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Impeachment - Pt. 2 - WTF is going on with this trial?

Adding this category here…Impeachment trial starts on Feb 9th where Congress argues in front of Senate to see if Trump incited the Insurrection. It is unlikely that the Senate will pass this, and that the Dems can get an extra 17 votes from the Republicans, but they can try.

Justice must be served is the main refrain.

Rep Jaime Raskin, head of the House group impeaching Trump asking for Trump to come and testify and clear up the thought that the election was stolen. Some see this as a taunt and that Trump would never come. But for someone who likes the spotlight and the ratings, Trump may fall for it. He has until Friday Feb 5th to respond.

The House impeachment managers are requesting former President Donald Trump testify before or during his Senate trial. Read the letter from lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin:

Dear President Trump,

As you are aware, the United States House of Representatives has approved an article of impeachment against you for incitement of insurrection. See H. Res. 24. The Senate trial for this article of impeachment will begin on Tuesday, February 9, 2021. See S. Res. 16.

Two days ago, you filed an Answer in which you denied many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment. You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue notwithstanding the clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense. In light of your disputing these factual allegations, I write to invite you to provide testimony under oath, either before or during the Senate impeachment trial, concerning your conduct on January 6, 2021. We would propose that you provide your testimony (of course including cross-examination) as early as Monday, February 8, 2021, and not later than Thursday, February 11, 2021. We would be pleased to arrange such testimony at a mutually convenient time and place.

Presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton both provided testimony while in office—and the Supreme Court held just last year that you were not immune from legal process while serving as President—so there is no doubt that you can testify in these proceedings. Indeed, whereas a sitting President might raise concerns about distraction from their official duties, that concern is obviously inapplicable here. We therefore anticipate your availability to testify.

If you decline this invitation, we reserve any and all rights, including the right to establish at trial that your refusal to testify supports a strong adverse inference regarding your actions (and inaction) on January 6, 2021.


The response from the Dems side on what kind of argument Trump’s lawyers are making - ‘absurd.’

(CNN)Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, told House Democrats on Wednesday that former President Donald Trump’s legal filing responding to the House’s impeachment amounted to “absurd constitutional arguments being offered by the President,” according to a source on the call.

The Maryland Democrat’s comments on a caucus call Wednesday

offered a preview of how the House impeachment managers plan to poke holes in the former president’s defense during next week’s trial, while they also make their case that Trump was responsible for inciting the deadly riot at the Capitol on January 6. Trump’s lawyer, meanwhile, said Wednesday that the defense will focus on the “technical” reasons Trump should not be convicted and will avoid Trump’s false claims of widespread election fraud.

Both the House impeachment managers and Trump’s legal team submitted pretrial legal briefs on Tuesday ahead of the trial that begins on February 9. Both sides are expected to submit one more round of pretrial briefs on Monday before the trial begins the following day.

Trump’s lawyers argued Tuesday that it was unconstitutional for the Senate to hold an impeachment trial for a former president. Trump’s team also contended that the former president’s speech about election fraud did not incite the rioters and was protected by the First Amendment. “The 45th President exercised his First Amendment right under the Constitution to express his belief that the election results were suspect,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.

But Raskin argued on the Democratic call that Trump’s remarks at a January 6 rally before the rioters attacked the Capitol were not First Amendment-protected speech. His comments weren’t like shouting fire in a crowded theater, Raskin said, but like a fire chief sending a mob to the theater, according to the source.

Raskin added on the call that extremist elements in Russia and Germany view the storming of the Capitol as a great victory for 21st Century fascism.

In their legal brief Tuesday, the House impeachment team’s pushed back on the constitutional argument that Senate Republicans have coalesced around as reason to acquit Trump, pointing to the Senate’s precedent for trying a former official and the fact that House impeached Trump while he was still in office.

It will be one of the key questions during next week’s trial, though Senate Republicans have already signaled with a 55-45 procedural vote last week they’re highly unlikely to convict Trump.

But House Democrats are preparing a visceral case to detail the events of January 6 and how Trump was “singularly responsible” for the deadly riot, in which one Capitol Police officer was killed and dozens were injured. That includes using video footage from the Capitol riots and showing how the insurrectionists said they were acting on behalf of the President.

Raskin told Democrats on Wednesday that one Capitol Police officer has lost three fingers in the attack, and another is likely to lose his eye.


