WASHINGTON — The second day of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial was dominated by gut wrenching evidence and documentation of the events leading up to the January 6 riot presented by the House Managers.
Democratic House members used Trump’s own words against him from tweets and public comments to lay the foundation for the Big Lie that resulted in the Capitol riots on January 6 by Trump supporters.
Here are five key moments from the second day of proceedings:
Trump’s words come back to haunt him: The biggest takeaway was Trump’s own words came back to haunt him and were used against him. While House impeachment managers did a good job of making their case, Trump did most of the damage to himself. Over the course of seven hours, the impeachment managers presented the former President’s own tweets, interviews, and speeches as evidence.
Trump did not leave any questions as to what he meant or to whom he was directing his anger at. Over and over again, Trump was shown either saying or tweeting his false claims that the election was rigged against him and told his supporters to “fight like hell” to keep hold of democracy.
All of the evidence came directly out of Trump’s mouth and every single senator sitting in the chamber knew it, making it hard for those who are Trump’s allies to make the argument this is purely a partisan political proceeding no matter how hard they may try.
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All about the timeline: One of the key questions brought up at the trial is if the rioters at the Capitol on January 6 were there on Trump’s behalf or if they were just trouble makers causing problems during the electoral vote certification. Trump’s defenders have repeatedly pointed out that some of the rioters had planned the insurrection before Trump’s rally and that there is no connection between that and the former President.
However, the House managers quickly pointed out there is. They went all the way back to June 2020 when Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace. From there, the managers took the Senators through the events between then and January 6 as Trump lied repeatedly to his supporters about mail-in balloting to the vote count in swing states. This wasn’t just one incident, this was a series of events by the former President leading up to the Big Lie and the riot at the Capitol.
Romney’s life is saved: House impeachment managers showed a truly remarkable moment Officer Eugene Goodman stepped in to very likely save the life of the Utah senator. In the video, you can see Romney walking in the direction toward the rioters until a running Goodman turns him around and he runs in the other direction.
I was very fortunate indeed that Officer Goodman was there to get me in the right direction,” Romney told reporters later.
The impeachment managers wanted to illustrate just how much worse this day could have been. Other audio and video shown described the moments few had seen before. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was taken off-site due to the major threats against her as rioters can be heard asking “where’s Nancy?”
It became shockingly clear that we were very close to having a bloodbath and several dead bodies on the floor of the U.S. Capitol and Wednesday showed just how close everyone was to a really tragic scene.
Supporters took Trump’s words literally: House impeachment managers made it crystal clear that Trump supporters hang on his every word and presented their proof. Trump supporters believed him when he said the election was going to be rigged. When he said the vote in Michigan was a fraud. And they took him seriously when he said they need to fight to save democracy.
Managers showed video evidence of supporters in Arizona chanting to “Stop the count” and “Stop the steal”. On January 6, several of his supporters were on video saying they were acting on the orders of their President.
“His commands led to their actions,” Rep. Joaquin Castro said.
Castro then showed footage of the rioters breaching the House floor and vandalizing the desks where the Senators were currently sitting watching the video back. At one point, one man can be heard saying “Ted Cruz was going to turn on us” but another corrected him saying, “No. No! He’s on our side.”