What does President Trump’s impeachment mean?

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On Dec. 18, 2019, the United States House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump based on two articles alleging grave misconduct. This was a decision that was made after months of debate and hearings that were conducted by the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees.

The first article, which was passed by a 230-197 vote, addresses Trump’s abuse of power in seeking help from Ukraine for his own political benefit on domestic territory – specifically asking the Ukraine to get information on presidential candidate Joe Biden. The second article, which was passed 229-197, addressed Trump’s obstruction of Congress by refusing to cooperate with subpoenas issued for access to administration witnesses and documents.

Some say the process began as early as April when the Mueller Report and Mueller’s House testimony occured, but it officially began on Sept. 4 when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would be launching a formal impeachment inquiry regarding the Ukraine scandal.

The impeachment process has only just begun, so a celebration might not be worthwhile yet.

On Dec. 5, Pelosi announced that she would be asking Judiciary to draft formal impeachment articles which quickly lead to a final debate and vote.

The process of impeachment is something that is confusing to many people as there is no clear set of guidelines in the constitution saying exactly how an official can be impeached. There have also only been two official impeachments in U.S. history (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton – Richard Nixon avoided an impeachment by his resignation).

The biggest thing to remember is that impeachment is not the removal of corrupt presidents or other officials, but rather just the adoption of charges given by the House, which leads to a Senate trial.

So while Clinton and Johnson were impeached as the House passed articles of impeachment, they were both acquitted by the Senate. The term impeachment still applies for the two, but they were never officially removed from office.

The impeachment process has only just begun, so a celebration might not be worthwhile yet.

During the Senate trial process, senators will be acting as jurors who make no public statements on the trial until after the trial process, although there is no official “gag order.”

The length of the trial is also something that is up in the air, as the two other impeachment trials varied in length.

But there’s currently a stalemate between Pelosi and Senate leader Mitch McConnell on how the trial will continue, and this statement could ultimately go on until the next election happens. If this was the case then Trump would be the president who was impeached but did not go to trial.

If that were the case, Democrats would claim that Trump and the Republicans conspired to protect the current presidency, and  Republicans would claim that the Democrats had such a weak case that this should not have proceeded to a trial.

If Trump has a trial and is subsequently acquitted, the 2020 election would lead to either Trump getting re-elected or not.

Regardless of whether or not Trump is removed from office, his impeachment has proven that the 2020 election is of very high stakes – the removal of the 45th president, who has been involved in corruption, norm breaking and has also had various racist and sexists attitudes goes  against what the United States claims to stand for as a nation.

I would agree that Trump does need to get removed by the United States and, honestly, when I first heard about the news I was more than excited. But the more research I did, the more I realized that this is really just the first step in a process that could be very long. Trump is impeached, yes, but he is not removed.

Kind of like when someone is charged with a crime but have yet to be  convicted.

The House is also held by a Democrat majority – therefore a vote in favour of impeachment was probably easier to get. The Senate, though, is held by a Republican majority meaning that an acquittal is more than likely.

So before we celebrate the fact that the President was impeached, we need to remember that this is only step one. It is still very important for Americans to cast their vote in the 2020 election.

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