Raskin: No Constitutional Lectures
Rep. Jamie Raskin began oral arguments in the second Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump by assuring senators that he wouldnt lecture them endlessly like a college professor.
Raskin, D-Md., a former 25-year constitutional scholar at American University, cited a line from W.H. Auden that a professor is someone who speaks while other people are sleeping.
I know there are a lot of people who are dreading endless lectures about the Federalist papers, Raskin said. Please breathe easy.
Raskin said the case from House Democrats will focus on the cold, hard facts. He argued that Trumps defense team wanted to halt the trial without evidence by calling it unconstitutional.
They want to call the trial over before any evidence is even introduced, Raskin said.
Meet Trump’s Impeachment Defense Team
Schoen has worked briefly as counsel for Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone.
He is also linked to Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier and convicted sex offender. In 2019, Schoen told the Atlanta Jewish Times that he met with Epstein in prison days before Epstein hanged himself.
Van der Veen, an attorney specializing in personal injury and criminal defense, has the lowest public profile of the team but took up a significant portion of defense time on Friday.
Will Trump testify?
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the lead impeachment manager, sent a letter to Trump on Feb. 4 inviting the former president to testify under oath.
House Democrats Open Second Trump Impeachment Trial
House Democrats opened the second Senate impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump shortly after 1 p.m. EST, arguing;the case is constitutional despite him having left office.
The debate opens a historic trial of the only president to be impeached twice and the only impeachment trial of a president who is no longer in office. The Senate is sitting as a jury to decide whether Trump incited the insurrection Jan. 6 at the Capitol that left five dead.
Three House Democrats serving as prosecutors, who are called managers, are presenting arguments Tuesday: Reps. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Joe Neguse of Colorado and David Cicilline of Rhode Island.
The House managers and Trumps defense team will divide up to four hours for arguments about whether the case is constitutional. The Senate will then vote on whether to dismiss the case.
The Senate is expected to uphold the trial as constitutional because senators already voted 55-45 to support the proceedings last month. But that vote also suggested Trump could be acquitted because a two-thirds majority is required for conviction and more than one-third of the chamber found the trial unconstitutional.
Trumps defense team led by Bruce Castor Jr. and David Schoen has argued the trial is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office. They said the Senate has no jurisdiction over Trump as a private citizen.
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Raskin Brought Daughter To Congress On Day Of Riot: Of Course Its Safe
Rep. Jamie Raskin choked up repeatedly Tuesday as he recalled assuring his daughter, Tabitha, and son-in-law, Hank, that it would be safe to watch the House count Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.
Raskin, D-Md., said the young adults watched the proceedings from the balcony above the chamber before returning to an office where they barricaded the door. While separated from Raskin, they sent desperate texts to loved ones while hiding beneath a table.
They thought they were going to die, Raskin said amid tears.
Raskin said hell never forget the haunting sound of a battering ram that rioters pounded against the House door. He recalled how a rioter mercilessly pummeled a police officer with an American flag pole. Other officers suffered brain damage, had their eyes gouged and one lost three fingers, Raskin said. Officer Brian Sicknick died from his injuries the next day.
Raskin gestured to the pin on his lapel identifying him as a member of the House and said lawmakers were removing them as they evacuated.
When he was later reunited with his 24-year-old daughter, Raskin apologized and said it would be safe the next time she visited. She told him she didnt want to return.
‘Dad, I don’t want to come back’:Rep. Jamie Raskin, in tears at trial, recounts daughter’s fear during Capitol riot
Cassidy Joins Group Of Republicans Who Support Trump Trial
Though Republicans joined Democrats in pushing the impeachment trial of;Donald Trump;forward Tuesday,;it still doesn’t appear as if Democrats have enough GOP backing to convict the former president.
House Democratic impeachment managers need at least 67 of the 100;senators to vote to convict Trump in order to secure a conviction. But 44 Republican senators voted Tuesday that the trial was unconstitutional, more than enough to block a Trump conviction.
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana added his name to the list of Republican senators who have said the trial is constitutional, denying a challenge from Trump’s legal team. He joins Sens.;Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania who had already;voted to support the legality of the trial last month.;
Cassidy;was the only GOP Senator who originally opposed the trial to vote in support of it Tuesday.
Cassidy praised;the opening arguments by House managers, who are prosecuting the case, after Tuesdays proceedings ended.;
“The House managers were focused. They were organized. They relied upon both precedent, the Constitution and legal scholars,” he said.;”They made a compelling reason. President Trump’s team was disorganized. They did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand. And when they talked about it, they kind of glide it over, almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments.”
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‘i Do Not Know Who The Whistleblower Is’
Did Alexander Vindman talk to the whistleblower about Trump’s 25 July phone call with Ukraine’s president?
