Proof Impeachment Livestack: Day 2

Refresh this page regularly to see new updates.

{Note: I’ll regularly update this page during the second day of Trump’s second impeachment trial before the Senate. Refresh your browser page to see new updates. Note that this page is organized in reverse chronological order, with the newest posts first. If you’d like to comment on this or any article on this website, click the link below to become a full Proof subscriber. A link to the Day 1 “livestack” can be found here.}



(7:45PM) The Senate is now in recess for the day after a disturbance caused by juror Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who made himself a witness in Trump’s impeachment trial by testifying that the House managers has misrepresented his past words. (Actually, his argument was that a newspaper had somehow misrepresented his words—but his anger, which was palpable, and which went well beyond any upset he has ever shown about the attack on the Capitol, was directed at Democrats.) Lee is a Trump sycophant who has never expressed any anger with Donald Trump about his actions on January 6, and has said the president deserves a “mulligan” for inciting an armed insurrection. By comparison, Lee was incensed at House managers for correctly citing a newspaper article about him. And that is the character of the Republican Party in 2021, America.


(7:21PM) America just saw a picture of an insurrectionist gouging a police officer’s eye out. I think I’m going to need a moment.


(7:17PM) Castro: “He [Trump] didn’t say a word about the National Guard the entire day. Think about that. The bloodiest attack on the Capitol since 1812 and the president couldn’t even be bothered to mention that help was on its way.” One possible reason? Pence called out the Guard, not Trump, and there is no evidence that Trump wanted the Guard called out.


(7:12PM) Castro: “Only Donald Trump could have stopped that attack.” And he wouldn’t do so.


(7:10PM) Damning tweet: Trump “thanks” the insurrectionists at 3:13PM on January 6 and tells them to “remain peaceful” at a time the television he was watching was clearly establishing how violent things had long since gotten at the U.S. Capitol.


(7:07PM) Castro is running through all the failed attempts to get Trump to “call it [the insurrection] off” between 2:15PM and 3:15PM.


(6:59PM) Castro is delivering his part well, but it’s interesting that they have Castro so focused on Pence—whose fate on January 6 has already been much discussed—rather than laying out the post-2:15PM (January 6) tick-tock as Castro started out by saying he would.


(6:54PM) Rep. Castro establishes that the insurrectionists were aware of what Trump was saying about Pence in mid-assault. We didn’t know this before. Some of them were amplifying Trump’s words on bullhorns.


(6:52PM) Rep. Castro is now speaking, focusing on Trump’s words and actions after 2:15PM on January 6.


(6:49PM) Can you imagine Donald Trump being allowed to be President of the United States again after these actions? Let’s be clear: so far 44 Republican senators want him to have a shot at the White House—again—in 2024.


(6:46PM) Trump’s call with Tuberville to advance his own personal political interests had to be cut short—so Tuberville could be evacuated from the Senate chamber in order to protect his life and the lives of other senators.

We should all sit with that for a moment.


(6:42PM) Cicilline outlines Trump’s reaction at the White House—“delight”—as has been discussed here at Proof. There are actually countless quotes, from many different White House sources, about how excited he was about what was happening. Cicilline goes on to say, and this is stunning, that Trump’s first call from the White House was to try to get Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) to contest more states. How stunning is that: the Capitol was under attack, and Trump was pushing his own political interests.


(6:39PM) A startling fact that Rep. Cicilline offers: even Ivanka Trump—Trump’s favorite person in the world after himself and his alter-ego “John Barron”—couldn’t get her father to speak out about the violence as it was unfolding immediately after his speech. Another stunning fact: Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy got in a screaming match over the phone with McCarthy, like Ivanka, also failing to get him to act. Trump simply would not do anything. Not for over an hour and a half, which was an eternity given what was happening at the Capitol.


(6:36PM) Rep. Cicilline is doing a side-by-side comparison of what Trump was doing and saying and what was happening at the Capitol. He shows that as the breach was ongoing, Trump published on Twitter a propaganda video of his speech at the Ellipse.


(6:34PM) I think there should be far more focus on how and why Trump came to lie to the mob about him going to the Capitol alongside the insurrectionists. If you click on the word “Proof” at the top of this page, you’ll see I’ve been publishing articles on this very subject.


