Live Updates: Trump impeachment trial gets underway in Senate

FAN Editor

The House impeachment managers plan to frame their impeachment case against Mr. Trump as a “violent crime prosecution,” and present videos and evidence “nobody has seen before” to make their case that the former president be convicted for inciting the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6. 

“There’s compelling and overwhelming evidence,” a senior aide to the impeachment team told reporters Tuesday morning. “It will be more like a violent crime criminal prosecution, because that is what it is.” 

Asked to describe the new evidence, another aide said, “Stay tuned.” 

The trial will begin today with arguments over the constitutionality of conducting an impeachment trial after a president has left office. The impeachment managers will argue there is no “January exception” that allows a president to commit impeachable acts and avoid punishment by leaving office.

Representative Jamie Raskin, a Democrat of Maryland and the lead impeachment manager, will kick off the constitutional arguments on Tuesday, followed by Representatives Joe Neguse of Colorado and David Cicilline of Rhode Island. 

When the Senate took a vote on the constitutionality of trying a former president last month, five Republicans joined Democrats in favor of a trial: Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Because a conviction requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, some observers have argued that the vote on constitutionality shows Mr. Trump will ultimately not be convicted. A senior aide to the impeachment team disagreed. 

“It is possible that tribalism and loyalty to Trump could overtake good judgment, but we do not view the procedural vote from last week or today’s vote as dispositive in this case,” the aide said. “It very well may be the case that senators change their mind and vote to convict.” 

The managers are expected to cite an op-ed from Chuck Cooper, who represented Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton. Cooper argued the trial is constitutional in a piece for The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

The impeachment managers have been meeting everyday, sometimes twice a day, to prepare their case. They will have two hours on Tuesday to argue the constitutionality of the impeachment and up to 16 hours later this week to make their case. Raskin will also lead the opening arguments. 

The aides would not say whether they plan to call any witnesses or issue a subpoena to Mr. Trump, who declined a request to testify voluntarily last week.   

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