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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Historic Day, The First Day Of A Twice Impeached President's Second Trial; Bruce Caster Put On A Shambolic Display That Angered His Client; Denver Riggleman And Charlie Dent Talk About The Impeachment Trial And The Capitol Riots; Six Republicans Joined The Democrats To Approve The Proceedings Move Ahead. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired February 10, 2021 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RON BROWNSTEIN, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Portion of that 20 or 25 percent pull away from the GOP because they think it is tolerating and coddling extremism.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Then they've got trouble.
BROWNSTEIN: That is (inaudible) result.
CUOMO: All right, I got to jump. Ron Brownstein, thank you for bearing with me. Thank all of you for bearing with me on this historic night. The news continues on CNN.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, at the end of a historic day in Washington, the first day of a twice impeached President second trial, that's never happened before. The first trial of a former President and the first at a crime scene where five people were killed and many more suffered terrible injuries.
Today where Democracy was tested, like it hasn't been since the Civil War, the man behind it all went on trial. A proceeding the former President's defense team tried to get dismissed on constitutional grounds with the support of all but six Republicans. The Democratic House manager successfully made their case to continue in part by sighting Conservative legal scholars who agreed with them.
They got help from a fumbling, stumbling, inept performance by one of the defense attorneys. The Democrat's presentation began though with a documentary style video that will no doubt have an impact beyond today. A moment by moment timeline of the insurrection seemingly chronological.
Here's a portion of it, with a warning first, it is not easy to watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: This is what the defense is asking Senators to put behind them barely a month after that happened. Now whether they choose to or not; lead impeachment manager, Congressman Jamie Raskin wasn't about to let anyone off the hook. He made this legal and political moment intensely personal. His youngest daughter, Tabitha, and son-in-law, Hank; the husband of Raskin's oldest daughter were at the capital last month.
Here's his account of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D), MD: My Chief of Staff, Julie Tagen, was with Tabitha and Hank locked and barricaded in that office. The kids hiding under the desk, placing what they thought were their final texts and whispered phone calls to say their good-byes. They thought they were going to die.
My son-in-law had never even been to the Capitol before. And when they were finally rescued, over an hour later by Capitol officers and we were together I hugged them and I apologized and told my daughter, Tabitha, who's 24 and a brilliant Algebra teacher, in (ph) Teach for America, now I told her how sorry I was and I promised her that it would not be like this again the next time she came back to the Capitol with me. And you know what she said? She said, dad, I don't want to come back to the Capitol.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: This was followed by the former President's two defense attorneys. The first of whom, Bruce Castor put on a shambolic display that sources tell us angered his client. Appalled even a number of Republican Senators and did not impress the likes of Conservative Attorney George Conway, who spoke with us earlier tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: It's a really extraordinary thing. I mean this man is supposedly and probably worth a couple billion dollars. He's a Former President of the United States and this - this is - this is the best he can do in terms of lawyering. These guys were terrible.
In 30-years, I practiced law for 30-years, I've seen good lawyering and I've seen bad lawyering. I have never seen such an extreme just (ph) of position of good lawyering and bad lawyering in one proceeding at one time. And these guys were just absolutely awful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In the end though all that bad lawyering combined with the Democrats well honed presentation managed to sway only one unexpected Republican Senator in today's vote to continue the trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R), LA: President Trump's team were disorganized, they did everything they could but to talk about the question at-hand. And when they talked about it they kind of glided over it almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments.
Now I'm an impartial juror and one side is doing a great job and the other side is doing a terrible job on the issue at-hand. As an impartial juror I'm going to vote for the side that did the good job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So starting us off tonight, CNN's Political Commentator and Former Obama Senior Advisor, Van Jones; also CNN's Senior Political Analyst and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers and CNN Legal Analyst Elliot Williams, who served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General during the Obama administration.
So, Van, the first day of the second impeachment of the former President, what stood out to you?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Just you know the power of words. You know Donald Trump's words fueled a horrific attack - if anybody has not watched the video, please watch the whole video. It needs to be shown every year on the anniversary just to remind people what happened.
