TRUMP IMPEACHMENT

US House will deliver Trump article of impeachment to Senate on Monday

Former President Donald Trump has already been impeached for his role in the Capitol Hill riots and House Democrats have announced the next step towards trial in the Senate.

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US House will deliver Trump article of impeachment to Senate on Monday
MANDEL NGAN AFP

The new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has revealed that the House of Representatives will submit its article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday. This will see the impeachment of former President Donald Trump officially passed to the Upper House for impending trial after it comfortably passed the House little over a week ago.

The House vote on Wednesday 13 January was the most bipartisan impeachment vote in United States history and gave Trump the ignominious distinction of being the first president to be impeached twice.

What does the article of impeachment charge Trump with?

After the 2020 presidential election was called for Joe Biden last November former President Trump engaged in a sustained and unsubstantiated campaign to discredit the result. He publicised baseless conspiracy theories, sowed doubt in the democratic system and spread misinformation via his social media platforms for months, most of which have now banned his accounts.

With discontent growing amongst his supporters Trump gave a White House address on the morning of 6 January, calling on his supporters to “fight” and to march on the Capitol buildings. The pro-Trump crowd duly obliged and staged a violent occupation of both Houses of Congress, leaving five dead and countless more injured. The article of impeachment submitted accuses Trump of “incitement of insurrection”.

Party leaders disagree on impeachment timing

Early this week Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, currently the highest ranking elected Republican, called for the Senate impeachment trial to be delayed to allow Trump’s legal team to adequately prepare. McConnell asked his opposite number, Schumer, to wait until mid-February to give at least two weeks of preparatory time.

But today’s news means that the trial will likely start before then and the Democrats could initiate proceedings as early as next Tuesday, the day after the article is received. In response to the decision, McConnell told reporters on Monday: “Senate Republicans strongly believe we need a full and fair process where the former president can mount a defence.”

Once the article reaches the Senate there is no obligation for the trial to be held straight away, and with President Joe Biden looking to prioritise covid-19 response during the early days of his time in office the Democrats may choose to delay the Senate trial.

“I’ve been speaking to the Republican leader about the timing and duration of the trial”, said Schumer after confirming that the article of impeachment will be submitted on Monday. “But make no mistake a trial will be held in the United States Senate and there will be a vote.”

Trump hires Butch Bowers for second impeachment trial

The vote in the House established that there was a case to be brought against the former President but Trump’s guilt will be decided in a Senate impeachment trial. To lead his defence Trump has enlisted the help of South Carolina-based lawyer Butch Bowers.

NBC News reports that Bowers’ involvement came after a recommendation by GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, who was one of Trump’s most staunch supporters for much of his time in office. After the lawyer was announced on Thursday, Graham said of Trump’s legal team:

"Well, I think he's going to have a good one. Butch Bowers, I think, will be the sort of anchor tenant. But I've known Butch for a long time, solid guy. And I think over time, they'll put the team together."

Most of the lawyers who defended Trump successfully during his first impeachment trial have already confirmed that they will not be involved in this one. That includes Rudy Giuliani, Alan Dershowitz, Jay Sekulow, and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.