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.
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 one of their daughters 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 footage from the January 6th riot as part of Democrats’ case for the impeachment of Donald Trump.
She then showed the pro-Trump supporters yelling Kill Mike Pence.’
The new footage also included 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.
New footage shows Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman running and getting Sen. Mitt Romney out of harm’s way before distracting the MAGA mob away from the Senate chamber.
The footage showed rioters searching for House Speaker Nancy 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.
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
Then she showed video of Pence being scurried out as rioters had spread out through the Capitol.
Before showing the new footage, Democratic House impeachment managers argued that Trump knew his supporters’ plans to violently attack the Capitol, yet still encouraged them to do so.
‘Some of you have said there’s no way the president could have known how violent the mob would be. That is false – because the violence it was foreseeable,’ argued Plaskett.
She shared pieces of social media leading up to the January 6 attack.
One meme, which showed an illuminated image of the Capitol Building, said the date – January 6 – and below it, ‘The capitol is our goal, everything else is a distraction. Every corrupt member of Congress locked in one room and surrounded by real Americans is an opportunity that will never present itself again.’
Chatter on pro-Trump message boards, shared by Plaskett, showed supporters plotting to overwhelm the Capitol Police. ‘There are only around 2K of them and a lot are useless fat asses or girls,’ one supporter pointed out.
‘These are not just hidden posts in dark websites that Trump would not have seen. Quite the opposite. We know that President Trump’s team monitored these websites,’ Plaskett argued. ‘We know this because his advisers confirm it.’
Lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin said Trump was ‘a man who praised and encouraged and cultivated violence’ as he disputed Joe Biden’s victory.
Democrats presented evidence of that Wednesday by pointing to Trump telling the right-wing group The Proud Boys, a group involved in the insurrection, to ‘stand back and stand by’ during the September presidential debate. Then Plaskett shared a video of a Proud Boys member inside the Capitol on January 6 wearing an earpiece – evidence of the coordination and planning that was made.
‘That’s the level of planning in advance that occurred,’ the Democratic rep said.
Plaskett also recalled how Trump had embraced supporters’ efforts to run a Biden-Harris bus off the road in Texas.
Sharing a tweet the ex-president shared of the altercation, Plaskett noted how Trump ‘put music to that video … and then added to the top, “I LOVE TEXAS.”‘
Trump is charged on one count of impeachment – inciting the insurrection at the Capitol that left five dead.
In his opening remarks, Raskin blasted Trump for inciting the insurrection and enjoying the spectacle of his supporters disrupting the certification in the Capitol.
‘He watched it on TV like a reality show, he reveled in it,’ he charged. ‘There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the U.S. of his office and his oath to the Constitution.’
Raskin, in his nearly 20 minute speech, painted Trump as betraying his duties as president in order to preserve his political power.
‘He incited this attack and he saw it coming,’ Raskin argued. ‘To us it may have felt like chaos and madness but there was method and the madness that day. This was an organized attack on the counting of the electoral college votes in joint session of the United States Congress.’
House Democrats on Wednesday began to make their case why Donald Trump should be impeached for inciting the January 6th riot on Capitol Hill
Impeachment managers showed the social media postings related to the January 6th riot
Lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin called Donald Trump ‘a man who praised and encouraged and cultivated violence’
Rep. Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands argued that the president knew his supporters’ plans to violently attack the Capitol, but encouraged them to do so anyway
Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado charged Trump with failing to stop the insurrection
TRUMP: GEORGIA CRIMINAL PROBE ON ELECTION CALL
Donald Trump is facing a criminal investigation in Georgia into his call to its secretary of state asking him to ‘find’ votes to overturn the election, it emerged Wednesday.
Newly-elected Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis, a Democrat, sent a letter to state leaders, state officials telling them to save records related to the call, state officials with knowledge of the letter told The New York Times.
Specifically, the criminal investigation is looking into the then-president’s questionable January 2 call with Georgia’s Secretary of State where Trump told Brad Raffensperger to ‘find’ enough votes to reverse his loss to Joe Biden in the Peach State.
The letter does not specify what crimes are being investigated but experts have suggested that Trump could have committed conspiracy to commit election fraud, which can carry felony charges and a sentence of up to a year in prison on conviction.
A Trump aide dismissed the move as a stunt by Democrats on day two of the impeachment trial.
House Democrats face an uphill battle in getting Trump convicted. Senate Democrats need 17 Republicans to cross over and vote for conviction and there is no indication those numbers are there.
