Donald Trump has long been known as a no-nonsense businessman whose antics are about as entertaining as playing at All Jackpots Casino Online, only often they’ve been far less rewarding! Now, the President of the United States has been impeached and he’s once again making headlines globally. But does his impeachment mean, and what happens next?
What Does Impeachment Mean?
The formal United States definition of impeachment is a misconduct charge against a holder of public office; in Trump’s case, of course, this refers to his conduct during the time he has been President. In other words, impeachment is not a trial but a statement of the charges. If the impeachment is voted through, the accused stands trial.
Impeaching and convicting officials is an overturning of usual constitutional procedures, so it’s reserved for the most serious abuses of high office positions. In the United States, the process is limited to individuals who have committed bribery, treason and other high crimes and misdemeanours.
Presidential impeachment in the USA specifically involves Congress conducting an investigation and gathering information, and presenting the Articles of Impeachment to the House of Representatives. The House then votes to determine if they will impeach on each article. That’s where we are now; on Wednesday 18 December, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House had voted to impeach Trump on two charges.
The impeachment charges brought against the President are obstruction of congress for refusing to cooperate with the oversight investigation into various aspects of his life and associations, and abuse of power for his attempt to withhold taxpayer money from Ukraine unless they investigated his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. The 230-197 vote was a near-party-line, with just a few Democrats and Republicans opposing and supporting impeachment respectively. Hawaiian Representative Tulsi Gabbard was the single abstainer, stating her position in the usual way of simply voting present.
What Happens After Impeachment?
Now that Trump has formally been impeached, he’ll go on trial in the Senate. In some countries, civil servants are provisionally removed from their offices during their trial, but in the United States they can continue in their duties.
The Constitution of the United States dictates that an individual convicted in an impeachment trial can only be removed from office and be disqualified from ever holding any federal office again. No other penalties can be imposed by the Senate.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that other impeachable behaviour had been overlooked before now. Trump’s behaviour regarding Ukraine could not be ignored, he explained, which is why the articles were eventually passed in the House.
Having said that, many insiders feel that this trial will not be successful. Trump is furious, going as far as accusing the whistle-blower of treason, but also appears to think he is not in any danger of being convicted. If it fails, some individuals feel that other impeachment articles will be brought in future, while others caution against using the process as a go-to mechanism to remove office bearers.
Since the announcement of Trump’s impeachment happened so close to Christmas, it’s not really surprising that #MerryImpeachmas was soon trending on Twitter in Washington and around the rest of the United States. People often use humour to cope with stressful situations, and tensions are surely riding high in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The trial is expected to start around 21 January, meaning it might not be over before the Iowa Primaries. Citizens are very divided in their opinions of what should happen at Trump’s trial, as they have been for so much of his presidency
Senators are expected to vote according to the will of their constituents, but they can ultimately make the call according to their own feelings. Everyone wants to, in the words of Georgia Representative John Lewis, be on the right side of history during this pivotal time. The issue here is that they don’t agree on which side that is.