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What happened today
House Democrats called the former president a clear and current danger to democracy that could sow further violence if he is not convicted and prevented from returning to office.
In their second and final day of argument, House impeachment officials argued that the rioters who stormed Capitol Hill were inspired directly by Mr. Trump – and that Mr. Trump knew exactly what he was doing when he pushed the crowd.
They also preemptively refuted two of the main arguments Mr. Trump’s lawyers should make: that his actions are protected under the First Amendment, and that the impeachment process violated his due process rights.
In a meticulously choreographed sequence, House impeachment officials described Mr. Trump’s words and how the rioters understood them, how the Capitol riot emboldened right-wing extremists, the trauma inflicted on them. people who were on Capitol Hill that day and the consequences. for the reputation of the United States.
Here are some of their key points:
Colorado Representative Diana DeGette showed video footage of Mr. Trump’s supporters openly stating that they were acting on his behalf. “We have been invited here!” yelled a rioter. “We have been invited by the President of the United States!”
Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland pointed to Mr. Trump’s long history of encouraging violence among his supporters. He played, for example, a clip of Mr. Trump telling his supporters at a rally during his 2016 campaign to “bring shit down” from protesters and suggesting that he would pay those supporters’ legal fees.
In one of the highlights of the day, Representative Ted Lieu from California directly challenged defense attorneys’ argument that Democrats were motivated by fear that Mr. Trump would show up again and win. “I’m afraid he’ll show up again and to lose, “he said.” Because he could start over. “
Texas Representative Joaquin Castro invoked “law and order” and highlighted how the world reacted to the riot – arguing for sentencing based on the principles Mr. Trump often talks about and other Republicans. He said the riot gave China, Iran and Russia an opening to demean American democracy and argued that if the Senate did not condemn Mr. Trump, he could “ lose power from our North Star example on Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights. and, above all, the rule of law. “
Finally, leaders preemptively refuted the First Amendment and due process arguments Mr. Trump’s lawyers are expected to make.
Colorado Representative Joe Neguse said the First Amendment allegations were “a distraction” based on a straw version of events. “They are not concerned with the facts that actually happened, the facts that we have proven, but another set of facts where President Trump just gave a controversial speech at a rally,” he said. he declared. “This is not what we accused in the indictment article, and it is not what happened.”
Mr. Raskin, who taught constitutional law, gave a legal rebuttal, claiming that the First Amendment did not apply to Mr. Trump’s actions for two main reasons: because it does not protect incitement to violence and because the oaths of office taken by public officials create a higher standard for them than for ordinary citizens. More broadly, he said, Mr. Trump’s actions “endangered the very constitutional order” that protects rights like free speech.
Mr Lieu rejected the defense argument that the House’s swift impeachment vote violated Mr Trump’s due process rights, saying the House was operating like a grand jury, deciding to indict the president. “He receives all the processes due to him right here in this room,” he said of the Senate.
- 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 underground as they gathered to certify President Biden. victory.
- The House voted 232 to 197 to approve a single article of impeachment, accusing Mr. Trump of “inciting violence against the government of the United States” 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.
Arrive at 17
Even before the trial resumed on Thursday, Republican senators made it clear how unlikely it was to change their votes. Despite the new graphic videos that House impeachment officials showed the day before, which left some senators from both parties visibly shaken, there was no indication that anywhere near the required number of Republican senators were ready to go. condemn Trump. Seventeen Republicans are expected to join each Democrat in securing the two-thirds majority needed for sentencing.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tweeted: “The ‘Not Guilty’ vote increases after today. I think most Republicans found the House Managers’ presentation offensive and absurd.
Here’s what some Times reporters had to say in a live chat on Thursday:
“I don’t think we’ll see a lot of reverse votes. However, some close to Trump believed, after the incredibly weak response from Trump’s lawyer Bruce Castor on Tuesday that there could be others “like Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who voted so unexpectedly to affirm the constitutionality of the trial. – Maggie Haberman, White House Correspondent
“It looks like Democrats would need steaming new evidence – and Trump is currently not on social media to post anything more incriminating – to garner more Republican support. [Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell could also whip the votes, which he didn’t. He told people to vote according to their conscience. – Luke Broadwater, Congress Correspondent
“I think it would take a real radical change or a huge development, such as Senator McConnell announcing that he is voting to condemn, to get enough votes out. This trial must be seen through a political lens. “- Carl Hulse, Chief Washington Correspondent
Peter Baker, the Times’ chief correspondent at the White House, wrote that the true impact of the trial may lie elsewhere: “With conviction in a polarized Senate seemingly out of reach, House directors, like prosecutors alike are known , aim their arguments at two other audiences. beyond the chamber: the American people whose decision to deny Mr. Trump a second term has been jeopardized, and the historians who will one day make their own judgments on the former president and his rise to power.
What else do we read
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