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Impeachment trial: Democrats rest their case

House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., walks down a hallway during a break on Capitol Hill during former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial Thursday. Pool Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI
House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., walks down a hallway during a break on Capitol Hill during former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial Thursday. Pool Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. House impeachment managers rested their case Thursday in former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial by showing more video evidence from the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack.

In their third day of presentations, the Democrats presented video clips, tweets and other evidence showing participants saying they attacked the Capitol at the behest of Trump.

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In finalizing the case, they called on senators -- particularly Republicans -- to vote in favor of Trump's guilt.

"We humbly, humbly, ask you to convict President Trump for the crime for which he is overwhelmingly guilty of," Sen. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., said.

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"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?"

Rep. Dianna DeGette, D-Colo., opened the day's proceedings by saying that multiple video snippets and excerpts from court filings show that many Trump supporters who descended on the Capitol that day said they'd been invited by Trump and were acting on his orders.

She displayed one tweet from a New York man that read, "Trump just needs to fire the bat signal ... then the pain comes."

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DeGette also played video footage of Trump's "Save America" rally before the attack, at which he told supporters they must "fight like hell" -- followed immediately by the crowd chanting "fight for Trump."

Other video footage showed supporters demanding to "storm" and "invade" the Capitol and telling police there they were "invited by the president."

"The insurrectionists made clear, to law enforcement, that they were following President Trump's orders and they thought they wouldn't be punished," DeGette said. "They were wrong."

Five people died as a direct result of the attack and dozens were injured. The FBI has so far made hundreds of arrests.

"These people are being held accountable for their actions," DeGette added. "The man who incited them, Donald Trump, must be held accountable as well."

DeGette also summarized law enforcement reports that said domestic extremist groups were "emboldened" by the attack and were plotting attacks against minority groups and religious communities.

"Let today be the day we reclaim the definition of patriotism," DeGette said.

"Impeachment is not to punish, but to prevent. We are not here to punish Donald Trump. We are here to prevent the seeds of hatred that he planted from bearing any more fruit."

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Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., argued that Trump's state of mind and "pattern of practice" showed that he enjoyed inciting his followers.

He showed footage of armed protesters storming Michigan's Capitol a year ago to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's COVID-19 restrictions, called it a "preview" of the Jan. 6 insurrection, and pointed out that Trump never condemned them and continued criticizing Whitmer -- even after 13 men were arrested last fall for a plot to kidnap and kill her.

Raskin noted that Trump repeatedly primed his most radical supporters by telling them on the campaign trail that the election was likely to be stolen.

"This was his state of mind," he said. "He knew that egged on by his tweets and his promises and his lies and guarantee of a 'wild time' in Washington [on Jan.6], his most extreme followers would show up ... ready to engage in violence, ready to fight like hell for their hero."

Raskin also took issue with a key element of Trump's legal defense -- that the First Amendment protects him from blame in the Capitol riots.

Raskin turned Trump's argument around on him, saying that Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election amounted to a violation of freedom of speech.

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"We wouldn't have free speech or any other rights if we didn't have the rule of law, the peaceful transfer of power, and a democracy where the outcome of the election is accepted by the candidate who lost," he said.

"The First Amendment does not create some superpower immunity for a president who attacks the Constitution in word and deed, while rejecting the outcome of an election he happened to lose."

The House team also relied heavily on video footage during the first half of its presentation Wednesday, which included several videos from Capitol security cameras that hadn't been seen publicly before.

Trump attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen, who were criticized for their opening statements on Tuesday, are expected to begin presenting their defense on Friday.

After both sides are finished making their presentations, senators will be able to start asking questions. Then, the Senate may have to vote on admitting witnesses or evidence, after which both sides will each have 4 hours to make their closing arguments. After that, the Senate will deliberate and render its verdict.

The trial is expected to last into next week.

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Capitol Hill police salute the passing of the funeral hearse on Sunday for slain Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

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