Saturday, 15 May 2021

Graphic Video at Impeachment Trial Shows Riot and Trump's Comments

The gut-wrenching 13-minute video aired by Democratic impeachment managers on Wednesday dramatically set the tone of former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial by reminding senators — now jurors, then the quarry of a mob — of the raw violence that pervaded the Jan. 6 riot.

After a short opening statement, the lead manager, Representative Jamie Raskin, played a video. Running more than 13 minutes, it showed the Capitol riot in searing detail: a police officer crushed against a door, screaming in pain; lawmakers and journalists taking cover in the House chamber; Officer Eugene Goodman of the Capitol Police leading rioters away from the unsecured Senate floor. It also showed Mr. Trump telling his supporters: “Go home. We love you. You’re very special.”

Most legislative events, even impeachments, have a predictable cadence. But the video, edited by House Democrats to present the attack on the Capitol on a visual timeline coinciding with Mr. Trump’s statements and tweets, was one of the rare moments, common in cinema but rare on C-SPAN, that took the chamber by surprise.

There was an audible gasp in the room when the images appeared of a Capitol Police officer firing a single fatal gunshot at a protester who was trying to break into the House chamber. And the discordant sound of curses being thrown at police that day drew looks of disdain in a chamber with strict rules against the use of profanity.

Senators remained impassive, for the most part, but there were times when their emotions showed. Many of the reporters who covered the riot were deeply moved, with some fighting back tears, as they watched the images of the building being overwhelmed by angry protesters, some for them seeing many of the images for first time.

Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, put a hand over his eyes as he absorbed the video. Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, took careful notes. A few looked away or gazed at their phones in discomfort.

Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, told reporters that it was “the longest time I’ve sat down and just watched straight footage of what was truly a horrendous day.” (Mr. Blunt, a Republican, still voted against continuing the trial.)

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