In last week’s post, Day 3 of Former President Donald Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial was underway.
The first impeachment trial occurred in 2020. The second impeachment trial in 2021.
Let’s be clear – impeachment, by itself, is a historic event and is very rare.
Three Presidents have been impeached – Presidents Bill Clinton, Andrew Johnson and Donald Trump. However, none have been removed from office.
To be impeached, a President or federal official must have committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors as described in the Constitution.
A President who has been impeached twice has NEVER happened in our nation’s history.
The incitement of insurrection, for which President Trump was impeached in January 2021, has not occurred in centuries.
As we know by now, impeachment by the House of Representatives does not guarantee a conviction in the Senate.
Click here to read last week’s post about the beginning of the impeachment trial.
Following up on last week’s post, Day 3 concluded with the House Impeachment Managers finishing their prosecutorial case.
Let’s pick up there.
The President’s Defense lawyers presented their defense in a fraction of the sixteen hours allotted to them. What was their defense, you may ask?
- Senate doesn’t have jurisdiction over a Former President.
- Former President Trump was not afforded due process.
- The House should have investigated further before hastily moving to impeachment.
- The First Amendment protects the incitement rhetoric of which Former President Trump was accused.
Yes, you are reading this correctly – points two and three sort of contradict each other.
It didn’t matter. The defense lawyers could have started and ended their case without stating a word.
Day 5 – The Final Conviction Vote
Saturday began in the most unusual fashion.
Senators voted to allow witnesses in the trial which caused an hour-long delay to decide if witnesses would actually be called.
After the delay, the statement of Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutlerwas admitted into evidence. Her statement recounted the call between House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and President Trump during the insurrection.
After the witness was solved, the Senate took the final vote on whether to convict Former President Trump.
The Senate voted to acquit with a 57-43 vote. This vote marks the first time since 1868 that a majority of the Senate voted to convict a president on an impeachment charge. Nevertheless, the final tally fell short of the two-thirds majority (67 votes) needed to secure a conviction.
The following Republican Senators joined all Democrats voting guilty:
Despite forty-three Senate Republicans voted to acquit Trump, few if any defended him when they announced their votes.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a blistering rebuke of President Trump, just minutes after voting to acquit him.
Leader McConnell stated that the House Impeachment managers proved their case that Trump incited the riot. Leader McConnell also stated the former President could be tried criminally for acts committee while in office.
Some argue McConnell was playing the “long game” (the title of his memoir) to protect the Republican party.
Former President Trump issued a blunt critique of McConnell in the wake of his comments about Trump’s guilt.
So where does this leave us?
Trump Impeachments – 2. Convictions – 0.
And the fight for who will lead the Republican party continues.