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Whitmer: I'm Concerned for Fellow Governors' Safety; Calls Grow For Trump's Removal After Capitol Riot. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired January 7, 2021 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A Republican response. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy talks to our Walter Isaacson. Also, ahead --
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: What happened today in Washington D.C. is not American.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): How does America changed in the eyes of the world? Frank discussion about the ecosystem that spawns
this dangerous alternative reality.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The world looks on in horror, America's allies expressing shock and disgust at the storming of the U.S. Capitol by American insurrectionists or as many
according them homegrown terrorists. Four people died. The seat of American democracy was trashed. Police were vastly outnumbered and unprepared. This
is an assault on democracy that will reverberate around the world.
And today, President-elect Biden said that it wasn't entirely predictable outcome of the Trump agenda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: They wish we could say we couldn't see it coming. But that isn't true. We could see it coming. The
past four years we've had a president who's made his contempt for our democracy, our Constitution, the rule of law clear and everything he has
done, he unleashed an all-out assault on our institutions of our democracy from the outset, and yesterday was about the combination of that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Lawmakers returned to Congress and certified the election of Joe Biden in the wee hours of this morning, clearing the way for his
inauguration in 13 days, but for many 13 days more of President Trump is too much of a risk. Several members of Congress say that he should be
removed from office immediately, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger. He is calling for the 25th
Amendment to be invoked to quote, end this nightmare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R-IL): All indications are that the President has become unmoored not just from his duty, or even his own but from reality
itself. It is for this reason that I call for the Vice President, members of the Cabinet to ensure the next few weeks are safe for the American
people, and that we have a sane captain of the ship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Several Trump staffers have resigned, including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and his one stalwart defender, the former Attorney
General William Barr said the Trump has betrayed his office.
We turn to the governor of the state of Michigan for reaction. Democrat Gretchen Whitmer has been the target of lawless Trump's supporting mobs.
And she joined me from the state capitol in Lansing.
Governor Whitmer welcome back to the program. I just wanted to ask you because you seem to be perfectly placed to address what's happening.
Obviously, last October, the FBI foiled a plot to kidnap you by, you know, lone wolf, right-wing extremists. And many months ago, in the spring, when
you tried to do the right thing about COVID your own state capitol was breached, people with weapons got in. How surprised were you then about
what happened at the United States Capitol?
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): I appreciate the question Christiane. To be honest, I've heard people saying they can't believe this happened in our
Nation's Capital. And yet, eight months ago, that is exactly what happened in Lansing, Michigan at our Capitol, made people with long guns automatic
rifles, Confederate flags, showing up and storming our Capitol with the intention of intimidating lawmakers. It played out on the national news and
yet, in my calls to the White House to the Vice President directly to Republican leaders here on the ground in Michigan, as let's bring down the
heat, the death threats started back then. And they culminated in a plot to kidnap and murder me and yet, we know that this current administration has
reaped the rewards of it and they have now reaped what they've sown for 10 months of hate and vitriol and it's sad. It's heartbreaking. And I think
hopefully people of goodwill will now rise to this moment.
AMANPOUR: You know, Governor, this is obviously reverberated around the world and leaders and other observers all over the world are weighing in
with the same kind of words that you're using sad, shocking, you know, disgraceful, appalling, unbelievable. Why do you think the Capitol was not
properly protected? Do you think it was -- I mean, I don't even want to say deliberate but where were the police? We saw this breach happen with only
the thinnest of blue lines.
AMANPOUR: I don't know. I was stunned by that. And yet I know that when the President wanted his photo op in front of a church, they had all the forces
in the world to push back peaceful protesters and use rubber bullets. And they had that on a moment's notice. And yet, this played out over the
course of hours. It was stunning. There were some truly heroic law enforcement officials that were there. I've listened and talked to and
checked in with a lot of our congressional delegation I know how tense and frightening the moments were inside the Capitol yesterday. But I think
you're asking a very important question where, what, who was in charge and who made those calls, I saw the mayor of D.C., come out with an action plan
today and call for accountability. And she's doing the best she can. But ultimately, these federal properties, I think, are within another's
jurisdiction. And we need to know who that was and why people were not protected, because they certainly had notice.
AMANPOUR: So, you know, you talk about the heroic cops who tried to do their job. And there's this tragic picture that's gone around since last
night, obviously, of one lone black officer, trying to hold off the mob and being essentially chased up the stairs. And it took a long time before he
got any reinforcements. And then you say you've checked in with your own congressional delegation? Well, Representative Elissa Slotkin reports that
she was there when it was all happening, of course, and she called the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. And then we hear that the acting defense
secretary put out a statement saying last night that he had conferred with the Vice President with the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, with the
Majority Leader McConnell and Schumer, the now majority leader to activate the National Guard. He didn't mention the president. What do you take from
that? Are they deliberately sidelining him at that point? Did the President actively work against securing the capital of the United States?
WHITMER: Well, let's be very clear. President Trump has encouraged egged on defended the people that have participated in what we saw play out last
night in Washington, D.C., but also the people who have, you know, invaded our Capitol here in Lansing who ultimately were charged and applied to
kidnap and murder me. And even in the midst of all of that, it continued through the campaign through his rallies, defending and egging on this
behavior. My father has a saying, that if you plant potatoes, you get potatoes. And it's just a simpler way of saying you reap what you sow. And
he has sown the seeds of division and hate and violence in our country for four years. Now, we are seeing the horrific impact that that truly has had.
Whether you're the victim of it or not, every one of us has a duty to stand up to this domestic terrorism and call it what it is. We remain in the
midst of the worst public health crisis that any of us has seen in our lifetimes. Over 360,000 Americans have died over 13,000 or up to 13,000
today's date have died here in Michigan. And yet we have a White House that isn't spending every ounce of energy moving vaccines out. We have Pfizer
who's got a place here in Michigan, their freezer farm, they got 55 million vaccines waiting to be shipped. We need the federal government to be
focused on helping Americans not sowing the seeds of division and hate.
AMANPOUR: Wow, that is really hard to hear as well, that everybody's so desperate for a vaccine and you can't get those 55 million doses out in
good time. We hope that you will be able to.
I want to ask you something else, because obviously you also had an issue where you had to close the statehouse again in Lansing today. But I want to
ask you this because this has been asked a lot by people who watch the scenes yesterday, they saw a overwhelmingly white mob, mostly from out of
state according to police who've already made dozens of arrests. They say all but one of the rests so far from out of staters, not D.C. residents.
And we've heard for many people questioning if this had been a black lives matter protest, if they had dared to breach the Capitol, the response would
have been thousands of times different. This is what Senator Cory Booker has said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): Our democracy is wounded, and I saw it when I saw pictures of yet another insurgency of a flag of another group of Americans
who tried to challenge our nation. I saw the flag of the Confederacy there. What will we do? How will we confront this shame?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So that's one issue, Governor and then from New York congressman Mondaire Jones tweeted, I'll just say it. If today's domestic terrorists
were black, they would have never been allowed to storm the Capitol. Talk to us about that.
WHITMER: Well, I think that those are very raw and very honest assessments. I think we only have to flip back a few months and look at footage of how
peaceful protesters around the righteous cause of racial justice and equity in America, how they were treated, in front of a place where Donald Trump
wanted to have a photo op, in front of a church. We all saw that footage play out and how people were treated, how people were pushed to the ground
or shot out with rubber bullets. And not only was there not a sufficient presence of law enforcement yesterday, but it was incredible how long this
group of domestic terrorists were able to occupy the Capitol, were able to get into the Speaker of the Houses' office.
It was stunning to see those pictures play out and to see that heroic man who African-American man who was trying to do his job to keep the people
who are attempting a coup at bay, but he was alone, he had no backup and no support. And I do think that there's a undeniable difference and how these
events have been handled. And I think that Senator Booker is making an important point that I hope people are paying attention to because it's
AMANPOUR: And certainly, people all over the world have been paying attention to this fact, which is why I wanted to bring it up. Not to
mention, of course, the African American community in the United States. But let me ask you about accountability. You're a former lawyer, you know,
all the facts about that area of justice? Should the President be brought to account held to the standard of justice, that his own words potentially
lead to and can be considered a seditious and be a direct incitement to insurrection? Let me just play this particular piece, where he was speaking
as the Vice President was gaveling, this routine organization to table the certification of the electoral results. The President outside the White
House was addressing his own supporters in a very different fashion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: You were going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue. And we're going to the
Capitol, and we're going to try and give you -- the Democrats are hopeless and never voted for anything. Not even one vote. But 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Governor, we've heard what Adam Kinzinger has said Republican congressmen that it's time to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove this
president based on his incompetence at leadership. Again, you know about the rule of law, you've practiced it. Where do you -- what do you think
should happen and could happen? And are you afraid that if the President is not somehow defined in the next several, in the next couple of weeks before
the inauguration, something potentially even worse might happen?
WHITMER: Well, first of all, I do believe in the rule of law, and no one is above the law. This President has shown time and time again, that he is not
up to the challenge of being the President of the United States, the failed rollout of testing and getting PPE, getting their arms around COVID, to the
inciting of violence, to, you know, ramping this up and whipping people into a frenzy and encouraging them to take matters into their own hands and
cheering them on to an inability to stop. I think the mayhem that played out yesterday, I don't think he ever was really interested in stopping it.
I don't know I can't get into his head.
