Before it even started, it was written that the event would be historic. This is the first time that an American president has been subject to two impeachment procedures. This is the first time, again, that the hearing has started after the President’s term has ended.
The moment is historic and it started in the absence of the principal concerned. Donald Trump has decided not to attend his trial, not to testify to respond to charges of “incitement to insurgency” during the assault on Capitol Hill on January 6.
“The charges against Donald Trump are the most serious ever brought against a president in the history of the nation,” Senator Chuck Schumer, boss of the Democratic majority, immediately launched at the start of the session.
The accusation in pictures
While there is little doubt that Donald Trump will be acquitted thanks to the still strong support he enjoys among the Republicans, the Democrats appeared on Tuesday determined to remember the 100 senators who serve as jurors but also, beyond, Americans, the violence of this day which ended in deaths and will go down in history.
The accusation against Donald Trump is based on “concrete and solid facts”, thus launched the head of the democratic “prosecutors”, the elected Jamie Raskin, in the same chamber of the Senate where the demonstrators had rushed the January 6.
For long minutes, without any comment, the Democratic representative from Maryland released a video putting into perspective competing footage preceding and depicting the murderous assault on Capitol Hill, seat of the US Congress:
An unprecedented situation, the 100 senators who serve as jurors were also the witnesses, and victims, of the attack. A point that the Democratic “prosecutors” underlined, denouncing the “lies” of the billionaire who had shouted for months, without proof, to electoral fraud. “Like all of you, I was evacuated while this violent crowd forced the doors of the Capitol,” said Colorado elected official Joe Neguse.
The Democrats’ 13-minute video ended with Trump’s deleted tweet on January 6. They see it as irrefutable proof of Donald Trump’s responsibility. “This is what happens when an overwhelming and sacred electoral victory is wrested so bluntly and violently from great patriots who have been unjustly abused for so long. Come home in love and peace. Remember this day forever! “, The former president wrote that day on his favorite network.
The constitutionality of the trial under debate
This is the central point of this first day of hearing, and the main axis of the defense developed by Donald Trump’s lawyers. Can the impeachment trial be conducted after the end of a president’s term? For David Schoen, counsel to the former president, the answer is definitely negative.
At the desk, the latter explains his arguments. He denounces an unfair procedure, assures that it must be rejected for the sole reason that Donald Trump is no longer in office. It uses the words of the American Constitution, which states that the sanctions of the impeachment procedure cannot exceed the dismissal and the prohibition to occupy any position of confidence or to exercise any honorary function. According to him, the first sanction is no longer applicable, and neither can the second.
Conversely, the Democrats defend for their part the need to distinguish these two sanctions. Even if the impeachment would not have to be pronounced, the senators could not be deprived of the possibility of prohibiting a former president to exercise any future function.
The trial can continue
Finally, at the end of a vote, the elected officials declared the procedure to be constitutional, by 56 votes to 44. A result which once again testifies to the great latitude granted to the Senate to fix the rules of the trials which are ‘stick to it. And which also means that six elected Republicans voted in favor of the constitutionality of the trial.
The debates over the next few days will undoubtedly be much more political. “This lawsuit will open new, deep wounds in the nation as many Americans see it for what it is: an attempt by a group of politicians to remove Donald Trump from politics and rob 74 million of their rights. voters ”, launched David Schoen at the microphone on Tuesday.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr