President Donald Trump impeached by House for 2nd time: What’s next?

Politics

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Donald Trump on Wednesday became the first president in the U.S. to be impeached by the House of Representatives twice.

In a 232-197 vote, the Democratic-controlled House voted to impeach Pres. Trump on a charge of “incitement of insurrection,” one week after the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Ten of the president’s fellow Republicans voted yes to the impeachment charge.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday said his chamber would begin its impeachment trial for Trump next week after the House transmits the article of impeachment, pushing the process into the opening days of President-elect Joe Biden’s term.

McConnell has said, at the very earliest, the Senate will not begin the trial until next Tuesday, one day before Biden is sworn into office. It’s unclear, for now, exactly how that trial will proceed and if any Senate Republicans will vote to convict Trump.

Even though the trial won’t happen until Trump is already out of office, it could still have the effect of preventing him from running for president again.

Here’s a look at what is expected to happen next:

SENDING TO THE SENATE

Once the House votes to impeach, the speaker of the House can send the article or articles over to the Senate immediately — or she can wait a while. Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send them, but many Democrats in her caucus have urged her to do so immediately.

Pelosi has already appointed nine impeachment managers to argue the case against Trump in a Senate trial.

Once the articles are sent over — that is usually done with an official walk from the House to the Senate — then the majority leader of the Senate must start the process of having a trial.

THE SENATE SCHEDULE

The Senate is not scheduled to be in session until Jan. 19, which could be McConnell’s last day as Senate leader. Once Vice President Kamala Harris is sworn in, making her the president of the Senate, and Georgia’s two Democratic senators are also sworn in, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer will take charge and determine how the trial will proceed.

McConnell said he will not bring the Senate back on an emergency basis to start the trial, so the earliest it could begin would be Tuesday.

McConnell noted that the three previous Senate trials lasted “83 days, 37 days, and 21 days respectively.”

The Senate GOP leader hasn’t publicly commented on his stance.

In a note to colleagues Wednesday released by his office, McConnell said he had “not made a final decision on how I will vote, and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”

No GOP senators have said how they will vote, and two-thirds of the Senate is needed in order to impeach. But some Republicans have told Trump to resign, including Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska has said he would take a look at what the House approves, but stopped short of committing to support it.

Other Republicans have said that impeachment would be divisive.

“Instead of moving forward as a unifying force, the majority in the House is choosing to divide us further,” Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole said. “Let us look forward, not backward. Let us come together, not apart. Let us celebrate the peaceful transition of power to a new president rather than impeaching an old president.”

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, long a key ally of the president, has been critical of his behavior in inciting the riots but said impeachment “will do far more harm than good.”

TRUMP’S FUTURE

If the Senate were to impeach, lawmakers could then take a separate vote on whether to disqualify Trump from holding future office.

Schumer said Wednesday: “Make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate; there will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors; and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again.”

In the case of federal judges who were impeached and removed from office, the Senate has taken a second vote after conviction to determine whether to bar the person from ever holding federal office again.

Only a majority of senators would be needed to ban him from future office, unlike the two-thirds needed to convict.

The president released a video statement from the Oval Office hours after the House voted to charge him with inciting insurrection. He did not mention impeachment, but said he unequivocally condemns violence seen at the Capitol last week.

He also said he directed federal agencies to use all necessary resources to maintain order during the transition to Biden’s administration.

No U.S. president has ever been removed from office through impeachment. Three – Trump in 2019, Bill Clinton in 1998 and Andrew Johnson in 1868 – previously were impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. All reporting by Mary Clare Jalonick of the AP, and David Morgan and Richard Cowan of Reuters.

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