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.
“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?”