The upper chamber of the US Congress has found the impeachment trial of Donald Trump as constitutional, allowing full proceedings to begin. Meanwhile, the former President’s lawyers maintained that after leaving the White House, he could not face the trial. With a handful of Republican lawmakers backing the move, the Congress voted 56-44 in favor of beginning the trial.
Last month, when the pro-Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, Democrats accused the Republican president of inciting violence. Tens of thousands of Trump voters stood in support of false claims of widespread voter fraud in the November elections. However, experts suggest that because only six Republicans broke the party lines, the former President is likely to be acquitted.
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The Democrats opened the case by showing a video of Trump’s January 6 address and the video montage of his supporters and far-right groups forcing their way into the Capitol. But Trump’s lawyers maintained that it was unconstitutional to put a former president through such proceedings and accused the Democratic leadership of being politically motivated.
On the other hand, the Democrats would need a two-thirds majority in the Senate to impeach Trump. Experts suggest that Tuesday’s vote indicates loyalty towards the former President within his party ranks, enough to avoid his conviction. But if convicted, the Congressional leaders could ban him from assuming a public office ever again.
The proceedings on Tuesday opened with the impeachment managers arguing that their charges were legitimate. Later, Trump’s legal team took the stand to outline their concerns regarding the process and legality of the charges brought against him. These arguments from both sides are likely to continue until the weekend when the Senators will get a chance to start questioning. Besides, amid an ongoing effort to approve Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, lawyers on both sides are said to favor a quick trial.
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