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House Impeachment Managers Wrap Case, Trump Defense Tomorrow; Interview with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT); Source: Trump Defense Eyes Shortening Trial Presentation To As Little As Three Hours; Impeachment Managers Wrap Case, Trump Defense Tomorrow; GOP Senators, Also Jurors, Talk Strategy With Trump Team. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 11, 2021 - 20:00   ET



EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR U.S. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: We expect a lot more from some of the charges that are still coming.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Wow. Amazing that she was literally sitting there waiting, right, waiting and listening.

All right, Evan Perez, thank you very much.

And thanks, as always to all of you. We'll see you here tomorrow, AC 360 starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. House Impeachment Managers have now concluded their case for why the former President of the United States must never be allowed to even contemplate another run for that office, presenting a case that was as much about arguing his guilt before a hundred U.S. senators, as it was defining his legacy before the American public.

Tomorrow, his legal team will have their turn to rebut the House Managers' case. Whatever those arguments, the senators appear to have already begun, at least behind closed doors.

Hours ago, three of the former President's most reliable backers in the Senate: Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee met privately with the former President's attorneys on Capitol Hill.

Senator Cruz told CNN this about the private meeting, quote: "We were discussing their strategy for tomorrow and discussing their thoughts and where it should go." Again, these three men are jurors in a trial. So ethics aside, it's pretty much an indication that the fix is likely in.

And the Democrats seem to know that. Today, they also issued a warning -- a warning that this could happen again, a warning for the future of this country and a clear message about what will be the legacy of the former President.

The editorial page of the conservative "Wall Street Journal" today picked up on it this evening with a piece titled "The Trump Impeachment Evidence: He might be acquitted, but he won't live down his disgraceful conduct."

This is the final paragraph, it reads: "Now his legacy will be forever stained by this violence and by his betrayal of his supporters and refusing to tell them the truth. Whatever the result of the impeachment trial, Republicans should remember the betrayal if Mr. Trump decides to run again in 2024."

Again, "The Wall Street Journal" says these Republican senators and all others in the party should, quote: "Remember the betrayal." Time of course, will tell if they will or if their constituents will force them to.

More now on the day from our congressional correspondent, Ryan Nobles.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): He attacked the First Amendment. He attacked the Constitution. He betrayed his Oath of Office. Presidents don't have any right to do that. It's forbidden.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Democratic House Impeachment Managers have wrapped their case with hours of time available, hoping a shorter presentation will have a greater impact.


NOBLES (voice-over): On Day 3, they tied Trump to the mob by showing that those who stormed the Capitol did so because they believed the President had sent them there.

REP. DIANA DEGETTE (D-CO): You don't have to take my word for it that the insurrectionists acted at Donald Trump's direction, they said so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were invited. We were invited here. We were invited by the President of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's call Trump, yes.

NOBLES (voice-over): The Managers showed several examples of rioters shouting Trump's name and proclaiming they were doing his bidding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he not realize President Trump called us to siege the place?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was following my President. I thought I was following what we were called to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're fighting for Trump.

NOBLES (voice-over): They then showed how Trump offered his support for the mob and demonstrated no remorse for the role he played in inciting their anger.

TRUMP: My speech and my words and my final paragraph, my final sentence, and everybody -- they thought it was totally appropriate.

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): We know President Trump didn't make a mistake, because you see, when you or I make a mistake, and something very bad happens, we would show remorse. We would accept responsibility.

President Trump didn't do any of that. Why not? Because he intended what happened on January 6th. And how do we know that? He told us.

NOBLES (voice-over): Trump's legal team will get their opportunity to rebut the Democratic arguments tomorrow, but they attempted to get a head start today. Their lead lawyer, David Schoen left the chamber while the trial was underway to go on FOX News.

He promised their presentation will show no link between Trump and the actions of January 6.

DAVID SCHOEN, DONALD TRUMP'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think you'll at least be moved by what you see and get a much better picture of exactly what's going on here and the hypocrisy in some of the positions taken by the House Managers in this case.

NOBLES (voice-over) But Democrats believe they provided overwhelming evidence of Trump's connection to the crime and warned that it was incumbent upon these jurors to hold him accountable because of what might happen in the future.

LIEU: I'm not afraid of Donald Trump running again in four years. I'm afraid he's going to run again and lose because he can do this again.



COOPER: And Ryan Nobles joins us now. So there's also new reporting, Ryan, on the timeline of the trial over the next few days. What's it going to look like?

NOBLES: Yes, Anderson, it looks like this could wrap up much quicker than we earlier anticipated. The Trump legal team saying today that they intend to only use three to four hours of the 16 hours they have available to them to make their case.

That means that, theoretically, tomorrow they could move quickly to the question and answer period. And now if everything goes according to plan that means this could all be wrapped up by Saturday.

Now, there are a lot of caveats to that. We still don't know whether or not witnesses are going to be called. We don't know if both sides intend to use the full time allotted to them when it comes to questions and answers. But it seems pretty clear that both Democrats and Republicans are ready to get this trial in the rearview mirror.

