Key Witnesses Tell Of Concern Over Trump’s ‘inappropriate’ Ukraine Call
The afternoon hearing has finally concluded, after hours of fascinating testimony.
Republican Devin Nunes used his closing remarks to broadly attack the impeachment investigation, which he described as the culmination of three years of Democratic efforts to find an excuse to impeach the president.
Today we are witnesses the Ukraine hoax the plot is hard to follow and the evidence shifts from day to day, he said.
Democrat Adam Schiff used his closing remarks to focus on Volkers testimony. Addressing viewers directly, he said: Why should Americans care about Ukraine?
They will need to ask themselves are we prepared to accept that a president of the United States can leverage official acts, military assistance, White House meetings, to get an investigation of a political rival? he said.
I dont think we want to go there.
The hearings are still going, but energy from the crowd has evidently waned after hours and hours of testimony.
A reporter from the Huffington Post tweeted a photo showing a row of empty chair.
Ryan J. Reilly
Plenty of room in the crowd for hour 12 of todays impeachment hearing if you care to join.
Time Magazine is reporting that Mike Pompeo has told three prominent Republicans that he plans to resign as secretary of state to run for senate in Kansas in the 2020 election.
More from Time:
As the afternoons testimony approaches its conclusion, here are some striking images from inside the hearing room.
Question Phase Of Trumps Impeachment Trial Grows Heated
After the close of arguments on Friday afternoon, senators were given the opportunity to submit written questions, which were read aloud, to the prosecution and the defense.
Senators on Friday afternoon opened their first and last window in the trial to directly question the prosecution and defense. But as they submitted questions in writing one by one, most members of the jury appeared more interested in scoring political points than breaking new ground.
Does a politician raising bail for rioters encourage more rioting? read one early question from Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ted Cruz of Texas and two other Republicans. It was an apparent reference to Democrats who supported bail funds for people arrested while protesting racial violence this summer.
Bruce L. Castor Jr., one of former President Donald J. Trumps lawyers, gave a one word answer: Yes.
Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, asked Mr. Trumps lawyers whether the former presidents big lie was correct when he insisted over and over again that he had won the election. If it was an attempt to force his defense to contradict their client, it did not work.
Who asked that? responded Michael van der Veen, another lawyer for the former president, looking for Mr. Sanders. My judgment? My judgments is irrelevant in this proceeding.
We have a tweet at 2:38 p.m., so it was certainly sometime before then, he said.
House Impeachment Managers Say Trump’s ‘incitement’ Is Not Protected Speech
Trump’s legal team also argued that his Jan. 6 rally speech was protected by the First Amendment, a contention that impeachment managers labeled ludicrous. This, after all was an impeachment trial, not a criminal proceeding. An impeachment trial is a political process intended to judge whether an official was upholding their oath of office and a standard of conduct.
With his second acquittal, Trump now plots his next steps in political and public life. Yet he is also contending with potential legal trouble stemming from a New York grand jury investigation and a newly announced criminal probe in Georgia.
Trump has been able to spin difficulties in his business and personal life before, and the country waits to see if has a next, and perhaps final, act.
Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., delivered his closing arguments on the fifth day of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.hide caption
Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., delivered his closing arguments on the fifth day of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.
“It’s now clear beyond doubt that Trump supported the actions of the mob,” lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin said on the Senate floor.
“He must be convicted,” said the Maryland Democrat. “It’s that simple.”
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Impeachment Hearings Schedule: Start Times Witnesses How To Watch And Stream
Lawmakers will once again go live in front of the cameras this week to interview eight more witnesses.
Following last weeks televised impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, lawmakers will once again go live in front of the cameras this week to interview eight more witnesses as part of public hearings that will stretch from Tuesday to Thursday.
At issue is whether Trump abused the power of his office by holding back security assistance from Ukraine in an attempt to pressure newly elected president Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation involving Joe Bidens son, Hunter.
Last week, the House Intelligence Committee heard from three witnesses Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary for Europe and Eurasian affairs and Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
You can stream the impeachment hearings here, courtesy of PBS:
While Yovanovitch offered an emotional account of how smears by Rudy Giuliani ultimately led to her ouster, it was Taylor who made the most news when he revealed that David Holmes, a member of his staff, overheard Trump discussing the push for investigations during a cellphone call with the U.S. ambassador to Gordon Sondland. Holmes testified behind closed doors on Friday, and Sondland is set to appear publicly before the committee on Wednesday.
Pelosi Blasts Mcconnell Others Who Voted To Acquit As ‘cowardly Group Of Republicans’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she wasn’t planning on speaking Saturday but did so after she saw Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speak on the Senate floor.
