Trump Impeachment Trial: Live Updates and Video

Here’s what you need to know:

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The Senate voted on Tuesday to proceed with the impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump, rejecting his defense team’s claim that it would be unconstitutional to prosecute a president after leaving office. But the final tally signaled that his Republican allies could muster enough support to potentially block the two-thirds necessary for conviction.

The 56-to-44 vote, with six Republicans joining all 50 Democrats, paved the way for the House Democrats trying the case to formally open their arguments on Wednesday afternoon as they seek to prove that Mr. Trump incited an insurrection by encouraging supporters who stormed the Capitol last month and disrupted the counting of Electoral College votes.

But the 44 Republicans who agreed with Mr. Trump’s claim that a former president cannot be subject to an impeachment trial seemed to all but guarantee that he would have the 34 votes he needs on the final verdict to avoid conviction. To succeed, the House managers would need to persuade at least 11 Republican senators to find Mr. Trump guilty in a trial that they have deemed unconstitutional.

The vote came after House managers, arguing to proceed with the trial, moved immediately to their most powerful evidence: the explicit visual record of the deadly Capitol siege that threatened the lives of former Vice President Mike Pence and members of both houses of Congress juxtaposed against Mr. Trump’s own words encouraging members of the mob at a rally beforehand.

In presenting video footage of mayhem and violence — punctuated by expletives rarely heard on the floor of the Senate — the managers highlighted the drama of the trial in gut-punching fashion for senators who lived through the events barely a month ago and now sit as quasi-jurors. On the screens, they saw extremists storming barricades, beating police officers, setting up a gallows and yelling, “Take the building,” “Fight for Trump” and “Pence is a traitor! Traitor Pence!”

“You ask what a high crime and misdemeanor is under our Constitution,” Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead manager, told senators after playing the video. “That’s a high crime and misdemeanor. If that’s not an impeachable offense, then there’s no such thing.”

Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued that his words at the rally on Jan. 6 constituted free speech akin to typical political language and hardly incited the violence. They characterized the impeachment as yet another partisan attack driven by “base hatred” that will set a precedent for political retribution as power changes with each election.

David I. Schoen, one of the former president’s lawyers, derided the House managers for showing the video, saying it was “designed by experts to chill and horrify you and our fellow Americans” as if an impeachment trial “were some sort of blood sport.”

The second trial of Mr. Trump opened in the crime scene itself, the same chamber occupied by the mob that forced senators to evacuate in the middle of counting the Electoral College votes ratifying President Biden’s victory. Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and the Senate president pro tempore, presided after Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Vice President Kamala Harris declined to do so.

Never before has a president been tried by the Senate twice, much less after his term has expired, but Mr. Trump’s accusers argue that there must be no “January exception” for presidents to escape accountability for actions in the final days of his tenure.

“What you experienced that day, what we experienced that day, what our country experienced that day, is the framers’ worst nightmare come to life,” Representative Joe Neguse of Colorado, another House manager, told senators. “Presidents can’t inflame insurrection in their final weeks and then walk away like nothing happened.”

Even though Mr. Trump can no longer be removed from office, conviction would permit the senators to bar him from running for federal office again and the managers cited conservative scholars vouching for the constitutionality of a post-presidency trial.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers condemned the violence but rejected the suggestion that the former president was responsible for it. They maintained that the Constitution did not permit an impeachment trial of a former president because it was meant to lead to removal, which is now moot. If he committed a crime, they said, he could be prosecuted criminally.

“This trial will tear this country apart, perhaps like we’ve only seen once before in our history,” Mr. Schoen said, an apparent reference to the Civil War. “As a matter of policy,” he added, “it is wrong, as wrong can be for all of us as a nation.”

The vote affirming the constitutionality of the trial mirrored one taken last month after the House first sent its article of impeachment, with only one senator, Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, switching his vote from no to yes.





‘This Cannot Be the Future of America,’ Raskin Says

Representative Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, called on senators to convict former President Donald J. Trump, and not allow a “January exception” where future presidents are not held accountable for their actions in their last days in office.

