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Second Impeachment Trial Underway; How does it work?

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 6:59 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - House Managers presented their case to the Senate on day two of the impeachment trial. Attorney, Frank Bemis, says the managers decide what forms of evidence to present.

“They can elect to present witnesses, they can provide video, they can provide all sorts of information,” Bemis said. “Again, this is not a court trial so there is no judge, there is no jury. The judge and the jury is the senate itself.”

University of Maine Political Science Professor Mark Brewer, says an impeachment trial is different than a criminal trial.

“The founders did not intend in any way shape or form for impeachment to be a criminal proceeding,” Prof. Brewer said. “Impeachment is a political proceeding, as such it operates under different rules. There are some people out here who are saying, well maybe the appropriate method going forward on this is a criminal proceeding. If he was strictly private citizen Trump throughout the entirety of this process you could see the merit in that kind of argument. However, when he was allegedly inciting a riot, inciting the insurrection, he was not private citizen Trump, he was President Trump.”

After arguments are made by both sides, Senators will vote on whether or not to convict the former President. A two-thirds vote is needed for the conviction, meaning that at least 17 Republicans need to vote in favor of the conviction.

“These senators lived through this; they saw this,” Prof. Brewer adds. “What we saw on video, they were in the building hiding in some cases fearful for their lives while this was unfolding. As they watch this video, is it going to be enough to move some of them.”

“If he is convicted, he can be removed from office and two as discussed before, he can be blocked from ever holding office,” Bemis explains. “They can’t do the second part unless they in fact convict him of this impeachment. But the final vote as to whether President trump deserves to be convicted will be a two-thirds vote.”

Trial rules state, each side will have a total of 16 hours to make their case.

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