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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 2/9/2021

Guest: Peter Baker, Melissa Murray, Jason Crow, Tim Miller�


It`s day one of the second impeachment trial for now private citizen Donald Trump. He`s the first president to face charges after leaving office, first to be twice impeached. The Senate voted to move ahead with the trial 56 to 44. Six Republican senators joined all 50 of the Democrats. The Trump defense team is widely criticized on day one of impeachment. Trump`s lawyer went on to accuse Democratic House managers of treating the attack on the Capitol, "as if it were some sort of blood sport."


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again. Day 21 of the Biden administration. Day one of the second impeachment trial for now private citizen Donald Trump.

He`s the first president to face charges after leaving office, first to be twice impeached. Fully half of all presidential impeachments in our history now belong to Him.

This trial is being held at the scene of the crime, many of the senators sitting at desks that were ransacked. And day one ended with senators voting that the trial is constitutional.

But the proceedings started in a dramatic fashion when the Democratic managers prevent -- presented a 13 minute long display of the most graphic and most powerful evidence of that day. Here is just a portion of the visual record of the seizure and looting and desecration of our Capitol building on January the sixth.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re outnumberd.

Millions out there. And we are listening to Trump, your boss.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (simultaneously): Treason.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pence is a traitor.




WILLIAMS: Impeachment managers followed that damning video promising to present a case to convict Trump based on what they called cold, hard facts.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN, (D) MARYLAND, LEAD IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: Their argument is that if you committed an impeachable offense in your last few weeks in office, you do it with constitutional impunity.

This would create a brand new January exception to the Constitution.

REP. JOE NEGUSE, (D) COLORADO, IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: Impeachment exists to protect the American people from officials who abuse their power or betray them. It exists for a case just like this one,

REP. DAVID CICILLINE, (D) RHODE ISLAND IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: The President of the United States, literally incited an armed attack on the Capitol while seeking to retain power by subverting an election he lost, and then celebrated the attack.


WILLIAMS: Perhaps most memorable as moments from today go was Lead Manager Congressman Jamie Raskin`s emotional account of his own personal experience on January the sixth.


RASKIN: My youngest daughter Tabitha was there with me on Wednesday, January 6. The sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram. It`s the most haunting sound I`ve ever heard and I will never forget it.

The kids hiding under the desk, placing what they thought were their final texts. She said, Dad, I don`t want to come back to the Capitol.

Of all the terrible brutal things I saw and I heard on that day and since then, that one hit me the hardest. That and watching someone use an American flag pole. The flag still on it to sphere and pummel one of our police officers ruthlessly, mercilessly tortured by a pole with a flag on it that he was defending with his very life.


WILLIAMS: It was then Trump`s lawyers turn to speak before the Senate. And as you`ll hear in detail later on in the broadcast, it did not go well. While they never argued that their client was innocent, his two defense attorneys eventually got around to arguing the impeachment trial is largely politically motivated and therefore unconstitutional.


BRUCE CASTOR, TRUMP DEFESE ATTORNEY: Let`s understand why we are really here. We are really here because the majority in the House of Representatives does not want to face Donald Trump as a political rival in the future.

DAVID SCHOEN, TRUMP DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Anyone truly interested in real accountability for what happened to the Capitol on July 6 -- January 6, would of course insist on waiting for a full investigation.

Any civil officer, whoever dares to want to serve his or her country must know that they will be subject to impeachment long after their service in office has ended. This is nothing less than the political weaponization of the impeachment process.

The accused is not the president. The text of the United States Constitution therefore, does not vest the Senate with the power to try him.


WILLIAMS: They also offer their own video compilation, but theirs was set to ominous music and it shows House Democrats calling for Trump to be removed from office.


REP. AL GREEN, (D) TEXAS: I rise today, Mr. Speaker, to call for the impeachment of the President of the United States of America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I continue to say impeachment. Impeach 45. Impeach 45.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we`re calling upon the House to begin impeachment hearings immediately.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the impeachment of Donald Trump, would you vote yes or no?

