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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Live Coverage of Speeches by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Pat Toomey (D-PA); Live Coverage as Pro-Trump Supporters Approach and Enter Capitol Building; Live Footage as Protesters Enter Statuary Hall. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired January 6, 2021 - 14:00   ET

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


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): What we do hear is more important than who we are.

Senators, what matters is not our futures, not our own short-term destinies. What matters is our democracy's destiny. Because I think many of us know that people will not know who we are a hundreds years from now or 200 years from now. But what they will know is this: They will know what we did today, how we voted today. And that is more important than who we are. It's a republic, if we can keep it.

Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Majority Leader?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I yield up to five minutes to the senator from Pennsylvania, Senator Toomey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator from Pennsylvania.

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA): Thank you, Mr. President.

And I intend, later, to address the specifics of Pennsylvania if and when an objection is raised with regard to Pennsylvania. For now, I want to address my remarks to what I think is the fundamental question being posed by the objectors, and that is, does Congress have the constitutional authority to decide which states' Electoral College votes should be counted and which should not based on how well we think they ran their elections?

This is what the objectors are really asking us to do, to federalize elections by rejecting Electoral College votes from states whose processes they say they disapprove of, and thereby having Congress select the president of the United States instead of the American people.

The answer, Mr. President, is no, there is no such authority under the Constitution. The Constitution assigns to the states the responsibility to conduct elections: It's clear in Article II, Section One. It leaves courts with the responsibility to adjudicate disputes, and it assigns to Congress the ministerial function of counting ballots, except for extreme circumstances such as when a state sends competing slates of electors to Congress.

Which brings me to the 1877 precedent. Some objectors claim to merely want a commission to conduct an audit, then let states decide whether to send different electors. Well, first, the situations are not at all analogous. In 1877, Congress had before it two slates of electors from several states. Here, there are no Trump electors from swing states, there's just Biden electors.

Second, legislatures from the swing states, they've already spoken, they've made their decision, they've chosen not to send us alternative electors. Third: A commission, really? It's completely impractical and we all know it, with 14 days to go before a constitutionally mandated inauguration.

But look at it this way, if the objectors are right and it really is Congress' job to sit in judgment on the worthiness of the states' electoral processes, then what's the criteria for acceptable election processes? What investigations have been conducted of these processes? What body has deemed that certain states' processes are unacceptable? What opportunities were these states given to challenge the findings?

Why are the objectors objecting only to swing states that President Trump lost? What about the ones he won? I don't know, North Carolina, what about California, they have ballot harvesting, I'm told. If this is all supposed to be Congress' job, you'd think we'd have answers to these questions and procedures in place because we would have done this every four years, right? But we don't because it's not our job.

If we adopt this new precedent, that we sit in judgment of states' processes, then we're federalizing the election law. We would necessarily have to establish the permissible criteria and rules for the states' elections. The ballot harvesting example, it's illegal in some states, it's encouraged in others. Does it become mandatory or forbidden depending on who's in control of Congress?

And as the leader pointed out, it would be the end of the Electoral College. And the Electoral College is the mechanism by which the people select the president. But if Congress gets to decide which states get to vote in the Electoral College, then clearly Congress is selecting the president, not the people.

Whichever party controls both houses of Congress would control the presidency, the public would never tolerate Congress picking the presidents instead of themselves. So they'd abolish the Electoral College, as many of our colleagues would like to do. And the end of the Electoral College, of course, means the nation will be governed by a handful of big blue states and regions that can drum up very large numbers.

Mr. President, the Constitution does not assign to Congress the responsibility to judge the worthiness of state election processes, nor its adherence to its rules. That's the responsibility of the states and the courts.

Let me conclude with this: I voted for President Trump, I publicly endorsed President Trump, I campaigned for President Trump. I did not want Joe Biden to win this election. But there's something more important to me than having my preferred candidate sworn in as the next president, and that's to have the American people's chosen candidate sworn in as the next president.

A fundamental, defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of the people to elect their own leaders. It's now our duty, it's our responsibility to ensure that that right is respected in this election, and preserved for future elections. I urge you, vote against this objection.

