Skip to main content

tv
Trump
Archive
  U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial House Managers  CSPAN  February 9, 2021 5:48pm-7:29pm EST

5:48 pm
>> host: we take you back to 1:00 p.m. eastern this afternoon in the u.s. senate as they gaveled in for the impeachment trial of former president donald trump's and today the question on whether donald trump should be subject to the court of impeachment. >> the senate will be in order. kaplan dr. barry black will leave the senate in prayer. >> let us pray. it turn oh god, author of liberty, take control of this impeachment trial. lord, permit to the words of the
5:49 pm
new england poet james russell lowell well to provide our senate jurors with just one perspective. low well wrote to every man and nation comes the moment to decide. in the strife of truth with all tourism for the good or evil side. mighty. god, could it really be that simple? could it really be just proof striving against falsehood and good striving against evil? powerful reading merck, have mercy onon our beloved man.
5:50 pm
we pray in your magnificent can name -- magnificent name. amen. >> please join me in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america. into the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. >> morning businesses closed. morning business is closed and the senate will convene on the court of impeachment. i ask senators to be seated. if thered is no section the thenal of proceedings of trial are approved to date. i would ask the sergeant at arms
5:51 pm
to make the proclamation. >> hear ye, hear ye, here he all persons are commanded to keep silent while the senate of the united states is sitting for the trial of the article ofs impeachment exhibited by the house of representatives against donald john trump former president of the united states. >> i note the presence in the senate chamber the managers as part of the house of representatives and counsel for
5:52 pm
the former president of the united states. >> mr. president. >> the majority leader is recognized. >> mr. president in a moment i tol call up the resolution govern the second impeachment trial of donald john trump. it's been agreed to by the house managers, the former president's counsel and the co-sponsor by the republican leader. it is bipartisan. it's our solemn constitutional duty to conduct a fair and honest impeachment trial of the charges against former president trump, the gravest charges ever brought in eight president of the united states in american history. this resolution provides for a fair trial and i urgean the sene to adopt it.
5:53 pm
mr. president, i send a resolution to the desk on my behalf and that of the republican leader for the organizing of the next phases of this trial. >> the clerk will report. >> senate resolution 47 to provide for related concerning the article of impeachment against donald john trump former president of the united states. >> the question occurs on the adoption of the resolution. >> i asked for the yeass and nays. >> is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a second. the clerk will call the roll. [roll call vote]
5:54 pm
[roll call vote] [roll call vote] [roll call vote] [roll call vote]
5:55 pm
bro [roll call vote] [roll call vote]
5:56 pm
[roll call vote] [roll call vote] [roll call vote]
5:57 pm
[roll call vote] [roll call vote] [roll call vote] [roll call vote]
5:58 pm
[roll call vote] [roll call vote] [roll call vote]
5:59 pm
[roll call vote] [roll call vote] [roll call vote] [roll call vote]
6:00 pm
[roll call vote] [silence]
6:01 pm
[silence] >> this vote the yeas or 89 the nays 11. the resolution is agreed to. pursuant to the provisions of senate resolution 47, there should not be four hours of of arguments of the parties equally divided whether donald john trump is -- president of the
6:02 pm
united states notwithstanding the expiration of the term of that office. mr. manager raskin are you a proponent or an opponent of this question? mr. castor are you a proponent or an opponent of this question? mr. manager raskin your party may proceed. you will reserve rebuttal time if you wish. mr. raskin you are recognized. >> senate thank you very much mr. president and speakers and members of the m senate good afternoon. my name is jaime raskin and it's my honor to represent the people of the congressional district in the house and also to serve as the lead house manager.
6:03 pm
mr. president we will indeed reserve time for rebuttal. thank you. as it professor of constitutional law for three decades another a lot of people that are dreading endless lectures here please breathe easy but i remember well that a professor someone who speaks while other people are sleeping. you will not hearing extended lectures from me because our case is based on cold, hard facts. it's all about the facts. president trump's and his lawyers here today to try to stop the senate from hearing the facts. they want to call the trial over before any evidence is even introduced.
6:04 pm
.. w in other words, conduct that would be a high crime and misdemeanor in your first year as president, in your second year as president, in your third year as president and for the vast majority of your fourth year in president you can suddenly do in your last few weeks inaugust without facing any constitutional accountability at all . this would create a brand-new january exception to the constitution of the united states of america. a january exception. everyone can see immediately why this is so dangerous. it's an invitation to the president to take his best shot at anything you may want
6:05 pm
to do on his way out the door , including using violence means to lock that door. to hang on to the oval office at all costs. and if you block the peaceful transfer of power. in other words, the january exception is an invitation to our founders worst nightmare. and if we buy this radical coordinate that president trumps lawyers advance, we risk allowing january 6 to become our future. and what will that for america? think about it. what will the january exception mean to future generations if you grant it? i'll show you.
6:06 pm
>> we will stop the steel. [applause] today i will lay out just some of the evidence proving that we won this election and we won it by a landslide. this was not a close election and after this we're going to walk down and i'll be there with you. we're going to walk down to the capital. [chanting] take the capital. [shouting] >> everybody in!
