Former President Trump’s Second Impeachment Underway


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Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi in Washington, DC, on January 13

Hannah Connell, Co-Editor in Chief

With a final vote of 217 to 192, The House voted to impeach former President Donald J. Trump on January 13 on a charge of “incitement of insurrection.” This historic vote marks the first time a U.S. President has been impeached more than once. The decision came just one week after Trump provoked a mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol. The riots turned violent and left five people dead, including one Capitol police officer. Lawmakers from both parties responded swiftly to Trump’s role in the Capitol assault; beginning the impeachment process just days before Biden’s inauguration. A year ago, Americans were watching similar events unfold, yet this impeachment trial is different. Unlike Trump’s first impeachment, 10 House Republicans voted in favor, making this the most bipartisan impeachment in history.

Impeachment is a two-step process. The articles must first be introduced and pass in the House. Then, the Senate begins the impeachment trial and votes on a possible conviction. The trial is expected to formally begin on February 9. The Senate now must multitask between advancing Biden’s agenda, confirming his Cabinet nominees, and moving forward with the impeachment process. To convict Trump, the Senate must secure a two-third majority vote, which means 17 Republican senators need to vote in favor of impeachment for the articles to pass.

Now that Trump has left office, Americans may be questioning if an impeachment trial is necessary. Democrats are essentially trying to accomplish two things. First, if the Senate votes to convict Trump, it would prevent him from running for office in the future. Secondly, the outcome of this trial will set a precedent for other government officials. In a message to Congress responding to the House vote, Joe Biden stated, “it was a bipartisan vote cast by members who followed the Constitution and their conscience.

Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont is the Senate pro tempore expected to preside over Trump’s formal impeachment trial. Historically, the President pro tempore (or, “president for a time”) is elected to oversee impeachment trials as acknowledged in the Constitution. However, the Constitution does not outline who presides over the Senate Trial of a former President. Senator Leahy was selected as he is the longest serving member of the Senate. In the coming weeks, the possible conviction of former President Trump lies in the hands of the Senate. Americans can watch the events live on various news outlets.