House impeachment managers are beginning the second day of Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial Wednesday looking to convince skeptical Republican senators that the former president was responsible for the deadly January 6 riot at the US Capitol where insurrectionists violently disrupted the peaceful transfer of power.
The managers will show never-before-seen Capitol security footage in their presentation to demonstrate the extent of the violence that occurred and the threat the rioters posed to everyone in the Capitol, according to senior aides on the House impeachment team, reports CNN.
The aides told reporters that the footage would be used as part of a compelling presentation that shows a view of the "extreme violence" on January 6, as the managers argue that the rioters were incited by Trump.
House Democrats' previewed their case against Trump on the trial's opening day Tuesday, playing a dramatic and visceral 13-minute video that interspersed disturbing video of the rioters breaching the Capitol, attacking police officers and invoking Trump's name with the President's January 6 speech and tweets, reports CNN.
Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead impeachment manager, kicked off the House's presentation arguing that the January 6 riot was the culmination of Trump's conduct over several months falsely claiming the election had been stolen. Then after the rioters attacked the Capitol in the deadly riot, Trump praised them, Raskin said.
"He told them to fight like hell, and they brought us hell that day," Raskin said. "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."
The House's Tuesday video showed how managers are seeking to force senators to grapple with the damage and destruction the rioters caused as they tried to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden's election win and endangered the lives of lawmakers and former Vice President Mike Pence. Raskin warned at the beginning of Wednesday's presentation that some of the video they planned to show Wednesday would be graphic, reports CNN.
The House managers will have 16 hours over the next two days to present their case to the Senate, in which House Democrats plan to argue that Trump is responsible for the insurrection by whipping up his supporters in the months before the election with fraudulent claims about the election, and then failing to respond to stop the attack as it was unfolding.
The House team does not think it will need the full 16 hours, the aides say. They expect to use most of their eight hours on Wednesday but may have a slightly shorter day on Thursday as they finish making their case.
While the managers' case is likely to hit home for senators who were forced to flee from the rioters on January 6, there nevertheless appears to be no path for Democrats to reach the two-thirds vote necessary to convict Trump and bar him from running for future office, reports CNN.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 56 to 44 that the trial was constitutional, meaning 44 Senate Republicans voted that the trial itself was unconstitutional. While one Republican, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, changed his vote as a result of the strong Democratic arguments on the constitutionality of the trial, other Republicans stayed firmly opposed even as they panned the meandering presentation made by Trump's legal team on Tuesday.
Still, House Democrats are urging Senate Republicans to solely consider the merits of the case and separate out their concerns about whether the trial is constitutional. Many GOP senators publicly and privately are signaling to CNN that they won't do that, the latest sign of the high hurdles Democrats face in getting to 67 votes to convict.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a member of Senate GOP leadership who voted that the trial proceedings are unconstitutional, said that his position on the process will weigh on his final vote on deciding whether to convict Trump.
"As I understand, we have one vote it's guilty or not guilty at the end," Cornyn told CNN. "So, it has to be a combination of those two factors."
GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said bluntly "no" he would not judge the merits of the case separately from whether the proceedings are constitutional, something the Senate affirmed in a bipartisan vote on Tuesday, reports CNN.
"No, I don't think that's the job of the Senate: To be trying remove a President who is not in office," Rubio said when asked if he would judge the case solely on the merits, also pushing back on the idea of barring Trump from ever running for office again. "It's not about Donald Trump -- it's about the future."
Trump's lawyers, Bruce Castor and 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, reports CNN.
After Tuesday's rambling presentation was criticized by Republicans -- and enraged the former president -- Trump's legal team is scrambling to collect and produce more videos to bolster their arguments, according to a person familiar with the discussions. The move to use more videotape -- and lean away from in-person arguments -- amounts to a tacit acknowledgment that the lawyers Trump has enlisted to defend him during his second impeachment trial are failing to inspire confidence.
Asked if Trump expressed his displeasure over, Castor said Wednesday, "Far from it," adding they were not planning changes to their legal strategy.
After Trump's team wraps up, the Senate will have up to four hours to ask written questions to the legal teams, and then the House managers could seek a vote on hearing from witnesses. But it's not clear yet they plan to do so, which could lead to a final vote on conviction occurring this weekend or possibly on Monday.