A rush transcript of “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” airing on Sunday, February 14, 2021 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the “This Week” transcript archive.
ANNOUNCER: “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” starts right now.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR (voice-over): Acquitted again.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): The yeas are 57. The nays are 43.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The Senate fails to convict Donald Trump for inciting insurrection.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): The failure to convict Donald Trump will live as a vote of infamy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Seven Republicans break with the former president.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): My vote stems from my own and duty to defend the Constitution.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even his supporters strike.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The final vote after a dramatic twist.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): We would like the opportunity to subpoena Congresswoman Herrera.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Closing arguments cap a blistering debate.
REP. DIANA DEGETTE (D-CO): On January 6, we know who lit the fuse.
DAVID SCHOEN, IMPEACHMENT ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: The House manager spoke about rhetoric. We need to show you some of their own words.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The fallout this morning with Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, who voted to convict, House impeachment manager Madeleine Dean, Democratic Senator Chris Coons, and our powerhouse roundtable, plus the latest on the pandemic with President Biden’s chief medical adviser.
Dr. Anthony Fauci joins us live this morning.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it’s “This Week.”
Here now, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, and welcome to “This Week.”
Two years, two impeachments, two acquittals. Donald John Trump has made history again. No other American president has been impeached twice. No former president has faced trial. It is all but inconceivable that that record will ever be matched or broken by another American president.
Another record, seven senators from Trump’s own party voted to convict, breaking Trump’s own record from last year’s trial, when only Mitt Romney voted to convict.
So, what does this verdict mean for Trump, the presidency, the Congress, and the country? Has justice been served in the wake of the horrific and historic Capitol siege? What more will it take to hold those responsible accountable?
Will what happens next start to heal or harden our divides?
We’re going to take a first stab at addressing those questions this morning.
Chief Washington correspondent Jon Karl starts us off.
Good morning, Jon.
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. George.
Donald Trump is acquitted, but he’s not vindicated, not by a long shot. The evidence was laid out for the world to see and for history, leading to the most bipartisan guilty vote ever. History will also make its judgment on those 43 Republicans who voted to acquit.
Right after he voted not guilty, Mitch McConnell gave a speech that sounded like it could have been delivered by any of the House managers. McConnell pronounced Trump morally and practically responsible for provoking the insurrection at the Capitol.
He said essentially that he believes Trump is guilty as charged, but that he can’t vote to convict because Trump is already out of office. McConnell seemed to be calling for the banishment of Donald Trump from the Republican Party. And he stopped just short of calling for a criminal prosecution of Trump, saying — quote — “He didn’t get away with anything yet.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Jon, the leader’s speech really laid bare the divisions in the Republican Party, which does lead to that question: What’s next for Donald Trump? What’s next for the Republican Party?
KARL: Well, the votes for impeachment in the House and the votes guilty in the Senate seem to suggest that his hold on the party may be slipping, but only a bit.
Overwhelmingly, Republicans in Congress remain loyal to him. He can raise more money than any of them, it seems. And he remains the most popular figure in the country among Republican voters.
We heard in his statement after the trial, George, that he wants to clearly come out and reassert his control over the party. But I think that’s where the battle lines are now. Is it the direction that Mitch McConnell suggested, or is this really the party of Donald Trump?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Does that does the president, as far as we know, in his inner circle actually believe that he can run again?
KARL: They certainly talk that way. They certainly say that they’re going to be preparing to give him that option.
And I certainly believe that he will be suggesting that he is going to run again for some time. Whether or not he actually pulls the trigger, that very much remains to be seen.
OK, chief Washington correspondent Jon Karl, thanks very much.
We’re now joined by one of the seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump, Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
Dr. Cassidy, thanks for joining us this morning.
You had a pretty succinct statement in the wake of your vote. You say: “I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty.”
Why do you think he’s guilty? When did you make up your mind?
SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): So, I listened very carefully to all the arguments.
But if you describe resurr — insurrection, as I did, it’s an attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, we can see the president for two months after the election promoting that the election was stolen, people still tell me they think Dominion rigged those machines, with Hugo Chavez from Venezuela, that is not true, and all the news organizations that promoted that have retracted.
He then scheduled the rally for January 6th, just when the transfer of power was to take place. And he brought together a crowd, but a portion of that was transformed into a mob. And when they went into the Capitol, it was clear that he wished that lawmakers be intimidated. And even after he knew there was violence taking place, he continued to basically sanction the mob being there. And not until later did he actually ask them to leave.
All of that points to a motive and a method and that is wrong, he should be held accountable.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You were already facing backlash in your home state, as I know you know. The Executive Committee of the Louisiana GOP voted unanimously to censure (ph) last night. And the chair of the Republican Caucus in Louisiana State has added this — we want to show it right now.
“Senator Bill Cassidy, you no longer represent the majority of people in Louisiana who recently voted you into office. You are part of the problem with D.C. Don’t expect a warm welcome when you come home to Louisiana!”
