Donald Trump Impeachment: What Does Impeachment Really Mean?

With two articles of impeachment approved by the Judiciary Committee, Donald Trump appears poised to become the third president in United States history to be impeached. A full vote by the House of Representatives will take place on Wednesday, December 18, and Trump critics are eager to celebrate the moment.

Just 24 hours prior to the impeachment vote, demonstrators gathered at hundreds of events around the country for “Impeachment Eve” marches and rallies to express their excitement about the upcoming vote.

That raises the question: do people really know what impeachment is?

Presidents can be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Impeachment does not mean removal from office. Out of the previous two presidents to be impeached — Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson — neither were removed from office after escaping conviction by the Senate, which has the ultimate ruling on whether the president must be forced out of the White House.

So while the Democratic majority in the House is expected to vote for impeachment, that does not mean Trump will be removed prior to the 2020 election or end of his first term in office.

Once impeachment is passed, the recommendation will go to the Senate.

“Whensoever the Senate shall receive notice from the House of Representatives that managers are appointed on their part to conduct an impeachment against any person and are directed to carry articles of impeachment to the Senate, the Secretary of the Senate shall immediately inform the House of Representatives that the Senate is ready to receive the managers for the purpose of exhibiting such articles of impeachment, agreeably to such notice,” the Constitution states.

From NBC News:

The Constitution lays out only three requirements: The chief justice presides over the Senate trial of a president (but not the trial of any other official); each senator must be sworn (similar to the way jurors take an oath); and a two-thirds vote is required to convict on any article of impeachment.

There’s no requirement for the president to appear, and he cannot be compelled to testify. Like jurors in a trial, senators sit and listen. The rules say if they have questions, they can submit them in writing to be asked by the chief justice. After both sides make their closing arguments, the Senate begins deliberations, traditionally in closed session. The Senate then votes separately on each article of impeachment, which must take place in open session.

The Senate has “the sole power to try all impeachments.”

We will have to see how everything plays out once the House holds its full vote on Wednesday, December 18, but we do know that Donald Trump and his team will not go down without a fight.

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