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not just get things rolling as it did yesterday and address this constitutional process issue which is what yesterday was about. if you think about what the president's defense is built on, right? no one -- none is morally and intellectually and politically bankrupt as they r none of these republican senators believe or would ever entertain the notion that trump's behavior was defensible on january 6th or before. no one is going to defend donald trump. there's only two paths. the first path was the path of process which is exhausted, defeated yesterday, beaten back on the question of constitutionality. now there's this free speech argument. i think the democratic house managers want to get in front of that. the free speech argument being, hey, this was all figurative speech what donald trump did. he didn't incite a riot. he told people to go and fight. a lot of people say things in politics but don't -- you can't possibly consider that incitement to rioting and insurrection, which is what the
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charge of the impeachment article is. so you're going to see the democratic house managers now in a methodical way over these next two days lay down cause and effect as willie said before, first lay down the months of behavior on donald trump's part, the things he said, not just on the 6th, but on the months prior that led that incited this insurrection, and then very powerfully, something we have not seen before, is the testimony, the words of the insurrectionists themselves, many of them saying i came and did this because donald trump told me to do it. he was our commander in chief. he was the chief law enforcement officer of the united states. he told me to come to washington. he told us to come to washington. he told us to do this. this is why we did it. and i think they want to make that case as powerful as possible to try to put these republicans who want to defend trump or look away to make it impossible for them to not face the fact of what happened here, the cause and effect that led to the terrible events on january 6th. >> john heilemann, thank you
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very much. as john mentioned, today house impeachment managers will begin laying out their case for why former president donald trump is responsible for inciting the deadly january 6th riot. it comes after 6 republicans joined all 50 democrats in voting that the trial should proceed. house democrats stunned the chamber into silence with a harrowing 13-minute video showing the january 6th attack from just about every angle. starting with the president's speech that morning. we have bleeped out the worst explicatives in the video which was presented without them in the room. here is part of that presentation. room here is part of that presentation
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>> we're going to walk down pennsylvania avenue. i love pennsylvania avenue. and we're going to the capitol. and we're going to try and give our republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help. we're going to try to give them the kind of pride and boldness they need to take back our country. >> get the [ bleep ] out of here you traitor. [ bleep ]. >> usa, usa, usa. [ bleep ]. >> help! >> our house! our house! >> fight for trump! fight for trump.
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>> let's go! let's go! [ pounding sound ] >> there's never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us. from me, from you, from our country. this was a fraudulent election. but we can't play into the hands of these people. we have to have peace. so go home. we love you. you're very special.
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>> usa. usa. usa. >> your own counties. storm your own county buildings and take down every one of these [ bleep ]. >> just one section of the breath-taking 13-minute video shown yesterday in the chamber by house managers. let's bring into our conversation white house reporter for the associated press jonathan lemire, msnbc
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contributor mike barnicle, nbc news and msnbc news analyst, claire mccaskill, host of "way too early" kasie hunt and legal affairs correspondent for npr nina totenberg. claire, someone who spent a number of years working in that building who had a lot of friends that building, kasie hunt was in that building, our good friend was there, your visceral reaction to watching that. we know some pieces of what happened it was all put together by house managers yesterday in that video. we know somewhere in that scene a cop was killed, others were nearly killed. we know that staffers were locked in offices looking for gas masks. what did you feel watching that video as someone who served in that building? >> i tried to watch it with fresh eyes. and i realized, willie, that it
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was my overwhelming refrain kept going through my head is not america, this is video from some third world country where there's a military coup taking place or some kind of system that has no respect for the rule of law or some place where there aren't free and fair elections. and it is powerfully depressing is what it is. and sad. the fact that police officers were maimed and murdered by people carrying flags that signified blue lives matter. the way they talked to the police officers that were trying to maintain order. there's a long list of emotions that go through -- frankly the hardest part of me of the video was them ransacking the senator's desks and taking pictures of what people keep in those desks because it is a safe
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and sacred place, things are intensely personal, momentos senators keep in the drawers are things they pull out to remind themselves of family or important moments in their lives. and the notion that these terrorists were in this senate chamber and rifling through desks it had to be powerful to every single one of those senators. >> well, and for those of us obviously these people don't love and respect their country, but for those of us who love and respect our country and are moved by it's history, anybody that has been on the senate floor and got a tour through the senate floor, understands that is history. living history there. you see the desk where john kennedy sat. the desk that daniel webster etched his initials on. there's so much history there. but of course, that's not something that we would expect people who kill cops and maim
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cops and actually try to subvert the constitution of the united states to understand, but for the rest of us, for the rest of us it is so deeply, deeply disturbing. nina totenberg, i was talking to jim vandehei earlier this morning. jim and i met over a quarter of a century ago in the capitol and spent so much of our adult lives there and understand how sacred this place is. at least to us. maybe not to donald trump supporters, but at least to us. and i know you've been there. you've been walking those halls and you've been going there for so many years yourself. i just wonder looking at the impeachment manager's video yesterday, what were your personal thoughts? >> well, they did a really smart thing. they had a law firm actually not some hollywood producer, but a law firm put together that video. and it's essentially a tiktok of
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what's happening as the day goes on. and from a prosecutorial point of view, it was a very shrewd thing because it's both emotional and at the same time lays out their legal case. and as awful -- it's just -- that picture of them pulling headgear off of a cop and then smooshing him as he's creaming in pain as they're trying to get into a door is just -- it's a phenomenally emotional piece of video. at the same time, ultimately the tiktok shows there is two hours that are going by while this is going on and the president is saying nothing. >> president is saying nothing. and if you listen to those
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around him and even the words of ben sasse in an interview reports are that the president was gleeful. >> they were watching eagerly. >> he saw all this unfolding. was wondering why others around him watching were not equally gleeful. i want to ask you about the presentation of the house managers yesterday. like you, i've seen quite a few presentations, whether it was watergate, whether it was little young or still remember, iran contra, impeachment of bill clinton. i've seen a lot of legal teams go to the senate floor or even in congressional hearings, joint hearings try to execute a case. i must say yesterday was one of the most effective days. usually though i of course am nothing but a dumb country lawyer. >> no, you're not. >> i can identify great lawyers.
