This Is What Happens If Trump Is Impeached Over The Russia Investigation
For months, the subject of possible collusion between Donald Trumps presidential campaign and Russia has prompted many to talk aboutthe probabilityof an impeachment.
Former FBI Director James Comeys testimonyon Thursday morning is likely to make the subject of an impeachment even more relevant.
Comeys testimony is expected to help answer two questions. First, how, exactly, did President Trump allegedly seek to influence the FBIs investigation into possible links between his campaign and Russia?
Second, did the presidents alleged actions amount to an impeachable offense?
Depending on what Comey tells the Senate Intelligence Committee, the answer, for a significant number of politicians, may very well be .
As weve written about here, the series of events thatwould occurbetween Comeys testimony and a possible vote on impeachment is complicated.
Weve also talked about what would happen if, in such a scenario, the House of Representatives proceeded to votein favor of impeachment.
Now, in lieu of Comeys testimony, a curious mind might go even further: What would happen ifsuch an impeachment led to Trump being found guilty by the Senate?
Well, unlike the actual process of impeachment, the answer there is a bit more straightforward. Heres what would happen next.
If Trump were to face a guilty verdict in a trial before the Senate, for any number of charges, he would be stripped of his title as president.
Andrew Johnson and Bill Clintonwere both impeached but acquitted in the Senate, so they were not removed. Richard Nixon resigned as the impeachment process was going on. So if Trump were to be impeached and have it stick, hed become the first commander-in-chief to be removed from office.
Regardless of what charge a president could be found guilty of during an impeachment case, the verdict would not subject the president to incarceration.
The penalty for such a verdict can only go as far as losing the office of president, as the United States Constitution states,
Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States: but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.
In this case, a former president couldnt be sentenced to a prison term via an impeachment trial verdict.
However, the Constitution does make clear that, in a separate trial, the president may be tried for charges similar to those he faced duringimpeachment.
President Mike Pence.
Vice President Pence would then take the step up and become president of the United States, unless he were to be impeached as well.
In that case, the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan would assume the presidency.
However, a scenario in which Pence would be impeached in tandem with Trump iseven more unlikely than the already slim chances that Trump would be impeached himself.
Nomination of a Vice President.
With the vice presidents role now vacant, President Pence would have to nominate someone to fill his former role.
Pending confirmation, we would have a new vice president.