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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

House Managers Speak Out. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 7, 2020 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[20:00:03]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Hey, welcome to AC360, a special report. I'm Anderson Cooper in Washington.

For two weeks, we watched seven Democratic House managers lay out a case to convict President Donald Trump on two charges, abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

They alleged the president withheld military aid from Ukraine and dangled a meeting at the White House for Ukraine's newly elected president, all in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into President Trump's political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

We were watching history in the making, as these seven managers made their case for only the third impeachment trial in history. The trial was filled with ups and downs for both sides. New evidence reportedly from former National Security Adviser John Bolton came to light, as well as recordings of the president released by a former associate of Rudy Giuliani.

But a vote to call new witnesses failed, despite support from two Republican senators.

When it came down to vote to convict or acquit, there was another surprise. Republican Senator Mitt Romney voted with Democrats on one count, abuse of power.

In the end, the president was acquitted on both counts.

The seven House managers, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Val Demings, Sylvia Garcia, Jason Crow, Zoe Lofgren, and Hakeem Jeffries, are speaking out tonight as a group for the first time since the president was acquitted.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: First of all, when you -- assuming you all get newspapers, when you woke up today...

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: ... and you saw this, I'm wondering, when you saw the headline...

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): I just saw it for the first time here.

COOPER: What did you think?

LOFGREN: What do I think right now?

COOPER: Yes.

LOFGREN: I think he's not been exonerated.

COOPER: What do you mean by that?

REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Well, it's hard to have an acquittal without a fair trial.

And this was the first impeachment trial in American history where we didn't have witnesses and documents. And I think the American people realize that, because, as we sit here right now, there are thousands of Americans walking into courthouses across the country, and they're taking their oath, and they're going to be sitting as jurors in trials.

And they're going to hear from witnesses and documents. And they're asking themselves why Washington and Donald Trump should be any different. And, of course, the answer is, it shouldn't. And they understand that.

COOPER: So, when the president says this is a victory, that he's been exonerated, you're saying he hasn't been?

REP. SYLVIA GARCIA (D-TX): He's not been exonerated.

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): This is -- he's not been exonerated.

This is the first impeachment in American history where a senator from his own party voted to convict the president. We also knew going in that, given the nature of the Republican Party, which has become a complete follow the leader no matter what, that they were never going to vote -- no matter what the evidence, they were never going to vote against the president, no matter what the evidence.

And we saw that.

COOPER: You believed that going in?

NADLER: Oh, we absolutely believed it going in.

And there were discussions that maybe we shouldn't do it because, given the nature of the Republican Party, they were never going to convict no matter what.

But we had to do it, because we had to set markers. You had to say that you can't normalize this conduct, that the kind of thing this president has done can't be done by him or by future presidents. You had to vindicate the Constitution.

So we did that. And the fact that, for the first time in American history, you had people -- you had senators voting to convict a president of their own party is very, very important.

LOFGREN: I actually thought that it was possible to convict, because our evidence was so strong and the activity engaged him was so wrong.

So...

COOPER: You thought there would be more Republicans willing to...

(CROSSTALK)

LOFGREN: Well, I had hopes.

And I think the interesting thing is, so many of the senators said they believe what he did was wrong. We made our case.

They just didn't want to vote to remove him. So, some of them hope that he's chastised and will improve his behavior.

I hope so, but it doesn't look good.

COOPER: But did this backfire, though?

I mean, the Gallup poll taken before the final vote showed a 49 percent approval rating. Among independents, he was up five points. I mean, did this -- did the impeachment backfire on Democrats?

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): Well, and back to the acquittal part of this, I would consider that fake news, because we did not have a fair trial.

And I think back to Robert Mueller's words, when he said, if he could exonerate the president, he would, but he could not exonerate the president.

The evidence, again, was overwhelming against him. Many senators said that we proved our case, that the evidence was clear and convincing and overwhelming.

The president is not exonerated today.

And in terms of the polls, we were there to present the best case to the senators and to the American people. I believe we did that.

