Second impeachment trial of Donald Trump

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The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, began on February 9, 2021. Trump was impeached for the second time by the House of Representatives on January 13, 2021. The House adopted one article of impeachment against Trump: incitement of insurrection. He is the only U.S. president or other federal official to be impeached twice. The article of impeachment addressed Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results (including his false claims of election fraud and his efforts to pressure election officials in Georgia) and stated that Trump incited the storming of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., while the Congress was convened to count the electoral votes and thus formalize the victory of Joe Biden.

See also: Impeachment of Donald Trump



Jamie Raskin[edit]

House Impeachment Manager
Raskin Arguments (January 9, 2021)[edit]
  • Because I've been a professor of Constitutional law for three decades I know there are... people... dreading endless lectures about The Federalist Papers... Please breath easy... I remember well W. H. Auden's line that a professor is someone who speaks while other people are sleeping.
  • You will not be hearing extended lectures from me, because our case is based on cold hard facts. It's all about the facts.
  • President Trump has sent his lawyers here today to try to stop the Senate from hearing the facts of this case. They want to call the trial over before any of its evidence is even introduced.
  • Their argument is that if you commit an impeachable offense in your last few weeks in office, you do it with Constitutional impunity. You get away with it. ...[C]onduct that would be a high crime and misdemeanor in your first year as president, in your second... in your third... and for the vast majority of your fourth year as president, you can suddenly do, in your last few weeks in office, without facing any Constitutional accountability at all. This would create a brand new January exception to the Constitution of the United States of America.
  • [E]verybody can see immediately why this is so dangerous. It's an invitation to the president to take his best shot at anything he 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 all costs, and to block the peaceful transfer of power.
  • In other words, the January exception is an invitation to our Founders' worst nightmare...
  • [I]f we buy this radical argument that president Trump's lawyers advance, we risk allowing January 6th to become our future.
  • What will the January exception mean to the future generations if you grant it?
  • Senators, the president was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on January 13th for doing that. You ask what a high crime and misdemeanor is under our Constitution. That's a high crime and misdemeanor. If that's not an impeachable offense, then there is no such thing, and if the president's arguments for a January exception are upheld, then even if everyone agrees that he's culpable for these events, even if the evidence proves, as we think it definitively does, that the president incited a violent insurrection on the day Congress met to finalize the Presidential election, he would have you believe there is absolutely nothing the Senate can do about it. No trial! No facts!
  • He wants you to decide that the Senate is powerless at that point. That can't be right.
  • The transition of power is always the most dangerous moment for democracy. Every historian will tell you that. We just saw it in the most astonishing way. We lived through it. ...The Framers of the Constitution knew it. That's why they created a Constitution with an oath written into it that binds the President from his very first day in office, until his very last day in office, and every day in between.
  • Under that Constitution, and under that oath, the... President of the United States is forbidden to commit high crimes and misdemeanors against the people at any point that he's in office. Indeed, that's one specific reason the impeachment conviction and disqualification powers exist: to protect us against presidents who try to overrun the power of the people in their elections, and replace the rule of law with the rule of mobs. These powers must apply, even if the president commits his offenses in his final weeks in office. ...[T]hat's precisely when we need them the most, because that's when elections get attacked.
  • Everything that we know about the language of the Constitution, the Framers' original understanding and intent, prior Senate practice, and common sense confirms this rule.
  • Let's start with the text of the Constitution, which in Article I, section II gives the House "the sole Power of Impeachment" when the President commits high crimes and misdemeanors. We exercised that power on January 13th. The president, it is undisputed, committed his offense while he was president, and it is undisputed that we impeached him while he was president. There can be no doubt that this is a valid and legitimate impeachment; and there can be no doubt that the Senate has the power to try this... impeachment. We know this because Article I, section III gives the Senate the sole power to try all impeachments.
  • The Senate has the... sole power to try all impeachments.
  • All means all, and there are no exceptions to the rule.
  • Because the Senate has jurisdiction to try all impeachments, it most certainly has jurisdiction to try this one.
  • It's really that simple. The vast majority of all Constitutional scholars who studied the question and weighed in on the proposition being advanced by the president, this January exception heretofore unknown, agree with us. ...[T]hat includes the nation's most prominent conservative legal scholars, including former tenth circuit judge Michael McConnell, the co-founder of the Federalist Society, Steven Calabresi, president Reagan's Solicitor General Charles Fried, luminary Washington lawyer Charles Cooper, among hundreds of other constitutional lawyers and professors. I commend... their recent writings to you, in the newspapers over the last several days.
  • In all of the key precedents, along with detailed explanation of the constitutional history and textual analysis, appear in the trial brief we filed last week and the reply brief that we filed very early this morning. ...I want to highlight a few key points from constitutional history... compelling in foreclosing president Trump's argument that there's a secret January exception hidden... in the Constitution.
  • [A]s Hamilton wrote, England provided "the model from which the idea of this institution has been borrowed" and it would have been immediately obvious to anyone familiar with that history that former officials could be held accountable for their [previous] abuses while in office.
  • Every single impeachment of a government official that occurred during the Framers' lifetime concerned a former official.
  • [T]he most famous of these impeachments occurred while the Framers gathered in Philadelphia to write the Constitution. It was the impeachment of Warren Hastings... a corrupt guy. ...[T]he Framers knew all about it, and they strongly supported the impeachment. In fact, the Hastings case was invoked at the Convention. It was the only specific impeachment case that they discussed at the Convention. It played a key role in their adoption of the high crimes and misdemeanors standard. ...[E]ven though everyone there surely knew that Hastings had left office two years before his impeachment trial began, not a single framer ...raised a concern when ...George Mason held up the Hastings impeachment as a model for us in the writing of our Constitution.
  • The early state constitutions supported the idea too. Every single state constitution in the 1780s either specifically said that former officials could be impeached, or were entirely consistent with the idea.
  • In contrast, not a single state constitution prohibited trials of former officials.
  • As a result, there was an overwhelming presumption in favor of allowing legislatures to hold former officials accountable... Any departure from that norm would have been a big deal, and yet there's no sign anywhere that... ever happened.
  • Some states, including Delaware, even confined impeachment only to officials who had already left office.
  • This confirms that removal was never seen as the exclusive purpose of impeachment in America. The goal was always about accountability, protecting society and deterring official corruption.
  • Delaware matters for another reason. Writing about impeachment in The Federalist Papers, Hamilton explained that "the president of... America would stand upon no better ground than a governor of New York, and upon worse ground than the governors of Maryland and Delaware." He thus emphasized that the president is even more accountable than officials in Delaware, whereas I noted that the Constitution clearly allowed impeachment of former officials.
    • citing The Federalist. Number LXIX. Note: overhead shown at 2021 impeachment hearing was written "...Virginia and Delaware."
