Explained: Donald Trump's second impeachment

[Former U.S. President Donald Trump, saying]: "We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn't happen."

Explained: Donald Trump's second impeachment

1. What makes this impeachment so unusual?

[Reuters' Legal Correspondent Jan Wolfe, saying:] "Impeachment is an unusual thing in general and now we have Trump being impeached for a second time, which would make him the first president to be impeached twice. And more significantly, he's the first president in the US history to face a Senate trial after leaving office. And so that's triggered a lot of constitutional debate about whether we can even have this proceeding."

2. What does the prosecution say?

[Reuters' Legal Correspondent Jan Wolfe, saying:] "So the House managers say that, you know, Trump was impeached while he was president and now we can have the Senate trial, even though he's left office, in part because the Constitution makes clear that disqualification from future office is one remedy for impeachment. So, in other words, there's a live issue to determine here. This proceeding is not moot. You know, we don't have a court case on this, it's never happened before, so there there's some doubt here. But most lawyers who have studied this question say this trial is lawful."

3. What is the defense likely to say?

[Reuters' Legal Correspondent Jan Wolfe, saying:] "You know, it's an argument rooted in the text of the Constitution. It boils down to impeachment is about removing somebody from office. He's already out of office. Our founding fathers would never have gone for this. It seems to me that they like it because it lets them not talk about what Trump did. Instead of having to defend Trump on the merits, they are able to rally behind an argument that's more rooted in process."

4. What might we expect from the trial?

[Reuters' Legal Correspondent Jan Wolfe, saying:] "What kind of a case will the Democrats put on? Will they seek witness testimony? Will they subpoena documents? It looks like instead of doing that, they're going to have a more streamlined case. I think the main reason is Democrats want to move on just like Republicans. In a way, this is distracting from Biden's first 100 days in office when he can achieve his legislative agenda and there isn't enough interest among Democratic leadership and having a long, voluminous evidentiary record. It's going to be, you know, videotape evidence that we've already seen and sort of a short, but potent case against Trump."

5. Can Trump be disqualified from future public office?

[Reuters' Legal Correspondent Jan Wolfe, saying:] "That is grounded in the Constitution, which says impeachment proceedings can result in removal or disqualification. But it's very unlikely that's going to happen. To disqualify, you need to convict. If all 100 members of the Senate vote, we need 67. So you have to have essentially, like, seventeen Republicans join Democrats in convicting Trump. There's very little chance of that happening. Yeah, in theory, there could be an effort to disqualify Trump from future office."