Donald Trump impeachment trial: Moment Mike Pence fled for safety during Capitol riots shown to Senate
Chilling footage of Mike Pence, the former US vice president, being evacuated from the Senate chamber as a violent mob approached on January 6 was played to senators for the first time at Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Wednesday.
The footage, taken from the Capitol’s CCTV cameras, showed a group of Secret Service agents rushing Mr Pence and his family away from the Senate floor as rioters drew nearer and chanted threats. One agent could be seen carrying the nuclear football as they made their escape.
The graphic footage showed the rioters spreading through the halls of Congress even as Mr Pence was swept to safety. Some in the mob shouted “hang Mike Pence”.
Democrat prosecutors played the footage for the first time as they argued Mr Trump had “summoned the mob” behind last month’s riot and “channelled the rage” in a violent attempt to steal the election for himself.
“The mob was looking for Vice President Pence because of his patriotism, because the vice president refused to do what the president demanded and overturn the election results,” Stacey Plaskett, one of the Democrat prosecutors, told the Senate.
Ms Plaskett also detailed how the mob had attempted to find Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House Speaker and the third in line to the presidency.
Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt Jr, the self-described “smut peddler who cares” who used his pornography empire and flair for the outrageous to push the limits of free speech, has died at the age of 78, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
The newspaper said Flynt’s brother Jimmy Flynt confirmed his death but did not cite a specific cause. Flynt suffered from a variety of health problems since a 1978 assassination attempt that left him a paraplegic.
Flynt loved to aggravate his critics with stunts such as wearing a diaper made from an American flag to court and was involved in a number of legal battles.
In the most famous, the US Supreme Court made an important First Amendment ruling in favor of Flynt in a libel battle with evangelist Jerry Falwell.
His life was the basis of the 1996 movie The People vs. Larry Flynt, which starred Woody Harrelson and was based in part on Flynt’s Supreme Court case.
Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, are investigating Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the Southern state’s 2020 presidential election results, according to a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday, in the second criminal probe faced by the former president.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has sent a letter asking state government officials to preserve documents, including those related to then-President Trump’s call to Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger pressuring him to “find” more votes.
“This matter is of high priority, and I am confident that as fellow law enforcement officers sworn to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and Georgia, our acquisition of information and evidence of potential crimes via interviews, documents, videos and electronic records will be cooperative,” said the letter dated Feb 10.
“This letter is notification that all records potentially related to the administration of the 2020 General Election must be preserved, with particular care being given to set aside and preserve those that may be evidence of attempts to influence the actions of persons who were administering that election.”
Representatives for the county prosecutor’s office and for Mr Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
On Monday, Raffensperger’s office opened its own probe into Mr Trump’s Jan 2 phone call pressuring him to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s Nov. 3 victory in the state based on unfounded voter fraud claims, saying any further legal efforts would be up to the state’s attorney general.
New York prosecutors have also opened criminal and civil investigations into Mr Trump over his businesses.
The New York Times first reported the investigation.
Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, for inciting a violent insurrection on the US Capitol, will move ahead today after senators rejected the defence’s claim that the proceedings are unconstitutional.
Democrats, who hold the balance of power in the Senate, won a 56-44 vote on Tuesday allowing opening arguments to begin. Six Republicans backed the motion.
Yesterday, after a shocking 13-minute video showing the violence on January 6, Democrat prosecutors argued that Mr Trump was America’s Founding Fathers’ “worst nightmare come to life.”
The prosecution will make their opening statements at about 5pm UK time.
Follow the latest updates below.
Donald Trump was “borderline screaming” at his lawyer’s “disorganised” performance in the Senate, as his impeachment trial defence team praised a graphic video attacking the former President.
Holed up in his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the 74-year-old was reportedly infuriated at Bruce Castor’s opening argument, in which he admitted that he was supposed to speak second, but that the legal team “changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the House managers’ presentation was well done.”
Two sources close to the former President told CNN that he was “deeply unhappy” and “borderline screaming” at his television while his lawyers argued that an impeachment trial for a non-sitting president would be unconstitutional.
His team lost the argument, with the Senate voting 56 to 44 in favour of proceeding to trial – six Republicans backing the motion.
