tv Second Impeachment Trial of Donald J. Trump MSNBC February 13, 2021 1:00pm-5:00pm PST
look at what republicans have chosen to forgive. the former president tried to overturn the t results of a legitimate election and provoked ann assault on our own governmt and well over half the senate republican conference decided to condone it. the most despicable act that any president has ever committed and the majority of republicans cannot summon the courage or the morality to condemn it. this trial wasn't about choosing country over party, even not that. this was about choosing country over donald trump. and 43 republican members chose trump. they chose trump. it should be a weight on their conscience today. and it shall be a weight on their conscience in the future.
as sad as that fact is, as condemnable as theas decision w, it is still true that the final vote on donald trump's conviction was the largest and most bipartisan vote of any presidential impeachment trial in american history. i salute those republican patriots who did the right thing. it wasn't easy. we know that. let their votes be a message to the american people, because my fellow americans, if this nation is going to long endure, we, as a people, cannot sanction the former president's congress, because if lying aboutre the results of an election is acceptable, if instigating a mob against the government is considered permissible, if encouraging political violence becomes the norm, it will be open season, open season on our democracy. and everything will be up for
grabs by whoever has the biggest clubs, the sharpest spears, the most powerful guns. by not recognizing the heinous crime that donald trump committed against the constitution, republican senators have not only risked but potentiallyt invited the se danger that was just visited upon us. so, let me say this. despite the results of the vote on donald trump's conviction in the court of impeachment, he deserves to be convicted, and i believe he will be convicted in the court of public opinion. he deserves to be permanently discredited, and i believe he has been discredited in the eyes of the american people and in the judgment of history. even though republican senators prevented the senate from disqualifying donald trump for anyfy office of honor, trust or profit under these united
states, there is no question donald trump has disqualified himself. i hope, i pray, and i believe that the american people will make sure of that. and if donald trump ever stands for public office again, and after everything we have seen this week, i hope, i pray, and i believe that he will meet the unambiguous rejection by the american people. six hours after the attack on january 6th, after the carnage and mayhem was shown on every television screen in america, president trump told his supporters to, quote, remember this day forever. i ask the american people to heed his words. remember that day forever. but not for the reasons the former president intended. remember the panic in the voices
over the radio dispatch. the rhythmic pounding of fists and flags at the chamber doors. remember the crack of a solitary gunshot. remember the hateful and racist confederate flags flying through the halls of our union. remember the screams of the bloody officer, crushed between the onrushing mob and a doorway to theg capitol, his body trapd in the breach.or remember the three capitol police officers who lost their lives. remember that those rioters actually succeeded in delaying congress from certifying the election. remember how close our democracy came to ruin. my fellow americans, remember that day, january 6th, forever. the final terrible legacy of the 45th president of the united
states and undoubtedly our worst. let it live on in infamy, a stain on donald john trump that can never, never be washed away. mr. president, on monday, we'll recognize president's day. part of the commemoration in the senate will be the annual reading of washington's farewell address. aside from winning the revolutionary war, i consider it his greatest contribution to american civil life and it had nothing to do with the words he spoke but the example it set. washington's farewell address established for all time that no one had the right to the office of the presidency, that it belonged to the people. what an amazing legacy.
what an amazing gift to the future generations, the knowledge that this country will always be greater than any one person, even our most renowned. that's why members of both parties take turns reading washington's address once a year in full into the record, to pledge common attachment to the selflessness at the core of our democratic system. this trial was about the final acts of a president who represents the very antithesis of our first president and sought to place one man before the entire country. himself. let the record show. let the record show before god, history, and the solemn oath we swear to the constitution, that there was onlyha one correct verdict in this trial. guilty. and i pray that while justice
was not done in this trial, it will be carried forward by the american people who, above any of us in this chamber, determine the destiny of our great nation. i yield the floor. >> brian, i think senator schumer there capturing a lot of the despair that a lot of people will feel that once again, as with the mueller investigation, as with theth sdny investigatio donald trump has proven himself to be above the law and out of the grasp of any accountability for his conduct. mitch mcconnell's about to speak. let's listen in. >> fact, their own government. they used terrorism to try to stop a specific piece of domestic business they did not like.c fellow americans beat and bloodied our own police.
they stormed the senate floor. they tried to hunt down the speaker of the house. they built aea gallows and chand about murdering the vice president. they did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on earth, because he was angry he had lost an election. former president trump's actions preceded the riot for a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty. the house accused the former president acof, quote, inciteme. that is a specific term from the criminal law. let me just put that aside for a moment and reiterate something i
said weeks ago. there's no question, none, that president trump is practically and p morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. no question about it. the people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. and having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet earth. the issue is not only the
president's intemperate language on january 6th. it is not just his endorsement of remarks in which an associate urged, quote, trial by combat. it was also the entire manufactured atmosphere of looming catastrophe, the increasingly wild myths, myths about a reverse landslide election that was somehow being stolen in some secret coup by our now president. now, i defended the president's right to bring any complaints to our legal system. the legal system spoke. the electoral college spoke. as i stood up and said clearly at that time, the election was
settled. it was over.el but that just really opened a new chapter of even wilder, wilder ander more unfounded claims. the leader of the free world cannot spend weeks thundering that shadowy forces are stealing our country and then feign surprise when people believe him and do reckless things. now, sadly, many politicians sometimes make overheated comments or use metaphors. we saw that. unhinged listeners might take literally. but that was different. that's different from what we saw. this was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories
orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters' decision or else torch our institutions on the way out.el the unconscionable behavior did not end when the violence actually began. whatever our ex-president claims he thought might happen that day, whatever reaction he says he meant to produce by that afternoon, we know he was watching the same live television as the rest of us. a mob was assaulting the capitol in his name. these criminals were carrying
his banners, hanging his flags, and screaming their loyalty to him. it was obvious. that only president trump could end this. he was the only one.pr who could. former aides publicly begged him to do so. loyal allies frantically called the administration. the president did not act swiftly. he did not do his job. hehi didn't take steps so feder law could be faithfully executed and order restored. no. instead, according to public reports, he watched television
happily, happily, as the chaos unfolded. he kept pressing his scheme to overturn the election. now, even after it was clear to any reasonable observer that vice president pence was in serious danger, even as the mob carrying trump banners was beating cops and breaching perimeters, the president sent a further tweet attacking his own vice president. now, predictably and foreseeably under the circumstances, members of the mob seemed to interpret this as a further inspiration to lawlessness and violence, not
surprisingly. later, even when the president did halfheartedly begin calling for peace, he didn't call right away for the riot to end. he did not tell the mob to depart until even later. and even then, with police officers bleeding and broken glass covering capitol floors, he kept repeating election lies and praising the criminals. in recent weeks, our ex-president's associates have tried to use the 74 million americans who voted to re-elect him as a kind of human shield against criticism. using the 74 million who voted
for him as a kind of human shield against criticism. anyone who decries his awful behavior is accused of insulting millions of voters. that's an absurd deflection. 74 million americans did not invade the capitol. hundreds of rioters did. 74 million americans did not engineer the campaign of disinformation and rage that provoked it. one person did. just one. i made my view of this episode very plain.ew but our system of government gave the senate a specific task.
the constitution gives us a particular role. this body is not invited to act as the nation's overarching moral tribunal. we're not free to work backward from whether the accused party might personally deserve some kind of punishment. justice shows a story, our nation's first great constitutional scholar, as he explained nearly 200 years ago, the process of impeachment and conviction is a narrow tool, a narrow tool for a narrow purpose. storey explained this limited tool exists to, quote, secure the state against gross official misdemeanors, end quote.
that is to protect the country from government officers. if president were still in office, i would have carefully considered whether the house managers proved their specific charge. by the strict criminal standard, the president's speech probably was not incitement. however, however, in the context of impeachment, the senate might have decided this was acceptable shorthand for the reckless actions that preceded the riot. but in this case, the question is moot because former president trump is constitutionally not eligible for conviction.
now, this is a close question, no doubt. donald trump was the president when the house voted, though not when the house chose to deliver the papers. brilliant scholars argue both sides of this jurisdictional question. the text is legitimately ambiguous. i respect my colleagues who have reached either conclusion. but after intense reflection, i believe the best constitutional readingon shows that article ii section 4 exhausts the set of persons who can legitimately be impeached, tried, or convicted.
it's the president, it's the vice president, and civil officers. we have no power to convict and disqualify a former office holder who is now a private citizen. here is article ii, section 4. quote, the president, the vice president, and all civil officers of the united states shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction ofd treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors, end quote. now, everyone basically agrees that theve second half of that sentence exhausts the legitimate grounds for conviction. e the debates around the constitution's framing make that abundantly clear.
congress cannot convict for reasons besides those. it therefore follows that the list of persons in that same sentence is also exhaustive. there's noal reason why one wou list -- one list would be exhaustivest but the other woul not. article ii, section 4 must limit both why impeachment and conviction can occur and to whom. and to whom. if this revision does not limit impeachment and conviction powers, then it has no limits at all.an the house has sole power of impeachment, and the senate, solepe power to trial impeachmes would create ano unlimited circular logic and power in congress toic ban any private citizen from federal office.
now, that's an incredible claim, but it's the argument of the house managers seem to be making. one manager said the house and senate toe have, quote, absolut unqualified jurisdictional power, end quote. well, that was very honest, because there is no limiting principle in the constitutional text that would empower the senate to convict former officers that would not also let them convict and disqualify any private citizen. an absurd end result to which no one subscribes. article ii, section 4 must have force. it tells us the president, the vice president, and civil officers may be impeached and convicted. donald trump's no longer the president.
likewise, the provision states that officers subject to impeachment and conviction shall be removed from office if convicted. shall be removed from office if convicted. as justice storey explained, the senate, upon conviction, is bound in all cases to enter a judgment of removal from office. removal is mandatory upon conviction. o clearly, he explained, that mandatory sentence cannot be applied to someone who's left office. the entire process revolves around removal. if removal becomes impossible, conviction becomes insensible.
in one light, it certainly does seem counterintuitive that an office holder can elude senate conviction by resignation or expiration of term. an argument we heard made by the managers. but this heunderscores that impeachment was never meant to be the final forum for american justice. never meant to be the final forum for american justice. impeachment, conviction, and removal. and removal. they are a specific intragovernmental safety valve. it is not the criminal justice system where individual accountability is the paramount goal. indeed, justice storey
specifically reminded that while former officials were not eligible for impeachment or conviction, they were, and this is extremely important, still liable to be tried and punished in the ordinary tribunals of justice. put another way, in the language of today, president trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office as an ordinary citizen unless the statute of limitations has run, still liable for everything he did while he was in office. didn't get away with anything yet. yet. we have a criminal justice system in this country. we have civil litigation. and former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one.
i believe the senate was not -- was right not to grant power the constitution doesn't give us. and the senate was right not to entertain some light speed sham process to try to outrun the loss of jurisdiction. it took both sides more than a week just to produce their pretrial briefs. speaker pelosi's own scheduling decisions conceded what president biden publicly confirmed, a senate verdict before inauguration day was never possible. now, mr. president, this has been a dispiriting time, but the senate have done our duty. the framers' firewall held up again. on january 6th, we returned to our posts and certified the
election. we were uncowed. we were not intimidated. we finished the job. and since then, we resisted the climate to defy our own constitutional guardrails in hot pursuit of a particular outcome. we refused to continue a cycle of recklessness by straining our own constitutional boundaries in response. the senate's decision today does not condone anything that happened on or before that terrible day. it simply shows that senators did what the former president
failed to do. we put our constitutional duty first. >> mr. president. >> the senator from maryland. >> thank you, plmt. mr. president.mr. president. mr. president. >> these will now be remarks by individual senators but let's talk about what we just witnessed. the old campaigner, the inside player, mitch mcconnell, the man who delayed the trial until after trump's departure, the man who minutes earlier voted to acquit appeared to be throwing the first fistfuls of dirt on the political grave of donald trump, his back still arched under the strain of carefully carrying trump's water for four years. reminding the audience trump is still liable for everything he did, even as a private citizen. reminding the audience trump didn't get away with anything
yet. accusing trump of wild falsehoods, calling his behavior disgraceful, and calling the former president practically and morally responsible for provoking the violence of the day, sounding at times more like a house manager than the republican leader of the senate. nicole, while we have our friends, claire mccaskill, dan goldman and andrew weissman standing by, at long last, i would love to hear you finish your thought. >> well, listen, mitch mcconnell, let me just add to what you read off. he also said this, that impeachment was, quote, never meant to be a final forum of american justice and that trump is still liable to be prosecuted for everything he did. and he said he didn't get away with anything yet. seemingly calling for the merrick garland justice department to look at criminal federal prosecutions of donald j. trump, which would be something. i want to say this, though, about mitch mcconnell. if he had to zip himself into sleeping bag until the end of
time to talk about something, it would be judges and judicial stuff, and he would zip himself in there with two people who have a complete opposite read on the constitution that he did, chuck cooper who was ted cruz's one-time lawyer and ted olsen who said that he will not ever give again political donation-wise to anyone who didn't vote to convict. he's got the sticky problem of seven senators who saw the constitution in a fundamentally different way than he did so he's got a lot of problems with the substance and he's going to have a whole lot of problems and he clearly has a problem with his own conscience. that came clear in a pretty obvious way just there. >> claire mccaskill, seven of your former senate colleagues, burr, cassidy, collins, murkowski, romney, sass toomey on the side voted to come over. yes, it was the most bipartisan vote at the conclusion of an impeachment case, but i'm so curious to hear you out on what we've just witnessed.
