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Trump impeachment trial: ‘We don’t know what’s constitutional or not,’ says House Majority Whip

Sibile Marcellus
·Anchor
·3 min read

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expects that President Biden will sign the next round of fiscal stimulus into law “before unemployment benefits expire” in March.

Former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial won’t slow the progress of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus financial relief legislation, said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday. "To the pundits who said we can't do both at once, we say you are wrong. We can and we are," he said.

Rather than divide the country further into partisan camps, Democratic leadership anticipates that Trump’s impeachment trial will do the exact opposite.

“Look at the country today: 74 million people voted for Trump. Now 81 million, or 82 [million] maybe, voted for Biden,” Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn (D., S.C.) told Yahoo Finance. “The Senate 50 Democrats, 50 Republicans. That sounds like a divided government to me. So the government is divided and it was that way on Nov. 3. [The trial] is not going to divide the country. It does have an opportunity to bring the country together.”

Democrats will begin formally making their case Wednesday to convict the former president, a day after the Senate voted to proceed with Trump’s second impeachment trial.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., waves as he walks on Capitol Hill at the conclusion of the first day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., waves as he walks on Capitol Hill at the conclusion of the first day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In order for the trial to be viewed through the lens of unifying the country, it’s critical Democrats make their case, said Clyburn. “What we’ve got to demonstrate in this trial [is] that this is all about preserving this democracy,” he said. “This is the real savior of our democracy, impeaching this president.”

Historically, presidential impeachment trials have been used to determine whether a sitting president’s actions warrant removal from office. Given that Trump left office nearly three weeks ago, his lawyers have called the trial itself unconstitutional.

Democrats are forging ahead, willing to leave that question up to the Supreme Court if it comes to that point.

“You never know what’s constitutional until the Supreme Court decides what’s constitutional. The segregated schools were constitutional until 1954, when the Supreme Court said that they weren’t. So we don’t know what’s constitutional or not. It’s never been done before,” said Clyburn.

Clyburn said the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, which Democrats accuse Trump of “inciting,” was an insider job. He has pointed to rioters finding and looting his unmarked office, while leaving the one with his name on the door undisturbed, as evidence.

“I don’t know if anybody connected to Trump was doing it, but I think there are people connected to these mobs, this mob activity that took place. I do believe there was complicity,” said Clyburn. “It’s very clear to me that there were people serving in Congress, who may have been sharing information with people who attacked this place several weeks ago, and we’ll see when the investigations are done.”

Barring stronger evidence by Democrats, it’s widely expected that Republicans will side with Trump and acquit him of the incitement charge.

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