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Big Lines From Day 1 of Impeachment Trial

'This cannot be the future of America'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2021 3:07 PM CST
Updated Feb 9, 2021 5:53 PM CST

(Newser) – Donald Trump's second impeachment trial in the Senate started with graphic footage of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack before arguments on the constitutionality of the trial began. Trump's lawyers argue that it is unconstitutional to put a former president on trial, while the House impeachment managers say there is no "January exception" that permits an outgoing president to commit offenses, the Guardian reports. Some big lines:

  • "The framers' worst nightmare." Rep. Joe Neguse, a House impeachment manager, argued that historical precedent existed for the trial and that Trump's conduct made it necessary, the New York Times reports. "Like every one of you, I was evacuated as this violent mob stormed the Capitol’s gates," he told senators. "What you experienced that day, what we experienced that day, what our country experienced that day, is the framers' worst nightmare." He added: "Presidents can’t inflame insurrection in their final weeks and then walk away like nothing happened."

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  • "Every time I read that tweet, it chills me to the core." Another impeachment manager, Rep. David Cicilline, displayed a Trump tweet that described the rioters as "great patriots," the Hill reports. "Every time I read that tweet, it chills me to my core," Cicilline said. "The president of the United States sided with the insurrectionists, he celebrated their cause, he validated their attack, he told them 'remember this day forever.'"
  • "This cannot be the future of America." Rep. Jamie Raskin, the leading impeachment manager, choked up as he recounted his experiences on Jan. 6. A day before the riot, Raskin buried his son, who took his own life on Dec. 31. Raskin told senators that his daughter and son-in-law were barricaded in an office during the attack and thought they were going to die, the Washington Post reports. He said he was on the House floor, unable to reach them, and could hear lawmakers around him calling their loved ones to say their goodbyes. "Senators, this cannot be our future," he said. "This cannot be the future of America."
  • "The floodgates will open." In an opening statement described by Politico as "meandering," Trump lawyer Bruce Castor warned the the impeachment trial was a "slippery slope" and said the "floodgates will open" if Trump was convicted. He also described the Capitol riot as "repugnant" and acknowledged that Biden won the election.
  • "This trial will tear this country apart." David Schoen, another Trump lawyer, said trying an ex-president on an impeachment charge was a "radical constitutional theory" and an "affront to the Constitution, the AP reports. "This trial will tear this country apart, perhaps like we have only seen once before in our history," said Schoen, per the Post. He accused the House impeachment managers of "pure, raw, misguided partisanship."
(Read more Trump impeachment stories.)

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