Impeachment Guide

Impeachment Guide

Eleanor Hohenberg, Reporter

     For the past several months, the impeachment of President Donald Trump has dominated the news. This is the third time that the House of Representatives has voted to impeach a president. Afier the impeachment by a Democratic House majority, the case was brought to trial in the Republican-controlled Senate. After a three-week trial, the Senate voted against Trump’s removal. This process has been lengthy and complex, particularly because there were many individuals to keep track of.  Here is a roundup of some of the key figures who were involved:


Donald Trump

     On July 25, 2019, the President spoke on the phone with Volodymyr Zelensky, the recently elected Ukrainian president. This call is the source of the alleged misconduct with Ukraine which the argument for impeachment and removal was based on.


The Whistleblower

     In August 2019, an anonymous government employee filed a complaint with the national intelligence inspector general concerning Trump. His report was withheld from Congress originally until Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Adam Schiff (D-CA) threatened to sue the Trump Administration. The document was eventually released to the public and it is available on the committee’s website. The whistleblower‘s concern is stated as such: “I have received information from multiple U.S. government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 US Election.” They also mentioned that President Trump sought an investigation into the activities of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.


Nancy Pelosi and the House investigators

     The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced in September 3019 that the House of Representatives would move forward with an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump concerning his phone call with the president of Ukraine and related activities.  Over the next months, several committees of the house took depositions from those involved in the matter. Then the House voted to authorize impeachment proceedings. In November continuing into December, public hearings were held concerning the affair.

     The resulting report, produced by the House Committee on Intelligence “found that President Trump… solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection.” The committee stated that Donald Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate his political opponent Joe Biden by withholding a White House meeting and military aid from Ukraine. Trump maintained that the probe was a “witch hunt” and denied that he had engaged in a “quid pro quo” with the Ukrainian government.


The House of Representatives

     The decided articles of impeachment were first, abuse of power for “pressuring the government of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 U.S. Presidential election for his own benefit,” and second, obstruction of Congress for “undertaking an unprecedented campaign to prevent House Committees from investigating his misconduct.”

On December 18th, 2019, the House of Representatives voted on two articles of impeachment. The vote was 230 in favor and 197 opposed on the first article. The second article received a vote of 229 in favor and 198 opposed. The House of Representatives then sent a bill to the Senate where the trial of Donald Trump began.


Mitch McConnell

     After hours of vehement debate from January 21 to the 22, the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) put forward the resolution which laid out the ground rules for Donald Trump’s trial in the Senate. Each side was given up to twenty-four hours over three days to defend their case. The impeachment evidence collected by the House was automatically inserted into the trial record.  Eleven amendments to the resolution were put forward by Democrats: these included calls to subpoena various documents and witnesses.




     Democrats wanted John Bolton (the former national security advisor), Michael Duffey (white house budget office official), Robert Blair (adviser to the White House chief of staff), and Mick Mulvaney (acting White House chief of staff) to testify as witnesses, but the Senate voted against their appearances in court.


House Impeachment Managers

     Representative Adam Schiff leads this prosecution team of seven. They argued that the President abused his power by soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election, and that the President’s actions blocking testimony and documents qualifies as obstruction of Congress.


President Trump’s Attorneys

     Pat Cipollone and Donald Trump’s personal lawyer,  Jay Sekulow, the leaders of the White House counsel, defended the President. They contended that the basis for impeachment was purely political, that the President did not constitute impeachment, and that there was no wrongdoing on the President’s part.


The Senate

     On February 5, 2020, the Senate officially voted to acquit the President on the articles of impeachment. 67 senators would have needed to vote to convict Donald Trump in order for him to be removed from office. In the first article, the vote was 52 to acquit and 48 to convict.  A notable moment was when Utah Senator Mitt Romney crossed party lines to vote “guilty,” the only Republican to do so, thereby earning him a significant amount of backlash from his party. In the second article, the vote was 53 to acquit and 49 to convict. With those votes, the long process concerning the impeachment came to an end, though this event will impact the future of the United States, especially with the 2020 elections coming up.