'This Week' Transcript 1-10-21: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Adam Kinzinger

This is a rush transcript for "This Week," airing Sunday, January 10.

ByABC News
January 10, 2021, 10:53 AM

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, January 10, 2021 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.

ANNOUNCER: "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR (through translator): Insurrection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't get to steal it from us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want our country back.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Domestic terrorists encouraged by the president desecrate the Capitol.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Don't dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): What happened here today was an insurrection incited by the president of the United States.

MURIEL BOWSER (D), MAYOR OF WASHINGTON, D.C.: What happened yesterday is textbook terrorism.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): January 6 will go down as one of the darkest days in recent American history.

STEPHANOPOULOS: With 10 days left in his term, Trump banned from Twitter, growing calls to remove him from office.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): If the vice president and Cabinet do not add, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment.

SEN. BEN SASSE (R-NE): I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move.

STEPHANOPOULOS: All the fallout this morning from the chaotic conclusion to the Trump presidency.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, this is a special edition of "This Week."

Here now, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."

Before the first votes were cast, President Trump called it a rigged election, refused to promise a peaceful transfer of power if he lost. And from the moment he lost, Trump lied about the results, encouraging supporters to stop the steal.

Those were the chants heard from his mob as they stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, the most serious attack on that citadel of our democracy since the British invasion of 1814, except, this time, the attackers were American citizens incited by the president.

Five died from the assault, including a police officer defending the Capitol.

The American carnage Trump decried in his inaugural address is defining his final days in office, with growing calls for an unprecedented second impeachment. Over 190 members of Congress have now sponsored an impeachment resolution that concludes: "Donald John Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors by willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States."

And our brand-new poll with Ipsos shows a majority of Americans want the president removed from office before his term ends.

We cover all the fallout this morning, starting with our team of correspondents.

Want to go to Mary Bruce on Capitol Hill.

And, Mary, no president has been impeached twice. No president has been impeached in his final days. Of course, no president has been credibly accused of inciting insurrection. So, we're in completely uncharted territory here.

MARY BRUCE, ABC NEWS SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: George, completely unprecedented.

The Hill right now is barreling towards impeachment again. It is one final massive political test of the Trump presidency. So, tomorrow, House Democrats plan to introduce an article to impeach the president for inciting violence.

Democrats overwhelmingly support this. And we expect some Republicans could back this too. Now, the House speaker has told her members to be prepared for action, but she has not yet formally backed impeachment proceedings. If she does, though, this could move very quickly, but not quickly enough to actually remove Trump from office early.

A Senate trial is not expected to start until after Biden is inaugurated. And Republicans there are likely going to face tremendous pressure from both sides. Seventeen of them would have to join Democrats to convict.

And while we have seen a growing number of Republicans criticizing the president, most are walking a very fine line on the question of culpability. So, right now, just a few Senate Republicans have suggested they could possibly back impeachment.

Democrats are also in a tough position, though. They want to hold Trump accountable. But they also want to unite and bring the country together. And a Senate trial would dominate the early days of the new administration, just as a President Biden is eager to get to work, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is the concern. And that's why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is keeping her cards very close.

But she could delay the introduction -- I mean, delay sending over the articles of impeachment, even if they pass them, until later in the term.

BRUCE: Absolutely.

And, of course, we saw that. She did delay the first time the president was impeached, now, that conviction just less than a year ago, as hard as that is to imagine. So, there are options here. We do not know, simply, how this is going to play out.

All we know is that there is growing frustration here on the Hill. Democrats know they have to do something, but where this ends and how it plays out still remains unclear right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Mary, thanks very much.

Let's go to our chief White House correspondent, Jon Karl.

Jon, the president hunkered down in the White House, pretty isolated right now. How is he, how are they, those remaining around him, preparing for possible impeachment?

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the legal team is preparing, George, but they will be proceeding without the two lawyers that led the president's defense during the last impeachment.

Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, has barely spoken to the president since the riot on Wednesday. I am told that he has considered resigning. He certainly won't be taking part in the defense.

And then Jay Sekulow, who’s been with the president since the beginning, I am told, has told colleagues that he has no intention of defending him this time. That means the legal team that would defend him now would be led likely by Rudy Giuliani and by Alan Dershowitz.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: Meantime, Vice President Pence said yesterday he's going to go to the inauguration, another break from Trump, even though he is refusing to pursue the 25th amendment option.

KARL: Yeah, and what's remarkable here, George, is since that moment when Mike Pence was rushed out of the Senate chamber, taken to a secure location, under attack, some of those protesters chanting "hang Pence" truly his life in danger during this, the president has not spoken to him -- didn’t spoke -- didn’t speak to him that day and has not spoken to him since.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And what else? We know about these final 10 days from the president’s perspective more pardons on the table. That question of a self pardon still alive?

KARL: The final days, the honest answer is who knows? There certainly will be more pardons. I'm told to expect a lot of them. I am told that he almost certainly will include a pardon of himself.

