Watch live coverage of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial as the Senate considers whether he can be held responsible for the Capitol riots.
Watch live coverage beginning at 11 a.m. -- the Senate convenes at noon:
After Democrats’ visceral presentation, Trump team on stage -- AP:
After a prosecution case rooted in emotive, violent images from the Capitol siege, Donald Trump’s impeachment trial shifts on Friday to defense lawyers prepared to make a fundamental concession: The violence was every bit as traumatic, unacceptable and illegal as Democrats say.
But, they will say, Trump had nothing to do with it.
Stipulating to the horrors of the day is meant to blunt the visceral impact of the House Democrats’ case and quickly pivot to what they see as the core — and more winnable — issue of the trial: whether Trump can be held responsible for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot.
The argument is likely to appeal to Republican senators who themselves want to be seen as condemning the violence without convicting the president.
“They haven’t in any way tied it to Trump,” David Schoen, one of the president’s lawyers, told reporters near the end of two full days of Democrats’ arguments aimed at doing just that.
He previewed the essence of his argument Tuesday, telling the Senate jurors: “They don’t need to show you movies to show you that the riot happened here. We will stipulate that it happened, and you know all about it.”
In both legal filings and in arguments earlier in the week, Trump’s lawyers have made clear their position that the people responsible for the riot are the ones who actually stormed the building and who are now being prosecuted by the Justice Department.
Anticipating defense efforts to disentangle Trump’s rhetoric from the rioters’ actions, the impeachment managers spent days trying to fuse them together through a reconstruction of never-been-seen video footage alongside clips of the president’s monthslong urging of his supporters to undo the election results.
On Thursday, a Shelby Township man became the third person from Michigan to be charged in connection with the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
James Mels, 56, was formally charged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He did not have much to say in court, but he did tell investigators that he found like-minded people on radical online platforms and went to Washington, D.C. with them on Jan. 6.
According to court documents, the FBI received a tip that Mels was at the Capitol during the attack. In an interview with the FBI, Mels told investigators that he entered the Capitol to speak with an officer and give them a copy of the Constitution to “have his voice heard.”
Investigators say they are basing some of their case on what they discovered on Mels’ phone.
After searching the man’s phone, the FBI found several photos from inside the Capitol, including a selfie of Mels. The 56-year-old man said he traveled to D.C. for the Jan. 6 rally with 11 others after meeting them in online forums -- which were used to spread the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, and included language common to election conspiracies. Mels said he was led inside the Capitol by a friend that day.