6:07 pm
[shouting] >> >> madam speaker the vice president of the united states senate. [applause] [chanting]
6:08 pm
[chanting] >> the constitution says you have to protect our country and you have to protect our constitution and you cannot vote on fraud. fried breaks up everything. when you attack somebody with fried then you can go by different rules. so i hope mike has the courage to do what he has to do. [shouting] >> we fight. we fight like hell and if you don't fight like hell you will not have a country anymore. >> [shouting] [chanting]
6:09 pm
walk down pennsylvania avenue. i love pennsylvania avenue. we can try and give the republicans, the week was because the strong ones don't need our help to try andd t give them the kind of pride and boldness they need to take back our country. >> majority leader. >> we a are debating a step that has never been taken in american history. president trump claims the election was stolen from certain local allegations to constitutional arguments to
6:10 pm
sweeping conspiracy theories. [chanting] for my colleagues, nothing before us proves the legality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election. [shouting] [shouting]
6:11 pm
[shouting] [shouting]
6:12 pm
[inaudible conversations]
6:13 pm
>> my challenge today is not about the good people of arizona. >> we will stand and recess. [shouting] >> mr. speaker can i have order in the chamber? [shouting] >> and also be in order. [chanting] [shouting] [inaudible conversations] [chanting]
6:14 pm
[chanting] [chanting]g]
6:15 pm
[chanting]>> [shouting] [shouting]
6:16 pm
[applause] [shouting] [shouting]
6:17 pm
[chanting] >> there's never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us, from me, from you, from our country. this was a fraudulent election. but we cannot play into the hands of these people. we have to have peace. go home. we love you. you are veryryov special. you see what happens. you see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil, i know how you feel. go home and go home in peace. [shouting]
6:18 pm
[shouting]
6:19 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> a senators, the president was impeached by the house on january 13 for doing that. you ask what a high crime and misdemeanor is under our constitution? that's a high crime and misdemeanor. if that is not an impeachable offense and there is no such thingt'.
6:20 pm
if the president's arguments for the january exception are upheld, then even if everyone agrees he is culpable for these events, even if the evidence proves, as we think it definitively does that the president incited a violent insurrection on the day congress met to finalize the presidential election, he would have you believe there is absolutely nothing the senate can do about it. no trialecu. he wants you to decide the senate ists powerless at that
6:21 pm
point. that can't be right. the transition of power is always the most dangerous moment for democracies. every historian will tell you that. we just thought it in a most astonishing way and we lived through in the framers of the constitution knew it. that's why we created a constitution with an oath written into it that binds the president to the very last day in office and every day in between under the constitution and under that oath it is forbidden to commit high crimes and misdemeanors against the people at anyth point. indeed that is one specific reason the impeachment and disqualification powers exist. to protect us against president to try to overrun the power of the people in their elections and replace the rule of law and the rule of mobs. these powers must apply even if the president commits his offenses in the final weeks in office. precisely that's when we need them the most. that's when elections get attacked.u
6:22 pm
and to give the house the sole power of impeachment we exercise the power on january 13. the president committed his offense no doubt this is a valid impeachment and the senate has the power to try this impeachment. to give the senate the sole power of all impeachments the senate has the soleth power to
6:23 pm
try all impeachments. it can try this one the vast majority of constitutional scholars and weighed in on that proposition with this january exception that includes the nation's most prominent conservative legal scholars including former tenth circuit judge mcconnell. the federalist society calabrese society and charles cooper among hundreds of others lawyers and professors i commend the people i named the recent writings to you in the newspapers over the last several days.
6:24 pm
with that detailed explanation of the constitutional history and in the reply brief we filed early this morning. i will spare you a replay but if you key points of constitutional history to foreclose the argument that there is a secret january exception hidden away in the constitution. the first point comes from english history providing that model for which the idea has been borrowed. it would be immediately obvious for anyone familiar with the history that formerco officials could be held accountable for their abuses while in office. every single impeachment of a government official that occurred during the framers lifetime concerned a former
6:25 pm
official. indeed the mostt famous occurred while the framers gathered in philadelphia to write the constitution. the impeachment of hastings former general governor of the british colony. corrupt and the framers knew about it and strongly supported the impeachment. the hastings case was invoked by name the only case they discussed at the conventionam. it played a key role in the adoption of high crimes and misdemeanors standard. even though they knew he left office two years before the impeachment trial began, not one single framer raise the concern when virginia and george mason held up the impeachment as a model foror us in the writing of our constitution.st
6:26 pm
those that supported the idea every single state constitution in the 17 eighties said former officials could be in peter were entirely consistent with the ideat in contrast not a single state constitution prohibited trials of former officials and as a result an overwhelming presumption a to allow legislatures to hold former officialsrm accountable in this way and any departure from that norm would have been a big deal and no sign anywhere that ever happened. some states including delaware even confined impeachment it was never seen as exclusive purpose offi impeachment it was always about accountability protecting society and deterring official corruption
6:27 pm
and those federalist papers hamilton explained the president of america i would be i know better ground and to emphasize even more accountable the officials in delaware that allowed impeachment of former officials. nobody involved ever said the framers meant to reject the widely accepted, deeply rooted interest on - - understanding. the convention debates misinterpretation with the presidential corruption aimed directly elections at the heart of self-government almost perfectly anticipating president trump explained impeachment was for a
6:28 pm
president who spared no effort to get himself reelected. hamilton and federalist one said the greatest danger to republics that has a demagogues those who are encouraged to follow them president trump may not know a lot about the framers but they know a lot about him. given the intense focus on danger to elections and the peaceful transfer of power, it is inconceivable they designed impeachment to be a dead letter in the final days of office when those interfere with the peaceful transfer of power would be most tempting and dangerous as we just saw.