And Anderson, based on what Republican senators told us today, after they left the chamber, it still seems pretty clear that President Trump will be acquitted.

COOPER: Ryan Nobles, appreciate it.

Perspective now in what we've seen in this trial and what's to come from one of the jurors, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut joins us now.

Senator, I first just wanted to get your reaction to the case that the House Managers laid out over the past two days.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, it's a remarkable case. It is a case that is full of loads of impeachable conduct. I mean, I think you can make the case that even if January 6 did not happen, the President had violated his Oath of Office repeatedly, simply through his attempts to try to bully state officials into overturning the election.

And then I think the impeachment managers did a good job of showing how January 6th was entirely a construction of Donald Trump.

It wasn't some organic rally that he just showed up to speak at. He, in fact, was the primary organizer of it. And at that rally, he had all sorts of information to know that this was a very dangerous, very violent crowd, and even with that knowledge, he equipped them with the information.

He incited them to violence that led, I think, very knowingly, very predictably to the attack that left many, many people dead and injured.

I think today, you know, their focus was on making it very clear that the crowd believed they were acting at the direction of President Trump, but then also making it equally clear how dire the harm is to the United States.

These right-wing groups claim that they have had boons in recruitment since January 6th, they are still planning more attacks on the United States. And they also showed how our image and reputation abroad has suffered, that America is less secure today, because of what happened on the 6th.

It's a really compelling case, I hope there are at least a handful of Republicans who are moved by it. We'll see this weekend.

COOPER: I was struck by a video that you posted on Twitter talking about a conversation you had with it with a freshman senator after today's proceedings. Can you just talk about that a little bit?

MURPHY: Yes, I think you have to, you know, understand that you know, these are videos that we're watching showing our lives in danger, right? We watched yesterday for the first time, security footage of all of us being rushed out of the Senate chamber.

We saw for the first time how close we were to rioters who we now know were intent on killing us. Who knows how it would have turned out, but I think we have enough evidence to understand that there were a lot of lives in danger that day?

And so, for you know, a hundred people and hundreds of staff to be reliving that inside the chamber, you know, it's a little different than the standard trial before a jury. It's certainly very different than the Ukraine trial a year ago, when as I walked out with a freshman senator, you know, he was remarking to me, you know, these are tough things to watch, tough things to process, especially if you just showed up to the Senate about 30 days ago.

COOPER: You know, it was pointed out today, you know, the President's responses and lack of responses to what happened the day it happened. And one of the videos that he made is, you know, he said, this is what happens, when -- you know, in his opinion, an election is stolen, or people aren't listened to.

But that phrase, "This is what happens," it is very telling, and it sort of has a double meaning that was pointed out today, which is he knew what would happen if you bring -- if you lie to people and get them riled up.

And, you know, you've seen them attack the Michigan State House, and then you get them to come to Washington and then you tell them to go to Congress itself and that you're going to march with them and fight like hell.

This is what happens, and any reasonable person would know that, and the President was indicating the day of the attack, he knew it. That he knew this is what happens because this is what happens when you do this.

MURPHY: Well, that tweet that he sends out at six o'clock on the day of the insurrection that I think he does erased some hours later is essentially an admission of guilt because as you point out, he is basically telling everyone in that tweet that he knew that violence was going to occur, that everyone should have known.


MURPHY: And then at the back end of that tweet, he is, of course, celebrating the violence, applauding all of the individuals who stormed the Capitol, and in the deaths of multiple individuals, and so more than probably any other piece of evidence, that tweet gives you a very clear window into the President's frame of mind that day.

And the managers also did this, I think, a very good job of showing how, you know, over the course of four years, Donald Trump applauded violence, rewarded violence over and over again, right?

This local official from New Mexico who said, the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat. Guess what? He gets an invitation to the White House after he sends out that message. All of it was a predicate to January 6th.

And of course, he should have known given a celebration of violence leading up to that day, that that's what was going to happen when he sent the crowd to the Capitol.

COOPER: I'm just curious. I mean, you know, it seems pretty clear the way most Republican senators are going to vote. Behind the scenes, I mean, I don't know how much collegiality there is any more these days. But do your Republican colleagues tell you what they really think? Because so much of this or the things they say publicly just seem intellectually dishonest?

MURPHY: You know, they had a chance about three weeks ago, to essentially remove Donald Trump from any leadership position in their party and they did not.

And so today, I think they are faced with the recognition that Donald Trump is going to be the leader of the Republican Party, the face of the Republican Party, the most powerful person in the Republican Party for the next four years.

And just as they lived in fear of him for the last four years, apparently, they are now prepared to live in fear of him for the next four years. I think that continues to drive much of their behavior. They are going to rationalize it by saying that either this proceeding is unconstitutional, or that the President didn't give explicit instructions for violence.

But I think when it comes down to it, most of them watch what has happened to Republican Congressmen who crossed Donald Trump. They get into a bunch of trouble, and many of them just want to try to avoid that, and that's sickening.

That is terrible for our republic. That could spell the end of democracy, but I think if you ask me what they're thinking, that's likely what they're thinking.

