Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Trump Defense Team To Start Presenting Arguments Friday; House Managers Present Video Evidence In Case Against Trump; House Impeachment Managers Present Case To Convict Trump. Aired 12-12:30p ET
Aired February 11, 2021 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: This is if they know - they do get after the president's defense presentation they get a rebottle.
But in terms of closing their case, this is a very important moment for them knowing the skepticism of the Republican Senators. The refusal of many of the Republican Senators to simply accept the facts of what happened because they're hiding behind politics and process. So the pressure is on.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the Senators still arriving and some of them. But this is about to resume and we don't anticipate as Manu and Kaitlan and our other reporters are reporting that the legal defense team for the former president will use all of their 16 hours with tickets spread out over Friday and Saturday.
KING: The main point for them and we saw this in the first Trump impeachment trial, there is much less cooperation with the Republican--
BLITZER: I hold on a second. Let's go to the Senate right now. This step procedure is beginning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --from Dr. Barry black who will lead the Senate in prayer.
BARRY BLACK, SENATE CHAPLAIN: Let us pray. Almighty God, our shelter from the storms gives our Senate jurors discernment that will rescue our nation from ruin. Illuminate their minds with your truth. As you speak through the whispers of conscience.
Remind them that the seeds they plant now will bring a harvest made the choices they make. Bring blessings, healing and prosperity to our land. We pray in your merciful name. Amen. Please join me.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): Please be seated. If there's no objection the journal proceedings of the trial are approved today. And that's the sergeant at arms to make the proclamation.
JENNIFER HEMINGWAY, SENATE ACTING SERGEANT AT ARMS: Hear aye! Hear aye! Hear aye! All persons are commanded to keep silence on pain of imprisonment, while the Senate of the United States is sitting for the trial of the article of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives against Donald John Trump, former President of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senate will be in order and the majority leader's recognized for the information.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): It's my understanding the schedule today will be similar to yesterday's proceedings will plan to take a short break every two three hours. And we'll accommodate a 30 minute recess for dinner assuming it is needed.
SEN. LEAHY: And pursuant to the provisions of Senate resolution 47. The managers for the house representatives have eight hours remaining to make the presentation of their case. The Senate will now hear you and the presiding officer recognizes Mr. Manager Raskin to continue the presentation occasionally the house representatives.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Mr. President thank you distinguished Senators. Representative to get a Colorado will now show how the insurrectionists themselves believed that they were following President Trump's marching orders.
REP. DIANA DEGETTE (D-CO): My friends and colleagues yesterday was an emotionally wrenching day. As I watched the footage of the violence in the Capitol building, my own experience flooded back to me. I was one of the unlucky members who were stuck in the house gallery along with Congresswoman Dean.
As the house floor was cleared beneath us of members and staff, we could see the mob pounding on the door to the house chamber. We could see the Capitol police officers inside the chamber, pull their guns and point them at the intruders. Then we heard gunshots on the other side and we flung ourselves down on the floor and removed our member pins.
DEGETTE: Then we heard pounding on the very flimsy gallery doors right up above us. Finally after that situation for some time, we were told to run out of the door at the end of the gallery. As we ran through a line of police towards a staircase, this is what I saw the swat team pointing automatic weapons at marauders on the floor.
Looking at these people makes you wonder who sent them here. In the next few minutes, I want to step back from the horrors of the attack itself. And look at January 6 from a totally different perspective, the perspective of the insurrectionists themselves.
Their own statements before during and after the attack make clear the attack was done for Donald Trump at his instructions and to fulfill his wishes. Donald Trump had sent them there. They truly believed that the whole intrusion was at the president's orders.
And we know that because they said so. Many of them actually posed for pictures, bragging about it on social media and they tagged Mr. Trump in tweets. Folks this was not a hidden crime. The president told them to be there. And so they actually believed they would face no punishment.
The defense argued in their briefs and they argued again here on Tuesday that the insurrectionist were acting on their own that they were not incited by President Trump or acting at his direction. This is in their brief, "they did so of their own accord and for their own reasons and are being criminally prosecuted."
But that's just not the case. It's not what the insurrection is actually sad. They said they came here because the president instructed them to do so. Leading up to the attack the insurrectionist said they were coming to DC for President Trump.
He invited them with clear instructions for a specific time and place and with clear orders. Stop the fight, to fight to stop the certification in congress by any means necessary. The crowd at Donald Trump speech echoed and chanted his words.
And when people in the crowd followed his direction and marched to the Capitol, they chanted the same words as they breached this building. Now let's return to the speech for a moment. During the rally President Trump led the crowd in a chat stops this deal chat. Here's what that chat sounded like from the crowds perspective.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: All of you people really came back with, we will stop this deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEGETTE: Soon after the president basked as the crowd chanted fight for Trump. And when he incited the crowd to show strength people responded, storm the Capitol invade the Capitol. Here are both of those moments but from the crowd's perspective.