“It is so pathetic that Senator McConnell kept the Senate shut down so that the Senate could not receive the Article of Impeachment and has used that as his excuse for not voting to convict Donald Trump,” Pelosi said.
“What we saw in that Senate today was a cowardly group of Republicans who apparently have no options, because they were afraid to defend their job, respect the institution in which they serve,” Pelosi said.
Asked about McConnell’s statement on the floor suggesting that Trump still was liable criminally or civilly for his actions in office, Pelosi interrupted the reporter and said his speech was “disingenuous.”
“I don’t know whether it was for donors or — or what. But whatever it was, it was a very disingenuous speech. And I say that regretfully, because I always want to be able to work — work with the leadership of the other party,” she said. “And for him to have tried to have it every which way — but we will be going forward to make sure that this never happens again.”
Asked about censure as an option moving forward, Pelosi called it a “slap in the fact of the Constitution” and said it, “let’s everybody off the hook.”
“We don’t censure people for inciting insurrection that kills people in the Capitol,” she said.
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On Whether Mr Trump Had Due Process
Mr. Schoen complained once again that the impeachment did not afford Mr. Trump due process a point Mr. Trumps lawyers and supporters had previously argued during his first impeachment, and a point law scholars had dismissed.
There are no enforceable rights to due process in a House inquiry, and while those rights exist in the Senate trial, they are limited, said Frank O. Bowman III, a law professor at the University of Missouri and an expert on impeachment. Former President Andrew Johnson, for example, was impeached by the House before it even drew up the articles.
Will There Be Witnesses
That remains to be seen. According to McConnells proposed rules, decisions about witnesses or the addition of new evidence wont be made until after Roberts finishes asking questions on behalf of senators.
Democrats need 51 votes to ensure witnesses have a chance to testify. There are 47 Democrats , and if they remain unified on the issue, theyd need four Republican senators to vote with them
So far, three Republican senators have indicated theyre open to hearing from witnesses during the impeachment trial: Utahs Mitt Romney, Alaskas Lisa Murkowski, and Maines Susan Collins.
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This Blog Is Adjourned For The Day
But it’ll resume tomorrow when the Senate does. For any brave souls willing to stay awake , the House managers’ closing arguments begin at 1:00 AM AEST. Barring any big surprises, we’ll see a vote to convict a few hours later, but we’ll be sure to stick around until a healthier daylight hour to answer questions for anyone choosing to sleep in.
Thanks again for being here today! There’s nowhere I’d rather be then here with you all, watching history unfold. So don’t leave me hanging and come back tomorrow.
Takeaways From The Trump Impeachment Trial After Defense Wraps Up
Trump’s lawyers, however, did not stick to a narrow constitutional argument. Instead, they accused Democrats of using the impeachment process for partisan gain and of trying to disenfranchise the people who voted for Trump’s reelection. The defense declined to provide evidence of what the president knew about the violence, when he knew it and what he did about it.
The Democratic House impeachment managers argued that the former president, who addressed a rally outside the White House ahead of the insurrection, was “singularly responsible” for the violence on Jan. 6.
They relied, in large measure, on video to prove their case, including never-before-seen Capitol security footage. The videos showed on the Senate floor during what was an, at times, emotional trial brought back the vivid images of the Capitol violence to the very place it happened.
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How To Watch Trump’s Second Senate Impeachment Trial
Former President Trump’s second impeachment trial continues for its fourth day on Friday, February 12. Democrats on Thursday rested their case, after arguing that Mr. Trump’s words and actions prior to the incited the riot.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers will begin their arguments on Friday.
CBSN will air the trial in full and CBSN’s Elaine Quijano will provide analysis after it has concluded for the day. CBSN coverage begins 30 minutes before the trial starts each day. On CBS television stations, “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell will anchor special report coverage of the impeachment proceedings from Washington, D.C.
On the first day of the trial, the Democratic House impeachment managers presented a dramatic 13-minute video that showed the chaos at the Capitol on January 6 juxtaposed with Mr. Trump’s speech to supporters earlier in the day, when he urged his followers to “fight like hell.” On Wednesday, the impeachment managers showed never-before-seen footage from January 6 that showed just how close the rioters were to many members of Congress, including video of Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman steering Senator Mitt Romney away from the mob.
Settle In For The Opening Arguments
After any motions are considered, the seven House members serving as prosecutors in the impeachment trial have 24 hours to lay out their case, most likely starting at some point Wednesday afternoon. Under the rules adopted on Tuesday, they can use their time over three days.
