House Democrats showed "chilling" new video and security footage Wednesday during the second day of former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.
Audio of police dispatchers and video of the violence from Jan. 6, some of which had not previously been released publicly, detailed a nearly minute-by-minute account of what happened once the Capitol was breached by a mob. In the new security video, congressional staffers can be seen running for their lives and barricading themselves inside offices to escape the rioting mob.
Before that, House managers used particularly incendiary tweets from Trump, going as far back as July, to make their case of how he incited the riot at the Capitol.
The Senate voted to proceed with the trial on Tuesday after hearing about four hours of debate on the constitutionality of impeaching a former federal official. Trump was impeached for the second time last month for his role in the riot at the Capitol.
Read the latest updates below:
Hawley, other GOP senators seem distracted during key arguments
WASHINGTON — As House managers delivered their arguments for why Trump should be covicted, some Senate Republicans seemed distracted.
Josh Hawley, R-Mo., sitting directly across from the TV press gallery with his feet up on the chair, continued to read papers in unmarked manila folders. He later told pool reporters that he was looking at "trial briefs with me and I've also got my notes that I'm taking."
"I haven't seen anything that's new or different," he told reporters, adding, "I think they've thought through the presentation very carefully and have clearly, you know, worked it into a very a manner that's easy to follow and I think they've clearly worked on it.” But, he said, "There's nothing new here, for me. At the end of the day, I think that we don't have jurisdiction as a court in order to pursue this, so nothing that I've seen changes my view on that and if you don't have jurisdiction, that's just the end of the call."
Mike Braun, R-Ind., at times appeared to be struggling to stay awake. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., wasn’t paying much attention either as Rep. Neguse was going through his presentation, even as the two senators sitting next to her — Steve Daines of Montana and James Lankford of Oklahoma — were turned, looking past her at the TV screens.
Rand Paul, R-Ky., was doodling again what appeared to be a drawing of the Capitol building (and a rather sophisticated one at that.) Rick Scott, R-Fla., was studying what appeared to be a map of Southeast Asia.
There was one moment when everyone in the chamber seemed to turn to pay attention: When Neguse quoted rioters saying they were inspired by Trump, showing slides of tweets and news stories and playing clips of video.
Nearly every lawmaker had a mask on except for Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., whose mask was completely off her face at one point.
Trial breaks for 15 minutes
The impeachment trial has recessed for 15 minutes after hearing the beginning of the House managers' arguments.
Wednesday's proceedings are expected to last around eight hours with two more breaks.
About that Detroit vote: Trump gained ground in the city while lying about the totals
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., showed video of Trump saying there were more votes in Detroit than people, and then explained that there are far more registered voters in the city — and even more residents — than people who voted.
What makes Trump’s lie particularly curious is something that Swalwell didn’t note: Trump actually did better there than he did in 2016:
Swalwell illustrates Trump's desperation after losing the election
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., another impeachment manager, illustrated how desperate Trump was after he lost the presidential election.
"Day after day he told his supporters false, outlandish lies that the victory, that the election outcome was taken and it was rigged. And he had absolutely no support for his claims, but that wasn't the point. He wanted to make his base angrier and angrier. And to make them angry he was willing to say anything," Swalwell said.
Swalwell then read aloud a number of false tweets Trump posted in the wake of Biden's victory in which Trump claimed, without evidence, that the election was rigged, that dead people voted, and that he found "many illegal votes."
"This just wasn't true. He never found illegal votes. He didn't even try to pretend that he had evidence for that," Swalwell said.
Experts: Trump’s 'big lie' didn’t start with him
The impeachment managers are focused on Trump’s actions during this trial, but it’s worth noting that the "big lie” of a stolen election didn’t happen in a vacuum: many other Republicans — including some in the Senate — have been claiming that voter fraud was a big problem for decades.
“The base was completely prepared to believe the kind of outlandish things that Trump said," said Rick Hasen, a professor and election law expert at the University of California, Irvine told NBC News recently.