  • [N]obody involved in the Convention ever said that the Framers meant to reject this widely accepted, deeply rooted understanding of the word "impeachment" when they wrote it into our Constitution.
  • The Convention debates... confirm this interpretation. There, while discussing impeachment, the Framers repeatedly returned to the threat of presidential corruption aimed directly at elections, the heart of self-government.
  • Almost perfectly anticipating president Trump, William Davie... explained impeachment was for a president who spared "no effort[s] or means whatever to get himself re-elected."
    • See The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, Vol. 2, p. 64.
  • Hamilton in Federalist I said "the greatest danger to republics in the liberties of the people comes from political opportunists who begin as demagogues and end as tyrants, and the people who are encouraged to follow them."
  • President Trump may not know a lot about the Framers, but they certainly knew a lot about him.
  • Given the Framers' intense focus on danger to elections and the peaceful transfer of power, it is inconceivable that they designed impeachment to be a dead letter in the president's final days in office. When opportunities to interfere in the peaceful transfer of power would be most tempting, and most dangerous as we just saw.
  • Thus as a matter of history and original understanding there is no merit to... president Trump's claim that he could incite an insurrection and then insist weeks later that the Senate lacks the power to even hear evidence at a trial, to even hold a trial.
  • The true rule was stated by... John Quincy Adams when he categorically declared "I hold myself as long as I have the breath of life in my body, amenable to impeachment by [the] House for everything I did during the time I held any public office."
Raskin Arguments (January 10, 2021)[edit]
  • It's a moment of truth for America. My late father, Marcus Raskin once wrote, "Democracy needs a ground to stand upon and that ground is the truth." America needs the truth about ex-president Trump's role in inciting the insurrection on January 6th because it threatened our government, and it disrupted... it easily could have destroyed the peaceful transfer of power in the United States for the first time in 233 years.
  • It was suggested yesterday by President Trump's counsel that this is really like a very bad accident, or a natural disaster... and society is just out looking for someone to blame... a natural and normal human reaction, but he says it's totally unfair in this case.
  • President Trump, according to Mr. Castor, is just an innocent bystander who got swept up in this catastrophe, but did nothing wrong. In this assertion, Mr. Castor unerringly echoes his client... who declared after the insurrection that his conduct in the affair "was totally appropriate" and therefore we can only assume he could do, and would do the exact same thing again...
  • So now the factual inquiry of the trial is squarely posed for us. The jurisdictional, constitutional issue is gone. Whether you were persuaded by the president's constitutional analysis yesterday, or not. The Senate voted to reject it, and so the Senate is now properly exercising its jurisdiction, and sitting as a court of impeachment, conducting a trial on the facts.
  • We are having a trial on the facts.
  • The House says ex-president Donald Trump incited a violent insurrection against Congress, and the Constitution, and the People.
  • The presedent's lawyers and the president say his conduct was "totally appropriate" and he's essentially an innocent victim of circumstances, like the other innocent victims that we'll see, getting caught up in all the violence and chaos...
  • The evidence will show you that ex-president Trump was no innocent bystander... that he clearly incited the January 6th insurrection... that Donald Trump surrendered his role as commander-in-chief and became the inciter-in-chief of a dangerous insurrection, and this was... "the greatest betrayal of a Presidential Oath in the history of the United States.
  • The evidence will show you that he saw it coming, and was not remotely surprised by the violence, and when the violence inexorably and inevitably came as predicted, and overran this body and the House of Representatives with chaos, we will show you that he completely abdicated his duty as commander-in-chief to stop the violence, and protect the government... our officers and... our people.
  • He violated his oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, the government and the people of the United States.
  • The evidence will show you that he assembled, inflamed and incited his followers to descend upon the Capitol to "Stop the Steal", to block Vice President Pence and Congress from finalizing his opponent's election victory over him.
  • We will show that he had been warned that these followers were prepared for a violent attack targeting us at the Capitol, through media reports, law enforcement reports, and even arrests.
  • In short, we will prove that the impeached president was no innocent bystander whose conduct was "totally appropriate" and should be a standard for future presidents, but that he incited this attack, and he saw it coming.
  • To us it may have felt like chaos and madness, but there was method in the madness that day.
  • [W]e know this case is not about blaming an innocent bystander for the horrific violence and harm that took place on January 6th. This is about holding accountable the person that is singularly responsible for inciting the attack.
  • Let's start with December 12th. You will see during this trial, a man who praised, and encouraged, and cultivated violence. "We have just begun to fight!" he says, more than a month after the election has taken place, and that's before the second Million MAGA March, a rally that ended in serious violence, and even the burning of a church, and as the president forecast, it was only the beginning.
    • Exhibit (Dec 12, 2020) Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump: "WE HAVE JUST BEGUN TO FIGHT!!!"
  • On December 19th, 18 days before January 6th, he told his base about where the battle would be that they would fight next. January 6th would be wild, he promised, "Be there, will be wild!" said the President of the United States of America, and that too, turned out to be true.
    • Overhead Exhibit of Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump (Dec 19, 2020) "Peter Navarro releases 36-page report alleging election fraud 'more than sufficient' to swing victory to Trump[...] A great report by Peter. Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!
  • You'll see in the days that followed, Donald Trump continued to aggressively promote January 6th to his followers.
  • The event was scheduled at the precise time that Congress would be meeting in joint session to count the electoral college votes, and to finalize the 2020 Presidential Election.
  • [I]n the days leading up to the attack, you'll learn there were countless social media posts, news stories, and most importantly, credible reports from the FBI and Capitol police, that the thousands gathering for the President's Save America March were violent, organized with weapons, and were targeting the Capitol.
  • This mob got organized so openly because, as they would later scream in these halls, and as they posted on forums before the attack, they were sent here by the President; they were invited here by the President of the United States of America.
  • And when they showed up, knowing of these reports that the crowd was angry, and it was armed... President Trump whipped the crowd into a frenzy, exhorting followers, "...if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country any more" and then he aimed straight at the Capitol declaring, "You'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong."
  • He told them to fight like Hell, and they brought us Hell on that day.
  • Incited by President Trump, his mob attacked the Capitol. ...According to those around him at the time, this is how President Trump reportedly responded to the attack that we saw him incite in public: Delight, enthusiasm, confusion as to why others around him weren't as happy as he was.
  • Trump incited the January 6th attack, and when his mob overran and occupied the Senate, and attacked the House, and assaulted law enforcement, he watched it on TV like a reality show.
  • He reveled in it, and he did nothing to help us as commander-in-chief. Instead he served as the inciter-in-chief, sending Tweets that only further incited the rampaging mob.