One of Washington’s leading conservative constitutional lawyers publicly broke on Sunday with the main Republican argument against convicting former President Donald J. Trump in his impeachment trial, asserting that an ex-president can indeed be tried for high crimes and misdemeanors.

In an opinion piece posted on The Wall Street Journal’s website, the lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, who is closely allied with top Republicans in Congress, dismissed as illogical the claim that it is unconstitutional to hold an impeachment trial for a former president. The piece came two days before the Senate was set to start the proceeding, in which Mr. Trump is charged with “incitement of insurrection” in connection with the deadly assault on the Capitol by his supporters on Jan. 6.

Since the rampage, Republicans have made little effort to excuse Mr. Trump’s conduct, but have coalesced behind the legal argument about constitutionality as their rationale for why he should not be tried, much less convicted. Their theory is that because the Constitution’s penalty for an impeachment conviction is removal from office, it was never intended to apply to a former president, who is no longer in office.

Many legal scholars disagree, and the Senate has previously held an impeachment trial of a former official — though never a former president. But 45 Republican senators, including Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader who is said to believe that Mr. Trump committed impeachable offenses, voted last month to dismiss the trial as unconstitutional on those grounds.

Mr. Cooper said they were misreading the Constitution.

The provision cuts against their interpretation,” he wrote. He argued that because the Constitution allows the Senate to bar officials convicted of impeachable offenses from holding public office again in the future, “it defies logic to suggest that the Senate is prohibited from trying and convicting former officeholders.”

Mr. Cooper’s decision to take on the argument was particularly significant because of his standing in conservative legal circles. He was a close confidant and adviser to Senate Republicans, like Ted Cruz of Texas when he ran for president, and represented House Republicans — including the minority leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California — in a lawsuit against Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He is also the lawyer for conservative stalwarts like John R. Bolton and Jeff Sessions, and over his career defended California’s same-sex marriage ban and had been a top outside lawyer for the National Rifle Association.

But Mr. Cooper, who is said to be dismayed by the unwillingness of House and Senate Republicans to hold Mr. Trump accountable, took on the main claim made by his own confidants and clients, offering a series of scholarly and technical arguments for why the Constitution allows for a former president to stand trial.

It was unclear whether Mr. Cooper’s opinion would have any influence on the outcome of the trial. It could provide cover to Republican senators open to convicting Mr. Trump who were caught off guard by last month’s vote, forced by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, to effectively dismiss the case as unconstitutional. Some Republicans have since said they did not necessarily mean to signal that they were opposed to hearing the case, or had made up their minds about Mr. Trump’s guilt.

Seventeen Republicans would have to join with all 50 Democrats to reach the two-thirds threshold necessary to convict Mr. Trump — something that appears to be exceedingly unlikely.

During the impeachment of Bill Clinton, his defenders argued that his misconduct was ultimately private and didn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense. In the current impeachment of Donald Trump, that’s a hard argument to make with a straight face, since the then-president’s offenses, culminating in the siege of the Capitol, were obviously public and political. So his defenders claim instead that it’s unconstitutional for the Senate to try him now that he’s no longer in office.

Forty-five Republican senators voted in favor of Sen. Rand Paul‘s motion challenging the Senate’s jurisdiction to try Trump. But scholarship on this question has matured substantially since that vote, and it has exposed the serious weakness of Mr. Paul’s analysis.

The strongest argument against the Senate’s authority to try a former officer relies on Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution, which provides: “The president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The trial’s opponents argue that because this provision requires removal, and because only incumbent officers can be removed, it follows that only incumbent officers can be impeached and tried.

But the provision cuts against their interpretation. It simply establishes what is known in criminal law as a “mandatory minimum” punishment: If an incumbent officeholder is convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Senate, he is removed from office as a matter of law.


This will be a shorter impeachment trial, it looks like, at least, than the first one for former President Trump.

Let’s go through how this is going to work. First of all, tomorrow, the first day of the trial, that day is being set aside for arguments over the constitutionality of this trial. There will be up to four hours of arguments. And then the Senate will vote on whether this is constitutional to try a former president.

You may recall the Senate has taken a similar vote. They will do it again tomorrow. That is expected to pass. Then, Wednesday, for the rest of the week will the arguments of the trial itself, presentations by both sides, up to 16 hours per side, so four days total.

