6 Republicans broke ranks and voted with Democrats to declare Trump's impeachment trial constitutional after the first day

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Sonam Sheth,Eliza Relman
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Former President Donald Trump. Getty

Former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial kicked off at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday as the Senate weighed whether to convict him on a charge of incitement of insurrection. The first order of business was a debate over the constitutionality of holding an impeachment trial in the first place.

Fifty-six senators voted that the trial was constitutional, while 44 voted that it was not. Six Republicans broke ranks to vote with Democrats in declaring the trial constitutional.

Here's what happens next:

  • Oral arguments kick off Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET. Each side will get 16 hours to make its presentation.

  • There will be a debate and a vote on whether to call witnesses at the request of the House managers.

  • Initially, one of Trump's attorneys, David Schoen, requested the trial not take place on the Sabbath (Friday at sundown until Saturday at sundown). The Senate agreed and said the trial would pause after Friday at 5 p.m. or on Saturday and would resume the afternoon of Sunday.

  • Schoen later withdrew his request, saying he would not participate during the Sabbath but that the trial should continue.

  • As of Tuesday, it was unclear if the trial would continue on Friday night and Saturday because of the reversal.

There are nine House "impeachment managers" who will act as prosecutors in Trump's trial. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland is the lead manager, and he is flanked by Reps. Diana DeGette, David Cicilline, Joaquin Castro, Eric Swalwell, Ted Lieu, Stacey Plaskett, Madeleine Dean, and Joe Neguse.

Scroll down to read Insider's coverage of the historic event.

6 Republican senators break from their caucus to side with Democrats on the question of constitutionality

Bill Cassidy
Sen. Bill Cassidy. Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post/AFP via Getty Images

At the end of the debate, the Senate voted on the question at the center of Tuesday's proceedings: Is Trump's impeachment trial constitutional, given that he's no longer in office?

Fifty-six senators voted yes, while 44 voted no. Six Republicans broke ranks to vote with Democrats in declaring the trial constitutional. They were:

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

  • Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.

  • Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

  • Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

  • Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

  • Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

The votes from Murkowski, Romney, Collins, Toomey, and Sasse votes were not unexpected because all five voted the same in a January motion to determine the constitutionality of Trump's trial. Cassidy was the only Republican to vote differently on Tuesday than he did on last month's motion.

Raskin: 'We see no need to make any further argument' that the Senate has the power to convict Trump

jamie raskin
Reps. Jamie Raskin and Madeleine Dean walking to the House floor on January 13. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Image

After Trump's lawyers made their arguments, Raskin took the stand.

"We see no need to make any further argument that this body has the power to convict and to disqualify President Trump for his breathtaking constitutional crime of inciting a violent insurrection against our government," Raskin said.

Trump attorney David Schoen says Trump is being deprived of due process

David Schoen
Screenshot/CSPAN

Schoen said Trump's second impeachment was unconstitutional in part because of a "complete lack of due process." He said the former president was deprived of due process because there were no hearings or witnesses called before the House impeached him and because the chief justice of the US was not presiding over the Senate trial.

While the Constitution stipulates that the chief justice preside over the impeachment trial of a current official, it does not say who presides when that official is out of office. Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, the president pro tempore of the Senate and the longest-serving Democrat in the chamber, is presiding over Trump's trial.

Schoen said simply that the Constitution didn't allow a former official to be impeached, in part because one purpose of impeachment is to remove a sitting official.

"Presidents are impeachable because presidents are removable," he said. "Former presidents are not because they cannot be removed."

Schoen accused Democrats of seeking to 'disenfranchise' voters after Trump attempted to overturn the election

David Schoen
Screenshot/CSPAN

Schoen said impeaching Trump would "disenfranchise" the approximately 74 million Americans who voted for Trump in the 2020 election. He didn't address the fact that Trump and his allies aggressively tried to overturn the results of the election, which would have disenfranchised the 81 million Americans who voted for President Joe Biden.

Schoen slams impeachment managers for presenting video evidence of the Capitol insurrection

David Schoen
ANDREW HARNIK/Getty Images

Schoen condemned Democrats, saying they were engaging in "some sort of blood sport" by showing a video compilation of the events of January 6 at the opening of their impeachment argument on Tuesday.

He added that the impeachment process would further divide the country.

"This trial will tear this country apart, perhaps like we've only ever seen once in history," he said. "They're willing to sacrifice our national character to advance their hatred and their fear that one day they might not be the party in power."

Trump's attorneys switched speaking spots at the last minute

David Schoen (L), and Bruce Castor Jr., lawyers for former US President Donald Trump arrive for the second impeachment trial, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, February 9, 2021.
ANDREW HARNIK/Getty Images

Trump attorney Bruce Castor said he delivered his argument before Schoen, reversing their original speaking order, after being impressed by the House managers' arguments.

"I'll be quite frank with you," Castor said. "We changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the House managers' presentation was well done."

At one point, Castor said the Democrats were "brilliant speakers … and I loved listening to them."

