Impeachment breakdown

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Tara Connick
President Donald Trump was impeached on Dec. 18 In October, after asking Ukranian government officials to conduct background checks and provide information on former Vice President and current presidential candidate Joe Biden in October.

What is impeachment?

Impeachment is a power held by Congress, which is made up of the House of Representatives and Senate, to charge, try and remove public officials, ranging from cabinet members to the president, for misconduct while in office. If a public official is impeached, that does not mean that they are removed from office. The House can introduce articles of impeachment, just as they would any bill. They would then split into subcommittees to decide whether it is ok to charge a public official. If the House decides to make formal charges, they must send the articles of impeachment to the Senate for review. The Senate can then conduct trials or inquiries to investigate the articles of impeachment themselves. If they receive a two-third majority vote, they can remove a public official from office. If the majority vote is not met, then the public official is still considered to be impeached but is not removed from office.

 

Which presidents have been impeached in the past?

President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 for appointing cabinet members without the Senate’s approval. President Bill Clinton was also impeached in 1998 due to lying under oath about his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. Contrary to popular belief, President Richard Nixon was not impeached because of  the Watergate scandal. Instead, he resigned before the vote for impeachment.

 

Why was Trump impeached? 

Trump has not been removed from office, as the Senate must also vote on the impeachment. On Dec. 18, the House of Representatives voted 230-197 for Trump to be impeached for abuse of power and 229-198 for obstruction of Congress. The House accuses Trump of abusing his power as President because he allegedly asked Ukranian government officials to conduct background checks and information on former Vice President and current presidential candidate Joe Biden. He also allegedly promised Ukraine military support in exchange for this information. The House is accusing Trump for obstruction of Congress because he defied multiple subpoenas (written command ordering him to attend court) issued by the House and refused to cooperate with them in their impeachment inquiry.

 

Who is John Bolton and what does he have to do with impeachment?

John Bolton served as a National Security Advisor for the Trump administration from 2018 to 2019. Bolton publicly came out saying he would testify during the Senate impeachment trial. This placed pressure on Senator Mitch McConell, as moderate Republican senators wanted to hear from Bolton. Influential Republicans such as former presidential candidate Mitt Romney have expressed their desire to hear from Bolton. The Senate still has not announced an official decision of whether they are calling for witnesses.

 

What is a management team in terms of impeachment?

On Jan. 13, Pelosi announced the members of the House team looking over the Senate impeachment trial. She named Representative Jerry Nadler and Representative Adam Schiff as managers of the prosecution. Representative Sylvia Garcia, the first Latina Congresswoman from Texas, is also a part of this team along with Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, Jason Crow and Zoe Lofgren.

 

When did the House send the articles of impeachment to the Senate?

On Jan. 15, House managers delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate. Although the nation is split on the impeachment trials, this day will go down in history.

 

When did the Senate impeachment trial begin?

On Jan. 21, the Senate convened to discuss rules of their impeachment trial. After 12 hours of debate, it was decided that House managers and President Trump’s lawyers will have 24 hours across three days to argue against and for the articles of impeachment. The Senate will then have 16 hours to ask questions. After these proceedings, the Senate will make a decision on bringing in witnesses and important documents.