But then - other words are coming through. Jamie Raskin did an extraordinary job. Amanda Gorman, the young poet, did an extraordinary job, words that are truth telling but trying to bring us together and pull us to higher ground. But the power of video, the power of story telling, the power of words for good or ill was on full display today.
COOPER: And Kirsten, you know we started the day not knowing if any Senate Republicans would change their minds. We just know that Senator Bill Cassidy, to his credit, did just that saying that the impeachment managers did the better job today, which I think is clear to anybody who watched.
Does it give you any hope that there are more swayable Senators out there for the rest of the trial?
KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMIST: You know based on the last four years I have to say no. Prior to that I might have (ph) had that kind of hope. But I think you will just find yourself usually disappointed when you expect the Republicans to focus on facts and what's put in front of them over what is best for them in terms of basically kowtowing to Donald Trump.
And unfortunately that's been the story of the last four years, which is that Donald Trump owns the Republican Party and even if they know in their hearts that the Democrats are putting forward a better case, that they have a better case, that they have the video. They're showing you know all these things that make it pretty clear I think to anybody who's watching that but for Donald Trump this wouldn't have occurred.
I mean we know it wouldn't have occurred just on a really basic level, right. If Donald Trump had said what his lawyer said today which is that he lost the election; none of this ever would have happened.
So, you know and then you have the fact that he's having rally where he's telling people to go down there. It's pretty clear that he's one who instigated it.
COOPER: Elliot, George Conway said in our last hour that he's never seen such good lawyering just (ph) opposed with such bad lawyering. Would you agree with that?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It was pretty bad and pretty good. And we - you know, Anderson, we could have seen this earlier this week with simply the filings that the parties made. The Democrats put forward a very well reasoned 80 page brief that laid out their legal arguments well. The President's briefs were full of typos and I'm not picking on them for producing something sloppy. But this is an important aspect of lawyering that was just missed today.
You know, but in the end does it ultimately matter? And I don't know if it does. Here's a good example of that, Anderson, and something that's not really being talked about today is the fact the morning started with a vote on the rules of the trial. How long, how many hours of debate and so on. And 11 Republican Senators voted against that.
Now these are rules that were negotiated by Mitch McConnell on behalf of the Republican Caucus. These are rules that were agreed to by President Trump's attorneys. Yet for 11 Republican Senators that was still - they were still even more aggressive and even more out of touch than even the President's lawyers were.
So when a not insignificant portion of the whatever you want to call them jurors or Republicans in the Senate are staking out a position that's even further than the President is. It gives you a sense that really the lawyering doesn't matter and to some extent they know how they're going to vote and it doesn't seem like - maybe (ph) just piggybacking on Kirsten's point, it doesn't really seem like many minds are going to be changed in the Senate right now.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, Van, it is kind of - if you actually view this as a trial, which it is, and they - the Senators are the juror. I mean if this was a trial in a courtroom and you had 12 jurors and you had these, the defense and prosecution you know offering up the cases that were offered today and the juror still just kind of was unmoved by anything they heard enough to actually vote. It's - that'd be a pretty depressing outcome in a court of law.
JONES: Well in a real juror you could disqualify a whole bunch of people. That they wouldn't be qualified and they've already said things that are not what you'd expect from Senators to say about the role. I mean we've departed so far from what is expected and what's proper. I will say one thing, you know looking at that video again and seeing the amount of lawlessness and criminal behavior. If that had been a bunch of African Americans you know running up anything and somebody got killed, what would have happened is every single person would be in jail right now for felony murder or accessory to murder. That happens everyday in the black community.
A bunch of kids are in a car, one kid jumps out, shoots somebody, all five kids go to prison for 30 years, they're all going down for felony murder.
If you're committing a crime and somebody gets killed, that's called felony murder. The fact that all those people are still wandering around, some of them get to go to Mexico for vacations and -- or get organic food, it's just absolutely insane.
So it's not just that the senators are acting terribly, the whole system has been exposed as incapable of meeting out bare justice to black folks and to white folks and it's on full display.
COOPER: Well, I mean --
JONES: I mean horrific, and none of those people are in jail right now.
