Trump's second impeachment trial: Day 2

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Melissa Mahtani and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 11:41 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021
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8:41 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Many Republicans still say they will vote to acquit Trump despite today's presentation 

From CNN's Manu Raju and Ryan Nobles

Senator Marco Rubio leaves after the conclusion of the second day of the second impeachment trial of former US President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill February 10, in Washington, DC.
Senator Marco Rubio leaves after the conclusion of the second day of the second impeachment trial of former US President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill February 10, in Washington, DC. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Despite the riveting video footage that moved senators from both sides of the aisle, many GOP senators are simply not moved enough to convict former President Trump.

Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, would only say Trump bears “some responsibility” for what happened on Jan. 6.

Pressed on whether Trump bears primary responsibility, Rubio said the “primary responsibility are the people that actually did it,” adding, “That's not the question before us — the vote we're having is whether we should remove someone from office someone who's no longer in office.”

Many other GOP senators are echoing Rubio's comments. Sen. Mike Rounds, from South Dakota, said the impeachment managers put on a polished presentation that was “selectively” edited.

Rounds added that while the presentation was impressive, it did nothing to answer the central barrier for the Republicans.

“In this particular case, they did not show us anything that we did not already know. We were all concerned about the events of June of Jan. 6. This just rekindled, a lot of the anger that we all felt on that day. But it still goes back to, if they're expecting us to do an impeachment, they have yet to overcome the obstacle, which is at least 44 of us truly do not believe that we have impeachment available as a tool to use.”

He predicted that there will still not be enough votes to convict the former President.

8:36 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

GOP senator says at best there will be 6 Republican senators who will vote to convict

Susan Walsh/AP
Susan Walsh/AP

Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, said at best there will be six GOP senators who will vote to convict former President Trump.

“I think you get at best six Republicans — probably five and maybe six,” Scott said when asked if the video footage changed his mind on conviction. 

Asked if he considers himself an impartial juror, Scott said, “I think I’m as impartial as the other 99.” 

11:41 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Sen. Cotton asked staffer to bring his knife to undisclosed location on Jan. 6

From CNN's Jamie Gangel

On the afternoon of Jan. 6, Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton believed the situation at the Capitol was so dangerous that he asked one of his staffers to bring his knife to the undisclosed location where senators were being hidden from rioters, and that he was prepared to use it.

Cotton told CNN's Jamie Gangel that afternoon during the riot: “I’m armed and I’m immune from prosecution” and indicated that he was prepared to defend himself, defend the room, if the rioters attacked and tried to get in where the senators were. 

After the stunning videos and photos presented by the House managers today, we now know how close it was for Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Mitt Romney. We know that Kevin McCarthy and other leaders were desperately calling for help. We know that five people died including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

So in real time, on the afternoon of Jan. 6 — around 2:20 p.m. — Cotton thought the situation was so dangerous, he asked for his knife to be brought to him. That there was that kind of threat — mortal danger.

Update: Sen. Cotton’s office has now clarified to CNN that he was armed with a knife, not a gun.

9:11 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

GOP senator objects to impeachment managers' characterization of his words during the Capitol riot

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Senate TV
Senate TV

Republican Sen. Mike Lee this evening presented an objection into the final moments of the day's impeachment proceedings, saying House impeachment managers had mischaracterized his words on Jan. 6.

"Statements were attributed to me repeatedly as to which I have personal knowledge, because I am the source," said Lee. "They are not true. I never made those statements. I ask that they be stricken."

The move, which seemed to catch his colleagues, as well as Senate parliamentarians by surprise, temporarily threw the evening into chaos as the presiding officer, as well as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sought to make sense of the objection.

Lee's objection was over House impeachment managers' account of an accidental phone call Trump reportedly made to him as the riot was unfolding on Jan. 6, which was intended for Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville, in order to convince him to delay the counting of Electoral College votes.

Lee's spokesperson confirmed the calls from Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani were intended for Tuberville.

Lee picked up the phone and Trump identified himself, and it became clear Trump was looking for Tuberville and had been given the wrong number. Lee, keeping the President on hold, went to find his colleague and handed Tuberville his phone, telling him the President was on the line and had been trying to reach him.

