House Democrats are proposing the impeachment of Donald J. Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors for his role in incitement of insurrection, for repeatedly falsely claiming the election was stolen, for encouraging the mob that gathered in D.C., telling them to fight like hell. Congresswoman Ted Lieu of California is interviewed.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Right now, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" begins.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
There's a lot to get to tonight. We're going to speak live tonight with one of the members of Congress who authored the new article of impeachment against President Trump. We are expecting members of Congress to be in Washington tomorrow and tomorrow night for them to start taking votes on this multipronged process of trying to remove President Trump from office. In response to last week's attack on the Capitol.
So tomorrow, we are expecting that there will be a vote in the House of Representatives on a resolution asking Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and vote along with a majority of the cabinet to remove President Trump from office. Vice President Pence has shown no willingness or inclination to do any such thing, but the House tomorrow will go through the process of imploring him to use the 25th Amendment as a last chance for an off ramp before they impeach President Trump again.
So, that will be tomorrow. We don't expect -- I think it's broadly -- it's broadly fair to say that it is not expected that even when the House passes that tomorrow, that Vice President Pence will not respond by acting to try to invoke the 25th Amendment. But we expect that will happen tomorrow.
We expect tonight there will be a sort of procedural vote in the rules committee on impeachment. And then we expect a vote on the house floor to impeach the president on Wednesday. There are not going to be big, long impeachment hearings like there have been in previous proceedings.
The article of impeachment, honestly, is written in such a way that it's a sort of self-proving biscuit. It's based only on things the president inarguably did in public and/or on tape and there is no real dispute about any of his actions. None of the things he's accused of doing that merit impeachment are things that he denies doing.
Since Friday when we showed you the first draft of the impeachment article against President Trump, it has been tweaked a little bit. It's still just one article. It's titled "Incitement of Insurrection." It still accuses the president of, inciting violence against the government of the United States.
But now, in the current iteration of the impeachment article, and it could evolve more before they finally vote on it, it does describe the president's actions with a little more specificity. So as of right now, here's what the new impeachment article against President Trump says: On January 6th, 2021, pursuant to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the vice president, the House and the Senate, met at the U.S. Capitol for a joint session of Congress to count the votes of the Electoral College.
In the months preceding the joint session, President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by state or federal officials. Shortly before the joint session commenced, President Trump addressed a crowd at the ellipse in Washington, D.C.
There, he reiterated false claims that, quote, we won this election and we won it by landslide. He also willfully made statements that in context encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol, such as, quote, if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore.
Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed in an attempt to among other objectives interfere with the joint session's solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced members of Congress, the vice president, and congressional personnel and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.
Like the previous draft, article of impeachment, it then goes on to describe the call that President Trump also made to the top elections official in the state of Georgia telling him to find enough votes to overturn the election results in that state.
And then it concludes this way, quote: In all of this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power and imperiled a coordinated branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as president to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.
Wherefore, President Trump by such conduct has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, of trust, or profit under the United States.
So, that as of now is the article of impeachment against President Trump. Again, we're expecting a procedural rules committee vote on that tomorrow I think and then we're expecting a House vote to impeach on Wednesday. There's various reports tonight as to whether that article that I just read to you has 210 co-sponsors in the House or is it 218 co-sponsors or is it more than 218?
But bottom line, despite those differing reports there's not much suspense here. The House has the votes to impeach President Trump again. In the House, it is a majority vote and Democrats, of course, are in the majority and there's at least some expectation that at least some Republicans will vote with the Democrats on this, too.
Then, of course, it will go to the Senate for the president to be put on trial. Now, as we reported on Friday night, the Senate leader for now is still Republican Senator Mitch McConnell. And he on Friday sent Republican senators a memo saying that there was, sorry, just no way that he could start an impeachment trial of president Trump until exactly one hour after the inauguration. One hour after Joe Biden is sworn in as President and Donald Trump is, therefore, out of office.
Senator McConnell said nothing in this memo about whether he's personally in favor of impeaching the president over the Capitol attack or not. He just said, ah, it's out of my hands, there's just no way the Senate can be reconvened any earlier than in time for us to only pursue his impeachment trial once he's no longer president. The trial of President Trump just logistically can't start until he's already gone.
