OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump kicked off in the Senate on Tuesday, beginning with debate over the constitutionality of the House prosecuting a president who has already left office.
After four hours of arguments by each side, the Senate affirmed by a vote of 56-44 that it is constitutional to try a former president.
Below are the six Senate Republicans:
- Mitt Romney
- Susan Collins
- Lisa Murkowski
- Pat Toomey
- Ben Sasse
- Bill Cassidy
Trump’s lead counsel Bruce Castor opened his arguments with praise for the impeachment managers’ “outstanding presentation,” adding that no member of the Trump team will voice anything but a condemnation of the rioters on Jan. 6.
In a meandering opening speech, Castor argued Democrats want to convict Trump because they fear he’ll run again in 2024.
Toward the end of his speech, he conceded: “We changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the House managers’ presentation was well done.”
Castor’s main argument is that the electoral system worked and Democrats got what they wanted — to remove Trump from office — as he lost the election to Joe Biden.
David Schoen, another attorney for Trump, also went scorched earth on Tuesday during his opening remarks of the Senate impeachment trial, arguing that Democrats are only using impeachment as a tool for revenge.
Among many things, Schoen argued that impeachment is not valid without removal, and since President Trump is no longer in office, he cannot actually be “removed.”
“They want to put you through a 16-hour presentation over 2 days focusing on this as if it was some sort of bloodsport. And to what end? For unity? For accountability? Not for any of those!” he began.
“For surely there are much better ways to achieve each. It is again for pure, raw misguided partisanship that makes them believe playing to our worst instincts is good. They don’t need to show you movies to prove that the riot happened here. We will stipulate that it happened and you know all about it,” he said.
“This is a process fueled irresponsibly by base hatred by these house managers and those that gave them their charge, and they are willing to sacrifice our national character to advance their hatred and their fear that one day they might not be the party in power,” he added.
Schoen said: “They have a very different view of Democracy and Freedom.”