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Last updateWed, 14 Apr 2021 11am

Politics

Trump Impeached for the Second Time

Impeached 1Former President Donald Trump is facing another impeachment trial in the wake of the siege on the U.S. Capitol. This makes him the only U.S. President to be impeached twice in the nation’s history.

Trump had been sowing doubts in the election process in the swing states that he lost, alleging voter fraud and that the election was stolen from him. Most of his base believe that the results of the election were not legit, which in turn made Republican members of Congress back Trump’s claims.

On Jan. 6, Trump held a “Save America Rally” with his supporters to protest Congress’ certification of the Electoral Votes from the 2020 election in which Trump lost to now-President Joe Biden. The rhetoric of the rally resulted in Trump’s supporters, who amongst them were domestic terrorists or insurrectionists such as the Proud Boys, white supremacists and other far right fringe elements, breaking through the Capitol.

Many blame Trump’s tone and rhetoric as the cause of this incident which vandalized the halls of Congress, called for the execution of prominent politicians and the deaths of five individuals based on reporting by the New York Times; two of which were Capitol police officers.

In Congress, Democrats and even some Republicans argue that if it was not for Trump’s actions, the events of Jan. 6 would not have taken place. Many claim that Trump spread lies and misinformation to his supporters that the election was a fraud, and that his actions were to subvert democracy from the will of the people by attempting to usurp power.Impeached 2

On Jan. 13 the House of Representatives voted 237 to 197 according to the Office of the Clerk for the House, making it the most bipartisan impeachment vote in history with 10 Republicans joining the Democrats. Trump has officially been charged by the House with “Incitement of an insurrection” against the United States.

 In the aftermath of the insurrection, there was bipartisan condemnation from Democrats and Republican leaders such as Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

But as the time has passed, the notion of a trial is becoming more partisan.

“However, now that it’s in the Senate, you’re seeing a divergence,” said Stephen Chapman, Ph.D, Professor of Political Science. “Mitch McConnell signaled he was somewhat acceptable of members of his party voting to convict and he himself was undecided. But what a difference a couple weeks make, as McConnell voted in favor of the motion stating the impeachment was unconstitutional given Trump is out of office. Regardless, the vote on that measure was 55-45, with only five Reps joining the Dems in voting down the measure. This signals it’s very unlikely the Senate will convict Trump.”

Republicans are claiming that Americans should just move on in healing the nation and that it will only alienate more of the former president’s base. The trial is set for mid-February as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agreed to focus on confirming President Biden’s cabinet picks first, but a showdown awaits.

Professor of Political Science Joe Patten, Ph.D. stated that “Democrats are seeking accountability for Trump’s actions but some like Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) believe it could do more harm than good because of the circumstances we are in as a country.”

This comes as the nation is still grappling with the pandemic. Junior anthropology and political science student Catherine Melman-Kenny said, “It is right that Trump is impeached because his actions were treasonous and seditionist.”

Professor of Sociology Jennifer McGovern, Ph.D. addressed her views on the matter. “According to the legal definition, he probably didn’t commit a criminal act,” she said. “Trump did rile the people up but legally and criminally he may have not incited the insurrection. However, his actions for the last few months in creating doubt in the election threw fuel into the fire. He may be culpable but not criminally liable.”

McGovern continued, “It is important for actions to have consequences and I am concerned that a politician could act the way Trump did because it sets bad precedent. This type of behavior is problematic in a democracy by which the impeachment is a consequence.”

The trial will be another textbook event in U.S. history as the country deals with massive political polarization, a pandemic that has cost lives, and the inauguration of a new president.

 

IMAGE TAKEN from ABC News

IMAGE TAKEN from Marie Claire

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