The House has just voted to impeach President Trump for the second time – making him the only US president to ever be impeached twice. The resolution passed 232 to 197.
The impeachment resolution the House voted on charges Trump with a single article, “incitement of insurrection” for his role in last week’s deadly Capitol riot.
Ten Republicans, including the House’s No. 3 Republican, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, joined with Democrats to impeach Trump.
There is no such thing as a routine impeachment but this one is unprecedented in all sorts of ways.
The overall impeachment process laid out in the Constitution is relatively simple:
- A president commits “high Crime or Misdemeanor”
- The House votes to impeach
- The Senate conducts a trial
This impeachment process will feel entirely new and different from the one we saw in late 2019 around the Ukraine investigation, most notably because the Senate trial is expected to occur after Trump leaves office.
Here’s why that’s important:
New President Joe Biden will be asking the Senate to vote on his Cabinet nominees and act on legislation to address the Covid pandemic as well as relief for Americans hurt by the troubled economy.
In 2020, Senate business ground to a complete halt during the trial. This time, incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is hoping to pursue a half-day schedule to conduct the trial part of the day and business the rest of the day.
The charges this time are much simpler to convey and understand, however. It should still take some number of days with Chief Justice John Roberts presiding and senators sitting in judgment. When both of the new Democratic senators from Georgia are seated, it will take 17 Republicans voting with Democrats to reach a two-thirds majority and convict Trump.
The swift effort to impeach him certainly puts Trump in the position of wanting to keep Republican senators on his side. In that regard, it would keep him in check during the last week of his presidency.
Remember: Impeaching Trump in the House does not remove him from office. Neither a second House impeachment nor even a Senate vote to convict Trump and remove him from office would prevent him from running again, in 2024 or beyond.
Rather, after two-thirds of senators present voted to remove Trump, a simple majority of senators present would have to approve an additional vote to bar him from the presidency in the future.
Barring him from further office could also cost him his more-than $200,000 per year pension if the Senate wants to take that way.
Watch the moment: