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‘History teaches that President Trump can be impeached even after leaving office,’ professor says

House Democrats have introduced one article of impeachment against President Trump, charging him with “incitement of insurrection” after last week’s attack at the Capitol. 

“It is past time for national leaders who wish to protect our nation and preserve its democracy to impeach and convict Donald Trump and/or seek to remove him from office via the 25th Amendment, both of which were intended to deal with precisely this sort of danger from executive power,” says Northwestern University history professor Michael Allen.

However, House Republicans today blocked a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence and cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Trump from office.

Professors from the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, as well as from Northwestern’s history department and the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, are available for comment. 

Michael Allen is an associate professor of history. His research interests focus on U.S. political and diplomatic history. He is the author of “Until the Last Man Comes Home: POWs, MIAs, and the Unending Vietnam War.” His current work-in-progress, “New Politics: The Imperial Presidency, The Pragmatic Left, and the Problem of Democratic Power, 1933-1981,” treats evolving left-liberal relations to presidential power in the postwar era. He can be reached by contacting Stephanie Kulke at stephanie.kulke@northwestern.edu.

Ronald Allen is the John Henry Wigmore Professor of Law and a constitutional and criminal law expert. He can be reached at rjallen@law.northwestern.edu.

Michael Conway is an expert on theWatergate proceedings and is an adjunct instructor at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Conway is a retired partner at the national law firm Foley & Lardner LLP. He served in 1974 as counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary in the Impeachment Inquiry of President Richard M. Nixon. He can be reached at michael.conway@northwestern.edu

Quote from Professor Conway
“History teaches that President Trump can be impeached even after leaving office. In the 19th century, the Senate refused to dismiss an impeachment trial against the Secretary of War, even though the official had resigned. Conviction by the Senate in an impeachment trial would have real world consequences. If two-thirds of the senators vote to uphold the impeachment article, the Senate then could — by a simple majority vote — bar Trump from ever holding federal office again.” 

Jon Marshall is a professor at the MedillSchool of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communicationswhose areas of expertise include the history of investigative reporting and the relationship between presidents and the media. He is also the author of “Watergate’s Legacy and the Press: The Investigative Impulse.” He can be reached at j-marshall@northwestern.edu.

Daniel Rodriguez is the Harold Washington Professor of Law and previously served as a dean of the Law School. Among his focus areas are administrative law, local government law and federal and state constitutional law. He can be reached at daniel.rodriguez@law.northwestern.edu.