The impeachment trial has begun in the Senate for former President Trump.
Updated at 4:40 p.m. Feb. 13
The Senate voted Saturday and Trump has been acquitted with seven Republicans voting in favor. The 57-43 vote fell short of the 67 convictions needed.
The impeachment trial of former President Trump began this week in the Senate. This is a historical event as Trump is the first president to ever be impeached twice.
The impeachment resolution released by the House stated that Trump engaged in rebellion against the United States. It says that in the months leading up to Jan. 6, he repeatedly, “issued false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people.”
On Jan. 13, 2021, the House voted to impeach Trump on this article. What makes this case different from former impeachments is that the former President Trump is no longer in office as the articles are being voted on in the Senate.
There have been differing opinions concerning whether the trial should still occur since Trump is no longer president.
“The Constitution is clear. Trial by the Senate is reserved for the president of the United States, not a private citizen or used-to-be president,” stated Trump attorney David Shoen.
Representative and House Manager Jamie Raskin (D-MD) rebutted, “The Constitution makes clear there is no January exception to the impeachment power, that a president can’t commit grave offenses in their final days and escape any congressional response.”
The Senate moved the issue forward on Tuesday, and a simple majority moved the process forward.
The prosecution and defense teams each had 16 hours over the course of two days to make their case. Senators had four hours to question both teams. Finally, both sides had up to four hours for closing statements.
The prosecution team was chosen by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and is made up of nine representatives, all Democrats. Rep. Raskin, a former constitutional law professor, is the lead impeachment manager.
Trump’s legal team is led by Bruce Castor Jr. and David Schoen. This is not the same team that represented Trump in his first impeachment trial. The team is arguing that this is a political move by Democrats and that Trump did not incite the violence at the Capitol.
The Democrats have control of the Senate, but it would require a two-thirds supermajority of 67 votes to convict the former president, which they did not receive.
Talk of impeachment began after the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when a large group of Trump supporters rioted at the Capitol building where the electoral college votes were being counted. Five people died, one of which was a Capitol Police officer.
Since Trump was not convicted, he could run again. He hinted that he was considering running in 2024 when he stated he would be “back in some form” when leaving the White House for the last time. According to a poll by Politico, 40% of Republicans said they would support Trump in the 2024 primary.
President Biden has chosen to not give his opinion on what the Senate should do or how long the trial should last. Biden likely wants the trial over soon, as he still has to have the majority of his cabinet confirmed as well as introduce his COVID-19 bill, both of which would require the Senate’s time.
Americans are split on the issue, only slightly favoring that the Senate should convict Trump in a recent poll. Some Americans believe that the conviction of Trump, which did not happen, would defend democracy, while others see it as an unnecessary political move.