The Democrat prosecutors, led by Jamie Raskin, presented a slick 13-minute video, cleverly splicing Donald Trump’s speech on January 6, in which he told supporters to “fight like hell,” with the shocking, deadly violence which then ensued.
Donald Trump’s impeachment trial has begun in Washington.
Mr Trump is the first former president to face an impeachment trial and the first to be impeached twice.
The charge relates to a provocative speech delivered by Mr Trump ahead of the Jan 6 assault on the US Capitol – an address Democrats argue incited the riots.
If convicted, the trial could bar Mr Trump from running for, or holding, public office again.
What has happened so far?
On the trial’s first day on Tuesday, the Senate voted on whether it was constitutional to impeach Mr Trump.
As expected, this vote passed. Democrats and a couple of Republicans voted 56 to 44 in favour of continuing with the impeachment proceedings. Six Republicans crossed the floor to back the trial – but many more will need to be convinced of Mr Trump’s wrongdoing if prosecutors can have any hope of convicting him.
Earlier, the prosecution and defence teams made brief opening statements. The Democrats posted a slick video which featured harrowing footage of the attack on the US Capitol.
Read more: Senators vote for ex-president to face ‘insurrection’ trial
Donald Trump has never met Bruce Castor, the lawyer who launched the former president’s defence at his impeachment trial.
It might be better for Mr Castor if they don’t. His presentation was not well received. Some of the kinder reviews were “non-linear” and “rambling”. Others were harsher.
At one point Mr Castor suggested senators should have Mr Trump arrested if they thought he had committed a crime, which is unlikely to have gone down well at Mar-a-Lago.
He also said repeatedly that Mr Trump had lost the election, which the former president still maintains he won.
Republican senators lined up to criticise the pinstripe-suited lawyer’s 45-minute speech.
Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator, juror, and friend of Mr Trump, said: “I thought I knew where he was going… and I really didn’t know where he was going.”
John Cornyn, another Republican senator, said: “I thought the president’s lawyer, the first lawyer, just rambled on and on and on and didn’t really address the constitutional argument.
When Judge Roy Ferguson opened up a virtual proceedings of the 394th Judicial District Court in Texas on Zoom on Tuesday he probably didn’t expect to see a cat.
The cute blue-eyed “cat” in the bottom right corner was actually county lawyer Rod Ponton, covered by a filter.
“Mr Ponton, I believe you have filter turned on in the video settings,” said the judge.
Ponton said his assistant was trying to fix the settings.
“I’m here live, I’m not a cat,” he said.
“I can see that,” said the judge.
Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, for inciting a violent insurrection on the US Capitol, will move ahead after senators rejected the defence’s claim that the proceedings are unconstitutional.
Democrats, who hold the balance of power in the Senate, won a 56-44 vote allowing opening arguments to begin on Wednesday.
On the first day of the historic proceedings on Tuesday, Democrat prosecutors had argued that Mr Trump was America’s Founding Fathers’ “worst nightmare come to life”.
Mr Trump incited a violent insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan 6 which “desecrated” the seat of US democracy, and he must not be allowed to “get away with it” or similar events would become America’s future, they said.
The first day of the trial was taken up with legal argument over whether a former president could be tried for alleged crimes committed while in office.
If convicted by the Senate, Mr Trump would be barred from running for president again. The former president committed an “unforgivable betrayal of office” and was “singularly responsible” for a riot which “could have killed all of us”, prosecutors told senators.
“He issued a tweet five hours after the Capitol was sacked in which he sided with the bad guys,” said David Cicilline, one of the prosecutors. “People died. It was a national tragedy.”
Huawei has launched a fresh legal challenge against US government restrictions, seeking to overturn an order that banned other companies from buying its equipment using taxpayer funds.
Lawyers for the embattled Chinese telecommunications giant filed a petition on Monday appealing its dispute with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to a federal court.
The lawsuit asked judges to reverse the FCC’s final ruling in December, which branded the company a threat to national security. The suit describes that decision as “arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion”.
Meanwhile, Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei appealed to President Joe Biden to treat his company more kindly than Donald Trump did, saying that opening up US sales of Huawei technology would be “in the interest of US companies”.
Mr Ren said: “I would welcome [a] phone call, and the message is around joint development and shared success. The U.S. wants to have economic growth and China wants to have economic growth as well.”