Senate Votes Impeachment Constitutional, Trial Underway

Historic second impeachment trial begins this week against former President Trump

By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The House impeachment managers opened the trial floor with anecdotes of the fear from the Jan. 6 insurrection on Tuesday in a case against former President Donald Trump. The lawmakers shared footage of Trump’s speech urging his supporters to “fight like hell,” and scenes of the subsequent violence from inside the Capitol building.

Most Republican lawmakers have previously argued that holding a trial against a former president is unconstitutional since he is now a private citizen. However, many Democratic lawmakers and a handful of Republicans argue the trial is fair since they will be trying the former president for actions he made during his tenure.

Representative Joe Neguse (D) of Colorado said during his remarks, “What you experienced that day, what we experienced that day, what our country experienced that day, is the framers’ worst nightmare come to life. Presidents can’t inflame insurrection in their final weeks and then walk away like nothing happened.”

Representative Jamie Raskin (D) of Maryland described the horror he felt because his children had visited him at the Capitol that day and experienced the trauma for themselves.

“Our new chaplain got up and said a prayer for us, and we were told to put our gas masks on,” he said. “And then there was a sound I will never forget, the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram. The most haunting sound I ever heard, and I will never forget it.”

Trump’s legal team responded with remarks first complimenting the House managers for a compelling opening argument but condemning the Senate’s decision to hold the trial, and continued with their argument.

“We can’t possibly be suggesting we punish people for political speech in this country. If people go and commit lawless acts of their beliefs, and they cross the line, they should be locked up,” Trump attorney Bruce Castor said. “If we go down the road my very worthy adversary here Mr. Raskin asks you to go down, the floodgates will open.”

The Trump legal team’s argument centered around the unconstitutionality of holding a trial against a former president. Attorneys Castor along with David Schoen only had a week to prepare their opening remarks after several lawyers from the original team quit. Trump was reportedly unhappy with Castor’s statements.

The Senate voted 54-44 to proceed with the impeachment trial following the arguments. The trial is expected to continue through the week.

The Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump on Saturday to end the shortest impeachment trial in history. Although the Democrats did not achieve the two-thirds vote necessary to convict the trial was also the most bipartisan vote in history, with six Republican senators siding with all 50 Democrats to vote in favor of convicting the former president.