The House of Representatives Votes for Impeachment

Official White House Photo
On December 18, 2019, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump.

Donald Trump is only the third U.S. President to be impeached. But what exactly does impeachment mean? Impeachment starts in the House of Representatives. Members of the House of Representatives, who wanted to decide whether President Trump had committed serious crimes, listened to evidence from experts to make their decision. After they heard they evidence, the House voted on two different questions:

  • Did President Trump abuse his power by asking the government of the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, a candidate running for President?
  • Did President Trump obstruct Congress by telling other people not to talk about the investigation?

The House voted Yes as their answer to both questions.  Not everyone in the House agreed, though. The vote was 237 in favor of impeachment to 198 against.

So, what happens next? The question moves to another part of the legislature, the Senate, for a trial. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court acts as the judge in the trial. Senators will listen to evidence, and there may be new witnesses called to testify. After the trial, senators will vote on removing Trump from office. If less than two-thirds of the Senate members vote to convict the President, Trump will remain in office. If 67 or more Senators vote to convict, Trump will be removed. The Vice President, Michael Pence, would become the President. 

People expect that the Senate trial will start in January 2020. First, the House of Representatives needs to send the charges to the Senate.

What Do You Think? What questions do you have about the impeachment process? How do you think the impeachment affects the United States?

Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour