The incitation of the charged mob to attack the United States Congress has started bringing attention to President Donald Trump’s impeachment once again. As Vice President Mike Pence is unlikely to invoke the 25th amendment, the presidential impeachment is imminent, considering the growing voices from within the Republican circles.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi also indicated the upcoming impeachment. The doctrine of separation of powers and check and balances provide special powers to Congress. Impeaching the president, vice president, and other public officials of the USA is one of them. President-elect Joe Biden has also suggested that Trump’s impeachment is for Congress to decide.
The legislative branch of the government can impeach and remove the President and other civil officers subject to charges of treason, bribery, and other high crimes qualified as impeachable offenses as written in the constitution. This helps the United States Congress to have a close look at the President and other officials.
While the presidential impeachment process is initiated and carried out by Congress, the removal of the President from office is subject to a trial conducted by the Senate. For instance, Trump was impeached by the House earlier, but the Senate voted in favor of Trump, resulting in not removing Trump from the White House. How does the impeachment process work, and what are the impeachment process steps? Let’s have a look.
How Does the Impeachment Process Work?
Initiation of the presidential impeachment process:
The presidential impeachment process starts from the lower house of Congress. Any House of Representatives member can suggest beginning the process against any abuse of power by the president. Once the suggestion is made, it is up to the House Speaker to initiate the proper inquiry or reject the proposal. As the Speaker is from the majority party, most of the time, he or she will begin the investigation if the president is from the opposite party.
Role of Congressional committees in the presidential impeachment process:
The process proceeds by referring the matter to the Congressional committee, typically the House Committee on Rules or the House Committee on Judiciary. These committees review the accusations against the president and examine the evidence against him.
If the committee finds enough evidence, the House will vote on each of the charges on the president, also known as the articles of impeachment. Most of the time, the House will vote along party lines. If at least one of the articles is passed through a simple majority, the president will be impeached.
However, the party ranks may be broken on some occasions. One of the prominent examples in this regard is the vote of 31 Democrats against Bill Clinton back in 1998.
If the House votes against the impeachment on every article of impeachment, the process will end here, and the president’s impeachment proceeding will be finished here without a Senate trial.
Presidential impeachment trial in the Senate:
Suppose the lower house votes in favor of the impeachment; the stage for the trial will be set in the Senate, which will decide the fate of the president. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over the process in the Senate. A committee, also known as managers, is made from the House of Representatives, which acts as the prosecutors before the Senate.
After considering all the witnesses, the Senate holds a vote which either convicts or acquits the President. At least two-thirds of the senators need to vote in favor of conviction to remove the president from office. If they do this successfully, the president will be removed from office, and the vice president will assume the presidency.
However, if the Senate fails to vote in favor of removing the president, he will remain in office, and the process will end here.
Depending upon the charges against the president, the removal can initiate a legal inquiry against him.
Is It Worth Impeaching Donald Trump in These Last Moments:
Now the question arises whether it is a worthy approach to impeach the president at this time when he will leave anyway. If impeached by House and convicted by Senate, Trump will not enjoy the perks given to the United States former presidents. It means that he will not get $219,200 per year as a pension, which the former presidents of the US enjoy.
Similarly, he will not get the 1 million dollars per year travel allowance, will lose full secret service in the future, and will not ever be available to run again for the presidency, and his dream to launch his 2024 campaign will be shattered.
The presidential impeachment process is a well-known concept in major democracies around the world. The idea is taken from England but is an integral part of the Constitution of the USA, controlling the presidential abuse of power.
While many presidents faced impeachment votes in the House, only three presidents have ever been impeached. Presidents Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump were impeached, but none was removed from office. Richard Nixon resigned from the office just before the possible impeachment in the wake of the Watergate scandal, and his vice president, Gerald Ford, assumed the presidency.