Trump impeachment trial recap: New riot videos, Trump tweets, Pence under threat

February 11, 2021 0 By boss

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Trump impeachment

The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump continues today.


James Martin/CNET

Using at-times unsettling video footage, audio recordings and tweets from Donald Trump, House trial managers have advanced their impeachment case against the former president by building a day-by-day and hour-by-hour timeline that they said showed a months-long effort by Trump to overthrow the results of the November election and incite his followers to storm the US Capitol on Jan. 6
, resulting in at least five dead and scores of injuries. 

The purpose, they argue, was always violence, disrupting the formal count of votes taking place in the Senate chamber and advancing the lie that Trump has won the election he lost to President Joe Biden.

Day 3 of Trump’s impeachment trial resumes Thursday at 12 p.m. ET, with House managers having 8 hours to conclude their arguments. Here’s how to watch the impeachment trial today.

Referring to Trump repeatedly as “Inciter-as-Chief” on Wednesday, Rep. Jamie Raskin and other House managers relied on video scenes not seen before in public to connect the dots on Trump’s attempt to obstruct the election results. The video, containing what Raskin called “very graphic, violent footage,” showed near-misses between then-Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Sen. Mitt Romney and rioters storming through the Capitol building. Rep. David Cicilline said rioters were “58 steps” away at one point from where Senators were moving through a hallway.

The impeachment managers, who serve as the trial’s prosecution, contrasted the disturbing footage of the violence at the Capitol with Trump’s actions at those times. “President Trump had the power to stop these attacks,” Cicilline said. “He could have commanded them to leave, but he didn’t.”

On Wednesday, Twitter confirmed it permanently banned Trump from the platform, even if he were to be acquitted and run again for president.

Watch: Trump impeachment trial stream: Day 3 arguments

Keep reading for everything you need to know about the never-before-released video, the most important moments in the trial so far, Trump lawyers’ defense strategy and the updated schedule for the rest of the trial. We’ll continue to update this story as the trial develops. 

Trump impeachment

All eyes are on former President Trump’s historical impeachment trial this week.


James Martin/CNET

Biggest moments from Wednesday’s impeachment trial of Donald Trump

House impeachment managers, who serve as prosecutors in the Senate impeachment trial, argued that the former president incited rioters to violence on Jan. 6 by building a detailed timeline stretching back to last spring to demonstrate Trump’s plan to subvert the election results. 

Here’s some of the evidence presented so far.

  • Video and audio clips and social media posts were used to show that in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 riot, Trump repeatedly called on his supporters to storm the Capitol. Video clips included Trump supporters repeating Trump’s false claims about the election. Trump deliberately used false claims about election fraud, the House managers claimed, to “trigger an angry base to ‘fight like hell‘” to overturn a legitimate election.
  • Security video of Pence being escorted to safety and Capitol security rushing Schumer and Romney away from nearby rioters. Pence wasn’t evacuated until around 2:26 p.m. ET the day of the insurrection. Rioters came close to finding Pence — who was sheltering in the building with his family — as insurrectionists “broke into the Capitol to hunt them down” and chanted “hang Mike Pence.” In the days prior to Jan. 6 Trump attempted to pressure Pence and members of Congress to overturn the election results, the impeachment managers said.
  • Newly revealed video footage and interactive models of the Capitol layout built out a timeline of the attack on the Capitol and the locations of the rioters in relation to members of Congress during the siege.
  • Instead of calling off the assault, Trump tweeted a highlight reel from his rally speech that morning while “his own vice president was under violent attack,” before praising the “great patriots” in a tweet, the prosecution said. 
  • Recordings of Trump pressuring state officials to overturn election results that had certified Biden’s win, and audio of dispatches between DC and Capitol police during the insurrection were played as part of the case to convict.

Trial now scheduled to run through the weekend, in a change

Trump’s impeachment trial was originally going to pause from Friday at 5 p.m. ET until Sunday morning, if the trial hadn’t wrapped up by then. On Wednesday, Trump’s defense reportedly withdrew the request to break on Saturday, allowing the proceedings to continue on Saturday and Sunday, according to The Hill.

