Former United States President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial began on Tuesday after the Senate voted 56 to 44 that the proceedings were constitutional, CNN reported. Trump has been accused of “inciting insurrection” when his supporters stormed the US Capitol last month.
The trial began with lead House impeachment manager Representative Jamie Raskin playing video footage of the violence that took place on January 6. He also showed the House the video of Trump’s speech a day before the riots, in which he urged his supporters to march to the Capitol. “If that’s not an impeachable offence, then there’s no such thing,” Raskin said.
Raskin tearfully recounted how he feared for his family’s safety during the violence, BBC reported. “This cannot be the future of America,” he said. “We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilising mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people under the Constitution of the United States.”
Six Republican senators also voted in favour of the impeachment trial. Meanwhile, Trump’s defence team argued that he cannot face the trial after departing from the White House.
Lawyer David Schoen said there was an “insatiable lust for impeachment” among Democratic lawmakers. “What they really want to accomplish here in the name of the Constitution is to bar Donald Trump from ever running for political office again, but this is an affront to the Constitution no matter who they target today,” he was quoted as saying by BBC.
Starting Wednesday, both the sides will have 16 hours to make their presentations. The arguments are likely to continue till the weekend.
Trump could be barred from holding office again if he is convicted in the impeachment trial. In the 100-seat Senate, which is evenly split between the Democrats and Republicans, a two-thirds majority will be needed to convict him.
On January 6, hundreds of supporters of Trump stormed the Capitol complex in Washington DC, and clashed with the police as members of the Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential elections, which Joe Biden won. Five people died in the violence. At least 68 were arrested.
The incident triggered shock across the world. Several White House officials tendered resignations following the incident, while the demands for Trump’s removal from the top office grew.
After the violence, however, Trump conceded defeat to Biden. For months, he had peddled election conspiracy theories and claimed that the presidential poll was rigged.
The Democrats had moved to impeach Trump in 2019 too, for pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to dig up political dirt on Biden. He was, however, acquitted by the Senate, where the Republican Party had the majority.