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In the United States, if during an impeachment trial the Senate votes to convict the president, when does the vice president take office as the new president? Is is immediately after a vote is taken, or is there a waiting period?

Also, if there is a waiting period, is the impeached president still in office during that time or is there no president in between when the first president is convicted and when the new one takes office?

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    There is never not a President of the United States. – user91988 Feb 11 '20 at 23:15
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Immediately upon removal.

The Presidential succession clause in Article II of the Constitution was superseded by the 25th Amendment (emphasis mine):

Section 1.

In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

There is no gap between Presidents.

Compare this to what happens when a new President takes office through normal succession, as defined by the 20th Amendment:

Section 1.

The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

We've had some discussion in the comments about the significance of the Presidential Oath of Office, as defined by Article II:

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:-"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Does the new President's power not "take effect" until this oath is administered? Or is it just a formality? Has this issue ever been adjudicated?

I'd contend that's not entirely clear. Take George Washington, for example:

What is the time relationship between a President’s assumption of office and his taking the oath? Apparently, the former comes first, this answer appearing to be the assumption of the language of the clause. The Second Congress assumed that President Washington took office on March 4, 1789 although he did not take the oath until the following April 30.

Modern Presidents do seem to view the oath as a key part of the process, Obama even took it a second time when some words were spoken out of order, although White House counsel said this was done only "out of an abundance of caution".

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    The VP becomes president as soon as the president is removed, but the VP can't actually do anything as president before taking the oath, so the oath is more than a formality. See article 2, section 1: "Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:...." – phoog Feb 10 '20 at 21:10
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    No, the newly elected president is a president who cannot yet act. The precise implications of the "before he enter" clause would be a matter for a court if there were any cause for the president to act before taking the oath. People try to avoid such questions, which is why Obama was sworn in twice in 2008, mistakes having been made during the inauguration ceremony. Nobody wanted to leave open possible challenges to its legitimacy. – phoog Feb 10 '20 at 21:44
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    The added material supports my position, which may have been unclear: the president assumes office at noon on January 20th (under normal circumstances) or immediately upon the removal of the previous president (in cases of impeachment and so on). The person holds the office of president from that point, but may not undertake any official acts before taking the oath. I assume that Washington did not actually purport to execute any official acts as president between March 4th and April 30th. – phoog Feb 10 '20 at 23:21
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    "Obama even took it a second time when some words were spoken out of order" And yet simply adding words to it is not considered an issue. – Acccumulation Feb 11 '20 at 5:39
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    @AzorAhai "so help me god." – phoog Feb 11 '20 at 17:39
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If a president is removed from office after being impeached, when does the vice president take office?

Upon removal from office, under Article II, Section 1 paragraph 6, the duties of the president devolve upon the vice president.

In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

Later, the vice president, under Article II, Section 1, paragraph 8, takes the oath or affirmation and becomes president.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:-"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Compare to the death of President Kennedy and Vice President Johnson becoming president. There was a time delay to bring a Federal judge to Air Force One for the oath or affirmation.

Or, the more recent resignation of Nixon making Ford president. Nixon resigned effective 11:35 a.m. Ford became president during a ceremony held at noon. For approximately 25 minutes, Ford was acting president. (The 25th Amendment was in effect.)

Richard M. Nixon’s Resignation Letter, 08/09/1974.

Following the revelations stemming from the investigation of the Watergate break-in, President Richard M. Nixon resigned the Presidency in this letter dated August 9, 1974. The President's resignation letter is addressed to the Secretary of State, in keeping with a law passed by Congress in 1792. The letter became effective when Secretary of State Henry Kissinger initialed it at 11:35 a.m.

Presidential Vacancy and Disability Twenty-Fifth Amendment.

President Richard M. Nixon resigned his office August 9, 1974, and Vice President Ford immediately succeeded to the office and took the presidential oath of office at noon of the same day.

Swearing in Ceremony of Gerald R. Ford as 38th President of the United States, August 9. 1974 (youtube video).

At 0:53, Chief Justice Burger referred to Ford as Mr. Vice President.
An oath was taken.
At 1:33, Chief Justice Burger referred to Ford as Mr. President.


In the United States, if during an impeachment trial the Senate votes to convict the president, when does the vice president take office as the new president? Is is immediately after a vote is taken, or is there a waiting period?

Only a time delay for the ceremony.

Also, if there is a waiting period, is the impeached president still in office during that time or is there no president in between when the first president is convicted and when the new one takes office?

Removal from office is immediate. There is always a president or one having the duties of the president.

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  • By ceremony, I assume you don't mean the time it takes to organise a big thing on the Mall, but rather the time it takes for the Chief Justice to drive down Pennsylvania Avenue. – Joe C Feb 10 '20 at 19:41
  • @JoeC - Not at all. Upon conviction of the president, the Senate could take a recess, usher the vice president into the Senate, and the Chief Justice could administer the oath or affirmation, at that time. Or, the vice president could prefer to wait a few hours. – Rick Smith Feb 10 '20 at 19:47
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    I don't see any reason to conclude, from Article II (or the 25th Amendment), that the swearing in is in any way the mechanism that elevates the VP to President. It's a formality, nothing more. – BradC Feb 10 '20 at 20:53
  • @BradC The oath is more than a formality (see my comment on your answer), but you are right that it does not cause the vice president to become president. – phoog Feb 10 '20 at 21:10
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    If I understand correctly: TL;DR - the Vice President becomes Acting President immediately, and is later sworn in as President (as long as nothing gets in the way). – CJ Dennis Feb 11 '20 at 5:44

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