tv Morning Joe MSNBC January 22, 2020 3:00am-6:00am PST
fun with the crowd. >> former mayor pete buttigieg yesterday in iowa adding to our list of great moments in political persuasion. good morning and welcome to "morning joe," it is wednesday, january 22nd. along with joe, willie and me we have msnbc contributor mike barnicle, former aide to the george w. bush white house and state departments elise jordan. white house reporter for the associated press jonathan lemire and msnbc national affairs analyst, co-host of show time's "the circus" and editor and chief of the recount, john heilemann is with us. great group. >> i did want to say really quickly, willie geist, just for the record, i'm still defending jeb after all these years. >> no. >> i was just going to say that. >> i like jeb. >> that's an example of a guy that was having fun, dry humor, tongue in cheek and everybody's hair caught on fire. how sad and how pathetic that he had to beg them.
he was just -- he was having fun with the crowd. >> you say that as a guy who lived and worked in florida around jeb bush and knows jeb bush and knows his personality and that was his dry -- as you say, his dry humor that perhaps didn't translate to the rest of the country, but i think in that crowd jeb still is the standard bearer are please clap in that jeb pose at the end. >> do you know how else he is a standard bearer is jeb bush said during the campaign that donald trump was the chaos candidate. it is hard to imagine how this country would be different if everybody in the republican primary voted the way i did and voted for jeb bush. what a difference. i mean, you know, people go to the ballot boxes and they think, oh, it doesn't matter, they are all the same. they are not all the same. it's hard to really imagine, but now would be a good day to stop and say, okay, we are in the middle of impeachment for a
president who extorted a foreign leader to interfere in america's elections and everybody knows he's guilty. everybody. over 50% of americans think he should be impeached. maybe it would have made a difference if the republican primary voter had voted for jeb bush instead of donald trump. this is a reminder for people going to the polls in a couple of weeks in iowa that their vote makes a huge difference and shapes the future of american democracy. >> all right. so, first of all, in the next couple of minutes president trump is going to be speaking, we will take that live. and also in our show at 8:30 a.m. eastern time we will have joe biden, candidate joe biden on our show, the former vice president will be our guest. so we look forward to all of that. >> after nearly 13 hours of debate early this morning the senate passed majority leader's
mitch mcconnell's resolution laying out the ground rules for president trump's impeachment trial. senate republicans rejected 11 democratic amendments, most of which were seeking subpoenas for witness testimony or documents from the trump administration. some last minute changes to mcconnell's proposed rules came earlier in the day. republicans reversed their original plan for arguments to take place over two days. now each side will have 24 hours to speak over the course of three days. several republicans had voiced concern about the original schedule, including senators susan collins of maine and rob portman of ohio and lisa murkowski of alaska. mcconnell also changed a provision that could have barred all evidence gathered during the house impeachment inquiry. now that evidence will be admitted unless there is an objection. leading the president's defense was white house counsel pat
cipollone who threw out a number of lies on the senate floor. here is the most blatant one. >> in every other impeachment proceeding the president has been given a minimal -- a minimal due process. nothing here. not even mr. schiff's republican colleagues were allowed into the scif. information was selectively leaked out. witnesses were threatened. good public servants were told that they would be held in contempt. they were told that they were obstructing. what does mr. schiff mean by obstructing? he means that unless you do exactly what he says, regardless of your constitutional rights, then you are obstructing. the president was not allowed to
call witnesses. by the way, there's still evidence in the scif that we haven't been allowed to see. i wonder why. >> now, i'm not going to suggest to you that mr. cipollone would deliberately make a false statement. i will leave it to mr. cipollone to make those allegations against others, but i will tell you this, he's mistaken. he's mistaken. every republican on the three investigative committees was allowed to participate in the depositions and more than that, they got the same time we did. you show me another proceeding, another presidential impeachment or other that had that kind of access for the opposite party. now, there were depositions in the clinton impeachment, depositions in the nixon impeachment. what they would say is some secret process, well, they were the same private depositions in these other impeachments as well. >> you know, willie, yesterday i wasn't expecting really much of
anything, just sort of pro forma, i expected both sides to go to their corners, make predictable arguments over process. what i found instead was actually a remarkably compelling day that actually laid out -- well, laid out what the two sides stood for. and i think more importantly when you saw just how incompetent and how dishonest donald trump's lawyers were, caught in one lie after another yesterday, believing -- and i have to say feeling comfortable lying with the chief justice of the united states supreme court right behind you shows the utter shamelessness of all of these people who work for donald trump. but think about the contrast that we've seen during impeachment and how it will actually make a difference for independents and swing voters in
the 2020 election as they look at the incompetence and the lack of character of donald trump supporters on capitol hill and in that senate chamber yesterday. whether you are talking about the lawyers or white house aides or people like devin nunes, again, lying about being part of this conspiracy, making phone calls with this conspirator, versus the public servants that we've seen through this process like ambassador taylor, ambassador yovanovitch. there is such a marked contrast between the shamelessness of trump supporters and the honesty and the integrity of a lot of ambassadors who testified and some of the people who spoke yesterday on the senate floor, just laying out the facts that could not be debated, but could only be lied away by the president's incredibly incompetent and dishonest
lawyers. >> congressman schiff was being polite there when he said it was a mistake. that was a lie from the president's attorney pat cipollone when he said republicans didn't have access to the scif. we all watched what happened in october. just to refresh his memory, there are nine republicans on the house intel committee, 17 on the house oversight committee, 21 on the house foreign affairs committee, all of whom had access to the scif and could ask questions during these depositions. there was an entirely different group of republicans who, quote, stormed the scif with their pizza and chick-fil-a and sat in. there were plenty of republicans, that's a flat out lie. jonathan lemire, interesting to watch yesterday and joe said it wasn't really about process and i think the democrats, the house managers felt like we have the country's attention on this first day, we may not have it as this goes along the way we have it on day one, this he laid out the case chapter and verse against the president reminding people of a lot of the evidence
that had been presented over in the house perhaps because they were worried it wouldn't be admitted under mitch mcconnell's rules, that changed early in the day, but the democrats really laid the whole thing out and didn't just talk about process, didn't just set the table but they made their case. >> they used the moment to basically deliver their opening argument. in part because this was originally only going to be over two days rather than three, that was one of the other things that changed. the republicans closed door lunch before proceedings in a hurried change mitch mcconnell agreed to acquiesce to some of the concerns of the moderates and extend it from two days to three. that could provide some political cover for those moderates and certainly susan collins of maine immediately jumped out and took credit for that change. regardless democrats applauded that change but still used this moment to sort of explain to the country again as you say knowing they have the nation's full attention this is why the president has been impeached, this is why he has been removed. but on that certainly the white house counsel, those were lies. adam schiff was polite but this
is what also triggered an outburst after midnight from chief justice john roberts admonishing both sides for behavior that was not appropriate for the setting or the occasion. >> that's an underlying element in all of this, too, the chief justices presence that joe alluded to. john roberts is known for being a fair man. he is regarded as being a fair man who reverse the law. elements of what we're watching and witnessing, the nation is witnessing right now during this impeachment trial, it's bound, parts of it, to go before the supreme court. you just wonder what kind of an impact the lieser the chief justice knew were being told right in front of him by the president's defense team would impact his view of their case. >> and, you know, mike, i'm glad you brought up chief justice rober roberts. there are a lot of people on twitter going chief justice roberts should slam his gavel
down and be matlock and go, i do declare here, this may be the law but it's just not right. he is not going to do that. >> no. >> this is a guy who upheld obamacare even though i'm sure idealogically it didn't align with maybe his beliefs about what the federal government should or shouldn't do, and he upheld it because he is an institutionalist, first of all, but secondly i loved the line in there where he basically said, hey, don't ask me to do something here on the supreme court that you can take care of at the ballot box. well, in this case you have duly elected senators and the majority of those duly elected senators that have put together the procedures for how this impeachment is going to run. they should not expect john
roberts who deferred to the wisdom of the people in obamacare, they should not expect that john roberts to step up and say i don't like what the majority leaders laid out as far as rules go. i'm going to change it. that said, mike, when it's across -- when there are hearings that are across the street in his domain and not mitch mcconnell's, i think these lies may have an impact, will have an impact on the bad faith that this white house shows and their lawyers show time and time again. >> you would think so, joe, because it's so blatant and repeated about i not only pat cipollone but the entire crew of the president's defense team, blatant lies, blatant half-truths, mistruths uttered in front of the chief justice of the united states. there's going to be an impact. there's going to be pay back
here at some point. >> if you think about the roberts approach to how he approached things, we've seen it in the past, but we had nadler going back and forth with the president's lawyers and here is roberts with an admonition for them. take a listen. >> i am struck by what we have heard from the president's counsel so far tonight. they complain about process, but they do not seriously contest any of the allegations against the president. they insist that the president has done nothing wrong and they lie and lie and lie and lie. >> mr. nadler came up here and made false allegations against our team. he has been making false allegations against the president. the only one who should be embarrassed, mr. nadler, is you. >> mr. cipollone says president trump is a man of his word.
president trump gave his word he would drain the swamp. we've seen his personal lawyer go to jail, his campaign chairman go to jail, his deputy campaign chairman convicted of a different crime. the list goes on and on. that's, i guess, how you drain the swamp is you have all your people go to jail. >> i think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the house managers and the president's counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body. one reason it has earned that title is because its members avoid speaking in a manner and using language that is not conducive to civil discourse. i do think those addressing the senate should remember where they are. >> good for him, willie. good for him. a nice moment where americans are reminded that there still have some rules in washington,
d.c. that some people believe that senators and congressmen and, yes, even presidents should abide by. >> yeah, and that came at the end of a very long day, the supreme court -- the chief justice sitting there watching all this. and so, too, was msnbc correspondent garrett haake who i don't know how he's awake at this point. garrett, let me ask you about what we saw yesterday for americans going about their lives with their kids and their jobs that couldn't sit glued in front of the tv like a lot of us were. what are a couple of the big take a ways and some things that maybe surprised you watching this play out over 12 hours yesterday? >> reporter: well, it was a forceful opening by the democrats and you laid this out a little bit earlier, democrats not really knowing how much of an opportunity they would get later on to make the major arguments of this case, so while they were debating amendments to the rules they were also really pushing the factual elements of this case. i was talking to some house democrats overnight who were really pleased with the performance of their managers.
they weren't cowed by the numbers against them and came in for this fight. heard a lot of praise for adam schiff and hakeem jeffries specifically. being in the room was interesting, watching the different levels in which different members were paying attention. if you are from a democratic perspective to the people who you want to have paying really close attention, those possible swing votes for witnesses, mitt romney and cory gardner of colorado were probably two of the most studious note makers on the republican side. would you not be surprised to know that i don't think i saw mitch mcconnell put pen to paper the entire time i was in the room. lindsey graham, some of the president's other allies sitting back, but some of those folks who are theoretically in play for later votes for witnesses were, in fact, playing really close attention. yesterday was a divided day. today will be the managers' day unless the white house decides to file some motions this morning, if there's going to be a motion to dismiss this whole case that could come this morning, doesn't look like that's going to happen.
today i think we will see another forceful presentation by the managers without having to, you know, kind of derail and go off into fact checking the white house attorneys. you could see a more cohesive presentation than anything we saw in the house process where you had five minute a sides. >> we're waiting momentarily to hear from the president, he is going to be doing a press conference at davos. forgive me if i cut you off. the 11 democratic amendments that were put up for a vote yesterday were all tabled directly on party lines. so whether or not the house managers felt like they did a good job on democrats feel like they made a good case, was that a preview of coming attractions which is to say whatever evidence is presented, whatever happens in the well of the senate republicans are going to hang in with president trump? >> reporter: well, certainly a majority of them are. i mean, i think we know that many, perhaps most of the republican minds are firmly made up on the merits of this case, but democrats know they're speaking to a relatively small audience in the chamber. it's interesting the dynamics here.
