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Trump impeachment trial live updates: Biden says charge ‘not in dispute’ in 1st comments on acquittal



(WASHINGTON) — Former President Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial ended with a 57-43 vote to acquit in the Senate. He faced a single charge of incitement of insurrection over his actions leading up to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Here is how events are unfolding Friday. All times Eastern:

 Feb 13, 11:17 pm

Biden praises police officers, calls charge ‘not in dispute’ in 1st comments

In his first comments on the acquittal of his predecessor, nearly seven hours after the vote, President Joe Biden opened by remembering late officer Brian Sicknick and praised his fellow police officers for defending the Capitol on Jan. 6.

He then took a tone similar to the House impeachment managers following the 57-43 vote — short of the 67 needed to convict former President Donald Trump — by celebrating a bipartisan vote.

“Today, 57 Senators — including a record 7 Republicans — voted to find former President Trump guilty for inciting that deadly insurrection on our very democracy,” Biden said in the statement. “The Senate vote followed the bipartisan vote to impeach him by the House of Representatives. While the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute.”

Biden highlighted the speech by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that angered some Democrats for its acknowledgement of incitement and acquittal vote on a technicality.

“Even those opposed to the conviction, like Senate Minority Leader McConnell, believe Donald Trump was guilty of a ‘disgraceful dereliction of duty’ and ‘practically and morally responsible for provoking’ the violence unleashed on the Capitol,” the president added.

Biden, who largely avoided commenting on the impeachment trial in favor of promoting his agenda on COVID-19 relief, thanked those “who bravely stood guard that January day” and “those who demonstrated the courage to protect the integrity of our democracy.”

“This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile,” Biden wrote. “That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant. That violence and extremism has no place in America. And that each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.”

“That is how we end this uncivil war and heal the very soul of our nation. That is the task ahead. And it’s a task we must undertake together. As the United States of America,” he concluded, underlining “United” for emphasis.

Feb 13, 8:31 pm

Louisiana GOP votes to censure Sen. Cassidy

Literally minutes after Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., voted to convict President Donald Trump the Louisiana GOP voted to censure him. Cassidy was one of seven Republicans to cross party lines.

“The Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Louisiana has unanimously voted to censure Senator Bill Cassidy for his vote cast earlier today to convict former President Donald J. Trump on the impeachment charge,” the Republican Party of Louisiana said in a statement.

Cassidy, who vacillated between convicting and acquitting the president this week, has been a senator since 2014. He was previously a congressman from the state. A censure officially condemns a politician, but does not carry any further power, such as removal from office.

“Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person,” Cassidy said in a statement. “I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty.”

-ABC News’ Quinn Scanlan

Feb 13, 5:53 pm

Pelosi blasts McConnell, others who voted to acquit as ‘cowardly group of Republicans’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she wasn’t planning on speaking Saturday but did so after she saw Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speak on the Senate floor.

“It is so pathetic that Senator McConnell kept the Senate shut down so that the Senate could not receive the Article of Impeachment and has used that as his excuse for not voting to convict Donald Trump,” Pelosi said.

“What we saw in that Senate today was a cowardly group of Republicans who apparently have no options, because they were afraid to defend their job, respect the institution in which they serve,” Pelosi said.

Asked about McConnell’s statement on the floor suggesting that Trump still was liable criminally or civilly for his actions in office, Pelosi interrupted the reporter and said his speech was “disingenuous.”

“I don’t know whether it was for donors or — or what. But whatever it was, it was a very disingenuous speech. And I say that regretfully, because I always want to be able to work — work with the leadership of the other party,” she said. “And for him to have tried to have it every which way — but we will be going forward to make sure that this never happens again.”

Asked about censure as an option moving forward, Pelosi called it a “slap in the fact of the Constitution” and said it, “let’s everybody off the hook.”

“We don’t censure people for inciting insurrection that kills people in the Capitol,” she said.

Pelosi went on to congratulate the House managers on honoring the vision of the founders, of the men and women who serve in uniform and families across the United States, including her own.

“I have to say, personally on behalf of my grandchildren, who drew great hope and inspiration from each and every one of you: We could not be prouder of your patriotic presentations, the clarity in which you presented, and again, the inspiration that you have been to so many people,” she said.

Raising the vote to convict was the most bipartisan in impeachment trial history, she said, “It would not have been accomplished without your brilliant presentations. So, I thank you for that, and I yield the floor back to all of you as I leave.”

Feb 13, 5:24 pm

Managers highlight McConnell’s agreement that they proved case

House impeachment managers, following the Senate vote to acquit Trump, held a press conference on Capitol Hill and harped on remarks from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., saying that they proved the case that Trump incited an insurrection despite failing to reach the votes needed to convict.

Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., opened by thanking Congress, his team and the American people.

“Trump stormed our House with the mob he incited, and we defended our House. And he violated our Constitution, and we defended the Constitution. And they tried to trash our democracy, and we revived it, and we protected it,” Raskin began, highlighting that the trial was the most bipartisan presidential impeachment in the history of the country.

“We have a clear and convincing majority of members of Congress that the president actually incited violent insurrection against the union and against the Congress,” Raskin said.

He went on to explain that because House managers had convinced McConnell — although they didn’t get his vote — that they made their case and didn’t see a need to call witnesses after all.

“We could have had 5,000 witnesses and Mitch McConnell would have made the same speech because what he’s asserting is that the Senate never has jurisdiction over a former president,” Raskin said. “And for reasons I don’t need to belabor — because a big part of the trial was about this — we reject that completely. It’s totally at odds with our history.”

Feb 13, 4:42 pm
McConnell says Trump solely to blame for attack after voting to acquit

Although he voted to acquit the former president, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in remarks Saturday distanced himself from Trump and made clear he believed that Trump was solely to blame for the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“Jan. 6 was a disgrace,” McConnell began. “Fellow Americans beat and bloodied our own police. They stormed the Senate floor. They tried to hunt down the Speaker of the House. They built a gallows and chanted about murdering the vice president. They did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth because he was angry he’d lost an election.”

McConnell reminded those listening of his words on the floor last month in which he said the mob was “fed lies” and “provoked” by Trump.

“There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president,” he said.

McConnell said it wasn’t Trump remarks solely on Jan. 6 — as House managers have argued — but “also the entire manufactured atmosphere of looming catastrophe, the increasingly wild myths — myths — about a reverse landslide election that was somehow being stolen, some secret coup by our now president.”

McConnell also shot down the defense equating Trump’s rhetoric to past comments of Democrats telling supporters to “fight.”

“That’s different from what we saw. This was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters’ decision or else torch our institutions on the way out,” he said, adding Trump’s “unconscionable behavior did not end when the violence actually began.”


Sen. McConnell: “There’s no question—none—that Pres. Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events” of January 6.

“The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.” https://t.co/InnhdCZLiD pic.twitter.com/FOM9Yoz81S

— ABC News (@ABC) February 13, 2021


He said there should be no question that Trump was aware of the violence underway, but he didn’t move to stop it.

“Whatever our ex-president claims he thought might happen that day, whatever reaction he says he meant to produce, by that afternoon, we know he was watching the same live television as the rest of us. A mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name. These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flags and screaming their loyalty to him,” he said.

“It was obvious that only President Trump could end this,” McConnell said. “The president did not act swiftly. He did not do his job.”

However, though McConnell said he ultimately didn’t believe an impeachment trial in the Senate was the correct form of resolve since Trump was no longer in office, explaining his vote to acquit, he did leave the door open for Trump being criminally prosecuted.

“President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he’s in office,” he said. “He didn’t get away with anything yet.”

Feb 13, 4:32 pm
Heitkamp calls Murkowski ‘courageous’ for voting guilty

Former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, an ABC News contributor, called Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski “courageous” for voting guilty, saying she was “the person who really risked it all today on behalf of our democracy.”

“I hope that dozens of them [Republican senators] will look back and say ‘why didn’t I have the courage of that Alaska senator?’” Heitkamp told ABC News.

ABC News contributor Sara Fagen said, “had these been secret ballots” in the House and Senate, “there would’ve been many more votes to impeach and convict.”

Feb 13, 4:16 pm
Schumer speaks on Senate floor

After Trump was acquitted by the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., took to the Senate floor to blast Trump for his actions and echo House managers’ argument that Trump violated his oath of office.

