Explained: How To Impeach A President
Chatter about whether it is possible to impeach US President Donald Trump has been floated since he stepped into the White House, but how easy is it to do?
The Democrats and Trump critics have been vocal about their desire to impeach the president since his inauguration.
His administration is responsible for the longest government shut down in U.S. history, his long-time lawyer and his campaign manager are now in prison, and he was central to Mueller's Russia investigation.
This morning Democrat US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi caved to mounting pressure to launch a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump.
The decision came after accusations that Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter while withholding nearly $US400 million in military aid to the country.
How Likely is It For Trump To Be Impeached?
Before today Trump's impeachment was considered unlikely as Pelosi was apprehensive in pursuing an impeachment inquiry.
Impeachment and its possible repercussions are described in the US constitution as "The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours.”
The House needs to prove Trump has abused his power or is in violation of public trust. From here Trump will be investigated to figure out whether he has committed impeachable offences. The inquiry will see a House committee conduct an investigation to see if the president's conduct warrants impeachment.
This process won't be easy, past impeached presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon fought hard here to keep their jobs.
Once the inquiry concludes, the committee will declare articles of impeachment and vote on whether it warrants being put to the entire House of Representatives.
If that happens and the articles are put to the House for approval and a majority vote is needed to get that done.
The Democrats currently hold a 235 majority to 198 Republicans in the House, majority is pretty likely. But the process does not stop there.
If the House votes to impeach, Trump will then be able to fight for his job in the Senate or resign.
This is where it gets tricky, while The House is majority Democrat, the Senate is majority Republican 53-45.
It takes a super-majority to get rid of a president meaning 67 senators would have to want Trump gone. That means 20 Republicans would have to knife him and at this stage, none are willing to voice their support for impeachment.
Because of this, the impeachment process can take months and because of the Republican-run Senate the chances of Trump getting the axe look rather grim. Camp Trump appear to be unphased by the inquiry at this stage but as history shows, anything can happen in the US political circus.