How is a US president charged?

Impeachment trial against Trump: first indictment, now defense

For two days, the prosecution presented evidence to prove that Donald Trump was responsible for the violent storming of the Capitol on January 6th by his supporters. In video recordings, some of which were previously unknown, they described the extent of violence in the unrest, in the course of which five people died, including a police officer.

The Democratic MPs warned urgently in the Senate on Thursday that if there is no guilty verdict there is a risk of new violence. "Does any politician in this room believe that if the Senate ever allowed him to return to the Oval Office, Trump would no longer incite violence?" Asked Prosecutor Jamie Raskin. If Trump is not convicted, he should run again for political offices. The Democrats want to prevent this through a condemnation.

The chief prosecutor, Jamie Raskin, again called for Trump to be convicted

"We fight for Trump"

Among other things, they stated that the Capitol attackers were convinced that they were acting on behalf of Trump. Video footage showed Trump supporters yelling at police officers in front of the Capitol: "We were invited by the President of the United States." In another video, an intruder inside the parliament building says, "Let's call Trump. He'll be happy. We'll fight for Trump."

"The attack was carried out for Donald Trump, on his orders and to grant his wishes," said Democratic MP Diana DeGette. "Donald Trump sent them." The Democrats not only accuse Trump of inciting the attack on the Capitol - they also did nothing to stop the violence.

Diana DeGette, Democratic MP from Colorado

With the process, the Democrats want to hold Trump accountable even after leaving the White House and at the same time ensure that he is banned from future offices at the federal level. The prerequisite for this would be that the Republican is convicted in the process.

Fast-forward defense?

Trump's defense attorneys will have two days from Friday to present their arguments. However, you could use significantly less time than the maximum of 16 hours. The news channel CNN reported on Friday that her presentation could be limited to just three hours. The final vote on guilty or acquittal could then take place on the weekend.

A conviction of Trump, who does not want to testify personally in the Senate, is almost impossible: For the two-thirds majority, which would be necessary for a guilty verdict, at least 17 Republican senators would have to vote together with the 50 Democrats. So far, however, only a few Republicans have indicated that they could vote against the ex-president, who is still very popular with large parts of the party and the grassroots. Nonetheless, new President Joe Biden said Thursday that the prosecutors' impressive speech could cause some Republicans to "change their minds."

mak / bru (dpa, afp)