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Trump impeachment: What happens next?

Author
Newstalk ZB, news.com.au,
Publish Date
Thu, 19 Dec 2019, 3:07PM
Could President Trump be the third president to face impeachment. (Photo / AP)

Trump impeachment: What happens next?

Author
Newstalk ZB, news.com.au,
Publish Date
Thu, 19 Dec 2019, 3:07PM

Donald Trump has been impeached in a historic vote by the US House of Representatives.

But what happens next?

With Trump impeached today, it doesn't necessarily mean he will be removed from office.

The Senate will determine whether that will happen at a trial in January 2020, with the senators sitting as jurors, House politicians serving as prosecutors known as managers, and the chief justice of the US presiding over it. They will then be required to vote, where two-thirds of senators present must agree on a conviction to oust the commander-in-chief. But the Republicans hold the majority in the Senate so it's likely Trump will be acquitted.

The House will this week decide whether to empower House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to name impeachment managers who will act as prosecutors during the Senate trial.

"That's the last thing we want to do is be here over Christmas," Republican Senator John Cornyn told Politico. "I can't imagine anyone will object. You never know for sure. It would be widely criticised by folks on both sides of the aisle, anybody who [fought it] and forced us to stay here."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week that he would be "totally surprised" if there were the necessary 67 votes in the chamber to convict Trump and signalled options for a swift trial.

Trump is the fourth president in US history to face the prospect of impeachment for alleged misconduct in office. He will be the third to be impeached if the vote is in favour of it. The two other presidents impeached by the House, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, were both acquitted by the Senate.

House Republicans have displayed remarkable unity during the impeachment process and none of them are expected to vote for impeachment. Twenty of the 53 Republican senators would need to join all Democratic-voting senators to reach the two-thirds supermajority the Constitution requires for impeachment.

 

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