February 12, 2021 9:43:19 am
Written by Eileen Sullivan
The House impeachment managers wrapped up their case against former President Donald Trump on Thursday, warning senators that if they did not vote to convict, it would set a dangerous standard for the country in the future. The trial will resume Friday when Trump’s defense team begins presenting its case that the president did not incite the attack on the Capitol.
Here are some takeaways from the third day of the trial.
The angry, violent mob came to Washington at Trump’s invitation, the prosecution concludes.
The impeachment managers used their final day of arguments to try to convince senators that Trump invited the rioters to Washington on Jan. 6. They argued that the “insurrectionists” who attacked the Capitol were not acting on their own, as his defense lawyers have said and will most likely assert when they present their case.
The managers again used video footage of Trump and his supporters to make their points, interspersed with clips of the chaos to remind the senators of how they felt as the Capitol was under assault. They asserted that such violence would not have occurred without Trump.
One impeachment manager, Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado, talked about her experience during the attack and how as she and others ran to safety, she saw a SWAT team with guns pointed at rioters on the floor. DeGette said she wondered: “Who sent them there?”
She shared comments from rioters, including from a Texas real estate agent named Jennifer L. Ryan. “I thought I was following my president,” Ryan said. “I thought I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there, he asked us to be there, so I was doing what he asked us to do.”
In another clip, Ryan said, “President Trump requested that we be in D.C. on the 6th, so this was our way of going and stopping the steal.”
After Joe Biden denounced the attack on television and made a plea to Trump to speak on national television and “demand an end to this siege,” one rioter asked, “Does he not realize President Trump called us to siege the place?”
Even after the attack, managers say Trump showed a ‘lack of remorse.’
The impeachment managers stressed that despite the five deaths and dozens of injuries among law enforcement officers alone, including cracked ribs and smashed spinal disks, Trump never apologized for what happened on Jan. 6.
“President Trump’s lack of remorse and refusal to take accountability during the attack shows his state of mind,” said Rep. Ted Lieu of California, one of the managers. “It shows that he intended the events of Jan. 6 to happen. And when it did, he delighted in it.”
Stressing that Trump’s behavior — peddling false conspiracy theories and fraudulent claims, praising violence, distorting facts to fit his agenda — was not limited to the presidential campaign and election, the managers showed video clips of some of the most shocking and divisive moments of his presidency. Among them was the deadly white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, after which Trump encouraged the white supremacy movement as no president had done in generations.
Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, asked the senators, “Is there any political leader in this room who believes if he’s ever allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office, Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get his way?”
Vice President Mike Pence’s presence looms large as a traitor, victim and hero.
Throughout the impeachment trial, the House managers have praised former Vice President Mike Pence for standing up to Trump and refusing to do his bidding of rejecting Electoral College votes to grant him reelection.
“Vice President Pence showed us what it means to be an American,” Lieu said Wednesday. “What it means to show courage. He put his country, his oath, his values and his morals above the will of one man.”
It was unusual praise to hear from Democrats after four years of Pence going along with his combustive boss, which critics have said only enabled Trump.
The managers emphasized that the rioters wanted to assassinate Pence, the second in command of the country, in what appeared to be an appeal to Republican senators’ respect for the sacred chain of command.
“During the course of the attack, the vice president never left the Capitol, remained locked down with his family — with his family — inside the building,” said Rep. Stacey E. Plaskett, a manager and the Virgin Islands’ nonvoting House delegate. “Remember that, as you think about these images and sounds of the attack. The vice president, our second in command, was always at the center of it. Vice President Pence was threatened with death by the president’s supporters, because he rejected President Trump’s demand that he overturn the election.”
Pence, a former congressman and governor of Indiana, has been largely out of sight since he left office. He was spotted vacationing with his wife in the Virgin Islands in late January.
Earlier this month, Pence announced that he had joined the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
Trump still appears to have enough votes to be acquitted.
The House impeachment managers closed three days of emotional footage of the attack. They showed senators just how close they were to the violent mob of Trump supporters as they ducked and ran to safety that day. At times, the videos and recordings appeared to strike a chord with the Republicans in the room. Some of them even praised the work of the House managers. But it has not been enough to change their minds.
On Thursday, before the managers wrapped up their case, Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., told reporters that he planned to vote to acquit Trump. He predicted that the 43 other Republicans who had voted with him to find that trying a former president was unconstitutional would also vote to acquit.
To secure a conviction, Senate Democrats would need 17 of their Republican peers to side with them, and that has never been an expected outcome.
“The impeachment trial is dead on arrival,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., predicted last month.
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