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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

House impeachment managers and Donald Trump's defense team both plan to rely heavily on video during the former president's trial this week, and will try to use the opposing party's words against them, sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

What we're hearing: Trump's team, which will consist of four lawyers present on the Senate floor, is expected to make the First Amendment a focal point of their defense. Meanwhile, the House Democratic managers plan to show a series of videos designed to shock the Senate chamber and play on members' emotions.

Why it matters: With even President Biden saying he does not expect Trump to be convicted, both sides will play to a jury outside the Capitol — the court of public opinion.

Trump's team:

  • It plans to show video clips of Democratic lawmakers using what they'll argue is "aggressive and dangerous" language and claim the party is exercising a double standard against Trump, one source told Axios.

House impeachment managers:

  • They plan to show videos from those in the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, as well as clips demonstrating some of Trump's harshest and most aggressive rhetoric preceding the attack.
  • The managers also are expected to spend a good chunk of their time pointing to Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump and refused to apologize for it. Her father, former vice president Dick Cheney, was the equivalent of Darth Vader in the eyes of Democrats for many years.

What's next: The trial will begin Tuesday with a debate about the trial's constitutionality.

  • On Wednesday, the House impeachment managers will begin presenting their evidence.
  • Trump’s defense team's presentation will follow.
  • Both sides get 16 hours — over two days — to make their respective case, but neither is expected to use all of their allotted time.

Go deeper

Updated Feb 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Impeachment managers, Trump legal team trade briefs ahead of trial

Former President Trump on Jan. 6. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Former President Trump's legal team filed a brief on Monday condemning his impeachment as “political theater," as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell closed in on an agreement setting the parameters for the historic trial kicking off Tuesday.

The state of play: Impeachment managers and Trump's attorneys will debate the issue of constitutionality of the trial on Tuesday, which the Senate will then vote on at a simple majority threshold.

Feb 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: McCarthy told Cheney to apologize after impeachment vote

Liz Cheney and Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy tried to get Liz Cheney to apologize for how she handled her vote to impeach former President Trump before last week's highly anticipated House GOP conference meeting — a request she refused, two people with direct knowledge told Axios.

Why it matters: Cheney rolled the dice, refusing her leader's ask and counting on her supporters to keep her as conference chair, the party's No. 3 post in the House. Newly empowered, she's now embracing her role as the Republicans' Trump critic-in-chief.

Wyoming GOP censures Liz Cheney for voting to impeach Trump

Representative Liz Cheney outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Dec. 10, 2020. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Wyoming Republican Party voted Saturday to formally censure U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House, for voting to impeach former President Trump for a charge of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Cheney and the nine other Republican lawmakers that voted to impeach Trump have faced backlash from constituents in their home states, and from members of their own party in Congress.