That was the memo from senator McConnell. You may remember the Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on our show here on Friday calling bullpucky on that and saying Mitch McConnell could absolutely reconvene the Senate earlier than that if he wanted to in order to start the Senate trial right away if he did really think that President Trump is an ongoing present danger to the republic and, therefore, he should be taken out of office.
Well, the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, is now tonight reportedly considering basically calling that question and invoking a little-known Senate rule that was created after 9/11 which allows the Senate to reconvene at any time if two people, the top Democrat, Schumer, and the top Republican, McConnell, decided. They just have to conclude that in their opinion, just the two of them, if the two of them decide that such action is warranted by intervening circumstances, they can reconvene the Senate whenever they want.
So, McConnell saying it's completely out of his hands does not appear to be true. And Schumer is reportedly considering calling that question and basically trying to force McConnell to act after the House impeaches the president again. I mean, if a violent attack on the Capitol incited by the president isn't a worthy intervening circumstance to get senators to go to the office for a day, I'm not sure what that rule is for, actually, but we'll see. That is potentially ahead. One foot in front of the other, right? One step at a time.
But let's -- let's catch up on tonight's developments. Stuff is happening fast. And I feel like the best way that I've been able to keep track of it, is unfortunately, the one neat trick of reading all of it and keeping track of it all at once. I don't think there's a shortcut toward seeing where this ends. I don't think there's a shortcut to understanding the most important, overarching narrative of what's going on.
Thing are moving fast on a number of different fronts and this is one of those times when you do have to consent to absorb a lot of news because we don't know where the most important developments are going to come from. You have to be aware of all of them. So I can't oversimplify it tonight, but I can tell you what I think is going on that I think is relevant in terms of how this is going to end.
Let's start with the cabinet. One of the things that has been making it seem like the 25th Amendment option is not really on the table is, of course, that Vice President Pence doesn't seem interested in it and constitutionally, it has to be a majority of the cabinet and vice president, the vice president. In this case, Mike Pence, to agree in order to put the 25th Amendment into motion.
Now, Mike Pence's disinterest in pursuing this line to remove the president from office is just a remarkable thing about Vice President Mike Pence. This is the same Pence who was hunted by the Trump mob that violently attacked the Capitol, right? By now -- you have seen this footage, right?
Trump supporters screaming, "hang Mike Pence, hang Mike Pence." They were literally trying to find him and hunt him down. And why were they doing that? This is not a group of people, the MAGA crowd, that would usually be disinclined toward Trump's vice president, but what did Trump do that day that caused this?
President Trump whipped up the crowd about Mike Pence, specifically. I'm not going to play the president's speech here from January 6th. I think we've all had enough, haven't we?
But when the mob came to the Capitol to break in and ransack the place and whatever they were going to do with the dozens of zip tie plastic handcuffs for the taking of hostages or whatever, when they came in there saying, "hang Mike Pence" and "find Mike Pence" and "traitor Mike Pence," it followed President Trump telling that crowd basically to go get him, telling them that Pence was the reason the election was still somehow being stolen from Trump.
The president told the crowd that day, quote, when you catch somebody in a fraud, you're allowed to go by very different rules so I hope Mike", meaning Mike Pence, "has the courage to do what he has to do and I hope he doesn't listen to the RINOs", the Republicans in name only, "and the stupid people that he's listening to."
He told that crowd, quote, I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so. Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. With the implication being that if Mike Pence doesn't do the right thing, that's why Trump has lost the election.
And that's why the mob came looking to hurt Mike Pence, looking to hang Mike Pence, trying to hunt him down.
But that same Mike Pence apparently thinks this president is of sound mind and fit for office and is not interested in trying to get a majority of the cabinet to vote to remove him.
So part of the reason the 25th Amendment seems unlikely at this point, part of it is Mike Pence. But the other reason the 25th Amendment seems to be sort of looking less and less likely as a potential way out of this crisis is because of the cabinet. It's because the cabinet, itself, keeps shrinking. They keep leaving.
Since the Trump mob attack on the Capitol last Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was the first cabinet official to resign. Incidentally, she is married to Republican Senator Mitch McConnell. I don't know what to read into that, if anything.