And frankly, I don't have time to try. I have a job to do as governor to try to do everything I can to protect the people of my state. I don't have
a vote. I'm not a part of the cabinet when it comes to the 25th Amendment or a part of Congress when it comes to impeachment. But I certainly think
that the elements could be there. But I'm going to stay focused and not weigh in on all of those things, because I'm spending all my energy trying
to get vaccines in the arms of Michiganders and keep them safe.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you a slightly different question then. Several of the President's people have resigned in the wake of what happened yesterday
from Deputy National Security to various other officials. Nonetheless, several and we're going to put up the graphic to show did actually go back
in when the session was reconvened and continued their protest of the Electoral College results. These people actually saw what happened to their
own seat of power and democracy and nonetheless went in to challenge based on complete and utter allegations that have never been proven, in fact,
have been decisively disproved, and continue this charade.
So, my question to you is, how does the country move on off to January 20th?
WHITMER: While I do think that there should be repercussions, frankly, that was the case after the Civil War. And I think that that should be the case
now, a senator going into try to disenfranchise a state's voters, without a scintilla of proof is anti-Democratic, and it is seditious. And I think
that there should be repercussions from that.
I know that as a nation, this has been a tough time, there's no question everyone is hurting. The burden has been harder for many than others. But
every one of us has suffered under this lack of leadership from the White House in the midst of this worse global pandemic and the accompanying
recession because of their inability to get their arms around it. We have much work to do. Lives are on the line, the foundation of our democracy
held, but it was tenuous. And I think that reminds every one of us, people of goodwill on both sides of the aisle that comes before any one of us
individually, or any one of our parties. That is the most important we should always remember. We are Americans first and our oath is to the
Constitution of the United States. Not to ourselves, not to a political party.
AMANPOUR: And Governor, do you feel safe? You know, you said our democracy held but it was tenuous. The violence, the incitement the conspiracy
theories is still out there. Too many people believe what President Trump has been peddling. Do you feel safe?
WHITMER: I do. I'm very fortunate. I've got this Michigan State Police is in charge of my security. And I've never not felt safe even when there were
plots to do the worst imaginable. But I have checked in with a lot of my fellow governors, I know that we have seen this happen in states all across
the country where people are showing up at Governor's homes, showing up at state capitals looking to incite violence and potentially do damage. And I
think that it's really a moment where I'm fortunate that I feel safe. But I am concerned about my colleagues, I'm concerned about my nation. And I'm
going to do everything I can to help us navigate out of this moment to a stronger, more optimistic place of opportunity, because that's what this
country was founded on. And I really believe that's what's at stake here. And we've got our work cut out for us. But we are up to this challenge.
AMANPOUR: Indeed, is good to hear you hope and believe that that might change in the moment. We still remain in some grave and mortal danger until
the inauguration. Governor Gretchen Whitmer, thank you so much for joining me from Michigan.
WHITMER: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And to the Governor's point that so much is at stake. As you mentioned earlier, the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined the call for
President Trump's immediate removal from office. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): And calling for this seditious act, President has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation and our people. I joined the
Senate Democratic leader and calling on the Vice President to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th Amendment. If the Vice President
and cabinet do not add, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So how on earth did the mob actually stormed the Capitol and what was it like to be there? British correspondent Robert Moore followed them
into the building. And here's his report from yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: USA, USA, USA, USA, USA --
ROBERT MOORE, ITV NEWS WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For four years we have witnessed turmoil in America, but nothing quite like this.
The Pro-Trump crowd fought with the police, trying to break through their lines, intoxicated but the unlikely prospect of reversing America's
election outcome. We watched as a standoff continue for at least (INAUDIBLE). Tear gas canisters with foreign from the very stage on which
Joe Biden will be inaugurated. With a Capitol Hill police officers this was a losing battle.
(on camera): This is exactly what was fed. But in no way is this a surprise it has been fueled by the President's rhetoric. And it's increasingly clear
this election has not healed the wounds. It is simply, we fight them.
(voice-over): We follow the aggrieved and infuriated Trump supporters as they stormed the building. Through broken windows and doors, they had
forced open. For a few heady moments, they felt they had won the precious victory.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: USA, USA, USA, USA, USA.
MOORE (voice-over): We're now in the very heart of the Congressional building.
(on camera): What's the purpose of storming Congress itself?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because they work for us. They don't get to steal it from us. They don't get to tell us we didn't see what we saw.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We respect the law. We were good people. The government did this to us. We were normal, good, law abiding citizens. And you guys
did this to us. We want our country back. We are protesting for our freedom right now. That's the difference.
MOORE: What's the purpose of storming Congress?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How I know that?
MOORE (voice-over): They reached and enter the Speaker's office itself. Although Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers had already been evacuated to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. There you go brother.
MOORE (voice-over): As we filmed, protesters tore down Pelosi nameplate.
(on camera): And so, here we are right now inside the halls of Congress. This is exactly one so many anticipated and yet the Capitol Hill police are
doing their best but failing to control the situation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all know that they changed the rules mid game, and they're not being held accountable. And that's a shame on
MOORE (on camera): What's your message to the Capitol Hill police and the lawmakers here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our country. This is our House. That's it. This is our House. This is country, this is our country.
