13 January 2021

Trump Impeached A Second Time

President Trump has been impeached for a second time for his role in urging supporters to disregard the Presidential election results that resulted in them storming the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 while the electoral votes were being formally counted.

If Trump is convicted by a two-thirds majority in the U.S. Senate, with Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, following this impeachment he can be barred from seeking future public office and may lose some post-Presidential perks, in addition to losing a few days of his Presidency before his term expires on January 20, 2021, less than a week from today, when President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

The Senate did not convict him the first time arising out of efforts to induce Ukrainian officials to falsely implicate Joe Biden's son for corruption allegations. Trump is the only President to have been impeached twice and the vote for more bipartisan than any previous Presidential impeachment vote in the House.

The final vote in the House on impeachment held this afternoon was 232-197 with all 222 Democrats in the House affirmatively voting yes, and 10 Republicans in the House voting to impeach. All 197 voting against impeachment were Republicans. 

Four Republicans did not vote. 

There are two vacancies in the House at this time. One is in a seat won by a Republican this year (Luke Letlow in LA-5) due to the newly elected representative's death, which will be filled in a March 20, 2021 special elections, possibly followed by a runoff election on April 24, 2021 if no candidate receives a majority in the first round. A Democrat elected in LA-2 has announced he will leave to join the Biden administration and a special election for that seat has been announced at the same time, but that seat isn't vacant yet. Instead, the House Clerk announced on Jan. 5, 2021, that there was a vacancy in New York's 22nd Congressional District. This is until the race between former Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) and first-term Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D) can be settled through the courts. The latest vote count is that Tenney, who held the office until the 2018 election, is up by 29 votes. No election certificate has been received yet for this New York race. The outcome of this House contest may be settled by Feb. 1 or even earlier.

The Republicans voting in favor of impeachment were:
Liz Cheney (WY)
Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16)
Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3)
John Katko (NY-24)
Adam Kinzinger (IL-16)
Peter Meijer (MI-3)
Dan Newhouse (WA-4)
Tom Rice (SC-7)
Fred Upton (MI-6)
David Valadao (CA-21)

The Republicans not voting (even though they could have voted even by proxy if they wishes to do so) were:

Kay Granger (TX-12)
Andy Harris (MD-1)
Greg Murphy (NC-3)
Daniel Webster (FL-10)

News reports state that these four Representatives do not believe that Trump should remain in office, but feel that the impeachment process will divide the country, or otherwise objected to the process. According to CNN:
Trump will stay in office and likely finish out his term because it takes a Senate conviction to remove him, even after he’s been impeached.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is signaling he's in favor of impeachment, a GOP source says, but he's made it clear that the Senate trial won’t start until President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.

This would leave open the possibility that Trump could claim that a vote to convict him on the impeachment was invalid because his term of office expired rendering the proceeding moot, although there is apparently one historical precedent of someone who is impeached while in office whose term expires before the conviction proceeding in the Senate is completed being convicted on the impeachment.

Once President Biden is sworn in on January 20, 2021, Mitch McConnell will become the Minority leader in the U.S. Senate, since Vice President Harris, a Democrat, will hold the tie breaking vote, rather than Vice President Pence, who holds that vote now. So until then he has the power to delay an impeachment trial in the Senate. The Senate is currently evenly split with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. 

Vice President Pence has declined in writing in response to a request from the House of Representatives in a resolution to remove Trump under the 25th Amendment, for Presidential disability, and Trump has not indicated a willingness to resign from office before the end of his term, so far.

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