The Impeachment Trial of Donald J. Trump


keith Stahl, Senior

On December 18th, 2019, Donald J. Trump became the third president in U.S history to be impeached. Two Articles of Impeachment were passed against President Trump: Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. This was through strict party-line votes, with no Republicans voting to impeach him. The House vote does not remove Trump from office, the next step of Impeachment is a trial in the Senate. 

The Majority leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), said that he was in “no rush” to receive the articles from the house. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) did put a hold towards sending the articles until a fair trial was guaranteed. However, certain Republican senators created a resolution to dismiss the charges altogether if they were not sent. Joshua Hawley (R-MO) said, “If that is not done [in 25 days] the Senate would be able to introduce a motion to dismiss these articles for lack of prosecution.” 

The constitution does not say the house must deliver the Articles of Impeachment immediately nor does it state that a certain number of days is needed for delivery. Regardless, Nancy Pelosi stayed firm and during the wait, new evidence that could be used for the Impeachment Trial was produced. The Impeachment managers chosen to present the case were Adam Schiff (D-CA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Jason Crow (D-CO), Val Demings (D-FL), and Sylvia Garcia (D-TX). 

The trial was still unfair, in that Mitch McConnell said he was going to use the trial rules such as the Clinton impeachment trial, but it was modified to not include new witnesses or documents being presented in the trial and for this public testimony to go onto 1 a.m. E.T. The rules also limited the press. If successful, it can end the trial by the end of January. Only four Republican senators are needed to vote for witnesses. The pressure was put on Senators facing tough re-election campaigns to vote for witnesses.

The impeachment managers and White House counsel presented their case to the Senate within six days. After both sides were finished, it was up to the senators to decide whether or not to allow witnesses and documents to the trial. In a historic vote (49-51), the Republician-controlled Senate decided not to allow further witnesses and documents to be presented during the trial. 

The Senators who Democrats were hoping to vote to allow witnesses. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), both stated that they “heard enough” and that they were ready to “move on.” Both Senators acknowledged that Trump did something wrong but that his misdemeanor did not meet the high standards of impeachment. Lisa Murkowski added: “Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed.” 

All in all, given that the democrats had no vote on witnesses, Trump will be acquitted by the Senate Wednesday, February 5th. Mr. Padilla, who said, one of the AP US History teachers said, “This impeachment is horrible concerning the checks and balances the framers put in our Constitution, the founding fathers must be rolling in their graves.” He believes this is a dark period for our Democracy.