Tuberville spoke with Trump for less than 10 minutes, with the President trying to convince him to make additional objections to the Electoral College vote in a futile effort to block Congress' certification of President-elect Joe Biden's win, according to a source familiar with the call. The call was cut off because senators were asked to move to a secure location.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, eventually agreed to Lee's request calling it "much to do about nothing."

Schumer warned that the question may be "relitigated tomorrow."

Moments later the Senate adjourned until 12 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Watch the moment:

7:41 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

The trial is done for the day

The proceedings in the second impeachment trial of former President Trump have concluded for the day.

The trial will resume tomorrow at noon, with House impeachment managers presenting their case against Trump. They have up to 16 hours spread over two days to convince GOP senators that Trump was responsible for inciting the deadly Capitol riot.

8:10 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Castro lays out timeline of Republicans urging Trump to stop Capitol rioters

From CNN's Leinz Vales

As House impeachment manager Joaquin Castro continued laying out the timeline of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, he highlighted remarks from Republicans, urging former President Trump to speak out against the insurrectionists. 

“At 2:54 p.m., Alyssa Farrah, a former communications director, begged the President, 'condemn this now. You’re the only one they will listen to. For our country!’”

“Mick Mulvaney, the President’s former chief of staff, his right-hand man at one point, tweeted at 3:01, 'the President’s tweet is not enough. He can stop this now and needs to do exactly that. Tell these folks to go home.’”

“Representative Gallagher at 3:11 p.m., while secured in his own office, posted a video to Twitter,” Castro said in his remarks from the Senate floor. 

In the video, Gallagher said, “Mr. President, you have got to stop this. You are the only person who can call this off. Call it off."

“And then when the President didn’t answer his pleas on Twitter, Representative Gallagher went on live television,” Castro said.

“This is insane,” Gallagher said on CNN. “I mean, I have not seen anything like this since I deployed to Iraq in 2007 and 2008. I mean, this is America and this is what’s happening right now. We need — the President needs to call it off. Like call it off. Call it off.”

Castro went on to say that the message was clear that his allies wanted the President to tell the rioters to go home.  

"How simple would it have been to give a simple command, stop, leave," Castro said. "This was a dereliction of duty, plain and simple."

Watch here:

7:57 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Rep. Castro blames Trump for mob's pursuit of Pence

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

Senate TV
Senate TV

As the House impeachment managers continued their presentation this evening, they placed the blame for the mob's pursuit of Vice President Mike Pence squarely on the shoulders of former President Trump.

"You'll recall Donald Trump had made Vice President Pence a target. He attacked the Vice President at the rallies, in speeches and on Twitter," said impeachment manager Rep. Joaquin Castro, adding "and during President Trump's speech that morning of the attack, he ramped it up again."

Noting that Trump directed his supporters' ire at his vice president on nearly a dozen occasions, Castro then quoted the former President, reading a snippet from Trump's Jan. 6 morning rally.

"Mike Pence, I hope you're going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of your country. And if you're not, I'm going to be disappointed in you," read Castro, sharing Trump's words verbatim.

Castro went on to explain the impact those words had on the mob.

"By 2:15 p.m., the crowd was chanting in unison, 'Hang Mike Pence,' outside the very building he'd been evacuated from with his family," said Castro.

And as the insurrectionists continued to threaten Pence, Trump failed to temper the situation. Rather, said Castro, he enflamed it.

"He fueled the fire," said Castro, further laying out the afternoon timeline. "At 2:24 p.m. [Trump] tweeted 'Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our constitution.'"

Next, the House impeachment manager linked Trump's social media posts to the unruly mob's actions.

"The insurgents amplified President Trump's tweet, attacking the vice president with a bullhorn," Castro said. "Some of these insurgents were heard saying 'that they hoped to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him, by hanging him from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor.'"

Finally, Castro presented a photo, one depicting the US Capitol in the background, with instruments of execution framing the government building.

"They erected a gallows with a noose. This is what Donald Trump incited," he said, pushing those at this evening's proceedings to truly digest the imagery. "Please, take a close look at that picture. It harkens back to our nation's worst history of lynching. A President's words have the power to move people to action. These were the results."

7:31 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

See sketches from the second day of Trump's impeachment trial

From CNN's Dan Berman

During the Senate impeachment trial of former President Trump, the TV camera are focused on the person speaking and at time show the full dais or chamber during a break.

