Donald Trump is the only President to have ever been impeached twice.
When was Donald Trump first impeached?
Mr Trump was first impeached on December 18, 2019, by the Democratic-led House of Representatives.
In September 2019, House Democrats began to launch Trump’s first impeachment, following the release of a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
He was charged with two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
However, Democratic Senators failed to retrieve a two-thirds majority to convict Donald Trump of obstructing congress, and of abusing his power. Trump was cleared of abuse of power by 52-48 votes, and cleared of obstruction by 53-47 votes.
He was acquitted on February 5, 2020.
In response to Trump’s acquittal, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted:
“Now that their impeachment hoax is over maybe Democrats can actually come to the table and try to do some work for the American people for a change… but I won’t hold my breath.”
This was the third time a President had ever been impeached by Congress, but no president has ever been actually removed from office.
Trump’s second impeachment
Trump was initially impeached for his connections to Ukraine, whereas this time, it is much closer to home, and relates to the attacks on the US Capitol building in Washington, DC.
Trump was accused of inciting the “lawless action” following the events at the Capitol on 6 January.
Both Republicans and Democrats voted for articles of impeachment, charging him with “incitement of insurrection”.
Now, the matter will be moved to the Senate.
A two-thirds majority is required to successfully convict Mr Trump, something that was not reached last time, and subsequently led to his acquittal.
In order to reach the necessary two-thirds majority, at least 17 Republicans out of the 100-member chamber would have to vote for conviction.
The impeachment trial will not be able to commence immediately. According to Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican, the earliest the trial could begin is January 20.
This is the same date that president-elect, Joe Biden, will be inaugurated as the next president.
What is the point of the second impeachment?
Whilst it may seem futile to impeach Trump now, given that he has so little time left in office, there is valid reason to do so.
Impeachment doesn’t just have the power to remove Trump from office, but it can also prevent him from running again in the future.
To disqualify Trump from ever running for office again, a majority of the Senate is needed.
Not only this, but some believe that even if the Senate fails to convict Mr Trump, a further separate vote could be instigated. This second vote would be for the sole purpose of disqualifying Trump from running again in the future.
Thus, this second impeachment gives Democrats a chance of barring Mr Trump from running for president in 2024.
Sources have indeed claimed that Trump is planning to run again in 2024.
Image via Alamy