COOPER: -- and Van, I remember, you and I were watching this that day and talking about this. That they were -- and they were allowed to leave, and they were just allowed, you know, by and large to walk off. Sorry, Kirsten.
POWERS: They also would've -- well, they also -- many of them would've been shot. I mean, let's be real. You know, there would've been -- the police would've opened fire on them, no question, more than the one person.
And so I think that, you know, Republicans also are the people who talk about personal responsibility and accountability and all these different things. And then when it comes to this, they don't want President Trump to be held accountable.
They are willing to just say, oh yeah, of course, those people, let, you know, whatever happens to them, that's fine, but they don't want any accountability for the person who incited it. And, as I said, had the president just acknowledged that he lost the election, this never would've happened.
COOPER: Well also, I mean we just showed this video of one of the close-ups of one of the initial encounters between this mob and the police on the barricade. And one of them is carrying a Blue Lives Matter flag --
COOPER: -- and they proceed to attack, physically, the police officers whose lives they claim matter. You know, an officer's eye was gouged out. Three fingers were lost, which is the first I've heard about that today.
Obviously, one officer was killed, two have died by suicide. I mean, the idea that the people who were there have any claim to being patriots or supporters of law and order is just a joke, Elliott.
WILLIAMS: Yes, absolutely. And the other thing, Anderson, is that, you know, common sense, just put aside all the legal minutia, put aside all the constitutional minutia, and common sense is why were they there?
And the president's lawyers, today, attempted to make the argument that independent of President Trump, this rally and this rioting and this damage would've happened, when literally it was the president going back to last July started talking about undermining, July 19th I believe on Fox News Sunday, undermining the results of the election.
In December, he first tweeted about January 6th, be there, it will be wild. And then on up, including the rally, the day of. So it's hard to see how, number one, the irony of whose lives matter and the nature of the conduct, but also they were there at the behest of the president.
Now, whether this rises to the level of, you know, criminal incitement, we can quibble about that. But the simple fact is, just use common sense every one. These people were there because the president sent them there. It's -- you cannot look at that crowd and come to any other conclusion.
COOPER: Kirsten, also just watching that video again today, you know, it's been a month and we've all seen the images a lot. But to see it, and as Van -- Van referenced this early on, but just to see it in the chronological order, the violence of it and the individual acts of violence, I mean it is just a devastating indictment of what happened.
Kirsten, thank you. Van Jones, Elliott Williams, appreciate it. Coming up next, a live report on the defendants reactions of the day and his legal teams performance, or lack of. Later, given the day and the trial that's due, we saw history today. We're going to be joined by a historian, Doug Brinkley.
COOPER: Breaking news tonight on how displeased the former president is at the defense team in his second impeachment trial. Comes from The New York Times' Maggie Haberman in a report titled, "Meandering Performance by Defense Lawyers' Enrages Trump." She cites people briefed on his reaction, are familiar with it who say he did not like what he saw, especially from Bruce Castor whom the president was reportedly furious at for acknowledging the effectiveness of the house manager's presentation.
One source telling the times that his anger on a scale of one to ten, quote, "was an eight," unquote and that's not all we know about how he saw the day.
CNN's Boris Sanchez joins us now with late reaction from Mar-a-Lago. So, what more can you tell us, Boris?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, according to people who are familiar with President Trump's reaction, he was furious. Sources indicate that the president was nearly -- former president I should say -- was nearly yelling at his television watching his legal team make their presentation, and it's not hard to see why.
Even allies of the president acknowledge that the expectations for his legal team were not high considering that they were scrambled together just over a week ago. There are a couple things that stand out here as to what might draw the ire of former President Trump. For one, the content, you noted that President Trump was angry at Bruce Castor.
At one point during his presentation, Castor commended House Democrats for their presentation acknowledging that the Trump defense team had to scramble and rearrange their strategy because of the effectiveness of it. Further, you saw no mention of electoral fraud or many of the conspiracy falsehoods that Trump has pedaled about the 2020 election being stolen from him.
Remember that's part of the reason that he has new lawyers; he parted ways with his previous legal team because they wouldn't argue that case. Further, this really wasn't compelling television. Bruce Castor at different points was meandering his legal team, used very few, if any visual aids for a former president, a person who is obsessed with optics this wasn't exactly the kind of show that he wanted to have the impact and make the case that he's innocent, Anderson.
