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Explainer: What does a second impeachment mean for Donald Trump?

Explainer: What does a second impeachment mean for Donald Trump?

Donald Trump has become the first US president in history to be impeached twice.

Explainer: What does a second impeachment mean for Donald Trump?

But of course, if you remember from last time, that doesn’t mean he will be removed from office immediately.

In fact, it’s highly unlikely he will be removed before his term is up when Joe Biden is sworn in on 20 January.

The House must now decide if and when to send the article of impeachment to the Senate, where a trial will take place.

Upon receipt of the article, the Senate must move immediately to begin a trial.

Even if the article is sent immediately, a trial is not expected to take place before the inauguration.

The Senate is not scheduled to hold a regular session until 19 January, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not use emergency powers to bring the Senate back into session for a trial before that date.

“Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week,” he said.

“Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office. This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact.

“The President-elect himself stated last week that his inauguration on January 20 is the ‘quickest’ path for any change in the occupant of the presidency.”

When a Senate trial does take place, a two-thirds majority of senators need to vote to convict the president.

At least 17 Republicans in the 100-member chamber will be required to join the Democrats to find Trump guilty.


What is the point of having a Senate trial to convict Trump if he has already left office?

The Democrats want to prevent Trump from being able to run for office again.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has said if a Senate trial takes place after the inauguration, and if the president is convicted, “there will be a vote on barring him from running again”.

Conviction during an impeachment trial does not mean Trump is immediately disqualified from running for office again.

A separate vote would be needed to bar him from future political office and to prevent Trump from receiving post-presidential benefits.

Such a vote would require only a simple majority of senators rather than a supermajority.

Democrats have also argued that the offence committed by Trump is too serious to let it go unpunished.

They’ve said to do so would set a dangerous precedent for future administrations.

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