WASHINGTON DC (CBS4)– President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial is set to start next week and two Colorado lawmakers will lead the prosecution. The nine impeachment managers, who will make the case against Trump, include Representatives Diana DeGette and Joe Neguse.
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For DeGette, it’s her second key role in the impeachment of Trump. She presided over debate in the house during his first impeachment.
She says, this time, it’s an open and shut case, “Here’s a situation where the entire crime is either on video or on social media.”
But Republicans – even some who believe Trump committed an impeachable offense – are raising questions about due process. They say the House rushed to judgement without investigating or holding hearings. Guilty or not, they say, Trump deserves a defense.
DeGette says the facts aren’t in dispute, “Donald Trump said to everybody, ‘Come to Washington DC on January 6th’… so all his supporters came to Washington at his directive. Then, he said, ‘Come to the White House, we’re going to have a big rally.’ So, they all came to the White House to the big rally. And then, he said, ‘March up to the Congress and stop the counting,’ so they broke into the Congress. Apparently some of them were trying to find Vice President Pence and hang him – they even built a gallows – they were trying to find Nancy Pelosi and they were trying to stop the counting. While this was all going on, did Donald Trump do anything to stop it? Did he try to call in the National Guard? Did he do anything? No. He just watched it on TV. That’s a pretty clear-cut crime right there. Everybody knows what happened.”
Still, conviction isn’t a sure thing. Seventeen Republicans need to join Democrats to impeach the former president.
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DeGette says there shouldn’t be a political calculation, “They’re not just the jurors here, they’re the victims and many of them are the witnesses.”
Nevertheless, Trump loyalists are already making House Republicans who voted to impeach him pay for it.
DeGette wouldn’t say if she’s receiving threats but the 25-year-veteran of Congress is not easily intimidated, “I’m never afraid because I’m doing the job my constituents elected me to do. We need to bring this to closure, we need to convict him, we need to make sure he can never run for office again, and we need to move on to the other serious work of this new administration.”
It’s unclear who will preside over the trial and if there will be witnesses. There is also debate over whether it’s constitutional to impeach someone who’s no longer in office. DeGette says impeachment is not only about removing dangerous elected officials from office but preventing them from holding future office. She says you can’t run out the clock on accountability.
“If somebody robbed a bank and then you got the money back you wouldn’t say, ‘Well we got the money back, let’s not prosecute them.’ What you would basically be saying is a president could totally run amok in the last month of their presidency and then since the Senate couldn’t try him in time, oh well,” said DeGette.
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If Trump is convicted, he is likely to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme court on grounds the trial was unconstitutional.
The House will deliver the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate on Monday. Under Senate rules, the trial will begin the next day unless leadership agrees to a different date.