Now, talking about this, we expect these to be the main days of the arguments, those four days up until Sunday, after that, closing arguments for about four hours, again, fewer than in the past trial. And senators will then have four hours to ask questions, again, also much less than last time.

An open question that is not yet revolved is, will there be witnesses? This Senate resolution that is governing the trial allows for witnesses, if House managers or Trump’s attorneys ask for them and if the Senate votes to allow it.

So, we may not have an answer to that question soon. I’m told that House managers have not yet decided if they want witnesses or not.

One very last note. I’m told senators will be allowed to space out throughout the chamber into the galleries. And there will be a special room. They will use one of the cloak rooms, sort of, or one of the Senate’s lobbies and have a television in there for senators to watch off the floor, so they can space out.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

Former President Trump’s lawyers plan to defend him vigorously. And they are really going to be going with two-track — a two-track approach.

The first is focused on the process, the jurisdiction, the due process. The second part is going to be focused on the speech, on political rhetoric, on the First Amendment.

On the first part, there was a 78-page brief released today from his lawyers. Part of that really is a window into what they are going to be saying during this trial.

And I want to read from — you some of — part of it.

  • It says:

“The Senate is being asked to do something patently ridiculous, try a private citizen in a process that is designed to remove him from an office that he no longer holds.”

That’s the president’s lawyers saying there that he’s no longer president of the United States, and thus he should not be in an impeachment trial. Of course, Democrats say there is still the issue of whether or not he should be banned from holding office.

The second part of the president’s lawyers’ defense is again one coming to political rhetoric.

And for that, they write: “The president did not direct anyone to commit lawless actions. The claim that he could be responsible if a small group of criminals misunderstood him, it’s simply absurd.”

They’re saying here that the president’s words were to walk peacefully to the Capitol. Of course, Democrats are saying in fact that the president said fight like hell, and, as a result, that really incited thousands of people to go to the Capitol and do that.

One other thing, we should be watching for video of this. There’s — from my understanding, the president’s lawyers are going to be using video of Democrats saying fiery things at political rallies to make their point.

Also, this is in direct contrast to what the president’s own supporters are saying when they’re being tried in court. They’re saying: The president told us to go to the Capitol in their different states. And this is the president’s lawyers saying, that’s just simply not the case.


Potential back-up plan to not getting T impeached, but aim to censure him under the 14th amendment which would prevent him from running for office ever again.

Democrats have a back-up plan in case the Senate doesn’t convict Trump on impeachment


House and Senate Democrats may push ahead this week with a censure resolution to bar former President Donald Trump from holding future office over his role in the U.S. Capitol riot, anticipating acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial, several sources familiar with the matter told McClatchy.

The effort to draft the resolution that would invoke a provision of the 14th Amendment began quietly in January and gained momentum over the weekend, as Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine gauge whether the measure could attract bipartisan support.

The reception has been lukewarm so far from Democrats, who would prefer to see the former president convicted in the impeachment trial, and from Republicans, who fear political consequences in barring Trump from office.

But a group of Democratic lawmakers may still proceed with the censure resolution this week, hoping to build public support and political momentum for the alternative as the trial proceeds, two sources said.

Some Democratic lawyers warn the strategy could backfire if taken to court and provide Trump with a rallying cry to run again for president in 2024, while others see it as the last, best chance to hold him accountable for attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential results and disrupt Congress’ certification of his loss.

Ten Republican congressmen joined House Democrats last month to impeach Trump for a second time over “incitement of insurrection” on Jan. 6, when a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building and interrupted Congress’ certification procedure.

Trump’s impeachment trial begins on Tuesday in the Senate, where he is widely expected to be acquitted because conviction would require 17 Republican senators to join all Democrats.

As the likelihood of Trump’s acquittal has grown, so too have calls within the Democratic caucus for an alternative path to prevent Trump from holding office again.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida first raised the idea of a dual-track process that would reserve a second constitutional pathway. Kaine then began exploring the idea on the Senate side.

Their attention has focused on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, a rarely cited Civil War-era provision which allows Congress to bar individuals from holding office if they have “engaged in insurrection.” A resolution to censure Trump would require a simple majority vote to pass in the House and Senate.


Kind of related, since it brings in Alan Dershowitz again.

