The Democratic House impeachment managers are preparing on Thursday to wrap up their case against former President Donald Trump as they move ahead quickly with the Senate trial.
The House managers presented for nearly eight hours on Wednesday, walking the jury — senators who were in the Capitol during the attack on Jan. 6 — through footage of the riot and of Trump’s speeches in the weeks leading up to it. Most of that has been publicly available and previously televised.
But parts of their presentation — like security camera footage of staff members sheltering in offices and radio chatter from Capitol Police officers — had not been released before. The timeline of events, though, and the majority of the content shown would have been familiar to most Americans who watched the assault as it unfolded.
Trump’s lawyers, who have yet to present their case, have dismissed the trial itself as unconstitutional. It is still unclear whether they will try at all to directly address the House prosecutors’ arguments.
The Senate will reconvene at noon Eastern time Thursday.
What do House managers have left in store?
The Democrats prosecuting Trump went to great lengths on Wednesday to not only remind senators of the violence that occurred on Jan. 6, but to also link those scenes directly to statements he made.
Several senators said they came away feeling moved.
“They had a strong presentation put together in a way that I think makes it pretty compelling,” Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican, told reporters after.
Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead House manager, suggested that his team intended to open its presentation on Thursday with still more, and might continue with the flood of uncomfortable memories for much of its remaining allotted time, up to eight hours. It may also be that Raskin simply hopes to summarize arguments made on Wednesday before resting his case.
Either way, House managers are expected to present for several more hours.
Will Trump’s lawyers respond?
The remaining evidence that House managers outlined for the jury may be intended to pressure Trump’s lawyers into confronting the record. So far, his lawyers have sought to avoid arguing the case on its merits, saying the trial itself is in violation of the Constitution.
But the case presented by the managers has included numerous clips of Trump, in the weeks before the riot, in which he falsely claimed that the election was stolen from him and urged supporters to fight what he described as widespread voter fraud.
If House managers choose to spend most of the day on Thursday focused on Trump and his fiery messaging, however, it may add to pressure on his lawyers to mount a fuller defense in coming days.
If they do, the lawyers are widely expected to argue that the comments were simply opinions protected by the First Amendment, and that Trump was entitled to tell his supporters to fight in the name of election security or to express their own political views.
But the former president’s lawyers have made clear that they plan to move quickly. The timetable for the trial was already moved up after a member of Trump’s defense team, David I. Schoen, withdrew a request to pause the trial on Friday evening to observe Jewish Sabbath.