you're talking to the entire country on television and to about six republicans in the room who you think you might be able to convince. that's why i think the tone is so important, the strategy of the way democrats are laying out their case, the way schiff laid out his case, the bay zoe lofgren laid out her case, her demeanor and temperament suits that room very well. they are aiming at that small group of senators who might decide i do need to hear just a little bit more. that's the victory they have to have in about six days from now, six or seven days from now, or winning -- they are not going to have an opportunity really to win the larger arguments on the merits of the case if they don't win at least one of those votes, that one key vote on witnesses that i think we will see probably next wednesday or thursday. >> garrett haake at the united states capitol. thanks so much. joe, if democrats were talking to those six republican senators trying to change their mind it was clear the president's attorneys were talking to one person and that was the president of the united
states, sort of like employing their language, demeanor, pounding the table, that kind of acting we have been talking about for the last couple of weeks. >> and that just makes it harder for people like cory gardner, susan collins, mitt romney, lisa murkowski. these are people who probably most likely want to make it to the president's side on as many votes as they can, but when you have a day laid out like yesterday, elise jordan, much more difficult to do. again, everybody is always playing for the president when they are in that position making fools of themselves by lying in front of the united states supreme court's chief justice. while you have the other side just surgically going through the facts, laying them out in a way that can't be contradicted. again, it puts corey -- i mean, cory gardner, i don't know if he
was taking studious notes or updating his resumé for linkedin, but unless he approaches this in a serious way, do you know what, he may have to update his resumé because the voters of colorado are going to kick him out. i'd say the same even though she doesn't know it yet of martha mcsally, of susan collins, of thom tillis. there are a lot of these republicans that don't understand how much trouble they are in and it would behoove them to actually take this process seriously and actually vote with their hearts and their constituents and their minds instead of blindly being obsequious to donald j. trump, former failed reality tv star who will be in mar-a-lago this time next year while they're looking for new jobs. >> joe, you bring up an interesting point, the contrast in the president's
representatives and how the democrats' managers are presenting their case. i did wonder yesterday if you're senator cory gardner and you watch your fellow colorado congressmen, jason crow, come up and give a really stirring presentation and talking about how, you know, back in 2003 when he was a soldier in iraq he was going around the streets of baghdad with fellow troops looking for scrap metal, and contrast that, someone talking about what the stakes are to just the nonsense that was coming out of the president's legal team and it almost seemed like the president's legal team they weren't prepared with the little tricks of the trade, you know, having slides, having, you know, just more nuanced presentations and they just got up and treat it had like a fox
news hit. >> preparation. >> i don't think that is exactly what is going to woo mitt romney and susan collins and cory gardner. or maybe it will. >> elise, it's interesting, i'm glad you brought up that -- the fox news bubble that these people live in. because i remember growing up and i remember reading an article about john roberts and i think it was grover norquist who explained the reason he was such a good student and so good on his feet in those hearings was he said when you were a conservative at harvard law school if you opened your mouth you knew you were going to get your head knocked off by the other students so you had to have all of your arguments together. and that was always my belief and i'm sure it was your belief, too, that as a small government conservative when you were in college or law school, even in southern state schools i found, you better have your arguments together or you were going to get your head knocked off,
whereas a lot of liberals could just be lazy, intellectually argue whatever they wanted to argue and whether it was in academia or whether it was in news rooms or whether it was in hollywood, they would be -- they would get confirmation. oh, that's so smart. that's so insightful. so as a conservative you always had to be sharper. here, and i think it's why conservatives learned how to win elections so much more effectively than democrats, now here we are in 2020 and it's the trumpists, it's the conservatives, it's the right wing that's created this bubble, they go into that bubble, they don't know what exists outside of that bubble as far as for making arguments. we saw of this mitt romney in 2012. he watched fox news, he looked at gallop polls and was sure he was going to win when the rest
of america knew he was headed to defeat. isn't that bizarre that conservatives have now like liberals used to created their own echo chamber online, on fox news, in newspapers of their choice and it allows them to live very comfortably in their 42%. they have no idea what's coming in november. >> it does not surprise me, though, it stems from the top. when you have the leader of your party, you know, someone who is such a storied intellectual sump as donald trump, it's unsurprising that facts do not matter, logic doesn't matter, the basic implications of policy decisions aren't a consideration when you are just off in conspiracy la-la land. of course, the party is going to follow that lead and, wow, it's just, yeah, talk about a different era when republicans did have to come armed with
facts. and maybe trump's strategy will ultimately get him acquittal in this -- i mean, obviously he is going to probably be acquitted, but i wonder if come november voters are just going to be tired of it. >> yeah. let's go to john heilemann, he is on the campaign trail in iowa and of course everybody knows that campaign trail to iowa starts with a layover at o'hare airport. john, thank you so much for being with us this morning. i'm not so curious as to how you think yesterday will impact the democratic race because i'm not so sure iowa voters are focused on it as closely as they are, but i am curious, though, overall looking at those five or six republican senators who are in political trouble right now, who have to at least pretend like they're going to look at the facts and the evidence in a fair manner, how do you think
yesterday played to that audience? >> well, i think, joe, you guys have been saying smart stuff about it so far this morning. i think if you are not partisan and you watched yesterday, even if you were -- as long as you weren't of the very, very, very crazy far right you had to be impressed with adam schiff. you guys have made the right point, it was kind of a tour de force just as a performance thing and the way in which the democratic house managers laid out the case, i think this he did put a lot of pressure, not only did they get to make the case early not knowing how much time they would have later on, but i think they also applied maximum pressure from the start on those particular republican senators who they are very much focused on in terms of trying to apply the maximum -- put them in the maximum political bind. if you are cory gardner, if you are susan collins, we saw susan collins was in the middle of some of the discussions yesterday that caused some of
the tweaks to mcconnell's initial proposal. the things that he had put forward the previous night in the middle of the night to try to compress and deviate from the clinton rules. some of those things got changed yesterday and at least not in a huge way, but in ways where democrats won some small victories and i think this he won them largely because they were able to put pressure on people like susan collins who recognized that the president's team and mitch mcconnell were leading them into what is going to be if not a trap, is going to be not a great set of political circumstances for them. i think that it's great, garrett, i think, said the great drama here is now -- you know, we always knew that the witness votes were going to be the drama, but if you look at the way in which the house managers handled themselves and you look at the way the white house lawyers did in terms of competence and with a seeming kind of numbness or mindness to the politics for those senators, i think it's going to be interesting when we get to the end of next week. it did seem to be like a
mismatched fight yesterday purely on the politics. >> i was really surprised by how incompetent and how unprepared the president's lawyers were. listen, i felt this at times about the republican lawyers that went over and argued our case in front of the senate back in 1999. i just sat there pulling my hair out and time and time again. i mean, there have been several times this year that i felt the democratic committees did a very poor job in pushing forward their case, but yesterday the democrats were on top of their game and i'm just curious if you were surprised at how incompetent and how ill prepared the president's lawyers were when the stakes were so high for donald trump. >> yeah, i mean, look, i don't think -- there has been over the course of our three years, joe, we have seen donald trump's legal representation has not been what we would call stellar.
>> right. >> it's not surprising on some level because some mixture of incompetence and dishonesty have marked -- you know, a president for whom rudy giuliani is his personal lawyer, that sort of sets the bar, right, for president trump's -- it's not like we have ever seen splendid legal performances by anybody on the trump team. given the stakes here you would have thought that the lies didn't surprise me as much as the incompetence did. they seemed ill-prepared for what unfolded and that i think was the thing that surprised me more than the fact that they were willing to say things that were untrue but that's sort of like they speak untruths the way the other people draw breath. >> yeah, and to elise's point it was vintage trump in that, joe, it was a fox news hit or it was an audience of one. you really could hear them talking to him instead of to the perhaps area of the case where they could perhaps chip away and
find weakness. nothing. it was all -- it was all a fox hit. it's amazing. >> we've been saying for some time that impeachment just like the mueller report doesn't matter to a great deal of americans and how they're going to vote, but it will matter to enough americans in wisconsin, in michigan, in pennsylvania, in north carolina and in florida to likely swing the election this next year if they believe the president of the united states is a liar and believe that he extorted a foreign leader to interfere with american democracy even after the president's intel agencies warned him of this. if republicans are running around spouting russian propaganda as defined by donald trump's own intel agencies, that can have an impact. john heilemann, let's finish with the roll call of the people who do matter in this trial as far as votes do matter because they may possibly be swayed.
i'm just curious about the political viability of the reelection campaigns of a couple of people. how much trouble is cory gardner in in colorado? >> a lot of trouble. a lot of trouble. i think, you know, joe, you mentioned the swing states, right, in this presidential year there's now i think kind of common consensus that there are really five, right? wisconsin, michigan, pennsylvania, north carolina and florida. those are the ones where the battle is going to happen. and that tells you something about colorado. really although the president's team will claim that they're going to fight in colorado, in a presidential year places like nevada, colorado, virginia that used to be battle ground states are now largely considered blue. >> they're gone. >> that tells you the kind of trouble cory gardner is in. in an off-year election it might be a coin flip. in a presidential year the tide is very much running against cory gardner so he's going to be facing an uphill fight in his reelection fight so that makes these votes all the more
important for him. >> what about susan collins in maine? how much trouble is susan collins in? >> well, i mean, look, you look at her internal -- her approval rating, she has been in a precarious position throughout the trump administration and walking that tightrope. susan collins has been in trouble in a lot of reelections over the course of her career and thee somehow manages to keep it together, but the way in which she keeps it together is by doing the thing we have seen so often from her, the susan collins fan dance where she does all these things that make her look as if she's reasonable and moderate but she somehow ends up being able to get a little bit of both, appeal to conservatives just enough, appeal to the center just enough. this will put her political skills to the ultimate test. i think that is a toss-up race. again, just highlighting how important it is not just how she votes but how she frames her vote. we saw her pull it off with kavanaugh or be faced with the same choice in the kavanaugh instance a couple years ago. it will be a severe test of all
of her skills to be able to not just vote in a way that allows her to survive, but frame her vote in a way that allows her to survive. >> finally a juror sitting in the united states senate on the floor, a guy whose race i think is overlooked sometimes because he is from north carolina, considered the deep south, but thom tillis has been mired in the low 30s, his approval ratings have never been high, he has always had problems. he turned into a trump sycophant when it looked like he was going to get a challenge from a congressman. thom tillis, i mean, that's just a race that no one should fall asleep on because i'm not so sure that a guy that barely won his election, barely beat kay hagen who has been sitting in the low 30s ever since can win reelection. what about thom phyllis, what does he have to be looking at during this hoimt? can he continue to play trump sycophant and get reelected?
>> it would be safer not to. he is the one who i think you're -- tillis has to pay attention, right? but of these people i think tillis is the one in the strongest position of the vulnerable republicans. i will tell you who has a bigger problem than thom tillis is martha mcsally. >> exactly. i was just going to say -- and, john, by the way, we didn't even talk about arizona and georgia. they are on the board in the presidential race as well. >> right. >> if things tilt a little bit expect arizona and georgia to go blue. >> right. i listed those five -- those five battle ground states, the five primary battle ground states. if you went down to number six, number six would be arizona, the state where democrats will compete, will spend a lot of money. very bad for martha mcsally could have a competitive presidential election happening in arizona where whoever the democratic nominee is is pouring millions of dollars in into that state. she was an appointed senator n a position of weakness. we saw a poll on her just
yesterday or the day before that had her down by four or five, six points in her reelect. so she along with collins and gardner i think are the ones to watch in addition to what you think of as the principal republicans like mitt romney who seems like he is inclined, has said over and over he wants to see witnesses and wants to see john bolton. that probably is your setup for the votes that you need if we're going to see witnesses if it's going to come together i think those are the four. >> all right. john heilemann -- >> go ahead. i'm sorry. >> no, you go. >> no, no he is are my four. >> all right. >> i will stick with that hand. >> stay with that hand. john heilemann, thank you so much for getting up so early on central time zone in chicago. we greatly appreciate it. we will see you in iowa tomorrow. so a lot of chess pieces on the board, willie geist, moving around. a lot of senators right now who are in very tough reelection
battles who want to seem loyal to donald trump, at least before the primary filing deadline is over, but at the same time who have to reach out to the middle in their own state. >> it's a fine line to walk and there is a reason that susan collins was the first and i think the only person to come out after mitch mcconnell, change the rules yesterday to allow house evidence into the senate trial. we heard from susan collins' office first to say she pushed him, she put pressure on him in that closed caucus lunch to open up those rules. she wants her voters in her state and perhaps the country to know that she is pushing mitch mcconnell whether or not you believe that is another matter. jonathan lemire, going back to the trial for a moment from your view in the white house, it was like living in a parallel universe or perhaps you would have not paid attention to anything leading up to yesterday to hear pat cipollone and jay sekulow and other white house attorneys for the president say that the president didn't get a fair trial in the house, he couldn't defend himself, he
wasn't given the opportunity to defend himself when if you have been paying attention for just a second you know that the white house explicitly said we are not going to participate in your trial, we are not going to answer subpoenas or provide witnesses or documents. pat cipollone sent a letter over to the house on october 8th of last year, one line from it, president trump and his administration cannot participate in your partisan unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances. so for them to stand up there in the well of the senate and say, boy, we got a bad deal, we got a raw deal, the president was not allowed to defend himself in the house is beyond rich. it's preposterous and you would have had to have not paid attention for months and months to believe what he said yesterday. >> a completely dishonest argument. the white house strategy was summed up in three words, just say no. they did not want to participate. they blocked it at every turn. not only was the white house counsel not telling the truth in terms of suggesting the republicans weren't allowed in the secure room in the capitol basement, they were there, but also throughout there were a
number of occasions where the president could have called his own witnesses, the democrats wanted to hear from people who had firsthand knowledge of this. if you believe the president's claim that he's innocent, well, these witnesses could have exonerated him, mick mulvaney or secretary of state pompeo or john bolton and others and throughout the white house simply say, no, they weren't going to cooperate, they used the same strategy they used during the tail end of the mueller investigation, the house probes once the democrats took control earlier last year and they weren't going to play ball. yes, to elise's smart point there is this fox news bubble that they're playing to. i think the president according to our reporting is deeply mindful of how this is playing out on television which is why you're seeing him do a series of tv interviews early this morning from davos and is about to hold a news conference that was not on the white house schedule. this was something that he just ordered up himself within the last hour or so and he's getting to the mics now. >> we will be monitoring that.
he's speaking about the economy right now but we may go to that if he starts taking questions. also coming up later on in the show, former vice president joe biden will be our guest right here on "morning joe." we will be right back. ght here on "morning joe." we will be right back. ♪ limu emu & doug [ siren ] give me your hand! i can save you... ...lots of money with liberty mutual. we customize your car insurance so you only pay for what you need!
