Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial in the Senate begins Tuesday, but few expect Democrats to succeed in convicting the former president.
Echoing many in the Republican Party, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi rejected the effort Sunday as a “meaningless messaging partisan exercise” brought about by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her fellow Dems, The Hill reported.
“I’m not conceding”
It would come as quite a shock if enough Republicans voted to convict Trump for “insurrection,” clearing a path to bar Trump from seeking office again.
The sheer unlikelihood of conviction has led critics to dismiss the trial as a “meaningless” partisan spectacle, as Wicker put it in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday.
The Republican refused to be boxed in, even after Stephanopoulos brought up his support of Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the 1990s. “I’m not conceding that the president, Trump, incited an insurrection,” Wicker said, as The Hill reported.
“Let me say this. Republicans learned a lot from the impeachment of President Clinton. President Clinton had been adjudged to have committed perjury by a judge in the state of Arkansas. Perjury is a felony under the law of every state. And that was the controlling principle that brought me to a yes vote,” Wicker added.
Rapid trial format established
At the same time, Wicker suggested that it might be appropriate to prosecute Trump or for the president to suffer some kind of consequence in the court of public opinion.
Still, it is very likely that Trump will be acquitted of the impeachment in just days, roughly a year after he was cleared of an impeachment relating to Ukraine last February. The layout of the trial was established on Monday by an agreement between Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The format calls for a faster trial than last time: opening arguments start Wednesday, with both sides receiving 16 hours to make their cases (down from 24), followed by periods of questioning by the Senate and concluding arguments, The Hill reports.
“All parties have agreed to a structure that will ensure a fair and honest Senate impeachment trial of the former president,” Schumer said, according to The Hill.
Reports indicate the trial could be over as soon as next week.