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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 2/12/2021

Guest: Josh Dawsey, Jon Tester, Mazie Hirono�


MSNBC`s coverage of Donald Trump`s second impeachment trial. Interview with Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana. Interview with Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.


SEN. ALEX PADILLA (D-CA): The economic climate that we`re in, the security situation around the Capitol as a result of the insurrection of January 6th is just reminders of the significant and the urgency of the work.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": Senator Alex Padilla from California.

Final question for you. And I don`t know if you`re communicating with the caucus, but how much is this -- how much coordination do Senate Democrats have an understanding of what the expectation for how long this goes on? What are you being told about that?

PADILLA: Well, I mean, I think the plan has been laid out. Day one was a question on constitutionality, X number of hours over X number of days to the House managers to present their evidence in the case, equal amount of time for the defense, time for questions, which we saw happen for a couple of hours today. That may or may not continue tomorrow morning. I guess we`ll find out soon enough. And then it`s time to cast our votes one way or the other on this.

So, I do see this coming to closure sooner rather than later. And if justice will prevail, enough of our Republican colleagues will be true to their conscience, true to their values, true to the oath they`ve taken and vote to convict Donald Trump.

HAYES: All right. Senator Alex Padilla, new senator from California. First time we`ve gotten a chance to speak. Thank you very much for coming on tonight.

PADILLA: Thank you, Chris. Hope to be back soon.

HAYES: All right. That is "ALL IN" on this Friday evening.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you very much, my friend. Much appreciated.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. The day started today with a small moment of grace. A moment of grace delivered in a basso profundo.


BARRY BLACK, U.S. SENATE CHAPLAIN: As again this Senate chamber becomes a court and our senators become jurors. Guide these lawmakers with your wisdom, mercy and grace. Lord, infuse them with the spirit of nonpartisan patriotism. Unite them in their effort to do what is best for America. As they depend on your providence and power, may they make choices that will be for your greater glory. We pray in your sovereign name, amen.


MADDOW: Infuse them with a spirit of nonpartisan patriotism. Unite them, Lord. Lord, unite them in their efforts to do what is best for America. Senate chaplain Barry Black with that beautiful, beautiful voice starting that day with that moment of grace. The day also ended with a moment of grace.

And, in fact, as the chaplain said to start things off, the way today ended actually was a moment of nonpartisan patriotism. And all United States senators united at least for this one moment at the end of the day.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that it be in order for myself and Senator McConnell to speak for up to one minute each and then it be in order for me to make a unanimous consent to request as if in legislative session.

SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-VT): The objection is ordered.

SCHUMER: Thank you, Mr. President. And Mr. President, in a moment I will ask the Senate to pass legislation that would award Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal. In the weeks after the attack on January 6th, the world learned about the incredible, incredible bravery of Officer Goodman on that fateful day. Here in this trial we saw new video, powerful video showing calmness under pressure, his courage in the line of duty, his foresight in the midst of chaos and his willingness to make himself a target of the mob`s rage so that others might reach safety.

Officer Goodman is in the chamber tonight. Officer Goodman, thank you.



MADDOW: And all the senators in the room rose as one and gave a standing ovation to thank U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman for his actions that may have, in fact, saved the Senate that day. Actions that really do we now know appear to have saved Senator Mitt Romney specifically, actions that really do appear to have saved Vice President Mike Pence as he sheltered with his family just feet away from the mob just off the Senate floor.

Actions that diverted that mob from the Senate floor long enough to get all the senators out into safety. So Republican leader Mitch McConnell spoke as well along the same lines after Senator Schumer did, and then they suspended the rules to take a voice vote right then and there to honor this officer with the Congressional Gold Medal. It was really a moment of nonpartisan patriotism and totally unanimity just like the chaplain prayed for at the start of the day. And they said it couldn`t be done.

Today was a weird day, honestly. The president`s defense counsel in his Senate impeachment trial rested their case after taking only 2 1/2 hours of the 16 hours they were allotted. And in their 2 1/2 hours, they had these long videos that they played repeatedly. The other side used videos as well. They didn`t have big video montages that they played multiple times, but the president`s defense counsel cut these things, added like fight song music to them, sort of cut them like music videos and just replayed the same montage as the long ones multiple times. And even with them they only took up 2 1/2 hours of the 16 hours they had.

