House Impeachment managers started their argument in the Senate trial of former President Donald Trump Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 9) with a video montage of the President's speech to supporters and the Capitol Insurrection that followed, filled with F-word expletives' that broadcast nets ran with "explicit content" warnings.
There is a general exemption for news broadcasts from the FCC's rules against profanity during daytime hours.
The montage was interspersed with interstitial text, like "Trump's Mob Breaches the Capitol," that linked the former president directly to the actions that followed, which the unsparing video did not leave to the imagination.
Following the sobering video, lead impeachment manager Rep. James Raskin (D-Md.) said that if that was not an impeachable offense, "then there was no such thing."
In Washington, the ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates and owned stations all preempted special programming for their respective network's live coverage of the opening of the trial, while Fox's WTTG-TV instead aired regular programming. Fox had pointed out that it would provide its affiliates broadcast coverage, but that they could also livestream it if they wanted to also offer regular programming.
By three and a half hours into the arguments, only CBS affiliate WUSA-TV was still going live with the trial. The other stations had switched to their local news.
The House has already impeached Trump for inciting the mob, the second time the former President has been impeached.
Initial arguments are on whether the Senate trial is constitutional because the President can no longer be removed from office since he is already gone.
President Trump's defense team, led by Bruce Castor, pushed back on the video, but not on "the violence of the rioters and those that breached the Capitol." He said to have the seat of government attacked is repugnant and the loss of life horrific.
Castor said it was natural to recoil and desire retribution for that "awful thing," suggesting the prosecution's 13-minute video was meant to provoke that emotional response, just as people can be overcome by events and act without reflective thought.
Trump attorney David Schoen said Democrats had created, manufactured and spliced together a package designed to frighten, as though impeachment was a "blood sport," and that it would serve to tear the country apart, suggesting it would have no precedent except in one case, obviously a reference to the Civil War.
Both Castor and Schoen argued that the impeachment was a political exercise to eliminate Donald Trump as a political opponent and, as Schoen put it, disenfranchise 75 million voters.
Trump's team presented their own video montage of Democrats calling for Trump's impeachment almost from the day he was sworn in, resulting in the fastest impeachment inquiry in history and a rush to judgment, though Schoen called that an understatement.
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