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do you think they're going to be to have an epiphany a few days from now and say, okay, we're ready for witnesses? no. no. their goal is get you to say no now, get you to have the trial and then argue make it go away. let's dismiss the whole thing. that's the plan. a vote to delay is a vote to deny, let's make no mistake about that. they are not going to have an epiphany a few days from now and suddenly say, okay, the american people do deserve the answers. their whole goal is that you will never get to that point.
you will never get to that point. when they say when, they mean never. >> joining us now msnbc legal analyst danny cevallos, state attorney for palm beach county dave ehrenberg and former assistant united states attorney in the southern district of new york mimi roka, a candidate for district attorney of west chester county. danny cevallos, what was your take on what went down yesterday and what you saw from both sides? >> we saw essentially the opening arguments from at least the house as to their -- what we're going to be hearing from their actual opening arguments. they were well-organized, had plenty of demonstrative exhibits and we saw a lot of maybe not so organized responses from the defense and possibly even some fudging of the facts depending on who you ask. all in all we got a good
preview, that plus the trial memorandums that were filed, we got a good preview of what we can expect in the days to come. >> i can confirm there was fudging of the facts if you're looking for owe michelle confirmation. mimi, what did you make of the presentation on both sides over about 12 hours yesterday? >> so the republican -- trump's lawyers were seriously outmatched. it really showed. i think that's for two reasons, one is the democrats adam schiff just has the better argument here. he is arguing based on law, principle, the constitution and facts, and trump's lawyers are arguing based on procedure because it's all they have. those arguments as you pointed out are not even fully honest arguments. but when that's all you've got it sounds very weak when the arguments you are up against are based on constitutional principles and, again, strong factual record.
it was very smart of the democrats to get the facts out now even in this sort of motion pretrial phase. i thought adam schiff was just masterful. >> that was pretty impressive. mean while, rudy giuliani's associate, lev parnas, sent a letter to attorney general william barr requesting that he recuse himself from the investigation and appoint a special prosecutor. according to a new court filing. a copy of the letter was filed yesterday on parnas' docket in his federal campaign violation case brought by new york prosecutors. the three-page letter was sent to barr days after parnas spoke out publicly for the first time about his role assisting giuliani and urging ukraine officials to launch an investigation into joe biden. dave ehrenberg, what do you make of this? >> well, he should have recused himself a long time ago but he didn't because bill barr sees
himself more as the president's personal defender than as the attorney general of the united states. he should have recused himself when the whistle-blower complaint was released and bill barr was implicated in the first few lines of the complaint. he should have recused himself when the perfect call transcript was released and president trump mentioned bill barr several times to tell president zelensky to follow up with bill barr to investigate joe biden. and he should have recused himself when it was apparent he was involved in the doj review of the whistle-blower complaint and his refusal to turn the complaint over to congress. he didn't because that's why he's there to have the president's back, to be the president's consigliere. it's more like godfather 3 without the first two movies. >> so, joe, i mean, the attorney general at this point i think is one of the, you know, things that we didn't expect until he came out right after the mueller report and clearly it was chilling for the president. where is the accountability?
how does one hold -- how does this government hold the attorney general accountable? >> well, there is no accountability. this is an attorney general who has decided that he's not going to actually follow the law. he's decided he is going to be donald trump's roy cohen. trump wanted a roy cohen, he got a roy cohen who went before the senate, a senate committee, went before a house committee and committed perjury in at least one, maybe two of those committees, but, mimi rocah it's fascinating looking at this case -- for lawyers, for any lawyer that's honest, this is not a close call. any honest lawyer would immediately recuse themselves and it reminds me of the president going crazy when jeff sessions recused himself in the russia matter when he had into other choice. if you read, you know, the bar
rules on ethics in the state of alabama or new york or florida or anywhere across america, he had no choice but to recuse himself because he was involved in that case. why bill barr hasn't done this in a case where he is an active participant, again, it just shows how low he's willing to go as donald trump's roy cohen. >> it really is stunning, joe. bill barr right now is deciding whether bill barr should be investigated by the doj. i mean, that's how ludicrous this is. his name was come up repeatedly. we cannot sit here and say that he's committed a crime or not, but the fact is his name, his involvement, his participation has come up incredible ways including by the president enough times that he, bill barr, cannot be in charge of deciding whether any investigation going on in the department of justice
should include him, bill barr. that is the most straightforward conflict of interest that there is. this may sound a little quaint, but, you know, we need justice to have the appearance of justice. so how is the american public ever going to trust any investigation now that comes out of the department of justice involving any of these people surrounding the whole ukraine matter? they can't because with bill barr at the helm and not recuse k himself and not even explaining why it is that he's not recusing himself. he puts out these little 100% false statements. that is completely inadequate and down the road i assume there will be people who will be able to hold him accountable for this, but it's not happening right now. it's really a stain on the department of justice. >> i'm really not sure why there haven't been numerous complaints filed against the attorney general in state bars or even in the federal bar and have those
move forward because clearly he is not acting as an officer of the court, he is acting as donald trump's roy cohn which is of course let's just give -- give trump credit where credit is due, that's exactly, willie, what he's been claiming. by the way, i want to circle back on something dave ehrenberg said, willie, one of the most frightening thoughts regarding movies it would be like i think he said having a "godfather 3" without having the first two. it boggles the mind. very frightening. >> no, i don't want to live in a world where we only have "godfather 3." >> no. >> the president is speaking at a news conference taking questions in davos, we are keeping a close eye on that. what has he been saying so far? >> he opened up with his usual pitch of the economy, it's the envy of the world, talked to global and business leaders who have said as much, touting the trade deals that he signed.
he is taking questions and turned to impeachment. at this point it's his usual attack, a total hoax and disgrace. he's said that -- he has defended his side says that the democrats have outlined a con job like schiff. he has said that he's leaving the witnesses -- >> we're going to listen in to the president speaking right now. >> -- wasting time in washington and i watched, they don't talk about my conversation, they don't talk about my transcripts. remember this, when schiff made up the phoney story and he repeat it had to congress and the world and it was a totally phoney story, then i released the transcript. there was supposed to be a second whistle-blower. what happened to him? wait. wait. otherwise i won't do your show. wait. there was supposed to be an informer. what happened to the informer? all of these people disappeared and when they saw this transcript they said we've got problems. but they went a ahead because they were already there because they had a phoney concocted story made up. so here is the story, i did
nothing wrong, it was a perfect conversation, it was totally appropriate. the best lawyers in the world have looked at it. the department of justice has looked at it, given it a signoff. there was nothing wrong. they never thought i was going to release the conversation. they probably didn't think we had transcribers or we had it transcribed or taped, but they never thought we were going to release it. when we released that conversation all hell broke out with the democrats because they say, wait a minute, this is much different than shifty schiff told us. so we're doing very well, i got to watch enough, i thought our team did a very good job, but honestly we have all the material. they don't have the material. >> i ask you because your attorneys say it's not. alan dershowitz said the framers of the constitution did not permit impeachment on obstruction. they had open-ended criteria. for future presidents is abuse
of power an impeachable offense? >> it depends but if you take a look at this and from what everybody tells me all i do is i'm honest, i make great deals, i've made great deals for our country, now we're working with the wto, you're probably surprised by that, but there has been a long-term abusive situation to the u.s. i make great deals for our country and they are honest deals. when you read that transcription -- by the way, it wasn't one call, it was two calls. nobody likes to talk about that. there was one call which was perfect and then there was a second call i guess a couple months later which was perfect. the president of ukraine has said it was perfect. the foreign minister of ukraine said it was perfect. so if we have a transcription, we have the call and we have the person on the other side of the call saying it was good -- here is the other thing, this he got their money long before schedule, they got all their money. what nobody says that is very important to me, why isn't
germany paying? why isn't uk paying? why isn't france paying? why aren't the european nations paying? why is it always the summer, united states. that's one. and the other they think i wanted to check very carefully and it's very important is corruption and we do that, too. this was a perfect call and -- >> all right. willie geist -- >> oh, my god. >> -- more of the same. we have heard it all before. it's pretty remarkable. the president declaring his version of i am not a crook says i'm honest, of course, the count now on verified lies since the beginning of the trump administration is now over 16,000 according to the "washington post's" fact checker. says he makes great deals. that speaks for itself, a man who has gone bankrupt time and time again and continues to be mired in north korean missile deal where he was made to look like a complete fool.
also it's interesting, he keeps talking about releasing a transcript. i never released the actual transcript. that's a lie. said it was a perfect conversation and the president of ukraine said it was a perfect conversation. well, it's very interesting that he's talking about the president of ukraine and not the 58% of americans, 56, 58% of americans who said the president abused his power with that phone call. 51% of americans who believe he should be removed from office because of that phone call. and then following up on what mimi and i were talking about before about having an attorney general who is not interested in actually enforcing the law, but in being donald trump's roy cohn how interesting that he attacks the democrats' phoney concocted story and then he said i did nothing wrong. i had the best lawyers in the world look into it, which of
course is a lie, he has some of the worst lawyers i have ever seen since being sworn in as an attorney about 30 years ago, and he said -- and here is the line, i had the doj look into it and they said i did nothing wrong. >> my god. >> and there you have the payoff that not just the $30,000 that barr puts in donald trump's pockets for christmas parties at trump properties, but there is the big payoff for donald trump. he can say he had the doj look into it and they said he did nothing wrong when of course bill barr is up to his neck in this swampy concoction and will not recuse himself. >> and it remains extraordinary, joe, he says, again, read the transcript and as you point out bottom page 1 of the document that was released all caps, caution, a memorandum of a telephone conversation is not a
verbatim transcript of the discussion. it's worth repeating that again. but it's remarkable that he believes that summary of the phone call exonerates him. he wants you to go back and read the document that got him into trouble alongside the whistle-blower report. he believes read the transcript exonerates him. all you have to do, guys, is watch the evidence that was presented in the well of the senate and make up your own mind as an american. just listen to what was presented to you and make up your own mind. the question kristen welker put to the president twice that he didn't answer was is abuse of power an impeachable offense. so, danny, let me ask you, is abuse of power an impeachable offense. >> the republicans' argument is that prior impeachments using abuse of power have also been tied to some crime and that's true but it's important to know that in senate trials you don't have binding precedent the way you do in article iii in courts in the jude hear system. so then it becomes abuse of power is an impeachable offense
because it's exactly what the framers envisioned. when they defined high crimes and misdemeanors they didn't mean victory crimes, the word high was meant to modify an abuse of official power or a breach of the public trust and that was echoed in writings by hamilton not long after and other -- other language interpreting the constitution. so high crimes and misdemeanors need not be limited to crimes. alan dershowitz is going to argue exactly the opposite that it does require a crime of some kind but he is in the academic minority. he has a creative argument it's in the minority. it stands that abuse of power is an impeachable offense with or without a crime. >> jonathan, we talks about the president's attorney speaking to an audience of one to the president, it looks from outward appearances like the president is happy with what he saw yesterday. >> that's the initial vibe from the white house, people we talked to last night. the president has been in switzerland throughout this, but he wants a robust offense.
