BROOKE GLADSTONE From WNYC in New York, this is On the Media. Bob Garfield is away this week, I'm Brooke Gladstone. Riding early on Friday, my impeachment experience this week was incomplete. Consisting of an incoherent improvisation in the first act, that's a rare bipartisan view, and a clarion concatenation in the second. Try listeners too often with a phrase like that and you're asking for trouble, but it's so good. Clarion; a clear ringing, stirring sound. Concatenation; an interlocking sequence – in this case, an unbreakable narrative chain wound around the Senate to extract a verdict of guilty. Some senators said they felt the case presented against Trump, built on months of his words and deeds, climaxing in violent rampage like a physical memory of trauma. Indeed, the point was to convey the truth in body as well as mind.
PLASKETT And the truth is, President Trump had spent months calling his supporters to a march on a specific day, a specific time in specific places to stop the certification. [END CLIP]
RASKIN You will not be hearing extended lectures from me because our case is based on cold, hard facts. [END CLIP]
CICILLINE At trial, we will prove with overwhelming evidence that President Trump is singularly and directly responsible for inciting the assault on the Capitol. [END CLIP]
DEAN They took away your vote. It's rigged. That was not true, according to judge after judge, the truth was exactly the opposite. [END CLIP]
CASTRO President Donald John Trump incited this violence. This is what the evidence has overwhelmingly shown and will show in this trial. And it's also the truth. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE Their evidence came from an impressive array of sources: FBI affidavits, media reports, Capitol police radio recordings.
CAPITOL OFFICER They're throwing metal poles at us. Get me DSL up here now! [UNINTELLIGIBLE] DSL get up here now! [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE Videos captured by documentarians, citizen journalists, capital security camera footage, live streaming insurrectionists.
INSURRECTIONISTS Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! [END CLIP]
INSURRECTIONISTS Treason! Treason! Treason! Treason! [END CLIP].
INSURRECTIONISTS No Trump, no peace! No Trump, no peace! [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE And the presentation of Trump's own tweets as they were posted during the attack to prove to at least 17 Republican senators that he had not only incited the January 6th insurrection, but helped to plan it.
PLASKETT They had originally planned rallies for January 22nd and January 23rd, after the inauguration, but Donald Trump had other plans. On December 19th, President Trump tweeted his save the date for January 6. He told his supporters to come to D.C. for a big protest. The day, billing it as: "wild". Just days later, Women for America First amended their permit to hold their rally on January 6.
BROOKE GLADSTONE That was Stacey Plaskett, delegate for the United States Virgin Islands for the prosecution.
PLASKETT Here's what the FBI said, and I quote: "Other members of the group talked about things they had done that day and they said that anyone they got their hands on, they would have killed. Including Nancy Pelosi" and that, quote, "they would have killed Vice President Mike Pence if given the chance." [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE Combining CCTV footage with a diagram of the capitol. She showed how very close members of Congress had been to the mob.
INSURRECTIONIST Where are you Nancy? We're looking for you! Nancy! Oh, Nancy! [END CLIP]
REPORTER And they show video of the senators themselves watching themselves evacuate, including a very close call for Senator Mitt Romney. He shook his head. He told reporters he had never seen that video before. I saw Senator Bill Cassidy, an important Republican in this whole proceeding, still as a stone, except for his pen, which was moving in his fingers. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE Josh Hawley, Republican senator from Missouri, the guy photographed holding up his fist in solidarity with the rioters on January 6th, did not brandish his mitts Wednesday. He just averted his eyes.
REPORTER All the senators have the option to use the gallery, the upstairs area, for seating, for social distancing. Josh Hawley is the only one taking advantage of that opportunity. He's been sitting with his legs up on the seat in front of him. Essentially reading non-related material. In the 20 minutes or so I was in the chamber just now, I didn't see him look down really at all to engage. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE Rick Scott, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio read during the hearings, Rand Paul doodled. Nor was Fox News keen to engage. It cut away from the proceedings on Wednesday as the prosecutors were revealing some of their most potent evidence. Fox's liberal ish contributor, Juan Williams, was appalled on Fox's The Five when that happened.
JUAN WILLIAMS I'm kind of shocked. I want you guys to come back, come back, join the conversation, pay attention to the news. What's going on on Capitol Hill, today, is an attempt to hold democracy and the Constitution up. To celebrate that as the basis that we're a country of laws. This impeachment trial that you guys are all ignoring, I guess you're afraid of it because it's a reminder.
JESSE WATTERS We talked about it for 10 minutes.
JUAN WILLIAMS Let me finish.
