Democratic House impeachment managers will spend the third day of the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump on Thursday concluding their opening arguments — and President Joe Biden says the case they’ve built so far could be changing some Republican minds on whether to convict the ex-president.
“I think the Senate has a very important job to complete and my guess is some minds may have been changed but I don’t know,” President Joe Biden told reporters inside the Oval Office Thursday morning.
His assessment came one day after managers played never-before-seen riveting and video footage of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot during their arguments.
The third day of the trial will kick off Thursday at noon ET. Managers are planning to spend their arguments providing additional evidence they say proves Trump’s impact on the Jan. 6 riots and focusing on what they describe as the president’s lack of remorse, senior aides on the impeachment manager team told reporters on a phone call.
”We definitely have the goods, and we will be bringing them home today,” the aides said. They added that, by the end of the day, any questions raised by Senators “will have been answered thoroughly and their duty to convict will be clear.”
The aides did not say whether managers would be presenting any additional previously unseen evidence, as they did Wednesday.
The managers have more than half of the total 16 hours they were allotted to make their arguments left, but they may not use all that time.
On Wednesday, during the first day of their arguments, Democratic impeachment managers played previously unseen security video of the riot, creating a graphic reconstruction of the attack and making a case for Trump’s culpability and conviction.
The retelling, presented by two House impeachment managers, wove together the new video from inside the Capitol with clips recorded by rioters. The video showed striking scenes of violence faced by Capitol police officers and put on display just how close some senators came on Jan. 6 to confrontations with a mob that had declared deadly intent.
Trump is the first president to have been impeached twice by the House and he is the first former president to be put on trial in the Senate. He was impeached by the House on Jan. 13 on an article charging him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the violent riot by a pro-Trump mob at the Capitol the prior week.
The new security video showed congressional staffers running for their lives and barricading themselves inside offices to escape the rioting mob, members of Congress being evacuated just feet from an attacker being held at gunpoint by police, and several previously unknown near-misses between senators and rioters inside the building.
Panicked officers were heard on newly released audio recordings from police radios pleading for backup and urgent medical care as they reported that multiple officers had been injured.
Senators from both parties seemed shaken by the video presentation, which blared at high volume in the Senate chamber.
The question remains, however, whether the footage and arguments will shift the views of any of the 44 Republican senators who voted Tuesday that the trial itself is unconstitutional. Unless 11 republicans who voted that the trial is unconstitutional turn around and vote to convict, Trump will be acquitted. It takes a supermajority — 67 votes — to convict. Anything less results in acquittal.
While 45 Republican senators voted last month in favor of a measure that argued that the proceedings were unconstitutional, some of them said they simply wanted a debate on the issue, so their votes may not indicate how they view the issue. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., was the only senator among the 45 Republicans to vote in favor of the trial’s constitutionality on Tuesday.
Trump’s attorneys will present their opening arguments, likely beginning Friday, and when opening arguments for both sides are done, senators will be able to question the two sides for four hours by submitting written questions to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the Senate president pro tempore, who is presiding over the trial and who will read them aloud.
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