we know for this president facts don't often party it's all about the grandstanding and the anger on his behalf. we saw that yesterday from white house counsel. there seem to be real fury even at the democratic process as unjust as it was. he has said that he could live either way with witnesses, whether they are a part of the trial or not, but that also brings up i think an interesting point, the "washington post" reported that senate democrats are considering making a deal, that they would be willing to allow hunter biden to testimony if they could get john bolton back. joe, i saw you weigh in on twitter suggesting that that was a deal you would not take. >> it's a sucker's deal. what's going to happen is you will have the -- if the democrats strike that deal john bolton will come to the hill and when it's time for him to testify the white house will claim executive privilege and john bolton will say i can't speak because of executive privilege. gentlemen, i can be here, but i really can't go into any of these topics because they
involve national security and would be setting a bad precedent and the white house lawyers will agree with that. so the democrats will get absolutely nothing out of this. i mean, if john bolton had wanted to testify he could have come to the house when patriots like ambassador yovanovitch and ambassador taylor and others came and testified, despite the fact the white house told them not to come. now john bolton has a book, he's teasing the contents of that book on twitter saying, i have a lot to say. seriously? >> that's terrible. >> what a joke. i have a lot to say? but he wouldn't say it in front of the u.s. house? no, this is -- this is -- this is a very bad deal, dave ehrenberg, and i would guess it would not be a deal that you would take because, again, there is no guarantee that john bolton
will say anything that he will continue to save all of his information for this -- what's been reported to be a $2 million book deal. >> yeah, you hope there wasn't a wink and nod with john bolton and the white house that, hey, you know, i'm going to offer to testify, but just get ready with executive privilege. and, joe, that last clip that you just played of the president that was amazing, it shows you how the president has boxed in the republicans because i think the only reasonable defense for the president's actions is that, yeah, it was wrong, but it doesn't rise to the level of impeachment. but you see how the president has boxed in the republicans, he's saying, no, it was a perfect call. there is no wiggle room there. and i'm wondering who these so-called legal experts are who agree it's a perfect call unless he has his private law firm of sean hannity, kid rock and the my pillow guy. >> and of course the my pillow guy -- >> definitely the my pillow guy. >> one of the best most persuasive talkers to a jury that any of us have ever seen.
mimi, that's the thing, when you are making an argument, whether you're making it before a jury or whether you're making it before a political audience, sometimes you give them something. sometimes you say, do you know what, i made a mistake here. i made a mistake there and i'm really sorry for it. but on the big issue of whatever that big issue is, protecting and defending the united states of america, my heart has always been in the right place, dave is exactly right. this president has put the republican party once again in the terrible position by claiming he did nothing wrong when 56, 57, 58 percent of americans say that call was an abuse of a president's power. >> i take the extreme position that trump is taking and that the rest of his defenders seem
to be taking, it makes the whole argument lose credibility. if they came forward and said, okay, yeah, you know, there was maybe -- this wasn't the perfect call, maybe i could have said it differently, that's just the way i talk, but really this doesn't rise to the level of an impeachable offense, i would not agree with that argument, but it would have more credibility. by taking this look at this transcript, look at the transcript, it's a perfect call, it just -- it has no credibility whatsoever so the argument falls fla flat. i don't think trump wants anyone to look at the transcript, he is banking on the fact that no one in the american public -- it's not a transcript as you pointed out, but that no one is actually going to look at it and they are just going to take his word for it that it was perfect. i think in this case over time the american public has come around to understand that nothing about that call was perfect. if i can just say one thing about the potential deal about bolton. >> yeah. >> the issue there -- so one of the issues there and why i agree
with you that it would be an absolutely bad idea to agree to this deal is simply by agreeing for one of the -- for the bidens to testify is conceding somehow a republican point that it's relevant and it's not relevant. there's nothing relevant about them tying this conduct to trump's impeachment. trump's impeachment -- trump's trial is about trump's conduct. by agreeing that they should even testify, that is conceding a point that the republicans want to make, whereas agreeing that bolton testifies may or may not yield anything. so i think it would be a fool's errand to agree to that. >> yeah, i completely agree with you, especially whenever reputable news agency has said that what the republicans have been claiming, what the president has been claiming about joe biden firing a prosecutor to take pressure off of hunter biden is a lie.
i remember the "wall street journal" several months ago on the front page talked about how badly that lie had been discredited. it's a story line that you do not lend credence to. so, yeah, it really makes no sense to bring joe -- to bring hunter biden to the hill and it certainly makes no -- no sense to do a deal with john bolton unless you get some rock solid guarantee that he is going to testify to the facts of this case and not claim executive privilege. >> and maybe do his duty to america. dave ehrenberg and me me rocah, thank you both for being on. the president in davos was asked about that back and forth that we showed you earlier between pat cipollone and jerry nadler. the president commented on that and it was quite remarkable. take a look. >> first of all, jerrold nadler, i have known him a long time, he
is a sleaze bag, everybody knows tha that. pat cipollone is a high quality human being. pat is a brilliant guy but i have never seen that emotion and that's real emotion, that's because he knows this is a hoax and i was very proud of the job he did. i have known -- i have known jerry nadler for a long time. he has opposed many of my jobs, i got them all built, very successfully built in new york. so we have yet another fight. isn't it amazing. isn't it surprising, isn't it amazing. if you look at, you know, other aspects or other parts of your question i think that the -- i would rather go the long way. i would rather interview bolton, i would rather interview a lot of people. the problem with john is that it's a national security problem, you know, you can't
have somebody who is at national security and if you think about it, john, he knows some of my thoughts, he knows what i think about leaders, what happens if he reveals what i think about a certain leader and it's not very positive -- >> all right. yeah, willie, this is, of course, while donald trump has contributed money to just about every democrat in new york state from anthony weiner to elliott former governor >> spitzer. >> elliott spitzer to hillary clinton. eight times gave money to hillary clinton eight times, said she was a great secretary of state. >> that was nice of him. >> gave money to charlie rangel. listen, if you were a liberal in new york, donald trump would write you checks. he did not, though, with the notable exception was jerry nadler because in the 1980s donald trump purchased some
railroad property on the lower west side, i believe it was, of manhattan and he wanted to develop it and jerry nadler did not want it developed and so that battle between these two gentlemen has been going on for 40 years and it's one reason why nadler is the only democrat it seems in new york state that can't brag about getting a campaign check from donald j. trump. >> joe, a quick -- we're going to double check this but it looks like he may have given $500 to jerry nadler in 1989 for a city comptroller race, but i want to double-check that. >> so he contributed money to a sleaze bag he says. he said he was a sleaze bag and yet he contributed money to him. you can even get in a fight with donald trump if you are a new york liberal and he still gave you money. isn't that fascinating. >> isn't it amazing how the petty fights over new york real estate of the 1980s and '90s
have been elevated to davos and the world stage as the president goes after jerry nadler. i think what may be more interesting were his comments about john bolton where it was all over the place. he came out and said i'd like a longer trial. i'd like to interview john bolton myself but realizing what he said, he goes, well, he left on bad terms. by the way, i fired him. he left on bad terms. that was my decision. so maybe not the best guy to have, maybe he has bad feelings about our relationship. he doesn't want john bolton to testify. >> first of all, my sympathies to representative nadler. the president has also called me a sleaze bag once. if the shoe fits, i suppose. >> good for you. here here. >> they've set this up, this straw argument a number of times where the president and his team have suggested they would be interested in hearing from john bolton the former national security adviser but immediately say but it would be a national security issue and they're setting up a play for executive privilege to protect the conversation toss say they can't be revealed.
we didn't have the clip but the president went on to say something similar about mick mulvaney and pompeo, saying we can't have them be witnesses. this he would exonerate me but with he can't have them testify because it would jeopardize national security now and set a bad precedent for presidents down the road. this he don't want these witnesses. he would love an appearance by hunter biden and that's part of the reason why as joe was saying earlier this trade is one the republicans might embrace, they can have bolton and hunter biden both appear but john bolton with the executive privilege won't say anything while hunter biden doesn't have that -- >> mika, not only does the president not want john bolton to testify, he wants this thing over in a couple weeks and mitch mcconnell agrees with him. joining the conversation "usa today" opinion columnist and former senior advisor for the house oversight and golf reform committee kurt bardella, also with us, walter isaacson
joins us and nbc news capitol hill correspondent and a host of "kasie dc" on msnbc, kasie hunt. we will start with you. what are you hearing? >> well, mika, you guys have covered a lot of ground this morning already and we were obviously here late into the night. i think the key -- a couple key questions, one for the democrats, those questions about this potential hunter biden trade, i was texting with sources late into the night last night about this and i'm getting very strong push back from democratic aides who say that these conversations are not happening. they clearly felt the need to walk back and push back senator coo coons. behind the scenes they would be failing if they weren't doing prep work for that possible
inevitability. it's something that is balanced on a knife's edge and something that really has the potential to spark some trouble inside the democratic caucus as this sort of unfolds. the second half of this equation of course is the republicans and what are they going to do about the witnesses. you guys were talking through earlier the moderates and the different factions at play here and from talking to sources yesterday about how these rules changes came to be, i would break them up into four categories myself. on the one hand you have moderates who are very focused on making sure the process seems fair, that's susan collins, lisa murkowski, romney i would put among them. also the senators running scared, up for reelection, they really need particularly the trump base to get out and support them, that's your cory gardners, martha mcsallys, potential thom tillis. those people according to my reporting are focused on avoiding having to take a tough
vote on witnesses. they were the ones who perhaps behind the scenes were pushing back against this witness vote that's now written into the rules. you also have of course all the president's men, these are the ones who are talking about hunter biden, who are beating that drum behind the scenes, ted cruz, mike lee, others who will stick by the president no matter what. finally you have a wild card group that i would call the institutionalists and they are people who have been in the senate a long time and who were involved in some of those conversations yesterday, some of them don't want their names out there in public this way. lamar alexander has been out in front of that, he is refiring, close to mitch mcconnell, somebody who cares about the institution. i would also keep an eye on rob portman as somebody who maybe is involved in some of these discussions as well as pat roberts of kansas which may come as a little bit of a surprise. all of those factions are groups that mitch mcconnell has to balance. i think you saw that the senate republican conference won out over the white house yesterday in how all of this was going to
unfold. i think that tension between mcconnell and the president who, you know, wants a cable news fiery kind of trial versus a mcconnell who wants a lawyerly get this over with as fast as possible process is really something that could drive the next few days here, mika. >> great summary of it. walter isaacson i remember reading an andrew sullivan column about the death of shame i think it was in the new republic during the clinton administration, but, man, clinton administration had nothing on donald trump's lawyers yesterday lying openly with everybody in the chamber knowing they were lying, sitting -- or standing just a few feet from the chief justice of the united states supreme court. it was a breathtaking display of
shamelessness. >> absolutely. especially sitting in front of chief justice roberts, a man of great probity and respect. what you have is a president who is basically a clustery carnival barker who blurts out lies every now and then when it suits his purposes, sometimes when it doesn't suit his purposes. we already know that. what's really weird is that he turns everybody around him into blustery liars blurting out things like a carnival barker. you had these lawyers for him who weren't really prepared to deal with the substance or they didn't deal with the substance of the allegations. they were just spewing out weird things about adam schiff or as the president did in davos, weird things about jerry nadler instead of saying here is why the phone calls were made, here is why pressure was put on iran,
here is why we believe that's not a high crime or misdemeanor. to me it seems pretty close to being a high crime or mi misdemean misdemeanor, but what we have in trump is who not only himself acts in way but he taints and poisons everybody who plays to him as an audience of one, not only his lawyers but half the republicans in the senate. >> all right. around 9:30 last night more than eight hours into the debate over the rules senate majority leader muslim tried to get senate minority leader chuck schumer to agree to stack the votes, a move that would have set them back to back -- set them up back to back instead of having house prosecutors and trump's team debate each amendment for up to two hours. >> i would ask consent to ask the democratic leader since there is a certain similarity to all these amendments whether he might be willing to enter into a consent agreement to stack these
votes. >> mcconnell's attempt was rejected by schumer, but mcconnell's attempted maneuver may have been a misstep. according to msnbc legal analyst and former robert mueller deputy andrew weissmann. >> i think mitch mcconnell may have made a bit of a miscalculation there because what he is really saying can you stack these as -- doesn't really matter what you say because we're going to vote against it. >> right. >> that is -- >> reference to that. >> that is remarkable. this is supposed to be about the facts and the law and you have the democrats -- whether you agree or not -- they are making individualized assessments of each of the requests they've made. why is it that we need omb, why is it that we need the state department. to turn to the democrats and say can you just put this all together because it doesn't matter. >> because we don't care. >> that is a really bad signal. >> you know --
>> andrew weissmann. >> kurt, i have sat for the past several years trying to figure out what the republican strategy was, not for donald trump, but for the party itself and this morning i sit here again once again asking myself do these people not believe that there's going to be life after donald trump? do they not believe that there are not going to be elections held after donald trump leaves office next year? what were your thoughts as a former republican watching the republican strategy. where does that show us? >> i think we're seeing an inflection point in the history of the republican party that they are not going to be able to recover from. i think back to looking at the california republican party, i came up in california politics and was there to watch the
evolution or the escalation of the republican party as they moved further to the right. and remember in the mid '90s the republican party in california was thriving. they had a governor that was a republican, they controlled the state legislature and here we are two decades later and they are completely wiped out of office, no at single republican in the state-wide office, a total veto-proof majority for the democrats and that's where this story ends for the republican party overall following trump and i think that we're going to see these points now where an entire generation of voters are going to forever associate the republican party cover up of donald trump's crimes with the gop. they will never be willing to vote for republican, to register as a republican. that's not going to go away. this is a permanent stain for the entire party and i think that you're seeing the beginnings of what will ultimately be a path that leaves them in the permanent minority in the congress and ultimately frozen out of elected office almost unilaterally for the presidential races going forward. now, 2020 we will start seeing some of that i think come into
