Day two in former President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial over the Capitol insurrection kicked off at 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Each side — the House managers acting as prosecutors in the trial, and Trump’s defense lawyers — gets 16 hours to make its argument. House managers were first up, and according to the impeachment resolution, each side’s presentation per day cannot go over eight hours, and it can’t take more than two days to make its case. The New York Times reported on Monday that the House managers are prepared to wrap up their arguments in as little as a week.
After the presentations are done, US senators who are acting as jurors in the impeachment trial will get four hours to question both sides.
Next, Republicans and Democrats will each get two hours to make arguments on whether to subpoena documents and witnesses, if the impeachment managers request it.
Last, the prosecution and defense will each get two hours to make their closing arguments.
Scroll down for a recap of day one and to follow Insider’s live coverage.
Rep. David Cicilline began the evening’s portion of the trial by focusing on Donald Trump’s actions after his supporters breached the US Capitol.
The former president, Cicilline noted in his presentation, “did not once condemn this attack.” In fact, “on January 6, the only person he denounced was his own vice president, Mike Pence, who was hiding in this building with his family.”
Citing White House sources who spoke to the press, Trump was not upset by what he saw on television. Rather, “He was delighted,” Cicilline said, confused only that those around him did not share his excitement at the scenes of a pro-Trump mob intimidating lawmakers who were attempting a peaceful transfer of power.
While Trump’s supporters smashed windows and clashed with police, “We heard nothing from the president of the United States,” Cicilline said. Nearly an hour after those supporters breached the US Capitol, Trump, instead of calling on them to stop, instead “released a propaganda reel”: clips from that afternoon’s speech that preceded the riot and called on those rioters to “stop the steal.”
As Cicilline argued, there was no reason for the president to be upset.
“He got what he incited and, according Donald Trump, we got what we deserved,” he said.
Sen. Mitt Romney told reporters that watching security footage of a pro-Trump mob attacking police at the US Capitol ‘brings tears to your eyes.’
“It’s obviously very troubling to see the great violence that our Capitol Police and others were subjected to,” Romney said after the Senate impeachment trial adjourned on Wednesday. “That was overwhelmingly distressing and emotional.”
In one clip shown Wednesday afternoon, Romney is seen being directed to safety by US Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who was earlier recognized for leading the pro-Trump mob away from the Senate floor. Romney said he did not realize that’s who it was.
“I look forward to thanking him when I next see him,” he told reporters. “I was very fortunate indeed that Officer Goodman was there.”
The Utah Republican could not say, however, whether the footage would sway any of his GOP colleagues.
Rep. Eric Swalwell sent a goodbye text to his wife during the insurrection, saying, ‘I love you and the babies. Please hug them for me.’
“I imagine many of you sent a similar message,” Swalwell told the Senate after recounting his experience.
House manager points out how Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman ran toward the insurrectionists to protect lawmakers during the siege
House manager Del. Stacey Plaskett showed footage of Officer Eugene Goodman of the Capitol Police running toward Utah Sen. Mitt Romney on the second floor amid the siege and ushering him in the other direction to get away from the insurrectionists, who were below them on the first floor.
In another widely circulated video, rioters were seen chasing Goodman up the steps of the Capitol and toward the Senate chamber. Goodman was then seen purposely provoking the rioters to lead them away from the door to the Senate, which was just feet away.
Across the hall, Vice President Mike Pence was sheltering with his family as Trump supporters tried to hunt him down.
Matt Fuller, a Congress reporter at HuffPost, tweeted that while Plaskett was detailing Goodman’s actions at the impeachment trial, he was standing outside the Senate to guard the chamber.
As House impeachment managers show the video of Eugene Goodman’s heroic actions, Eugene Goodman is actually guarding the Senate today. Saw him about 20 minutes ago just outside the chamber.
Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin warns of ‘very graphic, violent footage’ before playing harrowing clips of the siege
Shortly after the Senate returned from a brief recess, Raskin said impeachment managers Del. Stacey Plaskett and Rep. Eric Swalwell would walk the senators through what happened on the day of the insurrection via audio and video footage.
