Twice impeached: What’s next for Donald Trump?

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 10:24 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2021 at 10:29 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - President Donald Trump is now twice impeached with a week left in his term. What does this mean for his future?

“There’s nothing the president can do to get out of the legal mess that he’s in,” Kenneth Mayer, a political science professor at UW-Madison, told NBC15.

Wednesday afternoon, the House of Representatives voted 232-197, charging the president with “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly riots on Capitol Hill last week. Ten Republicans joined ranks with Democrats, a change from Trump’s first impeachment.

The Senate, by way of a trial, now holds the power to convict and remove the president. It would require a two-thirds majority to do so.

The Senate can also decide whether Trump can run for president again in the future. A separate vote would need to be taken up for that, and Mayer says that’s where a post-term trial may be significant.

This kind of trial, he said, “is to establish the principle that no president can do the things that Trump has done.” Mayer also explained, this option is looking more likely because the Senate is currently not in session and does not have plans to meet until the day before inauguration.

Until then, Mayer said the president can try to defend himself, but with impeachment, his presidential pardon power is off the table. “Even if there was some kind of arrangement where Trump pardons himself, or he resigns and Mike Pence becomes president and pardons him-- that doesn’t protect him against impeachment,” he said.

If he is convicted by the Senate, Trump could face other repercussions, like losing the benefits given to former presidents. That includes a lifetime pension and budget for office, staff and travel.

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