Of the 45 presidents the United States has known since its founding 240 years ago, Donald Trump became the first and only person to vote in the House of Representatives to convict him and then impeach him before the Senate.
In the wake of the bloody events of January 6, in which hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to block the approval of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate for Joe Biden’s victory, the House of Representatives voted yesterday to condemn the outgoing president.
This development is a historical event par excellence, as Congress has never tried to impeach and try the president twice for the second time during his tenure.
Al-Jazeera Net presents in its question and answer everything related to the conviction of Trump and his expected trial before the Senate with the aim of impeaching him.
Have former American presidents been tried in order to isolate them?
Yes, it happened only 3 times. In 1868, the House of Representatives voted in favor of impeaching President Andrew Jackson, and after more than 130 years the House voted in favor of impeaching President Bill Clinton in 1998. The last time was the end of 2019 when the House voted to remove President Trump over a case. Ukraine.
In all three cases, the Senate acquitted the presidents and continued to exercise their duties.
Has one president ever been convicted and tried twice with the aim of removing him?
This has never happened in American history, and Trump is the first president in history to be indicted and tried twice during his presidential term.
How did we get to this point?
Trump rejects the results of the 2020 presidential elections, and considers that its results were rigged in order for his Democratic rival Biden to win, without providing tangible evidence, and dozens of courts have ruled to dismiss these allegations. Before the January 6 vote ratification move, Trump called on his supporters to rally in Washington, DC, to protest the final step to legalize election results, and he sermoned tens of thousands of his supporters calling for Congress to go to Congress and show their strength.
This was seen as a direct call and incitement to storm the Congress after hundreds of Trumpians attacked the Capitol in an attempt to block ratification. The storming resulted in the destruction of federal property, the suspension of Congress for 5 hours, and the killing of 5 people.
What is the step taken by the House of Representatives?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has submitted a ruling to convict the president for impeachment trial before the Senate. The House of Representatives acted as the attorney general, while the Senate acted as the jury.
The debate opened for several hours among the House members, and Pelosi chose the prosecution team in Trump’s congressional trial led by Representative Jimmy Ruskin, and several Republican Party members responded, most of whom refused to convict the president.
End of the session Pelosi called on members to vote on the president’s conviction. 232 deputies voted in favor of the resolution, all of the Democrats added 10 Republicans, while 197 deputies, all Republicans, voted to reject the resolution.
What is the text of the indictment?
The resolution accused the president of inciting a revolt against the government that threatens the security, safety and interests of the United States in order to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power, and his attempt to use force to change the election results so that the losing candidate becomes the winner.
And what is the relationship of the House of Representatives’ move to condemn Trump to the Vice President’s call to activate Constitutional Amendment No. 25?
There is no direct relationship, only it was an attempt by the Democrats to avoid resorting to the option of trying the president. Before a decision was made to accuse Trump of inciting the revolt against the government in preparation for his parliamentary trial, the House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to activate Amendment No. 25 of the Constitution in order to impeach Trump, and Pence pre-empted the vote by refusing to activate the constitutional amendment, considering that this step increases The division among Americans and that the Democrats aim behind it to achieve “narrow” political gains.
Amendment 25 indicates a path by which a vice president could remove the president.
What is Trump’s position on his conviction and second trial?
The president ridiculed the attempts made by the House of Representatives to impeach him or push his deputy to activate Amendment 25 of the Constitution, and Trump described these efforts as “completely ridiculous” and cause “tremendous anger” throughout the United States. In a taped speech broadcast on Wednesday, Trump did not address his conviction in the House of Representatives.
What is the position of members of the Republican Party?
The results of the voting showed a clear division, so 95% of the Republican members of the House of Representatives chose to vote against the conviction, while only 10 (5%) members agreed to vote in favor of the conviction.
Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, is the most important person who voted to convict the president. And it indicated in a statement that Trump “summoned this crowd and lit the flame of this attack on the Capitol building on January 6.”
For his part, Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the Republican minority in the House, considered that he had not seen an investigation and had not held hearings. He questioned the relevance of the Democrats’ move.
And why were lawmakers so determined to try Trump less than a week before the end of his term?
Democrats believe that they have two options: the first is to ignore what happened and let Trump leave quietly on the 20th of this month, and the second to start his conviction procedures with the aim of impeaching him in a legislative trial so that he is an example to others in the future, and in order to respect the rule of law.
Some commentators believe that the implicit goal of the Democrats is to work to prevent Trump from any political activity in the future.
On what basis was the Republican refusal to convict Trump based?
Republicans argue that speeding up such a trial harms democracy and increases division. And they believe that the short time available before the end of the President’s judgment does not allow witnesses to be called or technical experts to be heard. Their leaders believe that the Democrats seek revenge on the president and political gains for their party at the expense of the Republicans.
What is the next step after the conviction of Trump?
The passage of the Trump conviction bill prompts the House to submit this bill to Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, in order to begin the trial of the president.
McConnell has confirmed that it is not possible to conduct a fair or serious trial for the president during the short period remaining in the White House, and before the president-elect takes office on the twentieth of this month.
Could Trump’s Senate trial begin after Biden took office?
The constitution’s position is unclear, and some constitutional experts believe that the trial is aimed at impeachment, and that the end of Trump’s rule makes impeachment meaningless. On the other hand, others argue that the end of Trump’s sentence does not mean the absence of the objectives of the trial. At the same time, some Democrats fear that delaying the start of the trial until after Biden’s inauguration aims to obstruct the agenda and appointments of the new president that the Senate must start with.
Who heads the Senate if the trial is held?
The trial is presided over by President of the Constitutional Court Judge John Roberts, and all 100 senators who serve as the jury must participate and vote for or against impeachment. Attorneys for the prosecution and defense attorneys present the rationale for their position in dozens of sessions, and voting is done at the end of the debate.
Can the sheikhs fail to remove the president?
Forcing all Democrats to vote in favor of the impeachment decision, the votes of 18 Republican senators are still needed to pass the resolution that requires a two-thirds majority, and it is difficult to envision this scenario, and at that point the impeachment procedures end in failure.