by Josh Hypes
On Tuesday, December 10, House Democrats announced that they intended to move forward on impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the chairs of the six key committees conducting investigations into matters related to impeachment announced that the House Judiciary Committee would introduce two articles of impeachment against the President’s actions towards Ukraine.
The articles charge that the President abused the power of his office seeking help from Ukraine in the 2020 election and obstruction of Congress through his alleged attempts to thwart Congressional investigations. Many critics of the House impeachment proceedings question the speed of the investigations; however, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, whose committee largely oversaw the investigations into the President’s actions, stated, “The argument ‘Why don’t you just wait?’ amounts to this: Why don’t you just let him cheat in one more election? Why not let him cheat just one more time? Why not let him have foreign help just one more time?”
The coming days on Capitol Hill are likely to be partisan regarding the matter. House Republicans stand staunchly with the President against the impeachment proceedings, calling them politically motivated and attempted sabotage. If House Republicans do not shift their stance, likely the vote will go along party lines when it is introduced to the House floor.
Some might ask how does the House impeach the President? Does that mean that the President will be removed from office? What comes next?
The Constitution states, “[The House] shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.” Which later defines impeachment as, “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.” This basically means that impeachment charges the President with a crime that the House stipulates.
The “conviction” part of the reading is the key part which is referenced later in the Constitution where: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.” This means that in order to remove a president after they have been charged with a crime by the House, the Senate must try the case and reach a 2/3rds majority in order to remove that official from office.
The process of impeachment have changed over the course of the history of our country; however, they have a regular structure. Usually, an impeachment inquiry will be started which grants committees wider authority into using investigative powers into matters related to the alleged wrong-doings of the official. After the evidence has been collected, the House will initiate drafting articles of impeachment in the House Judiciary Committee. Once these articles have been recommended to the floor of the House, they will be debated and voted upon. If approved, the House officially impeaches the official, and they will face a trial in the Senate.
With the current makeup in the Senate, it is highly unlikely that President Trump will be removed from office due to the alleged claims of the House. The Senate Republicans have made it evident that they will support President Trump through this process and that the Democrats are politicizing the process of impeachment because they dislike the current President.