While the whole world is distracted by the splendid video and superlative commentary, the Donald J. Trump “Big Lie” impeachment trial is setting a high mark for a historic judicial presentation.

Wednesday, the second day of the trial, began with explanatory viewing of multiple videos shot at America’s legislative capitol during the bloody, noisy violence on Jan. 6.

Stacey Plaskett, the House delegate from the US Virgin islands, explained the day’s first video show, that added time data to colorful, scary pictures, during the close-up, hand-to-weapon fight time.

The Wednesday show also heavily targeted Trump, devoted to decisively discrediting his false claims about the election.

“Let’s start with the Big Lie,” Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Chicago, said.  

He argued that Trump’s false claims about the election were at the heart of the case and led to the explosive reaction after his Jan. 6 rally.

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, dismissed arguments by Trump’s legal team that the former president was simply exercising his free speech rights, like any other American.

Most leading Republicans have publicly accepted the legitimacy of President Biden’s decisive election. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, recently accused Trump and his circle of feeding “lies” to loyalists.

But McConnell and other Republicans waited weeks after the election was decided to formally acknowledge the new administration, for fear of offending Trump. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the lead impeachment manager, concluded his opening remarks on the second day of the impeachment trial in the Senate by invoking the role played by rioters linked to white supremacist groups.

Most legislative events, even impeachments, have a predicable cadence. But the video, edited by House Democrats to present the Capitol on a visual timeline coinciding with Trump’s statements and tweets, was one of the rare moments, common in cinema, but rare in C-SPAN, that took the chamber by surprise.

There was an audible gasp on the room when the images appeared of a Capitol Police officer firing a single fatal gunshot at a protester who was trying to break into the House chamber. And the discordant sound of curses being thrown at police that day drew looks of disdain in a chamber with strict rules against the use of profanity.

Many of the reporters who covered the riot were deeply moved. With some fighting back tears, as they watched the images of the building being overwhelmed by angry protesters, some of them seeing many of the images for the first time.

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