COOPER: And the former president's team sent out talking points to GOP senators, what did -- what did they say?
SANCHEZ: Yes, largely these talking points from Ben Williamson, one of the president's staffers -- former president's staffers, argues that this is an unconstitutional impeachment, that this is cancel culture on the constitution, an attack on the 1st Amendment, a number of other things that really swing, and try to spin the president's involvement in the riot on January 6th.
SANCHEZ: This just underscores the ineffectiveness of his legal team and the third-string nature of their approach. In fact, allies of the president have acknowledged that he could be in very serious legal trouble if he faces criminal charges because no reputable attorneys, even people who've worked with him in the past, like Jay Sekulow, Pat Cipollone, even Alan Dershowitz, none of them are willing to stick out their necks for him at this point, Anderson.
COOPER: Boris Sanchez, I appreciate it. Before we speak to our next guest, who former Republican congressman, I want to play a moment from my conversation earlier tonight with a sitting member, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois who talked about what he saw and heard on the House manager's video. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM KINZINGER, CONGRESSMAN (R), ILLINOIS: I mean, it's incredible, I've become friends with one of the -- one of the gentlemen, I won't name him, but that was involved in that and was really hurt.
He was a police officer and to hear his stories, he said "you know these people are walking around acting like they support law enforcement officer (ph) and they're saying things that are chilling."
It's like, I think there was -- not to get overly spiritual -- for me there was just a serious level of evil that descended over that and you see what happens when you take rhetoric and you let that anger go overboard and I think the president bears serious responsibility for what we saw on the 6th and it's not just his speech that day. It's the four years of building the groundwork leading up to that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining us now, former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, and Denver Riggleman of Virginia.
Congressman Riggleman, thanks for being with us. While the Democrats were playing their video rider storming the Capitol, handful of Republican senators, including Rick Scott, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, barely even looked at the screen, according to reports.
And Rand Paul was looking down at a paper in his lap where had begun doodling with a pencil according to The Washington Post. What do you think that says?
DENVER RIGGLEMAN (R-VA) FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, I'll tell you, listening to Adam I get pretty emotional because when you have evil, right, or bad things happen like that, when we (ph) look at the Capitol siege, I guess I can sum up what I think Adam was trying to say was that it starts with a disinformation siege.
And we -- we've had that for so long now that you have to cultivate this, you have to breed this. It was -- there was fertilizer there for them to do this. And I think when people aren't paying attention to something that heinous, things that happened to law enforcement, those that happened to individuals, people died here.
It starts to give you pause that either they've already made up their minds on a level we can't even imagine, they just don't care, or maybe they don't have the intellectual capability to absorb what's happening. Really what it comes down to is just re-election and fundraising. I think when it's that nakedly political, we have a real problem in our system today.
And again, let's thank (ph) Adam who was just very emotional for me because I've been there, he's been there in military, and we know how that feels.
COOPER: Yes. Congressman Denver, I mean that was literally the scene of the crime. To me just watching that video again, it just -- it reminded me of the importance of leadership and how you know, a lot of those people who we saw attacking the Capitol, some of them served their country honorably, claimed to be supporters of police, and yet there they are, attacking police officers, desecrating democracy.
I mean, you've known Bruce Castor, the former president's lawyer is getting the most of the criticism, you know I think you've known him for like more than two decades. What was your initial reaction from what you saw today?
CHARLIE DENT (R-PA) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, first on Adam Kinzinger, look you know, fanaticism and anger are a really bad combination when stoked up by the president. And that led to, obviously, the insurrection and the madness that we witnessed a few weeks ago. And with respect to Bruce Castor, yes I've known him for over 20-years, probably close to 25-years actually, we represented the same county, Montgomery County, in Pennsylvania at one point.
But look, Bruce Castor has a bad client, he has bad facts, obviously, they -- it wasn't well prepared; he had a very bad day. And I'm not surprised the president is unhappy, I'm sure that Bruce and the other attorney are not going to get paid because of this. But I am not at all surprised by what type of a presentation we witnessed today.
