Despite the acquittal, history will record that Trump incited the insurrection - history will be right

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ITV News' Robert Moore, cameraman Mark Davey, and producer Sophie Alexander were the only TV team in the world to film alongside the rioters as they stormed the US Congress The issue that Senators voted on last night was simple: Did Donald Trump incite the insurrection? I am in an unusually strong position to address that question. For I was with the rioters at every stage of that chaotic day on January 6th. I joined the protesters as they gathered on the south side of the White House that Wednesday morning; I was alongside the rioters when they first breached the perimeter and stormed Congress at 2.13pm; and I was with the insurrectionists as they raced into Nancy Pelosi’s office at 2.30pm. In effect, we were embedded in the mob, and were able to hear their fury, film their reactions, and interview them as the riot unfolded all around us.

There is no doubt in my mind - none at all - that the leading protesters believed they were acting with the implicit support of the President of the United States. In a tweet several weeks earlier, Trump had giddily anticipated that the protest would be “wild.” During his speech on the 6th he had encouraged them to march on Congress (even if he reneged on his promise to join them). When I was with the crowd - alongside cameraman Mark Davey and producer Sophie Alexander - it was clear the protesters felt Donald Trump had their back. Most regarded themselves as his foot soldiers. “Stop the Steal,” was the chant. That exactly echoed the President’s claim - against all the evidence - that the election had been fraudulent. Their targets inside Congress were the politicians, both Democrat and Republican, who were certifying the election result. For weeks, those same politicians had been in the crosshairs of Trump’s fierce and relentless rhetoric.

Trump was venting against his Vice President that day. So were the protesters. He had shown particular venom towards the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. And guess whose office we arrived outside just minutes after the security cordon had been breached? Luckily, Pelosi had been evacuated to safety just before we arrived at her office. It is true that other protesters were caught up in the moment, naïve and out of their depth. They were just along for the ride, driven by curiosity and by the intoxicating, revolutionary atmosphere. But those at the front - those leading the charge - were militiamen and hardcore Trump loyalists. They were following the spirit of their commander-in-chief who had told them to “fight like hell." Last night, 43 Republican senators voted to acquit Trump. They had every right to do so, for impeachment trials are political affairs.

Ultimately, they were making a judgement about their own electoral fortunes. They couldn’t afford to alienate Trump supporters. It is notable that only one of the seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump is facing an imminent re-election battle. But despite the acquittal last night, history will judge that Trump incited the insurrection. And in my firm view, with the benefit of a front-row seat, history will be right. Robert's documentary, Storming the Capitol: The Inside Story, is on the ITV Hub