PRESIDENT Donald Trump has been impeached for a second time, leaving questions as to whether or not he could be removed from office before Biden is inaugurated.
Trump became the first US president in history to be impeached twice on January 13 when 232 House members voted for his impeachment.
Was Donald Trump impeached?
Trump was formally impeached for a second time after congressmen debated his impeachment on January 13.
Ten out of 211 House Republicans and 222 House Democrats voted for Trump's impeachment just before 4pm, giving the House enough ballots to impeach the president.
Democrats have accused President Trump of encouraging his supporters to attack the Capitol building, resulting in the death of five people.
Democrats formally introduced the articles on January 11.
Trump has become the first president in history to be impeached twice with a single charge.
The question now poses itself as to whether he should be removed from office to whether he should be banned from holding future federal office, effectively blocking him from running for president again in 2024.
Will Trump be removed from office before January 20th?
Trump's legal team claims the Senate should not be holding an impeachment trial for a private citizen, which Trump will become the day before Biden takes office.
The United States constitution empowers the Senate to impose a sentence on those convicted that isn't limited to removal from office.
If convicted, Trump could be barred from holding federal office in future and could also strip Trump of his post-presidential salary.
If a Senate trial went ahead before Biden takes over from Trump, there are three different ways the trial could unfold:
- A traditional trial that would extend over a few weeks and spill into the early days of the Biden administration.
- A truncated trial that would include briefer presentations
- A lengthier "half-day-at-a-time trial" that permits the Senate to focus on its other business for the majority of the day.
Biden has suggested the lengthier approach "as a compromise that will allow him to govern with Congress in his early tenure even as the Senate considers the charge against Trump," writes Politico.
Alternatively, if Vice President Mike Pence and the majority of Cabinet members were to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, it would see Trump immediately stripped of his powers.
When can a President be removed from office?
According to the US Constitution article two, section four:
"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
Trump's impeachment document, which had over 150 sponsors, accuses Trump of violating his Constitutional duty by encouraging a crowd of his supporters to fight the vote to certify Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory and denounces him as a “threat to national security.”
“In all of this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States government.
"He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transfer of power, and imperiled a coordinate branch of government,” the document reads.
“He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.
"Wherefore, President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law,” it continued.
“President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, and profit under the United States.”
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