The article of impeachment against Trump for incitement of insurrection will be delivered to the Senate on Monday.
On Monday, House impeachment managers will deliver the article of impeachment against Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection to the Senate.
According to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the former president’s Senate trial will begin the week of Feb. 8.
Trump is the first president to be impeached twice.
“It may or not be a trial that we have any witnesses. We don’t know yet. We don’t know, for example, if the president will testify on his own behalf,” said David Schultz, a political science professor at Hamline University. “Unlike the last impeachment where the Republicans held a majority, here the Democrats have a majority and that may also influence either how the trial is conducted or at least how it’s perceived by the American public.”
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Unlike the last impeachment, this one has more bipartisan support. Ultimately, 10 House Republicans voted to impeach Trump earlier this month for his role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. In 2019, no House Republicans voted in favor of the articles of impeachment against Trump.
“I still think the odds of a conviction are fairly unlikely,” Schultz said. “First, remember this will now be the fourth impeachment trial for a president in U.S. history. The previous three have all resulted in the president not being convicted. So if history is a guide at all, the odds are against it, too.”
It takes a two-thirds majority of the Senate (67 votes) to convict. That means if all 50 members of the Democratic caucus vote to convict Trump, they will still need support from 17 Republicans.
“It’s just not clear at this time that there are 17 votes,” Schultz said.
A growing number of Republican senators say they oppose holding an impeachment trial.
On Fox News Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) called the upcoming trial “stupid” and “counterproductive.” Meanwhile on the same show, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said he supported the trial and recognized the need for accountability.
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It’s a sentiment shared by Democrats.
“What the Democrats will argue is that what the president did was so wrong that he needs to pay a price for it, needs to be punished for it, and therefore impeachment and a conviction is a way of attesting to the wrong that he did,” Schultz explained.
If Trump were convicted, the Senate could choose to vote on preventing him from holding federal office again. That requires a simple majority vote.
There is historical precedent for impeachment after leaving office.
For example, in 1876 during the Ulysses Grant administration, Secretary of War William W. Belknap resigned two hours before the House impeached him. Nonetheless, the Senate conducted a trial in which Belknap was eventually acquitted.
Schultz pointed out that while it is a trial in name, it is not the same as a criminal trial.
“The normal rules of evidence don’t apply like you’d see in a criminal trial. That things like hearsay can come in. The rules of what’s called due process don’t apply. All of us have heard that in order to convict somebody of a crime you have to show that there was enough evidence to show guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, none of those standards apply here,” Schultz said.