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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 2/9/2021

Guest: Cory Booker, Mikie Sherrill, Michael J. Moore�

Summary:

Senate begins second Trump impeachment trial. Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey is interviewed. Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana joined five Republicans and 50 Democrats in voting to put Donald Trump on trial in the Senate. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) is interviewed. The office of Georgia`s secretary of state is investigating that phone call and everything Donald Trump did to try to interfere with the Georgia election.

Transcript:

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, how many hours is a constitutional night of sleep?

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Pick your favorite amendment? Unfortunately that corresponds to the number of hours that you should sleep. Unfortunately my favorite amendment is the first. That won`t set me up well.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, yeah, that is a problem.

Rachel, there were a lot of comparisons to "My Cousin Vinny" today on Twitter when the Trump lawyers got up to speak. Andrew Weissmann is going to join us later in this hour to score the lawyers in today`s Senate trial.

And oh, by the way, on this day where there were so many "My Cousin Vinny" comparisons, it should be noted it is Joe Pesci`s 78thing birthday. So, it should be noted.

MADDOW: Well, that`s fantastic.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, yeah. Also, it should be noted --

MADDOW: I watched "My Cousin Vinny" not that long ago, and I would say that Mr. Castor would not have made it into the movie.

O`DONNELL: Well, and I know being a credit reader the way you are, you know that every word Vinny said was actually written by Dale Launer, who was the screen writer for "My Cousin Vinny" who deserves a little nod today since his work got so many attention today.

MADDOW: Is there nothing you don`t know, Lawrence O`Donnell?

O`DONNELL: A lot.

MADDOW: Is there nothing you don`t know?

O`DONNELL: Writing credits, my specialty. Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, today, 56 senators representing 60 percent of the American people decided that a Senate impeachment trial of a former president is, indeed, constitutional, as all precedent suggests it is. Six Republican senators voted in agreement with every Democratic senator that the trial is constitutional.

If just one of those Republican senators votes to convict Donald Trump, then Donald Trump will have won the most guilty verdicts ever in a Senate impeachment trial of a president or former president. If all six of those Republicans vote to convict Donald Trump, then that will be a landslide guilty vote in the Senate, 56-44.

But a landslide isn`t enough to get a formal conviction in an impeachment trial, which requires a two-thirds majority of 67 Senate votes.

So, as of tonight it appears that the House impeachment managers are at least 11 votes short in trying to win a formal conviction against Donald Trump. They will have to change minds of Republican senators, which everyone believes is impossible because most Republican senators have demonstrated time and time again that when it comes to anything involving Donald Trump, they feel nothing but the weight of re-election, and they ignore the weight of history.

In a life in the Senate, you don`t feel the weight of history very often, but you always feel the weight of re-election. And for most Republican senators today, the weight of re-election felt heavier than the weight of history.

Of the 20 Republican senators up for re-election in 2022, only one voted to put Donald Trump on trial in the United States Senate, only one. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. She`s the only one.

And so the drama that will unfold in the Senate chamber this week is the drama of the impossible quest. There is no more noble drama than the pursuit of justice when the fix is in and you know you can`t win because to give up on the pursuit of justice is to give up on the very idea of justice.

And this week`s impossible quest, the party of Don Quixote will be played by Jamie Raskin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): President Trump has sent here today to stop the Senate from hearing the facts of the case. They want to call the trial over before any evidence is even introduced. Their argument is that if you commit an impeachable offense in your last few weeks in office, you do it with constitutional impunity. You get away with it.

In other words, conduct that would be a high crime and misdemeanor in your first year as president and your second year as president and your third year as president and for the vast majority of your fourth year of president, you can suddenly do in your last few weeks in office without facing any constitutional accountability at all. This would create a brand- new January exception to the constitution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Congressman Raskin began his presentation with a 13-minute video that captured what happened on the capitol on January 6th sequentially from beginning to end.

Here is some of that video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: We`re going to walk down -- and I`ll be there with you. We`re going to walk down -- we`re going to walk down to the Capitol --

CROWD: Yeah!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take the capitol! Take the capitol!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take the capitol!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to the capitol, where our problems are. It`s that direction.

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take the capitol.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s more coming.

(INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: We fight. We fight like hell and if you don`t fight like hell you`re not going to have a country anymore.

