‘We’re fighting for Trump!’: Impeachment managers leverage rioters’ own words, and videos, to make their case.
The House Democrats leading the impeachment prosecution used the words of rioters supporting Donald J. Trump against the former president on Thursday, as they sought to show that the sacking of the Capitol was done by people who believed they were following Mr. Trump’s wishes.
“They truly believed that the whole intrusion was at the president’s orders — and we know that because they said so,” said Representative Diana DeGette, Democrat of Colorado, and one of the House managers.
In one clip, she showed rioters chanting “Stop the steal! Stop the steal!” as they tried to enter the Capitol — not long after Mr. Trump had led that chant at a rally. In another, she showed a rioter, identified as Baked Alaska, the nickname of the far-right personality Anthime J. Gionet, talking about calling up Mr. Trump while in the Capitol: “He’ll be happy. What do you mean? We’re fighting for Trump!” In a third, a rioter was heard shouting at police in the Capitol, “We are listening to Trump — your boss.”
Ms. DeGette’s presentation spliced together footage of the rioters themselves as well as subsequent claims from their lawyers about why they were at the Capitol. She quoted an attorney for Jacob Anthony Chansley, who stormed the Capitol wearing a fur headdress with horns and his face painted red, white and blue, saying that Mr. Chansley was there “at the invitation of our president.” Mr. Chansley, who is known as Q Shaman for his propagation of baseless QAnon conspiracy theories, also left a note in the Capitol for former Vice President Mike Pence that read, “Only a matter of time. Justice is Coming!”
The Democrats’ case — and their repeated use of gripping and wrenching videos from the day of the riot, including some shot by the rioters themselves — is aimed not just at the Republican jurors in the Senate, who seem increasingly unlikely to convict Mr. Trump, but a nationwide television audience.
“This was not a hidden crime,” Ms. DeGette said. “The president told them to be there.”
In one last video, Ms. DeGette showed a rioter shouting clearly about who had brought them to the Capitol building. “We were invited here!” he shouted. “We were invited by the president of the United States!”