CASSIDY: I have the privilege of having the facts before me and being able to spend several days deeply going into those facts. As these facts become more and more out there, if you will, and folks have a chance to look for themselves, more folks will move to where I was, people want to trust — they want to trust their leaders. They want people to be held accountable.
Now, we are holding — I’m attempting to hold President Trump accountable and that is the trust that I have from the people who elected me and I am very confident that as time passes people will move to that position.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you think you’ll eventually represent a majority view in Louisiana?
CASSIDY: You know, number one, I think I may already represent a majority view, don’t allow one person’s statement to reflect the entirety — the majority of the people in Louisiana, number one.
And number two, I was elected to uphold an oath to support and defend the Constitution. The majority of the people in Louisiana want that to be the case. And I have — I have respected that trust. I have voted to support and defend the Constitution.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You probably saw that statement from Former President Trump yesterday, he said his political movement has only just begun. Do you think he can run a credible campaign for president again? Will he remain a force in the Republican Party? What does that mean for the Republican Party?
CASSIDY: I think his force wanes. The Republican Party is more than just one person. The Republican Party is about ideas.
We were the party that was founded to end slavery, we were the party that preserved the union, we were the party that passed the first civil rights law, we were the party that ended the Cold War. We are the party that before COVID had an economy that had record low unemployment for everyone; the disabled, the high school dropout, the veteran, the woman, the Black, the Hispanic, you name it, that is the party of the ideas.
Now, the American people want those ideas but they want a leader who is accountable and a leader who they can trust. I think our leadership will be different going forward but it will still be with those ideas.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the questions on accountability is should the president face some kind of criminal accountability? You saw both your colleagues, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, even the leader — Leader McConnell suggesting that that was possible.
Do you think criminal charges should be pursued against Former President Trump?
CASSIDY: I’m a gastroenterologist, not an attorney. I will leave that question to others. I think more importantly is how do we move forward from this?
If you will, criminal trials will be looking back, we need to look forward because the ideas of our party are more important now than ever particularly in contrast to the Biden/Harris administration, which with the stroke of a pen ended 11,000 jobs on Keystone XL Pipeline and, by the way, with that, will increase global greenhouse gas emissions.
If there’s ever a time for a party to point out, wait, we make the environment worse but we lose 11,000 jobs, now is the time. And that should be where our party goes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you want to look forward. Does that mean no 9/11 style commission as the former chairs of the 9/11 commission Thomas Cain and Lee Hamilton have called for?
CASSIDY: You know, I don’t — I think there should be a complete investigation about what happened on 1/6, both why was there not more law enforcement, National Guard already mobilized, what was known, who knew it and when they knew it, all that, because that builds the basis so this never happens again in future.
I think that is also important, George, but that is different from allowing that to define the future of the Republican Party.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Cassidy, thanks for your time this morning.
CASSIDY: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We are now joined by House impeachment manager, Madeleine Dean.
Congresswoman Dean, thank you for joining us this morning.
First of all, your reaction to the verdict. President Trump, as you know, is claiming vindication, calling it a witch hunt. What message does an acquittal verdict send?
REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): Well, as you pointed out, and as Dr. Cassidy pointed out, this was the most bipartisan impeachment in our country’s history. So I understand and the American people understand that Donald Trump was guilty of these crimes against our nation, against his constitutional oath.
So I — I give credit to the seven Republicans who stood with us, who followed the facts, who looked at the law, who looked at the evidence and found this president guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You and your fellow managers at points got emotional during this debate. Just give us a sense of what it felt like to be on the Senate floor this week making this case?
DEAN: Well, I have to admit to you, it was a solemn honor. It felt very sober, very solemn, but I was very proud to be a part of extraordinary team of managers led so well by Representative/Lead Manager Jamie Raskin. And, of course, we were supported by a terrific team.
It felt like the gravity of the Constitution was resting on our shoulders. Many have said that the Constitution is a pressure thing, that democracy a precious thing and it’s fragile. So, what we did, and I think we did very well, was we put forward the strongest case based on the evidence and the law, and the responsibility of this president, that the president just absolutely abandoned his oath.
I’m very proud of what we did. It felt very sober and solemn. I will say that as the vote was taken, I was standing in the chamber as the vote was taken, and you know that each senator must stand and say his or her vote. And what they said was, either guilty or not guilty.
It was powerful to hear the 57 guilties and then it was puzzling to hear and see Mitch McConnell stand and say not guilty and then minutes later stand again and say he was guilty of everything.
History will remember that statement of speaking out of two sides of his mouth.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You saw Senator McConnell and others, I just talked to Dr. Cassidy about, suggest that President Trump should face possible criminal charges or could face possible criminal charges in the future. Several of your colleagues have said the same thing.
Do you believe that those charges should be pursued?
DEAN: I have to admit I’d rather stay in my lane, and the lane that I’m in, I’m very proud that the House impeached this president a second time. We brought forward an article of impeachment. We tried the case with a conviction of believing in our country and our democracy. I’ll leave criminal charges to those who are expert at that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Explain what happened with witnesses. I know you had a long night Friday and early morning Saturday morning trying to decide what to do. You secured the vote to have witnesses and then agreed instead to stipulate that Congresswoman Herrera Beutler’s statement could be on the record.