Senators, this cannot be our future. This cannot be the future of America. We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people under the Constitution of the United States. Much less can we create a new January exception in our precious, beloved Constitution that prior generations have died for and fought for … … so the corrupt presidents have several weeks to get away with whatever it is they want to do. History does not support a January exception in any way. So why would we invent one for the future?

Video player loadingRepresentative Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, called on senators to convict former President Donald J. Trump, and not allow a “January exception” where future presidents are not held accountable for their actions in their last days in office.CreditCredit…Senate Television, via Associated Press

Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead impeachment manager, opened the trial’s formal arguments Tuesday afternoon with an explosive and deeply emotional appeal to senators as he made the case that they had every right to try a former president for official misconduct — and in fact were obliged to do so in the case of Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Raskin, a former constitutional law professor, opened his presentation with a joke about professors putting their students to sleep. But he went on to offer an argument that had senators sitting rapt in the Senate chamber, reliving the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as he played a grueling and graphic video of the day and then laid out the constitutional reasons he said Mr. Trump must be tried.

Then Mr. Raskin, who lost his son, Tommy, to suicide the week before the rampage, brought the urgency of the matter home with chilling personal detail. Speaking through tears, Mr. Raskin narrated the events of Jan. 6 through his own eyes and those of his daughter and son-in-law, who had accompanied him to the Capitol that day for moral support as he helped manage Congress’s counting of electoral votes, and became trapped in an office off the House floor as the rioters flooded the building.

He recalled the “most haunting sound I ever heard” as members of the pro-Trump mob pounded “like a battering ram” on the doors to the House chamber.

“All around me, people were calling their wives and their husbands, their loved ones to say goodbye,” Mr. Raskin recalled. “Members of Congress, in the House anyway, were removing their congressional pins so they couldn’t be identified by the mob as they tried to escape.”

He recounted having apologized to his daughter afterward, saying her next trip to the Capitol would be better, and her reply that she never wanted to return to the building.

“Of all the terrible, brutal things I saw and heard on the day and since then, that one hit me the hardest,” he said. “Senators, this cannot be our future. This cannot be the future of America. We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people.”

Mr. Raskin’s emotional appeal came after a lengthy legal argument in which he said that Mr. Trump and his lawyers were asking senators to create an illogical “January exception” that flew in the face of the founders’ intent. Recreating debates from the 1787 Constitutional Convention and appealing directly to senators’ common sense, he argued the Senate must not allow a president to become immune from conduct committed in his last month in office.

“Everyone can see immediately why this is so dangerous,” he said. “It is an invitation to the president to take his best shot at anything he may want to do on his way out the door, including using violent means to lock that door, to hang on to the Oval Office at all costs and block the peaceful transfer of power.”

The words still hung in the Senate chamber as Mr. Raskin hit play on a video montage of the deadly Jan. 6 assault, interspersing the president’s own words with harrowing footage of the pro-Trump throng mobbing the Capitol and marauding through its corridors.

“He would have you believe there is absolutely nothing the Senate can do about it,” Mr. Raskin said gesturing at the images. “No trial. No facts. He wants you to decide that the Senate is powerless at that point. That can’t be right.”

Mr. Raskin said the framers had intended just the opposite. They had been perfectly comfortable with impeaching former officials, he said.

They chose to give the Senate “sole power” to try “all impeachments,” he said, citing the Constitution.

“All means all,” Mr. Raskin said. “There are no exceptions to the rule.”





Trump Lawyer Unsuccessfully Disputes Constitutionality of Impeachment

Bruce L. Castor Jr., former President Donald J. Trump’s defense lawyer, opened arguments against impeachment on Tuesday by condemning the violence that took place at the U.S. Capitol, and rejecting the suggestion that the former president was responsible for it.

If we go down the road that my very worthy adversary here, Mr. Raskin, asks you to go down, the floodgates will open. But the political pendulum will shift one day. This chamber, and the chamber across the way, will change one day. And partisan impeachments will become commonplace. This trial is not about trading liberty for security, it’s about trading, it’s about suggesting that it is a good idea that we give up those liberties that we have so long fought for. This trial is about is about trading liberty for the security from the mob? Honestly, no, it can’t be. We can’t be thinking about that. We can’t possibly be suggesting that we punish people for political speech in this country. And if people go and commit lawless acts as a result of their beliefs and they cross the line, they should be locked up.

