Despite Democratic impeachment managers laying out a methodical case on Wednesday, Senate Republicans seem intent as ever on acquitting Donald Trump over his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
House Democrats spent hours Wednesday showing how Trump, in their words, summoned, assembled and incited the mob to storm the Capitol. The former president was “no innocent bystander,” lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said, adding that he “surrendered his role as commander in chief and became the inciter in chief of a dangerous insurrection.”
“He told them to ‘fight like hell’ and they brought us hell that day,” Raskin said.
The evidence included dozens of Trump tweets and statements prior to the attack ― some casting doubt on the 2020 presidential election results, some telling supporters to come to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 and “fight like hell” to stop the Electoral College certification. And Democratic impeachment managers presented statements from the rioters themselves that, in the words of Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), showed they were “following the president’s orders.”
But none of that seemed to matter to GOP senators. Republicans spent breaks in between the presentations telling reporters that they were all ready to vote.
“I don’t think there’s anything that’s been said by either side that has changed any votes,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) told HuffPost at one point Wednesday afternoon. “There’s nothing that I have heard during this process that I hadn’t already heard.”
When HuffPost pressed Inhofe if there was anything that could change his mind, he said no.
“Not from anything that I have seen so far, and I can’t imagine what else is out there,” Inhofe said.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who led the effort to contest the 2020 election in Congress, said he believed that holding a trial for a former president is unconstitutional ― a dubious view the Senate rejected in a bipartisan vote on Tuesday ― and that no evidence would convince him of Trump’s guilt.
“There’s nothing new here, for me, at the end of the day,” Hawley said. “I think that we don’t have jurisdiction as a court in order to pursue this, so nothing that I’ve seen changes my view on that, and if you don’t have jurisdiction, that’s just the end of the call.”
Hawley spent much of the day alone in the public gallery above the Senate floor, which officials had made available to senators to accommodate for social distancing and reading documents while Democrats presented their case. While Hawley didn’t seem to be paying attention to the floor proceedings, he did note that his view from the gallery afforded him the opportunity to watch senator reactions from above.
“It’s interesting to sort of see people taking notes or not,” Hawley said.
To Hawley’s point, a number of Democrats spent Wednesday taking notes and paying close attention to the presentation, while most Republicans seemed uninterested and unengaged, sitting back in their seats or reading unrelated documents.