Some Democrats say you caved. Your response?
DEAN: Not at all. And I give a lot of credit to Representative Herrera Beutler for coming forward with that information that revealed the state of mind of this president, that when he’s being called, desperate calls to help, to send troops, to send help, to protect the Capitol, and to protect the joint session of Congress, and his own vice president, what was his state of mind? He was more concerned about his so-called big lie and the rigged election.
So, I give her a lot of credit. We didn’t need more witnesses. America witnessed this. We were in a roomful of witnesses and victims. We needed no more witnesses but what we were able to secure a stipulation by the former president’s lawyers that what she had to say was true, it was entered into the record, further witness of the high crime and insurrection incited by a president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Minutes later, the president’s lawyer denied that on the floor of the Senate.
DEAN: Well, the president’s lawyers really struggled. I think the world witnessed that. They struggled with their own credibility. They absolutely struggled with legal arguments. They struggled to understand or even recognize the gravity of the evidence. I thought their performance reflected really their client.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Final question on this question of a 9/11 style commission. Is that something you believe the House and Senate should pursue at this point?
DEAN: Think about it. For the first time in however many years, we had an insurrection incited by the president of the United States where five people died, more have died since, hundreds were injured, people lost fingers, lost eyesight. The House was desecrated. The Capitol was desecrated. People were terrorized. This was incited by the president of the United States. Of course there must be a full commission, an impartial commission, not guided by politics but filled with people who would stand up to the courage of their conviction like Dr. Cassidy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congresswoman Dean, thanks for your time this morning.
We’re joined now by Democratic —
DEAN: Thank you, George, for having me.
We’re joined now by Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware.
Senator Coons, you just heard Congresswoman Dean right there on the necessity of a 9/11 Commission. You agree?
SENATOR CHRIS COONS, (D-DE): I do.
George, this was a remarkable week. A powerful week. And I think the House managers, obviously Congresswoman Dean and Congressman Raskin and a very talented team put on an incredibly compelling and powerful case. But there’s still more evidence that the American people need and deserve to hear and a 9/11 Commission is a way to make sure that we secure the Capitol going forward and that we lay bare the record of just how responsible and how abjectly violating of his constitutional oath President Trump really was.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So there is more to learn. And you played a key role in working out the compromise accepted by the House managers on witnesses.
Walk us through the argument you made and what was going on in those couple of hours of confusion yesterday morning on the Senate floor.
COONS: Well, a number of senators promptly started talking to each other about what was the path forward with the unexpected request by the House managers for additional witnesses. And as lead manager Jamie Raskin recognized right after the trial, they could have had 500 more witnesses, it wasn’t going to change the outcome.
Once Mitch McConnell made it clear he intended to acquit, even despite the compelling evidence, what the House managers needed wasn’t more witnesses or more evidence. What we all needed was more Republican courage.
I am grateful to Dr. Cassidy and the seven Republicans who joined with every Democrat in voting to convict President Trump. This was the most bipartisan verdict in American history, a strong rebuke to President Trump. But, frankly at the end of the day, the trial had reached its natural conclusion and I’m grateful for the terrific work the House managers did.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you wouldn’t — you don’t believe that a full trial, more witnesses, more documents giving a sense of what was going on inside the White House, would have better serve the cause of justice and accountability?
COONS: I do think that we need to spend months and months unearthing all the evidence that can possibly be gotten to through a 9/11-style commission. I, frankly, at that time did not think that spending months fighting over additional witnesses would have changed the outcome of this trial one bit. And the House managers agreed. Many senators were making that point that they had as many votes on the Republican side as were possible to get. Frankly, they got more than even I expected given if you look back a year, the impeachment trial of President Trump that happened a year ago, only one Republican voted to convict.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What about a secret ballot? Would there have been 67 votes?
COONS: Yes, I’m fairly certain there would have been a vote to convict with a secret ballot. As you just reported on a few moments ago, Mitch McConnell, immediately following this vote, despite voting to acquit on flimsy constitutional grounds, said that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for the assault on the Capitol. And a number of Republicans have already come out and said there should be further accountability, whether through a criminal trial or through some other path towards being barred from office. I, frankly, think there were a majority of Republicans hanging their hat on a not very compelling constitutional argument and we need to find a way that we can deliver that accountability.
Ultimately, it’s in the hands of the American people. But I do think the Republican Party is deeply divided right now. And I’m grateful for the seven Republicans senators and 10 Republican House members who stood up for the Constitution and stood up to President Trump.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re — you’re a lawyer. Do you agree with these calls for a more criminal investigation of former President Trump?
COONS: I think there’s grounds for further proceedings, both civil and criminal, against former President Trump.
But, George, I’m also focused on moving forward with delivering the urgent pandemic relief, the revitalization and strengthening our economy that President Biden has been focused on since becoming president.