Also if you can imagine this, George, the White House is planning a series of events to highlight the Trump legacy, kind of as if all this isn't going on, talk about the border wall, talk about his economic record, he'll talk about his record on the Middle East, with different events every day, at least that's what they're planning for the final days.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Reminders of the famous Infrastructure Week. Jon Karl, thanks very much.

Let’s bring in our chief justice correspondent, Pierre Thomas. Pierre, the latest on the investigations and the rest -- we're seeing arrests all over the country right now.

PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS CHIEF JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: George, a sweeping manhunt under way and it's nationwide. Sources telling me overnight that the first and most urgent priority is to identify several groups of men who breached the Capitol, forcing their way in through windows, smashing through doors, attacking police using chemicals, baseball bats, and metal pipes.

George, the FBI wants to know if the assault was pre-planned, a plot, or several plots, potentially involving multiple actors. One theory is that two bombs were placed at the DNC and RNC headquarters to distract police and potentially reduce the number of law enforcement at the Capitol. The FBI is asking for the public’s help to identify and locate this suspect and there are reports that some of the members of the mob had radios.

George -- and take a look at this picture. Here’s a man apparently wearing a ski mask and you see a bunch of zip ties which can be used as handcuffs. Were some of these thugs planning to take members of Congress or the vice president hostage? The scary thing is that many of those most violent offenders may have gotten away, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Except they know -- we know they caught protestor or rioter who appeared to pose a serious threat to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

THOMAS: Indeed. Great concern about her safety. And the second area of focus is to immediately apprehend the members of the mob who appear in some of the most infamous images.

George, it's no coincidence that in the last 24 hours, the man who was in Nancy Pelosi’s office, feet on her desk, arrested. The man who stole Speaker Pelosi’s lectern, arrested. And this man seen wearing horns, face paint, carrying a spear with a metal tip, also charged. Authorities are trying to send a message that these people are not to be glorified, but they're going to jail. And expect a lot more charges to come, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And in the wake of the siege of the Capitol, new concerns about security at the inauguration.

THOMAS: Great worry about the coming days. Authorities are also expressing concern about state capitals across the nation, officials are mindful that this inauguration must, and I emphasize must, have a level of security that exceeds the threat that might be out there.

By the end of this weekend there will be roughly 6,000 National Guard troops here in the nation's capital to help the thousands of police here. A lot of these far-right groups are very animated right now, very angry about the fatal shooting of the woman who illegally entered the Capitol. And some of these far-right groups, including White supremacists and the loosely knit association know as the Boogaloo, have been hoping for a race or civil war. The coming days intense for law enforcement officials coming up, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you, Pierre.

Let's bring in Martha Raddatz, our chief global affairs anchor, for more on this. Martha, 10 days left in the presidency. The president is isolated, he’s acting erratically, under fire, this raises concerns about our vulnerability to national security threats.

MARTHA RADDATZ, CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANCHOR: Absolutely. The assault on the Capitol, imagine our adversaries looking at that. China, Russia, Iran, all know this is an incredibly vulnerable time for the United States. The Pentagon is watching this closely, watching everything.

The biggest concern right now, George, is Iran. There have been great tensions with Iran over the last couple of months. The anniversary of the drone strike on Soleimani that killed him. They think that Iran is looking for revenge. We sent a carrier back into the Persian Gulf as a show of strength.

They do not believe -- authorities do not believe there is anything imminent with Iran, but they are watching the government closely, they're watching the surrogates closely.

Just a month ago, there were 21 rockets launched in Iraq towards the U.S. embassy, and those they believe were by Iranian-backed militias, George.

So this is a very vulnerable time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No question about that.

And, Martha, on Friday, we saw that extraordinary call from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley, wanting to know what kind of safeguards were in place to prevent any kind of improper nuclear strike by the president.

RADDATZ: I think they were surprised that that was made public. Again, adversaries are looking at us every minute, and China and Russia certainly were surprised that that was made public.

But Nancy Pelosi was assured that there are procedures in place, guaranteed that there will not be any sort of accidental launch of a nuclear weapon or any sort of illegal launch of a nuclear weapon. There does not seem to be a lot of concern about that just because of those procedures. Many people think there are not enough procedures and I bet you, that's something they look in the new administration. But for now, they are not concerned about.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Martha, thanks very much.

So many legal and constitutional questions in play right now, so let's bring in our legal team: chief analyst Dan Abrams, Kate Shaw, also professor of constitutional law at Cardozo Law School.

Dan, let me begin with you.

If this happens, impeachment, it would be the fastest impeachment ever, you know? And there are those concerns about it complicating President-elect Biden's agenda going forward. But a lot of Democrats are also saying that this is just a conduct that cannot be ignored.

DAN ABRAMS, ABC NEWS CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, and it's not just the conduct that was leading up to the riot. When I say that, I mean, not just the specific words that led to the riot, I think you're going to be talking about what happened before that as well, which is the constant lie about the election.