Within a day, we also got the resignation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Both Elaine Chao and Betsy DeVos saying explicitly they were quitting because of the attack on the Capitol.
But now, tonight, we've got another Trump cabinet resignation. This time, it's the Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.
So, if any of those three cabinet secretaries might have voted yes to remove the president from office under the 25th Amendment, they're all gone. None of the three of them would be part of 25th Amendment vote that the vice president might call.
Now, it should be noted that Chad Wolf, the acting homeland security secretary, he made no reference at all to the Capitol attack in his resignation statement, saying he was resigning for other reasons. It's pretty amazing he didn't think to mention it given that it will be seen as the crowning achievement of his tenure as homeland security secretary that the U.S. Capitol building under his watch was overrun by a band of armed marauders while there was no visible federal law enforcement presence at all.
I mean, tell me, again, why we need a whole department for protecting the homeland. What does that department do, again? Is the U.S. Capitol considered to be part of the homeland?
The Homeland Security secretary has today resigned with no reference to what just happened at the capitol under his watch. So we'll remember him for tearing kids away from their families and we will remember him for this. But he won't be part of any 25th amendment vote in the cabinet.
Another development that we have seen today and over the last few days and if you are watching with kids right now, you might not want them to see this, is the emergence today and over the last few days of more and more explicit video clips. Explicit in the sense that they show more clearly and in -- more -- greater length, I guess, the violence, the acute violence that was meted out by the president's supporters.
I mean, on the night of the attack, there were some in conservative media who described what happened at the Capitol on Wednesday as Trump supporters knocking on the door of the Capitol, demanding to be let in and that's what some of the people since arrested in the violence had been claiming they did.
But as news organizations have obtained more and more user-generated video of the attack while it was under way, images like these of D.C. police officers being grabbed and pulled down the stairs of the capitol and then beaten with flag poles and hockey sticks and punched and kicked by this raging mob as they closed in on them, I mean, this look -- forgive me, but this looks like attempted murder in some cases.
This looks like the kind of violence against a police officer that puts a person in jail for life. Look at these guys with the hockey sticks and the flag poles. They're not hitting some door there. They're hitting police officers. Using the crutches. Using the poles.
I mean, it makes it all the more astonishing that there's been basically no law enforcement briefing on the violence and the aftermath and the ongoing arrests and what went wrong in the siege. I mean, even just to update us on the condition of the injured officers. Right? And how many officers -- of the officers who were injured and hospitalized on that day are now still in the hospital.
I mean, now that we can see clearly the acute and terrifying violence that the Trump mob directed at them, you would think there'd be, you know, federal law enforcement agencies briefing regularly on what's happening, what happened that day and what's happened to bring these people to justice. We're going to talk with an experienced federal prosecutor tonight about the kinds of charges that the rioters may be facing. We think it's somewhere on the order of about 100 arrests at this point from various law enforcement agencies. But, again, hard to tell since nobody's briefing the public or the press even this long after the attack.
In the wake of the attack, the House sergeant at arms and Senate sergeant at arms both submitted their resignations after congressional leaders demanded those resignations. We reported late last week that after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also demanded the resignation of the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, he said he would resign.
Now, as we reported late last week, oddly, he said his resignation would not be immediate. He said he would resign effective next weekend, four days before the inauguration, which seemed weird and tone deaf at the time when he announced it on Thursday. This weekend the U.S. capitol police chief changed his mind. He's out. He's gone already.
And now tonight, Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio says two U.S. Capitol police officers have been suspended for acting inappropriately during the siege of the capitol. One reportedly for taking selfies with the attackers and one for reportedly wearing a Trump hat and according to Congressman Ryan helping the attackers find their way around the Capitol once they were inside.
"Washington Post" tonight has more on this. Erin Davis and Beth Reinhart reporting this, quote, "At least two U.S. capitol police officers have been suspended and more than a dozen others are under investigation for suspected involvement with or inappropriate support shown for the Wednesday demonstration that devolved into a deadly riot at the capitol according to two congressional officials briefed on the developments.
