Impeachment Rundown: UTRGV political science professor explains

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With the House of Representatives voting to impeach President Trump, the next step in the process is for the Senate to hold a trial. As of now, it looks like that wouldn’t start until after President-Elect Joe Biden is sworn in. 

Charles Olney, a political science professor for UTRGV, said the structure of how this trial will proceed and what a conviction would really mean remains unclear.

"At that point, obviously, Trump will no longer be president," Olney said. "So, the immediate effect of impeachment --the most obvious effect-- is to remove someone from office, but that will no longer be a pressing concern. But supplemental effect of impeachment is the Senate could also determine to bar President Trump from ever obtaining a federal office again, which obviously would be significant."

For that to happen, lawmakers would have to take a separate vote on whether to disqualify him from holding future office --and that would need only a simple majority to pass. 

Olney said that a conviction would amount to Republicans deciding to close the door and move beyond the Trump era.

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