Trump impeachment: Senate hearing prosecution arguments against former president who has been labelled ‘inciter-in-chief’

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President-elect Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters during a rally, in Grand Rapids, Mich., Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Image:President-elect Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters during a rally, in Grand Rapids, Mich., Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya

‘We’ve lost the line’

Senators have now heard the radio communications of police when officers overwhelmed.

They can be heard saying “we’ve lost the line” and calling code “10:33” – officer in need of emergency assistance.

Testimony is also heard about one officer who was dragged down the outside stairs of the Capitol before being tasered and suffering a heart attack.

Another officer speaks of how he was wedged in a door by rioters and beaten, with the graphic footage of the incident being played.

Rioters can be heard shouting “heave, ho,” as they try and break through doors being held closed by the police with the officer wedged in between.

Impeachment manager Swalwell also talks of the three officers who died in or after the riots.

Another recess is then called for dinner, due to last around 45 minutes.

Analysis by Adam Parsons, in Washington DC

It has been a day largely dedicated to Democrats representatives telling the story of the events leading up to the mob attack on the Capitol on January 6th.

The narrative is the rhetoric and actions of President Trump created such a febrile atmosphere that the attack was inevitable.

But what hasn’t been explained so far is this – if the attack was so utterly predictable, why was the Capitol so poorly defended? At the time, it was said that nobody could have foreseen that a rally in defence of free speech would turn so violent.

But if the Democrats’ evidence is to be believed, then – surely – the mob attack should have been planned for.

Death of Ashli Babbitt and proximity of mob to politicians

Senators have been shown footage of when Ashli Babbitt was shot dead.

Impeachment manager Swalwell says this was done to protect members of the House of Representatives who were nearby when Ms Babbitt was climbing through a window.

He also describes how members of the mob were being told on social media to lock house members in tunnels and “turn on the gas”.

Mr Swalwell describes how Senators and their staffers were just 57 steps from the rioters at one point.

Politicians and their aides were being evacuated, while police officers were holding back the mob at the other end of a hallway.

We have ceased our live stream of the trial due to the graphic footage being shown.

We apologise for any upset or offence caused.

Text updates will continue.

‘Mob was growing larger and larger’

Eric Swalwell, a member of House of Representatives and one of the impeachment managers, has spoken of how he was in the lower house of Congress while rioters broke into the building.

He described how he was told to hide under his chair and put on a gas mask. He then sent a message to his wife, saying he loved her and their children.

Mr Swalwell said he imagined many Senators – Democrat and Republican – sent similar messages on 6 January.

Footage was then shown of house members – including Mr Swalwell – being evacuated from the floor of the house as the rioters surrounded the room.

Analysis by Adam Parsons, in Washington DC

There have been plenty of mentions of the Proud Boys today – the group accused of being at the very heart of the mob attack on the Capitol.

One of the group’s members arrested at the scene was Dominic Pezzola, named in the Senate as a ringleader who had been wearing a communication device so he could help co-ordinate the attack.

Pezzola is facing federal charges in connection with what happened.

In court papers filed today, his lawyer said that “it is apparent [that the] defendant was one of millions of Americans who were misled by the President’s deception…hopefully he has learned not to be so gullible and will not be so easily duped again”.

Speaker removed from Capitol

Ms Plaskett now tells Senators that Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi was evacuated from the Capitol facility entirely.

She outlines that the mob would have killed the senior Democrat if they had found her.

Ms Plaskett adds that those who raided the speaker’s office used terms – like “Crazy Nancy” – coined by Donald Trump.

Footage is played of rioters calling for Nancy Pelosi as they walk through the Capitol.

And more CCTV shows Ms Pelosi’s staff barricading themselves in a conference room – just seven minutes before rioters entered the hallway outside and tried to break the door down.

Audio from the staffers is played to senators. The trapped workers were whispering into their phones, asking for police to help them.

More new footage

CCTV from inside the Capitol shows a police officer tell Senator Mitt Romney – who voted to convict Donald Trump last year – to turn around after the Senator left the chamber and the mob was breaking into the building.

Officer Eugene Goodman was later seen leading the mob away from the Senate, all while Vice President Pence was still in a room near the chamber.

More footage was shown of Mr Pence being evacuated from this location – near the area that Officer Goodman just led the mob away from.

It is the first time that the public has seen just how close the rioters got to the vice president.

