onePolitics Blog (tm)
a blog exploring politics
Donald Trump is impeached. The next step is a trial.
There is some confusion over issues of impartiality and due process when it comes to a trial following impeachment. There are differing opinions on what should happen and when. The opinions are in conflict, creating a debate over what is proper and what is not proper. Although many have made sound legal, and political, arguments over the processes of a Senate trial, we found information from USA TODAY instructive on the issue of the Senate trial and what will happen when that trial occurs:
First and foremost, Donald Trump is not afforded much due process in an impeachment trial. Despite his complaints that he has been more wronged in the impeachment proceedings than even the 17th-century women who were hanged based on dreams, visions and confessions elicited by torture [and] "[m]ore due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials..." (quotes as reported by USA TODAY) Trump is not afforded much due process. Therefore, his complaints are invalid. Sorry Donald.
(USA TODAY) "The president of the United States takes the presidency conditioned on the fact that he may be subject to impeachment," said Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor. "He has no entitlement to demand due process..."
Therefore, the Senate has broad powers when it comes to trial. The President does not have to commit a crime to be removed from office. Articles of Impeachment leading to a trial do not have to be based on a crime. "What is and is not considered an impeachable offense is not predetermined by law," said Frank Bowman, a University of Missouri law professor. Although the Constitution describes an impeachable offense as "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors," that standard is broad by design. This means jurors — senators with their own political alliances — decide what the facts are and whether they matter, Bowman said. (USA TODAY)
Perhaps one of the most basic differences between an impeachment trial and a criminal trial is the punishment if someone is convicted. Presidents lose their office, which has never happened and is highly unlikely to happen to Trump. Criminal defendants can lose their freedom, and that happens regularly.
This brings us to due process. The Fifth Amendment says no one can be deprived of "life, liberty or property" without due process of law. A president facing an impeachment trial is not at risk of losing life, liberty or property.
Congress "is not obliged to follow due process, (though) it may well decide to provide things that look like due process," Gerhardt said. (USA TODAY)
Therefore, the Senate trial is largely political. Even though Senators take an oath to be impartial, the reality is (despite arguments that the oath should be followed) Senators are not required to strictly follow the oath.
The Senate has broad powers to conduct the trial in any way that it sees fit. Therefore, there is no requirement to call witnesses or hear any further evidence. The Senate can do as Mitch McConnell wants and not hear further evidence or witnesses, it can decide whether to remove Donald Trump based on the record supporting the Articles of Impeachment. No new evidence or testimony is required.
So what about impartiality? In an impeachment trial, senators can't be disqualified if they express bias. That makes sense, Bowman said. Otherwise, "the majority will just disqualify the minority and you have this sort of bizarre free-for-all, with six people left standing. It will be silly." (USA TODAY).
Therefore, it is easy to conclude that Donald Trump will not be removed by the Senate unless public opinion among the GOP base changes drastically. There will be no removal unless there is evidence that there is strong voter blowback impacting the 2020 elections if Trump is not removed.
Donald Trump will serve out his first term without removal. This is because impeachment is largely political in nature giving the Senate broad discretion on what actions it takes or does not take during the trial. Considering the strong GOP voter sentiment against removal, the political climate dictates that Donald Trump stay where he is.
Click here to read more facts about the Senate trial following impeachment by the House at USA TODAY.
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
This section will not be visible in live published website. Below are your current settings:
Current Number Of Columns are = 1
Expand Posts Area =
Gap/Space Between Posts = 10px
Blog Post Style = card
Use of custom card colors instead of default colors = 1
Blog Post Card Background Color = current color
Blog Post Card Shadow Color = current color
Blog Post Card Border Color = current color
Publish the website and visit your blog page to see the results