Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
President's Attorneys Did Not Present Strong Case Yesterday; House Impeachment Managers to Present Capitol Security Footage Today; Live Coverage of Senate Impeachment Trial. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired February 10, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: They had time to recover, we'll see what they do when they get their chance after this.
But if you're on the president's team or if you're on the president's side, or if you're one of those Republicans who thinks what the president did was reprehensible and you're just hoping for cover, enough cover to justify your no vote on conviction from the president's team, the House managers are proving they're very well prepared, very professional from both a legal standpoint and a political standpoint in making their case.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And these House managers, they've only done it now for two hours. They have 16 hours. Another, let's say, six hours today, another eight hours -- if they want to use it, they don't have to use all that time. So they're only just getting started --
BLITZER: -- in their arguments against the former president of the United States.
Jamie Gangel is getting some reaction from Republicans. They must be squirming, a lot of them, seeing this very compelling case being outlined.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly what I'm hearing, Wolf. I heard from a senior Republican early on during Congressman Raskin's presentation, who said, quote, "I cannot imagine how any senator sits and listens to this and votes against conviction."
And that sort of follows what John was just saying about yesterday's performance by the president's attorneys, or lack thereof. For these Republican senators who do not seem to want to vote to convict, it's pretty embarrassing to sit there and listen to what is both well prepared and eloquent testimony.
There were two things that stood out to me from Jamie Raskin at the beginning. He told this very emotional story about a Capitol Hill police officer who, after fighting in the riots for hours, broke down and cried and then said to a fellow Capitol Police officer, "I got called the N-word 15 times. What the F, man. Is this America?" And then there was a number that came up. It came up in passing, but I think it's going to be very relevant. And the number is 3.5 hours. That is the amount of time that the riots were going on, that the Capitol was under siege, and Donald Trump did nothing, Wolf.
I think as both the House managers put their case together, and let's not forget the Justice Department, the FBI, they have not ruled out doing criminal investigations down the road. That number, 3.5 hours, is significant.
BLITZER: Yes. And think about all the damage that was done, the people that were --
BLITZER: -- injured and killed during the course of those 3.5 hours, a real sin of omission by the then-president of the United States, something he's going to have to live with for the rest of his life, why he was so silent, didn't speak out and say stop this, stop this right away, it is unacceptable. We did not hear that from the then- president, and that is an awful, awful situation.
Jake, go ahead.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thanks, Wolf. We're just moments away from the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump resuming in the U.S. Senate.
Let's go to Manu Raju on Capitol Hill right now. And, Manu, we're expecting some new surveillance footage that we've never seen before to be introduced by these Democratic House impeachment managers.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're saying that this is coming from Capitol security footage. They would not tell me this morning where this footage is from, whether it's from the police departments in the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, or from Capitol Police. But they said it's Capitol security footage.
They said they want to leave some element of surprise, but they expect it to be rather riveting and something that potentially could not be suitable for younger audiences as well. But nevertheless, they plan to present that sometime this afternoon.
The question will be whether or not they can change any minds. And in talking to a number of Republican senators up and down, they are still hanging onto the idea that this is not a constitutional proceeding.
And despite the Democrats' ask (ph) that they separate out their concerns about the constitutionality, which of course was affirmed by a majority vote in the Senate on a bipartisan basis yesterday, to separate that out with a vote on the merits, most of them are saying they cannot do that.
They said they will vote ultimately based on their concern that this, in their view, is not constitutional, which shows the high hurdles that Democrats have despite all the new evidence that they say that they plan to present this afternoon. Now, we do expect this trial, Jake, to move pretty quickly,
potentially to get to a final vote this weekend. That is what Democratic and Republican senators are telling me, that they had discussions, each of them on their own side today, on the Republican lunch, they talked about potentially wrapping everything up by as soon as Saturday night, and getting to that conviction vote. So we'll see how this turns out --
TAPPER: OK --
RAJU: -- for the moment.
TAPPER: -- Manu, thank you so much, let's listen in.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): -- will now detail former President Trump's increasingly desperate attempts to stop the steal.
REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): Mr. President, esteemed members of the Senate, it is my solemn honor to be before you today. I am Madeleine Dean, congresswoman from the 4th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. I'm a lawyer, I'm a former professor of writing, I'm a sister, I'm a wife, I'm a mother, I'm a grandmother to three with fourth on her way, I'm a person of faith and I am an American.
Along with Manager Lieu I will present the actions of a desperate President and we will present evidence today of a class of public servants who standing up an enormous pressure from the President of United States did the right thing and upheld their oaths. My colleagues just presented evidence of a President Trump's months long efforts to incite his base. Leading them to believe the election was stolen.
