• Emily Amador

Trump's Second Round of Impeachment Hearings


What does it take to get your position as one of the highest authorities at risk of being removed, twice? According to the U.S. Constitution, Article II, section 4, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” This description leaves room for interpretation. It ensures no offenses are exempt due to over-specificity.


Concerning the previous impeachment:

December 18th, of 2019 Donald Trump was officially impeached by the House Representatives on the basis of two articles: The obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. On February 5th, of 2020 the Senate acquitted Trump of these charges. Impeachment through the house of representatives does not prohibit the president from halting the governing of his/her respective country. The House of Representatives ultimately established the verdict that Trump, “abuse[d the] power and obstruction of Congress” according to ABC News. Michael Cohn accused Trump of bribery and declared that Mr. Trump’s motive in doing so would be to increase his prospect of being elected. If these claims are true, then Trump would have committed an illegal action that is worthy of impeachment. Despite countless threats implying a persistent approach and intention to continue abusing his power, Trump was ultimately acquitted by the Senate. What followed was a feeling of invincibility. From Trump’s lack of active support for racial equity, inability to carry himself with respect to all of the American people, and poor responsibility with his social and political influence the remainder of his presidency was harrowing.


A basic explanation of an Impeachment:

Impeachment, in the literal sense, is best described as a formal accusation that initiates a trial. Impeachment can be applied to any civil officers including the president. There are two committees to which this formal accusation is referred: The House Committee on Rules committee and the House Committee on the Judiciary. The charges and evidence are thoroughly analyzed and the respective committee provides a recommendation. The House considers this recommendation and begins to assemble proceeding actions. If they feel fit necessary, a separate trial will be held where the Articles of impeachment will be further examined and ultimately, voted upon. If convicted the impeachment is carried on to the Senate. Here managers (who are appointed by the House) serve as the prosecution, essentially outlining the charges (Articles of Impeachment) while the impeached public servant (in this case would be sitting or former president) and his/her/their lawyers serve as the defense presenting a justification or counterargument in an attempt to refute the charges (Articles of Impeachment). Depending on the charges at hand the impeached public servant will be removed from office and barred from holding a position in office in the future.


What has happened thus far?

So far Trump has been impeached by the House of representatives following the insurrection that took place on January 6th. Former president, Donald Trump, made several remarks that many deem to have encouraged the chaos that took place. Even his plea for the rioters to stop the attack added fuel to the fire. He even warmly addressed them, “Go home. We love you, you are special” and continued false accusations of a fraudulent election. It is so unfortunate that an act of domestic terrorism is treated with “love[ing]” sentiments while peaceful protests for basic human rights and equality were both directly and indirectly not supported by Donald Trump.


The day of the insurrection was all around a frightening day for everyone. It was a breach of our democracy and threatened the lives of many including but certainly not limited to: senators, staffers, custodial workers, and the U.S capitol police.


What’s next?

“That said, there are textual arguments against Congress’s authority to apply impeachment proceedings to former officials. The plain text of the Constitution, which states that ‘[t]he President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment ... and Conviction,’ could be read to support the requirement that the process only applies to officials who are holding office during impeachment proceedings.”


A lot of people beg the question, ‘How will this time be any different than the last time,’ given that Trump was acquitted by the Senate the first time he was impeached by the House of Representatives. However, the first impeachment trials centered around charges that senators did not witness first-hand. This impeachment is evidently different. Senators had a direct experience with the attack that took place on January 6th. They do not need to rely on second-hand information to understand the charges at hand.


The Senate trials have yet to begin but it is likely that the prosecution will use video evidence of the insurrection and arguments for pleas of pardon from lawyers representing some of the people being investigated for committing the crimes that took place on January 6th. A very notorious person affiliated with the insurrection that took place, Jacob Chansley’s lawyer, Al Watkins “made the argument that his client was just following ‘direct orders’” and “‘answering the call of our [former] president’” reported The Mercury News.


The suspected argument of the defense will likely center around the uncertainty of how constitution this impeachment is considering Trump is no longer a sitting public servant. However, “That said, there are textual arguments against Congress’s authority to apply impeachment proceedings to former officials. The plain text of the Constitution, which states that ‘[t]he President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment ... and Conviction,’ could be read to support the requirement that the process only applies to officials who are holding office during impeachment proceedings.”


Jake Peterson explains, “I think it is an important step to help us remember what horrible path we have gone down the past four years. When you impeach a President once, it's a front-page story sure, but for only a few weeks, and it's something that may be mentioned in the history books on page whatever, but when you do it twice, I mean: somebody did something wrong, right? I also see it as important to help bar the president from running again in 2024, which may actually be good for both parties.”


*At the time this story was written Donald Trump had not yet been acquitted. Trump was acquitted by the Senate on February 13th, 2021 *


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