6:29 pm
a matter of history and originalf understanding. that the senate lacks the power to even hear evidence at the trial to hold the trial. john quincy adams categorically declared as long as i hold breath in my body amenable to impeachment for everything i did during that time. when he comes up in a minute my colleague from colorado world further pursue the relevant precedentss and to protectt the constitution and
6:30 pm
then the gentle man from rhode island will address the fallacies presented by the president's counsel and then i will return to discuss and then to reject president trumps argument to the preservation of democratic self-government and the rule of law in the united states of america. now i turn it over to my colleague. from colorado. >>. >> mr. president distinguished senators i represent the second congressional district in united statess congress. trying different cases some more unique than others. never as important as this one.
6:31 pm
never as important as this one. . . . . . is not just wrong, it is dangerous. you do not have to take my word for it. this body, the world's greatest deliberative body in the united states senate has reached that same conclusion. in one form or another over the past 200 years on multiple occasions it will go through. over 150 constitutional scholars and experts, judges,
6:32 pm
conservative, liberal, you name it. they overwhelmingly have reachedsa the same conclusion. that of course, you can try, convict, and disqualify the former president. and that makes sense. because the text of the constitution makescl clear, there is no january exception to the impeachment power. presidents can't commit grave offenses in their final days and escape any congressional response. that is not how our constitution works. let's serve the constitution with what has happened in this very chamber. i'd like to focus on just two cases. i will go through themm quickly. one is them is the nation's very first impeachment case. which was actually former official. in 1797, about a decade after
6:33 pm
our country ratified our constitution there was a senator from tennessee by the name off william blunt who was caught conspiring with the british tried to with louisiana. ultimately, president adams caught them, turned over the evidence to congress. for days later the house of representatives impeached him. a day after that, this body the united states senate expelled him from office. he was very much a former official. despite that, the house went bored with the impeachment proceeding in order to disqualify him from ever again holding federal office. the senate proceeded with the trial with none other than thomas jefferson presiding. now blunt argued that the senate could not proceed because he had already been expelled. here's the interesting thing,
6:34 pm
he has expressly disavowed any claim that former officials can't ever be impeached. but unlike president trump he was very clear that he respected and understood that he could not even try to argue that ridiculous position. even impeached senator blunt recognize the inherent absurdity of that view. there's what he said, i certainly never shall contend that an officer may first commit an offense and "afterd words" avoid by resigning his office. that is the point. there's no doubt because the founders were around to confirm that that was their intent. and the obvious meaning of what is in the constitution. fast-forward 80 years years later. arguably the most important president that this body has to consider, the trial of former secretary of war william. i'm not going to go into all
6:35 pm
of the details, and short in 1876, the house discovered that he was involved in a massive kickback scheme. hours before the house committee had discovered this conduct released its report documenting they literally rush to the white house to resign, tender his resignation to elicit assess grant to avoid any further inquiry into his misconduct. and of course to avoid being disqualified from holding federal office h in the future. we'll later that day, aware of the resignation, what did the house do? housear forward and unanimously impeached him, making clear it's to impeach and when the case reached the senate this body, made the exact same argument president trump is making today. that you all lack jurisdiction, any power to try
6:36 pm
him because he is a former official. now many senators at that time when they heard that argument, literally they were sitting in the same chair as you all are sitting in today. they were outraged by that argument. outraged. you can read their comments in the record. they knew it was a dangerous, dangerous argument with dangerous implications. it would literally mean president could betrayli their office, leave the office and leave the office entirely. that's why in the end, the united states senate decisively voted that the constitution would proceed with the trial. until that case is clear precedent the senate must proceed with this trial since it rejected pretrial dismissal, affirmed its jurisdiction, and move to a full consideration of the
6:37 pm
merits perino he was ultimately not convicted but only after a thorough public inquiry into his misconduct, which created a record of his wrongdoing, it ensured his accountability deterred anyone else fromg considering such corruption by making clear that it was intolerable. the trial serve important constitutionales purposes. now, given that precedent that i have described to you, giving all that that imparts, you could imagine my surprise when manager raskin's surprise and we reviewed the trial brief filed by the president which his counsel insists that the senate actually did not decide anything in that case. they say, it's not my words" from the trial brief it cannot be read as foreclosing an argument that they never dealt with. never dealt with?
6:38 pm
the senate did not debate this question for two hours. the senate debated this very question for two weeks. the senate spent an additional two weeks deliberating on the jurisdictional question. and at the end of those deliberations, they decided decisively that the senate has jurisdiction. and that it could proceed and it must proceed with full trial. andna president trump was not impeached for run-of-the-mill corruption, misconduct, he was impeached for inciting a violent insurrection. in insurrection were people died in this building. an insurrection that desecrated our seat of government. and if congress are going to stand completely aside in the face of such extraordinary
6:39 pm
crime against the republic it would invite future presidents to use their power without any fear of accountability. and none of us, i know this, none of us no matter our party or our politics once that. now, we've got to the highlights of the precedent. think it's important that you know as manager raskin mentioned that scholars overwhelmingly have reviewed this same precedent have all come to the same conclusion.e the senate must hear this case. let's go through a few short examples. to start, all of us, i know are familiar with the federalist side. some of you may know him personally the cofounder ofrs the federal society. was action the chairman of the board in 2019. he was the first president of the yale federalist society board position i understand senator hawley later held.