That certainly seems to be what Republican Devin Nunes believes.
After a few questions about Hunter Biden and Ukraine, Nunes started asking the two witnesses about whether they spoke to the press about the now famous Trump phone call.
He started with Jennifer Williams, who said she did not, but that was just a feint. The real fireworks came when Vindman spoke of the two people he talked to. The first was George Kent, the senior State Department Ukraine expert who had himself testified before the committee last week.
The other was… an intelligence community official.
For those who haven’t been following closely, it has been widely reported that the whistleblower – the individual whose complaint set off the chain reaction that has led to these impeachment hearings – was a member of the intelligence community.
When Democrat Adam Schiff cut in, saying “these proceedings will not be used to out the whistleblower”, the audience let out an audible “oooh”.
But Vindman has testified that he doesn’t know who the whistleblower is, Nunes responded, so how could he out that person?
Things got tense.
When Nunes referred to Vindman as “Mr”, the Army officer curtly corrected him that it he should be addressed as “Lieutenant Colonel Vindman”.
They may believe that if they undercut that person’s credibility, the rest of the allegations will be treated with greater scepticism.
Senate Oks Impeachment Trial Guidelines Showing It Could Wrap Up Next Week
The Senate approved guidelines for how former President Donald Trumps impeachment trial will operate, a schedule that could allow proceedings to wrap up early next week.
The resolution outlines this tentative schedule:
Tuesday: Four hours of debate followed by a vote on whether its constitutional to hold the trial.
Wednesday and Thursday: House impeachment managers will have 16 hours over two days to make their case.
Friday and Saturday:;Trumps lawyers will have 16 hours over two days to argue their case.
After the arguments, senators will have four hours to ask questions of the House impeachment managers and Trumps counsel. Then either House managers or Trump’s team could make a request for witnesses, which could significantly prolong the trial. Only a simple majority is needed to call a witness.
If no witnesses are called, the trial could conclude early next week with two hours of closing statement for each side. The trial would then conclude with a final vote on whether to convict or acquit the former president.
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Related: Can Senators Like Hawley Also Be Impeached
Youve opened a fascinating question.
The Constitution, in Article I, Section 5, gives each chamber the power to punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member. At this point, 1994 individuals have served in the U.S. Senate. Of those, just 15 have been expelled and 14 of those were expelled for supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War.
In other words, Senate expulsion is possible, but incredibly rare.
Senate impeachment, meaning an impeachment trial for a senator, is rarer still, having occurred only once, with Sen. William Blount of Tennessee in 1797. But the Blount trial left an open question as to whether impeachment of a Senator is possible.
Blount was expelled for attempting to help the British take over part of Florida, in a scheme where he stood to profit. After he was expelled, Congress additionally held an impeachment trial. The Senate voted that it did have the power to impeach him, but it remains unclear if senators believed that was because he had been a senator or if it was because he had already been expelled.
We spent a minute on this here because Mr. Blount is certain to come up in this impeachment trial more than 200 years later.
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Yet it remains unlikely that as matters now stand, House managers will convince 67 Senators to vote in favor of conviction. Fealty to Donald Trump is no doubt mostly to blame, despite Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnells call this week for senators to vote their conscience. Any remaining hope for conviction lies in one final move: insisting that the Senate call witnesses like Jessica Watkins or Edward Caldwell, another apparent member of the Oath Keepers, as well as witnesses higher up in the chain who may have had contact with Trump on the day of the riot, or before.
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Us Senate Acquits Trump As Republicans Save Him In Impeachment Again
By Richard Cowan, David Morgan, Makini Brice
8 Min Read
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate acquitted Donald Trump on Saturday in his second impeachment trial in a year, with fellow Republicans blocking conviction over the former presidents role in the deadly assault by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol.
The Senate vote of 57-43 fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection after a five-day trial in the same building ransacked by his followers on Jan. 6 shortly after they heard him deliver an incendiary speech.
In the vote, seven of the 50 Senate Republicans joined the chambers unified Democrats in favoring conviction.
How the Senate voted
Trump left office on Jan. 20, so impeachment could not be used to remove him from power. But Democrats had hoped to secure a conviction to hold him responsible for a siege that left five people including a police officer dead and to set the stage for a vote to bar him from ever serving in public office again. Given the chance to hold office in the future, they argued, Trump would not hesitate to encourage political violence again.
Trumps attorneys argued that his words at the rally were protected by his constitutional right to free speech and said he was not given due process in the proceedings.
Romney voted for impeachment on Saturday along with fellow Republicans Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Ben Sasse, Pat Toomey, and Lisa Murkowski.