>> well, if somebody would have said we're going to have a bingo card and put on it that mitch mcconnell will do a lock him up speech at the close of the proceedings, i probably would not have guessed that. it is particularly alarming that he gave his speech since he is the one responsible for the trial not occurring earlier. now, he would probably argue there wasn't time to do the trial because they tried to bring the article of impeachment to the senate on the 15th of january. they were turned away by mitch mcconnell and said they could not until they reconvened. the question is, would they have had time between the 15th and the inaugural? i don't know. but the point is, he created the fig leaf. now, i'm cynical about mitch mcconnell, and i can be cynical about mitch mcconnell since he raised literally tens, hundreds of millions of dollars to take
me out of my job, and money matters to mitch mcconnell in terms of campaign fund-raising and reestablishing a majority in the senate. he knows that a lot of the people who write checks with big commas in them, five figures, six-figure checks, sometimes seven-figure checks, that those people wanted him to say what he just said. and so, you know, am i glad he says lock him up? yes. but do i also think he was doing this from a political perspective in terms of keeping the spigot on for big donations from corporate america? yeah, i think that too. >> i want to add to our conversation, brian and claire, our friend, andrew weissman, who did have the job of trying to hold donald trump accountable in a -- in an actual d.o.j. process. did you hear that to be what mitch mcconnell thought appropriate, and do you think this puts even more pressure on
the merrick garland justice department to do just what mitch mcconnell said? and i said to quote him accurately. he said, trump is still liable to be prosecuted for everything he did, everything. he didn't get away with anything yet. and i agree with claire that that is absolutely what his donors want to hear. ted olsen, a prominent conservative, who cares about the exact same swath of legal issues mitch mcconnell does, has cut off anyone who didn't vote for conviction, so there are only seven people who will be getting checks from him and his allies but i wonder what you think of what mitch mcconnell made very public and not too subtle, that trump should be prosecuted. >> well, that is exactly the way i heard it, which is that if appropriate, that the states and the federal government could take a crack at this. it was somewhat inconsistent, though, because he was saying that he didn't think that this was a crime here and it might
indeed have been impeachable because of course to be impeached it doesn't have to be a crime, so there's a lot of illogic in his fig leaf for not actually voting to convict, but it still was quite a remarkable speech to hear from mitch mcconnell. you know, as you said, he sounded a lot more like a house manager. i had two thoughts, though, listening to schumer and to mcconnell. one is, for the house managers and for nancy pelosi, i was really thinking this reminded me of sometimes i used to say to young prosecutors that sometimes you go down swinging, but you bring a case because it's righteous. and this was a case that everyone knew was going to be difficult if not impossible to win. but they really did a righteous cause, and mitch mcconnell's statement, i think, did help show that, which is the facts
were incontrovertible. you didn't hear any defense whatsoever on what happened here, and the -- his off ramp was so thin, and i think the second thing is really something that jamie raskin said, which is that this trial was really not about donald trump. it was about who we are, and you know, for mitch mcconnell, while we're sitting here looking at what he said, it is really important to know this trial really is about the people who enabled what happened and are still enabling what happened. you know, the vote mattered. and you know, the comment that was made by congressman neguse was correct, which is, this isn't really about the past. it is really about the future, that if we don't actually come to terms with what happened, that we are really giving license to the future trumps who are going to take real solace at
what happened here because you know, impeachment is a remedy, and you really just can't kick it to the criminal justice system, especially since when it comes to the president, as i know very well, there is no ability to indict federally a sitting president. >> dan goldman also watching along with us. dan, adding up all your courtroom time, have you ever heard a more forceful or powerful case to convict as delivered by someone who five minutes earlier had voted to acquit? >> certainly not. it's -- it is a little bit of a wonder and that we just heard that given what his vote was. particularly on what a thin tea leaf this constitutional argument is. i mean, first of all, the senate makes its own rules for impeachment, and those rules are made by votes. they then become senate precedent and senate rules. so, the fact that mitch
mcconnell may believe, and i question whether he actually believes this, but the fact that he at least relied upon this constitutional argument flies against the senate rules of an institution where he has been for 36 years and that he is so defensive of and particularly its power. the second thing is, he is abdicating power for the senate, which is also unusual for someone who's such an institutionalist for the senate. and the third thing, and this is the question i have for claire, and i am a -- an increasing cynic like she is. if there were seven republicans who obviously did go out and vote for conviction, and we hear what mitch mcconnell thinks about the actual conduct, and we know that john thune is pretty well tied to mcconnell, do you think, claire, that if there were ten more republicans who were willing to convict that
mcconnell would have at least sourced that out and been the ring leader to do so and that once it was clear that they weren't going to convict, he then sat back and tried to figure out what was more important in holding his caucus together? >> no, i think when i heard they had jonathan turley come to the republican caucus lunch, first of all, nobody comes to the republican caucus lunch unless they're invited by mitch mcconnell, so mitch mcconnell knew what jonathan turley was going to say. he was going to make what i think is a very flawed and fundamentally wrong constitutional argument that you can't impeach someone who has already left office, and when mitch did that, i knew right then that that was going to be the hill they were going to die on. that that is what he was going to tell people like john thune and rob portman and roy blunt
and others that are loyal to mitch mcconnell, that this is the correct position to take, and i think, you know, i'm going to say primarily for political reasons, obviously, but now he has to -- i don't think he likes donald trump. i think he thinks donald trump cost him the senate. i think, frankly, he has intense dislike of donald trump, like most of the republicans in the senate. so, this was a way for him to vent his spleen about how much he can't stand him and what he did but also to make up with big corporate donors that are totally freaked out at what the republican party has become with donald trump. >> brian, i want to add to our conversation donna edwards, who's watching along with us. donors should be freaked out. i mean, right-wing republican donors are freaked out. ted olsen, george w. bush's solicitor general not giving any more money. chuck cooper defended the nra.
the arguments the house democrats made, they didn't need to turn to republicans for credibility. they turned to republicans to show how bipartisan the agreement was about the fact pattern, about the constitution, and about the appropriateness of conviction and the fact that you have got, you know, the majority of republicans immune to facts, immune to reason, and immune to republican messengers, seems to show just how broken and fractured the gop is today. >> well, i want to take issue with something, because if mitch mcconnell were really an institutionalist and really cared about what those donors are thinking, indeed, actually it would have been the better course of action to cut the ties with donald trump entirely and to vote for conviction. if he were an institutionalist, he would agree with the institution that had already determined that they had put the constitutional argument, the jurisdictional argument, aside, and so i don't think he is about the institution at all.
he's about -- he's a calculating politician, and his calculation today was that he could somehow unwind the pretzel and declare himself now the proponent of the argument that donald trump can be held to real account, not by the senate, according to the constitution, but could be held to account by a court of law, knowing, of course, that that is a really high hurdle and we are not certain that's going to be met at all. he abandoned the institution today. he abandoned the constitution today. and mitch mcconnell is only trying to do what's in his political interest and that is recover donors who are going to give money so that he could potentially gain the senate back once again. so, i don't buy it at all. i almost lost my lunch listening to mitch mcconnell today. >> donna, i think you -- >> agreed.
no, i was just going to agree with the congresswoman, and compliment claire for a savvy and honest comment before we got too far down the road at the larger audience mcconnell is talking to. let's bring michael steele in to our conversation, the former chair of the republican party. michael, you and i have been around the horn several times, especially on this topic. no matter what else happened today, let me plant this hypothetical image with you. a year from now, someone in philadelphia, perhaps they've had a dog bite or a workplace accident or a whiplash from a car accident, they've hired a personal injury lawyer and they're sitting there and they finally are moved to ask, have we -- have we met before? you look so familiar to me. and the lawyer sheepishly says, oh, that's because i supervised closing arguments before the united states senate in the impeachment trial for the former president. so, i'll give you that image to kick around, michael.
>> oh, yeah, that's a lot of fun right there. yeah, basically, what we saw over the course of the defense arguments was, you know, a hit-and-run case, you know? i mean, the efforts to decry this and complain about evidence here and we didn't get this and, you know, i didn't have a chance to review this. well, dude, you just -- you were just picked as a lawyer seven days ago. your client couldn't find a lawyer. so, you know, it's complaining about the process, well, the process is what it is and good luck with that check. but that's the reality of it here, that in many respects, the house and senate republicans never really took this seriously. they were encouraged not to. the president certainly didn't. and the realities, i think,
really -- and i have to give donna props because you put your finger on the one thing that happened here that mattered in what you saw from mcconnell. mcconnell's play at the end with, oh my god, you know, using 74 million people as a shield is deplorable, it's outrageous, it's absurd, deflection, what else did he say? the rioters did this because they were -- had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on earth. right? oh, but i'm voting to acquit. and meanwhile, guess what? the justice department, you can pick this case up. so this was a play to push this back on the biden administration because if the biden administration or any court that can be connected to this administration picks up the criminal charge against trump, guess what? all those dollars, they come rolling back in, baby. all of that -- all of that narrative gets replayed, but it
doesn't splash up on them. it splashes up on the biden administration going into the '22 cycle. this was a deft political move at the end by mcconnell. there was very little sincerity there about how much he was upset about what the president did. because he showed that in his vote. and that's -- that's the piece here that i think everybody needs to appreciate with what you witnessed from mcconnell. that wasn't a play for the moment just now. that was a play for what they're going to be able to do going into the '22 cycle to get back the senate and hopefully the house. >> i want to bring in our colleague, ari melber. ari, just talking about what i think by the end was a craven attempt at some cover, not political cover, because he's got -- he carried out trump's will there, but some sort of moral cover or cover with the donor base, but how plausible is
it that there will be a federal investigation into donald trump? >> well, there may be ongoing investigations, including georgia. i don't think what mitch mcconnell said can or should impact that in any way, so i agree with those experts today who have said it was a dodge. three big points here, one including mcconnell. i think mitch mcconnell rhetorically went full raskin. i mean, he made the case. >> right. >> and said trump did it but then claimed we couldn't try him back when i prevented it. mitch mcconnell's position, the reason why it doesn't sound like it makes any sense is his claim is, trump did it but the only time to try him for the senate was when i, mitch mcconnell, prevented it. number two, across the country this is a historic day and people may look and take issue with the results, this is also the most bipartisan coalition to convict a president ever in american history, more than the last trump impeachment, more than clinton, and that tells you
something that the managers did move those republican -- >> i thought i heard his voice. >> sorry, ari. keep going. we've got an open mic there on our friend claire. >> i thought you were jumping in. i didn't know which voice it was. just on that, that's important because more members of the president's own party voted to convict him of a high crime than any other impeached president and in the last trump impeachment. >> that's so important. >> for many people it may not be enough, nicole, but that is a thing, and the third point i just wanted to make briefly is, from a view of trial advocacy, the democrats did blow it on the witnesses today. because either witnesses are important to bring forward in which case do it, or if they are not, because you say, i've got an overwhelming case without them, then you don't hold a vote to bring them in and then back down. it may have been a blip but i think they did blow that on a key closing day, whether it would move votes or not but again one of the biggest
takeaways, nicole, is that in regards to the substantive case, the democrats moved more members of the president's own party than any other time in american history. >> let me just button one of the things that you said there, ari. i have heard from a source close to the impeachment managers that all their witnesses went cold, even the one who provided the evidence that they entered into the record, but i want to say something about your second point, about a bipartisan impeachment. this is richard burr, and this was a republican vote that all the color that we're getting from the room really shook this room to its core. this is what richard burr said. he said, the president promoted unfounded conspiracy theories to cast doubt because he did not like the results. as congress met to certify the election results, the president directed his supporters to go to the capitol to disrupt the lawful proceedings required by the constitution. when the crowd became violent, the president used his office to first inflame the situation instead of calling for an end to the assault. this was liz cheney's complaint, this was her charge behind her vote to impeach.
this was for the seven republicans who voted to convict the conduct that is not in dispute and i think you're right in that there is no partisan divide in the acceptance of the facts. the facts are that he incited the riot. the facts are that he stirred it up. the facts are that he cheered it on while the insurrection was under way. and the indisputable fact was that he was indifferent to the life or death of his own vice president. no one disputed any of those facts. >> yes, nicole. he did it, according to mitch mcconnell, and according to those republican votes that are more than any other time in history, he did it. and so, mitch mcconnell may tie himself in pretzels trying to appease some people with rhetoric and make statements of law like well there's still civil liability or criminal liability, there always is, because that's the law. and he may say those things to save himself but the fact that mitch mcconnell also said, on the senate floor, to the world, after having thought this through, trump did it, that means something. that also is a product of a trial.
>> senator john tester, democrat of the great state of montana, has joined us right now, and senator, fair warning, we're also waiting for a kind of impromptu press conference statement from the house managers. so, forgive any rudeness if we need to cut away. any rudeness if we need to cut away. i'm curious as to how you feel in the aftermath of this and now hearing that mitch mcconnell basically convicted the guy after voting to acquit the guy and also if you can relate any color from behind the scenes, any of your perhaps republicans friends who were truly torn came close to crossing over but did not. >> well, first of all, i think that impeachment is a remedy that has pointed out over the last week to take care of problems when the president is no longer in office. i personally believe if we talk about arresting a president after they've become a private citizen, that's a remedy of but something this country's never
done for actions they've done while they were president of the united states. as far as color goes behind the seens, i can tell you -- and you guys probably could read the body language but the body language showed me there were a lot of people that were really tortured by this potential decision they had to make. we picked up seven. i didn't have any idea what we were going to end up getting. the truth is that seven republicans really showed the kind of back bone that needs to be shown in a case like this because impeachment is the remedy to take care of this problem and i can't say enough good things about them because i think they risked a lot by their vote today but they did the right thing. >> senator, it was raised even by reading all the statements from republicans who voted with all the democrats and the two independence that the big lie was intentional, it was premeditated, it was repeated. the big lie goes on today. donald trump has not yet
conceded. donald trump and his allies in the senate have not yet said there was no fraud, joe biden won in the most secure election in america's history. how do you get them to do that if we really have a threat of domestic terrorism from people who believe the big lie? >> well, i mean, i think what senator mcconnell did today on the floor i think was helpful in that regard. i wish he'd have voted to convict but what the heck, his statement was strong on the floor this afternoon. i think all republicans need to say that for what it is and they need to verbalize it on shows like this and on fox news and other shows. quite honestly, that's how you doo bunk that kind of stuff. if the lie goes unchallenged, which happened for months and months and months, then you end up with the situation that happened on january 6th and nobody wants that. i think it's important that republicans stand up when they hear a lie and call it up for what it is. and it went on for months and
months. it want just an event that happened on the 6th or one day in april. this happened over and over and over again and unless republicans call him out on it, then that lie stands as a truth. >> yeah. >> you know, sometimes when there's an ugly vote in the senate, it divides it even further. and sometimes when there's an ugly vote in the senate, it actually brings people together for the next big challenge because people are wanting to prove that they're not as rabidly partisan as the exercise showed. so my question to you is will this help or hurt joe biden get his rescue plan through the senate, this highly emotional exercise you just finished. is that going to help get more republican votes or is it going to cause even more conflict on a partisan basis to get this thing to the finish line by the middle of march?
