WASHINGTON – House Democrats opened their first day of arguments in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial Wednesday with searing footage of the U.S. Capitol riot as they painted Trump as an “inciter in chief” who systematically riled up his supporters and falsely convinced them the election had been stolen, culminating in the deadly attack.
“He assembled, inflamed and incited his followers to descend upon the Capitol,” said the lead impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.
As she presented harrowing footage of the siege, Del. Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat representing the U.S. Virgin Islands and one of the prosecutors, said Trump had “put a target” on the backs of then-Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who were leading the certification of President Joe Biden's election victory. “His mob broke into the Capitol to hunt them down,” Plaskett said.
Highlights from the first full day of arguments:
TRUMP’S WORDS COME BACK TO HAUNT HIM
Trump's voice rang out in the Senate Chamber as Democrats aired video from his rallies and other remarks to supporters. Interspersed throughout were slides of Trump's tweets contesting the election and promoting the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, which he promised would be “wild.”
The impeachment managers put Trump’s rhetoric on trial, from the months he spent laying the groundwork to contest the election results to the speech he delivered outside the White House egging his supporters to “fight” before they stormed the Capitol.
“He truly made his base believe that the only way he could lose was if the election were rigged,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, another one of the prosecutors.