The House is expected to send its impeachment resolution to the Senate “this week” after lawmakers likely impeach President Donald Trump Wednesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told MSNBC Wednesday, as Democrats plan to push forward with a Senate trial to potentially convict President Donald Trump despite President-elect Joe Biden’s impending inauguration.
Hoyer said his “expectation” after speaking with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is that the House will send impeachment to the Senate this week, which would trigger a Senate trial, though Pelosi has so far declined to comment on when she plans to send the resolution.
Democrats had expressed concerns about embarking on a Senate trial right after Biden takes office, given it could potentially hold up his Cabinet nominees or Covid-19 relief efforts, with House Majority Whip James Clyburn previously suggesting lawmakers could wait to send impeachment to the Senate until after Biden’s first 100 days in office.
Biden, however, has raised the possibility the Senate could potentially “bifurcate” its sessions and dedicate half the day to the trial and the other half to normal business like confirming his nominees.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told colleagues in a memo an impeachment trial would likely not begin before the Senate reconvenes Jan. 19—one day before Biden’s inauguration—though Reuters reports GOP Senate leadership is reportedly considering starting a trial as early as Friday.
Legal scholars have suggested Trump could be convicted after leaving office under the U.S. Constitution, which stipulates that judgement in impeachment cases can include removal from office and “disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States.”
Senators would likely have to hold a separate vote on whether to block Trump from holding office in the future after convicting Trump, according to the New York Times, though based on past precedent, that vote would likely require a simple majority to pass instead of the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump.
What To Watch For
While the Senate convicting Trump still remains a long shot, the odds are better than the last time Trump was impeached. Axios reports McConnell “would be more likely than not to vote to convict Trump,” which could go a long way in convincing more Republicans to do the same, and Republicans eyeing presidential runs in 2024 could be persuaded to vote against Trump to block him from running again and help their own ambitions. At least 17 senators would have to vote against Trump for him to be convicted. Democrats’ efforts could also be potentially helped by the president himself, with Politico reporting Trump “is not expected to mount a forceful White House defense” to try and combat the charges against him.
If Trump is convicted by the Senate after leaving office, it probably wouldn’t automatically strip the president of post-presidency perks like his $200,000 annual pension and travel stipend, Politifact notes. Those benefits are laid out in the Former Presidents Act as being given to any president “whose service in such office shall have terminated other than by removal” through impeachment—which, if Biden is inaugurated before the Senate trial and Trump’s term simply expires, would be the case. Congress would thus likely have to vote separately on a measure that could block Trump from receiving those benefits.
Trump is expected to be impeached Wednesday for “incitement of insurrection,” as lawmakers accuse the president of provoking his supporters’ violent seizure of the U.S. Capitol building. This will be the second time the president has been impeached, and Trump will become the first president in American history to be impeached twice. Unlike his first impeachment over his relations with Ukraine, Trump’s second impeachment has garnered bipartisan support, with several House Republicans announcing they will vote in favor of impeachment.
Trump Impeachment Vote: Live Updates (Forbes)
How Trump’s second impeachment will work (Politico)
Source: Forbes – Business