As the two sides fielded questions from senators for 2 1/2 hours after the close of their presentation, there was way more pounding the table and yelling and, in some cases, outright lying than you might expect from such an occasion. At one point, Senator Patrick Leahy presiding had to counsel the counsel present about language, about inappropriate language in the Senate chamber.

As everything wrapped for the day, CNN broke in a story at the end of the day that put the spotlight firmly on the question they`ll have to contend with tomorrow at the Senate impeachment trial, the question whether or not to have any witnesses testify as to the factual record that`s at issue here. CNN reporting tonight that during the attack on the Capitol the top Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy, was able to reach President Trump on the phone, which is something McCarthy had described before.

But what`s new is what McCarthy says happened during that call. He reportedly told the president that rioters were rampaging through the Capitol. He asked the president, begged the president to make a public statement to call off the rioters, to tell them to stand down. McCarthy reportedly told President Trump that the rioters were Trump supporters and that the Capitol was in the midst of a full-blown attack. McCarthy telling the president that rioters were breaking into his office through the windows at that moment.

According to this new reporting tonight President Trump responded by telling Kevin McCarthy, quote, well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.

If that in fact happened, if the president was not only rebuffing calls for help at that time but he was being told about the character of the attack, the violent nature of the attack and he responded that the guy calling him for help obviously didn`t care enough but those rioters sure did, that would be an important fact to know when it comes to considering this article of impeachment, right?

I mean, we know the attack on the Capitol happened. We know what the gravity of it was and the consequences of it. Did he want it to happen? Not only did he know in advance it was likely to happen, and then he set things in motion so it would happen, but once it was under way was, he happy about it? Maybe the reason he didn`t try to stop it is because he didn`t want to stop it?

The House managers, the prosecution side, they`ve established that President Trump did not in fact play any role in calling out the National Guard or in arranging for any backup for the police officers who were so grievously overrun on January 6th. The president`s defense counsel today lied and said that once the Capitol attack was under way the president`s first public communications about the attack, his first tweets were ones calling for calm and nonviolence.

That is bullpucky. Actually, once the attack was in full swing his first tweet was one attacking Vice President Mike Pence. We`ll have more on that in a moment since that is emerging as a key sticking point for many Republican senators tonight.

The president`s defense counsel also lied today, plainly lied today when one of the lawyers for the president, Mr. Van der Veen, told senators that at no point, not ever did President Trump ever know that Vice President Pence might personally be in danger.

That is plainly not true. One Republican senator, Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, said he got a call and he told the President Mike Pence was being evacuated for his own safety, and he said that call happened before Trump sent his subsequent tweet attacking Mike Pence, while he knew that Pence had been evacuated for his own safety and was hiding from the mob.

Senator Tuberville might also make an important witness as to key behavior by the president during the attack, which of course is at the heart of the central questions of this impeachment. Will House managers try to call Kevin McCarthy or Senator Tuberville or anybody as witnesses? We don`t know.

But on the issue of Vice President Pence`s safety again, that is emerging as a key issue, maybe the key issue as they head towards a vote at this point in the trial, and we`ll have more on that in a second. But I feel that I would be remiss to not just note that the president`s defense today -- I mean, I`m not sure we knew exactly what to expect.

And I know this is kind of a simple way to look at it, but honestly, it`s the most nuanced and comprehensive response I`m sort of capable of right now. The president`s defense today was a little weird, starting with the incitement to resurrection.


MICHAEL VAN DER VEEN, FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP`S DEFENSE LAWYER: To litigate questions of election integrity within the system is not incitement to resurrection.


MADDOW: It`s not incitement to resurrection. I`m not sure what would be incitement to resurrection without getting very deep and spiritual here.

It`s not incitement to resurrection. I`m not sure. I`m not sure of a lot of things said today.


BRUCE CASTOR, FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP`S DEFENSE LAWYER: I don`t know if we`re under oath here, but when I walked into this room I sure as heck felt I was under oath.


MADDOW: Are we under oaths? Are we under oaths or oath, does it matter if you`re defense counsel to the president? Should you know about it before you start talking about it? Who can say?


