Democrats Use Horrifying Audio in Trump Impeachment Trial
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on former President Donald Trump's second Senate impeachment trial (all times local):
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney say they are deeply disturbed by the evidence shown by Democrats against former President Donald Trump at his second impeachment trial.
Speaking to reporters during a break Wednesday evening, Murkowski said the Democrats’ presentation was “pretty damning.” She added: “I just don’t see how Donald Trump could be reelected like this to the presidency again.”
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 Murkowski voted to advance the impeachment trial, though impeachment managers appear far short of the minimum 17 Republican votes they would need to convict Trump.
Democrats at former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial are playing audio recordings of police officers begging for more help against rioters storming the Capitol, the fear and panic apparent in many of their voices.
As the mob breached the Capitol, one officer told dispatch, “We’re still taking rocks, bottles and pieces of flag and metal pole.”
In another recording, an officer says, “We have been flanked, and we’ve lost the line.”
Democratic impeachment managers on Wednesday showed videos of badly outnumbered officers trying to fight rioters and protect the building. One clip shows Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman directing Republican Sen. Mitt Romney to safety.
Capitol Police officers have previously told The Associated Press that they were not warned ahead of time of the potential of violence that day and were not trained or equipped to stop thousands of assailants trying to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory over former President Donald Trump.
Democrats say Capitol Police evacuated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from the Capitol complex entirely because they feared for her safety on Jan. 6.
Prosecutors at Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial on Wednesday played audio of Pelosi’s barricaded staffers whispering for help and showed images of the mob trying to break down a door into Pelosi’s office.
The 80-year-old Pelosi was a longtime political target of the former president, who derisively nicknamed her “Crazy Nancy.”
House impeachment manager Stacey Plaskett says Pelosi was rushed to a secure offsite location because some of the rioters publicly declared their intent to harm or kill Pelosi.
Plaskett says that if the rioters had found Pelosi, they would have killed her. She says, “They did it because Donald Trump sent them on this mission.”
Rioters at the Capitol were targeting former Vice President Mike Pence, who refused to help his boss, former President Donald Trump, subvert the results of the 2020 election.
In video showed Wednesday at Trump’s second impeachment trial, rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” and “Bring out Pence!” as they roamed the halls searching for the former vice president and other lawmakers. Outside, the mob set up a makeshift gallows on the field near the Capitol.
Rioters got as close as 100 feet to Pence. Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman helped guide rioters away from where he was hiding.
House impeachment manager Stacey Plaskett said, “You can hear the mob calling for the death of the vice president of the United States.”
U.S. Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman warned Republican Sen. Mitt Romney that rioters were headed his way shortly after the building was breached by a mob of Donald Trump supporters.
Prosecutors at Trump’s impeachment trial on Wednesday played security footage from inside the Capitol on Jan. 6. Footage showed Goodman running toward Romney to warn him that the Capitol had been breached. After encountering Goodman, Romney turns around and runs.
Footage also showed rioters screaming and breaking into the Capitol. Some of the rioters grabbed fire extinguishers from the walls as they stormed through the hallways.
“Where are they counting the votes?” they yell. Goodman says: “Don’t do it. Don’t do it.”
Goodman confronted the crowd with his hand raised toward them to stop. He then retreated up a staircase and they follow. Up the stairs, he directs them away from the Senate door and the chamber. Vice President Mike Pence was about 100 feet away with his family.
Goodman was later honored by Congress for his heroics.
House Democrats are showing video footage of Donald Trump’s supporters knocking down fences and fighting with police and pairing it with audio of officers making radio calls begging for backup.
Prosecutors at Trump’s impeachment trial on Wednesday played police radio traffic in which officers described multiple injured officers, said “they’re throwing metal poles at us” and called for immediate reinforcements.
After playing increasingly desperate calls from police, Democrats showed footage of rioters breaking down windows with a riot shield to climb into the Capitol.
A never-before-seen security video from inside the Capitol shows rioters using a wooden beam to break windows and climb into the building.
The first man climbing into the building was carrying a baseball bat and wearing body armor and is followed by a stream of people climbing through windows.
Prosecutors at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial are using footage of the rally he headlined ahead of the riot on the Capitol to argue he incited the crowd.
Rep. Madeleine Dean says that one of Trump’s key defenses is that he says during his speech: “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
But Dean says that was a “few seconds” in a nearly 11,000-word speech and that it was the “only time President Trump used the word peaceful or any suggestion of nonviolence.” She says that wasn’t the overarching message.
She said, “President Trump used the word ‘fight’ or ‘fighting’ 20 times, including telling the crowd they needed to ‘fight like hell.’”
Choking back emotion, she said, “So they came, draped in Trump’s flag, and used our flag, the American flag, to batter and to bludgeon. And at 2:30, I heard that terrifying banging on House chamber doors. For the first time in more than 200 years, the seat of our government was ransacked on our watch.”
At a break in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, many Republicans appeared indifferent to the Democratic prosecutors’ case that the former president incited the violent attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 — and made clear they were unlikely to convict.
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley said the prosecutors’ case was “predictable” and included information that was already public.
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, another close ally of Trump, said the trial “is going to be pretty tedious.” He said the two sides would be better served to make their case “in a couple hours, and be done with this.”
Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe said Democrats have “put a real good team together,” but said he didn’t think anything had been said “by either side that has changed any votes.”
Only six Republicans voted not to dismiss the trial on Tuesday, signaling that Democrats won’t have the minimum of 17 Republican senators they need to convict Trump.
Democrats are arguing that former President Donald Trump “built” the mob that attacked the Capitol.
Prosecutors at Trump’s impeachment trial on Wednesday said Trump fired up his supporters with lies about a stolen election and followed up with an invitation to a Jan. 6 rally near the White House.
House impeachment manager Eric Swalwell detailed how Trump announced the rally on Twitter, writing on Dec. 19: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”
Swalwell said Jan. 6 was Trump’s “last chance to stop a peaceful transition of power.” Swalwell said Trump’s tweet wasn’t a “casual, one-off reference or a single invitation.” Swalwell said for the next 18 days, he reminded his supporters ”over and over and over” to show up.
Swalwell said, “This was never about one speech. He built this mob over many months with repeated messaging until they believed that they’d been robbed of their vote, and they would do anything to stop the certification.”
House Democrats prosecuting Donald Trump’s impeachment trial are methodically tracing his monthslong effort to undermine his supporters’ faith in the election results. They say they will show he is responsible for last month’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.
During arguments Wednesday, impeachment managers showed a flurry of excerpts from Trump speeches in which the then-president told supporters the only way he could lose is if the election results were rigged.
The effort to challenge the results continued after the election, with Trump telling his supporters the election had been stolen and that they shouldn’t accept the results.
Impeachment managers also pushed back at defense team arguments that Trump’s words were protected by the First Amendment. They said the case was not about protected political speech but rather about Trump’s incitement of violence.