Even during this week of the impeachment trial, President Biden had bipartisan groups of senators over to the White House to talk about pandemic relief, rebuilding infrastructure, restarting our economy. I think that phase of accountability moves to the courts now and we in Congress need to move forward with delivering the expanded unemployment checks, the stimulus checks, the reinvestment in our economy that the American people so desperately need and deserve.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re a close ally of President Biden, perhaps his closest ally in the Senate. Have you spoken to him since the verdict, number one?
And, number two, given that it looks like this pandemic relief, at least the first bill, is going to be a partisan effort, not a bipartisan effort, how does he build on that promise he made in the campaign to bring the country together?
COONS: Well, George, let’s be clear. President Biden has met and met, spoken and spoken, with bipartisan group of senators. There are 10 Republican senators who are still negotiating with the White House, with a group of Democrats, about trying to find a bipartisan path for an appropriately bold and broad relief package.
If they get to a number and a scope that meets President Biden’s goals, I think that’s a good outcome. But we in the House and Senate, Democrats have provided a pathway so that, if a month from now, as unemployment checks are on the verge of stopping for 10 million Americans, we can proceed with a Democrat-only bill.
President Biden is uniting the American people. He is moving forward on relief that has the support of three-quarters of the American people. And from the way he spoke at his inauguration to the actions he’s taken in his first couple of weeks, he is showing us what real presidential leadership looks like, in sharp contrast to his predecessor. He ran on unity and I believe he’s delivering unity for the American people.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Coons, thanks for your time this morning.
COONS: Thank you, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Roundtable’s up next. We’ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY.) MAJORITY LEADER: The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole, which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on Planet Earth.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): For him to get up there and make this indictment against the president, and then say, but I can’t — I can’t vote for it because it’s after the fact. no, we didn’t choose. You chose not to receive it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi reacting to the verdict yesterday.
Let’s talk about it on our roundtable. Joined by Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, Republican strategist Sara Fagen, and Democracy for America CEO Yvette Simpson.
Great to have you all back in the studio again, although we are socially distanced.
SARA FAGEN, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris, let me begin with you.
I mean, that was kind of a stunning speech from Mitch McConnell after voting to acquit yesterday. Pick up on what I talked about with Senator Cassidy. What does this say? What does the verdict say? What does it say about the divisions in the Republican Party?
CHRIS CHRISTIE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think, no matter what happens, George, after you lose the House, the Senate and the White House, there are going to be divisions in your party.
And part of those divisions are driven by Donald Trump’s personality and his behavior. But part of those are driven by losing. And you know, in politics, there’s always going to be retribution and blame game for losing.
So, the divisions are caused by all of that.
Listen, I listened to Senator McConnell’s speech. I don’t think it was surprising. He’s been pretty much saying that same kind of thing for quite some time. And this is why I thought from the beginning that the Democrats would be better off pursuing censure with penalties. It would have given nobody the out about, well, is it constitutional or isn’t — isn’t it?
And I think it would have been able to have the Republicans have an opportunity and the Democrats to make a very strong statement together on this. That’s now by the boards. And Republicans will have to live with the ramifications of what they did yesterday.
But so will Democrats.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You think Cassidy’s right that more people are going to come to his view over time?
CHRISTIE: Yes, I do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yvette, you were shaking your head at the beginning of Chris’ statement there.
YVETTE SIMPSON, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I wish I could be…
CHRISTIE: Of course she was! Because I was speaking.
SIMPSON: I wish I could be that hopeful.
SIMPSON: You and I have agreed before. We don’t here. Donald Trump got away with murder, plain and simple. And everybody’s calling procedural playbooks for that. And there is no reason for that.
I mean, if the Republicans had a Democrat in that seat, they would have broken the rules, created new rules, and they would have made it happen.
And the idea that now he is emboldened, that the people who support him know that they can get away with this makes me afraid.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you really believe he’s emboldened?
SIMPSON: I think they are.
I mean, his statement says: I’m coming back. Make America great again.
Those folks are like: We got away with murder. We can do anything.
And that makes me scared. So, the idea that like, OK, we got that done, let’s pass some half-measure on health care, I’m very, very worried about what this means.
SARA FAGEN, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: He’s not emboldened. This was terrible for him.
And no matter what he did an office that was good, this is what he is going to be remembered for. Republicans, by 20 points, over the course of one month have said they don’t think he should run for president in 2024. He has lost significant ground in the Republican Party. He is still an important figure.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You think a run is possible?
FAGEN: I think, look, there’s an argument that says he needs to run, because he has so many legal troubles, that, if he’s a candidate for office, he can at least fall back on…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Raise money to pay his legal bills.
FAGEN: He can raise money, pay his legal bills, and fall back on the argument that this is just political, this is more of the political witch-hunt that he has been experiencing for his entire four-year period.
I don’t — I don’t know how that plays out, but that is one reason he may run.
RAHM EMANUEL, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: George, a couple points.
