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.
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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.