  • He made statements lauding and sympathizing with the insurrectionists. At 4:17 PM, over three hours after the beginning of the siege, for the very first time he spoke out aloud, not on Twitter... he spoke to the American people. Here is what he said.
    • Video exhibit of Donald Trump (Jan 6, 2021) "I know your pain. I know your hurt..."
  • So you might be saying all right, the President is going to console us now. He is going to reassure America. He knows our pain. He knows we're hurt. We've just seen these horrific images of officers being impaled and smashed over the head... We've just been under attack for three hours, but here's what he actually goes on the say.
    • Video exhibit of Donald Trump (Jan 6, 2021) "I know your pain. I know your hurt. We've had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side..."
  • So, you think he's about to decry the mayhem and violence, the unprecedented spectacle of this mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, but he's still promoting the big lie that was responsible for inflaming and inciting the mob in the first place!
  • If anyone had any doubt about his focus that day, it was not to defend us, it was not to console us, it was to praise and sympathize and commiserate with the rampaging mob! It was to continue to act as inciter-in-chief, not commander-in-chief, by telling the mob that their election had been stolen from them.
  • Even then, after that vicious attack, he continued to spread the big lie, and as everyone here knows, Joe Biden won by more than 7 million votes, and 306 to 232 in the electoral college, but Donald Trump refused to except his loss, even after this attack, and he celebrated the people who violently interfered with the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in American history, and [who] did that at his urging, and when he did, in this video, finally tell them to go home in peace, he added this message. "We love you. You're very special."
  • Distinguished members of the Senate, this is a day that will live in disgrace in American history, that is, unless you ask Donald Trump, because this is what he Tweeted before he went to bed that night at 6:01 PM. Not consoling the nation, not reassuring everyone that the government was secure, not a single word that entire day condemning the violent insurrection. This is what he says. "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landscape election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!"
  • In other words, this was all perfectly natural and foreseeable to Donald Trump. At the beginning of the day he told you it was coming. At the end of the day he basically says, I told you this would happen, and then he adds, "Remember this day forever!" but not as a day of disgrace, a day of horror and trauma, as the rest of us remember it, but as a day of celebration, a day of commemoration, and if we let it be, it will be a day of continuation. A call to action, and a rallying cry for the next rounds of insurrection or injustice, because all of this was "totally appropriate."
  • Senators, the stakes of this trial could not be more serious. Every American, young and old, and in between is invited to participate with us in this essential journey to find the facts and share the truth. Trials are public events in a Democracy, and no trial is more public or significant than an impeachment trial. Because the insurrection brought shocking violence, bloodshed and pain in the nation's Capitol, and we will be showing relevant clips of the mob's attack on police officers and other innocent people... The impeachment managers will try to give warnings before the most graphic and disturbing violence that took place as shown.
  • We believe that the managers' comprehensive and meticulous presentation will lead to one powerful and irresistible conclusion. Donald Trump committed a massive crime against our Constitution and our People, and the worst violation of the presidential oath of office in the history of the United States of America.
  • For this he was impeached by the House of Representatives and he must be convicted by the United States Senate.
  • I want to address a Constitutional issue still lingering from yesterday's argument. The president, obviously is still exploring ways to change the subject, and talk about anything other than his responsibility for inciting the attack. We heard a lot yesterday about his claim that this incitement of the insurrection was perfectly appropriate because it's somehow protected by the First Amendment, and this little diversion caught my eye because I've been a professor of constitutional law and the First Amendment for decades.
  • [T]he factual premise and the legal underpinnings of that claim are all wrong. They present president Trump as merely like a guy at a rally expressing a political opinion that we disagree with, and now we're trying to put him in jail for it. That has nothing to do with the reality of these charges or his constitutional offense.
  • The particular political opinions being expressed are not why we impeached the president, and have nothing to do with it. It makes no difference what the ideological content of the mob was, and if we license and forgive incitement to violent insurrection by militant Trump followers this week, you can be sure that there will be a whole bunch of new ideological flavors coming soon.
  • As we'll demonstrate with overwhelming evidence, portraying Trump as a guy on the street being punished for his ideas is the false description of his actions, his intent, and the role that he played on January 6th when he willfully incited... an insurrectionary mob to riot at the Capitol.
  • Last week 144 constitutional scholars, including Floyd Abrams, a ferocious defender of free speech, Charles Fried, president Reagan's solicitor general, Steven Calabresi, the co-founder of the Federalist Society, released a statement calling the president's First Amendment arguments legally frivolus... adding "We all agree that the First Amendment does not prevent the Senate from convicting president Trump, in disqualifying him from holding future office." They went on to say, "No reasonable scholar or jurist could conclude that president Trump had a First Amendment right to incite a violent attack on the seat of the legislative branch, or then to sit back and watch on television, as Congress was terrorized and the Capitol sacked."
  • Incitement to violence is, of course, not protected by the First Amendment. That's why most Americans have dismissed Donald Trump's First Amendment rhetoric simply by referring to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' handy phrase "You can't shout fire in a crowded theater" but even that time-honored principle doesn't begin to capture how off-base the argument is.
  • This case is much worse than someone who falsely shouts "Fire" in a crowded theater. It's more like a case where the town fire chief, who's paid to put out fires, sends a mob, not to yell "Fire" in a crowded theater, but to actually set the theater on fire, and who then, when the fire alarms go off, and the calls start flooding into the fire department asking for Help, does nothing but sit back, encourage the mob to continue its rampage, and watch the fire spread on TV with glee and delight.
  • So then we say this fire chief shouldn't ever be allowed to hold this public job again, and you're fired, and you're permanently disqualified, and he objects, and... says we're violating his free speech rights just because he's "pro-Mob" or "pro-Fire" or whatever... Come on!
  • You really don't need to go to law school to figure out what's wrong with that argument. Here's the key. Undoubtedly a private person can run around on the street expressing his or her support for the enemies of the United States and advocating the overthrow of the United States government. You've got a right to do that under the First Amendment, but if the president spent all of his days doing that, uttering the exact same words, expressing support for the enemies of the United States and for overthrowing the government, is there anyone here who doubts that this would be a violation of his oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and that he or she could be impeached for doing that.
  • If your president of the United States and you've chosen a side with your oath of office, and if you break it, we can impeach, convict, remove and disqualify you permanently from holding any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.
  • As Justice Scalia once said, memorably, "You can't ride with the cops and root for the robbers" and if you become inciter-in-chief to the insurrection, you can't expect to be on the payroll as commander-in-chief for the Union.
  • Trump was the President of the United States and he had sworn to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. He had an affirmative, binding duty. One that set him apart from everyone else in the country, to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, including all the laws against assaulting federal officers, destroying federal property, violently threatening members of Congress and the Vice President, interfering with federal elections and dozens of other federal laws that are well known to all of you.
