Excusing the Inexcusable: Donald Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial

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Katie Tanner, Contributor

On January 13th, 2021, Donald J. Trump became the first president in the history of the United States of America to be impeached twice. This followed the harrowing events of January 6th, when former president Trump incited a mob of his supporters to assault the Capitol complex, filled with members of government, after touting claims of election fraud for nearly a year. The events of January 6th, 2021 will be taught in history books as a domestic terror event, where thousands of armed rioters stormed the Capitol and the Senate chamber to overturn the systems of democracy that bind the soul of this nation together. Not even during the years of the Civil War was the Confederate flag flown in the halls of the Capitol building, but it seems almost appropriate for another group of racist poor-losers to finally be the ones to do it. 

The impeachment trial conducted by the Senate began Tuesday, February 9th, 2021, with a debate over the constitutionality of the trial. The former president’s defense claimed that it was unconstitutional to impeach a private citizen, as Trump was already out of office by February 9th. However, was it not that very same group of Republican senators, including now Senate minority leader Mitch McConnel, that decided to push the trial back until Trump was out of office? It is no real surprise that this trial started with Trump’s most ardent admirers trying to get rid of it entirely. Hasn’t that always been the strategy? Get rid of that which opposes him?

The second and third days of the trial were consumed by 16 hours of testimony from the Democratic prosecution, which aimed to prove that Trump’s inflammatory language since this past spring had culminated in inciting the events in the Capitol. 

On the fourth day of the trial, Trump’s defense team presented only 3 hours of material, before stumbling through four hours of questions from the nation’s senators. 

Personally, I agree that the impeachment hearing was constitutional. Trump was not impeached when he was a private citizen, he was impeached when he was president. He could have been tried while he was president as well had the still Republican-held Senate allowed it to happen. Watching the former president’s defense was infuriating because they knew he would be acquitted. They didn’t need to put any real effort into their defense because they already know the outcome. Seven Republican senators voted to convict Trump on the article of impeachment. This number does not include Mitch McConnell, who voted that Trump was not guilty of inciting insurrection, right before McConnel himself said the exact opposite. There are too many Republican senators in congress still too loyal to Trump to hold him accountable for the destruction and deaths he caused. True, you can’t remove him from an office he no longer holds, but you could bar him from holding office again.  

The nation was divided before Trump ran for office, but he did little to nothing after his election to repair that and the guilt of the events of January 6th lies on his shoulders.