TRUMP’S SENATE TRIAL MOVES FORWARD AFTER VOTE AFFIRMS IT’S CONSTITUTIONAL, SIX REPUBLICANS JOIN DEMS: Former President Donald Trump‘s Senate impeachment trial on a single count of “incitement of insurrection” will move forward with opening arguments today (February 10th), after the Senate voted 56-44 yesterday that it’s constitutional to hold the trial for a former president who’s no longer in office. Six Republicans joined all the Democrats in affirming the trial’s legitimacy. The vote came after arguments were presented during the afternoon by three of the Democratic House managers who are prosecuting the case, and two defense attorneys for Trump.
Managers’ Case: The House managers began their presentation with a 13-minute video of violent scenes from the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, as well as of Trump urging the crowd at his rally that day to march to the Capitol, where the electoral votes were formally being certified for Joe Biden‘s presidential election win, and, quote, “fight like hell.” Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin argued that saying Trump can’t be tried because he is no longer in office creates what he called a “January exception” to impeachable offenses, that would allow a president to commit wrongdoing as he’s leaving office. Rep. Joe Neguse argued that impeachment, quote, “exists for a case just like this one.” Raskin grew emotional at one point as he spoke about his daughter and son-in-law being at the Capitol on January 6th and fearing for their lies as they hid in an office, saying, “This cannot be the future of America.”
The Defense: Trump’s attorney’s contended that it would be unconstitutional to have an impeachment trial of a president once they’ve left office, with David Schoen arguing that it would open any former office holder to retroactive impeachment, which he portrayed as being “canceled.” In making his argument, Bruce Castor acknowledged something Trump still hasn’t, that he lost the election, saying Trump shouldn’t be convicted and barred from holding federal office because the American people with their votes had already decided to remove him from office. The two men argued that Trump’s remarks were protected by the First Amendment, and Schoen accused the Democrats of partisan motivation in impeachment Trump, saying they were fueled by, quote, “base hatred” of him. To back that up, they showed their own video of several Democratic lawmakers calling during Trump’s presidency for him to be impeached.
Trump Furious at Attorneys’ Presentation: Trump’s attorneys didn’t get high marks, including from many of the Senate Republicans who back Trump, particularly Castor, whose presentation was unfocused and rambling, and they appeared to be unprepared. Trump himself was also said to be unhappy with his attorneys, with reports saying he was furious as he watched from his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he’s now residing.
Raskin: [“Their argument is that if you commit an impeachable offense in your last few weeks in office, you do it with constitutional impunity. **EDIT** It’s 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.”] SOUNDCUE (:22 OC . . . lock that door.)
[“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.”] SOUNDCUE (:14 OC . . . the United States.)
Neguse: [“Impeachment exists to protect the American people from officials who abuse their power. Who betray them. It exists for a case just like this one.”] SOUNDCUE (:15 OC . . . like this one.)
Castor: [“The American people just spoke, and they just changed administrations. **EDIT** They’re smart enough to pick a new administration if they don’t like the old one, and they just did.”] SOUNDCUE (:12 OC . . . they just did.)
Schoen: [“Under their unsupportable constitutional theory and tortured reading of the text, 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.”] SOUNDCUE (:19 OC . . . to be canceled.)
[“A great many Americans see this process for exactly what it is, a chance by a group of partisan politicians seeking to eliminate Donald Trump from the American political scene and seeking to disenfranchise 74 million-plus American voters and those who dare to share their political beliefs and vision of America.”] SOUNDCUE (:24 OC . . . vision of America.)
WHO: CORONAVIRUS UNLIKELY TO HAVE COME FROM CHINESE LAB: A team of World Health Organization experts who went to Wuhan, China, to investigate the origins of the coronavirus said Tuesday (February 9th) that it most likely first appeared in humans after jumping from a bat to another animal and then to us, and that the theory some have put forward that it may have escaped from a Chinese lab was unlikely. Team leader Peter Ben Embarek said at a news conference at the end of the four-week visit that experts now consider the lab leak theory so improbable that it won’t be suggested as something for future study. However, another team member, Thea Koelsen Fischer, said they couldn’t rule out the possibility of further investigation and new leads. China has strongly rejected the idea that there was a leak from a lab.
ONE PERSON KILLED, FOUR INJURED IN SHOOTING AT MINNESOTA HEALTH CLINIC: One person was killed and four others injured in a shooting at an Allina health clinic in Buffalo, Minnesota, yesterday morning (February 9th). Three of the injured were in critical but stable condition last night. Gregory Paul Ulrich, a 67-year-old from Buffalo, was arrested, with police saying he’d been unhappy with the health care he received at the clinic. Bomb technicians were investigating a suspicious device left at the clinic and others at a motel where Ulrich was staying. Police said they didn’t know yet if Ulrich had targeted anyone specifically, but AP said court records show he had been ordered at one point to have no contact with a man whose name matches that of a doctor at the clinic. Police Chief Pat Budke said Ulrich has had a long history of conflict with health care clinics in the area and was well known to law enforcement.
CRACKDOWN IN MYANMAR ON PROTESTERS AGAINST MILITARY COUP: Police in Myanmar shot water cannons and fired warnings shots in a crackdown yesterday (February 9th) to disperse people who have been demonstrating against the country’s military coup despite new protest bans. There were reports of many injuries. The protesters are demanding that power be restored to the deposed civilian government and that ousted national leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other governing figures who have been detained since the February 1st coup be freed. The U.S. State Department condemned violence against the protesters and repeated calls for the military to restore power to the civilian government.