Eight investigations have been launched, official said. In one of the cases, officers had posted what Capitol police investigators found what to be messages showing support for the upcoming demonstration, including supporting President Trump's baseless claim that the November election had been stolen through voter fraud. In one instance, investigators found that an officer had posted, quote, inappropriate images of Joe Biden on a social media account. The officials declined to describe the photographs.
So we've got one Capitol police officer dead. He was reportedly beaten with a fire extinguisher by the Trump mob. We have another Capitol police officer dead by suicide this weekend. And we've got two Capitol police officers suspended and more than a dozen others reportedly under investigation internally for allegedly basically helping the mob attack the Capitol.
And we've got an inauguration at that same Capitol next Wednesday.
The chairman of the Biden inaugural is Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. Tonight, Congressman Clyburn is expressing alarm about security threats to the inauguration. He is calling for an already radically scaled-back inaugural ceremony to be further scaled back. He says it needs to be slimmed down even more.
President-elect Biden for his part said today that he is, quote, not afraid to be inaugurated outdoors on January 20th on the steps of the capitol. You see him here today getting the second shot of the vaccine against the coronavirus.
About 15,000 troops are expected to be part of the new rapidly evolving security plan for next week's inauguration. This weekend, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called on the Trump administration to early-up the federal security preparations for the inauguration. The special security status for that event, the kind of thing they use for the political conventions and for the Super Bowl, among other things, for the inaugural, it includes basically closing off big swaths of downtown D.C., federal officials were apparently not planning on putting that plan in motion until January 19th, until the day before the inauguration, itself. Mayor Bowser this weekend demanded that those preparations should start now, like today, Monday.
The Trump administration did respond to that call today. Homeland Security Chief Chad Wolf responded today that they will, in fact, speed up those security measures. They will start putting them in place the day after tomorrow, instead of next Tuesday. So that's nearly a week earlier than they had otherwise planned. Wolf put out a statement announcing that change today. And then, of course, immediately thereafter, he promptly resigned.
The head of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will now be the acting head of Homeland Security as we head into inauguration week. Hope he's ready.
The FBI sent a memo, a law enforcement bulletin, to law enforcement agencies all over the country today, warning that they expect armed shows of force by Trump supporters in all 50 state capitols. Now, most of what we've seen online in public postings has called for these armed protests by Trump supporters in state capitols this weekend on Sunday, on the 17th, but the FBI memo today said they expect the threat of those armed shows of force to not necessarily all happen on one day. They expect the threat of those armed shows of force to start in state capitols around the country on Saturday this weekend.
The FBI also said that it's aware of and monitoring new threats against President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Anybody who says to you that what happened on Wednesday has sort of, you know, cowed Trump supporters, has made the Trump -- part of the Trump violent insurrectionist movement, you know, rueful, feel sorry for what they did, calmed them down at all. Ask the FBI in terms of threats they're seeing, people the president identified as his enemies.
As Nancy Pelosi leads the House over this process over the next 48 hours that's very, very likely to end in President Trump becoming the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, there remains the possibility that the president might head all of this off by resigning of his own accord.
And I can hear you, I can see you giving me the hand on this. Oh, please, Maddow, as if. This guy feels no shame. He would never resign. Something for the good of the country, he's incapable. I know. I hear you.
The reason that I continue to believe it's a live prospect that the president will resign is not because it's good for the country and the president would do something good for the country, I believe it's a live issue because I think the president may conclude that it would be the best thing for him.
I mean, go back to the article of impeachment again, right? What's the title of the article of impeachment? "Incitement of insurrection."
As many legal observers, including the justice reporter Charlie Savage of "The New York Times", today have noted, incitement of insurrection is not a random collection of layman's terms. It's not just the title that they chose for this latest article of impeachment against President Trump. There's also a federal crime of the same name, included in section 2383 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code titled "Rebellion or insurrection."
Quote: Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the U.S. or the laws thereof or gives aid or comfort thereto, we love you, you're very special people, that person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned, not more than ten years or both, and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
I mean, that's the reference in the article of impeachment. Incitement to insurrection. What they're referencing there is a federal crime for which there's a ten-year prison term attached and handily, a lifetime ban on ever serving in federal office again.