Think about that. If this election had actually been stolen, if Donald Trump had actually won in a landslide, it would be awful and horrible and lead people to want to march on the Capitol, and yet it was all a lie.

And so, I think that's going to come into play when you’re talking about impeachment, and then the words about going to the Capitol and then what actually happened during the event itself, the inaction if it's true, for example, that there was a delay in calling the National Guard, we know that there was a delay in asking, demanding that the rioters de-escalate. All of those are issues that, for example, might not be quite as relevant in a court but certainly will be absolutely relevant in the context of impeachment.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Kate Shaw, could the Founders have contemplated this?

KATE SHAW, CARDOZO SCHOOL OF LAW PROFESSOR: You know, your hard pressed to look at anything in American history that comes close to a president inciting a violent mob to storm Congress, to thwart the count of electoral votes, which is part of the peaceful transfer of power, you know, resulting in actual danger of members of Congress, the death of a police officer, threats to his own vice president. It's really difficult to find anything in the American history that comes close to this.

And in some ways, you know, that’s what high crimes and misdemeanors mean anything if the impeachment process is designed for anything, it is this kind of Congress -- this kind of conduct rather. And so, I do think that there's a real question before members of Congress, whether this president can be permitted to just finish the term or a more -- some sort of more decisive repudiation is required and obviously the second impeachment of a president ever, and potentially, the first act of a removal of a president ever.

All of that would require, you know, a speed that has never been seen before in impeachment. But as you say, George, I think that we are in, you know, uncharted and unprecedented kinds of waters.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Dan, there’s also going to be more pressure now on Joe Biden's Justice Department led by Merrick Garland if indeed he is confirmed, to look at possible prosecution of the president, especially if he tries a self-pardon.

ABRAMS: Right. So, we'll see if that happens. There's no definitive answer to the question of, can a president self-pardon? But let's just take a look at what that would mean.

If the president can self-pardon, that would mean he's immune from prosecution during the time of being president and then immune from prosecution after he's president as well. That will only be challenged if they're going to go forward with some sort of federal charges.

I think with regard to the Capitol event itself, it's probably unlikely that's because the Supreme Court has set the standard very high for what you have to demonstrate to be responsible, for example, for inciting an insurrection or inciting a riot. I’m not saying if someone couldn’t make a case, but there's intentionally an incredible high standard with regard to specific calls for violence that might not cross that legal line.

But remember, self-pardon, federal charges, that has nothing to do with the state investigation in New York, can't self-pardon against that. There could be additional investigations in Georgia, et cetera. All of that is stuff that the president can't and won't be immune from.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Kate Shaw, if the president could pardon himself, he's, by definition, above the law, isn't he?

SHAW: Right. I think that's the fear. And I think that in some ways if he attempts a self-pardon, and I think there's every reason to believe that he will, that, in some ways, make it more likely that the Justice Department might actually try to make a federal case.

I think Dan is right, that there could be difficult cases to build. But the danger of not doing so, I think, would be setting a precedent whereby a president could engage in any kind of misconduct in office, pardon himself and thereby escape any kind of legal responsibility. And I think DOJ might be really concerned about letting that kind of precedent stand. So a self-pardon might counterintuitively increase the chances that justice -- and, by the way, Justice -- the Justice Department does not believe self-pardons are constitutionally permissible, at least the one public writing on the topic suggests as much. So I think he might be inviting those charges if he does attempt a self-pardon.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Kate Shaw, Dan Abrams, thanks very much.

Let's take a deeper look now at big tech's moves against the president on social media with Kara Swisher. She's from "The New York Times," host of the "Sway" podcast.

Kara, thank you for joining us today.

So the president's banned from Twitter, 88 million followers, banned from Facebook, 35 million followers. Parler appears to be getting shut down.

What do you make of all this?

KARA SWISHER, “SWAY” PODCAST HOST AND NEW YORK TIMES CONTRIBUTING OPINION WRITER: Well, you know, this has been going on for a long time. President Trump has been violating rules all over social media for a long time, but they gave him a pass because he was considered a newsworthy figure. And now , you know, then they started to label him, as you know, and -- and that wasn't very effective. And he continued to press the -- and game these social media companies. And then, at this point, when he was part of incitement using their tools, they decided to shut him down finally.

And, of course, it comes at the end. This has been, you know, four years of this going on. And now, at the end, they finally realize how dangerous it is because of what happened at the Capitol

So what's happening here is social media took way too long to deal with this issue and, of course, it resulted in what happened.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now you're seeing the president's son and supporters complaining about censorship and double standards.

SWISHER: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They say that Twitter and Facebook done (ph) knocked the Ayatollah off Twitter. They're also saying that their -- the president's First Amendment rights are being violated.

SWISHER: They're not. They're not being violated. These are private companies. They are not public squares. And, unfortunately, a lot of the people who are complaining, many of whom work in Congress, haven't really read the First Amendment, which says Congress shall make no law against -- abridging freedom of speech, it doesn't say that Facebook or Twitter or Apple or anybody should make no law. They can do whatever they want. They're private businesses. Very similar to a restaurant where someone comes in and rant and starts to threaten violence and things like that, they get kicked out.

And so this is a private enterprise. And a lot of their arguments, I mean, I know, I -- it's -- I'm making -- I made a joke last night on Twitter about this. It sounds pretty socialist if they want to -- they want to control private companies.

Now, it's uncomfortable because these companies have become an important way for President Trump to communicate with people and it's problematic for them, but it certainly isn't -- isn't censorship. It's a business deciding they don't want to be involved using -- having their tools facilitate domestic terrorism. And I think that's relatively reasonable and far too late in coming for these -- these companies to -- to have done anything about it. They're also culpable in how long it took them to do anything.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about this argument from the ACLU. Quote, this is the -- their senior legislative council Kate Ruane. She says, we understand the desire to permanently suspend him now, but it should concern everyone when companies like FaceBook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions. President Trump can turn to his press team or Fox News to communicate with the public but others like the many black, brown and LGBTQ activists who have been censored by social media companies will not have that luxury.

SWISHER: Yes, that's absolutely true. We have to have a long debate about these -- about these sites because they've gotten (ph) so big and there's not enough innovation or enough companies in this area. And that's about power. And that's about market power and things like that.

But the fact of the matter is, they are private companies. They are not the public square. And so we need maybe more private companies that are doing this. We need more diversity in the kind of social media sites that we have. We now have one company, FaceBook, which really controls quite a bit of social media, and then we have Twitter and then we have the other companies who that have other -- other powers.

And so that's a bigger debate that we need to have. And it is solved through innovation and the ability to have as many places where people can -- can facilitate conversation.

I think the issue, though, is that President Trump violated rules that were very specific and he did it over and over again and then moved over to really which is the bright red line for a lot of these companies, which is incitement of violence. It's very clear from the get-go that these companies have said this.

Now, they are capricious in how they enforced these things. And that's the other issue is that we've -- we've left a lot of this to private companies to capriciously decide which rules are which.

SWISHER: But the fact of the matter is they are private companies. And so to link it with the first amendment is problematic.

The second part is to try to change the narrative around what's happening here. They like to focus on that they've lost followers. Well, many people lost their lives this week. And so that's what's going on with a lot of the noise around censorship, is they don't want anybody to focus on the arrests and the problems and the violence that happened at the Capitol, as you're seeing through more videos.

And so -- so that's really the issue going forward, is we've got to have smart legislation around the power of tech companies, which I've called for, for years, but at the same time, not react in this way that "they've taken away, you know, all my toys, and that's unfair."

It's just -- it's just specious, what they're doing right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Kara Swisher, thanks for your insight.

SWISHER: Thanks so much. Up next, more on the Capitol siege and possible impeachment. Two members of Congress who were there, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Adam Kinzinger. Plus, our powerhouse roundtable.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Sadly, the person who is running the executive branch is a deranged, unhinged, dangerous president of the United States, and only a number of days until we can be protected from him.

But he has done something so serious that there should be prosecution against him.

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): I don't think anybody can look and say an impeachment of this president is the thing that's going to help unite and bring our country together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: The debate is joined over impeachment.

Let's talk about it now with two members of Congress, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She's a Democrat from New York. Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Republican from Illinois.

And, Congresswoman Cortez, let me begin with you.

So, I know you're a supporter of impeachment. The speaker has not yet decided whether she's going to schedule it. Should she schedule it? Will it pass?

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Well, I absolutely believe that impeachment should be scheduled for several reasons, several reasons.

One, of course, our main priority is to ensure the removal of Donald Trump as president of the United States. Every minute and every hour that he is in office represents a clear and present danger, not just to the United States Congress, but, frankly, to the country.

But, in addition to removal, we're also talking about complete barring of the president -- or, rather, of Donald Trump from running for office ever again, and, in addition to that, the potential ability to prevent pardoning himself from those charges that he was impeached for.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And several Republican members of Congress who opposed raising objections to certifying the Electoral College vote have written a letter to president-elect Biden opposing impeachment.

Here's what the letter says: "It says, in the spirit of healing and fidelity to our Constitution, we ask that you formally request that Speaker Nancy Pelosi discontinue her efforts to impeach President Donald J. Trump a second time. A second impeachment only days before President Trump will leave office is as unnecessary as it is inflammatory."

They're saying, for the sake of unity, forego impeachment.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think there's a couple of things.

One is, we have to understand that what happened on Wednesday was insurrection against the United States. That is what -- that is what Donald J. Trump engaged in, and that is what those who stormed the Capitol engaged in.

