Congresswoman Diana DeGette cited several news reports that quoted insurrectionists who argued they were carrying out the wishes of Donald Trump by storming the Capitol.
The impeachment manager noted that some insurrectionists even questioned why Capitol Police officers were trying to block them from entering the building, when they were following the instructions of the commander-in-chief.
A BuzzFeed News reporter confirmed that he heard this line of thinking from many insurrectionists on the day of the riot.
The opening prayer of Senate chaplain Barry Black seemed intended to remind senators of the great responsibility facing them.
Kicking off the third day of the impeachment trial, Black said in his prayer, “Almighty God, our shelter from the storms, give our Senate jurors discernment that will rescue our nation from ruin.”
Black added, “Remind them that the seeds they plant now will bring a harvest.”
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said the schedule for today’s proceedings would mirror yesterday’s.
Impeachment managers will have eight hours to present arguments, and the Senate will take a break every two to three hours, with a longer break for dinner around 6 pm ET.
Congresswoman Diana DeGette is now speaking for the first time as an impeachment manager in this Senate trial.
The Colorado Democrat is making the argument that the Capitol insurrectionists clearly believed they were taking orders directly from Donald Trump.
The Senate has convened, and the third day of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial is now officially underway.
Today, the House impeachment managers will finish their presentation on why Trump should be convicted of incitement of insurrection.
Senior aides to the managers said today’s proceedings will focus on the the former president’s “lack of remorse” about inciting the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
The managers are also expected to introduce more new footage from the riot, a day after they showed chilling footage demonstrating how close the insurrectionists got to lawmakers on that violent day.
One of Donald Trump’s lawyers, David Schoen, was asked whether he and his colleagues plan to use all 16 hours available to them to present their arguments.
“Hope not,” Schoen told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Trump’s legal team is scheduled to start presenting their arguments tomorrow. They could theoretically continue their presentation on Saturday, but it’s unclear whether they will do so.
If Trump’s team wraps up early and impeachment managers choose not to call any witnesses, the trial could theoretically conclude on Sunday or Monday.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi disparaged arguments from some of Donald Trump’s allies that the impeachment trial is unconstitutional because he has already left office.
The Democratic speaker noted that the House approved the article of impeachment when Trump was still in office. At that time, the Senate was out of session, and then-majority leader Mitch McConnell declined to hold an emergency session to begin the trial.
“We were ready. They said ‘no,’” Pelosi said. “It’s a little disingenuous.”
The Senate held a vote on Tuesday over whether the trial was constitutional, and senators voted 56-44 to reject the jurisdictional argument from Trump’s lawyers.
Shifting back to the coronavirus relief package, Nancy Pelosi was asked whether the House legislation would include the proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15.
“Yes, it will,” the Democratic speaker said.
Pelosi said the chamber was “very proud” of the minimum wage hike, which would result in a raise for millions of Americans, most of whom are women.
Progressive lawmakers have insisted that the relief package include a minimum wage increase, but some Democrats, including Joe Biden, have voiced skepticism that the proposal will meet the requirements for reconciliation.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged that this week has been “such a sad time for us,” as the Capitol Hill community has relived the trauma and violence of January 6 through the impeachment trial.
The Democratic speaker said the evidence presented by the impeachment managers demonstrated “the extraordinary valor of the Capitol Police”.
The speaker announced she planned to introduce a resolution to award the Capitol Police with a Congressional Gold Medal for their brave actions on that horrible day. The award is the highest honor that Congress can bestow.
“They are martyrs for our democracy, martyrs for our democracy, those who lost their lives,” Pelosi said.
The Capitol Police officer who died as a result of his injuries from the insurrection, Brian Sicknick, was honored with a ceremony at the Capitol last week. Two other Capitol Police officers have died by suicide since the insurrection.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi is now holding her weekly press conference, her first one since the impeachment trial started on Tuesday.
“Quite a week,” the Democratic speaker said at the start of the press conference.
Pelosi then pivoted to discussing the need for Congress to pass another coronavirus relief package.
