By Elliott Nguyen
The House of Representatives officially passed an article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, Feb. 1. The Senate will begin the trial after allowing two weeks for President Biden’s cabinet hearings.
The impeachment comes after the events of Jan. 6, when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol leaving 5 dead, according to CNN. In the 80 page brief, the Democrats and 10 Republicans of the House of Representatives charge Donald Trump with incitement of insurrection and allege that he incited the riot with his language during a speech in Washington, D.C. that same day.
“Now it is up to congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy,” Trump said before his supporters stormed the Capitol.
Trump’s team is expected to give a formal reply to the article of impeachment. Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times reported that his defense lawyers will likely focus their argument on the constitutionality of the trial, which many Republicans have placed in question since Trump is no longer holding office.
“Voters get to decide that. Who are we to tell voters who they can vote for in the future?” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) of the trial’s validity.
In 1876, the Senate impeached and held a trial for William Belknap, a former U.S. Secretary of War who had resigned prior to the impeachment. Belknap was ultimately acquitted after the Senate failed to garner the necessary two-thirds majority.
Several students from the College shared their thoughts on the proceedings.
“To have someone in a position of as much power as [Donald Trump]...as the president, inciting people to commit a violent act against the nation is unacceptable. It makes sense to impeach someone for doing that,” said Julia Landi, sophomore English major.
“I don’t think he will be convicted. As time passes people tend to get less passionate. Maybe they will reach a compromise, but I don’t expect many Republicans to actually vote for him to be convicted,” she said.
Claudia Masclans, a sophomore secondary special education with English major, discussed the way Jan. 6’s events visibly impacted her father.
“When the riots were happening, my dad didn’t feel the best and he was talking about how he lived in Bolivia and left because of all the political corruption and chaos,” Masclans said. “He didn’t go into full detail, but he talked about how he left Bolivia because of everything happening and now it’s happening here again and it made him upset.”
Trump will be represented by David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. They will replace Butch Bowers and four other lawyers, who left Trump’s defense team on Saturday, Jan. 30. Despite Trump’s continued insistence that there was widespread election fraud, his team is unlikely to use those claims as an argument during the impeachment trial.
“I think it would be a disservice to the president’s own defense to get bogged down in things that really aren’t before the Senate,” said Sen. John Coryn (R-TX), who advised Trump’s team to avoid the topic.