COOPER: What do you think of Senators Graham, Cruz and Lee meeting with the President's defense team late this afternoon? Is that appropriate?

MURPHY: I mean, listen, I think it is -- this is not a jury trial. It's not a criminal trial. There are no rules against members of the Senate talking with the lawyers.

Frankly, there are, you know, Democratic Senate members who were having conversations on the floor, in front of the cameras with Jamie Raskin and others.

So, I guess, to be honest, Anderson, I'm not terribly worried about that. Frankly, I'm sure Republican senators watch the President's lawyers' presentation the first day of the trial and are panicked that they are going to repeat that very poor and embarrassing performance and are trying to give them a little bit of friendly advice.

COOPER: Senator Chris Murphy, appreciate your time.

We're joined now by George Conway.

MURPHY: Thanks.

COOPER: Thanks, Senator.

George Conway, a well-known attorney in Republican circles, a frequent critic of the President. George, thanks for being with us, again. How much was the House Managers case -- I mean, how much of it is an effort to convince Senate Republicans to vote for conviction versus, you know, history and defining the President's legacy?

GEORGE CONWAY, COFOUNDER, THE LINCOLN PROJECT: I think it's a little of both. I mean, I think they must realize that it's an uphill battle to convince 17 Republicans. They seem to -- many of them seem to have made up their minds. The jurisdictional votes seem to suggest that they don't want to entertain this at all.

But I think I'm grateful for the fact that they're still proceeding in full force and doing such a tremendous, tremendous job of advocacy. Really, a stellar A-plus by any stretch by any legal litigation standard, they are doing an absolutely spectacular job and I'm grateful for that, because I think that, you know, people need to see this historically.

People need to see the presentations that they made and people need to know what happened here, and if the Republicans don't abide by their -- the Republican senators don't abide by their oaths, well, that needs to be recorded in history too about what they ignored and what and the shame upon them and should be accorded them if they refuse to listen to this evidence.

COOPER: You know, Senator Murphy was just saying that, you know, the Republicans in the Senate have chosen to have Donald Trump continue to be the -- you know, it would be the party of Donald Trump and to have him be the biggest force in the party for the next four years.

I do not understand why they are choosing that. I understand why, you know some folks who believe that is are the same people who are voting for them would choose that and they're afraid of going against it.

But for a lot of these senators, I mean, they would like to be President themselves in some cases. Why are they allowing this man to have power over them for the next, you know, at least four years?


CONWAY: Well, you know, I wish I could apply truth serum to every senator or do a Vulcan mind meld with them and figure out exactly what makes them tick. But what I think -- I think it's a combination of two things.

I think it's a combination for some political ambition and self-desire for self-preservation, and just share cowardice. And what I mean by cowardice is fear of the very kind of mobs and the kinds of voters who have been convinced by the President's lies.

And the irony of this is that the kind of -- the kinds of forces that are encouraging Republican senators to ignore the evidence are precisely the forces that the President of the United States unleashed on January 6th. It's almost evidence -- it's evidence that the President should be convicted in fact.

And I want to talk about one point that Senator Murphy made, which I thought was a very good one, and one that I've agreed with him yesterday is that one of the things that the managers did was make a very good case that everything that happened up until January 6th was by itself, the lying about the election, the attacks on our constitutional system, the attacks on election integrity were by itself an impeachable offense or should have been an impeachable offense.

In fact, I'd go farther than the senator did, I think that there were actually three impeachable offenses, any one of which should suffice to disqualify President Trump from holding office ever again.

The first was the lying about the election, the big lie before January 6th, the second was the incitement itself on January 6th, and the third which they did a tremendous job yesterday, and today, and particularly today, is basically the dereliction of duty that this all ended with on January 6th when Trump basically refused to do anything, refused to say, you know, he was --

Trump is always capable of these all caps tweets with exclamation points. We didn't see that on the afternoon of January 6th. It was okay, be nice to law enforcement. And then later he praises them, and he didn't do anything to actually get these people to stop when these people were actually chanting and repeating his tweets about Mike Pence. He could have tweeted, instead, you people need to stop, you people need to turn around, you need to get off the Capitol grounds and you need to be not violent.

And he didn't -- you know, he didn't do that with any emphasis at all. It was a dereliction of duty. So those were three impeachable offenses.

COOPER: So him screaming "stop the steal" and not stop the attack. You know, this does not represent me, I'm horrified and sickened by what you are doing.

CONWAY: Yes. He said, remember this day. What a great day this was for him. That's what he said at the end of the day.

COOPER: And yes, and you know, this is what happens. This is what obviously he was going to have.

CONWAY: Right, this is what happens. Not my fault. It's what happens when people think an election was stolen from them. Well, who convinced them of that lie?

COOPER: Yes. Once neither was raised --

CONWAY: And he did nothing.

COOPER: It was raised today by the House Managers was that you know, I think it was Ted Lieu saying he is not worried that the former President will run and win, it's that he's going to run again and lose and do this again.

