At Trump's Senate trial, the impeachment managers made their case with this video:
The phrase “Stop the Steal” was not introduced in 2020. In fact, it has been a hallmark of nearly every election throughout Trump’s political career.
“Stop the Steal” was deployed during the 2016 presidential election by Roger Stone, a longtime Trump associate and confidant. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that the campaign was orchestrated “first under the auspices of defending Trump’s Republican primary nomination and later contesting a potential Hillary Clinton victory that never manifested.” At the time, Democrats accused Stone of seeking to intimidate non-White voters, which Stone denied. The phrase flared up again in 2018, focused on Florida and its close gubernatorial and Senate contests that year.
In 2020, associates and protégés of Stone — including several who assisted in prior Stop the Steal efforts — revamped the phrase to organize a nationwide protest movement that sought to pressure state and federal officials to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Like before, the movement was embraced and promoted by Trump himself and several prominent Republican leaders aligned with him.
The following timeline begins at the first notable indication of a reemerging “Stop the Steal” campaign ahead of the 2020 election and includes significant milestones as groups across the spectrum of radicalization coalesced around the disinformation-driving movement. At all times, the movement was responsive as Trump engaged and promoted it.
Put simply, the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol would likely have not occurred if not for Trump’s explicit and tacit encouragement of the Stop the Steal movement.