Trump is impeached. How quickly, or even could he be removed before the election?

McConnell has gone on record as saying the constitution requires him to hold a trial in those circumstances. I’m pretty sure he will hold the trial. What form it will take is a different question.

If it happened after the election and the reelected president were disqualified from office, then the electors would still be the electors and either someone has to decide whom they will vote for or they split their votes randomly and the house chooses the president from among the top three, each state having one vote. It would be a disaster. The last time the house chose the president (1824) it went on for months. Meantime, I guess the old VP would remain president.

No. There would be a VP elected, and that person would be “acting President” until (and unless) the House chose one. (20th Amendment, Section 3.)

Do the Senate’s rules permit a senator to call for an immediate vote following a brief presentation of prosecution charges and a rudimentary defense? If so, can the trial be abbreviated to mere days, if that long? If not, do Senate procedures allow any similar blockage of a full prosecution? Roberts presides, yes, but how flexibly?

I think not and I hope not. What I think happens is that as soon as the Senate is officially notified of the impeachment that they stop all other business, give John Roberts a call, and from then until the vote they’re nothing more than jurors and Roberts will preside just like any judge in any trial.

It is literally impossible for any president to be impeached by both houses.

During Clinton’s trial, the Senate kept the mornings for legislative business, and conducted the trial in the afternoons.

(A little over half-way down.)

Any trial of Trump will likely be similar.

I’d worry less if Roberts were “any judge” and if some judges weren’t rotten to the core. Yes, it’s a highest-profile case and no, Roberts won’t appear TOO obviously biased. But he can subtly favor the defense; his rulings can’t be appealed; and he needn’t sweat his career, especially after acquittal, when T-world gratitude will shower upon him.

I don’t expect Roberts to order senators (jurors) sequestered when not in session. But how he paces the trial - might politics influence him there? Might some message reach him that the GOP expect better election results if he slows or hastens things a bit?

I also worry that, before or during a trial, this POTUS goes totally, justifiably paranoid and finds pretext to impose martial law and suspend courts and congress. How can he then be removed from office?

The senators are still fully-empowered senators, and Roberts will be nothing more than their presiding officer.

It’s very unlike a jury trial, because the “jurors” also sit as the court of appeals, and can make on-the-spot reversals of anything the “judge” does.


As far as I know, all of his rulings can be appealed. Any Senator can appeal, immediately, and it’s decided then and there by the Senate.

It’s not that simple. There are restrictions on when the president can declare martial law, and where there are restrictions, there are judicable matters. He can’t actually suspend the Courts as a whole, nor can he actually suspend Congress.

In short, the way it’s set up, Congress and the Judiciary would have to go along with his actions. Otherwise you get what happened to Lincoln, where the Court is empowered to decide whether the actions are constitutional.

And it would be possible for it to go the other way, and for the states to declare martial law to stop the insurrection by Trump himself. The thing with insurrections is that they are a popularity contest–it’s only an insurrection if the majority opposes it.

And if there is no clear majority, then you’ve just described a declaration of civil war.

At least, that is my lay understanding. And that’s even assuming the military goes along with Trump.

This POTUS has not shown respect for legal restrictions. One of his heroes is supposedly Andrew Jackson, who told SCOTUS to enforce their own damn rulings. The judicial and legislative branches may consider themselves suspended if troops are at their doors.

Blatantly disobeying orders from the commander-in-chief, head of government, head of state, is mutiny - here, a military coup. Is the cure worse than the disease?

I disagree. I think he’s generally shown himself amenable to obeying legal rulings. For example, the 2020 census will not feature a citizenship question, because the court ruled against President Trump and he’s going to follow their ruling. Likewise, when his immigration ban was ruled unconstitutional, he rewrote it again and again until he found a format the courts agreed to.