REP. ILHAN OMAR, (D) MINNESOTA: I would vote yes.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, (D) NEW YORK: I would vote. I would vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we`re going to go in there, we`re going to impeach the mother --


WILLIAMS: The former president is said to have been, let`s call it, less than pleased with his lawyers` performance, which means he was watching on television.

According to Politico Trump, "grew increasingly frustrated with the sharp contrast between their muted response and the prosecution`s opening salvo."

"New York Times" reports one person familiar with Trump`s reaction said, "On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the angriest, Mr. Trump was an eight."

As we mentioned, the Senate voted to move ahead with the trial 56 to 44. Six Republican senators joined all 50 of the Democrats. And today they included Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, a Republican, newly re-elected, who last month had voted to end the trial saying it`s unconstitutional.


SEN. BILL CASSIDY, (R) LOUISIANA: The House managers were focused, they were organized. They made a compelling argument.

President Trump`s team were disorganized. They did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand. And when they talked about it, they kind of glided over it, almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments.

Now I`m an impartial juror and one side is doing a great job and the other side`s doing a terrible job. On the issue at hand as an impartial juror, I`m going to vote for the side that did the good job.


WILLIAMS: Meanwhile, there`s this brand new in the last few minutes. Bloomberg has new reporting on Mitch McConnell`s thinking about this trial. The Senate Minority Leader is said to be, "signaling to fellow Republicans that the final vote on Donald Trump`s impeachment is a matter of conscience." Imagine that. "And that senators who disputed the constitutionality of the trial," today`s vote, "could still vote to convict the former president."

McConnell has also suggested that he hasn`t made up his mind how he`ll vote.

Today the Kentucky Republican voted to declare the entire thing unconstitutional.

The current president, for his parts, spent his day trying to gather more support for his massive coronavirus relief bill. Biden met with several CEOs to pitch his nearly $2 trillion plan. Of course, there was no escaping what was taking place across town on Capitol Hill.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to watch the trial?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m not -- Look, I told you before I have a job. We`ve already lost over 450,000 people, we`re going to lose a whole lot more if you don`t act and act decisively and quickly.

A lot of children are grown to bed hungry. A lot of families are food insecure, they`re in trouble. That`s my job.

The Senate has their job, they`re about begin it. I`m sure they`re going to conduct themselves well. And that`s all I`m going to have to say about impeachment.


WILLIAMS: With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Tuesday night. A celebrated professor, a celebrated journalist and a celebrated historian Melissa Murray. She`s an NYU law professor, who clerked for Sonia Sotomayor on the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for "The New York Times." He is among the co-authors of the book we turn to every year or so around here "Impeachment and American History."

And the author presidential historian and Twitter humorist Michael Beschloss. His latest work clearly visible on so many of the shelves just behind so many of our guests is "Presidents of War." And it`s there for good reason.

Good evening, and welcome to you all.

Peter, I`d like to begin with your beat. A dry transcript of a phone call to Ukraine, this is not, this was a national emergency. We all live through this. This is, as has been said all during the day to day, one of those rare events that seems to grow in importance and emotional heft.

The further away we get from it and look back at what happened on six January, does this have the capacity, Peter, conviction or acquittal, to be more damaging to what`s left of the Trump name than that first impeachment?

PETER BAKER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it`s a broader look at the Trump presidency as a whole than the impeachment trial we had last year. The impeachment managed last year, the House Democrats decided to charge President Trump on the Ukraine pressure scheme, deliberately decided to keep their case narrow and specific to one instance that they thought was most provable rather than a panoply of issues that this presidents for years have raised.

Today, you saw the exact opposite. You saw a trial that is going to the heart of the Trump presidency, because it raises so many issues that have been a concern these last four years. His assault on the truth is undermining of Democratic institutions. His, you know, shattering of norms.

