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Takeaways From Day 2 of Trump’s Impeachment Trial

By Damien Gosling , in Politics , at February 11, 2021

Former President Donald J. Trump’s Twitter feed made a prominent appearance, and the House members prosecuting the case leaned on his words and those of his supporters to argue for conviction.

House impeachment managers built their case against former President Donald J. Trump on Wednesday, methodically using video and audio clips to argue that Mr. Trump was responsible for the deadly assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6. Throughout much of the day, the managers let Mr. Trump and his supporters do the talking, showing videos of Mr. Trump’s speeches, his Twitter posts and footage of his supporters answering his rallying cries that began months before the attack.

Here are some takeaways from the second day of the trial.

For a time on Wednesday, @realDonaldTrump was back.

Senate Television, via Associated Press

In their efforts to prove that Mr. Trump was undeniably behind the attack, House impeachment managers let the former president tell the story in his own words, airing a Trump Twitter blitz worthy of the former tweeter in chief himself. This time, however, his posts were marked with a “PROSECUTORS’ EVIDENCE” stamp.

On Dec. 19, he wrote: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

The managers repeatedly referred to the Dec. 19 post as a “save the date” for Jan. 6.

On Dec. 26, he wrote: “The ‘Justice’ Department and the FBI have done nothing about the 2020 Presidential Election Voter Fraud, the biggest SCAM in our nation’s history, despite overwhelming evidence. They should be ashamed. History will remember. Never give up. See everyone in D.C. on January 6th.”

It’s been 33 days since the world has seen a new Trump tweet, after nearly four years of Mr. Trump using the social media platform to build his base of supporters and blast out his unfiltered messages.

Twitter banned Mr. Trump permanently on Jan. 8, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence” as its justification.

Seeing the collection of Mr. Trump’s posts was a reminder of just how much the former president has been silenced after losing his most powerful megaphone. By comparison, on the second day of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial a year ago, Mr. Trump posted or reposted 142 tweets.

This week, Mr. Trump has been largely hidden from view at his private club in Palm Beach, Fla. He was steaming after seeing his lawyers’ defense on Tuesday, people familiar with his reaction said.

Democrats let Trump and his supporters make their case to convict.

House impeachment managers delivered multimedia arguments on Wednesday as they started building their case that Mr. Trump was in no way an innocent bystander to the events of Jan. 6, rebutting an assertion Mr. Trump’s defense team made a day earlier.

The impeachment managers flashed outlines of their arguments and fleshed out each point with examples from Mr. Trump’s monthslong campaign to sow distrust in the country’s elections systems and his efforts to rile outrage from his supporters over what he repeatedly and wrongly called a fraudulent, stolen election.

Throughout the day, the managers let Mr. Trump and his supporters do much of the talking, showing footage of campaign rallies, screenshots of the president’s comments and clips of news interviews with supporters who said they went to Washington on Jan. 6 in response to Mr. Trump’s call.

One of Mr. Trump’s comments made repeat appearances on Wednesday, underscoring how important House managers took these specific words to prove their case.

“We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Mr. Trump told a crowd of his supporters just before he dispatched them east toward the Capitol.

The prosecution emphasized the role racism played in the riot and in the months before it.

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Representative Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, concluded his opening remarks by quoting one of the Black police officers who faced racist attacks while battling the pro-Trump riot in the Capitol.Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Over the course of the day, the impeachment managers raised the role racism played in the riot as well as in the preceding months. Confederate flags were carried inside the Capitol, which historians said did not happen even during the Civil War.

The managers also identified rioters who had ties to white supremacist groups, including a far-right group, the Proud Boys, known for endorsing violence. Its members became loud supporters of Mr. Trump’s after the former president refused to denounce the group during a debate with Mr. Biden.

The lead House impeachment manager, Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, quoted one of the Black officers who battled the mob that day describing his despair at being subjected to racist taunts from a crowd of attackers that was, according to witness accounts and video, overwhelmingly white.

Mr. Trump’s affinity for groups like the Proud Boys and his refusal to condemn them publicly and forcefully at multiple points throughout his presidency has long made many Republicans bristle, a reaction the impeachment managers may have been hoping to elicit in the Senate chamber on Wednesday.

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