Current US President Donald Trump has made history by becoming the first president in US history to be impeached twice. Donald Trump is charged with “incitement of insurrection” over the last week’s siege of the US capitol. Before Trump, only two US Presidents were impeached- Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson.
What Does Impeachment Mean?
Impeachment is when an acting US President is charged with crimes. In Donald Trump’s case, he is accused of “inciting insurrection” by stirring up his supporters and pushing them to storm the US Capitol.
When Was Trump Impeached first?
Donald Trump was impeached the first time in December 2019 on two criminal charges: abuse of power and obstructing Congress’s inquiry. However, thanks to the Republican-controlled Senate, a quick trial was held without new witnesses and Trump was acquitted.
Back then, Trump’s impeachment was opposed by the majority of the Republican Party. This time, only a few Republicans are backing Trump. This goes on to show the gravity of the situation and the current President’s declining domination during his last few days of administration.
What is Trump Impeached with this time?
President Trump is accused by the House of Congress of “inciting insurrection” which led to the storming of the US Capitol.
On 6th January, Trump made a speech to his supporters and encouraged them to make their voices heard “peacefully and patriotically”, but also to “fight like hell” against the alleged election fraud. What ensued was violence in the US capital. Trump’s supporters broke into the US Capitol and forced lawmakers to halt the certification of the election results. The entire building was under lockdown and 5 people lost their lives in the violence.
The current article of impeachment states that Trump “repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were fraudulent and should not be accepted”. The article goes on to say that Trump “wilfully made statements to the crowd that encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol.”
Here’s another excerpt from the article of Trump’s second impeachment-
“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government, threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperilled a coequal branch of government.”
So, What Happens Now?
The impeachment article will move to Senate, the Upper Chamber, where a trial will be held to determine whether Trump is guilty or not. To convict trump a two-thirds of majority is needed, meaning if all 100 senators vote in the Senate, a minimum of 17 Republicans will need to join Democrats and vote. But it’s interesting to note that the trial will not be held during Trump’s remaining time as the US president. A trial can happen after the end of his tenure as the US president. Senators can come together to vote for Trump in never holding a public office again.
Meanwhile, the Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell has rejected the calls from Democrats for an immediate impeachment trial of Trump. McConnell said the trial can’t begin until the Senate resumes on January 19. Meaning the Trial will likely take place after Trump’s leaving of office which is scheduled for January 20.
What Would Trump’s Defence Look Like?
Trump’s likely argument is going to be on the grounds of his remarks being protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Trump can argue that while he told his supporters to “fight”, it was not a literal call to violence.
Additionally, Trump also released a statement on Wednesday right after the impeachment vote was made.
In his videotaped statement Trump condemned the violence that ensued last week and said, “Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement.”