"Stop Trying To Stoke Fears for Fame"
Hello powerhouse politics. I'm abc news. Chief white house correspondent jonathan. Karl and i'm abc news political director. Rick klein rick This is impeachment day. we're coming from you. I've taken a quick break from our ongoing coverage because they've just had the vote on the rule. We're moving forward. We expect to have a bipartisan. Vote to impeach donald trump. A second time a second time by the way. I think on this podcast there was a prediction. Made that trump could become the first president ever to be impeached twice. And i don't think any of us anticipated it. What happened like this Either but but i believe if you go back and you look at the records. Maybe we can trevor Trevor pull that on getting ready for this one. Yes yes Yeah i mean. I think i think it was me that actually said that. But but you know This is this is a big day. Liz cheney's a statement overnight was Not just significant. Because she said she'd be voting for impeachment but it was significant because of what she said she said that it was the president was donald trump That incited that mob. it was donald trump Who caused that to happen. The riot insurrection. The attack on the capital She's without him. None of it would have happened. None of it would have happened without him. And she said that. This was the biggest portrayal of The office of the presidency and a the constitution by any president in american history. Those are strong words. We're gonna be talking very shortly to a republican who has now come out to say that. He will vote in favor of impeachment in the house. But i think it's notable and perhaps wall some of you are will listen to this. Podcast will already know the final vote but it's not going to be a large number of republicans in the house. Even after liz cheney the number three republican leadership came out with such a forceful statement. I you know the the the number. The overwhelming majority of republicans are still opposed to impeachment in the house. That's correct and if you're listening to the debate you're hearing not a lot of defense president trump's conduct although there are some folks like congressman jordan of ohio. Were still trying to relitigate the the election results. Mostly you're hearing it calls for unity suggestions that it'd be divisive as the president also said and and a lot of trust in the system holding and the precedents there at this moment and you see almost. Nobody actually defending the president publicly. Some are criticizing the idea of a fast impeachment. Saying that he's gonna be leaving in a week. Anyway what's the point of it all But but there's nobody out there either. I mean really in congress you know or on cable television Coming out to To defend him It's it's indefensible. The the actions of the president or events. Boy i understand that kevin mccarthy Spoke to trump before he took his trip to texas before he made his first public appearance since the since the riot any told him. Look you need to call joe biden. You need to accept the fact that the election is over and you lost. You need to appeal for calm and you need to turn the page from all this. You need to acknowledge the you bore some responsibility for what happened. That was the message that kevin mccarthy gave him and i am told that mccarthy told him that if he did not do that he risked a choice of either being not just impeached but convicted in the senate or resigning that those would be his choices and trump went out went on the trip and proceeded to say that he had done absolutely nothing wrong. He certainly hasn't Gone out and he's been called biden or done any of that He hasn't acknowledged he lost and He did he did make an appeal for calm and for peace but in the very same comments He also suggested that there could be more violence. If congress goes forward with impeachment and john. I know our guest is joining us right off the house during the day. So let's let's get to him okay. We have atom kensinger. Republican of illinois congressman. Thank you for joining us came. What's up thank you. Well i take note of the fact that you said you will vote for impeachment. One of just a handful. I right now. We're at five. I assume that number. We'll get a little bit bigger. But i'm just i'm just. Can you explain to me. I see liz cheney. Come out i mean. Obviously you've said very strong words about what happened On on wednesday in the capital and liz cheney Number three in leadership comes out and says that this is the most severe trail of the oath of office of any president in american history. Says that none of what we saw on wednesday would have happened if it weren't for trump and yet we're still going to see the overwhelming majority of republicans vote against impeachment. Can you in the house anyway. Can you explain why. Yeah i mean. I think bottom line is for a lot of people at sphere its Some are fearful. Because they're in you know in some way connected to this right. Some of them have made speeches and statements challenging whether the election was real and over. Four years kind of building this base narrative that lead to what we saw in the six that you know an outrageous claim like despite the evidence. This election was stolen. Actually make sense when you can build a foundation for four years for others. It's still this idea. I mean that look there will be massive blowback from the base. Trust me for for those of us that vote for it. But i think it's that fear that that is the only group of people you have to speak to the fact the fear that this trump movement will continue and i just i try to tell these folks like look you know what those fears may be correct but the biggest fear i think you should have. Is that history is obviously going to write a lot of pages about what happens here in what's happened really over the last four years. You know you wanna have your name on that right side of that historical page and that would be. My biggest. fear is to be left out. Because i didn't do what i knew to be the right thing. Did you write your political obituary with what you have done. Not just the past several days of what really over the past several weeks where you've taken on this You taking