Democrats: Trump ‘inciter in chief’ of Capitol attack

Prosecutors in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial said Wednesday they would prove that Trump was no “innocent bystander” but the “inciter in chief” of the deadly attack at the Capitol aimed at overturning his election loss to Joe Biden.

Opening the first full day of arguments, the lead House prosecutor said they will lay out evidence that shows the president encouraged a rally crowd to head to the Capitol, then did nothing to stem the violence and watched with “glee” as a mob stormed the iconic building.  Five people died.

“To us it may have felt like chaos and madness, but there was method to the madness that day,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland.

The day’s proceedings were unfolding after an emotional Tuesday start to the trial that left the former president fuming after his attorneys delivered a meandering defense and failed to halt the trial on constitutional grounds. Some allies called for yet another shakeup to his legal team.

Trump is the first president to face an impeachment trial after leaving office and the first to be twice impeached. The riot followed a rally during which Trump urged his supporters to “fight like hell,” words his lawyers say were simply a figure of speech. He is charged with incitement of insurrection.

Senators, many of whom fled for safety the day of the attack, watched Tuesday’s graphic videos of the Trump supporters who battled past police to storm the halls, Trump flags waving. More video is expected Wednesday, including some that hasn’t been seen before.

House Democratic prosecutors on Wednesday plan to use Capitol security footage that hasn’t been publicly released before as they argue that Trump incited the insurrection, according to Democratic aides working on the case.

Security remains extremely tight at the Capitol, fenced off with razor wire and patrolled by National Guard troops.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would not be watching the trial.

The House impeachment managers described police officers maimed in the chaos and rioters parading in the very chamber where the trial was being held. Trump’s team countered that the Constitution doesn’t allow impeachment at this late date.

That’s a legal issue that could resonate with Senate Republicans eager to acquit Trump without being seen as condoning his behavior.

Six Republicans joined with Democrats to vote to proceed with the trial, but the 56-44 vote was far from the two-thirds threshold of 67 votes that would be needed for conviction.

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