Saturday marks the fifth day of the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, after a dramatic week that saw House impeachment managers and Trump’s legal team offer dueling arguments over whether the former President was at fault for the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.
The Senate is expecting to reconvene the trial at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, though what happens the rest of the day is unclear. Most notably, Saturday’s session could feature the vote on whether to convict or acquit Trump on the article of impeachment the House passed last month, which would bring the trial to an end.
Here’s how to watch and what to know about the Senate impeachment trial so far:
How can people watch the trial?
CNN’s special coverage of the trial will begin Saturday at 10 a.m. ET and run until 4 p.m. ET. Coverage will stream live and can be accessed without a cable log-in on:
- The CNN.com homepage
- CNNgo, via CNN.com/go on desktops, smart phones and tablets
- CNN’s mobile apps for iOS and Android
- CNNgo apps on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, Chromecast and Roku
What is expected to happen Saturday?
The Senate could vote on conviction Saturday. When the trial resumes, the House managers could request witnesses, though they are unlikely to do so. If no witnesses are sought, the two sides would each get to make a closing argument — which could take up to four hours — as well as a few other procedural steps. A final vote appears on track to occur around 3 p.m. ET, though that is not locked in.
What happened Tuesday?
The opening session of the trial was a debate on the constitutionality of the proceeding itself, but Democrats quickly turned their attention to the harrowing attack on the Capitol, showing how rioters had violently breached the building, attacked police officers and invoked Trump’s name as they tried to disrupt the certification of the November presidential election.
The initial presentation from the defense team offered a Jekyll-and-Hyde-esque response to the impeachment charge, with Trump attorney Bruce Castor praising the managers for a presentation that was “well done” and attorney David Schoen following by slamming Democrats, accusing them of trying to tear apart the country.
To conclude the day, six Republicans joined all of their Democratic colleagues to vote 56-44 that the impeachment trial against Trump is constitutional, with Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana emerging as the sole Republican to switch his vote after an initial vote on constitutionality last month.
What happened Wednesday?
House impeachment managers aired disturbing and gripping footage showing how rioters had violently attacked officers as they breached the Capitol — and had come dangerously close to reaching lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence as they fled the House and Senate chambers.
The House’s presentation included never-before-seen Capitol security camera footage, body camera footage from Washington police and police radio dispatches, providing the fullest view to date of how the Capitol had been overrun and the grave threat the rioters posed to everyone in the building.
While many GOP senators praised the presentation, there was no sign they are going to consider convicting Trump, no matter how compelling the Democrats’ presentation may have been.
What happened Thursday?
House impeachment managers concluded their case against Trump, having urged the Senate over two days to convict the former President for inciting the insurrectionists who attacked the US Capitol, arguing he was responsible for the deadly riot, failed to stop the attackers and showed no remorse afterward.
The Democrats’ arguments Thursday were at a decidedly lower decibel than on Wednesday. Wrapping up the House’s case, lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin of Maryland pleaded with senators to convict Trump, warning of the historical consequences if he is acquitted.
What happened Friday?
In their brief argument, Trump’s legal team equated the former President’s speech with Democrats’ rhetoric — showing lengthy montages of Democratic politicians saying they would “fight” — to argue that Trump’s words on January 6 did not incite the rioters who attacked the Capitol afterward.
Trump’s lawyers also falsely suggested Antifa was responsible for the riot, rather than Trump supporters, and raised Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in Georgia. Trump’s team wrapped up its presentation in a little more than three hours before the question-and-answer session, which was more free-flowing after three days of mostly scripted presentations.
The key Republicans who could vote to find Trump guilty focused on the actions of the then-President as the riot unfolded and then-Vice President Mike Pence was endangered, a topic that Trump’s lawyers did little to address during their argument or when the GOP senators posed the questions.