Welcome to the second impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump.
The historic proceedings—which mark both the first time a president has been impeached twice, as well as the first impeachment trial for a former president—come about a month after the House charged Trump with inciting the January 6 Capitol insurrection. The attack left five people, including a Capitol Police officer, dead. Today’s debate, set to begin at 1 p.m. ET, will largely focus on the constitutionality of the trial, with Trump’s defense arguing it isn’t because he’s no longer in office.
With many Republicans signaling they won’t vote to convict Trump no matter the evidence, Trump’s acquittal is all but a foregone conclusion, and the trial is expected to be an unusually swift one. But as my colleague Pema Levy explains, what happens over the next week or so will still be incredibly consequential and perhaps even more damaging for Republicans than Trump’s first impeachment. Follow along below for the latest:
5:10 p.m. ET: The Senate voted 56-44 to proceed with the impeachment trial. It will resume tomorrow at noon ET. See you then.
Cassidy, Collins, Murkowski, Romney, Sasse, Toomey joined Dems to vote that its Constitutional to try to a former president in a 56-44 vote.
— Dan Friedman (@dfriedman33) February 9, 2021
5:00 p.m. ET: Schoen inexplicably concluded by reading a Longfellow poem. Now it’s time for the Senate to vote on the constitutionality of trying a former president.
4:30 p.m. ET: David Schoen, Trump’s other defense lawyer, is speaking. His argument at least seems a bit more substantive.
3:00 p.m. ET: Trump’s defense lawyer Bruce Castor Jr. is now up. He started by arguing that the desire to convict Trump is borne out of a misplaced desire to blame someone for the Capitol violence. The rest was a bit more difficult to follow, to say the least.
Is this a filibuster?
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) February 9, 2021
2:30 p.m. ET: In a deeply emotional appeal, Raskin concludes by noting the personal stakes of this trial. Raskin, who buried his son the day before the insurrection, described having his daughter and son-in-law at the Capitol during the attack. “Dad, I don’t want to come back to the Capitol,” he said his daughter told him after they were reunited.
2:00 p.m. ET: The next impeachment, Rep. Joe Neguse, is now up.
Rep. Joe Neguse: "Like every one of you, I was evacuated as this violent mob stormed the Capitol's gates…What our country experienced that day is the Framers' worst nightmare come to life." https://t.co/Lau7kmD368 #impeachmenttrial pic.twitter.com/u54JnP5CUH
— ABC News (@ABC) February 9, 2021
1:10 p.m. ET: Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin opens with video evidence showing pro-Trump insurrectionists marching toward the Capitol shortly after Trump’s remarks at “Stop the Steal.” The chilling footage continues by offering an incredibly detailed rundown of everything leading up to the storming of the Capitol—and the mayhem that ensued once they broke in.
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) February 9, 2021
11:45 a.m. ET: So how’s Trump taking all this in? According to Politico, the former president is in Mar-a-Lago, where he’s reportedly looking at this second impeachment trial and seeing a comeback. Trump is even likening this period to his Apprentice days.
“He’s compared it to that time in between seasons of ‘The Apprentice,’ building anticipation and wonderment for what’s to come,” one adviser told us of the period between his White House exit, eventual acquittal and his second act.
Other Trump advisers said he has revelled in his silence on Twitter — expressing amazement at how much coverage his few public statements have garnered.
“He finally realizes less is more,” one of them said.
9:00 a.m. ET: Another possible piece of evidence the prosecution could rely on is this video from “Stop the Steal” organizer Alan Hostetter, during which Hostetter called for the “execution” of Trump’s political foes. “The enemies and traitors of America, both foreign and domestic, must be held accountable,” Hostetter told the rally, as seen in the video below. “And they will. There must be long prison terms, while execution is the just punishment for the ringleaders of this coup.”
8:00 a.m. ET: Before things get started, let’s kick things off with a look at the rather damning evidence produced by none other than participants of the pro-Trump mob.
According to our investigation, of the 194 federal criminal cases brought against insurrectionists so far, at least 13 people charged cited Trump explicitly as the reason they marched on the Capitol. At least three suspects who said Trump compelled them to join the siege were seen in video footage amid violent altercations: One who allegedly struck a police officer with a fire extinguisher, another who allegedly struck an officer with a baseball bat, and another who was among a group breaching the speaker’s lobby doors just before one pro-Trump rioter was fatally shot by a police officer. Among those charged in the insurrection to date are at least five members of the neofascist Proud Boys, whose Long Island chapter announced on social media in December that Trump had given them “the green light” for January 6.
House managers are likely to point to these exact accounts as evidence that the former president directly encouraged the Capitol insurrection.