Dems implore senators to use ‘common sense’ in impeachment vote

On third day of impeachment trial, House Democrats conclude opening argument Trump ‘incited insurrection’.

House lead impeachment manager Representative Jamie Raskin concludes the impeachment managers’ case in the Senate trial of former President Donald Trump on a charge of inciting insurrection [Senate TV/Handout via Reuters]
  • The third full day of arguments in the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump concluded on Thursday.
  • House managers had presented video evidence of the January 6 attack by Trump supporters on the US Capitol in Wednesday’s proceedings.
  • Trump’s defence lawyers are to begin their arguments on Friday, relying on the argument that the former president’s rally remarks are protected by free speech principles.
  • House managers argued Trump’s actions before and after the rally, including tweets he sent while the mob was attacking the Capitol, show he supported the actions of his followers.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s coverage of the impeachment trial. This is William Roberts and Steve Chaggaris.


House Democratic prosecutors rest their case against Trump

Representative Jamie Raskin said “common sense” shows former President Donald Trump committed the high crime of incitement of insurrection and urged senators acting as jurors to weigh the judgement of history in their deliberation.

“This is a trial on the facts of what happened. And incitement, as we said, is a fact-intensive investigation that each of you will have to make,” Raskin said.

“Senators, America, we need to exercise our common sense about what happened. Let’s not get caught up in a lot of outlandish lawyers’ theories here. Exercise your common sense about what just took place in our country,” he said.


Dems: Evidence shows that Trump knew ‘violence’ was likely

Former President Donald Trump knew the crowd his supporters was poised for violence, inflamed by his lies that the election had been stolen and he directed their anger at Congress, House prosecutors argued.

“He knew it perfectly well, that he had created this powder keg at his rally. He knew how combustible that situation was,” said Representative Joe Neguse.

“Was violence predictable? Was it obvious that the crowd on January 6 was poised for violence, prepared for it? Absolutely. And this isn’t just clear looking back in time. It was widely recognised at the time,” Neguse said.

“In the days leading up to January 6, there were dozens, hundreds of warnings, and he knew, he knew the rally would explode if provoked. He knew all it would take was a slight push,” Neguse said.

House impeachment manager Representative Joe Neguse detailed the evidence presented that shows Trump committed the elements of the crime of incitement in the deadly attack on the US Capitol on January 6 [Senate TV / Handout via Reuters]

Trump lawyer: Trial “should be as short as possible”

One of Donald Trump’s defence lawyers stepped away from the impeachment trial to criticise the trial itself and confirm they will not spend “a long time” making their case.

“There is no reason for us to be out there a long time,” lawyer Daniel Schoen told Fox News.

“This trial never should have happened, and if it happened, it should be as short as possible given the complete lack of evidence, and the harm that this is causing to the American people,” Schoen said.

Schoen slammed the Democrats’ presentation of graphic video and audio of the riot as “offensive” and an “entertainment package” and hinted at one line of defence he will argue: the article of impeachment and subsequent trial represent a “complete lack of due process”.

David Schoen, defence lawyer for former President Donald Trump, rides the underground subway system during day three of Trump’s impeachment trial at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on  February 11 [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

Raskin: Trump betrayed his oath as president, committed a ‘high crime’

Representative Jamie Raskin, the lead Democrat prosecuting the impeachment charge against former President Donald Trump, argued that the First Amendment right to free speech does not protect acts of incitement.

“His conduct represented the most devastating and dangerous assault by a government official on our Constitution, including the First Amendment, in living memory,” Raskin told senators sitting as jurors in the trial.

“President Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanours sought to nullify the political rights and sovereignty of the American people,” Raskin argued.

Trump chose to “incite violence to try to replace and usurp the will of the people as expressed in the states, ignore the judicial branch of government, and then run over the legislative branch of government with a mob”, he said.

“There can be no doubt whatsoever, none at all, the president lacks any First Amendment excuse, defence or immunity. He incited a violent insurrection against our government. He must be convicted.”

A mob of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021. [/Leah Millis/Reuters]

Dems: Trump’s attempt to claim free speech protection does not apply

Representative Joe Neguse told senators President Donald Trump’s defence lawyers are advancing an argument that his rally speech on January 6 was protected by free speech principles has no bearing on the facts of the case.

