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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
- 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:
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