“This was the first presidential impeachment trial in history in which all senators were not only judges and jurors, but witnesses to the Constitutional crime that was committed,” Schumer said. “The former president inspired, directed and propelled a mob to violently prevent the peaceful transfer of power, subvert the will of the people and illegally keep that president in power.”

Schumer went on to argue that without Trump, the insurrection would have never happened.

“If President Trump hadn’t told his supporters to march to the Capitol, if he hadn’t implored them to come to Washington on January 6th in the first place, if he hadn’t repeatedly lied to them that the election was stolen, their country was being taken from them, the attack would not have happened — could not have happened,” Schumer added.

He highlighted the fact that a majority of senators, including seven republicans, did vote to convict the former president, and said he thinks Trump will be discredited in the eyes of America after his second impeachment trial, even though he was acquitted.

“He deserves to be permanently discredited, and I believe he has been discredited in the eyes of the American people and in the judgment of history,” he said.

Feb 13, 4:09 pm
Trump releases statement on acquittal

The former president has released a statement responding to the Senate voting to acquit him Saturday afternoon.

“This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country. No president has ever gone through anything like it, and it continues because our opponents cannot forget the almost 75 million people, the highest number ever for a sitting president, who voted for us just a few short months ago,” the statement read.

“Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it!” it finished.


BREAKING: Statement from former Pres. Trump after acquittal: “This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country. No president has ever gone through anything like it.” https://t.co/htOXIOD9lQ pic.twitter.com/kSNuSOO5WZ

— ABC News (@ABC) February 13, 2021


ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega pointed out that Trump’s statement doesn’t condemn the insurrection.

“The Trump version of reality,” she said, “won out today.”

Feb 13, 3:52 pm
Senate votes to acquit Trump: 57-43

The Senate has voted to acquit the former president in a 57-43 vote.

Seven Republicans senators — including Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania — joined Democrats to vote Trump guilty of “incitement of insurrection” — but they failed to reach the super majority threshold needed for a conviction.

The Senate chamber fell silent as each senator’s name was called for the roll call vote.

As required by Senate rules, each senator present had to pronounce Trump “guilty” or “not guilty” while they stood behind their individual desks.

Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump at his last impeachment trial — in which Trump was also acquitted.

The Senate was ten votes shy of conviction this time around.

Feb 13, 3:46 pm
Trump ‘must pay the price’: Raskin

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., briefly rebutted Trump attorney Michael van der Veen’s closing remarks, pointing out that he referred to the Jan. 6 riot as an “insurrection” after Trump attorney Bruce Castor told the Senate “there was no insurrection.”

“I would certainly love to see President Trump also call it a violent insurrection and denounce it too,” Raskin said.

The last argument, he said, was “pathetically weak.”

“It is, was about the First Amendment … tell me, when has his speech ever been stifled?” Raskin asked.

Raskin also couldn’t resist taking several sarcastic jabs at the closing argument from van der Veen.

“The First Amendment is on our side,” Raskin said, as he accused Trump of acting “no better” than a rioter on Jan. 6.

“We are defending the Bill of Rights. We are defending the constitutional structure. We are defending the separation of powers. We’re defending the U.S. Senate,” he declared.

“In many ways, he was worse,” Raskin said of Trump. “He named the date, he named the time, and he brought them here, and now he must pay the price.

Feb 13, 3:41 pm
Senate voting on article of impeachment

The Senate is voting on whether to find Trump guilty of “incitement of insurrection.”

The clerk has read the article of impeachment in full ahead of the vote.

Feb 13, 3:33 pm
Trump attorney delivers closing arguments

Leading closing arguments for the Trump defense team, attorney Michael van der Veen continued to equate Trump’s speech ahead of the deadly riot at the Capitol to comments Democrats have made to supporters to “fight.”

Van der Veen said protests over the summer in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in police custody celebrated “radicalism” and added that those protests allowed “marginalized people” “to blow off steam.”


.@ABC NEWS SPECIAL REPORT: Former Pres. Trump’s legal team delivers closing arguments in impeachment trial. https://t.co/rA9lMECExj

— ABC News (@ABC) February 13, 2021


He condemned all rioting and said law enforcement deserves respect and support — a view Trump has always held, van der Veen pushed.

Van der Veen then pivoted to the argument that the trial in itself is unconstitutional and unfair. However, the Senate voted on Tuesday 55-45 to affirm its power that Trump trial is Constitutional.

“For the first time in history, Congress has asserted the right to try and punish a former president who is a private citizen,” van der Veen said. “Nowhere in the Constitution is the power enumerated or implied. Congress has no authority, no right, and no business holding a trial of citizen Trump, let alone a trial to deprive him of some fundamental civil rights.”

Feb 13, 2:50 pm
Raskin rests case for House impeachment managers

The House impeachment mangers have finished closing arguments in Trump’s impeachment trial.

In lead manager Rep. Jamie Raskin’s, D-Md., closing statement, he invoked emotion in raising his family, reminding senators that families are what is at the heart of the country and that history is watching.

“Our reputations and our legacy will be inextricably intertwined with what we do here,” Raskin said. “And with how you exercise your oath to do impartial justice, impartial justice. I know and I trust you will do impartial justice, driven by your meticulous attention to the overwhelming facts of the case and your love for our Constitution, which I know dwells in your heart. ‘The times have found us,’ said Tom Payne, the namesake of my son. ‘The times have found us. Is this America? What kind of America will we be?’ It’s now literally in your hands. Godspeed to the senate of the United States.”

Raskin was referring to his late-son Tommy. His youngest daughter, Tabitha, and son-in-law, Hank, were with him at the Capitol on Jan. 6 as a show of support because it was one day after their family laid Tommy to rest.

He also recalled a recent conversation he shared with his other daughter, Hannah.

“Hannah told me last night she felt really sorry for the kid of a man who said goodbye to his children before he left home to come and join trump’s actions,” Raskin said. “Their father had told them that their dad might not becoming home again and they might never see him again. In other words, he was expecting violence — he might die — as insurrectionists did. And that shook me. Hannah said, ‘how can the President put children and people’s families in that situation and then, just run away from the whole thing?’ That shook me.”

“The children of the insurrectionists, even the violent and dangerous ones, they’re our children too,” Raskin said earlier. “They are Americans, and we must take care of them and their future. We must recognize and exercise these crimes against our nation and then, we must take care of our people and our children, their hearts and their minds. As Tommy Raskin used to say, ‘it’s hard to be human."”

Feb 13, 2:49 pm
Neguse makes veiled appeals to McConnell in conviction argument

In addition to breaking down the Trump defense arguments one by one, House impeachment manager Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., appealed to senators’ sense of history in his final appeal for a vote to convict Trump.

In a thinly veiled appeal to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, he quoted Kentucky Sen. Henry Clay — McConnell’s political idol and college thesis subject — and referenced the vote of Sen. John Sherman Cooper — McConnell’s former boss who he interned for — on the Civil Rights Act.

Noting his own parents’ immigrant journey from East Africa, Neguse also noted McConnell’s vote in 1986 to override President Ronald Reagan’s veto of sanctions of South Africa during apartheid. McConnell was one of the few Republicans to buck Reagan on the vote.

“We remember those moments because they helped define and enshrine America at its best,” Neguse said. “I believe that this body can rise to the occasion once again today. By convicting president trump and defending our republic.”

“The cold, hard truth is that what happened on Jan. 6 can happen again,” he said. “Senators, this cannot be the beginning. It can’t be the new normal.”

McConnell told colleagues in an email earlier in the day he would vote to acquit Trump.

-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel

Feb 13, 2:48 pm
Neguse breaks down ‘distractions’ from Trump defense team

House impeachment manager Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., countered arguments from Trump and his defense team that Neguse called “excuses” and “distractions.”

“I would like to take a minute to explain why each of those distractions are precisely that, distractions, and why they do not prevent in any way the Senate from convicting President Trump,” Neguse said.

He went on to counter the defense team’s main arguments one by one. First, he argued impeachment is the best course of action, even with Trump being out of office, because the attack happened while he was under his oath as president.

Neguse argued the framers would have seen “incitement of insurrection” as an impeachable offense, and he blasted the defense for saying they were not given due process when leaders on both sides of the aisle agreed on the trial resolution before it kicked off.

Addressing the First Amendment, Neguse knocked the defense for trying to equate Democrats’ past calls for supporters to “fight” with Trump’s actions — “because what you will not find in those video montages that they showed you is any of those speeches, those remarks, culminating in a violent insurrection on our nation’s Capitol.”

