The second impeachment trial of former President Trump began on Tuesday with a debate on the constitutionality of the process.
After lengthy debate, the Senate voted that the trial was constitutional. However, the 56-44 vote showed why there is little way for House prosecutors to obtain the necessary two-thirds majority for the conviction, as only six Republican senators voted a second time that the trial was unconstitutional because Trump he is no longer president.
In case you missed it, here’s what you need to know about this Tuesday’s procedures:
Voting on the constitutionality of the trial
Six Republican senators voted with Democrats supporting that impeachment against Trump is constitutional. It was the second time such a vote was held after Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, forced a vote on the same issue last month. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy emerged today as the only Republican to change his vote after the initial vote on constitutionality.
They showed video images of the riots in the Capitol
Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the House impeachment prosecutor, opened his presentation with a video showing disturbing footage of how protesters invaded police and looted the Capitol, forcing House lawmakers and the Senate to flee the legislative precincts. The video was spliced with Trump’s speech on January 6 before the riots, showing the crowd’s reaction to Trump when he urged them to head to the Capitol. “If that is not a chargeable crime, then there is no such thing,” Raskin argued.
Trump’s defense offered a wide-ranging response
The defense team’s initial presentation offered a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-style response to the impeachment charge: Trump attorney Bruce Castor praised prosecutors for a presentation that was “well done” and attorney David Schoen followed beating up Democrats for trying to tear the country apart. Schoen was supposed to present first, not Castor, according to two people familiar with the plan. But Castor told the Senate that Trump’s legal team “changed what we were going to do because we thought the House prosecutors’ presentation was well done.”
What’s next now
House attorneys will have 16 hours over two days to make their presentation starting Wednesday, followed by two days for Trump’s attorneys. The senators will then have four hours to ask written questions to both sides, and the Senate could debate and vote on whether to subpoena witnesses, although it is unclear whether it will seek to subpoena any at trial.
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