House managers on Thursday wrapped up their case against former president Donald Trump, imploring the Senate to convict him while warning that he could stoke violence again.

“We humbly, humbly ask you to convict President Trump for the crime for which he is overwhelmingly guilty of. Because if you don’t, if we pretend this didn’t happen, or worse, if we let it go unanswered, who’s to say it won’t happen again?” Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) said.

Trump’s legal team is poised to respond on Friday, arguing that he should be acquitted. They are expected to use only one of two allotted days. A verdict could come as early as the weekend.

The developments came on the third day of an impeachment trial in which Democrats have charged Trump with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the Jan. 6 violent takeover of the Capitol.

Here’s what to know:
  • While the drama unfolds on Capitol Hill, President Biden is seeking to focus on his priorities. He convened an Oval Office meeting Thursday morning on investing in the nation’s infrastructure and visited the National Institutes of Health, where he announced that his administration has secured deals for another 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccine as promised last month.
  • On Wednesday, House managers led a rapt Senate on a harrowing retelling of the terror that engulfed the Capitol last month, sharing shocking new audio and video recordings of rioters declaring their intent to harm then-Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials.
  • There was little indication that most Republican senators would change their minds and vote to convict Trump. Many are holding on to the argument that a former president cannot be impeached.
  • The impeachment charge against Trump alleges that he “willfully made statements that encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — imminent lawless action at the Capitol.”
  • Trump’s speech before the riot had no overt calls for his supporters to enter the Capitol or resort to violent means. But it included plenty of allusions to the idea that Congress accepting Biden’s victory was a result that must be stopped
12:43 a.m.
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Trump’s Senate allies Graham, Lee and Cruz huddle with defense team

After the Senate trial adjourned Thursday, three of Donald Trump’s chamber allies, Sens. Lindsey O. Graham, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, were seen entering a room to meet with the former president’s attorneys.

After their meeting, Trump attorney David Schoen told reporters the senators were just “talking about procedure,” called them “friendly guys” and said they did not tip him off to questions they would be asking.

They discussed “just how this format goes, you know, the question-and-answer period, all that,” Schoen said. “And then just talking about where they’re from and all that, but it’s just very nice. I said to them it was a great honor to have the opportunity to talk to them.”

During the impeachment trial, the senators are supposed to be impartial jurors, listening to the evidence from both sides before voting on whether to convict.

But most senators, including Graham (R-S.C.), Lee (R-Utah) and Cruz (R-Tex.), have predetermined Trump’s innocence, as many Democrats have already decided he is guilty.

Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) set a precedent during the first Trump impeachment of conferring with the defense.

“Exactly how we go forward, I’m going to coordinate with the president’s lawyers,” McConnell said then in 2019. “The case is so darn weak coming over from the House. We all know how it’s going to end. There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office. My hope is that there won’t be a Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment.”

Democrats assailed McConnell for violating his would-be oath to do “impartial justice” as a juror in the trial.

12:24 a.m.
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Schoen says Trump is ‘upbeat’ and thinks impeachment trial could wrap up Saturday

David Schoen, one of the lawyers representing Trump, said the former president is “upbeat” three days into his second impeachment trial.

Schoen estimated the defense’s arguments on Friday could last three to four hours but that it is possible the trial could wrap up on Saturday, several days earlier than expected.

“The evidence speaks for itself,” Schoen told reporters Thursday after the House impeachment managers had finished presenting their case. “I wouldn’t prejudge anything, but he should not be convicted, I’ll tell you that.”

For two days, House impeachment managers have carefully laid out the case that Trump had for months spread the falsehood that the election had been stolen from him, then stoked his supporters’ anger with fiery and combative language, which he then directed at the Capitol — culminating in the violent siege of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Schoen claimed that Trump was being held to a “double standard.” As for the meaning of the words Trump used, Schoen said: “Under no circumstances could it be incitement.”

11:19 p.m.
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Republicans criticized a Biden nominee for her tweets. Democrats see a ‘whole new level of hypocrisy.’

Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) on Feb. 10 scolded Neera Tanden, the nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget, for her Twitter history. (C-SPAN)

For the second time this week, Republican senators grilled Biden’s pick to head the White House budget office over her history of controversial tweets — infuriating critics of the GOP who said the lawmakers were hypocritical for chastising nominee Neera Tanden while failing to speak up about former president Donald Trump’s incendiary tweetstorms now at the center of an impeachment inquiry.

During a heated back-and-forth, Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.), known for his colorful expressions, accused Tanden of attacking lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“You called Senator Sanders everything but an ignorant slut,” he said, evoking the sexist term famously satirized on “Saturday Night Live.”

10:43 p.m.
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Raskin ended by quoting Thomas Paine for whom his late son, Tommy, was named

Rep. Jamie B. Raskin’s final words before the House managers rested their case against Trump was also an ode of sorts to his late son, Tommy.

