In one of the rarest moves in United States history, Donald Trump became the first president to be impeached twice during a tenure. The violent attack on Congress became the final reason for Trump’s impeachment, as the Democrat-led House voted to impeach Donald Trump yet again.
Not only this, however, but ten Republicans finally sided with democracy as they voted in favor of Trump’s impeachment while the House gathered to vote. The article of impeachment accused “high crimes and misdemeanors” committed by Donald Trump on January 6, 2021, on Capitol Hill.
Of these ten Republicans who broke the party lines during Trump’s impeachment, Tom Rice, a Congressman from South Carolina, stood to overturn the electoral college result in favor of Trump on January 6.
In order to remove Trump from office, a Senate trial is required, which Mitch McConnell said cannot happen before Trump’s term is over.
However, experts believe that Senate can bar Trump from assuming any further public office even within the first 100 days of Biden’s presidency. So, Democrats have nothing to rush on the Senate trial.
What are the charges against Donald Trump, and how did Republican legislators help Democrats to impeach Donald Trump once again? Let’s have a look.
“High crimes and misdemeanors”: Reasons for Trump’s impeachment again:
The United States Constitution gives Congress the authority to impeach the sitting president if he is found guilty of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
As Donald Trump’s speech on January 6 incited the mob to siege Congress, Trump’s impeachment became possible under the misdemeanors clause.
The text of the impeachment article said,
“President Donald Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government…Donald John Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office.”
(Text of Article of Impeachment)
Trump impeached as Republicans finally broke their silence:
As the articles were presented in House, the House voted for impeachment after a debate. This resulted in the most bipartisan impeachment vote in the United States’ history, as ten Republicans broke the party lines and sided with the Democrats to impeach Trump for the second time.
The House impeached Trump with 232 votes supporting the charges, with just 197 votes coming in favor of no impeachment. Four Republicans, however, remained absent to avoid the voting, a tactic which is used mostly to avoid going against party lines.
The ten Republicans who voted against Trump include:
- Liz Cheney
- Jaime Herrera Beutler
- Dan Newhouse
- Adam Kinzinger
- John Katko
- Peter Meijer
- David Valadao
- Anthony Gonzalez
- Fred Upton
- Tom Rice
It is also pertinent to note here that Tom Rice, who, this time, sided with Democrats, was one of the 147 Republicans who tried to overturn the electoral college results on January 6. As he finally denied to oblige the violence, he said,
“I have backed this president through thick and thin for four years. I campaigned for him and voted for him twice. But, this utter failure is inexcusable.”
The Senate trial – A final nail in Trump’s coffin: A sword of “late impeachment” over Trump’s head:
Now the Senate is ready to hold the trial of Donald Trump to vote on his conviction. Despite the Democrats’ request, Mitch McConnell refused to convene the Senate session immediately, saying that it would not be possible to call the session before January 19, 2021.
It is also important to note that it is virtually impossible to conduct the Senate trial in just one day, as a proper hearing of the impeached individual has to take place.
If the protocol is followed properly, it may take at least a week before the conviction vote. Here the question arises whether Trump can be penalized after January 20? The simple answer is yes.
Experts term this phenomenon as “late impeachment.” As a matter of fact, the Senate trial is not just to remove the impeached official from office. It is also used to bar the convicted person from assuming any other federal office.
Legal experts believe that the Senate can try the late impeachment up until the first 100 days of Biden’s presidency have elapsed.
If Trump is convicted by the Senate with a two-thirds majority, the promising news for Democrats is that they will not need the support of any Republicans. A simple majority is required to bar Donald Trump from assuming any federal office in the future.
Even if the Democrats somehow convince the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to convene the session earlier than January 19, they still need at least seventeen Republican Senators to vote against Trump.
They can either help the Democrats by voting against Trump or, if twenty Senators remain absent from the session altogether, they can reduce the total vote count in the Senate during the conviction.
This tactic would work, as the two-thirds majority of those present in the Senate session at the time of voting are required to convict the already impeached President.
Just like the Ukrainian investigation impeachment of Donald Trump, he has been impeached again, this time charged with a domestic crime. Apart from this impeachment of Trump, there have been three other successful impeachments in the past.
These include Andrew Johnson for the violation of the Tenure of Office Act, Bill Clinton for obstruction of justice, and Donald Trump under the Ukrainian investigations.
However, it should also be noted that conviction is as necessary as impeachment, as only that punishment will set a precedent that will warn the future president not to play with the Constitution of the country.