The Second Impeachment of Donald Trump

On January 13, 2021, former president Donald Trump became the first president to be impeached twice. Trump’s second impeachment was marked by the most bipartisan impeachment vote in American history.

A week before the end of his term, Trump was impeached for inciting an insurrection. He was accused of fanning the flames of discontent among his supporters through his speech and numerous tweets, leading them to stage a riot and breach the United States Capitol building on January 6. Supporters of Trump were encouraged to stop the “steal” of his presidency during his speech.  Trump told the crowd, “When you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules.” This message drove rioters to breach the Capitol building to attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s victory. 

The House of Representatives found additional evidence regarding Trump’s incitement of the riot, citing a call that Trump had with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During the call, Trump expressed his disbelief over losing the state of Georgia and attempted to intimidate Raffensperger to report falsified results in favor of the now former president: “You know what they did and you’re not reporting it. You know that’s a criminal offense.” 

The House of Representatives asserts that Trump had planned the insurrection prior to January 6, adding more reason for his impeachment. An article of impeachment was introduced to the House of Representatives on January 11, 2021. 

With a majority vote of 232 house representatives in favor of the impeachment against 197 opposing votes, on January 25, the House of Representatives delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate. While the articles of impeachment were delivered on January 25, the start of the trial was delayed until February 9 by then senate majority leader McConnell. In order to convict Donald Trump of the high crimes and misdemeanors he was accused of, a two-thirds majority of the Senate, or at least seventeen Republican senators and fifty Democratic Senators, needed to vote against Trump. President Biden predicted the unlikelihood of a Senate majority voting to convict, and he was right. On February 13, the Senate voted 57-43, which was 10 votes short of convicting Trump. He was therefore acquitted, or found not guilty, for the crimes he was accused of.

Some may ask why there had to be an impeachment trial when Trump had already left the office as of January 20. There are two main reasons to impeach an official: 1) to kick said person out of office, and 2) to disqualify her or him from ever having another federal office position. In Trump’s case, reason number one was a special exception. The reason that the trial was held after Trump was already out of office was because it was purposely delayed. Senator Mitch McConnell denied holding an emergency senate trial after the articles of impeachment were delivered from the House of Representative because he believed that Trump deserved his due process and thus needed more time to prepare for said trial. As a result, the date for the trial was pushed back to February 9. 

Although impeachment did not kick Donald Trump out of office, the trials were still held in hopes that convicting him would disqualify him from ever running for an official position. However, as he was acquitted, the only thing gained from this impeachment was Donald Trump’s title as the only president to be impeached twice by the most bipartisan vote in history.