play and senators particularly that are a part of this cover up be penalized by the voters for his complicit in it, but after that i think you're going to see very harsh long-term consequences that will completely alter the terrain of the political parties. >> and, willie, unless anybody thinks kurt is being mellow dramatic, lay on top of that the demographic changes happening in america. the demographic changes that george w. bush and karl rove were talking to republicans in congress about in 1998 and 1999. those demographic changes are going to have an impact on elections moving forward even without donald trump it was going to be a tough enough battle for republicans in the future to win states like texas, arizona and georgia. now after donald trump, after going through this time where, yes, this man committed crimes but also has called hispanics
breeders, locked hispanic children in cages at the border, has preached moral equivalency between neo-nazis and those protesting neo-nazis. has gained the praise of white supremacists and former klans members like david duke. that's what this republican party, that is -- those are the political battles that this republican party is marching into and, boy, every day is just a day where they move a step closer to being the 21st century version of the wig party. >> going to the mat for president trump who will be gone in a year or five years and will have no time for any of these people who have put their careers on the line for him as we know well. i would add to your list there five minutes ago in davos he said there will be expansion of
the travel ban with the announcement of new countries to come shortly. danny cevallos, let's take a look at what's going to happen today. opening statements for both sides, long opening statements over the course of many hours. it felt to a lot of people yesterday for the democrats that was an opening statement, that was putting all the evidence out over 12 hours and walking the american people and senators in that room through what happened and why they believe it's an impeachable offense. >> we've already heard opening statements from the house managers, like you said yesterday they were part of the preamble to these essentially pretrial motions to get evidence and other things. now, in a normal court if the judge is educated about the issues, you don't have to get into all of those context fueling facts, but this is no ordinary court. these house managers were presenting not just to the senate, but to the free world, to the american public and to the voters. so they had to give this background information or else it would have seemed really
disappointed to just launch into why they want witnesses without the background. the challenge today is to come up with a presentation that is not redundant, that doesn't bore the audience by going over exactly the same things. that's a real challenge because the house managers used demonstrative exhibits, powerpoints, do they use the same things again? those are effective. we live in a post steve jobs apple world where the visual presentation has become king. also in the courtroom as well. so they have all of these dem stra tiffs, are they going to continue the use the same things, use the same arguments or are they going to change it up and try to give us something that will captivate us and keep us interest while still covering all the substantive points? it really is a challenge today. >> mika, the house managers used the president's own words yesterday putting sound bites up on the screens for senators and really for the millions of people watching across the country. >> yeah, they had a lot going on at once.
did a good job with it. danny cevallos, thank you very much. still ahead on "morning joe," former vice president joe biden joins us live. but first one of the senators in the middle of the impeachment fight. democrat mazie hirono is standing by. she joins the conversation next on "morning joe." y. she joins the conversation next on "morning joe. he wanted a man cave in our new home.
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also went on to say the ukrainians say they don't feel any pressure. that's what they say now. of course, we know that's not true. we have had testimony that they didn't want to be used as a political pawn in u.s. domestic politics. they resisted it. so in isn't president zelensky now saying he was pressured? well, can you imagine the impact of that. can you imagine the impact of
president zelensky if he were to acknowledge today, hell, yes, we felt pressured. you would, too. we are at war with russia for crying out loud. yeah, we felt pressure. we needed those hundreds of millions of military aid, but do you think i'm going to say that now? i still can't get in the white house door. they let lavrov in, the russian foreign minister, they let him in, i can't even get in the white house door. do you think i'm going to go out now and admit to this -- this scheme? i mean, anyone who has watched this president in the last three years knows how vindictive he can be. do you think it would be smart for the president of ukraine to contradict the president of the united states so directly on an issue he's being impeached for? that would be the worst form of malpractice for the new president of ukraine. we shouldn't be surprised he would deny it. we should be surprised if he were to admit it. >> lead democratic prosecutor
congressman adam schiff with that response to the president's counsel's argument that ukrainian president zelensky did not feel pressured by president trump. joining us now is democratic senator mazie hirono of hawaii. she is a member of both the armed services and judiciary committees. thank you for being on. >> good morning. >> yesterday was powerful. i think the democrats really laid things out as they were also putting together the process and it was powerful. do you think the effort to get some republicans to break ranks would be efforts that are in vain? >> look, we had to do it. the contrast was tremendous. the house people were -- were very prepared, they treated this seriously like a trial and on the other hand you had the president's team who were not prepared and i think it's because they knew they probably thought, well, we have the
votes, what the heck. they were just speaking to the audience of one, which is the president. so they were raising what are considered specious arguments while the house managers were laying out their case basically. >> but what's the effort and is it worth the effort at this point to get some republicans to see that what you all are requesting to put in this trial and present to the american people as well as to jurors, the senate, is it not worth the effort to try to work these republicans over or is there still work being done behind the scenes? >> i don't know if there's work being done behind the scenes because mitch mcconnell is totally on a straight line to have a fast trial, no at fair trial, and so you saw last night that all of the republicans pretty much except for one tiny little probably meaningless vote they were totally in closed
ranks and basically they are supporting a president who says i can do anything i want under article ii of the constitution. he has a team that is behaving accordingly. i have to tell you after sitting there for 12 hours or whatever it is, there are certain portions that stick out. i mean, around the midnight hour when cipollone said the president is a man of his word. if i was drinking something i would have had to spit up. what a lie. we know that the president has lied 16,000 times. how can you even give credence to somebody who comes up with a whopper like that. and then there was another point when sekulow obviously speaking to the president looks up and says, where is the whistle-blower? oh, give me a break. they did not take this whole process seriously because they figure that it's rigged and mitch mcconnell is helping them rig it. now, our managers valiantly and i think they have to do that because the american people
should at every turn get as much of the factual basis for the impeachment as possible. so they are there saying here is what the president did, these are the conversations we had, these are the 17 witnesses, here is what they said and they went down the line to show why the documentary evidence was relevant and important and why the witnesses were important for us to hear from. meanwhile, you have the republicans sitting there, they don't want to hear anything or see anything. it was more than sad for our country. i just sat there thinking who the heck is the president going to shake down next? who is he going to bribe next with taxpayers' money because he's going to be feel totally emboldened to keep going an inviting other countries to interfere with our elections. >> senator her roen in a, it's willie geist. >> still standing. >> yes, you are. you just said something that the republicans in the room sort of sat there glazed over and i think the impression from outside across the country is that this trial is sort of
theater. that the outcome has already been decided, republicans are going to vote to acquit the president, democrats will vote to -- do you have any instinct based on what you saw inside the room that some people, maybe republicans, maybe a moderate republican might be compelled by what's been said or is everyone sort of going through the motions in that room? >> i think it is a very sad commentary that the republicans are treating this as a foregone conclusion and that their descriptions of what happened as theater. we are talking about impeaching a president who lies every single day, who abuses power and who obstructed congress. there is no question. notice that over 13 hours the republican team didn't even talk about the facts of the case. they are just laying out what i call specious arguments, including, by the way, they continue to think that we're driven by some kind of a
conspiracy to try to get rid of the president as though we don't deal in facts. it's a sad day but there you have it and we have to do our best to educate the public of what is going on. and that's why the facts bear repeating and when i -- every chance i get i talk about here is what the president did, he shook down the president of another country for his own political purposes using the power of his presidency and the $400 million almost of taxpayer money as a bribe. wow. if that doesn't strike people as not okay, i don't know what will. >> senator, the "washington post" has reported there are senate democrats who are bandied about the idea of a trade of hunter biden's testimony for john bolton's testimony. what kind of risk do you think that that strategy would bring for democrats? >> i think that kind of trade would point out the political nature of this whole thing. this is not about horse trading in my view. you know, i care and others care
about the relevance of these witnesses and hunter biden is part and parcel of the republican effort to distract us from everything except what the president did. so the thing is that if we follow mitch mcconnell's playbook from yesterday or this morning they debate on witnesses doesn't even come until after 16 hours of questioning by the senators and then we actually get to talk about, oh, should we have a debate about witnesses and documents? so supposedly the whole hunter biden and anybody else, bolton, that doesn't even come up until way at the end. now, anything could happen, mitch mcconnell could change the rules as we go along to suit his purposes, but i'm not one to say we should trade for a total, you know, irrelevant witness over somebody like bolton who, by the way, could sit there and say i'm so sorry, whatever i have to say is covered by executive privilege because you've got a president who exerted late in
the day not during the house impeachment inquiry, executive privilege and blanket immunity for everybody. there is no such thing as either one of them. but, you know, you have a president who thinks that he can get away with anything under article 2. >> senator, we have been talking about a potential swap deal with regard to witnesses involving hunter biden and joe biden. even that, though, raises the level of credibility to an issue that has no credibility, the reports of vice president biden, you know, in the ukraine. >> yes. >> so even talking about it is kind of ridiculous, wouldn't you agree with that? >> i agree with you and that's why i don't talk about it. >> let me follow that up. >> okay. go ahead. >> let me follow that up with what you do talk about in the cloak room behind the scenes with some republican colleagues of yours, do they not some of them realize that this is a
sham, a fake trial? >> whether they realize it or not is basically irrelevant to me because they're voting right down the line and protecting this line out of control lawless president. so that's what's important to me. you know, you sit there 13 hours of voting and they are right down the line and they're going to continue to be right down the line because i guess fear is a tremendous motivator for these people. >> senator, kasie hunt has a question for. >> you senator, good morning. good to see. >> you good morning. >> just to follow up on what mike was saying there, i realize that many democrats don't want to talk about this at all, but republicans are talking about it. if hunter biden is an irrelevant witness is there any scenario under which it's worth it to have him come in if it means that you and the country get to hear from bolton? any circumstance? >> frankly, we don't even know what bolton is going to say because we know that the president has asserted executive privilege over all the
witnesses' testimony so we don't know. we could trade for an irrelevant witness -- you know, i really want to continue to hold to the lines that this is a trial and a trial is supposed to have relevant witnesses. this is why we try to have an amendment made in the morning that would require that the chief justice make the decisions on the relevance of witnesses and documents. you know, with he treat this seriously, this is serious business, republicans continue to treat it as some sort of a foregone conclusion and these are the same people, by the way, i have to harken back to the time when they were voting to eliminate the affordable care act, they sat there, they were perfectly content to eliminate 26 million off the rolls of health care like that, you know, these are people who can bifurcate what they feel from what the heck they're doing. i care about what the heck they're doing. they're totally going down the line with this lying president. >> senator mazie hirono, thank
you so much for being on the show this morning. really appreciate your insights. of course, there will be full coverage today on msnbc as the hearings proceed and the process gets under way, but coming up on "morning joe," joining us live, 2020 candidate, former vice president joe biden. we will be right back. former vice president joe biden. we will be right back. as a struggling actor, i need all the breaks that i can get. at liberty butchumal- cut. liberty biberty- cut. we'll dub it. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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45 past the hour. the lincoln project, a group of prominent conservative critics of president trump is out this morning with a new ad targeting senator susan collins of maine. >> senator susan collins, you aren't doing the job we elected you to do. while mainers and the american people demand evidence, witnesses and answers to trump's corrupt ukraine scheme, you keep covering for trump. oh, sure, you certainly talk a
good game. you're concerned, troubled, worried, but one thing you're not, independent. madam senator, this time a finger wag will not cut it. you're a senator, so act like it. you work for maine, not mitch mcconnell, because maine demands independence from our leaders. it's something we had with olympia snowe and bill cohen. don't embarrass their legacy by protecting corruption. you aren't there to suborn corruption and loyalty to a political party, that's not the maine way. that's the trump way. mainers demand independence, senator collins. we want a fair trial in the senate and honest leadership. so either do your job, susan collins, or maine will find
someone who will. >> okay. former republican strategist rick wilson is one of the forces behind that new ad and rick us now, the author of a new book "running against the devil: the plot to save america from trump and democrats from themselves." >> it's so fascinating, maine is a state mika knows well, has spent part of her 52 years in maine and knows mainers well and knows about mainers' independent streak. i think that's what this ad really hammers on most importantly to mainers who like actually electing independents. i thought the images of olympia snowe and bill cohen, two independent republicans, those two images contrasted with susan
collins was almost -- that was almost the most damning part of this entire ad because they would never behave the way susan collins is behaving right now, kowtowing to donald trump. >> that's one thing we really noticed -- this is the long form version of the ad, there is also a 30-second version and both emphasize the fact that maine is famously independent and that they famously want leadership that stands on its own and that's why they have elect independents and independent leaning members of both parties over time. susan collins has ten opportunities yesterday to step up, ten opportunities where she could have shown that she wasn't just there to rubber stamp mitch mcconnell. this idea they're going to vote for witnesses and evidence at the end of the trial is laughable and it shows that all this -- all this posturing she does is an act. it is not real. she is not an independent player. unless she stands up and shows something this kind of pressure will increase over time because she's going to know that the
stinky stuff that is underneath all of this is going to continue to roll out, discoveries will continue to be made, they will be in the public sphere and she will have to own these votes down the line. >> and she will have to own the votes as we very well know that last week of the campaign when everything starts piling on and all -- i mean, everything will be laid bare. who knows what the american people are going to find out about donald trump and this cover up between now and november. but you -- you mentioned and had a stat in there showing that susan collins was the most unpopular senator in america. what a mighty fall she has had over the past two years since she has shown absolutely no willingness and no independence to stand up to donald trump. like you said, that is not the maine way. that is the trump way.
