Trump’s legal team protested the House’s “bizarre” charges, calling the impeachment trial a “brutal political act.” Trump’s defense denies that the former president’s January 6 speech encouraged “an uprising, riot, criminal action or any form of physical violence” and that it is fully protected by the First Amendment’s right to free speech. Trump’s lawyers further argue that the former president should not be tried because he is no longer in office.
In response, the House of Representatives impeachment process managers said Trump’s speech was “ a head-on attack on the First Amendment, ” in their preliminary letter published later Monday, claiming the constitution’s intent is to to ensure that presidents are brought to trial for all constitutional crimes committed. while under the oath of office.
When President Trump demanded that the armed, angry mob at his Save America Rally ‘fight like hell’ or ‘you will have no land,’ he did not urge them to set up political action committees, ”he said. the letter. claims. “This is not about protected speech. The House did not accuse President Trump of expressing an unpopular political opinion. It accused him of deliberately instigating violent insurgency against the government.”
House prosecutors also allege Trump continued to incite violence throughout January 6, such as “issuing a tweet attacking the vice president while insurgents attempted to kill him.”
Trump is facing a single impeachment article accusing him of instigating insurgency over the January 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol that killed five people, including a Capitol Police officer. In a speech that day before the White House, Trump urged his supporters to march to the Capitol.
The siege of the Capitol was intended to nullify the 2020 election results and halt the process of confirming Biden’s victory in the Electoral College. Biden was confirmed after the riot and later inaugurated on January 20. At a historic moment, 10 House Republicans broke with their party to vote for impeachment.
To condemn Trump, 17 Republicans would have to vote in favor, along with 48 Democrats and two independents, to reach a two-thirds majority. Only five Republicans, along with Democrats in the Senate, voted against a motion on Jan. 27 to declare the process unconstitutional.
President Biden has said he supports the trial. Trump “was impeached by the House and it has to move forward or it would look so ridiculous what this was all about,” Biden said, adding that leaving the trial would “make a mockery of the system.”
We will explain what we know about how the impeachment trial might go, what it takes to convict or acquit, what is at stake and where the situation is now. This story is constantly updated with new information.
Read more: The 14th Amendment is the cornerstone of Trump’s impeachment
Current schedule of Trump’s impeachment trial
The impeachment article was submitted to the Senate on Jan. 25 and sworn in by senators on Jan. 26. Trump’s response to the impeachment article was given on Feb. 2, followed by preliminary proceedings from both sides on Feb. 8.
This is how the process will go:
- February 9: There will be four hours of debate, split equally between prosecutors and defense as to whether the trial is constitutional, followed by a vote requiring a simple majority to proceed
- Feb. 10, noon ET: The House of Representatives begins to argue his case; prosecutors and defense each have a maximum of 16 hours to present their arguments, with neither party allowed to be present for more than eight hours a day
- Feb. 12, 5:00 p.m. ET: The lawsuit will drop on Saturday
- Feb. 14, 2 p.m. ET: The trial will take place again on Sunday
- The arguments are followed by four hours for questions from senators
- If the house impeachment managers want to summon witnesses or subpoenas documents, there will be a two-hour debate by both sides, followed by a Senate vote on whether or not to allow this
- If witnesses are called, there will be sufficient time for them to be dropped, and for each party to complete the discovery before giving a testimony
- Once witnesses and evidence are dealt with, there will be four hours of closing arguments split equally between the prosecutors and the defense
- Finally comes the vote on conviction or acquittal, which requires a two-thirds majority
Will Trump testify? Will anyone?
The House’s chief impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, sent a letter to Trump’s legal team last week requesting that the former president testify under oath and cross-examine before or at trial. Trump attorney Bruce Castor called the request a “publicity stunt” and said his client would not give testimony.
Because Trump “immediately rejected” the opportunity to give personal testimony, the House will argue that this decision “supports a strong negative inference regarding [his] actions and inactivity on January 6, ‘says House’s preliminary proceedings.
This is expected during the processwill be used in lieu of witness statements, as well as other evidence from social media and images shared over the internet.
What would happen if Trump was convicted or acquitted?
If itIn the Senate, there will be an additional vote to prevent him from re-running (under Article 1, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution), which would prevent a possible presidential run in 2024. Only a simple majority is required for this vote, while Kamala Harris who served as Senate President would bring a draw if necessary.
Trump could also be disqualified for the benefits given to former presidents by the Post Presidents Act, including a Secret Service security detail, pension, and annual travel allowance.
Depicted presidents also cannot be pardoned under the US Constitution.
If acquitted, Trump would have access to all the benefits of a former US president, including the option to run for public office.
What could happen during Trump’s impeachment process?
The US Constitution provides clear guidelines for impeaching a sitting president and other officials for “treason, bribery or other serious crimes and offenses.” However, the Trump trial is an uncommon case. With his second impeachment, Trump, who has been a private person since January 20, is the first president to be impeached twice and the first to be tried after leaving office.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would normally preside over a president’s impeachment process. But because it is not a trial against a sitting president, it will instead be chaired by Leahy, the new senate president Pro Tempore, who is expected to be able to vote as a senator in the process.
The House will prosecute the case and the Senate will sit as a jury and ultimately vote for conviction or acquittal.
To condemn Trump, 67 senators – or two-thirds of the Senate – must vote in favor. After Biden’s inauguration, the Senate now consists of 48 Democrats, two independents who consult with Democrats and 50 Republicans, for an even 50-50 split.
Why was Trump impeached in 2019?
Trump was impeached by the House in December 2019, but the Republican majority.
His first charge involved articles accusing Trump of abuse of power and obstructing Congress. The problem was Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, including a phone call in July 2019 in which he appeared to be using US military aid as a bargaining chip to pressure Ukraine to break the alleged links between his political opponent Biden, Biden’s son Hunter and a Ukrainian gas company. to investigate. The articles also accused Trump of interfering with a home investigation into the Ukraine issue.