Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said on Wednesday that she couldn’t imagine that former President Trump would be elected again after voters see more exclusive unseen footage showing more details of how rioters breached the Capitol and lawmakers fearfully evacuating the chambers.
“Frankly, I don’t see how, after the American public sees the whole story laid out here, not just one snippet on this day and another on that but this whole scenario. I don’t see how Donald Trump could be reelected to the presidency again. I just don’t see that,” Murkowski told reporters, saying seeing the unreleased footage left her “angry,” “disturbed,” and “sad.”
It is unclear whether Trump would mull a bid to regain the presidency, but some of the former president’s allies have suggested that a 2024 run could be on the cards. However, if Trump is convicted in the impeachment trial, which is highly unlikely, only a simple majority vote on a subsequent resolution would bar he ever again holding public office.
On Wednesday, House impeachment managers began showing Senators who are serving as juries unreleased security footage of lawmakers evacuating the Capitol as the rioters were breaching into the building and began marching their way up to where both the House and Senate chambers are located. In one footage, it was literally a close call for Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) as the heroic Police officer Eugene Goodman who diverted the heavy mob of insurrectionists away from the Senate chamber, warning the Utah Senator just moments before to turn around and run for safety. Other footages showed former Vice President Mike Pence along with Second Lady Karen Pence and one of their daughter evacuating the Senate chambers.
The House managers have 16 hours in total, divided into two days — Wednesday and Thursday to make their case on why Trump should be impeached despite he is no longer in office. Using the footage as an emotional plea, Democrats are seeking to pull on the heartstring of at least 17 Senate Republicans to join the 50 Senate Democrats in convicting Trump, a task highly unlikely to ever succeed as many GOP Senators believe the trial sets a dangerous precedent.
The impeachment managers are attempting to bank on how the videos montaging are motivating their colleagues to make an unexpected decision just like what Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) did on Tuesday to support their case that the trial is constitutional. Cassidy, who praised the House managers’ presentations on Tuesday, was the only GOP senator whose flipped their vote and not forecasted in advance.
“To be trying to remove a President who is not in office,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said, previously calling the impeachment trial as “stupid” last week. “It’s not about Donald Trump — it’s about the future.”
Trump’s legal team will counter the House managers case by continuing to push the argument that the impeachment trial is unconstitutional since Trump is no longer in office. Senate Republicans want the attorneys to show footage of Democrats hypocrisy, with remarks literally inciting violence amongst other videos to show the House Democrats failure to meet the burden of proof.
Within the two day 16 hour time-span, the House impeachment managers are attempting to make the emotional case, putting together a timeline detailing where the rioters were at the Capitol, Trump’s remarks Democrats believe incited the insurrection, and the pleas from allies and lawmakers to the then-president before he released a Twitter video two hours later as a way to get his supporters to leave the complex. They are attempting to make the case by using the rioters’ own words and splicing them in creative heavily edited videos to prove that the former president incited the charges they are trying to convict Trump of inciting the Capitol insurrection.
“President Trump put a target on their backs and his mob broke into the Capitol to hunt them down,” Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-V.I.), one of the nine impeachment managers said as she unveiled more video footage.
“He told them to fight like hell, and they brought us hell that day. This case is not about blaming an innocent bystander. This is about holding accountable the person singularly responsible for this attack,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the lead House impeachment manager said while referring to Trump numerous times throughout the eight hours as the “inciter-in-chief.”
Murkowski said the House managers are making “a strong case,” adding that “the evidence that has been presented thus far is pretty damning.”
Almost all the senators in the Senate chambers watched in silence with some being visibly shaken, accord to a Senate reporter pool report as they watched the unseen mixed with collective videos of images and audio of the rioters’ vulgar taunts. The reporter covering the impeachment trial inside the Senate chamber noted Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) appearing distressed as he was watching the video of the officer-involved shooting outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Speaker’s office that led to the killing of a Trump supporter, Ashley Babbitt. Lankford at one point was seen to be teary-eyed and was consoled by fellow Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) who was sitting next to the Oklahoma Senator. When footage became too graphic, such as one scene with officers getting beaten, both Democrats and Republicans would turn their head to look away from the television screens as the sound was blaring at a high volume from inside the chamber.
While acknowledging the horrifying nature of the riot footage, Trump’s Republican allies said it still does not justify blaming Trump for inciting the violence.
“They spent a great deal of time focusing on the horrific acts of violence that were played out by the criminals, but the language from the president doesn’t come close to meeting the legal standard for incitement,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told reporters after the Senate convened.