AMANPOUR: This is a picture of a mob been driven mad by alternative reality. In other words, lies that they've been told it is actually
chilling, very chilling to see it again. And if you're wondering whether they really know what they're doing, listen to what they said again to
Robert Moore when he asked them why they were storming. What was the purpose? The guy said how the hell do I know. And look at this picture?
This is a congressperson terrified. Susan Wild huddling under a seat in the chambers all this was going on.
Now, the Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana was also in the Capitol yesterday. Of course, he has stood up against his colleagues
efforts to block the routine certification of Joe Biden's election as President, and he's been speaking to our Walter Isaacson about what
happened when Trump's radical mob, including white supremacists, anarchists and anti-Semites stormed the citadel of American democracy.
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (on camera): Thank you, Christiane and Senator Bill Cassidy. Welcome to the show.
SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): And Walter, thanks for having me.
ISAACSON (on camera): That was a quite a night last night. Tell me what happened when the interruption happened. Where were you? Where did you go?
CASSIDY: Yes, so I'm sitting in the Senate chamber. I'm listening to James Lankford, the Senator from Oklahoma. And you look down, you just kind of
look down, I'm taking notes. I just like to take notes. And all of a sudden Romney walks past me very quickly muttering something and just obviously
upset heading for the cloakroom. And I look up, and Pence is gone. And, you know, how a scene changes, but it seems like it changes too quickly. I look
up and like Pence is gone. And then I hear somebody say they breached the Capitol, and the shots been fired. And everybody begins to rust. And some
folks begin to evacuate. The sergeant-of-arms goes up there and says there are protesters in the Capitol. They have breached security. Everybody sits
Well, you know, you don't really sit down, you look for something to swing in case somebody comes at you. But still, people were, you know, bang. They
bring it all the staffers who are outside of the chamber for security purposes, and the press gallery. If you've ever seen Mr. Smith goes to
Washington, does a press gallery just directly above the Dyess and he turns around and says bolt that door and the dress goes up and bolts the door.
They say stay away from the doors, which tells me that they think there's guns and that they may shoot through the doors.
Now, we don't know anything at this point. And the sergeant-of-arms says that. At some point it becomes clear that the force of the protesters is
overwhelming the Capitol Police and they take us out of the chamber.
As I leave, I look down the hallway and I see protesters down the hallway police between us. As I go further down, there's a glass door, and they've
moved a big piece of furniture in front of it to barricade the door. And there's an officer, it looks as if he's been injured. And you walk along,
and you just get angrier and angrier. This is what happens in a third world country, is not what happens in the United States of America, where
according to our Constitution, we do something, and people disrupted to keep it from happening. We came safely. Obviously, there was a show of
force. But Walter and this was a tragedy for America.
ISAACSON (on camera): President Donald Trump sort of incited it that morning by saying going down, we're going to go down the Capitol, we're
going to be strong. Do you think he's largely to blame for this?
CASSIDY: We will review of what happened. But clearly the president encouraging activities, testing out that it would be wild on January the
6th. Brought some folks with expectations that this is what was OK to happen. And that's why I tweeted asking the President to ask all the
protesters to go home. With no qualification, no kind of justification, no, any sort of any sort of anything except go home. This is wrong, is
criminal. Because the President can speak to those folks as no others with. And so yes, the President has a role in this. And that role will be
thoroughly kind of figured out.
ISAACSON (on camera): You call them protests. But yesterday you said it was sedition.
CASSIDY: It was sedition, at least there's some there who are just wonderful people who are exercising their First Amendment right, because
there are thousands there. But those that broke into the Capitol and spoke a revolution. That is the definition of sedition. Disrupting a
constitutionally ordered process is sedition, tearing up U.S. taxpayer property, vandalizing putting a person in a position where she got shot and
she died. There's a lot of criminal charges there and I hope every one of them, every one of them is fully enforced.
ISAACSON (on camera): Do you think it was somewhat doped by some of the senators who decided that they were going to do this unprecedented act of
trying to object to the Electoral College vote?
CASSIDY: Unfortunately, the objections were not unprecedented. They've been previously done. Barbara Boxer, for example, a liberal senator from
California, had done that to protest George W. Bush's victory in the year 2000. In fact, every Republican president since 2000 has had his election
protested over if not by both chambers, at least by one.
ISAACSON (on camera): But wasn't this something different in the sense that it was intentionally provoked in order to overturn the election rather than
just make a protest?
CASSIDY: So clearly, we couldn't overturn the election. That was always kind of the subterfuge or lie, if you will, that was involved in this. The
election was never going to be overturned, if only because Democrats control the House of Representatives. So, if you read what the senators on
-- what the senator said, it was not about overturning it was about an audit. There is a distinction there. Now, we can have different opinions.