>> claire, i don't know that it's going to impact it either way positive or negative. this is a different issue and it's an issue, by the way, that the defense attorney said we need to deal with. maybe that will have an influence on on folks not to convict. i'm not going to judge people on how they voted. they all had a reason to vote the way they voted. i wish we had convicted, but it didn't happen. going forward, whether it's the package on coronavirus or infrastructure package or how we treat our veterans. you know how you treat people one day is different the next. >> safe travel back to your home state. we're curious to see what kind of political talk you pick up walking around your home state. thanks for making time after
this historic vote. let's talk about senator cassidy of louisiana, a guy who has been in the news for the past several days. several in the print press is pointed out that while his republican colleague from louisiana, john -- no relation -- kennedy because a kind of cartoonish character. kennedy has doubled down on the serious, a physician by training. we have a statement on camera from cassidy and then we'll get some reporting on the hill. >> the constitution in our country is more important than any one person. i voted to convict president donald trump because he is guilty. >> so, leann caldwell, who covers the hill for us has been button holing members in the moments after the vote. leann, what can you fill in from
there? >> well, brian, first this was the most bipartisan impeachment in history really. with seven republicans voting to convict. the last impeach with just one republican, mitt romney, to convict. even though there were not 17 to convict, at least seven did so. senator murkowski of alaska is up for reelection. she actually lost a primary in alaska in 2010 and she came back as a write-in candidate to win that as a republican. so she does have a strong reputation there as being an independent. another person who took a lot of political risk in was senator
ben sasse. he's not up for reelection until 2024 but we know he has presidential ambition and he's on the other side of senate republicans who do want to run for president, including ted cruz, perhaps tom cotton, josh hawley, who has been in the news a lot. so he took a din tact here. some other senate republicans just won releaks, senator cassidy, as you just mentioned and senator collins of maine, they feel pretty confident in their state and who they have become. so it's still a big day here on the senate, despite what mcconnell said and voted. back to you, brian. >> here's congressman raskin and the house managers. >> hello, everyone. i want to start by thanking the
american people for engaing so seriously with this process. i want to thank members of the senate and terrific members of the house impeachment management team. trump stormed our house with the mob he incited and we defended our house. he violated constitution and we defended the constitution and they tried to trash our democracy and we revived it and we protected it. this was the most bipartisan presidential impeachment in the history of the united states and we know that impeachment for reasons that we could explore at some other time often becomes partisan but this was the most bipartisan presidential impeachment event in the history of the country. it was also the largest senate vote for ap presidential
impeachment, 57 to 43. and of course the vote to impeach was 232 to 197 in the house. so we is a clear and convincing majority of members of congress that the president actually incited violent insurrection against the union and against the congress. senator mitch mcconnell just went to the floor essentially to say that we made our case on the facts, that he believed that donald trump was practically and morally responsible for inciting the events of january 6th. he described it as we did, as a disgraceful dereliction of duty undeserving of his office and he made a series of statements that we didn't even make saying that this was not over yet but a long shot essentially and that there was the path of criminal
prosecution for the former president, the disgraced and now twice impeached former president. the bottom line is we convinced a big majority of the senate. i'm very proud of the senators who worked through the night, many nights, over several weeks to make this case to the senate and to the union. as to -- i just want to say one word about the whole thing about witnesses. we were able to get treated as live under oath testimony the statement of our colleague, congresswoman jaime herrera beutler, were able to get a stipulation of that and get it into evidence today by asking for her as a witness. if you listen to mitch mcconnell
and the republicans who are now hurriedly explaining why theycoe hinging it on a legal argument that could never be overcome by any number of witnesses. we could have had 5,000 witnesses and mitch mcconnell would be making the same speech because what he's asserting is that the senate never has jurisdiction over a former president. for reasons i don't need to belabor because a big part of the trial was about this, we reject that completely, it's totally at odds with our history, the blunt kate, the belknap case, the original text and understanding of the constitution and so on and so on. the point is no number of witnesses demonstrating that donald trump continued to incite the insurrectionists even after the invasion of the capitol would convince them.
they wouldn't be convinced. they were hinging it on a matter of law, which we thought we had settled back on tuesday. but it is what it is. mitch mcconnell clearly feels that donald trump remains a huge problem for the republican party, even if he has been disgraced in the eyes of the country, and that is not my jurisdiction and i really don't have anything to say about that. i think they will have to deal with the political dynamics within their own party. so we did get -- we did get donald trump at least to admit that he's a former president now. so that's good news. he's not asserting that somehow he's still president and recognizing at least in a de facto sense the legitimacy of this presidential election, which of course president biden won by more than 7 million volts
-- votes and by a margin of 306 and 202 in the electoral college. i'm going to share the podium with my distinguished colleagues. >> reporter: [ inaudible ]. >> somebody else want to take a shot at that in. >> i will. >> we heard from the minority leader, mitch mcconnell that we have proven the case. he said specifically the house managers have proven the facts
of the case. and before we started yesterday, we knew when we rested, we rested with overwhelming evidence as to the facts of this case. these all jurors were also witnesses to the crime. they knew specifically what was happening. and then there were -- we found additional information about herrera beutler, which on yesterday evening we decided that we were going to go after and we got it. we got that information to further amplify what we had already proven there in court. there is no other additional witnesses that we -- that were friendly to us that were not there on the screen. the body cameras of the capitol police officers, how much more resonance would that have given to them than the actual receiving the day of the insurrection.
individuals that others of us who we would have liked to have called like the president is in fact a defendant and did not have to testify. other individuals were not friendly witnesses to us and would have required subpoenas and months of litigation. they are still litigaing mcgann in impeachment one a year later. we believe we have shown that the president is a disgrace to our country. they have decided on jurisdictional grounds. we have done our duty to the american people. let me introduce speaker pelosi and i'll come to you next. >> thank you. >> it had not been my intention to come to this press
availability, however tempting it would be to sing the praises of our house managers. on behalf not only of the house of representatives, on behalf of the american people. and i have to say personally on behalf of my grandchildren, who do great hope and inspiration from each and every one of you. we could not be prouder of your patriotic presentations, the clarity in which you presented and, again, the inspiration that you have been to so many people. so i thank you for that. when i see all of them, it reminds me that when we recruit candidates to run for office or we see them self-recruiting, we always say and they'll say, well, i could be the president of my university or i could be the head of my hospital department or this or that, so i have to think about whether i run for congress. we always say we don't want
anybody without options. that's why we're looking to you to run because you have options. that shouldn't be a reason for you not to run. but what we saw in that senate today was a cowardly group of republicans who apparently have no options because they were afraid to defend their job, respect the institution in which they serve. imagine that it would be vandalized in so many bad ways that i won't even goo in here and that they would not respect their institution, that the president of the senate, mike pence, "hang mike pence" was the chant and they just dismissed that. why? because maybe they can't get another job. what is so important about any one of us, what is so important
about the political survival than any one of us that is more important than our constitution that we take an oath to protect and defend. but why i came over was because i listened to mitch mcconnell. mitch mcconnell who when this drishd group of -- distinguished group of house managers were gathered to deliver the articles of impeachment, we were told it could not be received because mitch mcconnell had shut down the senate and was going to keep it shut down until right until the inauguration. so for him to get up there and make this indictment against the president and then say but i can't vote for it because it's after the fact, the fact that he established -- the fact that he established that it could not be
delivered before the inauguration. now, when you think about january 6th, between january 6th and january 20th, you're only talking about just under two weeks, a day under two weeks. so the big lies of stop the steal, the big lie that you've talked about stop the steal was the momentum for getting these people there on the 6th, they honestly believed for whatever reason, maybe too much social media, whatever, watch "social media" that movie, why they were thinking that that was true, that the election was not legitimate, whatever the reason, the president told them. okay, so that's the 6th. a week later we impeach in the house. thank you to those of you who participated right away, jamie raskin, ted lu and david
cicilline, they had it all written up and ready to go. bipartisanly passed the house and two days later ready with the case to take to the senate. oh, we can't receive it. not a question. and then by the law you're supposed to receive it and the next day start the trial. so for mitch mcconnell who created the situation where it could not have been heard before the 20th or even begun before the 20th in the senate to say all the things he said, oh my gosh, about donald trump and how horrible he was and is and then say but the time that the house chose to bring it over. no, we didn't choose. you chose not to receive it. so i think that's really
important. and again it doesn't matter, as jamie and others have told us, you can have the case after the person is out of office so it's an elementary discussion. the senate rules in that way in honoring on precedent on this. so it didn't matter except it was not the reason that he voted the way he did, it was the excuse that he used. so that's why i think it's important because that was a very important speech. i thought chuck schumer's speech was remarkable in laying it all out. i think he was inspired by all of you because you raised the level of all this to such a place of patriotism and knowledge of our country, our history and what we owe our children. again, we always say honoring the vision of our founders, worthy of the sacrifice of our
men and women in our uniform and respecting the aspirations of our children. they did all of that. as the distinguished manager said earlier on this presidential weekend, our sense of patriotism is stirred and we're called upon in a stronger way. so i want to thank them. i want to thank stacy, thank you madeliene dean, joaquin castro, and i've been hearing from my grandchildren who are very sad that justice wasn't done. but by 15 votes the senate voted to convict, a good bipartisan
statement about what has happened. it would not have been accomplished without your brilliant presentation. so i thank you for that and i yield the floor back to all of you as i leave. >> thank you, madam speaker. >> madam speaker, thank you for your confidence in us. i was going to go next to scott. >> reporter: i was curious if the speaker had a comment about whether donald trump is liable criminally or civilly for everything he did in office. do you think the justice department or state or attorney general should pursue the legal route? >> he even hedged on that. remember when he talked about incitement, he said he didn't think this rose to a level. i'm going to tell you -- so he was ledge hedging all over the . i don't know whether it was for donors or what, but whatever it
was, it was a very disingenuous speech and i say that regretfully because i always want to be able to work with the leadership of the other party. i think our country needs a strong republican party. it's very important. and for him to have tried to have it every which way. but we will be going forward to make sure that this never happens again in terms of what were the -- to investigate and evaluate what caused this and both in terms of the motivation but also in terms of the security that we have to have as we go forward, recognizing how inflaming even some of our elected officials can be. i defer to all these distinguished lawyers -- >> is censure an option now?
>> that let's everybody off the hook. it lets everybody off the hook. these cowardly senators who couldn't face up to what the president did and what was at stake for our country are now going to have a chance to give a little slap on the wrist. with censure people for using stationary for the wrong purposes, for for inciting insurrection that kills people in the capitol. >> can you explain how you went from wanting contemporaneous notes from the congresswoman, depositions possibly leading to other depositions to then entering an already public statement into the trial record? did you try and reach out to her at all and then separately did the white house either
indirectly or directly have involvement in the decision to call witnesses? >> i don't want to -- we tried this case as aggressively as we could on the law and on the facts. we did everything that we could. we got from the president's lawyers exactly what we wanted, which was the entering into the evidentiary record of the statement by our colleague congresswoman beutler. we got that, i was able to read it before the entire country and it became part of the case. and it became an important part of our case. again, we could have had 500 witnesses and it would not have overcome the kinds of arguments being made by mitch mcconnell and other republicans who were hanging their hats on the claim that it was somehow unconstitutional to try a former president or that the first amendment somehow gave him a right to incite violent insurrection against the union. they're going to have to live with those arguments that they
made. but we think that we overwhelmingly proved our case. i think mitch mcconnell's statement showed they knew they overwhelmingly proved our case and all that might have happened if we had bargained for ten witnesses on our side and ten on their side, the first person they wanted to bring up and cross-examine was nancy pelosi. they would have turned it into a circus. we conduct it with solemnity, legal course and you know what donald trump's track record is. we were not going to allow them to turn it into a farce. >> congressman raskin, why didn't you raise her comments sooner? she said in her statement she brought this up as early as january 12th. why didn't you introduce it in the trial sooner?
>> the first time i saw the statement was yesterday. >> reporter: she said -- >> the premise is that somehow we failed to prove the facts of case. i think in the eyes of the entire world and the country we overwhelmingly proved the facts of case. and senator mcconnell just conceded that. that want the issue. you got to talk to the 43 senators who are basically saying no amount of facts would have made any difference to them because they didn't think that the president was subject to the jurisdiction of the senate. that was the argument you just heard mitch mcconnell nak. so, you know, forgive me to reacting strongly to that but that seems to be to be a completely bizarre conclusion to these events to say that somehow if we had just had one more witness, mitch mcconnell would have come over to our side. just listen to his words. >> reporter: did the white house convey to you in any way they
did not want witnesses that my draw out the process? did the white house tell you they wanted to short, condensed trial? >> i never spoke to anyone in the white house, to the president or vice president, no. and i made the call. s if you want to blame somebody -- >> reporter: i think we were trying to understand how you made the call. >> if we had needed any witnesses, we would have gone on and insisted on witnesses in a six or eight-week trial. we didn't. mitch mcconnell conceded that, saying you won on the facts. >> it was two things that we had to do, right? we had to first have a motion for witnesses, which we did when
we were supposed to do it, which was after the prosecution and defense made their case. we made a motion to allow for witnesses and then after that, we requested one witness. the republican -- counsel for the former president said he was going to bring 100 witnesses. we got the essence of what we wanted when i was the statement of congresswoman jaime herrera beutler. the defense got nothing. i think you're making a lot out of and dismissing the incredible evidence of havoc, mayhem and what this president had done over a period of months to bring destruction to our democracy by talking about if you had two or three more witnesses what was going to happen. >> one thing i would add to it is remember there's a reason that the request for witnesses comes at the conclusion of the
case. we had an opportunity to see the former president's counsel and decide whether we needed to provide additional witnesses. our case was filled with dozens of witnesses presented by way of video and statements and recordings. it was only last night we learned about this new information and we got the best of both worlds. we got that testimony in the record before the jury without any risk associated with it. and that's important to remember. this is a congresswoman who repeats a telephone call between kevin mccarthy and the former president of the united states in which kevin mccarthy is pleading for help, saying help us, we're under attack, the president first tries to blame another group, antifa and he says, no, mr. president, these are your supporter and we're in danger here and he says, well, kevin, maybe they care more about the election than you do. that came before the senate jury through the statement that mr. raskin read. so we got the evidence in of the witness that we wanted to present and that was a victory
for us. >> the defendant, president donald john trump, was let off on a technicality. that's essentially what you heard mitch mcconnell say, that they let him off on what they perceived to be a procedural issue, which was because of the constitutionality of the matter, they couldn't proceed to the substance. the interpretation on the liberal and nonliberal side agreed and you heard mitch mcconnell say we overwhelmingly proved our case, that substantively donald trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection. it's been a solemn honor for us to work on this case.
even though we didn't get 67 volts, this has been the most bipartisan conviction for impeachment ever and we spoke the truth on the senate floor and american people by and large have agreed with us. and one final remark on all of this, you know, this episode from january 6th on has been very taxing on the american people, ushered in a new era, thanks to donald trump, of political violence and so most of all my reaction to the decision of a majority of republican senators not to convict donald trump despite the overwhelming evidence is not only sadness but also apprehension for the nation because, as i said during my remarks, the defense counsel's main argument is that there's nothing wrong with what donald trump did, and he could do it
all over again. and as a nation, we just have to hope that that isn't the case. >> i think that we're going to close it up. i want to remind everybody, of this the most bipartisan impeachment in the history of the united states, the largest vote in the u.s. senate ever to convict a president who has been impeached and the most bipartisan conviction vote in the senate that we've ever seen in a case of a presidential impeachment. but there's one other number to look out for, if you listened carefully to what's being said now after the trial. there are 57 senators who voted to convict on the facts and the law. add to that the number of senators who say they believe that donald trump was factually guilty but that the senate didn't have jurisdiction or there was some other constitutional issue.
but just take the ones who say we don't think that we could con haven't him because of this january exception, he was able to get away with it at the end of his term. if 10 or 15 or 20 of them say that, that means you've got a super majority who are saying that the president actually is guilty of his crimes, which we think we have overwhelmingly and convincingly demonstrated to the american people. thank you all very much. the house managers who were joined at the top of the press conference to the viewers of the house. mr. swalwell will make his way to the camera and will be talking to us momentarily. the d.o.j. veteran, the former acting solicitor general rahal of the united states who has argued dozens of cases before the supreme court is of counsel
to us for this conversation. neal, i have two questions, number one, about their lawyering. i don't think people watching have any other reaction except their lawyering was relentless and effective. people are going to be relitigating this decision not to have witnesses forever, but you heard mr. raskin say had they gone there, the other side would have likely turned it into a circus and you would have had the speaker of the house have to appear in the senate chamber as a witness. my second question for you, please address a topic that is taking off among lawyers both amateur and professional, especially on social media about this clause of the 14th amendment that by a simple 51 vote they could use to bar the president -- the former president from future office.
