Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, for inciting a violent insurrection on the US Capitol, will move ahead after senators rejected the defence’s claim that the proceedings are unconstitutional.
Democrats, who hold the balance of power in the Senate, won a 56-44 vote allowing opening arguments to begin on Wednesday.
On the first day of the historic proceedings on Tuesday, Democrat prosecutors had argued that Mr Trump was America’s Founding Fathers’ “worst nightmare come to life”.
Mr Trump incited a violent insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan 6 which “desecrated” the seat of US democracy, and he must not be allowed to “get away with it” or similar events would become America’s future, they said.
The first day of the trial was taken up with legal argument over whether a former president could be tried for alleged crimes committed while in office.
If convicted by the Senate, Mr Trump would be barred from running for president again. The former president committed an “unforgivable betrayal of office” and was “singularly responsible” for a riot which “could have killed all of us”, prosecutors told senators.
“He issued a tweet five hours after the Capitol was sacked in which he sided with the bad guys,” said David Cicilline, one of the prosecutors. “People died. It was a national tragedy.”