Historic Second Impeachment Trial of Former President Donald Trump Underway

Kate Wiggins, Features Editor

  As of publication, Former President Donald Trump’s historical second impeachment trial is underway, after he was impeached by the House of Representatives for incitement of insurrection, following the aggravated riots that occured at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in Washington D.C.

   This impeachment is peculiar in two ways. Time Magazine shared, “Trump is not only the third president in history to be impeached, but will carry the stigma of being the only commander-in-chief to be impeached twice.”

   Along with Trump being the first president to be impeached for a second time, he is due for his impeachment trial after his term as president. According to The New York Times, “Democrats have argued that Mr. Trump’s offense, using his power as the nation’s leader and commander-in-chief to incite an insurrection against the legislative branch, is so grave that it must be addressed, even with just a few days remaining in his term” (nytimes.com). 

   According to the BBC, multiple lines of his speech are being used against Trump from his “Save America” rally, including: “We won this election, and won it by a landslide,” “We will stop the steal,” and “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore” (bbc.com).

   In addition to the incitement of violence, Trump’s repetitive claim of a “stolen election” in November was added to the claims of misconduct. The New York Times shared that the drafted articles of impeachment include, “Mr. Trump’s weeks-long campaign to falsely discredit the results of the November election” (nytimes.com).

   According to the Associated Press, Trump’s defense is arguing that the former president did not incite violence, his free speech is protected, and the trial itself is unconstitutional (apnews.com). However, in a 56-44 majority vote, the Senate declared the impeachment trial constitutional (bbc.com).

Trump’s defense is arguing that the former president did not incite violence, his free speech is protected, and the trial itself is unconstitutional”

   Senior Luis Vega said, “It’s pretty crazy but also cool to be witnessing such a huge part of American history. This is something that our kids will learn about, and to think that we are living through it in our prime years is something really bizarre to think about.”

   Different from Trump’s first impeachment, there were ten House Republicans to vote in favor of Trump’s impeachment. “The ten House members who voted to impeach Trump don’t cut a singular profile. They come from a range of districts, from coast to coast, some representing places Trump won handily in 2020, while others are in more moderate seats,” shared NPR News (npr.org).

   According to The New York Times, the Republicans in the House who voted against the impeachment, many of whom voted to overturn the election results, did not want the process of another impeachment to create more separation in the country. “Republicans…have claimed that going through the impeachment process so late in Mr. Trump’s term will foster unnecessary division and that the country should move on from last week’s siege” (nytimes.com).

   In break from tradition, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the longest-serving Democrat in the Senate, will be presiding over the trial. This job is typically given to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but Chief Justice John G. Roberts was not interested in taking part. “Because the Constitution does not stipulate who should oversee the trial of a former president, it fell to Mr. Leahy, giving him the authority to rule on key questions like what evidence is admissible” (nytimes.com).