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

(CHANTING)

(GUNFIRE)

CROWD: Stop the steal! Stop the steal!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Break out the window!

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re outnumbered. There`s a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) million of us out there and we are --

CROWD: Treason! Treason! Treason!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Defend your constitution! Defend your liberty! Defend your constitution! Defend your liberty!

CROWD: Break it down! Break it down! Break it down! Break it down! Break it!

(CHANTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The F-word of course was not bleeped when that video was played in the Senate trial today.

The House managers presented a scholarly history of impeachment demonstrating the precedent of Senate impeachment trials after the official has left office. And Trump lawyers countered with nothing. No legal precedence. They sounded like lawyers who didn`t know what they were talking about but who knew the fix was in for their client.

Congressman Raskin closed his presentation with a description of the attack on the capitol in personal terms. Congressman Raskin said that the day before the attack on the capitol was the saddest day of his family`s lives because they buried his 25-year-old son that day, Tommy. His daughter, Tabitha, and son-in-law, Hank, came to the capitol with him that day after the funeral.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RASKIN: My chief of staff Julie Tagen was with Tabitha and Hank locked and barricaded in that office, the kids hiding under the desk, placing what they thought were their final texts and whispered phone calls to say their good-byes. They thought they were going to die.

My son-in-law had never even been to the capitol before. And when they were finally rescued over an hour later by capitol officers and we were together, I hugged them and I apologized and I told my daughter, Tabitha, who`s 24 and a brilliant algebra teacher in teach for America, now I told her how sorry I was and I promised her that it would not be like this again the next time she came back to the capitol with me.

And do you know what she said? She said, dad, I don`t want to come back to the capitol.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. He`s a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senator Booker, I know on days like this, there is no experience we can have out there through our television screens that is the experience you`re having on the Senate floor.

Can you bring us on to the floor with you and tell us what you were experiencing, what it meant to you to hear these presentations today?

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): Well, I witnessed a lot of presentations by colleagues in Congress, senators and House members. I think what the House manager, Jamie Raskin, did today was brilliant in its sort of constitutional argument. He relied on the text of the Constitution. He relied on passing a precedent.

I think what was powerful about his presentation is he didn`t just speak in arcane legal parlance. He spoke to the head and to the heart with stories like the one you just clipped.

And for us on the floor, I can only speak for me and the people around me where I was sitting. It jarred me. It brought me back to that night. It brought me back to what I think is, in our generation, one of our country`s greatest defeats. Our capitol was seized. The leadership of our government had to escape for their lives.

It was a shameful day. It was a heartbreaking day. It was a failure, a monumental failure to see the capitol of the United States of America, the most powerful nation on the planet, have its capitol overrun by hate mongers, by those who are perpetuating conspiracy theories and lies, whipped up by a president who is trying to stay in power and undermine peaceful transfer of power.

So, he did an unbelievable job -- I have to say I got very emotional in the end listening to him and in the beginning watching that film and having to relive in many ways that dark, dark day.

O`DONNELL: I want to listen to what House Manager Joe Neguse said about what the import of the Senate trial is. Let`s listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO): What you experienced that day, what we experienced that day, what our country experienced that day is the Framers` worst nightmare come to life. Presidents can`t inflame insurrection in their final weeks and then walk away like nothing happened. And yet that is the rule that President Trump asks you to adopt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Is it your sense that your Republican colleagues actually experienced something different from what Congressman Neguse describes experiencing on that day?

BOOKER: I -- I -- this is a tough one for me to understand, the thinking of all my colleagues. I was very happy that we saw six colleagues take a significant stand, one changing their mind from the last time they voted. That was something significant to me.

But I think that any honest appreciation of our Founders knew how suspicious they were of despotism, how much they were riding against the sovereignty of a king or a demagogue. And I think Congressman Neguse did a great job in laying out what their fears were and in how what Donald Trump did, trying to stop the transfer of power, was a manifestation of their fears, and for him to do it violently, by inciting a mob to come after congressional leaders, ultimately to threaten the life of the vice president.

While that siege was going on, Donald Trump sent an incendiary tweet, almost directing the crowd at the vice president. And you thus heard the chants of people chanting to kill the vice president.

And so, I think this was, as Congressman Neguse pointed out, the Founders` nightmare that this would happen. And I think they have a remedy towards that, and that was part of the conversation today. That remedy is to impeach and to make sure that such a figure, who so abused their power, so violated their oath, cannot hold public office and public trust again.