6:40 pm
here is what mr. calabrese has to say. on generate 21st, he issued a public letter stating our carefully considered views of the law lead all of us to agree that the constitution permits the impeachment, conviction and disqualification former officers including presidents. and by the way is not the only one. as thet, manager said reagan's former solicitor general among many others. another prominent conservative scholar known to many of you again personally is former tenth circuit court of appeals judgeco, judge michael mcconnell. he was a nominee by president george w. bush. he was confirmed by this body unanimously. senator hatch, many of you served with. he had this too say about judge mcconnell. he's an honestne man he calls as he sees it. he is beholding to no one in the group.
6:41 pm
what did judge mcconnell had to say about the question you're debating this afternoon? he said the following. given the impeachment of mr. trump was legitimate, the text makes clear that the senate has power to try that impeachment. you heard manager raskin mentioned another lawyer, chuck cooper is a prominent conservative house minority leader kevin mccarthy come he issued it two days ago. powerful observing that iascholarship in this question is auteur substantially. ultimately the arguments that president trump is champion, our best set of serious weaknesses. finally, i've gone through a lot of scholars i'll finish on this one. there is another scholar, i know some of you know and some of spoken with recently. up until just a few weeks ago he was a recognized champion
6:42 pm
of the view that the constitution authorizes the impeachment of former officials. that is professor jonathan turley. let me show you what i mean, these are his words a very detailed thorough study he explained that quote, resignation from office does not prevent trial on articles of impeachment. that is professor turley's words. same peace, celebrated the go net p trial. described it as a corrective measure that help the system regain legitimacy. he wrote another article he's written several on this topic. this is 146 page study, very detailed. in that study he said quotes, but the decision was correct in his view that impeachment historically had extended to former officials such as moran hastings who you heard manager raskin described.
6:43 pm
in fact as you can see professor turley argue that house could have impeached and the senate could have tried richard nixon after he resigned. his quote on this, very telling, future presidents could not assume that mere resignation would avoid a trial of their conduct in the united states and it. finally, last quote from professor turley that no man and no circumstance can escape the account which he owes to the laws of his country. not my words, not manager raskin's words, professing jonathan turley's words. i agree with him because he is exactly right. now, a question one might reasonably ask after going through all of those quotes such noted jurists and scholars as wires are her such an agreement on this topic? while the reason is pretty simple. it is with the constitution
6:44 pm
says. i want to walk you through three provisions of the constitution thehe make clear the senate must try this case. first, let's start with that the constitution says about congresses power in article one. you heard the lead manager raskin make this point worth underscoring. article one section two gives the house of soul power of impeachment. article one section iii gives the senate the sole power to try all impeachments. now based on president trump's argument one would think that language includes caveats, exceptions, but it doesn't. itit does not say impeachment of current civil officers. and s doesn't say of those still ine. office. the framers did not mince words. they provided express, absolute, unqualified grants of jurisdictional power to the
6:45 pm
house to impeach into the senate to try all treatments. not some. all. former judge mcconnell, the judge we talkedrl about earlier, he provides. effective textual analysis of this provision. you can see it appear on the slide, i'll give you the highlights. this is judge mcconnell, given that the impeachment of mr. trump wasp legitimate, the text makes clear the senate has power to try thatt impeachment. now again, it's pretty interesting. we presented this argument in our trial brief, which we filed over a week ago. we laid it out step-by-step so you could consider opposing counsel could consider as well. we received president trump's response yesterday. and the trial brief offers no rebuttal to this point.
6:46 pm
none. and in fairness i can't think of any convincing response. the constitution is just exceptionally clear on this point. perhaps sell something to say today about it, they didn't yesterday. there's another provision worth mentioning here, there's been a lot of confusion about a minute try to cleared up, it's the provision on removal and disqualification. now we all know the senate imposes a judgment only when it convicts straight up on the screen you'll see article one section iii clauses seven. with that in mind the language says that the senate convicts the judgment shall not extend further than removal and disqualification. that's said. the meaning is clear. the senate has the power to impose removal, which only applies to current officials and separately it has the
6:47 pm
power to impose disqualification which honestly applies to both current and former officers. but it doesap not have the power to go any further than that. now as i understand president trump's arguments, they believed this language somehow says disqualification can only follow removal of the current officer. but itru doesn't. that interpretation essentially rewrites the reconstitution. it adds words that aren't there. i mean after all the constitution does not say removal from office and then disqualification. i does not say removal of office followed by disqualification. it simply says the senate can't do more than two possible sentences, removal and disqualification. and this by the way is not the first time that this direct question has been debated in this chamber.
