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Impeachment of Donald Trump: What happened and what will happen now

Know what happens to Donald Trump after the impeachment


 

The United States President Donald Trump became the first-ever President of the US to be impeached twice. The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted for the impeachment of Donald Trump and formally charged him with ‘inciting an insurrection’. This comes just a week after a violent mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in which at least 5 personnel died, including a police officer.

222 Democrats and 10 Republicans supported the impeachment while 197 Republicans didn’t support it. 4 Republicans didn’t choose to vote. A simple majority is required in the House of Representatives (Lower chamber of Congress or Lower House in context of India) to impeach a US President.

Now, the next major step is for the Senate (the upper chamber of Congress or the Upper House in context of India). The senate will have a trial to determine the guilt of Donald Trump, where a two-thirds majority is needed to convict Trump. If all 100 senators are present in the senate, then Democrats would need the help of 17 Republicans to reach the two-thirds majority. Both the parties have 50 senators each in the lower house after the results of Georgia elections.

 

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When will the trial begin?

Mitch McConnell, Republican’s leader in Senate has rejected the idea of Democrats to call for an immediate impeachment trial of Trump. He said that the trial can not begin until after the Senate returns from a recess on January 19, which means the trial would take place after Trump leaves the office on January 20. Before the trial begins in the Senate, the House of Representatives must formally transmit the charge against Trump to the upper chamber of Congress.

 

What is Trump’s likely defence in the Senate trial?

Donald Trump was impeached on a speech he delivered to thousands of supporters shortly before the pro-Trump mob stormed through the Capitol in which 5 people lost their lives. Trump is expected to argue at trial that his remarks were free speech protected by the First Amendment in the Constitution. He might say that while he said his supporters to “fight,” it didn’t literally mean to call violence in the Capitol building.

Donald Trump has not taken his responsibility in the Capitol violence despite encouraging his supporter to march on the Capitol and praise them while they were carrying the assault.

After the impeachment, the US President had released a video statement in which he said that he condemned the violence. He said, “Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement.”

 

Can a former President be impeached?

By the time, trial starts in the Senate, Donald Trump would have left the office. The question which arises here that can he be impeached after leaving the office? It is said that ‘late impeachment’ is possible as impeachment is not used only to remove officials from office, but also disqualify officials from future office. This means that there is still a reason to impeach the current POTUS after he leaves the White House.

Even a simple majority of the Senate would be enough to disqualify Donald Trump. Historically, it has mostly happened after the conviction and it is not clear if disqualification can take place if Donald Trump is not convicted in the trial. If convicted, Senate can follow up with another vote to block him for running for President again in the future, only a simple majority would do. This vote would invoke the 14th Amendment, which bars from state or federal office who has engaged in rebellion or insurrection in the past.

 

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