They simply were not prepared, they were overmatched, and again, the facts aren't on their side. And by the way, their arguing constitutionality, Anderson, but that's a procedural gimmick. Everybody knows, Congress and the Senate, in this case, they don't determine constitutionality on legislation or -- are given issue like this.
That's up to the courts, this is simply a way to avoid, this procedural maneuver is a way to avoid dealing with a substantive issue. But they're not going to be able to do it because they simply don't have the votes.
COOPER: And, Congressman Riggleman, I mean, I think everything Charlie Dent said is accurate but what does it say to you that -- given that dreadful performance, and given the, you know, the clearly -- even Republicans saying that the good performance by the House manager's, particularly Representative Raskin, that just one Republican, Senator Cassidy, joined five others from last week saying the trial's constitutional and should (ph) move forward and he cited the poor performance of the former president's attorneys.
RIGGLEMAN: Well and look what happened to Senator Cassidy, Anderson, he was automatically reprimanded by the State party, automatically. And that's what these individuals are looking at. These Senators aren't looking at what's right or wrong right now they're looking about whether they should be reelected. And when you have people in leadership that aren't willing to face disinformation or conspiracy theories like this, it spread and metastasizes.
We've talked about his before but we're seeing it right now. And again that's the warning that I would give to people is that we're seeing New World Order and COVID-1984 (ph) hashtags and great reset hashtag. We're sort of seeing this happen again right now as it starts to I guess bubble back up. You know people are saying that the President Teflon, that he's going to still be in control of the GOP.
And that is because there are individuals scribbling on pieces of paper or their eyes wandering around the hall or just not paying attention to what's going on right in front of them. And when you see the case that presented by the Manages today, holy cow, right, it was - it was incredible. There was real talent there.
I think on the other side, when you have a lack of moral high ground, you know you have a lack of talent, that (ph) you have a lack of facts. That puts you in a position that's impossible to win. But then to be disinterested or not interested in anything that's going on right now I think it's a disgrace. I think you need people who care about others more than themselves and care about service more than their careers.
And I think if we can get to that point we might have a chance. But again I think this is going to be a long slough fighting disinformation. But I think if we don't have leaders willing to step up and sacrifice their own careers for the betterment of America again we're in a sad place.
COOPER: Well you know just on that point, Congressman, (inaudible) I was interested to see that the President picked an attorney today to represent him who was going to represent Jeffrey Epstein. I wonder what all the QAnon conspiracy cult folks out there think about that. I mean that sort of seems contradictory for - since he's supposedly leading their charge.
Congressman Dent, to the point - I mean do you believe that the majority of Republican Senators buy the constitutional argument? Or is it just intellectually dishonest giving them a cover? I mean that -- you referenced this before but it just -- it seems so stark today.
DENT: Yes, I'm sure they - this is simply a cover, as you say. And look they -- if this were a secret ballot vote, I'd bet there'll (ph) be over 80 votes to convict the President. And so again these - the cake is baked, these members know how they're voting which is unfortunately. This is a political process as we all know.
So I think again you know look - the saddest thing I've seen in my time is how many of my former colleagues are just afraid. You know they're afraid. I'm so proud of people like Adam Kinzinger and Peter Meijer and the other who voted to impeach Liz Cheney. You know because they set aside their fear and they've gotten to the point where they have resigned themselves you know they're going to do the right thing.
And if there's a political consequence for it so be it. But sometimes you have to risk your job in order to save it. (Inaudible)
COOPER: Are they - are they afraid - sorry, the folks you know are they afraid of losing their jobs? Are they afraid of their family safety, are they afraid of being you know harassed for the rest of their term and the rest of their you know lives in the districts that they live in?
DENT: I think it's mostly the job but I think there is some legitimate concern about safety and their status, there's no question. But I mean you have to be able to visualize defeat. Now I served for nearly 14 years. I really enjoyed my time but I said at one point that I really love this job but you know I'd rather be true to myself than stick around an extra four or five years if it means I've got to sell my soul to a man who's so flawed like Donald Trump. And to support him when many of them privately will tell you how disgusted they are by him and how sickened they are by what's happened particularly since the election.