One, the last time — in 1932, when Roosevelt won, was the last time a party lost — that is, the Republicans — lost the presidency, the Senate and the House. That’s how far back you go for this moment in time to have a corresponding point in history.
Second, he won’t run, but he is going to spend the next two years on retribution. He is going after every Republican that either said something bad or voted against him. And God bless them. You guys who didn’t want to cut him off, you made a Faustian bargain with him, and that’s what’s coming to the Republican Party.
And one thing I would say, I figured out my Hanukkah gift for every Republican senator, JFK’s book “Profiles in Courage,” because they need that book.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about that — how about the point, though, that Chris made at the start?
I remember, on January 6, you called for censure immediately. Was it a mistake to do impeachment, instead of censure?
EMANUEL: I — what I think they should have done is both simultaneously.
And that is, you could have sent — knowing that full well, once McConnell said we weren’t going to do that, you didn’t have the votes, send it to committee, that is, the impeachment, and then immediately brought up both the censure and the vote on the 14th Amendment.
EMANUEL: That would have banned him from running again…
EMANUEL: … which is where 86 percent of the American people are, and also had a moral judgment.
And this is where I 100 percent agree with Yvette. There’s got to be a moral judgment that, when you aid and abet directly an insurrection in the United States government, that is wrong, whether it’s legal, which I don’t believe it is legal, but there is a moral judgment…
EMANUEL: … of wrong vs. right.
CHRISTIE: Yes, but here’s the thing. They had the chance to do that, and they didn’t.
CHRISTIE: They had to choose to do it, and they didn’t.
They should have left impeachment aside.
The voters accomplished what the Democrats were trying to accomplish. The American people see impeachment as removal. They don’t see it as anything else.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: Right, but are Republicans who voted yesterday and the managers made this point, this is the most consequential vote of their life, are they going to regret a not guilty vote?
CHRISTIE: Well, you know, I don’t know whether they’re going to regret it or not. It depends on where you’re from. And I think in certain parts of this country, they won’t regret the vote, in other parts, they may. But that’s the political judgment.
What they should —
STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m asking more in historic judgment than a political judgment.
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, it depends on who writes the history, right, George? And everybody is going to look at it from a different perspective.
I think Yvette’s right. And I’ve been saying this for a long time, and I said this to the president back last summer, I said, if you don’t change your behavior, your behavior will obscure any accomplishments you’ve had as president, and now, that’s what happened. That’s what happened.
And that’s a moral judgment on him, too, because he has to live with now the idea that that’s going on.
But one last thing on censure, they would have put Republicans in an impossible political position not to vote for a censure. And the Liz Cheney vote tells you what Republicans really think.
SARA FAGEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes.
RAHM EMANUEL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: George — go ahead. It is Valentine’s Day. Go ahead.
SARA FAGEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, I think — I think a lot of these folks legitimately do believe this was unconstitutional. It was convenient that they believe that.
I think the real test is going to come as we get into the throes of the next presidential campaign, which probably a year-ish away. Are these people going to — who’s going to back whom? Are any of these individuals going to back Donald Trump if he runs, if one of his kids runs by chance? I don’t think so.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I think —
YVETTE SIMPSON, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, they will.
FAGEN: I don’t think so.
SIMPSON: Donald Trump —
STEPHANOPOULOS: That was Nikki Haley this week.
STEPHANOPOULOS: She had stood by him for the most part except for Charlottesville. And she came out, and said she cut all times after being —
SIMPSON: She’s saying that today.
Donald Trump has always as you say been the person that he is and he’s always surprised people even though he’s always said he’s coming. So, that statement is, I’m coming, know that I’m coming and everybody is going to get and assemble (ph).
He said stand back and stand by. And a whole bunch of people did. He said, show up, and people did. He said, storm the Capitol, and they did.
And now he’s saying I’m coming back, you’re all like, I don’t believe that’s true.
He has always said who he is and then he shows up as that person.
EMANUEL: There’s a question here. Did the seven Republicans who I think voted in their conscience represent the future of the party for the last gasp for the last part about it?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Right, that’s a good question.
EMANUEL: And I think — I think fundamentally it’s a last gasp. Donald — this is Donald Trump’s party. He’s not going to let go of it, and you can see that around the country, and this is going to be your Faustian bargain as Republicans.
Two of you are going into a museum. You’re going to be like the historical facts. This is Donald Trump’s party.
And here’s the thing that happened. It’s — and it’s going to be seen. They’re scared of primaries, and he’s — and it’s going to be a problem because the Republican Party is going to culturally take a whole group of voters and culturally set them loose.
Whether we’re smart as Democrats to grab them, and Donald Trump is not leaving the stage. He is a narcissist. He’s not leaving the stage. He’s made for the microphone and the camera, and he will dominate and you guys can’t shake him.
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I think that the challenge for the leadership for the party in the future is to separate message from messenger. You know, the people who will make a mistake are the people who are going to throw the baby out with the bathwater and say, everything that he did and everything about him is wrong and bad and we must dispense with it.