Trump attorney Bruce Castor says US voters are 'smart enough to pick a new administration if they don't like the old one, and they just did'

Bruce Castor
Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

Castor suggested that Trump didn't need to be impeached because the country already voted him out of office.

"The American people just spoke, and they just changed administrations. So in the light most favorable to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle here, their system works," he said. "The people are smart enough, in the light most favorable to them, they're smart enough to pick a new administration if they don't like the old one, and they just did."

Castor says impeachment is purely political

Bruce Castor, 59, defense lawyer for former President Donald Trump walks through the halls of the U.S. Capitol on the first day of Trump's second impeachment trial in the Senate on February 09, 2021.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Castor said Democrats and the handful of Republicans who supported Trump's impeachment were pushing for his prohibition from holding federal office because they feared running against him.

"Let's understand why we are really here," Castor said. "We are really here because the majority in the House of Representatives does not want to face Donald Trump as their political rival in the future."

Castor began his argument by describing senators as 'erudite' and worthy of Americans' praise

Bruce Castor Jr., lawyer for former President Donald Trump, left, arrives on the first day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on February 9, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Bruce Castor Jr., lawyer for former President Donald Trump, left, arrives on the first day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on February 9, 2021 in Washington, DC. Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

Castor opened his defense of the former president by spending several minutes discussing his reverence for the US Senate and saying Americans "are proud of their senators. They absolutely feel that connection of pride."

Raskin chokes up as he discusses how Trump supporters 'tortured' a police officer 'by a pole with a flag on it that he was defending with his very life'

Capitol riot
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the US Capitol on January 6. ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images

Raskin said after the siege, he reunited with his daughter Tabitha and son-in-law Hank and apologized to them both, telling Tabitha "it would not be like this again" the next time she visited the Capitol.

"And you know what she said?" Raskin said as he choked up. "She said, 'Dad, I don't want to come back to the Capitol.' Of all the terrible, brutal things I saw and I heard on that day and since then, that one hit me the hardest."

He added: "That and watching someone use an American flagpole with the flag still on it to spear and pummel one of our police officers ruthlessly, mercilessly — tortured by a pole with a flag on it that he was defending with his very life."

Raskin gives an emotional speech recounting being trapped in the Capitol with his family: 'They thought they were going to die'

raskin impeachment video
Raskin. Greg Nash/AFP via Getty Images

In his closing, Raskin gave an emotional speech saying that Trump's impeachment trial was "personal" for those who were trapped during the siege, including lawmakers, reporters, Hill staffers, custodial staff, and law enforcement.

He added that the trial was especially personal for him because his youngest daughter, Tabitha, and his son-in-law Hank were at the Capitol with him on January 6 when Congress convened to count the electoral votes.

It was one day after the Raskin family buried Tommy, Raskin's son who died by suicide on New Year's Eve. The Maryland lawmaker said Tuesday that it was the "saddest day of our lives."

Tabitha and Hank accompanied Raskin on January 6 "because they wanted to be together with me in the middle of a devastating week for our family," he said. "And I told them I had to go back to work because we were counting electoral votes that day. ... It was our constitutional duty. And I invited them instead to come with me to witness this historic event: the peaceful transfer of power in America."

Raskin added: "They said they heard that President Trump was calling on his followers to come to Washington to protest, and they asked me directly, 'Would it be safe? Would it be safe?' And I told them, 'Of course it should be safe. This is the Capitol.'"

The Maryland Democrat went on to thank colleagues in his own party and on the other side of the aisle who stopped by to give their condolences on January 6, saying, "I felt a sense of being lifted up from the agony, and I won't forget their tenderness."

As he gave a speech on the House floor condemning Trump and GOP lawmakers' efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, Tabitha and Hank watched from the House gallery, Raskin said, before going back to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's office.

"They didn't know that the House had been breached yet and that an insurrection, a riot, or a coup had come to Congress. And by the time we learned about it, about what was going on, it was too late," he said. "I couldn't get out there to be with them in that office. And all around me, people were calling their wives and their husbands, their loved ones, to say goodbye.

Raskin added: "Members of Congress in the House were removing their congressional pins so they wouldn't be identified by the mob as they tried to escape the violence. Our new chaplain got up and said a prayer for us, and we were told to put our gas masks on."

"And then there was a sound that I will never forget. A sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram, the most haunting sound I ever heard, and I will never forget it," he said, adding that his kids and his chief of staff were "locked and barricaded in his office. The kids hiding under the desk, placing what they thought were their final texts and whispered phone calls to say their goodbyes. They thought they were going to die."

House managers point out that a constitutional scholar who Trump's lawyers cited rejected their argument

Neguse
Rep. Joe Neguse. Bill Clark/Getty Images

Neguse was up after Raskin and he continued discussing the legal precedent for trying Trump even though he's out of office.

The lawmaker also pointed out that one of the constitutional scholars Trump's attorneys cited in their pretrial brief, Brian Kalt, disputed their interpretation of his arguments.

