Updated: March 2, 2021
President Donald John Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives late Wednesday for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, making him only the third President in U.S. history to be charged with committing high crimes and misdemeanors, and setting off a fierce trial in the Senate in January 2020 that may lead to his removal from office, although the possibility remains slim.
Voting mainly along party lines, nearly all Democrats voted to impeach Trump on two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – while almost all Republicans voted against impeachment. Trump is a Republican from New York, although he recently said he was relocating to Florida.
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An article of impeachment is simply a high crime or misdemeanor against a President in the United States.
Mr. Trump was found guilty by the House of Representatives of abusing his power when he pressured the Ukrainian President in a July phone call to investigate a political opponent former Vice President Joe Biden, and then obstructed Congress when it tried to investigate by mandating all senior officials at the White House and top government employees with needed information not to testify in Congress.
It was expected Mr. Trump would survive in the Senate where Republicans hold a majority, especially with the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declaring the other day that he will “coordinate with the White House” to quickly dismiss all the crimes leveled against Trump.
But maybe not so fast. On Thursday morning, lawmakers would return to the Capitol as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced some uncertainty to the future timeline of the impeachment process.
At a press conference on Wednesday evening after impeaching Trump along party lines, Pelosi suggested that managers would not be named until Senate Republicans agreed to a “fair” process.
If the managers are not named on time, it may result in a delay in the transmission of articles of impeachment to the Senate.
According to U.S. law, after the passage of impeachment articles, the House of Representatives has to pass a separate resolution naming managers for impeachment in the Senate.
“We cannot name managers until we figure out what the process is on the Senate side,” Pelosi said. “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us.” The Senate is yet to announce its procedures for a trial.
Pelosi cited Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s comments that he was “not an impartial juror” as an example of an unfair trial.
Pelosi also met with committee chairs who had led the impeachment inquiry following the press conference.
Newspapers in the United States quoted Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., as telling reporters last night, “It’s hard to appoint managers if you don’t know what the plan is going to be.”
With no managers appointed, Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate may take longer than expected and affect his re-election next year.