Explaining Impeachment Of President Trump

details leading up to the impeachment of President Trump

For the last couple of months, the House of Representatives rallied against President Trump for obstruction of justice, abuse of power and defying Congress, and as of Dec. 18, he is the third president in United States history to be impeached. 

But what exactly does that mean? Impeachment is a complex topic, as there are many factors and elements that go into the process. 

Being impeached is commonly confused with being removed from office. If a president is impeached, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be removed from office. The Constitution says presidents can be impeached for treason, bribery and high crimes and misdemeanors. No president has faced impeachment articles for treason or bribery but for what Congress interprets as high crimes or misdemeanors.

The House has the power to impeach a president and leads the initial process. After the articles of impeachment are voted on and approved by the House, things move to the Senate. The president is then put on trial for the allegations made by the House. 

The House had been in the process of investigating President Trump’s actions since September to decide whether or not he should be impeached.

 “The facts are uncontested. The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by beholding military aid and crucial oval office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said on Dec. 5.

Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, were allegedly trying to convince Ukraine’s government to investigate Hunter Biden, the former Vice President’s son. In 2014, Hunter worked in Ukraine, where he was on the board of Burisma Holdings, the largest private oil and gas company in Ukraine. Just before he joined the board, Hunter had been discharged from the Navy for testing positive for drugs. If Trump had Hunter and his past investigated by Ukraine, that could possibly give him a leg up in the 2020 election because he would have dirt on one of his political rivals, Joe Biden.

On July 25, Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, the current President of Ukraine, had a scheduled phone call. The phone call essentially consisted of Trump asking Zelensky to investigate his political opponent Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. In return for this action, Trump would send military aid to Ukraine that he was withholding. The argument over this phone call is whether or not what Trump is asking Ukraine is unconstitutional. 

An anonymous CIA agent, otherwise known as a whistleblower, filed a formal complaint with Michael Atkinson, the Intelligence Community Inspector General on Aug. 12, who would later decide if the complaint is credible and determine if it was a matter of urgent concern. The complaint is a 16-page long document of Trump’s actions and why they may not be constitutional. The gist of the complaint is that Trump was abusing his power and using his connections for political gain. Also, his actions and contact with Ukraine threatened national security. For the whole whistleblower complaint visit the New York Times: whistleblower complaint

The Trump administration had authorized $391 million in financial aid to Ukraine. Suddenly, that money was withheld in July, before Trump’s call with Zelenksky. Congress had already allowed the aid to be sent, so this was the doing of the Trump administration. Finally, on Sept. 11, the Trump administration released the financial aid to Ukraine that they were withholding. 

Kurt Volker, a former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine testified. He released a series of text messages between him and other high-level U.S. diplomats. During Volker’s public hearing, he shut down the conspiracy theories about Joe Biden being corrupt. 

The former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, testified on Oct. 11. She was testifying against Trump. An hour into her hearing, which was being live-streamed around the world, Trump tweeted “everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.” Yovanovitch said she felt personally attacked and was quite shaken up about the matter. Despite all of this, she has agreed to appear before the House committees investigating Trump. 

On Oct. 17, Mick Mulvaney, the Acting White House Chief of Staff, confirmed a quid pro quo with Ukraine. Quid pro quo is a Latin term that essentially means you ask for a favor in return for something. The legality of a quid pro quo agreement varies with every situation. Mulvaney later released a statement, trying to take back what he said about confirming a quid pro quo with Ukraine. 

The trial in the Senate has not been officially scheduled yet, but it is likely that proceedings will not begin until January or February. This is because most senators and representatives go on break for the holidays.

The trial will be overseen by current Chief Justice John Roberts. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is in charge of laying out how the trial will go. All of the rules must be approved by him. This includes the use of witnesses, a topic of disagreement between McConnell and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Currently, Pelosi is still holding on to the official articles of impeachment, which must be formally sent to the Senate in order for the trial to begin. She refuses to send them until she sees that McConnell will be running what she sees as a fair trial.

“It’s beyond me how the speaker and Democratic leader in the Senate thinks withholding the articles of impeachment and not sending them over gives them leverage,” McConnell told reporters. “Frankly, I’m not anxious to have the trial. If she thinks her case is so weak she doesn’t want to send it over, throw me into that briar patch.”

For a full list of everyone who testified visit, key players in the Trump impeachment probe – ABC News

For more detailed information about the impeachment, visit the Washington Post impeachment timeline, or the Just Security impeachment timeline