“Senators, all of these arguments offered by the president have one fundamental thing in common,” he said. “They have nothing to do with whether or not, factually, whether or not the president incited this attack. They’ve given you a lot of distractions, so they don’t have to defend what happened here on that terrible day.”

Neguse went on to note he’s the youngest member of the House managers team “by quite a few years” — to a laugh from the chamber — “so perhaps I’m a bit naive,” he joked, and said he expects more from the U.S. Senate, noting how Congress responds to the Jan. 6 attack will go down in history.

“I fear, like many of us do, that the violence we saw on that terrible day may be just the beginning. We’ve shown you the ongoing risks, the extremist groups who grow more emboldened every day,” Neguse said. “It can’t be the new normal. It has to be the end. That decision is in your hands.”

Feb 13, 2:33 pm
Dean argues Trump’s conduct over months led to insurrection

Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., was the third House manager to speak during the closing arguments. She immediately outlined that she would focus on three points to counter the defense, all of which centered on Trump’s conduct, inciting his supporters to violence on Jan. 6. She used short videos as evidence.

She began her argument by outlining how Trump, over many months leading up to Jan. 6, convinced his base that the election was stolen.

“We are not suggesting that Donald Trump’s January 6th speech by itself incited the attack,” Dean said. “We have shown that his course of conduct leading up to and including that speech incited the attack. The defense is correct that the insurrection was preplanned, that supports our point. We argued, and the evidence overwhelmingly confirms, that Donald Trump’s conduct over many months incited his supporters.”

Dean then went to claim that Trump urged his supporters to “stop the steal” on the very day Congress was certifying the election with the distinct purpose of overturning the election.

“It is true that some insurrectionists are being prosecuted,” Dean said. “But it is not true that they did so on their own accord and for their own reasons. The evidence makes clear the exact opposite. That they did this for Donald Trump at his invitation, at his direction, at his command.”

Feb 13, 2:11 pm
Trump didn’t call Pence for days after riot

Rep. David Cicilline, D-Calif., used his time in closing arguments to give a thorough explanation of the timeline of events on Jan. 6, with focus on the timing surrounding Trump’s 2:24 p.m. tweet attacking former Vice President Mike Pence.

“The undisputed facts confirm that not only must President Trump have been aware of the vice president’s danger, but he still sent out a tweet attacking him, further inciting the very mob that was in just a few feet of him inside of this very building,” Cicilline said.

While some GOP senators object to the notion pushed by House managers that Trump was well aware Pence was being evacuated from the Senate chamber around the time he sent the tweet, House managers argued it is “inconceivable” that Trump did not know what was going on at the Capitol. Cicilline said that Trump knew Pence was in danger and that he did nothing to de-escalate the situation.

ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl has also reported that Trump didn’t reach out to Pence for days after the attack.

“He didn’t speak to Mike Pence until five days after this riot took place,” Karl said on an ABC News Live Special Report Saturday. “He didn’t inquire on his safety” during the riot “and didn’t talk to him about this incredible experience to see how he was doing after it was over.”


House impeachment manager Cicilline: “This was on live television. So is the defense counsel suggesting that the president of the United States knew less about this than the American people? This is just not possible.” https://t.co/EjgEoHCOAS pic.twitter.com/0jNOALhnLj

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 13, 2021


Feb 13, 1:57 pm
Senate resumes after GOP senator withdraws appeal

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has withdrawn his appeal to House managers’ evidence.

His objection revolved around their detailing the timing of a phone call between Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., and Trump to Lee’s phone on Jan. 6.

Feb 13, 1:56 pm
Senate pauses after GOP senator’s objection

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, objected to evidence raised in the House managers closing arguments on the timing of a phone call between Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., and Trump to Lee’s phone on Jan. 6.

The trial was paused for a quorum call, so the Senate could move to resolve the issue.

Feb 13, 1:53 pm
Cicilline argues Trump knew Pence was in danger but refused to quell violence

House impeachment manager Rep. David Cicilline, D-Calif., in closing arguments, focused on the looming question of what Trump knew and when, and argued Trump was well aware that his vice president was in danger for his life on Jan. 6. but refused to call the violence to a stop.

“Again, let me ask you: Does it strike you as credible that nobody, not a single person, informed the president that his vice president had been evacuated? Or that the president didn’t glance at the television or his Twitter account, and learn about the events that were happening?” Cicilline said.

Focusing in on a timeline of phone calls Trump shared with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., along with images broadcast on national television, Cicilline argued that Trump couldn’t have been ignorant to the intensifying violence at the Capitol and continued to tweet attacks on Pence as the situation deteriorated.

“Senators, the president knew this was happening. He didn’t do anything to help his vice president or any of you or any of the brave officers and other employees serving the American people that day. His sole focus was stealing the election for himself,” he said.

“He chose retaining his own power over the safety of Americans. I can’t imagine more damning evidence of his state of mind,” Cicilline said.


Rep. David CIcilline: “The insurrectionist mob began chanting hang ‘Mike Pence!’ It was unfolding on live TV…It’s just not credible that the president at no point knew his vice President was in this building and was in real danger.” https://t.co/9KBlqDPsGF pic.twitter.com/ApI6S10b6L

— ABC News (@ABC) February 13, 2021


“If you believe that he willfully refused to defend us and law enforcement officers fighting to save us, and if he was delighted by the attack, and that he saw it as a natural result of his call to stop the steal, and that he continued to incite and target violence as the attack unfolded, we respectfully submit you must vote to convict and disqualify — so that the events of Jan. 6 can never happen again in this country,” he said.

Feb 13, 1:49 pm
House manager Raskin begins to lay out closing arguments

After the Senate decided it will not call any witnesses, lead House manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., was the first to speak during closing arguments. He reiterated the prosecution’s case, calling for the conviction of Trump.

“It was suggested by defense counsel that Donald Trump’s conduct during the attack, as described in Congresswoman Beutler’s statement, is somehow not part of the Constitutional offense for which former President Trump has been charged,” Raskin began. “I want to reject that falsehood and that fallacy immediately. After he knew that violence was underway at the Capitol, President Trump took actions that further incited the insurgents to be more inflamed and to take even more extreme, selective, and focused action against Vice President Mike Pence.”

Raskin went on to use his time to describe Trump’s months-long campaign to discredit the 2020 election results by spreading misinformation, which he argued laid the groundwork for deadly events of Jan. 6. He went on to claim that the former president assembled the mob, incited it and then sent it off to the Capitol during his speech. At every point, Trump sided with the insurrectionists rather than the Congress, Raskin said.


“How did Donald Trump react when he learned of the violent storming of the Capitol and the threats to senators, members of the House and his own vice president?”

Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Raskin delivers closing argument. https://t.co/BY7pGN4vv8 #impeachmenttrial pic.twitter.com/4BX5Iv63eK

— ABC News (@ABC) February 13, 2021


Once when the violence began, Raskin declared that Trump ignored the violence and further incited it by aiming the attacks on his own vice president.

“There has never been a greater betrayal by the president of the United States of his office, and of his oath to the Constitution.”

Raskin then took a moment to suggest the GOP used “cancel culture” against one of its leaders, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who voted to impeach Trump in the House.

“Liz Cheney is a hero for standing up for the truth, and resisting this retaliatory cancel culture that she was subjected to.”

Raskin emphasized his gratitude toward the Capitol Police, and finished his argument by saying convicting Trump is a vote for the “security of our democracy.”


Rep. Raskin on former Pres. Trump: “He was not surprised, and not horrified—no, he was delighted. And through his acts of omission and commission that day he abused his office by siding with they insurrectionists at almost every point.” https://t.co/9KBlqDPsGF pic.twitter.com/HoMNMPzUMg

— ABC News (@ABC) February 13, 2021


“They attacked this building, they disrupted the peaceful transfer of power, they injured and killed people, convinced that they were acting on his instructions, and with his approval, and protection,” Raskin finished. “And while that happened, he further incited them, while failing to defend us. If that’s not ground for conviction, if that’s not a high crime and misdemeanor against the republic in the United States of America then nothing is. President Trump must be convicted for the safety and security of our democracy and our people.”

Feb 13, 1:15 pm
Trump only president in history to avoid witnesses at trial

Half of the four impeachment trials of U.S. presidents belong to Trump, and he is the only president to not have witnesses heard from at his trials.