And that's what I guess is so sad and so terrible. But the good news is there's a counter force emerging, Anderson. I mean there are Republicans out there. Denver and I were part of a group on Friday. But we were talking about that Republican leaders, talking about a new direction. You know a party based on truth and honesty and Democracy, rule of law and we can't do it within the party you know we create a faction within the party or independent of the party or even discussion of a new party.
I mean that's how people are starting to think. Because the party is going to continue to contract if we don't get this house in order.
COOPER: Congressman Dent, Congressman Riggleman, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much. As evident by the Senate vote we have seen a great deal of history being played out not only today but in the last weeks and months and frankly years. Coming up I'll talk with the Presidential Historian, Doug Brinkley about where he ranks the moment we are living through right now.
COOPER: Today's Senate vote upholding the constitutionality of the former president's second impeachment was historic. As you know, six Republicans joined the Democrats to approve the proceedings moving ahead. Perspective now from our presidential historian Douglas Brinkley a Professor of History at Rice University.
So Doug, if history is our guide, was there every any doubt that this impeachment trial is constitutional?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY AT RICE UNIVERSITY: No. It's -- was always constitutional. We had the 1876 Belknap case, the Secretary of War for Grant to rely on. So, this was kind of charade away from the Republican pack, the Trump people, the QAnon senators to be able to stick together and have an excuse to just be, you know, not pay attention to what really happened on January 6.
Luckily that 13 minute video today I think caught everybody short, Anderson. And people were hushed after it. It reminded us what a heinous and hideous crime the Trump insurrection really was. COOPER: And according to the "Washington Post" some of the Senators,
Republican Senators were not even looking at it or at least not looking at it very much. You've talked about how unique this tragedy is in American history, where the trial is held at the scene of the crime and the jurors are essentially witnesses, you know, and or victims of the crime.
BRINKLEY: That's what so bizarre about this. Every one of the senators there knows what's happened. They were in the building. I mean, we have traumatic moments, you know, the Kennedy assassination, we have a warrant commission report, but you don't hold a trial in Dallas or after 9/11 you're not going to the 9/11 -- the World Trade Center site.
But here we are in the building where the insurrection of January 6th occurred and I couldn't help thinking that someday there'll be a museum there, a memorial about what happened here and I don't know why the Republican senators that keep wanting to cut Donald Trump a break because I don't think they're going to look well in history.
You know, there's -- there used to be a Know Nothing Party in the 1840s and 1850s that hated Catholics and there were nativists and anti-immigrant and by backing Trumpism, not denouncing the QAnon movement, many of these Republican senators who are going to look horrible at (ph) history and in that museum will be Josh Hawley with his arm up in solidarity with the people that killed capitol police officer and others on that bloody January 6th.
COOPER: Well, weren't there American firsters back in the, was it the 20s or the 30s? Or --
BRINKLEY: Absolutely, and that's what -- there's been a constant drum beat in American history of this you know anti-elite, secret societies, part of what we're seeing, you know, but imagine if Linden Johnson was president in the 1960s and he embraced the Hells Angels.
I mean, we had Donald Trump praise the Proud Boys and we still don't have these Republican senators denouncing these hate groups because they see them as potential voters or who might participate in their primary coming up. So, it's a sad and difficult moment for the Republican Party, we'll see if they can do the right thing.
If not it's going to be the party of Donald Trump this year and the next year he's going to own the Republican Party if they can't do the right thing these next few days.
COOPER: I mean, even if there's ultimately an acquittal in the trial, you've talked about the importance of creating historical record for the future.
BRINKLEY: That's my big issue. I think what the Democrats are doing is creating a record by pulling together all of these videos, Anderson, you know when you deal with Andrew Johnson's impeachment or Bill Clinton you didn't have this kind of visual record and we're in a visual age and there's -- tomorrow we're going to be seeing more, new footage coming out from -- that was filmed in the Capitol on January 6th.
