It has been widely reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is planning to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump following the rioting in the Capitol on Wednesday. However, it is unlikely that the Senate would be able to reach a verdict on the impeachment before his term ends in 12 days.

When President Trump's term ends, does that automatically end any impeachment trials that may be under way? Or would the Senate be able to continue with the trial, and then (in the event of conviction) disqualify Trump from future office?

  • That doesn't really answer the question. It's important to remember that an impeachment is just the beginning of the process, equivalent to an indictment in criminal law. So it would be possible to have the House impeach Trump before his term ends, and then hold the Senate trial afterwards (if at all). But I don't know if that idea has ever been tested. The part about disqualification to hold further office if convicted would seem to support the idea, though.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 19:50
  • @divibisan No, because my question assumes that the impeachment itself has occurred while the accused was still in office.
    – Joe C
    Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 20:12
  • 1
    I almost asked this exact question today but figured it'd be a better question for Law, and sure enough found this similar question over there (seems like the answer is "probably yes, but it's never needed to be tested").
    – Giter
    Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 21:13

1 Answer 1



No attempt has ever been made to proceed with an impeachment trial after the accused has left office. The proceedings against President Nixon were halted when he resigned.

Such an action would not be pointless, as an impeachment can result in disqualification from office which a resignation or departure at the end of a term does not.

However, there is no set procedure or timeline for the impeachment process. In theory it could be done as quickly as someone could draw up articles of impeachment, the House vote to accept them, and the Senate vote to convict. There is no requirement to have any debate if the Senate thinks it not needed. Whether any such procedure is at all likely is a very different question

While Can a President be impeached after leaving office? is not quite the same question, the answer is much the same.

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