(6:33PM) Cicilline notes that Trump synchronized his speech to events at the Capitol, ending his speech at the Ellipse within about 10 minutes of the joint session being gaveled in at the Capitol. I’ll note that if you watch the speech, it’s clear that Trump realizes he has gone over his time—that he was intended to (and wanted to) end about 10 minutes earlier.


(6:30PM) Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) is now outlining what Trump did after he fled to the White House on January 6. The answer is nothing—unless you count sending out inflammatory tweets and videos, which Cicilline is now recounting. Trump did not call out the Guard; was widely reported to be thrilled at the Capitol attack; never clearly condemned the attack while it was ongoing; and has shown no remorse for his actions since.


(6:26PM) The Black Lives Matter canard is so infuriating. 90%+ of Black Lives Matter protests were peaceful, and the <10% that were not saw scattered outbreaks of violence caused by a small minority of protesters, none of whom have been connected to the main Black Lives Matter organization but rather to anarchists of unknown affiliation. There is literally no connection whatsoever between millions of peaceful protestors seeking racial justice and an armed insurrection by far-right militants seeking to tear down American democracy in one fell swoop by storming the United States Capitol.


(6:22PM) Manu Raju of CNN: “A split is emerging among Republican leaders about how they’re reacting to what they saw.” Sen. Roy Blount (R-MO) told CNN this was just like what Black Lives Matter did in the summer of 2020. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) has become “increasingly alarmed” watching the House managers’ case, regarding Trump’s actions. I wrote previously that those assuming they know the final vote here are being premature. There may not be 67 votes to convict, but I don’t assume that yet.


(6:20PM) Abby Phillip of CNN puts it well: Trump put out a tweet attacking Pence as Pence was being “hunted” in the Capitol, then put out a video—thereafter—telling the insurrectionists that he “loved” them. It’s stunning that conviction is not already a near certainty in this case.


(6:18PM) Independent Rep. Paul Mitchell (I-MI), a former Republican, just put out this stunning tweet:


(6:16PM) The world is watching this. I don’t think we can appreciate the humiliation an acquittal would bring upon the United States. No one can understand the GOP’s recalcitrance on doing the morally right thing here. Trump and his team have no defense for any of the evidence that the House managers have presented. We already know this from their filings. There is no indication they can provide Republicans any real cover for making a cowardly, self-protecting vote for acquittal.


(6:14PM) Trump legal team (Bruce Castor): “I did not learn anything I didn’t already know.” As a former defense attorney, I’ll say that it’s troubling that Trump’s legal team can’t offer any more substantive response to the House managers’ case than this one.


(6:13PM) The trial should be restarting in about two minutes. The House managers will continue to present their case.


(6:11PM) I ask you to please read this and consider sharing it with others. Americans watching the impeachment trial must understand that there is still a real chance—if a long shot—to get justice for America over the January 6 Trumpist insurrection.


(6:08PM) I was in a meeting during Del. Plaskett’s and Rep. Swalwell’s presentations, but I’ve since caught up and watched them. Those presentations were both so well organized and presented. The graphics, the video, the organization. There is simply nothing that Trump’s legal team can do to rebut or erase the horror of that evidence. And Plaskett had already established that Team Trump knew this violence was coming.


(6:05PM) One thing is now clear, and every journalist should be saying it: any GOP senator who wants to can change their vote now. They can say—and all America would understand—that they were deeply affected by the House evidence.


(6:03PM) CNN reports that, per a White House advisor, Trump wanted a “show of force” on January 6. That much is now abundantly clear.


(6:01PM) CNN now reports that, up to the present moment, Trump has expressed no remorse whatsoever, to any party, publicly or privately, for his role in the events of January 6. Only a sociopath could so resolutely ignore his responsibility for so much death, blood, and mayhem.


(5:59PM) I’ll be resuming the livestack after the dinner break, which ends in about 15 minutes.


(3:45PM) Dean has finished her presentation. Schumer has called a recess until 4PM. I have a meeting at 4PM, so I will have to take about an hour break from this livestack.


(3:41PM) Trump told the crowd to walk down “Pennsylvania Avenue.” I mention this because that wasn’t the fastest way to the Capitol—not at all. But New York Times-published cell phone data shows just how many members of the January 6 mob went down Pennsylvania Avenue specifically because he had told them to. That map of mob movements is compelling. It shows everyone at Trump’s speech headed to the Capitol afterward.