And obviously, I think the, you know, results may in fact, be preordained. We saw a vote today where 44 Republicans said that trials not even constitutional. So, it may not be very suspenseful in the end. But I think over the next few days, and this next week, you`re going to see the larger issues that the Trump presidency has raised, put on display for the American people and vivid relief in a way that last year`s rather abstract trial may not have been quite so compelling.

WILLIAMS: Professor, in light of the news about McConnell tonight, Republicans on the Hill are no doubt googling the word conscience and see what that might mean for their vote. That`ll be interesting.

But be that as it may, as you watch today, are we correct in saying that Democrats were appealing to a wider audience and the lawyers for Trump perhaps were appealing to the room?


What happened here today was that you had the American people assembled around their T.V. sets, you had the Congress all looking forward at this. It was the widest audience they possibly could have had. And so they press their case, they actually made their substantive case, even though the issue to be debated was a narrow issue of procedure, whether the Senate even had the authority to try a former president under an article of impeachment. But they brought the whole case today because the world was watching.

And it`s a foregone conclusion that this will likely end in an acquittal for the former president, but again, they are making a case for the American people, to the American people. And they`re underscoring that this President, during his time in office was capable of incredible violence, inciting incredible violence. And if he`s allowed to return to office, that this may again be the situation that we find ourselves in. So, this is an argument for the ages, not just for this particular Senate.

WILLIAMS: Michael Beschloss, given your passion and life`s work, you were floored and staggered along with the rest of us by what happened on January 6. Reading you today, you were floored by today for a whole set of different reasons. Go into some detail for us.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, starting with those lawyers, you know, it was reminding me Brian, you and I had a great friend named Jack Valenti, who was an aide and speechwriter for those who don`t remember to Lyndon Johnson. And he once told me the story about Johnson spent a couple of days with a Norwegian king, who was not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

And Johnson, as you and I know, was a very smart man and impatient, finally almost pushed the king on the helicopter. And he turned to Valenti, and said, boy, I knew they made dumb kings just never knew they made kings that dumb. And it was sort of like watching those lawyers today, I knew they made bad presidential legal representatives, I never knew that they made two of them this incompetent. These were probably the two most incompetent legal representatives of a president in modern history.

WILLIAMS: And Peter Baker, to that very point, it was indeed like that best man`s speech at a wedding that goes south, and you quickly show renewed interest in your shoe and sock choice for the reception. But this was writ large. These may be the last two lawyers, this former president can find a representative. It`s not like Kirkland and Ellis came to him and said, pick out whoever you`d like. All these lawyers need to work in the future.

So, your colleague Maggie Haberman, among others tonight, reporting audible renting out of Mar-a-Lago, is that just frustration do we think?

BAKER: Well, look, you`re right. This is not the A team that the President had before you have the previous legal team as the 18. The ones who defended in the last year`s trial and not returning for the sequel. Another team he hired that was supposed to represent him this week bowed out, because they had differences of opinion about the way it should be. And these lawyers were found basically just in the last few days.

They may be excellent lawyers, they may have a better day ahead of them tomorrow, but they did not obviously make a lot of friends in that Senate chamber today. They didn`t impress a lot of people in Mar-a-Lago, you know.

You`re right, my colleague Maggie Haberman report on this, the president -- former president`s aides and advisors tried to keep them away from the television, we wouldn`t actually see the performance, but he obviously call out enough of it to have a very strong and visceral reaction to it. Among other things, he didn`t like it that Bruce Castor specifically said that the managers have done a good job with their presentation, and that the president back did lose the election in November, that the former president continues to claim he didn`t lose.

So, you know, there`s already speculation as to whether this team will even last out the trial. It`s a good question, because there are not a lot of, you know, backups waiting in the wings. But it`s a tough start for them and they have, obviously, a few days to get their case together before they`ll have to present it on the Senate floor to these 100 jurors.

