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House Impeachment Managers Present Case to Convict Trump; Soon: House Managers to Show New Evidence in Case Against Trump. Aired 3:30- 4p ET

Aired February 10, 2021 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00]

(APPLAUSE)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's got guts. You know what? He's got guts, unlike a lot of people in the Republican Party. He's got guts. He fights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:30:00]

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA), IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: Ms. Plaskett showed you example after example of Donald Trump, when confronted with violence, praising it. We saw him instruct the Proud Boys, a violent extremist group to stand back and standby. That group was there on January 6. We saw him praise a caravan of his supporters after they tried to drive a bus belonging to the Biden campaign, off the road.

The organizer of that attack was there on January 6. And we saw him team up with the organizers of the violent second MAGA Million March to plan his rally on January 6. And what does he do at that rally? He tells Giuliani he's doing a great job addressing the crowd, saying he has guts to call for fighting. And to be clear this is what he was praising.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: So let's have trial by combat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: Trial by combat. Donald Trump praised Rudy, said he did a good job, had guts for telling the crowd that we need trial by combat. Next, more attacks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become president and you are the happiest people. (END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: This attack, like the tweets he sent that morning had a purpose -- convincing his supporters that the future of our country -- of our democracy hinged on whether Vice President Pence would overturn the election, something he knew Pence could not and would not do.

He called out Vice President Pence nine times that day, and each time he got more forceful, here is what he said at 12:15.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And we're going to have to fight much harder -- and Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn't that will be a sad day for our country because your sworn to uphold our Constitution. Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy, and after this we're going to walk down -- and I'll be there with you -- we're going to walk down -- we're going to walk down, anyone you want.

But I think right here we're going to walk down to the Capitol and we're going to cheer on our brave Senators and Congress men and women, and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them -- because you'll never take back our country with weakness -- you have to show strength and you have to be strong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: We're going to have to fight much harder, and Mike Pence will have to come through for us -- that's what he said. And he told the crowd what he meant, and exactly what to do -- literally commanding them to confront us at the Capitol. He even told them he'd walk there with them, which of course was not true.

And then he told them exactly what to do when they got to the Capitol. You'll never take your country back with weakness, you have to show strength. And don't forget who was standing there -- the same people Ms. Plaskett described to you. Many people violent -- violent people, law enforcement had warned would be armed and would be targeting us.

One of President Trump's key defenses focus on what he said for a few second, 15 minutes in to the speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: In a speech spanning almost 11,000 words -- yes, we did check. That was the one time -- the only time President Trump used the word peaceful or any suggestion of nonviolence. The implication of the president's tweets, the rally, and the speeches were clear. President Trump used the word fight or fighting 20 times, including telling the crowd they needed to fight like hell to save our democracy. We know how the crowd responded to Donald Trump's words, and he knew how they responded to his speech. Here is the evidence of how the crowd reacted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CHANTING)

[15:35:00]

UNKNOWN: Yes.

UNKNOWN: Invade the Capitol building.

UNKNOWN: Let's take the Capitol.

UNKNOWN: Take the Capitol.

UNKNOWN: Let's take the Capitol.

UNKNOWN: Take the Capitol right now.

UNKNOWN: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: Storm the Capitol -- invade the Capitol. Fight, fight, fight, fight -- take the Capitol right now. These were the words of the crowd. Trump was telling them to fight, and he would keep telling them to fight throughout the rest of his speech. These are not only words of aggression, they are words of insurrection. And if you have any doubt, listen to what he says next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Today we see a very important event though (ph), because right over there -- right there, we see the event going to take place. And I'm going to be watching because history is going to be made.

We're going to see whether or not we have great and courageous leaders or whether or not we have leaders that should be ashamed of themselves throughout history, throughout eternity they'll be ashamed. And you know what, if they do the wrong thing we should never, ever forget that they did -- never forget. We should never, ever forget.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: The commander in chief points to Congress and tells those assembled, I'm going to be watching -- history is going to be made. This was clearly not just some rally, or march, or protest -this was about Donald Trump trying to steal the election for himself, claiming that the election was fraudulent, illegitimate so that his supporters would fight to take it back. In fact, after stoking the crowd's anger for nearly 40 minutes -- after repeating false election conspiracy, after false election conspiracy he said this in no uncertain terms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You will have an illegitimate president, that's what you'll have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: Any outcome besides him keeping the presidency would be illegitimate. This was building on the big lie of a rigged and stolen election, and here is what he said a little later in the speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: When you catch somebody in a fraud, you're allowed to go by very different rules. So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: When you catch somebody in a fraud, you're allowed to go by very different rules. We told you that context matters, here's the context. This was not just one reference, or a message to supporters by a politician to fight for a cause. He'd assembled thousands of violent people -- people he knew were capable of violence, people he had seen be violent.

