Impeachment Proceedings Against Donald Trump: How It Works? All You Need To Know

US President Donald Trump (file image)

Days after US President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol building, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Sunday said that the House will move to impeach Trump if Vice President Mike Pence does not remove him.

Pelosi said the House will attempt to pass a resolution by unanimous consent Monday morning calling for Pence and Trump’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office.

If the resolution doesn’t pass by unanimous consent, then the measure will be brought to the floor for a full vote on Tuesday. The resolution will call on Pence to respond within 24 hours and, if not, the House would move to impeach the President.

A congressional effort to impeach Trump would be unlikely to remove him from the White House, which he’ll vacate January 20 when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.

Republican-led Senate is unlikely to hold a trial and vote on convicting Trump in less than two weeks. Still, action by the House would still make Trump the first president in history to be impeached twice.

For the 25th Amendment to be invoked, Vice President Pence and the majority of Trump’s Cabinet would need to officially declare that President Trump is unable to perform his duties and remove him. Pence would take over, in that scenario, till Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

However, in case Trump disputes the decision, and Pence and the Cabinet do not contest his claim, then Trump regains Presidency. However, if they dispute Trump’s claim, the issue will then be decided by the Congress but Pence would continue to act as President until then.

Which presidents have been impeached?

In the history of the United States, only three presidents, Andrew Johnson (1868), Bill Clinton (1998) and Donald Trump (2019), have been impeached so far but all of them got acquitted in the Senate. In 1974, the then president Richard Nixon had faced impeachment proceedings but resigned from the office before any voting could take place.

How does impeachment work?

  • In normal order, there would be an impeachment investigation and the evidence would be sent to the House Judiciary Committee, which would hold hearings, draft articles and send them to the full house. That’s what happened in 2019 when the House impeached Trump over his dealings with the president of Ukraine. It took three months.


  • This time, with so few days to move — and a feeling among Democrats that there is little need to investigate what happened since most members of Congress were in the Capitol when the mob broke in — Pelosi would likely hold a floor vote with no hearings or committee action.


  • Once the House votes to impeach, the articles and evidence are sent to the Senate, where a trial is held and there are final votes to convict or acquit, as the Senate did in early February of last year.


  • In the recently concluded House elections, Republicans narrowed their disadvantage but Democrats held onto their majority. This means the Democrats are likely to get Trump impeached if voting takes place.


  • The proceedings will then move to Senate, the upper chamber where Democrats gained the control after Georgia runoffs.


  • A two-thirds vote would be needed to convict Donald Trump of the impeachment charge and remove him from office. That means all 50 Democrats and at least 17 of the chamber’s 50 Republicans would have to vote to convict him. As of Sunday, only two Senate Republicans have publicly said that Trump should not serve out his term.


  • The soonest the upper chamber could take up the articles of impeachment would be on January 19, reported BBC. Trump could be barred from ever holding public office if the upper chamber convicts him on the article of impeachment pursued by the House.

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