Senators question both sides over events of Capitol riot, political rhetoric

Politics

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Democratic and Republican senators spent Friday afternoon asking questions to the impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team during day 4 of former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial .

Questions ranged from discussing specifics of the Capitol riots to the potential precedents convicting the former president would set for future presidents. 30 senators asked questions over the four hour period with several doubling up on questions to avoid repeating each other.

NewsNation spoke with WGN Political Analyst Paul Lisnek about Day 4 of the impeachment proceedings.

One of the first questions came from Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who have been critical of Trump’s actions. They asked Trump’s lawyers to lay out in detail what Trump did to stop the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and when Trump first learned the building had been breached.

Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen did not answer directly, instead accusing Democrats of denying Trump due process during the impeachment process.

“The House managers did zero investigation and the American people deserve a lot better than that,” he said.

The proceedings will continue tomorrow at noon EST. You can watch the Trump impeachment trial live stream here.

On that line of questioning, Senators Romney and Collins asked both the impeachment managers and the defense team: “When President Trump sent the disparaging tweet at 2:24 p.m. regarding Vice President Pence, was he aware that the vice president had been removed from the Senate by the Secret Service for his safety?”

Some senators used the questioning period to ask more broad political questions including asking if the former president was the most Pro-Israel president of all time or if the defense believed President Biden won the election.

Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren asked a question allowing House impeachment managers to respond to the Trump legal defense team’s video presentation of Democrats previously making electoral college objections.

A closely watched figure in this week’s impeachment trial is Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy who voted for the trial to procced on Tuesday. After a back and forth dispute over when Trump knew former vice president Mike Pence was in danger during the Capitol riots, Cassidy’s one question sought to clarify what the president knew.

Senator Tuberville reports that he spoke to President Trump at 2:15 p.m. He told the President that the Vice President had just evacuated. I presumed it was understood at this time that rioters had entered the capitol and threatened the safety of senators and the vice president. Even after hearing at 2:24 p.m. that Mike Pence lacked courage. He did not call for law enforcement backup until then. The tweet and lack of response suggests President Trump did not care that vice president Pence was endangered or that law enforcement was overwhelmed. Does this show that President Trump was tolerant of the intimidation of Vice President Pence?

Question from Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)

The Trump legal team responded to Cassidy’s question by saying, “Directly no, but I dispute the premise of your facts.”

Trump’s defense wrapped up their opening arguments earlier Friday, telling Senators the impeachment is unconstitutional and politically motivated.

The day ended with the Senate awarding Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman a Congressional Gold Medal for his actions on January 6th. The Senate gave Goodman a standing ovation after unanimously passing the legislation.

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