The US Senate’s impeachment trial gathered steam on Wednesday, with Democratic lawmakers laying out their best evidence that former President Donald Trump incited an insurrection by exhorting thousands of supporters to march on the Capitol last month.
The 100 Senators, most of whom were in the Capitol during the deadly Jan. 6 assault, sat through videos recounting in graphic detail the violence as Trump’s supporters sought to block the peaceful transfer of power, a hallmark of democracy.
These were some notable moments:
A parental warning
Lead impeachment manager Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin warned that his team would show videos on Wednesday of the Capitol assault that would include scenes of “shocking violence and bloodshed” against police officers.
“We do urge parents and teachers to exercise close review of what young people are watching here, and please watch along with them if you’re allowing them to watch,” Raskin said. “The impeachment mangers will try to give warnings before the most graphic and disturbing violence.”
A Democratic aide told reporters that the House managers “will be using footage never seen before that shows a view of the Capitol that is quite extraordinary and a view of the attack that has never been public before.”
‘Shocking’ videos and silence
On Tuesday, some Republican senators looked down or fixated on papers at their desks silently as the sound of the mob’s screams and shouts echoed through the chamber, avoiding watching the videos showing protesters assaulting police and the moment that a protester was shot dead by police.
But the Republican senators seemed to pay closer attention on Wednesday, with all 50 of them reading along while House impeachment manager Joe Neguse, a Democrat from Colorado, displayed a rioter’s quote about hoping to find House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, and shoot her in the head.
“We were looking for Nancy to shoot her in the friggin’ brain but we didn’t find her,” the quote read.
Raskin also quoted a Black police officer who described being subjected to racist taunts, including the “N-word,” from a mob of Trump supporters.
Republican senators also turned and watch at some point during a video clip of Trump saying “Fight like hell” and “stop the steal” during his Jan. 6 rally near the White House.
Credit to Pence
Neguse made a point of praising former Vice President Mike Pence, who oversaw the formal certification of President Joe Biden’s victory despite pressure from Trump to halt the process.
“I was so grateful for the opportunity to thank the Vice President, Mike Pence, for his actions, for standing before us and asking us to follow our oath our faith and do our duty,” Neguse said during his presentation, adding that Trump “betrayed” Pence by calling him a “coward” in a Jan. 6 tweet.
During the deadly attack, some of Trump’s supporters had threatened to hang Pence for refusing to overturn Biden’s Electoral College win in Congress.