The trial for the second impeachment of Donald Trump has dropped this Wednesday to the bottom of the charges examined. The indictment tries to demonstrate how, in the words of Congressman Jamie Raskin at the beginning of the session, on January 6 Trump “changed his role as commander-in-chief and became the inciter-in-chief of a dangerous insurrection.”
The impeachment managers , congressmen sent by the House of Representatives to the Senate to act as prosecution, have provided shocking videos, hitherto unpublished, recorded by the Capitol security cameras as evidence.
They show Vice President Mike Pence with his family, hastily and under stress by Secret Service agents to safety. Senator Mitt Romney is also seen walking down a corridor and is abruptly stopped by a Capitol agent who makes him turn around to avoid meeting the rebels.
The prosecution seeks to confront the senators with the seriousness of the events that they themselves experienced. And he tries to document a pattern: a long and hard work by the former president to convince his followers that the elections were stolen and they needed to act.
But on his arguments, which will continue on Thursday, looms the shadow of Tuesday’s vote: only six Republicans broke discipline, far from the 17 that would be required for a conviction.
These six were Bill Cassidy, from Louisiana; Susan Collins from Maine; Lisa Murkowski, from Alaska; Mitt Romney, from Utah; Ben Sasse from Nebraska and Patrick Toomey from Pennsylvania. The Senate approved Tuesday to proceed with the second trial of Donald Trump .
This Wednesday the prosecution has presented a detailed argument to convict the former president. But, so far, the most important thing in the trial for the second impeachment of Donald Trump are those six names. Those of the six Republican senators who joined the 50 Democrats and voted Tuesday that prosecuting a former president is constitutional and that it should move forward.
It is a sizeable group of Republican rebels. But it is a long way from the 17 that would be needed to achieve the two-thirds majority that would allow Trump to be convicted of incitement to insurrection, in connection with the violent assault on Capitol Hill.by his followers on January 6.
It is one more vote than the same initiative garnered last month, when Democrats, aided by five Republicans, overturned the proposal to dismiss the trial as unconstitutional. Several Republicans said at the time that they remained open to reconsidering the constitutionality of the case when they heard the arguments.
But the four hours of debate on Tuesday only changed the mind of Senator Bill Cassidy, recently re-elected and who therefore will not face the voters for another six years. The senator later praised the presentation of the impeachment managersand destroyed that of Trump’s defense attorneys.
“If I’m an impartial jury, and one party is doing a great job and the other a terrible job, I will vote for the party that did well,” he explained.
Cassidy echoed what was the general feeling among Trump’s allies, who questioned the defense strategy after the first day, and the former president himself, who according to sources cited by CNN was extremely discontent and furious.
The criticisms were mainly at the performance of the lawyer Bruce Castor, who delivered a dispersed 48-minute speech. Before entering the room for the second day, Castor denied that he was going to rethink the defense strategy and maintained that Trump was satisfied with his intervention.
But on Wednesday, the roles of the top two lawyers were expected to be reversed and David Shoen to take the lead. A change that has a complicated effect: Schoen is an Orthodox Jew and must respect the Sabbath, so that it will not be able to carry the weight of the exhibition in which it can be a key day.
This Wednesday, with the procedural debate settled, the impeachment managers began their oral presentation to try to demonstrate a direct link between the behavior of Donald Trump and the insurrection unleashed on the Capitol on January 6.
But Tuesday’s vote showed that however they do it, their success is nothing short of impossible. Although he is almost confined in his Florida residence and not in the White House, although he no longer has his Twitter account to direct the fury of his followers, loyalty to Trump among Republican senators remains high.
Already on Tuesday, with the shocking 13-minute video that wanted to remember the violence of the assault on the Capitol on the senators, then witnesses and today members of the jury, the strategy of the prosecution was intuited.
“This cannot be the future of America,” Raskin said. “We cannot have presidents who incite violence because they refuse to accept the will of the people.” Signs of excitement were seen from the senators. But it is one thing to move hearts and another thing to move brains.
On Wednesday there were more videos. Not just the tough, unreleased footage that sought to move Republican senators. Also images of the former president making statements or screenshots of Twitter that recalled the days when Trump, today practically disappeared from the scene, was omnipresent.
The objective: to remind senators of the events they witnessed. And show them that Trump’s repeated false allegations of massive electoral fraud and his aggressive words to the protesters before they took the Capitol led to the violent insurrection aimed at avoiding the certification of the electoral result.
Unlike the previous impeachment , where two accusations had to be proven, of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, through a complex and opaque tangle of diplomatic communications, here it is a question of demonstrating whether a behavior, widely documented, caused similar events. documented. The narrative is simpler. But the chances of success, which go through convincing 17 Republican senators, are just as remote.
The Fulton County Prosecutor in Georgia, Fani Willis, reported on Wednesday the opening of a criminal investigation against former President Donald Trump for his “attempts to influence” the electoral result in the State of the presidential elections on November 3 .
Willis sent a letter to numerous Georgia electoral authorities, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, requesting that the documents related to the call that Trump made to Raffensperger be preserved in which he would have pressured him to “find” the votes. enough to turn around the election result favorable to Joe Biden.