VAN DER VEEN: Sadly, we`ve all seen the political rhetoric get ratchet up over the last few years. We`ve all been witnesses to many incendiary words by our officials at our political events broadcast over the media internet.


MADDOW: Who among us has not been ratchet over the years by the words broadcast over the media internet? Who among us indeed?


VAN DER VEEN: The petitioner was an elected official and had -- read with me please, everybody -- the petitioner was an elected official. Read along with me. Allegations of irregular Negro block voting. It was in the `60s.

CASTOR: President Trump`s phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Ben Raffensperger surreptitiously reported, by the way.

VAN DER VEEN: The victoral (ph) speech needs to stop. You need to stop. There was nothing funny here, Mr. Raskin. We aren`t having fun here.

One of the house managers -- I forget which one -- tweeted, cry me a river. Under the standards of the House impeachment article, each of these individuals should be retroactively censured, expelled, punished or impeached.


MADDOW: You mean censured. Censored is a different thing.

You -- welcome to Washington, sir and your victoral speech is actually welcome in Washington and frankly everywhere.

And also, who`s Ben? President Trump`s phone call to Secretary of State Ben Raffensperger? Are you thinking of Ben Roethlisberger who`s a quarterback on National Football League, who has nothing to do with Brad Raffensperger at all, who`s a very much smaller man, and who is the Georgia secretary of state who appears in the impeachment article because Trump may be committing a felony on the phone with him on January 2nd maybe, Ben, Brad, Raffen, Rothlis, whatever?

I guess, I know weird is not exactly a term of art here, but I don`t know what else to call it. I will also mention at the very outset of the remarks today in talking about the attack on the Capitol on January 6th the president`s defense counsel said it was carried out by extremists of various different stripes and political persuasions. It was a small group that were -- the people of various different stripes and political persuasions. He said that the first person arrested was the leader of Antifa. It was the Antifa -- it was the anti-Trump people who definitely stormed the Capitol carrying all the Trump flags.

I mean they literally tried to pull that off today. For which nobody argues they should be censored.

Brief digression. Do you remember Emily Litella from "Saturday Night Live"? One of the great Gilda Radner recurring "SNL" characters. Gilda Radner, one of the all-time greats, right? And honestly, her doing Emily Litella, one of the most memorable recurring "SNL" skits of all time.

The shtick was that under the Fairness Doctrine, Emily Litella was allowed in fact to require to come on television to offer an opposing view to something she heard on TV, but the things she was opposing were always things she misheard or misunderstood.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Weekend update recognitions its obligation to present a response to our editorials. Here with an editorial reply is Ms. Emily Litella.

GILDA RADNER AS EMILY LITELLA: What`s all this fuss I keep hearing about violins on television? Why don`t parents want their children to see violins on television?


MADDOW: And she goes on and on, and Chevy Chase cuts in with it`s violence on television, not violins. And she goes, oh, never mind.

And there`s a million of them. She does one about endangered feces and youth in Asia. What`s so controversial about youth in Asia, and all this fuss about saving Soviet jewelry? It`s not jewelry.

It`s fantastic. She`s one of the all-time greats. I can`t imagine my brain and my sense of humor without Emily Litella having formed it at an early age.

It`s also apparently a key part of the Trump impeachment defense. See, the president according to the president`s lawyers today, he was not cheering on his supporters who said they were coming to Washington to fight. He was not cheering on his supporters who said they were bringing the cavalry to Washington. That would actually be terrible.

No, Trump`s supporters were actually bringing the Calvary to Washington. That`s totally what they meant, and that`s what he thought and why he was cheering them on.


DAVID SCHOEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: House manager Swalwell showed you this tweet this week, and he emphasized that this tweet reflected a call to arms. He told you repeatedly that this was a promise to call in the cavalry for January 6th. He expressly led you to believe that President Trump`s supporter believed the president wanted armed supporters at the January 6 speech, paramilitary troops, the cavalry ready for physical combat.

The problem is the actual text is exactly the opposite. The tweeter promised to bring the Calvary, a public display of Christ crucifixion, a central symbol of her Christian faith with her to the president`s speech, a symbol of faith, love and peace.


