Pages

Monday, 8 February 2021

Democratic impeachment managers are set to have their bid to call witnesses refused by Senate on eve of Trump's trial

 Democrats are struggling with impeachment managers' desire to call witnesses in the Senate trial this week to help prove their case against Donald Trump and Democratic leadership wanting a speedy process.

Speculation stirred over the weekend that Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will announce a deal on how the trial, which kicks off on Tuesday, will move forward – with few expecting any witness testimony, according to Politico.

Congressional leadership feels witnesses are not necessary since the actions and fallout Democrats are accusing the former president of inciting happened in plain sight and the prosecution could rely mostly on video. 


Sources familiar with the nine impeachment managers' plan say they will use clips edited to dramatically intertwine Trump's remarks on January 6 with the ensuing Capitol riots shortly after in a blockbuster movie style sequence.

Schumer argued privately that Trump's alleged crimes took place in the public eye and can be shown and proven through video and tweets.

Chuck Schumer
Mitch McConnell

Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer (left) and Republican leader  Mitch McConnell (right) are set to deny impeachment managers' request to call witnesses in the trial this week as they lay out the process. Schumer argues they can make their case by showing video and tweets

Impeachment managers, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (pictured), felt first-hand accounts could help sway Republicans – if not lawmakers, than parts of the GOP electorate who still support Trump

Impeachment managers, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (pictured), felt first-hand accounts could help sway Republicans – if not lawmakers, than parts of the GOP electorate who still support Trump

The managers are preparing to present their case with a blockbuster style video showing clips of Trump's January 6 speech edited with cut-ins of the ensuing riots at the Capitol

The managers are preparing to present their case with a blockbuster style video showing clips of Trump's January 6 speech edited with cut-ins of the ensuing riots at the Capitol

Some of the Democratic managers wanted to call Capitol Police officers who clashed with rioters last month, others wanted to hear from Trump officials who were with him in the midst of the riots

Some of the Democratic managers wanted to call Capitol Police officers who clashed with rioters last month, others wanted to hear from Trump officials who were with him in the midst of the riots

With this course of action, the whole proceedings in the upper chamber are expected to be completed in as little as a week – with the most likely outcome being Trump walking away unscathed, again.

'The story of the president's actions is both riveting and horrifying,' lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin of Maryland told The New York Times on Sunday.

'We think that every American should be aware of what happened,' the Democratic representative continued, 'that the reason he was impeached by the House and the reason he should be convicted and disqualified from holding future federal office is to make sure that such an attack on our democracy and Constitution never happens again.'

Video clips weren't impeachment managers' first choice for presenting evidence.

Several managers wanted first-hand testimony to prove their case – while Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden's administration are eager to get the trial over with and go forward with the Democratic agenda.

Those against calling witnesses feel especially strong about the matter as it becomes increasingly clear the second impeachment effort against Trump will fall in the upper chamber.

Some of the managers argued calling witnesses could help sway some Republicans – although they even conceded it wouldn't pull over the 17 needed to successfully convict the former president for 'incitement of insurrection.'

Among the proposed witness list were Capitol Police officers to tell their stories about fighting off the pro-Trump mob, while others floated inviting Republican officials in Georgia who say they were pressured by the former president to change the state's presidential election count. There were also talks of calling former White House officials who observed Trump in the midst of the riots – including those who resigned in the fallout. 

Also last week, the House impeachment managers formally requested Trump testify under oath in his Senate impeachment trial.

'You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue notwithstanding the clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense,' Raskin wrote to Trump on Thursday.

'In light of your disputing these factual allegations, I write to invite you to provide testimony under oath, either before or during the Senate impeachment trial, concerning your conduct on January 6, 2021,' he continued.

The Maryland representative said Trump's testimony, which would include and direct and cross examination, could be held privately or publicly at any time this week.

'We would be pleased to arrange such testimony at a mutually convenient time and place,' Raskin said.

Trump's team responded with a public release claiming the latest was just a 'publicity stunt' from Democrats.

'Your letter only confirms what is known to everyone; you cannot prove your allegations against the 45th President of the United States, who is now a private citizen,' the statement put out by Trump's defense lawyers David Schoen and Bruce Castor read.

