What’s next in the impeachment process?

KELOLAND.com Original

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., left, and ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., right, before the start of testimony from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (Joshua Roberts/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KELO) — Day two of public impeachment hearings has ended in Washington D.C. So, what happens from here?

KELOLAND News breaks down the steps.


The process

🔍 STEP 1: Allegations made

The House of Representatives opened up an impeachment inquiry officially on September 24, 2019. Six committees are handling the inquiry: Financial Services, Judiciary, Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Oversight and Reform and Ways and Means.

🗳 The U.S. House resolution setting procedures for public impeachment hearings passed on October 13, 2019.

There have been both closed-door depositions and public hearings in the impeachment process.

🔴 This is the step we are currently in.

The House Intelligence Committee conducted 18 closed-door depositions. Two more are scheduled. One on Friday and one on Saturday. They are not guaranteed to show up.

There have been three public hearings in the House Intelligence Committee this week:

Next week, there are eight scheduled public hearings. Here’s a preview of who is coming up.


Alexander Vindman

Former National Security Council Director for European Affairs Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman returns to the Capitol to review transcripts of his testimony in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence for Europe and Russia who is a career foreign service officer, departs after a closed-door interview in the impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump’s efforts to press Ukraine to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Kurt Volker

FILE – In this Oct. 3, 2019 file photo, Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, is leaving after a closed-door interview with House investigators, at the Capitol in Washington. House investigators are releasing more transcripts Tuesday in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump with hundreds of pages of testimony from two top diplomats dealing with Ukraine. Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, and Gordan Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, both testified about Trump’s interest in pursuing investigations of Joe Biden and Democrats as the White House withheld military aide to the East European ally. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Tim Morrison

Tim Morrison, the top Russia official on President Trump’s National Security Council, gets off of an elevator as he returns to Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, to review his testimony before the House impeachment inquiry last week. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


Gordon Sondland 

FILE – In this Oct. 17, 2019, file photo U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, center, arrives for a interview with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Capitol Hill in Washington. House investigators released more transcripts Nov. 5 in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, including hundreds of pages of testimony from Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, and Sondland. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Laura Cooper

Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, returns to the Capitol to review her testimony and documents from an appearance last week in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

David Hale

David Hale, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, to be interview for the impeachment inquiry. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


Fiona Hill 

Former White House advisor on Russia, Fiona Hill arrives for a closed door meeting as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

📺📱 You can watch coverage on KELOLAND TV in a CBS News Special Report, here on KELOLAND.com and on the KELOLAND News App.

There could be more private and public hearings. The Republicans on the committee are also asking for the anonymous whistleblower and Hunter Biden to come to public hearings.

STEP 2: The judiciary committee doesn’t have enough evidence for impeachment

President Donald Trump waves as he departs on the South Lawn of the White House, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Washington, for a campaign rally in Louisiana. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump remains in office.

The process ends here.

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:
233 Democrats
197 Republicans
1 Independent
4 Vacancies

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 ✔ 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.

If ❌ they don’t get enough votes (less than 67).

The process ends and President Trump remains in office.

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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