“This isn’t about politics It is about his refusal to accept the outcome of the election and his decision to incite an insurrection,” Neguse said.

“And there’s no serious argument that the First Amendment protects that,” Neguse said.

The First Amendment of the US Constitution prevents Congress from making a law abridging freedom of speech and assembly in the United States.

Foreign adversaries use Capitol siege to criticise US hypocrisy

Representative Joaquin Castro, one the House Democratic prosecutors, showed senators statements of foreign leaders in China, Russia and Iran derogating the United States after the Capitol riot.

“They are using President Trump’s incitement of an insurrection to declare that democracy is over,” Castro said.

“Now, the world is watching us, wondering whether our constitutional republic is going to respond the way it should,” Castro said, urging senators to convict the former president of incitement of insurrection.

Exhibit presented by House managers in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump


Dems warn national security materials stolen by rioters

Representative Joaquin Castro, one the House Democratic prosecutors, told senators former President Donald Trump’s supporters may have stolen classified materials in the ransacking of leaders’ offices.

“These insurrectionists, incited by President Trump, threatened our national security. Stealing laptops again from Speaker Pelosi’s office, taking documents from Leader McConnell’s desk, snapping photographs as you saw in the videos,” Castro said.

Trump plays golf in Florida during impeachment trial

President Donald Trump was playing golf at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, during Thursday’s impeachment trial in the Senate, according to local media reports.


Democrat says Republican calls to Trump on day of riot show his responsibility

Representative Val Demmings said a tweet that real-time calls on January 6 by Republicans asking President Donald Trump to call off the rioters at the Capitol demonstrate his responsibility for events.


Senate impeachment trial is taking a ’15 minute’ recess beginning at 2:12 pm ET

Dems: Insurrection at the Capitol caused lasting damage

Representative David Cicilline recited a litany of examples of the emotional and psychological damage caused by a mob that was actively instigated by former President Donald Trump.

“This mob was looking to overthrow our government,” Cicilline said.

“And they came perilously close to reaching the first three people in line to the presidency. It wasn’t just the vice president and the speaker, the rioters were prepared to take any member of Congress they found,” Cicilline said.

“Even for those not outwardly injured the mental toll has been significant,” Cicilline said.

“Capitol police officers have reportedly threatened self-harm. In the days following the riot, in one case, an officer voluntarily turned in her gun because she was afraid of what might happen,” he said.

“Black police officers were also met with racist vitriol.”

House impeachment manager Representative David Cicilline arrives at the impeachment trial of former  President Donald Trump on a charge of inciting the deadly attack on the US Capitol [Joshua Roberts/Pool via Reuters]

Democrats replay Republican remarks condemning Trump

House prosecutors presented to the Senate comments by a number of Republican state governors and US House members condemning Trump’s conduct.

Among the statements, Representative Adam Kinzinger said in a video Trump had “become unmoored, not only from his duty … but from reality itself”.

Representative Fred Upton said, “President Trump expressed no regrets for last week’s violent insurrection at the US Capitol. This sends exactly the wrong signal to those of us who support the very core of our democratic principles and took a solemn oath to the Constitution. It is time to say, enough is enough.”

Kinzinger and Upton were among 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on January 13.

Trump legal team to present defence in one day

As Democratic impeachment managers close out their second day of arguments against Donald Trump, the former president’s team announced they will only need one day for their defence.

“We will finish up our presentation tomorrow/Friday”, Trump adviser Jason Miller tweeted.


Trump’s legal team, which includes lawyers Bruce Castor and David Schoen, will detail their arguments to counter the Democrats: that the trial is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer president and that Trump’s pre-riot remarks were not an “incitement of insurrection” but constitutionally protected free speech.

Dems: Trump showed no remorse for inciting the Capitol riot

US Representative Ted Lieu argued before the Senate that President Donald Trump’s conduct after the January 6 riot shows Trump remains a “unique and continuing danger”.

“President Trump’s lack of remorse and refusal to take accountability during the attack shows his state of mind, shows that he intended the events of January 6 to happen,” Lieu said.

“He delighted in it,” Lieu said.

