As President Donald Trump became the first leader in US history to be impeached twice by the House, the question now is whether he’ll become the first President to be convicted by the Senate. On January 13, the House impeached Trump for the encouragement of supporters who violently stormed the US Capitol. According to the reports by AP, the house voted 232-197 to impeach Trump. Also, ten Republicans joined the Democrats saying that he should be held accountable and warned of a "danger" if Congress should leave him unchecked ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Now that the House has voted to impeach the President, impeachment in a two-part process will be taking place. The House will introduce and pass the articles of impeachment, however, the Senate is where Trump will face a trial and a potential punishment. According to Article 1, Section 3 of the US Constitution, the Senate has the sole power to try all impeachments. When the President of the US is tried, the Chief Justice will preside and no person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.
The Senate also has a set of rules that were first created around the impeachment of Andrew Johnson back in 1968 and then updated in 1986. Before the proceedings, the Senators will take an oath and there will be set time limits for arguments and rebuttals. All questions from Senators for the House and Trump attorneys must be submitted in writing and read by the Chief Justice.
While the date of when the trail will get started is still unclear, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has, however, indicated that he will not bring Senators back until the last day of Trump’s term, i.e., January 19. On Wednesday he rejected Democrats’ call to bring the Senate back immediately to convince the outgoing President and said that the impeachment trial won’t begin until the early days of Joe Biden’s presidency. It is worth noting that as the trial will take some days or even weeks for the group of House lawmakers to make a case against Trump and his lawyers to answer, the trial can’t practically happen until after Biden’s inauguration. Therefore, the Senators will vote on impeaching a former President.
There is a precedent for impeaching former official as well. While the main penalty for a guilty verdict in an impeachment trial is removal from office, Senators could vote to bar Trump from holding office in the future. The outgoing President has still not ruled out running for President in 2024. However, now, if found guilty, he could lose his six-figure pension and other post-presidential perks.
Trump’s conviction requires 2/3 of those present. If two new Democratic senators, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, are certified, there are 50 senators from each part and 17 Republics would be required to convict the president. However, if those two Democrats are not yet seated, it might require 66 senators. If some number of Republicans didn't want to vote against the president but also didn't want to vote to convict, they could skip the vote and change the ratio.