The Senate Prepares to Impeach Donald Trump

House+Managers+Delivering+the+Articles+of+Impeachment.

C-SPAN

House Managers Delivering the Articles of Impeachment.

Afton Copeland Spiegel, Political Reporter

On Tuesday, February 9, the Senate begins the 2nd impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump. This time around, Trump is accused of instigating the riot at the Capitol that began after supporters attended his “Save America March” rally. 

In his public exhortations to them, the President saw the insurrectionists not as the foes of freedom, as they are, but as the means to a terrible goal, the goal of his personally clinging to power. The goal of thwarting the will of the people,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she prepared to charge Trump with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in instigating a violent mob that stormed the building.

On January 13, one week after the incident, the House of Representatives impeached Donald J. Trump for a second time with 232 voting in favor and 197 against. Ten Republican Congressional members joined all Democratic members in the majority, while the rest sided with the former President and voted against impeachment. 

Liz Cheney, the third-highest-ranking Republican in Congress, and one of those in favor of impeachment stated: “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution. I will vote to impeach the President.” 

The Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict. Though there is a 50-50 split between the parties, Democrats hold the majority with Vice President Kamala Harris, who as President of the Senate, may cast a tie-breaking vote. Despite this, there is still a need for 17 Republicans to vote to convict the former president. A conviction is seeming more unlikely due to a count on January 26 over a resolution, raised by Republicans, suggesting the impeachment trial of the former president was unconstitutional and should be dismissed. The resolution was rejected with five Republicans siding with Democrats and voting for the impeachment trial to proceed. 

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, while not stating his position on impeachment, indicated that he believed it is constitutionally permissible for the Senate to consider the impeachment of the former President. 

“When President Trump’s impeachment trial begins on February 9th, I will again fulfill my responsibility to consider the arguments made by his lawyers and the House managers,” Toomey said in an issued statement. 

Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, defended the former President saying, “If you voted that it was unconstitutional, how in the world would you ever vote to convict somebody for this?” Paul, expressing a view of many Republicans, believes that because Trump is now a private citizen, it is “unconstitutional” to impeach him for his actions on January 6. Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri echoed a similar sentiment saying, “I mean it’s blatantly unconstitutional. It’s a really, really, really, dangerous precedent.”

Since the attack on the Capitol, former President Trump has been putting together a legal team to form a defense against the accusations. On January 31, this was seemingly delayed when, according to CNN, three of his attorneys left the defense team. Despite this, the office of the former president released a statement announcing his legal team was to be led by attorneys David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr.. 

“I consider it a privilege to represent the 45th President,” Castor said at the announcement. “The strength of our Constitution is about to be tested like never before in our history.”