Donald Trump became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice as ten of his fellow Republicans joined Democrats in the House of Representatives to charge him with inciting an insurrection in last week's rampage in the Capitol.
"We know that the President of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion, against our common country. He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love. And then came that day of fire we all experienced. The president must be impeached."
"The president took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Last week, there was a domestic threat at the door of the Capitol. And he did nothing to stop it. That is why with a heavy heart and clear resolve, I will vote yes on these articles of impeachment."
The vote in the Democratic-controlled House was 232-197, although it appeared unlikely the swift impeachment would lead to Trump's ouster before his four-year term ends and Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20th.
Let's go in-depth.
Joining me live in the studio is Mason Richey, Associate Professor of Political Science at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
Mason, good to see you again.
So, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear that even if the Senate process on the impeachment were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office.
It raises two obvious questions:
One, can you impeach and remove a former president from office?
Two, what, exactly, is the point of doing it even if you can?
The trial of Trump will not effectively start until after Joe Biden is sworn into office next Wednesday.
By then, the trial won't be the only agenda on the Senate's plate - they will be busy with confirmation hearings for Biden's Cabinet nominees at least four are already scheduled for the week of January 20th AND Mr. Biden's one.nine trillion dollar economic recovery plan to address the coronavirus.
Will the Senate take this dual track? Is this doable?
It would be the incoming Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to grapple with deciding the terms of the impeachment trial - how long it will be, when it will be, and its structure?
Impeachment failed the first time against Trump. What's different now?
What's the historical precedent?
If and when the Senate trial ensues, it will decide the fate of Donald Trump's intention of holding office again in the future.
The constitution limits a president to serve two terms, but that includes a non-consecutive second term.
But if the Senate trial rules to impeach Donald Trump, can he be president again?
Now, if the Senate convicts Trump, he would be stripped from the post-presidency benefits provided by the Former Presidents Act of 1958.
The Act defines "former presidents" as anyone whose term in office ended by some means other than being impeached and removed.
Does this mean that if Trump were to resign he would be eligible for the 200K yearly pension, 1-million dollar per year travel fund and taxpayer subsidies to pay for office space and staff?
And, not suggesting that he would, but is there still a chance for Trump to "resign" as long as he does so before January 20th?
As you mentioned last time we talked it's up to the incoming administration as to whether they want to look into the past or take on what lies ahead.
Just taking a look at America as is now, how divided, how bipolar, how separated the country is - and in the face of becoming an unrecognizable state internationally but also to itself, how do you 'unite America' in such a polarizing political landscape?
One election year after another, the American electoral system has been called archaic The constitution is an archaic document
But no body or organization can easily make amendments to such a pillar element of a state like the United States that stands on so many beliefs.
But do you think such unimaginable, unprecedented chaos could lead to such a change as a step to reestablishing ground to stand on?
Mason Richey, Associate Professor of Political Science at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies many thanks for your insights and expertise. We appreciate it.