Democrats warn Trump’s actions threaten democracy, and they will again if he is acquitted


President Donald Trump wears a “Make America Great Again” hat at a rally Oct. 14 at the Des Moines International Airport.

Katherine Kealey

Former President Donald Trump spent the third day of his second impeachment trials golfing while House impeachment managers argued the threats he poses if not convicted.

The prosecution said that for the first time in history, a sitting president’s activity instigated their supporters to prevent the peaceful transition of power.

“When President Trump incited a lawless mob to attack our process, he was attacking our democracy,” House impeachment manager Rep. David Cicilline, D-Ri., said. “He was trying to become king and rule over us against the will of the people and the valid results of the election.”

Cicilline said the framers included impeachment not as a punishment but to prevent any president from believing this kind of conduct is acceptable. 

House impeachment manager Rep. Diana Degette, D-Co., presented the perspective of the rioters overtaking the Capitol on Jan. 6. Degette provided audio footage of riots chanting “fight for Trump” while trying to stop the certification of the Electoral College.

Degette also presented the traumatic accounts from Black Capitol police officers who took on the crowd while being called racial slurs. Members of the extreme right-wing band the Proud Boys allegedly attended the riot. 

“This was not a hidden crime,” DeGette said. “The president told them to be there, and so they actually believed they would face no punishment.”

The defense argued members acted on their own. Degette said the insurrectionist went to stop the certification in Congress by any means necessary under orders from Trump. Democrats presented multiple statements from members of the riot who were convinced Trump wanted them there.

On the day of the attack, Trump sent out a video empathizing with the rioters about the stolen election. House impeachment manager Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Ca., argued Trump must be disqualified from holding office to hold him accountable. 

“The lack of remorse is an important factor in impeachment,” Lieu said. “Because impeachment, conviction and disqualification is not just about the past, it is about the future. It is making sure no future official, no future president does the same exact thing President Trump does.”

Trump defended his response to his followers and said it was totally appropriate. House impeachment managers said Trump never once condemned the attack. 

Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin said violence was incited against political officials who crossed his path. Democrats produced footage of a Trump rally during the 2016 presidential election encouraging his supporters to act violently against protesters who opposed him. This resulted in an individual being dragged out of the rally, and another reported being kicked and punched.

More than 24 hours after the insurrection, Trump called it “a heinous attack” on the republic. Democrats argue he did nothing while the violence took place and has yet to acknowledge the impairment it caused.

Democrats wrapped up their case presenting the Senate with a long pattern of Trump’s activity with specific intent to invalidate the election. Dirk Deam, teaching professor of political science, said this disproves Trump’s defense team’s argument that the riots coincidently happened. 

“He was in complete dereliction of his duty to provide for the safety of the republic, but more than that, it fits with what you would expect from somebody who intended this all along,” Deam said. “You wouldn’t try to break up a storming of the Capitol if you intended to have a storming of the Capitol in the first place.”

The Senate will reconvene at noon Eastern Time Friday to hear arguments from Trump’s defense lawyers.