This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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This entire impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is seen as a clown show by many in the nation, and that includes some of the nation’s top senators.
On Friday a dozen Republican senators treated the trial with the scorn and condemnation that it deserved as they walked out of the hearings as lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin argued that years of rallies for the former president led to the riot that happened in Washington D.C. on January 6, Breitbart News reported.
“Inside the Senate chamber: Trump’s 2016 rivals Rubio, Cruz, and Graham watched intently as video documented Trump’s 2015-2020 remarks making light of or justifying political violence. Graham, Rubio, and Cruz then left and didn’t watch Lieu’s presentation from the floor,” National Review reporter John McCormack said on Twitter.
“At least a dozen Senate Republicans skipped at least part of Lieu’s presentation. Lieu warned of history repeating itself: ‘I’m afraid [Trump is] going to run again and lose,’” he said.
Raskin tried to claim that Trump’s speech on January 6 incited the Capitol riot because he had spent years encouraging supporters to commit acts of violence, or condoning past acts of violence, often using specific coded language to do so.
Specifically, Raskin claimed Trump had incited violence against public officials in the past. He tried, for example, to link Trump to the plot uncovered (by the Trump administration) to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last fall, though one of the alleged plotters was a Black Lives Matter supporter, and another plotter had an anarchist flag and hated police.
Raskin also claimed, falsely, that Trump had praised neo-Nazis who rioted in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 — a familiar lie known as the “very fine people” hoax.
In fact, Trump said the neo-Nazis should be “condemned totally.”
The argument by the lead House impeachment manager made some Republicans furious.
“Democratic impeachment managers veered off course at end. Had impressed Wednesday portraying how ugly, violent Capitol riot was. Fell short arguing that Trump was responsible. ‘Wednesday was more about inflaming emotions, not proving Trump directed,’ said one senator,” Washington Examiner reporter Byron York said on Twitter.
“On Thursday, managers moved into political realm and probably lost support. Attempted to link Capitol riot to 2016 Trump campaign rallies and controversies during Trump presidency. Raskin called it ‘Donald Trump’s continuing pattern and practice of inciting violence,’” he said.
“That turned off Republicans. They lived through those events and do not subscribe to Democratic/media characterization of them. So managers probably took a step backward on Thursday,” he reported.
“Trump defenders will point to personal agency of rioters. Yes, some facing charges say they acted only because Trump told them to. But Trump team will point to vast majority of people who attended Ellipse rally and did not go on to storm the Capitol,” York said.
“Those people heard the same message from Trump on Jan 6, and heard same speeches, read same tweets in weeks leading up to that, and yet did not ransack Capitol. Perhaps key to understanding the violence is to focus on the listener, not the speaker,” he said.