Now, the president is already facing near-certain impeachment for a second time. We will see how he responds to that. But if he wants to avoid even the possibility of a federal lifetime ban on holding office and a potential ten-year prison time, prison sentence because of his role in inciting the Capitol violence, which is something as a layman I can say he plainly did, whether a judge or a jury would conclude the same thing, I think a lot of prosecutors would believe that they would have a pretty good case.
The only way that he can avoid the prospect of that, for sure, is to get a federal pardon that would preclude any such charge. CNN is reporting tonight that both the White House counsel Pat Cipollone and recently departed Attorney General William Barr have both advised President Trump that he shouldn't try to self-pardon. He shouldn't try to issue a pardon to himself. It might backfire on him in the courts and actually make it more likely that he would face federal charges.
But if he didn't want to test constitutional limits with potentially disastrous consequences, if instead he just wanted a different president to pardon him, well, he can't count on Joe Biden for that. If he were to resign from office now, in exchange for Mike Pence pardoning him, well, that would work. That would preclude the possibility of him being federally charged. Again, we'll see.
But as increasingly violent video of the attack continues to surface, and as the rioters continue to face serious charges, the question of those who directly incited the mob to do what it did, including murder a police officer, is going to press in on the president because of what he did to make this happen on Wednesday. It's going to press in on the justice department. It's going to press in on the incoming Justice Department under President Biden, when President Trump is no longer protected by the bogus shield of immunity that the Office of Legal Counsel has sort of thinly drawn over people who are currently serving as president.
Today, a whole bunch of major business interests including, full disclosure, Comcast which owns us, a big wide swath of giant companies announced they will suspend any campaign contributions to anybody in Congress who voted to support the big lie at the heart of the violent insurrectionist Trump movement now -- this lie that the election wasn't really won by Joe Biden. These companies are all now saying that any member of Congress or a member of the Senate who voted to block the electoral vote count to formalize Biden's win, they can no longer count on campaign contributions from these companies.
In addition, and this is interesting, particularly interesting in terms of thinking about how this may affect the president's motivation from here on out. "The New York Times" is reporting late tonight that the two remaining banks that had major loans to Donald Trump, that had become really his only business lenders at all, Deutsche Bank and a small bank called Signature Bank, both of those banks have now cut ties with him.
"The Times" reporting that Deutsche Bank will no longer work with Trump in the future. You'll recall that the president has hundreds of millions of dollars in outstanding loans to Deutsche Bank.
"The Times" is also reporting that Signature Bank is closing all Trump-related accounts. Ivanka Trump used to sit on the board of signature bank. That board is now calling for President Trump's resignation.
And then there's the issue of communication and social media. In addition to Twitter kicking President Trump off its platform on Friday and then methodically closing down every other account from which he tried to tweet because he apparently didn't understand how that works, Facebook says tonight that it is removing all content from its platform that references the Stop the Steal Trump lie about the election which, of course, became the rallying cry for the marauders who attacked the Capitol in his name.
Also, the right-wing extremist alternative to Twitter, an app called Parler, has now been basically shut down as well. Apple and Amazon were providing back-end support to that app. Both companies said they could no longer justify their work with that app because of the amount of violent content circulated by its users. To the extent that online postings and videos and photos by Parler users might be helpful to law enforcement in tracking down the capitol attackers, those folks will be delighted to know that at least before Parler got taken down today, one white-hat hacker managed to download and save what she says is 99.9 percent of all the content ever posted to the app, including geo location and user identification information for nearly 100 percent of all posts on Parler since the app has existed.
She reportedly started by vacuuming up for posterity all the posts just from January 6th, the day of the attack, then when it seemed like the whole app might ultimately be pulled down, which it was, she scrambled to actually just grab everything that's ever been posted by a Parler user and she has successfully done that and ultimately that should probably make things a lot easier for the FBI.
Like I said, there's lots of things to keep an eye on tonight as this story and this crisis continue to evolve. And I can't -- usually the way I approach the news is that there's some stuff where there's a lot of noise being made about it and I kind of know it's not important and I close that off and focus on other things where I think there's more important work to be done. In this case, nothing's worth closing off.
