House impeachment managers will be making their final arguments beginning Thursday afternoon in the Senate trial that decides whether former President Donald Trump will be convicted of inciting the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The final push to impeach Trump follows the second day of the impeachment trials during which House Democrats, led by lead manager Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), presented the Senate with a detailed and graphic retelling of the display of domestic terrorism that took place last month. The presentation included “shocking new audio and video recordings of rioters declaring their intent to harm Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials—and showing how close they came to doing so,” the Washington Post reports.
The previously unseen footage shared by the impeachment managers included chants to “hang” Pence as well as a clip of a man searching for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi while asking “Naaaancy? Where aaaare you, Nancy?” like he was Jack Torrance from The Shining.
From the Post:
All of it, the impeachment managers said, was a direct result of the president’s months-long effort to persuade his supporters of the “big lie” that the election had been stolen. After he had exhausted all other options to overturn President Biden’s victory, they said — including dozens of lawsuits and a sustained campaign to pressure state election officials — Trump turned his sights to Jan. 6, the day Congress was scheduled to formalize Joe Biden’s electoral college victory.
His supporters, the managers said, were heeding his calls with their violent plans to stop the vote count and even harm lawmakers.
“President Trump put a target on their backs,” said Stacey Plaskett, a Democratic House delegate from the Virgin Islands, describing the threat to lawmakers and Pence. “And his mob broke into the Capitol to hunt them down.”
House Democrats also accused Trump of initially refusing to call his cult followers off as the violence unfolded even after lawmakers and White House aides urged him to do so. The managers argued that Trump was hoping the violence at the Capitol would actually block electoral votes from being counted.
So who knows if showing the Capitol riot for the life-threatening (and life-taking, for that matter) act of terrorism that it was will convince Senate Republicans—who already seem to have their minds made up that they will not convict the former president—of Trump’s complicity.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said that the managers “spent a great deal of time focusing on the horrific acts of violence that were played out by the criminals, but the language from the president doesn’t come close to meeting the legal standard for incitement.” But as the New York Times reports, “House managers are urging the Senate to hold Mr. Trump to a higher standard, not a legal definition of incitement.”
This brings us to day three.
According to the Times, prosecutors have around eight hours left to make their case that Trump should be convicted of inciting the riot once the Senate convenes at noon on Thursday. After the managers are done, the defense gets to present their arguments for why Trump should not be convicted. Trump is likely hoping for a better performance from his defense team than the abysmal display of Republican nonsense that happened during day one when officials debated the constitutionality of impeaching Trump after he’d already left office.
On day two, Raskin made the argument one would think was all that was needed: “He told them to ‘fight like hell,’ and they brought us hell on that day”—but unfortunately, that truth doesn’t seem to be enough.
As the Times reports, “all but six Republican senators voted against proceeding with the trial” on Tuesday. As we previously reported, a two-thirds supermajority vote in the Senate is needed to convict, meaning 17 Republicans would have to join all 48 Democrats and two independents in voting in favor of conviction.