By Albert Traver
Washington, Jan 25 (efe-epa).- For the second time in just over a year, United States Democrats have delivered an article of impeachment against Donald Trump to the Senate, thus triggering a new impeachment trial, this time for “incitement of insurrection” in relation to the assault on the Capitol that left five dead.
Monday’s process formally launches his second impeachment trial, but Democrats and Republicans agreed that the process should not begin until the week of Feb. 8, giving Trump time to prepare his defense.
Nine House prosecutors appeared before the full Senate and one of them, Jamie Raskin, read the article approved in the Lower House on Jan. 13, a week after the assault, with 232 votes in favor – 10 of them Republicans – and 197 against.
Trump is the first president in US history to be impeached twice, and this will also be the first time that the Senate will try a former president. It could result in his disqualification from ever running for president again.
For the Senate to convict Trump, a two-thirds majority or a minimum of 67 votes is needed, a difficult proposition given that Democrats and Republicans each hold 50 seats in the chamber.
At least 17 Republican senators would have to join all 50 Democrats to convict Trump. So far, only some Republicans have expressed openness to the impeachment, including Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
McConnell and Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s majority leader, announced an agreement last week on the rules that will govern the impeachment proceedings as well as the timeline so that the trial gets underway during the week of Feb. 8.
Trump was also impeached by the Lower House in late 2019 on one charge of abuse of power stemming from an allegation that he sought personal political gain by improperly pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce a corruption investigation into then-candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Only one Republican senator, Mitt Romney, voted to convict.
The Democrats who will act as prosecutors have not yet revealed what their prosecution strategy will be, although local media said that they will speak about their personal experience of being in the Capitol during the assault by Trump’s followers.
Trump has hired Butch Bowers, a lawyer who runs a small firm in South Carolina and with no national profile.
Finally, the president of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, who presided over the first trial against Trump, will not repeat that role. It will be the Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, the most veteran of the chamber, who will act as magistrate. EFE-EPA