House Democrats rested their case on Thursday in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump after arguing that the rioters who stormed the Capitol were doing so at his direction.
In their second full day of arguments, Democratic House impeachment managers made the case that Trump's lack of remorse for the violence necessitates his conviction.
The House managers sought in their first day of arguments on Wednesday to present Trump as methodically pushing the "big lie" of election fraud months before his loss, when he saw himself consistently trailing Joe Biden in the polls. That set the stage for him to incite the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6 by supporters who Democrats said had been primed by Trump's relentless falsehoods to believe they were acting on his orders to "fight like hell" to prevent the election from being stolen.
The Democratic managers played a series of audio and video, including police communications and security footage that had not been released publicly, detailed a nearly minute-by-minute account of what happened once the Capitol was breached.
Read the latest updates below:
Trump impeachment trial highlights: House managers rest their case
'Damage' control: Key takeaways from Day Three
House managers rested their case against former President Donald Trump on Thursday by focusing on the damage his supporters caused at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and the harm that could come if he isn't held accountable, while many Republican senators — and even one of Trump's attorneys — seemed to tune the proceedings out.
Impeachment managers rested their case on the third day of Trump's trial. Trump's attorneys will offer his defense Friday.
GOP senators met with Trump legal team to discuss 'strategy'
Former President Donald Trump's legal team met with Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Thursday afternoon after the House managers rested their case.
Cruz said they were "discussing their legal strategy and sharing our thoughts."
Graham was spotted leaving the meeting, saying, "See you tomorrow."
The meeting raised eyebrows as senators who will be voting on whether to convict Trump were also strategizing with his legal team. But they're just following in the footsteps of Mitch McConnell, who as Senate majority leader during Trump's first impeachment trial said he was "coordinating with the White House counsel."
"There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this," McConnell, R-Ky., said at the time.
Trump defense attorney David Schoen told reporters after the meeting: "I think it's the best practice here in impeachment. There's nothing about this thing that has any semblance of due process whatsoever."
Schoen says Trump defense arguments may take only 3 to 4 hours Friday
Former President Donald Trump's lawyer David Schoen said his team thinks it will need only a few hours to deliver its defense arguments.
Speaking to reporters after the House managers finished their arguments Thursday, Schoen said Trump's team may go for about "three to four hours, something like that," on Friday.
He criticized the case made by the House managers, saying they had turned the evidence into "an entertainment piece," which he said was "horrific."
Graham and Cornyn share a laugh during House manager's argument
As Raskin was wrapping up the House managers' case, uttering the words “put to bed” — in reference to the constitutionality argument — GOP Sen. Graham and Cornyn looked at each other and laughed.
Asked on his way out of the chamber for the day if the case presented by House managers persuaded him, Graham said, "Nope."
Many GOP senators appear to be unmoved by managers' argument
After hearing two days of arguments from the House managers, several GOP senators indicated that their minds hadn't been changed, saying the issue of constitutionality remains a concern.
According to pool reports, Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said: "I think it's been spelled out. If there is an opportunity or they think that there is a case, it should go to the courts, not to Congress where we don't have a sitting president."
Mike Braun, R-Ind., told reporters he thought the House managers' presentation Thursday "didn't really have anything that changed my point of view after today. I'm anxious to hear what the defense side, you know, says tomorrow."
Tim Scott, R-S.C., told reporters that when Raskin stated Trump "does not deserve due process, it negated everything I heard before that.”
Josh Hawley, R-Mo., told reporters that the constitutionality argument was "bizarre."
"I thought today was very repetitive actually," he said. "I mean, not much new. I was really disappointed they didn’t engage much with the legal standards. This is a legal process after all."
Roy Blunt, R-Mo., told reporters his view is "unchanged."
Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., told reporters that he hasn't decided which way he'll vote, but that he took Raskin's point of constitutionality with weight. He also told reporters he is still waiting to hear what the defense has to say in response.
"I want to hear about that day," he said. "I don’t want to hear about any of that other stuff. I want to hear about that day, was he right or wrong."
GOP Sen. Rounds says Lieu's warning left an impression on Republicans
When Rep. Lieu warned the Senate that former President Trump, if acquitted, could run for office again and potentially incite more violence if he loses, it made an impression on some Republicans in the chamber.
"Several of us wrote that down," Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., told reporters later Thursday. "I think that was a strong statement on his part."
Lieu had warned earlier in the day: "I'm not afraid of Donald Trump running again in four years. I'm afraid he's going to run again and lose. Because he can do this again."
Still, Rounds said that questions about what the former president might do later are "hypotheticals" and signaled that they wouldn't form the basis of how senators vote.
"What I think right now is that — we're basing everything that we're doing on what's already happened," he said. "And we're not going to try to do hypotheticals about what's happening in the future."