At the risk of being distracted by people who are deliberately trying to keep us off course, we do sort of have to have eyes open on so many different avenues as this continues to unfold.
It is going to go fast. I will just give you one last thing to keep an eye on as we head into this remarkable period where the president is due to be impeached for a second time. And this is not something in Washington. It's in Georgia.
You may remember me talking about late last week us learning that the -- for some reason a U.S. attorney in Georgia, one of the top federal prosecutors in Georgia, had unexpectedly resigned.
"Talking Points Memo" reported he said he had resigned because of unforeseen circumstances. Despite the fact he'd planned previously to stay until the inauguration.
Well, we learned this weekend that that federal prosecutor in the state of Georgia, that U.S. attorney, was fired by the White House. A senior Justice Department official called him personally, reportedly at the behest of the White House, and that senior Justice Department official, we don't know who it is, demanded that that U.S. attorney generate some kind of fraud evidence to support President Trump's conspiracy theories about him losing the Georgia election.
So, senior Justice Department official calls that U.S. attorney and tells the guy that the White House wants him to do this thing about fraud. And he should resign if he wasn't willing to do it. That U.S. attorney did resign. He's now been replaced by another prosecutor in Georgia who President Trump handpicked and personally called, himself, to give the guy his marching orders. That new U.S. attorney has moved into the other guy's office, has reportedly brought in assistants who he has tasked specifically with looking for the fraud, the fake election fraud that is the basis of this whole big lie.
So while we see the consequences unfold, the crime here isn't over, right? I mean, the effort to get accountability for the people who attacked the capitol certainly is not over. We will talk more about that tonight. But the attack on the integrity of the election by the president is still not over. And the second impeachment of President Donald J. Trump is about to begin, all at once.
Let's get going. Lots to get to tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: It's only four pages. House Democrats weren't trying to save the trees when they pounded out this new article of impeachment. They're proposing the impeachment of Donald J. Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors for his role in incitement of insurrection, for repeatedly falsely claiming the election was stolen, for encouraging the mob that gathered in D.C., telling them to fight like hell. They also mention him trying to strong-arm Georgia's top state election official into finding enough votes to miraculously overturn Joe Biden's victory in that state.
This new article of impeachment was crafted by a group of House Democrats who started drafting this new article of impeachment while they were in lockdown together. They were locked down for hours, of course, as the Capitol was overrun by an angry mob. One of the things they did during that time was to start writing this document which now will likely produce the second impeachment of Donald Trump. The first time any U.S. president has been impeached twice.
Joining us now is Congressman Ted Lieu of the great state of California. He's a member of the Judiciary Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee and he was one of the drafters of these articles -- of this article of impeachment.
Sir, it's great to see you. Thanks for being here tonight.
REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: What do you think the American public should understand about what's in this article? Why it was crafted in this narrow way. And why it's necessary to impeach for the first time ever a president twice.
LIEU: So let's be clear of what happened. Donald Trump called his supporters to show up on January 6th because that's when Congress was going to formalize his loss and Joe Biden's win. He told his supporters it would be wild.
He then gave a speech telling them the election was stolen. He told them to stop the steal, march down Pennsylvania Avenue, go to the Capitol, and to fight like hell, and they listened. As a result, an armed mob invaded the Capitol, attacked the Capitol and multiple people died. And the person responsible for inciting this insurrection is Donald Trump. That's why we need to remove him from office as soon as possible.
MADDOW: Congressman Lieu, can you tell me about the process by which you did the initial drafting of these? Talked to your office about this sort of remarkable thing, the writing of this article started while you were in hiding, while you were sheltering from the mob at the Capitol.
LIEU: Yes, so capitol police had evacuated us and eventually I was able to make it to my colleague, David Cicilline's office, in the Rayburn House office building. After the momentary fear passed and watched in horror the events that happened on January 6th on television, we concluded we need to remove this president as soon as possible. So, Congressman Cicilline and I started drafting this article along with Congressman Jamie Raskin by remote and also House Judiciary staff remotely.
And we did the article narrowly with the help of getting GOP support. We don't actually need a lot of evidence here. It's all out in the open. It's no dispute Donald Trump gave a speech. No dispute that there was an attack on the Capitol. No dispute that multiple people died.