The people who are going to make the mistake on the other side are the people who are going to try to play both sides of the —
STEPHANOPOULOS: What is the “it” that holds that base to Donald Trump? Isn’t it about personality more than it’s about policy?
CHRISTIE: But, George, no, no. I think for a lot of these people, they like what they did.
Now, and there are a lot of people who I’ve spoken to who say, I don’t like him but, boy, I liked the way he pushed some of those people around down there and the way he got some things done.
EMANUEL: Chris, would you agree with me, in the last month, the Republican Party by Republicans has taken a 15-point drop? This is a problem for, thank God, the Republican Party. That is a big problem, after an election.
FAGEN: It is a problem but it is the early days of a new administration.
And, look, Joe Biden gave a great inaugural address, he preached unity. And the first thing he’s done is pushed a COVID bill and refused to negotiate with Republicans on anything.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Making her happy.
SIMPSON: Oh my God. I mean —
FAGEN: Yes, but, look —
SIMPSON: If we can’t get ten Republicans to agree to impeach the president for something we saw on tape, how are we going to get ten people to come — ten Republicans to come over for a package to save America? I really do worry about that, one, because —
FAGEN: But the loyal opposition is going to have a lot of material to work with over the next couple of years.
And so, if the minority in the House and the Senate can come together and put one foot in front of another every single day and fight the Biden agenda, that will help the party move forward. It’s not going to solve our problems overnight, but it’s what needs to happen until there is new —
STEPHANOPOULOS: The question is, what does this mean for Joe Biden?
Rahm, you have a piece in “The Wall Street Journal” this morning. Listen, it looks like this COVID relief bill is going to pass as a partisan bill. So, how does the president build on that promise of that bipartisanship given that fact?
EMANUEL: First of all, it — and that’s OK that it passes that way, as I say. The fact is, you’ve got to get your score card on bipartisanship bigger than just one piece of legislation because it was a core piece of your character and authenticity as a chief executive is key. One, appoint Republicans, you know, in other parts of the administration, not cabinet.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He didn’t do it in the cabinet.
EMANUEL: But — but — yes. But there’s other places. It’s a big government.
Two, like in 2007, take the minimum wage, which probably won’t make it through reconciliation, pair it with Republicans’ small business ideas, send that bill, passed in 2007, 80-14.
Third, any changes to the reconciliation, include Republican ideas and highlight it for the public.
And, fourth, and he obviously knows this because the first meeting he had was with Republican senators and the public took note, you — and then the fourth thing, embrace, even as Ron Klain has, Romney’s ideas on the tax credit —
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s —
EMANUEL: Because, in my view, you can’t take a blow to your character and the — it was — bipartisanship was not a political tactic, it was a part of who he was.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What does that cost him on the progressive side?
FAGEN: But he hasn’t done it yet.
SIMPSON: It will because the very first thing he did was let Republicans in and the first thing they did was low ball the offer. And then he said, we need to make sure we take care of impeachment, and then they didn’t show up in the way that they should have. So the idea that he needs — he has the majority he needs, he needs to show up for the American people. 2022 is around the corner. Push through the agenda that you need to push through. Say the Republicans weren’t there, they weren’t serious about it and they need to be replaced, because right now if he does not get big things done, he’s going to be held to account —
EMANUEL: It’s not — it’s not even — it’s not either or. That’s what McConnell wants him to do.
CHRISTIE: Listen, George, that’s why — this is — this is —
SIMPSON: Because he has the trifecta. And here’s the thing, Republicans — Republicans will take this much and make this much happen. Democrats have this much and act like they can’t get anything done.
CHRISTIE: See — this is why Sara and I are alive and well, OK? This is why.
CHRISTIE: This is — no, no, this is why —
CHRISTIE: Because right now, George —
SIMPSON: At least we’re fighting about this and not what you guys are fighting —
CHRISTIE: I understand.
SIMPSON: You guys are fighting about insurrection and we’re fighting about health care.
CHRISTIE: I understand. You — you clearly have the moral high ground. I understand.
EMANUEL: No, we agree on health care.
CHRISTIE: Here’s the — here’s the thing, right now, three weeks into a new administration, we — the Republicans are operating in a vacuum. There’s nothing to respond to yet because Trump has over ridden that because of the impeachment and the way it was done.
Now we’re not going to be operating in a vacuum. We’re going to be responding to this fight.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And one of the things you were saying is actually the impeachment trial did help, you thought, Joe Biden.
CHRISTIE: I did help Joe Biden, there’s no question, because it forestall our ability to be able to respond to things that we think are not right for the country. So I have nearly the pessimism that my buddy Rahm has about the Republican Party.
I think that when we get —
EMANUEL: Is that my Valentine’s to me? Buddy?
CHRISTIE: It’s as good as you’re getting.