Here's what comes next in the Senate impeachment trial
With the House managers having wrapped their case on Thursday, the Senate impeachment trial will move into its next phase — the defense's presentation.
Like the prosecution, the defense will have a maximum of 16 hours to present its case, though, like the House managers, they may choose to use less than that alloted time.
Following their presentation, senators will have the opportunity to ask questions of both the House managers and the defense. That proceeds a vote on whether to request additional documents and witnesses. Should no additional documents and witnesses be requested, a total of four hours will be given so each side can make their closing arguments before the Senate will advance to voting on whether or not to convict the president.
Graham's not persuaded by House arguments
Senate adjourns as House managers rest their case
The Senate adjourned for the day with House managers having wrapped their presentation.
In closing, Raskin wished the senators "good luck in your deliberations." In order to secure a conviction, 17 Republicans will need to vote to convict Trump.
Next up in the trial will be defense arguments from the former president's legal team. After that concludes, senators will have the option to ask questions of both the House managers and the defense team.
Raskin concludes impeachment presentation of House managers
Rep. Raskin concluded the House managers' impeachment presentation by attempting to blunt the defense's argument that the trial is unconstitutional.
He argued that the defense's argument on constitutional grounds is moot since the Senate voted against that argument and that it is important to pay attention to the facts. He enveloped his closing argument in a history lesson, quoting President Lincoln, the Founding Fathers and philosophers.
"We have the power to impeach the president, the president does not have the power to impeach us," Raskin said, breaking down the powers enshrined in the constitution.
He attempted to summarize the timeline House managers detailed in today's presentation, which described how Trump's inflamed rhetoric led to the Jan. 6 riot, arguing that inciting an insurrection is a high crime.
"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered, but we have this saving consolation: The more difficult the struggle, the more glorious in the end will be our victory. Good luck in your deliberations," Raskin said.
GOP senators met with McConnell during a break
Several GOP senators met with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., during an impeachment trial recess.
The group met around McConnell's desk and included John Thune, R-S.D., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., later joined them.
Murkowski, Romney and Cassidy were among the six Republicans who voted in favor of the trial's constitutionality.
McConnell later left, walking over to speak with Richard Shelby, R-Ala. McConnell spoke quietly and close to Shelby's ear.
Rick Scott, R-Fla., eventually walked over to McConnell’s desk to chat with him briefly.
Many senators were still outside the chamber when the gavel resumed session at 2:46 p.m. ET.
As Rep. Castro began speaking, there was much rustling in the chamber as senators got settled in, with around a third of senators not in their seats. Both Republicans and Democrats had members straggling.
Several Republicans went back to studying materials that appeared unrelated to the trial, including Scott and John Kennedy, R-La.
Trump golfs during his impeachment trial
NBC news spotted what appeared to be former President Trump golfing Thursday afternoon as his impeachment trial continued.
The former president's motorcade arrived at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, around 1:00 p.m. ET. While Trump's face was not entirely visible, NBC News can confirm that he golfed on the course.
Neguse on holding Trump accountable: 'If we let it go unanswered, who's to say it won't happen again?'
Nearing the final leg of their arguments, Raskin said that Trump "committed a high crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution" by inciting the violence that occurred on Jan. 6.
"What is impeachable conduct if not this? I challenge you all to think about it. If you think this is not impeachable, what is? What would be?" Raskin told senators.
He added, "If you don't find this a high crime and misdemeanor today, you have set a new terrible standard for presidential misconduct in the United States of America."
Neguse then laid out evidence to show that Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection. He said he hopes "we can all agree that if a president incites a violent insurrection against our government that that's impeachable conduct."
He argued that it was predictable that the crowd at the Save America rally on Jan. 6 was poised to fight if provoked.
"The President was willing to do just about anything to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. He tried everything he could do to stop it," Neguse said, adding that Trump told his supporters that their rights as Americans were being stolen from them, which made them "angry enough to fight like hell to stop the steal."
"It’s pretty simple — he said it and they did it," he said.
Neguse said the managers "humbly" call on senators to convict Trump.
"If we pretend this didn't happen, or worse ... if we let it go unanswered, who's to say it won't happen again," he said.
'Not connecting the dots for me': Some GOP senators unswayed
Lieu rejects idea that Trump was not given due process
Lieu pre-emptively responded to an argument that may be raised by Trump's attorneys and one that has been promoted by Trump allies — that the former president wasn't given due process.
The Democratic manager pointed out that as a former prosecutor, he didn't need to take months to investigate a crime before charging someone. Lieu said that hundreds of rioters have been charged for the violence on Jan. 6.
"There was no reason for the House to wait to impeach the man at the very top," Lieu said. "The House had a good reason to move quickly."
Lieu said that this was "not a case where there was hidden conduct or some conspiracy that required months or years of investigating." The case, he said, didn't raise any complicated legal issues.
