How Much Will the Impeachment Trial Cost Taxpayers?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by J Scott Applewhite/AP/Shutterstock (11751386b)Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
J Scott Applewhite/AP/Shutterstock / J Scott Applewhite/AP/Shutterstock

Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial starts Tuesday. Senators will listen to Trump’s team and House impeachment managers about the constitutionality of the trial itself, which stemmed from the violence that rocked the Capitol on January 6. How much will this cost the American taxpayer?

It turns out that although impeachment is a lot of work, it isn’t expensive.

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Roll Call, a news service that specializes in covering Congress, reports that the January 2020 impeachment cost approximately $1.83 million, and most of that money was already budgeted in Congressional operations. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s salary and expenses were also part of regular expenditures.

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This is in contrast with the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998. That cost $79.6 million because of the wide scope of the investigation. The Whitewater investigation that led to the charges spanned a long time period and many witnesses. The investigation that led to the 2020 impeachment was narrower. The investigation of charges that could lead to the 2021 impeachment is even easier, as most of America saw the rioting in the Capitol on the news.

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Now that impeachment is moving forward, the President will of course incur costs related to his defense.

Key players in the Senate impeachment trial prosecution and defense of former President Donald Trump Trump Impeachment Trial Cast - 08 Feb 2021.

If President Trump is found guilty of treason, sedition, inciting a riot or other charges after he leaves office, he could lose the cushy retirement package that presidents receive: a pension equal to a cabinet secretary’s salary, currently $219,000 per year; an allowance for office space and staffing; $1 million a year for official travel (and another $500,000 for the spouse’s official travel); a lifetime of Secret Service protection; and a guaranteed funeral with full honors. They also receive health insurance if they were in the Federal Employee Health Benefits plan for at least five years. President Trump was not in office long enough to receive this, but he is eligible for Medicare.

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In other words, if the President is found to be guilty, taxpayers will gain back more money than the cost of the trial.

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This article has been updated with the news that the Trump’s second impeachment trial begins this week.

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About the Author

Ann Logue is a writer specializing in business and finance. Her most recent book is The Complete Idiot’s Guide: Options Trading (Alpha 2016). She lives in Chicago.
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