Will Trump be removed from office? Here’s what would have to happen

Graig Graziosi
Donald Trump attend a bilateral meeting during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos: AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump may have been impeached in the US House of Representatives, but it’s very unlikely he’ll be going anywhere soon.

Despite a recent CNN poll showing 51 per cent of respondents were in favour of the US Senate ousting Mr Trump, the requirements for removal skew heavily in the president’s favour.

How could Trump be removed?

Two-thirds of the Senate (67 members) must vote in favour of removing the president from office at the end of the impeachment trial. Currently, the Senate is comprised of 53 Republicans and 45 Democrats, which means at least 20 Republican senators would have to vote in favour of removing Mr Trump.

The two remaining senators are both independents, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Maine Senator Angus S King Jr, and both caucus with the Democratic party.

Will that happen?

No Republican members of the Senate have given any indication they intend to vote in favour of Mr Trump’s removal from office, so regardless of the information brought to light during the trial, Mr Trump’s role is almost assured.

Aside from Mr Trump, only two other US presidents have faced possible removal from office as a result of impeachment; Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Neither were removed from office. Mr Johnson narrowly avoided removal thanks to Kansas Senator Edmond Ross’s vote against his party. Mr Clinton was spared from removal by more than 20 votes on both articles of impeachment brought against him.

With the question of removal mostly a non-issue, what remains to be seen is whether the Senate trial will be quick or be dragged out.

Although a longer trial would allow for more detailed witness testimony and give senators more time to consider evidence presented by the House impeachment managers — which is something Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants — a drawn out trial could hurt the presidential campaigns of the four Democratic senators competing to run against Mr Trump in the 2020 general election.

Mr Sanders, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Colorado Senator Michael Bennett and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar will have to suspend their campaign events for the duration of the trial.

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