Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial could begin on Inauguration Day; latest updates

On Jan. 13, 2021, Donald Trump became the first American president to be impeached twice, with only one week left in his White House term.

Trump was impeached by the Democrat-led House of Representatives on a single article of impeachment, which can be read here, charging the GOP president of inciting a Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol which resulted in several dead and protesters storming the halls of Congress.

Now, attention is focused on what happens next. Here are the latest details:

Trump’s impeachment trial could begin at 1 p.m. on Inauguration Day next Wednesday as President-elect Joe Biden is being sworn into office. That’s according to a a timeline of Senate procedure obtained by The Associated Press.

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It’s the possible schedule if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sends the articles of impeachment to the Senate soon.

Pelosi hasn’t said when she’ll send the impeachment charge to the Senate. Some Democrats, such as U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina — whose endorsement was crucial in Biden’s South Carolina primary victory last year — have suggested holding back to allow Biden time to be inaugurated and to start working on his priorities first.

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After Wednesday’s historic vote, Biden suggested the Senate could divide its time between the impeachment trial and confirming his Cabinet nominees and working on COVID-19 relief and other issues.

Security was exceptionally tight at the Capitol for Wednesday’s vote and was bolstered by armed National Guard troops. Secure perimeters were set up and metal-detector screenings required for lawmakers entering the House chamber. A handful of Republicans supported impeachment along with the Democrats.

The soonest that Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell would start an impeachment trial is next Tuesday, the day before Trump is already set to leave the White House and the day when Biden is inaugurated. The legislation is also intended to prevent Trump from ever running again.

McConnell isn’t ruling out that he might eventually vote to convict Trump.

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If the Senate were to convict — which has never happened to a sitting or ex-president in U.S. history — lawmakers could then take a separate vote on whether to disqualify Trump from holding future office.

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.

Wednesday’s final vote tally was 232-197. Ten Republicans supported the measure, titled House Resolution 24, and no Democrats opposed it.