House to impeach Trump again? What will happen Monday and everything you need to know – CNET

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President Trump could be impeached again — here’s what that means.


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The House of Representatives on Monday is expected to begin the process to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time, with a vote taking place as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Democratic Rep. James Clyburn, speaking on Fox News Sunday. After that, the House would send the indictment to the Senate to trigger Trump’s impeachment trial  — and make him the first president to be impeached twice.

According to Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, the article of impeachment, which has 200 House cosponsors — will address Trump’s role in the violent riot at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, when a mob breached the building while seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election results confirming Joe Biden as the nation’s next president. The insurrection failed and Biden’s presidency was confirmed by the Senate.

More than 240 members of Congress are calling to remove Trump from office, including Republican Sens. Pat Toomey and Lisa Murkowski, and Republican Rep. Adam Kitzinger.

“I do think the president committed impeachable offenses,” Toomey said Saturday on Fox News, before saying Sunday that Trump’s resignation would be “the best path forward.”

Hours after last week’s deadly riot, Trump tweeted “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!” Twitter blocked the tweet on Friday and permanently banned Trump’s Twitter account. In the tweet, Trump made false claims about the presidential election and suggested that those who stormed the Capitol were “patriots.”

trump-tweet-riot-capitol-hill-jan-6-2021trump-tweet-riot-capitol-hill-jan-6-2021

This screenshot of Trump’s tweet was taken before Twitter removed the posting and banned Trump’s account.


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On Jan. 8, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Trump to step down or face removal through the 25th Amendment or impeachment.

But if Trump doesn’t resign and if Vice President Mike Pence and the president’s cabinet don’t invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump — neither of which seems likely — the impeachment proceedings could begin before Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration but likely wouldn’t conclude until after, since the Senate won’t return to session until Jan. 19, the day before Trump’s presidency is scheduled to end. The Senate could return early, but only if all sitting senators agree. If one objects, the Senate wouldn’t reconvene early.

We’ll explain what could happen to Trump if impeached, what the timeline could look like now and where the situation stands. This story has been updated with new information.

Impeachment and the 25th Amendment: What’s the difference?

Congress, including Republican Representatives, have also been pushing Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution to remove Trump from office. Unlike impeachment, which is voted on by Congress, the 25th Amendment would require Pence and a majority of Cabinet secretaries to invoke the power. Alternatively, it could also be invoked by the vice president and another body that’s designated by Congress.

To invoke the power, Pence and a majority of sitting Cabinet secretaries must decide that the sitting president is unfit for office. Several cabinet members have resigned in the wake of the attack on the Capitol.

What happens to Trump if he’s impeached and convicted?

If the House votes to impeach this week, it’s essentially indicting the president. The process then moves to the Senate for a trial that’s supervised by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. 

Normally, the conviction of a sitting president at such a trial would result in the president being immediately removed from office. The Senate can additionally vote to remove the right to run for a second presidential term or for “any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States,” according to the Constitution (Article 1, Section 3). A president impeached in the Senate may also be disqualified from the benefits given to former presidents in the Post Presidents Act, including a pension and security detail.

With just days left in office, Trump would likely finish out his term (more below) but could still potentially be barred from perks afforded to preceding presidents and prohibited from running for public office, including seeking a second presidential term in 2024 or beyond.

Is it too late to impeach Trump before Biden becomes president?

Yes and no. The impeachment process is set to begin Monday, which would trigger a proceeding defined by the Constitution. However, the rarity of impeachment in US history (only two other presidents have been impeached, and one resigned before impeachment), the extraordinary circumstances of the article against Trump, and the timing so close to Biden’s inauguration raise some questions as to what could happen next, including a potential Senate impeachment trial that would define the first days of Biden’s presidency. 

The House could decide to delay sending the indictment to the Senate until after the Biden administration makes headway on Senate approval on Biden’s cabinet nominees and vaccine distribution: Biden has pledged to get 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots into people’s arms in his first 100 days in office.

“We’ll take the vote that we should take in the House, and [Pelosi] will make the determination as when is the best time to move the articles over to the Senate,” Clyburn said. “If it just so happens that it didn’t go over there for a 100 days, let’s give President-elect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running, and maybe we’ll send the articles some time after that.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday sent a memo to Senate Republicans outlining how a second Trump trial in the Senate would proceed, pegging Jan. 19 as the first date Trump’s impeachment could come up for discussion, the day the upper chamber’s next session begins.

Biden has said it’s up to Congress to decide whether Trump should be impeached. 

Trump’s White House criticized the move toward impeachment, saying in a statement Friday that this should be “a time for healing and unity.” The White House said, “A politically motivated impeachment against a president with 12 days remaining in his term will only serve to further divide our great country.”

What does it take to impeach a sitting president?

A president, along with other officers, can be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” according to Section 4 of Article 2 of the US Constitution. To impeach, a total of 216 votes are required from the House of Representatives — a simple majority plus one. A trial is then heard in the Senate, where the US chief justice presides. A full two-thirds of the 100 senators must vote to convict.

Impeaching a president is typically a lengthy process involving months of inquiries and investigations, but House Democrats intend to speed up proceedings and bring the articles of Impeachment to a floor vote.

Here’s the short version of the general procedure:

  • The House of Representatives votes on levying impeachment charges against Trump.
  • If the the article of impeachment is passed by the House, it presents the article to the Senate, which must hold a trial.
  • The House prosecutes, and the Senate sits as jury. The Supreme Court’s chief justice presides. 
  • Trump has an opportunity to present a defense.

Here are some unknowns:

  • Would the Senate agree to reconvene before Jan. 19 for an impeachment trial? (Unlikely, since this can be scuttled by the objection of a single senator; the vote must be unanimous.)
  • Would the impeachment process, if begun before inauguration, continue after Trump is no longer president?
  • Could Trump attempt to pardon himself from all crimes prior to inauguration?

Wasn’t Trump impeached once already?

Yes. Trump was impeached in December 2019 by the House. However, the Republican-majority Senate acquitted him at the beginning of 2020, with the process marked by a record number of tweets from Trump disparaging the impeachment effort.

His previous impeachment involved articles accusing Trump of abusing power and obstructing Congress. On that occasion, the issue was Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, including a July 2019 phone call in which he appeared to be using US military aid as a bargaining chip to pressure Ukraine into investigating alleged ties between his political opponent Biden, Biden’s son Hunter, and a Ukrainian gas company. The articles also charged Trump with interfering with a House inquiry into the Ukraine matter.

Read more: PayPal and Shopify remove Trump-related accounts, citing policies against supporting violence

CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt and Rae Hodge contributed to this report.