[00:00] [Intro Music]
[00:09] Jimmy: Hello! Welcome back to NBN Politics. This year we’re changing it up and giving you only the essentials. For those of you that don’t want to scroll through 1,000 Google pages on the latest political news, we’re here to give you the SparkNotes version.
[00:25] I’m Jimmy.
[00:27] Ali: And I’m Ali.
[00:28] Jimmy: And we’re your co-hosts. This week we are tackling the SECOND impeachment of Donald Trump. Yep, there’s two. So what exactly is impeachment?
[00:36] Ali: Well, impeachment in the constitution is actually really simple. If the president commits a high crime or misdemeanor, then the House has a huge vote to impeach, and then the Senate does a trial.
[00:45] Now, the House only has power of impeachment. That means everyone in the House of Representatives votes on the Articles of Impeachment, and the trial gets passed onto the Senate, which can convict the president.
[00:57] Impeachment has been used really rarely in the past and no president has ever been removed from office. But a lot of lawmakers are arguing that during the Trump administration, the process of impeachment has become a political strategy.
[01:09] The tricky part of impeachment is the “high crime or misdemeanor.” So it’s on the burden of the Senate to prove whether or not a high crime or misdemeanor was actually committed by the president.
[01:18] Now, the big question is, didn’t Trump already get impeached?
[1:21] Jimmy: Well yes Ali, Trump already got impeached for a first time on December 18, 2019. The issue concerning the first impeachment started once a whistleblower accused Trump of withholding aid to Ukraine in order to pressure the Ukrainian leader to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Trump was trying to get an advantage in his reelection, and further evidence included a phone call of Trump requesting the investigation.
[01:45] Now, the House of Representatives voted on two Articles of Impeachment: Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. And since at this time, the House was predominantly Democrats, both articles passed. The Abuse of Power article passed with a 230-197 vote while the Obstruction of Congress article passed with a 229-198 vote. Thus, Trump was impeached, making him the third president in history to get impeached.
[02:09] Now, once the articles moved onto the Republican controlled Senate neither of them were able to be passed. You need a two thirds majority in order to convict and that capacity was not reached. The Abuse of Power article failed to pass by a 48-52 vote while the Obstruction of Congress article failed to pass by a 47-53 vote.
[02:26] But now Donald Trump is on trial again. What does this mean? What's he on trial for? Can he even be impeached or convicted if he’s not president anymore?
[2:34] Ali: Well, these are all good questions. Trump is accused of treason for inciting violence against the federal government. This is all in reference to the riots that occurred on January 6. After the presidential election, many Trump supporters didn’t believe the election results. They agreed to a mass protest at the capital and ended up turning violent.
[02:55] Now, this became a huge issue of contention between the Democrats and the Republicans, with the Democrats saying that the denial of the results by Trump, him pressuring the Georgia Secretary of State to "find" additional votes and encouraging protesters, endangered the security of the government.
[03:08] Thus, the Article of Impeachment that was introduced was based on Incitement of Insurrection. Now the exact Article of Impeachment reads, quote, “He reiterated false claims that we won this election and we won it by a landslide. He also willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the capital such as ‘If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.’”
[03:33] Now, the Senate has the power to convict Trump, which means he would be removed from office. However, this is not normal circumstances. Trump isn’t actually a sitting president. Many Republican senators are arguing that this trial was unconstitutional because Trump is a former president. This was a huge voter for Republicans because it meant they didn’t have to cast an opinion on Trump’s conduct due to the January 6 riots.
[03:57] So, what exactly were the results? What happens next?
[3:57] Jimmy: Now this time around, the House and the Senate were both controlled by Democrats. The Article of Impeachment passed in the House by a 232 yes vote to a 197 no vote and four abstains.
[04:09] Once the article moved into the Senate, even though Democrats controlled the Senate they did not reach the two thirds capacity in order to convict. There were 57 yes votes and 43 no votes with 50 Democrats all voting yes and seven Republicans switching to a yes vote.
[04:24] Now, because Trump was not convicted, he still has the ability to run for office in 2024. He gets to keep his pension, his Secret Service detail for life and up to $1.5 million in travel expenses a year.
[04:36] However, Trump may still face legal challenges once out of the White House. According to the Justice Department, a sitting president cannot be indicted. But now that he’s out of office, Trump can now be prosecuted.
[04:47] There is investigation into possible insurance and financial fraud. New York is investigating Trump’s business in the state and we still have yet to receive Trump’s tax returns. Furthermore, prosecutors in Georgia opened a criminal investigation into the phone call Trump made to the Secretary of State to “find more votes.”
[05:04] Some lawmakers suggested censure, which is a formal statement of disapproval, but Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was not on board and thought that it would be just a slap on the wrist and not harsh enough.
[05:14] Now, Trump is not happy with the impeachment at all, especially with Mitch McConnell, who despite voting not guilty, said directly after that Trump is, quote, “practically and morally” responsible for the insurrection. Trump said in a statement released by his Political Action Committee that, quote, “Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.” According to Politico, an earlier draft even mocked McConnell for having too many chins.
Ali: [05:42] This impeachment marks the end of four years of Trump in office, but without a conviction, there’s no telling what will happen in 2024. Tune in next week to learn more dummy politics and not be clueless at the dinner table.
[5:54] Ali Bianco and Jimmy He, reporting for NBN.
[05:57] [Outro Music]
Graphic by Amy Guo.