Democratic impeachment managers were called out Tuesday at the start of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial for showcasing a deceptively edited video montage depicting the events of Jan. 6. The 13-minute video featured clips from Trump’s speech where the former president encouraged his supporters to “fight like hell” in addition to graphic footage of rioters violently breaching security perimeters and fighting with police at the U.S. Capitol as well as yelling profanities at officers.
The video was clearly intended to convince members of Congress that Trump did in fact stoke violence and incite an insurrection as has been laid out in impeachment charges filed against him. But in order to make that case more emphatically, impeachment managers conveniently excluded key portions of Trump’s speech, including one during which he asked followers to “peacefully and patriotically make [their] voices heard.”
Shortly after the video was played and began streaming across the internet, Right Side Broadcasting Network, a media organization supportive of Trump, and others, pointed out the misleading edits.
Donald Trump Jr. posted a video on Twitter of a Newsmax interview during which Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin (N.Y.) also criticized the deceptive editing.
“If they’re going to start playing the video of what the president said, how do you cut it out at the point where the president’s telling his supporters to [protest] peacefully and patriotically?” asked Zeldin.
Left-leaning outlet, Newsweek, published a fact-check on the claims that the video was “edited to remove Trump’s call for peace before the riot” and determined the claim was true.
“According to a transcript of the speech and footage of it in its entirety, Trump did make the statement on January 6,” the Newsweek report stated. “The video played at Trump’s trial Tuesday showed the violence that occurred at the Capitol but does not include that part of his speech.”
“The montage presented by [lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)] shows the tens of thousands of Trump supporters at the Ellipse as he echoed unsubstantiated claims of a stolen election. It then cuts to rioters marching to and storming the Capitol before the conclusion of the speech, then returns to a later portion of Trump’s remarks,” it added.
In response, former Republican congressman, Jason Chaffetz, suggested that the video may have violated a House of Representatives rule that bars images, videos, or audio files presented in the chamber from being “manipulated with the intent to mislead the public.”
“Go to page 34 of House Rules. Did the manipulated video violate the House Rules?” Chaffetz tweeted Tuesday afternoon. The rules state:
The Committee on Ethics is directed to report to the House, not later than December 31, 2021, any recommended amendments to the Code of Official Conduct, as well as any accompanying regulations, intended to address the circumstances and instances, if any, for which a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House may be subject to discipline for the dissemination by electronic means, including by social media, of any image, video, or audio file that has been distorted or manipulated with the intent to mislead the public.