And it's the accumulation of all of this and we're going to get trials of people and get their affidavits and the body is going to build -- there is going to be an entire line of studies about Trumpism, the Trump insurrection, the big lie, and it -- it'll all be seen as a very dark stain in American history like the Know Nothings or like McCarthyism, Red Scare times in the 1950s.
COOPER: Yes. You even mentioned sort of the after math of World War II as a parallel, how so?
BRINKLEY: Well, you know I think after World War II in the United States you started having you know people that were wanting to return to an isolationism, return to a nativism, a far of globalization, of being left behind.
Of course, that didn't happen, we had a consensus really with Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, on and on until Donald Trump that the United States would be a global power. Donald Trump is the -- ain't (ph) at the party and at last, this was not a good day for Trump's legacy and he's down in the polls, in the 20s, getting smaller every second.
COOPER: Yes. Doug Brinkley, really appreciate it. Your shot doesn't look great but your words are great and we appreciate it.
Still to come --
BRINKLEY: Thank you.
COOPER: -- Biden's reaction to the day's events and the trial of his predecessor, when we return.
COOPER: As history unfolds down the road from the White House, President Biden is keeping his eye on key items on his agenda, they say. Senior White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly joins us now with the president's reaction to what we witnessed today. So President Biden is certainly doing everything he can publicly to distance himself from this trial happening on Capitol Hill.
PHIL MATTINGLY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Anderson. He's not watching the trial, he's not talking about the trial. His senior staff, you can barely get them to say anything about the trial, and that's by design. There's a strategy here, and part of it is, look, he has a job to do.
He said that repeatedly today in a meeting with business leaders that he has to focus on the dual crises his administration is facing, the public health crisis and the economic crisis.
But there is a strategic element to this as well. White House staff wants the president to stay above what's going on. They recognize how this trial is going to end. Very likely that former President Trump gets acquitted, and they want to ensure that President Biden keeps his focus on what he was elected to do, not focus on what his predecessor was doing.
And that has been their strategy. And, Anderson, there's no sense at all that they're going to diverge from that anytime soon.
COOPER: How concerned is the administration that the length of the trial is going to impact the COVID relief package, cabinet nominations, just the momentum the president wants to carry?
MATTINGLY: Yes, it's been a significant issue they've been grappling with administrations officials, say, over the course of the last several weeks. They made clear to Democrats in the U.S. Senate and the House Democrats as well, they did not want this to be a long trial.
They wanted President Biden to have a chance to confirm his team. Perhaps most importantly, they wanted President Biden to have a clear path to pass his cornerstone legislative proposal, that $1.9 trillion stimulus package.
Now, right now, nominations are all but stalled. Nothing will happen in terms of confirming the remaining cabinet nominees until this trial is over.
But behind the scenes, I'm told White House officials are working hand in glove with House Democrats as they start moving through the actual details of that proposal, trying to get that to the House floor over the course of the next couple of weeks.
They believe that is still on track. They believe Democrats are still united. But one thing I hear is there are concerns about momentum. They believe that over the course of the last several weeks, Democrats have stayed unified, have really coalesced behind this proposal President Biden put on the table and they don't want that to wane over the course of the next several days or even weeks.
They want to keep that going and that is why you've seen the president and his team focus so much on that package, so much on what's necessary, so much on trying to get that to his desk over the course of the next several weeks.
They know all eyes are on the Senate floor over the course of the next couple days. But for now they want to focus on making sure Democrats get their most important agenda item to the president's desk --
MATTINGLY: -- over the course of the next several weeks, Anderson. COOPER: I know you said White House staffers aren't talking about the impeachment stuff publicly. Are they in contact with the Democratic House managers about the trial or do we know?
MATTINGLY: Yes, they've been in contact leading up to the trial and I think they were very careful not to weigh -- lay a heavy hand on things. They wanted the House managers to be able to kind of craft their own defense, go the way they wanted that they wanted to go.
But again, it might be subtle, it might be implicit, but they made very clear they don't want this to be a lengthy trial and so far it looks like Democrats are largely following along with what the White House was looking for, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Phil Mattingly, thanks very much. Appreciate it. Today the Democrats talked about the many police officers injured defending the Capitol. We'll have more on that next.
