The House of Representatives has voted to officially impeach President Donald Trump for a second time. As the president’s term comes to a close and President-elect Joe Biden is preparing for his January 20 inauguration, the move by the House comes in response to the January 6 fascist insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Trump was impeached 232-197, with all 222 Democrats voting in support. In total, 10 Republicans also voted for impeachment, a sign of a growing divide within the GOP between pro- and anti-Trump sentiments following the president’s role in the events of January 6. Prior to Wednesday’s debate, five Republicans — perhaps most notably House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (D-WY) — had already indicated they would vote for it, and another joined them as the debate was on the floor.
However, the vote is only an early step in the process of removing Trump from office. The impeachment prompts a trial in the Senate, which could happen right way or may not happen for some time, even after Biden takes over. Ultimately, that trial may not decide whether or not to remove Trump from office (he’ll already be gone), but it could determine whether or not he can ever hold public office again.
The timing for the trial is complicated by the fact that the Senate will be heavily involved in the early days of the Biden administration, tasked with holding confirmation hearings on major nominees. While Democrat James Clyburn (D-SC), the House Majority Whip, has suggested the trial could wait until after Biden’s first 100 days as president, the New York Times reported Tuesday that Biden himself has spoken to current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) about a system that would allow for both the trial and confirmation hearings. According to the Times, McConnell referred Biden’s question to the Senate parliamentarian, who interprets Senate rules.
The Times also reported McConnell is actually pleased Democrats are pursuing impeachment, seeing it as an opportunity to effectively kick Trump out of the GOP because he blames Trump for Republicans losing control of the Senate in a pair of key Georgia runoffs.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Democratic leader in the Senate, has called on McConnell to reconvene the Senate using legislation from 2004 that lets the minority and majority leaders call the body back to work. But the latest from Wednesday, according to Washington Post White House reporter Seung Min Kim, is that McConnell’s office told Schumer’s people that the Republican leader would not consent to that. The Senate is not currently scheduled to reconvene for full session until January 19.
Following the publication of this report, McConnell issued a new statement further clarifying the timing moving forward, writing, “The Senate process will now begin at our first regular meeting following the receipt of the article from the House.” Citing how long previous impeachment trials have taken, McConnell said “there is simply no chance” a trial could wrap up before Biden is sworn in a week from today. McConnell wrote, “This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact.”
Editor’s Note: This story was updated after its initial publication with a statement from Mitch McConnell.
Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: Presidential Impeachment, Explained