MADDOW: It's sort of a -- I said at the outset of the show, this is sort of a self-proving -- these are self-proving assertions.
This is not something where there's a difference of opinion as to whether or not these things all happened. They all happened in public and/or on tape. And it's just a matter, essentially, what you're asking your colleagues in the House to vote for, is that they rise to the level that a president deserves to be impeached for them.
Do you expect any Republican support or should we expect that this will be a party-line vote?
LIEU: We're hoping for GOP support because, again, this article is crafted narrowly to try to gain GOP support. I also note that what happened that day is that this mob was trying to assassinate Speaker Pelosi, trying to hang Vice President Pence. They were hunting for lawmakers of both parties. That's got to weigh in on these Republican legislators' minds, at least I hope so. So, we do hope we'll get some GOP support.
MADDOW: Congressman Ted Lieu of the great state of California, one of the members of Congress who drafted this article of impeachment against President Trump -- the next 48 hours are going to be a remarkable time in Congress as this article goes before the House. Thanks for helping us understand it tonight, sir.
LIEU: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. We've got much more to get to tonight.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: I want to mention one thing about the video that, that sort upsetting video from the siege of the Capitol that we showed at the top of the show. This is a video that shows the mob of Trump supporters pulling police officers down the steps of the capitol and beating them with flag poles and hockey sticks and crutches.
What I want to tell you about this video is that this was reportedly taken at about 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday during the siege. And that timestamp means that that was ten minutes after the president told the rioters in a video message that he loved them and that they were very special people. In case you're wondering about the real -- how realistic it is that the president might be worried about incitement charges or other charges related to him inciting this or lending aid and comfort to the people who did it.
As more footage like this comes to light as more people get arrested for their role in the riot, we're starting to get a clearer picture of what happened. There have been charges brought against dozens of people so far. Some of them will look forward to you by now like this guy in the fur hat thing. He's been charged with unlawfully entering the Capitol and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
This man sitting behind a desk in Nancy Pelosi's office got the same set of charges with the addition of theft of private property. Same goes to this man who was photographed carrying away a lectern from inside the capitol.
Authorities have also arrested this man seen here carrying plastic restraints inside the Senate chamber which presumably could have been used to take hostages as some people talked about online in advance of this attack. "The New York Times" reports that he was also carrying several weapons at the time of his arrest in addition to all those plastic handcuffs. He also had a camera mounted to his chest facing out to record what he was doing that day. That will come in handy.
He was at least one of two rioters seen carrying plastic handcuffs inside the Capitol. The other is this man here, we spot shadowed his helmet. He's a U.S. Air Force veteran, reportedly, who was wearing a helmet and tactical vest. He, too, now has been federally charged.
This man in the black beanie was arrested early Saturday morning. You saw him chasing a black police officer, excuse me, yeah, black police officer up several flights of stairs just off the Senate floor. Getting himself further and further inside the Capitol.
Like I said, dozens of people have already been charged for causing violence and chaos at the Capitol. Authorities say that number could grow to hundreds.
But, of course, as yet for most people, their crimes are so far lost in a sea of these terrible images. One man was arrested for striking a police officer in the head and chest. One man was arrested after threatening to put a, quote, bullet in Nancy Pelosi's head on live TV. When he was arrested, police found a handgun, an assault rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in his possession.
Another man was arrested with 11 mason jars filled with homemade napalm in his truck which was parked two blocks away from the Capitol. That man was traveling with an assault rifle and three handguns. When he was arrested he had a handgun in one pocket and a pistol in the other.
The U.S. attorney in D.C. says he's had his staff combing through videos and images 24 hours a day trying to track down everybody who committed a crime at the capitol on Wednesday. He expects charges to range from destruction of federal property to murder.
There were thousands of people part of this mob that stormed the capitol on Wednesday and this insurrection attempt incited by the President. For the people who do end up getting identified and charged, how serious will the consequences be, what kind of charges should we be expecting? What's the likelihood that most of the people who committed crimes might get away with it here?
