Updated Feb 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Impeachment trial recap, day 3: House managers rest case, urging Senate to convict

Security forces respond with tear gas after the US President Donald Trump's supporters breached the US Capitol security.

Security forces respond with tear gas after Trump's supporters breached the Capitol security. Photo: Probal Rashid/Getty Images

House impeachment managers wrapped up their case against Donald Trump on Thursday by driving home the evidence they believe shows the former president committed the impeachable offense of "incitement of insurrection."

The big picture: House managers closed their final day with words and footage of the rioters at the U.S. Capitol, arguing that the siege was carried out at the direction of the former president. They warned that Trump could incite violence again if he is not barred from holding office.

Highlights:

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said she will introduce legislation to give a Gold Medal to U.S. Capitol Police for their efforts on Jan. 6, stating, "The outstanding heroism and patriotism of our heroes deserve and demand our deepest appreciation."
  • House manager Rep. Diana DeGette began Thursday's presentation by playing video clips from the perspective of "Stop the Steal" rally-goers and rioters — as well as online chatter from extremists — describing their belief that the president "invited" and encouraged them to invade the Capitol.
  • Lead manager Rep. Jamie Raskin played video clips dating back to the 2016 presidential campaign in which Trump endorsed and defended violence by his supporters.
  • "Is there any political leader in this room who believes that if he is ever allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office, Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get his way? Would you bet the lives of more police officers on that?" Raskin concluded.
  • Impeachment manager Rep. Ted Lieu highlighted the president's videotaped response to the riot, in which he told rioters to "go home," adding he loves them and that their "incredible journey is only just beginning."
  • Lieu listed former top Trump administration officials who directly tied the Capitol violence to the former president's rhetoric, including former chiefs of staff Mick Mulvaney and John Kelly, former Attorney General Bill Barr, and former Defense Secretary James Mattis. Lieu also pointed to the wave of staff resignations after Jan. 6.
  • House manager Rep. David Cicilline aired testimonials from lawmakers describing how they barricaded their doors to block off rioters, removed their pins identifying them as members of Congress and called their loved ones to possibly say goodbye.
  • House manager Rep. Joaquin Castro focused on long-term security concerns that have stemmed from Jan. 6, including the perceived vulnerability of the U.S. government and adversaries like Russia and China exploiting the attack on American democracy for propaganda.
  • Raskin capped off his comments for the day with a plea to Republicans to exercise their "common sense" when it comes time to vote, and signed off: "Good luck in your deliberations."

The big picture: It's still unlikely that Democrats will be able to convince at least 17 Republican senators to vote to convict Trump of inciting the Capitol siege.

  • But by overwhelming them with harrowing images of the danger that nearly consumed them, the managers are committed to making their vote as difficult as possible.

What to watch: Trump’s legal team is expected to argue that he should be acquitted on Friday, setting up a final vote this weekend.

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