Here's what happens if Trump gets convicted by the Senate
- To remove President Donald Trump from office, two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 senators, need to convict him in his impeachment trial, which began in earnest this week.
- If Trump is convicted, he would be removed from office effective immediately. The Senate would also vote on a separate measure on whether to bar him from ever holding federal office again.
- Vice President Mike Pence would take over the office of the presidency if Trump is removed.
- The Presidential Succession Act designates the vice president is first in the line of succession to the presidency, followed by the speaker of the House (currently Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi).
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate officially opened last week as the House of Representatives impeachment managers read the article of impeachment against him into the record and senators were sworn in as Chief Justice John Roberts presided over the proceedings.
This week, the Senate will hear opening arguments from the impeachment managers - acting as prosecutors in Trump's trial - and the president's legal defense team.
The Senate is comprised of 100 lawmakers. Right now, it has 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with Democrats.
According to the Constitution, two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 lawmakers, need to vote to convict an impeached official in order to trigger their removal from office. That's highly unlikely in Trump's case, since the Senate is controlled by Republicans.
But in the event this scenario plays out, the Senate is authorized to pursue one of two options:
- Removing Trump from office, effective immediately.
- Removing Trump from office, effective immediately, and prohibiting him from holding any office in the future of "honor, Trust or Profit under the United States."
According to the Congressional Research Service, the Senate would vote separately on whether it wanted to bar Trump from holding any federal offices "of public trust" in the future. If a simple majority, or 51 senators, supported such a measure, it would pass.
In the improbable event that Trump is removed from office, Vice President Mike Pence would take over the office of the presidency because of the Constitution's 25th Amendment, which stipulates that "in case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President."
Under the Presidential Succession Act, passed in 1947 and amended in 2006, the vice president is first in the line of succession to the presidency, followed by the speaker of the House (currently Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi) and the president pro tempore of the Senate (GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley).
After those three officials are the Cabinet secretaries. The secretary of state is fourth in the line of succession, followed by the secretary of the Treasury, the secretary of defense, and the attorney general, with the secretary of homeland security - the most recently created department - being last in the line of succession.
The presidential line of succession is also affected by whether the members of Congress or Cabinet officials in it are eligible for the presidency. Under Article 2, Section 1 of the US Constitution, someone must be at least 35 years old and a "natural-born" US citizen who has lived in the country for at least 14 years to serve as president.
The House of Representatives impeached Trump last month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.