A Second Impeachment
Dear Rich Lifer,
For the first time in history, a President has been impeached twice. This week, the House voted 232 to 197 to impeach President Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”
Before the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated, “We know that the president of the United State incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion, against our common country. He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
Of course, we know she is referring to the violent insurrection that occured at the Capitol last week which left five people dead.
The mob stormed the Capitol, shattering windows and breaking down doors to enter the building and delay the counting of the electoral votes for hours.
The series of horrific events that played out on January 6 have brought us to where we are today, with an official second impeachment and an impending Senate trial.
So what comes next? Today we will walk through the impeachment proceedings and attempt to shed light on some false facts circulating about the impeachment of President Trump.
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The Impeachment Proceedings
House Democrats introduced the articles of impeachment Monday after unsuccessfully imploring Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to effectively remove Trump from office.
The vote on Wednesday marks the fastest impeachment vote ever assembled in the nation’s history. Unlike past impeachments, there were no depositions or investigations by congressional committees. Lawmakers instead used their firsthand experiences of the attack and Trump’s public statements as their main argument for impeachment.
Although 10 Republicans voted for impeachment, the most from the minority party in an impeachment ever, most argued that impeachment was not the right move for the country.
Rep. Chip Roy (R., Texas) called the president’s actions impeachable, but said the article of impeachment was flawed stating, “Let us condemn that which must be condemned and do so loudly. But let us do it the right way—with deliberation, and without disastrous side effects.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) also said Trump was to blame for the riots but warned, “A vote to impeach would further divide this nation, a vote to impeach will further fan the flames, the partisan division.”
Obviously, the impeachment still proceeded and following the official vote President Trump released a statement via the White House Twitter account that asked Americans to, “overcome the passions of the moment, and join together as one American people.” He also went on to say, “Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country, and no place in our movement.”
President-Elect Joe Biden did not take an official position on the impeachment, though he did call for those responsible for the violence to be held accountable.
He also commented, “I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.” This seems to indicate he doesn’t want a lengthy Senate trial to be the main focus of his administration as he takes office.
Which brings us to the next part of the impeachment process, the Senate vote.
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The Case Moves to Senate
Impeachment is a two part process. It is the responsibility of the House to introduce and pass articles of impeachment, but the Senate is where the trial and potential punishment take place.
When this trial will start is currently unclear. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that he will not bring senators back until the last day of Trump’s term, January 19. This means an impeachment trial would not begin until the beginning of Biden’s presidency.
A two thirds majority of senators present is required to remove Trump from office. This means if all 100 senators are present, 67 of them will have to vote to convict.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — who will take control of the Senate later this month — stated:
Make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate; there will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors; and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again.
His comments give us the perfect opportunity to correct a few misconceptions that have been circulating about the impeachment.
A Few Misconceptions Corrected
One of the biggest misconceptions that was circulating about the ongoing impeachment was that if President Trump was impeached he would not be able to run for office again.
This is untrue.
Neither a House impeachment nor a Senate conviction will bar Trump from running in 2024 or beyond.
In order to keep Trump from running for reelection, a separate vote would need to occur after the two thirds conviction where a majority of senators would have to approve an additional vote to bar Trump from being president in the future.
The Senate cannot skip the conviction vote and move straight to the vote on further disqualification. No President has ever been removed from office by the Senate, and only judges have been disqualified for future office.
This leads to some uncertainty around the issue of disqualification. However disqualification language in the Constitution is as follows: “disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States.”
There was also some misinformation spreading about Trump’s pension.
An impeachment is not enough to disqualify a former president from receiving his pension. This would only happen if the Senate votes to convict Trump and remove him from office.
It is also unclear what would happen to Trump’s Secret Service detail is he is removed from office. In 2013 President Obama signed the Former Presidents Protection Act which authorized lifetime Secret Service protection for former presidents — without defining “former president” in any particular way.
So this certain point is unclear since another law, the Former Presidents Act, specifically says that a president who is removed by the senate no longer counts as a “former president.”
Ultimately it’s most important to remember that impeachment is not synonymous with removal of office. If you recall, President Trump was also impeached in 2019, yet he clearly was not removed from office.
This is a developing situation, and we will strive to bring you even more accurate information as the official Senate trial commences.
To a Richer Life,
The Rich Life Roadmap Team