Senate votes to acquit Trump
Before moving to his closing arguments, Raskin underscored the importance of Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler’s statement and argued the former president’s conduct while the violence at the Capitol was ongoing is relevant to the charge he incited an insurrection.
“After he knew that violence was underway at the Capitol, President Trump took actions that further incited the insurgents to be more inflamed and to take even more extreme, selective and focused action against Vice President Mike Pence,” Raskin said.
That conduct, he said, is “obviously part and parcel” of the constitutional offense Mr. Trump was impeached by the House for, incitement of insurrection.
Raskin shot down the defense’s claim that Mr. Trump’s actions before and after the riot are irrelevant.
“Of course your conduct while a crime is ongoing is relevant to your culpability, both to the continuation of the offense but also directly relevant, directly illuminating to what your purpose was originally, what was your intent,” he said.
Turning to his closing arguments, Raskin then offered a spirited defense of Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who was one of 10 GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach Mr. Trump and whose post as the House’s No. 3 Republican was threatened because of her support for impeachment.
“Who says you can’t stand up against bullies?” he said after citing Cheney’s statement on her impeachment vote, where she said “much more will become clear in the coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough.”
Raskin laid out Mr. Trump’s efforts to reverse the outcome of the presidential election, from the pressure he put on state election officials like Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to his tweets encouraging his supporters to rally in Washington on January 6 in his defense.
“Think, imagine, is there another president in our history who would urge supporters to come to Washington for a wild time?” Raskin said.
Speaking to senators who may be “flirting with the idea” the former president’s conduct before the assault was appropriate, Raskin raised the “key question” to resolve those doubts.
“How did Donald Trump react when he learned of the violent storming of the Capitol and the threats to senators, members of the House and his own vice president, as well as the images he saw on TV of the pummeling and beating and harassment of our police officers?” he said.
Raskin said Mr. Trump’s actions January 6 make clear he supported the actions of the rioters.
“Through his acts of omission and commision that day, he abused his office by siding with the insurrectionists at almost every point, rather than with the Congress of the United States, rather than with the Constitution,” he said.
Raskin implored the Senate to find Mr. Trump guilty of incitement of insurrection, citing the violence perpetrated by the mob, the lives lost and the injuries suffered.
“He further incited them while failing to defend us,” he said. “If that’s not grounds for conviction, if that’s not a high crime and misdemeanor against the republic of the United States of America, then nothing is. President Trump must be convicted for the safety and security of our democracy and our people.”
Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island, following Raskin, then rebutted claims from Mr. Trump’s lawyers that they did not know of the evidence put forth by the managers earlier in the trial, noting the Senate resolution entitled them to have access to the material. He also noted the legal team never refuted the accuracy of Mr. Trump’s tweets, which were publicly available.
Cicilline said he would “insist” on telling his story if he stood charged with incitement to insurrection. While Democrats asked Mr. Trump to voluntarily testify before the trial’s start, the former president’s lawyers swiftly rejected their request.
Cicilline laid out the timeline of what Mr. Trump knew and when he knew it. He dismissed the defense’s claim that Mr. Trump didn’t know Pence was in danger, noting the former president “did nothing” to help his vice president.
The president, he said, was essentially conveying “you got what you deserve.”
“His singular focus: stopping the certification of the election of his opponent,” Cicilline said. “He incited the violence to stop the certification, he attacked the vice president and further incited the insurrection to pressure the vice president to stop the certification, he called Senator Tuberville to stop the certification, and he refused to send help to Congress, and this Congress and the vice president of the United States were in mortal danger because he wanted to stop the certification.”
Mr. Trump’s “sole focus was stealing the election for himself,” he said.
“President Trump willfully betrayed us,” Cicilline said. He added that all those in the Capitol were left “to our own devices against an attack he incited and he alone could stop.”