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Trump impeachment timeline: What happens next?

James Crump
·4-min read
<p>President Donald Trump waves as he walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on 12 January 2021 in Washington, DC</p> ((Getty Images))

President Donald Trump waves as he walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on 12 January 2021 in Washington, DC

((Getty Images))

The House has voted for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, in reaction to his incitement of the Capitol riots last week.

A mob of pro-Trump supporters breached the US Capitol on Wednesday 6 January during the confirmation of electoral college votes, putting a hold to the process to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory for several hours.

The rioters attacked the Capitol after attending a rally led by Mr Trump, who urged supporters to “walk down to the Capitol” and told them: “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

In a tweet as the riots were taking place, Mr Trump called the mob “patriots” and said: “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”, instead of condemning the rioters and their actions.

Read more: The House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump

The House was evacuated as numerous politicians and staff members were forced to barricade themselves in offices to hide from the rioters, some of whom were carrying guns and other weapons. Five people died and numerous others were injured in the riots.

Several politicians have blamed President Trump for the insurrection that took place directly after his rally, and Democratic officials quickly drew up plans for impeachment.

The Officials’ first attempt was to get vice president Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr Trump from office, but he confirmed that he would not take that action, despite House members voting for it on Tuesday night.

In response, House members gathered on Wednesday to vote to impeach him.

House Democrats had charged the president with “incitement of insurrection” for his speech prior to the riots last Wednesday, and the article of impeachment has at least 218 co-sponsors.

Speaking about the plans for impeachment on Tuesday before departing on a trip to Alamo, Texas, President Trump claimed “It's ridiculous. It's absolutely ridiculous” and said the move is causing anger.

Mr Trump has now become the first president to be impeached twice, after the House voted in favour of it in 2019 relating to his dealings with Ukraine. The motion did not make it past the Senate in early 2020.

What is the timeline of impeachment proceedings?

What is the process with the Senate?

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has suggested that the trial could take place as early as 19 January, which is just one day before Mr Trump is replaced as president by Mr Biden.

The president being convicted by the Senate would normally mean their immediate removal from office, but the trial could stretch into the first days or months of Mr Biden’s presidency.

Unlike the House, which requires a majority of votes to pass impeachment, the Senate needs two-thirds of its 100 members to vote in favour of conviction for it to be successful.

It is currently unclear whether a motion would pass in the Senate, but a report in The New York Times on Tuesday claimed that Mr McConnell believes Mr Trump has committed impeachable offences.

It is also still unclear when a trial in the Senate would take place, as House members are divided on its timeline.

Some members have called for the process to be delayed for months, in order to free up the Senate to confirm members of Mr Biden’s cabinet, which require confirmation hearings, and to implement Covid-19 measures.

Mr Biden has stayed away from the process, and has made it clear that it is up to Congress to decide when impeachment proceedings should take place.

Impeachment is generally a months-long process, meaning that it is unlikely that a decision will be reached before a few months into Mr Biden’s presidency.

The White House criticised the proposed impeachment, before it was confirmed, writing in a statement that “a politically motivated impeachment against a president with 12 days remaining in his term will only serve to further divide our great country.”

What could happen now President Trump has been impeached?

If the House and the Senate both vote to convict Mr Trump, then senators will have the option of barring him from ever running for president again, amid rumours that he will campaign in 2024.

In order for that motion to pass, the Senate only needs a majority of its members to vote for it, instead of the two-thirds required for the initial impeachment.

That motion could attract support from Republican senators, who feel that a Trump campaign in 2024 could derail their chances of defeating the Democrats.

If he is convicted by the Senate, Mr Trump could also lose his rights to receive a pension, a yearly travel allowance and a security detail, which are normally afforded to former presidents.

Read More

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What to watch as House moves to impeach Trump for 2nd time

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