Trump acquitted again


Nikolas Liepins

The U.S. Capitol news coverage on January 6 reflected with the Minnesota State Capitol.

Nikolas Liepins, Political Correspondent

After being impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives for “Incitement of Insurrection” for his role in the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, former President Donald Trump became the first U.S. president impeached twice and to face an impeachment trial after leaving office. The trial took just five days and ended in acquittal.
The Article of Impeachment was transmitted from the House to the Senate on Jan. 25. On Jan. 26, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced a motion to dismiss the trial because it was unconstitutional on the grounds that Trump had already left office. 45 Senate Republicans supported the measure, signalling that the 17 Republican votes required to convict were essentially unattainable, but the motion failed. Also on Jan. 26, Senators were sworn in as jurors, but the Senate resumed regular business until Feb. 9, when the trial began.
The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court would preside over the impeachment trial of a sitting president, but Chief Justice John Roberts is believed to have said that he can skip the trial because Trump is no longer in office. Instead, the vice president would preside, but Vice President Kamala Harris delegated the duty to President Pro Tempore of the Senate Patrick Leahy (D-VT) due to the partisan partiality that such a prominent role could suggest. The vice president would not preside over the trial of a sitting president because of their conflict of interest: ascension to the presidency.
On Feb. 9, the proceedings opened with a debate on the constitutionality of the trial. The four-hour debate (time equally split between House Managers and Trump’s Defense) concluded with a 56-44 vote, which allowed the trial to proceed.
Then, both sides had up to 16 hours each, split across two days, to present their cases. The House Managers presented their case on Feb. 10 and Feb. 11, though they rested their case with hours left on the clock. Trump’s Defense used less than four hours on Feb. 12 to make their case. Since the Trump team finished so early, Senators were able to begin a four-hour questioning period that same day.
On Feb. 13, the Senate voted 55-45 to allow witnesses, though they quickly reversed the decision after entering a statement from Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) into the record as evidence.
“When McCarthy finally reached the president on January 6 and asked him to publicly call off the riot,” Rep. Beutler said, “the president initially repeated the falsehood that it was antifa that had breached the Capitol.” Beutler also claims Trump said: “Well, Kevin, I guess these people [who attacked the Capitol] are more upset about the election than you are.”
After entering Beutler’s statement into the record as evidence, the backtrack from witnesses made way for a final vote the same day, Feb. 13. The vote was 57-43, falling short of the 67 votes needed to convict. Seven Republicans joined all Democrats in voting to convict.
This means Trump can still launch a presidential bid for another term. Though unlikely, Congress could censure Trump via Section Three of the 14th Amendment, which disqualifies anyone who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same [United States of America]” from holding federal or state office.