WILLIAMS: Professor, I want to read you something that was read on the floor of the Senate today. This is Trump`s tweet from the end of the day, January 6, and like all of them, this reads somewhat like a collection of refrigerator magnets.

But you`ll see the point here, "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly and unfairly treated for so long." There`s a period, "Go home with love and in peace. Remember this day forever."

Professor, I asked you this because Trump`s lawyers are falling all over himself, telling journalists like "The Washington Post" how horrified he was on the inside, in the West Wing where no one could see him on that day.

Talk to us from your life`s work about state of mind, will it be critical to the Democratic managers case? And should it be?

MURRAY: Well, it`s certainly critical if you are in an ordinary court of law, and this were an ordinary criminal trial where you were trying to determine whether the defendant had actually incited violence with his words. Whether the words were meant to be figurative, or to more just simply literal. It`s something that would be very important. And what that person did afterwards would certainly be material.

But again, this isn`t an ordinary criminal trial. Acquittal is all but assured. And that`s because the jurors who are also witnesses are -- have their own views about what happened here, have their own views about what happened to the president over the course of the last four years. And it will all come down to whether or not they are satisfied that the House managers have made their case for convicting the former president. And that`s a much broader standard.

So yes, it would ordinarily be incredibly relevant. It may just be more political theater in this particular impeachment trial.

WILLIAMS: And Michael Beschloss, finally, we watched 44 Republicans take the dive today. If Republicans further can`t find any courage at the Senate gift shop, if this thing goes down, if fear of Mar-a-Lago ends up carrying the day, what will we have gained or lost? What will we have learned? And I`m speaking specifically about the writing you did today about the lessons from Jefferson Davis.

BESCHLOSS: Well, exactly right, Brian. A 160 years ago today, Jefferson Davis was chosen as the president of the so called Confederate States of America. And his mission was to start an insurrection against the United States so the South could be an independent, slave loving Republic forever.

We fought a tragic civil war for four years. We defeated the South, we the North. And Jefferson Davis, he was imprisoned for a couple of years. He never was put on trial. And the result was that Davis for the rest of his life said the South really won the war. We were cheated out of the victory that we won.

Well, who does it sound like? It sounds an awful lot to me like Donald Trump. We are in danger of seeing happen again in the future what we saw on the sixth of January.

For the last four years, our children have been in danger, our democracy has been in jeopardy. We`ve been in a situation where Donald Trump has taken a sledgehammer to institutions of democracy, rule of law, other traditions. Congress now owes it to us to create ways to make sure that that doesn`t happen again.

The first thing they can do, and this includes especially Republican senators, is to vote for conviction and say, here, a president tried to steal our democracy on the sixth of January. He tried to suspend a presidential election. He told demonstrators to go invade the Capitol and attack the Congress and maybe killed leaders of Congress, it could lead to that or have a hostage crisis.

This is what our president was able to do. We`ve got to stop that. Make sure that no president in the future who wants to hold on to a second term that he or she has not been elected to, can do this again.

If these Republican senators vote against conviction, they will be doing what they`ve done for the last four years, which is to empower Donald Trump, empower future tyrants who might become president and put all of us and our children in danger. I think it is very ominous.

WILLIAMS: I think I speak for our audience hearing that from a learned man just continues to take your breath away. Can`t thank our big three enough for -- after the day we`ve all witnessed spending time with us tonight.

Professor Melissa Murray, Peter Baker, Michael Beschloss, thank you all so much.

Coming up for us, what`s next for the Democrats making their case? I`ll talk to an eyewitness to the insurrection who happens to be a former House manager himself.

And later why some are saying today`s vote in the Senate shows the Republican Party is now something else entirely under new management with its members overcome by fear of a Florida man. I`ll ask my guests if it`s broken beyond repair. All of it as THE 11TH HOUR is just getting underway on this important Tuesday night.



SCHOEN: This is a process fueled irresponsibly, by base hatred by these House managers and those who gave them their charge and they are willing to sacrifice our national character to advance their hatred and their fear that one day they might not be the party in power.