first of all, watching them just now, the house managers did beautiful, beautiful work in prosecuting this case, some of the best oral advocacy i've seen in my life. the press conference they sounded a little defensive, which is natural because everyone is beating them up on this or that. nobody should take anything away from this performance. it was a performance for the ages and there was a tragic vote in which the senate read the impeachment clause ought of constitution at least for january and not for like some minor thing. the allegations here with an insurrection of the capitol and not just on any day of the capitol, not like they were voting on national chocolate day or something but on literally the sacred duty they have, which counting the votes and peaceful transfer of power. i think it is a tragic day despite the amazing performance by those lawyers. there are two bright sports, the
than even chuck schumer did in attacking trump. i was a little surprised by schumer's comments because schumer basically made it all out to be trump rioters to the capitol to stop the certificate -- certification. these senators did that and 126 members of the house. these senators today, some of them voted to acquit themselves. and so as we think about the future, i think we have to think about that. i know i've been talking for a long time, on the 14th amendment there is a separate clause in the constitution which says if you've been an insurrectionist, then the congress can pass a bill to basically bar you from future office holding. it does require only a simple majority so it is possible to do. however, it may also acquire a court process to adjudicate
guilt or innocence. i think we should wecome that. i think donald trump would be scared out of his mind for that court process. >> neal, i thought i heard congressman raskin say on his way out the door that they had a super majority who recognized guilt. i've gone through all the republican statements that have come through the wire and i'm not quite at 67 but you've got the republicans like mcconnell -- i read senator portman's statement. they're not disputing any of the conduct, which was proven through videos, proven through testimony, proven through the evidence of pence and then it was the evidence that was stitched together in the final hours this morning. the congresswoman recounting and going on the record and entering into evidence this call with mccarthy where trump clearly takes the side of the insurrectionists. i want to ask you about the case, i thought it was as strong against the constitutionality
argument but as i read these statements and the republicans hiding under the skirt of what sounds like a bogus claim of what the constitution says and the day before the trial far right conservative lawyer chuck cooper come out in "the wall street journal" debunking the constitutional claim, i thought this was some of the most airtight evidence. they literally put the constitution up, when i was a reap schtick. the democrats had the letter of the law on their side, had the constitutional claim and plenty of conservative lawyers but that seems to be what they're hiding behind today. i wonder what you make of that. >> i think it's really unfortunate because the whole point our founders, if you read the philadelphia convention debates, the reason why our founders gave it to the senate to vote on is you can understand their reasons and they have to make a decision. here people like mcconnell just basically use this as a dodge to get out from under the skirt and
so on. that's just a horrible way to run a government. the pretty side, however, is there is, if not a super majority, pretty darn close to that saying that trump did it. that could be relevant to brian's point setting up the 14th amendment. nobody wants to go through this whole thing again but a whole in which you have a super majority in the senate saying this guy did it, it's very simple for them to pass a bill that just say now you decide, you adjudicate this and then you're not tying up the senate business or anything else like that. >> i just want to expand our conversation by one more. the gentleman usually on the air at this hour late in the afternoon, early evening saturday and that's the reverend al sharpton and get your take on not only what we've just witnessed, a congressman, a member of house management
saying what we were all thinking, in effect, former president got off on a technicality. he should be applauded for speaking english to the american people. but, reverend, what you've witnessed for the past several days. >> well, i think it is something that is a blatant injustice to the american people, particularly the voters. the outrage is that the victims sat there and acted as though they were not the victims. to see people, some who literally were running from danger, if not their lives, sit there and acquit the person that incited it and then the minority leader of that party get up and say, yes, he incited it and engaged in wild untruths and did all of this, but on this technicality we have to let him go. what is the technicality? well, he's out of office when we
had the vote. well, he was in office when he was impeached. so that's like someone saying someone committed a crime, i helped him get away because i delayed the trial and now i'm going to come back and say we can't really have the trial because he's out of the jurisdiction. well, you, mcconnell, helped get him out of the jurisdiction. if they had not moved the calendar, then you would not have had that technicality. what i think we saw from mcconnell is the opening fund-raising address for the mid-term elections. he was speaking to donors to come home to get ready for his elections in the mid term saying what he thought they wanted to hear because his action was he was the accomplice to the technicality that he used to acquit donald trump. >> ref, stay with us. i want to bring in one more, how impeachment manager eric swalwell. you're the first impeachment manager we've spoken to since the acquittal of donald trump. i wonder if you can speak to the
sense that donald trump once again has proven himself to be above the law, that this evidence that was not in dispute, not from the seven republicans who voted to convict, not from mitch mcconnell who did on a technicality. how do you speak to that i think despair that people feel with the case as airtight it was still didn't result in a consequence of donald trump? >> i quoted churchill in the trial and i'll quote again, this is not the end of accountability for donald trump. he's going to face accountability, certainly civilly, certainly as we're seeing in georgia and new york criminally. i'm proud i was a part of the team that stood up for the votes for the american people who had the count disrupted and saw the largest impeachment vote ever in the senate. you know, there was calls for more witnesses, i understand. we didn't need more witnesses today, we needed more spines.
we needed ten more spines from republicans. >> do you have an answer for us? i know congressman raskin and some of your colleagues addressed this. you got the evidence that you wanted from the one witness that was in question late last night. can you just put out for the record what happened around bringing witnesses? >> yeah. i want everyone to know we took an mri to this case over the last few weeks and we put forward a powerful, overwhelming case. we went into the day yesterday feeling we had proved the case, new evidence was unearthed last night, we felt a responsibility to get that evidence into the record. but as many people like jaime herrera beutler who were willing to come forward and speak up, there were a lot of doors we knocked on, phone calls we made, invitations that we sent that were not answered by people who were witnesses. and, you know, the choice was do we chase those people not knowing what they're going to say to the courts for years or
go forward with the powerful, thundering case that we have and knowing that mitch mcconnell was telling us it was a jurisdictional one. so we could have called god herself and it would not have happened. >> were there witnesses that were going to testify or was everyone a hard no? can you pull back the curtain on where the witnesses themselves stood. >> people who were peripheral witnesses, who were near the president and near vice president pence who did not want to respond to our invitations. invitations were made to give us information and they did not respond. they didn't want to participate. as i said, we've seen this movie before with don mcgann where we're still in the courts. we had a powerful case. mitch mcconnell sent out a statement to his colleagues he didn't believe it was jurisdictionally appropriate. so it was already fixed on their
end so why take the country through weeks when they were already looking for reasons not to vote guilty. >> the video presentation that was clearly out of context to make a point about trump using the word fight out of context, were you prepared for a presentation to deal with the public relations challenges that the second impeachment may have created among fox news viewers in. >> i think you could have picked someone who had been on a desserted island for six months be a told them the morning the trial started that donald trump is on trial for insurrection, you need to defend him and you would have found someone to defend donald trump and the accusations against him in a more relevant way than we saw. you just saw a banging of pots
and pans. we were never distracted, never took the base and we didn't have to engage with irrelevant arguments. >> congressman, talk about your level of frustration in making your case. if you're trying a courtroom case, you know which jurors may be a problem to your side based on what you learn about them during voir dire. in this case there you are as one of the managers, arguing to republican senators, many of them seated at desks had been ransacked and still as you knew icon tact, you knew they were a hard no. what was that like? >> a friend of mine just sent mo -- me a text message and said you did a nice job in the trial but you were lousy at jury
selection. i noticed the senators were paying attention through the trial. when i presented the ransacking of the floor and the abuse that the officers endured and what the people on the floor went through, you could see senators tearing up and they were emotionally engaged. that's why it's just so frustrating that they would find excuses, loopholes for the president to walk away from this. you could look at them and see they were moved by it and they knew who was responsible. but other fears overwhelmed them. >> congressman, brian and i are lucky to be joined by people smarter than us on most topics, but impeachment. daniel goldman has a question for you. >> i've been banging my head against the wall because this constitutional argument was settled on tuesday. because the senate has sole power over many impeachment, they make their own rules and when they vote on something,
that becomes a binding rule in the senate. did you as house managers consider taking any other measure to try to do what a judge would do and a jury and save can you not consider any of these legal matters when you're making your decision on guilt or innocence? >> dan, that's a great question. you know, in a courtroom you have structure and judges rule on objections and a lot of the irrelevant stuff doesn't come in. we knew when you have senators canooding with and working with the defense team, this is a completely different environment. i felt these senators, just as like we do in the house, we vote all the time on laws that we may not want to see pass. a senator could vote for, you know, a tax bill that they don't believe in and if they vote to not have that tax bill go into place, that doesn't mean when they go back into their regular life they just violate those tax laws because they didn't vote for it. they have to follow what's passed in the senate.
and they certainly weren't up for doing that in this case. again, to find an excuse to acquit donald trump. >> so, eric, this is claire mccaskill. it was really interesting to me that mitch mcconnell gave a lock him up speech. he essentially sent a signal i believe this man should be criminally prosecuted. so my question for you is will you as part of the impeachment managers from the house, will you be making an appointment with the u.s. attorney in the district of columbia to make sure that those prosecutors have every ounce of evidence that was at your disposal? >> that's a great question and i know that our team would want to do everything we could to cooperate and make sure that the investigation of course is independent. we don't want it to be for retaliation or for political reasons, but if we have evidence that they don't have, certainly we want to help them. and, as i said when we started this interview, i think donald trump is going to face just a
mountain of civil and criminal legal challenges ahead. >> congressman, let me just press a little bit on this door opened by mitch mcconnell for all of us today. is there a process through which you turn over evidence that they wouldn't have access to? and i know this was a red herring when it was raised by trump's defense lawyers but there was this point that video was not in the hands of them. do you have evidence against the insurrectionists? >> we made everything public. we put out on tuesday every piece of evidence we had. i hope prosecutors go to our web site and comb through all of the ed in the case. it's all there, hundreds of video pieces of evidence that we have.
if there's anything else that they think we might have, we want to be helpful if we can help bring donald trump to justice. >> i think indisputably one of the most periods of the week and i made the mistake of coming to claire right out of it and she was very emotional, senator, everyone we spoke to on the day that everyone watching had to relive the close call, i think that's the safest way to put it, that was january 6th, how close mitt romney was to a different outcome, how close mike pence was to a different outcome, that democrats and republicans didn't seem to be handling the threat differently. when they were told to run, everyone seemed to run in the same direction at the same speed. what do you think happened from that moment when the threat was dealt with in a nonpartisan way in the moment and then this trial was viewed as locked in before it even started. >> i remember as we were
running, actually liz cheney was in front of me a number of different times when we were going through the evacuation route and even people who were at the rally i was standing with and i thought, geez, here we all find ourselves together, maybe this will be like september 11 where maybe we'll be on the capitol steps later in the day condemning what happened. thankfully enough people like liz cheney and senator richard burr, who didn't have to, stepped forward and wanted to hold the president accountable. i hope that shows that there is more accountability to come and that we can finally, you know, rid our body politic of such a corrupt and destructive individual. >> i want to ask you one last question about liz cheney. her statement and her condemnation of the president was perhaps the most repeated refrain. and it seemed to be trying to will republicans out of their
servitude to donald trump, look, even liz cheney was able to call it what it was, chris harper mercer -- chris christie's voice, as was gallagher's. are you surprised more congress member didn't come up at the same moment? >> i don't want to discount those who did come forward because it was incredibly helpful. others said they were fearful for their lives. i just want to tell you one of the officers who i've spoken with who was involved in this case, he asked me yesterday, you know, about witnesses and whether more would be willing to come forward and i told him, i said, officer, a lot of them are just afraid to come forward, i talked to them who are around the president or republican house members and i can't say everything he said on the air but he said i hope they would at least have the same courage that we had when we were out there in hand-to-hand combat defending
the capitol. and we weren't asking those members or people around the vice president or president donald trump to show the same courage that those officers showed, we just were asking them to live up to their oath and duty and many of them failed the test. thankfully they did not. >> it was a majority, pretty darn close to it saying that trump acted in an insurrection way, are you thinking about the 14th amendment and contemplating legislation? >> all of us want to get to the covid relief that so many people need and i'll leave that to our leaders. but, neal, what is telling to me, so many of the 43 republicans who voted to acquit, they're not saying they voted becaue we did haven't enough evidence or call enough witnesses, they're looking for a
cop-out of through the jurisdictional evidence. the problem was not anything about our case, they know how bad this president was and the president is going to face more and more accountability but i'll leave that to the speaker and lead are schumer. >> can you shed any light on why ted cruz was going in and out of the defense counsel's workspace? that seemed really different. >> yes, and it bothered a lot of us. because we felt like we were putting together an honest case and we were trying to make sure that we were independent as prosecutors. but, again, we knew what we were up against. i think the american people saw that although the president of not convicted, that we brought our conviction, you know, to the case and that ultimately the american people are better off because we went through this accountability process. >> congressman eric swalwell, one of the house impeachment
managers who proved a case that moments ago mitch mcconnell made clear is not in dispute. thank you so much for spending some time with us, congressman. >> my pleasure. >> brian, it's just a remarkable window into how high the bar was for the impeachment managers and how very low the bar was for the republicans. you know, we put so much on the one party that still functions in reality and adheres to facts and is responsive to facts. i go back to one of the earliest days of the trial when congressman raskin jumped up to try to accommodate mike lee's objection to something in the fact pattern that i think turned out to be true. and it's, again, one of these sort of meta themes of trumpism. it's so asymmetrical in every regard. >> so asymmetrical, as you've raised given and again. it was such a lead candle power mismatch. it was really unbelievable.
i think it can be fairly said the former president is down to about the last three lawyers willing to defend him because these lawyers need work and they need to be able to go back to work. and so you don't see any big rainmakers from any any big fir because they have to go back to their firms, their firms have a lot of corporate clients and interests. one thing that came out of what congressman swalwell said about congress turning its attention to covid relief. i did notice today on social media a lot of democrats were soothing themselves after it was determined that they weren't going to go the witness route, they had this chance this morning to bring in and swear in a member of the house to talk about the mccarthy call. a lot of democrats were saying, look, there is so much work to be done, we have to pass biden's agenda, we have to fix the economy, covid relief, forget all that. the senate is off next week.
the road you didn't want to be on this evening was between the capitol and their free parking at national airport. none of the people's business will get done next week. they're out of town. they're on recess, as you heard the man said, sine die, subject to the calling of the chair, and guess what, for the next week off, the chair ain't going to be calling. >> claire mccaskill, can you address this affinity for reverse? >> listen, i will tell you this. i never really looked forward to recess, because there was so much work at home. i can't speak for all the senators. some of them will go home and put their feet up. but, you know, most of them have big states and it is incredibly demanding, all the people that want you to meet with them, that
want you to visit them. it's not like a congressional district. these are entire states. in my instance, you know, more than 100 different counties. and they all expected me to be there. and so there was a lot of pressure about working every day during recess to try to get to as many places as you could. now, admittedly, i was in a hard state, and i could never take a breath. and some people do go on vacations with their families. but most recesses, you'll find most senators giving speeches, having meetings, traveling around their states. so i do get a little bit sensitive when it's always about, oh, all they want to do is take some vacation. i did 50 town halls one year. you don't do 50 town halls in a year because you're putting your feet up on recess. so in fairness to many of them, recess is not a time for play, it's a time for really hard work. that will be the last time i
defend the senators. >> the gentlelady from the great state of missouri's comments are noted. they will be included in the record from today. let's bring in another of your former colleagues, massachusetts democratic senator ed markey. senator, it's great to see you, thank you for making time to talk to us. i asked jon tester this same question i would like to ask you. what couldn't we see from inside the chamber? this bloc of republican votes that was never going to budge, never going to move, voting in effect to continue donald trump's control over their party. did you see anyone on the edge, anyone wavering? >> well, you saw richard burr cast a vote that no one had on the scoreboard this morning. you had seven republicans who voted to convict. that's something that i don't think many experts were predicting a month ago.
