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Day Three Highlights

The Wall Street Journal reports Democrats Wrap Up, Warning Trump Is Still a Risk

  • Democrats focused on the rioters’ own statements to as evidence that the attack was carried out at Mr. Trump’s direction. They also emphasized Mr. Trump’s lack of remorse after the attack and sought to establish a pattern of Mr. Trump praising violence by his followers.
  • In a move of questionable legal merit, a group of Republican senators met privately with Donald Trump's legal team.
  • Sen. Bill Cassidy (R., La.) took copious notes listening intently to the House managers' arguments. He may vote to convict.
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) said she hoped Mr. Trump's defense would be as detailed as what Democrats had put forward.
  • Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager cited the 1969 landmark Supreme Court case, Brandenburg v. Ohio. In that ruling, the high court found that the government could not prohibit free speech and free press "except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." 
  • "Absolutely nobody in America would be protected by the first amendment if they did the things that Donald Trump did," Mr. Raskin said. "President Trump is not even close to the proverbial citizen who falsely shouted fire in a crowded theater," he said. "He is like the now-proverbial municipal fire chief who incites a mob to go set the theater on fire, and not only refuses to put out the fire, but encourages the mob to keep going as the blaze spreads."
  • “I think they were very effective. They had a strong, strong presentation put together in a way that I think makes it pretty compelling,” Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.) said on Wednesday.
  • Rep. Diana DeGette (D., Colo.) played a clip of Mr. Trump speaking on Jan. 7 after the attack, when he said “to all of my wonderful supporters, I know you are disappointed. But I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning.” “Impeachment is not to punish but to prevent,” she said. “We are not here to punish Donald Trump. We are here to prevent the seeds of hatred that he planted from bearing any fruit.”
  • Fading attention. Sen. Rick Scott (R., Fla.) was writing on a blank map of Asia—he had studied what appeared to be a map of Southeast Asia during yesterday’s proceedings as well.
  • In Closing, Raskin Quotes Thomas Paine: 'Tyranny, Like Hell, Is Not Easily Conquered'
  • Mr. Raskin also reminded senators that even if they had voted against proceeding with the trial on constitutional grounds earlier in the week, the majority of the Senate had ruled the trial constitutional, so they should deliver a verdict based on the merits of the case, and on their assessment of Mr. Trump's conduct.

Many Riot Defendants Say They Were Motivated by Trump

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  • Many of the more than 200 defendants who have been charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6 riot have responded by saying they were motivated to go to the Capitol by former President Donald Trump.
  • A woman who faces conspiracy and other charges for allegedly planning the attack in advance, was “awaiting direction from President Trump,” and at one point in the days before Jan. 6, told an associate they planned to go to Washington because “Trump wants all able bodied Patriots to come,” adding that if “Trump activates the Insurrection Act, I’d hate to miss it.”
  • Mr. Raskin also showed video of Mr. Trump joking at a rally after extremists plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, prompting his followers to chant, “Lock her up!”
  • House manager Diana DeGette, a congresswoman from Colorado, opened the second day of arguments at Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial with a presentation focused on the perspectives of the rioters themselves. One man shown on a video stream said: “Our president wants us here. We wait and take orders from our president.”
  • Ms. DeGette played a video clip that showed that when rioters first got in the building, the mob screamed at officers that they were listening to Mr. Trump, so the police should let them in. “Let’s call Trump. Yes, dude, let’s tell Trump what’s up. ...He’ll be happy. ...We’re fighting for Trump!” a rioter said in another video played by Ms. Degette.
  • “Does he not realize President Trump called us to seize the place?” a woman at the Capitol said in a TV interview later that day.
  • One woman said that she felt no shame for her actions on Jan. 6 because “I was doing what he asked me to do.”

Defense on Friday

Trump's legal defense team goes to bat on Friday. 

Most expect the defense will take only a day. There could be a vote as early as tomorrow. If not, then next week.