This is the impeachment bulletin, the Times newsletter on the impeachment inquiry. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox.
What happened today
Three House impeachment officials – Reps Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Joe Neguse of Colorado and David Cicilline of Rhode Island – have made their case that the Senate has the power to conduct an impeachment trial against a former president .
They showed a long graphic video montage of the events of January 6. It included clips of President Donald Trump speaking to his supporters as well as footage of those supporters storming the Capitol, attacking police officers, breaking through doors with makeshift rams and rampaging through the building.
Mr Trump’s attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen argued that the Senate lacks the power to conduct an impeachment lawsuit against their client, focusing heavily on what they claimed was a lack of due process .
Senators voted 56 to 44 to proceed with the impeachment trial, rejecting the claim that it would be unconstitutional to prosecute a president who has already left office.
A powerful video
The strategy of House impeachment officials – an effort to force Senate Republicans to engage in the details of the actions of Mr. Trump and his supporters on January 6, rather than allowing them to dismiss the trial on procedural grounds – had been on full display since almost the time construction began at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
After a brief opening statement, the senior manager, Mr. Raskin, released a video. For over 13 minutes, it showed the Capitol riot in startling detail: a policeman crushed against a door, screaming in pain; lawmakers and journalists cover themselves in the chamber of the House; Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman leading the rioters away from the unsecured Senate floor. It also showed that Mr. Trump was saying to his supporters, “Go home. We love you. You are very special. “
Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri told reporters that it was “the longest time I have ever sat down and just watched direct footage of what was truly a horrible day.” (Mr. Blunt, a Republican, has always voted against continuing the trial.)
Before handing over to Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Mr. Raskin gave a deeply personal account of what happened to him and his family on January 6.
Mr Raskin said his daughter Tabitha and son-in-law, Hank, were at the Capitol that day – right after Mr Raskin buried his son, Tommy – because they wanted to be together in their grief. He also wanted to show his family “the peaceful transition of power in America”. Instead, Tabitha and Hank found themselves trapped in an office next to the house, hiding from the rioters.
When the family reunited, Mr Raskin said, fighting back tears, he apologized to Tabitha and promised her it wouldn’t be like that the next time she came to the Capitol.
“Daddy,” Tabitha replied, “I don’t want to come back.”
Impeachment officials have said it is both constitutional and common sense to argue that a president who commits an unjust offense should be protected because he is near the end of his term – an idea they called a “January exception” denigration. They cited the text of the Constitution, federalist documents, the political context in which the drafters set the impeachment process, and historical precedents such as the 1876 Senate trial of William Belknap, the United States Secretary of War. .
“What you experienced that day, what we experienced that day, what our country experienced that day, it is the framers’ worst nightmare that comes to life,” said Mr. Neguse. January 6. “Presidents cannot ignite the insurgency in their final weeks. then walk away as if nothing had happened, and yet this is the rule President Trump is asking you to adopt.
Mr. Trump’s defense began on an odd note, with one of his attorneys, Mr. Castor, giving a curvy defense of Mr. Trump in which he rarely referred to the former president or his behavior on the 6th. January. At times he seemed to advocate for Mr. Trump’s free speech rights and against a partisan cycle of impeachment.
The other defense attorney, Mr Schoen, gave a more forceful speech, accusing Democrats of trying to ‘disenfranchise’ supporters of Mr Trump and describing the trial as an unconstitutional human rights violation. a “simple citizen”.
“If these procedures continue, everyone will look bad,” he said. “Our great country, a model for everyone, will be much more divided and our position in the world will be severely shattered. Our sworn enemies who pray for our downfall every day will watch with joy.
Mr Schoen argued that the House violated Mr Trump’s due process by pursuing the impeachment so quickly, and that if the Senate continued with the trial, it would set a precedent under which any official could be indicted at any time after his departure. if congressional control changed hands – simultaneously suggesting that lawmakers impeached Mr. Trump too soon and too late.
After four hours of argument, senators voted on whether Mr. Trump was subject to the impeachment jurisdiction of the Senate. A simple majority was needed to move forward and it was easily assembled: 56 senators voted yes and 44 voted no.
Six Republicans – Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania – joined the 50 Democrats to authorize the trial.
Five of those Republicans voted in favor of the lawsuit last month. Mr. Cassidy’s vote came as a surprise, however. He later told reporters that he changed his vote from last month’s vote because he found the defense lawyers’ arguments surprisingly weak.
House impeachment officials “made a compelling case,” Mr. Cassidy said. “President Trump’s team was disorganized. They did all they could but to talk about the issue at hand.
“If I am an impartial juror and a “, He said,” as an impartial juror, I will vote for the team that did a good job. “
What else do we read
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