The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump began in Washington on Tuesday, just over a month after a mob of Trump supporters breached the Capitol for the first time in over 200 years, left five people dead and injured 140 others. Just before opening arguments, 44 Senate Republicans voted against a measure affirming the trial’s constitutionality – a deceptive dissent, as “most of these Republican senators, the vast majority of them, want Donald Trump to be impeached”, said Jimmy Kimmel.
“They know what he did, and they pretty much want him to go away. There’s nothing they would like more than for Trump to be legally prevented from ever running again.
“The reason they’re even having this trial is because he sent maniacs on a panty-raid of their office,” Kimmel continued. “They’re just too afraid to do the right thing, because Trump and his bag of boiled nuts will then target them. They saw what happened to Mike Pence” – rioters looking to punish him for not intervening in the symbolic Senate certification of Biden’s electoral victory – “and they’re afraid. The sad truth is that they’re a bunch of cowards.”
Trump, meanwhile, was reported to be “deeply unhappy” with his lawyers’ performances, “so those guys aren’t getting paid,” Kimmel quipped, wondering how the president was watching the arguments unfold. “I want to know everything – I want to know where he’s watching, what he’s wearing,” Kimmel said.
“Did he put a suit on with the extra-long tie? Did he get his jowls all tanned up? Was he in a pair of Maga sweat pants with an Oreo blizzard in his lap? I don’t know, but I want to.”
On Late Night, Seth Meyers refuted the Trump defense’s argument that it was unconstitutional to impeach a president no longer in office, calling the notion “ridiculous”.
“It doesn’t say that anywhere in the constitution,” he continued. “If you manage to flee the scene of a crime before the cops can catch you, you don’t get to automatically go free. If that was the case, Trump would’ve finished his speech and then immediately jumped in a white Ford bronco.”
For the prosecution, Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland argued that to drop impeachment simply because Trump was no longer in office would create a dangerous “January exception” to the US constitution and presidency.
“Yeah, the founders didn’t intend to write in an exemption where you can commit whatever crimes you want during your last month in office,” Meyers said. “It’s called a transition, not the purge. This isn’t the last week of middle school, where every teacher shows a movie while they google ‘vacation Caribbean cheap’ and the French teacher tells you all the good swears.”
“Here we go again, again,” said Stephen Colbert after day one of impeachment round two, which gave the Late Show host a “real feeling of deja-coup”.
Colbert first turned to the prosecution, which played a “devastating” video of the violent riot storming the Capitol and threatening lawmakers. The video “was especially hard to watch for the cowards in the Senate,” Colbert said, noting that several GOP Senators avoided watching it, instead averting their eyes to papers in their lap or, in the case of Rand Paul, doodling in his notebook. “You know what they say, gentlemen,” Colbert said, “see no evil, hear no evil, makes you seem really evil”.
Forty-four Republican senators voted Tuesday that the trial was unconstitutional, “because they don’t want to have this trial”, he added. “Well, tough nuts. The country is like a bar – the last president puked in the bathroom. Somebody’s got to clean it up or we can’t use the bathroom anymore. Oh, and you’re the ones who decided to be a busboy, so grab a mop and do your job.”
And on the Daily Show, Trevor Noah honed in on Trump lawyer Bruce Castor’s bumbling performance, which included such lines as “Nebraska, you’re gonna hear, is quite a…uh..judicial thinking place.”
“Here’s the crazy thing: it doesn’t actually matter what this guy says,” Noah explained. “He could get up there and show his pubes for hours, because the jury has already reached its verdict.”
“Before this trial even started, almost every Republican juror has made it clear that they don’t want a trial at all,” Noah continued. “And I get it! I get why Republicans voted this way. Because on the one hand, yes, an angry mob stormed the Capitol building where they work and could have killed them. But on the other hand, everyone hates jury duty.”
The constitutionality vote “might make the trial seem pointless now”, Noah concluded. “But just because we know how the trial will end doesn’t mean the trial shouldn’t take place.
“I mean, when you’re watching Law and Order, do you turn it off in the first five minutes when the cops interview a dentist who obviously killed his patient to cover up an affair?” he joked. “Of course not! You watch the whole thing, because then you get to say ‘I knew it!’ when you end up being right.”