The first big theme the House managers will tackle Wednesday is how former President Trump provoked the Jan. 6 attack. Then their presentations will cover the attack itself and the harm it did, as Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) laid out to the Senate.
Neguse gave a preview of what his team will present about how Trump provoked the riot on the Capitol. He said that it was “predictable” and “foreseeable” that the mob that showed up in Washington that day would be violent.
The mob organized in “plain sight,” Neguse said, and the participants “truly believed” that what they did on Jan. 6, they were doing for Trump. They believed that Trump would protect them.
“In his unique role as commander-in-chief of our country, and as the one person that the mob was listening to and following orders from, he had the power to stop it,” Neguse said. “And he didn’t.”
Neguse pushed back on the claim that what Trump said to rally on Jan. 6 was just a speech, like any other political speech that includes fiery language.
“When in our history has a speech led thousands of people to storm our nation’s Capitol with weapons?” Neguse said.
To show how Trump’s remarks that day shouldn’t be viewed in isolation, the House managers are pointing to the months worth of Trump rhetoric that preceded it. That rhetoric imbued specific meanings in the words Trump said on Jan. 6 — meanings that the supporters who had shown up would have understood.
The three key phrases, according to Neguse, were: “the election was stolen,” “stop the steal” and “fight like hell.”
“This clearly was not just one speech. It didn’t just happen,” Neguse said. “It was part of a carefully planned months long effort with a very specific instruction: Show up on January 6 and get your people to fight the certification.”