Following last week’s Trump-inspired coup attempt at the capital, led by confederate flag toting, red hat sporting MAGA extremists, there began a call within Congress for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Donald Trump from office. Pence released a letter to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, saying that he does “not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution,” and implicated that he feels letting Trump’s presidency come to a natural close is the best decision.
It is evident that the House of Representatives was in disagreement with the Vice President’s opinions, and voted yesterday to impeach Mr. Trump on account of intent to incite violence, charging him with both high crimes and misdemeanors. The vote was 232 to 197, with 10 members of the Republican Party voting against Mr. Trump. This is an insurmountable change from Trump’s last impeachment, in which Republicans unanimously voted against the impeachment of Mr. Trump.
A second impeachment trial for Mr. Trump will not begin until President-elect Joe Biden is officially inaugurated into office as the 46th President of the United States.
Although there is no set way to execute an impeachment, there are a few key similarities and differences between Mr. Trump’s first and second impeachments. In the event of any movement to impeach a public government official, the House votes for or against the impeachment, and the Senate conducts the trial.
Firstly, Trump’s crime accusations in each impeachment case vary. The constitution states that impeachable offenses are “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” (Article 2, Section 4). In his first trial, he was accused of conspiring with the President of Ukraine, putting pressure on him for political gain. There were substantial amounts of doubt throughout the House, Senate and public on whether or not this crime could be considered “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” or “Treason” worthy of impeachment as outlined in Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution.
This impeachment differs as the House is able to legitimately allege that Mr. Trump did indeed commit “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” when he incited violence against the United States, the Capitol building and our Democracy itself.
The Article of Impeachment released by the House of Representatives briefly discusses the repeated claims and statements of fraud made by Mr. Trump on Twitter and at rallies following the conclusion of the election. Several of these statements, such as “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore,” were provocative in nature and dangerous to the public. The evidence of incitement in the article reads, “Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.”
You can read the actual article of impeachment issued by the House of Representatives here. The document itself is short — one page — and straight to the point.