Trump's second impeachment trial: Day 2

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Melissa Mahtani and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 11:41 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021
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2:29 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

GOP senator doesn't think Democrats' presentation "is going to change minds"

From CNN's Manu Raju

 Joshua Roberts/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
 Joshua Roberts/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, insisted he was paying attention when sitting in the upstairs gallery and while reading a stack of documents from his manilla folder. He said he was reading legal briefs in the case. He's the lone senator sitting in the upstairs gallery.

"Oh I'm very interested. That's why I'm sitting where I am," Hawley told CNN.

Asked what he was reading, he said:

"Well I've got the trial briefs with me, and taking notes. I'm sitting up there A, because it's a little less claustrophobic than on the floor, but B, I've also got a straight shot. Where I sit in the Senate chamber, as you know, I'm kind of in the corner. I can basically see the back of their heads. But I sort of picked a spot where I can look right down on them, I can see the TV, and it's interesting."

Hawley added that if Republican senators don't think the Senate has jurisdiction to try the case, there's no reason in his view, why there should be any should vote to convict – a view expressed by many GOP senators.

Hawley said Democrats are presenting their case in a "very understandable, easy-to-follow manner."

But he added, "I don't think it's going to change any minds. In my view, we don't have jurisdiction."

2:19 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Trump aide says former President thinks his lawyers need to "tighten up" their arguments

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins 

Former President Trump adviser Jason Miller told Fox News that Trump is in "a great mood." He said he spoke with him about five minutes ago.

"The President agrees with my position that the Democrats, everything they are saying today is very easily rebutted," Miller said on Fox News. "There's a critical detail here, Sandra [Smith] — the fact that Democrats aren't using the entire speech. Everything is selective. Not only regarding his speech, but regarding the Constitution, words law professor Jonathan Turley said. They haven't played the clips of President Trump saying be peaceful, patriotic."

He said Trump's legal defense team will point out how "hypocritical" the House impeachment managers were during their arguments. 

Regarding reports, including from CNN, that Trump was unhappy with his legal team yesterday, Miller said, "The President thinks David Schoen did a very excellent job. Also, there were good points Bruce Castor made. There are a few things we need to tighten up."

2:07 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

The Senate is back in session

After a quick 15-minute break, the Senate is back in session.

House impeachment managers are continuing their arguments and will show evidence in the case against former President Trump.

2:10 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Senators still hope to finish the impeachment trial as soon as Saturday night

From CNN's Lauren Fox and Manu Raju

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives at the US Capitol on February 10.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives at the US Capitol on February 10. Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walked his conference through the impeachment timeline today during the private GOP lunch. He laid out that it was still possible to finish this trial by Saturday evening, according to GOP Sen. Kevin Cramer.

Finishing by Saturday would mean they would do senators' questions, closing arguments and the final vote that day – and push back doing senators' final speeches until later. The ultimate vote has not been decided yet, in part because the question about whether Democrats will seek witnesses is still not fully resolved, but all signs point to the trial ending this weekend.

Unlike the 2020 trial, when many senators from both parties took to the floor and gave floor speeches before the final conviction vote, Cramer also indicated that fewer GOP senators would speak this time – a sentiment echoed by many other of his colleagues.

The reason, Republican senators say, is that not as many GOP senators want to publicly defend Trump. Moreover, senators from both parties are eager to get home for next week's Presidents Day recess.

 “I think there is a lot of incentive for that,” Cramer said about trying to end Saturday.

Cramer told reporters that he believed that many of the Senate speeches that can bog down the end of an impeachment trial wouldn’t come until after the trial concluded and after a vote on conviction had already happened. But the timing on floor speeches hasn't been decided by the leaders yet.

“We have talked about that in the shop. If we were to give speeches, it would be after the trial is over,” Cramer said. “I expect we would have the vote as soon as we can, move along… then if senators want to take their opportunities, they probably will.”

Cramer said he will likely put something in the record, but he was not sure if he would formally speak.

2:10 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

House managers are subtly reaching out to Republicans during their arguments, CNN legal analyst says

House impeachment managers used their arguments today to subtly reach out to Republicans, Ross Garber, a CNN legal analyst and Tulane Law School instructor, pointed out as the second day of trial proceedings are underway on Wednesday.

Garber noted that Rep. Joe Neguse, a House impeachment manager, praised Vice President Pence during his remarks and Rep. Eric Swalwell, another manager, distinguished between peaceful and violent protesters at the insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6.