The fact that, again, Senator Romney -- Senator Romney was not standing with the Democrats or standing against the president. He was standing up for what he believed was right, upholding the rule of law and protecting and defending the Constitution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am.

[20:05:14]

I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president, the leader of my own party, would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong.

CLERK: Mr. Romney.

ROMNEY: Guilty.

CLERK: Mr. Romney, guilty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEMINGS: And so I believe -- while the numbers didn't turn out the way we would have wished, I believe that Senator Romney's vote sends a clear message to not just the American people, but his fellow senators as well.

COOPER: Chairman Schiff, did it backfire?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): No, I find myself optimistic coming out of this trial, which may be counterintuitive.

But the fact that senators and the -- a small number showed the kind of courage they did, senators like Mitt Romney, obviously, but also Doug Jones, Joe Manchin and others, I think they lived up to the confidence the founders put in our ability to have self-governance, that we could rise to the occasion.

And so I find myself optimistic about the future.

I do think that what Mitt Romney did in particular demonstrates that one person can change the course of history. I think he will give strength to others, who will learn that you can stand up to this president, you can even disagree with the leader of your party, and be an example of courage to others.

I know that I think, in the future, when we have difficult votes, when we are asked to put country over party, that we will look to his example.

So, you know, I find the end of this trial, with the surprise that it took, the turn that it took with that courageous vote...

COOPER: You have said that standing up against your own party on a vote is harder than standing up against the opposing party.

SCHIFF: Well, it's, I think, an aspect of political courage that's rarely understood by the public, but it's understood by every elected official.

And that is, when you're asked to disagree with your adversaries, that's easy. It's when you're asked to disagree with your friends that it becomes very difficult.

It's not always...

COOPER: Does Mitt Romney have any friends in the Republican Party today?

SCHIFF: I think he's got millions of friends around the country.

And I think he's got friends within the Senate chamber...

LOFGREN: In the Senate, yes.

SCHIFF: ... who respect him, and probably look on him with some envy that he had the courage to do what maybe they did not.

COOPER: Do you think other Republican senators wish they did what Mitt Romney did or could have done?

(CROSSTALK)

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): I mean, that's speculation.

But I think the impeachment trial was never about polls, politics or personality disagreements with President Trump. It's about the precious nature of the Constitution.

In fact, George Washington observed in his farewell address to the nation that the Constitution is sacredly obligatory upon all. That means everyone.

And from the very beginning of this effort, led by Chairman Schiff and Speaker Pelosi, we have been trying to vindicate the notion that, in America, no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States of America.

Senator Romney's vote confirmed that sacred principle. And there are millions of Americans, tens of millions of Americans across the country, who will be grateful for him in that regard, and history will be grateful for the effort that Democrats and that one Republican and others across the country have undertaken.

COOPER: Is -- Congresswoman Garcia, is there anything, though, to stop the president from calling up Rudy Giuliani and saying, hey, you know what, open up an office a couple blocks from here, and then go back to Ukraine, get Zelensky to announce an investigation of the Bidens, let's go to China, let's see what they can do, let's have a tour, go -- just travel around Europe and the rest of the world and get investigations going?

Is there anything to stop him from doing that?

GARCIA: Well, according to his lawyers, he can do that and more, and that he can do anything he wants to do to get reelected, use our taxpayer dollars, as long as he thinks it's in the public interest.

I mean, I think it's a very outlandish, kind of Lone Ranger kind of view. But I...

COOPER: That was essentially the argument that Dershowitz made.

GARCIA: That was -- correct.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALAN DERSHOWITZ, TRUMP IMPEACHMENT DEFENSE TEAM MEMBER: And if a

president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GARCIA: And I think if he's got -- if he surrounding himself with people like, that are enabling him to do whatever he wants, he will do whatever he wants.

And that's the danger because it is about the impact it will have on our right as voters to have our say in the 2020 election.

And if he's seeking help from a foreign country, or more than one foreign country, any help from any foreign person that means he's interfering with my free right to have my say.

It diminishes my vote. It diminishes my role. And it's contrary to the Constitution and everything we believe in. It just sort of puts a dagger into the heart of our way of living and who we are as a country.

