Will President Donald Trump be impeached? His political opponents love to talk about it, and the mainstream media’s claims that he is under investigation and colluded with Russia support the fact that the president is in hot water and might get impeached. A special council investigating the president is the first step. This wouldn’t be the first time a president has been impeached; it’s happened twice before, to Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson.
Although those two presidents got impeached, no president has ever been removed from office. Both Clinton and Johnson stayed in office. What are the steps to impeachment, and the president’s eventual removal? Could President Trump be the first president removed from office after impeachment proceedings?
For the sake of argument, let’s say that the special council finds President Trump guilty of obstruction of justice or ties to Russia. From here on out, it’s important to know that we are speculating. Without knowing what exactly the president is accused of, it’s hard to guess what each individual member of Congress would think. Depending on what evidence is found against Trump, it’s now up to Congress to bring charges of misconduct upon the president.
The first step after the investigation is in the House of Representatives. The House has the sole right to initiate impeachment proceedings. They review the evidence from the special investigation and decide if the president committed an impeachable offense. How do they do this? They vote.
There are 435 members of the House. It only takes a simple majority — 218 votes — to move to the next step of removing the president from office. And here is the first roadblock to President Trump’s removal. President Trump is a Republican and his election was considered a major victory for the Republican party. There are currently 239 Republican members of the House.
If the majority of the House were Democrats, the odds of impeachment would be a different story, but there would have to be evidence that President Trump was involved in some pretty nefarious activities to get Republicans to want to give up the political power they haven’t touched in over eight years of U.S. politics.
However, let’s say that all of the Democrats and at least 24 Republicans (two seats are currently empty) believe that Trump committed an impeachable offense and vote accordingly. The next step is in the Senate. The Senate votes. If two-thirds of the Senate agree that the president should be convicted, he is then removed from office.
There are 100 seats in the senate. Therefore, at least 67 members need to vote accordingly for the president to be removed. There are currently two Independents, 46 Democrats, and 52 Republicans in the Senate. Once again, several Republicans, 15 in total, would have to vote to remove a president of their own party from power.
What about the previous impeached presidents? Both Clinton and Johnson were acquitted in the Senate and allowed to stay in office. Considering the fact that the House, Senate, and Executive branch are all controlled by Republicans, it seems unlikely that President Trump would be removed from office even if the House did agree to impeach him.
If the Democrats regain control of the House, and especially the Senate, the facts may change — and they have a chance with the 2018 elections. In 2018, 33 seats in the Senate are up for grabs. But for now, barring damning information that Trump committed serious crimes, it is not mathematically likely that Trump will be removed from Office.
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