Day 3 of former President Donald Trump’s 2nd impeachment trial

ABC News’ correspondents Jonathan Karl, Dan Abrams, Kate Shaw and more share their thoughts on the third day of presentations for the impeachment trial.
34:33 | 02/11/21

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Transcript for Day 3 of former President Donald Trump’s 2nd impeachment trial
different. They were dangerous to our democracy. For example, in an opinion by United States district court judge Matthew bran from Pennsylvania, he said and I quote "This court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people, laws and institutions demand more, because this court has no authority to take away the right to vote of even a single person, let alone millions of citizens, it cannot grant plaintiff's requested relief." That decision by judge Braun was affirmed on appeal by judge stefanos viva a trump appointee and agreed. "The campaign's claims have no merit. The number of ballots it specifically challenges is far smaller than the roughly 81,000-vote margin of victory and it never claims fraud or that any of the votes were cast by illegal voters. Plus, tossing out millions of mail-in ballots would be drastic and unprecedented, disenfranchising a huge swathe of the electorate and upsetting all downed ballot races." Similarly, as judge Linda parker of the eastern district of Michigan framed it, she said, "Stunning in its scope and breathtaking in its reach. If granted, the relief would disenfranchise the votes of more than 5.5 million Michigan citizens who, with dignity, hope and a promise of a vote, participated in the 2020 general election. "Donald Trump told his supporters they are stealing the they took away your vote. It's rigged. That was not true. According to judge after judge, the truth was exactly the opposite. Trump was not suing to ensure election integrity. He was pursuing lawsuits that would in effect strip away American votes so that he could in other words, Donald Trump was asking the judiciary to take away votes from Americans so that he could steal the election for himself. Then after losing in all the courts, trump turned to another tactic pressures and threatening election officials. You saw what happened in Michigan, after trump attacked the state, and its election officials. His supporters surrounded the secretary of state's home, as you saw in the earlier slide, chanting, calling her a felon. On November 17th, the board of canvassers for Wayne county, Michigan, home to Detroit, unanimously certified the election results for Biden. That same night, after their vote to certify the results, trump called the two Republican members of that board pressuring them to change their minds. The call worked. The next day, both Monica palmer and William Hartmann, the Republican board members attempted to rescind their vote to certify Michigan's election results, but they simply president trump didn't stop he then contacted majority leader of the Michigan senate Mick Shekey and the speaker of the house, Lee Chatfield to allow them to overturn Michigan's results. Trump invited Mr. Chatfield and Mr. Sherkey to Washington to meet them with the white house where the president lobbied them further. Let's be clear, Donald Trump was calling officials hosting them at the white house urging them to defy the voters in their state and instead award votes to trump. The officials held strong and trump moved on to a different state, my home state of Pennsylvania I am certain my senators Casey and senator Toomey remember what happened there. In early December, as he did in Michigan, he began calling election officials, including my former colleagues in the Pennsylvania legislature, Republicans, majority leader Kim ward, and speaker of the house, Brian Cutler. Majority leader ward said the president called her to "Declare there was a fraud in the voting." Then on November 25th, president trump phoned in to a Republican state senate policy hearing trying to convince the Republican legislators, senators and house members there had been a fraud in the vote. He even had his lawyer hold a phone up to the microphone in that hearing room so the committee could hear him. Here is what he said. We can't let that happen. We can't let it happen for our country, and this election has to be turned around, because we won Pennsylvania by a lot, and we won all of these swing states by a lot. This was a gathering -- I've attended many I have to tell you, as a former state legislator, a lot of policy hearings. I have to say with some confidence that was likely the first time a president of the United States of America called in to a state legislative policy hearing, and remember, here is the president saying he won Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania had been certified that Biden had won by more than 80,000 votes. Less than a week after calling in to that meeting, he invited multiple Republican members of the Pennsylvania legislature to the white house, the same scheme he had used on the Michigan legislators. It didn't work with those public servants either. Think about it. The president of the united States was calling public officials, calling from the white house, inviting them into the oval office, telling them to disenfranchise voters of their state, telling them to overturn the will of the American people. Also he could take the election for himself, and then in Georgia, a state trump had counted on for victory, his conduct was perhaps the most egregious. On November 11th, Republican secretary of state Brad raffensperger confirmed he believed ballots were accurately counted for Biden. Trump went on a relentless here are just a few examples in all trump tweeted at raffensperger 17 times in the coming week. I'll show you just a few, calling him a disaster, obstinent, not having a clue, being played for a fool, and being a so-called Republican, all because raffensperger was doing his job, ensuring the integrity of our elections. And these attacks had consequences. Mr. Raffensperger and his family received death threats. "Your husband deserves to face a firing squad. You better not botch this recount. Your life depends upon it. The raffenspergers should be put on trial for treason and face execution." Just some of the threats they received. After these death threats an November 25th, Mr. Raffensperger wrote an op-ed where he said my family voted for trump. Donated to him, and are now being thrown under the bus by him. He also noted "The elections of the bedrock of our democracy and they need to be run fairly and perhaps more importantly impartially. That's not partisan. That's just American." It's important to remember that this wasn't just a random attack. Trump wasn't just criticizing a politician over policy or saying he didn't agree. Donald Trump was savagely attacking a secretary of state because the official did his he certified the state according to how the people in that state voted. Donald Trump was trying to undermine our elections by taking votes away from the American people so that he could remain president and he was willing to blame and betray anyone, even his own supporters, if they got in the way. Remember, senators, those threats were to Mr. Raffensperger's family. So some may say trump didn't know his attacks against Mr. Raffensperger would result in death threats, except that all of this was very public. The secretary published his op-ed in "Usa today" and major networks including fox covered the threats against raffensperger. What did trump do? Did he stop and so I no, supporters, that isn't what I meant? No, he doubled down. Let's see the evidence. This was a massive fraud. It should never take place in this country. They're like a third world country. Look at Georgia. But I understand the secretary of state, who is really, he's an enemy of the people, the secretary of state, and whether he's Republican or not, this man, what he's done -- this character who is in Georgia is a disaster. Let that sink in. A Republican public servant doing his job, family just received death threats and the president of the United States labeled him an enemy of the people. That's why this is different, because this was not just one attack or one comment. This was attack after attack in the face of clear threats of violence. On December 1st, another official Gabriel sterling, a Republican who voted for trump, made this point and appealed directly to our president to stop his dangerous conduct. Mr. President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia. We're investigating. There's always a possibility. I get it and you have the rights to go through the courts. What you don't have the ability to do and you need to step up and say this, is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone is going to get hurt. Someone is going to get short shot. Someone's going to get killed. Mr. Sterling put this perfectly. In this country we can appropriately challenge a close count. We'll go to the courts or disagree with others or make bold statements, but what trump was doing was different. Someone's going to get hurt. Someone's going to get shot. Someone's going to get killed. Mr. Sterling saw what trump's conduct was foments. He warned him on live TV that violence was already happening and that more violence was foreseeable, and inevitable. Sterling's pleas were played over and over on every network. Rather than heed that warning, trump escalated again. In early December, trump called Brian Kemp, the governor of Georgia, and pressured him to hold a special session of the state legislature to overturn the election results and to appoint electors who would vote for trump. A few weeks later on December 23rd, trump called the chief investigator for the Georgia bureau of investigations, who was conducting an audit, an audit of the signature matching procedures for absentee ballots. Trump urged him, find the fraud and claimed official would be a national hero if he did. Let's call this what it is. He was asking the official to say there was evidence of fraud when there wasn't any. The official refused and the investigation was completed, and on December 29th, raffensperger announced that the audit found "No fraudulent absentee ballots with a 99% confidence level." On January 3rd, trump tweeted about a call he had with Georgia election officials the day before. He said and I quote, "I spoke to secretary of state Brad raffensperger yesterday about Fulton county and voter fraud in Georgia. He was unwilling or unable to answer questions such as the ballots under the table scam, ballot destruction, out of state voters, dead voters, and more. He has no clue." On January the 5th, "The Washington post" released a recording of that call, which had occurred on January 2nd. Remember, just four