  • When he incited insurrection on January 6th, he broke that oath. He violated that duty, and that's why we're here today, and that's why he has no credible Constitutional defense.
  • One of our Capitol officers who defended us that day was a long-time veteran of our force, a brave and honorable public servant who spent several hours battling the mob, as part of one of those blue lines defending the Capitol in our Democracy. For several hours straight, as the marauders punched and kicked and mauled and spit upon and hit officers with baseball bats and fire extinguishers, cursed the cops and stormed our Capitol, he defended us and he lived every minute of his oath of office. And afterwards, overwhelmed by emotion, he broke down in the Rotunda, and he cried for fifteen minutes, and he shouted out "I got called an N-word fifteen times today" and then he reported, "I sat down with one of my buddies, another Black guy, and tears just started streaming down my face and I said, What the F— man? Is this America?" That's the question before all of you in this trial.
  • Is this America?
  • Can our country and our Democracy ever be the same, if we don't hold accountable the person responsible for inciting the violent attack against our country, our Capitol and our Democracy, and all of those who serve us so faithfully and honorably? Is this America?

Joe Neguse[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives, Colorado
Neguse Arguments (January 9, 2021)[edit]
  • Like many of you, I'm an attorney... tried a lot of cases... never a case as important than this one, nor a case with such a... weighty constitutional question... Thankfully... the Framers answered that question... and you don't need to be a constitutional scholar to know that the argument president Trump asks you to adopt is not just wrong. It's dangerous.
  • This body... the United States Senate has reached that same conclusion... over the past 200 years on multiple occassions... Over 150 constitutional scholars, experts, judges, conservative, liberal... overwhelmingly have reached the same concluion that of course, you can try, convict and disqualify a former president.
  • [T]he text of the Constitution makes clear: there is no January exception to the impeachment power, that presidents can't commit grave offenses in their final days and escape any congressional response. That's not how our Constitution works.
  • The nation's very first impeachment case... was actually of a former official. In 1797... a senator... William Bount... was caught conspiring with the British to try to sell Florida and Louisiana. ...President Adams caught him. He turned over the evidence to Congress. Four days later the House of Representatives impeached him. A day after that... the United States Senate expelled him from office, so he was very much a former official. Despite that, the House went forward with its impeachment proceeding in order to disqualify him from ever again holding federal office. ...[T]he Senate proceeded with the trial with... Thomas Jefferson presiding. ...Blunt argued that the Senate couldn't proceed because he had already been expelled. ...He expressly disavowed any claim that former officials can't ever be impeached. Unlike president Trump, he was very clear. He respected and understood that he could not even try to argue that ridiculous position. Even impeached Senator Blunt recognized the inherent absurdity of that view. Here is what he said. "I certainly never shall contend that an officer may first commit an offense, and afterwards avoid [punishment] by resigning his office." ...[T]here was no doubt because the Founders were around to confirm that that was their intent and the obvious meaning of what is in the Constitution
    • See Hinds' Precedents of the House of Representatives of the United States Vol. 3, p. 678.
  • The trial of... William Belknap... in 1876 the House discovered that he was involved in a massive kickback scheme. Hours before the House committee had discovered this conduct released its report documenting the scheme, Belknap... rushed to the White House to... tender his resignation to president Ulysses Grant to avoid any further inquiry into his misconduct and... to avoid being disqualified from holding federal office in the future. ...[A]ware of that resignation ...the House moved forward and unanimously impeached him, making clear its power to impeach a former official, and when his case reached the Senate... Belknap made the... same argument the president Trump is making today, that you all lack jurisdiction, any power to try him, because he's a former official. ...[M]any senators, at that time, when they heard that argument ...were outraged by that argument. Outraged. You can read their comments in the record. They knew it was a dangerous... argument with dangerous implications. It would literally mean that a president could betray their country, leave office, and avoid impeachment and disqualification entirely. [T]hat's why... the United States Senate decisively voted that the Constitution required them to proceed with the trial.
  • The Belknap case is clear precedent that the Senate must proceed with this trial since it rejected pretrial dismissal, affirmed its jurisdiction and moved to a full consideration of the merits. ...Belknap was ultimately not convicted, but only after a thorough public inquiry into his misconduct, which created a record of his wrongdoing. It insured his accountability and deterred anyone else from considering such corruption, by making clear that it was intolerable. The trial served important constitutional purposes.
  • Given that precedent. Given all that that precedent imparts, you could imagine [our] surprise as we were reviewing the trial brief filed by the president, in which his counsel insists that the Senate... didn't decide anything in the Belknap case. They say... "It cannot be read as foreclosing an argument that they never dealt with." Never dealt with? The Senate... debated this very question for two weeks. The Senate spent an additional two weeks deliberating on the jurisdictional question, and at the end of those deliberations they decided decisively that the Senate has jurisdiction, and... that it must proceed to a full trial.
  • [U]nlike Belknap... president Trump was not impeached for run of the mill corruption, misconduct. He was impeached for inciting a violent insurrection. An insurrection where people died in this building. An insurrection that desecrated our seat of government, and if Congress were just to stand completely aside in the face of such an extraordinary crime against the Republic, it would invite future presidents to use their power without any fear of accountability, and none of us... no matter our party or politics, wants that.
Neguse Arguments (January 10, 2021)[edit]
  • A hallmark of our Republic since the days of George Washington has been the peaceful transfer of power. For centuries we've accepted it as fact. Unfortunately, sadly we know now that we can no longer take that for granted, because... on January 6th, the peaceful transition of power was violently interrupted when a mob stormed this Capitol and desecrated this chamber.
  • As you'll see during the course of this trial, that mob was summoned, assembled, and incited by the former president of the United States, Donald Trump; and he did that because he wanted to stop the transfer of power, so that he could retain power, even though he had lost the election; and when the violence erupted, when they were here in our building with weapons, he did nothing to stop it.
  • If we are to protect our Republic and prevent something like this from ever happening again, he must be convicted.
  • I want to be very clear about what we will show you during the course of this trial. ...It will be helpful to think about president Trump's incitement of insurrection in three distinct parts: The Provocation, the Attack and the Harm.
  • Let's start with the provocation. We will show... that this attack was provoked... incited by the president, and it was predictable... foreseeable.
  • This mob was well orchestrated. Their conduct was intentional. They did it all in plain sight, proudly, openly, and loudly, because they... truly believed that they were doing this for him, that this was their patriotic duty. They even predicted that he would protect them, and for the most part, they were right.
  • In his unique role as commander-in-chief of our country, and as the one person that the mob was listening to and following orders from, he had the power to stop it, and he didn't.
