tv U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial House Manager Rep. Raskin CSPAN February 10, 2021 9:17am-9:46am EST
>> and before the house committee on game stop's rapid rise and the halt to buy on its platform. watch live february 18th beginning at noon on c-span, on-line at c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> you're watching c-span2, your unfiltered view of the government. today we're brought to you by these television companies who provide c-span2 to viewers as a public service. >> the senate impeachment trial of former president trump continued tuesday with arguments on the constitutionality of holding an impeachment trial of a former president. maryland congressman jamie raskin, the lead house
impeachment manager wags the first to speak. >> thank you very much, mr. president, distinguished members of the senate. good afternoon. my name is jamie raskin, it's my honor to represent the people of maryland in the office and serve as lead house manager and mr. president, we will indeed reserve time for rebuttal. thank you. because i've been a professor of constitutional law for three decades, i know there are a lot of people who are dreading endless lectures about the federalist papers here. please breathe easy, okay? i remember well wh autumn's line is a professor is a person who speaks while other people are sleeping. you will not hear extended lectures from me because our case is based on cold, hard facts. it's all about the facts.
president trump has sent his lawyers here today to try to stop the senate from hearing the facts of this case. they want to call the trial over before any evidence is even introduced. their argument is that if you commit an impeachable offense in your last weeks of office you do it with constitutional impunity, you get away with it. in other words, conduct that would be a high crime and misdemeanor in your first year as president, and your second year as president, and your third year as president, and for the vast majority of your fourth year as president, you can suddenly do in your last few weeks in office 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. and everyone can see immediately why this is so dangerous. it's an invitation to the preds to take his best shot at anything he may want to do on his way out the door, including using violent means to lock that door, to hang onto the oval office at all costs. and to 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 argument that president trump's lawyers advance, we risk allowing january 6th to become our future.
and what will that mean for america? think about it. what will the january exception mean to future generations if you grant it. i'll show you. we will stop the steal. today i will layout 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 are going to walk down and i'll be there with you, we're going to walk down-- we're going to walk down to the capitol. >> take the capitol! >> take the capitol! >> we are going to the capitol or with your problems are! it's that direction!
states senate. [applause] >> get off the sidewalk! >> we have a million to one out here! >> take the building! >> usa! >> join us! >> that's enough! usa! usa! >> the constitution says you have to protect our country and you have to protect our constitution and you can't vote on fraud and fraud breaks up everything, doesn't it? when you catch somebody in a fraud, you're allowed to go by very different rules. so i hope mike has the courage to do what he has to do. >> [crowd yelling]
>> and we fight, we fight like hell and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. >> usa! >> [cheers] >> we're going to walk down pennsylvania avenue, i love pennsylvania avenue. and we're going to the capitol and we're going to try and give our republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help, we're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. [crowd yelling] >> majority leader. >> we're debating a step that has never been taken in american history.
president trump claims the election was stolen. the assertions range from specific local allegations to constitutional arguments, to sweeping conspiracy theories. >> usa! usa! usa! >>, but, my colleagues, nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election. >> our house!
[crowd yelling] >> fight for trump, fight for trump! >> 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 can't play into the hand of these people. we have to have peace. so go home, we love you. you're very special.
if that's not an impeachable offense, then there's no such thing. and if the president's arguments for a january exception are upheld, then even if everyone agrees that he's 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 trial, no facts. he wants you to decide that the senate is powerless at that point. that can't be right. the transition of power is always the dangerous moment for democracy, every historian would tell you that. and we saw it in the
astonishing way and we lived through it and the framers of our constitution understood it and why they made a constitution with an oath that binds the president from his first day in office, until the last day in office and everywhere in between. under that constitution and under that oath, the president of the united states is forbidden to commit high crimes and misdemeanors against the people at any point that he's in office. indeed, that's one specific reason the impeachment conviction and disqualification powers exist, to protect us against presidents who try to overrun the power of the people in their elections and replace the rule of law with the rule of mobs. these powers must apply even if the president commits his offenses in his final weeks in office. in fact, that's precisely when
we need them the most because that's when elections get attacked. everything we know about the language of the constitution, the framers' original intent and common sense. let's start with the text of the constitution, article 1 section 2 gives the house the sole powers of impeachment, we exercised that power on january 13th. the president, it is undisputed, committed his offense while he was president. and it is undisputed that we impeached him while he was president. there can be no doubt that this is a valid and legitimate impeachment. and there can be no doubt that the senate has the power to try this impeachment.