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i can identify those that put together and execute a case. i've got to put yesterday near the top of anything i've seen in my life. they were -- >> phenomenal. >> ruthlessly efficient in delivering their case. >> i think they learned from the first impeachment where they all felt very passionate about their case then, but they didn't put it on very well. it was anti-septic. it was repetitive. it was not to put too fine a point on this, it was boring. this one was like night and day. they learned from those mistakes in addition they were victims as well as prosecutors. everybody in that room, in fact, was a victim. and their leader has just lost a child in addition. the day before this happened he lost a child.
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that is just the emotion in that room was -- in that chamber was just amazing. but look at the video that you are showing right now on the screen. and do you remember how frightened those people were, some on the floor, so that some of the members who had combat experience were trying to comfort them and keep them calm. and we all saw that. this reminded us of that. and it was an enormously effective presentation. and it was, it appeared to me any way from the heart, it wasn't play acting. it wasn't grabbing the microphone and trying to stay there as long as you can. it was ruthlessly efficient. >> well, as you mentioned, the lead manager congressman jamie raskin recounted his own family's terrifying experience during the capitol insurrection.
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when he was separated from his daughter and son-in-law during the floor evacuation. here is part of his account. my chief of staff was with tabitha and hank locked in that office and barricaded. the kids hiding under the desk, placing what they thought were their final texts and whispered phone calls to say their good-byes. they thought they were going to die. my son-in-law never even been to the capitol before. and when they were finally rescued over an hour later by capitol officers and we were together, i hugged them and i apologized and i told my daughter tabitha, who is 24 and a brilliant algebra teacher in teach for america now, i told her how sorry i was and i promised her that it would not
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be like this again the next time she came back to the capitol with me. and you know what she said -- she said, dad, i don't want to come back to the capitol. >> kasie hunt, you were there during those remarks which were just really, really poignant and painful to hear. i think everybody in the room shared his pain on many levels, having buried his son the day before. talk about his daughter being traumatized during the capitol riots. i don't know how much more one man can take. but describe the scene as the congressman was laying out the argument for the day. >> i had been in the chamber for about 15 minutes when he started to make these remarks, mika. and before that there had been
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rustling around, senators kind of walking on and off the floor into the cloak room, passing notes, drinking water when jamie raskin started to tell this story about his daughter and his son-in-law gradually the chamber quieted. and as he said that last line that you heard there that his daughter said to him, dad, i never want to come back to the capitol again, there was dead, utter silence in the chamber. all of the senators that i could see seemed to be paying attention. no one was moving. and to give you a sense of what it's like to be up in those galleries and some of the pictures we were just showing a second ago actually showed the insurgents in these galleries where we work and where we watch from the senate floor. and senator mccaskill will know this well, as ahead of time i was watching joanie ernst was writing in a diary and i could hear when she clicked her pen, it's a soft sound. that's how the acoustics are in
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the chamber. you can hear every single tiny noise, the sneezes, shuffling of feet, all of it. like i said, it was completely dead silent as jamie raskin told this story. and, it really underscored both the big picture of what we're dealing with here and also the personal and the day to day the experience that every single one of the members of congress who had -- who were there on january 6th had that day. they were scared. they were under direct threat themselves. and this -- i know certainly for me, for other members of the capitol community who were there, all of this is bringing back up all of the feelings from that day and the emotion of it. and the big picture piece of that is they have to stare at this and they have to vote to say whether or not what happened that day essentially was okay with them. that's the choice that many of these republicans were facing
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yesterday. senator bill cassidy said this is too much to me. president trump's lawyers didn't make any sense and frankly he was touched by what he heard from the managers. but, we're going to spend the next two days reliving all of that. and managers are also saying they've got new evidence that shows what the president did or didn't do as he watched this all unfold. and we've talked a lot about does it seem like the result of this trial is preordained? do we know that he is going to be aquited? probably still true. probably still true there are not 17 republicans not willing to vote to convict former president trump for inciting this insurrection. but they have to face it down themselves from a personal perspective and abdicate the power they have to hold him accountable for this. >> kasie is right, yesterday was a process vote about jurisdiction and constitutionality. the next vote those republican senators will have to take will
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be the question of do you think the president should be held accountable for the video we watched and everything that those senators experienced on january 6th. kasie, i know you have to run up to the hill to report, so we'll let you go. we'll talk to you soon. jonathan lemire, your reporting this morning about president trump watching all this play out from mar-a-lago, not pleased to say the least with the performance of his defense attorney, bruce castor who has been a prosecutor for many, many years bear in mind as you watch this performance. >> my name is bruce castor. i am the lead prosecutor -- or lead counsel for the 45th president of the united states. i keep saying prosecutor but i do understand the difference, mr. raskin. senators of the united states they're not ordinary people. there isn't a member in this room who has not used the term i represent the great state of --
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fill in the blank. we still know what records are, right? the thing you put the needle down on and you play it. representative so and so seeks to walk back comments about i forget what it was something that bothered her. i worked in this building 40 years ago. i got lost then, and i still do. instead of flood gates i was going to say originally we'll release the whirlwind, which is a biblical reference. that particular phrase has already been taken, so i figure i better change it to flood gates. the american people just spoke and they just changed administrations. they're smart enough to pick a new administration if they don't like the old one and they just did. i'll be quite frank with you, we changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the house manager's presentation was well done. after he's out of office, you go and arrest him.