This is how the trial will unfold (and here is where to watch on Day 3):

  • Feb. 11, 12 p.m. ET: The House managers will finish arguing their case; prosecutors and defense each have up to 16 hours to present their arguments, with neither side permitted to present for more than eight hours per day.
  • Feb. 12 and 13: The defense will make their presentation.
  • Feb. 14, 2 p.m. ET: Senators’ questions, scheduled for 4 hours.
  • Next week: Closing arguments — two hours for each side — and the vote on conviction or acquittal, for which a two-thirds supermajority is required.

If the House impeachment managers want to call witnesses or subpoena documents prior to their closing arguments, there will be two hours of debate by each side followed by a Senate vote on whether to allow this. If witnesses are called, there will be enough time given to depose them, and for each party to complete discovery before testimony is given.

Trump lawyers’ defense could rest on two things 

On Day 1, Trump’s legal team took the stand, relying on a dispassionate analysis of the Constitution to suggest that the impeachment trial is without merit. The defense is widely expected to counter the prosecution’s emotional and visual arguments with this different approach.

“Presidents are impeachable. Presidents are removable. Former presidents are not because they can’t be removed,” Trump attorney David Shoen said. “The Constitution is clear. Trial by the Senate is reserved for the president of the United States, not a private citizen or used-to-be president.”

Raskin countered: “The Constitution makes clear there is no January exception to the impeachment power, that a president can’t commit grave offenses in their final days and escape any congressional response.”

In addition to arguing that the trial is unconstitutional, Trump’s lawyers are also expected to argue that Trump exercised his right to free speech, and that the Capitol Hill rioters acted on their own.

Read more: The 14th Amendment is a cornerstone of Trump’s impeachment on Day 2

The senator presiding over Trump’s impeachment trial is also a juror

The US Constitution lays out clear guidelines for impeaching a sitting president: The Supreme Court chief justice should preside. Trump’s trial is an unusual case, however, since he is now a private citizen as of Jan. 20.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, the new Senate president pro tempore, is presiding. As a senator he is also still expected to be able to vote in the trial. He is also a witness to the Capitol riot. The House is prosecuting the case, and the Senate sits as jury and will ultimately vote to convict or acquit. 

To convict Trump, 67 senators — or two-thirds of the Senate — must vote in favor. Following Biden’s inauguration, the Senate is now made up of 48 Democrats, two independents who caucus with Democrats and 50 Republicans, for an even 50-50 split.

6th Republican Senator joined Democrats in test vote

Following the arguments from the two sides, the Senate voted on whether it is constitutional to try a former president. A total of 56 senators voted in favor and 44 against — meaning six Republican senators voted to continue the trial along with the 48 Democrats and two independents. 

“It was disorganized, random,” Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, said following the proceedings. “[Trump’s lawyers] talked about many things but didn’t talk about the issue at hand … Is it constitutional to impeach a president who’s left office? And the House managers made a compelling, cogent case, and the president’s team did not.”

To convict Trump, 17 Republican senators would need to vote in favor, along with the 48 Democrats and two independents, to reach the two-thirds supermajority.

A previous motion on Jan. 27 to declare the trial unconstitutional saw just five Republicans vote with Senate Democrats. On Monday, Republican Sens. Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Pat Toomey were this time joined by Cassidy in voting in favor.

Here’s what happens if the Senate either convicts or acquits Trump

If the former president is convicted in the Senate, there will be an additional vote to bar him from running again (per the US Constitution Article 1, Section 3), which would preclude a possible presidential run in 2024. This vote would require only a simple majority, where Vice President Kamala Harris serving as president of the Senate would cast a tie-breaking vote, if required.

cnet-impeachment-trial-story-inline-graphic-v3.png

Brett Pearce/CNET

Trump could also be disqualified from the benefits given to former presidents by the Post Presidents Act, including a Secret Service security detail, pension and yearly travel allowance.

According to the US Constitution, impeached presidents also can’t be pardoned.

If acquitted, Trump would have access to all the benefits of a former US president, including the option to run for public office.

More background: Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial: Here’s what could happen

Trump’s impeachment in 2019

Trump was impeached in December 2019 by the House, but the Republican-majority Senate acquitted him at the beginning of 2020.

His first impeachment involved articles accusing Trump of abusing power and obstructing Congress. The issue was Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, including a July 2019 phone call in which he appeared to be using US military aid as a bargaining chip to pressure Ukraine into investigating alleged ties between his political opponent Biden, Biden’s son Hunter and a Ukrainian gas company. The articles also charged Trump with interfering with a House inquiry into the Ukraine matter.



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