Using Connections to Trump, Dershowitz Became Force in Clemency Grants

Lawyer Alan M. Dershowitz, who represented the former president in his first impeachment trial, used his access for a wide array of clients as they sought pardons or commutations.

By the time George Nader pleaded guilty last year to possessing child pornography and sex trafficking a minor, his once strong alliances in President Donald J. Trump’s inner circle had been eroded by his cooperation with the special counsel’s investigation into Mr. Trump’s team and its connections to Russia.

So as Mr. Nader sought to fight the charges and reduce his potential prison time, he turned to a lawyer with a deep reservoir of good will with the president and a penchant for taking unpopular, headline-grabbing cases: Alan M. Dershowitz.

Mr. Dershowitz told Mr. Nader’s allies that he had reached out to an official in the Trump administration and one in the Israeli government to try to assess whether they would support a plan for Mr. Nader to be freed from United States custody in order to resume a behind-the-scenes role in Middle East peace talks, and whether Mr. Trump might consider commuting his 10-year sentence.

Mr. Dershowitz helped craft a proposal — which Mr. Nader’s allies believed he was floating at the White House in the final days of the Trump presidency — for Mr. Nader to immediately “self-deport” after his release from a Virginia jail. Under the plan, Mr. Nader would board a private plane provided by the United Arab Emirates to return to the Gulf state, where he holds citizenship and has served as a close adviser to the powerful crown prince.

Given the nature of Mr. Nader’s crimes and his cooperation with the Russia investigation, his bid for clemency was a long shot that did not work out. But Mr. Dershowitz’s willingness to pull a range of levers to try to free him shows why he emerged as a highly sought-after and often influential intermediary as Mr. Trump decided who would benefit from his pardon powers.

Many of Mr. Dershowitz’s clients got what they wanted before Mr. Trump left office, an examination by The New York Times found. The lawyer played a role in at least 12 clemency grants, including two pardons, which wipe out convictions, and 10 commutations, which reduce prison sentences, while also helping to win a temporary reprieve from sanctions for an Israeli mining billionaire.

His role highlighted how Mr. Trump’s transactional approach to governing created opportunities for allies like Mr. Dershowitz — an 82-year-old self-described “liberal Democrat” who defended the president on television and in his first impeachment trial — to use the perception that they were gatekeepers to cash in, raise their profiles, help their clients or pursue their own agendas.

Mr. Dershowitz received dozens of phone calls from people seeking to enlist him in clemency efforts.

The cases in which he did assist came through family members of convicts, defense lawyers enlisting him because they thought he could help their court cases as well as their clemency pushes and Orthodox Jewish prisoners’ groups with which he has long worked.

In a series of interviews, Mr. Dershowitz — who in a career spanning more than half a century has represented a roster of tabloid-magnet clients accused of heinous acts, including O.J. Simpson and Jeffrey Epstein — cast his defense of Mr. Trump and his clemency efforts as a natural extension of his work defending individual rights against a justice system that could be harsh and unfair.

“I’m just not a fixer or an influence peddler,” he said.

Mr. Dershowitz said his efforts on behalf of Mr. Nader reflected “a multifaceted approach to these problems. So I don’t separate out diplomacy, legality, courts, executive, Justice Department — they’re all part of what I do.”

He said that “the idea that I would ever, ever ingratiate myself to a president in order to be able to advertise myself as a person that could get commutations is just totally false and defamatory.”

He acknowledged, though, that his relationship with Mr. Trump increased interest in his services, and potentially his effectiveness.

“Of course I’m not surprised that people would call me because they thought that the president thought well of me,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “If somebody is seeking a pardon from Clinton, you’re not going to go to somebody who is a friend of Jerry Falwell. You’re going to go to somebody who is a Democrat. That’s the way the system works.”

He said he had agonized over cases in which he had failed to persuade Mr. Trump, including that of a federal death row inmate he had represented who was executed in December.

Still, Mr. Dershowitz had an outsize influence over how Mr. Trump deployed one of the most profound unilateral powers of the presidency, including:

  • Commutations to three people on whose behalf he personally lobbied Mr. Trump after working on their cases with Jewish prisoners’ rights groups. They included two New York real estate investors who had been convicted of defrauding more than 250 investors out of $23 million and a former executive at a kosher meatpacking plant who was convicted in 2009 of bank fraud.