I just really believe that what the Republicans — when the Republicans will recover is when the Republicans get back on talking about the things that they believe in, things they want to talk about and get away. We’ve had to — I’ve had to come on this show for four years and your first question to me always is about something Donald Trump said, did or tweeted. That’s not going to be the case over the couple years. It’s just not. And no matter how much Rahm wants to continue to think that Donald Trump’s going to dominant the party, he’s not going to dominate it that way from a personality perspective. He’ll — he’ll go after people.
SIMPSON: Now it’s going to be Marjorie Greene.
CHRISTIE: Well, yes, listen, and — and many of us who spoke out against her too.
EMANUEL: You know, last month — I mean this — this is not — this is not a — last month you had either Donald Trump, Congresswoman Greene or Republicans going after Liz Cheney. And if you think that ends starting on Monday morning, I’ve got a bridge over the Tigress River you can buy.
CHRISTIE: I’ve got 145 (ph) —
FAGEN: Donald — Donald Trump being banned from Twitter is not a small thing.
CHRISTIE: Not at all.
FAGEN: And, you know, we can have a debate about censorship, which I think is deeply concerning in this country —
EMANUEL: Yes, I —
FAGEN: But I think most Republicans are glad Twitter has banned him and hope that they continue to do so.
CHRISTIE: And, remember, 145 Republicans stood with Liz Cheney.
CHRISTIE: And so it wasn’t like they stood with Marjorie Taylor Greene. It wasn’t like they stood with the Freedom Caucus folks on that issue. They stood with Liz Cheney, 145 of them.
FAGEN: That’s right.
EMANUEL: They stood —
STEPHANOPOULOS: But let me challenge you a little bit. If — if, as Rahm said, pursuing bipartisanship is a character issue for Joe Biden, where can he do that in a way that would be acceptable to you and other progressives?
SIMPSON: You know, it starts with COVID relief. I don’t know why we continue to pretend like Republicans and Democrats aren’t suffering under the weight of this — this package. So for Republicans to come in and lowball that offer, when their folks are suffering too, that should have been unifying.
EMANUEL: Well he —
SIMPSON: We should have passed that package.
CHRISTIE: But how about $900 billion —
SIMPSON: It was — it was already — it was already a compromised position, this idea that they asked to low ball.
EMANUEL: And here —
CHRISTIE: How about $900 billion.
SIMPSON: Let’s start with that because I think it’s unifying.
CHRISTIE: $800 billion (ph) hasn’t even been distributed yet.
FAGEN: It — right.
EMANUEL: Here’s my — here’s my thing. This is not any —
CHRISTIE: It hasn’t been distributed yet. We need another (ph) $1.9 trillion?
EMANUEL: It’s not — it’s not an either or. And this is my point. You could — Cindy McCain — let’s be real, Cindy McCain as an ambassador. Great. Minimum wage is not going to make it through reconciliation. I don’t think a $15 should just sit on the side of the road. Put it with some small business things that Republicans said and put it on the floor. You’re going to get bipartisanship and the public will be happy with progress. And then progress goes to Joe Biden’s credit card (ph).
SIMPSON: Democrats are already negotiating our own position on $15 an hour, unfortunately. We don’t need the Republicans to do that. So —
FAGEN: This — this COVID stimulus package is — is bloated, it’s fat, it should fail. Here’s the reality. Think about it. There’s $130 billion for school reopening, and the teacher’s union, you know, basically shoved it to Biden and said, “No.”
So we’re now going to give $130 billion to public schools that aren’t going to open.
SIMPSON: It’s to protect the teachers and the family.
FAGEN: Well, of course the teachers…
CHRISTIE: And the CDC says you don’t have to.
CHRISTIE: And the CDC says that the — that — that schools could have reopened months ago, and the only reason they didn’t, in my state, in other states, is because of the teacher’s union saying they don’t want to go back. And you know who that’s going to hurt…
FAGEN: And we’re going to give them money?
CHRISTIE: … urban kids — urban kids.
FAGEN: We’re going to give them money to not open…
SIMPSON: … teachers who have adjusted their lives to make sure kids stay educated through this pandemic…
CHRISTIE: Then they’re not.
SIMPSON: … who are putting themselves at risk.
CHRISTIE: Urban kids are not being educated in this circumstance. They’re not.
FAGEN: At some point, people need to stand up and say…
SIMPSON: They still aren’t protecting nurses…
FAGEN: … sanitation workers, grocery store workers.
SIMPSON: … who are still doing this work on the front lines.
FAGEN: Doctors went back to work. Teachers need to go back to work, too.
CHRISTIE: That’s right. If the guy — if the guy — if the guy loading my produce at the — at the supermarket…
CHRISTIE: … can go back to work, a teacher can go back and start teaching an urban kid. They’re failing our urban kids.
SIMPSON: … and the protection they need before you send them back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I am going to put that question to Dr. Anthony Fauci. He joins us live, next. Thank you all very much. It’s great to have you back.
CHRISTIE: Great to be back, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Anthony Fauci is standing by. We’ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We signed the final contracts for 100 million more Moderna and 100 million more Pfizer vaccines, and were also able to move up the delivery dates with an additional 200 million vaccines to the end of July, faster than we expected.
