Trial Day 3: Democrats to highlight Trump’s ‘lack of remorse’ for Capitol riot
House Democrats prosecuting Donald Trump’s impeachment case intend to use the third day of the Senate trial to highlight what they cast as the former president’s unabashed reaction to last month’s deadly rampage at the Capitol.
The Democratic impeachment managers spent much of Wednesday making the case that Trump had laid the groundwork for the attack with weeks of false claims that November’s election was “stolen” from him, then incited his supporters to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6 to block the vote formalizing President Biden’s victory.
On Thursday, the Democrats’ final day of arguments, they’ll build on that narrative, providing “additional evidence of President Trump’s role, and the impact his role played on the attack,” according to a senior aide on the impeachment managers’ team.
“We’ll also focus on the president’s lack of remorse, which is an element of the impeachment calculus,” the aide added.
Trump’s actions after the Capitol was breached have become an increasing focus of Democrats’ argument that the former president incited an insurrection for the sole purpose of preventing Biden from assuming power, even despite the certified election results.
As detailed in the Democrats’ arguments Wednesday, Trump’s first tweet during the attack urged his supporters to “support our Capitol Police” and “stay peaceful,” even as rioters were attacking law enforcement officers and storming through the Capitol.
A video statement released several hours later amplified his false claims that the election was stolen, then praised the rioters as “very special” people.
“We have to have peace, so go home,” he said. “We love you.”
His final tweet of the day suggested it had been a momentous occasion.
“Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!” he said.
During the attack, a number of Republicans had made private phone calls to the White House, or appeared in interviews on cable news, pleading with Trump to take a more forceful approach in calling for the rioters to stand down. Those messages were brought up during Tuesday’s trial, and even some of Trump’s Republican allies acknowledged that Trump didn’t do enough to end the siege more quickly.
“I think they had a strong point,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).
Alabama’s other GOP senator, Tommy Tuberville, might have made the point even stronger Tuesday evening when he revealed that Trump had called him during the siege, and Tuberville told him that Vice President Pence had just been whisked off the Senate floor as the mob approached.
Hours earlier, during a rally outside the White House, Trump had urged his supporters to pressure Pence to reject the formalization of Biden’s victory, a power the vice president does not possess. Near the same time as that phone call, Trump had tweeted a message questioning Pence’s “courage.”
A second senior Democratic aide said Thursday that Trump’s actions marked “the most grievous constitutional crime ever committed by the president.”
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