Former US President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial formally commenced in the Senate yesterday. The Senate has voted 56-44 to proceed to the first-ever trial of a former President, rejecting his defense lawyers’ argument that Trump was beyond the reach of the Senate after having left the White House on January 20.
Democrats hope to disqualify Trump from holding public office ever again and last night’s outcome suggested they face odds. Only six Republican senators joined Democrats to vote in favor of allowing the trial to take place, far short of the 17 needed to secure a conviction.
Trump is the only US President in the history of America to be impeached twice. This is the fourth impeachment trial in the US and first-ever impeachment trial of a former President. Earlier impeachments included former President Andrew Johnson’s trial in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice and Trump in 2020 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.