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so there is no opportunity where the president of the united states can run rampant in january at the end of his term and just go away scot-free. the department of justice does know what to do with such people. >> jonathan lemire, that is the president's defense attorney saying you don't need to impeach the guy. you don't need to convict the guy, just go arrest him in mar-a-lago. what did the president think? what was his reaction when he watched that 48-minute performance play out? >> not good, folks, was mostly his reaction, willie. the former president, according to people we spoke to, other people close to him, was in rage watching this yesterday. thought the defense was nonsensical, that it was weak, that frankly bruce castor looked bad on television, he didn't have command of the room. his allies sent around talking points and gave interviews throughout the media sphere trying to shape the narrative again and lot really critical of
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what we saw yesterday. alan dershowitz a trump defender in the past, he was on cable last night saying the same. they were certainly rattled yesterday. the president very upset by happened even as they are still confident at the end of the day they will have the votes for acquittal, they certainly were not pleased with yesterday including the acknowledgment very publicly donald trump lost the election which of course he did but that's not a talking point they're supposed to be using right now. it stands in stark contrast. trump said this to his allies as well to the democrats did, we know president trump cares about visuals, cares about how things look on television and he acknowledged he was extraordinarily impressed with what the democrats did. let's just take a half second and wait on that. the president of the united states, former president of the united states, was impressed about production values. of course we have still seen no acceptance of responsibility, no real condemnation of what happened there. and the only critique donald trump ever gave of those rioters
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who committed violence in his name were at the behest of aides worried about his potential legal exposure and the contrast of what trump's defense team did and the democrats did in their opening arguments was night and day. those images are so horrific, so powerful, so monstrous the behavior of those rioters. why it's resonated is what the sub text of them that as bad as those images were, things almost got so much worse that if it wasn't for some bravery of some capitol police officers and frankly some dumb luck with rioters turning left as opposed to turning right, the images, the violence, the death count that day could have been greater than even it was. >> it's important to remember also that donald trump called those rioters. he called those seditionists, called those traitors to the united states of america. he called those cop killers patriots, great patriots and
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told them to always remember this day, always remember this day when they killed and abused cops, when they battered a police officer with an american flag, beating another one lying down on the ground while being beatened, wondering how his four daughters were going to get by without him because he was resigned to the fact that these trump terrorists were going to kill him. donald trump what did he do? he cheered them on watching television wondered why other people weren't cheering them on and called them great patriots. mike barnicle, you have a question for nina totenberg? >> joe, i do. but i have to tell you, there is a suffocating sadness to watching these film clips over and over and over again. and it wasn't just the one day. it was more than 1,000 days of lies and distorting the truth.
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and inherently an attack on the country, an attack on us, led by the president of the united states then. and yesterday the number to me was 44. 44 united states senators sat there, they had lived through it on january 6th. but they sat there yesterday and voted not to proceed with the trial. not to go after accountability. 44 senators. and i'm wondering, who do they represent? do the people they represent want no accountability? do the people they represent want no one held account for the murder of a police officer? for the destruction of the capitol? for using the american flag as a bayonet? is that what the people they represent want? apparently so.
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and claire mccaskill, watching that, having worked many, many years ago in the capitol of the united states on an afternoon and evening shift, running an elevator, i ran an elevator, it was the only job i could get, and the sense of being in the capitol of when it was not busy early in the evening, walking around the rotunda, and drowning in the history that you saw, absorbing the history that you were a part of, that just added to the inherent sadness that i feel each time i watch this clip. and i'm wondering, in your world, in your mind, is it sadness or outrage that fills you up? >> it's a roller coaster of both. i can get choked up thinking about what that building means
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to me personally. but you know, the thing is, mike, what you talked about just now, i think it's really important to point out what those 44 senators are struggling with internally. because every single one of them knows that the president laid the ground work for this riot, for this domestic terrorism for months. and that's what i think the case will lay out that he began in the spring saying if he didn't win it would only be because the election was stolen. at that moment, those republican senators looked the other way. once again, a few weeks later he began to say how fraudulent the election would be if he didn't win it. all those republican senators said nothing. and this went on and on and on and after joe biden won the election that night, when all of them know that the a.p. call is when they know they've won an
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election, they continued to make excuses. well, he can explore his legal avenues. and then he lost all the legal avenues. they still wouldn't stand up and say the president is lying to you. and to this day -- it would be like if somebody in an apartment building was witnessing somebody planning a mass attack on an institution and they watched it day after day after day and did nothing, don't they have culpability? aren't they partially responsible for what happened because they enabled this president to convince half of this country that this was not a free and fair election. and they marched down that capitol and murdered a police officer in the name of patriotism. and so, as they hear this evidence, they've got to internally struggle with their
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role in this. as mitt romney said with power on the floor of the senate that night, looking directly at josh hawley and ted cruz. you know, this is not complicated. just tell the american people the truth. tell them the truth. and that's what's so hard about this is that so many of those senators to this day have not looked at their constituents and said, you know, donald trump was lying about the election being fraudulent. it's not true. and that really is the foundation of this riot. and they own it. and history will write it that way. >> and it's true, claire, some of those senators that you mentioned continued the lie during and after the attack on the capitol when the senators reconvened. you had ted cruz and josh hawley standing up, continuing to object to the counting of electoral votes in a couple of states. the lie was perpetuated even
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after what had happened inside that capitol. because of all the facts that claire just laid out, nina totenberg, republicans don't want to confront that part of it, they want to confront the process. one of the arguments goes that you cannot vote to remove someone from office who is not even in office. this is going to be the republican line that the entire process is unconstitutional. what would you say to that? >> well, the consensus among scholars and there are a lot of them who have written about this, has really coalesced around the position that at least in this situation where the president was present when this happened and he was impeached when this happened, just because he's out of office he doesn't get a get out of jail free card essentially. and i think you're also going to see what claire said a minute ago, i think you're going to see a lot of emphasis from the prosecution on how what they call the big lie took hold and
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was perpetuated by trump. and one of the pieces of evidence that i imagine will be very important will be that tape recorded conversation that he had with the georgia secretary of state and his deputy. that went on for about -- over an hour, in which he tried to get them to, quote, find over 10,000 votes so that he could win the state. and threatened him. tried to intimidate him. seemed to threaten him with criminal prosecution if he didn't do that. and those are the kinds of things that were going on at that time. president actually fired the u.s. attorney, substituted somebody he considered more malleable so that perhaps they could send this election result to the state legislature and get the state legislature to put in a separate slate of electors.
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these are the kinds of things that actual evidence that i expect them to put on. and i have one other thing to say. i've asked a number of people who were in the capitol that day, reporters, why the senators didn't seem as upset, as furious, as personally traumatized by the riot as the members of the house did. and the answer was, there were plenty of them in the chamber, but they weren't -- they didn't feel as much in imminent danger. nobody was trying to -- while they were in the room, they didn't hear shots fired. they didn't see people trying to get in battering down the windows of the chamber. those people came shortly thereafter. but as we now know, they were actually guided by a capitol policeman away from the senate chamber. so, it could have been worse in
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the senate. it wasn't as bad, i think, as it was in the house. people didn't feel as closely imperilled. >> nina totenberg, thank you very much for being on this morning. and still ahead on "morning joe," we're going to talk to one of the jurors in the impeachment trial, democratic senator mazie hirono will be our guest. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. >> president trump may not know a lot about the framers, but they certainly knew a lot about him. ♪♪ and in an emergency, they need a network that puts them first. that connects them to technology,
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i thought they were a little disorganized. i frankly think they were a little surprised to be honest. >> i thought i knew where it was going and i really didn't know where it was going.
