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Impeachment managers wrap case with new warning on Trump

The House Democrats making the case to convict former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE wrapped up their arguments Thursday with a warning.

Acquittal, they said, could embolden Trump to incite violence again in the future. 

Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden officials brace for worst despite vaccine data Political fireworks fuel DC statehood hearing Democrats vow to go 'bold' — with or without GOP MORE (D-Md.) concluded Democrats' opening argument late Thursday afternoon, capping off two days of presentations that included disturbing new security footage from inside the Capitol on the day of the attack, charging documents against insurrectionists who cited Trump as the inspiration for their crimes, and videos of the mob attacking police officers trying to defend the Capitol.

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Some of those videos showed members of the mob breaching the very chamber where senators are serving as jurors in the impeachment trial.

One showed the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt, an insurrectionist who was shot by Capitol Police as she tried to jump through a broken window to breach the House chamber while lawmakers, staff and journalists were still evacuating.  

"If a president did invite a violent insurrection against our government, as of course we allege and think we've proven in this case, but just in general, if a president incited a violent insurrection against our government, would that be a high crime and misdemeanor? Can we all agree at least on that?" Raskin said.

Raskin later quoted from Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" pamphlet advocating for American independence from Great Britain — while adjusting the original line that "these are the times that try men's souls" to include "men and women's souls."

"Senators, I've talked a lot about common sense in this trial, because I believe that's all you need to arrive at the right answer here," Raskin said. "Let's not get caught up in a lot of outlandish lawyers' theories here. Exercise your common sense about what just took place in our country."

Democrats argued Thursday that acquitting Trump would allow him to potentially run for office and incite additional violence like on Jan. 6, when his supporters tried to stop Congress from ratifying President BidenJoe BidenIRS to roll out payments for ,000 child tax credit in July Capitol Police told not to use most aggressive tactics in riot response, report finds Biden to accompany first lady to appointment for 'common medical procedure' MORE's election victory. A conviction in the impeachment trial would allow the Senate to hold a separate vote to bar the former president from holding federal office in the future. 

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“Senators, the evidence is clear. We showed you statements, videos, affidavits that prove President Trump incited an insurrection — an insurrection that he alone had the power to stop. And the fact that he didn’t stop it, the fact that he incited a lawless attack and abdicated his duty to defend us from it, the fact that he actually further inflamed the mob, further inflamed that mob, attacking his vice president while assassins were pursuing him in this Capitol more than requires conviction and disqualification,” Rep. Joe NeguseJoseph (Joe) NeguseCongressional Black Caucus members post selfie celebrating first WH visit in four years Gun control advocates applaud Biden funding plan but say more must be done Democrats urge Biden to take executive action on assault-style firearms MORE (D-Colo.) said.

“We humbly, humbly ask you to convict President Trump for the crime for which he is overwhelmingly guilty of. Because if you don’t, 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. 

The impeachment managers pointed to tweets from Trump on Jan. 6 that at first attacked then-Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePelosi says she would have put up a fight against Capitol mob: 'I'm a street fighter' Trump alumni launch America First Policy Institute Biden's policies are playing into Trump's hands MORE shortly after the mob broke into the Capitol and only hours later included a video telling his supporters to go home while also saying "we love you" and "you're very special."

It wasn't until the next day that Trump released another pre-recorded video stating that the insurrectionists "defiled the seat of American democracy" and "to those who broke the law, you will pay." 

Five people died as a direct result of the Jan. 6 insurrection, while two police officers on duty — one from the Capitol Police and another from the Metropolitan Police — died by suicide days later.

One of the people who died was a Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, who was injured while engaging with members of the mob. Sicknick laid in honor in the Capitol Rotunda last week, a rare distinction for private citizens.

Conviction would require 67 votes, which is considered a long shot given that most Republican senators are opposed to the trial. Only six GOP senators have voted with Democrats to uphold that the trial is constitutional. Trump's lawyers and allies have argued that the trial isn't constitutional because the former president is no longer in office.

But that view is disputed by many legal scholars and the Democratic impeachment managers pointed to the example of former Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876. Belknap resigned moments before the House was set to vote on articles of impeachment against him over a corruption scandal. The House still passed the articles of impeachment and the Senate held a trial, although the case against Belknap fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for conviction. 

A subsequent vote disqualifying Trump from holding elected office again would require only a simple majority.

Trump's lawyers are scheduled to make their presentation Friday and conclude the same day. 

House Democratic impeachment managers declined to answer reporters' questions on Thursday if they would call witnesses. And Senate Democrats signaled that they aren't necessarily keen on calling witnesses either, in contrast to last year's impeachment trial against Trump alleging that he abused his power by pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden.

Raskin had requested that Trump testify in this week's trial, but the former president declined.

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"I think that Donald Trump could certainly come and give his explanation of the day. But otherwise, it feels like to me we're done," Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenForgiving K in school loans would free 36 million student borrowers from debt: data IRS chief warns of unpaid taxes hitting trillion Biden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  MORE (D-Mass.) told reporters.

That means the proceedings could conclude as soon as Saturday. 

As he made his concluding remarks, Raskin said that he would have posed the following questions to Trump had he accepted the invitation to testify: "Why did President Trump not tell his supporters to stop the attack on the Capitol as soon as he learned of it? Why did President Trump do nothing to stop the attack for at least two hours after the attack began? As our constitutional commander in chief, why did he do nothing to send help to our overwhelmed, besieged law enforcement officers for at least two hours on January 6th after the attack began? Why did President Trump, not at any point that day condemn the violent insurrection and the insurrectionists?”

Updated at 5:52 p.m.