COOPER: Congresswoman, you were there during the Watergate -- Watergate hearings.

Is the Republican Party vastly different than it was back then, in terms of their willingness?

LOFGREN: Right.

COOPER: Because it was Republicans in the end who went to Nixon and said, look, this is -- you don't have my vote, Barry Goldwater and others.

LOFGREN: Well, you know, I remember Caldwell Butler, who was a Republican from rural Virginia, very conservative man, and a -- he was a huge fan of President Nixon.

And he ended up voting to impeach Nixon. But he said something -- this isn't an exact quote, but something to the effect that this is on us. This is on the Republicans to clean up.

And we never heard that in -- certainly, in the House. And -- but I think we did hear from Senator Romney a very principled statement that his oath counted more than his party.

And that was inspiring to me. Now, he's getting a lot of grief from the president about it.

But I think, when you do the right thing, when you honor your word, and you look at the facts in the end, you will never be troubled by doing that. And we didn't see enough of that this time.

But I have tremendous faith and confidence in our country. And I know that voters will be looking at a variety of factors this fall, but one of the things that people care about is our Constitution.

COOPER: But isn't it our Constitution -- isn't our system based on checks and balances...

LOFGREN: Yes, it is.

COOPER: ... and having a co-equal branch of government that's willing and able to push back on the president?

LOFGREN: It is. It is.

But there is a consequence that the voters themselves can deliver through this failure of the system itself to work this time.

NADLER: There is a -- I think there's a very fundamental difference between the Republican Party today and then.

In 1973-'74, during the Watergate thing, you had courageous individuals like Caldwell Butler and Larry Hogan who came out for the impeachment of the president, when most Republicans were vote -- were supporting the president.

But when that -- remember, the Supreme Court ordered that the tapes be revealed, and the smoking gun tape came out. As soon as the smoking gun tape came out and revealed certain facts, all the Republicans said, only -- if I had only known a week ago, I would have voted to convict the president.

And Barry Goldwater everybody went to the president and said: You're done. You haven't got a single vote.

What was revealed on that tape was piddling compared to what was absolutely proven now. And yet the bulk of the Republican Party now refused to act. They were perfectly prepared and -- to let this kind of unconstitutional theft of an election -- or attempted theft of an election go forward...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: You're saying what President Trump did is worse than what Nixon did?

NADLER: Oh, far worse.

COOPER: Congresswoman Demings, you have a career in law enforcement, police chief in Orlando.

You said that -- I'm paraphrasing you -- that we hold police recruits to a higher standard than this president is being held to.

Other than the physical requirement, what is the higher standard that a police recruit is held to than the president United States right now?

DEMINGS: Well, and let me say this. What has been most shocking to me during this experience, as a former law enforcement officer, is that, as a law enforcement officer, when we present a case with strong evidence, we expect a conviction.

There's no save myself or I believe in one person, and I'm going to follow him over the cliff, no matter if he's guilty or not.

The fact that the senators did just ignore the evidence, and then, when they thought there was an additional witness that might come in and testify or present evidence against the president, they refused to hear that witness.

Witnesses and evidence are the strength of a case. And so, when I think about young police recruits, as a police chief, when I hired them, one of the things that I wanted to make sure that they clearly understand was -- stood -- was that the culture of the agency had to remain aboveboard, that corruption could not reside in this place.

And we always expected them to be truthful, honest and treat people with dignity and respect. Think about those qualities.

[20:15:07]

The senators just protected a person who is not truthful, who is not honest, who tried to cheat, and makes fun of people who are disabled and people of color, and separates families.

A police recruit -- if a police recruit, a young police officer, new on the department, had done what the president did, he or she would have been fired.

COOPER: John Bolton. I'm wondering what you all think of the way John Bolton has handled this.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: You talked about witnesses.

John Bolton, I'm wondering what you all think of the way John Bolton has handled this, has handled his testimony.

SCHIFF: We reached -- we reached out to John Bolton through his counsel after the senators voted down his testimony to see whether he would be willing to submit an affidavit under oath that would still be valuable during the trial.