That they needed to fight like hell to stop the steal on January 6. These weren't President Trump's only efforts to overturn the results. Manager Lieu and I will present evidence of President Trump's relentless escalating campaigns to fabricate an election victory by ignoring adverse court rulings. Pressuring and threatening election officials, attacking Senators and members of Congress.
Pressuring the Justice Department and finally bullying his own Vice President. President Trump and his allies filed 62 separate lawsuits in federal courts across more than half a dozen states and the District of Columbia including Pennsylvania, my home state, as well as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and Wisconsin. Of the 62 post election legal challenges he lost 61, only one was successful.
And that case involved ballot curing in Pennsylvania and had no impact on President Biden's 80,555-vote victory in our Commonwealth. To be clear, not a single court, not a single judge agreed that the election results were invalid or should be invalidated. Instead court after court reviewing these challenges said these cases were quote "not credible, without merit" based on nothing but speculation and flat out wrong. The judiciary resoundingly rejected Trump's fraud allegations and upheld the election results. But it was more than that, the court said these cases were different, they were dangerous to our Democracy. For an example, in an opinion by a United States District Court Judge, Matthew Brann from Pennsylvania, he said and I quote, "This court has been presented with strain (ph) legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations. In the United States of America this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people and laws and institutions demand more. Because this court has not authority to take away the right to vote of even a single person let alone millions of citizens it cannot grant plaintiff's requested relief."
That decision by Judge Brann was affirmed on appeal by Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee who agreed and wrote and I quote, "The campaign's claims have no merit, the number of ballots it specifically challenges is far smaller than the roughly 81,000 vote margin of victory. And it never claims fraud or that any of the votes were cast by illegal voter. Plus tossing out millions of mail-in ballots would be drastic and unprecedented. Disenfranchising a huge swath of the electorate and upsetting all down ballot races." End quote.
Similarly, as Judge Linda Parker of the Eastern District of Michigan framed it, she said, "Stunning in its scope and breathtaking in its reach. If granted, the relief would disenfranchise the votes of more than 5.5 million Michigan citizens who with dignity, and hope, and a promise of a vote (ph), participated in the 2020 general election." Donald Trump told his supporters they are stealing the election, they took away your vote, it's rigged. That was not true.
According to judge, after judge the truth was exactly the opposite, Trump was not suing to ensure election integrity, he was pursuing lawsuits that would in effect strip away American votes so that he could win. In other words, Donald Trump was asking the judiciary to take away votes from Americans so that he could steal the election for himself. Then after losing in all the courts, Trump turned to another tactic, pressuring and threatening election officials.
You saw what happened in Michigan after Trump attacked the state and its election officials. His supporters surrounded the secretary of states home as you saw in the earlier slide, chanting, calling her a felon. On November 17th the Board of Canvassers for Wayne County, Michigan, home to Detroit, unanimously certified the election results for Biden. That same night, after their vote to certify the results Trump called the two Republican members of that board pressuring them to change their minds.
The call worked, the next day both Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, the Republican board members attempted to rescind their vote to certify Michigan's election results but they simply couldn't. President Trump didn't stop there, he then contacted majority leader of the Michigan Senate, Mike Shirkey, and the Speaker of the Michigan House Lee Chatfield to lobby them to overturn Michigan's results. Trump invited Mr. Chatfield and Mr. Shirkey to Washington to meet with him at the White House where the president lobbied them further. Let's be clear, Donald Trump was calling officials, hosting them at the White House, urging them to defy the voters in their state, and instead award votes to Trump. The officials held strong and so Trump moved on to a different state, my home state of Pennsylvania.
I am certain my senators, Casey and Senator Toomey, remember what happened there. In early December, as he did in Michigan, he began calling election officials. Including my former colleagues in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Republicans, Majority Leader Kim Ward, and Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler. Majority Leader Ward said the president called her to quote, "declare there was a fraud in the voting," end quote.
Then on November 25th, President Trump phoned into a Republican State Senate Policy Hearing trying to convince the Republican legislatures, senators, and house members there had been a fraud in the vote. He even had his lawyer hold a phone up to the microphone in that hearing room so the committee could hear him. Here is what he said.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can't let that happen, we can't let it happen for our country, and this election has to be turned around because we won Pennsylvania by a lot and we won all of these swing states by a lot.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
DEAN: This was a gathering -- I've attended many, I have to tell you as a former state legislature, a lot of policy hearings. I have to say with some confidence that was likely the first time a President of the United States of America called into a State Legislative Policy Hearing. And remember, here is the president saying he won Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania had been certified that Biden had won by more than 80,000 votes.
