Arguments are set to begin in the trial of former President Donald Trump for his second impeachment on the grounds that he incited an insurrection by prompting a mob of supporters to storm the Capitol building on January 6th. The trial is likely to be shorter than the first impeachment because there is only one article brought against the former president this time. Here are several questions that will be answered in the coming weeks.
Will He Be Convicted?
It’s unlikely that Trump will be convicted. While the Senate majority has flipped to Democrats since his first impeachment in December of 2019, a conviction requires a 67 vote supermajority. Assuming that all 50 Democrats vote to convict, that would mean 17 Republicans would need to vote in favor as well. Although there has been more Republican support than during his previous impeachment, it does not seem likely that there will be enough Republican support to convict.
What Will His Defense Be?
It’s likely that Trump’s defense team will highlight the unconstitutionality of the proceedings as their primary defense. Many constitutional scholars believe it’s not possible to impeach a president after they have left office. After that, they will likely focus on the actual text of his January 6th speech to supporters, which they believe does not support the charge of inciting an insurrection.
What Happens If He Is Convicted?
If the Senate does reach the 67 vote threshold required to convict Donald Trump, they would then debate and vote on a punishment. Punishment would likely be in the form of a ban from future elected office, something that Trump has hinted at and that Democrats would relish denying him. The punishment vote only needs a 51 vote simple majority to succeed, so it would likely be a purely partisan effort by Democrats.