The Impeachment Process, Explained

Jacqueline Glenn, Co-Editor in Chief

Over cafeteria French fries and trigonometry homework, I mentioned to the people sitting at my lunch table on Wednesday the impeachment proceedings that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pursued against President Trump.

Senior Cameron Conrad wondered aloud about “what impeachment would actually do.”

Though his question was met with several confused faces, senior Amanda Wickman answered him.

“I don’t think it will mean much,” Wickman said. “Impeachment is more like a slap on the wrist on the President and nothing more.”

According to EHS history teacher Jeffrey Gall, Wickman is correct.

“Impeachment really just means a charge, a formal charge,” Mr. Gall said. “… [A House committee is] collecting evidence to see if they can actually bring up charges of impeachment.”

Mr. Gall explained that although Trump has not been formally charged, as the impeachment is currently in its inquiry stage, Pelosi believes that Trump has committed impeachable offenses.

“Pelosi’s move came after Trump acknowledged that he urged the Ukrainian president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination who holds a wide lead over Trump, polls show, in a potential general election matchup,” the Washington Post reported.

Impeachable offenses, according to the US Constitution, are classified as “high crimes and misdemeanors.” If Congress finds evidence of those actions, it would vote on whether to impeach Trump, and then the Senate would hold a trial in which it would act as the jury.

No president has ever been removed from office; however, two presidents have been impeached. If he were impeached, Trump would join the company of Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

And impeachment is not synonymous to removal, Mr. Gall emphasized.

“Evidence will be presented by both sides and then the Senate would get to decide if the president would be removed or not,” Mr. Gall said. “It’s all very early…there’s no reason to panic.”