and so clearly there was a compelling case. there was a blistering, scalding indictment that was leveled by the house impeachment managers. and i think it was having an impact. clearly the president incited an insurrection. he invited it, he incited it, and he was delighting in it. and i think that it was clear, after all the evidence that the house managers presented, that that was the case. my own belief is that if this was a secret ballot, that he would have been convicted. but unfortunately, too many republicans are loyal to the trump base than they are to basic justice. but with a secret ballot, i think he would have been convicted. i think they were paying rapt attention in many instances to the compelling, overwhelming evidence that was presented by the house managers. >> and senator, what do you make of this talk of various other remedies from now on?
got to admit, when you hear mitch mcconnell use these two quotes, he's still liable for everything he did in office, he didn't get away with anything yet, we hasten to add, that followed mitch mcconnell's acquittal vote. >> without question, the republican counsel and the republicans themselves, the 43, they relied upon the very flimsy constitutional argument, the first amendment arguments, which just were completely demolished by the house impeachment managers. there is a potential remedy going down the line. but this was the moment. this was the moment to ensure that the american people and all of history had justice, justice that was administered to donald trump. and hopefully there will be more accountability for donald trump in the courts of the united
states, whether it's in georgia, new york, other places, maybe in the district of columbia. but today was the day for the republican party to stand up for our country, for our constitution, and 43 of them did not do the job. and right now, donald trump is a very happy man. he feels as though the republican party for four years had given him a get out of jail free card and today he cashed it in. and he feels that he's now ready to go, without any constraints upon anything that he might want to do over the next four years. and that's a dangerous place for the united states to be in. >> senator, this idea of an ongoing threat posed by donald trump was central for the house impeachment managers. and if you take the pattern that the day after the mueller investigation ended, the very next day donald trump tried to extort president zelensky for dirt on the biden family. and then after obviously he, in
his view, was acquitted, there was a lot of consternation that john bolton didn't tell his story in the context of an impeachment proceeding, he told it in a book that he sold many copies of. do you think mike pence had an obligation to speak out, do an interview or present his side of the story since the threat of his life and his family's life and their evacuation from the capitol was so central? >> by 2:30 that afternoon, mike pence had been taken off the rostrum in the senate. nancy pelosi had been taken off the rostrum in the house. in other words, the secret service were protecting the line of succession for the presidency. >> right. >> and so we have to believe that didn't know in the white house by 2:13 or 2:14 or 2:15 that in fact the line of succession was in jeopardy up on the hill? and yet by 2:24, trump was still tweeting, that mike pence did
not uphold the constitution, that mike pence was a threat to the country. and we know now, because of the conversations with congressman mccarthy, with senator tuberville, that all within that first hour, trump in fact was reveling in what was happening. and that put nancy pelosi's life, it put vice president pence's life in jeopardy. and but for the work of officer goodman and many others, many members of the house and senate, their lives as well could have been in jeopardy. and mike pence knows it. i wish that he had stood up. i wish that he had made it clear that in fact the president did know. and we'll find out in the future. but it's absolutely impossible to believe that by 2:24, by 2:30, as these gangsters, this mob, is prowling the corridors of the house and senate looking for the vice president, saying
"hang mike pence," that president trump did not know and didn't lift a finger, didn't say a word to protect his vice president. i do wish that mike pence had presented himself to the senate. but i think ultimately, in the eyes of the american people, donald trump did get convicted take. today. >> it is fascinating that this mike pence threat and donald trump's continuing attacks on him via his twitter account, which he hadn't been deprived of as of yet at 2:30 when he attacked him on twitter, and we saw in evidence the insurrectionists read that tweet and become more agitated in their attacks on the capitol, are you surprised that donald trump's -- i think it's worse than indifference to mike pence's safety, it's his exuberance for further endangering mike pence's life and the life and safety of his family, are you surprised that
didn't present a moral or political trip wire for any of the republicans who voted to acquit donald trump? >> well, mike pence was just being hidden initially just a few feet off of the senate floor, after he had been removed from the rostrum. that's what officer goodman did in redirecting the -- those gangsters, that mob, away from the opening into the senate. that's where the vice president was. and so from my perspective, i really thought that was the one thing that was going to touch the hearts of the republican senators, because they realized that donald trump had lost any connection to his constitutional oath, that he was still endangering his own vice president, and but for the grace of god and all of the wonderful work of those police officers,
there was a tragedy that was within a minute or two minutes of having been perpetrated as an assassination upon our country's history. so i thought that was going to be, as you said, the trip wire, i thought that would trigger it. but fortunately he did escape. nancy pelosi was protected. chuck schumer was protected. mitt romney was protected. the other members of the house and senate were protected. and perhaps that cast this trial in a different light because we did not have the atrocity actually be committed on those elected officials. but that didn't mean that the police officers and others didn't suffer a fate that was avoidable if donald trump had spoken out earlier that afternoon, to just stop it in its tracks as it was just beginning, rather than waiting until the end of the day to thank them for being such good americans. >> a man who voted to convict
today, massachusetts democratic senator ed markey. safe travels home, the east coast is about to be gripped in an ice storm overnight tonight. >> and i'll be on my way to massachusetts. >> okay, thank you, sir. we are just bridging the top of the 6:00 p.m. hour tonight. and, total transparency here, we have about half the payroll here, and the other half of the payroll will take us through the remainder of saturday night. let's just take a look, for those who missed it, at the completion of today's senate vote in the chamber. a moment of high drama as the democrats were seeing just how
many and which republican votes would come across the aisle and join them. the answer in the end, seven individuals. >> the yeas are 57. the nays are 43. two-thirds of the senators present not having voted guilty, the senate ajudges that donald john trump, former president of the united states, is not guilty as charged in the article of impeachment and the senate, having tried donald john trump, former president of the united states, upon one article of impeachment, exhibited against him by the house of representatives, and two-thirds of the senators present not having found him guilty of the charge contained therein, it is therefore ordered and adjudged that the said donald john trump be and he hereby is acquitted of
the charge in said article. >> so there you have it, the vote was 57 guilty, 43 not guilty. 43 of course included one mitch mcconnell, who weeks ago was the majority leader, now rendered minority leader by dint of the shift in power in the senate. notably, he then got up, after chuck schumer of new york spoke. mitch mcconnell at times sounded more like one of the house managers on the other side in his criticism of donald trump, in his making the case that trump was in effect guilty as charged, but relying on the technical argument that it wasn't for the senate to decide. >> there's no question, none, that president trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the
events of the day. no question about it. the people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. and having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet earth. >> so, nicolle, so many people will define that as the living, breathing definition of having it both ways. claire mccaskill so smartly started off our coverage reminding us, so much business is on the line, so much money
and potential contributions is on the line. nicolle, so many potential donors look at what the republican party has allowed itself to become under donald trump. today's vote will do nothing for that. >> yeah, and look, everyone who was insurrection adjacent has been punished by the private sector. donald trump's golf courses have been canceled, to borrow one of his defense lawyers' terms, for donald trump's role in inciting the insurrection. the senators who voted to overturn the results of what chris krebs described as the most secure election in american history, many of them have lost donors from their donor class for coming out hours after the insurrection and again voting to overturn the results of said election. but i think what you have today is republicans going out of their way, mitch mcconnell going out of his way, rob portman going out of his way, the seven republicans who voted with every
democrat and the two independents, making abundantly clear that none of the facts were in dispute, none of them dispute the fact that mitch mcconnell just articulated, that but for donald trump, there would not have been a mob in washington, that mob would not have marched at capitol and they would not have murdered a police officer and resulted in the death of seven human beings. donald trump is the only reason that any of that happened. so 43 republicans, 'til the end of time, will have to live with being on the side of no consequences for the person, the president, who incited an insurrection. and at least a dozen of them, i'm looking at you, josh hawley, ted cruz, marco rubio, and mr. cotton, will have to fight with him in iowa to win the iowa caucuses. he's now going to be out there planting the flag in the republican primaries. and you know what, they should have to fight him off. that is what they deserve. the republican party ceases to exist as a governing party, it
ceases to exist as a partner with different ideas. it is now nothing more than an excuse structure, a permission structure for some of the darkest and ugliest forces in american politics. >> indeed, a story went up on politico last night that lindsey graham is heading down to mar-a-lago in coming days to discuss the future of the republican party with donald trump. >> there you have it. >> and i can sum up the reaction of michael steele to that story last night, it was something akin to, "god help us." let's go back up to the hill. our veteran covering the hill is kasie hunt. kasie, you have been in and around congress a good long time. the very same senate that at least agreed to do something on a bipartisan manner last night, the standing ovation for officer goodman, the spontaneous vote to award him the congressional gold medal, that same badly broken, deeply divided senate chamber
today, while there is a story line about the seven republicans that crossed over, that's the senate we have. >> reporter: that is the senate we have, brian. and i'm glad you mentioned eugene goodman because he's the person i've been thinking about as i've been covering this today, because this could have been so much worse. we've said it a lot but it's worth remembering, especially as we consider the meaning of the vote today, one that everyone was alive and well to take because the day was not worse than it could have been. and still, this is the decision we've arrived at. and, you know, i think the point that nicolle is making, was just making, forgive me, we've been running around up here so if this is a point you've covered in the course of your very smart coverage, republicans lost everything. they lost the white house. donald trump was the first incumbent in nearly 20 years to lose the white house. they lost the senate.
they lost the house midway through. and it's exactly what every republican was warning about when they initially said and many of the people you just listed said he shouldn't be our nominee, it will be terrible for us if he is. and the reality is that there are, yes, those seven republicans who said no, this is too much. those seven republicans, many of them are representing their own values. but they also have constituents. susan collins in maine, that was a competitive senate race. and they're reflecting constituents who watched what happened and said this is not america, this is too much. and that's what it is that's going to make it impossible for republicans to put together a governing majority if they continue down this path. and i think that explains everything about what mitch mcconnell did. mitch mcconnell, as you guys know well, is all about power. and he voted the way that he did to maintain power inside the senate so that he was siding with the majority of his colleagues, so that he can continue as their minority
leader. but he recognizes that if he wants to win an election, if he wants to govern again, he has to repudiate donald trump. that is absolutely clear, after this capitol riot. so we'll see how the politics evolve. obviously some of this depends on what donald trump himself decides to do or not. right now i don't see how they knit something back together under these circumstances where americans are willing to say, yeah, we trust you with our lives and our livelihoods again. >> kasie, you're the one that has brought all of the emotion that that building has gone through into your smart coverage of all this, so we're much more with you. but i wonder if you can put that frame around what happened in the final hours of this week, because it seemed like late last night, news broke that really fleshed out what had been sort of tangentially understood, this call between kevin mccarthy and donald trump during the insurrection. i think the new piece that we learned was that they were
screaming at each other, using profanity, and donald trump said, well, they care a lot more about the election than you do. donald trump never broke faith with the insurrectionists. he said he loved them while it was ongoing. he said this is what happens to all of you, kevin mccarthy and mitch mcconnell, the people who, you know, remain slavishly devoted to him. and then in the end, there was more corroboration of exactly what that call was. so it seems like the democrats' evidence got stronger in proving that while the siege was under way, trump remained firmly on the side of the insurrectionists. he never took the side of mike pence. he never took the side of mitch mcconnell. he never took the side of kevin mccarthy. he was on the side that threatened all their lives. how does this not break in a calamitous way as we go forward from here? >> reporter: well, nicolle, the only thing i would say about today in terms of the frame of
being here and how people are feeling up here, is that everyone is exhausted. they are exhausted with the trial. they are exhausted with the reality that we have been dealing with for four years where the president, the former president, takes step after step, each step a little farther away from what we know to be normal, and each time republicans react in the same way, which is to either say nothing about it or to blame other people, the media or whoever it is that is against him. and republicans i think are exhausted by it. you know, i spoke briefly to mitt romney in the hallway. we had a private conversation that i don't want to share, but it's clear that he and richard burr, bill cassidy, were all talking before they were heading out onto the floor, and there is a real frustration about how even inside the party, things have gone down. and they're tired of living in it. and this day to day, nicolle,
i'm curious if you feel this way too, because for me, it almost feels like a last day in a way that i wasn't completely expecting, our last day of putting microphones in people's faces and saying, you know, when are you going to condemn donald trump, when are you going to say that this is not the right thing to do or say? because the answer is, they ransacked the capitol and here we are, he's been acquitted. >> i think it's the last day of when are you going to condemn donald trump, the president, and the first day of the next phase for them, are you going to throw in behind donald trump when he runs again in four years. other than the seven, and i'm dying to know what mitt romney said to you, because what he obviously stirred in some of his colleagues, in senator cassidy, in senator burr, who knows better exactly the damage that donald trump did to our national security from his post on the intel committee, what he stirred is reality and courage and an
acknowledgement that donald trump is a threat to the future of the country. donald trump is a threat to the future of the republican party. so this may be the last time you have to chase them and get them to say no comment to a white house donald trump. but it's the beginning of the next phase where they're going to have to weigh in on candidate trump who is going to head to iowa before too long. >> reporter: and i think, nicolle, that's part of why what mcconnell did today is significant. they all want to prevent that. i think that's true of all the candidates who want donald trump's supporters behind them, josh hawley, ted cruz. to your point, they don't want to compete with donald trump in iowa. it's also true of people who want to win back the senate and have to do it with suburban women who are so incredibly turned off by everything that's happened over the last four years. the reality, nicolle, is there is a different president in the white house, there is no reason to cover what donald trump is doing every minute of every day, because while certainly plenty of people have criticized the media for covering him that way,
the reality was he had the nuclear codes, you can't ignore the guy with the nuclear codes, you just can't. but he doesn't have the nuclear codes anymore. biden is in the white house and that's where the focus is. you can feel that up here, people are ready to shut the book on the trump era. they want to go forward, try to figure out what the hell happens next, forgive my language, but everyone is feeling a little beaten down, a little wanting to move on to the next phase. i think it's true for members in both parties. as much as i know there was pressure to call witnesses and find out new information, i think you and i both know that it wouldn't matter, it wasn't going to matter what we found out about what happened on january 6th, this is what was going to happen at the end. >> stipulating that at the end is affirmation from democrats who are getting a lot of heat from other democrats for not calling witnesses. thank you, kasie, for your extraordinary reporting throughout. >> kasie hunt, who carries the