O`DONNELL: Both of the impeachments that the House have sent now to the Senate of Donald Trump were both sent with the full knowledge that it appeared at the outset that Donald Trump had enough votes in the Senate to prevent a conviction. But those impeachments went forward anyway, knowing that the likelihood of a conviction at the end of the road was very, very slim or not likely at all.

What would you say to viewers who have a chance to watch this impeachment trial this week, to follow this impeachment trial, about why they should be following it for reasons other than what the final verdict might be?

BOOKER: Well, it is very important that we have a procedure or proceeding where the truth can come out, where we`re laying bear the facts in the Senate, which is not just a constitutional proceeding -- impeachment proceeding, but it`s also a crime scene. It`s very important we lay it plain.

One of my favorite speeches from American history is what`s on the other side of the Edmund Pettus Bridge itself, the scene of awful violence. When Martin Luther King got with marchers to the other side, he gave a powerful speech about how long -- how long do we have to suffer injustice, how long do we have to deal with this pain, and he said, not long because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.

One of his refrains, don`t forget, how long? Not long, because truth crushed to the earth shall rise again.

So, I think the truth that people are going to hear, even if it is ignored, even if some of my colleagues want to turn away, even if they won`t even look at the screen that is showing the plain truth, I do pray that that truth should not prevail and this proceeding that one day it will rise and people will recognize the attempted despotism that went on, the incitement to riot, the president of the United States violating his oath, sending a mob to take over the capitol where many people died, many people were injured, and the wounds to our nation will take a long time to fully heal.

O`DONNELL: Senator Cory Booker, your perspective always improves our understanding of what we`re seeing. Thank you very much for joining us on this important tonight.

BOOKER: Will you allow me one point of pride?

O`DONNELL: Please?

BOOKER: You are an encyclopedia in your knowledge of such a variety of issues, events and important facts. I just want you to know that Joe Pesci, who is celebrating his birthday, was born in the great city of Newark, New Jersey.

O`DONNELL: And still lives in New Jersey.

BOOKER: Yes, proudly.

O`DONNELL: Cory Booker, thank you very much for joining us, and thank you for that final footnote. That was necessary. Really appreciate it.

BOOKER: Thank you, sir. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Sure.

Well, Donald Trump`s lawyers today provoked a lot of comparisons to "My Cousin Vinny" which was a lovely gift of sorts to Joe Pesci on what I`ve said was his 78th birthday today.

Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann will join us next with his scoring of the lawyers in today`s Senate trial.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEGUSE: The Belknap case is clear precedent that the Senate must proceed with this trial since it rejected pretrial dismissal, affirmed its jurisdiction and moved to a full consideration of the merits.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump`s lawyers counted the presentation by the House, with a trip to fantasy land.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRUCE CASTOR, TRUMP DEFENSE LAWYER: It`s always "my senator". Why is it that we say my senator? We say that because the people you represent are proud of their senators. They absolutely feel that connection. We expect our United States senators not reacting to popular will and not reacting to popular emotions, we expect them to do what is right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And as befits a lawyer representing Donald Trump, one of the defense counsels filled the Senate chamber with hatred.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID SCHOEN, TRUMP DEFENSE LAWYER: A great many Americans see this process for exactly what it is, a chance by a group of partisan politicians seeking to eliminate Donald Trump from the American political scene and seeking to disenfranchise 74 million-plus American voters and those who dare to share their political beliefs and vision of America. They hated the results to the 2016 election and want to use this impeachment process to further their political agenda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Andrew Weissmann, former federal prosecutor and former FBI general counsel. He is NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst.

And, Andrew, I leave it to you the good, the bad, the ugly of the lawyering we saw today.

ANDREW WEISSMANN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: So, Lawrence, I usually try to give people a break because you`re only as good as the hand that you`re dealt. And obviously, the House managers had a much better hand in terms of the facts and the law.

But it is impossible, as everyone has said, to judge the two lawyers for Donald Trump well. To follow up on your last segment with the line about Joe Pesci, you know, one of them, Mr. Schoen, was a mob lawyer for the Colombo family in New York. And listening to that today I was brought back to my days as a young prosecutor listening to defense summations where they talk about anything and everything other than the facts because the proof is so damning.