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so. >> is that a missed opportunity, do you think? >> i don't know. >> i was really stunned at the first attorney who presented for former president trump. i couldn't figure out where he was going. >> i think they had a weaker case to start with, and i don't think it was very pervasive. >> i thought the president's lawyer, the first lawyer, just rambled on and on and on and didn't really address the constitutional argument. >> the house managers were focussed. they were organized. they relied upon both precedent, the constitution and legal scholars. they made a compelling argument. president trump's team were disorganized. they did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand. and when they talked about it, they kind of glided over it, almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments. >> some republican senators were left scratching their heads
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after trump attorney bruce castor's presentation, including senator bill cassidy, who was the only lawmaker to change his vote on the constitutionality of the trial. joining us now, member of the judiciary committee, democratic senator mazie hirono of hawaii. she serves as a juror and witness in trump's second impeachment trial. yeah. the lawyer for president trump was beyond confused. i mean, i expected very stark, stark difference after the incredible presentation by the impeachment managers. but this was something out of a cartoon. >> yeah. so trump's lead lawyer -- both of them were unprepared, unprofessional. they were incompetent and basically pretty pathetic. and for the lead lawyer to set
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the stage for how pathetic he was going to be by saying, oh well, the house team did such a great job we have to change our strategy. no. lawyers don't do that unless you're fantastically talented and good lawyer and these two were not. >> so, i'm curious -- and by the way you were a witness to what happened, not being called as a witness. how -- what's the disconnect between you and your republican counterparts who were there witnessing the same thing, seeing trump flags, seeing the american flag being used as a weapon, seeing people wearing trump hats storming the capitol in the name of president trump, causing death, destruction and ruin to our democracy, which was in process. how do you -- how is it that you and a republican counterpart can
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see two different stories playing out? or are they ignoring it? >> the republicans who choose to turn their faces away from the destruction and the riot that occurred are so afraid of trump and his base that they are really hiding behind a pseudo constitutional argument that was just destroyed by jamie raskin and his team. so it's a lack of courage, i would say cowardice is a good way to describe them. how can you not watch those images and think that my goodness, who called these people to come and hear him speak on january 6th? who told them during his speech that they should march to the capitol and fight like hell? it was trump. so, the disconnect is so obvious that, you know, again watching these images i think all of us were brought to tears. i know i was. just watching what was going on
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and then of course jamie raskin and his -- what he said was so heartfelt that i think the democrats i talked to there was not a dry eye among us. >> senator hirono, it's willie geist. good to have you on again this morning. the conventional wisdom is that republicans in the senate will sit through this trial despite what they saw and heard yesterday, despite what they will see and hear over the next couple days and vote to acquit president trump. is that your expectation? or do you believe there are republicans who could be moved by the testimony in this trial? >> i'm not holding a thought of hope there will be 17 of them. you know, it's really -- you know, they see no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. that's them. it's a sad. it's not just what happened on january 6th. what we will hear today is the house team putting forth what the president did instead before the election saying that the
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only way he would lose is if there was massive fraud. what he did and said after the election which is there was massive fraud, mounting 60 legal challenges all of which were either withdrawn or loss and then what he said and did during and after the riot and what happened with five people dying. that's what we're going to hear today from our house team. >> senator mazie hirono, thank you very much for being on this morning. coming up, what president joe biden was up to during yesterday's opening day of donald trump's second impeachment trial. we'll be right back. ♪♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (quiet piano music) ♪ ♪
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will you watch the trial? are you going to watch the trial? >> i am not. look, i told you before. i have a job.
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my job is to keep people -- we already lost over 450,000 people. we're going to lose a whole lot more if we don't act decisively and quickly. a lot of people, as i said are -- a lot of children are going to bed hungry. a lot of families are food insecure. that's my job. the senate has their job. i'm sure they will conduct themselves well, and that's all i'm going to have to say about impeachment. >> okay. president biden staying focussed when asked if he was watching the second impeachment trial of donald trump. jonathan lemire, seems one of the biggest problems confronting people as they await covid relief, which is one of the issues the president is working on is getting the vaccine. there is a lot on president biden's plate. there is an argument that this impeachment trial gets in the way of the biggest picture. the president making it clear he's doing his best to stay
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focussed on what is happening, but the vaccine remains a huge issue. >> right. president biden, his message here is that he's focussed on the business of governing. he has said repeatedly he won't watch the trial. he wants to both behind the scenes and publically that's not his focus. yesterday we had a briefing on the covid-19 response. there will be another today. he met with economic advisers about a covid relief bill. today i will be part of his trip when we go to the pentagon. he's trying to signal that that's what matters here and particularly on the vaccine. they feel like they're starting to show real signs of progress. members are heading to states, heading to the drugstores, increase the distribution across the country.
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there is growing hope that by march, by april, the supply will be where it needs to be. and then at that point, it is about distribution, getting it into the arms of the americans who need it. and president biden has made clear that that and the need for the economic assistance will be his focus, not this impeachment trial. >> yeah. mike barnacle, your thoughts? is there a wall between this impeachment trial and president biden? yet, he needs to work with some of the very republicans who may be voting not to impeach the man who many believe incited a riot and stormed the capitol. >> yeah, for sure, miikka. that's absolutely for sure. but i can guarantee you that just as jonathan pointed out, within that west wing, within the oval office, the impeachment process is going on right now in front of all of us. that's a sideshow because the principal show is getting the needless into people's arms throughout america. you want to fix the economy, get
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a needle in the arm. you want kids back in school? get needless in the arm. his focus is the fact that he is intent, intent on showing to the people of the united states and the world that for the first time in four years we have an actual government and a government that works, and he's going to prove each hour of every day how that government works. and then secondarily i'm sure he's thinking about in terms of the impeachment what does he say to the country after this impeachment process is concluded? what does he say to the country if the former president of the united states stands up and says, see, i was acquitted. nothing was wrong. he's got to say nothing to heal this wound, this festering wound that has been out there now going on five years. but the principal thing on his plate is to get the vaccine to enough people to restore the safety and the health and the
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normally of this country to an extent. >> you can see in that gaggle in the oval office yet he really didn't want to talk about impeachment. claire, it is interesting to watch senate mcconnell and the way he's operating here. there is a bloomberg report that he's telling republicans to vote your conscious on whether or not to convict donald trump. he did vote yesterday. he said the entire process was unconstitutional because they shouldn't be trying a former president. but i'm reminded about a month ago of his taking his time to reconvene the senate after the house had impeached donald trump. he was in no rush to start this trial when president trump was president, when he could be convicted while he was president. >> yeah. the second lawyer for trump yesterday spent a lot of time in angry rhetoric about partisanship. well, the ultimate act of
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partisanship was what mitch mcconnell did. while donald trump was president, he was impeached. and the impeachment managers wanted immediately try him in the senate and mitch mcconnell said no. so the only reason that the president was not in office when the trial occurred was just two words, mitch mcconnell. so it is ironic that is the big leaf they all hid behind because they created that on purpose so they would have a processed excuse. i'm going to try to remain optimistic. although, i'm very cynical, that maybe mitch mcconnell would do the right thing at the end. i hope he surprises me. >> claire mccaskill, thank you. i know we'll see more of you throughout the day. our coverage continues after a quick break. we'll be back in two minutes.
