The House impeachment managers begin their two-day presentation Wednesday looking to convince skeptical Republican senators that former President Donald Trump was responsible for the deadly January 6 riot at the US Capitol where insurrectionists attacked the Capitol and disrupted the peaceful transfer of power.
House Democrats’ previewed their case against Trump on the trial’s opening day Tuesday, playing a dramatic and visceral 13-minute video that interspersed disturbing video of the rioters breaching the Capitol, attacking police officers and invoking Trump’s name with the President’s January 6 speech and tweets.
The video showed how managers are seeking to force senators to grapple with the damage and destruction the rioters caused as they tried to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election win and endangered the lives of lawmakers and former Vice President Mike Pence.
“Senators, this cannot be our future. This cannot be the future of America,” the House’s lead impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, said Tuesday. “We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people under the Constitution of the United States.”
The House managers will have 16 hours over the next two days to present their case to the Senate, in which House Democrats plan to argue that Trump is responsible for the insurrection by whipping up his supporters in the months before the election with fraudulent claims about the election, and then failing to respond to stop the attack as it was unfolding.
Democrats plan to use video, as they did on Tuesday, to drive home their argument in a compelling fashion and retell the harrowing attack on the Capitol, including new evidence, according to Democratic aides.
But there nevertheless appears to be no path for Democrats to reach the two-thirds vote necessary to convict Trump and bar him from running for future office.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 56 to 44 that the trial was constitutional, meaning 44 Senate Republicans voted that the trial itself was unconstitutional. While one Republican, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, changed his vote as a result of the strong Democratic arguments on the constitutionality of the trial, other Republicans stayed firmly opposed even as they panned the meandering presentation made by Trump’s legal team on Tuesday.
Trump’s lawyers, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, will have up to 16 hours over two days to make a more detailed case against the impeachment charge beginning Friday, though they aren’t expected to use all of that time.
After Trump’s team wraps up, the Senate will have up to four hours to ask written questions to the legal teams, and then the House managers could seek a vote on hearing from witnesses. But it’s not clear yet they plan to do so, which could lead to a final vote on conviction occurring this weekend or possibly on Monday.