And that is really what you saw here. And it was -- it was very underwhelming as a performance.

O`DONNELL: They also apparently misstated, as Rachel pointed out in the last hour, Professor Kalt`s work. Let`s listen to what Joe Neguse says about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEGUSE: Professor Kalt`s position, which they have to have known because it`s in the article they cite in the brief is that removal is, quote, not the sole end of impeachment. Actually in that same article he describes the view as having deep flaws. They didn`t have to be disingenuous and misleading like this. This key constitutional scholar relied on by President Trump said it just right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So, Andrew, it seems we`re watching one team of lawyers that is treating this as if they`re making a presentation to the Supreme Court or any other real fact-finding body or appellate jurisdiction. And then there is the other group that just are sounding as if the only way they win this is that the fix is in and the fix is apparently in because you need the two-thirds vote in the Senate.

WEISSMANN: That`s right, Lawrence. So, you know, there is another audience here, which is the public. And so anybody tuning in is going to be incredibly underwhelmed. I mean, that`s a sort of, oops moment where you have to be as a lawyer, be really careful.

And I think on the facts. That was sort of their oops moment on the law. On the facts, I think they sort of had what I call a Claude Rains moment, which is they want to argue that president Trump didn`t really expect the rioters to, in fact, riot. And he was, you know, shocked, shocked to see that there was gambling going on, is the famous scene with Claude Rains from "Casablanca."

But, you know, that`s just insane for the president to say I really had no idea and I could not anticipate this is what`s going on given all of the evidence that we`re going to hear tomorrow and the next day about the run up to January 6.

O`DONNELL: And the -- also the president`s lawyers apparently dissatisfied the president today, Donald Trump, former president, according to reporting in "Politico," he`s saying he thought the house managers were more impressive. So, even Donald Trump can see and agree with what we are seeing in these lawyers, according to the "Politico" report.

WEISSMANN: Yeah. I mean, this is -- you know, it doesn`t take a rocket scientist to see what happened today where the lawyers just were not impressive. And again, although people tend to focus on the vote of the senators -- and, of course, that is one key metric -- I do think that it`ll be interesting to focus on the public reaction to this because it`s really important if you`re the Republicans to be able to articulate either the facts or the law that`s on your side.

And this is their opportunity to do so. And it`s not a good start when on day one, you basically do a belly flop.

O`DONNELL: There is talk of the house managers presenting new evidence that we haven`t seen that hasn`t been public. What do you anticipate in that -- in that possible area as it develops?

WEISSMANN: I think that something really important for them to present is Donald Trump`s activities and statements and actions on January 6th because I think some of the most damning evidence is the fact that he did not react in a way that suggested he opposed what was going on. He didn`t call in the National Guard. It took forever for him to condemn what was going on, and then it was half-hearted at best.

So, I anticipate that they have pressed very hard for that type of evidence.

O`DONNELL: Andrew Weissmann, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

WEISSMANN: You`re welcome.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And when we come back after this break, the second impeachment of Donald Trump is already the most bipartisan presidential impeachment in history. Michael Steele and Zerlina Maxwell will join us next on the politics of impeachment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Here is Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana after he joined five Republicans and 50 Democrats in voting to put Donald Trump on trial in the Senate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): I said I`d be an impartial juror. Anyone listening to those arguments, the House managers were focused. They were organized. They relied upon both precedent, the constitution and legal scholars. 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now: Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee and host of "The Michael Steele Podcast". Also with us Zerlina Maxwell, host of the program "ZERLINA" which airs on the Peacock Streaming service. Both are MSNBC political analysts.

And Michael, let me begin with you because there we saw a Republican senator speaking very clearly about what he saw today. The important thing about Bill Cassidy is that in that first vote a week ago when they were actually just voting to table the question of is this constitutional, he in effect, was on the side of the 45 Republicans who voted to have the debate immediately, have the debate before the trial.

And he said I have an open mind as to how I will come out on that debate. Turns out his mind was open and he came out on the majority side.

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Imagine that. Absolutely amazing. I think --

O`DONNELL: One open mind.

STEELE: One open mind, right? It says a lot about where the party is, quite frankly, Lawrence. And I really appreciate you leading with that clip because I had to give -- I have to give him props. I can tell you, he got the hammer inside that caucus afterwards.

