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Trump article of impeachment set to reach Senate on Monday, setting up historic trial over Capitol siege

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 1/24/2021 Shant Shahrigian

The House of Representatives is set to send the article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday, setting up a historic second trial of the commander-in-chief who left office amid unprecedented chaos.

At issue is Trump’s incitement of the siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, a shocking scene in which crazed throngs broke into Congress and desecrated one of the nation’s most important symbols of democracy after he addressed a large crowd of supporters near the White House. Five people, including a cop, died.

The short article of impeachment passed in the House on Jan. 13 uses Trump’s own words — such as, “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore” — against him.

Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell are posing for a picture: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (l.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will receive articles of impeachment late Monday, with senators sworn in as jurors on Tuesday. © Provided by New York Daily News Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (l.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will receive articles of impeachment late Monday, with senators sworn in as jurors on Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (l.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will receive articles of impeachment late Monday, with senators sworn in as jurors on Tuesday. (SAUL LOEB/)

“He ... willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol,” the legislation states. “Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.”

Noting Trump’s Jan. 2 phone call to Georgia’s secretary of state urging him to “find” enough votes to overturn election results there, the article of impeachment noted: “In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government.

“He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government,” it added. “He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”

The House voted to impeach Trump by a 237-197 margin — including support from 10 Republicans.

Now it’s time for the constitutionally mandated trial of the president to begin. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was expected to send the article of impeachment to the Senate late Monday, with senators sworn in as jurors on Tuesday.

The trial won’t start until Feb. 8, said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), giving Trump a chance to organize his legal defense and Congress the opportunity to handle top priorities of the new Biden administration in the meantime — confirming nominations and weighing a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

“We all want to put this awful chapter in our nation’s history behind us,” Schumer said over the weekend. “But healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability. And that is what this trial will provide.”

Nine impeachment managers from the House are readying their case against the former president. The Senate may decide not to call any witnesses, since lawmakers experienced the siege first-hand.

Democrats control the Senate by a razor thin margin of one — Vice President Kamala Harris, the tie-breaking vote.

Several Senate Republicans have said they’re open to the impeachment process, but many have strongly criticized it.

a close up of a flag: President Trump greets supporters on The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. © BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI President Trump greets supporters on The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.

President Trump greets supporters on The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/)

“It just strikes me as a vindictive move,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said last week. “Say what you will about the president’s role in a speech he gave; he’s no longer president. He lost the election. That used to be punishment enough in our politics.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has criticized Trump’s Jan. 6 words to thousands of his supporters before they besieged the Capitol, but it’s not clear whether he wants to convict him.

The trial is sure to be extraordinary on several levels.

It will be the first impeachment proceeding against a president who’s out of office. If the Senate convicts him, it could then vote to bar him from holding office ever again.

It’s also the second time Trump has been impeached.

In December 2019, the House voted to impeach the president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to a campaign to get dirt on then-presidential candidate Joe Biden from Ukrainians. The Senate, controlled by Republicans at the time, subsequently acquitted Trump.

“As if it’s not enough that he sent an angry mob down the [National] Mall to invade the Capitol, didn’t try to stop it and a police officer was killed,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

“I don’t really know what else you need to know. The facts were there, we saw it right there on the platform during the inauguration as you can still see the spray paint at the bottom of many of the columns.”

With News Wire Services

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