There must be "no doubt" that Congress will act decisively against a president that incites violence, Lieu said.
Trump has no First Amendment right to incite violence, House managers say
House managers sought to cut off former President Trump's First Amendment defense, saying that freedom can't be used to justify the incitement of a deadly riot.
For weeks after Joe Biden won the election, Trump willfully lied about election fraud and set the stage for his supporters to violently attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo.
"In the middle of that explosive situation," Neguse told senators, "he struck a match and he aimed it straight at this building, at us."
The former president's power set him apart from an ordinary citizen with no ability to incite mob violence, the House manager argued.
"President Trump just wasn't some guy with politician opinions," Neguse said. "He was the president of the United States and he spent months, months using his unique power of that office, his bully pulpit to spread that big lie."
NBC News' Joyce Alene: Neguse effective at previewing and debunking defense
The defense begins arguments Friday and is expected to finish in one day.
Rick Scott brushes up on geography as Bill Cassidy takes notes
As the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump continued, a pool reporter spotted Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., sitting at his desk with a blank map of Asia and appeared to be writing in the names of countries.
In addition, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., one of six Republicans who voted to declare the trial constitutional, was taking notes on his yellow pad as the House Democratic managers presented their case.
Around 2 p.m., before the break, there were 11 empty seats in the chamber on the Republican side, and there seemed to be only one on the Democratic side.
Of those who were in the chamber, several GOP senators appeared pained by what they were watching: Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, stood, with his hands on his chair. Cassidy appeared troubled — as did his neighbor, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. All three voted to proceed with the trial as constitutional.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, had her arms tightly crossed as she watched the video evidence being presented.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who has said the trial is unconstitutional, was busily taking notes, and appeared engaged with the material.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., both sat stone faced and were not taking notes.
'The world is watching': Castro says riot damaged U.S. international relations as trial resumes
The trial resumed after a brief recess around 2:45 p.m. ET with Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, explaining how Jan. 6 damaged U.S. international relations.
"The world is watching and wondering whether we are who we say we are," Castro said.
U.S. adversaries watched the attack on the Capitol and got to watch a "dress rehearsal," seeing how the building could be taken over, he said.
He quoted a former Trump administration official who said terrorists saw how easy it was to "penetrate" the Capitol.
"We just exposed a huge vulnerability," the official said, according to Castro.
Castro then played a clip of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who echoed that same argument in the days after the attack, saying terrorists could see it wasn't hard to get into the Capitol and think it wouldn't be difficult at the White House or the Supreme Court as well.
Sen. Boozman to acquit Trump based on constitutionality argument
Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., said Thursday that he has decided he will vote to acquit Trump because he believes the trial is unconstitutional, putting himself on record among Republican senators who are likely or certain to oppose conviction.
"This was unconstitutional. And so it makes it difficult to back up,” he told reporters during an afternoon break.
Boozman suggested other Republicans will do the same. Only six Republicans joined Democrats in voting on Tuesday to proceed to the impeachment trial, with most Republicans having gone on record that they believe proceeding to an impeachment trial of a former president is unconstitutional — a key argument of Trump's defense team.
“They'll have to work through their mind, but I think it's difficult to vote that it's unconstitutional and vote to convict,” Boozman said.
Trump lawyer skips part of trial for Fox interview
Trump lawyer David Schoen told reporters he left the trial to appear on Fox News because "it's more of the same thing. They're showing the same repetitive videos, points that don't exist."
In his Fox interview, Schoen outlined the defense's strategy, saying their arguments will be "as short as possible" and that they are looking forward to addressing "the attacks that have been made on him and Republicans."
Biden aides weigh whether he will address impeachment after trial concludes
Aides to President Joe Biden are considering whether he might publicly address the impeachment trial of his predecessor after it concludes, according to multiple administration sources, a departure from his ongoing strategy of largely ignoring the proceedings.
The idea would be to deliver a unifying message to the nation in the wake of what is expected to be an acquittal of former President Donald Trump. No decisions have been made, and it’s possible Biden doesn’t speak about the impeachment until a town hall on Tuesday, when he might not be able to avoid the matter.
On Thursday, Biden acknowledged that he had seen some of the videos that Democratic impeachment managers presented the day before. Aides to the president had previously refused to say whether he was watching the proceedings. “I think the Senate has a very important job to complete. My guess is some minds may have been changed, but I don’t know,” Biden said.
Biden has not been watching the trial live, according to a source familiar, but has relied upon staff to keep him updated. Biden spent the early part of the week preparing for his Wednesday call with China President Xi Jinping, and was involved with decisions about levying sanctions against Myanmar.
Aides argue that Biden is sending a message of unity by focusing on bipartisan policy priorities. “Even as the impeachment trial is going on in the Senate, President Biden continues to bring together Republicans and Democrats,” one official said.