[20:20:06]

COOPER: Even if he wasn't coming to testify...

SCHIFF: Even if he wasn't going to come to testify.

COOPER: A sworn affidavit?

SCHIFF: A sworn affidavit. And he refused.

Now, he will have to explain at some point why he is willing to put this in a book, but not in after affidavit under oath.

COOPER: He is making paid speeches as well in which he drops sort of comments as well.

SCHIFF: Yes.

It is fairly inexplicable, but, frankly, it's more inexplicable that, when he was willing to come forward before the Senate, that the senators did not want to hear what he had to say.

And for those senators -- and there have been a few -- to say, we didn't need to hear from John Bolton because, basically, the House proved the president guilty, even without him, and we should let the voters decide, they could not explain why they don't want the voters to know the full facts.

COOPER: Did Bolton's attorneys explain to you why he would not even submit an affidavit?

SCHIFF: Not that I'm aware of, no, nor why he would distinguish between testimony in the House vs. the Senate.

COOPER: Was it a mistake not to subpoena him?

I -- he had indicated he would not respond to a subpoena.

SCHIFF: Here's the thing, Anderson. And the answer is no.

If we subpoenaed John Bolton, we would be in the same place with him nine months from now that we are with Don McGahn today, which is, we still wouldn't have a final court judgment.

And the other thing I'll say, is, had we done what the president would have you believe -- and it's a hard argument for them to make that the House should have gone to court, when they were in the court saying, the House is not allowed to come to court.

But, nonetheless, had we taken the year or two years to go to court to try to force this testimony, the senators, the Republican senators made it all to clear it wouldn't matter to them. They already believed the president guilty. We had proved already with the evidence we have today.

If we proved it a year-and-a-half from now with different evidence, there's no indication that would have made any difference.

But we would have had the risk of going forward with this election without the country knowing of the president's misconduct, without some effort being made to protect the integrity of our elections.

So, I feel very comfortable with the decision that we have made, and the fact that we were able to prove the case even without these additional witnesses, because the testimony we already had is pretty overwhelming.

COOPER: So, when John Bolton's book comes out, and it has whatever details it has in it, I mean, do you still want him to testify?

Do you still -- Chairman Nadler, Chairman Schiff, do you want to call him in to testify? Do you want to...

SCHIFF: We haven't made any decisions about that.

What we wanted to do was get through the trial, which just ended, and then make a decision about next steps. And we will have to weigh the need to validate and vindicate Congress' oversight power, on the one hand, with the continuing imperative that has always been our first priority, and that is doing the business of the American people and our policy agenda, making sure people have access to health care and good jobs.

And so we're going to have to make that balance.

COOPER: It was interesting to me. Mitt Romney asked a question of the attorneys during the trial, essentially, which was, do you remember -- what was the day that the president decided to withhold aid, and how was that transmitted?

The president's attorneys could not answer that question. And that's -- to me, that was -- it's extraordinary to think, just on a historical basis, we have no idea, really, of the day-to-day timeline.

I mean, you all did as best a job as you could of piecing together, and you were able to find out a lot of information.

But you -- they can't -- the president's own attorney cannot say, oh, yes, it was on June 3 that he decided.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHIFF: They would not say.

It's not necessarily that they could not say. They would not say.

We have to presume that the records we subpoenaed, which would show exactly that, they had possession of.

COOPER: Sure.

SCHIFF: They don't want the Congress to see them, and they don't want the country to see them. it doesn't mean that they haven't reviewed them .

COOPER: So, will those documents ever come out? Will...

NADLER: This is part of a larger problem, which was actually article two of the impeachment -- of the impeachment. Not only did they try to hide every evidence -- every piece of

evidence that might bear on the president's misconduct. The president sent that a general order that nobody from the executive branch should testify to Congress, nobody should answer any subpoena, nobody should give any information.

And he called it absolute immunity, which is nonsense.

Now, that means -- besides the fact that you're trying to cover up evidence of your own misconduct, it means that you're trying to make sure that Congress has no information about what the administration is doing.