  • Now some have said that president Trump's remarks, his speech on January 6th was just a speech. ...When in our history has a speech led thousands of people to storm our nation's Capitol with weapons, to scale the walls, break windows, kill a Capitol police officer?
  • This was not just a speech. It didn't just happen, and as you evaluate the facts... it will become clear, exactly where that mob came from....
  • President Trump's words, as you'll see, on January 6th, in that speech, just like the mob's action, were carefully chosen. Those words had a very specific meaning to that crowd... because in the weeks prior to, during, and after the election he used the same words over and over and over again.
  • You will hear, over and over, three things: ...[1] The Big Lie that the Election was Stolen, full of fraud, rigged. You will hear, over and over, him using that lie to urge his supporters to never concede, and [2] Stop the Steal; and finally you will hear the call to arms, that it was his supporters' patriotic duty to [3] Fight Like Hell... to Stop the Steal, to stop the election from being stolen, by showing up in this very chamber to stop you, to stop us.
  • I respectfully ask that you remember those three phrases as you consider the evidence today. The Election was Stolen, Stop the Steal, and Fight like Hell, because they did not just appear on January 6th.
  • Let's start with "The Big Lie." You will see during this trial that the president realized... by last Spring that he could lose... the election. So... he started planting the seeds to get some of his supporters ready by saying that he could only lose the election, if it was stolen.
  • [W]hat he did was create a no-lose scenario. Either he won the election, or he would have some angry supporters, not all, but some, who believed that if he lost, the election had to be rigged; and they would be angry because he was telling Americans that their vote had been stolen; and in America, our vote is our voice.
  • So his false claims about election fraud, that was the drum-beat being used to inspire, instigate, and ignite them, to anger them.
    • Video exhibit of Donald Trump, Allentown, PA (Oct 26, 2020) "It's the only way we can lose, in my opinion, is massive fraud..."
  • We all know what happened after that. He lost. He lost the election, but remember, he had that no-lose scenario... He told his base that the election was stolen, as he had forecast... and then he told them, your election has been stolen, but you cannot concede. You must stop the steal.
    • Video exhibit of Donald Trump, Washington, D.C. (Dec 2, 2020) "You can't let another person steal that election from you. All over the country people are together and holding up signs "Stop the Steal!"
      Video exhibit of Donald Trump, Dalton, GA (Jan 4, 2021) "The Democrats are trying to steal the White House. You cannot let them. You just can't let them..."
  • Now while he's inciting his supporters, he's also simultaneously doing everything he possible can to overturn the election. First he begins with the courts, a legitimate avenue... to challenge the election, but he ignores all of their adverse rulings when all of his claims are thrown out.
  • Then he moves on to trying to pressure state election officials to block the election results for his opponent, even though he lost in their states. You'll hear my fellow-managers discuss that...
  • Then he tries to threaten state election officials to actually change the votes to make him the winner, even threatening criminal penalties if they refused.
  • He had the justice department investigate his claims. Even they found no support for those claims.
  • So he tried to persuade some members of his party in Congress to block the certification of his vote, with attacks in public forums.
  • When that failed, he tried to intimidate the Vice President of the United States of America to refuse to certify the vote, and send it back to the states.
  • None of it worked. So... with his back against the wall, when all else has failed, he turns back to his supporters who he'd already spent months telling them that the election was stolen; and he amplified it further, he turned it up a notch. He told them that they had to be ready, not just to "Stop the Steal" but to "Fight like Hell."
    • Video exhibit of Donald Trump, Oshkosh, WI - 78 days to Election (Apr 17, 2020) "We're going to fight for the survival of our nation and..."
      Video exhibit of Donald Trump, Hickory, NC - 2 days to Election (Nov 1, 2020) "We're going to keep on fighting..."
      Video exhibit of Donald Trump, Valdosta, GA - 32 days after Election (Dec 5, 2020) "We will never surrender. We will only win. Now is not the time to retreat. Now is the time to fight harder than ever before."
      Video exhibit of Donald Trump, Dalton, GA - 62 days after Election (Jan 4, 2021) "We have to go all the way... and we're going to fight like Hell, I'll tell you right now... We will not bend. We will break. We will not yield. We will never give in. We will never give up. We will never back down. We will never-ever surrender."
  • You will see that in the months since the president made these statements, people listened. Armed supporters surrounded election officials' homes. The Secretary of State for Georgia got death threats.
  • Officials warned the president that his rhetoric was dangerous and it was going to result in deadly violence; and that's what makes this so different because when he saw first-hand the violence that his conduct was creating, he didn't stop it. He didn't condemn the violence. He incited it further, and he got more specific.
  • He didn't just tell then to fight like hell. He told them how, where, and when. He made it sure they had advance notice, 18 days advance notice. He sent his "save the day" for January 6th. He told them to march to the Capitol and fight like Hell.
  • On January 6th... the exact same day that we were certifying the election results.
  • What time was that rally scheduled for? The exact same time that this chamber was certifying the election results in joint session.
  • When did he conclude his speech? Literally moments before Speaker Pelosi had gavelled us into session.
  • Many of us were in the House during that joint session of Congress. ...and as we were standing there, fulfilling our solemn oath to the Constitution, the president was finishing his speech just a couple of miles away.
  • How did he conclude that infamous speech? With a final call-to-action. He told them to march down Pennsylvania Avenue to come here; that it was their patriotic duty because the election had been stolen, and when they heard his speech they understood his words and what they meant, because they had heard it before.
  • Let's take just a minute and... look at his words on January 6th as he spoke at the Save America Rally...
    • Video exhibit of Donald Trump, Save America March (Jan 6, 2021) "All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen... There's never been anything like this. It's a pure theft in American history. Everybody knows it. ...Make no mistake. This election was stolen from you, from me, and from the country."
  • [E]ach of you heard those words before, so had the crowd. The president had spent months telling his supporters that the election had been... stolen, and he used this speech to incite them further, to inflame them to Stop the Steal, to stop the certification of the election results.
    • Video exhibit of Donald Trump, Save America March (Jan 6, 2021) "We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn't happen. You don't concede when there's theft involved. ..and to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will Stop the Steal. ...We must stop the steal ..."
  • Finally, the president used this speech as a call to arms. It was not rhetorical. Some of his supporters had been primed for this over many months.
  • As you'll learn, days before this speech... there were vast reports across all major media outlets that thousands of people would be armed, that they'd be violent. You'll learn that Capitol police and the FBI reported in the days leading up to the attack, that thousands in the crowd would be targeting the Capitol specifically, that they had arrested people with guns, the night before the attack, on weapons charges. And this is what our commander-in-chief said to the crowd in the face of those warnings, right before they came here.
    • Video exhibit of Donald Trump, Save America March (Jan 6, 2021) "We will not let them silence your voices. We're not going to let it happen. [Crowd repeatedly chants "Fight for Trump!"] Thank you. ...and you have to get your people to fight because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong... and we fight. We Fight like Hell, and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country any more."
