Transcript for '(2020) election was not stolen, all of the facts point in that direction': Chris Christie
We're back in 60 seconds. It's my greatest honor and privilege to have been your president. I will be watching, I will be listening, and I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better. I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they'll have great success, they have the foundation to do something really spectacular, so have a good life. We'll see you soon. President trump's final words as president right there on Wednesday, inauguration day. Big week in politics. Let's talk about it on our roundtable. Joined by Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, Margaret Hoover, and our political analyst Matthew dowd. Chris, let me begin with you. I mean, let's start out with that back and forth I had with you've got significant members of your party who simply can't say the election wasn't stolen. Well, listen, George, I don't think there's any question that what the whole country needs to focus on in terms of our election to make we have some effective electoral reform, no one wants to wait two, three weeks to get election results. We need to work on that and make the system better for 2022. But this election was not stolen. All the facts point in that direction. And I'm a former prosecutor, George, I make decisions based upon evidence, not based upon feelings or partisanship or loyalty. You make those decisions based upon evidence and the evidence here has shown right from the beginning that, while every election has some irregularities, there were no type of irregularities that would have changed the result in any one state, let alone the four states that would need to have been changed. For the result of the election to be changed. Folks in my party who are doing quite frankly are trying to make political points with those people that the president and others lied to and it's shameful. Margaret, what does it mean for the Republican party going forward? Look, the Republican party, no question it's fractured. Lot depends on how much Mitch Mcconnell, the leaders in Washington, frankly a real difference between the Republicans in the senate and the Republicans in the house of representatives navigate the next two to four weeks and what president trump does out of office. He's saying he's going to start his own third party. I don't think he has a real sense of historic irony there. There's a history of conservative populous third parties in this country don't have a lot of political success. I'm looking at the no-nothings, they can do that. But the Republicans, if they're going to be successful, will need to grow the party from the middle, build out with Latinos and black Americans, and Republicans know how to do this. If you look at Republican governors in blue states, Larry hogan, Phil Scott, Charlie baker, they need to take a page from those playbooks. That's how you grow the Republican party into the future. Matthew dowd, let me finish this off with you, can the Republican party avoid this reckoning, is it going to No, it can't avoid the reckoning because the problem is is that they have a loyalty to a person or a party more so than they do the truth. Some Republicans like Chris Christie who have spoken the truth in this regard in the aftermath of the November election. But when you put the interest of a person in an autocracy, over the interests of our democracy and our constitution, this is the problem you get into, right now the fracture is going to be a small part of Republicans who are reasonable and believe in the truth and a much larger group of the Republican party who buys into conspiracy theories, and so if there's a fracture it means a small part of the Republican party who probably ends up aligning with the Democrats in the short term, that small part, and the larger 70% or 80% of the party still supports the autocratic moves that president trump made before election day and spoke and made after election day. That's the fundamental problem today with the Republican party. Rahm, what does this mean for president Biden's agenda going forward? You see resistance to his covid plans right off the bat and you know that this impeachment trial is going to complicate his early days. George, let me reframe the question, because I think impeachment, for both parties, your question is, does it derail the president's agenda, so far he's shown nothing but attention on covid. And also moving the country forward. I think for the Republicans rather than for Biden is about derail for them, it's about this division. We just heard three answers about how bad Donald Trump still is for the Republican party and he's driving a grand canyonlike wedge in the Republican party. You see what's going on in Arizona. Ten Republicans in congress all have primaries. I'd say to you that the impeachment is more of a threat of division in the Republican party than about Joe Biden's agenda. I think one other thing, we shouldn't confuse unity that the president's calling for with consensus in congress. Those are not the same thing. Unity is actually having a white house that has best practices rather than being a superspreader event. Unity is around how to achieve 100 million doses of vaccination versus having bleach and lysol recommended as healthcare medications. To me, the country is responding to the president's notion on covid, of concentration, capability and competence and there's unity around that and I think the country is responding to Joe Biden because it's calmed down, it's focused and it's dealing with the number one threat to the country. Chris, what's the best way for Republicans in congress, in both the house and the senate, to approach that? Well, listen, I think they have to be smart about supporting a covid package that makes sense. Now, you know, what's starting to look like to me is a Christmas tree, where everyone gets to hang their favorite ornament on. We're talking about immediate relief that we need to get to individuals, to small businesses and to make sure that our vaccination program is as efficient and effective as possible. That's what Republicans should be talking about. I think this is going to be one of those battles we're going to see, and we're much better as a Republican party when we're talking about issues that are going to matter to the American people. We're going to need to get a covid package done, but we shouldn't just give in on every one of those pieces. That should be focused on. Talking about and challenging why certain things are in that package that in my view don't belong there. Margaret, that poses a big challenge for president Biden. A big question, the bigger the package is harder to get Republicans support. That's exactly right. I think anybody can negotiate that, look at the 50/50 senate, Joe Biden knows how to negotiate. I think we'll see a package. It won't be everything that chuck Schumer and Progressives want. It will be a package that probably be more targeted to the real businesses that need the relief rather than these blanket checks to everyone. Look, I have a lot of confidence he gets a lit bit of a honeymoon period. Reconciliation, with what happened in the Republican party, is something that I suspect you're going to have Mitch Mcconnell and the Republicans go along and try to get a covid deal done, but I suspect that Mitch Mcconnell would like to see the climate created for a very fair and judicious impeachment process, that could lead to conviction of the president, and I think that's why you see chuck Schumer agreeing to his time line and I think that's why they're being very methodical on this. Not a procedural vote, he's able to create the circumstances and the climate around a fair trial, they may just get 67 votes to convict. Seems like a hard climb right now, Matthew dowd, is it necessary for the Republican party? Well, to me, the impeachment -- we have to separate the