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>> the argument is that if you commit an impeachment offense in your last couple weeks in office, you do it with constitutional impunity. you get away with it. >> my name is bruce caster. i am the lead prosecutor, lead counsel for the 45th president of the united states. i keep saying prosecutor, but i do understand the difference, mr. prosecutor. >> conduct that would be a high crime and misdemeanor in your first year as president and your second year as president and your third year as president and for the vast majority of your fourth year as president, you can suddenly do in your last few weeks in office without facing any constitutional accountability at all. after he's out of office, you go and arrest him. so there is no opportunity where
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the president of the united states can run rampid in january at the end of his term and just go away scot-free. the department of justice does know what to do with such people. >> this would create a brand-new january exception to the constitution. >> i'll be quite frank with you. we changed what we were going to do when we thought that the house managers presentation. >> two very different presentations here. >> so, willie, we're going to let a lot of the words of the attorneys yesterday and a lot of the video that was presented to the senators, these so-called impartial witnesses speak for itself. but before we do, i'm curious what your take-away was, if they won. >> well, you saw an attorney in bruce caster representing former president trump, who was
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staggered like the rest of us with that video. parts of which we will show here in just a minute. a 13-minute video that showed minute by minute what was happening on january 6th and what the president was doing while it was happening. it stopped everyone in their tracks. there was silence in the chamber. the former president's defense team was hit with a hey maker and trying to get to a bell at the end of the round. didn't know what to do in response to it. >> today house impeachment managers will begin laying out their case for why former president trump is responsible for inciting the january 6th capitol riot. it comes after six republicans gained 50 democrats in voting that the trial should proceed. here's how the impeachment managers off the bat dismantled the claim from trump supporters
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that the trial is unconstitutional. >> the argument is that if you commit an impeachment offense in your last few weeks in office, you do it with constitutional impunity. you get away with it. in other words, conduct that would be a high crime and misdemeanor in your first year as president and your second year as president and your third year as president and for the vast majority as your fourth year as president you can suddenly do in your last few weeks in office without facing any constitutional accountability at all. this would create a brand-new january exception to the constitution. >> he was impeached for inciting a violent insurrection. an insurrection where people died in this building.
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an insurrection that desecrated our seat of government. presidents can't inflame insurrection in their final weeks and then walk away like nothing happened. and, yet, that is the rule that president trump asks you to adopt. >> a pair of congressmen making the presentation there. but the most powerful piece of evidence was that harrowing 13-minute video showing the january 6th attack from every angle beginning with president trump's speech that morning. we have bleeped out the worst expletives in this video but it is presented without those bleeps in the senate chamber. >> we will stop the steal. today i will lay out just some of the evidence proving that we won this election, and we won it by a landslide. this was not a close election.
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and after this, we're going to walk down, and i'll be there with you. we're going to walk down. we're going to walk down to the capitol. >> yeah! >> take the capitol. >> take the capitol! >> we are going to the capitol where our problems are. it's that direction.
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>> madam speaker, the vice president in the united states. >> it's off the sidewalk. we out number you a million to one out here. >> let us in! >> the constitution says you have to protect our country and you have to protect our constitution. and you can't vote on fraud. when you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules. so i hope mike has the courage
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to do what he has to do. >> we fight. we fight like hell. and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. so we're going to walk down pennsylvania avenue. i love pennsylvania avenue. and we're going to the capitol, and we're going to try to give our republicans -- the weak ones because the strong ones don't need any of our help. we're going to try to give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.
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>> our house! our house! >> no trump no peace! >> let's go. take it out. >> use the shield. use the shield. >> we need more patriots in the front.
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>> fight for trump! fight for trump! >> so, joe, that's only about five minutes of that 13-minute video. it makes your blood boil. it's horrifying watching the officer trapped in that door. as i said, there was silence in the chamber from republicans and democrats as they had to relive
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that terrible day. and, yet, there are people that watch that video, absorb what we just saw knowing that somewhere in that a capitol police officer was murdered. we need to move on. how can we move on from what we just watched? >> lindsey graham saying let's move on cop killers. marco rubio hosting a video yesterday saying, let's talk about ig else but this. marco wants us to move on from cop killers. marco wants us to move on from cops, police officers, being battered, being abused. >> blinded. >> being blinded. being called pigs. having fences thrown at them. being called traitors. that's what marco wants us to move on from. that's what lindsey graham wants us to move on from. mike lee says after seeing all of this video, seeing the united
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states capitol breached by seditionists and traitors, watching police officers being beaten by the american flag, watching these trump cop killers, watching these trump cop killers storm the capitol in the name of donald trump. what does mike lee say? donald trump deserves a mulligan. a mulligan? no. you don't get a mulligan when you kill a cop, mike. you don't get a mulligan when you batter and abuse a cop, mike. hey, mike, when you're rushing into the capitol to stop a constitutionally ordaned process to count votes and you abuse police officers, and you jam police officers' heads inside of
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a door and you bash police officers brains with fire extinguishers, you don't get a mulligan, especially if you are the one who is responsible for bringing those cop killers up to capitol hill. >> up next, in the words of jaime raskin, this cannot be our future. the congressman's appeal for those to honor their oath of office. we'll be right back. 'll be righ. my plaque psoriasis... ...the itching ...the burning. the stinging. my skin was no longer mine. my psoriatic arthritis, made my joints stiff, swollen... painful. emerge tremfyant™ with tremfya®, adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis... ...can uncover clearer skin and improve symptoms at 16 weeks.
