The Senate trial of the second impeachment of former US President, Donald Trump, will be held on February 9, 2021.
The Senate will need to vote with a 2/3rd majority, i.e., 67 senators, for the successful conviction and impeachment of Trump. This means that 17 Republican senators will have to vote with the Democrats to impeach the former president.
Last week, 45 Republican senators had unsuccessfully tried to stop the trial with the argument that the impeachment was unconstitutional as Trump was no longer the president. This effort by the Republicans is a sign of party unity and a clear indication that Trump will not be impeached.
After the delivery of the impeachment article by the House, the Republicans in the Senate had asked to delay the trial in the senate so that Trump could form his legal defence team. The proposal, accepted by the Democrats in the Senate, postponed the trial. However, Trump’s team of lawyers quit last week.
The legal defence team of Trump, lead by South Carolina attorney Butch Bowers, mutually parted ways with Trump due to disagreements with the legal strategy. Bowers wanted to argue the constitutionality of impeaching a President who has demitted office. However, Trump wanted his team to argue that there was election fraud.
A few days after his legal team quit, Trump named David Schoen and Bruce Castor as his defence lawyers. Trump’s office released a statement and said that Schoen had been previously helping the former president and his advisors plan for the trial.
David Schoen had previously defended Trump advisor Roger Stone, who was convicted in 2019 for perjury. Stone was pardoned by Trump in December 2020. Bruce Castor was a Pennsylvania AG (attorney general), most famous for his refusal to prosecute Bill Cosby in 2005 after Cosby was accused of sexual assault.
The House impeached Trump for the second time on January 13, 2021, on a single article and charge of “incitement of insurrection”. The impeachment was preceded by the violent siege of the US Capitol by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021. The insurrection resulted in the deaths of 1 police officer and 4 others. It also endangered the lives of the members of Congress as well as their staff. The violence was triggered by a Trump rally, where the former president repeatedly called upon his followers to fight for him and head to the Capitol.
Lawyer Jay Sekulow, who had represented Trump during the first impeachment, had previously stated that he will not be a part of Trump’s defence team this time around. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had also issued a statement that he would not be representing Trump in the Senate trial. Giuliani was with Trump at the same rally where Trump called upon his supporters to storm the Capitol.