An impeachment inquiry is a process to determine whether the House of Representatives will vote on impeachment and on what grounds. If the inquiry leads to a vote on impeachment in which a majority of representatives vote yes, then the president is impeached, which means the matter is referred to the Senate for a trial. In the Senate, if 2/3rds of senators also vote yes, then president would be removed from office.
A Simple Timeline for Impeachment and RemovalImpeachment in the House of Representatives① Impeachment Inquiry On Sept. 24, 2019, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that the House of Representatives will move forward with an official impeachment inquiry. This announcement alone is enough to begin official impeachment proceedings, starting with the directive that six House committees continue their investigations of the President “under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.”
② Investigative Authority In the cases of Presidents Nixon and Clinton, a resolution was necessary to grant the House Judiciary Committee with authorities to conduct an investigation into impeachment. However, under the current House rules, the committee already has those authorities. ← We are here.
③ Committee Reports After investigating, committees will report their findings to the House as a whole. In the past, the House Judiciary Committee has voted on whether to recommend impeachment and has reported an impeachment resolution with specific allegations of misconduct. Each investigating committee may report separate findings.
④ Vote on Impeachment The House would then vote on an impeachment resolution containing articles of impeachment, which are the charges of misconduct. This vote only requires a simple majority for passage. If passed, the subject of the inquiry is impeached — which means the matter is referred next to the Senate.
Trial in the Senate⑤ Preparation for a Trial If the House chooses to impeach, there will be a trial in the Senate to determine if the President is guilty. To start this process, the House will select “managers” to present evidence to the Senate and to subpoena witnesses, and the Senate will issue a writ of summons to the impeached official to appear.
⑥ Trial The trial is roughly analogous to a criminal court trial, with the House managers playing the role of the prosecution, the Senate as the jury, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as the judge, and the impeached official is the defendant. However, the Constitution is clear that it is not a criminal trial, since the standards for evidence and conviction are up to the Senate.
⑦ Deliberation Similar to a jury, the Senate meets in closed session to deliberate the substance of the trial.
⑧ Vote on Conviction Finally, the Senate votes on each article of impeachment separately. These votes require a ⅔rd majority to convict, which results in removal from office. The Senate may also vote on whether the convicted official becomes disqualified from holding a government position again, for which only a simple majority is required.
Appealing a Conviction⑨ Judicial Review Impeachment proceedings have been challenged in federal court on a number of occasions. In the unlikely event that the president is impeached and the Senate convicts him, there may be lawsuits to appeal the conviction. However, courts have said in the past that Congress’s power to impeach is broad and in many cases is not subject to judicial review.
What’s happening now
Democrats and Republicans both generally now agree on the facts — that President Trump asked Ukraine and China to investigate an election rival — but disagree on whether that action warrants impeachment.
Six House committees — including the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees — will submit what they consider evidence of impeachable acts to the Judiciary committee which may then draw up charges, called articles of impeachment.
Support an impeachment inquiry
See the breakdown in the link below this section. There are two vacancies in the House: Representative Sean Duffy, Republican of Wisconsin, left office in September, and Chris Collins, Republican of New York, resigned on Tuesday. SOURCE: New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/us/politics/trump-impeachment-congress-list.html?mtrref=impeachment.guide&gwh=C353B306E481DD87F246359FB7B871D0&gwt=pay&assetType=REGIWALL
What charges are being considered for President Trump?Foreign Assistance in the Election The White House has said that in a July 25, 2019 phone call, President Trump asked Ukraine president Volodymr Zelenskyy for a “favor” to investigate the President’s chief political opponent and to locate the Democratic National Committee (DNC)’s 2016 email server, and on Oct. 3, 2019, President Trump suggested Ukraine and China should open an investigation during a press conference. The President asked Zelenskyy to coordinate the investigations with the President’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Although framed as an official investigation into corruption, the focus on the President’s political opponents and the involvement of the President’s personal lawyer suggest the President’s intent was political. Foreign entities are prohibited by law from making contributions to political campaigns, including by providing favors of material value, and an impeachment charge could be based on a violation of law or perceived norms for foreign interference in elections.
Extortion or Quid Pro Quo One of the President’s foreign policy goals has been to get European countries to step up their support for military security, rather than relying on the United States. According to the White House, in the July 25, 2019 Trump-Zelenskyy phone call, the President told Zelenskyy that he thought the United States’s security aid to Ukraine made the nations’ relationship not “reciprocal,” and then in his next sentence asked Zelenskyy for the “favor” described above. Shortly before the call, the President had halted that security aid and postponed a potential visit by Zelenskyy to the White House. Although not stated in clear words on the call, the President and Zelenskyy likely understood the President as asking Ukraine to make the relationship reciprocal by performing the favor — a quid pro quo. Withholding aid and a White House visit to coerce Ukraine to perform an investigation would be extortion (even if Zelenskyy found out about the withheld aid and visit later). Both quid pro quo and extortion are generally accepted tools in foreign policy and well within the President’s foreign policy powers — so long as the President is conducting foreign affairs.
