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Could Trump be impeached and removed from office then run again for reelection?

What You Need to Know: Impeachment

As President Donald Trump faces the growing firestorm from the fallout of a phone call he made in July to the newly elected president of Ukraine, the line is being drawn between those in favor of impeachment and removal from office and those who feel the president is being railroaded.

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In the midst of talk of the impeachment inquiry and the process the Constitution requires to remove a president from office, there are questions about what could happen in the coming months.

Some of that talk looks at seemingly wild outcomes: Could Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, become president? See #President Pelosi. Would Vice President Mike Pence name Trump as his vice president after Trump's removal?

However, one question posed in a story from Politico looks at a real, if unlikely, outcome of an ousted Trump and the 2020 presidential election.

The question is: Could Trump be impeached, convicted in the Senate, removed from office and then run for reelection in 2020?

The short answer is: Yes. That could happen.

So, how would that work?

Imagine Trump were to be impeached and then convicted and removed from office. Following the vote for his removal, the Senate would have one more issue to decide. It would have to determine if removal from office is a severe enough penalty for any crime Trump may have committed, or if it should ban him from ever holding office again.

What does the Constitution have to say about it?

The Constitution is clear on what can be done. Article I, Section 3 says, "Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States."
It does not say that both of those things must be done.

Historically, the Senate has addressed the issue of removal from office as a separate one from disqualification "to hold and enjoy any office of honor."

How does the process work?

If a person is impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate will receive the articles of impeachment from the U.S. House and proceed to hold a trial of sorts to determine if the person is guilty of the crimes alleged in the articles of impeachment. There is no time frame on when a trial must commence or how long it can last.

After the evidence is presented to senators, a vote is held. A two-thirds vote of the members present – 67, if all senators are present – is required for a person impeached by the House to be convicted of the alleged crimes and removed from office.

Once a person is convicted in the Senate, senators take up the issue of banning the person from ever holding office. A simple majority vote of senators present at the time is required for a person to be banned from holding office in the future.

Can a president or his successor issue a pardon for an impeachment conviction?

No. The framers of the Constitution, in Article II Section 2, specifically prohibited the president's pardon power from reversing impeachment convictions.

Has any president been impeached and removed from office?

No president has ever been removed from office. Two presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, have been impeached. Neither were convicted in Senate trials. Richard Nixon faced an impeachment inquiry but resigned from office before he could be impeached.

Have other elected or appointed officials been impeached and removed from office?

The House has passed 19 impeachment resolutions involving judges, a secretary of war and two U.S. presidents, sending the results to the Senate for a trial.

Three of the 19 people resigned either before or during the Senate proceedings. One impeachment resolution was dismissed because the senator involved had already been removed from the Senate.

Eight of the remaining 15 trials resulted in guilty verdicts from the Senate, and seven people were acquitted of the impeachment charges.

In only three of the eight cases in which the Senate found the public official guilty did it vote to bar that person from holding public office in the future.

One of those disqualified from holding office again was U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous. Porteous was removed from office in 2010. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, chairman of one of the House committees looking into Trump’s impeachment inquiry, led the inquiry into the charges against Porteous.

Is the conviction in the Senate a legal one resulting in prison time or a fine?

The Constitution spells out that, while the Senate may remove a person from office and may choose to bar that person from seeking office again, the decision has nothing to do with punishing a crime the person may have committed.

After removal from office, the Constitution says, “… the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.”