And so, when we talk about healing, the process of healing is separate and, in fact, requires accountability. And so, if we allow insurrection against the United States with impunity, with no accountability, we are inviting it to happen again. That is how serious it is.

And I do not believe that -- that perhaps my colleagues weren't in that room. Perhaps my colleagues were not fully present for the events on Wednesday, but half of -- we came close to half of the House nearly dying on Wednesday.

And if a foreign head of state, if another head of state came in and ordered an attack on the United States Congress, would we say that that should not be prosecuted? Should we -- would we say that there should be absolutely no response to that?

No. It is an act of insurrection. It's an act of hostility. And we must have accountability, because, without it, it will happen again.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There's a concern also from Democrats, though, that, if you're having a Senate trial, it can't happen in the next 10 days. If you're having the Senate trial in the early days of President Biden's term, it's going to prevent the confirmation of his appointees to the Cabinet.

It's going to slow down perhaps the passage of essential COVID relief legislation.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I think -- George, I think we need to review what actually happened on Wednesday.

The National Guard was requested by the D.C. Council, and was rejected. We are talking about and we are hearing about a complete and utter lack of preparation. The chief of the D.C. Capitol Police lied to House Administration Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren about the preparations of what happened.

We need to know what happened and how deep this goes. And if we do not, and if we do not take corrective action right now, we are talking about those same potentially compromised elements being in charge of the president's security during the inauguration.

And so, with profound respect, I believe that the president's safety and the safety of the United States Congress and the security of our country takes precedent over the timing of nominations and the timing of potential confirmations.

This is an immediate danger right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're confident how Speaker Pelosi is going to move forward with impeachment?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: No, I do believe we'll be moving forward with impeachment but again, we are looking towards multiple avenues. And I don't -- I do not believe that those avenues are mutually exclusive. This is not an either/or proposition. This is not either the 25th Amendment or impeachment or, you know, investigating our other avenues through the 14th Amendment.

These are -- I don't believe any of these avenues are competitive with one another. They all -- they all frankly provide their own form of relief and their own forms of accountability and so I do not believe that this is a question of deciding or debating between which of these avenues we should pursue. I believe we should take an all of the above approach.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congresswoman, thanks for your time this morning.

Let's bring in Congressman Kinzinger as well.

So, Congressman Kinzinger, you've been outspoken about the president's conduct. You said that the 25th Amendment should be invoked. You’ve encouraged the vice president to lead that effort.

Will you vote for an impeachment resolution?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Look, I’ll vote the right way when it’s -- when, you know, whatever's put in front of me. There's a -- there’s a lot of still negotiation going on. I honestly don't think impeachment is the smart move because I think it victimizes Donald Trump again.

And I think there's a moment we're in right now where Donald Trump, he's looking really, I mean, bad. You just can't put that into words, right? He stirred up a crowd. It was an executive branch attack on the legislative branch, one of the worst days in American history.

So, I’ll vote the right way, you know, if I’m presented with that. I just think it's probably not the smartest move right now, but I think that’s going to be out of my hands.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, but -- I mean, what about the argument that congresswoman was making? I assume that when you say vote the right way, it’s if you presented with it, you do consider it’s an impeachable offense, you would vote for it, but it's not preferred course.

What are the alternatives when you're facing conduct like this by the president of the United States?

KINZINGER: Well, I think it would be the right move if we had more than basically ten days left of the administration, right? I mean, the fact that you mentioned we’re not going to be able to get through a trial. So, yeah, he'll be impeached a second time, but also exonerated in theory a second time. It depends on how that trial goes, if they can do it while he's out of office, all that.

I think there’s a lot of ideas with censure, with preventing him from being able to run again.

You know, the reality is, we just don't have a lot of time in this administration left, which right now is a good thing. But -- I mean, I think what bothers me probably more than anything is I think as the dust settles, maybe it's settling in, I don’t know. But what happened was unprecedented on January 6th and hopefully nothing like that will ever happen again.

But I think we were very close as Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said just now. I think we were very close to actually having members of Congress killed. I mean, if you see the videos, and you see, you know, based that last line of defense between the floor of House of Representatives, where members were hunkered down, and the young lady that came through the window, had that whole thing been breached, I mean, there would have been people in a really bad -- really bad shape.

So, this is -- we were blessed on the hand to not losing members of Congress, but we lost five people and it's disgusting.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Boy, Congressman, no question about that, and the more we learn, the more horrifying it seems to have been inside the Capitol and the entire Capitol complex.

So, then, how do you explain why more of your fellow Republican members of Congress, more of your fellow Republican senators are not going forward and said simply, President Trump must go, President Trump must resign?

KINZINGER: Everybody's got their own decisions. I think a lot of it is fear.

You know, there’s fear that infects so many sides of the debate right now, right? People that have been radicalized are fearful of, you know, Satanists underground (ph) government, which QAnon preaches. Some on the left are fearful, probably very rightfully so of some of those in the right.