  • "You have to get your people to fight." He told them.
  • Senators, this clearly is not just one speech. It didn't just happen. It was part of a carefully planned, months long effort with a very specific instruction. Show up on January 6th and get your people to fight the certification. He incited it. It was foreseeable.
  • The president's former chief of staff... a retired Marine four star general, was confirmed by this body to be the Secretary of Homeland Security... That man was John Kelly, and on the day after the insurrection he said this.
    • Recording exhibit of John Kelly, CNN interview (Jan 7, 2021) " "The president knows who he's talking to when he Tweets or when he makes statements. He knows who he's talking to and he knows what he wants them to do; and the fact that... he's been saying the things that he's been saying during the election, and encouraging people that... no surprise again, at what happened yesterday."
  • No surprise. The president had every reason to know that this would happen because he assembled the mob, he summoned the mob, and he incited the mob.
  • He knew when he took that podium that fateful morning that those in attendance had heeded his words, and they were waiting for his orders to begin fighting.
  • I do want to be clear about what happened during that terrible attack... president Trump, once again failed us, because when the violence erupted, when we and the law enforcement officials protecting us, protecting you, were under attack as each of you were being evacuated from this chamber from a violent mob, as we were being evacuated from the House, he could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. It was his duty as commander-in-chief to stop the violence, and he alone had that power. Not just because of his unique role as commander-in-chief, but because they believed that they were following his orders. They said so.
    • Video exhibit with voices from the mob (Jan 6, 2021 3:22-3:42 PM) "Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! ...We were invited by the President of the United States!"
      Video exhibit Jenna Ryan in CBS interview (Jan 15, 2021) "I thought I was following my President. I thought I was following what we were called to do.
      Video exhibit Jenna Ryan in NBC interview (Jan 18, 2021) "President Trump requested that we be in D.C. on the 6th."
  • You heard it from them. They were doing what he wanted them to do. They wouldn't have listened to you, to me, to the the Vice President of the United States who they were attacking. They didn't stop in the face of law enforcement, police officers fighting for their lives to stop them. They were following the President.
  • He alone, the commander-in-chief, had the power to stop it, and he didn't.
  • You will hear evidence... throughout the trial, about his refusal, as commander-in-chief, to respond to numerous desperate pleas, on the phone, across social media, begging him to stop the attack; and you will see his relentless attack on Vice President Pence, who was at that very moment hiding with his family as armed extremists were chanting "Hang Mike Pence!" calling him a traitor.
  • You will see that even when he did finally, 3 1/2 hours into the attack, tell these people to go home, in peace. He added... "You're very special. We love you."
  • Think... of the lives lost that day, of the more than 140 wounded police officers and ask yourself, if as soon as this had started President Trump had simply gone on the TV, just logged onto Twitter and said, "Stop the Attack." If he had done so with even half as much force as he said "Stop the Steal!" How many lives would we have saved? Sadly he didn't do that.
  • At the end of the day the president was not successful in stopping the certification. That we know, thanks to the bravery of our law enforcement, and to the bravery of the Senators in this room, each of you who still fulfilled your Constitutional duty, even under the threat of mortal peril.
  • But there can be no doubt of the grave harm that he caused to our elected leaders, to us, our families, to all who work in the Capitol, our staff, your staff, to our brave Capitol police who defend us tirelessly with little thanks, who believed that they had a Commander in Chief who would defend and protect them, and instead put them in harm's way, to those killed for heeding his command, to our Democracy and the system which ensures that we have a President elected by the People, to our national security and our standing in the World.
  • The harm was real! The damage was real!
  • Five people lost their lives, on that terrible tragic day!
  • A woman was shot dead fifty feet from where we later certified the Election results.
  • And for those who question just how bad it was, criminal complaints recently unsealed by the Department of Justice are more than revealing. You'll see one of the documents on the screen. In the charging affidavit of one of the leaders of the "Proud Boys" we learned that members of this group said "they would have killed Mike Pence if given the chance." In another we learned of a Tweet in real time while they were in the building stating "We broke into the Capitol... we got inside, we did our part. ...We were looking for Nancy Pelosi to shoot her in the friggin' brain but we didn't find her."
  • And for anyone who suggests otherwise, these defendants themselves have told you exactly why they were here. You'll see this in the trial, that in the halls of the Capitol, on social media, in news interviews and in charging documents, they confirm, they were following the President's orders. You can see some of the statements on that screen. One who said "Trump wants all able bodied Patriots..." Another, that "President Trump is calling us to FIGHT! ...This isn't a joke." Another one, "I thought I was following my President. I thought I was following what we were called to do..." [A man heard in a live stream video that showed him standing within the Capitol building said,] "Our president wants us here... We wait and take orders from [our] president."
  • He made them believe over many weeks that the election was stolen, and they were following his command to take back their country.
  • I remember us finishing our task at four in the morning, and as I walked off the floor I was... so grateful for the opportunity to thank the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence for his actions, for standing before us and asking us to follow our oath, and our faith, and our duty.
  • Early the next day I called my Dad, who came to this country... as an immigrant forty years ago, and I told him that the proudest moment, by far, of serving in Congress... was going back onto the floor with each of you, to finish the work that we had started.
  • I'm humbled to be back with you today, and just as on January 6th when we overcame that attack on our Capitol, on our country, I'm hopeful that at this trial we can use our resolve and our resilience to again uphold our Democracy by faithfully applying the law, vindicating the Constitution, and holding president Trump accountable for his actions.


Bruce Castor[edit]

President Trump's Attorney
  • The last time a body such as the United States Senate sat at the pinnacle of government with the responsibility that it has today was happening in Athens, and it was happening in Rome. Republicanism... the form of government... throughout history has always, and without exception, fallen because of fights from within, because of partisanship from within, because of bickering from within, and in each one of those examples... and there are certainly others, probably, that are smaller countries that lasted for less time... [O]nce there was the vacuum created that the greatest deliberative bodies, the senate of Greece.... and the senate of Rome, the moment that they devolved into such partisanship... It's not as though they ceased to exist. They ceased to exist as representative democracy. Both replaced by totalitarianism.
  • Paraphrasing the famous quote from Benjamin Franklin... "He who would trade liberty for some temporary security deserves neither liberty nor security. If we restrict liberty to attain security, we will lose both." And isn't the way we have enshrined in the Constitution, the concepts of liberty that we think are critical, the very concepts of liberty that drove us to separate from Great Britain, and I can't believe these fellows are quoting what happened pre-revolutin as though that's somehow of value to us. We left the British system. If we're really ogoing to use pre-revolutionary history in Great Britain, then the prededent is, we have a Parliament and we have a king. Is that the precedent that we are headed for?