And the reality of it is he does have an open mind. And my hope is -- and slight suspicion -- is that given the flat failure, the flat-out failure of the Trump lawyers to even present anything close to the case at hand, as the Senator said, that as the House prosecutors put on the full face of their case tomorrow, you`re going to see some opportunities for other minds to be changed if they`re open.

And I think -- I think he may have been a little light that we didn`t think existed in the room. We`ll see, but I thought it was very telling, particularly given where he was a week, ten days ago, that he in fact did keep his mind open. And I suspect there may be a few others.

O`DONNELL: Zerlina, we can see on day one that it`s a huge mismatch of lawyers. Even Donald Trump thinks so. But these were either the lawyers Donald Trump could afford at this point in his decline or the best lawyers he could attract at this point in his decline.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, and you mentioned my cousin Vinny earlier and I was like he would have done better with my cousin Vinny as his attorney.

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Zerlina, let me just make this one point about Vinny. Vinny improves over the course of the trial in the movie. He gets really good at the end and he wins legitimately. Important point. Go ahead. Sorry

MAXWELL: It is an important point. But I think what you saw today was -- I`ve been thinking a lot about Adam Schiff`s close in the first impeachment. In a lot of ways it`s important to think of this impeachment almost as a continuation of the first impeachment.

I think it was Chris Hayes yesterday that made the point that essentially the through line is that Donald Trump was going to do anything to stay in power, whether that be influence the election by blackmailing Ukraine on the phone or in this case inciting an insurrection so that his supporters could stop a Democratic process from proceeding to declare Joe Biden the victor of that.

And one of the things that Adam Schiff said at the end of that impeachment is that Donald Trump is a man without character and he said that he does not have an ethical compass and that the Republican Party is not represented by Donald Trump. And they did not vote to convict.

And we`ve lived through, I think, a little over a year of essentially hell on earth in the middle of a pandemic where there`s just been an incredible amount of loss both of lives and livelihoods.

And I think about the first impeachment as the moment where the Republican Party could have come to Jesus and done the right thing. And now they`re being given a second chance.

And in life you don`t get a lot of second chances but I think that Bill Cassidy represents the potential for Republicans to listen to the evidence and the facts, which are wildly different than the first impeachment. The emotional element is going to be there in this trial, and that`s important.

O`DONNELL: Michael Steele, what are the longer-term effects on the Republican Party of this impeachment trial?

STEELE: Oh, they`re huge, Lawrence. They`re huge. There`s no doubt about it. I would even contend that even if they vote to convict, the impact with the Trump base is going to be massive. If they don`t vote to convict, the impact with the rest of the country is going to be massive.

And I think either way, very much to Zerlina`s point about the first impeachment trial, they missed the opportunity to begin that reconciliation with the country, to do the, my bad, we got it wrong, right?

And now you`re damned if you do, damned if you don`t. But even with that, the important thing goes back to what Cassidy did. He played the role that he -- he committed to the role that he was asked to do, and that was to be an open-minded juror. The party has to look at that. Those members, those Republican senators, have to look at that seriously and then weigh, quite honestly, how much noise do they think they can stomach going into 2022 with not one but two impeachments hanging over their heads and their inability to manage just to do one right.

O`DONNELL: Zerlina, how did the Democrats define themselves through this impeachment trial?

MAXWELL: Well, I think that they have to, you know, put us all in the room. What was it like to experience this attack on the capitol? I think this is such a unique situation where you have people who are House managers and people who are in the jury of the Senate who were there for this attack.

So, it`s not as if they`re watching, you know, facts that are about an opaque phone call, for example, and they need witnesses to fill in the holes. There is tape that they lived through and I think perhaps they`re seeing it from different perspectives, particularly when it`s put in the timeline.

When you see how close some of these rioters got to members of the House and the Senate, when you see how dangerous and volatile this situation really was, when it`s all put on the timeline, I think that that could have an impact.

Now, I`m not Pollyannish about it and I don`t think that, you know, there`s 25 Republicans that have this open mind. But I do think that there could potentially be more than we`re going into this making an assumption that none of them or this is going to be a completely partisan impeachment trial.

I think that the facts could change the outcome. And that`s important because this is an unprecedented moment, and an insurrection absolutely requires consequences.