While Trump's lawyers said the only purpose of impeachment was removal from office — as opposed to removal and being barred from ever holding office again — Kalt's article "that they cite in the brief" said "removal is not the sole end of impeachment," Neguse said.

"Actually, in that same article, he describes the view advocated by President Trump's lawyers as having deep flaws," Neguse said, adding that Kalt himself tweeted about the issue after Trump's attorneys filed their brief.

In the statement Neguse referenced, Kalt said, "President Trump's brief cites my 2001 article on late impeachment a lot. The article favored late impeachability, but it set out all the evidence I found on both sides — lots for them to use. But in several places, they misrepresent what I wrote quite badly."

"There are multiple examples of such flat-out misrepresentations," Kalt said, adding, "They didn't have to be disingenuous and misleading like this."

Raskin: 'It is inconceivable' that the framers 'designed impeachment to be a dead letter in the president's final days in office'

trump impeached
Getty

The time period after an election, when an outgoing president is preparing to leave office, is when "opportunities to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power would be most tempting and most dangerous, as we just saw," Raskin said, referring to the video footage of the Capitol riot.

"There is no merit to President Trump's claim that he can incite an insurrection and then insist weeks later that the Senate lacks the power to even hear evidence at a trial, to even hold a trial," he added.

'He wants you to decide that the Senate is powerless'

Rep. Jamie Raskin
Raskin. Screenshot via C-SPAN

After playing a video montage of the violence at the Capitol, Raskin referenced the key argument Trump's lawyers were making: Trump cannot be convicted and removed via an impeachment trial because he is no longer in office.

"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," Raskin said. "No trial, no facts: He wants you to decide that the Senate is powerless at that point. That can't be right."

"There can be no doubt that the Senate has the power to try this impeachment," Raskin said, adding that Article I of the Constitution gives the Senate the sole power to try "all" impeachments.

"All means all," Raskin said. "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."

House impeachment managers began making their case for Trump's conviction by playing 13 minutes of graphic footage of the Capitol siege

capitol siege riot ladder
Rioters clash with police using big ladder trying to enter Capitol building through the front doors. Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Raskin, a former constitutional-law professor, opened his remarks by saying the House managers would rely only on "cold, hard facts" to make the case against Trump.

He then played a 13-minute video montage of the pro-Trump mob violently storming the Capitol, attacking law-enforcement officers, chanting the president's name, and ransacking the building.

The video said the insurrection was underway for more than two hours before "President Trump tweets a video" in which he repeated his baseless claims about the election, told the mob they were "very special," and said "we love you."

"That's a high crime and misdemeanor," Raskin said after the video ended. "If that's not an impeachable offense, then there's no such thing."

Trump's acquittal is virtually guaranteed

Trump riot
Trump on January 6 ahead of the attack on the US Capitol. Getty Images

The former president sparked widespread outrage in the immediate aftermath of the deadly Capitol insurrection. He was criticized for spending months spreading baseless claims of election malfeasance and headlining a rally before the insurrection in which he called on his supporters to march to the Capitol and "fight like hell."

But in the weeks since the riot, the majority of Republican lawmakers have rallied to Trump's defense, saying that his Senate impeachment trial runs afoul of the Constitution.

Last month, 45 Senate Republicans voted to declare the trial unconstitutional, making it virtually impossible that enough of them would break ranks to reach the two-thirds majority required in the upper chamber to convict Trump and allow for a subsequent vote to bar him from ever holding public office again.

Trump's 2nd impeachment was the most bipartisan in US history

Rep. Liz Cheney
Rep. Liz Cheney was one of 10 Republicans who sided with Democrats in the vote to impeach Trump over the Capitol riot. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Trump is the only US president to have been impeached twice while in office.

In his first impeachment, one House Republican — then-Rep. Justin Amash — sided with Democrats to charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to the Ukraine scandal. The then Republican-controlled Senate voted largely along party lines to acquit Trump, with Romney being the only Republican to join Democrats in voting to convict.

In Trump's second impeachment, 10 Republicans broke ranks to vote with their Democratic colleagues after the former president was accused of whipping his supporters into a frenzy and setting them loose on Congress. The final vote was the most bipartisan impeachment vote in US history.

The House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump were:

  • Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming's at-large congressional district

  • Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington's 3rd District

  • Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio's 16th District

  • Rep. John Katko of New York's 24th District

  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois' 16th District

  • Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan's 3rd District

  • Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington's 4th District

  • Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina's 7th District

  • Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan's 6th District

  • Rep. David Valadao of California's 21st District

What you need to know

nancy pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a press conference on January 21. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The House of Representatives impeached Trump last month over his actions related to the deadly Capitol siege on January 6 as Congress was preparing to formalize Biden's victory in the 2020 US election.

The article of impeachment accused Trump of having "willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol." It went on to say that Trump "gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government" and "threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government."

"He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States," the article of impeachment said, adding that Trump "has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law."

Read the original article on Business Insider