It is -- you know, the reality is, a lot of the folks who ransacked the Capitol are still out there. Not everyone has been arrested. CONWAY: Absolutely.

COOPER: And there's a lot of folks who, according to these, you know, groups have joined up in the wake of it.

CONWAY: Yes, absolutely. They're still out there. You know, I think one of the problems that the Republican Party has is that Trump is still out there and yes, Trump, maybe -- maybe Trump would win by winnowing the Republican Party down to its most deceived base. It's most -- its basest base.

You could you could end up with a party that's smaller, and yet and Trump here, and that's a disturbing possibility. It should be a disturbing possibility for Republicans, and it is a terrible possibility for the nation, even if he can't win a general election with a smaller party.

You know, the fact of the matter is we need two normal, healthy political parties in this nation to be able to -- this is historically what we've always had. We need that for political balance and for political stability.

And right now, we have a party, a Republican Party that's completely off the rails that is shown by the senators' refusal -- some of the senators' refusal to listen to the evidence.

COOPER: Does it matter what sort of a case the former President's attorneys put on tomorrow? I mean --

CONWAY: Well, I mean, it should in the sense that I think senators do have an obligation whether they be Democratic or Republican to listen to both sides.

I suppose the Democrats are going to listen more closely than the Republicans have and I would hope that by staying in in the chamber and not reading -- going through reading materials.

But whatever happens, I think -- I just don't think they have the goods. They just don't have the goods. I mean, I think what you're going to hear tomorrow, which is why they are only going to use less than one day, according to them, is you're going to hear distractions.


CONWAY: You're going to hear them say, oh, Black Lives Matters rallies. They are going to show tape of that and say, look, those people committed violence and we don't see Democrats being held to account for that, even though there is absolutely no conceivable equivalence, especially given the fact that the President of the United States, you know, specifically unlike any politician on the other side, specifically encouraged the violence and encouraged the march on the Hill on January 6th and had a constitutional duty to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and to stop what happened on January 6th.

There's no equivalent, but you're going to hear that, and then you're going to hear a lot about context, right? They're going to say, oh, these videos were out of context. We heard a little about this on the other night from another network, and the fact of the matter is, the Democrat -- the Democratic House Managers did nothing but provide context for two straight days.

The context shows Trump is guilty.

COOPER: One argument that we do expect from the former President's legal team said there's no direct link between what the insurrectionists did and what the former President said. Obviously, we heard a lot of folks who were inside the Capitol attacking it at the time believing that there was a direct link, believing that they were there doing the President's bidding and the Department of Justice filed today charges against, you know, a leader of the so called Oath Keepers named Jessica Watkins, who said, you know --

And the quote is, "As the inauguration drew nearer, Watkins indicated she was awaiting direction from President Trump. Her concern about taking action without his backing was evident in November 9, 2020 text in which he stated, 'I'm concerned this is an elaborate trap. Unless the POTUS himself activates us. It's not legit. The POTUS has the right to activate units, too. If Trump asked me to come, I will; otherwise, I can't trust it.'"

There were certainly a lot of people who felt the President was talking directly to them.

CONWAY: Absolutely. And you wonder why there's been -- there was all this video. These people were taking video of themselves and bragging about it and posting social media items about what they had done.

And the reason is, it is because they thought they had permission. They thought they had direction. They thought they had been given orders by the President of the United States. That's why they thought they were immune from consequences.

And that's basically one of the reasons why there is no question that Donald Trump did this. And if you also -- one of the other things that the House Managers did today, that was really a very, very good, and a very good move was to give the context of other violence and other disruptions that Trump had caused over time, including, you know, the Liberate Michigan or Liberate the States and you know, what they did to Governor Whitmer, after he provoked, he encouraged people in Michigan to go after her.

I mean, he has a history of this. He knows the effect of his words. He knows them, and that's what he did on January 6th.

And, again, to go back to the legal standard, there was a lot of talk by the House Managers today about willfulness and that Trump was willful.

Well, fact of the matter is, he was willful, but they don't even need to show that. Trump had a duty to protect the country. He did exactly the opposite. Even if he were negligent or reckless in doing this, he still should be impeached, and he was justly impeached, that he should be disqualified.

And for actually failing to do anything about it after the fact, it only shows that he intended it, and also that he committed a dereliction of duty in violation of his oath.

COOPER: All right, George Conway, I appreciate it. Thank you.

CONWAY: Thank you.

COOPER: We're going to continue the discussion on, of course how the former President's team is reacting to the case the House Managers presented. Also, their strategy to rebut Democrats' arguments when they begin their defense tomorrow.

Later, a conversation with "New York Times" columnist, Tom Friedman about where this trial may take the Republican Party and the country.



COOPER: So as we reported at the top of the broadcast, three Republican allies of the former President in the Senate met in private with his legal team today.

According to Senator Ted Cruz, it was to discuss strategy. This, the day before those attorneys are expected to rebut the case presented by House Impeachment Managers, a job some other Republican senators have praised.

For more on the former President's defense strategy, we are joined by chief White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins and chief domestic correspondent, Jim Acosta.

