Dramatic, violent video from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot opened House managers’ case against former President Donald Trump on the first day of his historic second impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
The lead House manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a former constitutional law professor who is one of nine members of Congress making Democrats’ arguments, introduced the 13-minute video.
Senators sitting as jurors, many who themselves fled for safety that day, watched the jarring video that showed the chaotic scene, rioters pushing past police to storm the halls, Trump flags waving.
“That’s a high crime and misdemeanor,” Raskin said in opening remarks. “If that’s not an impeachable offense, then there’s no such thing.”
The video included a compilation of graphic, expletive-filled recordings from a variety of sources showing the storming of the Capitol. It opened with Trump’s remarks to his fans at a “Stop the Steal” rally before the riot — where he repeated disproven claims of “fraud” and lies that he, not Joe Biden, had won the election.
“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump said at the rally. “We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue … we’re going to the Capitol.”
Trump’s attorneys had signaled they planned to counter Democrats’ video with their own cache of videos of Democratic politicians making fiery speeches. What lawyer David Schoen showed during the defense team’s time on Tuesday was a 2 1/2-minute video consisting of a series of clips — going back to 2017 — of Democrats calling for Trump’s impeachment.
Trump was first impeached in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in the Ukraine scandal. He was acquitted in the Senate less than two months later.
This time, Trump was impeached for a historic second time on Jan. 13, a week after the riot. He faces one article of impeachment on a charge of “incitement of insurrection.”
His second acquittal in the Senate seems a forgone conclusion as Democrats need 17 Republicans to side with them to get a conviction.