In what is obviously a rare occurrence, US senators are in session this Saturday to begin voting on the impeachment trial of the country’s immediate past president, Donald Trump.
This is coming barely a month after Trump supporters carried out a protest at the Capitol which was seen as insurrection by Democrats who are pushing for Trump’s punishment on allegation that he incited the violent act. Five people died, including a rioter who was shot and a police officer.
The lawmakers are meeting under the watch of armed National Guard troops guarding the building, ready to vote on whether Donald Trump will be held accountable for incident.
“What’s important about this trial is that it’s really aimed to some extent at Donald Trump, but it’s more aimed at some president we don’t even know 20 years from now,” said Sen. Angus King, the independent from Maine, weighing his vote.
The nearly weeklong trial has been delivering a grim and graphic narrative of the Jan. 6 riot and its consequences for the nation in ways that senators, most of whom fled for their own safety that day, acknowledge they are still coming to grips with.
House prosecutors have argued that Trump’s rallying cry to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell” for his presidency just as Congress was convening Jan. 6 to certify Joe Biden’s election was part of an orchestrated pattern of violent rhetoric and false claims that unleashed the mob.
However, Trump’s defense attorneys countered in a short three hours Friday that Trump’s words were not intended to incite the violence and impeachment is nothing but a “witch hunt” designed to prevent him from serving in office again.
“This is ordinarily political rhetoric,” declared Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen. “Countless politicians have spoken of fighting for our principles.”
Republicans maintain the proceedings are unconstitutional, even though the Senate voted at the outset of the trial on this issue and confirmed it has jurisdiction.