US President Donald Trump has made history. He has become the first President to be impeached twice.
This historic moment has come just a week after the Capitol riots, in which the President was accused of inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol, allegedly offering to walk them over to the Congressional building at a rally he held hours before the insurrection.
The storming of the Capitol led to five deaths – including one police officer – and burned any remaining bridges he had with many Republican colleagues, many of whom insisted he needed to resign after his role in the riot, with 10 Republicans joining with the Democrats in voting to impeach the President today.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has officially confirmed Donald Trump’s second impeachment with a vote of 232 to 197 on the sole article of impeachment, which charged Trump with “incitement of an insurrection”.
The articles of impeachment were introduced on Monday by representative Ilhan Omar, who announced that she was drafting the articles whilst sheltering during the Capitol insurrection, with the Minnesota Congresswoman being a vocal opponent of Trump and often on the receiving end of his Twitter tirades – before the platform removed him.
There will now be a Senate trial, where there will be a team of lawmakers from the House of Representatives (known as managers) will then act as the prosecution in a trial, with a legal team working for the president as his defence. The Senate will act as a Jury throughout this process.
Each of the articles of impeachment passed from the House to the Senate will be considered by the ‘Jury’.
Following the proceedings, the Senate will be asked to vote on the president’s guilt for each article, if at least two thirds (66 senators out of 100) find the president guilty of any of the alleged ‘high crimes or misdemeanours’ they will be removed from office; the vice president will assume the role of president.
Given that there is now less than a week left of Trump’s presidency, it is perhaps unlikely that a vote will be held before he leaves office, meaning that Mike Pence is unlikely to become the 46th president for a few days, before Joe Biden takes his oath on 20th January.
However, the Senate could theoretically hold a trial after Trump has left office, with the Senate set to be under Democratic control after 20th January, which means it is likely that he may be convicted, unlike in the previous Senate vote back in February 2020.
If he were convicted, it would prevent him from running again, which he has suggested he would do in 2024, as well as removing his secret service protection and Presidential pension.
It has been suggested that the Senate, under the incoming majority leader, Chuck Schumer, may wait until after Biden’s first 100 days to hold a trial, ensuring that he can pass much of his legislative agenda, before turning his attention to the outgoing and historic, twice impeached, president.