parts of the impeachment vote. I mean, other countries have gone through this before, Germany, Japan, South Africa, and the thing before you get to reconciliation and healing, you have to have some element of truth and accountability, but we have an example in our country during reconstruction in the aftermath of the civil war when we went through -- we were supposed to go through a process of truth and accountability and changing the nature of what went on and when Abraham Lincoln was killed and Andrew Johnson took over, the idea of forming a thing and demanding truth was stopped. What did that result in, George? It resulted in this country of Jim crow laws, it resulted in the kkk and it resulted of 100 years more of a fight for justice and truth and equality in our country. So we have to get to a situation where, yes, let's have a discussion of the truth, what did Donald Trump do, what should be his accountability, and the final stage of that is, what should be his punishment. To me, the only way to do that is to have a conversation in the trial in the senate, where facts, data and information is presented in such a way that the American public can see exactly what went on, what was Donald Trump responsible for, what should he held accountable to, and ultimately, what should his punishment be. We should not do what happened in reconstruction, when it ended and we went through this long process when justice finally prevailed in the end. We have to have an insight into the truth before we get to reconciliation and healing. Agree with that, Rahm Emanuel? 100%. When somebody's running around the capitol with t-shirts that say camp auschwitz, confederate flags, there's not a statute of limitations when it comes to defending the constitution. If you have a wounded body in politic, it must be disinfected before it gets better. This story is going to get worse as time goes on. It's not going to get better in the next three, four weeks, information is not static here. You're going to find out that the president of the united States was more than just encouraging from the sideline what happened here, Republicans in congress, and if we're going to move forward in some sense as a country you must come to terms with a president of the united States who encouraged people who are walking around with t-shirts that said camp auschwitz. I'm sorry, you can't have a process point that says, he's out of office. That's what I want to bring up -- To the Democrats, I would argue it's not just about the conviction, it's about focusing he can never run again for office and that is because what he's done. He has 20 be morally judged and then politically judged. Chris Christie, let me bring that question to you. It does seem like that they're coming around this argument that it's not constitutional to try a former president, is that enough of an exit ramp? Well, we're going to see, George, based upon some of what Rahm just said. Depending upon on the facts. But we also need to remember here, too, and this is going to the challenge for president Biden in terms of bringing the country together. All of the things that Rahm said were absolutely right. What happened up on capitol hill. It's inexsuzable. I said it was impeachable. But also the violence that's happening in other parts of the country are wrong, too. The president needs to speak out about both. You can't continue to talk about what happened on capitol hill which deserves to be spoken about and all the facts need to come out and those responsible need to be held responsible criminally and politically, so does the violence that's happening in other parts of the country, George. We can't allow that to be two different standards. One of the challenges for the president is going for him to speak very clearly when there are other violent acts that continue to go on in the country and to be able to say, that's wrong, too. Peaceful protests is one thing. Violence that destroys lives, destroys property, and destroys the peaceful enjoyment of our country is also wrong, just as wrong as what happened on capitol hill. Because it affects those citizens that live in those places. I know Rahm, you've had plenty of time to talk this morning. Let me finish. If we want fairness and unity in the country, let's have fairness and unity on comments on everything that's happening in the country not just very awful incident, which I think many Republicans have denounced including me. Rahm? What I would say here, first of all, the president has spoken that there's no place for violence, but what I will reject is this idea that somehow what happened in Portland is morally equivalent to a confederate flag and 6 million is not enough. One is defending the constitution. If you draw moral equivalence you're morally loss. Margaret. You're not -- excuse me. Hold on. What I'm looking forward in the Biden era, the sensation of what aboutism. If they're doing this, what about this? Let's not do what abouts. Let's separate them. There's an insurrection on the capitol that the president of the United States actually encouraged and pointed his supporters to, we can deal with that in its own vessel and then separately deal with other act of violence. They are separate. We can do that. Chris? What I would say about the impeachment is just give it time to have a fair and timely and open, transparent process and the American people and the senate may very well do what they do, truth and justice may lead to reconciliation. Chris? Yes, this is not about moral equivalence. Rahm knows better than that. The fact is for the people in Portland and other places in this country, who have seen their cities and neighborhoods, destroyed and disrupted, their constitutional rights are being violated, too. Not about making the two of them equivalent. A president of the United States who says he wants to unite the country, has to talk about both of them and has to not just this broad sense of violence is bad and then speak about all of the rest of it. That's what I'm talking about. A real president who wants to unite the country will do that. Matt? George, listen, I'm not saying that Chris is doing this, but it's incredibly frustrated to listen to so many Republicans, why isn't Biden talking about this, and we need unity and we need healing, and we need fiscal level of responsibility. I mean, it's the triple crown, American Pharoah after what we witnessed the last four years in division, polarization and no condemning of white nationalists throughout many Republicans who enabled this. Give me a break about calling Joe Biden out for any of this right now because of what happened over the last four years. I would say, the impeachment as Margaret said and I agree, let it happen. The facts will come out. I think the American people are going to make a judgement. It will have its own political imperative. And second, to what president Biden has done, he's focusing, he's concentrated and he's showing capability around covid, that's where there's consensus in the sense of urgency that the country has to be focused on. The country is rallying behind the president because, if they succeed their lives will get better. In fact, it's more than just a honeymoon, real turn of a page and contrast to a white house that at one time was a superspreader event and hocking different kinds of crazy theories of medications that can help, and that's the return to normalcy that Biden presents and he's in some ways still actually -- Chris, we have 30 seconds left. Is getting something done best for both sides on covid? Yeah. Yes, getting something done -- Getting something done because, George, that's what the American people want. But what the American people also want to make sure they have the president who truly wants to unify the country. That's Joe Biden trying to reach the goal he set out in his inaugural speech on Wednesday. I hope he does that.
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