Witnesses at the four impeachment trials of presidents:

Andrew Johnson in 1868: 41
Bill Clinton in 1999: 3
Donald Trump in 2020: 0
Donald Trump (after he left office) in 2021: 0

-ABC News’ Chris Donovan

Feb 13, 1:05 pm
Senate forgoes calling witnesses, begins closing arguments

After an 11-hour scramble, the Senate has determined it will be calling no witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial.

The written testimony of Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., — one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump — was admitted into evidence, instead of moving further with the process for hearing from witnesses.

Neither the Trump legal team nor the House impeachment managers made any further motions. The parties mutually came to the agreement to admit Herrera Beutler’s statement and not request further witnesses.

Closing arguments are underway, for which each side is alloted two hours.

-ABC News’ Allison Pecorin

Feb 13, 12:52 pm
Senate trial resumes

The Senate has returned from a roughly one-hour recess after voting 55-45 to hear from witnesses in Trump’s second impeachment trial.

Senate leaders were meeting during the break on drafting a resolution for calling witnesses following that unexpected vote. The resolution, ultimately, could call for no witnesses at all.

Before the chamber was gaveled back into session, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House managers and Trump’s defense team appeared to have an identical typed page — with the parliamentarian studying the same sheet.

The decision to call witnesses revolves around the question of what Trump knew and when.

Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., had called to subpoena Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., who tweeted out a statement overnight reiterating comments she has made that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tried to get Trump to call for a stop to the violence and that Trump told McCarthy, “‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."”

Feb 13, 12:14 pm

Trump adviser walks by with ‘301’ person witness list

Trump adviser Jason Miller has walked back and forth on Capitol Hill with a stack of papers he says is a witness list and has 301 names — “SO FAR,” the top page reads.

He told ABC News he’s not ready to share the whole thing yet because it’s a work in progress, but it signals Trump’s team will match Democrats’ call to have witnesses by potentially inundating the trial with them.

Miller’s pacing comes as Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has doubled down on his call for multiple witnesses — if any are ultimately called with the resolution.

“It is my firm belief that the House Managers are trying to investigate the case AFTER it was brought to the Senate. It is better for the country to go to a final vote,” Graham tweeted. “However, if the body wants witnesses, I am going to insist we have multiple witnesses.”

Graham said the Senate could start with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — a sentiment floated by Trump defense attorney Michael van der Veen on the floor Saturday when he called for the trial to end “today.”

The scramble for party leaders to work on a trial resolution for witnesses comes after the unexpected vote and call from House managers to subpoena Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who has said she has information on an intense call House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had with Trump during the Capitol attack, in which Trump sided with the mob while violence was underway.

-ABC News’ Katherine Faulders and Allison Pecorin

Feb 13, 12:01 pm

Senate leaders draft resolution to call witnesses

After the Senate moved in a 55-45 vote to consider a resolution to call specific witnesses, Senate leaders are now meeting to draft that resolution.

According to sources, it should contain specific information on how the trial will move forward.

The resolution will be amendable, which means Republicans could offer endless amendments. Each amendment would get two hours of debate before a vote. Many want to avoid that situation, according to sources.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told ABC News the House managers could still decide to call no witnesses. In the end, the Senate will need to vote again on the resolution, which requires a simple majority vote to pass.

Lawmakers have begun to go back to their office building, so it appears the trial is in a holding pattern for some time.

-ABC News’ Trish Turner

Feb 13, 11:53 am

Senate takes a recess

The Senate has called a recess until 12:30 p.m. as Senate leaders draft a resolution to call for witnesses in Trump’s trial, following a 55-45 vote.

According to sources, the resolution — which the Senate will need to vote on — should contain specific information on how the trial will move forward.

Feb 13, 11:48 am

Senators react to extended trial timeline

Senators on both sides of the aisle seemed surprised by House impeachment managers’ move to call for witnesses Saturday, according to pool reporters inside the chamber.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., turned to Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah., at one point and was visibly upset with him, even pointing at him once. The two went back and forth with Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, in the middle of them.

Johnson said, “We should’ve just ended this, that’s all I’m saying,” and told Romney, “Blame you.”

Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump at his last impeachment trial.

When lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., raised bringing in Rep. Jamie Hererra Beutler, D-Wash., as a witness, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., shook his head no and put his head down on his hand on his forehead.

Graham later joined four Republicans — Sens. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Ben Sasse — in voting to hear witnesses after threatening to delay the trial with witnesses of his own.

Feb 13, 11:21 am

Trump team stunned by move to call witnesses

Sources close to Trump are floored by the unexpected, 11th-hour motion to call witnesses in the impeachment trial of the former president.

“Stunned,” “stupefied,” and “digesting this” were responses provided by sources to ABC News. There is total panic in the air as the question looms of who may get called as a witness and who may step up to help Trump’s defense team.

The development to call witnesses revolves around the timeline of Trump’s response to the attack on Jan. 6 and when he knew then-Vice President Mike Pence was in danger.

David Schoen, one of Trump’s impeachment lawyers, threatened to quit Thursday night — just hours before he was to mount a defense of Trump’s actions.

It wasn’t until Trump called Schoen directly that he agreed to remain on the team. It also led to the speaking roles and order of the attorneys during the Friday defense presentation being altered, according to the sources.

ABC News’ Katherine Faulders and John Santucci

Feb 13, 11:15 am

Why did Graham change his vote?

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who changed his vote to allow witnesses in the impeachment trial of Trump, has threatened to summon all kinds of witnesses if Democrats moved forward with calling for them.

Before the trial began Saturday, Graham tweeted, “If you want a delay, it will be a long one with many, many witnesses.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Trump’s defense attorney Michael van der Veen who said he’ll subpoena hundreds — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris.

“The only thing that I ask, if you vote for witnesses, do not handcuff me by limiting the number of witnesses that I can have,” he said before the senators voted 55-45 to allow them.

Senators, at one point, laughed at van der Veen, a personal injury attorney based in Philadelphia, for saying he wanted everyone deposed in his office there.

“None of these depositions should be done by Zoom. We didn’t do this hearing by Zoom. These depositions should be done in person, in my office, in Philadelphia,” he said, to laughter. “I haven’t laughed at any of you and there’s nothing laughable here.” 

Feb 13, 11:13 am

Trial pauses after the Senate voted to call witnesses

After five GOP senators joined Democrats in voting for witnesses, leadership from both sides now need to figure out what the next steps of this trial will be. A quorum was called while each side confers among themselves.

Both legal teams left the Senate chamber.

-ABC News’ Trish Turner

Feb 13, 10:38 am

Senate votes to call witnesses

In an 11th-hour development, the Senate has moved to call witnesses in Trump’s second impeachment trial. Witnesses were not allowed at his first trial.

Five Republican senators joined Democrats on the vote Saturday brining it to 55-45.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of the former president, changed his vote after the call was read back to support witnesses, joining Sens. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Ben Sasse.

The Senate moved to allow witnesses after Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., called to subpoena Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., after she tweeted out a statement overnight reiterating details surrounding House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s call with Trump during the Capitol siege.

Trump’s defense team slammed the notion.

Feb 13, 10:37 am

Democratic Senators blast GOP colleagues, calling them “spineless” for not holding Trump accountable for Jan. 6

In a blistering statement to reporters before the impeachment trial began on Saturday morning, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, called his GOP colleagues “spineless” for being poised to vote not to convict Trump out of fear he will campaign against them.

“It’s so clear this president abused his power,” Brown said. “It’s so clear he incited violence. And my colleagues just refuse to see it because of their abject fear of Donald Trump.”

“I’ve watched my spineless colleagues walk around with fear in their eyes for four years,” Brown later continued. “And so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.”

-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel

Feb 13, 10:25 am

Senate votes on calling witnesses

After Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., called to subpoena Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., and Trump’s defense team slammed the notion, the Senate moved to vote on calling witnesses in Trump’s second impeachment trial.

Feb 13, 10:24 am

Trump defense slams Dems’ call for witnesses

In a rebuttal to the House managers requesting to subpoena GOP Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., as a witness to the impeachment trial, Trump’s defense team scoffed at the idea and threatened to call 100 witnesses in response, and said the trial should wrap “today.”

“They didn’t put the work in that was necessary to impeach the former president,” Trump’s defense lawyer, Michael van der Veen argued. “But if they want to have witnesses, I’m going to need at least over 100 depositions, not just one.”

“We should close this case out today,” van der Veen later continued.

