When it comes down to it, the actual impeachment process as defined by the U.S. Constitution is pretty simple. In theory, the President would commit a crime or misdemeanor, the House would vote to impeach the President, and the Senate would carry out the trial.
Take that concept and apply it to the impeachment that President Donald Trump is currently facing, and the concept becomes a bit more complex.
Impeachments are already a rare occurrence within the context of American history, as only three Presidents have ever been impeached by Congress (Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump), and no President has ever been removed from office by the process of impeachment. Donald Trump, however, is set to become the first US President to ever be impeached twice.
So what’s so different about it this second time around?
Well, for one, this time the President is being accused of an act of treason by inciting violence against the Government of the United States. Here, Congressmen site his actions of repeatedly denying the election results and pressuring state officials (Georgia) to find more votes for him. This is seen as a threat to the integrity of the democratic system and an interference to the peaceful transfer of power.
Secondly, the more unconventional piece of all this is that Trump will already be a former president by the time the impeachment concludes. The process is likely to only take a week, but by that time President-elect Joe Biden will be set to be sworn into office and asking the Senate to approve his cabinet.
So what’s the point in going through with the impeachment?
Trump stands to lose quite a bit if this second impeachment is successful. A conviction would mean he can’t run for office again in 2024, he would lose his $200k+ pension, as well as his $1 million in yearly travel budget.
Though this is not the first impeachment in our history, nor the first impeachment for this President, we are certainly set to witness many “firsts” in the weeks ahead.