Donald Trump's second impeachment trial begins

Donald Trump's second impeachment trial begins

The trial will take place in the Senate invaded on January 6 by white supremacists and followers of QAnon, which led to accuse the former president of "inciting insurrection". It will last at least a week, with half the time compared to the first

(photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty Images) Today the second trial for impeachment against the former US president Donald Trump, accused of "Incitement to insurrection" for the assault on Capitol Hill which took place last January 6. For the avoidance of unlikely surprises in the Republican ranks, however, it already seems clear that the Senate will not have the numbers needed to convict the former president.

The accusation, composed of impeachment managers - nine Democratic lawyers of the House, who will materially represent the state - appointed by Nancy Pelosi in January and Trump's lawyers will have 16 hours each to present their case before the Democratic and Republican representatives gathered in the Senate. The first part of the proceedings will concern the decision with respect to the unconstitutionality or otherwise of being able to proceed with the impeachment of a former president. To overcome this phase, it is sufficient that a simple majority is reached and from that moment the real process will begin, which should last at least a week, with half the time compared to the first impeachment.

To support the allegations, the impeachment managers plan to show videos of the Capitol assailants claiming to have acted according to the wishes of the president. "We believe that every American should be aware of what has happened," said the prosecutor Jamie Raskin, "and that the reason Trump was charged with impeachment and should be convicted is to ensure that such a serious attack on the our democracy and our Constitution will never be repeated ”. If Trump were to emerge defeated from the trial he would no longer be able to take up public office and, consequently, could not present his candidacy in the 2024 elections.

The defense, on the other hand, will try to demonstrate the unconstitutionality of the impeachment. In a 78-page document filed yesterday, Trump's lawyers argued that there was no legal basis to continue the proceedings, because Congress never tried a former president (although in 1870 the Senate tried defense secretary William Belknap after the end of his mandate). This move, however, could divert attention from the object of judgment, namely Trump's behavior, shifting it to a technical issue.

According to statements released to US newspapers, at least 45 out of 50 Republican senators should vote against impeachment. But the Republican Party is going through a phase of internal crisis that could lead to divisions and sudden changes of ideas. According to commentators, in fact, the party is divided into three souls: one of Trump's staunch supporters; one who would like to see the former president simply forgotten by the public and removed from the collective imagination (and who therefore fears that a favorable vote could lead to a split in the party); and one made up of those who have already sided against Trump and would like him outside the party and politics.

Whatever the result, however, the process will have a high symbolic value and will have a strong impact on opinion public. The proceedings will take place right in the Senate, in the same chamber invaded on January 6 by white supremacists and followers of the QAnon conspiracy theories, the holiest place for US democracy. Furthermore, according to the New York Times, the trial will be important because it will highlight the role of the conservative media, and of Trump, in spreading false information, with respect to the alleged electoral fraud committed by Biden, which led the crowd to storming the Capitol.

No comment is coming from the White House, where President Joe Biden has chosen to remain as detached as possible from the affair. According to Karen Finney, Hillary Clinton's former political adviser interviewed by Politico, Biden is sending out a message of unity and understanding to all those people who have supported Trump and are still sorry for him. By avoiding creating a debate between presidents and focusing on the vaccination and pandemic plan, Biden is showing that his goal is to "save their lives too" and not create further rifts in US society.

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