February 10th, 2021
Trump 2nd Impeachment Trial Kicks Off with Video Battle, Nation Polarized
Former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial officially began in the Senate on Tuesday with the showing of moving video footage, and against the backdrop of public opinion polls showing a giant partisan divide among the American public.The video was edited for maximum impact and deliberately left out portions where the president called for "peaceful" protests. It also omitted months of the former president calling the election a scam and his surrogates casting doubt on the validity of the results and encouraging supporters to keep fighting the results.
Trump is standing trial for “incitement of insurrection” over the Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol which left five people dead.
Six Republican Senators voted in favor of going ahead with the procedure for a total of 56 votes in favor and 44 against, thus rejecting the arguments of the defense that the trial was unconstitutional since Trump was no longer in office.This is particularly strange since John Roberts, no fan of Trump, turned down Chuck Schumer's request to preside over the hearings as unconstitutional. The last paragraph of Article I Section 3 of the Constitution states, "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further that to removal from Office, AND disqualification to hold any Office of honor Trust or Profit under the United States" -- it says "and," not "or."
While the ex-President cannot be removed, a conviction would disqualify him from holding public office.Yet, the Democrats are highly unlikely to convince a total of 17 Republican Senators to vote to convict the ex-President as a two-thirds majority is needed.While a conviction is unlikely, many still argue that the trial is needed and necessary. You would still proescute embezzlement even if the employee doing the deed has been fired or left the company. Just because Trump is no longer president does not mean he is not subject to consequences for his actions.
"What they really want to accomplish here... is to bar Donald Trump from ever running for political office again," David Schoen, one of Trump's lawyers, told Senators, denouncing the Democrats’ "insatiable lust for impeachment".
The nine Democratic managers of the trial showed a video of the Jan. 6 Capitol violence, including Trump’s speech on the same day urging his fans to "fight like hell" to overturn the 2020 election results.Republicans have pointed out the inconsistency here. For example, if we're going to take everything Trump has said literally, then what about Eric Holder when he said, "When they go low, we kick them"? No one in their right mind takes this literally, but partisan animosity and passions continue to overrule reason. Trump’s statements came after months of discrediting a perfectly valid election. It was just more fodder for his supporters and was about a specific event that he was trying to overturn. It wasn’t like Holder’s statement, which was made regarding an overall political atmosphere in America. Trump’s statements were pointed and deliberatly targeted. At about an hour and eleven minutes into his speech, after the riots began, unbeknownst to Trump, Trump made the following remarks: "'Something’s wrong here. Something’s really wrong. Can’t have happened.' And we fight. We fight like Hell and if you don’t fight like Hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore." He was then going to go to the Capitol to shore up Republicans.
"If that's not an impeachment offense, then there is no such thing," said Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin, who led the prosecution.
The video shown by Trump’s defense team featured various Democratic lawmakers calling for Trump's impeachment since 2017.His lawyers also argued he was exercising his right to free speech before the Capitol attack.
"We can't possibly be suggesting that we punish people for political speech in this country," said Bruce Castor, one of Trump's lawyers, while attributing the riot to "a small group of criminals.To say that Trump's speech incited the riots is to say that effect can precede cause as the riots were already underway before he even finished his speech. He began speaking at 12:00 pm EST and left the stage at 1:12 pm, when he said, "So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue." He was still speaking when rioters broke into the Capitol around 1:00 pm. The common misconception is that Democrats are saying ONLY Trump’s January 6th speech led to the riots. Not true. The speech on the 6th, which was fiery from the very start and contained multiple calls for action, was just one of many instances of Trump telling his supporters that the election was being stolen and that they must fight back. It was the last straw, not the only one. "
Meanwhile, polls show a stark divide in American society on whether Trump should be convicted.A new Gallup poll found 52% were in favor of conviction, with 45% against.According to an ABC News/IPSOS survey, the numbers are 56 to 43.