"No matter how powerful his bully pulpit, he wouldn't have a fertile — he wouldn't have a willing audience if this had not been repeated so many times over the years in a more polite voice," added Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.
Castro says Trump's efforts to delegitimize election began long before Jan. 6
House manager Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, pulled quotes from as far back as July 2020 to demonstrate how former President Trump's efforts to delegitimize the election began long before Jan. 6
Castro played a video reel showing Trump repeatedly refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
In one clip, Trump says, "There won't be a transition of power. There'll be a continuation."
Castro also played clips of supporters saying they wouldn't accept a "rigged" election to show the effect of his messaging.
The House managers are using these anecdotes to argue that Trump's crimes are not summed up with just the Capitol attack, but rather it marked the end of a progression spiraling downward.
Neguse says Trump's supporters were 'primed' for Capitol attack for months
Neguse argued that Trump supporters were "primed" for the Jan. 6 attack over many months and that law enforcement agencies knew in the days before that thousands of people planned to target the Capitol, that they'd be armed and violent.
The Democratic manager then showed a clip of Trump at his "Stop the Steal" rally that day near the White House ellipse.
"You have to get your people to fight because you'll never take back a country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong. And we fight, we fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore," Trump told his supporters.
Neguse said Trump "had the power to stop" the violence but didn't. The lawmaker also cited a comment from a Proud Boy member charged in the riot who said they would have killed then-Vice President Mike Pence if they had the opportunity. Neguse then read a quote in a criminal complaint of a rioter saying, "We were looking for Nancy Pelosi, to shoot her in the frickin' brain, but we didn't find her."
Rep. Neguse: Election officials warned us
Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., pointed to the harassment of election officials as an early warning sign last year, a warning he says the president pointedly ignored.
“Armed supporters surrounded election officials’ homes," Neguse said. "The secretary of state for Georgia got death threats. Officials warned the president that his rhetoric was dangerous and was going to result in deadly violence. When he saw the violence his conduct was creating, he didn’t stop it. He didn’t condemn it. He incited it further.”
NBC News recently spoke with a dozen election officials who described months of abuse and threats and how they tried to raise the alarm ahead of the deadly attack at the Capitol.
Neguse lays out in chronological order a roadmap of what led to Jan. 6 attack
Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., in his opening arguments, provided a timeline of what led up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol as well as a roadmap of Democrats' arguments.
Neguse said that as a son of immigrants, he believes in his heart that the U.S. is the greatest republic the world has ever known.
"We know now that we can no longer take that for granted," he said.
The mob on Jan. 6 was "summoned assembled and incited by the former president of the United States, Donald Trump. And he did that because he wanted to stop the transfer of power so that he could retain power, even though he had lost the election," Neguse said.
He said that the events of that day were "predictable" and "foreseeable" as his supporters were "well-orchestrated." Neguse laid out in chronological order what led to the riot which began with Trump promoting what is now known as "the big lie," stating that he won the election, then encouraging his supporters to "stop the steal" of the election and then telling his supporters to "fight like hell."
The impeachment manager told senators that if they want to prevent such an event from happening again, then Trump must be convicted.
Democratic impeachment manager quotes Scalia in case against Trump
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the lead impeachment manager, tugged at conservative heartstrings Wednesday when he quoted former Justice Antonin Scalia as part of his case for convicting former President Trump.
"As Justice Scalia once said, memorably, you can't ride with the cops and root for the robbers," Raskin said, referring to a 1987 opinion Scalia wrote in the significant First Amendment case Rankin v. McPherson.
Raskin was arguing that incitement to violence is not protected speech under the First Amendment.
ANALYSIS: Forget ideology, it’s about a president inciting an insurrection
Lead House impeachment manager,Jamie Raskin, D-Md., made a subtle point aimed at getting Republican senators to think about the Jan. 6 riot outside the specific context of a pro-Trump action.