MADDOW: She was going to bring the whole mountain. Trump supporters were not bringing the cavalry. That would be terrible. They were bringing the Calvary. That`s what they tried to sell for the president`s defense today.

He wasn`t inciting violence on Capitol Hill. He was inciting violins. Everybody strings your bows. I mean -- I really hope there`s a "Saturday Night Live" this weekend. I don`t know even know if there is.

All right. What has -- I`m sorry. What has really become an unexpected flash point of this trial, though, and it`s not what I would have been expecting to talk about night four on the trial as the defense rests has been the issue of what happened on January 6th to the vice president.

Vice President Pence was, of course, at the Capitol during the attack. He was overseeing the certification of the Electoral College vote. The moment was caught on live TV that day when Secret Service agents urgently rushed him off the Senate floor. That`s when the pro-Trump mob had breached the Capitol building and were heading for him. It`s been a known thing that Vice President Pence was in real physical danger that day along with the rest of the people who work in the Capitol.

As part of their evidence in the impeachment trial house managers unveiled security footage from inside the Capitol we hadn`t seen before showing the vice president being evacuated from the Capitol -- from the Senate floor, excuse me, on January 6th.

Now, pinpointing just how close he was to being intercepted by the mob. That orange dot is Mike Pence. The flashing red dot is the mob, the mob that was chanting they wanted to hunt him down and hang him for refusing to overturn the election in Donald Trump`s favor. Look how close those dots are.

This is a disturbing thing to learn this week, how close the sitting vice president came to potentially being killed by a mob that said they wanted to kill him. But throughout this whole ordeal from January 6th until today, Mike Pence`s running mate Donald Trump has never once said anything publicly about the danger that Vice President Pence was in, about how he was in danger of being killed by the mob at the Capitol building, and it just remained an open question whether President Trump actually knew in real time just how grave the danger was to his vice president that day.

But on Wednesday night, hours after we all watched that footage of Pence being evacuated, reported about a phone call between Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and President Trump. They spoke on the phone on January 6th in the middle of the attack. Senator Tuberville told Trump in that call that Pence was in the middle of being whisked away by the Secret Service for his own safety. Tuberville says he told President Trump, quote, Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I`ve got to go. And then he hung up the phone because of the ensuing chaos.

And the timing here is really important. According to House managers, that call took place just after 2:00 p.m., shortly after 2:00 p.m. Vice President Pence was, in fact, evacuated from the Senate chamber at about 2:15.

And at the time it was happening according to this Republican senator, President Trump knew Mike Pence was not safe. He knew Pence was being evacuated to keep him out of the way of the angry mob. But nevertheless, we know what President Trump did next.

2:24 p.m. he sends that tweet. Quote, Mike Pence didn`t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution.

Donald Trump knew Vice President Pence didn`t do what he wanted. Vice President Pence didn`t act to overturn the election for him and proclaim him the winner. President Trump knew his supporters by then had broken into the Capitol because they, too, wanted the election overturned and thought Mike Pence should do it.

He knew Mike Pence had been taken away by security to shield him from that mob, and then he sent that tweet telling supporters, yeah, Mike Pence didn`t have the courage. He didn`t do what should have been done. Mike Pence didn`t overturn the election like that angry mob wanted.

And before this week we knew pieces of this story, but we now have this solid time line of what happened on the 6th, how close the vice president was to being intercepted by the mob and how Donald Trump appears to have known about the safety concerns for the vice president at the same time he sent that menacing tweet about Mike Pence.

And his defense counsel lied about it today. They said once the attack had started all he did was call for calm. No, once the attack started, he pointed the bullseye -- the metaphorical bullseye at Mike Pence who he knew at the time was already being whisked to safety ahead of the mob`s incursion.

And that new clarity has resulted in some interesting expressions of concern from prominent Republicans. Nikki Haley, former Republican governor of South Carolina, she was ambassador to U.N. under Trump. Haley has remained a powerful figure in Republican politics. She`s generally remained a defender of Mr. Trump. She wants to be considered a future presidential contender.

But here`s what she had to say about Vice President Pence`s safety on January 6th and what President Trump might have known about it. This is from "Politico".

