This week, former President Donald Trump faced a historic second impeachment trial.
Second Trump Impeachment Underway This Week
This week, Democratic impeachment managers presented their case for convicting former President Donald Trump in the second impeachment trial of the former commander-in-chief.
Tuesday centered on whether or not impeaching a former president was constitutional.
On Wednesday and Thursday, impeachment managers presented video evidence and social media evidence that they hoped would show that former President Trump incited a deadly riot in an attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election.
While the impeachment managers received praise from many for their presentations, many criticized the lack of preparedness from Trump’s attorneys so far.
“(Tuesday) was supposed to be an opportunity to, to be briefed on the constitutionality of whether or not you can move forward with an impeachment of a former president,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
Sen. Murkowski added, “I thought that—that the House presented a pretty good, pretty good legal analysis. In fairness, I was really stunned at the first attorney [Bruce Castor, Jr.] who presented for President Trump. I couldn’t figure out where he was going, spent 45 minutes going somewhere, but I don’t think he helped with us better understanding where he was coming from on the constitutionality of this.”
CNN.com reported, “Castor and (David) Schoen, each of whom has a history of being involved in controversial legal matters, were tapped to lead Trump’s legal team one day after CNN first reported that five members of his defense had left abruptly. One point of friction with his previous team was that Trump wanted the attorneys to focus on his election fraud claims rather than the constitutionality of convicting a former president.
Sources have said that Trump’s current attorneys should not be compared to the attorneys at his first impeachment trial.
“It’s hard to compare to our team,” said the source. “Different level of experience.”
The source noted that Trump’s first team of attorneys included Judge Kenneth Starr, a former President Bill Clinton impeachment veteran, Harvard University professor Alan Dershowitz and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
On Tuesday, House impeachment managers began presenting evidence that they hoped would show that Trump incited the violence that occurred at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6.
After a Save America rally, many Trump supporters charged the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of electoral votes that made President Joe Biden the 46th commander-in-chief.
Once the Senate decided that impeaching a former president passed constitutional muster, the lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) began the case against the former president.
Rep. Raskin, and others, used video montages of the deadly insurrection on Jan. 6, juxtaposed with messages form Trump via speeches and social media.
The common theme of the impeachment hearing from Democrats centered on the desire to not allow such an insurrection to happen again, which would again threaten America’s democracy.
While many believe it is a waste of time and taxpayer dollars to impeach a former president, Raskin said, “A January exception is an invitation to our founders’ worst nightmare.”
While House managers did not call witnesses on Wednesday or Thursday, they did use the words of Trump supporters in an attempt to prove that the former president indeed incited the deadly insurrection last month.
In interviews, and social media videos, countless participants in the riot said that they came to the rally because Trump told them to do.
Rioters constantly said Trump asked them to be there.
“They truly believed that the whole intrusion was at the president’s orders, and we know that because they said so,” said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.). “This was not a hidden crime. The president told them to be there and so they actually believed they would face no punishment.”
Furthermore, the House managers used social media posts from Trump in which he urged his supporters to come to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, telling them that it would be wild.
House managers showed that protestors did not initially have a permit to march to the U.S. Capitol.
However, the protestors received the permit to march to the Capitol once the White House got involved.
Democratic House managers used speeches from that rally to support their allegation that Trump incited violence.
At the rally, before the insurrection began, Trump said that his supporters had to fight like hell.
If they did not, they would not have a country anymore.
Former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the protestors, let’s have trial by combat before peaceful protests turned into a deadly riot.
Video presented by Democratic House managers showed just how close former Vice President Mike Pence was to an encounter with the protestors, some demanding his death for not overthrowing the election results as Trump had asked him.
The constitution does not allow the vice president to overthrow election results.
The vice president’s role in certifying Electoral College votes is more ceremonial than hands-on.
Raskin said, “If you think this is not impeachable, what is? If you don’t find this a high crime and misdemeanor today, you have set a new, terrible standard for presidential misconduct in the United States of America.”
Despite the evidence that Democrats hope will prove Trump’s guilt, getting 17 Republican senators to convict the former Republican president still remains an uphill battle.
Journalists reported that many Republican senators seemed unconvinced at the Democrats’ arguments.
Many Republican senators appeared to be doing other activities during the hearings instead of listening to arguments made by the House managers.
Today, Trump’s lawyers are expected to make a brief argument in the former president’s defense and quickly wrap up their part of the trial.
A vote on conviction could happen this weekend.