Congress cannot function without information. It is our job, as a co- equal branch of government, to oversee what any administration is doing, to find out what they're doing in child care, or what they're doing in health policy or whatever, and to react to it, and to propose legislation to deal with it.

A refusal to allow Congress information is basically a declaration that: We're going to rule without Congress, and we're going to have a -- we're going to have an executive dictatorship.

[20:25:06]

COOPER: But stonewalling worked...

NADLER: And that's what they were...

COOPER: ... in this case, no?

NADLER: Stonewalling has worked.

And that is why we had the second article of impeachment to impeach him for abuse of power, by trying to eliminate, in effect, any congressional role by refusing all information was to Congress.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Sorry.

CROW: It won't work forever, though.

LOFGREN: Yes.

CROW: I think a couple of things are clear.

I took from Senator Romney's question, number one, that he was truly interested in getting to the facts. He asked legitimate questions about issues that he wanted to learn more about. He wasn't trying to make political statements.

And, you know, I honor the way in which he did that. The second thing is, is, the truth will come out, whether it comes out in Ambassador Bolton's books, e-mails down the road, you know, testimony by other people that were involved in this, or some future administration releases the record.

People will know. The Senate decided they didn't want to know the truth when it mattered the most, during this trial. But it will eventually come out.

COOPER: Is there a discussion of trying to go after the documents, subpoena the documents, and have it go through the courts?

And, I mean, it's not something that's in the public view. It doesn't take away from the candidates running for president on the campaign trail. They're not going to be asked about that all the time.

JEFFRIES: It seems to me that there's an ongoing discussion, as Adam said, of making sure that we, in the House majority , continue to do the business of the American people, focus on the lowering health care costs, enacting a real infrastructure plan, fixing our crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, mass transportation system, making life better for everyday Americans, as we have been doing from day one.

We passed over 400 bills; 275 of them are bipartisan in nature. Maybe the Senate will start doing something about the legislation that is sitting over there in a graveyard.

At the same time, we have this oversight responsibility as a separate and co-equal branch of government to continue to just follow the facts, apply the law, be guided by the Constitution, present the truth to the American people.

This is all unfolding in the context of a White House that has executed, as it relates to the Ukrainian shakedown scheme, a cold- blooded cover-up that was largely exposed.

But there still is information that they're withholding. And we will see what happens in that context.

But, as has been said repeatedly by the managers, the truth will all eventually come out.

COOPER: Was it a mistake not to charge bribery?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:32:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): I sent a question to the desk.

JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: The question from Senator Collins is for the House managers.

The House Judiciary Committee report accompanying the articles of impeachment asserted the president committed criminal bribery as defined in 18 USC Section 201 and Honest Services Fraud as defined in 18 USC Section 1346. But these offenses are not cited in the articles of impeachment.

Did the president's actions as alleged in the articles of impeachment constitute violations of these federal criminal laws? And if so, why were they not included in the articles?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Was it a mistake not to charge bribery, that there were a number of legal analysts who, you know -- it's easy to look at somebody else's case and say what you should have charged -- but who raised questions of why not actually charge bribery. That would have been an actual crime that can -- that would have satisfied some Republicans who said that there's no crime.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Well, the Republicans who said that there's no crime are in ignorance.

The -- bribery was charged in the facts stated in the charges. Abuse of power, which is what the -- what the first article of impeachment was, is the prime crime, not against the criminal code, but is the crime -- is a crime -- crime for which a president may be impeached. It is what the Framers meant by high -- high crimes and misdemeanors.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But, obviously, what the Republicans are --

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): I don't think it would have made a difference.

(CROSSTALK)

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): It would not have made a difference.

LOFGREN: Here's what they would have argued, whether it meets the code section. They would have said, what was -- you know, in the Founders' minds because --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: And that's the reason not to cite bribery, you're saying that --

LOFGREN: No. The reason not to cite is that we've always cited abuse of power. That's what high crimes and misdemeanors means if you read the notes from the Constitutional Convention. And then you cite the facts, in this case, it was bribery.

