Wednesday, February 10, 2021

WATCH LIVE: Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial Continues in Senate | Day 2 and Day 3

by Nomad


Having voted in favor of the constitutionality of the impeachment of a former president, the Senate today will officially commence with the trial of Donald J. Trump. 
If yesterday is anything to go by, fur will be flying. The weak performance of Trump's defense lawyers reportedly infuriated the former president. 

According to CNN, sources close to Trump say the "deeply unhappy" former president was "borderline screaming" Trump was particularly upset with attorney Bruce Castor's rambling opening remarks.
Trump's team was also confused over a last-minute decision to swap the order of his defense. Castor, who spoke first, had originally been scheduled to speak after attorney David Schoen. People close to Trump thought their new strategy wasn't strong and did not appreciate when Castor praised the opposing side during his arguments.
As if that wasn't strange enough, CNN also reported that some members of Trump's legal team were surprised by prosecutors' choice to show raw video clips from the day of the attack. 
Hard to call that blindsiding when Democrats indicated for days that they would do exactly that. 
And did the defense team actually expect the prosecutors not to appeal to Senate members on an emotional level? They were after all the target of the mob's anger. 

It was more than just a clumsy and at times, laughable defense. The House managers, led by Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a constitutional law scholar, argued convincingly that the Constitution does not deprive the Senate of jurisdiction under these circumstances. The framers made that perfectly clear.
Six Republicans joined the Senate's 48 Democrats and two independents in agreeing that it was constitutional to hold the trial, for a final 56-44 vote to proceed. 
Not a very impressive start for Trump's defense, to say the least.

Today and Thursday, the prosecution will produce their opening arguments before the Senate and Impeachment managers from the House of Representatives will each make their case for conviction. This is likely to be drawn out over the next two days. 

Late Additions to the Team

In addition to Castor and Schoen, Trump's defense team consists of other dubious choices. Two other big-name Philadelphia attorneys, Michael T. van der Veen and William J. Brennan, have been hired as members of the team. 
As the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. neither have lengthy records supporting Republican causes in court or offering full-throated public defenses of the former president. As recently as two years ago, according to a former client, van der Veen described Trump as a “f—ing crook.”

When van der Veen made the remark, the client was accused of attempting to hack his way into a government database in an effort to steal Trump's tax returns. 
"I’m not sure if [those comments] were made to make me feel more comfortable, or if they were his actual opinions..   But “he definitely came off as fairly anti-Trump in the context that I knew him.”
In addition to those remarks, van der Veen seems an unlikely choice.
He railed in marketing emails for his firm about what he described as a campaign by Pennsylvania Republicans to “unfairly and illegally intimidate voters.” And in the run-up to the 2020 election, he represented a client suing Trump, arguing that the administration was suppressing mail voting with last-minute changes at the U.S. Postal Service.
Keep in mind, this lawyer has been hired to defend Trump. 

Consequences for the GOP

Attorney and former White House Counsel, under President Barack Obama, Gregory B. Craig, writes that the strategy for both sides is not so cut and dry. 
The Senate schedule envisions a quick trial. That the sides could agree to such an abbreviated timetable suggests that neither sees benefit in a drawn-out proceeding. Trump, believing he already has the votes for acquittal, wants to get it over with. The Democrats might well conclude that rather than reliving the assault on the U.S. Capitol, precious floor time is better spent doing the country's business, such as passing President Joe Biden’s "American Rescue Plan" on COVID-19.
Sadly, unless public pressure compels Republicans in the Senate to vote according to their consciences and the facts of the case - rather than according to party lines- none of the ineptitude - will affect the outcome of the trial: Trump will be acquitted of inciting an insurrection in an effort to overturn the result of the election.  

Unlike the election, this trial is rigged. 

The real question is, of course, not about the trial but about the long-term damage to the Republican party that comes with a Trump acquittal. If the GOP does not hold Trump accountable in the matter of attempting to annul the results of an election by violence, who will ever be able to trust the party going forward? The GOP will be giving its official stamp of approval for Trump's criminality- a legacy that will live on in US political history for decades.

If you'd like to watch the proceedings with us here at Nomadic Politics- with running commentary provided by the community- things kick off at 11:30 a.m. ET. Live feed and analysis will be provided by CBS News.

Day Two


Yesterday's riveting and horrifying presentation of the prosecution's case against Trump recounted how the president stoked the flames of his supporters' anger by promoted the Big Lie that the election was rigged if he didn't win in November and pounded that drum on Twitter, television interviews and rallies. 
After his loss in the elections, Trump claimed that the election was stolen and amped up the baseless lies until it reached a breaking point on January 6th.

The prosecution revealed compelling evidence that showed how the former president, in an effort to hold onto power, invited supporters and violent extremist groups to Washington on the day of the certification of the Electoral College vote. It was no coincidence, the impeachment managers claimed and in doing so, the case for premeditation was successfully laid out.

According to the presentation, Trump then incited them to march on the Capitol building to "fight" as patriots and continued to encourage the insurrectionists even as they attacked Capitol police. Security footage showed how members of Congress narrowly avoided marauding rioters, thanks to the brave conduct of staff and security as well as sheer luck. 

Prosecutors also asserted that Mike Pence, who presided over the largely ceremonial process, was Trump's particular target, Knowing that the lives of his own vice-president and his family were endangered by the mob, Trump took no action. He was described as "borderline enthusiastic" about the events unfolding in real-time on TV.

The presentation concluded with Trump's strange and largely indifferent reaction to the violence he witnessed on TV and he failed, in nearly every aspect, to uphold the Constitution. 
Now, said the prosecution, it is the time for the Senate to do its constitutional duty and convict Trump. 
Day Three

The third day of the trial in the Senate of  Donald Trump's second impeachment begins today at 12 EST.  Impeachment managers will continue to make their already-devastating case against Trump.