February 8th, 2021
Conviction ‘Very Unlikely’ as Trump’s 2nd Impeachment Trial about to Begin
The unprecedented second impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump is about to begin in the Senate on Tuesday, Feb. 9, capturing public attention.Yet, it appears highly unlikely that Trump will be convicted.The trial is complicated not only by the logistics of needed votes being all but impossible but the constutionality of the process itself is currently debated by legal and constitutional scholars.
Trump is facing a single charge of “incitement of insurrection” over the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the US Congress by a mob of protesters in an impeachment trial of many firsts in US history: the first time a president has been impeached twice, the first time a president is tried after being no longer in office, and the first time it is not presided by the Chief JusticeIncitement means the "provocation of unlawful behavior." Insurrection is defined as a “violent uprising against an authority or government.” Following a mass of Parler comments from attendees calling for storming the Capitol, hanging Democrats, etc., Trump’s speech included things like, “We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” And then he led them directly to the Capitol.
For the ex-President to be sentenced, however, the charge would have to be supported by a two-thirds majority, or 67 out 100 Senators.Thus, a total of 17 Republicans would have to break ranks and side with the Democrats in the 50-50 chamber, where Vice President Kamala Harris holds a tie-breaking vote.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), a leading critic of Trump’s presidency, who urged him to resign after the Capitol riot, has described the prospect of a conviction as “highly unlikely”.
Toomey’s forecast was explicitly based on a vote forced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and backed by 44 other Republicans to set aside the trial as unconstitutional.While the question of the Constitutionality of impeaching a President after he’s left office is somewhat unclear, many Constitutional scholars agree that the delegates at the Constitutional Convention appeared to accept that former officials may be impeached for conduct that occurred while in office. This also falls in line with certain state constitutions predating the Constitution, which allowed for impeachments of officials after they left office. IKnowing failure is a foregone conclusion going into this for the Democrats (other than directing their political theater to score political points), the real loser is the American people, who are struggling to make ends meet with the double whammy of the pandemic and beyond-reasonable, fascist, dictatorial government lockdowns from the left, and yet who congress cannot seem to remember.
"You did have 45 Republican senators vote to suggest that they didn't think it was appropriate to conduct a trial, so you can infer how likely it is that those folks will vote to convict," Toomey told CNN on Tuesday.While a number of Republican senators have indicated they don’t want to defend Trump, the argument of the constitutionality of the impeachment trial – despite many constitutional scholars saying the option is valid – gives them a procedural out so they don’t have to go on record as supporting Trump’s actions, protecting them from backlash against their Trump-supporting constituents.
A presentation prepared by the House managers of the trial is expected to rely on hours of video footage from the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol to back the case that the riot had been incited by Trump.However to prove incitement will be difficult considering Trump explicitly told the crowd to be peaceful and it can be argued that what he said was his first amendment right to say. He himself was not involved with the violence which was arguably not "imminent" immediately after Trump's speech. Prior to January 6, a Virginia-based FBI office warned of extremists planning to travel to D.C. calling for war. If Trump knew of this (like I did through a simple Parler search) but decided to ignore it – especially encouraging people to come to D.C. for the event -- then used words like “fight like hell” and marched them to the Capitol, there's a good chance he's legally guilty.
In arguing the contrary, Trump's legal team plans to insist that the trial of a former president is unconstitutional, with the House impeaching the then still acting President too fast, without allowing the chance for a proper defense.The incitement claim sets a dangerous and hypocritical standard. To argue that President Trump was culpable for the actions of others without explicitly directing the violence (and even calling for peaceful protest) would certainly mean, to be consistent and fair, that Bernie Sanders was responsible for the man who intended to slaughter Republican congressmen, nearly killing Rep. Steve Scalise. Americans want the same, fair standards to apply to everyone. Countless other Democrats have encouraged violence, even their mainstream media counterparts (see Cuomo rejecting the idea that protests should even be peaceful...when defending BLM riots). The left refuses to label Maxine Waters' explicitly confrontational rhetoric as incitement; a Twitter user even anonymously posted verbatim quotes from her, changing the target from Pres. Trump to Democratic Gov. Cuomo, and the left went ballistic. Again, everyone should be treated the same.