Video player loadingBruce L. Castor Jr., former President Donald J. Trump’s defense lawyer, opened arguments against impeachment on Tuesday by condemning the violence that took place at the U.S. Capitol, and rejecting the suggestion that the former president was responsible for it.

After two hours of blistering opening statements from House Democrats prosecuting the impeachment case against former President Donald J. Trump, his defense lawyer, Bruce L. Castor Jr., opened with a slip, calling himself the “lead prosecutor.”

It didn’t get much smoother from there.

Mr. Castor, who is most famous for refusing to prosecute Bill Cosby for sexual assault when he was the district attorney in Montgomery County, Pa., started a meandering defense of Mr. Trump in which he rarely referenced the former president or his behavior on Jan. 6, when his supporters stormed the Capitol.

At times, Mr. Castor appeared to be arguing for Mr. Trump’s free speech rights and against a partisan cycle of impeachments. As he spoke, senators in the chamber sometimes appeared confused or uninterested.

At one point, Mr. Castor seemed to refer to Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, who has harshly criticized Mr. Trump for his actions on Jan. 6 and was one of only five members of his party to oppose an effort to dismiss the trial as unconstitutional. Mr. Castor called Nebraska a “judicial-thinking place” and suggested that Mr. Sasse “faces the whirlwind,” drawing a befuddled look from the senator.

As Mr. Castor spoke, other senators appeared restless and started talking among themselves.

“The president’s lawyer just rambled on and on,” said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas. “I’ve seen a lot of lawyers and a lot of arguments, and that was not one of the finest I’ve seen.”

At one point, Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, stood up and leaned against the back wall of the chamber. It was a stark difference from moments before, when the lawmakers had sat rapt at their desks as Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and the lead House impeachment manager, showed a harrowing video of the Capitol assault and closed with a tearful and deeply personal plea for justice.

Toward the end of his remarks, Mr. Castor got around to suggesting that the Senate should not go forward with the impeachment case, arguing that if Mr. Trump committed a crime, the Justice Department should simply arrest him.

“The American people just spoke — they just changed administrations,” said Mr. Castor, who is part of a hastily assembled legal team that stepped in when Mr. Trump parted ways with his original lawyers.

On the conservative TV station Newsmax, Alan M. Dershowitz, who served on Mr. Trump’s defense team during his first impeachment trial last year, panned Mr. Castor’s performance.

“I have no idea what he’s doing,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “Maybe he’ll bring it home, but right now, it does not appear to me to be effective advocacy.”

David I. Schoen, another of Mr. Trump’s impeachment lawyers who followed Mr. Castor, had an easier time keeping senators’ attention. He derided the House managers for hiring what he called a “movie company” to stitch together the most disturbing scenes of the Capitol attack as if it were a “blood sport.” Mr. Schoen played his own video presentation — with sinister music — showing clips of Democratic lawmakers through the years calling for Mr. Trump to be impeached.

And he offered a clear rationale for why a former president should not stand trial, arguing that it would set a dangerous precedent where any former official could be punished after leaving office for having carried out his or her duties.

“Under their unsupportable constitutional theory and tortured reading of the text,” Mr. Schoen said, “every civil officer who has served is at risk of impeachment if any given group elected to the House decides that what was thought to be important service to the country when they served now deserves to be canceled.”

Representative Joe Neguse of Colorado noted that Brian Kalt, a legal scholar cited repeatedly by Mr. Trump’s lawyers, publicly disputed their portrayal of his law journal article on the topic of trying former officials.Credit…Senate Television, via Associated Press

The House impeachment managers spent much of the opening session trying to undercut a key argument of former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers: That the trial itself is unconstitutional.

Democrats asserted early that a president can be tried for offenses committed in office, even if they are no longer serving. That power, they said, is necessary to hold presidents accountable for wrongdoing in their final weeks and to avoid avoiding responsibility with a resignation.

Most legal scholars, including some leading conservatives, agree that a former president can be tried by the Senate even after leaving office — a point Democrats seized upon during their remarks. Representative Joe Neguse of Colorado noted that Brian Kalt, a legal scholar cited repeatedly by Mr. Trump’s lawyers, publicly disputed their portrayal of his law journal article on the topic of trying former officials.

