Democrats continue opening arguments on Day 3 of Trump impeachment trial

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Former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial got underway Thursday with Democrats set to wrap up their case — a day after they unveiled new surveillance video that showed how narrowly some lawmakers escaped last month’s Capitol riot.

Impeachment managers from the House of Representatives have up to eight hours to conclude their presentation before Trump’s lawyers get their chance to defend him against a charge of “incitement of insurrection” in the Jan. 6 rampage by his supporters.

It’s unclear if the House managers will use up all their allotted time, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said that some of the Day 3 session may be devoted to a complaint lodged by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

During Wednesday’s proceeding, Lee forcefully objected when House manager David Cicilline (D-RI) referred to published claims that Trump mistakenly phoned Lee during the riot.

“They are not true! They were false!” Lee said.

“I ask them to be stricken.”

Lead House manager Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) agreed to strike the remarks from the record, saying they had “nothing to do with our case.”

Meanwhile, some GOP senators said Wednesday’s dramatic, never-before-seen evidence wouldn’t likely affect their vote on the verdict — which is expected to end in Trump’s acquittal.

“Today’s presentation was powerful and emotional, reliving a terrorist attack on our nation’s Capitol,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said.

“But there was very little said about how specific conduct of the president satisfies the legal standard.”

The Senate’s No. 2 Republican — John Thune of South Dakota — called the Democratic presentation “very effective” and said, “I think they’ve done a good job connecting the dots.”

But Thune — against whom Trump has encouraged a primary challenge next year — added, “I’ll see what kind of arguments the defense put out.”

On Tuesday, 44 Senate Republicans voted to block the trial based on Trump’s argument that the lawmakers don’t have jurisdiction over him because he’s no longer in office, having been succeeded by President Biden on Jan. 20.

The move was thwarted when six GOP colleagues switched sides and threw in with all 50 Democrats to go forward with Trump’s second impeachment trial.

But the vote, which followed an even closer one of 55-45 on the same issue last month, strongly suggests House managers will be unable to convince at least 17 Republican senators help comprise the two-thirds majority needed to convict.

During Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, the Senate acquitted him of charges he allegedly abused his power and obstructed Congress over a phone call in which he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter.

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