Impeachment proceedings: what you need to know
President Donald Trump is currently facing an impeachment inquiry initiated by the House of Representatives. Trump is currently accused with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and depending on how Congress votes, could be removed from office. Here’s how the process works.
There is no formal procedure for impeaching a president outlined in the Constitution, so Congress must form its own process for impeachment. Congress has done so three times before, during the impeachment process of former presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
Step One: Initiation
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump on September 24, allowing the House to continue their preexisting investigations of Trump.
Next, the House Intelligence, Oversight, Reform and Foreign Affairs Committees conducted closed door meetings, issued subpoenas and continued the investigations. On Oct. 31, the House approved a resolution which detailed the rules of the impeachment process.
The Intelligence Committee then conducted open hearings, in which witnesses were questioned, and a report was then drafted to send to the Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee held two more hearings, listening to legal scholars and lawyers from the Intelligence Committee.
Step Two: Articles of Impeachment
After the hearings, the Judiciary Committee drafted two articles of impeachment against President Trump. These articles were revised and debated for two days and finally approved by the Judiciary Committee and reported to the full House to be debated.
The articles of impeachment are currently being debated on the House floor and will be voted on by the full House. If a majority of representatives vote in favor of impeachment, President Trump will be impeached and the process will move on to the Senate. If a majority in the House vote against the articles, the process will end.
If Trump is impeached, the House will appoint managers, or prosecutors, to participate in the Senate trial. The chief justice of the Supreme Court will preside over the trial and the Senate will serve as the jury.
After the trial, for which a detailed process will be laid out, the Senate will deliberate and vote on each article of impeachment separately. A two-thirds majority will be necessary for conviction. If the articles pass, Trump will be removed from office. If not, he will be acquitted.