Impeachment, Explained

Credit: 350z33 at en.wikipedia

Credit: 350z33 at en.wikipedia

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President Trump is being impeached. But what does that actually entail?  

First and foremost, the President almost certainly won’t be removed from office. Removal from office isn’t all that impeachment is. Impeachment is actually the trial of the President by Congress. First, by the House of Representatives, then by the Senate.  

There are two possible results from an impeachment hearing. One, the President is censored. That means that no actual consequences will come to the President, but he or she has been officially recognized as guilty.  

Under the other, the President will be removed from office, prohibited from government work, and replaced by the Vice President, in this case, Mike Pence.  

Impeachments have happened twice before in US history: once in 1868, when Andrew Johnson tried to get rid of the Secretary of War without consulting congress, and once when Bill Clinton lied under oath. It happened again to Richard Nixon, after the Watergate scandal, by Nixon resigned before the actual trial could start.  

Every time an impeachment has happened in US history, the vote for impeachment has gone exactly across party lines and failed to receive the proper majority in the Senate.  

This is just the end of a longer process, however. It begins with the filing of articles of impeachment. This is when an official document is drafted containing specific crimes the President has been accused of.  

These crimes are then approved by the House of Representatives, then a trial is held by the Senate. The Senate has exclusive rights to prosecute the President; they serve as both the judge and the jury, bringing forward accusations, giving arguments, giving counterarguments, deciding on a sentence, and carrying out that sentence.  

The Senate debates the submitted articles, then votes. If a two-thirds majority is reached in favor of removal from office, then that’s what will happen 

The Senate is majority-Republican, and President Trump is a Republican. In the current Senate, there are 45 Democrats and 53 Republicans. So, assuming that every Democrat votes in favor of removal from office, and that every Republican votes against removal from office, President Trump won’t be removed from office.