The two processes outlined in the Constitution require a lot of political ducks to line up perfectly.
Many advocates on both sides are too eager for a quick resolution of the investigation into Trump's campaign - Democrats to remove the president from office and Republicans to exonerate him.
This provision defines treason against the United States as "Adhering to their enemies giving them aid and comfort". So treason and bribery are both off the table. [Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images] The term "high crimes" doesn't refer to the severity of the crimes, says Skutsch, but rather, the status (viz, high and mighty) of the person committing them.
This section was meant for a situation in which the president is disabled physically or mentally, as happened to Woodrow Wilson when he suffered a stroke in late 1919.
"Impeachment is the only way to stop Donald Trump, whose corruption and incompetence is placing our country in greater danger with each passing day", said Charles Chamberlain, executive director for Democracy for America, which announced last week that 65,000 of its members have signed off on a petition calling on Congress to investigate and impeach Mr. Trump.
Members of the committee draft articles of impeachment, essentially, charges of high crimes or misdemeanors against the president. Here, courtesy of Harvard Constitutional Law Scholar Laurence H. Tribe, writing in the Washington Post, are the two biggest issues.
"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go", Trump reportedly told Comey. By just about any standard, says Tribe, this is the textbook definition of Obstruction of Justice. His ineptly handled firing of now-former FBI Director James Comey and the revelation that Trump may have cavalierly shared intelligence information with the Russians has severely undermined his domestic policy agenda.
With nearly half of all Americans calling for Donald Trump to be impeached on this most recent poll, another new poll published on Wednesday taken by Morning Consult/POLITICO shows that just 42 percent of voters think Trump is doing a good job and approve of him compared with half of American voters who disapprove and find fault with Donald Trump's performance as president, according to Salon. Impeachment is just one step in a multi-step process that may or may not result in his removal from office. President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 for abuse of power, President Bill Clinton 130 years later for perjury and obstruction of justice. If so, the House will vote. With Republicans in control of Congress (at least until after the 2018 elections) as well as the White House, whether or not impeachment is invoked will depend then on opinion within the Republican Conference in the House, as well as a two-thirds majority of the Senate. As Business Insider explains, an impeachment trial in the Senate is not unlike a criminal trial in a courtroom. And in fact, the President can even appoint an attorney to represent him in the trial. The outgoing President may then be forbidden from ever holding elected office again, and may well be open to criminal prosecution as well.
Such an early discussion of impeachment may be indicative of things to come for Trump. Impeachment is looking more and more likely by the day, although the fact remains that initiating articles of impeachment is not to be undertaken lightly.
It should also be noted that in a Senate trial, a simple majority isn't enough to find someone guilty.
Despite popular belief, Richard Nixon resigned the presidency before he was impeached, although the impeachment process had begun.