/Heres what happens if Trump gets impeached by the House – Business Insider

Heres what happens if Trump gets impeached by the House – Business Insider

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to pass two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump — abuse of his office and obstruction of Congress — setting the stage for an impeachment trial next month.

The House Judiciary Committee on Friday drafted and approved articles of impeachment to be sent to the full House, which can pass them with a simple majority.

The House passed the abuse of power article by a vote of 230 to 197 to 1 and the obstruction of Congress article by a vote of 229 to 198 to 1. 

In the articles of impeachment, Democrats charge that Trump abused his office to benefit his reelection prospects. In July, days after withholding a nearly $400 million military-aid package to Ukraine, he used a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian oil-and-gas company.

Multiple career diplomats and national-security officials testified that the Trump administration explicitly conditioned a lifting of the military-aid hold and a White House meeting on Zelensky publicly announcing investigations into Burisma and a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 US election.

The House has 430 voting members, meaning 216 votes were needed to pass an article of impeachment. The body is made up of 232 Democrats, 196 voting Republicans, and one independent.

What, exactly, is impeachment?

Impeachment by the House doesn’t mean automatic removal from office. Impeachment can be thought of as somewhat analogous to a criminal proceeding, even though impeachable offenses don’t have to be criminal offenses.

The constitutional mechanism for the impeachment of a federal officer, including presidents, vice presidents, and federal judges, is laid out in Article 2, Section 4 of the US Constitution, which says that “the President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The House, like a grand jury, collects evidence, hears testimony, and drafts articles of impeachment — or charges — against the president.

Mitch McConnell

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

What happens next?

If a majority of representatives vote on Wednesday to charge the president on one or both articles of impeachment, the Senate will hold a trial, where Trump could be convicted or acquitted.

In a trial, both sides would present their cases to the senators, who act as jurors, with Chief Justice John Roberts presiding as the judge.

Several Democratic representatives would be designated impeachment managers, or prosecutors, while other members of Congress or White House lawyers could argue Trump’s defense.

Since Congress is going on recess for the holidays, a Senate trial could start in January. Leading Senate Republicans have indicated they would want to get a trial done as quickly as possible, meaning senators might vote without hearing any additional witness testimony.

For Trump to be removed from office, two-thirds of the Senate — 67 members — must vote to convict him. The Senate consists of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with Democrats, meaning Trump is highly unlikely to be removed from office.

Congress has never removed a president through impeachment. While two US presidents — Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton — were impeached by the House, both were acquitted in the Senate.

If Trump is impeached but not convicted in the Senate, he would stay in office, and it would be left up to the American people to reelect him in 2020.

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