Feb 13, 10:15 am

Democrats call for subpoenaing GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler

Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., has called to subpoena Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., who tweeted out a statement Friday reiterating comments she made about a talk she had with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy regarding Trump’s involvement in the Capitol siege.

In the statement, Herrera Beutler reiterated her claims which she made earlier to Washington newspaper The Daily News that McCarthy spoke to Trump as violent protesters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, but the then-sitting president refused to stop them.

“For that reason, and because this is the proper time to do so under the resolution that the Senate adopted to set the rules for the trial, we would like the opportunity to subpoena Congresswoman Herrera regarding her communications with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and to subpoena her contemporaneous notes that she made, regarding what President Trump told Kevin McCarthy in the middle of the insurrection,” Raskin said.

Herrera Beutler ended her statement Friday by challenging those with firsthand knowledge of Trump’s actions during the Capitol siege — including former Vice President Mike Pence — to come forward.

“To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time,” she wrote.

Raskin said they are prepared to proceed via Zoom and then to proceed to the next phase of the trial, “including the introduction of that testimony shortly thereafter.”

Feb 13, 10:08 am

Senate reconvenes for Trump’s second trial

The Senate has reconvened for Trump’s second impeachment trial which could wrap up as early as Saturday.

Senate Chaplain Barry Black first led the chamber in a prayer and invoked Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman by name in his prayer, speaking to bravery.

“Fill our senators with a spirit that combines common sense with commitment, conscience and courage,” he said.

Presiding officer Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., then led the group through the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the traditional “Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye!” proclamation from the sergeant-at-arms.

There will be an opportunity on Saturday to motion for witnesses, prompting two hours of debate — potentially, kicking off a behind-closed-doors deposition process and extending the trial’s timeline.

Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. and Jeff Merkely, D-Ore., have expressed a willingness to entertain the idea, as has Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, despite leadership from both parties previously signaling wanting a speedy trial. The debate comes as new details emerge of a phone call between Trump and House Minority Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

But with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell telling colleagues he will vote to acquit, it’s all but certain Trump will not face conviction.

-ABC News’ Trish Turner

Feb 13, 9:59 am

McConnell tells colleagues he’ll vote to acquit

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has told colleagues in an email he will vote to acquit Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”

McConnell said, “While it was a close call” he believes impeachment is “primarily a tool of removal” and that the Senate now lacks jurisdiction with Trump out of office.

“The Constitution makes perfectly clear that Presidential misconduct while in office can be prosecuted after the President has left office, which in my view alleviates the otherwise troubling ‘January exception’ argument raised by the House,” McConnell said in an email.

McConnell, on the Senate floor last month, criticized Trump for his behavior surrounding the attack on the Capitol.

“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the President and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the Federal Government which they did not like,” McConnell said at the time.

-ABC News’ Trish Turner

Feb 13, 9:41 am

Senate to determine whether to call witnesses

House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team on Saturday are expected to deliver closing arguments, for which they each have two hours, followed by a final vote on whether Trump is guilty of “incitement of insurrection” — but an 11th-hour push for witnesses may shift the trial’s timeline.

Among other motions that may be called Saturday, there will be an opportunity to motion for witnesses, prompting two hours of debate — and potentially, kicking off a behind-closed-doors deposition process.

Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. and Jeff Merkely, D-Ore., are two senators now expressing a willingness to entertain the idea, despite leadership from both parties previously signaling wanting a speedy trial. The debate comes as new details emerge of a phone call between Trump and House Minority Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, in a statement overnight said that McCarthy spoke to Trump as violent protesters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, but the then-sitting president refused to stop them.

“To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time,” she said in a statement.

The Senate will reconvene at 10 a.m.

-ABC News’ Trish Turner

Feb 13, 2:00 am

GOP Rep. Herrera Beutler recounts details of Trump-McCarthy call in statement

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler tweeted out a statement Friday reiterating comments she made about a talk she had with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy regarding former President Donald Trump’s involvement in the Capitol siege.

The congresswoman from Washington’s 3rd Congressional District is one of the 10 Republicans in the House voting for Trump’s second impeachment.

In the statement, Herrera Beutler reiterated her claims (which she made earlier to Washington newspaper The Daily News) that McCarthy spoke to Trump as violent protesters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, but the then-sitting president refused to stop them.

“When McCarthy finally reached the president on January 6 and asked him to publicly and forcefully call off the riot, the president initially repeated the falsehood that it was antifa that had breached the Capitol,” she wrote. “McCarthy refuted that and told the president that these were Trump supporters. That’s when, according to McCarthy, the president said: ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."”

Herrera Beutler said she’s shared these details in conversation with various colleagues ever since she decided to vote for Trump’s impeachment.

She ended her statement by challenging those with firsthand knowledge of Trump’s actions during the Capitol siege — including former Vice President Mike Pence — to come forward.

“To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time,” she wrote.

Feb 12, 10:23 pm

Trump lawyer threatened to quit night before defense began

David Schoen, one of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyers, threatened to quit Thursday night — just hours before he was to mount a defense of Trump’s actions on Jan. 6.

The threat came as tensions grew among the team, specifically over how videos would be used in the defense and that some of the videos would be repeated multiple times, sources with direct knowledge told ABC News.

It wasn’t until Trump called Schoen directly that he agreed to remain on the team. It also led to the speaking roles and order of the attorneys during the Friday defense presentation being altered, according to the sources.

Schoen and a spokesperson for the former president did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

-ABC News’ John Santucci and Katherine Faulders

Feb 12, 7:41 pm
Senate on track to wrap Trump’s impeachment trial Saturday

After roughly three hours of opening arguments for Trump’s defense team, followed by about three hours of questions and answers from senators, the Senate has adjourned Trump’s second impeachment trial until Saturday at 10 a.m.

House impeachment managers and the defense team on Saturday will deliver closing arguments, for which they each have two hours, followed by the final vote on whether Trump is guilty of “incitement of insurrection.”

Trump attorney Bruce Castor told Capitol Hill reporters late Friday he thought his side would take roughly an hour for their final argument.

Among other motions that could be called, a side could motion for witnesses, prompting two hours of debate on whether to call them to the chamber. However, leadership from both parties have signaled a desire for a speedy trial, and House impeachment managers have agued the senators, as impartial jurors, are themselves witnesses of the Jan. 6. attack.

Although the trial has been marked by partisan divides, all 100 senators agreed to pass legislation to award hero Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal at the end of Friday’s proceedings and gave Goodman, who was in the chamber, a standing ovation.

The House would still have to pass the bill for Goodman to make it official, but it may be one measure both chambers and parties can get behind in Washington in the wake of the deadly Capitol attack.

-ABC News’ Trish Turner

Feb 12, 6:44 pm
Capitol Police Officer Goodman receives standing ovation

After the question-and-answer period of the trial, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who led violent protesters away from the Senate chamber and whose actions helped prevent Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah from harm during the riot on Jan. 6.

“In the weeks after the attack on January the 6th, the world learned about the incredible, incredible bravery of Officer Goodman on that fateful day,” Schumer said.

“Here in this trial, we saw a new video, powerful video, showing calmness under pressure, his courage in the line of duty, his foresight in the midst of chaos, and his willingness to make himself a target of the mob’s rage so that others might reach safety. Officer Goodman is in the chamber tonight,” he added.

Senators from both sides of the aisle rose to give Goodman a standing ovation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also sang the praises of Goodman, and the U.S. Capitol Police force’s bravery during the riot.

“In the face of lawlessness, the officers of the U.S. Capitol lived out the fullest sense of their oath. If not for the quick thinking and bravery of Officer Eugene Goodman, in particular, people in this chamber may not have escaped that day unharmed,” McConnell said. “Officer Goodman’s actions reflect a deep, personal commitment to duty and brought even greater distinction upon all the brave brothers and sisters in uniform.”

The Senate then passed a bill to award Goodman the Congressional Medal, the highest honor the body can bestow.

The bill goes to the House for approval. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested on Thursday that she would propose awarding the honor to all Capitol Police officers, which is not what the Senate passed.

Feb 12, 6:36 pm
‘Future of democracy rests in your hands’: Castro

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, answered a question on behalf of House impeachment managers from Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., who noted that since the November election, officials have been under enormous pressure over upholding the election of President Joe Biden, and asked what would’ve happened if these officials had “bowed to the force” of Trump or the mob that attacked the Capitol.

Castro pointed to pressure put on officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Republican-controlled legislatures across the country, and said if senators don’t vote to convict they are giving a “green light” to this behavior.