That means we’re now on track to have enough supply for 300 million Americans by the end of July.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: President Biden ramping up the vaccines this week.
We’re joined now by his chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Dr. Fauci, thanks for joining us again this morning.
I want to get to the vaccines in a moment, but I know you heard that debate at the end of our roundtable right now about reopening schools. And I wonder if you can shed some light on that.
The new CDC guidelines don’t require that teachers get vaccinated before reopening. What do you say to teachers who are concerned about going back into the classroom without being vaccinated?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You know, there’s a lot of layering to the mitigations, George.
And I think the point to make, it’s totally understandable, teachers’ concern. I mean, we appreciate that.
The issue is that there are a lot of things that can be done. And they are really delineated pretty clearly in this 24-page document that you referred to in the roundtable with the guidelines that are coming out that would make the risk less.
And this is the first time that it’s been put down in a document based on scientific observations and data over the last several months to a year, both in the United States and elsewhere. Part of that is to indicate and to suggest strongly that a preference be given to teachers to get vaccinated.
So, vaccinating teachers are part of it, but it’s not a sine qua non. It’s not something that you can’t open a school unless all the teachers are vaccinated. That would be optimal, if you could do that.
But, practically speaking, when you balance the benefit of getting the children back to school with the fact that the risks are being mitigated if you follow the recommendations and these new guidelines from the CDC, hopefully, I think that will alleviate the concerns on both sides.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They are guidelines, but they’re not requirements.
How confident are you that the guidelines will be followed? And do school districts have the resources they need to reopen safely?
FAUCI: Well, George, the second part of your question is really a good one.
I think that the schools really do need more resources. And that’s the reason why the national relief act that we’re talking about getting passed, we need that. The schools need more resources.
The things we didn’t have before, there wasn’t that was — there wasn’t anything that was put down solidly on paper on saying, these are the kinds of things that you should consider, these are the kind of things that you should follow.
I mean, there was talk about it, but it wasn’t actually put down in a single document that you could access. The teachers, the educators, and everyone else can.
I think it can be done. I mean, obviously, it’s not a perfect situation. But it’s really important to get the children back to school in as safe a way as possible, safe for the children, but also safe for the teachers and the other educators.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We have some breaking news on the virus front this morning. Experts in the United Kingdom are now concluding that the U.K. variant is indeed likely more deadly than other versions of the virus.
What does the science tell you? And what do we need to do about it?
FAUCI: Well, it’s pretty clear, George, what we need to do about it.
I mean, the sobering news is that we have a variant that is now in the United States, no doubt. It’s the 117 lineage that has dominated in the U.K.
The U.K. has studied it. They find out that it transmits more efficiently from person to person, which really accounted for the big surge that they had in the U.K. But recent studies also indicate that it is also a bit more deadly, if you want to use that word. It makes people more sick and it’s more likely to lead to serious complications.
The somewhat comforting news is that vaccine that we are now currently distributing, the Moderna vaccine and Pfizer vaccine, clearly work against the variant. And we know that from in vitro test tube studies as well extrapolation of other vaccines.
This tells us that the best way to get around that and prevent any serious consequences is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as you possibly can and to double-down on the public health measures that, you know, you and I have spoken about on this show so many times — the masking, the distancing, the avoiding congregate settings.
If you put together that with the vaccine, we can be able to confront this variant as it were and prevent it from taking over.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We know less about the South Africa variant and less about what works with that. And there is another report this morning of the first known patient who has that reinfected — after having COVID before, reinfected with the South African variant. That person is in critical condition.
What should people know about the risk of reinfection if they’ve had COVID?
FAUCI: Well, that’s a very good point. The data that we got from South Africa is really quite sobering. The South African isolate, the 351, that lineage, is more problematic than the U.K. one in the sense that we know less about it, vis-a-vis whether it transmits more readily or not.
But we do know that it evades the protection from some of the monoclonal antibodies and it diminishes somewhat the capability and the effectiveness of the vaccine to block it. It doesn’t eliminate it, but it diminishes it by multiple fold. There’s still some cushion left so that the vaccine does provide some protection against it.
But the point that you made is interesting and we need to pay attention to it. In South Africa, there were people who got infected with the original virus, recovered, and then got reinfected with this new variant, the South African variant — which tells us that prior infection does not protect you against reinfection, at least with this particular variant.
Somewhat good news is it looks like the vaccine is better than natural infection in preventing you from getting reinfected with the South Africa isolate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that is good news.
Dr. Fauci, thanks for joining us again this morning. We always appreciate your time and your information.
FAUCI: Good to be you, George. Thanks for having me.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You bet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUBTITLE: Which is the longest presidential marriage in American history?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ON SCREEN TEXT: Which is the longest presidential marriage in American history?
Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn, married 74 years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A kiss. Yeah. Yeah!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out “WORLD NEWS TONIGHT” and I’ll see you tomorrow on “GMA.”