Recent revelations that Trump leaked classified information to the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during a meeting in the Oval Office on May 10 2017 along with the firing of Director of the FBI James Comey, who had been investigating the connections between Trump’s team and the Russians and accusations that President Obama wiretapped him have led to ever growing calls for his impeachment.
Impeachment does not guarantee removal, but is a very serious situation. It is the first step toward removal from office.
Impeachment is a formal charge of misconduct against a public official by Congress.
How does impeachment work?
In the United States, the House of Representatives has the sole right to initiate impeachment charges against a public official.
The process begins with an independent investigation, this could be undertaken by the Department of Justice, Congress, or from an appointed special council. The evidence is handed over to the House Judiciary Committee, which reviews evidence and writes up the Articles of Impeachment.
After debate in the House of Representatives, the legislative body will vote on the Articles of Impeachment. If a simple majority votes in favour of impeachment then the president is considered impeached.
What happens next?
From there, the Articles of Impeachment are sent over to the Senate for consideration and a trial. The accused presents their defence and the House Judiciary Committee acts as the prosecution. During the proceedings, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court acts as the judge and the Senate acts as the jury.
If a two-thirds majority in the Senate votes against the President, the President is removed from office.
Who has called for impeachment?
Representative Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Republican has said “Obstruction of justice, in the case of Nixon, in the case of Clinton in the late ’90s, has been considered an impeachable offense.”
Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, Republican said “Yes” when asked if the allegations from former FBI Director James Comey’s memo indicating that Trump requested the FBI to drop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn would be grounds for impeachment.
Representative Al Green of Texas, Democrat has said “This is about my position. This is about what I believe. And this is where I stand. I will not be moved. The President must be impeached,” Green later added “This is not to be taken lightly, I think this is one of the highest callings that a member of Congress can address.”
Representative Maxine Waters of California said “I don’t know what’s going to happen after today, when all of the questions have been raised about him… but I think this is going to put us a little bit further on our way to what I have been calling for for so long, and that is impeachment.”