The managers, led by Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, have so far not been shy about taking every minute they are owed. During Tuesdays debate over the rules, Mr. Schiff and the other managers filled their time with lengthy, detailed arguments that included the use of PowerPoint presentations and video clips of Mr. Trump and the witnesses who appeared in the House inquiry.
If that trend continues, the House managers could spend the balance of the week making their case for Mr. Trumps removal from office.
One consideration for the managers? The patience of senators, some of whom already looked a bit bored on Tuesday one even appeared to doze off as they sat in silence through several hours of Mr. Schiff and his colleagues delivering dense, detailed arguments. The House leadership could decide, as the impeachment managers did during President Bill Clintons 1999 impeachment trial, that taking every minute of the 24 hours afforded to them will not help their case.
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After Speaking Out On Impeachment Herrera Beutler Heads Toward Clash With Her Party
“The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president,” he said, “and having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.”
McConnell rebuked Trump for his actions after the insurrection as well.
“He did not do his job. He didn’t take steps so federal law could be faithfully executed and order restored,” he continued.
“No. Instead, according to public reports, he watched television happily happily as the chaos unfolded,” he said. “Even after it was clear to any reasonable observer that Vice President Pence was in serious danger.”
But McConnell said that the process of impeachment and conviction is a “limited tool” and that he believes Trump is not “constitutionally eligible for conviction.”
“The Constitution gives us a particular role. This body is not invited to act as the nation’s overarching moral tribunal,” he said.
He said that the text of the question of constitutionality is “legitimately ambiguous” and that he “respects” his colleagues for reaching either the conclusion to acquit or convict.
Seven Republicans broke ranks with their party in voting for a conviction.
Michael van der Veen, defense lawyer for former President Donald Trump, gives closing arguments during Trump’s second impeachment trial on February 13, 2021.hide caption
Rubio Asks If Convicting Trump Could Lead To Barring Others Like Hillary Clinton From Office
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., essentially asked that if Trump could be convicted while out of office, couldn’t a future Congress bar other former officials, like Hillary Clinton, from holding future office?
Raskin made the point that Trump’s conduct took place while he was president and that he was impeached while still in office.
“The hypothetical suggested by the gentleman from Florida has no bearing on this case,” he said.
Van der Veen then came up to speak, and said Rubio was right in outlining what would become a “slippery slope,” adding that senators can decide to acquit Trump on a number of technicalities.
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Impeachment Is An ‘act Of Political Vengeance’ Trump Lawyer Says
“At no point was the president informed the vice president was in any danger,” Michael van der Veen argued, adding that there is “nothing at all in record on this point.” Van der Veen also accused the House impeachment managers of failing to do their due diligence on this issue.
“What the president did know is that there was a violent riot happening at the Capitol,” van der Veen said. “That’s why he repeatedly called via tweet and via video for the riots to stop, to be peaceful, to respect Capitol police and law enforcement and to commit no violence and go home.”
But van der Veen’s argument left senators with additional questions.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who says he is undecided on whether he’ll vote to convict Trump, asked for more details regarding Tuberville’s account of the call with Trump and his tweet railing against Pence.
“Does this show that President Trump was tolerant of the intimidation of Vice President Pence?” Cassidy asked.
But again, van der Veen disputed the sequence of events, calling discussion of Tuberville’s call “hearsay.”
“I have a problem with the facts in the question because I have no idea,” van der Veen responded.
Cassidy told reporters later that he didn’t think his question got a good answer.
Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, hailed by many for his heroism during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, participates in a the dress rehearsal for Inauguration Day.hide caption
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“History will wait for our decision.”
Sen Bill Cassidy Appears Poised To Acquit
Okay folks. Up until now, I’ve tried hard not to speculate on how many Republican senators were planning to convict. But with the defence’s arguments done and dusted, the speculation feels a little more solid. It’s time for Republican watch.
Here are some things we know for sure:
- 17 of the 50 Republican senators would need to vote with all 50 democrats to reach the two-thirds majority necessary for conviction
- There are no reports to suggest that enough Republicans will flip to convict Trump and therefore ban him from holding office again. However, there are lots of reports that a few might. The exact number and profile of those who flip will be read as a test of the party’s overall loyalty to Trump.
- Six Republican senators joined Democrats in voting “yes” on a constitutionality at the start of this trial, which was widely read as a sign they’d be open to convicting Trump
- One of those Senators, Bill Cassidy, was spotted holding what appears to be a statement of acquittal
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