Trump incited Capitol riot further after it began, impeachment prosecutors will claim

Key Points
  • The prosecutors in former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate plan to introduce new evidence against him, senior aides said.
  • Aides said there is evidence that Trump not only laid the groundwork for the Jan. 6 Capitol complex riot, but that he also "incited it further" once the violence began.
  • They said is possible that Republican senators will decide to vote to convict Trump and bar him from holding the presidency ever again, once they hear that evidence.
  • The riot disrupted for hours the confirmation of the election of Joe Biden as president by a joint session of Congress.
A man breaks a window as a mob of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, January 6, 2021.
Leah Millis | Reuters

Prosecutors in former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial will present new evidence, and will show that he spent weeks laying the groundwork for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and that he also "incited it further" once the violence began, senior aides said Tuesday.

"The evidence of Trump's guilt in this case is overwhelming," aides to the House impeachment managers told reporters, hours before the impeachment trial was set to kick off in the Senate.

Aides said it is possible that after hearing what they called a devastating case," Republican senators will decide to vote to convict Trump and bar him from holding the presidency ever again.

"Once they see that this President did in fact incite a violent insurrection in order to hold onto power, I think it very well may be the case that reluctant senators change their mind and vote to convict," aides said.

But those aides would not give any details of that new evidence against Trump.

"Stay tuned," they said.

For Trump to be convicted, at least 17 Republican senators will have to join the Senate's 48 Democrats and two independents in finding Trump guilty.

That appears unlikely, at least for now, because 45 Republicans previously voted in favor of the argument that an impeachment trial against a former president such as Trump is barred under the law.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) arrives to meet fellow House Impeachment Managers before walking through the U.S. Capitol Rotunda to the Senate chamber on Monday February 8, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Sarah Silbiger | Getty Images

Some of those senators had said that did not necessarily mean they would vote to acquit Trump at trial.

The impeachment managers' aides said they are confident of the strength of the case.

"The House will establish at trial that President Trump merits conviction and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States," the aides said.

They also said that the presentation by the prosecutors from the House will be like a "violent crime prosecution," because

Trump is accused of helping to spark the violent invasion of the halls of Congress shortly after a rally he spoke at near the White House, where he urged supporters to help him in the "fight" to block the confirmation of Joe Biden's win as president.

Thousands of Trump supporters rioted around and in the Capitol complex on the heels of that rally, which interrupted a joint session of Congress that was formally signing off on Biden's victory.

Five people died in connection with the chaos, including a Capitol police officer, and a female Trump supporter who was shot by a police officer as she tried to climb through a window near the House chamber.

The riot sent senators and members of the House of Representatives fleeing for safety, and hiding for hours in secure locations.

Aides who spoke to reporters Tuesday morning said that "this is personal" for the members of the House on the impeachment team, because they were among those targeted by the riot.

"They are not taking this lightly," the aides said.