Disgraced former President Donald Trump’s 2nd impeachment trial began yesterday. Charged with inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, the riot left seven dead. The riot saw pro-Trump supporters storm the capitol building causing terror and chaos. Many in Congress believed their lives were in danger.
The trial opened with a horrific 13-minute video timeline of the events on the day of the insurrection. The video detailed Trump’s speech before the riot, his failure to tell rioters to stop what they were doing, and his reaction to the capitol insurrection immediately after. The disturbing video shows insurrectionists storming the Capitol, destroying property, equipment from the press, shouting obscenities, and fighting with the police. The video shows the rioters looking for congress members, threatening violence.
“People died that day. Officers ended up with head damage and brain damage. People’s eyes were gouged. An officer had a heart attack. An officer lost three fingers that day. Two officers have taken their own lives,” “Senators, this cannot be our future.” – Rep Jamie Raskin, House Impeachment Manager.
Over 200 people have now been charged in connection with the insurrection at the capitol.
Believing the Senate does not have the authority to impeach a former president, Trump’s attorneys argued that the impeachment trial was unconstitutional. Impeachment manager and Democratic Congressman, Joe Neguse (D-CO) outlined the case for impeaching Donald Trump.
“Lead manager Raskin explained that impeachment exists to protect the American people from officials who abuse their power, who betray them. It exists for a case just like this one. It is hard to imagine a clearer example of how a president could abuse his office than inciting violence against a coequal branch of government while seeking to remain in power after losing an election,” Neguse argued. Joe Neguse powerfully illustrated his position, often referencing sections of the constitution to drive home his point.
Trump’s lawyers stumbled throughout their presentation. With his former legal team quitting two weeks before the trial, his new attorneys were inadequately prepared. Attorney Bruce Castor opened his defense, often rambling, without a clear point. During his presentation, he praised the Senate members, at one point saying the impeachment manager’s presentation was “well done”.
His opening presentation was also filled with veiled threats towards members of the Senate. He challenged them to think of their political careers, often insinuating they could lose their positions if they vote to impeach. Saying an impeachment could “open the floodgates” for future impeachments, Castor stated even former Attorney General Eric Holder could face impeachment. That claim is totally unfounded. Attorney David Schoen followed Castor’s presentation accusing the Senate of a political “witch hunt”. He also accused the Senate of attempting to disenfranchise Trump voters.
Trump is said to be incredibly angry with his legal teams’ abysmal performance. Even with his attorney’s poor performance, Trump is expected to be acquitted. To ensure a conviction, they would need 17 republicans to vote in favor. As of yesterday’s, vote, only seven Republicans voted against the former president. The first day of the impeachment proceedings ended with Senate voting 56-44 that the trial is constitutional and should continue.
“Presidents can’t inflame insurrection in their final weeks and walk away like nothing happened.” -Joe Neguse.
The impeachment trial continues today and is expected to last several days.
Interim Managing Editor Danielle Sanders is a journalist and writer living on the Southside of Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSandersofficial