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Rep. Swalwell Makes Point To Distinguish Between Protesters And Rioters

During Day 2 of the Senate impeachment trial, House impeachment manager Rep. Eric Swalwell specifically distinguished between those protesting the Nov. 3 election results and the violent rioters that breached the Capitol building.

"I want to be clear: During this trial, when we talk about the violent mob during the attack, we do not mean every American who showed up at [former] President [Donald] Trump's rally," the California Democrat said.

"Certain Americans came to protest peacefully, as is their right. That is what makes our country so great — to debate freely, openly and peacefully, our differences," he said. "Just like all of you were attempting to do in this very room on Jan. 6," referencing the Republican senators who raised objections to the election results during the tallying of Electoral College votes.

Swalwell stressed that Trump's actions leading up to the insurrection were "wildly different" than anything Republican lawmakers did in raising election concerns.

"[Trump] didn't tell his supporters to fight or be strong in a casual reference," Swalwell argued. "He repeatedly, over months, told them to fight for a specific purpose. He told them their victory was stolen, the election was rigged and their patriotic duty was to fight to 'stop the steal.'

"And when they were primed and angry and ready to fight, he escalated and channeled their rage with a call to arms: Show up on Jan. 6, at the exact time the votes of the American people were being counted and certified, and then march to the Capitol and 'fight like hell.' "

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Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.