6:48 pm
146 years ago, during the trial senator george edmonds of vermont, he is hard to most prestigious republican senators of his time. he sat right where senator grassley sits today. he zeroed in on this exact point during that tropic this is his quote, prohibition from doing more than two things cannot be turned into a command to do both or neither. and just imagine the consequences of such an absurd interpretation of the constitution. if president trump were right about that language, officials could commit the most extraordinary destructive offenses against american people, high crimes and misdemeanors. he would have total control over whether they could ever be impeached. and if they are, more than the senate can try the case. if they want to escape any public inquiry into their misconduct or the risk of disqualification from future
6:49 pm
office it's pretty simple, they could just resign one minute for the house and peaches or one minute before the senate trial or they could resign during the senate trial fits not looking so well. that would effectively erase disqualification from the constitution. it would put wrongdoers in charge of whether the senate can try them. third and final reason why president trump must stand trial, provision of article one of then constitution. you'll see here on the screen that the constitution twice describesri the accused peers i don't get a focus on the interesting thing is notice the words, it refers to a person and a party being impeached. now again we know the framers gave a lot of thought to the words they chose. they even during the constitutionalal convention.
6:50 pm
they could have written several officers here. they did that elsewhere in the constitution. that would have ultimately limited impeachment of trials to current officials. but instead they used broader language. to describe who could be tried by the united states senate. so who could be put on trial for impeachment other than civil officers? else could a person or a party be? will really there's only one possible answer, former officers. again that might explain why during the nap trial senator thomas baird of delaware, he later became the secretary of state for the united states. he sat right where senator carla is sitting now. he found this point so compelling that he felt compelled to speak out of it. during the trail he concluded that the constitution must allow the impeachment and trial of people and parties were notl civil officers they could possibly encompass was
6:51 pm
former officials like a bell nap and of course your life president trump. and just so we are clear, and full disclosure this is another argument that was not addressed by president trump in his rebuttal. and we know why they didn't because their argument doesn't square with the plain text of the constitution. there is a one provision that president trump relies on, almost exclusively. article two section four, i'm see it when they present their arguments. their argument is that the language you see on the screen, somehow prevents you from holding this trial by making removal from office and absolute requirement. but again, where does the language say that? where does it say anything in that provision about your a jurisdiction? in fact, this provision isn't
6:52 pm
even in the part of the constitution that addresses your authority. it is an article two, not article one. and it certainly says nothing about former officials. president trump's interpretation doesn't square with history. original -ism, textualism, in fact even chuck cooper the famous conservative lawyer i mentioned earlier clients like the house minority leader, he has concluded that this provision of the constitution, president trump relies on comic cuts against his position. his words. cooper says article two section four it means just whatat it says the first half describes her official must do mainly high crimes and misdemeanors by the second half describes what happens
6:53 pm
when civil officers of the united states, including there sitting president are convicted from removal of office. that is it. in cooper's words, it simply establishes what is known in c criminal law as a mandatory minimum punishment. it says nothing about former officials, nothing. given all of that, it is not surprising that in president trump's legal trial brief, 75 b page brief, they struggled to find any professors to support the provision. they did cite one professor though. professor, an expert in this field, who they claim agreed with them that the only purpose of impeachment is removal. professor coles position,
6:54 pm
which they had to of known because it is in the article that they cite in the brief, is the removal, not the sole end of impeachment. actually in that same article, heat describes the view advocated by president trump's lawyers is having deep loss. and again you do not have to take my word for. you can take the professors words for the professor they filed in their brief yesterday tweeted about on the screen here. this is what he had to say, not one to read there in great detail. simply going to give you the highlights. presidenttr trump brief with the late impeachment a lot. in several places they misrepresent what i wrote quite badly. there are multiple examples of suche flat out his representations. they did not have to be disingenuous and misleading with this.
6:55 pm
this key constitutional scholaron relied on president trump. set it just right, i have explained in great detail the many reasons why an argument president trump advocates for here today is wrong. i just want to close with a note about why it is dangerous. lead manager raskin explained that impeachment exist to protect the american people from officials who abuse their power. who betray them. it exists for a case just like this one. honestly, it is hard to imagine a clearer example of how a president could abuse hiss office inciting violence against a coequal branch of
6:56 pm
government while seeking to remain in power after losing an election. sitting back and watching it unfold. wwe all know the consequences. like every one of you, i was in the capitol on january 6. i was on l the floor with lead manager raskin, like every one of you, i was evacuated as this violent mob stormed the capitals gates. what you experienced that day, what we experienced that day, what our country experienced that day is a framers worst nightmare come to life. presidents can't inflame insurrection in their final weeks and then walk away like
6:57 pm
nothing happened. and yet that is the rule that president trump asks you to adopt. i urge you, we urge you to decline his request. to vindicate the constitution. to let uss try this case. ischemic mr. president, distinguished senators, my name is david sisson lady i am the represent in the first congressional district of rhode island. as i hope is now clear from
6:58 pm
the arguments of mr. raskin, impeachment is not merely about removing someone from office. fundamentally impeachment exist to protect our constitutional system, to keep each of us safe, to uphold our freedom, to safeguard our democracy. it achieves that by deterring abuse of extraordinary power that we entrust to our president, from the very first day in office until the very last day. it also ensures accountability for presidents who harm us or our government. in the aftermath of a tragedy, it allows us an opportunity to come together and to heal by working through what happened and reaffirming our constitutional principles. and it authorizes this body and this body alone to disqualify from our political system anybody whose conduct
