Democratic U.S. House impeachment managers pointed to Michigan Wednesday while building their case in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
The U.S. Senate trial is being held to determine whether to convict Trump for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The Democratic-led U.S. House impeached Trump last month.
U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) showed multiple clips of Trump discussing Michigan’s election results, falsely claiming that more people voted in Detroit than live there.
“Bear in mind, this is not the president saying to his supporters that somebody stole your cup of coffee,” Castro said. “This is the commander-in-chief telling his supporters, ‘Your election is being stolen, and you must stop the counting of American votes.’ And it worked. His words became their actions.”
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) could be heard laughing at Trump’s claims that dead people had voted in the election and raising her arms in an exhaustive manner when Trump targeted Michigan, per Capitol Hill pool reports.
Castro also showed videos of Trump supporters banging on the windows of the absentee ballot counting board in Detroit’s TCF Center while chanting “Stop the count” and gathering after dark outside Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s home in December.
U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Penn.) pointed to Trump’s calls to GOP members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers after a unanimous vote to certify the election results on Nov. 17. The first vote was deadlocked.
“That same night, after their vote to certify the results, Trump called the two Republican members of that board, pressuring them to change their minds,” said Dean. “The call worked. The next day, both Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, the Republican board members, attempted to rescind their vote to certify Michigan’s election results, but they simply couldn’t.”
Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) pointed to a Nov. 1 Trump campaign rally in Macomb County where Trump suggested that a video of his supporters surrounding a Joe Biden campaign bus on a Texas highway was actually them protecting the bus. The event led to an FBI investigation of the Trump supporters.
“Our president, Donald Trump, could have said, ‘OK, I didn’t realize how bad that was. This was very violent. Please stop.’ But he didn’t,” Plaskett said. “He saw the investigation and made a statement in defense of his supporters’ attack on the bus.”
Plaskett also showed a video of far-right activist Nicholas Fuentes speaking at a December rally in Washington, D.C., where he said, “We are going to destroy the GOP” if they don’t help overthrow the election. Fuentes had also organized a “Stop the Steal” rally in Michigan and later was among those who came to D.C. on Jan. 6, Plaskett said.
U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) shared a video filmed by Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Twp.) on the House floor in which members of Congress can be heard telling one another to remove their congressional lapel pins so they would be less easy to identify if they encountered any members of the mob.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 232-197 to impeach Trump a second time on Jan. 13. Ten Republicans joined the effort, including two Michigan Republicans: Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph).
The Senate held a vote yesterday on the constitutionality of holding an impeachment trial for a president who is no longer in office, which has never happened before. The vote was 56-44, with six Republicans joining all 50 Democratic senators in voting in favor of its constitutionality, including Michigan’s two U.S. senators, Stabenow and Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.).
The Senate would need 67 votes to successfully convict the former president, barring him from running for federal office in the future and stripping him of various post-presidency benefits.