House impeachment managers presented video footage, tweets, and comments from rioters at the Capitol to build the case against Donald Trump.
House Democratic impeachment managers spent Wednesday and Thursday making the case for convicting Donald Trump on the charge of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and banning him from ever holding federal office again, using video evidence of the attack as well as tweets and video posted by Trump both before and during the riot.
The video evidence was prefaced on Wednesday with a viewer's advisory from impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who warned parents and teachers who were watching the trial with children that they might want to shield them from some of the language and violence shown.
The impeachment managers started with video of speeches over the last few months of the 2020 presidential campaign in which Trump laid the groundwork for convincing his supporters that the only way he could lose was if the election was stolen.
The managers also showed video of speeches after the election in which Trump lied about voter fraud and said the election was stolen, encouraging his supporters to come to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 to get "wild" and "stop the steal."
They also showed video of earlier violence on the part of his supporters that Trump himself cheered on, as well as warnings given to Trump that his actions were dangerous and could lead to the kind of violent attack that eventually took place on Jan. 6.
Del. Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands introduced a video of a caravan of Trump supporters in Texas in October using their vehicles to box in a bus carrying volunteers with Joe Biden's presidential campaign. Plaskett then showed how Trump celebrated that video by tweeting it out with the words, "I LOVE TEXAS."
The managers also showed videos shot by Trump supporters themselves in which they repeat their understanding that Trump had told them to fight for his stolen victory in the election and to take that fight to the Capitol.
"They were doing what he wanted them to do," another of the impeachment managers, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) said Wednesday.
But some of the most gripping evidence came in previously unaired security footage taken in the Capitol, which showed just how close the insurrectionists, who the Justice Department says were hunting for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence, came to reaching lawmakers.
Security cameras caught the moment when Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, encountering Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) walking in a Senate hallway, warned him to turn around, saving him from heading straight for the rioters.
Legal experts have praised the Democratic impeachment managers' presentation of their arguments, but note that Republicans have shown no inclination over the past four years to hold Trump accountable for any of his actions.
"The House Managers are righteously prosecuting on behalf on the Constitution. They are focused. Hard to imagine how anyone could fail to convict based solely on the evidence presented so far but if the last 4 years have shown us anything they suggest that the GOP will find a way," former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance tweeted.
Senate Republicans were already spreading excuses for acquitting Trump on the first day the managers were presenting evidence.
"The 'Not Guilty' vote is growing after today," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tweeted. "I think most Republicans found the presentation by the House Managers offensive and absurd."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.