Donald Trump's impeachment timeline – what could happen next?

The House of Representatives has voted to impeach Donald Trump, making him the first president in US history to be impeached twice.

So what is the timeline for Mr Trump’s possible removable?

Monday, January 11

Democrats introduced a single article of impeachment into the US House of Representatives. It charged Donald Trump with “incitement of insurrection” over the storming of the US Capitol last Wednesday

They also attempted to unanimously pass a resolution calling on Mike Pence, the US vice president, to use the 25th Amendment to remove Mr Trump from office as he cannot fulfil his duties. To stop it passing unanimously, one Republican congressman objected.

Tuesday, January 12

Democrats will force a vote on their resolution urging Mr Pence to use the 25th Amendment. It is likely to pass, given that the Democrats have a majority of seats in the House. 

However, there is nothing binding about the resolution. Mr Pence and a majority of Mr Trump’s cabinet are the ones who would need to take that step, not Congress. There is no indication that Mr Pence will do so. 

On the same day, Mr Trump visited the US-Mexico border in Alamo, Texas, to highlight the push during his presidency to build new border fencing. 

Wednesday, January 13

After the Democrats failed in their pleas for Mr Pence to act, they moved on to holding a vote on impeachment, the mechanism Congress has for unseating a sitting president.

The article was carried by 232 votes to 197, a result achieved with remarkable speed just a week before the president is due to leave office.

Ten Republicans joined them and voted to impeach Mr Trump. No Republican congressman voted for the first impeachment of Mr Trump in December 2019.

Thursday, January 14

On Jan 14, top Democrats and Republicans discussed how best to stage a Senate trial about whether to convict Mr Trump of the single article of impeachment, for “incitement of insurrection”, that passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

It seems all but certain that the Republican leadership’s request for the trial to begin after Mr Biden’s inauguration as president on Jan 20 will be agreed, meaning senators would be debating conviction with Mr Trump out of office.

It remains unclear when the trial will take place.

The House can decide when to send the article of impeachment across to the Senate to trigger the trial. Some Democrats want to wait until months into Mr Biden’s presidency to do so, freeing Senate time at the start of his term for confirming his cabinet nominees and passing measures to tackle Covid-19.

Wednesday, January 20

The inauguration. At noon Washington DC time, Joe Biden becomes the US president and Mr Trump’s term is over. Mr Trump has said he will not attend the ceremony on the steps of the US Capitol.

Crowds had already been told to stay away from the event because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that message is being repeated due to fears of pro-Trump protesters causing disruption.

Even though Mr Trump will no longer be president after that day, he may, somewhat counter-intuitively, still face a Senate trial on whether to convict him of the article of impeachment.

If senators choose to convict him, another option is then open to them – barring him from ever again seeking public office. Just a majority of senators is needed to pass that.

Given that Mr Trump has hinted he wants to run for president at the 2024 election, this option could be attractive to Republican senators, blocking his path to their party’s 2024 nomination. 

Source: Donald Trump’s impeachment timeline – what could happen next?

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