Trial takes a short break
After about two hours of arguments, the impeachment trial is taking a short recess.
Cicilline details how riot directly harmed lawmakers, threatened continuity of government
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., spoke about how the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol directly harmed lawmakers and threatened the continuity of the U.S. government.
The Democratic House manager said the assault was one of the "bloodiest intrusions on the Capitol since the British invaded [during] the war of 1812 and burned it to the ground."
Cicilline argued that the attack posed "an immediate and serious threat" to the continuity of government as Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and then-President Pro Tempore Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the next three in line after the president, were inside the Capitol.
He played a video clip of rioters outside the Capitol chanting "Hang Mike Pence!"
"The charging documents show that the rioters said they would have killed Vice President Pence and Speaker Pelosi had they found them," Cicilline said. "Simply put, this mob was trying to overthrow our government and they came perilously close to reaching the first three people in line to the presidency."
The congressman also played interviews that lawmakers did in the wake of Jan. 6, describing in detail what it was like inside the building that day. Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., for example, compared the events that day to his time in Afghanistan as an army ranger.
Cicilline played a video clip of Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., saying he was lying on the floor inside the House gallery when the rioters were inside and they had to remove their congressional pins to ensure that they could protect their identities in case they encountered the attackers. He said he and other lawmakers called their family members to say goodbye.
"I called my wife, and you know, it wasn't until I heard her voice that I thought, wow, this is like one of those calls you hear about," Kildee said.
5 people charged with associating with Proud Boys during Capitol siege
Federal prosecutors have charged five people with associating with members of the Proud Boys in key moments during the Capitol siege.
William Chrestman, Christopher Kuehne, and Louis Colon of Kansas City and Felicia and Cory Konold, siblings from Tucson, are accused of meeting up with others previously accused of being members of the Proud Boys and obstructing police, pushing past the outer police barricade outside and trying to restrict police efforts inside.
Outside and inside the Capitol, the five “appeared to gesture and communicate to one another … in an apparent effort to coordinate.”
The documents do not directly accuse four of the defendants with being members of the Proud Boys. But the charges against Felicia Konold say she posted a video in which she said she was “recruited into a f-----g chapter from Kansas City” and showed a challenge type coin that “appears to have markings that designate it as belonging to the Kansas City Proud Boys.”
Prosecutors have said in earlier court documents that the Proud Boys played a leading role in the siege.
Rep. DeGette: 'Trump made it clear this was only the beginning'
Extremists were emboldened by last month's riot to plot more violence and former President Trump must be held accountable, Rep. DeGette said Thursday.
"President Trump made it clear this was only the beginning," she said.
DeGette focused on a Jan. 7 statement by Trump when the then-president seemed to stop short of completely disavowing violence a day earlier while telling supporters, "our incredible journey is only just beginning."
"And he was right. Unless we take action, the violence is only just beginning," DeGette said. "Violence is never patriotic and it's never American. It's not the Democratic way and it's not the Republican way."
Shattered glass from doors of Capitol's East Front to be 'preserved'
Laura Condeluci, a spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol, said Thursday in response to a question from NBC News that the shattered windows in the East Front doors, which were repaired Thursday, would be saved.
“The broken panes of glass removed today from the historic Columbus Doors at the east entrance of the Rotunda were preserved," Condeluci said. "The broken panes were replaced with new glass.”
Asked what they will do with the glass, she said, “Moving forward, we are looking at options to display a collection from January 6.”
Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Mo., told NBC News that he and Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., are drafting a letter today to “encourage that it be enshrined in a display next to the door from which it came.”
Phillips said he has notified House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of his letter, and she “seems very amenable.”
Lieu quotes Republicans, former WH officials who blamed Trump for riot
Lieu alluded to comments made by prominent Republicans and former Trump aides in which they accused the president of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Lieu quoted former White House chief of staff John Kelly who said, "What happened on Capitol Hill was a direct result of him poisoning the minds of people with the lies and the fraud" and former Defense Secretary James Mattis who said the Capitol attack was "fomented" by Trump.
"This was echoed by former Trump official after former Trump official," said Lieu, who also mentioned that 16 Trump officials resigned in the wake of the riot. "They all took this dramatic action of resigning because they saw the clear link between President Trump's conduct and the violent insurrection."
The Democratic manager also played a brief montage of video clips showing several GOP governors such as Massachusetts' Charlie Baker, Ohio's Mike DeWine and Maryland's Larry Hogan blaming Trump for encouraging his supporters to engage in violence that day.
He also quoted former Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio who said that the invasion of the Capitol by the mob that day, who were "inspired by lies" made by people in power, "is a disgrace to all who sacrifice to build our republic."
