Donald Trump impeachment trial: when is the Senate trial - and what happens if the president is convicted?

Trump could face a Senate trial as a sitting or former president

Donald Trump was impeached on January 13 (Getty Images)
Donald Trump was impeached on January 13 (Getty Images)

On January 13, Donald Trump became the first president in US history to be impeached on two occasions.

His impeachment comes with just one week of his term remaining, with Joe Biden’s inauguration set to take place on January 20.

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Now a Senate trial beckons for the outgoing leader who has been charged with “incitement of insurrection” following the Capitol Hill riot on Januray 6.

Here's what you need to know about an upcoming trial.

When is the trial?

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s office has indicated that a trial will take place after the inauguration of Joe Biden.

Democrat lawmakers had hoped to hold a trial in the final days of Trump’s presidency but that looks increasingly unlikely.

In a statement on January 13, McConnell said that impeachment proceedings would get underway on January 19 when senators return on Trump’s final day in office.

A trial would last for day, even weeks, and therefore the president would not be impeached before Joe Biden’s inauguration.

That means that the Senate will be voting on impeaching a former president, rather than a sitting president.

What will happen at the trial?

At an impeachment trial the Senate has the right to call witnesses with both sides able to perform a cross-examination of those called forward.

House members would serve as a prosecution team while President Trump has the right to defend his case with his own legal team.

At the conclusion of the trial Senate members would then vote to convict or acquit Trump of impeachment.

A two-thirds majority is required for Trump to be convicted of impeachment.

What happens if he’s convicted?

If the Republican-controlled Senate opts to convict the president then we move into unknown territory.

Three presidents, including Donald Trump have been impeached before, though all three were never convicted by the Senate. Reports from the New York Times suggest that Republican Senate leader is warming to the idea of convicting the president and purging him from the GOP.

If the president is convicted of impeachment before January 20 he will be required to give up the presidency.

There are still consequences for the president if he is convicted of impeachment after Joe Biden’s inauguration, though there is of course no precedent.

If the president convict, they can then vote to prevent the outgoing president from running for office again, preventing an anticipated campaign from Trump in 2024.

Donald Trump may also be exempt from receiving benefits enjoyed by other former presidents. This includes a $220,000 a year pension, a security detail, paid office space,