O`DONNELL: Zerlina Maxwell, Michael Steele -- thank you both for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

STEELE: All right, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

MAXWELL: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And coming up next, Democratic Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill who was the first to raise concerns that Republican members of Congress might have provided reconnaissance tours of the Capitol before the invasion.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): All around me people were calling their wives and their husbands, their loved ones to say goodbye. Members of Congress in the House they were removing their congressional pins so they wouldn`t be identified by the mob as they tried to escape the violence.

Our new chaplain got up and said a prayer for us and we were told to put our gas masks on. And then there was a sound I will never forget, the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram, the most haunting sound I ever heard and I will never forget it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Our next guest, Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, was in the House chamber as the mob attacked the Capitol. Congresswoman Sherrill says the that day before the attack she witnessed members of Congress giving what she called reconnaissance tours of the Capitol building.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MIKIE SHERRILL (D-NJ): The only way that these people, these groups, could have gotten into the complex is if another member of Congress or their staff walked them in. And that was reiterated by the sergeant at arms on January 5th.

To imagine colleagues of mine could have aided and abetted this is incredibly offensive, and there`s simply no way that they can be allowed to continue to serve in Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey. She`s a member of the Armed Services Committee, a former federal prosecutor and a former helicopter pilot in the United States Navy.

Thank you very much for joining us again tonight, really appreciate it.

I wanted to get your perspective on what you were feeling as you watched this trial today from your perspective as someone who was being attacked that day and also your experience as a former federal prosecutor?

SHERRILL: Sure. Well, thanks for having me, Lawrence. I think the most difficult part to watch for me was the video that the House managers put together because as I was sitting in the chamber and going through the events, we didn`t have a TV in there. So, I was getting text on my phone about the ongoing events. But to see the video and to see what was going on in real time, to see the mob, to see the heroic actions of the capitol police, it`s been heartbreaking.

We`ve already had two members of the Capitol police of course, die by suicide. And to see what they went through first hand was very, very difficult. And then to see in real time how the president was continuing to incite the mob, incited them to go over, knew they were marching on the Capitol as I was inside, knowing that he was sending them over to attack our Capitol, our Congress, me.

And then to know that even as they were inside the building, even after they had breached the building, he was continuing to incite them via tweet about what he thought the vice president should be doing. That was hard to watch.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I thought about it as I was watching it that it shows very clearly how oblivious you all were in the House chamber and in the Senate chamber to what was happening sequentially because the video lines it up sequentially.

And they are already attacking the building, and no one in the Senate or House chambers knows that at the time.

SHERRILL: Yes, it was chilling because I remember myself obviously in that moment, and you can see how inside the chamber was so quiet and then outside this mob is going on. And then we -- you know, as Jamie Raskin described that that battering on the doors as they had reached the doors and were trying to breach it.

But even at that point, even as I was in the gallery -- so your viewers who had seen the barricade with the police with their guns drawn, that`s where I was.

Even there and knowing the mob was trying to attack, I really had no sense of scale. I had no sense of how large the mob was. And again, I didn`t know they were carrying zip ties and meant to kidnap and kill people.

It -- that video was awful. But to me the worst part, the very worst part of that video, was when you saw the policeman shoved against the wall, screaming. To see how our officers really put their lives on the line, I knew that. But it`s one thing to know it and it`s another thing to watch those really horrible images.

O`DONNELL: There has been indications that the House managers will be presenting new evidence that we haven`t seen before. Are you aware of what that evidence is?

SHERRILL: I`m not aware of the particulars of the new evidence, but I will say I don`t know how you could have watched the House managers today, how you could have watched their arguments. I thought they were cogent, and I thought they laid out the case so very well, compared to Trump`s lawyers who, you know, seemed almost as if (INAUDIBLE) had sort of woken up this morning and thought, oh, shoot, I have to put on a trial today.

I don`t know how you could have found in any other way than really the way Senator Cassidy did, and I think he explained it, that looking at that case, you would have had to have almost found for the impeachment managers, for the House impeachment managers, and for the constitutionality of putting on this impeachment trial.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

SHERRILL: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Coming up in the Senate trial this week, you will be hearing about Donald Trump`s phone call threatening the Georgia secretary of state to find votes to overturn the election there.