Lieu throws 'mulligan' shade at GOP Sen. Lee
You have to be well attuned to Capitol Hill to have caught it, but Rep. Ted Lieu just threw a tiny bit of shade at Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, when he mentioned some wishing Trump could take a "mulligan" on the attack.
Lee made a comment about all politicians wishing they could take a mulligan for past rhetoric during an interview with Fox News earlier this week.
Twitter took off and there was a pile-on on Lee for appearing to say Trump deserved a mulligan for the Jan. 6 attack. Lee defended himself in the tweet thread below.
Lee on Wednesday prompted a small retraction by House managers after he protested that Democrats had misrepresented a call Trump made to him seeking to speak with Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., during the Capitol riot.
Raskin says 'we'll have no one to blame but ourselves' if Trump incites violence again
Raskin said that Congress will be to blame if former President Trump is ever elected to office again and uses his position to incite further violence.
Raskin, the lead House manager, told senators that if Trump isn't impeached and barred from running again, riots like the one on Jan. 6 may repeat in Washington, D.C., or at other government buildings across America.
"My dear colleagues: is there any political leader in this room who believes that if he is ever allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office, Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get his way?" Raskin said. "Would you bet the lives of more police officers on that? Would you bet the safety of your family on that? Would you bet the future of your democracy on that?"
Raskin's presentation detailed the former president continually siding with forces threatening political violence.
"So he gets back into office and it happens again, we'll have no one to blame but ourselves," Raskin concluded.
Lieu: Plenty of evidence that Trump showed no remorse for his role on Jan. 6
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., another House manager, argued in his presentation that Trump showed no remorse for his role on Jan. 6 and the events leading to the attack on the Capitol.
"President Trump not only failed to show remorse or take accountability, he made clear this was just beginning," Lieu told the Senate.
Lieu said that Trump didn't address the nation after the attack. Instead, he took no action.
"We needed our commander in chief to lead, to unite a grieving country, to comfort us," said Lieu, adding that Trump did "nothing" and there was only "silence."
Lieu said that some have argued Trump had simply made a mistake, but the congressman said, "We know President Trump didn't make a mistake, because you see, when you or I make a mistake, and something very bad happens, we would show remorse. We would accept responsibility."
The Democratic manager said that on Jan. 12, on his way to Texas, Trump was asked if he took any responsibility for what happened on Jan. 6, and he said only that "everybody thought it was totally appropriate," referring to the speech he made to his supporters that day.
"I'm a former prosecutor, and we're trained to recognize lack of remorse," Lieu said. "But it doesn't take a prosecutor to understand that President Trump was not showing remorse. He was showing defiance."
Raskin: Trump provoked violence against Whitmer
Raskin used Trump's attacks on Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who was later the target of a pro-Trump mob, as an example of how his comments influence his supporters.
Raskin provided a timeline of events by showing numerous tweets where Trump insulted Whitmer's Covid-19 protocol and her intelligence, saying she didn't "have a clue" what she was doing.
Then, Raskin showed armed protestors outside the Michigan Capitol and said they stormed the building because of what Trump said about the state and its governor.
Raskin also explained how Whitmer's life was directly threatened. More than a dozen men were arrested last October on federal and state charges of plotting to kidnap her.
He later showed a picture of a rioter at the U.S. Capitol holding a brunette doll with a noose around her neck. Raskin says the doll was of Whitmer.
Raskin plays clips of Trump endorsing violence before Jan. 6
Raskin argued in the next presentation that Jan. 6 was a "culmination of the president's actions, not an aberration from them."
"His encouragement of violence against other public officials who he thought had crossed him long predates the 2020 campaign," Raskin said.
Raskin said that white supremacist and extremist groups "have spread like wildfire" across the country under Trump, and Raskin played a number of video clips showing Trump encouraging or praising violence.
At an October 2015 rally in Miami, Trump told his supporters to "knock the crap out of" a protester who was in the audience.
"I promise you I will pay for the legal fees," Trump said on stage.
Trump was also seen at a March 2016 press conference describing an incident that took place at one of his campaign rallies. He said that someone in the audience began swinging at his supporters.
"He was hitting people and the audience hit back," Trump said at the time, adding that the audience's reaction was "very, very appropriate."
Another video clip showed the incident in which Greg Gianforte, while running for Congress, body-slammed a reporter at a campaign event and broke the reporter's glasses. Trump later joked about the incident at a campaign rally, saying, "Greg is smart — never wrestle him."
Raskin also played video of Neo-Nazis chanting in Charlottesville, "Jews will not replace us!" and repeating that there were "very fine people on both sides."
New court doc says extremist was waiting for Trump directions
Federal prosecutors said Thursday that one of the people charged in the Capitol riot indicated that she was “awaiting directions from President Trump” as the inauguration grew near. Because the document was filed so recently, the House managers may not have been aware of it.