Quote, when I tell you I`m angry it`s an understatement, Haley hissed, leaning forward as she spoke. Mike has been nothing but loyal to that man. He has been nothing but a good friend to that man. I`m so disappointed the friendship and loyalty he had to Mike Pence, that he would do that to him. Like, I`m disgusted by it.

Similar concerns are being voiced by sitting Republicans in Congress as well. Today, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana told reporters, quote, the president knew that people had invaded. They were approaching the Senate chamber. The president had knowledge at that point, and then the tweet went out.

Today, Senators were given the opportunity to ask the House managers and President Trump`s lawyers questions about their case before they cast their votes. And Senator Cassidy actually asked the president`s defense lawyers about this specific issue, whether or not President Trump knew how serious the situation was for Vice President Pence when he sent that menacing tweet attacking him while the mob was already in the building going after him.


LEAHY: The senator from Louisiana, Mr. Cassidy, has a question for both counsel for the former president and counsel for the House. The clerk will read it. And counsel for the former president will go first for 2 1/2 minutes. Then the House of Representatives will have 2 1/2 minutes.

SENATE CLERK: Senator Tuberville reports that he spoke to President Trump at 2:15 p.m. He told the president that the vice president had just evacuated. I presume it was understood at this time that rioters had entered the Capitol and threatened the safety of senators and the vice president.

Even after hearing -- even after hearing of this at 2:24 p.m., President Trump tweeted that Mike Pence lacked courage. He did not call for law enforcement backup until then. The tweet and lack of response suggests President Trump did not care that Vice President Pence was endangered or that law enforcement was overwhelmed.

Does this show that President Trump was tolerant of the intimidation of Vice President Pence?

LEAHY: Counsel has 2 1/2 minutes.

VAN DER VEEN: Directly, no, but I dispute the premise of your facts. I dispute the facts that are laid out in that question. And unfortunately, we`re not going to know the answer to the facts in this proceeding because the House did nothing to investigate what went on.

We`re trying to get hearsay from Mr. Tuberville. It was hearsay from Mr. Lee, I think it was two nights ago where we ended where Mr. Lee was accused of making a statement that he never made. But it was a report from a reporter from a friend from somebody who had some hearsay they heard the night before at a bar somewhere.

I mean, that`s really the kind of evidence that the House has brought before us. And so, I have a problem with the facts in the question because I have no idea. And nobody from the House has given us any opportunity to have any idea.

But Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence have had a very good relationship for a long time, and I`m sure Mr. Trump very much is concerned and was concerned for the safety and well-being of Mr. Pence and everybody else that was over here. Thank you.


MADDOW: I`m sure -- I`m sure he was. What kind of monster wouldn`t be? I`m sure he is -- what was it? Very much concerned and was concerned for the safety and well-being of Mr. Pence just like he was for everybody else over here. Of course, right, right? How could we possibly find out?

Lead House Manager Jamie Raskin was then given his chance to respond.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): So, the counsel for the president keep blaming the House for not having the evidence that`s within the sole possession of their client who we invited to come and testify last week. We sent a letter on February 4th. I sent it directly to President Trump inviting him to come and to explain and fill in the gaps of what we know about what happened there. And they sent back a contemptuous response just a few hours later.

So rather than yelling at us and screaming about how we didn`t have time to get all of the facts about what your client did, bring your client up here and have him testify under oath about why was sending out tweets denouncing the vice president of the United States while the vice president was being hunted down by a mob that wanted to hang him and was chanting in this building, "hang Mike Pence, hang Mike Pence, traitor, traitor, traitor."


MADDOW: Have him testify. This is a factual question as to what happened and when the president knew what he knew. You could have the president testify instead of complaining we don`t have any way to get to the factual basis of this question. You could also have Senator Tuberville testify. They`re going to decide whether they`re going to ask for witnesses tomorrow. One they won`t have to go far to find him. He was in the room when they were making the decision.

There were other Republican senators who are interested in this question today, too. Senators Mitt Romney and Susan Collins asked in light of the new evidence presented was President Trump aware that Vice President Pence had been removed from the Senate by the secret service for his safety. And again, in the face of that time stamped evidence that he was, the president`s lawyers double down on whatever it is they do.


VAN DER VEEN: The answer is no. At no point was the president informed the vice president was in any danger.