6:59 pm
in office proves that they present a danger toat the republic. but, impeachment would fail to achieve these purposes if you created for the first time ever, despite the words of the framers on the constitution, a january exception as mr. raskin explained. now i was a former defense lawyer for many years. and i can understand why president trump and his lawyers don't want you to hear this case. why they don't want you to see the evidence. the argument that you lack jurisdiction f on a purely fictional loophole. purely fictional. designed to allow the former president to escape all accountability for conductnd that is truly indefensible under our constitution. you saw the consequences of
7:00 pm
his actions on the video we played earlier. i like to emphasize in greater detail the extraordinary constitutional events that the former president thanks you have no power whatsoever to adjudicate. while spreading lies of the election outcome in a brazen attempt to retain power against the will of the american people, he incited an armed angry mob to riot. and not just anywhere, here in the seat of our government. in the capitol a joint session of congress, the vice president presided but we carried out peaceful transfer of power, which was interrupted for the first time in our history. this was a disaster of historic proportion. it was also an unforgivable
7:01 pm
betrayal for the oath of office of president trump. an oath he swore, an oath he sullied and dishonored to advance his own personal interest. and make no mistake about it, you think about that day, things could have been much worse. as one senator said, they could have killed all of us. there was only the bravery and sacrifice of the police who suffered death and injury as a result of president trump's action with greater tragedy. at trial will prove with overwhelming evidence that president trump is a singularly and directly responsible for citing the salt on the capitol.l. we will also prove that his dereliction of duty, his desire to seek personal advantage from the mayhem and his decision to issue tweets further inciting the mob,
7:02 pm
attacking the vice president already compounded the enormous damage. virtually every american who saw those events unfold was aptly horrified by the events of january 6. we also know how president trump himself felt about the attack. he told us he tweeted 01:00 p.m. his capitalist is in shambles and dozens of police officers lay battered and bruised and bloodied, here's what he said, these are the things what happens when a sacred landslide election victory so fun ceremoniously and viciously stripped away great patriots who been badly and unfairly treated for so long, go home with love and in peace. remember this day forever.
7:03 pm
every time i read that tweet, it chills me to the core. thesi president of the united states sided with the insurrectionist. he c celebrated their cause. he validated their attack. he told them remember this day forever. hours after they march through these halls, looking to assassinate vice president pence, the speaker of the house and any of us they could find. given all of that, it is no wonder that president trump would rather talk about iha jurisdiction as opposed january exception, rather than talk about what happened on generally six, make no mistake his arguments are dead wrong. they are distractions from what really mattered. the senate can and should require president trump to stand trial.
7:04 pm
my colleagues have already addressed many of president trump's efforts to escape trial. i would like to cover the remainder and address the broader issues at stake in this trial part for starters an extension of his mistaken reading of the constitution, president trump insists that he could not face trial in the senate because he's merely a private citizen. he references here the retainer clause, but is it was just explained the impeachment and trial and certainly he counts as one of those? let's also apply some common sense, there is a reason that he now insists on being called the 45th president of the united states rather than citizen from. he is an eight not a randomly selected edison pays a former officer of the nine states government. he is a former president of
7:05 pm
the united states of america. he is treated differently by law under the former president axford performed years we trusted him with more powereh than anyone else on earth. as a former president who promised on a bible to use his power faithfully, he can and should answer for whether he kept that promise while bound by it insistence otherwise is just wrong. and so, this claim there's a slippery slope to impeaching private citizens if you proceed. the trial of a former official for abuses he committed as an official, arising from an impeachment that occurred while he was an official, absolutely no risk whatsoever of subjecting a private citizen to impeachment for the private conduct. to emphasize the point, president trump was impeached whileff he was in office for
7:06 pm
conduct in office. the alternativenc once again is january exception which are most powerful official with most terrible abuses and then resigned to leave office and suddenly claim you're just a private citizen who can't be held accountable at all. in the same vein president trump and his lawyers argue that he shouldn't be impeached because we'll set a bad precedent for impeaching others. but that slippery slope argument is also incorrect. for centuries the prevailing view has been former officials are subject to impeachment, just heard a full discussion of that.t the house has repeatedly acknowledge that fact. but in a vast majority of cases, the house is rightly recognized that an official's resignation or departure makes steps of impeachment unnecessary and unwise. as a house manager rightly w
7:07 pm
explains and i quote there is no likelihood that we shall ever on limber the clumsy and bulky monster peace of organs to take a minute object from all danger his non- by". president trump's case is different. the danger does not come by. that democracy makes any prior abuse by any government official pale in comparison. moreover, allowing his conduct to pass without the most decisive response would itself create an extraordinary danger to the nation. inviting further abuse of power is unable or unwilling to respond to the insurrection incited by the president. think about that. to paraphrase robert jackson who said that precedent that i
7:08 pm
just described would lie about like a loaded weapon ready for the handre of any future president the deciding his final months to make a play for limited power, think of the danger. here is the rare case in which a lovee of the constitution and commitment to our democracy required the house to impeach. it's for the same reason the senate can ms try this case. next president trump will assert that he somehow where it mattered that the chief justice is not presiding over this trial. let me state this very plainly, it does not matter. it is not significant. under article one under section through the present and the knights aces tried chief justice shall preside. there's only one person who is president of the united states at a a time. right now, joseph r biden