In a motion seeking pre-trial detention of Jessica Watkins, prosecutors said she texted in early November, “Unless the POTUS himself activates us, it’s not legit. The POTUS has the right to activate units too. If Trump asks me to come, I will.”
In a later text on Dec. 29, she texted that she planned to go to Washington on January 6 because “Trump wants all able bodied Patriots to come,” the memo says.
Watkins, a military veteran, is accused of conspiring with other members of The Oath Keepers militia group to undertake violent action to prevent Joe Biden from being inaugurated. She was arrested Jan. 17, and two others were charged with conspiring with her.
“Watkins and her co-conspirators formed a subset of the most extreme insurgents that plotted then tried to execute a sophisticated plan to forcibly stop the results of presidential election from taking effect,” prosecutors said.
Trump legal team plans to wrap arguments Friday
Former President Trump’s legal team plans to only use one day for arguments and wrap their presentation by Friday evening, Trump adviser Jason Miller tells NBC News.
As previously reported, the defense team was not expected to use its full 16 hours, according to two sources familiar with the legal strategy. This reflected the outward optimism from the Trump lawyers heading into the trial.
Miller also suggested the defense arguments will likely not stretch late into Friday evening, either.
More on that Texas Trump supporter charged in the riots
Rep. Degette played a clip from an NBC News interview with Jenna Ryan, a Trump supporter from Texas who has been charged in the Capitol riot.
"I thought I was following my President, I thought I was doing what he asked us to do," she said.
Here's more on that interview:
Rep. DeGette lays out evidence that the rioters were following Trump's orders
Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., began the House managers' opening arguments Thursday by laying out evidence that the rioters believed they were following Trump's orders.
"Their own statements before, during, and after the attack made clear the attack was done for Donald Trump at his instructions and to fulfill his wishes," DeGette said.
DeGette said the rioters themselves said they came to Washington, D.C., and to the Capitol "because the president instructed them to do so." The congresswoman then played video clips that showed pro-Trump supporters chanting "fight for Trump" and "stop the steal" on Jan. 6 as they breached the Capitol.
The Democratic manager quoted one rioter who said on a livestream he taped from inside the Capitol, "Our president wants us here. We wait, and take orders from our president."
She also showed a video clip in which a rioter said, "He'll be happy. We're fighting for Trump."
“We were invited here!” another rioter yelled in a separate video. “We were invited by the president of the United States!”
"Even after the attack the insurrectionists made clear to law enforcement that they were just following President Trump's orders," she said. "They didn't shy away from their crimes because they thought they were following orders from the commander in chief and so they would not be punished. They were wrong."
Day three of impeachment trial begins
The third day of the impeachment trial gaveled into session at 12 p.m. ET Thursday for the managers' second and final day of arguments.
The schedule will be similar to yesterday's with breaks every 2-3 hours, Schumer said.
House managers have used just over half of their allotted 16 hours.
Thursday's session opened with lead manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., resuming arguments before handing it over to Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., for her first remarks of the trial.
Trial outcome will not change Trump's ban from Twitter
Twitter says it will continue its ban on Trump regardless of whether he runs for office in 2024.
House managers have been using particularly incendiary tweets from Trump as far back as July to make their case of how he incited the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
If convicted at the trial, Trump would become ineligible to run for public office again. Twitter said Wednesday that the outcome of the impeachment trial does not change its decision to permanently remove Trump from the platform.
Pelosi seeking to honor police who defended Capitol
Police officers who died defending the U.S. Capitol last month are "martyrs for our democracy" and should be bestowed Congress' highest honor, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday.
"They are martyrs for our democracy, martyrs for our democracy - those who lost their lives," Pelosi told reporters. "That is why I am putting forth a resolution, introducing legislation to pay tribute to the Capitol Police and other law enforcement personnel who protected the Capitol by giving them a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor that Congress can bestow."
Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was killed during the Jan. 6 attack by pro-Trump mobs, seeking to prevent Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's victory. Two other police officers who responded to the riot have died by suicide since Jan. 6.
Separately, a group of House members also introduced legislation last month to award the honor to Eugene Goodman, the Capitol police officer who deterred a mob away from the Senate chamber during the deadly riot.
Biden: 'Some minds may have been changed' by new video footage
President Joe Biden told reporters in the Oval Office Thursday morning that he did not watch yesterday's impeachment trial live, but caught some of the coverage on the morning news.
"I think the Senate has a very important job to complete. And I think, my guess is some minds may have been changed, but I don’t know," he said when asked about the new video footage presented by the House impeachment managers.
Still, Biden, who has been careful not to get involved in the trial as he pushes to get a massive Covid-19 relief package passed in Congress, said he was remaining "focused on my job."
