Would President Trump actually lose anything from impeachment?

Local Politics

President Trump enters the last days of his presidency facing a second impeachment and growing calls for his resignation after his supporters launched an assault on the nation’s Capitol in an effort to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. Yet Trump will try to go on offense in his last 10 days, with no plans of resigning. Instead, Trump is planning to lash out against the companies that have now denied him his Twitter and Facebook bullhorns. And aides hope he will spend his last days trying to trumpet his policy accomplishments, beginning with a trip to Alamo, Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(ABC4) — The U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach former president Donald Trump on January 13, making him the only president to have been impeached twice in the nation’s history.

However, it will take more than impeachment to strip Trump of certain benefits afforded to former presidents when he leaves office on Inauguration Day. That would take an additional step: conviction by the Senate. The Senate trial to convict Trump will begin on February 8.

“Impeachment is like an indictment- an accusation,” Dr. Richard Davis, Professor of Political Science at Brigham Young University, says. “The removal only comes after the Senate trial and vote, and in no case has that happened in the past.”

James Curry, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Utah, tells ABC4 that the president would have only lost certain benefits if the Senate removed from office before January 20.

Hundreds of National Guard troops hold inside the Capitol Visitor’s Center to reinforce security at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. The House of Representatives is pursuing an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump for his role in inciting an angry mob to storm the Capitol last week. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“The Former Presidents Act provides ex-presidents with a number of benefits, including a $200k annual pension, a travel allowance, lifetime Secret Service detail, and more,” he says. “However, the president would lose some of these things if the Senate voted to remove him from office before Jan. 20. He would lose the pension and other monetary benefits, but not the Secret Service protection.”

Since Trump was impeached, this opens the door to a trial in the Senate, during which he can actually be convicted, Dr. Davis says.

Since Trump will be convicted after leaving office, he would keep all benefits with the exception of the chance to stay in office.

Davis says that would be the biggest cost to the former president- losing the chance to run for office again in 2024.

“I don’t think the benefits matter to him. He is very wealthy already. He doesn’t need the pension money or any of those things, but the real cost here is that he cannot run again. If he was at the end of his second term it wouldn’t matter,” Dr. Davis says. “But he’s not, and he’s talking about running in 2024.”

Certain benefits at stake for an impeached president

According to Dr. Davis, Trump’s insurrections differ from past presidents who’ve faced impeachment because they happened in the public eye.

“It’s not like Watergate or even like Monica Lewinsky or the one that happened last year where evidence had to be presented regarding what he had done,” he says. “In this case, it’s all very public acts that the president engaged in.”

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 08: U.S. Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) walks in a hallway at the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team are considering an impeachment process of President Donald Trump after pro-Trump mobs stormed the Capitol and temporarily stopped the process the certification for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ electoral college win. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Curry says the former president had things to lose from the impeachment alone as well.

“If Republicans in the House and Senate turn against him and vote to impeach, remove, or disqualification, that would be a sign he has lost political standing and clout in the GOP,” he tells ABC4. “He also stands to lose his future historical reputation. Donald Trump may shortly be the first president ever to be impeached twice. This is certainly not an honor.”

Throughout U.S. history, three presidents- Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and President Trump – have been impeached.

None, however, have been removed from office, Dr. Davis said. President Nixon resigned before he could be impeached or removed from office.

Now that the impeachment is moving to the Senate, what’s next? The Senate gets to make two choices, Curry explains.

“First, they vote on whether or not to convict the impeached official and remove them from office. If removal is agreed to, the Senate can then consider whether to also disqualify the president from holding federal office in the future… Removal requires a 2/3 vote in support in the Senate,” he says.

“Since Trump will no longer be president by the time the Senate convenes a trial on his impeachment, disqualification may be the only thing on the table, which could make things interesting.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


More Podcasts
Inside Utah Politics Logo

Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...