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The impeachment case is overwhelming — so here's how the GOP is deflecting

February 11, 2021 in Blogs

By Jon Skolnik

On the second day of former President Trump’s impeachment trial, emotions ran high on the Senate floor as lawmakers across both aisles watched aghast at security footage that had never before been seen, revealing just how close the rioters were to breaching the Senate chamber while members of Congress were still inside.

Democrats serving as the House impeachment managers showed clips of Sens. Mitt Romney, R-UT, and Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and former Vice President Mike Pence narrowly escaping the violent mob of marauders as they spread throughout the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Impeachment managers methodically recounted a timeline of the events leading up to the insurrection, citing various instances during the many months prior in which Trump sowed the seeds of violence in his followers.

One of the more expected moments in the trial occurred when House manager Rep. David Cicilline, D-RI, cited a call Trump had mistakenly made to Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, during the insurrection, thinking that he had, in fact, called Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-AL. Lee claimed that he’d quickly given the phone to Tuberville, who Trump “reportedly” asked to make additional objections to the election certification process over a 10-minute phone call, during which Lee and Tuberville grew increasingly panicked as the riot unfolded.

“Excuse me, Tommy,” Lee said he interjected at the time, “We have to evacuate. Can I have my phone?”

On Wednesday, Lee objected to Cicilline’s recounting of the report to say that Trump had asked Tuberville to slow down the certification process, ultimately leading Cicilline to withdraw the statement. The House managers did, however, reserve the right to clarify their point on Thursday.

During and after the trial, many GOP senators were relatively forthright about their emotional state following the second day of the impeachment trial — a tense scene in which, as Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, described, “you could hear a pin drop.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-OH, expressed that it was “not easy” to watch the footage and admitted he and his colleagues were “not as protected as [they] thought [they] were.”

Sen. Romney, one of the six senators who has expressed his support of the trial, said that he felt “very fortunate” for Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman, who rushed him away from the Senate chambers with just minutes to spare. The “violence that our Capitol Police and others …read more


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