Speed Reads

impeachment round 2

Democrats: There's no 'January exception' to impeachment

House impeachment managers are arguing it's downright dangerous to dismiss former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial before it even begins.

Trump's lawyers argue his impeachment for alleged incitement of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol should be dismissed because he is now out of office. But lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) started Tuesday's trial by outlining how that "radical argument" would let officials claim "constitutional impunity" for anything they do in their last month in office.

After presenting a 10-minute video of disturbing scenes from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Raskin warned that if Trump was spared even from being tried for inspiring the riot, it would create a "January exception" to the constitutional right to impeach presidents. "Conduct that would be a high crime or misdemeanor" throughout a president's first few years in office, "you can suddenly do in your last few weeks in office without facing any constitutional accountability at all" if Trump's case was dismissed, Raskin explained.

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) dug further into the idea of a "January exception," explaining how the Constitution allowed for the impeachment of former officials throughout history.

Tuesday's impeachment proceedings will end with a Senate vote considering the constitutionality of the impeachment; 45 Senate Republicans agreed it was unconstitutional in a Jan. 28 vote.