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Graphic Video Of Capitol Insurrection Opens Trump's Impeachment Trial

Former President Donald Trump faces a single article of impeachment that accuses him of inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Tasos Katopodis
Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump faces a single article of impeachment that accuses him of inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Members of the Senate on Tuesday were shown a graphic video at the start of former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, laden with violence and obscenities shouted by the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

The video — much of which emerged publicly in the days after the insurrection, and some of which apparently was taken by those participating in the riot — showed Capitol police being overrun by the mob, people using flag staffs to break the building's windows, a police officer screaming as he was attacked and the gunshot that killed Ashli Babbitt, one of five who died during the violence.

House impeachment managers, all Democrats, presented the footage as a way of walking through the events of Jan. 6. It was delivered to senators who experienced the Capitol attack firsthand.

Editor's Note: The video below contains explicit language and violence.

The video was interspersed with clips from the speech Trump was delivering at the same time on the Ellipse outside the White House, including one in which he said, "If you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."

There was also footage of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, speaking on the chamber floor as the mob breached the Capitol, who argued there was nowhere near the massive scale of election fraud that Trump and his allies were arguing took place, as the Senate debated whether to certify the results of the November election.

The tape included chants of "Stop the steal" and "No Trump, no peace." One apparent Trump supporter tells an officer inside the Capitol, "We are listening to Trump — your boss." The video displays a tweet from Trump calling into question the intentions of then-Vice President Mike Pence — whose job was simply to preside over the certification — followed by videos of Trump supporters shouting "Hang Pence."

Trump was also shown in a clip from later in the day, when he told the insurrectionists to "go home, we love you."

After the video was shown, the lead impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., pointed up to the screen. "You ask what a high crime and misdemeanor is under our Constitution," he said to the hushed chamber, "that's a high crime and misdemeanor. If that's not an impeachable offense, then there is no such thing."

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NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.