DONALD Trump has been accused of “leaving everyone in the Capitol for dead” when bat-wielding rioters attacked.
Trump faces a single charge of incitement to insurrection after he told a crowd to “fight like hell” for his presidency shortly before a large mob stormed the Capitol in violent scenes that resulted in multiple deaths.
Trump is the first president in history to face charges after leaving office, but prosecutors insist the nature of his alleged “most grievous constitutional crime” demands his conviction post-presidency.
Chilling videos showing politicians running for their lives as rioters carrying bats and tear gas stormed the Capitol were shown at Trump’s Senate impeachment trial yesterday.
As she presented evidence, delegate Stacey Plaskett claimed the ex president “deliberately encouraged” the violence and “put a target on the backs” of senior figures, including his own Vice-President Mike Pence.
Yesterday Dems made the case against Trump, showing previously unreleased footage of Mitt Romney being rushed to safety and crowds chanting they wanted to “hang Mike Pence”.
Other clips showed yobs stalking the corridor outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office shouting “Where are you Nancy?” as her staffers hid, whispering to one another nearby.
“You were just 58 steps away from where the mob was amassing,” Congressman Eric Swalwell told Senators, who will act as the jury at the trial. “President Trump left everyone in this Capitol for dead,” Representative Joaquin Castro added.
Trump’s legal team will argue in his defence later this week and are expected to make a three-fold argument.
They will say 1) the President actually urged to peaceful protests, 2) the President’s First Amendment rights to free speech means he couldn’t have incited the crowd, 3) the Senate trial is illegitimate as Trump is now a private citizen and therefore cannot be impeached.
Follow our Donald Trump live blog below for up to the minute updates on the impeachment...
Evan McMullin, who was a chief policy director of the House Republican Conference, said that he hosted the Zoom call, and that those who attended were deeply concerned about the turn the Republican party has taken.
The platform the group plans to run on would be one of “principled conservatism,” which potential members feel Trump has led the party away from.
When asked about the discussions about the new party, Trump spokesman Jason Miller said, “These losers left the Republican party when they voted for Joe Biden.”
The group of never-Trumpers are considering running candidates in some races, while endorsing center-right candidates — when possible — in others.
The plan is reportedly to endorse centre-right candidates, if they align with the new party’s ideals, whether they identify as Republican, Independent or Democrat.
More than 120 anti-Donald Trump Republicans are considering forming a breakaway party, as the former president has branded them “losers.”
The group consists of former Republican officials who are discouraged by the party’s loyalty to Trump and have started talks about a possible center-right breakaway party.
The group held a Zoom call last Friday to hold some early-stage discussions, according to Reuters.
Among potential members are former elected Republicans as well as officials who served in the administrations of GOP leaders Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump, the report said.
CHILLING VIDEO FOOTAGE BECOMES KEY EXHIBIT IN TRUMP TRIAL
Chilling security video of last month’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, including of rioters searching menacingly for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence, has become a key exhibit in the impeachment trial as lawmakers prosecuting the case wrap up their opening arguments.
The House will continue with its case on Thursday, with Trump’s lawyers set to launch their defense by week’s end.
The footage shown at trial, much of it never before seen, included a video of the mob smashing into the building, distraught members of Congress receiving comfort, rioters engaging in hand-to-hand combat with police and audio of Capitol police officers pleading for back-up.
The footage included rioters roaming the halls chanting Hang Mike Pence, some equipped with combat gear.
ROMNEY MOVED TO TEARS
Mitt Romney said he was brought to tears watching a video shown of Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman directing him away from the mob.
He called the video overwhelmingly distressing and emotional.
Both Romney and Lisa Murkowski voted to advance the impeachment trial.
But impeachment managers appear far short of the minimum 17 Republican votes they would need to convict Trump.
IMPEACHMENT ‘WASTE OF TIME’
Florida Republican senator Rick Scott has said the impeachment trial was a “complete waste of time”.
After viewing harrowing videos of the attack, Scott expressed his revulsion but said he didn’t hold Donald Trump culpable.
“I’m disgusted that, you know, people think that they can do things like that and get away with it. I hope everybody that came into the Capitol and did the wrong thing gets prosecuted to the full extent of law.
“I wish the president had said something faster when they broke into it, but, you know, I’ve watched what he said. He’s never said when somebody should break in.”
FOOTAGE OF PENCE AND ROMNEY FLEEING SHOWN
New footage showing how Mike Pence and Mitt Romney fled for their lives as rioters smashed into the Capitol was played today at Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
Video of the moment MAGA fan Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed while storming the Capitol on January 6 was also shown by prosecutors.
The video that followed showed the moment House members heard the shot before fleeing to safety.
EVIDENCE ‘PRETTY DAMNING’ SAYS MURKOWSKI
GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski – who has threatened to quit the party – has called the evidence so far “pretty damning”.
