House prosecutors wrap up case as they warn Trump 'can do this again'

  • Video report by ITV News US Correspondent Emma Murphy

Democrats prosecuting former president Donald Trump in his impeachment trial have wrapped up their case on Thursday, as they warned he "can do this again".

They argue if Trump is not convicted it sets "a new terrible standard for presidential misconduct."

One of the impeachment managers, Representative Joe Neguse urges: "We humbly, humbly ask you to convict President Trump for the crime for which he is overwhelmingly guilty."

"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?" he added.

His comments come as one of Donald Trump's lawyers branded the presentation by House impeachment managers earlier as "offensive."

David Schoen hit out at Democrats for "making a movie", before adding they had yet to tie the 6 January siege at the US Capitol to the ex-president.

Trump’s defence will take the floor on Friday, and the proceedings could finish with a vote this weekend.

Trump is charged with "incitement of insurrection" over last month's violence when the centre of US democracy was stormed by his supporters.

Democrats prosecuting Trump's impeachment said the Capitol invaders believed they were are acting on "the president’s orders" to storm the building.

During their presentation, the prosecutors described the stark horror they faced that day and referred to the explicit instructions Trump gave his supporters - both in the weeks before the attack and at his rally that unleashed the mob on the Capitol.

They presented videos of rioters, some posted to social media by the rioters themselves, talking about how they were doing it all for Trump.

Watch ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore's report from inside the US Capitol as protesters stormed the building

One rioter said: "We were invited here."

"Trump sent us," said another. "He’ll be happy. We’re fighting for Trump," they added.

"They truly believed that the whole intrusion was at the president’s orders," said Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado. "The president told them to be there."

Senators are making the case that rioters were acting on 'the president’s orders' to storm the building. Credit: AP

At the White House, President Biden said he believed "some minds may be changed" after senators saw chilling security video on Wednesday of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, including of rioters searching menacingly for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence.

President Biden said he did not watch any of the previous day’s proceedings live but later saw news coverage.

The never-before-seen audio and video is now a key exhibit in Trump’s impeachment trial as lawmakers prosecuting the case argue he should be convicted of inciting the siege.

Democrats are using their remaining hours of arguments to lay out the physical and mental harm caused by the attack, discuss Trump’s lack of action as it unfolded and do a final presentation on the legal issues involved.

Videos of the siege have been circulating since the day of the riot, but the graphic compilation shown to senators amounted to a more complete narrative, a moment-by-moment retelling of one of the nation’s most alarming days.

It offered fresh details into the attackers, scenes of police heroism and staff whispers of despair.

The footage showed the mob smashing into the building, rioters engaging in hand-to-hand combat with police and audio of Capitol police officers pleading for back-up.

It underscored how dangerously close the rioters came to the nation’s leaders, shifting the focus of the trial from an academic debate about the Constitution to a raw retelling of the assault.

Rioters were seen roaming the halls chanting "Hang Mike Pence", some equipped with combat gear.

The Senate was played clips of Trump supporters chanting "hang Mike Pence":

Outside, the mob had set up a makeshift gallows. And in one wrenching moment, police were shown shooting and killing a San Diego woman, Ashli Babbitt, as the mob tried to break through doors near the House Chamber.

Mr Pence, who had been presiding over a session to certify President Biden’s election victory over Trump was shown being rushed to safety, where he sheltered in an office with his family just 100 feet from the rioters.

Ms Pelosi was seen being evacuated from the complex as her staff hid behind doors in her suite of offices.

Though most of the Senate jurors seem to have made up their minds, making Trump’s acquittal likely, they sat riveted as the jarring video played in the chamber.

Pelosi's staff ran from rioters and hit behind doors in her office

Earlier in the day, prosecutors laid out their case by methodically linking Trump’s verbal attacks on the election to the violence that resulted.

Trump did nothing to stem the violence and watched with “glee”, the Democrats said, as the mob ransacked the building.

The storming of the Capitol occurred while Congress was meeting inside to certify the election victory of President Joe Biden.

Five people have died as a result of the assault on Congress, including a woman who was trying to get through the last line of defence and into the Chamber.

The goal of the presentation was to cast Trump not as an innocent bystander but rather as the "inciter in chief" who spent months spreading falsehoods about the election.

Using evocative language meant to match the horror of the day, prosecutors compared Trump to a fire chief who delights in seeing fires spread, not extinguished, and they compared his supporters to a cavalry in war.

Trump's legal team will launch their defence on Friday and Saturday for up to 16 hours to lay out its defence.