They were standing now in front of him, and then he pointed to us, lit the fuse and sent an angry mob to fight the perceived enemy -- his own vice president and the members of Congress as we certified an election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: But I said, something is wrong here -- something is really wrong, (inaudible) happened, and we fight. We fight like hell, and if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore. Our exciting adventures and boldest endeavors have not yet begun. My fellow Americans, for our movement, for our children, and for our beloved country -- and I say this despite all that's happened, the best is yet to come.

So we're going to -- we're 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 -- the Democrats are hopeless, they're never voting 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.

[15:40:05] So let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I want to thank you all. God bless you and God bless America. Thank you all for being here this is incredible. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: If you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore. And there was only one fight left and it was a mile up the road. Donald Trump, the President of the United States ordered the crowd to march on Congress and so the crowd marched. This is incredible you heard him say. That's how President Trump ended his speech.

I'd like to close with a very brief timeline of what was happening in parallel alongside the President as he spoke the 6th of January. A little after noon President Trump began his speech with a fiery refusal to concede. He commanded the crowd to fight and march down Pennsylvania Avenue.

And around 12:20 some rally goers, some attendees began marching.

By 12:30 as President Trump continued to incite his supporters, large segments of the rally crowd had amassed at the Capitol.

At 12:53 as the President's speech was playing on cell phone broadcasts the outer most barricade of the northwest side of the Capitol was breached. And Capitol police were forced back to the step of the Capitol.

At 1:10 the President ended his speech with a final call to fight and a final order to march to the Capitol.

At 1:45 the President's followers surged past Capitol police shouting this is a revolution.

Just after 2:10, an hour after President Trump ended his speech, the insurrectionist mob overwhelmed Capitol security and made it inside the halls of Congress.

Because the truth is this attacked never would have happened but for Donald Trump. And so they came draped in Trump's flag and used our flag, the American flag, to batter and to bludgeon.

And at 2:30 I heard that terrifying banging on House Chamber doors. For the first time in more than 200 years the seat of our government was ransacked on our watch.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD), LEAD IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: Mr. President, I think this would be a good time for a break, if that's OK?

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): I ask unanimous consent we recess until 4:00 P.M.? (Inaudible) in hearing none we're recessed.

UNKNOWN: 4:00 P.M, 4 o'clock.

UNKNOWN: 4 o'clock. (RECESS)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And the Senate is taking another quick break. You have been watching the historic second impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump. Welcome to our special live coverage. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington.

Right now the Senate is taking that short break as House impeachment managers are making their case to convict former President Trump. essentially using his own words against him, his own words and his own tweets to lay out what they call Mr. Trump's relentless and extraordinary efforts to retain the presidency even though he lost the election and his deliberate, deliberate incitement of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The impeachment managers also playing Trump's messages to the crowd, many of whom became the mob, and showing charging documents where insurrectionists say they were following orders, or so they thought from President Trump.

We're also expecting some new previously unseen video from security cameras inside the Capitol during the attack to be presented today, and that, of course, will at least happen after they come back from break.

Let's chat about what we've seen.

[15:45:00]

And Dana, I mean, one of the things that's so extraordinary about this is with the exception of the presentation from delegate Stacey Plaskett from the U.S. Virgin Islands who brought all the information from the far-right white supremacist message boards, a lot of this stuff we knew, and we saw play out in realtime, and it is so damning it's almost incredible that this is even a debate.

DANA BASH CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, you're exactly right. and I just have to say at the very end there, Madeline Dean, who was trying to keep it together, not because it was a theatrical move, because she was there.

And she was reliving it as are all of the people in the jury -- even though some of them were co-conspirators, let's be honest -- but everybody in that building understood the ramifications of what they were presenting right there and were genuinely scared. Many of them for their lives calling their loved ones because they weren't sure what was going to happen next. So that's no small thing to hear a House manager speak about that from a first person account.

But the fact that they not only built the narrative of what the president did, but I thought what you referred to Stacey Plaskett what she did which is bring in the few things that we haven't seen very much of. We've seen reporting on it, and in fact CNN did reporting on it leading up to January 6th. But how detailed, how intense, how explicit the organizers of that riot were leading up to it. And the fact that over and over again, the House managers and

particularly the delegate, reminded us that they were being monitored by the Trump administration, by the FBI. They knew, and there was no National Guard. They understood that there were not going to be that many Capitol police officers. They said 2,000 which could be overwhelmed. And not only was nothing done to further protect and fortify the Capitol or Washington, D.C. in general, the president went down and lit a match, and that's what they described.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there were a couple of things just on that topic that really struck out at me. One of them is -- one of the last things that we just saw which we've seen before in the House managers' presentation, the way in which Trump's comments from that podium in the speech were as they were echoing out over the Ellipse his supporters in the crowd were saying take the Capitol, you know, storm the Capitol.

