17:59 GMT03 March 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Democratic impeachment prosecutors in the Senate on Thursday argued that the Capitol rioters acted on Donald Trump’s encouragement and not for their own reasons, as has been alleged by the defense.

    House impeachment managers, acting as prosecutors, are wrapping up their presentation of the case at the Senate for Trump’s conviction on "incitement of insurrection" charges. The allegations were denied by the former president and his lawyers, who are expected to take the floor on Friday.

    "That’s just not the case [that they acted on their own]. It’s not what the insurrectionists actually said. They said they came here because the president instructed them to do so... he invited them with clear instructions for a specific time and place and with clear orders to fight to stop the certification in Congress by any means necessary," impeachment manager Diana DeGette said. "As more and more of these people have been charged, the confession and the regret simply cascades. More and more insurrectionists are admitting that they came at Trump’s direction."

    The congresswoman provided numerous videos and quotes to support her point.

    "You don’t have to take my word for it that the insurrectionists acted at Donald Trump’s direction. They said so," she said.

    Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin accused Trump of spending for months cultivating "America’s most dangerous extremist groups" with "corrosive lies and violent rhetoric." He showed several videos that captured physical attacks on Trump opponents over recent years and the former president’s own remarks that he notes encourage violence.

    "Get them the hell out of here, please. Throw them out... Knock the crap out of them. I’ll pay for the legal fees. I promise," Trump is recorded as saying during a rally of his supporters.

    Raskin sought to prove that Trump was fully aware of his fans’ loyalty and the violent nature of their radical members.

    "And he knew that his most hardcore supporters were willing to direct violence at elected officials, to attack and lay siege to a Capitol building. And he knew they would be ready to heed his call on January 6 to 'stop the steal' by violence to block the peaceful transfer of power in the United States. He knew they were coming, he brought them here and he welcomed them with open arms," Raskin observed.

    Trump’s lawyers defended the former president's refusal to concede the election and his appeal to his supporters to "fight like hell" as constitutionally-protected free speech. They argued that Trump could not foresee violence and suggested that he had moved to denounce it swiftly.

    In speeches to the Senate, impeachment managers also noted that Trump "is not showing remorse, he is showing defiance." They warned that more violence is possible unless swift action is taken.

    The defense team will take the floor on Friday and, according to CNN, is expected within a single day to present its case for acquittal, paving the way for senators to debate and vote. The verdict may be passed as early as this weekend, and, according to some, is likely to be in favor of Trump, given a likely lack of a two-thirds majority in the chamber needed for conviction.

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