Live impeachment updates: Democrats to show previously unseen security video of Capitol riots at trial Wednesday
WASHINGTON – House Democrats will show security footage from the Capitol that has never been seen before as they prosecute the Senate impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump, according to senior aides.
A 13-minute highlight reel of the riot Jan. 6, which weaved scenes of violence at the Capitol with Trump’s statements, was the centerpiece of arguments Tuesday over whether the trial is constitutional. The Senate voted 56-44, with six Republicans joining 50 Democrats, to declare it constitutional.
House prosecutors, who are called managers, contend they have a chance to persuade more Republicans because the evidence is compelling.
Five Republicans – Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania – had joined Democrats in an earlier vote upholding the constitutionality of the trial. They were joined Tuesday by GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy, who praised the managers’ arguments.
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In a Senate split 50-50, at least 17 Republicans would have to join Democrats for the required two-thirds majority to convict Trump.
House managers will present up to eight hours of arguments Wednesday that seek to illustrate how Jan. 6 was the culmination of Trump’s attacks on the election rather than the beginning, according to aides.
The managers will also have eight hours Thursday to chronicle months of statements they contend enflamed his supporters with lies about the election being stolen, creating a mob that rampaged through the Capitol. The evidence will show that Trump attracted violent supporters so that the result was foreseeable, according to aides.
Trump’s defense team has argued that his speech near the White House on Jan. 6 before the riots was protected by the First Amendment and that he can’t be blamed for what his supporters did. Trump’s defense lawyers will have up to 16 hours to make their arguments after the House managers complete two days of presentations.
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The vast majority of the nine managers led by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., are expected to speak Wednesday, according to aides.
The aides described how the trial would unfold under condition of anonymity.
– Bart Jansen
Senators on Wednesday expect Democratic prosecutors to dig into the violent Capitol riots of Jan. 6 as they outline their case on the second day of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, a presentation that may rekindle the trauma of last month’s attack.
The House Democratic lawmakers prosecuting the case, known as managers, are expected to present emotional testimony and videos from the riot when the trial resumes at noon. On Tuesday, lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin played a graphic 13-minute video showing the violent mob attacking police officers and ransacking the Capitol.
The footage left some senators rattled, forcing them to relive the attack that sent them running for safety.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said she felt “a little bit on edge watching all of that again” and small noises in the chamber left her a bit startled.
“It was more impactful than I thought it was going to be,” she said. “I found myself at points nervously looking up in the gallery.”
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Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said while senators were witnesses, they “were pretty clustered witnesses” and the video allowed him to fully take in the events.
“That’s probably the longest time I’ve spent actually watching video on that topic,” he said. “It was a horrible day.”
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said while it’s difficult, senators and the public should be forced to listen and face details of the attack.
“It’s powerful,” he said. “This is what the trial is about – the trial is about an insurrection against the federal government so not sure how you can have a trial without showing what happened that day.”
He acknowledged it’s going to be hard for many to relive that day, noting more footage and details are going to be presented.
“It’s gonna be a tough couple days,” Murphy said. “You’re gonna see more of that more pretty disturbing video, but I think it’s important for the Senate and for the public to see it.”
– Christal Hayes and Nicholas Wu
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House Democratic impeachment managers promise new evidence and “cold, hard facts” as they resume their prosecution of former President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial Wednesday.
House prosecutors, who are called managers, will have up to eight hours Wednesday and eight hours Thursday to elaborate on the wrenching, 13-minute video of the violence at the Capitol Jan. 6 that was played at the opening of the trial on Tuesday.
The lead manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, a former constitutional law professor at American University, assured senators that he wouldn’t lecture them.
“You will not be hearing extended lectures from me because our case is based on cold, hard facts,” Raskin said.
Democrats also promised to present new evidence.
‘They could have killed us all’:House Democrats open Trump impeachment trial with chilling video of Capitol riot
Impeachment managers hope to convince Senate Republicans to convict Trump on a charge of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol last month. Democrats allege Trump’s words and actions directly caused the violence that left multiple people dead.
The video played Tuesday summarized the violence by showing rioters smashing their way into the building while police were crushed and bludgeoned. The footage was spliced with Trump’s statements praising members of the crowd while baselessly saying he won the election.
Wednesday’s proceedings begin at noon after the trial withstood a challenge from Trump’s legal team Tuesday. The Senate voted 56-44 to uphold the constitutionality of the trial after Trump’s lawyers said it should be dismissed because Trump no longer holds office. Six Republicans joined the 50 Democrats in voting to move the case forward.
But the vote suggested Trump will likely be acquitted because at least 67 senators is required for conviction and more than a third of the chamber – all Republicans – objected to moving forward with the trial Tuesday.
Trump’s defense team led by Bruce Castor Jr. and David Schoen had argued that Trump couldn’t be tried as a private citizen after leaving office. They also said Trump’s speech to the mob before it stormed the Capitol was protected by the First Amendment.
Trump’s defense team will have up to 16 hours for arguments over two days after the House managers finish.
– Bart Jansen