Less than a week after calling into that meeting he invited multiple Republican members of the Pennsylvania Legislature to the White House. The same scheme he had used on the Michigan Legislatures. It didn't work with those public servants either. Think about it, the President of the United States was calling public officials, calling from the White House, inviting them into the Oval Office, telling them to disenfranchise voters of their state, telling them to overturn the will of the American people.
All so he could take the election for himself. And then in Georgia, a state Trump had counted on for victory, his conduct was perhaps the most outrageous. On November 11th Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger confirmed that he believed ballots were accurately counted for Biden.
Trump went on a relentless attack. Here are just a few examples, in all Trump tweeted at Raffensperger 17 times in the coming week. I'll show you just a few. Calling him "a disaster", "obstinate", "not having a clue", "being played for a fool", and being "a so-called Republican". All because Raffensperger was doing his job ensuring the integrity of our elections, and these attacks had consequences.
Mr. Raffensperger and his family received death threats, quote, "your husband deserves to face a firing squad, you better not botch this recount, your life depends upon it." "The Raffenspergers should be put on trial for treason and face execution." Just some of the threats they received. After these death threats on November 25th, Mr. Raffensperger wrote an op-ed where he said, "my family voted for Trump, donated to him, and are now being thrown under the bus by him."
But he also noted, "elections are the bedrock of our democracy. They need to be run fairly and perhaps more importantly impartially. That's not partisan, that's just American." It's important to remember that this wasn't just a random attack. Trump wasn't just criticizing a politician over policy, or saying he didn't agree. Donald Trump was savagely attacking a secretary of state because the official did his job and certified the state according to how the people in that state voted.
Donald Trump was trying to undermine our elections by taking votes away from the American people so that he could remain president and he was willing to blame and betray anyone, anyone, even his own supporters if they got in the way. Remember senators, those threats were to Mr. Raffensperger's family.
So, some may say Trump didn't know his attacks against Mr. Raffensperger would result in death threats, except that all of this was very public. The secretary published his op-ed in USA Today and major networks, including FOX, covered the threats against the Raffensperger. What did Trump do? Did he stop? Did he say no, no, supporters, that isn't what I meant? No, he doubled down. Let's see the evidence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This was a massive fraud which should never take place in this country, we're like a third world country. Look at -- look at Georgia's but I understand the secretary of state who is really -- he's an enemy of the people, the secretary of state and whether he's Republican or not, this man, what he's done. Like this character in Georgia, who's a disaster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: Let that sink in. A Republican public servant doing his job, whose family had just received death threats, and the President of the United States labeled him an enemy of the people. And that's why this is different because this was not just one attack, or one comment, this was attack, after attack in the face of clear threats of violence. And on December 1st, another official, Gabriel Sterling, a Republican who voted for Trump made this point and appealed directly to our president to stop his dangerous conduct.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GABRIEL STERLING: Mr. President, it looks like you likely lost the State of Georgia. We're investigating, there's always a possibility, I get it and you have the rights to go for the courts. What you don't have the ability to do, and you need to step up and say this is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: Mr. Sterling put this perfectly. In this country, we can appropriately challenge a close count or go to the courts or disagree with others or make bold statements but what Trump was doing was different. "Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed." Mr. Sterling saw what Trump's conduct was fomenting.
He warned him on live TV that violence was already happening and that more violence was foreseeable and inevitable. Sterling's pleas were played over and over on every network.
Rather than head that warning, Trump escalated again. In early December, Trump called Brian Kemp, the Governor of Georgia, and pressured him to hold a special session of the state legislature to overturn the election results and to appoint electors who would vote for Trump.
A few weeks later on December 23 Trump called the chief investigator for the Georgia Bureau of Investigations who was conducting an audit, and audit of the signature matching procedures for absentee ballots.
Trump urged him, "find the fraud," and claimed the official would be a national her if he did. Let's call this what it is. He was asking the official to say there was evidence or fraud when there wasn't any. The official refused and the investigation was completed. And on December 29 Raffensperger announced that the audit found, quote, "no fraudulent absentee ballots with a 99 percent confidence level."
On January 3, Trump tweeted about a call he had with Georgian - Georgia election officials the day before. He said, and I quote, "I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia. He was unwilling or unable to answer questions such as the ballots under the table scam, ballot destruction, out of state voters, dead voters, and more. He has no clue."