The ideology of the Trump supporters is irrelevant to the question of whether the president’s conduct requires conviction by the Senate. A president cannot incite an insurrection and “expect to be on the payroll as commander in chief of the union.”
The ideology, he said, “makes no difference.”
Raskin says Democrats will prove Trump was 'no innocent bystander' on Jan. 6
Raskin began his opening arguments Wednesday by saying his team will prove that Trump was "no innocent bystander" in the events of Jan. 6.
"He saw it coming," said Raskin, who also said that the former president had been warned that his followers would cause violence.
"There was method in the madness that day," he said.
Raskin said that the trial is about "holding accountable the person singularly responsible for inciting the attack," referring to Trump.
The Maryland Democrat then highlighted key lines from Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally before the attack on the Capitol in which he told his supporters that they wouldn't have a country anymore and would never take the country back with weakness.
"This is a day that will live in disgrace in American history," he added.
Second day of impeachment trial opens
The second day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump began at 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday with the House managers making their opening arguments.
The day's proceedings, led by Rep. Jaime Raskin, D-Md., is expected to last around eight hours with three breaks. The managers are expected to show unreleased footage of the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Defense team lawyer rejects reports that Trump unhappy with Tuesday performance
One of Trump's attorneys rejected reports that the former president expressed displeasure with their performance during the first day of the trial Tuesday.
"Far from it," Bruce Castor told reporters Wednesday. "Only one person’s opinion matters and that is what I am going by."
Another lawyer on the defense team, David Schoen, said that he had spoken to Trump but would not divulge what was said.
"Of course any conversation that I had, as I am sure you understand, are attorney-client privileges," he said.
Senate Judiciary Committee announces Merrick Garland confirmation dates
The Senate Judiciary Committee has set a confirmation hearing for Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden's nominee for attorney general.
The two-day hearing will begin on Feb. 22 and include Garland's testimony and a second day for outside witnesses to testify. Lawmakers have said that Trump's impeachment trial would not impede their legislative work or confirming Biden's nominees.
A committee vote will take place the following Monday on whether to move the nomination to the full Senate. Many of Biden's nominees have faced little resistance to getting confirmed from Republicans in the Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Democrats.
Garland, a federal appeals court judge whose nomination to the Supreme Court in 2016 was stalled by Republicans, has previously had top roles at the Justice Department.
Georgia prosecutors open criminal inquiry into Trump's efforts to overturn election results
Georgia prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the state's election results, NBC News confirmed Wednesday.
The investigation by Fulton County prosecutors will look into a damning phone call that Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger while he was still president in which Trump begged him to overturn the results.
Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis sent a letter Wednesday to state government officials, including Raffensperger, requesting that their offices preserve documents related to the call, according to a state official with knowledge of the letter.
NBC News verified the contents of the letter, which explicitly states the request is part of a criminal investigation into several charges ranging from false statements to “any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”
Image: A banner reading, 'Convict or be complicit' is hung over a bridge in view of the U.S. Capitol
Never-seen-before security video of Capitol riot to open Trump impeachment trial Day 2
Democratic House impeachment managers will unveil "never-seen-before" video of the deadly Capitol riot during their opening arguments Wednesday as part of the case they're building against former President Donald Trump, senior aides said.
The Capitol security footage "will provide new insight into both the extreme violence that everyone saw, the risk and the threat that it could have led to further violence and death to many but for the brave actions of the officers and shows really the extent of what Donald Trump unleashed on our Capitol," the aides to the impeachment managers told reporters.
"We have the goods," they said. "Yesterday was our dry constitutional argument day. Today, the actual trial begins. We have the goods, we will be presenting the goods. We will be tying the evidence all together in a compelling case that will make it clear for everyone — Democrats, Republicans, everyone — that Donald Trump committed the most heinous constitutional crime possible."
The video "shows a view of the Capitol that is quite extraordinary and a view of the attack that has never been public before," the aides added in previewing the team's approach for the second day of Trump's second impeachment trial.
