One Trump adviser said the ex-President is seeking what he sees as “accountability” for Republican House members who turned “against the people.” The adviser acknowledged that was a twisted view of reality as Trump was the one who was actively attempting to overturn the will of the voters.
A major focus of the upcoming trial will be the speech Trump gave on the morning of January 6 on the Ellipse just south of the White House at a “Stop the Steal” rally meant to protest Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election. That rally was followed by thousands of Trump supporters storming the US Capitol in an insurrection that killed five people, including one Capitol Police officer.
Former Trump aides recall the then-President having enjoyed the spectacle created by the riot at the Capitol. Trump was “loving watching the Capitol mob,” one former senior White House official said.
While some Republican senators vowed to keep an open mind on impeachment in the immediate aftermath of the episode, GOP leaders have become increasingly bullish in recent weeks that Trump isn’t at risk of conviction.
Democrats and Republicans alike have pointed to that vote as a measure of the trial’s likely final vote. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sided with Paul’s point of order — suggesting the GOP leader’s initial signals that he might be open to convicting Trump are not likely to result in him voting that way.
“He has no valid excuse or defense for his actions. And his efforts to escape accountability are entirely unavailing,” the brief said.
Trump’s legal team said in a statement Monday that it is pleased with the structure of the trial. The statement also praised Senate Republican leadership for securing “a structure that is consistent with past precedent.”
“This process will provide us with an opportunity to explain to Senators why it is absurd and unconstitutional to hold an impeachment trial against a private citizen,” the team said.
At the request of the managers, there will be an option to hold a debate and vote on calling witnesses. And at the request of Trump’s attorney David Schoen, an observant Jew, there will won’t be any trial proceedings during the Sabbath, after 5 p.m. ET, on Friday through Saturday. The trial will then reconvene Sunday afternoon.
This story has been updated with additional information Monday.