Emoluments According to the White House, in the July 25, 2019 phone call between President Trump and Ukraine president Volodymr Zelenskyy, Zelenskyy said he had stayed at the President’s Trump Tower property on his last visit to the United States, among other thanks and praise, to which the President responded positively. Since the President personally benefits from business at his properties, foreign leaders’ stays at his properties may be a constitutionally prohibited emolument.
Coverup – Mishandling Records A verbatim transcript of the July 25, 2019 Trump-Zelenskyy phone call was filed in a location meant for classified materials, the White House confirmed, even though the call did not involve classified information, according to the whistleblower complaint, in order to restrict access to it. It was also reported that a transcript of a call with China was placed in the same system. Several laws including the Presidential Records Act require presidential records like the verbatim transcript to be preserved but may not require that the records be stored in any particular electronic system. (What has often been described as the public transcript of the call is actually a summary of the call produced by the White House — it is not known whether the White House accurately summarized the verbatim transcript.)
Coverup – Withholding Whistleblower Report Although the whistleblower report was written on Aug. 12, 2019 and was deemed by a Trump-appointed nonpartisan civil servant to be credible, it was withheld from Congress by a Trump-appointed political appointee, the Director of National Intelligence, possibly in violation of existing law that requires that credible complaints be forwarded confidentially to Congress.
Text messages between ambassadors Taylor and Sondland and special envoy Volker. https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/_cache/files/5/0/50759349-fe81-4444-a990-65c92528de82/50EE8A2F1CFC493A98876200762152FC.chairmen-letter-on-state-departmnent-texts-10-03-19.pdf (July 25-Sept. 9, 2019, 2019; released Oct. 3, 2019)
Video of President Trump suggesting Ukraine and China should investigate Joe Biden, https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/03/politics/trump-biden-call-xi-secure-server/index.html (Oct. 3, 2019)
Here is the whisleblower complaint, https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6430388/20190812-Whistleblower-Complaint-Unclass.pdf (Aug. 12, 2019; released Sept. 26, 2019)
Trump-Zelenskyy Call Summary, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/09/25/us/politics/trump-ukraine-transcript.html (July 25, 2019; released Sept. 24, 2019)
Ambassadors’ Roles Text messages between U.S. ambassadors released by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Oct. 3, 2019 show a debate over whether President Trump was withholding aide to Ukraine and a White House visit by the Ukrainian president in exchange for an investigation into Joe Biden. Kurt Volker, a part-time, volunteer “special envoy” to Ukraine, was also interviewed on Oct. 3, 2019 by the same committee in a closed sesssion — Democrats and Republicans have given inconsistent accounts of the substance of the interview. It was also reported that a previous ambassador to Ukraine was fired earlier in the year for not pushing Ukraine on the investigation. And on Oct 4., 2019, Ukraine said it would open an investigation.
Confirmation President Trump asked Ukraine and China to investigate Joe Biden during a press conference on the White House lawn [video], also on Oct. 3, 2019.
Key Documents Released On Sept. 25, 2019, the White House released a summary of the Trump-Zelenskyy call. After the Senate and House voted unanimously on Sept. 24-25, 2019 on non-binding resolutions demanding access to the whistleblower complaint, and minutes before the Director of National Intelligence’s Sept. 26, 2019 appearance before the House Intelligence Commitee, the White House made the complaint available to Congress, which then made it available to the public.
Inquiry Opened In September 2019, it became known that a government employee filed a whistleblower complaint documenting that on July 25, 2019, President Trump urged Ukraine president Volodymr Zelenskyy to investigate alleged actions by presidential candidate Joe Biden, Trump’s chief 2020 election rival at the time. The President also asked Ukraine to locate the Democratic National Committee’s 2016 email server (which was hacked by Russia in an effort to help the President win the 2016 election), and to do both investigations in collaboration with the President’s personal lawyer. On Sept. 24, 2019, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced an inquiry into the impeachment of President Donald Trump would begin.
Previous Impeachment Votes This is not the first time impeachment of President Trump was proposed — in fact, the House of Representatives has already voted on impeachment three times, rejecting impeachment each time. In December 2017 the House voted 58 to 364 and in January 2018 the House voted 66 to 355 against impeachment based on Trump’s equivocating comments after the white supremacy march in Charlottesville, Virginia and his calls as a presidential candidate to ban all Muslim immigration. In July 2019, the House voted 95 to 332 against impeachment based on Trump’s racist tweet that four congresswomen should “go back” to where they came from. [See how representatives’ votes changed.]
SOURCE: GovTrack.us, https://impeachment.guide/