Among other things, they played audio clips of Capitol Police officers pleading for additional help while rioters breached barricades outside the building. The House managers also played previously unseen security footage showing what it was like inside the Capitol while the pro-Trump mob broke the glass on the main doors before finally making it inside.
“At the same time that that breach on this Capitol building occurred, at approximately 2:13 p.m., just one floor up, while Sen. Lankford was speaking on the Senate floor, Sen. Grassley, who had taken over for Vice President Pence, called an unscheduled, immediate recess of the Senate,” Plaskett said.
A Senate aide then approached Lankford and told him the Capitol had been breached, and Grassley was immediately rushed out of the chamber, she added.
Impeachment manager Rep. Madeleine Dean tears up recalling the moment Trump supporters breached the Capitol
During her closing remarks, Dean choked up and appeared to be on the verge of tears while recounting the hours leading up to when the pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol.
“Around 12:20, some rally goers, some attendees, began marching,” she said. “By 12:30, as president Trump continued to incite his supporters, large segments of the rally crowd had amassed at the Capitol.”
“At 12:53, as the president’s speech was playing on cell phone broadcasts, the outermost barricade of the northwest side of the Capitol was breached,” Dean added, pausing as she got emotional, “and Capitol Police were forced back to the steps of the Capitol.”
She continued: “At 1:10, the president ended his speech with a final call to fight and a final order to march to the Capitol. At 1:45, the president’s followers surged past Capitol Police shouting ‘This is a revolution!'”
Dean said that shortly after 2:10, an hour after Trump ended his rally speech, the “insurrectionist mob overwhelmed Capitol security and made it inside the halls of Congress.”
She wrapped up by saying that the attack “never would’ve happened but for Donald Trump.”
“And so they came, draped in Trump’s flag, and used our flag, the American flag to batter and to bludgeon,” Dean said. “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.”
‘Combat. Fight. Violence’: Impeachment managers highlight how Trump supporters planned for violence at the Capitol
Delegate Stacey Plaskett, who represents the US Virgin Islands, and Rep. Madeleine Dean dove into how multiple Trump supporters and members of far-right extremist groups like the Proud Boys planned to engage in violence at the Capitol.
- An FBI report warned of a “war” at the Capitol before pro-Trump insurrectionists attacked it.
- “Be ready to fight,” one person wrote on an online thread before the attack, according to The Washington Post. “Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”
- A US Capitol Police intelligence report issued on January 3 warned of a “violent scenario” in which “Congress itself” could be targeted by Trump supporters who saw January 6 as “the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election.”
- The Daily Beast reported that there were warning signs for two months before the deadly siege.
- “Find the tunnels,” one person wrote on the far-right site, TheDonald.win. “Arrest the worst traitors.”
- “The Capitol is our goal,” another meme posted to the site said. “Everything else is a distraction.”
- Users also posted layouts of Capitol floor plans as they discussed how to overpower Capitol Police
- Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, was arrested while carrying two high-capacity firearm magazines that he claimed were for someone who was going to attend the January 6 Trump rally.
- Several insurrectionists who have since been arrested were seen carrying handcuffs and zip ties in the House and Senate chambers.
- One of the rioters who traveled to Washington, DC, with an assault rifle is accused of threatening to execute House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Impeachment manager Rep. Ted Lieu throws the spotlight on actions Trump took after he ‘ran out of nonviolent options to maintain power’
House impeachment manager Rep. Ted Lieu issued a brutal critique of Trump’s weekslong attempt to invalidate President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
And then Trump “ran out of nonviolent options to maintain power,” Lieu said. He went on to detail how Trump, after his legal efforts and attempts to intimidate election officials fell flat, turned to the legislative branch to force members of the GOP to take up the mantle for him.
“He would publicly bait senators, naming them in social media,” Lieu said. The California lawmaker then displayed a December 24 tweet from Trump in which he said he would “NEVER FORGET” it if Republican senators, including then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, didn’t try to stop the congressional formalization of Biden’s win.