days before the attack on the capitol. Here is what president trump It's more illegal for you than it is for them because you know what they did and you're not reporting it. That's, you know, that's a criminal, that's a criminal offense, and you know, you can't let that happen. That's a big risk to you and to Ryan. You're lawyers. That's a big risk. Let's be clear. This is the president of the United States telling a secretary of state that if he does not find votes, he will face criminal penalties. And not just any number of votes. Donald Trump was asking the secretary of state to somehow find the exact number of votes Donald Trump lost the state by. Remember, president Biden won Georgia by 11,779 votes. In his own words, trump said "All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes." He wanted the secretary of state to somehow find the precise number plus one so that he could win. Here's what he said. Look, all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have." He says it right there. The president of the united States telling a public official to manufacture the exact votes needed so he can win. Senators, we must not become numb to this. Trump did this across state after state so often, so loudly, so publicly. Public officials like you and me received death threats and calls threatening criminal penalties because trump wanted to Rema in power. These public officials exercised great political and personal courage in the face of unprecedented pressure from a president of the United States. Senators, ours is a dialogue with history, a conversation with the past with a hope for the future. Senators, I thank you today for your kind attention. Madeleine Dean from Pennsylvania. We'll now hear from congressman Ted lieu, Democrat of California. As we see the Democrats make the case of president trump's interference in the election, beyond the speech on January 6th. Good afternoon. I'm congressman Ted lieu. My colleague, congresswoman Dean went through president trump's efforts to overturn the election in the courts and when that started failing his deeply disturbing attacks on state and local officials. I'll walk through president trump's extraordinary efforts remaining until January 6, when he tried again to overturn the election. I first want to highlight representative Raskin's question to all of you today. Is this America? Like all of you, I love this country. I am an immigrant. My parents came to Ohio and we started off living in the basement of a person's home. We were poor and we went to flea markets to sell gifts and make ends meet. Over many years they built a small business, opened six gift stores and achieved their American dream. It's one reason I joined the United States air force on active duty. I believe America is an exceptional country. I was trained as a prosecutor at Maxwell air force base in Alabama and I remain in the reserves because we're the greatest country in the world, but how did our exceptional country get to the point where a violent mob attacked our capitol, murdering a police officer, assaulting more than 140 other officers? How did we get to the point where rioters desecrated, defiled and dishonored your senate chamber, the very place in which you sit became a crime scene and where National Guard troops still patrol outside wearing body armor. I'll show you how we got here. President Donald J. Trump ran out of non-violent options to maintain power. After his efforts in the courts and threatening officials failed, he turned to privately and publicly attacking members of his own party, in the house and in the senate. He would publicly bait senators, naming them in social media. For example, on December 18th, president trump named at Republican majority leaders and senators telling them they have to get tougher or they won't have a Republican party anymore. "We won the presidential election by a lot. Fight for it. Don't let them take it away." President trump was suggesting to members of this senate that if they didn't help him try to overturn the election, there would be consequences. On December 24th president trump wrote "I saved at least eight Republican senators including Mitch, from losing in the last rigged for president election. Now they almost all sit back and watch me fight against a crooked and vicious foe, the radical left Democrats. I will" and in all capital letters he wrote "Never forget" exclamation point. President trump was telling you that you owe him, that if you don't help him fight to overturn the results he will never forget and there are consequences. These are threats just like the threats he made to state and local officials and it continued. On December 29th president trump tweeted "Can you imagine if the Republicans stole a presidential election from the Democrats? All hell would break out. Republican leadership only wants the path of least resistance. Our leaders, not me, of course, are pathetic. They only know how to lose. P.S., I got many senators and congressmen and congress women I do believe they forgot." He called them for letting the election get "Stolen from them." On January 4th, two days before the attack, president trump tweeted "The surrender caucus within the Republican party will go down in infamy as weak and ineffective guardians of our nation, who were willing to accept the certification of fraudulent presidential numbers." Now he's mocking some