Democrats Use Trump Tweets, New Video To Argue 'Full Scope' Of Capitol Attack At Impeachment Trial

Thursday, February 11th 2021, 4:58 am
By: CBS News

Washington — House Democrats leading the prosecution of former President Trump wrapped up the second day of his impeachment trial on Wednesday by calling into question what Mr. Trump was doing while the Capitol was under attack on January 6. 

"From the very beginning, the people around Donald Trump wanted him to take command," House impeachment manager David Cicilline said. But Mr. Trump did "nothing" to protect the lawmakers trapped in the Capitol. "They were listening to him. He could have demanded them to leave. But he didn't."

Earlier on Wednesday, the impeachment managers presented dramatic new security footage that emphasized just how close the pro-Trump mob came to lawmakers and staff when they breached the complex on January 6. Senators from both parties described the footage afterward as "distributing" and "overwhelmingly distressing." 

"I know that I was feeling in the Senate chamber when I could hear those voices. I knew what it meant to be running down this hallway with my colleagues," Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski said. "I wasn't fully aware of everything else that was happening in the building. So when you see all the pieces come together, just the total awareness of that, the enormity of this, this threat, not just to us as people, as lawmakers, but the threat to the institution and what Congress represents. It's disturbing."

The managers showed the videos and new radio communications after hours of presentations by members of the impeachment team, who built a case alleging Mr. Trump deliberately stoked supporters to resort to violence not just on the day of the attack, but in the weeks and months leading up to it.

Democrats used the footage captured on surveillance cameras throughout the Capitol, as well as video posted by rioters themselves, to construct a timeline showing the attack as it unfolded inside the building, where lawmakers were debating challenges to electoral votes in their respective chambers.

"It was not until I was preparing for this trial that I understood the full scope, and learned the information that you're going to see, that I understood the effort to attack our seat of government," said Delegate Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands, who presented the Democrats' reconstruction of the events.

In one of the slides from the first minutes of the attack, Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman can be seen on surveillance footage sprinting down a hallway to meet the rioters as they breached the doors, warning Utah Senator Mitt Romney to get to safety. Goodman would lead the rioters up a set of stairs and away from the Senate chamber.

During the dinner break, Romney said he did not know how close he had been to the mob — and said he was "looking forward to thanking" Goodman "the next time I see him." 

Other footage outside the Senate chamber showed Vice President Mike Pence and his family being hastily evacuated from the floor. Pence had resisted pressure by Mr. Trump to obstruct the electoral count, and Democrats highlighted videos from rioters who chanted "Hang Mike Pence!" as they stormed the Capitol.

In recordings of radio communications, frantic police officers can be heard asking dispatchers to send in reinforcements. "They're starting to dismantle the reviewing stand," one said. "They're throwing metal poles at us."

Some of the most disturbing footage depicted rioters attacking Capitol Police officers as the attack unfolded. One video showed rioters brutally attacking officers as they attempted to enter the building, including one rioter appearing to claw at an officer's eyes.