Live politics updates: Historic second Trump impeachment trial begins with debate over whether it’s constitutional

House Democrats are about to open the second Senate impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump at 1 p.m. EST, when they’ll argue the case is constitutional despite him having left office.

The debate will open a historic trial of the only president to be impeached twice and the only impeachment trial of a president who is no longer in office. The Senate is sitting as a jury to decide whether Trump incited the insurrection Jan. 6 at the Capitol that left five dead.

Three House Democrats serving as prosecutors, who are called managers, are presenting arguments Tuesday: Reps. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Joe Neguse of Colorado and David Cicilline of Rhode Island.

The House managers and Trump’s defense team will divide up to four hours for arguments about whether the case is constitutional. The Senate will then vote on whether to dismiss the case.

The Senate is expected to uphold the trial as constitutional because senators already voted 55-45 to support the proceedings last month. But that vote also suggested Trump could be acquitted because a two-thirds majority is required for conviction and more than one-third of the chamber found the trial unconstitutional.

Trump’s defense team led by Bruce Castor Jr. and David Schoen has argued the trial is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office. They said the Senate has no jurisdiction over Trump as a private citizen.

But the House managers contend that logic is flawed because it would ignore misconduct at the end of any president’s term in office. The managers also say if Trump is convicted, he should be disqualified from future office.

– Bart Jansen

House Democrats: ‘Trump’s guilt is obvious’

House Democrats replied Tuesday to Donald Trump’s written argument in his Senate impeachment trial by saying the former president “tries to shift the blame onto his supporters” for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol and that he invokes “flawed legal theories.”

Trump’s defense team has argued the trial is unconstitutional because Trump already left office. The team led by Bruce Castor Jr. and David Schoen also argued that his speech to the mob before the Capitol violence was protected by the First Amendment.

But the House prosecutors, who are called managers, said the constitutional argument was discredited by leading scholars across the political spectrum.

“Because President Trump’s guilt is obvious, he seeks to evade responsibility for inciting the January 6 insurrection by arguing that the Senate lacks jurisdiction to convict officials after they leave office,” the lawmakers wrote in their 33-page reply.

House managers also argued the First Amendment doesn’t protect incitement of insurrection, which is what Trump is charged with under the article of impeachment. Five people died during the riot, including a police officer.

– Bart Jansen

Trump will watch the impeachment trial on television

The Senate impeachment trial is being televised nationally, but the defendant himself is planning to be out of sight.

Donald Trump will be at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., aides said, watching the proceedings on television and speaking on the phone with friends and possibly his lawyers.

It’s not known if a round of golf is in the offing.

Trump has not made public appearances since leaving office on Jan. 20. He has also not engaged on social media, having been de-platformed by Twitter two days after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S Capitol by his supporters.

So he doesn’t plan to provide running commentary on the trial, but aides speaking on condition of anonymity about their communications strategy noted that many of his friends are already active on social media and cable television, denouncing the proceedings on his behalf.

The “Trump War Room” account, for example, tweeted out a clip from a Fox News interview of a major supporter, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.: “This is impeachment by reflex. It is impeachment in lieu of an actual agenda for the American people.”

– David Jackson

Democrats say they’ll provide new evidence at impeachment trial

Senior aides to House Democrats said Tuesday they would provide new evidence in the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urged his colleagues who serve as jurors to review it carefully.

The aides didn’t describe the evidence. But Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters that the events were so serious with a mob of insurrectionists rampaging through the Capitol on Jan. 6, that senators must judge the evidence thoroughly to determine whether Trump incited them.

“The Senate has a solemn responsibility to try and hold Trump accountable for the most serious charge ever – ever – levied against a president,” Schumer said. “When you have such a serious charge, sweeping it under the rug will not bring unity, it will keep the sore open and the wounds open. You need truth and accountability.”

House prosecutors, who are called managers, plan to provide videos and other evidence during the trial over the charge that Trump incited the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. But first, four hours of technical legal argument is scheduled Tuesday at 1 p.m. EST over whether the trial is constitutional.

Trump’s legal team, led by Bruce Castor Jr. and David Schoen, will argue Trump can’t be tried since he already left office. House managers are expected to say that the constitutional provision to disqualify convicted officials from holding future office would make no sense if an official could simply resign to avoid trial. Three of the nine impeachment managers will argue the constitutionality of the case: Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.; Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo.; and David Cicilline, D-R.I.

