This piece was originally published in the February 9, 2021 edition of CAP Action’s daily newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.
“We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people.”
— Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD)
The Senate must come together to reject the violence and white supremacy that Donald Trump unleashed on our democracy.
Without accountability, this could happen again.
The House did the right thing by impeaching Trump. Now, it’s time for the Senate to convict him and bar him from holding office again.
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IN THE NEWS
- Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial kicked off this afternoon. In case you need a refresher (it’s been a long, long year since the last impeachment — who could blame you?): After the House impeached Trump for incitement of insurrection last month, Speaker Pelosi selected “impeachment managers” to assume the role of the prosecutor and argue the case for Trump’s conviction to a jury of the full Senate. This time around, that task falls on the unshakable Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and a team of his colleagues. They’ll continue to present arguments throughout the week, as will Trump’s legal team.
As desperate and terrified lawmakers — even some of his own party — begged him to call off the crowd, Trump tweeted out a video where he spoke to the insurrectionists, telling them “We love you. You’re very special.”
- So, what happened today? After playing a powerful thirteen-minute compilation of the events of January 6 to a bipartisan audience of senators, Rep. Raskin delivered a moving speech in which he swiftly debunked last-ditch claims by Trump’s defenders that a president can’t be impeached after leaving office.
- Raskin spoke about his uniquely devastating experience on January 6, explaining that his family had come with him to the Capitol on the day of the attack, as they were still grieving the loss of their son, Tommy Raskin. The congressman tearfully explained that his daughter never wants to return to the Capitol following the trauma she endured while sheltering from the insurrection.
“If that’s not an impeachable offense, there is no such thing.” — Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a Constitutional law scholar and the lead impeachment manager in Trump’s second Senate trial
- Following Rep. Raskin’s presentation, fellow impeachment manager Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) took the stand. He focused on the strong affirmations from several right-wing legal scholars that the impeachment trial is, in fact, constitutionally sound in the hopes of persuading any senators who may still somehow be on the fence about the need for a conviction. Neguse made a compelling case for senators to choose accountability over complicity, all while backing up his argument with citations and evidence. Seems straightforward, right? You would think.
- For the defense, we have Trump’s legal team…or, at least, whatever is left of it. After cycling through a few different lawyers in recent weeks, Trump ended up with two…colorful (to put it lightly) defenders in his second Senate impeachment trial. It’s no wonder Trump’s defense was a mess, though. There’s no justifying what he’s done — and imagine being the person to defend Donald Trump right now.
“I saw a headline that Representative ‘so and so’ seeks to walk back comments about…I forgot what it was, something that bothered her.” — Trump’s lawyer, ad libbing on national television
- Within moments of beginning his rambling, confusing opening statement, it appeared that Trump’s first lawyer had forgotten to do the assigned reading before the big presentation. As Ice T aptly noted, “He shoulda used a Public Defender.”
“I’ll be quite frank with you, we changed what we were going to do on account that we thought the House managers’ presentation was well done.” — Trump lawyer Bruce Castor, who seemingly forgot to do his homework
- His second lawyer, though less meandering, made no more persuasive of a defense. After criticizing the raw footage of the Capitol attack aired by his opposing counsel, he aired a video of his own, deploying the same racist, fear-mongering tactics that we’ve come to expect from Trump’s allies. We’ll let you decide for yourself, but it’s clear to us that neither of Trump’s lawyers were compelling or logical enough today to counter the heartbreaking speech and footage that preceded their baseless rambling.
Don’t miss a moment of this week’s historic second impeachment trial. Follow @CAPAction for the latest updates.
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