Impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump
The U.S. House of Representatives has launched an official impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, accusing him of violating the Constitution by seeking foreign help to smear Democratic rival Joe Biden. The rarely used procedure is spelled out in Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, which stipulates that the president and other officers of government “shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours.” The first step toward impeachment is taken by the House, which debates and votes on whether to bring charges. This can be done by a simple majority of the House’s 435 members.
If the House adopts an impeachment resolution, the Senate then holds a trial, with the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court presiding. A two-thirds majority vote is required in the Senate to convict and remove a president – an outcome that has yet to occur. Only three of Trump’s predecessors underwent similar proceedings: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, who were acquitted after trials in the Senate, and Richard Nixon, who resigned to avoid being impeached in the Watergate scandal.