Donald Trump, the first sitting US president in history to be impeached twice, may be seen as a martyr by his followers, a UOW expert in US politics believes.
Still refusing to resign and with his Cabinet opting not to invoke the 25th amendment of the Constitution to oust him, Mr Trump will remain in office until January 20, at which time Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the US.
The House of Representatives voted 232 to 197 to impeach Trump, exactly one week after rioters forced lawmakers to flee from the very chamber [US Capitol] in which they cast ballots during the fourth presidential impeachment in US history.
"Quite significantly" 10 Republicans voted to impeach the president on Thursday.
US politics expert Associate Professor Markus Wagner said there will now be a trial in the Senate where senators will hear evidence in the Article of Impeachment and decide whether to convict Trump.
Prof Wagner said while these proceedings have many of the trappings of an actual court, it is important to bear in mind that impeachment is a political process.
He added conviction requires two thirds of the senators who are present to vote in favour of impeachment.
"That becomes important because some senators may decide that they do not want to be present, then it is only two thirds of the senators who are actually in the chamber," Prof Wagner said.
"For a quorum you have to have 51 senators present in the chamber.
"Outgoing Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has stated that he is 'pleased' with impeachment, indicating that he may have enough votes on the Republican side of the Senate.
"We may see Trump loyalists (or those counting on the Trump base for future election prospects) deciding not to participate in the Senate impeachment trial. This would increase the chances for conviction in the Senate."
But President-elect Biden remained "lukewarm" to suggestions of a Senate trial after January 20. Such proceedings would allow Trump to style himself a political martyr to his followers even more than is already the case.
"This would distract from the critical goals Biden has for his first 100 days and beyond such as tackling spiralling COVID infection numbers and the country's lagging vaccination program and providing immediate financial relief to struggling families. Last, but not least, it would make confirmation of Biden's Cabinet picks more difficult."
Republicans with ambitions to run for president in 2024, such as Vice-President Mike Pence, Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, stood to gain from Trump being impeached, Prof Wagner said.
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