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Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial begins

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Updated: February 24, 2021

Donald J. Trump’s second impeachment trial will begin on Tuesday in the United States Senate, three weeks after the former president left office.

Mr. Trump is accused of inciting an insurrection at the United States Capitol in Washington DC on January 6 as Congress was about to certify President Joseph R. Biden’s win.

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Mr. Trump held a rally outside the U.S. Capitol and urged his supporters to march on the Capitol and “fight like hell” claiming that the election was stolen from him.

His supporters stormed the Capitol, and when they were done, more than five people were dead, lawmakers had been evacuated and the Capitol had been desecrated.

Democrats and Republicans will have 16 hours each within two days to prove their case and then vote to convict or acquit Trump.

The Democrats will need to secure 17 votes from the Republicans in the Senate to convict Trump and bar him from ever holding any public office in the United States.

It is unlikely that Mr. Trump will be convicted and Congress may have to resort to passing a resolution to bar him from public office.

For almost two months, following the November presidential election, Mr. Trump continued to repeat baseless election fraud claims.

He claimed without evidence that mail-in ballots or election machines were used to rig the election for Biden. However, courts after courts dismissed his claims, arguing that the president’s legal team had been unable to prove any massive election fraud.

Unable to prove his case in court, Mr. Trump took to Twitter to unleash a massive campaign of disinformation, manipulating his supporters into believing that he was the victim of an election crime, and Biden and the rest, including election authorities and the media, were the perpetrators of that crime to deny him a second term in office.

After everything failed to overturn the election results, Mr. Trump invited his supporters to Washington DC not far from where Congress was about to certify Biden’s win.

He then urged his supporters to march on the Capitol and “take our country back” and “fight like hell.” 

They did.

But Mr Trump’s lawyers argued on Monday that he was not inciting them. He was only calling on them to march peacefully on the Capitol and have their voices heard, they said.

Democratic impeachment managers have argued that he incited an insurrection and should be held accountable, even after he has left office. 

If convicted, Mr. Trump will lose all the benefits former U.S. presidents receive and will likely be barred from public service.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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