And then when it comes to members of Congress, they're fearful of the re-election, they're fearful for their safety. I mean, the number of death threats that have been thrown against people like me and, frankly, every member of Congress.

And look at -- look at Vice President Pence, one of the most faithful guys to Donald Trump, is now public enemy number one in Trump world. And so, I think that’s what it comes down to.

But if you're going to be fearful -- just my humble opinion -- if you're going to be fearful in this job, it might not be right job for you at this moment in time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is the best alternative right now for the president is simply go to resign before his term finishes?

KINZINGER: I think the best thing for the country to heal would be for him to resign. The next best thing is the 25th Amendment. That’s why I call on Vice President Pence to do it.

This is -- this the thing that just gets out of the debate in Congress. It doesn’t victimize Donald Trump. It makes him look as bad as he has been here, and it's leadership.

Look, you know, we ask young men and young women to give their lives for this country every day and we -- we give them emotional speeches about it, as we rightfully should. We have to be willing to give our careers to do the right thing when it's something so egregious as we're facing likely have been in this last week.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, thanks for your time this morning.

Roundtable's up next. We'll be right back.

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ON SCREEN TEXT: Which leaders agreed to a power-sharing plan in the last evenly split Senate?

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ON SCREEN TEXT: Which leaders agreed to a power-sharing plan in the last evenly split Senate?

Trent Lott and Tom Daschle.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS) (January 5, 2001): Senator Daschle and I have already been through some historic events and we found a way to make it work. And I think we've done that again today.

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STEPHANOPOULOS: The roundtable is ready to go. We'll be right back.

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SENATOR-ELECT REV. RAPHAEL WARNOCK: I am honored by the faith that you have shown in me, and I promise you this tonight.

I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia.

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SENATOR-ELECT JON OSSOFF (D) GEORGIA: It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate.

I will serve all the people of this state. I will give everything I've got to ensuring that Georgia's interests are represented in the U.S. Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Remember that? It was only Tuesday. Raphael Warnock, Jon Ossoff win the Senate seats in Georgia, those special elections in Georgia, giving Democrats control of the Senate. It seems like a lifetime ago.

Let's bring in our roundtable. Chris Christie joins us; along with Rahm Emanuel; the CEO of Democracy For America Yvette Simpson; and Sarah Isgur, a veteran of the Trump administration Justice Department who's now a political analyst for CNN and The Dispatch.

And let me begin with you, Rahm Emanuel. You served with Speaker Pelosi in the House. You served as White House chief of staff as well. It seems like the House speaker's struggling with the question of impeachment, whether or not to schedule it. Do you think she should do it? Will she do it?

EMANUEL: Yeah, George, the way I look at this is two parts, in a kind of bifocal way. One is there was a crime committed; two, we have a cancer in our society. And you have to address both with everything you have.

On the crime side, I definitely think, whether it's impeachment -- you know, the other day I said go to censure because it would be quick. That's how we handled Joe McCarthy.

But you need a moral judgment quick that the institution of Congress, on behalf of the United States, speaks about the crimes that were committed, not just by the president -- I would also go a little further and discuss also those who were instigating and part and parcel, not just the people they're arresting around the country that should be arrested and brought to trial, but other people in the institution that were part of this. There's ways to hold them accountable.

Should senators have committees that were (inaudible) this effort?

Second, on the cancer, Joe Biden has a role, but the Republicans who call people names and call people socialists, you're creating an environment that creates a cancer here. Everything in American history is about inclusion versus exclusion. And we have a big, long-term, generational fight of bringing people who have been excluded economically, politically, culturally, society-wise, legally, into our country. And when we bring inclusion and have an inclusive effort, America is strengthened.

So, yes, on whether it's impeachment, censure, but a moral judgment and a legal -- and consequences that actually bring a voice to what happened here, because it is unprecedented. And then, second, deal with the cancer in our society in a generational fight for inclusion.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris Christie, we just heard Adam Kinzinger talking about fear inside the Republican Party of opposing President Trump right now. But if an impeachment resolution actually comes to the floor, won't many Republicans be hard-pressed to oppose it?

CHRISTIE: Yeah, , listen, I think they're all going to have to vote their conscience.

And look at what happened. I mean, what we had was an incitement to riot at the United States Capitol. We had people killed. And, to me, there's not a whole lot of question here. So, the fact is...

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you think it was an impeachable offense?

CHRISTIE: ... as I have said before, George -- oh, sure, yes.

And I think that in the...

STEPHANOPOULOS: You would vote to impeach?

CHRISTIE: Well, that's -- if I think it's an impeachable offense, that's exactly what I would do, George. But I'm not in there. But you want my opinion, that's my opinion.

I don't -- I think if inciting to insurrection isn't, then I don't really know what it is.

But I will say too that the Democrats, by what they did earlier on Ukraine, have kind of cheapened this a little bit, too. And I think that these are the type of actions which this mechanism was put into -- was put into place for.

