Donald Trump's impeachment trial could end by Saturday

Democrats tell Republican senators that if they acquit Donald Trump at his trial he could get back into office ‘and do it again’ – as they say he spent years ‘lighting the fuse’ on MAGA violence

  • Democrats warned the Senate if they acquit Donald Trump, he could return to public office and act the same way
  • ‘Is there any political leader in this room who believes that if he is ever allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office, Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get his way?,’ Jamie Raskin asked 
  • House Democrats wrapping up their impeachment case Thursday
  • Trump’s second impeachment trial could wrap as early as Saturday 
  • Trump attorneys not expected to use all their time for their defense
  • Trump is expected to be acquitted 
  • Democrats argued Trump has lit the fuse on violence for years 
  • ‘January 6th was a culmination of the president’s actions, not an aberration from them,’ Lead House Impeachment manager Jamie Raskin said 

Democrats warned the Senate Thursday that if they acquit Donald Trump, he could return to public office and act the same all over again. 

‘My dear colleagues, is there any political leader in this room who believes that if he is ever allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office, Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get his way?,’ Lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin poised to the senators who decide the former president’s fate.

‘When you bet the lives of more police officers on it? Would you bet the safety of your family on it? Would you bet the future of your democracy on that? President Trump declared his conduct totally appropriate. So, he gets back into office, and it happens again, we will have no one to blame but ourselves,’ he concluded.  

If Trump is found guilty, he would be barred from ever holding public office again. He is expected to be acquitted. 

Democrats will wrap up their case against Trump on Thursday afternoon, arguing he has lit the fuse on violence for years. 

‘January 6th was a culmination of the president’s actions, not an aberration from them. The insurrection was the most violent and dangerous episode so far in Donald Trump’s continuing pattern and practice of inciting violence,’ Raskin said.

‘Trump knew exactly what he was doing and inciting the January 6 mob. Exactly,’ he noted. ‘He had just seen how easily his words and actions inspire violence in Michigan. He sent a clear message to his supporters. He encouraged planning and conspiracies to take over capitol buildings on threaten public officials who refused to bow down to his political will.’ 

Democrats argued Trump has lit the fuse on violence for years: ‘January 6th was a culmination of the president’s actions, not an aberration from them,’ Lead House Impeachment manager Jamie Raskin said

Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette showed January 6th from the rioters’ point of view, arguing they believed they were acting at Trump’s orders and would not be punished

The trial could wrap as early as Saturday since Trump’s team isn’t expected to take its full two days to defend the former president.

‘Hope not,’ Trump attorney David Schoen told reporters on Capitol Hill about using the full 16 hours allotted to them. Several senators predicted the trial would wrap up on Saturday or possibly Sunday at the latest.

‘We’re hoping the thing concludes by Saturday,’ Republican Senator John Cornyn said. 

But Democrats focused their closing remarks on showing Trump’s history of endorsing violence. 

‘When President Trump’s watch, white supremacist extremist groups had spread like wildfire wild fire over the land,’ Raskin said.

He showed several clips of Trump’s praising his supporters who dragged protesters out of his campaign rallies and failing to condemn the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.

‘Ever since he became president, Trump revealed what he thought of political violence for his side, he praised it and he encouraged it,’ Raskin said.

Democrats show pattern of behavior on Trump’s part 

Democrats are trying to show a pattern of behavior on Trump’s part that led to the Capitol riot, countering the defense’s argument that the former president’s speech on January 6th wasn’t enough to incite the mob. 

House Democrats began their second day of arguments for Trump’s impeachment by showing the MAGA attack from the rioters’ point of view, using their own words to argue the Trump supporters believed they were obeying the former president’s wishes.

Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette, one of the impeachment managers, made the case that the rioters believed they were acting at Trump’s orders and believed that they would face no punishment for attacking the Capitol.

She charged that Trump ‘lit the fuse’ on January 6th that started the riot at the Capitol.

‘Their own statement before, during and end after the attack was made clear that it was done at Donald Trump’s instructions and with his wishes. Donald Trump sent them there. They truly believed that the intrusion was at the president’s orders. We know that because they said so,’ she said.

‘This was not a hidden crime. The president told them to be there and so they actually believed they would face no punishment,’ she said.

She showed footage of Jacob Chansley, the Trump supporter who wore horns and carried an American flag as he stormed the Senate.

‘He carried a spear as he breached the capital, entered the Senate to the gallery and went right here onto the Senate floor. He left a threatening note just right there for Vice President Pence,’ she said, gesturing to the Senate dais behind her. ‘Right there, it read ‘It’s only a matter of time. Justice is coming.’

