If the Senate Doesn’t Convict Trump, Can the House Impeach Again?

Written by Dan Perkins on October 3, 2019

This is an interesting question because if the Senate does not convict Donald Trump, the House can re-impeach him again. Look at this scenario: the Democrats retain control of the House, the Republicans control the Senate, and President Trump is re-elected. Let us also say that the impeachment trial is rushed by the Democrats so as to have the trial just before the 2020 general election.

You may be asking, why would the Democrats want to hold the impeachment trial before the election? If they lose the House in November, the Senate may delay the trial, and if the Republicans gain control, they could suspend the impeachment with a new House vote

The most exciting scenario is that the Democrats keep the House and then the Senate does not convict. If so, I would look for the Democrats to try and impeach the President again on new charges, different than those currently under consideration. Part of the challenge for the Democrats is selecting the charges to use today, as well as what they might want to keep back in case they lose in the trial, but still retain control of the House.

A significant number of Americans believe that if there is a trial and the President wins, they think it’s over. Not in a long shot. The Democrats will bring charges against the President again. I believe that after each subsequent impeachment, and I believe there could be several, will get less and less support from the House as well as the American people.

The high-water mark for this issue will be the 2022 mid-term elections. If the trial does not end in a conviction, the American people in large numbers will want to move on. If the Democrats persist in bringing on another impeachment trial, look for a significant rebellion at the ballot box in 2022.

Let me point out that in an impeachment trial, like most criminal trials, the President is considered to be innocent of the charges at the start. Lawyers for the President will have the right of discovery and the right to cross-examine the witnesses. According to the Constitution, the jury, which is made up of two Senators from each of the 50 states, requires 67 Senators, or two thirds, to convict the President. In the history of our nation, during two previous impeachment trials, Andrew Johnson’s vote was 35-19 with 36 needed for conviction. In the case of Bill Clinton, his vote was 45-55 with 67 required for conviction. Not one Democrat voted for conviction against Clinton. While the Republicans had majority control of the Senate, they needed all of them to vote for conviction, and in addition, 12 Democrats to convict.

The current Senate is 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents. With 67 needed for conviction, the 45 Democrats and the two independents, plus 20 of the 53 Republicans would be necessary in order to convict.

So far, the Democrats have not presented a viable charge of high crimes and misdemeanors warranting a trial against the President. Making the charge and then supporting the charge for a vote is something else. Their next step is to try and build a case for 3 to 5 charges that can be voted on by the various committees. If the bills of impeachment pass the committees, it goes to the floor of the House for debate and then a vote.

The longer the House takes in this process, I believe the emotional momentum of the current moment will give way to reason.

Perkins Twist. Concerning the party distribution numbers referred to above is the fact that the entire House and one-third of the Senate will be up for election. During the ensuing months, congressmen, congresswomen, and senators will begin the process of campaigning. The question is, will they listen to their voters and do what the voters want or reject their voters? This would be if they vote what they want and risk re-election if the trial starts before the general election. Is it possible that the Democrats have peaked too early with 13 months before the general election? Will they have to act in a more outrageous fashion to try and keep momentum? One last point, the bill of impeachment is no different than any other bill passed by the House, but it is the majority leader of the Senate who controls the agenda as to when the trial will take place. As the quality of the charges is challenged in the House, then look for the Senate to start talking about the viability of the charges.

The biggest mistake the Democrats can make is to push the idea that the President is illegitimate because of Russian collusion. I believe reports coming out of the Justice Department will shed new light on just how corrupt both the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Obama administration were. Through the whole process, I still maintain we could see former President Obama be indicted by a grand jury because the Democrats have opened Pandora’s Box and they will lose control of all the things coming out of the darkness.