It's been nearly a month since the Democratic House of Representatives impeached former President Donald Trump after his constant lies about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election prompted a mob of his supporters to storm the United States Capitol in a deadly failed insurrection.
On Thursday, the House impeachment managers concluded their opening arguments after an effective two-day breakdown of how Trump's actions before, during, and after the riots indicated his support for the violence committed in his name.
Over the course of the argument, the impeachment managers employed previously unreleased security camera footage, the testimony of rioters arrested at the Capitol, and Trump's own words to establish their case.
Lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who represented Trump in his first impeachment trial last year and who criticized Trump's current defense team this week, says the House impeachment managers failed to establish that Trump incited the insurrection. Instead, according to Dershowitz, the former President merely "invited" it.
Newsmax's Alan Dershowitz: "[Trump] didn't incite, he invited...There's a big difference between inciting and invit… https://t.co/Tb8wbRbLho— Jason Campbell (@Jason Campbell)1613077779.0
The House impeachment managers pointed to the countless times Trump urged his supporters to "fight" for him (even up to minutes before the riots), the times Trump failed to condemn violence, and the times Trump praised his supporters for committing violence.
But in an interview with the far-right Newsmax network, Dershowitz said:
"He didn't incite. He invited. He said, 'please walk there, I urge you, do it peacefully and patriotically. ... There's a big difference between inciting and inviting."
Just before the January 6 siege of the Capitol, Trump addressed thousands of his supporters at a "Save America" rally near the Capitol on the same day that Congress was set to nationally certify now-President Joe Biden's victory. As Dershowitz pointed out, Trump urged his supporters to "peacefully and patriotically" march to the Capitol to make their voices heard.
But as the House impeachment managers pointed out in their arguments, it was the only phrase in the 11,000+ word speech that emphasized nonviolence. Meanwhile he used variations of the word "fight" at least 20 times while decrying "weak" Republicans multiple times as well. Impeachment managers played video of Trump's supporters chanting to storm the Capitol as his speech was going on.
At the same event, Trump praised his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, after Giuliani told the crowd, "Let's have trial by combat!"
The House impeachment managers also played numerous videos of rioters during and after the siege saying they were following Trump's orders and even that Trump invited them. Evidence also shows that some of the supporters didn't recede until Trump finally told them to go home, hours after the invasion began.
People found Dershowitz's argument absurd and promptly mocked it.
The President of the United States Patriotically invites you To join him For an Attack Upon the Capitol of the Un… https://t.co/lGydZTLfue— David Frum (@David Frum)1613081242.0
"I INVITE you to try to hang the Vice President" https://t.co/JXXxxY7Jr0— Jessica Shortall🧂🥴 (@Jessica Shortall🧂🥴)1613080641.0
Yes, 'invitation to violence' that well-known crime. https://t.co/ZEdz2aEZMi— Mehdi Hasan (@Mehdi Hasan)1613078295.0
Exactly. And Sharon Tate wasn't murdered because of Charles Manson. She RSVPed. Big difference. https://t.co/KVcFolLw3a— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP)1613082517.0
I invited people to my wedding, but I was shocked, shocked I tell you, that the music we played incited them to dan… https://t.co/9FML6JNpv3— Andrew (@Andrew)1613081312.0
I didn't rob the bank. I just cracked the safe. The other people "I just met" started grabbing money. Plus I was pl… https://t.co/4tD2RGRCiK— Eric Howell (@Eric Howell)1613082948.0
Meanwhile, others are noting the strength of the impeachment managers' case.
I’ve closely studied every impeachment trial in our history. No impeachment has ever been as ably prosecuted in the… https://t.co/CukK8WAzTO— Laurence Tribe (@Laurence Tribe)1613076855.0
Dems presented a damning and indisputable case proving Trump’s guilty. Do you agree?— Scott Dworkin (@Scott Dworkin)1613078601.0
What has become abundantly clear from today’s presentations by House impeachment managers is that even if Senate Re… https://t.co/tAwE40gC9b— Mehdi Hasan (@Mehdi Hasan)1612994037.0
Trump's defense lawyers will deliver their arguments at the next session on Friday.