How impeachment works Original

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KELO) — A complex process is about to take place in Washington, D.C., as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has announced an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

So what happens now?

KELOLAND News breaks down the steps.

The process

🔍 STEP 1: Allegations made

This can happen in a number of ways. In recent history, the House voted to begin impeachment proceedings. This time is different. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is instead having six U.S. House Committees already investigating the president continue under the “umbrella of impeachment inquiry.”

These six committees will send their strongest cases to the Judiciary Committee.

STEP 2: The judiciary committee doesn’t have enough evidence for impeachment ▶ President Trump Remains in office


STEP 2: The committee has enough evidence for impeachment. The U.S. House of Representatives holds a vote on Articles of Impeachment.

🗳 The House of Representatives need a simple majority.

Simple majority = 218 of 435 members

The House right now:
235 Democrats
198 Republicans
1 Independent
1 Vacancy

If ❌ they don’t get enough votes (less than 218), the hearings end and President Trump remains in office.

If ✔ 218 or more vote in favor of the Articles of Impeachment, the process moves forward.

❗ If the U.S. House votes in favor, Trump is impeached.

Now, the process moves to the U.S. Senate.

STEP 3: The U.S. Senate holds a trial.

The 100 Senators serve as jurors and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presides.

After the trial, the Senate will hold a vote to convict the President.

The U.S. Senate needs a two-thirds majority vote to convict.

Two-thirds majority = 67 of 100 members

The Senate right now:
53 Republicans
45 Democrats
2 Independents (both caucus with Democrats)

If ❌ they don’t get enough votes (less than 67), the process ends and President Trump remains in office.

If ✔ 67 or more vote in favor to convict, the process moves forward.

Step 4: President Donald Trump is removed from office.

Vice President Mike Pence is sworn in as 46th President of the United States.

The history

Only two presidents have been impeached in American history.

First was President Andrew Johnson in 1868. He was impeached by the House, but never convicted by the Senate and thus remained in office.

Many Americans will remember President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998. He was also acquitted of the charges against him when the Senate failed to convict him.

Presidents John Tyler and Richard Nixon both had attempted impeachments. Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.

No president has been removed from office by the U.S. Senate.

What are high crimes and misdemeanors?

The U.S. Constitution outlines that a president can be removed for:

  • Treason
  • Bribery
  • Other high crimes and misdemeanors

Treason is defined in the Constitution.

Bribery isn’t defined, but American law has long held it’s when a person gives an official money or gifts to influence their behavior in office.

High crimes and misdemeanors is a tricky one.

Alexander Hamilton wrote, impeachable offenses are:

“Those offences which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or in other words from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 65

The phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” was used in the impeachments of Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Clinton. It has also been used in a number of federal judge impeachments for the following reasons, according to the Constitutional Rights Foundation:

  • Being habitually drunk
  • Showing favoritism on the bench
  • Using judicial power unlawfully
  • Using the office for financial gain
  • Unlawfully punishing people for contempt of court
  • Submitting false expense accounts
  • Making false statements under oath
  • Disclosing confidential information

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