But Democrats laid out their case that Trump, as it became apparent he could not legally win the election, sought to incite his base in order to stay in power.
‘President Donald J. Trump ran out of nonviolent options to maintain power. After his efforts in the courts and threatening officials failed, he turned to privately and publicly attacking members of his own party in the House and in the Senate,’ Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California said.
‘The president wasn’t just coming for one or two people or Democrats like me. He was coming for you, for Democratic and Republican senators. He was coming for all of us,’ he said.
The prosecutors reminded Republicans how Trump treated them – calling them ‘pathetic’ and threatening to primary them – while offering example after example of how the former president tried to overthrow the election results.
House impeachment managers have 16 hours to make their case against the former president. Then the defense will offer theirs.
Raskin said the prosecution will show Trump violated his oath of office and abdicated his duty as commander in chief.
‘The evidence will show you that ex-President Trump was no innocent bystander. The evidence will show that he clearly incited the January 6th insurrection. It will show that Donald Trump surrendered his role as commander in chief and became the inciter in chief,’ he said.
The managers handed off to one another to methodically tracing Trump’s months long effort to undermine the election. And they repeatedly brought senators back to that day in the Capitol, when the Trump supporters stormed the building.
‘That mob was summoned, assembled and incited by the former president of the United States, Donald Trump. He did that because he wanted to stop the print transfer of power so he could obtain power even though he had lost the election. And when the violence erupted, when they were here in our building with weapons, he did nothing to stop it,’ Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse said.
Trump is only the president in American history to be impeached. It’s also the first time senators have set in judgement of a president accused of putting their lives in danger while trying to overthrow a legitimate election.
Neguse focused his argument on demonstrating that Trump was ramping up his supporters long before his January 6th speech, intending to counter Trump’s defense that his speech was protected under the first amendment. Trump’s attorneys also argue that federal evidence shows the insurrection had been in the works for some time – meaning Trump’s speech that morning could not have incited it.
‘I’d respectfully ask that you remember those three phrases as you consider the evidence today. ‘Election was stolen. Stop the steal. And fight like hell’ because they did not just appear on January 6,’ Neguse said.
He showed clips of Trump speeches and rallies where the president complained – falsely and repeatedly – that the election was stolen.
‘He didn’t just tell them to fly like hell, he told them how, where, and when, he made sure they had advance notice, 18 days advance notice, he sent his save the date for January 6th,’ Neguse said.
He also showed video clips of the rioters from January 6th, saying they were at the Capitol because of Trump: ‘Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!,’ one said. ‘We were invited by the president of the United States,’ said another.
Neguse also argued Trump didn’t do enough to stop the rioters that day.
‘He alone, our commander in chief, had the power to stop it. And he didn’t. You will hear evidence tonight, tomorrow, throughout the trial about his refusal as commander in chief to respond to numerous desperate pleas on the phone, across social media, begging him to stop the attack,’ he said.
Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro also showed multiple examples of Trump falsely claiming the election was stolen from him.
And he appealed to the senators to remember their own election contests when listening to what Trump said.
‘All of us in this room have run for election. It’s no fun to lose. I’m a Texas Democrat. We’ve lost a few elections over the years. But can you imagine telling your supporters that the only way you could possibly lose is if an American election was rigged and stolen from you? Ask yourself if you have ever seen anyone make the same claim about their own election. That’s exactly what President Trump did,’ he said.
He went on to say when the media, including Fox News, said when the remaining votes were counted Biden would be the victor ‘President Trump began urging his supporters to stop the count.’
‘I would imagine that if we went around this room, there are folks sitting here that started down on election night and ended up coming back up and winning their races. Perhaps that’s why some of you are seated in this room today. But imagine if you were behind and the results start coming in, and as you started pulling ahead, your opponent said, that’s not fair, stop the count while I’m still ahead. That’s what Donald Trump did. But that’s not how America works. Here every vote counts. You don’t just stop counting when one person is ahead. We count every vote,’ he added.
Trump’s goal, Castro argued, was to incite his base, ‘to make sure that his supporters were angry, like the election was being ripped away from them.’
‘This is clearly a man who refuses to accept the possibility or the reality in our democracy of losing an election,’ Castro said.
As part of their case, House impeachment managers will show never-before-seen Capitol security footage of the January 6th riot as they start their case for impeaching Donald Trump.
The footage will demonstrate the extent of the violence that occurred and the threat the rioters posed to everyone in the Capitol, senior aides on the House impeachment team told CNN.