WILLIAMS: Trump`s lawyer went on to accused Democratic House managers of treating the attack on the Capitol, "as if it were some sort of blood sport."

We are joined by Congressman Jason Crow, Democrat of the state of Colorado. He served as one of the House impeachment managers during the first go round.

During the insurrection, he was captured in a now iconic photo sheltering in the gallery, with some of his fellow members of Congress, as rioters bore down on the House chamber.

He is an attorney by training and Army Ranger, a Bronze Star recipient and a veteran of three tours in America`s two ongoing overseas wars.

Congressman, that`s where I want to start. If your instructors at Ranger School did their job, your pulse came down as other pulses rose on that day. You saw this trauma through your lens. We civilians saw it our way.

But are we united in believing that this is that one event that seems to worsen the longer we get away from it. And the showings of what happened on that day as the manager show today.

REP. JASON CROW, (D-CO) FMR. HOUSE IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: Hi, good evening, Brian. Thanks for having me on.

So you`re right that it was trauma and I did view that through my former Army Ranger lens, unfortunately. But not before calling my wife and telling her that I loved her and telling her to tell the kids that I love them. And certainly not without fear and tremendous anxiety. Because the bottom line is trauma affects everybody. It affects everybody differently and affects everybody on different timelines.

It`s really important that people get the help that they need, and that we destigmatize that. And I`ve been working with my colleagues and some of the Capitol Police officers and others to get them the help that they need.

But yes, this was a crime, a police officer was murdered, over 140 were brutally beaten, people that were in that riot. Those terrorists or domestic terrorists were trying to kill or capture members of Congress. So this was a crime against our democracy.

WILLIAMS: I want to show you some snippets of a point the managers today made very forcefully about walling off the month of January, and how that makes folly of the argument that this is somehow unconstitutional.


RASKIN: The January exception is an invitation to our founders` worst nightmare.

NEGUSE: There is no January exception to the impeachment power.

CICILLINE: It`s no wonder that President Trump would rather talk about jurisdiction and as opposed January exception, rather than talk about what happened on January 6.


WILLIAMS: So Congressman, in other words, wouldn`t it get out among current and former presidents? Hey, put off anything bad you want to do till your last month in office, because it`s free. They don`t nick you for any of that.

CROW: I`d say it`s even worse than that, Brian. It`s not just the December exception or January exception. What is on trial, here are our norms as a nation. You know, what we will accept as a normal behavior in rhetoric, in our politics, in our civil discourse, whether we will sit back and say that a president can do anything he or she wants, and incited an insurrection can commit numerous crimes. And whether we will turn our back on it and walk away because some folks think that we have to move on, instead of addressing those crimes.

You know we are fighting for the norms of our nation. And of course, there is no January exception. There`s no December exception. But there`s no exception at all to behavior of this nature and the president are committing crimes like this against our democracy.

WILLIAMS: Final question has to do with the breaking news just before went on the air, this quote from Mitch McConnell that he`s going to tell his membership despite having voted against it today, to vote their conscience when the time comes. I know it`s another chamber. Do you take him at his word? Or is this the old campaigner being crafty with the English language again?

CROW: Well, we`re going to see, Brian, right? I learned in my short career in politics that that at the end of the day, it matters how somebody votes, right? What they do when they cast that vote. It is a vote of conscience. It`s the vote of morality. It`s a vote regarding the rule of law.

And I have always said that today is a good day to do the right thing. And tomorrow, we`ll be too, right? And regardless whether or not those individuals have upheld their oath in the past, I am an eternal optimist, and I think that people will continue to have an opportunity to do the right thing.

But we have our oath, too. We have a duty. And our duty doesn`t depend on their duty.

There`s nothing in my oath of office that does -- that it only is effective if other people fulfill their oath. We have our duty. We will do it. We`ll get our job done, not to decide how they fulfill their duty.

