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The Canadian press

Trump attorneys blow up impeachment proceedings as “political theater”

WASHINGTON – Donald Trump’s lawyers blow up impeachment proceedings against him as an act of “political theater” by the Democrats. In a brief filed against the Senate on Monday the evening before impeachment proceedings, attorneys for the former president attacked the case on several grounds. They said it was unconstitutional and should be dismissed. This is a breaking news update. AP’s earlier story follows below. Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial will begin this week with debate and a vote on whether it is even constitutional to prosecute the former president for the deadly siege of the Capitol after he is no longer in office. The details will be summed up in a draft contract between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, a person anonymized to discuss ongoing talks. Witnesses are unlikely to be called during the trial and the former president has turned down a motion to testify. The trial will be suspended for the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday at the request of Trump’s defense team. The trial is postponed to a Sunday session. Trump’s second impeachment trial opens with a sense of urgency this week – from Democrats looking to hold the former president accountable for the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol and Republicans looking to end it as soon as possible. The trial is set to begin Tuesday, just over a month after the deadly riot. It is likely to deviate from the long, complicated process that led to Trump’s acquittal a year ago for privately pressuring Ukraine to pollute a democratic rival. Joe Biden, now the president. This time, Trump’s January 6th rally called for “fight as hell” and the storm on the Capitol that the world could see. While Trump could very well be acquitted, the process could be over in half the time. Under the terms of the negotiation process, it would begin with a debate on its constitutionality, a key argument in defense of the former president. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., Forced a vote on the matter last month and Senators are facing renewed debate and vote. The opening arguments start on Wednesday at 12 noon with up to 16 hours per side for presentations. Details of the proceedings are still being negotiated by the Senate leaders, and whether or not witnesses are called is up to the property managers. Trump is the first President to be tried twice and the only one to be tried after leaving the White House. The Democratic House approved a single charge, “incitement to insurrection,” which moved swiftly a week after the insurrection, the most violent attack on Congress in over 200 years. Five people died, including a woman who was shot and killed by police in the building and a police officer who died of injuries the next day. At the request of the defense team because of the Jewish Sabbath, there will be no trial on Friday evening or Saturday. The trial would take place again on Sunday afternoon, Valentine’s Day. So far, it appears that few witnesses have been called as prosecutors and defense attorneys speak directly to senators who have vowed to serve as jurors “impartial justice”. Most are also witnesses of the siege that fled for security that day when the rioters broke into the Capitol and temporarily halted the election count that confirmed Biden’s victory. Trump’s defenders declined a request to testify. The former president, incarcerated at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, has been silenced by Twitter with no public comments on social media since leaving the White House. Instead, the property managers pursuing the case are expected to rely on the numerous videos from the siege, along with Trump’s incendiary rhetoric refusing to allow the election to represent their case. His new defense team has announced that it will counter with its own cache of videos of Democratic politicians giving fiery speeches. “We have the unusual fact that by the first day of the trial, when these executives are on the floor of the Senate, there will be over 100 witnesses,” said Senior MP Adam Schiff, D-Calif Trump’s first impeachment. “Whether or not you need additional witnesses will be a strategic call.” Democrats argue that the point is not just to win a conviction, but to hold the former president accountable for his actions when he is out of office. For Republicans, the process will test their political loyalty to Trump and his enduring influence on the GOP.Graphic images of the siege, Republican senators, including Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, denounced the violence and blamed Trump. For the past few weeks, GOP Senators have rallied around Trump, arguing his comments did not blame him for the violence and legitimacy to even bring a trial against someone who is no longer in office. On Sunday, Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker described Trump’s impeachment trial as “a meaningless partisan exercise”. Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul called the trial a “zero chance” farce and described Trump’s language and assembly speech as “figurative” speech. The Senators were sworn in as a juror late last month, shortly after Biden’s inauguration.The trial was delayed as Democrats focused on upholding the new president’s first cabinet decisions and Republicans tried to distance themselves as much as possible from the to create bloody riots. At the time, Paul forced a vote to dismiss the process as unconstitutional because Trump is no longer a prominent Conservative attorney, Charles Cooper, dismissing this view, writing in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday that the Constitution passed it to the Senate Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of Trump’s ardent Senator defenders, said he believed Trump’s actions were wrong and “he will have a place in history for all of this have “, but insisted that it was not the Senate’s job to judge it. “It’s not about how the process ends, it’s about when it ends,” said Graham. “Republicans will view this as an unconstitutional exercise, and the only question is whether they will call witnesses to how long the trial is taking.” But the result is really not in doubt. “But 45 votes in favor of Paul’s move suggested that it would be nearly impossible to get a conviction in a Senate where Democrats hold 50 seats but a two-thirds vote – or 67 Senators – would be required to convict Trump. Only five Republican Senators joined the Democrats to deny Paul’s motion: Mitt Romney from Utah, Ben Sasse from Nebraska, Susan Collins from Maine, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania. Schiff was on NBC’s Meet the Press, Wicker was on ABC’s This Week, Paul was on Fox News Sunday, and Graham was on CBS’s Face the Nation. ___ Associate press writers Eric Tucker and Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro and Hope Yen, The Associated Press