The repetition of storm the Capitol from the crowd really, it is intended to make that connection between what he said and how they interpreted that as their orders for the day, but we also heard Stacey Plaskett, one of the impeachment managers as she was laying out the, you know, the far-right individuals who were within the crowd, the Proud Boys, et cetera, she talked about the plan to go from the Ellipse to the Capitol and how that even came about in the first place.

And she points out that they had a permit for this event, and that permit did not initially include a plan to walk from the Capitol or march from the Ellipse to the Capitol, but it did by the time of the actual event because of some reporting that she repeated on the floor that indicated that organizers found out on the day that when the White House became involved in the organizing of the event and deciding what the music was going to be and the stage direction of the event, it now included a plan to march from the Ellipse to the Capitol.

I thought that was a pretty, you know -- that's a pretty important piece of information that is out there. It was reported, you know, in the "New York Times" and elsewhere, but putting together the pieces of the puzzle, not only was Donald Trump giving a speech. He was involved in the planning of the theatrics of it but also this idea of going from the Ellipse to the Capitol is so crucial in piecing together the moments of that event.

TAPPER: Yes, and one of the things that's interesting is the Trump legal team in their brief put forward many things that weren't true but one of them was there was not the intention of the president to overturn the results of the election and the counting. And that obviously is undermined by President Trump's own tweets, words and his lies.

There are two groups, Anderson, that we know stormed the Capitol that day. One is radicalized MAGA supporters, radicalized Trump supporters, and the other is far-right groups. And the truth of the matter is that the House impeachment managers could have used video going all the way back to 2015, 2016 if they wanted to talk about Trump playing footsie with these far-right groups.

[15:50:05]

They only went back as far as the first debate with Joe Biden where Trump said stand back and stand by with the Proud Boys, but he's been playing footsie with the far-right groups for years and years.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Even a group, you know, a group like QAnon which kind of crosses over into both those categories that you talked about. The president has said favorable things about them while at the same time denying he knows anything about them.

Ross, I mean, I thought one of the things that was particularly powerful, just using Trump's words against him to build their case.

ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, I dare anybody to say that they could have done a better job than these House managers have done with the available information. What the managers are doing is taking Trump's words, taking his tweets, taking available footage and just lining it all up to help prove their case.

And, you know, again, I'm still watching for that final little bit that I think Trump's, you know, lawyers are going to challenge. which is, you know, yes, if we did everything but there was no violence, is it still an impeachable offense? I'm still watching for that little bit. But I think the --

COOPER: That's what you believe they need to get to?

GARBER: I think that's what we're going to hear. What I'm doing, is I'm looking at this from the perspective of a potential Trump voter or somebody who's undecided, which is really what you need. In a presidential impeachment trial, those are the folks you need to convince in order to get a conviction. So I'm trying to look at it from their perspective and see if there's enough here to get to a conviction from any of them.

Sort of like I was looking at yesterday from that perspective. And, interestingly, they actually did get Senator Cassidy yesterday. So I'm looking at the presentations from that perspective. I think the House managers have done an amazing job. But I am looking for that one last bit about whether you can tie Trump to the actual violence.

COOPER: Laura, and just from a legal standpoint, how do you think they're building the case?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: They're building it phenomenally. They're using the theme of why this didn't start on January 6th. It brings new perspective to all the conduct, including the Trump supporters who tried to run the Biden campaign staffers' bus off the road. They looped that in.

The comment about "stand back and stand by" brought a whole new meaning to that in what he really meant and inability to condemn violence in those people as well as white supremacy. It talked about the idea when Congressman Ted Lieu made the point, he ran out of nonviolent options to remain in power. That, to me, was like a sword of Damocles now hanging over the Trump defense team to prove that they are wrong about that.

They have built up all these different aspects of how he primed people. He got them ready. He had them in the palm of their hands, Anderson, and then released them. And hearing about the permit, as Abby was just speaking about, reiterating that point. Hearing the idea that he not only thought it was foreseeable they would do this, but he put them in the position to do so.

I got to tell you, I raised my hand listen, thinking, oh please, tell me we're going to hear from Attorney General Barr. Please how we're going to hear from Mike Pence. Because as they articulated each of those men in their positions about the big lie and how they had to respond and react in real time, one resigning ahead of Christmas and the other one deciding that he had to go forward with the ceremonial role. I thought to myself, they are speaking to who you are speaking about, Ross. The undecided who are saying, is this about the partisanship?

I want to support Mike Pence. Does that mean I have to vote to acquit or convict? I believed in Bill Barr, the law and order, he says, AG. What do I do now? By bringing those elements in and thematically exposing every aspect of it, they are doing a very compelling argument.