But frankly, that's a separate issue. The separate -- hat should not be used to justify the assault that took place in the Capitol. It was
constitutionally allowed those senators to raise a protest.
As I've mentioned, the precedent was in modern times was established in the year 2000 by Barbara Boxer. I still think it's regrettable. I voted no, I
made clear the -- before I was going to vote no, because there was an expectation created that we could overturn the election, and that was not
going to happen. So, it is their constitutional right to do it. There is a modern-day precedent to do it. I think given circumstances, it would have
been wiser not to, but it was their right to do so.
ISAACSON (on camera): Should we change the process somehow?
CASSIDY: No. We should expect people to take the responsibility of great freedoms as understanding that with that comes the responsibility to
exercise those freedoms appropriately. Our countries always give them the benefit of the doubt to freedom up at our best we do. But when those
freedoms are abused, you put it risk the ability to exercise those freedoms for many others.
So, I would say that we don't have to change the process, we have to, as Americans, that within ourselves and accept we have great freedoms within
that comes great responsibility to use those freedoms appropriately.
ISAACSON: Given President Trump's behavior of inciting this mob that went down to the capitol and what he did with the Georgia secretary of state,
are you worried about what could happen in the next 13 days? I mean, are we safe?
CASSIDY: I think the president should be worried. And know I'm just -- this is not Bill Cassidy. This is Bill Cassidy reporting what other people
say. Well, you know, others say. Oh, we can't impeach, because we don't have enough time. You're thinking of impeaching a guy with only two weeks
left. That Vice President Pence should get eight cabinet members and invoke the 25th Amendment.
So, the fact that people are actively discussing this I think should be a warning to the president. Frankly, I think he's taking that warning. The
headline I read this morning was that he is going to accept a peaceful transition of power. That is actually contrite note. But I do think that
there are people on both parties who are very concerned, so concerned about what happened that there are realistic conversations about what I just
ISAACSON: Tell me more about those conversations.
CASSIDY: I can't say I'm a party to them, I'm just hearing them spoken of, so I can't give you more detail than that, but there is a concern. Whenever
protesters break into a Nation's Capital and attempt to disrupt a constitutional process and speak of revolution, again, it's something that
you would see in a Banana Republic. It is not something we are supposed to see in the United States capitol. And to that purpose, these conversations
were held, to make sure this does not happen in the next two weeks.
Again, I think that is a warning to the president as to the seriousness as to how this is being viewed.
ISAACSON: The statement this morning was not sent directly by President Trump but was sent in his name. We've seen the president change his mind,
let's say. So, is there any contingency in your mind if later today, tomorrow, the next day, he gets back on Twitter or some other place and
starts encouraging people to come down and -- to the capitol again?
CASSIDY: Well, practically speaking, if he does that, Twitter will take him off. It's four strikes and you're out, from what I read. If it happens,
he'll be permanently banned from Twitter. So, just practically speaking.
But as I mentioned, there are people who are so concerned about this, about this assault upon our democratic institutions, that they are encouraging
Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which is so regrettable. The president had a legacy of an incredible economy that brought record low
unemployment for people who have been dispossessed, a prosperity that had not been seen among African Americans, Hispanics, the disabled, the high
school dropouts. We really reversed a lot of trends with a great economy, and I could go down the list of accomplishments.
As a physician, I like the fact that now hospitals have to publish their prices, drug prices are lower. That could have been the legacy.
Unfortunately, the first page in Wikipedia will be about this.
ISAACSON: Do you think that the president bears some responsibility for what happened yesterday? And in your own mind, should that be a reason to
think about invoking the 25th Amendment?
CASSIDY: Chaplain Barry Black gave a prayer at the end of the joint session in which he speaks about how words can uplift, or words can hurt.
Now, I'm kind of paraphrasing because I'm getting a little -- you know, there have been some hours that have transpired, but words can uplift, or
words can hurt or words can incite.
So, to the degree that someone with an incredibly powerful voice, who has done a lot of good, so he's got a lot of people invested in what he says,
pushes an idea that clearly, clearly can have an effect. Clearly did have an effect. Now -- but you asked the second part of that question, which is
whether or not that would be grounds for the 25th Amendment. Again, under our constitution, that would be the vice president and the eight cabinet
secretaries that would agree to that, that would make that determination. I really think it depends upon what happens over the next two weeks.
ISAACSON: But in your mind, is that a discussion they should be having and we all should be having now?
CASSIDY: Events reveal themselves. The president, as we mentioned earlier, this morning said that he conceded the election and that he would agree to
a peaceful transition. If Pence and the eight cabinet secretaries are speaking among themselves, I frankly can imagine that, and I think the
president could imagine that. Whether or not it's happening, I suspect the president understands that it can be happening. So, I think we'll see the
president's behavior tempered in light of that understanding.
ISAACSON: And if not?
