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Politics Explainer: How impeachment works and why Trump is unlikely to be removed

17:29  05 december  2019
17:29  05 december  2019 Source:   reuters.com

Poll: Majority of Republicans think Trump a better president than Lincoln

  Poll: Majority of Republicans think Trump a better president than Lincoln A majority of Republicans believe President Trump is a better leader than Abraham Lincoln, who guided the nation through the Civil War. © Provided by Washington ExaminerThe Economist and YouGov conducted a poll from Nov. 24-26 of 1,500 American adults. In the wide-ranging poll, researchers asked Americans to compare Trump to past U.S. presidents.Fifty-three percent of Republicans said that Trump is a better president than Lincoln. For Democrats and Independents, Lincoln is considered to have been the better president with 94% and 78%, respectively.

The following explains the basics of impeachment , what happens next, and why Trump is unlikely to be removed from office. WHY IMPEACHMENT ? The founders of the United States feared presidents abusing their powers, so they included in the Constitution a process for removing one from office.

The following explains the basics of impeachment , what happens next, and why Trump is unlikely to be removed from office. WHY IMPEACHMENT ? The founders of the United States feared presidents abusing their powers, so they included in the Constitution a process for removing one from office.


Video by The Washington Post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday instructed the House Judiciary Committee to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump for pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival.

What happens next and why Trump is unlikely to be removed from office are both explained here.     

WHY IMPEACHMENT?

The founders of the United States feared presidents abusing their powers, so they included in the Constitution a process for removing one from office.

White House won’t take part in first House Judiciary impeachment hearing

  White House won’t take part in first House Judiciary impeachment hearing The president will instead rely on his GOP allies on the panel.The decision indicates that President Donald Trump has listened to his allies and some congressional Republicans who argued that a White House presence at the hearing would validate a process they have harangued as illegitimate and partisan.

Here’s how impeachment works . The Trump administration refused to share a whistle-blower complaint What is impeachment ? The Constitution permits Congress to remove presidents before their term is up if If at least two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed , and

The following explains the basics of impeachment , what happens next, and why Trump is unlikely to be removed from office. WHY IMPEACHMENT ? The founders of the United States feared presidents abusing their powers, so they included in the Constitution a process for removing one from office.

The president, under the Constitution, can be removed from office for "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

High crimes and misdemeanors have historically encompassed corruption and abuses of the public trust, as opposed to indictable violations of criminal statutes.

Former President Gerald Ford, while in Congress, famously said: "An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history."

No president has ever been removed as a direct result of impeachment. One, Richard Nixon, resigned before he could be removed. Two, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, were impeached by the House but not convicted by the Senate.   

Slideshow by photo services

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Impeachment begins in the House, the lower chamber, which debates and votes on whether to bring charges against the president via approval of an impeachment resolution, or "articles of impeachment," by a simple majority of the body's members.

The Constitution gives House leaders wide latitude in deciding how to conduct impeachment proceedings, legal experts said.

The House Intelligence Committee has conducted an investigation into whether Trump abused his power to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations that would benefit him politically, holding weeks of closed-door testimony and televised hearings before issuing a formal evidence report.

The Judiciary panel will use the report to consider formal charges that could form the basis of a full House impeachment vote by the end of December.

Impeachment witness apologizes for mentioning Barron Trump during hearing

  Impeachment witness apologizes for mentioning Barron Trump during hearing Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan said she was "wrong" to have talked about Barron Trump during a House impeachment hearing. "I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the president's son. It was wrong of me to do that," Karlan said Wednesday during the impeachment hearing. "I wish the president would apologize, obviously, for the things that he's done that's wrong, but I do regret having said that." Pamela Karlan: "I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the president's son. It was wrong of me to do that.

And the televised hearings last month that were meant to build public support for impeachment appear to have pushed the two sides further apart. Yet they differ on what to do with those officials who are caught. While eight out of 10 Democrats think they should be removed , Republicans are much more

Donald Trump is the subject of an impeachment inquiry over allegations that he improperly sought An impeachment inquiry that could see the president eventually removed from office is under way. "They knew what we were doing and why ," he said. This inquiry could eventually see Mr Trump

If the House approves articles of impeachment, a trial is then held in the Senate. House members act as the prosecutors; the senators as jurors; the chief justice of the United States presides. Historically, the president has been allowed to have defense lawyers call witnesses and request documents.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: NATO Alliance summit in Watford © Reuters/TOBY MELVILLE NATO Alliance summit in Watford

CAN THE SENATE REFUSE TO HOLD A TRIAL?

There is debate about whether the Constitution requires a Senate trial. But Senate rules in effect require a trial, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has publicly stated that he will allow one to proceed.

Republicans could seek to amend those rules, but such a move is politically risky and considered unlikely, legal experts said.

WHAT ABOUT OPENING A TRIAL AND QUICKLY ENDING IT?

The Senate rules allow members to file, before the conclusion of the trial, motions to dismiss the charges against the president. If such a motion passes by a simple majority the impeachment proceedings effectively end.

Clinton's Senate impeachment trial, which did not end in a conviction, lasted five weeks. Halfway through the proceedings, a Democratic senator introduced a motion to dismiss, which was voted down.

WHAT'S THE PARTY BREAKDOWN IN CONGRESS?

Democrats control the House. The House comprises 431 members at present, 233 of whom are Democrats. As a result, the Democrats could impeach the Republican Trump with no Republican support.

In 1998, when Republicans had a House majority, the chamber voted largely along party lines to impeach Clinton, a Democrat.

The Senate now has 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two independents who usually vote with the Democrats. Conviction and removal of a president would require a two-thirds majority. A conviction seems unlikely. Should all 100 senators vote, at least 20 Republicans and all the Democrats and independents would have to vote against him.     

WHO BECOMES PRESIDENT IF TRUMP IS REMOVED?

In the unlikely event the Senate convicted Trump, Vice President Mike Pence would become president for the remainder of Trump's term, which ends on Jan. 20, 2021.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe, editing by Ross Colvin and Howard Goller)

House Democrat says he plans to vote against all articles of impeachment .
Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, one of two Democrats to vote against formalizing the impeachment inquiry, said he plans to vote against all the articles of impeachment "unless there's something that I haven't seen, haven't heard before."Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, one of two Democrats to vote against formalizing the impeachment inquiry, said he plans to vote against all the articles of impeachment "unless there's something that I haven't seen, haven't heard before.

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