Donald Trump's impeachment trial entered its second day with prosecutors arguing that Trump was no "innocent bystander" but rather the "inciter-in-chief" of the deadly attack at the US Capitol that aimed to overturn his election loss to Joe Biden.
House Democrats methodically presented evidence from the former president himself — hundreds of Trump tweets and comments that culminated in his January 6 rally cry to go the Capitol and "fight like hell" to overturn his defeat.
Trump then did nothing to stem the violence and watched with "glee," they said, as the mob ransacked the iconic building. Five people died.
"To us it may have felt like chaos and madness, but there was method to the madness that day," said Democrat Jamie Raskin, the lead prosecutor, who pointed to Trump as the instigator. "And when his mob overran and occupied the Senate and attacked the House and assaulted law enforcement, he watched it on TV like a reality show. He revelled in it."
Presenting harrowing footage of the siege, Democrat Stacey Plaskett, one of the prosecutors, said Trump had "put a target" on the backs of then-Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who were leading the certification of President Joe Biden's election victory.
"His mob broke into the Capitol to hunt them down," Plaskett said.
Prosecutors played security footage from inside the Capitol that shows police officer Eugene Goodman warning Republican Senator Mitt Romney that rioters were headed his way. After encountering Goodman, Romney turns around and runs.
Goodman later led the rioters away from the Senate chamber, where Vice President Mike Pence was nearby with his family. The rioters were chanting "Hang Mike Pence!" as they made their way through the building. Goodman has been honored by Congress for his heroics.
Democrats also played audio recordings of police officers begging for more help against the rioters, the fear and panic apparent in many of their voices. As the mob breached the Capitol, one officer told dispatch, "We're still taking rocks, bottles and pieces of flag and metal pole."
In another recording, an officer says, "We have been flanked, and we've lost the line."
Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney said they are deeply disturbed by the evidence. Speaking to reporters during a break at today's trial, Murkowski said the Democrats' presentation was "pretty damning." She added: "I just don't see how Donald Trump could be reelected like this to the presidency again."
Romney said he was brought to tears watching the video of Eugene Goodman directing him away from the mob. He called the video "overwhelmingly distressing and emotional".
Trump is the first president to face an impeachment trial after leaving office and the first to be impeached twice. The riot followed a rally during which Trump urged his supporters to "fight like hell", words his lawyers say were simply a figure of speech.
The former president's impeachment trial in the US Senate began yesterday with prosecutors presenting graphic videos of the insurrection. Senators, many of whom fled for safety on the day of the attack, watched the footage of Trump supporters who battled past police to storm the halls, Trump flags waving.
Trump's team argues that the Constitution doesn't allow for impeachment at this late date. That's a legal issue that could resonate with the Senate Republicans who are eager to acquit Trump without being seen as condoning his behaviour. The former president spent yesterday fuming after his attorneys delivered a meandering defence and failed to halt the trial on those constitutional grounds. Some allies called for yet another shakeup to his legal team.
Republicans made it clear that they were unhappy with Trump's defence, many of them saying they didn't understand where it was going — particularly the opening of lead defence lawyer Bruce Castor. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, who voted with Democrats to move forward with the trial, said that Trump's team did a "terrible job". Maine Senator Susan Collins, who also voted with Democrats, said she was "perplexed". Senator Lisa Murkowki of Alaska said it was a "missed opportunity" for the defence.
Six Republicans joined with Democrats to vote that the trial of the former president was constitutional, but the 56-44 vote was far from the two-thirds threshold of 67 votes that would be needed for conviction.
The House prosecutors had argued there is no "January exception" for a president to avoid impeachment on his way out the door. Democratic Representative Joe Neguse referred to the corruption case of William Belknap, a war secretary in the Grant administration, who was impeached, tried and ultimately acquitted by the Senate after leaving office.
There appears little chance enough Republicans will break with Democrats to convict Trump at the end of the trial. And some of them appeared indifferent to the proceedings and unmoved by the evidence.
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, who led the Senate challenge to the election along with Texas Senator Ted Cruz, said the prosecutors' case was "predictable" and included information that was already public.
The video evidence was "nothing new here, for me, at the end of the day," said Hawley, who maintains the trial is unconstitutional. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, another close ally of Trump, predicted the remainder of the trial was "going to be pretty tedious" and said the two sides would be better served if they just made their cases "in a couple hours" and be "done with this".
And Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who sat with his back to the screen, writing notes on a pad, walked out in the middle of Plaskett's description of the threats against Pence.
Security remained extremely tight at the Capitol, fenced off with razor wire and patrolled by National Guard troops.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would not watch the trial.
"Joe Biden is the President, he's not a pundit, he's not going to opine on back and forth arguments," she said.