Frequently Asked Questions About the Impeachment Process

Evan Myers, Staff Writer

What is impeachment technically?
Impeachment is a charge of misconduct made by the House of Representatives against a public office holder, such as the president. This doesn’t mean the office holder has technically broken the law but has gone against their oath of office; in addition, there doesn’t have to be clear evidence for impeachment to occur.

Does it mean they’re out of office?
No, it doesn’t necessarily mean the president is out of office. That is up to the Senate to decide, after a trial that is presided over by the Supreme Court jJustices. If convicted on the Articles of Impeachment that the House of Representatives sends to the Senate, then they arehe is removed. If not, then he continues as President until the end of theirhis term.

What are the Articles of Impeachment?
The Articles of Impeachment are aA drafted set of charges created by the House of Representatives. These could include high misdemeanor, a felony, or treason. However, it is up to the House of Representatives to find and create the draft itself.

How does it affect the next election?
Trump may or may not be able to run for office, so a new presidential candidate for the Republican ticket may need to be picked. A pPresident has yet to have been removed from office, so it is unknownsure whether they will be able to run afterward at all.

What is the difference between removal from office and impeachment?
An impeachment solely lies on the House of Representatives, while a removal requires that the Senate to convicts the president. It is up to the House of Representatives to charge the president, and it is up to the Senate to hold a trial and convict them and remove them from office.

Why is there an impeachment inquiry?
Simply put, the Democrats charged that Donald Trump with threateninged the newly elected president of the Ukraine, Zelensky, pressuring him to dig up dirt on one of Trump’s 2020 rivals for the presidency, Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Trump wanted the Ukrainian government to publicly announce that Biden and his son were under investigation for corruption in their country. In return, Trump would release the funds that Congress had already allotted to give to the Ukrainian government to help them buy military equipment to defend themselves against Russia, with whom they are at war.
This is called a qQuid pPro qQuo — getting something in return for giving something, a way for politicians and/or elected officials to negotiate deals. The problem with this is that Trump was overwriting Congress’s decision to benefit his own presidential campaign, using US taxpayer money to benefit himself. As of now, the offenses that are being investigated in the inquiry are obstructions of justice and abuses of power.

What is the process?
If the House of Representatives feels that the President has committed a crime and broken their oath of office, they are able to open an impeachment inquiry to gather the necessary evidence and decide whether or not the president’s actions are an impeachable offense. If the House of Representatives finds that there was evidence of an impeachable offense and if 2/3rds of the presiding members vote in agreement, the inquiry is taken to trial in front of the Supreme Court. It is then treated as a real court case and the president can either be acquitted of the crime or convicted.

Is it worth it to impeach so close to the election?
Yes. Every Congressperson takes an oath of office in which they promise to uphold the Constitution. Timelines within elections do not interfere with such a process. Any crime, no matter what, still must be investigated because if we let this go, what’s to stop the next president from doing the same thing without repercussions? It opens up the door of opportunity for legislative bodies to engage in criminal activities without being punished.

What happens if he’s impeached?
Vice President Mike Pence will take over as President and will likely take over as the 2020 presidential nominee for the Republican Party. Whoever becomes the next president will have the choice to pardon Trump for any of the crimes he may have committed during his time in office. For example, President Ford pardoned President Nixon when he resigned from office after Watergate.

What happens if he isn’t?
Things will continue as normal and Trump will proceed as the Republican candidate for the 2020 election. It is impossible to tell how the election will be influenced by a failed impeachment attempt, and it could go either way depending on events.

Who will be the Republican election candidate if he is impeached?
If Trump is impeached, the VP Pence takes over for his remaining time and it is assumed he will take on as the Republican nominee (unless he’s implicated in the impeachment as well, in which it would then go to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House.)

Who is in charge of the impeachment process?
Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a Democrat from California. She is being assisted by Adam Schiff, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also a Democrat from California. If Trump is impeached by the House, a trial for conviction and removal will be held by the Senate. Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky and the Senate Majority Leader, will take over from there. The proceedings will be overseen by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, a conservative justice appointed to the court by George W. Bush.

Who else has been impeached?
Fun fact, Nixon was not impeached. He resigned because he knew he was about to be impeached. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both impeached, but neither was removed from office. While Nixon and Clinton were in their second terms when they were impeached, Johnson was in his first and was barred from being the nominee for his party when it came time for his re-election.