(3:40PM) Dean wisely focuses on Trump telling the mob they were entitled to use “very different rules” in stopping the certification of Biden’s landslide 2020 election victory.


(3:36PM) Rep. Dean underscores that Trump used one word regarding nonviolence (“peacefully”) in 11,000 words and 75 minutes, as compared to using “fight” in some permutation at least twenty times. Dean shows how the mob responded in real time by shouting “Take the Capitol! Take the Capitol right now!” Any focus on Trump using the word “peacefully” a single time is simply preposterous as a matter of both fact and law. The unmistakable message of Trump’s January 6 was violence; as Rep. Dean says, Trump’s words were “not only words of aggression, they were words of insurrection.”


(3:33PM) I’m not going to unpack each sentence from Trump’s January 6 speech that Dean is highlighting, as Proof has already spilled literally tens of thousands of words unpacking that speech. See the 12:41PM entry, below, for links to those Proof articles.


(3:30PM) Dean has now arrived at Trump’s January 6 speech. It has been an open question what level of detail the managers will use in unpacking his speech, given that their pretrial filings focused on only one or two lines from his 75-minute address. I expect we will see a much, much more substantial treatment now. Which is as it should be, as that speech was filled with horrifying line after horrifying line. Again they miss a chance, though, to point out that Trump even lied about where his “Stop the Steal” tagline came from. It was coined by his adviser Roger Stone in 2016, as Trump well knew when he lied to the January 6 crowd about it.


(3:27PM) Dean runs through Trump’s dishonest and inciting tweets in the immediate run-up to January 6. She’s focusing on Trump’s particular lie about Pence’s supposed powers.


(3:24PM) I feel like Plaskett has upped her entire team’s game. Dean is energized and passionate. She highlights how Donald Trump told the mob on January 6th that they were entitled to use “different rules” in “fighting” the “stolen election.”


(3:22PM) Plaskett is done, now Rep. Dean is returning to speak again. People will be talking about Plaskett’s presentation for years to come, I believe. It may well become historic.


(3:18PM) “Congress itself is the target”, reported an FBI report prior to the attack. The goal, according to the report, was “war.” One planner said, “We get our president or we die.”


(3:15PM) Plaskett establishes that the entirety of the plan to storm the Capitol—down to the tactics used—was online prior to the attack on the Capitol, and on sites we know Team Trump was monitoring. I’m just trying to process this. This all went down just as Team Trump knew beforehand it was going to go down.


(3:13PM) Plaskett is establishing how foreseeable and indeed known it was, pre-January 6, that January 6, 2021 would be violent. Team Trump knew; they were monitoring the sites where it was being discussed. This is stunning evidence and everyone is going to be saying this at the end of the day today. This may well be the highlight of the whole trial.


(3:09PM) Plaskett shows reporting indicating that Trump’s team was aware of the plan to storm the Capitol by monitoring posts on websites like “thedonald.win”; plans were being posted about publicly. She is working from a sourced article in The Independent.


(3:07PM) Jaw-dropping. Plaskett shows how Trump’s team convinced Women for America First to violate their permit to turn their Ellipse-only event into a march on the Capitol that was not permitted. Wow.


(3:05PM) This presentation is incredible. Del. Plaskett is showing how Trump knowingly used organizers who had previously organized violent marches to schedule his January 6 event. He knew the sort of event he was organizing—he knew it would be violent and he intended that. Both Katrina Pierson and Women for America First fall into this category.


(3:02PM) Now Plaskett highlights a warlike tweet from Katrina Pierson, a top Trump adviser who helped schedule speakers for the January 6 speech at the Ellipse. Pierson, like many Trump advisers and Trump himself, used military language (“cavalry”) to refer to themselves. Trump called the December 12, 2020 insurrectionists “patriots.” This included the Proud Boys, who assaulted civilians and vandalized churches.


(3:00PM) Plaskett now focuses on the December 12 “Second Million MAGA March”, which ended in violence and which Trump supported via Twitter. The Proud Boys, a group Trump had publicly told to “stand by”, were at the center of the violence.


(2:58PM) Plaskett’s presentation is devastatingly compelling and harrowing. I can’t imagine any of the senators aren’t, at least internally, absolutely horrified. You’d have to be a sociopath not to be.


(2:54PM) Plaskett is talking about the infamous Texas vehicular assault in which a Trump convoy tried to run a Biden-Harris bus off the road. Trump’s response was a celebratory video on Twitter with the words, “I LOVE TEXAS!” This tweet was viewed 12.6 million times. The president later talked about the incident at a Michigan rally and bragged about it.


(2:51PM) Huge: the Proud Boys adopted Trump’s call to action for them as their official slogan after the presidential debate in fall 2020 in which Trump first announced it.


(2:49PM) I’m quoting so much here because these are the most significant claims ever leveled against an American president—by far. Plaskett begins the evidentiary portion of her presentation by focusing on how wildly dangerous the Proud Boys are, and how publicly that fact was known prior to the election.


(2:48PM) Plaskett: “The violence was not just foreseeable to President Trump—the violence was what he deliberately encouraged.” He spent months “cultivating groups of people who, following his command, engaged in real, dangerous violence.”


(2:44PM) Plaskett: “The truth and facts are overwhelming: that our president—the President of the United States—incited a mob to storm the Capitol to stop the certification of an election.” She calls it the “bloodiest attack on the Capitol since 1814.” She calls the violence “foreseeable” to Donald Trump. He “knew the people he was inciting, saw the violence they were capable of, and had a pattern and practice of encouraging that violence and never, ever condemning it. And this violent attack was not planned in secret….they [January 6 insurrectionists] were following his orders.”


(2:42PM) The first delegate (i.e., non-representative) ever to appear on a team of House impeachment managers is speaking now: Del. Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands.


(2:39PM) Lieu focuses on how Trump tried to convince Pence to violate the law both directly and through intermediaries. He also made statements at public rallies that he knew would rile up his base against Pence. That stoked anger resulted in the January 6 mob wanting to kill Pence and chanting on camera that present desire and intent.


(2:35PM) Lieu shows that after Barr and Barr’s (acting) replacement, Jeffrey Rosen, refused to pursue Trump’s meritless claims, Trump turned to Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ lawyer he was going to put in Rosen’s place until White House counsel Pat Cipollone convinced him not to do so. But it was close. So then Trump turned to Vice President Mike Pence as his last hope.


(2:33PM) Lieu establishes that the White House wanted DOJ to find fraud when, in then-Attorney General Bill Barr’s view, there was none. Lieu emphasizes that Barr told Trump, to his face, that Trump’s theories about the election were “bullshit.” Because Barr said this after an investigation, Trump knew or should have known he needed to stop making his false claims. This is so important to the “criminal intent” question.


(2:30PM) Lieu is focusing now on Trump’s attacks on members of Congress—including senators sitting as jurors right now. Quite a powerful moment. The implication is that Trump put a target for the mob on what he called the “surrender caucus” within the Congressional GOP. Lieu says Trump was threatening Congress and, as importantly, warning members of Congress that there would be consequences to their actions. “He was coming for all of us”, Lieu says, “just as the mob did, at his direction.” Powerful.


(2:29PM): Rep. Lieu: “How did we get here [the events of January 6]? President Donald Trump ran out of non-violent options to hold onto power.”


(2:27PM) Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) is now presenting, telling his own backstory and explaining that he will focus on Trump’s actions in the few weeks before January 6.


(2:25PM) No president in American history has ever been hoisted on his own petard the way Trump is being hoisted right now. His own words—almost exclusively—are being used to convict him.


(2:23PM) The managers are really starting to focus on the criminal intent issue I focused on below. They are focusing squarely on Trump’s lies about the things he did, which is critical, as that’s what establishes his mental state in inciting insurrection. He was not, as he said, trying to protect election integrity. He was not being honest in public about his private actions.


(2:21PM) The video played by Dean of Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling is especially powerful, because it shows that Trump was warned that he was inciting violent. He knew.


(2:17PM) Dean now focuses on Trump’s many attacks on Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger. The managers have to be careful about Trump’s contacts with Arizona officials—which were worst of all—because the witnesses to those include Ali Alexander, Rep. Paul Gosar, and Rep. Andy Biggs. It opens up a giant can of worms in terms of calling witnesses, which at this point it seems House managers would prefer not to do (and the White House definitely would prefer not to go down this route).


