Everything You Need to Know About Trump’s Impeachment Inquiry

Hello there! Do you want to be informed and actually understand what is going on in our government right now? Well, I scoured the interwebs and all the news sources so that you don’t have to! This is everything you need to know about Congress’ Impeachment Inquiry into Trump.

The Basics

What is Impeachment?

Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body levels charges against against a government official. Contrary to popular belief, impeachment does NOT immediately result in the removal of a corrupt president or government official. If a president becomes impeached by the House of Representatives, the decision of whether or not that president should be removed from office falls onto the Senate.

What Justifies Impeachment?

Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution specifically mentions “treason”, “bribery”, and “other high crimes or misdemeanors” as grounds for impeachment. Impeachment also does not require the allegation of a crime. Instead, impeachment simply requires “some grave act or pattern of misconduct deemed by Congress as necessitating this radical remedy.

What is the Official Impeachment Process?

  1. Congress investigates. Committees in the House of Representatives will investigate impeachable offenses and send their strongest cases to the House Judiciary Committee.
  2. The House Judiciary Committee will then draft and vote on Articles of Impeachment.
  3. The Articles of Impeachment are then sent back to the full House of Representatives for a vote. If any of the Articles of Impeachment pass with a simple majority, the president (in this case) is impeached.
  4. The Articles of Impeachment then move forward to a trial within the Senate. If at least two-thirds of Senators vote to convict, the president is removed from office.

Things you should know.

  • In September of 1973, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Council determined that a criminal case against the president “would interfere with the president’s unique official duties, most of which cannot be performed by anyone else.” This means that the only way to penalize a sitting president for any wrongdoing is impeachment.
  • The Special Council Investigation, conducted by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, into Russian interference in the 2016 elections officially started in May of 2017.
  • William Barr was confirmed as Attorney General on February 14ᵗʰ, 2019 , by a vote of 54 to 45 in the Senate. Barr strongly supports the DOJ’s policy that prevents a sitting president from being charged with a federal crime.

Impeachment Inquiry Events and Timeline (2019)

March 4th

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler reveals an investigation into President Trump, his associates, and members of his Administration. The Committee’s investigation is said to cover three main areas; Obstruction of Justice, Public Corruption, and Abuse of Power.

March 22nd

Mueller’s report of the Special Council Investigation is turned into Attorney General William Barr.

March 24th

AG Barr releases a summary of Mueller’s report. In his summary, he quotes the Special Council, stating that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and AG Barr conclude that the evidence found by the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient enough to prove that the president has committed any obstruction-of-justice offenses. Barr goes on to state that “Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.

April 18th

A redacted version of the Mueller Report is released to the public. In the following weeks, Mueller refused to come to a definitive statement as to whether the president has committed criminal obstruction-of-justice. Although the DOJ’s policy prevents him from indicting a sitting president, it was widely believed that Mueller might still issue a judgment on whether or not the president has committed a crime. Instead, Mueller emphasized that he did not have complete “confidence” that Trump had not broken the law. Many speculate that this is Mueller implying that Trump has violated some law, but he could not - or would not - make a definitive statement.

August 8th

Jerrold Nadler interviews with CNN’s Erin Burnett. During the interview, Nadler confirms that the House Judiciary Committee has been working on investigating facts and evidence towards whether the House of Representatives should impeach the president. He states that the House Judiciary Committee has “the power to vote on Articles of Impeachment” and that they are not waiting for any confirmation or statement from the Speaker of the House; Nancy Pelosi. However, Nadler does state that the Speaker of the House has been cooperative with their investigation.

August 12th

A whistleblower files a complaint addressed to the chairmen of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees that details a phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the complaint, the whistleblower alleges that President Trump pressured Zelensky to take certain actions to help Trump’s 2020 re-election bid. He states that the President pressured Zelensky to “initiate or continue an investigation into the activities into the former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son; Hunter Biden.”

A redacted version of this complaint was released to the public on September 26th.

September 24th

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announces that the House of Representatives will be moving forward with an official Impeachment Inquiry. This announcement partially instigated by the fact that the Intelligence Community Inspector General was being forbidden by the Trump Administration to turn over the whistleblower complaint.

October 31st

The House votes to begin an official Impeachment Inquiry. The resolution passes with 232 to 196 votes. The spotlight now shifts from the House Judiciary Committee to the House Intelligence Committee, whose duty is to hold public hearings and craft a report to be later sent to the House Judiciary Committee. This subsequently refocuses the investigation around the whistleblower complaint and President Trump’s phone call to Zelensky.

November 11th

Adam Schiff and the House Intelligence Committee begin the public hearings.

Whats Next?

The Intelligence Committee will complete the public hearings and write a report of their findings to the House Judiciary Committee. Any Articles of Impeachment that the Judiciary Committee approves will be sent back to the full House of Representatives for a vote. Contingent on a majority vote, the President will be impeached by the House and the Articles of Impeachment move to the Senate. The Senate then holds its own trial to determine whether or not to convict the president. If the two-thirds, or more, Senators vote to convict the president, then Trump is removed from office.

This is just the beginning to a lengthy process that has already spanned the better part of the past three years. I’ve provided links for all you readers who want to delve deeper into these proceedings. Also, all of the public hearings will be broadcasted on television and online for those who would like to keep up. If not, don’t worry. I’ll provide another quick look into the proceedings of our government when the time comes!

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