COOPER: Republicans are saying you're trying to have it both ways. That you're trying to --

LOFGREN: No, there's no difference than Nixon --

(CROSSTALK) COOPER: -- abuse of power and say bribery but not charge bribery.

LOFGREN: It's no different than Nixon and really any of the impeachment proceedings. It's high -- high crime and misdemeanor is abuse of power, and then there are elements that may or may not be a crime. In this case, there was probably the crime of bribery, but you don't cite that crime. That's -- that's been the pattern.

DEMINGS: And, Anderson, the Republicans continue to move the goalposts. My colleagues are absolutely correct. It would not have mattered.

Let's look at where we started. The call was perfect. We did nothing wrong.

LOFGREN: Yes.

DEMINGS: Then we moved from the call was perfect, we did nothing wrong, and there was certainly no quid pro quo.

Then it was, well, the House's procedure was screwed up, that they violated (ph) -- or they did not give us due process.

And then it was, oh, no, I did it. There was a quid pro quo. And so what?

[20:35:00]

Get over it. It doesn't rise to the level of impeachment.

And so, while we were trying to present a case that showed all of the facts to the American people, that was not the Republicans' goal. They came -- the president's counsel came with smoke and mirrors. They did not come with facts and the truth. They came with smoke and mirrors, to make you believe that we were the ones who had done something wrong and pay no attention to the glaring, overwhelming evidence of president's wrongdoing.

NADLER: The other key fact here, the key provision is that it has always been understood that crimes, on the one hand, and impeachable offenses, on the other hand, are different. You can have a crime that's not impeachable. You can have impeachable offense that's not a crime.

And the essence of an impeachable offense is abuse of power. Impeachment is not -- the impeachment clause in the Constitution is not there to punish crimes. That's why -- that's why you can't put someone in prison as a result of impeachment or fine him.

Impeachment was put there as a protection of the republic against the president who would aggrandize power, who would try to subvert the Constitution, subvert the role of Congress, subvert protections. And the Framers didn't mention specific crimes at all because you couldn't possibly anticipate what a president in the future might do, that a president might do what -- what this president did, or that the president might decide to conspire with Putin to give him back Alaska. Those are impeachable, but there's not crime.

COOPER: You all brought up Hunter Biden and Burisma. What was the thinking of bringing up Hunter Biden and Burisma?

DEMINGS: You know what?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:40:00]

COOPER: You all brought up Hunter Biden and Burisma. One of the arguments that Republicans made was, well, we didn't want to bring this up. We weren't going to bring this up.

Pam Bondi got up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAM BONDI, TRUMP DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We would prefer not to be talking about this. We would prefer not to be discussing this. But the House managers have placed this squarely at issue, so we must address it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: A, do you believe that argument?

LOFGREN: That's ridiculous.

COOPER: And, B, what was the thinking of bringing up Hunter Biden?

LOFGREN: You know what? The president tried to slime Joe Biden because he was afraid Joe Biden would beat him in the election, and the president's team used the impeachment trial to try and achieve that same goal. That's exactly what they did.

COOPER: Whether you had brought it up or not --

(CROSSTALK)

NADLER: We didn't bring -- we didn't bring it up. We didn't bring it up.

The factual charge on the Ukraine was that the president used -- tried to use state power. He withheld military aid that had been voted by Congress to the Ukraine in order to get the Ukrainian government to announce a bogus investigation of the Bidens because there were (ph) his political opponents. He was using state power for his personal and political benefit.

Now, that was terrible and impeachable because it -- for all the obvious reasons, that you're using state power in order to try to get -- to get foreign help to interfere and cheat in the next election.

OK. The Republicans brought up -- well, Hunter Biden did this with Burisma, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera -- completely irrelevant, completely irrelevant. What he did or didn't do had nothing to do with the question, which was, did the president subvert government power in order to help himself with his election by getting the Ukrainian government to slime his presumed opponent, Joe Biden?

REP. SYLVIA GARCIA (D-TX): It was just another distraction, just like some of the arguments that Ms. Demings brought up. I mean, it was another distraction. It was another distortion.

Hunter Biden was not on trial. The president of the United States was on trial.

