Northland political professor weighs in on President Trump's second impeachment

Emily Ness
Updated: January 13, 2021 10:38 PM
Created: January 13, 2021 09:32 PM

With one week left in the White House, some are wondering about the timeline of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, as well as, whether or not it is worth pursuing.

To gain more insight, WDIO spoke to Dr. Cindy Rugeley, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

According to Rugeley, impeachment is a two-step process that includes the House and the Senate. So far, President Trump’s impeachment passed through the first step in the House and now the Senate must hold a trial on the article of impeachment against him.

“This is the first time a president has been impeached twice, so Donald Trump has made history that way and it’s probably not a history he wanted to make,” Rugeley said.

Historic as it is, Rugeley said she does not believe there will be enough time for the impeachment trial to take place before Trump leaves office.

“The earliest that the trial could begin is the 19th and president elect Joe Biden is sworn in on the 20th,” Rugeley said.

But, Rugeley notes that the Senate can still convict Trump after he has left office.

"There will not be time to complete the process before Trump leaves office, but that doesn't mean that they can't go in and complete it. They've done impeachments and removals for judges, for example, after that judge has resigned,” Rugeley said.

Rugeley believes there are two main arguments for why the Senate would proceed with the impeachment trial even after Trump has left office.

One argument is that they may feel the need to punish President Trump for the chaos he is accused of inciting at the capitol.

The other argument is that if impeached, he would lose his eligibility to run for president again, as well as lose out on his pension.

In order for President Donald Trump to be convicted for the impeachment article, Rugeley said two thirds of the senate must vote to convict him after a trial is held.

“In order to actually remove a president from office or in this case, convict a president of the charges, it requires 67 votes, so if it happens, its going to require 17 Republican senators voting to do that,” Ruegley said.

Going forward, Rugeley hopes for a peaceful transition of power.

“It was a week ago today that we had the attack on the Capitol. Today, one week later, we have impeached a president because of charges that he incited that riot and next week on Wednesday, we have a peaceful transition of power and so hopefully it will be peaceful,” Rugeley said.

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Emily Ness

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