FIRST READ: Trump's second impeachment trial is underway and the verdict is already in
After yesterday’s harrowing 13-minute video presentation, after hearing about the precedent and the Founders’ intentions, and after a widely panned defense presentation, only six Republican senators voted that Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is constitutional.
Those six GOP senators (out of 50) joined the 10 House Republicans (out of 211) who voted to impeach the former president in January, as well as the 11 House Republicans (out of 211) who voted to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s, R-Ga., committee assignments last week.
The unmistakable conclusion: Trump and Trumpism have won the GOP’s civil war — even after Trump’s defeat in November, after the party lost control of the U.S. Senate, and after what happened on Jan. 6.
Georgia secretary of state's office opens inquiry into Trump phone call
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's office has opened an investigation into former President Trump's Jan. 2 phone call urging Raffensperger to overturn the state's election results.
"All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state," Trump told Raffensperger in the phone call, which is expected to play a prominent role in Trump's impeachment trial this week.
In a statement last month, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis described the call as "disturbing" and left the door open for an investigation.
"Anyone who commits a felony violation of Georgia law in my jurisdiction will be held accountable. Once the investigation is complete, this matter, like all matters, will be handled by our office based on the facts and the law," Willis said then.
Legal scholar chides Trump impeachment defense for misrepresenting his writings
A legal scholar who believes former officials can be the subject of impeachment and trial by the Senate said Tuesday that former President Trump's legal team has repeatedly mischaracterized his findings.
Brian Kalt, a professor at Michigan State University's College of Law, said the Trump legal brief submitted to the Senate on Monday "ranges from sloppy to disingenuous" in its citations to his 2001 law review article that concluded the Senate has the authority to impeach former officials.
Kalt's 124-page article spelled out the arguments on both sides of the question.
"There is plenty in there for them to use. The problem was that they did not cite accurately," he told NBC News as the Senate prepared to begin considering the issue.
Trump said to be extremely displeased with his legal team's first showing
Former President Donald Trump is extremely displeased about his legal team’s first showing at the Senate impeachment trial, according to three sources familiar with his thinking. He was especially disappointed with Bruce Castor’s meandering performance and wasn’t completely sold on David Schoen either, the sources said.
Trump, who watched and fumed from his Mar-a-Lago club, is expecting a more compelling appearance from the defense later in the week, one source said.
In response to questions about Tuesday’s change in strategy, Castor told NBC News that his game-time decision to alter the plan was “not that complicated” and argued that he didn’t want to let Schoen follow the House impeachment managers’ case with a “dry” legal argument.
“I suggested at the break that I try to bring the room back from the ‘horrors’ the Ds tried to show that did not pertain to jurisdiction. It was a unanimous decision on our side for me to try to do so,” Castor added. He declined to comment directly on the widespread criticism of his remarks.
Castor also said his goal was to “lower the temperature” and believed he was successful. “I was not trying to be scholarly, just informative. We will be scholarly later,” Castor said.
Trump lawyer defends Castor, who was criticized for defense's opening remarks
Trump defense attorney David Schoen defended fellow team member Bruce Castor, who was criticized for his opening statement in the former president's defense during the first week of the impeachment trial, in a Fox News interview Tuesday night.
Sean Hannity told Schoen that he found fellow lawyer Castor’s introductory performance “free-associating, extemporaneous, somewhat meandering,” and asked whether we can expect the Trump team’s response on Friday and Saturday to be “more focused and … more prepared.”
Schoen said the team will be “very well prepared in the future.”
"They seem to be very capable people," Schoen said of Castor's law firm. "Today, he hadn't planned on going. And so, I'm sure that they'll be very well prepared in the future, and do a great job in the case.”
Trump never conceded he lost, but his impeachment lawyer did
One of the lawyers heading former President Donald Trump’s defense at his second impeachment trial did what Trump himself has not: conceded Joe Biden won the presidential election.