Impeachment manager Plaskett goes on to describe how people were talking on social media about how they were planning to kill Mr Pence.

More video is played of rioters calling to “hang Mike Pence”.

New evidence being shown

The Senate is now being shown evidence not seen before by the public. It starts off with radio communications between police officers.

This includes, at 1.49pm, officers designating what was going on a riot.

Voices from law enforcement sound strained and panicked as they call for assistance from other offices.

At the same time, Vice President Pence was still on the floor of the Senate. He was removed just before 2.14pm by his secret service bodyguards.

Videos of the riot – as well as a graphic of the Capitol showing the location of the protesters – have also been shown to senators.

Security camera footage from inside the Capitol is shown as rioters – including members of the Proud Boys – storm through windows and head towards the Senate chamber.

Initially one police officer can be seen, but they are quickly overwhelmed.

Stacey Plaskett says the footage reminded her of 9/11 – when she was working in Congress as a staffer.

She mentions how people gave their lives to stop Flight 93 from crashing into the Capitol that day.

And we’re back

Stacey Plaskett returns to lay out what happened on 6 January.

Jamie Raskin has reiterated the warning about the violent and graphic footage that will be shown.

Ms Plaskett describes the events of 6 January as an attack on the republic.

Recounting the events of 6 January

Manager Madeleine Dean has emotionally spoken of how she was told to put on a gas mask on 6 January, and had panicky phone calls with her husband during the riots.

She goes on to describe how Donald Trump’s speech ahead of the riot was telling his base to fight at that instance to “stop the steal”, rather than just saying it had to happen at some point.

Again, Trump’s tweets are being brought up – with him making 34 posts between when he woke up on 5 January and the start of the march the next day.

These tweets included pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to reject the certification of the election – something Mr Pence could not, and did not, do.

Ms Dean spoke about how Trump talked to his base on 6 January – and encouraged the supporters to “fight like hell” to “stop the steal”.

And she shows senators a clip of Trump praising Rudy Giuliani – who had previously called for “trial by combat”.

Then footage was shown of the crowd saying “take the Capitol” in response to Trump’s words.

Online evidence trail

Ms Plaskett has gone through a number of posts from a number of websites – including Reddit and TheDonald.Win – showing how people were planning violence.

She shows memes and text posts of people calling for an attack on the Capitol on 6 January – as well as the reasons they gave.

A lot of the posts are based on the idea that the election was stolen and that Congress was breaking the law.

Ms Plaskett goes on to demonstrate that concerns about the violence were being reported in the US media.

And she speaks of  how the Trump White House monitored these areas of the internet and would have known about the posts calling for violence.

Law enforcement was also aware of some of the plans to riot, according to Ms Plaskett, with DC police making six arrests in the run up to 6 January.

Previous violence had links to the Capitol

Ms Plaskett has outlined an incident in Texas in October, where pickup trucks covered in Trump flags surrounded and intimidated a Biden Harris campaign bus.

She explained how Trump did not condemn the violence, but made jokes about how the group were “protecting” the campaign bus – despite the FBI launching an investigation.

Ms Plaskett added how the people who organised the Texas incident were later found at the Capitol during the riots.

She went on to describe how people described themselves as “the cavalry” and engaged in violence at the “second million MAGA march” on 12 December.

Trump flew over the march and tweeted a message saying “thank you patriots”.

Ms Plaskett describes how Trump went on to tweet to supporters to come to Washington DC on 6 January.

He then became directly involved in the planning of the 6 January gathering at which Trump spoke, Ms Plaskett said.

She went on to say that the march from where the speech was held to the Capitol did not come about until after the president got involved in planning – against the details of the permit for the event.

The warning signs were there

Manager Stacey Plaskett is now making the point that the warning signs of the 6 January violence in the months previously.

She says that Trump “fanned the flame” of violence – and that the people the President was encouraging led the charge against the Capitol.

Ms Plaskett speaks about the Proud Boys, and how they attacked people.

Trump was asked if he would condemn white supremacists and right wing groups like Proud Boys, and he said “stand back and stand by”.

This statement was seen by the Proud Boys as signs of encouragement, Ms Plaskett says, and she showed images of rioters at the Capitol wearing jackets emblazoned with the phrase “stand back and stand by”.

Attacks on Vice President Pence

Ted Lieu has described how Donald Trump turned on his vice president, Mike Pence.