And I think a lot of Republicans, at this point, I'm sure that Congressman Kinzinger is right, that there's some fear someplace. But I haven't heard it this week. What I have heard from fellow Republicans is that they have had enough, and that the president's conduct, quite frankly, since then has gotten them upset.

I mean, it is a national disgrace, George, that the flag at the White House is not at half-staff for that Capitol Hill police officer, Kinnick (sic), who gave his life in protecting one of our institutions of democracy.

If we're having to fit of pique, and that's why we're not putting a flag at half-staff, it's just another example of why people think that these decisions are not being made on the merits; these decisions are being made purely with an idea of what's in my own personal desire at the moment on the part of the president.

And so it's just wrong.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Sarah Isgur, you're seeing increasing numbers of Republicans call on the president to resign. We just saw Adam Kinzinger do it, Senator Pat Toomey this morning as well saying the president should resign. Senator Lisa Murkowski and others have been quite critical.

This seems like it's a tailor-made moment for what we saw with Richard Nixon, when Howard Baker just went to the White House and said: The writing's on the wall. You have to go once the impeachment resolution is passed.

Do you think we're heading towards that moment? Or is this just a completely different time?

SARAH ISGUR, STAFF WRITER, THE DISPATCH: Except there is no Baker.

There is no one who the president listens to. He is fundamentally different than Richard Nixon. In his farewell address in 1974, Richard Nixon said: I'm not a quitter, but I have to put the country first.

That is not fundamentally who Donald Trump is, or else we wouldn't have had January 6. He cited -- incited an insurrection against the legislative branch. Mind you, our Declaration of Independence was to overthrow a tyrant who excited domestic insurrections amongst us, is what it said.

Our entire Constitution is built to prevent tyranny from the executive branch against our seat of government. And like others have said, if this isn't an impeachable offense, I don't know what it is.

But the idea that Donald Trump at this point will be convinced to resign by anyone in the Republican Party, he was the one telling folks in that crowd to go after his own vice president. He continued to do so when his vice president was in danger in the Capitol, as they chanted, "Hang Mike Pence."

It is disgusting. But I don't see this president doing what Richard Nixon did, which is somewhat funny, because we consider Richard Nixon, I -- most likely, the worst president of the 20th century. And yet Donald Trump is making Richard Nixon looks like a statesman.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yvette Simpson, one of the things that's fueling this is, as every day that goes by, every hour goes by, we find out that what was going on inside the Capitol was even more horrifying, even more dangerous than we knew at the time.

YVETTE SIMPSON, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely.

I mean, I think the question about whether this was coordinated, whether this was planned is not a question. I mean, there was clearly -- we're going to continue to hear about what happened with Capitol Police and the fact that you see folks being ushered in, you see people being walked out, you see people being helped down.

The Capitol Police, their chief has stepped down. We know that there was a rally ahead of time. We know that the president of the United States asked these people to go to the Capitol. I believe that you're going to find a lot of evidence that this was coordinated, that, actually, we escaped a much more horrifying result because of the bravery of the individuals who protected the members of Congress.

And I think that, to add to the conversation that we are having today -- and I love that we're all in agreement here, George. We need to do something, and we need to do something really, really -- right now, and something that shows that this is -- this is an extreme situation.

People continue to say that we don't have enough time. I want to remind folks that Senate GOP facilitated one of the fastest nominations of a Supreme Court justice after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

So, to say that we can't do this in a week is ridiculous. And, again, if we don't do it now, how do we ever in the future of this country say that we're going to hold someone accountable, anyone, especially a president, if we don't do this and do this right now?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris Christie, you said --

RAHM EMANUEL, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: George, can I --

STEPHANOPOULOS: One second, Rahm. Let me -- I want -- Chris, because you said on Wednesday that you tried to call the president. He wouldn’t take -- he wouldn't take your call.

Is he listening to anybody at this point? Do you have any insight into his state of mind? I assume he’s feeling a little bit like a cornered, someone in a deep, deep corner right now, with no way out?

CHRIS CHRISTIE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, listen, George, you know I have not spoken to the president since these events on Wednesday. So, I can't give you firsthand information on how the president is feeling.

But I will say is, that I think, you know, folks like Pat Cipollone, who’s the White House counsel, is working hard to try to make sure that the president understands the ramifications of every action he takes or doesn't take.

And so I think there are people like that in the White House who still have a voice, and, you know whether they're heard or --

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: On that, Chris, stop right there, on that --

CHRISTIE: Yeah.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- are you convinced by the argument that if he tried to self-pardon, that would actually invite a prosecution?

CHRISTIE: Listen, I think self-pardon at this point is off the table. I never thought it was something that was viable anyway, George. As you know, you’ve asked me about this before on the program. I never thought as a legal matter, it was viable.

But I think it's completely off the table now. I think if he tried to do something like that now, it would force Congress to act even after he was out of office.