DeGette when on to say: ‘Chansley’s lawyer now says that Chansley felt duped by the president and regrets what the president brought him to do. This man, who ran through our halls, who ran into this chamber, who sat right there on the dais and who wrote a note for vice president pence that he was coming for him, he and those with him declared they would remove us from office if we went against Donald Trump. Now he’s saying he would not have done any of that if Mr. Trump had told him not to.’

Rep. DeGette showed footage of Jacob Chansley, the Trump supporter who wore horns and carried an American flag as he stormed the Senate

Trump attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen are expected to wrap their case by Saturday

She played videos from the rioters’ perspective – including from Trump’s rally that morning where he told his supporters to ‘fight like hell.’ ‘Fight for Trump,’ the crowd shouted back to the president.

She also showed the MAGA rioters shouting similar slogans to Trump such as ‘fight the steal’ – which was Trump’s rallying cry as he tried to overturn the election results in his favour – as they stormed the Capitol complex.

‘They weren’t doing this just for Mr. Trump, they were following his instructions. They said he had invited them and, in fact, as we heard, he had invited them. As one man explained on a live stream from inside the capitol, ‘Our president wants us here, we wait and take orders from our president.’ Footage shows when the insurrectionists first got into the building and confronted the police, the mob screamed at the officers that they were listening to President Trump,’ she said.

DeGette was countering the defense’s claim that Trump’s speech to supporters the morning was not enough to incite the January 6th attack on the Capitol, which left five dead and a trail of destruction in the building.

She also showed footage the rioters took of themselves in the Capitol, in an office, trying to call Trump on the phone.

‘Let’s tell Trump what’s up,’ one says.

‘Just say we love him,’ another notes.

‘He will be happy,’ says one. ‘We are fighting for Trump.’

DeGette pointed to the more than 100 people who have been arrested and charged in the January 6th attack, saying if they are being held accountable, so must be Trump.

‘All of these people who have been arrested and charged are being held accountable for their actions. Their leader, the man who incited them must be held accountable as well,’ she said.

Joe Biden says he believes ‘some minds may be changed’ 

President Joe Biden said Thursday that some Republicans senators may change their minds on Donald Trump’s impeachment after seeing new video footage of what happened in the Capitol on the day of the MAGA riot. 

The president said he ‘didn’t watch any of the hearing live’ but saw news coverage of Democratic impeachment managers making their case against Trump.

‘I think the Senate has a very important job to complete and, I think, my guess is some minds may have been changed but I don’t know,’ Biden told reporters in the Oval Office. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden was affected by the video footage shown during Wednesday’s trial.

‘Anyone who watched that video … found it harrowing and deeply disturbing and that’s certainly how the president felt when he watched it,’ she said at her press briefing on Thursday.

‘I think he said ‘or they may not’ he was not intending to give a projection or a prediction but was just giving a very human and emotional response to what many people did – what many people felt I should say – when they watched the video,’ she added.

Dramatic footage from the Capitol on January 6th showed Secret Service agents rushing Vice President Mike Pence out of his hiding place near the Senate chamber while Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to be taken from the complex entirely as the MAGA rioters threatened to kill them.

President Joe Biden said some Republicans senators may change their minds on Donald Trump’s impeachment after seeing new video footage

In the footage, taken from a security camera from inside the Capitol, a group of agents, one of whom carried the football with the nuclear codes, led the Pence family from where they had been taken after being removed from the Senate chamber.

Pence, his wife Karen and daughter Charlotte followed the agents down the stairs and were moved to another location in the Capitol.

‘You can see Vice President Pence and his family quickly moved downstairs. Then, as Pence was being evacuated, rioters started to spread throughout the Capitol,’ Democratic Rep. Stacey Plaskett said during the impeachment managers presentation.

Plaskett played several never-before-seen security camera clips as part of Democrats’ case for the impeachment of Donald Trump. She also showed the pro-Trump supporters yelling ‘Kill Mike Pence’ as they marched around the complex.

At a later moment in the trial, Rep. Joaquin Castro, noted how ‘some of these insurgents were heard saying that they hope to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging him as a traitors.’

A makeshift gallows had been erected outside the Capitol Building. Castro asked senators to look at that image for a moment. 

‘It harkens back to our nation’s worst history of lynching,’ the Texas Democrat said. 

New security camera footage shows MAGA rioters storming Capitol 

Senators sat in silence as the footage played on TV screens in the chamber, including the moment the MAGA mob busted into the Capitol Building, with Plaskett pointing out the first man who entered the Capitol was wearing ‘full tactical body armor and carrying a baseball bat.’

‘Others are carrying riot shields. Among this group are members of the Proud Boys,’ she noted.