(2:14PM) We are now getting a deep dive into Trump’s secret lobbying of state GOP officials to try to get them to “defy the voters in their state and instead award votes to Trump.” She starts with Michigan, and Trump’s actions there, and then moves on to her own state, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


(2:13PM) Rep. Dean: “He [Trump] [wanted to] steal the [2020] election for himself.”


(2:11PM) Essentially, what the House managers are showing is that Trump knew or should have known that his claims of a stolen election were false. First, because his attorneys didn’t actually claim fraud when they went to court, and second, because Trump’s legal team consistently lost on the subjects they did argue—including when they were in front of Trump’s judicial appointees.


(2:10PM) Dean is going through all Trump’s post-election lawsuit losses: 61 of 62 cases.


(2:07PM) The trial has restarted. Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) and Ted Lieu (D-CA) will focus on The Provocation, the first part of the House managers’ tripartite case. Rep. Dean’s topics will be those I laid out below (see the 12:39PM time stamp).


(1:46PM) The Senate is now in recess for a break. Jake Tapper of CNN notes that the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have agreed not to have cameras in the Senate chamber, so that Americans can’t see how unseriously some GOP senators are taking their oaths as jurors.


(1:44PM) BREAKING NEWS: Abby Phillip of CNN reports that some GOP senators are melodramatically “not listening” the House managers’ case inside the Senate chamber. It appears that this camp largely includes Trump’s nominal co-conspirators: Cruz, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).


(1:40PM) Very telling—now Swalwell underscores that what Trump did was “different” from what any senator did. That’s a key tactic of the prosecution: letting GOP senators off the hook a bit to say that they don’t have anything like the culpability Trump has. This is accurate, but of course some Democratic partisans feel very differently. But the House managers are just correct as a matter of fact and law, no matter how angry many of us are at certain GOP senators, like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO).


(1:38PM) The one minor fear I have is that Trump’s defense will be, “But he believed what he was saying! He was being earnest! It’s protected speech!” In fact, we have ample evidence that Trump did not believe what he was saying, and his intent—his criminal intent—was to steal an election he knew he hadn’t won. The managers should underscore all the evidence that Trump knew he lost and did all that he did, anyway.


(1:32PM) I follow this stuff closely, and even I didn’t realize Trump pushed the January 6 speech as hard as he did on Twitter. Swalwell shows tweet after tweet after tweet.


(1:31PM) Swalwell is reading Trump’s tweets attacking Mitch McConnell off a large television screen—with McConnell right in front of him. What a moment that was.


(1:29PM) Damning evidence, now, of Trump ran ads running up to January 5 about the stolen election, confirming his plan to build up momentum and excitement for a day that was actually immaterial to the question of who won the 2020 election: January 6.


(1:27PM) I’m starting to think I was wrong to criticize Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for letting the trial start with a jurisdictional argument. With that vote over, America—and the Senate—is now forced for days and days to focus on the evidence. It will seem bizarre, now, if senators cast their final vote based on a claim about jurisdiction they publicly lost a long time ago. Schumer is boxing them in.


(1:24PM) America should be watching all of this realizing—as is precisely correct—that Donald Trump has no defense to any of this hard evidence. None whatsoever.


(1:23PM) Very effective video of a protest outside the Michigan Secretary of State’s house shortly after Trump complained about the vote-casting and vote-counting in Michigan. These are the sorts of seemingly causal links they will want to focus on. Swalwell adds, “And if he [Trump] wanted to stop it [the unrest], he could stop it.”


(1:18PM) The main way that the House managers are avoiding witnesses is by focusing on Trump’s words. A defense attorney would say that even if these words were terrible, how do we know they had an effect? But to draw that causal link could well require witnesses, so the House managers must focus on the left shoe, and not the other shoe dropping. Or, rather, they shoe a left shoe at one location and a right shoe at a second one without showing (straining a metaphor here) how their shoelaces are tied together.


