The second day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump will kick off Wednesday at noon ET, with the Democratic impeachment managers commencing their opening arguments.
They have 16 hours over two days to make their presentations and then Trump’s attorneys begin their defense with the same amount of time allotted — proceedings that will take the trial into the weekend and likely beyond.
When opening arguments are done, senators will be able to question the two sides for a total of four hours by submitting written questions to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the Senate president pro tempore, who is presiding over trial and who will read them aloud.
Wednesday’s proceedings follow a riveting first day of the trial that started with a chilling 13-minute video montage of the devastating events of the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and ended with a vote declaring trying a former president is constitutional and allowing it to continue.
That 56-44 vote capped debate that took up much of the first day of arguments from the House impeachment managers and Trump’s legal team. Six Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in the vote to proceed: Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania; Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; Mitt Romney of Utah; Ben Sasse of Nebraska; Susan Collins of Maine; and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
Hours earlier, the proceedings began with a jarring video reel that forced senators to relive some of the most intense moments of Jan. 6, some of which occurred at the very desks at which they were sitting.
The video showed rioters smashing windows and overrunning barriers until they breached the Capitol, hurling expletives at Capitol Police officers and stalking lawmakers in the chamber. Those images were interspersed with scenes of Trump encouraging his supporters while speaking at the rally before the assault on the Capitol and in a video posted to Twitter.
Trump’s defense, meanwhile, kicked off with a meandering, nearly hourlong speech from attorney Bruce Castor, which failed to address the crux of the House managers’ arguments, and prompted even Trump allies to criticize the team’s performance.
Trump is the first president to have been impeached twice by the House, and he will be the first former president to be put on trial in the Senate. He was impeached by the House of Representatives on Jan. 13 on an article charging him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the violent riot by a pro-Trump mob at the U.S. Capitol earlier that month.