The second day of former President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial brought sobering new security footage and police radio audio of the US Capitol insurrection as Democrats sought to connect the violence to Trump’s repeated election fraud claims and his January 6 speech.
“He told them to ‘fight like hell,’ and they brought us hell that day,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, said as he kicked off the House’s presentation.
“The evidence will show you that ex-President Trump was no innocent bystander. The evidence will show that he clearly incited the January 6 insurrection. It will show that Donald Trump surrendered his role as commander-in-chief and became the inciter-in-chief of a dangerous insurrection.”
Here are the key moments from the second day of the Senate impeachment trial:
Capitol Police officer may have saved Mitt Romney from mob
One security video played by the House impeachment managers showed Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman running as the mob begins to enter the Capitol. Goodman passes Romney and redirects him from the rioters’ path before continuing to the first floor to respond to the breach and divert the mob from lawmakers.
Romney told reporters after the video played that it was “obviously very troubling” and that he hadn’t known he had come that close to the rioters.
“It tears your — your heart and brings tears to your eyes. That was overwhelmingly distressing and emotional,” he said.
Romney added that he looked forward to thanking Goodman, and later Wednesday evening he was seen speaking with him in the Senate chamber.
Goodman, now the acting deputy Senate sergeant-at-arms, had already been hailed as a hero after previous video emerged of him guiding the violent mob away from the Senate chamber, where then-Vice President Mike Pence had been conducting the ceremonial counting of the 2020 electoral votes.
Pelosi was evacuated from the Capitol complex entirely
The House impeachment managers revealed for the first time Wednesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was evacuated entirely from the US Capitol complex during the insurrection to a secure off-site location.
“We know from the rioters themselves that if they had found Speaker Pelosi, they would have killed her,” Del. Stacey Plaskett, one of the impeachment managers, said.
The Democrats showed how rioters were calling out for Pelosi as they moved through the halls of the Capitol, before showing new security footage of Pelosi’s staffers barricading themselves in a conference room not long before rioters entered her suite of offices, trying to force open the door where the aides were in hiding.
Plaskett showed photos in which one of the insurrectionists who ransacked Pelosi’s office can be seen with a stun gun.
Schumer and his security detail had to run from rioters
Some of the new security footage Democrats presented Wednesday showed how close Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and security detail came to encountering the rioters.
The footage shows Schumer walking up a ramp with his security when the group is forced to quickly change directions and run back in the direction they came. Capitol Police officers can be seen shutting the door behind Schumer and leaning up against it to keep it shut.
“They came within just yards of rioters,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat of California who is serving as one of the House impeachment managers.
Mob came dangerously close to Pence
Wednesday’s security footage also showed for the first time how the then-vice president was evacuated during the episode as rioters breached the Capitol, looking for him.
The footage shows Pence and his family quickly moving down a set of stairs. Pence turns around briefly in the video. During the same time frame, rioters were spreading throughout the building, Plaskett said.
“As the rioters reached the top of the stairs, they were within 100 feet of where the vice president was sheltering with his family, and they were just feet away from one of the doors to this chamber,” she explained. In one video, the crowd can be heard chanting “hang Mike Pence” as they stood in the open door of the Capitol building.
A photo showed a gallows that had been erected outside on the lawn.
“After President Trump had primed his followers for months and inflamed the rally-goers that morning, it is no wonder that the vice president of the United States was the target of their wrath, after Pence refused to overturn the election results,” Plaskett continued.
“They were talking about assassinating the vice president of the United States.”
Some Republican senators praise haunting presentation
Some GOP members praised the presentation Wednesday, with No. 2 Senate Republican John Thune of South Dakota saying the House impeachment managers did an “effective job” and were “connecting the dots” from Trump’s words to the insurrection.
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaskan who is likely to vote to convict, told CNN: “The evidence that was presented thus far is pretty damning.”
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said he found much of the House impeachment managers’ case against Trump jarring, adding that the rioters’ attempts to thwart a peaceful transfer of power should alarm anyone who loves America.
“There’s so much. There’s no one thing. There are many things,” said Cassidy when asked today if he found anything in Democrats’ case for impeachment especially jarring. “There’s so much to say that should be taken away. How do you narrow it?”
Still, there’s no sign that Senate Republicans are going to consider convicting Trump, no matter how compelling the Democrats’ presentation may be. Forty-four of the 50 Senate Republicans voted Tuesday that the trial was unconstitutional, a defense most if not all of those senators are likely to cite if they vote to acquit Trump.
Rep. Madeleine Dean recounts chilling experience
The personal nature of the trial to both the House managers and senators loomed over the proceedings throughout the day.
Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, a Democratic House impeachment manager, choked up as she closed her remarks by describing the loud bang that was heard when she was in the chamber that had been surrounded by rioters.
“So they came, draped in Trump’s flag, and used our flag, the American flag, to batter and to bludgeon,” Dean said. “And at 2:30 p.m., I heard that terrifying banging on those House chamber doors. For the first time in more than 200 years, the seat of our government was ransacked on our watch.”
Trump’s defense team pushes back
One of Trump’s defense lawyers, Bruce Castor, argued that the House managers failed in their presentation to connect the rioters’ acts to Trump.
“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.”
Castor and Trump’s other attorney, David Schoen, will have up to 16 hours over two days to make a more detailed case against the impeachment charge beginning Friday, though they aren’t expected to use all of that time.