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Impeachment trial turns to Trump's rhetoric in the months before the Capitol riot

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House impeachment managers used former President Trump’s tweets and words to argue that he encouraged his supporters to attack the Capitol. Kris Van Cleave has the latest on the trial.

Video Transcript

NORAH O'DONNELL: We're going to begin with breaking news from the US Capitol, where tonight, House impeachment managers wrapped up their case against former President Trump with a warning, saying if Senators don't convict Mr. Trump and ban him from holding public office, he could incite violence again. During a day of high drama, Democrats used the words of the rioters themselves as evidence they attacked the Capitol because they believed that's what Mr. Trump told them to do. And in a stunning twist, House managers even pointed to a conversation the former president had with Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville while the attack was happening, saying it showed Mr. Trump knew Vice President Mike Pence was in danger, but still kept insulting him. That, House manager said proved Mr. Trump felt no remorse for his actions. Well, tomorrow, the former president's lawyers will lay out their defense.

Sources tell CBS News they'll argue the trial is unconstitutional and point to House managers who objected to the results of previous elections. And there's also some breaking news from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Tonight, President Biden says his administration has signed deals to secure another 200 million doses of two coronavirus vaccines.

The White House saying they've now secured enough shots for 300 million Americans to be vaccinated by the end of July. We have a lot of major headlines tonight. Our team is standing by to cover them all. CBS' Kris Van Cleave is going to lead off our coverage tonight from the Capitol. Good evening, Chris.

KRIS VAN CLEAVE: Norah, House Democrats say without a conviction, former President Trump or another future presidential candidate could essentially try to do the same thing and attack the Capitol. This, as we are learning tonight, members of the Oath Keeper militia group had trained in urban warfare and had a plot to use boats to bring heavy weapons across the Potomac and attack the Capitol.

- Traitors! Traitors! Traitors!

KRIS VAN CLEAVE: Relying again on jarring video reminders of the violence on January 6, House Democrats sought to break down a key Republican talking point, former President Trump couldn't have known the crowd gathered to hear him speak would violently storm the Capitol.

JAMIE RASKIN: January 6 was a culmination of the president's actions, not an aberration from them.

KRIS VAN CLEAVE: Calling the April siege of the Michigan Capitol a trial run, impeachment managers used the former president's tweets and words--

DONALD TRUMP: We got to get her going. I don't think she likes me too much.

- KRIS VAN CLEAVE: --to show he encouraged supporters to act, while never condemning the foiled kidnapping plot against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Instead, arguing Mr. Trump stepped up his attacks.

JAMIE RASKIN: He had just seen how easily his words and actions inspired violence in Michigan.

KRIS VAN CLEAVE: They warned, the danger has not passed. House Democrats blamed the former president for emboldening white supremacists and stoking rhetoric threatening future violence against politicians--

COUY GRIFFIN: The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.

KRIS VAN CLEAVE: --even welcoming Cowboys for Trump founder, Couy Griffin, to the White House. He was later arrested in relation to the Capitol attack.

COUY GRIFFIN: Because there's going to be blood running out of that building.

- We learned during the siege the former president called Senator Tommy Tuberville. The freshman Republican says he told Mr. Trump he had to go because Vice President Mike Pence had just been evacuated off the Senate floor, as seen in this video. Just minutes later, Mr. Trump took aim at his own vice president on Twitter, even as a mob was hunting him inside the Capitol.

TED LIEU: President Trump was not showing remorse. He was showing defiance. He was telling us that he would do this again. I'm afraid he's going to run again and lose because he can do this again.

KRIS VAN CLEAVE: Just today, five people associated with the Proud Boys were charged with conspiracy. Charging documents alleged the group moved closely to each other inside the Capitol on January 6 wearing pieces of fluorescent orange tape on their clothing and wearing tactical style gear. One had a wooden club or axe handle that was initially disguised as a flag. Mr. Trump's lawyers are expected to argue the impeachment trial is unconstitutional, that the former president was denied due process, and his actions were protected by the First Amendment. House Democrats moved to undercut their case.

JOE NEGUSE: He was the President of the United States. And he had spent months, months using the unique power of that office, of his bully pulpit to spread that big lie.

KRIS VAN CLEAVE: Impeachment managers closed out their case focused on the harm the Capitol attack has caused, including the psychological effect on those working at the Capitol.

- I heard shots fired, shots fired, shots fired. Show me your hands. Show me your hands. Then I did not know if they were right outside.

DAVID CICILLINE: These people matter, these people who risk their lives for us.

KRIS VAN CLEAVE: The former president's defense team expects to only need tomorrow to argue its case. And while most Senate Republicans appear likely to vote to acquit, Louisiana's Bill Cassidy says he's got some real questions he needs answered by the defense, including why didn't the former president call off the rioters faster? Norah.

NORAH O'DONNELL: Kris Van Cleave, thank you.