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Senate votes to continue with impeachment trial as Democrats to outline case against Trump

Securing a conviction is highly unlikely, as the Democrats would need 17 Republican senators to vote with them to make a two-thirds majority.

A video projection near Union Station on the first day of the second impeachment trial
A video projection near Union Station on the first day of the second impeachment trial
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

DONALD TRUMP LOST the opening battle on the first day of his impeachment trial, with the US Senate voting that it is allowed to try him even though he has left office.

The trial opened in the Senate with graphic video of the deadly 6 January attack on Congress, with the former president shown in footage as he whipped up a rally crowd to march to the Capitol and told them to “fight like hell” to overturn his election loss to Joe Biden.

The detailed and emotional presentation by Democrats was followed by meandering and occasionally confrontational arguments from the Trump defence team, which insisted that his remarks were protected by the First Amendment and that he cannot be convicted as a former president.

Even Trump’s backers in the Senate winced, several saying his lawyers were not helpful to his case.

The senators sitting as jurors, many of whom fled for safety themselves the day of the attack, watched and listened, unable to avoid the jarring video of Trump supporters battling past police to storm the halls, Trump flags waving.

While many minds are made up, the senators will face their own moment to decide whether to convict or acquit Trump of the sole charge “incitement of insurrection”.

Securing a conviction is highly unlikely, as the Democrats would need 17 Republican senators to vote with them to make a two-thirds majority. 

So far, only six Republicans have agreed that the trial is even constitutional in the first place.

The heavy emotional weight of the trial punctuates Trump’s enduring legacy as the first president to face an impeachment trial after leaving office and the first to be twice impeached.

The Capitol siege stunned the world as hundreds of rioters ransacked the building to try to stop the certification of Biden’s victory.

“That’s a high crime and misdemeanour,” Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin said. in opening remarks.

“If that’s not an impeachable offense, then there’s no such thing.”

Trump’s lawyers insist he is not guilty as his fiery words are just figures of speech.

Today, Democrats will begin to detail their case against the former president. 

Under impeachment rules, each side is allowed up to 16 hours over two days to present their case, starting at 5pm Irish time.

Senators will also be given a total of four hours for questioning.

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With reporting from AFP

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