Trump Impeachment 2: Electric Boogaloo

By Violet Mbela, Assistant Editor

As of January 13th, 2021, after the insurrection that took place on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives officially impeached former POTUS Donald Trump for the second time. As of February 9th, 2021, however, the impeachment trial for Donald Trump began in full swing.


On the first day of the trial, a team of Trump’s best defense lawyers presented the argument that it was simply unconstitutional to impeach a president who had already been removed from office by the American people. Additionally, they argued that impeaching Trump for the second time within 13 months would set a precedent for irrational impeachments against future presidents. However, instead of moving the senate to vote in agreement and send the trial to a grinding halt, the defense team’s argument was met with a 56 to 44 majority of senators voting that the impeachment trial was, in fact within the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution and pressing forward.


Trump attorney Bruce Castor then turned the focus to arguing that the rhetoric Donald Trump spewed to his supporters– pushing the narrative of a “stolen” election that must be retaken under his name– was simply the former president’s flexing of the first amendment and the freedoms that come with it. This defense came in direct response to Representative Jamie Raskin’s presentation depicting the violence at the Capitol, which showed a deleted tweet posted by Trump on January 6th, a day before the insurrection, stating that “these are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away.”


As a whole, the first day of the impeachment trial showed both the unity and division of our bipartisan system as some Republicans drifted away from the staunch supporters. At the same time, some stood firm by the former POTUS. Notably, Senator Bill Cassidy, representing Louisiana, was one of the six Republicans who voted in favor of the impeachment and contributed to the Senate majority. Like many in the chamber that day, he was swayed by the impeachment managers’ emotionally-charged recounting of the terrifying events of January 7th. Cassidy even went as far as to say that Trump’s team’s defense was essentially sloppy in their presentation. He stated, “Anyone who listened to President Trump’s legal team saw they were unfocused, they attempted to avoid the issue. And they talked about everything but the issue at hand.” Even Senator Ted Cruz of Texas claimed that the defense team could have performed more effectively, despite still voting against the impeachment.


From what has been seen from the first day of the trial, we can see a hint of what will continue in the coming days: harsh bipartisan lines, convoluted arguments, and emotional pleas. As conviction will require a ⅔ majority of the Senate to stick, 17 republicans will have to vote alongside Democrats to convict. Seeing as the initial vote to move forward with the impeachment only garnered the support of 6 Republicans, a conviction is unlikely. However, all we can do is follow along with the proceedings and let the trial take its course.