On the third day of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, the prosecution officially ended its argument with the thesis that the former president is a danger to democracy and could incite further violence if he is not convicted of the Capitol invasion and returns to the White House.
Outside the US Senate, Democratic MPs – who act as prosecutors for the case – used testimonies from invaders in Thursday’s session to show the crowd followed Trump’s direct orders in the attack which left five people dead on January 6. Without showing remorse, the accusers say, the former president can breathe new episodes of brutality if he can run for office again.
“I’m not afraid Donald Trump will show up again [à Casa Branca] four years from now, “said Democratic Representative Ted Lieu, one of nine prosecutors.” I’m afraid he’ll show up again and lose, because he can start over. “
Trump could lose his political rights if convicted, but for that to happen, 67 votes out of 100 senators are needed – a scenario now considered unlikely.
“This must be our wake-up call,” said Democrat MP Diana DeGette, also a member of the prosecution. “We must condemn him, because the threat is not over.”
The day after invisible videos of the invasion recorded by congressional security cameras were shown, the prosecution showed senators new images, audios and documents, this time focused on statements from invaders who said they were motivated. by Trump in the Capitol uprising.
“We have been invited here,” one of them shouted. “I obey my president,” corroborated the other.
In front of the images on television screens in the Senate plenary, MP DeGette concluded: “We know who lit the fuse […] They came because Trump said “.
Head of the prosecution, MP Jamie Raskin took on the role of making an emotional appeal to the senators who, in this case, are both jurors and witnesses to what happened on January 6.
He urged senators to use “common sense” and do “fair justice” so as not to create a terrible pattern of misconduct in the White House.
“If you don’t view this as a serious felony and misdemeanor today, you have set a terrible new standard for Presidential misconduct in the United States.”
According to Raskin, the former president has a model of incitement to violence that culminated in the invasion of Capitol Hill, but other examples could follow if he returns to power.
“My dear colleagues, is there a political leader in this room who thinks that if the Senate were ever allowed to return to the Oval Office, Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get what he wants? “Raskin asked. “Would you bet the lives of more police officers on this?” Would you bet your family’s safety on it? Would you bet the future of your democracy on it?
The Democratic strategy tries to prove that Trump has led in months the most brutal attack on American democracy since the United States Civil War and that he must be held responsible for the damage that goes beyond the physical cracks in the Congress building, the five dead and several injured.
The Senate is now split into 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, and there is no political will from 17 former supporters of the former president to condemn him at this time.
The base of the Republican Party is increasingly radicalized to the right, and the acronym senators fear losing this important slice of the electorate – Trump had 74 million votes against 81 million for Joe Biden.
Although they knew the difficulties in convincing the other side, the Democrats used 12 of the 16 hours they were allowed to lay the charge, in a comprehensive timeline that led Trump as the commander-in-chief of the attack.
During eight hours Wednesday (10) and four hours Thursday, they tried to appeal to the sense of patriotism of the Republicans. In addition to unpublished videos and audios of the invaders, they showed testimonies from people in the Trump party who voted for impeachment in the House and former secretaries who resigned after the invasion of Congress.
According to Democrats, the United States was embarrassed in front of the world.
On Wednesday again, most Republican senators seemed unmoved and, despite the dramatic narrative presented by the Democrats, said they did not see a strong enough connection between Trump and the Capitol invasion to punish the party leader.
Thursday’s session began at noon (2 p.m. Brasília) with the last part of the prosecution.
From this Friday, it is the turn of the defense of Trump, who also has a period of 16 hours to present his arguments, but intends to close the exhibition on the same day.
The verdict is expected to be delivered early next week.
Lawyers David Schoen, Bruce Castor, Michael van der Veen and William Brennan, who represent Trump, deny the former president is responsible for the attack or intends to interfere with the process of certifying Biden’s victory in progress at the Capitol in early January.
Lawyers say Trump’s speech – which called on his supporters to “fight like never before” – was “figurative” and is preserved by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which deals with freedom of the press.