An earlier version of this column incorrectly stated a Capitol Police officer's cause of death, which has not been confirmed. This version has been updated.

In the end, they will vote to exonerate Donald Trump for inciting last month’s deadly attack on the Capitol. But first, Trump’s Republican defenders in the Senate will be made to relive the horrors he and his bloodthirsty insurrectionists inflicted.

In the first moments of the Senate impeachment trial on Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Maryland Democrat serving as the lead impeachment manager, forced senators to confront the violence and sedition of Jan. 6 with a graphic, 13-minute video of the invasion:

The flagpoles — some with U.S. flags still attached — used to beat Capitol Police officers and to smash in windows of the Capitol.

An officer screaming in pain as he was beaten by a mob trying to break down doors in their quest to find and kill lawmakers.

The domestic terrorists using a metal barricade, festooned with a Trump “Drain the Swamp” banner, as a battering ram to break down the doors of the House chamber.

The invaders ransacking senators’ desks on the Senate floor. (“There’s gotta be something in here we can f---ing use against these scumbags.”)

An officer firing a lethal shot as an insurrectionist broke through the last barrier — doors held closed by a makeshift barricade of chairs — separating the mob from lawmakers hiding on floors, under desks.

An insurrectionist showing off the makeshift noose and gallows he made outside the Capitol, where Confederate flags and Trump banners flew.

Retreating officers, overrun, being taunted by the invaders: “There’s a f---ing million of us out there. And we are listening to Trump — your boss.”

Yes, they were. And now the trial is being held at the scene of the crime, the place from which Vice President Mike Pence was whisked mere seconds ahead of would-be assassins.

“This trial is personal,” Raskin told the senators, recalling that Jan. 6 was the day after he buried his son, lost to suicide. Raskin had to be in the Capitol for the electoral college vote counting that day, and he brought grieving family members with him so they could be together during their grieving.

Through tears, he described becoming separated from them during the mayhem. “All around me people were calling their wives and their husbands, their loved ones to say goodbye. And members of Congress … were removing their congressional pins so they wouldn’t be identified by the mob as they tried to escape the violence. Our new chaplain got up and said a prayer for us, and we were told to put our gas masks on. And then I heard a sound I will never forget, the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram.” His kin were sheltering, “locked and barricaded” in a nearby office, “the kids hiding under the desk. … They thought they were going to die.”

It was a powerful moment, an expression of the raw pain and terror the attack on the Capitol caused to those who were inside. Or, as Trump’s lawyers, in their trial brief so haphazardly assembled that punctuation and spelling were casualties, described it, “political theater.”

The only theater in evidence Tuesday was from the defense, in the genre of farce. Trump’s lawyers, with little historical or legal support for their claim that trying Trump is unconstitutional, cited one legal scholar who then declared their citation “disingenuous and misleading.”

Trump lawyer David Schoen, in a diatribe less scholarly than incendiary, hit all the Trumpian notes about “cancel” culture, attempts to “deprogram” Trump supporters and “disenfranchise” Trump voters. He said Democrats hired a “movie company” to “create, manufacture and splice” evidence of the attack and, apparently forecasting further insurrection, he said: “This trial will tear this country apart, perhaps like we’ve only seen once before in our history.” He then screened clips of 13 Democratic officials calling for Trump’s impeachment, 12 of them Black, Latino, Muslim or Jewish.

The Post’s Karoun Demirjian, in the Senate chamber during the opening of the covid-restricted trial, reported that several of Trump’s fiercest defenders in the Senate didn’t watch the video Raskin played of the Jan. 6 insurrection. Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Rick Scott and Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) were suddenly immersed in paperwork. (Forty-four of 50 Republicans voted to declare the trial unconstitutional, and 11 even voted against the bipartisan trial rules.)

They could avert their gaze, but could they shut their ears to the bloodcurdling shouts and chants of the mob as they rampaged through the seat of American democracy?

Take the Capitol!

F--- the blue!

Traitor Pence!


And can they really exonerate Trump, who, after fomenting a siege that injured 140 officers and ultimately claimed seven lives (including three Capitol Police officers), sided with the attackers?

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump tweeted after the attack. “Go home with love & peace. Remember this day forever!”

Oh, yes. We will remember.

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