When lawmakers in the House begin their impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, they will focus on what he said to supporters at a rally that turned into a riot and a violent assault on the Capitol.

The question they must answer: Did Trump’s inflammatory words incite that violence?

Kurt Braddock, a scholar in the School of Communication at American University, says “decades of research on social influence, persuasion and psychology show that the messages that people encounter heavily influence their decisions to engage in certain behaviors.” In other words, writes Braddock, the president’s words can be shown to have consequences.

Also today:

Naomi Schalit

Senior Editor, Politics + Society

A video screen displays Donald Trump’s face as he prepares to address a crowd of his supporters. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

At impeachment hearing, lawmakers will deliberate over a deadly weapon used in the attack on Capitol Hill – President Trump’s words

Kurt Braddock, American University School of Communication

Words have consequences. And decades of research supports the contention that Donald Trump's words could in fact incite people to mount an insurrection at the US Capitol.

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