WILLIAMS: Well, a whole lot of your colleagues were thankful on January 6 for your training as an Airborne Ranger. Congressman, thank you very much for making time for our broadcast tonight. We greatly appreciate it. Jason Crow, the state of Colorado.

Coming up for us our next guests say arguments today varied from powerful to political to straight up posturing, finally to pathetic, where the second impeachment trial just might go from here when we come back.


WILLIAMS: As we mentioned, Donald Trump was reportedly furious with the performance of Bruce Castor, especially during today`s impeachment trial. One of our next guests Tim Miller says Castor is a disaster artist. We`ll take that as a no. Adding, it was one of the worst presentations he has ever seen here is just some of what we heard from Trump`s attorney today.


CASTOR: I am the lead prosecutor -- lead counsel for the 45th president of the United States. I keep saying prosecutor but I do understand the difference, Mr. President.

Senators of the United States, they`re not ordinary people. There isn`t a member in this room who has not used the term I represent the great state of fill in the blank. Representative so and so seeks to walk back comments about, I forget what it was. Nebraska, you`re going to hear is quite a judicial thinking place. We still know what records are, right? On the thing, you put the needle down on and you play it.

I worked in this building 40 years ago. I got lost then and I still do. I`ll be quite frank with you, we changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the House manager`s presentation was well done.


WILLIAMS: Would never have guessed that last part. And on this night of all nights were so happy to have these two friends back with us Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The Washington Post and the aforementioned Tim Miller, contributor to The Bulwark and the former communications director for Jeb Bush.

Tim, I`m going to keep going on quotes of Tim Miller while the getting is good. You say this about Mr. Castor. On style he was akin to a checked out tenured college professor who did no preparation for a lecture that had been designed by his TA. His manner was listless and utterly devoid of charisma halting mumble core with Castor frequently pausing for applause. There was none. He would have had more gravitas had he been replaced with the filter of a regal kitten. Go ahead and steal our closing story for me.

You know, it did strike me as I said to one of our first guests Tim, maybe they checked all the traffic courts. Cellino was gone, but they`re still Barnes who they could have hired, though they got 44 votes. If they`d had Earl Warren would it have made a difference in that chamber where so many minds are made up?

TIM MILLER, THE BULWARK CONTRIBUTOR: Look, Brian, I don`t think that this is a persuadable jury pool, to say the least. I think it was a testament to just how poor of a job. Mr. Castor did that one of the Republicans actually flipped Senator Cassidy of Louisiana and basically saying that Castor was so bad, he had no choice but to vote against him and the rest of the President`s legal team when it comes to the manner of whether or not this was constitutional, especially in contrast to a really great presentation by the Democrats, particularly the rep from Colorado.

And so, look, I don`t expect, you know, to your last segment, that there`ll be too many more moments of conscience. But, you know, the President is not sending his best. And the presentation by the Democrats was moving. I expected there 16 hours, six they use all of it coming in the next few days, will be compelling. And you know, maybe they can drag another one or two of these folks across the line just because they feel so shamed by, you know, the President`s actions and by how poor his legal team is.

WILLIAMS: Eugene, let`s talk about this quote from McConnell that`s making news tonight that he`s going to tell his members having voted against this today that it should happen at all, to go ahead and vote their conscience. Let`s take my favorite. Rob Portman of Ohio. He voted no today.

Does conscience mean that he starts hearing polling coming in from maybe big city newspapers or websites? Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Dayton that maybe there`s a growing public reaction against Donald Trump having forgotten his conscience on subjects like Ukraine, Russia, former Soviet Union, he never met them for four years of Donald Trump. Is that what conscience may mean, in this case?

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: I`m not quite sure because, you know, it is true, Brian, that to vote your conscience, you have to have one first. And so it hasn`t been a Barrett, that most republicans that is do in fact, have conferences and maybe what they would interpreted as conscience is public opinion.