Some Democrats still advocating for witness testimony say while it may not change the outcome of whether Trump is convicted, it could at least potentially deter parts of the GOP electorate that still support him.

Democrats argue Trump 'incited an insurrection' in his speech before the riots where he said: 'You'll never take back our country with weakness,' urging supporters to 'fight like hell'

Democrats argue Trump 'incited an insurrection' in his speech before the riots where he said: 'You'll never take back our country with weakness,' urging supporters to 'fight like hell'

Impeachment managers also tried to compel the former president to testify, to which his lawyers responded was confirmation 'you cannot prove your allegations against' Trump

Impeachment managers also tried to compel the former president to testify, to which his lawyers responded was confirmation 'you cannot prove your allegations against' Trump

In a January 6 rally outside the White House, Trump continued to pedal his claims of election fraud to a crowd of thousands of his supporters who descended on Washington, D.C. to protest Congress certifying the Electoral College outcome for Joe Biden.

'You'll never take back our country with weakness,' Trump said during his speech before the Capitol storming as he urged supporters to 'fight like hell'.

Privately, 45 Republicans have already said the impeachment process is in itself unconstitutional because Trump is no longer president – exhibiting their clear desire to get the trial over with and vote against conviction.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told 'Fox News Sunday' over the weekend the Senate impeachment trial is 'over before it starts' as Democrats need at least 17 Republicans to cross the line

'Is there any chance that the Senate will vote to convict Donald Trump?' Fox News' Chris Wallace asked Paul on Sunday.

'Zero chance of conviction,' the Republican senator responded. '45 Republicans have said it's not even a legitimate proceeding so it's really over before it starts.'

Another Republican argument against impeachment is that Trump's words were protected by free speech.

Paul said Sunday that free speech, a fundamental of the First Amendment of the Constitution, should not be punished.

'Are we going to impeach, and potentially criminally prosecute people for political speech when they say, 'Get up and fight for your country, let your voices be heard.'? Has nobody in this country heard of figurative speech?' Paul lamented.

He also argued that if Democrats want to use speech to prosecute people, they need to look within their own ranks.

'I think if we're going to criminalize speech and somehow impeach everybody who says, 'Oh, go fight to hear your voices heard,' I mean really we ought to impeach Chuck Schumer then,' Paul said during his interview on 'Fox News Sunday.' 'He went to the Supreme Court, stood in front of the Supreme Court and said specifically, 'Hey Gorsuch, hey Kavanaugh – you've unleashed a whirlwind and you're going to pay the price. You won't know what hit you if you continue with these awful decisions.'

'This inflammatory wording, this violent rhetoric from Chuck Schumer was so bad that the Chief Justice, who rarely says anything publicly, immediately said this kind of language is dangerous as a mob tried to invade the Supreme Court,' he added.

Republican Senator Rand Paul said Sunday the impeachment trial is a 'partisan farce' that has 'zero chance of conviction'

Republican Senator Rand Paul said Sunday the impeachment trial is a 'partisan farce' that has 'zero chance of conviction'

'So if people want to hold President Trump accountable for language, there has to be a consistent standard,' Paul said.

'And to my mind, it's a partisan farce because they're not doing anything to Chuck Schumer, not doing anything to Representative Omar, not doing anything to Maxine Waters. It's just not fair. It's just partisan politics under a different name.'

Trump's impeachment defense attorneys said Friday they also plan to show video during the trial this week showing Democrats inciting violence in the midst of the Black Lives Matter riots over the summer and also in general using 'inflammatory rhetoric' to encourage action against Republicans and Trump supporters.

'Well, you know, 2020 was somewhat of an unusual year, and it wasn't all due to COVID,' Trump's defense attorney Bruce Castor told Fox News on Friday, referencing the riots that overtook the country following the death of George Floyd and subsequent nationwide protests and riots.

'There's an awful lot of tape of cities burning and courthouses being attacked and federal agents being assaulted by rioters in the street cheered on by Democrats throughout the country – and many of them in Washington using, really the most inflammatory rhetoric that's possible to use,' he told Fox's Laura Ingraham.

'And certainly there would be no suggestion that they did anything to incite any of the actions.'

No comments:

Post a comment