With just six days left in his term, President Donald Trump endured his second impeachment largely silent on Wednesday.
But just as the Democrat-led effort to convict Trump of “insurrection” was passed through the House of Representatives, it seems the case against the 45th president has already started to fall apart.[Sponsored] This Food Grows Cancerous Tumors – Do Not Eat It
According to CNN, investigators are looking into reports that the storming of the U.S. Capitol was planned before Trump’s infamous “Stop the Steal” rally.
Trump is now the only president to be charged twice with a high crime or misdemeanor, a new coda for a term defined by a deepening of the nation’s divides and his refusal to accept defeat at the ballot box.
Abandoned by many his own party establishment, Trump could do nothing but watch history unfold on television. The suspension of his Twitter account deprived Trump of his most potent means to communicate directly to supporters, giving a sense that Trump had been largely censored by the media.
According to reports, the storming of the U.S. Capitol building may have been preplanned by outside agitators.
“Evidence uncovered so far, including weapons and tactics seen on surveillance video, suggests a level of planning that has led investigators to believe the attack on the US Capitol was not just a protest that spiraled out of control,” CNN reported a federal investigator said.
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FBI investigators are looking into reports that participants in the riot had been at the rally, but left early — perhaps to position themselves or retrieve items used to later attack the Capitol building.
“A team of investigators and prosecutors are also focused on the command and control aspect of the attack, looking at travel and communications records to determine if they can build a case that is similar to a counterterrorism investigation,” officials reportedly said.
In a subdued video — released hours after he was formally impeached a second time — Trump again condemned the insurrection at the Capitol and warned his supporters from engaging in any further violence.
“I want to be very clear: I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week,” said Trump.
He added that “no true supporter” of his “could ever endorse political violence.”
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Trump didn’t mention his impeachment in the video, though he complained about the ban on his social media.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 13, 2021
Some congressional Republicans did defend the president during the House debate on impeachment — held in the same space violated by rioters one week earlier. The violence ultimately left five dead.
In the end, 10 Republicans voted to impeach. The third-ranking Republican in the House, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, said there had “never been a greater betrayal” by a president.
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It was a marked change from Trump’s first impeachment. That December 2019 vote in the House, which made Trump only the third president ever impeached, played out along partisan lines.
Trump was acquitted in 2020 by the GOP-controlled Senate and his approval ratings were undamaged. But this time, as some members of his own party recoiled and accused him of committing impeachable offenses, Trump was isolated and mostly quiet.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told colleagues in a letter that he had not decided how he would vote in an impeachment trial.
For the first time, Trump’s future seemed in doubt, and what was once unthinkable — that enough Republican senators would defy him and vote to remove him from office — seemed at least possible, if unlikely.
But there was no effort from the White House to line up votes in the president’s defense. Trump and his allies believed that the president’s sturdy popularity with the lawmakers’ GOP constituents would deter them from voting against him.
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The president was livid with perceived disloyalty from McConnell and Cheney and has been deeply frustrated that he could not hit back with his Twitter account, which has kept Republicans in line for years.
One Trump campaign adviser, Jason Miller, argued Democrats’ efforts will serve to galvanize the Republican base behind Trump and end up harming Biden. He blamed the Democrats’ swift pace for the silence, saying there wasn’t “time for mounting a traditional response operation.”
But he pledged that “the real battle will be the Senate where there’ll be a more traditional pushback effort.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article