aljazeera.com
SHORT ANSWER
News|Donald Trump
Trump’s second impeachment trial: What to watch
No president has ever faced two impeachment trials. Here is what you need to know about Trump’s second.
Former President Donald Trump faces an historic second impeachment trial [File: Patrick Semansky/AP Photo]
By Steve Chaggaris
9 Feb 2021
The historic second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump gets under way on Tuesday as the US Senate hears arguments about whether he is guilty of inciting last month’s US Capitol riot.
Never before in US history has a president been impeached twice. Also, never before has a president been convicted in a Senate impeachment trial, and the outcome of this trial is not expected to have a different result.
That being said, House impeachment managers, serving as the prosecution in the trial, will try to convince senators, serving as the jury, that Trump’s actions and language were an “incitement of insurrection”, a “high crime” in their estimation as laid out in the US Constitution.
Trump’s legal team, serving as the defence, will make two key arguments in response: the trial of a former president is unconstitutional and, also, Trump’s speech prior to the riot was not an incitement and was free speech protected by the constitution.
How long will the trial last?
It is expected to last about a week. Tuesday will feature a debate and vote on whether the trial itself is constitutional. Wednesday and Thursday will be the House impeachment managers’ days for up to 16 hours of arguments. Trump’s defence team is expected to make their arguments over up to 16 hours on Friday and Saturday. And next week, senators may have questions, followed by a vote on whether to convict. It is not expected that either side will call witnesses, which will speed up the pace of the trial.
What are the chances Trump will be convicted?
Conventional wisdom has it that there is little chance Trump will be found guilty by the Senate. Two-thirds – or 67 – of the 100 senators would have to vote to convict and currently the Senate is made up of 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. Based on public statements and a recent vote on the constitutionality of the trial where only five Republicans voted with Democrats, it does not appear that there are anywhere near 17 Republicans who would join with the 50 Democrats to convict Trump.
What if he is convicted?
Conviction in an impeachment trial results in an automatic removal from office. In this specific case, however, since Trump is already out of office, the conviction would be largely symbolic. Democrats have insisted that Trump should be held accountable after the violence on January 6 and they argue that not convicting, even if it is symbolic, would give future presidents a free pass to commit “high crimes and misdemeanors” the impeachment standard laid out in the US Constitution.
If the Senate does convict Trump, they could also decide to hold a subsequent, more than symbolic vote on barring him from holding future office. That would only require a simple majority vote.
What if Trump is acquitted?
It is worth noting that Trump was acquitted last year in his first impeachment trial and, even though it was a seriously negative mark on the historic record of his presidency, he aimed to use it to his political advantage, arguing to his base that it was a political “witch hunt”. In fact, he has called this impeachment “a continuation of the witch hunt”, and polling, at least among Republicans, shows that many Americans agree with him. It is expected Trump will re-emerge following the trial and, again, aim to use it to his advantage, while attacking Democrats and any Republicans that opposed him during the impeachment process.
Democrats in Congress could try to censure Trump – a congressional stamp of disapproval, essentially – or attempt to invoke a clause in the 14th Amendment, which would bar him from holding future federal office.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
RELATED
Trump im­peach­ment tri­al is about the fu­ture, not a con­vic­tion
An ac­quit­tal is al­most cer­tain for Trump so in­stead, politi­cians are us­ing the tri­al to set up fu­ture po­lit­i­cal fights.
5 Feb 2021
Who’s who in Don­ald Trump’s sec­ond im­peach­ment tri­al
Trump is first for­mer US pres­i­dent to face im­peach­ment tri­al and the only pres­i­dent to be im­peached twice.
9 Feb 2021
Trump’s im­peach­ment tri­al rais­es unique le­gal ques­tions
What are the le­gal is­sues in Trump’s sec­ond im­peach­ment tri­al? Can a for­mer pres­i­dent be im­peached?
9 Feb 2021
MORE FROM NEWS
Tonga says it is facing ‘unprecedented disaster’, many missing
Fair trial doubts as Kem Sokha treason trial resumes in Cambodia
US launches website to provide free at-home COVID tests
Colombia’s Ingrid Betancourt announces presidential bid
MOST READ
Muslim girls wearing Hijab barred from classes at Indian college
UK gives Ukraine anti-tank weapons as Canada sends special forces
NATO chief invites Russia to new talks as Ukraine tensions mount
‘Deltacron’: Should we worry about new COVID-19 variants merging?
Follow Al Jazeera English:
© 2022 Al Jazeera Media Network
You rely on Al Jazeera for truth and transparency
We understand that your online privacy is very important and consenting to our collection of some personal information takes great trust. We ask for this consent because it allows Al Jazeera to provide an experience that truly gives a voice to the voiceless. You have the option to decline the cookies we automatically place on your browser but allowing Al Jazeera and our trusted partners to use cookies or similar technologies helps us improve our content and offerings to you. You can change your privacy preferences at any time by selecting ‘Cookie preferences’ at the bottom of your screen.To learn more, please view our Cookie Policy.