- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Democratic House impeachment managers on Wednesday are introducing never-before-seen U.S. Capitol security video of the riot on Jan. 6 to demonstrate the extent of the violence, as they opened the Senate trial of former President Donald Trump

The security video is expected to show how close lawmakers came to some of the rioters who forced their way into the Capitol. It’s intended to bolster Democrats’ timeline asserting that Mr. Trump incited thousands of supporters at a rally near the White House, and then turned them loose on Congress.

Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead impeachment manager, said the trial is “a moment of truth for America.”

“We are having a trial on the facts,” Mr. Raskin told senators. “The evidence will show you that ex-President Trump was no innocent bystander…. he became the inciter-in-chief of a dangerous insurrection.”

Other impeachment managers said Mr. Trump orchestrated the riot by convincing his followers that the election had been “stolen” from him through fraud, and then calling his supporters to Washington for the rally on Jan. 6. 

It was the same day that Congress was required to count the Electoral College results certifying President Biden’s victory.

Rep. Joe Neguse, Colorado Democrat, played video clips of Mr. Trump telling supporters at the rally, “We must stop the steal. You have to get your people to fight. We fight like hell.”

Mr. Neguse told senators, “It was not rhetorical. Some of his supporters had been primed for this over many months.”

“This clearly was not just one speech,” he said. “It was part of a carefully planned, monthslong effort with a very specific instruction to show up on Jan. 6 and get your people to fight the certification.”

He said Mr. Trump “assembled the mob, he summoned the mob and he incited the mob.”

“They were waiting for his orders to begin fighting,” Mr. Neguse said. “They were doing what he wanted them to do. He made them believe over many weeks that the election was stolen, and they were following his command to take back their country.”

Sen. Ben Cardin, Maryland Democrat, said he expects House managers to lay out the chronology of events from the November election through the Jan. 6 rally, the riot and the former president’s reaction. 

“There is no question the president’s words motivated the crowd,” Mr. Cardin told reporters. “The question is, did he really intend something like this to happen? I think that is an area I expect them to spend a lot of their time on.”

Mr. Cardin said the environment of this impeachment trial is different from last year’s proceedings concerning Mr. Trump‘s phone call with the Ukrainian president, because more Republicans appear to support the trial moving forward this time.

The first day of the managers’ prosecution comes after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled to Republican colleagues that their vote to convict or acquit Mr. Trump is “a matter of conscience.” Some Democrats took it as a hopeful sign that more Republicans might join them in voting for conviction.

“I was impressed by Mitch McConnell saying this as a matter of conscience, which I agree with him,” Mr. Cardin said. “Look, we recognize we operate in the political world. We recognize it’s an uphill battle.”

Seventeen Republicans would need to vote with all 50 Democrats to reach the required two-thirds majority to convict Mr. Trump of inciting the riot. On Tuesday, six out of 50 Republican senators agreed with Democrats that putting a former president on trial is constitutional.


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