Trump Second Impeachment Trial

March 30, 2021
Trump Second Impeachment Trial

What to know as an unprecedented second impeachment trial starts against a former U.S. president.


  • Jan 6: Riot at the U.S. Capitol.
  • Jan 13: House impeaches President Trump, voting 232-197 in favor of the article of impeachment (with 10 Republicans voting in favor).
  • Jan 26: Senate voted 55-45 in favor of holding the impeachment trial (with 5 Republicans voting in favor).
  • Feb 9: Impeachment trial set to start.
“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coordinate branch of government.”

The article of impeachment charges "incitement of insurrection" for Pres. Trump's words & conduct in the days & moments leading up to the riot.


  • The Senate impeachment trial is not a criminal trial, but it will look like one.
  • House impeachment managers (lawmakers chosen by the House) will “prosecute,” presenting the case for impeachment to the Senate; the fmr. president’s lawyers will defend him.
  • Senators will vote on procedural motions (ex: whether to allow witnesses), impeachment, and *perhaps ultimately* disqualification.


  • House impeachment managers will argue Pres. Trump provoked illegal action. They’ll also argue the trial is constitutional b/c otherwise outgoing presidents may engage in wrongful conduct without recourse.
  • Pres. Trump’s lawyers will argue he did not incite violence and his speech is protected under the First Amendment. They’ll argue the trial is unconstitutional since Pres. Trump is not in office.


  • Tuesday: Each side has up to 2 hours to argue the constitutionality of holding the trial after the former pres. left office. Next, the Senate votes; 51 votes are needed to move forward with the trial.
  • Starting Wednesday: Each side has up to 16 hours over 2 days to argue their case. Next, senators may ask questions for up to 4 hours. Then, each side has up to 2 hours for closing arguments before the Senate begins deliberations.


  • Witnesses & Evidence: Whether the Senate will vote to allow the parties to call witnesses or subpoena evidence.
  • Ties: Whether Vice Pres. Harris may cast any tiebreaking vote(s). The VP (as the Senate president) may cast tie-breaking votes in Senate proceedings.
  • Disqualification: Whether Congress may vote to disqualify former Pres. Trump from holding future public office regardless of whether the Senate votes to convict.


  • Zero: No president has ever been convicted in a Senate impeachment trial.
  • 67 of 100: Conviction requires a 2/3 supermajority in the Senate. Assuming all 50 Democrats vote to convict, they’ll need 17 Republicans to join them.
  • 51 of 100: Disqualification from office requires a simple majority. Assuming all 50 Democrats vote to disqualify, they’ll need one Republican to join them.

Pres. Trump is only the third president ever impeached but the fourth to face impeachment proceedings. Impeachment proceedings began against Pres. Nixon, but he resigned before the House had the opportunity to vote.

Impeachment History

Three Common Misconceptions About Impeachment

Impeachment 101

by Jenna Lee,