7:09 pm
junior is the 46th president of the united states. as a result the requirements of the chief justice preside isn't triggered. instead the normal rules of any impeachment of any one other than the sitting president apply. under those rules the president pro tem, senator leahy can preside. of course this makes perfect sense. the chief justice presides when the current president is one. trial. if the chief justice doesn't preside the vice president would preside. you beat conflict are summoned to preside over a trial that would become president if there is a conviction. so there isn't that concern we have a former president on trial for the mattering have anyone on trial other than the current president. which is why the chief justice presides only in that single case. and why this is exactly the presiding officer, the constitution and the senate rules apply. as a fallback, trumpeters
7:10 pm
argues today he should get a free pass inciting an armed insurrection against united states government, endangering congress because as he would put it, this impeachment is somehow unconstitutional. so sparse i i understand it from reading the pleadings in this case putting together a bunch of meritless legal arguments of them attempting to focus on substance rather than jurisdiction.is and insisting kitchen sink objections leave the senate to not try the case. i philip obliged to argue for example that he did not receive enough process in the house. even though the house proceedings are more like a grand jury action, which is followed later by trial and the senate with the full presentation of evidence or even of the evidence of his
7:11 pm
high crimes and misdemeanors overwhelming and supported by a huge black record. even though over going to put that evidence before you at thiso trial. and even though have a full and fair opportunity to respond before all of you. even the hundreds of others involved in the events of january 6 have already been charge for the role inn the tax that the president incited. even though we invited him to voluntarily come here and testify until you his story, the request is you know his lawyers immediately refused, presumably because they understood what would happen if you were to testify under oath. regardless, president trump's process arguments are not only wrong on their own terms, but they are also completely irrelevant to the question of whether you should hold this trial. that question is answered i the constitution. and the answer isco yes.
7:12 pm
in addition separate from his due process c complaints, president trump and his counsel, particularly his counsel posted on tv counters the undisputed evidence of what actually happened in this case, you will see video clips, they will show video clips of otherdi politicians include democratic politicians using what they consider city erie language. apparently they think this will establish some sort oft equivalency. they will show in contrast that president trump's statements that save the america rally were not so bad. like so much of what president trump's lawyers might say today, it's a gimmick, it is a parler game meant to inflame partisanvi hostility and plan our division. so let me be crystal clear. resident trump was not impeached because of t the words he used, you'd in isolation without context were beyond
7:13 pm
pale. plenty of otherth politicians have used strong language. but donald j trump was president of the united states. he sought to overturn a presidential election that have been upheld by every single court to consider it. he spent months insisting to hist base that the only way he could lose was a dangerous wide raising description against them in america itself. he relentlessly attempted to persuade his followers that the peaceful transfer of power that was taking place in the was an abomination that had to be stopped at all costs. he flirted with groups like the proud boys telling them to stand back and stand by one endorsing violence and sparking death threats to his opponents pretty summons and armed, angry, and dangerous crowd that wanted to keep him
7:14 pm
in power and was widely reported to be poised on a hair trigger for violence in a ahis direction. he then made his heated statement circumstances so it was clear where it was foreseeable that those statements would spark extraordinary imminent violence. he then failed to defend the capitol. the congress the vice president during the insurrection, engaging in extraordinary dereliction of dutyty and desertion of duty that was only possible of the high office he held. he issued statements during the insurrection targeting the vice president and reiterating the very same lies about the election that had launched the violence in the first place. and he issued p a tweet five
7:15 pm
hours after the capitol was sacked in which she sided with the bad guys. we all know that context matters. that office and meeting and intent and consequences matter. simply put it matters when and where and how wete speak. the oath's we have sworn and the power we hold matter. president trump was not impeached because hee used words that the house decided are forbidden or unpopular. he was impeached because inciting armed violence against the government of the united states ofle america. this leads me to it a few final thoughts about why it is so important for you to hear this case as authorized and indeed required by our history and by the constitution. president trump would say i
7:16 pm
expect that you should dismiss this case of the country can move on. but sir this impeachment is partisan the spirit of bipartisanship and bipartisan requires us to drop the case and march forward in unity. with all due respect, every promise and every conclusion of that argument is wrong. justst weeks ago, weeks ago the president of the united states literally incited an armed attack on the capitol, our seat of government while seeking too retain power by subverting an election he lost and then celebrated thece attack. people died.. people were brutally injured, president trump's actions endangered every single member of congress. his own vice president,
7:17 pm
thousands of congressional staffers in our own capitol police and other law enforcement, this was a national tragedy. a disaster for america's standing in the world and president trump is singularly responsible for inciting it. as we will prove the attack on the capitol was not solely the work of extremists working in the shadows, indeed anyone in this chamber, honestly believe that but for the conduct of president trump that a charge in the article of impeachment that that attack the capitol would have occurred, does anyone believe that? and they will come before you and insist, even as a capitol still surround with barbed wire in fences and soldiers that we should justt move on, let bygones be bygones allow president trump to walk away without any accountability, any reckoning, any consequences. that cannot be right.
