Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) raised a pointed question about the deceptively edited video House impeachment managers played during the first day of the Senate impeachment trial, pointing to page 34 of House Rules, which focuses on “dissemination by electronic means, including by social media, of any image, video, or audio file that has been distorted or manipulated with the intent to mislead the public.”
Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who objected to the certification of the election results in 2017, introduced the video — which depicted cherry-picked clips of the January 6 Capitol protest — on the first day of the impeachment trial during the debate on the constitutionality of the proceedings.
“What will the January exception mean to future generations if you grant it? I’ll show you,” he said, followed by the montage that attempted to make it appear as if former President Trump encouraged supporters to commit lawless deeds at the U.S. Capitol.
“Go to page 34 of House Rules. Did the manipulated video violate the House Rules?” Chaffetz, a Fox News contributor, asked:
Go to page 34 of House Rules. Did the manipulated video violate the House Rules?https://t.co/v7eyPYVUNo
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) February 9, 2021
Page 34 of the House Rules features a section on the dissemination of manipulated media, which reads:
The Committee on Ethics is directed to report to the House, not later than December 31, 2021, any recommended amendments to the Code of Official Conduct, as well as any accompanying regulations, intended to address the circumstances and instances, if any, for which a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House may be subject to discipline for the dissemination by electronic means, including by social media, of any image, video, or audio file that has been distorted or manipulated with the intent to mislead the public.
That argument among many GOP critics is that Democrats attempted to make it seem as if former President Trump directly incited the lawlessness in the video. Democrats deliberately left out key parts of his speech, including his plea for supporters to “peacefully and patriotically” make their voices heard.
The Democrats’ montage, rather, showed Trump telling the crowd, “We’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down…to the Capitol.” The montage also showed people shouting, “Let’s take the Capitol!” as protesters attempted to breach barriers.
“President Trump ends his speech and urges his mob to move toward the Capitol” Democrats asserted in the video, which cut to Trump saying:
So we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we are going to the Capitol, and we are going to try and give…our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re try–going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Not once during Trump’s speech did he encourage violence or lawlessness at the U.S. Capitol. Furthermore, Trump repeatedly called for peace on social media as the events unfolded that day.
“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!” he wrote shortly after 3 p.m. that day, later urging protesters to go home “with love & in peace.”