“As a Congress and as a nation, we cannot be numb to this conduct. If we are, and if we do not set a precedent against it, our presidents will do this in the future. And this will be a green light to them to engage in that kind of pressure and conduct,” he said.

“This could’ve gone a very different way if those election officials had bowed to the intimidation and the pressure of the president of the United States,” he said.

“For us to believe otherwise and think that somehow a rabbit came out of the hat and a mob just showed up on their own, all by themselves. This is dangerous, senators,” he said.

Feb 12, 6:34 pm
‘This attack was not about one speech’: Plaskett

Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., asked if the article of impeachment was centered on the accusation that Trump incited the crowd, were the House managers contradicting themselves by outlining the premeditated nature and planning of this event.

Trump’s defense lawyer, Michael van der Veen, immediately agreed with the question, saying “yes.” He went on to use the remainder of his time to go back and talk about a previous question.

The House managers responded by reiterating that Trump’s months-long campaign of disinformation helped lead to the insurrection.

“This attack was not about one speech,” Del. Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands, said. “Most of you men would not have your wives with one attempt at talking to her. It took numerous tries. You had to build it up. That is what the president did as well. He put together a group that would do what he wanted.”

Feb 12, 6:33 pm
The Senate adjourns until Saturday morning

The Senate has adjourned until Saturday at 10 a.m.

Feb 12, 6:26 pm
Question, answer period ends

The Senate has completed the question-and-answer period of the impeachment trial

Feb 12, 6:24 pm
Legal teams spar over future of impeaching officials from office

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., asked both House managers and Trump’s legal team if a future Congress could impeach a former secretary of state.

“Voting to convict the former president would create a new precedent that a formal official can be convicted and disqualified by the Senate,” Rubio’s question said.

“Therefore, is it not true that, under this new precedent, a future House facing partisan pressure to “lock her up” could impeach a former secretary of state and a future Senate be forced to put her on trial and potentially disqualify from any future office?”

Lead House manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said that the hypothetical question had “no bearing” on the trial.

“In this case, we have a president who committed his crimes against the republic while he was in office. He was impeached by the House of Representatives while he was in office,” Raskin said. “So, you know, the hypothetical suggested by the gentleman from Florida has no bearing on this case because I don’t think you’re talking about an official who was impeached while they were in office for conduct that they … committed while they were in office.”

Trump lawyer, Michael van der Veen said that the question represented a “slippery slope,” saying that impeachment of former officials could become much more common.

“If you see it their way, yes. If you do this the way they want it done, that could happen to, the example there, a former secretary of state. But it could happen to a lot of people. And that’s not the way this is supposed to work,” van der Veen said. “And not only could it happen to a lot of people, it’d become much more regular too.”

Feb 12, 6:18 pm
Raskin warns of the standard of presidential conduct the Senate will set

Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., answered a pointed question from Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., on the Brandenburg case — the landmark for incitement of a riot in a criminal proceeding — and whether the case prohibits holding public officials accountable through the impeachment process for any incitement of violence.

“They (Trump’s defense attorneys) are treating their client like he is a criminal defendant. They are talking about beyond a reasonable doubt,” Raskin said, pressing his view that impeachment is the proper course of action, while Trump’s defense attorneys have argued, in part, Trump hasn’t reached the Brandenburg standard.

“They think we are making a criminal case here. My friends, the former president is not going to spend one hour or one minute in jail, but this is about protecting a Republican articulating and defining the standards of presidential conduct — and if you want this to be a standard for totally appropriate presidential conduct going forward be my guest,” Raskin said. “We are headed for a different kind of country at that point.”

Feb 12, 5:04 pm
Castro: Trump’s baseless election fraud claims were ‘inciting’ his base

Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., asked House managers about how the former president’s false allegations of election fraud led to the “radicalization” of Trump supporters and led to the attack on the Capitol.

House manger Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Calif., argued that the former president’s persistent claims about election fraud caused his supporters to buy into the “big lie” that the election was stolen, which incited them.

“That was the purpose behind Donald Trump saying that the election had been rigged and that the election had been stolen, and to be clear, when he says ‘the election is stolen,’ what he’s saying is that the victory, and he even says one time, the election victory is being stolen from them. Think about how significant that is to Americans, again, you’re right, over 70 million — I think 74 million — people voted for Donald Trump, and this wasn’t a one-off comment. It wasn’t one time,” Castro said. “It was over and over and over and over and over again, with a purpose.”

Feb 12, 4:59 pm
‘There are long-standing consequences’ if Senate acquits: Plaskett

Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio asked the House managers what message it will send if the Senate does not convict Trump.

“Our actions will reverberate as to what are the future consequences,” House manager Del. Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands said. “The extremists who attack the Capitol at the president’s provocation will be emboldened, all our intelligence agencies have confirmed this.”

Plaskett, using Trump’s own words, warned that “this is only the beginning.”

“There are long-standing consequences decisions like this that will define who we are as people, who America is,” Plaskett continued.

Feb 12, 4:55 pm
Trump defense argues Senate can’t impeach former official

A clerk momentarily took over for presiding officer Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., president pro tempore of the Senate, in reading a wordy question from Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Mike Crappo on the Framers’ intentions surrounding whether a former officer can be impeached.

“The Framers were very smart men and they went over draft after draft after draft on that document and they reviewed all the other drafts of all of the state constitutions — all of them — and they picked and chose what they wanted and they discarded what they did not. And what they discarded was the option for all of you to impeach a former elected official,” Trump attorney Michael van der Veen said.

However, the Senate voted on Tuesday 55-45 to affirm its power that Trump trial’s is constitutional and its within their authority to proceed. Impeachment managers have argued it’s the correct course, rather than a criminal court.

Feb 12, 4:48 pm
Managers, defense bicker over whether Trump knew Pence was evacuated

Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, asked both Trump’s team and the House managers whether the former president knew that former Vice President Mike Pence had been escorted out of the Senate chamber for his safety when Trump sent a “disparaging tweet.” Romney was the only Republican to vote to impeach Trump in the last trial.

House manager Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, insisted Trump “had to know.” Castro pointed to a call the former president made to Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R.-Ala., saying that during the call, Tuberville told the president.

“And after Wednesday’s trial portion concluded, as Sen. Tuberville spoke to reporters and confirmed the call he had with the president and did not dispute Manager Cicilline’s description in any way that there was a call between he and the president around the time that Mike Pence was being ushered out of the chamber, and that was shortly after 2:00 p.m.,” Castro said. “And Sen. Tuberville specifically said he told the president, ‘Mr. President, they just took the vice president out. I’ve got to go."”

However, Michael van der Veen insisted that there is no evidence presented by the House managers that the president knew Pence had been escorted out.

“There’s nothing at all on the record at this time,” van der Veen said. “Because the House failed to do even minimal amount of due diligence.”

Feb 12, 4:45 pm
Plaskett argues Trump did ‘nothing’ to stop attack

Democratic Sens. Ed Markey and Tammy Duckworth asked House impeachment managers when Trump learned of the breach of the Capitol and what specific actions he took to end the violence.

Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands, responded, “The answer is nothing.”

“Mr. President, senators, this attack was on live TV, on all major networks in real time,” Plaskett said. “He knew the violence underway. He knew the severity of the threat and he knew Capitol Police were overwhelmingly outnumbered and fighting for their lives against thousands of insurgents with weapons. We know he knew that.”

“‘This is wrong. You must go back.’ We did not hear that,” she noted.

“Why did President Trump do nothing to stop the attacks for two hours after the attacks began? Why did President Trump do nothing to help protect the Capitol and law enforcement, battling the insurgents?” she asked. “The reason this question keeps coming up is because the answer is nothing.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowksi of Alaska, one of six Republicans to vote Tuesday that the trial is constitutional, asked the same question to Trump’s defense team earlier. Trump’s attorney blamed House impeachment managers for not allowing for the time to investigate Trump’s action’s during the riot.

Feb 12, 4:43 pm
GOP senators question legitimacy of trial

Sens. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., asked Trump’s defense lawyers if this wasn’t just a “political show trial” “designed to discredit Trump and his policies and shame the 74 million Americans who voted for him” because the “appropriate persons” are already being held accountable in court already.

Trump’s lawyer Bruce Castor answered by saying, “that’s precisely what the 45th president believes this gathering is about.”

Castor reiterated that federal authorities are continuing to prosecute those who invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6, and that the trial has “no sanction available under the Constitution in our view” because Trump no longer holds political office.

