Impeachment: What’s happening?


Sedona Sayers

The impeachment trials have been taking place in the Capitol building since Nov. 13.

What is impeachment?

Impeachment is the process in which the legislative body investigates to set charges against an elected official including the judicial, legislative and executive positions in government. 

How does it work?

The process starts with Congress investigating the situation to see if the accused actually has any impeachable offenses.

Then, the House of Representatives must pass articles of impeachment through a simple majority vote with the present and voting. The articles of impeachment must constitute a formal allegation or allegations. If passed, the defendant is considered impeached. 

Impeachment does not automatically entail removal from office. If a president is voted by the House to be impeached, the process is then turned to the Senate who will decide whether to indict the president and remove him from office

After the trial has been passed through the House of Representatives, the Senate tries the accused. In the case of a president, the Chief Justice presides over the proceedings. For the accused to be convicted, the Senate must pass a 2/3 majority vote. 

What’s going on?

July 18

A member of the White House Office of Management and Budget announced that foreign aid to Ukraine is stopped until further notice due to a presidential order to the budget office.

July 25

Trump has a phone call with President Zelenskiy of Ukraine in which he asks for help in gathering potentially damaging information on democratic rival Joe Biden.

Between July 25-August 12

An unidentified CIA officer files a complaint alleging misconduct during Trump’s July 25th call.

July 26

U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, Kurt Volker, visits Ukraine and has a conversation with President Zelenskiy on how to navigate President Trump’s demands.

August 12

Congress receives a statement from a whistleblower complaint that they have been notified from multiple government officials that the President is abusing power by soliciting interference from a foreign country for the 2020 election. This complaint was addressed to Sen. Richard Burr and Rep. Adam Schiff. 

August 26

The inspector general’s office receives a complaint of “urgent concern” to congress about a call between Trump and Zelenskiy which is believed to have consisted of a conversation that could be a federal campaign finance crime.

September 19

Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community  testifies behind closed doors about the whistle blower’s complaint.  

September 24

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry and delivered her speech that “No one is above the law.”

September 25

The White House releases an official transcript of the July 25th phone call with Trump and Zelenskiy. Confirms the accusations that Trump was pushing Zelenskiy to work with Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney,  and William Barr, U.S. Attorney General, to gather information on Biden and his son.

October 31 

House passes a resolution that sets procedures for the impeachment inquiry as the Trump administration criticizes the probe. 

November 13 

The House begins public hearings in the impeachment inquiry.

December 5 

Pelosi asks House members to draft articles of impeachment against the President.

December 9 

House members vote on which articles of impeachment to accuse the president of. 

December 10 

House Democrats reveal two articles of impeachment against Trump: abuse of power for withholding aid to Ukraine for personal gain and obstruction of Congress for attempting to hide evidence from the investigation. 

What happened today? 

After reaching an agreement late Thursday evening, the House announced this morning, December 13, that they will be moving forward with votes of impeachment as early as next week. The House will convene to consider the steps of impeachment on Tuesday and are expected to have a final vote by Wednesday. 

From there, and after the Congressional Winter Recess, the vote to convict the president will go to the Senate. If the Senate votes to convict President Trump, he will be removed from office. However, the Senate, unlike the House, is under Republican control, so it is very unlikely that the vote to remove him from office will pass. 

Despite the extensive controversy and disagreement over the course of the past few months, both Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree that they will not rest until the issue of Trump’s impeachment has reached an agreement.