Graham blames Capitol Police for not using lethal force on more rioters
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a close ally of Trump, told reporters that he believes "there's more votes for acquittal after today than there was yesterday" after the House manager's gripping presentation on Wednesday.
"Because hypocrisy is pretty large for these people, standing up to, you know, rioters when they came to my house, Susan Collins' house, I think this is a very hypocritical presentation by the House," Graham said.
He also blamed Capitol Police officers for not having used lethal force against more rioters.
"I got mad. I mean, these police officers had every right to use deadly force. They should have used it," he said. "The people in charge of securing the Capitol let the country down."
Graham's comments mark a shift in tone from his remarks on the Senate floor on the night of the riot, before senators voted to certify the electoral college results. Before the vote, he strongly condemned efforts to object to congressional recognition of the election.
"All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough," Graham said in a fast-talking, sometimes free-wheeling five-minute address to the Senate. He argued that both the courts and others had no proof of voter fraud and that even though he had been a stalwart supporter of Trump in recent years, it was time to move on.
ANALYSIS: Trump conviction rests on Republicans' instinct for self-preservation
If Republican senators will not put the republic over their party, House impeachment trial managers suggested Wednesday, they should convict former President Donald Trump because of the personal threats he posed to their safety.
And by implication, their suggestion went further. Unless the Senate finishes off Trump with a conviction, their argument went, Trump will remain a threat to his party and the senators' political futures. Trump incited that riot, where some invaders aimed to kill the first- and second-in-line to the presidency, Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., according to the House prosecutors. The managers brought receipts — in the form of video and audio clips — to bolster their case.
It was a fragile shield of outnumbered cops and fortune that protected elected officials' lives and the Constitution during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to video and audio recordings played publicly for the first time during the Senate trial Wednesday.
But House Democratic prosecutors did not limit their arguments to the risk to the republic, no doubt because that line of argument has not proved persuasive with Republican senators so far. Their daylong presentation of the case against Trump tilted heavily toward reminding Republican senators that Trump targeted them for years — showing the actual tweets that did so — and making it clear if he is not convicted and disqualified from holding future federal office, he will continue to dominate them politically and potentially with violence.
Replacing damaged glass at the Capitol
The Architect of the Capitol is replacing the final pane of damaged glass in the center doors on the East Front of the Capitol. These glass-paned doors sit behind the bronze Columbus Doors, which are rarely closed during business hours and were not shut on Jan. 6, leaving the inner doors exposed.
The man overseeing the replacement said the damaged pane was going back to the the Architect of the Capitol “for investigations.”
Members of Congress, including Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, had requested that some damage from the Insurrection be preserved as a reminder. While other damaged areas of the Capitol still need to be fixed, this pane was the most visual and visceral visual of that day.
Trump impeachment trial Day 3: Democrats to press their case against former president
The third day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump will kick off Thursday at noon ET, with the Democratic House impeachment managers set to conclude their opening arguments.
The managers have more than half of the total 16 hours they were allotted to make their arguments left, but they may not use all that time.
The managers have said their case on Thursday will be a "continuation of laying out what happened — the terrible toll Trump’s actions took and the further support of Trump’s role in assembling, inflaming and inciting the insurrection." It is possible they could present more never-seen-before materials.
Fact-checking Day Two of Trump's second impeachment trial
FIRST READ: To check the score on the GOP civil war, look to this new Senate candidate
As Republican senators consider the evidence that Democrats have presented in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial — a former president who sought to overturn the election results and who incited a violent mob — it’s worth studying the platform and rhetoric of a GOP candidate who wants to join them in the Senate.
“In Washington, I will pulverize the Uniparty — that cabal of Democrats and Republicans who sound the same and stand for nothing,” said Republican Josh Mandel in announcing his Senate bid to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
“I'm all in to advance the America First Trump Agenda and to oust Anthony Gonzalez!” Mandel also tweeted yesterday, referring to the Ohio GOP congressman who voted to impeach Trump.
Now Mandel isn’t exactly a new Senate candidate. He lost to Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in 2012 and pulled out of a possible rematch with Brown in 2018. But when we ask whether Trumpism is winning or losing within the Republican Party — even after the events of Jan. 6 — the direction of Mandel’s candidacy tells you everything you need to know.
Sen. Thune says House managers' arguments against Trump are 'very, very compelling'
Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., said after viewing the new video from Jan. 6 that the case presented by the House impeachment managers is "very compelling" and suggested that he's not ruling out voting to convict former President Donald Trump.
The managers had a "strong, strong presentation, put together in a way that I think makes it very compelling," Thune told reporters Wednesday.
Asked whether the presentations had any impact on what he thinks about the trial so far, Thune said, "I said all along I was going to listen to the arguments and look at the evidence, and I'm doing that."
Thune said the managers were "very, very effective," and when he was asked whether he sees the connection between Trump's actions and the violence of Jan. 6, he said, "They've done a good job connecting the dots."
