On Tuesday, during the early stages of the impeachment trial proceedings against ex-President Donald Trump, House impeachment managers — who function as prosecutors in the case — released a hard-hitting video montage outlining the violence on January 6 and Trump’s personal role in the chaos. The full video stretches for about 13 minutes and intersperses footage of Trump’s remarks on January 6 with footage from the Capitol, where a frenzied mob of the then-president’s supporters stormed the building. At one point in the video, a Trump supporter can be seen yelling, in reference to members of Congress: “Where the fuck are they?” Their intention to perpetrate violence is clear.
At another point in the footage, someone in the mob shouts out that the Trump supporters need “30,000 guns,” and someone replies that Trump supporters can bring those “next time.” The montage also includes footage of the moment that a plainclothes Capitol Police officer shot Ashli Babbitt, a Trump supporter who was trying to climb through a broken sheet of glass into an area where she would have been very close to directly accessing members of Congress. What would have happened if the mob reached members of Congress? What if the timings of the evacuations of members of Congress from the legislative chambers had been barely different?
Watch the video from House impeachment managers below:
The montage also includes an image of one of Trump’s messages from the day of the violence, when he explicitly justified what took place. Trump tweeted that “these are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long.” Trump’s imaginary presidential election victory was, of course, not stolen — but this reality does not negate the fact that Trump justified a violent storming of the U.S. Capitol that is now connected to multiple deaths and dozens of injuries.
In their original impeachment of the then-president, the House charged Trump with incitement of insurrection. Besides inciting remarks that he offered on January 6, he spent months spreading the lie that the election was stolen, and the rioters used this lie as a guiding pretext. It’s unclear whether the 67-vote majority in the Senate that is required for conviction is feasible, but a number of Republicans — like Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, and Lisa Murkowski — could end up voting in favor of conviction anyway. Romney was the only Republican Senator who voted in favor of conviction during Trump’s first impeachment trial.