COOPER: Does it damage Joe Biden as a candidate?

GARCIA: I personally don't think so. But, I -- again, he wasn't -- Vice President Biden was not on trial, neither was Hunter Biden. I think the public sees that it was totally irrelevant, and I don't think it's going to long-term. But I -- you know, frankly, have been busy with the trial. I haven't really followed politics and looked at it that closely.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): You mentioned, too, Anderson, is we never discussed this case in the context of how it would affect the 2020 election --

LOFGREN: Right, exactly.

SCHIFF: -- except that we wanted to protect the country against foreign interference. So --

COOPER: I think a lot of people watching would find that hard to believe that that wasn't at least part of it, the calculus in the discussion.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHIFF: That was not our calculus at all.

DEMINGS: Uh-uh.

SCHIFF: And, you know, our job was to fulfill our constitutional duty, to put forward the strongest case that we could, to inform the American people of the president's serious misconduct and let the chips fall where they may.

And we could certainly understand why commentators and others would speculate what's the impact of impeachment going to be, but that wasn't our job and it really shouldn't be a factor in our consideration. So, I still don't know what the impact is, and I guess we'll find out in the course of time.

But the more important thing from our point of view was that this is a president who the day after he felt he was exonerated by Bob Mueller was back on the phone seeking foreign interference again, that he was willing to sacrifice our national security, the integrity of our elections to get help in cheating the next election.

And we had to stand up to that conduct. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:48:42]

COOPER: Joni Ernst, Lamar Alexander have -- and others have indicated they think the president has learned a lesson. Do any of you believe that he would not try to do this again?

JEFFRIES: Yes, of course he hasn't learned a lesson, because, as we repeatedly pointed out throughout the trial, Donald Trump is a serial solicitor as it relates to trying to solicit foreign interference in our elections.

He solicited foreign interference from the Russians. He solicited foreign interference from the Chinese. At the heart of the scandal is that he tried to solicit foreign interference from the Ukrainians to pressure an American citizen, Joe Biden, to elevate his own personal political gain, as part of an effort to cheat in an upcoming election.

And absent any consequences, to the extent that he perceives the acquittal as an exoneration -- it's a fake exoneration -- but to the extent that the president perceives it as vindication of his bad behavior, his constitutional crime, his wrongdoing, then there's reason to believe that he will endeavor to do it again.

And...

DEMINGS: But that's -- yes.

JEFFRIES: ... one of our responsibilities moving forward is going to be, as the -- as the watch guards of that investigation, but we're also going to have to rely on the American people.

[20:50:05]

DEMINGS: The best indicator of future performance is to look at past performance.

GARCIA: Past performance.

DEMINGS: I call Donald Trump a habitual offender.

He was in Florida during the campaign when he said, Russia, if you're listening, and, obviously, they were.

And then the day after, as has been indicated -- the day after the special counsel testified on the Hill, the president's on the phone inviting another foreign power to interfere in our election.

And then, when he's caught, he goes to the microphone and doubles down and invites China and reminds Ukraine that, yes, you should investigate the Bidens.

We have no reason to believe that this president has learned anything. If he had, perhaps he would have began the State of the Union address the other night by apologizing to the American people, that did he -- what he did was wrong and he's regretful for it.

We haven't heard that. And we shouldn't expect to hear it.

COOPER: Do you think, if Mick Mulvaney, if Bolton, if Lev Parnas, if there had been witness testimony, do you think it would have made any difference with Republicans?

CROW: Well, I'm not -- I'm not a mind reader. And I have learned that my crystal ball is broken.

(LAUGHTER)

CROW: I'm not very good at predicting the future.

But amidst all of the legal discussion here, and the discussion about trial strategy, and whether we should have done more of this or less of that, I think it's important we don't lose sight of what is actually happening, what actually happened, and why I'm here.

My career in public service to the country started as a soldier. And I still remember -- every day when I wake up, I still remember what it felt like to be the lieutenant on the ground in Baghdad, and not have the support that me and my men needed, how lonely...

COOPER: You talked about that on the floor...

CROW: I did, yes, how lonely...