So, Jim, I know you have some reporting on what the former President's legal team strategy is, what do you expect?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF DOMESTIC CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I think we can expect to see the what-about-ism Hall of Fame Super Bowl tomorrow. I mean, this is going to be a case where you're going to see the President's impeachment team go in there and essentially say, you know, you can't hold him responsible for saying things like "fight like hell" as he said on January 6th, because they're going to be pointing to some of these House Democratic Impeachment Managers who have used similar wording in the past.

Of course, obviously, there's no equivalence there. Those Democratic Impeachment Managers when they have used that kind of rhetoric did not spark an insurrection, like former President Trump did, but they're going to attempt to make that argument.

In addition to that, Anderson, I think they are also and they were signaling this earlier today that they also are going to say that there's no connection -- there is no direct connection between the words that the President was using on January 6th and the actions of the rioters up on Capitol Hill. Of course, House Impeachment Managers showed video clip after video clip of some of those rioters, some of those insurrectionists saying sometimes into their own phones that they were doing the bidding of the former President.

One thing I will tell you, Anderson, is that it almost seems as if the President's lawyers are trying to win points with brevity. They are foreshadowing that this is going to be a brief presentation tomorrow.

When I was speaking with Bruce Castor, one of the President's lawyers earlier today, he said they were cutting their presentation as we speak, to shorten it and so they are -- I think their approach at this point is less is more just trying to get everybody out of there in the hopes of maybe earning some votes that way.


COOPER: And Kaitlan earlier this week, and we learned the former president was unhappy with his lawyer Bruce Castor's opening arguments screaming at the television. You reporting that there was tension within his orbit over Castor and calls for him to actually be fired. And I just want to remind viewers this after the original legal team backed out days before the start of the trial.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. When everyone was widely panning, that opening argument. You had to keep in mind, these two attorneys have only had a little over a week to actually prepare for this, which is pretty extraordinary given they are defending the former President of the United States. But that's what happened because the other team left they departed over differences with former President Trump. And so now you've got this other team that's coming up. The President was deeply, deeply unhappy to say the least with how Tuesday went in those opening arguments. And Bruce Castor has defended it by saying he wasn't expecting to speak that day. And then he started to go they swapped speaking places.

Basically, what that boils down to is there's concern over what tomorrow is going to look like. Because Jim is right, they do believe it's going to essentially be a home run, and you can't really mess it up. Because a lot of Republicans have signaled they are going to acquit him. But, there's still some concern over what the arguments are going to look like apprehension in Trump world just because it's been so disorganized so far. I think that's actually a part of the reason why you saw those Republican lawmakers in their meeting with the team earlier today.

Because if you watched last night, Lindsey Graham was giving them advice from a Sean Hannity interview. Basically telling the team what it is that they should be doing. Because so many people had gone to the President on Tuesday and told him he should just get rid of Bruce Castor, because he wasn't an effective attorney until the President did briefly consider that but he didn't ultimately go through with it. We've still seen him come up to Capitol Hill.

So he will still be there on the team tomorrow as they are presenting, however short that presentation may be. COOPER: And Jim, the former president we know obviously likes to see people defend him on television, apparently is not happy with what he's seen so far.

ACOSTA: That's right. Yes, I talked to a source who has been speaking with the President familiar with his thinking on all of this, who said that essentially, he, for President Trump believes he is not seeing enough legal voices out there on the airwaves defending him. And, you know, this explains why we saw David Schoen in one of the President's impeachment lawyers break out of the impeachment trial earlier today, he actually left the trial to go do a live shot on Fox News. Evidently, he didn't think he needed to be in that proceeding as it was underway to help defend his client. But according to the source that I spoke with, that's because the former president believes he just doesn't have that many people out there. It just goes to show you Anderson even though he has left office, he still wants to people working for him performing for that audience of one.

COOPER: And Kaitlan, our colleague, Pamela Brown is reporting that the former presidents having conversations with his advisors about moving on from the stop the steal lie, once the trial ends.

COLLINS: I think this is a wish of the President's advisors. As Pam noted in her reporting earlier, they would like for him to move on from this.


COLLINS: But as we've also noted, is President Trump for President Trump is planning a return to the public eye once this is over. He's kind of been sitting back and waiting, just really golfing and having dinner with old friends so far in the meanwhile, but I am told that it's going to be paid speeches overseas, and he is going to be holding domestic rallies here at home targeting those who that he believes have crossed him politically. So, this idea that he's going to return back to society and drop these claims that the election was stolen from him just are divorced from reality, and maybe his advisors, it's just wishful thinking for them that he would he would do that. And he would move on for the sake of his public image.

But remember, one of the reasons he departed with that initial defense team was because he wanted them to go to the Senate floor, make the claims that he had actually won the presidency that the election was stolen from him. And they did not want to do that.

COOPER: Yes. Why would you give up on a lie? It's going to ride this for the rest of his life. Kaitlan, appreciate it. Jim Acosta --

ACOSTA: You never will.

COOPER: Yes. Jim Acosta thanks.