Feb 12, 4:37 pm
Plaskett: Trump ‘deliberately encouraged’ protesters to engate in violence

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., asked the House managers, “Is there evidence that President Trump knew or should have known that his tolerance of anti-semitic hate speech, combined with his own rhetoric, could incite the kind of violence we saw January 6?”

Del. Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands, argued that a series of Trump’s tweets and speeches prior “pattern and practice” of encouraging violence contributed to the violent assault on the Capitol.

“Donald Trump has a long history praising and encouraging violence, as you saw. He has espoused hateful rhetoric himself. He has not just tolerated it, but he’s encouraged hateful speech by others. He has refused, as you saw in the September debate, that interview, to condemn extremists and white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys,” Plaskett said. “And he has, at every opportunity, encouraged and cultivated actual violence by these groups.”

Plaskett argued that Trump “deliberately encouraged” protesters to engage in violence by calling them to the rally on Jan. 6.

Feb 12, 4:30 pm
Defense doesn’t say what actions Trump took to stop riot

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowksi of Alaska, one of six Republicans to vote Tuesday the trial is constitutional, asked in writing when did Trump learn of the breach of the Capitol and what specific actions did he take to bring the rioting to an end. She also asked that they be “as detailed as possible.”

Trump attorney Michael van der Veen answered for the defense but did not provide a clear answer of Trump’s action, pointing to an afternoon tweet before slamming the managers’ case.

“With the rush to bring this impeachment, there’s been absolutely no investigation into that, and that’s the problem with this entire proceeding. The House managers did zero investigation and the American people deserve a lot better than coming in here with no evidence — hearsay on top of hearsay on top of reports that are of hearsay. Due process is required here and that was denied,” he said.

However, party leaders agreed before the trial that due process was reached, according to multiple statements from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. House managers have also argued that the senators, acting as jurors, were all witnesses to the attack.

Feb 12, 4:25 pm
Warnock asks about efforts in courts to overturn election

Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., asked if it was true that in the months leading up to Jan. 6  dozens of courts, including federal and state courts, rejected Trump’s campaign efforts to overturn the election.

“That is true,” Lead House Manager Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said. “I want to be clear though that we have absolutely no problem with President Trump having pursued his belief that the election was being stolen.”

Raskin went on to reiterate that Trump lost in 61 straight cases in federal and state courts, including courts in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin.

“When he crossed over from non-violent means, no matter how ridiculous or absurd — that’s fine, he’s exercising his rights,” Raskin added. “To inciting violence. That’s what this trial is about.”

Feb 12, 4:13 pm
GOP senators ask about politicians raising bail for rioters

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, asked Trump’s defense whether a politician raising bail for rioters encourages more rioters.

“Does a politician raising bail for rioters encourage more rioting?” the Senate clerk read.

Bruce Castor, Jr of Trump’s defense responded simply, “yes.”

Feb 12, 4:12 pm
1st question asks whether siege would have happened without Trump

The first question in writing at Trump’s second impeachment trial came from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to the House impeachment managers.

“Is not the case that the violent attack and siege on the Capitol on Jan. 6 would not have happened if not for the conduct of President Trump,” read presiding officer Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., president pro tempore of the Senate.

House impeachment manager Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, approached the lectern on behalf of the group.

“To answer your question very directly, Donald Trump summoned the mob. He assembled the mob and he lit the flame. Everything that followed was because of his doing. And although he could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence, he never did,” Castro said. “In other words, this violent, bloody insurrection that occurred on Jan. 6 would not have occurred but for President Trump.”

Castro emphasized their argument that the attack “did not happen by accident” and the “mob did not come out of thin air,” citing Trump’s repeated false claims of election fraud and calls to his supporters to “stop the steal.”

He called the situation Trump created leading up to the Jan. 6 rally “incredibly combustible.”

“He looked out the sea of thousands, some in body armor, with flagpoles, some of which beat Capitol Police with, and told them they could play by different rules,” he said. “Once the attack began, insurgent after insurgent made clear they were following president orders.”

Feb 12, 3:59 pm
Senate trial resumes with question-and-answer portion

The Senate has returned from a roughly 35-minute break following Trump’s defense team wrapping up their arguments.

The trial is now in a question-and-answer portion, where senators can ask questions of the House managers and the Trump defense team. Questions are submitted in writing by senators and read aloud by presiding officer Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., president pro tempore of the Senate.

The question-and-answer portion of the trial is not to exceed four hours over one session day.

-ABC News’ Trish Turner

Feb 12, 3:47 pm
Dems push back on defense claims they weren’t given trial materials, due process

A senior aide on the House impeachment managers’ team told ABC News that the Trump team was given the trial record, including all video and audio used, prior to the start of the trial, despite the Trump defense team claiming otherwise.

Trump attorney David Shoen in earlier arguments Friday said his team was not given an opportunity to review House managers’ evidence before the trial because they were not granted appropriate due process.

In addition to House managers saying all materials were given to Trump’s defense team, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell released at least two public statements in advance of Tuesday’s trial saying due process was agreed to by both parties.

“Republicans set out to ensure the Senate’s next steps will respect former President Trump’s rights and due process, the institution of the Senate, and the office of the presidency. That goal has been achieved. This is a win for due process and fairness,” McConnell said in a statement on Jan. 22. “This structure has been approved by both former President Trump’s legal team and the House managers because it preserves due process and the rights of both sides,” he said in another statement Monday.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a vocal ally of the former president, also tweeted this week that the trial resolution agreed upon is “fair to all concerned.”

-ABC News’ Trish Turner, Katherine Faulders and Benjamin Siegel

Feb 12, 3:33 pm
Castor says Trump innocent as there ‘was no insurrection’

Bruce Castor Jr., a lawyer for Trump’s defense team whose performance at the beginning of the trial was criticized by Republican senators and even drew ire from Trump, argued to the Senate that the former president did not incite an insurrection based on what he said is the legal definition of the term.

“Clearly, there was no insurrection. Insurrection is a term of — defined in the law. It involves taking over a country, a shadow government, taking the TV stations over and having some plan on what you’re going to do when you finally take power,” Castor said. “Clearly, this is not that.”

Castor also argued that the House mangers did not put Trump’s comments into context, and that the president would not have wanted a violent riot to occur and insisted that Trump was the most “pro-police, anti-mob” president in history.

“We know that the president would never have wanted such a riot to occur, because his long-standing hatred for violent protesters and his love for law and order is on display, worn on his sleeve every single day that he served in the White House.”

Castor argued that the House managers have misled the Senate about what Trump said at the rally outside the White House. Castor said Trump didn’t explicitly tell his supporters to storm the Capitol, Castor continued. Castor argued that the only direction he gave was to get lawmakers to “fight,” and if they didn’t, to “primary them.”

“They have used selective editing and many belated visuals to paint a picture far different from this truth,” Castor said of the House managers.

-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel

Feb 12, 3:21 pm
Trump defense team wraps arguments

The Senate is taking a roughly 15-minute break following roughly three hours of arguments from Trump’s defense team.

The trial will move forward with the question and answer portion after the break.

-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel

Feb 12, 3:20 pm
A look inside the chamber

The video montages from Trump’s defense team cut some of the tension in the chamber that had been building over the last few days as senators earlier in the trial watched the close calls with rioters and a desecrated Capitol building on Jan. 6.

Some senators, like Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, were seen giggling on Friday.

Some in the GOP appeared to appreciate and enjoy the “fight” montages. Republican Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Rand Paul or Kentucky appeared to revel in the mashups from the defense.

Democrats, meanwhile, audibly groaned when the Trump legal team played the video montages of them using the word “fight.” Others laughed at the comparison. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., spent a long time staring at the ceiling with his hands in a prayer pose, tapping the tips of his fingers together in agitated boredom.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sat slouched in his chair while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was statute-like during the presentation.

When van der Veen accused lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., of hypocrisy and gestured to him, Raskin was sitting just feet away, looked straight at him and began writing fervently in his notepad.

Every senator in the chamber was wearing a mask, according to one pool reporter, except for Paul, who hasn’t worn one at the Capitol for weeks.

Officer Eugene Goodman, who helped protect the Capitol on Jan. 6 and saved Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, from a potential confrontation with rioters — is providing security from the gallery again Friday, as he has the last few days.

