Former President Donald Trump has been contacting aides and advisers to discuss his upcoming Senate impeachment trial, CNN reported quoting sources familiar with the conversations. The agency cited one of the sources saying Trump believed there would not be enough Republican senators who would vote for his conviction.
Trump’s second impeachment trial would get underway Tuesday, after the House voted to impeach him on January 13 on one charge of inciting an insurrection. With the historic vote coming one week before Trump left office, Trump became the only American President in history to be impeached twice.
Former President Donald Trump Shoring Up Support Over Upcoming Impeachment Trial
Meanwhile, Trump had been targeting GOP lawmakers who voted in favor of his impeachment in the House, including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. Cheney was among ten Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.
According to one Trump adviser, the ex-President was calling for accountability of Republican House members who turned against the people. The adviser acknowledged that Trump had a twisted view of reality as the will of the voters was sought to be overturned by Trump himself.
The upcoming trial would likely have the speech given by Trump on the morning of January 6 as one of the areas of focus. The speech on the Ellipse just south of the White House at a “Stop the Steal” rally called to protest Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election was attended by thousands of Trump supporters. They went on to storm the US Capitol in an insurrection that killed five people, including one Capitol Police officer.
According to former Trump aides, the then-President was enjoying the spectacle created by the riot at the Capitol. One White House official recalled Trump was loving watching the Capitol mob.
Immediately following the insurrection, some Republican senators had vowed to be open to the possibility of impeachment, but in recent weeks had become increasingly confident that he was not at risk of conviction.
A clear indication of this is being seen in GOP Sen. Rand Paul raising a point of order that the trial of an ex-president was unconstitutional, with only five Republicans splitting from the party.
The vote is seen in both parties to be the likely pointer to the final vote of the trial. Further, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell siding with Paul’s point of order, it was clear that the GOP leader’s initial signals of an open mind on convicting Trump would likely not see him voting that way.
Nevertheless, the House impeachment managers had in pre-trial briefs left no doubt that they planned to present a forceful case against the former President. In a filing earlier Monday they said, the evidence of President Trump’s conduct was overwhelming.
According to the brief, Trump had no valid excuse or defense for his actions and his efforts to escape accountability were entirely unavailing.
The presentation by the House managers is set to begin at noon ET Wednesday, with 16 hours to make their case to the Senate. Trump’s lawyers would then have the same amount of time. Like in previous impeachment trials, it would be followed by a session in which senators could ask questions to both legal teams, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday.
Trump’s legal team said in a statement Monday that it was pleased with the structure of the trial. The Senate Republican leadership also came in for praise in the statement for securing a structure that was consistent with past precedent.
The team said the process would provide them with an opportunity to explain to Senators why it was absurd and unconstitutional to hold an impeachment trial against a private citizen.
There would be an option to hold a debate and vote on calling witnesses, at the request of managers.