By Linnette Cruz 10-I
Following the Capitol Hill riots that took place on the afternoon of Wednesday, January 6th, seven days later Democrats and 10 members of the GOP called and voted for the second impeachment trial of then-President Donald J. Trump on accounts of “abuse of power for attempting to overturn the election results in Georgia and Incitement of violence for orchestrating an attempted coup against our country.” This Senate decision makes him the first president in United States history to be impeached – and acquitted – a total of two times during a four-year term.
Before getting into the 2021 impeachment trials of Donald Trump, it is important to recall what exactly an impeachment is and under what grounds he was accused of the first time around. To start, an impeachment is the process by which a government official – in this case, the president of the U.S.A. – is accused of a crime, and the lawmaking body known as Congress, handles and carries out the impeachment. The first impeachment of Trump occurred on December 18, 2019, where he was accused of obstruction of congress”– meaning that he bribed and stopped other officials from looking into the crime –, and abuse of power – meaning that he intimidated the Ukrainian president into giving him answers on Joe Biden’s son and his business in Ukraine. Nevertheless, he was acquitted by the Senate on February 5, 2019.
Democrats and most Republicans called and reasoned that Donald Trump was responsible for the riots that occurred on the seat of the U.S. government. Hours before the riots, on the day that members of Congress were ratifying President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential elections, Trump implicitly told his supporters to “walk down to the Capitol” and “take the country back” after claiming voter fraud. The Capitol was placed under lockdown while lawmakers were evacuated. In the end, this attack ended up claiming the lives of five individuals including a policeman, a rioter, and an Air Force veteran.
Regardless of the trauma and chaos that occurred in the meeting place of the United States Congress, the U.S. Senate once again voted to acquit the former president on Saturday, February 13 for his involvement in inciting the turmoil on that Wednesday afternoon. As a result, 57 senators voted to convict Trump, and 43 senators voted to acquit. Among those 43 Republican Senators that decided to plead Trump as ‘not guilty’, they defended their conclusions by claiming that the former president will no longer be in power, therefore the proceedings were unconstitutional.
So, what happens now that Trump will not be getting convicted? Due to the bipartisan support and a two-thirds majority needed for an impeachment, by the Senate concluding that Trump is not guilty of the Capitol riots, it means that the 74-year-old GOP member can run again for president in 2024 if he chooses. Despite only two options being presented, some Republican Senators argued for Trump’s resignation from Office, including Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, who was an avid supporter before the riots occurred.
Even though Donald Trump might have avoided convictions made by the Senate, he is still facing various criminal and civil investigations. Among the many probes, one of the most recent that has come to light is a phone call that was placed by Trump to Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, on January 2nd. During this call, Trump coerced Raffensperger into finding him votes to change the result of the 2020 elections.
However, the most critical criminal case that Trump is currently facing is the Manhattan District Attorney’s office investigation regarding whether the Trump Organization accounted on its financial books for bribe payments made to two women who claimed they were sexually assaulted by him in the 1990s. In the midst of state charges, the state of New York is now moving along with criminal investigations involving Trump’s businesses, including potential tax, insurance, and bank fraud. Although Senator Mitch McConnell was one of the 43 senators who voted to acquit Trump, he did state that “President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he’s in office,” and that “He didn’t get away with anything yet.” Despite the fact that Trump will not be getting charged by Congress for inciting an insurrection, it is – in a way – comforting to know that the state of New York is working hard on proving Trump guilty for state and civil charges. In my opinion, it was largely expected to see Trump walk away untouched out of the impeachment trial that lasted less than a week. Nevertheless, Trump has been known to flip the table around and get away with almost everything, but with all of these severe cases piling up, it is pothering to see what the future holds for former President Donald. J. Trump.
- Thomas Klassen. (n.d.). A second impeachment is just the start of Trump’s legal woes. Retrieved February 21, 2021, from the website: https://theconversation.com/a-second-impeachment-is-just-the-start-of-trumps-legal-woes-153036
- Dan Mangan. February 17, 2021. Former President Trump faces serious criminal, civil investigations after White House. Retrieved February 21, 2021 from the website: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/16/trump-faces-criminal-civil-investigations-after-white-house.html
- Matt Brooks. February 10, 2021. Why was Donald Trump impeached the first time? Previous charges against the former US president explained. Retrieved February 16, 2021 from the website: https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/why-was-donald-trump-impeached-first-time-previous-charges-against-former-us-president-explained-3100617
- Domenico Montanaro. February 13, 2021. Senate Acquits Trump In Impeachment Trial — Again. Retrieved February 16, 2021 from the website: https://www.npr.org/sections/trump-impeachment-trial-live-updates/2021/02/13/967098840/senate-acquits-trump-in-impeachment-trial-again