Trump wanted Mr Pence to refuse to accept the results of the election on 6 January, where the vice president presided over Congress as they sought to certify the vote.

Despite threats from Trump, and the attack on the Capitol, Mr Pence “stood strong” and certified the election, according to Mr Lieu.

Mr Pence was among those politicians who rioters had plans to attack and kill, according to evidence provided earlier in the trial.

Trump turned on both Democrats and Republicans 

Manager Ted Lieu is now talking to the Senate. He started off by talking about how he and his family came to the US as immigrants and achieved the American dream.

Mr Lieu also spoke about how he served in the armed forces and remains in the reserves.

Turning to Trump, Mr Lieu described how the former President put pressure on Republican senators and members of the House of Representatives.

Mr Lieu makes the point that Trump was aiming for “all of us” – including Democrats and Republicans alongside each other as he seeks to convince 17 GOP senators to vote to convict.

After, the manager described how Trump put pressure on those within the White House to try and overturn the election.

Pressure on officials

Madeleine Dean is now outlining how Donald Trump put pressure on state officials to try and overturn the results of the election.

This includes attempts to get the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” extra votes in a phone call which was later published.

Ms Dean shows how Trump labelled Mr Raffensperger an “enemy of the people” for not doing as he was told – despite the secretary being a Republican.

After this, the Raffensperger family was subjected to threats – including death threats – from supporters of Trump.

It was announced today that a criminal investigation into the call Trump made to Mr Raffensperger is underway.

This was not the only case, and Trump called numerous state politicians across the country – including in Ms Dean’s state of Pennsylvania.

More on Josh Hawley

Here is what Senator Hawley had to say when asked about how he was acting earlier.

Mr Hawley said: “I haven’t seen anything that’s new or different.

“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.

“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.”

Trial is back under way

Senators are back in the chamber, and hearing more evidence – this time from manager Madeleine Dean.

She is going through the many legal cases that were made on Donald Trump’s behalf.

Trump lost 61 of 62 cases, and the one he did win had no effect on the result of the election.

Ms Dean is going into the details of judgements against Trump – including from judges appointed by the Trump administration who criticised the lawsuits.

Analysis by Adam Parsons, in Washington DC

While the Senate starts its trial, the scars of what happened in Washington DC on 6 January are still very obvious.

A fence, topped with razor wire, runs all the way around the grounds containing the Capitol building, with hundreds of soldiers stationed on the other side.

The White House is similarly fenced off – it’s actually quite hard to even see it.

You used to be able to get close to these famous institutions of American democracy, but now they’re distant.

It’s still not clear when, and even if, the wall will come down.

A reminder of how the mob attack last month still reverberates

‘Will be wild’

Mr Swalwell has shown tweets and campaign adverts sent during December that emphasise that 6 January was the day to show up in Washington DC.

In one tweet, he says that the date “will be wild”.

In another tweet, Trump said “see everyone in D.C. on January 6th”.

Mr Swalwell goes on to show examples of Trump retweeting people saying things like “we are bringing the cavalry”.

After the election

Eric Swalwell has taken over leading the prosecution arguments.

He shows tweets and footage of Donald Trump making claims like dead people were voting and that there were more votes than people.

Mr Swalwell demonstrates that these claims were not true, and makes the point that Trump was saying these things to fire up his base.

The points is also made that Trump could have stopped the unrest if he wanted to, but instead “incited them further”.

The day of the election

Mr Castro is now showing footage Donald Trump claiming victory on the night of the election, before all the votes were counted.

Again, tweets sent by the former president are being shown to senators. These include one which said “STOP THE COUNT” while Trump was ahead in the polls.

Mr Castro goes on to show footage of violence outside locations where votes were counted – and images of armed individuals showing up at places like Maricopa County in Arizona.

The point is then made that Trump told his supporters to come to Washington DC, and the Capitol, on 6 January to “fight like hell”.

Most senators paying attention

NBC reporter Garrett Haake, who was in the Senate chamber, says that most of the politicians were paying attention to what Mr Neguse had to say.

He adds, however, that Trump supporter Josh Hawley is busy with other things

The efforts to delegitimise the election

Joaquin Castro, another impeachment manager, is now demonstrating the evidence of how Donald Trump worked to delegitimise the election results.

This includes a tweet from Trump in May saying that the election would be the “greatest rigged election in history” – six months before the day of the vote.

