New Delhi: The United States Senate on Thursday formally opened the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in a quiet ceremony. As Chief Justice John Roberts presided over the courtroom, the senators swore an oath of ‘impartial justice’, while seven House prosecutors formally presented the two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – in the Senate.
Interestingly, the trial begins at the beginning of the crucial election year where President Trump has been seeking re-election amid a time of deep political division in the nation. It must be noted that four of the senators sitting as jurors are running for the Democratic Party’s nomination to challenge Trump in November.
This is the third time that a US President is on trial before the Senate after being impeached by the House of Representatives. The only two Presidents before Donald Trump to be tainted by impeachment – Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 – were acquitted.
As he set foot in the Senate for his impeachment trial, President Trump, in all caps, tweeted, “I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!”
President Donald Trump is facing two charges unveiled by the Democrats. The charges include abuse of power, for personally and acting through agents within and outside of the US government; and obstruction of Congress in pressuring Ukraine to aid him in his campaign against his political rivals for 2020 elections.
He is also accused of withholding about $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in a bid to force Zelentsky to launch the investigation. However, the aid was eventually released and there was no Ukrainian probe of the Bidens.
While Thursday trial was mostly a ceremonial session, the real proceedings against Donald Trump begin next week.
The trial will be a television spectacle that could last about a month and the Democrats hope it will convince some of Trump’s supporters to turn against him at the presidential polls that begin on November 3.
Although the Senate consists of a large Democratic majority, he can expect to be acquitted of the charges because the Democrats will not be able to muster the two-thirds majority needed to convict him and remove him from office.