The 5 biggest takeaways from the first day of Trump's Senate impeachment trial over the Capitol insurrection

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  • Former President Donald Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial began Tuesday.
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin emotionally described the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and a Trump lawyer’s opener was widely mocked.
  • Another Republican voted with Democrats as the Senate confirmed the constitutionality of the trial.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Former President Donald Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial began Tuesday.

The day’s debate focused on determining the constitutionality of holding an impeachment trial in the first place, given that Trump is no longer in office.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump last month on a charge of incitement of insurrection related to the January 6 Capitol siege, which resulted in five deaths. The House impeachment managers, who function as prosecutors in the trial, accuse Trump of spurring the violence on by peddling lies about the 2020 election and urging his fans to march to the Capitol to stop Congress from finalising President Joe Biden’s victory.

Here are the 5 biggest takeaways from Day 1 of the Senate trial

  • The House managers’ argument: The impeachment managers say there is no “January exception” to impeachment because it would mean presidents could act with immunity during their final days in office. Trump’s actions are impeachable, they said, because he undertook them while in office. Additionally, removal from office is not the only objective of impeachment because being barred from holding office in the future is also a possibility.
  • The defence’s argument: Trump’s defence lawyers argued that even holding a trial was unconstitutional because Trump was no longer in office and therefore could not be removed via an impeachment trial. They also argued that Trump was deprived of due process in the proceedings and that the Senate was not the appropriate jurisdiction to “try” Trump.
  • A notable Republican defection: At the end of Tuesday’s debate, there was a vote to determine the constitutionality of Trump’s impeachment trial. In a previous motion on the matter, five Republican senators — Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, and Ben Sasse — broke ranks and voted with their Democratic colleagues to declare Trump’s trial constitutional. On Tuesday, another GOP senator, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, defected to join Democrats and the other Republicans. Fifty-six senators voted that the trial was constitutional, while 44 voted that it was not.
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin teared up recounting being trapped in the Capitol: Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, gave an emotional speech on the Senate floor during which he recalled what it was like being in the Capitol during the siege with his daughter and his son-in-law. It was one day after Raskin and his family buried his son, Tommy, who died by suicide on New Year’s Eve.

    • He choked up as he described his “kids hiding under the desk, placing what they thought were their final texts and whispered phone calls to say their goodbyes.” He continued: “They thought they were going to die.”
  • Trump’s lawyer was brutally mocked for a long and meandering opening statement: Bruce Castor Jr.’s lengthy, rambling statement raised eyebrows across the internet as lawyers, constitutional experts, and members of the public questioned where he was going.

    • Alan Dershowitz, the conservative lawyer who defended Trump in his first impeachment trial, said on Newsmax that Castor had “no argument,” adding, “I have no idea what he is doing.”
    • The conservative lawyer Jonathan Turley, who testified for Trump during his first impeachment, tweeted: “This was not an auspicious start for the defence today. The House was more polished and effective. The defence will need to tighten the narrative and focus the points going forward.”
    • Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, echoed that sentiment, tweeting: “Castor’s rambling, incoherent, and inaccurate opening speech is a perfect microcosm for this proceeding: The facts, law, and Constitution are all on the House’s side—and none of that’s going to matter because enough Republicans are nevertheless going to let Trump off the hook.”

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