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Cowboys for Trump head, El Paso Walmart shooting mentioned in Trump impeachment trial

WASHINGTON, DC -- In day three of the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, a U.S. House prosecutor invoked mentions of Cowboys Trump leader Couy Griffin and El Paso's Walmart shooting tragedy.

Griffin, an Otero County Commissioner, is facing federal criminal charges for his presence in a restricted area of the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot. He was later taken into custody by the FBI when he returned to Washington for Joe Biden's inauguration.

Impeachment manager Rep. Diana DeGette on Thursday, as prosecutors wrapped up their case, used Griffin as an example of followers prone to violence who were embraced by Trump.

Among several video clips of Griffin shown included his headline-grabbing comment from last year: "The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat," which Trump had shared at the time on Twitter.

"President Trump's conduct without a doubt made it clear he supported Griffin, DeGette told senators. She then cited a comment by Griffin that it "means a lot to me" to know that "the POTUS has my back."

In an interview Thursday with ABC-7, Griffin reacted by again claiming that he "was only speaking about the policy and politics" of the Democrats and had not advocated for any physical harm to political opponents.

Additional clips shown at the impeachment trial included excerpts from ABC-7 and others of what prosecutors suggested were incendiary comments Griffin made about the Jan. 6 protest-turned-riot.

"There's gonna be blood running out of that building," he can be heard saying, "and you mark my word, we will plant our flag on the desks of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer."

Griffin responded in the ABC-7 interview on Thursday that Jan. 6 was "a very sad day," but added: "It was a day that people had to stand up to take our country back."

House prosecutor DeGette also referenced the El Paso's Aug. 3, 2019, mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart and suggested that the suspected gunman was, in part, inspired by Trump's words.

She contended the former president had a history of stoking racial tensions, which played a role among some involved in the Capitol attack.

Court documents outlined that the suspected El Paso shooter reportedly admitted targeting Hispanics in the attack - and his desires was to stop the invasion of Mexicans into the U.S.

DeGette cited a late January bulletin from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warning of the potential for more El Paso-type racial attacks.

"Longstanding racial and ethnic tension of the sort that led to a man killing 23 people at an El Paso Walmart will continue to grow and motivate further attacks," she read.

DeGette noted that the Capitol siege "was not the first time President Trump inspired violence."

But then in imploring senators to convict, she added, "it must be the last time he is given a platform to do so."

El Paso / New Mexico / New Mexico Politics / News / Top Stories / Video

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

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