Donald Trump’s incendiary speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 has been replayed and dissected endlessly on news broadcasts, and so has footage of the ensuing riot and invasion of the Capitol.
But a new video released Monday seeks to connect the two events, intercutting the then president’s words with recordings of the crowd, soon to become a mob, cheering him on and chanting encouragement to “storm the Capitol.”
The compilation, much of it from the now suspended right-wing social media site Parler, was produced by Just Security, an online national-security forum and think tank based at the New York University School of Law.
The 10-minute video begins with a woman, identified as Jennifer Ryan, on her way to the rally, calling the day “a prelude to the war that’s about to happen.”
“We’re here to take our country back,” she says. “There’s more of us than there are of them.”
"We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and -women,” Trump says from the podium. “We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
“We fight. We fight like hell,” he added. “And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
From the crowd came shouts of “storm the Capitol,” “invade the Capitol building” and “take the Capitol” as he spoke. Others could be heard mimicking Trump, chanting, “Fight like hell!”
Hundreds of them did just that, mounting a siege that left five people — including a U.S. Capitol Police officer — dead and dozens more injured. Law enforcement officials have identified and arrested dozens of rioters, who have been charged with a litany of federal crimes.
Video footage taken from the crowd during the assault on the Capitol has been used and cited by law enforcement in many of those arrests. Trump was impeached the following week on charges that he incited the insurrection, and his trial in the Senate is expected to begin Feb. 8.
Video footage of the events of Jan. 6 is likely to be pivotal in the case against him.
“The video contains strong evidence that Trump did incite the insurrection, regardless of whether that was his intent,” Paul Butler, former federal prosecutor with the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department, told Just Security. “The rioter’s words ‘we were invited here’ were exactly right, and the refrain ‘fight for Trump’ was directly responsive to Trump’s demand. In criminal law, we would say this video proves the act but perhaps not the mental state — that Trump intended to cause the insurrection or knew it would happen as a result of his words.”
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