What happened in the impeachment vote today

What does Trump lose by impeachment?

Donald Trump could be removed from office. But does he automatically lose the lucrative privileges for ex-presidents as a result? The process behind this is complicated.

Impeachment procedures, like most political processes, are complex. There is a lot of misunderstanding about the exact consequences it would have if the US Congress votes for an impeachment of President Donald Trump.

For days, viral tweets and messages on social media have been claiming that if Trump were to be impeached, he would automatically lose a number of privileges. Including:

  • Pension payments of more than $ 200,000 annually for the remainder of his life
  • Right to personal protection from US intelligence
  • An annual travel budget of $ 1 million
  • The right to re-run for president in 2024

It is true that many democratic MPs have already made demands precisely on this. Initially, however, this has nothing to do with the actual impeachment procedure.

After Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, the Democrats tabled a resolution to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president. Trump is expected to leave the White House before the change in power on January 20.

This is how impeachment works

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday voted in favor of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. The decision was expected given the majority of Democrats in the Congress Chamber.

This does not include the vote in the Senate, the other chamber of parliament, which is also necessary for Trump's impeachment. A two-thirds majority is required there. Because some Republican senators have already indicated that they will also vote for it, the outcome is completely open.

In everyday use, these two separate processes are often mixed up. As early as 2019, the House of Representatives voted for impeachment, the Senate against. That didn't affect Trump's claims in any way.

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When will Trump lose his pension rights?

Only when both chambers have successfully voted for Trump's impeachment would he lose his privileges. This includes the pension stipulated in the so-called "Former Presidents Act".

The Former Presidents Act clearly states that those US heads of state who have been removed from office by the Senate are no longer former presidents for the purposes of this law.

Will US intelligence protect Trump even after he has been impeached?

This question is primarily about the interpretation of two legal texts: According to the "Former Presidents Act", Trump would be clearly disqualified, as I said.

The "Former Presidents Protection Act" introduced by Barack Obama in 2013, on the other hand, does not make this distinction between removed presidents and others. A court would likely need to clarify which interpretation would count for Trump's claim.

What happens to the travel budget over a million dollars a year?

Like the pension payment, the Former Presidents Act of 1958 stipulates that previous presidents will be reimbursed for travel and security expenses of up to one million US dollars annually by the state.

In principle, however, this post is only paid to former presidents who do not take advantage of the protection of the secret service. It applies either or, as the sum of money is to be used, among other things, for the security of the former head of state.

According to ZDF correspondent Ines Trams, impeachment would be seen by his supporters as revenge for the Democrats. And Trump to be seen as a martyr.

Why this discussion could be partly superfluous

When the Senate vote on impeachment will take place is still unclear - likely to take place after Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20th.

However, this point in time is critical for the effects of the procedure on Trump's previously mentioned pension entitlements. Brian Kalt, a law professor at Michigan State University, told the Politifact portal: "With the current case law - under the Former Presidents Act - he only loses his rights if he is convicted while he is still in office. is unlikely. "

When should Trump not run again?

Regardless of the timing of the Senate vote, the question is whether Trump should run again in 2024. Because for this a very special, further vote in the Senate would have to be scheduled. With it, a simple majority of Senators could withdraw Trump's right to stand as a candidate in the presidential election.

However, the television station "CNN" quotes a US constitutional lawyer who points out possible legal ambiguities in this step. So far, only judges have been banned from future activity in this way, it is unclear whether the constitution even allows such a disqualification of an ex-president.