CASSIDY: Well, if it's not tempered, we'll see if it really is taking place, whether Pence is actually talking to these folks and whether or not
they would exercise the 25th Amendment.
ISAACSON: This week there was a somewhat surprising results in Georgia, in which two Democrats were elected to the Senate, which makes it a 50-50
Senate. Do you think that Trump's behavior and his way of reacting to the election helped cause the defeat of the Republican candidates in Georgia?
CASSIDY: I'm told the polling data shows that when Josh Hawley began his - - a senator from Missouri -- began to make an issue of the election results and the president began to speak to it, that the poll results began to
worsen for Republicans.
So again, I'm a physician. I prefer data as opposed to opinions. So, the best thing we have in terms of data is that when Hawley raised this and the
president kind of reinforced it, our numbers began to go down. And you can see that turnout in traditional Democratic areas really popped, and turnout
in traditional Republican areas began to decrease. That's why we lost. And only lost by a small percent of the vote. So, it's easy to imagine that,
indeed, both Hawley and the president's statements contributed to the defeat of the Republicans.
ISAACSON: What do you say to our Louisiana colleagues, Steve Scalise, John Kennedy, who were central to the efforts of trying to overturn the
election, and you know, in some ways, provoke what happened yesterday? What do you say to other people in the Louisiana delegation?
CASSIDY: First, I'm not going to accept that they necessarily provoked. I think I mentioned earlier, I think it's a separate issue that senators and
representatives using a constitutional right could be used as an excuse for people who broke into the capitol. And I also don't pretend to speak for
You know, I'm old enough, got enough gray hair, that I've learned that unless it's egregious, you don't really know what's going on in someone's
mind with their rationale. All I can do is speak for myself. And when I saw the dozens and dozens of lawsuits alleging impropriety have been thrown out
by over 90 judges, many of whom were appointed by Donald Trump, and all of whom found absolutely no basis for the lawsuits, that told me that if I
believe in courts of law and rule of law, then there was not a case to be made. I can't speak for them. I can only speak for myself.
ISAACSON: But what would you say to Steve Scalise and John Kennedy now?
CASSIDY: Well, I respect them greatly. I have no doubt that they have processed this, and they have some way in which they are addressing the
situation. But, Walter, again, I'm not -- two people who I have as much respect of as those two, I can't pretend to give advice that would be
better than that which they come to on their own. Again, I can just speak for myself.
ISAACSON: With the Senate now very closely divided, Democrats having a small edge in controlling the Senate, do you think that people like
yourself, who have worked with Democrats as well as Republicans, put together coalitions, and even did so on the electoral challenge, came
together with Democrats and Republicans to say this challenge is a bad idea, will be able to form a coalition that helps control the Senate in a
more sensible way?
CASSIDY: It had better. We've got Social Security and Medicare going bankrupt. Medicare in four years. I'm a doctor. All the patients who depend
upon Medicare and the trust fund will go bankrupt in four years. We've got to preserve those benefits for those who want it, strengthen it for those
who are going to be. And that's going to take both parties coming together.
I mean, by the way, Democrats control everything now. So, they can't pass things through the Senate easily without Republican support. But
nonetheless, they control everything. So, if I wanted to get conservative ideas in that I think make it better for the patient and better for
Medicare's trust fund and better for our country, then I, by golly, better work with somebody, because otherwise, I have no voice.
ISAACSON: Senator Bill Cassidy, thank you so much for joining us.
CASSIDY: Thank you, Walter.
AMANPOUR: And just a note, an important one, on the transition. A source says that a source in the vice president's office has told CNN that Mike
Pence does, in fact, plan to attend the inauguration of President Joe Biden. That's the plan, we're told.
Now, all these images are circulating around the world, and it is not a good look for American democracy. Some of the United States' closest
friends put the blame squarely on President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): I deeply regret that President Trump has not conceded his defeat since November, and again
yesterday. Doubts about the election outcome were stoked and created the atmosphere that made the events of last night possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Joining me now to discuss the global fallout is Sir Kim Darroch, he is the former British ambassador to the United States during the Trump
era. And Marietje Schaake, she is a former Dutch member of the European parliament who specializes in the press and the alternative reality in the
cyber universe, and she's now with Stanford University's Cyber Policy Center.
Welcome, both, to the program. You've listened to all that's gone on. You've obviously been, like everybody, riveted to all the live pictures,
certainly from last night.
Can I ask you first, Sir Kim, you know, your ambassadorship came to a rapid and sticky end, perhaps because of some of the very frank conversations you
had with your government about President Trump's state of mind. It does sound very prescient. I just want to read what you said. A scene from here.
We really don't believe that this administration is going to become substantially more normal, less dysfunctional, less unpredictable. You said
that, for a man who's risen to the highest office on the planet, President Trump radiates insecurity. There's no filter. We could be at the beginning
of a downward spiral, rather than just a roller coaster, something that could emerge that leads to disgrace and downfall. That was in 2017. What do
you -- did that come back to you as you were looking at what happened?
