Impeachment: What To Know

What you need to know about the impeachment inquiry so far:


What To Know As We Head Into Congress’ Final Two Work Weeks Of 2019

  • On December 4, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that she would be asking House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) to proceed with articles of impeachment” against President Trump.
  • Dems acknowledge that regardless of the outcome, it’s nearly impossible that Pres. Trump will be removed from office by the Senate, but argue it’s necessary to pursue impeachment because of a constitutional obligation to protect our democracy.
  • Some dems say they will vote on articles of impeachment before 2020.


Takeaways From December’s Historic Public House Judiciary Cmte. Hearings 

  • Four esteemed constitutional law professors and scholars testified about their interpretations of whether or not the President should be impeached based on the evidence presented so far.


Takeaways From November’s Historic Public House Intelligence Cmte. Hearings 

  • Quid Pro Quo ~ “something for something”
  • Witnesses, including those “friendly” to the administration, testified they believed the White House’s policy towards Ukraine included a “quid pro quo.”
  • Not one witness *explicitly* heard a quid pro quo demand or request from the President himself.


Impeachment 101

  • An impeachment proceeding looks like a criminal trial, but it isn’t.
  • First, the House Judiciary Cmte. drafts “articles of impeachment” (charges); simple majority is needed to impeach in the House.
  • Next, the Senate holds trial. A 2/3 supermajority is required for conviction (removal from office).

Where It Comes From:

The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution. The founders purposely left ‘high crimes” open-ended for Congress to decide. Consequently, the power of removing the U.S. President falls to the people’s representatives.

How It Works:

The House of Representatives can vote for impeachment, but only the Senate can convict.

  • House Judiciary Cmte. drafts “articles of impeachment” (charges) which must be approved by a supermajority (21 of 41).
    • [House Judiciary Cmte. breakdown: 24 Dem / 17 GOP]
  • A simple majority (216 of 431) is needed to impeach in the House.
    • [House breakdown: 233 Dem / 197 GOP]
  • Senate holds impeachment proceeding (trial). Conviction (removal from office) requires a 2/3 supermajority (67 of 100).
    • [Senate breakdown: 53 GOP / 47 Dem]

Bigger Picture:

No U.S. president has EVER been impeached AND removed from office; 2 have been impeached by the House.

  • Pres. Bill Clinton (1998) impeached for obstruction of justice & lying under oath; 22 votes shy of Senate conviction.
  • Pres. Andrew Johnson (1868) impeached on 11 charges; 1 vote short of conviction by Senate.

Did You Know?

  • Pres. Richard Nixon wasn’t impeached. The House Judiciary Committee passed articles of impeachment, but he resigned before the full House voted.
  • Pres. Bill Clinton served for more than two years after he was impeached by the House. Republicans lost public support & seats in the House during the impeachment process.


Read more:

Pathway of the impeachment process: How it works, where we are 

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