As the White House spent a third straight day on the defensive, faced with a special prosecutor now investigating potential ties between Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, a Democratic member of Congress made the first official request to begin impeachment proceedings against the president.
“The president must be impeached,” declared Congressman Al Green (D-TX) on the House floor Wednesday. “For those who do not know, impeachment does not mean that the president would be found guilty. It simply means that the House of Representatives will bring charges against the president. It's similar to an indictment but not quite the same thing.”
Green began the first of five basic steps on the road to impeachment. However, it’s highly unlikely his initial call will move forward in the near-term.
Five steps to impeachment
- Member of the House or special prosecutor begins the process
- A member of the House of Representatives or special prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III must first recommend impeachment proceedings to begin.
- Committee reviews allegations
- A House committee then reviews the allegations associated with the calls for impeachment.
- Articles of impeachment drafted
- Members of the committee draft articles of impeachment, essentially, charges of high crimes or misdemeanors against the president.
- House of Representatives votes
- A majority of the House of Representatives must then vote for impeachment, sending the matter to a trial in the U.S. Senate.
- Senate Trial
- The president is then tried by the Senate. Two thirds of senators must vote for conviction, and if he is convicted, the president can be removed from office.
A U.S. president has never been removed from office at the end of an impeachment process. While Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were both impeached, Nixon resigned, and the Senate could not muster enough votes to convict Clinton.