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Impeachment trial for President Trump can happen even after he leaves office


A majority of the House of Representatives have now voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time, just days before he is set to leave office.

This is the first time in U.S. history a president has been impeached twice during their time in office.

Peverill Squire, a political science professor at the University of Missouri, said there are several very unusual circumstances around this impeachment process.

The impeachment will go to the U.S. Senate, where a trial can be held about Trump's role in inciting the riots in the U.S. Capitol, which left 4 dead and several injured.

The trial can still happen even after the current president is out of office on Jan. 20th. Squire said the objective of that would be to get to the bottom of what happened before and during the riots and to figure out what, if any, role Trump played in it.

"Congress may choose to hold it's own series of investigations," Squire said. "This impeachment and a trial for the president would be another avenue to, at least, in this case, focus primarily on the president's role and any culpability he may have."

The Senate will likely not reconvene until the day before President-Elect Joe Biden's inauguration, as it reported Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not call lawmakers back into session.

Squire compared the trial to the justice system where both parties are able to argue their case. Yet, the only set consequence of an impeachment conviction is removal from federal office.

"It's the only negative consequence of being convicted," Squire said. "It's not a criminal matter, nobody gets thrown into jail, there are no fines or penalties attached."

If Trump ends up being convicted by the Senate by a two-thirds vote, the body can decide to bar him from running for federal office again in a separate vote.

"That's significant in the case of President Trump who has indicated perhaps some interest in running again in 2024," Squire said.

The Senate can also take away his pension, but that would also need to come from a different vote.

A political science professor from Columbia College Terry Smith said this is also about making a historical and political move.

"The view of basically all democrats and a number of Republicans is that what happened last Wednesday was sufficiently serious, that even though there is only a week left in the president's term, that a statement had to be made for history, and politically."

Smith said there has never been an impeachment involving "insurrection."

"This is new in American History," Smith said. "How this is going to impact the thinking of his base, and the thinking of the Republican electorate will be one of the fascinating questions for the near future."

National News / National Politics / Politics / President of the United States / Top Stories / Top Stories / Video

Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday night shows, as well as Sunday nights.


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