(CROSSTALK)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right, we're going to continue to monitor this but I want to go up to Manu Raju up on Capitol Hill right now. Manu, I understand protesters are -- they're getting assertive? What's the latest right now?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's a tense situation outside with protesters, many of whom were listening to President Trump's speech from this morning near the White House, and they marched down to Capitol Hill, right outside the Capitol.

There are scores of protesters outside this building right now, and we have been told by Capitol Police that the Capitol is in lockdown, and that people cannot leave the building. Our colleague Ted Barrett just tried to leave the Capitol building; the officers have said the building's in lockdown. He and others, we've been ordered to stay in our offices so we cannot leave the building.

Now, we have been told that there have been -- some of the protesters have breached the security perimeter. There are barricades around the building, and some protesters apparently have breached that perimeter, which has led to this escalating situation with police.

Now, this comes in the aftermath of the Cannon Office Building, which is on the House side of the Capitol, on the southeast of the Capitol, which has just been evacuated. Staff members and people who are working in that building were asked to leave the building, go into the tunnels between the two office buildings in the House side.

Also the James Madison Building, which is part of the Library of Congress, was also asked to be evacuated.

Now, the Capitol Police was investigating what they considered a suspicious package in the Cannon Building, that has now been cleared. So people, staff members and the like can return to their offices in the Cannon Building.

But that -- the United States Capitol Building, which of course is where you're seeing the debate happening in the Senate right now and also on the House side, the building itself is in lockdown so reporters, staff members and others are not allowed to leave the building at the moment because of what is considered to be a pretty tense situation with supporters, many Trump supporters who are protesting what is happening here in the building. BLITZER: These are basically all pro-Trump supporters who have

gathered in these huge numbers, walking over from the area near the White House up to Capitol Hill. And we see these huge crowds up there, that's what we're talking about, right?

RAJU: Yes, that's what it is. When -- you know, just looking outside the building, I can see scores and scores of protesters on the lawn of the Capitol. And the police have been prepared for this, they have been prepared for many days.

There usually are barricades around the Capitol, but there have been more barricades to extend the perimeter around this building, given that many lawmakers come and they park their cars in the lot just outside the Capitol grounds. But they had extended that perimeter.

But it appears, according to what we have been told, that some of these protesters have breached that perimeter that's led to back-and- forth, a tense situation with the police.

Now, we're still trying to gather more information about what exactly is going on. But at the moment, Wolf, amid this very tense, bitter and divisive debate on Capitol Hill, a tense situation outside leading to an unusual situation here in the Capitol, where people like ourselves have been told we can't leave because this building is in lockdown for safety.

BLITZER: Because, Manu, I see we've got this huge crowd right in front of where the inauguration on January 20th is going to be taking place, they've gathered very, very close -- you can see the construction for the inauguration of Joe Biden as president of the United States, Kamala Harris as vice president of the United States.

But right in front, where normally there would be a big crowd waiting to watch, they've gathered, mostly not wearing masks, no social distancing, they're just moving closer and closer to Capitol Hill.

RAJU: Yes, and it's actually on both sides of the Capitol. You're looking at the west front of the Capitol, but there's also on the east front of the Capitol, which is really the cause of concern for the police officers because that is typically the side in which House members, senators and others who work in this building enter from, from the east side of the Capitol.

And that's where the barricades have been placed to essentially push these demonstrators towards the grassy area in between the Capitol and the Supreme Court building, but that area on the east side of the Capitol is the one that is a cause of concern.

And those -- the buildings that have been evacuated early on the southeast side of the Capitol, which is the House office buildings where members of Congress and members of the House, their staff work, where they work, that had initially been the source of concern.

But there appear to be multiple concerns here as this protest, this demonstration outside gets more and more tense as Capitol Police officers taking precautions and telling people in the building, in the Capitol building, don't leave because of the concerns about the security here.

[14:10:10]

BLITZER: We know U.S. Capitol Police there, in charge over there. But the D.C. mayor, Muriel Bowser, she did ask the D.C. National Guard to be activated in anticipation potentially of some violence emerging yesterday and today, for that matter. Do you see members of the D.C. National Guard up on Capitol Hill right now?