the president on directly on this question of of the election being stolen are you. Are you now going to face a primary and and the wrath of the base. That will cause you to lose your seat. So i think i'll definitely face you know. Primary and the wrath of of some of donald trump's hardcore base that will continue to exist. But i still believe that once. He's out of office. Once we can evaluate this whole presidency outside of him having a megaphone of twitter and the ability to save fake news and the ability to to. I don't know have that kind of aura of the presidency. I think the trump thing falls apart faster especially after the six Than anybody expects that. Said i very well may have an honestly. I've made a lot of decisions of my wife. That i thought you know would have high cost and and i'm fine with it. I'm fine with If this is the end of my political career hope. It's not but i am totally at peace if it is congressman. I was struck by something that i know. Your friend to former congressman denver. Riggleman was was arguing yesterday. He said he would also been a vote for impeachment and he was casting and not just the judgment on trump in the trump era but also on in on on misinformation on lying in politics. He's viewing this as bigger the stakes being bigger than just removing trump from office. Which is going to happen to the week anyway. We know the senate can't really practically convict before that. Are you seeing similar stakes in in the vote that you're about to cast. Yeah i mean. I think i think completely Denver's head on a year ago. I did a video called unplugged the rage machine and it was talking about conspiracy theories and and i mentioned cunanan and that was before anybody i mean. Think about a year and a half ago. Nobody knew cunanan was. That's crazy on but what you see is on this internet culture. Basically the spreading and solidifying of these ideas and and since then we've kind of woken up to it. And i fear that we might have woken up a little too late but i think misinformation truth telling is going to be important to disinfect. That people waking up to misinformation is going to be important. And i also think we have to evaluate. You know this culture where we have to raise so much money to win again and fear honestly as the greatest driving of driver a fundraisers. I'll make more money if i send something out saying. Give me money. Nancy pelosi is going to destroy america than i would say. I believe in in better days ahead. Give me money. And that's all the stuff that we're gonna have to reevaluate. It's not going to be some cool by a moment on the floor. It's going to be some awakening by the american people to hold their leaders accountable to the rhetoric to that point and to the leaders of you're talking about you've got colleagues who are continuing today to say that the The election was unconstitutional inappropriate. No one's really defending the the the rioters actions but you do have colleagues who are continuing to spread misinformation about the election defend the president and regardless of the impeachment vote. I know that this is a tough old for a lot of republicans. Leaving that aside. I've talked to some democrats who are afraid to be around some of the republicans Especially some of the newly-elected republicans some of whom burst past the the metal detectors last night and have said that they would be armed on the floor. Is that overblown. I mean you personally afraid of your own safety on the house floor. No and i think i do think look. I'm not going to question whether some people feel unsafe. But i do think some of that has dramatics overblown. But because look i mean we can go into the white house as an example without going through metal detectors we always have been able to but look. There's always inherent risk everywhere. I'm not gonna complain about the metal detector issue. But what i will say is. I think we all have to. And i don't know how to do this. But you know the best way to dissuade. Each other's fear is to get to know each other and understand what the other person's fear is but one of the biggest problems by party. I think the democrats faces to an extent too but that we face every but without everybody we have these people now that to get elected for the sole purpose of being well known and celebrities. And we've turned into. Let's get the most re tweets possible so that we can get mentioned on all the news stations. Even if it's crazy so that i can be well known and we've got to get back to where people can come out and being well known doing media but coming out here to to seriously legislate and stop trying to stoke fierce for fame. What is your assessment of how kevin mccarthy has handled this You know. I think that's a family meeting that we're going to have to have when we kind of get past this. This current moment. Look i. I have real concerns for instance with How we have nurtured an accepted the narrative of a stolen election. I have extreme concerns with how there were votes to object even after the riots of january six. I think you know kevin's going to have to. I think talked to the conference. And and i think go after some of these members that stoked it and so we'll see how that goes. I think it's too early to talk about anything. That will or won't happen and give him an opportunity as the elected leader to to to make right. Some of the wrongs do. Do you see the possibility of third party movement growing out of the trump as a as a probability or even inevitability curious because a lot of people have said republicans like yourself should leave the party. I i don't know if that's what what's perks. Sparks it as much as some of the folks you know those of the capital aside people that believe still that this election was stolen will take trump. Isn't that far that they're going to take their movement and go somewhere else and do you feel like that's likely now that we'll see a maga- party a freedom. Whatever they call it a third party movement that grows at a trumpism. I hope so I look it's it's the vast majority of people even at this protest are just good. Republicans many of them misled for four years. Right and believe it. I think they will wake up. There are