What impeachment could mean for Donald Trump and his chances of return

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If the 45th president is successfully removed from office, he could be barred from running for or re-holding public office.

Mr Trump was impeached in 2020 for claiming to have abused his power by withholding aid to Ukraine in the hope that his leader would investigate Joe Biden, his political rival. He was indicted by the House of Representatives but acquitted by the Senate.

U.S. Democrats could delay an impeachment trial until after Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office, a senior official said, releasing the new president to continue his first agenda.

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James Clyburn, House Majority Whip, said the House will resume articles of impeachment against Mr Trump this week, but likely will not send them to the Senate for several months.

What is impeachment?

Impeachment is the process by which Congress brings certain officials, namely the President, to justice.

The US constitution defines a wide range of offenses that can lead to indictment: “Treason, corruption or other serious crimes and misdemeanors”.

What would this mean for Donald Trump?

If the 45th president is impeached, he could be barred from running or re-holding public office. That would end any possible discussion of a return to 2024.

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The United States Senate has the power to prevent Mr. Trump from doing so, and a vote on it should only be passed by a simple majority. There is precedent that the Senate has barred officials from running again after their indictment. Judges Robert Archbald (in 1913) and West H Humphreys (in 1862) were both barred from running after their arraignment, although this fate has never happened to a president before.

A vote on this could only take place after an impeachment vote.

Apart from that, if Mr. Trump were impeached, he would also lose access to a host of public benefits to which he would otherwise be entitled.

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Under the Former Presidents Act 1958, he would be denied his annual pension of $ 200,000, an annual travel allowance of $ 1 million, and additional funds for his future staff. However, thanks to an order signed by his predecessor Barack Obama, Mr. Trump will still be guaranteed his secret service for life.

If Mr. Trump tried to forgive himself before stepping down, which no president has attempted before, the situation would become much murkier.

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