Never-before-seen Capitol security camera footage forced senators to relive the harrowing attack and confront chilling new details about the incredibly serious threat posed to everyone in the Capitol, including lawmakers.
Republican Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana called the video “riveting,” saying, “it’s just as kind of hard to take now as it was then.”
Asked if Wednesday’s presentation will impact how he will vote, Braun answered, “No, because I’ve seen, I think, most of it,” adding, “I think it’s good to review it, but I don’t know that that’s going to make a difference for any one senator just having it on a loop again.”
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said, “It’s kind of hard to describe” the videos shown in the Senate chamber, calling it a “horrendous situation.” But when asked if it would have an effect on his vote, he said, “Listen, you gotta weigh all the information together.”
In addition to airing the video footage, the managers spent much of the first day of arguments making the case that Trump engaged in a months-long campaign of lying to his supporters that the election was stolen, provoking their fury over the false belief that the results were fraudulent and inciting them to violently disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.
“Donald Trump committed a massive crime against our Constitution and our people and the worst violation of the presidential oath of office,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager said. “He must be convicted by the United States Senate.”
Once the managers wrap up their presentation on Thursday, the former President’s legal team will be able to begin their rebuttal.
On Wednesday, Castor downplayed the significance of the video footage to the trial, saying that the House managers failed to connect the rioters’ acts to the former President.
“I didn’t learn anything that I didn’t already know. We know a mob reached the Capitol and wreaked havoc in the building. I’m waiting for them to connect that up to President Trump and so far that hasn’t happened,” he said.
Asked if he is worried the video will have an emotional impact on the jury, he said: “It would have an emotional impact on any jury. But there are two sides of the coin and we have not played ours.”
Trump’s legal team has so far argued that the managers are ignoring Trump’s comments on January 6 that the protests should be peaceful, while claiming his call for supporters to fight was figurative political speech protected by the First Amendment.
After Trump’s team concludes, the Senate will have up to four hours to ask written questions to the legal teams, and then the House managers could seek a vote on hearing from witnesses. But it’s not clear yet they plan to do so.
CNN’s Ted Barrett contributed to this report.
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