January 6, Trump supporters besieged the U.S. Capitol, killing five people, destroying the historic building of the Capitol and subverting American democracy.
Just a week later, the House of Representatives launched the impeachment bill against Trump at an unprecedented speed, and the Senate officially took over the charges of inciting riots against him.
According to the Associated Press, the second impeachment trial of former U.S. President Trump will officially begin on February 9.
How will the first trial of a president’s second impeachment in American history be held? Will the Democratic Party strive to the end? If the conviction fails, will the Democrats calculate that?
The probability is very low.
Trump may “win” again
According to U.S. media analysis, although Trump’s chance of conviction is very low, and he is expected to be acquitted for a second time because the Senate vote is not enough to convict two-thirds required, thus winning again, 100 senators in the Senate must sit down first and hold a formal trial.
According to the U.S. Constitution, the House of Representatives has the sole power of impeachment, while the Senate has the sole power to impeach.
Impeached persons can be the President of the United States, Vice President or any official, but a conviction requires two-thirds of the votes.
In the impeachment trial, the impeachment manager appointed by the House of Representatives will participate in the Senate trial as a prosecutor, and speak in the Senate as the prosecution and defense with the impeached lawyer, presenting the case and defense.
The senator can raise questions in writing before the final vote. In the final vote, each MP will cast his own vote: guilt or innocence.
Usually, the impeachment trial of the president is presided over by the Chief Justice of the United States, but Trump has stepped down from office, and the trial will be presided over by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Virginia.
The duration of this impeachment trial is not clear. Trump’s first impeachment trial lasted nearly three weeks.
At the time, he was accused of abusing his power and putting pressure on the Ukrainian government to investigate current President Biden.
But this impeachment trial is expected to be shorter. First of all, because the case is not complicated, the senators present are witnesses to the riots in the Capitol.
Meanwhile, while Democrats want to make sure they have enough time to state their impeachment views, they don’t want to hold the Senate for too long.
Because the impeachment trial is not completed, the Senate cannot confirm Biden’s cabinet nomination or advance some of the things Democrats are currently rushing forward, such as the coronavirus relief plan.
Unable to be discharged
It is inevitable to escape trial after step down.
Earlier, Democrat Ruskin, the head of the House impeachment case, wrote to Trump, asking him to personally testify and be questioned about the January 6 congressional riots. In the letter, Ruskin said that if Trump refused to testify, it would be evidence against him during the trial.
Trump’s lawyer team later wrote back to reject the request, saying that Democrats’ move proved that they could not produce evidence against Trump.
Republicans and Trump’s lawyers believe that the impeachment trial is unnecessary or even unconstitutional, because Trump is no longer president and has no duty to leave.
But Democrats disagreed, borrowing the views of many legal scholars and examples of former Secretary of War William Belknapp being impeached.
In 1876, Belknapp resigned hours before being impeached for kickbacks, but he was still impeached after his resignation.
Although Belknapp was finally acquitted for insufficient votes, the Senate conducted a complete trial procedure for him.
And, this time, when the House impeached Trump, he was still president, seven days before Biden’s inauguration.
Democrats also believe that there should be no “January special” for presidents who commit impeachable crimes nearing leaving office.
They point out that the trial is necessary not only to hold Trump accountable properly, but also to deal with what has happened.” You can’t move forward unless justice has been done.
If we don’t follow up on this matter, we may as well remove all punishments from the Constitutional Impeachment Clause.” Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said.
It is not the end of accountability.
On January 6, the rioters even broke into the Senate Chamber where the trial would be held.
Still alive memories will make it easier for the impeachment manager of the House to state his views, but this does not mean that the outcome of the trial will be different.
A year ago, only one Republican, Utah Senator Mitt Romney, voted guilty in Trump’s first impeachment trial.
Not many Republicans will vote guilty this time. On January 26, the Senate voted on whether impeaching Trump is unconstitutional, and 45 Republican senators considered it unconstitutional.
This is a sign that Trump may once again be acquitted for insufficient votes. If this second impeachment fails, it will undoubtedly be Trump’s “victory”.
And it will also prove that despite Trump’s attempt to overthrow democracy, which was widely condemned by his Republican colleagues after January 6, he still maintains considerable influence in the party.
However, the acquittal may not be the end point for holding him accountable. Sen. Tim Kane, D-Virginia, and Susan Collins, R-R-Maine, have proposed a condemnation resolution.
While there has been no indication of whether a condemnation vote will be pushed after the impeachment trial, Kane said, “The idea has been put on the table and may become a useful idea in the future.”