RAJU: I don't see them, Wolf, because I'm inside the building. I've seen many, many Capitol Police; it's very possible there are D.C. National Guard, others helping with the situation outside. But you know, this is a building that is heavily fortified. Initially there are lots of police officers at every exit and every door. There are more today because of the expectation of this huge rally.

And let's not forget that President Trump has repeatedly promoted this rally, said January 6th, I will see you there. He's told his supporters that this is the opportunity to overturn the election, when we know that is simply not going to happen, simply there's just too many people who oppose taking such an unprecedented action to defy the Constitution and essentially have Congress hand him the victory here.

But he has told his supporters something else, that this is a time where they can win. And he's revved them up and many of them are outside, they're angry, they want Congress to act and it's not going the way that they expect.

So we expect this to play out all day today, we'll see how long the demonstrations last, if it goes through the day to the night because we expect the proceedings on Capitol Hill to go up until the early morning hours. We'll see if the demonstrations last that long as well.

BLITZER: I notice that the Republican leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, just issued a statement calling on the protesters to engage in peaceful demonstrations. Clearly there's a lot of concern, not just from the Democratic leadership but the Republican leadership as well.

RAJU: Yes, no question about it. Because a lot -- these House members, it's their office buildings where a lot of them gather, where their staff work, where their staff are right now and are concerned about their safety, that's where a lot of the demonstration is at the moment.

They're -- as I said, on the east side of the Capitol, the southeast side of the Capitol, that's where the House buildings are, and we're seeing a lot of protesters gather around there. So Kevin McCarthy, making that statement. It will be important also for the president also to urge his protesters, his demonstrators to engage in civil discourse outside.

So uncertain what will happen, Wolf, but clearly Capitol Police recognize how serious of a situation this is, and doing everything they can to keep things tense and peaceful.

BLITZER: You've covered Capitol Hill, Manu, for a long time. How unusual is this, what we're seeing unfold right now?

RAJU: It's pretty unusual. Now, we have seen many, many protests over the years. Some get more tense than others, some get violent. But typically not like this, I've not, from my time covering this building, I really can only remember maybe once or twice being in lockdown, in a situation like this. And I've been covering Capitol Hill for almost 20 years now.

So it's -- it's been a -- it's very rare to be told you can't leave the building, so that's unusual. But, you know, it's unclear exactly what is happening outside that has prompted this other than the fact that we do -- we have heard that some protesters have breached the perimeter, we're not certain what else beyond that at the moment.

But to be told not to leave is unusual, it just shows the precautions that everybody has taken given that all 535 members of Congress are inside, the vice president of the United States is inside and other staff members and others here during this critical moment in which Joe Biden's victory will be official.

BLITZER: All right, I want to bring in our chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, right now. The president spoke just a little while ago, he seemed to be encouraging these protesters to get out there on the streets and make their voices heard.

Now, peaceful protesting is good, but if there's violence, not good -- Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, that's absolutely right, Wolf. And this is what the president said just a short time ago, during those remarks down on the National Mall, when he was talking about how he wanted to overturn the results of the election.

He said, "We're going to try and give our Republicans -- the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help. We're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country -- so let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue."

The president indicated a couple of times during his remarks earlier today that he was going to go down to the Capitol. We've been sort of waved off of that by the White House, but at this point, Wolf, we have not heard anything from President Trump telling these protesters to stand back and stand by -- to use a phrase he used during those presidential debates when talking about the Proud Boys.

Wolf, this is a president who has been egging on his supporters for weeks now. We heard him earlier today, down on The Ellipse, by the White House, by the National Mall, once again saying that these results from the election should be thrown out, that Mike Pence, his vice president, should be a part of that kind of attempted coup up on Capitol Hill --

[14:15:04]

(CROSSTALK) ACOSTA: -- the vice president has said he's not going to do that, Wolf. And it's worth reminding people, we were here on June 1st when there were protests outside the grounds of the White House, when the Trump administration used tear gas on public protesters to bring calm to that situation --

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Jim, hold on for one moment --

(CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA: -- over there so the president could have that photo op; none of that is happening --

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: -- Jim --

ACOSTA: -- not doing that kind of thing today.

