I know there has been talk already about whether or not a former president can be impeached. I have not, however, heard the practical ending to that talk. What happens with Trump's second impeachment (over the events of Jan 6 2021) now that he has left office (or will have left office come noon time)? Are there practical answers? All I've heard is theoretical discussion - but it is not a theoretical issue anymore.

  • See also politics.stackexchange.com/q/61831/1370 Jan 20, 2021 at 14:08
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    The linked answer is NOT a duplicate. It asks whether a President can be impeached AFTER leaving office, but Trump was impeached BEFORE leaving.
    – jamesqf
    Jan 20, 2021 at 17:50
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    @jamesqf The situations are barely distinguishable, and the answer is equally applicable to both. If anything, impeached before and tried after is "more obviously legitimate and do-able" than impeached after and tried after, and the latter has already occurred (albeit for a non-president). Jan 21, 2021 at 6:00
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    @zibadawa timmy: No, the situations are very different. Whether it is technically legal to impeach someone after they've left office is irrelevant here (unless of course the House comes up with still another reason to impeach Trump), simply because Trump was impeached BEFORE leaving office.
    – jamesqf
    Jan 21, 2021 at 18:15
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    @zibadawa timmy: Certainly it is the point. The question specifically asks "whether or not a former president can be impeached". That is absolutely irrelevant to Trump's current impeachment, which happened while he was still President. Now a proper question might well ask whether a President (or other official) who was impeached before leaving office can be tried after leaving office, which is the case withTrump.
    – jamesqf
    Jan 22, 2021 at 18:46

1 Answer 1


The normal impeachment procedure still applies. The Senate will hold a trial after the House sends the articles of impeachment over to the Senate. At the moment, it appears the articles will be sent to the Senate at the end of this week, with the trial being carried out the following week. From ABC News:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to send the article of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate later this week, sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News -- a move that could kick off formal proceedings the next day and opening arguments on the Senate floor the following week.

The timing of formal transmission from the House to the Senate is significant, as the Constitution dictates that the trial begins at 1 p.m. the following day.

Specifics such as whether witnesses will be called are still being decided.

Also, it's worth noting that the vote to bar an individual from holding public office again comes after the vote to convict. As such, even if the vote to convict and remove a President is moot, the subsequent vote to bar the individual from holding public office again is not moot. See If the senate cannot remove a federal official already out of office, how can they disqualify said person from running for office again?.

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    Potentially complicated by the rumour that the Chief Justice doesn't want to be part of the process.
    – Jontia
    Jan 20, 2021 at 14:28
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    "any conviction will of course be moot, the Senate can choose whether to take a vote on whether to bar the President from running for future public offices": the conviction will not be moot, because they can only bar him from future office if they convict him.
    – phoog
    Jan 20, 2021 at 15:16
  • @phoog Thanks again. I copied over an unambiguous paragraph from my other answer regarding that.
    – Panda
    Jan 20, 2021 at 15:21
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    @CGCampbell: I sincerely doubt there is any actual person behind the 'Q' facade. In all likelihood, 'Q' is mythological: an avatar created by someone to spread particular some malicious rumor that later took on a life of its own, and to which conspiracy theorists now attribute things that are too crazed for them to say in their own voice. Think of Q as the dark web Santa Claus, an imaginary figure who gives gifts of salacious and depraved rumor to all the bad little boys and girls who need them. Jan 20, 2021 at 23:58
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    @Jontia And going from what is reported on that, it's a weirdly political stance for him to take. Because his objection apparently isn't some sort of "the constitution doesn't allow this impeachment" or "I'm not required to preside over an ex-president's impeachment" opinion, but rather a "some on the left tried to co-opt me onto their side last time and I don't wanna go through that again". To which I say: suck it up, buttercup. The tradition of SCOTUS to position itself as apolitical doesn't get thrown to the wind because the other branches don't care. It's there, always, despite it. Jan 21, 2021 at 5:48

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