But, you know, but in public opinion, I think they will find, especially among people paid attention today is going to be increasingly in the opposite direction from the way 44 of them voted. But the public opinion of course, they care most about his Republican primary voters. And I don`t know that there`s any indication that they changed their minds today. We`ll have to see.

I mean, the contrast between the performances could not have been greater but you don`t have to be, you know, Jack McCoy to read this jury and this and what they did today, what 14 of them did today was the equivalent of jury nullification. Right?

I mean the prosecution proved its gains and they voted, you know, not to have the trial and anyhow. And you got to say that is probably the likeliest outcome at the end of the trial. But of course, let`s see what happens. We`ll see what happens.

WILLIAMS: All right, I`m going to take Eugene`s advice, we`re going to see what happens. And luckily for us, both of these gentlemen have agreed to stay with us while we fit in a commercial break.

And coming up after a good day for their side, the tough road ahead for these House managers in search of a conviction.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you think the Trump defense team did a terrible job?

CASSIDY: Did you listen to it?


CASSIDY: OK, then you just speaks for itself. I took notes. I always take notes. But at one point I leaned over to cruise and I said cruise. Are they talking to the point and he goes not now. So, you know, because I`m thinking maybe I`m missing something.

If I`m there as an impartial juror respecting my oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States. And one side makes the argument and the other side does everything but make the argument then to live with myself. I make that vote.


WILLIAMS: More from Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy who was the only Republican to change his vote today switch over and say the trial should proceed. Still here with us Eugene Robinson, Tim Miller.

Tim, first off, clean up aisle one. Cellino survives the former Cellino and Barnes law firm it`s now the Cellino Law Firm. We lost counselor Barnes in a plane crash a few months back.

Point two, they have six, they need 17. Senator Cassidy invoke the name of Ted Cruz. Here`s Ted Cruz from tonight.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: This is political theater because rather than address the real problems, the real challenges we have in this country, rather than focus on getting kids back in school and getting tens of millions of Americans back to work, the Democrats want a week of just political theater raging at Donald Trump.


WILLIAMS: So Tim, you lost Ted Cruz. Remember, his name was used among the rioters as they were looting the desks? We heard it on video. I presume the managers will air it further. Do you think there`s movement from six to 17? Do you think it`s a mathematical possibility knowing this group as you do?

MILLER: Oh, look, I think it`s a mathematical possibility. I don`t think it`s going to happen. I wouldn`t put any money on it. I mean, these are a bunch of pathetic cowards. I mean, for Ted Cruz, to pretend like the Senate should be caring more about COVID something that the Republican Senate did nothing about for, you know, the last nine months of president`s term when the Republicans are in the majority what Ted Cruz himself said COVID was just going to disappear after the election because it was a hoax being perpetrated by the media.

Now he cares about it all of a sudden, because he doesn`t want to talk about this impeachment, you know, they went on a freaking two-week vacation after the insurrection. So if he really cared about urgency, they could have done something then. So, you know, like most of these guys are bad faith.

But I will say this to the Democrats. The fact that Cassidy changed, I think should be taken as a lesson that they should make the best possible case and shame these guys and try to pressure them and try to get more people to come over and change their minds because it is possible. I mean, one person change today, it is possible. I think they should continue to pressure Donald Trump to testify. They should bring witnesses which I think they`re wavering on right now, and present the best possible case and, you know, who knows, maybe you can bring a couple more across the line. I think 17 is wishful thinking, but it`s worth pretending as if the jury is not nullified as Eugene said earlier.

WILLIAMS: Eugene, a lot of what about ism tonight on Fox News, I looked over at one point and saw flames from Minneapolis flames from American cities during the BLM protests this past summer. Tell the good folks watching why such comparisons are flawed.

ROBINSON: Well, because they didn`t involve the President of the United States assembling a mob in the nation`s capital and riling it up, whipping it into a frenzy and then sending it off to sack the Capitol in order to stop the Congress from performing its constitutional duty to certify the result of the election.