Perspective now, from Ross Garber, CNN legal analyst who teaches impeachment law in Tulane Law School, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borgia and two more CNN legal analyst Laura Coates, former federal prosecutor and Norm Eisen, former counsel to House Democrats during the first impeachment.

Ross, yesterday, you said you were waiting for that last little bit from the impeachment managers to prove intent. Do you hear it today?

ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, I thought what they did today was actually brilliant. They laid it out and I thought they did it very convincingly. And then they volley the ball to the President's lawyer's court. And they said, all right, we think we've laid this out. If you think there's anything we said, that isn't that isn't accurate, or that doesn't sort of tie it up. You know, now it's on you.

It was very interesting. I watched Senator Cassidy, Republican from Louisiana tonight and he is picked up on that message. And he said, you know what, I want to hear some things from the Republicans from the former president's lawyers tomorrow. For example, I want to hear their explanation for what he was doing during the siege.


COOPER: That's one of the --


COOPER: -- Jim Raskin ended it essentially with several questions that they would have asked President Trump had he agreed to testify, and that the lawyers need to answer that. And so Cassidy was picking up on that.

GARBER: Exactly right. So, yes, the managers really did kind of, you know, lay it out today. They strung it all together. And now it's up to the President's lawyer to lawyers to try to former president's lawyers to try to rebut it.

COOPER: Gloria, I think it bears repeating what some Republican leadership was saying in the wake of the attack, compared to what we're going to be hearing. So let's play that.



REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The President bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress.

MCCONNELL: They were provoked by the President and other powerful people.

MCCARTHY: He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Dropping, we've had a hell of a journey. I hate it then this way. Oh, my God, I hate it.

MCCONNELL: They tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government. GRAHAM: We're there to say Mike and say, I don't like the results. I want to send them back to the States.

MCCARTHY: These facts require immediate action to President Trump.

GRAHAM: All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough.

MCCARTHY: Accept to share responsibility, coil, the brewing unrest.

GRAHAM: To the conservatives who believe in the Constitution, now's your chance to stand up and be counted.


COOPER: I mean, that is stunning.


COOPER: That, you know, it's like Lindsey Graham, get he just can't quit Trump. I mean, that was his big moment of, you know, freedom. He's letting, you know, his flag fly. And then the next day he's heckled in an airport, and he goes scurrying away. And now he's meeting with Trump's lawyers giving them advice on how to get the client off.

BORGER: Yes, it was the big breakup. And now they're back together.

COOPER: Right, yes.

BORGER: And I think that --

COOPER: And he's out.

BORGER: Yes, it's about his political future. And look, is this the first time --

COOPER: He just won re-election. I mean, he's got six years out. I know, he doesn't like to be yelled at and no one does.

BORGER: I know, he does. But this is -- are you saying you've never seen hypocrisy?

COOPER: No, but I mean --

BORGER: But this is a different level.

COOPER: (INAUDIBLE) extraordinary.

BORGER: Yes. This is of a different level.

COOPER: Especially to somebody who used to, you know, follow John McCain around, you know, and --

BORGER: I cannot explain Lindsey Graham, to you, other than to say that these people are craven. And that McCarthy got in a lot of trouble after he said that on the floor. COOPER: Was there -- was that basically just testing the winds and they realized, oh, wait a minute, we're out? You know.

BORGER: Yes. I think it was, I think it was testing the winds. I think his staff had some problems with his staff, they were objecting to the way he had behaved. And he was, you know, he's got Liz Cheney out there saying, you know, this is, you know, he needs to be impeached. And I think McCarthy was trying to play both sides, which never works well, in an issue as clear as this. And I think these people are going to be judged in history. They're talking about the next few years of their political career. That's why Ted Cruz and Graham were meeting with the lawyers, because they don't want to be embarrassed Anderson.

COOPER: They're guaranteeing the next four years, their political career is going to be beholden to this person in Mar-a-Lago.

BORGER: But that's he's also had 74 million voters. But that's, you know, that's the problem for the Republican Party. And you are seeing these people reflected,

COOPER: Laura, I'm wondering what you thought of Raskin. And, you know, we were talking about it with Ross, the asking the questions that these defense attorneys should be able to answer.

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I thought it was perfect, given that for the better part of four years, including the last impeachment, this president that then president had never answered for himself. It always been vetted through lawyers, he had been able to weasel his way out of having to be forthcoming and less was on his terms and crafting a narrative. And so essentially, they said, we need you to answer for him and answer the questions that are out there that we had been able to provide. Answers like, why did he let the insurrection go on? Why did he not do anything for two hours? Why was there not reinforcements sent by the National Guard or otherwise? Did you have your thumb on the scale of all these things?

Those are questions at the very least he has to address, because it's out there raised by his defense team saying that there was a flurry of activity that he was actually doing, trying to rebut the statements that he did nothing and they're going to have to come up with more than a flurry. It'll have to be an avalanche of information to try to counteract what the House impeachment managers have done, because essentially, they have laid out this case methodically. But they've also shown the members of the Senate that they are getting ready to transform a lame duck presidency into the duck hunter. If they allow people to be able to run amok abuse power at the precise time when it's most enticing to do so when you have to see that power and relinquish whatever pseudo throne you think you have, then at what point will there be effective checks and balances?