And so, I’m sure that someone like Pat Cipollone, for instance, who’s a smart, wise, tempered guy, I’m sure he’s trying to give him very strong advice this morning and throughout the next ten days that this is not something he should go near at well.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Rahm, you want to get in here?

RAHM EMANUEL, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Look, I don't care -- people want Donald Trump to step down and I understand that, but there was a crime committed here and someone has to be held accountable. In 9/11, citizens literally lost their lives stopping a plane from going to go into the Capitol. You have a president who’s on co-equal branch of government, the people's house he tried to take over.

Even if he steps down, just trying to absolve yourself from making a tough decision, this was a crime and he and those who abetted him need to be held accountable, not just the people in the street. There are other people in the institution of Congress who aided and abetted him, and everybody walking round like Captain Renault saying, who knew there was gambling on.

The guy in 2018 said, I’m a nationalist. He goes to France and he comes back we should have a military parade. He told you all along what he was about and this was the final culmination.

And so, even if he resigns, whether it’s impeachment or censure, there has to be a moral judgment and then a criminal and legal judgment against what he did here, on a co-equal branch of government. If we thought about this from another country, and we saw this, and didn’t say the United States, we would say that executive has to be brought to trial and the judgment.

And then the other piece is the long-term work of healing all of us both economically, politically and culturally so we do come together as a cohesive whole again because of the divisions that exist along many, many different parts (ph).

STEPHANOPOULOS: Sarah, Sarah Isgur, you are seeing more calls -- Rahm brought up those who supported the president's position, calling for the expulsion of Senators Cruz and Hawley from the Senate for taking on the president's claims about the election.

SARAH ISGUR, DISPATCH STAFF WRITER: The senators knew better. These are some of the brightest legal minds in our country. They know the Constitution. They practiced before the Supreme Court. They knew those cases were meritless from the beginning and they certainly knew it after judge after judge, after Trump-appointed judge said they were meritless.

I think we should actually separate out whether they were part of the incitement of what happened at the Capitol, because we don't need to get that far. What their objective stated was to object to the election of Joe Biden with baseless arguments more or less saying, “Well, we're just asking questions” when they knew that there was no evidence for it. And instead you have nearly half the country that there was something wrong with this election.

Their stated objective was to undermine our democratic electoral process. That’s what’s unacceptable right at the beginning.

I thought Mitch McConnell gave one of the best speeches of his political career when he said this is the most important vote of my career. We are not here to have political stunts and let others do the right thing. That's what this comes down to.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yvette, I cited at the top, those special elections in Georgia at the beginning of the week, giving Democrats bare control of the Senate, 50-50 tie right now.

But that does play into the argument that I presented to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that you're hearing from some Democrats right now that, yes, the president should be impeached but moving forward with the trial right now is going to cripple Joe Biden in the opening days of his presidency.

SIMPSON: I don’t think that’s true. I think this is a moment where Joe Biden gets to show his strength. He is a leader. And what we need is someone who is going to say wrong is wrong, justice is justice. The reality is, we have a justice system that holds black and brown people and regular, everyday people accountable for far less. And so if he does not show a strong hand and justice in this situation, no one's going to care later what he has to say about anything else. He needs to be a leader here. And I don't think anybody agrees that that's him being partisan or political. That's him being the person who is supposed to keep us safe and make sure our institution does what it's supposed to do. Then we can get about the business of doing the work.

And we know that as this is going on, people are suffering from COVID. We have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. We watch Republicans with very little power, a lot less power than Joe Biden's going to have, do a lot of damage in two years. So Joe Biden is going to be able to do a lot of good. But it starts by making sure we are all on the same page about the safety and security of this country, what is right and what is wrong, and that we have a leader who understands that and realizes that we can't heal until we have full accountability and know that we're going to be safe going forward from not only this president but all of the people who support what happened this week at the Capitol.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris Christie, how deep a blow is this to the Republican --

EMANUEL: George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hold on Rahm --

EMANUEL: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How deep a blow is this to the Republican Party? How does the Republican Party recover?

CHRISTIE: The Republican Party recovers by talking and articulating about the issues that we care about and that are important to the country. And, in the end, that's what will determine, always has determined, the fate of each political party. It's how they articulate those issues and whether they can articulate them in a way which are appealing to the American people.

And let's remember, George, what happened in this past election, you know, 14 seats in the House went to the Republicans. We flipped two state legislative chambers. We flipped a governorship. Up and down the ballot except right at the very top, we did quite well.

And, frankly, the two elections in Georgia were determined much less by the candidates than they were determined by the president of the United States who continued his insane behavior in the eight weeks since the election in terms of continuing to complain about the fact that it was stolen from him and claim that it was. And I think that had a huge effect on the election both in boosting Democratic turnout and in depressing Republican rural turnout.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wish we had more time right now. We don't.

Thank you all very much for your insight.

We'll be right back.

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STEPHANOPOULOS: That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us.

Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT" and I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."

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