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Political expert says Donald Trump has presidential powers despite impeachment vote

Donald Trump in Battle Creek.PNG
FILE - On Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, the House of Representatives impeached President Donald J. Trump. He is the third president in U.S. history to ever be impeached. He is the first president in history to be impeached twice. (WWMT/File){ }

There is almost no chance President Donald Trump would be removed from office before his term ends Jan. 20, 2021, after a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach him Wednesday.

The trail in the U.S. Senate would be key to his removal, where a conviction could torpedo any hope Trump would have of spending four more years in the White House.

“People around him have indicated that he might have interest in running again in 2024. We have heard that from him because he has been reluctant to concede defeat in the 2020 election, but the idea that he could possibly run again, means impeachment takes that off the table. It certainly changes the political dynamic in 2024,” said WMU political science professor John Clark.

The impeachment vote in the U.S. House Wednesday was the first step in the process. The next step would be a trial in the U.S. Senate.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still in charge and said he wouldn't bring senators back to start the trial before the president leaves office.

"What the president should be doing is the exact opposite of what this president seems to want to do," Clark said. "The president should be telling his supporters, not just some generic, written by somebody else message about 'don’t cause trouble we all want peace.' The president should be speaking directly to the American people, the president should be taking responsibility, the president should be saying that this bill of goods that he sold his supporters that the elections was somehow stolen from him is factually incorrect."

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Kalamazoo, upheld his promise by voting to impeach.

U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids, hasn't even been in office for two weeks and is already making huge decisions.

He stands firm in his decision to join Upton and impeach Trump.

“This wasn't a landslide re-election for Donald Trump. This wasn't a stolen election. None of those claims played out in court. And it's time we settle that once and for all, because unless we come to that shared reality then we're not going to be able to fully heal from this moment,” said Meijer.

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Muskegon, voted against impeachment as he did during Trump's first impeachment in 2019.

“After examining the Article of Impeachment put forward by House Democrats, I do not believe their evidence rises to the Constitutional threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors,” said Huizenga. “What took place on Jan. 6 was a tragedy. Violence has no place in our political system. With days remaining in President Trump’s term, impeachment further divides our nation and prevents us from coming together. West Michigan expects Congress to move forward and tackle the many issues we face as a nation.”

Clark said it could be weeks or months before the Senate would deliver a verdict on impeachment.

If convicted Trump could not run for any elected office, he would lose his six-figure pension, and other perks of former presidents.

A two-thirds Senate majority would be required for conviction, which would be 67 votes and that threshold has never reached.

Only 48 senators voted to convict during Trump's first impeachment trial.

The senate makeup for the upcoming trial will be 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats and two Independents.