COOPER: The disturbing videos of the riot that we're played during the Senate trial today underscored the very human cost of the insurrection on January 6. And as we all know five people died as a result of the attack. Capitol Police Officer, Brian Sicknick died the next day of injuries he suffered, was honored last week in a moving ceremony in the Capitol rotunda.
And a protestor was shot to death as she and others tried to force their way into the halls of Congress. Three others died among the crowd. There were also major injuries suffered by dozens of police officers assigned to the Capitol that day. Some of them the Democrats included in their video compilation. Randi Kaye tonight has more.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Capitol police officer's union chairman said in a statement some officers were not issued helmets prior to the attack on the capital and sustained head injuries. Another officer he said had two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal disks. Another was stabbed with a metal fence stake.
Acting D.C. Police Chief, Robert Contee says his officers encountered hand to hand combat leaving 65 MPD officers with sustained injuries and many others with more minor injuries such as scratches, bruises and eye burning.
ROBERT CONTEE, ACTING D.C. POLICE CHIEF: I have talked to officer that said - who have done tours in Iraq and said that this was more - was scarier to them than their time in combat.
KAYE: This body cam footage shows what police officers at the U.S. Capitol building were up against on January 6. They were no match for this violent mob, outnumbered and out maneuvered. In all more than 100 officers were physically wounded. Rioters stole police batons and helmets. In one case using a hockey
stick as a weapon. Officer Michael Fanone with nearly two decades of experience was dragged down the Capitol stairs and brutally beaten. One rioter used a flagpole with the American flag to hit him.
MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. POLICE OFFICER: It was difficult to offer any resistance when you're only about 30 guys going up against 15,000.
KAYE: Fanone says he was tased at least 6 times by the angry mob.
FANONE: Guys were stripping me of my gear, these are rioters pulling my badge off my chest, they ripped my radio off my vest, started pulling like ammunition magazines from their holder on my belt. And then some guys started getting a hold to my gun and they were screaming out you know kill him with his own gun.
KAYE: CNN has also learned one Capitol police officer lost three fingers in the attack. And another is likely to lose his eye. D.C. Police Officer, Daniel Hodges was pinned and crushed by a door the Capitol as rioters pushed their way in.
DANIEL HODGES, D.C. POLICE OFFICER: The guy ripping my mask off and he was able to rip away my baton and beat me with it and you know he was practically foaming at the mouth. So just these people were true believers in the worst way.
KAYE: Five people lost their lives from that riot and there are psychological scars as well. Two other officers took their own lives after that terrible day. D.C. Police Officer, Jeffrey Smith, a 12-year veteran with the force and Capitol Police Officer, Howard Liebengood who is being remembered as an example of selfless service.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Tampa.
COOPER: It is still sickening to watch. We'll be right back.
COOPER: At a moment in time when partisan division runs high, there was at least one show of unity today in the Senate. Senator Patrick Leahy, who's presiding over the trial, called for unanimous consent to adjourn and got no objections at all.
The trial picks up tomorrow noon eastern time when Democrats are expected to present their main case. The defense expected on Friday, followed by senators' questions over the weekend. We, of course, at CNN will be there to bring it all to you live as it happens. Till then, the news continues on this historic day.
Let's turn things over now to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Appreciate it, Coop. I'm Chris Cuomo and welcome to a special live edition of "Prime Time." Midnight on the east coast, 9:00 p.m. on the west coast, so let's get after it.
Special coverage of day one of the Trump impeachment trial, okay? Now, this constitutionality debate is over. Should have never happened. The law upholds this second trial for Donald J. Trump, period. Six republicans, just six, joined all 50 Democrats to move on to day two.
I don't know how -- well, look, it's a window, okay? The window, the reason that today was worth it, because it really isn't provided. This was just another accommodation by Democrats of the Republicans, and again it's weird when the only reason we have this issue is Mitch McConnell. We'll talk about that more.
The question now is will half the jury give the ex-president a pass for what almost got them killed on January 6th, or will more Republican jurors -- you need to have 17 -- join Democrats to convict him? Will they make this a so-called conscience vote?
We know several are already unimpressed with the Trump defense. Even Trump, supposedly, wasn't happy.