GREG GUTFELD Don't mind read Juan. Don't mind read. Don't read my mind, Juan
JUAN WILLIAMS There was no need. There is no need cause I listened to all of this. So let me you what I heard.
GREG GUTFELD Then how can you be so wrong? How could you be so wrong?
JUAN WILLIAMS You're being so rude because I'm so right. And now he's forcing Republicans to make a choice. You can stand with the mob that stormed Capitol Hill. Facing the truth is the way that we solve this. It's the way we bring the country together. Ignoring problems is never the way to solve the problem.
GREG GUTFELD You shouldn't be impugning our intentions, Juan, that's the problem.
JESSE WATTERS I hope you didn't say we are standing with these people.
JUAN WILLIAMS I don't need to impugn it, I can listen. I can hear.
GREG GUTFELD And then it goes into your brain and it comes out wrong. That's on you, not on us.
JEANINE PIRRO Don't tell me who to stand with either [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE Later that evening, Fox primetime hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity drew on increasingly deranged conspiracy theories to denature the evidence.
TUCKER CARLSON They're just flat out lying. There's no question about that. The question is, why would they lie about this? For an answer, think back to last spring. Beginning on Memorial Day, BLM and their sponsors and corporate America completely changed this country. They changed this country more in five months that it had changed in the previous 50 years. How'd they do that? They used the sad death of a man called George Floyd to upend our society. Months later, we learned that the story they told us about George Ford's death was an utter lie. There was no physical evidence that George Floyd was murdered by a cop. The autopsy show that George Floyd almost certainly died of a drug overdose. Fentanyl. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE Right. A full autopsy report by Minneapolis police found that Floyd had fentanyl and other drugs in his blood. He also had Covid-19. None of that killed him. His death was ruled a homicide. Maybe Tucker will move on to flim-flam less foul, but why would he? Fox's Sean Hannity.
SEAN HANNITY Tonight, unconstitutional shift, sham show, impeachment trade. It continues to drag on in the US Senate. If you haven't been watching the proceedings, you did not miss much. So far, house impeachment managers played a heavily edited clip of President Trump from January the 6th, and of course, they conveniently left out the part when he told the crowd that you will peacefully, patriotically let your voices be heard. [END CLIP]
DEAN In a speech spanning almost eleven thousand words, yes, we did check, that was the one time, the only time President Trump used the word peaceful or any suggestion of nonviolence. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE So not left out. Addressed, in fact.
LEVIN We are watching one of the stupidest events by some of the stupidest people in American history, and history will fix this. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE Maybe, but in the meantime, Hannity guest Mark Levin, micturated a stream of accusations, real and imagined, against individual Democrats and the party in general – utterly immaterial to the case at hand. The strategy of sidetracking, of filling the air with false equivalence, detours and distractions is well underway. Like this from Trump's defense team Friday, a tape montage of Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Cory Booker, Joe Biden and Maxine Waters.
NANCY PELOSI I just don't know why there aren't uprisings all over the country, and maybe there will be
DEMOCRAT There needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there is unrest in our lives.
NANCY PELOSI You gotta to be ready to throw a punch.
DEMOCRAT Donald Trump, I think you need to go back and then punch him in the face.
DEMOCRAT That I thought he should have punched him in the face.
CORY BOOKER I feel like punching him.
BIDEN If we were in high school, I'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.
MAXINE WATERS I will go and take Trump out tonight. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE Fully anticipated. Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline in Congress Tuesday.
CICILLINE Apparently, they think this will establish some sort of equivalency, or that it will show, in contrast, that President Trump's statements at the Save America rally weren't so bad. Like so much of what President Trump's lawyers might say today, that's a gimmick. It's a parlor game meant to inflame partisan hostility and play on our divisions. So let me be crystal clear, President Trump was not impeached because the words he used, viewed in isolation without context were beyond the pale. Plenty of other politicians have used strong language, but Donald J Trump was President of the United States. He sought to overturn a presidential election that had been upheld by every single court to consider it. He spent months insisting to his base that the only way he could lose was a dangerous, wide ranging conspiracy against them and America itself.
BROOKE GLADSTONE The defense will equate protests over criminal and racial injustice with insurrection. They will, to paraphrase Hannity, conveniently leave out the role right wing militias and brutal policing played in the violence that sometimes followed. They will forget the widespread condemnation of that violence by Democrats. History may fix that or not. History, it turns out, is a living thing in constant transformation, renewed by research, reconsiderations and reckonings in every realm of human endeavor. That's what we focus on this hour.
Every person has their story and their take on other people's stories, so tweeted Britney Spears Tuesday. Up next, we reckon with her story.
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