WASHINGTON – House Democrats will begin two days of arguments in Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, trying to convince skeptical Republicans that the former president alone was responsible for inciting his mob of supporters who broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and interrupted the presidential electoral count.
The arguments Wednesday from the nine Democratic impeachment managers for the House, which impeached Trump last month, will come a day after the Senate voted to move ahead with the trial even though Republicans and Trump’s lawyers argued that it was unconstitutional because Trump had already left office. All Democrats and six Republicans disagreed, arguing that there is legal precedent for the trial and that there should be no exceptions for impeachable behavior in a president’s last months in office.
While Democrats won Tuesday’s vote, it also signaled that they will not likely have the votes for an eventual conviction, since they would need a minimum of 17 Republicans to vote with them. Democrats say they know they are arguing the case uphill, but they are holding out hope that they will convert more Republicans by the final vote.
What to watch as the Democrats prosecute their case for “incitement of insurrection”:
A ‘DEVASTATING’ CASE AGAINST TRUMP
The Democrats are trying to take advantage of senators’ own experiences, tapping into their emotions as they describe in detail — and show on video — what happened as the mob broke through police barriers, injured law enforcement officers, ransacked the Capitol and hunted for lawmakers. Democratic aides working on the impeachment team said Tuesday that they think they have a “devastating” case against the former president, and that they will prosecute it like a criminal trial.
On Tuesday, as they argued that the trial was constitutional, they strayed from their arcane arguments about historic precedent and the Federalist Papers to show a video that took senators through a visceral, graphic timeline of Jan. 6, starting with Trump’s speech to supporters in which he told them to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. It juxtaposed Trump’s words with what was happening inside and outside the building as supporters broke in, showing violence and jeers aimed at police and lawmakers. The carnage led to five deaths.
Similar video evidence is expected on Wednesday, as they begin arguments on the merits of the case — including some that hasn’t been seen before, according to the aides, who requested anonymity to discuss the managers’ plans.