The speaker reiterated her hope that the House will pass a relief package by the end of the month, ideally allowing Joe Biden to sign the legislation before expanded jobless benefits expire on March 14.
On the Guardian’s “Politics Weekly” podcast, Jonathan Freedland is joined by Professor Sarah Binder of the Brookings Institution and George Washington University to look at what has happened in the Senate impeachment trial so far, and what is most likely yet to come.
Joe Biden also told reporters that he spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping for two hours last night.
At the start of his meeting with senators about his infrastructure proposals, the US president recounted his call with the Chinese leader.
Biden noted that he “spent a lot of time” with Xi over his eight years as vice-president, and he warned against the dangers of China’s economy outpacing America’s.
“If we don’t get moving, they’re going to eat our lunch,” Biden said. “We just have to step up.”
Joe Biden is now meeting with senators in the Oval Office to discuss the president’s plans to bolster US infrastructure.
Reporters were taken into the Oval Office for the start of the meeting, and one of them asked Biden about the searing videos shown by impeachment managers yesterday.
The president acknowledged he didn’t watch any of the proceedings live yesterday but saw the videos when he watched news coverage of the trial this morning.
“My guess is some minds may have been changed, but I don’t know,” Biden said.
During yesterday’s proceedings, the impeachment managers played previously unseen videos from Capitol Hill security cameras that demonstrated just how close lawmakers came to danger.
One of the videos showed Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman directing Senator Mitt Romney away from the rioters and instructing him to take cover.
Repairs continue at the Capitol to address the destruction carried out by the insurrectionists who stormed the building on January 6.
An NBC News reporter shared a photo of Capitol employees replacing a window pane in a set of glass doors that the insurrectionists had broken.
The impeachment managers will conclude their prosecution of Donald Trump on Thursday, arguing that he is guilty of “the most grievous constitutional crime ever committed by the president” of the United States.
The managers on Thursday will focus on four areas, senior aides to the impeachment managers told reporters before the Senate convened. They will provide more evidence of Trump’s role in the lead up to and the aftermath of the attack; harm caused by the insurrectionists, not only including the physical injuries, as well as Trump’s “lack of remorse” and the relevant legal issues that apply to the case.
“The facts are clear. The case is strong. The evidence is overwhelming,” said an aide. “The Senate must convict and disqualify Donald Trump.”
The Democrats appeared confident in their presentation. Despite few indications that enough Republican senators will vote to convict Trump, an aide said they “remain convinced that that evidence has the power to change minds.”
Several of the aides worked on Trump’s first impeachment trial and said the tone and tenor of the senators, seated as jurors, is radically different.
“It’s really hard to think of a moment from the first trial where all 100 senators sat at attention and were as rapt and challenged by the evidence as we saw yesterday,” an aide said.
Asked to respond to criticism from Trump’s defense that the managers are simply “playing to the cameras” and appealing to senators’ still-raw emotions from the day, an aide replied that they wouldn’t “make any apologies for making a powerful visual presentation. That’s the job.”
Trump’s legal team is expected to launch its defense beginning on Friday. The team is not expected to use all 16 hours allotted to the parties under an agreement struck by the Senate leaders. Depending on whether the managers attempt to call witnesses, the trial could conclude as early as Sunday.
The swearing-in of Republican Claudia Tenney this morning means that the House is now made up of 221 Democrats and 211 Republicans, with three seats vacant.
Democrats had expected to pick up seats in the 2020 elections, but Republicans instead chipped away at the Democratic majority by flipping a dozen seats.
Democrats have now been left with the narrowest House majority margin in modern history, and Republicans need to flip just five more seats next year to take the majority. They have high hopes of doing so, given that the president’s party usually loses seats in midterm elections.
