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Impeachment proceedings against TrumpWhat the second impeachment process was about

Almost five weeks after Donald Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol, the second impeachment proceedings against the then US President began in the US Senate on February 9, 2021. He was accused of inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol on January 6th. Former US President Trump has also been acquitted in this second impeachment trial. In the Senate, 57 MPs voted for impeachment, including seven Republicans. Ten votes were missing for a guilty verdict by a two-thirds majority.

(picture alliance / dpa / Horst Galuschka) Political scientist Hacke: Failure of impeachment has strengthened the Trump myth (08:41)
The second impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump were important for the political hygiene of democratic America, said the political scientist Christian Hacke. However, this also strengthened the myth about Trump. At the moment, the prospects are not for pacification, but rather for confrontation. US President Joe Biden and the Democrats should now turn away from the arrogant liberalism of the nouveau riche and become a party of the common people.

In mid-January, the US House of Representatives launched the impeachment process with 232 to 197 votes. Trump was still president at the time. In addition to the Democrats, ten Republican MPs also voted for it. The US Senate also classifies the procedure as constitutional. In a vote, 56 senators voted in favor, 44 senators voted against. Six Republicans thus supported the Democratic view.

Trump's lawyers had argued that the impeachment process was against the constitution because he was no longer in office and must now be considered a private person. The Democratic prosecutors argued that Trump must be held accountable for his actions as president even after leaving the White House. Trump is the first US president against whom two impeachment proceedings have been initiated.

What was Donald Trump accused of in the indictment?

In the four-page draft for the impeachment process, the only charge cited is "incitement to riot". In the text, the ex-US president is accused of inciting his supporters before the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021 and endangering the lives of members of Congress. Trump is also a threat to national security, democracy and the constitution.

After a speech by Trump, his supporters forcibly entered the Capitol in Washington on the afternoon of January 6, 2021 and disrupted the congressional session to confirm the election victory of Joe Biden. The MPs were brought to safety and five people died.

Why did the Democrats want an impeachment process after the handover?

Donald Trump has already ceded his presidency to Joe Biden, but if the ex-president had been found guilty, he could have been expelled from all future political offices at the federal level. After the acquittal, a new candidacy for US President in 2024, which is allegedly in the planning stage, is now possible. After the acquittal, Trump stressed that his political movement had only just begun.

(imago images / Ralph Peters) Historian: "Trump has always fueled distrust in the institutions"
In order to end the split in the United States of America, a new narrative is ultimately needed, said historian Sandra Kostner in the Dlf. An identity-political agenda like that of Trump has no future.

The political scientist at Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Cathryn Clüver-Ashbrook, said on Deutschlandfunk that the impeachment proceedings are also about the role model function of the USA as the oldest functioning democracy in the world. In the decision of the Democrats, a "heaviness of history" clearly resonated, said Clüver-Ashbrook: "Basically, it is also about the whole great world power structure, which system will set the tone in the future. Is it authoritarian states like China or is it still the large, possibly powerful democracies like the USA and Europe. "

The professor of American studies at the University of Dortmund, Walter Grünzweig, said on Deutschlandfunk that one could show on a symbolic level that such an attack on the central institution was unsustainable.

What else did the Democrats do against Trump?

The 25th Amendment to the Constitution would have been another way to oust Trump from office by former Vice President Mike Pence declaring him incapacitated. However, this possibility was ruled out from the outset. On the evening of January 12th, Mike Pence refused in writing to remove Trump from office. The then US President also ruled out a voluntary resignation.

The decision of the former Vice President Pence was expected, according to the political scientist Clüver-Ashbrook in the Dlf. By attempting to oust Trump through Mike Pence, the Democrats had given the Republicans the opportunity to separate from the president as a whole party, Clüver-Ashbrook continued: "Nobody would have had to stand up in this sense as an individual."

(imago images / ZUMA Wire / Probal Rashid) Terrorism researcher on Trump supporters: "Considerable terrorist potential"
According to the terrorism researcher Peter Neumann, violent extremists will pose the greatest terrorist threat in the USA in the coming years.

How did the first impeachment proceedings against Trump go?

In an initial impeachment case, the Democrats charged Donald Trump with obstructing parliamentary investigations and abuse of power. They accused Trump of pushing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi to investigate Trump's political rival Joe Biden in order to influence the past 2020 US presidential election in his favor.

The House of Representatives accepted one of the two charges against Trump. With a majority of Democrats, the Congress Chamber voted 230 to 197 for Trump to answer for abuse of office in the Senate.

In the Senate, however, the necessary two-thirds majority was not achieved to condemn Trump, which was expected with the Republican majority in the Congress Chamber. The Senate acquitted Donald Trump of all charges on February 5, 2020 in the first impeachment proceedings.

[Sources: al, mb, ds, mg]