Less than six weeks ago, Raskin’s 25-year-old son took his life, and in the intervening weeks the congressman buried his only son, lived through a violent attack on the Capitol and took the lead on the effort to impeach and then convict the former president.

“These are the times that try men’s and women’s souls,” Raskin (D-Md.) began, a modernized spin on a quote from the opening lines of the famous essay written by Thomas Paine at the start of the Revolutionary War.

Raskin has called Paine one of his personal heroes — so much so that he named his son, Thomas, after the writer.

In a statement about his son the day after his death, Raskin wrote, that he “never had a negative word for anyone but tyrants and despots.”

He was likely thinking of his son then when, charged with the grave duty of persuading two-thirds of the U.S. Senate that Trump should be convicted of inciting an insurrection, continued to quote his late son’s namesake.

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered,” Raskin said.

The congressman closed with a hopeful sentiment, almost as if sending it up as a prayer: “The more difficult the struggle, the more glorious in the end will be our victory.”

10:42 p.m.
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Republican senators still fixated on constitutionality of trial over substance of evidence

After watching House impeachment managers lay out their case against Trump, several Republican senators appeared to still mainly be fixated on whether a president could be tried by the Senate after leaving office, even though the Senate had voted Tuesday that it was constitutional to move forward with the trial.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who leaned forward in his seat during the Democrats’ closing arguments, later told reporters he had only done so because his back was cramping and that he thought the day had been “repetitive.”

Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) also continued arguing that an impeachment trial was not appropriate for someone no longer in office.

“There are other remedies for this rather than to take our time in the Senate,” Ernst said.

“I believe it sets a very dangerous precedent,” Rubio said. “If in fact [Trump] did something wrong, as they claim, he is now a private citizen who has the answer to the courts of the country.”

When asked if he had seen anything during the three days of the trial that would change his mind, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) said he had seen a lot of new videos of the on Jan. 6 insurrection.

“I think everybody did. Security videos, things like that,” Tuberville said. “You gotta just keep an open mind. And I have, I’ve kept an open mind.”

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) said he didn’t think anyone’s minds had changed on either side of the aisle, though he suggested that could change on the Republican side.

“I’m thinking maybe that there might be some that voted against the constitutionality component that might be different, you know when it comes into the final vote,” Braun said.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), the only Republican senator to change his mind and vote in support of moving forward with the trial, approached reporters Thursday and simply stood there for a few moments saying, “O-M-G. O-M-G.”

Cassidy said the House impeachment managers had done “very well” in laying out their case “with great care” and that he looked forward to seeing how Trump’s lawyers fared Friday. He was particularly eager to hear them explain how the former president defended his lack of action as the siege unfolded and his continued perpetuation of the lie that the election was stolen from him.

“I still have people back home who swear the Dominion [voting] machines were rigged, even though different news outlets have printed retractions, apologies and otherwise disassociated themselves from that story,” Cassidy said. “But obviously the president repeated it over and over. That clearly had an impact.”

Cassidy would not indicate Thursday how he might vote.

“You don’t make a decision as a juror until you hear both sides. Period, end of story,” he said.

10:37 p.m.
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Five more charged in Capitol riot allegedly teamed with Kansas City Proud Boys

U.S. prosecutors alleged that five people worked with Proud Boys from Kansas City and other unnamed individuals to breach the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, unsealing charges Thursday in one of the largest co-defendant cases yet brought in an investigation that has charged more than 200.

The defendants, wearing helmets, vests and tactical gear marked with fluorescent orange tape, “appeared to gesture and communicate to one another” to coordinate efforts during and after forcing entry to the Capitol, the FBI alleged.

Surveillance footage showed at least four taking actions to prevent police from deploying descending metal barriers to seal off underground access to the Capitol, allowing the invading crowd to surge forward, the FBI said in a 28-page affidavit dated Wednesday.

The arrests of William Chrestman, Christopher Kuehne, Louis Enrique Colon, all of Kansas City, and siblings Felicia and Cory Konold bring the number of those affiliated with the Proud Boys to more than 15 among those charged with battling law enforcement and obstructing the electoral vote confirmation of President Biden’s victory.

9:37 p.m.
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Raskin closes with questions to defense he would have asked Trump

Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) on Feb. 11 said if former president Donald Trump isn’t convicted, it’ll set a new “terrible standard for presidential misconduct.” (The Washington Post)

Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) closed the House managers’ presentation with a list of questions he would have asked Trump if the former president had accepted the invitation to testify.

  • “Why did President Trump not tell his supporters to stop the attack on the Capitol as soon as he learned of it?”
  • Why did President Trump do nothing to stop the attack for at least two hours after the attack began?”
  • “As our constitutional commander in chief, why did he do nothing to send help to our overwhelmed, besieged law enforcement officers for at least two hours on January 6th after the attack began?”
  • Why did President Trump not at any point that day condemn the violent insurrection and the insurrectionists?”