  • Commutations to several people who received long sentences at trial after turning down shorter sentences in plea deals offered by prosecutors, an outcome known as the trial penalty, against which Mr. Dershowitz has long crusaded.

  • A commutation for a New Jersey man who was sentenced in 2013 to 24 years in prison for charges related to a Ponzi-style real estate scheme that caused $200 million in losses.

  • Pardons to two conservative political figures, the author Dinesh D’Souza and the former vice-presidential aide I. Lewis Libby Jr., and a commutation to the former Illinois governor Rod R. Blagojevich. Mr. Dershowitz did not work on their cases, but he recommended clemency grants when Mr. Trump asked his opinion.

It is difficult to determine how much money the work brought Mr. Dershowitz.

Mr. Dershowitz, an emeritus professor at Harvard Law School who described himself as semiretired, said more than half of his clemency work was pro bono, and most of it was done on behalf of pre-existing clients. When he was paid, it was at an hourly rate in line with the fees charged by senior partners at law firms, Mr. Dershowitz said.

In one case, he was paid by the family of Jonathan Braun, whose 10-year sentence for drug smuggling was commuted by Mr. Trump in his final hours in office. But after The Times reported that Mr. Braun had a history of violence and threatening people, Mr. Dershowitz said he donated the fees to charity.


But Mr. Dershowitz — who volunteered examples of Mr. Trump seeking his advice while in the next breath protesting that he was “not a Trump supporter” and had no more influence with Mr. Trump than with past presidents — obtained something that his defenders and detractors alike described as especially important to him: renewed political relevance and an increased reputation as a power player, particularly in the Jewish community.

Mr. Dershowitz emerged as a favorite of Mr. Trump from his early days in office as a result of his criticism of the investigation being carried out by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

Mr. Dershowitz, an ardent supporter of Israel, was invited to the White House in 2017 for two days of private talks about a Middle East peace plan being assembled by Mr. Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and other officials.

Mr. Dershowitz was invited back to the White House last year, when Mr. Trump unveiled the peace plan, and for a Hanukkah party in 2019 where Mr. Trump signed an executive order Mr. Dershowitz had helped draft targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses.

The week after the Hanukkah party in 2019, Mr. Dershowitz attended a Christmas Eve dinner at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where he said Mr. Trump lobbied him to join his impeachment legal defense team. Mr. Dershowitz said he decided to join as a matter of principle and noted that he had also consulted with President Bill Clinton’s legal team during his impeachment.

Mr. Dershowitz acknowledged taking advantage of his access to push for clemency grants, starting with the invitation to the White House for talks about the Middle East peace plan. He used the opportunity to urge Mr. Trump to grant clemency to Sholom Rubashkin, the kosher meatpacking executive convicted in 2009.

Mr. Rubashkin’s case had become a cause in Orthodox Jewish circles, and Mr. Dershowitz had worked on it on a pro bono basis. A few months after Mr. Dershowitz made the case to Mr. Trump in the White House, Mr. Rubashkin was free.

That outcome emboldened a network of activists and groups supporting prisoners’ rights, social service and clemency, including some associated with Orthodox Jewish leaders.

Mr. Dershowitz and a Jewish group with which he has worked closely, the Aleph Institute, were central players in the network. As word spread of their successes, they were inundated with requests from prisoners and their families, including many Orthodox Jews.

Late last year, Mr. Trump called Mr. Dershowitz to ask about clemency grants he was advocating on a pro bono basis with the Aleph Institute for Mark A. Shapiro and Irving Stitsky, the New York real estate investors convicted in the $23 million fraud. Mr. Dershowitz cast the cases as emblematic of the trial penalty.

Mr. Dershowitz had written op-eds in Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal denouncing the trial penalty and citing unnamed cases. One matched the details of Mr. Shapiro and Mr. Stitsky, who were each sentenced to 85 years in prison after they turned down plea agreements of less than 10 years. Mr. Dershowitz said one or both of the articles had circulated in the White House, and Mr. Trump had asked him about the trial penalty.

“He was very interested” in the penalty, Mr. Dershowitz said, and also “the concept of the pardon power being more than just clemency, but being part of the system of checks and balances for excessive legislative or judicial actions.”

