Politics in Review 2/8-2/14 – Impeachment, impeachment, and more impeachment. (I’m tired.)Reading Time: 4 minutes
Welcome back! This week is loaded with political news, so I’m gonna try something different. For the ongoing impeachment trial of former President Trump, I’m going to section this out day-by-day to make it more readable and straightforward.
The majority of Tuesday was spent deciding whether or not the trial itself is constitutional. House impeachment managers leaned heavily on a 13-minute video documenting the events of Jan. 6 to make their case. The video also includes the speech given by the former president on that day, as well as his tweeted responses to the riot.
Those wishing to view the video can do so here. The video is intense and contains harsh language, please be aware of that if you choose to watch it.
One of Trump’s defense attorneys, David Schoen, took aim at the process itself. He accused Democrats of injecting ‘cancel culture’ into congressional proceedings.
“This trial will tear this country apart, perhaps like we have only seen once before, in our history,” Schoen said, accusing lawmakers of trying to disenfranchise Trump voters through the trial.
At the end of the day, senators voted 56-44 in favor of proceeding with the trial. Among the six GOP senators who voted in favor was Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah.
Wednesday and Thursday
The next two days were earmarked for the House impeachment managers – essentially the prosecutors – to make their initial case for conviction.
The managers spent the lion’s share of their time making a case using previously unreleased video and audio from the capital. Notable among the new evidence was security footage of Officer Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer who led rioters away from the Senate chamber.
In the new video, Goodman is seen running from the mob toward Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and stopping him from walking right into the crowd. It’s worth noting that Romney was the only GOP senator to vote to convict former President Trump in his first impeachment trial.
The impeachment managers wrapped up their case late on Thursday with far too much information to include here. The main focus of the day seemed to shift from ‘this is what happened’ to ‘this is what could happen again with no accountability.’
“If we pretend this didn’t happen, or worse, if we let it go unanswered, who’s to say it won’t happen again?” asked Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo, one of the impeachment managers.
Trump’s defense team is set to make their case tomorrow and is not expected to take the full two days allotted.
In all, Trump’s defense took roughly three hours to make their case, which was spread largely between three prongs.
The first was to attack the process itself. The defense decried the process as rushed and said that it denied the former president due process.
The lawyers’ second approach was to claim that former President Trump’s speech on Jan. 6 was political speech protected by the first amendment. This approach was signalled in advance, prompting 144 constitutional scholars from across the political spectrum to write a letter stating that this defense is “legally frivolous.”
The final prong of Trump’s defense was to question the intent of the trial itself. The lawyers decried the whole trial as an act of political hatred trying to blame the former president for the action of outside actors.
Also included in the criticism was an accusation that the House impeachment managers had manipulated and falsified evidence, a claim roundly rejected by aides.
In what seemed like a foregone conclusion, the senate ended up voting 57-43 to acquit former President Trump. Seven GOP senators actually broke ranks and voted guilty, including Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah.
While Trump and his staff attempted to take a victory lap, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the lectern to excoriate the former president.
“There is no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the event of that day,” said McConnell.
On Friday, the Washington Post reported that Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, was one of three GOP senators to meet with former President Trump’s defense team. While senators are supposed to be impartial jurors, a precedent of working with the defense was set during Trump’s first impeachment trial by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
In response to Lee’s actions, the Utah Democratic Party released a scathing response, insisting that acquitting Trump would set a dangerous precedent on presidential misconduct.
“If Senator Lee ever sought to hold the trust of Utahns as an impartial juror in the impeachment trial, he has failed. It is one thing to pretend to be fair, but by engaging in these blatant acts of impropriety, Mike Lee has failed all Utahns. He should immediately recuse himself from the trial,” said Jeff Merchant, UDP chairman.
In Other News
- On Thursday, President Biden announced that the United States has secured 200 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines. As it stands now, it seems like there will be enough to vaccinate the whole population by July.
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY, is under fire for delaying and underreporting data on coronavirus infections within nursing homes. State lawmakers are calling for investigations, the stripping of emergency powers and some are demanding Cuomo’s resignation.
Well, I’m exhausted. This week was loaded with political happenings, and it doesn’t seem like it’ll slow down anytime soon. With that said, thanks for reading and see you next week!