Feb 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Impeachment manager fleshes out case against Trump

Rep. Jamie Raskin is seen standing outside the Senate Chamber before House impeachment managers delivered their article against former President Trump.

Rep. Jamie Raskin as House managers delivered their impeachment article. Photo: Melina Mara/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Democrats' lead impeachment manager said Wednesday former President Trump's role in inciting the Capitol siege was the "worst presidential offense in the history of the republic," and the evidence against him is "airtight."

Why it matters: While Democrats say there is a direct cause and effect between Trump addressing a crowd of supporters that later broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6, some Republicans have fallen back on procedural defenses. The impeachment managers hope specific, graphic and voluminous evidence will create public pressure to convict the former president.

During a call Wednesday morning with the House Democratic caucus, lead impeachment manger Rep. Jamie Raskin detailed previously unreported injuries to Capitol Police officers, the damaging global view of the insurrection and tried to proactively puncture holes in the defense Trump will mount when his trial begins next week.

  • Raskin (D-Md.) told his colleagues one Capitol Police officer has lost three fingers and another is likely to lose an eye.
  • He said extremist elements in Russia and Germany view the storming of the Capitol as great victory for 21st century fascism.

What we're hearing: Raskin also told House Democrats the impeachment managers received an “embarrassingly thin” response from president’s counsel on Tuesday.

  • Trump's legal team argues he can't be convicted since the First Amendment protects his speech. They, along with some Republican senators, also argue a president can't be tried after leaving office.

Raskin said that argument has been “decisively rejected” by Senate, previously — most famously — in 1876 against the war secretary William Belknap.

  • “This moment was totally foreseen by the framers of the Constitution," Raskin said on the caucus call.
  • "Trump may not know anything about the Founders, but they knew a lot about the likes of him," he added.

The bottom line: Raskin summarized the impeachment managers' argument by saying, "This wasn’t shouting fire in a crowded theater; this was the fire chief sending a mob to the theater."

Go deeper