Democratic House impeachment officials are preparing to close their case against former President Donald J. Trump on Thursday as they move quickly with the Senate trial.
House directors presented for nearly eight hours on Wednesday, accompanying the jury – senators who were on Capitol Hill during the Jan.6 attack – through footage of the riot and Mr. Trump’s speeches in the weeks leading up to it. Most of this information was publicly available and previously televised.
But parts of their presentation – like footage from security cameras of staff sheltering in offices and radio conversations from Capitol Hill police officers – had not been released before. The timeline of events, however, and much of the content shown would have been familiar to most Americans who watched the assault as it unfolded.
- A trial is underway to decide whether former President Donald J. Trump is guilty of inciting a murderous mob of his supporters when they stormed the Capitol on January 6, violently breaching security measures and sending lawmakers went into hiding as they gathered to certify President Biden of victory.
- The House voted 232 to 197 to approve a single article of impeachment, accusing Mr. Trump of “inciting violence against the United States government” in his quest to overturn the election results. Ten Republicans joined Democrats in voting to remove him.
- To condemn Mr. Trump, the Senate would need a two-thirds majority to agree. That means at least 17 Republican senators would have to vote with Senate Democrats to be sentenced.
- A conviction seems unlikely. Last month, only five Republicans in the Senate sided with the Democrats in pushing back a Republican attempt to dismiss the charges because Mr. Trump is no longer in office. Only 27 senators say they are undecided on whether to condemn Mr. Trump.
- If the Senate condemns Mr. Trump, convicting him of “inciting violence against the United States government,” then senators could vote on whether to prevent him from performing his future duties. That vote would only require a simple majority, and if it were party lines, Democrats would win with Vice President Kamala Harris voting for the tiebreaker.
- If the Senate does not condemn Mr. Trump, the former president could again be eligible for public office. Public opinion polls show he remains by far the most popular national figure in the Republican Party.
Lawyers for Mr. Trump, who have yet to present their case, have dismissed the lawsuit itself as unconstitutional. It is still unclear whether they will attempt to respond directly to the House prosecutors’ arguments.
The Senate will meet again Thursday at noon.
What did the house managers leave in the store?
Democrats prosecuting Mr. Trump went to great lengths on Wednesday not only to remind senators of the violence that took place on January 6, but also to directly link those scenes to the statements he made.
Several senators said they left moved.
“They had a solid presentation put together in a way that I think makes it pretty compelling,” South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the House’s No. 2 Republican, told reporters afterwards.
Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the House’s senior manager, suggested his team intended to open their presentation Thursday with even more, and could continue with the flood of uncomfortable memories for much of the time that they had remained until eight o’clock. It may also be that Mr. Raskin is simply hoping to summarize the arguments advanced Wednesday before closing his case.
Either way, those in charge of the house would have to present for several more hours.
Will Trump’s Lawyers Respond?
The remaining evidence House officials presented to the jury may be intended to pressure Mr. Trump’s lawyers to confront the case. So far, his lawyers have sought to avoid arguing the case on the merits, claiming that the trial itself was in violation of the Constitution.
But the case presented by the leaders included numerous clips of Mr Trump, in the weeks leading up to the riot, in which he falsely claimed the election was stolen from him and urged his supporters to fight what he has. qualified as widespread electoral fraud.
If House directors choose to spend most of Thursday focusing on Mr. Trump and his fiery message, however, this could add to the pressure on his lawyers to mount a more comprehensive defense in the cases. days to come.
If they do, lawyers are generally expected to argue that the comments were merely opinions protected by the First Amendment and that Mr. Trump was entitled to tell his supporters to fight for election security or to express their own political views.
But lawyers for the former president have made it clear that they plan to act quickly. The trial schedule has already been shifted after a member of Mr. Trump’s defense team, David I. Schoen, withdrew a request to stay the trial on Friday night to observe the Jewish Sabbath.
How can I follow the trial?
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