MADDOW: That appears to be not true. That appears to be an untrue statement. And if they call witnesses at least one Republican senator can attest to the fact that`s not true because he`s the one who told the president about the danger Pence was in real-time. And he has not been shy about saying that`s what happened.

President Trump`s second impeachment trial is expected to wrap up probably tomorrow. We`ll see what they decide about witnesses. Almost every Republican in the Senate is expected to vote to acquit him for inciting an insurrection in the Capitol.

But this new sticking point, this key question of whether or not President Trump deliberately put the vice president`s life more at risk, whether he frankly cared that his vice president was close to being carted off by an angry mob that said they wanted to kill him, it does put Senate Republicans in a pickle, right?

I mean, if you`re a Republican, even one that frequently sides or almost sides with Donald Trump, and you think the impeachment trial is a scam and that the former president did nothing wrong, how do you feel about Mike Pence? How do you contend with the fact that the president appears to really not have cared about what happened to Mike Pence that day?

And so, he egged on the mob while that mob was hunting Pence inside the building. Even if you are a Trump loving senator, have you also turned against Pence and think that he ought to have been hunted just like the president appears to think, or do you feel differently about Mike Pence?

Well, crucially what do people around Mike Pence know about this situation and what do they think?

Tonight, Josh Dawsey of "The Washington Post" has some very important new reporting on this front. He and his colleagues are reporting tonight aides to Mike Pence are directly refuting the claims made by Trump`s lawyers, that Trump was concerned about Mike Pence`s safety during the riot.

Quote: Pence`s team does not agree with the Trump lawyer`s assessment that Trump was concerned with Pence`s safety. Trump did not call Pence that day or for five days after that. No one else on Trump`s team called as Pence was evacuated to one room and then another with a screaming mob nearby.

What do you do if you`re a Republican senator knowing that? Josh Dawsey from "The Washington Post" joins us next. Stay with us.


MADDOW: Former president`s defense team spent today assuring Republican senators that Donald Trump had been very concerned about the safety and well-being of Vice President Pence as a mob descended upon the Capitol hollering that they wanted to kill him. But as "The Washington Post" Josh Dawsey reports tonight, quote, Pence`s team does not agree with the Trump lawyer`s assessment that Trump was concerned about Pence`s safety. Trump didn`t call him the day of the attack, or for five days after. No one else on Trump`s team called either as Pence was evacuated to one room and then another with a screaming mob nearby.

Joining us now is "Washington Post" White House reporter Josh Dawsey, along with his colleague Ashley Parker, they`re also reporting -- Josh is also reporting that despite all of this, Vice President Pence, of course, remains loyal to former President Trump even if Trump did almost get him killed.

Mr. Dawsey, it`s really nice to see you here on a Friday night. Thanks so much for making time.


MADDOW: It has been notable to see Mike Pence featured so prominently in the House managers arguments at this trial including how close he came to the mob with his family, including little kids from his family. Do you know if Vice President Pence has watched any of these proceedings or how he feels about any of them?

DAWSEY: We`ve been told that he is keeping track of them, but he`s not planning to speak out for at least several more months about what happened to him on that day. His team says he wants to keep a low profile, does not want to publicly speak. And if you talk to his team they were not subpoenaed or requested to testify either in their telling. So, he`s trying to not say much publicly about what`s going on.

MADDOW: Given that, it`s interesting that his team is speaking up publicly to correct the record on this assertion by the president`s lawyer today that he`s sure Trump cared very much about it, was concerned about him that day. Why correct that -- why is it important to them to correct that record?

DAWSEY: Well, I think folks around the former vice president are very frustrated with that telling, Rachel. You know, he gets whisked out of the chamber at 2:24 as a mob is descending on him, some of them yelling "hang Mike Pence." He`s taken into one secret room, and then he`s taken into another after his Secret Service detail decides the first room is not safe enough for him. He`s taken into one of the more secure parts of the Capitol. They never really told us where.

But he never hears from the president. His team never hears from the president. The president was watching television, he`s hearing from senators. He knows what`s going on. He`s closely rapt and the vice president doesn`t hear from him.

Many hours later, former Vice President Pence`s chief of staff Mark Meadows calls the White House and says if you guys are concerned, we`re okay. We just wanted you to know we`re okay and we`re planning to go back and certify the results later this evening.