KIM DARROCH, FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Absolutely, it did, Christiane. Absolutely, it did. And you know, I did 40-odd years in the
British service and I spent a lot of time writing judgments or predictions about how things would turn out. And I have to say, I felt at the time
pretty secure, back in early 2017, with that judgment. And as I watched these awful events unfold yesterday evening, and through today, it's been
media bulletins for 24 hours now, I thought to myself, that really wasn't about a set of cause.
AMANPOUR: So, I'm going to ask you a little bit about how it is going to be played out, but let me quickly turn to Marietje Schaake for her
reaction. You're sitting there in Europe. We've heard from Angela Merkel, in fact, we've heard from just about every leader imaginable around the
world in the last 24 hours. I'm just stunned by what happened. Just tell us what you're hearing, what you're feeling from the reaction in Europe right
MARIETJE SCHAAKE, INTERNATIONAL POLICY DIRECTOR, SANDFORD UNIVERSITY'S CYBER POLICY CENTER: Well, I think what was displayed yesterday, the
riots, the violence, the attack on American democracy, was the planned and also predicted result of drumming the drums of hatred ever louder. And I
think people in the democratic world have watched this unfolding over the past four years with great concern for the transatlantic relation seen from
the European point of view, but more broadly, from the democratic world. This has really harmed democracy.
But of course, in nondemocratic countries, leaders may have been gleeful, may have been amused at the erosion of trust and the erosion of
participation in the democratic process, feeling like America would not be able to call leaders out when they were repressing their own populations.
What I think has been missing, though, in America, and I really hope that this will be a turning point, is what Americans can learn from the hard-
fought battles for democracy and how easily it can be lost in other parts of the world. Certainly, these movements and populist developments are
happening all over the world, and it is not the first time that we see that if you do not protect and defend democracy at home and in the rest of the
world, that it can slip away much faster than anyone would have feared.
AMANPOUR: And Ambassador Darroch, it is actually the first time since the Brits stormed the U.S. capitol in 1814 that this capitol has been stormed.
So, what -- by Americans, this time. What is your opinion as to what this means for America's moral standing on the issue of democracy? I mean, I'll
just read, you from, from Charles Santiago, who is a parliamentarian for human rights in Malaysia, the U.S. has lost its moral authority to preach
democracy and human rights to other countries.
Do you agree or do you think this is a blip?
DARROCH: Christiane, you've covered uprisings and demonstrations and the storming of parliamentary buildings and presidents' palaces around the
world. So, when I watched that last night, the scenes seemed familiar, but then it's quite unconscionable that they should be happening in America.
And I do think that it is a huge blow to America's reputation. Those clips will have been seen everywhere, and they will have astonished and shocked
everyone who saw them, because of where they took place. And I don't think it's irreparable, but I think it will take a while, maybe quite a long
while, before America's reputation as a beacon of democracy, as the shining city on the hill, is restored.
AMANPOUR: I mean, you probably all saw President-Elect Biden. I mean, he came out with yet another pretty magnificent speech, rides rising to the
occasion and speaking precisely about how America must uphold not just democracy, but the rule of law. It seems like -- I mean, he's really set to
try to reverse all the damage that these four years have done. Ambassador Darroch, do you think he'll be able to?
DARROCH: You know that I -- I mean, if I am frank with you, Christiane, President Biden, when he was Candidate Biden, wasn't always, how should I
put this, absolutely brilliant in every one of the early debates.
I do think that since he won the election, through the transition, when there have been some challenging moments for him, none more so than last
night, he has been absolutely pitch perfect. I think you're absolutely right that he got it magnificently right last night.
I think with his reputation as a moderate Democrat, his reputation for working across the aisle, with his personality, with his connection with
people sometimes called blue collar America, if anyone can heal, then he is as well placed as any politician in America to do it. But I do think it's a
huge, huge challenge, and I think it will probably take longer than one term. You may need to see one more electoral cycle go through with a
peaceful, straightforward, you know, election outcome and transition of power or, you know, a second term for president Biden or whatever, before
people think, yes, America and democracy is properly restored and what we expect of it.
AMANPOUR: Marietje, can I ask you, because you've looked into the press aspect, the alternative universe. You are, as I said, working at the
Stanford University Cyber Policy Research Center. You know, all the reports say that this -- you know, this storming of the capitol had been broadcast
long and widely online, probably in some of the dark corners of the internet. But nonetheless, it wasn't a secret to anybody. And some of
these, many of them, are known agitators and rioters and disrupters, known to the police, known because they're public.
