Unconstitutional Impeachment?

Students react to the second impeachment trial and acquittal of Donald Trump



The House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump Wednesday, Jan. 13, doing so made him the first president to be impeached twice.

Donald Trump was impeached by Congress for inciting violence at the Capital seven days before Joe Biden was inaugurated, and his conviction trial commenced on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Three days later, Trump was acquitted. The Senate voted 57-43 in favor of convicting Trump, falling 10 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed. 

While senior We The People member Ryan Mulrenan does not find the acquittal surprising, he does believe that it will undermine faith in the American system of government.  

“It’s created a new standard for the behavior of presidents, we’ve seen breaches of the rules of law and justice with Nixon and the Watergate hearings, but this has gone beyond that by actually disrupting the peaceful transfer of power,” Mulrenan said. 

 Some Americans believe that impeaching a president who is already out of office is unconstitutional. Mulrenan took a look into the specific wording of the Constitution to form his own opinion of the impeachment trial. 

“What it says is that the Senate will consider all impeachments, so that means even if the president has gone out of office, they will still consider that. The thing is that he was actually impeached by the House before he came out of office,” Mulrenan said. 

Although Trump is no longer president, Mulrenan thinks that he committed an impeachable offense while he was still in office and he believes that the impeachment is perfectly Constitutional on these grounds. 

However, senior Carolyn Thurlby said it is unconstitutional to carry through with the impeachment, and questions the practicality of the trial. Thurlby paralleled the power of Donald Trump to that of an ordinary citizen, likening this impeachment attempt to trying to impeach George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. 

“He is already gone, and has no power, there is really no reason to impeach him,” Thurlby said. 

“I think some of the Democrats are trying to tarnish his legacy by saying he was impeached and having that be how they say the end of his term is finished,” Thurlby said. 

Thurlby and Mulrenan both agreed that the time and money going into the impeachment trial would be better spent elsewhere. 

“If it wasn’t the beginning of Biden’s presidency and there wasn’t a pandemic going on it might be a smarter thing to do than it is now. There is just not really the resources or enough votes to get the impeachment passed,” Mulrenan said. 

Mulrenan said the early days of Biden’s presidency should be more focused on practical matters like a COVID-19 relief bill and working to pass more Liberal reforms. He said he does not think there is enough time, will, or political capital to carry out the trial and kick-start Biden’s presidency.

“The whole thing, in my opinion, is a waste of resources and of Congress’s time,” Thurlby said.