What Is the Impeachment Process? A Step-by-Step Guide

What Is the Impeachment Process? A Step-by-Step Guide

- in House of Representatives

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal

impeachment inquiry, directing a handful of

House committees to continue their monthslong

investigations into President Trump.

In President Nixon and President Clinton’s impeachment inquiries, Congress was handed thorough investigations from special prosecutors. Kenneth Starr investigated Clinton, and Archibald Cox pursued Nixon. In this impeachment, House committees are doing that job.

The committee leaders for the House Intelligence,

Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs

Committees have been issuing subpoenas, taking

depositions and conducting closed-door meetings.

Two more committees, Ways and Means and

Financial Services, also have ongoing

investigations into issues related to Mr. Trump.

House vote on impeachment rules

In October 1998, the House voted 258 to 176, with 31 Democrats breaking ranks with the president, to begin a full-scale, open-ended inquiry into possible grounds for the impeachment of Clinton.

The House voted to approve a resolution that laid out the rules for the impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump.

Intelligence Committee public hearings

After closed-door investigations, open hearings were conducted by the

Intelligence Committee. Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the

Democrat who leads the committee, and Representative Devin Nunes, the

panel’s top Republican, each had 45 minutes to question witnesses. Members

of the panel got five minutes each to ask questions.

Intelligence Committee report

The Intelligence Committee approved sending a report with its findings to the Judiciary Committee. The report was also made available to the public.

Judiciary Committee hearings

In 1974, the Judiciary Committee held multiple meetings and hearings from February through July. The hearings were televised.

In 1998, four hearings were held in connection with Clinton’s impeachment by the Judiciary Committee. The hearings lasted for two days.

After receiving the report, the Judiciary Committee will hold

further hearings. The president and his counsel can attend the

hearings, present their cases, respond to evidence, request

additional testimony, raise objections to testimony given and

cross-examine witnesses.

Vote on grounds for impeachment

After all the investigations are completed, the Judiciary

Committee will vote on whether there are sufficient

grounds for impeachment. A simple majority is required.

The vote is likely to pass.

A majority of committee

members vote no.

A majority of committee

members vote yes.

The committee approved three articles:

I. Obstructing the Watergate investigation

II. Abuse of power

III. Defiance of House subpoenas

The current White House said it would not cooperate with the House inquiry.

The committee approved four articles:

I. Perjury in the grand jury

II. Perjury in the civil case

III. Obstruction of justice

IV. Abuse of power

The Judiciary Committee would consider and draft

articles of impeachment. Each article would need to be

approved by a majority of the committee.

If the committee decides that impeachment is not warranted, it could recommend another action such as censure. The full House may still vote to impeach despite these recommendations.

Nixon resigned before the impeachment resolution was reported to the full House.

Articles reported by the Judiciary Committee

would be considered on the House floor. The length

of debate would be controlled by the Democrats.

The House debated Clinton’s articles of impeachment for two days.

In President Andrew Johnson’s case in 1868,

the House voted to impeach him on “high

crimes and misdemeanors” and notified the

Senate about the impeachment before the

articles were drafted.

The House would debate and then vote on articles of

impeachment. A simple majority would be required to pass.

Current House of Representatives

The vote is likely to pass.

The House may vote on all the articles as a whole or

each one separately. As long as one article passes, the

president would be impeached.

In Clinton’s case, the House voted on the articles separately and approved two of the four articles presented by the Judiciary Committee.

I. Perjury in the grand jury

II. Perjury in the civil case

III. Obstruction of justice

A majority of the House

members vote no.

A majority of the House

members vote yes.

The House would appoint a team of lawmakers,

known as managers, to play the role of

prosecutors in the Senate trial. The managers

would then present the articles of impeachment

to the Senate, which would serve as the jury.

The chief justice of the United States would be

sworn in to preside over the trial and would then

swear in the members of the Senate. The Senate

may discuss and adopt detailed trial guidelines.

On Jan. 8, 1999, the day after House managers presented Clinton’s articles of impeachment, the Senate met in an unprecedented informal joint session, adopting a resolution that set forth the trial proceedings. For example, it designated the length of opening statements.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. would preside over the trial.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry, directing a handful of House committees to continue their monthslong investigations into President Trump.

The committee leaders for the House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs Committees have been issuing subpoenas, taking depositions and conducting closed-door meetings.

Two more committees, Ways and Means and Financial Services, also have ongoing investigations into issues related to Mr. Trump.

In President Nixon and President Clinton’s impeachment inquiries, Congress was handed thorough investigations from special prosecutors. Kenneth Starr investigated Clinton, and Archibald Cox pursued Nixon. In this impeachment, House committees are doing that job.

House vote on

impeachment rules

The House voted to approve a resolution

that laid out the rules for the

impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump.

