On Wednesday, January 13, 2021, U.S. President Donald J. Trump made history as being the first president to ever be impeached twice.
Trump’s first impeachment took place in 2019 on the grounds of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, after evidence showed him attempting to collect Ukrainian intelligence against Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. The House of Representatives approved both articles, but the Senate chose to acquit Trump for both, leaving him in office.
Trump is only the third U.S. President to ever be impeached, following Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.
The cause to impeach Trump so close to the end of his term resides in his actions on January 6, 2021, when the United States Capitol building was attacked by rioters. Prior to the riots, Trump held a Save America rally, telling his supporters to march down to the Capitol building, where the deadly riots took place just hours later.
“After this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down,” Trump said in his speech.
“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women. We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
Trump is being impeached for incitement of insurrection against the U.S. government and lawless action at the Capitol, both charges that were approved by the House on Wednesday.
The Senate trial is set to occur at some point following Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021, after Trump has already left office.
A two-thirds majority is required to convict Trump, which may be difficult to achieve, as the Senate is run by the Republican Party. However, multiple Republican senators, including Mitt Romney, can be expected to vote to convict Trump when the impeachment trial takes place.
These are unusual circumstances. Typically, the president under impeachment is still in office when impeached; however, impeaching Trump despite him no longer being in office creates the opportunity for a second Senate trial, one that if a simple majority rules, prevents Trump from holding office again.