WASHINGTON–Never before has a president of the United States been impeached and tried twice. That changes this week when the former president stands trial on a charge of inciting an insurrection for the January riot at the U.S. Capitol.
But, the trial will be legally unlike anything that has happened before, with some fundamental questions still unanswered, said Dr. Ted Frantz, professor of History at the University of Indianapolis.
LISTEN: Dr. Frantz talks about the second impeachment trial.
“Is it appropriate to try and to impeach a person who is now a former president?” he asked. “At the time that impeachment was voted on Donald Trump was president. By the time the trial will be taking place, he obviously is not. We have never seen something like that in American history before.”
Frantz said if you watch the trial or listen in, you’ll see the House managers serving as the prosecution.
The former president has had trouble keeping a stable legal team.
“He is not able to rely on trusted people with whom he has a long-standing relationship,” said Frantz.
Frantz said that is likely due to the possibility that representing Trump could be a liability to future career plans.
“If you’re able to acquit him that might really advance your cause, particularly with the part of the Republican Party so loyal to him,” said Frantz. “One of the other things we’re reading about is how difficult it is, at least right now, for former members of Trump’s White House team to be lining up employment.”
You may have heard or read that Trump is not expected to testify. Frantz said that’s probably a wise decision for both sides.
“I don’t think Pres. Trump has anything to gain by testifying, and if anything it would seem to be a gamble on the part of House managers, who are Democrats, to get him on the stand and hope to get him to contradict himself.”
Frantz said he believes it’s the smart decision from the House managers’ perspective.