The incumbent President of the United States, Donald Trump, was impeached by the House of Representatives for the second time on January 13. In the most bipartisan impeachment in the country’s history, the Democrat-controlled House voted 232-197 in favor of the resolution, with 10 Republicans supporting the decision. Trump is the first U.S. president to be impeached twice, charged with “incitement of insurrection” after encouraging his supporters to protest at the Capitol on January 6.
Calls for the president’s impeachment were swiftly made after the storming of the Capitol Building, with some politicians calling the event an attack on national safety. Trump’s controversial recorded call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was also cited in his article of impeachment. Others have called the move dividing and unnecessary, such as Senator Tim Scott. The House’s Articles of Impeachment officially cite, “that he [Trump] will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office…” as the primary rationale for the verdict.
With only one week left until President Trump’s term ends, it is currently unclear when the Senate will vote on removing the president from office following the House’s decision. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to reconvene on or after January 19, making it unlikely that a verdict will be reached until after president-elect Joe Biden is sworn in. If Trump were to hypothetically be removed from office before the end of his term, Vice President Mike Pence would instantly ascend to presidency. Pence has already declined the impeachment article’s request for him to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would, if utilized, remove Trump from presidency on grounds of his inability to transfer power. It is currently unclear who will preside over the Senate’s impeachment trial due to a vague point in Article 1 of the Constitution regarding if the Chief Justice can preside over a former president.