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The second Trump impeachment trial is set for February. What happens next?

The second Trump impeachment trial is set for February. What happens next?

1/24/2021 5:00:00 PM

The second Trump impeachment trial is set for February. What happens next?

As former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial is set to begin Monday, questions remain on the proceedings.

The real punishment would happen after – and only after – conviction.With a simple majority vote (51 out of 100), the Senate could disqualify him from holding federal elective office in the future. Essentially, it would prevent Trump from running again for president, an office he has indicated he might pursue in 2024.

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In 1974, the House abandoned impeachment after Richard Nixon resigned. But, unlike Trump, Nixon had already been elected twice – and therefor ineligible to run againunder the 22nd amendment to the Constitution– so there was no need to disqualify him.Constitutional scholars say this too has never been tested against a president or former president and is likely to face a legal challenge should senators vote to bar Trump from future office.

Can a former president be convicted?Constitutional scholars are split on whether a former president can be convicted – and the process of holding a trial for a former president has never been tested.But, history and some precedent in the Senate helps offer a glimpse at how this question could be dealt with at Trump's trial.

Throughout U.S. history, several former officials have been impeached then saw their trial happen after they'd left office. The Senate has acted in different ways but has typically taken up such trials and there aren't indications that the chamber would act differently with Trump.

Throughout U.S. history, several former officials have been impeached then saw their trial happen after they'd left office.Republicans and some of Trump's closest allies have argued holding an impeachment trial for a former president would violate the Constitution – an argument that is likely to be made by the former president's attorneys at the trial.

While the question hasn't been tested for presidents, it has for other officials.In 1876, the Senate voted on the question, when Secretary of War William Belknap resigned shortly before the House impeached him. A majority of senators voted that he could still be tried. When the Senate held a trial, he was acquitted.

Sherry believes the Senate has the legal authority to hold a trial and vote to convict if they see fit."It would defeat the purpose of impeachment as a check on government officials if they could avoid it by leaving office," she said.The central issue is the text of the Constitution, which says impeachment applies to presidents, vice presidents and other "civil officers." It doesn't delve into former presidents or holding an official who left office accountable for conduct committed while in office.

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"The text is not all together clear. The text and the framers didn't imagine all the different iterations of situations that could come up," Greenfield said. "I think most Americans think the Constitution is much more direct than it actually is. It uses vague and generalized language."

Greenfield said the question and the unpresented nature of this situation is, in a way, a good thing as impeachment remains rare throughout U.S. history."This is a total anomaly. It's a totally unique situation in our history, thankfully," Greenfield said. "I think this president proved himself to be historically aberrational so having a historically aberrational remedy here seems the course."

While the Senate has largely ruled such cases of former officials could be heard before the chamber, senators in the late 1700s voted against hearing the trial of former Sen. William Blount and decided it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case since Blount had been expelled.

Will enough Republicans vote to actually convict Trump?While Trump is facing impeachment a second time, the cases brought against him and the politics surrounding them couldn't be more different.During Trump's first impeachment, not a single House Republican voted with Democrats. This time, 10 voted to impeach him. Last year during his first trial, only one Republican senator – Mitt Romney of Utah – voted to convict the president on either of the counts. This time, that number could grow to a handful or potentially a dozen or more.

The attack at the U.S. Capitol marked the Republican Party's biggest break with Trump since he took office. Some of his closest allies condemned him and many have left open the possibility of convicting him at his trial, including the top Republican in the chamber: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

More:The 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump: 'There has never been a greater betrayal by a president'Several key moderate Republicans made searing remarks about Trump, some calling for him to resign or for the 25th Amendment to be invoked before he left office last week.

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But the group, even if they voted with Democrats, wouldn't be enough to convict Trump. A supermajority is needed – 67 votes – and Democrats only hold 50 seats, so 17 Republicans would be needed if every Democrat voted in favor of convicting the former president.