(1:15PM) It’s clear that the House managers want to avoid any evidence that could lead to a call for witnesses—which is why they’re skipping over all the December 2020 violence and incitement connected to the Trump-affiliated (Stone, Steve Bannon) “Stop the Steal” movement. We must understand that this is the effect of Biden saying publicly that this impeachment trial is not his focus, and the general sense among Democrats that the White House wants this trial to be short. It means that the managers have to do something they would normally never do: leave out any evidence that could lead to witnesses being called. It is a tactical decision that is only being made to accommodate the White House, and I do admit that this is disappointing to watch amidst what is otherwise a tremendous presentation by these House managers.


(1:13PM) Castro shows that, amidst Trump’s many tweets and speeches falsely alleging fraud, violence began—in early November. He shows video.


(1:12PM) Castro is underlining something many senators might not be fully aware of: Trump supporters started fighting, and in-person, to stop the counting of ballots in mid-election. That’s how quickly Trump’s words about a stolen election had an impact.


(1:09PM) The New York Times has reported that Trump knew prior to election night that Biden votes would come in late. I could wish the managers highlighted this, to underscore Trump’s mental state on election night: he was telling his supporters (the election is being stolen) things he did not believe. His criminal intent is critical here.


(1:07PM) Castro is now focusing on election day and election night—how Trump squealed fraud simply because Biden’s votes were counted. Late on election night, mail-in ballots started to be counted, and they went overwhelmingly for Biden in many jurisdictions. Castro shows how Trump declared the election stolen in mid-election—the middle of the night on election night—and then falsely declared that he had won, still on election night.


](1:04PM) Castro is showing that Trump voters decided the 2020 vote was rigged before the election—based on Trump’s words. Before the election. Trump tried to create a situation in which none of his voters would accept Joe Biden as a legitimate POTUS.


(1:02PM) It really is remarkable to see, all in one place, how well in advance of November Trump’s plot to delegitimize the 2020 election began. It started in mid-summer—the very first days of the general election. The very first days.


(1:01PM) Rep. Castro is running through the full timeline of Trump’s pre-election statements forecasting his refusal to accept the election results, starting with his refusal in the summer of 2020 to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.


(12:59PM) Castro: “The attack was foreseeable and preventable.”


(12:58PM) Neguse has concluded. Now Rep. Raskin returns to introduce Reps. Joaquin Castro and Eric Swalwell, who will focus on events preceding the attack on the Capitol. Neguse did a fantastic job and is, as I said yesterday, a rising Democratic star from a recently “purple” (if now increasingly “blue”) state: Colorado.


(12:52PM) Neguse says these are some parts of The Harm (my summary of his words):

  1. Trauma to Elected Officials, Their Staff, and Their Families

  2. Injuries and Trauma to Capitol Police

  3. Officers and Insurrectionists Killed

  4. Damage to Our Democratic Institutions

  5. Damage to Our National Security

  6. Damage to Our Standing in the World

  7. Post-Insurrection Revelations That Insurrectionists Planned to Harm Elected Officials, Particularly Pence and Pelosi (i.e., It Easily Could Have Been Worse)


(12:49PM) Neguse says these are some parts of The Attack (my summary of his words):

  1. How Insurrectionists’ Actions Mirrored Trump’s Pre-Insurrection Intentions

  2. Trump’s Refusal to Call Out the National Guard

  3. Claims From Insurrectionists That They Were Following Trump’s Direction

  4. Trump’s Further Incitement of the Mob During the Attack

  5. Trump’s Encouragement and Embrace of the Insurrection at Its Tail End


(12:45PM) Neguse plays an audio clip of former Trump chief of staff John Kelly noting that Trump knew what he was doing when he tweeted the things he did before January 6. Kelly said what happened on January 6 was therefore “no surprise.”


(12:43PM) Neguse played Trump saying that the crowd came up with the phrase “Stop the Steal.” I could wish Neguse had pointed out that top Trump adviser and longtime friend Roger Stone actually coined the phrase in 2016 (this is universally conceded; Stone is quite proud of it).


(12:41PM) Neguse is now unpacking Trump’s January 6 speech. This work has previously happened at Proof in three articles (the first is free): Part I; Part II; Part III.


