Donald Trump's impeachment procedure: the possible verdict on Saturday at the trial, his probable acquittal
Steph Deschamps / February 13, 2021
Donald Trump could be acquitted as early as Saturday after a high-profile trial in the Congressional precinct, where his supporters sowed violence and chaos on January 6.
Senators, both witnesses, judges, and jurors, are scheduled to resume the trial of the former president at 10:00 a.m. (4:00 p.m. BST), one month to the day after his indictment for inciting insurgency.
Donald Trump, the only U.S. president to have twice suffered the infamy of impeachment, is likely to be acquitted, as he was in his first impeachment trial a year ago.
Given his strong right-wing popularity, it seems unlikely that 17 Republican senators would vote with the 50 Democrats elected to form the qualified majority needed to convict him, a verdict that would open the vote to a penalty of ineligibility.
On Friday, his Democratic successor Joe Biden, who spent more than 35 years on the Senate benches, said he was impatient to see what his Republican friends would do, hoping they would take responsibility.
A first vote at the opening of the trial on Tuesday outlined the balance of power: 56 elected officials, including six Republicans, had deemed the trial constitutional, even though Donald Trump left the White House.
On Friday, the lawyers for the 45th president of the United States counter-attacked in a concise - three hours - and muscular argument.
According to them, the attack was horrible but the trial is unjust : it is an act of political revenge intended to ban speeches that the majority does not like, they said.
Drawing in turn on carefully edited videos, they ensured that Donald Trump's combative lexical field was part of ordinary political rhetoric, used on both the left and the right and protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression.
In particular, they screened a ten-minute film in which all the figures of the Democratic Party, including Joe Biden, promise to fight in every way possible.
The defense also found it absurd to link the violence to the January 6 speech, pointing out that Donald Trump had called on his supporters to march in a peaceful and patriotic manner on Capitol Hill.
The coup de force was planned in advance by criminals and cannot be blamed on the president, they argued.
In a tense question-and-answer session, the prosecutors replied that Trump had only used the term peaceful once in his speech, which they said was inflammatory in its overall tone. And they hammered home that the bloody coup de force had not taken place in a vacuum.
If the prosecution and defence abstain, or if their motion is denied, they will then have a maximum of two hours each for their closing argument and plea.
The one hundred elected representatives may withdraw for a moment to deliberate, before voting on the verdict.