By Annika Henthorn
On January 13, 2020, Trump was impeached for “willful incitement of insurrection,” according to Politico. This charge stems from not only Trump’s tolerance of the capitol storming, driven by false claims regarding the integrity of the election, but the encouragement and justification of their actions. Intelligencer has revealed that January 26, the Senate Impeachment trial will occur and a final verdict will be determined.
Many questions arise from this trial, including if impeachment is just and legal considering he is no longer president, but a United States citizen. According to Politico, Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, disagrees by saying that the “founders designed the impeachment process as a way to remove officeholders from public office — not an inquest against private citizens.” Essentially, he believes that since Donald Trump no longer holds that position of President that the trial is unnecessary and no longer the role of the Senate to deal with.
However, a University of Texas law professor has spoken to Politico on this matter. Steve Vladeck believes that a president should not be immune to punishment just because he got voted out. This trial is to ensure that he is never in a federal position of power again. In his eyes, how would it be fair for punishments to dissolve if one simply resigned before the trial was set? This would defeat the whole purpose of holding those in office accountable for their actions.
The likelihood of Trump’s conviction this time around though seems far more likely than his first trial of impeachment. Contrary to his first trial, there is a chance that some of the Republican Senate members might join the Democrats in his conviction. For example, Mitchell McConnell was one of Trump’s strongest advocates against his impeachment during the first trial; however, this time, he is urging other Republican senators to keep an open mind. Many Republicans are not comfortable condemning Trump because despite him no longer being president, he is still very influential in the Republican party. According to Politico, Trump has even pledged to remain involved in future campaigns.
Although he still remains a force in the GOP, convicting Trump of these allegations could allow a better chance for other Republicans in the Senate to have a chance at winning the nomination in 2024. However, McConnell remains a crucial vote in this trial for if he votes to convict Trump, it is likely others will follow.
Ryan Ford '23,