Venice Hancock, News Sub-Editor, details the next steps of the impeachment process.
By Venice Hancock, News Sub-Editor.
On September 24th, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, announced an official impeachment inquiry against President Donald J. Trump. This followed the revelation of a telephone conversation between the U.S. President and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky surfaced, in which Trump calls upon Zelensky’s help in investigating a corruption allegation against Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. Outside of the call, Donald Trump suspended existing aid to Ukraine, which could read as a way of applying pressure on the country.
This inquiry, fuelled by this revelation, is the first step in the impeachment process. Right now, the House Committees need to submit evidence of impeachable offenses to the Judiciary Committee. Impeachable offenses, according to article 2, section 4 of the United States Constitution, qualify as any form of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”. If the evidence presented is considered insufficient by the Committee, impeachment charges are dismissed and nothing changes.
However, if there is sufficient evidence, the Judiciary Committee will send articles of impeachment to the full House and it will hold a floor vote on those articles. It then comes down to a simple majority vote, if they vote against, impeachment charges will be dropped but if they vote for, the House notifies the Senate of their decision and the articles of impeachment are moved to the Senate.
This is where it gets a little tricky, the Senate is controlled by a Republican majority, making it highly unlikely for them to impeach their own Republican President. However, they will still take up impeachment proceedings. This is all in accordance with the Senate Leadership Aide that discloses that the GOP-led body and its leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, cannot ignore the House’s decision. This is where the Senate could hold a majority vote to dismiss the articles and the presented evidence of impeachment. If the simple majority votes to dismiss, things will stay the same. If there is no majority to dismiss, the Senate will hold a trial.
In this trial, the rules and proceedings are established by the Senate. The setup of the trial will go as such : the Senate will act as the Jury, the United States Chief of Justice, John Roberts will serve as the judge, the trial managers appointed by the House of Representatives to present the case to the Senate will act as the prosecution and finally, Trump’s lawyers will serve as the defense.
This is where it gets serious. Either less than two thirds of the Senate votes to convict and Trump remains in office or at least two thirds of the Senate votes to convict and Trump is officially removed from the presidential office. If the latter is the final outcome of the vote, Vice President Mike Pence will be sworn in and will become the 46th President of the United States effective immediately.
It’s hard to predict the outcome of this inquiry as we are only on step two of this whole procedure but do we know that things promise to be complicated and messy.