Sport Scarred by riot, U.S. Capitol a fortress for Trump impeachment trial
Trump’s legal team is disintegrating ahead of his Senate trial
The head of Trump’s impeachment defense team has left; his exit was followed several others.That attorney, Karl “Butch” Bowers, Jr., will no longer represent Trump when the former president faces the Senate on February 9 over his alleged role in inciting the violent insurrection at the US Capitol. Politico reports that Bowers and another South Carolina-based attorney, Deborah Barbier, were confirmed on Saturday to have departed from the team.
By Makini Brice
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Less than five weeks after the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol that sparked former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial, the complex is a fortress.
An 8-foot (2.5-meter) tall fence encircles the U.S. government's traditionally open heart topped with barbed wire. Thousands of National Guard troops patrol the halls and a gilded portion of one staircase is bandaged over.
Trump on Tuesday faces a U.S. Senate impeachment trial on a charge of inciting insurrection following a Jan. 6 speech, two weeks before leaving office, to thousands of supporters urging they "fight like hell" against his election defeat. Hundreds stormed the Capitol, fighting police and sending lawmakers running for safety. Five people died, one a police officer.
To Try a President
Should Richard Nixon have faced criminal prosecution? A never-before-published article from 1974, written by a leading legal scholar, offers answers that speak to the present.A law professor at the University of Chicago, my father was an expert in several fields—torts, taxation, empirical research on legal institutions—but his consuming passion was the First Amendment. After suffering a heart attack in 1969 at the age of 55, he reordered his priorities and began to work on a book he had conceived of early in his career but had long deferred: an intellectual history of the Supreme Court’s encounters with the First Amendment. “The book,” he told me, “I’ve always wanted to write.
After that, the heavy security measures were put in place. The U.S. Homeland Security Department warned the country could for weeks face a heightened threat of attacks by extremists angry at Trump's election defeat, possibly targeting federal or state government buildings.
Eva Malecki, spokeswoman for U.S. Capitol Police, said the heightened security would remain in place at least through Trump's trial, expected to last at least a week.
"The Department's current security posture continues to demand that we operate at a high-level of readiness for the upcoming Senate impeachment trial and the continued threats directed at the Congress and the Capitol," she said.
A Capitol Police member died of injuries from the attack and a total of 125 officers of its 2,300-strong force were assaulted during the rampage, which took place after Trump for nearly two months repeatedly claimed, contrary to evidence, that President Joe Biden's November victory was the result of widespread fraud.
These Are the Differences in Trump's 2 Impeachment Trials
Former President Donald Trump will make history this week as the only U.S. president to be impeached twice and the first to undergo trial after leaving office.The key distinction that Trump's legal team and allies have used to build the defense argument is that he is no longer in office, unlike the 2019 trial when he was the sitting president.
Gallery: Trump’s presidency in unforgettable photos (Espresso)
Multiple courts, as well as state and federal election officials, rejected Trump's claims.
The attack occurred while Congress met to formally certify Biden's victory. Hundreds of lawmakers, Vice President Mike Pence, their staffs, families and journalists scrambled for safety, some hiding in rooms in the Capitol for hours as authorities struggled to gain control of the mob.
'A TRAUMATIC ASSAULT'
The attack shook the country, even as it further exposed the divisions laid bare under the Republican Trump.
"The insurrectionist attack on January 6 was not only an attack on the Capitol, but was a traumatic assault targeting Members," House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a Feb. 2 letter to lawmakers urging them to collect their recollections on video.
Some spoke out about their experience. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez streamed a nearly 90-minute video on social media platform Instagram on Feb. 1, and on Feb. 4 she led a group of lawmakers recounting the events.
12 Senators Will Serve as Impeachment Trial Jurors for a Third Time
Just over two decades ago, a dozen senators were already serving in the Senate during former President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial.Presidential impeachments were incredibly rare throughout U.S. history, with the first taking place in 1868 against former President Andrew Johnson. That impeachment resulted in a narrow acquittal in the Senate. The next presidential impeachment trial did not take place until 1999, when former President Clinton was put on trial. Clinton was also acquitted, as was Trump during his first Senate trial on February 5, 2020.
A Democrat, Pelosi ordered metal detectors installed at the entrance to the House chamber, drawing swift criticism and challenges from Republican gun-rights activists in Congress. She called for a commission to investigate the incident similar to one that examined the security failures leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
It is far from clear when the Capitol will resemble more closely its former self. Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman urged the fencing around the Capitol be made permanent, a recommendation decried by lawmakers and officials.
"We certainly need to protect our Capitol," said Peter Newsham, police chief of Prince William County, Virginia, and former police chief of Washington, D.C. "But I'm not feeling like that's the way we want to look as the United States."
(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)
The debate over whether Democrats should call witnesses at Trump’s trial, explained .
Both parties’ leaders appear to want the trial over quickly.And the question now is whether they will stop there — or whether they will try to advance their case that Trump incited an insurrection further, by asking the Senate to allow testimony from witnesses.