Trump’s second impeachment trial
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Started by metmike - Feb. 9, 2021, 1:06 p.m.

Trump’s second impeachment trial to begin in Senate


Watch live: Trump's second impeachment trial to begin in Senate

The second impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump is kicking off in the Senate — as Democratic House impeachment managers make the case against the former president for “incitement of insurrection,” for his role in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

 The opening of the trial will begin with four hours of arguments from Trump’s lawyers and the House managers over its constitutionality and then stretch over the rest of the week with a verdict expected possibly early next week.

 Trump’s legal team is set to argue that the proceeding is unconstitutional because he is no longer in office, while the Democratic House managers insist that Trump must be held responsible for the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

 Last month, the Senate voted 55-45 against a measure introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) based on the notion that Trump’s trial is unconstitutional because he’s no longer in office.

 Only five Republican senators sided with the chamber’s 50 Democrats for that vote, and the overwhelming GOP support for the idea makes it an extreme long shot that at least 17 will switch sides to help comprise the two-thirds majority needed for a conviction.

 Assuming the trial goes forward, the House managers and Trump’s lawyers will each will get 16 hours over two days to make their cases to the senators, who serve as jurors in the trial.

 Each side will get 16 hours to make its case to the senators, who serve as jurors in the trial.

By metmike - Feb. 9, 2021, 3:03 p.m.
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Legality of impeaching Trump takes center stage

       The first day of former President Trump’s second impeachment trial on Tuesday is likely to be dominated by a question that has sharply divided Republicans and legal scholars: whether Congress’s impeachment power extends to former presidents.

In pretrial briefs, Trump’s lawyers argued that the Senate’s jurisdiction over Trump ended when he left the White House and resumed life as a private citizen, and they are expected to make this claim central to Trump’s defense.

Many Senate Republicans may ultimately cite this purported constitutional barrier as their main reason for voting to acquit Trump for his alleged incitement of insurrection over his role in the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol.

There is disagreement among scholars over the constitutional question that is a key argument for Trump’s legal team, though most legal experts, including some prominent conservative lawyers, say the Framers had a broad conception of the impeachment power’s reach.

“The overwhelming number of constitutional scholars say the trial is constitutional,” said Frank Bowman III, a University of Missouri law professor and author of a recent book on impeachment. “A tiny number of outliers disagree.”

According to Bowman, the Constitution’s text and original understanding, as well as precedent and practical considerations, all cut in favor of reading the impeachment power as capable of applying to former officeholders, particularly those who were impeached while in office and tried later as private citizens.

Bowman and more than 170 other legal scholars last month signed a letter to make the case that Trump’s upcoming trial is constitutionally sound.

The roster of signatories was notable not only for its legal firepower but also its ideological diversity. The letter brought together leading liberal voices like Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, an outspoken Trump critic, as well as libertarian and conservative scholars like Steven Calabresi, who co-founded the Federalist Society.

“We differ from one another in our politics, and we also differ from one another on issues of constitutional interpretation,” the Jan. 21 letter reads. “But despite our differences, our carefully considered views of the law lead all of us to agree that the Constitution permits the impeachment, conviction, and disqualification of former officers, including presidents.”

Other top conservative lawyers have spoken out independently to express their view that the most natural reading of the Constitution compels the conclusion that former presidents can be tried for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Charles Cooper, an ally of top Republican lawmakers, penned a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on Sunday defending the constitutionality of the upcoming trial. His main argument was that the Framers laid out a sequence of possible punishments for impeachment that would only make sense if this power could be applied to former officeholders.

A current officeholder is automatically removed from office the instant they are convicted by a two-thirds vote in the Senate. After removal, the Senate may then hold a vote on whether to disqualify that person from holding office in the future, which requires a simple majority.

Under Cooper’s reasoning, the only people who could possibly be subject to a disqualification vote are former officeholders.

“Given that the Constitution permits the Senate to impose the penalty of permanent disqualification only on former officeholders,” he wrote, “it defies logic to suggest that the Senate is prohibited from trying and convicting former officeholders.”

