Democrats in the US House of Representatives formally delivered articles of impeachment against former President Donald Trump to the Senate on Wednesday, beginning the process for a trial that is set to begin February 9.
The resolution on impeachment passed the House earlier in the day along mostly party lines in a 228-193 vote, with no Republicans voting for the resolution, and was then walked across the Capitol to the Senate chamber.
Before the articles were transmitted, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA), signed a resolution which funded the trial and allowed her to designate members of the House members who will serve as ‘managers’ of the trial. Before signing the resolution, Pelosi said, “that this president will be held accountable.”
Of the nine congressmen designated as managers, one name that immediately stood out was Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a frequent Trump critic, who is alleged to have had a sexual relationship with Chinese communist spy Fang Fang. Given the allegations, many have criticized having Swalwell serve in a trial about insurrection against the United States.
House managers act as prosecutors in the Senate trial. Trump will be defended by his own legal team. The Senate, will act as jury and will vote on the two articles of impeachment. It is unlikely that two-thirds of the Republican majority in the Senate will vote to convict a Trump.
Even though President Joe Biden has called for national unity, Democrats pushed forward with what many view as a partisan process. Biden himself said on Monday to CNN regarding impeachment "I think it has to happen." Democrats have made it clear that the purpose of the impeachment even though Trump is no longer in office is to make it impossible for him to hold office again.
Unlike the first impeachment of Trump, Chief Justice will not be presiding over the trial because it no longer involves a sitting president. Instead, Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, a frequent critic of the president is expected to preside over the impeachment trial.
Despite the appearance that Leahy’s appointment is another partisan move, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said on "The Senate will conduct a timely and fair trial, I want to be very clear about that because some of my Republican colleagues have latched onto a fringe theory that Senate does not have the constitutional power to hold a trial because Donald Trump is no longer in office. This argument has been roundly debunked from constitutional scholars from the left, right and center. It defies precedent, historic practice and basic common sense. It makes no sense whatsoever that a president or any official could commit a heinous crime against our country and then defeat Congress' impeachment powers by simply resigning."
Maryland Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin read the single county of impeachment on the Senate floor. "Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits any person who has 'engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States from holding any office under the United States.' In his conduct while president of the United States and his violation of his constitutional oath...Donald John Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors by inciting violence against the government of the United States."
House Democrats originally voted Dec. 18 for two impeachment articles against Trump, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY), said after receiving the articles, “I’m confident that this body can rise above short term-ism and factional fever, and serve the long-term best interests of our nation.”
Trump is the third president to ever to be impeached and the first to be impeached twice.