Trump Attorneys Undeterred by Graphic Capitol Riot Footage, Say It Doesn't 'Connect' to Trump

Former President Donald Trump's legal team isn't discouraged over graphic, never-before-seen video that House impeachment managers used in a detailed play-by-play of the violent riot that broke out at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

"I didn't learn anything that I didn't already know," Trump attorney Bruce Castor told reporters Wednesday during a brief break after senators saw several close encounters with the rioters. "We know a mob breached the Capitol and wreaked havoc in the building. I'm waiting for them to connect that up to President Trump and so far that hadn't happened."

The U.S. House impeached Trump a week after the mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of President Joe Biden's election. The Senate trial formally began on Tuesday.

The videos, which included Capitol security footage of senators narrowly evading the rioters, showed insurrectionists breaking windows, chanting "stop the steal," and rushing through the hallways into normally closed-off areas of the House and Senate wings. Senators and then-Vice President Mike Pence had to be whisked to a secret safe area—missing the mob by mere minutes.

But Castor said the footage was meant to play on emotions.

"All it did was create presumptions," he said. "We deal with evidence, not guesses."

"I believe it would have an emotional impact on any jury but, [there are] two sides of a coin. Haven't played ours," he added.

After viewing the videos of their Senate colleagues, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Utah Republican Mitt Romney coming within feet of the rioters—saved only by law enforcement—several Republicans still said that they remain opposed to convicting Trump.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who has been a forceful ally of Trump since their bitter battle for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, described the footage Wednesday as "horrific" but said it won't change his vote.

"They spent a great deal of time focusing on the horrific acts of violence that were played out by the criminals, but the language from the president doesn't come close to meeting the legal standard for incitement," Cruz told reporters. "They started the day by playing video of the president saying things like 'fight' and 'win' and 'take back our country,' [but] if that language is going to be deemed incitement, there's not a political candidate in the country who hasn't used the very same language, including, I would wager every single one of the Democratic senators in that chamber.

Senator Mike Rounds, a South Dakota Republican, told reporters he still won't vote to convict because he doesn't believe that Trump can be convicted since he's no longer in office.

"There is no doubt that there was a mob, that the mob had insurrectionist plans in mind. I think most of us would acknowledge that up front, so this reconfirms that," he said. "But for many of us, and for me personally, it's still a matter we do not have the constitutional ability to impeach a person who is not a current officer."

The Senate voted 56-44 on Tuesday to go forward with the trial. Six Republicans joined all Democrats in favor, while only Republicans voted against. The vote is widely viewed as a preview of what the vote to convict Trump on insurrection charges may look like, as was an earlier vote pushed by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, where the Senate split 54-44.

The vote Paul called for was to decide if the impeachment trial should even go forward, and though it passed, it was along the expected margin. In order to convict the former president by the required two-thirds margin, the 48 Democrats, and two independent senators who caucus with them, will need 17 of their GOP colleagues to cross the aisle for the vote.

Bruce Castor
Trump attorney Bruce Castor faces reporters as he arrives prior to the start of opening arguments in the impeachment trial of former US President Donald Trump, on charges of inciting the deadly attack on the US Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 10, 2021. - Democrats present the case against Donald Trump in his Senate impeachment trial Wednesday, arguing that he directed an enraged crowd to storm Congress in the dying days of his presidency -- even if Republicans look unlikely to convict. JOSHUA ROBERTS / POOL / AFP/Getty