And it takes five days for the president to ever speak to the vice president. Again, the following Monday, Jared Kushner goes to the vice president`s team and says the president would like to meet with the vice president and they broker a meeting. But the president`s lawyers today are saying he was very concerned about Mike Pence.

But if you talk to people around the former vice president they say, you know, if he was concerned, he never showed it. In fact, he egged it on with that one tweet saying that Mike Pence didn`t have courage.

One other point I want to make, Rachel, is that right before all of this happened the president goes or the former president goes to the ellipse and he makes these comments basically goading Mike Pence, saying Mike Pence has to do this for us, we`ll be very disappointed in him.

Mike Pence right before he had gone to the Capitol to certify the results had told the former president he was going to do that. He was going to certify. And he told him about two dozen times in the past two weeks, we had been told, he was going to certify, and the former president kept putting more and more pressure on him.

So, when he goes out and we whisks up a crowd to feel more negatively about Mike Pence and kind of leaves him hang in suspense, we`ll see what Mike Pence was going to do, folks around former vice president believe that was disingenuous because they say he knew exactly what we`re going to do. And once we got into the chamber and the former vice president is certifying the results and gets whisked away, the president then attacks him.

MADDOW: So the president is telling the mob something about there being an uncertainty about what Pence is going to do when he knows in fact what pence is going to do. Thus, knowing when he puts it to the crowd this way, they`re going to react with extreme negativity toward the vice president. Wow.

"The Washington Post" White House reporter Josh Dawsey, thank you so much for your reporting on this and your time this evening. I see you continue to be on bylines over the course of tonight. Thanks for being here.

DAWSEY: Thanks for having me.

MADDOW: One of the things that josh and his reporters at the "The Post" have also been reporting tonight the Georgia potential criminal investigation we talked about with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is one that may also include, according to "The Washington Post" tonight, may include the phone call that was made by Senator Lindsey Graham to the secretary of state of Georgia to pressure him about the election results as well.

That may also be looked into in Georgia as a potential criminal matter. Although in that case the perpetrator of the potential crime wouldn`t be the president. It would be Senator Graham.

Lots more to get to tonight. Senator Jon Tester of Montana joins us next.

Stay with us.



VAN DER VEEN: On January 6th, a small group who came to engage in violent and menacing behavior hijacked the event for their own purposes. According to publicly available reporting, it is parent that extremists of various different stripes and political persuasions preplanned and premeditated an attack on the Capitol.


MADDOW: The president`s defense counsel today saying the attack on the Capitol on January 6th was just a small group of people, and they were people of all kinds of political persuasions. No need to think of them as Trump supporters. It was very -- it was a very diverse group politically. And really it was a small thing. It was just a few people.

Joining us now is Senator Jon Tester from the great state of Montana who has been there from the beginning of the trial.

Senator, it`s great to see you here tonight. Thanks so much for making time.

SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: Just covering this trial from the office has been kind of an intense few days. How has it been for you in the room? What do you think of things so far?

TESTER: Well, I mean, it`s been very somber. It`s been, you know, a lot of information. But quite honestly, it`s a trial where the prosecution has laid down a really, really strong case. I don`t think the defense engaged them very well today. But we`ll see what they do in their wrap-up tomorrow.

MADDOW: The former president`s defense team ran a short series of plays today. They had 8 hours today, another 8 hours tomorrow. In total of those 16 hours they`re only using the 2-1/2 hours they went for today. And a lot of what they did today was play long video montages including one 11-minute long video montage that showed Democrats and celebrities using the word "fight" in various sentences over and over again.

When I saw you get a cameo in that montage, I wondered what that was like for you.

TESTER: Well, I will tell you that, look, I don`t condone violence in any form, and I should have chosen my words better when I gave that interview several years ago.

But let`s be clear, this was a desperate attempt by the defense to distract Americans from a months-long drum beat of truly dangerous rhetoric that culminated in violent deadly attacks at our Capitol and came within a few hundred feet of destroying our democracy.

So, I mean, you know, I mean, I think the fact they ran these videos over and over again shows they didn`t really have a lot to say about their defense of the president.

