(KTLA/AP) — 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, 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, including 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 Trump-supporting rioters storming 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 lawyers are insisting that he is not guilty of the sole charge of “incitement of insurrection,” his fiery words just a figure of speech as he encouraged a rally crowd to fight for his presidency. But prosecutors say he “has no good defense,” and they promise new evidence.
Trump attorney David Schoen turned the trial toward starkly partisan tones, the defense showing its own video of Democrats calling for the former president’s impeachment.
Trump’s acquittal in the Senate seems a forgone conclusion as Democrats need 17 Republicans to side with them to get a conviction.