-ABC News’ Trish Turner, Katherine Faulders and Adia Robinson

Feb 12, 2:51 pm
Democrat slams Trump defense team for false equivalence

During the trial recess, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., blasted Trump’s defense team for playing selective, mashup videos of Democrats telling supporters to “fight,” accusing the attorneys of “trying to draw a false, dangerous and distorted equivalence.”

“I think it is plainly a distraction from Donald Trump inviting the mob to Washington, knowing it was armed, changing the route and the timing so as to incite them to march on the Capitol and then reveling, without remorse, without doing anything to protect his own vice president and all of us,” Blumenthal said.

“I think that the case is even more powerful after this very distorted talk,” he added.

-ABC News’ Trish Turner

Feb 12, 2:41 pm
‘Table’s turned’ during the defense presentation: ANALYSIS

During the recess, ABC News Senior National Correspondent Terry Moran noted that “the table’s turned” during Trump’s defense presentation.

“It is really what our partisan politics are all about right now,” Moran said. “It is less about what you believe than who you hate.”

As a part of the defense, Trump’s lawyers showed clips of videos of Democrats using fighting language during their own political speeches, drawing a comparison to the former president.

“Counter attacking with what about-ism is basically what partisan politics has come to in the United States,” Moran continued.

ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent, Jonathan Karl said this defense was considerably more effective due to the audience of the trial and who needs to be swayed, mainly Republican senators.

“They put it back very much on a partisan line, describing this as a political act of vengeance — this impeachment trial — and playing all those Democrats saying things that could be seen as incendiary,” Karl said.

Feb 12, 2:36 pm
Senate trial resumes

The Senate has returned from a roughly 40-minute break to resume arguments from Trump’s defense team.

Feb 12, 2:33 pm
Psaki cites House managers’ performance as a takeaway from trial

As Trump’s lawyers get their defense presentation underway, ABC News White House Correspondent MaryAlice Parks asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki what message she thinks Americans should have learned from the Senate trial this week.

Psaki said that Americans “learned about the power of some individuals in the House they might not have known before,” perhaps referring to Del. Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands, who had a strong presentation that prompted chatter that she is a rising Democratic star.

“They certainly saw some — some powerful footage that was a reminder of the shocking events that happened on January 6th. And you know, I think they saw, as the president has said, that that day was an assault on our democracy and it was a reminder of why it can never happen again,” Psaki continued.

-ABC News’ Sarah Kolinovsky

Feb 12, 2:30 pm
Van der Veen focuses on text of Trump’s Jan. 6 speech without context

Trump defense attorney Michael van der Veen broke down Brandenburg v. Ohio, a case House managers raised Thursday. Van der Veen cited the “landmark case on the issue of incitement speech” to argue that Trump didn’t intend for supporters to attack the Capitol.

A displayed slide read that the Brandenburg test “precludes speech from being sanctioned as incitement to riot unless: 1) the speech explicitly or implicity encouraged use of violence or lawless action, 2) the speaker intends that his speech will result in use of violence of lawless action and 3) the imminent use of violence or lawless action is likely to result from the speech.”

He called Trump’s uses of the words “fight” in the speech “metaphorical.” However, he did not address the impeachment managers’ assertions that Trump had primed his supporters with a “big lie” of a stolen election.

“Spare us the hypocrisy and false indignation. It’s a term used over and over and over again by politicians on both sides of the aisle,” van der Veen said, honing in on arguments of “whataboutisms” of Democrats.

“The reality is Mr. Trump was not in any way shape or form instructing these people to fight or to use physical violence. What he was instructing them to do was to challenge their opponents in primary elections to push for sweeping election reforms, to hold big tech responsible,” he said.

However, at least 15 individuals who stormed the building have since said that they acted based on Trump’s encouragement, including some of those accused of the most violent and serious crimes. House managers also argued in their time that Trump’s oath of office to protect the country supersedes his First Amendment rights.

Trump’s defense team has also played extended video of Trump’s speech at the Jan. 6 rally, in which the former president repeated false claims that the election was stolen and encouraged Republican lawmakers to vote to overturn the Electoral College results.

Feb 12, 2:07 pm
Trump’s legal team argues for ‘unity,’ while attacking Democrats

“It is the time for unity and healing and focusing on the interests of the nation as a whole,” Trump attorney David Schoen said. “We should all be seeking to cool temperatures, calm passions, rise above partisan lines.”

It’s worth noting that Trump’s attorneys have repeatedly singled out Democrats, both in the Senate, and the House managers themselves, and made increasingly personal criticisms in their effort to pugnaciously defend Trump, after Democrats went out of their way not to impugn GOP senators who supported Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. Democrats in the House and Senate were featured in edited videos used by Trump’s legal team.

“If it is not about the words but about the big lie of a stolen election, then why isn’t House manager Raskin guilty since he tried to overturn the 2016 election?” Trump attorney Michael van der Veen asked.

-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel

Feb 12, 1:55 pm
Senate takes short break

The Senate is taking a roughly 15-minute break before continuing with arguments from Trump’s defense team.

Feb 12, 1:54 pm
GOP senator questions effectiveness of using Dems’ fiery rhetoric

Ahead of the trial resuming on Friday, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota — the No. 2 in GOP leadership — questioned the effectiveness of the defense team using videos of Democrats saying similar words that Trump has used. He said he isn’t sure “that it bears a lot on this case.”

However, it’s a strategy the defense team is leaning into with its arguments.

“They may show some videos of other similar incidents, which I don’t know if that’s an effective strategy,” Thune said.

Asked if there was an equivalency to what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and Democrats’ past rhetoric, Thune didn’t express confidence that Trump’s attorneys would make that case.

“Well, that’s what I’m saying, I don’t know, I think we will see. It depends, I suppose, on how they tie it all together,” he said.

Looking past the trial, Thune said he might be supportive of a censure to the former president and said it depends on if that measure could be “effective.”

“I know there were a couple of resolutions out there,” Thune said, adding that at least a couple “could attract some support.”

He said he didn’t think resolutions to bar Trump from running again would “go anywhere.”

-ABC News’ Trish Turner

Feb 12, 1:43 pm
Van der Veen argues Trump’s words covered by 1st Amendment

The former president’s legal team argued that the increased “hatred” in politics has led to more incendiary political language and that the First Amendment protections must be applied evenly across all political language.

“Will the Senate then have to deal with constant articles of impeachment by a majority party accusing minority presidents or other elected officials of so-called ‘inciteful’ or false speeches?” Michael van der Veen said. “You can see where this would lead.”

Van der Veen argued that Trump’s speech and the speech of other politicians is protected by case law and the Constitution, and accused House managers of urging senators to ignore that.

“They astoundingly urge you to disregard your oath by ignoring the First Amendment of the Constitution. They also ignore landmark binding United States Supreme Court cases … which unequivocally hold that elected officials have core First Amendment rights to engage in the exact type of political speech which Mr. Trump engaged in,” van der Veen said.

Feb 12, 1:32 pm
Defense team uses mashup videos to argue normalcy of Trump speech

Arguing Democrats are setting a “dangerous double standard,” Trump attorney David Schoen played several mashup videos of notable Democratic figures calling for supporters to “fight” and clips of them questioning election results in years past, in an effort to paint Trump’s rhetoric as normal political speech.

“Every single one of you and everyone of you, that’s OK. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s a word people use but please stop the hypocrisy,” Schoen said.

Schoen argued that the Trump team was denied due process and that the reason for the impeachment is because of Democrats’ strong dislike of Trump and the Republican Party.

“The House managers’ position really is that when Republican candidates for office claim an election is stolen or the winner is illegitimate it constitutes inciting an insurrection and the candidate should know it. But Democratic Party candidates for public elected office are perfectly entitled to claim the election was stolen or that the winner is illegitimate or to make any other outrageous claim they can. It is their absolute right to do so,” he said, pointing to claims around the 2016 election.

-ABC News’ Allison Pecorin

Feb 12, 9:45 am
Tensions arise on Trump’s legal team as impeachment defense prepares to get underway: Sources

Just hours before Donald Trump’s attorneys are to launch their defense of the former president in his Senate impeachment trial, sources tell ABC News that there is growing tension within the legal team.

Sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell ABC News that Trump wants attorney Bruce Castor to have a reduced role in the presentation in favor of co-counsel David Schoen, which they say is leading to some infighting. Multiple sources close to Trump say they are hoping that Schoen takes control and wraps up the defense’s presentation on Friday.

Neither Castor, Schoen or representatives of the former president immediately responded to inquiries from ABC News seeking comment.

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