“President Trump was telling you that you owe him, that if you don’t help him fight to overcome the results, he will never forget and there will be consequences,” Lieu said.
“The president wasn’t just coming for one or two people, or Democrats like me,” he continued. “He was coming for you — or Democratic and Republican senators. He was coming for all of us, just as the mob did at his direction.”
Impeachment manager Rep. Madeleine Dean lays out Trump’s legal — and potentially illegal — efforts to take back the White House after losing the election
Rep. Madeleine Dean, who is serving as an impeachment manager, laid out Trump’s myriad efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, either by turning to the courts or taking matters into his own hands.
She pointed out that the Trump campaign and Republicans across the country filed more than 60 lawsuits contesting the election results in battleground states he lost. They won only one case, which did not materially impact the results or swing the election in his favor.
She also highlighted how Trump invited members of the Michigan and Pennsylvania state legislatures to the White House to try to force them to challenge the results in their states.
“Think about it: the president of the United States was calling public officials, calling from the White House, inviting them into the Oval Office, telling them to disenfranchise voters of their state, telling them to overturn the will of the American people, all so he could take the election for himself,” Dean said.
She also detailed the death threats that election officials across the country faced amid Trump’s pressure campaign, and the president’s refusal to condemn the attacks.
- Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his wife received death and rape threats. Trump later called Raffensperger “an enemy of the people.”
- Gabriel Sterling, the chief operating officer in Raffensperger’s office, called on Trump to “stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone’s going to get hurt, someone’s going to get shot, someone’s going to get killed.”
And then Dean noted Trump’s January 2 phone call with Raffensperger during which he asked the secretary of state to “find” enough votes to overturn the election.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said during the phone call, which was first reported by The Washington Post. The New York Times reported Wednesday morning that prosecutors in Georgia’s most populous county have now launched a criminal investigation into Trump’s actions.
Impeachment manager Rep. Joaquin Castro: Trump gave his followers ‘specific instructions on how, when, and where to fight to stop the steal’
After spending months trying to delegitimize the election results, Trump gave his followers “specific instructions” to go to Washington, DC, on January 6, march to the Capitol, and stop Congress from formalizing Joe Biden’s victory.
“After Donald Trump lost, he became even more desperate and incited his base further,” impeachment manager Rep. Joaquin Castro said. “He urged them, again and again, with increasingly forceful language, to fight to stop the steal. And even as the certification got closer and he grew even more desperate, he gave them specific instructions on how, when, and where to fight to stop the steal.”
“You will see clearly that this violent mob that showed up here on January 6 didn’t come out of thin air,” he added. “President Donald John Trump incited this violence, and that’s the truth.”
Impeachment manager Rep. Joaquin Castro details Trump’s months-long campaign to sow doubt in the electoral process
When impeachment manager Rep. Joaquin Castro was up, he looked back at Trump’s long history of lying about the integrity of the election.
“You’ll see that the attack was foreseeable and preventable,” Castro said, noting that Trump “set up his Big Lie” as early as the spring of 2020, when he began trailing Biden in the polls.
Key dates Castro referenced:
- May 24, 2020: Trump tweeted that the November election would “be the greatest rigged election in history.”
- June 22, 2020: Trump tweeted that the election would be “rigged” and the “scandal of our times.”
- July 19, 2020: Trump told Fox News’ Chris Wallace he would not commit to the peaceful transfer of power
- July 30, 2020: Trump tweeted that the November election would be the “most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history.”
- July 31, 2020: Trump told reporters that “this is going to be the greatest election disaster in history.”
- August 17, 2020: At a rally in Wisconsin, Trump told supporters, “The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged, remember that.”
- August 24, 2020: Trump said at a news conference in Charlotte that “the only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election.”
- September 12, 2020: “It’s a rigged election, it’s the only way we’re going to lose,” Trump told supporters at a Nevada rally.