Trump Lawyer: Moving Ahead With Trial Will Invite More Impeachments
Donald Trumps lead attorney began his attack on the constitutionality of the former presidents impeachment trial not on legal argument but on a political one, saying moving ahead means impeachment will become the rule, not the rare exception.
The flood gates will open, Bruce Castor told the Senate, noting that two of the nations four presidential impeachments have taken place in the last 13 months.
The political pendulum will shift one day, and partisan impeachments will become commonplace, he said. This is supposed to be the ultimate safety valve, the last thing that happens, the most rare treatment. …;After we are long done here and after theres a shift in the political winds and a change in the makeup of , the pressure for those folks back home is going to be tremendous.
While denouncing the violence at the Capitol by a pre-Trump mob as repugnant in every sense of the word, Castor also said Trumps words are protected political speech that should not be blamed for the actions of others, namely the rioters.
We cant possibly be suggesting that we punish people for political speech in this country, he said. And if people acted on those words and they crossed the line, they should be locked up.
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Impeachment Trial Highlights: A Showdown Over Calling Witnesses
Senators rejected a call for additional witnesses in President Trumps impeachment trial, dealing a fatal blow to efforts by Democrats to bring about new evidence.
Mr. Blunt? No. No. Mr. Booker? Yes. Aye. Mr. Boozman? No. No. Are there any senators in the chamber wishing to change his or her vote? If not, the yeas are 49, the nays are 51. The motion is not agreed to. This will set a new precedent. This will be cited in impeachment trials from this point to the end of history. The documents the president is hiding will come out. The witnesses the president is concealing will tell their stories. And we will be asked why we didnt want to hear that information when we had the chance. There is a way to decide right up front in some quick way whether theres really a triable issue, whether you really need to go to all the trouble of calling in new witnesses and having more evidence in something like that. Its not just about hearing from witnesses. You need documents. The documents dont lie. The question here before this body is, what do you want your place in history to be? Do you want your place in history to be, lets hear the truth? Or that we dont want to hear it? You did hear evidence. You heard evidence from 13 different witnesses, 192 video clips, and as my colleague the deputy White House counsel said, over 28,000 pages of documents.
It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed, Ms. Murkowski added
What Is Donald Trump Claiming In His Defense
Trump has had trouble assembling a legal team. His usual personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, had to recuse himself because he also gave a speech at the event where the former president is accused of fomenting insurrection. Trump then appears to have fallen out with his first legal team, which was led by Butch Bowers.
Now led by lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L Castor, Trumps team have claimed that his speech did not amount to a call to storm the Capitol, he was simply exercising his first amendment rights, and his trial is unconstitutional anyway, because he has left office. Trump will not testify personally.
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Schiff: Ignoring Trump Obstruction Hurts Congress Oversight Power
Schiff said that the evidence outlines “in considerable detail” a scheme to further Trump’s interests even well before the State Department recalled Marie Yovanovitch as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in May.
Yovanovitch was recalled following claims by supporters of the president that she was undermining Trump’s efforts to put pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden to benefit Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
The GOP report said there was no evidence that Trump improperly withheld $391 million in military aid to Ukraine or pressured Zelenskiy.
The Republicans also assert that Trump’s action regarding Ukraine stem from his longstanding concern about “its history of pervasive corruption,” and they argue that there is “nothing wrong” with asking serious questions about the presence of Hunter Biden, Biden’s son, on the board of directors of Burisma, a large Ukrainian gas company.
“The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is not the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct; it is an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system,” the Republicans wrote. “The Democrats are trying to impeach a duly elected president based on the accusations and assumptions of unelected bureaucrats who disagreed with President Trump’s policy initiatives and processes.”
The report also says Trump did “nothing inherently improper” by involving his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine matters.
Biden Nominee Neera Tanden To Face Grilling From Senators
Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, faces what could be a contentious;confirmation hearing Tuesday after facing pushback from Republicans;as well as progressives.
Tanden, the former head of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, is expected to be grilled by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Republican senators have expressed resistance to Tandens nomination because of her progressive positions and highly critical tweets, having;taken;aim at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Susan Collins, among others. She has;since deleted some;tweets, but after her nomination was announced,;Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, labeled her Bidens worst nominee so far.”
Neera Tanden:Neera Tanden, Biden’s pick for budget chief, defends progressive credentials, deletes old tweets
She’s also faced blowback from progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who in 2019 chided her in a letter saying she was;”maligning” his staff and “belittling progressive ideas.”;
Tanden also has a Wednesday hearing before the Senate Budget Committee, where Sanders is chairman.;If confirmed by the full Senate, she will be the first woman of color and Asian American to lead the office.
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