Impeachment trial: The case for convicting President Trump

Feb 8, 2021, 6:37 AM | Updated: Feb 9, 2021, 8:45 am
president trump trial...
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally protesting the Electoral College certification of Joe Biden as President, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

This is the first of our two-part series looking into the arguments for and against the second impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.


WASHINGTON — The second Senate impeachment trial against President Trump is set to start this week, and some political analysts believe it will be short, not even lasting a week.  Senate Democrats say the former president’s speech in early January directly led to rioters storming the U.S. Capitol, and some political analysts in Utah believe there is a strong case to convict him. 

According to Politico, some Senate Democrats don’t even want witnesses to be called, believing the president’s speech before the violent protest in Washington D.C. is all they need to focus on.  So, what are the odds of getting a conviction?

Utah State University Political Science Professor Michael Lyons says “It’s unlikely there’s going to be a conviction here, but, in the modern era of deeply divided partisanship, almost nothing that happens in government anymore surprises me.”

The real question is, did the president tell his supporters to storm the Capitol?  President Trump’s supporters say he condemned the violence more than once, and that he even called for a peaceful protest before the crowd marched to the Capitol.

President Trump said, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

Lyons agrees it would be impossible to prove President Trump deliberately intended to instigate something that turned into a riot.  However, he says senators need to look into more than just the specific language that was said.  Lyons says the president’s comments about the election being stolen could only stir his supporters to anger.

“One contextual factor is the mentality of the people who were demonstrating and his special relationship with them,” Lyons says.

He also thinks the Senate trial is more than just a hearing to determine if the former president is responsible for what happened at the Capitol.  He says it’s a chance for lawmakers to send a message about President Trump’s behavior, and there are plenty of legislators on both sides who condemn the former president.

“We know that there are the Democrats and probably some Republicans in the Senate.  There certainly were Republicans in the House,” he says.

Lyons and his colleague, Utah State University Political Science Professor Damon Cann, agree the Constitution isn’t extremely clear on whether the Senate has the authority to hold a trial for a former president.  However, Cann says the Senate has tried other politicians after they were out of office.  For example, Senator William Blount of Tennessee in 1797.

“He, as a senator, was involved in a scheme to give away parts of Louisiana and Florida to the British government.  When this was uncovered, it was a tremendous scandal.”

Cann says Blount was kicked out of office, then impeached in the House and tried in the Senate.  So, he believes the Senate does have the authority to hold a trial for President Trump.  Plus, if they want to bar the former president from holding office again, they can’t do that until they hold a trial.

“In my mind, it’s very clear the Senate has an obligation to hold a trial.”

Tomorrow, KSL Newsradio’s Lindsey Aerts lays out why most Senate Republicans believe it’s unconstitutional to even hold the trial, and how his legal teams argues he did not incite an insurrection.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

donald trump...
Kate Sullivan, Gabby Orr and Kristen Holmes, CNN

Trump says he’s ‘more angry’ and ‘more committed’ to White House bid as he breaks his campaign trail hiatus

Former President Donald Trump said he's "more committed" to winning back the White House as he hit the campaign trail after announcing a third presidential bid.
15 hours ago
Atlanta Police Officers watch as protesters march during a rally against the fatal police assault o...
Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Protesters across the US decry police brutality after Tyre Nichols’ death

Protesters took to the streets to decry police brutality after the release of video depicting the violent beating that led to the death of Tyre Nichols.
15 hours ago
A hiring sign is displayed in the window of a Panera Bread store in Pittsburgh on Monday, Jan. 23, ...
Paul R. La Monica, CNN

Jobs report to give further clues about where economy is headed

Economists predict that 185,000 jobs were added last month, a slowdown from the gain of 223,000 jobs in December and 263,000 in November.
15 hours ago
Sanpete Co Fatal...
Waverly Golden

Three vehicle crash in Sanpete County leaves one dead

One person is dead following a three vehicle crash in Sanpete County around 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 28.
2 days ago
Tyre Nichols Protests...
Nouran Salahieh, Jamiel Lynch, Chuck Johnston, Shawn Nottingham, Andy Rose and Phil Gast, CNN

More protests today after release of video depicting the deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols

Protesters across the US heldmarches & rallies on Saturday, one day after the release of video showing the police beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis.
2 days ago
Gov. Spencer Cox covered a broad range of issues Thursday night at the State of the State Address. ...
Chandler Holt

Governor Spencer Cox signs transgender bill, releases statement

Gov. Spencer Cox released a statement on the transgender bill, that would ban transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for minors, on Saturday.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Impeachment trial: The case for convicting President Trump