The House impeachment managers left out three elements that observers had expected: evidence of incitement, evidence of cooperation with rioters by Republicans, and evidence of racism in the Capitol Police.
The first missing element was the most crucial for the case. The House impeachment managers asserted that former President Donald Trump incited the Capitol riot, but did not provide any evidence of the key element of intent. Instead, they speculated about what his intent might have been, based on old tweets and speeches from months or years before.
They were partly hampered by the fact that the House rushed to judgment without conducting a formal inquiry. Not only did that deny former President Trump due process rights, but it also meant there was no real evidence to substantiate the core allegation in the Article of Impeachment. The only relevant evidence before the Senate is the timeline provided by the FBI and mainstream media publications, indicating that the Capitol riot started before Trump had finished speaking, over a mile-and-a-half away; and Trump’s own words, in which he told supporters to protest “peacefully and patriotically.”
If, as the Senate voted, it is constitutional to try a former president, then there was no need to rush the impeachment vote in the House. The House could have taken its time to subpoena witnesses, collect reports from the Capitol Police and other agencies, and listen to constitutional experts. It could even perhaps have done so after impeaching Trump. But it declined.
The second missing element was any evidence showing that the rioters had help from inside the Capitol. This allegation has been made repeatedly by Democrats: that Republican members of Congress had given the rioters guided tours the day before, helping them develop a plan of attack; or that Republicans had opened doors to let the rioters into key parts of the building. Not one bit of evidence was presented, suggesting that the allegations by Democrats were simply fabricated.
Third, the House impeachment mangers did not show any evidence of racism by the Capitol Police. President Joe Biden accused them of racism in remarks he made as President-elect in January, without evidence. As Breitbart News reported:
President-elect Joe Biden claimed Thursday that the rioters who stormed the United States Capitol earlier this week would have been treated “very differently” had they been protesters associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
The president-elect, in particular, told the audience that when news of the rioting first broke his granddaughter sent him a photo taken last year of “military people … lining the steps of the Lincoln Memorial because of a protest by Black Lives Matter.”
“She said, ‘Pop, this isn’t fair. No one can tell me that if that had been a group of Black Lives Matter, protesting yesterday, they would have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the capitol,’” Biden said.
“We all know that’s true and it is unacceptable, totally unacceptable,” the president-elect added. “The American people saw it in plain view and I hope it sensitized them to what we have to do.”
But there was never any evidence to back up those claims. Columnist Marc Thiessen wrote in the Post:
Watching never-before-seen video of the mob assaulting the U.S. Capitol presented by the House impeachment managers was infuriating. For the first time, Americans saw surveillance footage that showed just how close the rioters got to senators, congressmen and Vice President Mike Pence. But what stood out most from Wednesday’s presentation was the heroism of the Metropolitan and Capitol police.
After the presentation, senators whose lives the officers saved were effusive in their praise. “It was very troubling to see the great violence that our Capitol Police and others were subjected to. It tears your heart and brings tears to your eyes,” Romney said. Schumer declared, “As for me and my situation, I just want to give tremendous credit to the Capitol Police officers who were in my detail. They are utterly amazing and great, and we love them.”
But that is not what Joe Biden said immediately following the riot. Instead of praising the Capitol Police for their heroism, he accused them of racism.
Biden’s comments were not only shameful; they were flat wrong.
The details of the attack are still largely unknown, and impeachment may have damaged bipartisan efforts to uncover them. The impression left by the House impeachment managers is that their goal was to vent the shared outrage of the legislators at the president — and to carry out political revenge against him and his supporters, many years in the making.
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). His newest e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. 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.