House impeachment managers are likely to produce new evidence this week in the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, which may convince some Republicans reluctant to indict him to change their minds, aides to those managers have said.
The details on the new evidence that impeachment managers will present are currently scant, but aides to the prosecutors explained that it will demonstrate how Trump’s actions in the weeks prior to the Capitol breach of January 6 prove his guilt. The new evidence will also show that Trump continued to instigate his mob of loyalists in their violent attacks of the Capitol building well after those attacks had started.
Pressed by reporters to discuss the matter further, aides told them to “stay tuned” for the details in the days ahead.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) seemed to confirm that prosecutors would be presenting new evidence. “I believe the managers will present a very strong case, the evidence will be powerful, the evidence, some of it, will be new,” he said.
The new evidence could possibly motivate some wayward Republicans, currently on the fence over the issue of indicting Trump in the Senate trial, to back his conviction, aides suggested. “Once they see that this President did in fact incite a violent insurrection in order to hold onto power, I think it very well may be the case that reluctant senators change their mind and vote to convict,” one aide said to reporters.
At the moment, however, impeachment managers face improbable odds to win their case. A vote last week on the constitutionality of the former president’s trial found just five Republicans voting in favor. In order to successfully indict the former president, two-thirds of the Senate must cast a ballot to convict Trump — which means that at least 17 Republicans must join every member of the Democratic caucus in the Senate to vote in favor of convicting him.
While House managers will present their new evidence this week, there are already plenty of statements made by many of the Trump loyalists who stormed the Capitol that seem to cast him as the instigator of the events of January 6. A statement put out by Garret Miller — a resident of Texas who traveled to Washington, D.C., in order to attend the rally put on by Trump that preceded the Capitol breach — makes it clear that he believed he was following the former president’s orders on that day.
“I believed I was following the instructions of former President Trump,” Miller said. “I also left Washington and started back to Texas immediately after President Trump asked us to go home.”
Miller faces a number of charges for his role in attacking the Capitol. He also threatened to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) while inside the building. He has recently apologized for his remarks that day, saying the threats came about “at a time when Donald Trump had me believing that an American election was stolen.”
Jacob Chansley, a QAnon fan and Trump supporter who wore horns, fur and face paint during the attacks on the Capitol, has made similar statements, through his lawyer, blaming Trump for what happened.
“My client had heard the oft-repeated words of President Trump” in the days leading up to January 6, his lawyer Al Watkins said. “The words and invitation of a president are supposed to mean something.”
During the rally on that day, Trump had told the crowd to “fight like hell” against the election results, which were being certified that day by Congress. Trump claimed, wrongly, that the election was “stolen” from him “by emboldened radical left Democrats” and by “the fake news media.” He also told his loyalists that they could “never take back our country with weakness.”
Despite the slim chances of a successful indictment in his Senate impeachment trial, there is significant support for Trump to be convicted. A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll shows that most Americans — including possibly millions who voted for Trump last November — support both his indictment and his being barred from holding federal office ever again, with 56 percent saying so in the survey released this week.