Mr Castro demonstrates other examples of Trump making similar claims – something Mr Castro says was done to rile up Trump supporters.

Footage has also been shown of Trump supporters saying they would not accept the result of the election should Donald Trump lose.

Threats to kill officials

Mr Neguse is now showing excerpts of criminal complaints against some of those who were at the 6 January riots.

These included people saying they wanted to kill then-Vice President Mike Pence, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

He then shows clips of people, again, saying they were sent to the Capitol by what Donald Trump said.

Mr Neguse also makes the powerful point that a woman was shot dead 50ft from where the senators before him later that day certified the election.

Republicans used as evidence

As with yesterday’s legal arguments, where Mr Neguse used points made by Republican lawyers and judges, the impeachment manager is now using what has been said by former Trump loyalists against him.

He showed a clip of John Kelly, a former chief of staff to Trump, speaking after the day of the riots.

Mr Kelly said that what happened was “no surprise” given what Trump had been saying since the election.

Mr Neguse then went on to show clips of people who took part in the riot saying that they were told by Trump to go to the Capitol on 6 January.

Analysis by Adam Parsons, in Washington DC

A few themes are already clear from the opening minutes of this. That the Democrat impeachment managers…

  1. Reject Trump’s first amendment right to free speech because he overstepped the mark by “inciting violence”. Democrats know that’s likely to be a mainstay of his defence – that the former president is fond of rhetorical flourishes – so they’re trying to get in their retaliation first.
  2.  Emphasise senators have a duty to act in non-partisan way – in other words, just because you’re a Republican – you can’t blindly back Mr Trump if we prove that he broke the law
  3. Emphasise it “happened here – in this room where you’re sitting” – they want to create an emotional attachment – as if to say to Republican senators “are you really going to condone something that smashed up the very focus of your career?”
  4. That Trump’s actions, in turning up the temperate of American politics, are dangerous to the country.

What Donald Trump was saying

Mr Neguse breaks down three things Trump said many times ahead of the riot, and in some cases before the election.

First off, the so called big lie – that the election was stolen.

Secondly, the phrase “stop the steal”.

And finally “fight like hell”.

These were used to make his supporters believe their vote was ignored and that the election was stolen, and then encouraged them to violence, according to Mr Neguse.

Evidence to be presented

Joe Neguse, another house impeachment manager, is now going to set out the evidence against Donald Trump.

He starts by talking about the peaceful transfer of power – something that has been part of the US system since the times of George Washington.

He goes on to say that the mob that attacked the Capitol was “summoned, assembled and incited” by Trump.

Mr Neguse goes on to say the alleged incitement of insurrection can be split into three parts:

  • The provocation
  • The attack
  • The harm

Warnings of ‘graphic and disturbing violence’ in evidence

Mr Raskin has warned parents and teachers watching proceedings with young people about some of the scenes that will be seen in the upcoming trial.

He said there could be scenes of “graphic and disturbing violence”.

The impeachment managers are expected to show never-before-seen footage from 6 January, when the Capitol riots took place.

Five people died in the violence that day around the home of US Congress.

Mr Raskin went on to say that Trump’s argument that his speech was protected by the first amendment to the constitution does not hold water.

Analysis by Adam Parsons, in Washington DC

So now the impeachment trial really has started – not a debate about process but a debate about whether Donald Trump really had incited the mob attack on the Capitol last month.

James Raskin, speaking first, opened up by calling on Senators not to just vote along partisan party lines, but instead to reflect on the damage done by the former president.

He opened up by saying that the evidence will show that Donald Trump was “no innocent bystander” but instead instigated “the greatest betrayal of the Presidential oath in the history of the United States”.

We know that plenty more accusations will follow, as well as video evidence against Mr Trump, and the liberal use of tweets. But in order for the rhetoric to lead to a conviction, 17 Republican senators will have to support it – and that’s a very tall order.

Prosecution under way

The house impeachment managers have been called to present their case.

They have 16 hours to present their arguments to the Senate.

Representative Jamie Raskin is opening the case against Donald Trump.

Mr Raskin is starting by refuting the points made by Trump’s lawyers – saying that the constitutionality of the trial has been decided.

The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump is due to start shortly.

He is the first president to be impeached twice, and could be banned from ever holding public office again if he is convicted.

A total of 17 Republicans would need to vote against the former president to convict Trump, while only a simple majority of 50 + 1 would be needed to subsequently bar him standing for election.