In October 1998, the House voted 258 to 176, with 31 Democrats breaking ranks with the president, to begin a full-scale, open-ended inquiry into possible grounds for the impeachment of Clinton.

Intelligence Committee public hearings

After closed-door investigations, open hearings

were conducted by the Intelligence Committee.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California,

the Democrat who leads the committee, and

Representative Devin Nunes, the panel’s top

Republican, each had 45 minutes to question

witnesses. Members of the panel got five

minutes each to ask questions.

Intelligence

Committee report

The Intelligence Committee approved sending a report with its findings to the Judiciary Committee. The report was also made available to the public.

Judiciary

Committee hearings

After receiving the report, the Judiciary Committee will hold further hearings. The president and his counsel can attend the hearings, present their cases, respond to evidence, request additional testimony, raise objections to testimony given and cross-examine witnesses.

In 1974, the Judiciary Committee held multiple meetings and hearings from February through July. The hearings were televised.

In 1998, four hearings were held in connection with Clinton’s impeachment by the Judiciary Committee. The hearings lasted for two days.

Vote on grounds

for impeachment

After all the investigations are completed, the

Judiciary Committee would vote on whether

there are sufficient grounds for impeachment.

A simple majority would be required.

The vote is likely to pass.

A majority of the

members vote no.

A majority of the

members vote yes.

If the committee decides that impeachment is not warranted, it could recommend another action such as censure. The full House may still vote to impeach despite these recommendations.

The Judiciary Committee would consider

and draft articles of impeachment. Each

article would need to be approved by a

majority of the committee.

The committee approved three articles:

I. Obstructing the Watergate investigation

II. Abuse of power

III. Defiance of House subpoenas

The current White House said it would not cooperate with the House inquiry.

The committee approved four articles:

I. Perjury in the grand jury

II. Perjury in the civil case

III. Obstruction of justice

IV. Abuse of power

Nixon resigned before the impeachment resolution was reported to the full House.

Articles reported by the Judiciary

Committee would be considered on the

House floor. The length of debate would be

controlled by the Democrats.

The House debated Clinton’s articles of impeachment for two days.

The House would debate and then vote

on articles of impeachment. A simple

majority would be required to pass.

Current House of Representatives

The vote is likely to pass.

The House may vote on all the articles as a whole or each one separately. As long as one article passes, the president would be impeached.

In President Andrew Johnson’s

case in 1868, the House voted to

impeach him on “high crimes and

misdemeanors” and notified the

Senate about the impeachment

before the articles were drafted.

In Clinton’s case, the House

voted on the articles separately

and approved two of the four

articles presented by the

Judiciary Committee.

A majority of the House

members vote no.

A majority of the House

members vote yes.

The House would appoint a team of lawmakers, known as managers, to play the role of prosecutors in the Senate trial. The managers would then present the articles of impeachment to the Senate, which would serve as the jury.

The chief justice of the United States would be

sworn in to preside over the trial and would then

swear in the members of the Senate. The Senate

may discuss and adopt detailed trial guidelines.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. would preside over the trial.

On Jan. 8, 1999, the day after House managers presented Clinton’s articles of impeachment, the Senate met in an unprecedented informal joint session, adopting a resolution that set forth the trial proceedings. For example, it designated the length of opening statements.

The Senate would issue a summons to the

president, asking him to respond to the articles

of impeachment by a set date.

If the president

declines to respond to

the impeachment

articles, his action

would be regarded as

a plea of not guilty.

The president or his counsel would respond to the articles.

Depending on the rules set by this Senate,

any senator may propose a motion to dismiss

the charges, and the Senate would deliberate

and vote on the move for dismissal. A simple

majority vote would be required.

House managers and White House

defense lawyers would present their

cases. This process could last days.

Senators may question both parties.

Subpoenas may be issued, evidence may be requested and witnesses may be examined and cross-examined. The Senate could put forward a motion to limit or expand the amount of evidence being examined.

Subpoenas may be issued, evidence may be requested and witnesses may be examined and cross-examined. The Senate could put forward a motion to limit or expand the amount of evidence being examined.

Both sides would provide closing

statements. Statements may be made by

two people on each side, with the House

managers both opening and closing.

The deliberation would most

likely happen in a closed session.

The Senate would vote on each article

of impeachment separately. A

conviction would require a two-thirds

vote on one or more articles.

The vote is unlikely to pass.

More than two-thirds

of the Senate votes yes.

Less than two-thirds

of the Senate votes yes.

Trump is

removed from

office

The process

ends, Trump is

acquitted

Both Johnson and Clinton were aquitted by the Senate.

Verdict on Clinton’s article on perjury

Additional votes

needed to convict

Verdict on Clinton’s article on

obstruction of justice

Additional votes

needed to convict

The Senate may subsequently vote on whether to disqualify the president from future office. If the vote is held, a simple majority vote would be required.

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