Want Donald Trump Impeached? Robert Reich Breaks Down In 10 Steps How That Will Be Possible
Donald Trump has done enough impeachable offenses since becoming president that it’s a surprise that he is still in the White House. But, it won’t be easy impeaching Trump. No president in American history has ever bee convicted on articles of impeachment.
Only two former presidents have been impeached by the House and had that impeachment go to the Senate for trial. The two presidents were Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999.
Another president came close to being impeached. That was former President Richard Nixon, but he resigned at the beginning of his impeachment process.
Although it is hard for a president to be impeached it is not impossible, and with all the Russia scandal inching closer to the White House Trump’s impeachment might be just around the corner.
The impeachment process all revolves around Article I Sections 2 and 3 of the Constitution, and rules in the House and the Senate implementing those provisions.
Below are the 10 steps of impeachment.
Step 1: It starts in the House Judiciary Committee, when a majority of the member vote in favor of what’s called an “inquiry of impeachment” resolution.
Step 2: That resolution goes to the full House of Representatives where a majority has to vote in favor. And then votes to authorize and fund a full investigation by the Judiciary Committee into whether sufficient grounds exist for impeachment.
Step 3: The House Judiciary Committee investigates. That investigation doesn’t have to be from scratch. It can rely on data and conclusions of other investigations undertaken by, say, the FBI.
Step 4: A majority of the Judiciary Committee members decides there are sufficient grounds for impeachment, and the Committee issues a “Resolution of Impeachment,” setting forth specific allegations of misconduct in one or more articles
Step 5: The full House then considers that Resolution and votes in favor of it – as a whole or on each article separately. The full House isn’t bound by the Committee’s work. The House may vote to impeach even if the Committee doesn’t recommend impeachment.
Step 6: The matter then goes to the Senate for a trial. The House’s Resolution of Impeachment becomes in effect the charges in this trial.
Step 7: The Senate issues a summons to the president, who is now effectively the defendant, informing him of the charges and the date by which he has to answer them. If the president chooses not to answer or appear, it’s as if he entered a “not guilty” plea.
Step 8 is the trial in the Senate. In that trial, those who are representing the House – that is, the prosecution – and counsel for the president, both make opening arguments. They then introduce evidence and put on witnesses as in any trial. Witnesses are subject to examination and cross-examination. The trial is presided over by the chief justice of the Supreme Court – who has the authority to rule on evidentiary questions or may put such questions to a vote of the Senate. The House managers and counsel for the president then make closing arguments.
Step 9: The Senate meets in closed session to deliberate.
Step 10: The Senate returns in open session to vote on whether to convict the president on the articles of impeachment. Conviction requires a two-thirds vote by the Senate. Conviction on one or more articles of impeachment results in removal from office. Such a conviction also disqualifies the now former president from holding any other public office. And it doesn’t bar additional legal proceedings against that former president, and punishment.