If that happens, Trump could lose some of his benefits under the Former Presidents Act of 1958. Those include a lifetime pension, an annual travel budget and funding for an office and staff. He would still be entitled to Secret Service protection, but Congress could amend the law to make sure Trump loses those benefits.
Trump was impeached by the House in late 2019 and acquitted by the Senate in February 2020 on two impeachment charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The GOP-led Senate acquitted Trump on both charges.
President Donald Trump was acquitted on Feb. 5, 2020, in the nation's third impeachment trial in history. After a 14-day Senate trial, Trump was found not guilty of charges of high crimes and misdemeanors. House Democrats passed two articles of impeachment against the president in December 2019. They charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. On the first charge, GOP Sen. Mitt Romney joined Democrats in a vote of 52-48, far short of the required two-thirds to convict. On the second vo
But this latest Trump impeachment is different. The Senate is not scheduled to be back in session until Jan. 19, and while current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly furious with the president, it’s unclear how a Senate impeachment trial would play out. The New York Times reported McConnell thinks Trump committed an impeachable offense and is glad Democrats are moving against him.
Citing unidentified people familiar with McConnell’s thinking, the Times reported McConnell believes moving against Trump will help the GOP forge a future independent of the divisive, chaotic president.
When Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20 as president, former California Sen. Kamala Harris will become vice president. With the Senate in a 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats, Harris will serve as the Senate’s tiebreaker, meaning Trump’s trial will take place in a Senate far different than the one he faced in 2020.
Even now, however, it’s unclear enough Republicans would vote to convict, because two-thirds of the Senate is needed. Yet some Republicans have told Trump to resign, including Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Republican Sen. Ben Sasse 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. 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.”
Only one Republican voted to convict Trump last year, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney.
In the wake of the Capitol riot, Democrats’ strategy has been to condemn the president’s actions swiftly but delay an impeachment trial in the Senate for 100 days. U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat and a top Biden ally, laid out the ideas Sunday as the country came to grips with the siege at the Capitol by Trump loyalists trying to overturn the election results.
Images from violence in D.C as protestors and supporters of President Donald Trump and his false election fraud claims storm the Capitol in protest of the Electoral College certifying President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
“Let’s give President-elect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running,” Clyburn said.
If Trump is impeached and then convicted in a Senate trial, he will become the first former president ever convicted.
“The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack,” said U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking GOP House leader. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
In the House, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California, a top Trump ally, suggested a lighter censure instead, but that option crumbled.
So far, Republican Reps. John Katko of New York, a former federal prosecutor; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, an Air Force veteran; Fred Upton of Michigan; and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state announced they, too, would join Cheney to vote to impeach.
The House tried first to push Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to intervene, passing a resolution Tuesday night calling on them to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump from office. The resolution urged Pence to “declare what is obvious to a horrified Nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office.”
Pence made it clear he would not do so, saying in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, that it was “time to unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden.”
While some have questioned impeaching the president so close to the end of his term, there is precedent. In 1876, during the Ulysses S. Grant administration, War Secretary William Belknap was impeached by the House the day he resigned, and the Senate convened a trial months later. He was acquitted.