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How Does Impeachment Work?

President Donald Trump departs the White House for Palm Beach, FL where he will be spending the Christmas holiday, Friday, December 22, 2017. - Image

Politics in the U.S. have certainly been dicey over the past three years, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s formal announcement of President Trump’s impeachment is just adding more spice to the political turmoil in Washington.

It’s important, however, to clarify that Pelosi’s announcement alone does not indicate that President Trump will be impeached. An impeachment is a formal process where the current president or any government official is accused of committing a crime (or crimes). Based on the our presidential history, it’s not impossible to impeach a president, but it’s a lengthy one. So if it’s a long process, what does it take to impeach a sitting president? Here’s a general step-by-step process you should know.

  1. Any House of Representatives member can introduce impeaching the president.
  2. The Speaker of the House (in our case, Nancy Pelosi) then decides whether or not the House should proceed with the impeachment.
  3. If the Speaker approves, s/he would form the House Judiciary Committee to open a formal investigation and draft up the articles of impeachment.
  4. The approved articles of impeachment then go to the House of Representatives. This requires a 50% approval +1 person for the articles to pass.
  5. If the House passes impeachment, the process now goes to the Senate. Unlike the House, the Senate requires at least a two-thirds (67%) approval for the impeachment to pass.
  6. If the Senate succeeds in impeaching the president, the president will be formally removed from the office, and the position will fall into the hands of the Vice President.

Other key facts you should know:

  • A president, like any US citizen, is not immune to criminal charges in court.
  • Only President Clinton, Johnson, and Nixon have either been impeached by the House or came close to becoming impeached, but no one in U.S. history has ever been formally removed from office.

What are your predictions for President Trump’s impeachment process? Let us know in the comment section below.

Vivian Wang

Vivian is a travel enthusiast and food connoisseur living in New York City. Her curiosity and passion for languages and culture has taken her across eight countries over the past year. When not working, you can find her meandering in art museums or sampling food at the street markets.

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