COOPER: ... about not having up-armored vehicles.

CROW: Yes, how lonely that felt and how we felt forgotten, right?

That distance between Washington, D.C., and Baghdad, those thousands of miles, some days felt like millions of miles.

And one of my goals here was to close that gap between the discussions we have in Washington and the politics and the legal debates and the political jockeying that happens here and the real world consequences downrange.

And the bottom line is that the president of the United States has shown us time and time again that he will always put his interests above the interests of the people that he serves and he has sworn an oath to defend.

And that's what this is about. we have 68,000 U.S. soldiers in Europe who stand ready to defend our partner Ukraine, and he was willing to withhold aid from that partner at war to benefit himself.

And people cannot forget that.

GARCIA: He's let us down too often. And I have no hope, that this time, it will get better.

And I just -- it's regretful that some senators can use words like, it was shameful, it was inappropriate, it was wrong, because it is, and he's done that in so many other times.

So's he let us down. And I think, while he was acquitted, he's not fully exonerated.

DEMINGS: And, Anderson, this president doesn't understand a soldier like Jason.

He doesn't understand a person who would leave their home, go and fight in a foreign land for our freedoms. He doesn't understand the police officer that would risk their lives to save a stranger.

He doesn't understand a firefighter that would run in a burning building to risk his life to save a family. He doesn't understand members of Congress who take our oath to heart.

I believe this president believes that every man and woman can be bought.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:57:07]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT: "Could you please respond to the answer just given by the president's counsel and provide any other comments the Senate would benefit from hearing before we adjourn for the evening?"

SCHIFF: Jerry. Jerry. Jerry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: There was a moment -- yes, as you know, the president was clearly watching all this very carefully.

There was a moment when, Chairman Schiff, you were -- Chairman Nadler, you were getting up to speak.

Chairman Schiff, you said, "Jerry, Jerry."

The president said that you guys were fighting big-time.

Were you fighting big-time?

SCHIFF: Well, no.

But the president loves to sow division, not just in a -- I think a vain effort to sow division among managers, but he loves to sow division in the country. He loves to pit people against each other.

COOPER: What happened in that moment? SCHIFF: Well, we tried to choreograph our questions, so that each of

us would have a different subject matter, and each of us would know when we would go up to the mic.

LOFGREN: We didn't have the questions in advance.

SCHIFF: We couldn't do it -- we couldn't do it perfectly. We couldn't do it perfectly, because some questions were repeats, and some were sort of in the midst between two.

I don't think Jerry knew that was going to be the last question of the evening. And so we had our signals crossed.

But I think, frankly, we were pretty flawless in terms of arranging for members to be able to respond to those questions in real time.

COOPER: Because that was the belief, that you knew it was the last, and you wanted to have the last...

NADLER: No.

COOPER: There's a lot of people who look at this and watch this and are depressed by the results.

There's a lot of people, obviously, in the country who are thrilled by the results as well.

To the people who are saddened, depressed, demoralized by the results of this and by what they have seen, what do you say to them? I mean, you have been living and breathing this now for years, but very intensely the last -- the last few months.

What do you say to people who -- that say, look, I mean, all the headlines today are, the president's been acquitted? Those who believe he's guilty say he got away with it.

SCHIFF: Well, I would say, we have been through far greater difficulty in our history.

We're going to get through this chapter, the sooner, the better. And the actions that we take today, including impeaching the president and trying him, I think, will have the effect of slowing that momentum of the country away from democracy, until we return to our bearings and once again we have an occupant in the Oval Office who has integrity.

You never fully realize how important character is in the president, until you find you have one without it.

But I -- I'm optimistic about the country's future. And we will get through this.

LOFGREN: I would just add, the impeachment is behind us.

Now -- my late father used to say: Don't agonize. Organize.

We have an election this November. And the people themselves can impeach the president for this behavior.

COOPER: Thank you for your time. Appreciate it.

(CROSSTALK)

NADLER: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: That was the first time since the trial ended that the House managers got together to discuss their prosecution of the case against President Trump.

That's it for us. Thanks for watching.