The impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump began Tuesday afternoon with a gripping video of footage from the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, including remarks from Trump encouraging a crowd to march down to the building and “fight like hell.”
The 13-minute montage started with Trump falsely claiming at a Washington rally that he won the election “by a landslide.” The then president also tells the crowd that he’s going to walk down to the Capitol with them to protest the certification of the Electoral College vote showing he lost the election.
By turns violent and profane, the video showed how the mob became increasingly violent as rioters broke through barriers, fought Capitol Police officers and flooded the halls of the Capitol building while Congress was counting the electoral votes.
The edited footage cut back and forth between U.S. lawmakers in the Senate and House chambers and the crowd of rioters squeezing through the Capitol doors and advancing toward them. In one clip, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., is seen speaking when a recess is abruptly declared and an aide tells him that “protesters are in the building.” In another segment, protesters follow and antagonize Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman as he diverts them away from the senators and then-Vice President Mike Pence.
A later clip shows rioters in the halls of the building, chanting, “Break it down!” as members of the mob smash the glass on the doors. Moments later, a Capitol Police officer shoots Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who was part of the riot.
The video also included Trump’s own videotaped message to his supporters in which he tells the rioters they are “special,” juxtaposing those remarks with the fact that the attack resulted in seven deaths and 140 injured officers.
“Senators, the president was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 13 for doing that,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the Democrats’ lead prosecutor, said. “You ask 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.”
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