WASHINGTON D.C. (KETK) – For just the third time in American history, a sitting U.S. president will be facing an impeachment trial in the Senate on Tuesday.
President Trump faces the trial after questions arose about his phone call with Ukraine where Congressional Democrats say he abused his office by asking the Ukranian president to investigate Joe Biden in exchange for military aid.
While Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has allowed opening statements for each side to last two days each and sixteen hours of questions from Senators, the steps after that remain relatively unclear.
Republicans and Democrats have squabbled on whether to allow witnesses to testify at the trial. Democrats have been pushing for former National Security Advisor John Bolton to speak under oath while Republicans have countered that with a threat to subpoena Hunter Biden, the former Vice President’s son.
McConnell has said that a vote would be called on whether to call witnesses. Democrats would have to swipe four votes for the measure to be approved.
President Trump has rounded up a team of high-profile defense lawyers, including Alan Dershowitz. He faces two charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Trump has repeatedly denied the charges against him, frequently calling the incident a “perfect call.” Democrats have charged that the president threatens American democracy and that he betrayed his oath.
The country remains nearly evenly split on whether to remove Trump from office for the charges against him. According to a Gallup poll released in the week before the trial, 51 percent favor keeping the President in office while 46 percent want to see him removed. The split is practically on partisan lines as expected:
- Democrats: 15-84
- Independents: 46-49
- Republicans: 93-7
Though it is a slight advantage for the Trump, the support for keeping in him in office is much lower than Bill Clinton received when he was impeached. Gallup reported that only 33 percent of the nation wanted him removed from office on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.
No president has ever been removed from office through the impeachment process with both Clinton and Andrew Johnson being acquitted in their trials. President Richard Nixon resigned before formal impeachment articles could be filed.
Trump is expected to be acquitted in the Republican-controlled Senate, with 20 Republicans needing to defect from him to reach the high two-thirds threshold needed for a conviction.
This will be the first time in American history that a sitting president will be impeached while also running for re-election. Clinton was impeached in his second term while Johnson didn’t receive the Democratic nomination for a potential second term just months after his acquittal.
KETK News will have full coverage of the trial on our website and on our mobile app.