On January 13th, the United States House of Representatives voted 232-197 to impeach, for the second time, now former President Trump. The former president was charged with “Incitement of Insurrection.” This comes after a mob stormed the Capitol Building on January 6th following a Trump rally. All Democrats in the house voted in favor of impeachment along with ten Republicans. On January 20, now president Biden was inaugurated. Five days later, House managers delivered the article of impeachment to the Senate. These managers will serve the roles of prosecutors in the trial.
During the month of February, the trial would begin and last for four days. The first question posed was, “Is this trial even constitutional?” The former President’s lawyers presented the argument that since their client has already left office he can’t be impeached. To counter this, the House managers argued that the Senate had done that before. In 1876, the Senate held an impeachment trial of a former Secretary of War, William Belknap, who had resigned just before the House impeached him. In a vote of 56-44, the Senate decided the trial was indeed constitutional.
The following days, both sides presented their oral arguments. Sixteen hours were given to each of the sides in order for them to present their case fully. The House managers used about ten of the sixteen hours allotted, while the defense took about three. After the arguments, Senators were allowed to ask questions to both the prosecution and the defense. Another vote was called in order to decide whether or not witnesses could be called. In a surprise move, the Senate voted 55-45 that witnesses could be called. However, House managers made a deal with the defense and dropped their witnesses.
After the closing arguments, the Senate was given their final vote. In order to convict the former President, a two-thirds majority is needed rather than just a simple majority. The final vote came to 57 in favor and 43 against, not enough to convict. On February 13th, the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump, was acquitted.