it is a sad fall for this senator. do you think there's any hope that she may actually find the grounding that bill cohen and that olympia snowe and other rock-ribbed republicans had in that state? >> it's a matter of whether she wants her legacy to go down as someone who burned down her integrity for donald trump or someone who took a tough decision and did the right thing and showed that she was going to represent her state and not just live in fear of mitch mcconnell and donald trump. it is a sad commentary on her, and you know, one hopes that she'll find the courage, but she'll have to word a hard electoral lesson here. the fish never smells better on the second day. it's going to keep getting worse and keep being under pressure and she's one of the most vulnerable incumbents because she's not displayed independence and she's been so lockstep and i
think they see the hypocrisy that she does with the furrowed brow and then i'm so concerned and does exactly what trump wants in the end. >> yeah. it's always a couple of furrowed brows and then yes, sir, mr. trump. how can i -- how can i be a shameless a pol sdwripologist f? kurt, let's go from one former republican to another former republican to yet another former republican. this is what you were talking about earlier. what i have been talking about for some time, republicans turning everything over to donald trump, a lifelong democrat who has absolutely no concern about susan collins, the state of maine or anything that doesn't directly involve him. >> you know, i was thinking about this, joe. i was actually olympia snow's press secretary at one point. i can tell you when working for her and all of the decisions and votes she came across i never
once heard her ask the question what will mcconnell think about this? what would president bush or president obama think about this? all i heard was how is this going to impact her in maine and that was the guiding compass for her votes and in such a contrast with senator collins who seems to be way more preoccupied with how this is playing out in washington and not at all how this is playing in bangor, portland and lewiston. this is my question for rick, watching that last vote she took last night where she broke ranks and voted with republicans, as you pointed out, nine other times she voted with mcconnell. what was that vote about? what game is she playing? >> look, she's going try to keep the bare minimum to keep them from being angry with her. that is insufficient. that bare minimum is
insufficient and it's one more problem she's going to accrue by pretending that this is a procedural -- that these are all procedural votes and these are nothing votes and she's in a sharp shock in that regard, i think. >> walter isakson, if you go up to maine, portland and places like that, you pick up the fact that many voters are increasingly becoming disappointed in susan collins always being disappointed and no more than disappointed and underlying that is a story that's hard to get to, hard to report because it has to do with people's emotion, but the irrational fear that donald trump has planted in so many candidates and sitting united states senators just like susan collins is an undercurrent in this campaign that i have never seen before. what about you? >> i think you're exactly right,
and if you look at the dna of maine, what's in their hearts and souls because of that independent streak you set, it goes way back before bill cohen and olympia snowe. margaret j. smith stood up as a republican woman senator from maine to the whole joseph mccarthy, roy cohn poison. she had a great backbone and she more than almost anyone else helped save my country from a period that was quite like this one where joseph mccarthy and roy cohn was spreading lies and she goes down in history for that. you know, you talk about rick's previous block and everything trump touches dies. that's the question of our age which is why just his little stubby fingerprint on people caused them to lose what made
margaret j. smith such an icon in our nation's history. >> rick, there's an objective measure of how that exactly happens and we talk about susan collins in her first three months of president trump's term and she had a 67% approval rating in maine. last week a new morning consult poll has her down 25 points and she now has the highest disapproval including mitch mcconnell in the country so that's a snapshot of what trump has done to her. you're putting up ads about cory gardner. who else are you look at in this impeachment process? >> well, we're looking at folks who are posturing as those that will be independent and swing votes that will do the right thing and those that are going to get a visit from us and there's been a tremendous public response at the lincoln project to this push, and we're going to continue to fight, and so folks like martha mcsally and thom tillis can expect a call pretty
soon. >> rick wilson, thank you very much. nice warning a gone. his new book is "running against the devil. a plot to save america from trump and democrats from themselves." curt bard ella and walter isakson, thank you as well. great to have you. still ahead the president's white house counsel gets called out for lying during the impeachment trial and we'll show you the most egregious one plus joe biden joins us for a live interview from the campaign trail in iowa. "morning joe" is coming right back. ning joe" cisoming right back we made usaa insurance for members like kate.
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so. so we'll look to spread that sense of hope to those that you know. come on -- [ laughter ] oh, no, he's not going in that category. he's too adorable. >> that's a good category to be in, having fun with the crowd. >> and being able to make fun of yourself. pete buttigieg adding to the persuasion. >> along with joe, willie and me we have msnbc contributor mark barnacle, former aide to the george w. bush state departments elise jordan. white house reporter for the associated press, jonathan la mere and analyst co-host of showtime's "the circus" and editor in chief of the recount, john heineman. great group. >> i just want to say very quickly, willie geist, just for
the record, i'm still defending jeb after all these years. >> i like jeb. >> that's an example of a guy that was having fun, dry humor, tongue in cheek, and everybody's hair caught on -- oh, how sad and how pathetic that he had to beg them. he was just -- he was having fun with the crowd. >> you say that as a guy who lived and worked in florida around jeb bush and knows jeb bush and knows his personality, and that was one of -- as you say his dry humor that perhaps didn't translate to the rest of the country, but i think in that crowd jeb is still the standard bearer with please clap and that jeb pose at the end. >> you know how else he's a standard bearer as jeb bush said during the campaign that donald trump was the chaos candidate. it is hard to imagine how this country would be different if everybody in the republican primary voted the way i did and
voted for jeb bush. what a difference. people go to the ballot boxes and they think, oh, it doesn't matter, they're all the same. they're not all the same. it's hard to really imagine, but now would be a good time to stop and say okay, we're in the middle of impeachment for a president who extorted a foreign leader to interfere in america's elections and everybody knows he's guilty. everybody. over 50% of americans think he should be impeached, maybe it would have made a difference if the republican primary voter had voted for jeb bush instead of donald trump and this is a reminder for people going to the polls in a couple of weeks in iowa that their vote makes a huge difference and shapes the future of american democracy. >> all right. in our show at 8:30 a.m. eastern time we will have joe biden, candida
candidate joe biden on our show, the former vice president will be our guest so we look forward to all of that. after nearly 13 hours of debate early this morning the senate passed majority leader mitch mcconnell's resolution laying out the ground rules for president trump's impeachment trial. senate republicans rejected 11 democratic amendments most of which were seeking subpoenas for witness testimony or documents from the trump administration. some last-minute changes from mcconnell's proposed rules came earlier in the day. mcconnell reversed their original plan for argument to take place over two days. now each side will have 24 hours to speak over the course of three days. several republicans had voiced concern about the original schedule including senators susan collins of maine and rob port la portland and lisa murkowski of alaska. he faced a provision that could have barred all evidence
gathered during the house impeachment inquiry and now that evidence will be admitted unless there is an objection leading the president's defense was white house counsel pat cipollone who threw out a number of lies on the senate floor. here's the most blatant one. >> in every other impeachment proceeding the president has been given a minimal due process. nothing here. not even mr. schiff's republican colleagues were allowed into the skiff. information was selectively leaked out. witnesses were threatened. good public servants were told that they would be leheld in contempt. they were told that they were obstructing. what does mr. schiff mean by obstructing he means that unless you do exactly what he says
regardless of your constitutional rights then you're obstructing. the president was not allowed to call witnesses. by the way, there's still evidence in the skiff that we haven't been allowed to see. i wonder why? >> now i'm not going to suggest to you that mr. cipollone would deliberately make a false statement. i will leave it to mr. cipollone to make those allegations against other, but i will tell you this. he's mistaken. he's mistaken. every republican on the three investigative committees was allowed to participate in the depositions and more than that, they got the same time we did. you show me another proceeding, another presidential impeachment or other that had that kind of access for the opposite party. there were depositions in the clinton impeachment. tli there were depositions in the
nixon impeachment and some separate process and there were depositions in these other impeachments, as well. >> you know, willy, yesterday i wasn't expecting much of anything, just sort of pro forma. i expected both sides to go to their corners, make predictable arguments over process, and what i found instead was a remarkably compelling day that actually laid out, well -- laid out what the two sides stood for, and i think more importantly, when you saw just how incompetent and how dishonest donald trump's lawyers were caught in one lie after another yesterday believing and -- i have to say feeling comfortable lying with the chief justice of the united states supreme court right behind you shows the utter shamelessness of all of these people who work for donald trump, and think about
the contrast that we've seen during impeachment and how it will actually make a difference for independents and swing voters in the 2020 election as they look at the incompetence and the lack of character of donald trump's supporters on capitol hill, and that senate chamber yesterday. whether you're talking about the lawyers or white house aides or people like devin nunes again lying about being a part of this conspiracy, making phone calls with this conspirator versus the public servants that we've seen through this process like ambassador taylor, ambassador yovanovitch. there's such a marked contrast between the shamelessness of trump supporters and the honesty and integrity of a lot of the ambassadors who testified and some of the people who spoke yesterday on the senate floor just laying out the facts that
could not be debated and account only be lied away by the president's incredibly incompetent and dishonest lawyers. >> congressman schiff was being polite there when he said that was a mistake. that was a lie from the president's attorney pat cipollone when he said republicans didn't have access to the skiff. we all watched what happened in october and just to refresh his memory, there are 17 on the house oversight committee and 25 on the house foreign affairs committee all of whom had access to the skiff and could ask questions during these depositions and remember, was there an entirely different group of republicans who, quote, stormed the skiff with their pizza and their chick-fil-a and sat in. so there were plenty of republicans and that's a flat-out lie. jonathan lemere, interesting to watch yesterday. as joe said, it wasn't really about process, and i think the democrats and the house managers felt like we've got the country's attention on this first day and we may not have it
as this goes along as we have it on day one. they effectively laid out the case chapter and verse against the president reminding people of a lot of the evidence that had been presented over in the house perhaps because they were worried that it wasn't going to be admitted under mitch mcconnell's rules and that changed earlier in the day, but the democrats really laid the whole thing out and didn't just talk about process, didn't just set the table and they made their case. >> they used moment to deliver their opening argument because originally this was going to go over two days rather than three and this was before the republicans' closed door lunch mitch mcconnell agreed to acquiesce to the concerns of the moderates and extended it from two days to three. now that sort of also could be if you take a cynical view of that it could provide cover and susan collins jumped out and took credit for that change and democrats applauded that change and they used this moment to explain to the country again, as you say knowing they have the
nation's full attention. this is why the president has been impeached. this is why he's been removed and on that, certainly, the white house counsel. those were lies. schiff was polite and it triggered an outburst from chief justice john roberts admonishing both sides for behavior that was not appropriate for the setting and the occasion. >> the chief justice's presence that joe just alluded to. so john roberts is known for being a fair man, no matter what you think of the decisions that come from the court he's regarded as being a fair man who reveres the law. elements of what we're watching and witnessing and the nation is witnessing right now during this impeachment trial, it's bound parts of it to go before the supreme court and you just wonder what kind of an impact the lies the chief justice knew were being told right in front of the team would impact the view of their case. >> you know, mike, i'm glad you
brought up chief justice roberts. there are a lot of people on twitter that when chief justice roberts just slammed his gavel down and be matlock and go, i just do declare here! this may be the law, but it's just not right! he's not going to do that! this is a guy who upheld obama care even though i'm sure ideologically it didn't align with maybe his beliefs of what the federal government should or shouldn't do, and he upheld it because he's an institutionalist first of all, but secondly, i loved a line in there where he basically said, hey, don't ask me to do something here on the supreme court that you can take care of at the ballot box. well, in this case, you have duly elected senators and the majority of those duly elected senators that have put together
the procedures for how this impeachment is going to run. they should not expect that john roberts who deferred to the wisdom of the people and obama care. they should not expect that john roberts to now step in and say, oh, you know what? i don't like what the majority leaders laid out as far as rules go. i'm going to change it -- that said, mike, when it's across -- when there are hearings that are across the street in his domain and not mitch mcconnell's, i think these lies may have an impact, will have an impact on the bad faith that this white house shows and their lawyers show time and time again. >> yeah. you would think so, joe because it is so blatant and repeated not only by pat scipollone, but mainly the entire crew of the
president's defense team, blatant half lies, blatant mistruths just uttered in front of the chief justice of the united states. it will have an impact and there will be payback at some point. >> still ahead on "morning joe," we're closing in on the start of another busy day on capitol hill as the president's impeachment trial is about to kick off again, but first, we'll speak with one of the president's leading challengers, former vice president joe biden. that interview is straight ahead. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ ♪ i'm your 70lb st. bernard puppy, and my lack of impulse control, is about to become your problem. ahh no, come on. i saw you eating poop earlier. hey! my focus is on the road, and that's saving me cash with drivewise. who's the dummy now? whoof! whoof! so get allstate where good drivers save 40% for avoiding mayhem, like me. sorry!
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he's here. bill? karolyn? nope! no, just a couple of rocks. download the my account app to manage your appointments making today's xfinity customer service simple, easy, awesome. i'll pass. welcome back to "morning joe." we've been talking about the long night debating the rules that will guide the impeachment of president trump. garrett hake was there, good morning. what are your big takeaways and some of the things that may have surprised you after you saw this
play out after 12 hours yesterday. >> it was a forceful opening by the democrats and you laid this out earlier and democrats not knowing how much of an opportunity they would get later on to make the major arguments of this case, so while they were debating amendments to the rules they were also really pushing the factual elements of this case. i was talking to some house democrats overnight who were really pleased with the performance of their managers. they weren't cowed by the numbers against them and came in there for this fight. i heard a lot of praise for adam schiff and hakeem jefferies specifically. being in the room was really interesting, watching the different levels of which different members were paying attention. if you're from a democratic perspective to the people that you want to have paying really close attention and the possible swing votes for witnesses, mitt romney and cory gardner of colorado were probably two of the most studious note takers on the republican side. you would not be surprised to know that i don't think i saw mitch mcconnell put pen to paper the entire time i was in the room and lindsay graham and the
other allies sitting back and some of the folks who are theoretically in play for witnesses were, in fact, paying very close attention and so yesterday was a divided day. today will be the manager's day. unless the white house decides to file some motions this morning, if there will be a motion to dismiss this whole case, that could come this morning. it doesn't look like that's going to happen. today i think we'll see another forceful presentation by the managers without having to kind of derail and go off into fact checking the white house attorneys. so you could see a more cohesive presentation than anything we saw in the house process where you had those five-minute asides. >> the 11 democratic amendments that were put up for a vote yesterday were all tabled directly on party line. so whether or not the house managers felt like they did a good job or democrats feel like they made a good case, was that a preview of coming attractions which is to say whatever evidence is presented, whatever happens in the well of the senate, republicans will hang in
with president trump? >> certainly a majority of them are. i think we know that many, perhaps most of the republican minds are firmly made up on the merits of this case, but democrats know they're speaking to a relatively small audience in the chamber. it's interesting the dynamics here. talking to the entire country on television and to about six republicans in the room who you think you might be able to convince and that's why i think the tone is so important, the strategy of the way democrats are laying out their case, the way schiff laid out his grace and the way zoe lofgren laid out her case and her demeanor and temperament suits that room very well. you can tell being in the room. they're aiming at that small group of senators who might decide, you know what? i do need to hear just a little bit more and that's the victory they have to have six or seven days from now or they're not going to have an opportunity really to win the larger arguments on the merits of the case if they don't win at least one of those vote, and that one
key vote from witnesses that they'll see wednesday or thursday. >> garrett hake, another big day for you. thanks so much. joe, if democrats were talking about the six republican senators trying to change their mind it was clear the president's attorneys were talking to one person and that was the president of the united states sort of like employing his language and his demeanor, pounding the table and that kind of acting that we've been talking about for the last couple of weeks. >> and that just makes it harder for people like cory gardner, susan collins, mitt romney, lisa murkowski, these are people who probably, most likely want to make it to the president's side on as many votes as they can, but when you have a day laid out like yesterday, elise jordan, much more difficult to do. everybody is always playing for the president when they're in that position making fools of themselves by lying in front of
the united states' supreme court chief justice while you have the other side surgically going through the facts and laying them out in a way that can't be contradicted, and again, it puts cory -- cory gardner, i -- i don't know if he was taking studious notes or, you know, updating his resume for linkedin, but unless he approaches this in a serious way, you know what? he may have to update his resume because the voters of colorado are going to kick him out. i'd say the same even though she doesn't know it yet of martha mcsally, of susan collins and thom tillis. there are a lot of these republicans that don't understand how much trouble they're in, and it would behoove them to actually take this process seriously and actually vote with their hearts and their constituents and their minds instead of blindly being
obsequious to donald j. trump, former failed reality tv star who will be in mar-a-lago this time next year while they're looking for new jobs. >> joe, you bring up an interesting point, the contrast in the president's representatives and how the democrats' managers are presenting their case, and i did wonder yesterday, if you're senator cory gardner and you watched your fellow colorado congressman jason crow come up and give a really stirring presentation and talking about how, you know, back in 2003 when he was a soldier in iraq he was going around the streets of baghdad with fellow troops looking for scrap metal, and contrast that, someone talking about what the stakes are to just the nonsense that was coming out of the president's legal team, and it almost just seemed like they were aren't --
the president's legal team, they weren't prepared with the little tricks of the trade, you know, having slides, having you know, just more nuanced presentations. >> preparation. >> they treated it like a fox news hit, and i don't think that's what exactly is going to woo, mitt romney, susan collins and cory gardner or maybe it will. >> elise, it's interesting. it's interesting, elise, i'm glad you brought up that, the fox news bubble that these people live in because i remember growing up and i remember reading an article about john roberts and it was grover norquist who explained the reason why he was such a good student and so good on his feet in those hearings and he said when you're a conservative at harvard law school if you opened your mouth you knew you would get your head knocked off
by the other students and you had to have your arguments together and that was always my belief that as a small government conservative when you were in college or law school, even in southern state schools, i found, you better have your arguments together or you're going to get your head knocked off whereas a lot of liberals could just be lazy intellectually and argue whatever they wanted to argue and whether it was in academia or whether it was in newsrooms or whether it was in hollywood, they -- they would be -- they'd get confirmation, oh, they're so smart. they're so insightful and as a conservative you always had to be sharper. here, and i think it's why conservatives learned how to win elections so much more effectively than democrats and now here we are in 2020 and it's the trumpists. it's the conservatives, it's the right wing that's created this bubble. they go into that bubble.
they don't know what exists outside of that bubble as far as for making arguments, we saw this of mitt romney in 2012. he watched fox news. he looked at gallop polls and was sure he was going to win when the rest of america knew he was headed to defeat. isn't that bizarre that conservatives have now like liberals used to, created their own echochamber online on fox news in the newspapers of their choice, and it allows them to live very comfortably in their 42%. they have no idea what's coming in november. >> it does not surprise me, though. it stems from the top when you have the leader of your party, someone who is such a stored intellectual such as donald trump. it's unsurprising that facts do not matter, logic doesn't matter, the basic implications
of policy decisions aren't a consideration what you're just off in conspiracy la la land, and so, of course, the party is going to follow that lead and wow, it's just -- wow. talk about a different era when republicans did have to come armed with facts and maybe the -- maybe trump's strategy will ultimately get him acquittal. obviously, he is going to probably be acquitted, but i wonder if come november voters are just going to be tired of it. >> and up next, former vice president joe biden is standing by. he joins us live straight ahead on "morning joe." ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ any comments doug? yeah. only pay for what you need with liberty mutual. only pay for what you need with liberty mutual.
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♪ ♪ >> we continue with "morning joe" now at 32 past the hour. joining us democratic candidate for president, former vice president joe biden. great to have you back on the show. >> thank you so much, mr. vice president for being here. >> thanks for having me, joe. >> let's just ask and get your quick comments and insights on
what happened yesterday on the senate floor, an institution that you know and love. what were your insights while the president's lawyers were actually lying just three, four feet away from the united states' chief justice? >> joe, i didn't get to see it all because i was out here campaigning in iowa doing town meetings, but what i saw the re-runs of it was -- i have a great respect and reverence for the senate, for real, and i was -- i was embarrassed for the institution. it's just -- it's just not -- i -- i was there a long time, joe and i never saw anything quite like that. >> i want to ask you about a column that paul krugman wrote regarding bernie sanders and something you'd said in 2018 about social security. paul krugman, the famed "new
york times" columnist and of course nobel prize winner economics said that bernie sanders lied about your record on social security and things you've said on social security. did bernie sanders lie about you? >> i don't know -- look, sometimes campaign staff gets a little ahead of the candidate. you know, it's the same thing bernie, some of the staff wrote and said joe biden is corrupt and bernie personally apologized to me and i accepted the apology. i have 100% rating at the groups that support social security. i think at a minimum it was taken out of context what they did. i've been a significant supporter and the plan i have to deal with social security not only makes it solvent for the next -- for my grandchildren, it also increases payments for the very elderly who are living beyond what they -- what they had coming to them in the beginning as well as people who
have lost part of their social security because a spouse died. and i'm getting overwhelming support from the supporters on the social security system as well as out in the road. >> mr. vice president, let's talk about social security. let's talk about medicare, two entitlement systems that obvious leal be facing a reckoning down the road. donald trump has said he's not going to touch them despite the fact that the medicare trustees say that medicare's running out of money. social security eventually will run out of money. we've got a $22 trillion debt. deficits keep exploding higher and higher every year under donald trump. what can you tell us about your plan to save social security, save medicare, bring down the deficits and slow down the rise of the national debt? >> joe, you can do all four of those things by going back and
re-doing the tax code in a way that's reflective of what rewarding work not just wealth. for example, with regard to social security, i've been proposing for a while, and i may have done it on your show the last time i was on or times ago when i talked about we have to increase the taxes for those making over $400,000 to pay the same percentage of their -- of the withholding as occurs when someone is making 50,000 or 120,000. it now you cans off at 130,000. if everyone above 400 pays the same amount and same percentage of income as you do when you're making $100,000, we're solvent, my grandkids are set and i'm able to increase social security payments for the two groups i mentioned. with regard to medicare, what medicare does now and what would make that solvent, in my health care bill i provide a medicare option it allows people to buy into medicare if they want -- by choice, if they want to do that,
and if they caqualify for medicd they automatically are enrolled and when the republicans control the house, and i was -- i went up on the steps of the capitol with the members of the democratic members of the house, i said this was all about the move to cut back into health care piece and it was all about trying to use it as an excuse, this deficit they created and saying now we have to go after medicare. you remember what the mark was, and i'm sounding like a wonk here, but what the chairman of the budget committee had done, and he proposed cutting medicare by $500 million and we don't have to do that. so you change the tax code and you increase the taxes on the wealthiest by 39.6%, and you treat capital gains the way you treat regular income in terms of you can't -- it's not a 20% tax. it's whatever your tax rate is.