On January the 5, The Washington Post released a recording of that call, which had occurred on January 2. Remember just four days before the attack on the Capitol. Here is what President Trump said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's more illegal for you than it is for them because you know what they did and you're not reporting it. That's - you know, that's a criminal - that's a criminal offense, and you know, you can't let that happen. That's a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. That's a big risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: Let's be clear. This is the President of the United States telling a secretary of state that if he does not find votes he will face criminal penalties, and not just any number of votes. Donald Trump was asking the secretary of state to somehow find the exact number of votes Donald Trump lost the state by. Remember, President Biden won Georgia by 11,779 votes.
In his own words Trump said, "All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes." He wanted the secretary of state to somehow find the precise number plus one so that he could win. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So look, all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: He says it right there. The President of the United States telling a public official to manufacture the exact votes needed so he can win. Senators, we must not become known to this. Trump did this across state-after-state so often, so loudly, so publicly.
Public officials like you and me received death threats and calls threatening criminal penalties all because Trump wanted to remain in power. These public officials exercised great political and personal courage in the face of unprecedented pressure from a President of the United States.
Senators, our is a dialogue with history, a conversation with the past with a hope for the future. Senators, I thank you today for your kind attention.
LIEU: Good afternoon. I'm Congressman Ted Lieu. My colleague, Congresswoman Dean, went through President Trump's efforts to overturn the election through the courts and when that started failing his deeply disturbing attacks on state on local officials. I'm going to walk through President Trump's extraordinary efforts remaining until January 6 when he tried again to overturn the election.
I first want to highlight Representative Raskin's question to all of you today. Is this America? Like all of you, I love this country. I am an immigrant. My parents came to Ohio and we started off living in the basement of a person's home. We were poor, and they went to flea markets to sell gifts to make ends meet. Over many years they built a small business, opened six gift stores, and achieved the American dream. That's one reason I joined the United States Air Force on active duty.
I believe America is an exceptional country. I was trained as a prosecutor at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, and I remain in the reserves because we're the greatest country in the world, but how did our exceptional country get to the point where a violent mob attacked our Capitol, murdering a police officer, assaulting over 140 other officers? How do we get to the point where rioters desecrated, defiled, and dishonored your Senate chamber, where the very place in which you sit became a crime scene, and where National Guard troops still patrol outside wearing body armor?
I'll show you how we got here. President Donald J. Trump ran out of non-violent options to maintain power. After his efforts in the courts and threatening officials failed, he turned to privately and publicly attacking members of his own party in the House and in this Senate. He would publicly bait senators, naming them in social media.
For example, on December 18 President Trump named at Senate Majority Leader and the Republican Senators telling them they have to, "get tougher or they won't have a Republican Party anymore. We won the presidential election by a lot. Fight for it! Don't let them take it away!" President Trump was suggesting the members of this Senate that if they didn't help and try to overturn the election there would be consequences.
On December 24, President Trump wrote, "I saved at least eight Republican senators, including Mitch, from losing in the last rigged for president election. Now they almost all sit back and watch me fight against a crooked, ambitiousful (ph), the radial left Democrats. I will," and in all capital letters he wrote, "NEVER FORGET!"
President Trump was telling you that you owe him, that if you don't help him fight to overturn the results he would never forget and that there will be consequences. These are threats, just like the threats he made, to state and local officials. And it continued.
On December 29, President Trump tweeted, "Can you imagine if the Republican stole a presidential election from the Democrats? All hell would break out. Republican leadership only wants a path of least resistance. Our leaders - not me, of course - are pathetic. They only know how to lose. P.S., I got many senators and congressmen and congresswomen elected. I do believe they forgot!" President Trump targeted senators and those in Congress on social media calling them pathetic for letting the election get, quote, "stolen from them."
On January 4, two days before the attack, President Trump tweeted, "The surrender caucus within the Republican Party will go down in infamy as weak and ineffective guardians of our nation who are willing to accept a certification of fraudulent presidential numbers." Now he's mocking some Republican members as the surrender caucus, all them weak and ineffective guardians of our nation because they would not pretend that he had won when, in fact, he had not.
And then the very day before the attack President Trump's threats grew even more heated and specific towards Republicans that he considered to be part of that surrender caucus. Now, we've shown you this tweet before, but I want to draw your
attention to how the president was not just inciting his base, but how he was also calling out specific Senate Republicans at the end of this tweet.
This is a specific warning to anyone who won't help him overturn the results. Anyone who was against the president became an enemy. And let me be very clear, the president wasn't just coming for one or two people, or Democrats like me.