The heartbreaking 13-minute video released Tuesday by Democratic impeachment officials dramatically set the tone for former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial by reminding senators – now jurors, then of the careers of a mob – of the raw violence that invaded the Jan 6 riot.
After a brief opening statement, the senior manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, released a video. For over 13 minutes, it showed the Capitol riot in vivid detail: a policeman crushed against a door, screaming in pain; lawmakers and journalists took cover in the House chamber; Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman leading the rioters away from the unsecured Senate floor. It also showed Mr. Trump saying to his supporters, “Go home. We love you. You are very special. “
Most legislative events, even indictments, have a predictable pace. But the video, edited by House Democrats to feature the attack on Capitol Hill on a visual timeline coinciding with Mr. Trump’s statements and tweets, was one of the few moments, common in cinema but rare on C -SPAN, who took the room by surprise.
There was an audible gasp in the room as footage of a Capitol Police officer fired a single fatal shot at a protester trying to break into the Chamber’s bedroom. And the jarring sound of curses thrown at the police that day drew contempt in a room with strict rules against the use of profanity.
Senators remained unmoved, for the most part, but there were times when their emotions came up. Many of the journalists who covered the riot were deeply moved, some retaliating in tears, as they watched footage of the building overwhelmed by angry protesters, some of them seeing many footage for the first time.
New Jersey Democrat Senator Cory Booker put a hand over his eyes as he soaked up the video. Senator Susan Collins, Republican from Maine, took careful notes. A few looked away or looked at their phones in discomfort.
Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri told reporters that it was “the longest time I have ever sat down and just watched direct footage of what was truly a horrible day.” (Mr. Blunt, a Republican, has always voted against continuing the trial.)