CBS19: Local reaction to Senate impeachment trial

Feb 11, 2021
In the News

CBS19, KATHRYN YOUNG

The Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump began Tuesday. The Senators-turned-jurors have heard arguments on whether or not Trump incited an insurrection Jan. 6.

Seventh District Representative Abigail Spanberger, who was inside the Capitol at the time of the insurrection, says there is never a time when the actions on Jan. 6 should be considered acceptable.

“In this space where the president is no longer in office, that doesn’t remove culpability and certainly the need for accountability is important not just for that individual, but for the standard that we are setting into the future,” she said.

She recounted the events of that day inside Capitol walls.

“For hours, police officers were beaten with flagpoles with American flags still on them and we’ve seen the result, five people died that day, including officer Brian Sicknick, who died protecting all of us and defending all of us,” Spanberger said.

She noted that two other law enforcement officials have taken their own lives since Jan. 6.

Due to a 50-50 split vote in the Senate, and the need for a supermajority to convict, it may be tough to get a conviction.

“Maybe best case, the Democrats can get like six defections from the Republicans, they need like 16 or 17,” said J. Miles Coleman, Associate Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics. 

Spanberger voted for impeachment in the House of Representatives.

“There is no point in the Constitution where it details any sort of deadlines. In fact, former officials can and have been impeached in history,” she said.

Coleman says arguments in the Senate may fall on deaf ears on the GOP side of the aisle. There is a concern for incumbent senators that a vote for conviction would alienate a powerful part of the electorate. 

“I think that to a big extent, their hands are tied, because Trump is very popular with Republican voters still,” he said.

Fifth District Representative Bob Good did not respond to a request for comment. 

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