However, as the cameras are controlled by the Senate itself, it means viewers are unable to see how lawmakers react to the presentation, including the graphic videos and retelling of the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Artist Bill Hennessy is in the Senate chamber, delivering scenes from what the cameras won't or can't show.

Here are some sketches from today:

Monitors displaying video of former President Trump are played during the Senate impeachment trial on February 10, 2021.
Monitors displaying video of former President Trump are played during the Senate impeachment trial on February 10, 2021. Sketches by Bill Hennessy

Senators listen during the Senate impeachment trial of former President Trump, on February 10, 2021.
Senators listen during the Senate impeachment trial of former President Trump, on February 10, 2021. Sketches by Bill Hennessy

Republican Sens. Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, and Bill Cassidy talk on February 10, the second day of the Senate impeachment trial.
Republican Sens. Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, and Bill Cassidy talk on February 10, the second day of the Senate impeachment trial. Sketches by Bill Hennessy

Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, talks with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during the Senate impeachment trial on February 10, 2021.
Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, talks with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during the Senate impeachment trial on February 10, 2021. Sketches by Bill Hennessy

#rosecutors##

7:00 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Some GOP senators say managers haven't adequately linked Capitol riot to Trump

From CNN's Ali Zaslav and Ali Main

Just after the House impeachment managers played powerful new video of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, several Republican senators said that while the video itself was compelling, they do not think the managers have directly connected the violence to the former President.

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, said the managers' presentation was "powerful and emotional," but he doesn't think it adequately connects Trump to the attack or proves the former President committed high crimes or misdemeanors.

"That was strikingly absent," he said of the direct link to the former President. "They spent a great deal of time focusing on the horrific acts of violence that were played out by the criminals, but the language from the President doesn't come close to meeting the legal standard for incitement."

He claimed that "there's not a political candidate in the country," including "every single one of the Democratic senators," who hasn't used the same language of Trump, who told his supporters to "fight like hell."

Cruz admitted that the former President's rhetoric is, at times, "overheated," adding, "but this is not a referendum on whether you agree with everything the President says or tweets."

"This is instead a legal proceeding assessing whether the President has committed high crimes or misdemeanors, and today's presentation was powerful and emotional, reliving a terrorist attack on our nation's capital, but there was very little said about how specific conduct of the President's satisfies the legal standard," he said, later accusing Democrats of being motivated by "partisan hatred" for Trump.

Sen. James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma, said while he needs to hear the rest of the arguments, the case the managers are trying to make is “that Trump is the one who said go” initiating the riot on Jan. 6. And he argued Trump “has had 100 rallies and we’ve never seen that before, so that’s the tough one to be able to link together.”

The Oklahoma Republican said the videos the managers played were “tough” and “very difficult” to watch and re-walk through the events of the day.

“It’s painful to see,” he said.“And I still can’t believe that there were Americans that smashed their way into the Capitol,” Lankford added.

Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana called the video "riveting," saying, "it's just as kind of hard to take now as it was then."  

Asked if this impacts his thinking as he decides whether he'll vote to acquit the former President, Braun answered, "no, because I've seen I think most of it," adding, "I think it's good to review it, but I don't know that that's going to make a difference for anyone senator just having it on a loop again. But every time you do watch it, it gives you the enormity of the day, so, and the incident."  

Braun added that "obviously" the people who broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6 should be held accountable, saying, "I think trying to then relate it to who caused them to do it will be the tough case to make." 

He said he thinks the rioters were at the Capitol on Jan. 6 because they were "upset with things." 

Asked if Trump bears any responsibility for the riot, even if his involvement does not rise to a high crime or misdemeanor, Braun said, "You know, I think that the day, when you push the envelope on stuff – in this case, it obviously ended up in a way I'm sure he never had intended it to happen. You know it unraveled, and I think still, when it comes to the people that actually broke in here, it's their responsibility." 

Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican from North Carolina, said he thinks “we’ve got to distinguish between the despicable acts we saw here, and to what extent he or those individuals have responsibility,” when asked if Trump bears responsibility for attack.

He added that “you can definitely hold all those folks accountable,” referring about the rioters.