Former president Donald Trump will be remembered in the US history not only by his controversial rule but also for being the only president to be impeached twice. Senate will begin his second impeachment trial on Tuesday, with chances of his acquittal “high”.
Democrats want to hold him accountable for January 6 Capitol riots that led to five deaths and injuries to many; some Republicans want do that to hold law above one’s whims.
During his first impeachment trial about a year ago, Trump was acquitted of charges that he privately pushed Ukraine to dig up dirt on his Democratic rival Joe Biden. But this time, Trump’s cry to “fight like hell” may have more seriousness than the previous offense, it seems that he could be acquitted again. And this time, the trial could not be as lengthy that of previous one.
Details of the proceedings are still being negotiated by the Senate leaders, with the duration of opening arguments, senators’ questions and deliberations all up for debate.
So far, it appears there will be few witnesses called, as the prosecutors and defense attorneys speak directly to senators who have been sworn to deliver “impartial justice” as jurors. Most are also witnesses to the siege, having fled for safety that day when the rioters broke into the Capitol and took over it.
To make things complicated for Trump, his trusted team of lawyers parted ways with him and he has to create a new team to defend him.
Trump is the first president to be twice impeached, and the only one to face trial after leaving the White House. The Democratic-led House approved a sole charge, “incitement of insurrection,” acting swiftly one week after the riot, the most violent attack on Congress in more than 200 years.
Democrats argue it’s not only about winning conviction, but holding the former president accountable for his actions, even though he’s out of office. For Republicans, the trial will test their political loyalty to Trump and his enduring grip on the GOP.
Initially, Republican senators, including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, denounced the violence and pointed a finger at Trump. But in recent weeks Republican senators have rallied around him arguing his comments do not make him responsible for the violence. They question the legitimacy of even conducting a trial of someone no longer in office.