In English, the verb to impeach means to challenge or challenge, so the word impeachment can be translated as dismissal or challenge, or even, in political terms, as a motion of censure. It is, in fact, a political trial and represents perhaps the most serious measure stipulated in the Constitution: to dismiss a president without going through the polls. In any case, it is a complex process whose duration and consequences will be difficult to predict.
The United States Congress has the power to remove presidents if there are enough votes to support that they committed "treason, bribery or crimes and offenses," as established in Section 4, Article II of the US Constitution.RELATED
What has been the "lack" of Donald Trump for which the process has begun?
In late July, in a telephone conversation with the President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelenski, Trump tried to press for Ukraine to investigate the business efforts of Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who has business in Kiev, which could damage the campaign of the former vice president and one of the main candidates for the Democratic nomination for the 2020 elections.
Trump acknowledged that shortly before that conversation he ordered to freeze US $ 400 million in US aid to Ukraine, and this raised doubts about whether he offered any kind of exchange to the Ukrainian President. The fact that he has come to consider such a request is highly irregular, since he might suggest that he was trying to stimulate his own Department of Justice to initiate a criminal investigation against Biden or his son.
So far, there is no evidence to support Trump's claims that the Biden maintain or had corrupt deals in Ukraine.
Steps of the impeachment process
House of Representatives
Any member of the House of Representatives can present a resolution, with the articles (each one is an accusation) that he considers pertinent, requesting the removal of the president.
The House of Representatives evaluates the accusation and can approve the dismissal with a simple majority (51 percent of the legislators).
Approved in the lower house, the process passes to the Senate. This is where the formal trial against the president is carried out, but under the presidency of the Supreme Court. Members of the House of Representatives act as prosecutors and those of the Senate as jurors.
Senators vote. In the Senate, a two-thirds vote (67) is needed to condemn the president.
The current composition of the Senate is 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 2 independents. It would take about 20 votes from Trump's own party to dismiss him.
In case the two houses of Congress agree to the dismissal, the President would be fired and should leave the White House. Until the next presidential elections are held, always on schedule, the Vice President would assume executive power. The person in charge of replacing Trump would be Mike Pence.
Fragment of the public transcript of Donald Trump's conversation with the Ukrainian President: «Another thing. There is much talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the investigation and many people want to know about that, so anything you can do with your attorney general would be great. Biden was around, presuming that he had stopped the investigation, so if he can look at that … It sounds awful to me.
The impeachment has been activated previously against three presidents in the almost 250 years of United States history, and in no case was the dismissal reached.
—Cause: He was charged in 1868 by the House of Representatives, for his policy of reconciliation to the South, his rush to reinstate the former convicts to the United States, and his vetoes of the civil rights bills. Absolved by the Senate.
—Duration: 94 days.
—Cause: consequences of the Watergate scandal in 1974.
"He resigned after the House of Representatives drafted the articles for his removal, but before he was voted." The process did not reach the Senate. Popularity: fell to 23 percent.
—Duration: 184 days.
—Cause: perjury and obstruction of justice in 1994. These complaints arose from the sexual harassment lawsuit initiated against Clinton by Paula Jones. Imputed by the House of Representatives but acquitted by the Senate. Popularity: Up to 73 percent.
—Duration: 127 days.