Trump's second impeachment trial: Day 2

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Melissa Mahtani and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 11:41 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021
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6:24 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Republican Sen. Thune says impeachment managers doing a "good job of connecting the dots"

 From CNN's Lauren Fox

Sen. John Thune arrives prior to the start of arguments in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on Wednesday, February 10.
Sen. John Thune arrives prior to the start of arguments in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on Wednesday, February 10. Joshua Roberts/Pool/AP

Sen. John Thune, the minority whip and a member of GOP leadership, told reporters that he believes the House managers have done an “effective job” and are “connecting the dots” from former President Trump’s words to the insurrection.

“I think they were very effective. They had a strong presentation put together in a way that I think makes it pretty compelling,” Thune said.

Thune added later that “I think they’ve done a good job of connecting the dots. The President’s Twitter feed is a matter of public record, and I think I said [they’ve] done an effective job of just going back several months and just showing that public record.”

Asked how he was feeling, Thune said, “I feel sorry for you guys and the staff and everybody else who was here that day. I just think it was a very traumatic experience for a lot of people here and not just people here, but on the way here and anybody who was caught up in the mob. It is a harsh reminder of what happens when you let something like that get out of hand.”

As CNN has reported, it is still unclear what impact all of this has on someone like Thune’s ultimate vote on the question of conviction.

“Like I have said all along that I am going to listen to the arguments and look at the evidence, and I’m doing that. And like I said, these guys were, I think, very effective, and I’ll see what kind of arguments defense puts up, but I am going to listen and draw conclusions when it is all done,” Thune said.

6:21 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

GOP senator compares Capitol riot to summer protests in Seattle and Portland

From CNN's Manu Raju and Sarah Fortinsky

Susan Walsh/AP
Susan Walsh/AP

In another sign that a wave of Senate Republicans are not swayed to vote to convict former President Trump at this point, Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of the Republican leadership, compared the protests in the summer to what happened on Jan. 6 at the Capitol.

Asked if it changed his mind about convicting Trump, Blunt, who is up for reelection in Missouri in 2022, said:

"Well, you know, you have a summer where people all over the country are doing similar kinds of things. I don't know what the other side will show from Seattle and Portland and other places, but you're going to see similar kinds of tragedies there as well."

Asked if he were shaken by the video, Blunt said, "Well I've seen parts of it and I've talked to the police about a lot of this, so, you know, it's obviously a tragic day for the country and not at all what we'd want to see people all over the world seeing happen in the United States."

6:16 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Romney calls video of officer directing him away from rioters "very troubling"

From CNN's Kristin Wilson and pool reports 

Sen. Mitt Romney walks with his chief of staff on the way to the Senate chamber as arguments continue in former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial on Wednesday, February 10.
Sen. Mitt Romney walks with his chief of staff on the way to the Senate chamber as arguments continue in former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial on Wednesday, February 10. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sen. Mitt Romney, who was seen in one of the videos being directed away from the rioters by Officer Eugene Goodman, said he looked forward to thanking the Capitol police officer when he next sees him.

He called the videos shown by the House managers “obviously very troubling” and said that he didn’t know that he was that close to the rioters.

“Obviously very troubling to see the great violence that our Capitol Police and others are subjected to. It tears you you're at your heart and brings tears to your heart eyes, that was overwhelmingly distressing and emotional," Romney said.
6:15 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Trump's lawyer says Democrats failed to connect Capitol riot video to Trump

From CNN's Ted Barrett 

 Joshua Roberts/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
 Joshua Roberts/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Trump's defense lawyer Bruce Castor said the House managers failed in their presentation to connect the rioters' acts to Trump. 

“I didn't learn anything that I didn't already know.  We know a mob reached the Capitol and wreaked havoc in the building. I’m waiting for them to connect that up to President Trump and so far that hasn’t happened," he said.

Asked if he is worried the video will have an emotional impact on the jury, he said, “It would have an emotional impact on any jury. But there are two sides of the coin and we have not played ours.”

6:08 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Trump attorneys expected to argue Democrats are "glorifying violence" by recreating Capitol riot

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

When it’s their turn to speak, former President Trump’s defense team is expected to argue that House impeachment managers were “glorifying violence” when they recreated the Capitol insurrection. 

