Donald Trump impeachment inquiry: What is the issue and how would it proceed

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New Delhi | Published: September 26, 2019 4:51:38 PM

Donald Trump would be the fourth president in the history of the US to face impeachment charges.

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US House speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday announced that the House would be initiating an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. The announcement comes just months ahead of the 2020 US Presidential elections. Pelosi said that the impeachment inquiry was being done as Trump had betrayed his oath of office, national security and the integrity of US elections.

The news spread like wildfire and many took to the internet to find out all about impeachment. As per Merriam-Webster, the searches for the word ‘impeach’ increased 3,600 per cent on September 24, 2019. Donald Trump would be the fourth president in the history of the US to face impeachment charges. Earlier Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached but were later acquitted by the Senate. President Richard M. Nixon, on the other hand, resigned before he could be impeached. Trump has termed the impeachment as a ‘witch hunt’.

What is the issue?
Donald Trump made a phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 and allegedly pressured him to launch a corruption inquiry against political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The complaint was submitted by an anonymous whistleblower. Democrat Joe Biden is likely to face Donald Trump in the Presidential elections next year.

The process of impeachment of US President
The impeachment process in US is a complex two-phase process. The resolution will first come up in the House of Representatives, where the Democrats enjoy the majority. Once cleared, the impeachment resolution will be taken up in the Senate, which is currently dominated by Republicans. It is to be noted that Donald Trump is a Republican.

After this stage, the case reached the trial stage, which is led by the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. Donald Trump will have the right to defend himself and is entitled to have a lawyer.

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What would happen if Trump is impeached
Impeachment does not necessarily mean that Trump would be removed as the President. As the trial concludes, the Senate would make their vote and if two-thirds of the Senate vote for the conviction of Donald Trump, only then he would be removed as the President of the US. The role would then be assumed by the vice-president for the remainder of the term.

What are the odds for Donald Trump to be impeached
Very slim! If and when Trump’s impeachemnt reaches the trial stage, he will have to be convicted in the Senate, which is ruled by the Republican Party – 53 of 100 members.

Also, no US president has been removed due to impeachment yet.

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