Democratic senator Ben Cardin arrives on Capitol Hill ahead of the first day of the impeachment trial.

Today, the house impeachment managers will be making the case for the conviction of Mr Trump.

Pic: Associated Press

MUST CREDIT AP Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. The Senate convenes for the second day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Criminal investigation into Trump phone call

A criminal investigation has been launched into a phone call Donald Trump made to the Georgia secretary of state, in which the former president asked for the state’s election result to be overturned.

Mr Trump asked Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes in the state which would reverse Joe Biden’s victory there.

A recording of the call, which happened on 2 January, was released and Mr Trump was heard to say: “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.”

The investigation has been launched by Fulton County prosecutors, and is looking into a number of charges including “any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”

Georgia confirmed president Biden’s victory in the state.

Opening arguments will begin in Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial after a largely procedural first day on Tuesday ended with the US Senate rejecting Republican arguments that it would be unconstitutional, as we’ve talked about earlier.

More video is also expected today, including some that has not been seen before.

While many minds are made up, the senators will face their own moment to decide whether to convict or acquit Mr Trump of the sole charge of “incitement of insurrection”.

Details of the proceedings are still being negotiated by the Senate leaders, with the length of opening arguments, questions and deliberations all up for discussion.

The trial is expected to continue into the weekend.

Here are eight things to expect in Mr Trump’s second impeachment trial.

What’s happened so far?

After the US Senate rejected Republican arguments that it would be unconstitutional in Tuesday’s vote, Donald Trump is now set to face a second impeachment trial.

Round two of Mr Trump’s impeachment trial kicked off on Tuesday afternoon with a jarring 20-minute video montage of the devastating events of the riot at the US Capitol, forcing senators to relive some of the most intense moments of 6 January, some of which occurred at the very desks at which they were sitting.

The footage showed rioters smashing windows and overrunning barriers until they breached the Capitol, hurling expletives at Capitol police officers and stalking lawmakers in the chamber.

Mr Trump could then be heard telling his supporters that “we will stop the steal” and falsely claiming that “we won this election” before telling them that “we’re going to walk down to the Capitol” and that “you’ll never take back our country with weakness.”

In the video posted to Twitter, Mr Trump tells his supporters – who at that moment were still trashing the nation’s symbol of government –  that he loves them and that they are “very special.”

Senators were also asked to vote if Mr Trump can be tried even though he is no longer in office.

It was approved 56 to 44, with six Republican senators voting with Democrats and independents – Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey.

It means the trial with Senators sitting as a jury will likely last into the middle of next week.

What is impeachment?

Let’s get another thing cleared up before we get stuck into the trial… what exactly does impeachment mean?

Impeachment is when a sitting president is charged with crimes.

Donald Trump is the first US president due to be tried by members of the country’s upper house for the second time, accused of having incited insurrection.

Pic: Associated Press

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What is Donald Trump accused of?

First of all, let’s recap on what exactly the former US president is being accused of.

In the first impeachment In 2020, Mr Trump faced two charges. 1. Abuse of power and 2. Obstruction of Congress.

The accusation this time around is that Mr Trump engaged in an “incitement of insurrection”, because his words encouraged the most violent attack on Congress in more than 200 years, in which five people died, including a police officer.

During the first impeachment, Mr Trump faced accusations of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

At the time, the now 46th president was just a potential opponent in that year’s presidential election.

Mr Trump was acquitted by a majority of 52:48 for one charge and 53:47 for the second. Only one Republican voted against him on one of the charges.

At stake this second time around is not whether Mr Trump remains in office, as it was 12 months ago, as he has now left the White House.

But, such is the fury at his four years in power, Democrats want to make sure he is barred from running from federal office again.

The main defence put forward so far by Mr Trump’s lawyers is one that’s already proven popular with Republicans — that he shouldn’t be tried at all because he’s no longer in office.

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House Democrats are due to begin arguments at noon, (5pm UK time) in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump – the only president in US history to face impeachment twice.

The Senate voted to proceed with the trial on Tuesday after hearing around four hours of debate around the constitutionality of impeaching a former official.

The House impeached Mr Trump last month for his role in last month’s riot at the US Capitol in Washington on 6 January.

House managers, who act as prosecutors during the trial, began the proceedings Tuesday with a graphic video showing the events of the riots which shook the capital.

So grab a hot drink and follow our blog for the latest trial updates!

Pic: Associated Press

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