They did not say what the new footage was, or whether it came from Capitol Police or Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police.
The video will show ‘extreme violence’ and make clear what additional safety risks were posed by the insurrection, a House aide told The Washington Post, including ‘just how close Trump’s mob came to senators, members of Congress and staff.’
‘It will show the extent of what Donald Trump unleashed on our Capitol,’ said the aide.
The House managers are not expected to use the full 16 hours they are allotted for their presentation. After they finish, the defense will make its case and also is not expected to use its full 16 hours.
Trump’s second impeachment trial could end as soon as this weekend. He is expected to be acquitted.
The Democratic impeachment managers previewed their case against the former president with a 14-minute video on Tuesday that contained dramatic footage of Trump supporters storming the Capitol and taunting police officers with obscenities as they bashed in doors and windows.
Democrats showed video of the rioters on January 6th, stating why they were there
The new footage will show the extent of the violence that occurred and the threat the rioters posed to everyone in the Capitol
Trump’s defense tried to counter the lingering image of the video, which visibly affected many senators in the chamber. Those lawmakers were also in the Capitol on January 6th.
But Trump wasn’t happy with his defense team after their first day making arguments, according to reports.
Trump, viewing the proceedings from his new home at Mar-a-Lago, was aghast that one of his lawyers, Bruce Castor, acknowledged the potency of the opening argument put forward by House Democratic impeachment managers, ABC News reported.
Castor even acknowledged that his team changed course after viewing the Democrats’ dramatic video.
‘I’ll be quite frank with you, we changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the House managers’ presentation was well done,’ Castor admitted. ‘And I wanted you to know that we have responses to those things.’
One Trump advisor even told CNN getting good legal representation was a concern if he is ever charged in criminal court, which is now possible since he is out of office.
‘Trump is f***** if anyone ever charges him. No one wants to work with him,’ said the advisor.
Raskin compares Trump to a fire chief ‘who set the theater on fire’
Democratic impeachment manager Jamie Raskin sought to explode the First Amendment defenses put forward by Donald Trump’s lawyers in their impeachment legal brief.
Trump’s team had argued that the president’s call for his supporters to ‘fight’ where not an incitement to riot but protected political speech.
Raskin, a constitutional law professor, picked apart the claim and brought up the well-worn example of a limit on free speech – that you can’t yell ‘fire in a crowded theater,’ a concept explored by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.
‘But even that time-honored principle doesn’t begin to capture how off base the argument is,’ Raskin said. ‘This case is much worse than someone who falsely shouts fire in a crowded theater. It’s more like a case where the town fire chief who’s paid to put out fires sends a mob yet to yell fire in a crowded theater but to actually set the theater on fire,’ he said.
He continued: And who then when the fire alarms go off and the calls start flooding into the fire department asking for help, does nothing but sit back, encourage the mob to continue its rampage and watch the fire spread on TV with glee and delight.’
Raskin was alluding to Trump’s inaction during the riot, and his tweets praising rioters even when he finally asked them to go home.
‘So then we say this fire chief should never be allowed to hold this public job again and you’re fired and you’re permanently disqualified and he objects. And he says, we’re violating his free speech rights just because he’s pro-mob or pro-fire or whatever it might be,’ he added.
Then he quoted conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. ‘As Justice Scalia once said, memorably, you can’t ride with the cops and root for the robbers.’
Raskin acknowledged the potential attractiveness of the free speech argument – but said it didn’t apply.
‘They present president trump as merely like a guy at a rally expressing a political opinion that we disagree with, and now we’re trying to put him in jail for it. That has nothing to do with the reality of these charges where his constitutional offense,’ he said.
He said his legal team would demonstrate ‘with overwhelming evidence portraying Trump as a guy on the street being punished for his ideas is a false description of his actions, his intent, and the role that he played on January 6th when he willfully incited an insurrectionary mob to riot at the Capitol.’
Impeachment manager Rep. Joe Neguse pointed to the specifics of some of Trump’s comments in and around the riot.
‘He didn’t’ stop it. He didn’t’ condemn the violence. He incited further,’ Neguse said.
‘He didn’t’ just tell them to fight like hell. He told them how, where and when.’
‘What time was that rally scheduled for?’ Neguse told senators. ‘The exact same time that this chamber was certifying the election results in joint session,’ he said. He noted that Trump concluded his Jan. 6 speech ‘literally moments’ after Pelosi gaveled the House into session.
Only Trump could have stopped the rioters
Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado used his time at the trial Wednesday to parse President Trump’s statements for signals he sent to his supporters – as well as underline the things he did not do when MAGA rioters took the Capitol.
