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Trump impeachment trial schedule and structure
Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial set to begin in US Senate
The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump will begin later today in the US Senate, with the former president facing a charge of “incitement of insurrection” after his supporters stormed the US Capitol last month and engaged in clashes that left five people dead.
The prosecution is expected to brandish dramatic footage of the violence at the Capitol on 6 January. The trial is set to strike a sharp contrast of tone with Trump’s first trial in early 2020, at which prosecutors used documents, emails and testimony to tell a complicated story about a Trump pressure campaign in Ukraine.
This time the alleged crime scene is much closer to home – in the very chamber where the trial will play out, which was invaded by Trump supporters moments after members of Congress and staff had been evacuated.
With a majority of Americans expressing horror and outrage at the attack on the Capitol, the allegations against Trump could land much more powerfully with the public than did the story of his seeking political favors from Ukraine in return for official acts.
Seeking to defuse the incendiary potential of the footage that Democrats are preparing to air on the Senate floor, defense lawyers for Trump on Monday made the extraordinary claim that presenting the events of the attack would amount to “a brazen attempt to glorify violence”.
The defense team, led by Bruce Castor, a former county prosecutor from Pennsylvania, also argued in a legal brief that the Senate does not have jurisdiction to try Trump, because he has already left office. Additionally they claimed that Trump’s speeches and tweets whipping up a frenzy about false election fraud did not amount to incitement and were protected under the first amendment.
The prosecutors are led by Jamie Raskin of Maryland. The core of their argument, laid out in an 80-page brief submitted last week, documents statements Trump made and tweeted, from “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” to “Election Rigged & Stolen” to “they’re not taking this White House. We’re going to fight like hell, I’ll tell you right now” to “So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue!”
Dozens of the nearly 140 people who have been charged so far in relation with the Capitol attack have argued as part of their criminal defenses that they stormed the building because the president told them to.
Read more of Tom McCarthy’s report: Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial set to begin in US Senate