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evacuation. >> my youngest daughter tabitha was there with me on wednesday january 6th. it was the day after we buries her brother, our son tommy. the saddest day of our lives. also, there was my son-in-law hank, who is married to our older daughter, hannah. and i -- i consider him a son, too, even though he eloped with my daughter and didn't tell us what they were going to do. but it was in the middle of covid-19. but the reason they came with me that wednesday, january 6th, was because they wanted to be together with me in the middle of a devastating week for our family. and i told them i had to go back to work because we were counting electoral votes that day, on january 6th.
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it was our constitutional duty. and i invited them, instead, to come with me to witness this historic event, the peaceful transfer of power in america. and they said they heard that president trump was calling on his followers to come to washington to protest and they asked me directly, would it be safe? would it be safe? and i told them, of course it's should be safe. this is the capitol. tabitha and hank came with me to the floor and they watched it from the gallery. when it was over, they went back to that office off of the house floor. they didn't know that the house had been breached yet and that an insurrection, a riot, or a coup had come to congress. and by the time we learned about it, about what was going on, it was too late. i couldn't get out there to be
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with them in that office. and all around me, people were calling their wives and their husbands, their loved ones to say good-bye. members of congress in the house, anyway, were removing their congressional pins so they wouldn't be identified by the mob as they tried to escape the violence. our new chaplain got up and said a prayer for us and we were told to put our gas masks on. and then there was a sound i will never forget, the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram. the most haunting sound i ever heard, and i will never forget it. my chief of staff was with tabitha and hank locked and barricaded in that office, the kids hiding under the desk, placing what they thought were
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their final texts and whispered phone calls to say their good-byes. they thought they were going to die. my son-in-law had never even been to the capitol before. and when they were finally rescued, over an hour later by capitol officers, and we were together, i hugged them and i apologized and i told my daughter tabitha who is 24 and a brilliant algebra teacher in teach for america now, i told her how sorry i was. and i promised her that it would not be like this again the next time she came back to the capitol with me. and you know what she said? she said, dad, i don't want to come back to the capitol. of all the terrible brutal
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things i saw and i heard on that day and since then, that one hit me the hardest. >> you know, i remember bringing my children to the capitol when they were young, bringing friends and family members, a preacher and other loved ones up there, and everybody would just -- would just stand in front of the capitol and look up. and it is one of the most awe inspiring sites. it is more awe inspiring than the white house. you just stare up at the capitol. it is extraordinary. everything we have been taught about this nation, about american exceptionalism, you feel it when you stand underneath the shadow of that capitol dome. a capitol that has been stained, stained by the events of january
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the 6th. a stain that can be washed away by a vote this week, but i just don't know if republicans have the will or have the courage or have the values required to wipe clean that stain from the united states capitol, that donald trump and his seditionists and cop killers put on that capitol dome. >> coming up, what were some senate republicans doing as that horrifying video of the insurrection was played yesterday? doodling and looking at their shoes. john hellman weighs in next on "morning joe." "morning joe."
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the house managers were focussed. they were organized. they made a compelling argument. president trump's team were disorganized. they did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand. and when they talked about it, they kind of glided over it, almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments.
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now i'm an impartial juror and one side is doing a great job and the other side is doing a terrible job, i will vote for the side that did the good job. >> john, it is not as if these republican senators don't know what a difficult position they are in. they were there when the riots took place. they understood their lives could be in danger. they understood these trump rioters wanted to kill not only nancy pelosi but their former colleague mike pence. and you saw bill cassidy angrily talk about how one side did a great job yesterday. the other side did a poor job and he actually voted with the house impeachment managers. but you had the sense that other republicans felt a sense of betrayal yet again because they were hung out to dry with one of the worst legal defenses that
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any of us have ever seen. >> yeah, joe. i mean, you know, the number of times that i have been stunned in the last four, four plus years at, you know, what has become of your former party was surpassed in some exponential way yesterday. as you watch those senators, i think we know about if they have the courage and the values. as a collectively in the senate, they do not. we may get -- i want to keep an open mind to the possibility that the power of public opinion and what i think now we know is going to be an even more powerful presentation over the next couple of days by the house managers if the first day is anything to judge by. that video that you guys played part of, anything to judge by. we know the next couple days
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will be powerful. the public opinion may move some. we now know what the baseline is. it's 56 votes in the senate and there is six republicans who picked up one yesterday. bill cassidy from the earlier rand paul sort of test vote at the end of january on the constitutionality question. will there be 11 more republicans that change their minds? it's hugely dubious that will be the case. republicans sat there yesterday and while that video played, stared at their shoes and looked at their phones and passed notes to each other and tried to avert their eyes from the plain truth of what they were watching. and then on the question of constitutionality when the starkest difference between the presentations was on display, the democratic managers showed
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the constitution's plain text. they made an argument designed to appeal to what republicans have always believed, that original intent, that what the framers and founded wanted, what was in the text of the constitution was what should govern constitutional interpretation. that's the argument. liberals say the constitution is a living document. you have to extract principals from it. you don't just look at it the text. the democrat house managers said, okay, let's look at the text. and they went through methodically and showed that this proceeding was constitutional. and on the other side, the two lawyers representing donald trump never ever even addressed the issue in any meaningful way. they have one meandering presentation. they never got to anything constitutional. you had a second that was more political and didn't address the issues in any really meaningful,
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substantive way and those republican senators exhibited the moral zombie quality. it is still alive inside, the party, but it's dead intellectually. not only the things they turned away from and the plain facts, the culpability of the president, that he also turned away from generation upon generation of judicial ideology. the party believes nothing anymore if they don't -- if they voted the way they voted yesterday on this constitutional question. it is just a devastating indictment of where the party is intellectually and ideology and morally. >> coming up, donald trump's attorney reminded everyone that democrats tried to impeach the president once before. yes, because he tried to get a foreign nation to interfere in
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i thought it was a very powerful opening. it had a lot of substance to it. it had a lot of technological swiftness to it, the video of the events of january 6th, the use of graphics to make the points about what's in the constitution. i felt particularly what was illegal, in a strict legal argument, i thought the congressman from colorado made a particularly strong argument. what he did was he took a conservative legal philosophy, read the constitution exactly as it is written and use that against the president. >> well, you know, miikka, actually as we explained earlier.