BLITZER: Alexander Marquardt is there, right in the middle of all of this, he's joining us on the phone right now. So, Alex, explain what you're seeing and what you're hearing. How worried are the folks where you are?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, they're not worried. In fact, Wolf, they are certainly energized. We're on the western side of the Capitol, right where the inauguration is going to take place in two weeks.

And there's been a significant escalation in just the last few moments. The protesters had been relatively peaceful and held at bay by a police line. In the last few minutes, they have broken through that police line. I am watching, as we speak, throngs of protesters climbing the steps on the western side of the Capitol. They have reached up onto the terrace of the Capitol.

I can see at least half a dozen protesters scaling -- literally climbing -- the walls of the Capitol to get up to where their fellow protesters are. In response, the police have fired tear gas. We've had several rounds of tear gas that have had protesters choking and their eyes streaming.

Wolf, it is hard to say what the police presence is out here. I cannot see any sort of law enforcement. Right now, everything I'm seeing is protesters getting onto the grounds of the Capitol with very little push-back from law enforcement -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, and we anticipated something like this could happen, that's why the mayor of Washington, D.C. asked that the D.C. National Guard be activated. But what I hear you saying, Alex, is you don't see Capitol Police, you don't see military, National Guard on the scene right now but you see a lot of protesters going through, breaching Capitol Hill steps, getting to areas where it -- clearly they're breaking the law. Do they understand they potentially could be arrested, sent to jail for what they're doing?

MARQUARDT (via telephone): I assume they certainly do, but that they don't care at all. There had been --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: House will be in order.

MARQUARDT (via telephone): -- including what I imagine to be Park Police up there, they are no longer here. There are different movements, it seems, within this group of protesters. There had been some who wanted to protest peacefully, who were asking others to leave this side of the Capitol to go to another side to carry out a peaceful protest.

But in just the past few moments, there has been a lot of momentum within this protest, with people calling for their fellow protesters and activists to essentially storm the Capitol, to get up those steps. And right now, Wolf, what I'm looking at are scores of protesters up on the terrace of the Capitol, where this inauguration is going to take place, holding all sorts of flags: Trump flags, American flags, Don't Tread on Me flags.

The people I'm looking at here appear to feel like they do have the upper hand, and I am not seeing any sort of sign of law enforcement right now from where I am -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, that's not good at all. Stand by, Phil Mattingly is up on Capitol Hill.

You're watching what's going on, Phil, you've covered Capitol Hill for a long time. What are you seeing?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, Wolf, I think what's -- let's start from the basics of what the Capitol Police were trying to going into this day, what they do for most big events. They set up a security perimeter of fences, about 100, 150 feet away from the actual building itself. The general public is not allowed in there, you're not allowed through there unless you have a pass.

Those barricades have been completely busted through at this point, there's thousands of people now that have gone through those barricades. the Capitol Police, based on where I am across the street, watching this transpire. The Capitol Police have basically backed off, closer into the building to try and circle a perimeter of the Capitol building itself.

The bigger issue right now, it would appear, is the number of protesters -- and they are clearly in the hundreds -- who have now climbed up the steps of the Capitol building. This is an area that the general public is never allowed on, even in normal days, certainly not a day like today, so they've essentially overtaken the front of the Capitol.

And not just hundreds of people having climbed onto the Capitol building and up the steps of the Capitol building itself -- the center steps of the Capitol -- but also thousands of more on the ground, waiting there.

So the word we've gotten right now is essentially, from Capitol Police, the Capitol building itself is shut down, it's locked down, nobody's leaving the building. But I think the bigger question right now is this is an overwhelming number of people for the Capitol Police and for what they're prepared for.

And, Wolf, you know this as well as anybody, there's been no shortage of huge events and very large protests in Washington, D.C. that come around the Capitol, that are near the Capitol, that are focused on the Capitol.

[14:20:04]

And I've just simply never seen anything like this, not just the breaching of the barricade but the actual climbing onto the Capitol building in the pavilion itself. They are not physically inside the building, but they are standing right at the doors from the center steps to get into the building right now.

