Inquiring on Impeachment

President Donald Trump is undergoing an impeachment inquiry, but the specifics of the impeachment process are unknown to many.

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Inquiring on Impeachment

Former President  Richard Nixon on the far left, former president Bill Clinton in the center, and President Donald Trump on far right.

Former President Richard Nixon on the far left, former president Bill Clinton in the center, and President Donald Trump on far right.

ATI Composite

Former President Richard Nixon on the far left, former president Bill Clinton in the center, and President Donald Trump on far right.

ATI Composite

ATI Composite

Former President Richard Nixon on the far left, former president Bill Clinton in the center, and President Donald Trump on far right.

Lilly Wolfe, Columnist

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President Donald Trump is currently in the process of being impeached. Impeachment is described in the Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton as “a method of national inquest into the conduct of public men.” Any federal judge, Congressman, or executive official can be impeached. 

What exactly is the impeachment process?

It is explained in the Constitution that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” (Article I, section 2) and that “the Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments…[but] no person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present” (Article I, section 3). Essentially, this says that the House Speaker must declare an impeachment inquiry, which begins an investigation by the House to uncover any offenses which could lead to impeachment. If these findings are considered sufficient, the House of Representatives holds a vote on the articles of impeachment. If the majority of the members present for the vote decide to impeach, then the Senate holds a trial on impeachment findings. Then comes the vote; the Senate needs a two-thirds majority of a quorum in favor of impeachment in order to convict a president and remove him from office.

Where in the impeachment process is President Trump? 

Impeachment hearings are now underway in the House of Representatives. A vote will be taken in the House once the hearings are completed, and that is predicted to happen before the end of the year. The chances of impeachment in the near future have increased with the testimony of EU ambassador Gordon Sondland on Nov. 20, which strongly linked President Trump to acts of bribery. According to The House Press Gallery, the House has 233 Democrats and only 147 Republicans, meaning that when the vote takes place, it will likely get the majority needed to impeach the president. However, if Trump is impeached, the Senate is who decides to convict. Republicans hold the majority in the Senate; as most votes are along party lines, it is less likely Trump will be convicted. But, it doesn’t mean it can’t happen. If Trump were to be convicted and voted out of office, then Vice President Mike Pence would take his place, unless he is also somehow indicted. 

What other presidents have faced impeachment? 

Former presidents Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and Andrew Johnson have all been faced with impeachment hearings. While it is thought by some that Richard Nixon was impeached, he actually resigned before the House voted on impeachment. As per Time Magazine, Bill Clinton was impeached for lying under oath, but was never convicted by the Senate. Andrew Johnson was the first president to be impeached. He, like Clinton, was also not convicted. 

 

To date, no president has been impeached, convicted, and successfully removed from office. It remains to be seen what will happen to Trump. It is impossible to say what exactly will happen with Trump’s impeachment, but regardless, it is clear that this marks a significant moment in the history of the United States.

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