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Jumat, 12 Februari 2021

Could Donald Trump's impeachment trial make him a martyr? Here's what we know about his plans - ABC News

Donald Trump's second impeachment trial has an audience far and wide.

The 100 senators who will decide the former president's fate are the closest of observers.

They will eventually have to vote on whether or not to convict Trump on the sole charge of inciting an insurrection.

There are millions of Americans watching the wall-to-wall coverage on cable TV, most still horrified about what they saw at the US Capitol on January 6.

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Play Video. Duration: 13 minutes 25 seconds
Full video of Capitol riot played by prosecutors at Trump's impeachment trial

But the person with the keenest interest in proceedings is Trump himself.

What happens during the course of the trial, and on the day of the verdict, will play an enormous role in determining whether Trump will continue to exert considerable political influence in the years ahead.

'He was basically screaming at the TV'

The former president has, by all accounts, been a keen viewer of the live TV coverage at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, even to the point of winding back his golf.

And, so far, he's been silent.

It's a stark contrast to his first impeachment trial, when Trump, then ensconced in the Oval Office, was offering running commentary on Twitter during the opening arguments.

It's a different story though behind the scenes, with multiple US media outlets reporting Trump has been distinctly unimpressed with the performance of his defence team, particularly the rambling opening statement by lawyer Bruce Castor.

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Play Video. Duration: 4 minutes 47 seconds
Bruce Castor's address wasn't particularly convincing.

CNN's chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins says she's been told Trump was "basically screaming" at his TV as Castor made a series of unconvincing points.

It's unlikely to make much of a difference to the outcome.

Even if Trump's team completely bombs, and despite all the fresh and harrowing videos of the mob baying for blood in January, nearly all of the 50 Republican senators seem determined to stick with their man.

Only six Republicans sided with the Democrats in an early vote on whether the trial was constitutional.

If that is an indicator of the final verdict, Trump can safely rely on 44 votes.

That's more than enough to prevent the Democrats securing the two-thirds majority needed to convict him.

The experience of one of those six Republicans neatly summarises why the party is still haunted by the now private citizen in Palm Beach.

'They are about to make him a martyr'

Louisiana senator Bill Cassidy was so unhappy with the Trump legal team's arguments, he crossed the floor to vote with the Democrats to allow the trial to proceed.

The backlash has been immediate and furious.

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The local branch of the Republican Party in Senator Cassidy's home town of Baton Rouge censured him, saying his actions were "a betrayal of the people of Louisiana and a rebuke to those who supported President Trump".

Similar retribution has been meted out to other congressional Trump critics like Wyoming Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney.

It's a sharp reminder of the role Trump and his many surrogates are likely to play in the lead-up to the 2022 midterm elections.

Liz Cheney, wearing dark blue rimmed glasses, stands in front of a US flag while speaking
Liz Cheney is an establishment Republican politician.(AP: J Scott Applewhite)

And that's even before we get to the rampant speculation about Trump seeking a return to the White House in 2024.

He may be fuming among the palm trees in Florida, but some of Trump's key supporters are telling him this second trial presents him with a golden political opportunity.

Brad Pascale, Trump's former campaign manager, thinks multiple impeachments will work in his favour. He tweeted:

It could be a potent political sales pitch for a man who plays the role of victim very well, whether it's at the hands of the "fake news" media, the "China virus", or name any other confected enemy.

During Trump's presidency, it was always someone else's fault.

The 74 million Americans who voted for him are likely to lap it up.

'He's building anticipation'

There is also the danger of the Democrats overreaching.

Many in the party would like to keep pursuing Trump even after his expected acquittal by the Senate.

No matter how personally and politically fulfilling this would be for many Democrats, voters would be right in asking why their politicians aren't exclusively focused on dealing with the many challenges facing the country and working to implement Joe Biden's election campaign promises.

For now, Trump's political intentions remain a mystery.

US President Donald Trump speaks next to an exit sign.
It's exit stage right for Trump. But for how long?(AP: Evan Vucci)

America and the world have been living with an uncharacteristic silence from the 45th President ever since he left Washington DC ahead of Biden's inauguration.

But those close to Trump say he's already plotting his comeback, and not surprisingly, there's a distinct TV theme in play.

"He's compared it to that time in between seasons of The Apprentice, building anticipation and wonderment about what's to come," one advisor told Politico.

Trump enjoyed 14 seasons on The Apprentice. Is he coveting four more years in the White House?

American voters telling him, "You're fired!" may not have been the political season finale we all thought it was.

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https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMibmh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmFiYy5uZXQuYXUvbmV3cy8yMDIxLTAyLTEzL2RvbmFsZC10cnVtcHMtaW1wZWFjaG1lbnQtdHJpYWwtYW5kLXRoZS1mYWxsb3V0LWFmdGVyLXRoZS12b3RlLzEzMTQ0NTA40gEnaHR0cHM6Ly9hbXAuYWJjLm5ldC5hdS9hcnRpY2xlLzEzMTQ0NTA4?oc=5

2021-02-12 15:22:00Z
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