(12:39PM) Now Rep. Neguse further breaks down the prosecution’s presentation:

  1. The Big Lie: The Election Was Stolen

    • Trump statements before the election saying a loss meant fraud

    • Trump statements after the election saying fraud happened

  2. Stop the Steal

    • Secretive DOJ actions

    • Court cases whose results he refused to accept

    • Illicit calls to state elections officials

    • Backroom persuasion of GOP colleagues

    • Advertising of a mass action on January 6

  3. Fight Like Hell to Stop the Steal

    • Use of violent rhetoric

    • Instructions to the mob regarding when, where, and how to “fight like hell”


(12:33PM) Neguse says that these were the three parts of The Provocation:

  1. The Big Lie: The Election Was Stolen

  2. Stop the Steal

  3. Fight Like Hell to Stop the Steal


(12:29PM) Neguse says the prosecution will have three parts, with respect to Trump’s incitement:

  1. The Provocation

  2. The Attack

  3. The Harm


(12:27PM) Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) is now speaking, presenting the first evidentiary block in the prosecution’s case-in-chief (Raskin’s presentation was more in the nature of an opening statement, though it did include some significant hard evidence, too).


(12:24PM) I’ll note that in regular—actual—trials, attorneys don’t read from notes this much, and indeed hardly ever. I mention this just to say that this trial is not only a political trial but also, as to its lawyering, more a matter of writing than speaking, because these lawyers are mostly just reading from what they’ve already written. Now, having said this, to be very clear, delivery still matters here. A lot. Raskin does a much better job of reading from his prepared remarks than Schoen does, in part because of his intonation and in part because of his body language. But he also—and critically—has much better-organized notes to read from.


(12:20PM) Raskin is now attacking Trump’s “man on the street” defense: he was just a guy standing outside expressing a constitutionally protected political opinion. Raskin is quoting the most well-known First Amendment attorneys in the country, from both the left and right, including Floyd Abrams and my old Harvard Law professor Charles FriedRonald Reagan’s solicitor general—for the premise that Donald Trump’s First Amendment defense is nonsense. Incitement is never protected speech. Every lawyer (and most Americans) know this.


(12:17PM) Those of you who have read my Twitter feed and Proof will already be familiar with nearly all of the of the evidence Raskin is presenting. But seeing it all in one place over such a short span of time is truly startling. Very compelling evidence. Raskin is issuing a warning that parents and teachers should be cautious about which parts of the managers’ presentation younger children will be allowed to watch. He knows—and we know—that some very upsetting video footage is ahead of all of us.


(12:14PM) Raskin is going through Trump’s December and January tweets and his post-breach videos. Every single word Trump utters is damning. Raskin repeatedly calls Trump the “inciter-in-chief.”


(12:13PM) It’s rare that you have a case where you can use so many of the defendant’s own words against him. It really is something to watch, as a former criminal defense attorney.


(12:11PM) Raskin: “[Trump] was singularly responsible for inciting this assault [on the Capitol].” Raskin is going through Trump’s tweets, showing how he advertised and pushed forward the cause of January 6 being a great fight—and started doing so, even obsessively, on December 12, 2020.


(12:09PM) In an opening statement, as I know from my experience as a trial lawyer giving many of them, you present your theory of the case and you outline what the evidence you will present will show. That’s exactly what Rep. Raskin is doing now.


(12:07PM) Raskin: “This was the greatest betrayal of the presidential Oath in the history of the United States.” This is indisputable. No president has ever faced an allegation this significant.


(12:05PM) Raskin is attacking Trump’s “innocent bystander” defense, and the idea that Trump responded appropriately to the insurrection. Raskin is saying that the jurisdictional issue is “gone”, and now the Senate—all senators—must consider the trial “on the facts.” He is legally correct. The Republican senators who lost the vote on the jurisdiction question should not be able to vote for acquittal on that basis now (but some will, anyway).


(12:03PM) Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) is now beginning the prosecution’s case-in-chief.


(12:01PM) We’re getting a preview of Trump’s defense today, and it’s incredible how Trump really is running through every single defense I wrote about here at Proof many days ago. Apparently a new point of emphasis will be the lie—and it is a lie—that Trump responded quickly and appropriately to the insurrection, and was horrified by it. I have linked to countless major-media reports here at Proof establishing that Trump repeatedly refused to call out the National Guard, and was positively giddy as he watched the Capitol be overrun from the White House on January.