going to be some hard cores that there always are out there that for them. It was about power for them. It was about being the proud boys. And kind of fascism and racism. I do hope they start their own party. Because i don't think there's any room in a republican party for them. And you know we always try to do this. Big ten thing and it means bringing all these ideologies but there is a red line and i think some of that ideology has got to be a red lines. They want to start their own party. Fantastic we can you know. Get back to the roots of conservatism. Isn't what our party is. But if they don't. I think there's going to be a real reckoning and here about what a republican is quite honestly again. I think that the vast majority of people will kind of like i use the analogy of like. It's waking up. Saturday morning from a real bad bender friday night just kind of looking around going man. What did i do it is. It is Certainly wreckage out. There i remember you know. I mean my reaction as as donald trump was marching towards the nomination. In two thousand sixteen was the republican party will never be the same again Tin it's hard to an end. I don't if i could have envisioned it going exactly this way but but but it but it's really something what what's your what's your estimate. What your guests and how. Many republicans vote. Yes on this well to more than five. I don't want to get into the guessing game. Because if i guess too high. We go below expectations. If i guess too low then it'll give some people excuse not to do the right thing. I think it'll be in the double digits. I i know. There's a lot of people that are trying to find an excuse not to vote for it. They're using processes the argument. I just certainly hope that they you know again recognized that history is going to record this. And it's not gonna necessarily record your process arguments as your reason for opposition. Yeah no doubt. And liz cheney i mean obviously as we discussed the majority the vast majority of republicans are gonna vote against this In the house to do what does this do to liz. Cheney's leadership prospects going forward. The she ultimately get credit for being forceful even for making a forceful case and a principal case Even though it was a case that the vast majority of of conference disagreed with or or does she face the wrath of the base. No i think well the base argument. Who knows i think in terms of members i. I don't think our leadership in threatened. I think her star has risen in this in it. Because i think there's very few people that i've talked after i came out in support disagree with me. They will just say. I think sometimes sheepishly. Well i worry about the process right. And but i think when it's all said and done i mean this. The the coalition to impeach against opposition to certification of the election. Really is made up of hawks like me and freedom caucus members and people all over the place. So there's no real kind of clear battle lines and all this and so. I think she'll be saved and and frankly i think she'll get a lot of credit for what she's done. All right congressman adam kissing of illinois one of the five votes so far to impeach donald trump. Thank you for joining us. Really appreciate your comments and we'll talk to you when this is all over. Thank you you bet. thanks guest rick. Let's take a quick break. We'll be right back. Stay informed has never been more important. Information is coming at us faster than ever. So how do you make sense of. It'll start here. hey. I'm brad milkey from abc news. In every weekday we will break down the latest headlines and just twenty minutes straightforward reporting dynamic interviews and analysis from experts. You can trust always credible always solid start here from abc news twenty minutes every day on your smart speaker or your favorite podcast app. Welcome back to powerhouse politics. Rick adam kin zinger by as we were just talking during the break a significant. I thought that i. He says he hopes will be a third party movement. If the if the republican party can't get beyond this What what we've seen unfold a remarkable and a and a very you know a tense day in his in his political career in his life to join us on today this historic day. I you know. I don't know how this ends nobody else. This how this ends. I think increasingly. We're seeing schisms that are beyond healing and You know we've we've both covered congress covered washington for a long time. John and we talk about things in terms of pitched battles and major political battles. Something changed last week and something has changed the last week where Actions started to to fill in where words have never really taken us before and to see violence at the have lawmakers now afraid for their physical safety among their colleagues just on their way to to work. Nobody knows where what can happen. Next as more details have come out of about last wednesday. We now know it could have been a lot worse and trump will be gone week from today he will no longer be president but the the folks who came to the capital aren't going anywhere and they're americans. They have a right to be here. They should be prosecuted that many millions of people that voted for him the mini maybe thousands that supported. What what the people. At a protests did they're still part of the process and they're not going to go away and nor should they and But these are not simply political divisions anymore. This got very very real very very fast. And i you know i think to my mind. A third party movement is more likely tonight. I don't know what the next instigating event will be in this but you know don. Donald trump is going to be gone. He won't be quiet and his movement certainly won't be and in terms of the immediate here. I told nancy pelosi intends to send the articles of impeachment over to the senate as soon as as possible right now. The senate is actually not in session until next week so there's been calls to mcconnell nicole. Call them back earlier. So the senate trial can get underway as recall under the rules. As soon as the senate receives them. They've got to begin acting on them immediately by one o'clock in the afternoon of of whatever day they come in