Mr. Stitsky had no prior relationship with Mr. Trump. But last year, friends of Mr. Stitsky helped retain a Long Island law and lobbying firm, Gerstman Schwartz, that did. One of the firm’s partners had parlayed previous New York public relations work for Mr. Trump into a new Washington lobbying business after he became president.

And Mr. Stitsky’s new lawyers also tapped into the pardon-seeking network by working with both Mr. Dershowitz and the Aleph Institute.

Mr. Trump commuted the sentences of Mr. Shapiro and Mr. Stitsky.

In another case championed by Mr. Dershowitz and the Aleph Institute, Mr. Trump commuted the 20-year sentence of Ronen Nahmani, an Israeli-born Florida man convicted in 2015 of selling synthetic marijuana. The appeal to the White House, which Mr. Dershowitz helped devise, included an assurance that Mr. Nahmani would leave the country and never return — a framework that Mr. Dershowitz said served as a model for Mr. Nader’s case.

Mr. Dershowitz was enlisted to help Mr. Nader by Joey Allaham, a Syrian-born New York restaurateur and businessman, who paid Mr. Dershowitz to consult on Middle East issues, including working with Mr. Nader.

After Mr. Nader was arrested in 2019, Mr. Allaham connected Mr. Dershowitz to Mr. Nader’s criminal defense lawyer, Jonathan S. Jeffress, who paid Mr. Dershowitz at an hourly rate.

Mr. Nader’s team grew to include the lobbyist Robert Stryk, who filed a disclosure statement saying he was working to win a presidential commutation, and the lawyer Robin Rathmell, who filed a clemency petition at the Justice Department citing Mr. Nader’s help to the United States in Middle East relations. Mr. Nader’s allies had also used that argument in the early 1990s in an effort to win a reduced sentence when he pleaded guilty to a different child pornography charge.

Mr. Dershowitz said he thought it would help Mr. Nader’s current case if the American, Israeli and Emirati governments would vouch for his assistance to the United States in the region, and if Mr. Nader would pledge to leave the country upon his release.

Mr. Dershowitz told Mr. Nader’s allies that he made one call last year to a Trump administration official who handled Middle East policy and who was discouraging about the idea. He also called Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, who was noncommittal. After that, Mr. Dershowitz said, he shifted his efforts on behalf of Mr. Nader to focus almost exclusively on his fight to reduce his sentence in the courts.

“That was 99 percent of the effort,” Mr. Dershowitz said, “because the clemency effort directed at commutation was always so uphill considering the nature of the crime that it was never realistic.”

Mr. Nader’s allies had a different impression of Mr. Dershowitz’s efforts.

“We understood that Mr. Dershowitz was seeking clemency on behalf of Mr. Nader,” Mr. Jeffress said, “and that he was rejected for the sole reason that Mr. Nader had cooperated in the Mueller investigation.”




Lots of coverage on today’s Impeachment Hearings

Live C SPAN coverage (and clips)

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Trump in hindsight was horrified by the violence of the Insurrection his lawyers say. Others say differently.

Hindsignt (and legal CYA) is not 2020

Trump’s lawyers say he was immediately ‘horrified’ by the Capitol attack. Here’s what his allies and aides said really happened that day.

President Donald Trump was “horrified” when violence broke out at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, as a joint session of Congress convened to confirm that he lost the election, according to his defense attorneys.

Trump tweeted calls for peace “upon hearing of the reports of violence” and took “immediate steps” to mobilize resources to counter the rioters storming the building, his lawyers argued in a brief filed Monday in advance of Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. It is “absolutely not true,” they wrote, that Trump failed to act swiftly to quell the riot.

But that revisionist history conflicts with the timeline of events on the day of the Capitol riot, as well as accounts of multiple people in contact with the president that day, who have said Trump was initially pleased to see a halt in the counting of the electoral college votes. Some former White House officials have acknowledged that he only belatedly and reluctantly issued calls for peace, after first ignoring public and private entreaties to do so.


Introductory comments from Impeachment lead Rep Jamie Raskin makes a powerful constitutional argument about why this is right to be impeaching Trump because his actions deserve to be reprimanded.

A few comments from NYT reporters (live blog above) and his quote from President Adams about his role as President. And some of the exhibitions from the presentations.

