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Feb. 10 updates for impeachment trial Day 2: House Democrats present evidence in Senate

House impeachment managers showed new security footage of the violence at the Capitol riot during second day of trial.
Image: Illustration shows former President Donald Trump collaged with paper cut outs of Senators Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell with red strips reading \"high crimes\" and other phrases.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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.

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Live Blog

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:

  • Hillary Clinton won Detroit, 234,871 votes to Trump’s 7,682.
  • Joe Biden won with fewer votes, while Trump got more, in 2020: 233,908 to 12,654.

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.

Read the full story here.

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.

Read the story here.

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.