Donald J. Trump will be the first former president to face a second impeachment trial in the United States Senate.
The second Senate impeachment trial of Trump is scheduled to begin on February 9, following the U.S. House of Representatives’ successful impeachment of the president earlier in the month. The proceedings in the Senate are expected to be covered live on a number of broadcasters and cable news networks, including PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, C-SPAN, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN — as well as on their official websites. The Senate’s impeachment trial was delayed to allow the chamber to focus on confirming President Joseph R. Biden’s Cabinet members and to work on a relief package for the coronavirus.
Trump was impeached for a second time by the House of Representatives after a mob of the president’s supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol building while Biden’s legitimate victory in the 2020 election was being certified. Trump hosted a rally shortly before the mob’s breaching of the Capitol, where he doubled down on baseless claims that Biden’s victory was fraudulent and claimed that “we will never concede.” Five people died during the Capitol breach and Trump posted on social media in support of the rioters during the ensuing chaos, which caused Twitter and other social media platforms to suspend his accounts. Twitter has since permanently banned Trump from its platform.
In their impeachment brief, the Democrats from the House of Representatives wrote: “The nation will indeed remember January 6, 2021 — and President Trump’s singular responsibility for that tragedy…it is impossible to imagine the events of January 6 occurring without President Trump creating a powder keg, striking a match, and then seeking personal advantage from the ensuing havoc.” Last week a spokesperson for the former president said he would not testify at the trial, which is expected to last around a week.
“The January 6th insurrection at the Capitol, incited by Donald J. Trump was a day none of us will ever forget,” Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer said earlier in the month. “We all want to put this awful chapter in our nation’s history behind us. But healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability. And that is what this trial will provide.”
Trump was previously impeached by the House of Representatives in December 2019 but was acquitted in the trial by the Senate in February 2020. Investigators for the House of Representatives looked into whether Trump abused his public office for private gain, specifically in his dealings with Ukraine; witnesses testified that Trump and his allies leveraged military aid to Ukraine under the condition that Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly announce investigations into Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, for corruption.