Politico has more details on Republicans’ strategy for flipping the House next year:
[The chair of House Republicans’ campaign arm] charted out his road map for the 2022 midterms, which includes a list of 47 Democratic seats to target and a messaging blueprint: Tag Democrats as jobs-killing socialists and stress the GOP’s commitment to reopening schools and protecting the gas and energy sector. …
But GOP leaders, while quietly confident that history is on their side, know there are still plenty of landmines ahead — especially with the potential for Jan. 6 to leave a lingering black mark on the party and the coronavirus still threatening to scramble the political terrain.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi administered the oath of office to Claudia Tenney this morning, three days after the New York Republican won her drawn-out House race.
Tenney was declared the winner of the race to represent New York’s 22nd congressional district on Monday, following months of legal challenges over the results.
The New York supreme court ruled earlier this week that the state was free to certify Tenney as the winner over Anthony Brindisi, a freshman Democratic congressman, by a margin of 109 votes.
“My one disappointment is that the court did not see fit to grant us a recount,” Brindisi said in his concession statement. “Sadly, we may never know how many legal voters were turned away at the polls or ballots not counted due to the ineptitude of the boards of election, especially in Oneida County.”
With Tenney seated, the House now has 432 members and three vacancies.
This is Joan Greve in Washington, taking over for Martin Belam.
The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump resumes today, with impeachment managers continuing their arguments for convicting the former president.
Yesterday, the impeachment managers presented previously unseen security footage from the Capitol insurrection, demonstrating just how close lawmakers came to danger.
One video showed Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman, who had already been hailed as a hero for directing rioters away from the Senate chamber, pointing Senator Mitt Romney out of harm’s way.
The footage was chilling and effective, and the managers may present more today. They have eight hours left to make their case to senators.
The trial will resume in a few hours, so stay tuned.
The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits inched down last week, consistent with a recent stalling in the labor market recovery.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits totalled a seasonally adjusted 793,000 for the week ended 6 February, compared to 812,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 757,000 applications for the latest week.
Claims remain above their 665,000 peak during the 2007-2009 Great Recession. They are, however, well below the record 6.867 million reported last March when the coronavirus pandemic hit the US.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged yesterday that the “improvement in labor market conditions stalled” in the past few months because of a resurgence in coronavirus infections, which weighed heavily on restaurants and other consumer-facing businesses.
The government reported last Friday that the economy created only 49,000 jobs in January after losing 227,000 in December.
Francine Prose has written for us today, arguing that the Capitol attack film was brutal and that’s why it must be watched:
When the film of the 6 January Capitol insurrection was shown to the US Senate on the first day of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, the TV station I watched ran a warning in the upper right-hand corner. Explicit video. After a few minutes, I began to think that explicit was an understatement, that we should have been warned that what we’d be seeing was brutal.
In the aftermath of the 6 January riot, I – like many Americans, I imagine –watched plenty of footage of the riot. It was horrifying, for obvious reasons, and also mysterious, because I found it hard to understand exactly what, in addition to Donald Trump’s urging and the fake claims of a stolen election, had unleashed such murderous rage in so many people.
But as the film that was shown at the impeachment trial makes clear, I – and many Americans – had seen a somewhat denatured version of the truth, a toned-down report on what happened that day.
Part of the difference between what we’d grown used to seeing and what was revealed in the trial video was simply a matter of length. The video at the hearing lasted 13 minutes, and though shots of the rioting were intercut with clips of Trump speaking and the Senate convening to certify the 2020 election, most of the film showed the mob swarming the Capitol steps, smashing windows and doors, surging through the halls and onto the floor of the Congress, chanting and demanding, “Where are they?” I realized that much of what I had seen was in fragments – a minute here, another few seconds there – without the sustained increasing impact the film gathered as it went on.
We had been spared the most graphic moments: the hockey sticks, the police officer caught in the door. I was amazed, not only by what I was seeing, but also because I’d never seen it, not all of it, before. I realize that a film this long would take up a most of an evening news broadcast. Perhaps more significantly, a screaming man being squeezed in a door is the polar opposite of clickbait, at least for most of us. If that footage had been available to mainstream television producers, you can imagine them calculating how fast and how many viewers would grab for the remote. Yet seeing these new horrors, I felt that we had been cheated, the way you do when someone has told you a half truth.