Newly-installed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) rose to the Senate floor Friday morning to declare that Senators would have to decide whether “Donald John Trump incited the erection.”
He later corrected himself, accusing Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 “insurrection.”
The Freudian slip, perhaps betraying the excitement among the Democratic caucus, came after Schumer announced that the Senate expected to receive the official article of impeachment from the House of Representatives on Monday, Jan. 25.
The article declares that then-President Trump “engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”
It then alleges that because Trump made “false claims” in his speech at the Ellipse in Washington, DC, his audience, “Thus incited by President Trump,” later went on to riot at the Capitol. The “inciting” speech is presumed to have preceded the violent action, and to have been the immediate cause of that action.
However, that sequence of events has been questioned. The New York Times published a timeline that shows the violence at the Capitol started 20 minutes before Trump finished his speech at the Ellipse — more than a mile away.
The Times noted:
About 20 minutes before Trump’s speech ends, some people in the Capitol crowd harass officers posted at the barricades and start to get physical. Others follow suit, until they violently overwhelm the police and breach the building’s outer perimeter.
As Mr. Trump’s speech comes to an end, he calls on his supporters to “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue” toward the Capitol. Rioters there continue to violently clash with officers, including reinforcements from the local police department who have arrived on the scene. Both sides spray chemical agents.
Schumer also insisted that a Senate trial would be constitutional, even though Trump has already left office.
Scholars such as Alan Dershowitz — a liberal Democrat who defended Trump at his first impeachment trial — have argued that such a trial would in fact be unconstitutional.
Notably, Schumer was a mentor of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), who left Congress after sending lewd photos on social media.