Trump’s lawyers are expected to mount a broader defense of the former president that includes attacking the factual bases and legal assertions underlying Democrats’ impeachment article.

But weeks before the trial began, Trump’s legal team received a strong signal from Senate Republicans that they view former officeholders as beyond the scope of impeachment.

In late January, 45 out of 50 GOP senators voted to support a measure by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to dismiss the post-presidency trial on constitutional grounds. This vote suggested a two-thirds vote to convict is out of reach in Trump’s second trial since at least 17 Republicans would need to vote with all 50 Democrats to convict the former president.

Although the vote on Paul’s measure last month doesn’t bind senators’ upcoming votes at the conclusion of Trump’s trial, it offered the clearest sign yet that the former president is heading toward a second acquittal.

Senate Republicans’ narrower view of the impeachment power also enjoys some scholarly support from legal experts. Among them are Philip Bobbitt, a law professor at Columbia University; Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor and contributor to The Hill; and former federal appellate judge J. Michael Luttig.

metmike: seems clear the priority is not to unite the country as there couldnt be a better way to tear it apart even more. am puzzled why the dems would proceed, knowing they will lose and trmp will be left, claiming that he was vindicated in the senate trial.

trump is gone you guys. get on with doing your jobs and forget about trying to get trump. his actions after the election were diabolical but hes gone now and the best you could get was impeachment in the house. 

you need 2/3rds majority in the senate and will likely lose.

and biden, who says that he wants to bring the country together is doing the exact opposite here.

i stated what it would take for me to vote biden before the election....which he didnt do for that to happen:

 I will vote for Biden            

                            3 responses | 

                Started by metmike - Nov. 1, 2020, 12:26 p.m.    

for me to believe 1 iota of bidens speech about bringing the country together, the trump impeachment trial was the quintessential opportunity for him to actually demonstrate he meant that....without it affecting his mega divisive agenda.

time is rapidly running out to see any indication of unity actions based on a sounds good speech written by somebody else.

By mcfarm - Feb. 9, 2021, 3:13 p.m.
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MM you do know puppets do not control their own words or actions, right? Somewhere along the line you have become enamored with A media presentation of JOE Biden. The man who stands for the working class, the good old Joe, the man who had a good heart, the man we could work with. Well that man never did exist and today is as far from that shadow as he physically could be. He has always been the unreported racist, plagiarist .back room ,middle of the nite double dealing "big guy" in the mist of corruption. You do know when and how he met his current wife? Now judging by his executive actions recently it seems really plain there is no "America first, 5th or 10th" in his agenda. Have you read these orders and just which of them is good for our country?

By metmike - Feb. 11, 2021, 11:18 a.m.
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McConnell not pressuring GOP to acquit Trump

 senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) isn’t pressuring fellow Republicans to acquit former President Trump as the impeachment trial appears poised to wrap as soon as this weekend.

GOP senators have discussed their individual views about the trial behind closed doors this week, including at lunch meetings, but McConnell has limited his remarks to procedural steps and the timeline.

“He’s never really talked about it to us,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). “Mitch is a very good tactician ... but he’s also very respectful that every senator got here on their own.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), an adviser to McConnell who hasn't made a decision about whether to convict Trump, said he wasn’t getting any pressure from leadership.

“I don’t think I’ve gotten any guidance,” Portman said. “Colleagues have stood up and expressed their views, but they’re not representing leadership. ... [McConnell] has said, 'I think this is a vote of conscience.'”

McConnell declined to respond to questions Wednesday about whether he was open to convicting the former president, whom he aligned closely with during Trump’s tenure in the White House.

The GOP leader has described himself as undecided and told reporters during a recent press conference that he was waiting to hear the arguments at trial. Asked if he was still undecided on Wednesday, a spokesman pointed back to his remarks about wanting to hear the case.

“I want to listen to the arguments. I think that's what we ought to do. That's what I said before it started. That's still my view,” McConnell said.

McConnell stuck closely to Trump during most of his presidency but has re-exerted influence as the most powerful Republican in a Democratic trifecta as he tries to steer the direction of the party heading into the 2022 midterm elections and beyond.

