As initial arguments are underway, we spoke with Former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton about his thoughts on the first day of former President Trump’s second impeachment trial.
A 13-minute video was played by Representative Jamie Raskin, a Democrat of Maryland, documenting the moments of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. It went back and forth between Trump’s speech and what was happening at the Capitol. The playing of the video, according to Charlton, was an extraordinary moment. “There had to be a way, an instrument if you will, in which House manager Jamie Raskin could bring this video into his, otherwise, legal and scholarly argument,” Charlton said.
“What he said was you cannot have a January exception. In other words, we cannot have a rule in which a president can do whatever he or she wishes in January, leave office and never be impeached. So, in order for him to say what would a January exception look like in real life, he played this really undisputedly powerful video of the events that transpired on January 6th.”
The video featured clips of the events at the U.S. Capitol, which Charlton says is impactful.
“This is a trial, in which, we may never hear from a single live witness because all of these events were captured live, if you will, on video. We know exactly what the president said. We know exactly how people moved from the location where the president was giving his speech. We saw on video how these people violently entered the Capitol. The question is going to be for the Senate and really for we, Americans, is what if any responsibility does the president bear for that tragic day,” Charlton said.