Live Blog: Democrats Make the Case for Convicting Trump

Here’s the latest.

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Welcome back to Mother Jones’ live coverage of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.

Day two will see Democrats lay out the case for a Senate conviction of the former president over his role in fomenting the January 6 Capitol insurrection. Things kick off at noon ET, and you can expect more footage taken inside the Capitol during the attack after House impeachment managers started the first day with an unflinching video montage chronicling that violence.

If you missed day one, we’ve got an excellent podcast episode breaking down what happened (you can also listen below), including lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin’s deeply emotional remarks on the personal stakes of the trial. (Raskin brought his daughter and son-in-law to the Capitol on the day of the attack, and had buried his 25-year-old son the day before.) The opening day of Trump’s second impeachment trial was also noteworthy for the rambling, widely panned performance from Trump’s defense team. Follow along for live updates:

7:38 p.m. ET: In case you’re confused, Mike Lee claimed something attributed to him related to Trump’s reported call to his cell phone, looking for Tommy Tuberville, was not accurate. But Lee wasn’t clear about what was inaccurate. Leahy rejected Lee’s motion to strike that testimony from the record. Jamie Raskin intervened, saying the whole thing is not important to the case, so the Dems will let this one slide. The call in question is mentioned below, in the section about David Cicilline’s testimony. The Senate is adjourning until noon tomorrow, ET.

7:28 p.m. ET: Sen. Julian Castro: “This tweet shows exactly how Donald Trump felt on January 6.”

 

6:55 p.m. ET: Sen. Julian Castro back at the podium, speaking again about Trump’s failure to protect the lives of his own VP and Pence’s family. Instead, Trump “fueled the fire.” Plays footage of marchers chanting “Mike Pence is a bitch.” And “we’re coming to get you!”

 

6:50 p.m. ET: 

6:35 p.m. ET: Okay, we’re back on with Rep. David Cicilline talking about the actions taken by Trump and the White House—or not—before and during the insurrection. “His complete refusal to condemn the attack while it was going on,” and his complicity “require impeachment.” Going over some stuff we heard earlier from Madeleine Dean, and how Trump threw Pence under the bus. “The president…at the time was delighted as he watched the violence on television.”

6:20 p.m. ET: Still waiting for the Senate to continue. Until then, here’s a little video thread related to Officer Goodman’s actions:

5:25 p.m. ET: Senate adjourns for dinner. Back at 6:15 p.m. Eastern.

5:20 p.m. ET: Here is more impeachment trial video footage prepped by the MoJo crew—of the man who invaded Pelosi’s office—and via reporter Pema Levy related to the heroic officer we now know may have saved Mitt Romney’s skin. 

5:15 p.m. ET: Swalwell shows New Yorker footage of rioters rifling through senators’ desks, at first thinking Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had sold them out, and then realizing “He’s with us!” Also footage of irritant sprays being used against Capitol police officers. The voices of the cops sound despairing and afraid. 

 

5:02 p.m. ET: More disturbing footage and reaction from a key member of the so-called Coup Caucus. And now showing the rioter getting killed by police.

4:53 p.m. ET: Rep. Eric Swalwell back at the podium with more footage and audio, and implicitly challenging the integrity of the Republican Blue Lives Matter caucus.

4:37 p.m. ET: Trump turns on Mike Pence publicly, and Plaskett demonstrates the result with several video clips. “You can hear the mob calling for the execution of the vice-president of the United States,” she says. “Hang Mike Pence,” the mob cried. In another clip, insurrectionists chant “Bring out Pence!” One rioter calls Pence a “treasonous pig.” Other people talking murder of Pence and Nancy Pelosi. 

Here’s new video Plaskett shared a bit earlier, of rioters breaching the Capitol.

4:30 p.m. ET: Plaskett is laying out the entire timeline of the attack, complete with violent footage and audio dispatches previously unseen. It is very frightening stuff, especially when the sound is on and you can hear the desperation of the officers and the rioters screaming threats. Video coming shortly. 

 

Also, this from Open Secrets, following the money…

4:10 p.m. ET: Things are just getting rolling again. In the meantime, here’s something any real “patriot” should find very troubling. Remember how Trump used to go around claiming the system was “rigged.” He was right. It’s rigged—and usually in favor of guys like him. Ah, and now Stacey Plaskett is back at the podium for another bite: Actually upholding the Constitution: “That is patriotism,” she says.

3:45 p.m. ET: Dean is really feeling it. We’ve seen some heartfelt, horrific, and tearful testimony. The managers will take a break until 4 p.m. But we will have highlights from Stacey Plaskett’s segment ready in a few minutes. … And look, here it is now!

3:40 p.m. ET: Dean is deconstructing Trump’s January 6 rally speech and the numerous times he used fighting words—often literally, “fight,” “fight,” “fight.” Which reminded us of the fabulous January 15 New Yorker piece, “Among the Insurrectionists.” Writer , who had spent a lot of time at previous rallies getting to understand the people and groups involved, recalled the following scene:

“After this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you,” Trump told the crowd. The people around me exchanged looks of astonishment and delight. “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them—because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength.”

