The question now is whether he will become the first president to be convicted by the Senate and removed from office.
What does the Constitution say about the role of the Senate?
Not much. The passage is quite simple. Here it is: “The Senate shall have sole power to try all indictments. When it meets for that purpose, they will be under oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice will preside: and no person sentenced without the attendance of two thirds of the members present “. (Article 1, Section 3)
Yes. The Senate has a set of rules first created around Andrew Johnson’s impeachment in 1868 and then updated in 1986. Senators are sworn in before the proceedings. There is a call to order every day.
The Chief Justice has specific duties. There are set time limits for arguments and rebuttals and all questions from senators to the House and Trump attorneys must be submitted in writing and read by the Chief Justice.
How many votes did it take to convict Trump?
The conviction requires two-thirds of those present. If all 100 senators are present, there are 67 senators. Assuming those two Georgians are seated, that means there are 50 senators from each party and 17 Republicans would be required. However! Pay close attention to the rules, which require two-thirds of those present.
If those two Georgia Democrats aren’t seated yet, 66 senators might be needed. If some Republicans didn’t want to vote against Trump but also didn’t want to vote to convict, they could skip the vote and change the ratio. That sort of thing is known to happen, though not during impeachment proceedings.
When will this test start?
That is not entirely clear. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that he will not bring senators back until the last day of Trump’s term, Jan. 19, at the earliest.
He has issued a statement outlining what he sees as the way forward..
Can the trial be done in one day?
It is almost certainly not. This will take a few days or even weeks for the group of House lawmakers who will present the case against Trump and his lawyers to respond. Therefore, a trial cannot virtually occur until after President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20.
So Trump will be out of office before the trial is over?
Yes. Senators will vote on the removal of a former president.
What’s the point of impeachment for a former president?
But Biden will be president. Isn’t the Senate busy with other things?
Yes. Big moment. They’ll be busy with confirmation hearings for Biden’s cabinet nominees; at least four are already scheduled for the week of January 20.
Senators could be asked to draft bills related to pandemic or economic relief: Biden wants to increase aid checks to $ 2,000. So impeachment won’t be the only thing on your plate. And they likely only spend part of each day in Trump’s trial.
They could also, according to the rules, appoint a special committee to hear the case, but this seems unlikely. One thing to note: While McConnell sets the schedule as Senate Majority Leader now, he will lose that status as soon as the results of the Jan.5 Senate runoff election in Georgia and the two new senators are certified. Democrats, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, are seated. At that point, New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer will become the Senate Majority Leader and will have more control over the proceedings.
The impeachment trial failed the first time against Trump. What is different now?
In a word, Republicans. In Trump’s first impeachment trial, only one Republican senator, Mitt Romney of Utah, voted to remove him from office. This time, McConnell, rather than protecting Trump, is said to be happy with the effort as a way to remove Trump or purge him from the Republican Party. Will that lead to more votes to punish Trump? It’s not clear.
What is the historical precedent?
There have been three previous presidential impeachments, including the first of Trump. President Andrew Johnson was impeached, but survived the Senate trial by one vote after seven Republicans broke ranks with his party. Johnson did not win the election after his impeachment.
President Bill Clinton was indicted in his second term and easily acquitted; Fewer than most senators supported his removal, far from the two-thirds required. It was a similar result for Trump’s first impeachment trial, when only Romney joined the Democrats and fewer than a majority of senators supported his conviction and impeachment.