Raskin also posed a general legal question to Trump’s lawyers, but it was clearly intended for the senators to also ponder.

If a president did incite a violent insurrection against our government, as of course we allege and think we’ve proven in this case, but just in general, if a president incited a violent insurrection against our government, would that be a high crime and misdemeanor? Can we all agree at least on that?”

Then, speaking directly to the senators, Raskin implored them, when deciding how to vote, to simply use “common sense.”

9:31 p.m.
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Rep. Neguse asks senators to convict Trump: ‘If we let it go unanswered, who’s to say it won’t happen again?’

As one of the last House impeachment managers to speak Thursday, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) put three key questions to senators — Was violence on Jan. 6 foreseeable? Did Trump encourage violence? And did he act willfully? — and laid out evidence that showed that the answer to all three was yes.

Neguse walked through examples of Trump supporters engaging in violence leading up to Jan. 6, including some who surrounded a Biden campaign bus and tried to run it off a Texas highway before the election. Instead of condemning that violence, Trump endorsed, encouraged and praised it.

“Was it obvious that the crowd on Jan. 6 was poised for violence? Prepared for it? Absolutely,” Neguse said. “There can be no doubt that the risk of violence was foreseeable.”

Before Jan. 6, Trump had spent weeks pressuring and threatening local and state election officials, pressuring the Justice Department, attacking senators and finally attacking even his own vice president for not supporting his efforts to overturn the election results.

Neguse also replayed clips from Trump’s speech at the rally before the Capitol siege, showing Trump whipping up the crowd, telling them falsely that the election had been stolen from them, and then encouraging them to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell.”

“He made clear, when he said fight, he meant it,” Neguse said. “… It’s pretty simple: He said it, and they did it. And we know this because they told us. … They were doing this for him because he asked them to.”

And lastly, Neguse argued that Trump not only had acted willfully, but then also refused pleas from fellow Republicans — including Rep. Mike Gallagher (Wis.), former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — to call off the attack, even when those Republicans specifically said Trump was the only person who could make it stop.

“Aside from four tweets and a short clip during the five-hour-long attack,” Neguse pointed out that Trump never condemned the attack, never condemned the attackers and never said he was sending help while the attack was underway.

“He reacted exactly the way someone would react if they were delighted and exactly unlike how a person would react if they were angry how their followers were acting. Again, ask yourself how many live would have been saved? How much pain and trauma would have been avoided if he had reacted in a way the president of the United States is supposed to act?” Neguse said.

Neguse closed with a poignant, steady request of the senators to convict Trump.

“Senators, the evidence is clear. We showed you statements, videos, affidavits that prove President Trump incited an insurrection — an insurrection that he alone had the power to stop. And the fact that he didn’t stop it, the fact that he incited a lawless attack and abdicated his duty to defend us from it, the fact that he actually further inflamed the mob, further inflamed that mob, attacking his vice president while assassins were pursuing him in this Capitol more than requires conviction and disqualification,” he said.

Neguse continued: “We humbly, humbly ask you to convict President Trump for the crime for which he is overwhelmingly guilty of. Because if you don’t, if we pretend this didn’t happen, or worse, if we let it go unanswered, who’s to say it won’t happen again?”

8:57 p.m.
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Democrats reject Trump’s claims of an unfair trial

House Democrats sought to preemptively undercut arguments from Trump’s lawyers about the impeachment process. In anticipation of the former president’s presentation, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) defended the House’s decision to impeach Trump before he left office.

Trump’s lawyers have suggested that the former president was not granted “due process” and that the House deliberately delayed the start of the Senate trial.

Lieu, a former prosecutor, told senators a lengthy investigation was unnecessary because the violent attack on the Capitol unfolded in real time. The House, he said, was prepared to quickly deliver impeachment papers to the Senate, but then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate was in recess until Jan. 19 and had no plans to return early. Ending the recess would have required the agreement of all 100 senators.

Lieu reminded senators that an impeachment proceeding is distinct from a criminal trial in which a defendant has certain constitutional rights because the potential punishment includes a prison sentence. Even so, he said, Trump’s attorneys will have an opportunity starting Friday to make their case to the Senate and ask questions.

“President Trump is receiving any and all process that he is due,” Lieu said.

8:37 p.m.
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Biden meets with key senators to start bipartisan talks on infrastructure spending

As the impeachment trial of Trump resumed Thursday, Biden and key members of the Senate talked up the prospects of a bipartisan push to craft an infrastructure package that they hope will create jobs and help rebuild the nation’s transportation networks in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I really, honest to God, never have thought of infrastructure as being a partisan issue,” Biden said before meeting with senators Thursday in the Oval Office.