“The evidence that has been presented thus far is pretty damning,” she told ABC News.
“But I also know that I have an obligation…to listen to what the defense will present.
“I’m angry, I’m disturbed, I’m sad…We’re reliving this. We lived it once and that was awful.”
RIOTES SHOUTING ‘HANG MIKE PENCE’
In the new footage rioters can be heard chanting “bring out Pence” and “hang Mike Pence.”
The former VP was seen leaving the Capitol building alongside his family as chaos ensued on January 6.
Images revealed the moments the Secret Service members led him to safety and he remained locked down with his family during the attack.
NEW VIDEO OF MOB BREAKING INTO CAPITOL
New video showing how close the mob “who wanted to kill Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi” came to senators was played on Wednesday.
The mob was seen approaching windows and quickly overwhelming the officer trying to stop them.
Prosecutors were forced to warn parents and teachers to be careful about what kids watched as they showed shocking footage of the riot bloodshed.
Credit: AP:Associated Press
TRUMP SPEECH USED ‘PEACEFUL’ ONCE
Madeleine Dean has been picking apart Donald Trump’s speech to supporters before the Capitol was stormed.
The impeachment manager said he made only one reference to remaining peaceful in the speech but more than 20 to “fight” or “fighting”.
“In a speech spanning 11,000 words – yes, we did check – that was the one time, the only time President Trump used the word peaceful,” she said.
Credit: AP:Associated Press
TRUMP ‘SCREAMING’ AT LAWYERS
Donald Trump is reported to be furious at the performance of his legal team with Bruce Castor in particular said to have incurred his wrath.
Castor delivered what has been described as a “rambling” speech of about 40 minutes that even Trump allies said made no sense.
“Multiple people tell me Trump was basically screaming as Castor made a meandering opening argument that struggled to get at the heart of the defense team’s argument,” said CNN’s chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.
‘INCITER IN CHIEF’
Democratic impeachment prosecutors have branded Donald Trump “inciter-in-chief” of a deadly attack on Congress.
Impeachment managers – equivalent to prosecutors in a regular trial – have been painstakingly reconstructed the events before and after the November Presidential election.
When the violence inexorably and inevitably came, he completely abdicated his duty,” said lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin.
“Donald Trump surrendered his role as commander-in-chief and became the inciter-in-chief of a dangerous insurrection.”
NINTCHDBPICT000635521162Credit: Rex Features
TRUMP GEORGIA CALL PLAYED
Impeachment manager Madeleine Dean played audio from Donald Trump’s call with Brad Raffensperger.
“Donald Trump was asking the Secretary of State to somehow find the exact number of votes. Donald Trump lost the state by,” she said.
“Remember, President Biden won Georgia by 11,779 votes. He wanted the Secretary of State to somehow find the precise number, plus one, so that he could win.”
PROSECUTOR OPENS TRUMP GEORGIA CALL PROBE
A criminal investigation been opened into a call in which Donald Trump asked a top official to find enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
Democratic prosecutor Fani Willis sent a letter to state government officials asking them to preserve any documents related to the call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
In a January 2 call, Trump repeatedly argued that Raffensperger could change the certified results of the presidential election, an assertion the secretary of state firmly rejected.
“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” Trump said.
PARENTAL WARNING ABOUT ‘SHOCKING’ SCENES
Impeachment manager Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin warned videos of the Capitol assault that would include scenes of “shocking violence and bloodshed” against police officers.
“We do urge parents and teachers to exercise close review of what young people are watching here, and please watch along with them if you’re allowing them to watch,” Raskin said.
“The impeachment mangers will try to give warnings before the most graphic and disturbing violence.”
A Democratic aide told reporters that the House managers “will be using footage never seen before that shows a view of the Capitol that is quite extraordinary and a view of the attack that has never been public before”.
TRUMP ‘REVELLED’ IN VIOLENCE
Donald Trump incited insurrection and “revelled” in violence by supporters storming Congress, the chief impeachment prosecutor has said
After weeks of inflaming Americans by telling them the election was stolen, Trump became “inciter-in-chief of a dangerous insurrection” at the US Capitol on January 6, Democrat Jamie Raskin told senators.
“When the violence inexorably and inevitably came, as predicted, and overran this body and the House of Representatives with chaos, we will show you that he completely abdicated his duty,” Raskin said.
“He revelled in it and he did nothing to help us as commander-in-chief.”
DEMOCRATS WILL FAIL WITH 2ND IMPEACHMENT – CRUZ
Republican Senator Ted Cruz is adamant that the Democrats will fail in their 2nd bid to convict Donald Trump.
The Texas lawmaker told Fox News: “It is not going to succeed. President Trump is going to be acquitted. In order to convict him, it takes 67 votes.
“There are not 67 votes. Every senator knows that, the House managers know that. Everybody knows that.