Today, Trump’s team watched quietly from the Senate floor as the managers showed video after video from that day. But a person familiar with the plan says they currently plan to argue that Democrats “glorified violence,” while also claiming they took Trump out of context during his rally on the Ellipse. 

One line they plan to use as an example is when Trump told the crowd, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

Of course, that means the Trump team will also be selectively editing his quotes. 

5:58 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

GOP senators shaken by footage, but still signal they are unlikely to change their minds

From CNN's Manu Raju 

Several GOP senators say the footage played by House managers throughout the afternoon was chilling and they are shaken by what they saw, but are signaling they won’t change their plans to vote to acquit former President Trump in the impeachment case. 

Here's what some GOP senators said:

  • When asked if he was shaken, Sen. Mike Braun told CNN, "Same way that I was before." He added it's hard to vote to convict “when you think the process is flawed in the first place."
  • Sen. Ron Johnson said he was shaken, but added that he blames the rioters, not Trump.
  • Sen. John Cornyn, usually very talkative, told CNN, “I’ve got nothing for you now.”
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is likely to convict, said on camera “that the evidence that was presented thus far is pretty damning.” Asked if she’s concerned about the ramifications if the Senate doesn’t bar Trump from running again, she said, “I don’t see how Donald Trump could be re-elected to the presidency.”

5:49 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Pence laying low as relationship with Trump remains damaged

From CNN's Jim Acosta and Pamela Brown

Advisers to former President Trump say he has not expressed remorse for the siege at the Capitol. That may be important for Senate jurors to consider after House impeachment managers released new video of the violent mob's assault on Jan. 6. 

One of the new clips show Vice President Mike Pence and his family being hustled away by Secret Service agents as the siege was under way. That affirms what Pence aides told CNN in the days following Jan. 6. Some of those aides were outraged with Trump believing he had put his own vice president in danger. 

Pence, who plans to keep laying low during the impeachment trial, has not quite patched up his relationship with Trump after what happened, according to a person familiar with the situation. 

Another person familiar with the former vice president's thinking, says Pence is lying low and there are no plans as of now for him to react or respond to the new video of him leaving the chamber and replay of the threats against him on Jan. 6. The source says as of a few days ago, Democrats had not been in contact with Pence regarding the possibility of him being a witness in the trial.

The source said Pence and Trump “discussed everything” that happened on Jan. 6. But at the time, the source said, both men were more focused on just getting to Jan. 20. 

“He got his point across at the meeting afterward,” the source said of Pence, noting there were some lingering hard feelings.

Trump did not express remorse for putting Pence in a harrowing situation at the meeting, the source added, saying, “That’s not his style." 

But the source said it is likely both men will be able to move on after the events surrounding Jan. 6, saying, “time will heal things." 

A source close to Trump who has discussed the impeachment case with him acknowledged the facts are "really bad" for the former president. 

6:06 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Swalwell closes presentation with video of DC police officer being crushed against a door

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

Senate TV
Senate TV

House impeachment managers saved one of their most compelling pieces of evidence for the final moments before the trial broke for dinner.

"I'm sorry I have to show you the next video," said House impeachment manager Eric Swalwell, adding "but in it you will see how blessed we were that on that hellish day we had a peacemaker like Officer [Daniel] Hodges protecting our lives."

Swalwell then added, "may we do all we can in this chamber to make sure that never happens again," before closing his notes as the video rolled.

During the clip, the DC officer to whom Swalwell referred — DC Police Officer Daniel Hodges — is seen being squeezed in a doorway as armed rioters tear at his mask.

In the video, the relentless crowd of rioters can be heard chanting "Heave, ho! Heave, ho!" while pushing forward in an attempt to breach the entryway to the Capitol.

Hodges, who is positioned at the very front of the police group protecting the building, is audible as he screams in agony amid the insurrectionists' violent pounding.

After the video concluded, Swalwell simply walked away from his lectern.

The Senate then announced a recess.

5:29 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

The Senate is in a break until 6:15 p.m. ET

The Senate is now in recess for dinner until 6:15 p.m. ET.

The House impeachment managers just showed new violent and graphic security footage of the Capitol riot as part of their case against former President Trump.

They will resume their arguments when the Senate reconvenes.