Senators react to new evidence of how much danger they faced on Jan. 6
Senators were rattled Wednesday as Democratic impeachment managers gave them new details of how close the violent mob of Trump's supporters came to finding them on Jan. 6.
As Rep. Swalwell played not-seen-before footage of how close the rioters came to the Senate chamber, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., sat expressionless but attentive, hands folded on his lap. Majority Leader Schumer had a hand on his forehead.
The chamber was in absolute silence as Swalwell showed the moment of Ashli Babbitt's death. There was longer silence of about 10 seconds when he showed new security footage of how close the rioters came to the Senate chamber — and asked them to imagine if they had breached the chamber just minutes earlier.
Some of the six Republicans who voted in favor of the constitutionality of the Senate trial were sitting next to each other — Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
As Swalwell showed evidence that Schumer had a "near-miss with the mob," the New York Democrat nodded in agreement.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, watched, attentive but nonreactive, as he watched the video captured by a reporter for the New Yorker of a rioter invoking Cruz's name to justify ransacking the Senate.
Footage shows Schumer, Romney having near misses with mob
House managers on Wednesday played video of senators experiencing near misses with the mob.
One of the closest calls appeared to be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who was shown on Capitol camera footage going down a hallway with his security detail only to quickly turn around and begin running in the opposite direction.
Just prior to this, Rep. Eric Swalwell played footage showing a number of senators leaving the chamber, and later, running through a hallway to safety.
The footage of Schumer echoed an earlier security camera clip shown of Capitol Hill police officer Eugene Goodman rushing down a hallway and signaling to Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, that he needed to turn around and go down a different path. Romney quickly turned around and began to hurry away.
Swalwell showed the new footage of the escape, details of which members of Congress have intentionally withheld for safety reasons.
The footage created the juxtaposition of the senators, serving as jurors in the trial, having to watch their own escapes from rioters, in addition to having their desks ransacked.
Romney said later that he did not know how close he was to the mob on Jan 6. as he walked down a hallway before Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman waved him in the other direction.
Brief confusion on floor as Sen. Lee demands retraction on phone call Trump made
The House managers made a small retraction after a protest from Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who said that Democrats had misrepresented a call Trump made to him seeking to speak with Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., amid the Capitol riot.
Lee said he wanted a segment from Rep. Cicilline's presentation about that phone call to be struck from the record, which led to brief chaos in the Senate chamber as Democrats and Republicans tried to figure out how to proceed. The situation was resolved after Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead House manager, offered to give a brief statement clarifying the earlier remarks.
"The impeachment manager correctly and accurately quoted a newspaper account," Raskin said of the comments and CNN article in question. "We're happy to withdraw it on the grounds that it is not true. We're going to withdraw it this evening."
The Maryland Democrat added the ordeal was "much ado about nothing because it doesn't matter to our case."
Lee took issue with how Cicilline described his role in Trump's phone call to Tuberville during the riot, though he did not explain what was inaccurate about the remarks.
As both CNN and The Deseret News reported, Trump accidentally called Lee as he sought to speak with Tuberville, with CNN reporting that Trump sought to speak with the freshman Alabama senator about issuing further objections to the electoral count. Lee's office had confirmed to CNN that the phone call happened.
Castro details timeline of Trump's public messaging during riot
House managers focus on Trump's failure to act once riot was underway
House managers focused their argument Wednesday on Trump's failure to act while the riot was ongoing.
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., began by detailing the president's actions as the riot was underway, citing his tweets promoting his rally speech and attacking Pence as the Capitol was under attack as well as reports that said the president was watching the proceedings on TV.
Cicilline then asked the senators a rhetorical question: What was Trump doing to help them as Democrats and Republicans reached out to him and the White House seeking assistance?
"Nothing," Cicilline said. "Not a thing."
Cicilline mentioned the president's attempt to reach Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., to get him to issue additional objections to the electoral college vote count as the riot was underway. He then contrasted that with footage of what was going on in and around the Capitol at that time.
House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump mentioned his hours-long delay in seeking to stop the riot as influential in their vote.
'Harsh reminder': Key takeaways from day 2 of trial
Democrats played harrowing new video Wednesday of the riot that showed how close rioters intent on harming lawmakers came to finding them on Jan. 6, stoking raw emotions on the second day of former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.
As the House impeachment managers recounted their experiences on Jan. 6 in emotional terms, they sought to make senators relive their own near-misses with the mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol.
It is unclear whether they swayed Republicans, and it remains unlikely that a two-thirds majority will vote to convict. But Democrats, who have charged Trump with being "singularly responsible" for inciting the assault, were determined to remind members of his party that their own safety and lives were in danger after he spoke to a crowd of supporters who soon turned violent and stormed the Capitol.