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Understanding the Intricacies of Trump’s Impeachment

Donald Trump’s impeachment scandal has been nothing if not confusing. When debating devolves into bickering and political jargon is being thrown around left and right, it’s hard to cut through the noise. But, have no fear, I’m here to help you understand the basics of President Trump’s impeachment so you can bring some facts to the table during your next argument in the Facebook comments section.  

David Everett Strickler
David Everett Strickler / Unsplash

First, let’s cover the basics of what impeachment actually is. As outlined in the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the power to bring a President to trial if they have, or are suspected of having, committed “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” This definition is quite general and leaves what constitutes impeachment largely open to interpretation. Specifications are also lacking in terms of process. There have been a handful of presidential impeachment proceedings in the past, and these serve as the sole exemplar for the current proceedings.  

Impeachment is a dual process, meaning both the House of Representatives and the Senate take equal part. The vote in the House of Representatives determines if the president will be impeached. In Trump’s case, the House of Representatives voted to impeach the president, under two articles of impeachmentーabuse of power and obstruction of Congress. 

Since the House voted to formally impeach Trump, the formal impeachment trial is moved to the Senate, where members vote to convict or acquit, with a conviction resulting in removal from office. Donald Trump was formally acquitted by the Senate, meaning he has been impeached but will not be removed from office. Though it’s important to note that no president in U.S. history has ever been removed from office. 

Though the results may be lackluster for some, it is impossible to deny that Trump’s impeachment will go down in history. Trump joined the pool of only two other U.S. presidents, Bill Clinton, and Andrew Johnson, to have been impeached and the first to run for reelection following impeachment. And, when Republican Senator Mitt Romney voted to convict Trump as being guilty of abusing his power, he became the first Senator to vote to remove a president from office that is also a member of his own political party.   


Information citations: Keneally , M. (2020, February 5). Trump impeachment: Here’s how the process works . Retrieved February 17, 2020, from https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/impeachment-process-works/story?id=51202880

Bolton, A. (2020, February 5). Romney breaks ranks with GOP, will vote to convict Trump. Retrieved February 17, 2020, from https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/481672-romney-breaks-ranks-with-gop-will-vote-to-convict-trump

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