Trump is accused of ‘incitement of insurrection’ for his actions and words leading up to the deadly US Capitol riot.
- The Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump will begin at 1pm ET (18:00 GMT) on Tuesday.
- Tuesday’s proceedings will focus on the constitutionality of holding impeachment proceedings for a former president, with up to four hours of debate allocated to the issue. If a simple majority votes to proceed, the prosecution and defence will have 16 hours each to present their case.
- House impeachment managers will argue that Trump’s campaign of misinformation to overturn the victory of President Joe Biden, and his comments to supporters before the US Capitol riot on January 6, amounted to “incitement of insurrection”.
- Trump’s defence will argue that he cannot be convicted after leaving office, and that his words are protected as free speech.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s coverage of the impeachment trial. This is Joseph Stepansky.
House managers: Trump ‘has no good defense’
In a legal papers filed on Tuesday, House impeachment managers argued that a pre-trial brief filed by the Trump campaign “confirms that he has no good defense of his incitement of an insurrection against the Nation he swore an oath to protect”.
“Instead, he tries to shift the blame onto his supporters, and he invokes a set of flawed legal theories that would allow Presidents to incite violence and overturn the democratic process without fear of consequences,” they wrote.
The managers also rejected the argument that they do not have jurisdiction over Trump since he has left office, saying the interpretation is “rejected by scholars across the political spectrum”.
BREAKING: U.S. House of Representatives Files Reply to Former President Trump’s Impeachment Trial Briefhttps://t.co/pzgZhiC1DD
— House Judiciary Dems (@HouseJudiciary) February 9, 2021
House impeachment managers to present new evidence
House impeachment managers, who will serve as prosecutors in Trump’s impeachment trial, will present evidence not previously seen to bolster their case, senior aides told reporters on Tuesday.
The aides would not tell reporters whether the managers will call witnesses to testify, if it is allowed in the trial rules passed by the Senate.
On Tuesday, House impeachment manager Ted Lieu tweeted: “We are ready.”
We are ready.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) February 9, 2021
What to watch in Trump’s second impeachment trial
Nine House managers are set to argue that Trump’s actions and words amounted to “incitement of insurrection”, which they say is a “high crime” as laid out in the US Constitution.
Trump’s defence will argue the trial of a former president is unconstitutional and that Trump’s speech prior to the riot was not an incitement and was free speech protected by the constitution.
A two-thirds majority is required to convict the president, an extremely long shot given Democrats have only 50 seats in the 100-chamber body and that most Republicans have already staked out the position that the trial is unconstitutional.
Read more about what to watch for in the trial here.
The legal arguments in Trump’s impeachment trial
As the United States Senate opens its second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, senators will grapple with thorny political and legal questions as House managers – who are prosecuting the case – and Trump’s defence face off.
Those questions include whether or not it is constitutionally legal for a former president to face an impeachment trial. The consensus among constitutional scholars is that it is.
Senators will also be asked to determine whether Trump’s words incited the violent breach of the US Capitol on January 6 – as Congress met to certify Biden’s victory – and if those words are protected under freedom of speech.
Read more about those legal arguments here.
Who’s who in Trump’s impeachment trial
Nine House impeachment managers, selected by speaker Nancy Pelosi, will serve as prosecutors in the case against Trump.
The former president’s defence will be lead by David Schoen, a criminal defence lawyer who previously represented Trump ally Roger Stone on charges of lying under oath to lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, and Bruce Castor, a former Pennsylvania district attorney known for his decision not to prosecute Bill Cosby in 2005 after a woman accused the entertainer of sexual assault.
Senator Patrick Leahy, the longest serving legislator in the chamber, will preside over the trial. That role is usually reserved for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. John Roberts, who oversaw Trump’s first impeachment trial, declined to take part in this trial.
Find out more about the key players in Trump’s impeachment here.