Former President Donald Jr. Trump’s historic second impeachment trial starts today, January 9th. The House charges him with inciting an insurrection against the U.S. government after a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th by his supporters to stop President-elect Joe Biden’s certification.
The House impeached Donald Trump on January 13th, one week after the violent attack on the Capitol, which left five people dead and several injured. This week 100 Senators will have to sit at their desks and listen to the arguments and charges against former President Donald Trump.
During the impeachment trial, the defense team will challenge both the trial’s constitutionality and any suggestion that he was to blame for the insurrection against the U.S. government. They will insist that Trump was exercising his First Amendment rights when he encouraged his supporters to protest at the Capitol, and they will argue that the Senate is not entitled to try Trump now that he has left office.
The former President will not be present at the beginning of the trial, neither will any witnesses be called. Trump expected to follow the trail at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida through recorded video.
Donald Trump is the first president to be impeached twice for high crimes and misdemeanors while in office and the first to be charged after leaving office. At the same time, Trump expected to be acquitted by Republicans who still defend him and believe that the trial is unconstitutional.
The impeachment trial will begin today on the Senate, the court, and the Senators as jurors. The day will start with a debate, then a vote on whether it is constitutionally permissible to prosecute a former president, an argument that could resonate with the Republicans, and vote to acquit Trump without being seen as condoning his behavior.
Both the Senate leader – Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican leader Mitch McConnell- have agreed that the opening arguments would begin Wednesday noon and up to 16 hours each for presentations, followed by hours of deliberations, witnesses, and closing arguments.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Senators will be allowed to spread out in the senate chamber, the proceedings will be shown on TV, and in the public galleries above the chamber to follow the social distancing.
House prosecutors are expected to rely on videos from the siege, along with Trump’s incendiary rhetoric refusing to concede the election, to make their case. His new defense team has said it plans to counter its cache of videos of Democratic politicians making fiery speeches.
Senators were sworn in as jurors late last month, shortly after Biden was inaugurated, but the trial was delayed as Democrats focused on confirming the new President’s initial Cabinet picks and Republicans sought to stall.