An experienced federal prosecutor is here to walk us through some of that next.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: "The New York Times" is reporting that law enforcement officials at the federal level are actively pursuing at least 150 suspects from the attack on the U.S. Capitol, people who are being pursued for potential prosecution. "The Times" says according to one official briefed on the investigation, quote, analysts are scouring intelligence to identify any role that domestic terrorist organizations or foreign adversaries may have played in radicalizing Americans who were among the rioters.
Joyce Vance, former federal prosecutor and U.S. attorney from the great state of Alabama, writes today at "Time" magazine, quote, in the absence of specific statutes like the ones written to combat foreign terrorism, the entire criminal code becomes part of the prosecutor's playbook in a case like this.
Joining us now is Joyce Vance. Former U.S. attorney for the great state of Alabama.
Joyce, it's great to have you here. Thanks for taking time.
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Nice to see you.
MADDOW: If this had been an attack on the state capitol in Alabama and you were U.S. attorney there and looking to pursue the people who committed crimes like this, how would you set about it and what kinds of crimes would the perpetrators here expect to be brought -- to be charged?
VANCE: Well, any incident like this is an all-hands-on deck sort of exercise. The only thing that makes the orders of magnitude here is we're talking about the U.S. Capitol. The crimes are the same. You have three groupings of people really that you're looking at -- leaders or organizers of the attack, anyone who engaged in seditious conspiracy or tried to solicit crimes of violence. Those are your most important folks to go after.
We're also looking specifically in the Capitol in people who committed serious crimes on the capitol grounds. Crimes of violence, murder, assault, attempted kidnapping of congresspeople.
And then finally, we have the people who overran the building, itself. It's what you might think of as a trespass sort of a crime, but here in the federal system, it's called a restricted entry violation and that can be anything from a misdemeanor to something more serious, depending on the conduct. So you're simultaneously trying to identify all of the people who were involved, figure out who the threats are. We know there were bombs placed at the RNC and DNC.
I want to try to dismantle any future threat while also holding people accountable for their crimes.
MADDOW: Joyce, one of the things that we have been watching is the fight over social media presence for the president, personally, but also for people who made violent threats and incitement of violence and discussed planning for this violence online. We've seen the president taken off of Twitter, but we've also seen this whole platform, Parler, essentially removed because of Apple and Amazon deciding they were no longer going to do the back-end support for that app.
It appears that the content on that app was scraped and saved by people who wanted to prevent that stuff from disappearing when the app got taken down. How -- how valuable is that to law enforcement? This sort of social media detritus of people who participated many this riot, who may have planned this riot partially online and who believed based on the terms of services of these apps, that they wouldn't be identified if they posted under user names for that kind of a platform.
VANCE: Well, I can't pretend that prosecutors don't like to have that kind of evidence and you can obviously understand why. If you have a drug case and your defendants are on Facebook with pictures of themselves with money and guns and drugs, it makes it awfully easy for you to get a jury conviction.
The same thing is true here with domestic terrorism. A lot of the time you need to appreciate what people's intent is or what their goals are. Social media can be very helpful for that, and I'll just give you a quick example, Rachel. During the late September presidential debate where President Trump infamously referenced the Proud Boys, they responded on Parler. They said, "Proud Boys standing by."
And so, that sort of interaction between people helps you track intent and helps you as law enforcement get some of the intelligence that you need to get.
MADDOW: Joyce Vance, former U.S. attorney from the great state of Alabama. Joyce, it's great to see you tonight. Thanks for helping us understand.
VANCE: Thank you.
All right. We'll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: All right. Heads up for tomorrow. As I mentioned earlier, the house is going to vote tomorrow on a resolution that calls on the vice president to remove President Trump from office using the 25th Amendment.
There is no sign from Mike Pence that he wants to go that route, but we expect that vote to happen tomorrow in the House. The House will then move forward with impeaching the president for a second time. That will be the first time in U.S. history that's happened. Procedurally, we think that means that the impeachment article will go first to the rules committee. We think.
But then there's not going to be hearings or anything. It's just going to go straight to the house floor. There's no suspense as to whether that article of impeachment against the president will pass. It will. He will be impeached. The only question is whether Democrats will do it alone, or whether Republicans may join.
All right. That does it for us for now. We'll see you again tomorrow.
Now it's time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O'DONNELL."
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.END
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