More footage showed Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman getting Sen. Mitt Romney out of harm’s way before distracting the MAGA mob away from the Senate chamber.  Romney, a frequent Trump critic, has a prominent national profile, is easily recognized and could have been targeted by the rioters.

The footage, seen publicly for the first time by the senators, including Romney himself, shows Goodman running toward the Senate and its famous Ohio Clock. He then gestures to Romney, who does an immediate 180-degree turn, and runs with Goodman back the way the senator came.

‘I did not know that was Officer Goodman but I look forward to thanking him when I next see him,’ Romney said after the clip played. ‘I was very fortunate indeed that Officer Goodman was there they get me in the right direction.’  

Overall, Romney said of the playback: ‘It tears at your heart and brings tears to your eyes. That was overwhelmingly distressing and emotional.’  

The footage also showed rioters searching for Pelosi in and around her office, with Plaskett revealing that Pelosi had been pulled entirely from the building for her own safety. 

‘The vice president, the speaker of the House, the first and second in line to the presidency, were performing their constitutional duties, presiding over the election certification and they were put in danger because President Trump put his own desires, his own need for power over his duty to the Constitution and our democratic process,’ Plaskett said.  

Plaskett also highlighted that Richard Barnett, the rioter who was photographed seated at Pelosi’s desk, had been carrying a 950,000 volt stun gun, a weapon the FBI had since identified. 

Dramatic new footage showed Vice President Mike Pence, his wife and his daughter being removed to safety as MAGA mob crowds spread throughout the building 

Impeachment manager, Rep. Joaquin Castro, spoke of the gallows that had been erected outside the Capitol Building, nothing that ‘Some of these insurgents were heard saying that they hope to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging him as a traitors’ 

House Democrats showed new footage of the MAGA mob breaking into the Capitol during Wednesday’s Senate impeachment trial 

Democratic House impeachment managers showed the break-in from two angles 

New footage shows a close call now Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (right) had, almost running into the MAGA mob

Rep. Eric Swalwell played some footage from the officers’ perspective including a clip from a bodycam as the MAGA mob tries to break in 

Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the House impeachment managers, showed the senators just how close they came to being attacked by the pro-Trump mob that day.

The senators, who are sitting as jurors in Trump’s impeachment trial, saw, for the first time, security camera footage that showed their escape from the Senate chamber, as U.S. Capitol Police officers created a line of defense to hold the mob back long enough for the lawmakers to be ushered to safety.

‘You were just 58 steps away from where the mob,’ Swalwell told the senators.

The footage showed a hallway with senators running past the camera. In the background, police officers can be seen, holding the crowd away.

The senators sat in silence as the video presentation played, their eyes glued to the TV screens.

‘You know how close you came to the mob. Some of you, I understand, could hear them. But most of the public does not know how close these rioters came to you. As you were moving through that hallway, I paced it off. You were just 58 steps away from where the mob was amassing and where police were rushing to stop them. They were yelling. In this security video, you can see how the police created a line and blocked the hallway with their bodies to prevent rioters from reaching you and your staff,’ he said.

He then played it for them again.

‘Because this is security footage that you’ve not seen before, I want to play it again. At the top of the screen, the other end of that hallway, where the mob has amassed, and the officers are rushing to protect you,’ Swalwell told the senators.

He then showed never-before-seen footage of Senate Democratic Leader having a near miss with the rioters.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s security detail escorted the senator up a ramp and down one of the hallways. The fixed security camera shows Schumer and his detail walking toward the camera and out of view. A few seconds later, the senator and his team are seen running back from where they came.

‘They came within just yards of the rioters, and had to turn around,’ Swalwell said. ‘You see Leader Schumer walking up a ramp. Going up the ramp with his detail, he will soon go out of view. Seconds later, they return, and run back down the hallway. Officers immediately shut the door and use their bodies to keep them safe.’

Schumer later called the clips ‘gut wrenching.’

‘I just want to give tremendous credit to the Capitol Police officers who were in my detail, like the rest of the Capitol Police officers they are utterly amazing and great and we love them,’ he said. 

Swalwell also showed the senators the footage of rioters in the chamber, running on the Senate floor.

‘We’re here,’ one yells. ‘Where the f**k are they?,’ another yells of the lawmakers.

‘They invaded and desecrated the Senate floor,’ Swalwell said. ‘These vandals shouted, and rifled through the desks in this room. They took pictures of documents and of themselves. Celebrating that they had taken over the floor and stopped the counting of electoral college votes.’

Swalwell noted that while it wasn’t part of his video presentation, he credited Senate staff with grabbing and protecting the Electoral College votes the mob was after.  

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