Trump is the 1st president to be impeached twice. Now what?

CBC Kids News • Published 2021-02-16 12:00
UPDATE:On Feb. 14, 2021, Trump was acquitted — or found not guilty — of causing the recent attack on the U.S. Capitol building. The final vote was 57 guilty to 43 not guilty. That’s 10 short of the 67 votes needed to declare Trump guilty of the crime. All Democrats voted guilty. Some Republicans said they voted not guilty because they didn’t believe Trump was fully responsible for the riot. Others said they voted not guilty because they didn’t think impeachment was the right way to address Trump’s role in the attack. (The article below was originally published on Jan. 13, 2021.)

Trump impeached on Jan. 13

A week after a group of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol building, U.S. President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Again.

This makes him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

Impeachment means he was formally accused of doing something wrong and could face serious consequences.

On Jan. 7, members of Congress tried to remove Trump through something called the 25th Amendment, but it didn’t work.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence needed to agree and that didn’t happen.

So Democrats introduced a resolution on Jan. 13 that charged the president with “incitement of insurrection.” (Remember Trump is a Republican, not a Democrat.)

Enough members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favour of the impeachment charge. That means he could face a trial.

A large crowd of thousands waving flags, some climbing a building.

Protesters supporting U.S. President Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol building during clashes with police in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. (Image credit: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

What did Trump do?

Democrats and some Republicans (members of his own party), say he is responsible for the riot that happened last week, when thousands of pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol building.

Hours before the riot, Trump told his supporters to march to the Capitol building as he continued to claim that he won November’s U.S. presidential election, even though that is completely unfounded.

At the time, members of Congress were voting to confirm Joe Biden as the next U.S. president.

Some rioters managed to get inside the Capitol building.

Five deaths were connected to incident and in the end, Biden was confirmed as the next U.S. president.

Protesters carry huge signs that say IMPEACH and REMOVE

Protesters gather at the base of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 12 in Washington, D.C. The group called on Congress to impeach and remove Trump. (Image credit: Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

What’s the point? 

Trump will no longer be the U.S. president as of Jan. 20, so what’s the point of impeaching him now?

Wednesday’s impeachment documents said that Trump would “remain a threat to national security, democracy and the constitution if allowed to remain in office.”

Those in favour of impeachment said Trump did a terrible thing and that he needed to face consequences for it so that future U.S. presidents don’t use Trump’s bad behaviour to justify their own.

Others said that Trump’s threat to national security and democracy could continue into the future, and that a second impeachment could be a step along the way to barring Trump from running again.

Still, some disagreed.

They said that impeachment this close to the end of Trump’s term as president was unnecessary and would only increase tension and division in the country.

What happens next?

First, let’s review how the U.S. Congress is structured.

U.S. CONGRESS PICTURE OF U.S. CONGRESS Is always made up of two houses  HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 435 representatives who are voted for by the people in their states to represent them   U.S. SENATE 100 senators who are voted for by the people in their state to represent them   These two houses have different powers and do different things, but are both made up of people who make laws.   There are two houses so that they can keep each other’s power in check and to ensure that one house doesn’t gain too much power. The Senate has the final word in impeachment.

The majority of the House of Representatives (more than 50 per cent) voted to impeach Trump on Wednesday.

That group included 10 Republicans, who belong to the same political party as Trump.

But the process doesn't end there.

Now that he’s been impeached, there may be a trial in the U.S. Senate, where Trump’s lawyers will have a chance to defend him.

Could takes weeks or months

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will decide when and if to bring the charge to the U.S. Senate.

The Senate would not deal with the charge until Jan. 19 at the earliest, which is Trump's last full day in office.

The actual trial could take several days — maybe even weeks or months.

A member of the National Guard stands near the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 13, as the House of Representatives debates impeaching U.S. President Donald Trump. (Image credit: Brandon Bell/Reuters)

The trial is most likely to happen after Trump leaves office on Jan. 20.

Some are worried it will take time and resources away from Biden’s plan to help Americans dealing with COVID-19.

Trump hasn't been proven guilty yet

In order to convict Trump of incitement of insurrection, two-thirds of the U.S. Senate needs to vote yes.

How many Senate votes are needed to convict Trump? As of Jan. 20, the new Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote. But a 2 thirds majority is required to convict a president in an impeachment trial. Assuming that all Democrats would vote to convict him, which is not certain, the chart below shows how many Republican votes the Democrats would need to convict Trump.

The Senate could also punish Trump by banning him from running in a future U.S. election.

This has never happened before in U.S. history, so it remains to be seen what will happen next.


With files from Alex Panetta/CBC and The Associated Press

Top image credit: Carlos Barria/Reuters

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