Donald Trump’s current impeachment process could have more consequences than a simple departure from US command. A week before the end of his term, moreover, what worries the Republican the least is the forced departure of the presidency.
If convicted in both the House and the Senate, he could lose the lifetime pension every former U.S. president is entitled to and even be banned from running for federal office – which would prevent him from trying. to return to the White House in 2024, as he thinks. .
This, however, would not be automatic and would depend on a new decision by Congress. Since the law is unclear and there is no historical precedent – no president has been indicted in the United States before – he is likely to go to court. In other words, the last word can end up with the Supreme Court, and not with the legislature.
Before, a recap.
How does impeachment work in the United States?
What is certain is that any punishment for Trump – or any other US president – only happens if he is convicted by the Senate, the last step in the impeachment process.
In the American system, the opening of the action takes place in the House of Representatives (equivalent to the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies), which must approve it by simple majority – i.e. at least 218 of the 435 votes, if all the deputies are present.
The House, which has a Democratic majority, is expected to approve the measure against Trump. The case then goes to the Senate, which is actually responsible for judging whether the president has committed the crime he is accused of.
To be found guilty, it is necessary that two thirds of the household (67 of the 100 senators therefore) vote in favor of the prevention. Thus, the measure needs the support of not only Democrats, but Republicans as well. And although some colleagues in the Trump party have already spoken out in favor of the removal, there are not enough votes so far to achieve it. Trump will only be subject to the expected sanctions if he is convicted in the Senate.
Now, yes, let’s get down to the details.
Can Trump run for president again if he is impeached?
It depends. The ban on running for public office is not automatic in the United States. For that to happen, the Senate must take a second simple majority vote – after condemning Trump – including banning him from holding a senior position in public administration again.
Some analysts, however, wonder if Trump might even be barred by lawmakers from running again. This is because the law states that accusers can be “disqualified from occupying and enjoying a position of honor or confidence in the United States.”
The point is, no label defines the presidency as a position of “honor or trust”, although most jurists regard it as such. Either way, there is a legal loophole for Trump to go to court if he receives the punishment.
Some Democrats have even raised the possibility of invoking the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In one of her articles, she bars people who have participated in insurgencies or rebellions against the US government from holding positions in public administration. This mechanism, however, has never been regulated by law and doubts remain as to how it could be applied in practice.
Can he be indicted after his term ends?
Nothing in the law states that the impeachment process must be stopped after the president leaves the White House. In practice, therefore, the Senate can condemn Trump after he resigns and then approve the ban so he can run again. But as it has never happened in American history, the case would likely go to court.
And what about the annuity of former presidents?
Trump automatically loses the right to money if he is condemned by the Senate. Currently, each former president is entitled to an annual pension of 219.2 thousand US dollars (approximately 1.2 million reais), equal to the amount received by current government secretaries (a position similar to that of ministers in Brazil). In addition, the former first lady is entitled to US $ 20,000 (R $ 105,000) per year.
How safe is Trump after he leaves the White House?
Regardless of the arraignment, the Republican and his family will continue to be entitled to Secret Service protection for life. The law governing benefits for those leaving the White House states that every ex-president, ex-first lady and their children under the age of 16 must have special security, and Congress cannot change that – although the rule was changed, the change would only apply to future presidents.
Throughout history, Republican Richard Nixon, who resigned in 1974 to avoid impeachment, is the only former president to forgo the benefit.