Biden has proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that would seek to grow the economy and reduce the transportation sector’s greenhouse gas emissions. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the size of the package was still under discussion.

The president was joined by Vice President Harris and Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee; Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the transportation subcommittee chairman; and Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), who are senior GOP members of the committee. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joined by video because he is quarantining after a coronavirus exposure.

8:30 p.m.
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Rep. Neguse argues against Trump’s First Amendment defense

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) began the House managers’ task of preemptively dismantling the Trump defense, beginning with the notion that the former president’s Jan. 6 rally speech was protected by the First Amendment.

“They are concerned not with the facts that actually occurred, the facts that we’ve proven, but with an alternative set of facts where President Trump did nothing but deliver a controversial speech at a rally,” Neguse said.

The congressman noted that several legal experts have called the First Amendment defense “legally frivolous” and said it’s a distraction to avoid discussing the facts of the case.

President Trump wasn’t just some guy with political opinions who showed up at a rally on January 6th and delivered controversial remarks,” Neguse said. “He is the president of the United States. And he had spent months, months using the unique power of that office, of his bully pulpit, to spread that big lie that the election had been stolen."

Neguse accused Trump of creating a “powder keg” and on Jan. 6 Trump “struck a match, and he aimed it straight at this building, at us.”

8:23 p.m.
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Rep. Castro says Senate impeachment trial is chance to ‘send a message back to the world’ about what America stands for

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), a House impeachment manager, said Thursday that the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol damaged the image of American democracy across the globe, and the Senate impeachment trial is a chance for lawmakers to “send a message back to the world” about what the United States stands for.

Castro cited a joint intelligence bulletin issued on Jan. 13 by the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) mentioned the same document in her remarks earlier Thursday.

“Since the incident at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, Russian, Iranian and Chinese influence actors have seized the opportunity to amplify narratives in furtherance of their policy interest amid the presidential transition,” the report stated, according to Castro.

Castro pressed senators to take action. “We cannot let them use what happened on January 6th to define us, who we are and what we stand for,” he said. “We get to define ourselves by how we respond to the attack of January 6th.”

He also noted that “even our allies are speaking up,” and quoted Canadian and German officials denouncing the attack and calling for accountability.

“America is not only a nation for many; it’s also an idea,” Castro said. “It’s the light that gives hope to people struggling for democracy in autocratic regimes, the light that inspires people fighting across the world for fundamental human rights, and the light that inspires us to believe in something larger than ourselves. And this trial is an opportunity to respond and to send a message back to the world.”

8:18 p.m.
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Inside the Senate chamber, some weary and missing senators on Day 3 of impeachment trial

Inside the Senate chamber Thursday, there was less tension than on the previous day, when lawmakers watched gripping unseen security footage from the invasion of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Many senators were hunched over their desks, appearing somewhat weary on the third day of the Trump impeachment trial, while others scribbled notes and read documents. At times, more than a dozen Republican senators were not in the chamber, possibly watching from other locations.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who has avoided watching the video presentations, had a blank map of Asia on his desk and appeared to be filling it in, according to reporters observing the proceedings in the chamber. Scott, a Trump ally, is the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Most senators paid close attention when Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) played video from the 2017 gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville. A counterprotester was killed there, and Raskin reminded senators of Trump’s remarks in which he said there were “very fine people on both sides.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) was missing for most of the first hour Thursday. In the chamber, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) looked down frequently; he appeared to have a binder on his lap. At one point, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) looked as if he were sleeping, his hands crossed in the now famous mitten pose and his head looking down.

At the defense table, Trump’s attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen did not appear to be taking notes.

At one point in the early afternoon, there were at least 18 Republican senators missing from their desks, according to reporters in the chamber. Just one desk of a Democratic senator was empty at the time — that of Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), who is presiding over the trial.

Because of the pandemic, the rules have been loosened to allow senators to watch from other locations, including in the gallery and the party’s respective cloakrooms.

Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.

7:46 p.m.
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Democratic Sen. Heinrich says he’d like to hear Trump testify

During a brief recess, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) told reporters that he’d like to see Donald Trump testify in the Senate trial, but he acknowledged that it would never happen.

“That would be something to see,” Heinrich said with a chuckle. “And I would certainly support that. I don’t think his attorneys would ever let him testify in this case.”

Heinrich wouldn’t entertain the question of whether Congress should move to censure Trump if there aren’t the votes to convict him, saying he wanted to wait to see how the vote turned out. “I want to see who can stare [the evidence] in the face and vote to acquit,” he said.

Heinrich said the House managers have shown there is a direct connection between Trump’s rhetoric and the attack on Jan. 6.

“If you can live through that and see the totality of it in one place, and not think that these things are directly connected,” he said, “that’s hard to imagine.”