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>> yeah. >> republicans don't really support originalism, don't support textualism. >> i understand that. fox news host chris wallace with that analysis of the case the house impeachment managers presented to the senate yesterday. joining us now host of "the beat" on msnbc, ari melber. senior opinion writer, kimberly at kins. she is a former trial and apple litigation attorney and ceo of the mecina group. he ran obama's 2020 election campaign. a great group. >> thank you so much. jim, i want to talk to you about just the pure politics of this because we have been talking about it this morning, and we have been watching the pictures that the house impeachment
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managers put together, the video. it is not hard to connect the dots. as you sit and you watch these images and you understand that while they're pictures of cop killers tearing through the capitol, police officers being brutalized by trump terrorists, you look at the police officers being brutalized and beaten by an american flag. you then hear republicans say, you know what, let's just give the president a mulligan on this. marco says, let's just move on. cops were killed. a lot of cops were beaten up, brutalized, died. there is the insurrection against the united states government, seditionists went in and terrorized. but let's move on. okay? i'm not saying all this to make a speech. i'm saying i don't get it. i don't get where they think this leaves them in '22.
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i don't get where they think that leaves them in '24. sure, marco is worried that ivanka might run against him in the primary in '22. i get that part of it. but donald trump lost in the house. he lost in the senate. he lost in the white house. and they are now speeding even faster down this road to a political dead end. like these people, they're not even the whigs. they're characters out of sixth sense. they're politically dead. they just don't know it yet. >> that's because you have a party that is absolutely bent on one thing, and that is power. they have no justification for their political ideology anymore. i'm almost embarrassed to say this, joe. but last night i was watching focus groups. i don't know why i was watching focus groups less than three months after an election, but apparently i have a problem and
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i love focus groups. there was this amazing woman who voted for biden at the end of the election but republicans for both the house and the senate. she watched this whole thing yesterday. she watched the impeachment managers and said, i'm confused. they literally read from the constitution and said donald trump says he loves these rioters. why are we even here? why are we talking about this? then they had a discussion about what the modern republican party stood for. 24 people in two focus groups and no one can tell you where that party stands for anymore. that is the crisis they're having. instead of elected officials in a high office saying this is who we are, they are going to lead us out of the wilderness. what you have is a bunch of them looking at their shoes yesterday and pretending none of this existed. there is no leadership.
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the country is confused. and what they are doing is really damaging to the country because the country needs an opposition party that understands what it is and what its values are. and what you see, what you saw yesterday is a party that just wants this whole thing to go away, so they can get back to what they love doing, which is campaigning and raising money. >> there are no conservative values. there are no first principles. it is all about following donald trump. again, i just want to check one thing you said. you said that they only want power. but here's the catch. here's the rough. donald trump has led them away from power. he lost the house of representatives. they lost the senate. they lost the white house. this is -- this is not the path to power.
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this is the path to political oblivion. this is, again, a dead end track that destroys the party forever. and i'm just wondering is liz cheney the only other person in the house that gets this? is mitch mcconnell in sort of his -- his subtle statements here or there the only one in the senate that understands this is a political path to nowhere. >> yeah. any political operative even half worthy will walk into those two caucuses and say, people, we have a problem. this is insane. we have got to rebrand ourself. we just followed donald trump down a four year rat hole. power is all we care about. we have got to change. but instead what they're worried about, let's be very honest what they're worried about.
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they're worried about donald trump starting a third party and gutting them from the middle and having them be completely screwed in our presidential election. so in the worry for that, these idiots are sitting here and saying let's just continue to count on this guy and his people even though the modern base of the party aren't these people. these people are sitting here rioting at the capitol and you have members of the house and senate caucus who are still bowing to them after this. it makes no sense. it will get them killed again in the midterm elections. yet, they seem hell bent on cowering to this small deliver of people. >> 16 hours today. before we move to that, i want to ask you about yesterday's vote where 44 republicans voted to say the process is
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unconstitutional. the senate does not have jurisdiction over a former president. what do you make of that as a legal argument? >> the legal argument is weak. that's part of why i lost. but we know from the past the senate has obviously done this before, so that president is there. now, as everyone has pointed out, it is a constitutional process if the senate had the votes to say we don't want to go forward, they could have done that. but amidst all of the other problems you saw displayed from the trump legal team is that on a bipartisan basis they are moving forward. the other point i wanted to echo in what joe was saying in this discussion and earlier in the program is this is a time for exactly the moral clarity that joe and others are offering. i hope americans really take this in. a trial is a learning process. it is about evidence. it is more more than politics even in a political institution like a legislative body. justice goes to the ethics of
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the society we want. and, so, to use a senate phrase, i would associate myself with what joe and others were saying. this is a time for moral clarity in america. if not now, when? let's look at what was done to the capitol, done to democracy, done to those officers, the killing, the rioting, insurrection and figure out what if anything america wants to do about it. americans will have to look at whether they want to do anything about any potential dereliction. >> kimberly, the cynical view and likely the most realistic view is you are not going to get 17 republicans to vote to convict president trump and thereby leading to another vote which would bar him from running for office ever again. you watch the videos. you hear the testimony. the opening arguments. the democrat from colorado. it is hard to, just as a human
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being, not as someone who seeks to hold power and keep his or her job as a republican and not wanting to listen to donald trump but to listen to the testimony, to watch that video, to turn to your moral compass and say, i need to hold the president accountable for this is pretty extraordinary. >> it really is. and i think that speaks to what the voter that jim was talking about spoke to. it is how you look at this with your gut as a human, as an american, seeing the seat of our federal government being attacked like that and seeing in real-time the way that the president urged and incited frankly that attack. you know, one thing that was really important about the video that was shown yesterday, that although the events played out in realtime and on live television and many of us watched, we couldn't see what was going on inside, and it was also very difficult to understand exactly when donald
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trump said certain words that egged on this crowd and how he continued to egg them on during that attack in a way that was really, really shocking. and even at the end that you will remember this day forever, praising them for the work that they had done. it was really shocking to me, even though i have written about this and reported on this for more than a month now. so i think you do see that for the american people. yes, for all the reasons we discussed, certain republicans in that chamber are locked into their own political calculus that they can't seem to free themselves from. but what the american people is seeing in realtime is going to have a real impact. i can only hope that even if the vote goes the way we expect it to, that history not some time in the distant future, very soon in history when we look back at this moment as americans, we really recognize it for what it is in an effort to ensure that
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that never happens again, and that includes holding accountable everyone including the people in that chamber that allowed that to happen and allow justice to escape us. >> "the washington post" david ignatius has a piece titled "bide b needs to figure out how to manage the trump endgame." where he write ifs the senate fails to gather the two-thirds majority for conviction, the public will look to biden for guidance about what comes next. silence won't be enough then. the aftermath of impeachment will shape the future, providing either a bridge toward reconciliation or perhaps a renewed underdog insurrection. biden must find a way to address trump supporters. biden needs to speak to them firmly but respectfully after the trial. it's over.
