Trump Acquitted After Historic Second Impeachment

Aidan Lewis '21, News Editor

Former President Donald J. Trump was acquitted after an unprecedented second impeachment trial. After the riot at the Capitol that left five people dead and hundreds injured on January 6, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives quickly passed a resolution calling on former Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which calls for the immediate removal of the president. However, Pence refused, and the House began the impeachment process.

The article of impeachment Trump was charged with was “incitement of insurrection,” referring to the former president’s speech just minutes before the mob stormed the Capitol and his continuous efforts to overturn the election. The resolution passed in the House after 232 representatives voted to impeach Trump (217 were needed). All 222 Democrats were joined by 10 Republicans, who separated from party lines to vote with Democrats on the charges.

On January 25, five days after Trump’s term ended, House managers delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate. Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) led the House impeachment effort, and was joined by eight other House managers: Joe Neguse (D-CO), Diana DeGette (D-CO), David Cicilline (D-RI), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), and Stacey Plaskett, a delegate to the House of Representatives from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Senate Republicans and the former president’s lawyers argued the constitutionality of the trial, due to the fact that Mr. Trump is no longer in office. On February 9, the Senate voted 56-44 in favor of continuing the impeachment trial.

Over the next three days, the House managers and Trump’s defense team delivered their cases, and when both sides had concluded their arguments, senators were able to question both sides.

On February 13, the Senate voted to allow witnesses to be called, but the House managers ultimately relinquished their call for witnesses after striking an agreement with Trump’s lawyers. After the call for witnesses was vacated, both sides gave their closing arguments and each senator voted.

Seven Republican senators voted with Democrats to impeach Trump, but the resolution failed, due to the necessary 67 votes needed to make a conviction. The final vote tally for the impeachment was 53-47, in favor of impeachment.