Feb 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Impeachment managers show graphic video of Capitol riot violence at start of trial

Impeachment managers played a 13-minute video of the riotous events that unfolded on Jan. 6.

Details: The video captures scenes of a Trump-flag-carrying mob wrestling with armored Capitol police officers. The video also showed scenes of the insurgents forcibly entering the Capitol juxtaposed with the Senate calling for recess as they are warned that "protesters are in the building."

  • The video showed the crowd screaming "let's take the Capitol" and "fight for Trump" as the president spoke at a rally, then thousands approached the Capitol with many ultimately breaching and getting inside as Congress was meeting to certify the Electoral College
  • One crowd participant yelled, "We are going to the Capitol where our problems are. It's that direction."

Why it matters: Though the outcome of the trial is likely to end in acquittal, the vivid and disturbing images played were meant to show the horrors of that day to the silent Senate jurors and to the American public.

  • All members watched the video on monitors on each side of the chamber.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) saw his own desk rifled through on the screen. The screams of a Capitol police officer being crushed in a door echoed through the chamber, and the sequence of clips turned into a narrative of the day.

The bottom line: Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) told the senators that former President Trump was being impeached for the things depicted in the video. "You asked what a high crime and misdemeanor is under our Constitution? That's a high crime and misdemeanor. If that's not an impeachable offense, then there is no such thing," Raskin said.

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