Donald Trump Impeachment Trial To See Opening Arguments On Wednesday Following Vote To Proceed

Terrence Smith

The impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump will continue on Wednesday after the defense lost a vote that sought to stop the trial on constitutional grounds, as reported by the Associated Press. On Tuesday, Trump's legal team of Bruce Castor and David Schoen had hoped that their argument that he could not constitutionally be convicted because he is no longer president would avert the trial, but the Senate voted to hear the case by a 56-44 margin. According to the report, the former president was not happy with the performance on Tuesday, and there are already calls for him to make some changes to his legal team.

Wednesday will see each side present opposing arguments, with House Democrats serving as prosecutors and the Senate serving as the jury. On Tuesday, Democrats presented a clip of the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the event that led to Trump's impeachment. The graphic video showed the mob of rioters causing chaos inside of the building in an effort to stop the certification of Joe Biden's presidential victory. Five died during the event, including a Capitol police officer.

The clip appeared to have an impact on the Senate, as many were forced to flee on the day of the events. When the trial to convict or acquit Trump on the charge of "incitement of insurrection" begins in earnest on Wednesday, the prosecution is expected to present more video clips from that day that have not been seen before.

Trump's team responded by putting forth the argument that all of the comments made by Trump leading up to the violence were protected under the First Amendment and he could not be convicted because he is now a former president. They described the incendiary comments made by Trump prior to the violence at the Capitol as figures of speech.

Castor revealed that he shifted his presentation in response to the one made by prosecutors, taking a conversational tone as he emphasized that Trump and his team viewed the attack as "repugnant" and "in the strongest possible way denounce the rioters." He continued by appealing to the patriotism of the Senate while calling for a "cool headed" approach. Schoen took a partisan approach to his argument, claiming the trial is a result of Democrats' "base hatred" of the former president.

Some Senate Republicans expressed unhappiness and confusion with the arguments made by Trump's defense. Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy described it as a "terrible job," while Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska called it a "missed opportunity." Cassidy and Murkowski were among the six Republicans to accept the constitutionality and continue with the trial, with the others being Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

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