But by interweaving fascinating video clips, surveillance footage and never-before-seen footage, Democratic impeachment leaders proved Wednesday that the only way to truly understand the horror of the Capitol Hill attack and the former president’s inability to stop it is to see the day’s events in all their dimensions.

The leaders built a strong case against Trump and created a kind of virtual reality of the events of January 6 that every senator in the House had to witness. They sat as jurors in the same offices that the rioters had ransacked, in a building that had been desecrated. But this time they watched the events unfold on video, with overlapping perspectives, police defending them, rioters chasing them, and even their congressional colleagues fearing for their lives.

The power of the presentation lies in its unique three-dimensionality, which would never have been possible before the age of the cell phone, in which everything is documented and available in real time, allowing managers to work with a multitude of videos and social media.

Never before have Americans seen an attack on their country from such a different perspective. For hours, leaders meticulously described in detail what happened during each critical minute of the siege – and then played the president’s actions or inactions against each other. Sometimes they showed the same minutes or seconds in two or three different videos to make their case. The images were brutal, frightening and unforgettable.

Because Trump was accused of inciting the riots, Democrats carefully documented their actions leading up to the election and the riots, recording audiotapes of his speeches and interviews and publishing his tweets.

But they presented an even more devastating case, capturing his inaction as commander-in-chief during the worst moments of the siege with Twitter, Parler, and YouTube clips; cell phone footage of journalists and congressmen; frantic police radio stations calling for reinforcements; footage from the officer’s body camera captured by the prosecutor’s office; and a host of surveillance cameras on the Capitol side capturing key moments from a bird’s-eye view.

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In a gesture of surprise, they discovered previously unseen video footage and showed the painful moments when Vice President Mike Pence, his wife and daughter were hurled to safety via a narrow staircase from the Capitol side of the Senate chamber. They compared footage from a Capitol Hill camera with the enraged crowd at the entrance that scanned “Hang Mike Pence! — … and then crystallized the danger with a chilling photo of the rope and gallows outside the Capitol that day.

The leaders tried to put things in context by showing how Trump tweeted that he attacked Pence two minutes before the vice president cleared the building – and how the former president continued to inflame the crowd by leading his supporters to believe that Pence might have somehow stopped voter certification.

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To counter the claims of Trump’s supporters that he did not incite violence and had nothing to do with the day’s events, the leaders showed a video of a Trump faithful outside Capitol Hill reading through a megaphone in real time a tweet from the former president accusing Pence of infidelity.

There was also a new audio recording: a frantic police radio interview with an officer who said, “We are surrounded” and warned that the officers would “bring grenades.”

“Cruiser 50.” They broke through the scaffolding,” the officer said on the radio, his voice full of sadness. “Let the Capitol know they broke through the scaffolding. They’re behind our line.”

And then everyone watching the trial, including the Senate jury, felt what it was like in the blue rows as they watched, from the vantage point of their stomachs turned over by a camera worn on their bodies, as the police officers were beaten with fists, pipes and sticks.

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Joaquin Castro of Texas, one of the leaders of the impeachment process, said about 140 officers were also injured in the January 6 attack that killed five people. One of them will lose an eye, he said. Others have broken ribs. One was stabbed with a metal fence post. Wednesday’s footage showed onlookers witnessing the horror of these attacks on the lives of these officers, a fight that one official rightly described as “medieval.”

At another point, prosecutors tried to describe the danger employees felt when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was chased by rioters who knocked on doors and asked where she was. They played a deaf recording of a phone call from one of Pelosi’s staffers after her aides hid under a desk in a domestic conference room behind a barricaded door. “They’re knocking on the door looking for her,” an aide whispered into the phone. The time of the call was filmed minutes later: A rioter makes his way through the exterior door, then rushes to the side of the shelter and turns away.

In another new, almost forgotten surveillance video, Capitol Hill police officer Eugene Goodman jumps into a Senate alleyway to respond to the infraction, confronting Senator Mitt Romney and gesturing the Utah Republican, who criticized Trump’s unwarranted campaign rhetoric, to turn around and run the other way to avoid a confrontation with the crowd.

Democratic Party leaders also used questionable and inconsistent video footage in an attempt to capture the confusion and fear that followed the shooting by a Capitol Police officer of rebel Ashley Babbitt, who supported Trump. California Representative Eric Swalwell, who is in charge of the impeachment process, showed video footage taken around the same time by Michigan Democratic Representative Dan Kildee in the House gallery, where party members heard the shot as they lay on the ground under the gallery seats, unable to flee and instructed to keep gas masks nearby.

A gunshot is heard, followed by a sigh of profanity, which taps into the fear of that moment: “Take off your pens,” the members of the group say to each other. Swalwell noted that the hum in the background of the video image came from the gas masks the band members were holding.

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As a whole, the video was fascinating and provocative precisely because it showed the height of Trump’s power, from the echoes of his repeated words in response to his rioters to the way they captured the anger that rushed through his crowd as they marched through the Capitol, determined to do damage in his name as they fought for his cause. They also showed what could have happened if the former president had behaved differently that day.

At 4:17 p.m., Trump finally tweeted a message to the camera ordering the rioters to disperse. During Wednesday’s hearing, video showed “QAnon shaman” Jacob Chanceley, who could be seen in the Capitol wearing horns, a fur hat and red-white-and-blue face paint, returning to the Capitol grounds and telling the others some time later that Trump had aired a video message telling them all to go home now.

“We won,” says Mr. Chanceley.

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