Impeachment trial: The case against convicting President Trump

Feb 9, 2021, 6:58 AM | Updated: 7:57 am
impeach trump...
President Donald Trump gestures at a campaign rally in support of U.S. Senate candidates Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and David Perdue in Dalton, Ga., Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

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


WASHINGTON — The Senate will begin the second impeachment trial to decide the question of whether President Trump incited an insurrection on Tuesday. But opening arguments won’t be heard until Wednesday. That’s because today, the debate will center around the question of whether a trial can even move forward now that President Trump is no longer in office.

“Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution says that when this moves to the Senate stage, they have the capacity to exercise that power to remove someone from office, but also a power to disqualify someone from holding and enjoying the office going forward,” University of Utah law professor RonNell Andersen Jones said.

“The argument is that not just that Congress shouldn’t impeach and remove Trump, but that it can’t do so because the Constitution doesn’t allow for the impeachment and removal of former officers.”

The Senate shall have sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgement in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgement and Punishment, according to Law.

-Article 1 Section 3

“Removal… and disqualification”

Jones said the arguments will focus on how the senators will interpret the Constitution’s call for judgment about removal and disqualification from office.

“The key here is the question of whether you would couple the removal and disqualification, or whether you would decouple them and think these are two separate decisions that the Senate is entitled to make.”

45 of the 50 Senate Republicans have signaled they believe the former, that removing and disqualifying are one decision, saying if there’s no need to remove, there’s no way to justify disqualification.

Another issue that has been raised is that of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. When a president is impeached, the Constitution requires the Chief Justice to preside at the trial. However this time, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) will fill that role as President pro tempore of the Senate.

Roberts’ absence is something critics say signals that perhaps he believes this trial is unconstitutional.

“[Chief Justice Roberts] is not at the trial, because President Trump is not the president.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Face the Nation on Sunday.

Graham argues Mr. Trump is not guilty of the high crime or misdemeanor of inciting an insurrection. He argues that while the former president will have his place in history for what happened on January 6, he did not incite the violence.

“The House is impeaching him, under the theory that his speech creates a riot. When you look at the facts, many people had already planned to attack the Capitol before he ever spoke.”

Mr. Trump’s lawyers have signaled that their argument will mostly focus on their claim the trial is unconstitutional, they are also expected to dismiss the claims the former president can be held accountable for the breach on the Capitol by some of his supporters.

His legal team has claimed when the president told a crowd gathered in DC on Jan. 6, “You fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not gonna have a country anymore,” he was speaking in a figurative sense. A claim they say is supported by his call later that, “Everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol Building. to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

Arguments in favor of conviction

Yesterday, KSL NewsRadio’s Paul Nelson spoke with legal experts about the case for conviction. You can find that story here. 

Trial begins Tuesday

The impeachment trial is expected to begin around mid-day on Tuesday and last through the weekend. KSL NewsRadio will air the entirety of the trial on the KSL X-stream.

You can also follow along with live updates throughout the day on KSL NewsRadio and on the free KSL NewsRadio app.


Today’s Top Stories


Jeff Gray is pictured. Photo credit: Jeff Gray Campaign Facebook page....
Lindsay Aerts and Samantha Herrera

Jeff Gray to bring back death penalty after becoming presumptive next Utah County Attorney

In the race for Utah County Attorney, prosecutor Jeff Gray beat incumbent David Leavitt and is expected to take office in January.
4 days ago
A voter drops a ballot into a box at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Mo...
Becky Bruce

The Utah primary election is expected to be ‘pretty normal’

Tuesday's primary election in Utah is expected to be about average for a midterm election.
6 days ago
A voter fills in the ballot on the voting machine during the Election Day voting at Vivint Smart Ho...
Lindsay Aerts

State elections leaders dismiss state lawmakers claims of vote switching

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah — The State Elections Office says all of the state’s voting machines are working correctly ahead of Primary Election Day Tuesday. This comes after Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, made claims on social media, that some of the machines were changing people’s votes. Screenshot of Lyman’s social media post. Lyman posted on Facebook […]
6 days ago
A crowd gathers in front of the Utah State Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022, to protest the U.S. Su...
Waverly Golden

Planned Parenthood of Utah files lawsuit against the state

Utah's Trigger Law saw its first challenge on Saturday as Planned Parenthood of Utah filed a lawsuit to block the law that went into effect Friday evening.
7 days ago
marriage Utah Sen. Derek Kitchen firearm codify...
Mark Jones

With Roe v. Wade now overturned, could same-sex marriage be next?

Many people are wondering what precedents the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on next, possibly same-sex marriage. Utah Sen. Derek Kitchen says the court could do so it wishes.
9 days ago
A crowd gathers in front of the Utah State Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022, to protest the U.S. Su...
Mark Jones

S.B. 174 now in effect in Utah with Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade

With the overturn of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Utah trigger law, known as S.B. 174 is now in effect in the state.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Impeachment trial: The case against convicting President Trump