Unfortunately in an impeachment trial, unlike a criminal trial where I just have to prove my case, they have to change minds of already biased jurors, but they're doing a good job so far.

NORMAN EISEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And Anderson, they used all the tools in the trial lawyers' tool kit to do that. They mixed high-tech, multimedia, video, audio, tweets, other visuals with old-fashioned sitting around the campfire, bedtime, storytelling by these managers. They took the time to respect the audience of those undecided jurors.

Remember, they're not just talking to the Senators. They're talking to America. They're talking for posterity. They want to disprove these crazy QAnon false flag lies that are still circulating. They took the time. They showed their respect to unpack the story. They had proper pacing and, in addition to the technical evidence, the video, the audio, the tweets, emotion.

[15:55:00]

At the end when Madeleine Dean talked about what it meant to her as she came under attack. She talked about the pounding. And I don't think anybody who was watching was able to not feel that emotion and understand it is ultimately the emotions that animate the values that make an argument come to life in front of a jury. And that emotion was very powerful.

COOPER: I really do wish they had allowed which they didn't allow by negotiation, cameras to show --

COATES: Other members? COOPER: -- the members, the Senators.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, hopefully, they were paying attention. But we know that some of them were not.

For me, this was the piece of the presentation that took Donald Trump from being just another demagogue to actually being an insurrectionist. This was he failed at everything -- and he made this case, you said it methodically. You know, they made this case and said, look, he has lost his lawsuits. He lost trying to persuade the Georgia election officials. He made his phone calls. And they took you up to the point of the demonstration where he became an insurrectionist.

By introducing new evidence, the evidence you were talking about, Laura. The evidence about -- that we haven't seen before that the original permit for the rally did not allow them to march to the Capitol until, as they pointed out, the White House got involved and said, yes, you should be able to march to the Capitol.

Also, the person who was involved in that bus that drove Biden/Harris supporters off the road, was a key participant in the January 6th attack. And we know that then President Trump tweeted in support of that. So they're trying to kind of piece this together and say, you know, it goes way beyond what you thought you knew about Donald Trump to something else.

COOPER: Let's go back to Wolf -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right Anderson, thank you.

You know John, we were watching this very closely together. One of the most effective things, these House impeachment managers did was to cite Republicans who were arguing the big lie was simply not true, that the election was free and fair.

They cited the then Attorney General Bill Barr, the acting Attorney General when he left, Jeffrey Rosen, the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, who certified the electoral college results. The Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia, the Republicans secretaries of state that was Ted Lieu was making that point, the Democratic Congressman from Los Angeles. It was very effective.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very effective on two fronts, very effective in making the factual case. Look how far Donald Trump was willing to go to cheat, to try to steal an election, to get others to participate in his fraud. The fraud was on President Trump, not any voters in any state. But how far he went.

And then let's also play to the jury. These Republicans had the courage to stand up to him. They knew what he would do. They knew he would chainsaw them. They knew he would attack them. They knew he would turn on them. But they had the courage to stand up to him. How about you? That's a play to Republicans in that room. And I think they used that and then connected it to what we all listened to for four years, right? And from a lot of Republican Senators sitting right there, that's just

a Trump tweet. Don't make me talk about the tweets. Oh, forget about the tweets. Tweets don't matter. Well I think the House managers put out a pretty damn good case that tweets do matter. That the president, in all caps, could say stop the fraud, stop the steal, stop the count. He never said stop the attack.

You know, he waited hours to do a video, which was very mild-mannered in its language and actually called them patriots. To make the case this is the president, the man now, citizen, that you empowered, that you enabled, that you kept saying these words don't matter they do matter.

BLITZER: You and I are former White House correspondent.

KING: Yes.

BLITZER: A presidential tweet is a presidential statement. It's a presidential declaration. If just if it's on Twitter, it's still coming from the sitting president of the United States.

KING: Right. But it's the cop-out. It's the cop-out Republicans have used for four years, that it's just a tweet. Even Trump's own staff at the White House would say, why do you pay so much attention to his tweets? Because his tweets motivate his supporters. And I think the managers have done a very powerful job connecting what he says and what he tweets to the actions of his supporters.

Very smart by delegate Plaskett, to note. You know, everyone says, well it was a big rally. But how could you know there would be violence? Well, they signaled violence in all these right-wing talk groups and chat groups and online posting and making the very strong connection that Donald Trump and his social media team they tend the garden. This is not a surprise to them. They follow these people. They know that they're supporters.

They know what they're doing, and they pay attention to them. So that just that it's laughable to think that anyone was surprised that a lot of people in that crowd were prone to violence and were coming here, thinking about violence. That the FBI knew about it, the police departments knew about it, so the president should know about it through his normal briefings.