"That's very important," Garber said. "It is one thing to get folks there to rally, but if what Trump wanted was violence, to what end? Because it actually doesn't make any sense. What happened with the violent insurrection – it didn't help him at all. I think the managers need to address that. If that was his intent, why?"

Watch:

1:54 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

House impeachment managers chronicle Trump's pressure campaign to overturn election results

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

While chronicling former President Trump’s tweets in the run-up to the insurrection, Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, pointed out that Trump even pressured the Justice Department to overturn election results.

The tweet said: “The "Justice" Department and the FBI have done nothing about the 2020 Presidential Election Voter Fraud, the biggest SCAM in our nation's history, despite overwhelming evidence. They should be ashamed. History will remember. Never give up. See everyone in D.C. on January 6th.”

Trump posted the tweet on Dec. 26, less than two weeks before the attack.

Some more context: We’ve learned more about what was going on behind-the-scenes at that time. According to news reports, Trump plotted to have the Justice Department file lawsuits to throw out millions of votes against him, and if the top Justice Department officials weren’t willing to do it, they would be replaced by loyalists.

This saga was one of Trump’s final efforts during his four-year term to pressure the Justice Department to serve his personal and political interests. CNN previously chronicled several examples of this pattern of behavior, of Trump crossing ethical and possibly legal lines by leaning on the Justice Department.

Watch:

1:44 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Senators take a 15-minute break

Senate TV
Senate TV

The hearing in the second impeachment trial of former President Trump has gone on a short 15-minute break.

After the break, the House impeachment managers will continue their arguments and show evidence in the case against Trump.

1:19 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

House managers highlight rioter who wanted to assassinate Pelosi 

From CNN's Marshall Cohen 

House Democrats are pointing out the violent threats that some of the Capitol rioters made, perhaps in an attempt to rekindle the life-or-death emotions that senators faced during the insurrection. 

Rep. Joe Neguse, one of the House impeachment managers, cited one of the most disturbing comments to emerge from the thousands of pages of court filings stemming from the Capitol insurrection. He specifically mentioned an alleged Capitol rioter who lamented the fact that she wasn’t able to assassinate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

CNN previously reported on the woman, Dawn Bancroft, who was charged with violent entry on Capitol grounds, remaining in a restricted area and disorderly conduct in a restricted building.

In an affidavit, investigators cited a "selfie" video they say was taken by Bancroft. Investigators claim she is heard saying, "We broke into the Capitol... We got inside, we did our part."

"We were looking for Nancy to shoot her in the friggin' brain, but we didn't find her," Bancroft said, according to the affidavit.

She has not been charged with threatening Pelosi or any lawmakers.

Rep. Joe Neguse presents affidavit:

1:38 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Rep. Swalwell is presenting Democrats' evidence in the Senate. Here are key things to know about him. 

From CNN’s Maureen Chowdhury 

Senate TV
Senate TV

Impeachment manager Rep. Eric Swalwell is speaking now on the Senate floor. He's arguing that former President Trump spent months fueling his supporters with lies about the 2020 election results.

"Instead of accepting the results or pursuing legitimate claims, he told his base more lies. He doused the flames with kerosene. And this wasn't just some random guy at the neighborhood bar blowing off steam. This was our commander in chief," Swalwell said.

Swalwell, of California’s 15th district, has been a vocal critic of former President Trump. In Trump’s first impeachment trial, Swalwell sat on two committees that investigated Trump’s involvement in soliciting information from Ukrainian officials to use against Joe Biden in his campaign. 

Ahead of the House vote to impeach Trump, Swalwell said that President Trump not only incited the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, but “this President has inspired future plots, America is still under attack and that is why Donald Trump must be impeached.”

After being named as one the impeachment managers for Trump’s second Senate trial, Swalwell released the following statement:

“A president’s greatest responsibility is to protect American lives and defend American ideals. Donald Trump has failed to do both. For the safety of all Americans and the continuity of our experiment in self-governance, Donald Trump must be removed from office… It is a solemn privilege to be named an Impeachment Manager. I vow to work collaboratively with the Impeachment Manager team to make a case to the Senate for conviction and removal.”

Swalwell serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and on the Judiciary Committee. He is a former prosecutor and is the son and brother of law enforcement officers. He is serving his fifth term in Congress.