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we're one country again. we're listening to you. if you use violence, you'll face the full force of the law. one of history's great lessons is to be generous in victory, not to mourn the hard core conspirators but to work the people that were manipulated, some even inspired by the voices of sedition. half the country can't be the enemy. so, jim, it's a mask in leadership were joe biden. but a frustrating -- a frustrating reality that some will not be held accountable for crimes against our democracy. >> you know, it is very true, miikka. the former president has now twice been impeached by the house of representatives, who may get away with this and macon vince enough members of his crazy party not to convict him.
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but that's exactly what joe biden said in his inaugural address. that's what he said in the campaign. we are one country. we all have to do this. i think it is less about what biden does because he's been clear over and over and over that the country, and that's what he's doing. i think the real question is what the republican party does. do they go and do what they did to barack obama and fight him on everything, as they seem to be saying they're going to do on the stimulus? or do they kind of understand what the country just went through and do they meet biden halfway and say we're all going to work together to lower the temperature here? the president is going to continue to reach his arm out and say meet me here. the question is, what is the political calculus for the republican party? do they understand this moment in history they're in? >> kimberly, as we talk about the need for accountability here, sarah longwell, publisher of the conservative website "the
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bulwark" has a new piece up, hold them all accountable. she wrote, "there's something deeply cosmically unfair about a group of elites force-feeding voters a lie about a stolen election, bilking them out of their money, demanding with the most overheated rhetoric they fight to save the country and then avoiding all responsibility while those people are hauled off to jail for doing what they've been asked to do." and that applies to many of the senators sitting in that chamber yesterday. they will be sitting there today listening to the testimony trying to wash their hands of what happened january 6th. >> you're absolutely right. in the short term, perhaps in the next elections that they face, this will turn out to be a winning political strategy. but as joe pointed out very well at the beginning, it is a long-term losing political strategy for republicans at large as well as a really damaging strategy for our nation and our democracy. keep in mind, the republican
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party was having trouble a long time ago. remember that post mortem in 2013 after the presidential election that ryan priebus said, we needed to reach out and grow because it was shrinking. donald trump came in and shrurpg the party even shorter and now it is literally a death match where nothing can stand in the way of trying to hold on to the little bit of power they have right now. i think the only way to really explain it is they are blinded by it at this moment, the desire to win the next election is blinding them to everything, including the damage that they're doing to the american political system. something has to break them out of that. perhaps it will be political losses in the midterms and beyond. perhaps they will look back on this and realize the gravity of what is happening, but until that breaks, and there are other efforts, they're continuing to do it, of course, these lies are
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still being peddled in spades where republicans are trying to limit the ability of voters to vote still, still, after everything that happened and this is the basis of the protest, trying to not count the vote of largely black and brown folks in places like milwaukee and atlanta. they're still doing that. there has to reach a boiling point where this ends and republicans are -- the future is not looking bright for them but as of right now, they won't let this attack go. >> so give us a preview of what we can can expect to see in that chamber and over the next couple of days as people tune in here coming up at 9:00 for our special coverage of this trial. this will be yesterday, as we said, sort of opening arguments and process. now we get into all of the testimony. >> we have every expectation that today will be more fiery, at times even more harrowing than yesterday. this will be what they call the merits arguments. it will be all of the managers, it's their time to draw the link from what we've been discussing,
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horrific insurrection that occurred, which is not in doubt. that's not in factual legal doubt, which makes it a stronger case than other types of situations where you may have that underlying incident or crime with some debate. this doesn't. they're going to be reminding everyone what happened there with that video and we know from their briefs, they want to get into that criminal-type evidence, like in a criminal trial, here's the bad stuff, violence, et cetera. then they will try to draw that link and i expect them to do it today. i don't think they will wait until day two, directly to donald trump. what did he say on january 6th? what did he say in the days leading ahead? how instrumental was he in planning? this is a very different type of gathering. he picked a date. he told people to come. what other evidence might there be for witnesses and other reporting about his state of mind, the then president going into the 6th? and to some except a lesser except but legally i think it's relevant, what is his overarching long history when it comes to using words, rhetoric and other motivation to try to
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get people to break the law, or in this case also do violence? and that last point is important, willie, because even though the trump lawyers did i would say a fairly poor legal job yesterday, they still can try to make a legal argument that everything you see on your screen, everything that happened was not his direct request, but rather things getting out of control or moving on to a so-called mob. and so what i think the managers want to do with their time today is say, no, this was part of a larger, very orchestrated, very directed legal plot to steal the election, to shakedown georgia, abuse the doj, all of those things are documented and that's why they think they can prove in the legal sense, in the constitutional sense, that he was doing this to insight the riot. he was doing it january 6th because he picked that day because he wanted to abruce abuse power to turn this country
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into a dictatorship. the other they put the lock on donald trump, he caused a bad team or terminology they quote, incited it. >> ari melburg, jim messina and kimberly atkins, thank you all for joining us this morning. kimberly, we will be looking out for the next episode of your podcast that you co-host entitled #sisters-in-law. i love that. that does it for us this morning. the coverage of donald trump's impeachment trial continues after this final break. go pro at subway® for double the protein on footlong subs and the new protein bowls. and if you want to go pro like marshawn, you don't let anything get in your way. here we go! yeah, appreciate you, man! go pro and get double the protein for just $2 more.
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to help me keep moving. and it can help you too. feel the joy of movement with voltaren. welcome to msnbc's special coverage of donald trump's second impeachment trial. and today as we come on the air, the question of constitutionality's been answered but not the question of culpability, not yet. right now we are just three hours away from the main event, democratic house managers kicking off a two-day presentation. they're going to make their case for convicting donald trump for i citing an insurrection at the capital. with he got a taste of it tuesday, the power of set of images from january 6th, familiar but gut wrenching still. a stark reminder that lawmakers, staffers and so many others faced that d.

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