House impeachment managers are arguing it's downright dangerous to dismiss former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial before it even begins.
Trump's lawyers argue his impeachment for alleged incitement of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol should be dismissed because he is now out of office. But lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) started Tuesday's trial by outlining how that "radical argument" would let officials claim "constitutional impunity" for anything they do in their last month in office.
After presenting a 10-minute video of disturbing scenes from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Raskin warned that if Trump was spared even from being tried for inspiring the riot, it would create a "January exception" to the constitutional right to impeach presidents. "Conduct that would be a high crime or misdemeanor" throughout a president's first few years in office, "you can suddenly do in your last few weeks in office without facing any constitutional accountability at all" if Trump's case was dismissed, Raskin explained.
Rep. Jamie Raskin says former Pres. Trump's defense would create a "January exception."
"It's an invitation to the president 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."https://t.co/Lau7kmD368 pic.twitter.com/Dtp6Waqeci
— ABC News (@ABC) February 9, 2021
Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) dug further into the idea of a "January exception," explaining how the Constitution allowed for the impeachment of former officials throughout history.
Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) on the constitutionality of former Pres. Trump's second Senate impeachment trial:
"There is no January exception to the impeachment power, that presidents can't commit grave offenses in their final days and escape any congressional response." pic.twitter.com/wwCbWgaNpl
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) February 9, 2021
Tuesday's impeachment proceedings will end with a Senate vote considering the constitutionality of the impeachment; 45 Senate Republicans agreed it was unconstitutional in a Jan. 28 vote.
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