U.S. Senate begins Trump impeachment trial; Arkansas senators not convinced of high crimes
By BCN Executive Editor Wesley Brown – Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 — The U.S. Senate today will begin the impeachment trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump on charges that he caused the insurrection by a mostly white mob at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.
That insurrection occurred two weeks before President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn after winning the Nov. 3 president election. In the weeks after the election, Trump whipped up his followers into a frenzy with lies about voter fraud and stolen election in areas with large black populations.
Today’s impeach trial will begin at noon Eastern Time. You can view the trial on CSPAN by clicking here.
Mr. Trump is the first president in history to be impeached twice. It appears likely he will be acquitted in the Senate since two-thirds or 67% of the members must vote to convict. After the November election, the Senate is split 50-50 with VP Harris breaking any ties. Seventeen Republicans would have to join the 50 Democrats to impeach Trump after he vacated the White House three weeks ago.
Both Arkansas senators, John Boozman and Tom Cotton, have indicated they will not vote to convict the former president for inciting a mob of angry supports that led to the death of one U.S. Capitol policeman. That insurrection also delayed the electoral count for nearly six hours.
In a national appearance on Fox & Friends on Feb. 8 where he criticized incoming President Biden’s foreign policy with China, Cotton said he would participate in the Senate trial as a member but called the impeachment proceedings illegal.
“I believe it is beyond the Senate’s constitutional authority to have an impeachment proceeding – the point of which is to convict and remove from office a man who lost office three weeks ago,” Cotton told Fox News here. “I also think it is a set of misplaced priorities as the Democrats continue to obsess about Donald Trump – when Donald Trump has left office and went to Florida, when the Senate should be focused on things like how to expand (COVID-19) vaccine production and distribute it more quickly.
“Those are the priorities that the American people want us to focus on, not an inquest into someone who is now a private citizen,” said Cotton, who did not back a move by some Senate Republicans to oppose President Biden’s electoral college victory certifying the November election results.
In an interview here with KUAR News Director Michael Hibblen on the day before the Senate trial, Boozman said shared his thoughts that “many people” felt like the House impeachment process was unfair and that the president’s action did not rise to the level of impeachment.
“So based on the evidence being presented thus far, I think that’s why people feel like it’s going to be very difficult to get a two-thirds vote in the Senate in order to convict the (former) president,” said Arkansas’ senior senator.
“Well, it’s really a solemn time. Last week the chief justice [of the U.S. Supreme Court] was sworn in in front of the Senate and he in turn gave us the oath of office,” said Boozman. “And as you looked around and saw my colleagues in the Senate, everyone, I think, realized the gravity of the moment. Impeachment is such an important thing and I think everybody is really taking that to heart.”
When asked by Hibblen if he believed it would be difficult for the Senate to convict Trump and meet the two-third vote requirement, Boozman agreed.
“Well, I think that we… the situation is such that at the end of the day I think the public felt like the charges didn’t rise to the level of impeachment, and I think that Republicans paid the price for that,” Boozman told Hibblen in the phone interview. “The public viewed that as trying to get even with the president. I think you really run into a difficult situation when you don’t like the president so much that you can’t base that on essentially invalidating the election that put him in office in the first place, and so people don’t like that.”
The U.S. House voted a week after the insurrection to pass a resolution calling for Trump’s impeachment on a single charge of “incitement of insurrection.” A total of 10 Republicans also voted in favor of his impeachment.
Former President Trump, who now lives in Florida, is not expected to testify during the Senate trial. The 45th POTUS was also impeached in September 2019 by the U.S. House for abuse of power and obstruction of justice. He was later acquitted of those high crimes by the Senate on Feb. 5, 2020.
In other news, BlackConsumerNews.com of Arkansas launched its new online daily website on Friday with an exclusive interview with Mayor Frank Scott Jr. Remember to go to BlackConsumerNews.com and check us out. We are your development multimedia news platform for the enterprise Black consumer and much, much more.
(BCN News will updated this story later in the day.)
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