Trump becomes 3rd president to be impeached– What now?

Emily Echevarria, Government Reporter

The House of Representatives voted on two articles of impeachment late Wednesday night. Article 1 on Abuse of Power passed 230-197 and Article 2 on Obstruction of Congress passed 229-198, making Trump the third president in United States history to be impeached. What happens now?

After a president is impeached by the House, they move on to a full trial in the Senate, where a two-thirds vote is required to remove the president from office. If a two-thirds vote is not reached, the president is acquitted. 

Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were also impeached by the House in 1868 and 1998, respectively, but both were acquitted by the Senate. No president has ever been removed from office by the Senate. 

The Senate impeachment of President Andrew Johnson in 1868.

Based on projected votes, Democrats face an uphill battle in Trump’s Senate trial. The vote in the House of Representatives fell closely on party lines, and many Senators have already declared their intentions to vote against the articles of impeachment during trial, which will be held next month. 

While many feel the vote to acquit Trump has already been decided, the path the Senate will take to get there is still unclear. The Constitution does not lay out details for how a trial to remove a president from office should be held and instead only specifies that Senators and the Chief Justice must preside, with a public vote held. 

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said she will wait to send over the articles of impeachment to the Senate until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) outlines plans for a fair, bipartisan trial. This has sparked outrage from Republicans, who have accused Pelosi of violating the Constitution.

Commenting on Pelosi’s decision, Trump tweeted this morning, “I got impeached last night without one Republican vote being cast with the Do Nothing Dems on their continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History. Now the Do Nothing Party wants to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them to the Senate, but it’s Senate’s call!” 

It is unclear how long Pelosi will wait to send over the articles or how this will affect the timeline of Trump’s trial in the Senate. She has also decided not to name impeachment managers until a fairer trial is outlined. McConnell, on the other hand, has said he will announce a start date for the Senate trial by the end of the week. 

The decision to delay the Senate trial comes on the heels of a letter Trump wrote to Pelosi, protesting the impeachment proceedings. In his letter, the president wrote, “By proceeding with your invalid impeachment, you are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American Democracy.”

As the impeachment of Trump continues to unfold, Spinnaker will keep you updated on the latest news. 

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