The House managers will be given two hours to argue their case and will be followed by two hours from Trump’s team. The Senate will vote after the arguments on whether to dismiss the case. The Senate is expected to uphold the constitutionality of the trial because it already voted to reject Trump’s argument in a 55-45 vote.

House managers haven’t signaled whether they would ask the Senate to call witnesses, a decision that is days away.

The aides spoke on condition of anonymity in order to describe how the trial would unfold.

– Bart Jansen

Biden to travel to Wisconsin, one of his first official trips as president

President Joe Biden is scheduled to travel to Wisconsin next week, making the state one of the first official stops of his presidency.

Biden will visit Milwaukee next Tuesday. Details of the trip are not yet available. Biden was last in Wisconsin in late October, just days before the November election, when he spoke to a small, socially distanced crowd at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport. That was the last of three trips Biden made to the state in 2020. In September, he stopped at a foundry in Manitowoc and also visited Kenosha after the city was shaken by shootings and unrest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Wisconsin was one of the states that Biden flipped in his victory over former President Donald Trump, winning the state by about 20,000 votes — a margin similar to that of Trump’s surprise win in the state just four years before.

– Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Biden nominee apologizes for past Twitter attacks, pledges bipartisanship

Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, apologized for her Twitter feuds with Republicans and pledged that her role as an “impassioned advocate” would change if confirmed as White House budget chief.

Tanden, the president and CEO of the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress, is considered one of Biden’s most contentious Cabinet picks despite her extensive experience in government. She’s caught heat for Twitter broadsides directed at Republicans over the last few years, particularly against senators who she’ll have to face during her confirmation

“Over the last few years, it’s been part of my role to be an impassioned advocate,” Tanden told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in her first confirmation hearing Tuesday.

In a departure from her prepared remarks, Tanden acknowledged concerns over her social media use and apologized for past Twitter attacks.

“I regret that language and take responsibility for it,” she said.

Tanden said she understood that the role of the “OMB Director calls for bipartisan action, as well as nonpartisan adherence to facts and evidence.”

– Courtney Subramanian

Trump impeachment trial opens with constitutional debate

WASHINGTON – The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump begins Tuesday with a debate over whether the proceeding is constitutional because Trump is no longer in office.

The debate marks the beginning of a historic trial, not only because Trump is the first president to be impeached twice, but because he stands trial after he left office. The House impeached Trump nearly a month ago, charging him with inciting the deadly riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Senators have the task of voting whether to acquit or convict Trump of the charge when the trial concludes.

Senate leaders set aside four hours Tuesday to hear both sides debate the constitutional argument raised by Trump and Republicans. The oral arguments begin at 1 p.m. EST. Trump’s lawyers, led by Bruce Castor Jr. and David Schoen, have called the trial unconstitutional and “political theater,” citing the fact Trump is private citizen and have asked that the trial be dismissed.

Trump trial:Senate shapes contours of Trump’s second impeachment trial, wrestles with whether to call witnesses

On the eve of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., left, and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and the other Democratic House impeachment managers walk through the Rotunda to the Senate to prepare for the case.

But the Senate has already rejected the argument that the trial is unconstitutional in a 55-45 vote. Congressional Democrats, hoping to convict Trump and bar him from holding future office, have cited precedents about impeachment trials of a Cabinet secretary and judges after they left office.

The big unknown in the trial is whether witnesses will be called, a decision still days away. If either side requests witnesses, the debate and vote would come after the arguments and four hours of questions from senators.

– Bart Jansen

Biden nominee Neera Tanden to face grilling from senators

If confirmed, Neera Tanden would be the first woman and person of Southeast Asian descent to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, faces what could be a contentious confirmation hearing Tuesday after facing pushback from Republicans as well as progressives.

Tanden, the former head of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, is expected to be grilled by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Republican senators have expressed resistance to Tanden’s nomination because of her progressive positions and highly critical tweets, having taken aim at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Susan Collins, among others. She has since deleted some tweets, but after her nomination was announced, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, labeled her Biden’s “worst nominee so far.”

Neera Tanden:Neera Tanden, Biden’s pick for budget chief, defends progressive credentials, deletes old tweets

She’s also faced blowback from progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who in 2019 chided her in a letter saying she was “maligning” his staff and “belittling progressive ideas.”

Tanden also has a Wednesday hearing before the Senate Budget Committee, where Sanders is chairman. If confirmed by the full Senate, she will be the first woman of color and Asian American to lead the office.

– Nicholas Wu

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