I think you are underestimating Roberts. Yes, he’s a conservative judge, but he isn’t a Republican judge. I doubt that he has a great deal of love for Trump. He doesn’t need to win a primary so the main motivation that keeps Republican law makers from ditching Trump doesn’t apply to him. His main motivation is his legacy. I’m unclear about how it would even be possible for Trump to “shower gratitude upon him” in a way that would be meaningful. He’s going to run the trial by the book. If/when Trump is acquitted it will be because of the Republican jury, not the judge.

Yes, everyone, we know that the Senate doesn’t impeach. The impeachment process still involves both houses, though, and it’s perfectly clear what “impeached by both houses” means.

As for how quickly Pence would be sworn in after the conviction? In cases where the President has died, the VP has been sworn in very quickly, IIRC less than an hour for Lyndon Johnson. I don’t see why this sudden vacancy would be any different.

And any subsequent election would be decided in the Electoral College, just like all elections are. The most likely scenario would be that the ballots would be unchanged, and the “electors pledged to support Donald Trump” would be instructed by the RNC to vote for some other candidate picked by the RNC (who might or might not be Pence). Whether they would or not would be up to them, but they got the position of (prospective) elector in the first place because they were loyal to the party. State laws concerning faithless electors might also come into play, but those laws are probably unconstitutional, and would probably be found as such if they were ever seriously challenged (as they would be in this case).

If the senate, by some miracle, did convict and remove him, Democrats should vote no to barring him from running again. Saddle them with him in 2020 and onward.

This is just silly. The military is under civilian control, true (and that’s a good thing) but they’re required to obey all lawful orders. If Trump is removed via impeachment and conviction then no orders he could give would be lawful. In addition, any soldier obeying them would be exposed to accusations of rebellion and treason.

Sorry if I was unclear. After a senate vote of “guilty” then of course he can issue no lawful orders. My fear is that he’ll metaphorically throw a spanner (or a bomb) into the works before that vote, while he is still CinC

Let’s say the House passes articles of impeachment on 20 November and McConnell schedules the trial to begin on 1 December. But something TERRIBLE happens on 22 November (JFK Day) prompting the immediate declaration of martial law and roundups of suspicious dissidents.

Yes, the military might refuse to follow such orders. That’s a coup, right?

when nixon resigned, ford was sworn in, it took a bit for nixon to be totally packed up and ford was in blair house while things were turned around in the white house. nixon had time to get some things together as he was warned ahead of time that the senate would convict.

should trump be convicted in the senate, things would move much faster. pence would be sworn in with alacrity, and would spend time in blair house.

sanford, walsh, and weld are the republicans that have so far put their names forward for president. should things be done by the end of the year, anyone of them could do well in primaries. perhaps if trump is out of the way kasich may throw his hat in.

Exactly- the emphasis is on “lawful” there.

How exactly would this go down? Trump decides on his own that he’s El Presidente de por Vida despite the impeachment, and declares the courts, and Congress to be null and void, and directs the military to back him up?

That would go over like a lead balloon, I suspect; first, in that case, Congress would probably whip up a 25th Amendment removal so fast it would make our heads spin. While the GOP congresspeople are a bunch of odious sycophants, I think that the idea that he just unilaterally tried to eliminate their positions by fiat would rankle something fierce.

Second, the courts wouldn’t stand by idly either; they’d probably declare his actions unconstitutional/illegal/whatever in short order.

Third, the military would almost certainly recognize that this is anti-Constitution type action on the part of the President, and refuse those orders.

I’m not seeing any chain of events that would credibly lead to a dictatorship or anything like that.

22 November 2019: A mushroom cloud rises over Silicon Valley. Secret intel reveals a DemoLib conspiracy with a convenient foreign power, maybe Iran. Martial law ensues.

Yes, that’s the nightmare. What, it can’t happen here?

I agree.

Putin was generally amenable to obeying legal ruling during this first term. Even his second. Destroying democracy takes a lot of hard work, and DJT may well not be up to it.

Maybe one of Donald’s kids will turn out to be the real thing Dad only talks like.