nuclear codes for our coverage. let's bring in claire mccaskill, neal katyal, donna edwards, dan goldman. former senator mccaskill, let's piggyback off the conversation that claire and kasie -- no. no, nicolle and kasie were just having. sorry, it's saturday, we've been at this for almost a week. what is the next phase, what is the next design of the republican party? or does it limp along with, again, this cognitive dissonance that they just voted to acquit while sitting at desks that were ransacked? do they just limp along as some ersatz version of a political
party that's still the fiefdom of donald trump? >> first let me say at any time, brian, you can mistake me for nicolle wallace, i will take that any day. so let's talk a little bit about the republican party. let me throw some numbers at you. i think this is really interesting. in october of last year, when republicans were asked do you support trump or do you support the republican party, the republicans chose trump by 59 to the party at 30%. so clearly it was trump's party. now, in january, those same republican voters, when asked again, 48% of them said they supported the republican party, and only 38% said they supported trump. so you can already see how trump's influence is waning among republican voters. and we're not -- you know, think about the people who may have left the republican party over
these shenanigans and the terror that's been unleashed since he lost the election. so these republicans in the senate have placed a bet. josh hawley and ted cruz and ron johnson, they have all bet on trump republican party. now, there's others like liz cheney and mitch mcconnell tried today, although i would put him in the trump camp, he's trying to get well. there are others who are betting on the republican party. this will be a battle that will continue all the way to the presidential nominating contest in 2024. and certainly it will be played out in the midterms. but they have an existential crisis, who are they. are they the party of the confederate flag? are they the party -- and let me just throw this in here. there's a lot we don't know yet. and i think a 9/11 type commission is probably appropriate, because we don't know to what extent these far right extremist groups, these
domestic terrorists, to what extent they're working and did work for this day and to what extent they were getting money from some of the same places that donald trump might have been getting money. i think it's really important that our country not just put this behind us now, but there needs to be more of an x-ray done on everything. i know we'll have criminal cases that will bring a lot of this information out. but i think a commission is appropriate. >> dan goldman, i want to follow up on claire's point. we know mostly through exception al investigative journalism, "the new york times" about a story about ties between militia members and incumbent house republicans, half a dozen of them. how important is it to make that effort bipartisan, of understanding -- i mean, canada i think has designated the proud boys a terrorist group. you now have ties or
associations between republican members of the house and groups that some of our allies are calling terrorist groups. >> when we talk about or anyone talks about the future damage that donald trump can do, i immediately start thinking about the domestic terrorism problems that he has really incited and spawned over the last several years. and people who are following him and his name were the ones on the capitol, the proud boys who were organized and sort of well-formed militias, oath keepers. there are a lot of groups and organizations that have developed. and then they collaborated on january 6th. when you think about the potential damage that can be done in the future, and the house managers hit upon this, but i thought eric swalwell really hit on this in the last hour, he said they reached out
to a number of people close to president trump and vice president pence and they were all afraid of testifying. think about that. we saw the obstruction of justice, the rampant obstruction of justice that was included in the mueller report. donald trump clearly obstructed justice as part of the ukrainian investigation that i was involved in. but the fear that so many people have to go against donald trump in any way, that used to just be concern about a mean tweet. now there's fear of physical violence because he has essentially orchestrated these domestic terrorist groups on his behalf. it's real, it's viable, and it's incredibly dangerous. and that is the one concern -- i shouldn't say the one concern -- the biggest concern i have with the acquittal today. he will take this, it will embolden him and it will embolden his supporters and that could be very dangerous going
forward. >> 23 minutes after the hour. we'll take a short break in our coverage. we're going to talk about criminal investigations when we come back, when we'll expand our guest roster to include katy benner of "the new york times" among others. our live coverage, the acquittal of private citizen donald trump, continues after this. this >> the defendant, president donald john trump, was let off on a technicality. and that's essentially what you heard mitch mcconnell say, that they let him off on what they perceived at least to be a procedural issue, which was because of the constitutionality of the matter, they couldn't proceed to the substance. doctrinal interpretation, both on the liberal side and the conservative side, strongly disagrees with that assessment. but they let him off on a technicality. and you also heard mitch mcconnell go up there and say essentially that we overwhelmingly proved our case,
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we believe that we have shown that this president is a disgrace to our country. mitch mcconnell himself said that. these senators have decided to hang their hat on jurisdictional grounds which are not based on evidence, which are not based on the facts. and they will have to be jumped for that. we have done our duty to the american people. >> that was house impeachment manager stacey plaskett. she will join our friend and colleague joy reid live right here tonight at 9:00 p.m. as part of our continuing coverage of the senate's acquittal of former president trump. despite the senate's vote, trump is not clear yet of legal trouble. news from "the wall treat
journal" today that trump is being investigated by new york prosecutors by manhattan district attorney cy vance into alleged insurance and bank fraud by the trump organization and his officers. it is separate from another investigation by new york attorney general leticia james into the trump organization. a georgia district attorney has launched a criminal investigation into possible charges against the former president. donald trump's legal odyssey is far from over. katy benner who covers the justice department for "the new york times." katy, i wonder if the trump administration -- i'm sorry, the biden administration, would have any reaction to mcconnell clearly kicking the hot potato of legal consequences for trump with very explicitly language that he hasn't been held accountable yet. do you think that puts more pressure on a garland justice department to take a look at
trump's conduct? >> i think there's certainly going to be pressure on garland's justice department both by people on the hill and also people inside of the justice department who are extremely upset there hasn't been accountable for donald trump. in new york there's both a civil investigation and a criminal investigation. the problem is those things take a very long time for the investigation to even come to a point where it could go to the courts. and so the idea of donald trump facing justice in a way that accounts for what he was impeached for is very unlikely. >> you've reported on the post-bar era at the justice department. i wonder if you think of these new york investigations represent things that might have been investigated by sdny without the influence of bill barr. >> i think that especially when it comes to things like looking at his lending practices and his
tax practices, those can be federal crimes. so while i'm hesitant to say they would have been investigated but for bill barr, i think that there is a way to say that federal -- i'm so sorry, that's my dog in the background. >> that's okay, i have a dog too, let her in, mine is quieter when i let her in. >> but that they can rise to federal -- possible federal charges. so when you look at what's going on in new york, the idea that he would have lied on lending documents, we're not sure in which direction, whether the accusation would be that he inflated the value of his properties to get funding or whether he deflated the value of the properties in order to pay less on taxes, those are things that the lenders can weigh in
on. so yes, there is the possibility there for a federal charge. >> what is the sense of the politically -- i won't say sensitive, but the scrutiny that the investigation in the u.s. attorney's office out of the district of columbia is doing into the insurrection, all the charges they're bringing against folks that were there, anything that might be adjacent into the investigations into trump's businesses, how is the new administration sort of navigating new u.s. attorneys in those offices specifically? >> sure, so i've spoken with people who are close to the team around merrick garland. they say his impulse is going to be have the u.s. attorneys follow the law, all of the facts, and if they feel something rises to an investigation, it will be dealt with. he's not going to command that people look for fraud. the u.s. attorney investigation in the district of columbia is focused on whether they can find coordination between the
rioters, they're looking for those cases of people who came to the district with a plan to attack congress. they're not looking at the issues of the speech. they're not looking at that kind of incitement, they're starting with who entered the building and whether or not there was preplanning. >> katy, i have a dog who tries to barrel into my studio, her name is honey. she had to put out a statement last week clearing things up. i'm feeling your pain. we're glad she shared you with us for a few minutes. thank you, nice to talk to you. over you to, brian. >> we read honey's statement with interest and regarded it as a four-legged walkback, a rarity in public life. >> no remorse. >> neal katyal, who has been listening to our conversation, about donald trump, disaffected, angry democrats coming out of today's result are going to want
things to happen. who has the stomach, who has the case for it, and you know merrick garland, who we believe will be the next attorney general, do you think he and his doj will have either? >> first of all, brian, i wish i had a doggie but i don't. and i do think trump is basically a one-man kind of jobs program for lawyers. if he would pay, it would be a great thing for the legal profession. i do think there is going to be future action. i think you already have state investigations going on in georgia and new york right now. you have the possibility then of that federal investigation run by merrick garland. garland is really very much a centrist and really careful. i'm sure that the last thing he wants to do is open a criminal investigation of donald trump. it might be hard for him not to, though. just given the evidence that we've seen over the last week, coupled with, you know, the
allegations that the justice department squelched past investigation of trump. all that together i think is going to be hard for him. i think what trump would say is, look, i was acquitted today, i'm done. but i think there are three problems with that reasoning. one is the constitution's structure is a two-thirds vote. so it's not as if trump had a majority of people clearing him. much to the contrary, you know, most of the people who cleared him voted for him on a technicality, just that a former president couldn't be impeached. in fact i'm not sure that there was a single senator who voted to acquit today who also thought the senate had jurisdiction over the claim. so that's one problem. another problem is, you know, mitch mcconnell himself saying trump, you know, did it, it's like taylor swift, "i think i did it." that makes it harder for garland and others at the justice department to look the other way. then finally, you know, it's interesting, when you just think about who the senators were who
voted to acquit trump today. they basically come from small states. ari berman put a post out just now saying of the 57 senators who advocated to convict trump, they represent 76 million more americans than the 43 senators who voted to acquit. all of that together means to me, today's vote, if anything, hurt trump, when you're looking at it through the eyes of criminal prosecution. >> i indeed saw that stat on the american population represented, and it is so striking. one final question from me, neal, about your beloved department of justice. like their brothers and sisters across town at the state department, like smaller departments, the cdc comes to mind, the expression "hollowed out" might have been invented to describe the four years of donald trump. certainly there has been a huge hit to morale, in all the
various departments at doj. do you have faith that it is like a starfish, it will grow back, and has already been through at least the start of the regeneration process? >> 100%, brian. i can't tell you how excited people are at the department, the career folks who have been there trying to hold on for dear life, and then the new people coming in to a "t" are incredibly, incredibly good. they're, you know, by the book, serious people. and so there's a tremendous amount of excitement at the justice department. the one problem is, trump did burrow in some people, including into some high level positions, taking political people and converting them into big, high ranking career slots. so that is going to be a problem for the department. but they're working their way through it. i have seen the acting solicitor general has already reversed some of the crazy trump positions that were taken on the supreme court. so there's a lot of good that's happening right now and more to come. >> i want to bring back to our
conversation donna edwards. donna, i'm listening to neal and i'm thinking about katy benner and all of this that's before the new biden administration. and i'm struck by kasie's point about exhaustion. and i wonder where you think that line is, between continuing to try to hold donald trump accountable, something that hasn't happened in the last four years despite noble efforts, and turning the page, moving on to the new president, who has none of the proclivities for drama or corruption or any of the things that people are justifiably sick of. >> you know, i think that there still is going to be the desire to figure out how to get to the bottom of this. we already know that there is an ongoing investigation into the security protocols for january 6th. i would not be surprised at all if there were not some semblance of a 9/11 kind of commission that comes out of this.
and i think there also is going to be an expectation that the biden justice department, hopefully merrick garland justice department, really does look at the facts and follow the evidence wherever it takes without interference. and i think for democrats in particular, as long as those things can happen, i think that there's going to be a lot of patience for that and a desire to continue to get on with the important legislative agenda, the biden agenda that's ahead. i would have wanted to have asked eric swalwell, because i think it's an important question, i've heard from so many members of congress who are loath to work with those who supported -- the 139 who supported the objection to the electors. i don't know how that really plays out over the long term in
the committee process. but i think that it is a real, you know, sort of danger that's going on in the house right now. and i don't know how that plays out in the senate. obviously senator tester said something else. but i think it is hard to look at your colleagues in the face and know that they ignored the constitution and that they didn't care enough about their fellow colleagues and the staff there to protect democracy. >> it's such a good point, donna, and i keep -- when people say we need a bipartisan commission, i don't know what that means on the republican side. does that mean you take one of the 130 that voted to overturn? is that what bipartisan means now, one of the deniers, one of the election deniers, or does it mean you take liz cheney who saw reality? what does it mean to have a bipartisan process in the house of representatives today? >> well, it may mean in terms of a commission, taking it outside of the congress and finding
people. there are plenty of republicans, former members of congress and others outside of the congress, who really do support the constitution and are very concerned about the road down which republicans were going. what it means inside of the congress? look, on the house side they can pass legislation with only a handful of republicans if they need them. on the senate side, it may mean something different. but i don't think that mitch mcconnell is going to be given any quarter when it comes to biden's agenda. so i don't think that we should be fooled by either what he said on the senate floor today or otherwise. and i think nancy pelosi had it exactly right, don't be confused by the guy who's, you know, carrying one bag of silver in one hand and, you know, a bag and a coin in the other. mitch mcconnell is going to continue to stand in the way and
obstruct because he believes in power. so the senators are going to have to figure that out. >> former congresswoman donna edwards, our thanks for that. we are also very excited after this break, we're going to bring in one of the people who for a lot of us was the narrator of this impeachment process. every day, about every hour or so, sometimes more than that, the great historian and author michael beschloss will be our guest after this. >> trump took actions that further incited the insurgents to be more inflamed and to take even more extreme, selective, and focused action against vice president mike pence. former president trump also, as described by congressman beutler's notes, refused requests to immediately and forcefully call off the riots.
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our constitution and our country is more important than any one person. i voted to convict president trump because he is guilty. >> that was bill cassidy, louisiana republican senator, explaining in a video he put together for social media his vote to convict donald today. and we should tell you that shortly after he voted that way, the louisiana gop voted to unanimously censure senator cassidy for taking his action. trigger warning, we're going to check in with the reaction from the former president, now private citizen in florida.
