The Latest: Biden not watching trial, focuses on pandemic

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WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on former President Donald Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial (all times local):

1:40 p.m.

President Joe Biden is planning to largely ignore the impeachment trial of his predecessor and plans to focus on the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday said Biden would not be watching the trial of former President Donald Trump and would not “opine on back and forth arguments” taking place during the proceedings.

Biden, and Psaki on his behalf, have for weeks steadfastly refused to address much of the trial, saying they believed the process had to be done but have avoided weighing in on the particulars.

The White House has also made clear that it intends to focus on the business of government while the trial continues.

Pushing for the passage of his COVID-19 relief package, Biden was to meet with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday. He also plans visits to the Pentagon and National Institute of Health later this week.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S SECOND SENATE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL:

Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial has opened, an undertaking like no other in U.S. history. The defeated former president stands charged by the House with inciting the deadly mob attack on the Capitol to overturn the election in what prosecutors argue is the “most grievous constitutional crime.”

Read more:

– What to watch as Trump’s 2nd impeachment trial kicks off

– EXPLAINER: What’s ahead as Trump impeachment trial begins

– Key arguments by Trump’s lawyers ahead of impeachment trial

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:

1 p.m.

Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial has opened in the Senate, with Democrats arguing that the former president should be convicted for inciting a violent mob of his supporters to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Tuesday is the first day of arguments in the trial, which is expected to last around a week or more. Senators, sitting at their desks and in other locations around the chamber, will listen to arguments from Trump’s lawyers that the trial is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer president. Democrats will dispute that claim, pointing to legal experts and historical precedent.

Each side has two hours to make its case on Tuesday, after which the Senate is expected to vote and reject the GOP efforts to dismiss the trial.

Opening arguments from the House Democrats start Wednesday, and Trump’s lawyers are expected to mount their defense starting on Friday.

Trump is the first former president to be tried after leaving office. The House impeached Trump Jan. 13, a week before Democrat Joe Biden was inaugurated.

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12:10 p.m.

House Democrats prosecuting the impeachment case against Donald Trump say in a final pre-trial brief the former president’s lawyers are trying to “shift the blame onto his supporters” as they argue he’s not to blame for the Capitol insurrection.

The Democrats say the lawyers’ argument that Trump did not incite the Jan. 6 riot ignores Trump’s earlier false statements that there was widespread fraud in the election and his attempts to rally his supporters.

Trump’s team says he was protected by freedom of speech when he told his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his election defeat. It says Trump was using “fight” as a general term, not a direction to be violent.

Democrats say the Republican former president “knew that many of his supporters, agitated by his barrage of lies about a stolen election, were prone to violence.”

The Democrats prosecuting the case this week plan to show videos of the riot and tell graphic and personal stories of the rioting, in which five people died.

Trump’s lawyers say they also will have video.

The trial starts Tuesday.

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10:40 a.m.

House impeachment managers plan to lay out a “devastating” case that is similar to a criminal prosecution in former President Donald Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial. That’s according to senior aides familiar with the managers’ arguments.

The managers are nine House Democrats chosen by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to argue the case. The aides say the managers will lay out a succinct story that shows Trump’s “singular” responsibility for the deadly Jan. 6 riot, starting with his false claims about election fraud and culminating with the assault on the Capitol. They say the managers will use videos and personal stories to argue that Trump is guilty of inciting the riot, including evidence that hasn’t been seen before.

The aides work on the impeachment managers’ team and were granted anonymity to discuss their upcoming arguments.

Trump’s lawyers plan to argue that Trump did not incite the riot, even though he told his supporters to “fight like hell” just before they laid siege to the Capitol.

The trial will start Tuesday with arguments over whether it should be dismissed. Republicans argue it is not constitutional because Trump is out of office. Democrats say there is no “January exception” in the constitution if a president commits impeachable offenses.

– By Mary Clare Jalonick.

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Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.





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