MADDOW: And, Senator, we just spoke with a "Washington Post" reporter who`s advancing this story about what really happened between the president and the vice president that day. We all know about the particular peril that the vice president was in that day with the president sort of having directed the ire of his supporters at Vice President Pence. We`ve all seen that very harrowing footage of the president`s supporters in the Capitol saying, "hang Mike Pence" and really targeting him in a way that was notable.

I wonder if it strikes you, and I know you have good relationships across the aisle, that it might land differently. It might land as a matter of some seriousness if in fact this current reporting sort of bears out that the president really knew the peril that the vice president was in, didn`t care and kept ramping up the rhetoric against him.

TESTER: So I wasn`t aware of the peril the vice president was in, but I will tell you that if this trial has done anything, it has shown that we were all in incredibly difficult situations that could have turned out really bad if not for some really good police work done in this Capitol.

And I think the vice president and the speaker of the House were probably the biggest targets that they were looking for, and it was proven through the prosecution`s evidence that they proposed that, you know, "hang Mike Pence" over and over again and the things they were saying they were going to do to Nancy Pelosi, over and over again. And I think this really could have ended our form of government if these guys had been successful. This is very serious thing that happened on the 6th of January.

MADDOW: Senator Jon Tester of Montana -- thank you so much for being here, sir. I know you`re back in session early tomorrow. Thanks.

TESTER: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii is also going to join us tonight. We`ve still got a lot to come. Stay with us.



VAN DER VEEN: This is about the most miserable experience I`ve had down here in Washington, D.C. There`s nothing fun about it.

RASKIN: You know, my counsel said before, this has been my worst experience in Washington. And for that, I guess I`m sorry, but man, you should have been here January 6th.


MADDOW: Man, you should have been here.

Joining us now is Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.

Senator Hirono, I have been so looking forward to hearing from you about the trial thus far. Thank you for being here. It`s been a long week already.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: What has it been like for you? This has been four very densely packed days. What`s your reaction?

HIRONO: Clearly, the House managers did a fantastic job in connecting the dots and making a really, really strong, in my view, and irrefutable case that the president incited an insurrection that led to a murderous mob laying siege to the Capitol and people dying.

Now, meantime though, the president`s lawyers were, in my view, so weak. And today, I couldn`t believe it. They just did a -- it seemed like 20 minutes to me -- a montage of a lot of Democrats saying we`re going to fight for immigrants or fight for students or fight for people out of work.

When the president uses the word fight, though, we know he means fight for me, fight for Trump. So, they spent a lot of time, though, what can you say? They didn`t have that much of a defense to mount.

MADDOW: What do you make of these concerns about Vice President Pence and whether or not President Trump cared what happened to him that day, whether or not he knew about the peril that Vice President Pence was in when he continued to egg the mob on that at that moment was in the building looking for him. Those concerns seem to be bipartisan.

HIRONO: That`s right. And I think if there`s any factor that might turn some Republicans to convicting him -- although I`m not holding my breath on that either -- is the lack of care that the person showed toward Pence, who by the way he sicced the mob on pence. And the president had to have known this because the whole world was watching what was going on in the Capitol.

And those of us who were the senators, we were in a safe place. We were getting texts. I got texts from people in Hawaii who were watching what was going on and texting to make sure I was all right.

So, the president had to be -- had to have known. And he didn`t give a rip about anybody else because it`s always been about him.

MADDOW: Senator, do you know if there will be a question tomorrow about whether witnesses will be heard from? Do you know if that will go to a vote?

HIRONO: If the House managers think that we need additional information or evidence, although they present fantastic evidence in my view, convincing, then I would vote to enable them to call witnesses. I don`t know -- I don`t know that they`ve made that decision.

MADDOW: Senator Mazie Hirono of the great state of Hawaii -- Senator, thank you so much for making time tonight. I know tomorrow is an early start.

HIRONO: Take care.

MADDOW: Thank you.

All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.


MADDOW: Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump continues tomorrow morning. They`re going to decide whether or not to call witnesses. Each side gets up to two hours then to deliver closing arguments, and then the vote on whether or not to convict.

I keep saying tomorrow is an early start. I absolutely mean it. MSNBC`s special coverage starts at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Thank you so much for being with us tonight.


Good evening, Lawrence.