MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The United States House of Representatives made history Wednesday by impeaching the President of the United States for the second time.
The House accuses President Donald Trump of incitement of insurrection, with the charge stating, “Willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”
The impeachment comes one week after chaos erupted at the U.S. Capitol. A crowd smashed inside to try to stop Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Five people died and dozens more were hurt.
To some, it might appear as though impeachment isn’t necessary given that President Trump won’t be in office later next week. But it could impact his future aspirations to hold office again.
A little more than 12 months after the House of Representatives voted to impeach Mr. Trump, the lawmakers did so again Wednesday. But unlike the first time, 10 Republicans joined the Democratic majority’s vote to remove him.
WCCO spoke with David Schultz about this unusual situation. Schultz is a political science professor at Hamline University.
“We are looking at something incredibly historic,” Schultz said.
Even without a conviction, he feels a second impeachment leaves a harsh stain on Trump’s already-contentious tenure in office.
“It’s probably not the type of notoriety that any president, let alone Donald Trump, would want to have,” he said.
A second impeachment has led to several questions on how the process will work, especially with Trump’s term running out in a week.
Can the president be convicted if he’s no longer in office? Yes. Schultz said the Senate will determine when the impeachment trial will be held, and no law dictates it must occur while the impeached president is in office.
“The other thing that happens with an impeachment conviction is that you would be barred from ever holding federal office again for the rest of your life,” Schultz said.
Legal opinions on his last point are divided. Some interpret the constitution as stating that the Senate must hold an additional simple majority vote after a conviction to decide if the president would be banned from holding office again. Others like Schultz interpret the constitution as not requiring such a vote.
Some have also wondered, if convicted, would the president lose his pension and lifetime Secret Service protection? According to the Former President’s Act, the president will not receive a pension if he is convicted by the Senate and removed from office. Schultz said to his understanding, all former presidents maintain lifetime Secret Service protection.
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