7:18 pm
that is notot unity. that is the path to fear what future presidents could do. son there is a good reason why the articles of impeachment past the house with bipartisan support. the principal at t stake belong to all americans for all walks of life. we have a common interest in making sure their lives no one can cross especially the president of the united states. and so we share an interest in this trial were the truth can be shown where president trump can be called to account for his offenses. william faulkner famously wrote the past is never dead. this is not even the past. this just happened. it is still happening. look around you as you come to the capitol income to work. i really do not believe that our attention span isn so short
7:19 pm
and sense of duty soo frail, that all-consuming the president can invoke ann attack on congress itself and get away with it just because it occurred near the end of his term. after a betrayal like this, there cannot be unity without accountability. and this is exactly what the constitution calls for. the framers original understanding, this chamber's own precedents. the very words using the the constitution all confirmed unquestionably, indisputably, that president trump must stand trial first high crimes and misdemeanors against the american people. we must not, we cannot continue down the path of partisanship and division that is turn the capitol into an armed f fortress. senators it now falls you to bring our country together, by
7:20 pm
holding this trout once all the evidence is before you by delivering justice. thank you. >> senators, mr. president, to close i want to say something personal about the stakes of this decision. whether president trump can stand trial and be held to account for inciting us.rrection against this trial is personal indeed for every senator. for every member of the house, every manager all of our staff , the capitol police, washington d.c. metropolitan police, theli national guard, maintenance and custodial crews, the print journalists and tv people who were here and all of our families and friends. i hope this trout reminds america, how personal
7:21 pm
democracy is. and how personal democracy is two. distinguish members of the senate my youngest daughter tabatha was there with me on wednesday generally six. it was the day after we buried her brother, our son tommy the saddest day of our lives. also there was my son-in-law hank who is married to her oldest daughter, haner. and i consider him a son to. even though he eloped with my daughter in did not tells their going towh do. [laughter] but it was in the middle of covid-19. but the reason they came with me that wednesday january 6 was because they wanted to be togetherd with me in the middle of a devastating week for our family. i told him i had to go back to
7:22 pm
work because we were counting electoral votes. that day on january 6. constitutional duty and i invited them instead to come with me to it witness this historic event. the peaceful transfer of power in america. they said they heard that president trump was calling on his followers to come to washington to protest. they asked me directly if it would be safe, would it be safe. and i told them of course it would be safe this is the capitol. steny hoyer our majority leader had kindly offered me the use of his office on the floor because ihe was one of the managers that day. we are going through our brief. so tabatha and hank were with the in his office colleagues drop by to console us about the loss of our middle child,
7:23 pm
our beloved tommy. mr. sicily came to see me that day, thousands of members, lots of republicans, lots of democrats came to see me. and i felt a sense of being, let's get out from the agony, and i won't forget their tenderness. and through the tears, i was working on a speech for the floor we would all be together joint session. i wanted to focus on unity when we met in the house. i quoted abraham lincoln's famous 1838 speech where he said that if division and destruction ever come to america, it won't come from abroad. it will come from within.
7:24 pm
said blinken. and in that same speech blinken passionately implored mom violent. this was right after the murder of elijah lovejoy the abolitionist newspaper editor. blinken deplored mob violence and mob rule. he said it would lead to tyranny and despotism in america. that was a speech i gave them the day after the house very graciously and warmly welcomed the back. tabatha and hank came with me to the floor and washed it from the gallery, when it was over, they went back to that office off of the house floor. they did not know the house had been t breached yet. and that it insurrection, a riot or a coup had come to congress. and by the time we learned
7:25 pm
about it about what was goingng on, it was too late, i could not get out there to be with them and that office. and all around me people w were calling their wives and their husbands their loved ones to say goodbye, members of congress and the house will removing their congressional pins so they would not be identified by the mob if b they tried to escape the violence. our new chaplin got up and said a prayer for us and we were told to put our gas masks on. and then there was a sound i will never forget, the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram. it is the most haunting sound i have ever heard and i will never forget it. my chief of staff was with a tabatha and hank locked and
7:26 pm
barricaded in that office, the kids hiding under the desk, placingg what they thought were their final texts and whispered to phoneis calls to sayth their goodbyes. they thought they were going to die. my son-in-law had never been to the capitol before. and when they were finally rescued overer an hour later by capitol officers and we were together i hug them and i apologized and i toldd my daughter tabatha, who is 24 and a really into algebra teacher in teach for america, i told her how sorry i was. and i promised her it would not be like this again the next time she came back to the capitol with me. and you know what she said? she said dad, i don't want to come back to the capitol.
7:27 pm
of all of the terrible brutal things jaisol in heard on that day, and since then, that one hit me the hardest. that and watching someone use an american flagpole, the flag still on it to spear and pummel one of our police officers mercilessly, tortured by a poll with a flag on it that he was defending with his very life. people died that day. officers ended up with head damage and brain damage. people's eyes were gouged. an officer had a heart attack, and officer lost three fingers that f day. two officers of taken their own lives.
7:28 pm
senators, this cannot be our future. this c cannot be the future of america. we cannot have presidents inciting immobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutionst because they will not accept the constitution of the united states. much less can we create a new january exception in our pressured beloved constitution that prior generations have died for and foughtie for. so the corrupt presidents have several weeks to get away with ever they want to do. history does not support a january exception in any way, so why would we invent one for the future? we close