We also have another perspective from this moment, online extremist chatter. At the same time as the people in the crowd shouted take the Capitol building as President Trump said show strength. A person posted to parlor saying, "Time to fight civil war is upon us."
Another user said, "We are going to have a civil war. Get ready." An analysis found that members of civil war quadrupled on parlor in the hour after Donald Trump said show strength. When the insurrection has got to the Capitol they continue those rally cries. Insurrectionist holding confederate flags and brandishing weapons cheered the president's very words.
DEGETTE: You heard those chanting stop this deal. And as the crowd chanted at the rally, the crowd at the Capitol made clear who they were doing this for. They also chanted fight for Trump.
And it wasn't just that they were doing this for Mr. Trump. They were following his instructions. They said he had invited them. And in fact as we heard, he had invited them. As one man explained on a live stream he taped from inside the Capitol, "our president wants us here. We wait and take orders from our president."
Footage from inside the Capitol shows when the insurrection is first got into the building and confronted police. The mob screamed at the officers that they were listening to President Trump.
The insurrectionists argued with law enforcement that they shouldn't even be fighting them because they believed that the commander-in- chief was ordering this. This was the person's understanding. When President-Elect Biden went on television that day to demand an end to the siege, one woman asked this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he not realize President Trump called us to siege the place?
DEGETTE: The examples of these types of comments are endless. Don't worry; I won't play all of them. But it wasn't just the words of the insurrectionists that prove that they did this in response to orders from their commander-in-chief. We can see this and the fact that they were not hiding. One rioter in a live stream at the Capitol said, "He'll be happy." We're fighting for Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's call Trump yes, dude. Let's tell Trump. No, just say we love him. We love you bro. No, he'll be happy. What do you mean, we're fighting for Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEGETTE: And again this was not an isolated incident. The individuals in this slide posted photos of themselves committing these crimes. Trump supporters who had broken into the Capitol were taking selfies, streaming live videos, and posing. In fact they wanted the president to know this is me.
In fact you can see the person wrote on his own posting, this is me. And if there were any remaining doubt, after hours of prompting when President Trump finally told the insurrectionist to go home, only then did some of them begin to listen.
As you previously saw at 4:17 pm, Mr. Trump released a pre recorded video saying to the mob, go home. We love you. You're very special. Shortly after he tweeted this video, a few of the insurrectionists who had seen it could be claiming victory, her claiming victory and telling people to go home because of Donald Trump's message and instructions.
You saw earlier the insurrectionist Jacob Chansley who told someone quote, "we won the day". A little before that video of Chansley he said the same thing to the crowd through a bullhorn and instructed them to go home because of the video that President Trump had tweeted. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Today is ours, ladies and gentlemen, we won the fucking day. Today is ours, we won the day. That's right Donald Trump has asked everybody to just go home. You can look it up on twitter, he just did a video, it's a minute long, he asked everybody to go home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEGETTE: Even after the attack, the insurrection is made clear to law enforcement that they were just following President Trump's orders. They didn't shy away from their crimes because they thought they were following order from the commander-in-chief. And so they would not be punished.
They were wrong. After the attack there were dozens of arrests. These were federal offenses including assaulting the police. When law enforcement interviewed the people who were at the Capitol on January 6, they once again said it was because the president told them to be there.
Robert Sanford was seen in this widely circulated video throwing a fire extinguisher that struck a Capitol police officer outside the building.
Witness told the FBI that Sanford said he had traveled to Washington DC on a bus with a group of people. The group had gone to the White House and listened to Donald J. Trump's speech. And then had followed the president's instructions and gone to the Capitol.
Folks, the insurrectionist didn't just make this up. As Sanford's lawyer explained, you're being told you forgot a fight like how, despite like how mean you throw things at people. Maybe the lawyer added that his client "wouldn't have been there if it weren't for the president."
Now Sanford wasn't the exception. He was the rule. And their statements after the attack insurrectionist routinely echoed what they had said before and during the attack. They were there because the president told them to be.
Now look the lawyers who are saying that their clients were told to commit these acts by Mr. Trump. Well they know that putting the blame on the president doesn't exonerate their clients. They're just saying it frankly because that's exactly what happened.
Another Trump supporter who has been federally charged is Texas real estate agent Jennifer Ryan. Now Miss Ryan has given many TV interviews in which she says she was only doing what the president asked her and others to do. She also recorded video before the rally talking about the mobs plans for violence. And here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER RYAN: Personally I do not feel a sense of shame or guilt from my heart from what I was doing. I thought I was following my president. I thought I was following what we were called to do. And he asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there. So I was doing what he asked us to do.
Ultimately yes, we were going in solidarity with President Trump. President Trump requested that we be in DC on a six. So this was our way of going and stopping this deal. If it comes down to war. Guess what? I'm going to be there. We're all going to be up here. We're going to breaking those windows.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEGETTE: Yet another Trump supporter who was arrested after breaching the Capitol, Douglas Sweet explained an immediate interview why he did it. Referring to Donald Trump, Mr. Sweet said," he said, hey, I need my digital soldiers to show up on January 6 and we all did."
Some of these individuals who joined in the attack on our Capitol did so as part of violent racist groups which have been officially condemned by our government. Daniel Goodwin is a self proclaimed member of the proud boys he was one of many.
On November 7 Goodwin tweeted a picture showing the proud boys logo surrounded by stand back and stands by. And the "again stand back and stand by and await orders from our commander-in-chief." Look closely at this slide. You are looking at an image of Goodwin's own tweet.
He was such a loyal follower of President Trump that he used the president's photo as his own profile picture on twitter. Now remember President Trump told them to stand back and stand by at the debate. They took it as a call to arms.
DEGETTE: And when he called them to arms they were all ready to act. They were waiting for their orders which they got on January 6. And Goodwin followed those orders. He stood ready as others broke into the windows at the Capitol and climbed inside.
Here he is on another - on another of the insurrectionist live stream in one of the first floor hallways of the building. When it became clear that Donald Trump was not going to save these folks from prosecution. When it became clear that the commander-in-chief had given false commands that went against this country.
Some of his supporters even expressed regret. And they said they felt duped. Here's Jacob Chansley again who we saw in a video claiming victory after the president told the rioters to go home. Earlier in the afternoon as you'll recall Chansley carried a spirit he breached the Capitol, entered the Senate through the gallery and went right here on to the Senate floor.
Chansley left a threatening note for Vice President Pence right there on the Senate dais. It read, "It's only a matter of time, justice is coming." On January 7 Chansley spoke to the FBI. And he said that he came as part of a group effort with other patriots from Arizona.
At the request of the president that all patriots come to DC on January 6, 2021. On January 14th, Chansley's lawyer gave an interview to Chris Cuomo in which he said that Chansley was - at the invitation of our president who said he would walk down Pennsylvania Avenue with him.
In fact Chansley's lawyer now says that Chansley felt duped by the president and he regrets what the president brought him to do. This man who ran through our house, who ran into this chamber, who sat right there on the dais and who wrote a note for president, Vice President Pence that he was coming for him.
He and those with him declared they would remove us from office if we went against Donald Trump. Now he's saying he would not have done any of that if Mr. Trump had told him not to. Chansley is not alone in his post arrest confession that he was following the directions of Donald Trump.
As more and more of these people have been charged the confession and the regret simply cascades. More and more insurrectionists are admitting that they came at Trump's direction. When Riley June Williams known for allegedly helping steal a laptops from Speaker Pelosi's office appeared in court on January 21st.
Her lawyer said to the judge, "it is regrettable that Ms. Williams took the president's bait and went inside the Capitol." Troy Smocks who was in the Capitol riots on January 6 posted online that day, "the president - today President Trump told us to fight like hell."
He also posted that the president, "said that our case was a matter of national security. Samuel Fisher was charged with disorderly conduct and illegally being in the Capitol on January 6. That day before the attack on this building he wrote on his website, "Trump just needs to fire the bad signal" and "then the pain comes."
The lawyer for - a leader of the proud boys who was the first person to break inside the Capitol said that President Trump effectively told his client and others, 'people of the country come on down." Let people know what you think, "logical thinking was he invited us down".
-- Lawyer went on. These were people acting in a way they've never acted before. And it begs the question that lit the fuse and quote. On January 6, we know who lit the fuse. Donald Trump told these insurrectionists to come to the Capitol and stop this deal.
DEGETTE: And they did come to the Capitol. And they tried to stop the certification. They came because he told them to. And they did stop our proceedings but only temporarily because he told them to.
Have you noticed throughout this presentation, the uncanny similarity over and over and over again of what all these people are saying? They said what Donald Trump said and they echoed each other, stand back and stand by, stop this deal, fight like hell. Trump sent us. We are listening to Trump.
The riots that day left at least seven people dead. More than 150 people injured. Members, Senators and our staffs all traumatized to this day, damage and pain to our capital. Damage and pain to Americans. Damage to our police force and damage to other nations who have always seen us as a bastion of democracy.
All of these people who have been arrested and charged, they're being accountable, held accountable for their actions. Their leader, the man who incited them must be held accountable as well. But as I said earlier you don't have to take my word for it that the insurrectionists acted at Donald Trump's direction. They said so they were invited here. They were invited by the President of the United States.
RASKIN: OK. Senators, representative to get just showed how the insurrectionists believed and understood themselves to be following President Trump's marching orders. She explained in chilling detail how they were acting in perfect alignment with his political instructions and his explicit strategy to retain power.
They did what he told them to do. This pro Trump insurrection did not spring into life out of thin air. We saw how Trump spent months cultivating America's most dangerous extremist groups. We saw how he riled them up with corrosive lies and violent rhetoric.