The U.S. Senate on Wednesday began considering the impeachment of former U.S. President Donald Trump on the merits.
He is charged with one count of sedition after a crowd stormed the Capitol building following his speech to protesters in Washington.
Senators will debate whether the former president’s actions at the rally can be considered sedition. Each side will have up to 16 hours to present its case. After that, the senators, who are assigned the role of the jury, will vote on whether to impeach.
On Wednesday, the prosecution presents its position. One of the prosecutors, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin, spoke first.
“America needs the truth about former President Trump’s role in fomenting the Jan. 6 riot because it threatened our government, it derailed and could easily destroy a peaceful transition of power in the United States for the first time in 233 years,” he said.
Raskin rejected the defense’s view, outlined the day before, that Trump was simply in the thick of things, but was not the cause of them, and the public is simply looking for someone to blame.
“The evidence will be presented for you to see, hear and comprehend. The evidence will show you that former President Trump was not just an innocent bystander. The evidence will show that he clearly instigated the January 6 riot,” Raskin said.
The House of Representatives, where Democrats hold a majority of seats, had earlier impeached Trump on such a charge, and the Senate had ruled the day before that it was constitutional to consider impeachment against a head of state who has already left office.