House Democrats completed their case to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol Building break in on Thursday, Feb. 11. Although managers finished their presentation more than three hours ahead of schedule, four more hours of Senate time was invested in rehashing material that has already been publicly available and repeated in big media for weeks.
The focus of Dems’ second day of evidence was once again on tweets, video mashups, and headlines and snippets from mainstream media articles illustrating the extreme actions and thinking of many of the individuals who participated in the violence. Today’s argument spun in a slightly different direction from Day Two, as the prosecution argued perpetrators both thought they were either following Trump’s orders or doing what their President had wanted and asked, and were racist, white nationalists.
Conflating masses of peaceful protestors with criminals
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) repeated the implication that the estimated half-million people who protested the election they regarded as unjust and illegitimate on Jan. 6, were equivalent to the several hundred who committed felonies.
“Even after the attack, the insurrectionists made clear to law enforcement that they were just following President Trump’s orders. They didn’t shy away from their crimes because they thought they were following orders from the Commander-in-Chief, so they would not be punished,” said DeGette.
The Colorado Democrat showed video mashups of one or two people in a crowd of thousands shouting “Invade the Capitol Building!”, quoted a Parler post by a netizen saying “Time to fight. Civil war is upon us,” and a random person cited by New York Times saying “We wait and take orders from our President,” as if this subset spoke on behalf of all protest attendees that day.
Trump vilified as scourge of America
Lead Impeachment Manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) worked to paint a tapestry of Trump’s entire tenure being about fostering domestic terrorism. “On President Trump’s watch ‘white supremacists’ and extremist groups have spread like wildfire across the land,” he said. “His own Department of Homeland Security called ‘homegrown terrorism’ the number one threat facing Americans today.”
Raskin’s presentation mashup most notably featured footage of a 2017 “Unite the Right” rally, where “hundreds of white nationalists, alt-righters, and neo-Nazis traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia” resulting in two police officers and one protestor being killed, according to Vice, who covered the event and provided footage.
The footage was included because Trump said in a press conference in New York the next day, “But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.”
But what the selective quotations by Democrats failed to mention was that, during the press conference when Trump was first asked about the event, the President pointed out he had “watched [footage] very closely, much more closely than you people watched it. And you had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that. But I’ll say it right now.” and “So, you know, as far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day.”
Raskin also blamed Trump for an event in Michigan on April 30, 2020 where protestors targeting Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s extended COVID-19 lockdown measures entered the State Capitol, saying the event was “effectively a state-level dress rehearsal for the siege of the U.S. Capitol that Trump incited on Jan. 6.”
Military expenditures blamed on Trump
Raskin’s tenuous argument relied on a tweet by President Trump in response the next day, “The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.”
The practice of pinning spurious matters on Trump as if they were tails on a donkey at a children’s party continued as Rep. DeGette blamed the since de-platformed and social media-muzzled former President for the apparently almost half billion dollars the Biden transition team and administration has willingly expended on having the National Guard turn D.C. into a militarized zone from Jan. 6 “through mid-March.”
“Look at these photos. This is what Donald Trump has done to America. This massive deployment of law enforcement has cost the taxpayers dearly,” she said.
Insert plug for concept of institutional racism
Meanwhile, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) focused on the janitorial staff and the colour of their skin when he presented an article from Revolt titled “Black Capitol Custodial Staff Speak Out After Cleaning Up After White Supremacist Rioters”
Cicilline, apparently forgetting the story his team had just spent nine hours framing: ‘Capitol insurgents are Trump’s zealous militia acting at his command to overturn an election for him against his enemies in Joe Biden and the Democrat Party’, instead began to paint the entire event as if a group of white-skinned insurrectionists broke in for the express purpose of harassing coloured Capitol Building staff, “For many of the black and brown staff, the trauma was made worse by the many painful symbols of hate that were on full display that day. Insurrectionists waived Confederate flags and hurled the most disgusting racial slurs at Capitol workers.”
“Then after all that, these same workers, many of them people of colour were forced to clean up the mess left by mobs of white nationalists.”
According to Cicilline, some janitorial staff had to clean up feces that had been smeared on a wall, blood of a rioter who had died, and broken glass. Cicciline’s remarks: “I felt bad.”
In the end, the Rhode Island Representative found room to celebrate. After all, big media lauded Biden’s inauguration as a victory for Democracy, “Newspapers across America on January 21, the day after the inauguration proclaimed: ‘Democracy has Prevailed’.”
“President Biden said that in his inauguration speech,” said Cicilline.
Pathetic jab at CCP
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) argued that Jan. 6 affected national security and the international standing of the United States because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its propaganda organs used the event to mock America in response.
Casto, apparently completely oblivious to how CCP officials and their propaganda outlets operate with complete disregard for truth, facts, and impartiality, even went so far as to cite a Jan. 7 article by Fortune “Chinese State Media is Already Using Capitol Riots in its Anti-U.S. Narrative” where the CCP’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, Hua Chunying, claimed America had no business talking about the Hong Kong democracy protests last year.
Castro doubled down with a tweet from Party mouthpiece Global Times as part of his presentation, “@SpeakerPelosi once referred to the Hong Kong riots as a ‘beautiful sight to behold’ — it remains yet to be seen whether she will say the same about the recent developments in Capitol Hill.”
“President Trump gave the Chinese government an opening to create a false equivalency between Hong Kongers protesting for Democracy and violent insurrectionists trying to overthrow it,” said Castro.
Preemptive attack on defense as ‘legally frivolous’
Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) sought to close the House’s case by preemptively attacking the President’s defense, which will be presented to the Senate on Friday. Neguse cited the naked opinions of several law scholars, who wrote letters but are not participants or authorities in the trial, calling Trump’s argument that he was exercising his First Amendment rights, “legally frivolous.”
“He was just ‘some guy’ at a rally expressing unpopular opinions. They would have you believe that this whole Impeachment is because he said things that one may disagree with. Really?”
“President Trump wasn’t just some guy with political opinions who showed up at a rally on January 6th and delivered controversial remarks. He was the President of the United States, and he had spent months, months using the unique power of that office of his bully pulpit to spread that ‘Big Lie’ that the election had been stolen to convince his followers to stop the steal, to assemble them just blocks away from here on January 6th at the very moment that we were meeting to count the Electoral College votes, where he knew where it had been widely reported that they were primed and eager and ready for violence at his signal,” Neguse proclaimed ostentatiously.
“And then standing in the middle of that explosive situation, in that powder keg that he had created over the course of months, before a crowd filled with people that were poised with violence at his signal, he struck a match and he aimed it straight at this building, at us.”
Trump’s defense team will present their case Friday, Feb. 12 at noon EST. The President’s lawyers have said they expect to complete their arguments in a single day and hope to complete the trial in full by Sunday.