Given all of these facts and Trump’s recalcitrance to issue a call to end the violence, it sure seems as though Trump had reckless disregard for Pence’s life at best and a sinister willingness to let his fans murder Pence at worst. If the mob had succeeded, it’s impossible to imagine Trump’s conviction failing in the Senate. That is reason alone for Republicans not to acquit him.
The deaths resulting from the Capitol siege constitute only part of that day’s evil. Just as reprehensible was Trump’s intention. He intended to convince his followers to believe the lie that the election was stolen. He intended to invite them to descend upon the city during a pandemic, and he intended for them to march to the Capitol and “stop the steal.” His followers took him literally and seriously, and given that he continued to rile up the mob and refused to deploy the National Guard even after Pence, and the rest of Congress, for that matter, was in danger, it sure seems like he intended for them to breach the building and do harm.
We don’t refuse to convict people who only attempt murder and then fail, and we shouldn’t refuse to convict a former president who only attempted to sic a brainwashed mob on the Capitol to steal an election.