The House impeachment managers wrapped up their case against former President Trump on Thursday, arguing that rioters who descended on the Capitol did so because they were obeying the president. One repeated sentiment from the day is expressed in this quote from Rep. Joe Neguse: “We humbly, humbly ask you to convict President Trump for the crime for which he is overwhelmingly guilty of. Because if you don’t, if we pretend this didn’t happen, or worse, if we let it go unanswered, who’s to say it won’t happen again?” Trump's defense team will begin its defense on Friday. Some highlights from Thursday:
- Rep. Diana DeGette said the rioters on Jan. 6 were following Trump's directives. “Their own statements before, during and after the attack make clear the attack was done for Donald Trump, at his instructions and to fulfill his wishes,” she said, per USA Today. “Donald Trump had sent them there.” DeGette displayed quotes and interviews from those who participated to that effect. "They said so," she said, per Politico. "They were invited here. They were invited by the president of the United States."
- Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead manager, warned senators that if Trump is not impeached, the US could see a repeat of the Jan. 6 violence, reports the Washington Post. "Is there any political leader in this room who believes that if he is ever allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office, Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get his way?” he asked. “Would you bet the lives of more police officers on that? Would you bet the safety of your family on that? Would you bet the future of your democracy on that?”
- Raskin also asserted that Trump has a history of inciting violence that predates the riot. He used clips of Trump encouraging backers to rough up anti-Trump protesters at rallies and accused Trump of rhetoric that contributed to an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan's governor. Managers frequently cited Trump's own words and tweets to make similar points. DeGette, for instance, said Trump inflamed domestic extremist groups. “This must be our wake-up call,” she said. “We must condemn it, because the threat is not over. President Trump refused to condemn this type of violence. Instead, over and over again, he’s encouraged it. Our response must be different this time.”
- Rep. Ted Lieu faulted Trump for a "lack of remorse" in the aftermath of the riot, per the Hill. He also echoed a point made by Raskin. “You know, I’m not afraid of Donald Trump running again in four years," Lieu said, per the New York Times. "I’m afraid he’s going to run again and lose, because he can do this again."
- Raskin said Trump can't use the First Amendment for protection. "President Trump is not even close to the proverbial citizen who falsely shouted fire in a crowded theater," he said, per the Wall Street Journal. "He is like the now-proverbial municipal fire chief who incites a mob to go set the theater on fire, and not only refuses to put out the fire, but encourages the mob to keep going as the blaze spreads."
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