correspondent monica alba covering for us in west palm. monica, what has he said? >> reporter: well, this is one of the most lengthy statements that the former president has released since leaving office, brian. this is really uncharacteristic of donald trump, the fact that he hasn't made a ton of on-camera appearances. he hasn't even done media interviews or called a press conference at mar-a-lago, which is not too far from here, because his aides and allies, while this trial was unfolding, essentially told him don't mess it up by opening your mouth. and we urge you not to weigh in on anything because that could potentially derail what they assumed was an all but assured outcome of an acquittal. now that we have reached that point, we did see this very long statement from donald trump, in fact they hit "send" on it before the trial itself was even concluded and finished, just after that vote tally was being finalized. and very notably, within it the former president says that the
historic and patriotic movement that he is responsible for starting has only just begun. that's a line that really stood out to me. and he also said that he would be basically conveying a message to his supporters in the months to come about potential next steps. and he then made a specific reference to making everything great for all of "our people," a very specific nod to the people, those 74 million who voted for him. and of course some of them who participated in the riot at the capitol. but something else that we're watching for here, of course, is when we may actually hear from the former president in person. now that the trial is over, he could always go back to holding some rallies, as he hints at this political future and a potential run for 2024. of course, brian, we do know that there are people around him who have said he is a little bit more concerned because now that he is a private citizen, just as you were discussing in your last
block, he has more of this criminal liability and exposure. so as all of that develops, he also has to weigh what he wants to do with his political future. but we also know the other piece of this is that they started fundraising almost started fund-raising almost immediately after this second acquittal. they are lining all of these things up not just for a potential second run for the presidency after losing last november, but also the question of whether they're going to use their money to try to fund primary challenges against republicans who voted against him. that's something that the trump team has signaled they're very interested in supporting. >> monica with the former president, a short drive from mar-a-lago. thank you for that. as advertised, let's bring in the historian and author michael beschloss. michael, you've been invoked in that several people have used the phrase "history will judge
those who voted to acquit," just as history will judge the now former president. it strikes me you are history so we should ask you. how will history, for example, follow hawley and cruz arriving in new hampshire and iowa with their barn jackets and ivy league degrees, insisting on how relatable they are. aren't they counting on history to have a short memory? >> i think they are and i think they are out of luck. these are two people who had the most privileged backgrounds in the united states. they had wonderful educations and they paid it back by contributing to a president who was inciting insurrection that almost took down democracy on the 6th of january. and if we're talking about history, brian, let's think about 50 years from now. maybe someone will say there's some good things that donald trump did that, you know, required 50 years to understand them. that may be true but if i had to
name just about the worst thing that a president of the united states could do, it would be to incite an attack on congress, on the capitol that almost caused assassinations, hostage crisis, the suspension of the 2021 inauguration of joe biden. that could have happened. this could have cost us our democracy. there's nothing worse that a president can do and that will always be the most important thing to know about donald trump. >> you know the back story, michael, of the phrase in the english language that was applied to our politics "the center holds." you and i have lived long enough to see the center no longer hold. the nation almost didn't hold together. as you pointed out, the night of the 6th how close a call we had been through. >> right. >> what do you think we're in
for? how will opinions of this president migrate if there's still a center definable, a political center in this country? >> well, i think, first of all,ism see donald trump not as this, you know, goliath political figure that some people think of for 2024. i think that within the next six months he's going to be so beleaguered by his personal financial problems, possible by criminal indictments, probably by other legal problems, he's going to be overwhelmed most likely, i believe. and if that happens, he's not going to have the time or the energy to do things like think about what he's going to do in the midterm campaign next year, what he might do in the presidential election of 2024. i think longer term what he has opened the door for is another authoritarian who can come along and wreck democratic institutions in the same way
that he tried to do for four years and maybe have another attack on the judicial branch or the legislative branch as there was on the 6th of january. the point i'm making is that if you look at history, coup d'etats that succeed are usually preceded by coup d'etats that failed. i'm worried about some future president who let's say loses reelection may say donald trump was able to incite an attack on congress, to stop the counting of the ballots, his attack failed but congress didn't even convict him for doing that. only 57 votes. that person might be encouraged to do that in the future and next time it might succeed. that's what i'm worried about. >> michael, the relationship between the president and the vice president runs from the very close, i think former president biden and former president obama and now president biden are an example
of that to the chilly but not too close. is there ever a time in history to a president being in danger of their president? >> no. i never imagined you and i would be talking about a president that unleashed an attack that almost had his vice president killed but while it was under way showed no inclination to use law enforcement to try to stop it, never call the vice president or his family to say i'm sorry, how are you doing? i mean, this is something we never expected to see before. it's almost beyond reality but here it is. nicole, you have seen close at hand and we've all read about these difficult relationships between presidents and vice presidents. they've never gotten to the point of a president who almost had his number two murdered. >> unbelievable. >> nothing stronger than the
cabal of historians. how many of you have plans for your next books, michael? >> i would be very happy not to think about donald trump for a very long time, but i do believe that this is an important moment in history and the 6th of january was a really important moment. and whether we write books about it or not, i think all of us have to meditate on what almost happened and make sure that it never happens again. make sure that door is locked. >> no pressure but all of your readers are counting on all of you. mike -- michael beschloss, thank you. nicole and i want to thank all of our contributors who have helped us through this coverage. at the top of the hour, our
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if any, minds were changed. majority leader chuck schumer shortly after the vote was final said this -- >> if instigating is mob is acceptable and encouraging political violence becomes the norm, it will be open season on our democracy. >> that was no surprise. >> that was what we expected from senator schumer. it was this moment from senate minority leader mitch mcconnell that's drawing fire across the nation. this is minutes after voting to acquit trump, mcconnell giving a damn being speech about the former president. >> this was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters' decision or else torch our
institutions on the way out. >> well, that's what he said, but what he did moments earlier was vote to acquit. and it was that very moment that led to house speaker nancy pelosi to make an unannounced appearance during a press conference with house managers. >> oh, these cowardly senators who couldn't face up to what the president did and what was at stake for our country are now going to have a chance to give a little slap on the wrist? we censure people for using stationary for the wrong purpose. we doesn't censure people for inciting insurrection that kills people in the capitol. >> that's the takeaway of how it ended. that was expected to many. but the way the day started was not. house democrats called for and won a surprise and potentially pivotal motion to add witness toes this trial, which would have extended it by a week or more. but then a flurry of back door and back room negotiations led
to democrats pulling back. here is one house manager trying to explain why. >> we could have had 5,000 witnesses and mitch mcconnell would be making the same speech. >> we have a lot to get into and i want to begin our coverage with exactly what we heard legally in the closing arguments. we're joined by carol lamm, former federal prosecutor, david corn and michael gordon, a former official at the justice department in the clinton era. david, i want to begin with you. you have tracked so much in this trump era and beyond. you have a piece out tonight that captures how people may be feeling. there is outrage and concern over the acquittal, yet there was an historical record actually set. explain. >> you said or stephanie said this was the most bipartisan
impeachment vote ever. it's not only that. this is the first time in the history of the united states that a president who was impeached had a bipartisan majority that voted to convict him. this has never happened before. you need 67 to boot someone out, but getting 57 is a whole new record. so we have a majority of congress first time on record saying that an impeachment case brought before the senate was right, was correct and the president should be removed or should be punished or should be condemned in some way. so right there that is historic and it creates this tremendous record. i thought what the impeachment managers did, particularly with that video that we all watched on the opening day just really laid it out, this is what happened. and the way i think about it, ari, is that people look at what happened on bloody selma, the edmund pettis bridge and they
see it now and know it's wrong. this is what's going to happen in years ahead. people watching this video will know what was the right call to make, and they're not going to escape this. the republicans, no matter when mitch mcconnell said, they're chained to this ex-president zombie who has been condemned by a majority of congress. that is indeed historic. >> carol, building on that point, you have seven republicans voting to conconvic. that's six more than the last impeachment where it was only romney and more than the zero democrats who voted to convict clinton. what do you think it was about the democrats' case and the closing arguments that did bring over more people in the president's own party than any time ever? >> several things, ari. you know, obviously there were good facts in this case for the house impeachment managers. they put on a terrific case, but trial is tough and they had to marshal all of these facts and
put them on a timeline and make everybody understand the severity of what had happened. and of course you can't discount the fact that the fact finders in this case, the senators, were themselves the victims as were the house managers. it's a completely unusual situation that i think really, really grated on everyone. not to mention the fact that this was an attack on the seat of democracy. it was an attack on the republic. it's unprecedented in this country to be having an impeachment on a subject matter like that. so i think that made it easier for some of the republican senators to say this is really -- this has really gone too far. we're not talking about phone calls to, you know, russian ambassadors or anything like that. we are talking about direct mob hits on the capitol and on us. so i think that's what brought people over. >> michael, what do you think
was conveyed or proven across this trial that might not have been as obvious to as many people before it began? >> well, i think there was a clear cause and effect between what trump said and what happened on capitol hill. and i think that was the key that i think persuaded those handful of republican senators to cross party lines and vote with the democrats to convict him. but i want to say what a sad day for the country this is. sure, it's great that we had the most bipartisan conviction vote in history, but there's still -- we didn't get 17 republicans to admit that this was a tragedy, that -- to separate themselves from trump. and to say what happened was wrong. and it really is a sad day for the country that they couldn't get 17 votes. >> that also goes to the defenses that were availing and some of them were really on technicalities. david, listen to house manager
neguse on those trump defenses. >> all of these arguments offered by the president have one fundamental thing in common, one. they have nothing to do with whether or not factually whether or not the president incited this attack. they've given you a lot of distractions so they don't have to defund what happened here on that terrible day. and they do that because they believe those distractions are going to work, that you'll ignore the president as conduct instead of confronting it. i think they're wrong. >> he really nailed that. the democrats had some fumbling. we'll get to that later in our coverage but congressman neguse
nailed this. they don't want to defend on the republican side. they can't great on which day the senate should my on the size of government or how to fight covid yet on this essential question, they agree donald trump did this and here's the technicality where i don't have to do anything about it. >> it's quite stunning if you take mitch mcconnell at his word -- his last word -- that he is upset about this, that as one of the most senior elected officials in the country, he would look at the situation, look at what the president did in his own words, basically try to mount an insurrection by attacking the capitol and the legislative branch and there's nothing he can do about it. there's nothing he can do about it. sorry, you get a mulligan, you
get a pass, it happened too late, i put it off in terms of the trial and because i put it off, we can't do anything now. that to me is stunning. what's the famous line, ari? the constitution is not a suicide pact. it doesn't mean you have to stand back and let something luke that happen. but he did and now he's crying crocodile tears over that. and when the things that came out this week that people hadn't focused on is that trump kept inciting the mob. >> it's a minor fact check but i believe they are turtle tears, not crocodile. >> i'm not going to go down that path but you can. >> i just did. i just did. >> let david finish his point, the turtle being a reference to the self-described grim reaper.
i'll let david finish the point each wants to make, michael build on mcconnell and stephanie ruhle will bring us another political angle on all this. >> my point is he is saying that even if a president incites a mob against the vice president while the mob is raging unside -- inside the congress, there's nothing that can be done about it constitutionally they can't say anything. it's proving jamie raskin's point that there is a january exception. this is a complete dereliction of duty. it's quite shameful. >> michael. >> ari, mcconnell is a first class wimp, okay? he is judged on his actions and his votes are his actions. his words mean nothing after voting to acquit that guy after all that happened. so the fact that he's trying to have his cake and eat it, too,
it's going to fall on deaf ears across the political landscape and corporate donors. he trying to make up ground for the vote he cast and it's not going to work. >> i think that's a fitting point, particularly because this was aadjudicated. in a trial what matters, the only thing that matters to the jury is how you vote. if the jury wants to give speeches on the side and vote to undercut them, it's the vote that counts. we have a lot in our special coverage. i want to thank david, carol and michael. >> are you done flapping your nerd birds? >> and you, my friend, would say probably not. >> there you go. now let's head to capitol hill where we talk about the political implications of the president's acquittal. nbc news national reporter
sahile kapur joins us. the gop in his state unanimously voted to censure him. what does this stay about state level republicans and the fact that their voters and their beliefs that the tactics that former president donald trump employs, they stand with? >> stephanie, it shows the pressure that republican senators have felt throughout this week from the moment house democrats decided to impeach again from their voters who despite the fact that donald trump lost, despite the fact that republicans also lost, the house and the senate on his watch remain fiercely loyal to him and expect that from their senators. we see that in the list of several republicans who voted guilty to convict him. two are retiring, three just won reelection, including cassidy.
lisa murkowski won a general election despite losing a general primary and the seventh is mitt romney. all the republican running for reelection in a couple years and wanted to face voters again knew they were looking a the a situation that bill cassidy is dealing with now where republicans voters back home would punish them if they took the step of finding trump guilty. >> moments ago michael referred to mitch mcconnell as a first class wimp but he also a political beast and one of the most politically savvy people in washington. he gave this scathing speech, you would have thought he morphed into a house manager. let's share a little bit of that. >> there's no question, none, that president donald trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. no question about it.
the people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. >> within moments of him finishing those remarks my phone was ringing from government relations people at big companies. and they said that speech was for us. we saw so many big donors, big corporates say we cannot continue to give to republicans after january 6th. was this mitch mcconnell trying to stay come on back with your checkbooks? >> yes, stephanie, i think it was. you certainly could have confused mitch mcconnell for jamie raskin if you just read the text of what he said. it came moments after mitch mcconnell and 43 republicans cast decisive votes to acquit president donald trump and make sure he doesn't get the two-thirds majority to convict. this is mitch mcconnell recognizing if he did convict
president trump, then his ability to lead the senate republican caucus would be undermined, been the very evident fact made clear today that president donald trump still owns this party. it is still his party, despite all of that. but, yes, stephanie, mcconnell is courting donors troubled by what president donald trump did. he doesn't want them to kind of scurry away as a result of this and that there is a place for skeptics in the trump republican party. >> why are we to believe that mitch mcconnell believes trump did all sorts of bad things? he said can you not pursue a guilty verdict from someone who is now a private citizen. that was mitch mcconnell's voice. nancy pelosi was ready with her papers to walk them over and it was mitch mcconnell who already
called the senate into recess. it on him. how can he possibly say, well, man, we couldn't do it. that was his doing. >> it a fair question, stephanie. and mcconnell did not say if he would have found trump guilty on the charges were he still president. so he was a little vague on that point. what the mcconnell aides i talked to say is that he believed in the week or so that the senate had before president donald trump was going to leave office and the time that the house impeached that the senate could not conclude a trial of him at the time. but i will point out the vote on constitutionality was tuesday. a majority of the senate ruled that it was constitutional to try the president. the only vote today was guilty or not guilty. that was the decision by mcconnell and other republican senators to say he is not guilty, however they wanted to justify it. >> you can listen to what he
says and watch what he does and mitch mcconnell voted to acquit. thank you so much. >> coming up next, the political implications of today's acquittal for democrats, republicans and our entire country. our breaking news continues right after the break. ews continu right after the break. advil targets pain acetaminophen blocks it. new advil dual action fights pain for up to 8 hours. liberty mutual customized my car insurance, so i only pay for what i need. what a great day! what an ok day. what a messed up- only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ ♪ got my hair ♪ ♪ got my head ♪ ♪ got my brains ♪ ♪ got my ears ♪ ♪ got my heart ♪ ♪ got my soul ♪ ♪ got my mouth ♪ ♪ i got life ♪ introducing voltaren arthritis pain gel.
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. welcome back. joining us now to talk more about the politics of the impeachment trial and what impact it has on our political landscape moving forward, zerlina maxwell and senior director of progressive programming for siriusxm and donna edmonds from "the washington post." zerlina, throughout the day we saw a lot of democrats angry saying, wait a minute, we thought we were going to get witnesses, there was much more of a story to tell. but as stacy put it earlier, we learned a lot over the last four
days about what happened on january 6th, former president donald trump's contribution to that, and today all of those republicans who voted to acquit him didn't vote based on evidence, it was based on jurisdiction. it didn't matter what witnesses they were going to hear from over the next few weeks. >> that's exactly right, stephanie. essentially day one of this impeachment trial republicans were looking for an excuse to acquit and think found it because they did not consider the evidence presented by the house man injuries on the merit. the american people could see that plain as day. i think the bar of 17 republicans to vote to convict a former president from their own party, the reason why it's 67 is because it is supposed to be incredibly difficult. it is incredibly rare for this to occur. the fact that you have a former president who has been impeached twice in basically a year's time with a pandemic sandwiched in between that i think is going to be by historians looked at more
so than maybe the short-term political calculations that any of these republicans are making. i think the long lens of history will look particularly negatively on this period because they chose to go with partisanship over what i view as the patriotic duty to protect the building they were sitting in while they cast their votes today. >> donna, how difficult is it for lawmakers, name lich -- namely democrats, to walk this line to hold donald trump accountable when at the same time a large portion of this country is simply sick and tired of hearing from him, looking at him, anything having to do with him and want to move forward. >> let's face a fact whether democrats move forward or not and i think democrats will move forward, especially on covid relief and on economic relief, donald trump is not going to move forward. and i think we shouldn't pretend
that he is going to somehow magically go away, even though he won't have the kind of megaphone that he had as president. i think that you will see donald trump both -- we already see it, raising money, making, you know, threats on primary challenges and the rest. but i think for democrats, democrats should be really proud of the case that was put on by impeachment managers. it is really clear donald trump did the dirty deed and he didn't come to their protection, to the protection of the congress, the capitol and the constitution. and i think the american public, the majority of people are going to see that and they will appreciate that democrats in addition to holding donald trump accountable also want to get on with the business of the nation. and that is going to be the challenge i think, you know, moving forward and trying to figure out a way to work with
some of these republicans who, you know, sided with the insurrectionists. i think that that's going to be really hard for a lot of democrats to do, but they will pass president biden's agenda, they will move forward on that and there will be other ways, i think, that donald trump is going to be held to account. and in particular i think in the court of public opinion. >> but zerlina, who cares if donald trump isn't going to move forward? donald trump lost the white house, lost the senate, lost the congress, he was impeached twice and now he's facing a world of legal troubles and last i checked, he owes about $400 million in debt personally. why is he so scary? >> that's a really good question, stephanie. i've been asking myself that question all week long. i don't think he is that scary. republicans clearly seem to think that the base they think he controls, which again all evidence suggests that the republican base is very excited
about donald trump but identifying with the republican party, that base is actually shrinking. all the polling since november 2020 shows that people are quickly changing their party affiliation in many of the battleground states and up until 2045 white voters are shifting to become a minority of the electorate. republicans know that. that's why they tried to suppress voters of color on the state level, but democrats need to understand that as well. they have a majority coalition so our republicans all like to point out that 74 million people voted for donald trump. that was not enough to win a presidential election. in the electoral college it was a landslide. that means they need to figure out a way to message to the rest of us and i don't think aligning themselves with donald trump in the long term is a smart strategy. but, hey, i am not a republican strategist.
