How Many Senators Does It Take To Impeach A President? It's Very Specific
Following the House of Representatives’ Jan. 13 vote to impeach President Donald Trump following the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, he has officially made history as the first president to ever be impeached twice. However, it's ultimately up to the Senate to give him his final "you're fired." So, how many senators does it take to impeach a president? It's one of the few things about impeachment that's set in stone.
Under the U.S. Constitution, at least 67 senators must vote in favor of removing an impeached president from office. Article I of the Constitution states that while the House has the "sole power of impeachment," the Senate has the power to "try all impeachment." The president, vice president, and civil officers are all subject to impeachment, but in a presidential impeachment, the Constitution is specific about the process: the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over the trial, and it takes a two-thirds majority to remove a president from office. Given the 100 members of the Senate, this works out to 67 votes (and no, the vice president cannot act as a tie-breaker in this one). A conviction by the Senate removes a president from office, and a second vote can bar an impeached president from running for or holding office in the future.
On Jan. 11, House Democrats announced official articles of impeachment against Trump, charging him with inciting the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots, when a mob of pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the Capitol building. Five people died. On Jan. 13, the House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump for a second time, following his February 2020 acquittal the first time he was impeached. In the most bipartisan impeachment vote ever, 10 House Republicans crossed party lines to vote for Trump’s impeachment. The White House did not respond to Elite Daily’s request for comment on impeachment, or Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 riot.
Now, the odds of Trump being removed from office depend on the affirmative votes of 17 Republican Senators. Thanks to Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff’s wins in the Jan. 5 Georgia runoff elections, Democrats will have control of the Senate when the new Congressional session begins on Jan. 19th — just one day before Biden is scheduled to take office. Still, the upper chamber still requires a 67 majority vote to impeach Trump, meaning at least 17 Republican senators need to vote in favor of officially convicting Trump.
As of Jan. 13, some Republican senators have indicated their support for removing Trump from office, while stopping short of endorsing impeachment. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly told associates that he’s pleased Democrats are moving to impeach Trump, per The New York Times, and reportedly believes the president has indeed committed impeachable offenses. On Jan. 6, when the Senate reconvened after the Capitol siege to resume Biden’s electoral count, McConnell made his stance clear. “This failed attempt to obstruct the Congress, this failed insurrection, only underscores how crucial the task before us is for our republic,” he stated. “Our nation was founded precisely so that the free choice of the American people is what shapes our self-government and determines the destiny of our nation,” he added.
Trump’s term is rapidly coming to a close as Biden’s inauguration draws near, but the president’s time in office may be much shorter than he ever hoped for.
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