GOP senators are making all kinds of excuses to acquit Trump for inciting a riot

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) declared the 'Not Guilty' vote was 'growing' after Republicans watched harrowing videos of the pro-Trump mob waging the insurrection.

House Democratic impeachment managers on Wednesday presented hours of evidence showing how they believed Donald Trump incited the mob that waged the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, including previously unseen security footage that showed just how close the insurrectionists came to lawmakers — evidence that shows the day could have been even more deadly.

Yet rather than being moved to convict Trump, Senate Republicans left the second day of the impeachment trial with excuses about why they still support acquitting Trump, and some even proclaimed they are more sure in their decision that Trump should not face punishment.

"The 'Not Guilty' vote is growing after today," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted after Wednesday's trial, which included evidence that the insurrectionists were reading Trump's tweets during the attack to justify why they were there and why they should continue using violence to block the certification of President Joe Biden's victory. "I think most Republicans found the presentation by the House Managers offensive and absurd."

After Wednesday's presentation, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) declared the trial to be a "complete waste of time."

"Look, I've been clear that I wish the president had said something faster when they broke into it, but, you know, I've watched what he said. He's never said when somebody should break in — [he] actually said that people should do this peacefully," Scott said, according to NBC News.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) — who was one of the ring leaders of the plot to block certification of President Joe Biden's Electoral College win — also said he was not moved to believe Trump was responsible for the insurrection.

"They spent a great deal of time focusing on the horrific acts of violence that were played out by the criminals, but the language from the president doesn’t come close to meeting the legal standard for incitement," Cruz said, according to BuzzFeed News reporter Paul McLeod.

However, the House impeachment managers spent hours of the day laying out in detail how Trump spent months sowing doubt in the election, telling his supporters that the election was stolen, and encouraging them to "fight" as they marched to the Capitol. Once the mob broke in, Trump then waited hours to make any statements at all and in fact sided with the insurrectionists at the end of the day, telling them they were "very special" and implying attack was punishment for Congress not bending to his will to overturn Biden's win.

What's more, the managers presented evidence that Trump was told by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) that Vice President Mike Pence had been evacuated from the Senate chamber because the mob had closed in, and almost immediately after that, Trump tweeted out an attack against Pence, saying Pence did not have the "courage" to stop the certification of the vote.

"The prosecution is compelling. Donald Trump incited and directed the insurrection. He knew what he was doing. I cannot imagine how any Senator could vote against removal," Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), one of the 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump, tweeted Wednesday night.

Yet that is exactly what Senate Republicans are saying.

In order to secure a conviction, House Democratic impeachment managers need to convince 17 Senate Republicans.

So far, only six Republicans thought the impeachment trial itself was constitutional. And it's not a given that those six Republicans will vote to convict Trump for inciting the insurrection.

The impeachment trial resumes at noon on Thursday, when the Democratic impeachment managers will continue their presentation.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.