“They misrepresent what I wrote quite badly,” tweeted Mr. Kalt, a law professor at Michigan State University. “My article presented all of the evidence I found on both sides, so there was lots for them to use fairly. They didn’t have to be disingenuous and misleading like this.”

Mr. Trump’s lawyers cited Mr. Kalt’s article 15 times in their impeachment defense brief. His work is an exhaustive analysis of impeachment after leaving office, which ultimately concludes that there is sound historical, legal and constitutional basis for pursing such an action. Last month, Mr. Kalt was one of more than 170 constitutional scholars who signed a letter arguing that the former president can be convicted in an impeachment trial, even though he is no longer in office.

“Professor Kalt’s position — which they had to have known because it is in the article that they cite in the brief — is that removal is ‘not the sole end of impeachment,’’’ Mr. Neguse said. “Actually, in that same article he describes the view advocated by President Trump’s lawyers as having deep flaws.”

“This key constitutional scholar relied on by President Trump set it just right,” Mr. Neguse told the Senate.

Nearly all Senate Republicans voted last month to dismiss the proceedings, arguing that the constitution forbids a former president to be put on trial. The decision to focus on the process allows Republicans and the president’s lawyers to avoid the politically thornier issue of Mr. Trump’s role in inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and the lead impeachment manager, reviews a copy of the Constitution on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The House managers took one final shot at Donald J. Trump on Tuesday morning before the start of his impeachment trial, telling the Senate in a written brief that the former president’s lawyers were relying on “flawed legal theories” because they had “no good defense” for his conduct around the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The 33-page document filed hours before the Senate was to meet as a court of impeachment sought to rebut Mr. Trump’s defenses one by one. The managers reiterated that they believed the Constitution’s founders had intended for impeachment to apply to someone like Mr. Trump, who was charged with a “high crime” on his way out of office, and that free speech protections were irrelevant to their charge.

“President Trump’s pretrial brief confirms that he has no good defense of his incitement of an insurrection against the nation he swore an oath to protect,” wrote the managers, led by Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland. “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.”

Mr. Trump’s team laid out its first sustained impeachment defense on Monday in a 78-page brief.

In it, they argued that Mr. Trump did not “direct anyone to commit unlawful actions” on Jan. 6 or deserve responsibility for the conduct of a “small group of criminals” who stormed into the Capitol after he urged them to “fight like hell.” But the bulk of the case rested on the contention that the Senate “lacks jurisdiction” to try a former president after he has already left office.

It also took aim at Democrats, accusing them of cravenly exploiting a national tragedy to “silence a political opponent and a minority party.”

The Democratic House managers’ reply was just as sharp.

They dismissed as “implausible” the assertion that Mr. Trump had merely been urging his supporters to merely advocate election security, rather than actually try to overturn the election as Congress met to formalize his loss.

“In his speech, President Trump did not direct his supporters to go home and lobby their state legislatures, but instead directed them to march to the Capitol and fight,” they wrote.

They also argued that there should be no limit on the Senate’s ability to try a president who was impeached before his term expired for conduct while in office, since the Constitution allows the Senate to act to bar a convicted president from holding office in the future. Immunizing an ex-president from possible punishment, they argued, would create a dangerous “January exception” allowing presidents to do whatever they would like on the way out the door.

“President Trump does not even attempt to explain why the framers would have provided that a sitting president found to have endangered the nation should be disqualified from returning to office, but a former president found to have done the exact same thing should be free to return,” they wrote.

“This is not something I requested,” Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, said in an interview. “I want to make sure I do the best job possible, when people look back at it.”Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Patrick J. Leahy, the chamber’s longest-serving senator, has been thrust into an unprecedented trifecta of roles in the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump: Witness, juror and judge.

Mr. Leahy, 80, was inside the Senate chamber when it was locked down last month as rioters breached the Capitol. He is one of 100 senators now tasked with deciding whether to convict Mr. Trump on the charge of “incitement of insurrection” for his role in stirring up the rampage on Jan. 6. And, barely a month into reclaiming his role as president pro tempore of the Senate — a post reserved for the senior-most member of the majority party that places him third in line to the presidency — overseeing the trial has fallen to him.