  • It's not an accident that the very first liberty in the First article of the Bill of Rights... is the First Ammendment which says "Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech," etc... the very first one, the most important one. The ability to have free and robust debate, free and robust political speech.
  • Something that Mr. Raskin and his team... brought up, is that it's... somehow a suggestion from former president Trump's team that when various former public officials were not denouncing the violence... over the summer, that that was somehow, the former president equating that speech to his own. Not at all! Exactly backwards!
  • I saw a headline, representative so-and-so seeks to walk-back comments about... something that bothered her. I was devastated when I saw that she thought it was necessary to go on television yesterday or the day before and say she needs to walk-back her comments. She should be able to comment as much as she wants, and she should be able to say exactly as she feels... [I]f she feels that the supporters of president Trump... are not worthy of having their ideas considered, she should be able to say that, and anybody who agrees should be permitted to say they agree.
  • That's what we broke away... from Great Britain in order to be able to do. To be able to say what we thought in the most robust political debate.
  • I don't expect, and I don't believe that the former president expects anybody to walk-back any of the language. If that's how they feel about the way things transpired over the last couple of years in this country, they should be allowed to say that, and I will go to court and defend them, if anything happens to them as a result. If the government takes action against that... U.S. representative who wants to walk-back her comments, if the government takes action against her, I have no problem in defending her right to say those things, even though I don't agree with them.
  • This trial is not about trading liberty for security. ...It's about suggesting that it is a good idea that we give up those liberties that we have so long fought for. We have sent armies to other parts of the world to convince those governments to implement the freedoms that we enjoy.
  • This trial... is about trading liberty for security from the mob? Honestly, no! It can't be! We can't be thinking about that. We can't possibly be suggesting that we punish people for political speech in this country, and if people go and commit lawless acts as the result of their beliefs, and they cross the line, they should be locked up!
  • I've seen... quite a number of the complaints that were filed against the people who breached the capitol. Some of them charged [with] conspiracy. Not a single one... charged with conspiracy with the forty-fifth president of the United States, probably because prosecutors have an ethical requirement that they are not allowed to charge people with criminal offenses without probable cause. You might consider that.
  • [I]f we go down the road that... Mr. Raskin asks you to go down, the flood gates will open.
  • I was going to say, originally, it will release the whirlwind... a biblical reference, but I subsequently learned... that that particular phrase is already taken...
  • [T]he political pendulum will shift one day. This chamber and the chamber across the way will change one day, and partisan impeachments will become commonplace.
  • [U]ntil the impeachment of Bill Clinton no one alive had ever lived through a presidential impeachment, not unless some of you are 150 years old. Not a single person alive had lived through a presidential impeachment. Now most of us have lived through three of them. This is supposed to be the ultimate safety valve. The last thing that happens. The most rare treatment, and a session in where this body is sitting as a court of impeachment, among the most rare things it does.
  • So the slippery slope principle will have taken hold if we continue to go forward with what is happening today and scheduled to happen later this week... [A]fter we are long done here, and after there has been a shift in the political winds, and after there is a change in the makeup of the United States House of Representatives, and maybe a change in the makeup of the United States Senate, the pressure from those folks back home, especially for members of the House, is going to be tremendous, because remember, the Founders recognized that (the argument that I started with that) political pressure is driven by the need for immediate action, because something under contemporary community standards really horrific happened and the people represented by the United States House of Representatives become incensed! And what do you do in a federal issue if you're back in suburban Philadelphia, and something happens that makes the people who live there insensed? You call your congressman, and your congressman, elected every two years with their pulse on the people in their district... they respond. A congressman calls you back. A staffer calls you back. You get all the information they have on the issue. Sometimes you even get invited to submit language that would improve whatever the issue is.
  • [W]hen the pendulum swings, perhaps the next person impeached and is sent here for you to consider is Eric Holder, during "Fast and Furious"... or any other person that the other party considers to be a political danger to them down the road because of their avowed abilities, ...and being articulate, and having a résumé... that shows that they are capable. ...The Republicans might regain the House in two years. History does tend to suggest that the party out of power in the White House does well in the mid-term elections, and certainly the... 2020 elections... the House majority narrowed, and there was a gain of the Republicans.
  • [T]he members of the House, they have to worry about these consequences, because if they don't react to whatever the "problem of the day" is, somebody in that jurisdiction... is going to say, "If you make me the congressman, I'll react to that." And that means that the sitting member has to worry about it, because their terms are short. And it's not just the members of the House of Representatives with their short... terms. I saw on television the last couple of days, the honorable... Mr. Sasse... faced backlash back home because of a vote he made some... weeks ago. ...[T]he political party was complaining about a decision he made... Nebrask is quite... a judicial thinking place, and just maybe Senator Sasse is on to something. You'll hear about what it is that the Nebraska courts have to say about the issue that you all are deciding this week. There seem to be some pretty smart jurists in Nebraska, and I can't believe that a United States senator doesn't know that.
  • A senator like the gentleman from Nebraska whose supreme court history is ever-present in his mind, and rightfully so, he... faces the whirlwind, even though he knows what the judiciary in his state thinks.
  • People back home will demand their House members continue the cycle as political fortunes rise and fall. The only entity that stands between the bitter infighting that led to the downfall of the Greek republic, and the Roman Republic, and the American Republic is the Senate of the United States.
  • Shall the business of the Senate and thus the nation come to a halt? Not just for the current weeks, while a new president is trying to fill out his administration, but shall the business of the Senate and the nation come to a halt because impeachment becomes the rule, rather than the rare exception?
  • I know you can see this as a possibility because not a single one of you thought you would be doing a second impeachment inside of thirteen months. And the pressure will be enormous to respond in kind.
  • To quote Everett Dirksen, "The gallant men and women of the Senate will not allow that to happen, and this Republic will endure" because the top responsibility of a United States Senator, and the top characteristic that you all have in common... there isn't a single one of you who A, doesn't consider yourself a patriot of the United States, and two, there isn't a single one of you who doesn't consider the other 99 to be patriots of the United States. And that is why this attack on the Constitution will not prevail.
  • The document that is before you is flawed. The rule of the Senate concerning impeachment documents, Articles of Impeachment, Rule 23 says that "such documents cannot be divided." You might have seen that we wrote that... It might have been a little legalistic or legalese for the newspapers to opine on very much, but there is some significance. The House managers, clever fellows that they are, they cast a broad net. They need to get 67 of you to agree they're right. And that's a good strategy. I would use the same strategy, except there is a rule that you can't use that strategy. ...[R]ule 23 says that... the articles of impeachment's indivisible, and the reason why that's significant is [that] you have to agree that every single aspect of the entire document warrants impeachment, because it's an all-or-nothing document. You can't cut out parts that you agree with [that] warrant impeachment and parts that don't, because it's not divisible.