‘When the violence erupted, when they were here in our building with weapons, he did nothing to stop it. If we are to protect our republic and prevent something like this from ever happening again, he must be convicted,’ said Neguse, a lawyer and second-term lawmaker.
Neguse, 37, spoke of his own background as the child of immigrants, but also let Trump do the talking through his tweets and recorded statements.
He observed that neither he nor even a figure like former Vice President Mike Pence could have stopped the mob.
Rep. Joe Neguse, 37, spoke of his own background as the child of immigrants as he made the case against Trump
‘In his unique role as commander in chief of our country and as the one person that the mob was listening to and following orders from, he had the power to stop it. And he didn’t,’ Neguse said.
He said Trump’s Jan. 6 remarks were a deliberate effort and culmination of months of advance work through other remarks.
‘Now, some have said that President Trump’s remarks, his speech on January 6th was just a speech. Well, let me ask you this. When in our history has a speech led thousands of people to storm our nation’s capital with weapons? To scale the walls, break windows, kill a Capitol Police officer? This was not just a speech,’ he said.
He said Trump’s words were ‘carefully chosen’ and had a ‘very specific meaning to that crowd.’ The reason? Trump had used the same words ‘over and over again.’
Neguse went back repeatedly to Trump’s words, including setting the table even before the elections, saying ‘it’s only way we can lose, in my opinion, is massive fraud.’
‘He told his base that the election was stolen, as he had forecasted. and then he told them, your election has been stolen, but you cannot concede, you must stop the steal,’ Neguse continued.
The he sketched out the rest of Trump’s pressure campaign: including efforts to ‘threaten’ state election officials, have the Justice Department investigate his claims, and persuade Republicans in Congress to block certification of the vote.
‘None of it worked. so, what does he do? With his back against the wall when all else has failed, he turns back to his supporters who he’d already spent months telling them that the election was stolen,’ he continued.
‘He told them that they had to be ready not just to stop the steal but to fight like hell.’
Trump’s pressure campaign on state officials
Democratic Rep. Madeleine Dean, who represents a suburban Philadelphia district, walked the senators through Trump’s court challenges – and when those failed – his pressure campaign aimed at state officials in Michigan, Georgia and her home state of Pennsylvania.
‘Donald Trump told his supporters they are stealing the election, they took away your vote,’ Dean said. ‘That was not true. According to judge after judge the truth was exactly the opposite.’
‘Trump wasn’t suing to ensure election integrity. He was pursuing lawsuits that would, in effect, strip away American votes so he could win,’ she told her Senate audience.
She noted the calls Trump made to election officials in Michigan, inviting some top state lawmakers to Washington for a meeting.
‘Let’s be clear Donald Trump was calling officials, hosting them at the White House, urging them to defy the voters in their state,’ she said.
Dean noted how he made similar entreaties to state officials in Pennsylvania, even calling into a legislative policy meeting – attended by his lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis – as a way to curry favor.
Democratic Rep. Madeleine Dean walked the senators through Trump’s pressure campaign aimed at state officials in Michigan, Georgia and her home state of Pennsylvania
However, ‘his conduct was the most egregious,’ Dean argued, in how he treated Georgia’s Secretary of State Georgia secretary of state.
She called attention to a handful of Trump’s tweets where the president attacked the Republican official, who then received death threats.
‘Donald Trump was savagely attacking a secretary of state because the official did his job,’ Dean said. ‘Remember senators, those threats were to Mr. Raffensperger’s family.’
Dean also pointed out that instead of stopping the attacks once they resulted in death threats, Trump doubled down.
She played a clip where Trump referred to Raffensperger as an ‘enemy of the people,’ usually a term the ex-president reserved for the press.
And she replayed the audio obtained by The Washington Post where Trump asks Georgia election officials to ‘find’ the precise number of votes that would give him an edge over Biden by one.
Republicans struggle to pay attention
Josh Hawley puts his feet up while Rand Paul doodles – Republicans struggle to pay attention
Many Republican senators struggled to pay attention during the Democrats’ prosecution of Trump. Most of these lawmakers have indicated they think the trial is unconstitutional, arguing a former president cannot be impeached.
Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri sat in the visitors’ gallery instead of at his desk on the chamber floor as his fellow senators did. He had his feet up on the chair in front of him while he read papers in unmarked manila folders.
He told reporters on Capitol Hill he sat there because the view was better than the one from his desk.
