xinhuanet.com Tuesday will mark a historic occasion: the second impeachment trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump.
The impeachment comes a month after a riot occurred in Washington, D.C., in which a number of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol Building, breaking property and threatening lawmakers.
Democrats charge Trump with inciting the riot, although Republicans contend the speech that preceded the riot was political boilerplate, and contained no language telling people specifically to behave violently.
The House of Representatives has charged the former president with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the Jan. 6 riot, in which rioters killed one police officer and police shot dead one U.S. military veteran. Three others died of natural causes, U.S. media reported.
Trump had claimed for a month that the presidential election was rigged, and supporters marched to the Capitol Building on Jan. 6 in a bid to protest what they viewed as an election in which many discrepancies occurred.
Trump has rejected a request that he testify during the trial, and the former president’s legal team argues that any conviction would be unconstitutional.
“Democrats are going to focus on the substance of Trump’s (alleged) misdeeds and show videos and provide evidence that Trump violated basic norms of government,” Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.
“They will say he is unfit for office and deserving complete repudiation,” West said.
“Republicans likely will stick to a process argument that Trump can’t be impeached because he already has left office,” West said.
“If Democrats can get the Senate to convict Trump, then their goal is to bar him from ever running again for public office,” West said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on the Senate floor Monday that the trial rules had been agreed to by Senate Republicans and Democrats, as well as the House managers and Trump’s legal team.
“The structure we have agreed to is eminently fair,” Schumer said. “It will allow for the trial to achieve its purpose: truth and accountability.”
The Senate will vote on the rules on Tuesday, and the trial will kick off with a four-hour debate on the constitutionality of the proceeding followed by a vote.
If a simple majority of senators agree to move forward after Tuesday’s debate, as expected, opening arguments will start on Wednesday. Under the deal, the House impeachment managers and Trump’s team will have 16 hours over two days each to present their case to the Senate.
The trial could conclude as early as next week, faster than any presidential impeachment trial in American history, experts said.
“The ideal outcome for Democrats would be to see Trump convicted and subsequently barred from seeking public office again,” Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, said in an interview with Xinhua.
“Failing that, I think Democrats hope this will further damage Trump’s public standing and exacerbate the division in the Republican Party between Trump critics like (GOP lawmakers) Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney and those who still support Trump,” Galdieri said.
Clay Ramsay, a researcher at the center for international and security studies at the University of Maryland, told Xinhua there are several goals that Democrats hope to achieve.
“Some of it is just experiential. Having gone through (a mob entering their place of work) and (been) put into side rooms and told to hide for hours, they’ve had it,” Ramsay said.
Some Democrats’ rationale is also to get Republicans on record as refusing to do anything about the Capitol being attacked, Ramsay said.
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