For Mr. Leahy, the role is the latest challenging chapter in a senatorial career that is older than some of his colleagues. He said he hoped his more than four decades of sitting on the Senate dais and wielding the ivory gavel had prepared him for the task.

“I’ve presided hundreds of hours — I don’t know how many rulings I’ve made,” Mr. Leahy said in an interview. “I’ve never had anyone, Republican or Democrat, say my rulings were not fair.”

Mr. Trump’s lawyers have a different view, pointing to Mr. Leahy’s participation in the trial as evidence for their contention — rejected by many scholars and prominent lawyers — that the entire proceeding is unconstitutional.

“Now, instead of the chief justice, the trial will be overseen by a biased and partisan senator who will purportedly also act as a juror while ruling on issues that arise,” they wrote in their trial memorandum submitted on Monday.

The role of presiding officer in an impeachment trial has traditionally been a murky and limited one. The Constitution provides little guidance, other than to specify that the chief justice of the Supreme Court should preside over the impeachment trial of a president.

But Mr. Trump is a former president, and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. signaled that he was not interested in reprising his role. As president of the Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris was the next logical choice, but she had little desire to insert herself into what promised to be a highly politicized trial.

So the job landed in Mr. Leahy’s lap.

“This is not something I requested,” Mr. Leahy said. “I want to make sure I do the best job possible, when people look back at it.”

In a letter to his colleagues before the trial on Tuesday, Mr. Leahy vowed to “conduct this trial with fairness to all,” and said he would put any constitutional question before the Senate for a full vote.

Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Mike Lee of Utah walking to the Senate floor for the start of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday.Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Senator Mike Lee of Utah, a conservative Republican, suggested on Tuesday that former President Donald J. Trump be given a “mulligan” for exhorting an angry gathering of supporters to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Mr. Lee, appearing on Fox News, was asked if he thought Mr. Trump’s speech was “different” from comments made by Democrats encouraging their backers to confront Republicans, as the show’s hosts played video clips of Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.

“Look, it is not different,” Mr. Lee said, hours before Mr. Trump’s second impeachment trial began in the Senate.

“Look, everyone makes mistakes, everyone is entitled to a mulligan once in a while,” he said. “And I would hope — I would expect that each of those individuals would take a mulligan on each of those statements.”

None of the Democrats’ statements aired by Fox resulted in violence.

A mulligan, in golf, refers to the informal practice of allowing an opponent to take a second shot after an errant first swing without incurring any penalty on the official scorecard.

Mr. Lee’s comments drew an angry response from Jaime Harrison, the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “Mulligan?! Several died. Hundreds injured. Threats were made to murder the Vice President of the US and the Speaker of the House,” Mr. Harrison wrote on Twitter. “Our nation’s Capitol Building was desecrated. Senator this is not a damn golf game!”

Mr. Lee, who served as a clerk for the conservative Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito, has argued that the impeachment article brought by House Democrats was not permitted under the Constitution. He said he would vote for acquittal regardless of evidence presented at the trial.

An email to Mr. Lee’s spokesman requesting an explanation of his remarks was not immediately returned. But some of his defenders on social media said that he was making a larger point about the need for civility in both parties.

As an example of what he viewed as a recent transgression, Mr. Lee singled out Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, for “making it personal” when she recently took a swipe at his ally, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

“As individuals, I think most of us, nearly all of us, really like each other. There is, however, a palpable degree of contention on certain issues,” Mr. Lee said. “And I think one of the antidotes to that really is more debate and discussion.”

In recent weeks, two voting-technology companies have each filed 10-figure lawsuits against Mr. Trump’s lawyers, including Rudolph W. Giuliani.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Former President Donald J. Trump’s Senate impeachment trial will begin oral arguments on Tuesday but the apparatus that fed him much of his power — the conservative news media — is facing a test of its own. This might ultimately have a much bigger impact on the future of American politics than anything that happens to Mr. Trump as an individual.

In recent weeks, two voting-technology companies have each filed 10-figure lawsuits against Mr. Trump’s lawyers and his allies in the media, claiming they spread falsehoods that did tangible harm. This comes amid an already-raging debate over whether to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which prevents online companies from being held liable for the views expressed on their platforms.