“But they are going through political theater, and they’re going through political theater because for four years congressional Democrats, they have been obsessed and consumed with hatred for President Trump.”
TRUMP TRIAL ‘DOOMED’ SAYS REPUBLICAN PAL TED CRUZ
The second impeachment trial of ex-President Donald Trump is a ‘mistake’ and ‘doomed to failure’, says Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
The politician told Fox News the trial is “reminiscent of Shakespeare that it is full of sound and fury and yet signifying nothing.
“I think are you going to see a lot of partisan table pounding. You’re going to see a lot of effort to pull on emotion.”
Controversially, he also dismissed distressing footage shown yesterday in the Senate as pure “Hollywood” – despite five people dying in the terrifying riot.
“We saw the beginning of that with the Hollywood video that the House managers began with. I think we’ll see a lot more of that today and tomorrow,” Cruz added.
NEW SECURITY FOOTAGE TO BE SHOWN TODAY
Security footage of the Capitol riot will be shown today – including some that hasn’t been seen before on TV – as House Democrats begin two days of arguments in Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial.
The Democrats will also show the timeline of the ex-president’s words before and after the November 2020 election.
DONALD TRUMP INCENSED BY LAWYERS’ PERFORMANCE
Ex-president Donald Trump was said to be so incensed by his lawyers’ performance that he screamed at his TV as he watched yesterday’s impeachment trial proceedings, say reports.
The Democrats face a “huge challenge” to convict him, says CNN.
They will present their case over an eight-hour long session today, which will include more video footage of the Capitol riot.
This will continue for another eight hours on Thursday, before Trump’s lawyers begin their presentation on Friday.
A ‘DEVASTATING’ CASE AGAINST TRUMP
Democratic aides working on the impeachment team said they have a ‘devastating’ case against the former president, and that they will prosecute it like a criminal trial, according to sources.
The arguments on Wednesday will come from the nine Democratic impeachment managers for the House.
But they have a very tough – some might say impossible – task, trying to convince skeptical Republicans that Donald Trump alone was responsible for inciting his mob of supporters.
CAPITOL RIOTERS ‘JERKS’ – SARAH PALIN
Trump supporter Sarah Palin says the January 6 rioters in Washington D.C. planned “to storm the capitol, and be jerks”.
The former Alaska governor argued with the UK’s Piers Morgan on live TV over who was to blame for the deadly insurrection.
Morgan pointed out that Trump, ever since losing the election, “had perpetuated an absolute lie about widespread fraud, which has never been proven at all.
“He whipped his mob into a frenzy, he told them to ‘stop the steal’ and as the elected members of Congress were actually ratifying the election, he ordered them to march down to the capital and stop the steal.
“It sounded to me like the president wanted to stop the democratic election being ratified. That I’m afraid is a criminal action isn’t it?” An unimpressed Palin replied yesterday: “Why are you generalising?”
SARAH PALIN: RIOTERS TO BLAME FOR ACTIONS, NOT TRUMP
Sarah Palin has said that the Capitol rioters were “blaming the president for their own actions”.
She told Piers Morgan in the UK yesterday: “I think that’s a symptom of a societal problem where people just cannot take responsibility for their stupid and criminal act.”
When told on Good Morning Britain that Donald Trump had told those rallying that he would walk with them to the Capitol and urged them to show strength, Palin replied: “He never said go out and break laws, act like idiots, vandalize the people’s house – he didn’t say anything of the sort.”
The former Alaska governor said it was “bull” that Trump had instigated or encouraged “criminal activity”.
She added: “Those who were rioters – and they were horrible – they were there already, they were standing at the back of the rally, rooting on patriotically the president’s speech, no, they knew what they were going to do.”
While Owens believes Trump’s trial is not motivated by the insurrection last month, Democratic impeachment managers argue that the former president incited the deadly riot.
In an 80-page brief laying out their case, Democrats accused Trump of trying to “extend his grip on power by fomenting violence against Congress.”
Trump’s lawyers David Schoen and Bruce Castor argued that there is no legal justification to have an impeachment trial for a president who is no longer in office.
During the trial, Schoen played a video montage of Democrats calling for Trump’s impeachment from the very start of his presidency.
“In this unprecedented snap impeachment process,” Schoen said.
Conservative political commentator Candace Owens on Tuesday afternoon ripped ex-President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial as having nothing to do with the Capitol riot.
Owens sounded off on Twitter shortly after the Senate voted 56-44 to reject arguments by Trump’s lawyers that holding a trial of a former president is unconstitutional.
The staunch Trump supporter said the impeachment trial was as absurd as President Joe Biden’s decision to keep National Guard troops stationed at the Capitol.
“I don’t know what’s more bizarre,” Owens tweeted.
“The fact that D.C is still basically under military occupation and Biden’s confirmed plans to keep the national guard here through to March, or the fact that there are still people who believe this has anything to do with January 6th.”
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