by Rafaela Prifti/
The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump began on Tuesday, as House Democrats prosecute their case for “incitement of insurrection.” Last month nine impeachment managers of the Democratic Party brought the article of impeachment to the Senate citing the responsibility of then President Trump in inciting his supporters who broke into the US Capitol and interrupted the certification of the Electoral College Votes on January 6.
The defense for Mr. Trump has argued that the trial is unconstitutional as he is no longer a sitting president. The lawyers claim that Mr. Trump was exercising freedom of speech when he told his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat.
Tuesday’s proceedings began with a debate to dismiss the trial on the basis of Trump’s lawyers claim that it is moot now that Trump is out of office, and 45 Senate Republicans have already voted to dismiss the trial on those grounds. Five Republican senators voted with Democrats two weeks ago not to dismiss the trial on constitutional grounds.
The Senate debated on the issue of constitutionality followed by a vote on whether to dismiss the trial on that basis. Many legal scholars say the trial is valid under the Constitution. The democrats point to an 1876 impeachment trial of a secretary of war who had resigned. They note that Trump was impeached while still serving in office. Trump’s lawyers dismiss that precedent claiming the Constitution is on their side.
In a 56-44 vote the Senate voted that the impeachment of trial of former President Trump is constitutional. Tomorrow the trial will proceed as planned. The House managers will present their arguments Each side will have up to 16 hours, running no more than eight hours per day for two days. Senators will be allowed to question both teams before holding a debate and a vote on calling witnesses.
Election officials across the country, and then-Attorney General William Barr, contradicted Trump’s claims of massive voter fraud, as dozens of legal challenges to the election put forth by Trump lawyers, his campaign and his allies were dismissed.