House manager close: Trump 'lit the match' on riot

In his closing argument for Donald Trump's impeachment trial, lead House Manager Rep. Jamie Raskin told Senators the former president "must be convicted for the safety and security of our democracy and our people." (Feb. 13)

Video Transcript

JAMIE RASKIN: We've offered you overwhelming and irrefutable and certainly unrefuted evidence that former President Trump incited this insurrection against us. We gave you many hours of specific factual details about, to use Congresswoman Cheney's words, the president-- how the president summoned the mob, assembled the mob, incited it, lit the match, sending them off to the capitol, where they thought, as they yelled out, that they'd been invited by the President of the United States. And then, of course, they unleashed unparalleled violence against our overwhelmed and besieged but heroic police officers.

Did he quickly try to get in touch with or denounce the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the rally organizers, the Save the-- "Save America" rally organizers, and everyone on the extreme right to tell them that this was not what he had in mind, it's a big mistake, call it off, call it off, call it off, as Representative Gallagher begged him to do on national television? No.

He delighted in it. He reveled in it. He exalted in it. He could not understand why the people around him did not share his delight.

And then a long period of silence ensued while the mob beat the daylights out of police officers and invaded this building, as you saw on security footage, and proceeded to hunt down Vice President Mike Pence as a traitor and denounced and cursed Speaker Pelosi, both of whom you heard mob members say they wanted to kill.

It's now clear beyond doubt that Trump supported the actions of the mob, and so he must be convicted. It's that simple. When he took the stage on January 6, he knew exactly how combustible the situation was. He knew there were many people in the crowd who were ready to jump into action, to engage in violence at any signal that he needed them to fight like hell to stop the steal, and that's exactly what he told them to do.

If that's not a high crime and misdemeanor against the Republic in the United States of America, then nothing is. President Trump must be convicted for the safety and security of our democracy and our people.