House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that even if, as he expects, Congress introduces and votes on an article impeachment against President Trump this week, they may not send it to the Senate right away.
For starters, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated that, because Congress is on recess, the upper chamber wouldn’t be able to hold a trial until the afternoon of Jan. 20, which theoretically would be after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn as Trump’s successor. Clyburn’s concern with that timeframe isn’t related to Trump being out of office, though. Instead he’s concerned it would distract Congress from important tasks during the early stages of Biden’s presidency, which is why he thinks the House may consider send the article to the Senate until after the first 100 days of the new administration are up.
Rep. James Clyburn says while he expects the House will take action on the article of impeachment against Pres. Trump this week, House Democrats might wait until after President-elect Biden’s first 100 days in office to send the article to the Senate. #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/aLjjNWAxG9
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) January 10, 2021
However, there’s no historical precedent for impeaching a president after exiting the White House, so while there are legal scholars who think a former president could be subject to impeachment after leaving office, the question could lead to a lengthy court battle, pushing the congressional process even further down the road.
Obama administration veteran and author of Impeachment: a guide, Cass Sunstein, tells @PeteWilliamsNBC that he doesn’t think you have impeach a president after he leaves. “I tend to believe it is only for current office holders”https://t.co/BmC1NuS8k5
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) January 10, 2021