Regardless of one’s political leanings we are in a historic moment in the Presidency of the United States of America.
In honour of that, I thought I would make a post of the proceedings today as the US Senate officially became a Court of Impeachment. You can view them through C-SPAN here:
There are three most interesting parts:
1: At the beginning when the appointed Managers from the House are accepted into the Senate chambers and they read the articles of impeachment which officially impeached President Donald J. Trump.
(Senators are informed by the Sergeant at Arms (pictured) that they must be silent, “on pain of imprisonment”)
2: In the middle when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is sworn in to preside over the Court and asks all Senators to be sworn in.
3: At the end, when the Republican majority leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell reads in the terms by which the President, and Congress are allowed to give their initial documentation. It is then adjourned until Tuesday.
The Senate will now go through a trial to determine whether to find the President guilty and remove him from office, or like Bill Clinton, to acquit him of the charges.
History in the making.
P.S. A super common misunderstanding is that if the Senate acquits President Trump, he is “un-impeached”. This is incorrect.
“Impeached” is like the US Constitution’s word for “charged” with a crime. Only the House of Representatives can decide whether a President is impeached or not impeached, charged or not charged, for a crime or misdemeanour. They have made their decision and it sticks forever. So Donald Trump will forever be known as having been impeached (Like Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson).Â
The clearest definition I’ve seen is: “the act of charging with a crime or misdemeanor; specifically, the exhibition of charges of mal-administration against a high public officer before a competent tribunal.”
So the US House of Representatives acts as the Public Prosecutor.
The Senate, on the other hand, is the courtroom and senators are the jury. Only they can decide to remove a President (or other public officer) from office. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is appointed as Judge to preside over the “Court of Impeachment”.
So like a normal court case, you can be arrested and charged for a crime (impeached), and those will always be on your record, but whether the court finds you guilty or acquits you like OJ Simpson, that is a separate matter. 😉
No President has ever been found guilty and removed. Sometimes people say Nixon would have been impeached and removed, but we’ll never know. He had the good sense to resign even before he was impeached.