Trump on path to acquittal despite stunning evidence

Most Republicans are publicly unwavering of the tough line they have taken on their party’s trial argument: how could they condemn the matter after saying the Senate shouldn’t even hold the trial?

The GOP’s ingrained opposition to the testing of beliefs shows the same phenomenon that tore the party apart under Trump for years: the former president’s power over the Republican base still dwarfs his political toxicity to most of his party’s members.

The convincing presentation by the House Democratic impeachment managers, which included images, videos and audio clips that forced the senators to relive the harrowing day, even gave several GOP senators a clear argument in favor of the ex-president’s acquittal. The process tests whether Trump started the uprising, Republicans said, not the universally recognized calamity that became January 6th.

“This is not a vote on whether what happened that day was horrible because it certainly was,” said Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). “This is not a vote on whether the president has any responsibility, which I have been saying all along.”

Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) Said the impeachment managers took a “pretty sophisticated approach”. However, he concluded that they are calling on the Senate to “offer a solution that we just don’t believe we have available”.

“Your focus is on the actions of the day and you still have to expect that most of us will not believe that we have the constitutional authority to prosecute an individual,” said Rounds, who has just been re-elected. “I don’t think you can get over that based on your discussions today, as terrifying as the January 6th events.”

The GOP senators even praised the impeachment executives of the House of Representatives for bringing an effective and convincing case to the Senate on Wednesday. Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) Said they effectively linked the dots.

But many in the GOP argued that the managers failed to prove their indictment against the former president.

“We all knew the elements of the case that is coming here. Put it on video and spend the time accentuating it, ”said Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Who almost ruled out voting for a conviction. “For any of us who don’t believe that the whole process is constitutional, it’s difficult to go beyond this point.”

And there have been moments of backlash against the impeachment executives, particularly on the presentation of a call Trump accidentally made to Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) while trying to reach Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala). Lee said in a brief interview that Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) ‘S presentation “consisted of statements that I did not make,” and they were removed from the minutes.

When telling Trump’s actions during the uprising, Cicilline said Lee answered the phone and Trump was on the other line, referring to him as “Tommy”. According to Cicciline, Lee then passed the phone on to Tuberville. Trump then called on Tuberville to “raise additional objections to the certification process,” said Cicilline.

Tuberville said he wished the presentation “was correct”.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever spoken to President Trump. You don’t have a lot of words, but he didn’t get a chance to say much because I said,” Mr. President, you just got the vice president out, I have to go, “Tuberville said in an interview.

The Republican stance puzzled Senate Democrats, who praised the impeachment managers’ case against Trump.

“To see the footage of how they treated the police officers was so much worse than anything I saw personally that day,” said Senator Martin Heinrich (DN.M.). “I don’t know how to look at this and acquit this guy.” . “

Securing a conviction is a dramatically uphill battle for managers of the House of Representatives, especially after the vast majority of the Senate GOP conference this week reiterated their view that bringing a former president to justice is unconstitutional. It takes 67 votes to condemn the former president – 17 Republicans will have to cross the party lines and vote against Trump – and the Democrats would then prevent him from running again.

Still, Democrats said more Republicans could reconsider their votes privately. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) Told reporters his conversations suggest that more than six GOP senators might be weighing the conviction, though it might be wishful thinking.

Trump’s defense team will begin presenting his rebuttals on Friday. Some Republicans expected the team to claim the Democrats had offered their own encouragement to violence by spurring last summer’s protests across the country following the police’s murder of George Floyd last summer.

“If we put in context what happened months before the Capitol attack and what all sorts of political figures on the other side were saying, that would be one of the ways I would react.” said Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the No. 4 GOP Leader.

Several Republicans withhold the verdict until they hear both sides – even those believed to be open in the managers’ case. The property managers will be back on Thursday and appear to be traveling with at least one senator who first ruled the trial unconstitutional in January.

“It was very powerful. It was more complete than what I saw, of course, because there were videos from all over the place, ”said Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Who voted this week to keep the process constitutional. “I can’t comment on how it’s about persuasion because we haven’t heard from the other side.”

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