Impeachment managers pressure Republicans with new evidence
House impeachment managers Wednesday used previously unseen security video, unheard police radio calls and undisclosed facts to try to shock Senate jurors into a conviction in Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.
Why it matters: We were on the ground with senators throughout the Jan. 6 insurrection. Everyone was isolated from the activity on that day. On Wednesday, the senators sat in their own chamber, audio booming like a movie theater, seeing the danger that nearly engulfed them. A nation of constituents watched along at home.
- "Multiple law enforcement injuries," one officer screamed into his radio.
- "They're throwing poles at us," said another radio call.
- "The crowd is using munitions against us," said yet one more.
While the odds are still against Democrats convincing at least 17 Republican senators in joining them to find Trump guilty of inciting the Capitol attack, the impeachment managers forged ahead with a case that will make the final vote as difficult as possible for them.
The presentation left Republicans and Democrats alike visibly shaken. They watched harrowing scenes of rioters tearing apart the very desks where they sat.
- During short breaks in the halls outside the chamber, GOP lawmakers had difficulty defending their stubborn stance on acquittal.
- It was clearly more of a challenge for them to justify than it was during Trump's first impeachment trial, when so many were eager to share their disdain for the proceedings with reporters.
- “Every time I watch it, it is as riveting as the day that it occurred," Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) told Axios. "It was just as tragic then as it is now.”
The managers made their case with a succession of presentations that methodically laid out a case showing the transformation of former President Trump as he tried to halt certification of the 2020 election results.
- First, he and his backers tried through more than 60 lawsuits.
- They then shifted to direct appeals to election officials and lawmakers in the battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
- Finally, when those peaceful tactics failed, the managers alleged that Trump resorted to violence by inciting a crowd to head to the Capitol as the House and Senate began to certify the election on Jan. 6.
In one previously undisclosed moment, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was seen heading toward the Capitol Rotunda when Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman turned him around and pointed him toward a safer exit.
- Romney was the only Senate Republican to vote to impeach Trump during his first trial. He has been supportive of trying him the second time, as well.
- Asked during a recess whether he thinks some of his colleagues will vote to convict, Romney replied: "I can't predict how other people will react."