  • It flat out says in the Senate Rules it's not divisible. Now, previous impeachments like President Clinton said... the president shall be found guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors for engaging in one or more of the following, and then gives the list. So... all you had to do was win one. But you didn't do that here. It has to be all or nothing, and some of these things that you are asked to consider might be close calls in your mind. But one of them is not.
  • The House managers tell you that the president should be impeached because he violated the Fourteenth Amendment, and here's what the Fourteenth Amendment says, "No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or any other State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or [as] a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution [of the United States], [and] shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may [by a] vote [by] of two-thirds of each House, [to] remove such disability."
  • Now, it doesn't take a constitutional scholar to recognize that that's written for people who fought for the Confederacy who are previous military officers who are in the government in or of the Confederacy, and it doesn't take a constitutional scholar to require that they be convicted first, in a court, with due process of law. So... that question can never be ripe until those things have happened. Now, if you agree with those arguments, and I know you'll all get your constitutions out and you'll read it; and if you agree with those arguments, the suggestion that the Fourteenth Amendment applies here is ridiculous! And if you come to that conclusion then, because the managers have not separated out the... any counts within the article of impeachment, the whole thing falls. I didn't write that. They are married to that.
  • I wrote it out in individual responses because I didn't know how to respond to the... "cast a wide net" effort. And fortunately, senators some time in the past realized that you can't do that because you passed... a rule that says, "Hey, you can't do that!" So that's why it's flawed, and it's flawed in other ways too...
  • [W]hy are the House managers afraid, and why is the majority of the House of Representatives afraid of the American people?
  • Let's understand why we are really here. We are really here because the majority in the House of Representatives does not want to face Donald Trump as a political rival in the future. That's the real reason we're here. That's why they have to get over the jurisdictional hurdle (which they can't get over) but that's why they have to get over that, in order to get to that part of the Constitution that allows removal. ...Nobody says it that plainly but unfortunately I have a way of speaking that way.
  • [T]he reason I am having trouble with the argument is the American people just spoke, and they just changed administrations. So in the light most favorable to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle here, their system works. The people are smart enough, in the light most favorable to them, they're smart enough to pick a new administration if they don't like the old one, and they just did, and he's down there on Pennsylvania Avenue right now, probably wondering, "How come none of my stuff is happening up at the Capitol?"
  • Why do the members of the House of Representatives, the majority of the House... Why are they afraid of the very people that sent them to do this job, the people they hope will continue to send them back here? Why are they afraid that those same people who were smart enough to pick them as their Congressmen, aren't smart enough to pick somebody who is a candidate for president of the United States?
  • Why fear that the people will all of a sudden forget how to choose an administration in the next few years? And in fact, this happens all the time when there are changes in administrations from one-term presidents to others. Well, Nixon was sort of a 1 1/2 term, but Nixon to Ford, Ford to Carter, Carter to Reagan, Bush 41 to Clinton; it happens! The people get tired of an administration they don't want, and they know how to change it! And they just did!
  • So why think that they won't know how to do it in 2024, if they want to? Or is that what the fear is... that the people in 2024 will, in fact will want the change, and will want to go back to Donald Trump, and not the current occupant of the White House, President Biden? Because all these other times the people were smart enough to do it (choose who the president should be) and all these other times they're smart enough to choose who their members of Congress were, and by way. choose you all as well, but they're not smart enough to know how to change the administration, especially since they just did. So it seems pretty evident to me that they do know how.
  • It has worked 100% of the time. 100% of the time, in the United States, when the people... had been fed up with, and had enough of the occupant of the White House, they change the occupant of the White House.
  • Now I know that one of the strengths of this body is its deliberative action, and I saw Senator Manchin on the TV the other night talking about the filibuster, and the main point was that... this body has an obligation to try to reach consensus across the aisle, to legitimize the decisions it makes. ....I think ...that is a good way of saying why the Senate of the United States is different than other places. You know, the Constitution is a document designed to protect the rights of the minority, not the rights of the majority. Congress shall make no law abridging all of these things. That's because those were the things that were of concern at the time.
  • It's easy to be in favor of liberty, and equality, and free speech when it's popular.
  • We changed what we were going to do on account that the House managers' presentation was well done, and I wanted you to know that we have responses to those things. I thought that what the first part of the case was, which was the equivalent of a motion to dismiss, was going to be about jurisdiction alone, and... one of the... fellows who spoke for the House managers, who is a former criminal defense attorney, seemed to suggest that there is something nefarious that we were discussing jurisdiction in trying to get the case dismissed, but this is where it happens in the case, because jurisdiction is the first thing that has to be found.
  • We have counter-arguments to everything that they raised, and you will hear them later... but on the... scholarly issue of jurisdiction... Article I, section 3 says "Judgements in cases of impeachment shall not extend further that to removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust, profit in the United States: but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment trial, judgement and punishment according to law." So this idea... of a January amnesty is nonsense. If my colleagues on this side of the chamber actually think that president Trump committed a criminal offense, and let's understand, a high crime is a felony, a misdemeanor is a misdemeanor. The words haven't changed that much over time. After he's out of office, you go and arrest him. So there is no opportunity where the president of the United States can run rampant in January at the end of his term, and just go away Scott free. The Department of Justice does know what to do with such people, and so far I haven't seen any activity in that direction, and not only that, the people who stormed this building and breached it were not accused of conspiring with the president.
  • But the section I read, judgement, in other words, the bad thing that can happen, the judgement, in cases of impeachment, i.e., what we are doing, "shall not extend further than removal from office..." What is so hard about that? ...Which of those words are unclear? "Shall not extend further than removal from office..." President Trump is no longer in office. The object of the Constitution has been achieved. He was removed by the voters!

Quotes about second impeachment trial[edit]

  • Cassidy was one of six Republican senators to vote with Democrats to say that it was constitutional to impeach a former president even after he has left office. The other five Republican senators had done so in a similar vote last month.
    • Amy B Wang, Seung Min Kim, "GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy, who switched vote to support impeachment trial, said Trump's lawyers were 'disorganized, random'" (Feb. 9, 2021) The Washington Post
  • Trump’s team lost a crucial bid to halt the trial on constitutional grounds. Senators confirmed, 56-44, their jurisdiction over the trial, the first of a president no longer in office.
    • Lisa Mascaro, Eric Tucker, Mary Clare, Jalonick and Jill Colvin, "Senate agrees to hear Trump case, rejecting GOP argument" (Feb. 9, 2021) AP News

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


Works related to Article of Impeachment against Donald J. Trump (2021) on Wikisource