“No weakness!” a woman cried.

Before Trump had even finished his speech, approximately eight thousand people started moving up the Mall. “We’re storming the Capitol!” some yelled.

There was an eerie sense of inexorability, the throngs of Trump supporters advancing up the long lawn as if pulled by a current. Everyone seemed to understand what was about to happen.

The whole piece can be found here.

3:27 p.m. ET: Madeleine Dean is back at the dais. Much like Rep. Jamie Raskin in his opening statements yesterday, she teared up while recalling the sound of pro-Trump rioters pounding on the doors of the chamber. Trump “thought he could play by different rules,” she said. Dean, Plaskett, and the others managers are making good use of footage of Trump’s incendiary language to make their case. It’s quite effective. 

3:21 p.m. ET:  Virgin Islands House Delegate Stacey Plaskett just finished laying out a thorough, eviscerating, and very convincing case for coordination between the White House and the Capitol insurrectionists.  It’s going to be hard for the Republicans to ignore. But they’ll no doubt manage. We’ll see.

2:35 p.m. ET: Rep. Ted Lieu chronicles Trump’s attacks against individual Republicans, including then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for their refusal to overturn the election. Many of those Republicans, of course, are in the room with Lieu—and most of them are all but certain to still vote to acquit Trump.

2:25 p.m. ET: Let’s briefly return our attention again to Trump’s defense lawyer, Bruce Castor. This right here is sending me.

2:15 p.m. ET: Rep. Madeleine Dean is now up and presenting evidence of the death threats that Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger received after Raffensperger refused to bow to Trump’s pressure to overturn the election. (Scroll down below for more on today’s impeachment-adjacent breaking news that Georgia prosecutors have opened an investigation into Trump’s pressure campaign.)

1:30 p.m. ET: Rep. Eric Swalwell makes a key point: Trump spent a whopping $50 million on “Stop the Steal” ads that ran all the way to January 5. That figure underscores just how committed Trump was to promoting his post-election lies, in addition to encouraging his supporters to come to Washington.

1:25 p.m. ET: 

1 p.m. ET: The Republican Party is on trial just as much as Donald Trump, David Corn writes in his latest:

What the Republican senators are truly deciding now is their own fate—their own part in this crime against American democracy

With their vote on the opening day of the trial—and with their presumed votes ahead to acquit—these GOP senators are chaining themselves to Trump for all time, and that is certainly a fitting punishment for them. 

12:45 p.m. ET: Rep. Joe Neguse presents criminal charging documents showing insurrectionists had sought to kill Mike Pence and “shoot Nancy [Pelosi] in the friggin’ brain” by storming the Capitol.

12:15 p.m. ET: Raskin opens by accusing Trump of committing a “major crime against our Constitution and people.”

11:45 a.m. ET: My colleagues who make the Mother Jones Podcast have a brand new episode out this morning, recapping and analyzing the opening arguments from day one of Trump’s historic second impeachment trial in the Senate, covering the damning weight of evidence, the muddled and widely panned defense performance, and what happens next. Our national political reporter Pema Levy joins Jamilah King from DC to explain how the House impeachment managers, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin, will set out to prove Trump responsible for the deadly attack on January 6, while Republican Senators wiggle out of the toxic political shadow of their former president by sticking to an argument that the proceedings are unconstitutional. While we wait for day two to kick off, take a listen and make sure you subscribe!

11 a.m. ET: In impeachment-adjacent news: Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, have opened a criminal investigation into Trump’s now-infamous phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, during which Trump attempted to pressure him into magically “finding” nonexistent votes and overturn the election in his favor. The New York Times reports:

On Wednesday, Fani Willis, the recently elected Democratic prosecutor in Fulton County, sent a letter to numerous officials in state government, including Mr. Raffensperger, requesting that they preserve documents related to Mr. Trump’s call, according to a state official with knowledge of the letter. The letter explicitly stated that the request was part of a criminal investigation, said the official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal matters.

10 a.m. ET: So how is Trump taking this so far? Not great! According to the Washington Post, Trump is reportedly livid over defense lawyer Bruce Castor’s debut on Tuesday, taking issue with not only Castor’s bizarre and rambling remarks but also his clothes:

Tuesday’s opening arguments did not unfold as Trump or his allies had hoped. Trump was especially disappointed in the performance of his lawyer Bruce Castor, who gave a rambling argument, wore an ill-fitting suit and at one point praised the case presented by the Democratic House impeachment managers, two people involved in the effort said. The former president—monitoring the trial on television from Florida—had expected a swashbuckling lawyer and instead watched what was a confusing and disjointed performance.

Several Trump advisers also described Castor’s performance in harsh terms as underwhelming, as did a number of senators, including Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who said the shoddy defense spurred him to change his vote on the constitutionality of the proceedings.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

payment methods

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