WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — On the first day of the second impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump, the focus from House managers and Trump’s lawyers was whether the trial was even constitutional.
After hours of presentation by both sides, the Senate voted 56-44 that the trial was constitutional and should continue.
Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-PA) used videos and tweets to lay out the case against the former president. Raskin and fellow Democrats said it is clear Trump was responsible for the breach of the U.S. Capitol where rioters attacked police on January 6.
“Our case is based on cold, hard facts,” Raskin said.
Raskin said there is no question the process is constitutional and added it would be dangerous not to do so. He argued letting a leader “hang on to the Oval Office at any cost” would damage the democratic process for future generations.
Democrats said it’s clear Trump is responsible for the breach of the US Capitol by rioters who attacked police and threatened members of Congress.
In a video timeline presentation of the events of January 6, Trump is seen at the rally telling the thousands gathered, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol,” and “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
While condemning the violence, Trump’s lawyer Bruce Castor gave a glimpse of what their defense for the former president will be.
“In the first article of the Bill of Rights is the First Amendment that says ‘Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech,’” he said.
Castor claimed prosecuting a former president in a Senate trial is unconstitutional and issued a warning against going forward.
“If we go down the road of what my very worthy adversary here, Mr. Raskin, asks you to go down, the flood gates will open,” Castor said.
Raskin said not only is holding the Senate impeachment trial of Trump constitutional, he said it would be dangerous not to.
“To take his best shot at anything (a president) may want to do on his way out the door, including using violent means to lock that door, to hang on to the Oval Office at any cost.”
The Senate trial is now in recess until noon Eastern Time on Wednesday.