Democrats open prosecution of Trump in Senate trial featuring new security video

Democratic House impeachment managers on Wednesday are introducing never-before-seen U.S. Capitol security video of the riot on Jan. 6 to demonstrate the extent of the violence, as they opened the Senate trial of former President Donald Trump. 

The security video is expected to show how close lawmakers came to some of the rioters who forced their way into the Capitol. It’s intended to bolster Democrats’ timeline asserting that Mr. Trump incited thousands of supporters at a rally near the White House, and then turned them loose on Congress.

Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead impeachment manager, said the trial is “a moment of truth for America.”

“We are having a trial on the facts,” Mr. Raskin told senators. “The evidence will show you that ex-President Trump was no innocent bystander…. he became the inciter-in-chief of a dangerous insurrection.”

Sen. Ben Cardin, Maryland Democrat, said he expects House managers to lay out the chronology of events from the November election through the Jan. 6 rally, the riot and the former president’s reaction. 

“There is no question the president’s words motivated the crowd,” Mr. Cardin told reporters. “The question is, did he really intend something like this to happen? I think that is an area I expect them to spend a lot of their time on.”

Mr. Cardin said the environment of this impeachment trial is different from last year’s proceedings concerning Mr. Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president, because more Republicans appear to support the trial moving forward this time.

The first day of the managers’ prosecution comes after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled to Republican colleagues that their vote to convict or acquit Mr. Trump is “a matter of conscience.” Some Democrats took it as a hopeful sign that more Republicans might join them in voting for conviction.

“I was impressed by Mitch McConnell saying this as a matter of conscience, which I agree with him,” Mr. Cardin said. “Look, we recognize we operate in the political world. We recognize it’s an uphill battle.”

Seventeen Republicans would need to vote with all 50 Democrats to reach the required two-thirds majority to convict Mr. Trump of inciting the riot. On Tuesday, six out of 50 Republican senators agreed with Democrats that putting a former president on trial is constitutional.

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