Therefore, trying to stage what would amount to a kind of coup d`etat. I mean, that`s why, that`s kind of a special case. That`s different from Black Lives Matter inspired protests in Minneapolis.

WILLIAMS: Well, you put it that way. It sounds serious. Gene Robinson, Tim Miller. This is why we invite these gentlemen on to talk to us especially given the day we`ve had. Gentlemen thank you both so much.

Another break for us tonight and coming up, don`t look now, tax season is upon us. The pandemic could make this yearly task even more arduous than usual. We have a report tonight on stuff you need to know in this pandemic gear when we come back.


WILLIAMS: And now a reminder that life marches on. You know what they say about death and taxes. Tax season is almost upon us. And it`s not like the government has decided that during an uncontrolled pandemic, let`s give folks a break. For some American taxpayers the reality will be quite the opposite. In fact, if the pandemic has changed the way you work or its location, it may also change the taxes you owe. We get the story tonight from our senior business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle.


STEPHANIE RUHLE, NBC NEWS SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After two years in San Francisco, Rachel Meyer moved back east to be closer to family in New York. The one thing that didn`t cross her mind when packing up her taxes.

RACHEL MEYER, TAXPAYER: I am feeling a little bit nervous just because I do have to take an extra step. It`s moving state from state it`s not something I`ve had to deal with previously with my taxes.

RUHLE: She`s one of the nearly 16 million people that filed for an address change during the pandemic.

(on camera): If you kept your job but moved during the pandemic. Could you be on the hook to pay more taxes?

GREG ROSICA, EY TAX PARTNER: Absolutely. They even taxes in more than one state.

RUHLE (voice-over): A lot depends on which states you`ve lived and worked in and how long you were there. 24 states expect you to pay if you`ve worked there as a non-resident, even for a day. In seven states, owing is based on wages, the some are making exceptions during the pandemic and others have agreements about living in one state and working in another. And what about your home office.

ROSICA: Unfortunately as an employee, you cannot get a tax deduction for the items that you using.

RUHLE: The bottom line if your home became your office or you move to a new state, think about hiring an accountant this year. A cost that may end up saving you a lot in the long run. Stephanie Ruhle NBC News, New York.


WILLIAMS: And coming up for us on top of everything else that we witness today put the social in social media.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, actually a couple of things two stories. One serious, one not, both of them briefly blew up the internet and social media today. Starting with this Trump attorney David Schoen who during his long presentation, pause several times to take a drink of water and each time put his hand over the top of his head.

And after the first couple of times, that`s when viewers started to chime in as they do. Those not in the know had a number of crazy theories and voiced them. That`s one veteran attorney Daniel Goldman, who was part of our on air coverage finally took to Twitter to explain the situation and calm everyone down.

Mr. Schoen, he wrote, is an observant Jew who must cover his head when he takes a sip of water and quietly says a blessing. Since he is not wearing a kippah, yarmulke, he therefore covers his head with his hand.

Well, once that was solved the conversation quickly returned to a takedown of Mr. Schoen and his actual loitering. The other talked about story of the day is what we`re about to show you. A court hearing with a district judge in Presidio County, Texas, along with two lawyers. Well one lawyer that we`re sure of and a talking cat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Ponte, I believe you have a filter turned on in the video settings. You might want to --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re trying -- can you hear me judge?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can hear you. I think it`s a filter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is and I don`t know how to remove it. I`ve got my assistant here she`s trying to but oh, I`m prepared to go forward with it. That`s why -- I`m here live. I`m not a cat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can I can see that.


WILLIAMS: And with that, "I`m not a cat" was launched as a meme that we`ll all be sick of by tomorrow. And by the way, well played cats across America. We know this is your least favorite time of year what with all the hubbub over the puppy bowl, then the Biden`s move into the White House with two dogs and a vague promise of a cat to be named later.

But for now, enjoy the spotlight for as long as it lasts. That`s our broadcast for this Tuesday night. Our thanks for spending this time with us after the day we`ve had, on behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.