What Today’s Impeachment Vote Could Mean

It’s been just a year over Trump’s first impeachment, and Congress is facing another vote today on the fate of a second impeachment for his role in inciting his supporters in insurrection at the Capitol last week. However, since he’s supposed to be leaving office (and the world waits to see how smooth the transition will be), this is primarily a symbolic process. So what does this mean, and what are the potential consequences?

Foremost, he’ll be impeached — the first to be done so twice. There is no limit to the amount of times a president can be impeached, but no president has been impeached twice. Only two U.S. presidents prior to Trump have been formally impeached — Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached in 1974.

At that point, it’s up to the senate to convict or acquit him of charges, as there’s no office to remove him from since he’s been voted out of office. Trump is facing “incitement of “insurrection” this time around. Conviction requires a 2/3 majority, so based off the amount of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, it’ll require 17 Republicans on board to do it.

If he’s convicted, the Senate will then have the opportunity to vote on a punishment, which is then voted with a simple majority. One of these punishments could be to keep him from ever running again.

Trump could also lose many other benefits according to the Former Presidents Act of 1958, including a lifetime pension, an annual travel budget, and an office and staff.

Many House Republicans have already publicly announced support for impeachment, so it’ll be up to the Senate to decide if and how they want to punish Trump and keep him away from future elections.