And now the office of Georgia`s secretary of state is investigating that phone call and everything Donald Trump did to try to interfere with the Georgia election. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump`s call to Georgia`s secretary of state telling him to, quote, "find 11,780 votes" to change the results of the Georgia presidential election will be part of the evidence presented by the prosecution in the Senate trial of Donald Trump this week.

It has also become evidence in an investigation of Donald Trump in Georgia. The office of Georgia`s secretary of state has opened an investigation into Donald Trump`s attempts to overturn Georgia`s election results.

The House impeachment managers` brief says, "When the president of the United States demanded that Georgia secretary of state Raffensperger find enough votes to overturn the election or else face a big risk to you and a criminal offense, that was obviously a threat, one which reveals his state of mind and his desperation to try to retain power by any means necessary.

Joining us now is Michael J. Moore, former U.S. attorney for the middle district of Georgia.

Mr. Moore, thank you very much for joining us again on this subject. You`re our expert on Georgia law. What does it mean to you that the secretary of state`s office is now investigating this case?

MICHAEL J. MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, GEORGIA: You know, I was glad to see them announce an investigation, but I`ve really got some concerns about the appearance of the investigation. and let me give you an example.

I mean one thing the prosecutor wants to do in any case is to sort of remove any taint of a conflict of interest. And so I`m not sure how wise it is for the secretary of state, who is a key and material witness in the case, to investigate it.

If you just think about it like this. Let`s say you`re in the First National Bank and a bank robber comes in and he says, I need $11,780, and he goes by the bank manager`s office, and he talks to him for an hour and threatens him and says bad things are going to happen if you don`t give me the $11,780 and then he runs out of the bank.

Well, you certainly don`t want the bank people and the employees at the bank investigating that. So there are other mechanisms under Georgia law such as referring it to the district attorney of the county where the crime occurred just like Fulton County (ph). I think that makes more sense.

I don`t think you want to send it to the attorney general, and I was a little worried to see that he now say he would refer any criminal investigations to the attorney general.

Well, that concerns me because we have at least some public reporting that our attorney general was head of an organization that was robo-calling. People asking him to go to the Capitol on the day of January 6th. And that concerns me.

So it seems like the cleanest thing to do is simply send it to the Fulton County D.A. and let her conduct a full investigation. If that`s what she wants to do.

O`DONNELL: Isn`t she already conducting an investigation? And weren`t there indications that the Fulton County D.A. was already taking this -- taking a look at this.

MOORE: I think she`s been fairly tight-lipped about it. There`s been some indication that she wants to make an announcement maybe the end of the month, she would say something. Or maybe they were looking at it.

I just -- I don`t know if there`s been any coordination or communication between he Secretary and the new District Attorney there.

I simply (ph) think there should be, I think that`s the cleanest way to do you. You want people to be able to believe in the outcome of the investigation. They may not like the result, they may not agree with it, but you want them to at least be able to believe in it.

So if you say there`s nothing that`s been done here and there`s no reason to charge Donald Trump or the bank robber, whatever, then fine. You know, they may not like it and half the people won`t like it. But, you know, so be it. If you say we`ll we do need to charge him, we`re going to go after the maximum penalty, half the people aren`t going to like it but at least people can have confidence that the investigation was done in a fair way.

You just don`t need the key witness to be in charge of the investigation. I appreciate the fact that he`s been fairly forthright and candid and say he`s wanting to move forward. I just think there is a better way to do it.

But you know, he didn`t ask me any more than Trump`s lawyer has asked me how to present their defense today.

O`DONNELL: "The New York Times" today in reporting on this investigation outlines some Georgia law. Let me run this by you. They say the laws in question include criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, which can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. As a felony, it is punishable by at least a year in prison.

There is also a related conspiracy charge which can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or a felony.

A third law, a misdemeanor offense, bars, quote, "intentional interference" with another person`s performance of election duties. And just working from the end of that, it seems like right there in the phone call, we have all heard Donald Trump`s intentional interference with another person`s performance of election duties.

MOORE: I don`t think there`s any way around that. All you have to do is play the tape and it seems pretty clear to me that he`s trying to interfere with the Secretary`s job in certifying and counting the votes and asking him to seriously make up those somewhere.

O`DONNELL: Michael J. Moore, thank you for your guidance once again tonight. We always appreciate it.

MOORE: Pleasure. Good to be with you. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: That is tonight`s LAST WORD.

"THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END