>> donna, then short term or long term, where do republicans go? what do they stand for? because nothing i heard about over the last five days had anything to do with small government and deregulation. we saw nikki haley in the last 48 hours decide she's no longer standing with donald trump after writing a book praising him and as recent as two weeks ago saying give the guy a break. so who is the republican party today? >> well, i don't know that i should be the one answering this question but i'll try. i think that what we saw today is that the republican party is devoid of values and even ideology anymore. and so i think that for the republican party not to have deep sixed donald trump today means that they are tethered to him for the future. how do you rebuild a party when you linked yourself to the guy who tried to take it all down? that's their challenge.
and i think until they figure that out, they're not going to win back a majority of the american public anymore. and i think it is as zerlina says, the country is changing, the demographics are shifting. i think in part this is the reason you see this craziness among the republican base because the demographics of the country are shifting and that's not going to change. how do you rebuild a majority when you haven't even figured out how you can build a coalition in the country moving forward? they're not going to be able to do it. >> zerlina, thank you so much. donna as well. every time i see you, you make us smarter and better. zerlina maxwell and donna edward. >> very interesting clfrgs all -- conversation all around. we have some important stuff we haven't been able to get to. we have a very special guest right after this. et to. we have a very special guest right after this
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welcome back. an update of news coming out of the white house. a white house official, a deputy press secretary, has announced a resignation. this came after a suspension regarding a controversy over his dealings with a reporter. in a statement, the white house press secretary says, quote, we accepted the resignation of this staffer after discussion this evening. the conversation occurred with the support of the white house chief of staff. we committed to striving every day to meet the standard every day of treating others with respect and civility." >> the staff member says, "i no words can express my regret, my
embarrassment and my disgust for my behavior. i used language that no woman should ever have to hear from anyone, especially in a situation where she was trying to do her job." >> today started with what seemed like a sudden major development in a trial, the surprise request for witnesses, throwing everything into potential doubt. now what we wanted to get from the congress apparently was clarity. house democrats said at a minimum they needed at least one new witness, a republican representative named jaime herrera beutler, because she had -- some of this was already public -- she had information about a potentially explosive phone call between representative mccarthy and president donald trump while the riot was in congress. it goes to crucial information about trump's state in mind. so as you may recall if you
follow the news, democrats pushed for a vote on witnesses and they won the vote. suddenly after winning the vote, the motion to subpoena witnesses, a clear bipartisan win, 55 votes, they then completely backed down. let's get into all of this on the substance and what it means. >> good to see you, sir. >> john flannery, let's start big picture. why would it be important in a trial like this in the senate to potentially have more witnesses, including the one i mentioned? >> well, they had made an issue, that is the trump defense, that the president knows nothing and he didn't know what was going on, he didn't know when there was an evacuation and so forth. and that's trump's own lawyers. they refused to give any definition as to what trump was doing and what he knew,
knowledge. the significant question is did he have knowledge after this was going on and did nothing to stop it because he preferred not to stop it -- >> in your view would a witness or witnesses help? >> absolutely. this witness was going to basically say that the minority leader in the house had a conversation with the president and he rebuffed any activity to do anything about it. >> which, again, goes to showing the senate as jurors and the nation whether it takes more days or not, one of the linchpins to what democrats say is why he was guilty, why he should be convicted, that even if you grant arguendo as fancy lawyers like you might say, even if you grant for the sake of argument that he wasn't certain, donald trump, what was going on up until the breach, during it he's going back and forth with mccarthy and he's telling him actually maybe you should be more upset because my people are and he's acting like a mob boss. i'm going to play a little built -- bit more of the context
shortly. on the key question, did the democrats make a trial advocacy mistake by backing down? >> absolutely. it was strong evidence, they should have pushed for it and not backed off it. you're probably aware that people out in the social media are going nuts that when you win a thing you give it away and it looks like weakness or that you were wrong or that you would bend to mcconnell and company. there are all sorts of stories, including those republican senators wanted to get out of town and this would interfere with them leaving with their planes on saturday evening. >> i have an easy question for you, john. which is it? was this the trial to safeguard the constitutional republic and is it that important or is it more important to have politicians of whatever party, i don't care what party that in, to have politicians go on
vacation? which is it? >> is it an i.q. test? >> no. >> they should be protecting the government. we had people giving cause in part, giving aid and voting objections when they had no basis in fact or law on this thing trying to clear themselves by what happened at the proceeding, including resisting this witness. and they squealed like a pig when the motion was made by raskin to have this witness because, oh, heaven help us if we actually got close to the truth that implicated their failures as well as trump's. >> exactly. let's dig into this because this matters beyond just what happened this morning, though i think people who followed this saw it was an inflexio point. i thought the house managers did a fantastic job and they drew links to donald trump's culpablity and i thought it was
very clear, they blew it on this key question of adding witnesses. they may have felt pressure from senate democrats who didn't want to work longer well, that's not good enough. listen to raskin when he was making the argument. this is raskin on this trump call and what we're discussing why you'd want more evidence on this. take a listen. >> president donald trump also is described by congressman butler's notes refuse requests to publicly, immediately and forcefully call off the riots. when he was told the insurgents inside the capitol were trump supporters, the president said, quote, well, kevin, i guess these people are more upset about the election than you are. >> that's the type of evidence that needs more support but goes to whether donald trump was acting like a co-conspirator thug as people went into what was a deadly insurrection. now i want to play something we put together, airing this for
the first time tonight on msnbc because we've been tracking a lot of news. this is a little bit of what mccarthy sounded like on january 6 when he was speaking on a phone call to fox news and how he sounded days after before he back tracked because there's witnesses that can speak to this. this may matter for a lot longer than the next few days. take a listen. >> this is so unamerican. i condemn any of this violence happening in the capitol right now. this is not protected by the first amendment. i've already talked to the president. i called him. i think we need to make a statement, make sure that we can calm individuals down. >> what did the president say to you when you called him? >> he put out a tweet as well for people to stay safe, for people to not do this. i was explaining to him what was going on. >> the president bears responsibility for wednesday's attack on congress by mob rioters. he should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw
what was unfolding. these facts require immediate action by president donald trump. accept his share of responsibility. quell the brewing unrest. >> that's some of how that top republican sounded in those first days afterward. there's availability corroboration here for what happened on that call and what it means. i give you the final word tonight not only for the trial that's now over but the accountability going forward. your views on what matter on the available evidence and witnesses there on what donald trump was doing during the breach. >> when you look at how mccarthy performed afterwards, his honest reaction was closer to his oath in protecting the constitution. but as time goes on want to be a leader in the split caucus leads
the way. those republicans who voted first for the impeachment resolution in the house and those who voted for conviction today are the future of the republican party or the republican party should go the way the federalists did when jefferson took over as president and the revulsion of how adams had run his single term in office. that's the parallel, the wig-to wig-tori division. and we have those who believe in what democracy and mccarthy apparently believed that for several days and then he lost his way. and mcconnell believed it on the day that it happened and he's lost his way. he gives us the language of a person who is upset with what trump did but he doesn't give us the vote. this is kind of like a labor decision. you get the language and the other side gets the result. that's what he did today. very slimy. and we have to have a better
government that that going forward. we cannot do this and we're lucky we have biden in the white house. >> you say it like a labor decision. john flannery, with a lot of experience, it's good to have you. let me keep it moving here. for the first time this week, donald j. trump making a comment about his second impeachment trial. we have that and a lot more after a quick break. we have that and a lot more after a quick break. tired of clean clothes that just don't smell clean? what if your clothes could stay fresh for weeks? now they can! this towel has already been used and it still smells fresh. pour a cap of downy unstopables into your washing machine before each load and enjoy fresher smelling laundry for up to 12-weeks. for people living with h-i-v, keep being you. and ask your doctor about biktarvy.
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back tonight with how trump world is reacting to donald trump's acquittal by the senate. monica, it's not a surprise that the president didn't share any words of remorse, but in his statement, he didn't even acknowledge the tragedy that took place on the 6th. >> reporter: you're right, steph. he is totally moving on politically to next steps and what his future may hold in terms of a second run for the presidency here in 2024, hinting to his supporters in this pretty lengthy statement that he will have a lot more on that topic in the months to come. and also signaling something that really stood out to me, which is that he claims this movement that he has started, which he calls historic and patriotic and beautiful, has, quote, only just begun. so he is really telling these more than 70 million people who
voted for him that he may have another chance at this and that he may run again, which is exactly what house impeachment managers in their case raised questions and concerns about. also in this statement, though, we are hearing from donald trump saying essentially tune in now to see what's next because we haven't heard from him much in terms of having any on-camera events or any rallies. in fact, he hasn't even done a news interview since leaving office last month. so all of that could now come that the trial has concluded. we do know that aides and allies around him had really encouraged him to not speak up or speak out during the proceedings because they were worried his comments could derail what they assumed was a foregone conclusion of acquittal. now it opens the door for donald trump to reenter the public spotlight, though he's told people he's worried about what this means as a private citizen
for his potential criminal exposure and liability. he'll have to make a decision about his own political future and whether he wants to spend time raising money he wants to considerable amount of time doing. they did already ask for donations just moments after he was acquitted. again, the real major question here is when we'll hear from him next. is he going to hold some kind of press conference or rally down here in south florida? i can also tell you that the legal team that wrapped everything up today, they did so with a major sigh of relief. they were worried this was going to be prolonged and they already had so many disagreements among them so they were high fiving each other happy this is behind them but opening so many more questions than we have answers to at this point about the future of the republican party and what role donald trump will play in that. >> let's talk about the potential legal issues because they're not just in president
trump's head. mitch mcconnell mentioned them today. watch this. >> president trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office. as an ordinary citizen. unless the statute of limitations has run still liable for everything he did while he was in office. didn't get away with anything yet. yet. we have a criminal justice system in this country. we have civil litigation. and former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one. >> still liable. is that why we haven't heard from the president? because let's be honest. for the last five years the president's advisers during all sorts of conflicts have said, please, mr. president, be quiet. don't say anything. and he could never resist. he always let it rip. yes he doesn't have the ability to use twitter or ever again but
he certainly knows how to reach sean hannity and that is a lot of air time he could have. >> reporter: absolutely. this was a rare example of restraint from donald trump over the last five days because he did heed that advice. you're right. he has certainly tossed out the window in years prior we have plenty of examples for that. it does seem there is a higher level of concern about what this could mean for his potential exposure in georgia, in the state of new york, elsewhere. there are many open questions. this is something that he was discussing in the weeks before he left office. he was even raising and wondering whether he needed to self-pardon himself. remember, he was also wondering about pardons for his family members. he ultimately didn't do any of that but that really is a clear indication of just how concerned he was about losing this power of the presidency, this irony, the fact that the republicans said they couldn't vote to convict him because now he is a private citizen but the fact that he has lost that protection as commander-in-chief certainly opens the door to a lot more
issues legally which now he has to confront head on. >> thank you so much. i just keep thinking it was mcconnell's own words today where he said practically and morally responsible. that is how he qualified the president's action and he said the legal process will deal with this. yes, those are just words from mitch mcconnell which are different from actions but those are serious. >> he is still a thought leader in the republican party so while he doesn't get credit, i don't think he gets half a cookie for just saying things undermined by his vote it is on record forever and part of history that he says that which brings us to our historian. this is the second acquittal thanks to mitch mcconnell and others that donald trump has gotten. how will it be remembered? what precedent is set? we are joined now by a very special guest. presidential historian, "new york times" best selling author of "you never forget your first" a biography of george washington. you really don't, do you,
alexis? >> no. i am particularly thinking about him now and in the last few weeks in which things we always took for granted, like the peaceful transfer of power have been completely changed and our country and our democracy has been changed by it. >> and so when you look at it from the historical perspective the presidents who have gotten caught up in impeachments it is certainly a big part of how history remembers them while other things that momentarily seemed to be big do tend to fade. with johnson and clinton there is a lot of open debate over whether they really deserved it or was it overreach. with nixon he was ousted over the credible threat of conviction. where does trump now twice impeached with the most bipartisan ever fit in, in your early read on the history? >> i usually say i can't judge a presidency for at least a decade. we have to see how things work out. >> will you make a january exception? >> absolutely. it was hard to hold my tongue
before he left office. i think he will rank, this will be an anomaly, hopefully, and i wouldn't necessarily agree we don't think andrew johnson should have been impeached. i think he shouldn't have been acquitted. now we understand there were probably a lot of back room deals and handshake deals. and he got off. as a country, we have a history of letting our leaders off. that comes back to the constitutional convention which george washington is sitting on this platform in this big, wooden chair and all of the founders, the framers, they're looking at him and thinking, he says he is not going to be president but he is definitely going to be president and we know that he has self-control, that he cares more about the union than power, than a political party. he won't even commit to someone.
so he really exuded this sort of aura that they believed would be respected for at least a few generations and then we needed to work on things. benjamin franklin is the one who said, listen. we need something here about impeachment because we're a democracy and the only thing we have to compare it to is monarchs. and monarchs have ended up dead. >> before i lose you, do you think history will judge this failure to convict today as the right or wrong call overall? >> i think it'll be the wrong call. i think the senate did not fulfill their obligations to constituents and it really would have been meaningful to see testimony. we didn't have that moment in which mccarthy was asked, have you no decency? and even if it wouldn't have made a difference it might have to the country. >> have you no decency. a joseph welsh mccarthy hearings reference. not surprising from a historian. we are wiser for the few minutes we have with you.
i'll keep it moving so thank you for joining us. coming up next a rollercoaster day. more than a rollercoaster day. rollercoaster is at an amusement park. today was not amusing but dead serious. a very serious day in washington and for our country. the day that ended with the acquittal of a former president. we'll get you caught up on where we are right now. re. hey joshie... wrinkles send the wrong message. help prevent them before they start with downy wrinkleguard. ♪ limu emu & doug ♪ hey limu! [ squawks ] how great is it that we get to tell everybody how liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need? i mean it... oh, sorry... [ laughter ] woops! [ laughter ] good evening! meow! nope. oh... what? i'm an emu! ah ha ha.
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