Republican members in the caucus calling them weak and ineffective guardians of our nation because they would not pretend that he had won, when in fact, he had not. And then the very day before the attack, president trump's threats grew even more heated and specific towards Republicans that he considered to be part of that surrender caucus. Now we've shown you this tweet before, but I want to draw your attention to how the president was not just inciting his base, but how he was also calling out specific senate Republicans at the end of this tweet. This is a specific warning to anyone who won't help him overturn the results, anyone who was against the president became an enemy. Let me be very clear. The president wasn't just coming for one or two people or Democrats like me. He was coming for you, for democratic and Republican senators. He was coming for all of us, just as the mob did at his direction. In addition to going after senators and members of congress, president trump also pressured our justice department to investigate the false claims that the election was stolen. At the president's direction, attorney general William Barr, a loyal member of the president's cabinet authorized federal prosecutors to pursue allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities. Bill Barr pursuing the allegations sparked an outcry. 16 assistant U.S. Attorneys in the trump administration urged attorney general to cease investigations, because they had not seen evidence of any substantial anomalies. That means they did not find any evidence of real fraud. Attorney general bar pursued the investigations anyways, and after his investigation, this is what he found. "We have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the two weeks later on December 14th, the electors voted to give Joe Biden 306 electoral votes and ensured his victory. The following day, bill Barr resigned. Attorney general Barr had loyally served president trump. He had never publicly come out against the president but for bill Barr, making up election fraud claims and saying the election was stolen was a bridge too far. Bill Barr made clear alempt attempting to overturn the election results crossed the bill Barr, the highest enforcement official in the land, told president Donald Trump to his face that his theories of election fraud were "Bull shit." When bill Barr resigned, his former deputy, Jeff Rosen, took his place. President trump initially tweeted about Mr. Rosen that he was an outstanding person when he announced he'd become acting attorney general. When Rosen took over president trump put the same pressure on him that he had done with state officials, members of congress, U.S. Senators and his former attorney general. President trump reportedly summoned acting attorney general Rosen to the oval office the next day and pressured rose on it appoint special counsels to keep investigating the election including accusations of widespread voter fraud and investigate dominion, the voting machine's firm. According to reports, Mr. Rosen refused. He maintained that he would make decisions based on the facts and the law, and reminded president trump what he had already been told by attorney general bill Barr, that the department had already investigated and "Found no evidence of widespread fraud." But president trump refused to follow the facts in the law, so the president turned to someone he knew would do his bidding. He turned to Jeffrey Clark, another justice department lawyer, who had allegedly expressed support for using the department of justice to investigate the election results. Shortly after acting attorney general Rosen followed his duty and the law to reopen, to refuse to reopen investigations, president trump intended to replace Mr. Rose within Mr. Clark who would then try to stop congress from certifying the electoral college results. According to reports, white house counsel pat Cipollone advised president trump not to fire attorney general Rosen. Department officials threatened to resign en masse if he had fired Rosen. President trump's actions time and time again made clear that he would do anything and pressure anyone if it meant overturning the election results. We watch president trump use any means necessary to pursue this aim, feverishly grasping for straws at retaining his hold on the presidency, but all his efforts prior to January 6th kept failing, and finally, in his desperation, he turned on his own vice president. He pressured Mike pence to violate his constitutional oath and refuse to certify the oath. President trump had decided that vice president pence, who presided over the certification, could somehow stop it. As pence will later confirm, the vice president does not have that power in the constitution and president trump never tried to explain why he thought the vice president could block the certification of election results. He just began relentlessly attacking the vice president. Publicly, president trump attacked pence on social media and at rallies, getting his supporters to believe that Mike pence could stop this certification on January 6th. Here is what president trump said in Georgia on January 4th. And I hope Mike pence comes through for us. I have to tell you. I hope that our great vice president, our great vice president comes through for us. He's a great guy. Of course if he doesn't come through, I won't like him