What to know about Trump’s upcoming Senate impeachment trial

Jacquelyn Martin
Former President Trump is being charged with incitement of insurrection following events at the US Capitol on Jan 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Former President Donald Trump will be tried in the U.S. Senate beginning Feb. 9 after the House of Representatives voted to impeach him.

What are the formal charges levied against the former president?

Trump is being charged with “incitement of an insurrection,” according to the Articles of Impeachment that were passed in the House on Jan. 13. The impeachment article was drafted by Democratic Reps. Jamie Raskin, David Cicilline and Ted Lieu.

What does the impeachment in the House mean?

The House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump in a 232-197 vote. Ten members of the GOP joined the Democrats in voting to impeach.

This vote does not, however, close the case. The House did successfully impeach Trump, but the article of impeachment must now go to the Senate and be voted upon there.

What happens in the Senate?

At this point, the Senate will vote on whether or not to convict Trump for the crimes he is being tried for. As of now, it is still unclear if this conviction will go through or not. Many Republicans are reluctant to cross party lines and vote for impeachment. In order for Trump to be convicted, Democrats must convince enough Republicans to meet an unlikely two-thirds majority.

Many Democrats, including President Joe Biden, believe this trial must go through for Trump to be held accountable. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer posed a question preceding the trials: “Is former President Trump guilty of inciting an insurrection against the United States?”

The trial is not set to begin until Feb. 9, after Schumer made a deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to postpone the trial in the Senate in order to focus on other pressing matters following Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney is one of the few GOP senators who have indicated they may vote to impeach Trump. “I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense.” Romney also voted to impeach Trump in his first Senate impeachment trial.

What are the potential impacts of a Senate conviction?

For Democrats, consensus surrounding a conviction is focused on accountability. However, impeaching Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors alone would not necessarily guarantee he could not run for office in 2024.

According to Article 1, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, impeachment could also result in “disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.”

There has been talk from supporters that Trump could move to run in 2024, though Trump himself has not confirmed the rumors.

If he were to run again, Trump could only serve one final term per the 22nd Amendment, which states: “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.”

As the Senate trial looms ahead, Democrats must convince 17 Republicans to vote for impeachment, a large number that seems unlikely to be met. Still, the Senate will meet to cast their votes in February.

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