Senators sworn-in for second impeachment trial against former President Trump

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 6:51 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Senators were sworn in to be jurors for the second impeachment trial of now-former President Donald Trump on Tuesday. Earlier this month, the House voted to impeach the president on one article of “incitement of an insurrection”, just days before President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Ten Republicans voted with Democrats in the House to impeach Mr. Trump for allegedly inciting an insurrection related to the deadly Capitol protest in early January.

For a conviction in the Senate, Democrats will need 17 Republicans to join them.

“I’ll listen to the evidence, and seek out as much as possible what the truth is and that’s how I will vote,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

With two weeks until the trial starts on the week of February 8, Sen. Cassidy said he wants to know how much the president knew before making remarks Democrats claim sparked the deadly riot.

“If worst-case scenario the president received an FBI briefing that people were putting out pipe bombs as they did and people were organizing violence with an intent to kill people as they did, that would be one thing, that would be a worst-case scenario for the president,” said Sen. Cassidy. “If on the other hand, there was testimony that the president didn’t know any of this and he was basically giving like at a football game, a ‘fight fight fight,’ that’s another set.”

Can the Senate convict a former president? That will be a main point of contention during the Senate trial.

“Ultimately, we are charting new ground here, this is something that has never happened before,” said Dr. Shannon Stanley, Adjunct Political Science Professor at LSUA.

After senators were sworn-in on Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, introduced a “point of order” saying a Senate rule is being violated because Mr. Trump is no longer in office. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer countered with a motion to table Paul’s point of order, that passed 55 to 45 - but it could spell trouble for conviction with 45 senators agreeing with Sen. Paul. Democrats will need 17 Republicans to join them to convict.

“This impeachment is nothing more than a partisan exercise designed to further divide the country,” said Sen. Paul. “Democrats claim to want to unify the country, but impeaching a former President, a private citizen, is the antithesis of unity.”

Meanwhile, proponents of conviction say Mr. Trump should be held accountable, and convicting him would prevent him from holding office in the future.

“His act on the sixth was the most despicable thing any president has ever done. And he is the worst president ever. And you cannot just - let’s move on,” said Sen. Schumer on MSNBC.

KALB reached out to Sen. John Kennedy, R-La, for comment, but his office declined.

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