So obviously a lot of concern internally between Capitol Police, between staff around here in terms of what's going to happen next and what the actual goals are -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, I've covered a lot of huge, huge demonstrations in Washington, D.C., especially around Capitol Hill. I haven't seen anything like this.

So, John King, you've covered a lot of these as well. This is pretty dangerous, when you see these protesters going through a barricade, getting inside this area. And you've got the vice president of the United States, you've got the leadership in the House and the Senate, they're debating these articles right now, and all of a sudden we see this going on.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a scary scene, plain and simple, it is a scary scene. And every American has the right to protest even if what they're protesting is a fantasy -- meaning that the president of the United States won the election; he did not.

But as Phil was noting and Manu was noting, the president of the United States, A, encouraged these protesters, and at one point said he might go with them. He has said that before and not actually shown up for the demonstrations.

But, Wolf, there's a line. It's not a fine line, there's a clear line between activism and anarchy. They are on federal property, the United States Congress is meeting inside those doors. They have every right to be around the grounds and to demonstrate and to make their voices heard, but scaling the stairs, going past the barricades? You're right, they are now trespassing.

And, to Phil's point, the Capitol Police, there are simply not enough of them. They do not anticipate moments like this, they would have help from the metropolitan police, from federal authorities for big events like the Inauguration at the Capitol, for the State of the Union at the Capitol. Clearly, they did not anticipate this materializing at the scale it is right now.

And so what have they done? They have -- the Capitol Police have pulled back and essentially, you know, battened the hatches there and -- to protect the members of Congress inside.

it's quite remarkable, if you think about the power center of the United States government that is inside that building: the vice president of the United States, the speaker of the House, the future vice president of the United States, the House of Representatives, the United States Senate, all inside there.

And, again, these are supporters of the president, he lost the election, they have every right to be mad and upset about that but they do not have the right to trespass on federal property and to have threats.

Now, there's often conflicting information in situations like this, but Congresswoman Elaine Luria of Virginia, a Democrat, tweeted a short time ago, "I just had to evacuate my office because of a pipe bomb reported outside."

Supporters of the president are trying to force their way into the Capitol, and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots. Now, again, I want to be clear, when you have a chaotic situation like this, there's often conflicting information about what actually happened. We'll explore whether there are such threats. But clearly, members of Congress are among those who feel unsafe right now.

BLITZER: All right, let's go to Manu Raju right now, he's getting more information. Manu, what are you learning?

RAJU: Now, we have been told and we have been -- there have been spotted protesters are inside the Capitol building. There are scores of protesters, we're told, I'm not sure exactly how many but there have been witnessed -- they're outside the Senate, off -- just off the Senate floor of the second floor of the Capitol.

Now, there was just an alert that just went out to all congressional staff as well as everybody in the Capitol building, urging people to move inside their office or nearest office, take -- telling them to take emergency equipment with them, stay away from external doors and windows.

It says if you're in a public space, find a place to hide or seek cover, remain quiet, silence electronics. It said once you're in a safe location, make sure you tell your superiors about that. It said no one will be permitted to enter or exit the Capitol building until directed by the U.S. Capitol Police. This alert also says if you are in a building outside of the affected area, remain clear of the police activity and await further direction.

Wolf, this is something I have never seen in my time covering Capitol Hill, that protesters have actually breached not just the building, but have come inside the building. And just steps from where U.S. senators have been debating on the Senate floor.

From the pictures that we're seeing, that there are actually protesters just off the Senate floor, on the second floor of the United States Capitol so clearly --

BLITZER: Yes, all right --

RAJU: -- police are trying to get a hold of the situation.

BLITZER: -- hold on a second, Manu, because I know Brian Todd is with -- at this area where we see police now showing up. What are you seeing, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Right, Wolf, you just saw a large number of police officers, as you see on the steps there, they have now taken the steps where some protesters are on these steps that you're seeing.

And I'm going to have our photojournalist -- Christine (ph), pan over there. All right, we just heard a concussive blast come from there. We've been hearing flash bangs every few minutes for the last hour, both on this side -- this is the east side of the Capitol, and on the west side of the Capitol.