The impeachment trial on Tuesday offered early signs that conservative media outlets may be trying to avoid revisiting the more polarizing aspects of Mr. Trump’s tenure in office. Cable news channels that have largely been supportive of Mr. Trump did not dwell on the trial, with Fox News focusing its early analysis on the National Guard troops still stationed in Washington. Roughly 45 minutes into opening arguments, Newsmax — an ultraconservative TV station that has expanded its popularity by lining up to the right of Fox News — cut away from its uninterrupted coverage and the anchor John Bachman offered viewers an apology.

“The video was played on the onset — we apologize if folks were tuning in,” he said. “Obviously, some strong language there. But that was video evidence presented by Democrats.”

As the Senate weighs the role Mr. Trump played in the riot on the Capitol on Jan. 6, conservative news outlets have found themselves becoming part of the larger story about the baseless claims of election malfeasance that sparked the attack.

On Thursday, the voting-machine company Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, some of its prominent hosts and two lawyers who represented Mr. Trump, Sidney Powell and Rudolph W. Giuliani. The suit accuses them of mounting a campaign of defamation by claiming that Smartmatic had been involved in an effort to throw the election. That came on the heels of a similar $1.3 billion suit that Dominion Voting Systems brought against Mr. Giuliani the week before.

The impact was immediate. Newsmax cut off an interview with the MyPillow founder Mike Lindell last week while he attacked Dominion — something that commentators had done on the station many times before. Then, over the weekend, Fox Business sidelined Lou Dobbs, one of Mr. Trump’s fiercest TV news defenders and a defendant named in the Smartmatic lawsuit.

Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and the lead impeachment manager in former President Donald J. Trump’s trial, talking with fellow House managers in an empty hearing room on Monday as they prepare for their opening arguments.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The second impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump begins on Tuesday, about a month after he was charged by the House with incitement of insurrection for his role in egging on a violent mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Here’s what you need to know.

A bipartisan agreement reached on Monday could pave the way for an especially quick and efficient proceeding that could be over by early next week.

The Senate is poised to vote to approve the rules and formally begin the trial at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Up to four hours will be devoted to debating the constitutionality of impeaching a president who is no longer in office. If a simple majority of senators agree to move forward, as expected, the main part of the trial begins.

Starting Wednesday, the prosecution and the defense will have 16 hours each to present their cases to the senators, who are serving as a jury.

Tradition dictates that senators are then allowed at least one day to ask questions. The trial is expected to conclude with closing arguments and a final vote on whether to convict Mr. Trump. If the trial is not over by Saturday, the Senate intends to hold a rare Sunday session to continue with it, according to the trial rules.

In a fast-paced and cinematic case, the House managers will argue before the Senate that Mr. Trump is guilty of inciting a deadly mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The prosecution plans to show videos captured by the mob, Mr. Trump’s unvarnished words and criminal pleas from rioters who said they acted at the former president’s behest. House managers are aiming for a conviction and to bar Mr. Trump from holding office again.

In a 78-page brief filed on Monday, Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued that the impeachment proceedings were unconstitutional because Congress has no basis for judging a former president.

On Friday, more than 140 constitutional lawyers took aim at that argument, calling it “legally frivolous.”

Members of the Sergeant at Arms’ office placing social distancing markers on the floor of the press area outside the Senate chamber.Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

The United States Capitol is made out of marble, sandstone, cast iron and the less visible buttresses of American democratic traditions.

For all the history within its walls, the Capitol has never seen days like these — a pandemic that has altered the operations of the national legislature, a violent attack by a mob of Americans on Jan. 6 and, now, the second impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump. With their attack on the Capitol, the mob of his supporters threatened a foundational principle of democratic government, the peaceful transfer of power.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York TimesCredit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York TimesCredit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

The most conspicuous damage from the deadly riot at the Capitol was swept away and patched up weeks ago, but jarring reminders of the attack still scarred the Capitol as the Senate prepared for the impeachment trial of Mr. Trump which began on Tuesday.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York TimesCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York TimesCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

House Democrats, acting as the impeachment managers — legislator-prosecutors, in effect — worked late into the night on Monday to prepare a case against Mr. Trump, relying on videos of the attack, Mr. Trump’s previous statements and written testimony.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The Capitol is not just a workplace these days. It is also home to a contingent of armed National Guard troops deployed to defend against the ongoing threat of attacks. It is the first time troops have been quartered in the complex since the Civil War, before the invention of snack machines.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York TimesPresident Biden walking to the Oval Office at the White House on Monday.Credit…Oliver Contreras for The New York Times

President Biden’s predecessor stands accused of fomenting an insurrection, but Mr. Biden insisted that he was not allowing the spectacle to distract him from addressing the pandemic and the economy.