that would raise another two, $800 billion. you eliminate a whole range of things and you make sure there is a minimum corporate tax of 15%. you eliminate stepped-up bases which is over $400 million. we can come up with $3.7 billion by just making the tax code fair. nothing radical. i'm not talking -- i say radical, nothing inconsist ween with reforming the tax code itself, and joe, the republicans you represented down in alabama, they're being in a position where they look out there and say hey, wait a minute, man. why am i paying a tax rate higher than the guy clipping coupons in new york making $20 million? the public -- it's like the band-aid has been ripped off, joe, by the president's $1.9 trillion tax cut that benefits the very wealthy. people are open to rational discussion about how to fix the
code. >> well, and so --? in my view. >> let me ask you about the corporate tax cuts that donald trump passed out and republicans passed out in this tax bill. people that work for you, people that work for us pay more in taxes than amazon and some of the largest multinational corporations on the planet. is that immoral -- >> exactly right. >> and will you reverse that policy? >> yes. two ways, joe. number one, all those fortune 500 companies are making billions of dollars and paying no tax and there's a number of them. they, in fact, are going to have -- there will be a 15% minimum corporate tax, and all of the deductions you can take. you can never get yourself down below having to pay 15%. 15%. going to raise the corporate tax and by the way, people in the business roundtable agree with this. raise the corporate tax from 20% to 28%.
that generates $700 billion. and so just -- look, it's just about being fair. it's not about punishing anybody. it's not going to change the status of these corporations. it doesn't mean they can't mean money or that stockholders can't get rewarded. as laisonic, from 2003 to 2012 corporations made exorbitant profits and did very, very well. they used 37% to reward their stockholders which you should reward stockholders and that left 9% for every other thing they had to do from salaries to inventions to dealing with research. it's backwards, joe, and we should go back to the -- to what was the case when reagan was
president and the securities and exchange commission limited how much stock you could buy back. >> mr. vice president, i want to go back to the impeachment proceedings in washington, and i've got two questions for you. >> what do you say about republicans in the senate and maybe some of these people you've worked with given your decades in the senate. what do you say about how they are holding the line for trump during this time? >> i think it's one of those things that they're going to regret when their grandchildren read in the history books what they did, and some of these folks are -- a couple were my close friends. i just don't -- i don't get it. i just don't understand except what you were talking about in the last segment, joe, and both of you about how there's this base that, in fact, is in a bubble, and -- but i think it has a lot to do with whether or not they can win primaries and whether everybody knows how
vindictive the president is. he's made is real clear. look how he refers to people. look how he referred to adler -- jerry nadler, i should say at davos, an international conference and how he referred to some of those republican colleagues who disagreed some months ago calling them scum. this is a guy that i think a lot of people are just afraid of in the republican party. >> so if you had five minutes in a room with mitch mcconnell, no holds barred, what would you say to him? >> i'm going to say for mitch mcconnell and i'm not being facetious because, look, everybody says that we can't get anything done if i'm elected president or anybody is elected president you can't bring the parties together. there are things that will bring the parties together and not on everything, some things, some things can be done. last time i was in a room alone with mitch mcconnell i remember they were going to shut down the entire government and renege on
our debt and it was new year's day and we worked out a deal where mitch agreed to raise taxes on the wealthy $660 billion. so what i don't want to do, is i don't want to be talking -- look, one of the big problems, mika, and you and i talked about this a couple of months ago. it's all right to question their judgment and not their motive. once you start questioning motive even though it is so clear what the motive is, you can't get to go. you can't get to an agreement and i'm all about making sure that we get to the place where we get some agreement on major things or we go out and campaign against our opponents on the merits and win like we did in 2018 on health care. >> mr. vice president, willie geist, i appreciate you being here. >> hi, willie. >> i want to talk about burdeny sanders' on the question of social security. he did arc apologize for the op-ed written by his surrogate calling you corrupt and they put
out that clip that misrepresented your position and clearly you were mocking paul ryan and being facetious and just last night i want to put up a tweet from bernie sanders he wrote this to you, let's be honest, joe. one of us fought for decades to cut social security and one of us didn't. don't take it from me, take it from you. they include a video clip statement you made on the senate floor in 1995 when you were talking about freezing federal spending including social security. so it's not just surrogates and you can complain, but it's coming from the principal himself. they think they have an issue with you on social security. so once and for all, will you cut social security benefits if you become president? >> no. no, no, no, no. and we weren't cutting them either then, that was trying to figure out how we got through a debacle where the whole government didn't shut down. and so, look, it's -- i find it amazing that we go back and look at statements, many of them, most of them taken out of
context of 10, 20, 30, 35 years ago and it's like my going back and pointing out how bernie voted against a brady bill five times and trying to pass it in the house or he voted to protect gun manufacturers and it was the only group in america you can't sue. he's made up for that. he's indicated that was passed, but if you want to talk about things that are really different, you know, my support for social security has been solid my entire career. i did join with a lot of other democrats to make sure we fix social security, quote, unquote, made insolvent during the reagan years, but look, it's all about making sure -- we have, you know, we have one real obligation as hubert humphrey said the youngest amongest and the oldest among us and that's real and i've never walked away from that. >> do you think the statements from the sanders campaign is dishonest?
>> what i don't want to do is start to characterize them. i accept the apology and i hope to argue the facts. >> let me ask you about the health care act which you famously colorized as a big deal and insert word in the middle. i don't have to tell you how hard it was just to get that through the united states senate and people forget over ten years what a fight that was so why do you think the affordable care act now is not quite enough and that we should go further? >> because the world has changed. barack and i wanted to put in a public option back then that we wanted to get done with five democratic precedents and couldn't get done and it was a major, major breakthrough and now people understand what is further at stake and what is available. we finally got to the place where the vast majority of people, republicans and democrats out there in the public believe it should be a right and not a privilege.
we can do this and do it affordably without spending $35 trillion over ten years under the medicare for all plan and what we do is add a public option to provide a medicare like option for people who choose it and we provided for those that, excuse me, qualify for medicaid, but don't have it available cut it out like the state i'm in. so there are a lot of things that we can afford to do it. we can afford to do it. we can increase the options within obamacare. we can cut the amount of money or any deductible you have to pay. we can make sure that we lowered drug pieces, and they have to compete -- >> i know i don't have time, but there's a whole range of things we can do and it costs a lot of money and $740 billion over ten years and i lay out exactly how i pay for that and we can still
reduce the deficit beyond what it is now. >> mr. vice president, it's mike barnacle and a lot of people are making fun of me thinking i'll ask you what your favorite color is and stuff like that, but i'm not. >> i know better, mike. i know better. >> i'm going to ask you about these forever wars that we've been involved in, in iraq and afghanistan. we are still if both countries, and looking in the rear-view mirror, if you go to any va hospital today in-patient or outpatient those wars clearly are still with us in a very meaningful way for many iraq war veterans and afghanistan war veterans and their families. so i'm going to ask you to please talk about the decision you made to vote in favor of the war in iraq. what happened after you made that decision, and your thoughts about what happened then today. >> number one, the president came to me as chairman of the foreign relations committee and
said he only wanted this authority to pressure the united nations toic cyst that inspectors to enter to see if saddam was building a chemical weapon. he wasn't going to use force. i made a mistake of believing him and even though we got inspectors in and there was no evidence that it was being done, in fact, he went to war anyway with shock and awe. i supported the troops when they were in the middle of that process and i know what it's like, joe. my son was in iraq for a year. i didn't do this lightly and from the beginning and from the very time i got in, les gelman wrote a piece on how in this we should be dealing with a republic and we should not try to unify that country as a single unified country without giving autonomy to the regions, it wouldn't work and when i became president of the united states and the vice president and the first thing the president said in the meeting, he turned and said joe will do iraq and get the 156,000 troops
out of there, combat troop, and i did. at the same time, joe, what happened was -- excuse me, what would happen was there was this great surge to go go into afghanist afghanistan. it's now public so i can talk about it. i argued against sending tens of thousands of troops to afghanist afghanistan. i went there, went all over that country. ic i concluded you could never unify that country. dealing with a small footprint of special forces to make sure we didn't allow another al qaeda operation again. i worked with the pakistanis to make sure they would cooperate, which they didn't do much. joe i -- excuse me. >> mike. >> i carry with me my pocket in my schedule. mike, i'm sorry. i can't see you guys. i carry my pocket in my
schedule, i always have my staff check every day, the number of dead, the number of wounded in afghanistan and iraq. it's 6,904, not roughly 6,900. four. it goes down the list because every one of the fallen angels leave behind a community. i know because i watched my son for a year and i watched and lost him. we now have folks in the military, both retired and in the va system trying to get in and active duty committing suicide because post traumatic stress. the price of this has been enormous. enormous. and i am not going to send anyone to war unless there's an overwhelming national interest in the united states to be protected or our allies. >> mr. vice president, this is joe again.
so, you know, you talk about fallen angels. it reminds me, i was -- we were -- when elijah cummings today, mika and i were alone with nancy pelosi in the speaker's office. she showed us an old clip of her father. someone talking about her father. i said, i bet your father would be proud of where you are right now. i bet you wish that he could see you right now. and nancy said, well, he does. my mom does, too. i'm a person of faith. they are with me every day. and it reminds me of your fallen angel bo. how much is he with you every day on the campaign trail? how much guidance and how much inspiration do you get from bo? and not only his memory, but also i know you're a person of deep faith, having him walk with
you every day? >> joe, bo should be the one running for president, not me. every morning i get up, joe, not a joke, i think to myself, is he proud of me? because he's the one who wanted me to stay engaged. made me promise, promise me, dad, you'll stay engaged. didn't mean i had to run from president but he was worried i'd walk away from what i worked on my whole life, since i was 24 years old. he is a part of me, and so is my surviving son, hunter. and actually i -- he walks with me. i know that sounds to some people silly but he really honest to god does. i know he's in me. i know he's part of me. you'd be amazed at the people that come up with me in the rope line, hundreds at a time,
they'll throw their arms around me saying i just lost my son, lost my daughter, lost my wife, and all they want to know is that it is -- that you can make it. the way you make it is that you find purpose and you bring that -- you realize they're inside you. they're part of you. it's impossible to separate it. and that's the really good thing. bo and hunter have gotten me through a lot, but particularly bo. you remember the debates, every time we go out on the debate, he'd be the last one to talk to me, he'd grab me, look at me, dad. remember, home base. doesn't matter just be who you are. home base. i swear to god. you saw the pictures. he grabbed me by the lapel. he still grabs me by the lapel. >> former vice president joe biden, thank you for catching up
with you. >> thank you. jill sends her best, mika. >> tell her hey. >> thank you so much mr. vice president. jonathan lemire, the humanity we see in joe biden is a humanity we don't see in many politicians, and he talks about his son who he had to bury, bo biden, of course he had to bury a wife and a daughter. but he talks about how bo still grabs him by the lapels every day and inspires him to move forward, to stay at home base, to be who he is. >> there's probably never been an american politician who speaks more eloquently about grief than joe biden. he wanted to stay at the from the intrafighting, the bernie sanders attacks, just as hillary clinton emerges on the scene again with more vitriol towards
bernie sanders and suggesting she would not perhaps support him if he were to be the nominee. we'll watch today back at the capitol as another day of the impeachment trial. perhaps not the same degree of humanity from both sides that required chief justice roberts to admonish both sides and the lawyers. today another long day ahead. >> i must say, joe biden had several chances to take a shot at bernie sanders, and he refused to do it time and time again. >> and that does it for us this morning. special coverage of the impeachment trial of donald trump continues in just three minutes. any comments doug?
this round's on me.eat. hey, can you spot me? come on in. find your place today, with silversneakers. included in most medicare advantage plans. enroll today by calling the number on your screen or visit getsilversneakers.com in 2016 i warned thatt donald trump was a dangerous demagogue, and when the republican congress wouldn't hold him accountable, i went to work helping run
winning campaigns in twenty-one house seats. it's time for the senate to act and remove trump from office, and if they won't do their jobs, this november you and i will. i'm mike bloomberg and i approve this message. todd and welcome to msnbc's coverage of the impeachment trial of donald trump. the action starts today after what was a very long day and bled into this morning yesterday followed by that long night. lawmakers did not leave until almost 2:00 in the morning and the 13 hours they spent in session yesterday, that was all just to set the