By Pam Pollard | Contributor — RNC Committeewoman for Oklahoma
The Senate impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump officially began Tuesday on charges of “incitement of insurrection.”
While Senate Democrats vehemently argue that Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 of the Constitution gives them the authority to try the former President, this same Article is their greatest impediment to conviction.
After hours of opening statements, highly edited videos and debates over Constitutionality, the motion to proceed with the trial passed with 56% support, or 50 Democrats and 6 Republicans. The Clause expressly states, “no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds (66%) of the Members present”. Six Republicans sided with Democrats; they need seventeen, so 6 down, 11 to go.
Impeachment of a federal officer or president is organized much like a grand jury. The House of Representatives serves as the “grand jury” and hears evidence to decide whether to “file charges” or in this case articles of impeachment.
Nine members of Congress, hand-picked by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will serve as House Managers or prosecutors, and will present the case for impeachment to the full Senate. Former President Trump has a team of lawyers that will present their defense following the prosecution.
Under rules agreed upon by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team will each have 16 hours to present their arguments. If the managers decide to call witnesses in the trial, they must first get the approval by a vote of the Senate. As in a normal trial, each side will have an opportunity to present closing arguments.
Last month Sen. Rand Paul challenged the Constitutionality of impeaching a president after he has left office. The measure failed by a vote of 55-45, revealing that 5 Republicans sided with Democrats to go forward with the trial. Today’s vote of 56-44 added 1 R to the defector count.
NBC News’ latest poll revealed that 88% of Republicans support Donald Trump and oppose his impeachment. To think the trial will change the minds of 11 Republican Senators is foolhardy and at best, a desperate political move by Democrats.
The fact that articles of impeachment passed with minuscule testimony in the House reveals the Democrats’ strategy is nothing more than to inflict as much damage to Trump’s future as possible. The fear of, in 4 years, Trump running a campaign against Biden/Harris has fueled the Democrat’s impetuous attempt at impeachment.
The Democrats are unified in conviction. Their attempt to persuade Republicans so far is 6 down, 11 to go. However, it will be a cold day in Senate chambers when that will happen.