- September 23, 2020: When asked at a White House press briefing if he would commit to a peaceful transition, Trump floated lies about mail-in ballots and added, “There won’t be a transfer, frankly, there will be a continuation.”
- October 8, 2020: During a Fox News phone interview, Trump said, “This will be one of the greatest fraudulent, most fraudulent elections ever.”
Trump “was given every opportunity” to publicly confirm his commitment to a peaceful transfer, Castro said. “Instead, he told his supporters the only way he could lose the election is if it was stolen. In tweet after tweet, he made sweeping allegations about election fraud that couldn’t possibly be true.”
“But that was the point,” Castro added. “He didn’t care if the claims were true. He wanted to make sure that his supporters were angry, like the election was being ripped away from them.”
Impeachment manager Rep. Joe Neguse recalls feeling ‘so grateful’ that Mike Pence didn’t accede to Trump’s demands to stop the electoral count
Impeachment manager Rep. Joe Neguse recalled feeling “grateful” to then Vice President Mike Pence after Congress finished formalizing Biden’s victory following the siege.
“As I walked off the floor, I was so grateful, so grateful for the opportunity to thank the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, for his actions, for standing before us and asking us to follow our oath and our faith and our duty,” Neguse said.
He was referring to Pence’s refusal to accede to Trump’s demand that he stop Congress from counting the electoral votes, which Pence has no legal authority to do.
Neguse went on to say that the following morning, he called his father and told him “that the proudest moment, by far, of serving in Congress for me was going back onto the floor with each of you to finish the work that we had started.”
He said he was “humbled” to be back in Congress Wednesday, adding, “I’m hopeful that at this trial, we can use our resolve and our resilience to again uphold our democracy by faithfully applying the law, vindicating the Constitution, and holding President Trump accountable for his actions.”
Impeachment manager Rep. Joe Neguse: ‘They were following the president’s orders’
Rep. Joe Neguse, another impeachment manager on the case against Trump, laid out a series of court documents and media reports showing many of the insurrectionists’ intent to commit violence and assassinate leading lawmakers, as well as their belief that they were acting on Trump’s orders.
“He made them believe over many weeks that the election was stolen and they were following his command to take back their country,” Neguse said.
Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin: Trump watched the siege on TV ‘like a reality show’ and ‘reveled in it’
“Incited by President Trump, his mob attacked the Capitol,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, said. “This assault unfolded live on television before a horrified nation.”
He went on to discuss what witnesses and media reports said about Trump’s reaction as the siege was underway.
“As this was unfolding on television, Donald Trump was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was as you had rioters pushing against Capitol Police trying to get into the building,” Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt after the siege. Sasse said he learned of Trump’s reaction from “senior White House officials.”
The officials told Sasse that Trump was apparently “borderline enthusiastic” about the insurrection.
“It took him a while to appreciate the gravity of the situation,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told The Washington Post on January 8. “The president saw these people as allies in his journey and sympathetic to the idea that the election was stolen.”
Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin lays out a devastating timeline of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election
“You will see during this trial a man who praised and encouraged and cultivated violence” weeks before the insurrection, lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin said.
He pointed to a Trump tweet sent on December 12 in which he wrote, “WE HAVE JUST BEGUN TO FIGHT!!!”
Raskin pointed out that a week later, on December 19, Trump told his followers to show up to a “big protest” in Washington, DC, on January 6. “Be there, will be wild!” Trump tweeted.
In the days that followed, Raskin said, Trump continued to “aggressively promote” the January 6 rally to his followers, which took place as Congress convened to count the electoral votes in the 2020 election.
The Maryland Democrat also emphasized that in addition to social media posts and news stories, there were also “credible reports” from the FBI and US Capitol Police warning of potential violence at the January 6 rally.
“This mob got organized so openly because, as they would later scream in these halls and as they posted on forums before the attack, they were sent here by the president, they were invited here by the president of the United States of America,” Raskin said.
Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin: Trump ‘surrendered his role as commander-in-chief and became the inciter-in-chief of a dangerous insurrection’
Lead House manager Rep. Jamie Raskin said in his opening that “the evidence will show you that ex-president Trump was no innocent bystander,” adding, “It will show that Donald Trump surrendered his role as commander-in-chief and became the inciter-in-chief of a dangerous insurrection.”
Raskin also referenced GOP Rep. Liz Cheney’s statement announcing her decision to vote to impeach Trump, in which she said his actions represented “the greatest betrayal of the presidential oath in the history of the United States.”
“The evidence will show you that he saw it coming and was not remotely surprised by the violence,” Raskin said, adding that when the siege was underway, Trump “completely abdicated his duty” to stop the violence.
“To us, it may have seemed like chaos and madness, but there was method in the madness that day,” Raskin said. “This was an organized attack on the counting of the Electoral College votes in joint session of the United States Congress … to prevent Vice President Mike Pence and to prevent us from counting sufficient Electoral College votes to certify Joe Biden’s victory of 306 to 232 in the Electoral College.”
Here’s what happened on day one of Trump’s trial
The order of business on Tuesday was to hold a debate on the constitutionality of having an impeachment trial for Trump in the first place, given that he’s no longer in office.
In a previous motion on the matter, five Republican senators — Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, and Ben Sasse — broke ranks and voted with their Democratic colleagues to declare Trump’s trial constitutional, in a vote of 55 to 45.
Following Tuesday’s debate, another Republican senator, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, defected and joined his five colleagues in determining that Trump’s trial doesn’t run afoul of the Constitution. The final vote was 56 to 44.
Other key takeaways
- The House managers’ argument: The impeachment managers say there is no “January exception” to impeachment because it would mean presidents could act with immunity during their final days in office. Trump’s actions are impeachable, they said, because he undertook them while in office. Additionally, removal from office is not the only objective of impeachment because being barred from holding office in the future is also a possibility.
- The defense’s argument: Trump’s defense lawyers argued that even holding a trial was unconstitutional because Trump was no longer in office and therefore could not be removed via an impeachment trial. They also argued that Trump was deprived of due process and that the Senate was not the appropriate jurisdiction to “try” Trump.
- Rep. Jamie Raskin teared up recounting being trapped in the Capitol: Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, gave an emotional speech on the Senate floor where he recalled what it was like being in the Capitol during the siege with his daughter and his son-in-law. It was one day after Raskin and his family buried his son, Tommy, who died by suicide on New Year’s Eve.
- He choked up as he described his “kids hiding under the desk, placing what they thought were their final texts and whispered phone calls to say their goodbyes.” He continued: “They thought they were going to die.”
- Trump’s lawyer was brutally mocked for a long and meandering opening statement: Bruce Castor Jr.’s lengthy, rambling statement raised eyebrows across the internet as lawyers, constitutional experts, and members of the public questioned where he was going. Several Republican senators also slammed Trump’s defense team after the proceedings, calling it “disorganized” and “terrible,” and saying they were “stunned” and “perplexed” by the arguments.
How is this trial different from Trump’s first impeachment trial?
Trump is the only president in US history to have been impeached twice.
The first time, Trump was charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in connection to the Ukraine scandal. This time, he faces a single article of impeachment accusing him of “incitement of insurrection” related to the deadly Capitol siege on January 6.
There’s also a looming question of constitutionality this time around, as several Republicans as well as Trump’s defense team have argued that Trump cannot be tried and removed from office now that he’s no longer president.
The mechanics of this trial are also slightly different.
According to the US Constitution, the chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over a president’s impeachment trial. But there’s no playbook on who presides over the trial of a former president.
For Trump’s second impeachment trial, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, who is the president pro tempore of the Senate — the longest-serving Democrat in the chamber — will preside. Leahy was also in the Capitol the day of the siege, meaning he has the unique role of serving as judge, juror, and witness in this impeachment trial — a point Trump’s lawyer, David Schoen, raised during Tuesday’s debate over constitutionality and due process.