Trump's second impeachment trial: Day 3

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 2300 GMT (0700 HKT) February 11, 2021
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1:15 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

House managers play videos from as early as 2015 in which Trump appears to condone violence

House impeachment managers are playing a collection of videos from as early as 2015, in which former President Trump appears to be condoning violence among his supporters.

A video from a 2015 rally showed White attendees shoving, tackling and kicking a Black protester who disrupted his speech. Trump went on to say of the protester: "Maybe he should have been roughed up."

The managers also showed video of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville that turned deadly after White nationalists, neo-Nazis and other groups arrived to protest a city decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Trump later said "both sides" — both the White nationalists and the counter-protesters — were to blame.

The managers went on to note a 2018 incident where Trump praised a Republican congressman who body slammed a reporter.

Watch Rep. Raskin here:

12:50 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

The allegation of "incitement" is central to Democrats' case against Trump. Here's what you need to know.

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

The allegation of "incitement" is key to the impeachment case House Democrats are making against former President Trump because it ties his words and actions to the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill.

House impeachment managers have devoted most of their presentation this week to the results, airing graphic video footage and audio from the attack on the Capitol — which put members of the Senate, who will vote on the charges, personally at risk.

Their argument is that Trump was responsible for what happened, even though he did not join the mob that marched from his Jan. 6 rally near the White House to the US Capitol, where electoral votes were being tallied to seal Joe Biden's victory.

The article of impeachment passed by the House in January reads, in part: "Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States." Read the whole thing here.

Here are a few key things the Democrats have said so far:

  • "He had incited the attack. The insurgents were following his commands," said Texas Democratic Rep. Julian Castro.
  • "He directed all of the rage that he had incited to Jan. 6. That was his last chance to stop the peaceful transition of power," said Rep. Eric Swalwell of California. He later added, "This was not just any old protest. President Trump was inciting something historic."
  • "This was deliberate," said Virgin Islands Del. Stephanie Plaskett. "And because the President of the United States incited this, because he was orchestrating this, because he was inviting them, the insurgents were not shy about their planning."

Trump's defenders, namely Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, have argued that Trump can't be held accountable because the people who made up the mob are "entitled to be idiots" and Trump was just whipping up the crowd, which is what politicians do.

"The President's language at times is a little overheated," Cruz told Sean Hannity on Fox News. "But if you look at the language he used, saying things like 'fight,' saying things like 'go retake our country,' if that is now incitement then we better prepare a long line to indict every candidate for office, anyone who's ever run."

We should note here that Cruz, in the days before the Jan. 6 riot, was himself egging on election-skeptics to fight against the counting of electoral votes and promising them "we will win." Cruz also pointed out Trump told the festering mob to be peaceful, which he did, once — as opposed to the 20 times he told the crowd to "fight," according to the impeachment managers. 

You can read Trump's whole Jan. 6 speech here.

12:45 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

How Romney's family reacted to security video showing an officer potentially save him from the mob

From CNN's Manu Raju and Sarah Fortinsky

In this image from surveillance video shown during Wednesday's impeachment trial, Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman directs Sen. Mitt Romney away from rioters.
In this image from surveillance video shown during Wednesday's impeachment trial, Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman directs Sen. Mitt Romney away from rioters. Capitol security footage/Senate TV

CNN asked Sen. Mitt Romney how his family reacted to the video presented by House impeachment managers yesterday. The video showed Officer Eugene Goodman leading Romney away from the mob that had breached the Capitol, potentially saving his life.

"I don't think my family or my wife understood that I was as close as I might have been to real danger, and they were surprised, and very, very appreciative of officer Goodman and his being there and directing me back to safety," he said. 

Romney reiterated he was headed to his Capitol hideaway after getting a text from staff warning that protestors had breached the building. 

"And as I started going down that hall, Officer Goodman said, 'hey, go back in. You're safer in the chamber," he said.

Asked what he thought might have happened to him, Romney said: "I don't want to speculate but clearly I was walking in the direction of danger and that's not a good thing."

Romney, asked if he is leaning towards voting for former President Trump's conviction, said: "I'm keeping an open mind and will wait until both sides have had a chance to take their cases forward."

1:10 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

The "QAnon Shaman" rioter was brought up today. Here's what you need to know about him.

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

US Capitol rioter Jacob Chansley.
US Capitol rioter Jacob Chansley. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Colorado, repeatedly name-dropped one rioter, Jacob Chansley, during her presentation on Thursday.

He has become Internet famous for showing up at the Capitol with a horned bearskin headdress, and is known as the “QAnon shaman” among followers of the conspiracy theory movement.

He’s important to the Democrats’ case because he was one of the most prominent figures during the insurrection, making it to the Senate floor and brazenly posing for photos on the Senate dais where then Vice President Mike Pence stood shortly before the attack.

Democrats have also played videos of Chansley where he explicitly says he is taking his cues from Trump, including after Trump finally told the rioters to “go home” in a social media video several hours after the attack began.

Chansley’s case has also made headlines for his demands to only get organic food in jail. A federal judge ruled in his favor last week, ordering jail officials in the DC area to give him organic food in accordance with his Shamanism religion.

12:18 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

A guide to the key players in Trump’s second impeachment trial 

From CNN's Caroline Kell, Zachary B. Wolf and Devan Cole

The second Senate impeachment trial of former President Trump is underway, and multiple key players will take the spotlight throughout various moments of the trial. 

