Impeachment of a US president: how it works

Vincent Carr
May 19, 2017

Members of Congress and outside commentators have increasingly entertained the idea that Trump and/or his aides might have obstructed justice while the president has been in office: Trump himself lately admitted that he sacked FBI Director James Comey because he declined to halt or slow down the FBI's investigation into his and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's possible contacts with the Russian government. At a Monday night town hall sponsored by CNN, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was prodded on the impeachment question, and stayed with the party's message - an investigation would uncover facts, and impeachment made no sense without it.

Until then, below is a simple guide to the complicated steps for impeachment. The information comes from a memo allegedly authored by Comey in which he details a private, Oval Office conversation with the president.

"Calling for impeachment is not something done lightly, but I believe it's necessary to protect our country's national security and democracy", Pritzker wrote on Twitter.

"Trump has failed to divest himself from his business interests and it certainly appears he has obstructed justice by firing the Federal Bureau of Investigation director", Pawar said in a statement. "But if a vote for a check on the president. becomes a de facto vote for an impeachment trial, the task in front of us will only get more hard".

Such an early discussion of impeachment may be indicative of things to come for Trump.

With the White House running damage control, and critics smelling blood, some Democrats have mentioned the "I" word - impeachment - as a possibility for the 45th president, although initiating the procedure remains a hypothetical. To be sure, impeachment sets a high bar: a majority in the House, then two-thirds in the Senate to convict and remove an official.

And while the Vice President of the United States, under the constitution, serves as President of the Senate, when a trial in the senate involves the President of the United States, the Chief Justice presides instead of the Vice-President to avoid any perceived conflict of interest.

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"In Watergate, we had the special prosecutor, but we also had a separate, ongoing impeachment investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, which is very different - it doesn't only have to consider criminal activity".

So far Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) has actively called for Trump's impeachment on the House floor. Years later, Gonzalez introduced a resolution to impeach President George H.W. Bush for starting the Gulf War. Rather, as the great expositor of impeachment - and the Constitution - Alexander Hamilton said, 'We move to impeachment because of the misconduct of public men, the violation of some public trust, and these relate to injuries done to society itself.' And we have certainly seen at least probable cause of that, if not proof of that, as yet.

"You already knew the media was out to get us", the email read.

The impeachment process takes months and months.

The impeachment call was echoed by other members of the Congressional Black Caucus and liberal activists, even as party leaders have preferred calling for an independent commission to investigate Trump and the Trump campaign's Russian Federation connections. "Now, I think many of them are hesitating about what they want to do about it politically".

"If the allegations are true, would they be grounds for impeachment?" asked one reporter. "But everybody in this country gets a fair trial, including the president, or anyone else". The Hill ran a news alert: "First Republican raises impeachment for Trump".

Other reports by BadHub

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