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Washington — The Senate convened Tuesday afternoon for the first day of former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, the only time in U.S. history a president has faced a Senate trial after leaving office.Mr. Trump was impeached by the House on January 13 on one count of "incitement of insurrection" for his conduct in the lead-up to the January 6 attack on the Capitol.Senators convened shortly after 1 p.m. and voted 89-11 on a resolution setting the parameters of the trial. "If that's not an impeachable offense, then there is no such thing."Mr. Trump's lawyers are now presenting their case for why a former president cannot be tried once he is out of office.Bruce Castor Jr., one of the attorneys representing Mr. Trump, was the first to step up to speak on behalf of the former president, and offered a discursive monologue that addressed few of the central constitutional questions at hand.Castor began by giving a nod to the House impeachment managers' presentation, calling it "outstanding" and recognizing lead impeachment manager Representative Jamie Raskin for the loss of his son."I thought they were brilliant speakers and I loved listening to them," Castor said at one point.Castor went on to say Mr. Trump's attorneys will only denounce the violence and loss of life on January 6 in the strongest terms possible, calling the loss of life "horrific."Trump's impeachment attorney Bruce Castor says in opening remarks: "You will not hear any member of the team representing former President Trump say anything but in the strongest possible way denounce the violence of the rioters and those that breached the Capitol" called it a "natural reaction of human beings" to demand consequences for such a tragedy. In closing, Raskin urged the Senate to allow the trial to proceed."History does not support a January exception in any way, so why would we invent one for the future?" he said.Congressman David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island and an impeachment manager, anticipated arguments by Mr. Trump's lawyers in his presentation on the Senate floor. "As have past presiding officers, I will enforce the Senate rules and precedents governing decorum and do what I can to ensure this trial reflects the best traditions of the Senate, consistent with the oath each senator took to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws," he said.To bolster the House's argument that the Senate has the authority to try Mr. Trump even though he is out of office, Congressman Joe Neguse, a Democrat from Colorado and an impeachment manager, detailed the impeachments and corresponding trials of past elected officials who were out of office when they were tried.Neguse raised the proceedings in both the House and Senate of former Senator William Blount in 1798 and former U.S. Secretary of War Howard Belknap in 1876."The Senate must hear this case," he said Neguse also cited public comments from notable conservative scholars and jurists, including Federalist Society cofounder Steven Calabresi, former 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Michael McConell and lawyer Chuck Cooper, who argued the Senate has the authority to hold the trial.The Colorado Democrat cited three provisions in the Constitution that he said make clear holding the trial is permissible. The terms of the proceedings were negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and agreed to by the House impeachment managers and Mr. Trump's legal team ahead of the trial's start.Eleven Republicans voted against the resolution laying out the rules off the proceedings: Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rick Scott of Florida, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee.The Senate is now proceeding to debate on the constitutionality of the trial.The Senate's impeachment trial kicked off just after 1 p.m., after the nine House impeachment managers made their way across the Capitol to arrive at the Senate.Senate Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy is presiding over the proceedings, which began with a prayer from Senate Chaplain Barry Black. "Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment while the Senate of the United States is sitting for the trial of the article of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives against Donald John Trump, former president of the United States," she said.Leahy noted the presence of the impeachment managers and Mr. Trump's legal team.Melissa Quinn and Kathryn WatsonAn updated organizing resolution stipulates that senators will convene for the impeachment trial every day until a verdict is reached, including on Sunday, even though impeachment rules allow senators to take Sundays off."Unless the Senate shall have already voted on the article of impeachment, the Senate shall convene as a Court of Impeachment at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 14, 2021, notwithstanding rule III of the Rules of Impeachment," the resolution proposed by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.The initial organizing resolution would have also recessed the trial on Friday after 5 p.m. and all of Saturday at the request of Trump lawyer David Schoen, who observes the Jewish Sabbath. Mr. Trump's other attorneys are expected to handle the case on Friday evening and Saturday.The decision to hold the trial on Sunday indicates that the Senate would like to be finished with the proceedings as quickly as possible.House impeachment managers released their final brief ahead of the trial on Tuesday, responding to the rebuttal from Mr. Trump's attorneys, which challenged the constitutionality of the trial and argued that Mr. Trump was not responsible for the January 6 assault on the Capitol."President Trump's pre-trial brief confirms that he has no good defense of his incitement of an insurrection against the Nation he swore an oath to protect," the managers wrote in a 33-page memorandum. "Instead, he tries to shift the blame onto his supporters, and he invokes a set of flawed legal theories that would allow Presidents to incite violence and overturn the democratic process without fear of consequences."The managers said that Mr. Trump seeks "to evade responsibility for inciting the January 6 insurrection by arguing that the Senate lacks jurisdiction to convict officials after they leave office." They also pushed back against the argument that impeaching Mr. Trump violated his right to free political speech. Mr. Trump repeatedly promoted false claims about the election and urged his supporters to "fight like hell" to overturn the results just hours before the riot at the Capitol."Accepting President Trump's argument would mean that Congress could not impeach a President who burned an American flag on national television, or who spoke at a Ku Klux Klan rally in a white hood, or who wore a swastika while leading a march through a Jewish neighborhood — all of which is expression protected by the First Amendment but would obviously be grounds for impeachment," the managers said.Representatives Jamie Raskin, David Cicilline and Joe Neguse are expected to present the arguments in favor of holding an impeachment trial this afternoon.Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged the impeachment trial kicking off Tuesday afternoon will not distract from Congress's work on Mr. Biden's coronavirus relief plan."We have to do everything we can to end this crisis. Ten Republicans joined Democrats in voting to impeach.Mr. Trump was impeached on a single charge of "incitement of insurrection" for his role in the attack on the Capitol on January 6.The article of impeachment accused the president of "willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States" with a speech to supporters "that encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — imminent lawless action at the Capitol." "Incited by President Trump, a mob unlawfully breached the Capitol, injured law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress and the Vice President, interfered with the Joint Session's solemn constitutional duty to certify the election results, and engaged in violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts," the article said.Read the full article of impeachment here.As Mr. Trump's second impeachment trial begins, a 56%-majority of Americans would like the Senate to vote to convict him, and the same percentage say he encouraged violence at the Capitol — views that are still somewhat linked to Americans' presidential votes in 2020, reflecting ongoing partisan division.To those in favor of conviction, this trial is described as holding Mr. Trump "accountable" and "defending democracy." To those Americans (mostly, Republicans) opposed to it, the trial is "unnecessary" and a "distraction."  In fact, amid the recent focus on the congressional GOP's direction now, under one in five rank-and-file Republicans favor a conviction, while most still broadly value loyalty to Mr. Trump.

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