Democrats argued Wednesday that the Capitol riot was not the result of “one speech,” despite the fact that the article of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives last month claimed that President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 incited it.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), one of the House impeachment managers, spoke during the second day of argument in the impeachment trial of the former president, arguing that the riot came after weeks of Trump’s criticism of the 2020 election.
“This attack did not come from one speech, and it didn’t happen by accident. The evidence shows clearly that this mob was provoked over many months by Donald J. Trump,” Castro said.
The argument appeared to undermine the central basis of the impeachment, which is that Trump’s speech on January 6 at the Ellipse specifically incited the mob at the Capitol.
The House made that claim without noting evidence that the mob had already begun storming the Capitol, more than a mile away, before Trump finished speaking, and despite the fact that he told his supporters in his speech to protest “peacefully and patriotically.”
Democrats spent little time on Trump’s words in the speech, arguing instead that he had deliberately signaled to his supporters to attack the Capitol after stoking claims of election fraud for months.
Castro’s fellow House impeachment manager, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) — who prosecuted the case despite an ongoing scandal involving his relationship with an alleged Chinese spy — actually admitted that Trump really “believed” the election was stolen.
Like his colleague, Swalwell argued that the riot was not caused by one speech alone: “This was not one speech, not one tweet. It was dozens and in rapid succession with specific details.”
Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin kicked off the prosecution by claiming that Trump’s lawyers believed the former president’s behavior had been “totally appropriate.” (They never made such a claim.)
Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) claimed, without evidence, that Trump ordered his supporters to invade “this very chamber.”
Castro also told the Senate that Trump ought to have accepted losing an election — though Castro himself was among the Democrats pushing the conspiracy theory that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win in 2016.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.