Nick Explains: Trump’s Second Impeachment

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Alex Brandon

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., displays the signed article of impeachment against President Donald Trump in an engrossment ceremony before transmission to the Senate for trial on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“Go home. We love you. You’re very special.” 

It’s a message I couldn’t get out of my head. Terrorists invaded our nation’s Capitol, threatened the lives of elected officials, my elected officials, and the only thing the president of the United States could utter in a video on Twitter was “We love you”?

President Donald Trump has been impeached for a second time, this time for incitement of insurrection. In the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Congress, Trump’s words ignited the frail minds of domestic terrorists, and they were about to make their leader’s concerns heard.

After a horrifying day filled with gas masks, secret tunnels and strategies reminiscent of an average middle school lockdown drill, Congress aimed its focus at the culprit 19 days after the attack. On Jan. 25, the House sent Trump’s second set of articles of impeachment to the Senate.

The issue, however, is that as of Jan. 20, Trump is no longer the president, so why bother impeaching him?

Impeachment is more than the removal of a sitting president. First, it tarnishes Trump’s career, being known as the only president to have more impeachments than terms in office.

However, ruining Trump’s reputation is only a tangential consequence of impeachment. Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution gives a better insight into what Democrats, and some Republicans, are striving to accomplish with the impeachment:  

“Judgement 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, Judgement and Punishment, according to Law.”

The Constitution states that, if the Senate votes to convict, Trump could never run for political office again. The indictment would eliminate his chances of running in 2024 and likely disqualify him from the benefits of the Former Presidents Act.

According to this act, former presidents receive a lifelong pension “equal to the annual rate of basic pay … of the head of an executive department,” which in 2020 was $219,200. Former presidents are also entitled to paid office staff at any place of their choosing in the U.S. as well as $20,000 a year for their surviving spouse. 

If convicted by the Senate, another sizable loss for Trump is forfeiting the free Secret Service protection for the rest of his life in addition to paid travel expenses anywhere in the world. Also, he would miss out on any further classified briefings that former presidents routinely receive.

While the removal of these presidential perks would be a good final farewell to the Trump presidency, the most significant victory would be avoiding a future toxic, hateful, misinformation-ridden campaign for Trump, allowing America to finally move on.