In opening remarks Tuesday, lawyer Bruce Castor said: “The American people just spoke, and they just changed administrations.” He added that Americans are "smart enough to pick a new administration if they don’t like the old one, and they just did.”
The comments by Castor, a former county prosecutor in Pennsylvania, were a surprising contrast to Trump's defiance. The former president repeatedly disputed the results of the election, falsely claiming he won in a “landslide.” And he kept up the baseless claims through the end of his presidency, including during a speech at a rally that preceded the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, which set in motion his trial on a charge of incitement of insurrection.
Castor acknowledged more than once that Trump lost the election. Trump, for his part, never acknowledged his departure was the voters' will. While Vice President Mike Pence called his successor, Kamala Harris, to offer his congratulations, Trump made no similar call to Biden.
Who are Trump's impeachment lawyers?
Former President Donald Trump's impeachment legal team is comprised of a team of veteran lawyers, but none of them have ever been involved in a case quite like this.
While Trump's first impeachment trial featured prominent names such as former Whitewater prosecutor Ken Starr, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and longtime Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, Trump's current team has less name recognition, but decades of legal experience under their belts - and some familiarity with controversial clients.
Here's a look at Trump's legal team:
David Schoen is a civil and criminal defense lawyer who previously represented Trump adviser Roger Stone, whom Trump granted a full pardon during his final weeks in office.
Bruce Castor is a former acting attorney general and state solicitor general in Pennsylvania, where he also served two terms as Montgomery County District Attorney. He had a string of successful prosecutions as D.A. but is best known for a case he declined to prosecute — a sexual assault case against comedian and actor Bill Cosby in 2005.
Michael Van der Veen is a Philadelphia-based personal injury and criminal defense lawyer. He founded the firm where Bruce Castor also works.
Julieanne Bateman is the youngest member of Team Trump, Bateman also works at van der Veen's firm. She is a former prosecutor at Pennsylvania's Franklin County District Attorney's office.
Trump Senate impeachment trial II: Everything you need to know
Donald Trump's second impeachment trial this week will look much different than the first.
Trump is the first president to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives, and he'll be the first former president to be put on trial in the Senate. Arguments begin in earnest on Wednesday, and the trial is expected to last at least a week. Here's what to expect.
Democrats say impeachment trial won't impede Covid relief work
Top Senate Democrats said Tuesday that they won't let the impeachment trial of former President Trump impede their legislative work and that they can tackle their agenda simultaneously.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., flanked by Democratic committee chairs, said at a news conference that Democrats had a message for those who said "the impeachment trial would throw a wrench into President Biden's early agenda."
"We are here today to say we are not letting that happen. We can do both at once," Schumer said.
Key takeaways from day one of Trump's second impeachment trial
The first day of Trump's second impeachment trial began with a graphic video of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol — and ended with a clue to the endgame.
After a first round of arguments by the House Democratic managers and Trump's defense team Tuesday, 56 senators voted to dismiss Trump's constitutional objections and continue with the trial — the latest sign that there won't be 67 votes to convict.
The trial represents a series of historic firsts: the first trial of a former president, the first time a president has faced two trials and the first time the chief justice of the United States isn't presiding when a president is on trial.
Just catching up? Here's what you missed from Tuesday's proceedings
The Senate voted Tuesday to proceed with the impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump, with six Republicans joining all Democrats.
The 56-44 vote rejected an argument from Trump's lawyers that it is unconstitutional to try a former president, a debate that took up much of the first day of arguments from the House impeachment managers and Trump's legal team.
Voting alongside all Senate Democrats were Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bill Cassidy, R-La.
Trump's second impeachment trial kicked off earlier Tuesday afternoon with a jarring 20-minute video montage of the devastating events of the Capitol riots, forcing the chamber of senators to relive some of the most intense moments from Jan. 6, some of which occurred at the very desks at which they were sitting.