I mean, I remember weeks ago when the discussion was with the impeachment, oh, my goodness, this is going to divide the nation, they bent over backwards to show that it wasn't us versus them. But what they meant by us was Congress, democracy, and that them were the insurrectionists. And the person that was leading to them was the President of the United States. If you're fighting for anything, that's the core value. That's the future of America.

COOPER: Norm, you know, they spent a lot of time today showing the president or the former president had a complete lack of remorse.

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Anderson, the picture that they painted of Donald Trump, like an oil painting, brushstroke by brushstroke over the past three days, and in particular filling the gap that we've talked about so much this week, did he do this knowingly? Those three powerful questions from today, the book ends Neguse posing the questions that they had answered, then Raskin posing the questions that will linger in the air tomorrow as the president lawyer presents. The Neguse questions was violent for -- violence, foreseeable check, they prove that. Did he encourage violence? No doubt about it. We heard his words. And then the key question. And did he do so knowingly? We saw tweets, we saw video, we saw the inaction. We saw the terrible behavior with pence that when he knew Pence was fleeing, he tweeted attacking him and the mob repeated it with the bullhorn.

I think they proved their case and the Republican the council for Donald Trump are not even going to try to rebut it. They're cutting their time down. They know they can't.

COOPER: Yes. Thank you all. Appreciate the insights.

(voice-over): Up next, with the outcome of the Senate trial for all intents and purposes, perhaps preordained? Sadly, what does that mean for the future of the Republican Party and its allegiance to the former president? I'll talk in New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman. When we continue.



COOPER: Lawyer for the ex-president prepare to take their case before the Senate tomorrow. One former administration officials tell CNN that of House managers can convince Republicans of his guilt, quote, you are not listening or you don't want to listen. One congressional Republican emphasized to CNN this trial is about the future of his party. Something my next guest has been writing and thinking a great deal about lately.

Joining us, New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman, author of The World Is Flat Among A Whole Range, a bestseller.

Tom, thanks for being here. The manager presented obviously a riveting case the last few days, the former president's legal team expected to present theirs tomorrow, perhaps in as little as three hours. I'm wondering what you've heard of the case so far, what do you make of this?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, you know, really, this has been from the Republican side simply a political exercise of escaping responsibility for rendering and judgment on this president for doing what Mitch McConnell said he did, which was to assemble the mob and set it on the Capitol. So, you know, I think they're really what the Republicans don't understand Anderson is today, Trump is on trial. Every day after this, they are going to be on trial for two reasons. One is, everywhere they're going to go people are going to ask now, wait a minute, that evidence I mean, you didn't think that was important. You ran away from that and some legal argument. But more importantly, Trump is just lying low as Kaitlan Collins noted, he's just lying low right now.

When this is all over, empowered by an acquittal delivered to him by these senators. He's going to be out there saying crazy stuff every day, attacking Biden, attacking other Republicans. And as he does that microphone is going to be in the face of every one of those Republican senators. Do you agree with that? Do you not agree with that? They're going to be on trial every day. Is so tragic Anderson, their first instinct. You heard that in McConnell statement? He set the mob and the Capitol. Their first instinct was, this is the time to get rid of him. And they, they blinked and they blinked.

And now, I want to go back to just a statement that Donald Trump Jr. made on if you showed it during that rally before the mob set in the Capitol. He said this is not the Republican Party. This is Donald Trump's Republican Party. He was basically saying to these senators, and congressmen. Don't you guys understand? We put our name on everything we (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: He also --


COOPER: He also said I believe in that same phrase in that same part of his speech, and I can't believe that I remember anything Donald Trump, Jr. has ever said. But he essentially said, you know, we are going to come after each and every one of you who doesn't remember that this is Trump's party.

FRIEDMAN: Yes. And I think the good thing out of that is that there will be principled Republicans, there aren't many. But there clearly is a gathering. We've read today about potential third party being formed by Republicans who don't want to go down this route.

COOPER: Which is exactly what you wrote about weeks ago.

FRIEDMAN: Yes. And I predicted that would happen. And I hope it will happen that they're thinking of calling it the integrity party, among other names that they were considering, which seems rather appropriate in contrast to Donald Trump's Republican Party. Third parties are notoriously difficult to get organized. But actually all I hope for, Anderson honestly is that they bleed off 10, 15% of Republican vote because there's one thing for me, there's just one overriding takeaway from this impeachment trial.


This party, as presently constituted and present -- presently lead must never, ever be entrusted with national power again, because we are seeing Craven behavior so unprincipled, that the thought of these people being in power, that's what I love. And here the last impeachment managers point, what if Donald Trump is elected and loses again, imagine what he would Trump.

