“The story of the president’s actions is each riveting and horrifying,” Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and the lead prosecutor, mentioned in an interview. “We predict that each American ought to concentrate on what occurred — that the rationale he was impeached by the Home and the rationale he needs to be convicted and disqualified from holding future federal workplace is to be sure that such an assault on our democracy and Structure by no means occurs once more.”
In making Mr. Trump the primary American president to be impeached twice, Democrats have basically given themselves an unprecedented do-over. When Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, was preparing to prosecute Mr. Trump the primary time for a pressure campaign on Ukraine, he learn the 605-page report of President Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial cowl to cowl, sending aides as many as 20 dispatches a day as he sought to modernize a continuing that had occurred solely twice earlier than.
This time, a brand new group of 9 Democratic managers want attain again solely a yr to review the teachings of Mr. Schiff’s prosecution: Don’t antagonize Republicans, use heaps and many video and, above all, make succinct arguments to keep away from lulling the jury of lawmakers into boredom or distraction.
Mr. Trump’s attorneys have indicated that they as soon as once more intend to mount a largely technical protection, contending that the Senate “lacks jurisdiction” to judge a former president in any respect after he has left workplace as a result of the Structure doesn’t explicitly say it will possibly. Although many authorized students and a majority of the Senate disagree, Republicans have flocked to the argument in droves as a justification for dismissing the case with out weighing in on Mr. Trump’s conduct.
However the attorneys, Bruce L. Castor Jr. and David Schoen, additionally plan to disclaim that Mr. Trump incited the violence in any respect or meant to intrude with Congress’s formalizing of Mr. Biden’s victory, asserting that his baseless claims that the election was “stolen” are protected by the First Modification. And Mr. Castor informed Fox Information that he, too, would depend on video, presumably of unrest in American cities led by Democrats.
The managers will attempt to rebut them as a lot with constitutional arguments as an awesome compendium of proof. Mr. Raskin’s group has spent dozens of hours culling a deep trove of movies captured by the mob, Mr. Trump’s own unvarnished words and criminal pleas from rioters who mentioned they acted on the former president’s behest.
The first supply materials might exchange stay testimony. Making an attempt to name new witnesses has been the topic of an prolonged debate by the managers, whose evidentiary report has a number of holes that White Home or army officers may conceivably fill. On the final trial, Democrats made an unsuccessful push for witnesses a centerpiece of their case, however this time, many within the get together say they’re pointless to show the cost and would merely price Mr. Biden valuable time to maneuver his agenda with out altering the end result.
“It’s not that there shouldn’t be witnesses; it’s simply the sensible realities of the place we’re with a former president,” mentioned Daniel S. Goldman, a former Home lawyer who labored on Mr. Trump’s first impeachment. “That is additionally one thing that we realized from the final trial: This can be a political animal, and these witnesses are usually not going to maneuver the needle.”
Mr. Raskin and different managers declined to talk about technique, however present and former officers accustomed to the confidential preparations agreed to debate them anonymously. The prosecutors’ nearly full silence within the run-up to the trial has been one other departure from the technique of Mr. Trump’s first impeachment, when Democrats arrange a large communications warfare room within the Capitol and saturated the cable tv airwaves in an all-out battle in opposition to Mr. Trump within the court docket of public opinion.
They’ve largely left it to trusted allies like Mr. Schiff and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to publicly talk about their case and bat again criticism about why the Home is urgent its case even now that Mr. Trump is out of workplace.
“If we have been to not comply with up with this, we would as effectively take away any penalty from the Structure of impeachment — simply take it out,” Ms. Pelosi informed reporters who questioned why Democrats would eat a lot of Congress’s time with a former president.
Key questions concerning the scope and form of the trial stay unsettled. Senators spent the weekend haggling over the exact construction and guidelines of the continuing, the primary time in American historical past a former president will probably be placed on trial.
Prosecutors and Mr. Trump’s protection attorneys anticipated to have a minimum of 12 hours every to make their case. Mr. Raskin, a former constitutional regulation professor, has been teaching his colleagues in day by day conferences to aggressively winnow down their arguments, cling to narrative the place attainable and combine them with the visible aids they plan to show on TVs within the Senate chamber and on screens throughout the nation.
Behind the scenes, Democrats are counting on lots of the similar attorneys and aides who helped assemble the 2020 case, together with Susanne Sachsman Grooms from the Home Oversight and Reform Committee, and Aaron Hiller, Arya Hariharan, Sarah Istel and Amy Rutkin from the Judiciary Committee. The Home additionally temporarily called back Barry H. Berke, a seasoned New York protection lawyer, to function chief counsel and Joshua Matz, a constitutional skilled.
Mr. Schiff mentioned his group had tried to supply an “HBO mini-series” that includes clips of witness testimony to deliver to life the esoteric plot about Mr. Trump’s strain marketing campaign on Ukraine. Mr. Raskin’s might seem extra like a blockbuster motion movie.
“The extra you doc all of the tragic occasions main as much as that day and the president’s misconduct on that day and the president’s response whereas individuals have been being attacked that day, the increasingly more tough you make it for any senator to cover behind these false constitutional fig leaves,” mentioned Mr. Schiff, who has informally suggested the managers.
To assemble the presentation, Mr. Raskin’s group has turned to the identical outdoors agency that helped put collectively Mr. Schiff’s multimedia show. However Mr. Raskin is working with vastly richer materials to inform a monthslong story of how he and his colleagues imagine Mr. Trump seeded, gathered and provoked a mob to attempt to overturn his defeat.
There are clips and tweets of Mr. Trump from final summer season, warning he would solely lose if the election was “rigged” in opposition to him; clips and tweets of him claiming victory after his loss; and clips and tweets of state officers coming to the White Home as he sought to “cease the steal.” There’s audio of a name through which Mr. Trump pressured Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” the votes wanted to reverse Mr. Biden’s victory there; in addition to presidential tweets and accounts by sympathetic lawmakers who say that after these efforts failed, Mr. Trump decisively turned his consideration to the Jan. 6 assembly of Congress for one final stand.
On the middle is footage of Mr. Trump, talking outdoors the White Home hours earlier than the mob overtook the police and invaded the Capitol constructing. The managers’ pretrial transient suggests they’re planning to juxtapose footage of Mr. Trump urging his supporters to “battle like hell” and march to the Capitol and confront Congress with movies posted from members of the gang who will be heard processing his phrases in actual time.
“Even with this trial, the place senators themselves have been witnesses, it’s crucial to inform the entire story,” Mr. Schiff mentioned. “This isn’t a couple of single day; it’s a couple of course of conduct by a president to make use of his workplace to intrude with the peaceable switch of energy.”
However the proximity may additionally create problems. A number of individuals accustomed to the preparations mentioned the managers have been cautious of claiming something which may implicate Republican lawmakers who echoed or entertained the president’s baseless claims of election fraud. To have any likelihood of creating an efficient case, the managers imagine, they need to clarify it’s Mr. Trump who’s on trial, not his get together.