“I’m sure they’re going to conduct themselves well, and that’s all I have to say about impeachment,” Mr. Biden told reporters at the White House on Tuesday afternoon, as Democratic impeachment managers were making their opening arguments in the impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Biden’s schedule aimed at illustrating his walk-and-chew-gum point that impeachment would not impede governance.

He is due to meet in the Oval Office with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the vice president, and a handful of business executives for a discussion about the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package being debated on Capitol Hill, and Mr. Biden’s push to increase the minimum wage.

“I think it’s clear from his schedule, and from his intention, he will not spend too much time watching the proceedings,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Monday.

Mr. Biden and his team have gone out of their way for weeks to insist that responding to Mr. Trump’s actions ahead of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol should be left to members of Congress. Ms. Psaki repeatedly waved off questions about what Mr. Biden thought about how the trial should be conducted.

Now that the spectacle is beginning, the White House is maintaining that above-the-fray posture. Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are scheduled to receive their daily intelligence briefing on Tuesday morning. Ms. Psaki will hold her daily exchange with reporters even as senators begin their impeachment debate.

The afternoon meeting with Ms. Yellen will also include chief executives: Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase; Doug McMillon of Walmart; Sonia Syngal of the Gap; Marvin R. Ellison of Lowes; and Thomas J. Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

A White House news release described the meeting as an opportunity for Mr. Biden to press his case for “the critical need for the American Rescue Plan to save our economy.” But one person said the president also intended to discuss his case for increasing the minimum wage.

Mr. Biden has proposed an increase in the minimum wage to $15 as part of his virus relief package. The chamber asked Mr. Biden in a letter this month to drop the minimum wage increase from his relief proposal. At least one Democratic senator is on record opposing the increase, which could make it difficult to pass in the evenly divided chamber.

Mr. McMillion, the Walmart chief, said last month that he opposes a universal minimum wage increase to $15, saying wage increases should take into account regional differences and the impact on small businesses.

President Donald J. Trump and Melania Trump boarded Air Force One for the last time on Inauguration Day.Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

A big difference between the second and first impeachment trials of Donald J. Trump is the sound of (relative) silence.

Unlike his first Senate trial, just over a year ago, Mr. Trump has no Twitter feed to provide play-by-play commentary, amplify supporters and attack his political opponents as the proceedings unfold. He also lacks the bully pulpit of the presidency.

Instead, as the trial began on Tuesday afternoon, the former president is expected to be busy with meetings at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Fla., while sporadically watching the trial, people close to him said on Tuesday.

Even his allies were putting up only a scattered defense of him in connection to the single charge he faces for his role in inciting the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Instead, most focused their comments on the decision by the Senate to hold the trial at all now that Mr. Trump has left office, casting it as an argument over constitutional principles rather than a defense of his behavior.

“The Senate is now set to spend yet another week focused on impeaching a private citizen from an office he no longer holds,” Representative Lauren Boebert, a first-term Republican from Colorado who also encouraged the protesters, wrote late Monday on Twitter. “The Left doesn’t know how to govern and is still focused on trying to blame Trump for everything.”

Sean Hannity, the Fox host and Trump adviser, spent more of his show on Monday lashing out at Democrats than explicitly defending his friend’s actions, claiming that impeachment was “like a drug” and that liberals had become addicted to it.

Over the past few days, the Twitter accounts of many Republicans who had fiercely defended Mr. Trump during his first trial had turned to other topics.

Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader of the House who was one of Mr. Trump’s stoutest defenders a year ago, on Tuesday blasted the three-week-old Biden administration for taking away jobs from blue-collar workers. And Mr. Trump’s former White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, posted a string of tweets celebrating the Super Bowl victory of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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