Impeachment Proceedings

The+House+of+Representatives+has+begun+the+impeachment+proceedings+to+determine+whether+President+Trump+should+be+removed+from+office.

Louis Velazquez on Unsplash

The House of Representatives has begun the impeachment proceedings to determine whether President Trump should be removed from office.

The United States House of Representatives has begun the process of impeachment proceedings. They are trying to determine whether or not President Trump’s conduct and dealings with foreign powers merit impeachment. But what does this mean?

Let’s begin with what impeachment is. According to Article II Section IV of the U.S. Constitution, “The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

In the history of the United States, two presidents have been impeached by the House. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both impeached but never removed from office. Richard Nixon resigned from office under the threat of impeachment.  

The House just finished their public testimonies last week, which were performed in order to better understand the president’s actions surrounding Ukraine. The witnesses included foreign diplomats and top officials in the U.S. government. Some notable witnesses were Dr. Fiona Hill, former White House national security adviser, Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, and Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine.

The overarching goal of these proceedings is for the House of Representatives to decide whether or not to impeach the president. The House will decide on impeachment, but it is the Senate that will decide on removal from office. To reiterate, impeachment doesn’t necessarily mean removal.

This split makes the process a little more complicated. 

In President Trump’s case, many are speculating that the House will indeed impeach him. This idea is mainly driven by two things: testimony that many feel paints a terrible picture of the president’s conduct and the fact that the House has a democratic majority. House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff said, “What we’ve seen here is far more serious than a third-rate burglary of the Democratic headquarters,” a statement that compared President Trump’s actions involving Ukraine to the Watergate scandal faced by President Nixon. If most House Democrats share Schiff’s view, it is likely that the president will be impeached in the coming months.

The outlook for his removal from office, however, is much different. The Senate is majority Republican. According to the Washington Post, at least 15 Senate Republicans have expressed reservations or concerns about Trump’s actions, but none have said they would vote to impeach him. As it stands, at least 20 Senate Republicans would need to join Democrats in order to remove him from office. 

The future of the impeachment inquiry is still undetermined. It will almost certainly extend into 2020, which would mean it coincides with the beginning of primaries for presidential candidates. If Trump is impeached by the House, he could still run again. No one has ever been removed from office before, so it’s unclear what would happen in that case. 

The impeachment inquiry is an ongoing event that will undoubtedly impact the near future of the United States. Keep up to date by reading up. The Washington Post, NPR, and CNN all have excellent recaps that cover the newest updates. Stay tuned.