WATCH LIVE: Trump’s 2nd impeachment trial starts with fight over its legitimacy
The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump began at 10:00 a.m. in the browser above.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial is starting, an undertaking like no other in U.S. history. The defeated former president stands charged by the House with inciting the deadly mob attack on the Capitol to overturn the election in what prosecutors argue is the “most grievous constitutional crime.”
Trump’s lawyers are insisting as the Senate trial opens Tuesday that he is not guilty of the sole charge of “incitement of insurrection,” his fiery words just a figure of speech as he encouraged a rally crowd to “fight like hell” for his presidency. The Capitol siege on Jan. 6 stunned the world as rioters stormed the building to try to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Five people died.
With senators gathered as the court of impeachment, the trial will begin with debate and then a vote on whether it’s constitutionally permissible to prosecute the former president, an argument that could resonate with Republicans keen on voting to acquit Trump without being seen as condoning his behavior. The House prosecutors will argue there is no “January exception” to a president’s actions just before he leaves office and that the trial has ample precedent, according to aides familiar with the arguments and granted anonymity to discuss them ahead of the trial.
It appears unlikely that the House prosecutors will call witnesses, in part because the senators sworn as jurors, forced to flee for safety, will be presented with graphic videos recorded that day. At his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, Trump has declined a request to testify.
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