(11:57AM) Because David Schoen will be observing the Sabbath and not at the trial for 24 hours, Trump now must choose between having his “first chair” attorney be Bruce Castor, whose performance yesterday caused Trump to be (per the New York Times) “an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10” in terms of anger and his newly hired third lawyer, Michael van der Veen. The problem? Van der Veen has in the past called Trump a “crook” and sued him just last summer over the mail-in ballots issue. Incredible that a former president has only these options before him.


(11:55AM) BREAKING: David Schoen has been made Trump’s lead lawyer after Bruce Castor’s terrible performance yesterday. It appears that Castor was effectively the “first chair” and Schoen the “second chair” yesterday, and now that has been reversed.


(11:50AM) While (with respect to the update below this one) McConnell has said he won’t “whip” his caucus on the result of this trial, it’s hard to believe he doesn’t command the loyalty of 11 of the 33 “unknown vote” Republicans. And remember that his wife Elaine Chao resigned from the Trump administration in protest of Trump’s role in the insurrection. So if the managers do an amazing job and Trump’s attorneys continue to flail, isn’t it possible that McConnell can command a block of just 11 Republican senators and lead America to an end of Trump in U.S. politics? It’s quite a lot to hope for—and no one should ever put any faith in Mitch McConnell—but we must concede that it is not an impossibility.


(11:44AM) Eleven Senate Republicans voted against even accepting the rules for this trial. Those Republicans can be regarded as a sort of “Insurrection Caucus,” and there is clearly no chance of getting a vote to convict from them. So the current breakdown of the Senate looks like this:

  • 50 Democrats (likely to vote to convict)

  • 6 “Open” Republicans (likely to vote to convict but not a certainty)

  • 33 “Unknown” Republicans (stance on acquittal or conviction unclear)*

  • 11 Insurrection Caucus Republicans (certain to vote to acquit)

*The House managers need 11 of the 33 “unknowns” to vote with them. The odds of this increased when Mitch McConnell announced, last night, that a vote to stop the trial on Day 1 would not preclude a vote to convict at the end of the trial, and that all GOP senators have been freed to vote their conscience (meaning they will not be pressured to vote a certain way).


(11:39AM) The schedule for today: the House managers have 16 hours allotted for their case over two days, which means we might expect them to use eight of those hours today. That said, we don’t know yet if they plan on a 16-hour presentation, so they could be planning something less (say 12 hours) in which case they may run for more like six hours today rather than eight. The trial is scheduled to restart at noon today.


(11:35AM) A line of thinking and argument I’m hearing a lot on television, which makes me wonder if it’s being uttered a lot in the Senate cloakroom, is, “Can anyone argue the fact that, ‘but for’ Donald Trump, this insurrection wouldn’t have happened?” It’s a compelling perspective, as no one doubts that if Trump had accepted his November loss there would have been no rallies at all in DC on January 6—and certainly no breach of the Capitol. It’s a simple way of thinking about things that explains why House managers are likely to spend some time today focusing attention on the things Trump said in the 60 days after the election. Why does that matter in an incitement case? Because of that “but for” argument—“this wouldn’t have happened if Trump hadn’t done what we did between November 3, 2020 and January 6, 2021.”


(11:34AM) From MSNBC:


(11:30AM) Per CNN reporting, Mitch McConnell is “leaving the door open” to a vote to convict.


(11:29AM) All the breaking news today, from at least three major media outlets, underscores that the House managers believe they have evidence America has not yet seen and are going to show it. “We have the goods, and we will bring the goods”, says an aide to the managers.


(11:27AM) Last night I published articles on Proof about the long but not impossible odds of a conviction in this trial and the biggest mystery remaining in the Insurrection Day timeline (among, candidly, quite a few such mysteries). I hope you’ll consider checking out those articles.


(11:23AM) Late last night, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader declared the final Senate impeachment trial vote a “vote of conscience” for his caucus, meaning that he will not “whip” or pressure members on how to vote. He also confirmed that GOP senators’ vote to stop the trial will not necessarily preclude them from voting to convict Trump. This changes the complexion of the trial significantly—it means we must ignore Day 1’s 56-44 vote, because it simply doesn’t indicate how the final vote may go here.