McConnell made a rare foray into House GOP politics this month when he warned that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) embrace of conspiracy theories threatened the party — comments that went further than House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) remarks about the first-term lawmaker.

When asked about the decision to weigh in, McConnell appeared to indicate he was driven by wanting to make it clear that Greene's views do not represent the larger party.

He also went further than McCarthy in his public defense of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) when close Trump allies were making a failed attempt to unseat the No. 3 House Republican because of her vote for impeachment.

Additionally, McConnell has criticized Trump for his Jan. 6 rhetoric, when the president repeated his false claims that the election had been stolen and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol as then-Vice President Pence and members of Congress were counting the Electoral College votes.

McConnell, who disclosed late last month that he hasn’t spoken with Trump since Dec. 15, said Trump “provoked” the mob.

But the GOP leader has also taken steps that have been to Trump’s advantage, including denying a request from then-Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to bring the chamber back into session early to start the impeachment trial while Trump was still in office.

Even when the Senate came back into session on Jan. 19, McConnell negotiated a delay to the trial start date, arguing that it would allow Trump’s attorneys to prepare their defense. And he was one of 44 Republicans who voted this week to say the trial was unconstitutional.

McConnell has closely guarded his endgame following initial reports from last month that he was open to convicting Trump, befuddling some members of his caucus and sparking backlash from some of Trump’s closest allies in the Senate.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said that while it wouldn’t be appropriate to tell reporters what McConnell has said, the Republican leader "hasn’t really told us to do anything.”

Cramer, asked about McConnell, added that there had been "no pressure from anybody."

The House impeachment managers have referenced McConnell’s criticism of Trump during their trial presentations this week. But McConnell has given nothing away, spending most of the proceedings with his hands in his lap.

The decision by leadership to not pressure GOP senators to vote against conviction comes as they’ve watched the fight tear apart House Republicans, including GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump facing fierce criticism back home.

In order to convict, which would be a historic first, Democrats would need 17 Republican senators to side with all 50 members of the Democratic caucus.

By metmike - Feb. 11, 2021, 11:21 a.m.
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Trump Impeachment ‘Political Theater,’ Ignores US History: Constitutional Lawyer

The impeachment effort against former President Donald Trump is “political theater” that goes against the history of the United States and the American Constitution itself, according to constitutional attorney Rick Green.

“When we have political actors involved, we get political theater. And that’s a lot of what we’re getting here. Is this the judiciary now? Is the Senate now the judiciary that will try any citizen? Because an impeachment is specifically for someone that is in office, according to the American Constitution,” Green, a former Texas state representative and co-founder of the Patriot Academy, told “American Thought Leaders.”

Trump’s attorneys have stated that it goes against the Constitution to impeach or try a former office-holder.

“Virtually everyone agrees that impeachment in our Constitution is designed for those three categories listed in Article 2, Section 4. And that’s the president, the vice president, and civil officers—so people that are still serving in office,” Green said.

He said the concept being pushed currently in the impeachment trial—that if Trump isn’t convicted he will get away with doing “horrible things,” and future presidents will be able to “do whatever they want and get away with it”—is “a total red herring.”

“It’s literally fantasy,” the attorney said.

House Democrats, joined by 10 Republicans, voted on Jan. 13 to approve a single article of impeachment (pdf) against Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” making him the first president to be impeached twice. On Feb. 9, he became the first former president to stand trial.

Democrats allege that the president incited violence at the Capitol in a speech he delivered near the White House on Jan 6. In his address, Trump used the words “fight like hell” in reference to his team’s legal efforts around election integrity. The Democrats allege that Trump used the words to incite his followers to commit violence.

However, Democratic House impeachment managers, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), in their arguments on Feb. 10, presented no new evidence to support the allegation that Trump incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last month.