or one o'clock the following day if they come in after one o'clock so you know this is. This is very much on a fast track. And and rick i've been told By people who. I respect who have been counting votes in the senate for a long time republican votes To not rule out the possibility that there are sixty seven votes which means at least seventeen republicans to convicts donald trump An amazing an amazing concept. It's all really gonna come down to whether or not mcconnell goes in the direction that he seems to be telegraphing th mcconnell actually mcconnell who we know has told colleagues that he believes that donald trump committed impeachable offenses that he welcomes the house impeachment But he hasn't said he would vote to convict Which is another question but if he does which seems to be the direction he's going in. I think it opens up the real possibility that you have a 'cascade of of other what i would call. Senate institutionalists republican institutionalists. Who were close to to mitch mcconnell. Who you could see a come out and also Also vote T to convict. I mean i'm talking about people like you know John cornyn Senator burr. who's not running again anyway. Senator shelby senator thune Senator in off who had a pretty severe break with With donald trump over the defense. Bill senator portman senator boozman cast the. I mean think you're starting to see the did. There are a universe of senators who voted. No and i don't voted. No but but made forceful cases against the idea that that congress should somehow overturn the results of the presidential election. Those republicans did that. That's your universe and it's a universe that makes it not inconceivable that that you could see two thirds majority to two convicts donald trump which Which is just a just a mind blowing idea right. Politicians are going to do politics right. I mean there's no small degree of of self interest in now week left in in the president's term to clearing it that he he should go. A lot of these folks made private judgments a long time ago that they never shared. They had an opportunity other than mitt romney also to vote to to remove him from office a year ago and they didn't do didn't do so they made a judgment. I i that's part of equation. Now we heard congress and kissing her to go talk about the judgment of history books. That's a consideration as well. i think. Another factor john and all of this in members that. I've talked to in in the staffers that i've talked to. They witnessed this. This happened to them they were. They were targeted people. If look if mitch. Mcconnell had come into the grasp of that mob last week. If mike pence had come into the craft with that mob they'd be dead. I have no doubt in my mind that there would be murdered. Members of congress. Republicans as well as democrats and to my mind to win the president will continue to deflect and redefine and pretend like that was an okay speech that he had nothing to do with it to me. That's extra offensive to members of congress who saw and themselves felt threatened by it and they were confronted finally an absolutely by the president who was doing reckless things and then in the aftermath. Lying about it. He's donna the lot and they stood by for a lot of it and understood where it was for whatever reasons privately however they've managed president trump. But the this at this stage given where he is in this where we are at this moment this was that final straw and it would not surprise me at all to see the the senate convict the president of high crimes and misdemeanors disqualify him from from from running again Even though that doesn't end his terminal. So let me just close but a one to watch. And i think maybe one of the most fascinating and maybe the most important in whether or not that outcome happens. And that's Senator chuck grassley President pro. Tem descendant longest serving republican. Senator somebody Enormously respected by republican senator somebody very close to donald trump and who frankly backed trump on some of the crazier talk of of of election fraud. But he is the president pro tem. He is in the line of succession in that role. He was whisked out of the The senate chamber to To a secure location. And and i am told Was was severely affected by that but by that experience He was horrified. Not only by what he saw happened to that building. He has spent so much time in most of his life in between there and the farm out in iowa that's been his existence Driving around all ninety nine counties in iowa and and working in that capitol building and he I am told by by by someone who spoke to him. Recently in the wake of all of that He was equally horrified By donald trump's reaction to what happened his silence as as they were under attack his refusal to come out and unequivocally call on people to stop and to go home so i would wash chuck grassley if chuck grassley took that extraordinary step and actually voted to convict. There's any question that there would be at least Seventeen republicans who would who would Who would go along with conviction so we shall see john in another world you know we'd be talking about the incoming biden administration and the new agenda of the democrats have now taken congress. And what a remarkable thing that donald trump who's been omnipresent for these last five plus years on the national landscape and certainly after the four years of his presidency is going to continue to linger into vitamin the into the biden days. He his presence even as an ex-president even without twitter facebook or youtube even without saying anything publicly he is going to be a major force that still has to be reckoned with literally the reckoning that will occur in the senate chamber the the first hours and days of the biden presidency will be focused on impeaching president trump. All right on that note. Rick let's get back Looks like they are just about done with vote. on the rule. We're going to be back to our coverage on television of the debate over impeachment in the house for. Thank you for listening powerhouse politics. Thank you avery miller. Trevor hastings in the power is politics team. We will be back next week. Or i think there's a real possibility even sooner.