Senate Prepares for Former President Trump’s Looming Trial

Marian Steinmann, Staff Writer

President Trump made history on Jan. 16, although not in the way he may have hoped: he became the first U.S. president to be impeached twice.

Impeachment is the act of charging a public official with “misconduct in the office,” according to Merriam-Webster. In terms of a presidency, the House votes to impeach and the Senate votes to convict.

Trump is the third U.S. president to be impeached during his term, following Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.

The former president’s first impeachment occurred in 2019 after evidence arose of a suspicious phone call with Ukrainian authorities. Democrats accused Trump of seeking foreign interference in the upcoming election, and the House charged him with obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.

During his trial, the Senate voted to acquit him of all charges, and he remained in office.

Trump’s second trial will begin the day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi officially passes his impeachment documents to the Senate, which is expected to occur any day now.

The House of Representatives charged Trump with incitement of insurrection in response to the Jan. 6 riots. Trump tweeted a message the night before, encouraging his followers to prevent the Senate from officially counting the votes that would solidify candidate Joe Biden’s win.

The morning of the riots, the president invited his followers to the capital to march in protest of the election results. He addressed his listeners with phrases like “…we’re going to have to fight much harder…” and “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

Democrats plan to use the contents of his speech as evidence against him in his trial.

Biden’s inauguration took place Wednesday, and politicians are debating as to whether or not Trump can still be convicted once Biden takes office.

Many Republicans claim that the Constitution includes impeachment simply as a means to remove an elected official from office, and because Trump no longer holds the presidency, he should not be convicted; however, some Republicans disagree with this standpoint.

“I have not made a final decision on how I will vote,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a message to his colleagues last week. “…I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”

Democrats argue that because his conviction would prevent him from running for office again, Trump’s trial should not be brushed over.

The debate continues, but President Trump’s fate will be decided in the upcoming days by the Senate as it debates the depth of his crimes.