Tell me about that creation, the ecosystem that has fed what we saw yesterday, the culmination of, you know, four years of the Trump fake news
SCHAAKE: Well, what we really saw happening yesterday is how this bottom- up movement fueled by conspiracies, fueled by a mistrust in government, putting all their hopes in President Trump as the major disruptor, was met
with the narrative from the top. The president, himself, was sharing conspiracies, himself was undermining the trust in democratic process. He,
as the executive, was responsible for. That is really unprecedented.
So, I think at this point, it's really hard to discern exactly whether the conspiracy theorists were influencing President Trump or whether President
Trump was influencing the conspiracy theorists. However, it may be, this online environment did, indeed, create an ever-stronger platform with calls
for hatred, with calls for violence, with deep polarizations and the dehumanizing of other Americans. And I think that, indeed, the riots
yesterday or the eruption into violence in one way or another was predictable. Many people have warned against it, particularly people from
I think one very remarkable fact yesterday was the lack of preparation of the police compared to the over preparedness and very, very massive numbers
of police officers, for example, when it came to Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
SCHAAKE: So, the question is really, you know, what can we learn going forward about how conspiracies, online disinformation, the fanning of
hatred, bleeds from an online world where some people may have seen it as a parallel universe, but where it was very much part of the real world and is
used to organize, to mobilize and leads to real-life actions.
And so, I think that the platforms who are now, you know, at the 11th-plus hour, taking all kinds of decisions, like banning the president and his
questioning of the electoral process, should lead to much, much more. Regulators, democratic lawmakers, should look themselves in the mirror and
ask themselves, how come we've outsourced the online information ecosystem and our democratic debate to advertising platforms without transparency,
without accountability, and without independent oversight?
AMANPOUR: So, do you think, Marietje, that what Facebook, Instagram, I mean, it's all owned by the same company, and some of the other platforms
which have said they will suspend President Trump's accounts until after the inauguration, when he will be a normal civilian -- do you think that's
going to work? I mean, is it going to be significant enough, given that that is how he communicates?
SCHAAKE: Well, frankly, most of the damage has been done. It's been four years of building the stage, dressing up the stage, creating a megaphone,
making it louder, connecting the groups of far-right activists and allowing conspiracies to go viral, money being made against these hateful messages,
and then, suddenly, it's like, oh, we're going to close the shop of this president as he is on his way out. It is too little, too late, and it is
also worrying that it's constantly an incident response where the only real driver of change seems to be fear for reputational damage.
And what I think needs to happen now is for democratic lawmakers to look at what the parameters of a free and public debate should be, not to allow
commercial companies in opaque ways to collect data to micro target voters and to actually profit off the erosion of democracy. We need much more
independent, fundamental research done into what is happening under the hood of these companies, and we need more profound, impactful enforcement
by independent regulators to make sure that democracy is put first and not the profit models and these libertarian companies that are after their own
benefit and not so much the public interest.
AMANPOUR: Right. And we've certainly seen that play out over the last four years. I just wanted to mention, we have lost our technological connection
with Ambassador Darroch, sadly. But I want to ask you because you mentioned it that, you know, some of the adversaries of the United States, certainly
not its allies, have been watching this unfold with barely concealed glee.
We know that in Russia, the state broadcasters and others have been playing it, you know, 24/7. We know that the same in Iran, in Venezuela. Nicolas
Maduro, who's gone on, you know, a great rant about, you know, the merits of democracy and how it should be played out. I mean, for the irony level,
let's just absorb it.
What -- you know, what are you worried about, certainly as a former MEP, about countries like Russia, which has shown its desire to, you know,
destroy western institutions? What could this mean for them, for that plan?
SCHAAKE: Well, anyone who wishes to see American democracy less credible, less powerful, will be happy to see the fertile grounds of polarization in
the United States. And I think that there are real lessons in humility for all Americans.
What I hope, though, is that the events yesterday, and we can see the signs of that, are leading to a moment of truth, particularly among members of
the Republican Party who have cheered on their president because of tax cuts and other superficial benefits in the short-term at the expense of
democracy. A president that was attacking the press and journalists, attacking minorities and polarizing the nation.
So, what I hope, and we've seen this before, is that the real can-do mentality of Americans will be fueled and that people will stand up to
defend everyone's democracy, because it is clear what people stand to lose after yesterday. It is unmistakable. And hopefully, it will lead to
constructive engagement to heal these deep, deep wounds.
AMANPOUR: That is absolutely right. It has put it all into very, very sharp relief.
Marietje Schaake, thank you very much. Former member of the European Parliament.
And that's it for now. Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to "The Lead." I'm Jake Tapper.
And we begin this hour with breaking news. The violent insurrection incited by President Trump and his team, a deadly domestic terror attack on the
U.S. capitol that left dead bodies in its wake. It's now prompting bipartisan calls for the removal of President Trump from office. The attack
committed by a violent mob of President Trump supporters after he encouraged them to "walk down Pennsylvania avenue and take back our
country." That is what this group of domestic terrorists attempted to do.