House managers opened former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial Tuesday with a disturbing video: A combination of news reports and social media clips, it highlighted the violence that took place on January 6 and underscored Trump’s role in stoking it.
The footage, which chronicled Trump’s remarks at the “Stop the Steal” rally and the storming of the US Capitol, laid out a clear timeline linking his speech with the insurrection that occurred. In the video, after Trump urges thousands of his supporters to march toward the Capitol, a powerful series of clips shows how people stormed the building, overwhelmed Capitol Police, and broke in.
The video, which you can watch in full below, draws a direct line from Trump’s election fraud lies — and his comments — to the violence that occurred.
The use of the video and other media is part of the House impeachment managers’ broader strategy to depict the severity of the attack on January 6 and to make a more emotional case for impeachment. House managers, after all, have learned their lesson from the first impeachment trial, which featured longer arguments that some lawmakers dinged as repetitive and boring. This time around, they intend to use plenty of multimedia to recreate the events of January 6 and keep senators engaged in their presentation.
“The more you document all the tragic events leading up to that day and the president’s misconduct on that day and the president’s reaction while people were being attacked that day, the more and more difficult you make it for any senator to hide behind those false constitutional fig leaves,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is informally advising the House team, recently told the New York Times.
The video, which lasted roughly 10 minutes, captured the panic of lawmakers trapped in the House chamber, the brutality of rioters shoving police, and the explicit role Trump played in stoking such actions. In devastating fashion, it forced lawmakers to relive the events of January 6, during which five people died and 140 Capitol Police officers were injured.
“We are listening to Trump — your boss,” people storming the Capitol told officers at the time in a clip included in the video.
House managers intend to demonstrate just how much Trump fueled the violence that’s hurt so many people, endangered lawmakers, and threatened a fundamental democratic process, as they make their case that the Senate should convict him for incitement of insurrection.
“The president was impeached by the House of Representatives for doing that,” House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin emphasized after the video played. “If that’s not an impeachable offense, then there is no such thing.”