Trump sanctioned violence by his supporters prior to Capitol attack

Representative Jamie Raskin, the lead Democratic prosecutor in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, told senators Trump had displayed a pattern of encouraging violence by his supporters long before the January 6 riot.

“Time after time, he supported violence and his supporters listened and they got the message,” Raskin said.

“It wasn’t just some encouragement of violence that conditioned his supporters to participate in this insurrection on January 6. It was also his explicit sanctioning of the violence, after it took place,” Raskin said.

“He told supporters to knock the hell out of people who oppose them and promised to pay the legal fees of the assailants,” he said.

House lead impeachment manager Representative Jamie Raskin argued former President Donald Trump had praised violence by white supremacists and right-wing militias prior to the Capitol attack. ‘There the pattern is, staring us in the face’ [Photo: Senate TV/Handout via Reuters]

House prosecutors present accounts by Trump supporters of Capitol riot

US Representative Diana DeGette showed senators accounts of the Capitol riot by former President Donald Trump’s supporters showing they acted at Trump’s direction.

“On January 6, we know who lit the fuse. Donald Trump told these insurrectionists to come to the Capitol and ‘stop the steal’,” DeGette told the Senate.

“All of these people who have been arrested and charged, they are being held accountable,” DeGette said.

“They were invited here. They were invited by the president of the United States.”

House impeachment manager Representative Diana DeGette delivers the impeachment managers’ case in the Senate trial of former President Donald Trump on charges of inciting the deadly attack on the Capitol [Senate TV/Handout via Reuters]

Speaker Pelosi says claim by Trump lawyers impeachment was delayed is false

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the No 1 Democrat in the that the House of Representatives, said a claim by President Donald Trump’s defence lawyers that she had withheld the article impeachment until Democrats were in control of the Senate is not accurate.

“It’s a little disingenuous to say that,” Pelosi said.

Rather, House impeachment managers were ready to walk the article of impeachment against Trump over to the Senate on January 13 – the day it was passed by the House – but the Senate was not in session.

“We were prepared, actually lined up, to take it over to the Senate. We were told, early in the day that the Senate, even though they were not in session, could receive the article,” Pelosi said.

“Then the managers who are prepared to take it over – as they were preparing for that – they got word from the Senate, that if it’s not in session you cannot bring it over,” she said.

“And so we have to wait until Mitch McConnell decides the Senate will be in session.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in a news conference on the third day of the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the former president’s lawyers had misrepresented the House’s handling of the article of impeachment [Erin Scott/Reuters]

Senator Hawley says House managers presentation ‘absurd, offensive’

Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican, said in an interview on television outlet Fox News, that the presentation of video evidence by Democratic House managers on Wednesday had been “absolutely absurd and offensive”.

“What we’re watching is a total kangaroo court. It is an illegitimate proceeding. It is unconstitutional,” Hawley told an interviewer.

“They’re trying to pursue a personal political vendetta against an ex-president, and really against the 74 million people who voted for him,” Hawley said.

Biden: “Some minds may be changed” by Dems’ impeachment presentation

President Joe Biden, who has tried to avoid commenting directly on the Trump impeachment process, said that he watched news coverage of Democratic prosecutors’ arguments on Wednesday and thinks that some Republicans may have been swayed by the graphic footage of the US Capitol riot.

Biden told reporters at the White House on Thursday he “didn’t watch any of the hearing live” but based on the news coverage, “my guess is some minds may be changed”.

Republican senator told Trump of Pence evacuation during riot

Filling in a key blank in the timeline of the January 6 US Capitol riot, Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville said that he informed Donald Trump about Mike Pence’s evacuation from the Senate, minutes before Trump fired off a highly critical Pence tweet.

“I said ‘Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I’ve got to go.’” Tuberville said to Politico on Wednesday night about his January 6 phone call as rioters breached the Capitol building.

The existence of the call was part of the Democratic impeachment managers’ evidence, but the detail that Trump knew of Pence’s peril prior to sending the critical tweet is new.

“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution,” Trump fumed on Twitter at 14:24 EST that day.

Pence was evacuated from the Senate chamber nine minutes prior, according to security footage presented at the impeachment trial on Wednesday.

Source: Al Jazeera