WASHINGTON — The Latest on former President Donald Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial (all times local):
Prosecutors at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial are using footage of the rally he headlined ahead of the riot on the Capitol to argue he incited the crowd.
Rep. Madeleine Dean says that one of Trump’s key defenses is that he says during his speech: “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
But Dean says that was a “few seconds” in a nearly 11,000-word speech and that it was the “only time President Trump used the word peaceful or any suggestion of nonviolence.” She says that wasn’t the overarching message.
She said, “President Trump used the word ‘fight’ or ‘fighting’ 20 times, including telling the crowd they needed to ‘fight like hell.’”
Choking back emotion, she said, “So they came, draped in Trump’s flag, and used our flag, the American flag, to batter and to bludgeon. And at 2:30, I heard that terrifying banging on House chamber doors. For the first time in more than 200 years, the seat of our government was ransacked on our watch.”
At a break in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, many Republicans appeared indifferent to the Democratic prosecutors’ case that the former president incited the violent attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 — and made clear they were unlikely to convict.
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley said the prosecutors’ case was “predictable” and included information that was already public.
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, another close ally of Trump, said the trial “is going to be pretty tedious.” He said the two sides would be better served to make their case “in a couple hours, and be done with this.”
Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe said Democrats have “put a real good team together,” but said he didn’t think anything had been said “by either side that has changed any votes.”
Only six Republicans voted not to dismiss the trial on Tuesday, signaling that Democrats won’t have the minimum of 17 Republican senators they need to convict Trump.
Democrats are arguing that former President Donald Trump “built” the mob that attacked the Capitol.
Prosecutors at Trump’s impeachment trial on Wednesday said Trump fired up his supporters with lies about a stolen election and followed up with an invitation to a Jan. 6 rally near the White House.
House impeachment manager Eric Swalwell detailed how Trump announced the rally on Twitter, writing on Dec. 19: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”
Swalwell said Jan. 6 was Trump’s “last chance to stop a peaceful transition of power.” Swalwell said Trump’s tweet wasn’t a “casual, one-off reference or a single invitation.” Swalwell said for the next 18 days, he reminded his supporters “over and over and over” to show up.
Swalwell said, “This was never about one speech. He built this mob over many months with repeated messaging until they believed that they’d been robbed of their vote, and they would do anything to stop the certification.”
House Democrats prosecuting Donald Trump’s impeachment trial are methodically tracing his monthslong effort to undermine his supporters’ faith in the election results. They say they will show he is responsible for last month’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.
During arguments Wednesday, impeachment managers showed a flurry of excerpts from Trump speeches in which the then-president told supporters the only way he could lose is if the election results were rigged.
The effort to challenge the results continued after the election, with Trump telling his supporters the election had been stolen and that they shouldn’t accept the results.
Impeachment managers also pushed back at defense team arguments that Trump’s words were protected by the First Amendment. They said the case was not about protected political speech but rather about Trump’s incitement of violence.