The whole wave of democracy and politics is just in fumes right now. With the ongoing tension of the CAA and CAB protests in India, the most prolific news emerged in the American soil today. It turns out that Donald Trump becomes the 3rd US president to be impeached.
The only two US presidents to ever be impeached were Bill Clinton in 1998 and Andrew Johnson in 1868. Apart from them, no presidents have ever been removed from the office on the basis of impeachment.
What is Impeachment?
Before understanding the reasons for Trump getting impeached and now tried on by debates in the Senate office, we believe it is of dire importance for you to first understand what impeachment means and how the following process unveils itself.
The founders of the United States included impeachment in the US Constitution as an option for removal of presidents by Congress. Impeachment is an extraordinary check on presidential power spelled out in the Constitution enabling Congress to remove presidents who commit “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
To begin impeachment proceedings, a House member can introduce an impeachment resolution, or the entire House can vote to initiate an investigation into whether there are grounds for impeachment. The House Judiciary Committee or a special committee will then investigate. The panel votes on whether to bring a vote to the full House.
Impeachment in the 435-member House must be approved with a simple majority. If the House votes to impeach, the matter moves to the Senate, where a trial is held.
Why is Trump Being Impeached?
Trump would become the 3rd US president to be impeached. This would set a stage for the trial in the Republican-led Senate, with House members acting as prosecutors and senators as jurors.
Articles of impeachment are formal charges. In Trump’s case, the House considered two articles of impeachment: ‘Abuse of power’ and ‘Obstruction of Congress’. These two articles will be taken up by the Senate in a trial to determine whether he should be removed from office.
The abuse of power article was passed on a 230-197 vote, while the obstruction article was passed by 229-198. No president in the 243-year history of the United States has been removed from office by impeachment.
The first article accuses Trump of abusing his power by asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the November 2020 election.
The Democrats have also charged Trump of obstructing the House investigation by directing administration officials and agencies not to comply with subpoenas for testimony and documents related to impeachment.
Can President Be Dismissed?
The impeachment inquiry, launched in September following a whistle-blower complaint, was centred on a July 25 phone call during which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who had served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
Trump also wanted Zelenskyy to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.
Democrats accused Trump of holding $391 million in security aid intended to combat Russia-backed separatists and a coveted White House meeting for Ukrainian President as leverage, to coerce Kiev into interfering in the 2020 election by smearing Biden.
Trump has however, denied wrongdoing. Removing Trump from office would require a two-thirds majority of those present and voting in the 100-member Senate, meaning at least 20 Republicans would have to vote to convict the president.