On the west side, it's also very, very tense because we saw people there climbing up on risers that were built for the inauguration, and breaching police lines there.

[14:25:00]

You can clearly see where they breached the police line here, they got all the way up the steps, they got to the balcony up there, but police have just come from the Independence Avenue side behind us here, and have started to enter the plaza.

Now, the question is, how long are they going to let these people stay up there and do what they're doing? You know, it is an incredible scene, this. I heard you and Manu and John talking about, we've never seen anything like this before, we've never seen a breach where protesters have gotten that close to the building.

And I can tell you on the west side of the Capitol, Wolf, it was very, very tense as well. The crowd is bigger on the west side because they were able to kind of receive people in (ph) that open space there from The Ellipse. And -- but there were a lot of concussive blasts, a lot of flash bangs, a lot of tension there and lines were breached there as well.

So the real question, as we see this kind of tension boiling here, is, you know, are there going to be massive police reinforcements coming? And how long they're going to let this go on -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, it looks really dangerous, especially if -- Manu, if you're still there. You said some of these protesters actually got inside Capitol Hill? Normally you have to go through metal detectors, police are examining you. Did they just rush through and do we know if these individuals are armed?

RAJU: Good question, Wolf, uncertain about that. But the fact that they got in suggests they did not go through the security. Remember, this building has been closed off to visitors since the pandemic begins, so only people who have credentials like reporters, staff members and people who work in the Capitol building and the members of Congress themselves, they're the only ones who are allowed in this building.

The fact that we have many protesters who are now inside the building suggests that they breached the security that the police officers that are guarding the exits, somehow they got in -- defy -- got past the security, the magnetometers that inspect whether people are bringing, you know, firearms or other weapons inside the building.

So somehow they got into the building. And from the pictures that we have seen, Wolf, they are in the Senate, they are on the second floor of the Senate. This is exactly where the Senate debate was just happening, just steps --

BLITZER: Yes.

RAJU: -- from that, Wolf. And we're told also that the Capitol Police have instructed the lawmakers themselves, the whole building is in lockdown, to stay where they are. So both chambers are now in recess, they have paused this certification of the electoral votes, they are sitting int heir chambers as the situation -- unprecedented situation -- escalates.

Protesters, inside the building, somehow have gotten in, creating a very tense and scary situation in which staff members, others have been told to go into their offices, stay in their offices, lock their doors because they don't know who's in the building, what they have, whether people have weapons. Because of concerns that this is going to escalate even further out of control -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, this is -- looking at inside, look at this, these protesters are inside Statuary Hall, right now, you see the statues. This is a moment I never saw in my life, these individuals just rushed through security, they are inside Statuary Hall.

This is a legendary -- a legendary place where all of us who have covered Capitol Hill, it's hard to believe what we're seeing right there, they're just walking through. Where are Capitol Police? It's a strange, it's an awful situation. They're having a good time in Statuary Hall.

Jake Tapper, I don't know about you, but this is an incredibly dangerous situation that's unfolding here in the United States.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It's stunning, Wolf, it's absolutely stunning and it's quite frankly dangerous. President Trump could stop this with one tweet, but instead he's on Twitter attacking Vice President Pence for refusing to go along with his attempt at a coup, at a bloodless coup -- we hope it stays bloodless. And you have protesters accosting senators, you have people, members

of Congress, being evacuated because of bomb threats, you have protesters right outside the Senate chamber. It is a very potentially dangerous situation. I've been in Washington for decades now, I've never seen anything like this.

And, again, President Trump, if he wanted to -- and there is really no reason to think he wants to -- he could stop this, he could stop it with one tweet and he will not because, frankly, he likes this.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: As -- by not -- by not discouraging what we are seeing, the president is encouraging what we are seeing. Just as he has in a much more overt way, over and over and over again, with his tweets, completely irresponsible. And this is the result of that.

[14:29:53]

Unfortunately, as unusual and as terrifying and as surprising as what we are seeing is going on, in a lot of ways, it is one of the least surprising things.