‘The gallery is, I feel had a little bit better view, kind of where I sit over in the Senate chamber is kind of in the corner. So, here you can sit head on, I can also space out a little bit more. And it’s just not quite as crowded,’ he said.
As to his reading material, he said: ‘I’ve got the trial briefs with me and I’ve also got my notes that I’m taking during the proceedings.’
Most Republicans were looking down or otherwise occupied while the impeachment managers made their case. Some were taking notes on the presentation, but some were reading and others were just staring down or worrying their hands.
But a few heads popped up when Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu said the words ‘bulls***’ and ‘p****’ on the Senate floor during his part of the presentation.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was doodling on Wednesday afternoon. He had a legal pad with a watermark of the Capitol at the bottom and he appeared to be tracing that watermark in pencil – for at least three pages.
Senator Rick Scott of Florida read a magazine article.
A notable exception was Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, who paid attention as the House Democrats spoke. McConnell didn’t visibly react, however, as the impeachment managers read tweets from Donald Trump threatening him.
And Senator Bill Cassidy – the only Republican to change his vote and say the impeachment trial is constitutional – spent about 30 minutes pacing at the back of the chamber during the prosecution’s talk.
Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Cory Booker brought a bag of candy with him and passed out treats to his fellow senators.
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts told him: ‘Trick or treat! Trick or treat!’ She grabbed a yellow bag M&Ms and a small packet of Welch’s fruit snacks.
During one the breaks, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York walked around with a large white Lululemon bag filled with books. She handed out at least five copies of Tim Keller’s ‘The Songs of Jesus’ to senators on both sides of the aisle including Tim Kaine, Joni Ernst, Steve Daines and Cassidy.
Of the 100 senators, only Republicans Rand Paul and Cynthia Lummis were not wearing face masks.
THE IMPEACHMENT LEGAL TEAMS
THE HOUSE IMPEACHMENT MANAGERS
Who’s who in the prosecution (from left): Jamie Raskin, David Cicilline, Joaquin Castro, Diana DeGette, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Stacey Plaskett, Joe Neguse
Lead impeachment manager: Jamie Raskin. Constitutional law professor who lectured at American University, in Washington D.C., before moving into politics as a Maryland state senator then House member. Fierce critic of Trump who called for his impeachment after the Mueller report.
David Cicilline: One-time public defender and mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, which is now in his district. Lead author of the article of impeachment.
Joaquin Castro: Texas rep whose twin brother Julian ran for president. Lawyer and member of Texas Legislature before joining Congress.
Diana DeGette: Longest-serving member of Congress in the team with 13 terms for her Colorado district. A civil rights attorney before she went into public office.
Eric Swalwell: California prosecutor turned rep who is the only member of the impeachment managers who was also involved in the first trial. Target of Republican ire for his admitted relationship with a Chinese spy called Fang Fang which he ended when the FBI warned him she was a spy
Stacey Plaskett: Represents the Virgin Islands and therefore has no vote but was an assistant district attorney in the Bronx before entering Congress.
Joe Neguse: Private practice lawyer who is now a two-term Colorado congressman.
Ted Lieu (not in photo): Former Air Force officer who is a reserve colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. The California rep is another bitter public critic of Trump.
Madeleine Dean (not in photo): Pennsylvania attorney turned English professor and member of its house of representatives whose Pennsylvania district is also home of Bruce Castor, one of Trump’s defense team.
David Schoen: Alabama-based criminal defense attorney who has previously represented Roger Stone, and met with Jeffrey Epstein just before his death – then suggested he did not believe it was suicide. Observant Jewish attorney said he would not work on the Sabbath, leading to impeachment trial being scheduled not to sit from 5pm on Friday, but later said he was not needed that day, allowing it to go on.
Bruce Castor: Castor was Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, district attorney when he decided not to prosecute Bill Cosby on rape charges which his successor went ahead with, leading to the comedian being convicted and imprisoned. Castor settled a defamation case with victim Andrea Costand. Later became acting attorney general of Pennsylvania, and is now in private practice.
Michael van der Veen: Added to the roster of attorneys on the eve of the trial. Philadelphia personal injury attorney who is close to Castor – Castor joined his firm in December – and has also been a criminal defense attorney. A former client said he called Trump a ‘f***ing crook’ in summer 2020.
William Brennan: Veteran Philadelphia criminal defense attorney who appears to have joined on the first day of the trial. Has represented pro-Trump figures but also a college student charged with trying to steal Trump’s tax returns.