quite as much. Behind closed doors, president trump applied significant pressure to his second in command. Multiple reports confirm president trump used his personal attorneys and other officials to pressure the vice president. Trump reportedly told almost anyone who called him to also call the vice president. According to reports, when Mike pence was in the oval office, president trump would call people to try to get them to convince the vice president to help him. President trump kept repeating the myth that pence could stop the certification to his base to anger them, hoping to intimidate Mike pence. On the morning of the rally on January 6th, president trump tweeted "All Mike pence has to do is send them back to the states" and in all caps he wrote "And we win. Do it, Mike. This is a time for extreme courage." President trump later went out to attack pence nearly a dozen times in his speech at the save America March. Privately, in person, before pence headed to oversee the joint session January 6th, president trump again threatened you can either go down in history as a patriot," will trump told him, according to people briefed on the conversation "Or you can go down in history as a pussy." As a veteran, I find it deeply dishonorable that our former president and commander in chief equated patriotism with violating the constitution and overturning the election. You will see and hear the consequences of president trump's repeated attacks on the vice president, the chants of traitor and the chants of "Hang Mike pence." Thankfully, vice president pence stood his ground, like our other brave officials stood their ground. He refused the president and fulfilled his duty on January 6th, even after the capitol was attacked, even after he was personally targeted, even after his family was targeted, vice president pence stood strong and certified the election. Vice president pence showed us what it means to be an American, what it means to show courage. He put his country, his oath, his values, and his morals above the will of one man. The president had tried everything in his power to seize -- everything in his attempt to seize power from the rightful Victor of the election. President trump's extraordinary actions grew increasingly more desperate. You saw him go from pursuing claims in the courts to tret thing? State and local election officials, to then attacking members of congress and the senate to compromising our justice department and then to attacking the Republican vice president. These public servants were pressured by our commander in chief to overturn the results. Some of them and their families got death threats. Thankfully at every turn our democratic processes prevailed and the rule of law prevailed. It is only because all of these people stayed strong and refused president trump, that our republic held fast and the will of the electorate was seen through, and at this point, president Donald J. Trump ran out of nonviolent options to maintain power. I began today by raising the question how we got here. You saw a man so desperate to cling to power that he tried everything he could to keep it, and when he ran out of nonviolent measures he turned to the violent mob that attacked your senate chamber on January 6. As you cast your vote after this trial, I hope each of you will think of the bravery of all these people who said no to president trump, because they knew that this was not right, that this was not America. Talking about how the president was targeting Republican senators, his own justice department, his own vice president, contrasting their behavior with the behavior of the capitol police. -- The Virgin Islands will show in quite chilling detail how president trump was well aware of the threat of violence on January 6th and how he welcomed and amplified his supporters' plans for insurrection against the union. I should say as lead manager, this is a moment of special pride for me because representative Plaskett is not only the first delegate ever to be on a team of impeachment managers in American history but she was also my law student at American university's Washington college of law, and I hope I'm not violating any federal educational records laws when I say she was an "A" student then and she's an a-plus student now. Stacy Plaskett. Congressman Raskin said the first to serve as impeachment manager, congresswoman Plaskett. Thank you so much. Mr. President, distinguished senators, I am Stacey Plaskett and I represent the people of the Virgin Islands of the united States. Over this past weekend, my 11-year-old daughter, I overheard her telling one of my sons "Mommy doesn't seem really nervous about the impeachment trial." To which that son, sounding like an older brother, said "Talia, you'll learn that most of the time, mommy really seems to have it under control." Now we know as parents that's not always the case, but I've learned throughout my life that preparation and truth can carry you far, can allow you to speak truth to power. I've learned that as a young black girl, growing up in the projects in Brooklyn, housing community on St. Croix, sent to the most unlikeliest of settings, and now as an adult woman, representing an island territory speaking to the U.S. Senate. And because of truth I am confident today speaking before you, because truth and facts are

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