These are the key people to watch:

  • The prosecutors: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named nine members of her caucus to be impeachment managers to argue the Democrats' case in the Senate. They have up to 8 hours to continue to present their case today. Read about them here. The impeachment managers are: Reps. Jamie Raskin of Maryland (lead manager), Diana DeGette of Colorado, David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Joaquin Castro of Texas, Eric Swalwell of California, Ted Lieu of California, Stacey Plaskett of the US Virgin Islands, Joe Neguse of Colorado and Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania.
  • The defense: David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. head the legal team for former President Trump. Schoen was on the team of lawyers representing Roger Stone in the appeal of his conviction related to issues the former Trump adviser took with the jury. Castor, meanwhile, is a well-known attorney in Pennsylvania who previously served as Montgomery County district attorney. Trump's defense team will also have the opportunity to argue their case for up to 16 hours spread over two days.
  • The senator presiding over case: Sen. Patrick Leahy is presiding over the trial, and is expected to adhere largely to the script of Chief Justice John Roberts. But unlike when the robe-clad Roberts oversaw then-President Trump's 2020 trial, Leahy will routinely slip into his senator role for votes, including on whether to convict or acquit the former president of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The 80-year-old Vermont Democrat is the chamber's president pro tempore, or the longest serving senator of the majority party.
  • Jurors: The senators are serving as the jury and they will deliberate whether to convict or acquit the former President. Conviction requires two-thirds of senators present to offer "guilty" votes. Two-thirds is 67 senators, which would require 17 Republican votes. If Trump is convicted, there would be a subsequent vote on whether to bar him from further office. This would require only a simple majority — that's 50 votes.
2:34 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

Impeachment manager DeGette is speaking now in the Senate. Here are key things to know about her. 

From CNN’s Maureen Chowdhury 

Senate TV
Senate TV

House impeachment manager Diana DeGette is presenting the Democrats’ case now against former President Trump on the Senate floor, and she is focusing on statements made by the rioters before the attack on the Capitol. 

“In the next few minutes, I want to step back from the horrors of the attack itself and look at Jan. 6 from a totally different perspective, the perspective of the insurrectionists themselves. Their own statements before, during and after the attack make clear the attack was done for Donald Trump at his instructions and to fulfill his wishes. Donald Trump had sent them there,” DeGette told the senators. 

DeGette, of Colorado’s 1st district, is considered a veteran Democrat who has served in Congress for more than 20 years. She was the Democratic chief deputy whip for 14 years.

In 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chose DeGette to preside over the debate of then President Trump’s first House impeachment trial. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed DeGette as an impeachment manager on Jan. 12. DeGette tweeted, “I look forward to doing my part to remove [Donald Trump] from office immediately.”

DeGette also serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee as chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

She is serving her thirteenth term in office. Before serving in the US House of Representatives, DeGette was an attorney focusing on civil rights before being elected to serve two terms in the Colorado House, including one term as assistant minority leader.

12:20 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

Some senators says it's likely the trial will wrap this weekend

From CNN's Lauren Fox and Manu Raju

Sen. Roy Blunt speaks to the press on Capitol Hill on February 11.
Sen. Roy Blunt speaks to the press on Capitol Hill on February 11. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri, told reporters that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell once again laid out a potential timeline, during a GOP lunch, for the impeachment trial.

Asked when the trial would end, Blunt said, “Saturday is looking better all the time.”

On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan and a member of leadership, said she thinks the trial will be done late Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Asked if she sees a need for witnesses, Stabenow said, “I personally don’t." Although she said she would support whatever House Democrats ultimately want.

Each side has 16 hours spread over two days to make their case. The Democrats will conclude their arguments today and former President Trump's defense team will take the floor tomorrow.

Trump's defense team say they expect to finish their arguments in the impeachment trial by Friday night, two sources told CNN.

Once both sides have presented their case, the Senate would vote on witnesses – which will determine what happens next in the trial.

12:12 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

Top Democrats hope trial wraps up by this weekend

From CNN's Manu Raju

House impeachment managers are presenting their case now on the Senate floor against former President Trump. They have up to 8 hours to wrap their arguments today.

The length of the trial and whether Democrats will call on witnesses is still unknown, but top Democrats are signaling they are skeptical about including witnesses.

“I personally don’t," Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat and a member of leadership, told CNN when asked if she sees a need for witnesses. She said she would support whatever House Democrats ultimately want.

Stabenow and other Democrats say they think the trial will be done late Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

12:13 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

Day 3 of Trump's impeachment trial has started

Senate TV
Senate TV

The third day of Trump's impeachment trial has started.

"Almighty God, our shelter from the storms. Give our Senate jurors discernment that will rescue our nation from ruin. Illuminate their minds with your truth as you speak through the whispers of conscience. Remind them that the seeds they plant now will bring a harvest," Senate Chaplain Barry Black prayed as the session opened.

House impeachment managers will continue to make their case against the former President today. According to senior aides on the team, they plan to zero in on Trump’s lack of remorse following the deadly attack and go further into the role he played.

The managers also intend to examine the harm the attack caused to the people in the Capitol, including beyond just the physical scars, the aides said.

They have up to 16 hours spread over two days – yesterday and today – to convince GOP senators that Trump was responsible for inciting the deadly Capitol riot.

Trump's defense team will begin their presentation tomorrow.