Former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment results

Trump is found not guilty by the Senate after facing legal charges of incitement of insurrection


Senators gather to vote during Trump’s second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Image from video

Nishat Kazi

After the Capitol Hill insurrection on Jan. 6 left five people dead, including a police officer who was beaten to death, as well as over 140 people injured, then-President Donald Trump was charged with incitement of insurrection, making him the first president in U.S. history to undergo two impeachment trials during his presidency. Including Trump, there have only been four presidential impeachments in total: President Andrew Johnson in 1868, President Bill Clinton in 1998, and President Trump in both 2019 and 2021. The impeachment trial lasted five days and both the House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense presented their cases; he was officially acquitted on Feb. 13. 

After beginning the investigation of Trump and the Capitol Hill incident, the official impeachment trial began on Feb. 8, over a year after his first impeachment trial in which he was accused of pressuring Ukraine to provide information about current President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden. 

 The main argument against Trump was that he spent months before the riot riling up his followers by feeding them with baseless claims of a stolen election through social media platforms. By doing this, he fueled a public outrage in his favor which caused people to die and people now demand he faces the consequences for it. Twitter even temporarily locked his account in order to minimize the spread of violence. “If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked,” Twitter said in a tweet. Following Twitter’s footsteps, Facebook also locked his account for 24 hours. 

Through false claims about the election results being fraudulent, Trump abused his power and encouraged his supporters to become angry and storm the Capital. He specifically told his supporters to “fight like hell.” Those who idolize Trump were easily manipulated to storm the Capital rather than recognizing the detriments of doing so and holding Trump accountable for inciting violence among U.S. citizens. 

According to Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution, the president is eligible for impeachment and even criminal conviction if charged with any forms of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors, Bribery and Treason.” Many Democrats, including U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 8th congressional district Jamie Raskin, believes that it was ultimately Trump who initiated the violence at the Capitol, therefore leaving him guilty of high Crimes and Misdemeanors. 

“If this is not a high crime and misdemeanor against the United States of America, then nothing is,” Raskin said during the final moments of a trial. “President Trump must be convicted for the safety and democracy of our people.”

If this is not a high crime and misdemeanor against the United States of America, then nothing is,” Raskin said during the final moments of a trial. “President Trump must be convicted for the safety and democracy of our people.”

— Impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin

Although the Senate’s final vote was 57-43 in favor of convicting Trump, with seven Republicans voting in favor of conviction, the total was short of the 67 required votes, and Trump was ultimately found not guilty. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer denounced the results of the impeachment trial, stating that “the case of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial was open and shut. Even though the Republican Senators prevented the Senate from disqualifying Donald Trump, there is no question Donald Trump has disqualified himself, and I hope and pray and I believe that the American people will make sure of that.”

Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin along with other House managers entering the Senate Chambers to begin the second impeachment trial against Donald Trump. Photo by Jack Gruber

Though Trump was impeached, he is still able to run for president in the 2024 election, and will still receive all the benefits afforded to former U.S. presidents, including travel expenses up to a million dollars annually, an annual pension, lifetime Secret Service protection and various other health care benefits.

Raskin, who also served as lead impeachment manager, believes that this impeachment was the “most bipartisan presidential impeachment in the history of the United States. Trump stormed our House with the mob he incited and we defended our House. He violated our Constitution and we defended the Constitution. They tried to trash our democracy and we revived it, and we protected.”

Following the impeachment results, many politicians were appalled that Trump would still enjoy all the benefits of a former president — benefits they believe he doesn’t deserve. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, being one of them, saw it as a “slap in the face of the Constitution.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signs the article of impeachment against Donald Trump before the trial on Wednesday, January 13. Photo by Alex Brandon

It is important that all politicians and leaders of our country are held accountable for their actions the same way anyone else would be. Rather than viewing them on a pedestal, we should keep in mind that all political leaders make mistakes that should be acknowledged. Though Trump is no longer president, that doesn’t mean that our country is suddenly better off — we should still continue striving towards a better, more just future. For example, although President Biden is more popular locally, it is just as necessary to hold the Biden administration responsible for any of their mistakes. In order to do this, students should continue to read the news, engage in political discussions in meaningful ways, and help vote out those who have failed to hold certain political leaders accountable, in this case, Trump.