By metmike - Feb. 12, 2021, 12:09 p.m.
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By metmike - Feb. 13, 2021, 2:29 p.m.
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LIVE COVERAGE: Senate trial moves to closing arguments











LIVE COVERAGE: Senate trial moves to closing arguments


        By The Hill staff - 02/13/21 08:54 AM EST     984  

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The Senate on Saturday is headed toward closing arguments in the impeachment trial, with senators weighing whether former President Trump is guilty of inciting a mob to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The Senate was initially expected to give its verdict on Saturday, but then voted to allow for witnesses — a stunning move that raised the prospect of delayed proceedings. The chamber reversed again hours later.

A two-thirds vote in the Senate is necessary to convict Trump, which would require at least 17 GOP senators to vote to convict. 

Democrats have argued the Senate should vote to convict Trump and then vote to prevent him from ever running for office again for his actions that they say led to the violent riot. Trump's defense argues his remarks were covered by the First Amendment and that he did not incite the mob.

The Hill will be providing updates all day.

Senate strikes deal to bypass calling impeachment witnesses

1 p.m.

House impeachment managers, former President Trump's legal team and top senators struck a deal on Saturday that will let the Senate bypass calling witnesses.

The agreement comes after senators were caught flat-footed by a request from Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the lead House impeachment manager, to depose Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), who has hammered Trump for his actions after the Capitol attack on Jan. 6.

Instead, the Senate entered a statement Herrera Beutler released on Friday night into the trial record.

—Jordain Carney

Cruz says Democrats caved to 'leftist Twitter' by calling for witnesses

12:50 p.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) condemned Democrats on Saturday, saying they caved to “leftist Twitter” by briefly calling for witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial.

“I think what happened was leftist Twitter got really upset” about how the impeachment trial was going and the House Managers called for witnesses, Cruz told reporters.

Cruz noted that witnesses were not in the plans for the trial and that calling witnesses could drag out the trial for months.

“If we go down the road of witnesses, this impeachment trial could last all of February, all of March, all of April,” Cruz said.

While Democrats pushed to call on Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) as a witness, some Republicans indicated they would be interested in hearing from her.

Impeachment managers ultimately moved to include a statement from her in the trial record.

—Lexi Lonas

Lawmakers, impeachment teams scramble to cut deal on witnesses

12:35 p.m.

Top senators, lawyers for former President Trump and the House impeachment managers are scrambling to try to cut a deal on witnesses after a surprise vote to pave the way for calling them in the trial.

The Senate voted 55-45 to allow for witnesses, a move that caught Trump World and senators off guard, with both expecting that the impeachment trial would wrap up on Saturday.

The vote threw the Senate into chaos, and now senators say there is a behind-the-scenes scramble to try to work out an agreement.

"Right now, they're just trying to work out some agreement. And if it doesn't work out, then we can have several amendments to the underlying resolution on other witnesses, so that's really the mechanics of what they're going through now. I suspect they'll work something out, but we won't know for probably an hour, hour and a half," Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) told reporters.

Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), the No. 4 Democrat in the Senate, both confirmed that there were talks underway to try to get a deal.

"I know the attorneys are working together," Stabenow said. "At this point, they're trying to work the whole thing out."

Senators and leadership teams are trying to craft a resolution that would outline how the Senate proceeds on witnesses, including details on how many individuals can be called.

—Jordain Carney

By metmike - Feb. 13, 2021, 6:04 p.m.
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Trump acquitted, confusion over witnesses: Top takeaways from impeachment trial's last day

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial closed on Saturday with an overwhelming party-line vote to acquit Trump, after the trial was thrown for a loop in the morning with confusion over potential witnesses.

The Senate voted 57-43 to acquit Trump, with just seven Republicans siding with all Democrats and independents, falling short of the 67 votes needed to convict.

The vote came after confusion on how to proceed after the Senate unexpectedly voted to call witnesses. The move would have lengthened the trial, but was reversed after both sides agreed to instead enter the congresswoman's statement into evidence. Senators then listened to closing arguments.

House impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers argued their cases over three days, with the prosecution arguing there is clear evidence Trump incited the violent Capitol riot on Jan. 6 and the defense saying the president’s political speech was protected by the First Amendment.