COOPER: It's interesting you say that, because you I know you believe that it's important that there be a Republican Party or that or a conservative party, that there be a balance and, you know, that there are debates, and there is a, you know, debates of ideas and exchange of ideas. So for you to say that the current GOP, the way it's formatted, does not -- is not responsible enough to have national leadership is, you know, that's a lot.

FRIEDMAN: Yes. And I think the only way we'll get a responsible GOP is if they have to sit out of power, there's, there's nothing that cures madness in a political party more than being in the opposition for a long time. And this party, if this were kindergarten, they need a timeout. They need to be in the corner. Because Anderson, there's no symmetry, if you look at what the Democrats did in the last election, now, the Democratic Party's roughly say, you know, 80%, center left, and maybe 20% farther left. It's the center left that runs the Democratic Party, they elected Joe Biden.

The Republican Party today is President constantly, is at best sort of 90-10. And what's really scary, is that they only seem to be able to tell the truth in secret. Like when they had the secret vote about Liz Cheney, you know, then they then they recognize that what she was doing was right, but a party that can only tell the truth in secret, because they're afraid of both Donald Trump and Sean Hannity, that is not a governing party.

COOPER: I keep thinking about the Capitol Police officers yelling into his radio, we've lost the line, when which we heard yesterday for the first time. And I just think that's so chilling, not only for what he and, you know, the other men and women have Capitol police, you know, Washington, D.C. police were going through. But just on a bigger picture, like I feel like we have lost the line, we've lost the line between, like, right and wrong and good and bad. We've lost the line that connects us to, you know, the founders of this country and who we were. It just seems so we've lost the line and we've lost it to not some foreign enemy that, you know, has gotten inside the wire. It's from Americans attacking Americans.

What I say was so powerful. He's just speechless. No, he's obviously that froze. Hopefully we'll get him back. If not, we appreciate Tom being with as always.

More breaking news next, new and frankly frightening information about this video, former Vice President Mike Pence's escape from the advancing mob. We'll be right back.



COOPER: We were able to reconnect with Tom Friedman from New York Times. Tom, right before we -- you froze, we're just saying that that idea of losing the line, we lost the line, it's such to me, it's just a bigger idea than just, you know, the what it means on its face to me.

FRIEDMAN: Yes, you know, Anderson, I think you hit on what is just so profoundly depressing to so many people. You know, as we speak right now, there are American young men and women on sentry around the world, defending our freedom. Afghanistan, Iraq, you know, the borders of Russia, sees outside of China, and they're actually ready to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. And I think of these Republican senators will make the smallest sacrifice. What makes the smallest sacrifice have a salary of $174,000, in free parking at National Airport to defend our freedoms? And that's what's so profoundly depressing.

If they had been at Normandy beach. We'd all be speaking German today, if they had been on the Western Front. We'd all be speaking Russian today. And Andersen, I really worry about them better, might want a tutor, your son a little Mandarin. Because if these people are going to dominate our country in the future, we are in serious, serious trouble, that there is no defense of freedom from these kind of people.

COOPER: You know, when the House managers yesterday use the example of the plane that went down in Shanksville that it was heading toward Washington, D.C. supposedly toward the Capitol. And were it not for 44 people I believe the number was on board that flight who rushed the cockpit. The Capitol would have been attacked, the Capitol could have been destroyed. Those people sacrifice for an idea, for people they didn't even know. And the cravenness of the senators who are sitting there with their feet up on desk doodling not, you know, not even really willing to face up to the fear of being heckled in an airport like Lindsey Graham was. That was enough to send Lindsey Graham scurrying back, you know, into the embrace of the former President.

FRIEDMAN: Afraid of Sean Hannity and losing their free parking. And it really isn't more than that.

COOPER: Where does. I think what you said before to about the president, he's just laying low right now and the former president, and this is that he's going to be out there again. You know, Kaitlan Collins says raising money overseas making speeches, but I'm sure if he can make money with speeches here in America, he will he's certainly going to be having as many rallies as he can.

FRIEDMAN: You know, they're living on borrowed time, all these Republican senators, but you really have to give a I think shout out to President Biden, every day, just comes down to the Oval Office, does his work quietly, go home, keeps himself really behind the scenes. So all the other people, you know, can be out there, their voices heard acting on behalf of the country.

Anderson, I don't know how this administration is going to end. But I know one thing right now, we are so lucky to have this president who is someone who is impossible to hate, who doesn't have to occupy every screen, who doesn't have to be of his voice out in every story. He's just showing up working every day. We're going to get vaccinated now faster than ever, and that is the best answer to Donald Trump. And to this, the antics going on in this capital.

COOPER: I forgot who it was on election day and maybe it was Van or Van was quoting somebody who said that, you know, America chose the kid who stuttered instead of the kid who was the bully. These Republicans who are sitting there, they're choosing the bully. They're still scared of the bully and they're still choosing him because they're scared. And that's -- it's incredibly sad.


Tom Friedman, I appreciate it. Thanks very much.

FRIEDMAN: Always Anderson.

COOPER: We'll be back with another live edition of "360" 11:00 p.m. Eastern tonight, a lot more ahead. News continues right now. Let's go to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME."