Donald Trump impeachment trial: what will actually happen, and what are the chances of the President being removed from office

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Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives last month, making him the third ever US President to be so.

The House moved to impeach him on two counts - that he had abused his power and that he hindered Congress from investigating the case.

(Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

(Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Nearly all Democrats voted in favour of impeachment, while every Republican, the opposite.

Now the eyes of America - and indeed, the world - will be on the next stages of the impeachment process, and it's been announced that the hearing will begin in the Senate on Tuesday 21 January.

So could Trump - who once owned golf courses in Scotland before resigning his directorship just before he was inaugurated as President - be removed from office?

Here's everything you need to know:

Why has Donald Trump been impeached?

Democrats claim say they had no choice but to act because Mr Trump has shown a pattern of behaviour that poses a risk to the democratic process ahead of the 2020 election.

He is accused of withholding aid from Ukraine while requesting the country's president dig up dirt on Joe Biden, the former Vice President and current favourite to face President Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

"Our president holds the ultimate public trust. When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country, he endangers the constitution, he endangers our democracy, he endangers our national security," said Jerrold Nadler, the Judiciary Committee chairman, announcing the charges.

"Our next election is at risk. That is why we must act now. No one, not even the president, is above the law."

What happens now?

Now President Trump has been impeached, to bring the impeachment process to its legal conclusion, the Senate must now try the president and find him guilty by a two thirds majority.

The Senate is currently 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two independents. Senators are unlikely to vote against their own party lines - making the chances of him being removed from office unlikely.

If the president is found guilty, he is removed from office and can be barred from running for any federal position in future.

Trump can also have other privileges removed, such as the presidential pension, and can face further criminal prosecutions in a civil court.

If the Senate finds against Trump, then Mike Pence, the current Vice President, automatically becomes 46th US President. In theory he could refuse this post, as he could refuse to take the oath of office.

If the trial does not find two thirds in favour of a "guilty" verdict, then no action is imposed.

Have Presidents been impeached before?

Previously, only two out of the 45 men elected as president have faced impeachment; Trump is the third.

Two have been impeached by the House and none have been removed from the White House by the Senate.

Impeachment did not appear to damage Bill Clinton's popularity with the American public, and Democrats did better than expected during the midterm elections that took place shortly after the process began.

Polling even suggests Clinton is the most popular living president.

Following the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon faced impeachment for the obstruction of justice, abuse of power and contempt of congress in 1974 , but he resigned before the House could vote on impeachment.

Andrew Johnson was impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanours" in March 1868 after he removed the Secretary for War from office. The Senate did not find him guilty, however, and he served out one term.

President Johnson never ran for election as president, having taken the job after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.