Katie Benner

Department of Justice Reporter

Raskin’s decision to underscore the prominent Republicans who argue that a former president can be impeached is in keeping with the Democrats’ larger strategy of arguing that there is bipartisan support for impeachment, even if Republicans in the Senate choose to acquit, and that this case is about protecting the country from Trump. The House trial memo cites Republicans like Liz Cheney as supporting impeachment, and a Trump appointed judge, Judge Stephanos Bibas, as rejecting Trump’s election fraud claims.
1:39 PM ET

Maggie Haberman

White House Correspondent

Raskin says the goal of impeachment “was always about accountability,” arguing that Republicans have created a false construct by which “removal” is the only end.

  • Carl Hulse

Chief Washington correspondent

Here’s a link to the WSJ Opinion piece by Charles J. Cooper that I mentioned above.

WSJ Opinion/Commentary | The Constitution Doesn’t Bar Trump’s Impeachment Trial

  • Occurs to me that Warren Hastings would be surprised to have his impeachment still being discussed more than 200 years later.

Charlie Savage

Washington Correspondent

The Senate’s own website has a lengthy take on Belknap’s impeachment (just after he resigned) and then his Senate trial, and the failure of his argument that there was no jurisdiction over him because he was no longer in office. It notes: “The Senate convened its trial in early April, with Belknap present, after agreeing that it retained impeachment jurisdiction over former government officials. During May, the Senate heard more than 40 witnesses, as House managers argued that Belknap should not be allowed to escape from justice simply by resigning his office.” Secretarys Impeac…

:boom: :boom: :boom: “Remember this day forever” - Insurrectionist Trump

And calling into question his former Presidential status.

Emotional end comments from Rep Raskins about the losses at the Capitol, loss of his son, and his daughter’s reaction to the horrors “I am never coming back here.”

Here comes Trump’s defense - Bruce Castor Jr - A PA Prosecutor or is he now a ‘defender’ of the President?

Calling on Ben Franklin, condeming Sen Ben Sasse’s (R-NB) for speaking his mind, and wouldn’t his constituents not like that? He is weak, mild mannered…and droning on.

is it that no one wants to run against Trump, and therefore this impeachment proceeding.

David Schoen - Former President Trump’s defense lawyer…a lot more energy, but full of shaming efforts towards Dems, and calling it a disunifying event - Impeachment because Dems hate Trump and are trying to ‘deprogram’ those who like Trump.

Schoen as the defender of this 'constitutional; argument


Holy shit that is absolutely bonkers.


Twitter is in agreement that the cat lawyer would do a better job than Bruce Castor.


I’m sorry, does that recording contain the text that recording it is prohibited by law

Then again not sure what it has to say about cat filters

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Officer Goodman lead the Rioters away from the Senate after they rushed up the stairs.





Vote: 56 Yes 44 No

Here are the R’s who joined.
Collins (R-ME)
Cassidy (R-LA)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Romney (R-UT)
Sasse (R-NB)


Marjorie Taylor Greene falsely suggests Trump supporters didn’t carry out the Capitol siege days after apologizing for endorsing conspiracy theories


Rep Jamie Raskin’s speech really resonated today because it spoke to the facts, and the emotional toll this Insurrection caused in human life, injury and the integrity of our Democracy.

The emotional high point of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial probably came in its first hours.

Closing out the opening presentation from the Democratic House managers, Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland offered a powerful speech in which he choked back tears as he recalled the attempted coup of January 6. The speech was poignant for personal reasons—as members of Congress know, and as my colleague John Hendrickson wrote last month, Raskin’s son, Tommy, had died by suicide just days before the insurrection—and because, no matter how heartfelt it was, it is unlikely to have much effect on Trump’s expected acquittal. (Indeed, later in the afternoon, the Senate voted 56-44 to proceed with the trial—only one Republican having been swayed by the day’s argument to reverse his vote from an earlier procedural motion.)

The Capitol is not necessarily a pleasant place—angry exchanges and corrupt agreements happen there all the time. But it is intended to be a place that belongs to Americans, and one where battles are fought with words and not weapons. (There is a reason the historical exceptions to this are notorious.) The sanctity of the space matters because it is a physical representation of constitutional government.

In seeking to overturn the election and then inciting an insurrection, Trump attacked the physical forms and structures of American government. But the crowd that stormed the Capitol also struck at its intangible heart. If Raskin’s speech resonated with many who listened, it was because they shared his sense that what happened on January 6 wasn’t just a crime—it was an act of sacrilege.


Glad to hear it.