It’s not a criminal trial and he isn’t charged with a crime. The legal requirement to prove somebody incited a riot isn’t relevant (although this case, beyond a reasonable doubt, meets that requirement). This is the formal evaluation of a leader who took an oath to faithfully execute his office. The senators are supposed to determine whether he lived up to that oath and should ever hold a similar office again.
Nor is he “some guy” who showed up at a demonstration and made a speech. Rep. Jamie Raskin explained today why the First Amendment protection of freedom of speech doesn’t apply to a government official, even a public school teacher, who says inflammatory things and as a result loses their job. It certainly doesn’t apply to a president of the United States who continuously lies about the result of an election and tells an angry crowd to go to the Capitol in a last ditch effort to stop the legitimate transfer of power.
The only thing going for the defense — aside from the fact that the jurors aren’t impartial and don’t get to cast secret ballots — is that the creep didn’t explicitly say something like “Now I want you to go to the Capitol and do whatever you can to get inside the building and stop the certification”, followed by “It’s crucial to the future of our country that you show no mercy”.
Mob bosses rarely give such explicit orders. Prosecutors don’t need a boss to have issued explicit instructions to rub somebody out if the boss said enough to get the job done. Bosses say things like “take care of it” or “you know what to do” or “he brought this on himself”. In this case, a leader told his followers to “stop the steal”, “fight like hell” and “be strong or you won’t have a country anymore”. This was at the very moment, a few blocks away, that Congress was doing something he’d fought against every way possible for months.
So we can all take a break tomorrow when the creep’s lawyers spin their web of distraction and deceit. If you watch much of it, good luck and congratulations on your fortitude.