All eyes have been on McConnell and many on Capitol Hill believe if the Republican leader votes to convict Trump, it could open the floodgates and offer political cover for potentially a dozen or more to do the same.What was Trump impeached for?The House approved one article of impeachment Jan. 13, charging Trump with "incitement of insurrection" over his role in the attack at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.

The article lays out Trump's conduct before the Jan. 6 attack, noting his "false claims of election fraud in the months leading up to the riot," claims that he also made in a speech to protesters directly before they stormed the Capitol.

The article also cites Trump's notorious phone call with Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where the former president asked the official to "find" votes that could help him take the state back from Biden.The House's impeachment article argues Trump disregarded his oath of office and his duties as president.

"Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government," the article of impeachment reads. "He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States."

Who will be prosecuting and defending?Thenine Democratic House lawmakerswho will serve as prosecutors, or "managers," during the Senate trial represent a mix of seasoned hands and newer faces.The team of managers will be led by Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a constitutional law expert. It also includes: David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Joaquin Castro of Texas, Diana DeGette of Colorado, Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, Ted Lieu of California, Joe Neguse of Colorado, Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Eric Swalwell of California.

"For us to heal as a nation, we must remember," Dean said on MSNBC Friday. "And that is what I believe the trial will represent, some of the very first steps toward this nation healing."None of the nine were managers during last year's impeachment trial against Trump.

Trump has has hired South Carolina attorney Butch Bowers to represent him at the upcoming impeachment trial, aides said.Bowers worked for the Justice Department during President George W. Bush's administration but is better known as for his government work in South Carolina. He has served as counsel to Republican governors Nikki Haley and Mark Sanford, and did a stint as chairman pf South Carolina's election commission.

Trump political adviser Jason Miller confirmed Bowers' hiring on social media, retweeting praise of the South Carolina attorney. Read more: Yahoo News »

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I’m thinking the GOP would want to impeach, so DJT can’t lead his own party and split votes in the next election. fake security services that are in ALL states commiting Domestic terrorism in Minnesota Chauncey lashawn Turner sheren shaaban sultan, Melinda Joyce&families/friends are destroying our country forced suicides electronic stalking sextortion psychological trauma& Dr's aid them

They are doing it here in the twin cities MN from Texas, New Orleans, Georgia, Florida, California too plus mind control tech forced interrogation to slave us by almost deadly discrimination & threats/intimidating people trying to targeted Christians & started COVID19 to distract Chauncey lashawn Turner sheren shaaban sultan Magdy ebrahim& his whole radimier/beyozlyn/Troy mccullum/musab/emazin/Dr. Sheriff saad/shanae Smith-Turner/Belinda turner all using v2 & music social media to cause world/Minnesota/USA distractions/blackmaling/spine/brain/vagus nerves

Term limits for congress. Why won’t they worry about the things that are happening now Let’s get people working again, enough with blaming someone else for other’s mistakes. How stupid for them to focus on Trump. Move on. Fix the country. Good gosh Bozo the Clown is available ! schumer must learn ,u do not make deals with moscow mitch,learn from the corrupt gop party over the last 10 yrs +/.fillibuster gone, every thing is by 50+1 all votes/.what ever shumer the leader wants to place on the senate floor/.the gop are a corrupt party & must be voted out/.

Spin the Wheel Vanna. It dies on the vine! How about ya’ll get your asses to work for the American people and drop this impeachment shit. Americans have REAL problems. Nothing. Nothing gets done. Zero consequences. No faith and hope in Congress. Probably nothing knowing these guys If there is no precedent in place, simply apply the one that quasi-exists. Let Roberta preside as he would in any other impeachment trial.

Donald Trump impeachment has to be confirmed by the Senate if there is any care with American democracy. Roberts sat there like a scared asshole during the 1st impeachment and let the Republican get away with treason. Why are we doing this? So, Trump would be 78 if he ran in the next Presidential Election. I wouldn’t vote for someone 78, who would be idiotic enough to vote for someone 78? How much will this cost taxpayers? US Debt - $27.8 Trillion and climbing. POTUS

good luck