Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
Video Producer: Hera Khan
The US House of Representatives on Wednesday, 13 January, voted on the impeachment resolution against incumbent President Donald Trump, making him the only President in history to be impeached twice.
However, the impeachment in the House of Representatives does not imply Trump will be removed from office before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on 20 January.
The move to impeach Trump comes a day after Vice President Mike Pence declined to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the outgoing president in a letter he wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Donald Trump is the only US President to ever be impeached twice.
WHY WAS TRUMP IMPEACHED FOR A SECOND TIME?
The impeachment resolution charged Trump with “incitement of insurrection”, for his role in last week’s deadly Capitol riots.
The House voted on an article that alleged Trump committed "high crimes and misdemeanours", reported Washington Post. The impeachment article listed three reasons:
1. Trump’s false claims of winning the election and alleging voter fraud.
2. His role as an instigator of the US Capitol Coup.
3. ‘Putting action to words to try to overturn his loss’, reported Washington Post, stating that the impeachment article cited a call between Trump and Georgia's secretary of state discussing ‘overturning votes’ in his race against Biden.
HOW AND BY HOW MANY VOTES WAS TRUMP IMPEACHED?
The House began to vote close to 4 pm local time. By 4:30 pm, enough lawmakers in the House of Representatives had cast votes to impeach President Trump again in a historic first.
The House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump.
DOES THIS MEAN TRUMP CAN BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE?
Impeaching a president is often misunderstood to mean his removal. It actually means the House has voted to bring one or more articles of impeachment and send the process forward. No US president has ever been ousted by impeachment.
The disqualification can happen via impeachment proceedings or the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
After the passing of the impeachment article in the House, the Senate will put Trump on trial to decide whether to convict or acquit him. Impeaching Trump in the House does not remove him from office. It is likely that Trump will stay in office and complete his term as it takes a Senate conviction to remove him even after he’s been impeached.
The Senate, which is responsible for holding a trial is overseen by the US Supreme Court chief justice. It takes a two-thirds vote in the Senate to force a president from office – a daunting challenge for Democrats if the effort goes that far, given Republican control of that chamber.
HOW DO SENATE NUMBERS STACK UP FOR A POSSIBLE REMOVAL OF TRUMP FROM OFFICE?
Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has made clear that he won't agree to bring back Senate early for trial. In a statement, McConnell said that he believes "it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration."
“Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week", he said.
However, if the the proceedings were to happen, the chances of Trump’s removal are quite bleak.
According to The Conversation, a two-thirds majority in the Senate is required to convict Trump, which is currently 67 senators if all senators are present. At least 17 Republicans would need to join the 50 Democrats and independents to vote to remove Trump.
According to The Conversation, so far only three Republicans – Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey – have that they would vote to remove Trump. Reports of Senators Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney and Susan Collins seeking Trump’s removal have also surfaced.
CAN TRUMP RUN FOR OFFICE AGAIN?
The Senate will hold a trial now to decide whether Trump is removed from office and also whether he would be barred from running again.
Trump may be allowed to run again if the second trial is not held which would need a majority vote, reported Washington Post.
The Senate is now changing hands from a Republican majority to a Democratic majority under Biden’s presidency. This will leave the Senate to decide how it will split its time between confirming Biden’s Cabinet and the Trump trial.
Therefore, a Senate trial is likely to not take place until after Trump has left office, bleeding into the early days of the incoming Biden Administration.
WHAT WAS THE CAPITOL COUP?
Pro-Trump protesters stormed of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, last week.
Members of both Houses of the US Congress were meeting to conduct the vote certifying the electoral college victory of Joe Biden in the US presidential election. Both Houses had to be evacuated, before the Senate reconvened later.
Several hours after the crisis began, the Capitol Police finally managed to clear the mob from the building after 5:30 pm (EST), with the Capitol’s Sergeant-at-Arms confirming the building was secure, according to CNN.
(With inputs from Reuters and Washington Post)