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Impeachment against Trump: Pelosi announces commission of inquiry to storm the Capitol

The latest developments

Almost six weeks after the storming of the Capitol by angry supporters of Donald Trump, the Senate acquitted the former president in the impeachment process of the accusation of "inciting rioting".

After the former US President Donald Trump was acquitted of the second impeachment, this article will no longer be continued. Latest news as of February 15, 2021.

The latest developments

  • Less than six weeks after the Capitol was stormed, the chairwoman of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, announced the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry. Pelosi said on Monday (February 15) that this must take a close look at the background and consequences of the “domestic terrorist attack” and the actions of all security forces involved. The commission is to be based on the one that was set up by Congress after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The move by the Democrat came two days after the failure of the impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump in the Senate. According to Pelosi, the commission should also investigate Trump's efforts to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
  • According to a survey, 71 percent of Americans believe that Donald Trump was at least partially responsible for the attack on the Capitol. This was the result of an Ipsos online survey of 998 adults carried out for Reuters, which was carried out by Trump's defense lawyers on Saturday (February 13th) after the conclusion of the presentation. But only 50 percent of respondents said they would condemn Trump if they got a vote. Another 38 percent were against a conviction, and 12 percent weren't sure. 53 percent said Trump should be banned from holding public office, while 39 percent said he should be allowed to do so.
  • Almost six weeks after the storming of the Capitol by angry supporters of Donald Trump, the Senate acquitted the ex-presidents of the accusation of "inciting rioting" in an impeachment procedure. A majority of 57 senators voted on Saturday (February 13th) for a condemnation of the Republican, but they missed the two-thirds majority of 67 votes necessary for a Senate conviction. 50 Democrats and seven Republicans voted to condemn Trump. To the report
  • At the end of their two-day presentation in the impeachment process, the prosecutors urged a conviction. The former president incited his supporters to storm the Capitol, and if this goes unpunished, the Republican could instigate further violence, the prosecutors warned in the Senate on Thursday (February 11).
  • Donald Trump's defense lawyers failed in an attempt to stop the impeachment proceedings against the former American president from the very beginning. They had argued that the process was unconstitutional because Trump was no longer in office. With a vote on Tuesday evening (February 9th), however, the Senate assessed the procedure as constitutional and thus cleared the way for the further procedure.

Why was the second impeachment initiated?

The Democrats wanted to take a stand against the hated President Donald Trump. The impeachment process is intended to serve as a warning to future presidents. The second impeachment within a year was caused by Trump's instigation of unrest on January 6th and the multiple documented attempt to ignore a democratic election. These are clearly "impeachment-worthy" offenses, argue the Democrats. Ten Republicans also approved the indictment in the House of Representatives.

Here we show the topicality. The most important procedural questions and answers on the impeachment proceedings against Trump can be found here.

What is the connection with the storming of the Capitol?

Trump himself called for protests after the election. He claimed several times that the victory had been "stolen" from him and that it was a question of electoral fraud. In such a case, "different rules than usual" apply and the Republicans have not fought hard enough so far. These and similar speeches at a Trump appearance on January 6th are the reason why the Democrats blame the former president for the riots that followed.

After Trump's January 6 speech, thousands of his supporters gathered in Washington and marched from the White House to the Capitol while MPs in Congress were about to certify the election result. The demonstrators had announced this action for weeks. Hundreds of them stormed the building. It took hours before enough police officers were called in to evacuate the premises. Five people were killed in the riot, including a 44-year-old Trump supporter who was shot by the police and a police officer.

The mob - domestic terrorists were often spoken of - were mostly white men, many of them racists and conspiracy theorists, especially supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

How the storm on the Capitol unfolded - a reconstruction with witness videos

Conradin Zellweger / NZZ Video

What is the state of the proceedings?

The House of Representatives voted in favor of the indictment on January 14 by approving an "article of impeachment". In it, Trump is accused of incitement of insurrection. The resolution describes the president as a threat to national security, democracy and the constitution. Trump is the first president in American history to be "impeached" twice. The House of Representatives approved the impeachment with 232 votes to 197.

On January 25, the Democratic indictment was submitted to the Senate. The start of the process was set for February 8th. The Republicans wanted to give Trump preparation time, while the Democrats wanted to ensure that the Senate first confirmed cabinet members in the new Joe Biden administration. On February 9, the Senate reaffirmed the constitutionality of the procedure. Since then, the prosecutors and defense lawyers have presented their arguments for or against a conviction of Trump.

Just before the start of the
Trump exchanged his lawyers in the process. The new defense team is now led by David Schoen and Bruce Castor. They agree that the process is unconstitutional.

What was the result in the House of Representatives in detail?

In the House of Representatives, 232 MPs voted for the impeachment, 197 against. In contrast to the Ukraine affair a year and a half ago, this time ten Republican MPs voted for the impeachment of their party colleague. Among them was Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who is a Republican leader in the House of Representatives. Trump rounded up the “mob” that stormed the Capitol and triggered the attack, she said. There has never been a "greater betrayal" by a president of his office and his oath on the constitution.

What good is an impeachment after Trump's end of office?

A dismissal can no longer take place after Trump leaves office. The conviction would be "only" a personal disgrace, since never in American history has a president been found guilty in an impeachment case. Richard Nixon anticipated this step by stepping down. In addition, Trump would lose privileges for ex-presidents, such as pension payments, health insurance, office space and staff.

In addition, the constitution provides that the impeachment procedure can be used to prohibit a president from holding public office ("office of honor"). That would make it impossible for Trump to run for president again in 2024, something he is toying with according to media reports. Among other things, the Democrats justify their actions with this.

Should a two-thirds majority be achieved in the Senate, there would be a further vote on such a disqualification, in which, according to constitutional lawyers, a simple majority would suffice.

According to various experts, the possibility of disqualification suggests that an impeachment process can also take place after a president has left office. However, the constitution is silent on this question. There is a precedent, however: in 1876 the Senate held the trial of President Ulysses Grant's Secretary of War after he had resigned.