we know this because article 1 section 3 gives the senate the sole power to try all impeachment. the senate has the power, the sole power to try all impeachments. all means all and there are no exceptions to the rule. because the senate has jurisdiction to try all impeachments it most certainly has jurisdiction to try this one. it's really that simple. the vast majority of constitutional scholars who studied the question and weighed in on the proposition being advanced by the president this january exception, here to foreunknown, agree with us. and that includes the nation's most prominent conservative legal scholars. thug former 10th circuit judge michael mcconnell. the co-founder of the federalists society, ronald
reagan's solicitor general, charles fried, luminary washington lawyer charles cooper, among hundreds of other constitutional lawyers and professors, i commend the people i named, their recent writings to you in the newspapers over the last several days. and all of the key precedents, along with detailed explanation of the constitutional history appeared in the brief we filed last week and the brief we filed this morning. i'll spare you a replay, but i want to highlight key points of constitutional history that strikes me as compelling in foreclosing president trump's argument that there's a secret january exception hidden away in the constitution. the first point comes from english history which matters because as hamilton wrote, england provided the model from which the idea of this institution has been borrowed. and it would have been immediately obvious to anyone
familiar with that history that former officials could be held accountable for their abuses while in office. every single impeachment of government officials that occurred during the framer's lifetime concerned a former official, a former official. indeed the most famous of these impeachments occurred while the framers gathered in philadelphia to write the constitution. it was the impeachment of warren hastings, the former governor general of the british colony of bengal, and a corrupt guy. the framers knew all about it and they strongly supported the impeachment. in fact, the hastings case was invoked by name at the convention. it was the only specific impeachment case that they discussed at the convention. it played a key role in their adoption of the high crimes and misdemeanor standard. and even though everyone there surely knew that hastings had left office two years before
his impeachment trial began, not a single framer, not one raised a concern when virginian held up the hastings impeachment as a model for us in the writing of our constitution. the early state constitutions supported the idea, too. every single state constitution in the 1780's either specifically said that former officials could be impeached or were entirely consistent with the idea. in contrast, not a single state constitution prohibited trials of former officials. as a result, there was an overwhelming presumption in favor of allowing legislators to hold former officials accountable in this way. any departure from that norm would have been a big deal, and yet, there's no sign anywhere that that ever happened. some states, including delaware, even confined impeachment only through officials who had already left
office. this confirms their removal was never seen as the exclusive purpose of impeachment in america, the goal was always about accountability, protecting society and deterring official corruption. delaware matters for another reason. writing about impeachment in the federalist papers. hamilton explained that the president of america would stand upon no better ground than a governor of new york and upon worst ground than the governors of delaware and maryland and emphasize that the president is even more accountable than officials in delaware whereas i noted the constitution clearly announced the former officials. nobody involved in the convention ever said that the framers meant to reject this widely accepted, deeply rooted understanding of the word impeachment when they wrote it into our constitution. the convention debates instead confirm this interpretation.
there, while discussing impeachment, the framers repeatedly returned to the threat of presidential corruption aimed directly at elections. the heart of self-government. on those perfectly anticipating president trump, william davies of north carolina explained impeachment was for a president who spared, quote, know he effort or means whatever to get himself reelected. hamilton in federalist one said the greatest danger to republicans in the liberties of the people comes from political opportunists who begin as dem -- demagogues and end as tyrants and the people who follow them. president trump may not know a lot about the framers, but they certainly knew a lot about him. given the framers' intense focus on danger to elections and the peaceful transfer of
power it is inconceivable that they design impeachment to be a dead letter in the president's final days in office when opportunities to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power would be most tempting and most dangerous as we just saw. that's a matter of history and original understanding. there's no merit to president trump's claim that he can incite an insurrection and insist weeks later that the senate lacks the power to even hear evidence at a trial to even hold a trial. the true rule was stated by former president john quincy adams when he categorically declared, i hold myself so long as i have the breath of life in my body, amenable to impeachment by the house for everything i did during the time i held any public office. when he comes up in a minute,
my colleague from colorado will further pursue the relevant senate precedence and explain why this body's practice has been supported by the text of the constitution. and mr. cicilline of rhode island will then respond to the fallacies presented by the president's counsel and after these gentlemen speak i will return to discuss the importance, the fundamental importance of the senate rejecting president trump's argument for the preservation of democratic self-government and the rule of law in the united states of america. >> watch the other house impeachment managers presenting their case on the constitutionality of the trial at c-span.org/impeachment. right now the attorneys for former president donald trump. >> the senate will come to