Second Trump Impeachment Advances to Trial

Olivia Allery, staff writer
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signing the articles of impeachment against former President Donald Trump after their approval by the House of Representatives, provided by Wikimedia Commons.

Former President Donald Trump has been impeached for a second time and the trial determining whether or not he will be convicted is quickly approaching. This watershed moment marks the first time in US history that a president has been impeached twice, as well as the first time that a former president is undergoing a conviction trial after their presidential term has already ended.

The main event that set off this second impeachment was the white supremacist attack of the capitol on Jan. 6. After this event, the House of Representatives cast a swift vote for the impeachment of Trump for inciting insurrection. 

The impeachment process begins with a vote made by the House of Representatives. If the House reaches a majority vote in favor of the impeachment, a trial commences. The Senate is then in charge of presiding over the impeachment trial. In order for there to be a conviction, the Senate must have a two-thirds concurrence. There will need to be 67 votes from the senate in order for Trump to be convicted. This process will still be in place even though Trump is no longer in office. 

“The procedures are largely identical, so the key difference is that there’s no possibility of penalizing him by removing him from office,” said Andrew Aoki, Augsburg political science professor, in a statement to The Echo. “While Trump cannot be removed from office right now, the Senate has another penalty they could impose. In addition to convicting him, which would automatically remove a sitting president from office, it could also disqualify him from any future federal office.”

While the vote for impeachment has gone through, there is no guarantee that Trump will be convicted. In fact, it is more likely that Trump will be acquitted, like he was in his last impeachment, since most Republican senators still remain strong supporters of the former president. There was even an effort by Republican senators to dismiss the trial on the basis that the charges made against Trump were unconstitutional.

However, lawmakers were able to put this effort to an end with a narrow majority vote of 55-45 for the impeachment trial to continue.

“There’s no chance they could get the two-thirds necessary for a conviction, let alone barring him from future federal office.”

Andrew Aoki, Augsburg political science professor

“There’s no chance they could get the two-thirds necessary for a conviction, let alone barring him from future federal office,” said Aoki. “Trump’s support is too strong among Republican voters, and few GOP senators are willing to go against that tide.”