Democrats claim Capitol rioters were acting on Donald Trump’s ‘instructions’

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Democratic impeachment managers said Thursday that Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 at the behest of former President Donald Trump, pushing back at Mr. Trump’s argument that the rioters were acting of their own volition.

Rep. Diana DeGette, Colorado Democrat, told senators in the third day of the impeachment trial that numerous rioters have said they were following Mr. Trump’s instructions to “stop the steal” of the presidential election.

“The attack was done for Donald Trump, at his instructions, and to fulfill his wishes,” Ms. DeGette said. “Donald Trump had sent them there. They said they came here because the president instructed them to do so.”

The impeachment managers’ final day of presentation is focusing on Mr. Trump’s role in the attack. The president’s defense team will begin its arguments on Friday.

Republicans say they’re confident that Democrats cannot get the 67 votes needed to convict Mr. Trump on the charge of inciting the riot, in which five people died and 140 police officers were injured. The trial could conclude this weekend.

Ms. DeGette cited comments by rioter Jacob Chansley, the so-called Qanon “shaman” who was dressed in a fur hat with horns during the attack, that he had gone to the Capitol at Mr. Trump’s invitation and now feels he was “duped” by the former president. 

Mr. Chansley said in a statement this week that he believes Mr. Trump “let a lot of peaceful people down.”

“On Jan. 6, we know who lit the fuse,” Ms. DeGette said. “They came because he [Mr. Trump] told them to. Their leader, the man who incited them, must be held accountable.”

Mr. Trump’s lawyers have said the former president never advocated violence. They say he believes the rioters should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

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