Donald Trump deserves impeachment and conviction because he “sided with the insurrectionists” who invaded the U.S. Capitol January 6, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline said as Trump’s trial began Tuesday in the Senate.
“The president of the United States sided with the insurrectionists. He celebrated their cause. He validated their attack,” the gay Rhode Island Democrat, one of nine House impeachment managers, told senators, according to Newsweek. “He told them, ‘Remember this day forever!’ hours after they marched through these halls looking to assassinate Vice President Pence, the speaker of the House, and any of us they could find.”
The pro-Trump rioters, having been egged on by the then-president at a rally, vandalized offices in the capitol and interrupted a joint session of Congress’s certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory in the presidential election, although Congress was able to reconvene and certify the vote later. The riot led directly to the deaths of at least five people, including a Capitol Police officer, and injuries to many more.
Trump’s legal team has argued that he should not be tried because he is out of office. But the article of impeachment for inciting the insurrection was filed while Trump was still president, noted Cicilline, who was lead sponsor of the article.
“President Trump was impeached while he was in office for conduct in office. Period,” Cicilline said.
He added, “Impeachment is not merely about removing someone from office. Fundamentally, impeachment exists to protect our constitutional system.”
When a president is impeached, the House brings the charges, while the Senate holds the trial and votes on whether to convict. If Trump is convicted, the Senate could take another vote — on whether to bar him from holding office again.
Cicilline also shredded the Trump legal team’s argument that the charges should be dismissed so the nation can “move on” in a spirit of bipartisanship.
“With all due respect, every premise and every conclusion of that argument is wrong,” he said. “Just weeks ago, the president of the United States literally incited an armed attack on the capitol, our seat of government, while seeking to retain power by subverting an election he lost and then celebrated the attack. People died. People were brutally injured, and President Trump is singularly responsible for inciting it.”
The Senate ended up voting 56-44 that the trial could proceed; six Republicans joined Democrats in voting to do so. Watch a clip of Cicilline’s remarks below.